This show makes me so wary of living in grimy places with strange people that stare at you and use up all your shampoo. Wait, I was already wary of places like that. Y’all, if this guy does not get up out of this gochiwon as soon as possible.
I mean, I can understand if he had absolutely no where else to go, but he has a girlfriend, a mother who looks like she would sell the house for him, and some cash on hand. Why stay in this psycho place? Is this the stupidity of men who always think that nothing will happen to them? Because no woman would every stay there, hence no women tenants living there. Listen to the women and get out!
Though I am starting to think that Jong-woo might have a few screws loose himself. Will this end up being one of those shows where the narrator is unreliable? No spoilers! I want to find out as they delve it out to us!
OST: Coming Soon!
IMAGES: Collected Images for Strangers From Hell (updated weekly)
Caution: Be wary of typos
Shorthand Character Chart: Coming soon!
How we do this: We update the post around every 10 minutes. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the scene. There will be typos which we have fantasies of fixing once the episode finishes airing. Also, there might be lovely updates at the bottom, so check back in!
Recap Countdown: This is a quickcap
KOREAN DRAMA STRANGERS FROM HELL: EPISODE 1 RECAP
Radio – There is a typhoon coming. We will have a lot of rain and high winds.
We open in an apartment with two people walking up the hall. One of them says that he thinks no one is there. Jong-woo is one of the guys walking up the aisle.
JW – This is the novel I started writing in this goshiwon house.
they keep walking up the aisle and looking around.
JW – Yes, before I came here, I thought the world I lived in was hell, not this place.
He opens a door and looks inside, there is a computer
JW – But, this is a real hell, created by others. This miserable hell.
He goes inside and then peaks outside and closes the door. Someone is coming. He looks at the shadow under the door and sees steps walk by. Jong-woo is scared as he continues watching. Then he sees the shadow of steps come back. There is someone right outside his door. he looks up at the door in fear.
then we go to the hallway and suddenly see Jong-woo thrown threw the door, the door snaps in two as he falls, no one is outside.
Cut to someone dragging him, blood trails down the hall.
JW – This place was hell created by strangers. What did I do wrong to fall into this hell?
He is dragged to a dark place. Someone looks down on him. Jong-woo has a black eye and tries to open it to look at the person who dragged him there. This person holds up a mallet or ax or something and swings it at Jong-woo.
We flashback to a happier scene that is sunny and pleasant as we see Jong-woo riding a bus to the city. He has his earphones in and is reading a book. But he puts it all away as he gets off the bus along with everyone else and starts to get his luggage. He is a bit clumsy of a kid and drops his suitcase accidentally, though another person apologizes for accidentally getting in the way.
This causes Jong-woo’s computer screen to break so he calls after the ajusshi, but the ajusshi is long gone. Someone calls, his girlfriend named Min Ji-wun who asks if he got to the city yet. he asks about the drama she is working on, but she has to run.
Jong-woo rides another bus into the city and takes it to a place to fix his laptop, it will be $200 to fix the screen. But if he went to the retailer service then it would cost a lot more. So Jong-woo has no choice and asks them to do a good job fixing it. they assure him that it will be like new.
He starts to roll his luggage out and talks to another guy about the price to fix the screen in another place, this price is $150, but it could be lower. So he was ripped off at the other place.
Jong-woo then walks on the street and sees a dart game so he starts to play the dart game and actually wins something. But it isn’t anything big, he just won the 5th prize which is a little toy.
Next, we see him checking out rooms. One is a nice room but is 500 a month. He goes to another one, it is 450 a month. he sees another one that will have a discount if you pay 3 months in advance, it would be $270. he keeps looking around. Everyone has fans everywhere depicting how hot it is outside.
Jong-woo rolls his luggage to a kimbap place to eat and continues to look for a goshiwon on his phone. He calls a place that is $190 per month. He tells them that he will be there soon. He hurries to finish eating and then lugs his suitcase onto the subway, down a huge flight of steps, up another huge flight of steps, then up a huge hill and to another huge rainbow flight of steps and up another hill. He is struggling y’all.
He finally gets to the gochiwon. But after looking at it from outside, he wonders how he can live in a place like that. He turns to leave, but his wheel rolls off of his luggage which makes him sigh and think for a moment. So he decides to go ahead and go up to the goshiwon.
The door has signs on it that says “Garden of Eden” goshiwon (Or just Eden Gochiwon). He sighs and goes inside.
