The search begins, as we face the fallout from yesterday’s tragedy, and it’s actually Detective Kim who takes center stage in this episode, as a much-needed (and let’s face it, only) father figure in these kids’ lives. Jung-woo grows up as well, and man, I know that growing up is hard to do, but today that just feels like the understatement of the century.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Jung-woo lies in his bed practically catatonic, while his little sister Ah-reum cries because he cries, and tries fruitlessly to cheer him up with a song.
The doctor tells Dad that Jung-woo needs to go to a hospital, and might even need to spend some time in the psych ward. That doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, but Dad’s response is to leave Jung-woo in his stepmother’s hands and ignore the whole problem.
Soo-yeon’s mom calls out Jung-woo’s name from the front gate, and he panics at the sound. He pulls the covers over his head and shudders in fear, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”
Eun-joo is there with her, and suggests that she should go inside and find Jung-woo. So Mom creates the perfect diversion, flailing around for the bodyguards, while Eun-joo sneaks in behind them. Nice.
She goes tearing through the house screaming his name, and it’d be funny if the circumstances weren’t so dire. I love her pluck. She finally finds him in his room, huddled under a desk, shell-shocked.
She asks why he’s hiding—does he feel guilty about something? Where is Soo-yeon?? How can he be sitting here when their family is upside-down? All good questions.
He just rocks back and forth, trembling like a leaf, not saying a word. Eun-joo pleads with him that they have to find Soo-yeon, and shows him her journal.
“You said you’d never pretend not to know her again! You said all you needed was her! See, it’s all written here! Look! Don’t you know how much that dummy liked you?!” Oof.
Stepmom and the maid drag her away before she can say anything else, but she leaves the journal behind.
Detective Kim finds the kidnappers’ van abandoned in the woods near the crime scene, and gets to work searching for any evidence left behind.
Meanwhile, Dad’s torturing one of the kidnappers, demanding to know where “that bitch” is. (He means Hye-mi. I don’t think he gives a rat’s patootie where Soo-yeon is.) He spares the man his life in exchange for finding her and bringing her back.
After a while, Jung-woo reaches for the journal and starts to read all the little details Soo-yeon noted about him—how he always turns to the left when she calls his name, how he memorizes the multiplication tables backwards.
We see some of their sweet, mundane moments doing homework or hanging out at their playground, as she narrates in her journal that it’s weird how she thinks about him even when he’s right next to her.
Her gift for him was a little good luck mantra of hers—that thing she always does with the ripples in the water as she chants, “He’ll come, he won’t come.”
She writes that if there are five ripples, it means your wish will come true, and she wanted to share that with him on a rainy day.
He cries as he reads: “The wind blows / I think of you / The wind blows in my eyes / I think of you / I run till I’m out of breath / I think of you / The street lamp flickers / I think of you / From the street lamp to home is 280 steps / I think of you.”
He weeps as he thinks of how he left her lying there, clutches the book to his heart.
Detective Kim stops by the house to pick up some of Soo-yeon’s things, in hopes of finding a link to Jung-woo that can connect any of the forensic evidence that comes up to the two kids.
But then he gets a call from the lab—the blood they found matches Soo-yeon, but there’s evidence that it wasn’t just a kidnapping. His face twists as he hears the words, “There was evidence of rape.”
He falls to the ground. Eun-joo asks him what’s wrong, but all he can do is cry. He holds Eun-joo’s little hand in his.
His tears soon turn to anger and he darts up, “That son of a bitch. That son of a bitch! Eun-joo, look at me. From this moment on, I’m not looking for Soo-yeon, but for you. I’m not going as a detective, but as a father. So I’m going to do anything. I’m going to do anything to catch him, and I won’t leave him be. Can I do that? Can I just go crazy?”
What a good papa. Eun-joo, ever the awesome the little girl, shouts right back, “Of course you should! Of course you should go crazy—you’re my dad! If you don’t, I’ll be really mad! Find her. Bring Soo-yeon back.”
And thus begins his quest. (And honestly, this is the drama I’d rather be watching—Surrogate Dad, Action Hero.)
The higher-ups threaten him with his job, but Detective Kim says he stopped being a true cop the day he agreed to cover up the fact that Soo-yeon’s father wasn’t a murderer. He says he chose to be pathetic, but now he’ll stop at nothing: “What would you do if YOUR daughter were missing?!”
He storms into Jung-woo’s house armed with a warrant (and a sneer for Chairman Han), and Jung-woo surprises them all by coming downstairs and asking what took Ajusshi so long. He silently sticks his hands out, to be cuffed.
Detective Kim says he’s sorry, but he’s gone a little insane right now, and cuffs him. Once they’re alone in the car, he says this is the only way he could reach Jung-woo, and that he fully intends to set him free.
Meanwhile, Chairman Han sends his minions to track down the second kidnapper before the cops do. After letting him go? Urg, I’d be madder if I cared about you, but I don’t.
