Tunnel drama recap by dramabeans

53 March 27, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 1

by TeriYaki

OCN’s newest thriller focuses on an old school detective from 1985, before the advent of modern technology. Even though cases took more time to solve in those days, Detective Park Kwang-ho proves to have a quick and modern mind. He struggles to overcome preconceived ideas about criminals, certain that he and his colleagues are faced with something that they’ve never encountered, and this drama slowly turns up the intensity as it introduces an unnerving case.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A man chases a figure in a hooded black jacket through a tunnel. He loses his subject in the darkness, only to be grabbed from behind and hit on the head. On the ground, he thinks, “The culprit that I wanted to catch for so long is right in front of me. I, Park Kwang-ho, have worked as a homicide detective for ten years. I will follow him until I catch him.”

It’s 1985, and the same PARK KWANG-HO (Choi Jin-hyuk) pursues a cow thief with the help of two colleagues. The thief runs through a field before falling into a mud puddle. Kwang-ho finds him scrambling in terror and unable to speak intelligibly, since he’s been shocked at an unexpected discovery of a young woman’s corpse bound by her hands and feet.

At Hwayang-dong Police Station, Kwang-ho scolds a reporter over the phone for publishing a photo of the body. He stands up, surprised to find his two colleagues waiting with a spray bottle and a comb.

Despite Kwang-ho’s protests, the two men get him ready for a blind date with SHIN YEON-SOOK (Lee Shi-ah). The older policeman insists that Kwang-ho keep the date, which he is already late for.

At a nearby coffee shop, Kwang-ho sits nervously across from Yeon-sook. When the delivery girl walks in, the hostess nods toward his table, so she sits next to Kwang-ho to ask why he’s so dressed up. He sends her away, explaining to his date that the delivery girl is like a sister to him.

Kwang-ho smiles as he follows Yeon-sook down a narrow street. A truck passes too closely, and Kwang-ho pulls her to safety, surprising Yeon-sook when he forgets to release her hand. He notices that her hands are cold, while she finds his warm. Kwang-ho tells Yeon-sook that he has a warm heart before boldly asking if he can hold her hand.

Kwang-ho sits at his desk, clearly besotted. With everyone busy, he slides under his desk with his giant rotary phone, unaware that the chief noticed. He calls Yeon-sook at work, but she asks if he’s the same Park Kwang-ho who held her hand on a first date and never called back.

Kwang-ho apologizes, blaming his job for keeping him busy before he asks if she’s free that day. The chief startles him, wanting to know if he’s calling Yeon-sook, which causes Kwang-ho to drop the phone (even though the chief encourages him to call her). Yeon-sook hangs up before he recovers, so he thinks that she’s calling back when his phone rings, only to be surprised by some unexpected news.

Kwang-ho’s team stands over another woman’s body, this time near a river bank, bound like the victim from two weeks earlier. Policemen hold back reporters while detectives work the scene. Struggling with nausea, Kwang-ho’s junior team member verifies that the body wasn’t there the day before.

During a lunch break at the station, a familiar reporter walks in. The detectives pause uncomfortably when he notes, “I heard another woman in a skirt died,” surmising that they were killed by the same person.

The detectives dismiss the reporter’s theory, calling him a storyteller. Thinking Kwang-ho dense, REPORTER OH wonders how anyone could like him as he informs him that someone named Yeon-sook is waiting outside.

Kwang-ho runs out, surprised when Yeon-sook tells him, “You seemed to be missing me, so I came to show you my face.” She asks, “The blinking. It was you, right?”

Kwang-ho remembers sitting outside of the shop where Yeon-sook works, holding a large flashlight as he asked, “Is Yeon-sook thinking of me too? Yes, no. Yes, no.” With every yes, he would click the light on, then off for every no. The blinking brought out Yeon-sook’s boss, who yelled after Kwang-ho’s retreating figure as he accused him of playing a late night prank.

Yeon-sook admits that she agreed to a blind date because he was a detective, reasoning that if he caught bad guys, that would make him a good guy. Certain that she’s right about him, she asks if they can go on a date once he catches the criminal. Kwang-ho promises that he won’t make her wait long.

The station is full as detectives question the male acquaintances of the victim, KIM KYUN-SUN. At the end of the busy day, Kwang-ho sits in the same coffee shop where he had his blind date, this time with the chief and the young detective.

The hostess asks if the killer is still on the loose, and is unapologetic when the chief hisses at her. He wonders why CHUN-HEE hasn’t returned, but the hostess explains that her deliveries to a printing house take forever.

Frustrated by the lack of leads, Kwang-ho grabs his flashlight, explaining that he’s off to see a DR. KIM. The autopsy doctor informs Kwang-ho, yet again, that he was unable to recover any fingerprints or find any signs of rape. Kwang-ho sits down, telling himself that he has to solve the case so that he can call Yeon-sook.

Kwang-ho’s young colleague, Officer JEON SUNG-SHIK, dozes at his desk, his eyes propped open with toothpicks. The coffee shop hostess wakes him, since she’s alarmed that Chun-hee never returned.

The officer reminds the hostess that the girl has quit before. She explains that Chun-hee left her cherished bank book behind and asks the officer to search for her right away. The hostess agrees to return to the restaurant if Sung-shik will tell Kwang-ho that Chun-hee is missing.

Police vehicles descend on a crime scene in the middle of a field. Kwang-ho runs to the body, nodding when the chief asks if the victim is Chun-hee,.

The hostess runs towards them, calling Chun-hee’s name. The chief stops MADAM JUNG, who tearfully demands to know why her concerns were ignored. Consumed by guilt, Sung-shik sprints into the field while ignoring Chief Oh, who calls to him in concern.

The chief and Kwang-ho witness Dr. Kim’s examination of the body. He determines that Chun-hee was already dead by the time Madame Jung visited the station. As the doctor prepares to remove the pantyhose around her neck, Kwang-ho observes that victims Lee Jung-suk and Kim Kyung-sun were strangled the same way.

The chief refuses to consider that the women’s murders are connected, and instead orders Kyung-ho to examine Chun-hee’s delivery list. Madam Jung tearfully hands over the girl’s personal delivery book.

Kwang-ho returns to his desk to study the list, recalling Madam Jung’s complaint about deliveries made to the print shop. He sees that the shop appears frequently on Chun-hee’s list and asks Sung-shik to accompany him before noticing his empty chair.

Kwang-ho finds Sung-shik sitting outside of the station. He tearfully insists that he doesn’t deserve to be a cop, but Kwang-ho assures him that reporting Chun-hee missing earlier wouldn’t have changed anything. Kwang-ho offers Sung-shik two choices – he can help find the killer or go home to blame himself.

Sung-shik accompanies Kwang-ho to the print shop, where they learn that Chun-hee had a crush on one of the employees, a man named Mr. Kim. An older employee explains that she would join them for noodles, estimating that she left around 7 p.m. the night that she was killed.

Kwang-ho and Sung-shik visit Chun-hee’s crime scene at 9 p.m., the estimated time of her death. The remote location suggests that someone familiar with the area took her there. The detectives are watched as they walk away from the scene, guided by Kwang-ho’s flashlight.

The chief, who we’ll come to know as CHIEF OH, hangs his head as his superior demands to know, “What were you doing while three women were getting murdered?” Chief Oh is told that he has one year to catch the killer before his boss is scheduled to leave for Seoul.

Chief Oh asks his exhausted team if they have any suspects, but they can’t even find evidence. One officer suggests that another incident may provide a clue, but the rest of the team is troubled by the thought.

A beaming Kwang-ho poses with Yeon-sook for a group photo on their wedding day. Chief Oh asks about Reporter Oh and learns that Kwang-ho didn’t invite him, since he insisted that he would ruin his happy day. Later, Kwang-ho and Yeon-sook walk arm in arm down a neighborhood street.

A jeep stops at a military post while a young woman walks along a path nearby, smiling at a newly purchased necktie, unaware that she’s being followed. She finally senses someone and hurries along before turning around, only to find herself alone on the path. When she begins to run, a figure in a hooded black jacket tackles her to the ground.

Sung-shik pounds on a gate at night, shouting for Kwang-ho. He opens the gate, and Sung-shik apologizes for interrupting his day off before informing him that there’s been another incident. Kwang-ho looks back at his concerned bride.

Kwang-ho visits the crime scene, finding the contents of the victim’s bag strewn around her. He learns that she is SEO YI-SOO, a newlywed living nearby. Kwang-ho asks if her family was notified, and gets upset when Sung-shik reports that no one answered his call. Kwang-ho volunteers to inform them himself and threatens the officer who mentioned that another incident would yield evidence if he fails to find anything.

Kwang-ho sighs at the sight of a worried-looking man standing outside with a crying baby. The man hurries to the crime scene, even though Kwang-ho urges him to stay away.

The man pulls back the sheet covering the body and falls down when he sees the victim’s face. Kwang-ho holds the baby as the man begs Yi-soo to wake up, seeing her mouth gagged with pantyhose. Sobbing, he clutches the necktie when an officer asks if he recognizes it.

In Dr. Kim’s office, Chief Oh notes that Yi-soo was strangled with pantyhose, wondering if it could be the same killer. Dr. Kim details the defensive wound on the her wrist, indicating that she fought hard to survive, clearly shaken by a culprit so determined to kill. He asks the detectives to be sure to catch the killer this time.

Reporter Oh walks into an empty station and sees Yi-soo’s dazed husband sitting alone, holding his sleeping baby. Kwang-ho and Sung-shik visit the shop where Yi-soo bought the necktie found with her body and learn that she took the bus from the stop outside.

A bus driver tells Kwang-ho that a soldier exited the bus along with Yi-soo, noting that they seemed to know one other. Kwang-ho questions the soldier, asking how his face was scratched, but he verifies that he was at a motel at the time of the murder. Later, the station is full of soldiers as the detectives conduct interviews.

Yi-soo’s husband stands in a small boat to scatter her ashes while mourners watch from the shore. Kwang-ho stands at a distance, recalling his admission to her husband that he couldn’t find her killer in spite of his promise to catch him. Yi-soo’s baby wanders towards Kwang-ho, looking directly at him.

Chief Oh stares out of the police station at the rain which soaks Kwang-ho as he walks home from the funeral. Yeon-sook walks out of their gate to find her husband sitting alone in the rain, since he’s sorry that he couldn’t tell Yi-soo’s husband that her death wasn’t his fault. She squeezes his hand as he admits to feeling helpless.

In September, 1986, six months after Yi-soo’s death, her husband waits at the police station with his son and looks up when Kwang-ho walks in. Holding the boy, Kwang-ho can see how much KIM SUN-JAE has grown before passing him to Sung-shik.

Yi-soo’s husband asks Kwang-ho for an update as he shares that he heard of other incidents. Kwang-ho assures him that even though they coincidentally took place near Yi-soo’s crime scene, the incidents are otherwise unrelated.

Kwang-ho asks the husband to stop coming to the station, but he can only apologize, explaining that it’s all that he can do. Just then, Reporter Oh walks in and gives Kwang-ho grief for not inviting him to his wedding.

Reporter Oh recognizes Yi-soo’s husband and peppers him with questions before Kwang-ho pushes him away in anger. The reporter tries to place his card in the man’s pocket, but Kwang-ho tosses it away and calls the reporter disgusting before escaping into the station.

Reporter Oh shouts that Kwang-ho can’t even catch the criminal as Yi-soo’s husband walks away. Kwang-ho’s team looks up in alarm when he punches a locker. Kwang-ho looks out the window as Yi-soo’s husband walks away with his son, vowing, “I’ll catch that jerk no matter what.”

Kwang-ho’s team investigates a new crime scene inside of a tunnel. Shining his flashlight on the body, Kwang-ho notices something unusual on the woman’s bare heel. He drops his flashlight and walks away, ignoring inquiries from Chief Oh and Sung-shik.

Kwang-ho wakes Dr. Kim to confirm that all four victims had dots on their heels and chastises him for not including the information in the autopsy report. Kwang-ho paces as Dr. Kim reviews the victims’ files as he realizes that the marks prove that they were killed by the same person. He asks if the doctor observed the marks on any other bodies, but he’s not sure and only admits that he thought it odd that anyone would get tattooed in such an unusual spot.

Kwang-ho warns the doctor to prepare for another body, one marked with six dots. Dr. Kim verifies that the victim has six dots instead of five, noting that victim one had one dot, victim two had two, and so on, meaning that the next victim should have five dots, not six.

Chief Oh reviews the victims’ files with Kwang-ho, who argues that they are dealing with the same killer. Victim #6, JIN SEON-MI, was marked with six dots, meaning that they have yet to discover Victim #5. Chief Oh orders Kwang-ho to call everyone together.

Chief Oh supervises soldiers as they search for the missing victim while Kwang-ho and Sung-shik question citizens about any missing women. They have no luck and join the search for a body. They eventually peer into a large pipe, which prompts Kwang-ho to toss his malfunctioning flashlight.

Kwang-ho returns home long enough to change clothes. Yeon-sook has packed a dinner and encourages Kwang-ho to keep up his energy. She walks with him outside, stopping to give him a gift before he leaves — a chain with a whistle.

Yeon-sook places the whistle around Kwang-ho’s neck, promising that if he uses it when he’s in danger, she will save him. Kwang-ho smiles at the thought as he tells Yeon-sook, “I’m Park Kwang-ho of the Serious Crimes Unit.”

Kwang-ho promises to take Yeon-sook on a Han River Cruise, reminding her that her birthday is approaching in January. She asks for roses, but her husband is embarrassed at the thought of buying them before agreeing to her request. He hugs Yeon-sook, sorry that she’s been alone for five days. She just asks that he come home, no matter how late. He turns back to wave at her before walking away.

In their sleeping quarters, Kwang-ho has Sung-shik mark a map with the victim’s locations, including the most recent one in Hwayang-ri Tunnel. Kwang-ho thinks there must be a pattern, as the women themselves have nothing in common other than being in their twenties. When Sung-shik keeps turning the map around, Kwang-ho wonders if he’ll succeed as a detective and calls Sung-shik’s dream to become chief impossible.

Kwang-ho studies the map at his desk, positive that the locations are significant. He decides that the killer started with places that he knew well and traveled farther when he wasn’t caught. Kwang-ho is convinced that the killer lives close to the location of the first murder and calls for Sung-shik to join him.

They question the residents on one of the neighborhood streets and happen upon a young girl crying to her older sister, worried that their dog has been killed. Kwang-ho learns that most of the neighborhood dogs have disappeared. The older sister shares that the night their dog went missing, they saw a neighbor in front of their house and points to where the high schooler lives.

Kwang-ho opens a gate to a large yard. He is surprised to find the house’s front door locked and a window covered with newspaper. He and Sung-shik walk to the backyard, observing that every window is covered with newspaper. Kwang-ho stops at the sight of a small mound of earth.

Using his bare hands, Kwang-ho unearths a plastic bag and removes his hands to find them covered in blood after checking the contents, which triggers Sung-shik’s nausea. Kwang-ho looks up as a young man in a school uniform asks, “Who are you?”

Kwang-ho questions the the student at the police station, certain that he is the killer. At the house, even after surveying the proof that he killed numerous dogs, Chief Oh refuses to accept that a high school boy could be guilty of multiple murders. Kwang-ho argues that the boy used the dogs for practice before turning to women while insisting that his age doesn’t make him incapable of murder. Kwang-ho promises to make the boy confess.

Kwang-ho returns to question the suspect, JUNG HO-YOUNG, who confesses to killing the dogs, but not any humans. Kwang-ho grabs the boy’s jacket, demanding to know why he killed the women before pushing him away. Ho-young stands up and asks, “Does there have to be a reason… to kill people?” Ho-young invites a shocked Kwang-ho to hit him, admitting that he might confess if he does.

Kwang-ho punches and kicks Ho-young before Chief Oh pulls him away, stating that the boy has an alibi for the recent murder. Kwang-ho insists that the chief is wrong: Ho-young is the killer they’ve been searching for. Ho-young smiles to himself as Chief Oh escorts him from the interrogation room.

That night, Kwang-ho leaves the station at 8:15 p.m. and pats a sleeping Sung-shik on his way out before explaining to Chief Oh that he’s going to catch the killer.

Walking alone, Kwang-ho vows, “I will never give up.” He reasons that he should discover something if he visits the scene of the most recent crime at the same time it was committed, between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m.

Kwang-ho enters the Hwayang-ri Tunnel, wondering where the missing fifth body could be. He’s distracted when his flashlight goes out before he detects the smell of cigarette smoke. A figure in a black hooded jacket lies inside the police outline where Jin Seon-mi’s body was found, holding a burning cigarette. The figure sits up and relives how he strangled Seon-mi.

Kwang-ho chases the figure, which brings us back to the beginning of the episode. When Kwang-ho is struck on the head, Yeon-sook ominously pricks her finger with a needle while the whistle that she gave Kwang-ho gets torn from his neck as he falls to the ground.

Yeon-sook picks up a newspaper advertising the Han River Cruise, smiling as she glances at the calendar marked with her birthday. Meanwhile, the killer squats next to Kwang-ho before he walks away, dropping the rock he used to hit Kwang-ho with.

As Kwang-ho’s gaze follows the suspect, his flashlight suddenly shines on the fallen whistle. Remembering Yeon-sook’s promise to find him, Kwang-ho strains to reach the whistle before passing out.

 
COMMENTS

Tunnel has a decidedly slower feel than other mystery dramas, but before I knew it, I was on the edge of my seat. This drama relies on suspense, allowing the horror of the cases to snowball throughout the episode. What happens when ordinary people encounter a cold-blooded killer who lacks any emotional connection whatsoever? Clearly, the people who lived in 1986 had an expectation of human behavior that excluded someone capable of such evil, making the crimes so much more devastating.

In that sense, Kwang-ho is ahead of his time, and he was one of the first who was willing to consider that the strangulation murders were connected way before he had any evidence. His frustration and exhaustion grew with each murder, since he was unable to get Chief Oh to consider that the cases were linked to the same killer. The lack of evidence alone is a commonality that sets the murders apart. In the end, Kwang-ho discovered the killer’s mark, proving conclusively that the victims were killed by the same person, but now he must convince Chief Oh that a high school boy can be a serial killer. His chief just can’t accept the possibilities in spite of the Kwang-ho’s solid analysis and Dr. Kim’s assertions that the culprit is a killing machine.

Along with the murder mystery, we were treated to a sweet romance. How adorable was Kwang-ho as he found himself falling for Yeon-sook? While Chief Oh may be an impediment to Kwang-ho’s investigation, he obviously knew what he was doing when he encouraged his detective to keep that blind date. Kwang-ho’s face completely changes when he smiles at Yeon-sook — he looks so happy. His bride has a strength that makes her an ideal detective’s wife, since she just wants Kwang-ho to come home safely. It’s too bad that the demands of the case cheated Kwang-ho and Yeon-sook of the precious little time that they had together.

Even though this is a time travel drama, this first episode was all about Kwang-ho’s life in the past. It’s important to appreciate the life that he will be forced to leave behind to fully understand what he’ll be missing in the future. Yi-soo’s young son will be a grown man in his thirties instead of a toddler. Sung-shik will be his sunbae, but not really. Some in his circle may be gone — possibly Chief Oh, perhaps others. Instead of being ahead of his time regarding his police work, Kwang-ho will have to accept how much things have changed. But have they really? In the end, successful detective work hinges on understanding and accepting what criminals are capable of. In that regard, Kwang-ho has shown that he has what it takes to be a good detective, no matter what year it is. I only hope that there is someone in the new timeline that makes Kwang-ho smile.

RELATED POSTS

61 March 29, 2017March 29, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 2

by Saya

With its moody atmosphere and keen emotions, Tunnel’s opening week is as compelling as it gets. Leaping forward thirty years into the present this hour, we watch our brash detective struggle with life in the modern world. But while fish-out-of-water antics are always entertaining, it’s the lonely stranger-in-a-strange-land-vibes that have curled their tentacles into my heart. I’m glad you’re back, Choi Jin-hyuk.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

In the dark tunnel, Kwang-ho struggles to come back to consciousness after his knock on the head. Picking himself up, he looks for the culprit as the air ripples around him.

Elsewhere, a desperate-looking young man in a white car careens through traffic, chased by another car. Meanwhile, Kwang-ho emerges from the tunnel, and behind him, the once-young vines grow and wither in the space of a moment over the tunnel’s mouth. Creepy.

The hunted young man (Vixx’s N) loses his pursuer at a busy intersection. He rummages through his glovebox for something, and his license identifies him as… Park Kwang-ho? He’s so busy that he nearly doesn’t see our Kwang-ho crossing the road and slams on the brakes just in time.

Our Kwang-ho leaps out of the way and orders the young man out of the car. But the young man is terrified to see the other car has caught up to him and speeds away. The other car hotly pursues him.

A confused Kwang-ho returns to his police station. His head is pulsing, and he calls out for maknae Sung-shik, but the station seems empty. He looks up at the sound of tapping, and is dismayed to see some other man at his desk.

Kwang-ho confronts him, and the man introduces himself as Lieutenant KIM SUN-JAE (Yoon Hyun-min). Ohhh…! Kwang-ho mutters that he must be a lunatic from the local prayer house and throws him out, locking the door behind him.

He returns to (what he thinks is) his desk, and wonders idly what the smartphone lying on it is. Noticing that the phone is different, he dials his chief, but a woman answers and tells him he’s got the wrong number. Only then does he notice his changed surroundings, from the computers in place of typewriters, to… well, everything.

He clutches his head as the old overlaps on the new. He takes a look at a printout, which turns out to be a transfer order for someone with the same name as his, although he’s confused by the 1988 birthdate (“It’s 1986, though”) and the even more ridiculous 2016 transfer date.

By then, Sun-jae returns with a key and furiously confronts Kwang-ho. Irritated, Kwang-ho squirrels away the transfer order, and then, quick as a flash, he cuffs Sun-jae to the bars of the holding cell. Sun-jae demands to be released, wanting to know his identity.

Kwang-ho doesn’t have time for him, since he has a criminal to catch. But finding no one else there, he heads out with a big flashlight, ignoring Sun-jae’s shouts. Once outside, however, he looks around in bewilderment at the bright lights and high-rises, his thoughts following in voiceover: “That night, all of a sudden, the world that I knew changed entirely.”

The officers arriving in the morning are shocked to find Sun-jae cuffed to the railing, though he’s now asleep. The older one, Detective KWAK TAE-HEE (Kim Byung-chul) gleefully takes pictures as his chief arrives. The noise wakes up both Sun-jae and Kwang-ho, who was asleep at his desk.

Kwang-ho uncuffs Sun-jae, explaining to the others that the guy kept saying he was a cop. As soon as Sun-jae is free, he shoves Kwang-ho, demanding to know his credentials. With a sigh, Kwang-ho tells him, “I’m Hwayang Precinct’s Park Kwang-ho,” which makes the chief (Jo Hee-bong) peer at him. Ohhh, I wonder…

Current maknae SONG MIN-HA (Kang Ki-young) also recognizes the name and perks up. Styling himself as a sunbae now, he introduces the newbie, saying he has no prior experience in violent crime. (Kwang-ho scoffs to himself that he’s been in violent crime for ten years and is a sergeant, not a corporal, thankyouverymuch.) The chief continues to stare at him.

Aloud, Kwang-ho agrees that that’s his name but he’s not that guy before walking out. The chief examines the transfer order, while detective Tae-hee laughs at Sun-jae being mistaken for a lunatic, adding that it’s true, since he tears out anytime he hears that a young woman has been murdered.

Maknae Min-ha hands over Kwang-ho’s heavy, old-fashioned handcuffs to the chief. A flashback shows Kwang-ho training maknae Sung-shik in using such cuffs. (I knew it, Sung-shik is the chief, isn’t he?) Meanwhile, Kwang-ho wanders the streets trying to get his head around modern Seoul, frantically wondering what’s happening to him.

The chief’s nameplate finally reveals that he is indeed Sung-shik. He roots through his desk until he finds an old photo of Kwang-ho and the ’86 team. Talking to himself, he says the newbie can’t be Kwang-ho’s son, and orders his personnel files.

Back in 1986, Kwang-ho’s entire team, including his wife, is in the tunnel looking for him. Sung-shik finds his torch, but they fear the worst when they find the bloodstained rock that the culprit used to strike Kwang-ho. Yeon-sook faints dead away at the sight.

Kwang-ho returns to his old residential area and retraces the route to his old home. But when he reaches the site, he’s stricken to find that it’s… gone, replaced by a busy road.

Yeon-sook comes to in a hospital and hurries to leave, but the doctor (who is also our medical examiner, Dr. Kim) gently tells her that she’s expecting. She’s stunned by the news.

In the present, Kwang-ho slumps at the roadside where his house used to be and finally accepts that this really must be 2016. “Yeon-sook-ah, where are you?” he asks, “Why is this happening to me?” He suddenly remembers collapsing in the tunnel. “If I can go through the tunnel again, I can go back,” he reasons.

Energized, he hops into a taxi, but is taken aback by the driver, who is none other than 1986’s Reporter Oh—or his doppelgänger, anyway. Kwang-ho asks Driver Oh if he knows of any tunnels in the area, and ever the opportunist, Oh takes him all around the houses to rack up the mileage.

But Kwang-ho catches on and refuses to pay after being dumped in some random place. While they argue, a woman boards the taxi. Driver Oh tells her he can’t take her because Kwang-ho has yet to pay, and she coolly says she’ll pay his fare along with hers. Driver Oh leaps on the offer and drives off with his new passenger, leaving Kwang-ho fuming.

Kwang-ho looks at the area he’s been stranded in. Recognition fills him as he takes in the building in front of him: it’s the old prayer house, which has now become a psychiatric hospital. That sparks a memory of a road sign he saw for the asylum the night before at the tunnel, and he realizes he’s close. Just then, an alarm sounds from the hospital, and a nurse runs out screaming. Torn for a moment, he runs into the building.

Lying in the dirt, a phone vibrates. Back at the station, Min-ha reports that he can’t reach Kwang-ho, which dismays Sung-shik even more. Oh no, it’s not looking good for the younger Kwang-ho, is it? He dispatches his team to the incident scene, but he keeps Sun-jae back to tell him that he’ll be paired up with Kwang-ho from now on.

Kwang-ho passes through a cordon of medical staff and arrives at the grisly scene of a woman with a pencil embedded in her neck, dead. He sees a distinctive tattoo and recognizes her as a once-cocky woman called Lee Seon-ok, whom he once questioned over the death of her fiancé.

It seems that the fiancé used to beat her and her younger sister, and Kwang-ho gently appealed to her to think of what might become of her sister. Just as she was about to open up, Kwang-ho was called away, and by the time he came back, she was back to denying everything. In the present, Kwang-ho sighs that she was caught after all.

Detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha arrive at the scene and are surprised to find Kwang-ho leaving it, considering his earlier outburst. He repeats that he’s not that Park Kwang-ho and pushes past them. He passes Sun-jae, too, who digs at him not to come back.

Kwang-ho finally locates the tunnel. “Yeon-sook-ah, wait just a little longer, I’m coming,” he says, grinning. He sprints in, calling her name, and emerges triumphant at the other side… except nothing’s changed. Confused, he goes back in, still to no avail. Each time he fails, he becomes a little more desperate.

In 1986, Yeon-sook returns to the tunnel to search for him. Catching a glint of light in the gravel, she finds the whistle she had given him and starts sobbing uncontrollably. In 2016, Kwang-ho doggedly keeps running, roaring her name.

And somehow, his cries reach her across space and time. Her head whips up as she hears him call her name, his voice echoing through the tunnel. Full of desperate hope, she heads to the tunnel mouth, and he runs towards her… and past her, a specter still trapped in the future. As his cries fade, so does her hope, and she collapses into sobbing again, as if she senses just how far away he is.

Kwang-ho, too, crumples up with a strangled cry. Tears pouring down his face, he wonders why he this is happening to him, “What did I do so wrong?”

Morning finds Kwang-ho back at the Hwayang police station. Looking over the transfer order he pocketed the day before, he figures that he’ll have to live as the other Kwang-ho until he can go back. He enters the station on Sun-jae’s heels and quickly scans to see if the younger Kwang-ho showed up. He hasn’t.

They have a team briefing on Lee Seon-ok’s case, and Kwang-ho is shocked to learn that she killed three people. Arrested in 1990, she was admitted to the hospital after serving her sentence. Just as Sung-shik forms the words, Kwang-ho asks if anyone had a grudge against her and says they should investigate the families of her victims.

He’s grudgingly impressed that Sun-jae has already collected that information. They report that there was no CCTV, and Kwang-ho inwardly wonders what this “CCTV” is, but on hearing that Seon-ok had a female visitor right before she died, he immediately guesses it must have been the woman who took his taxi.

Chief Sung-shik sends Sun-jae and Kwang-ho to track down the taxi. On the way, Kwang-ho awkwardly apologizes to Sun-jae about the handcuffing incident. “Don’t apologize,” Sun-jae replies brusquely, “Just have a wretched time of it from now on.” Haha. He takes a further dig at Kwang-ho for remembering the taxi by its look rather than its name: “Didn’t you learn Hangul?”

Meanwhile, Sung-shik calls an old hyungnim to ask him about the Park Kwang-ho who transferred from there.

The detectives successfully track down Driver Oh, and he tells them he dropped that woman off at the university. Using his cell phone, Sun-jae calls in a report to the chief that the daughter of Seon-ok’s last victim is a student there, and they’re heading over. Kwang-ho looks on, wondering whether Sun-jae’s device is a telephone or a radio. It’s a confusing world, isn’t it?

Sun-jae tracks down the daughter’s current class—which is being taught by the taxi-lady, whom we should now introduce as SHIN JAE-YI (Lee Yoo-young). She notices him. “Every crime leaves a trace,” she tells the class, throwing him a glance.

The PA system crackles with Kwang-ho’s voice, and he announces that he’s looking for the woman who paid his taxi fare the day before so he can pay her back.

After class, the daughter tells Sun-jae that she was with her mom in Busan the day before. Her alibi is confirmed a moment later by Min-ha, so he lets her go. He pauses as he encounters the professor leaving the class, and across the hall, Kwang-ho catches sight of her and calls out.

In the now-empty classroom, Kwang-ho plays around with the touch-screen operated lighting, fascinated. Sun-jae tells Jae-yi that the patient she visited the day before died. But when the news doesn’t move her, he asks the reason for her visit.

She tells them she’s a psychologist who studies female serial killers, and she was there to interview Lee Seon-ok. Kwang-ho scoffs and asks why she would study lunatics. She, in turn, asks him why he catches murderers when the victims are already dead, and he has no answer.

Sun-jae checks Jae-yi’s alibi with the dean. The dean confirms it, explaining that facilitating her research was a condition of Jae-yi’s recruitment from England, and that she had even written a thesis on the topic. She assures him that Jae-yi’s interest is purely academic. But this lady is kinda creepy all the same, you know?

Sun-jae asks her what her professional opinion is on Jae-yi as a fellow psychologist, observing that spending all your time studying the psyches of murderers might affect one’s own moral compass. With a smirk, the dean asks if he’s thinking that Jae-yi could have killed someone. “I didn’t say that,” Sun-jae replies.

Jae-yi watches the detectives leave before the dean finds her to ask for a word.

Sung-shik meets the hyungnim he called earlier, and they reminisce a bit about the past. Hyungnim tells him that he looked for photos of (the younger) Kwang-ho after Sung-shik’s call, but they had all disappeared. Sung-shik tells him that back in 1986, his team was broken up after a detective disappeared. Hyungnim recalls that that detective was Sung-shik’s sunbae, whom he had missed desperately, and he realizes that he was also called Park Kwang-ho.

A body was never found, Sung-shik says, “But… a person who vanished has reappeared before me, looking exactly as he did thirty years ago.” Hyungnim laughs that he must have had too much to drink, but Sung-shik remains deeply uneasy.

The medical examiner rules Lee Seon-ok’s death a suicide, explaining how the wound was self-inflicted. This guy is creepy. Noticing the new face, he eyes Kwang-ho with interest and asks his name, introducing himself as MOK JIN-WOO.

Sun-jae isn’t convinced by the verdict, and the medical examiner suggests he discuss it with the owner of the pencil. As the detectives head out, Sun-jae complains about Kwang-ho speaking banmal to him (since he outranks him), and Kwang-ho reminds himself that he’s meant to be an ’88-er. He gets huffy, and Sun-jae stalks off without him.

Seeking out Jae-yi (a.k.a. the owner of the pencil), Sun-jae asks her again why she visited Lee Seon-ok. She places a recorder on the table and we flash back to the interview. Lee Seon-ok was clearly suffering from psychosis, first acting distressed, then cackling. She confided in Jae-yi that everyone thought she only killed three people. “But actually, I killed my father, too,” she hissed.

Jae-yi showed no reaction and left her with one final question: “You can’t kill people anymore. But if a murderer can’t murder, is life still worth living… or not?” Jae-yi tells Sun-jae that Lee Seon-ok had smiled then, and we see that Jae-yi’s pencil had fallen at her feet.

Back at the police station, Kwang-ho tries to figure out how to go back and asks Min-ha if they at least caught the 1986 murderer. Min-ha doesn’t know and tells him to ask the chief, who was here then. Astounded, Kwang-ho asks the chief’s name, but before he can find out, a woman interrupts, looking for (the real) Kwang-ho.

He tries to hide, but she only turns out to be his new landlady, and she takes him to his new place. He lets himself in, dumbfounded that even a house has materialized. He throws himself down on the bed and shouts, “Hey! Stop giving me this stuff and just let me go home!” to the universe at large.

Yeon-sook gently shakes him and he wakes up to the sight of her face. Bolting up in delight, he engulfs her in a hug. “This is 1986, right? Not 2016?” he asks. She laughs that he must have been dreaming, and he agrees he was. He hugs her again, confessing that he thought he wasn’t going to see her again. This has got to be a dream.

Someone bangs at the door, and he opens it in his pajamas, thinking that it’s Sung-shik, but it’s 2016’s Sun-jae. Eyes widening, he cries out for Yeon-sook… and wakes up, still in 2016. Sigh. Of course it could never be that easy. Clutching his head in his hands, he howls Yeon-sook’s name.

Elsewhere, a woman kicks on the ground, struggling against an attacker. But then she falls limp, and we see five dots marked on her ankle. How…?!

The next morning, Kwang-ho tries to figure out how to get to the police station by bus. He observes other passengers touching the card-reader and attempts it himself… with his bare hand, which of course gets him thrown off. But then he spots a patrol car and snags himself a ride. Lol, an ’80s man is nothing if not resourceful, even when he finds modern jeans way too tight. Hahaha.

When he arrives at the office, chief Sung-shik introduces Jae-yi as their new consultant psychologist — not a profiler, as she corrects Tae-hee. Kwang-ho scoffs. “Hey, foolish agasshi. You don’t study criminals, you catch them,” he tells her, adding a comment about her being a woman.

Appalled by his rudeness, Sung-shik points out that she’s come to help them, and this time, it’s Sun-jae who retorts that he never asked for it. Done with the introductions, Jae-yi leaves, saying that she’ll be back when they have a case.

The phone rings, and Min-ha finally answers it after a pitched argument with Kwang-ho about who’s the maknae. Immediately grave, he reports that a dismembered body was just found on a nearby mountain.

The entire team are at the scene. Kwang-ho shouts for them to stop as he spots something: five black dots on the heel. “How on earth can this be here…?” he asks, remembering how the last victim in 1986 had six dots. “Six, not five?” the medical examiner had asked then. “One is missing.”

Well, it looks like they just found it.

 
COMMENTS

I’m afraid of jinxing it by saying it, but Tunnel is giving me some strong Signal vibes, along with a big dash of God’s Gift—14 Days—and only one of them ended well. But life is short, so I’m prepared to be an incautious optimist!

I’m so glad Choi Jin-hyuk is back in dramaland, after how good he was in 2014’s Pride and Prejudice. I feel like he’s gone even deeper into this role within just two episodes. While the fish-out-of-water setup is full of obvious conflicts and comedic potential, what really stands out is the emotionally rich undertone, which Choi Jin-hyuk brings to painful life. This is not a comedy, and you don’t forget that; even its funny moments have an undercurrent of gravity and unease. But while Kwang-ho’s predicament is a tragedy in every meaningful way, it’s offset by an equal current of human warmth, which is a quality Tunnel’s predecessor (Voice) sorely lacked.

Kwang-ho’s desperation to return “home” evokes the sharpest pathos this episode. He isn’t taking it stoically—he’s desperate and disorientated, and although he’s proven both adaptable and resourceful, being cut off from Yeon-sook is killing him. I love what this says about him, that his attachment isn’t to the world he knows, but to the person he loves in it. His situation reminds me of those fairy tales about people being taken under the sea only to come back a hundred years later, no older than the day they were taken, but everyone they knew and loved is dead.

But luckily for Kwang-ho, it’s only thirty years, and I’m dying for him to realize who Sung-shik is. Watching Sung-shik watch Kwang-ho was another highlight of the episode. It’s such an odd and fascinating contrast to have the one-time maknae now become Kwang-ho’s senior, but it’s enriched by the fact that Sung-shik’s lived those thirty years that Kwang-ho skipped. His seniority isn’t a mere technicality, but actually a product of experience. More than the clash between Kwang-ho and Sun-jae, I’m looking forward to seeing how Kwang-ho and Sung-shik will match up now.

This hour also brings into relief just how different the culture of the present time is. For example, where few people would have blinked at casual sexism in the ’80s, I winced right along with Sung-shik at Kwang-ho’s rude comments. But the past portions also offer us a window into an era swept away by an increasingly digitized world, not just in its visuals, but in that unhasty quality that marks a willingness to take time over living.

For now, we’re left with a fistful of mysteries, most of which I suspect will take all show to unravel. Apart from the time slip itself, there are so many questions. Who is the younger Park Kwang-ho? Why have his photos disappeared? How is he connected to our Park Kwang-ho? Who’s chasing him and where has he disappeared to? Was that dog-murdering kid the real culprit back then, and if so, where is he now—or more importantly, who is he now? (That creepy medical examiner is my candidate—the best place to hide is at the base of the lamp, right?) Can he time-travel? No no, can I time-travel? To Saturday?

RELATED POSTS

72 April 3, 2017April 3, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 3

by TeriYaki

Kwang-ho is convinced that a case from the past holds the key to his return to Yeon-sook’s side. As he works to solve a case in the present timeline, Kwang-ho’s investigative methods somehow complement those of his taciturn partner and the rest of the quirky team. While Kwang-ho learns more about the modern world, sometimes with amusing results, one thing is certain — murder is serious business, no matter the decade.

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

In 1986, a hooded figure crouches beside a young woman’s body and blows cigarette smoke into her face. After he walks away, she opens her eyes and sits up, her heel marked with five dots. In 2016, that woman exits a taxi and says, “Everything has changed so much.”

At the scene where the dismembered body parts were found, Kwang-ho sits nearby and considers that the Park Kwang-ho born in 1988 might know something useful, but he hasn’t appeared. Maknae Min-ha asks if it’s Kwang-ho’s first time seeing a case like this, but he scoffs in reply.

Detective Tae-hee breathes in deeply and announces that the victim has been dead for at least a month. Min-ha utters, “He really is the undertaker’s son,” and Tae-hee recognizes that running errands for his father turned out to be helpful.

Kwang-ho catches sight of five dots on the victim’s heel and remembers Dr. Kim’s insistence that there was a missing victim. Kwang-ho double checks that the body has been there for a month, not thirty years, and he thinks that his jump to the future could be tied to this case. He can’t help but hope that solving it will allow him to return home.

