In this episode: The team is sent to an isolated village on an island, and must solve a murder while the unwelcoming villagers whisper of a vampire.
Episode 5 Guest Stars
(I apologize for the not-necessarily-flattering quality of these photos – I mostly work with GIFs, so it’s a little harder to screenshot good images than I thought. But the aim is really just to give names to faces here.)
(comedian and MC)
An Important Note
I’ve tried my best to summarize everything in these recaps, but sometimes there are parts of an episode or the overall story that aren’t clear to me. I’m in Korea, so I have Korean Netflix – they have English subtitles for all the dialogue, but not necessarily all of the captions and titles they put in the show. I’m sure that sometimes I miss things, and sometimes I may arrive at the wrong conclusion. But I’ll make sure to highlight the parts where I’m confused or unsure about certain details.
***WARNING!*** THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE EPISODE/SERIES AHEAD. These recaps are written summary style – I’m writing as if I’ve watched these episodes for the first time, but this is primarily aimed towards people who have seen the series before and want to refresh their memory or find answers to certain questions. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SERIES AND ARE PLANNING TO, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
It’s Jaewook‘s turn for an episode introduction, and he spends it musing on his time as a former police agent. His thoughts are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Nam Changhee, a minor criminal he arrested back in the day. Changhee asks Jaewook to look into some strange things going on in his hometown that his friend told him about. Coincidentally, K also calls right after their conversation with the same request for the team.
Note that this town isn’t just any regular town – it’s an isolated village on an island near Incheon that literally no one ever visits… because of the vampire! Yes, there are rumors of a vampire living on the island, and the show DEFINITELY plays up this element. Aside from your classic vampire references, the whole village is decorated with creepy looking statues and masks with teeth. The villagers themselves are standoffish and downright hostile, which creates a really unsettling vibe and makes this perhaps the creepiest episode of the season.
Each house in the village has a fanged mask like this in front of it.
As soon as the team arrives on the island, they discover there’s been a murder. Well, that was quick. They find a group of villagers standing over the body of a young woman who has puncture wounds on her neck. They freak out when they see the detectives, and they won’t talk to them all. The village head Lee Wonjong is equally surly and unfriendly. He’s all, “DON’T INVESTIGATE THE ISLAND’S LEGEND OR YOU’LL DIE!!!” like that isn’t exactly what the team will do for the rest of the episode. But then he partially explains the legend for us anyway, so whatever. Apparently, the vampire has been living on the island for hundreds of years. It warned the townspeople long ago that it would kill the young women in the village if they tried to investigate. So basically, they need to let the vampire do its thing and *occasionally* kill people… otherwise it will rampage and murder a lot more people.
We also meet the village’s doctor Park Haejin, who looks like your typical handsome K-drama actor (which he probably is in real life). The villagers practically fall over themselves fawning over him – according to the village head, the town basically can’t function without him. The murder victim is referred to as Nurse Kim, meaning she was the doctor’s colleague and worked with him at the clinic. The villagers mention that there was another woman who died in a similar fashion last year… and she happened to be the doctor’s girlfriend. So this turn of events would be hard on the doctor, right? Well, he has a totally blank facial expression throughout all this exposition. Hmm.
Jaesuk, Kwangsoo, and Sehun decide to investigate the doctor. They happen upon him enjoying his lunch outside his house, and they note that his steak is so rare that it’s practically bloody. They cut to the chase and asks if he’s really a vampire, to which he proposes a drinking game. He brings out several covered goblets, each containing a different drink: water, wine, or garlic juice. Each of them will take turns selecting one and drinking it at random, so they might be able to tell if the doctor’s a vampire if he drinks the garlic juice. Unfortunately (yet predictably), this does not work out as planned. The doctor neglected to tell them that it was salt water, so Jaesuk and Sehun get an unpleasant surprise. Unlucky Kwangsoo ends up with garlic juice. And the doctor mostly gets wine… so in the end, they learn nothing.
Clearly not the right cup.
They then decide to sneak into the doctor’s clinic while he’s out, and find some notes about an experiment he’s doing. (Interestingly, the doctor doesn’t seem to be doing any ACTUAL work for someone so essential to the village – he just shadows the other group and listens in on their conversations.) He’s been injecting something into different animals, and all of the animals he’s experimented on have died – yikes. Jaesuk accidentally pricks himself with one of the needles, and they spend several moments freaking out over whether he’ll die or not. It was an unscripted accident, so nothing happens… but they do get locked into a creepy secret room.
Jaewook, Jongmin, Minyoung, and Sejeong are trying to explore the village, but they’re getting rebuffed by the unfriendly villagers. They find the village head’s house, but he won’t talk to them unless they purify themselves by drinking a giant pot of water. He then tells them a little more about the town: the villagers LOVE the doctor, but they really hated his girlfriend (the woman who was killed last year). According to the village head, she had a “bad attitude.” The doctor’s father and grandfather were also village doctors, so it’s a generational thing. The village head offers them a meal, and they note that it’s very bland and lacks salt. Apparently, salt is a forbidden substance here in this town. Only two people can use it: the doctor, and the shaman (whom we haven’t met yet).
Back in the secret room, the trapped detectives find some of the doctor’s notes on porphyria, which mention something about an enzyme deficiency and anemia. I don’t know too much more about it, because Googling it showed me some unpleasant pictures and I didn’t want to look further. But from what I did see, it’s a blood disorder that some people call “the vampire disease.” Speaking of vampires, there’s a very conspicuous coffin in the room… which houses a skeleton! But the detectives discover it has a hidden compartment that says, “My secret will reveal itself in the dark.” In other words, a message will appear if you go into the compartment and close the door. The doctor’s secret is that the villagers worship him – which we saw evidence of earlier – and because of that, they’re tormenting him by not letting him leave the island. And they took Mijeong, his girlfriend, away from him.
