While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 5-6
The mystery is growing more intriguing, and each new episode reveals a side of the game we hadn’t considered before. I can’t tell if our characters are disaster magnets or if changing the future once set them off on a crash-course with Fate, but it’s starting to feel like this is way bigger than just a boy saving a girl.
EPISODE 5: “Covertly, Grandly”
In someone’s dream, pianist So-yoon’s house is torn apart, as her father reaches for her metronome to strike her mother down. The metronome goes flying out the window, and then Jae-chan’s little brother, Seung-won, looks out the balcony down below, a look of horror on his face.
As Jae-chan struggles against police officers who take Seung-won away, Hong-joo narrates that there are horrible moments in life that you never want to encounter, but looking back, there is always a series of trivial choices that lead up to that moment.
We come out of the dream as So-yoon leaves school and calls the prosecutor’s office to ask about her father’s case. Jae-chan is asleep at his desk, and his investigator Chief Choi confirms her worst fear—that her father will go free, again. Hong-joo narrates, “And those trivial choices come back to find us later, wearing the name regret. If we could change those trivial choices, couldn’t we stop that horrible moment?”
Seung-won runs out of class after So-yoon and stops her from buying a bottle of antifreeze at the store, but she shakes him off and tells him to mind his own business. She says that the prosecutor has already been busy getting her father off the hook, and he demands to know the name of the dumb prosecutor.
At the same time, Jae-chan tells Hong-joo that his brother’s name is Seung-won, and is horrified to learn that in her dream, Seung-won kills someone.
So-yoon shouts the prosecutor’s name—Jung Jae-chan—and Seung-won’s face falls. “It can’t be… that’s my brother,” he says. And just then, his phone rings with a call from his brother. Jae-chan panics when Seung-won doesn’t answer, and takes off running with Hong-joo behind him.
So-yoon’s mom calls to ask her to sleep over at a friend’s house tonight because she has something to discuss with her father. Mom holds a telltale envelope in her hand, looking nervous, and hangs up abruptly. So of course So-yoon does the very opposite and runs toward home, and Seung-won follows.
Jae-chan just runs frantically and aimlessly, and Hong-joo stops him so that they can put their dreams together and figure out how to stop what happens. Thank goodness one of you is smart.
She asks when his dream takes place, and he says it’s tonight based on both of their clothes. He asks about her version, and we see her dream play out in more detail this time as she describes Dad beating Mom.
Seung-won and So-yoon arrive just in time to stop Dad from striking her with the metronome, which Dad ends up throwing at Seung-won instead. He ducks just in time and it goes through the window.
Dad goes after Seung-won with a golf club, and in the struggle, Seung-won ends up pushing Dad out of the window, where he falls to his bloody death. The dream ends with Seung-won finally answering Jae-chan’s call and crying that it’s all Hyung’s fault that he became a murderer.
Hong-joo doesn’t understand that part, thinking it an odd thing to say, but Jae-chan puts the right pieces together—his brother’s excitement about the piano concert, and Yoo-bum mentioning that his client is the father of a famous pianist. He cringes as he remembers how quickly he dismissed her father’s case, patting himself on the back for having closed it in under five minutes.
Jae-chan asks what Hong-joo remembers about the house from her dream, and she says that there were two moons in the sky. They look up and see two giant promotional balloons on top of a skyscraper overhead.
Down below, police officer Han Woo-tak dozes off in a police car as his partner complains, wondering what he does all night to always be sleeping.
The screen fades into another dream sequence, in the aftermath of So-yoon’s father’s death. But this time… we see it from Woo-tak’s perspective. Omo! He has dream premonitions too!
Woo-tak is the officer who arrests Seung-won, and as they get into the police car, Jae-chan runs up in a panic, and both brothers cry out for each other as the car pulls away.
Woo-tak wakes up from the dream and goes about his work as usual, not seeming too affected by it. But when they pull over so that he can take over driving, he happens to see Jae-chan and Hong-joo running across the street. He recognizes Jae-chan, but tries to shake off the weird feeling.
But as he drives, Woo-tak thinks back to the moment he nearly died, when Jae-chan had said that if he hadn’t stopped it, Yoo-bum would’ve run him over. He realizes now that Jae-chan is the same person he just saw in his dream, and again crossing the street.
He speeds up, whirls the police car around, and turns on the siren. Yessss!
Meanwhile at So-yoon’s house, Dad rips up Mom’s divorce papers with a laugh. He starts smashing everything in sight with a golf club, shouting that the law is on his side even when he does this, “Because this, and this, and you are all mine! I can do whatever I want with what’s mine!” I hope you choke on your own tongue.