Our resident criminal profiler Jae-yi walks to class with a roll of duct tape. During class, she tosses it to a student and orders her to tie the wrists of the girl next to her. Once she obliges, Jae-yi asks what a murderer would do with the leftover tape.

The class offers various suggestions, but Jae-yi asks the murderer/student directly. Her answer, that she would keep the tape to use again, makes her sound like a real murderer. She laughs that she wasn’t serious, but Jae-yi leans close to add that the tape can be a way for the killer to remember the murder before announcing that this semester, they will focus on a murderer’s memories.

Kwang-ho tries to explain the 1986 case to Sun-jae, because he thinks that their victim is a survivor from that time. Sun-jae counters that they will use the database of missing persons and DNA to identify the victim, but Kwang-ho has no idea what he’s talking about.

Dr. Mok confirms that the victim is a woman who has been dead for 25-30 days. Sun-jae thinks that the tool used to cut the leg could be linked to the murderer’s occupation, possibly in landscaping, carpentry or construction.

Kwang-ho is amazed to learn from the doctor that DNA can actually be tested. He asks if the dots are thirty years old, and Dr. Mok explains that they can be analyzed, curious about his interest. But Sun-jae stops Kwang-ho before he can explain further.

Jae-yi walks out to the busy crime scene and takes a call from the dean. Jae-yi explains that she decided to follow this case from the beginning, but the dean cautions her, “Don’t get too close.” Jae-yi forgets about the call when she arrives at the crime scene and realizes that the shallow burial means that the killer didn’t care if the body parts were found.

Back at the police station, Sun-jae ignores all of Kwang-ho’s suggestions and insists that he address him properly. Tae-hee and Min-ha report that they found CCTV footage at a restaurant across from the motel.

Tae-hee is convinced that the victim was killed in Seoul and disposed of in the remote area where she was found. Kwang-ho proposes that the victim is from the area, in her late 40’s to mid-50’s and recently returned after a long time away. Tae-hee declares that watching dramas turns everyone into a crime scene investigator, and even though Kwang-ho pushes his theory, the team ignores him.

As the search party works into the night, Sun-jae presents the team with a short list of potential victims. Tae-hee and Min-ha are impressed, but Kwang-ho calls it a waste of time and takes it upon himself to eliminate women who don’t meet his criteria. Sung-shik cautions Sun-jae to teach Kwang-ho properly before sending everyone home.

Jae-yi calls Sun-jae to explain that the killer treated the victim like garbage because he wanted to disrespect her, even in death. She hangs up before he can ask any questions.

The next day, Sun-jae rushes into Dr. Mok’s office, surprised that the victim didn’t match anyone on his list. The doctor suggests that perhaps she lived alone and wasn’t reported missing.

Sung-shik sends Tae-hee and Min-ha back to the crime scene to wait for the discovery of the rest of the body. He wants Sun-jae and Kwang-ho to check employment offices for missing employees and pass out leaflets. Desperate to solve the case, Kwang-ho proposes checking on people who moved to Hwayang recently, but Sun-jae just walks away.

Out on the street, Kwang-ho is surprised that the leaflets don’t mention the five dots, but Sun-jae just hands him a list of missing employees and tells him to verify their whereabouts. Kwang-ho points to Sun-jae’s phone and admits that he doesn’t have one, so Sun-jae takes the list back and drives off. Left behind, Kwang-ho vows to investigate on his own.

Sung-shik checks on the crime scene, but even with the addition of drones, the search has been unsuccessful. Kwang-ho follows his hunch and searches a year’s worth of resident registrations for a woman who lived alone, in her late 40’s to mid-50’s.

Kwang-ho has summoned Driver Oh to help him with his list of potential victims. When he refuses to help, Kwang-ho reveals that he saw a police science book in the glove compartment and wonders how Driver Oh can hope to become a policeman with his attitude.

Kwang-ho promises to help Driver Oh pass his interview in exchange for his assistance. When Driver Oh insists on getting the promise in writing, Kwang-ho tells him that he should learn to trust people a little more.

Kwang-ho conducts a door-to-door search to find the missing fifth victim. Meanwhile, Driver Oh proves to be useful when he rescues Kwang-ho, who ends up on the run from a jealous husband wielding a baseball bat.

The dean looks for Jae-yi in her office, startled to discover her standing silently right behind her. They discuss her class, and Jae-yi worries that she’s too intimidating for her students. She glances at the crime scene photos and comments, “They’re taking longer than expected.”

Tae-hee and Min-ha try to look busy while they sleep at their desks. When Sun-jae returns alone, Sung-shik asks about Kwang-ho, but Sun-jae answers that he’s too busy to worry about him.

Driver Oh sleeps in his car while Kwang-ho checks a motel for the last woman on his list. The manager is annoyed by his questions, busy because the cleaning lady didn’t show up for work. She tries to recall her name before dismissing Kwang-ho.

Driver Oh suggests that the victim may have changed her appearance with plastic surgery, which is much harder than changing her name. Kwang-ho never considered that the missing victim changed her name. A check the next day discloses one woman who changed her name — KIM JUNG-HYE, originally named KIM YOUNG-JA.

Kwang-ho inspects her room and discovers from the motel manager that Kim Jung-hye disappeared a month earlier. Her personal effects include a photo of her from 1985, taken near Hwayang Women’s University.

After Kwang-ho removes a jar of face cream from her room for analysis, Dr. Mok calls Sung-shik to report that he successfully retrieved some DNA. Sung-shik stares at Kwang-ho as he informs the team that the DNA matched the victim.

After Kwang-ho delivers a well deserved “I told you so,” Min-ha checks on Kim Jung-hye’s background and realizes that she matches Kwang-ho’s criteria: she was forty-nine years old, a graduate of a local high school, and she returned from Seoul a year ago. Tae-hee admits that Kwang-ho’s dots theory could be true as well, and he uses a crime scene photo to show Sung-shik the victim’s heel tattoo.

Sung-shik asks how Kwang-ho knew about the tattoos. He rejects Kwang-ho’s explanation that he only heard about it, because after the case files were destroyed by a fire, only the people who worked the cases had any knowledge of them.

Sun-jae calls Kwang-ho’s theory about the victim a lucky guess. Before he can join Sun-jae to continue their investigation, Sung-shik grabs Kwang-ho’s arm to ask, “Who are you?”

In Sun-jae’s car, Kwang-ho thinks to himself that Sung-shik may have figured out that he’s not the Park Kwang-ho born in 1988. Then he wonders how Sung-shik knew about the old murder cases.

Kwang-ho urges Sun-jae to believe in him and wonders how he can be a detective if he doesn’t trust people. The car’s navigation system speaks up then, and Kwang-ho looks around for the source of the voice. He yells when it speaks again and startles Sun-jae, who looks at Kwang-ho as if he’s crazy.

Sun-jae reviews the motel’s CCTV footage of Kim Jung-hye on the day that she disappeared and sees that she spoke with an unseen person. Kwang-ho interviews the owner of a nearby restaurant and learns that a man from the local factory asked to meet the divorcee.

Sun-jae shows Kwang-ho a photo of Kim Jung-hye taken from the CCTV footage. Poor Kwang-ho tries to figure out how his phone can contain a picture and ends up dropping it. He apologizes to an annoyed Sun-jae and begins to speak formally in answer to his suffering sigh.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho interview the man who was interested in Kim Jung-hye, and he admits that she rejected him because she was involved with someone else.

Sun-jae asks if he saw her with anyone. The factory worker only claims that she met a man in front of the motel and that he overheard him call her Kim Young-ja.

At the station, the team reviews CCTV footage from the night that Kim Jung-hye disappeared. At 7:02 p.m., she spoke to someone in front of the motel. At 7:37 p.m., she walked next to a man wearing a hat. She was last recorded alone at 7:45 p.m.

Kwang-ho comments that he heard that Kim Jung-hye led a lonely life. Sung-shik looks at him curiously when he asks, “Why didn’t she report it back then?” Sun-jae thinks that she was either close to the man next to her or that he knew her by her original name.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae realize that Kim Jung-hye’s ex-husband might know the mystery man. As they leave the station, Sung-shik orders Min-ha to send the CCTV footage to Jae-yi.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho look for JANG YOUNG-CHUL at his workplace, only to discover that he quit a month ago. Kwang-ho pauses when he realizes that the date is January 3rd.

In 1986, Yeon-sook clutches Kwang-ho’s whistle and buys two tickets for the ferry. She sits on a bench to wait, surrounded by happy couples. Kwang-ho remembers that Yeon-sook promised to wait for him and announces that the case must be solved before the day’s end.

Jang Young-chul’s apartment is empty, so Sun-jae calls Min-ha and asks him to track the man’s phone. While Kwang-ho is surprised that it’s possible to use a phone to locate a suspect, the landlady tells the detectives that Jang Young-chul was dressed in a suit when he stopped by earlier to say goodbye.

Min-ha calls with Jang Young-chul’s location: the Jang family grave site where his parents are buried. Jang Young-chul leans on a headstone, a couple of empty soju bottles behind him. He pours himself some seemingly poisonous juice, but before he can drink it, Kwang-ho kicks it away. Jang Young-chul asks, “Can’t I die if I want to?”

At the station, Jang Young-chul is shocked to learn that Kim Jung-hye is dead. He claims that he never heard the name “Kim Young-ja,” but Kwang-ho thinks it’s an act. Sun-jae knows that Jang Young-chul quit his job the day after Kim Jung-hye disappeared.

Jang Young-chul shows the detectives his hands. His left hand is missing some fingers, and he explains that they both hurt too much for work.

Investigations at Jang Young-chul’s workplace and apartment yield no evidence of foul play. Min-ha reports that there is no additional real estate that could serve as a hideout either, so Sung-shik calls Sun-jae to ask if he’s managed to get a confession.

Sun-jae sits behind the interrogation room’s mirror to study the CCTV footage from the motel. Jang Young-chul insists to Kwang-ho that he didn’t kill his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Jae-yi reviews the footage of Kim Jung-hye walking with the man in the hat and notices that he keeps his left hand in his pocket.

Jae-yi calls Sun-jae to report her observation and suggests that the man has a complex, perhaps a disfigurement or a prosthetic hand that he would want to keep hidden from a woman. Again, she hangs up before Sun-jae can ask any questions.

Sun-jae realizes that Jang Young-chul can’t be the murderer because both of his hands are damaged, not just his left hand. After a review of the CCTV footage, Sun-jae remembers that the factory worker kept his left hand in his pocket. His knowledge that Kim Jung-hye was once known as Kim Young-ja makes Sun-jae wonder aloud if their only witness lied, just as Kwang-ho walks in.

Kwang-ho catches on that the factory worker may have known Kim Jung-hye when she was Kim Young-ja (which is what we’ll call her from now on). Sun-jae reviews something on his laptop and walks out. Kwang-ho sees that he researched the background for a Kim Kim Tae-soo and realizes that the man from the factory came from the same town as Kim Young-ja.

The factory worker lights a cigarette, and it’s apparent that his left hand is a prosthetic one. Sun-jae runs to the factory and finds the man standing in a nearby creek, looking suspicious. Sun-jae suspects that he threw something away, but the man acts innocent. But then Kwang-ho runs up and knocks the man down before proceeding to beat him up.

Kwang-ho’s entire team is present as the creek is searched. Sung-shik is alarmed to learn that Kwang-ho beat up the suspect and calls it unacceptable. When Sun-jae and Kwang-ho avoid his look, he takes his anger out on Tae-hee, who asks, “Why are you scolding me?” Suddenly, the search team yells out that they discovered something.

The factory worker, KIM TAE-SOO, sits in an interrogation room with Sun-jae and Kwang-ho. He’s twice divorced, lives alone, and is from the same town as Kim Young-ja, which explains how he knew her real name. Sun-jae accuses Kim Tae-soo of lying to them and confesses, “This is why I don’t trust people.”

Kim Tae-soo meekly denies the allegation. Sun-jae notes that the restaurant where Kim Tae-soo claimed to witness Kim Young-ja’s exchange with another man was too far for him to have overheard her real name. Sun-jae points to Kim Tae-soo’s left pocket and asks if he has something to hide.

Looking down, Sun-jae asks, “What kind of woman would like a guy with a hand like that?” When Kim Tae-soo angrily demands to know what gives Sun-jae so much authority, Sun-jae recalls that Jae-yi suggested that the murder could have been triggered by a breakup.

A flashback to the night that Kim Young-ja disappeared reveals that Kim Tae-soo tried to talk her into dating him and ignored her refusal. Frustrated, she glanced at his prosthetic hand and told him, “You’re just a crippled idiot.”

Kim Tae-soo reveals his prosthetic left hand in front of Sun-jae and Kwang-ho, seething with anger. Sun-jae proposes that Kim Tae-soo convinced Kim Young-ja to join him just once for tea. That’s exactly what he did, but he coerced her with a promise to look for her every night if she refused.

Kim Young-ja walked with Kim Tae-soo, who went ahead to a supposed teahouse around the corner. After a while, she turned to leave, but Kim Tae-soo pulled her into an alley.

Sun-jae stands next to Kim Tae-soo and suggests that he strangled Kim Young-ja with a rope, but he answers, “You’re wrong.” When Kwang-ho reminds him that he cut Kim Young-ja into pieces, Kim Tae-soo turns to him and denies the use of a rope. Laughing, he admits that he used his prosthetic hand.

As Kim Young-ja begged for her life, Kim Tae-soo told her, “Let me kill you with this crippled hand of mine.” Kim Tae-soo laughs maniacally and recalls taking off his hand to beat her. He then pressed it against Kim Young-ja’s throat until she choked and died.

Back at the station, Kwang-ho prepares to return home. He reads Sung-shik’s nameplate and realizes that he has the same name as his hoobae, just as Sung-shik promises to meet the team for a celebratory dinner. Kwang-ho asks Min-ha if the chief started out at Hwayang station and learns that he did.

Kwang-ho is amused that the kid who was always queasy is now a police chief. He tells himself, “I’m really coming home now, Yeon-sook,” but Tae-hee handcuffs himself to Kwang-ho to prevent him from leaving so that he can go out drinking with them.

As he leaves for the day, Sun-jae calls Jae-yi and shares that her guess about a breakup was only partially correct. Before she can question him, Sun-jae hangs up. He saves her number to his phone and continues on his way.

Tae-hee prepares soju and beer shots and promises to release Kwang-ho if he can drink more than him. The team members grimace as they down their shots, but Kwang-ho seems to enjoy the mixture. Once everyone else is drunk, Kwang-ho finds the key and unlocks the handcuffs.

Kwang-ho stands to say goodbye and admits that he’d like to punch Sun-jae before he leaves. He tells Sung-shik goodbye and adds, “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you. I can’t believe you really became the chief.”

Kwang-ho walks out of the pojangmacha and runs off, gone by the time Sung-shik staggers out. Kwang-ho smiles as he approaches the tunnel and shouts, “Let’s go ride that ferry, Yeon-sook.” As Kwang-ho runs through the tunnel, he remembers his happy life with Yeon-sook.

Only, Kwang-ho emerges from the tunnel, eyes closed, and is completely crestfallen when he sees the lights of the modern city. He looks up and screams, “Tell me! What do you want?”

Kwang-ho walks to the darkened ferry. Back in 1986, night has fallen on Yeon-sook, who sits alone. She succumbs to tears as she clutches Kwang-ho’s whistle and two unused tickets.

As Yeon-sook’s sobs echo, Kwang-ho walks to the same bench and sits down. With tears in his eyes, he realizes that he couldn’t keep his promise, unaware that they both kept their date, separated by thirty years. Kwang-ho admits to himself, “I don’t understand what’s going on.”

The young man who almost hit Kwang-ho when he first emerged from the tunnel stumbles and falls as he runs through a wooded area. He covers his mouth and hides as someone walks calmly past him. Badly injured and bloody, he limps to another spot to hide, only to turn in alarm at the sound of someone behind him.

 
COMMENTS

We certainly learned quite a bit about the people that surround Kwang-ho in 2016. As expected, Sun-jae is a prickly partner, which explains why he has gone through so many. If he’s planning to force Kwang-ho to move on, he’s in for a surprise, because his new partner is only concerned with a prompt return to his past — he expects every day with Sun-jae to be his last. While Kwang-ho can certainly learn about modern investigative techniques from Sun-jae, the Park Kwang-ho from 1986 can teach his partner a thing or two about old fashioned footwork. Interestingly, Kwang-ho has discovered a willing student in Driver Oh, who is lucky to have an opportunity to learn from the best. However, in spite of Sun-jae’s drawbacks, he proves that he is a very capable detective as the murder case unfolds. With their vastly different styles, it turns out that Sun-jae and Kwang-ho have the potential to become a very good team.

Like Sun-jae, Jae-yi seems to have an issue with interpersonal skills. Even though she’s extremely intelligent, she has no sense of personal space and gets uncomfortably close to others. As a police consultant, Jae-yi is all about giving her opinion, period. I don’t think it even occurs to her that she should answer any questions. Perhaps getting a dose of her own medicine from Sun-jae will open her eyes, but for now, she certainly comes across as an odd duck.

At least Kwang-ho finally realized that the Sung-shik of 2016 is the older version of his young sidekick in 1986. How proud was he when he knew that Sung-shik reached his goal to become chief? It remains to be seen if Sung-shik understands that the Kwang-ho in front of him is his sunbae, since he was drunk when Kwang-ho acknowledged him. Since Kwang-ho was unable to travel back to his time, how will he interact with Sung-shik going forward? His current boss may be his only link to his past, at least until the Park Kwang-ho of 1988 returns, which is looking like it will be a while, considering his dire situation at this episode’s end. Could it be that Kwang-ho followed the serial killer into the future? If so, he may need Sung-shik’s help more than he thinks.

The survivor with the five dots had the worst of luck. She survived an attack by one crazed killer only to cross paths with another thirty years later. Kwang-ho’s belief that her murder was linked to the murders of the past was only partially true, but now he knows why Victim #5 was never discovered. I have to admit that, so far, the criminals in this drama make my skin crawl, if only because they are so frighteningly unhinged. I very much appreciate the characters’ entertaining interactions and Kwang-ho’s amusing antics as he experiences the future, since they help to keep the drama from sinking too far into darkness.

As hard as Kwang-ho is working to return to the past and Yeon-sook’s side, she is working just as hard to keep hope alive that he will appear. Her promised birthday date was truly heartbreaking, especially because both Kwang-ho and Yeon-sook kept that date, albeit years apart. They are so well matched in their love and devotion for one another. Unfortunately, Yeon-sook has a baby on the way to worry about, so how long can she endure when time waits for no one? Yeon-sook’s one request of Kwang-ho was to come home, no matter how late. Will they have to overcome a thirty year delay? The longer it takes for Kwang-ho to return to 1986, the more I wonder if he’s meant to go back at all.

RELATED POSTS

62 April 5, 2017April 5, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 4

by Saya

I’m genuinely amazed at how much emotion Tunnel has been able to condense into one episode. I was going to say that things had slowed down a little this week, and while that’s sort of true, it’s also misleading, because every scene this hour is packed full of subtleties and growth. When characters with a single-episode arc create sympathy and attachment, when your most “normal” character is the guy who popped out of the ’80s, when your aces prove maladroit rather than unfeeling… all I can say is: I’m all in.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Kwang-ho’s heading home when he notices smoke pouring out of the neighboring house. Nobody answers the door so he smashes the window, climbs in, and puts out the fire near the stove. He’s shocked to see Jae-yi emerge nonchalantly from a shower, but she just asks if he wants coffee. But we see her stove is electric… so how the fire?

The next morning, they come out at the same time. Still addressing her as “agasshi,” Kwang-ho says they can’t live in the same house and she should move out, but she points out that their apartments are on different stories. He argues that she must be uncomfortable, too. “Not at all,” she says, before going her way.

Kwang-ho yells in frustration, comparing her taciturn character to Sun-jae’s. Across the road in his car, Sung-shik watches him argue with the landlady. He follows Kwang-ho to a citizen center and asks the official what Kwang-ho wanted. She tells him he’d been looking for someone they have no records for—a woman called Shin Yeon-sook, whom he claimed was his wife.

“He said ‘Shin Yeon-sook?’ Really?” Sung-shik exclaims, eyes wide.

Kwang-ho returns to the site of his old home, still unable to believe it’s gone. He can’t understand why there’s no record of Yeon-sook and wishes that he could ask Sung-shik. And when he turns around, Sung-shik is right there, gazing at him with full eyes.

“Sunbaenim… I’m maknae Sung-shikie!” he cries, throwing his arms around Kwang-ho. But Kwang-ho steps away to stare at the older man a moment… and then engulfs him in a bear-hug of his own. “I thought you were deeeeaaad!” Sung-shik wails.

Over a meal, Kwang-ho tells Sung-shik about what happened to him. He finds out that they never caught the 1986 murderer, and wonders if that’s why he’s here. Sung-shik thinks he might have died since there were no more victims. While they discuss Kwang-ho’s attempts to go back, the waitress gives Kwang-ho a dirty look for speaking in banmal to the older man, although Sung-shik quickly explains that the young man is like a son to him.

Sung-shik asks what happened to the younger Park Kwang-ho, and is shocked to learn that he’s missing. Kwang-ho agrees that it’s too weird that the guy has the same name and same job as him. He thinks the younger man might hold the answers and plans to look for him, and so he asks Sung-shik to find Yeon-sook. When Sung-shik has to leave for a meeting, Kwang-ho laughs that he grew up—or rather, he corrects himself, he got old.

Before he goes, Sung-shik tells him seriously, “Sunbaenim, don’t suddenly disappear like that again.”

Sun-jae plays a game of chess with the medical examiner, Dr. Mok. From the way Sun-jae smiles and talks easily with him, they must be friends, and we find out that Sun-jae had once intended to be a doctor. But their game is cut short when Sun-jae gets called to a new crime scene. At the same time, Jae-yi sends a message telling him to come to the university, while Dr. Mok executes a move that wins him the game.

Kwang-ho wanders a busy street, taking in modern life with the curiosity and enjoyment of a tourist. He growls when Sun-jae screeches up in his car and tells him to get in, but figures that means there’s a new case, although Sun-jae characteristically ignores all of his questions.

They arrive at the scene of a burglary. Kwang-ho mistakes the security company for police and tells them to stick to their own jurisdictions before heading in. Haha. They examine the crime scene, with Kwang-ho perplexed by the booties he has to wear.

Kwang-ho goes to check the escape route (grumbling about Sun-jae giving him orders) while Sun-jae heads upstairs with another officer. They’re surprised to see a school kid leaving, and when Sun-jae calls out to him to stop, he notices the kid wearing outside shoes.

The kid breaks for it, and Sun-jae gives chase, leaping the wall Kwang-ho was just checking out. Kwang-ho joins the pursuit and the two men run him down, although Sun-jae misses the kid by a hair and Kwang-ho grabs him first.

At the police station, the kid points out that he didn’t have any stolen goods on him, and Sung-shik identifies him as the lookout for the actual burglars. But since he won’t spill, they lock him up. They figure that the perps knew what they were doing since it was a carefully timed operation, and they avoided all the CCTVs, too.

Kwang-ho wants to investigate the kid further, but Sun-jae shuts him down, rudely telling him to use his head. Sung-shik tries to mediate and Tae-hee notices him speaking to Kwang-ho in jondae, which is totally weird. Sung-shik styles it out, although he still trips over his tongue trying not to call Kwang-ho “sunbaenim.” Hehehe.

Elsewhere, Dean Hong asks Jae-yi how it felt to be involved in a case. Unusually animated, she says it wasn’t bad. The dean reminisces about their first meeting and how Jae-yi didn’t respond to her then. A quick flashback takes us back fifteen years, to a young Jae-yi in a police station in England, where Hong learned that she was adopted at the age of six. “Jae-yi-ya. You grew up well,” Hong says in the present, smiling.

Sun-jae catches Jae-yi on her way out and asks why she wanted to meet. He’s surprised when she asks what he meant about her being only half-right on the last case. Amused, he tells her that the victim and murderer had never been in a relationship, so she was wrong on that count.

Smiling a little herself, she says that the murderer was in a relationship in his head. She suggests that Sun-jae try stalking sometime: “It will help you understand the culprit.” Nodding, he agrees before asking her if she’s ever been stalked. Hah.

Back at the station, the kid, whose name is DONG-WOO, pleads urgently with Kwang-ho to let him out, because he really needs to get home. “What if I know who’s going to be hit next?” he blurts out desperately. That gets Kwang-ho’s attention.

Tae-hee and Min-ha (we need a name for this pair—ideas?) get back after a fruitless search for leads. Sung-shik is hilariously horrified to see Min-ha dressed up in a retro ’80s TV detective outfit, which he tells them was inspired by Kwang-ho.

The three of them catch up to Kwang-ho in the office, where they’re dismayed to find out that he released the kid, Dong-woo. Kwang-ho tells them that Dong-woo had to get back to his younger sister, and so he gave up the location of the burglars’ next target.

The detectives groan at him for being so simple as to believe him, but Kwang-ho insists on checking it out. Sun-jae again tells him to use his head. “You’ll regret this later,” Kwang-ho warns, and he calls Sung-shik aside for a word. His hangdog compliance astonishes Tae-hee and Min-ha. It really looks like Kwang-ho’s about to chew him out.

In the privacy of the meeting room, he reminds Sung-shik that he taught him to keep going even if he’d been deceived a hundred times. Sung-shik tries to explain that it’s not the same these days, but Kwang-ho’s done listening.

He heads to the location with Driver Oh, who he keeps accidentally calling Reporter Oh (“kija” instead of “kisa”). Kwang-ho wants to check the place out, but Oh balks until he hears that they might catch burglars.

Unknown to them, the burglars are inside already, filling their bags with jewelry while counting down how long they’ve got until the security company turns up. But just then, Kwang-ho rings the doorbell, and they run for it. Kwang-ho catches sight of them over the perimeter wall and leaps over, giving furious chase. He wrestles a bag off one, but they ultimately get away.

News of the incident reaches the team at the station to everyone’s shock, and they immediately head to the scene. Sun-jae notices that it’s the same security company, “Safe,” as the previous hit. Kwang-ho curls his lip at their arrival, especially when they exclaim that the tip turned out to be true.

Looking extra hard at Sung-shik, he repeats what he said before about always investigating no matter what. “Whether it’s the past or the present, that’s still the same,” he barks before telling Sun-jae to use his head, mirroring Sun-jae’s earlier gesture back at him.

The security company connection hits Sun-jae. He and Kwang-ho both head to Dong-woo’s place, but no one answers the door. Finding it unlocked, they go in, and Sun-jae detects the smell of blood. Kwang-ho shouts when he finds Dong-woo lying in the bathroom, dead.

A sound makes them look back toward a wardrobe, where they find an unconscious girl inside. She’s rushed to hospital, and the forensic team take over the scene. Simmering with anger, Kwang-ho summarizes for his team: The girl in hospital is Dong-woo’s little sister and the two of them lived alone. She appears uninjured, but they’re still running tests, he reports.

Looking from the body to the wardrobe, Sun-jae suddenly climbs into it. Through a large peephole, Dong-woo’s body is clearly visible. “Could the child have seen it?” he wonders to himself.

At the autopsy the next day, they establish the time of death, and Sun-jae is certain that the little sister, SOO-JUNG, witnessed her brother’s murder. He ignores Kwang-ho (again) to take a call, and Kwang-ho mutters about him always acting so superior. “He is superior, you know,” Dr. Mok tells him, laughing.

Both detectives go to the hospital, where Soo-jung is now awake but won’t talk due to shock. Sun-jae calls Jae-yi in and tells her how Soo-jung was left with her brother’s dead body for a whole day. “Please find out what she saw,” he asks.

Kwang-ho objects to her involvement, but as ever, Sun-jae ignores him with a dirty look. Kwang-ho follows him out and smacks him upside the head, telling him to hit him back if he feels wronged.

“If you had listened to me, Dong-woo wouldn’t have died and Soo-jung wouldn’t have ended up like that,” Kwang-ho criticizes. Sun-jae swings back at him even before he finishes talking, and it turns into a furious brawl of kicking and punching, until some passing officers run in to break it up.

They’re back at their desks a little later, both sporting nose plugs. Sung-shik is rendered speechless at the sight of them, and gestures to Kwang-ho to come to the meeting room. Kwang-ho blames him for pairing him up with that emotionless punk, but Sung-shik says apologetically that he’s really good at catching the bad guys. If this were the old days, Kwang-ho growls, he’d have given him a good beating already.

Sun-jae examines Dong-woo’s transaction records which highlight an internet café while Kwang-ho flips through the security company’s personnel records. Thanks to some distinctive eyebrows, he recognizes a photo as one of the burglars—listed as dismissed for, yup, burglary.

Sun-jae heads out for the internet café Dong-woo frequented and Kwang-ho follows after an entertainingly schoolboy-ish exchange of growls. Sounds like a truce to me!

Soo-jung wakes up to see Jae-yi at her bedside, and she turns away. Jae-yi talks to her, telling her her name. “Now that I’ve told you my name, I don’t have anything else to say,” she says.

Kwang-ho shoulders Sun-jae out of the way to enter the café first, but he finds the place totally bizarre. Cutting in on Sun-jae again, he shows the boss the photo of Eyebrows, which the man immediately recognizes.

The remaining team collate information on Dong-woo, who they learned had devoted himself to the care of his sister, always making sure to get home by 6 p.m. for her. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return and tell them about Eyebrows, an ex-Safe employee who was close to Dong-woo, and another guy who also gamed with them. Sun-jae also confirmed that the footprints at the scene of the burglary match the ones at the murder scene.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho question a current Safe employee, who tells them that Eyebrows contacted him the day before with questions about his schedule. Sun-jae compares a map of the area covered by the guard to the location of the burglaries and finds that they overlap.

Kwang-ho silently puzzles over the tablet Sun-jae is using. It looks like a computer, but why is it so small? he thinks, fiddling around on the touchscreen (to Sun-jae’s annoyance). Armed with the new information, they predict the burglars’ next hit as one of two locations. That night, Sung-shik stakes out one location with Tae-hee and Min-ha, while Kwang-ho and Sun-jae take the other.

Jae-yi visits Soo-jung in the hospital again and offers her chocolates, but the girl turns her face away. She returns the next day. The chocolates are untouched, and Soo-jung is still refusing food.

Morning arrives, and Kwang-ho is amazed that Sun-jae didn’t say a word all night. The burglars suddenly appear from over the wall, and Sun-jae knocks one out while Kwang-ho takes the other.

Sun-jae calls Jae-yi from the station to tell her that they’ve caught the burglars, but without Soo-jung’s testimony, they’ll deny the murder charge. In the interrogation room, he shows Eyebrows a photo of Dong-woo. “It’s the first time I’ve seen this face,” Eyebrows says. “Then who killed him?” Sun-jae asks.

Meanwhile, Kwang-ho questions the other accomplice in a different room. He denies murdering Dong-woo but won’t point the finger at Eyebrows either. Kwang-ho seizes the terrified guy by the collar and warns him that Eyebrows will lay the blame on him. “Let’s see if you sing the same tune then,” Kwang-ho finishes, throwing him back in his seat.

He rejoins the team and tells them that it’s definitely one of them. But the problem, Sung-shik says, is that they haven’t turned up a murder weapon yet either.

Night has fallen with Jae-yi still at Soo-jung’s bedside, the girl still turned away. She tells her that she’s never spoken to someone like Soo-jung before—usually she talks to murderers, and they tend to do the talking. “But this time, it seems like it’s my turn to talk,” she says. Hesitatingly, she continues: “Soo-jung-ah. I saw my parents die.”

We flash back to the fire that killed them, and Jae-yi tells her how she was too scared to go closer. Because she just watched her house burn, people had whispered that she set the fire herself, “And for a long time, the rumor went around that I was a murderer.”

She doesn’t notice Sun-jae at the door, and continues: “Though fifteen years have passed, I still regret that moment. Why couldn’t I do anything?” A tear rolls down Soo-jung’s cheek, and Jae-yi tells her that she can do something. Outside the room, Sun-jae listens, affected by her story.

Soo-jung finally speaks and tells Jae-yi how her brother made her hide in the wardrobe, and she watched through the peephole. A flashback takes us to the two men cornering Dong-woo. Eyebrows didn’t believe that Dong-woo didn’t sell them out and sent him flying all the way to the bathroom with a vicious kick.

He then stabbed him with a switchblade and forced his weak-willed accomplice to do the same… in Soo-jung’s direct line of vision, while she sobbed in horror in the wardrobe. After the men left, Dong-woo tried desperately to close the door so she wouldn’t see him, but couldn’t manage it.

In the present, Soo-jung sobs, and Jae-yi reaches out to comfort her with a tentative hand.

The next day, the burglars cross paths as they’re escorted away and scream insults at each other. Kwang-ho tells them to shut it, calling them murdering scum. Afterward, he and Sun-jae exchange a measured look. Is that a glimmer of grudging respect there?

Soo-jung prepares to leave the hospital and runs back at the last minute to collect the chocolates Jae-yi left her. Waiting outside, Jae-yi raises a hand as Soo-jung passes. Soo-jung waves back, smiling, and Jae-yi smiles back. For a moment, we see an image of a young Jae-yi in her place. A little distance away, Sun-jae takes in the scene, some gentler emotion in his expression.

In the night, a man abandons a woman’s body on the riverbank, and a close-up shows seven dots tattooed on her ankle. Oh no. It’s found in the morning, but it’s in a different jurisdiction than our team’s. The chief there is familiar with Sun-jae’s fixation and warns his colleague to expect him.

As predicted, Sun-jae (ignoring a phone call from his dad) attempts to see the body, but he’s blocked by the chief and his men. Sun-jae accuses them of merely wanting the credit and points out that they’re already miserable failures. That riles them up, and the whole team bodily throws him out.

Back at the Hwayang precinct, our team watch the report on TV, and Min-ha remarks that that must be the work of the guy that Sun-jae lost. Tae-hee grouses that that’s why he tears off anytime a murder of a young woman occurs, because he can’t stand that he made a mistake. The report names the serial killer as one JUNG HO-YOUNG, which rings a bell for Kwang-ho, although he can’t put a finger on it.

Kwang-ho drags Sung-shik outside to ask about his progress on finding Yeon-sook. Sung-shik tells him he’s close to finding her, though he doesn’t reveal that he actually came up totally blank on his search. The records official had told him that she either she hadn’t renewed her citizen ID for a long time… or she had gone missing. She added that there might be paper records of her somewhere.

Kwang-ho heads off to the other Kwang-ho’s old police station, where he introduces himself as a hometown friend. The officers hand over some mail to him, one of which is a speeding ticket. He recognizes the registration number as the car that nearly ran into him the night he arrived, and realizes that panicked young man must have been the other Kwang-ho.

Elsewhere, a hooded man attends confession in a church. “‘Spare me, I have a child,’ that’s what that woman said,” he tells the priest, “But how is that relevant?” He replays the memory of choking her to death with a pair of tights. On the other side of the screen, the priest crosses himself.

“Although it was a long time ago, I keep remembering it. I wasn’t going to do it again, but I can’t stop,” the hooded man finishes. With that, he sweeps out, hood pulled low.

 
COMMENTS

That profile really looks like Dr. Mok to me, what do you guys think? I’m not attached to the idea that it’s him, but it’s where the clues seem to be pointing for now. The last ten minutes threw me with all that new information—are we actually after two serial killers? Or are they one and the same? I originally thought Sun-jae’s fixation was because of the way his mother had been murdered, but he seems to have no knowledge of that at all. This Jung Ho-young is his own personal failure, and that’s a backstory we haven’t had yet.

The Sung-shik/Kwang-ho reunion was unexpectedly low-key, but also just right. I enjoyed how easily they fell back into the sunbae-maknae relationship despite the facts of the present, and the incongruity of how others see them versus how they see each other will never not be funny (or adorable). Surprisingly, Sung-shik and Kwang-ho have turned out to be the lighter half of the show so far, while Sun-jae and Jae-yi offer a perspective into a less examined, less relatable side of human nature in a way that’s both percipient and off-putting (in a really good way).

This episode was so rich in character studies that I don’t even know where to start. I had the hardest time connecting with Jae-yi in the first week because I found her a bit disturbing (and also because I wasn’t sure if she was a murderer or not), but after this week, I’m pretty sure that she’s my favorite character. Although her scenes were shorter and fewer, they were effective and affecting, especially her interactions with Soo-jung. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that she and Soo-jung healed each other: Jae-yi needed the right person to listen to her, and Soo-jung needed the right person to talk to. Maybe it always takes broken people to fix broken people? I don’t know, but it’s interesting to think about.

My impression of Jae-yi is that she’s always been a little strange, hyper-focused, and interested in weird things, and that makes it hard for her to relate to “normal” people (and for them to relate to her). Soo-jung simultaneously wakes up something hopeful in her, but also strips something away, leaving a childlike, vulnerable, and disarmingly animated Jae-yi in her place. It’s clear that something in her wants to connect (and I think she surprised herself when she didn’t give up with Soo-jung), but I also think it’s equally clear that she doesn’t know quite how. What people mistake for creepy or aloof is, I think, her “neutral” setting, which is not the same as other people’s. She’s certainly not neurotypical, and that makes her an even more exciting character. Dramaland is full of neurodiverse men, but far less so for women, so I hope very much that the show will continue to do her justice.

It’s also quite fascinating how much and how fast Sun-jae has become personally invested in her, to the point where he’s gone out of his way so many times to seek out her help or opinion. They seem outwardly to share similar personalities (and enjoy some quite darkly entertaining repartee) but they actually aren’t alike at all. Though he says little, Sun-jae is always full of repressed, angry energy, whereas I think Jae-yi has a flowing inner life which keeps her much more grounded, if still helplessly alien. If anything, I see them as closer to opposites—Jae-yi dealing in emotions where Sun-jae deals in facts. That said, however, it’s also clear that he has some kind of faith in her abilities, and I, in turn, have faith in his. With Jae-yi, he’s proven that he’s able to change his opinions, grow respect, and finally experience compassion towards her, and that’s a long way to come in just four episodes.

On the other hand, Sun-jae is a character who needs more than one foil because he’s got so much going on, and he’s doing far less well with Kwang-ho. I’m certain that his violent reaction to Kwang-ho’s censure is because he knew it was true: His mistake left one kid dead and another traumatized. That is regret on his face during the fight, just like Kwang-ho had warned. An explosive mixture of self-aware and obstinate, Sun-jae is well aware of the part he played and clearly can’t forgive himself (or anyone else). Contrary to what Kwang-ho thinks, he’s not an emotionless robot, but rather, his emotions are under such a tight lid that every single one of them just ends up coming out as anger. I’m sure he believes he deserved the beating, and his driving emotion for fighting back is that same anger—at himself for being wrong with such serious consequences, and at Kwang-ho for being right.

But the fight has cleared the air between them the tiniest (really, the tiniest) bit, and there was even a noticeable lack of bite in their last few barks. Sun-jae is very much the guy who only believes in evidence-based practice, and although there’s been ample evidence already that Kwang-ho’s method is equally effective, I think a natural personality clash makes him automatically balk at acknowledging it. But let’s hope the worst of the hostility has passed, and maybe next week we’ll get to see them actually put their chalk-and-cheese smarts together and give us some answers. Or not, but I’ll take some bromance with that, please.

