Full Sun: Episode 2
This show wastes no time to dive into the crime that started it all, with everyone’s fingers pointed at the wrong guy. But Se-ro is determined to track down who was behind it and find out why he was the one to take the fall. Nothing like a stint in jail to see the world with new eyes. Well, not literal new eyes, but the new identity bit comes pretty close.
We can thank Tuesday’s Olympics coverage for Monday’s double dose of episodes, but never fear—Full Sun will resume its regularly scheduled programming starting with Episode 3 next week. And more Yoon Kye-sang is never a bad thing in my book.
SONG OF THE DAY
Giuseppe di Stephano – “E Lucevan Le Stelle” from Tosca [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
A bullet rips through the window and an excruciating moment of silence passes before Woo-jin finally collapses to the ground, to Se-ro’s horror. Se-ro tries to staunch the bleeding with his shirt, screaming at the wounded unconscious man before him to wake up.
He does answer Woo-jin’s ringing phone, however, to relay to a teary-eyed Young-won that the phone’s owner is severely injured. The man is dying, Se-ro sobs, and Young-won demands to talk to her fiance.
Se-ro drops the phone and resorts to shaking Woo-jin in desperation, but that’s when Jae-in arrives, stunned at the horrific sight before her.
Jae-in drags Se-ro outside, arguing that they have to leave. At Se-ro’s protests that they have to call an ambulance to save the dying man, Jae-in answers with a hard slap across his face, telling him to come to his senses.
They’re still in danger if they stay here; moreover, Dad got into an accident too and is currently undergoing surgery. Oh phew, I was afraid he had died.
Jae-in calls an ambulance from the car and disposes the phone, then warns Se-ro from any rash acts since they could backfire on Dad. Se-ro can only stare at his bloody hands, and Jae-in denies Dad’s involvement with the wounded stranger because he was in surgery.
But when Se-ro asks if Dad isn’t severely hurt, she doesn’t answer.
After a quick pitstop to buy Se-ro another T-shirt (to replace his blood-stained one) and wash his hands, Jae-in puts in a call to Kang-jae to inform him of recent events. Kang-jae denies calling for an assassination attempt on Woo-jin’s life, and has his lackey look into it.
Outside the crime scene, Young-won refuses to believe that her beloved Woo-jin is the victim in this case. But Manager Min’s sobs convince her to look back and remains glued to Woo-jin’s side as he’s transported to the hospital and wheeled into emergency surgery.
When Se-ro arrives at the hospital, he learns that Dad has sustained a traumatic head injury. Kang-jae chokes back tears at the sight of Dad’s unconscious state but can’t bring himself to step inside the room itself.
Se-ro sits beside his father’s bedside and takes his hand to make it pinky-swear with his. “Let’s live, Father.”
The police discovers the diamond inside the blood-stained shirt at the crime scene and looks into finding its owner.
Se-ro takes a call from Grandma outside, trying to dispel her concerns with unconvincing lies that things are fine and that he’s enjoying his stay here in Thailand with Dad.
Grandma doesn’t believe him for a second, though, and Se-ro ends up losing the battle of holding back his tears and abruptly hangs up. He takes to the veranda to give into his tears, but the sound of soft sobs nearby grabs his attention.
Those sobs are coming from Young-won, who begs her deceased mother to save Woo-jin because she can’t send him away like she did Mom. Se-ro recognizes her but keeps his distance as she cries, curled up in a fetal position.
Unfortunately, Dad is refused for additional surgery because the thieves don’t have enough cash. Se-ro yells that he won’t let them off if Dad gets worse, but Jae-in whips back that Kang-jae will scrape the money together no matter what because Dad is like a brother to him.
Young-won agrees to a police investigation in order to find the perpetrators behind the deed. She’s also told that one of their missing diamonds turned up at the crime scene, making Woo-jin the prime suspect for theft.
