Two Weeks isn’t an entirely real-time show like, say, 24 was constructed to be, where the time we spend watching is ostensibly the same time experienced by the characters. It’s both more and less stressful this way, because we do get to speed through some scenes that 24 didn’t because it was locked into its hour format—but on the other hand, you could sort of tell yourself that Jack Bauer was just having one really shitty day, and that shitty days pass. But when one episode is one day, it seems so much more daunting to cover a whole two-week stretch of mind-numbing fight or flight panic. That’s exhausting, and my body seriously has sympathy aches at points for Tae-san. I think I’m going to need a nap after all is said and done.
SONG OF THE DAY
Yoo Seung-woo – “니가 오는 날” (The day you come) from the Two Weeks OST
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EPISODE 5 RECAP
Tae-san arrives at his apartment to meet Man-seok, not knowing that there are two parties lying in wait: (1) the cop, who convinced Man-seok to lure his buddy in exchange for giving him a fair shake in the justice system, and (2) the assassin, here to tie up a loose end.
The assassin, Teacher Kim, gets there first and kills Man-seok, so that Tae-san arrives to find his buddy in a pool of blood. So now in addition to losing his only friend in the world, he’s gonna be on the hook for his murder too? Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.
He escapes getting sliced by Teacher Kim when a cell phone rings, alerting them to another presence outside. It’s Seung-woo, whose gun gets knocked aside as Tae-san bursts out, and for a moment they freeze, face to face. Then Tae-san makes a break for it.
Seung-woo pursues Tae-san through the neighborhood, closing the gap with a few strategic jumps and almost getting within tackling distance. But it’s a dark and cramped chase through narrow alleys, and by the time Seung-woo fights his way out, he’s lost the trail. Phew.
A garbage truck idling nearby gets his attention, but he spots a shadow running away and goes off after it—leaving Tae-san safely buried beneath mounds of trash. Ah, the shadow is Teacher Kim making his own getaway, which is handily timed for Tae-san. I guess that’s the benefit to having multiple (and conflicting) forces after you, in that they’re working as much against each other as they are against you.
Teacher Kim makes his way to the garbage truck as Tae-san holds his breath, trying to remain as still as possible. He’s just seconds away from discovery when the sanitation workers return to the truck and put a halt to the digging, and Teacher Kim makes a stealthy getaway.
Seung-woo realizes he’s completely lost the trail, just as rookie cop Il-do finds him. Seung-woo punches him in the jaw, which, owww. Way harsh dude. But then he bites out that Il-do’s a fool for phoning him during a stakeout, so I guess he kind of earned it.
Led by Jae-kyung, the prosecutors try to make sense of what they know about the criminal and his motives. For instance, Tae-san’s second stint in prison came in the aftermath of attempted murder of a rival mobster, Boss Han. But there are things that don’t add up, such as why Boss Han was even a target (his gang was already defunct at the time), and why Tae-san would stupidly kill three times just because the boss told him to. Plus, he’s been living under the radar quietly for years since his release, so why surface now?
Jae-kyung recalls that Tae-san had a woman in his past in Busan, and orders her team to find more about her. This may be the missing link, and the puzzle pieces seem to fit: If she’s the woman who sought him out at the pawnshop, that would explain why Tae-san circled back to Seoul.
And then, she gets the call that Tae-san has killed Man-seok. Arrrrgh.
Our prosecutor and cops relocate to the new crime scene to catalog Man-seok’s death, and Jae-kyung’s temper flares again at the incompetent cops who allowed Tae-san to go free. She lashes out in particular at Seung-woo, and she has a pretty solid point: He failed to call in this move, wanting to nab Tae-san himself. It’s a violation of protocol and we can assume he was hiding it because of the potential In-hye connection, but in any case it means he gets to take the brunt of the blame for this one.
He’s fuming enough already at himself—not that this mollifies Jae-kyung any—and he vows to get Tae-san at any cost.