So-yoon and Seung-won run through the lobby, but so do Jae-chan and Hong-joo. Run faster!
Dad is about to strike Mom again when suddenly the fire alarm rings throughout the building, defusing their fight. Down in the lobby, Hong-joo gasps to catch her breath with her finger on the fire alarm.
Dad goes to the open window to see what the commotion is about, and officer Woo-tak arrives just in time to see Dad very much not dead, unlike in his dream.
The elevator doors open and Jae-chan yanks his brother out by the collar, looking furious. But he just reaches up to touch Seung-won’s face in utter relief, the panic finally subsiding.
So-yoon is relieved to find her mother among the crowd of residents down in the street, and meanwhile Hong-joo gets the brunt of the residents’ ire for the disturbance. They accuse her of playing a prank, but officer Woo-tak steps in to say that he saw smoke too.
Jae-chan drags Seung-won down the street and screams at him for not going straight home or answering his calls. Seung-won can’t believe it when Jae-chan says he should just ignore it if a friend is in trouble and needs his help.
Seung-won screams back that he didn’t answer the phone because he was embarrassed of his brother, and asks how he can call himself a prosecutor and tell him to ignore a friend in need.
Jae-chan argues that Seung-won would’ve ended up a murderer if he hadn’t stopped him, but Seung-won shouts, “You should be saying that you were wrong! That you’re sorry for being a dumb prosecutor! That you’ll investigate it properly, that we can trust you, that we shouldn’t worry! That’s a prosecutor! That’s… my hyung.” Oof.
But even still, Jae-chan argues that being embarrassing to his brother is better than him getting hurt. Seung-won just shoulder-checks him angrily and storms off.
So-yoon and her mother each try to send the other away for the night, but thankfully Hong-joo finds them before Dad does and invites them to stay at her house. They ask who she is, and Hong-joo says she’s So-yoon’s friend’s brother’s girlfriend. Pfft.
As they stand in the street to catch a cab, So-yoon sticks her nose in the air and insists that they have lots of places they could go. But when Hong-joo offers to take her there, she says she just wanted Hong-joo to know that they could go elsewhere, heh.
Officer Woo-tak starts to tell his partner that he had an unbelievable dream earlier, but the partner doesn’t hear a word because he’s too busy using all his strength to keep from pooping his pants. Woo-tak promises to find him a restroom, only to stop in the street when he sees Hong-joo.
She tells them that there are no buses or cabs, and Woo-tak brightly offers to drive them home, completely ignoring his partner’s pained expression. On the way, Woo-tak tells Hong-joo that they’ve met before, mentioning that they almost caused a big accident on Valentine’s Day. Mom covers So-yoon’s ears, thinking that it’s a euphemism for sex, until Hong-joo clarifies that it was a traffic accident.
At Hong-joo’s house, So-yoon goes around inspecting the rooms and making demands like she lives here, and her mom apologizes for her. Hong-joo’s mom receives them warmly.
Jae-chan flops onto his bed and sighs as he looks at the family picture on his nightstand, which takes him into a flashback of Mom saying how embarrassed she was of him. It was right after the motorcycle accident, and she’d been up in arms about how much they’d have to repay in damages for what he did.
But aw, Dad stood right next to Jae-chan and defended him, cowering a little at Mom’s wrath. She’d dropped a coal briquette in the middle of her nagging, and Jae-chan made the mistake of joking about it, which really set her off.
Cut to: Jae-chan and Dad shivering on the roof, both kicked out of the house. Little Seung-won had brought up a heater and two sleeping bags, with the message that they were definitely not from Mom. The little squirt told Jae-chan to behave from now on, not flinching when his hyung got up to glare.
Dad and Jae-chan slept on the roof that night, and Dad got up in the middle of the night to move the heater in front of Jae-chan and tuck him in. He said he was sorry for being so harsh at the police station earlier, sighing that it’s his fault and he just didn’t want Jae-chan to end up like him, with so much regret.
Dad had said he couldn’t help his expectations from growing, because he’d always hoped that Jae-chan would have a better life than his own, something more than subsistence living: “I want you to grow taller than me. I can take the bus, but I want you to drive your own car. I’ve never been on a plane, but I want you to ride first-class.”
He said that it was his fault if his expectations gave Jae-chan a hard time to the point that he forged his grades, and said he was sorry. Jae-chan was awake the whole time, of course, crying silently as he listened to his father’s words.
