Equator Man: Episode 13
Our favorite frenemies go head to head this episode – through legal channels at least, and not more blunt force trauma. (Not yet, anyway.) We get more than just a peek at the terror Jang-il copes with every day while Sun-woo stays the course, Soo-mi acts as a puppetmaster, and Ji-won finally confronts her past.
Equator Man took first in ratings again with 13.4%. Rooftop Prince followed behind at 11.5% and The King 2 Hearts brought up the rear at 10.5%.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Jang-il sits alone in his car crying piteously as he thinks of Soo-mi’s wall of damning evidence against him. It’s a beautiful moment for him in showing us his vulnerability – that tough facade he had in front of Soo-mi was just that and nothing more. Now we see how he really feels, and the poor thing is frightened out of his mind.
He stumbles home drunk. His father is there to catch him, but Jang-il insists on giving him a formal bow with tears in his eyes. “Father…” he ekes out, “Should I marry Soo-mi, and spend the rest of my life in atonement?”
Here’s the thing: he means it. For the first time since the accident he looks so filled with remorse that it might break him, and it’s breaking my heart in the process. This is the sort of moment I was waiting to get from him, and he delivers in spades. All of a sudden this is a boy, not a man, who knows he did a great wrong. He clutches his father as though he would disappear if he let go.
It’s not business as usual the next day, since Jang-il is unable to shake the terror from the day before. And as usual with him, bad thing happen all at once – so when he shows up for work, his superior has Sun-woo’s case open in front of him. Joon-ho is in attendance too, which means he took the bait that No Name (hereon referred to as MIN-YUN for ‘minion’ as one of you awesomely suggested, unless he gets a real name) gave in the sauna.
They want to nab Chairman Jin no matter what, and Jang-il looks like he wants to crawl into a hole in the ground and hide. Even Joon-ho notices that something is off with Jang-il today.
Jang-il is met with a flash of cameras and press outside, who are there to greet our prosecutor like a conquering hero. Perhaps the guilt of doing a good deed is too much, because it sends him to the roof to think about how this carefully crafted world he’s made is beginning to crumble around him.
He places a hurried call to his father to tell him to make a call to Chairman Jin from a deserted phone booth so that Jang-il can meet him – but it all must be done under the utmost secrecy. He knows that the slightest attachment to Chairman Jin will mean the end of him, and now that he’s being investigated, it’s bad news all around.
Sun-woo watches Jang-il give a press conference over his recent good deeds, and even Min-yun notices that the public just loves him. “He probably thinks he’s some kind of hero,” Min-yun remarks, which is eerily similar to something that Jang-il had accused Sun-woo of when they were young – back when Sun-woo always tried to be the noble one.
Jang-il gets his meeting with Chairman Jin to inform him of his impending investigation, and that he’ll be on the prosecuting team. Chairman Jin’s response is simply for Jang-il to stop the investigation – but Jang-il, perhaps filled now with a true sense of justice – tells him that if he’s committed a crime, he should be sentenced for it.
“What is a crime?” Chairman Jin asks. “Was your father’s greed to raise his son the best he could a crime?”
Either way, Jang-il refuses to relent even though Chairman Jin says that he can either protect him or go down with the ship – there are no other options.
Then Jang-il finally asks that all-important question: “Why? Why did you kill Sun-woo’s father? Why?”
“Go home and ask ‘why,'” Chairman Jin coolly replies.
He leaves Jang-il with the advice that he should try to get Joon-ho to date his stepdaughter, Yoon-joo, since they’ll be going on a blind date.
Shower scene. Yong-bae calls to his son from outside the bathroom to ask if he’s all right, since he’s been in there for hours. Jang-il wipes the condensation from the mirror and stares at his reflection, frighteningly reminiscent of every other creepy time he’s done the same.
But to his father he says, “I’m fine.” He continues to say it, and soon he’s not saying it to his father, but to himself. He’s trying to convince himself that nothing is wrong and that all will be well.
Either something has really changed in Jang-il or he is a master of disguise as he has a friendly meeting with Sun-woo to deliver coffee and smiles. He apologizes for punching him at the party and claims it was due to a lack of sleep and drunkenness.
