Jirisan – K-Drama Episode 15 Recap & Review

Penultimate Problems

Episode 15 of Jirisan starts with Hyun-jo’s family hiking to the peak of Mount Jiri as a tribute to him. The nurse caring for Hyun-jo calls Yi-gang with the news that they plan to take him off life support in two days.

Gu-yeong and Il-hae arrive back at the station wanting to know if Hak-su’s death is connected to the previous murders.

We cut to them outside the house of Hwang Gil-yong, another ex-resident of Black Bridge Village. He confirms that he’s seen Hyun-jo on the mountain but refuses to talk about Black Bridge Village even after Yi-gang tells him that old residents are being targeted.

Yi-gang also tells Il-hae and Gu-yeong about the various victims that have seen Hyun-jo and shows them the footage of a stick moving by itself in one of his rock formations.

We jump back to 2019 where Hyun-jo cancels his meeting with Yi-gang after hearing the snowfall announcement. She finds out from the Bidam Shelter rangers that he’s been researching Black Bridge Valley and ventures into the snow to find him.

We rehash the events of the attempt on Yi-gang’s life. This time, we also see the culprit hit Hyun-jo’s head twice with a rock after he calls the station for help.

We go forward to 2020 again. Yi-gang, Il-hae, and Gu-yeong use files on the murder victims and their knowledge of the 1991 deaths to list all the residents still alive. There are five: Lee Jae-geun (Yang-sun’s grandfather), Jin-ok, Gil-yong, Woong-soon, and Sol.

Our ranger trio splits up to investigate the five. Gu-yeong goes to the hospital where Jae-geun has been in a state of shock since Yang-sun’s death. Yang-sun’s mother is there and doesn’t know anything about the 1991 incidents since she and her husband were running a restaurant elsewhere at the time.

Yi-gang heads to Jin-ok’s house and finds out from her neighbour that she died of cancer. The neighbour remembers a monk from the Mount Jiri temple attending the funeral.

Yi-gang makes her way to the temple where the monk shows her the prayer lantern that Jin-ok left for Jae-gyeong. The monk doesn’t know what their relationship was but overheard Jin-ok expressing her regret.

Yi-gang also visits Dae-jin, still in jail, but the only help he can offer is his case file on the death of Seong-suk in 1991.

Back at the station, Yi-gang reads through the file when Il-hae returns from the Jirisan Development Committee with files on the 1991 cable car project. While they’ve been under the assumption that the residents were against the cable car, he’s found agreement forms signed by every single resident. The only reason it didn’t go ahead was because the government didn’t permit it.

Yi-gang realizes that the villagers didn’t have a reason to stay since the wildlife protection and national park legislation enforced in the 80s restricted poachers and herb collectors. On the other hand, beekeepers were given financial aid in a government initiative to preserve native species. Jae-gyeong’s agreement form lists him as a beekeeper. They speculate that a rift formed between those who wanted to stay and those who wanted compensation.

Gu-yeong also returns, having discovered how Se-wook’s father, Lee Pil-seok, died. According to a retired ranger, he was killed in a hit-and-run at the time of the cable car discussions. The culprit was never identified, though the other villagers were under suspicion because he was killed on a path only they used.

Running short on time, Yi-gang heads to the police station and tricks the junior officer into thinking there was an accident outside. When he leaves to check, she locks the doors and searches for Pil-seok’s case file. While she rifles through a cabinet, the phone with the bee sticker that Hyun-jo found after the flood drops out. She eventually locates the file and leaves before the officer gets back into the station through the back door.

Meanwhile, Woong-soon waits at Black Bridge Village after sending Sol another message to meet him there at 3pm. Sol shows up and murders Woong-soon. Blood drips onto the screen of Sol’s fallen phone and Woong-soon’s bloody hand lands beside it. Hyun-jo’s spirit realizes that it’s the scene from the vision he had in 2019.

That evening, Yi-gang goes to Sol’s house. She tells him that because the decision to move ahead with the cable car had to be unanimous, some villagers made bad choices.

We flash back to young Sol in 1991 seeing goblin fire and running towards it. When then cut to Jin-ok dumping the animal carcass in the well.

Later, Jin-ok, Il-man, Jong-gu, Jin-deok, and Gil-yong meet to discuss Jae-gyeong’s determination to stay even after the carcass stunt. Il-man doesn’t think Jae-gyeong can be talked out of staying after he received financial aid for his beekeeping and decides to try and convince Seong-suk instead.

We cut to Seong-suk bringing water back from the stream. Il-man and two others stop her in her path and order her to change Jae-gyeong’s mind. She refuses and is trying to leave when they push her back until she falls and hits her head on a rock. Then men, thinking her dead, flee the scene. When they’re gone, she opens her eyes and starts to move.

In the present, Yi-gang tells Sol that she read that Seong-suk was found on the path off the mountain in Dae-jin’s file. Yi-gang guesses that Seong-suk was headed to the police.

Yi-gang then produces the file she stole on Pil-seok, revealing that he was Jae-gyeong’s beekeeping partner. Seong-guk, the prime suspect listed in the file, was Woong-soon’s father.

We flash back to the second time young Sol saw the goblin fire. This time, it is shown to be the light from Il-man’s torch as he convinces Seong-guk to sign the cable car agreement form in exchange for making the evidence that Seong-guk hit Pil-seok with his car disappear.

In the present, Yi-gang points out that the date on Seong-guk’s agreement form is the date Pil-seok died. She then calls out Sol on the lie he’s been telling that he doesn’t remember anything from 1991.

Yi-gang proceeds to tell Sol that he and Se-wook committed the murders together, taking revenge for their parents’ deaths. A montage of their involvement confirms her statement.

The Episode Review

Just as we find out that Hyun-jo is alive after all, there’s news that he’s scheduled to be taken off life support soon. We already knew this was coming any day now, so it didn’t increase the urgency in the way the writer probably intended.

Our culprit is finally revealed to have been Sol all along. For those of us who guessed this early on, it’s not even a proud I told you so moment because the investigations, peppered with repetitive flashbacks and even more repetitive information, were boring to sit through.

At least we got some new insight into the 1991 situation where the split caused by greed wreaked havoc on the village. This doesn’t explain why Jae-gyeong signed the form even though he stayed in Black Bridge Village until the bitter end. Was this him finally relenting to the will of the other villagers, or was his suicide something more sinister?

Now that we also know Jae-gyeong was a beekeeper, it’s possible that the phone Hyun-jo found after the flood was Sol’s. It could contain the evidence the rangers need to take him down.

The worst thing the 1991 flashbacks gave us was the discovery that the goblin fire was only the torchlight by which Jin-ok and Il-man committed their crimes. While this ties up Sol’s sightings and adds to his motive, it doesn’t explain the blue flames the live streamer saw. It’s also just another layer to the mystery that was promised and then retracted. Without a substantial fantasy element, Hyun-jo’s visions and ghost form are out of place in a plot otherwise grounded in reality.

We end on Yi-gang playing the hero and confronting Sol, the murderer, in the most foolish way possible – alone. It looks like Jirisan will be making use of one of the worst tropes – revealing all your cards to the culprit – to create enough conflict to get us through the last episode.

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1 thought on “Jirisan – K-Drama Episode 15 Recap & Review”

  1. Sad to say thwt this much anticipated drama is underwhelming, confusing and boring. Stick to great k drama formula please.

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