Kang-jae pawns off the other diamond to an initially reluctant buyer (the same one who tried to buy a diamond off of Dad via Se-ro in Episode 1) and hands the money to Se-ro, who conveys his deepest gratitude.
Kang-jae stops Jae-in from following him inside however, citing that Woo-jin is staying at this very hospital. Letting Se-ro handle himself from here on out, they drive off.
Jae-in asks if Kang-jae really wasn’t the one behind the assassination order, to which Kang-jae denies yet again. His slightly nervous reaction makes me wonder if he’s covering something up, but Jae-in believes him and apologizes for jumping to conclusions.
She ruffles his hair playfully, but a quick flashback teaches us that Jae-in had spotted the sniper in the shadows that night, but it was too dark to identify anyone. That suspicion arrow currently points at Daddy Han, though, as an employee reports that the police has been bought off and they already found someone to pin the crime on.
Which explains why Se-ro is apprehended the moment he tries to pay for Dad’s surgery. At the same time, Young-wong grows increasingly frustrated at the police circling around the same questions. I know you’re upset m’dear, but I don’t think arguing with cops in a foreign country is going to help your cause.
She calms down enough to enunciate that there was another man at the scene to inform her that her fiance was hurt—maybe they should ask him what happened.
That’s exactly what’s happening as Se-ro is questioned about the large sum of cash and evidence at the crime scene. Se-ro is torn—he wants to deliver the money for Dad’s surgery but coming clean would implicate his father for theft.
So he lies that he knows nothing and clings onto the hope that the victim will wake up and explain everything. That’s when he recalls speaking to a woman on the phone and telling her where he was—the real criminal wouldn’t do that, right?
Se-ro gets worked up at that revelation and pleads for a chance to meet her in person. But as he’s led towards the office, another cop whispers something into the officer’s ear, and they do an about-face just a few feet away, to Se-ro’s confusion.
If we needed solid proof that it was Daddy Han behind the act, we just got it; he’s unhappy with the missteps to an otherwise straightforward order. Manager Min is left with the unpopular task to inform Young-won of her father’s arrival… and Woo-jin’s passing. Oof.
In utter disbelief, Young-won walks out of the police station in a daze. And at the hospital, the doctors perform CPR on Dad; it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.
Se-ro’s persistent claims of innocence go ignored in the interrogation room. But his day is about to get much better/worse because a text message comes in to inform him that he’s passed his interview for the foreign civil service exam.
Se-ro charges at the officer to read the message himself, then breaks down sobbing. He’s thrown in jail, screaming and kicking all the way to his jail cell.
Young-won remains in bed in her grieving state, dismissing her stepmother’s soothing words that she can lean on family. Unsurprisingly, Daddy Han isn’t as sympathetic to his daughter’s woes, pointing out that she overcame her mother’s death well enough.
Disappointed that she’s skipping work again (has it been days? Weeks?) he tells Young-won that the media are having a field day painting the company as a national disgrace and that its diamond dealer was a thief.
Young-won protests that Woo-jin wasn’t a thief, arguing that there’s no evidence to back up those claims. But who needs evidence when that’s what the public believes anyway, Dad counters.
Young-won confesses that she doesn’t know why Woo-jin was at a con artist’s hideout and why someone killed him either. But she’s certain that her fiance died a wrongful death, and Dad lets her cling onto that idea if it comforts her.
“That… murderer.” Young-won ekes out. She vows to track him down and demand an explanation for why he was with Woo-jin—no, why he killed him.
She screams to know why she was dragged back to Korea, and Daddy Han softens at the sight of his daughter’s tears, unable to bear seeing his child so distraught. He lets her take out her pent-up sobs on him in silence.
Sometime later, Young-won steels herself to deliver a public apology in front of the media. Her voice wavers as the reporters pelt her with questions regarding Woo-jin’s death, and she earnestly requests that they don’t slander his good name even in death.
