Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.
This chapter is kind of amazing.
It is substantially longer than the previous one but all that build up comes to a head here and yet we get to the end of the chapter without anybody dying but it isn’t a let down.
If you aren’t interested in plot spoilers please stop reading now. There’s a few big ones in this review.
The police officer uses the lame excuse of a noise complaint to Sangwoo to get inside the house. We know Sangwoo doesn’t buy this. Firstly because we know that he’s stood outside and shouted for help with Bum with no concern whatsoever for anyone hearing or complaining. And in case that wasn’t enough to make the officer’s story totally suspect and for the readers to figure out that Sangwoo knew this, we get this line from Sangwoo:
“Which is why I’m so surprised you received a complaint…”
The whole scene as Sangwoo allows the officer to check the house just smacks of Sangwoo’s usual games. It’s satisfying enough but nothing spectacular and then the officer notices the missing knife.
At this point the reader inevitably draws the conclusion that his time is short. It’s going to be brutal and its going to happen soon. We keep cutting between Sangwoo and the officer to Yoon Bum who is cowering, hands over his mouth (which is interesting in and of itself given this is potential rescue material but clearly Yoon Bum isn’t interested – unless he’s also smart enough to have figured out there’s no chance of one guy overpowering Sangwoo and is waiting a better chance).
Then the officer does the second idiotic thing in this chapter. To delay leaving he pretends to receive a phone call. Of course he actually gets a real phone call. It all seems like death is looming.
And finally, Sangwoo leads him to the wardrobe. He’s going to open the door and then he’s going to stab the officer with the knife. But that isn’t what happens. I love being surprised by a story in an intelligent manner and not something totally random. So the officer opens the wardrobe and there is no Yoon Bum. The officer is confused. He was certain someone was in the house. He was sure the wardrobe was where they had to be. But there’s nothing. And so he leaves.
Then, and this is why I started this review with ‘this chapter is kind of amazing’, we get this expression from Sangwoo:
That was so incredibly satisfying. For 13 chapters we’ve not seen Sangwoo even vaguely rattled. Crazy certainly, furious occasionally, smug and self-assured almost constantly, but that look… I would almost say it is worth reading the 13 chapters to this point, even if this isn’t your style of story, just for the satisfaction that this look will bring you.
Following this Sangwoo literally tears around the house, almost mirroring the path of the police officer, frantically searching. Then he runs outside and has kind of a break down and we get a weird mix of sexual desire and murderous intent. There’s also some foul language but all of this can be neatly summed up by Sangwoo’s statement:
“He actually ran away.”
Sangwoo is being hit by mixtures of betrayal, heart-break, loss of control, rage, abandonment issues, and there’s definitely some sexual tension thrown into the mix. And it shakes him hard.
Meanwhile, as a reader I’m frantically trying to put the pieces together. I know Yoon Bum hasn’t run away because the whole time the search was on we saw Yoon Bum in the closet…
Wait, no we didn’t.
We saw Yoon Bum in a small space, cowering. I assumed, as the police officer did, that he was in the wardrobe because that’s where we saw the foot through the mail slot in the door. And suddenly I get it.
It’s a very weird reunion at the end of the chapter and what, from anyone else, would sound like a marriage proposal but all and all it just means that this creepy and highly dysfunctional relationship is going to continue and now I’m really not sure what the end game is unless eventually the plan is for Sangwoo to just snap. More importantly, the officer still knows something is off. Will he come back?
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