Strangers From Hell is moving at breaking speed, y’all. If you were looking for a slow horror novel that relied on suspense, this is not it. In fact, I would like it to have a bit more suspense to give my “Oh snap” reflex a break every time something happens that I did not expect to happen because I thought someone or something would step in and save the situation.
The only thing that kind of but not really bothers me right now is always seeing a flash of what Jong-woo will do to someone who annoys him because we know that it is just him dreaming. I kind of want him to just act on that impulse now and see what happens.
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 4 RECAP
We open this episode with the meat from last night. Moonzo presents it to Jong-woo and tells him that the goshiwon ajumma made it, try it. jong-woo tries it just as the lights start to flicker. But he thinks to himself that it does not taste good. However, he thinks it is because he saw that dead cat earlier. Moon-zo asks if he doesn’t like it? Maybe it is just this part, we have another part. But Jong-woo says it is okay, it is pretty late.
Moonzo eats some and says that the meat is good meat. He looks at Jong-woo as he chews and asks him if he thinks it is human meat or something? Jong-woo startled up quickly and says that he has to go to work so he will leave first. he bows himself out and then walks up the hall to his room.
JW – (Now it is closed, you pervert, you listened to the landlord at least).
Jong-woo goes into his place.
In the cafeteria, Jong-woo thinks that this is strange, this meat is good. How come he does not know about it? The landlord ajumma eats some and says it is strange. It is really good for my tastebuds, perhaps I should put MSG? Moonzo leans in and says that MSG would remove the taste of the meat itself. Landlord ajumma starts to giggle and says that it true.
In his room, Jong-woo opens his computer and sees that the fuzz he places there is still there. In fact, it is the same as the picture he took. But he can’t shake that strange face he saw on Moon-zo for a flicker of a moment as he starts to type.
TITLE: MENTAL CONFUSION (HALLUCINATION)
Outside somewhere, we see the twins driving off. The giggling one is the one that is driving for whatever reason and the other twin sees cops behind them. The giggling twin does not look like he should be operating a vehicle. he pulls the car over and lets the window down for the officer, who happens to be Officer So Jung-hwa.
So tells him to lower the sound on the radio. the twin in the back asks what happened. Officer So starts to think about what the uncle told her, they were strange since they were little. She blinks that thought away and tells them that their light is off. But then she notices the twins watch, the foreigner had that same watch. So Officer So asks to check the trunk.
The twin is hesitant, but opens it for her. She pears inside with her flashlight. There is a red liquid there, the twin tells her that it is food waste. he also sees that she is alone, her partner is not with her. So he asks her where her partner is, you are alone. The giggling twin comes out at that point. the other twin looks at the car again and we see that her partner was actually in the backseat or taking a nap or something. He hops out, points at the giggling twin, and says, “Beebee gun?”
This makes the other twin not want to kill her (I presume) and they start to head away.
Back at the gochiwon, Jong-woo hears the twins come back and thinks that they are so happy without the thug here. But he looks at the bright side and says that at least he got some writing done. So he lays in bed and thinks about the sticker on the ceiling. But he drifts off to sleep and dreams about the army once again.
In the dream, he is on patrol at night time around the barracks. That is when he sees someone kneeled over and doing something in a corner. he asks private Jo what he is doing. Private Jo is actually eating raw meat, his face is all bloody. the army man asks him if he would like to eat some? then the officer changes to Moonzo and Moonzo asks, “Would you like to eat it? It is human meat.”
Jong-woo wakes up after that. But the camera shows the peephole in his wall, someone is looking at him. That someone is Moonzo. he happily and quietly watches Jong-woo from his own room.
At her place, officer Seo is about to leave when her grandmother comes out and sits next to her. She has a bit of dementia and asks Jung-hwa to find her husband. Officer So’s Dad comes out and says, Okay, I will find him. The mother asks him why he did not go to school yet. Appa says he is too old. Jung-hwa smiles and says it is good for appa, he is a high school student again. Jung-hwa tells her Halmoni and appa that she will be back and heads out. Halmoni tells her appa that that is a good looking agassi. Appa says, of course she is, who’s granddaughter is she?
