While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 29-30
Aw, aren’t they dreamy (hur, hur). Between saving each other, catching a killer, and making sure that justice is served, there’s a lot on our characters’ plates in the final week, but it was their quiet, heartfelt moments with the supporting cast that really made an impact this hour.
EPISODE 29: “Stand By Me”
Woo-tak and his partner race to the law firm, with Jae-chan on his way in a cab. On the rooftop garden, Hong-joo lies motionless in the grass. The drug in her coffee starts to wear off, and she stirs awake.
Yoo-bum stands anxiously off to the side under the IV Killer’s red umbrella, while the killer crouches down to Hong-joo under Yoo-bum’s green umbrella, and fills a syringe with a drug that will paralyze and kill her in five minutes.
She caresses Hong-joo’s face and calls it “a death like a blessing,” but all Hong-joo does is ask what time it is and where they are. Smart girl. The killer wonders if she just wants to know when and where she’s going to die and helpfully tells her, which is how Jae-chan must have known where to go. The killer injects Hong-joo with the drug, and she murmurs to Jae-chan as she loses consciousness.
Woo-tak and his partner arrive in the lobby but are told that the electricity is down, so they head for the stairs.
Up on the roof, Yoo-bum pops a pill and smiles when he hears the sirens approaching, and stalks over to the IV Killer like he’s ready for a showdown. She muses that he looks like he’s about to kill her, and he says that she’s right.
She asks if he really intends to become a murderer, and Yoo-bum replies, “No, I’m just cleaning up trash.” He walks toward her menacingly and describes how it’ll go: She tried to kill Hong-joo, so he tried to stop her, and accidentally killed her in the process.
He’s already planned out his defense in court, of course, and the killer starts to back away in fright, realizing that he’d planned this all out in advance.
By the time Woo-tak reaches the roof, Yoo-bum is carrying Hong-joo in his arms and the IV Killer is nowhere to be found. All that remains is two discarded umbrellas.
Woo-tak carries Hong-joo downstairs, while his partner rushes over to Yoo-bum, who feigns concern for Hong-joo. But with his head down, he smiles to himself.
Jae-chan races into the lobby just as Woo-tak comes downstairs with Hong-joo. Woo-tak says she still has a pulse, but Jae-chan begins CPR, knowing from his dream that the drug has paralyzed her lungs so that she can’t breathe.
Jae-chan pleads with Hong-joo to hold on just a little longer and continues to perform CPR, which takes us back 13 years to when she’d done the same to save him. Images of their connection flash by—the rope in the water, Jae-chan saving Hong-joo on that first snowy night, the moment they first met.
Yoo-bum wakes up groggy in the hospital, and two detectives ask what happened tonight. He spins a very believable tale: The killer had come to him as a client and revealed herself as the true IV Killer, and ignored his advice to turn herself in. When she saw him meeting with Hong-joo, she assumed he was leaking the truth to the press and drugged them both.
He says he woke up in a haze but saw the killer carrying Hong-joo away, so he followed them up to the roof. But by the time he stumbled up there, Hong-joo had already been injected and the killer had turned to inject him next. He says they struggled and fought, and he pushed her in self-defense, and she fell off the roof.
Yoo-bum dials up the performance and acts guilt-ridden that he wasn’t able to save Hong-joo in time, but then the detective tells him not to worry because Hong-joo survived. That is not what Yoo-bum wanted to hear, and he barely manages to keep his reaction under control.
He asks how that’s possible, and the detectives say that Jae-chan resuscitated her, and that she would’ve died if he’d been one minute late. They call it a miracle, and Yoo-bum scoffs in disbelief. And from behind them, Woo-tak clocks Yoo-bum’s reaction.
Mom and Jae-chan stand anxiously by Hong-joo’s bedside, and the doctor tells them that she survived thanks to Jae-chan’s CPR. He can’t tell them when she might wake up though, because she lost a lot of oxygen to the brain.
Jae-chan hangs his head and says that he should’ve gotten there sooner, but Mom just holds his hand and thanks him for saving her. She assures him that their Hong-joo will wake up, though she breaks down in tears before she can finish her sentence.
Woo-tak joins Jae-chan out in the waiting room and tells him that he just heard Yoo-bum’s witness report, and he’s claiming self-defense. Jae-chan grows livid and slams his jacket to the ground in a rage.
He demands to know where Yoo-bum is right now and charges ahead, but Woo-tak holds him back.