A new dream. Hong-joo’s arms are wrapped around Jae-chan and they smile at each other as cherry blossoms fall around them like snow. She closes her eyes and gets on her tiptoes to kiss him, and he leans in…
Hong-joo wakes up horrified that she’s the one who kisses him first, and flails about it in bed for a good long while.
Mom is startled to wake up to a fully prepared breakfast table, which So-yoon insists is only because she can’t eat anything other than her mom’s home cooking. In the bathroom, Hong-joo cries out for the plunger, complaining of the size of someone’s poop. So-yoon oh-so-casually peeps, “It’s not my poop.”
Jae-chan gets up uncharacteristically early and attempts to make breakfast, which ends mostly in injury. Seung-won leaves without eating anyway, stopping to grumble that he’s never going to become a prosecutor. Jae-chan snipes back that he can’t anyway with his grades, and both brothers start the day in pissy moods.
Hong-joo tells So-yoon and her mother that her father’s case isn’t closed yet since the prosecutor hasn’t turned his paperwork in. But So-yoon argues cynically that the dumb prosecutor is in on it with the lawyer, and nothing will change. It devolves into a shouting match between the two daughters, hands on hips, shouting about whether the prosecutor is dumb, or corrupt, or both.
Hong-joo offers to make a bet that the prosecutor will make it right, except she can’t come up with anything to bet. The girls’ maturity levels are about equal, and the fight ends with Hong-joo claiming that that the toilet-clogging poop was So-yoon’s.
Jae-chan stops at the pharmacy for band-aids, and finds Hong-joo waiting for him in the street. She says she just waited for him this time, rather than seeing him in a dream, and she notices the burn on his forehead and the cut on his finger and runs off, leaving him standing there.
Hong-joo comes back to the coffee shop, wandering around in a daze because she can’t see through her foggy glasses. Jae-chan guides her over, and then his eyes widen when she suddenly grabs his face to put ointment on his burn.
They each complain about how ungrateful Seung-won and So-yoon are when they went through so much to save them, and Jae-chan softens as he watches her tend to his wound. When she asks for his finger next, he quickly turns around and rips off the band-aid he just put there himself. That’s adorable.
Hong-joo says that other people might not know how much he went through to save his brother, but she does, and that he did a good job. He smiles at that and tells her that she did a good job too.
They look out at the street, where the rain begins to fall and a man runs past, which transports us to another flashback 13 years ago. Dad ran for cover from the rain, and was startled when Jae-chan showed up next to him.
Jae-chan had said sheepishly that he’d aim for more than subsistence living, not even knowing what it meant, and Dad realized that he was awake that night on the roof and heard everything he’d said.
Back in the present, Jae-chan asks Hong-joo why she doesn’t wear contacts, thinking that she looked uncomfortable with foggy glasses. She just interprets this as another sign that he’s fallen for her, wiggling her glasses around and wondering why he cares. He refuses to just tell her that she looks prettier without them.
She asks what he’s going to do about So-yoon’s father, expecting him to charge him properly for his crimes. But to her shock, Jae-chan says the case is already closed and his brother was saved, so that’s that.
She can’t believe he’s planning to let it go just because of his caseload and his fear of getting fired, but Jae-chan whines that he has three years left on payments for a car he wrecked because of her. She rattles off a string of numbers in response, telling him that they’re this week’s lottery numbers.
He scoffs, insulted that she thinks he’d decide what to say or do based on how much money he had. He leaves in a huff, and once he’s gone, she swoons at his response.
Jae-chan runs into Yoo-bum, who offers to buy him lunch now that their case is closed. But Jae-chan says he hasn’t finalized the paperwork, saying that he found things that require further investigation. Yoo-bum’s temper flares at that, and he says that Jae-chan won’t find anything no matter how much he digs.
Yoo-bum says he knows Jae-chan’s every move, and Jae-chan replies, “Do you know what’s scarier than not knowing? Thinking you know everything.”
Jae-chan’s smile fades into an icy glare and he stalks off… only to hide behind a car around the corner, wondering why he went and said such a thing. He tries to calm his racing heart and repeats Hong-joo’s lottery numbers to himself, ha.
Jae-chan arrives at the office just in time to stop the paperwork from being delivered to his boss, and he grabs So-yoon’s father’s case file to restart the investigation. The chief prosecutor notes this and calls him in, and Jae-chan chants the lotto numbers on the way like it’s a prayer.
The boss tells him to close the case, accusing him of digging his heels in because of his personal grudge against Yoo-bum. Jae-chan says it’s okay if the chief prosecutor thinks that, as long as he can stop this case from returning to them in the future as an even bigger crime. He vows to reexamine all of the past charges against So-yoon’s father.
