If the last episode was a step in the right direction, then this one is a leap—even though you kind of wonder whether Shark just figured out that it had wasted talent warming the benches until now. It took a good while, but it feels like the show is starting to really deliver on the richness of its setups and promises, and it all started by putting a little bit of distance between Yi-soo and his aquarium. (As they never said in Finding Nemo, “Fish are friends, not scene fodder.”)
Hopefully the upward tick in ratings reflects this show’s turn for the better, since Episode 12 finally broke the double-digit mark with 10.3%. Phew. I can’t remember when 10% ever felt like such a huge success in dramaland, but there’s a first time for everything.
SONG OF THE DAY
Na Yoon-kwon – “Countless Days” from the OST. [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
The confrontation conversation continues between Hae-woo and Yi-soo, with Hae-woo’s declaration that she would follow him to the depths of hell if it meant finding Yi-soo again. “And we’ve both already arrived at the gates of hell.”
“Have we?” Yi-soo smirks. “This is only the beginning. If you’re afraid, it’s not too late to run away now.”
Hae-woo doesn’t hesitate. “No. I’m going to do what I have to do, not because that’s what Kim Jun wants me to do, but because I want to find the truth myself. That’s the only way I’ll be able to bring Han Yi-soo back again.”
Both of them struggle with their grief separately, with Yi-soo fighting the urge to turn back. Memories of his youth with his father and sister flash through his mind, but it’s the memory of being in the phone booth when the truck plowed into it that strengthens his resolve for revenge. Angry Revenge Bot Yi-soo returns.
Joon-young looks like he’s biting his tongue hard enough to draw blood when he returns home to find Daddy Jo drunk and gloating over what a good deed he did in going public about the hit-and-run, and how easy it was in the end. “Anyone can make a mistake, and it was just an accident.”
“Someone died because of your mistake,” Joon-young finally says, unable to hold back anymore. Ohhh man.
Daddy Jo starts blustering after Joon-young excuses himself: “No matter how people pretend to be righteous, they’re all the same. Who do you think made your father the Chief Prosecutor?” Ohhhh man. He’s going there.
Grandpa Jo comes out yelling to stop the ruckus, and slaps his son hard across the face. He actually seems bewildered and angry that his son could be such a waste, so I don’t think this slap was just for show.
Oh gosh, this breaks my heart: Joon-young flashes back to the moment his brother was shut away in a mortuary drawer, and how he couldn’t even control his grief. I almost forgot that his brother was killed in a hit-and-run accident—that would explain why Daddy Jo’s hit-and-run affects him on such a personal level.
Prosecutor Oh goes out drinking alone and receives a mysterious voice recording, where a man’s voice stutters out how he was only doing what Prosecutor Oh told him to do in covering up the hit-and-run, and how he only hid the watch. This could only be Detective Jung.
What’s worse is that he goes on in the recording to state that he’s sure Grandpa Jo killed Yi-soo and his father, and that Prosecutor Oh knowingly turned a blind eye. Prosecutor Oh is shaken by this damning evidence and tries to reach for his dropped cigarette…
…But he gets a call from Yi-soo with a warning that smoking is bad for his health, which serves as a public safety announcement and an indicator that Yi-soo is watching him.
“I’m told that you lost your second son in a hit-and-run accident,” Yi-soo says over the phone. “While covering up the hit-and-run accident of a powerful man, weren’t you ashamed to face your dead son?” Ouch. But it’s not like he’s lying.
Prosecutor Oh is scared out of his wits and wants to know what Yi-soo wants, but Yi-soo merely tells him, “What goes around comes around.” He offers Prosecutor Oh a chance to redeem himself with three days to reveal the truth, a sort of grace period that he says the man owes to his good-hearted son. Tick-tock.
Hae-woo agonizes over her conversation with Yi-soo before she finds her dad outside their home, and he’s well aware that she gave the video recording over to the police. Needless to say, he doesn’t want to call her his daughter.
She goes inside to apologize to her grandpa, who waves it all off as being something she couldn’t avoid. It’s only when he asks if she has any idea who sent the video that she hesitates and eventually lies by claiming she has no idea.
It’s Grandpa Jo’s turn to look shifty when she asks him about his father all of a sudden, and we know it’s because of the picture, and he knows it’s because of the picture, but neither of them know the the other knows.
Hae-woo must suspect her grandpa of something, because she continues to ask about his father’s past even after he shows her the one remaining portrait of his father. According to him, there are no family photos of them together because a fire destroyed their village and home. Seems awfully convenient.
As for the story of his father’s death, Grandpa Jo claims that he was unjustly accused and in prison before the country was liberated in WWII, only to be captured by the North Korean army during the Korean War and shot to death without trial. During that time, Grandpa Jo claims he wasn’t with him because he was in hiding.