The only thing that calms Jae-chan down is the arrival of Chief Choi, and Jae-chan turns his anger on him, shouting, “Why?! Why would you leave like that, at a time like this?! How… could you leave me all alone?”
He cries so sorrowfully, like a little boy, and Chief Choi just quietly hugs him and says that he’s sorry. The floodgates open and Jae-chan wails into Chief Choi’s shoulder.
Later, they sit outside and Jae-chan tells him to just take a break and return to work since he never processed the resignation, but Chief Choi shocks him by saying that he’s going to go work for Yoo-bum. Grar, nooo!
Chief Choi finally tells Jae-chan that he had a younger brother once, who went AWOL. We see Chief Choi and his brother in flashback as he explains that every time his brother called from the army to say that he was having a hard time, he’d brushed it off and told him that it was like that for everyone, and to just endure. What he didn’t know was that his brother was covered in bruises and scars when he was calling, clearly suffering heavy, long-term abuse.
He’d learned the truth too late—when his brother had already escaped—but when he came to him looking shell-shocked like he was suffering from PTSD, the first thing Chief Choi thought to do was to run and get him food, rather than to turn him in. But by the time he’d returned with a bag of food in hand, his brother had already disappeared. That’s when he’d shot Jae-chan’s father and then died with Hong-joo’s father on the bus.
In the present, Chief Choi says he wanted to die, believing that he’d aided and abetted his brother’s crimes. Jae-chan tamps down his tears and asks why he’s saying this now, and why he didn’t say something sooner when they’d first met: “Do you want me to forgive you? Or to hate you more?”
Chief Choi says he’s telling him now to explain why he’s going to work for Yoo-bum, and says that he doesn’t want to aid and abet any longer, not like he did back then. He holds Jae-chan back from going to see Yoo-bum and tells him to choose: “Either go and hit Lee Yoo-bum right now and be excluded from the investigation and the trial, or be patient now and give him a proper beating in court.”
Jae-chan shakes as he swallows back another sob, and Chief Choi wipes at his tears. The way he paws at Jae-chan’s face gruffly makes me cry, I don’t know why.
Jae-chan asks how he knew he’d be here, and again Chief Choi brushes it off lightly as “some kind of telepathy.” Jae-chan smiles, knowing what that really means.
Jae-chan takes a deep breath and promises not to confront Yoo-bum, and Chief Choi pats his hair affectionately as he says in approval, “That’s our captain’s son. I really missed you.” He finally lets his tears fall and hugs Jae-chan close as he cries. And in the hospital, a tear trickles down Hong-joo’s face as she sleeps.
With the IV Killer dead (really, just offscreen like that?), the prosecutors are forced to close the arson and serial killing cases without indictments, and the chief prosecutor asks about the evidence tampering in Dr. Myung’s case.
Yoo-bum has taken it upon himself to go see Dr. Myung’s son, Dae-gu, very publicly at the convenience store with bystanders filming the exchange. Seung-won stands by his friend’s side and scoffs at Yoo-bum’s assertion that the real IV Killer was the one who planted the drugs in Dae-gu’s father’s office.
Dae-gu agrees that it’s a very plausible scenario, but asks angrily why something so easy to believe now was so difficult to consider back then. Yoo-bum gets down on his knees in response, and Seung-won tells him to take responsibility for his negligence in the investigation.
Yoo-bum says he’d like to, but then he smirks and whispers, “But negligence isn’t illegal.” That sets Dae-gu off and he kicks Yoo-bum down and starts hitting him, and Seung-won has to tackle Dae-gu to pull him off. It’s exactly what Yoo-bum wanted, of course, and he smiles in satisfaction.
Jae-chan gets a text from Mom that Hong-joo just woke up, and runs to the hospital. The chief prosecutor assigns Prosecutor Lee and Jae-chan to Yoo-bum’s murder case, and Prosecutor Sohn worries because Yoo-bum’s boss, the CEO of his law firm, is going to defend him personally. Prosecutor Lee says he’s still just a lawyer, but he gapes to hear that the CEO makes more than his annual salary in about three days.
Jae-chan, meanwhile, rushes to make it to the hospital in time for visiting hours, but arrives just past the cutoff. He begs the nurse to be let inside just for one minute, but he’s turned away. He continues to plead, but then Hong-joo’s voice calls to him from behind: “I’m okay.”
