Tension and thrills abound as we get a hefty serving of courtroom drama with a shocking side of depravity. As of now, Equator Man seems less like a revenge tale and more like a quest for justice, since that’s all Sun-woo is asking for. And by going through the legal system, he’s asking pretty nicely. What will our good-hearted, morally upright hero do if the system fails him?
Note: Equator Man won’t be getting an extension after all, and will end with its originally planned twenty episode run.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
With those last biting words that the man in front of her isn’t the one she once knew, Ji-won leaves. Sun-woo belatedly attempts to chase her down but is too late, as Ji-won disappears into a taxi.
He returns to his office dejected and slumps down into his chair. An attempt to look at the cityscape from his impressive windows only gives him a hallucination that Ji-won is also in the reflection – and in case you weren’t sure that Sun-woo is doing some serious pining, he’s also got the picture of Ji-won to make a sad face at.
We find Kwang-choon hooked up to a lie detector as he tells the story from that fateful night, and his nervousness is palpable. The needle stays even until he claims, “I didn’t see anything that night.” And just as the needle starts to go haywire, Kwang-choon hears someone call his name…
It’s Kyung-pil in the flesh, asking him for help. “Why didn’t you help me on that day?” the specter asks. “I could have lived if you helped me.” Kwang-choon becomes scared out of his mind as Kyung-pil approaches, screaming frantically, “I didn’t see anything! I didn’t see anything!”
And then, he wakes up. The serious moment is undercut with a bit of physical comedy when Kwang-choon face plants on the floor, and the intense orchestra music from the nightmare abruptly cuts off at the same time.
Soo-mi is drawn to the commotion, and quickly surmises that her father is stressed about being summoned. Surprisingly enough she tells him to go even though he doesn’t want to, and at least tell the police that it wasn’t a suicide. Kwang-choon raises an eyebrow. Is she over Jang-il now?
Jang-il calmly informs his father that he might get a call from the district attorney, and that it’s nothing to worry about. No one knows Yong-bae is his father, and they’re just looking for witnesses – so he coaches his father to simply say he saw nothing and knows nothing.
I like that his face is lit in such a way that half is in the sun and half is in shadow, showing the dichotomy of Jang-il working for the law while also working to circumvent it. There’s probably some Jekyll and Hyde symbolism too, although there’s not much Jekyll in Jang-il. (Or if we want to go really deep, the shadow on his face is caused by his father, who was the initial catalyst for Jang-il going down such a dark path. Or the director was just playing with light.)
Yong-bae is firm in blaming Sun-woo for bringing up the past, like murdered fathers aren’t big deals these days. I wonder if he really can’t figure out why Sun-woo would go so far to submit a police petition, or if he just doesn’t want to believe it.
Regardless, Jang-il assures his dad that the case will be ruled as a suicide again. Sun-woo gives him a call to glibly mention that Yong-bae need only say what Sun-woo once heard from him over the phone to help the case. Yong-bae is ready to snatch the phone out of Jang-il’s hands to give Sun-woo what-for, but Jang-il manages to hold his own in the conversation even when Sun-woo suggests that Soo-mi and Kwang-choon be questioned by his colleague and not him.
But Jang-il’s answer is pretty priceless, in that he knows how to separate personal life from work. After all, he wasn’t on Sun-woo’s side during their interrogation, right?
Min-yun notices that Ji-won isn’t at work today, and Sun-woo tells him that she requested a sick day. We find her at a bus stop when she receives a text from Sun-woo telling her that he has a surprise waiting at the place where they first met, so it’s back to the college for her to listen to an audiobook Sun-woo recorded with the central theme of severely missing the person you love.
I expected Sun-woo to meet her there at least, but he’s got his hands full with the petition case. He’s sure that Kwang-choon will be on his side… but he’s not so sure about Soo-mi.
Surprisingly enough, Soo-mi is far better prepared for the hearing than her father, who’s nearly catatonic with fear. She’s fine with him not going, and claims she’ll tell all to get revenge on Jang-il for mistreating her. “Everyone else did once, except Kim Sun-woo,” she admits. I have so much more respect for her now that she at least realizes that fact.
