The Victims’ Game Season 2 Ending, Explained: Who is the Killer?

Image Credit: Netflix

Season 2 of Netflix’s ‘The Victims’ Game’ unravels another murder tale rife with personal cost and familial estrangement as forensic investigator Fang Yi-jen gets embroiled in a cold case from the distant past. After the events of the first season, the man lives with his daughter, Chiang Hsiao-meng, although the two have a patchy relationship, and not everything is rosy. A major complication arises when a 15-year-old murder case from the forensic investigator’s past is drudged alongside the reputation of his beloved mentor, Sergeant Lin Ching-jui. The detective has to prove his innocence while ensuring the new string of murders is brought to a halt.

The end of the season throws up several vital developments that veer the investigation into a completely new direction. As Yi-jen’s emotions cloud his judgment, he fails to make the connections that lead him to the correct answer. At the center of the mystery lies the incidents surrounding a runaway group of kids who left their parents to live together. Confounded by his negligence and dereliction of duty, Yi-jen is plagued by doubts and guilt, which come to a head in the final parts of the season, where several revelations throw huge spanners into the work. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Victims’ Game Season 2 Recap

Following up on Season 1, Hsiao-meng lives with her father, Fang Yi-jen, who is a source of frustration due to his controlling nature. The reopening of an old case throws Yi-jen’s life out of orbit when he is faced with a decade-old murder, which he had worked in conjunction with his supervisor, Sergeant Lin Ching-jui, a person he had greatly admired and looked up to. The murder revolves around the death of two teenagers in the woods, Hsiao Chia-ying and Chen Yang-yu, who were suspected to be lovers and had gotten into an argument. According to the old report, Chia-ying had killed Yang-yu in a fit of rage and had died by suicide soon after.

Chia-ying’s mother, Hsiao Min-chun, was devastated and pestered law enforcement, Yi-jen in particular, for years to look into the case again, as she believed there was more to it. Yi-jen ignored it, citing a lack of evidence as his primary reason. However, when Min-chun contacts him soon after reopening the case, he heads off to meet her at the Pinglin Parking Building. The two are unable to meet, and Yi-jen drives away, only to notice a body being dropped from the top floor. The falling body is that of a dead woman, who the police identify as Min-chun. Due to his unfortunate presence at the crime scene, Yi-jen is taken in as a prime suspect.

After being bailed out by Section Chief Kuan, Yi-jen is introduced to Dr. Hsueh, the new medical officer dealing with autopsies for the Chia-ying case. The three establish a secret alliance as they are wary of the head of the investigation, Prosecutor Chang Keng-hao, who suspects Ching-jui and Yi-jen for their role in the previous investigation. Soon after they create a bond, the murder of pop singer Yuan Chi-ling creates further confusion as new revelations are made about Chia-ying and Yang-yu’s past. Chi-ling and the former were friends in high school alongside a third girl, who the police identify as designer Liu Shu-yen, through a photo left at the singer’s murder site.

Meanwhile, Yi-jen continues to be pursued by Keng-hao, who attempts to arrest him while questioning Liu Shu-yen at her workshop. Yi-jen gets away, and after digging through an online album protected by encrypted security, he and Dr. Hsueh discover a photo of seven kids containing those who have died among them. Realizing that the killer is after the kids in the photo, the investigation steers its direction away from Yi-jen and focuses on the image of the kids and their link to the murders. However, when Shu-yen is murdered, just like the other two from the group photo, the police attempt to hunt down the others before the murderer gets to them.

With two potential targets remaining, their identities are discovered – Wu Chun-lu, a drug addict, and Liu Ming-cheng, the CEO of a charity foundation called Sevenleaves and the son of Lin Ching-jui. The police question Ming-cheng but cannot glean anything from him, while Chun-lu evades them entirely. After the two engage in an altercation, Chun-lu is murdered by the killer in a Foundation warehouse. Yi-jen and Hsu Hai-yin, who works for Ming-cheng at Sevenleaves, corner the CEO in his office and question him regarding the events surrounding the kids in the photo, including him. With no one else remaining from the group except him, Ming-cheng reveals the truth about the seven children and the heinous incident that led to them being hunted years later.

