It’s time to face the music in this final chapter as Shin-woo chases after the answers to the questions that plague him. The truth rears its ugly head and rams into the stone wall of defense Shin-woo has built for himself. Learning who the true enemy is in this battle is only just the beginning of the frightening and painful journey towards healing. Perhaps it’s not too late to come back from the brink and realize that the greatest lesson of all is learning how to love.
Sirius ended its short and sweet run with a 2.9% in ratings.
SONG OF THE DAY
Mono – “Pure as Snow (Trails of the Winter Storm)” [ Download ]
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
We revisit the past once more to the memory teenage Shin-woo mentioned in the previous episode as he dons Eun-chang’s school uniform. Mom must have a serious case of denial because she calls for “Eun-chang” to come and eat breakfast.
As he eats, Mom expresses her regret for sending Shin-woo away to an orphanage. Would he have turned out more like Eun-chang if they grew up together? Shin-woo mutters that it’s fine.
She instructs “Eun-chang” to relay that it’s not Shin-woo’s fault that he met a horrible mother, words that finally trigger his temper. Shin-woo bites out that he considers the day Mom and hyung picked him up a miracle, and that they were enough of a family to him.
Mom silently gets on her knees and shifts uncomfortably. Shin-woo barrels on that it didn’t matter that Mom held hyung’s hand at the police station or that she never asked him if he was all right after being bullied at school. “But… you shouldn’t have said that to me: ‘You go [to prison].'”
In tears now, he cries that he was willing to trade places with his brother, but stayed because he was afraid Mom would never come for him again. It was that moment that he realized he could be easily cast away from her presence.
Shin-woo angrily grabs for the bag of energy drinks so that he too can temporarily forget everything. But Mom snatches the bag away and apologizes profusely like a frightened child trying to avoid punishment.
Shin-woo leaves her with one last word: “You regret giving birth to me, don’t you? I regret acting like a mother [to you] too.” Outside, he throws down Eun-chang’s jacket and stomps on the name tag.
It’s nighttime when Shin-woo returns to the darkened house and sees Mom asleep. He gently tucks her in and then murmurs an apology. He promises to do all that he can until Eun-chang returns and tenderly places her head on his shoulder.
Then Mom’s head lolls forward, lifeless. Shin-woo sobs in grief.
In the present, Tong-il wonders why Eun-chang would voluntarily walk into a place where he could easily be caught by Boss Go. Eun-chang heaves a deep sigh and confesses that Mom died because of drugs.
Eun-chang admits that at the time, he was too scared to ask little bro the details of how and why their mother passed away, for fear that he’d hear the words that frightened him most: “She died because of you.”
The possibility that Shin-woo could have had good reason to keep his brother in the dark only makes Eun-chang feel worse, since that means poor Shin-woo had to bear that burden alone.
Tong-il says that Eun-chang’s had it tough too, but in Eun-chang’s eyes, those struggles pale in comparison to what Shin-woo went through. He confesses, “I really missed our Shin-woo.”
We replay the final minutes of the previous episode as Eun-chang arrives at the warehouse and faces the thugs in his brother’s place. Oddly enough the men quietly take him in (No fight scene? Boo) and report to Boss Go that they’ve found the “Chief Detective.”
Boss Go is pleased to hear it as he concludes the drug deal with his Japanese guest. He tsk-tsks that Madame Choi is of no use to them anymore. So, she’s still alive?
Must be, because Shin-woo (who has just returned to the station unscathed) immediately gathers his men again to check out Club Mao. Sure enough, Madame Choi greets Shin-woo in a tired voice: “So we meet again.”
As for Boss Go, he heads to the container yard where “Shin-woo” is currently held captive. Boss Go bemoans that now he can’t keep his word to let Shin-woo go because Eun-chang didn’t keep up his end of the bargain.
Eun-chang: “And you planned to [keep that promise]?” Boss Go: “I thought about it.”
But he certainly couldn’t give “Shin-woo” another opportunity to backstab him again. He tells “Shin-woo” to spend the last hours of his life reflecting on his wrongs from the past few days.
Boss Go turns to leave, but then Eun-chang’s voice rings in the container, wishing him the same with a smile.