Tae-san stows away in the back of the garbage truck, sobbing for his dead friend. But there’s a car on his tail—wouldn’t you know, Teacher Kim is on to him after all. I’m shouting at Tae-san to keep his cover, but he’s furious at Man-seok’s murderer and climbs to the back of the truck, yelling at Teacher Kim: “You coming to kill me?”
Teacher Kim speeds up like he’s thinking of rear-ending the garbage truck, and Tae-san starts hurling trash bags at the car, sending him skidding. He hurls a bottle straight at the windshield: “I won’t die at your hands, you son of a bitch!”
Teacher Kim swerves and skids to a stop at the side of the road. The sanitation workers have noticed they’re leaking trash and pull over to check on the car, but Teacher Kim screeches away before they can. One worker pulls out his phone to snap a photo of his car—proof that they tried to rectify the situation, but he fled.
Teacher Kim returns to the scene after the truck drives off, climbing a ladder up to the overpass above. To see if Tae-san’s escaped, perhaps? He hasn’t, though, and remains buried in trash until he finds an opportune moment to hop out. As he does, he spots a piece of wire and has a thought—handcuff picks! Thank goodness for that. I was getting nervous every time his wrists showed.
Tae-san starts running, driven by his promise to show up to save his daughter.
Meanwhile, In-hye is now following the fugitive news story with feverish devotion, and confides in the doctor that she believes Tae-san will honor his word. In-hye is shaken by Tae-san’s warning that alerting anybody of Tae-san’s connection to Su-jin would endanger her life.
The doc urges her to tell Seung-woo the truth, however, because Seung-woo wants to save Su-jin’s life and will surely help Tae-san get here safely to do it. That seems like really optimistic thinking to me, but the doc is Seung-woo’s friend and tells In-hye that she can’t keep this secret from him for much longer. Eeeek. This complication can’t end well can it?
After much sweat and prayer (I presume), Tae-san jimmies open the locks on his handcuffs, thank goodness. He lies down on a bench out by rural road, and has another imaginary chat with Su-jin, who appears at his side to wonder what he’s doing.
You’ve got to give it to the show: As far as exposition fairies go, this is an excellent device. Tae-san confides in Su-jin about that digital camera getting stolen by the baddies, which means his proof of innocence is now gone. Su-jin asks about her surgery, and he insists he’ll make it. He can’t surrender, because he’s pretty sure he’d get killed before her surgery if he did.
Bitterly, he asks himself why he keeps getting played by Boss Moon, and Su-jin sasses back, “Because you seem like a dummy. Are you just figuring this out now?” He agrees with that assessment, but says that he figured it out before—he just didn’t care then.
But he’ll survive, he vows. “I’ve gotta do that!” he screams, hurling his cuffs away.
Teacher Kim takes his second failure back to Boss Moon, where the gangsters fume at the continued existence Tae-san. Boss Moon is rather lenient with the non-ragey reaction (or maybe is just loving father?), or perhaps he’s just keeping his eye on the priority, which is retrieving that digital camera and whatever incriminating evidence it contains.
He asks his smart minion for his opinion, and Brainy Smurf (who has a name, but for now let’s go with Brainy) deduces that Tae-san probably doesn’t know what’s on that camera. If he had, he’d have taken it to the authorities and cleared his name. Boss Moon orders his underlings to find the camera and locate the woman who sought him out that day—a tall order, since they only have a vague description to go on, but potentially an important connection.
The maknae pawnshop gangster gets chewed out by his slightly senior pawnshop gangster after admitting that he told Tae-san that Boss Moon was behind the murder. He’d been afraid Tae-san would kill him instead of just beat him to a pulp, and it’s the sunbae who reminds him that Tae-san went to prison because he couldn’t finish the job, dumbass.
Maknae is told to admit what he said to the boss, but I’m guessing that doesn’t look like an appealing prospect given the way he sneaks out of the hospital that night—passing right by In-hye, whom he recognizes from her trip to the pawnshop. He smiles. Looks like he’ll live after all.
