While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 27-28
If I had a nickel for every near-death experience these two have had, I swear. The danger and the stakes really kick up a notch in the final case, and naturally, the people who have the most to lose face the toughest choices—what to do to protect the ones they love, the careers they’ve built, or the secrets they wish to keep buried.
EPISODE 27: “Catch Me If You Can”
As the firefighters put out the storage container fire, Chief Choi runs over to Jae-chan and Hong-joo with water and tends to them, completely ignoring his own bleeding, shaking hand.
Chief Choi lights into Jae-chan for coming here alone without calling him. Jae-chan ekes out that it was after hours and he felt bad about calling him out to the field, but Chief Choi is furious, and yells at him like a father would at a disobedient child. Voice shaking, Chief Choi says, “If I hadn’t come today, you could’ve died.”
Hong-joo gets an earful as well for coming here on her own without taking more precautions, and both of them feel properly chastised for their recklessness.
The ambulances arrive, and when Chief Choi doesn’t know which of them to ride with, Jae-chan and Hong-joo start fussing over each other, saying that the other needs more care. They end up completely ignoring him in their little couple bubble, and Chief Choi sighs, wondering what just happened. Ha.
He ends up riding with Jae-chan, and more calmly teaches him why going out into the field alone goes against all the rules, because he’ll end up a victim instead of actually investigating the case like he’s supposed to.
Jae-chan finally thinks to ask how Chief Choi knew where he was, but he just changes the subject by nagging him to keep his oxygen mask on. Jae-chan thinks about how Chief Choi had hugged him and cried so emotionally, and he holds his hand and says, “Thank you.” Chief Choi just tucks him in and pats him like he’s a tiny baby.
In the morning, Hong-joo comes by Jae-chan’s house before breakfast, and she and Seung-won are startled by the strange sounds coming from the bathroom—like an old man is taking a vacuum to his nostrils.
Jae-chan comes out rambling to his brother about how there’s so much black soot coming out of his nose that he could write calligraphy with it (ew), and notices Hong-joo standing there way too late.
They all stand frozen in place trying not to react, and Jae-chan pulls a Hong-joo: He flips his hair and overcompensates by acting cool, and tells her to wait right there like she didn’t just watch him talk about his snot. In his room, he wonders if there’s any way to recover from this, and comes up empty.
But when he comes back out, he overhears Hong-joo telling his brother that she’s seen Jae-chan’s messiness in her dreams already, and she’s got soot coming out of her nose too. She adds that Jae-chan is sexy when he’s wet, so it doesn’t matter what he does—it makes her heart flutter.
Seung-won mutters that being this blind in love is an illness, and Jae-chan retaliates by stepping on his foot. So real, these brothers.
Hong-joo says that she lied to Mom about the fire because she didn’t want her to worry, and asks Jae-chan to match her story that they just happened upon the fire and called it in. He agrees, but asks Hong-joo not to ever do the same to him, and makes her promise to always tell him the good stuff and the bad, even if he’d worry.
She promises to tell him everything including her dreams, and assures him that she hasn’t dreamt about her death in a while. He looks into her eyes to check if she’s telling the truth, and she says he’ll be the first to know if she has that dream again.
Yoo-bum arrives at work, and doesn’t notice that someone in a black hat and hoodie is watching him.
We intercut between Jae-chan and Hong-joo’s staff meetings, as everyone gets caught up on the IV serial killer case. They explain that the man who died in the fire was just a middleman sent to pay the ransom for the phone, and the real phone owner could be an accomplice or the real IV serial killer.
The other eight victims pictured on the phone have all died, but they died after Dae-gu’s father, Dr. Myung, was already incarcerated. They figure it’s likely that the real killer is the one who set the fire.
Hong-joo and Bong sunbae get put on this story as a special assignment, and Jae-chan gets taken off the arson case because he was one of the victims. The arson case goes to Hee-min and Prosecutor Sohn instead, while Jae-chan and Prosecutor Lee get assigned the IV serial killer reinvestigation.
As they walk out, Prosecutor Lee asks Jae-chan if he’s going to be okay on this case, and points out that they’ll have to question Yoo-bum and Chief Choi, who will face disciplinary action or worse if wrongdoing is found.
Jae-chan returns to his office to find Chief Choi joking around with Hyang-mi, and Prosecutor Lee’s question echoes in his head: “Things might go badly for Chief Choi. Can you still investigate this case?”
