Equator Man: Episode 18
We’re reaching the end of the line, and desperation reigns supreme. The revenge pendulum comes swinging back in a bad way, affecting all those who have wronged Sun-woo in one way or another. This drama has done such a great job of painting its characters in detailed shades of grey, enough to make it hard to tell up from down, who to be sad for, and when. I love it when a show can do that.
Equator Man saw a slight drop in ratings this episode to 14.2% (from 15.1% last episode), but maintained first place among competitors Rooftop Prince at 13.5%, and The King 2 Hearts, which brought up the rear at 11.2%.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
We revisit the Attempted Murder 2.0 scene, this time intercut with the original scene from our boys’ youth. Whether Sun-woo would have actually thrown Jang-il off is left to the imagination, because Soo-mi and Yoon-joo break through the door just in time to stop them.
Chairman Jin decides to go after the Indonesian mining claim Sun-woo knew he’d be after, much to Secretary Cha’s dismay. He resorts to threats and pleading for money to buy the claim.
Back on the rooftop, Soo-mi confronts Sun-woo about what just happened. He gives her an out – she can go tell the police everything about Jang-il trying to kill him. When she doesn’t seem keen about the idea, he tells her to jump off the building, then. If not, he’ll break all the bones in her hand so she can’t paint again.
He’s so blasé about it all, which frightens Soo-mi more. When he leaves her alone she sinks to the ground and cries, which has Sun-woo gripping the tree branch with rage. He has to fight the urge not to turn around and fulfill his dark promises. The powerful music of Verdi’s Requiem plays over the end of this scene, and then straight into Sun-woo’s ears as he listens to the Dies Irae alone – the Latin hymn describing the biblical day of judgment.
Min-yun informs Sun-woo that the Law Firm Live show took the bait, and will be looking into his case now after such positive feedback from the viewing public. It’s a bit unfortunate, in his mind, that the art show might give away the big surprise too soon.
Ji-won arrives on the scene, and tells Sun-woo that if she were him, she would have asked for an open investigation (which is what’s happening now with the TV show anyway). Coldly, Sun-woo tells her that she can’t say “if I were you” unless she’s put herself in his shoes, and commands her never to speak to him like that again. Rough.
She doesn’t take it to heart, and apologizes for making him angry. He reminds her that if she’s still trying to stop him, there’s no need – he’s taking this to the end. When she asks what that is, he tells her, “When there can be no hope. That’s the end.”
Ominously, his vision goes blurry as he tries to reach for a drink. Uh oh.
Later, he meets with someone from the Law Firm Live show who’s stumped as to why Sun-woo won’t tell them the whole story. But that’s the whole point – he wants them to find out on their own.
Just as Jang-il receives a phone call where he has to deny trying to kill his friend, Sun-woo tells the show representative that he wants Jang-il to take the case no matter what.
Min-yun gets to keep up with the open case via live updates online, and even Geum-jool wonders why Jang-il doesn’t just kneel and apologize. So the cat’s really out of the bag, then, isn’t it? Min-yun guesses that Jang-il won’t be able to hold onto his job at this rate.
Yong-bae meets with Sun-woo to ask him for a favor – he’d like to meet Kwang-choon, alone, to clear up the misunderstandings between them. (Somehow I don’t have a good feeling about that.) He apologizes to Sun-woo and proposes that they strike a deal where Yong-bae takes all the blame, even for hitting Sun-woo in the back of the head.
Sun-woo isn’t excited about it, but Yong-bae baits him with a piece of information he’ll only tell him if Sun-woo agrees.
Meanwhile, Kwang-choon goes to a fortune teller to see if his bleak past means he’ll have an equally bleak future. He seems pleased with the cards set out for him, only to have his spirits fall when Sun-woo calls to arrange a visit. (On Yong-bae’s behalf, but he doesn’t know that.)
We hear what Yong-bae was hinting at as he explains the fight he overheard between Kyung-pil and Chairman Jin about Sun-woo’s true parentage. Sun-woo has all the pieces now, knowing that his adoptive father attempted to get Chairman Jin to take him. What he’ll do, we don’t know.
Jang-il finds Joon-ho listening to a recording of Kwang-choon’s testimony, among other pieces of damning evidence. He’s point blank about telling Jang-il that he’s going to investigate him for the attempted murder of Sun-woo, and gives him an opportunity to tell him the truth. Jang-il doesn’t take it.