While walking to work, a woman runs into Moonzo on the street. She is in her car and her child is in the backseat. They have small talk for a moment and then the woman asks if Moonzo can check the teeth of some old people in a retirement home. But she gets a call and starts talking to them. the daughter in the back is apprehensive of Moonzo. Moonzo tells the mom that he is busy then. So the Mom drives off and asks her daughter why she is so shy when she sees Dr. Moonzo. The daughter says that ajusshi is so scary.
Back at the gochiwon, Jong-woo puts the fuzz on his computer and starts to head out. But he stops at one of the doors and thinks about Room 302. He did not think that he would leave the gochiwon. However, as soon as he turns around Nambok is there with a huge knife and mutters to himself, kill you…~. Then he goes back into his room. Jong-woo is about to knock on that guy’s door (um, no) but decides not to and heads out.
Outside, landlord ajumma walks to a social service for helping the elderly and runs into Officer So outside. Officer So asks landlord Ajumma where the foreigner is and if she saw him? Jong-woo walks out just as the ajumma says that #303 disappeared. Jong-woo thinks that is not right, she told him that he committed suicide. But he does not talk to them and keeps walking.
However, he ends up hiding behind something to listen, but gets caught and says he forgot something and then runs back up.
Later, we see him walking to work. Officer So pulls her car up next to him and tells him to get in the car, she will give him a drive to work. He reluctantly gets in. She drives him to work and asks him how long he has stayed in that gochiwon. he says 4 days. He heard that that foreigner was missing and wonders if there is another missing report? Officer So asks if there are more people missing from there?
Jong-woo says one ajusshi left without notice and a detective came there to check on him. Officer So asks if she can see his number? He says he has his business card, but it is at work. He can text it to her. She gives him his number to text it and drops him off at the nearest bus station.
Landlord ajumma sees Jong-woo get out of the car and run to the bus. She sighs and starts to walk again. But she stops when she sees an ajumma talking to a man on the street. This woman says this man looks nice, his ancestors must be helping him. The man nods and walks off. Then the woman starts to talk to Landlord ajumma and says that her face looks so good and shiny, maybe her ancestors did something good in a previous life. landlord ajumma just stares at her, which makes the woman wonder if she has something on her face?
The landlord ajumma smiles and says no and then turns on the smiling ajumma charm with this woman. She ends up inviting her back to her place so that they can talk more. She almost pulls her in the direction.
Meanwhile, Jong-woo’s girlfriend texts him and says that she is at a nearby cafe on University street. Can you come out?
Jong-woo sees the message and texts her back. he will go down. But he is too late because she made her way up to the company. The CEO sees her first and greets her and tells everyone that Jong-woo’s girlfriend is here. Everyone mentions how pretty she is though Yoo-jung says that everyone is pretty at that age. They all smile politely and Ji-eun starts to pull Jong-woo out. The CEO wants to talk to her some more but Ji-eun says she will just take Jong-woo.
Jong-woo tells the CEO that he will walk her out. So he walks out with her and gives her something as well. It is the thing that he won on the street. They playfully talk about it and then talk about the person on the corner that is his mentor. She thinks he is weird, he didn’t even say hi. he walks her to a taxi and she tells him that they will see each other on the weekend. Then he waves her off happily.
But on the way back up the street, he sees Moonzo staring at him like a raging bull. However, when a car passes, Moonzo disappears. Jong-woo wonders if he is seeing hallucinations because he didn’t sleep well.
When he goes back to the company, he hears his boss say that Ji-eun is so hot, she seems like she likes you a lot. Jong-woo tells him not to talk about her like that. So the CEO tells him that he was just joking. He asks the other employees if he went too far. One of the guys tells Jong-woo that he is too sensitive. They all end up saying that Jong-woo is strange. Jong-woo thinks to himself that all these guys are strange.