He whips around to find Hong-joo sitting out in the hall waiting for him, and runs over to make sure she’s okay and can recognize him. Ha, always check for amnesia in dramaland!
Hong-joo says she knows how hard he worked to save her, and he finally smiles in relief. He picks her up in his arms and tells her how relieved he is, and she says, “Thank you for making my longtime nightmare go away.”
They gaze into each other’s eyes for a long, blissful moment.
As they go for a walk, Hong-joo says she’s been dreaming about Jae-chan a lot, so she’s aware of what Yoo-bum is claiming and how the general case is going. She adds that she also saw him and Chief Choi together, and knows that he’s the Junior Cop ajusshi.
She says that Jae-chan cried in her dream, and takes his hand as she says that she cried along with him.
Chief Choi looks around his fancy new office awkwardly, and Yoo-bum comes in with coffee to welcome him. Chief Choi tells him that Hong-joo just woke up, noting Yoo-bum’s anxious reaction.
The law firm’s CEO, Lawyer Go, looks over what Yoo-bum has prepared for his own case, expecting to just show up and read the script. But when Lawyer Go asks to have dinner with Hong-joo since she’s on their side, Yoo-bum awkwardly says that she might not be on their side because of a “misunderstanding.”
Lawyer Go asks what the misunderstanding is, saying that he doesn’t plan to be made a fool of in court. When Yoo-bum hems and haws, Lawyer Go says that he’s not defending him personally because he likes him: “I don’t care what kind of person you are. I don’t trust you. Whether you killed her by accident or on purpose, I don’t care. I just don’t want to get dirt on our law firm.”
He says he has to know the truth so that he can decide how to clean it up, and Yoo-bum begins to tell him what really happened.
Hong-joo and Mom think Jae-chan’s fussing is overkill when he insists on escorting them home from the hospital, but he says that it’s actually an order—she’s been put under police protection because she’s a key witness in a murder trial, and they don’t know if Yoo-bum will come after her again.
The police escort arrives, and Jae-chan frowns to see Woo-tak and his partner, reporting as Hong-joo’s new bodyguards. Love it. Woo-tak is happy to see that Hong-joo is okay and she thanks him for saving her, while Jae-chan mutters behind her that he didn’t do that much.
Hong-joo and Mom are just happy to see familiar faces, while Jae-chan scowls and asks if Woo-tak is the only cop in this district. Hee.
Woo-tak calls it an amazing coincidence, and his partner says it’s obvious that either Jae-chan asked for Woo-tak, or Woo-tak asked for the assignment. But neither of the boys cops to doing so. Oh just admit that you’re BFFs already!
Jae-chan and Prosecutor Lee work late into the night, and Prosecutor Lee asks how Jae-chan can stay so calm and not attack Yoo-bum when Hong-joo almost died. Jae-chan says that he’s seething with anger, and that every moment of every day he imagines beating Yoo-bum to a pulp in the interrogation room.
But he says that when he imagines what happens after that, it’s worse—he’s kicked off the case and can’t do a single thing, ruining the investigation for everyone. He says he’s so tense from holding it in that he wakes up every morning with his jaw clenched.
In someone’s dream, Lawyer Go gets Chief Choi to admit in court that it’s his handwriting in the evidence log for the IV serial killing investigation, and then outside the courtroom, Hong-joo urges Woo-tak not to make a mistake.
Woo-tak is put on the stand and Jae-chan asks about the color of an umbrella, but he’s forced to admit that he can’t distinguish colors very well, throwing Jae-chan off his game and sending Hong-joo into despair. Hong-joo cries angrily, and Woo-tak’s hat falls to the floor as he hugs her…
Woo-tak wakes up from the dream and buries his face in his hands, and says to Robin the dog, “What do I do? I ruin it all.”
Jae-chan and Prosecutor Lee head to court to begin the pre-trial hearings, and run into Yoo-bum and Lawyer Go in the lobby. They exchange pleasantries, and Yoo-bum smirks when Jae-chan says nothing to him.
The hearing begins and Lawyer Go takes issue with almost every piece of evidence on the prosecution’s list, planning to drag out the process by summoning every single witness on the prosecution’s side to question the validity of their testimonies. Hong-joo, Chief Choi, and Woo-tak each receive their summons to appear in court.
Jae-chan comes to Hong-joo’s house armed with chips and canned coffee for Woo-tak, saying that it’s from his heart for guarding Hong-joo. Woo-tak calls him stingy with his heart, meaning that he’s actually stingy with his wallet, but the subtext goes right over Hong-joo and Jae-chan’s heads and she says he expresses his emotions to her often.
