“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr
Episode 15 Recap by EE
This episode begins with our hero Sun Woo in a deep dark cave (literal and metaphorical) of his own design. He’s painted himself into a little corner and is shying away from the light, a light which might actually be his salvation. It’s no coincidence that we see Min Young framed in a sunburst here.
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Previously on Nine:
- Sun Woo confronts 1993 Hyung Jung Woo at the record store, Jung Woo tells Choi.
- Sun Woo runs from Park Chang Min, (Choi’s arsonist/henchman) jumps off bridge in order to survive (Now that I have a name for him, I will just stick to calling him his given name of Chang Min. His family name is Park, but there is no indication that he is in any way related to Daddy Park or Jung Woo or Sun Woo. And Park is a fairly common name in Korea, similar to Jones or Smith. I think it will be less confusing going forward to refer to him as Chang Min.)
- Sun Woo talked 1993 Jung Woo into confessing his crime to the police, but Choi bribed the policeman and reclaimed the tape
- Min Young makes a difficult decision and deletes Sun Woo’s declarations of love texts
- Tears for the OTP (One True Pair)
We open this episode on 4/23/13.
There is a newspaper with the headline “Is Park Sun Woo Injured?” about Sun Woo’s stabbing, stepping down from the anchor desk, and Choi. Seo Joon picks it up. I am not sure if this means he feels guilty about the beating or just being a nosy Nellie.
Young Hoon receives a phone call from Sun Woo’s surgeon (from the stabbing) he goes to Sun Woo’s house to see why he missed his follow up treatments. He finds a mess of junk food wrappers and empty soju bottles. It’s not one of my favorite drama tropes (ladies seem to down pints of Hagen Dazs after a break up. I can’t say I never ate ice cream, but I never treated it as a solution for my man troubles either,) but I suppose it is not completely out of line for an unemployed bachelor.
Young Hoon chastises Sun Woo for drinking all that alcohol while he is recovering from surgery
Sun Woo says he had nothing better to do, he resigned from the news desk under the guise of being injured (and therefore he couldn’t go out on the town.) He also claims to have too much media attention; it was too awkward to go to the hospital. He is even holding a little resentment towards Young Hoon for telling Min Young everything and influencing he decision to stay his niece.
Young Hoon tells Sun Woo that Min Young is putting forth an effort, trying to go back to normal. She is even on a vacation with her family to the Japanese hot springs. Why is it so difficult for Sun Woo to go back to being her uncle as he had for the past 3 months? (I think this also plays into the Korean tradition of 100 Days. As I understand it, it dates back to centuries ago when infant mortality rates were high and it was believed that if your baby survived his/her first 100 days, he or she would most likely survive childhood diseases. Babies have 100 Day “birthdays” to this day, and couples celebrate their 100 Day mark in their relationship (in the similar notion that if you don’t break up with someone in that first 100 days your relationship will most likely survive). It only makes sense to extend this line of thinking to this new “timeline” . . . if Sun Woo could act as her uncle for 100 days, surely he could do it for the rest of their life.)
Min Young’s Mother has heard from a friend about Sun Woo’s stabbing, she asks Min Young if it was really that serious. He has even left his job. Min Young tries to shrug it off, saying “I don’t know.” This just makes Yoo Jin feel the need to call Sun Woo directly.
Yoon Jin puts Min Young on the phone (hello . . .AWKWARD), Sun Woo’s eyes snap open upon hearing her voice. She asks how he is doing, he says he is eating, sleeping, and having fun. Life is so easy without a job. He asks her and gets the same answer. He asks about his Hyung and Min Young tells him that he stayed behind for a VIP surgery but he will definitely come tomorrow because it is her parents’ anniversary (DUN DUN DUUUUUN! Was there foreboding music there or was that just in my head?)
When Sun Woo gets off the phone, he asks Young Hoon how Hyung is doing since he has not seen him. Young Hoon is confused; he thought Hyung Jung Woo was on vacation.
Young Hoon gets the nurse at the hospital to check Jung Woo’s office, she knocks but there is no answer. She also hears Jung Woo’s cell phone ringing from inside the office, which worries Sun Woo.
In his rush to get to the hospital, Sun Woo has burst his stitches. Sun Woo approaches just as they are using the bolt cutters on the security chain to get into Jung Woo’s office, it reminds Sun Woo of busting in and finding Jung Woo kneeling over bleeding dad when he time traveled to 1992.