That poor woman from earlier has made her way back to the gochiwon to eat something and talk with landlord ajumma. One of the twins is there with them in the kitchen as well and pulls up a seat to sit with them. But he sits way too close to the woman. This woman tells the twin that she sees another person in him, a brother or sister? The ajumma says that she is good! What else!
The woman says that he has bad luck this year. They all start to laugh about the bad luck and wonder what this means. Landlord ajumma tells her not to come near her, you will spread your bad luck to me. But the ajumma looks pretty serious and says that the twins ancestors have bad karma so he should pray with her. The twin tells ajumma that she is good at guessing. You said who you see is a man or woman? The ajumma says it is a man and gets even more uncomfortable.
The twin asks if it is an older or younger brother? She says younger brother. The twin starts to giggle a lot and says that she is not guessing anything. The woman looks even more serious and starts to look around and says that she will be excused. But it looks like the coffee might have had something in it, she looks dizzy. The other two walk to her and the landlord lady tells her that the reason she has so many sick people around her is because she made them that way. You don’t even see your own future and yet you are talking about Taoism? She grabs her by the hair.
Cut to a plate of chopped meat over salad in a restaurant. On the news, it says that a hiker was found in the woods in a plastic bag. the CEO starts to talk about scary things like how a serial killer that did some crime was actually a CEO and a good person in real life. They don’t have a mark on their face that says they are bad. Those people look normal. The CEO then starts to talk about the drunk guy that was punching someone until they almost died, but Jung-woo stopped him. He tells Jong-woo to eat, he can’t eat this in a gochiwon.
But the meat makes him think about the meat from the Gochiwon and the meat from his dream so he starts to throw up and runs to the bathroom. the team thinks he must not feel good.
Cut to the bathroom of the cafe where Jong-woo is throwing up. He washes his mouth when the manager comes to the bathroom and starts to talk to Jong-woo about this guy in the army was a bad guy that talked bad about people behind their backs, but it won’t work with me! Jong-woo asks him what he is talking about? The manager stumbles away.
Jong-woo hits the sink several times and hallucinates the pervert in the mirror saying, Kill you.
Back at the table, the manager tells the team that Jong-woo doesn’t know anything, he needs to learn more in order to work. The team tells him that he should teach him. Jong-woo comes back out and sits so everyone stops talking about it. The CEO says that he feels bad that Jong-woo is in a gochiwon. There are no windows you know, you can’t get out once you get in.
The team finishes eating and heads back to the company (or maybe home? Not sure). The CEO and Jong-woo end up talking while the others walk away. Jong-woo asks the CEO not to talk about the gochiwon. CEO asks if it is embarrassing? Jong-woo says no, can you just not talk about it? You never lived in a gochiwon before. The CEO asks him why he is talking to him like this and then throws his icecream on the ground and complains about it being so messy. Then he tells Jong-woo that he is his CEO at work, you need to distinguish work life and personal life okay? that is why you have an anger problem. the CEO tsks and walks away grumbling about being nice to kids these days.
the woman is all tied up and is so scared that she pees herself. it is a terrifying situation. Boksoon says this is nothing to be scared of and asks this woman if she remembers her? I am Boksoon-i, the Bok-soon that you said ate too much. She then takes a huge meat cleaver from the twin and tells the woman that as soon as she saw her, she remembered her. She holds it up as if she will cut the woman with it, but stops and tells her that life is funny. But instead of killing her, she tells the twin to watch her and she will go downstairs.
Officer Jong-woo gets a call from Jong-woo who is on the rooftop of his building, he says that he sent her what she wanted. She thanks him and then asks if she can call him casually from now on. he says okay and hangs up quickly. But then his CEO sunbae is behind him and asks what this is about with the police? Jong-woo tries to say it is nothing. But the CEO starts to tell Jong-woo to control his emotions and smile.
