Episode 7 of Jirisan retraces its steps back to the beginning of Yi-gang and Da-won’s camera mission. As Da-won treks through the mountain, she is approached by Hyun-jo’s spirit. He hears Yi-gang through the radio as Da-won drops in fear and desperately tries to grab it. As he does, a bruise forms on his physical body in the hospital and blood leaks from his nose.
Da-won scrams back to Yi-gang to recount her experience. It is similar to that of the man who encountered Hyun-jo’s spirit previously and Yi-gang gets up the same picture of Hyun-jo that she showed him. Seeing it, Da-won confirms Hyun-jo’s presence on the mountain.
They visit the hospital where Hyun-jo’s physical body rests and the nurse reports multiple unstable spikes in his condition.
We flash back to the incident in the snow; Hyun-jo runs towards Yi-gang, who lies bloody and motionless in the snow. He takes her to a cave for shelter and the next time she regains consciousness she is being carried away on a stretcher while Dae-jin performs CPR on Hyun-jo.
While Hyun-jo’s body is stabilised at the hospital, his spirit wakes up on the mountain. He tries to get Il-hae’s attention but Il-hae walks right through him. Stunned, he tries to follow Il-hae back to Haedong Station but is unable to cross the rope bridge on the path there.
Before Hyun-jo can dwell on the invisible barrier, he has another vision and goes to the peak of the mountain to investigate. He tries to pick up a hiking pole abandoned there, and the effort causes his physical body to bruise and bleed until his spirit collapses. Accepting that he can no longer act on his visions, Hyun-jo starts leaving the rock formation signals for Yi-gang to find.
The flashback ends as Yi-gang and Da-won head back to the mountain to finish installing the cameras.
In the past timeline, it’s now the February of 2019 and the rangers are competing in a playful festival. Bad luck strikes the Haedong Station team when Gu-yeong must carry their youngest member through the last leg of a relay race. The youngest is Hyun-jo and he’s also the tallest. Gu-yeong musters his might but ends up dropping Hyun-jo, who sprains his ankle in the fall.
After the festival, Yi-gang and Hyun-jo share some convenience store ramen. Hyun-jo beats himself up over getting injured right before the start of fire prevention season. On top of that, he couldn’t see anything in his last vision besides the wildfire and a fallen wildfire closure banner. This leaves the pair clueless as to where the fire will break out. They don’t notice when a gloved hand grabs two packs of yogurt drinks from the shelf behind them.
Arriving back at his room afterwards, Hyun-jo notices that one of his bags has been unzipped. Meanwhile, at Haedong Station, the gloved culprit rifles through his desk.
The next day, while the rangers conduct extensive fire season preparation, a group of illegal herb collectors sit around a portable stove. Among them is the dead snake-catcher’s wife, Lee Chae-kyung, who sits on a banner like the one from Hyun-jo’s vision.
Hyun-jo, grounded due to his ankle, accompanies Yang-sun to administration. He runs into Sol as a wildfire alarm sounds for the Baektogol area. Yi-gang and Gu-yeong confirm the threat and every ranger team begins to mobilise. Sol takes Hyun-jo, whose injury keeps him behind, to monitor the situation using a drone.
At Dalgwi forest where the main front is raging, the rangers dig fire lines to prevent its spread. Fire trucks can’t make it up the mountain, so the rangers on the ground can only use indirect methods of fire suppression. Helicopters are also called in to douse the forest with water. Luckily, Dalgwi forest is comprised of mostly oak trees that aren’t prone to intense crown fires.
Their combined efforts eventually choke the fires. Sol joins the mop-up team, who will monitor the forest for at least three days to ensure no residual underground embers reignite another blaze.
The initial fire control team rests up at Bidam Shelter, where the illegal herb collectors have also been brought since they couldn’t make it off the mountain before nightfall. They empty their bags for inspection and Yi-gang notices that Chae-kyung has one of the old wildfire closure banners.
At Haedong Station, Hyun-jo delivers this season’s fire closure banners to Dae-jin. Hyun-jo is surprised to find that the writing on them is red, rather than the green from his vision. After questioning Dae-jin, he finds out that green was used for last year’s banners, some of which were repurposed by herb collectors as mats and blankets.
Hyun-jo relays this information to Yi-gang. She questions Chae-kyung, finding out that there are more banners in the warehouse where the snakes were kept. Yi-gang begins to hike there using a shortcut through the pine tree habitat. Hyun-jo also drives over, unknowingly watched by someone.
Hyun-jo arrives at the warehouse first, finding Chae-kyung’s three young children and one of the green banners. The door rolls shut behind him and is locked from the outside.
Out on the mountain, a smoldering ember starts a new wildfire in the pine tree habitat Yi-gang went into. It has already morphed into a dangerous crown fire and indirect suppression won’t be enough to control it. To make matters worse, helicopters can’t fly low enough at night and the wind is blowing towards the village.
Outside the warehouse, a gloved hand drops a lit match onto the ground and starts another fire.
Yi-gang’s situation is no better, and she runs for her life between walls of flame. She leaps to avoid an eruption of heat and rolls down a hill to come face to face with human remains.
The Episode Review
This is one of the better episodes we’ve gotten out of Jirisan so far.
The team-building festival was a lesson in endearing character interactions that give viewers a group of people to root for while also subtly supporting plot progression (this could have been you, Episode 6, this could have been you). The Haedong team diving into charades, the relay, and an amusing rendition of Kim Yeon-ja’s Amor Fati with a fierce competitive spirit was certainly entertaining and gave the cast a chance to show off their collective chemistry.
The wildfire scenes were intense and exhilarating to follow. And, given the bad CGI track record we’ve had so far, they were definitely an improvement. Now we’ve got both our leads surrounded by flames, and one has found a victim while the other has been trapped by the murder.
The only issue with this episode is that the 2020 timeline continues to move at the pace of a snail. After the excitement of Yi-gang seeing Hyun-jo through the drone feed last episode, we moved absolutely nowhere, despite even getting a longer snow flashback. The past timeline is carrying the show for now, but if we don’t start making headway soon…
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|