Busted S1E7 Recap: The Vanished Magician

In this episode: The team must figure out what’s an illusion and what’s not when a magician disappears in the middle of rehearsing for his show.

Episode 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.)

Choi Hyunwoo
(professional magician)

Hyejeong
(K-pop idol, member of AOA)

Joshua Seth
(American actor and professional hypnotist)

Jung Hyesung
(actress)

NOTE: Choi Hyunwoo plays two characters, the magician Charming and his apprentice. The screenshot of him as the apprentice came out better, so that’s why I put it here.

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!!!

Episode Recap

This episode’s introduction belongs to Sehun, and we learn that he isn’t just a detective – he’s also a choreographer. (This is probably a reference to being the lead dancer in EXO.) He’s performing as the opening act for a magic show, so we get the added treat of watching him practice his dancing at the rehearsal. As he’s taking a break, he overhears Charming, the magician and star of the show, arguing with an American man. The latter says he saw someone who looks like Charming with a woman – possibly a girlfriend? – but Charming doesn’t believe him. This annoys the American because Charming apparently had him hypnotize this lookalike to find out some information. Note that this conversation is completely in English, so Sehun was probably not meant to completely understand it. (Although I think he’s quite good at English!) But he can definitely pick up on the tension. And, as he will mention to his team later, all of the swear words.

The rest of the detectives arrives to watch the rehearsal. They missed Sehun because they were busy eating Minyoung‘s homemade kimbap and zucchini cake, but they get there in time to see Charming rehearse. For his first trick, he brings out a box on wheels and a bunch of swords. Since every magic trick needs a volunteer, he has Jaesuk briefly sit in the box to verify that there is no way to escape. Then he sticks a sword into one of the sides to prove that they’re sharp. He also introduces Magic Girl (Hyejeong), the requisite beautiful magician’s assistant. She gets into the box, and then Charming calls the whole team onstage and directs them to drive the swords through it. They make a big fuss about potentially stabbing her, but it’s pretty clear it’s all for the theatrics – after all, the swords aren’t bloody when they come out through the back of the box. And of course, Charming removes them and opens the box to reveal that Magic Girl is completely unharmed. *MAGIC* (No but really, I’m always so curious about how these tricks work.)

A valid concern.

Next, Charming announces he will rehearse the highlight of his show. The trick revolves around two giant moving panels that get pushed back and forth across the stage. Charming is standing on a platform in the center – the idea is that the panels cross each other, he disappears, and is replaced by his assistant. (I tried to make a GIF to illustrate this, but it came out super blurry T_T) He’s then supposed to reappear behind the audience… but a mannequin comes crashing down instead. Confusion turns to panic when Charming still doesn’t show up, and everyone realizes that he really has vanished. The panicked production staff request that the team find him; they have 5 hours before the show is supposed to start.

Charming right before he vanishes. Note the two black and gold moving panels on the sides.

The detectives search the stage for hidden passages and find two that go under the stage: the one Magic Girl used, and the one that Charming should have taken. Of course, he’s not there right now, because that would be too easy. Kwangsoo is forced by Jongmin to go crawling through the passages, and his bad luck continues when Jaewook accidentally opens the trap door and it falls on his head. While they’re discussing the details of the case, Sehun recalls the conversation he overheard earlier between Charming and the American. They question a producer, who identifies him as the hypnotist Joshua Seth. Apparently, Joshua has a grudge against Charming because he exposed his methods on TV. Isn’t the cardinal rule of magic NOT revealing secrets to the public? I’d feel betrayed too!

Jaewook, Kwangsoo, and Sehun decide to go check Charming’s house – just in case he randomly decided to go home without telling anyone. No one is there, so they decide to enter by going through an unlocked window… which triggers an alarm and gives them ten minutes to explore the house before the police arrive on the scene. As expected of a theatrical magician, Charming’s home is filled with plenty of quirks… so it’s not going to be easy.

You know how in spy/actions movies there’s always something valuable behind a set of laser beams? And then one of the protagonists has to perform amazing feats of flexibility to avoid being detected? Charming has a hidden treasure chest like that, but it’s protected by long lines of sticky tape instead. Kwangsoo is determined to prove that he’s a capable detective – the others looking down on him has become a recurring joke over the past few episodes – but he just ends up tangled up in every single line of tape while Sehun breaks down laughing and Jaewook is utterly confounded by his antics. Poor Kwangsoo.

Before

After

Meanwhile, Jaesuk, Jongmin, Minyoung, and Sejeong go to visit the therapist Joshua at his home. (He has a Korean housekeeper who acts as a translator to avoid any language barriers.) He’s rather unwilling to yield much information, which means the men have to volunteer to get hypnotized so that the women can sneak around and look for clues. Honestly, this hypnosis session is one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen. I do think that you can hypnotize someone, but ONLY if that person believes it’s possible. For example, my friend and I once I volunteered at a hypnotist show. She went right under, but I didn’t – and I think it’s because I was slightly skeptical. Apparently, Jaesuk and Jongmin were also skeptical… because it did not work at all. Jaesuk was clearly awake, but he had to pretend to believe he was the first pregnant man in order to buy time.

Minyoung and Sejeong find some crumpled newspaper articles that suggest Joshua was indeed upset with Charming, but not because his secrets were exposed – there’s one about Charming beating Joshua in some kind of competition, with “I WILL KILL YOU” scrawled on it in angry red marker. But upon checking the emails on Joshua’s computer, it turns out it’s a false alarm. Apparently, it was more like “I will kill you LOL.” There’s no major bad blood between them, just a friendly rivalry. What’s more important is that Charming sent Joshua a picture of a threatening letter. He thought only his apprentice could make it so he asked Joshua to hypnotize him to try and figure it out. So the apprentice is the man they were talking about at the beginning of the episode.

