Equator Man: Episode 16
Gauntlets are officially thrown as pretenses fade in lieu of direct confrontations, making for a dizzyingly dramatic and intense experience. This episode was like a breath of fresh air for the series, taking us back to our roots with enough suspense to have your hands wringing for the whole hour. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, and the fact that we have to guess at all is like drama heaven. Keep up the surprises, Equator Man.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
We get a B-side of the last episode’s parting conversation, this time with Chairman Jin asking, “What’s the most precious thing for me?” You know, the one Sun-woo said he’d take from him as revenge. Sun-woo: “You will know when you lose it.”
When Chairman Jin asks why Sun-woo is doing this to him, he replies: “Fifteen years ago, you stole the most precious thing from me.” Now I’m interested – what is the most precious thing to Chairman Jin? Money? Prestige?
There’s a lovely, creepy scene with Jang-il in his house post-grape-tossing. He has a loving look on his face as he watches TV, as though he’s adoring a hero on screen… only he’s watching himself receiving praise and adoration for a recent case. His face is even plastered on his household newspapers, as the diligent Prosecutor whom Seoul sees as a hero of the people.
But funny enough, he spies a rogue grape by his foot – a reminder of Sun-woo, and his less than prestigious past. He petulantly kicks it away.
And what’s even creepier – it’s not even a live broadcast, he’s actually watching a recording. That way, he can rewind at will to stare at his own face and repeat the same words his TV doppelgänger says. How many times has he re-watched this tape?
His father remains worried about Sun-woo, but with Jang-il’s eyes firmly transfixed on the screen, he tells his father that he has nothing to worry about. “You had no choice,” he says with a zombie-like affectation. “Kim Sun-woo… If he keeps on acting like a lunatic, I won’t just let him be anymore.”
To Yong-bae’s credit at least, it seems like he’s beginning to register that his son may be losing his grip on reality.
Jang-il calls Sun-woo about the letter, but reaches an impasse when Sun-woo claims that it was fortunate for him that he couldn’t read thirteen years ago, or else he wouldn’t be enjoying that lofty position right now. And as for the tax investigation he knows Jang-il set in motion – he came out clean, which sounds a lot like, so how do you like them apples.
Sun-woo returns home to Ji-won, exhausted, and the two share a Braille reading session (and a chance for him to read her mind by touching her chest). The allegories are in full swing again with the theme of spending their futures together. Ji-won offers to help Sun-woo in his revenge because she once broke a windshield, which means she’s capable of anything, right?
She’s curious about why Sun-woo didn’t submit his accident as part of the petition. It’s clear that he may still have a care left over for Jang-il, since he’s waiting to see if he’ll eventually apologize or make excuses when confronted with the truth.
Sun-woo has finally brought Geum-jool into the picture as a spy, both on Chairman Jin and now for Soo-mi. He wants to know who she’s talking to and who she’s seeing, which is a pleasure for Geum-jool, seeing as he’s had a crush on her since they were young.
And last but not least, Sun-woo wants him to try and get Jang-il a spot on a reality show featuring prosecutors and lawyers. I want to see where he’s going with this.
Hooray for smart prosecutors! Sun-woo meets with Joon-ho to learn all about Soo-mi’s testimony about his father being suicidally depressed. But Joon-ho did some homework and found that the market she claimed she saw Kyung-pil buying hanging rope from a day before he died was closed for that entire week. And furthermore, she might have even been in Jeju Island that day for an art competition.
Sun-woo combines that knowledge with what Kwang-choon told him about her everlasting crush on Jang-il, and seems to have put the pieces together regarding where her loyalties lie. He finally asks Joon-ho whether he’s close with Jang-il – and from past encounters we can tell that he isn’t – so the two share a conversation we don’t hear. But we can assume Sun-woo has brought him into the inner circle and told him the truth.
There isn’t any time to waste, so Sun-woo brings Soo-mi in right away to confront her about her testimony. He doesn’t call her a liar outright so much as point out that there’s no way anything could have been true, seeing as she wasn’t even in Busan that day. Sun-woo: “Soo-mi. Weren’t we friends? Jang-il was a friend too. You and Jang-il were the friends that I loved the most.” And Soo-mi, without skipping a beat, “I still think of you as my friend.”
So Sun-woo says if she really feels that way, she should get her memory straight if she’s called to testify again. Her eyes gleam with tears – she’s been caught.
She returns home to find her father preparing to go to the prosecution tomorrow, just as she’s readying for a work trip to Hong Kong. The news that he told everything to Sun-woo hits her like a ton of bricks, and her eyes turn into faucets as she tries anything and everything to save Jang-il. “You’re out of your mind,” she tells him. Kwang-choon: “No, you are. I’m going to tell them everything tomorrow.”