Hae-woo can’t provide a reason for her sudden interest in his past other than curiosity, but she leaves Grandpa Jo looking mighty troubled.
She asks about Joon-young since she heard about the argument from Mrs. Park, but he’s taken the argument with her dad in stride. It’s only when she apologizes that he notes how suspicious it is that she’s been saying sorry so often: “I feel as if you’re keeping many secrets from me.”
I love that the camera pans to her nervous face with their wedding portrait behind her. She has been keeping secrets, and she seems hardly relieved when he’s all, Just kidding! (Is he, though?)
While Grandpa Jo presumably places a call to Clicky to check if Kim Jun is really Yi-soo, we cut to Yi-soo considering the banchan that Mrs. Park gave him. It’s like he’s not allowing himself to eat it because it’d be like admitting that he cares, but who knows.
Yi-soo gets a surprise visit from Secretary Jang, who’s unwittingly left an opportunity for Dong-soo to happily force his way into the apartment with gifts of fried chicken. (Man, the fried chicken industry has a pretty aggressive marketing strategy in dramas these days.)
He loves to talk, so he mentions how the chicken came from the shop Yi-hyun’s mother works at since they’ve fallen on some hard times. And Yi-hyun’s got problems of her own, since the truth came out about her father’s non-involvement with Daddy Jo’s hit-and-run case.
Dong-soo’s lucky to have thick skin since Yi-soo flat-out tells him not to come without calling first, which he just brushes off by saying that everything’s better with company, including food. His cheery attitude actually coaxes a smile out of Yi-soo, which Dong-soo is quick to point out. “You’re really handsome when you smile!” Preach it, Dong-soo.
Detective Byun finds Yi-soo reading the articles about Daddy Jo’s apology to the victim, and the heartbroken look on her face when she turns to him just punches me in the gut. She’s looking to her adoptive dad for guidance, since she can’t figure out why she can’t be happy when her dead father has finally been cleared of blame.
But the reason becomes clear as she starts speaking through her tears: “How can people be like this? My dad was the hit-and-run culprit even after he was dead. But, since he [Daddy Jo] apologized and regrets it, all is forgiven? It’s all over? He’s not punished for any of it, and it’s all over just like that? Then, my poor dad…” Gah. Now she’s making ME cry.
Prosecutor Oh nervously calls Grandpa Jo with news of the ultimatum he received to tell the truth before his caller goes to the press. It seems like Prosecutor Oh is always leaning toward making the right decision, but Grandpa Jo always reels him back with promises of career advancement.
“Don’t misunderstand my words,” Grandpa Jo warns him. “Because it means that I don’t exist without you, and you don’t exist without me. Understand?”
Secretary Jang considers a letter Junichiro asked her to deliver to Grandpa Jo, which he claimed would serve as protection for Yi-soo, and she fights the urge to see what’s inside.
He then gets a call from the video forensics team and heads over with Hae-woo, but wants to set the record straight before they head into the unknown, especially when even his partner is sure that Grandpa Jo was behind the murders of their colleagues. They both agree that Envelope Professor and Yi-soo’s dad were murdered over a secret in the documents (he makes a point to say Yi-soo is missing, not dead), and that the secret has to do with Hae-woo’s great-grandfather.
Here’s where he posits a new theory, at least to Hae-woo: that the only person who could be truly afraid of that secret being revealed is Grandpa Jo.
Hae-woo listens, but she doesn’t readily agree—in her eyes, her grandpa has been nothing but upright and moral, so there must be someone else involved. Detective Byun doesn’t argue since they’re only going off speculation at this point, but his point is merely to prepare her for the possibility that this secret could be damning. And if she doesn’t have the stones for it, it’s time to step back.
“Everyone is forcing me to choose,” Hae-woo sighs. Detective Byun finds that odd, but he doesn’t know that Yi-soo gave her the same option earlier.
They visit the forensics tech who claims that Detective Oh came to him with an old picture the day before he died to ask if it had been photoshopped. He only got to look at it briefly, but he remembers that it looked like a father and son and that the inscription on the back that had Grandpa Jo’s first name on it.
More importantly, the tech remembers that Detective Oh had been looking for a photo copier that day, so it’s possible that a copy of the photo might exist.
But then we see Prosecutor Oh pull out what looks like a copy of the incriminating photo. Huh. How’d he end up with it?
Hae-woo sends Soo-hyun on a photo-finding mission (why does it always feel like he’s always the third wheel on their detective dates?), but she can’t figure out why a picture of her great-grandfather with her grandfather would be such a big deal.
In the meantime, Detective Byun gets a call that the CCTV footage from the library was stolen, which we know was Yi-soo’s doing. At least they know which one Detective Oh visited.
Yi-soo goes to visit his sister at work, only to find her on her way out for lunch. He’s so unsure as he works up the courage to ask her if she wants to eat lunch with him, which is admittedly a pretty weird spot to put her in.
