Jirisan – K-Drama Episode 5 Recap & Review

Potato Bomb

Episode 5 of Jirisan resumes the townhall meeting where Dae-jin is describing the hazards that need to be avoided on the mountain. The wife of the dead snake-catcher is unimpressed and leaves with the other villagers in tow.

Yi-gang comes face to face with the man with the scarred hand. Surprisingly, he addresses her familiarly and they’re already acquainted. When she asks about his scars he gives an excuse about a raccoon scratching him on the mountain.

Yi-gang and Hyun-jo meet up. Yi-gang tells Hyun-jo about Lee Se-wook, a.k.a. the man with the scarred hand, who was also born and raised by the mountain. He’s Yang-sun’s cousin and lives alone at the base of the mountain. A sequence of shots from his POV shows us his fridge full of yogurt drinks.

Hyun-jo is raring to jump into action, but Yi-gang reminds him they have no solid proof, especially since there is no CCTV on the mountain itself. Yi-gang thinks Yang-sun is a good lead, but her phone has been off for some time.

The pair head to the station and track Yang-sun using the forest fire reporting device in the patrol car she took off with. They pin her location down to Saemogol, the restricted area where the potato bomb detonated. The situation is now urgent, and they go with Gu-yeong to find her.

They only find Yang-sun well after sundown, crying at the base of a tree. She shows them the potato bomb she’s found placed in one of her grandfather’s traps. Yi-gang carefully extracts the bomb from the trap.

According to the teary Yang-sun, Se-wook told her that he had seen her grandfather at Saemogol on the day of the bombing. In a longer version of Yang-sun’s flashback to the shed, we see her grandfather holding three potato bombs. Yang-sun hadn’t known what they were until the meeting with Soo-jin, and even then, she had wanted to believe it had nothing to do with the bombing. Yang-sun agrees to tell the police everything she knows before Gu-yeong leads her down the mountain along with the bomb.

Hyun-jo is insistent that Yang-sun’s grandfather is not the culprit since he doesn’t have the scars. Yi-gang wants to leave the whole thing in the hands of the police and reiterates the fact that Hyun-jo’s visions can’t be used as evidence.

While Gu-yeong and Yi-gang escort Yang-sun and the bomb to the police, Hyun-jo pays Se-wook a visit. Hyun-jo is completely upfront, telling Se-wook that he knows about the bombs and the yogurt. Se-wook panics and shuts the door in Hyun-jo’s face.

The next day Hyun-jo shows Private Ahn a picture of Se-wook and Yang-sun. Private Ahn confirms that Se-wook is the man who gave him the yogurt. That’s all the confirmation Hyun-jo needs, and he sets out trying to catch Se-wook in CCTV footage from establishments near the entrance to the mountain.

Hyun-jo finds nothing and changes tactics. He collects the memory chips from 30 motion sensor cameras used for the ecology watch program at Saemogol and enlists help (although it takes a lot of convincing) from Yi-gang, Gu-yeong, and Il-hae to look over them.

At the police station Woong-soon questions Yang-sun’s grandfather. He wholly denies having anything to do with the bombing.

Meanwhile, Se-wook is at his own place trying to call someone who won’t pick up. He sends them a message about Hyun-jo’s visit. While waiting for a reply, he opens a notebook and goes over a list of all the victims on the mountain and how they died. He’s about to tear out the list when he finally gets a reply. Whoever it is says that they’ll deal with Hyun-jo and instructs Se-wook to finish their plans.

Il-hae hits the jackpot, finding footage of Se-wook carrying the potato bomb. Gu-yeong alerts the police. The four of them start speculating, and Yi-gang starts to piece together that Se-wook might have told Yang-sun that her grandfather planted the bombs to lure her to her death.

We cut back to Se-wook’s notebook and Yang-sun’s name is on the bottom of the list. Next to it the word “bomb” has been crossed out and “yogurt” is written instead.

Se-wook himself is at Yang-sun’s house, pretending to console her. He keeps urging her to drink the yogurt he’s brought for her, and she eventually takes a long sip. As she starts to feel the poison’s effects, Se-wook drops all pretences and tells her he lied about seeing her grandfather on the day of the bombing. Yang-sun collapses in pain.

