I’m sure this’ll become the understatement of the year: Tae-san has another bad day. Things get dicey when a killer joins the roster of people after our hero, but it’s not all bad news, because with two enemies on your tail, sometimes they cancel each other out. A few crucial things come to light in this episode, and the love triangle—unconventional and screwed up as it is—starts to complicate matters in a big way.
SONG OF THE DAY
Leessang (with Yoon Do-hyun) – “Someday” [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
It’s Manhunt On the Mount, and things aren’t looking so good for our hero. The law has numbers on its side, while Tae-san has darkness on his. He races through the woods as they close in around him, and when he reaches the creek down below, he gets spotted.
All teams get radioed in to the location, which our assassin Teacher Kim overhears as well. So now it’s a three-way race, between Good Guys, Bad Guy, and Badder Guy. I honestly can’t decide which is worse.
Tae-san manages to run ahead and duck out of sight, but it’s only a matter of time before all sides close in. He starts to lose it, panicking that there’s no way out. He takes the stuffed monkey out of his pocket and pleads for help, like it’s a fairy godmonkey, or perhaps Su-jin herself watching over him.
And then as if answering his prayers, suddenly an explosion goes off in the creek below. And another. Uh-oh, this is way too serendipitous to be real. Tae-san isn’t about to waste the opportunity, and goes running in the opposite direction…
…which is exactly what Teacher Kim wanted. Ack. He knocks him down with one swift blow, and puts a knife to his throat. “Where is the digital camera?” Tae-san doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and then he remembers the camera that Mi-sook left in his care the day she died.
He reaches into his pocket slowly, and Teacher Kim backs off a step. But he doesn’t have the camera, of course, and uses the moment to attack. The surprise lets Tae-san get the upper hand… for about two seconds. Teacher Kim moves like a freaking terminator, and gets Tae-san in a one-handed stranglehold without breaking a sweat.
But Tae-san sees a drop-off behind him, and swings them both around, sending Teacher Kim tumbling down below. It isn’t that far, but it’s enough of a window for Tae-san to run for his life.
Jae-kyung finds out that they lost Tae-san again and loses her cool, and Seung-woo can barely contain his you’re-kidding-me face, since he’s the one who nearly got blown up and she’s the one yelling. But he points out that the explosions tell them one very important fact: Jang Tae-san is getting help from the outside.
Tae-san crosses a cornfield and makes his way down to the road, where a row of emergency vehicles sits waiting. There aren’t any keys to be found, but he does spot a bus passing by.
Thinking quickly, he grabs clothes from one of the rescue workers, and runs to catch the bus. He tells the bus driver that he came out to help with the search but his mother is sick, and he doesn’t have bus fare. The driver happily gives him a free ride, saying that his is the last bus of the night. Phew.
Boss Moon gets the call from Teacher Kim that he lost Tae-san, and everyone’s reaction is the same: “You lost him? YOU lost him? YOU?” I take it Teacher Kim isn’t usually the guy making “I’m sorry, Boss” calls.
Boss Moon tells him not to come back until he’s got Tae-san’s head on a pike, and his minions are shocked to realize that he isn’t such an easy target. Boss Moon wonders if he’s planning to make a deal for the camera, but Brainy Minion says he’d have called first thing if he wanted to do that. No, he’s trusting that camera to clear his name and take them all down.
Teacher Kim gets back to his car sporting a bloody head wound, and dips his finger in his own blood to mark Tae-san’s trail on his map. Eeep.
Tae-san sneaks around the town, wondering what he’s supposed to do when he has no idea if a house contains one granny or a house full of burly men. But then he chances upon a mother and daughter pair.
The mother is hearing-impaired and he hears the daughter nag her mom that they have to take safety precautions now that Dad isn’t around anymore. Bingo. He creeps his way into the house, and just walks right up to them, with a wrapped butcher knife in one hand and rope in the other. What. You’re taking hostages now? Couldn’t you have just stolen a chicken or something?
He ties them up and starts inhaling food, and the whole time Mom is squirming and trying to tell her daughter something, which she can’t because her hands are tied and she can’t sign.
Tae-san notices that Mom is struggling to cover up her daughter’s bare legs, and it takes him a moment before realizing that she thinks he’s a creepy pervert. His eyes widen and he gets all defensive and shouts: “Ajumma, what do you take me for? Just because a person goes around wearing these (shakes handcuffs) doesn’t mean he’s a heinous criminal!” LOL.
