Equator Man: Episode 7
As if there weren’t enough reasons for Jang-il to hate Sun-woo, now there’s that little thing called love to contend with. (No, not love for each other – that time has come and gone.) It seems like Sun-woo has forgotten that eternal mantra of bros before completely respectable girls with angelic demeanors who volunteer their time to help the needy – although I guess someone fails to be your ‘bro’ when they hit you over the head and turn you blind. Rock on, Sun-woo.
(Note: This episode was broadcast during the elections, hence the bar at the bottom of all the screenshots.)
EPISODE 7 RECAP
We hear young Ji-won’s rendition of “Moon River” as Jang-il approaches quietly on purpose, trying to avoid Sun-woo’s notice. After setting down the bouquet of flowers he sits for the rest of the performance, and it’s only after the music has stopped that Sun-woo turns toward Jang-il’s direction, as if sensing his presence.
Jang-il is forced to sit and listen as Sun-woo and Ji-won exchange pleasantries and the promise of a future date, though Sun-woo leaves without knowing Jang-il was ever there.
It’s here where things start to get intense, and it seems like Ji-won knows she has to tread carefully – the very aura around Jang-il screams unpredictability and danger. With dead eyes Jang-il confronts her about Sun-woo, and admits that he came because he missed her. Their exchange is tense as Jang-il attempts to corner her into a date with him, unable to understand why she’s being kinder to Sun-woo than she is to him. Is it sympathy?
So Jang-il uses a patented solution to get any girl on your team – he throws Ji-won against the wall and tries to forcefully kiss her. (Way to go there, champ.) Luckily he doesn’t make it far and Ji-won is able to push him away.
To add insult to injury, Sun-woo comes back into the room to find his clock (the one that verbally tells him the time). Jang-il’s expression looks like it’s been carved in stone as he takes it, slowly kneeling by Sun-woo so he can press the button right by his ear. There’s something inherently creepy about the way Jang-il carries himself, in that every little motion becomes something much darker than it seems.
Sun-woo leaves, again not knowing that Jang-il was ever in the room.
At home (aka Jang-il’s apartment), Sun-woo begins to type his petition to the police in Braille, picking up where he left off before the accident. Geum-jool opens his mouth about Sun-woo’s “date” that caused him to come home late, which sends Jang-il into his room under the pretense of friendly civility.
You can just see Jang-il struggling to keep his emotions in check as he interrogates Sun-woo about Ji-won. (“Why don’t you go out with her?” “You think she likes you?” “What kind of person is she?”) Sun-woo plays it all off by first saying that he doesn’t date ugly women, only he can’t tell if she’s ugly or not because he can’t see. This allows him to give a friendly reminder to Jang-il: “You be careful and keep your eyesight.” Ha.
Jang-il sees past Sun-woo’s bluffing to realize that Sun-woo does, in fact, like Ji-won. Bad news for Sun-woo.
Yong-bae receives a mysterious letter with the author claiming that he saw Yong-bae commit murder that night on the mountain and needs $30,000 to keep his mouth shut. We know the letter is from Kwang-choon, but Yong-bae doesn’t.
Fate is a funny thing though, and in a crowded local restaurant Kwang-choon finds himself sitting directly across from Yong-bae. Awkward. He knows Yong-bae is drowning himself in soju because of the letter, and whether it’s out of curiosity or a misplaced sense of sympathy Kwang-choon keeps trying to get Yong-bae to open up about what’s bothering him.
This culminates in Yong-bae lashing out at Kwang-choon for meddling in his business, and he tries to stumble out of the restaurant. Kwang-choon makes the offhanded comment “He’s about to commit murder tonight,” which gets him in a chokehold by Yong-bae, who’s obviously extremely sensitive on the topic of murder.
Why Kwang-choon said it, I don’t know. Maybe he wanted to inflict a little karmic justice on Yong-bae, and it works in that Yong-bae loses all semblance of composure. Kwang-choon finally scares him into letting go by repeating the name: “Kim Sun-woo.” Yikes. Now I’m worried for Kwang-choon’s safety if Yong-bae connects these very obvious dots.
Unaware at first that Jang-il has stayed home in lieu of going to school, Sun-woo places a call to the police station to ask for directions on how to get there. Jang-il’s eyes shoot open, and he redials the number once Sun-woo is in the other room to confirm that it was the police that Sun-woo called.
Sun-woo realizes Jang-il is home, while Jang-il confronts him about the phone call. Why did he call? There’s a pause before Sun-woo answers that the police give out special things to the blind, like city maps in Braille. I’m sure Jang-il doesn’t believe him for a second.
