Following yesterday’s horror-lite episode, Strangers From Hell delivers a more tense slice of drama this time around, with some genuinely unnerving segments and a psychologically charged narrative taking shape. While the Jung-Hwa investigation still feels a little too disparate to Jong Woo’s storyline, there’s enough here to make for a much improved episode this time around.
We begin with Moon-Zo taking Jong-Woo to the dentist and stitching up his mouth, making him uneasy by asking if he’s really a dentist or a serial killer. Meanwhile Jung-Hwa continues to investigate the case, driving up to Eden Studio where Detective Cha left his car. As she starts piecing together what happened, she figures out the rain must have flowed down into the drains, prompting her to search around for clues. Eventually she finds a needle which may just be a vital clue in her investigation.
However, before she can look further into this she’s called back to the station where Jong-Woo is brought in, thanks to him beating up the kids. Moon-Zo helps to settle everything down though and as he leaves, Jung-Hwa gives Jong-Woo her card and implores him to ring her if anything comes up. As he leaves, Jung-Hwa phones up the other detectives and tells them about the syringe and CCTV footage.
Back at Eden Studio Jong-Woo begins losing his mind, seeing a dead cat in his room instead of a white shirt and huddling up in his bed while flashing back to the past. The next day at work, Jong Woo’s sanity continues to slip as he beats down Byeong-Min and breaks his keyboard.
Jung-Hwa heads back to the station and learns that the syringe had a local anesthetic usually used by dentists. Given she found this out off the books, Jung-Hwa is warned she may lose her job if she follows this through. However, it’s a crucial piece of evidence nonetheless and helps her set Eden Studio in her sights.
Out at dinner with Ji-Eun, Jong-Woo loses his temper and looks set to smash a bottle over Jae Ho’s face until Moon-Zo turns up. They share dinner together but afterward, as Moon-Zo leaves on an ominous note, he confronts Jong-Woo over his behaviour.
As Ji-Eun and Jong-Woo drive home after eating, he tells her Moon-Zo is a frightening man and looks about to cry. While they drive, Moon-Zo catches up to Jae-Ho at his office and injects him in the neck, telling him he’s not usually that impulsive. While he’s paralysed, he beats Jae-Ho down before noticing Ji-Eun phoning his number. With Jong-Woo passed out and exhausted, Ji-Eun replies back to Jae-Ho, unbeknownst to her that it’s actually Moon-Zo. However, as he leaves it turns out there’s a witness that saw everything. As the reporter scrambles downstairs and out to his car, he’s confronted by Deuk-Jong.
Back at the studio, Moon-Zo asks Kang to join him eating the strange meat which Jong Woo ate too earlier in the series. As they talk, Nam-Bok and Deuk-Jong arrive and share the same story, telling him it’s human flesh they’ve been eating. Excusing himself from the others, Kang heads up to his room but on the way, enters the fourth floor. As he tries to sneak out, Moon-Zo confronts him before throwing a tennis ball at his back. “It’s time to work”, he mutters ominously before slamming a pole into Kang’s head.
With some nicely worked horror elements and a much better pacing this time around, Strangers From Hell’s latest episode is much-improved from yesterday. Seeing Jong-Woo’s sanity slowly slip away thanks to Eden Studio, along with the tense final scene on the fourth floor are probably the highlights here and with next week’s final two episodes bowing out this drama, who knows how this one will end. While it may not be as entertaining or engrossing as the original webtoon, there’s enough here to make for an enjoyable watch nonetheless.