They head over to another district office to pick up the enormous load of case files on the killings, and the investigator who’s helping them wonders why Prosecutor Lee is the one nagging them about not scratching the car, but Jae-chan is the one who gets in the driver’s seat. Prosecutor Lee sings to the tune of “Some”: “A car that’s like my car but not my car.” Ha.
On the way, Prosecutor Lee texts his girlfriend (saved in his phone as “Cutie”) that he misses her and wishes he could be on the arson case with her. Which of them are you dating?
Jae-chan suggests splitting up the case files, but Prosecutor Lee argues that they can’t be kept in Jae-chan’s office because of Chief Choi. He intends to cut Chief Choi out of the investigation entirely, while Jae-chan argues that he won’t do that.
They’re still fighting about it when Chief Choi comes up behind them. Prosecutor Lee says he doesn’t want to suspect Chief Choi either, but this is their job as prosecutors, to suspect the people they least want to suspect.
Prosecutor Lee jumps out of his skin when Chief Choi comes up to them, but he just says soberly that Prosecutor Lee is right and he’ll stay out of this case. Jae-chan can’t argue, but he feels terrible about it.
He’s still upset about it the next morning at the breakfast table, and is disappointed when Hong-joo and Seung-won take Prosecutor Lee’s side. Jae-chan argues that he knows Chief Choi best, and Woo-tak finishes his sentence: “And he would never do anything like that?”
Woo-tak reminds Jae-chan that he said the same thing to him about his friend Hak-young, and that he thinks Jae-chan was right back then to stay impartial. Woo-tak points out that there are reasons to suspect Chief Choi, and Jae-chan cuts him off coldly, not wanting to discuss it anymore at the table. The room goes silent.
They continue the discussion later outside, where Woo-tak asks how Chief Choi knew where the fire was. Jae-chan says that he could’ve followed him or seen the fire by chance, but Woo-tak pokes holes in that right away.
Hong-joo joins them and adds that Chief Choi somehow knew that they’d arrived separately, which means that he was there before the fire started. Jae-chan starts to get defensive and angry, and when they suggest questioning Chief Choi, he fires back that he risked his life to save them.
At the bus stop, Hong-joo asks if Jae-chan is mad, and he says with a sigh that he knows Woo-tak and Hong-joo are right, and that he’s not being professional about this. “I know in my head, but my heart…” he says. Jae-chan just says honestly that he knows he’s being irrational and that he’s annoyed and embarrassed to show her this side of himself, and she asks if they just fought, and if he’d rather be alone right now.
She decides to go to work alone today and boards the bus without him, but then he ends up getting on and sitting down next to her anyway. She says she wants to go alone, and he says, “Me too. So let’s go together, alone.” They’re even sweet when they’re fighting.
Jae-chan joins Prosecutor Lee in his office but refuses to speak to him directly, and keeps passive-aggressively talking through the office manager instead to say that Chief Choi isn’t the kind of person to fabricate evidence.
Prosecutor Lee is asked to fill in a suspect lineup for an eyewitness who saw a man ride away from the fire on a bicycle, but they’re disappointed when the old man points to Prosecutor Lee as the suspect. Well, he does look like a very suspicious gigolo.
Yoo-bum arrives at work and starts to get strange text messages from his stalker, saying that he seems to like drinking hot coffee even in warm weather, making it clear that he’s being watched right now. Yoo-bum looks around the lobby suspiciously, but there are lots of people on their phones.
Hong-joo stops by the convenience store, and Dae-gu recognizes her on sight as the reporter who’d covered the IV serial killer story and had harassed his father for a statement as he was being arrested.
He calls her by name when she gets to the counter and says that he saw her in person once, and quotes the things she said to his father: “How do you feel right now? Is there anything you’d like to say to the families of the eleven victims? Is there nothing you’d like to say to your son?”
He says the last line with daggers shooting out of his eyes, and then Hong-joo sees the green umbrella behind the counter, which looks just like the one from her dream. Dae-gu introduces himself as Dr. Myung’s son, and balls up his fists in anger.
She begins to back away slowly, fear rising as Dae-gu asks if she knows that his father died. But Jae-chan walks up beside her and puts a hand on her back, and tells Dae-gu that he knows about his father’s death and how wronged he felt.
He says that he’s reinvestigating the case from the very beginning, and writes his number down for Dae-gu to call him if he thinks of anything that should be looked into. Dae-gu looks down at the phone number and begins to cry, and thanks Jae-chan repeatedly.
As they walk home, Hong-joo asks if Jae-chan is still mad and pulls him in for a hug. She admits that she was scared back there and thanks him, though he wonders why she’d be afraid of a high-schooler.
