Equator Man: Episode 19
The last of the secrets are out, and all that’s left is the fallout. Sun-woo is sharpening his claws for what promises to be an eventful finale as Jang-il comes face to face with what Sun-woo went through so long ago. If this show were a game, it’d be called Finding Human Decency, and no one would ever win.
Note: Since the finale has already aired, please remain spoiler-free in the comments section. We’ll get there soon enough.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
With all the new fatherly revelations to deal with, Sun-woo turns to kendo to unleash some pent-up frustration. Not Dad arrives to explain the situation to his Not Son – that he raised him because he was the child of the woman he loved. Sun-woo wants to know why Chairman Jin didn’t raise him if he was his son, and Not Dad explains how Jin threw his mother away, sure that she was pregnant with another man’s child.
He seems to want Sun-woo to forgive Jin on the basis of their shared blood, but Sun-woo doesn’t share the same ideals. Jin killed his father, threw away his mother, and took Ji-won’s father’s company. His revenge has already been set in motion, and there’s no going back now.
Chairman Jin and his wife come to a head about their relationship – or lack thereof, for that matter. She’s seen the pictures of him with Sun-woo and is incensed that he gives his usual reaction to her questioning: “You don’t need to know.” Done with being silent, she fights back by claiming that she’s jealous of his dead fiancée, because she didn’t get to marry him. Ouch.
Sun-woo, Min-yun, and Ji-won are in the final stages of a six-month plan to take over Chairman Jin’s prized resort in Thailand and oust him as CEO in the process. Ji-won is eager to help on the legal side of the revenge, though she wants Sun-woo to consider his revenge on Jin complete once it’s over. It’s with hesitancy that he agrees, though I wouldn’t hold him to his word on that one.
Chairman Jin’s camp goes into crisis control mode, and it’s with some surprise than Jin learns of Sun-woo’s plan to hold a stockholder’s meeting. Knowing that Sun-woo will try to dismiss him from his CEO position, Chairman Jin murmurs to himself: “I can’t lose that resort. That’s more important than my life. That’s how I got all the way here after all that bloodshed.”
Sun-woo’s camp stays focused on the meeting until Geum-jool interrupts with the news that Yong-bae hung himself and is in a coma. Sun-woo is hardly surprised, and wonders why he’s still alive if he tried to do the same thing his father did. With a sigh, Geum-jool asks his friend to just forgive them already.
“I can’t forgive alone,” Sun-woo says almost off-handedly. “No one is asking for forgiveness, so how can I forgive?” Ji-won tries to point out the logic fail in that statement (he doesn’t need to be asked for forgiveness to forgive), and Sun-woo just agrees to send flowers.
As for Chairman Jin’s wife, she’s had it with her husband and goes to Sun-woo with the pictures of him and her husband at Eun-hae’s gravesite. Sun-woo is able to make up an excuse which Hee-jun doesn’t totally buy, but she lets it slide for now… she has more important things to talk about. Like making a deal with Sun-woo to allow her to come out of the shareholder’s meeting unscathed. She could care less about how her husband fares.
In the hospital with his father, Jang-il tearfully admits that what he said before (that he’d give the okay for Yong-bae to kill himself) didn’t come from the heart. “If you go like this, I can’t live on,” he claims.
He’s interrupted by a phone call from Joon-ho, who wants him in for an interrogation on an attempted murder charge. Uh oh.
Interrogation room. Jang-il sits across a table from his colleague, Joon-ho, who asks him point blank if he ever hit Sun-woo over the head and threw him off a cliff. To every question about the crime Jang-il denies his involvement, though he admits that he and Sun-woo were once friends.
So Joon-ho decides to bring in Sun-woo to ask him if he was struck in the head by Jang-il. He and his frenemy share a glance, and Sun-woo seems to hesitate before answering no. We flashback to the drinking conversation Sun-woo had with Jang-il where he claimed that he wrote that he didn’t remember anything on the petition, but he remembered everything. The exact conversation Joon-ho listened in on through the phone.
I don’t know what Sun-woo’s aim is in denying Jang-il’s involvement, or if he’s in cahoots with Joon-ho. The prosecutor knows they’re both lying and decides to bring in Soo-mi for group questioning.
With a smile on her face, Soo-mi assures Joon-ho that she wasn’t necessarily lying before – she was just confused. (Right.) When presented with her paintings she claims that she asked Sun-woo and Jang-il to be her models, a question which Sun-woo flatly denies. Sun-woo: “It’s not true. I was never her model. Choi Soo-mi is lying.”
