Stranger (Secret Forest) season 2, episode 12 recap and breakdown Back to the politics!

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Summary

Episode 12 benefits from slowing down, focusing on the detail and the power and politics at play as we reach the last chapters.

This recap of K-drama Netflix series Stranger season 2, episode 12 (Secret Forest) contains spoilers.

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The opening

Episode 12 opens with Jeon Gi-hyeok giving his witness account at the line-up after learning of the 10 million won reward. He was clearly prepared and organised. Yeo-jin updates Chief Choi of the situation. Chief Choi explains how they could have done more earlier if they had more investigative authority rights. The fight for those rights continues to be a burning issue in episode 12 and it thickens in intrigue every time.

These two like their private meetings

Woo and Choi meet privately on a park bench. He’s wondering if he should meet Park Gwang-su’s wife and ask what Si-mok spoke to her about. A flashback shows Woo speaking to the wife about her husband, wanting details about him before he died. In the present day, Choi claims she isn’t worried about the wife — she thinks someone else might know about the situation — she raises the lawyer Oh Ju-seon. She wonders whether it might be worth meeting the lawyer. As they walk back and finish their meeting, Woo raises how Si-mok and Yeo-jin share a lot of information. Episode 12 sees colleagues concerned how close Si-mok and Yeo-jin are.

The investigation is now over?

And it’s very true, they are close professionally — in the next scene, Si-mok and Yeo-jin enjoy dinner and drinks together and talk work. Si-mok raises the contradictory witness statements about Park Gwang-su and his drinking. Si-mok then gets a text that the second Police/Prosecution council has been arranged — Yeo-jin rings Chief Choi and learns that the investigation is over now and it’s a regular case for Dong-jae. Chief Choi doesn’t believe they will find the lawyer alive. This is Woo and Choi’s way of keeping everyone busy and distracted. This is a demonstration of how easy it can be to distract and deflect from a position of power and move people’s priorities.

A bag full of money

Ms. Lee Yeon-jae is updated on the company’s performance but she asks if they should stop with lawyer Oh Ju-seon. Her assistant believes they can reign in their efforts now. But then she learns Ju-seon is meeting Choi and panics — she doesn’t want the police talking to him. The assistant meets Oh Ju-seon with a big bag of money — he asks him why Choi wants to meet him and reminds him that he’s still under confidentiality promises that he works for their company as well.

Oh Ju-seon reveals he wants to know about the connection between Choi and Park Gwang-su. He’s also spoken to Kang Won-chul as well. When Ms Lee Yeon-jae learns about this she wants insurance for herself. As you can tell, episode 12 has calmed down the thriller-esque scenes and focused on the corruption and power plays between the characters.

Scolded for doing the right thing

When Si-mok gives his opinions on a reformation to Woo, he’s shouted at for being too smart and is asked to leave the room. Woo believes Si-mok is ruining everything regarding investigative rights. He’s told not to take it personally as he has still done the right and moral thing recently. This scene shows how backwards the system is; Si-mok helped release an innocent cop but because of politics and discussion on processes, he’s seen as a disruptor.

And here we go again…

The second Police / Prosecution Council happens in episode 12. The police highlight reasons their warrant process is disruptive. The prosecution brings their own arguments to dismiss that and accuses the police of covering something up in another case — Woo admits that the prosecution needs to change but they don’t need to change investigative rights. The prosecution’s main argument is that the police do not have enough legal rights to have all the rights. Detective Jang awkwardly states that both sides are just arguing needlessly. It is all needless and nowhere near constructive — it’s a distraction and serves well in the plot to why both sides are participating in this type of politics.

Unbearable pain

Si-mok’s head starts to ringing unbearably and he’s in pain. He walks out of the council meeting and Yeo-jin helps him walk down the stairs — he’s struggling badly. Eventually, Si-mok feels better and Yeo-jin compliments him for dealing with the pain.

The ending

Woo and and Choi go to meet the lawyer privately, however they are met by Ms Lee Yeon-jae — this was obviously not the plan. Meanwhile Oh Ju-seon meets Kang Won-chul in another room; he tells Kang Won-chul that he is torn on whether he should turn a blind eye. Oh Ju-seon gives Kang Won-chul a financial statement that reflects Hanjo Engineering. Ms Lee tells Chief Choi that she hasn’t heard much about her and wonders how she and Woo met. She then asks Choi directly, “Why did Mr. Park die?”. It goes silent and Woo asks Ms Lee what her involvement was.

Stranger season 2, episode 12 benefits from slowing down, focusing on the detail and the power and politics at play as we reach the last chapters.

Additional points
  • Captain Baek is freed after he is found innocent. He wishes he had stopped the bribes back then with his police unit.

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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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