While walking up the hall, he sees the ajumma whom he talked to on the phone. She starts to compliment his voice and in how difficult it is to come up here. He asks her all sorts of questions like if she has a lot of people and if the man and women floors are different. She says that this place used to be popular but it not anymore due to city renovations. This place is cheaper than others due to that.
She walks him to room 302 and says that she gives her tenents free eggs and kimchi. For the price, this is the best place. She opens the door to an empty room that looks like mold is growing all in the cracks. It looks horrible. He asks why it is so cheap even though it is a renovation. She smiles and says that she is a deacon in the church, so she can’t lie. Well, the person who stayed here committed suicide before. Not in this room, but I don’t want to lie to people.
She starts to ask him if he is not from Seoul and if he is a student? He says no, he has a job. He backs into the hallway and bumps into a thug looking man who starts to curse at how hot it is. Can’t you turn on the AC? Ajumma asks why he is so angry, that is so bothersome. She tells Jong-woo not to worry about him, he will be gone soon. He is leaving. Let’s think about it will drinking cold coffee.
She starts to walk him away, but Jong-woo turns and looks back up the hallway.
In the office, the ajumma tells him that everyone is nice except that ajusshi and asks if he made up his mind yet? He thinks for a second and says that he will stay there. It is a temporary stay anyway. She pats him and says it is a good decision, then she gives him all his keys and tells him that there is a shared bathroom.
Jong-woo walks to his door and is about to go inside. But then there is a man looking at him from his door. Jong-woo says hello, but the man does not say anything, he just stares at Jong-woo. Jong-woo asks if he has anything to say? The man goes inside.
then another man comes out who is laughing and tells Jong-woo that that is not his room, this is your room. Jong-woo sees his mistake and goes to the next door. He tells the man that he is staying there as of today. But the laughing man just keeps laughing and goes back to his room.
Jong-woo goes inside just as the creepy man from before looks at him again.
Inside his place, we see just how small this room is as Jong-soo tries to find a comfortable position and tries to hang his bag and tries to get the dust off. He thinks that this place is not that great. But he also thinks that it will only be for 6 months until he makes enough money.
His phone rings, it is his mother asking him if he got there okay. They speak in Busan saturi. She tells him to be nice to his friends but then there is a knock on the door. He tells his mother that he will call later, then he opens the door. The thug-like guy from earlier tells Jong-woo that he needs to talk outside on the phone, tsk. Jong-woo says he will do that next time.
We then see the group shower facility and eating area. Everything is super dirty with hair all over the place and grime everywhere. the thug continues walking around saying that Jong-woo bothers him. This is the person in room 310. Jong-woo cannot get away from this guy, he even opens a toilet stall and the man is on it.
Later on, Jong-woo calls his girlfriend from the rooftop. She asks if he found a good place and small chit chat like that. The landlord ajumma is on the roof and greets him as 303. the girlfriend wants to talk a bit more but actually has to leave because it is someone’s birthday in her office. Jong-woo tells her that oppa will see her often now and then gets off the phone.
The landlord calls Jong-woo “handsome guy” and asks him if he likes the rooftop? then she says that the 4th floor is the women’s floor, no one lives there. They had a fire so they need to renovate, but this part of the city is having hard times so she hasn’t yet. She tells him not to go to the 4th floor or he will get hurt. Okay? She smiles and he nods then walks away.
When he walks to his place, he sees Room 314’s room which is all sexy pictures that he is cutting out. These sexy photos are all over the walls and he is currently cutting out a sexy photo to put up there. Jong-woo looks at the photos a little too much and then hurries to his room.
While in his room, he starts to write a note about a guy with a strange walking pattern that walks up the street with a plastic bag in his hand. We cut to room 306 who is walking up the street. He sees a woman who is kneeling, but then we see that he is actually interested in the cat. he goes up to the cat and says that it is pretty.
Then he runs down the hill and runs into a man who knows him. It also looks like he is playing with a toy gun that looks real? The person he runs into tells him that he should be quiet at night time and then heads out.
306 watches him go but is then pulled to the attention of some neighborhood ajummas who are giving away free coffee. But instead of having a small cup, he asks for the big container. he takes this huge container back to the apartment.
At the apartment, we see that room 314 person, the pervert, has an ankle bracelet that he is trying to cut off. It is one of those things that they give to sexual offenders. The giggling tenant sees him and tries to walk away but it looks like they both have some sort of weird relationship where he takes him to a back room and pulls out a weird knife. But then he pulls out something else that looks like a hammer? The giggle guy giggles and says that do you know what the strange thing is about this place? No one will know if anyone dies here.
The pervert swings the hammer at something against the wall.