Shin-woo releases Madame Choi, who tells him that the drugs will leave for Japan soon. When Shin-woo presses her for more information, she asks what the Chief Detective will do in exchange. Shin-woo: “I’ll have to help you.”
So she tells him the necessary information and calls for her men. But Shin-woo clarifies the situation for her and repeats, “I said I was going to help you…” He finishes, “…become a good person.” and cuffs her again. Pffft.
Madame Choi’s eyes widen and she threatens him, saying Shin-woo’s done for once Boss Go hears word. Shin-woo turns back and tells her truthfully, “Ajumma, I saw you for the first time today.”
Naturally, Boss Go fumes when he gets word of Madame Choi’s arrest. He immediately realizes that he’s got the wrong brother and backtracks to the container. Inside, Eun-chang smiles, “Do you know who I am now?”
Eun-chang muses aloud that his once timid brother is now a confident cop, so there’s no need to worry about him anymore. Boss Go kicks Eun-chang to the ground and starts to strangle him, furious that the brothers would trick him.
Boss Go scoffs at Eun-chang’s proclamation that he trusts his brother and is more than willing to put those words to the test. How far would Shin-woo go to save his brother after he sent him to his death?
Eun-chang says that Shin-woo didn’t send him; he came of his own volition so Shin-woo could live his life as he pleases.
Boss Go is dumbfounded when he barks at Shin-woo to come for his brother and gets the reply: “Why?” Boss Go gapes, asking, “Why?! Must there be a reason for you to come for your brother?”
Shin-woo suspects that it may be a trap but Boss Go insists that he’s in the same boat, uncertain of what the twins are trying to pull. There is one thing, however, he is certain of: “Brothers.” It’s evident that Boss Go hangs on that notion of blood is thicker than water between the twins, and yet unaware of the brothers’ tense relations.
But Shin-woo isn’t easily persuaded, so Boss Go shoves the phone in Eun-chang’s face, ordering him to say something. Eun-chang ekes out, “Shin-woo… I miss Mom.” Shin-woo hangs up.
Boss Go’s assistant wonders if Shin-woo will actually come but Boss Go reminds him, “Don’t you have any siblings?” One mention of their mother ruffled the Chief Detective’s feathers, so he’s certain the Chief Detective will come running.
Speaking of whom, Shin-woo sighs to Ahn-na that he can’t figure out what kind of person his brother truly is. As he stares out the window, Ahn-na recounts how she first saw Shin-woo the day the bar exam results were announced. Given his stony expression, she thought he had failed.
But she saw Shin-woo again at the matriculation ceremony and noticed that he was staring at his family, hoping they’d say, Good job! or Congratulations! Shin-woo answers that Ahn-na’s the one who tells him those things now.
She notes that his stony expression hasn’t changed one bit since then and advises him not do something he’ll regret later. Shin-woo: “He’s trying to trick me. Pretending to be nice on purpose, working with Boss Go, and then backstab me.”
Ahn-na: “Do you feel that in your heart too?” Shin-woo: “I have to. For sure.”
The investigation continues the following morning. There’s a particularly telling moment when an errand boy arrives and Shin-woo breathes a sigh of relief to see that it’s not Eun-chang.
That relief is short-lived as he opens the package to discover two photos: one of the drug packages and the other of Eun-chang held hostage. Shin-woo reels.
Right on time, Boss Go calls to check whether the photos arrived. Shin-woo asks what kind of childish game he’s playing at by making him choose, and Boss Go laughs. In his mind, it’s just common sense: If the police mess with the drugs, Eun-chang dies.
On the rooftop, Detective Lee finds Shin-woo frustrated and advises they find Eun-chang first. Shin-woo disagrees – it’s him, not Eun-chang, whom Boss Go wants. He argues that using Eun-chang to threaten him is useless.
Detective Lee stops him to ask, “Is your brother that useless [to you]?” The first order Eun-chang commissioned as the acting Chief Detective was to search for his lost brother. When Shin-woo spits back that it could have been another ploy for Boss Go’s gain, Detective Lee asks exasperatedly, “How long will you continue to not trust your brother?”
Shin-woo declares that they’ll be going after the drugs first. Detective Lee is sharp and asks who it was — the druggie in Shin-woo’s family.