Hong-joo picks up Woo-tak’s phone by accident and sees that his wallpaper is a picture of a shadow—a woman leaning on his shoulder. She guesses that this is the woman he likes, and the boys get increasingly awkward as she guesses that the woman is pretty and smart, because you can tell a lot from a person’s shadow.
While she answers a call, Jae-chan scoffs that she can’t even recognize her own shadow, and both boys admit that they knew Jae-chan knew about Woo-tak’s crush. Jae-chan is the first to break the tension and says with a smile, “Let’s not get awkward. I’ll pretend not to know, so let’s keep being friends.” Awww.
Woo-tak beams and calls him generous, and asks if they can now finally use banmal with each other. But Jae-chan says he’s not that generous, lol.
Hong-joo rejoins them and they all talk about how nervous they are for tomorrow’s hearing, and they simultaneously open their yogurts and lick the lids, prompting smiles all around.
As they laugh and night turns to day, Jae-chan narrates, “Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. To us, who’d lived every day similarly like inertia, a very special day was beginning. Today, which will be remembered by someone with joy, with rage, and with sadness.” Bong sunbae sits in the courtroom, as do Dae-gu and Seung-won. And Woo-tak puts on his dress uniform and takes a deep breath.
Prosecutor Lee gets a text of encouragement from his mystery girlfriend, telling him that she’ll be in the audience to cheer him on.
As Hong-joo arrives at the courthouse with Woo-tak, Jae-chan continues in voiceover, “At the end of today, we will hear that person’s final words: ‘Don’t cry, and only feel guilty for a short time. But don’t forget for a long, long time.'”
Jae-chan smiles fondly when he runs into Chief Choi, who arrives with Yoo-bum. Yoo-bum hangs back to goad Jae-chan, telling him to just think of the most believable scenario, suggesting that it’s far more reasonable for a serial killer to have attacked him and Hong-joo.
Jae-chan thinks it’s just as believable that Yoo-bum killed her, and says he’s curious to find out which side the judge will believe. Something about Jae-chan’s calm demeanor leaves Yoo-bum unsettled.
Hong-joo greets Chief Choi warmly as “Ajusshi,” taking his hand. She says she wanted to see him for a very long time, and he says that he did too, trying not to cry. Jae-chan watches the exchange with a small smile.
The witness testimonies begin with Chief Choi, who’s asked why the incriminating drug in the original IV serial killing case was written in different ink on the evidence log. He explains that the drug wasn’t among the initial items found at the scene, but was discovered later upon checking the log and added to the list.
Just like in Woo-tak’s dream, Lawyer Go asks whose handwriting the log is in, and Chief Choi says it’s his own. Woo-tak tenses up, and everyone gasps to realize that the defense is going after Chief Choi as the one who falsified the evidence.
In the cross-examination, Jae-chan asks who had access to the log and the evidence, and Chief Choi says it was three people—himself, another investigator, and Yoo-bum. Jae-chan asks who was given an award for this case, and his line of questioning reveals that Yoo-bum won an award and was immediately scouted by a prestigious law firm, while Chief Choi earned no special recognition or benefit for his part in the case. His argument is simple but effective: Yoo-bum stood to gain the most from falsifying the evidence.
Hong-joo is next on the stand, and she testifies that Yoo-bum was not drugged before they reached the roof, because she was conscious enough to know that he carried her upstairs, and the killer followed behind him with both umbrellas in hand.
She says that they were both standing above her under an umbrella on the roof, and argues that the killer wouldn’t have bothered bringing up two umbrellas if she’d planned to kill them both and leave alone. She posits that Yoo-bum murdered the IV Killer when she had no intention of killing him, and then drugged himself after the fact.
Curiously, the defense doesn’t object a single time, and when Lawyer Go questions her, all he does is ask her to read the section of the drug warning label that he’s highlighted, from the sedative that was in her coffee. Woo-tak recognizes this moment from his dream as well, and starts to panic.
The drug’s side effects include hallucinations, and Hong-joo becomes enraged as Lawyer Go casually suggests that she could have imagined any or all of what she’s testifying. Angry tears fall down her face as she argues that she was lucid, but it seems to be a losing battle.