What Happened on Bus 716?

The string of murders was connected to the seven runaway kids in the group photo found by Fang Yi-jen and Dr. Huese. As they would later be hunted down, Hsiao Chia-ying, Chen Yang-yu, Yuan Chi-ling, Liu Shu-yen, Kuo Hsin-pai, Wu Chun-lu, and Liu Ming-cheng were children who had run away from home and looked to build a new family together while roaming the country in a stolen public bus, designated as 716. They were friends in high school and were desperate to be freed from the restrictions imposed on them by their parents. Unfortunately, this period of bliss didn’t last as they all fell prey to a night of dangerous events that would forever haunt them.

Initially, when they left their homes, the crew was happy and satisfied with their friendship and camaraderie, some even developing feelings for one another. Liu Ming-cheng had a crush on Chia-ying, which he kept bottled up. The two had a close relationship and discussed their internal conflicts with one another, eventually even promising that if one or the other were ever put in peril, they would have their back. Their wanton abandonment and reckless freedom got more and more strained the longer they were away from home. Then, one night, tensions rose too high and came bubbling to the surface in the shape of unintended consequences.

Afraid of being caught by the police or being yanked back home unceremoniously, several kids began losing their fervor for a nomadic life out in the wild. Except for Chia-ying and Liu Ming-cheng, the rest wanted to spring back home to their parents and the comforts of their lives in a protected household. This sparked Liu Ming-cheng to stop them from leaving. The group noticed a gun lying on the floor next to him, which Ming-cheng brandished to let them know it was just for protection, and he had no intention of using it. However, chaos broke out as Yang-yu tried to prise it out of his grip, discharging a bullet by accident, which hit and killed him immediately.

Horrified by what they had witnessed, the group attributed all blame to Ming-cheng and planned to drive to a hospital as quickly as possible. Remembering her promise to protect Ming-cheng from earlier, Chia-ying pointed the gun at Wu Chun-lu and reminded him that if they went to the adults, it would put Ming-cheng in serious trouble. The entire group swarmed Chia-ying to force the gun out of her grip while Ming-cheng sat stricken against his back. Overwhelmed by the sheer pressure of those around her, Chia-ying suffocated and died tragically. A dead silence fell upon the group as they tried to come to grips with what had just transpired.

The secret of Chia-ying and Yang-yao’s death became like anchors weighing the conscience of those still alive. All the victims of the murder were members of the runaways who had shared a single night of unforeseen events that had shattered their innocence. A simple act of familial estrangement had led to a night of severe consequences and unavoidable guilt. Their deaths stemmed from this shared secret of observing and taking part in the murder of two of their friends, which was never revealed to the world, but as each of them found the grave, the truth was slowly seeping out.

Did Sergeant Ching-jui Falsify Chia-ying and Yang-yu’s Murder?

Sergeant Lin Ching-jui’s involvement in the deaths surrounding Chia-ying and Yang-yu forms the basis of a conspiracy and dilemma for Fang Yi-jen. Due to their relationship in the past and his great admiration for the man who mentored him, Fang Yi-jen often looks the other way, even when his older teacher exhibits dereliction and fraudulent behavior. From the outset, there are several indicators that the case hadn’t been dealt with correctly the first time around, including Yi-jen’s role in the investigation. Thus, when the truth emerges about Ching-hui’s hand in protecting his son, Ming-cheng, it comes as a massive blow to Yi-jen, who stubbornly holds on to his tutor’s pristine memory.

After Chia-ying and Yang-yu were murdered, the group of terrified kids had no avenues but to allow Ming-cheng to contact his father and ask for his help in covering up what they had done. Lin Ching-jui, who was desperate to keep his son out of prison and save him no matter what, made the entire group of kids stage Chia-ying and Yang-yu’s death as an isolated murder. He ordered them to place the bodies of their friends in the middle of the woods, where he tampered with the scene to make it seem like Chia-ying had murdered Yang-yu and subsequently died by suicide when she shot herself in the head.

