This article contains spoilers.
Throughout its 16-episode run, the real-estate-themed exorcism drama Sell Your Haunted House delighted viewers with a series of compelling cases. Each featured daring exorcists Hong Ji-a (Jang Na-ra) and Oh In-bum (Jung Yong-hwa) as they tackled restless spirits lingering on in the living world, rooted to the homes, saunas and art galleries where they passed away.
Each spirit came with its own backstory, which Ji-a and In-bum had to get to the bottom of to figure out the reason they stayed on. These emotional, mysterious and sometimes thrilling stories were diverting viewing by themselves, but the show’s beating heart, from the very start, was the enormously compelling Ji-a, commandingly and effortlessly played by Jang.
Heading into its final few weeks, Sell Your Haunted House dropped the episodic exorcisms and focused squarely on the dark secrets in Ji-a’s past, which also involved In-bum and Secretary Ju (Kang Mal-geum).
The events that unfolded 20 years ago get an extended and rousing encore in the present as the exorcists at Great Real Estate went head-to-head with Do Hak-sung (Ahn Gil-kang), the villainous head of Dohak Construction. Ultimately, this struggle also forced them to confront their own demons as they came to terms with the guilt in their past.
The hook of Sell Your Haunted House was a simple and effective one: an exorcist specialising in real estate, teaming up with a con-man exorcist who discovers an unexpected ability to commune with the dead.
Beyond that premise, we were quickly introduced to Ji-a’s mother Hong Ji-min (Baek Eun-hye), who had been an unrested spirit for the past 20 years. We realised early on that the show would ultimately end with the bittersweet moment when Ji-a finally succeeded in helping her mother pass to the afterlife, and the journey there didn’t disappoint.
The botched exorcism from two decades earlier involved a particularly powerful spirit known as an “egg ghost”. These egg ghosts are what happen when several connected vengeful spirits morph into one entity. The egg ghost had possessed In-bum as a child, and Ji-min had no choice but to try and kill him.
Jung Yong-hwa in a still from Sell Your Haunted House.
However, the conclusion to this story, the memory of which Ji-a had blocked, was that the egg ghost transferred to Ji-min and Ji-a herself killed her own mother, an inadvertent but ultimately necessary act.
Yet that knowledge alone proved to be insufficient as Ji-a failed once more to exorcise her mother. As she later discovered when she helped the owner of her neighbourhood restaurant (Baek Hyun-joo) exorcise the spirit of her recently departed son, the thing that kept her mother in the living world was none other than Ji-a’s guilt.
But before dealing with that, Ji-a and In-bum had to take on Hak-sung, whose nefarious dealings were eventually revealed to the public. But as a wounded beast hanging on for dear life, Hak-sung was at his most dangerous. He wiped out a former ally, killing many innocent people in the process, which in turn created a new egg ghost.
The team at Great Real Estate were forced to grapple with an ethical dilemma: the egg ghost would keep killing people unless either Ji-a or In-bum sacrificed themselves. Ji-a, having already lost everything to an egg ghost, initially tried to ignore the situation, but her conscience ultimately got the better of her.
In-bum eventually figured out a way that might not involve an ultimate sacrifice but things don’t go as planned during the exorcism, and Ji-a tried to sacrifice herself anyway. In-bum rushed to her aid and by sharing the burden they both survived, only for Ji-a to immediately be cornered and stabbed by Hak-sung.
Ahn Gil-kang is the villain of the piece in Sell Your Haunted House.
At the beginning of the finale, Hak-sung got his comeuppance when he tripped and broke his neck in an underpass, his cash raining on the ground, where the bills were picked up by the homeless. It was an abrupt and somewhat ill-fitting death, but it was not quite the end of the road, as Hak-sung quickly returned as a spirit, who possessed In-bum.
This set the stage for a final exorcism as Hak-sung led In-bum to Great Real Estate where he engaged in a major duel with Ji-a. She cleverly lured him into a room, trapped him and then attacked him with a special technique calling “sealing”, which would make Hak-sung’s spirit feel burning pain for eternity.
However, the technique left Ji-a with a burn scar on her hand and she later realised it also stripped her of her powers. Nevertheless, she figured out a way to release her mother’s spirit, which set up a final, tearful reunion between them.
Jang in a still from Sell Your Haunted House.
Yet the most powerful moment was actually the very next scene, as the hairpin disintegrated in the real world and In-bum immediately realised what has happened. He automatically and wordlessly held Ji-a in his arms, aware of her grief.
Many of us know that feeling, of seeing a loved one grappling with grief. All that we can offer in that moment is a tender touch, a sense of connection. Yet even a small dose of warmth and human comfort can go a long way.
Sell Your Haunted House is streaming on Viu.