But Soo-mi, near-sobbing, drops to her knees in front of her father and begs him not to go. She’ll give up on Jang-il like he wants, but he mustn’t testify. Kwang-choon wants to do the right thing, and even though he recognizes the evil side of his daughter, he’s swayed.
Meanwhile, Jang-il tries to run damage control when his whole office believes Soo-mi’s testimony was a lie. Things aren’t going so smoothly now, are they, Jang-il?
As for Kwang-choon, it seems like Soo-mi might have won in getting him to vacation with her for a couple of days in order to “think.” He looks dubious as he flips through his passport. C’mon, Kwang-choon. Now is your chance. Step up and be the better person.
Except he doesn’t, which has the prosecutor’s office waiting for his arrival and Team Sun-woo trying to make heads or tails of it. Sun-woo at least saw this coming, and knows that they won’t reappear until the case expires.
A brief interlude with Chairman Jin’s wife and stepdaughter show that neither of them have been able to reach Soo-mi, which has Yoon-joo fuming.
Never thought I’d see the day, but Ji-won is actually doing something. Her and Geum-jool have gone to Soo-mi’s house to see if she’s there, and Ji-won is prepared to hop the fence. But since she’s in a short skirt, she advises Geum-jool to close his eyes. Ha.
He’s the seasoned gangster, and warns her against breaking and entering. So she takes her weapon of choice – a rock – and begins to aim at the alarm panel on the outside of Soo-mi’s house. He’s hilariously shocked that she’d go to such extremes.
They manage to get inside legally due to an incensed Yoon-joo arriving on the scene, and Ji-won sees a suspicious tarp. Underneath, she finds all of the Wall of Crazy paintings in a pile. She wastes no time in sending Sun-woo a phone video of all the paintings laid out.
HA – I love you, Min-yun. He sees the video with Sun-woo and tells him, “Do you know what the Chinese proverb is for how I’m feeling right now? Men-tal-break-down. In two words, ‘mental break.’ In three words, ‘what a bitch.'” Hahaha. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
So Sun-woo knows that she saw them that day, and wants to get his hands on the paintings to share the wealth.
Chairman Jin has been having business problems ever since he dumped money into an unproductive mine (against Sun-woo’s advice), and now he’s resorted to bribes. Strangely enough, Secretary Cha takes photographic evidence of the exchange.
His wife and stepdaughter have a meeting with Sun-woo to discuss their own ideas for a business venture – pottery imports – and ask Sun-woo (as David Kim) if he’ll invest. He agrees on two conditions: one, that they put Bukyung Chemicals up for collateral (Ji-won’s father’s former company) and that they’ll hold an exhibition for Soo-mi’s paintings. The Wall of Crazy paintings.
Jang-il gets the offer to be on the reality show, handed down by his superior. He wants to wait until he’s done with Sun-woo’s case, which is expiring in only a few days. Joon-ho feels the ticking clock and tells Jang-il that they’ll need a warrant to search Chairman Jin’s house.
So Jang-il preempts him by calling the judge and warning him against giving a warrant. He has to hold out for thirty-six more hours, then the case will expire.
Over dinner, Ji-won warns Sun-woo against going on with his revenge. She hated Chairman Jin for stealing her father’s company away, but she knew that revenge would only make her life worse. She wants him to show the paintings to Jang-il first, so that he can beg for Sun-woo’s forgiveness. After all, “It must have been hard for Jang-il too,” she says.
Sun-woo isn’t swayed, and tells her that he’ll take care of things.
Meanwhile, Yong-bae searches Jang-il’s room for the note he knows Sun-woo left. He finds it and falls to the ground in shock, since it names him as the murderer.
In looking through Chairman Jin’s locked cabinets for a photo (presumably of his dead fiancée), his wife comes upon the letter Kwang-choon sent after Chairman Jin tried to kill him. She doesn’t understand it.
Sun-woo does a radio interview for a business broadcast, and without naming Chairman Jin’s company he basically debunks the rumors that he could have happened upon such a large mine. (To fool stockholders, Chairman Jin lied about a reserve he didn’t have.) Geum-jool is there to rouse the crowd listening and help spread the word of Chairman Jin’s trickery.
The headlines make it to Chairman Jin, plastered all over the newspapers. Chairman Jin recognizes that he’s been had, and goes into damage control mode.
In Hong Kong, poor Kwang-choon seems not to know that the case will expire before he makes it back to Korea. Soo-mi looks smug, “It’s his fault for trusting you.”
Sun-woo and Jang-il both watch the clock as it reaches midnight. Once it does, Jang-il stamps the case with the word ‘Expired’, and smiles.
The two then share a drink at Sun-woo’s place, with Jang-il offering an empty apology that things had to turn out this way. As usual, Ji-won is in the other room, able to overhear everything.
Pretend time has passed, as Sun-woo finally confronts Jang-il on what happened, face to face.