She rejects him at first because of how awkward it would be to eat with someone she doesn’t know, and Yi-soo’s feelings are all hurt but he takes it in stride. Then Yi-hyun changes her mind, brightens her smile, and agrees to lunch. His tentative but genuine smile is worth the price of admission alone—Yi-soo’s always his best when he’s with her.
The two are adorable during lunch, and we finally see a lighter side of Yi-soo as Yi-hyun whispers, “This place is really expensive,” only for Yi-soo to whisper back, “I have a lot of money.” It’s like he’s meeting a joke halfway, but the point is that he’s having fun.
Yi-hyun recommends the spaghetti even though she hasn’t been able to eat it since she was young, prompting Yi-soo to remember the last time he talked to her (from the phone booth), when she was eating the spaghetti Hae-woo made. Aww. She can’t eat it because it reminds her of his accident.
So Yi-soo orders the dish for her anyway, and encourages her to eat just a little. He’s being brotherly by trying to get her over her fear, but he pushes too hard and she breaks: “I’m not fine. I hate it. I said I hate it!”
Tears fall as she continues brokenheartedly, “My brother must have been in a lot of pain, and I was eating spaghetti without knowing a thing. My brother died while I was eating spaghetti.”
She rushes out, and Yi-soo follows to apologize. He asks her to go eat somewhere else with him, and when she doesn’t want that, he even offers to just have a picnic with her as he grabs her hand. Yi-soo, staaahp. It’s too awkward, this girl doesn’t know you. (Technically.)
Even Yi-hyun gets weirded out at how forward he is and asks, “Do you… possibly like me? I like you too, but… not in that way.” AWKWARDCUTE! (I’m so confused right now.)
Yi-soo’s smile looks more like a cringe. “I like you too, but… not in that way, either.” It clears the air a bit, but Yi-soo remains unaware that Clicky is watching.
Grandpa Jo gets the envelope that Junichiro sent in secret, and in it is a copy of The Picture.
Our investigative duo heads to the library, and Hae-woo finds the picture of her great-grandfather in one of the books Detective Oh read before he died. The CCTV records from that day are gone, but Hae-woo thinks that it couldn’t have been the murderer who stole them in an effort to cover his tracks.
It’ll take days to recover the lost footage, so Detective Byun asks Hae-woo to visit Yi-hyun in the meantime and offer some comfort.
Another Clicky report tells Grandpa Jo that Yi-soo went to visit his sister, so now he’s sure that Kim Jun is Yi-soo. But Junichiro was right in that sending Grandpa the picture would offer some protection for Yi-soo, since Grandpa doesn’t want to kill him until he knows what cards his enemy is holding, and who’s controlling him.
Cut to: Junichiro, the man controlling Yi-soo. He warns his reluctant protege that Grandpa Jo must already know his identity, and that Yi-soo will need to up his ante if he hopes to defeat him. But Yi-soo lies that his only interest is in business, which Junichiro knows to be a lie.
And just like Junichiro predicted, Grandpa Jo calls Yi-soo to invite him over.
Hae-woo sneaks into her grandpa’s study while he’s gone, and attempts to open the one drawer he has locked. She’s able to cover her tracks when he suddenly appears, but he knows she’s been snooping. Eek.
Joon-young remembers Daddy Jo’s accusation that his father isn’t as righteous as he thinks and takes this issue to Soo-hyun to ask him, point blank, whether his father already knew the sordid details surrounding Daddy Jo’s hit-and-run.
He displays the same tenacity as his wife when he realizes Soo-hyun’s reply is a lie, and wants to know how long his father has been involved—has it been since the accident twelve years ago? Soo-hyun’s affirms the truth.
Joon-young is faced with a double betrayal, because it means that everyone knew about his father’s involvement—including Hae-woo—but no one thought to tell him. Poor guy. He can’t help but cry on his way home, and almost gets into an accident because of it.
He doesn’t pick up Hae-woo’s call while she’s at the juice bar with Yi-hyun, since she’s gone to tell Yi-hyun that it’s okay for her to be mad at her unni, considering what her father did to Yi-hyun’s family.
Yi-hyun can’t hold it against her since she knows it isn’t Hae-woo’s fault, and Hae-woo gives her some words of wisdom Yi-soo told her long ago: “Even though you get hurt by those who are petty, you don’t have to become one of them.” She’s bracing her for the hurt to come without telling her the truth.
Yi-soo shows up for his meeting with Grandpa Jo, and it looks like he’s holding back from clocking his elder in the face when Grandpa dances around with mentioning the name Han Yi-soo and how he thought Yi-soo was dead until only recently.
Grandpa Jo’s poker face reigns supreme as he tells Yi-soo that he’ll be rejecting Junichiro’s offer to join their hotels together, and offers Yi-soo some advice: “No human being is pure enough, or perfect enough, to judge another human being.”