Kwang-choon simply curses the day he was ever in such a wrong place at such a very wrong time. He wants to help Sun-woo, but is too scared to do anything.
It’s the day of the hearing, and Jang-il watches from behind a two-way mirror while his colleague handles Kwang-choon. The funny thing is, Kwang-choon seems to know Jang-il is behind the glass and approaches it, which makes Jang-il recoil in his seat.
Sun-woo is practically itching in his seat far away from the actual interrogation, where a sincere Kwang-choon continues to be shocked by the amount of information the prosecution has gathered. They even know his business failed (via Geum-jool’s intel in a flashback), and that he visited Sun-woo in the hospital every day. Why would he do that, if they were only neighbors?
Kwang-choon admits that Sun-woo’s father was a good man who loved his son, and that he wouldn’t commit suicide on his son’s birthday. So if it was a homicide, then he believes Sun-woo’s accident was related. Jang-il is doing a good job of hiding it, but he’s certainly growing more and more nervous.
The most important question comes: does he have anyone in mind? Kwang-choon says no.
With the questioning over, we cut back to Sun-woo and Tae-joo, who admits that Chairman Jin saw him at the banquet that night. He doesn’t want to reveal himself yet, so when Sun-woo gets an impromptu call from Chairman Jin saying that he’s about to drop by the office, Tae-joo disappears behind a closed door to remain out of sight.
And for good reason, too – it seems like Chairman Jin only came to try and find Tae-joo. He’s in incredibly good spirits due to a little alcohol in his system, and is all smiles when playing mind games with Sun-woo.
Soon the formalities end, and Chairman Jin asks about the petition Sun-woo submitted naming him as the chief suspect. Uh oh. He keeps smiling throughout, acting like it’s all fine and well because he didn’t do anything wrong.
However, he finds the reading glasses Tae-joo left on the coffee table, and the look on his face tells us that he’s got all the evidence he needs. Tae-joo listens from behind the wall as Chairman Jin offers the glasses for Sun-woo to wear, since Sun-woo claimed they were his. Man, he is devious.
Sun-woo finally puts them on and seemingly appeases Chairman Jin, who finally asks about a Moon Tae-joo being on the guest list. Sun-woo claims he can’t remember everyone that was on it, but knows that Tae-joo is planning something big as far as the mining industry goes.
That’s too bad, according to Chairman Jin, because he had something he wanted to ask Tae-joo. He says he’ll tell Sun-woo when he meets him, and finally takes his leave – his Cheshire grin disappearing into a scowl as soon as his back is turned.
Jang-il, meanwhile, learns that Sun-woo is favored by his superior for sponsoring one of their colleagues set to be on the presidential ballot soon. Now all eyes are on the petition case, which is the exact opposite of what Jang-il needs now.
We find Chairman Jin and his family putting on yet another act for Jang-il’s prosecution team, who have come disguised as novelists from a couple of centuries ago (seriously, why don’t they go for gold and use quills with that getup?). Since Jang-il let him know in advance, the whole family checks for possible bugs in the furniture as soon as the prosecution has gone.
Soo-mi gazes at her Wall of Crazy, torn between the one memory she has of Jang-il being kind to her compared to the many others where he treated her with sheer disdain. She finally takes one of the moment young Jang-il hit Sun-woo and puts it into a gift bag.
Ji-won meets with Jang-il to pay him back for her mother’s hospital bills. He doesn’t want money at first, and says she can just buy him a big dinner, clearly hoping for a date. “I can’t be more than a friend, right?” he asks. “I want to call someone every day, text her every day, ask her what she ate for lunch, what’s bothering her. But it can’t be you, right?”
No, it can’t. Ji-won affirms that they’re just friends, which prompts Jang-il to ask if she’s still waiting for Sun-woo, who can’t remember her or is pretending not to. It’s a sore subject for her, so he backs off with the admission that Sun-woo is a lucky man. He pockets the money and leaves.
Allegories abound as Sun-woo visits the center for the visually impaired he once frequented to listen to one of Ji-won’s audiobooks. It’s the same one she’d listened to, only he re-recorded it, since the dialogue shares their feelings. Basically the gist is about miscommunication and longing.
