Come Here and Hug Me: Episodes 29-32 (Final)
Do you really have to be a monster to defeat a monster, and what if turning you into one is the monster’s goal in the first place? It’s time for the final battle as the show pits the killer without a conscience against his desperate son who has lots of people he needs to keep alive. Too bad the killer is one of them…
EPISODES 29-32 WEECAP
Over a montage of Do-jin dealing with discrimination through adulthood, he narrates, “For twelve years, I reminded myself I’m a murderer’s son. I couldn’t smile at myself in the mirror because next to me, Yoon Hee-jae is always there. But even for people like me, there is a paradise.”
In a similar manner, we get a montage of the things Jae-yi endured after losing her parents while she narrates, “For twelve years, I lived as a victim’s child, suffering from memories of that night. But even for someone like me, there’s a person I can rely on.”
Finally, we see the missing pieces of that tragic Christmas Eve. Yoon Hee-jae knocks Na-moo down and drags Nak-won away. Na-moo tackles Dad into a table, surprising him into anger. Dad raises the hammer against Na-moo while the latter begs Nak-won to run, but she’s frozen at the sight of her parents’ bodies. It’s a good thing Dad can’t actually bring himself to kill his favorite son, instead throwing Na-moo on the floor and telling him to go home so he can kill Nak-won. Na-moo tells Dad his ten minutes are up as the police sirens wail on cue. When he turns his back on them to check, Na-moo takes out his own hammer and bashes his father on the head.
The rest of it is stuff we know. Dad proudly congratulates his son for being ruthless and tells him to remember this moment. Then he escapes after promising to meet Nak-won again. Nak-won crawls over to Na-moo and cries as she holds the hand he used to hit his father.
In the present, we see an unconscious Jae-yi tied up inside Dad’s old dog farm as her voiceover continues, “When will our long nightmare end?” Yoo-ra leads Do-jin to the dog farm, hammer in hand, as his voiceover answers, “Our nightmare will end now.”
We rewind to a few days before Jae-yi’s abduction, right in the middle of the Yoon Hee-jae manhunt. Even Reporter Han does her part by publishing an article that highlights the victims’ suffering to emphasize that Yoon Hee-jae needs to be caught to pay for his crimes. Nam-gil is mad because he wants articles that focus on the murderer and his “violent” son. But Han wants to start treating Do-jin based on how he’s lived his life so far. Thanks to Do-jin’s bitter lesson pills, she realized she was using journalism as an excuse for her biased assumption that she’s better than a murderer’s son by default. A view that Nam-gil still holds on to, as she points out.
Moo-won, possibly the only prosecutor in the district, drops by Hyun-moo’s hospital room and reads out his list of crimes. He knows Hyun-moo was injured trying to save So-jin and Mom and tells him that just like how they will be scarred by Ji-hong’s and Dad’s attacks, Hyun-moo’s victims’ lives will never be the same too. Moo-won gets up to leave after telling Hyun-moo to pay for all his crimes.
Hyun-moo knows Moo-won didn’t visit just to review his case. He asks Moo-won to tell him how he paid for his crime. A convict like him wouldn’t have anyone to tattle on anyway. Moo-won shares that he was twelve years old when he stabbed his parents’ murderer–it was only later that he learned he’s also a murderer. The judge ruled it was self-defense but Moo-won was deeply troubled as a kid. It took him a long time to open up to his adoptive family. He was too scared to even look at his hands, but Nak-won held them like his past didn’t matter.
To answer Hyun-moo’s question, Moo-won knows a lifetime isn’t enough, but he’s paying by protecting the people who took him in and gave him a second life. Which is a segue to warn Hyun-moo that Nak-won is his family and he’d better not hurt her, or else.
Hyun-moo is not to be out-older-brothered as he says that Na-moo was probably operating under the same thought. Whatever he did that night, he did it to protect Nak-won so Moo-won should stop treating Na-moo like he’s a monster who’ll suddenly hurt Nak-won. Then Hyun-moo awkwardly adds an apology for Jae-yi before Moo-won leaves.
