Two Weeks: Episodes 3-4 Review

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I’m going to try something a little different for these two episodes. Rather than a recap, or weecap, I’ll assume that you’ve seen the episodes already and just talk about my thoughts on the episode. Yes – spoilers abound! I mean, how else can I talk about the episode?

Episode 3 felt like a strange filler episode, while episode 4 really pushed the series along to such speeds that I found myself thinking “This is too fast! How’d we get to this conclusion already?!” It’s undeniable the focus and greater care in episode 3 was on Jae Kyung, as she had to grapple with Mi Sook’s death and try to track down the killer. Then on episode 4, we had more filler moments as Tae San narrows his focus and starts working towards his goal of clearing his name. I’m guessing that once we get to episode 5, it’s pretty much a race between the police, Moon’s goons, and Tae San to get the evidence first — alive.

When Jae Kyung learns the main suspect is Jang Tae San, she knows immediately that something is afoot. It’s a statement that we viewers would make immediately in a slow-going melodrama (“It’s that guy doing it all! Our hero is innocent! Stop being stupid, people of the law!”), while the “good guys” trod on slowly to the truth. So her jump to the (right) conclusion is satisfying and grounded in previous knowledge (so that it doesn’t seem to be too unbelievable how she got to that conclusion). It turns out she had been the daughter of the man Moon Il Suk killed, and then pinned the murder on Tae San. (It’s strange to think that Tae San is technically older than her when he kinda looks younger than her. Anyways…)

She knows that Moon put the blame on Tae San because she saw Moon kill her father herself. So the fact that Tae San now killed Mi Sook – who was involved with Moon and was working under her orders – is suspicious to her. However she can’t reveal that to the police just yet, just as Seung Woo can’t reveal that In Hye (his fiancee) has a connection to Tae San. He is also quite a quick-thinker, wondering if Tae San is possibly Soo Jin’s father since he has never met the guy. With their personal connection to the case, I can understand why they don’t want to reveal their knowledge just yet, as gut feelings are not evidence and it could very well pull them off a case that they want to get to the bottom of. Not to mention, it’s probably very hard for most people to see Senator Jo as an evil person. (If only her maid could say something about her luxurious mansion accessible through an underground tunnel from her cheap-looking home…!)

And yet I sometimes wonder if they revealed their insider knowledge, it just might help Tae San. Especially in Jae Kyung’s case, her instinct could save Tae San’s life, and if Seung Woo would just confront In Hye about Tae San’s identity, perhaps he’d want to help Tae San stay alive until the surgery is over. He cares so much about Soo Jin that I’d hope his love for the girl could override his sense of justice. I mean – he could just handcuff Tae San to his hospital bed, wait for the surgery, then throw him into jail. But these things could only happen if Jae Kyung and Seung Woo say something, or ask the right questions. And they haven’t reached that point yet.

Jae Kyung certainly made her first move against Senator Jo and Moon Il Suk though, and in this chess game, Jae Kyung looks to have the advantage. Though she is having difficulty procuring the digital camera that has all the evidence, she has knowledge that Senator Jo and Moon are learning about slowly, and she’s forcing Senator Jo to make uncharacteristic moves. She didn’t reveal her pursuit of Senator Jo’s son in the States yet either, who’s supposedly disabled and living with Senator Jo. Imagine if the senator finds out about that! While it’s frightening because it makes Senator Jo more unpredictable, it’s also forcing her to show her vulnerable side. To use her pull as Senator and ask for favors from the prosecution department shows how desperate she is to get Jae Kyung off the case. It even makes Jae Kyung’s boss suspicious of the Senator, and all the more supportive of his employee. (I really hope he doesn’t get killed in the process – Man Suk already got killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.) And then she goes to Moon’s office to slap him for getting her filmed; she goes to his office (a public location) in the daylight (when people are at work and could see her come in and out). It’s actually exciting because they’ve established that Senator Jo is a meticulous and predictable woman when it comes to making deals, and even Moon – her partner-in-crime – is confused over her new behavior.