Jung Woo says he spoke to Min Young, tears in his eyes. He wants to know why they don’t just run away. If they do, Jung Woo and Yoo Jin will also go back to the US and it won’t matter what anyone says in Korea. Yoo Jin will probably be upset at first, but eventually she will come around. Sun Woo tells him that just wasn’t the best option. As many ways as he tried to fix things he always failed, the fairest thing to do was to give Min Young the choice. Hyung shouldn’t be too upset, because Min Young chose to keep him as a father.
Meanwhile at CBM, the Director receives a call from another station. The opposing manager is making snide comments about Sun Woo deserving to be punished for his personal affairs, suggesting that Choi had nothing to do with it.
The Director is furious, yelling about false rumors and accusations. It’s so sweet that he is still defending Sun Woo. The intern pops into his office and announces he has “found it” and holds up a document. A resume?
Young Hoon talks to Sun Woo, saying he should notify his sister in law. His brother may not hold on long enough for them to say their goodbyes. When Sun Woo doesn’t respond, Young Hoon says he will take care of the call.
From a distance, Seo Joon watches Sun Woo with tears forming. It looks like he doesn’t know what to say or how to say it. I am not sure how Seo Joon fits into today’s episode either. We keep seeing him affected by these tragic events with the Park family, does he feel like he inadvertently revealed their affair and indirectly pushed Jung Woo to suicide? I am not saying he should be indifferent, he at least knew Jung Woo as a Sunbae (Senior) around the hospital, and certainly I get having feelings of sympathy towards Min Young even if he is still mad at her. I just don’t know why we (as the audience) need to see his concern from afar. Perhaps Sun Woo feels his eyes on him and looks up, meeting his gaze.
Sun Woo is sitting staring blankly in the waiting area. News intern Bum Suk calls him but he doesn’t seem to realize his phone is ringing. Young Hoon comes up and tells him the ladies are on their way back from Japan. He notices the blood on Sun Woo’s shirt and takes off to find a doctor to treat him.
Sun Woo gets another call from Bum Suk, this time he notices the ringing. He says “They found the man that stabbed you!”
Police show up at a gas station, Park Chang Min is either the manager or the owner (the spoils of stabbing Sun Woo back in 1993?) He sees the police and he hides a set of keys before they enter his office. They arrest him for attacking Sun Woo at the CBM offices on April 11, he is confused . . .Who is Park Sun Woo? (Clearly, Chang Min does not watch the Channel 9 News.)
Chang Min was in the system from a 2004 conviction, he has a history of multiple assault charges and an attempted murder. We also see the Director telling the news room that they were able to match contributions from Choi via Myungse Hospital over the past 20 years to Chang Min’s parents. Bum Suk says this is a lucky break, Sun Woo disagrees: it is the worst thing that could happen.
Young Hoon comes back with a doctor to look at Sun Woo’s stitches but he is gone.
Choi is not pleased with the newspaper reports when he gets a call from “a man named Park he knows from 20 years ago.” Chang Min is calling him from the police station (I assume he is granted some sort of right to privacy, but really the arresting officers are all of ten feet behind him.) He tells Choi he should remember him from things like the arson. He then says he is confused because he did not stab Park Sun Woo but they found his finger nail inside of this man. He also says he recognized the knife as his from 20 years ago, and having seen pictures of Park Sun Woo he LOOKS like the guy he DID stab 20 years ago but only if he never aged. (Really, why is he saying ALL OF THIS in the police station?) Choi doesn’t get a chance to say much, but Chang Min tells him he will bring Choi down with him if Choi refuses to back him up.
Young Hoon busts in on him (I know they are close, but can’t a fella get a little privacy?) Young Hoon asks what Sun Woo is doing; Sun Woo says “That man (Chang Min) has been caught. Choi isn’t far from figuring this out, and he will chase this information down with his disgusting will!”
Choi recalls meeting with Chang Min by the river back in 1993. They talk about how unsettling it is that the body never surfaced. Chang Min insists he was severely injured, there is no way he could have swam out and survived. He would have to be some sort of super human. This is even more unsettling to present day Choi.
Choi asks his secretary to get him Jung Woo, after stepping away for a moment Choi’s secretary comes back and reports that Jung Woo is in critical condition at his hospital, rumor says it is a suicide attempt.
Choi goes to the hospital and sees Sun Woo in the waiting area. He asks to look in on Jung Woo, saying they are still friends (which is weird because Choi’s secretary didn’t seem familiar with Jung Woo’s name when asked to contact him.)
Sun Woo pulls out the letter Jung Woo left for him, the envelope is now bloody from being tucked inside his jacket. We flash back to him reading it in Jung Woo’s office. He starts by saying “Forgive me for leaving you with all of the burdens; I know what you sacrificed for me. I don’t have the strength to carry on, I’m sorry. There is one thing I didn’t tell you . . .”