Moo-won runs into Do-jin outside the door. They exchange details about Yoon Hee-jae’s case before Moo-won mans up and tells Do-jin to take better care of Jae-yi who has a habit of hiding her own pain. He also checks that Do-jin is okay with hunting down his own father.
Do-jin catches Hyun-moo trying to act tough and attacks him with awkwardness by thanking him for saving Mom and So-jin. He promises to forget everything his brother has done so far, except hurting Jae-yi. For that, Do-jin asks him to apologize in person. He also asks him to let them visit him in prison. And to not go far because he has a place to return to now. We know Hyun-moo likes that but for the sake of accuracy, we will put down in writing that “Hyun-moo doesn’t answer.”
Instead, he asks if Do-jin was really planning to kill Dad that night, wondering if the idea didn’t bother him. Do-jin answers by asking why Hyun-moo threw away his hammer. Hyun-moo scoffs that it’s obvious: hammers and glaring isn’t Na-moo’s thing. Hyung knows Dad and him are monsters, but Na-moo is human–he’ll never cross the line… is what Hyun-moo hopes for, but he gets a worried look as he remembers Dad’s plan to break and “fix” Do-jin. He tells him to be careful because Dad is weirdly obsessed with turning him into a mini-me.
Do-jin comes home to Jae-yi’s not-so-stellar cooking but he slaps on a smile and surreptitiously drinks water while she happily chats about her work. Jae-yi coos over her perfect boyfriend, from the perfect eyes to the perfect nose to his pretty hands that save lives. After dinner, Do-jin offers to visit Jae-yi’s mom together.
Later that night, Jae-yi has a nightmare about Na-moo hitting Dad, while Do-jin is busy worrying over how to catch Yoon Hee-jae. But they cope by reassuring each other and just staying together. Jae-yi says in voiceover, “When I was sixteen years old, time stopped. Twelve years later, it started moving again. We’re trying to be happy again.”
Do-jin is dressing up to meet with Jae-yi and visit her parents’ memorial when he gets a call from Yoo-ra. She claims to be taken hostage and wants to surrender. Do-jin smartens up and tells Jong-hyun to look out for a trap. He also calls Jae-yi to let her know he’ll be late. She tells him not to worry since she’s with Manager Pyo and a police escort.
Apparently, that isn’t enough since it only take a damsel-in-distress shtick for Yoo-ra to lure one cop out of the car while Yoon Hee-jae sneaks up on the other. Dad breaks Manager Pyo’s window and Pyo opens the door to meet his dea– err… go head to head with Yoon Hee-jae to give Jae-yi time to escape. But Yoo-ra is already opening the passenger’s side to knock Jae-yi out.
Do-jin answers a call from Jaeyi’s phone and goes berserk to hear Dad talking instead. Dad drops the hint that he visited Jae-yi’s parents and says he wants to meet his son. Alone. Do-jin of course disobeys Dad and calls Moo-won right away, telling him to keep looking for Jae-yi even if he loses contact with Do-jin. Moo-won is shocked to hear that his sister is in danger again, but he tells Do-jin to hang in there. He won’t be late this time AND he’ll save them both.
Do-jin arrives at the columbarium to find Yoo-ra there. She discards his phone and tells him to go inside for Dad’s gift. This is the hammer we saw him picking up among the flowers last week as he prepares to “become a monster” once again to save Nak-won.
Jae-yi wakes up to the sound of Dad improving his hammer’s grip. She asks about Manager Pyo, whom Dad didn’t bother to check on but thinks is probably dead. When Jae-yi starts to cry, Dad leans in just like in the past and tells her not to. She can do all the crying when she’s dead. But these are tears of anger, proven by Jae-yi slapping him, something she says she’s always wanted to do. With fire in her eyes, she orders Yoon Hee-jae to apologize to her and the other families for making their lives miserable and stealing all that time they could’ve spent living a better life. Dad asks what’s the point? People die every time. There’s nothing special about it.
Jae-yi says that’s only the case for him, whose life is so empty he thinks everyone else’s isn’t worth living either. Even Jae-yi knows life is worth something and tried her best to live well the past twelve years. “But you? You’re just a murderer who preys on the weak,” she ends smugly.