Back in her studio, Young-won asks for the name of the man whom she doesn’t even consider human. She tells Manager Min never to forget the name of Jung Se-ro on her behalf because “even though I wish that he’ll stay in prison his whole life, even though I don’t have the confidence to see his terrible face… But if we ever cross paths one day, I have too many questions to ask of him.”
Se-ro is sentenced to eight years in jail on murder charges. Kang-jae pays him a visit with the news that he’s found out who framed him.
Se-ro is all ears as he’s told that the victim worked as a gemstone dealer for Belle la Fair, so he thinks it was their doing. Kang-jae claims that he doesn’t know much besides that, then apologizes for being unable to be more of help.
There’s already a change in Se-ro’s eyes as he processes this information, and he vows to find out why he was framed.
As Se-ro sits in his jail cell, he thinks back to happier times with Dad when he was a boy and had asked why Dad couldn’t go to jail. Young Se-ro had thought it’d be fun getting free food and sharing a room with other people like a camping trip or wearing uniforms like the Boy Scouts do.
Dad had chuckled, warning his son that seeking to live a fun life only ends badly. Young Se-ro had pointed out that his father wouldn’t have to always run away if he was in prison, and when asked if Se-ro can live without him, he had chirped back, “Then should I go to jail with you?”
Jail isn’t somewhere just anyone goes, Dad had told him. His son’s job is to stick by his side and reap the benefits, and Dad’s soothing humming back then lingers in a haunting echo now.
Looking out the window, Se-ro whistles that same tune.
Se-ro is released from prison five years later with a special pardon, and is greeted warmly by Jae-in and Kang-jae, then heads to visit his father’s burial site. He’s grateful that Dad was given a proper send-off and tucks his old whistle in his hand. He’s anxious to get back to Korea and face the ones who framed him.
Kang-jae has gone ahead to prepare a new identity for Se-ro as Lee Eun-soo, and gives him six months to train for his new role as a gemstone dealer. But Se-ro has done his homework in his years in jail—all he needs is three months.
Thus Se-ro throws himself into studying up to be an expert gemstone dealer, from visiting jewelry storefronts to working in factories to examining and timing himself to differentiate between all kinds of real and counterfeit gemstones.
So when he returns to Korea in three months’ time, he now operates under his new name of Lee Eun-soo (but I’ll keep calling him Se-ro until he says otherwise). He abandons his handler to catch a taxi to Belle la Fair, but interestingly the cab driver isn’t familiar with is location, which makes Se-ro wonder if it’s not that famous of a company after all.
Meanwhile, our resident gemstone expert (and chaperone) gripes to Kang-jae about their shabby headquarters, only to get hilariously hung up on. Now we’re formally introduced to him as HAMA, and he twinges in annoyance to hear that there’s only one room to share in the place.
And back in Thailand, Kang-jae receives a briefcase from a rich client(?) filled with something we don’t see, but told will help for his next big job.
There’s more to the initially pleasant demeanor to Madam Baek than we were introduced to, since her polite but distanced answers to her son’s longtime girlfriend eager questions don’t go unnoticed by YOUNG-JOON (Sohn Ho-joon).
She lets her hand do the talking to snap Young-joon out of his senses, and then throws the “Who am I doing this all for?” card at him, to which Young-joon murmurs meekly, “Me.”
Madam Baek plays the emotionally manipulative mother to a tee, saying that her son is all that she lives for. She’s determined to make Young-joon the apple of his father’s eye, especially because he seems to care more for his half-sister Young-won. Well aren’t you a pleasant surprise.
For a minute there, I had wondered if Belle la Fair went under, but the company seems to be running just fine. Se-ro lets himself inside and declares he has an appointment with the president whom he claims is very late to their meeting. “About five years,” he says to himself.
He decides to wait outside but the surroundings strike him as familiar and he walks up the same path he took to the rooftop studio, bits of his memory coming back to him with every step.
Se-ro finds himself walking into the same studio he made a delivery to five years ago, a memory he recalls with a smile. Stopping at an inscription carved in wood about “silver lining,” he reads, “the sun always shines behind every silver lining.”