Time for our other male lead to get his broody shower scene. This drama is equal opportunity, y’all. Seung-woo wonders how the hell In-hye would be involved with a guy like Tae-san. And could he possibly be Su-jin’s father?
Tae-san gets caught in the rain as he walks along a deserted road, telling himself all he has to do is survive until the surgery—after that, it doesn’t matter if he dies. He comes to an area of the woods marked as off-limits, and finds that there’s an orchard there. Yum, apples.
But then he hears the sounds of a woman grunting in pain nearby. It spooks him and he decides to split before the ghost gets him, until the woman sees him and begs him for help—she’s in labor.
Tae-san grimaces and apologizes, since he can’t really show his face at a hospital, and regretfully turns to leave. Only, a flash of lightning illuminates the woman’s bloody legs, and that flashes him back to a childhood image—his mother, slumped over, bloody.
So he takes the pregnant woman indoors and gets together supplies, like clean towels and hot water. He’s dying to leave before things get even more complicated and offers to call a doctor before he leaves, but he can’t quite ditch a screaming woman, especially when she grabs his hand pleadingly.
And that’s how he ends up coaching her through labor, holding her hand and directing her to push. And as she the woman cries for her husband, Tae-san envisions that it’s In-hye lying here screaming instead.
This flashes us back to see more of his breakup with In-hye eight years ago, when he told her that he was happy about her pregnancy for a few days, but now feels burdened by it. He’d even promised to marry her right away, only now he says he was pretending to want that for her father’s sake. Aw, so he did want the baby—Boss Moon just got to him too quickly. And thus he was extra cruel to her, saying he hates the kid and that makes him sick of her too. So get an abortion and follow her parents abroad, he says.
Then he’d taken her to the doctor to force her to abort, after which he’d run out and sobbed in the parking lot. Just in time to be forced to turn himself in for a crime he didn’t commit.
Now he cradles the newborn boy, amazed at all the little wonders of babies. He sobs to himself that this is how his daughter was born too, in the midst of such pain and suffering.
Time for the baddies to regroup. Teacher Kim takes out another of his special-ordered assassin daggers designed as pens, ready to go for another round. Congresswoman Jo has another riverside meeting with Boss Moon where she warns that his failure means his death, and he smiles back at her that if that happens, he’d kill himself before she could. If I were you I’d be constructing scenarios where I’d live, but I guess there’s a reason Boss Moon ain’t the brains of this operation.
Jae-kyung’s boss, Chief Prosecutor Han, shows up at her door first thing in the morning to chew her out for the case blowing up even further with another murder in the mix. And after he’d backed her up so she could get back that camera, which she said would solve things. He catches a glimpse of her notes on the wall, and demands the full story.
Flashback to 2005, back when Congresswoman Jo was merely Lawyer Jo. Jae-kyung, then in her last year of high school, is promised a university scholarship from the benevolent Jo, who (then as now) puts on a warm, public-serving front.
Jae-kyung’s father is busy protesting the forced eviction of a local building, while Boss Moon pulls strings to get put in charge of the development project. Thus the two men butt heads, with Jae-kyung’s father refusing to be bullied out. Boss Moon isn’t above some illegal tactics, starting with bribery and escalating mighty quickly as Dad threaten to take this to the police and the media.
Jae-kyung arrives at the building site just in time to see Dad getting stabbed in the gut by Boss Moon. Not dead, but certainly badly hurt. Dad’s comrades are cowed into silence by Boss Moon’s threats to go after their families, and when Jae-kyung starts to approach, her father shakes his head at her as the gangsters take him to the hospital.
Jae-kyung spots Lawyer Jo leaving work that evening and starts to follow, intending to appeal to her hero for help. Only, Lawyer Jo stops to meet with Boss Moon, and immediately she realizes they’re both dirty.
The adults immediately part ways and Lawyer Jo approaches with her fake nice face on, saying in concern that Jae-kyung must have terrible eyesight to think somebody else was here.