After a long pause, Shin-woo admits through gritted teeth that he can still feel the touch of Mom’s cold cheek. He’ll see to the end of this. Without another word, Detective Lee places the crumpled photo of Eun-chang in Shin-woo’s hand.
The team waits as the minutes tick by and at the same time, we see Eun-chang being hauled away by a truck.
Shin-woo mobilizes his men and they stop a moving truck by the shore. Inside are the contraband drugs and Boss Go calls once he hears word, boiling mad. He yells if Shin-woo can live without his brother because it’ll be too late by the time the police find him.
Shin-woo warns Boss Go to leave his brother alone since the smiling devil will soon see his end too. Boss Go immediately orders his men to get rid of Eun-chang and we see a group of mysterious men approach the container…
Shin-woo races to where his brother is held captive. He unlocks the container, rushing inside… and stops. The camera slowly pans over to Eun-chang’s unmoving body among a pile of needles. Oh god – please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead.
Shin-woo approaches with caution and reaches out a hand to touch Eun-chang’s face. But he can’t bring himself to do it and he jumps back like a terrified child.
His men arrive on the scene moments later and Shin-woo trudges out of the container in a daze.
Oh thank god – Eun-chang is brought to the hospital and the detectives stand vigil at his bedside. He’s in a coma from the drugs the baddies shot into him. The detectives wonder where Shin-woo is and find him at the police station, poring over reports, still in a daze.
Detective Lee drags the junkie (who also killed So-ri) into Shin-woo’s office, who mumbles repeatedly about how difficult it is to keep living after killing someone. The sight finally sparks a reaction in Shin-woo and Detective Lee urges him to go to his brother at the hospital. What if Eun-chang dies?
Shin-woo: “It doesn’t matter. I’ve lived till now as though he was already dead.”
Tong-il sees Shin-woo linger outside the hospital and tries to drag him inside. He asks if finding the druggies is more important than his twin, adding that Eun-chang chose to protect his brother over his girlfriend the night she died.
Shouting that the twins’ mother is already dead, Tong-il barks that Eun-chang now knows the truth. Shin-woo grabs him by the collar, demanding to know how hyung found out after he worked so hard to keep it from him. Her death was the reason he couldn’t go to see Eun-chang in prison.
Tong-il yells that if the twins have lost their mother, Shin-woo should at least try to save his own brother. Shin-woo loosens his grip but still hesitates and Tong-il hollers that Eun-chang could die.
Tears welling up in his eyes, Shin-woo finally admits: “How can I see him? I already killed him by my hand. How can I see that face?”
Shin-woo first yells at his brother for being in a coma – is he trying to die in front of his eyes on purpose? A tear rolls down his cheek as he roars that he wanted to give Eun-chang his life back and reunite him with their mother. He screams, “Hyung!”
It’s a powerful moment since Shin-woo has always addressed his brother by name in their adult lives. Even Shin-woo is surprised as the word spills out of his mouth and now he finally examines his brother lying there on the hospital bed.
Shin-woo whispers to his brother, calling him “Eun-chang-ie hyung”, and says that his twin brother has to live. “Why were we born together but you keep leaving me by myself? I’m right here. I’m alive.”
Then we hear Eun-chang’s voice call out to his brother and Shin-woo silently closes his eyes.
We’re transported to the high school rooftop where Eun-chang is alive and well, looking over the railing. Shin-woo stutters an apology to his hyung, to which Eun-chang says that there’s nothing to be sorry about.
Eun-chang takes in the brisk cold air and admits that he had a lot of regrets of the day he went to school as Shin-woo. But this time around, “I was really happy to borrow your name for the first time.” Shin-woo mutters that he should have stopped his brother but Eun-chang reassures him that little bro would have done the same thing. Shin-woo shakes his head, reverting back to his once timid teenage state.
With a smile, Eun-chang notes that they’re getting through to each other for the first time. Saying that little bro did the right thing, he tells him to smile. He does.
Shin-woo reaches out his hand towards in brother just as we cut back to the present and Shin-woo gently touches Eun-chang’s cheek. But then Eun-chang starts to crash and Shin-woo screams for a nurse.
