Equator Man: Episode 15
Things took a while to really rev up this episode, but boy did they. Sun-woo arrives at the turning point we all hoped he’d come to – will he trust the justice system to avenge his father and himself, or will he take matters into his own hands? This sort of reasoning only seems to work in dramaland, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for him to start kicking some ass and taking some names. Go Sun-woo!
EPISODE 15 RECAP
To Sun-woo’s question about his father’s involvement in the murder, Jang-il gives a chilling laugh. What nonsense is he spouting now?
But Sun-woo notices what we’ve all been noticing about Jang-il: “You don’t feel sorry for me at all.” And Jang-il doesn’t deny it, instead trying to bait Sun-woo with a threatening shove or two, asking what exactly it is that he should feel sorry about. It seems like he doesn’t remember that Sun-woo was the best fighter in school, and finds out when his back is roughly shoved against a wall. Sun-woo threatens him against ever laying a hand on him again.
Jang-il looks like he’s about to laugh again, which has Sun-woo shaking with rage and seeing some strange things once he’s left.
At his home/work, Ji-won can see that something is bothering him, though he won’t open up as to what it is. “I don’t like you going through everything alone,” she tells him. He asks to hold her hand, and they share a little heart to heart about who waited for whom and who didn’t wait because of the letter he left, with Ji-won claiming that she lived by forgetting about him. Sun-woo claims that he never forgot her for even a day, and she kisses him on the cheek before leaving.
He finally calls Kwang-choon and asks to meet for lunch, the handwriting match still fresh in his mind.
Meanwhile, it seems like Chairman Jin’s wife is spying on him, with photographs of him visiting the gravesite of his dead fiancée. She’s jealous, even though her rival is long gone.
Yong-bae gets a call from the prosecution to stand as a witness, and frets about it with his son. Jang-il coolly assures him that everything will be okay, they just need to practice how he’ll answer, starting tonight.
So the visual anomaly Sun-woo experienced after leaving his confrontation with Jang-il has him visiting the doctor, who tells him that he has to be careful of his eyes or he’ll risk going blind again. No sudden traumas, no extra stress. No more tree branches, either. Ji-won stays by his side to assure him that she’ll be there for him no matter what.
At least Jang-il’s colleague, Joon-ho, is suspecting something off about their investigation into Chairman Jin. He’s close to the truth in suspecting that he might have paid people to give false testimonies, a theory that Jang-il is quick to shoot down for obvious reasons. He claims that Joon-ho is too foolhardy, and it’s gotten them into trouble before. Hopefully Joon-ho doesn’t listen to his advice too closely.
Lunch with Kwang-choon starts off friendly, with him claiming that he and Sun-woo were/are friends. Acting on that friendship and effectively cutting to the chase, Sun-woo asks about the letter Kwang-choon sent, and slides a copy across the table.
Kwang-choon’s face goes still. He immediately denies all knowledge of the letter, and rips it up in front of Sun-woo to prove his point.
Jang-il takes a few long moments before signing off on an official document stating that the prosecution no longer wishes to prosecute Chairman Jin. Does he have the authority for that?
Whether Sun-woo has caught wind of that document or not is uncertain, but something sure is upsetting him. Both Ji-won and Min-yun urge him to chill a little, because the stress is causing him eye problems. (And seriously, I’m sad that I have to keep calling him Min-yun. Will someone in this show please give the poor man even one line of backstory? A name, even?)
Now this is cool. Kwang-choon seeks Soo-mi out to share some drinks over their sad state of affairs, only to find that his daughter isn’t there. He’s instead drawn to that giant yellow curtain… and pulls it back to reveal her Wall of Crazy. Uh oh.
Chairman Jin and Sun-woo can’t seem to escape each other’s orbit, as another businessman in the same industry ends up bringing them back together. Once they’re left to themselves the formalities end, with Sun-woo admitting to Chairman Jin that he knows Jang-il is dragging this case out for all its worth because it’s expiring soon.
He ends up proving that he does know Tae-joo, who’s a legend in the mining industry Chairman Jin is trying to break into. Oddly enough Sun-woo keeps giving him business advice, which stumps the chairman. Wouldn’t Sun-woo be happy if his business failed?