He goes on about how the truth can be someone’s downfall, but Yi-soo just replies that he’s a simple man—he gives back to those who’ve helped him, and pays back those who’ve hurt him.
The two go back and forth a bit, both struggling to have the last word without seeming like they are. Grandpa Jo gives him another piece of advice: “The truth that you believe in is not the whole truth. And don’t forget who you’re dealing with.”
Yi-soo’s jaw clenches, and he’s clearly using all his control in this underhanded-yet-not battle of wills as he promises that he remembers everything (because of his apparent obsessive compulsive disorder), and that he keeps all those details he meticulously compiles for future use. Translation: I’ll be coming after you soon.
But at least Yi-soo takes a look at Grandpa Jo’s extensive library while remembering that he’d once mentioned how he frequents the used bookstore, and is that much closer to finding Clicky because of it.
Prosecutor Oh is about to call Grandpa Jo to tell him he’ll be resigning (and ideally taking the high road Yi-soo offered), but Joon-young’s arrival stops him. He scrambles to hide the evidence as Joon-young looks him in the eye and asks him if he thought of his dead son when he covered up for Daddy Jo’s hit-and-run. Ouuuuuch.
“Who am I supposed to believe now?” Joon-young asks tearfully. “I’ve always respected and believed in you more than anyone. But now, I can’t believe anyone… I can’t believe in anyone anymore.”
Hae-woo catches up with Joon-young in the hall, having already guessed what happened. He’s not in the mood to talk to her, but she pleads with him to understand his father, who probably didn’t have a choice. “It’s my dad’s fault. It’s my dad who did wrong.”
Joon-young shrugs out of her grip: “I have nothing to talk about with you.”
Yi-soo goes to the used bookstore for his investigation, but ends up reminiscing about Hae-woo instead. She’s come to the same place to escape, but leaves when she sees Yi-soo there.
He starts to follow after her, but a sound stops him. Click click click. He traces his steps back and spies Clicky in the bookstore, pen in hand.
Now he knows that the bookstore ajusshi is the poison pen assassin, and as their eyes meet, Yi-soo grins.
It’s like I blinked and Shark got better. Did it just take Yi-soo getting off his bum, or are all the hours of setup finally paying off? It never felt like this show didn’t know where it was going, but for a while I was wondering if I’d care by the time we ever got there. Then this episode happened, and I wound up caring about pretty much everyone we’re supposed to care for—even Yi-soo. (To an extent. Let’s not go crazy here.)
Yi-hyun and Joon-young brought the emotional bacon home and then some, which did a great service to this show as a whole in showing us how all these big events and secrets are affecting our characters on a personal level. Her pain, which was so evident without being overbearing, was almost like a wake-up call to those of us who’ve started to become desensitized to all of the Jo Family’s past wrongdoings (or any of the wrongdoings in general, really). Maybe all that’s just fancy talk for the fact that she brought some much-needed emotional stakes to a show that definitely needed them.
I absolutely loved that brother and sister got to spend some actual time together, and the awkward situations arising from Yi-hyun not knowing who he really is were funny and cute… up until I started to realize just how much Yi-soo was exacerbating her suffering by not telling her the truth. For as much as she humanized him in a single scene, an inevitable side effect was that I started expecting humanity from Yi-soo—and I didn’t really get the sense that he was losing sleep over Yi-hyun’s evident trauma.
That could be the intended effect in that we’re shown how much Yi-soo is willing to sacrifice for his revenge, but we’ve gotten to the point where if even his enemy AND his enemy’s maid know who he is, then it’s time for him to either come clean or prove why he can’t. Why does Hae-woo need to prove it for him? Why does Yi-hyun need to suffer for him? Why is he causing so much suffering?
Joon-young finally got a moment to shine, too—I was worried that he’d find out about his father’s corruption but take his side anyway, and was pleasantly surprised to see him take the moral high road instead. What added that extra oomph for me was how his stance made so much sense with his backstory, so that his father was not only betraying general human decency, he was betraying the very memory of his dead son.
When Joon-young confronted his dad over a a detail that had honestly slipped my mind for a little while, it was like everything suddenly clicked for him as a character. So far, he’s proven to be the most honest, considering the fact that Hae-woo has been lying to him almost nonstop since this case began. Even his dad earns some points in constantly displaying his weakness as a person, and how he would wrestle with his better self and lose when it came to Grandpa Jo—those moments make it a little easier to scrounge up some pity for him, even if there’s no forgiveness.
Last but not least, Hae-woo handled the possibility that her grandpa might be involved in all of this surprisingly well—it matters less that she denied it initially, and more that she couldn’t ignore that part of her that doubts, questions, and desires the truth above all things. It would have been out-of-character for her to not have questioned her belief in him, so I’d say that at least on the character consistency front, Shark is swimming right along.