She doesn’t say anything about the umbrella, just that she was very scared of him, but it’s okay now because of Jae-chan. We cut to Dae-gu as she says that, as if to say that he’s okay now because of Jae-chan.
Hong-joo says he was impressive back there, so he needn’t feel embarrassed anymore, and asks him to stop being mad. He hugs her back and agrees not to be mad, and she explains that it’s because she wants to trust Chief Choi that she’d rather ask him directly than let suspicions grow. Jae-chan says he knows.
Yoo-bum gets dropped off by a driver in the morning, and his stalker texts that he’s jealous of that, when it seems like they’re about the same age. He says that’s all thanks to him, and then the voiceover changes from an ajusshi to a younger man.
Panic starts to rise as Yoo-bum looks around, and then he gets another text asking if he falsified the evidence when he was inspecting Dr. Myung’s office.
He’s on edge when his assistant tells him that someone is waiting in his office, but he relaxes when it’s just Hong-joo. She says she’s here for a consultation.
At the same time, Dae-gu arrives at Yoo-bum’s firm to return the green umbrella, but he happens to come just at the right time to see Hong-joo inside with Yoo-bum. Agh, this is bad. He’s going to assume the worst!
Hong-joo says that the prosecutor’s office keeps leaking information on a case to the press, and asks why they would do that. Yoo-bum says it’s obvious that the prosecutor is lacking evidence or feeling unsure about getting a conviction, and using the press as an emergency measure.
She snaps her fingers and asks if it’s like the time he leaked information to her about the IV serial killer, saying that at the time she thought it was because he liked her, but perhaps the real reason was because he was lacking evidence.
Dae-gu’s eyes grow wide at that, and Yoo-bum asks tensely why she’s asking about an old case. She says that a tip came in that the real killer could still be at large, and tells him that this time, she’s going to examine all the facts from all sides fairly before giving her report, and tells him to call if he wants to give her a statement.
Dae-gu hides behind the door as Hong-joo leaves, but he watches her go with a smile on his face, now seeing her very differently. Phew. And then he returns the umbrella to Yoo-bum’s assistant. Double phew.
Jae-chan goes over the case records and finds that the most conclusive evidence was the bottle of drugs found in Dr. Myung’s office, which he insisted had been falsified by the prosecutor.
That word “falsify” brings up a memory for Jae-chan of Yoo-bum convincing him to falsify his report card so that Dad would ever know, and in turn Prosecutor Lee remembers the adult Yoo-bum telling Woo-tak in the interrogation room that it would be so simple for a prosecutor to falsify evidence.
Yoo-bum and Chief Choi were the ones who signed off on that evidence log, so if it was fabricated, it was one of them. Jae-chan says it was Yoo-bum then, refusing to even consider Chief Choi as a suspect, and storms out angrily when Prosecutor Lee says they can’t jump to that conclusion. Prosecutor Lee just asks for Chief Choi’s personnel file.
Yoo-bum rolls up bits of paper at his desk and then gets another text from the stalker-killer, pointing out that it’s bad for Yoo-bum if he gets caught. Yoo-bum asks to meet right away, and the killer says he’ll come to his office tonight.
Jae-chan finally asks Chief Choi how he knew where they were or that he and Hong-joo had arrived to the storage container separately, and Chief Choi gives him a flippant non-answer, saying that it was just coincidence and that they must have some kind of telepathic connection. It only serves to make Jae-chan more suspicious.
Hong-joo stops by to see Woo-tak, and he finally returns her extra green battery, still calling it red. She takes it back but doesn’t say anything to him about having confirmed his color-blindness.
She asks if Woo-tak can think of any details about the arson victim, and he recalls thinking that he was dressed shabbily for someone who was carrying that much money. He also remembered something about the bag that the ransom money was in.
Hee-min is painstakingly making her way through all of the gas stations in the area looking for a suspect, and finally finds the station that sold a canister of gas to someone on the night of the fire.
Yoo-bum waits nervously in his office, and as the killer arrives on his floor, he texts to say that the office is nice, wondering if all of this goes away if he gets caught. He says that those who have a lot also stand to lose a lot.
Just then, the killer arrives at his door and comes inside, and as Yoo-bum looks up, the killer’s voiceover changes yet again… from a man’s voice to a woman’s. She takes off her hat and smiles at Yoo-bum, who gapes in shock.
