10th January 2010
Im Won-hee, star of The Cut and Dajjimawa Lee, leads the cast in The Necklace, the third chapter of the Coma omnibus. He is the police detective assigned many years ago to the case of the missing Hye-yeong. During that time he has been carrying the girl’s necklace around calling it his cash card. Clearly he has been blackmailing the hospital’s director.
At the start of this chapter, he gets a call from the director but when he arrives at the hospital, he discovers that the man is dead. Sensibly he calls the police and locks up the hospital so no one can get in or out. He did this because he met a crazy woman in the hall who warns him to leave the hospital before it is too late. Now he wants to find her. Not so-sensibly he ties up the receptionist, the only other person who knows the director’s dead.
Searching the hospital, he finds a bloody scalpal, probaby used to kill the director alongside the bed of the coma patient. The scalpals belong to Dr. Jang and the detective’s mind puts together a plausible scenario where Jang could have killed the director after an argument they had earlier in the day (as we see in the Birthday Party). However, now he finds himself in a bit of a dilemna. If he arrests the doctor, he will reveal the coverup from long ago. Instead he decides that Jang will be his new ‘client’ and cut him a deal. However, upon closer investigation of the fingerprints, he notices a cut on the tip that he also noticed on the comatose patient…
A flashback now takes us to ten years earlier. We learn that what happened to Hye-sook between being lost by her sister and found by the nurse. We also learn that the detective had no clear evidence of a crime. He was just blackimailing on a hunch. He is awakened from his memories by his daughter calling him. With his daughter threatened, he is movied to action. He sees the girls struck by a car as she flees the hospital grounds. Trying to get his daughter to safety, he finds that they cannot escape the first floor–their elevator goes up–but comes right back down. About to give up, the dark elevator opens behind him .
Of course, his daughter is not really there and all his actions have succeeded in doing is bringing one of the characters back into the hospital.
Overall, this is the most disappointing of the chapters so far. The first two did a good job setting things up and building a sense of mystery. Here, while we solve one small mystery, there is nothing new added. No new sense of menace–in fact, the menace and supernatural atmosphere built in the first two installments are actually decreased in this chapter as we get the feeling there is a more human element involved. Perhaps this is because the main character is a very practical man, not given to flights of fantasy about ghosts and spirits nor even considering for a minute that the unmoving patient upstairs could be responible for what is happening.
I’m hoping that this was just a fluke and the atmosphere of the first two chapters can be recaptured in chapter 4: Crimson Red