RELATED POSTS

132 April 11, 2017April 10, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 5

by Saya

The spotlight’s on Sun-jae this episode as he and Kwang-ho spend the hour marooned at a crime scene, using nothing but their wits to solve it. There’s something pleasantly old-fashioned about the proceedings that harks back to classic mysteries, and the unrelenting rain provides a sufficiently moody backdrop. And come rain or shine, throwing our resident chalk-and-cheese detectives together is always going to be, at the very least, entertaining.

EPISODE 5 RECAP

In the pouring rain, Sun-jae checks out the site where the latest dot-murder victim was found. He makes a call to medical examiner Dr. Mok and asks him to use his connections to obtain the autopsy findings. There’s nothing at the scene, he says, and Dr. Mok tells him, “The fact that there isn’t anything could be a clue, too.”

Sun-jae answers immediately when his phone buzzes again, thinking it’s Dr. Mok, but it’s his father instead. Dad reminds him that it’s his mom’s death anniversary, but Sun-jae has no intention of going.

He thinks back to his grandfather’s death when he was in high school. He had arrived at the hospital moments too late, and found a photo clutched in Grandpa’s fist. Grandpa had written a note on the back, expressing sorrow at not catching the culprit. Culprit? he’d thought to himself, having believed that she died of illness. Dad arrived then, his face is finally revealed as the soldier-husband of the dot-murder victim.

Later, Sun-jae left home, spurning a medical career in favor of joining the police. He told Dad that he would attend his mother’s memorial rites only after bringing her murderer to justice. “Does it make sense to carry out her memorial rites when we couldn’t even catch her killer?” he asks Dad in the present.

Kwang-ho shows Sung-shik the speeding ticket that was sent to the other Kwang-ho, and tells him about his encounter the day he arrived in this timeline. He’s more certain than ever that it’s no coincidence, and that Kwang-ho is the key to why he’s here and how to get back home. He’s stumped by how little information he can find about him, and Sung-shik says they’re still searching for his phone and car.

Kwang-ho asks if he’s found Yeon-sook yet, telling Sung-shik that he wouldn’t understand, not being married. But Sung-shik sheepishly shows him a wedding band and says he’s been married twenty-five years. Lols, that beats a newlywed for sure!

Jae-yi smiles over a thank you card Soo-jung (the little sister from last week) sent her. Dean Hong smiles too, saying that it’s the first time she’s her like this. She gently advises Jae-yi look after her own wellbeing. On being asked whether she’s seeing anyone, Jae-yi replies, “I have a stalker.”

Sun-jae rushes out of the station, bumping Kwang-ho on the way. When they hear there’s been a death, Kwang-ho follows. On the way, he asks Sun-jae why he’s obsessed with that serial killer Jung Ho-young, but he characteristically makes no reply.

Two years ago. Sun-jae questioned Jung Ho-young about the murder of a nurse. “Shall I tell you something really interesting? I killed more people,” Jung said, leaning forward, adding that it was a case went unknown and unrecorded. Having caught Sun-jae’s attention, Jung fell into helpless cackling. Later, Sun-jae thought about how there was no record of his mother’s case, either.

His then-partner escorted Jung away, but Jung asked to use the bathroom. While there, he smashed open the cast on his arm and retrieved a knife, with which he then stabbed his guard. Hearing his scream, the partner rushed in, but Jung stabbed him, too, and got away. The partner crawled out to warn Sun-jae, who barrelled outside to look in vain for his runaway.

Back in the present, Kwang-ho mutters that Sun-jae never replies, and remarks on his all-black get-up: “You’d think someone died.” At his black look, Kwang-ho scoffs that he’s not scared of him.

They reach the rest stop where their case occurred. It’s still bucketing down, and the officer on the scene takes them to the body of CHOI HONG-SEOK lying in the bathroom. Kwang-ho takes in the fractured skull and concludes it was grudge-driven. The officer tells them that it’s unlikely anybody’s left the stop since the weather has made it impassable.

Kwang-ho hops into the Choi’s truck for clues. He finds a photo of him in boxing kit, and guesses that he was hit from behind. Sun-jae, meanwhile, takes photos of each vehicle’s license plates, and notices a damaged headlight on one car.

They head inside and introduce themselves to the six people waiting. “Who’s the bastard playing innocent after killing someone?” Kwang-ho asks. Each person turns away from his look.

Meanwhile, Sung-shik’s police van is trapped in a sea of mud on the way to the rest stop. A returning police van tells them to turn back since there’s no through road after a bridge got flooded, too. But they go on ahead, leaving Sung-shik and his boys stranded. That’s evil!

Sung-shik calls to tell Sun-jae that they can’t make it in with the forensic team, but the call cuts off as they lose reception. They figure the culprit is among the six, and the first suspect they interview is a government official more concerned about a function he meant to attend than the fact that someone is dead. He’s the owner of the car with the broken headlight, but can’t explain it and claims the black box is broken, too.

The next suspect is a teacher, who explains that he stopped off to buy a drink. Kwang-ho asks him about the broken glasses he’s wearing, and he says it happened during a game with his colleagues. Sun-jae notes that he’s dressed too lightly for the weather, but the suspect points out that he was just in his car.

The third suspect is the one who found the body: a young man who turns out to be a baseball player well known for his various misdemeanors. Kwang-ho notices blood staining his shoe and observes that the victim’s blow could have been caused by a baseball bat.

Back at the police station, Sung-shik receives the license plate photos Sun-jae finally managed to send, and the team get on it.

The fourth suspect is an actress. Kwang-ho asks her if she was running away after killing someone. “That’s right,” she replies… and bursts out laughing. The detectives groan. The fifth, a shifty-looking tow-truck driver, complains about being held.

Their last suspect, the owner of the rest stop, is chattier. He tells them that the government official arrived first, followed by victim Choi, then the teacher, then the tow-truck driver, and finally the actress and the baseball player together. But once the interview is over, he looks decidedly suspicious.

The detectives reckon that one or all of the suspects are lying. They grab the pile of car keys and head out to search for the murder weapon. Kwang-ho discovers a baseball bat in one car and a hammer in another, both clean. He tells Sun-jae the real weapon must be hidden away, and they return to the body.

Kwang-ho probes the wound and Sun-jae snaps at him, but Kwang-ho barks back that they need the information. He extracts a gravel-like fragment which he deduces is cement, and thinks that Choi was struck with something made of it.

Sun-jae notices a blood trail which he follows to the disabled toilet next door. Opening the lid, he finds the bowl full of bloody water and fishes a bloodstained brick out of the cistern—cement, just as Kwang-ho predicted.

They confront the owner with the brick, but he argues that that he’s never seen the guy before today and had no reason to kill him. But his eyes flicker away, and Kwang-ho follows his line of sight to discover a hand-painted sign forbidding entrance to heavy goods vehicles.

That makes Kwang-ho question his story, and the owner admits Choi was a regular—he always just used the toilets and never bought a thing. But he swears he didn’t kill him, even admitting that he had found the body first but was afraid of being suspected.

Suddenly realizing something, he says the killer must be the tow-truck driver, who is an ex-con. In the Hwayang incident room, Sung-shik hears that it was Choi who reported the guy for a hit-and-run.

When the detectives return to the suspects, they find the tow-truck driver on the run. Kwang-ho beats on his car window to get him to come out, but Sun-jae just pulls out his gun and shoots… the tire.

They bring the driver back inside, but he gets riled up when the owner tells everyone about his connection to the victim. Wielding a mop, he yells that it wasn’t him, but they’re interrupted by the sudden arrival of… Jae-yi?

Kwang-ho uses the distraction to disarm and handcuff the guy. When the detectives ply her with question, Jae-yi simply asks for a coffee. “The culprit was captured,” she tells them, explaining that that the killer escaped on the express bus that had stopped here earlier. Since the communications were down, she came to tell them personally.

The atmosphere lightens immediately, and Kwang-ho uncuffs the tow-truck driver. Sun-jae takes Jae-yi away for a word and Kwang-ho mutters to himself that those two have something going on. Well you ain’t a detective for nothin’, eh.

In private, Jae-yi admits to Sun-jae that she was lying to make the killer drop their guard. The air between them is charged when Kwang-ho interrupts their (literal) tête-à-tête, and Jae-yi cheerfully tells him, “What you’re thinking is correct.” Hehehe.

Night falls. Sitting a little apart from the suspects, the three of them discuss the lack of evidence. Kwang-ho points out that they’ve yet to uncover a motive in any of their suspects. While he talks, the other two shift impatiently, until finally Jae-yi decides to check out the body and Sun-jae follows her out. “I’ll do it by myself, then,” Kwang-ho sighs.

Sun-jae has the key to the crime scene, but Jae-yi says she can go by herself. “I’m in the process of stalking you right now,” he replies, gaze intense.

Remaining inside, Kwang-ho speculates on the possibilities. His thoughts are interrupted by the government official yelling at the teacher for spilling ramyun on his expensive suit. Kwang-ho breaks it up and starts cleaning, and the teacher helps. Kwang-ho’s impressed by his speed and efficiency, and the teacher says it’s because he’s been on his own since his wife died. Luckily, they didn’t have children, he tells Kwang-ho.

Kwang-ho sighs and tells the man that the hardest part of being a detective is delivering the news of a victim’s death to the family. He thinks back to when he had to tell baby Sun-jae’s father about his wife. “You never forget the look on their face at that moment,” he says, and adds that without fail, every person collapses.

The teacher—who’s been looking increasingly gaunt—buckles at those words, but gets back to his feet right away, attributing it to low blood pressure. He goes out for some air, leaving Kwang-ho staring after him.

Jae-yi examines the scene of the body, noting that Choi’s cell phone is still there, which means the perp isn’t saved in it. Going outside, she looks over at a bench and imagines the scene of Choi bumming a light from the unseen killer sitting next to him.

Sitting in the spot herself, she finds two cigarettes—one no more than a butt, and the other (on what she thinks is the perp’s side) nearly unused. She wonders what made that person drop it without finishing. Sun-jae quietly watches her work.

At the police station, Sung-shik has acquired the victim’s cell phone history and he immediately dispatches the Tae-Min duo to meet the last person. Forced to abort their meal, they waspishly leave their still-cooking pot ramyuns as offerings for the chief. Lol.

Sun-jae finds an empty suit-cover in one of the cars. Armed with umbrella and torch, he searches around the site until he finds a black plastic sack.

Our Tae-Min duo question the person on the call list. He’s the owner of a boxing gym and says he and Choi were army peers. “Is there anyone who would want to kill him?” Min-ha asks.

Pondering the teacher’s reaction earlier, Kwang-ho thinks he must be the culprit, but there’s no evidence. “Let’s go ask him if he killed him,” Jae-yi suggests. Blinking, he says, “Agasshi, you and I really don’t suit each other, do we?” and points out that she doesn’t answer either, just like Sun-jae.

That very moment, Sun-jae bursts in. “I think I’ve found the perp,” he pants. The sack he found contained a discarded suit covered in blood, and even the perp’s wallet. The photo inside shows a family of three. Yup, it’s the teacher, along with his wife… and a son?

The three of them return to the main room, where the teacher—whom we’ll now call TEACHER KIM—is sitting apart from the others. Jae-yi doesn’t mince her words, and announces to them that she lied earlier. “The culprit is in here,” she says, “and this time, we’ve really got him.”

Approaching him, she says he must have asked himself what good prison could be when it wouldn’t bring back his son, but knowing the pain of losing a child, he went on to inflict that pain on someone else. “How cruel people are,” she muses, “Isn’t that so, Teacher?”

Teacher Kim seizes a knife and brandishes it at them before holding it against his own throat. “I didn’t mean to kill him at first,” he gasps.

At the boxing gym, the owner shows the detectives a photo and points out a young man. Choi killed him, he says, and tells them how Choi routinely used his juniors are human punching bags. One time, this kid accidentally blocked a blow, causing Choi to injure his wrist. He went wild and beat the kid to death. He never apologized, and the parents were distraught.

Tears running down his face, Teacher Kim tells them that his heartbroken wife ultimately followed her son into death. “I told her to forgive him, when he was such a worthless bastard,” he howls.

We flashback to Teacher Kim sheltering from the rain. He offered the man already there—Choi—a light, before recognition dawned. He tells the detectives he was going to just go his way, but then Choi complained to Teacher Kim about the rain making his wrist ache. He used to be a boxer, he boasted, but some jerk injured him.

“What did you do to that person?” Teacher Kim asked. “I killed him,” Choi replied. Teacher Kim’s cigarette fell from his hand, and Choi laughed that he was joking. Livid, Kim stormed into the bathroom behind Choi, picking up a brick at the door…

The electricity goes out in the present, and the team clear the others out. Sun-jae asks Teacher Kim if killing Choi changed anything. Kim says Sun-jae doesn’t understand, but Sun-jae says he does.

“I wanted to hunt down and kill the criminal who [killed] my mother. But what would it change?” he asks. He tells Teacher Kim that it was already over when his son died. He says that after he joined the police, he understood that they couldn’t undo what had already happened.

Crying, Teacher Kim turns the knife back on himself, but Jae-yi rushes in to block him, grabbing the blade with her bare hands. The men leap on him and Kwang-ho cuffs him while Sun-jae anxiously checks on Jae-yi.

After Kim is taken away, Kwang-ho rounds on Jae-yi for her putting herself in harm’s way. She insists she’s unhurt and leaves. Before Sun-jae follows, Kwang-ho asks if he’s pursuing Jung Ho-young so hard because of his mother, but Sun-jae tells him it’s none of his concern.

“I’m sorry,” Kwang-ho says, stopping him in his tracks. “I understand now why you chase the culprit with such persistence.” Closing the distance between them, he adds, “If I can help you in any way, let me know.”

Meanwhile, Sun-jae’s father performs the memorial rites for his mother alone, wearing the tie that she had been bringing him the night she was murdered.

The rain clears by the next day, and the rest of the team finally rolls in. Kwang-ho asks Sung-shik if he’s the one who called Jae-yi, but it’s the first Sung-shik’s heard of her being there at all. They’re both very confused, while she’s currently nowhere to be seen.

In the back of a police car, Sun-jae gives Teacher Kim the photo of his family that he retrieved from the discarded wallet. “I thought you should have this,” he says.

Jae-yi walks down an empty road, blood dripping from her hand. On the phone, Dean Hong tells her that she’s on the way, but when her ride arrives, it’s Sun-jae who emerges. He kneels to look at her hand and she tells him it’s nothing big. Uncovering a gash, he asks, “It’s nothing big even when it’s like this?”

As he bandages her hand, he tells her she should say she’s hurt when she’s hurt, or else silence will become a habit. He asks if she was like this since her parents died, and admits he overheard her in the hospital.

He tells that when she says something is no big deal or it’s commonplace, he hears the opposite. He offers to tell her his story (“It’s no big deal, it’s commonplace”) but she says she thinks she’s heard it already.

Kwang-ho is in a funk on the drive back, thinking of how Teacher Kim must have lived after losing his son. He asks Sung-shik how he dealt with his own disappearance thirty years ago, and Sung-shik tells him he used to drink every day. Sighing, Kwang-ho wonders how Yeon-sook took it: “I hope she didn’t cry too much.”

We sojourn to the past: Yeon-sook tearfully scrubs at Kwang-ho’s socks so hard that they get holes. Her friend (or sister?) urges her to give up on him and think of the baby. She puts her arms around her and Yeon-sook cries into her shoulder.

In the present, Sung-shik stops the car. He finally admits that he hasn’t been able to trace Yeon-sook, and raises the possibility that she’s missing. Horrified, Kwang-ho gets out and starts walking. “As long as I can find 1988’s Park Kwang-ho, I can go back. I’m going back,” he repeats fiercely.

Elsewhere, a white car lies crushed and abandoned, hidden under brambles. That doesn’t look good at all…

COMMENTS

I’m sorry to say it, but I found the case of the day disappointingly straightforward (and I feel churlish admitting it). I thought, Twisty cases are hard to write! We can’t expect them all the time! But when they teased us with the possibility that all the suspects could be lying, I was excited, getting flashbacks to all the twisty mysteries I’ve ever watched or read (I’m thinking Murder on the Orient Express-style!).

But where a story is lacking in twists, I expect it to make up in emotional depth, and I don’t feel like that happened. Maybe it’s just my mood, but I didn’t really feel emotionally invested in anything this episode, which is weird because I really like Sun-jae, and I like the growing relationship between him and Jae-yi. But maybe it was pushing the ship too hard? They have a natural chemistry which is offbeat and occasionally a little black, but perhaps there was one lingering gaze too many, because something about it felt heavy-handed and unsubtle this episode. That said, I did genuinely enjoy those interludes, but…well, I can’t really put my finger on it. Maybe I just like them being weird with each other (like the stalking!) rather than normal. (Also, who did call Jae-yi there?)

What really bugs me is that nearly all of the revelations about Sun-jae this hour are things we already figured out ages ago. I knew he was that baby the second we discovered his name back in episode 2, so as a reveal, it was ineffective—compare that to the timing of Kwang-ho and Sung-shik reuniting, which was just right. It seems like it’s past time for Kwang-ho to make the connection between the baby and the adult so we can get on with the story (maybe it happens in 6? Don’t tell me!). Today’s case feels like it’s more just a framing device to introduce Sun-jae’s backstory, and that bothers me, because while you could argue the same about Jae-yi in last episode’s case, that one carried more emotional weight and plot tension for me. What do you guys think?

After studying the pictures again, I’m also convinced now that the murderer at the confessional last episode really is Jung Ho-young. Again, it’s a little too straightforward, but let’s hope that there’s more to it and that this isn’t Gap-dong. It’s too early to run out of mysteries! (And now I think I really do want Dr. Mok to be a killer of some kind. This is what happens when you have ideas—you get attached to them).

Still, despite the case this episode being a bit simple, the central mysteries are as compelling—and tantalizing—as ever. We really need to get more than three-second snippets of Other Kwang-ho, and what surprises me about his car is how it looks like it’s been there so long (could it be… thirty years?). There’s still so much we don’t know, and I hope that now we’ve given everyone their backstories, we can focus a little more on the overarching storylines, the time-tunnel rules, and of course, the interactions between our central four. I find the Kwang-ho/Sung-shik pair act as a counterweight to the Sun-jae/Jae-yi pair, so with Sung-shik getting decidedly less screentime and Kwang-ho as a mostly solo act, things felt a bit off-kilter as a result. Hopefully they’ll restore the balance by the next episode—Sung-shik brings a lot to the table, dammit, I want him there ALL the time.

RELATED POSTS

124 April 12, 2017April 11, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 6

by TeriYaki

Kwang-ho tries to solve the mystery as to why he’s ended up in the future, but he may not get the answers that he so desperately wants. Until he figures out how to go home, Kwang-ho tries to be friendly to his new colleagues, but rudeness runs rampant all around him. One thing is certain: Kwang-ho has heart, but will it be enough to to overcome the challenges in his new timeline?

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

Kwang-ho visits the intersection where the other Park Kwang-ho almost hit him. He peers at the traffic camera and remembers that the car was chased from the scene by another vehicle. Cut to: some hikers walking along a trail above a damaged white car covered by dry tree branches.

Kwang-ho asks Sung-shik for an update on the missing Park Kwang-ho and learns that traffic cameras recorded his car. Sung-shik explains that the traffic control center will help with their search, and Kwang-ho is anxious to go there right away.

On the way out, Sung-shik asks Kwang-ho if he’s all right after learning that he’s been unable to find Yeon-sook yet. Kwang-ho answers that he needs to find the other Kwang-ho.

They run into Sun-jae and, in a show of concern, Kwang-ho asks if he’s eaten breakfast. Sun-jae responds rudely and walks away, but is surprised when Sung-shik runs after Kwang-ho and calls him “sunbae.” Sun-jae gets a call from Dr. Mok and meets with him to review the autopsy results for victim YANG HYO-JIN, who was killed two years earlier.

Sun-jae believes her murder is linked to other cases with a similar pattern — the use of pantyhose to strangle, then bind, the victims. He’s convinced that the killer (who he believes is Jung Ho-young) selects his victims and follows them. Dr. Mok reminds Sun-jae about the lack of clues and suggests that an investigation into the time before the murders could help identify the killer.

At Hwayang University, the dean urges Jae-yi to quit her consulting job, but she escapes to her class. Sun-jae packs up an evidence board at home, with the exception of one photo – his mother holding him as a baby. When he passes the dean on his way to Jae-yi’s office, she asks to speak with him.

The dean reminds Sun-jae that he once asked her to describe Jae-yi, and she now asks him to do the same. When he answers that Jae-yi doesn’t know how to express her pain, the dean requests that he keep her away from crime scenes in order to protect her.

Sun-jae readily agrees and then asks how Jae-yi’s parents died, because he heard something about a fire. The dean shares that Jae-yi came home from school to discover her house in flames and that the cause was never determined. Her mother, with a history of mental problems, was the main suspect.

The dean believes that Jae-yi’s mother is the reason for her interest in female murderers. Sun-jae wonders why Jae-yi is dogged by rumors that she caused the fire, and the dean explains that her adoption was responsible for the suspicion.

Jae-yi returns to her office to find Sun-jae waiting with a box of files connected to Jung Ho-young and an explanation that he needs to know how to catch the suspect. He moves closer to ask Jae-yi about her hand, but she gets flustered and turns away.

Sung-shik and Kwang-ho visit the traffic control center and view footage that proves that the other Park Kwang-ho was chased. Because it was too dark, it’s impossible to see the other vehicle’s license number, but an employee promises to contact Sung-shik when he finds more footage.

As Sung-shik drives, Kwang-ho wonders if the other Park Kwang-ho is alive. Sung-shik has found no activity on his phone or accounts for the past four months, and a check on the hospitals turned up nothing. He points out that they can’t openly search for the man since Kwang-ho has assumed his identity.

Sung-shik asks Kwang-ho about the speeding ticket, worried to hear it was written by the Soojung patrol. They drive by a building with a police car out front, and Kwang-ho tells Sung-shik to turn around.

Inside, a woman holds a pair of scissors and threatens to kill herself if the uniformed officers come closer. She claims to be a victim of identity theft, but the officers explain to Sung-shik and Kwang-ho that all of the disputed transactions were traced to her laptop. Kwang-ho picks up an ID card from her dropped purse and learns that her name is YOON YUNG-JOO.

The woman, now in handcuffs, sits in Hwayang station and details the mysterious charges and loans that were made in her name. Yoon Yung-joo was harassed so much at work over an unpaid loan that she eventually paid the debt, but later lost her job.

She describes how a man pounded on her apartment door and claimed that he was the fiance of Yoon Yung-joo. Kwang-ho asks how he can find the man, and Yoon Yung-joo turns over a business card for JO DONG-IK.

Sung-shik takes Kwang-ho aside to remind him that he’s also guilty of identity theft, and they bicker before Kwang-ho slaps Sung-shik on the back of the head. Tae-hee and Min-ha turn around, but decide that they don’t want to know what’s going on when Kwang-ho pretends to give Sung-shik a shoulder massage.

Sung-shik warns Kwang-ho to make sure Sun-jae doesn’t get suspicious, because he never lets anything slide. When Sung-shik gets annoyed that Sun-jae is working on his own again, Kwang-ho encourages him to be nice to his team members.

On the way to Jo Dong-ik’s apartment, Kwang-ho pats Sun-jae on the back and inquires if he was able to go home, only to be warned, “Don’t cross the line.” Kwang-ho decides that Sun-jae’s rude answers are worse than being ignored.

The pair visit Jo Dong-ik’s office only to learn that he died suddenly the week before. When Kwang-ho and Sun-jae hear that he is scheduled to be cremated, they rush to interrupt the funeral.

They meet with a relative, who explains that a woman called in the middle of the night to tell him to go to Jo Dong-ik’s apartment right away, but he discovered him already dead. The relative thought the woman must be Jo Dong-ik’s girlfriend, but he found no contact information on his phone or anyone who ever saw her.

Sun-jae gets permission for an autopsy. He and Kwang-ho realize that Jo Dong-ik died the day that he went to see Yoon Yung-joo, so Sun-jae calls Sung-shik to ask about her whereabouts that day.

As the mourners follow Jo Dong-ik’s body to the coroner’s van, Kwang-ho remembers the funeral for Sun-jae’s mother and asks himself, “I wonder if the father and son are doing well,” unaware that the son is sitting next to him.

Sun-jae asks Kwang-ho what he’s talking about, so he tells the story of a husband who visited the station every day with his young son to check on his wife’s murder case. Kwang-ho admits that he was never able to catch the killer, but Sun-jae only comments that he thought this was his first assignment in homicide. Oops.

Sung-shik learns that Yoon Yung-joo mostly stays home since she lost her job, so he sends the Tae-Min duo to her apartment to check the CCTV footage.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho (now sporting crime scene appropriate gloves and booties) visit Jo Dong-ik’s apartment and notice that someone cleaned it. Sun-jae observes that Jo Dong-ik’s laptop is missing while Kwang-ho looks for a photo album.

Sun-jae doubts anyone has a photo album anymore just as Kwang-ho’s search produces one. All the photos show just Jo Dong-ik, but one provides a reflected image of the mystery woman.

Tae-hee calls Sung-shik to report that the CCTV footage at the apartment backs Yoon Yung-joo’s story, but he discovered a back exit that wasn’t monitored. He agrees to check the black boxes of the surrounding cars first thing in the morning.

Sun-jae reports that the phone number used by Jo Dong-ik’s girlfriend was traced to an illegal phone. Sung-shik realizes that the culprit is very skilled and suggests a search for similar cases before he sends Sun-jae and Kwang-ho home for the night.

As Sung-shik drives Kwang-ho home, he admits that the control center has yet to contact him. Kwang-ho sees Jae-yi as she walks home with a large box in her arms and asks to be dropped off. He runs after her, but she ignores him even when he asks about her injured hand.

Out of concern, Kwang-ho carries the box into Jae-yi’s apartment. He looks at the contents, curious why she would have information on the Jung Ho-young case before he realizes that Sun-jae asked for her help.

Jae-yi guesses that Kwang-ho wants her help as well, and he begins to explain that a cop disappeared, but balks when she asks for his name. Jae-yi asks Kwang-ho to leave, but he insists that he’s genuinely worried about her before he goes.

The next day, Kwang-ho realizes that Sun-jae worked through the night, because he hands over a report on another victim first thing in the morning. The case matches Yoon Yung-joo’s in every way, and Sun-jae thinks it likely that her claims are true. Kwang-ho reads that the victim committed suicide and thinks that it may be another suspicious death.

Dr. Mok calls Sun-jae to inform him that the results of Jo Dong-ik’s autopsy are ready. They visit the doctor and learn that Jo Dong-ik was sedated and injected with a lethal dose of nicotine.

Back at the station, the Serious Crimes Unit realizes that they have a murder case. Sung-shik dispatches Tae-hee and Min-ha to check if Yoon Yung-joo filled a sleeping pill prescription or purchased nicotine. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho decide to interview the family of the other victim, Go Ah-ra.

As the team disperses, Sun-jae overhears Kwang-ho reminding Sung-shik that thirty years ago, they could get information with a few phone calls. Once Sun-jae leaves, Sung-shik grabs Kwang-ho to chastise him over another reference to the past, worried that Sun-jae will figure out that Kwang-ho is a fraud.

Kwang-ho insists that Sun-jae has warmed up to him, but Sung-shik knows how focused he can be with a case. Sun-jae returns and barks at him, prompting Kwang-ho to tell Sung-shik, “You see? He talks to me now.”

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho interview Go Ah-ra’s mother, who is surprised that they finally believe her daughter was a victim of identity theft. Sun-jae starts to explain that their investigation has to do with another victim, but Kwang-ho steps in to interview the mother.

Kwang-ho gently asks the mother what happened to her daughter and learns that she overdosed on sleeping pills on what was supposed to be her wedding day. Her wedding was called off because she was supposedly in debt and behind on payments.

Her mother shares that no one believed her daughter, not even the police. Sun-jae shows her photos of Jo Dong-ik and Yoon Yung-joo, but the mother claims to have never seen them.

Go Ah-ra’s mother does recall a mourner who thought that her daughter was a regular at her massage parlor, but she didn’t recognize the girl in the funeral portrait. Kwang-ho remembers that Yoon Yung-joo was accused of borrowing money from a massage parlor.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho interview the massage parlor mourner who admits that the woman who died was not the same Go Ah-ra who was a regular customer. When she’s called away, Kwang-ho is frustrated that they know nothing about the suspect, but Sun-jae reminds him that they now have witnesses.

Tae-hee and Min-ha find Sung-shik at work on an evidence board after the discovery of three more victims that match the suspect’s pattern. Tae-hee suggests that he add Yoon Yung-joo to the list because she was never prescribed sleeping pills, and Min-ha adds that she didn’t purchase nicotine. Sung-shik orders them to release her from custody and send their data to Jae-yi.

Sung-shik admits that he’s curious to know what the suspect looks like just as Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return with the massage parlor employees who saw her. Sun-jae asks Min-ha to work with them to produce a sketch of the suspect.

Sung-shik explains that Min-ha can picture what he hears and Kwang-ho thinks that he and Tae-hee make a perfect team, based on their talents. Tae-hee retorts that Kwang-ho and Sun-jae are perfect together because they are both maniacs.

In spite of their efforts, the team fails to find a connection between the victims, so Sung-shik asks Sun-jae to call Jae-yi. He jumps up and runs off when he realizes that she was asked to consult on the case.

As Jae-yi studies the cases, Sun-jae calls to ask how the suspect managed to meet her victims. She suggests a cultural activity or coffee with a boyfriend and notes that all of the victims had boyfriends, but that they broke up once their identities were stolen.

Jae-yi believes that the suspect was triggered by a breakup and has money problems. Sun-jae reasons that the team should focus their search on restaurants and look for a woman in her twenties. He then asks Jae-yi where she usually goes and softly admits that he’s surprised that she didn’t hang up on him.

Sun-jae smiles when Jae-yi does hang up, and he turns around, suddenly confronted by a scowling Kwang-ho who asks, “You like her, don’t you?” Sun-jae walks away as Kwang-ho insists that he noticed something between them during the rest stop case.

Sun-jae denies the claim, but Kwang-ho knows he’s right and asks, “Why do you have such poor taste in women?” Kwang-ho tells himself that his Yeon-sook is the best and sadly realizes how much he misses her.

The team searches the victims’ credit card records and finally finds a common thread — Wonderland Restaurant. Equipped with Min-ha’s sketch, Sun-jae and Kwang-ho visit the restaurant and look around. Sun-jae’s attention is caught by a waitress as she walks by, a match to their sketch.

The waitress, KIM MIN-SOO, sits in an interrogation room as the team observes her from behind the mirror. Sun-jae has proof that she bought pure nicotine and filled a prescription for sleeping pills two weeks before Jo Dong-ik died, so everyone is in agreement that she’s their culprit.

Confronted with the sketch, Kim Min-soo cooly asks if she can keep it. Kwang-ho shows her photos of the victims, but she claims that she’s never seen them before asking if they were customers at the restaurant. Sun-jae slaps down a photo of Jo Dong-ik and informs Kim Min-soo that he promised to come when he heard that Yoon Yung-joo was arrested, but she just laughs.

Unable to get a confession, the detectives step out, and Kwang-ho asks about Jae-yi’s analysis of the case. Sun-jae remembers that she suggested that the suspect probably broke up with her boyfriend, and he and Kwang-ho leave to investigate further.

They question Kim Min-soo’s former boyfriend, who admits that they planned to marry but instead broke up because of her excessive spending. He saw her at a restaurant and called her name, but she claimed she was Yoon Yung-joo. Sun-jae confirms that she was with Jo Dong-ik at the time.

Armed with proof of her guilt, Sun-jae tells Kim Min-soo that he understands her jealousy towards the victims who enjoyed expensive meals with their boyfriends. Jo Dong-ik figured out that she had assumed someone else’s identity, which was why she killed him.

We see that Kim Min-soo acquired the victims’ personal information when they entered a promotional event. Sun-jae details how she became more skilled with each victim and was only satisfied when they could no longer dine at the restaurant, certain that their happiness was destroyed too.

Sung-shik presents Kwang-ho with a smartphone, and he sends his first text to Sun-jae, “Kim Sun-jae is an idiot and Park Kwang-ho is a genius.” (I think these two belong in middle school.) Sun-jae’s reply is an emoji that makes Sung-shik laugh, but he becomes serious after a call from the traffic center.

Sun-jae stops outside of Jae-yi’s office with two coffees and changes her status to “On Vacation” before he walks in. She tells him, “It’s nice to see you. I mean, the coffee.” Sun-jae reminds her to use her uninjured left hand to take the coffee.

Sung-shik and Kwang-ho review the last recorded footage of the car owned by the other Park Kwang-ho, chased by the same vehicle, but this time the license number is visible. They drive out to the location near Youngil Fishing Site.

Sun-jae visits Dr. Mok for another game of chess and is complimented for the discovery of a criminal who was hidden. Sun-jae believes that it’s hard to live without leaving a trace, but Dr. Mok claims that he has managed it so far.

Dr. Mok notes that he and Kwang-ho share a similar disconnectedness, but Sun-jae informs him that Kwang-ho now has a cell phone. The doctor comments that people who have something to hide live like that, and Sun-jae recalls that Kim Min-soo suggested to Kwang-ho that he was living as someone else.

Sun-jae suddenly excuses himself. Alone, Dr. Mok moves a white chess piece and observes, “Some people… hide in the light instead of darkness.” Hmmm.

Sun-jae returns to the station and runs into Driver Oh, who explains that Kwang-ho called him all the time because he didn’t know his way around and always talked about what it was like thirty years ago, but he hasn’t seen him lately.

Sun-jae searches Kwang-ho’s desk, but it’s empty. He realizes that like Kim Min-soo, there are no photos of Kwang-ho. He recalls how Sung-shik addresses Kwang-ho formally before moving to his desk.

He checks his computer and sees the traffic footage near the fishing site and then answers Sung-shik’s phone to hear that the missing vehicle was located and belongs to Corporal Park.

Sun-jae visits the site where the car was discovered and investigates the surrounding area. He discovers the dead body of the missing Park Kwang-ho and wonders about the real identity of the Park Kwang-ho that he thought he knew.

 
COMMENTS

Things just suddenly got very interesting with Sun-jae’s discovery about the other Park Kwang-ho. As hard as Kwang-ho and Sung-shik have worked to find him, Sun-jae intercepted the pass and discovered exactly what Sung-shik was afraid of: that there are two Park Kwang-ho’s. How he will handle that information is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure it will be a setback to his budding relationship with his partner, just when he had progressed from ignoring him to actually using words. As if Sung-shik doesn’t have enough headaches.

Speaking of Sung-shik, I really enjoy this character and his interactions with Kwang-ho. He’s happy to be with his old mentor again, but he’s burdened by his secret, which Kwang-ho refuses to be careful about. It was actually a blessing when Sun-jae ignored him, because he’s become aware that some interesting tidbits that are starting to add up. Now that Sun-jae knows that Kwang-ho isn’t that Park Kwang-ho, how will Sung-shik react to protect his old partner? He’s sure to have a big mess to deal with, because as he knows, Sun-jae doesn’t let anything slide. Except for Dr. Mok — Sun-jae seems to have a huge blind spot when it comes to his friend.

Dr. Mok is developing into an interesting character who protects himself with a smile and a nudge towards someone else, such as Kwang-ho. His comment that people who avoid modern technology have something to hide placed Kwang-ho on Sun-jae’s radar, but curiously, not the doctor himself. What is he hiding? By his own admission, he’s chosen to hide in the light rather than in the darkness, but, who is he? That’s the question that Sun-jae should ask himself, but all in due time, I’m sure.

Sun-jae’s interest in Jae-yi becomes more apparent with each episode, and I find his attentiveness attractive, yet puzzling, because she is hardly encouraging. I guess she’s not discouraging either, so for Sun-jae, that’s enough. She certainly discourages any interaction with Kwang-ho, even though he saved her life and has tried to be neighborly. She’s just plain rude to him even though she’s a police consultant for the whole team, not just Sun-jae. No wonder Kwang-ho thinks that Sun-jae has bad taste in women.

The death of the other Park Kwang-ho is sure to be a blow to our Kwang-ho and a setback in his crusade to find his way back to 1986. So far, Kwang-ho has been hopeful and optimistic, but how will his demeanor be affected when the one person that he thought could help him has been dead all along? Now, to get any answers, Kwang-ho will have to solve the mystery of who killed the man whose identity he assumed and why, while Sun-jae investigates him. Fortunately for Kwang-ho, even though he doesn’t know it yet, Sun-jae’s dad can vouch for the detective who worked on his wife’s murder case over thirty years ago, and Sun-jae may want to catch her killer more that he’ll want to expose the one man who can help him do just that.

RELATED POSTS

123 April 18, 2017April 17, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 7

by Saya

Oh my god, this episode! Tunnel brings its best game yet as everything converges this hour to bring twists, reveals, and reversals that keep you on the very edge of your seat nibbling away at your nails. Our two mismatched detectives lock horns as secrets come to the fore, and the whole affair as we know it is set on its head with what they find out…

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

We open with a scene we’ve seen before: Young Park Kwang-ho tears down a highway in panic, nearly hitting our Kwang-ho before speeding off, hotly pursued by another car.

This time, we follow the chase. We see young Kwang-ho was drugged by his attacker earlier, and his driving becomes increasingly erratic. He struggles to remain conscious, but his pursuer finally forces him off the road and his car hurtles down a ravine.

Somehow still alive, Kwang-ho flees from the wreckage, but his pursuer creeps up on him. After an intense struggle, he’s overpowered, and his attacker chokes him slowly to death. He leaves Kwang-ho’s body in the open, just like that. I’m so sad right now.

In the present, Sun-jae comes upon the body half-hidden under fallen leaves. He quickly searches its pockets and comes out with young Kwang-ho’s police ID. Back at the wreckage, he finds nothing until he steps on something in the dirt—it’s Kwang-ho’s wallet, which holds his driver’s license. He compares it to the ID card, shocked by the familiar name with its unknown face.

Meanwhile, our Kwang-ho and Sung-shik are busy retracing young Kwang-ho’s last known steps, which in this case is the speed camera that caught his car. Sung-shik worries about the young officer but says that they can’t launch an official search either, because it will expose our Kwang-ho.

At the site of the body, Sun-jae mulls over Kwang-ho’s text and finally makes a call, asking someone to come over. Night falls with Sun-jae still standing guard over the body, and he thinks it’s too far from the car to be from an accident. Was he running away? he asks himself.

He raises his gun at the sound of footsteps, until he realizes that it’s Dr. Mok. Sun-jae shows him the body, and taking a closer look, Dr. Mok guesses he’s been dead some time. He agrees to keep the body a secret for now, and Sun-jae asks him to find out the man’s identity and how he died. (But but but shouldn’t there be a forensic examination of the scene before you move the body??)

On the drive back, Kwang-ho calls the car to a sudden stop, startling Sung-shik. But it turns out that it’s just to make a pit stop at a dumpling place, which seems to mean something to Kwang-ho, although he doesn’t explain.

“Oh right, do you have some money?” Kwang-ho asks. Sung-shik reluctantly hands over his wallet, and Kwang-ho exclaims at the array of notes, especially the 50,000 won one. Which he pockets. Hahaha.

Later, Kwang-ho knocks at Jae-yi’s door (still calling her “agasshi”). When she finally opens it, he offers her the bag of dumplings, but she just closes the door in his face. Still, he somehow ends up at her table and explains that he brought the dumplings because he thought she’d have trouble with her injured hand.

