In this episode: After hearing about the mysterious and sinister Flower Killer all season, the team finally gets the opportunity to learn more about him and his history. However, a surprising death adds a whole new layer of complications.
Hi, all! Sorry it’s been over a month since my last Busted! recap. I’ve actually been working on this a little bit every week since I posted the one for Episode 8 (the finale recap as well), but there’s so much to cover that it’s been going pretty slowly. I know these posts tend to run pretty long anyway, but trust me: this is a VERY long one. Also, I’m skipping the guest star section for this episode because there aren’t any – but nearly all the season’s recurring guests will either be mentioned or appear in person.
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. I’d like to emphasize that the final two episodes of Busted! Season 2 have a LOT of details and information, so my disclaimer is especially true for this episode recap.
***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!!!
Busted! has spent most of Season 2 dancing around certain storylines, but we’re FINALLY ready to dive in. The last two episodes of the season focus on its central mystery and reveal what’s been going on with our recurring guest characters bit by bit. Episode 9 in particular delves into the Flower Killer and tells us several stories about his past. It’s a LOT to process, and I personally feel like it raises a new question for every one that it answers. Unlike other episodes, not everything is given an explicit explanation – we’re often left to connect the dots ourselves. I’ve done my best to figure out all the information and organize it as neatly as possible (more on that later), and I’ll save most of my theories and other discussion points until after the actual recapping.
So at the end of the previous episode, the detective team passed Stephanie Lee‘s elaborately constructed test of skills. As a result, she entrusted them with a mysterious card. When they deciphered the code on it, they discovered it was an invitation to an event hosted by Killosophy – the cult that worships the Flower Killer. We’ve seen the Killosophy website before, back in Episode 5 when the team was exploring Kim Dongjun‘s house (though it appears he doesn’t actually have anything to do with this). The team decides to go and finally learn about the Flower Killer, this secretive figure they’ve been hearing about for the past couple of months.
Before the Event
Since we need occasional reminders that the team’s supposed to be a bunch of bumbling detectives, they all rock up to this *super secret* event with literally NO ATTEMPT to conceal their identities. They encounter two masked guards who are confused by their appearance because all the guests were supposed to have already entered. The guards ask the team to “prove that [they’ve] received the call of blood.” This means decoding the words around the borders of the invitation, which are a password. Seunggi reads out the message: “If you want to live, head toward death. You will soon be smeared with the smell of blood and will be drunk with it.” Yeesh. The guards accept this answer and provide them with black capes and white carnival masks, which still isn’t a super effective disguise… but I guess it’s better than nothing.
The team also receives a pamphlet that explains the event they’re about to witness: “This year’s god is the Flower Killer, and we will see his murder methods. Members may follow actors of their liking and experience and learn their murder methods.” So basically, this event is actually a large scale play. The whole building is the performance space, and multiple scenes are acted out simultaneously. The masked audience members can walk around and observe different scenes being performed, so the team has to split up and try to see as much as they can. Based on how everything functions, I think this event is based on the play Sleep No More – an immersive/interactive performance of Macbeth that ALSO requires people to wear masks. I’ve always wanted to see Sleep No More, so I find this whole premise super fascinating.
The guards let the team in while rehearsal is still going on. They see many people walking around dressed in all black with capes and white masks – there are some performers among them, but they’re mostly regular followers of Killosophy. I’ve seen this episode too many times for it to have any effect, but I do remember feeling how unsettling the atmosphere the first time I watched. Especially since there’s a *sinister* shadowy figure observing them from afar. Then we get a brief teaser like explanation from the show about how the play will cover the five murders of the Flower Killer and how people the team previously encountered will appear as characters. We’ll come back to this in a minute.