“I just need to find that out,” Sun-woo retorts. “If you are related to my father’s death.”
Chairman Jin simply smiles, and tells him that he’ll know soon enough.
Soo-mi returns home to an unhappy surprise – her father sitting in front of her Wall of Crazy, drinking himself into oblivion. Her insistence that she simply painted what was in her imagination falters, because Dad knows better. He knows that she wanted to keep Jang-il with the paintings, and that she would use them to threaten him.
She begins to tear up, because it’s true. Her father’s face isn’t all that different. “Not him,” he proclaims. “I know that I was a lousy father, and I couldn’t be one bit of help. But I’m still your father. I couldn’t do anything for you, so I could at least keep him away from you. Absolutely not him!”
He rips one of the paintings from the wall, and declares that the both of them should go to the prosecutor’s office. They owe it to Sun-woo.
Soo-mi: “I feel sorry for Jang-il. I feel like I’m looking at myself.”
Dad’s reaction? “You’re out of your mind.” But she continues on that for as much as she hates him, she still feels sorry for him. “I like him. I can’t have him. So I wanted to destroy him so that no one else could have him either. But… that wasn’t so easy.” If she has so much pity to give, has she ever thought of giving even a little to Sun-woo?
Kwang-choon has had enough. He can’t stand the idea of Soo-mi being with a bastard like Jang-il. He wants to tell Sun-woo everything from that night, and Soo-mi, out of options and full of tears, tells him to do what he wants. Left alone, she cries.
Jang-il gets a cheat sheet of questions his colleague plans to ask Yong-bae at the hearing, and goes directly to his father for interrogation coaching. It’s creepy how he even mimes the action of opening the door as he describes the room in detail to his father, that way nothing is left to chance. He runs through the list of questions as if he were the prosecutor, and leads Yong-bae through the answers he’s supposed to give.
Meanwhile, Ji-won stays as a beacon of support for Sun-woo, there to hold his hand when he’s worried. She hears from Min-yun that a Lee Yong-bae is going for a prosecutor’s hearing tomorrow, and seems concerned when she learns that he’s Jang-il’s father. She read Kwang-choon’s letter, after all.
Jang-il pays a visit to Soo-mi, who acts completely disinterested in any conversation with him. “Why did you do it?” he asks. “Why did you lie? I thought you were going to make me regret.”
But she lies about lying, claiming that she just got some old memories back. He knows he isn’t true, and doesn’t ask as much as he tells her to pack up and leave for America. “I don’t trust you. You could stab me in the back saying that I asked you to commit perjury.”
This gets a laugh out of her. “You know me too well. You and I are alike. You’re the master at backstabbing.” True story, Soo-mi. True story.
Brief interlude with Chairman Jin’s wife. She’s looking for a picture, presumably of old and dead fiancée Eun-hae. I’m sure they’re building up to something with these scenes, but they are so out of place right now.
And, weirdly enough, Team Sun-woo (which includes Ji-won, Tae-joo, and Min-yun) have gone… camping? This affords Sun-woo and Ji-won some time to talk about their first meeting, when she broke the windshield of the car Sun-woo was hiding in and fell in love.
She explains that it was Chairman Jin’s car, and it was all because he unfairly stole her father’s company away. But in his will her father stated that she shouldn’t hate Chairman Jin forever, so she hasn’t, and considers living her life well as a form of revenge. Sun-woo considers her words, even though their reasons for hating Chairman Jin are vastly different.
Not Dad and Min-yun look on at the happy couple, though Tae-joo is worried about an impending tax investigation at his new firm. Someone’s behind it, and my money is on Chairman Jin. Probably Tae-joo’s money, too.
Ji-won presses Sun-woo for the story on how he became blind, and he tells her everything except for who hit him, claiming that he doesn’t know. Ji-won has an idea, though, and hopes that it isn’t the person she thinks it is. (Jang-il.)
The campfire goes out, and Ji-won falls asleep on his shoulder. “I hope that you don’t leave me,” he admits once she’s sleeping. “Please stay with me for a long time.”
Later that night, Not Dad and Not Son have a discussion over Dead Mother. Sun-woo decides to see her gravesite. As for the tax investigation, it’s because Jang-il leaked something to the internal revenue service to slow Sun-woo down.