It cracks me up how offended he is, like that wouldn’t be the obvious conclusion to draw. He ends up calling the ajumma a weirdo for thinking such things, and cries that he’s got a story and a reason for all of this, and tosses the girl more clothes to put on. But he can’t just leave it at that, and whines that he’s got women lined up to date him, just so you know. Hahahaha.
The cops (and prosecutor) regroup at the local station, where they’ve already heard about Tae-san’s bus ride out to town. They split up to search house by house, but Seung-woo wonders if someone came here to help him escape with explosives, wouldn’t he have had a getaway car too?
His captain wonders who would help a murder suspect nobody like him, while Jae-kyung becomes even more convinced that it was Boss Moon—a fact she keeps to herself.
Tae-san goes over the day of the murder again in his head, and he can’t for the life of him figure out what that digital camera is that’s worth killing for, after they already framed him for murder. But then he remembers the fight with Teacher Kim and scrambles to check his wound in the mirror.
He freaks out, remembering that he can’t let it get infected before Su-jin’s surgery, and asks the girl for disinfectant. They don’t have any, but she tells him that for a cut like that, he can just wash it and put ointment on.
So he takes her suggestion and takes a shower. Mrawr, thanks hostage girl. He breaks down in tears and exhaustion, crying that he just wanted to hide out somewhere until the surgery, but now there are people trying to kill him, and he doesn’t know what to do.
Hostage Mom wonders how the kidnapper can shower like that, saying that he has no fear. But Daughter says she’s seen enough movies to know that you have to be nice to people like that so they don’t kill you. Ha.
She decides he’s probably not a really bad man anyway, because he tied them facing each other so Mom wouldn’t be scared.
But just as Tae-san is coming out of the shower, there’s a knock at the door. Oh crap. Hostage Daughter opens the door—it’s Seung-woo, here with a wanted poster. They ask if anyone’s been here, and she nervously says no. They ask her to blink twice if something is wrong…
Inside, Tae-san has Mom with a knife to her side, and Daughter returns. She says they’re gone and they have to turn off the lights to make it look like they’re sleeping. I’m so nervous that Seung-woo’s going to pop out from behind her any second now.
But he doesn’t, and she locks the door behind her. Tae-san lets go of Mom with a sigh, and apologizes.
He sits up that night as mom and daughter sleep, and thinks of Su-jin. He takes out Fairy Godmonkey and sighs aloud, “She’s waiting, for the surgery, for you. She’s waiting, that kiddo.”
He regrets not having taken a picture of her, but that suddenly triggers his memory—of Roomie Man-seok, blathering on about needing a digital camera for his big date. He remembers now that he came home that day with the camera in his pocket and Man-seok borrowed it just as he was heading out for his trip.
7:30 AM. Su-jin eats breakfast and tells Mom she can go to work, saying in her precocious way that Mom’s restaurant job is their livelihood, so she can be a big girl about being alone for a few hours.
So In-hye heads to the little pizza store where she works, and that’s where she sees the latest news broadcast about the escaped fugitive, but this time there’s a name: Jang Tae-san. She freezes.
And then there’s a picture. Oh no. She stumbles into her room in a daze, the newscaster’s words just going in an endless loop in her head. She finally breaks down in sobs, realizing what this means for Su-jin.
Back at Hostage House, Tae-san fills an entire palm with mousse, which seems like excessive hair care for a man on the run. But then we get a flash of Geena Davis going from redhead to blonde, as he starts to transform his appearance. (Ha, the running movie references are hilarious—yesterday it was The Fugitive and today it’s The Long Kiss Goodnight—I didn’t expect it to go on, but now that it’s a Thing, it’s pretty funny.)
He puts on a suit and glasses, and looks like a totally different person. He asks Hostage Daughter not to be too upset about him borrowing her father’s clothes, since he’d understand. He asks to borrow some money too, promising to pay them back. He leaves them with one final request: to tell the cops that he didn’t kill Mi-sook.
She asks if he really didn’t kill anyone, and he sighs that he may have hit a lot of people in his day, but he’s never stabbed anyone. “The thing I’m most afraid of is human blood.”
Jae-kyung goes over the events again and again, but can’t seem to make them add up: if Boss Moon ordered Tae-san to kill Mi-sook, and then Tae-san betrayed him by escaping, why on earth would he save him? To keep her from getting to him first?
