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Stranger 2: Episodes 13-14 Review

It’s not finale week, but why does it already feel like it is? WE HAVE ONE MORE WEEK. A week we badly, desperately need after everything this week has dealt us—the biggest of which has been answers, so many answers. And of course therefore, even bigger questions. This show has never felt like it was spinning its wheels, but last week was definitely a bit quieter as it gathered up its skirts to leap into the final act.

Now with its pockets bursting with plot-threads that need tying up, we’re hurtling deeper into corruption, conspiracy, and some truly heartaching moments of camaraderie.

 

Saya: He’s alive 😭😭😭😭

Anisa: URI DONG-JAAAAAE 😭

Yunah: OUR BELOVED WEASEL IS ALIVE!!!! My heart hasn’t known that level of anxiety in a loooong time. Thanks for that, Episode 14!

Lee: ARRRGHHH, live-watching is killing me. This episode was a cracker. And yes our weasel returns to us unconscious but alive.

Anisa: I wanted to believe he was still alive, but I also felt like it was time for someone in the primary cast to die à la Eun-soo. I didn’t trust this show to go easy on us, because it never does.

Yunah: Exactly. Eun-soo’s death was fresh on our minds. Shi-mok mentioned her in Episode 13 DURING LUNCH in which he actually ATE, CHEWED, AND SWALLOWED food in peace, with his partner in crime, no less :)! Also, I’m sorry, but if some punk threw Dong-jae’s body over a mountain, I wouldn’t hold my breath 😭

Saya: Watching him eat so heartily might have been the episode’s most emotionally overflowing moment for me 😂

Lee: I had wondered if Dong-jae’s hoobae reminded Shi-mok of Eun-soo and it turns out she did. I don’t know how he does it with that ostensibly blank face but I could see him worrying about her investigating the case herself. Did you bring this to your senior? Does he know what you’re doing?

Anisa: Anyone who thinks Shi-mok can’t feel should not investigate anything for a living. Touchingly, he finally revealed what we’ve wondered about since last season: whether he felt guilty about Eun-soo’s death. It’s clearly been weighing on him since then. And I love how Yeo-jin was totally unsurprised by this show of emotion, and simply sat there and felt it with him. That and Shi-mok EXPLODING IN ANGER at the murderer. I cheered.

Saya: You know what was great about the latest episode is that BOTH of them crack and lose their cool. Has Yeo-jin ever raised her voice? And Shi-mok! All his feelings all erupting out of him!

Lee: We’ve seen Shi-mok’s rising agitation through the last two episodes and it finally boiled over—in a Shi-mok way of course.

Yunah: God, I love seeing them lose their cool, especially since everyone else’s reactions have been so tepid…for reasons we now know!

I always felt that Chief Woo and Kim Sa-hyun seemed way too at ease for people who’ve just lost one of their own. Now I know that a missing/even dead Dong-jae was preferable to them, a sacrificial lamb to hold onto their authority and pin something on the police. So. Shady! Chief Kang’s reaction made the most sense, and it was telling—he was the only one that seemed relieved and concerned!

Anisa: Yes and Sa-hyun (and Chief Woo?) had no compunction planting evidence that would derail the investigation and delay Dong-jae’s rescue, because they’re better off if he’s dead. It hurt my heart that the catalyst for Dongjae’s kidnapping was ironically his turning over a new leaf and actually being a conscientious prosecutor of school bullying cases.

Yunah: So unfortunate. So cold.

Lee: If Kim Sa-hyun really did fake that evidence—and it looks like he did—then he is guilty of serious obstruction of justice. And just as I was starting to not hate him.

Saya: Now that I think about it, in terms of genre-savvy, it makes sense that we were deliberately lulled into a (most likely) false sense of security about Kim Sa-hyun, whom first we hated and then we loved and now we suspect.

Anisa: As we noted last week, as charming as Sa-hyun can be, he also has no problem using his institutional power to maintain status. But the clues were all there. I remember being struck in Episode 1 by the camera’s focus on Hu-jeong’s fingers clenching the blanket around him as he cried over his dead friends, wondering how it would be significant later. And as Yeo-jin said (and Choi Bit refused to own up to), the expensive sneakers should have been a clue.

Saya: I did not think the Tongyeong case was going to make a reappearance—done and dusted right? The lead-in to the real plot. But look how it all came back around. So I’m absolutely not ready to let anyone off the hook, even yet. We’ve got one culprit, but this is just the start.

Yunah: Bless you, Lee Soo-yeon writer-nim! Anisa, I love that the clues were all there, and it wasn’t just a case of, “Aha! Here’s a new wrench!”

Lee: I did think it was weird that there was only one set of shoes on the beach and that they were sparkly and clean. But I guess the audience is like Shi-mok—trying to work out what’s important and what isn’t important. And yes, bless our brilliant writer-nim. She is a genius at putting us in our protagonist’s head space. And at letting us speculate and get egg all over our faces.

Yunah: I stopped speculating after Forest of Secrets 1. I prefer to eat my eggs. Over easy 🙂 or scrambled, please.

Lee: Very smart of you. I’ll have mine poached.

Anisa: The show is so smart that you always second-guess yourself! Am I noticing this because it’s important, or is it a deliberate red herring?

Saya: I always noticed those moments, too! But as time passed, I forgot about them. It’s the first rule of the best thrillers: no detail is meaningless (even if it’s a misdirect).

Yunah: This season in particular seemed to have a TON of red herrings, but I get the feeling that there’s going to be some bigger thing that’s going to somehow connect all the cases together.

Anisa: I have this same feeling.