I’m getting round to being comfortable with our exorcist-detective, once the back stories start to make their entrance. Suddenly, Cheo-yong, the demon he is pursuing and even Sun-woo and the police station high school ghost (Na-young) all make sense. In other words, they are (very) connected.
[Spoiler alert…don’t read beyond this point if you wanna watch the show in future!]
Even though the cases per week are still episodic in nature and have zero connection with each other, the show uses them to push the main stories of Cheo-yong + Sun-woo + Na-young. In addition, we get juicy flashbacks in between the cases revealing the connectedness of the three, and how all of them are tied to the shadowy demon which Cheo-yong is (still) pursuing.
Case 1 & 2 (ep1-3): Organ Trafficking, Abusive ex-husband
Spanning across the bumper opening of 2 eps, the organ trafficking case has the sole purpose of bringing Cheo-yong the patrolcop back to where he belongs — the violent crime unit. Also, ep1/2 immediately suggest to us that besides being her sunbae in police school, Cheo-yong and Sun-woo have met elsewhere before. Na-young also has a flashback (which in ep2 felt as disconcerting to Na-young and us), to the moment before she died. Ep3 feels like a filler episode — although the case is interesting; about an abused wife who goes to great lengths to escape from her ex-hubby and hides her identity using that of another dead woman.
Case 3 (ep4): Dead friends
Ep3 does a nice job of using the case-of-the-episode to lead in to Na-young and Sun-woo’s relationship. The story is set in a competitive and highly regarded (read: expensive) all-girls’ high school, where the principal sexually abuses girls who are enrolled on “charity” basis, before getting them expelled on “misdemeanours” in order that a paying student can replace her. The fright-meter is low on this case, since the focus is on the friendship the teenage girls have, which in turn lets the show sheds light on Sun-woo/ Na-young’s relationship.
Turns out the two were very good friends. Sun-woo has a polariod selfie taken with Na-young during her high school days before she entered the police academy. Said polariod is eventually discovered by Cheo-yong accidentally — who is the only person in the show that can interact with both of them.
Case 4 (ep5): Forieign workers
First 10-15mins of this episode cements for us the connection between Sun-woo/ Na-young and Cheo-yong. We already know Sun-woo and Na-young were best pals. We now also know why Na-young can possess Sun-woo’s body that easily through a ring she owns. I’d thought Sun-woo was thinking of Cheo-yong’s dead buddy when she was gazing at the ring in ep1…but no. That ring is a symbol of the sisterly bond she shared with Na-young before the latter is brutally murdered. Na-young too, has a copy of the same ring (though as a ghost, she has no memories of it).
Na-young’s death (which we only see in a 30sec flashback in ep1) is revealed also in ep5. Sun-woo and Na-young witnessed the demonic serial killer murdered their form teacher, and in order to let Sun-woo escape, Na-young (she was the braver of the two girls) chose to sacrifice herself and lure the demon/murderer away. Cheo-yong was also pursuing the demon, but he missed seeing Na-young (with Mr Demon on her heels) by a hairs’ breadth. However, he did spot Sun-woo huddling in a corner (and that resolves the nagging suspicion that Sun-woo and Cheo-yong go way beyond sunbae/hoobae relationship). Na-young was eventually murdered by the demon and her soul is trapped in the police station.
Case 4 is the first since the start of this series that reveal Cheo-yong’s exorcist background. He comes from a family of demon-hunters, as evidenced by an exorcist dagger which he had to use in this episode — since the killer in this case IS a vengeful ghost.
My take of this show thus far…
There’s not much episodes left now, given that we are at the halfway mark. OCN’s thrillers usually last 10-11eps — short and sweet. But I must say, the pacing for Cheo-yong is one of the slowest of OCN’s detective/supernatural thrillers so far. There’s a lot of beating about the bush on the identities of Cheo-yong, his arch nemesis (whom until now, we don’t know who it/he is) and also the two girls. Not that the cases are uninteresting — they are engaging in their own ways. In many ways, Cheo-yong resembles God’s Quiz. Instead of presenting to us the connection between the characters, the show chooses to meander and focus on the case-of-the-day. But, unlike God’s Quiz, the backstories and connections between the characters are crucial for Cheo-yong. God’s Quiz is a medical drama and its strength lies in its weird forensic case per episode — it is fun to watch, until it tries to do a backstory of the characters in its sequels.
So now that we only have like 5 more episodes (or 4, if we discount this week’s) of Cheo-yong to go, the show has to suddenly buck up on its pacing and the characters have to realise they are related. All this before the team can start on hunting the demon cum serial killer proper. What a lot to do.