The boss loses his temper, and the gossip spreads rapidly. The other prosecutors wonder if Jae-chan won the lotto or something, to make him act out like this.
Jae-chan test-drives a shiny new car later that day, and he stops to brag to Hong-joo about reopening the case. She beams proudly and wonders why he argued when he was going to do the right thing anyway, and then gasps when she sees the car. “You’re not… buying that because of those lotto numbers I lied about, are you?” she asks nervously.
Jae-chan tries not to let the shock show on his face, and lies that he totally knew she was kidding. She asks if he restarted the case because of the lotto numbers, and he reminds her that he’s not the kind of person to let money determine his actions.
He trips over his own feet on his way back to the car, and tells the salesman in a deflated voice that he’ll buy the car… someday.
Fellow prosecutor Hee-min jumps when she gets caught gossiping about Jae-chan, not realizing that he was brooding in the dark room over his worthless lottery ticket, which he rips up.
He asks her about So-yoon’s father, as she was the one who dropped the case the last time he was charged. Hee-min says she doesn’t regret it, because domestic violence cases aren’t so cut and dry, and the choice should be up to the victim. Them indicting the husband is passing judgment on a situation they don’t understand, she says, and not knowing the difference between justice and acting brave means that he doesn’t have the right to be a prosecutor.
Jae-chan looks down at his ID tag as he thinks over her words, and the camera spins around him and takes us back to that rainy day 13 years ago. I love the transitions in this drama.
Inside a convenience store, Jae-chan had asked Dad what he wanted him to grow up to be. Before he could answer, a soldier had entered the store, and Dad noticed it right away—the nasty end of a large rifle, sticking out of the duffle bag on his shoulder.
Dad asked Jae-chan to run home and fetch his cell phone, saying that he’d forgotten it, and on his way out, Dad stopped him to answer, “A prosecutor. I’d have no other wishes if you became a prosecutor.” Jae-chan agreed on the spot and stepped outside with the umbrella that his father had just bought him.
Dad’s smile faded as he looked behind him at the soldier, the same young man who got on Hong-joo’s father’s bus in her flashback. Later this very day, in fact.
Jae-chan was waiting to cross the street when he heard the sound of gunshots, stopping him cold. He turned around as the soldier fled the scene, everything happening in slow motion.
He ran inside to find Dad bleeding on the ground, and broke down in tears.
As we see the other half of the funeral for the people killed by that solider, Jae-chan narrates, “I knew it then, that my father had made a choice. He sacrificed himself to save other people, and the world called him a hero. But through that choice, my mother lost a husband, and Seung-won and I lost a father. Rather than feeling proud, I resented that choice. To the world, my father’s choice was justice, but to me, it was just acting brave.”
Back in the present, Jae-chan comes out of his reverie to find Woo-tak staring at him in wonder. He introduces himself as the guy from the Valentine’s Day accident, and offers to buy Jae-chan dinner to thank him. They find out that they’re the same age, and Woo-tak suggests banmal but Jae-chan shuts him down, ha.
So-yoon helps out at Hong-joo’s restaurant, clearly feeling bad about imposing but not willing to admit it. Hong-joo says she’s a lot like someone else she knows, thinking of Jae-chan’s habit of speaking badly when he’s nice at heart.
Seung-won grabs the dishes out of So-yoon’s hands and barks at Hong-joo, calling her “ajumma,” and sniping that a pianist can’t get her hands hurt. He throws in a little wink at So-yoon for good measure, making her smile.
Woo-tak leads Jae-chan to Hong-joo’s restaurant, surprised to run into her again. Wait, is this really a coincidence? No way…
Woo-tak says he regretted not asking her name the other night when he gave her a ride, and she agrees to use banmal when she finds out that they’re the same age. Woo-tak says very easily that she looks prettier without her glasses and jokes that they’re the Three Flying Dragons, since they were all born in the year of the dragon, and Jae-chan looks annoyed that Hong-joo is so friendly and giggly with Woo-tak.
At the same time, Yoo-bum finds out where So-yoon and her mother are hiding and turns his car around.
Seung-won is the one who ends up serving Woo-tak and Jae-chan, slamming the dishes onto the table with a whole lot of emotion behind it. Jae-chan snaps that he told him not to get involved in So-yoon’s life, and Seung-won just ignores him.