Detective Kim takes Jung-woo to the river, and Jung-woo confesses that he ran away. “Soo-yeon came to save me, but I ran away.” It’s in no way a thing you could blame a fifteen-year old for, and yet it’s the last thing a father would want to hear.
Detective Kim just asks if Jung-woo has things he needs to say to Soo-yeon, because he does too. He tells Jung-woo the truth about her father: “I made her… a murderer’s daughter.”
Their mutual guilt is actually the thing to make them get their act together, and thankfully, Ajusshi is able to get Jung-woo back to the land of the living. He says, eyes full of purpose, that he’ll say everything that he can remember from that night.
The important clues: one of them was missing a finger, cracked out on something he called “ice,” and the van they found in the woods is the same one they were kidnapped in.
Detective Kim suggests that one of the men grabbed Soo-yeon while the other lit the warehouse on fire (to destroy evidence), but Jung-woo says that’s not right: Dad came before the police, and he had the bad guys.
He darts up, ready to go question his father, but Detective Kim urges him to wait, and that he shouldn’t suspect his father. Yes he should! Yes he should! Not everyone is like you, Ajusshi.
At home, Eun-joo stops short at the sight of Soo-yeon’s dress hanging from the clothesline, and pins it up with a clothespin. Inside, Mom lays out Soo-yeon’s uniform and caresses it like she’s there, lying next to her.
Detective Kim finally catches a break when a witness comes forth to say that he saw a young girl get hauled over a man’s shoulder. They search on the riverbank where the girl was spotted, and start to dig where the police dog indicates. Uh oh.
He starts to dig, and uncovers Soo-yeon’s sweater—the matching one to Eun-joo’s that he bought for the girls.
Jung-woo waits by the river, throwing stones and playing Soo-yeon’s game: “She’ll come, she won’t come…”
The fingerless druggie angle makes it relatively easy to find their target, and Detective Kim starts trailing one of the baddies.
Chairman Han continues his quest for The Money, and acts annoyed when Jung-woo comes to ask him about the baddies that they caught that night. Head Minion jumps in to say it was his fault, and that when he went back, the warehouse was already on fire and they got away in the chaos.
Chairman Han walks out, telling the secretary to either send Jung-woo back to the States or lock him up in his room. Gee, why aren’t we suspicious of Dad again?
Detective Kim follows Baddie No. 1 to Baddie No. 2, and beats them both up without breaking a sweat. He demands to know where Soo-yeon is. He’s got the first guy cuffed to the wall while he beats the second guy, and that’s when he sees it: the missing finger.
He lights up in a furious rage, and STOMPS the bloody hell out of the rapist’s groin. “Does this hurt? Does this hurt, you son of a bitch?!” Well, at least karma’s on our side today. I hope the damage is permanent.
He calms down enough to ask again where Soo-yeon is, and the sick bastard laughs as he says he threw her in the river, “kerplunk,” and killed her. Oof, poor Ajusshi.
The media covers the reenactment (which I always find so gruesome, even if it’s just with a mannequin), and Jung-woo watches on the television. Mom shows up in person, and stumbles up to the killer. It’s of course snowing that day.
She begs to be allowed to ask him one thing, and so they bring the man over to her. She searches his eyes, “W-why?” She asks so innocently why, like there should be a logical reason.
He turns to go without answering her, and she grabs his jacket, pleading with him to say that Soo-yeon isn’t really dead. She wails that she’ll forgive everything if he’ll just tell her that she’s still alive. Augh, even though we know she couldn’t have died the way he’s telling it, her pain is still gut-wrenching.
Jung-woo goes running out of the hospital into the snow, all the way to their playground. He checks under the slide, just to be sure. She isn’t there. Gah, that kills me.
Imaginary Soo-yeon comes and asks him the same thing she asked on that first day they met: “Will you be here tomorrow?”
Jung-woo: “No. Tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that… I’ll be here every day.” The vision disappears, but then he hears a familiar squeaking of the swings. He looks up with such hopeful eyes, but it’s just the wind, pushing along an empty swing.
He thinks through the order of events one more time, and something about Dad and his secretary’s stories don’t add up. He runs back home and tears apart Dad’s office to look for clues.
Inside a locked drawer, he finds surveillance photos of Detective Kim, a police profile, and a cell phone. He turns it on as a last-ditch effort, thinking it a lifeline to Soo-yeon. Suddenly, it rings. Someone’s calling him? As soon as he turns the thing on? Buh.
He answers it, trembling, and it’s Soo-yeon on the other end, “Jung-woo-ya…” But he barely has time to say her name before Nurse Hye-mi pushes her away and snatches the phone out of her hand.
She screams that they shouldn’t have kept her alive, and Hyung-joon (clearly the one who saved her) helps her up and demands that her life be spared. Soo-yeon’s face is covered in bandages, though we don’t know why.
Chairman Han grabs the phone out of Jung-woo’s hands as well, and argues that Soo-yeon is dead and he’s being crazy. He swears he’s not imagining it, but the more he insists, the colder Dad gets.