He’s off to take the recording to their superior, which exposes his back to Jang-il while our murderous prosecutor’s hand lands on his large, club-like nameplate. You know, the one he lovingly stroked last episode. Someone’s got murder on the mind.
Jang-il seems to seriously consider using his go-to tactic for dealing with people too close to the truth, but loses his opportunity. Joon-ho leaves before he can do anything.
As for Chairman Jin, he unknowingly finds himself followed by Yong-bae, who’s hiding a knife in his jacket. Yong-bae confronts him in the elevator, knife drawn, and the security staff watches the CCTV as Yong-bae lunges forward to stab him.
Ji-won and Sun-woo go to see a movie, though Sun-woo wants it to be like old times where she would have to narrate the film to him due to his blindness. She does as he asks, though he finally calls her out on continuing to use formal speech with him. If people overheard, they’d think they met last week, or that he was at least ten years older.
Well… “You do look a lot older than me,” she jokes. Ha! Wait, she’s capable of making jokes? Mind = blown.
Afterward, they walk along the same streets he used to walk with a cane and go down memory lane.
It seems Yong-bae is going on a murderous rampage – though we saw security run to the elevator while he stabbed(?) Chairman Jin, apparently he wasn’t caught. At home, he wraps a heavy wooden club in newspaper to prep for his meeting with Kwang-choon.
And of course, Kwang-choon finds himself on a dark and deserted road, thinking he’ll be meeting Sun-woo. Yong-bae creeps up from behind with his club in a bag.
Ji-won talks away about the good old days, but Sun-woo feels pang of conscience and steals away to call Kwang-choon. He tells him the truth, that it’s really Yong-bae who’s going to meet him tonight. Kwang-choon claims he hasn’t seen him yet and hangs up… which is just when Yong-bae comes stalking out of the bushes behind him and clubs him in the back of the head. (!!)
Kwang-choon turns around and is able to see his assailant, right before Yong-bae hits him in the head again. Like son, like father. But whoa. Whooa.
Yong-bae tries to drag the body away, leaving the murder weapon behind. The sound of approaching bicycles sends him hiding in the bushes while a group of young men come upon Kwang-choon’s body to take him to the hospital. One of them finds the club. Uh oh.
Soo-mi rushes to the hospital with Geum-jool to find her father still alive, but badly injured. Her first instinct is to blame Sun-woo, and I guess we should be lucky that Geum-jool is there to assure her of Sun-woo’s alibi – he had a date that night.
Kwang-choon begins to murmur from the hospital bed. Soo-mi leans in close as he ekes out “Jang-il’s father” as the man who hit him. Her eyes go wide. Why would he…?
At home, Jang-il is faced with two police officers who’ve come for Yong-bae, only his father isn’t home. He tells them that it was all a misunderstanding, apparently unaware of the events.
This time, Mozart’s Requiem plays as Geum-jool calls Sun-woo in order to tell him what happened between Yong-bae and Kwang-choon. Kwang-choon is still alive, at least, though they’ll need to run tests. Sun-woo clenches his eyes shut, as though this is too much to take.
We find Yong-bae drinking at a street stall, remembering how frightened he’d been when he killed Kyung-pil. A couple of police happen by, and though they’re not looking for him, Yong-bae runs away as if they were.
It’s right before dawn, and Yong-bae has made it to a high bridge overlooking the highway. We can all guess what’s on his mind, even though he acts like nothing is amiss when his son calls him to ask what’s going on. The police came, but Jang-il doesn’t know what happened. “Don’t worry about me,” Yong-bae tells him before hanging up.
He begins to climb over the railing… though he can’t seem to find the courage to jump. His face contorts as he begins to sob, unable to throw himself over.
Jang-il heads straight for the hospital to meet a panicked Geum-jool and a mean-eyed Soo-mi, who is finally looking at Jang-il in a different light. The whole Kwang-choon/Yong-bae thing is news to him, and he rushes inside the hospital throwing curtain after curtain aside in order to find Kwang-choon.
His first reaction is to grab the wounded man by the shirt and demand to know what stunt he’s trying to pull in blaming his father. The hospital staff comes to drag him away, though his eyes go wide when he’s faced with Soo-mi, who slaps him. Soo-mi: “Now, you’re done for.”
In a car on an abandoned cliff, Sun-woo listens to the radio news which tells of an assailant (Yong-bae) hounding Chairman Jin for money before running from the police.
Jang-il stumbles home in shock, completely unaware that his father is watching him from the shadows.