The police are out looking for Se-wook and our four rangers are on their way to Yang-sun’s place. Yi-gang tries calling Yang-sun, but Yang-sun can only pull herself in small increments towards her phone.

Se-wook is calm and collected, taking his time to wash out the yogurt bottle in Yang-sun’s sink. He grabs her phone right as she’s about to reach it and chucks it in the bin.

The rangers arrive right before it’s too late. Yang-sun has lost consciousness and her pulse is weak. Gu-yeong calls for an ambulance while Hyun-jo spots Se-wook and pursues him. Se-wook drops the empty yogurt bottle as he runs away into the mountain. Hyun-jo is right behind him, and Yi-gang also gives chase.

Further into the mountain, Hyun-jo looks around and sees Se-wook peering at him through the shrubbery. Hyun-jo hurls towards Se-wook and is about to step into another carefully placed trap containing the third potato bomb. Luckily, Yi-gang notices the trap and knocks Hyun-jo aside with her own body weight right before he reaches it. Yi-gang takes the bomb off the mountain while Hyun-jo continues searching and the police begin to arrive.

Later at the hospital Woong-soon informs Yang-sun’s grandfather that the police haven’t been able to find Se-wook yet. Yi-gang, Hyun-jo, and Gu-yeong are also there to hear the news. An operating surgeon comes out to tell them that Yang-sun will recover, though it was a close call.

Hyun-jo tries to tell Woong-soon that Se-wook is responsible for the other terrible deaths on the mountain. Woong-soon is confused and Yi-gang leads Hyun-jo away before he can say more.

Yi-gang takes Hyun-jo to her grandma’s restaurant. He thinks she’s going to berate him again, but she only apologises for doubting him and his visions.

On a later day an illegal hiker, who is in a restricted area, hides from Dae-jin as he removes yellow ribbons. As the hiker makes his way through the mountain he passes Se-wook’s lifeless body lying on a dirt bank.

We cut to Se-wook’s notebook. A gloved hand crosses out Yang-sun’s name and writes Hyun-jo’s down.

Sometime later Hyun-jo is hiking through the mountain and comes across the lottery ticket girl, who is still searching for her lost ticket. She asks what Hyun-jo is looking for, but he will only say that he must find it himself. Snow begins to fall around them as winter sets in.

In 2020 Yi-gang confides in Da-won, telling her that Se-wook wasn’t the true mastermind behind the murders and more people continued to die on the mountain. Yi-gang doesn’t know who it was, only saying that she was trying to find out when she got into an accident. And now she’s back to uncover the truth.

Yi-gang ropes Da-won into her mission. Da-won’s first task is to install motion senor cameras at the locations Hyun-jo and Yi-gang had agreed to signal each other from. Yi-gang uses a drone to keep an eye on Da-won as she goes. The video feed starts to glitch and the camera records the image of Hyun-jo’s spirit as it flies past him.

The Episode Review

Just as quickly as we were properly introduced to Se-wook, he’s been taken out of the picture. It’s a welcome turn, since his character – all evils grins and simplistic malicious intent – would have gotten boring quickly. While we still don’t know what his motivation was; it’s obvious he was a pawn. The show tried to point to Dae-jin again, but it still seems unlikely that he’s our culprit.

It’s too early to tell what the connection between each victim is. Perhaps this entire murder spree is part of some kind of mass sacrifice related to the supernatural side of the mountain?

On a different note, we’re five episodes in and the awfully executed green screen settings for key scenes is still, well, awful. Hyun-jo’s interaction with lottery ticket girl and the reveal of his parallel search lost its edge because of this. Speaking of lottery ticket girl, who has popped up for the third time, perhaps that subplot will become important after all.

Once again we ended both timelines on big cliff-hangers. Hopefully, now that Yi-gang has included Da-won in her plans and seen Hyun-jo’s spirit, we’ll gain more traction in 2020, which lags in terms of pacing when compared to its counterpart.

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