Jae-chan gets up to object loudly that Yoo-bum took the same drug, so if Hong-joo’s testimony is made invalid, they have to invalidate everything that Yoo-bum is claiming as well.
The problem, then, is that Woo-tak’s testimony is the only viable one left with Hong-joo and Yoo-bum both out of the picture.
The sunbae prosecutors wonder during a break if the umbrella evidence will be enough, because while they had Yoo-bum and the killer’s fingerprints on them, they were found in the first floor garden, not the roof. They need Woo-tak to testify that he saw the umbrellas on the roof that night, and Jae-chan assures them that Woo-tak can be trusted.
Just as it happened in Woo-tak’s dream, Hong-joo runs out to him in the hallway and says that he needs to memorize what she tells him about the umbrellas, or else he’ll be discovered as color-blind and have to quit the police force. She says that the green umbrella is the long one and the red umbrella folds, and he asks how she knew about his color-blindness, but she says that’s not important right now.
Hong-joo decides on second thought that he should just go home and she’ll say that he suddenly fell ill. He says that Yoo-bum might go free, but Hong-joo argues that this is more important, reminding him that he said he could never give up being a cop.
She urges him to go now, but Woo-tak just stares at her for a beat and then drops his hat at their feet to pull her in for a hug. Aaagh, my heart!
“I won’t run away. I won’t make a mistake. Don’t worry,” he says to her, a smile spreading across his face.
A little later, the hearing resumes and Woo-tak gets sworn in as a witness.
One morning at the bus stop, Hong-joo waits alone because Jae-chan went home to fetch his phone, and Woo-tak joins her. While they stand out in the sun, Woo-tak looks down and notices their shadows, and how it looks like she’s leaning on his shoulder.
He smiles and takes photos of it on his phone, then quickly pretends not to be doing anything when she asks what he’s doing.
Batman’s crush is so cute, I can’t help but swoon when he hugs her. I know it’ll never go anywhere and even he knows how in love she is with Jae-chan, but how can you blame him for loving her when she’s so fiercely protective of him? His unrequited love hurts so much more because he’s decided long ago to be a true friend to both Hong-joo and Jae-chan, but in an alternate universe you could see how adorable they’d be as a couple. Yunno, if Jae-chan had never been born.
I do think the show lost a huge opportunity for suspense though, because I think we were all expecting for Woo-tak’s life to be hanging in the balance right about now, because of the fear that anyone who was saved by a dream vision is living on borrowed time. I mean, I care whether Woo-tak can remain a cop because I love his character, but ultimately whether or not he has to make a career change isn’t the kind of life-or-death stakes I was hoping for in the final episodes. He definitely got stabbed too early. Having said that though, if something happens to Woo-tak tomorrow, I will raise hell. I hope there’s also a twist coming with the umbrellas and his color-blindness, but it’s looking more and more like a very straightforward (albeit pivotal) point in Yoo-bum’s case, and that color-blindness really is the whole of his big secret. Not surprising, but not exactly satisfying either.
I was a bit weirded out by how little shock there was for all the characters regarding Yoo-bum’s sudden murderous rampage. I hate him too, but shouldn’t they have been a little more appalled that he’d gone from unscrupulous scumbag lawyer to murderer overnight? Maybe they’d expected this from him long ago. I was still shocked at how much he’d thought it through, from setting the killer up to get rid of Hong-joo, to drugging himself and planning his defense in court. I guess you can’t argue with the fact that defending so many murderers teaches you how to get away with murder.
I’m still not sure why Chief Choi had to go to work for Yoo-bum if nothing came of it in the murder trial. I was expecting him to go there as a mole for the prosecution, like an act of noble sacrifice in penance for what he believes he owes to Jae-chan. Maybe that’s yet to come, and he’ll have something up his sleeve before the trial is over? I hope so, because I’d hate to see him make that sacrifice for nothing, especially when Jae-chan relies on him so much at work. Their father-son, mentor-rookie relationship continues to be the most moving for me, and I was so relieved when Jae-chan’s primary reason for anger at Chief Choi wasn’t who he was or that he’d kept his identity a secret, but the fact that he’d left him all alone when Jae-chan needed him most. It just filled my heart when Chief Choi called Jae-chan the captain’s son, like he still sees him as that little boy with the motorcycle. Their reunion was everything I wanted… which just makes me scared that Chief Choi won’t survive the finale. But Jae-chan can’t lose another father figure, right? That’s too cruel. *knocks on every wooden surface available*
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