The next day, an unharmed Chairman Jin gives a speech to a gathered assembly of mining industry heads about how he grew up poor and had a hard life, with only the desire to build a suitable house for his family. It’s an effort to convince the sellers to grant him the Indonesian mining claim.
Min-yun and Sun-woo are also in attendance, and Min-yun snarks that Chairman Jin is quite the actor. Sun-woo is up next, and claims that if they don’t give the mine to his company, “I just hope that the mining claim will go to a legitimate firm without corruption.” Quite the dig at Chairman Jin.
What Sun-woo doesn’t know is that Jin has bribed his way to the mining claim, and it seems like the claim will go to him. Chairman Jin is elated – now Tae-joo and Sun-woo will never catch up.
Remember that pottery business Chairman Jin’s wife and stepdaughter started? It’s okay. All we apparently need to know is that it’s not doing so well.
Yong-bae walks the streets alone, and sees his son’s face on a jumbotron. Sun-woo finds out from the Law Firm TV Guy that Jang-il won’t be taking the case since his father is wanted for assault. Sun-woo decides to call off the open investigation.
Speaking of, Jang-il hands in his resignation letter and apologizes for causing trouble. “Everything is speculation,” he assures his superior. “I’m innocent.”
He has to pass by Joon-ho in the hallway, looking mighty conflicted. The two don’t share a word.
Soo-mi arranges a coffee date with Ji-won to ask her to pull Sun-woo off this whole revenge thing. Soo-mi: “Sun-woo might be more of a madman than you think.” Ji-won shoots back, “It was all of you who drove him mad.”
Regardless, Soo-mi claims that enough is enough, which prompts Ji-won to reply, “If I were him, I don’t think it’s enough yet.” Wait, what? For those of you keeping score, this is the 97827562th time Ji-won has waffled about with the revenge issue.
The air gets tense between the two, with Soo-mi shooting barely veiled insults that roll right off Ji-won. When asked about why she kept silent, Soo-mi claims that she just goes crazy when she wants something. Ji-won brings up that parallel to Sun-woo’s revenge – does Soo-mi’s wanting something make the means right? If so, why doesn’t she apply that philosophy to Sun-woo’ revenge? “You’re sad,” Ji-won notes.
You could say their meeting ends on a bad note, with Soo-mi left to stew alone.
Chairman Jin gets to hear Sun-woo on a business radio show discussing how the big mining claim will probably go to Jin, and that he’s given up on it. He couldn’t be happier, and urges Secretary Cha to help him find ways of mobilizing the funds to buy the claim.
Yong-bae sneaks into the apartment he shares with Jang-il at night, looking lovingly at a picture of him and his son. He’s doing this all for him, after all. He sits to pen a will to Prosecutor Joon-ho claiming that everything was his fault, and that Jang-il is innocent of everything.
Jang-il returns home to a darkened apartment and finds a letter on the coffee table from his father. It reads:
I think my greed to raise you well was too great. Heaven is punishing me now. I’m sorry. I will have to leave you now. But, my son… I have made you bear such a heavy cross. But I have no regrets. Even if I’m born again, I want to be born as your father.”
Knowing instantly that it’s a suicide note, Jang-il begins a frantic search through the apartment for his father. He sees something that makes him turn around… his father’s feet. Oh God. His father hung himself from the ceiling.
He pulls his father down, begging him to wake up. He has half a mind to call an ambulance before returning to his father’s side to hold him, and soon we’re left with only the sound of Jang-il sobbing.
We find him next in the ambulance with his father, who seems to have survived the hanging attempt. He thinks back to Sun-woo finding his father in the same fashion, begging him to wake up in the same way. It’s like deja vu. “Did Sun-woo go through the same thing?” Jang-il wonders in voiceover.
It’s with bleary eyes and a shell-shocked expression that he waits in a hospital hallway, with Soo-mi standing nearby. Wow. She’s there as support for the man who tried to kill her father?
Apparently in the mining business communication comes only through the newspapers, as Sun-woo and Chairman Jin read the headlines almost simultaneously. It pretty much guarantees that Chairman Jin won’t get the mine, because it’s been declared as an eco-friendly mine and Jin’s is not an eco-friendly company. As it turns out, Sun-woo’s firm is.
Not Dad comes bearing a gift of an embroidered handkerchief to Sun-woo, with the instructions that he’s to give it to his mom at her gravesite. She’d always wanted one for her birthday, and this is the first one Tae-joo has ever given her, because he claims he wasn’t the right person to give it before. (Meaning, he wasn’t her fiancée like Chairman Jin.)