“I don’t like dumplings,” she says, before telling him to eat them himself. Exasperated, he says that she really does match well with Sun-jae: “You’re both rude.” With a grin, he adds that they should just get married, and she dourly leaves the table.

Left alone, Kwang-ho grows quiet over the rejected dumplings. “Yeon-sook liked dumplings so much,” he says soberly to himself.

In his dark apartment, he turns his new smartphone over in his hands until he eventually dials a number which gives him an error message. But he talks into the silence anyway: “Have you been doing well, Yeon-sook-ah?”

Sojourning to the past again, we join Yeon-sook knitting (pink) baby clothes as she talks to her bump about Kwang-ho. “No matter where he went, your father used to call me,” she tells it. “If he knew I had you, he would call even more often,” she says, giving way to tears.

In the present, Kwang-ho smiles as he tells her about cell phones, and then sighs. “Although I can call you anytime… Yeon-sook-ah, wait just a little longer. I will definitely come back,” he promises.

The next day, Sun-jae recalls how Kwang-ho said that he was “not that Park Kwang-ho.” A perplexed Dr. Mok calls him in for the autopsy results and reveals that the cause of death was deliberate asphyxiation.

“If this man is Park Kwang-ho, who is the Corporal Park we know?” he asks Sun-jae in rising agitation. But Sun-jae warns him to keep quiet, saying that he has to find out who Park Kwang-ho is first.

Sun-jae gets his car dusted for prints, claiming it was broken into. In actuality, it’s to lift and analyze our Kwang-ho’s fingerprints, but he’s flummoxed when they come up with no matches in the system whatsoever. Who on earth are you? he thinks, as he watches Kwang-ho amble into the police station.

Kwang-ho checks in for information about the pursuing car, but it’s not a registered vehicle. Tae-hee complains about Sung-shik and Kwang-ho doing their own secret investigations, but Sung-shik just brushes it off.

“If it’s nothing, why can’t you tell us?” Sun-jae asks. Kwang-ho blusters that they’re on the same side—… “Exactly, we’re on the same side, but I don’t know who you are,” Sun-jae cuts in.

Unsettled, Kwang-ho heads off, taking Sung-shik with him. They talk about the pursuer’s car, and Sung-shik explains that they can’t track an unregistered vehicle. With no luck finding young Kwang-ho’s car either, they turn instead to his call records.

Sun-jae searches Kwang-ho’s empty drawers again and only finds the discarded box of his new phone in the bin. He’s puzzled to discover Kwang-ho’s number is registered to Sung-shik, and is also certain he overheard Sung-shik calling Kwang-ho “Sunbae-nim” that time. But that makes no sense, he thinks.

Tae-hee confronts him angrily when he goes though Sung-shik’s desk, but it doesn’t stop him. Finding a handwritten note with “Sunbaenim’s address,” Sun-jae heads off.

Meanwhile, Sung-shik and Kwang-ho track down the location where the last call young Kwang-ho received was made: a public payphone. It turns out to be in his registered hometown, and Sung-shik notes that it’s a remote spot without CCTV.

Sun-jae arrives at Kwang-ho’s address and finds the door unlocked. (Whyyyy?) Taking in the sparse furnishings and still-sealed boxes, he notes the name of young Kwang-ho’s former precinct on the labels and also finds the transfer order and speeding ticket on his desk. Recognizing the license plate as the same as the wreck, he begins to connect the dots. “Then… did that bastard kill the real Park Kwang-ho and assume his identity?” he wonders.

Sung-shik and Kwang-ho question a group of ajummas about who might’ve called young Kwang-ho. They learn about a Mrs. Kim who was Kwang-ho’s neighbor and something of a surrogate mother to him since his parents died, but she already passed away three months earlier. They note disapprovingly that Kwang-ho didn’t even come then.

The detectives explore Mrs. Kim’s empty house but find nothing of note. Sung-shik wonders if anyone told young Kwang-ho about her death, and Kwang-ho guesses the young man would have come had he known. As they leave, neither of them notices a phone lying half-hidden in the dirt.

Sun-jae acquires young Kwang-ho’s police personnel records, but he’s no closer to figuring out why our Kwang-ho is impersonating him.

Next, Sung-shik and Kwang-ho visit the person who made that last call. He and young Kwang-ho had studied for the police entrance exams together, and he says young Kwang-ho was looking forward to his transfer to Violent Crimes since there was something he wanted to investigate properly. That day, he called to congratulate Kwang-ho, and his friend had told him he’d gotten into something wrong. But that’s all he can tell the detectives.

On the way back, Kwang-ho wonders what the young man had been investigating. He tells Sung-shik to head to young Kwang-ho’s old precinct so they can find out more.

Sun-jae shares his findings—or rather, total lack of them—about Imposter Kwang-ho with Dr. Mok, wondering why he’d go so far as to steal an identity. “That would depend on what he wanted to hide, wouldn’t it?” Dr. Mok replies.

Night finds Sun-jae at young Kwang-ho’s old precinct. Uh oh! He hears that someone else has been asking about young Kwang-ho, and just as he asks who, the officer points behind Sun-jae—at our Kwang-ho, who’s just come in.

The men are surprised to see each other. After a tense moment, Kwang-ho (badly) styles out that he’s here to see his old colleagues, and he and Sung-shik bundle Sun-jae outside. Once there, Sun-jae demands an explanation.

Kwang-ho spins a story about some guy impersonating him, and says he came here because he heard the guy had been here. They don’t know that Park Kwang-ho is dead, Sun-jae thinks to himself.

Aloud, Sun-jae says, “I heard that, too,” and suggests the two of them find the imposter together. Plucking the call record sheet from Kwang-ho’s hand, he tells him to be ready the next morning. Once he’s gone, Sung-shik yells at him for not staying in the car like he told him.

What on earth are they hiding? Sun-jae wonders on his drive back. Consulting Jae-yi, he asks, “Did he kill that man and steal his identity?” She points out that they wouldn’t be looking for him if they killed him and advises him to ask himself if he thinks that person (ah, he hasn’t revealed Kwang-ho) could kill someone. She notes perceptively that he would already have arrested them had he thought that.

The next day, Kwang-ho dawdles at his door, reproaching himself for not listening to Sung-shik. He turns with a groan only to be met by Sun-jae, who shouldn’t know where he lives. “There’s not much I don’t know, apart from you,” Sun-jae tells him before ordering Kwang-ho to follow him.

Jae-yi hands back her class’s murder weapon assignments, but one girl doesn’t receive hers. Jae-yi reveals her A-grade to the class, saying it was because she examined why a murderer would use a pair of stockings.

Called on to explain, the student says she chose them because they wouldn’t leave fingerprints. But after experimenting on herself, she realized that killing someone with stockings was actually hard, because they stretch and keep stretching. She concluded the motive in using stockings was because the murderer took pleasure in the killing. Jae-yi reveals that there is such a murderer in Korea, though he has yet to be caught.

Kwang-ho makes various attempts to stall their trip, but unperturbed, Sun-jae continues driving. They meet another man from the call list, and Sun-jae introduces Kwang-ho as the real Kwang-ho who had his identity stolen. But the man had only called the number on a car that was blocking his, so he never actually met him. “Where was that?” Kwang-ho asks.

The detectives arrive at a noraebang (Kwang-ho: “Noraebang? So if you sing, you get money?”) but find it empty. Sun-jae goes off to search the building for the owner, but accidentally leaves his phone behind.

It rings with a call from his father. After a moment’s hesitation, Kwang-ho answers it. He introduces himself as Sun-jae’s colleague and remarks that Dad’s voice sounds familiar. Sun-jae comes back for his phone just as Dad hangs up and snatches it back from Kwang-ho.

Just then, the owner returns. Kwang-ho asks him why the other Kwang-ho sought him out. “He asked me if I knew a woman who died in a tunnel thirty years ago,” the owner reveals, to Kwang-ho’s great shock.

“What’s this? How did that guy know?” he puzzles, mostly to himself. But the owner says that’s exactly what he thought. He reveals that the woman who died in the tunnel was his sister. Jaw practically on the floor, Kwang-ho exclaims, “Jin Seon-mi?” and the owner confirms that was her name.

Confused, Sun-jae asks what that case was, and the owner tells him that thirty years ago, there was a string of murders of young women where the culprit was never caught. Young Kwang-ho had told him there were no records for the case and had asked him if he knew anything about the culprit. “He talked about a man, someone he was following,” he says, but can’t tell them anything else, since young Kwang-ho never came back after that.

The pieces begin to come together for Kwang-ho. “So it was this. That’s why he was the first person I ran into when I first came. He found something out,” he whispers to himself. Fed up with the cryptic comments, Sun-jae demands that Kwang-ho explain himself, but caught up in the whirl of his own thoughts, Kwang-ho runs out.

Jae-yi examines her Jung Ho-young evidence board. She notes how similar the victims are, and that they’re all wearing skirts. Retrieving her recorder, she replays a snippet of her interview with Lee Seon-ok (from Episode 2) which we haven’t heard before.

Lee had told her about a friend of hers, Hwang Chun-hee, who died (in Episode 1). “I didn’t kill her,” she said. She recounted that Chun-hee always wore trousers, but some man told her she’d look pretty in a skirt. A few days later, she was found dead with stockings wrapped around her neck. Noting that all the incidents took place in Hwayang, she calls Dean Hong to find her some case records.

Sun-jae thinks over the noraebang interview on his drive back. Like Jin Seon-mi, his mother’s death was also thirty years ago, also without any case records. He wonders if this could be the case Jung Ho-young was talking about, and also wonders how on earth Kwang-ho could know about it.

At the station, Kwang-ho is told that young Kwang-ho’s car was found. Sun-jae sees him sprinting into a taxi just as he arrives back, and follows.

Kwang-ho reaches the site of the wreck, but can’t find any sign of young Kwang-ho. “Surely he’s not… No, he must be hiding somewhere,” he tells himself, “You have to be alive.” He’s shocked when he comes face-to-face with Sun-jae.

“Who are you looking for?” Sun-jae demands. “Is it this guy?” he asks, holding up young Kwang-ho’s driving license. “You’re the one who stole the real Park Kwang-ho’s identity,” he accuses. “Why did you steal a police officer’s identity? Did you kill Park Kwang-ho? Did you?” he shouts.

At that, horror fills Kwang-ho’s face. “What? Park Kwang-ho is dead?” he asks. He can’t be dead, he says to himself, he can’t. Reading him his rights, Sun-jae arrests him for the murder of Park Kwang-ho.

Appalled, Kwang-ho says, “You asked who I was, right? Would you believe me if I said I came from the past?” Sun-jae stares, calling him a mad bastard. But that’s why he couldn’t say it, Kwang-ho says.

Sun-jae yells that someone died, and Kwang-ho shouts back, “Exactly! In a situation where I’m under arrest as a murderer, why would I say something so insane? Why? Because it’s the truth. Whether you believe it or not, I came from the past!” But he gets no quarter from Sun-jae.

Dean Hong tells Jae-yi that there’s no record for Chun-hee’s murder. Jae-yi is nevertheless certain that Lee Seon-ok was telling the truth, since Choon-hee fit Jung Ho-young’s victim type, and they were both in Hwayang at the time. She wonders if his first murder was actually thirty years ago, not ten, like the police think.

Elsewhere, Sun-jae’s dad returns home and finds his wife passed out on the floor. Meanwhile, Kwang-ho continues to protest his innocence to Sun-jae. He even reminds Sun-jae of how he cuffed him when he first saw him and says that it was because he thought he was an intruder—his desk now was Kwang-ho’s desk in 1986.

“I was working at Hwayang Police Station thirty years ago too,” he asserts. “Not as Corporal Park Kwang-ho, but Sergeant Park Kwang-ho. Park Kwang-ho with ten years in the Violent Crimes Division!”

Sun-jae remains totally unconvinced, and Kwang-ho snaps, “Hey, do you see me as a person who can murder someone? If you had said the same thing to me, I would’ve believed you, you jerk.” He points him to Sung-shik for proof, telling Sun-jae that they worked together thirty years ago, when he was Sung-shik’s superior.

Jae-yi tries to call Sun-jae, but he doesn’t pick up. Meanwhile, from the hospital where his wife was admitted, Sun-jae’s dad tries to call him too.

At the station, Sung-shik is shocked to learn that the car he was looking for (young Kwang-ho’s) was found, because he never got the message. Just as he scolds the junior officer, Sun-jae arrives, pushing a handcuffed Kwang-ho ahead of him. Eyes widening, Sung-shik orders everyone else out.

Sun-jae accuses Sung-shik of helping Kwang-ho despite knowing that he killed a police officer and stole his identity. He refuses to remove the handcuffs and informs the chief that he’s arrested “this fake Kwang-ho” for murder. But Sung-shik is just as horrified to learn that young Park Kwang-ho is dead. “So what you’re saying is… this Kwang-ho killed that Kwang-ho?” he asks.

“Isn’t it?” Sun-jae shoots back. Sung-shik blows up at him, referring to Kwang-ho as “Sunbae-nim” again, which makes Sun-jae crazy. “It’s the truth!” Sung-shik yells. He rips a picture out of his wallet and shows him the team photo from 1986, with Kwang-ho right there in the middle. He even tells him to check Kwang-ho’s fingerprints, predicting he’ll find nothing.

Looking from one man to the other, Sun-jae finally looks at the photo, where the resemblance obviously startles him. “I couldn’t believe it at first, but it’s the same person,” Sung-shik says.

Jae-yi ends up at the restaurant Kwang-ho had told her he got the dumplings from. She takes a bite, and the taste evokes a childhood memory of being fed (the same?) dumplings.

Leaning against a wall, Sun-jae tells Kwang-ho not to say a word. “You still can’t believe it?” Kwang-ho asks. Worried that the news about young Kwang-ho is really true, Sung-shik questions them both, though Kwang-ho refers him to Sun-jae for answers.

“Didn’t I tell you not to say anything?” Sun-jae growls. They’re caught in a standoff when a voice asks for Sun-jae: His father has come all the way to the station in search of him… but he freezes at the sight of Kwang-ho.

“Detective Park? Is it really you?” Dad asks, “You look exactly the same.” He tells him that he’s the husband of Seo Yi-soo, the fourth dot-murder victim, and Kwang-ho and Sung-shik both gasp as recognition dawns.

“Wait, then… Sun-jae…” Kwang-ho falters, recalling the baby back then. He snaps around to face Sun-jae and thinks, You were Seo Yi-soo’s son? That Sun-jae?

 
COMMENTS

Omo, omo, omo! This is so good, I’m flailing and dying and oh my god, help!! Never has it been so hard not to immediately reach for the next episode. Okay, I need a drink.

Where to even start. Young Kwang-ho’s death? That surprised me. Last week, I was worried that his character was thrown away for a cheap shock, but it’s really working in the story. I still would have liked him to remain as a counter-character to our Kwang-ho, but his death changes the stakes in a way that makes things feel much more urgent and dangerous. Once again, Tunnel succeeds in making a character with very little screen time leave a strong emotional impact, although maybe I’m reacting to the sense of tragedy and unfinished quality in his efforts, and that he doesn’t ultimately form a part of our story going forward.

I always think absolute disbelief is the most sensible reaction to someone telling you that they travelled through time. Pictures can be doctored, people can be coached, it can be a very elaborate trick—but that’s real life. For story purposes, I need Sun-jae to believe Kwang-ho quickly, and I think his dad just tipped the balance.

On a side note, I’m absolutely certain Sun-jae will never unlock those handcuffs himself, even when he comes to believe Kwang-ho. And I find this endlessly entertaining, because think about it—do any of you see him unlocking them? It’s such a funny statement about his personality. I’m pretty sure we all like him without feeling conflicted about it, but not backing down when you’re wrong is generally considered a flaw, yet I don’t feel that way about Sun-jae at all. For all his prickliness, he’s endearingly simple, and there’s no malice in his character even when he’s harsh.

It’s funny how similar he is to Kwang-ho on the inside after all, despite their fairly opposite exteriors. Sun-jae tends to blow cool, whereas Kwang-ho is full of ready affection. I’ve been following a few of the comments criticizing Kwang-ho’s behavior as boorish, especially towards Jae-yi, but I find it hard to see him that way.

He’s certainly earned Jae-yi’s indifference and occasionally chilly treatment—as far as she knows, he’s a bumptious detective who insists on calling her agasshi when she’s a professor—BUT context matters, so I don’t think it’s fair for the omniscient viewer to judge Kwang-ho’s behavior against modern sensibilities when he literally stepped out from the ’80s. In his world, women participated in society in different ways, so a young woman studying serial killers (which, remember, didn’t even exist as a concept for him in his time) is, at the very least, an oddity which he has to find context for ihn the new world he’s coming to know. I find it quite similar to his absolute inability to see Sun-jae as either superior or senior, evidenced by his persisting use of banmal with him despite the fact that as a police lieutenant, Sun-jae outranks him even in his past life.

Right now, I think he calls Jae-yi “agasshi” out of habit more than anything, but just like he quickly acknowledged Sun-jae’s skill, he also recognizes hers (especially when his matchmaking arose from his comment about how they make a great crime-fighting team!). If anything, he’s like an embarrassing dad who talks a little too candidly for comfort, and considering that he’s sure to turn out to be Jae-yi’s real dad, I find the whole dynamic hilarious and quirkily adorable. It’s genuinely fun to see Jae-yi constantly shut him down and not give him the time of day, but it’s also fun to see him completely unfazed by it. Go Dad! I really find him the model of an old-fashioned man: a little on the gruff side, but kind, with a protective instinct that sometimes makes him come off harsh. He’s also been working violent crimes for ten years, and that requires a certain amount of steel that ends up staying with you.

As for where the story went this hour, Young Kwang-ho’s last moves raise a lot of new (and thrilling) questions. I feel certain that the man he was looking for in the end was actually our Kwang-ho, but like our team, my big question is, just how did he know about the cases from thirty years ago? What is his relationship to our team? If he’s not connected to them, then who is he connected to? I briefly considered that he could perhaps be Yeon-sook’s second child with another man, but that doesn’t fit her character.

Though it saddens me, I think the chances that Yeon-sook is still alive in 2016 are very slim. She would never abandon her baby, and she strikes me the kind of person who would hold out hope to the very end that Kwang-ho would come back, and so stay right where he left her. If she’s not there, it means something happened. And of course, if we’re assuming Jae-yi is her daughter, we know she was adopted at the age of six. Since it’s been heavily foreshadowed, my guess is that Jae-yi’s parentage will be revealed very soon. This show handles some of its timing really masterfully, such as the many reveals this episode, but its central character ones are a little clumsier, which saps the tension a little. Nevertheless, I’m staying right here with my tea and biscuits, ready for whatever Tunnel wants to throw at me next.

RELATED POSTS

133 April 19, 2017April 18, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 8

by TeriYaki

Tunnel delivers another episode that’ll keep you guessing until the end. As we reach the midway point, the hunt for the serial killer responsible for the dot murders intensifies, and it may be that our hero holds the key that will enable the team to finally catch a monster. The only question is, does our hero care about the unsolved cases, or is he more concerned about finding his way back to the past?

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Kwang-ho looks at Sun-jae in disbelief as Sun-jae’s father confusedly surveys the detective before him, certain that it’s the same man who investigated his wife’s murder thirty years ago. Luckily, Sung-shik intervenes to steer him away to leave Kwang-ho and Sun-jae alone.

As Sun-jae struggles with his father’s recognition of Kwang-ho, the detective apologizes for his failure to catch his mother’s killer. Sung-shik returns to tell Sun-jae that his stepmother is in the hospital. After he leaves, Sung-shik unlocks Kwang-ho’s handcuffs and notes with surprise, “The soldier was Sun-jae’s father.”

At the hospital, Sun-jae visits his ailing stepmother before he sits with his father to ask if Park Kwang-ho was the name of the detective responsible for his mother’s case. Sun-jae’s father confirms his name and adds that he heard that the detective died, now certain that a visit to his mother’s grave that morning must have confused him.

Sung-shik sits with Kwang-ho, surprised at the revelation that Sun-jae became a cop and ended up at Hwayang station, of all places. Kwang-ho remembers Sun-jae’s confession that he intended to catch the man who killed his mother and explains that he became a cop because of his mother’s murder.

Kwang-ho goes to the hospital and runs into Sun-jae outside. He remembers holding Sun-jae as a baby and greets his partner, “Sun-jae, you’ve grown so much.” Faced with an unbelievable truth, Sun-jae just sighs.

Kwang-ho takes Sun-jae to the tunnel and explains how he emerged in the future after he failed to catch the killer responsible for the murders of six women. It’s the same tunnel that Jin Seon-chul told them about. Inside, Kwang-ho points out the spot where Jin Seon-mi’s body was found.

Sun-jae realizes that the culprit was a serial killer, but Kwang-ho tells him that the term didn’t even exist thirty years ago. Kwang-ho explains that standard investigative techniques, usually successful after three days, didn’t work with those cases — so after a month and multiple deaths, there was no suspect.

When Kwang-ho lists the women who were murdered, he includes Victim #5, Kim Young-ja, and explains how the killer marked his victims. Sun-jae was unaware of the details because there were no records of the murders or newspaper articles about the cases.

Kwang-ho confirms that murder details were kept from the public and admits that they never considered that Victim #5 survived. Sun-jae is frustrated that Kwang-ho never learned the identity of the killer.

Kwang-ho admits that he thought that the killer died once he learned that the murders stopped, but he became convinced otherwise when he remained stuck in the future, more so after he learned that his partner was Seo Yi-soo’s son. Kwang-ho wonders how the other Park Kwang-ho found out about the thirty-year-old cases and guesses that he was killed because he discovered the identity of the killer.

Jae-yi recalls that Dean Hong informed her that Hwang Chun-hee’s name never appeared in any murder reports. She decides to search the newspaper archives and finds an old article that matches Lee Seon-ok’s story, but the victim was only identified as a woman in her twenties.

After hearing about the incident between Sun-jae and Kwang-ho, detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha are surprised to see them back together and hard at work. Kwang-ho dismisses the event as payback for the prank that he pulled on his first day.

Sun-jae takes a call from Jae-yi and invites Kwang-ho to accompany him, which further mystifies Tae-hee and Min-ha. Their destination is a house that Kwang-ho recognizes as the home of the high school suspect who killed the neighborhood dogs.

Sun-jae tells him that it’s Jung Ho-young’s house, and Kwang-ho realizes that he interviewed the killer as a teenager in connection with the serial murders.

Jae-yi is already at the property, and the detectives join her. She explains that Jung Ho-young committed his first known murder ten years ago when he choked his wife, but after her interview with Lee Seon-ok, she did some research.

Jae-yi produces a newspaper article from 1985 that proves Lee Seon-ok’s story, and Kwang-ho recognizes the victim as Hwang Chun-hee. Jae-yi is surprised that he knows the woman’s identity, so Sun-jae distracts her with a question, and she explains that Jung Ho-young’s first murder could have been committed thirty years ago, when he lived in that house.

Jae-yi produces two more articles about similar murders during that time, and Kwang-ho recognizes that he was right about the teenaged suspect all along. He thinks it possible that Jung Ho-young was the person who chased after the other Park Kwang-ho and insists that he must be found, but Sun-jae points out that the killer has evaded detection for two years.

Jae-yi asks Sun-jae if Jung Ho-young told him anything personal when he was questioned two years earlier. Sun-jae remembers that he mentioned additional victims whose murders were unrecorded, and Jae-yi resolves to consider that possibility. Sun-jae has to stop to answer a call from Sung-shik, who informs him of a new case.

Kwang-ho complains to Sun-jae that their priority should be Jung Ho-young instead of a new case, and he adds that he still hasn’t found Yeon-sook. Kwang-ho is clearly unsettled when they arrive at the crime scene, a dressmaker’s shop damaged by a fire set by a suspected serial arsonist.

Min-ha records the crowd on video, and Sun-jae explains to Kwang-ho that arsonists usually linger near the crime scene. After most of the firemen exit the building, Kwang-ho and Sun-jae enter to investigate and learn that the fire was set with a lighter.

Kwang-ho hears a faint hiss and sees a broken gas line near some unextinguished flames. He throws himself at Sun-jae and knocks him down just as the boutique explodes. Sun-jae yells for help, and the team rushes to Kwang-ho’s side as he loses consciousness.

Kwang-ho smiles as he watches Yeon-sook eat a dumpling. Seated across from her, he mentions the weird girl that lives on the first floor and then explains that the brat turned out to be Seo Yi-soo’s kid. Kwang-ho wonders if Sun-jae is all right before asking Yeon-sook where she’s been, sure that she waited for him. Yeon-sook tells Kwang-ho that if he’s sure, then he needs to wake up, and his smile fades as realizes that he’s dreaming.

Kwang-ho awakens in the hospital and immediately asks Min-ha and Tae-hee about Sun-jae, who is close by and thankfully uninjured. Sung-shik walks in and scolds Kwang-ho, his fear that he could lose his friend again evident.

Tae-hee calms the chief with a reminder that Kwang-ho’s injuries are minor. Sung-shik orders the rest of the team to continue their investigation, but Kwang-ho insists that he’s well enough to join them, and so the team walks out as Dr. Mok arrives.

Sun-jae explains to his friend that he’s uninjured thanks to Kwang-ho. Dr. Mok asks about Kwang-ho’s identity, but Sun-jae can only assure him that his partner had nothing to do with the other Park Kwang-ho’s death and that he will be the one to solve his murder.

Jae-yi asks the dean about déjà vu and explains that a visit to a new place triggered a memory. The dean explains that Jae-yi probably had a vague memory of the place, but considered it unimportant at the time. The dean then asks about the case from thirty years ago, and Jae-yi confirms its connection to Jung Ho-young, even though she noted some differences in the method.

At the police station, Kwang-ho rests on a couch while Sun-jae presents the evidence on the serial arson cases. Tae-hee explains that a store across the street reported that the dress shop’s fire started around the mannequins in the window.

Kwang-ho asks about the video that Min-ha made at the crime scene, and the team watches the footage, shaken to see the explosion. Sung-shik sends the team off to investigate but detains Kwang-ho to make sure that he’s all right.

Sung-shik reminds Kwang-ho that he has a wife to return to and wonders why he shielded Sun-jae from the explosion, but Kwang-ho answers that they have a responsibility to protect him since they never caught the man who killed his mother. Just outside the door, Kwang-ho walks into Sun-jae, who offers a simple, “Thank you.”

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho interview the dress shop’s owner and learn that her competitor, who complained about a loss of customers, was the one who reported the fire. Just then, the woman steps out from her store to smoke a cigarette, lighter in hand.

The woman insists that she was at her store and called 911 when she saw the fire. At the station, a neighborhood resident watches Min-ha’s video and identifies the members of the crowd just as Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return.

Kwang-ho points out a man in the back of the crowd and asks, “Is he laughing?” The neighbor doesn’t recognize him, so Kwang-ho suggests that they work to identify the man as Sun-jae takes a call from his father.

Sun-jae has gone to the hospital upon his stepmother’s discharge and offers to drive his parents home, but his father explains that he only called him with an update. Sun-jae looks thoughtful as he watches them drive away.

Kwang-ho shows the video of the arson crowd to Jae-yi only to quickly snatch his phone from her when the explosion plays. She notices the bandages on the back of his head and asks about his injury. When Kwang-ho insists that it’s nothing, she observes, “When you say it’s nothing, it means it’s something.” Awww.

Jae-yi confirms that the unidentified man was laughing, something that serial arsonists do. She wonders if it’s the only video of him, considering that arsonists typically crave attention.

Jae-yi gets up to answer her doorbell, but finds no one at her door. Kwang-ho thinks it’s a prank and sends her inside, unaware that someone’s watching them from a distance.

As the team reviews the arson case, Sun-jae realizes that the owner who called 911 couldn’t have seen the fire start from her store. Kwang-ho and Sun-jae question her at the station and discover that her son, KIM HEE-JOON, told her that the fire started near the mannequins.

A young man enters a building and starts a fire only to be surprised when it’s extinguished by Kwang-ho as Sun-jae records the incident. Kim Hee-joon tries to run away, but Sun-jae and Kwang-ho work as a team and arrest him.

Tae-hee and Min-ha watch an interview that Jae-yi discovered of Kim Hee-joon as Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return with him, which is proof that she was correct that the arsonist craved attention and revealed himself. Jae-yi tells Sun-jae, “You seem to be doing okay, Lieutenant Kim,” and Kwang-ho comments that she must have come to the station to see him.

The Serious Crimes Unit returns to the scene with Kim Hee-joon to recreate the crime as part of his confession. Kwang-ho looks around, surprised that a dressmaker’s shop similar to the one that Yeon-sook worked for still exists. To his surprise, he discovers a charred photo of Yeon-sook on a bulletin board, dated 1992.

When Kwang-ho shows the photo to Sung-shik, Sun-jae learns that he has a wife. Sung-shik and Kwang-ho interview the dress shop owner, who asks how they knew Yeon-sook. Sung-shik admits that he once worked with her husband, and Kwang-ho asks where they can find her.

The shop owner tells them that Yeon-sook suddenly stopped coming to work and that she didn’t have any contact information because Yeon-sook was very private. She only knew that her husband died because she heard it from others.

The dress shop owner eventually heard that Yeon-sook remarried and moved to Seoul, where her new husband was a pharmacist. Upset, Kwang-ho walks off, but Sung-shik manages to get the name of the man who married Yeon-sook: YOO SUNG-JAE.

Sung-shik sits with a stunned Kwang-ho and reminds him that even though it’s only been a few months for him, three decades have passed since he disappeared. Kwang-ho doesn’t care about the serial killer case anymore, since he’s too heartbroken that Yeon-sook didn’t wait for him as he’d hoped.

Kwang-ho tries to console himself that Yeon-sook lived well and that a pharmacist would take her on a cruise ship for her birthday. As tears fall, Kwang-ho asks his friend, “What should I do, Sung-shik?” The chief asks, “Should I look for her or should I not,” but Kwang-ho worries that he might disturb her happy life.

Sung-shik gets frustrated, not used to seeing his friend so indecisive, and yells that they can look for her so that Kwang-ho can at least see her from a distance. Kwang-ho admits that he’s afraid that Yeon-sook has forgotten him after thirty years, so Sung-shik takes control of the search, and they check various pharmacies for Yoo Sung-jae.

At home, Jae-yi studies her Jung Ho-young evidence wall in an attempt to understand why the victims were buried differently. She consults with Dean Hong and explains that Jung Ho-young was arrested after he was caught on CCTV in front of a victim’s workplace, which would explain why he buried his victims.

Dean Hong understands that a murderer usually displays bodies and then buries them to keep from getting caught, not the other way around. Jae-yi points out that if the murders from thirty years ago were committed by Jung Ho-young, his pattern was: display, bury, display. She has an idea as she tries to comprehend why Jung Ho-young’s most recent victim was left out in the open.

Clad in a black hooded jacket, Jung Ho-young visits the house where he lived as a teenager. He surveys the spot where he buried the neighborhood’s dogs and recalls when his parents drove him home from the police station after his release.

His mother instructed him to say that he was at home with her on a day when his parents were actually together at an event, and Jung Ho-young had looked out of the car window and started to sing a song to himself. Creepy.

Jung-Ho-young sings that same song in the present as he visits the location where he killed Sun-jae’s mother. A young woman talks on a cell phone as she walks by, dressed in a skirt. Uh-oh.

Sung-shik and Kwang-ho finally locate Yoo Sung-jae and question him. After he hears that his wife is in Europe with their daughter, Kwang-ho walks out, but Sung-shik runs after him with news that Yeon-sook isn’t his wife.

The pharmacist explains that he did have a crush on Yeon-sook, but he doesn’t know how the rumor started that he married her. Sung-shik has to silence Kwang-ho so that he can ask Yoo Sung-jae why he didn’t marry Yeon-sook.

Kwang-ho is elated to learn that the pharmacist confessed to Yeon-sook only to be rejected, because she intended to wait for her husband while she raised their child. He remembers that the child’s name was a combination of her parents’ names, YEON-HO.

Kwang-ho beams as he realizes that Yeon-sook planned to wait for him with their child while Yoo Sung-jae tells him that she rented a room at an Oriental clinic.

Kwang-ho and Sung-shik visit the clinic and question the owner, an older woman who remembers Yeon-sook fondly. Kwang-ho explains that he can’t find any record of Yeon-sook and asks when she moved.

The woman breaks the news that Yeon-sook didn’t move, but died in a car accident over twenty years ago. As Kwang-ho listens in shock, the woman explains that Yeon-sook was in an accident on her way home from work and died at the hospital. He demands to know the name of the hospital so that he can verify the story himself.

At the hospital, an official verifies that Yeon-sook was admitted to the ER in 1992 after her taxi was hit by a drunk driver, and she died the next day. Grief-stricken, Kwang-ho drops to the floor as Sung-shik asks about Yeon-sook’s child, Yeon-ho, and discovers that only Yeon-sook and the taxi driver were admitted.

Kwang-ho stands up and tells Sung-shik that he needs to go home, because Yeon-sook is waiting for him. As Kwang-ho walks away, Sung-shik gets a call from Tae-hee with the news that Jung Ho-young committed another murder.

Sung-shik joins the rest of the team at the crime scene. Sun-jae asks about Kwang-ho, who hasn’t answered his calls, only to be told that he won’t be able to join them.

Sung-shik checks the girl’s phone and sees that her mother has called dozens of times. He gently tells the victim, LEE SEO-YEON, “Your mother must be waiting for you. Let’s take you home.” Sung-shik asks if Jung Ho-young is the culprit, and Sun-jae admits that it fits his method before he has to take a call from Jae-yi and steps away.

Dr. Mok watches a news bulletin about the latest murder and tells himself, “I told him not to chase him but to wait for him. I guess he failed again.” Jae-yi tells Sun-jae, “It was because of you, Lieutenant Kim,” and explains that after he caught Jung Ho-young, the next victim was left out for Sun-jae to find.

Jae-yi believes that Sun-jae triggered Jung Ho-young to remember something that he had forgotten and that he will kill again because he wants to see how Sun-jae will react. Jae-yi further theorizes that Jung Ho-young may be repeating what he started thirty years ago.

Kwang-ho sits with the old woman at the Oriental clinic as she recalls how Yeon-ho blew the whistle around her neck whenever she was hurt. The young girl explained that the whistle belonged to her father, a gift from Yeon-sook.

The woman explains that it was the first time Yeon-sook didn’t respond to the whistle because it was the day of her accident. Kwang-ho clutches at his neck and remembers when Yeon-sook gave him that whistle.

As Kwang-ho realizes that his wife is really dead, he breaks down and sobs. Jae-yi reviews some papers at her apartment, a framed picture close by, draped with a chain that holds a whistle.

 
COMMENTS

Wow. I’m not sure which reveal had a greater impact this hour. As expected, we learned that Jae-yi is indeed Kwang-ho’s daughter, but it didn’t have nearly the impact that I expected, because we also discovered definitively that Yeon-sook died over twenty years ago. Kwang-ho endured an emotional roller coaster as he reacted like a typical new father to the knowledge that Yeon-sook had his child, only to drop into a pit of grief when he confirmed his wife’s death. His belief that Yeon-sook was waiting for him somewhere is what kept Kwang-ho afloat in in his new timeline, so I’m not sure how he will manage in a world where her light no longer shines. The only way that Kwang-ho will be able to carry on is through honoring Yeon-sook’s memory by finding their child — just wait until he discovers that it’s the weird girl that lives on the first floor.

The tension that existed between Sun-jae and Kwang-ho has mostly dissipated now that Sun-jae believes his partner’s impossible claim that he’s from the past. His anger regarding his mother’s unsolved case has lessened a bit as well, now that he realizes that Kwang-ho’s disappearance impacted the investigation. Kwang-ho can explain firsthand how different the world was thirty years ago, when the concept of a serial killer didn’t even exist, and Sun-jae now looks at his partner, and even his father, with more understanding. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho are finally becoming a team that respects one another and works together, but the one person who always has Kwang-ho’s back is Sung-shik.

When it comes to Kwang-ho, Sung-shik walks a fine line between the junior officer that he was in the past and the chief that he’s become in the future. One thing is always consistent: He’s loyal to his sunbae all day long. While Kwang-ho endured the most difficult day of his life, Sung-shik was right next to him, helping his friend every step of the way. It’s because of Sung-shik that Kwang-ho finally found out what happened to Yeon-sook, because Sung-shik can calmly ask questions instead losing his cool like Kwang-ho. Now that Sun-jae knows the truth about Kwang-ho, he can help Sung-shik support his old mentor in this future timeline as he processes everything that he’s learned about his family. If there’s one thing that Kwang-ho’s partners understand, it’s loss.

Yeon-sook’s fate is especially hard to accept, not only because of how deeply it wounds our hero, but because she was such a kind and endearing character who deserved better from life. She endured the loss of Kwang-ho and cared for his child while she awaited his return, even eschewing the comfort and security that remarriage could have offered. She was clearly devoted to her child, but it must have been lonely to raise her alone. Hopefully, Kwang-ho will take inspiration from her strength as he searches for his only link to Yeon-sook, which happens to be Jae-yi.

Jae-yi and Kwang-ho certainly have an unusual relationship, which can only hope to become more complicated when they discover that they are father and daughter. It’s hard enough to endure a generation gap, but Kwang-ho isn’t much older in age than his own daughter. Once the angst subsides, some hilarity is sure to follow. I can’t wait for Kwang-ho to size up Sun-jae as potential son-in-law material. Yikes! What Kwang-ho can offer to his daughter, besides hovering, is a connection to her mother, who she hardly remembers. Jae-yi seems to have thawed ever so slightly towards Kwang-ho, and I thought it was touching how she used Sun-jae’s line when she noticed his head wound. It appears as if father and daughter share more than DNA.

For now, Kwang-ho’s world just became a lot darker. It was excruciating to watch him grapple with the reality of Yeon-sook’s death, and I really have to say that Choi Jin-hyuk’s performance delivered. As much as Kwang-ho wants to go home to Yeon-sook, I’m not so sure that he will ever make it back there. Can he let go of his dream to be reunited with his wife? Will he have to? One thing is certain: Kwang-ho has to solve the mystery of Park Kwang-ho’s murder and catch serial killer Jung Ho-young before he can hope to figure that out.

RELATED POSTS

106 April 25, 2017April 25, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 9

by Saya

What’s really satisfying about Tunnel is that it has much more substance to it beyond its mysteries, and this hour draws our quartet much closer together. But real camaraderie is best when it’s seasoned with tough love, and right now, no one needs it more than Kwang-ho—and no one can administer it better than Sun-jae, even if he’ll never admit that there’s any love involved. We see right through you, you grumpy teddybear.

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

1992. Yeon-sook leaves work for the night and asks her taxi driver to hurry home because her daughter’s waiting, and he replies that that’s all the more reason for him to drive safely. But only moments later, a drunk driver comes straight at them.

A bloodied Yeon-sook drags herself from the overturned car. Kwang-ho, do you see me? I was left alone after you were gone. I don’t want to make our Yeon-ho like that too, she thinks before passing out.

Clutching the photo of her in the present, Kwang-ho shakes with choked sobs as night passes into day. He ignores his ringing phone, and back at the station, Sun-jae sighs in frustration. In private, he asks Sung-shik if it’s to do with “the person called Yeon-sook,” and finds out that she was Kwang-ho’s wife.