Dad wipes that smile off her face by agreeing with her. The people who died are the weak ones. Which Na-moo won’t be once she dies. Jae-yi claims complete confidence in Do-jin’s un-Yoon-Hee-jae-ness but Dad thinks he was close to converting Na-moo that night, if only he managed to make his son a bit more angrier. Jae-yi says that was a different case. Na-moo was protecting her, not killing for fun. Dad trained him for sixteen years but never managed to turn him into a killer because there’s nothing there for him to “wake up.” Dad rewards her confidence by promising to kill her in front of Do-jin.
Meanwhile, word spreads among the reporters that there’s been another Yoon Hee-jae attack. With the cops being mum about details, one correspondent wonders if they should just write about Jae-yi’s death in advance, earning him a lecture from Han, “Are you a reporter or not? Go out and get facts. Don’t kill people with your fingers.”
Moo-won visits Hyun-moo to share the bad news and ask for more leads in finding Dad. It’s a good thing Hyun-moo is a jealous kid who holds grudges because he points them to the dog farm where Dad used to take Na-moo but not him. He asks Moo-won to bring both of their baby siblings back. He tries to follow him out but is stopped by the cops guarding his room, and as he’s forced to wait for news, he calls Do-jin an idiot for making him repent. Because now he’s helplessly trapped again while his family is in danger.
At least he has Mom and So-jin with him this time. They meant to surprise him with a good meal but end up crying with him after hearing the news. Mom reveals her guilt at not turning Dad in sooner. Hyun-moo wipes her tears, “What do you mean it’s your fault? That monster is the one who shouldn’t have been born.” Who are you and what have you done to Hyun-moo?!
Dojin’s voiceover starts, “Evil cannot be nurtured” as he finally meets Dad who tries to go through the pleasantries which Do-jin repeatedly answers with “Where’s Nak-won?” He’s fed up with the “people and affection make you weak, killing is the best” lessons and threatens Dad, making him very happy because he’s twisted that way. Dad stokes Do-jin’s anger by saying Jae-yi is dead.
Do-jin sees blood behind Dad and attacks while Dad stands there and lets him. He doesn’t mind dying to make his son stronger. Do-jin pauses when he hears the ghost of Jae-yi’s voice–it’s when she stopped him from killing Ji-hong. He lowers the hammer now, saying there’s no way Dad would kill Jae-yi without making him watch (proving that there are benefits to knowing the sick workings of Dad’s mind.) Dad doesn’t deny that she’s alive somewhere, but he still commands Do-jin to kill him or Jae-yi will die. Is it just me, or does that sound like a win-win?
Speaking of, Jae-yi is currently being guarded by Yoo-ra in a back room. She’s delighted to help Yoon Hee-jae punish the kids, especially Do-jin for betraying the father who did so much for him. Jae-yi laughs at her blind worship and reveals that Park Hee-young’s theory is true. Dad really did hurt Na-moo and vice versa, and Dad ran but got caught anyway because he’s weak, not because he chose to give up for his son.
Yoo-ra says the world forced her and Yoon Hee-jae to be monsters. They had to be strong, otherwise the world will forget them. Jae-yi answers that the world will still forget them, but now they’ll just be forgotten monsters. Yoo-ra is fine with that as long as Yoon Hee-jae is beside her, but Jae-yi points out Yoon Hee-jae doesn’t really care about her if he’s making her do these things. In response, Yoo-ra angrily loads a syringe with more drugs.
Dad pokes at Do-jin’s shaky resolve by listing aaall the weak people he wants to protect (and Dad wants to hurt), making Do-jin raise the hammer once again. This time, it’s a flood of memories that stop him. From Chief Go’s last words to Mom defending him from the victims’ families, saying he’s not like Yoon Hee-jae, to Jaeyi saying she loves his pretty hands that save lives. He remembers telling Nak-won why his mother named him Na-moo–so he can endure things and not get in trouble growing up–and how meeting Nak-won inspired him to live up to his name.
