Tunnel: Episode 11
Sun-jae lays everything on the line this hour to bring his perp to justice, but is the justice offered by the law really effective, especially when our resident murderer proves how easy it is to play the system? Still, when his opponents are as dogged as our team, his winning streak can’t last forever…
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Kwang-ho sends Sun-jae on ahead to catch Jung Ho-young while he frantically tries to rouse Jae-yi. He gasps in relief when she finally comes around and recognizes him. “Agasshi, if it weren’t for the sound of the whistle&mdash…” he starts, before the sight of it around her neck sends him reeling.
He remembers Yeon-sook giving him his, and the grandma describing how little Yeon-ho used to blow it all the time. Disbelievingly, he asks Jae-yi, “Who are you? You can’t be… are you&mdash…” but that’s all Jae-yi hears, as his next words are blotted out by the arrival of the rest of the team. Aaaaargh!!!!
Meanwhile, Sun-jae tracks Jung through the dark woods, gun at the ready. But Jung, lying in wait, ambushes him. The rest of the team hear a gunshot and start running, leaving Kwang-ho with Jae-yi.
Jung disarms Sun-jae and a savage fight ensues, with Jung taking the upper hand, before Sun-jae turns it around. He makes it into his car, but Sun-jae smashes the window with his elbow like a badass and drags the man out.
Sun-jae keeps hold of him through sheer will and desperation, and they trade blows in equal measure until Sun-jae manages to immobilize Jung in a chokehold. (Poetic justice?) With a howl, he finally releases him to the arriving team, who at last arrest him.
But when Jung leers at him, Sun-jae launches himself at him, and Sung-shik holds him off. “We’ve got him, it’s going to be okay,” Sung-shik says, arms around a sobbing Sun-jae.
Jae-yi is taken to hospital where Kwang-ho kicks up such a fuss about the doctors tending another patient instead of Jae-yi that they call security to take him away. “There’s so much I have to say!” he cries.
Meanwhile, Jung is brought to the station amid a media frenzy over his capture. Among the spectators is the brother of his victim Lee Seo-yeon, who seizes Jung and tells him to bring his sister back. As he’s led up the steps of the station, Jung smirks. A battered Sun-jae looks back at the brother with sympathy.
Inside, Sun-jae conducts Jung’s body search himself, first knocking off his hat before removing his belt and anything else that might conceivably be used as a weapon.
The station chief congratulates the Violent Crimes team on their arrest, although he warns them not let out the true story of Jae-yi putting herself in danger (he wants to pass it off as a sting instead). He leaves Sung-shik troubled, and Tae-hee and Min-ha wonder at the unexpected viciousness of Sun-jae’s confrontation with Jung. Sung-shik says he has his own reasons, just as the man himself walks in, much the worse for wear.
Sung-shik tells him that this is just the beginning: To put Jung away, it’s vital they have solid evidence, and he dispatches the Tae-Min duo to follow up at the scene accordingly. Realizing Kwang-ho is absent, he sends Sun-jae to join him and get Jae-yi’s victim testimony.
The doctor tells Kwang-ho that Jae-yi’s continued unconsciousness is likely due to shock rather than injury. Gazing down at her, Kwang-ho thinks back to all his encounters with her. “You were so unbelievably close to me all this time,” he whispers. “If I hadn’t disappeared from the tunnel like that… Yeon-sook, you wouldn’t have died, and our Yeon-ho wouldn’t have suffered so much growing up. It’s my fault, it’s all because of me,” he says, sobbing.
Elsewhere, Dr. Mok lies outside his house smoking while looking up at the night sky. He thinks of Jae-yi making herself bait. “I hope she’s safe,” he says, smiling to himself.
Sun-jae finds Kwang-ho slumped outside Jae-yi’s hospital room. He tells him that they’ve caught Jung, “And… I found Yeon-ho.” But he’s surprised when Kwang-ho says he’s already met her. Showing Sun-jae the whistle, Kwang-ho tells him how he lost it in the tunnel that day. He wonders why Jae-yi never wore it before, “Did Yeon-sook tell her about me?”
Sun-jae quietly tells Kwang-ho what he knows about Jae-yi’s childhood: her adoption, how she doesn’t remember anything of her life before that, the hardships she went through since. He tells him, too, about her being suspected of setting the fire that killed her adoptive parents, and how Dean Hong’s intervention saved her. “That’s why she can’t talk about herself, and why if she’s hurting, she can’t say it hurts. That’s how she lived, in loneliness and hardship,” he adds.