Jong-woo asks him why he is doing this and calls him hyung. The CEO is upset at the hyung part so Jong-woo calls him CEO. But then he starts to choke the CEO! Of course, this is his imagination. He takes a few long uncomfortable gulps as the CEO tells him to behave. Jong-woo says okay.
In the police station, Officer So calls the police station of the detective. But he is not there, he is on vacation and has not picked up his phone for a few days. What is the problem? Officer So says that the detective met someone in their jurisdiction, but the guy he met disappeared. The officer says that if he can contact him then he will call her.
they hang up. Officer So then sees her boss trying to fix a fan. She fixes it for him easily. He thinks that she must really be an engineer (she went to engineering school). Jung-hwa asks her boss what it means when a detective is not picking up his phone for a while. What does that mean? he wonders what she is going on about. Jung-hwa starts to talk about the cat guy that was shooting the bb gun and mentions that there are two people missing from that gochiwon where he lives. And the detective who went to see one of them is missing now too. that is strange right?
Her boss says that can happen. When those detectives have a crime, they often disappear until they solve it. he will show up in a few days as if nothing happened. Don’t worry. But Jung-hwa thinks that this is really strange. She has a feeling about it. the boss says that a rookie shouldn’t have feelings about this and their regional office is not a place for investigations, they are just the first to the crime. If you became a police officer to investigate, then you need to get real and just do your job.
She is not deterred and asks her sunbae if he has cash? You want me to only do my job right? She shows him the fan and says that this was extra work. then she takes some of his money. While walking away, she says that she did not become an officer to investigate crime, she became an officer to help people.
At his company, Jong-woo is still working when someone asks him if he is going home? Don’t you want to date your girlfriend? Jong-woo says he will see her on the weekend. The director guy says that if someone sees him then they will think that he does all the work. the other guy tells him not to be too hard on him. The CEO asks if anyone wants to have a drink? But he does not want to ask the director so he says he will drink alone.
Jong-woo is left alone in the office and starts to look at his budget. he thinks he only has $200 left, even if he doesn’t spend any money, when can he move out like this?
Meanwhile, the girlfriend is at work looking at the keychain gift that jong-woo gave her. The manager gives someone else something to do and ten asks Ji-eun to check the schedule of someone. But Ji-eun wasn’t listening so the manager starts to humiliate her in front of everyone as she asks her if she is thinking about the dinner menu? You like eating a lot right? then she tells her to rearrange the schedule for the actors. They are all going to drink together, but you meet your boyfriend right? She says no she is not meeting him so another employee says that she can come. But the manager tells Ji-eun that she is too busy to come.
Officer So goes to her appointment at Moonzo’s dentist office and talks about the cat that was killed. Moonzo starts to talk to her about how that is how serial killers are made. He asks if she suspects anyone? She says that she is starting to suspect the people in the gochiwon. He pauses. Then he gets up and says that he forgot her chart and excuses himself to another room.
In the other room, he turns off the camera that is recording the room and walks back in with a huge metal syringe. But as he is walking back in, she gets a call. This does not deter Moon-zo as he continues to walk in with that psycho look on his face as he holds the syringe. however, Jung-hwa tells this person the phone that she is at the dentist, which causes Moon-zo to pause.
Jung-hwa hops up and tells Moon-zo that he has to hurry out on urgent business. Moon-zo smiles her out.
At a bar, Ji-eun ended up going out for drinks with her company. But her phone rings, it is from Jong-woo. Her manager tells her to take it, don’t let it ring all the time.
She takes the phone call outside, but thinks that her colleagues are talking about her as she talks outside. Jong-woo starts to mention all the things that are wrong with his gochiwon, but his girlfriend just says that no one is normal at a gochiwon, you need to stand stronger. Jong-woo says okay and it is quiet for a moment. She apologizes and says that she went too far. But he says that she has to go back inside so they can hang up.
He goes inside his gochiwon (but leaves his bag for a moment and then goes back and gets it, not sure if that will be important or not). Inside, the landlord ajumma asks Jong-woo if he talked to that police officer earlier and starts to pleasantly say that she does not want bad business rumors and all those things. Jong-woo nods and heads out, uncomfortably.
