Stranger Season 2 (Secret Forest 2) Episode 3 Recap & Review

Police Bribery

Stranger 2 returns this week for episode 3 as the situation between the police and prosecution continues to take centre stage. With less action than the first season and much more of a Western vibe to this follow-up, Stranger 2 is becoming much more of a procedural than an outright thriller.

The episode begins with Si-Mok taking his pace in the restaurant where he’s introduced to Assistant Chief Kim Sa-Hyun. Tae-Ha gives him glowing praise before the food is brought out for them. Only, Si-Mok isn’t interested in eating and sits with his usual stone-faced stare while they toast.

Of course, Si-Mok doesn’t drink either but remains silent in the face of Sa-Hyun’s questions. Despite being grilled completely, Si-Mok eventually does take a bite but it’s obviously pretty awkward.

Yeo-Jin arrives at the station with food for everyone, especially a grateful Sergeant Jang. After dumping the food on the table, she takes him aside and mentions the Police-Prosecution council. Yeo-Jin wants him to join as a representative.

However, they’re all interrupted by a report coming in relating to the current rental scam case the officers are dealing with.¬†As they all rush outside, Yeo-Jin instinctively joins them but stops at the last second.

Calling out to Detective Jang, she tells him to call before walking away from the place she spent so many years.

On the road, the detectives discuss Yeo-Jin and her new position They remind Jang that she may well be lonely and encourages him to take her with them when they leave.

Meanwhile, Sa-Hyun and Tae-Ah speak privately outside surrounding Si-Mok’s mannerisms. As they do, Si-Mok walks away and heads home. Shocked, Sa-Hyun incredulously asks why he’s leaving before the seniors. Obviously he’s emotionless and simply says goodbye and leaves.

Getting on the case, Si-Mok starts going through the case reports regarding police officers being killed. In particular one specific fateful night from 2017.

The nighttime patrol team of 7 officers were all corrupt. 2 of them have been convicted of accepting bribes, 2 resigned and one transferred. Only one stayed in his position. The other? Found dead in the shower block. That officer happened to be the newly assigned Sergeant Song. Something is clearly afoul here.

We then cut back to where the previous episode left off, as Dong-Jae hands over the files and goes into detail surrounding the case. There’s a possibility that the other officers all ganged up on the Sergeant and conspired to murder him.

Eventually Tae-Ah agrees to let Dong-Jae take this case on but tasks Si-Mok to keep an eye on him. When Dong-Jae leaves, Tae-Ah tells Si-Mok to feed back every day exactly what’s happening with the case.

We then return to the police station as Baek Jung-Gi receives a mysterious call. After thinking it over, he grabs his things and decides to head out early on patrol. Only, he doesn’t actually go and heads upstairs.

As he closes the door, the scene skips back in time as the officers find Sergeant Song tied up against the shower. As time skips forward again, we see that the date of enclosure for Song’s body was September 10th 6.30am.

Back in the present, Dong-Jae and Si-Mok discuss the case. There were clear bruises on him but the team’s bribery issues only surfaced in December so it’s probably not that.

The real kicker comes from the transfer which was sudden and pretty uncharacteristic for the police. However, Dong-Jae has the answer to this in a report. A report which Chief Woo obviously hasn’t bothered to read. He proposes that the transfer itself triggered Song’s depressive state.

Serving as the Chief’s driver, he was beaten down and subsequently transferred to avoid any corruption scandals or injustice leaking out. That’s when the murder took place to cover everything up.

That covering up extends to a report from a business owner corroborating the bribery story. The officer committing suicide several months before actually wasn’t him, it was one of his colleagues. This backs up the claim that it wasn’t suicide after all and may well have been murder.

Meanwhile, Won-Cheol speaks to Joo-Sun regarding the current situation. Joo-Sun turns his attention to the paper and the ugly story regarding the prosecution conspiring to glorify a murderer. That story of course, relates to Chang-Joon.

They’re both put in a difficult position and try to work out the best way of dealing with this precarious situation without helping Yeon-Jae or Sung-Jae.

Not long after, he meets Yeon-Jae and confirms that the article will be refuted. He’ll deny the claims of course but in doing so be burying his own grave. His own legitimacy would be on the line so if the late Chief is ruined, Won-Cheol would essentially go down for this too.

On the back of this, Yeon-Jae promotes him to become her internal advisor for the company.

Back on the case, Si-Mok heads to the police station and heads into the men’s shower room. Re-enacting the scene that took place, he takes his tie off and curls it around his neck. As he pulls down, a freezw frame snapshot of what happened in the past comes forward. Water droplets hang in the air as the scene involving the hand scratches grabs Si-Mok’s attention.

As Si-Mok hurries out, Jung-Gi speaks to his contact again but heads back downstairs. While he does, the Police Meeting gets underway. There, the officers propose autonomous police. Only, in doing this it would change them from state to local officers and allow them to investigate in the field.

Something is definitely going on with Jung-Gi though as we cut to him speaking to Dong-Jae in the police station. He claims to be the only one on the team unaware of Song’s problems but Dong-Jae is not so sure. However, a heated confrontation between the two brings the meeting to an abrupt close.

As one meeting ends, another begins. Both the Prosecution and the Police both start prepping ready for the upcoming meeting. As both sides walk purposefully, the episode ends.


The Episode Review

While the series is still quite slow paced, the editing in this episode is really good. The posters reversing through time and the hanging water droplets are two such examples but this is easily one of the highlights so far.

The editing itself is a little hit or miss though and at times it can definitely be difficult to discern whether we’re in the present or past. It’s not a deal breaker but specific moments – like the scene at the restaurant only early – can easily catch you off-guard.

Unlike last season though, there’s barely any action here. Instead, this feels very much like the latter half of Stranger as the politics come into full view.

The police brutality stuff is good and definitely topical but the series definitely feels like it’slacking some dramatic tension. Also, what’s going on with the case down by the beach? Is that being sidelined for now? I guess we’ll have to wait and see but for now, Stranger 2 bows out with another pretty good episode.

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  • Episode Rating
3.5

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