As the detectives are walking around and getting acclimated, they’re startled by a loud noise. They come across a section of the set that looks like a hospital, and a small space that’s supposed to be a patient’s room. They open the door to find Tae Hangho in the patient’s bed… AND HE’S DEAD. The team is mystified because they saw him alive and well just two episodes ago, when they were all scamming him at gonggi (during Kim Minjae‘s inheritance feud with his chaebol brothers). Jaesuk finds a note on him that reads “Secret General Store, 10 p.m.” It looks like it’s been torn from some kind of notebook. As the team wonders why he’s here – and why he’s dead – a voice comes over the intercom summoning all “Sophias” to the main auditorium. Yes, the Flower Killer apparently has an official name for his fandom like he’s a K-pop star or something.
The note the team finds on Tae Hangho’s body.
Some Notes About the Play
Originally, the play is divided into two acts. I’m oversimplifying it a bit, but the first act basically shows the Flower Killer preparing his murders and the second depicts him carrying them out. However, I’m not going to summarize everything exactly in the same order as it happened. Part of the reason I find this whole episode so confusing is because the editing jumps back and forth so much. We learn a ton of different information about many different events and people, and we have to keep track of it all as it unfolds. It’s kind of like when I watched Inception over a decade (!!!) ago: I completely understood everything while I was in the theater watching it, and then I went home and couldn’t explain a single element. So since this is a recap, I think grouping relevant plot points together is better than going in chronological order. I have a section specifically covering what we learn about the Flower Killer’s murders, and then a section about all of the other important information we come across. I hope this will make things a little easier to understand.
One other thing: I mentioned before that acquaintances of the team appear as characters in the play. But because nothing is ever easy, some of the *actual* people show up during the play as well. For example, I just mentioned how the team found Tae Hangho dead on set before the play started. However, someone is still acting as him in the play. Confusing, right? To try and clear things up, I’ll be referring to characters in the play with quotation marks around their names. For example, if I write “Tae Hangho,” I mean the actor portraying him in the play. If I write his name as I normally do, I mean the actual character whom we’ve seen over the course of the season. (I hope this makes sense.)
People to Keep in Mind (Besides the Flower Killer)
Per usual, I apologize for the not-so-great quality of my screenshots.
Murder Victim #1: A politician (the man on the left)
Murder Victim #3: A CEO
Murder Victim #2: A famous actress
Murder Victim #4: K
There are also two new characters we meet: a criminal who goes by the pseudonym Poison, and his assistant. They’re really important to the story, so keep them in mind.
The Play Begins
Everyone moves to the auditorium for the opening performance (and we get another glimpse of the shadowy figure observing the team). The “Sophias” all silently stand in straight lines with their hands clasped together as if in prayer, which is… not creepy at all. The team tries their best to blend in, but you can imagine how well that goes. As the introduction starts, we discover that the Flower Killer is played by not one but five actors. However, there isn’t really a rhyme or reason to which actor does what. I originally thought there was one actor per murder victim, which is somewhat true – each actor does have one big murder scene. But before that, it appears they switch in and out of the different scenes and aren’t tied to a particular storyline. So, I’m just going to refer to all of them as the Flower Killer rather than trying to differentiate what each actor does specifically.
The five Flower Killer actors.
The opening performance begins, set to some very dramatic sounding Gregorian chant style music. Four of the Flower Killer actors “kill” a victim through some unsettling interpretive dance. The fifth Flower Killer notably does not take part, which confuses the team because the program said five murders would be depicted over the course of the show. The actors then get up and leave the auditorium to perform their various scenes. The team decides to divide and conquer, then meet later and share stories.
A scene from the play’s introduction.
The Truth About Tae Hangho
This is one of the main revelations of the play, and I believe the episode is actually specifically edited to help us discover this important plot point more than anything else. But since I rearranged the recap, I now lack a logical place to put it… so I’ll just mention it first. We’ve known pretty much from the beginning that Tae Hangho is a criminal and has done some shady stuff. This play essentially confirms that not only does he know the Flower Killer, he’s one of his accomplices. In fact, he’s probably his main accomplice. For almost all of the killings, we see scenes of the Flower Killer contacting “Tae Hangho” and requesting various items to help with the murder. (Remember that the Flower Killer notoriously doesn’t leave bloody bodies, so he must resort to more creative methods.) “Tae Hangho” then goes to see Poison and his assistant and acts as the middle man to commission whatever the Flower Killer wants. There are several instances where the Flower Killer and “Tae Hangho” regularly meet at a Catholic church and communicate through a confessional; “Tae Hangho” also leaves items in a chest there for the Flower Killer to pick up.