Tears rolling, Kwang-ho whispers an apology, and Sun-jae tells him to say those words to her directly, “And tell her who you are, too.” But Kwang-ho shakes his head, stricken over not being by her side for one moment in the past thirty years. “I can’t tell her,” he says—it’s enough that he gets to see her face before he goes back.
At the crime scene at the reservoir, they find nothing until Tae-hee peers into Jung’s car and finds a crucifix hanging there. Min-ha observes that it looks like a woman’s necklace, and they immediately look into whether any of the victims had lost one.
At the police station, Jung doesn’t acknowledge his charges. He claims not to know Jae-yi and even asserts that he saved her from her attacker. Outraged, Sung-shik leaves the room to update Sun-jae, who promises to bring him Jae-yi’s testimony.
Standing at the door, Sun-jae watches Kwang-ho hover at Jae-yi’s bedside. “I shouldn’t have asked you to help with Jung Ho-young to begin with. I’m sorry, Professor Shin,” he thinks. “Please wake up, I beg you.”
Jae-yi dreams. Her mom puts the whistle-necklace around her neck, and for the first time, Yeon-sook’s face is revealed. Telling little Yeon-ho that it was her dad’s, Yeon-sook promises her that she’ll come running anytime she blows it, no matter where she is.
The dream slides to an airport scene now, where Yeon-ho is dressed up and being photographed by a couple of foreigners (her adoptive parents?) who speak to her in English. She blows on the whistle, crying. We shift again, now to a beach in England, where she looks out to sea, still blowing hopelessly on the whistle. “Nobody’s coming. It was all a lie!” she thinks.
And finally, Jae-yi wakes up to see Kwang-ho’s concerned face with Sun-jae right beside him. “Did you catch Jung Ho-young?” is the first thing she asks. Sun-jae assures her they did, and she’s keen to give her testimony right away despite their protests, worried that they could lose Jung and have their efforts could go to waste otherwise.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she says, and Kwang-ho explodes. “What do you mean you’re fine?” he yells, adding that she should forget Jung Ho-young and take care of herself. She ignores him and tells Sun-jae that she wants to go ahead. Overcome, Kwang-ho storms out, even though Sun-jae calls after him.
“Will you really be okay?” Sun-jae asks her. She nods.
They begin. She tells him she picked the reservoir as a place she’s been to before, but Jung unexpectedly attacked her and knocked her out. She tells Sun-jae that Jung spoke to her, telling her he got her message through her TV interview. “You were right. I didn’t kill Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee. Of course, I killed the other women,” he had said, while tying her up. “Like this, using stockings.”
“Did he really say that he killed them?” Sun-jae asks, but Jae-yi begins to convulse as she relives his attempt to kill her. Trapped in the memory, she retreats in terror, feeling the stockings around her neck again. The memory of Kwang-ho rescuing her overlaps with Sun-jae’s face in the present.
Holding her, Sun-jae reassures her that she’s okay now. “I’m not okay,” Jae-yi sobs, “It hurts. It hurts so much.” He cradles her head in his arms and she cries into his chest. As the camera pans, we see Kwang-ho outside the door, having overheard it all. He shakes with tears of his own and his hand curls into a fist as he vows to put Jung away, no matter what.
When Sun-jae emerges sometime later, they share a moment of silence, which is broken by the arrival of an anxious Dean Hong. (Is that a weird look she gives Kwang-ho before she goes in?) Through the window, the men watch how Jae-yi lightens when she sees the dean.
Kwang-ho strides into the police station and asks if they’ve found any evidence, and Tae-hee scoffs that he always shows up late and talks the loudest. Sun-jae arrives with Jae-yi’s testimony, and Sung-shik finally calls a meeting.
Sun-jae begins by saying that they’ve only got evidence for two of Jung’s murders: the nurse, and student Lee Seo-yeon, the recent victim. Tae-hee finally gets to share his findings: They confirmed the crucifix necklace belonged to Lee Seo-yeon, and her DNA was found on it. Sun-jae says they should start by pressing Jung with what they’ve got and see how much he cracks.
In the interrogation room, Jung says he bought the necklace, but when Sun-jae tells him it belonged to Lee Seo-yeon and had her DNA on it, Jung brazenly changes his story without blinking an eye—actually, he says, he just picked it up from the street.
Sun-jae plays a recording of the call where Jung said it was true that he killed Lee Seo-yeon and reminds him that he said that same to Jae-yi. Jung’s expression turns grim, but then he starts to chuckle: “Those were all lies.”
