‘Jirisan’: What Does Episode 1 Twist Mean for the Rest of the K-drama

Fans have high hopes for iQiyi and tvN’s new Korean drama Jirisan. The K-drama’s storyline is promising as it centers around the rescue missions of Mount Jiri rangers. Adding to the suspense was a murder mystery story of an unknown character using the mountain terrain as their hunting grounds. Jirisan episode 1 had a surprising twist at the end fans never would have expected.

The K-drama has multiple reasons to be excited to watch, even more so as the first episode revealed what fans could expect moving foward. It is a race between the events of the past and piecing together evidence in the present.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Jirisan.]

Actor Ju Ji-hoon as Kang Hyun-jo for 'Jirisan' K-drama wearing hiking gear
Actor Ju Ji-hoon as Kang Hyun-jo for ‘Jirisan’ K-drama | via iQiyi

‘Jirisan’ Episode 1 introduces a new partner for Seo Yi-kang

Jirisan episode 1 begins with the introduction of Kang Hyun-jo (Ju Ji-hoon). The episode does not 100% introduce Hyun-jo’s storyline but learns he has bizarre visions of the mountains. The minute he steps into the office, he goes on a rescue mission to find a lost young boy. He becomes Seo Yi-Kang’s (Jun Ji-hyun) new partner. The rescuers are unable to locate the boy and retreat due to dangerous weather conditions. Yi-Kang is not known as “Devil Seo” for nothing and ventures into danger to find the boy.

Hyun-jo joins her and, due to a vision, pinpoints the boy’s location. In the aftermath, there is a small detail viewers should remember. Another team member takes photos of where Yi-kang and Hyun-jo found the boy and asks how Hyun-jo could find the small rock opening. He explains the mountain told him and refers to a series of sticks and stones planted in the ground.

Their colleague explains partisans used to arrange rocks and twigs in a certain way as a form of communication. The detail will make further sense as episode 1 of Jirisan reveals its grand twist.

‘Jirisan’ mixes the past and the present while investigating a mystery

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After the new information about the rocks and twigs, Jirisan episode 1 cuts to the future. According to Soompi, the episode skipped ahead two years in 2020. The biggest shock comes when the team captain explains to the team a new member will join them. Yi-kang makes her entrance but is bound to a wheelchair. How can this be? The episode soon explains that Yi-kang returns to find answers.

Jirisan’s trailers and synopsis elude to a mysterious incident occurring in the mountain that could involve murder. According to the episode, the event occurred in 2018 or a year later, where Yi-kang and Hyun-jo fell victim to the accident or perpetrator. Yi-kang tells the team the location of a hiker who has been lost for months.

When her assumption is true, she reveals the same display of sticks and rocks Hyun-jo would use have appeared in multiple rescue missions. Only she and Hyun-jo knew of the specific signal they would use in case they had no way to communicate with each other. Yi-kang believes someone is sending her a message. One of the recruits thinks it must be Hyun-jo, but the scene cuts to show him in a coma in the hospital.

What does Episode 1’s twist mean for the rest of ‘Jirisan’s’ storyline?

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In the episode, Hyun-jo is not shy to mention to Yi-kang that he has visions of the mountains and can see details of the future. Many fans believe Jirisan and Hyun-jo have supernatural elements that will need to be explained. Revealing the K-drama will shift between the past, and the present indicates the K-drama will build up the events that lead to the mysterious incident. At the same time, fans will witness Yi-kang try to uncover evidence of what led to the incident in the present.

But fans can theorize it has something to do with Hyun-jo noticing the yellow trail ribbons leading the wrong way and the message left behind at multiple rescue sites. Episode 1 also shows a small flashback of Hyun-jo and Yi-kang being attacked. As the episode fades out, viewers can see a barely-there hooded entity in the forest.

Fans on Reddit have interesting theories about the episode and the supernatural element. The K-drama’s synopsis and trailers allude to Hyun-jo having experienced a traumatic accident in the mountains. One fan theorizes that Yi-kang was his rescuer and explains why he was so kind to her when they met. Other fans theorize Hyun-jo is sending visions to his past self while in a coma in 2020 to try and prevent the incident.