Meanwhile, Ji-won goes to work on convincing fellow shareholders of Chairman Jin’s fishiness and encourages them to attend the upcoming meeting.
In the interrogation room, Sun-woo continues his odd habit of locking eyes with Jang-il each time a question is posed to him that he has to lie about. It’s almost as if he’s challenging Jang-il to tell the truth, the real story, even though he could just do the same now and get this all over with.
But he goes on with his mind games, claiming that Jang-il wasn’t the one to attack him. He even pats his old friend on the back as if to say, It’s okay. Instead, when asked who struck him from behind, Sun-woo answers: “Lee Jang-il’s father.” Because Yong-bae was complacent in the murder of his father with Jin, Sun-woo claims that he clubbed him to stop him from turning in the petition.
Joon-ho, confused, asks the million dollar question: why didn’t Sun-woo say anything before? Looking to Soo-mi and Jang-il, who’s maintained a stone cold poker face this whole time, Sun-woo replies, “I wanted them to apologize. I also enjoyed watching them struggle to live by lying.”
This is the final straw for Jang-il, who grabs Sun-woo by the collar. Who does he think he is? “If you don’t like it,” Sun-woo says with a near smirk, “you can change it.” Ahh. I see the angle here.
Once the trio is outside, Soo-mi notes that while Sun-woo got them into this mess, he got them out in the end. Why? Jang-il has the same question on his mind, but Sun-woo fires back, “Why didn’t you speak truthfully then? I put everything on your father? How do you feel selling out your father?” He gets inches away from his face and practically croons the inner thought process going on in Jang-il’s head – that everything was for the best as long as he gets to live, even selling out his father.
Jang-il’s hand goes to Sun-woo’s shoulder, though Sun-woo immediately pulls it off with a fierce warning: “I told you not to touch me.” But if Jang-il doesn’t like it, he invites him to go tell the prosecutor the truth. That, or he can go strangle his father to prevent him from testifying against him when he wakes. “Strangle him like he strangled my father,” Sun-woo orders.
But Jang-il, looking quite dead inside, smiles ruefully. “Fine. Give me hell for the rest of my life.” It’s said with an air of resignation, as if he’s given up.
Then, he turns on Soo-mi. How could she have stayed silent, when Yong-bae tried to kill her father? Does she want Jang-il that badly?
Soo-mi: “You’ve become a true devil.” (O rly?) Sun-woo fires right back, “I still have a long way to go to catch up to you guys.” I’d say that’s true.
When Jang-il begins to leave, Sun-woo asks him if he doesn’t even have a ‘thank you’ to give for him not putting him in prison. Jang-il doesn’t, and he walks on without a word, leaving Sun-woo standing alone.
As Sun-woo drives later, he’s forced to stop in the middle of the road because his vision goes blurry. Eek.
The press mob the outside of Yong-bae’s hospital room, with Geum-jool keeping them at bay. Inside, Jang-il promises his father that it will all be over soon. Sun-woo watches the TV coverage from his room with a bored expression, and I’m guessing that the news from the interrogation room has leaked.
Next up for a press mobbing is Chairman Jin. He assures himself that Sun-woo won’t succeed in the shareholder’s meeting, and that he’ll never go down.
Back with Team Sun-woo, we overhear the reporter on the TV claiming that Jin is denying everything related to the crime – and besides, the statute of limitations has passed. Even though he should be happy, Sun-woo’s expression is serious and troubled.
It’s already time for the shareholders meeting, and the officiator calls for a show of hands of those in support of dismissing Chairman Jin as CEO. Two-thirds must agree in order for it to be passed. Slowly, hands start popping up around the room, including Sun-woo’s. It comes down to Hee-jun, who smiles to herself.
We flash back to her meeting with Sun-woo, asking how she can help his cause against her husband. As for what she would get in return, Sun-woo promised that he would help to place a new CEO from her family. I wonder if she’s looking out for Yoon-joo.
Back at the shareholder’s meeting, all eyes are on Hee-jun, as her vote would seal the deal. She raises her hand, to the shock of Chairman Jin, and the motion is passed. Chairman Jin is no longer CEO.
The room empties, leaving Sun-woo and Chairman Jin alone. Sun-woo tells him that he’s still trying to figure out what’s most precious to him and leaves him alone to fume. It’s never a good idea to leave a dangerous man like that alone to plan revenge, is it?
Team Sun-woo celebrates their victory against Chairman Jin. Sun-woo isn’t completely happy – he knows that it won’t bring his father back. Geum-jool urges him to go visit Yong-bae/Jang-il in the hospital, and Sun-woo offers a drink to the memory of his dead father. “It’s a good day,” he tells the picture.