. . . This leads to another flashback of Jung Woo confronting mom at the funeral in 1993 about his paternity. She cries and we get yet ANOTHER flashback (1968 or so) of Choi confronting a young Son Myung Hee (Jung Woo’s and Sun Woo’s mom. Eventually.) Choi is shocked that Myung Hee married his best friend, after always leading him on. She insists that was never the case, she just went out with him a couple times because he kept begging. Choi retorts that she is a gold digger, if not for his friend Park having more money . . . but she stops him. She says Park is a better man, and it was never about his money. This is when Choi loses it and drags her down the dark alley into a motel. In his letter to Sun Woo, Jung Woo says mom was so embarrassed to have a son from that, and Jung Woo (like his mother) never wanted anyone to find out. From such a horrible beginning he became the kind of horrible person who would kill the man who raised him and eventually get in the way of his daughter’s happiness. He also hurt his little brother. He ends by saying “try to forgive mother and me. I am so very sorry.”
Choi goes in to see Jung Woo and comes out. He stops at Sun Woo in the waiting area, who tucks his bloody envelope back inside his jacket. He mutters that Jung Woo was always weak, even though he seemed to be doing well he was flawed. Choi calls it a shame. Sun Woo looks up. “You know who should be ashamed? I have too much dignity to even tell you. You were the one who is lacking.”
Choi says he must be going senile, because he seems to remember waiting for the body of a man like Sun Woo to float up from the river, and he adds with a cackle “Do you have a time machine, like in the movies?” Sun Woo surprises him by saying “Yes.” Choi goes on to say his trial starts tomorrow and he will most likely be in prison after that, Sun Woo shouldn’t waste his time framing him for something he had nothing to do with. Sun Woo corrects him; Choi had everything to do with his stabbing in 1993. The police back then were too corrupt to prove it but now DNA will bring him justice. And he can’t stand the fact that Choi dares to feel that he is treated unfairly now. Sun Woo thinks Choi’s freedom over the last 20 years is what is really unfair. Sun Woo says he could go back and block all of the success Choi has had since then . . . or just kill him cleanly and leave nothing behind to trace to himself. Choi stares him down for a moment and says if he ever figures out how, the only thing stopping him is a little high school student. (Okay, that would be bad. Like way worse than Biff in Back to the Future going back and placing bets and turning lovely Hill Valley into a grimy scuzzy Las Vegas style Sin City.)
Choi gets into the car and tells his secretary to dig into Sun Woo’s every moment from December 31 until the stabbing. He wants every journal, text message (UH OH), video tape, recording ANYTHING to track his every moment.
Sun Woo sits in the waiting area, clutching the charred incense case and last remaining stick when Yoo Jin and Min Young come running in. Yoo Jin heads straight for her husband; Min Young is trembling and looks at Sun Woo. And we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow . . .
First, I clicked away before any preview for Tuesday’s episode. I think I can handle waiting a couple of hours until seeing it all in context. That being said . . . I am troubled. This episode went to some pretty dark places, and I had no love for Choi to begin with but a person theorizing on suicides just really REALLY rubs me the wrong way. I am concerned about Sun Woo planning any murdering in the past. I think that stands a very good chance of having bad repercussions for 1993 Sun Woo. Besides, even when it is justified, murder just puts an awful stain on your soul. I am sure it is no coincidence that Hyung and Yoo Jin are near their 20 year anniversary, just in time for Sun Woo to run in and object? Claim to be her secret lover? I am picturing the ending scene from The Graduate (maybe because I drove past the United Methodist Church on Sunday and it worked its way into my sub consciousness). This time it is Sun Woo banging on the window shouting “Yoo Jin!” That would be kinda funny. And we could use a little more funny to battle all the melo up in here.
Bleak and bleaker, eh? I do not know what Sun-woo can do with one stick? Does he go and stop the wedding? Or, let’s say he kills Choi, how’ll that help anyone in his life now? By the way, we haven’t really gotten into the discussion of Choi’s research. Was it really beneficial to mankind what he did? Would there be folks who don’t survive if Sun-woo takes Choi out early?
I was also perplexed by the shot of tearful Cute Hoobae. Was it more than sympathy tears? Did he play a part in Hyung’s attempted suicide by not acting on a hunch and ignoring warning signs from his chief?
I like EE’s idea about Min-young being the light in the darkness for everyone. Surely, there has to be a way back to happiness for our OTP!
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
― Anne Frank