Seung-woo seems to be the only one with a healthy suspicion about Jae-kyung not telling them the whole story, and when they decide to head back to Seoul, he decides the first thing they have to do is dig into Tae-san’s past, to find out if there’s something else going on here.
9:30 AM. Tae-san makes his way to the bus depot in broad daylight, but now that he looks like a clean-cut ajusshi, nobody gives him a second glance. It’s pretty badass. He swipes a newspaper with his face on the front page, and makes his way past a cop and onto a bus.
Hostage Mom and Daughter finally untie each other and make their way outside, and the daughter looks up at the emergency siren that she was struggling to install last night. Aw, did Tae-san put it up for them on his way out? She tries it and it works, and when Mom brings the phone out for her to call the police, she suggests they wait a little longer before calling.
Tae-san dozes off on the bus, and doesn’t even notice that they’re being stopped at a police checkpoint. Aauuugh. By the time he wakes up and realizes what’s happening, an officer has already made his way onto the bus.
There’s nowhere to go, so Tae-san just braces himself and looks the officer right in the eye, hoping that his disguise will be enough. He lingers, looking back and forth between the wanted poster and Tae-san… and then passes by. Whew.
The police trio makes its way back to the precinct, and Rookie Cop Il-do gapes when his sunbaes go right back to work. He’s like, Don’t we go home, to change our underwear? At some point? No?
Jae-kyung heads back to report to her boss, and says she may have lost Tae-san because he got help escaping, but now she knows that he might have the digital camera. Her boss has a tidbit too: he just got chewed out by the chief prosecutor for keeping her on the case, and found out that the request to cut her out came directly from Congresswoman Jo.
She lights up—this means she’s doing something right, and he agrees. Exxxcellent. Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.
Jae-kyung calls Congresswoman Jo directly, and when she doesn’t answer, she calls the reporter who’s interviewing her right this second, and asks him to hand her the phone. Ballsy. She says she’ll capture Jang Tae-san with her own hands, and get that digital camera: “and I’ll send you a copy of the video that’s on it as a gift.”
She hangs up and tells her partner that judging from Congresswoman Jo’s reaction, she doesn’t have the camera. That means Jang Tae-san has to have it, and that’s the reason Boss Moon helped him escape.
Congresswoman Jo wastes no time, and waltzes right into Boss Moon’s office to slap him across the face. He stammers that she walked in here where they could be seen together, but she snarls that it’s nothing compared to the video that’s about to fall into the prosecutor’s hands. She orders him to deal with it, and marches right back out.
Man-seok goes to see his girlfriend, who shows him the printed pictures from their vacation. He’s too upset about Tae-san to smile though, and refuses to take the camera back because it’ll remind him of his friend. Aw, that’s sweet, but TAKE THE CAMERA. He leaves it with her and shuffles out sadly.
Il-do cringes when he finds Seung-woo sleeping soundly with the chief’s smelly feet in his face, wondering how he could withstand such torture. He hands him Tae-san’s phone records as ordered, and asks if he can change his underwear now.
Seung-woo starts to tell him to call everyone on the list, but then one of the numbers jumps out at him. He takes out his phone and presses 1 on speed dial… and it’s In-hye’s number, right there in Tae-san’s call log.
He runs out to deal with it himself, leaving Il-do worried he did something wrong, and shouting in his wake: “No! I’ll do it! I don’t have to change my underwear! I’ll turn it inside-out!” Hahaha. Poor rookie.
Seung-woo stands outside, telling himself it’s just one call… but why did In-hye call Jang Tae-san?
Jae-kyung arrives and the team reconvenes to go over Tae-san’s history. The only new thing that pops up is that a man came looking for Tae-san in Busan once, at the request of a woman. That triggers Seung-woo’s already-suspicious radar, and for now he keeps it to himself and just tells Il-do to search for private detectives until he finds the one who was hired to find Tae-san.
At the hospital, Su-jin undergoes treatment to drain her bone marrow, and In-hye sobs and hugs her close. It’s doubly heartbreaking to watch Su-jin suffer, knowing what she does now about Tae-san.
Her phone rings and Su-jin answers it for her, thinking it might be Seung-woo, but it’s Tae-san on the other end. Eeeee. Finally.