Do-jin throws his hammer away, telling Yoon Hee-jae that he’ll end him in his own way. Killing him will only make lots of people suffer. (Okay but can’t he at least knock Dad unconscious first? Just a tiny tap on the head?) Dad is fine with being “ended” by his son in whatever way. That’s what family is for, right? Do-jin refuses to call him family. Family is for back when he was human. Before he murdered people for fun and ruined his sons’ lives. Do-jin points out that it’s Dad’s actions that made Do-jin weak and pitiful, unable to live a normal life. Dad shakes his head at Do-jin’s guilt. No, no, no. Fear is good. People hate and fear stronger persons like them.
“So do you fear me?” asks Do-jin, saying Dad is trying hard to control him because he revealed he was the stronger one twelve years ago. Echoing what Jae-yi said earlier, Do-jin says Dad’s paranoia about “strength” just reveals how insecure he is. Even his victims are better than him. At least they stood on their feet and faced reality.
Dad attacks in earnest but Do-jin easily beats him off. He even has time for a chat, sharing how he’s no longer scared of his father. He may have swung the hammer as a kid, but he’s not a monster. And having Yoon Hee-jae’s blood doesn’t make him his father either. “You’re just a weak murderer.” Dad is losing the fight so he plays dirty by revealing that Yoo-ra has instructions to kill Jae-yi if he doesn’t show up. Do-jin hesitates, giving Dad the chance to bash him properly on the head. Now Do-jin is the weaker one, dazed on the floor.
Yoo-ra approaches Jae-yi with the syringe, using the “you don’t know our pain” card to rationalize her actions. Which is funny because Jae-yi is probably one of the world’s top experts on a painful life. But whatever, an opportunity is an opportunity, and Jae-yi waits for her to get near before wrestling the syringe and stabbing her captor. She runs to call the police as Yoo-ra loses consciousness. (Wow, did she kill her?)
Dad offers the weakened Do-jin back his hammer which he still refuses to take, so Dad prepares to metaphorically and physically break Do-jin for “fixing.” Jae-yi arrives and shields him, “I called the cops. This time they’ll come in less than 10 minutes.” Dad swings at her anyway. Do-jin does what he does best and blocks the attacks with his own body. The hits look painful, but Do-jin is in beast mode with Jae-yi in immediate danger. He manages to break Dad’s hand even while being strangled. With Dad’s hammer gone, they’re on an even footing and resort to strangling each other just as the cops arrive. Do-jin cuffs Dad to a cage and reads him his rights before leading Jae-yi away from the mess.
With Jae-yi now safe, Moo-won tells Yoon Hee-jae, “Even though I want to kill you now, I won’t. You’ll experience suffering anyway.” As expected from the well-adjusted boy with a dark streak.
Do-jin and Jae-yi hug in relief outside. Prematurely, it seems. Because as Nam-gil uncuffs Dad for transport, Dad quickly twists his arm and steals his gun, using him as a hostage to demand for a getaway car. I’m sorry but hah! This is probably Nam-gil’s worst nightmare, caught by his own incompetence and under the mercy of a monster.
Dad looks directly at Do-jin in challenge as he marches Nam-gil out. Do-jin grabs another cop’s gun and trains it on Dad. (PSA: Don’t grab a gun that’s pointed at someone.) Moo-won worriedly calls Do-jin’s name but Jae-yi is unperturbed. Do-jin lowers his sights and shoots Dad’s leg instead, allowing the others to tackle him. I’m pretty sure that’s not a safe thing to do, but maybe he looked at the hostage and considered it a calculated risk. I kid, I kid.
Just like before, Jae-yi holds the hand that shot the gun. (Not safe! His finger is still on the trigger!) As they watch Dad being taken away, Do-jin completes his earlier thought, “In the end, evil only destroys itself.”
An unknown time later, Do-jin drops by Jae-yi’s house on the way to work and sees her school qualification reviewer on the table. She’s in bed herself, having fallen asleep while talking to him last night. She wakes up and pouts that she’s so lonely and bored without Do-jin sleeping on the couch anymore *hint hint* and they start kissing and hugging, wishing they don’t have to go to this pesky thing called work.
Han greets Do-jin at the station, promising to write his and Jae-yi’s story properly. When she complains that he’s been mean to her, Do-jin softens and beams a smile at her, telling her to take care and once again leaving her speechless. This time for very different reasons.
