Review and Recaps: Jirisan episode 3 (also known as ‘Cliffhanger’ or ‘Mountain Jiri’)

The episode starts with Yi-Gang scanning through the records of Yang Guen-tak (The person they found dead recently ) And she notices the yellow ribbon in the pics of his last remains.

She gets a call from the headquarters asking her to look for a file from captain Jo Dae-jin’s desk. To her shock when she searches through his drawers she finds the same yellow ribbon that Hyun-Jo mentioned he saw in the pine habitat. Yi-Gang remembers Hyun-Jo saying that the yellow ribbons were pointing as if to confuse people and make them get lost instead of showing the path to the top of the mountain.

At the same time, Dae-Jin comes to the station and Yi-Gang freaks out and hastily puts all the files and the yellow ribbons back into his drawers. When Dae-Jin enters thankfully, she puts everything back and he sees her trying to get a file that has fallen in the ground. It seems he didn’t notice anything. Yi-Gang also notices the black gloves. (I am the only one who suspected Dae-Jin when I saw a man murdering people in a mountain. I might be wrong but, he was the first one who came to my mind.).

In the mountains, as Yi-Gang instructed the newbie girl – Lee Da-won places the mark with stones and twigs near the old tree.

And she roams in the forest and takes pics of some flowers in the bush. A hooded figure appears before her and the weirdest part was she is not able to see the figure. At this point, Jung Gu-Yeong calls her, and she goes away from the place.

In the ranger station, Da-won shows her the signal she has kept near the tree as Yi-Gang has instructed, and seeing Yi-Gang not reacting she asks if she did something wrong.

Yi-Gang says she did a good job and asks if she found someone suspicious. Da-won face lights up getting the praise from her role model and she denies seeing someone there and informs her that she has kept a hidden camera near the signal.

To add more context to the hooded ghostly figure, we are shown the 3 men gossiping about how the ghost roams in the Jirisan when the temple bells are ringed every day. After this, a woman joins them and tells them that the mountain is haunted by a shaman and many men die after seeing him. We are also shown a man seeing the hooded figure with a bloodstain in his sleeves. And as per the villager’s gossips, the man indeed dies due to poisoning.

The hooded figure roams around the mountain and finds the mark that Da-won left near the old tree. Now at this time, we are shown the hooded figure face who is none other than Hyun-Jo!. The hooded Hyun-Jo looks at the mark and says Yi-Gang sunbae. (I am confused now…is it really the ghost of Hyun-Jo…if it is who is the one lying in a coma in the hospital.)

Hooded Hyun-Jo then changes the twigs placed in the signal as the camera records everything..but in the camera, it looks like the twigs are floating in the air and Hyun-Jo is not visible.

It’s 2018 now, Yi-Gang is helping out a middle-aged woman who is freaked out to climb down the mountain. The middle-aged woman tried to climb the mountain with watermelon to the peak to pray for her son to get into college. Both Yi-Gang and Hyun-Jo help her to climb down the mountain and Yi-Gang advises the woman that the mountains don’t have any energy so if she wants to pray she should go to the temple or church.

As they say goodbye to the lady they get another task in their walkie-talkie – ” Bidam 1 Baektogol 3km prayer point on the restricted trial. Report of illegal shamanism.”. 

At this point, Hyun-Jo again sees a vision of him in army dress with a troop in the jirisan.

Yi-gang and Hyun-Jo reach there and watch a group of people performing rituals soon the team joins them.

A group of old people is praying in the middle of the forest and among them is a small child. People are playing instruments and dancing and praying.

All the search groups along with a researcher Sol (The researcher from the first episode.) come together and make a move towards the illegal prayer group. Gu-Yeong advises him to shout “the king’s order” when he tries to stop the group else he would be in bad luck for 5 years. When Hyun-jo thinks that Gu-Yeong is kidding, Yi-Gang along with other rangers shouts King’s order and tries to stop the group. Along with them not knowing what to do Hyun-Jo joins them in the shouting too.

It becomes chaos and finally when they surround everyone in the group and capture them and fine them for illegal entry and prayer, the young girl sits alone and looks at the stream of water.

Hyun-Jo goes near her and asks if she is alright.. the young girl looks at him and says, “You are destined to roam the mountain even when you are dead.”. This makes Hyun-Jo confused.

A yellow paper with something drawn on it floats in the stream and the researcher collects it saying he has never seen something like this.