Hearing day. Yong-bae passes his son with nary a glance – the two have to act like they don’t know each other, since no one has bothered to look into whether they might be father and son during this whole investigation.
We hear him tell his father in voiceover that everything will be all right, he just has to do as they practiced.
Yong-bae is nervous, but he’s able to give perfectly parroted answers at first. It’s only when Joon-ho asks about how people would get to Chairman Jin’s house that he starts to go off-script, which unnerves the son watching from behind the mirror.
And then Sun-woo arrives in the monitoring room, having been called by Jang-il’s other colleague. He’s there just in time to see Yong-bae deny ever having seen Kyung-pil, even when faced with a picture. He knows very well that Yong-bae is lying, and surprisingly enough does nothing about it even when asked by a fellow prosecutor. I hope he has something else in mind.
Regardless, the hearing has been successful on Yong-bae and Jang-il’s end, and he tells his father on his way out, “You did well.”
Sun-woo catches Yong-bae walking near the prosecutor’s office, and offers to give the reluctant man a ride. Once he’s inside, Sun-woo locks the doors. And things just got interesting.
It’s a pretty tense car ride as Yong-bae grows increasingly more uncomfortable the more Sun-woo probes into his investigation hearing. He wants to get out of that car as fast as possible, but Sun-woo steps on the gas for some aggressive driving. They’re still under the umbrella of civility, but I’m pretty sure Yong-bae knows what’s going on.
Sun-woo invites himself over to their house under the pretext of delivering some fruit, and Yong-bae texts his son a warning. He starts getting more visibly unnerved when Sun-woo starts asking how they got the money for this kind of place, since that answer would inevitably lead to Chairman Jin.
He’d rather not have Sun-woo stay for anything, but Jang-il surprises his father by texting back that he should invite Sun-woo for dinner. Yong-bae tells Sun-woo as much, but is startled when he’s suddenly mere inches behind him. Is Sun-woo playing mind games? I love it.
Jang-il comes home early from work, and both he and his father act unnaturally kind toward Sun-woo, possibly because Jang-il thinks the deal is done now. But Sun-woo compliments Yong-bae’s cooking claiming he ate it fifteen years ago… the day he came to Jang-il about something being strange in his father’s will. And wouldn’t you know it, the day after, the will just seemed to up and walk away when Yong-bae brought him chicken.
Yong-bae asks Sun-woo why he’s still suspecting him, as if such a suspicion is a slight. Sun-woo mentions the time he heard Yong-bae on the phone with Chairman Jin discussing his father, though Jang-il asserts that it was only a dream. Still, Sun-woo is getting too close to the truth, and he asks him to leave.
Once he’s gone, Jang-il smashes the box of fruit he brought in rage. But he sees a sheet of paper there… and it’s a copy of Kwang-choon’s letter, saying plainly that Yong-bae killed his father.
Jang-il crumples it up before his father can see.
In other news… Geum-jool is back! For two whole seconds! Kwang-choon has called him out to talk, but has only been drinking and crying so far. Ha.
This escapade leads him to wander drunkenly into Sun-woo’s house, where he falls to his knees in front of Sun-woo. He cries, “I’m sorry, Sun-woo. I have wronged you.” And then he begins to sob piteously.
Sun-woo kneels in front of him and asks if he’s here because of the letter. Ji-won is in the room nearby, overhearing everything, as Sun-woo asks Kwang-choon what it is that he knows.
Kwang-choon admits that Soo-mi still likes Jang-il, and that he has to stop it. “On that day, I saw Lee Jang-il’s father hanging your father,” he finally says, and Sun-woo’s eyes fill with tears. He’s sure that Yong-bae thought his father was already dead and wanted to make it look like a suicide… only, he was still breathing.
“But why didn’t you do anything?” Sun-woo asks. “Because I was afraid,” Kwang-choon replies. He also didn’t know it was his father until he murmured feebly, “I have to go see Sun-woo.”
Wow. The shock on Sun-woo’s face really sells this moment and puts chills down my spine. It’s about time they put his skills to use.