We see that Young-won is asleep in a bed nearby, still wearing the tennis bracelet given to her by Woo-jin. She wakes to the lingering dreams of happy memories with Woo-jin, so when she spots a pair of feet, she thinks they belong to him.
It’s been a rough five years for Young-won as well, as she tells herself that it was just an illusion. But when she sees a shadow of a man leaving, she follows him outside, calling out Woo-jin’s name. Her face falls when she sees it isn’t him.
Se-ro doesn’t hear the name, but he does recognize her as the pretty stranger from five years ago. He says she wouldn’t know him if he gave her his name, but his smile drops when Manager Min comes running.
“President?” Se-ro suddenly realizes. Oh, you think she framed you, don’t you? With that, he says he’ll come again another time and takes his leave.
Young-won confirms to her assistant that she’s never seen the man before and says hearing about her day to day schedule is pointless when she’s busy working here. It seems Young-won barely steps out of her studio, if at all, as Manager Min sighs that everyone thinks that she’s the one running the company nowadays.
Se-ro returns to Belle la Fair’s gates later that evening to throw pebbles at the doors. And it’s as if Young-won heard him as she appears a moment later to leave for the day.
Se-ro follows behind her but keeps his distance. However it isn’t long before Young-won picks up on his presence and turns to face him. She asks who he is, and he returns that question with another one: “Who might I be?”
He introduces himself as Lee Eun-soo and he knows her by name. Se-ro smirks when she asks why he’s following her, and his following question makes her uncomfortable: “Don’t you remember me?”
She doesn’t, so Se-ro helps jog her memory, saying that he saw her twice, five years ago—once when she was smiling and once when she was crying. He encourages her to try to remember when, where, and why they saw each other because “I’m going to follow you around until you remember.”
Uh o-kay, sir. Thank you Full Sun for reminding me that a restraining order is a good idea for these kinds of situations. I almost forgot that melodrama heroes are given creeptastic lines (then again, the same can be said of most dramas in any genre) and Se-ro/Eun-soo isn’t the first nor will he be the last man in dramaland to deliver such words.
What I like about this show so far is its solemn tone that grounds our characters in tragedy without feeling extremely tragic. A melo will always be a tearjerker, which Full Sun is (and will continue to be), and yet even in the most devastating of moments, the acting performances thus far don’t feel theatrical and over-the-top as I might have expected of this genre. A lot more tears, yes, but not necessarily any crazier than other shows in dramaland. At least, not yet.
Furthermore, I appreciate that we actually get to see what our characters are thinking or dreaming of thanks to those flashbacks, erasing the need for us as viewers to guess their thought processes. I’ve seen too many melo heroes (Nice Guy, Shark) who remain a frustrating question mark for most of the series for my taste, so it’s nice to see the initial spark for revenge in our hero’s eyes, and then witness the dogged perseverance that accompanies the transition to assume that new identity, rather than just being told that we’ve got Drama Hero Version 2.0. who’s completely dead inside.
So while we have a richly layered and conflicted hero, the same can’t be said for our heroine in Young-won. Although I had expected that her spunk would be replaced with tears after Woo-jin’s passing, I’d also feared the possibility that she would be flatly written because of it. It wouldn’t be the first time a drama heroine would be painted two-dimensionally, and I still want to give Young-won the benefit of the doubt in the drama’s present. I feel like we haven’t seen enough of her to judge whether she’s closed off her heart or distracting herself with work while clinging onto the tiniest of hopes, and too early to tell whether it’s an acting or writing concern, or both.
But most of all, I love revenge stories where our hero doesn’t run a lone operation in his ventures. As of now, Se-ro/Eun-soo has at least two people supporting him in that fight against the ones who framed him, so I’m looking forward to the team dynamics that follow. Let’s just hope that one of them doesn’t end up blowing the whistle on you, sir.
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