She runs outside to continue the call, and screams her head off, calling him trash and asking how he could do something like this when a child’s life hangs in the balance—how could he kill someone and flee?
Tae-san says he ran because of Su-jin’s surgery, which In-hye thinks is pure bullshit. Given their history and the craziness of the circumstances, I’m with her on the lack of trust. It sounds nuts. But he tells her that if he goes back, he’ll die.
Tae-san: “If I die, Su-jin dies. Even if I’m trash… even if I can’t call her my daughter, even if I’ll never be called dad once in my life… she dies if I die—would I run away alone?” He says through tears that he can’t explain, but he swears that he didn’t kill anyone, and he promises to be there for Su-jin’s surgery no matter what.
She screams back in disbelief, and he tells her not to tell anyone about their connection, and to make sure the doctor doesn’t talk. She pleads with him to come back and turn himself in, and tells him that Su-jin has already begun the marrow-draining procedure.
In-hye: “There’s no turning back now! If she doesn’t get surgery, Su-jin will die! Su-jin will die! If you’re a person, give her your marrow! Give her your marrow! Oppa, save Su-jinie! Please, save her!” Oof.
They’re both bawling and panicked and at their wit’s end, and then Tae-san sees two police officers going around to put up more wanted posters. He cleans up and puts his glasses back on, and tells In-hye that he understands, and that he’ll find the evidence to clear his name and turn himself in.
She asks why he can’t just turn himself in first, but he swears there’s a reason why he can’t, and promises that no matter what, he’ll show up for the transplant. In-hye scoffs bitterly, “Promise? Did you just say promise?” Tae-san: “It’s not a promise I made to you! This promise is one I made with Su-jinie.” Awww.
He tells her that he cut off every tie to her eight years ago, and never once told anyone about her—that means if she doesn’t say anything, no one will know about their relationship. He urges her that no one can know that Su-jin is his daughter, because they’ll be in danger.
Seung-woo goes back to the pawnshop to question Tae-san’s lackeys, and when he asks if anyone new came by recently, they remember the day that In-hye stopped by. They say that she was pretty and didn’t look at all like she belonged with Tae-san, and describe her outfit, which is eerily similar to what In-hye was wearing the other day.
He shakes the idea out of his head, wondering what someone like In-hye would be doing with trash like Jang Tae-san, and then it occurs to him that In-hye was vague about Su-jin’s bone marrow donor. He tells himself it’s crazy.
A flashback to four years ago: Seung-woo answers a call about a disturbance at a dance studio, and charges in. He finds In-hye and a young Su-jin, squatting there because they have nowhere to go. He recognizes her as the squatter from another building just the other day, and realizes that she’s homeless. Damn.
In-hye says she teaches here during the day and just needs a place to stay for a little while until she gets paid, and when Seung-woo says it’s too cold to sleep here, Su-jin says it’s warm because Mom holds her tight.
He ends up taking her to a friend’s apartment that’s empty while she’s away, and insists that she stay here. He asks offhandedly if maybe Su-jin’s father is in the army, but In-hye remains silent.
Back in the present, Seung-woo arrives at the hospital, reeling from the memory and growling Jang Tae-san’s name. Man, just when I thought there couldn’t be more reason for you to hate him, we get that backstory.
He runs up to In-hye and asks why she called Jang Tae-san, and if he’s Su-jin’s father… but the exchange turns out to just be in his head, and out loud he can’t bring himself to ask anything of the kind. He just smiles and says he’s here to visit Su-jin, and tamps down the questions he’s dying to ask.
Suddenly Il-do calls to say that they have a new lead—they got a call from the hostages, and Tae-san is somewhere back in Seoul. He repeats “hostages” out loud, and In-hye’s eyes widen. He can’t help but note her panic, but he pretends not to see it, and runs back out to the field with his questions still hanging in the air.
7:00 PM. The pawnshop maknae Seok-doo comes out of work, and Tae-san swoops in with a punch out of nowhere. He knocks Seok-doo around and asks if Boss Moon killed Mi-sook, but he insists he doesn’t know.
Tae-san grabs a brick to scare the daylights out of him, saying that makes Seok-doo the killer then. He immediately spills what he knows—that Boss Moon killed her, and he was ordered to send Tae-san there and erase the CCTV footage at their storage unit.