Furious, Kwang-ho shakes him, but Jung continues to deny it. “I didn’t kill anyone. I swear,” he says. The others are watching from the other side of the glass, and they sigh that it will be hard to secure a conviction without his confession.
Back at their desks, Sun-jae bolts up. “Let’s do a lie detector test,” he says to Sung-shik. (Kwang-ho: “Lie detector test?”) Although it will only be considered circumstantial evidence, Sun-jae thinks they can use it to unbalance Jung psychologically.
Hooked up to the polygraph, a canny investigator asks Jung detailed questions about his murders. Jung calmly denies everything, but the polygraph beeps rapidly, indicating that he’s lying. But it really goes haywire when he’s questioned about his sister’s incident.
“Thirty years ago, how did it feel to strangle your sister? Did you get excited?” the investigator presses. Did he feel looked down on by her? When the women he killed begged for their lives, the investigator presses, did it made him feel like he had the upper hand?
Leaping to his feet, Jung rips off the sensors. “I said I didn’t do it!” he screams. On the other side of the glass, the team are satisfied that they can bolster their case with this.
Jae-yi suffers a nightmare of her ordeal and bolts awake, crying. Dean Hong rushes in. When she’s calm again, Jae-yi confesses that she thought she would be fine because she knows murderers well. She was afraid he’d kill someone else after she provoked him, and adds, “I wanted to ask him many things, but in the end, I couldn’t say a single word. I was too frightened.”
Dean Hong takes Jae-yi’s hands into her own. “Anyone else would have been the same,” she tells her comfortingly.
Oho, it looks like Sun-jae’s finally joined the team for an after-work dinner, though he looks harried about it, haha. Sung-shik is relieved they’ve caught Jung, but Kwang-ho snaps that they didn’t even solve the 1986 cases.
They all get riled up, with Sun-jae taking Kwang-ho’s side, and Sung-shik and Min-ha trying to calm everyone down. Tae-hee yells at Sun-jae, who—HA!!—thrusts his arm into the air and yells at him right back to uncuff them from each other. Min-ha roars at them all to stop squabbling like kids, making the rest of the team blink back at him in shocked silence.
Sun-jae phones Jae-yi to check on how she’s doing while Kwang-ho clucks around, trying to get a word in. Sun-jae updates her on Jung, and she suggests that they seek out his mother, pointing out that all of his reactions are because of her. He agrees, and they hang up.
Kwang-ho squeaks in dismay because he didn’t get to talk to her, but he’s further chagrined when Sun-jae asks him to look after her since she’s being discharged the next day. “Who are you to put her into my care? I’m her dad!” he argues. It’s a fact that Sun-jae seems to have forgotten, judging from his caught look and rapid exit. Kwang-ho calls indignantly after him that he won’t allow them (to be together)—absolutely not! Haha.
Jae-yi tells Dean Hong what she thinks about Jung’s complex about his mom, and how she threw him away to the mental hospital. “A mother’s love, whether lacking or excessive, can cause problems too,” the dean agrees.
She tells the dean about her dream: “There was a woman I called ‘Mom,'” she says. Hong is hopeful that it means her memories are returning, adding that there must be a reason why they’re rising to the surface now, “Is it time for you to look for her now?” Looking uncertain, Jae-yi touches the whistle around her neck.
Kwang-ho stands at the mouth of the tunnel. “I found Yeon-ho,” he tells Yeon-sook. “I saved her thanks to the whistle. Yeon-sookie, you saved her.” Sighing deeply, he asks her to wait just a little longer so he can put Jung away properly. “When I come back, I’ll put everything back to how it should be,” he promises. He turns around, walking away from the tunnel.
Jae-yi is discharged the next day. Instead of going straight home like she promises Dean Hong, she stops off at the university to see Dr. Mok. She thanks him for saving her, although he tells her it’s nothing—he just felt responsible. “I shouldn’t have said something like that,” he says with an apparently rueful smirk, “I’m glad you returned safe.”
She’s glad that they caught Jung at least, and he chuckles deeply at that, likening her to Sun-jae. She seems to clock something odd at that remark, because her demeanor subtly changes. Dr. Mok invites her to come play chess with him from time to time: “I want to get you back for catching my king last time.”
“Let’s do that,” Jae-yi replies, a cool smile playing on her lips.