Hyun-Jo asks him if shamanism is common in this mountain. The researcher asks him if he has heard about the saying “gone in the valley”. Meaning – to die. It originated from the Baektogol valley since it has seen so many deaths and no one has left the place alive. It has strong yin energy even for mount jirisan – the donghak peasant revolution, Japanese invasion, the Korean war, and the partisan battle it has seen these many wars.

This place still has so many bones if dug up. There would be so many stones and cross in the mountain for the people who couldn’t have a grave. If ghosts exist, it is the apt place for them and that is why shamans come to collect the energy.

That night all rangers drink at the place of park il hae (ranger leader) to chase away the ghost they say. Park il hae informs others that Hyun-Jo was the topper at the ranger academy and people were shocked when he volunteered for mount jirisan because most people avoided it because of its vastness.

Then they make fun of Yi-Gang since she is the lowest scorer and never got promoted. She gets frustrated and drinks up Sweet potato makgeolli.

That night Hyun-jo accompanies her to the home and ends up listening to her rant of how she became the ranger. It seems everyone fears this rant of Yi-Gang whenever she is drunk. Our poor hero got stuck with the rant this time. And she tells him her story starting from the age of 5 till the age of 13. By the morning she could only reach age 13.

The next day we are shown an old lady offering food and soju to her dead mother’s grave and a tree. She then sleeps near the tree when a man with black gloves keeps 2 bottles of yogurt drinks near the food.

In the ranger station, Hyun-jo looks at a report and after seeing the word Baektogol he gets other flashes of an image in which he sees a place with stone pilgrims and crosses. When he is caught up in his thoughts the ranger station receives an announcement that grandma geum- rye is up in the mountain again.

Yi-Gang and hyun-jo leave to the Baektogol valley and something irks Hyun-jo when he hears Baektogol. Yi-Gang informs Hyun-Jo that grandma Guem-rye is infamous for her illegal hiking in the jirisan as she visits many times to pray for her mother who died in the Baektogol valley.

They reach the valley and find out that the grandma has visited the place but something is off. She has not taken the prayer offering back which she never leaves behind and on asking the headquarters there is no information about the grandma and people are still searching for her.

 They try calling her but no luck so they plan to search nearby.

As Hyun-Jo notices a tree with real bullet holes, Yi-Gang tells him that very long ago there was a civilian massacre there and they call it “the bullet tree”.

When Yi-Gang says they should split up and search for the grandma, Hyun-jo asks if they both could search Baektogol stone pagoda ground.

They search at the stone pagoda ground and find nothing. Yi-Gang regrets believing Hyun-jo and coming there. Hyun-jo shows her the stone statue that he saw in his vision. At this time a group of army men comes in marching and when they meet the troop lead (Lieutenant Choi) looks at Hyun-Jo and asks if he is captain Hyun. It seems that Hyun-Jo was discharged from the army for some reason and he is uncomfortable talking about it to the troop leader. 

Hyun-Jo then asks Lieutenant Choi if he saw some old lady in their way. One of the Private who was left behind when they were marching coincidentally saw a man (the man with the dark gloves) checking a pink rucksack. They confirm it as the rucksack of the old lady Geum-rye when Yi-Gang shows the old lady picture.

 Private Ahn shows them the location on the map and says it is a 50-minute point from Baeksil. They both run towards the location which might be an hour with the shortcut. It seemed odd when the private was drinking the same yogurt drink that the black-gloved man kept near the prayer offering after Yi-Gang and Hyun-jo left.

When they reach the place they find the pink rucksack loaded with yellow mushroom which is deadly when taken more and it gives hallucination and dizziness. The grandma is actually roaming in the nearby place dizzily and hallucinates a horrible sight of forest fire and a large group of people killed by shooting. The grandmother’s mother with a child – that is herself is running towards her and are killed by bullets. Soon after that her mother comes near her and extends her hand. The grandma holds her mother’s hand.

Yi-Gang and Hyun-jo call the grandma’s phone and search. By the time they hear the ringtone and reach the place the grandma is dead. This shakes Yi-Gang and she is not even able to move a muscle.

Hyun-Jo makes her sit down and informs the ranger station that they found the grandma with no vital signs. They share the location and then Hyun-Jo confesses to Yi-Gang that till now he has seen 2 deaths in mount jirisan. One is this grandma and another one is back when he was a captain in the army.

A dearly Seargent of him died because of him. He tells her that they came for a march to the very same valley and he failed to find the Seargent at the right time. By the time he found the lost Seargent he was already dead and he skidded in rock and got injured before he could go near him.