And he doesn’t, as we get a lovely montage of creepy shots where we see Jang-il silently following Sun-woo, only a few steps behind at all times. Sun-woo remains unaware.
Jang-il doesn’t keep following him as he nears his destination, and chooses to walk alone on a busy bridge instead.
Yong-bae gives an unsympathetic Chairman Jin updates on the situation, which seems to backfire on him. Chairman Jin at first suspects him for joining hands with the blackmailer to extort money from him, and then insists that if Yong-bae had done this all correctly, none of this would have happened.
Yong-bae firmly insists that he did everything he could – but how could he deal with something like this alone? Chairman Jin clearly suspects that Yong-bae had a hand in Sun-woo’s accident, and it’s not like Yong-bae is lying when he assures him that he didn’t. Chairman Jin promises to give him the money, while Yong-bae says that he will “take good care of Sun-woo.”
Somehow those words don’t conjure up an image of Yong-bae tucking Sun-woo in at night with a bedtime story, unless that story is, “How I Killed Your Father.”
The theme of Ji-won’s audiobook reading today is the idea of waiting, and how one always waits for what they don’t have. She’s not at the library when Sun-woo goes, having strained her voice in her attempts to complete one of his requested audiobooks, which is sweet. The woman at the desk instead hands Sun-woo two tickets to the orchestra, a prize he’s won for checking out the most books.
Ji-won happens to see Sun-woo just as he goes into a boutique, asking the employee to help him choose a beautiful scarf as a gift. She goes into the store and sees/hears the entire exchange, and it’s telling that when he’s asked about Ji-won’s looks he doesn’t have an answer. He doesn’t know the first thing about what she looks like, but it doesn’t matter to him. (Not just because he’s blind – she’s treated him with kindness, so the connection is emotional.)
She pulls a Jang-il in that she starts following Sun-woo without him knowing, doing tiny things here and there to help him (like pressing the button on the crosswalk to announce to him that he’s now able to cross). He’s clearly looking for her and she knows it, but for whatever reason she hides at first.
Next we see her, she’s wearing the scarf and asking Sun-woo how she looks in it. It’s a courtesy question, but she happily informs him that her face is white (something the boutique employee asked) and that the color suits her well.
She makes it known that she wants to go to the orchestra with him, so they set the time and date to have some coffee before they go. Aww.
Yong-bae is at the apartment when Sun-woo and Geum-jool return, and he waits until he thinks Sun-woo is asleep to place a call to Chairman Jin. Alright, I have a really hard time believing that the extra paranoid Yong-bae thinks that making this sort of call in the middle of a dead-quiet apartment is a great idea – but either way, Sun-woo overhears him expositing to Chairman Jin that Sun-woo couldn’t have written the letter (handwriting doesn’t match) and that he has no reason to be suspicious of him.
Great job, Yong-bae, because now he does.
Sun-woo waits for Ji-won at the entrance to the orchestra hall, though she’s forty minutes late. An announcement comes that the show will be postponed fifteen minutes due to an accident on the nearby highway, which causes Sun-woo to grow concerned. In vain he tries to ask about the accident – was anyone hurt? – because he’s worried that Ji-won might have been in it.
Luckily she was just caught in the jam, and arrives just as Sun-woo is leaving to look for each other. They pass each other without realizing it.
They almost pass each other again outside the hall, but Ji-won sees him at the last moment and calls out his name. She’s wearing the scarf he gave her.
She tries to explain what happened, but is stopped by the look of pure devastation on his face. He drops his cane to pull her into an embrace, just relieved that she’s okay.
Ji-won considers him for a long moment once he pulls away, as though she’s seeing him in a new light. He wants to make sure that she’s okay, which she assures him of even as she wonders what they’ll do now that they’ve missed the show. Sun-woo says that he’s okay if he misses all the shows – basically, that everything is fine now that she’s safe. He pulls her into another embrace.
To make up for the missed show, Ji-won leads him into an empty concert hall with a piano and sits him down. She begins to play him a song, though he soon joins in with his voice and sings along to the tune. It’s adorable.
We get treated to a montage of dates set to the same song Ji-won was playing, as they ride a tandem bicycle together and go to a field where Sun-woo can run without fear of bumping into anything and falling. Except he starts going off course, and in her effort to stop him they both end up falling on top of each other.
In this intimate position, Sun-woo gently runs his fingers along her face, as though mapping it out in his mind. “You’re more beautiful than I imagined,” he tells her.