He yells at Kwang-choon to stop, because the tale is too painful. Kwang-choon apologizes over and over that he wronged Sun-woo, though Sun-woo can only scream at him. Why didn’t he report it to the police then? Why now?
Kwang-choon cries that he’ll atone, he’ll tell the police everything. Grabbing him by the collar and shaking him, Sun-woo roars, “Tell them! Tell them that you saw the murder that night. Go tell them that Lee Jang-il’s father killed my father!”
Sobbing, Kwang-choon agrees. He’ll tell them everything. He leaves Sun-woo on the floor, who begins to sob like every cry is being wrenched from his insides. Poor thing. Poor, poor thing.
Ji-won waits a while before making her presence known to Sun-woo, and embraces him without a word. In her arms he cries even more than before, letting out these truly gut-wrenching sounds that I can’t even describe. It’s terrible to listen to and to watch, because the heartbreak seems so horribly real. It’s just never fun to see a grown man cry.
Chairman Jin ends up learning the hard way that Sun-woo was right about warning him against an investment, because he went against his word and is paying for it now. He plans to defraud the stockholders to get something out of his investment, and claims that Jang-il will have to help him out of this one.
But first, he places a call to get Sun-woo into his office, which I just now realize is set up very much like a stage. He jokes that Sun-woo was right about the investment and that he should have trusted him, though Sun-woo is quick to tell him that those days are over. Remember how he was waiting to see what Chairman Jin’s involvement in his father’s death was? He hands over Kwang-choon’s letter, and asks what really happened on that day.
Chairman Jin’s response is dismissive. The case is expiring in a few days, but he does get a bit surprised when Sun-woo tells him, “That means nothing to me now.” He knows that even if Chairman Jin were to get convicted, he wouldn’t get a sentence worthy of his crimes due to his resources. Finally, Sun-woo!
So what kind of punishment does he want? “I want to take the most precious thing from you,” he tells his Maybe Dad, and Chairman Jin laughs and tells him to run on home like the child he is. Sun-woo smiles darkly in response.
But Chairman Jin calls him by his fake name, David, and claims that he won’t be his Goliath. He won’t lose.
Sun-woo seems glad at this challenge, and leaves the older man stewing. On his way out, he hears a crash – Chairman Jin has thrown something inside the room. He keeps walking.
It’s about time Sun-woo takes matters into his own hands, because his spectator status was beginning to wear a bit thin. As a character Sun-woo seemed to be lacking next to all of these complex figures (Jang-il, Soo-mi, Kwang-choon, even Yong-bae), strictly by punishment of being the only good guy around. It’s just how the cookie crumbles when you’re forced into an archetype where, by virtue alone, you can’t be as interesting as the baddies. Now that he might be done being That Guy, I started to root for him again. His powerful crying scene really helped in that regard.
Unfortunately for Sun-woo, he doesn’t have Yong-bae to play off of like Jang-il does, or Kwang-choon like Soo-mi does. His father is dead and his father replacement is a zen master of calm, he gets a still-unnamed minion whose placement in the story remains a mystery that no one cares to solve, and last but still maybe least the consistently milquetoast Ji-won, who managed to suck the energy out of every scene she was in until about the forty minute mark. She’s incredibly pretty to look at (Lee Bo-young is a charismatic actress), but the romance between them still remains so very arbitrary to the main plot – and worse, she brings so little to the table as an individual. It’s good for Sun-woo to have a support structure, but it’d be nice if that structure got a little decoration. Or character depth. Attentions just tend to wander when she’s on screen because Nothing. Ever. Happens.
So in the absence of interesting characters around him, Sun-woo seemed to only come to life in scenes that involved anyone but his core circle. It’s a shame when we see scenes like the one he had with Kwang-choon, where his emotions were so raw and amazing to behold. He’s worthy of some really meaty scenes, but has so far been limited by what a good person should and should not do. What happened to the ultra-violent kid who would take on a group of gangsters and stab them with broken pool cues? At least we’re starting to see flashes of that persona coming back now (his brief tussle with Jang-il, the driving scene with Yong-bae) and I couldn’t be more excited. Let’s get this revenge on the road already, because I get the feeling that it’s gonna be good.
- Equator Man: Episode 14
- 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