Nam-gil snaps her out of it as she spots him and needles him for acting out of character. Is it atonement for his prejudice? Nam-gil says atonement is shooting your own Dad to stop him hurting more people. What Nam-gil did is just relieving his own burden. I don’t know what they’re talking about exactly, though we see Nam-gil listening to the recording of Park Hee-young’s murder. Then it’s Nam-gil’s turn to taunt Han for not delivering on the grand promise to be Park Hee-young 2.0. Han says it’s not that she can’t, but she chose not to be.
Jae-yi is in cop uniform, worried that she’ll get in a fight right after graduation as she subdues a pervert–CUT! It’s just a scene she’s shooting. A very much alive Manager Pyo scolds her for not telling the director that she hurt her arm from the action scenes. She tells him to worry about his own injury, but Pyo brags that his bones heal fast. It’s all cute but just an excuse to tell us his story: he was a thug saved by Moo-won after he mistakenly joined the police’s side in the middle of a gang war/raid. He thanks his lucky stars for meeting Jae-yi and Moo-won and turning his life around, while Jae-yi says they also feel lucky to have met him.
Ship alert! Moo-won finds Do-jin’s cop hoobae Yeon-ji waiting in his office to complain about a case. He tries to dismiss her with his trademark stoicism but she’s not cowed and continues arguing her point. Moo-won’s staff members actually giggle at his baffled look when Yeon-ji doesn’t run away from his laser eyebeams.
That night, Moo-won cooks at home to apologize for leaving Jae-yi alone. She scolds him to date instead of worrying too much about her. Speaking of dating, Moo-won brings up Do-jin and assures her he’ll support her dating or dumping (lol) Do-jin. She need not worry about losing her brother over it.
Meanwhile, at the station, Do-jin is promoted to Sr. Inspector for catching a major criminal. So in the end, Dad did make him stronger, just not in the way he wanted.
Dad now walks with a pronounced limp as he is escorted to trial. He passes by Hyun-moo going to his own trial. This time, Dad’s the one who lingers while Hyun-moo walks on without looking back. Hyun-moo enters the courtroom looking scared until he looks up to find Mom and So-jin there. He watches as both ladies humble themselves, bowing and apologizing to the victims’ families. It’s probably more effective in making him regret his crimes than any prison sentence, though of course he still has to go to jail. Moo-won prosecutes him meticulously, no shortcuts, but he’s fair considering the guy tried to kill his sister.
Dad’s trial isn’t as peaceful since Ji-hong and Yoo-ra are being tried along with him. Or they would be tried, if they can stop insulting him for ten seconds so the trial can continue. Ji-hong is mad that Dad kept saying he’s the only one who can fight Na-moo when the kid already beat him years ago. Yoo-ra is also livid that Dad pretended to stay by her then put the blame on her during interrogation. The hearing is postponed because of the disturbances. As Dad is escorted back to jail, Mom, So-jin, and Do-jin stand watch, unmoved, while the families pelt Dad with eggs.
More time passes, and Do-jin comes home to Jae-yi’s house (ooh did he move back in?) to find her crying in secret over her Mom’s picture. She apologizes for crying, thinking it will hurt him to see her still in pain. He assures her that he’s been waiting for her to feel comfortable enough to cry in front him because he’s not going anywhere–she has someone she can share her pain with now. In a reverse of the promise she made, Do-jin kisses her forehead and tells her he loves her as she finally cries with abandon.
As we see clips of their sweet (sekshi?) life at home, Jae-yi’s voiceover says “Twelve years ago there was a wall so thick, I thought it would never come down. Twelve years later, it crumbled because of us.” Do-jin continues, “The era of evil has ended.”
Dad can only stew angrily in prison as he reads Han’s latest article “It was salvation, not a bad connection: the son of an assailant and the daughter of a victim were each other’s savior.”
In a fantasy sequence, Jae-yi and Do-jin meet their younger counterparts. He narrates, “Twelve years ago, the tree stopped growing. The tree must have waited…” he tells Na-moo to come closer so he can hug him as Jae-yi continues, “… for rain and sunshine to nourish it. And for someone to give it a hug.” She gives the same invitation to Nak-won who walks over tentatively before letting herself be hugged.