The doctor’s secret message in the coffin.
The detectives also find a photo of a younger K with a man and a boy – presumably the doctor is the boy, and the man is his father. Although the doctor won’t answer the team’s questions about this, at the end of the episode K will tell them that he visited the island 20 years ago. The doctor’s father was one of the men who helped K with Project D – yet another “coincidental” connection.
Jaewook’s team goes to visit the shaman Kim Shinyoung. Like most characters/suspects, she won’t talk to them unless they do something. This time, they have to press their foreheads into a bunch of uncooked rice and try to pick up a bunch of grains – kind of random, but it provides some much needed comic humor. The shaman tells them that Nurse Kim and Mijeong were best friends, but Nurse Kim turned into a “walking corpse” after Mijeong died last year. She visited the shaman often and seemed scared about something. The shaman also says that they should remember two things. First: “Salt is good, but it can be dangerous. If you’ll feed the offerings salt, they’ll give up their lives.” And perhaps more importantly, she says there’s a dangerous monster on the island who should not be allowed to go the mainland. As in… the vampire?
The things detectives do to get some good intel.
Jaesuk’s team finally manages to escape the room by finding the three numbers that will activate the door lock. One number can be seen by layering X-ray images, one can be heard by deciphering the heartbeats of a medical dummy (it’s in Morse code), and one is in the coffin that you can see in the picture above. The numbers are 505… which they note sure looks a lot like “SOS.” The two groups finally meet up again to compare notes, and re-examine Nurse Kim’s body no one has taken it away yet. Upon looking more closely at her neck and the puncture wounds, they see a mysterious white substance that they discover is salt. Again, there are just two people on the island who use salt – and only one of them is acting shady.
Going with their gut, the detectives move to intercept the doctor. Suspicious of the briefcase he always carries and appears to guard closely, they eventually pester him into opening it. Everything looks normal until they realize that a couple of pill bottles are actually disguised as magnets, which unlock a hidden compartment. And there they see a bloody set of fangs (like the plastic kind for Halloween decoration). The doctor admits to killing Nurse Kim… in fact, he wanted to kill all the villagers because he hates them so much. He says that he has porphyria, the rare blood disease. The villagers somehow got it into their heads that someone with it would protect them from the vampire and keep it away, so they won’t let him leave the island – like his father and grandfather before him.
The doctor and Mijeong were planning to escape, but the villagers found out. A flashback reveals that they confronted Mijeong and attacked her, and the village head strangled her to death in a fit of rage. This was actually far more terrifying to me than any of the vampire stuff. The doctor killed Nurse Kim because he found out she was the one who told the villagers about the escape plan – he injected her with salt, which is why they found it on her body. (Can you really kill someone that way, or is this lore for the show? I’m too scared to Google it to find out.)
Both the village head and the doctor used the fangs to pretend the vampire killed the women and disguise the actual murder method. Actually, earlier on in the episode Jaesuk’s team had noticed that all of the masks around the village had fangs except for the one in the doctor’s clinic. I had initially thought it was hinting that he was special or something like that, but I JUST made the connection that it was because he used his on Nurse Kim.
I never knew Halloween store costume fangs were capable of drawing blood.
The doctor reveals that he actually brought the detectives to the island. It turns out that he’s the friend whom Changhee was referring to, and he lured them here to aid escape. While the detectives are processing this information, the doctor casually pulls Kwangsoo to the side and INJECTS HIM WITH A FATAL POISON. The team is coerced into helping him get off the island in order to get the antidote, but they only have an hour. The villagers have all gone to perform ancestral rites, so the detectives must search their homes for three flares that will signal a boat to come and bring them to the mainland. Meanwhile, the doctor takes Kwangsoo to the shaman’s home – he previously hid his medicine in a pot, so Kwangsoo has to distract her while he searches for it… because she is weirdly not participating in the ritual. Predictably, this leads to a lot of slapstick humor.
Night has fallen on the island, and it’s also a full moon – extra spooky! All of the masks that the team saw hanging on the houses are gone, as the villagers are wearing them. They’re not actually performing ancestral rites; they’re worshipping the vampire god. There are special talismans in place of the masks. As the team searches, they find some calendar pages that have a map of the island on them. Eventually, they deduce that if you put a talisman on the map, the marks on it reveal the three houses with the flares. They split into pairs and scramble to grab them, and they finally gather all of them with one minute to go. (The doctor keeps his promise and gives Kwangsoo the antidote.) The villagers hear the flares and see the boat, and proceed to chase the team across the dock – but they manage to escape and take the doctor with them.
Matching the talisman to the map
The flare locations
When they arrive at the mainland, they find Changhee waiting with the police. The police arrest the doctor for murdering Nurse Kim and start to transport him to prison. In the backseat of the car, the doctor drinks the “medicine” that he hid at the shaman’s house, then attacks the driving police officer by biting him on the neck. So apparently the doctor was a vampire after all??? Later episodes of Busted! also lean heavily into the supernatural, so maybe this is one of the times we’re supposed to suspend disbelief. Changhee manages to pull over the car from the passenger seat, gets out and removes the officer’s body, then drives away with the doctor – proving they were working together all along. The team witnesses this all from afar, and belatedly realize that he was the monster the shaman told them not to bring to the island. Uh oh. Well, at least they saved Kwangsoo’s life.
Next episode: Our detectives compete with a rival team in a contest to track down a very special painting.
NOTE: All photos and GIFs are screenshots or screen captures from Busted! Episode 5 on Netflix. Nothing belongs to me, and all images are used here for illustrative purposes only.