The man with the black gloves approaches Ranger Lee. He has a bottle of yogurt in a zip lock. He’s wearing a ranger’s jacket. Ranger Lee Da Won smiles at the ranger and says he scared her.
Seo Yi Gang (Gianna Jun) worries and calls but Ranger Lee doesn’t answer. Ranger Jung Goo Young comes off the mountain and asks what Yi Gang is doing. She admits Ranger Lee was doing her a favor and now she’s worried about Ranger Lee who doesn’t answer her calls. She knows that something is wrong.
The rangers search with Ranger Jung and Yi Gang coordinating the search from the Jiri Mountain National Park Ranger Station. Police officer Kim arrives with the news that Ranger Lee hasn’t used her credit cards since the previous day and the mountain security camera yielded nothing. Rangers report the sections they’ve searched have yielded nothing. Yi Gang suggests another search area. Ranger Jung recognizes this might be the signal that both Hyun Jo and Yi Gang believed in. Yi Gang confirms it. Ranger Jung isn’t happy that Yi Gang put Ranger Lee in danger to find the signal. Yi Gang snaps that the signal saved lives when Hyun Jo used it. Yi Gang pleads with Ranger Jung to search the specified area.
The rangers find the rocks and marker. They send pictures to the ranger station. Ranger Jung suggests a follow-on rocky search location. Ranger Jung sends the rangers that way. They find blood on the rocks. They find Ranger Lee phone covered in blood. Ranger Lee alters all the rangers searching. Two rangers bring the cell phone to Police officer Kim before heading back to search. The sun sets and the search continues by flashlight. Police officer Kim brings Ranger Lee’s cells phone and they listen to a voice recording.
Flashback…Ranger Lee declares to the man he scared her. Branch Chief Jo asks why Ranger Lee is hiking on her day off. Ranger Lee claims she’s continuing to learn the mountain trails. Branch Chief Jo says they should return together and he’ll show her a shortcut. She refuses stating she can manage. Branch Chief Jo puts the bottle of yogurt in a zip lock behind his back. He warns it is easy to get lost. Ranger Lee is firm she’s good on her own. Branch Chief Jo watches her head away.
Ranger Lee wants to call Branch Chief Jo. Yi Gang wonders why Ranger Lee recorded the conversation.
Flashback…While on the ground as the unknown man approaches her, Ranger Lee turns on her phone’s recorder.
Ranger Jung asks if Yi Gang is accusing Branch Chief Jo. Yi Gang points out Branch Chief Jo should have been at the base camp yesterday per the work log. Branch Chief Jo enters the room and asks what is going on.
Odd that Branch Chief Jo wouldn’t be made aware of a missing ranger in his unit.
The rangers find Ranger Lee where Ranger Jung suggested they look. They report her head is bloody and she shows no signs of life. Yi Gang can’t believe it. Ranger Jung and Branch Chief Jo sigh. We see Ranger Lee is holding a pair of gloves in her hands (black gloves).
That’s a bummer. The perky Ranger Lee was an effective partner for Yi Gang.
The rangers put Ranger Lee’s body in the ambulance. Her bloody hand dangles outside the sheet. Yi Gang tears up. Ranger Jung and Branch Chief Jo watch the police bring Ranger Lee’s backpack. Police officer Kim assumes Ranger Lee fell to her death. He wants to talk to Branch Chief Jo. Ranger Jung protests now isn’t the time. Police officer Kim shows the black gloves found in Ranger Lee’s hand with Branch Chief Jo’s initials. Yi Gang is quick to accuse Branch Chief Jo of this death and the others. She yells at him demanding to know why. Branch Chief Jo is silent. Ranger Jung retorts Yi Gang sent Ranger Lee to the mountain. Branch Chief Jo sighs and goes with Police officer Kim.
Ghost Kang Hyun Jo (Ju Ji Hoon) opens his eyes and hears Yi Gang crying.
Flashback…a man with black gloves pushes Ranger Lee.
Hyun Jo goes to the rocks and marker. A hiker sees him and begs for his life.
Flashback…a man with black gloves adjusts the rocks and markers.
Back at the ranger station, Ranger Jung wants answers. Why did Yi Gang and Hyun Jo go to that spot on the fateful snowy day? Why does Yi Gang suspect Branch Chief Jo? Why did Yi Gang return to the mountain after her absence? He states her return changed everything into a mess. He wishes she hadn’t returned. He leaves.
Tears fill Yi Gang’s eyes. She looks at Ranger Lee’s desk. She remembers warm moments with Ranger Lee.
The freaked-out hiker arrives and tells Yi Gang the ghost told him it wasn’t “him” this time. That gets Yi Gang’s attention.
Flashback…Ghost Hyun Jo confirms the hiker can see and hear him. The hiker declares everyone that has seen him has died. He begs for his life. Ghost Hyun Jo tells the hiker to find Yi Gang at the ranger station and tell her he didn’t leave a mark this time.
The hiker confirms what the ghost told him when Yi Gang asks. He declares his job is done. He flees before Yi Gang can question him further. Yi Gang calls the ranger that found Ranger Lee and asks if he found the sensor camera. He states there wasn’t one. Yi Gang asks if Ranger Lee’s notebook was in her backpack. The ranger informs her the backpack was given to the police without being searched. Yi Gang calls Police officer Kim about the notebook. He confirms the notebook wasn’t recovered.
Flashback…a man with black gloves thumbs through Ranger Lee’s notebook. He looks at the footage from the sensor camera that shows ghost Hyun Jo.
Yi Gang wonders if Hyun Jo didn’t mess with the marker, who did?
Flashback… a man with black gloves pushes Ranger Lee. Where she lies, he pulls the notebook and takes her phone. He deliberately dripping blood he plants on the phone on the rocks. He watches the rangers find the phone.