In his room, Jong-woo answers his phone. It is a hyung or maybe his hyung. Jong-woo tries to talk quietly. His hyung tells him that they should have a drink so Jong-woo says that he will send him his address. He hangs up and then looks at the ceiling, there is paper that is peeling from it.
So Jong-woo decides to leave his room and go upstairs. There is gum on the railing that gets on his hands (gross) so he grabs a random duct tape roller from the steps and wipes it off. He gets to the 4th floor which is only for women and is about to open the door, but then a bb gun shoots at him. The giggling man comes giggling down the steps.
Jong-woo tells him not to shoot that thing at him and then tells him that he heard a sound on the 4th floor. No one should be living here right? The giggling guy goes downstairs but then looks up at him with a smile as he covers his mouth to keep from laughing.
Jong-woo looks at the door again and then walks away.
Outside, Two cops fix their car which is broke on the side of the road. The woman cop is actually the one that fixed it. Her partner calls her an engineering goddess (or she jokes that she is one)> They get to their call where the woman says that they are late. They apologize for being late due to their car and then look at what the woman is saying. There is a dead cat in a bag so they start to talk about how this is the10th time this month.
But there is no CCTV here. It is someone who knows about the neighborhood. The woman says that she asked them to put a CCTV here, she feels so insecure. The cops tell her to go to the city office, don’t call the police. Also, don’t talk to us about this trash. She tells ajusshi officer that they are police officers. The woman says that they will look into it and will remove the trash.
The cops start to walk away and talks about a similar murder case. The woman (Jung-hwa) says that a lot of cats died around a neighborhood and then someone got killed. they need to catch these guys. But she has tooth pain right now so her partner says that she should go to the dentist.
In the office, she still has tooth pain. Another cop says to check it out, but she says it is nothing. She starts to talk about a person that ate their dog and psychopaths and all those things. She says that they don’t sympathize and torture animals and how they need to investigate it. IT looks like he follows him around the office telling him about al this or maybe she was telling everyone about this. No one listened. He tells her to go to the dentist first.
She ends up going to the dentist. The nurses say that their hours are over but they are staying late special for her. They stay open until 10pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Not today. The dentist comes in and tells his nurses that they can go home, he will take care of it. They leave and he starts to look at the tooth.
he tells her that she has a big cavity, they need to treat her nerves. He asks if she is scared of dentists even though she is a policeman? She says no but asks if it will hurt? He says he will make it as painless as possible and gets started.
Fast forward to him giving her instructions on treatment and how she has to come in next week as well. He actually knows one of her superiors in the office. She thanks him for treating her tooth late. he thanks her for working hard as an officer.
He gives her one last look as she walks off, but his face turns serious as he goes back into his office.
Meanwhile, Jong-woo has his drink with his sunbae hyung. This guy looks a bit older than him. They start to talk about how he is still writing stories a little bit. This time it is a detective story. they start to talk about his girlfriend and why he just won’t stay with her? They talk about her for a bit and how she is busy with her managers birthday party.
The sunbae says that they don’t have those things at his company so it is nice. Jong-woo tells his sunbae hyung about the goshiwon, it is super small with thin walls. His sunbae says that he will hire him as a regular when he finishes his internship. Jong-woo says his sunbae is great as a CEO, but the sunbae says it is nothing and starts to talk about Ji-eun again (Jong-woo’s girlfriend). Jong-woo tells him that he talks about strange things. His sunbae friend grows serious and asks what it is? Jong-woo says it is nothing and chuckles.
They go outside. Two drunk people are pushing each other and others are around. The sunbae says that a lot of people with a good resume apply for this internship but he hired Jong-woo because he is a good hubae. Jong-woo thanks him but then starts cursing to himself as the sunbae leaves.
However, the sunbae comes back just as the two drunk guys start to seriously fight on the street. Jong-woo thinks that they should stop them. The sunbae thinks that he should do nothing, because these guys could sue him, just call the police. This situation sends Jong-woo into a military flashback where he saw two military guys fighting.
So he runs to the people fighting and pushing the one on top off of the other and starts to yell at him STOP!
Fast forward to the cops and ambulance taking the other guys away.
Jong-woo sits and is given water by his sunbae. He says that he can buy him more drinks but Jong-woo says that he will leave. He will buy next time. He starts to walk away, but the sunbae wants him to come back. He ends up giving him some money for a taxi and tells him to come to work on time. The taxi drives off.
In the taxi, the driver asks him if he knows that people can be born evil? He thinks it is right. Kids kill bugs without feeling anything. Have you ever heard that Strangers are Hell?