Woo-tak tells Hong-joo that the ransom bag looked like a woman’s purse, and at the same time, the gas station owner tells Hee-min that the canister was sold to a woman who came on a bicycle, not a man.
The IV Killer tells Yoo-bum that they’re the same age, confessing smoothly that she’s killed nearly twenty people but avoided prison because of him, and then says in a creepy sincere tone, “I’m truly grateful to you.”
Hong-joo and Bong sunbae look into this new information and find that one suspect fits the timeframe: Ha Joo-an, a fellow patient who was staying in the same joint hospital room as all of the other victims. She was admitted long-term for Crohn’s disease, and was never considered a suspect because she was a patient, and her condition was worsening at the time of the murders, which put her on the possible victims list.
She tells Yoo-bum that she killed all those people because it was unfair that she was suffering so much and getting worse after years in her hospital bed, and every day she had to lie there and watch other people get better and leave. They looked at her with pity in their eyes and said placating things to her, which only fueled her rage.
Yoo-bum asks how that’s an excuse to kill all those people, but she says with tears in her eyes, “It’s not an excuse. I committed a sin worthy of death.” She says she was prepared to accept her punishment willingly, but smiles and says that the prosecutor took someone else instead.
She starts to get this crazy manic look in her eyes as she says, “I thought in that moment, ‘I have hope for the first time in my life.’ The person who gave me that hope is you, Lee Yoo-bum, and I would like for you to be my hope until the very end.”
The prosecutors have zeroed in on Ha Joo-an as the real IV Killer as well, but have had no luck tracking her down. Jae-chan doesn’t think it’ll be easy to find her, since she’s already gotten away with serial murders and been on the run for a year, so she probably thinks she can get away with it again this time.
That’s exactly what she thinks, as she presses for Yoo-bum to “create another miracle” and help her escape capture again. She asks him to be her hope, but he just calls her trash. She doesn’t see why she’s trash, and he has to point out that she killed people. The scariest part is that she looks up at him innocently and says, “What can I do? It’s in the past.”
She has the gall to say that the victims’ families would suffer knowing that the real killer hadn’t been caught, or that Dae-gu’s heart would break to know that his father was framed. She makes it clear that if she goes down, Yoo-bum comes with her.
She knows that Yoo-bum planted the drugs, and we see in flashback that he’d added the vials into the evidence bag before Chief Choi had inspected it. She says that they’re the only two people who know what he did, saying that she took care of the other person who knew.
In flashback, we see that she’d thanked Phone Dude sincerely… and then stabbed him in the neck with a syringe, killing him instantly. She tells Yoo-bum that she did all the dirty work, so it’s his turn to help clean up, and asks if he knows the concept of win-win. Does he ever.
Yoo-bum has a panic attack up on the roof, and screams in agitation as the wheels start turning frantically in his head. When he finally calms down, he notices a sign for an upcoming electrical inspection of his office building and gets an idea.
He heads back inside to tell the IV Killer that there’s someone she overlooked who knows that he framed Dr. Myung. Oh no, you’re not going to sic her on Chief Choi, ARE YOU?!
Hyang-mi feeds Chief Choi lunch, and he calls her kind for taking care of him while he’s injured. She agrees that she’s very kind and wonders why the universe won’t reward her with Woo-tak, and Chief Choi tells her that would be a punishment to Woo-tak, lol.
The other office managers sit nearby and Chief Choi’s face falls when he overhears them saying that Dr. Myung’s case was falsified, and that Jae-chan is fighting desperately to protect Chief Choi. He returns to his desk dejectedly and begins to write something.
Yoo-bum requests an interview later that night with Hong-joo. She’s wearing her blue jacket again, but today she thinks to ask Bong sunbae if it’s supposed to rain, but he says no—there’s only a five percent chance.
Jae-chan gets angry when he learns that Prosecutor Lee asked for Chief Choi’s personnel file, but then when he looks at it after ranting, his eyes widen to see that Chief Choi was a police officer, and that he worked at Dad’s precinct while he was still alive.
He says, “It can’t be…” and runs to his office, but finds Hyang-mi crying and Chief Choi gone, after suddenly submitting his resignation. He’s left a letter behind for Jae-chan, which says that he didn’t falsify the evidence, but that Yoo-bum will say the same thing. Chief Choi plans to prove his innocence his own way, and tells Jae-chan to prosecute harshly without concern for him.
Chief Choi ignores Jae-chan’s calls while eating lunch with Yoo-bum, and makes it seem like Jae-chan suspects him. Yoo-bum offers his law firm’s protection, and smiles when Chief Choi accepts his help.