Then Moonzo comes into the kitchen and asks how 303 is. The ajumma says that the drug will work on him soon. OMG, the drug from the coffee! Moon-zo then asks the ajumma why she did that with the woman on the 4th floor? She asks why? Are you going to kill me because I did that? He walks to her and touches her back while saying of course not, you are special. I trust you. Goodbye.
The ajumma was smiling when Moon-zo left, but then grows worried and says that she will have to put a lot of MSG in this food. Meanwhile, Jong-woo walks up the hallway and looks all kinds of bad. he wonders why he has a headache and has a hard time finding his room. He is almost in a trance as he walks up the hallway.
He ends up walking back to the front and turns around and walks up the hallway again. While walking, he hears voices from his girlfriend and CEO and the tenants and everyone talking to him. he finally gets to his room and goes inside. Outside, we see the three tenants looking at his room with axes and knives and hammers in their hands.
Inside, Jong-woo thinks he feels really strange. Did something happen that would bother him today? Did he eat something strange? Then he passes out as he wonders what is going on.
Moonzo is looking at him from his room peephole and starts to smile and giggle maniacally.
Wow, this show moves quickly. I did not expect Jong-woo to be drugged and about to get carved up into steak at the end of episode 4. Episode 8 perhaps, but not episode 4. I wonder if something is going to happen that will prevent the tenants of this gochiwon from going through with their kill plan on Jong-woo this night. Like, perhaps his girlfriend shows up? Or maybe the police officer will come by?
There were many instances in this episode where I thought the police officer was going to meet her peril. The first was when she met the twins on accident while they were driving and had a broken taillight. I really thought she was a goner then and needed to put her hands on her pistol or something right away. The next was the dentist office. Though I didn’t think that Moonzo would actually kill her in the office, I mean, people knew she was going there right and actually saw her show up? But I guess he can say that she had her treatment and left.
What I really want to know is what the girlfriend has to do with all of this. She is taking up a pretty large part of the narrative, but so far she is only the girlfriend. It does not seem like she is an integral piece of the puzzle as of yet. However, they might have her in the show to show that all sorts of strangers can be hell to people. For instance, her manager is her stranger from hell.
Actually, the only person who looks like they have a normal working environment is Officer So Jung-hwa. Even though her supervisor does not want her to continue working on this case, he is not abusive about it. He is basically just like, okay, do it if you want. Her other colleagues seem helpful as well. Whereas, Jong-woo’s colleagues are pretty careless and flippant with the things that they say. Especially the CEO who wants to be seen as a good guy but says all of these things that make him into a jerk.
As far as the title, Strangers From Hell, the direct translation title Hell is Other People is a quote by a famous philosopher. It seems like it was part of a play. Here is an excerpt from a post I read on it:
“The quote comes at the close of the play No Exit (Huis Clos, in French) which Sartre wrote in 1943. No Exit depicts the arrival of three characters – Garcin, Estelle, and Inez – in hell – which happens to be a drawing-room. As the characters struggle to understand what sin has led them to hell, and what their punishment may be, they quickly gather that there is no torturer. No executioner. No flames to burn their souls eternally. It’s just the three of them, trapped in a deadlock. The other characters in the room are the punishment.”
The post goes on to talk about someone looking through a peephole and the thrill that that action gives the person because someone could realize that they are being watched and see the person watching them. It is all pretty creepy stuff to me. But if you want to read it, go to this post (https://www.the-philosophy.com/sartre-hell-is-other-people).
All that just makes this show even creepier because it seems like the writer did his or her research and has added another element of horror to the mix. Icky!
- Strangers From Hell (Hell is Other People): Episode 1 Recap
- Strangers From Hell (Hell is Other People): Episode 2 Recap
- Strangers From Hell (Hell is Other People): Episode 3 Recap
- A Collection of Photos from Kdrama Strangers From Hell
- Premiering: Strangers From Hell (Hell is Other People)
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