Woo-tak says he expected them to be very affectionate brothers, and Jae-chan is surprised that he knows they’re brothers. He guesses that this isn’t a coincidence, and Woo-tak says that’s what he’s curious about—whether it’s coincidence or fate. He grabs Jae-chan’s hand as he says it, ha, making it look like a very different conversation.
Woo-tak wonders to himself if things will really happen according to his dream, in which he’d come to this restaurant with his partner, and run into Jae-chan by chance on the way. He looks around and notes that everything else is the same, except he changed one small thing—he brought Jae-chan here instead of his partner.
Jae-chan asks him to stop playing around and admit that this isn’t a coincidence, but Woo-tak holds up his hand and thinks that if his dream is right, someone will walk through the door in five seconds. He counts down, and Yoo-bum walks in right on cue.
Hong-joo steps in front of So-yoon and her mother protectively, and Yoo-bum says he’s not here to see her tonight, but to speak to his client’s family.
Woo-tak gapes to see everything happen the way he’d seen it in his dream, and tells Jae-chan that it’s definitely fate, and not coincidence.
Woo-tak thinks to himself, “I’m curious to know if the one trivial thing I changed will be able to stop the horrible thing that’s about to happen.”
The episode closes with a shot of Jae-chan’s father’s columbarium, which fills with pictures of his family in the same way that Hong-joo’s father’s did. Among them are Jae-chan’s real report cards and all the selfies he takes, like the one showing off his prosecutor’s badge.
Even with today’s movie-title-as-episode-title, “Covertly, Grandly,” I wasn’t expecting Woo-tak to be a seer hiding in our midst. I thought maybe Woo-tak would turn out to be evil, not a fellow dream-seer! That was a great twist, and I’m excited by what this could mean for the larger story, since we now know that the premonitions aren’t limited to our leads. I’m still not convinced that he’s entirely good—I mean, he seems like a very nice cop, but then he has these moments where his motivations feel purposely ambiguous. In any case, it’s starting to look like he’s a possible love interest, and a very big slice of the mystery pie. Did he start having these dreams recently, like Jae-chan did? Does it have to do with their proximity to Hong-joo, or something else? And if Jae-chan and Hong-joo are connected through the deaths of their fathers, how does Woo-tak figure into this? Is he connected to another victim, or maybe the soldier? It can’t be coincidence that all three of them are the same age, either.
Jae-chan definitely got the more moving backstory, but it’s because of how good his father was (why are all good drama parents destined to die?). After their argument at the police station, I wasn’t expecting such a sweet father-son relationship, with Dad sticking up for him and taking the brunt of the punishment from Mom for his sake. I can see now why Jae-chan is so eager to fulfill his father’s last wish at all costs, and also why he’s reluctant to risk himself to save others. But it’s just in his nature to end up doing it anyway, because you can’t grow up with a father like that and not be good at heart.
I loved that Little Bro was a sassypants as a kid too; he seems to have taken over Mom’s role in being Jae-chan’s moral compass, and it’s great (and entertaining) that he will point out just how much of a dumbass his brother is being. Of course, he has the luxury of thinking in absolutes because he’s not worried about the rent or accidentally having killed a man in everyone’s dreams. But Jae-chan was clearly in need of a wakeup call if he thought his father wanted him to become a prosecutor in name and not actually do a good job of upholding justice. The lottery bit was funny, but it also spoke to the heart of the problem, both in him and in the system—that he really was hampered from doing what he thought was right for fear of losing his job. It seems ridiculous that pursuing one case means risking your neck, but I suppose there’s a small hope in that too, that all it takes is one stubborn prosecutor to keep a case alive.
The opening sequence was definitely the highlight of the episode, with everyone racing to the same place to stop a disaster from happening, and such personal stakes in preventing it. That’s what’s kept the premonitions really riveting thus far—because they’re connected to our main characters on a personal level, which keeps the urgency and our investment very high. I hope that continues to be the case in every episode, even if it’s a terrible thing to do, putting all our characters in one place, foretelling imminent disaster, and leaving us hanging. That’s just mean.
- Premiere Watch: While You Were Sleeping
- Brotherly love changes a hero’s fate in SBS’s While You Were Sleeping
- Lee Jong-seok’s awkward social skills in While You Were Sleeping
- Lee Jong-seok moves in next door in While You Were Sleeping
- A kiss in the flower-filled night for While You Were Sleeping
- Dreamy first teaser for SBS’s While You Were Sleeping
- First sleepy couple stills for SBS’s While You Were Sleeping
- Star cameos continue for While You Were Sleeping with Yoon Kyun-sang and Lee Sung-kyung
- While You Were Sleeping gets a September premiere date on SBS