Sun-jae thinks on Sung-shik’s words en route to Kwang-ho’s house. He had related Kwang-ho’s desperate search for her, only to discover that she’d died over twenty years ago. Furthermore, she had left a child—his child—but nobody knew what became of her.

He finds Kwang-ho’s door unlocked again, with Kwang-ho slumped on the floor inside. “Get up,” Sun-jae tells him, not unkindly. He says there’s a new Jung Ho-young murder, but Kwang-ho just tells him to go away.

“If you do this, will a dead person come back?” Sun-jae asks. That finally sparks a reaction, and Kwang-ho asks bitterly what it will change if they catch Jung Ho-young. “Yeon-sook is dead, so what good does it do?” he shouts.

“Hey. That’s not something you can say to me right now,” Sun-jae replies. He points out that Jung might even have killed his mother. “When you apologized for not capturing the culprit, was that a lie?” he asks. And, he asks, is Kwang-ho planning to let the culprit get away again like he did thirty years ago?

“What about your child? Aren’t you curious about what happened to your child?” Sun-jae asks. He asks Kwang-ho how he thinks a motherless six-year-old left alone would have lived. Stricken, Kwang-ho shouts at him, asking what he’s meant to do.

“Find your daughter, solve the case, and go back, you fool! Go back and prevent it. Go back… and save Yeon-sook,” Sun-jae yells back. He reminds him that if he was brought to this timeline to solve the case, then wouldn’t he be able to go back once he had? “Let’s catch that bastard together,” he urges.

“If I were there, Yeon-sook wouldn’t have gotten in that taxi,” Kwang-ho says. “I’ll catch the culprit, and I’ll go back,” he vows. In a rundown apartment elsewhere, Jung Ho-young dons a courier uniform and heads out.

Kwang-ho strides into the police station, filled with new resolve. With everyone now here, Sung-shik calls a meeting. They identify that the victim, Lee Seo-yeon, went missing between her home and the bus stop, but once again, the murderer left no trace.

They do have one eyewitness, though: A delivery guy on a motorcycle saw her ahead of an unusually slow car. But since it was dark, all he could tell them was that it was a black sedan. Sun-jae notes that Jung was was in a white sedan the only other time he was caught on camera and surmises that it could be the same car repainted. Sung-shik dispatches the team with orders to track it down.

On their way out, Kwang-ho asks Sun-jae how to go about finding a child. Sun-jae tells him he’s already put someone onto looking for Yeon-ho, guessing that she either went into an orphanage or was adopted. “Since it was a long time ago, it won’t be easy, but let’s wait and see. We’ll hear something,” Sun-jae reassures him.

Though painfully forlorn, Kwang-ho thanks him. “Let’s catch the culprit quickly, since it looks like you and I are looking for the same guy,” Sun-jae replies, his tone gentle. Of course, he then goes and tells him to unfurrow his ugly brow, haha.

Jae-yi reads the news about the latest murder and thinks back to what she said to Sun-jae about how he might have been the trigger. She’s about to call him, but changes her mind. As she makes her way to class, she passes some girls skipping rope, and it triggers a memory of her own younger self.

Dr. Mok tells our two detectives that Lee Seo-yeon’s cause of death was also asphyxiation (with tights), and her death would have been drawn-out and painful. Kwang-ho berates Sun-jae for losing him two years ago, and Sun-jae has to stop himself mid-retort about catching him thirty years ago.

Turning back to Dr. Mok, Sun-jae asks him about the reason for the increasing frequency of the murders. “Do murderers have reasons?” Kwang-ho asks. He searches the victim’s ankles for dots but finds nothing.

He tells Sun-jae so in private and asks about the Haein River victim, Yoon Da-young (the one out of their jurisdiction). Sun-jae says there’s no mention of dots in the autopsy report, and Kwang-ho thinks it could mean a different killer. But Sun-jae says it’s not uncommon for serial killers to change their methods completely.

Sung-shik orders the pair to the crime scene, where he plans to join them. On his way out, he’s met by the victim’s brother, here to collect her effects. He cries over them, regretting that he hadn’t driven her himself, and Sung-shik tells him that it isn’t his fault. Meanwhile, an officer brings in a special delivery for Sun-jae and leaves the box on his desk.

At the end of Jae-yi’s class, her A-grade student asks if the murderer she mentioned last time was Jung Ho-young, and another student says he heard that the latest victim was a student at their university. Jae-yi asks a student to spatter a bottle of red nail varnish on her and tells them about a case some years ago where a man used to throw red-colored liquid on women before running away.

When asked if she would report such a thing, the student replies that she probably wouldn’t, since it doesn’t seem serious enough for that. But they gasp when Jae-yi tells them that some months later, that same man stabbed a woman—to see the red color. “And that’s how he evolved into a murderer,” she finishes.

Relating it back to Jung Ho-young, she says that he must have had a starting point too. By examining his crimes, they might be able to understand his choice of victims, his method, and so on. As the class files out, she wonders to herself why Jung is fixated on women in skirts.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae are out near the scene. A sign pointing to a military base catches Kwang-ho’s eye, and he stares at it in shock. They reach a field close to the base, and deeply disturbed, Kwang-ho tells Sun-jae that this is where his mother’s body was found thirty years ago. Wuuuut. Sun-jae is equally shocked.

Spotting a lone camera nearby, they obtain the footage, reasoning that since the victim was found there, Jung Ho-young should be on it. And they do see him on it, tailing the victim. They return to the field and find a truck nearby with a blackbox camera. Its footage shows a man getting into a black sedan and driving past. This time, they get the license number.

The team regroups at the station, and Kwang-ho puzzles over why Jung returned to the same place as thirty years ago. Tae-hee overhears, but his probing is cut short when Sung-shik rushes in and tells them that the car was found.

On the road, a patrol car orders Jung’s car to stop, but he weaves away.

As the detectives prepare to leave, a phone rings… but it doesn’t belong to any of them. Kwang-ho discovers that the sound is coming from the box on Sun-jae’s desk, which the latter then tears open.

“It’s been a while, Detective,” says Jung Ho-young from a pay phone on the other side. “I have something to tell you. Haein River… that wasn’t me. It’s true that I killed Lee Seo-yeon, but that one wasn’t me,” he repeats, before hanging up. Furious, Sun-jae instructs Min-ha to track the number.

Meanwhile, the patrol car finally catches its quarry and drags the driver out… but it’s not Jung Ho-young. When the police check his license plates, they find a fake fastened over the real one.

The news vexes our detective team. Meanwhile, Min-ha pinpoints the location of the call. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho head there and find that it’s a public pay phone, out of range of any CCTV—again, Kwang-ho notes. He tells Sun-jae that young Kwang-ho was also called from a pay phone.

The next day breaks with news reports of the police’s failure to catch Jung Ho-young. The chief superintendent makes an appearance at the police station, but Kwang-ho’s missing from the lineup. Sung-shik grimaces when he marches in late, complaining about higher-ups.

The superintendent orders them to review the entire Jung Ho-young investigation from the start. Sun-jae speaks up to say that there were six victims, not five, adding the Haein River murder to the list. The superintendent recognizes Sun-jae as the one who lost Jung Ho-young last time.

Sun-jae points out that it’s strange for Jung to admit something now when he denied everything back then. The superintendent studies him with interest and tells him to bring him results. He also advises Sung-shik to make sure to consult with the professor he recommended—Jae-yi—which surprises Sun-jae.

Once he’s gone, they all breathe in relief. Sun-jae calls Jae-yi to come in, and then calls Dr. Mok. He tells him how Jung had said the Haein River murder wasn’t him and asks the doc to re-examine the six autopsy reports again. After they hang up, Dr. Mok looks at his chessboard and says, “Will you be able to catch the king?” Creepy and cryptic.

The police station is abuzz with activity when Jae-yi arrives, and Sun-jae lights up to see her. With her arrival, Sun-jae begins the briefing. He says Jung’s first victim is thought to be his wife, Kim Ji-eun, in 2009.

At the time, Jung had said that she had run away with another man, but her body turned up eight months later with tights wrapped around her neck. Jung had been under suspicion, but there was no evidence to tie him to her death.

There were two more similar murders after that, but still nothing connected Jung—until he was caught on CCTV with the fourth woman, a nurse. Sun-jae was in charge of the investigation at the time and had arrested him. Thinking the nurse’s murder was too practiced to be his first time, he combed through cold cases bearing similar traits until he found the others. As for the two recent cases, he blames himself for losing Jung two years ago.

Summing up, Sun-jae says that with the exception of his wife, Jung targeted women in their twenties, asphyxiating them with tights. He lets Jae-yi take over, and she tells them that all the victims were wearing skirts, causing some of the officers to titter. She silences them by asking if it would be okay to murder the women if they weren’t plain. “You must think there are women who deserve to be killed,” Jae-yi says. That shuts them up.

She tells Sung-shik that if they could figure out why Jung Ho-young targets skirt-wearing women, they might discover what motivates him. Finally, she shows them the microfilm articles of the murders from thirty years ago, explaining that they bear the same characteristics as the current cases.

Kwang-ho tells her that there were actually six murders back then, and Jung Ho-young had been brought in only to be released because he produced an alibi. “Though now I think of it, his parents could have been lying,” he adds. Sung-shik is shocked to realize that the high school kid was Jung Ho-young.

Sun-jae tells them that the family then moved to Seoul, and Jung was placed in a mental hospital soon after where he remained for eight years, though he didn’t have any specific diagnosis. After he was discharged, he married his wife, and they all know what followed. Sung-shik also tells them about the dots.

In private afterwards, Sun-jae admits he knew about Jung Ho-young’s multiple murders since the nurse case two years ago, adding that it would have been good if he’d known that Sung-shik had been at Hwayang then. At that, Sung-shik explodes at him for never coming to any after-work dinners: Everybody knew that except him, he yells. Hahaha, yes, tell him!

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae head out together. “In the end, there was a reason for us to meet like this after all,” Sung-shik says, watching them go.

The detectives pay Kim Ji-eun’s family a visit. Her mother is lost in a world of her own, poring over old photos of her dead daughter. They hang their heads when her older sister reproves them for not listening back then, and Sun-jae asks what caused her to suspect Jung.

She tells them a difficult story Ji-eun had told her—that her husband used to strangle her with tights while she was sleeping, and one time she really nearly died. The sister regrets that they were beguiled by his family’s money and that they had counseled Ji-eun to be good to her husband. They later learned that he had been at a mental hospital, but never found out why.

Jae-yi visits his old hospital to answer that question. His psychiatrist remembers him as her first patient and hints that he was forcefully hospitalized by his parents. His mother had pleaded with them never to release him: “He’s not human.”

The doctor understood why she’d said that when she talked to him. In an interview, he had told her that killing dogs became boring: “I became curious about what it would feel like to kill a person. My little sister liked it too. When I strangled her, she wasn’t grimacing, but smiling.” The doctor says he didn’t say much else after that interview, and Jae-yi asks for the recording.

Sun-jae’s phone from Jung Ho-young starts to ring, and he quickly tells Kwang-ho to get the number tracked. Jung asks him how he’s doing with his homework, and laughing, he gives them to the count of three to find him.

The detectives arrive at the location, another pay phone, and the Murder Phone rings again. Jung tells Sun-jae not to mess with him and to do his homework properly. Kwang-ho growls in frustration.

The next day, Jae-yi listens to the tape. Young Jung Ho-young sings a few lines: When I see your smiling face, it warms my heart. “She really was smiling,” he said. Jae-yi stops the tape. It looks like she’s onto something.

Sung-shik maps the locations of the victims’ bodies against Jung’s calls. Eyes twinkling, Kwang-ho says that one more point would make it the Big Dipper, and Sung-shik snorts, remembering how he had said that to Kwang-ho thirty years ago. The joke is, of course, lost on everyone else. Aww.

They all jump at the sound of a phone ringing, but it’s just Dr. Mok on Sun-jae’s normal phone. He and Kwang-ho head over, and Dr. Mok tells them that unlike Lee Seo-yeon, who had died extremely slowly, the Haein River victim, Yoon Da-young, was killed at once. He thinks that it’s either because she was killed in in a fit of fury, or it’s two different killers.

Sun-jae shows him the 1986 reports, but Dr. Mok says that using tights doesn’t mean it’s the same killer. Kwang-ho mutters that the 1986 murderer he killed without reason too. “How would you know that?” the doc asks with an unsettling smile.

Kwang-ho tells Sun-jae later that one of the 1986 victims was also found at Haein River. They question Yoon Da-young’s roomie, but she’s never heard Jung Ho-young’s name. Sun-jae gets a call just then from Kim Ji-eun’s sister, who gives him the address of a place Ji-eun wanted to move to.

They find the area ramshackle and deserted due to redevelopment. Sun-jae doesn’t think he’s there, but Kwang-ho begins a search anyway. In one house, they come across a box identical to the one Jung Ho-young used to send Sun-jae the Murder Phone as well as a copy of today’s paper, meaning that it’s his current hideout.

They call in the cavalry, and the detectives lie in wait for Jung’s return. While they wait, Sun-jae hears from his missing persons contact, who says that without even a photo to go on for Yeon-ho, he could only narrow down the list to seventy people.

Sun-jae asks Kwang-ho what he plans to say to his daughter first. “I have to apologize first,” Kwang-ho replies. Just then, Jung appears, and the men crouch out of sight. But Jung sees their reflection in a shard of mirror and flees. The detectives give chase but ultimately lose him, and Kwang-ho roars in frustration.

Jung calls Sun-jae on the Murder Phone. Angry that they came after him, he threatens to go after “the woman you cherish.” Sun-jae immediately dials Jae-yi, but he can’t reach her. He tears off, leaving Kwang-ho behind.

He gets Jae-yi’s address from Dean Hong, but is confused when he pulls up in front of Kwang-ho’s house. Oh, this should be fun! Kwang-ho arrives home himself by then, and is in the middle of denying Jae-yi lives there when she pops out.

Sun-jae yells at her for not answering her phone, “Do you know how worried I was?” She explains that she was busy listening to the tapes so she didn’t hear, and invites them in for coffee.

Sun-jae shuffles awkwardly around her apartment and asks if they’re living together. Echoing Jae-yi’s words to him before, Kwang-ho reels off that it’s not together: He’s upstairs, she’s downstairs.

Jae-yi asks Sun-jae what the urgent thing he had to say was. Caught, he steals a glance at Kwang-ho (whose expression is just priceless) and stiltingly asks why Jung Ho-young said the Haein River case wasn’t him. She says he’s playing a game with the phone calls, but what he said is odd. At least one part of his confession is true, but which part?

Kwang-ho finds their reasoning confusing and decides to leave them to it. HA, Sun-jae clutches at his trouser leg to stop him, but in the end, he’s left alone with Jae-yi, and so he takes a nervous swig of coffee. But he smiles to see his handkerchief in her bag, and asks her to be careful.

Kwang-ho’s pretty pleased with himself outside. “These are the good times,” he says, grinning. But the grin soon gives way to a sigh.

At the NFS, Dr. Mok tells the officer that the police suspect Jung Ho-young for murders committed thirty years ago, but he learns that they don’t have autopsy reports from that far back. Looking over the current cases, the officer thinks that they’re all Jung’s work. “You think so, too?” Dr. Mok asks.

In a children’s playground, a woman struggles as a dark figure strangles her with a pair of tights. “I… am not a person who kills someone without a reason. I’m different than that bastard Jung Ho-young!” he rasps. As her struggles cease, her killer raises his face. It’s Dr. Mok.

 
COMMENTS

Nope, not surprised—pretty much all of us called it way back. But even with Dr. Mok finally unveiled as the original 1986 killer (and therefore also the guy in the church confessional in Episode 4), there’s still a lot we don’t know. What provoked him to start killing again? Was it the appearance of Kwang-ho? Did he recognize him? From the way he looks at him and his cryptic comments, I’m certain he does. What are his oh-so-hallowed reasons for his murders? I’m also pretty certain he killed young Kwang-ho (who still remains nearly a total mystery).

Age-wise, I’d put Mok at fifty or so, so thirty years ago, he’d have been around the same age as Jung Ho-young. Both kids are in Hwayang, one killing dogs and the other killing women… how are they connected to each other? It’s clear that Jung witnessed at least one of Mok’s murders, since he killed Lee Seo-yeon at exactly the place Sun-jae’s mom was murdered and experienced a flashback to it. It would be interesting to see where and how his path crossed with Mok’s. His seeming inability to distinguish the rictus of pain from a smile of pleasure is as fascinating as it is disturbing. Both killers are sick, but in different ways. Were they friends? Are they in communication in the present? Does Jung know who Mok is in the present?

But the reveal raises the potentially more important question of who Mok was in 1986. If Kwang-ho’s sojourn to the future is an act of fate, we have to assume (for the time being) that the endgame for the show is to return him to his original timeline so he can catch the killer there. It doesn’t seem likely that Mok would be living under his real name in the present, so it can’t be as simple as looking up “Mok Jin-woo,” can it?

Reveals aside, I really like how the character interplays are building up. The team came together in a really cohesive way this episode, and I’m enjoying all the partnerships so much. What’s growing between Kwang-ho and Sun-jae is better than friendship, and it feels so earned. Jae-yi is delightfully straitlaced with no sense of subtext. All of them are changing in small but important ways, and it feels really rewarding to watch. Even Sung-shik’s little explosion at Sun-jae showed growing closeness—though they’d been working together for some time, it’s clear that Sun-jae was very closed off. On that note, did Mok attach himself to Sun-jae on purpose, knowing who he was?

I really like how our central quartet all borrow each other’s words, passing them around between them and repeating them back to each other. It’s not a new device, but between these characters, it’s a charmingly organic way of showing how they affect each other, how much they listen, what their opinions of each other are, and it gives them a note of unity—that for all their thorns, reticence, and brusque demeanors, they’re on the same page. But more than that, they care about each other.

Between the four of them, only the Kwang-ho/Sung-shik connection is old (and rock solid, bless them), but every other combination between them is a new relationship finding its ground. I like how Kwang-ho’s direct, uncomplicated nature makes him such a good catalyst for all this, especially when that candor reverses and comes back to him. I found it so touching when Sun-jae dragged him out of his grief-stricken stupor, all harsh words and saying what needed to be said, but there was never any doubt that it came from a place of real concern.

I actually have a vision for how I want the show to play out: A full arc for the present, where both killers are caught and our main characters live awkwardly ever after, followed by a handful of episodes where Kwang-ho goes back to catch Mok in his own timeline, which would reset the entire trajectory of the future. And then a flash-forward to the new 2016 timeline, where a happier, less broken Jae-yi meets a happier, less broken Sun-jae, who has to win the approval of her stern (verrrry stern!) father. So basically yes, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Happy endings for everyone!

RELATED POSTS

128 April 26, 2017April 25, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 10

by TeriYaki

The pressure mounts for the Tunnel team as public outcry and orders from above add to the responsibility of catching a serial killer. Everyone is pushed to their limit and cracks are starting to show, but this team is determined to get a killer off of the streets once and for all. In the end, everybody cares very much about the case, but they just show it in different ways.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

The cherry blossoms are in bloom at Hwayang University as Dr. Mok looks to the sky and thinks, “Rather than in darkness, there are people who hide in the light.” We rewind to four months earlier, when he autopsied the dismembered remains of Victim #5 and was shocked to see the five dots.

Dr. Mok laughed when he realized that the victim survived and asked himself, “So, you want to challenge me?” We then see a fountain pen apply the last of seven dots, after which Dr. Mok quietly comments, “I was merely responding to your game.” He stands up, cigarette in hand, and walks away from a young woman’s body lying on a riverbank.

In the present, Jae-yi joins the team at a crime scene where a victim with eight dots on her heel has been discovered. Kwang-ho’s eyes widen when he sees the dots, certain that Jung Ho-young has killed again, but Sun-jae wonders why there are eight dots.

Kwang-ho is certain that there must be a seventh victim somewhere. Jae-yi overhears their exchange and interrupts to ask if Jung Ho-young’s method has changed.

Kwang-ho tells her that Jung Ho-young returned to his murder method from thirty years ago, confident that no one would recognize it. The trio is joined by Dr. Mok when he makes an uncustomary visit to the crime scene to check on something.

Dr. Mok examines the victim’s heel and then informs the detectives that there were seven dots on the Haein River victim, Yoon Da-young. Dr. Mok is about to suggest a theory when Jae-yi interjects that there could be two culprits at work. Kwang-ho insists that Jung Ho-young is their only suspect, and Sun-jae agrees.

Sun-jae introduces Jae-yi to the doctor, who identifies himself as Mok Jin-woo. Jae-yi wonders silently if Jung Ho-young’s claim that he didn’t commit the Haein River murder was true.

Sung-shik arrives at the scene with detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha, tormented that another murder occurred because they failed to catch Jung Ho-young the previous day. Kwang-ho finds a wallet with a high school ID card for NAM JOO-HEE, so he and Sun-jae pay her mother a visit to break the bad news. Once there, they learn that the girl was no stranger to trouble.

News of the most recent murder results in widespread criticism of the police, even as they launch an intense search of the district for Jung Ho-young. Back at Hwayang Station, the section chief places blame for the latest murder on the team since Jung Ho-young managed to avoid capture and orders them to catch Jung Ho-young by the next day.

Kwang-ho thinks it possible that Jung Ho-young turned to his family for help, so Sung-shik sends Sun-jae and Kwang-ho to interview his mother and sister. Before they leave, Sung-shik calls Sun-jae aside and angrily reminds him that Sung-shik and Kwang-ho want to catch Jung Ho-young as much as he does, so they must work as a team.

When Kwang-ho comes to his defense, Sung-shik argues that he’s no different and storms away. Kwang-ho wants to know what Jung Ho-young told him during his call, but Sun-jae keeps the threat against Jae-yi to himself.

Jae-yi consults with Dean Hong and explains that two of the three recent murder victims were marked with dots — Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee. The marks can be linked to the past murder cases, and Jae-yi reasons that if Jung Ho-young didn’t commit the two recent dot murders, then he can’t be the serial killer from thirty years ago. What she can’t understand is why two killers share the same murder method and are both fixated on women who wear skirts.

Dr. Mok is reunited with his victim in the autopsy room and tells her lifeless body, “You shouldn’t have been walking by yourself at night.” He looks unhappy when Sun-jae and Kwang-ho show up, but he turns and greets them with a smile.

Kwang-ho wants to know how the dots were made, and Dr. Mok suggests a tattoo needle or even a fountain pen as he pulls one from his pocket. Kwang-ho dismisses the suggestion as nonsense (hah!) and instead asks for an analysis of the ink to determine what company manufactured it.

Dr. Mok asks, “By the way, could Jung Ho-young have really done this?” Kwang-ho wonders why Dr. Mok brought that up again, but the doctor points out that Jae-yi believes that there could be two suspects.

Dr. Mok argues that the evidence doesn’t support the theory of one killer, instead there are two methods — victims with dots and victims without dots. He appeals to Sun-jae, but he agrees with Kwang-ho that there is only one killer and suggests that he, Sun-jae, may be the key to why Jung Ho-young’s method changed.

Sun-jae meets with Dr. Mok in his office and explains that his mother was a victim of a serial killer thirty years ago and that that’s what influenced his decision to become a police officer. Sun-jae is convinced that her killer is Jung Ho-young and believes that his method changed after his arrest two years earlier when Sun-jae triggered his memories about the murders from his past.

Dr. Mok argues that all of the recent victims should have been marked with dots if Sun-jae’s theory is true. After Sun-jae and Kwang-ho leave, Dr. Mok studies the chess board and muses that Sun-jae is mistaken about one thing, “Your mother wasn’t such a good woman.”

Kwang-ho rings a doorbell at the home of Jung Ho-young’s sister, JUNG HYE-JI, which has been marred by “Murderer” spray-painted on the gate and fence. She doesn’t answer the bell or her phone, and a neighbor informs Sun-jae and Kwang-ho that she ran away once everyone learned that her brother was a murderer.

They visit the home of Jung Ho-young’s mother, YOO OK-HEE, and find her confronted by reporters in spite of her denial that he is her son. Inside, she avoids their questions and asks Sun-jae and Kwang-ho to leave.

Kwang-ho notices that the front window is broken and suggests that she cover it, but Jung Ho-young’s mother argues that it will only get broken again. Sun-jae demands to know if that was her attitude when she raised her children — did she just ignore them?

Kwang-ho brings up Jung Ho-young’s arrest as a teenager in connection with the serial murders and asks if they lied about the boy’s alibi, but she only reasons, “If I had let them put him in prison back then, I wouldn’t have to be suffering like this.”

She yells at the detectives to leave and shuts herself in a room. Kwang-ho picks up a photo of Jung Ho-young’s parents from thirty years ago that shows them holding up a sign for Shin Ae Chemicals.

His face obscured by his motorcycle helmet, Jung Ho-young enters a convenience store. He’s distracted by a television that airs his mother’s interview and sees that Sun-jae and Kwang-ho paid her a visit. He grabs the clerk’s cell phone from the counter and exits the store.

At the station, Kwang-ho hopes for a call from Jung Ho-young so they can at least determine his location. Sun-jae’s phone rings with a call, and Min-ha runs off to trace it just as Jae-yi enters their conference room. Sun-jae answers the call and places it on speaker.

Jung Ho-young insists that he didn’t commit the most recent murder in addition to the Haein River murder. Jae-yi rushes in and tells Jung Ho-young that she believes him because Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee were marked, unlike the victim that he admits that he killed.

Jae-yi suggests that Jung Ho-young’s mother is connected to his murders as well as his phone call, certain that her interview provoked him. She reminds Jung Ho-young that his mother sent him to the mental hospital when his curiosity led him to strangle his sister, and then she mimics his mother’s warning to the staff that her son wasn’t human.

After she suggests that Jung Ho-young’s murders represent killing his own mother, recognition flickers, and Jung Ho-young asks, “Are you Professor Shin Jae-yi?” Jung Ho-young recalls the threat that he made to Sun-jae about “that woman who is precious to you” and the detective’s subsequent panicked reaction as he raced to Jae-yi’s apartment. Jung Ho-young followed him that day and removed mail from Jae-yi’s mailbox to learn her name.

In the present, Jae-yi answers, “Yes, I’m Shin Jae-yi.” Jung Ho-young replies, “Nice to meet you,” and then hangs up. Sung-shik is alarmed that Jung Ho-young is aware of Jae-yi, and Kwang-ho demands to know if she believes his claims.

She acknowledges that the murders of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee are somehow different from the murders that Jung Ho-young admitted to. Kwang-ho accuses Jae-yi of being more concerned with her research than with stopping a killer.

Sun-jae tries to silence him, but Kwang-ho points out that Jae-yi shows no concern for the victims or their families. Jae-yi thinks that it’s enough to catch criminals, but Kwang-ho yells, “Being a detective is about saving people’s lives!”

Kwang-ho points to Jae-yi and tells her, “If this bastard kills another person because you provoked him, it would be like you killed her.” Min-ha interrupts the tense confrontation with a location for the phone used to make the call. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho leave to investigate as Jae-yi stays behind, a stunned look on her face.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae find the phone discarded in some garbage. Sun-jae acknowledges that Jae-yi was right: They’ll never catch Jung Ho-young this way.

Jae-yi returns home and listens to the taped session of the teenaged Jung Ho-young. She washes her face, but she can’t manage to forget Kwang-ho’s words.

Sun-jae drops Kwang-ho at home and urges him to apologize to Jae-yi, but he protests, “Don’t even mention that cold-hearted woman to me.” Outside of her apartment, Sun-jae calls Jae-yi to apologize for Kwang-ho, but she asks if Kwang-ho has a family member who can’t come back. Sun-jae answers that it’s Kwang-ho who can’t go back.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho visit Dr. Mok and learn that the ink used to make the dots was produced by Shin Ae Chemicals, but production was discontinued over twenty years ago. Kwang-ho remembers the company name from the photo of Jung Ho-young’s parents.

Jae-yi lectures her class about narcissistic serial killers who admit to their crimes and want to publicize them. As Jae-yi acknowledges that it’s necessary to believe the words of such killers, she recalls Jung Ho-young’s claim that he wasn’t responsible for the Haein River murder or that of Nam Joo-hee.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae return to question Jung Ho-young’s mother about her husband, who was once CEO of Shin Ae Chemicals. They know that the main factory was redeveloped, but discover from Jung Ho-young’s mother that there was another factory.

Sun-jae calls Jae-yi to report the lead on Jung Ho-young’s hideout, confident that there won’t be any more murders. Sun-jae promises to contact her after he visits the scene, and Jae-yi asks him to be careful. Sung-shik’s special investigative team strategizes on how to approach the property to capture Jung Ho-young.

Jae-yi enters Dr. Mok’s office as he studies his chess board and asks for a brief chat. She admits that she can’t figure out why Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee were marked with dots, so she’s decided to discuss the matter with him since his theory is similar to hers.

Dr. Mok shares that Sun-jae expects to get that answer from Jung Ho-young once he’s been apprehended, but Jae-yi argues that he can’t be caught, but must instead be drawn out. Dr. Mok agrees and suggests that the police should set a trap for Jung Ho-young, but they’ll need good bait. Jae-yi moves a chess piece and asks, “Like this?” She thanks Dr. Mok for his advice and leaves, and the doctor studies her retreating figure with interest.

The detectives prepare for their raid with firearms at the ready — with the exception of Kwang-ho, who foregoes a weapon. At home, Jae-yi considers an outfit that she’s laid out on her bed, especially the short skirt. Once dressed, she studies her reflection in a mirror and places her whistle around her neck.

En route to the abandoned factory, Kwang-ho asks Sun-jae about the search for his daughter and learns that she was adopted and went to England. Kwang-ho hopes to at least see her before he goes back. Sun-jae studies Kwang-ho as he vows to catch Jung Ho-young so that he can return and asks, “But is it actually possible to go back to 1986?” Kwang-ho warns Sun-jae not to jinx it, but his partner’s only comment is, “I’m just sad, that’s all.”

The team searches the factory property, but they only manage to find a group of belligerent teenagers who are unperturbed in the face of drawn guns. Sung-shik is frustrated that they failed to catch Jung Ho-young again as Kwang-ho bellows, “Where in the world is he?”

Jae-yi parks her car in a remote area just as she gets a call from a friend. She answers in English and warns the caller that it’s not a good time, but the woman, who has a British accent, informs Jae-yi that someone in South Korea is searching for Park Yeon-ho. The caller admits that she shared that Jae-yi/Yeon-ho is in Korea before she hangs up. Puzzled by the news, Jae-yi continues with her plan and walks away.

Dr. Mok walks through Hwayang University Hospital and happens upon a televised interview with Jae-yi. She explains that because of the district-wide search, Jung Ho-young must find another area to commit his next murder. Jae-yi points to a map and looks into the camera as she explains that he will kill someone near the reservoir she’s pointing to next.

Dr. Mok calls Sun-jae to ask if Jae-yi ever spoke with Jung Ho-young. When Sun-jae confirms that she did, the doctor tells him about Jae-yi’s interview and her plan to use herself as bait to lure Jung Ho-young.

Sun-jae tries to call Jae-yi but can’t reach her. He watches her interview and explains her plan to Kwang-ho. The entire team speeds to the reservoir as Sung-shik frantically calls for backup. Sun-jae still can’t reach Jae-yi by phone, so he and Kwang-ho head for her last known location.

Alone, Jae-yi walks down a narrow road near the reservoir when a car slowly approaches her. Her eyes widen in fear, but the man in the car warns her that it’s hard to get a taxi in that area and offers her a ride. After Jae-yi sends the man away, someone snatches her, and a glance in the driver’s rearview mirror reveals an empty path.

The investigative team arrives at the reservoir and begins to search for Jae-yi. Sun-jae stops a car as it drives out and shows the driver a photo of Jae-yi. He recognizes her and points Sun-jae to the spot where he saw her.

As Kwang-ho runs ahead, Sun-jae takes a call from his contact, who reports that Park Yeon-ho is now known as Shin Jae-yi and was at Hwayang University all along. Sun-jae reels from the news as he watches Kwang-ho run past a sign that reads: “End of the road.”

Jae-yi appears lifeless as a hooded figure drags her into the surrounding vegetation. Alone, Kwang-ho doggedly makes his way deeper into the terrain as his flashlight pierces the darkness. Jung Ho-young stares down at Jae-yi and then stoops to tie her wrists together before he pulls stockings from his pocket to bind her ankles.

Jae-yi’s eyes fly open and she kicks her assailant away. She manages to stand and runs away wildly with Jung Ho-young close behind. Eventually, Jae-yi trips and falls, and Jung Ho-young stops to watch as she crawls along the ground. She glances back as Jung Ho-young walks slowly towards her.

Kwang-ho finds himself in thick foliage and asks himself, “Where on earth is she?” Jae-yi’s hands tremble as she grasps at the whistle that hangs from her neck, but she manages to blow on it, and Kwang-ho races towards the sound.

Jung Ho-young tightens the stockings around Jae-yi’s neck as she kicks weakly, her eyes wide with terror. She grabs at her neck feebly before she eventually goes still. Kwang-ho pauses to look around and when he sees Jung Ho-young stooped over Jae-yi’s body in the distance. He instinctively yells out, “You scumbag!”

When Jung Ho-young runs off, Kwang-ho finds himself torn between his suspect and the prone body of Jae-yi. Kwang-ho kneels at Jae-yi’s side and fumbles as he works to untie the stockings from her neck amid his pleas for her to wake up.

Kwang-ho is racked with guilt as he tries to rouse Jae-yi and demands, “Did you become a victim yourself so that other people don’t die?” Kwang-ho is frantic when suddenly, Jae-yi finally rewards him with a weak cough.

Sun-jae runs up to the pair, desperate to assure himself that Jae-yi is all right. Kwang-ho directs him to chase after Jung Ho-young and points to where he was last seen. Sun-jae looks down at Jae-yi and tears off after the man who did this to her.

As Jae-yi takes in slow, regular breaths, Kwang-ho starts to relax and tells her, “If it wasn’t for that whistle sound…” But he stops when his eyes fall on the whistle. As Kwang-ho remembers the moment when Yeon-sook placed his whistle around his neck, he picks up Jae-yi’s whistle, confused because it looks so familiar.

Kwang-ho remembers that Yeon-sook’s former landlady told him that his daughter always blew that whistle whenever she was in trouble. His hands shake as he asks Jae-yi why she’s wearing that necklace.

In shock, Kwang-ho stares down at the young woman on the ground before him and mutters, “It can’t be. Are you… Yeon-ho?” Jae-yi looks up in surprise as a tear falls down Kwang-ho’s face.

 
COMMENTS

What a jarring opening to the episode — serial killer, Dr. Mok, against a backdrop of cherry blossoms, on a university campus, surrounded by unsuspecting students. We learn that he began to kill again in response to his encounter with Kim Young-ja, when he performed the autopsy on her dismembered leg. After a dormancy of thirty years, it will be interesting to learn why that chance encounter prompted Dr. Mok to kill again.

Another question that begs an answer is this: Why does Dr. Mok insist on alerting the investigative team to the existence of two serial killers? He has a perfect chance to escape detection, but he keeps stirring the pot, increasingly frustrated by the obtuse detectives who insist that they are looking for one killer.

Is he like an artist who wants the public to appreciate his creations, or does he want his intelligence to be recognized? Either way, Dr. Mok can’t seem to allow his deeds to be credited to someone else, and he is doing everything that he can to get the team to accept Jae-yi’s theory that they are dealing with two serial killers. It’s only a matter of time before his behavior garners more attention than he may be prepared for.

The motive behind Dr. Mok’s murders became a bit clearer as he hinted that the victims were somehow targeted because of their actions or choices. This information will come as a shock, especially for Sun-jae, who sees his mother as completely innocent. Maybe she is, but there may be something unsavory about her and the other victims that could explain why they were targeted.

Unfortunately, Jae-yi has caught the doctor’s attention because she’s the only one who’s recognized the true nature of the unsolved murder cases. What remains to be seen is if she’s at all suspicious of Dr. Mok, or if she trusts him as a colleague. Along with Dr. Mok, Jae-yi is the only member of the team who understands how to catch Jung Ho-young, and she took it upon herself to catch a killer and prevent any more murders, although I think Sung-shik needs to give her that lecture about teamwork. But Dr. Mok understood Jae-yi’s plan and intervened to bring it to Sun-jae’s attention, thereby saving her. So far, they have an interesting dynamic.

The dynamic between Kwang-ho and Jae-yi continues to be difficult. He came down pretty hard on her about her lack of compassion and her focus on her research, but his comments cut her deeply and she was unable to ignore them. Jae-yi is not as cold-hearted as Kwang-ho thinks. In her own way, Jae-yi cares about the people that she works with, and she listens to what they have to say.

As a whole, the team is under a lot of pressure as the murders add up. Sung-shik is exerting his authority with Sun-jae and Kwang-ho for leaving him out of the loop, as he should. Sun-jae gets so focused on his mother’s unsolved murder that he forgets how invested Kwang-ho and Sung-shik are, and he doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have to work alone anymore. But old habits die hard, and Sun-jae can’t seem to share, not even when it came to the threat that Jung Ho-young made against Jae-yi. Maybe her brush with death will knock some sense into him.

One thing that Sun-jae does share is how important Kwang-ho has become, as evidenced by his admission that the thought of Kwang-ho’s return to the past makes him sad. Personal connections are a challenge for Sun-jae, and his reaction to the realization that he could lose his hotheaded, retro, and grumpy partner shows how much Kwang-ho means to him. Kwang-ho is so focused on going back to his timeline so that he can return to Yeon-sook’s side that he hasn’t stopped to consider the people that he will leave behind in 2017. Unless Kwang-ho can go back and reset the future by catching Dr. Mok and Jung Ho-young in the past, he’s sure to leave a huge void in the future when he returns to 1986.

The big development this episode was that Sun-jae and Kwang-ho both found out about Jae-yi’s true identity at almost the same time, in very different ways. Even more surprising is that Jae-yi is aware that Kwang-ho knows about Yeon-ho. I can’t wait to see how this affects our main trio going forward. I imagine that Sun-jae will find himself in the middle of a most difficult and unusual triangle. He understands and cares for both Kwang-ho and Jae-yi, and it shows how much he’s grown that he tries to help them to get along with one another. Now that Yeon-ho’s identity has been revealed, that task just got a lot more complicated.

RELATED POSTS

91 May 2, 2017May 1, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 11

by Saya

Sun-jae lays everything on the line this hour to bring his perp to justice, but is the justice offered by the law really effective, especially when our resident murderer proves how easy it is to play the system? Still, when his opponents are as dogged as our team, his winning streak can’t last forever…

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Kwang-ho sends Sun-jae on ahead to catch Jung Ho-young while he frantically tries to rouse Jae-yi. He gasps in relief when she finally comes around and recognizes him. “Agasshi, if it weren’t for the sound of the whistle&mdash…” he starts, before the sight of it around her neck sends him reeling.

He remembers Yeon-sook giving him his, and the grandma describing how little Yeon-ho used to blow it all the time. Disbelievingly, he asks Jae-yi, “Who are you? You can’t be… are you&mdash…” but that’s all Jae-yi hears, as his next words are blotted out by the arrival of the rest of the team. Aaaaargh!!!!

Meanwhile, Sun-jae tracks Jung through the dark woods, gun at the ready. But Jung, lying in wait, ambushes him. The rest of the team hear a gunshot and start running, leaving Kwang-ho with Jae-yi.