Back at work, the detectives rib Min-ha for his outburst the night before. Hahaha. But their mirth is cut short when Sung-shik arrives with the announcement that the Jung Ho-young case is being taken over by the prosecution service, since they hit their investigation deadline today.
Kwang-ho protests, and Sun-jae petitions for more time. Troubled but determined, Sung-shik agrees to buy them until tomorrow morning, and tells them to move fast.
They visit Jung’s mother, and Kwang-ho tries unsuccessfully to persuade her to visit her son. “Your son killed my mother!” Sun-jae bursts out. She retreats behind a closed door, while on the other side, Sun-jae tells her that he joined the police to catch his mother’s killer. He pleads with her to appeal to him, but with tears in her eyes, she says that there’s nothing in him to appeal to.
On the drive back, Sun-jae realizes they’ve got one card left to play: himself. He guesses that Jung would be wildly entertained to find out that Sun-jae was the son of one of the 1986 victims and plans to draw him out that way. “This time, I’ll be the bait,” he says.
Sun-jae shows Jung a photo of his mother with him as a baby, which Jung clearly recognizes, though he claims not to. He wonders why Sun-jae has that photo. “It’s my mother,” he replies. Jung looks like Christmas and his birthday just came at once. “She was wearing an ivory cardigan and grey skirt,” he reminisces, “Right?”
“I’ve been running around like a madman, trying to catch my mother’s murderer. Finally, we meet,” Sun-jae says. He tells Jung to confess, since the statute of limitations for it has run out anyway. But to Sun-jae’s growing consternation, Jung only chuckles and denies it.
Kwang-ho slings an arm around Jung’s shoulder. “Ajusshi…” he says into his ear, “It’s true I killed the dogs, but I didn’t kill a person.” Jung freezes mid-laugh, and Kwang-ho quotes: “‘Do you need a reason to kill a person?'”
“We meet after thirty years,” Kwang-ho continues with a sharp smile. As recognition dawns, Jung leaps back in shock and disbelief. But when Kwang-ho talks about dots, he’s filled with confusion, which gives Kwang-ho pause. He looks at him searchingly and glances back at Sun-jae. “It wasn’t him,” he realizes.
The detectives regroup in the meeting room where Sun-jae argues fiercely that Jung is pretending. “No, his expression said he truly didn’t know,” Kwang-ho replies, concluding that he wasn’t the 1986 murderer, nor the culprit in the present murders where the victims were marked with dots.
“There’s another murderer,” he says, but realizes that to know those details about Sun-jae’s mother (and her murder), he must have seen it himself. “I’m saying that bastard Jung Ho-young is a witness!” he exclaims. He goes out to look for him, but finds out that Jung is meeting his mother right now.
“Why did you do it?” Jung asks her. But instead of answering, she says it would have been better if he hadn’t been born her son and that he should have stayed in the mental hospital. She says she fabricated an alibi for him for her own sake, because she wanted to hide that she gave birth to a murderer like him. I actually feel sorry for him right now.
“Whether you live or die, you’re a useless wretch. Better you go somewhere and die,” she hisses, and tears rim his eyes. She orders him to accept the punishment of his sins “Don’t come out of here until you die,” she says in parting.
Before he’s taken back to his cell, he asks for Sun-jae. But at that very moment, Sun-jae is busy sharing details about the investigation with Dr. Mok. Nooo, stop! Just then, Min-ha comes to fetch him to Jung, who said he’s going to confess. Sun-jae hangs up in a hurry, but having overheard, Mok thumps the gurney in rage. Isn’t that what you wanted, though?
Sun-jae bursts into the interrogation room, and Jung says, “It’s true, I killed her. I killed your mother.” Huh? Jung repeats Sun-jae’s mom’s dying words: “Spare me, I have a child.” At that, Sun-jae attacks him, pressing his arm against Jung’s throat while Jung continues to needle him.
Kwang-ho shouts at him to stop letting himself get played and finally manages to send him out for a breather. In the meantime, he receives blood results which tell him something we don’t yet know.
Jung turns down his offer of a cigarette, saying that he doesn’t smoke, and Kwang-ho shouldn’t either. Kwang-ho agrees–Jung’s blood results show clearly that he’s never smoked. “You didn’t kill Seo Yi-soo,” he says, “I caught that guy smoking in the tunnel. If you don’t smoke, you can’t be the culprit. You saw it, right?”