The Flower Killer and “Tae Hangho” during one of their secret meetings.
The First Four Murders
I’m recapping the murders in the order that we see them happen, but I’m unsure if that’s really the true order they occurred. (This is one of the questions I attempt to answer at the end of this post). Also, I’m leaving the fifth murder until I’ve summarized everything else because it’s mixed up in a lot of different plot lines.
The show prioritizes certain storylines more than others, so we don’t actually see much about the backstory behind this first murder victim. During the show’s intermission, Sejeong reveals that she watched several scenes that depicted some kind of election. It’s never specified what exactly this election is for, but I assume something like mayor or governor. The murder victim is one of the candidates, and we know that the Flower Killer doesn’t like him because Sejeong sees him rip up the guy’s poster and eat some of the pieces. She also sees the Flower Killer write “methyl parathion” on a piece of paper and take it to “Tae Hangho,” who has Poison either procure or create some. The Flower Killer then takes a vial of it to the main auditorium (where we saw the opening performance) and pours it out into the water tank.
In the second act, the Flower Killer puts on a magic show that the political candidate attends. He wows the audience with several magic tricks – the captions actually say, “What a talented murderer” and that always makes me snicker. During the highlight of the show, he dons a raincoat as water falls down from the ceiling and invites the politician to come up onto the stage; his victim waves away his own bodyguard’s intervention and accepts the request. He stands under the falling water, the Flower Killer makes it look like the drops are frozen and suspended in midair. As everyone applauds, the water resumes falling and the politician gets soaked. As we know from Sejeong’s previous observation, that water was poisoned.
The politician unknowingly gets drenched in poisonous water.
The victim feels unwell and excuses himself to the bathroom after the performance, where he dies. The Flower Killer enters, slips the empty poison vial in his pocket, and proclaims: “I can’t let someone with so much jealousy do politics here.” The yellow roses he leaves signify the envy he spoke of. I’d like to add that I did a quick Google search on methyl parathion, and I found out it’s essentially a form of pesticide that’s so toxic it’s banned in countries like the U.S. Dang, Flower Killer. Poisoning someone is already pretty heinous, but knowing that he basically doused the guy in pesticide makes him seem even more sinister and callous than I already thought he was.
The death of the politician.
This story is actually quite interesting, because it seems like the play is trying to say that the actress personally knews the Flower Killer – as in, she was aware he’s a murderer. She might even have been one of his followers. Jaewook observes her talk on the phone at her house and hears her say, “The one following the Flower Killer… was in Paju?” This makes his ears perk up because K’s vacation home was in Paju. She makes a show of taking a USB and storing it in her boot. Later on, we see her sharing a drink with the Flower Killer at the bar. She gives him the USB she hid away, which implies that she handed over intel on K. It’s never explicitly explained, but my guess is that she had some high connections and was using them to help the Flower Killer out.
Unfortunately, the Flower Killer turns her for some reason. Again, it’s not clearly stated why, but I think the answer comes from a journal belonging to the Flower Killer that Jaewook finds. It says: “The connection between K and a top star. K is getting closer… need to take care of this…” (Are we really supposed to believe that a notorious serial killer who’s never been caught just leaves written evidence of his murder plans lying around? Okay…) So it looks like the Flower Killer either thought the actress knew too much and/or believed that she would try and double cross him. It’s also possible that he was just using her as a means to an end.
The Flower Killer notes that the actress frequently uses lip balm. So he gets more poison via “Tae Hangho”, and injects it into a lip balm. Jaewook and Jongmin then see him pose as a staff member and offer it to the actress during her shoot, where he makes a big show of applying it to her lips himself. (How did she not recognize him though? Was he that well disguised?) The poison causes instant paralysis before death, and we see the actress’s mouth suddenly twist grotesquely. Distraught, she flees to her dressing room and has a few moments to panic before succumbing to death. The Flower Killer leaves behind a blue hydrangea to represent her arrogance.