From that incident, Hyun-Jo was seeing people who died in mount Jirisan. Though at first, he thought it was all in his mind when he heard the news that confirmed the things he saw in his vision it was scary for him.

Coming to mount Jirisan as a ranger was the right decision to do if at all he don’t know these visions were due to ghosts or guardian angels. 

At this moment, Hyun-Jo gets a call that private Ahn is missing. While going to the spot Hyun-Jo steps on the yogurt drink bottle and has another vision of the yogurt bottle falling.

When they reach the spot Lieutenant Choi says that private Ahn was responsible for the night watch today but he was feeling sick and he went away for throwing up and never came back. 

The last place they saw his vomit was at the entrance of Dalgwi forest (Climax forest) and they almost got lost in the forest so they retreated.

Yi-Gang says that Dalgwi forest is a climax forest and many people get lost because all the trees look the same and we could get easily lost.

Private Ahn is actually lost in the same forest and he is throwing up and running away from somebody. He seems to be hallucinating just like the grandma.

The army troop along with the rangers searches the forest. Yi-Gang has advised to use GPS and search since they might be easily hallucinated in the forest and roaming around the same place.

At the same time, private Ahn reaches a cliff dizzily, and as he nears the cliff, the man in the black jacket and gloves smiles at the view and goes to push private Ahn from the cliff. Before the man moves Hyun-Jo rushes to Ahn and stops him. The black jacket man hides now. Yi-Gang blows the whistle and alerts others. They call the medic and helicopter for help immediatly.

Yi-Gang and her grandmother are at the funeral home mourning grandma Geum-rye’s death. Gu-Yeong and Hyun-Jo are waiting for them outside the funeral home. When Yi-Gang and her grandma leave, Gu-Yeong asks Hyun-Jo if Yi-gang was alright seeing the corpse of grandma guem-rye.

He tells Hyun-Jo the story of Yi-gang finding her parent’s corpse in the dowan valley flood. During the flood, there was a shortage of staff so she herself climbed the mountain to find her parents in a hope that they would be alive. She was not ready to see her parents dead and when she saw she fainted in the same spot and people carried her down. From that time she has a weakness with seeing corpses.

Hyun-Jo asks why is she doing this job then. Gu-Yeong tells him he will know when she would tell him the 24th age story. Hyun-Jo that night goes to Yi-Gang’s restaurant with sweet potato makgeolli. Even though they were closed he makes her bring him pancake and he tells her that he met private Ahn that afternoon and Ahn is doing well.

Hyun-Jo finds out from private Ahn that he has lied to lieutenant Choi that he got food poisoned because he drank water from the valley. In reality, he drank the yogurt drink that he got from the stranger that had the pink rucksack of grandma geum-rye earlier.

So that person might be the one who is involved in the people’s death somehow. Hyun-Jo also confesses that he had a vision of the same yogurt drink dropping in the stone pagoda in Baektogol and not in the Dalgwi forest.

Yi-Gang doesn’t buy his vision this time and thanks him for helping till now. Due to his vision, they were able to save private Ahn but she is having doubts about his vision.

The next day Hyun-jo visits Baektogol stone pagoda. When he reaches the place and look from the top he finally puts all the broken pieces together and understands that the vision of the stone pagoda and yogurt bottle falling down and the man stomping on the bottle was not signifying the future but were 1 year from the past – when he was a captain and sergeant from his troupe died. The sergeant died not because of an accident or because Hyun-Jo couldn’t find him on time but he was murdered by this unknown man that he sees in his vision.

With this revelation, the episode ends.

Well, this episode gave both answers and questions to me. One thing that got answered was there was a psycho roaming in the mountains who is killing people giving them yogurt drinks and it might be Captian Dae-jin. But is it real that the spirit of Hyun-Jo is roaming in the mountains in 2020 that too when he is in a coma? I thought the series would be a thriller but it has some elements of fantasy too.

After seeing the first 2 episodes I was skeptical whether I would like this drama to the end.. well the third episode changed my mind and I might like this drama.

I really want to watch the next episode and find out who the mystery man is who is going around and killing people and the most importantly how Hyun-Jo ended up in the spirit world.

To read reviews and recaps of all the episodes click here!

7 thoughts on “Review and Recaps: Jirisan episode 3 (also known as ‘Cliffhanger’ or ‘Mountain Jiri’)

  1. The same confusion for me is how his ghost wanders around the forest while he is in the hospital in a coma

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