Back in the present, Jae-kyung explains to Prosecutor Han how Tae-san turned himself in for Boss Moon’s crime, and she had been treated as mental for insisting she’d seen Lawyer Jo there. She’d suffered from aphasia for months afterward (a speech and language disorder), while her father died two years later, his health ruined by all the accumulated stress and rage.
Thus her fixation on Tae-san, because he’s her key to bringing down both her enemies. But she wonders what he means to do with that camera, because he hasn’t surrendered it to them to clear his name. Is he trying to set up a deal with Boss Moon?
Prosecutor Han advises her to not fixate on reading Tae-san’s mind, which is pointless, but reading his feelings: “Don’t wonder why he escaped, but what feelings drove him to escape. Don’t think of things from your point of view, but look into his heart.”
Tae-san is still at the new mother’s house cooking breakfast, and stuffs his face while he’s at it. I don’t know about you, but watching him eat is such a stress-relieving activity, after seeing him suffer so much. He also hangs up a charm to ward off spirits from the newborn, looking a lot more relaxed now that he has some room to breathe.
In-hye wrestles with her own dilemma, trying to decide whether to confide in Seung-woo about Tae-san or not. Su-jin has had a thoroughly enjoyable dream and assures Mom that she’ll be fine all day today, because “the three of us” went off and did lots of fun things together in her sleep.
In-hye asks if she means Seung-woo ajusshi, and Su-jin hems and haws, “Um… was it him?” Lol.
Seung-woo visits his doctor friend to ask her about the donor, now that he suspects Tae-san. She refuses, citing confidentiality (thank goodness some dramas remember that’s a thing), so he asks if it’s anyone related to Su-jin. Again the doc maneuvers around the question, saying that Su-jin’s grandparents are out of the country and her father is reportedly dead. That seems to ease his mind, and the doctor advises him to ask In-hye to answer any other questions.
The team convenes for their morning briefing on the Tae-san case. Seung-woo reports (a little shiftily, I might add) that there’s no progress on locating the woman who visited Tae-san. A curious fact comes in about the knife used to kill Man-seok: no fingerprints. The rest of the team realizes this means Tae-san may not be the killer, and Jae-kyung adds that Tae-san has no motive, either.
Seung-woo insists Tae-san is the guy, saying that he saw Tae-san running from that room himself, and that Tae-san is a cruel mofo who’s fully capable of murdering his old buddy from the orphanage without qualms. He’s certainly built up a picture in his mind and he ain’t budging from it.
On the bright side, Jae-kyung isn’t convinced. Just then, she and Seung-woo both get phone calls and step aside to take them… which means that Jae-kyung hears about the mystery woman’s identity just as Seung-woo chats with In-hye, who happens to be calling from twenty feet away. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be funny, but it kinda is.
It seems as though In-hye has mustered the courage to tell Seung-woo, but before she can say any more, Seung-woo and Jae-kyung are called back inside with breaking news: a location has surfaced. In no time a full squad of cop cars zoom out of the station to head to the latest sighting… and our two pawnshop gangsters confirm that In-hye is the woman they’re looking for.
All the while, Tae-san tends to the new mother in a liesurely fashion, at ease for the moment. He seems content to take his time, but the woman reminds him that he was on his way to visit his sister when he lost his way, remember? So he doesn’t have much choice but to play along sighing to himself that it would be nice if he could hide here till the surgery.
He washes one last diaper for the woman, by which time I’m chewing my fingernails because surely being on the run is better than being caught here. Ack!
By midmorning, Jae-kyung is leading the search party to the neighborhood he was last seen in, and the cops spread out. Ah, and Teacher Kim is amongst them once more.
The new mother turns on her TV and sees the latest news report about Tae-san’s escape, but she doesn’t recognize that guy as her houseguest, whom she declares is a nice man whom she wishes her baby will grow up to be like. But when Jae-kyung pounds on her front door to inquire about the fugitive, the mom clocks Tae-san’s nervous reaction and belatedly connects the dots. Oh noes.