I’m hoping he’ll use her sudden erratic behavior to his advantage. And then this chessboard will become like Chinese checkers. And don’t underestimate Chinese checkers.

I did think that Jae Kyung discovering the pawnshop receipt was a little too fortuitous. Her dress is bloody, and you’re gonna hug her dress and bra in tears? Not to detract from Kim So Yeon’s heartfelt performance, but it’s a little strange. (Also – a close up on the stab wounds in Mi Sook’s abdomen gives a very brief shot of her private regions too. Whoa.)

Meanwhile, Tae San escapes, and he realizes that there are cameras on the road and many witnesses stuck in traffic seeing him all bloodied on a motorcycle. He flashes back to a scene in “The Fugitive” of Tommy Lee Jones directing his team to secure every area and find where Harrison Ford might be. It’s an oddly cut montage, because it’s a really random movie reference that comes out of nowhere. The assumption is that Tae San has watched the movie, and what happens there informs his next moves. But that’s a huge assumption we have to make because we’ve never seen him watching a Hollywood movie; the one instance we see him watching a movie, it’s a Korean movie. It also doesn’t flow quite smoothly in that scene; I think that if we saw a glimpse of Tae San watching the movie first, then it would have made sense. It wouldn’t have fit the pace of the drama at that moment, but it could have been placed somewhere else. In addition, I think that it was completely unnecessary; seeing him worry about the cameras is enough to know that he’s going to try and find a place to hide.

But at least these random movie montages will be a running motif in this drama, since in episode 4 we saw a glimpse of Geena Davis turning her brown locks into peroxide blond, and cutting it really short. Again, cut randomly, but we see an instant connection as Tae San restyles his hair and dons glasses a la Clark Kent. But really – I wish we knew he was a Hollywood film aficionado before seeing all this. Maybe it was a deleted scene left on the cutting room floor.

Tae San ends up escaping near a construction site. He steals a drink because he’s so thirsty – a scene that I think was given too much screen time as it could have been shorter – and tries to figure out how to hide. Thankfully, the drink came with a straw; he’ll hide in the sand and breathe through the straw. This is me staring while I watch that scene:

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Like, really? He’s at a construction site — why can’t he find something to help cut his handcuffs first?! Or steal a bolt cutter or something!? He’s been wearing those handcuffs for far too long. When he finally breaks his hands apart, he still finds himself with two ‘bracelets’ encircling his wrist. I kind of wish he knew how to pick locks… Or even thought to ask the young woman whom he ties up as hostage to help. She seemed to trust that he wouldn’t hurt her, and yet he didn’t trust her to help pick a lock or try to help him break it. He can’t go very far without cutting off those cuffs.

All in all, emotionally the drama hits the right spots. Tae San and Jae Kyung bring in the raw emotion of desperation and need for justice. I find it poignant that Tae San imagines conversations with Soo Jin when he’s in a tight spot to find the will to go on. But somehow, there’s still something missing about the episodes that could have tied it all together – and I think it has to do with the development of the story. Despite the limited number of days that we have left (and I assume each day will be approximately one episode), it is moving a little more unevenly than I would like. Like I said earlier, episode 3 felt uneven because Jae Kyung’s storyline moved so quickly, and Tae San’s developed so slowly. I understand that he’s on the run, but for Jae Kyung to be everywhere in one day so quickly, how could he have not done more in that one insanely long day? We’re getting a lot of revelations about things that happened in the past or how Tae San and Jae Kyung are connecting the dots to Moon Il Suk, but it’s all through thinking. And it’s kind of boring to watch people think.

I’m not writing off this series in any way. In fact, I think the drama as a whole picks up at the end of episode 4 now that we have Tae San admitting his situation to In Hye (so one more driving force to get to the truth of the matter for her daughter’s sake) and he’s starting to figure out what’s going on with Moon’s goals. But I did feel like I got jerked around a lot with the editing and the story development that weren’t as smooth.

Anyways, we’ve got D-13 to D-day.

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