He stops to piece together what he knows so far: Boss Moon is the killer, and there’s something on that digital camera that they’re after. He goes to a phone booth to call Man-seok, who tells him that home is the best place to meet because the police have stopped watching him. I don’t like the sound of this…
Tae-san agrees to meet him at home. No, don’t do that!
Sure enough, the phone call is being recorded, and Boss Moon is the one listening on the other end. And then, CRAP, so is Seung-woo, who’s standing right in front of Man-seok, having anticipated the move.
Man-seok, the poor naïve fool, asks if they’re really going to help clear Tae-san’s name. Il-do asks if he should call it in, but Seung-woo curiously tells him to keep quiet. He reasons that they don’t want to scare Tae-san off, but I wonder.
8:49 PM. Tae-san scales a back wall somewhere, and Man-seok is the first to arrive at home. Seung-woo wonders why there’s no sign of Tae-san.
Man-seok heads inside, where someone tackles him in the dark. It’s Teacher Kim, who’s equally surprised that it’s not Tae-san.
9:05 PM. Tae-san manages to jump the back wall into the courtyard undetected. Both cops start to get antsy at their stations, and Seung-woo decides to get out and approach the building.
Tae-san enters the apartment, but there’s no answer. He flips on the lights… and Man-seok is lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
How many murders is he going to take the fall for? He cries Man-seok’s name and tries to shake him awake, but he’s already dead. He reels at the blood on his hands, and is so traumatized that he doesn’t hear Teacher Kim sneak out of the bathroom, where he’s been lying in wait.
He creeps up, knife in hand…
Outside, Seung-woo reaches the door. Suddenly his phone rings, thank goodness—that probably just saved Tae-san’s life. Teacher Kim turns the lights off. Seung-woo takes out his gun and reaches for the door.
Tae-san makes a run for it, and comes tumbling out of the doorway, tripping right into Seung-woo. They both go crashing down, and then lock eyes.
In the hospital, Su-jin crosses off another day. D-12.
Augh, they killed Man-seok. The poor guy was Tae-san’s ONLY friend in the whole world, and you had to kill him? Now Tae-san has another murder he’ll be blamed for, on top of which he’s all alone with no one to help him out. Storywise it’s great—there’s nothing more gripping than backing your main character up against the wall and constantly taking away the things he thinks he can hold onto. And to think, it’s just the beginning of the crap he’ll have to endure for the next twelve days. How is he not broken?
I’m so glad In-hye finally knows that Tae-san is the fugitive, and that he at least got to tell her that he’d be there for Su-jin’s surgery, even if she hardly believes him. Their relationship just gets to me. It’s so messed up, but I love how deep that runs. Tae-san was a horrible person to her, and deserves all the things she says to him. But then he also has all these noble reasons for pushing her away—idiotic, sure, but this kind of noble idiocy, I’m okay with. Add to that her history of being penniless and homeless, and it’s just so heartbreaking every which way, with no winners and no one who’s in the right.
And call me a sadist, but I like that their relationship is littered with jaded bitterness, and that kneejerk tendency to twist the other person’s words based on eight years of history. It feels real, the way she swears at him, and talks down to him, and then suddenly calls him oppa when she’s panicked and pleading with him to save Su-jin. It feels right that she’s so distrusting, because he hasn’t earned it. And there’s something really rewarding about the idea that he’ll prove himself eventually, to the one person who thinks the worst of him.
It struck me that Seung-woo couldn’t ask her about Tae-san, which seems fraught with a lot more than one concern: He could be scared that she’d lie either way, or more afraid to face it if it’s true, or too insecure in her feelings for him to test them. There’s clearly an unbalanced relationship there, if even Su-jin knows that Seung-woo likes Mom more than she likes him. I have a feeling that the insecurity will be his undoing, especially if he eventually confirms his suspicions elsewhere and she keeps lying to his face. It adds a nice layer of complication to In-hye’s part in all this, because she’s his one weakness.
It’s great to have some breaks for humor among the madness, and I’m beginning to look forward to Tae-san’s run-ins with hostages and villagers and the random strangers he has to rely on. He’s certainly walking a fine line and doing some seriously questionable things, but he never loses his humanity and his warmth, so the character walks the line well. The fact that he shows moments of true weakness and desperation, or finds reasons to laugh despite himself are great touches—they keep him grounded, and remind us that he’s just a guy relying on action movie know-how to get through his day.