The death of the actress.
This is the victim whom we actually hear the least about, so there’s almost no backstory. The show mainly uses his murder as the main way to highlight Tae Hangho’s involvement in these crimes. Based on what what they say after his death (and what I know from drama stereotyping), I’m guessing he was a corrupt CEO that did a lot of unethical things. Minyoung sees the Flower Killer meet “Tae Hangho” and request a pair of headphones that can electrocute someone. “Tae Hangho” then goes to Poison’s workspace and tells his assistant that he needs a pair of headphones with a taser inside.
Meanwhile, Sehun checks out a space that’s labeled as the “cult church.” We see two women doing some more interpretive dancing: one is a blonde whose white mask has a hospital logo, and one is black haired and has a blue mask with an airplane logo. This part focuses on the latter, but remember the other one for later. The woman in the blue mask heads behind a screen and changes into a flight attendant uniform.
The flight attendant.
“Tae Hangho” delivers the headphones to the Flower Killer, who gives them to his flight attendant acolyte in turn. She’s working on a flight that the CEO is on, and she switches out his headphones for the tasered ones. When he puts them on, he electrocutes himself to death. She then leaves a picture of a purple flower and says, “Your bad deeds led to so many victims. It’s time for you to be the victim instead, with this lobelia on you.” Lobelia represents malice.
The death of the CEO.
As we heard during the scenes with the actress, the Flower Killer has caught K’s attention… and vice versa. During the first act, Jaesuk and Jongmin see K confront Poison over the Flower Killer’s identity. It seems K is aware Poison is involved in the murders, because he asks, “Aren’t you the one who got that object?” Poison attempts to attack K, who easily manages to fend him off – he even brandishes his umbrella at the criminal Kingsman style. He says, “It would be wise to give me information about the Flower Killer when we meet again.” At the start of the second act, the detectives follow the Flower Killer into a bedroom and watch him set a candle down by the bed. They notice how it looks an awful lot like K’s bedroom.
Sehun later comes back to this place and observes K light the candle before going to bed; the red light signifying death comes on almost immediately. So the candle was poisoned, and K died in his sleep. The Flower Killer arrives on the scene with some of the other team members in tow, and he checks to see if K’s still breathing. He declares: “My final piece. I will give you a canna, a flower, that means ‘happy ending.'” And he places a red flower on K’s body. But when K’s body was discovered in real life, there was a SUNFLOWER on it. Hmmmm. This is when the team starts to float the idea that there’s a copycat killer who switched the flowers and possibly killed Tae Hangho.
The death of K – note the red flower left on his body.
Side Note: These scenes confirm what Kim Minjae told the team in Episode 7, which is that K was dead long before Lee Yujin came along and tried to kill him in vengeance. Just as a refresher, Lee Yujin is the culprit of this season’s Episode 2. He was murdering the people whom he believed were responsible for the death of his father (a Project D researcher). So he killed K – or he thought he did – and then C. The team believed he also killed the third researcher Jung Jaeyeong, but Yujin said he only murdered the first two. We never learned the identity of Jung Jaeyeong’s killer, but… we will soon. So remember this for later.
#1: Poison’s assistant is played by an understudy. Before the first act officially starts, Minyoung overhears two people whispering. A man says, “The actor for Poison’s assistant isn’t here.” A woman replies, “We should hurry and get a replacement.” This will be really important later.
#2: The General Store is pretty accurate. The set is so detailed that there are even replicas of the jegichagi and the ttakji that the teams played with Tae Hangho in Episode 2 and 5. According to the floor plan that’s sometimes displayed on the screen throughout the play, the set for the General Store is right next to the set for Poison’s workspace – which perhaps suggests how closely the two criminals are connected.
#3: You might already know Poison’s identity. I’m actually getting a little ahead of myself here, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: Poison is a character whom we’ve met before early on this season. I won’t spoil his identity just yet, but you might be able to figure it out.
