Stranger (Secret Forest) season 2, episode 5 recap and breakdown What's inside the envelope?

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Summary

Episode 5 builds the tension between prosecutors and police as neither side are showing their hand.

This recap of K-drama Netflix series Stranger season 2, episode 5 (Secret Forest) contains spoilers.

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The opening

Yeo-jin continues to explain to Chief Choi the reasons why Sergeant Song Gi-hyeon’s death was a homicide. Chief Choi feels this is a massive headache. Yeo-jin asks if she can stop by at the Anyang Correctional Institution to meet Sergeant Lee Dae-seong — at present, Officer Kim’s whereabouts are unknown. Chief Choi states that this cannot be a homicide as it will not help with their investigative rights. There’s plenty of skeletons in the closet.

Trading favours

Si-mok speaks to Prosecutor Kang Won-chul about the scammer case and wants a warrant issued. They both discuss that trading favours are a fine line. Kang Won-chul proves a point by asking Si-mok that if he asked for help later, how would it work. Si-mok is very quiet with his response — silence is everything.

Staying in power

Ms Lee Yeon-jae has asked for information on the drugs found in Mr Lee’s trash. It’s a drug in development phase and is meant to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Ms Lee wonders if he’s in a lot of pain. She has no idea how serious Mr Lee’s condition is. She then demands that they post news on the company’s intranet that Mr Lee wants to create a bylaw that will change the governance of the company and encourages the workers to vote for her as CEO. She’s struggling with the power imbalance and trying to hold on to her grip as strongly as possible. There’s plenty of unknowns with the shareholders.

An old face

Yeo-jin goes to the Anyang Correctional Institution to meet Lee Dae-seong. She’s alarmed by something she sees on camera — she recognises someone — Mr Yoon. She asks Mr Yoon about Lee Dae-seong — Yeo-jin and Mr Yoon haven’t seen each for 3 years. There’s a lot of nervousness and shyness with each other. Mr Yoon congratulates her on the promotion to Senior Inspector. Yeo-jin shows her gentle side in this scene.

A “dead end” interview

Yeo-jin then meets Lee Dae-seong. He talks about the bribes they accepted but that their captain couldn’t have known. She then asks him why he got three times the sentence over Officer Kim — Lee Dae-seong talks about how the case was taken by Dongducheon Station as that’s where it happened. He’s being rather vague. Yeo-jin then goes more direct and asks the inmate why he’s protecting Captain Baek and wonders if he’s been threatened. Yeo-jin doesn’t get anywhere with the interview and gets angry and has an outburst. Lee Dae-seong tells Yeo-jin that she should have interviewed him when he had more time in prison but now he’s been released in 2 months. Yeo-jin lost it in this scene rather than keeping her cool. She’s clearly frustrated in episode 5.

Career choices

At the halfway point of Stranger season 2, episode 5, the topic of careers comes up.

Dong-jae asks Si-mok how he climbed high to the top but Si-mok asks him to divert that question to Chief Woo. Si-mok thinks he will work outside the capital after the council as you are not allowed to work in this area for too long in order to stop collusion. Dong-jae talks of how unreasonable it is to continually keep unpacking. While they wait for their visitation, Yeo-jin leaves and Dong-jae asks pressing questions about what she is up to — Dong-jae wants to share information so they all have the truth and then reveals his theory that Captain Baek was also accepting bribes. Suddenly, Yeo-jin gets a call and quickly drives off. Yeo-jin’s elusiveness is driving everyone crazy in episode 5 and it’s one of the strongest elements of the chapter.

An Assemblyman suing a director

Si-mok is asked to go to the General Assembly building as soon as possible — on the news, it’s revealed that Assemblyman Nam Jae-ik has been cleared of suspicion in the hiring scandal. Si-mok meets Chief Woo and he mentions Nam Jae-ik and how he’s just sued the director of the Police Investigation Bureau — the Director from the Council. There have been rumours that his son was illegally hired at a bank and the Director investigated it himself. Nam Jae-ik is claiming that the Director targeted him specifically when there wasn’t any evidence. When they reach the General Assembly building, Chief Woo is not allowed access. However, Yeo-jin is allowed. Woo is frustrated and asks Si-mok to find out what Yeo-jin is bringing in the envelope.

End the council

As the episode draws nearer to an end, Chief Woo tells Si-mok that there are 3,400 intelligence police officers in this small country and intel they gather every day goes to Chief Choi. He’s pretty sure it’s not the director in that room and that Yeo-jin must be bringing someone for her — “It must be dirt on Nam Jae-ik” — he believes it is leverage and once again asks Si-mok to find out the information: “The committee chairman can’t get into the hands of the police”. It’s easy to tell at this stage that Chief Woo is panicking.

The ending

Si-mok tells Chief Woo that he should meet with the reporters and tell them that a police representative who joined the council, a director of a bureau, got sued for unjust investigation. He asks Woo why he isn’t encouraging the assemblyman to sue — “If the director is sued, the council will be postponed”. Chief Woo is getting irritated by these suggestions but Si-mok continues — “You were directly involved in covering up Assemblyman Nam’s corruption. That’s why you have to run here yourself, while the director who was sued didn’t”. Woo denies it instantly but then he gets a call from Prosecutor Seo Dong-jae.

Woo then sees Yeo-jin leave the room empty-handed with Chief Choi. As Yeo-jin walks with Choi, she reveals she didn’t look inside the envelope. The episode closes with both pairs looking at each other at either side of the corridor. Stranger season 2, episode 5 builds the tension between prosecutors and police as neither side are showing their hand.

Additional points
  • Sergeant Song did not like that he couldn’t speak out in the police force due to the higher ups.

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Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

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