Sun-woo goes to his mother’s grave, though he’s unable to stay long because he can’t keep his composure. He sounds like such a lost boy when he calls her “Mom.”
Only when he’s down the hill does he realize he forgot to give the handkerchief, and heads back up to do so. But Chairman Jin has arrived in the meantime, asking his former fiancée if this mining failure was her birthday gift to him.
Sun-woo confronts Jin about what he’s doing here; a question that gets flipped right back onto him. “She is my mother,” Sun-woo says. “She’s my fiancée,” Chairman Jin replies.
And you see the wheels turning in Sun-woo’s head, along with the slow realization. He kneels to give her the handkerchief, only to find another one has already been left… by Jin.
Chairman Jin asks the mound of earth whether the man standing there (Sun-woo) is the son she begot from having an affair with another man. Turning to Sun-woo, he blames him for everything that has gone wrong, and has no other way to threaten him but to use his dead mother.
“Your mom,” Chairman Jin begins. “I will dig out her grave and cremate her. Even if she gave birth to someone like you with another man, she is my woman.” He asks if Sun-woo knows who his father is between Tae-joo and Kyung-pil, to which Sun-woo replies, “My fathers are Kim Kyung-pil and Moon Tae-joo. Both of them.”
Chairman Jin just laughs derisively, while Sun-woo looks deeply affected. Has either of them considered that they might be father and son yet?
And Chairman Jin’s wife, who’s been spying on her husband, already has pictures of him together with Sun-woo at the gravesite. She can’t figure out the connection yet.
Sun-woo confronts Not Dad on a rooftop, asking if it’s true that his mother was Chairman Jin’s fiancée. Is there anything else he’s not telling him? Not Dad hands over the letter penned by Kyung-pil before he died, asking him if Sun-woo was Jin’s son or his son.
“Answer me,” Sun-woo asks. “Whose son am I?”
“You’re Jin No-sik’s son,” Tae-joo tells him. “Jin No-sik is your biological father.”
This news hits Sun-woo like a ton of bricks. Not Dad tells him that he was waiting for the right moment, to tell him, and Sun-woo roars at him to stop speaking. He doesn’t want to accept the truth.
It’s hard nowadays to deliver a birth secret to an increasingly desensitized audience, and this one wasn’t any different. It shouldn’t come as a surprise since it was hinted at in the first few minutes of the series, which is why it doesn’t pack a lot of punch as a big reveal now. To Sun-woo it’s a big deal, but to us as the audience, meh. Let’s move past what we already know and get to the fallout.
The big moments this episode were centered around Yong-bae, who’s been an interesting character since day one. I could buy that he didn’t manage to kill Kwang-choon (because in Equator Man, blows to the head don’t seem to kill anyone), but I was surprised that his attempt to hang himself didn’t work and wonder where the story plans to take us with Yong-bae being alive, as opposed to being six feet under.
Sun-woo’s revenge has become a point of contention, and I found it interesting that Ji-won, who so far has been a sort of moral compass for Sun-woo, seems to now side with him on his revenge. I can’t tell whether it’s character inconsistency that she was so against it and is now suddenly for it, or whether she just changed her mind off-screen and we didn’t see it. Maybe Sun-woo being a tool to her early on in the episode about assuming things really made a mark.
The fact that one can wonder whether Sun-woo is taking his revenge too far against the man who killed his father and the man who tried to kill him is great, in my opinion. In a lot of revenge tales I see the hero single-handedly going up against the baddies and winning (to the cheer of us, the audience) but we have a much different case here, with an intimate view of the villains as well as the heroes. That the camp can be divided as to whether Jang-il is pitiable or not is amazing for a drama to have accomplished, because it puts us in the same gray area as our hero. To avenge or not to avenge?
Although, I wonder whether Sun-woo is worthy of the hero moniker when he seems to have knowingly sent Kwang-choon to his doom. I was waiting to see some guilt on Sun-woo’s part, but then that all ties into whether we believe Sun-woo is acting righteously or not by letting all those people who betrayed him implode upon themselves. It brings to mind the idea of wants and desire this episode brought up with Ji-won and Soo-mi’s conversation. Is it the intention that counts, or the end result? Are someone’s actions more right and just when their cause is just, or is there a point where that all fades away and it’s a character’s actions, and not their intent, that matter most?
- Equator Man: Episode 17
- Equator Man: Episode 16
- 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