He seems much more at ease with his old friend now as he tells him that he’ll be taking on his father’s case along with his colleague, and that he’ll investigate thoroughly to get rid of all of Sun-woo’s suspicions.
Even Sun-woo seems a little caught off guard, but he can only reply that he’s looking forward to it. Jang-il takes note of the beautiful view from Sun-woo’s office and asks his frenemy what he thinks of when he looks down on Seoul like this every day. To make more money? To buy a building he sees?
But Sun-woo seems to surprise him when he humbly replies that he looks on the city and thinks, “I hope I will always be able to see this.”
Ji-won arrives just as Jang-il is leaving, and exchanges no words with Sun-woo before she heads to her own office. Both her and Sun-woo reach out to the wall separating them, which I guess is supposed to signify the ‘so close yet so far’ aspect of their relationship, though it comes off a little heavy-handed for my tastes. The camerawork doesn’t really help in that regard, either.
Sun-woo ends up following her and watching her from afar as she mingles with friends, and the moment she notices him he keeps walking. She stares after him, a pensive look on her face.
Meanwhile, Jang-il and his team are getting to work on Chairman Jin’s case. They know that they have to tread carefully and decide to target his affiliates that worked with both Sun-woo’s father and him, and to do so they’ll use the guise of novelists trying to chronicle the creation of Chairman Jin’s empire.
So Jang-il hasn’t really changed after all, as we find out that he plans to fool his own prosecuting team off Chairman Jin’s case. He warns the person they plan to meet ahead of time that his team will go disguised as novelists, and that he’ll have to have all information needed of him ready for them.
And that person seems to have been Chairman Jin, who is now in possession of two phones. Wow, so he’s going to use the man his team is investigating to fool them? I applaud your cojones, Jang-il.
Yoon-joo approaches Soo-mi with a grand idea. Since Jang-il is such a famous prosecutor and they knew each other in high school, why don’t they use that for publicity? Soo-mi isn’t keen on the idea, but Yoon-joo calls Jang-il to ask the favor anyway.
He’s adamant about his refusal until Yoon-joo tells him that if he doesn’t come to collect, Soo-mi’s painting will go to her. He’s worried that it’ll be one of the Evidence Paintings, and so he finally agrees.
She takes the news to Soo-mi, who suggests that they invite David Kim as well. If he does the publicity stunt, then she’ll sign on.
Jang-il arrives at the gallery first without the knowledge that Sun-woo was also invited. He spies one of the Evidence Paintings sticking out from under the curtain and meets Soo-mi’s cryptic gaze, the one she uses when she knows she holds power over him.
Sun-woo arrives with flowers and a question for Soo-mi – what did she do with that Braille page she took long ago, anyway? Her smile falters as she claims she took it for painting, but lies that she never ended up doing it. It’s a little funny to her that Sun-woo would know he was missing a page of what were supposedly basic letters.
Jang-il’s quick to respond that maybe that wasn’t what was on the page. Smart boy.
Yoon-joo interrupts to ask which painting Soo-mi had planned to give to Jang-il, to which she replies, “It’s behind the curtain.” Oh crap.
You see Jang-il’s eyes go wide as Yoon-joo approaches the curtain, and even Sun-woo seems pensive, as if he knows nothing good is behind it. Soo-mi only smiles. She opens the curtain…
…And it’s only a wall of some random paintings. The Evidence Paintings are gone. Soo-mi suddenly decides that she doesn’t want to do the publicity stunt because Sun-woo doesn’t want to be in the pictures, so there’s no fun in it anymore. Besides, she’s not even close to Jang-il.
This gets Yoon-joo’s temper up, and the two women argue before Yoon-joo storms off to give the reporters the bad news. Sun-woo leaves right after.
Left alone, Jang-il approaches Soo-mi angrily.
Jang-il: “If you were a man, I would have punched you.”
Soo-mi: “Where? In the back of my head?”
Oooooh. Score yet another for Soo-mi. She tells him that he should thank her for not showing Sun-woo the artwork, though he challenges her to show it to him now. She replies, with a smirk, that she always saves the best for last.
Jang-il grabs her by the shoulders, hard. He moves his hand up to grip her chin in a very ungentle way, though they’re interrupted when Sun-woo suddenly comes back into the room.