Jae-chan tells Hyang-mi not to tell anyone about the resignation, and Hyang-mi heads to Chief Choi’s house to look for him. Jae-chan begs Chief Choi to answer his calls, and says he’ll wait in the office until he shows.
That night, Yoo-bum pours out coffee before his interview with Hong-joo, and then drops a pill into one of the cups. Crap. As Hong-joo arrives at his building, she doesn’t notice the sign posted about the electrical inspection, which is scheduled for the night of June 28—today.
Yoo-bum pretends to be busy with a press release when she arrives, so she sits back and drinks the coffee he’s left in front of her. He smiles as she drinks more and more, then the sky suddenly lights up with lightning and thunder, and it begins to rain. Nooooo. Hong-joo never sees the green umbrella sitting under Yoo-bum’s desk.
Downstairs, the IV Killer arrives in the lobby with a red umbrella, and says that she’s here to see Yoo-bum.
Jae-chan wakes up at his desk from a dream, looking pale. In the dream, someone approaches Hong-joo’s body in the rain under a green umbrella… it’s the IV Killer, who approaches her with a syringe and says that she’ll die like she’s falling asleep. In her drugged haze, Hong-joo just whispers to Jae-chan, asking if he can hear her.
Jae-chan goes running out into the rain, but Hong-joo is already passed out by the time he calls. Yoo-bum tells the IV Killer that Hong-joo is the other person who knows he planted the evidence.
On his way out, Jae-chan calls Woo-tak and tells him that he dreamt of Hong-joo’s kidnapping, and that it wasn’t a mountain like she thought—it was the roof of Yoo-bum’s law firm.
Yoo-bum carries Hong-joo’s limp body up to the roof garden and lays her down on the grass, and he and the IV Killer stand together under the green umbrella, about to commit murder.
I do wish we’d gotten more of a cliffhanger ending, like not knowing that Jae-chan saw Hong-joo’s location in his dream. The dreams are so overly convenient that way. But it’s not like we actually expected Hong-joo to die, so I suppose the real question is how they’ll catch Yoo-bum and the IV Killer and make them pay for their crimes, and more importantly, save Chief Choi from being lumped in with Yoo-bum when he goes down for falsifying evidence. Because he WILL go down, or I will have a cow. It was a great idea to put Chief Choi in this precarious position, because it makes us care so much more about the case in the final week.
That personal connection that Jae-chan feels was built into this episode very nicely, with him acting biased and emotional for the first time in his work. So far he’s always been the rational one who stuck to protocol no matter how much flak he was getting from those around him, but he’s unable to distance himself emotionally from his mentor, and that soft spot he has for Chief Choi endears him to me so (I can’t wait for the real reunion now that he has a clue about Chief Choi being Junior Cop). In the real world, Jae-chan ought to be taken off the case, but I know that he’ll be the only one who takes Chief Choi’s side and gives him the benefit of the doubt, so I’m grateful that he’s so adamant about trusting him, even if it’s blind loyalty. I liked that he and Hong-joo and Woo-tak fought about it too, if you can even call it a fight, because it makes them seem more like real friends to me, the same way that Jae-chan and Seung-won’s constant bickering makes them feel like real brothers.
I’m never thrilled with how culprits are revealed in this drama, and the IV Killer was no exception. There just could have been so much more suspense built into uncovering her identity during an active investigation out in the field, but this is not that drama. In any case, she’s a very interesting killer, and I found her motivation really unsettling and believable, that she’d spent so long trapped in that sickbed that she came to hate anyone who wasn’t as sick as her. I found it so ironic that Yoo-bum was appalled at her logic and disgusted with her for killing people, and then so quick to commit murder himself when he was threatened. I always thought he’d be capable of it, but to see him carry out the cold, calculating steps to plan Hong-joo’s murder was frightening. Especially when the person who actually knows the truth is Chief Choi, not Hong-joo, which means he’s actively made a choice to protect the person he loves and kill the person who might dig too deep and expose him.
I really liked the way Dae-gu’s storyline was handled, because it could have gone either way for him, and the drama shows that one person’s intervention saved this kid from ending up a criminal. It’s what Jae-chan does throughout the drama—do his job the right way and unwittingly change the course of people’s lives for the better. I also just appreciated the narrative suspense that’s created because he has the green umbrella in his possession, making us extra wary of him until it’s left his hands. Maybe it’s a good thing that the green umbrella dream is over and done with before the final week, leaving the future wide open and unpredictable for once.
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