#4: The real Tae Hangho’s body disappears during the first act. Both Jaesuk and Sehun return to the hospital set (separately) to check, but someone removed it – probably the shadow person who’s been tailing them at various instances. In its place is a garland of purple flowers.
#5: Kim Minjae has apparently been pursuing the Flower Killer. There’s a scene where Seunggi finds “Kim Minjae” at a cafe and follows him as he attempts to tail the Flower Killer through a bunch of people (aka more interpretive dancing). “Minjae” just misses the Flower Killer and fails to realize he’s standing right by him. The Flower Killer notes that, “He’s come too close. I can’t leave him be.” This whole moment is much more meaningful and foreshadowing than the show lets on, but that’s all I’ll say for now.
The Flower Killer evades “Minjae.”
#6: The connection between Yoon Jonghoon and Tae Hangho is finally revealed. When Sejeong witnesses the politician’s death in the play, she also sees “Yoon Jonghoon” show up and take something from the crime scene. (It was the vial of poison the Flower Killer slipped in the politician’s pocket.) She and Jaesuk tail him to the park, where he meets none other than “Tae Hangho.” As they sit on benches next to each other, “Tae Hangho” says, “Taking something from a scene during an investigation isn’t so hard, is it?” “Jonghoon” uses a newspaper to hand over what he stole spy-style, confirming that they did indeed do shady stuff together. Jongmin later mentions he also saw “Tae Hangho” give “Jonghoon” money to take something from another crime scene, so it seems like this was a regular occurrence.
“Yoon Jonghoon” meets “Tae Hangho.”
The Fifth Murder
Now that all that’s out of the way, I can finally tell you about the Flower Killer’s fifth murder victim. There’s one important charactery you might have noticed I haven’t really mentioned so far: Poison’s assistant. When we first meet him, he’s taking pictures of a bunch of poisons and and posting them on Twitter with hashtags like #whatpoisonshouldimaketoday. As one does. He and Poison receive a visit from “Tae Hangho,” who asks the assistant for the headphones that are meant to kill the CEO. The assistant gets all excited that something he makes could be used by THE notorious Flower Killer, and hurries to go post about on it his socials. I feel like tweeting about your highly criminal activity and posting about your involvement in a murder is an incredibly stupid thing to do… but I’ll go along with it because I also have no trouble believing there are people THAT idiotic out there in the world.
Predictably, the assistant’s social media addiction comes back to bite him. The Flower Killer appears in person to pick up something he requested, and the assistant gives him a vial of poison. While the Flower Killer is examining it, the assistant not so secretly tries to take a picture of him for his Twitter account. (How dumb can this guy be?!?!) Obviously, the Flower Killer does not like this. He beats the assistant up and forces him to delete the photo. The assistant then flees to the police station in fright to beg for protection, and “Kim Minjae” nobly promises that he will help him. (Note that “Yoon Jonghoon” is also present, but he seems to be just chilling at his desk and doesn’t actively participate in the scene.)
Eventually, the fifth Flower Killer heads over to the hospital with a syringe in hand. We see a policeman escort Poison’s assistant into the patient’s room, where he lies down in the same bed the team found Tae Hangho in. The Flower Killer hides himself in the waiting room and calls the nurse at the desk. The nurse is the blonde woman we saw in the cult church beforehand, meaning she’s one of his followers. She distracts the policeman, allowing the Flower Killer to slip into the assistant’s room. He declares, “You said something you shouldn’t have.” Then, he kills him by injecting his IV with the poison in the syringe.
The nurse receives a call from the Flower Killer.
Here’s where the continuity for the episode gets a little muddled, and why I ultimately decided to organize the recap in a different manner than a chronological summary. During the first act, the team notices that the actor for Poison’s assistant is wearing the same gray sweatshirt that Tae Hangho had on when they found his body. So, there’s a bit of confusion because some of them think the actor playing Poison’s assistant is actually playing Tae Hangho… but we as an audience know there’s a different actor who has this role. And the show never really bothers to clarify this, because they want you to think that Tae Hangho’s murder was the fifth murder for a while.