Soo-mi asks Sun-woo if he’d like a painting as a gift. Jang-il’s eyes go wide as Soo-mi reaches toward the painting in the corner… except it’s not one of the Evidence Paintings. That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, of course.
Sun-woo takes one look at the bloody painting and tells her to give it to Jang-il, since it isn’t his style.
Once they’re alone, Jang-il asks Soo-mi if she’s having fun taunting him. Her reply is that she knows what he did, and she spells it out for him, “Attempted murder.”
The full weight of the charge settles in, and Jang-il sinks to his knees. The look on his face makes it seem as though his world is ending, and Soo-mi loses her smirk at the sight.
Sun-woo, Not Dad, and Min-yun go to pay their respects at the tree where his father was hung. Min-yun notes that the intimate knowledge of the forest could only mean that a local was involved in the murder.
Next, they visit the cliff where Jang-il hit him and threw him into the ocean. They even cross the bridge Jang-il crossed after he did the deed.
Soo-mi pays a visit to Chairman Jin’s wife, and becomes emotional over the tea they share together – it’s the first time she’s ever drank with anyone her mother’s age, because she never had one. She wants to give a gift in return for the warm welcome and paints Hee-jun’s portrait.
Yoon-joo is perfectly happy to ignore Soo-mi, even when the latter apologizes for their fight. Mother and daughter discuss whether they might invest in David Kim’s project behind Chairman Jin’s back.
Kwang-choon and Soo-mi later enjoy a mini spa day in the middle of her grand studio, though both are interrupted by a phone call from the police asking them to talk about Sun-woo’s father’s case. Kwang-choon is of a mind not to go since he’s not confident in his ability to lie, and Soo-mi looks displeased as well. (Didn’t she promise Jang-il that she’d spill everything if the case was reopened?)
Back in his hometown, Not Dad warns Not Son against continuing with the revenge, because nothing will bring his father back. Sun-woo nearly balks – does he wants him to forgive them?
It seems like Not Dad is operating out of concern, since he notes that whatever Sun-woo hits him with, Jang-il will hit back harder. It’s something that Sun-woo is counting on, and he plans to tire Jang-il out – which is why making the first move is so important.
Looking over the ocean, Sun-woo says, “I died on that day. The sea water was really cold.”
Ji-won is holding the fort at Sun-woo’s firm when Soo-mi saunters in, claiming that it’s been a long time since she saw Ji-won at the rehab center. Since Sun-woo is on a business trip she feels free to ask Ji-won if it hurt that Sun-woo couldn’t recognize her. Did she tell him that she was the girl he once liked?
The question is deflected under the excuse that she’s on the clock, though Ji-won does seem uncomfortable at Soo-mi’s very cavalier attitude. She leaves to give her guest coffee while Soo-mi finds some artistic inspiration (or claims to) in the office and scrounges around for a sheet of paper to draw.
As luck and her plans would have it, the search takes her to Sun-woo’s desk where she finds Ji-won’s framed picture in a drawer, along with a mysterious folder.
Sun-woo’s journey of self reflection takes him back to his old rooftop home where he drinks beer with Tae-joo and Min-yun. Once Tae-joo is alone he gets a phone call, and by the look on his face, it can’t be a welcome one.
We cut to Chairman Jin’s wife and stepdaughter as they conspire to invest in Sun-woo’s project without their husband/stepfather knowing, as we realize that Chairman Jin is the one who called. It’s Sun-woo’s phone but it’s Tae-joo who answers, and the two men act as though they don’t realize who is on the other end of the line and quickly hang up.
He tells Sun-woo about it as soon as he returns, so Sun-woo calls Chairman Jin back. He only wanted to relay that he would not be investing in Sun-woo’s project, and invites him for golf some time. And by the way, who was it that answered the phone earlier?
Sun-woo gives the same lie Tae-joo did – that it was just his staff. Chairman Jin frowns, foiled again.
It’s the night before the petition questioning, and Sun-woo wakes up from another nightmare. Min-yun is quick to come to the rescue in his patterned silk pajamas, and all is well.