Meanwhile, Chairman Jin achieves a long sought-after business deal (seems like it’s for a resort of some kind) and delivers a speech about how he never gave up on his dreams. His secretary receives a phone call from Yong-bae during the meeting.
We get our first glimpse of Soo-mi this episode as she has a verbal sparring match with one of her jealous female classmates. Soo-mi has been chosen to represent their school in a national art competition, which incenses the other girl to no end – and Soo-mi doesn’t make matters any better as she coolly responds to her criticism, “I guess I won’t say you should work on your painting since you have time to be jealous. Because even if you work on it for a hundred years, you will never be as good as me.”
Her classmate dumps a drink on Soo-mi’s head in response.
Kwang-choon finds her looking at his now-dilapidated business sign, the very one we once saw him hanging up, brand new. She asks him if he’s ever considered her feelings when she’s been stoned by people her whole life for having a shaman as a father. He simply replies that being his daughter was her fate, and she’s got no one to blame.
Father and daughter then share a couple of beers while Soo-mi discusses the upcoming art competition – if she gets third place or higher, she can go study abroad. She vows to get first, and if she does, she wants her father to quit his failing business, change his name, and go to Seoul.
Their heart to heart turns more serious as they argue over the schematics, though Soo-mi finally entreats him with tears. “Are you really my father? Am I really your daughter? Can’t you do that just for me?” She claims that all she received from him was painting talent, but otherwise her life sucks – her mother left, and all her dad amounts to is a conman.
Soo-mi asks him to look into her future. Is she going to remain alone for the rest of her life? She begins to cry, which is eventually what gets Kwang-choon to agree. If she gets the scholarship, he’ll do as she asks.
As she cries, we see the picture of Jang-il she drew still hanging on her wall.
Speak of the devil, Jang-il answers the phone from his apartment to hear Ji-won on the other end. She doesn’t know Sun-woo is living with Jang-il, and asks to speak with Sun-woo. Jang-il listens in on their conversation, which ends with a lovey-dovey exchange of, “You hang up first.” “No, you hang up first.”
Jang-il asks, half-mockingly, “You have a girlfriend now, Kim Sun-woo?” They discuss Sun-woo’s moving plans, as he’s now found a separate apartment to live in. Jang-il offers his apartment for as long as Sun-woo needs, though he says it in a robotic manner of courtesy, hoping that Sun-woo will decline (which he does).
Under the pretense of being a caring friend, Jang-il wonders aloud whether Sun-woo’s “girlfriend” is making a rash decision based on her emotions, and that he’s worried for Sun-woo.
Sun-woo simply replies that it’s too late because he already likes her, so if this is just some flight of fancy on her end, he’s bound to get hurt. He’d rather it be later rather than now, to which Jang-il emotionlessly replies that he can do as he likes then.
Chairman Jin gives Yong-bae the blackmail money as promised, with the caveat that Yong-bae must get a look at the face of the man blackmailing him. He drops the bag of cash into the appropriate trashbin, and Kwang-choon approaches it dressed as a fish market merchant.
Unfortunately for Kwang-choon, he takes note of Yong-bae standing guard, and knows better than to take the money. After a while Yong-bae takes it back and places a call to Chairman Jin, and Kwang-choon overhears the conversation. Yong-bae is really useful at spilling important information over phone calls – this time, Kwang-choon gets to hear that the money will be in the car trunk, along with Yong-bae using the term “Chairman.”
Kwang-choon follows Yong-bae to Chairman Jin’s house, and sees the money go into the car along with Chairman Jin. His eyes narrow as he tries to put all the pieces together.
Geum-jool helps Sun-woo move into his new place, although he doesn’t even have anything to move and the place is pretty shabby. He sinks down to the floor and we’re treated to a very long fadeout, and then a fadein as Ji-won comes bearing gifts of detergent and toilet paper as a housewarming gift for Sun-woo’s good fortune.
She asks about Geum-jool, and why he always wears that chain around his neck. (It explains his name, which literally translates to Gold Rope, ha.)
When given a choice of books, Sun-woo again asks for Ji-won to read him Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. She’s all too happy to read for him, except the singular light bulb in the apartment goes out the second she cracks open the book. Sun-woo, none the wiser, asks what’s wrong.
He doesn’t let her leave to buy a new bulb for him, and instead invites her to sit in the dark with him. Luckily he doesn’t need light to read Braille, and so he sets to reading her a passage from one of his books which also functions like a love poem to her, in which he reads, “If you feel the same as I do, please let me know. I’m going to leave on a journey – you stay here. I won’t be lonely with you in my heart.”