Yi Gang decides she must go to the mountain to see Hyun Jo, the one person she trusted, who cherished the mountain too. But the dirt, tree rutted trails can’t accommodate her wheelchair. She ends of crawling hoping he’ll find her and share his knowledge with her.
Hyun Jo piggybacks an injured hiker while Yi Gang handles the backpacks. When they get to the bottom, suddenly the hiker feels better. Yi Gang accuses him of using the rangers as a personal taxi. The man gets snippy and leaves when he gets a phone call. Yi Gang massages Hyun Jo’s aching calves. They get a call to help an injured hiker. Hyun Jo holds her hand when she helps him up. He smiles then heads back up the mountain.
Ranger Jung holds Ranger Lee Yang Sun’s hand as they hike the mountain. After a break, they smile and continue. At the peak they enjoy the vistas. Yang Sun admits only working at the ranger station and never on the mountain bothered her. Ranger Jung declares she’s a ranger just like everyone else. Smiles all around. Yang Sun wants Ranger Jung to meet her mother when she comes for the annual mountain ritual festival. He’s thrilled. She’s pleased too.
Team Lead Ranger Park Yim Cheol Gyeong sighs in town.
Yi Gang and Hyun Jo note the mountain ritual festival will be a large influx of people. Yi Gang states her grandmother told her the evil spirit comes before the mountain spirit. She wonders if her grandmother was right.
Branch Chief Jo smiles when former Chief Kim acts as a field trip tour guide for bored high schoolers. He doesn’t take their guff. Afterwards Branch Chief Jo admits he’s thinking about quitting. There are too many dead people on the mountain. Former Chief Kim notes Branch Chief Jo isn’t easily replaced and people count on him to save lives. Former Chief Kim claims he’ll leave if Branch Chief Jo keeps whining. Branch Chief Jo shows a business card for a cable car planner for the mountain. Neither man likes the idea. Former Chief Kim states the mountain spirit won’t be happy either.
At the festival, a petition for signature is pushed by the cable car planner. Former Chief Kim arrives and asks why the planner keeps trying to get the cable car approved. Former Chief Kim counters it will alter the ecosystem on the mountain. The planner cites tourism will help the town. Former Chief Kim reminds the planner that he won’t allow his town destroyed like another was.
Yi Gang’s grandmother overhears some villagers happy about the cable car project. She doesn’t agree.
A hiker gets injured and has no cell signal. A high schooler walks by and isn’t impressed by the woman’s pleas to help her. He’s got better things to do. Begrudgingly he claims he will inform the rangers after he’s done doing what he wants to do. The hiker can’t believe his lack of empathy.
Back at the festival, everyone enjoys the music and dancing. There’s a scary moment when a mountain spirit flag the dancers use snaps and breaks. No one is injured. Yi Gang’s grandmother worries.
A man with black gloves finds a dropped handkerchief while walking the mountain.
Yi Gang complains to Ranger Jung that he takes off on the busiest days. Ranger Jung says something came up. They watch Team Lead Ranger Park exit a grocery. He grumbles as he walks past. Yi Gang tells him to quit if he doesn’t like his job. Hyun Jo suggests that everyone has reasons when they are grumpy.
Yi Gang’s grandmother tells Yi Gang that the mountain spirit flag snapped during the festival. Now evil will come. Yi Gang’s grandmother tells her not to go north on certain numerical days when the evil spirit prefers to visit the mountain.
Hyun Jo gets a link to a livestream. He watches a youtuber (the high schooler that wouldn’t help the injured hiker) tell his audience he’s going to visit another haunted place in Korea. Tonight, it will be the place where the village disappeared 30 years ago on Jirisan mountain. At the village the youtuber explains the village people disappeared 30 years ago. He promises to explore and explain. At the village sight, the youtuber sees the old homes. He says the villagers were either forced to leave by the park service to restore the ecosystem or they left for a better life. The youtuber says 3 villagers died before village was deserted. A branch snaps. The youtuber asks the audience if they heard that too. He turns. A blue light comes at him. He turns and runs. He trips and falls.
It can’t be Branch Chief Jo. Writer Kim Eun Hee pointed the finger at Branch Chief Jo – video recording, black gloves, a bottle of yogurt. However, the gloves with his initials appears to be planted by the mountain murderer. I was bummed when Ranger Lee was murdered. She was Yi Gang’s mobility, eager partner, and fun to watch. We are forced to look at the rangers for the mountain murderer making Ranger Jung and Team Lead Ranger Park suspects. Team Lead Ranger Park was moody this episode while Ranger Jung was direct with Yi Gang about putting Ranger Lee in harm’s way.
Seo Yi Gang (Gianna Jun) lost her partner. Yi Gang knew something was wrong with Ranger Lee and she was correct. She tried to go up the trail to communicate with Hyun Jo’s ghost to get his help. But her wheelchair wasn’t able to traverse the trail. Yi Gang was quick to accuse Branch Chief Jo of being the mountain murderer. Granted she was distraught about Ranger Lee’s death, but she also had suspicions from previous episodes – Branch Chief Jo’s being off duty when the mountain murderer struck and the yellow ribbons in his desk drawer. Yi Gang has to find a way to go on alone. The freaked-out hiker gave her a message from ghost Hyun Jo that he wasn’t the one to alter the marker.
Kang Hyun Jo (Ju Ji Hoon) spoke to the freaked-out hiker. In ghost form, Hyun Jo asked the hiker to relay to Yi Gang that he didn’t mess with the marker. Did he ever have a vision Ranger Lee’s murder?
The fifth song of the OST is “In Color” sung by Lee Sora.
I rank this episode as very good, 8 on a 10-point scale.