Tae-san sees the way her mind is going and he pleads tearfully, “It’s not me, I swear. I’m not a murderer.” And she looks at his hands, still holding the diaper he washed for her, and seems to consider his words.
Thus when she answers the door, she tells Jae-kyung that she hasn’t heard or seen anything strange. In frustration, the team reconvenes and declares this tip a bust.
But Jae-kyung’s brain processes a strange fact belatedly—a new mother answered the door herself. They rush back to the house, where they find Tae-san’s bloody shirt, but no Tae-san.
He’s gained nearly an hour head start as he runs through the woods, guided by the mother’s directions to a hidden cave where he should be able to stay safe. He ducks out of the way when one searcher runs past, only to come face to face with Seung-woo.
They run. Jae-kyung screams at Seung-woo over the walkie-talkie to arrest him. Tae-san runs along the wooded path, skidding to a halt at the edge of a rocky cliff.
He’s cornered. Seung-woo draws his gun and declares him good and arrested.
Tae-san thinks of Su-jin calling him Daddy, and In-hye sobbing that she’ll die without him.
So Tae-san edges closer to the edge, looking nervously down the long drop. Seung-woo orders him not to think it, and starts to aim his gun for his leg… but then, just as Tae-san makes a move to leap, Teacher Kim makes his move and slingshots a rock into the gun.
Seung-woo shoots, but the bullet diverts and lands… in Tae-san’s back. Ack! This is not better! Teacher, you fail one more time and I’m demoting you to Student Kim!
Shot, Tae-san falls toward the water. In her hospital room, Su-jin crosses out another day on her countdown calendar. D-11.
A great episode, only slightly marred by the dear wish that the ending wasn’t so closely a mirror of Mandate of Heaven, down to the way he’s cornered on the cliff (which may even be the same location?), gets shot in the shoulder (arrow, not bullet), and falls many feet below to the water. The Two Weeks fall is even shot like the Mandate of Heaven fall, with the close-up on the face with the water blurring in the background.
Not that this is some unique plot twist only seen in Mandate, of course; I was fully expecting this drama to pull out the whole Fugitive dam scene where Harrison Ford jumps rather than give himself up to Tommy Lee Jones. It’s just, you know. I wish they found a cooler way to get the same point across. Especially since I’ve been trying in particularly to steer clear of the Mandate comparison, since I really do feel these are two entirely different shows, even if their conceits are basically identical on paper. (Minus a few hundred years, of course.)
Aside from that point, though, I do really like how things are shaping up here, now that Tae-san has a bit of room to breathe and eat and sleep. It was a bit harrowing when he was first on the run, but he’s finding ways to survive, thoughtfully helped by the assassin who’s supposed to take care of him but who just ends up mucking things up. If I can’t have him, you can’t either seems to be the sentiment.
I love the glimpse we got into Tae-san’s past, because while it’s a little expected that the show is now cleaning up that tarnished image we started off with, it still packs a nice punch. I knew we’d get the explanation that would make me turn around on his character, but I don’t mind the manipulation because it’s so affecting. And it’s because we see his reaction through the lens of the present that it works so well—we don’t just see Past Tae-san pushing away the girl like a noble idiot, we see what that means in the context of all the time that has passed. His reaction to the newborn baby wrung my heart completely—that sense of marvel and joy, mixed with that sense of loss. Because he had this, only he didn’t really have it. The what could have beens are always the worst, aren’t they?
I worried at first that Seung-woo would get too trampled in this hero’s journey, but I appreciate that he’s heading over to the dark side by degrees, and in an understandable progression. I don’t know if he’ll completely lose his good-guy status, but at best he is letting his bitterness cloud his judgment, and that makes him a bad cop. I like that conflict within him, because by any other measure he’s a fantastic cop. But he has constructed a story in his mind and has convinced himself that his narrative is truth, and that makes him blind to the details that Jae-kyung picks up. She’s just as driven by personal vendetta, but at least she’s able to keep her mind open to Tae-san. Can’t wait to see how she comes around.
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