Jirisan – K-Drama Episode 8 Recap & Review

The Wildfire Rages

Episode 8 of Jirisan starts with Yi-gang figuring out that the remains she landed next to are Se-wook’s. Focus then shifts to the rangers, firefighters, and police who are racing to control the pine tree habitat wildfire, which is now only 1km away from Jingye Village. The rangers form the first line of defence, digging fire lines to try and halt the flames.

In the warehouse, Hyun-jo searches for an exit with no luck. He wraps the wildfire closure banner, which is fire resistant, around Chae-kyung’s three children. One points out a hole in the wall and Hyun-jo helps them escape through it. As they run away, a burning tree falls into their path and they drop the banner, creating the exact scene from Hyun-jo’s vision.

A villager dumping her trash sees the warehouse aflame and the firefighter teams are alerted. As they extinguish the blaze, the illegal herb collectors, including Chae-kyung, arrive escorted by the rangers from Bidam Shelter. The firefighters find Hyun-jo struggling to breathe through the heavy smoke outside the warehouse. He tells them that the children went up the mountain.

The wind, and the fire along with it, changes direction towards Haedong Village. Il-hae and Gu-yeong get to the warehouse as Chae-kyung begs the firefighters to find her children, certain that they will be in their usual spot in a cave on the mountain. The firefighters lack the equipment to go up the mountain so Dae-jin and the rangers step in.

Hyun-jo wants to join them, but Gu-yeong won’t let him due to his injury. When Gu-yeong asks about Yi-gang, it quickly becomes apparent that no one has heard from her since she went into the pine tree habitat.

The Haedong and Bidam ranger teams merge to find the children while the other ranger teams dig fire lines on the new front. They are 200m away from the cave when Yi-gang’s voice finally crackles through the radio. She has heard them radioing about the missing children and, being only ten minutes away from the cave, goes to find them. She locates them as a huge burst of flame spews through the cave’s entrance.

By the time the Haedong–Bidam team reaches the cave, it’s deserted. Dae-jin is determined to go further into the mountain but Il-hae holds him back, reminding him of the danger until he relents and gives the order to end the search.

Just as the team begins to return, a drone Hyun-jo has been flying to scour the mountain crashes in front of a nearby fire equipment cabinet. Its door, which had been closed when the drone last passed it, is open. He radios Dae-jin with the news.

In a series of short flashbacks, Yi-gang leads the children out of the cave to the cabinet. She breaks open the door and retrieves a fire blanket big enough to shield herself and the children as flames engulf them.

Time passes and day breaks, allowing helicopters to help quench the flames. The Haedong–Bidam team arrives back at the warehouse carrying the three children and a barely conscious Yi-gang. She tells Hyun-jo about Se-wook’s remains before being taken away in an ambulance.

Yi-gang wakes up in hospital with Hyun-jo beside her. According to him, Se-wook’s body was identified using his dental records, and the police concluded he died after falling from a cliff.

Hyun-jo has also made his own discoveries while Yi-gang recovered. There have been 25 deaths on the mountain since his junior, Hyun-su, died. Of those, the 20 he did not foresee were simple accidents. After looking into the five he did foresee, he found enough evidence to suggest that they were likely murders disguised as accidents.

Hyun-su theorizes that Se-wook had an accomplice since he foresaw the warehouse fire and experienced being deliberately locked in. When he told the police as much, they could find no evidence that the warehouse had been locked or that the fire was intentionally lit. Hyun-jo also knows that his room and desk were searched, and he believes that the accomplice is targeting him because he confronted Se-wook.

Hyun-jo plans to use this to their advantage since he will receive a vision before the accomplice tries to harm him again, meaning that they can use it as an opportunity to catch the accomplice or at least collect evidence to take to the police. Yi-gang goes along with his plan on the condition that they stick together at all times.

In 2020, Da-won and Yi-gang continue checking the motion sensor cameras. On one such day, Da-won is on the mountain when Yi-gang is called to Haedong Police Station to assist with two illegal herb collectors who went up the mountain while it was a “spiritless day” (a day with nine or zero in the number as per the lunar calendar when spirits cannot appear).

On the mountain, Hyun-jo’s spirit is indeed paralyzed while Da-won is stalked by the gloved culprit. He has a vision of the culprit pushing Da-won and struggles against the invisible force keeping him frozen in place.

Da-won becomes aware that she’s being followed and trips while running away. She’s approached by someone wearing a ranger’s jacket and carrying a bagged yogurt drink. Da-won is relieved to see them, breaking into a bright smile.


The Episode Review

Episode 8 brings us more gripping wildfire commotion. The drone shots of the fire trucks and police cars speeding through the winding mountain roads were particularly great at creating urgency, and Haedong–Bidam team’s mountain search revealed the extent to which Dae-jin feels responsible for Yi-gang.

After so much high-stakes action the levity brought by the village meeting with the rangers was extra sentimental, making the jump to the hostile atmosphere of 2020 all the more disturbing. Add in the continued absence of Il-hae and Yang-sun from the 2020 timeline and concerns only skyrocket.

This would have been a great opportunity for the episode to make use of the momentum it built in 2019. But we were brought right into the same old filler scenes of Da-won checking cameras and Yi-gang being told the same things about Hyun-jo’s spirit.

Thankfully, we got a break from the monotony – even if the editing that got us there could have been a lot tighter – when Da-won was faced with real danger. While it did seem like the gloved culprit and the ranger were one and the same at first, their attire was similar but not identical. Now to find out if they are related in some way.

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