I’ve watched this episode like five times now, and this is one of the things I AM 100% clear on explaining: Tae Hangho was a member of Killosophy, and he was supposed to be an actor in this play. Specifically, he was supposed to play Poison’s assistant. So this is why it’s so confusing, because there’s the character of “Tae Hangho” and then the real Tae Hangho who was going to portray someone else. Since he was murdered during rehearsal, he was replaced by the actor we see in this episode. So to make things clear once and for all: the Flower Killer’s fifth murder victim was not actually Tae Hangho, but Poison’s assistant. The killing of Tae Hangho is something similar yet completely separate. Tae Hangho thought he was acting out the assistant’s death, which is probably why he unintentionally let his murderer inject him with the IV… and he ended up dying in the exact same fashion. (Gah, so confusing.)
A Suspect Unmasked
As the team observes the fifth Flower Killer about to act out the murder of Poison’s assistant, they realize that he looks kind of familiar… because it’s Yoon Jonghoon! The real one! Once they recognize him, they intervene – because they think he’s actually going to kill the guy? – and scare the living daylights out of him. A scuffle ensues, they manage to pull off Jonghoon’s mask, and he bolts in fright. But the team is good at chasing down fleeing suspects by now, so they capture him and take him to the empty bar for questioning. He appears to be unaware that Tae Hangho is dead, and had even been planning to meet him later. He confesses that he’s been taking stuff from crime scenes involving the Flower Killer, and admits he stole the candle that killed K and sold it to Tae Hangho. However, he swears that he’s not the one who switched the flowers on K’s body.
Jonghoon reveals that he’s part of Killosophy because he decided to investigate Tae Hangho and found out he was a member, so he joined to keep tabs on him. He then received an email from someone with the ID “Challenge Authority” telling him to act as one of the Flower Killers. According to Jonghoon, he wasn’t part of the rehearsals due to his schedule. He just performed in the second act and did whatever the script said. Note that although Jonghoon said in the past that he admired the Flower Killer (from a criminologist’s perspective), he doesn’t seem to have much interest in this play and the details it reveals – including the fact that he’s actually a character in the whole thing. But then again, he probably has other things on his mind right now.
The team then starts to suspect that Kim Minjae could also potentially be the copycat killer. He always seemed to be one of the first to arrive at crime scenes, which at first didn’t seem suspicious since he’s a police officer and all – but he could have taken advantage of his job duties. And he could be using Jonghoon as some kind of distraction or scapegoat. This is really interesting because the show has almost always painted Jonghoon as super shady, but they had mostly kept Minjae free from suspicion up until this point.
The detectives realize that the note they found on Tae Hangho’s body is actually torn out of a police notebook; the police logo is the watermark on the paper. Jonghoon shows them his notebook, and they realize it’s the same paper (although his doesn’t have any torn pages). They also find a puzzle paper hidden inside, but Jonghoon claims to not know what it is. The puzzle is a bunch of numbers in little boxes – the number in the box refers to how many of its sides need to be shaded in. The answer reveals “art valley” in English letters, indicating Pocheon Art Valley. Jonghoon awkwardly sneaks away while the team is figuring this out, but they let him go. They’ll see him again in the finale, anyway.
The puzzle reveals the words “art valley.”
The Secret General Store
The team goes to the information center at Pocheon Art Valley and meets someone who must be connected to Tae Hangho. (He asks them for one thousand dollars much like Tae Hangho always used to ask for ten thousand.) When they mention the Secret General Store, he gives them two tasks. The first is to open a briefcase with a complicated looking lock. The second is to choose the correct brochure among a set of differently colored ones. The only clue for the pamphlet is a series of stick people in various poses, which they initially take to be some kind of dance – so they spend a decent amount of time trying to copy the poses in the images.