Jung disarms Sun-jae and a savage fight ensues, with Jung taking the upper hand, before Sun-jae turns it around. He makes it into his car, but Sun-jae smashes the window with his elbow like a badass and drags the man out.

Sun-jae keeps hold of him through sheer will and desperation, and they trade blows in equal measure until Sun-jae manages to immobilize Jung in a chokehold. (Poetic justice?) With a howl, he finally releases him to the arriving team, who at last arrest him.

But when Jung leers at him, Sun-jae launches himself at him, and Sung-shik holds him off. “We’ve got him, it’s going to be okay,” Sung-shik says, arms around a sobbing Sun-jae.

Jae-yi is taken to hospital where Kwang-ho kicks up such a fuss about the doctors tending another patient instead of Jae-yi that they call security to take him away. “There’s so much I have to say!” he cries.

Meanwhile, Jung is brought to the station amid a media frenzy over his capture. Among the spectators is the brother of his victim Lee Seo-yeon, who seizes Jung and tells him to bring his sister back. As he’s led up the steps of the station, Jung smirks. A battered Sun-jae looks back at the brother with sympathy.

Inside, Sun-jae conducts Jung’s body search himself, first knocking off his hat before removing his belt and anything else that might conceivably be used as a weapon.

The station chief congratulates the Violent Crimes team on their arrest, although he warns them not let out the true story of Jae-yi putting herself in danger (he wants to pass it off as a sting instead). He leaves Sung-shik troubled, and Tae-hee and Min-ha wonder at the unexpected viciousness of Sun-jae’s confrontation with Jung. Sung-shik says he has his own reasons, just as the man himself walks in, much the worse for wear.

Sung-shik tells him that this is just the beginning: To put Jung away, it’s vital they have solid evidence, and he dispatches the Tae-Min duo to follow up at the scene accordingly. Realizing Kwang-ho is absent, he sends Sun-jae to join him and get Jae-yi’s victim testimony.

The doctor tells Kwang-ho that Jae-yi’s continued unconsciousness is likely due to shock rather than injury. Gazing down at her, Kwang-ho thinks back to all his encounters with her. “You were so unbelievably close to me all this time,” he whispers. “If I hadn’t disappeared from the tunnel like that… Yeon-sook, you wouldn’t have died, and our Yeon-ho wouldn’t have suffered so much growing up. It’s my fault, it’s all because of me,” he says, sobbing.

Elsewhere, Dr. Mok lies outside his house smoking while looking up at the night sky. He thinks of Jae-yi making herself bait. “I hope she’s safe,” he says, smiling to himself.

Sun-jae finds Kwang-ho slumped outside Jae-yi’s hospital room. He tells him that they’ve caught Jung, “And… I found Yeon-ho.” But he’s surprised when Kwang-ho says he’s already met her. Showing Sun-jae the whistle, Kwang-ho tells him how he lost it in the tunnel that day. He wonders why Jae-yi never wore it before, “Did Yeon-sook tell her about me?”

Sun-jae quietly tells Kwang-ho what he knows about Jae-yi’s childhood: her adoption, how she doesn’t remember anything of her life before that, the hardships she went through since. He tells him, too, about her being suspected of setting the fire that killed her adoptive parents, and how Dean Hong’s intervention saved her. “That’s why she can’t talk about herself, and why if she’s hurting, she can’t say it hurts. That’s how she lived, in loneliness and hardship,” he adds.

Tears rolling, Kwang-ho whispers an apology, and Sun-jae tells him to say those words to her directly, “And tell her who you are, too.” But Kwang-ho shakes his head, stricken over not being by her side for one moment in the past thirty years. “I can’t tell her,” he says—it’s enough that he gets to see her face before he goes back.

At the crime scene at the reservoir, they find nothing until Tae-hee peers into Jung’s car and finds a crucifix hanging there. Min-ha observes that it looks like a woman’s necklace, and they immediately look into whether any of the victims had lost one.

At the police station, Jung doesn’t acknowledge his charges. He claims not to know Jae-yi and even asserts that he saved her from her attacker. Outraged, Sung-shik leaves the room to update Sun-jae, who promises to bring him Jae-yi’s testimony.

Standing at the door, Sun-jae watches Kwang-ho hover at Jae-yi’s bedside. “I shouldn’t have asked you to help with Jung Ho-young to begin with. I’m sorry, Professor Shin,” he thinks. “Please wake up, I beg you.

Jae-yi dreams. Her mom puts the whistle-necklace around her neck, and for the first time, Yeon-sook’s face is revealed. Telling little Yeon-ho that it was her dad’s, Yeon-sook promises her that she’ll come running anytime she blows it, no matter where she is.

The dream slides to an airport scene now, where Yeon-ho is dressed up and being photographed by a couple of foreigners (her adoptive parents?) who speak to her in English. She blows on the whistle, crying. We shift again, now to a beach in England, where she looks out to sea, still blowing hopelessly on the whistle. “Nobody’s coming. It was all a lie!” she thinks.

And finally, Jae-yi wakes up to see Kwang-ho’s concerned face with Sun-jae right beside him. “Did you catch Jung Ho-young?” is the first thing she asks. Sun-jae assures her they did, and she’s keen to give her testimony right away despite their protests, worried that they could lose Jung and have their efforts could go to waste otherwise.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she says, and Kwang-ho explodes. “What do you mean you’re fine?” he yells, adding that she should forget Jung Ho-young and take care of herself. She ignores him and tells Sun-jae that she wants to go ahead. Overcome, Kwang-ho storms out, even though Sun-jae calls after him.

“Will you really be okay?” Sun-jae asks her. She nods.

They begin. She tells him she picked the reservoir as a place she’s been to before, but Jung unexpectedly attacked her and knocked her out. She tells Sun-jae that Jung spoke to her, telling her he got her message through her TV interview. “You were right. I didn’t kill Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee. Of course, I killed the other women,” he had said, while tying her up. “Like this, using stockings.”

“Did he really say that he killed them?” Sun-jae asks, but Jae-yi begins to convulse as she relives his attempt to kill her. Trapped in the memory, she retreats in terror, feeling the stockings around her neck again. The memory of Kwang-ho rescuing her overlaps with Sun-jae’s face in the present.

Holding her, Sun-jae reassures her that she’s okay now. “I’m not okay,” Jae-yi sobs, “It hurts. It hurts so much.” He cradles her head in his arms and she cries into his chest. As the camera pans, we see Kwang-ho outside the door, having overheard it all. He shakes with tears of his own and his hand curls into a fist as he vows to put Jung away, no matter what.

When Sun-jae emerges sometime later, they share a moment of silence, which is broken by the arrival of an anxious Dean Hong. (Is that a weird look she gives Kwang-ho before she goes in?) Through the window, the men watch how Jae-yi lightens when she sees the dean.

Kwang-ho strides into the police station and asks if they’ve found any evidence, and Tae-hee scoffs that he always shows up late and talks the loudest. Sun-jae arrives with Jae-yi’s testimony, and Sung-shik finally calls a meeting.

Sun-jae begins by saying that they’ve only got evidence for two of Jung’s murders: the nurse, and student Lee Seo-yeon, the recent victim. Tae-hee finally gets to share his findings: They confirmed the crucifix necklace belonged to Lee Seo-yeon, and her DNA was found on it. Sun-jae says they should start by pressing Jung with what they’ve got and see how much he cracks.

In the interrogation room, Jung says he bought the necklace, but when Sun-jae tells him it belonged to Lee Seo-yeon and had her DNA on it, Jung brazenly changes his story without blinking an eye—actually, he says, he just picked it up from the street.

Sun-jae plays a recording of the call where Jung said it was true that he killed Lee Seo-yeon and reminds him that he said that same to Jae-yi. Jung’s expression turns grim, but then he starts to chuckle: “Those were all lies.”

Furious, Kwang-ho shakes him, but Jung continues to deny it. “I didn’t kill anyone. I swear,” he says. The others are watching from the other side of the glass, and they sigh that it will be hard to secure a conviction without his confession.

Back at their desks, Sun-jae bolts up. “Let’s do a lie detector test,” he says to Sung-shik. (Kwang-ho: “Lie detector test?”) Although it will only be considered circumstantial evidence, Sun-jae thinks they can use it to unbalance Jung psychologically.

Hooked up to the polygraph, a canny investigator asks Jung detailed questions about his murders. Jung calmly denies everything, but the polygraph beeps rapidly, indicating that he’s lying. But it really goes haywire when he’s questioned about his sister’s incident.

“Thirty years ago, how did it feel to strangle your sister? Did you get excited?” the investigator presses. Did he feel looked down on by her? When the women he killed begged for their lives, the investigator presses, did it made him feel like he had the upper hand?

Leaping to his feet, Jung rips off the sensors. “I said I didn’t do it!” he screams. On the other side of the glass, the team are satisfied that they can bolster their case with this.

Jae-yi suffers a nightmare of her ordeal and bolts awake, crying. Dean Hong rushes in. When she’s calm again, Jae-yi confesses that she thought she would be fine because she knows murderers well. She was afraid he’d kill someone else after she provoked him, and adds, “I wanted to ask him many things, but in the end, I couldn’t say a single word. I was too frightened.”

Dean Hong takes Jae-yi’s hands into her own. “Anyone else would have been the same,” she tells her comfortingly.

Oho, it looks like Sun-jae’s finally joined the team for an after-work dinner, though he looks harried about it, haha. Sung-shik is relieved they’ve caught Jung, but Kwang-ho snaps that they didn’t even solve the 1986 cases.

They all get riled up, with Sun-jae taking Kwang-ho’s side, and Sung-shik and Min-ha trying to calm everyone down. Tae-hee yells at Sun-jae, who—HA!!—thrusts his arm into the air and yells at him right back to uncuff them from each other. Min-ha roars at them all to stop squabbling like kids, making the rest of the team blink back at him in shocked silence.

Sun-jae phones Jae-yi to check on how she’s doing while Kwang-ho clucks around, trying to get a word in. Sun-jae updates her on Jung, and she suggests that they seek out his mother, pointing out that all of his reactions are because of her. He agrees, and they hang up.

Kwang-ho squeaks in dismay because he didn’t get to talk to her, but he’s further chagrined when Sun-jae asks him to look after her since she’s being discharged the next day. “Who are you to put her into my care? I’m her dad!” he argues. It’s a fact that Sun-jae seems to have forgotten, judging from his caught look and rapid exit. Kwang-ho calls indignantly after him that he won’t allow them (to be together)—absolutely not! Haha.

Jae-yi tells Dean Hong what she thinks about Jung’s complex about his mom, and how she threw him away to the mental hospital. “A mother’s love, whether lacking or excessive, can cause problems too,” the dean agrees.

She tells the dean about her dream: “There was a woman I called ‘Mom,'” she says. Hong is hopeful that it means her memories are returning, adding that there must be a reason why they’re rising to the surface now, “Is it time for you to look for her now?” Looking uncertain, Jae-yi touches the whistle around her neck.

Kwang-ho stands at the mouth of the tunnel. “I found Yeon-ho,” he tells Yeon-sook. “I saved her thanks to the whistle. Yeon-sookie, you saved her.” Sighing deeply, he asks her to wait just a little longer so he can put Jung away properly. “When I come back, I’ll put everything back to how it should be,” he promises. He turns around, walking away from the tunnel.

Jae-yi is discharged the next day. Instead of going straight home like she promises Dean Hong, she stops off at the university to see Dr. Mok. She thanks him for saving her, although he tells her it’s nothing—he just felt responsible. “I shouldn’t have said something like that,” he says with an apparently rueful smirk, “I’m glad you returned safe.”

She’s glad that they caught Jung at least, and he chuckles deeply at that, likening her to Sun-jae. She seems to clock something odd at that remark, because her demeanor subtly changes. Dr. Mok invites her to come play chess with him from time to time: “I want to get you back for catching my king last time.”

“Let’s do that,” Jae-yi replies, a cool smile playing on her lips.

Back at work, the detectives rib Min-ha for his outburst the night before. Hahaha. But their mirth is cut short when Sung-shik arrives with the announcement that the Jung Ho-young case is being taken over by the prosecution service, since they hit their investigation deadline today.

Kwang-ho protests, and Sun-jae petitions for more time. Troubled but determined, Sung-shik agrees to buy them until tomorrow morning, and tells them to move fast.

They visit Jung’s mother, and Kwang-ho tries unsuccessfully to persuade her to visit her son. “Your son killed my mother!” Sun-jae bursts out. She retreats behind a closed door, while on the other side, Sun-jae tells her that he joined the police to catch his mother’s killer. He pleads with her to appeal to him, but with tears in her eyes, she says that there’s nothing in him to appeal to.

On the drive back, Sun-jae realizes they’ve got one card left to play: himself. He guesses that Jung would be wildly entertained to find out that Sun-jae was the son of one of the 1986 victims and plans to draw him out that way. “This time, I’ll be the bait,” he says.

Sun-jae shows Jung a photo of his mother with him as a baby, which Jung clearly recognizes, though he claims not to. He wonders why Sun-jae has that photo. “It’s my mother,” he replies. Jung looks like Christmas and his birthday just came at once. “She was wearing an ivory cardigan and grey skirt,” he reminisces, “Right?”

“I’ve been running around like a madman, trying to catch my mother’s murderer. Finally, we meet,” Sun-jae says. He tells Jung to confess, since the statute of limitations for it has run out anyway. But to Sun-jae’s growing consternation, Jung only chuckles and denies it.

Kwang-ho slings an arm around Jung’s shoulder. “Ajusshi…” he says into his ear, “It’s true I killed the dogs, but I didn’t kill a person.” Jung freezes mid-laugh, and Kwang-ho quotes: “‘Do you need a reason to kill a person?'”

“We meet after thirty years,” Kwang-ho continues with a sharp smile. As recognition dawns, Jung leaps back in shock and disbelief. But when Kwang-ho talks about dots, he’s filled with confusion, which gives Kwang-ho pause. He looks at him searchingly and glances back at Sun-jae. “It wasn’t him,” he realizes.

The detectives regroup in the meeting room where Sun-jae argues fiercely that Jung is pretending. “No, his expression said he truly didn’t know,” Kwang-ho replies, concluding that he wasn’t the 1986 murderer, nor the culprit in the present murders where the victims were marked with dots.

“There’s another murderer,” he says, but realizes that to know those details about Sun-jae’s mother (and her murder), he must have seen it himself. “I’m saying that bastard Jung Ho-young is a witness!” he exclaims. He goes out to look for him, but finds out that Jung is meeting his mother right now.

“Why did you do it?” Jung asks her. But instead of answering, she says it would have been better if he hadn’t been born her son and that he should have stayed in the mental hospital. She says she fabricated an alibi for him for her own sake, because she wanted to hide that she gave birth to a murderer like him. I actually feel sorry for him right now.

“Whether you live or die, you’re a useless wretch. Better you go somewhere and die,” she hisses, and tears rim his eyes. She orders him to accept the punishment of his sins “Don’t come out of here until you die,” she says in parting.

Before he’s taken back to his cell, he asks for Sun-jae. But at that very moment, Sun-jae is busy sharing details about the investigation with Dr. Mok. Nooo, stop! Just then, Min-ha comes to fetch him to Jung, who said he’s going to confess. Sun-jae hangs up in a hurry, but having overheard, Mok thumps the gurney in rage. Isn’t that what you wanted, though?

Sun-jae bursts into the interrogation room, and Jung says, “It’s true, I killed her. I killed your mother.” Huh? Jung repeats Sun-jae’s mom’s dying words: “Spare me, I have a child.” At that, Sun-jae attacks him, pressing his arm against Jung’s throat while Jung continues to needle him.

Kwang-ho shouts at him to stop letting himself get played and finally manages to send him out for a breather. In the meantime, he receives blood results which tell him something we don’t yet know.

Jung turns down his offer of a cigarette, saying that he doesn’t smoke, and Kwang-ho shouldn’t either. Kwang-ho agrees–Jung’s blood results show clearly that he’s never smoked. “You didn’t kill Seo Yi-soo,” he says, “I caught that guy smoking in the tunnel. If you don’t smoke, you can’t be the culprit. You saw it, right?”

Looking terrified, Jung angrily insists he did kill her, while Kwang-ho insists he’s a witness. A flashback takes us back to Young Jung Ho-young looking down at the road below. He noticed Seo Yi-soo being followed by a hooded man. The man pounced on her and proceeded to strangle her with the stockings. Having crept closer, he witnessed it all with curious interest.

Back in the present, Jung yells that he killed her, and Kwang-ho shakes him in fury. “I said I’m the culprit! I killed her!” Jung roars, as officers take him away. The next morning, as Jung is escorted from the police station, Dr. Mok—apparently on his way in—catches his eye from the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Jae-yi gives her English friend Kate a call and finds out that there was a policeman looking for her.

In prison, Jung receives a visitor. Yup, it’s Dr. Mok. Swallowing, Jung asks, “Do you know me?” Mok replies with a smile that he heard Jung witnessed the murder thirty years ago.

Sun-jae drops Kwang-ho home and wants to see Jae-yi, but Kwang-ho reminds him that he won’t allow it. “Allow what?” Jae-yi asks, arriving home herself. The men bicker as they follow her and continue to do so even when they’re inside. But it’s a sweet moment when Sun-jae promises to buy her anything she wants to eat.

Kwang-ho gets a call from Sung-shik, asking if he’s seen the news. “Jung Ho-young has committed suicide!” he tells him. Whaaaat. Kwang-ho stares in shock. In his prison cell, Jung’s body hangs from the window bars, a piece of paper crumpled in his fist.

 
COMMENTS

What does this meeeeeean?? Did he really kill himself, or did Dr. Mok find a way to silence him? If he didn’t have that kind of access to the prison, what could he possibly have said to Jung to make him actually kill himself? I don’t have any guesses at all. His mother was horrible, but though it clearly hurt him—a new twist of an old knife—it didn’t seem to make him suicidal. But then, was he taking his mom’s words to heart when he claimed responsibility for Sun-jae’s mother’s murder? Why did he suddenly U-turn from denying it to insisting he did it? What was that encounter on the police station steps about? Did Jung see the culprit’s face back then? He certainly doesn’t seem to recognize Mok now.

At the beginning of the episode, I felt sure that Dr. Mok was going to somehow kill him while he was in custody just to prove that there were two killers. Right now, he seems desperate to conceal it (probably because they’ve come too close to uncovering him), but it’s almost amusing how much he can’t stand his kills being credited to someone else. But with his very particular style of murder, he can’t not have guessed that Jung must have seen him at some point thirty years ago to imitate it in such specific detail. The only things that differ are his signature markings and motivation.

I can’t say I’m not a tiny bit disappointed that Mok isn’t really a fascinating killer. Playing god and passing judgement on women he deems immoral is just so old, and I was more angry than is healthy at this fictional man and his “moral cleansing” which applies only and exclusively to women, like he never came across an unvirtuous man in his whole executioner career. Go back to the middle ages, you brute.

But I’m excited about the development between Dr. Mok and Jae-yi, because I feel like she’s caught wind of something about him, and for a woman who’s spent her career studying murderers, I’m positive that she’s reading Dr. Mok’s signals, however smart he thinks he’s being. It makes her perhaps the most essential player on Team Good Guys, and picking up and analyzing those cues has to be a natural reflex for her at this point, so I’m sure she sees stuff even when she’s not looking for it. I hope she plays him more smartly than her plan with Jung, which, argh! WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE OUT THERE BY YOURSELF.

Over the last couple of weeks, I feel like Sun-jae’s been outshining Kwang-ho as a character, and it must be the way they’re written, because I can’t fault Choi Jin-hyuk’s emotive acting. With Sun-jae’s fight at the beginning of the episode (that’s how you do it, Voice!) and his reaction after it, his wholehearted unmeasured-ness really got me. He threw everything into catching Jung, and it was plain that he meant to get him or actually die trying. On top of that, he really brought home how that moment was the culmination of everything he’d worked for so far in his life.

And then there’s his sweetness with Jae-yi, and how she also noticeably softens every time she looks at him. I feel like I’m watching a broken robot and an injured animal take tiny steps towards each other while a guard dog nips at both of them, and man, I can watch this three-way folderol all day. And as ridiculously foolish as Jae-yi was last week, I still love her, my little sad robot. I feel a little cheated that she didn’t get to hear Kwang-ho say her real name, but I think we can at least count on this show to give us a really good delivery of the moment when it does come. But when they’ve got that whole father-daughter routine down so pat already, what’s in a name?

RELATED POSTS

146 May 3, 2017May 2, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 12

by TeriYaki

Tunnel sets up what promises to be a thrilling conclusion for this fast-paced drama, and this is only the beginning. The action has accelerated in recent episodes as a long-hidden murderer pulls our team into his dangerous game. Even though the killer manages to stay one step ahead of the police, Kwang-ho will never give up until he catches the man whose path he first crossed over thirty years ago.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Jung Ho-young meets his prison visitor, who explains that he heard that he witnessed a murder thirty years ago. Dr. Mok looks amused when Jung assumes that he’s a reporter who wants details about the murders. Jung explains that his victims were choked multiple times, but Dr. Mok corrects his narrative and says that they were killed right away.

Jung looks at his visitor with understanding and breathes, “It was you.” Then, Jung laughs as he wonders aloud, “Who will recognize whom first? And who will catch whom first?” It’s Dr. Mok’s turn to laugh as he outlines the life that Jung can look forward to in prison, locked up just as he was in the mental hospital.

Jung trembles as Dr. Mok details life in solitary confinement, flooded by memories of his terrifying years in the mental hospital. Back in his cell, Jung is tormented by his mother’s words and Dr. Mok’s question, “Did it hit you yet? Will you be able to stand it?”

Jung clutches a bible as he feverishly mutters the Lord’s Prayer, but nothing can calm the fears planted by Dr. Mok, who had promised him, “You can get out of here after you die.” Dr. Mok laughed at Jung as the prisoner noticed the fountain pen in his pocket, with the name “Noel” visible on the cap.

In his cell, Jung tears his shirt into strips and takes out his bible. Eerily calm, he scribbles something onto a page and tells himself, “I can’t leave just one present. The game needs to be fair.” Once that’s done, he gazes at the window.

Jung’s feet dangle over the floor as his body hangs from the window bars, the scribbled note clutched in his hand. Sun-jae, Kwang-ho, and Jae-yi join the rest of their team at the prison, where Kwang-ho asks a guard if something happened, insistent that Jung had no reason to kill himself.

Jae-yi inquires about a note and the guard hands Kwang-ho the torn page with an explanation that it was left for him. Everyone reads the one word written on the page: “Noel.” Just then, Jung’s body is wheeled out, and Kwang-ho unzips the bag to look down at his face, frustrated that death silenced the killer forever.

Dr. Mok gazes out his office window with a huge smile when Sun-jae enters. He visits with Dr. Mok and laments that Jung’s suicide means that they will never know if he saw the face of the killer.

Dr. Mok learns that Kwang-ho was the one who realized that Jung was a witness. He saw the killer smoke a cigarette in the tunnel, but Jung never smoked. When Dr. Mok asks how Kwang-ho can know a detail from thirty years ago, Sun-jae can only stammer.

Dr. Mok reasons that no one but the detective in the tunnel would know about the cigarette and then remembers Jung’s amused question, “Who will recognize whom first?” Kwang-ho walks in to summon Sun-jae, mindful of the doctor’s stare as he becomes lost in the memory of that fateful night.

Kwang-ho asks if the doctor has something to tell him, but Dr. Mok shakes off his distraction as Sun-jae stands to leave. Outside, Kwang-ho asks Sun-jae if he told Dr. Mok that he’s from the past, but he reassures Kwang-ho that he doesn’t need to worry about the doctor.

Dr. Mok watches Kwang-ho depart, sure that the detective from his past died, and we see a young man smiling down at Kwang-ho after he was hit on the head with the rock. In the present, he laughs to himself and says, “It’s nice to meet you again.”

At Hwayang University, Jae-yi updates Dean Hong on the fact that Jung Ho-young was a witness to one of the murders thirty years ago. They agree that the experience influenced the young Jung Ho-young to become a copycat killer, which explains the similarities in the murders. Jae-yi admits that she’s bothered by Jung’s suicide because it doesn’t fit his profile, and Dean Hong is surprised to hear that he left a clue for Kwang-ho.

Jae-yi joins Dr. Mok in his office for a game of chess and asks for his theory on Jung’s suicide. He explains that as a former mental patient, Jung was probably triggered by his memories of being locked up and decided to end his life.

Dr. Mok notes how powerful memories can be, and Jae-yi admits that she has no memories of her early years in Korea. She learned that someone is looking for her, but she can’t think of who it could be. Dr. Mok suggests that her memories will return when the time is right.

At the police station, the Violent Crimes team studies Jung’s clue. Because of the suicide, the seven murders attributed to him will be closed, and the search for the real culprit responsible for the deaths of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee will end. Sung-shik warns his team that they must continue their investigation in secret.

Kwang-ho quotes Jung Ho-young as he briefs the team, “This is the case that no one knows of and has no record of,” and reviews the six cases for their benefit. When he admits that the investigation in 1986 was a complete failure, Sung-shik points out that even if they are late, they can still catch the culprit.

Kwang-ho lists the common traits of the victims: they were in their late teens or twenties, were strangled with stockings, and were marked by the killer with dots and murdered around 9:00 p.m. Tae-hee is confused when Kwang-ho claims that they visited the site of the crime at that same time while armed with flashlights.

Min-ha points out that he must be talking about the chief and cautions his partner to focus. (Oh my, the look on Tae-hee’s face!) Sun-jae adds that thirty years later, Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee became Victims #7 and #8, and were killed and displayed in the same manner as the previous victims.

Min-ha asks why the killer murdered again after thirty years, especially when the statute of of limitations had expired. Sun-jae proposes that the killer was somehow triggered, and Kwang-ho mumbles that perhaps it was because of the dead Park Kwang-ho. When Min-ha asks who died, Sung-shik rushes in to change the subject.

Sung-shik thinks that in addition to the clue left by Jung and the ink produced by Shin Ae Chemicals, they need to determine the recent victims’ movements on the day that each was killed. Before they leave to investigate, Kwang-ho takes Sun-jae and Sung-shik aside and suggests that the murderer began to kill again because of the other Park Kwang-ho.

Sun-jae and Sung-shik agree that once the killer removed whatever threat he posed, he had no reason to kill again. Sung-shik suggests that they consult with Jae-yi, but he’s confused when Kwang-ho says that he won’t allow it.

Sun-jae intervenes and, after Sung-shik learns the truth about Jae-yi, he can only mutter, “I thought nothing else could surprise me.” Undeterred, Sung-shik insists that they need her help to profile the killer and tells Kwang-ho, “The faster you catch him, the faster you’ll go back home.”

Sun-jae contacts Jae-yi and admits that there is little information on the cases. Aware that Sung-shik worked on the original investigation, Jae-yi asks if he can provide details on the victims, since she believes the information will help her to profile the killer.

Sun-jae realizes that Jae-yi’s recent attack is behind her request and apologizes as Kwang-ho mutters his disapproval, but she assures Sun-jae that she wants to solve the case. He urges Kwang-ho to provide as many details as possible about the victims for Jae-yi’s use, and he readily agrees. Kwang-ho glances at the evidence board and reads out Jung’s clue, “Noel.”

Tae-hee and Min-ha interview Yoon Da-young’s friend to determine her movements the day of her murder and learn that she took a walk along the Haein River, a spot she frequented when she was frustrated over rude customers. Nam Joo-hee’s classmates share that they went home to study for an exam, but that she stayed at the playground because she didn’t want to go home.

Sung-shik interviews a former employee of Shin Ae Chemicals and learns that the ink was used in ballpoint and fountain pens, the most common writing tools of the day. Eventually, the product was the reason that the factory had to be shut down.

Sun-jae and Kwang-ho examine the different associations for the word “Noel,” and Kwang-ho remembers when Lee Seo-yeon’s brother explained that her necklace was engraved with her baptismal name, Lucia. He suggests that “Noel” could be a baptismal name and proposes that they investigate cathedrals that were present in 1986.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae manage to compile a list of members with “Noel” as their baptismal name. Their final candidate, KIM GYUNG-TAE, becomes concerned when the detectives ask him about his whereabouts the days of the recent murders, but he has security footage from his convenience store to prove that he never left.

Kwang-ho concedes that perhaps Noel wasn’t a baptismal name, but Kim Gyung-tae shares that there was another member at his church who shared that name. He can’t recall the man’s real name, but he does remember that he was odd and always interested in the stories of a Vietnam veteran who bragged about the people that he killed. Once the old soldier died, he claims, Noel was no longer seen, and there’s no one who would know what happened to him.

At his desk, Dr. Mok taps his fountain pen and concludes, “That’s why he had no records or registered fingerprints.” He ponders the twist of fate that united Seo Yi-soo’s son with the detective from thirty years ago and marvels, “I never imagined that you would prepare such a chess game for me. Thank you. I will gladly play.”

Jae-yi studies her evidence board and asks herself why the killer marked his victims with dots. At the station, the team reviews their investigation, and Min-ha concludes that the killer couldn’t have followed the recent victims for long without being seen or recorded.

The section chief walks in and surprises the team as they rush to hide their evidence board. He orders them to provide backup for their fellow officers, who are busy with a gambling ring.

Sung-shik hands Kwang-ho a list of products made with the Shin Ae Chemicals ink and then leaves with Tae-hee and Min-ha as ordered. Kwang-ho announces that he’s headed for home and cautions Sun-jae not to follow him. On their way out, the detectives run into Dr. Mok, who uses the “I was just passing by” excuse.

Kwang-ho paces as Dr. Mok eyes the half-hidden evidence board and inquires about a new case, but Sun-jae admits that it’s the killer from thirty years ago who became active again. Dr. Mok notes that there must not be evidence for any of the cases and moves to flip the board over, but Kwang-ho slams his hand on it and explains that the information is confidential.

Just when Dr. Mok turns to leave, Kwang-ho notices the fountain pen in his jacket pocket. On his way out, Dr. Mok tells himself, “I don’t think he recognized me.” Sun-jae argues that it would be best to share the information and get help, but Kwang-ho reminds him of Sung-shik’s warning to keep the investigation a secret.

Kwang-ho knocks on Jae-yi’s door, worried when she doesn’t answer. She finally opens it and cheekily demands, “Are you going to break the window again?” Inside, Kwang-ho acts like an overprotective father and checks to make sure that all of her windows are secure, but he stops when he sees her whistle.

Jae-yi remembers his questions after her attack and asks if he recognizes it. She tells Kwang-ho that he asked for her identity when he saw the necklace, but he denies it and leaves, only to stare at her window from outside and apologize.

At the prison, Kwang-ho and Sun-jae learn that Jung had a visitor the day of his death, and they react in surprise when the log shows that it was Dr. Mok. When they ask him about the visit, Dr. Mok explains that he was curious about a deviation in the murders of Yoon Da-young, who was killed immediately, and Lee Seo-yeon, who was choked several times, as evidenced by the congestion on her face.

Jung’s admission that he choked Lee Seo-yeon repeatedly proves Dr. Mok’s theory that there were two killers. Kwang-ho is bothered that Jung killed himself immediately after the visit, and the atmosphere becomes tense while Sun-jae looks on uncomfortably. Kwang-ho stares at Dr. Mok’s smiling face as Sun-jae insists that it’s time to leave.

Jae-yi lectures her class and presents the 1986 case, interested in their theories as to why the culprit would kill again. One of her students proposes that there must have been a serious reason that moved him, and Jae-yi agrees before admitting that they have yet to figure it out.

As Jae-yi compares the dates of the murders, she notes that Yoon Da-young was killed two weeks after the discovery of Kim Young-ja’s body parts. She conjectures that the killer was unaware that she survived and that the discovery of her remains was the trigger that moved him to kill again. Jae-yi calls Sun-jae when she realizes that the killer has to be someone close to the investigation.

The next morning, Kwang-ho arrives at the station and learns of Jae-yi’s theory as the team meets privately to consider the unpleasant possibility that a policeman could be the killer, since they were the only people aware of Kim Young-ja’s recent death. Kwang-ho thinks to himself that Dr. Mok autopsied Kim Young-ja’s leg and appears lost in thought while the team eliminates all but two officers.

Kwang-ho stays behind at the station while the others leave to interview the two officers who could be the killer. Kwang-ho studies a photo of Jung’s clue, “Noel,” and suddenly pulls out the list of products that contained the ink used to mark the victims.

Kwang-ho’s eyes widen when he notices that it was used in fountain pens as he recalls the pen in Dr. Mok’s pocket. He turns to an officer to ask for a favor, and he discovers that Dr. Mok lived in Hwayang in 1986.

Kwang-ho runs outside as he recalls all of the times that Dr. Mok expressed interest in the case. He tells himself, “That scumbag was playing games with us. He had an eye on our every move.” Enraged, Kwang-ho runs from the police station.

As Jae-yi pores over her notes, she looks at the whistle around her neck and remembers Kwang-ho’s tearful admission that everything is his fault, puzzled as to why he would say that. Her phone rings with a call from her friend in England, who informs her that she found the name of the policeman who was looking for her.

Kwang-ho runs to Dr. Mok’s office at the university to search for a fountain pen and finds it in the doctor’s lab jacket, engraved with the name “Noel.” As he reels from the realization that he’s found the killer at last, Kwang-ho gets a call from Dr. Mok, who tells him, “I know who you are. I believe you’ve found out who I am.”

When Dr. Mok observes that they have an interesting connection, Kwang-ho erupts in anger into the phone, only to be told to calm down. Kwang-ho reacts in shock when Dr. Mok tells him, “Come to the tunnel right now,” with the explanation that they should settle things where they first met.

Dr. Mok warns, “If you don’t want Lieutenant Kim and Professor Shin, who lives on the first floor, to get hurt, come alone. I don’t want to kill another person because of you.” Kwang-ho’s face convulses in anger as he vows to kill Dr. Mok if he harms either of them.

Jae-yi arrives at the Yeonju Police Station to look for JUNG JAE-HYUNG, who turns out to be the friend that Sun-jae recruited to search for Yeon-ho. She’s surprised to learn that Sun-jae asked him to find her and that he explained it off as a personal matter.

Sun-jae can’t reach Kwang-ho, but he gets a call from Sung-shik and explains that his theory didn’t work out after all. Jae-yi calls him next and asks to meet right away.

Kwang-ho pants as he approaches the tunnel and pauses to pull out his flashlight. He approaches Dr. Mok, who waits calmly as he smokes a cigarette. He smiles as he greets Kwang-ho, “It’s good to see you, Detective Park Kwang-ho.”

Dr. Mok is pleased when he confirms that Kwang-ho is from the past, as there will be no record if he dies — people will just assume that it was the real Park Kwang-ho. When Kwang-ho asks about the real Park Kwang-ho, the doctor explains that he gave him a warning not to go any further.

The real Park Kwang-ho sought out Dr. Mok to inquire about an old man named KIM PIL-SOO. It seemed that when Dr. Mok volunteered at a senior center, the young man noticed that the doctor reached for an isolated syringe to inject into the old man, who died the next day.

Dr. Mok claimed that he gave him a vitamin injection, but Park Kwang-ho insisted that the old man was very healthy before his death. Park Kwang-ho tried to determine what medications Dr. Mok brought to the center, but was told that he needed a warrant.

He staked out Dr. Mok’s office, but was awakened by a call from the doctor, who called from a phone booth to caution, “In this world, there are some paths that you don’t need to walk.” Dr. Mok threatened to kill his grandmother unless he met the doctor alone. (Sounds familiar.)

When Park Kwang-ho ran home to check on his grandmother, Dr. Mok came from behind and plunged a syringe into his neck. As Park Kwang-ho fought back, something flashed in the garden. Even though Park Kwang-ho managed to drive away, he was chased by Dr. Mok.

Eventually, Park Kwang-ho succumbed to the injection and his car careened down the embankment. When Dr. Mok found him, he choked Park Kwang-ho to death with his bare hands.

In the present, Dr. Mok admits that he almost laughed when he first met Kwang-ho just after he had killed the real Park Kwang-ho. Dr. Mok smiles and assures Kwang-ho that he didn’t manipulate the cause of death and claims, “I’m not as nasty and cowardly as you think I am, Detective Park.” His smile tightens when Kwang-ho answers, “Shut that mouth of yours, you piece of trash.”

When Sun-jae meets with Jae-yi, she asks why he didn’t tell her when he learned her real name. He explains that he’s not the one to answer her questions, so she asks, “Then who should?”

That would be Kwang-ho, who gets slammed to the ground by Dr. Mok as the air shimmers around them. Jae-yi demands to know why Sun-jae would suggest that she approach Kwang-ho with her questions and is shocked when he stammers, “Because… he’s your father.” Jae-yi retorts that Kwang-ho is younger than she is, so Sun-jae explains that he’s from the past.

Dr. Mok attacks Kwang-ho with a syringe, but he manages to fall back and throw the doctor over his head as a flash splits the darkness. Dr. Mok isn’t so calm as he screams for Kwang-ho when he finds himself alone. Kwang-ho looks around and demands to know, “Where did this bastard go?”

As Kwang-ho runs through the tunnel, he passes a bicyclist with a battered radio strapped to his bike that plays a song from the past. Kwang-ho scans the tunnel in shock and asks himself, “Am I in the past again?”

 
COMMENTS

What a thrilling and well-paced episode, packed with even more information to keep us occupied as the show takes a week off to prepare the final episodes. If this hour was any indication, I can’t wait to see what the writer has in store for us. The fight sequences have managed to up the intensity of the story as our heroes give everything they’ve got to catch not one, but two serial killers now.

It’s hard to imagine that, after all the angst surrounding Kwang-ho’s steadfast desire to return to the past, that when he finally got there, it’s not immediately as welcomed as he anticipated. How could it be? Kwang-ho finally knew the identity of the serial killer that plagued Hwayang thirty years ago, only to find himself ripped from the tunnel mid-fight, leaving behind a maniac who just threatened to kill Sun-jae and Jae-yi. As happy as Kwang-ho will be to be reunited at long last with Yeon-sook, there is sure to be a pull on him from 2017, where an undetected killer moves freely among those he cares for. I sincerely hope that Kwang-ho will manage to catch the serial killer in the past and protect the future that he’s glimpsed firsthand now that he knows who he’s looking for.

We learned a great deal about the man who marks his victims with dots and how the other Park Kwang-ho figures into his story. Surprisingly, we discovered that Dr. Mok hasn’t refrained from killing all these years, rather, he’s targeted elderly patients whose deaths don’t sound any alarms, at least until the sharp-eyed real Park Kwang-ho noticed that “special” syringe that equalled death. I think we have yet to discover Dr. Mok’s true reasons for killing, although we have been given some hints. Obviously, he considers murder a game of some sort, and he seems emboldened by his ability to evade detection and capture. With his ever-present smile as a mask, Dr. Mok has successfully hidden out in the open, free to kill again and again. He’s a truly frightening villain, and now, the only person standing in his way is Kwang-ho.

As Kwang-ho made his breakthrough, he became isolated from his team, unable to voice his suspicions out of concern that someone (I’m looking at you, Sun-jae!) would confide in Dr. Mok. This is where the two Park Kwang-ho’s meet: They both possess incredible intuition and a tenacity that leads them to the truth. Kwang-ho had the same problem in the past, when he was convinced that he was looking for one killer guilty of multiple murders, a concept that was unheard of at the time. It’s how he found himself alone in the tunnel with the killer before his trip to the future. The future is no different as both Park Kwang-ho’s fight/fought the same enemy, with neither one being able to garner any support against a well-respected suspect.

