Stranger 2 (Secret Forest 2) – Episode 2 Recap & Review

The Prosecution VS The Police

If you thought episode 1 of Stranger 2 was slow…welcome to the sluggish episode 2. With a much slower pace this time around and lots of office discussions, the conflict between the police and prosecution takes centre stage.

Much like that late season political drama last season, Stranger 2 seems to be leaning much more heavily toward that than the exciting action of old. It also doesn’t help that Yeo-Jin and Si-Mok have had little screen time together – until late on this episode that is.

The episode begins with Si-Mok continuing to ponder the photos from the beach. This brings him back to the scene where an old lady lives nearby and could be a possible witness. With loose ends and clues hanging over this case, Si-Mok phones Si-Yeong but is given the run-around as he’s unable to get through to him.

The identity of the leak is revealed as Director Kim at the Police Department. The Chief does not take it well and Yeo-jin knows all too well about how that feels. After updating Yeo-Jin on the situation – including an internal affairs conducting the investigation themselves – she phones Assistant Chief Woo. He’s not happy either and believes she’s taking the case away from them.

With the case closed, Chief Choi continues to stir up trouble by visiting the boys’ grieving Father and blaming the prosecution for what happened. If that’s not bad enough, she confronts the media and throws petrol on an already volatile fire. She calls out the prosecution and publicly blames them for mishandling the case.

Out on the road, Si-Mok is told to kill some time rather than returning. As he picks himself up some food, he receives a message through with the licence of Tae-Ha. He requests they meet at the Supreme Prosecution Office.

There, he greets the Chief who admits that things between them and the police is strenuous – to say the least. With a turf war imminent, Si-Mok’s given a surprise promotion.

Understandably suspicious, Si-Mok heads back to his apartment and starts looking up Tae-Ha on the internet for more information over who he is.

In the morning, he greets Won-Cheol and learns that he was the one who’s against his promotion. Instead of just being an advisor, Si-Mok is now actually going to be a key member of the Criminal Legislation Division. This puts him in the firing line to being a key player in this prosecution VS police feud.

Won-Cheul admits that he’s a sharp blade and should be used when times are tough. Attention quickly turns to the beach incident, where Won-Cheul shows just how sloppy he’s become. Instead of questioning everything, he’s brushed this case aside and classed it as a simple drowning.

Given who the couple are and their ties to the powers that be, Si-Mok worries that similar incidents could occur in the future. However, the past comes back to bite Si-Mok. The right hand has well and truly grown back and it’s turned into a fist.

That fist is aimed straight for Si-Mok’s face. With information about Chang-Joon leaked, the true story has been distorted to make it seem like Si-Mok has colluded with Chang-Joon just before his death.

As we cut across to Hanjoo, Yeon-Jae takes the reigns of her Father-In-Law’s company and recruits the former judge, Joo-Sun, to their cause. Given they need someone strong enough to take on the prosecution, this seems like a winning member to convince.

Despite her cool facade, when Yeon-Jae sees the news articles about her husband she kicks off. She does compose herself long enough to ask for the Chief Prosecution to phone though. As we know from the past, she read the letter addressed to her about Chang-Joon attempting to extract the poison from Hanjoo so these rumours are not helping the company move forward.

Dong-Jae returns and greets a less-than-enthused Tae-Ha in his office. He presents the name of Gwang-Su who happens to be a man convicted of a DUI. Only, he wasn’t actually drinking alcohol as he didn’t have the tolerance for it. He died from a heart attack.

When his wife filed a complaint, Chief Choi dismissed it and refused to take her statement. He questioned the officers at the station and learned she was behind this. So why did a police officer cover up the death of a former chief prosecutor? Something doesn’t add up here.

Dong-Jae initially rubs Tae-Ha up the wrong way by recommending they use this as a card in their hand to use against her. As we know, Dong-Jae will always try and be on the winning side and now it looks like he’s weaving his magic with Tae-Ha. He promises to hold the cards himself and takes full responsibility of the case. He wants to bring up dirt to use against the police.

While the war between the Police and Prosecution brews, Dong-Jae receives a call from Tae-Ha. After a moment’s pause, he thumps the air with glee which seems to hint that he’s going to take him up on the offer and go after Chief Choi.

That evening, Yeo-Jin and Si-Mok meet just like old times. Only, their old hang-out spot is gone and instead they’re forced into a noisy restaurant. As they talk, Yeo-Jin learns that Si-Mok is part of the police-prosecution council.

It also seems like the beach case is going to stay closed for the time being. Unfortunately their reunion is short-lived as Si-Mok is pulled away by the Chief phoning. This leaves Yeo-Jin alone with all the food. She not phased though, and immediately asks for rice.

As the episode closes out, Tae-Ha invites Si-Mok in to join him…where Dong-Hae also happens to be. He sits next to the Chief and tells him they’ll be taking care of the case from now on.

The Episode Review

With the Prosecution and police feud taking up a good chunk of this episode, there’s a distinct lack of action or investigative work. The beach case has been sidelined for now in favour of the brewing conflict between the two sides.

While this is interesting in itself, there’s so much screen-time given to Choi and Tae-Ha, when really this should be used to reconcile the strong point of this season. Yeo-Jin and Si-Mok have always been the focal point of this season and the ones whom much of the drama has revolved around.

Seeing them together in fleeting segments really hammers home how lacking their presence has been so far this year. There’s plenty of time for that to change though and the preview for the next episode at least seems to hint there will be more action moving forward.

Unfortunately the lack of urgency to this case makes it pale in comparison to season 1. Given I binged through all 16 in the space of 3 days (thanks in part to a steady supply of coffee!), these episodes just don’t have that same intensity that those ones did.

Hopefully this changes going forward and it’s definitely great to see our familiar faces back. There’s lots of story to come though and plenty of time for this to pick up steam!

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4 thoughts on “Stranger 2 (Secret Forest 2) – Episode 2 Recap & Review”

  1. Hi Greg, thank you for the reply. I’m glad making some interaction after reading your blog more than a year. Looking forward for next weekend for another date with S2 Stranger and your writing 🙂

  2. Hey AQiu, thank you so much for reading! It really means a lot that people look forward to these reviews! We do intend to go back and re-watch all the classics again and WWW is definitely on that list.

    Yeah I found the whole Police VS Prosecution angle a little forced and the new characters get way too much screen-time. Compared to that exciting chase at the start of the first season, this one is pretty slow. Hopefully things do pick up in the future though as the dynamic between the characters is great. I’m really hoping Yeo-Jin gives Si-Mok more of those drawings too! That was such a great element to the first season.

    Thank you again for reading the reviews!

    -Greg W

  3. Oh yeah, I think the only thing that spice up this episode 2 is the return of Dong Jae. After two years, seeing his old antics again really make my day.

  4. Stranger first season is great and still my most favorite Korean drama series til date. I’m agree with you this second episode of season 2 is quite dull. Plus, I have to pause and reply few times to re-read the subtitles to understand what’s actually going on 😅

    Btw I’m glad you finally watch and wrote about this show. I remember I came visiting here a while ago to read your insight about Stranger season 1 and can’t find any (i do visit this site regularly though when watching hotel del luna, arthdal chronicles and Vagabond).

    The other time I came here to read your review (and didn’t find it) was when I’m watching drama titled ‘search www’ featuring the actress who playing the role of Yeo Jin female boss in Stranger season 2. The show about women working with search engine company is just amazing, nothing like anything I watch before. I was very impressed and excited to learn more about it unfortunately its not popular resulting to less quality discussion and reviews over the web.

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