Just as Ji-won is leaving from a recording session she sees Sun-woo outside the door. He quotes a passage from the book to her, a direct continuation of what she had been recording: “I feel the same. Something is weighing down on my heart. It probably means that I long to stay in your heart.” See? The quote from the book also explains his feelings for her.
She tries to avoid him, but he pleads with her to hear him out. He gives her the police petition and explains everything. Even with that, she still can’t understand why he pretended not to know her. “You just had to tell me you were going through something difficult,” she claims. She would have understood.
But Sun-woo affirms that he only tried to protect her because he didn’t want to see her again with vengeance in his heart. Ji-won: “So you just made me a bystander?”
He planned to ask for her forgiveness when it was all over, though she doesn’t have plans to forgive him. “I will wait until you do. I won’t lose you again. I won’t leave,” he claims. When she attempts to leave he wrist grabs her, and once again she has to brush his hand away. “That’s what you think.”
“The Hemingway that I know would slap me at a time like this, and take me back,” he says. But there’s no energy in her gaze as she admits that she’s not the girl he used to know, still unwilling to accept the reasoning behind his lying. She leaves, though Sun-woo is more sure than ever that he will wait for her for as long as it takes.
Ji-won wanders the school, haunted by her shared memories with Sun-woo. Only when she’s outside does she think to herself that she was wrong, because she thought she was the only one who had a hard time.
She brings Sun-woo the box of his things she’s been keeping all this time, and wears the scarf he once gave her to work. She’s accepted him again.
Finally with the box in his hands, Sun-woo sees Kwang-choon’s letter… and then passes it up once he realizes that she kept the letter he wrote to her long ago, asking her to wait for him. He hurries to her office, finding only a note for them to meet at a park. (Love can wait, Sun-woo! Read the darn letter!)
They reunite there, and Sun-woo pulls her into an embrace the moment he sees her. “I will never leave you alone until I die,” we hear him say in voiceover. And she pledges to support him the best she can.
Then they kiss, over and over again.
With the air now cleared between them, the office atmosphere is much improved. Luckily Ji-won reminds him of the letter, and he finally opens it…
His eyes go wide. Ji-won takes the letter and reads it for herself, which plainly claims that his father was killed by Jang-il’s father, and that Chairman Jin was involved. Finally.
We next find the letter in Tae-joo’s hands, and he thinks it might be a prank. Min-yun isn’t so sure, and neither is Sun-woo. But until they can find out who sent the letter, Tae-joo advises that they keep it out of the evidence pile for now. It must have been someone close to Sun-woo to send it.
This launches Sun-woo into a series of memories involving Kwang-choon. Smart boy.
And before you can blink, Kwang-choon has been invited to Sun-woo’s office. Sun-woo has him write down his address in order to test his handwriting, all without Kwang-choon realizing what’s going on. He even sneaks the paper to Min-yun for immediate handwriting analysis.
It’s Soo-mi’s hearing day, and she arrives with the gift bag. Jang-il meets her in the hallway and notices it, knowing that whatever’s inside can’t be good. Once again he’s relegated to staying behind the two-way mirror while his colleague does the questioning, though Soo-mi’s words (“You’ll regret it.”) keep running through his mind.
She frankly tells the prosecutor that Sun-woo’s father didn’t commit suicide – someone murdered him. And when Sun-woo went to deliver the petition, someone deliberately stopped him. You can see Jang-il stiffen when his colleage asks her who, and she looks toward the mirror with a sly smirk, like she knows the torture he’s going through.
Once again she uses the words “attempted murder” to describe what she saw, of someone hitting Sun-woo and throwing him off the cliff for dead. When she’s again asked who, she gets up and approaches the mirror, just as Jang-il does the same…
“Prosecutor Lee Jang-il, who is investigating the case,” she says. Whoa.
Jang-il punches the glass separating them, as though he would have hit her face. “Stop lying!” he screams.
And then… we realize it was all in his head. We’re back at the beginning of the interrogation, and what we just saw was Jang-il’s worst nightmare manifested.
The real interrogation is much different, with a teary-eyed Soo-mi recounting events from a regretful perspective. “I should have told Sun-woo what I saw,” she claims, which sets Jang-il’s heart pounding.