Looking terrified, Jung angrily insists he did kill her, while Kwang-ho insists he’s a witness. A flashback takes us back to Young Jung Ho-young looking down at the road below. He noticed Seo Yi-soo being followed by a hooded man. The man pounced on her and proceeded to strangle her with the stockings. Having crept closer, he witnessed it all with curious interest.
Back in the present, Jung yells that he killed her, and Kwang-ho shakes him in fury. “I said I’m the culprit! I killed her!” Jung roars, as officers take him away. The next morning, as Jung is escorted from the police station, Dr. Mok—apparently on his way in—catches his eye from the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Jae-yi gives her English friend Kate a call and finds out that there was a policeman looking for her.
In prison, Jung receives a visitor. Yup, it’s Dr. Mok. Swallowing, Jung asks, “Do you know me?” Mok replies with a smile that he heard Jung witnessed the murder thirty years ago.
Sun-jae drops Kwang-ho home and wants to see Jae-yi, but Kwang-ho reminds him that he won’t allow it. “Allow what?” Jae-yi asks, arriving home herself. The men bicker as they follow her and continue to do so even when they’re inside. But it’s a sweet moment when Sun-jae promises to buy her anything she wants to eat.
Kwang-ho gets a call from Sung-shik, asking if he’s seen the news. “Jung Ho-young has committed suicide!” he tells him. Whaaaat. Kwang-ho stares in shock. In his prison cell, Jung’s body hangs from the window bars, a piece of paper crumpled in his fist.
What does this meeeeeean?? Did he really kill himself, or did Dr. Mok find a way to silence him? If he didn’t have that kind of access to the prison, what could he possibly have said to Jung to make him actually kill himself? I don’t have any guesses at all. His mother was horrible, but though it clearly hurt him—a new twist of an old knife—it didn’t seem to make him suicidal. But then, was he taking his mom’s words to heart when he claimed responsibility for Sun-jae’s mother’s murder? Why did he suddenly U-turn from denying it to insisting he did it? What was that encounter on the police station steps about? Did Jung see the culprit’s face back then? He certainly doesn’t seem to recognize Mok now.
At the beginning of the episode, I felt sure that Dr. Mok was going to somehow kill him while he was in custody just to prove that there were two killers. Right now, he seems desperate to conceal it (probably because they’ve come too close to uncovering him), but it’s almost amusing how much he can’t stand his kills being credited to someone else. But with his very particular style of murder, he can’t not have guessed that Jung must have seen him at some point thirty years ago to imitate it in such specific detail. The only things that differ are his signature markings and motivation.
I can’t say I’m not a tiny bit disappointed that Mok isn’t really a fascinating killer. Playing god and passing judgement on women he deems immoral is just so old, and I was more angry than is healthy at this fictional man and his “moral cleansing” which applies only and exclusively to women, like he never came across an unvirtuous man in his whole executioner career. Go back to the middle ages, you brute.
But I’m excited about the development between Dr. Mok and Jae-yi, because I feel like she’s caught wind of something about him, and for a woman who’s spent her career studying murderers, I’m positive that she’s reading Dr. Mok’s signals, however smart he thinks he’s being. It makes her perhaps the most essential player on Team Good Guys, and picking up and analyzing those cues has to be a natural reflex for her at this point, so I’m sure she sees stuff even when she’s not looking for it. I hope she plays him more smartly than her plan with Jung, which, argh! WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE OUT THERE BY YOURSELF.
Over the last couple of weeks, I feel like Sun-jae’s been outshining Kwang-ho as a character, and it must be the way they’re written, because I can’t fault Choi Jin-hyuk’s emotive acting. With Sun-jae’s fight at the beginning of the episode (that’s how you do it, Voice!) and his reaction after it, his wholehearted unmeasured-ness really got me. He threw everything into catching Jung, and it was plain that he meant to get him or actually die trying. On top of that, he really brought home how that moment was the culmination of everything he’d worked for so far in his life.
And then there’s his sweetness with Jae-yi, and how she also noticeably softens every time she looks at him. I feel like I’m watching a broken robot and an injured animal take tiny steps towards each other while a guard dog nips at both of them, and man, I can watch this three-way folderol all day. And as ridiculously foolish as Jae-yi was last week, I still love her, my little sad robot. I feel a little cheated that she didn’t get to hear Kwang-ho say her real name, but I think we can at least count on this show to give us a really good delivery of the moment when it does come. But when they’ve got that whole father-daughter routine down so pat already, what’s in a name?
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- Choi Jin-hyuk pursues hooded man from past to future in Tunnel
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