The following summary assumes you’ve been watching the episode. The play by play makes running commentary that goes with the episode in order. The summary pulls together all the points.
Play by Play:
We start with Gong Sil who looks like a ghost.
Her face is masked in the opening. It’s atmospheric due to the lightening. It might be an odd reference to the Ring.
Significant use of the blue cast in the first episode.
Green is used an an unearthly color. (In the hallways and as an overcast.) It feels unnatural and even sickly here.
There are sparks flying.
Different colored lights flash through the back door.
When Tae Yang runs away there are several shots of her running up the stairs which makes it feel both like a mental hospital and a prison
The focus on the door handle also shows warding objects which are littered around Tae Yang’s bedroom.
First shot of Gong Sil’s ring as a sun, makes it into the shot, the ghost turns into something that looks more human. (So the sun shines light on the real truth)
Gong Sil shows up in front of the Hanok wearing a white pancho and flip flops, in the rain. Everyone else is wearing black, while she is wearing white.
And then the son turns out to be uglier than the ghost. And the entire family.
After that, the air lifts and there are warm colors in the shot, including yellows and a slight warming cast as the family fights a more ugly battle.
When we switch to JW, again, a blue cast.
Green, white and blue are used differently here. The green is on the Wife’s shirt. White is also the flower.
I find it interesting JW is wearing a yellow shirt and a blue handkerchief… also covered by black when visiting the old man. So, again, we get the image of the sun covered by rain clouds. It’s also limited in the shot so the full shirt isn’t shown.
Here the syllables of the contract move, but they don’t scramble as would happen with dyslexia. He squints at them, which someone with dyslexia wouldn’t do.
When Tae Yang is in the street wearing her white parka, there is an interesting choice of red cast… just before she meets Joo Won. Is our sun coming out?
The man threatened a lightening strike curse on JW and JW only averted it because of Tae Yang.
When JW put down the armrest divider somehow it reminded me of what I would do with my sibling… it’s instantly childish.
Gong Sil, when they stop at the rest stop place, is still wearing white (even white jeans). (Where she meets another ghost)
Again, white with the person digging for the article in the dirt. (Ghost hunting clothes)
JW changes also into white clothes with a blue top and handkerchief when looking at the picture of the dead bride.
GS changes into white and faintly blue clothes. If you noticed earlier I said he was wearing yellow, with a blue kerchief and a black jacket. So she’s taken some of his color. (or if you want to be symbolic, the clouds are parting) Also their colors match between the scenes.
Also, the guy with the ax here shows up later. (I missed this the first time around).
During her flashbacks she’s wearing colored clothes.
When she’s discovered and called a cat, she’s wearing red–sun clothes. She repeats the sun-colored clothes. in subsequent scenes.
The ghost also comes from the mirror. Reflection in the sense of the ghosts being a reflection of the living comes into play here literally.
The living are more scary than the dead.
As for the theme of the episode it’s spelled out by our two mains:
“As the dead lingers around, the living person suffers in the end.” pits against the theme of “The dead have no power, but their hearts remain.”
The first is the perspective of those living and the second is the perspective of those who are dead and gone. Which is a nice parallelism, I think.
I thought this episode was easy to get on several accounts. There is a character uneasy and not getting sleep at night. The humans are more vicious than the ghosts. The “Sun” character is getting blocked by literal rain and rain clouds. She wears white, when dealing with the ghosts and she is gloomy like a cloud floating most of the time.
The same colors of green, white and blue are reused in the episode in a different and brighter context. Which gives me the feeling that it really has to do with your perspective on the matter… in one context they are creepy, but then with JW, they represent happiness and light of the world.
JW becomes the sun in GS’s sky and the episode actually gets brighter as it goes.
This fits with the theme of the episode and plays around with their names.
The theme was also spelled out for us….
I also think that the deliberate use of the mirror and the them show the connection between death and life. Mirrors are traditionally used to reflect souls.
White is the color of the traditional Korean burial. And literally, the sun is slowly coming out for both our characters as their colors match and their hearts come closer together.