Shin-woo makes a pit stop at the station before heading straight for Boss Go’s office where the smiling devil is pleased as punch to see him. Shin-woo tells him, “If I caught you, I thought there’d be a day [my brother and I] could laugh together. If I caught you, I could look like a decent man to him just for a second. But I lost that.” He adds that he should have gone after Boss Go the day Mom did and followed his brother into prison.
The sight of the gun only makes Boss Go laugh and he taunts Shin-woo, asking if he’s a better marksman than his brother. Shin-woo answers that he already shot at his brother once.
Shin-woo raises the gun just as the detective arrives behind him. Boss Go simply invites Shin-woo to shoot him. So he does. Woah.
Boss Go examines the grazed cut on his cheek as Shin-woo raises the gun once more, saying goodbye. Detective Lee orders Shin-woo to stop, citing than the brothers have been through enough as it is and that Eun-chang wouldn’t want little bro to do this.
A tear falls from Shin-woo’s eyes and he says that his brother isn’t in this world any longer. You don’t know that yet! He shoots.
The next thing we know, Boss Go sits in his chair, uninjured. But as soon as he steps outside, he notices another driver waiting outside and his assistant stabs him, leaving Boss Go to bleed to death.
We catch up with Shin-woo who sits in his old house, doing his best to hold back tears. He calls out into the darkness, “Mom, even if I come to you, don’t accept me.” Uh-oh, you’re not going to do what I think you’re going to do, are you?
Shin-woo continues that he doesn’t want to be Mom’s son or Eun-chang’s brother either. He won’t send anyone off to their deaths anymore. This time, he raises the revolver to his own temple. Omg, omg, omg…
But before he can shoot, the mirror crashes to the ground. Shin-woo crawls over towards his mirror-diary and sees a new entry that writes, “Do Shin-woo. My dongsaeng (younger brother).”
We flashback to the past and see Mom visit Eun-chang in prison mere hours after teenage Shin-woo’s outburst. Eun-chang is both surprised and impressed that little bro can get angry at their mother.
Mom calls herself dense for not knowing how Shin-woo felt all these years. She does, however, admit that it was nice to see her son finally break out of his stone-cold exterior. She tells Eun-chang to take good care of his brother because he’s the only one who can protect him. Eun-chang promises to do so and they both smile.
In the present, Shin-woo stands by Eun-chang’s bedside. He gets on his knees and takes his brother’s hand in his. And then pressing it to his forehead, he waits.
A quiet and open-ended ending to a story that made our hearts race for most of its run.
I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t the ending I was hoping for and thought, “…and then what?” Then it occurred to me that perhaps we too must wait and hope that Eun-chang will wake and the brothers will be reunited in this lifetime. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the twins’ reconciliation scene (Is it a dream? A twin telepathy thing?) but be that as it may, we see that Shin-woo is finally forced to face his inner demons. So while I would have preferred to see that same scene with both brothers conscious, I understand the importance to focus the spotlight on Shin-woo as he battles his anger and pain.
The story centered around the tense relations between the twins – something the show never seemed to forget. I appreciated how we were shown that this is a constant uphill battle for both brothers and means dying to yourself to protect the other. This is where Boss Go had it both right and wrong when he threatened Shin-woo to gamble with his brother’s life. He knew that fundamentally the brothers couldn’t bear to live without the other and yet had no idea how strained their relationship actually was. And just when you think that learning the truth of what drove a wedge between them in the first place would drive them further apart, the realization that they have no one but each other is what brought them back together.
I appreciate that we were given two distinct characters in the twins, both in their early years and in their adulthood. It made it easy on us to see their marked character journeys and discern which twin was on-screen. And yet, I still hoped for the show to play around with the twins’ identities and confuse us about who was whom at any given moment. Though the show was only four episodes long, I feel like that avenue could have made for a much more interesting second half rather than revolving around the same conflict of hunting Boss Go. You could see that the potential was there and yet, we never got there.
Overall, you can’t deny that despite its smaller budget, the show worked to highlight its strengths and did its best to work around its weaknesses – something I hope other dramas of a larger production scale can learn to adopt. By placing its narrative in the foreground and let the directing and acting support and guide that story is what you want to ultimately achieve. And to leave hoping that just maybe Seo Joon-young‘s identical twin is running around in an alternate universe is a good thing in my book.