Jongmin somehow succeeds in unlocking the briefcase just by fiddling around with it while everyone else is trying to figure out the other puzzle. Inside are drawings of animals, accompanied by more of the stick figure code. The team soon realizes that those stick figures actually represent letters, and they can decode the specific letters they need by looking at the animals on the papers. So they quickly figure out that the brochure they need is YELLOW.
The code and the correct answer.
The team arrives at their destination, which appears to be next to some kind of lake. It would actually be a beautiful spot if they weren’t in the middle of solving a murder mystery and all. As they approach the water, they notice a canoe floating towards them. We’ve seen the purple flowers it’s covered in before… so it should be unsurprising that Tae Hangho’s body is inside. It turns out 10 pm wasn’t a meeting time, but the time this body would appear. Whoever killed him clearly wanted to lure the team here. (And that person must have suspected that they would encounter Jonghoon, so they probably slipped the puzzle paper into his notebook as a hint.) The detectives check the boat for clues, and they find a pendant around Tae Hangho’s neck. They head up into the observatory and see a door locked with a passcode – the necklace has the digits that reveal the combination.
The shape of the necklace found on Tae Hangho’s body and the numbers it shows.
The detectives search the Secret General Store and come across a hidden cell phone. They read a familiar text that they already saw back in Episode 2, which initially led them to discover that Lee Yujin was the son of the murdered Project D researcher and was revenge killings the rest of the research group. Now, they realize that this phone belongs to Jung Jaeyeong – the fourth member of the Project D research team, and the one whom Lee Yujin said he did not kill. But Jung Jaeyeong’s phone was found on his body… so the phone must have been cloned. Hey, remember who else was at that murder scene? Kim Minjae.
This phone must be the original, because there’s a voice note on it the team hasn’t heard before. They listen to Jung Jaeyeong talking about how he’s at a policeman’s home because he had sought police protection once he realized his colleagues were being murdered. As he’s recording, he discovers some kind of secret room. Then, we VERY clearly hear Kim Minjae say, “Mr. Jung Jaeyeong. How did you get in here? It’s better not to see things you shouldn’t see.” Uh oh.
There’s a scuffle and eventually the sounds of stabbing and murdering, all while Minjae monologues about how he normally doesn’t do unplanned murders and now he can’t even use a flower because the body will be all bloody (something the Flower Killer wouldn’t do.) And we also get a rather frightening shot of Minjae holding a knife looking unhinged and laughing maniacally. CHILLING. So now we know that Minjae killed Jung Jaeyeong for discovering whatever was in his house, and then made it look like he was murdered by Lee Yujin instead. The team declares they will find out what exactly Kim Minjae’s hiding, when Jaesuk gets a call from… Poison! His identity will be revealed in the next recap.
Next episode: Many of the season’s major questions are answers as the team finds out the truth about Kim Minjae and finally comes face to face with the Flower Killer himself.
Post-Episode Questions (And my Attempts at Answers)
Are we supposed to accept everything that happened in the play as true/fact?
Yes, though I can’t fully elaborate yet. There are some developments in the finale that provide more context and detail. I will say that while we don’t know the identity of the event’s host at this point, it’s important to remember that Killosophy is a whole cult devoted to the Flower Killer. Based on the circumstances of some of his murders, it’s clear that a few members knew him and were trusted by him to some degree. And Tae Hangho, whom Yoon Jonghoon confirmed was a Killosophy member, was directly involved in almost all of the killings. It stands to reason that someone like Tae Hangho would be able to provide all details needed for this play. So that’s one aspect of it, and I’ll reveal the other in the next recap.
How did the Flower Killer get so many followers after essentially just one murder?
This was one of the elements that confused me a lot, because three of the five murders involve a member of the cult. (Not counting Tae Hangho, because I mostly see him as an individual player.) The Flower Killer got two of his admirers to help him kill the CEO and Poison’s assistant, and it’s suggested that the actress was also a member of the cult herself. While K’s death did not involve the cult, he was the last murder – meaning the cult was already active by then. The only murder where the cult possibly didn’t exist was the politician’s, aka the first one. So how could the Flower Killer gain so many admirers so quickly?
