The content of Zishuo’s time capsule recording shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I have never considered him as a murder suspect so I only feel intense sadness that his secret is used to blackmail him into silence. Instead of a hope for the future, the message is now his shame. Yet, he is not the only one torn between wanting to believe and agonizing with doubts.
I am beginning to think Chengfang didn’t know who the killer was but is now having her suspicions. When the group turns a blind eye toward an injured enemy, she unexpected becomes the voice of compassion.
Spoiler ahead. Read at your own risk.
It must be unnerving to wake up in a locked room with a slash wound and a bloody message on the wall stating, “You are next.” Their first instinct is to blame the person not in the room. The owner and her son make great scapegoats. I admit, for a moment, I thought it was them too. During dinner, the owner ate one rice grain at a time. Perhaps because she knew the food was no good? So I can’t fault the group for not wanting to open the door for the injured owner. Nobody wants to invite a wolf back in the house, especially her pup maybe outside with a rifle.
One look at the owner’s face it is transparent that the mother/son duo were set up to take the fall. My bet is still on Bocang. Chengfang is accessory after the fact. When everyone is paralyzed with fear, Chengfang defies the group (being especially disappointed at her husband) by helping the owner. She may be the most compassionate person in the group, or she knows that the owner is innocent and doesn’t deserve to bleed to death on the hotel doorstep.
If the son isn’t the big bad wolf, then there is no place safe for them to hide and there is no one they can trust. I think Yuxiu jumped to conclusion too quickly that Xiaotong is the killer. Yes, Xiaotong’s presence at the reunion was unexpected. Yes, she volunteered to go on dangerous missions with the guys while the women locked themselves in the hotel. Yes, she knows the way to the river. And yes, she seemed awfully calm amid all the deaths.
However, that only tell me Xiaotong is a very determined woman. She is there because she was asked to come to confront the person who leaked her photos. Xinyi’s sudden demise only spurs her on to find the perpetrator. She survived a scandal that almost ruined her life and works in cutthroat entertainment industry, being independent and calm under pressure must be her second nature by now.
Yuxiu accuses Xiaotong of not being afraid of crawling into the tiny coffin-like air duct because she knew beforehand that the exit was unblocked on the other side. But Yuxiu is assuming Chengfang wouldn’t do the same. As a matter of fact, Chengfang hadn’t said anything about not doing it. Xiaotong volunteered before she could respond.
My theory is Bocang unscrewed the air vent on the other side then locked himself in the room with everyone. He knows he and the guys are too big to crawl through the air duct, but his wife is petite enough to fit. She could escape through it and come back to unlock the door for them. His plan to solidify the group’s distrust toward the mother/son would have worked perfectly if the owner hadn’t escape from her imprisonment and her son’s dead body wasn’t discovered on the bottom of the river with a bullet hole in his chest.
While I think Chengfang’s comment that a left-handed individual bind the owner’s wrists is a misdirection, it does put Zishuo on Rouqing’s trail. Zishuo wants to believe Ruoqing is innocent. I want to believe Ruoqing is innocent. And I can help answer Zishuo’s questions: Why is Ruoqing the first one to wake up from the locked room? He ate earlier than the group, therefore he had more time to metabolized the drug. Why does he have a knife in his bag? Obviously someone is trying to frame him. He could’ve just as easily use a kitchen knife to cut everybody then put the weapon back in the kitchen, and no one would be any the wiser. There you have it.
Too bad neither of them are in their right minds to think the questions through. Possible death by murder has that effect on people. Therefore, it is with infinite regret that Ruoqing resorted to the most despicable method to stop Zishuo from taking the issue to the group: Emotional blackmail.
There is no doubt Ruoqing and Zishuo were close friends in high school, with Ruoqing being Zishuo’s protector against Yicong’s mean spirited teasing. Even now, Ruoqing still treats Zishuo as the timid boy he needs to look after. When Xiaotong suggested they should check out the hunting cabin to confirm the owner’s story, Ruoqing agreed with her but wasn’t too enthusiastic about going. I think it mostly has to do with him still feeling weak from his gunshot wound. But when it appeared Zishuo and Xiaotong were set on leaving the safety of the hotel, he pushed himself to join them because he thought “it isn’t safe for them.” Don’t tell me it wasn’t relief on Zishuo’s face to see Ruoqing going with them. That instance demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between them: One wants to protect and another wants to be protected.
Zishuo’s idolization could have cumulated into a guy crush on Ruoqing, which led to the so-call “kisses,” which led to the time capsule confession, which led to him stealing the capsule recording ten years later, which led to it being used to blackmail him into silence. Ruoqing claims that he knew Zishuo had the capsule all along. He figured that Zishuo didn’t want them to see his recording which might have something to do with the rooftop incident ten years earlier. He mentioned nothing to the group because “he trusts his friend” and he expects his friend to do the same for him. Zishuo is clearly shaken by Ruoqing’s revelation. I don’t know if he is more hurt by the fact that Ruoqing doesn’t think much of the rooftop incident or that he is using their special relationship to guilt him into keeping quiet.
With the introduction of Xinyi’s cop boyfriend, we may finally sort out the web of lies surrounding our ex-friends. Unless, the cop boyfriend is really the killer who’s been hiding in the abandoned mine.