In real life, Do-jin and Jae-yi meet up at a park with lots of people for their date as they finish the narration, “The moment it is touched, the tree grows energetically. Everywhere the leaves touch will become paradise.”
Well, that finale was… anti-climactic. And frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we didn’t lose even more people. But for a show that started out with a lot of creepy undertones (remember Dad’s friendly hammer lessons and “saving” Lucky?) and some impressive dialogues in the middle, the last two hours felt draggy with too much talking. And not even mind-stimulating banter, at that.
While some of the topics discussed were a bit new–like the idea that Dad is trying to control Na-moo to hide his weakness, or that he was hiding that weakness from his minions–I can’t tell if the writer deliberately saved those for the finale or they just misjudged the pacing. It’s good to pop a few surprises in the final hour, but imagine if they revealed Yoon Hee-jae’s insecurities a few weeks ago and we watched him unravel, trying to manipulate everyone as Park Hee-young gets closer to the truth and his minions lose faith.
Another unfortunate effect of cramming the reveals during the drawn-out Dad/Do-jin showdown is it gave us us reveal-fatigue. If it will all be resolved in half an hour anyway, why should we care? There’s also the unintended hilarity of watching two “monsters” holding hammers for hours while they talk each other’s ears off.
Then there’s the bigger problem with the show not even answering the question it posed: is Do-jin capable of being a monster? I know we’re sick of hearing it from Park Hee-young to Nam-gil all the way to Judgemental Bystander #15 in the cast, but I do want that question answered clearly. If only because the show asked it a dozen times per episode, leading us to think that it’s the point of the whole thing.
Yes, Do-jin threw away the hammer while Dad was threatening to kill Jae-yi for the hundredth time, but this isn’t new for us. What we want to know is what Do-jin will do when he thinks Jae-yi is actually dead. And no, figuring out that she’s being held hostage somewhere doesn’t count. I still have this lingering doubt that Do-jin could only afford to be merciful because he knows she’s alive. Dad should’ve at least drugged her unconscious and arranged her atop a pool of blood for Do-jin to look at. I can’t believe I have to lecture Dad on dramatic displays. Come on, Dad, you’re more diva than that!
And let’s not forget the multiple sins against basic safety that this show committed just to get our main characters together for a final confrontation. What happened to Jae-yi’s smartwatch? What’s the use of having a gangster manager who’s easily subdued? When you’re a cop with a full squad of officers looking for an escaped serial killer, will you really just stand by the gate and peer at a building that used to be the killer’s murdering ground and go, “Looks unoccupied, let’s move along.” *sigh* I suppose we should be grateful that Do-jin even bothered to call Moo-won and Jong-hyun instead of trying to save Jae-yi all by himself.
But even though I complained too much about the last two hours, I still like the show for its parts (more than the whole). Specifically, the parts with Park Hee-young and Dad manipulating each other, Dad manipulating Moo-won, Dad manipulating Hyun-moo, Do-jin manipulating Ji-hong… okay, maybe I like mind-tricksy stuff. This show was great at it. Remember how scary Dad was, just sitting in that faux confessional room, getting everyone to visit him so he can emotionally scar them some more?
I also loved Do-jin’s makeshift family. We all cheered for Hyun-moo when he found the courage to go over to Mom’s side, but I’m also glad that Mom found out her efforts to reach out to her stepson weren’t in vain. Now there’s one less potential murderer in the world and one new mama’s boy.
Though I complained a couple of times about putting the pining scenes offscreen, Jae-yi and Do-jin’s relationship still ended on a beautiful note. I love the idea that they’re emotionally “un-pausing” now that Dad is no longer influential enough to keep dragging them back to the past. They didn’t magically become okay, but they’re surrounded by supportive friends and family. More importantly, they still have each other. Moving on is just a matter of time (and kisses! Lots of kisses!)
All in all, it was an enjoyable watch and an even more enjoyable discussion with beanies. Though I don’t have the urge to rewatch it anytime soon, it was made likeable by some great moments, standout characters, and interesting questions (which we’ll have to answer ourselves) delivered by a cast that did solidly with the roles they were given. I’ll be happy to see their names pop up in future casting news and check out their next projects, just please let it be another decent show.