What happens when Kwang-ho goes missing yet again? Will the team figure out who the killer is and stop Dr. Mok? How will Jae-yi respond, fresh from the news that Kwang-ho is actually her father? I can’t imagine that we’ve seen the last of our future team, but how the two timelines will resolve is anybody’s guess, because I don’t have a clue. I’m hoping that Jae-yi avoids the trap that Sun-jae has fallen into and realizes that Dr. Mok isn’t who he seems to be. If she’s anything like Kwang-ho, she must have good intuition, which would serve her well in this case. As far as Kwang-ho’s return to the past, if I were him, I would go find Dean Hong and enlist her help. But before he gets back to solving cases, Kwang-ho needs to find Yeon-sook and prepare to meet his daughter.

RELATED POSTS

80 May 16, 2017May 15, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 13

by Saya

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that this episode was worth the (agonizing, impossibly long) wait, because so much good stuff goes down. But Tunnel’s greatest strength is, as ever, in drawing out its emotional beats and imbuing them with a honeyed warmth that makes everything feel very immediate and real. And for me, that blend of both heart and thrills is pretty much everything I can ask for.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Kwang-ho fights off Dr. Mok’s attack, but the murderous doc slams him to the ground, and a pulse passes through the tunnel. Kwang-ho gets back to his feet…and finds himself alone—as does Dr. Mok, because oh yes, Kwang-ho’s back in the past.

The realization hits him as a cyclist passes him playing an old song on the radio strapped to his bike, and he notices that the tunnel is different again. He growls in frustration at losing his quarry again. In 2017, Dr. Mok is equally wild at Kwang-ho’s disappearance, anxious that he’s gone back to his original time. All he finds of Kwang-ho is his phone, which he disposes of by throwing it into a river.

“If this is the past, then… Yeon-sook!” Kwang-ho realizes. He sets off at a sprint, but pauses fearfully at the corner of the dumpling restaurant. When he rounds it and finds his old house back where it should be, he breaks into tears and practically flies up the last few steps.

He finds Yeon-sook in the yard and goes straight to her. Both of them sob while she hits him in reproach. Kwang-ho folds her into his arms, saying sorry over and over for being so late.

Inside, Yeon-sook asks what happened to him all this time, noting his strange clothes. But seeing the whistle around her neck, he asks instead when their daughter is due. She’s shocked that he knows not only that she’s pregnant, but that it’s a girl.

Kwang-ho learns that five months have passed—the same amount of time he spent in the future. “You asked where I was, right? Whatever I say, will you be able to believe me?” Kwang-ho asks her earnestly.

We cut to Jae-yi, who asks Sun-jae if what he said (about Kwang-ho being her father) is remotely believable. He says he couldn’t believe it at first either–that suspicious person he was investigating before was Kwang-ho, he tells her. “The thing he wanted to hide was the fact that he came from the past,” he adds.

Just as Jae-yi is about to walk away, Sun-jae says he knows about the whistle, and that her mother gave it to her. Eyes widening, she turns back to him. He tells her how he heard from Kwang-ho that Yeon-sook had given it to him first, and her skepticism melts away.

In 1987, Kwang-ho talks himself into tangles trying to explain to Yeon-sook how he got hit on the head and ended up in 2017 (where the phones don’t have wires and fit into the palm of your hand!). Despite being confused, Yeon-sook takes him at his word and asks if he met their daughter.

Animated, he tells her that he recognized their daughter thanks to the whistle, and that it had saved her life. “She looks like you!” he enthuses, “And her name is Yeon-ho.” Yeon-sook grins in delight and figures that she must be a total granny in 2017. Kwang-ho’s face falls, and he solemnly tells her that she was as beautiful as ever.

As Jae-yi returns home that night, she looks up at Kwang-ho’s dark apartment, recalling his reaction to the whistle and his angry concern over her near-murder. She tries to call him, but the phone is switched off.

In bed, Kwang-ho tries to figure out the rules for his time travel. Beside him, Yeon-sook murmurs for him not to go. He cradles her in his arms, smiling over how good it is to be reunited with her.

In the present, Sung-shik’s chief lays into him for continuing the murder investigation after the case has been closed. Sung-shik argues weakly that there are two culprits, but admits that he doesn’t know yet who the second is.

The chief leaves the team grousing, but Min-ha remains optimistic, suggesting that they follow up all their previous leads. But when no one responds, he surprises them with another outburst like the one during their team dinner (“And this time I’m sober!”).

That sets them all snorting, and even Sun-jae cracks a smile, agreeing that they should give it another shot. Sung-shik asks if he’s done being a guest and if he’s a member of the team now, and Sun-jae responds with a boyish smile. Aw.

They wonder where Kwang-ho is, and Jae-yi calls to tell them that she thinks he’s gone missing. Sung-shik and Sun-jae head over to her immediately, and they search his house. Sun-jae says the last time he saw him was at their team meeting, where he had seemed troubled.

Anxious, Sung-shik tells him to get Kwang-ho’s call log and track his last location, pointing out that Kwang-ho has nowhere else to go. He says he vanished suddenly like this thirty years ago too, and he tells Sun-jae to investigate secretly.

Dr. Mok realizes his “Noel” pen is missing and tears his office apart looking for it. He returns to the tunnel in case he lost it there. Not finding it, he anxiously wonders whether Kwang-ho learned something about it.

Kwang-ho mulls over the pen—now with him in 1987—figuring that it’s got to have the victims’ DNA on it. He seals it up in a makeshift evidence bag and tells Yeon-sook that they can capture the culprit with this in the future, so they have to keep it safe until the technology arrives.

He pops the pen into his 2017 jacket pocket, but goes out wearing another one. (Nooo, I can already see where this is going!) Yeon-sook tells him not to disappear again, and he reassures her that he won’t. He tells her that he’ll call, although he forgets he doesn’t have a cell phone anymore.

He hovers uncertainly outside the police station, noting that it’s now full of unknown faces. Realizing that he needs some evidence that the culprit is Dr. Mok, he turns away… and comes face to face with Reporter Oh (who can’t believe he’s not dead).

Kwang-ho drags him off and tells him that he’s got the culprit but needs evidence, revealing to Oh that there’s a survivor of the murders. Kwang-ho wants to enlist his help and entices the reluctant reporter with the promise of a scoop.

Our 2017 team are busy tracking Kwang-ho’s last movements, and they narrow down his last location to the nearest cell phone tower. Sung-shik sends the Tae-Min duo to track down CCTV footage of Kwang-ho between the police station and that tower while he plans to head for the tower itself with Sun-jae.

Jae-yi wants to join them, and Sun-jae admits that he revealed Kwang-ho’s true identity to her. She’s surprised to learn that Sung-shik worked with Kwang-ho thirty years ago. “There’s so much I’m curious about, but he’s disappeared,” she says, eyes sad.

Kwang-ho and Reporter Oh seek out the surviving fifth victim, Kim Young-ja (from Episode 3) and learn from her mom that she now lives in Seoul. They make the trip, but as soon as Kwang-ho introduces himself as a police officer, Young-ja shuts her gate in their face.

From the other side, he asks earnestly for her testimony, but she says it won’t change anything. He promises that it will—they can catch the murderer right away and stop him from killing more women. But she wants nothing to do with it, and tells them to leave.

Reporter Oh is stumped, but Kwang-ho tells him that they’ll have to wait until she has a change of heart. Tearing out a page he’s been scribbling on from his notebook, he slips it under Young-ja’s gate.

Sung-shik and Sun-jae both realize Kwang-ho’s last location is in the vicinity of the tunnel, and they head there with Jae-yi. Tae-hee calls in an update, saying that the CCTV shows Kwang-ho going to Hwayang University Hospital and then taking a taxi from there. Sung-shik sighs that it would be good if he really had gone back to the past.

It’s the first Jae-yi has heard about the role of the tunnel. Heading back alone, she thinks about what Sun-jae told her about Kwang-ho’s desperation to go back so that Yeon-sook wouldn’t die and so she wouldn’t grow up lonely.

In 1987, meanwhile, Kwang-ho at last takes Yeon-sook on the river cruise he had promised for her birthday. He proudly asks the clerk for three tickets—one’s for Yeon-ho, riding along with her mom. Aww.

Arm around his wife, Kwang-ho sighs that he hasn’t been able to do anything for Yeon-ho, and Yeon-sook tells him that it’s okay if he starts now. He buys a teddy bear and presents it to Yeon-sook’s bump, promising to do well as a dad.

He tells Yeon-sook to pick their dinner venue, and she mischievously decides it will be expensive… aaaand they end up at the dumpling restaurant around the corner from their house. She laughs, promising to have the expensive stuff after.

But he comforts her when she tells him how guilty she felt for wanting strawberries while he was missing, and she didn’t even know if he was dead or alive. Cheering up, he tells her that this restaurant still exists in 2017, and he even took Yeon-ho dumplings from there. He drinks in the sight of Yeon-sook, glad that he didn’t reveal himself to Jae-yi. “If she knew, she would be having a really hard time right now,” he says to himself.

He’s not wrong. Jae-yi slips into his apartment that night and lingers over his old jacket. She finds the photo of Yeon-sook from the dressmaker’s shop facedown on his table. Recognition washes over her at last, as the sight of her face unlocks the memory of her mother. “Mom…” she cries softly, before breaking into choking sobs.

Sun-jae examines the timeline they’ve built of Kwang-ho’s movements, perplexed as he tries to discover why he went to the hospital when the only person he knows there is Dr. Mok. Come on, you’re on the right track! Tae-hee reports that Kwang-ho got off the taxi at the tunnel, and after that, all traces of him vanished. Sung-shik and Sun-jae exchange looks, their suspicions seemingly confirmed.

When they’re alone, Sun-jae says that it doesn’t make sense for Kwang-ho to leave without saying goodbye, but Sung-shik says he disappeared just as suddenly thirty years ago. He’s adamant that it’s just as well and that they should catch their killer, but Sun-jae strides out mid-sentence.

He looks up the CCTV of the office from the night before, which shows Kwang-ho talking to a colleague. The colleague tells him that Kwang-ho asked him to do a background check on Dr. Mok and to find out whether he lived in Hwayang in 1986. Sun-jae asks to be sent the same information.

In her own apartment now, Jae-yi pores quietly over Yeon-sook’s photo before hearing from Sung-shik that Kwang-ho has almost certainly returned to the past. She tells him she doesn’t regret finding out, since she had always wondered about herself and her parents. Now that she knows, she says, she can move on with her life, and she thanks him.

As he’s about to leave his office, Dr. Mok is met at the door by a stony-faced Sun-jae, who asks him for a word. Mok denies meeting Kwang-ho the day before, and as for his various injuries, he laughingly explains that a load of books fell on his face. Ha.

Sun-jae appears more suspicious by the minute, and when Mok asks if something happened to Kwang-ho, he stiffly answers that they’re still investigating.

The next morning, Young-ja finds the note Kwang-ho left. It’s a list of the other victims with their names and ages. “They were each somebody’s daughter, somebody’s mother. They all died,” his note reads. He carries on to say that they need to catch the culprit and wipe away their families’ tears, and he appeals to her to testify.

Yeon-sook finds Kwang-ho doing the laundry, and he tells her he’ll do it all from now on. Beaming, he presents her with a huuuge bowl of strawberries and urges her to eat up. Their breakfast is interrupted by a phone call—it’s Young-ja, and she tells Kwang-ho that she’s ready to testify: “Those women did nothing wrong, either. You know that, don’t you, Detective?”

Galvanized, Kwang-ho makes to leave right away. Yeon-sook pleads with him not to go—not today, at least. She grows upset, and he can only apologize. He takes her hands in his and sweetly reassures her that he’ll be right back. Wiping away her tears, he wraps her up in a hug, but she’s still desolate as she watches him go.

Jae-yi pays a visit to the agency that handled her adoption to retrieve her files. But she finds someone called “Shin Mi-hee” listed as her legal guardian, and is told that since her parents were deceased, she must have been added to that person’s family register so she could be adopted abroad. Ah, that explains why her name is “Shin.”

Jae-yi takes the address from the clerk, which leads her to Yeon-sook’s old boarding house—and her childhood home. Pausing at the door, a vision of her childhood self playing in the house’s courtyard brings a smile to her face.

The grandma is delighted that Jae-yi found her. She tells her that she looks like her mother, which pleases Jae-yi very much. Grandma mentions the other young man who visited recently, and how saddened he was to learn of Yeon-sook’s death.

She says she’s glad that he managed to go back. “Dad and Mom must have met each other by now,” she says, face softly alight.

Reporter Oh ditches Kwang-ho for a breaking story, so he heads to Seoul alone. He seeks out the young Dr. Mok—who we’ll call by his first name, Jin-woo, while we’re in the past—at his med school, but finds he’s returned to Hwayang due to the death of his grandmother. (Hm, did he kill her, too?)

As he drives, Sun-jae thinks back to Kwang-ho questioning Dr. Mok’s suspicious actions, like his visit to Jung Ho-young immediately before he killed himself. He’s alarmed to run into Mok at the police station, who’s chatting amiably with Sung-shik on his way out. He anxiously checks whether Sung-shik let slip anything about their investigation, but Sung-shik says that the doc came out of concern for Kwang-ho.

Jae-yi lectures her class on how their origins and pasts shape their identities, using the Gauguin painting, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? She asks them where they think murderers’ actions stem from, and they suggest abuse and broken or dysfunctional families. Another student argues that plenty of murderers have white collar backgrounds, too.

Jae-yi credits all their suggestions and says that murderers tend to grow up in unstable circumstances—however, that doesn’t justify murder, she adds. Privately, she wonders what kind of past a killer who marks his victims with dots has. She’s certain that Kim Young-ja’s death has something to do with it, but worries she made a mistake profiling him.

Sun-jae examines the file on Dr. Mok and how it fits the profile, but he knows that Kwang-ho wouldn’t have found that conclusive. Frustrated, he strides out, leaving Tae-hee and Min-ha wondering what’s going on with them and what Sung-shik is keeping from them.

Jae-yi pays Dr. Mok a visit and shares her theory that Kim Young-ja’s death triggered the murderer to start killing anew. He agrees, supposing that the killer would have believed it was the perfect murder, only to find that it wasn’t.

She asks him what forensic differences he found between Jung’s victims and the second murderer’s. He says that Lee Seo-yeon was strangled repeatedly, whereas Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee were strangled just once. A murderer’s MO tends to reveal their motive, he says: “Because killing for enjoyment and killing for a purpose are different.”

Seeking out young Mok Jin-woo’s address, Kwang-ho finds himself traversing the tunnel. He had been operating on the theory that the murderer started off close to home and went progressively further afield. In actual fact, it was the other way around, like Jae-yi had said. Jin-woo’s house is visible when he emerges from the other side of the tunnel, and he starts running.

Sun-jae comes to meet Jae-yi. He apologizes, “Just for everything.” She thanks him, though. “Just… for everything,” she smiles, adding that she’s glad she found out that Kwang-ho was her father. She tells him she’d always wondered about herself and her parents, and it’s enough for her to know this much.

The couple fails to notice Dr. Mok hiding out of sight, and he listens to this revelation with cold glee before slinking away. Sun-jae grows disturbed when Jae-yi shares what Mok told her about the difference between the victims being strangled once or multiple times.

It’s dark by the time Kwang-ho makes it to Jin-woo’s house. He lets himself in and finds the place empty. He starts looking around, but quickly hides when Jin-woo’s mom comes looking for her son. She goes away again, and Kwang-ho resumes his search more urgently.

Sun-jae rushes to the NFS to find the medical examiner who autopsied Yoon Da-young (the Haein River case, seven dots) and says he heard that the injuries on Da-young’s neck showed that she’d been strangled only once. Surprised, the medical examiner says it’s impossible to tell whether it’s once or many times—the only person who could say for sure is the strangler himself.

Kwang-ho finds nothing in the house. But as he heads out, he crosses paths with Jin-woo, who’s just returned. “Finally we meet,” Kwang-ho says to him, with some wonder. Kwang-ho closes in on him, reciting the names of his victims, and declares him under arrest for murder.

Jin-woo plays innocent until Kwang-ho goads him to remember their tunnel encounter. Cornered, he makes a break for it, and Kwang-ho sprints after him. They’re headed straight for the tunnel, and Kwang-ho tries to run Jin-woo down, but he manages to slip away.

Kwang-ho is just meters behind him in the tunnel, when that characteristic pulse runs through it once again. Oh my god!

Jin-woo clears the tunnel, but the vines lengthen over the tunnel mouth as Kwang-ho emerges. Met by the bright lights and high-rises of 2017, he screams, “AGAIN?!”

 
COMMENTS

YES, AGAIN! I secretly hoped for this, and right now, all my dreams are coming true and it’s kind of killing me not to watch the next episode immediately. I’m so stoked for 2017, Take 2! I admit that the cool, logical side of my brain is screaming at Kwang-ho for never being equipped with a plan for his final step (that’s why you lost your guy in ’87 and ’17!). And damn, you don’t need to show Jin-woo your hand right away! Play it cool and reel him in while he’s unsuspecting! I get the narrative need to have them rush for the tunnel again, but I do wish it didn’t make me question his competence. It’s lucky that I’m good at ignoring that side of my brain when necessary.

But let’s take a moment longer to linger on the quiet moments this episode, because as I mentioned at the top, Tunnel handles emotion so, so well. For the millionth time, I’m so happy that Choi Jin-hyuk is Kwang-ho, because he brings it all home pretty brilliantly. I’ve loved his love for Yeon-sook from the start—it has a depth and simplicity to it that is so old-world in the best of ways. At his core, Kwang-ho is a man of duty and principle, and I loved seeing his extraordinary love for Yeon-sook pitched against his inability to turn his back on his duty. It’s a no-brainer to Kwang-ho which one will win (always the siren call of duty), and that’s partly why the conflict itself is very emotionally rich. On the one hand, this is exactly why Yeon-sook loves him and married him—because he’s this kind of man—but on the other hand… it’s hard, isn’t it, being married to a man of duty?

It’s also been great watching little robot Jae-yi slowly turn into a “real” girl, and she finally reached the other side this episode. Perspective is everything: Now that she knows Kwang-ho is her father, everything is different about the way she sees him, and her tentative, tender curiosity about him is just lovely. It’s interesting that she could have searched out her history anytime, but hadn’t—because she wasn’t ready then.

It’s clearly taken her a lot to get to the point where she can face her past, and I find it sweetly symbolic that that expresses in a very literal way as she finally sees the face of her mother, not just in a photo, but in her own memory. Overcoming that block is perhaps her most important breakthrough, because if there’s one thing this episode wanted to hammer in, it’s that finding her past—where she came from and who she came from—is tantamount to finding herself. You can see that something has fallen into place inside her, and she’s at last happier and a little less broken, which is all I’ve ever wanted for her.

I’m looking forward to seeing how that pen resurfaces in 2017—and I’m pretty sure it’s going to travel across thirty years the “normal” way. I find myself wondering whether Mok made that slip about the differences between the murders on purpose, just for the thrill of the chase. After all, as evidence, it’s just circumstantial, and in no way sufficient to put him away or even to charge him. And for all his talk that he’s not a showy killer, it’s pretty clear that he wants credit. Jae-yi said several episodes ago that murderers love talking, and they love talking about themselves; he certainly doesn’t go against the grain.

On a lighter note, I found Kwang-ho’s attempts to explain the modern world to Yeon-sook pretty hilarious, and I’m ruefully sympathetic about how easy it is to become used to modern conveniences. I wonder how much he’ll miss 2017 when he’s back “home,” but either way, I know he’ll be infinitely happier to reach the future the normal way, one day at a time.

RELATED POSTS

93 May 17, 2017May 16, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 14

by TeriYaki

It’s going to take an entire team to bring down a killer who’s managed to go undetected for over thirty years. Kwang-ho has traveled through time for that very reason, and now that he’s surrounded by people who share his determination, he’s closer to his goal than ever before. Unfortunately, the monster they’re after poses a serious threat to all who try to stop him.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Kwang-ho chases the young Mok Jin-woo through the tunnel, and a familiar shimmer appears around them. After Jin-woo exits the tunnel, there is a jolt as vines drop in front of the opening, and Kwang-ho runs out to discover that he’s returned to the future.

Dr. Mok tosses a baseball in the air as he reads Jae-yi’s biography on his computer, since he’s figured out that she’s Kwang-ho’s daughter. Suddenly he stops, and the ball drops from his hand as Dr. Mok experiences a new memory — his pursuit by Kwang-ho in the tunnel thirty years earlier.

Yeon-sook looks down her street as she remembers Kwang-ho’s promise that he wouldn’t be late. In the future, Kwang-ho is heartbroken that he left Yeon-sook alone in the past once again.

Kwang-ho runs back through the tunnel and recalls Yeon-sook’s fears and his reassurance that he’d be back. He weeps in frustration because his pursuit of Jin-woo has separated him from Yeon-sook yet again.

Meanwhile, Sun-jae drives alone in his car, lost in thought after his meeting with the NFS forensics doctor who explained that only the killer could know how many times a victim was strangled. Sun-jae thinks back to Dr. Mok’s explanation that Ho-young strangled Lee Seo-yeon repeatedly and realizes that it was a lie.

Sun-jae stops at an isolated spot along the river while the reality that Dr. Mok is the killer hits him. He whimpers in agony as he recalls his history with his friend before dropping to his knees and punching the ground in anger.

At home, Jae-yi’s review of the dot murder cases is interrupted by her doorbell, and she finds Sun-jae on her doorstep, his face blank and his hand bloody. Inside, Jae-yi bandages Sun-jae’s hand while he admits how miserable he is to know that Dr. Mok was watching him all along. Jae-yi comforts him with a reminder that Dr. Mok has managed to avoid capture for over thirty years.

Sun-jae explains that his mind went blank, and he ended up at her place because he didn’t know where else to go. He wonders if Kwang-ho figured out that Dr. Mok was the killer before he returned to the past.

Kwang-ho sits alone in the tunnel and makes the connection that his time jumps occur whenever he’s there at the same time as Mok Jin-woo. He also remembers that he left the incriminating fountain pen in the past. Worried that no one else is aware that Dr. Mok is the killer, Kwang-ho pulls himself together and runs out of the tunnel.

Dr. Mok stops his car in front of Kwang-ho’s apartment and realizes that it’s just above Jae-yi’s. Kwang-ho’s unexpected return to the station shocks Sung-shik, who can barely process his explanation that he was summoned to the tunnel by the killer but returned to the past before he could catch him, and that he returned to the future when he failed to catch the killer in the past.

Sung-shik can’t believe that Kwang-ho left Yeon-sook again after he tried so hard to return to her. Sung-shik calls Sun-jae with the news that his partner has returned, and Jae-yi insists on accompanying him back to the station.

Before they arrive, Sung-shik tries to tell Kwang-ho that Jae-yi knows that he’s her father, but Sun-jae walks in and asks his partner, “Kwang-ho, what happened? I was so worried!” (Aww.)

Jae-yi nervously approaches the doorway, and Kwang-ho is surprised to see her. Her eyes well with tears as she takes in his appearance, and Sun-jae explains that she knows everything. Kwang-ho looks at Jae-yi and calls her “Yeon-ho” as he walks over to her.

Father and daughter face one another tearfully as Jae-yi confesses, “I thought I had no one.” Overcome by emotion, Jae-yi begins to sob, and Kwang-ho embraces her.

Yeon-sook sits on the stairs in front of her house and cries as she realizes that Kwang-ho has returned to the future. She puts on a brave smile as she looks at the whistle that hangs from her neck and promises Kwang-ho, “I believe in you, and I’ll wait for you.”

Jae-yi holds that same whistle and admits that she has many questions for Kwang-ho, who also has much that he wants to say. Jae-yi asks Kwang-ho how he came back, but he can only sigh heavily. Meanwhile, Dr. Mok smokes a cigarette outside of his house, certain that Kwang-ho is gone and that he can return to his daily life.

Back at the station, Kwang-ho argues with Jae-yi about her involvement in the investigation, even when she points out that it could help him return to the past. Sun-jae and Sung-shik enter the room, and Kwang-ho laments Jae-yi’s stubbornness and wonders who’s she takes after, but an exasperated Sung-shik blusters that of course she takes after her father.

Sun-jae supports Jae-yi’s continued participation, but Kwang-ho thinks that will change when they find out who the culprit is, only to be surprised to discover that they already know. The four investigators sit together, and Kwang-ho informs the others that the fountain pen that Dr. Mok used to mark his victims was left behind in the past. He explains that it was inscribed with the name “Noel,” and Jae-yi is sure that it was meaningful to Dr. Mok because it contained the DNA of his victims and guesses that he must be anxious that it’s missing.

Kwang-ho wants Dr. Mok to know that he’s returned, but Jae-yi objects and calls him “Corporal Park” out of habit. Suddenly unsure what to call him, Sung-shik softly suggests that Jae-yi call Kwang-ho, “Dad.” Sun-jae interrupts the awkward pause to inform everyone that Dr. Mok knows Kwang-ho’s secret — that he’s not the Park Kwang-ho whose identity he’s been using.

Kwang-ho proposes that they arrest Dr. Mok and try for a confession, since he may believe that they have the fountain pen as evidence. He argues that it’s better than doing nothing, especially since Dr. Mok is sure to kill again.

The detectives find Dr. Mok’s office empty and are about to leave when they hear laughter. They find their suspect sitting with some young doctors, and the friendly atmosphere causes Sun-jae to tense as he approaches Dr. Mok, but Kwang-ho holds him back. He then kicks away a table so that he can lean close to tell Dr. Mok, “We meet again… The real game begins now.” Dr. Mok assures the confused doctors that there must be some misunderstanding while Sun-jae arrests him for the murders of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee.

Dr. Mok sits alone in an interrogation room as Sung-shik, Jae-yi, Sun-jae, and Kwang-ho decide how to proceed. Sun-jae is intent on questioning Dr. Mok, determined to hear for himself what he has to say. A peek at a background report shows that Dr. Mok was admitted as a pharmacy student to Sunhwa University in 1987.

Sun-jae places photos of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee on the table and asks Dr. Mok if he admits that he killed them. Smiling pleasantly, Dr. Mok deflects the question with one of his own, “Do you actually believe that I’m the culprit, Lieutenant Kim?” Dr. Mok chuckles amusedly as he answers, “I do not admit it.”

Kwang-ho changes gears and asks Dr. Mok if he chose “Noel” for his baptismal name because of his Christmas birthday, the name inscribed on his fountain pen. He slides photos of the murder victims from thirty years ago across the table and details how Dr. Mok used that pen to leave dots on their bodies.

Dr. Mok pretends that he knows nothing, so Kwang-ho bluffs that they can test the pen for DNA. Unruffled, Dr. Mok tells them to do as they wish before he calmly closes his eyes.

Later, Jae-yi explains to the others, “He’s probably trying to figure out whether the evidence is in our hands or not.” Since Dr. Mok can only be held for forty-eight hours, Kwang-ho proposes a look at his house, even though they have no warrant.

Before he leaves, Kwang-ho addresses Jae-yi as Yeon-ho and tells her to go home, worried that he could never face Yeon-sook if something happened to her. Jae-yi decides to research Dr. Mok to find a vulnerability, and Kwang-ho notes again that she’s stubborn but smiles affectionately when Sung-shik remarks that she takes after him.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae enter Dr. Mok’s house, and Kwang-ho is surprised to find the living room empty. He wonders how Dr. Mok can live like that, but Sun-jae observes that he’s not normal.

They find nothing in the mostly empty house, but they hear a noise upstairs and decide to investigate. Kwang-ho discovers a wall that holds over a dozen funeral portraits, and Sun-jae realizes that Dr. Mok never stopped killing people.

At home, Jae-yi studies Dr. Mok’s file and notes the years that his mother and grandmother died (1985 and 1987), sure that something in his past explains his motive for murder. In spite of the late hour, she tries to call Kwang-ho, who’s listed in her phone as Corporal Park, but remembers that he lost his phone. A bit later, Dr. Mok sits cross-legged in his cell, his face placid and unreadable.

The next morning, detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha join the team as Dr. Mok sits alone in an interrogation room. They want to know not only how Dr. Mok became a suspect, but where Kwang-ho disappeared to.

Sung-shik appeals to Kwang-ho for permission to tell them the truth: “Sir, you know that they’re trustworthy.” Tae-hee and Min-ha are confused when Sung-shik addresses Kwang-ho politely, and they react in disbelief when they are finally told the truth. Sung-shik provides his old photo as proof that Kwang-ho is from the past, and Sun-jae volunteers that Kwang-ho was the detective in charge of his mother’s murder case over thirty years ago.

Tae-hee and Min-ha struggle to find a proper way to address their former maknae, but Sung-shik interrupts with more news: Jae-yi is Kwang-ho’s daughter. Min-ha erupts in nervous laughter, and the two turn to one another for support just as Jae-yi enters with coffee and sandwiches.

Happy to see her, Sun-jae jumps up, but Kwang-ho pushes him back into his chair. As Kwang-ho sweetly checks that Jae-yi has eaten breakfast, Sun-jae reaches for coffee, only to return it when he notices Kwang-ho glaring at him. Min-ha admits that Kwang-ho and Jae-yi suddenly seem like father and daughter.

Tae-hee has one question: What happened to the other Park Kwang-ho? He’s surprised to learn that Dr. Mok killed him too, and Sung-shik lists the many victims of Dr. Mok while warning the team that the man is dangerous.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae interrogate Dr. Mok again. Sun-jae asks why he killed them, only to be cautioned, “If you want the right answer, you must ask the right question.” Dr. Mok asks Kwang-ho about the DNA results on the pen and is assured that results are expected soon.

Sun-jae mentions Jung Ho-young, and Dr. Mok recalls that he helped save Jae-yi’s life when Ho-young attacked her. Kwang-ho bristles when Dr. Mok says her name and reminds him that he knows who he is. Dr. Mok wants Sun-jae’s promised explanation about Kwang-ho’s real identity, and he clearly enjoys watching the detectives squirm. Sung-shik, Tae-hee, and Min-ha observe the interview, and Sung-shik calls Dr. Mok a monster.

Jae-yi shows an older woman a picture of a young Dr. Mok Jin-woo, and she remembers him well. Jae-yi learns that he was sent to live with his grandmother when he was eleven or twelve so that his mother could go to work.

The old woman explains that Jin-woo’s mother brought lots of presents whenever she visited, and once, she gave the old woman a pair of stockings even though they were very expensive. Jin-woo’s mother reportedly did laundry for prostitutes, but no one believed her story.

The woman describes Jin-woo as a fine young man who got good grades in school — but after his grandmother’s funeral, the woman says she never saw him again. Jae-yi discovers that Jin-woo’s mother was an alcoholic and wonders if her death is what triggered him to kill.

At the station, the team worries that Kwang-ho’s false identity will be revealed, which is when the section chief storms in to berate the team for Dr. Mok’s arrest before ordering him to be released. When the team hesitates, the section chief declares that he’ll release Dr. Mok, but Kwang-ho bellows, “No, you can’t do that!” The section chief demands to see evidence, but the team falls silent.

The section chief accompanies Dr. Mok out of the station and offers his apologies. Dr. Mok brings up Kwang-ho to the section chief, who then explains to a nervous Sung-shik that Dr. Mok blamed his arrest on Kwang-ho’s overeagerness and asked the section chief to let it go. Dr. Mok walks away and smiles at the fact that Kwang-ho has no evidence on him.

Sung-shik sends Kwang-ho and Sun-jae home to rest so that they can follow Dr. Mok that night while Tae-hee and Min-ha keep an eye on him until then. Sun-jae offers Kwang-ho a ride home, only for Kwang-ho to say, “I told you, I don’t approve of you.” While Sun-jae drives, Kwang-ho checks his phone and is not happy when he sees all of the calls to Jae-yi, so he deletes her contact information from the phone. (Ha! So petty.)

Sun-jae pulls up just after Jae-yi gets home. Kwang-ho jumps into Jae-yi’s car with the explanation that he has something to take care of and locks the doors, which means that Sun-jae gets left behind as Jae-yi drives off with Kwang-ho. (Dad’s got some crazy skills.)

Kwang-ho and Jae-yi end up at Yeon-sook’s favorite dumpling restaurant. Jae-yi remembers that she she ate there with her mother, so Kwang-ho asks if they ever went on a cruise together. Jae-yi remembers that they did, and that Yeon-sook bought an extra ticket for him.

When Jae-yi asks about her mother, Kwang-ho tells her that Yeon-sook was kind and must have loved her dearly. When the food arrives, Kwang-ho mixes Jae-yi’s noodles and declares her to be too thin in a fatherly way as she looks on happily.

Kwang-ho wishes that Jae-yi wouldn’t pursue such dangerous work as he looks at the hand that she cut when she grabbed the knife and gasps at her scar. He can’t even finish his sentence when he recalls that Ho-young strangled her, and he tells Jae-yi that he’ll die if something happens to her.

Kwang-ho gets to the most important point: He disapproves of Sun-jae and wants her to forget that he told her to date him. Jae-yi smiles to herself as Kwang-ho clucks over her taste in men, but it fades when he explains that he has so much to tell her before he returns to her mother.

It’s Jae-yi’s turn to show concern when she asks Kwang-ho to be careful on his stakeout. She pulls out a new phone for Kwang-ho, and as if on cue, it vibrates with a call from Sun-jae.

When Kwang-ho and Sun-jae relieve Tae-hee and Min-ha, the pair can’t decide how to address Kwang-ho. As Kwang-ho looks at them imposingly, Tae-hee bravely declares, “To me, he’ll be ‘Kiddo’ forever,” but Min-ha follows Sung-shik’s example and calls him “Sir.”

Dr. Mok is still in his office, which leads Kwang-ho to think that something’s wrong. He and Sun-jae go inside to find another doctor in the office and learn that Dr. Mok left for the day, even though his car remains parked outside. Sun-jae calls to inform Sung-shik and asks that he track Dr. Mok’s phone as the pair leaves to check on his house.

A young teacher walks near her home to talk with her boyfriend on the phone, but is suddenly grabbed from behind by Dr. Mok. He smiles hugely while he strangles her with a pair of stockings.

The next morning, Kwang-ho joins the rest of the team at the latest crime scene. Sung-shik regrets that he didn’t keep Dr. Mok in custody and apologizes to the victim while Sun-jae observes that there are no dots. Kwang-ho shakes with anger as he says that it’s because the pen is missing. He runs off, and Sun-jae follows him to Dr. Mok’s office, where they find the doctor calmly sipping tea.

Kwang-ho grabs Dr. Mok and demands to know where he was the previous night. When Dr. Mok attributes Kwang-ho’s foul mood to the murder of another woman, Kwang-ho punches him in the mouth. After Dr. Mok laughs, Kwang-ho chokes him and tells him to die as Sun-jae stands idly by, stopped only when security pulls him away.

Sun-jae’s hand twitches as he asks Dr. Mok, “Don’t you have anything to say to me?” But he’s only asked, “What more do I have to say to you?” He wants to know if Dr. Mok knew about him from the beginning, but the doctor invites him to produce evidence if he thinks him guilty. As Sun-jae turns to leave, Dr. Mok tosses him a chess piece and explains that the game isn’t over until he catches the king.

In her office, Jae-yi reads about the latest murder before her lecture, during which she speaks about killers who blend in and seem normal. When a student drops his pen, Jae-yi picks it up and remembers a fountain pen that she held as a young girl inscribed with the name “Noel.” She runs out of the lecture hall to call Kwang-ho, who meets her on campus.

Jae-yi tells him that she found a fountain pen in her mother’s drawer, but Yeon-sook explained that she promised to keep it safe for Jae-yi’s dad. Yeon-sook suggested that they hide it together, and Jae-yi remembers that the pen was inscribed with the name “Noel,” but she can’t remember where they hid it.

Kwang-ho is confident that Jae-yi will remember eventually, but he promises to catch Dr. Mok even if she doesn’t. He leaves when he gets a call from Sun-jae and returns to the station, where he learns that the autopsy on the teacher yielded no evidence. Kwang-ho suggests to Sun-jae that they may still be able to get the evidence that they need.

Dean Hong delivers a photo album to Jae-yi and suggests that she move back into her old room. Once she’s alone, Jae-yi looks through the album, and her memory is triggered by a photo of her as a young girl holding a red bear, which was the hiding place that she and her mother chose for the pen.

Jae-yi gets into her car as she calls Kwang-ho to tell him that she remembers where the pen is hidden and promises to meet him at the station. Dr. Mok opens her car door and leans in to ask, “Where… is the pen?” We see that Dr. Mok placed a transmitter inside the chess piece before he tossed it to Sun-jae and was able to listen in on the investigation, so he heard Kwang-ho confide that Jae-yi might know where the pen is hidden to Sun-jae. In the present, Dr. Mok gives Jae-yi a huge smile.

It’s dark as Kwang-ho waits outside the police station. Worried, he takes a taxi to Jae-yi’s office and learns that she left long ago. He calls her phone as he walks to her car, only to find it on the ground. As Kwang-ho stands frozen, his call rings on Jae-yi’s phone as “Dad” while his phone shows his call to “My Daughter.”

When Kwang-ho realizes that Dr. Mok has taken Jae-yi, he screams out, “Yeon-ho!”

 
COMMENTS

Kwang-ho never expected to return to the future, but now that he has, he’s proving to Jae-yi that he’s a typical father as he worries about her each and every day even though she’s a grown adult. Jae-yi has transformed from an emotionally distant professional to a young woman who thrives under a father’s (mostly) tender concern. Armed with the knowledge that she was loved and cherished by her mother and now her father, Jae-yi has blossomed into a caring young woman. The father-daughter moments between Jae-yi and Kwang-ho don’t seem to be marred by the fact that they are pretty much the same age — rather, their interactions are natural, due in part to great performances by Choi Jin-hyuk and Lee Yoo-young.

As sweet as it is to see Kwang-ho and Jae-yi explore their relationship, it was devastating to witness Sun-jae’s realization that his friend and mentor was his mother’s killer and the man who he’s been searching for for years. Of course, the one person in the world who could help Sun-jae navigate the betrayal was Jae-yi, who is now able to offer him comfort and support. Their relationship has deepened into one of affection and respect, and I’m really pleased that the romance factor hasn’t been more pronounced. Sun-jae and Jae-yi are two very injured souls who have managed to help each other heal, and the slow advancement of their relationship feels just right. What I feel conflicted about, however, is Kwang-ho’s rejection of Sun-jae as a suitor for his daughter.

Sun-jae has landed himself in the middle of the strangest triangle ever, with Jae-yi on one side, and his partner/her father, Kwang-ho, on the other. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho have turned out to be a great team, but Kwang-ho seems set against Sun-jae and Jae-yi becoming anything more. In a way it makes sense, since Kwang-ho has only just found Yeon-ho, and he’s loathe to share her with anyone else since he thinks his time with her (as an adult) is precious and fleeting. Sun-jae has been uncharacteristically patient with Kwang-ho even as he continued to thwart his attempts see or speak with Jae-yi. Kwang-ho does know that as soon as he returns to the past, they will be alone to pursue their relationship, doesn’t he? Unless, of course, Kwang-ho’s return to the past alters the future, and somehow maybe he and Yeon-sook will both be around to make their daughter’s life more interesting. (Please, let this be so!) I’m encouraged by the fact that Dr. Mok and Jae-yi possess new memories based on Kwang-ho’s brief return to the past, so Kwang-ho’s actions do have consequences on the future.