Ji-won wants to know what the title of the book is, but he tells her that it’s so old that the Braille on the cover has worn off. In order to mark it as her favorite, she places three heart stickers on the cover.
Moon Tae-joo has finally tracked down Sun-woo’s whereabouts, and asks his minion what he thinks of “his son” living in a place like this. Though he speaks in Korean, his minion responds only in English. Tae-joo instructs him to teach Sun-woo everything from English to French, kendo and fencing, even how to pick up girls.
He decides not to reveal himself to Sun-woo just yet, because Sun-woo has company. (Maybe he doesn’t need those lessons on how to pick up girls after all.)
We find Kwang-choon at his blackmail station once again, plastic gloves and pen at the ready. This time he writes to Chairman Jin, opening the letter by asking if he had Yong-bae kill Sun-woo’s dad. Yiiikes.
Sun-woo mentioned something about a massage class earlier, and it looks like that’s the trade he’s learning. Ji-won comes to his work place to give him support via a water bottle, but the air becomes charged when his hand covers hers and holds it.
He tries out his new massage therapist techniques on her next (it’s way cleaner than it sounds), but it’s not the skinship that makes her uncomfortable – it’s the idea that his job options are limited only to this. She wants to know why he can’t see, and asks what caused the accident.
“I got hit in the back of my head,” he tells her – but gives no more details than that. He’ll tell her someday.
Chairman Jin receives Kwang-choon’s letter asking for one-hundred grand, and nearly laughs as he reads it over. Perhaps due to Yong-bae’s misplaced suspicion, Chairman Jin isn’t ruling out Sun-woo as the letter’s author… and orders Yong-bae to kill him. Just in case.
Tears immediately spring to Yong-bae’s eyes. “I can’t do that, Chairman. I can’t do that even if you threaten my life. I don’t want to sin anymore. Actually… I’m afraid,” he admits. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy.
Chairman Jin relents a little, and says instead that Yong-bae should scare Sun-woo a little first – because next time, the letter could go to Jang-il. He certainly knows what words to say to get Yong-bae to do anything, even though Yong-bae is practically shaking and crying at the thought of hurting Sun-woo.
At this reluctance, Chairman Jin turns on him and asks, “You want me to kill him?” In a tone that sounds more like, You dare expect me to do something myself?
Sun-woo is off on his massage therapist training trip, where the elderly without money are allowed to receive free massages. He approaches the hotel room door of the client…
…And Chairman Jin opens up the door, wearing a robe and ready for his massage.
I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation as to why Sun-woo ended up at Chairman Jin’s door – and hopefully it involves a misunderstanding of some sort. Because if not… what is going on there? Is Chairman Jin pretending to be old and elderly for a free massage? He should know what adult Sun-woo looks since he visited him in the hospital, right?
At first it seemed like Chairman Jin’s paranoia about the legitimacy of his fiancée’s child was unfounded, though some key flashbacks have proven that Eun-hae and Tae-joo weren’t exactly strangers. Still, his nonchalant order to kill Sun-woo came as a surprise – he must either be completely convinced that Sun-woo isn’t his son, or he just plain doesn’t care. Either option would be in keeping with his character.
I can’t tell yet whether the drama is trying to get us to care about Chairman Jin or not, since we only get brief interludes with him that are mostly unconnected to the main story (unless he’s with Yong-bae and the subject is death.) I prefer Scary Chairman Jin to Successful-in-Business Chairman Jin, if only because I’m not sure what to make of the latter. If he’s acquired a resort… good for him, I guess? I’ll be positive and assume that these scenes will garner some sort of payoff later.
I’m sad Sun-woo has moved out of Jang-il’s apartment, since their close quarters afforded such deliciously dramatic dialogue. There’s something incredibly morbid about sticking a victim and his attempted-murderer together and forcing them to be cordial, so I appreciated that the show went there. The adult version of Jang-il is infused with a sense of darkness his younger counterpart always had simmering just below the surface, and I like that he doesn’t even need words to be frightening – he just is.
So while the growth seems organic, Jang-il has turned much colder as a result. Sun-woo always brought the best out of him when they were young, always there to save him when Jang-il’s darker tendencies threatened to take over. That’s no longer the case – and whether it’s because Sun-woo is no longer putting in effort to help Jang-il as a person or whether it’s because Jang-il passed the point of no return once he tried to kill his friend, I still find myself wondering what the young, wide-eyed version of Jang-il would do… because I get the distinct feeling that the Jang-il we see today wouldn’t shed one tear if he had to kill his best friend all over again.