But she doesn’t want to say. The prosecutor presses her, and the air grows tense. “What did you see?” he asks.
Soo-mi: “I saw Mr. Kim… buying ropes with a sad face at a local marketplace.”
Wow. She went there. She really, really went there.
And she keeps going there, telling the story as though Kyung-pil was already suicidal. That he had even spoken to her about life not being worth living. Jang-il’s eyes go wide as he realizes what Soo-mi is doing for him, and my eyes are just wide, period.
We cut briefly to Sun-woo, and the words “The End” on his television screen. How fitting.
Soo-mi even displays a sketch of the way she saw Kyung-pil that day, looking depressed. She even cries tears of supposed regret.
Jang-il follows her into the hallway, and for a moment they both turn their backs to each other without exchanging a word. He finally turns back and so does she, with tears in her eyes. They share a long, silent look before going their separate ways.
Meanwhile, Sun-woo gets the results of the handwriting analysis. It’s a match, which makes him wonder why Kwang-choon tried to tell him when he was blind.
The prosecution team has met up with the fake employees Chairman Jin planted, who wove tales of Kyung-pil’s suicidal tendencies, with even one attempt to kill himself. Jang-il looks silently pleased – he’s winning – but colleague Joon-ho, at least, seems to doubt this information.
Sun-woo pays a late night visit to Jang-il in his office, who acts regretful that his father’s case may end up the same way it did way back when – as a suicide. But hey, that’s better than having your father murdered, right?
That’s actually what Sun-woo’s here to ask about. A moment of silence passes between them before he asks, “Was my father murdered by your father? Fifteen years ago… was it your father who killed my father?”
Oh, Soo-mi. You are dead to me.
It was definitely a nice twist to have her give a false testimony, since she’d done a decent job showing her torn loyalties between her friendship to Sun-woo and her obsession with Jang-il. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that she sided with Jang-il, but juxtaposed with the dream sequence before it where she outed him, her testimony was all the more chilling. The depths to which she lied and the extent to which she cried were all soulless and terrible. If I think from Soo-mi’s warped psyche I can understand why she chose to save Jang-il, but it’s not enough to excuse the harm she’s doing. She’s out for revenge, but what she pulled was risky – Jang-il might not have enough of a heart to allow himself to be indebted to her for life just because she saved him, which is my guess as to why she did it.
In fact, I’d be interested if they manage to turn her around at some point during the series, because this seemed like a point of no return for her. Even if she changes her story later there’ll be too much doubt, and with conflicting stories all over the place it’ll certainly be hard to prove much of anything about Sun-woo’s father. It’s why I actually liked the cut to “The End” on Sun-woo’s TV, because it really is the end for this case. Now I’m all the more curious to see how Sun-woo makes a new beginning if the legal system fails him.
Jang-il’s reaction to the testimonies was interesting – or rather, his lack of decisive action. He couldn’t control Kwang-choon’s testimony, and unless he was 100% sure that Soo-mi would lie for him, what on earth was he thinking? If he was just willing to let the chips fall where they may, it’s pretty passive considering how he was willing to kill in order to assure his future before. So now with everything hanging by a thread, why he didn’t try to change the course of events is a mystery to me. Yes, he would have had to cater to Soo-mi a bit, but after everything he’s already done to save himself, what’s one more thing? He clearly knows that she’s obsessed with him, and could have quite easily turned her into his puppet if he so chose.
It makes me wonder then whether it was pride, arrogance, hatred, or plain stupidity which prevented him from assuring the outcome of Soo-mi’s testimony. His thought process concerning this whole legal debacle and possible end to everything he’s suffered for is much more interesting than Soo-mi’s, or even Sun-woo’s, for that matter. We all know what they want, and what they’re after. I used to think I knew what Jang-il wanted, but now I’m not so sure.
- Equator Man: Episode 13
- Equator Man: Episode 12
- Equator Man: Episode 11
- Equator Man: Episode 10
- Equator Man: Episode 9
- Equator Man: Episode 8
- Equator Man: Episode 7
- Equator Man: Episode 6
- Equator Man: Episode 5
- Equator Man: Episode 4
- Equator Man: Episode 3
- Equator Man: Episode 2
- Equator Man: Episode 1