The threatening letter.

So who is this apprentice, exactly? His name is Choi Hyunwoo and he is royally unhelpful. Jaesuk’s team pay him a visit and note how he looks just like Charming, minus the pink highlights in his hair. (Note that while Charming and his apprentice are both played by the real Choi Hyunwoo, they are in fact two separate characters.) Hyunwoo doesn’t seem concerned that Charming is missing at all, and is resigned to filling in if he doesn’t turn up by show time. He dazzles the detectives with a rather complicated card trick, and then freaks them out by appearing to hammer a nail up his nose. My nose hurts just remembering it! They don’t really get anywhere by talking to him… so they just lock him in his own cage and check his rooftop apartment for clues. Of course, since the idea is that magicians are eccentric, there are several surprises waiting in the boxes/pots/doors that they open. Yay jump scares! Hyunwoo also breaks out of the cage several times, since they don’t realize that he has the key to unlock it on his person.

Meanwhile, Jaewook’s group uses clues around Charming’s house to find the combination to the locked chest. Inside is a picture of Charming with his actress girlfriend Jung Hyesung and a schedule of her activities. This allows them to track her down at her drama shoot, where Kwangsoo and Sehun have a hilarious yet successful fanboy moment – they run up to her, quickly shoot a selfie, and run away giggling. Actually, this episode features quite a lot of the male cast being dazzled by the female guest stars, as Jongmin and Kwangsoo (and kind of Jaewook) also spend a bit of of time fussing over the Magic Girl assistant – which low-key bothers Minyoung and Sejeong.

This has nothing to do with the story, but I just find this picture really funny.

Of course, talking to Hyesung isn’t a simple task. Before the group can ask her any questions, the director forces each of them to act out a scene as “stunt men.” For every take, Hyesung and one of the guys are strapped into harnesses that send them flying high into the air. Then the men have to dodge the water balloons and other various objects that Hyesung throws at them (because they’re playing her cheating husband). Predictably, this results in a lot of comedic moments – Jaewook and Sehun mostly resign to getting pelted, but Kwangsoo is angered when he mostly gets hit in the crotch and starts fighting back.

What kind of drama is this?

After the shooting wraps for the day, they can finally talk to Hyesung. She explains that she was dating Charming… but she was also dating Hyunwoo. She was in love with both of them, but she couldn’t choose. So this is what Charming and Joshua were talking about at the beginning of the episode – Joshua was saying that Hyesung and Hyunwoo were still spending time together, and Charming was refusing to believe it. She gives them a floor plan of the theater that Charming left at her house recently – it highlights the secret passages for the magic trick we saw earlier.

Meanwhile, Jaesuk’s team finds the threatening letter that was in the email Charming sent to Joshua. Hyunwoo protests and says that it’s just a prop – part of the letter is written in a special ink, so when you heat it up all the words disappear except the threatening message. He explains that the props department for Charming’s magic shows asks him to make stuff like that all the time. Both groups decide they need to return to the theater. (Side note: I’m not sure why the letter would still be in Hyunwoo’s possession? He might have had multiple copies if he had been practicing making the letter, but it looked like the exact same one Charming got because it had the same burn mark. It’s not a major thing, but I’ve always wondered about this.)

The team checks the floor plan again, but it just confirms the passages that they found earlier. (And Kwangsoo gets hit by the doors again… twice.) They do, however, notice that one of the tape marks for the hidden passages is slightly askew. This is for the door that Charming was supposed to go into. Jaesuk also finds a staff list backstage that shows that Charming’s assistant Hyejeong also works in the props department. They visit her in her dressing room, and she confirms this. Jaesuk notes that her perfume matches the scent on the letter, but she brushes it off and says that it’s a pretty common perfume and you can buy it anywhere.

When Hyejeong leaves to prepare for the show, the team checks her room. Sehun recognizes she has a briefcase similar to the one they found at Charming’s House. Much like Episode 5, there are magnets that help open a hidden compartment – which contains a different floor plan with a THIRD secret passage. It’s dated after the one they already have, meaning it was added later. They all rush back to the stage to try and find it, knowing they’re on the right track when Hyejeong acts nervous. Jaesuk notices her glance at something, and realizes that the platform she was standing on during rehearsal has a button that can be pressed. The hidden passage is revealed… and so is Charming’s body.

The floor plan Jaewook’s group got from Hyesung.

The floor plan found in Hyejeong’s briefcase.

Yes, that’s right – Charming was killed by his own assistant. During the rehearsal, she tapped the button with her heel to direct Charming into the secret passage that he was unaware of. (This is a little confusing to me because I think he could have recognized it was a different door, but I guess either he trusted her and/or wasn’t paying too close attention.) When the door closed, it activated a trap that automatically impaled him with a bunch of arrows. She also rigged the mannequin to fall and distract everyone from the sound of the murder. If you think about it, it’s pretty chilling that he was probably bleeding out and dying while everyone was searching the stage for him. What was her motive? She was in love with Charming, but he cheated her on with Hyesung. She found out that Hyesung was cheating on him too and told him, but he broke up with her because he didn’t like “jealous girls.” Essentially, it was a love square gone very, very wrong.

Next episode: the detective team competes against each other to become part of a special project run by a friend of K’s.


NOTE: All photos and GIFs are screenshots or screen captures from Busted! Episode 7 on Netflix. Nothing belongs to me, and all images are used here for illustrative purposes only.

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