Next we see him, he’s in Yong-bae’s hospital room. Jang-il arrives at the same time and confronts him. Is he here to strangle his father? Sun-woo is like, Do you think I’m like you? He came to wish his father a speedy recovery so that he can stand tall to be stoned for his crime. “If he just dies like this, it’s too easy,” Sun-woo says.
Things heat up when Sun-woo reminds Jang-il that his father is a murderer, which causes Jang-il to throw Sun-woo’s Get Better gift on the ground. Challenging him, Sun-woo asks when exactly it was that Jang-il found out that his father killed his father… and when Jang-il attempts to get physical, Sun-woo just plucks him from the ground like a paper doll and throws him on top of his father’s comatose body.
Outside the hospital, Sun-woo seems to be having some more eye problems. Ji-won calls him from a sidewalk as a mysterious van screeches to a halt next to her and suited men pour out, abducting her and leaving her phone on the sidewalk. Sun-woo, on the other end, has no idea what happened.
Ji-won is thrown into a locked room and rails against the doors ineffectually. Sun-woo grows suspicious when he can’t reach her by phone.
Chairman Jin is in a rage over his wife’s betrayal, and Yoon-joo is there to bear the brunt. He uses force to throw his stepdaughter onto a chair. “If I can’t keep the resort,” he tells her menacingly, “you and your mom won’t live through the day.” Yikes. I believe him.
With tears in his eyes, he recites his creed for that resort. It means everything to him. A home for his dead parents, who worked themselves to death. For what it’s worth, Yoon-joo seems to be on his side, and not her mother’s.
The next day, Min-yun and Sun-woo come to the realization that Ji-won might have been abducted by Jin, wanting revenge over the resort. Tae-joo comes just in time to overhear the news.
Their suspicions were correct, as Chairman Jin confronts Ji-won in the warehouse he’s locked her in. She’s not even surprised – she knew it was him. He wants her to call Sun-woo and tell him to set things right about the resort, only then will he let her go. When he throws her the phone she calls the police instead, so he wrestles it out of her grasp.
However, he returns to his office to find Sun-woo already waiting for him. He demands to know where Ji-won is. Chairman Jin assures him she’s safe, and he’ll tell him if he sets everything right. Sun-woo grabs him by the collar and claims he’ll call the police, and Jin is not afraid.
Sun-woo hesitates, remembering that this is his father he’s threatening. Tears spring to his eyes and Chairman Jin actually makes fun of him, like, Is the wittle baby crying wittle tears? He tells Sun-woo to think carefully – Ji-won’s time is running out.
“Did you do this to my mother?” Sun-woo asks. “Were you like this to your fiancée?” And Jin, unfazed, simply tells him to return the resort to him.
Sun-woo starts tearing through Chairman Jin’s house, breaking everything he can take a stick to. He calls for Ji-won and receives no answer. Ji-won tries taking a chair to a huge metal door… and A for effort, I guess?
And just like that, we find Sun-woo beating the tar out of Secretary Cha, who claims he doesn’t know where Ji-won is. Geum-jool and Min-yun are standing by, and he orders them to throw Cha off the roof. They hold him over the edge as he screams bloody murder and finally breaks, telling them Ji-won’s location.
As he peels out to find her, Jang-il calls Chairman Jin to tell him to come beg his father for forgiveness. Jin tells him to come to his home instead, and soon enough his office door opens…
…Only it isn’t Jang-il, it’s Tae-joo. Yeah! Dad fight!
He’s come to ask for Ji-won and to tell the truth: that Sun-woo is Chairman Jin’s son. He explains that he loved Jin’s fiancée but never slept with her, and she never betrayed Chairman Jin even once. She only loved him.
This news hits Chairman Jin enough for the self-assured smile to fade from his face. Jang-il arrives outside in time to overhear Tae-joo telling Jin to stop hurting his son, Sun-woo. So Jang-il knows now.
Chairman Jin doesn’t seem to believe it, and wonders how Tae-joo used his own son against him for revenge. Not Dad tells him to do a paternity test if he’s so uncertain and leaves, running into Jang-il on his way out.
Jang-il confronts Chairman Jin, victorious. “I came here to give you hell, but look what I found out?” he gloats over the information, even though he claims it isn’t such a big surprise – both father and son are persistent and ignorant. Chairman Jin tries to punch him for that, but he stops the blow easily.