Sun-woo: “I wrote that I didn’t remember anything on the petition. But I remember everything. You hit me from behind. My head felt hot in the back, then I felt something in the gut. And then the darkness came like the lights went out. Then I felt cold water. You dropped me into the sea.”
This is all said in a very calm, very matter-of-fact manner. Jang-il stiffens slightly, but makes no other acknowledgment. In fact, he denies it and remains smug, even when Sun-woo claims that a part of him wanted to forgive Jang-il. This causes a smirk and half a derisive chuckle to come from our Prosecutor. “Forgive?” He says the word like it’s a foreign thing, like it’s simply not in his lexicon.
“Apologize to me,” Sun-woo persists. If Jang-il will apologize to him and tell him his story, how he lived from that day… even now, he gets nightmares of being hit from behind and blinded. Does Jang-il feel no pity, no remorse for causing him such pain?
And Jang-il, stubborn till the end, simply says: “That means you’re losing your mind.” Jang-il, he is giving you an out here. Open season. Get out of jail free card. Take it, damn you!
But no, he’s arrogant till the end. Sun-woo admits that the two modes of thought have been warring in his head – forgiveness or revenge – but not anymore. Jang-il has made the decision for him, by deliberately choosing to deny any wrongdoing and repent. Now, all bets are off.
He warns Jang-il that he remembers how he was as a child, reckless and violent. So Jang-il better not be shocked at what’s to come.
This is it, the point of no return. Jang-il chooses to leave, and the moment he does, Sun-woo places a call to Prosecutor Joon-ho as Ji-won watches from the doorway. Now Sun-woo has done what she asked, and Jang-il has proven her wrong. (Side note: The use of sweeping orchestral music here is great, and actually elevates the drama of the scene as opposed to overshadowing it, as this drama has been prone to do in the past.)
Chairman Jin’s wife and daughter plan their pottery business venture, while only Yoon-joo remains concerned about her stepfather’s business. Her mom tells her not to worry, since he only considers them as roommates and not as family. The biggest barrier between them is a dead woman – Eun-hae.
Jang-il, meanwhile, remains happy as a clam as he’s hired to do yet another commercial/public service announcement as the city’s beacon for justice. It’s too ironic to even point out the irony that is his life.
The art exhibition is going forward as planned, even without Soo-mi’s permission. Sun-woo has taken full responsibility for any copyright issues they may run into, with Chairman Jin’s wife and Yoon-joo even knowing that it’s him in the paintings. They decide to call the exhibit, “On A Sunny Day.”
Ji-won continues to look pensive, because all this isn’t sitting right with her. She pays a visit to Tae-joo in the same office… where has this guy been? Does he shut down like a robot when a scene doesn’t call for him? She wants him to stop Sun-woo, because she’s worried he’ll get hurt. He claims he can’t stop him now, he’ll come to realize his wrongs soon enough. Ji-won, on the other hand, wonders if such an epiphany will come too late.
She goes straight to Jang-il to plead for him to intervene. “If you have to ask for forgiveness, ask for it and get it resolved.” She claims it’s the last chance they have to stop things from getting worse, but Jang-il merely scoffs at what she’s claiming to do for the both of them, but what she’s really only doing for Sun-woo.
Jang-il: “Go and tell Sun-woo: Stop acting like he’s the only victim.”
Soo-mi and Kwang-choon return from Hong Kong, only to find that the paintings are gone.
At the broadcast station for ‘Law Firm Live’, the TV show Sun-woo pulled to get Jang-il on without him knowing, Min-yun passes out coffee bribes and asks for a favor. Is Sun-woo going to pull a City Hunter and oust Jang-il on live television?
It’s so perfect that Jang-il took on this show, because it appeals to his own vanity as a prosecutor and his love of recognition. Ji-won watches from the audience as he spouts words of law wisdom.
So from what I can get, this is a show where legal questions can be posed from callers for the respective prosecutor – in this case, Jang-il – to answer. And we see all the strings Sun-woo pulled to orchestrate everything perfectly, so that when he places a call (while sitting in the audience, no less) it gets pulled onto the live broadcast. Bad news for Jang-il.
Jang-il is stuck as Sun-woo asks over the phone, broadcasted live, whether his friend hitting him in the back of the head with a branch before pushing him off the cliff means attempted murder, or assault. Even Chairman Jin is watching live, as the camera focuses on Jang-il’s poker face.
He seems momentarily unsettled, but recovers quickly. Since the crime happened before 2007, when a new law expanding the statute of limitations to twenty-five years came into effect, he only has fifteen years for this case. And this is Year Fifteen.