He slaps Jung-woo across the face and throws the phone to the ground. Jung-woo goes to pick up the pieces, only now realizing the truth: “You were never going to look for Soo-yeon, were you? You lied.”
Dad doesn’t even care to continue the lie, “Of course I did.” He calls her trash and a murderer’s daughter—someone he shouldn’t be connected to in the first place.
Jung-woo gets up to face him and asks if Dad really only trusts his son. Dad: “I trust no one else, only my son.”
Jung-woo: “Don’t. Don’t trust me. I don’t trust you anymore.” Nice. He goes up to his room to pick up Soo-yeon’s journal.
Dad orders him to stop, warning that if he walks out of this house now, it’s the end. Jung-woo doesn’t even give a glance back as he marches right past him and out the door without missing a beat.
Detective Kim is concurrently having his own rebellion, as he smashes up his precinct over how little anyone around here cares for procedure and fact. He asks if they’re just supposed to take everybody at their word—if the bastard said he killed Soo-yeon, he just killed her? Without proof?
He simultaneously gets fired and quits, which is right when Jung-woo comes running through the door, “Ajusshi, Soo-yeon is alive!” The exchange is actually really sweet. Ajusshi: “I know.” Jung-woo: “No, she’s really alive!” Ajusshi: “I really know!”
He gets down on his knees and begs Ajusshi to find her. “I trust you.” It means so much, in light of the crushing blow that he can’t trust his own father. He turns to the other cops too, “I trust all of you.” He cries, “I have something to say to her. I…miss her.”
Hye-mi decides she’s had enough of babysitting, and threatens to leave Hyung-joon behind if he insists on staying with the girl. She snaps the necklace from his neck.
He warns that it’s useless until he turns eighteen anyway, and that she can’t get to the money without him. He counters that he won’t go anywhere without Soo-yeon.
She sits numbly, even as Hyung-joon shows her the newspaper with her own murder in the headlines. He says that Jung-woo left her and isn’t looking for her, and she finally screams, “That’s not true!”
It’s as if him voicing her fear makes her face the trauma all over again, and she breaks down in a fit of terrifying screams as she relives the horror.
And then it fades into the same future sequence we saw at the beginning: Adult Jung-woo running to Soo-yeon, Crying Hyung-joon, and Bullet-in-the-brainpan Jung-woo.
As he lies there bleeding to death, he says in voiceover: “I’m not crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because the wind is blowing.”
Oof. This show. It’s beautiful, but it’s a painfest, and I’m pretty sure it relishes doling out the pain. I don’t think there was one tearless scene in the entire episode, and Yeo Jin-gu—I didn’t know he could cry that many different ways, but I’m not sure I wanted to know either. He’s doing a fantastic job as a performer, but when I get scene after scene with tears upon tears folded into flashbacks with tears, I start to get desensitized, and I’m not sure that’s the effect we’re going for. Well, it’s either that or Total Emotional Destruction. Either way I’m ducking for cover.
There were solid, uplifting moments, of course—Ajusshi stepping up to become a dad to Soo-yeon even if it’s too late, and Jung-woo’s disillusionment with his own father. It was a nice parallel between the two men, both lost and losing faith in their figures of authority, and questioning themselves for the selfish choices they made, both feeling guilty for failing to protect Soo-yeon. I do really like both these characters and their struggles to grow up and become men in different phases in their lives.
In fact a good number of the themes in the drama are really very sweet and uplifting, like outsiders banding together, and found families being tighter than blood. But it’s the heavy melodramatic hammering and re-hammering of the pain that takes away from the could-be warm-hearted, uplifting kind of execution. Instead we live through the trauma the first time, we cry as we suffer the fallout, again as we get flashbacks to the original trauma in case we forgot, and then we’re to cry as the snow falls to remind us of how Fate is a total bitch. IT’S TOO MUCH.
We really wanted to give the show a good lengthy trial period because we’re fans of the cast. But it probably won’t come as a surprise that we won’t be continuing with recaps. It’s a well-made show, so the choice has nothing to do with the quality of the show itself in this case, but rather the feeling (and okay, fear) that the pain has only just begun. It’s just not how I want to spend the next ten Thursdays of my life, yunno?
I do hope for good things for Soo-yeon and Jung-woo, and will even exit with a rain dance to make that flash-forward a dream sequence, a drama-within-a-drama, a loop in a time slip—or whatever else that makes it not true. And I’ll choose to remember the few sweet droplets of happiness that we did get, mixed in among the tears.
- I Miss You: Episode 3
- I Miss You: Episode 2
- I Miss You: Episode 1
- Yoochun’s fans demand firing of his co-star
- More tears for I Miss You’s leads
- Yoo Seung-ho’s poster shoot for I Miss You
- I Miss You completes its love square
- More photos of young romance (and heartbreak) in I Miss You
- Yoo Seung-ho joins I Miss You as Yoochun’s rival
- Yoochun and Yoon Eun-hye’s poster shoot for I Miss You
- Youthful romance in I Miss You’s poster shoot