Keep in mind that this is all educated guesses and speculation on my part, but I assume the politician’s death was pretty high-profile. And previous episodes have hinted about how the Flower Killer was (at least initially) a “Robin Hood” style murderer who started out targeting the corrupt. So maybe there were a lot of people who were grateful that someone took care of seedy characters like the politician – and later the CEO – and started to pay attention to him. Also, the Flower Killer seems to be an incredibly meticulous planner because all of his murders involved assistance from at least one other person. So, I think it could also be possible that he started to cultivate a network of like-minded people to help him carry out these murders before he ever actually killed anyone.
What was the actual chronological order of the Flower Killer’s murders? Why did the Flower Killer say that K was his final murder when the show depicted him murdering Poison’s assistant afterwards?
This is hard to me to determine for sure, so don’t take what I say as official show canon. BUT I’ve watched this episode like six times now, so I’m *fairly* certain of the answer. I definitely don’t believe the order shown in the episode was the chronological one. The show was trying to do a bunch of reveals with the death of Poison’s assistant (more on that in a bit), so it looks like they saved that until the end and just put the other four first. I think the real order of his victims from first to last was: the politician, the CEO, the actress, Poison’s assistant, and K. I made a basic timeline below to try and place it all together, but please keep in mind that it includes a lot of guesswork and speculation.
- The Flower Killer starts to plan out his first murder, gathering a network of people who can help him commit his crimes – most importantly, Tae Hangho and Poison.
- The Flower Killer murders the politician, and his following starts to grow. At some point, three women join his cult: the flight attendant who will help him murder the CEO, the nurse who will help him kill Poison’s assistant, and the actress who will become a victim herself.
- The Flower Killer murders the CEO and his renown spreads even more, catching K’s attention.
- K starts investigating the Flower Killer. He manages to connect Poison to the murders and threatens him for information.
- The actress is able to get information on K and gives it to the Flower Killer. However, the Flower Killer suspects a potential double cross and murders her too.
- The Flower Killer catches Poison’s assistant taking a photo of him when he comes to pick up a poison – either for the actress’s murder or K’s. (Since we see the Flower Killer injecting the actress’s lip balm with something but we don’t see the same for the candle, I’m going to assume this was the poison intended for the actress.) The Flower Killer beats up Poison’s assistant and threatens him, then tracks him down and kills him even though he’s under police protection.
- The Flower Killer murders K and declares it to be his last killing. He leaves a flower that signifies a “happy ending,” but someone removes it and replaces it. So wherever the Flower Killer is, he’s probably pretty annoyed about that.
What was the big deal with the fifth murder? Why was it so special compared to the others?
I covered this a bit in the actual recap, but I’m going to revisit it because I think it’s the most confusing part of the episode. When the team sees the opening performance, they note how the fifth Flower Killer actor doesn’t participate. Therefore, they only see four people get “murdered” through the interpretative dance and then start to believe that the Flower Killer only killed four people, with the fifth casualty supposedly happening during the play. For a while, they assume that the fifth death refers to Tae Hangho. As I explained earlier, this is incorrect. Since Tae Hangho was supposed to be the actor playing Poison’s assistant, he probably was supposed to appear in the opening dance with the fifth Flower Killer actor. Obviously, this didn’t happen.
Since the event’s hosts couldn’t find a replacement for Tae Hangho until sometime during the first act, they just skipped the murder of Poison’s assistant in the performance. Yoon Jonghoon, who was acting as one of the Flower Killers, said he didn’t participate in the dance because he couldn’t do the rehearsal – which conveniently provides another reason for the show to not depict the fifth murder. So basically, there’s nothing particularly important about the Flower Killer’s murder of Poison’s assistant. The show probably didn’t want to reveal how Tae Hangho was murdered or that Yoon Jonghoon was acting in the play so early in the game, and the editing just kind of played up the team’s initial (incorrect) assumptions as a result.
NOTE: All photos and GIFs are screenshots or screen captures from Busted! Season 2 Episode 9 on Netflix. Nothing belongs to me, and all images are used here for illustrative purposes only.