Jong-woo tells him that he is sorry but he is tired. So the man stops talking.
Jong-woo makes it back to his place. The man with the bag shows up too (he was also the mysterious man on the street before the coffee ajumma scene). Jong-woo looks at him hallway and the man with the bag walks up. He is from room 302. He asks what he is doing standing there like that? Do you feel that you are strapped in a tunnel that you will not be able to come out of? I think I can get out of it.
Jong-woo is all like, what in the world? he starts to walk away.
302 tells him that he is an interesting person. But Jong-woo just keeps walking away and goes to his room. 302 keeps watching him.
As Jong-woo is straightening up his room, he hears the strange sound from above him. The camera zooms in to show that there is a little peephole in his ceiling and someone is peeking in on him.
Jong-woo goes to the shower where 306 is taking a shower. He looks very normal right now actually. He gives Jong-woo a very tiny bit of toothpaste but then asks if he can use his shampoo and ends up using like half of it.
After his shower, Jong-woo goes to the kitchen to make ramen. The thug guy walks in and asks if he can make his also? Then he takes something from the fridge and says that he should be careful, did you know that 313 was here? He was looking at you making ramen. He calls 313 a pervert and says that Jong-woo should crack the eggs before putting them in the ramen.
Jong-woo cracks the eggs and they are all bloody inside. The thug says that the old lady brags about bringing in eggs but only brings bad ones. Jong-woo ends up making 5 ramen in a big pot, for the thug guy, and they both eat it together.
The thug guy says that you can go crazy here. he is leaving next week and going to his hometown to open a fishing place. But he also tells him to be careful about his next-door guy. He is telling him this because he reminds him of his little brother. Don’t get to know people here, just leave as soon as possible. You thought people here with their crazy eyes, they can do anything.
He looks over his shoulder as if someone is watching him and then tells Jong-woo that he is good at making ramen.
Jong-woo washes up and starts to head back to his room, but he looks up the hallway before going in. From the other side, giggling 306 comes up to Jong-woo, but the thug comes out and tells 306 not to make sounds like that. Then the pervert from 313 comes out and stares at Jong-woo.
VO – All my stress from today came up to him.
JW – hat are you looking at?
He approaches 313. 313 does not talk. So Jong-woo curses and goes to his room. Behind 313’s back is a huge knife.
In his room, Jong-woo hops from foot to foot back and forth as it looks like his adrenaline is high. Later on, he lays awake a night. There is a noise outside. Footsteps leave a room and walk up the hall, then they come back and stand in front of Jong-woo’s door.
It is Nam-wok who asks himself, “kill or not, kill or not”
In the room across from Jong-woo, the thug does not sleep, he just holds his knife and sits up awake.
In Jong-woo’s room, Jong-woo is asleep. Outside, the pervert asks, you want me to kill you? So how do you want me to kill you? he tries to open the door.
This wakes up Jong-woo who steps out into the hallway. He walks to room 305 and goes inside. There is blood everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. Then a man comes running out of a room and runs all the way up to him and hits Jong-woo in the head. He falls and we see flashbacks and flashforwards until Jong-woo wakes up in his bed.
He hears the thug talking to the giggling man outside. But it is more accusation style as he asks him what he took from his room! The man says he did not take anything. The man asks if he wants to put his wrist on the table and say he did not do it?
But then another giggling man comes around the corner! It looks like a twin? The other twin says that the man has to give him his wrist. The man kicks this twin and starts to walk to the other one. Jong-woo starts to stop him. But then room 302 asks stops him and asks if he saw it? The thug says that he went into his room. The other giggling guy asks why he would, he has his own room.
The thug walks past but 302 holds his wrist and tells the thug to calm down. he grips his wrist tightly, the thug starts to grimace in pain.
VO – They already knew about it, that this place was hell.
I would be so out of this apartment gochiwon so fast. I wouldn’t even tell the ajumma landlord I was leaving, I would just peace out with my luggage. Or I might just leave my luggage there to make it look like I was returning and just take all my personal belongings and borrow a suit from someone. It looks like his girlfriend has a good job, so I’m sure she would not mind lending him a few bucks or a place to stay for a couple nights.
With how things are going after just one or two days, it kind of looks like our man won’t last the week? I have a feeling that the thug might find a bitter end sooner than Jong-woo. Things did not look too good for him at the end of this episode.
Y’all, this show makes me feel so grimy, like I should take a nice long shower after watching it. But I am into the creepiness of it!
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