“What if the friend that hit me is working in the justice system? What happens then? The law is fair to all, right?” Sun-woo asks. Jang-il is as stiff as a board as he replies sure, of course. So then Sun-woo asks if he’ll investigate for him if he tells him his name…
Which sends us to a flashback of Sun-woo practicing his lines with Tae-joo and Min-yun. Not Dad was in disagreement about Sun-woo outing Jang-il’s name, but Min-yun put in his vote for doing it. And Sun-woo practices in the flashback: “The name of that friend is Lee Jang-il. You.”
In the present, Sun-woo seems more uncertain. But he goes along by saying that he’ll tell Jang-il his friend’s name right now. Jang-il’s eyes go wide, he becomes visibly nervous…
Sun-woo: “His name is…” Jang-il is still, and everyone waits with bated breath. Even Chairman Jin, watching from home, leans forward in his seat. Broadcast ratings are skyrocketing, so the control room is in a fit. Even Tae-joo leans forward, waiting. Sun-woo: “His name is Lee…” Pause. “Jang…” Another pause. Everyone holds their breath…
…And Sun-woo cuts off the call before finishing the name. Oy, my nerves. Jang-il looks up into the audience like he wants to jump in and throttle the life out of Sun-woo.
It turns out that even Yong-bae has been watching from home. “Sun-woo,” he says darkly, “I should have killed you back then and killed myself. Who the hell are you to do that to my son? Who do you think you are?” Who the hell are you to kill a boy’s father?
Ji-won approaches Jang-il after the broadcast, and he’s looking not so much shaken as he is angry. The two share a long look without any words before Jang-il goes on his way.
We flash back to his drinking date with Sun-woo, where he turned back the moment Sun-woo called Joon-ho. He sits down, “I would appreciate you telling me the next phase of the plan.”
So Sun-woo lays it out, that Jang-il should tell his father that he saw Chairman Jin seeing his father before he died, but got off work after hearing them fight. They’ll blame it all on Jin – and if Jang-il says no, he’ll go straight to Joon-ho to accuse him of attempted murder.
Even with the statute of limitations expiring, Chairman Jin will be in for stock manipulation. Though he can’t be punished by the law, he can still be found guilty of murder – so they can then leave the punishment to the court of public opinion.
Jang-il gets up to leave, but is once again swayed by Sun-woo’s threat to call Joon-ho. As Sun-woo told him, he’d have to live as a murderer’s son and throw away all his ambitions if he doesn’t go along with the plan, so it’s a moment of decision for Jang-il.
Then, finally, he says, “Your father was killed by Jin. Kim Kyung-pil was killed by Jin No-sik. My father saw them together at the house.” So that means he’s going along with the plan to help Sun-woo, which causes the latter to smile and add that he’ll be looking forward to Jang-il’s show tomorrow… so is he letting him in on the plan?
Jang-il turns just as Sun-woo smiles. Jang-il offers him a slight smile in return.
Well, that was definitely a twist I didn’t see coming.
Their working together is certainly an interesting choice for Sun-woo to make, and now that I think about it, it’s a smart move. The statute of limitations has passed, so rather than going for brute force revenge Sun-woo wants to get the public to turn against Chairman Jin, which is where Jang-il will come in handy. Even if Chairman Jin can’t be punished, the conviction will do him some harm.
Still, it’s a bit bothersome that this teaming up comes right on the heels of the confrontation where, even when presented with his list of crimes, Jang-il refused to show even one iota of hesitation or remorse and chose to treat Sun-woo with that arrogant sort of derision he’s so well known for. That was his Big Chance, and he missed it – but it’s just as well, because Sun-woo is giving him a free pass even without earning forgiveness. So it feels like, I’ll never forgive you but I’ll do everything as if I did, and you won’t suffer any consequences. I know it’s not up to Sun-woo to teach Jang-il life lessons, but how will he ever learn otherwise?
So my hope lies in Sun-woo, in that he’ll use Jang-il to get what he wants and then exact some form of revenge. I don’t really see how though, if Chairman Jin will be solely accused of the murder, since there won’t be a way to accuse Yong-bae of the same thing. But then there’s always Joon-ho, the new wild card. I like it when I can’t tell what a character’s next move will be… but I can say that even from a wish-fulfillment perspective, what I want to happen most in this show is not necessarily for Sun-woo to find justice for his father, but for Jang-il to lose the facade, face his actions, and repent.
Therefore, I’m still a little confused by the very first scene of the drama, where Jang-il faced off against Chairman Jin and Sun-woo while looking horribly conflicted. Are we just in the longest flashback ever, and we’ll eventually reach that scene? My hope is that it wasn’t just a writer’s flight of fancy, and that we’ll eventually find ourselves back where we started, only with a whole new spin on things. We don’t know what the turning point might be for Jang-il, but that’s part of the fun. What’s the Chinese proverb for how I’m feeling right now? Ex-ci-ted.
- Equator Man: Episode 15
- 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