One thing that Kwang-ho has in common with Sun-jae is the desire to catch the serial killer, and that makes Dr. Mok their common enemy. He is a formidable opponent, and now that he’s taken Jae-yi, I think that Kwang-ho may actually kill him; he already came close this episode. It’s impossible to fully understand someone who has no normal personal attachments — not to things, as evidenced by his home, or to people. The one person who may connect with him is Jae-yi, because she knows what it’s like to grow up without parents. I can’t wait to see what she uncovers as she analyzes Dr. Mok in the final episodes. No matter how Kwang-ho feels about her line of work, Jae-yi will be be vital in stopping Dr. Mok once and for all.

RELATED POSTS

91 May 23, 2017May 22, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 15

by Saya

What better way to gear up for the big finale than to take a journey through a murderer’s mind? For someone who likes to hide in the light, his underlying motives have so far remained hidden behind a sticky web of moral superiority. But it’s finally time to drag it all out into the harsh light of day, and if Jae-yi can’t do it, no one can…

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

Dr. Mok takes time off work and throws cable ties and tape into the back of his car. We catch up with him later as he drives into the night. “So I am a serial killer,” he narrates. He says in voiceover that he had thirty years of peace where no one knew his secret, and it was so exhilarating that it made him laugh.

But then recently, the other Park Kwang-ho had spotted him in the tunnel. Asking questions in the neighborhood nearby, he came to hear of the murder there thirty years ago. Dr. Mok says that it’s a problem that people still talk about dead people. (Well excuse you, I’m sure they don’t mean to inconvenience you.) Then, as we know, he killed young Kwang-ho.

He continues that he’s now come to realize that everything that happened was fated, and that destiny brought Kwang-ho, Sun-jae, and Jae-yi to him. He dissolves into wild cackling as he speeds off with Jae-yi gagged and bound in his trunk.

At Jae-yi’s car, Kwang-ho calls her name in panic. Sun-jae rushes there and finds Kwang-ho slumped on the curb with a phone in each hand, repeating over and over that Jae-yi said she was coming right away. Sun-jae urges him up, and they go to check out the CCTV.

They find just one snippet of Dr. Mok at Jae-yi’s car, presumably abducting her, but as the car leaves the school gates, they find no visible sign of Jae-yi inside. Horrified, they both suspect what that means.

Sung-shik and his team are on the scene, and he puts out an APB for Mok’s car. One of the forensic officers tells him that it looks like Jae-yi was drugged and shows him a syringe cap retrieved from her car. Meanwhile, Sun-jae and Kwang-ho track Mok’s car via traffic cameras and find that he went through the Hwayang tollgate forty minutes ago.

On the road, Mok’s car starts juddering, and he pulls up to find his tire punctured.

Back at the police station, the detectives have constructed a timeline, concluding that Mok’s purposeful movements mean he’s heading somewhere specific, but he’s using the highways to mask it. Min-ha wonders where the fountain pen could be, but Sun-jae replies that only Jae-yi knows that.

Kwang-ho finally breaks his melancholy brooding to suggest that they look into every location Mok has had a connection to, including the places where he’s been a medical volunteer. Tae-hee and Min-ha look into Mok’s call records, credit card, and online activity, while Sung-shik continues to scan the highway CCTV. For a while, quiet reigns as everyone works at their tasks.

The mechanic Mok had to call out finishes patching up the tire. As he’s about to leave, he hears banging from the trunk, where Jae-yi is now awake and aware of his presence. Mok follows the mechanic ominously as he goes toward the sound.

But at the last moment, a phone call from another customer sends him hurrying away. Jae-yi cries despairingly in the trunk as she hears him leave. But the trunk opens… and it’s Mok, needle in hand. He administers a shot and shuts the trunk again as she passes out.

At the police station, the detectives have little luck finding anything on Mok, until Sung-shik gets off the phone wide-eyed and tells them that they’ve got a witness.

By now, it’s a new day. Over the phone, they get Mok’s location the night before from the mechanic, and Sun-jae discovers that it’s a town Mok once volunteered at. The mechanic also tells them about the strange sounds from the trunk, and Kwang-ho is horrified. The detectives head out in force.

Mok now holds Jae-yi captive in an abandoned house, and the police must be close, because he hears their sirens. Led by Sung-shik, the party spread out to search, and Mok can actually see a police car right outside his window. But their search is fruitless, and Kwang-ho is disheartened, though Sun-jae tries to encourage him.

Mok is relieved when the police pull out. He takes a seat opposite Jae-yi and tells her that he’ll ask her the whereabouts of the pen precisely three times, and if she doesn’t tell him by then, he’ll kill her.

She doesn’t reply when he asks the first time, and smiling, he tells her she’s got two chances left. He suddenly seizes her by the throat and asks her a second time while violently choking her. He finally releases her, and between sobs, she tells him, “England.”

He doesn’t believe her at first, but she tells him that since she was adopted, all her childhood things are there. Warning her not to deceive him, he lets her talk to English Kate. She tells Kate that the fountain pen is with her bible in her old desk drawer, and instructs her to send it to her office. Jae-yi tells Mok it’ll get to them in three days, but something in her look tells me that she’s got a plan.

Sun-jae’s Missing Persons contact calls him up to ask if anything’s up with Jae-yi, and says that English Kate told him about her weird call—something about a fountain pen?

Jae-yi takes in her surroundings, noting a child’s drawing on the wall of a woman with her back turned, and a one-eyed boy left behind. (Seriously, what’s with the one eye?! What kid draws themselves with one eye?)

English Kate tells Sun-jae that Jae-yi’s desk doesn’t have any drawers, so she thought something was off. Telling her not to worry, Sun-jae instructs her to send any pen, along with the bible. To the team, he guesses that Jae-yi purposely bought them time, knowing word of her call to Kate would reach them.

They meticulously plan a stakeout around Jae-yi’s office to catch Mok. They worry about Jae-yi, and Sun-jae consoles Kwang-ho that Mok won’t do anything to her until he gets the pen. Tae-hee tells him it’s just three days before it’s all over. “To me, that three days is thirty years,” Kwang-ho says hollowly.

Jae-yi refuses the water Mok offers and asks him about the drawing on the wall instead. “You drew it, didn’t you? You lived here with your mom,” she says. The victim profile she figured out for Jung Ho-young—targeting women in skirts because he saw his mother in them—was actually Mok’s, she continues. “What kind of person was your mother?” she asks.

His gaze travels to a ladder going up to the loft, and a trip to the past reveals his childhood self playing at being Gaksital (based off the manhwa, which came out long before the television series) . When he called for his mom, he heard a man’s voice rise angrily down below, followed by his departure. Little Jin-woo’s mom came sullenly up, irritated by the interruption.

Jae-yi guesses that she used to go to meet men, dressed in skirts and stockings. She paints the picture of his young life, constantly alone and waiting for his mother while she was out. His hatred would have grown as deep as his love, she says.

Staring at her, Mok recalls another memory of wanting his mother’s attention, but she just pulled on her stockings and went out. She’d come home that night and found her clothes cut to ribbons and strewn everywhere.

“The person killing his mother over and over again was not Jung Ho-young, but you,” Jae-yi says. At that, Mok loses it and says he killed those women for a reason, but Jae-yi derides him for being exactly the same as Jung. “I’m different!” he roars back, calling the women he killed sinful.

In disbelief, Jae-yi asks what Sun-jae’s mom had done wrong in taking her husband a necktie. He saw her smiling at another man on the bus, Mok replies, before he asks how a woman like that could raise a child. Rather, it’s better to have no mother at all, he says.

“No, you just killed those women because you wanted to,” Jae-yi cuts in. “You killed them in place of your mother.” He lunges for her, which she says only proves her point. She goads him to strangle her, screaming, “Kill me, you murdering bastard!” Shaking with the effort to control himself, Mok bolts from the room. Girl, that was one hell of a gamble.

Breathing heavily in the open air, another memory assails him, of his mom giving him the “Noel” fountain pen as a gift for starting middle school, but really it’s a precursor to sending him to live with his grandma.

In a bad way, either from alcohol or drugs, she had put him into a taxi. Though sad to have been sent away, he smiled over his gift. But when the taxi driver scorned the red light district’s women as “dirty women,” his face had darkened. He leapt on the man and attacked him, screaming that his mom wasn’t like that.

He repeats the line to himself again now, trembling.

Sun-jae hears from Kate that the package will arrive the next morning, and the detectives plan out how to snare Dr. Mok. Kwang-ho says they’ve got to get him in the building, otherwise he’ll escape. Strapping on their weapons, the team files out with purposeful determination, and they begin the stakeout of the university building.

In the morning, Dr. Mok leaves Jae-yi—freshly gagged—and heads there by taxi. Inside the building, Sun-jae and Kwang-ho are alerted to the courier’s arrival. They begin a nonchalant approach, but are surprised that he has no delivery for Jae-yi. They stop the man, who explains that it was arranged to be collected by someone else, and we see that Mok picked it up en route. The detectives hiss in frustration.

Of course: Mok had listened in on their strategy meeting via his chess-piece listening device, thus pre-empting them. But he opens the box only to find an ordinary pen.

At the police station, the detectives try to figure out how Mok anticipated their plan, and more importantly, Kwang-ho asks, how did he know Jae-yi had the fountain pen, when he’d only spoken about it privately to Sun-jae?

Sun-jae’s eye falls on Mok’s chess-piece lying on his desk. In dawning realization, he signals everyone to silence and pries off the base, revealing the chip. The team are appalled. Kwang-ho grinds it underfoot and stalks out, muttering murder. Hey, you could have used that to your advantage!

Fuelled by cold rage, Dr. Mok confronts Jae-yi over her deceit. Exploding, he shouts at her to tell him where the pen is, but she gives no reply.

Kwang-ho goes to Jae-yi’s apartment and sinks into her chair. Clasping the whistle in his hand, he promises Yeon-sook that he’ll save their daughter no matter what. He notices Jae-yi’s voice recorder on her desk, and remembering that she was looking into Mok’s past, he listens eagerly to her last interview.

When Kwang-ho learns of Mok’s mother’s line of work, the significance of stockings, and her death by alcohol, he realizes Jae-yi’s whereabouts could be connected to her. Rejoining Sun-jae, they look up the records of her death and acquire her old address, which they’re told may no longer exist. It matches the account in the recording, and Sun-jae tells Sung-shik right away.

Jae-yi maintains her silence. Dr. Mok takes it as his cue to talk and needles her about Kwang-ho, revealing his knowledge of their relationship. “What does it feel like to meet a father who is younger than you?” he asks before gloating about who to tell first about her father killing the real Park Kwang-ho and assuming his identity.

Seeing her fear, he demands the real location of the pen again, but she still can’t bring herself to speak. Saying that he should’ve killed her from the start, he closes in on her, but snaps around at the sound of sirens.

The police spread out to search once again, and Kwang-ho and Sun-jae discover a room with an upturned chair and cable ties scattered over the floor. They find the back door open, and Kwang-ho sees Mok flit by, Jae-yi over his shoulder. They give chase frantically, but Mok makes it to his car too quickly for them.

Kwang-ho’s shout jerks Jae-yi back to consciousness. Lightning-fast, she opens the door—which Mok hadn’t had time to lock—and throws herself out of the car. As they’re reunited, father and daughter cry in relief, although Mok escapes.

Jae-yi checks herself out of the hospital. Though limping from a sprain, she’s surprisingly chipper despite her ordeal and insists on retrieving the pen immediately. Back at her place, she digs out the red teddy bear.

“Oh! That doll…!” exclaims Kwang-ho. She smiles at him and nods. Cutting the bear open, she takes the pen out at last. Kwang-ho thanks her, and adds in a quieter voice, “Thank you, Yeon-sook-ah.”

Jae-yi wonders why Mok is so obsessed with the pen, and furthermore, why didn’t he kill her right away? That would’ve ensured the pen would be lost forever. She thinks it must be important to him in some other way, since he was so desperate to get it back.

The team gather with bated breath for the DNA results, which return positive for recent victims Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee. But there’s no trace of the 1986 victims—it’s been too long, Sung-shik says. (I’ll say: It’s sixty years after the pen’s round trip through time!)

Everyone looks at Sun-jae. After a brief internal struggle, he says that the statute of limitations had passed anyway, but he’s frustrated that now that they’ve got the evidence, they’ve lost their suspect.

Jae-yi returns to the scene of her captivity, and this time goes up the ladder to the loft. She finds the child’s Gaksital mask, followed by a stack of Gaksital manhwas in the cupboard. Underneath it all, she discovers an aged, leather-bound notebook, which she unfastens and begins to read.

Dr. Mok visits his old church. He pauses at the memory of his younger self with that veteran who marked his kills on his body. “Jin-woo-ya, you have to kill the filth,” the veteran had told him. Young Jin-woo latched on to those words. Filthy things, he thought.

Later, he went to the hospital where his mother just died. Holding her hand, he asked, “Mom… did you die because you were filthy, too?” The thought followed him back to church, where he got up to leave mid-hymn. In a neat transition, it’s the adult Jin-wo—Dr. Mok—who exits.

“You guys couldn’t catch Gaksital,” he says, cursing them.

During the latest strategy meeting, Sun-jae recalls that Mok told him he could predict a person’s move by looking at who they were leading up to the crime. He determines that Mok will kill again—immediately, just like he did when he was released from custody last time: “He’s a person who can’t stop killing.”

Kwang-ho is positive that he hasn’t left Hwayang. He adds that Mok targets women who remind him of his mother, and moves around on foot. Looking at the locations of the bodies, Sun-jae struggles to find what connects the victims.

“It’s the place where he first saw them,” Kwang-ho says suddenly. He tells them that in the past, Mok killed them where he found them, but with CCTV and more people around, he can’t do that now. Accordingly, they find that all the victims’ final whereabouts were concentrated in front of the university, which Sun-jae concludes is Mok’s hunting ground.

With those parameters, the detectives and police spread out on the ground, while Sung-shik monitors the CCTV from the control room. He spots a capped man following a woman fitting the target description and directs the team towards the park.

The suspect picks up his pace to follow the woman, but Kwang-ho and Sun-jae sprint in and tackle him before he can reach her. But to their shock, it’s some other guy, not Dr. Mok.

In that moment, Kwang-ho recalls Jae-yi asking why Mok was so intent on the fountain pen, and why he didn’t kill her when that would bury the knowledge of it once and for all. It must have a special meaning to him, he remembers, and a dark realization strikes him.

Jae-yi steps into her house and freezes immediately, sensing the murderer’s presence even before she sees him. She tries to bolt, but Mok yanks her back and throws her to the floor, choking her with his bare hands.

“Just like Park Kwang-ho did to me, I should also take away what he treasures the most. You, Professor Shin… Park Kwang-ho’s daughter,” he grits out.

 
COMMENTS

Oh my god, this girl can’t catch a break! At first, I wailed and gnashed my teeth at the sheer woeful incompetence of it all, but you know what? I’ve decided to put my faith in the show. It’s pulled feints before, and at this late stage, it cannot be relying on compound stupidity to reach its end, I refuse to believe it—not when it’s repeatedly proven how much it cares about delivering those emotional moments with such touching realism.

I expected this episode to be packed with thrills—the first act of the big finale, going at a mile a minute—so it’s a little surprising that it turns out to be one of the most introspective yet. I’ve never been particularly interested in Dr. Mok as a villain, nor in his reasons for killing his victims. It was all just so very typical, so very classically misogynistic, that it didn’t seem worth dwelling on. But you could say this episode was about revealing all the different elements of what made him tick, and now that it’s finally come together, I’m surprised that I found it interesting after all.

Of course, we’ve known he was the murderer for some time, and many of us guessed it long before that: It’s a difficult balance the show has tried to strike, between creating suspense on the one hand, and creating a morbidly compelling character study on the other. I’m divided on how successful it’s been, but if we accept that the mystery was never intended to be in his identity, but rather in his motivation, I think it brings us much closer to what the show wanted to achieve with him.

That’s further proved by Jae-yi’s character, whose psychology lessons have guided us through a murderer’s mind throughout the course of the show. It’s actually one of the touches I really like in the show, where the “telling” has been strangely more effective and engaging than the “showing.” It’s seemingly straightforward exposition, but there’s a touch of cleverness in how seamlessly it fits into the narrative and the nature of the character, and I’ve always found those interludes thought-provoking.

So what is Mok Jin-woo made of, and what does he add up to? His individual traits are far from extraordinary, but they come together in a strange and chilling way. I find Gaksital’s appearance very telling, because with that alone, we understand how he sees himself: a masked hero and savior of the people. It was pretty clever (and foolhardy!) how Jae-yi trapped him when she provoked him, banking on his desperation not to be identified with inferior murderer Jung Ho-young. But it was a powerful bind, because had he killed her, he’d prove her right (that he’s no different from Jung Ho-young), and it would irreparably shatter the image he holds of himself as a killer with just cause.

We also set to rest the question I’ve been quietly wondering: Did he kill his mother? And it seems he didn’t, which may be his single redeeming quality. As bitter as his love was, he clearly craved her attention and it’s obvious from the moment she gave it to him how much he cherished that pen. Nevertheless, his attachment to her was a poisoned one, and maybe it was her death that triggered his misguided and zealous conviction that he was freeing the world of filth: Filth killed his mom, and filth is evil, so filth must die. I also find it interesting how for him, death and filth are fundamentally intertwined. It makes it all the more astonishing that he was able to keep his true self so thoroughly hidden without making anyone suspect him, and I wonder if such a thing would be possible with a similar criminal in real life. Wouldn’t someone notice something off? Or is that why he works with dead people?

With just one more episode to go, I’m a little scared that we won’t have enough time to do justice in our team’s send-offs. I’ve always assumed Kwang-ho would return to his own timeline and reset the future to a happier trajectory, but guuuys, your speculations on him being doomed to remain in the current future kills me! Say it isn’t so, show!

But no matter what happens in the next hour, thank you, Tunnel, for giving us Choi Jin-hyuk back in such fine form; for treating us to a bumbling three/five-way bromance with so many levels of lols that I still laugh about it days later; for fixing my little robot girl and letting us feel like her smile is the sweetest thing in the world; for the charmingly awkward almost-romance that will slay all fatherly opposition, and most of all, for being a show that—always and emphatically—wore its heart on its ’80s-leather-jacket sleeve.

RELATED POSTS

159 May 24, 2017May 23, 2017

Tunnel: Episode 16 (Final)

by TeriYaki

Kwang-ho’s time in the future proves that he makes a difference in the lives of the people around him, no matter what year it is. Through his example, he’s demonstrated to his team what’s at the heart of being a good detective, and Kwang-ho has learned a thing or two himself along the way. If he was willing, Kwang-ho might be happy where he is, but he’s waited for so long to return to Yeon-sook’s side. The only question is, can he find his way back?

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Jae-yi enters her apartment only to be thrown to the floor by Dr. Mok. He chokes her with his bare hands and promises, “Just like Corporal Park did to me, I’ll have to take away from him what he cherishes the most.”

The story then rewinds, and we see Jae-yi with Jin-woo’s journal. She reads how he marked the first victim with the fountain pen, a gift from his mother, and she realizes why Mok is desperate to have it back.

Just then, Kwang-ho calls, frantic to know if Jae-yi is all right, and she tells him that she’s Mok’s next target. Kwang-ho and Sun-jae meet her in her office, and Jae-yi explains that Mok knows that she’s Kwang-ho’s daughter. Sun-jae realizes that Mok’s target is actually Kwang-ho, and Jae-yi explains that he wants to make her father feel the same agony that he felt over the loss of the pen.

Kwang-ho reminds Jae-yi about the time that her doorbell rang but no one was outside, certain that it was Dr. Mok. Kwang-ho reasons that the killer will attack her at home, and Jae-yi proposes that they should act normally if they want to catch him before assuring a worried Kwang-ho that he will be able to protect her.

When Jae-yi comes home, the team monitors her from different vantage points. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho wait in a side yard, and when Mok attacks her, Kwang-ho breaks the side door’s window to get inside. Mok hurries to finish off Jae-yi, but her father manages to kick him away before it’s too late.

Sun-jae cradles Jae-yi while Kwang-ho tangles viciously with Mok. After Kwang-ho manages to throw him to the ground, his fist hovers until he sees Mok smile, then he lands a blow to his face. He’s about to handcuff Mok, but he offers the opportunity to Sun-jae and passes over his cuffs.

The partners switch places, and Kwang-ho tends to Jae-yi as Sun-jae finally arrests the man who killed his mother so long ago. After Tae-hee and Min-ha lead Mok away, Sun-jae sits on the floor as the reality sets in. His voice shakes with emotion as he offers Kwang-ho his heartfelt thanks (oof, these two).

News that the killer responsible for a series of little-known murders over thirty years ago, as well as two recent murders attributed to Jung Ho-young, hits the airwaves. After a call from his superintendent, the section chief apologizes to the Special Investigations Unit and cautions them, “If you find something strange, investigate it like a detective.” Sung-shik glances at Kwang-ho and comments that he learned that long ago.

Sung-shik explains to the team that even though the statute of limitations was reached with the old cases, he wants to make sure that Mok confesses to those crimes. He sends Sun-jae and Kwang-ho to interrogate Mok while he takes the Tae-Min duo to hunt for evidence at the doctor’s house.

Dean Hong pays a visit to Jae-yi at home and voices her regret that she came to Hwayang University. Jae-yi is thankful to Dean Hong because she met someone that she was destined to meet—but even so, Dean Hong feels responsible that Jae-yi met someone like Dr. Mok.

Dean Hong understands that because Dr. Mok blended in as a well-respected and accomplished doctor, he posed a more serious threat than an obvious criminal like Jung Ho-young. She wonders if Dr. Mok will confess, and Jae-yi predicts that if he doesn’t confess, he won’t say anything at all.

Kwang-ho tosses photos of Mok’s victims in front of him, and Sun-jae shows him the DNA results from the fountain pen. When Mok refrains from answering any questions, Sun-jae brings out his chess piece and tells him, “The game’s over, so just admit it.” But despite the detectives’ best efforts, Mok doesn’t say a word. Kwang-ho calls Jae-yi to ask if she’s found anything in the journal, but she says she’s still reviewing it.

Before they hang up, they have a sweet father-daughter exchange as Kwang-ho reminds Jae-yi to check her doors, and she reminds him to eat. Just then, Kwang-ho looks over at Sun-jae with concern as he sits and stares at a photo of his mother.

While forensic investigators scour Mok’s house for evidence, Min-ha summons Tae-hee and Sung-shik upstairs. They somberly take in the wall of funeral portraits, and Sung-shik tasks the pair with their identification.

An evidence board at the station lists the victims, and with the addition of the younger Park Kwang-ho, the total is twenty-six. Tae-hee and Min-ha agree with Sung-shik’s earlier sentiment that they must get Mok to confess to all of his crimes.

Sun-jae notes that Mok’s first victim was documented after his mother died. Kwang-ho offers Jae-yi’s opinion that Mok both loved and detested him mother, so he is sure to react in some way if they explore that relationship. Sung-shik encourages them to question Mok again.

As the team watches, Kwang-ho and Sun-jae begin the second interrogation with a photo of Mok’s mother. Sun-jae details his resentment towards the customers that she brought home and the gossip that he heard from the neighbors when he lived with his grandmother—the Vietnam soldier’s encouragement to get rid of dirty people and Mok’s growing anger for his mother triggered him to kill when she died.

Sun-jae quotes Mok’s entry from his journal: “Mom’s dead. But I’m not sad at all. She only died because she’s dirty.” Sun-jae concludes that he targeted women who wore skirts because they reminded him of his mother. Rattled by Sun-jae’s words, Mok struggles to maintain his composure. He collects himself and offers a tiny smile to Kwang-ho, who jumps up and grabs him by the collar. When Kwang-ho demands to know how Mok can call himself human, Mok’s laugh shocks everyone.

At home, Jae-yi notices that the dates of the dot murders correspond with those of the journal entries. She finds an entry where Jin-woo reasoned that he hadn’t been caught because he was doing the right thing: “I committed murder with a mission. I’ve gotten rid of people who have sinned.”

Jae-yi shows the journal to the team and explains that at first, Mok was triggered to kill because of his mother, but then felt a duty to rid the world of society’s evils. She believes that Mok will talk if they can break that conviction.

A chilling scene welcomes Sun-jae and Kwang-ho as they find Mok stretched out on the floor of his cell, smoking an imaginary cigarette. Inside the interrogation room, Sun-jae asks, “Do you think you’re special?” He immediately has Mok’s attention, and in spite of Mok’s impressive accomplishments, Kwang-ho declares him no better than someone like Jung Ho-young. “You’re just one of those murderers who kills innocent people. You’re not special,” Kwang-ho says.

Mok laughs and repeats, “Innocent?” He lists the ways that his victims were flirtatious and admits to Kwang-ho that that was why he killed them. When he adds that women like that can’t be good mothers, Sun-jae interrupts to ask, “Why did you kill my mother?” Kwang-ho urges him not to ask, but Sun-jae yells, “Tell me, you bastard!”

Sun-jae can’t believe it when Mok answers that she smiled at another man on the bus, and in flashback, we witness the innocent exchange that caught his attention: A soldier on the bus asked Sun-jae’s mother about her errand, and she had smiled politely as she answered that she bought a necktie.

Sun-jae trembles before reaching across the table to hit Mok. When he falls onto the floor, Sun-jae pounces on him as he struggles with the truth, “You killed her because she smiled?! My dad lived so miserably. I lived so miserably.”

Broken, Sun-jae tries to choke Mok. Sung-shik sends Tae-hee and Min-ha in to intervene, but Kwang-ho manages to pull him away. As Sun-jae heaves in rage, Mok massages his neck and has the nerve to say, “That hurt.” He gets back into his chair and tells Sun-jae, “This is why I didn’t tell you. It was for your own good, Lieutenant Kim.”

Shaking, Sun-jae spits out that nothing that Mok’s victims wore or did justified their murders by trash like him. He walks out, and Mok calmly comments that he should be thanked, but then he comes unglued and shouts, “I only did what I had to do!” Mok admits that he feels regretful that he won’t be able to kill again because the world is filled with people who need punishment, but Kwang-ho makes it clear that Mok is the one who deserves punishment.

Outside, Jae-yi sits with Sun-jae, and he learns that she already knew about Mok’s absurd justification. Sun-jae confides that he thought that if he knew the reason behind his mother’s murder, he would feel better, but Jae-yi acknowledges that there never was a reason.

Jae-yi encourages Sun-jae to recognize that he’s been strong, and that he endured. When Min-ha declares the case over, Kwang-ho reminds the team that the victims’ families deserve to know that their loved ones were never forgotten, and that the killer was caught.

Alone in the interrogation room, Mok insists, “I’m different, I had reasons for killing those people.” As he smiles to himself, a breaking story reports that the serial killer confessed while also revealing that he was a forensic pathologist. Reporters at Hwayang Police Station witness the official apology from the police force’s superiors, but when the section chief later enters the station, the Special Investigations Unit isn’t there.

Kwang-ho and Sun-jae visit Lee Jung-sook’s (Victim #1’s) mother, who collapses in thanks when she learns that her daughter’s killer was caught. The brother of Kim Kyung-soon (Haein River, Victim #2) tells Tae-hee and Min-ha, “I wish you came a little sooner,” and they follow him to a grave where he tearfully shares the news with his mother.

Sung-shik is taken to the bedside of Hwang Choon-hee’s (Victim #3’s) mother, and as she lies still, he sees a tear fall from her closed eyes when she hears the news. The brother of Jin Sun-mi (Hwayang Tunnel, Victim #6) sits across from Kwang-ho and Sun-jae and smiles through his tears as he thanks them for not forgetting his sister.

Kwang-ho walks with Sun-jae to his father’s house and waits outside as his partner walks through the gate. Upon hearing the news, Sun-jae’s father recalls, “A long time ago, that detective promised me that he’d make sure to catch the culprit,” but he’s thankful that Sun-jae did so. Sun-jae tells his father, “That man kept his promise.”

When Sun-jae walks out to the street, Kwang-ho greets him with white mourning flowers. In the late afternoon sun, the men pay their respects, and Sun-jae lays Kwang-ho’s flowers on the shore of the lake where his mother’s ashes were scattered as he entreats her spirit, “Please rest in peace now.”

Jae-yi uses her final lecture of the semester to explain the importance of studying murderers to prevent more crimes, and cautions that murderers develop all the time. In a tribute to Kwang-ho’s influence, Jae-yi states, “In the end, the most important thing is saving people’s lives,” and she smiles to herself as she recalls when she heard those words.

Dean Hong and Jae-yi have coffee in her office, and Dean Hong notes that Jae-yi seems happier. Jae-yi mentions that she plans to pick up her things, and Dean Hong is happy to learn that she won’t be returning to England as planned.

At the university hospital, the Special Investigations Unit stands before a drawer that holds an unidentified male. Kwang-ho speaks first to thank the younger Park Kwang-ho, whose investigation led them to Dr. Mok. Sung-shik bids farewell to the maknae who was supposed to join his team, and the others follow suit.

Kwang-ho carries the young detective’s ashes in a box that bears his name to the house that he shared with his grandmother. Kwang-ho suggests that he rest next to his grandmother, and as the team leaves for the columbarium, Min-ha finds the young detective’s phone in the garden.

Min-ha recovers the phone’s files, which contain proof that Dr. Mok was injecting his elderly victims with insulin, which would have been undetectable in an autopsy. Sung-shik thinks that anyone named Kwang-ho must be a natural-born detective, which is what Kwang-ho has believed all along.

Kwang-ho takes Sun-jae aside to tell him about his plan to go back, but admits that he hasn’t told Jae-yi because he feels conflicted about leaving her alone. Kwang-ho lets Sun-jae know that he was happy to meet him again and jokes that he must be happy to see him go.

Sun-jae lies that he’s thrilled, but when Kwang-ho thanks him for growing up so well, Sun-jae has to turn around to hide his emotions. Even though he says he’s not crying, Kwang-ho calls him a crybaby just as Jae-yi walks in. Sun-jae jumps up and turns away, only to look completely fine when he faces Jae-yi. She was hoping to go home with Kwang-ho, but he explains that the team dinner is that night. Sun-jae offers her a ride home, but Kwang-ho insists that she take a taxi.

Realizing he’s without cash, Kwang-ho’s sorry that he didn’t get fifty dollars from Sung-shik, but after Sun-jae declares taxis dangerous, he and Jae-yi leave together. Kwang-ho yells after his daughter, but stops suddenly to grab the back of his head like he’s an overtaxed father in a drama. (Haha!) On the way home, Jae-yi admits that she drove her car, but Sun-jae says he already knew before admitting that he would like it if they became a habit.

The section chief gives the team money for their dinner and announces a paid three-day vacation as a reward, but Sung-shik complains that it should have been a week. As they look forward to the evening, Sung-shik recognizes that it will be their last team dinner together.

At dinner, the team learns that Kwang-ho plans to go back. A drunk Sung-shik protests before admitting that he’s happy because it was hard to be a maknae again at his age. After reminding Kwang-ho to have an extra fifty dollars on him at all times, he tries to insist that he’s happy, but he only starts to cry, and Kwang-ho has to look away.

Kwang-ho reminds everyone that he’s not about to die—he’s just going home. Min-ha wonders how it will change the present, but Kwang-ho reasons that he has to go back for them to find out. Kwang-ho tries to lift the heavy mood and asks Tae-hee to mix some soju and beer, since that mixture doesn’t exist in 1986.

Tae-hee wonders if their maknae will be the founder of the famed mixture, but Kwang-ho reminds him not to call him that. Sung-shik declares it a soju night, and the team raises their glasses together as the party continues.

Later, after Tae-hee and Min-ha have passed out, Kwang-ho announces his departure. Sun-jae watches grimly as Kwang-ho pats Sung-shik and credits them for their help in catching the killer before admitting, “I don’t know whether we’ll be able to meet again or not, but I know I won’t forget you.”

Sung-shik begs Kwang-ho not to go, and Sun-jae tells him that they’ll all be sad if he leaves like this, but Kwang-ho understands that the longer he stays, the harder it will be for him to leave. Resolved, Sun-jae offers him a ride, and Kwang-ho stands to look at his team members affectionately before walking out.

In the car, Sun-jae is quiet, and when Kwang-ho wonders if he has anything to say, he comments that farewells should be short. Kwang-ho looks at Sun-jae and remembers their time together, from their first meeting to the present. When Sun-jae asks why he’s staring, Kwang-ho admits, “I just wanted to remember your face.” After that comment, it’s Sun-jae’s turn to stare.

Sun-jae drops Kwang-ho off at home, and when he lingers, he’s warned against going into Jae-yi’s home. Sun-jae promises to return and drives away. Kwang-ho calls Jae-yi and asks her to come outside because he has something to tell her, but she invites him inside instead for the first meal she’s ever cooked.

Kwang-ho tastes the food, and Jae-yi beams when he declares it delicious. When she asks what he wanted to tell her, his face lets her know that they’re sharing their last meal together. She’s surprised that he plans to leave as soon as they’re done, but he explains that her mother’s waited too long. When Jae-yi asks if there’s any way that Kwang-ho can stay, he falls silent.

Kwang-ho reviews what he’s taught Jae-yi and can hardly believe his words when he tells her to call Sun-jae if something happens. Kwang-ho makes sure that she knows he doesn’t approve of them dating, and Jae-yi sweetly voices that she understands.

With that settled, Jae-yi asks for a photo of them together, and Kwang-ho smiles as she snaps it with her phone. Kwang-ho sends the photo to Sun-jae along with the text: “I’m going to protect Yeon-ho.” Sun-jae is in front of Jae-yi’s place when he gets the photo and message, and he chuckles when he reads it.

The mood is somber as the trio drives to the tunnel. Once there, they walk together to the opening, where Kwang-ho tells Jae-yi and Sun-jae that they can go. They don’t move, so Kwang-ho announces, “I’ll be going now,” as Jae-yi offers a smile of encouragement.

Sun-jae wonders if there’s any way for Kwang-ho to go back to before the murders started, but sadly realizes that it’s not possible. Jae-yi urges her father to go back to her mom, but as Kwang-ho starts to walk away, Jae-yi cries out, “Dad!” He turns around to look at his daughter one last time.

Sun-jae places his arm around a tearful Jae-yi, and Kwang-ho finally cries as he gazes at the two of them. When Kwang-ho asks Sun-jae to take care of his daughter, Sun-jae answers with a deep bow. Sun-jae and Jae-yi can’t hold back their tears as they watch Kwang-ho walk into the tunnel.

As he walks deeper into the tunnel, Kwang-ho tells himself that he did everything that he was supposed to and can go home to Yeon-sook. He begs, “Please help me get back,” and a pulse ripples through the tunnel as Kwang-ho runs to the other end.

It’s 1988 as Kwang-ho and Sung-shik chase the elusive cow thief. Kwang-ho vows to catch him, adding that he even travels through time to catch criminals! The thief gets away after he knocks down a woman because Kwang-ho runs to her side to see if she’s all right—but the woman is pregnant, and the fall causes her to go into labor. At a local clinic, the woman lies in bed and stares at her newborn while the doctor tells Kwang-ho that she got there just in time.

Kwang-ho shares that he has a five-month-old daughter of his own and starts to leave with Sung-shik when the mother asks Kwang-ho for his name. Since her husband’s name is Park, she calls her son Kwang-ho and tells him that he can become an amazing detective. And so, we meet Park Kwang-ho, 1988.

Kwang-ho realizes that he’s a mess as he walks home and smiles at the thought that Yeon-sook will nag him again. Kwang-ho walks up the stairs and overhears Yeon-sook ask, “Sun-jae, our Yeon-ho is pretty, isn’t she,” and he realizes that young Sun-jae is over for a visit.

Happy to come home, Kwang-ho walks through his gate to greet Yeon-sook, who has Yeon-ho in her arms. He gives Sun-jae a pat, and his smile is the only proof needed to know that he’s back where he belongs.

 
COMMENTS

This episode should come with a warning, so be prepared for multiple tearjerking scenes. I can’t say enough about the writing and the acting, plus a soundtrack that underlined the poignancy of the heart-wrenching farewells, but goodness, it was tough to say goodbye to our hero. Choi Jin-hyuk breathed such life into Kwang-ho—what a great role for his comeback. And Yoon Hyun-min, what a revelation! I can’t imagine another actor in the role of Sun-jae, which is the best compliment that I can give him. Their characters were the foundation of the story, and they balanced each other out so well in scene after scene.

But as for the character, Park Kwang-ho proved that he had a place in the future where he once felt so lost. He reconnected with his former maknae, now chief, Sung-shik, and they proved that time had done nothing to weaken their bond. Kwang-ho took the loner Sun-jae and transformed him into a true partner as he helped him to close the most painful chapter of his life.

Kwang-ho also discovered that he was the father of the strange girl on the first floor, and he embraced his role with such dedication and joy that he melted Jae-yi’s heart and helped her blossom into the caring woman that she was meant to be. I’m going to miss those sweet father-daughter exchanges that they enjoyed and the private meals that they shared. It was a testament to Kwang-ho’s abiding love for Yeon-sook that he was able to turn his back on everyone who wanted him to stay, because the pull from the past is what kept him from becoming rooted in the present.

Kwang-ho’s promise to catch the killer was finally fulfilled, but it was strangely anticlimactic because the real impact came from the victims’ families—who, after thirty years, were deeply touched that their loved ones hadn’t been forgotten. Sun-jae, as both a detective and a family member of a victim, had a unique perspective and was able to fully appreciate Kwang-ho’s doggedness and how it led to the capture of Dr. Mok. Similarly, no one was better equipped than Sun-jae to know what it meant to bid those who were once lost to rest in peace, at long last.

If you take out the time travel and the crimes, Tunnel was a story about an ordinary man who found himself in an extraordinary situation. Our hero was a simple man — Kwang-ho was crystal clear about what was important: As a detective, it was about saving people’s lives, and as a man, is was about sharing his life with Yeon-sook and Yeon-ho. In either timeline, Kwang-ho was never about promotions, money, or accolades — he lived his life fifty dollars at a time in the fast-paced present. He had his flaws — he was awfully emotional in the interrogation room and oftentimes spoke with his fists (and let’s not forget his uncomfortable attitudes about women), but his strengths did much to compensate for his weaknesses. Kwang-ho was loyal (talk about a one-woman man), tenacious, caring in his own gruff way, empathetic, and a natural-born detective. He showed time and again how one person can make a difference in the lives of others. Of course, Tunnel is a work of fiction, but I’d like to think that there are people like Kwang-ho, making their corner of the world a better place.

What made his farewell so difficult was that Kwang-ho was going back in time, where those in the present could have no further contact with him. He joked that he wasn’t dying, but he might as well have been, since the disconnect would be so permanent. As he did his best to tie up loose ends, I was worried that he was going to disapprove of Sun-jae to the bitter end, but his entrusting Jae-yi to him at the tunnel (and Sun-jae’s subsequent bow) told us everything we needed to know.

I’ll admit that at first, I was disappointed in the ending. I was relieved that Kwang-ho made it back to the past, but deep down, I wanted a time jump to the present to be reassured that he and Yeon-sook were very much alive and part of Yeon-ho’s life (and that she never became Jae-yi because she wasn’t adopted). But after giving it some thought, I appreciate that Kwang-ho will be remembered as young and vibrant, full of love, purpose, and hope. With his wife and daughter by his side, Kwang-ho’s megawatt smile leaves us with the promise that he will treasure each and every day.

RELATED POSTS

Comments