Looking him dead in the eyes, Jang-il tells him that his father is dying right now because of him – and if he does die, he won’t let Chairman Jin get away with it.
And Chairman Jin, left alone, lets the whole “Sun-woo is my son” realization sink in.
Sun-woo takes a sledgehammer to the door locking Ji-won in and saves her. She makes sure to let him know that this was all the evil Chairman Jin’s doing, a statement that makes Sun-woo uneasy. That’s his evil father, after all.
They have a heart to heart in the car, with Sun-woo telling her he can’t live without her. She says likewise, etc. You know the drill.
Meanwhile, Chairman Jin talks over a translator that’s supposed to help him appeal to foreign moneylenders.
Sun-woo pays a visit to Soo-mi as she packs up all the Wall of Crazy paintings and asks her about a commission he requested earlier – a painting of Yong-bae hitting him in the back of the head. She claims she’s working on it, but judging by her face, she isn’t.
He wants to take the paintings off her hands and asks the price. When his back is turned she throws gasoline on the box of paintings and sets it on fire. Sun-woo actually laughs at her nerve, but is otherwise unconcerned.
Claiming that he wants some water, he returns to her gallery whistling happily… and casually takes a knife to all of her paintings. HA. Okay, it’s not so much the action, but the way he’s going about it that’s just awesome. It’s just a walk in the park for him.
And the best part? He keeps going back and forth, back and forth, cutting into each painting three or four times. Soo-mi comes running in to stop him and he pushes her to the ground roughly. Damn. No one can accuse him of messing around.
In the hospital, Yong-bae passes away. Jang-il sits next to him dejectedly. “Father… where are you going? Did you get to see Kyung-pil? When you see him, beg for his forgiveness. If he beats you up, take it. I will pay for the rest of the sins. Had I only not been smart… had I been less ambitious… Father… you wouldn’t have walked that path. It’s all my fault. Father… it’s all my fault.” He breaks down, sobbing over his father’s body.
Cut to: Jang-il bursting into Chairman Jin’s office, calling him out for killing his father. “Your father’s greed killed him,” Jin replies, completely unfazed. Jang-il accuses him of being inhumane. (Er? Since when were tree branches humane?)
Chairman Jin wants Jang-il to help him out with a resort issue and travel with him to Taiwan. After all, “Life goes on for those who live.” He claims that time (a few days) will heal all wounds, but Jang-il is like a rabid animal who must be held back from attacking him.
A bit anticlimactic for a finale lead-in, but what’cha gonna do. There were some great moments this episode, which is something that can be said of the whole series – there are some phenomenal, mind-blowing moments, but one begins to wonder if we could have condensed the proceedings a bit with a shorter episode count. As it was, today’s episode ran ten minutes short due to a broadcasting accident, with the last scene being unceremoniously cut off before the title sequence was displayed. It was pretty impossible to miss, and an official apology was given on behalf of the production crew for the mishap.
The beauty of the shorter episode format in kdramaland is the ability to showcase stories that don’t need to be concerned over stretching out multiple seasons, and revenge is just one of those things that doesn’t work over a gazillion hours because all we’d be seeing are obstacles put between our protagonist and his end goal. To see whether Equator Man has been spinning its wheels a bit is something we’ll discuss in the finale, since I’m curious as to how this is all going to end. Obviously Sun-woo has given Jang-il more than enough chances to repent, though the outcome seems bleak. He might have changed due to his father’s death (which came as a surprise to me, since they’d bothered to keep him alive for no discernible purpose), especially when he asked his father to go beg for Kyung-pil’s forgiveness in the afterlife. Hopefully that’s a precursor to Jang-il changing his ways. Better late than never, right?
The greatest moment of the episode was one of the simplest, when Sun-woo sliced Soo-mi’s paintings. I love that it’s petty and how he’s just washed his hands of her – she’s incorrigible, and there’s nothing to be done. If her father being almost-murdered by Yong-bae didn’t stop her from taking Jang-il’s side, then she’s truly hopeless. (Speaking of, where was Kwang-choon this episode?)
Ji-won’s abduction scene(s) didn’t really hold water for me, mostly because she didn’t seem to be in any real danger and because I’ve just never connected with her as a character. There’s the argument that she’s so dependable that you’d want her around in real life despite her milquetoast presence, but the chief job of a television show is to entertain – so if she is failing to entertain, then she’s simply failing to do her job as a character.
I have a feeling we’ll be in for quite the ride for the finale. Here’s hoping that it’ll be a satisfying one, inasmuch as revenge can be satisfying, that is.
- Equator Man: Episode 18
- 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