It has been a long time since the last episode of The Killing Vote, which was probably the best episode of the series so far. The Killing Vote Episode 8 gave some much-needed, important revelations, and technically, it makes sense to leave room to discuss the motivations and intentions of the anti-hero. But we still feel as if there is a disconnect between the facts and reasonings of the events, and that is making a lot of things feel haphazard. Either way, this is the recap of the episode.
How many Gaetals are there?
When The Killing Vote started airing, we immediately made comparisons between the Korean show and a South Indian film (in Telugu) released in 2003, named Tagore. There is a startling similarity between them both, and while we have no idea whether the show is an inspiration or an independent idea, we have found another conclusive similarity, which is that Gaetal is not one but an organization of many people. Perhaps it was a natural conclusion, given that each and every one of Gaetal’s plans requires him to have numerous contacts and manpower across a wide variety of areas. That would not have been possible for a single man. Even if someone was acting alone as the leader, he would still need an army of people sharing his ideologies and who would be willing to support his ideas.
In this episode, we see a total of four Gaetals, and three of them clearly hate one of them, who is a bit too nosy and is showing a surprising disregard for the rules that should be foundational to the functioning of the organization. He is ignored, but he rushes to try and find out something about the others’ identities, or at least, that is how we understood it. The Gaetals’ current plan is to kill people on death row. Since they are already waiting to be executed, the Gaetals want to question the purpose of spending valuable state money on their well-being. That is why they have come up with a plan to give them the incorrect medicine during their health check-ups that would react negatively with the chemicals in their water. Their primary target is Moon Chang Hoon, and he is also the enemy of Gaetal Number 2, but the target was selected according to the rules of the Gaetals and not due to personal enmity. With that in mind, the Gaetals prepare for their mission.
Why is Kim Mu Chan the target of the next killing vote?
In the Korean language, ‘Gaetal’ means ‘dog mask,’ and the idea behind that hideousness is that anybody who cares for justice in society is fulfilling his duty and will be called a watchdog. Gaetal is capable of delivering real-time justice, and his actions address the long-held anger of the people, which is why he enjoyed so much support from the public. He continues to recruit more people into his army by contacting them through their phones, and most people are eager to help him.
The police arrest Lee Min Soo for the murder of Elena Jovovich, and once he is in jail, the first order of business is for him to meet Kwon Seok Joo. Everyone is convinced that Min Soo is Gaetal, and his obsession with the professor is clearly at the root of his actions. Kwon Seok Joo asks him if he is Gaetal, and the man bursts out laughing. When he had corresponded with the professor in prison, he had always addressed himself as Kwon Seok Joo’s number one fan. Min Soo talks about the replies he has received from the professor, but Kwon Seok Joo has never written back to him. But Min Soo insists that he has gotten back replies, and he calls them ‘love letters’ in the way that they were all about him and how much Min Soo’s actions had affected the words or actions that had been sent out as replies. The police get nowhere with Min Soo, but the next killing vote starts, and this time, the target is Kim Mu Chan.
Everyone thinks that this is Min Soo’s doing, but while he is enjoying the show, he is clearly clueless. There is a lot of fabricated evidence being presented against Mu Chan, along with some clear misrepresentation of facts. But the vote has started, and people will clearly side with killing him. It is then that we realize that Ji Hoon and his grandma were part of Gaetal’s organization and are the Gaetals of the group. They have to call off their mission in prison because of the betrayal. Ji Hoon is able to stop the killing vote by disconnecting the servers, but a lot of damage has been done. However, it just proves that Lee Min Soo is not Gaetal, since he was in front of the police when the whole fiasco happened. If a lot of electricity was being used in his house, it was not his fault or scheme.
Is Kwon Seok Joo Gaetal?
In the aftermath of the killing vote, Mu Chan is asked to take a leave of absence for a while to manage the public sentiment rising against him. Mu Chan is still investigating the case from his house, and we get a look into his past while he is at it. He had lost his mother in a home invasion, and that has been a continuing source of his trauma over the years. Currently, the person he wants to protect is also Joo Hyun, as he sees her face in place of his mother’s in his dream. Joo Hyun visits him at his house and clears up the cluttered evidence board. Maybe that is what ends up kicking his brain cells into action, but before that, they discuss who could be Gaetal. Joo Hyun is unable to accept that the answer is Lee Min Soo since she doesn’t understand why a thoughtless murderer would walk the path of justice to satisfy his killing instincts. That is a thought that stays with Mu Chan as he goes over everything that they have.
Meanwhile, Joo Hyun finds an important clue that changes a lot of things for her. Kwon Seok Joo never replied back to Min Soo, but the first letter he wrote was missing from the stack that Seok Joo had given the police. It was around the time that he had received the first letter that Seok Joo had lost his mind for a bit and had to be confined to solitary.
During The Killing Vote Episode 8’s ending, as Joo Hyun confronts Seok Joo about the proof she has uncovered, she gets a call from Mu Chan, telling her that Seok Joo was Gaetal all along. He planned it all from prison, with the help of the people he had outside, and Ji Hoon and his grandmother must have been crucial to this plan. Seok Joo’s good relations with the police and his favoritism within them must have also played a part. As Joo Hyun watches, a van breaks down the wall of his prison and takes him away, thus leaving him free to do whatever he wants.
Honestly, this twist in the tale makes complete sense. There was no one more suited to setting right the miscarriages of justice than the professor himself. We just wish that the big reveal had been more intelligent or dramatic. Hopefully, the future episodes will make up for it.