The case would later find its way into Fang Yi-jen’s hands as he was the lead forensic investigator and had to sign off on the paperwork. Although he was always diligent, at that time, he was under emotional duress because his daughter got badly hurt, which led to him making choices that were impulsively driven. Lin Ching-jui leveraged his position and status as a mentor to unwind Yi-jen even further. Unable to bear the weight of his daughter’s health alongside his professional mindset, Yi-jen decided to trust Ching-jui and signed off on the paperwork, which led to his becoming an accomplice in the crime.

Ultimately, despite wanting to prove the opposite, Yi-jen tastes a bitter pill of truth when he realizes his mentor is not the perfect and ideal man he thought he was. He had forged and falsified records, documents, reports, and any kind of paperwork to ensure his son’s well-being and the secrecy of the murder was kept well. Even Ming-cheng, in great reverence for his father’s reputational sacrifice, had kept his mouth shut forever despite his deep guilt and regret. Therefore, the great man who Yi-jen looked up to turned out to be a frantic father who jumped to any lengths to protect his son.

Who Did Hsiao Min-chun Kill?

In the end, the identity of the killer is revealed – in a twist of affairs – as Hsiao Min-chun, the mother of Chia-ying. The woman had staged her death in the very beginning by dropping an innocent lady down the parking building and subsequently gone on a revenge campaign against her daughter’s runaway friends. However, Min-chun’s identity is tied to another woman – Dr. Hsueh, who had been a firm pillar of reliance and support for Yi-jen during the investigation and in his personal affairs. Shockingly, Min-chun had disguised herself as Dr. Hsueh to infiltrate the ranks of the police and extract divine justice for her daughter’s death.

Many years ago, Min-chun had been married to an abusive husband, Shang-wen, who was also the father of Chia-ying. On an occasion when things got really rough between them, Min-chun struck her husband on the head with a showpiece and killed him. This scene was witnessed by a very young Chia-ying, who bottled it as a secret and never mentioned it to her mother growing up. Eventually, there came a day when the girl was no longer capable of holding on to the guilt of witnessing her father’s death and her mother’s deep insecurities, and she ran away from home to live with the other kids.

After Chia-ying’s murder, her mother was heartbroken. She was adamant that her daughter would never have killed anyone like it was being portrayed in the case report staged by Lin Ching-jui. For years, she harbored a deep mistrust that the law had solved her daughter’s death, and she kept hounding Yi-jen, who she believed would listen to her, but to no avail. When no one did anything to help her get justice, she took it upon herself to deal it out as brutally as she could. With the aid of the real Dr. Hsueh, who she worked with in a hospital in Sanlung City, Min-chun adopted her appearance through surgery and devised her plan to get revenge.

However, as Min-chun successfully killed all who were involved in the coverup, she had one ailing curiosity in her psyche – why did her daughter leave her? In the end, she holds Yi-jen at gunpoint as he leads her to Chia-ying’s final visiting place just to learn the truth. When Yi-jen tells her that her daughter wants to be reunited with her father, she is astounded. Disbelief clouds her judgment when she realizes further that Chia-ying had always known the truth about her mother killing her dad. This creates a moment of emotional vulnerability in her, which Yi-jen’s crew capitalizes on, leading to her arrest.

Thus, the incredible string of gruesome murders were all related to a single act of running away taken by seven children. Like the butterfly effect in full motion, their lives and the lives of those close to them were forever changed because of the small infractions in their family bonds. Several people lost their lives because of the coverup, and several more would die to serve Min-chun’s revenge. All the actions were taken by desperate parents willing to step into the fire and get their hands dirty to ensure their children’s safety.

Read more: The Victims’ Game: Is Pinglin City a Real City in Taiwan?