On the day of the petition hearing, both Sun-woo and Jang-il meet across a table in a monitored room surrounded by cameras. They just have to wait a while for the orchestral music to stop before they can start the proceedings.
Jang-il’s team watches from behind a two way mirror, and seem surprised when Jang-il goes on the record that he was friends with Sun-woo in high school – though he claims that the name change threw him off. Also, Sun-woo was a much prettier boy back then. (Ha!)
Because of the conflict of interest it would present, Jang-il informs Sun-woo that his prior donations will go to a welfare for victims and their families. Sun-woo cuts in to ask if such a welfare exists for convicts, which is a pretty bold way to instantly accuse Jang-il without anyone else in the room realizing.
They begin to go over the specifics of the case, and we all know how those go by now.
Meanwhile, Ji-won picks up the same folder Soo-mi had the night before and finds her picture inside. Soo-mi must have placed it there deliberately for her to find, and now it brings home the realization that Sun-woo knew who she was all along and chose to ignore it.
Back with the petition hearing, we begin to see what angle Jang-il is playing, and it’s a good one. In lieu of being unable to stop Sun-woo from sending the petition, it looks like he’s taken on the case specifically to prove that it was a suicide in order to lay everything to rest.
When Sun-woo seems to catch on to what Jang-il is doing he cracks a smile, able to completely see through Jang-il’s helpful act. It’s an amazing meeting of the minds as Jang-il uses his knowledge of the law to make Sun-woo’s case sound incredulous, and even Sun-woo has to wonder if Jang-il is accusing him of fabricating evidence. Has he already decided that Chairman Jin is innocent, too?
Jang-il is the image of a perfect prosecutor, though the two men exchange incredibly veiled barbs. It seems like Jang-il has won the round today until Sun-woo gives his final remarks – that it’d be best to summon those who were working in Chairman Jin’s house the day his father died.
Ah, so he’s playing hardball now. He probably wasn’t going to bring Yong-bae into the mix, but Jang-il has opened a can of worms now and knows it. Sun-woo even smirks at him before he leaves – he’s won this round.
Ji-won is lost in thought when Sun-woo comes to fetch her for a meeting, and once in the car even Min-yun comments on how distant she looks. Concerned, Sun-woo has him pull the car over so that they can get some fresh air.
They pick a beautiful vista to look over, and Ji-won asks why Sun-woo doesn’t tell her where he goes. He explains that they’re personal matters that she doesn’t need to worry herself with and tries to rush them along, though Ji-won looks as though she’s about to faint.
Seeing her condition, Sun-woo decides to call the meeting off and tells her to go home and get some rest.
Once there she pulls out the Sun-woo Keepsake Box and reads over the letter he wrote asking her to wait for him. Now she wonders whether any of it was true.
He finds her working late the next night and tells her to go home, since she still looks fatigued. She asks if he knows of a good place for a massage because she needs it – specifically mentioning his profession when he was blind. He goes quiet, and leaves for his office.
But Ji-won finally works up the nerve to place her picture, the one he kept all these years, on the desk right in front of him. “You knew everything from the beginning, didn’t you?” she asks. “Tell me.”
“I did,” Sun-woo finally admits. “Ever since I saw you first.”
In disbelief, Ji-won wonders why he came back, and why he pretended not to remember. When he asks if she would even believe him she’s quick to fire back that she won’t listen to his excuses, but falters when he calls her “Hemingway,” like the old days.
He tries to tell her that she was the reason he came back (it wasn’t revenge for his father’s murder?), but she doesn’t want to hear it. She can’t understand what he was thinking to play such games, and is even more upset when he tells her he was just waiting for the right moment.
“What moment?” she asks, incredulous. “‘I remember you.’ Did you need the right moment for that?”
I have to say, I agree with her. But Sun-woo says that wasn’t the only thing he wanted to say. Ji-won has had enough and tries to leave, but Sun-woo wrist-grabs her and asks her to listen to him… only silence ensues, and he doesn’t say anything.
Taking his hand off her arm, she looks him straight in the eye. “You’re not the Kim Sun-woo that I know.”
Jang-il stole the show for me today, and it’s a trend that I’ve been noticing since Sun-woo made his grand return. Rather than having the invulnerable chaebol second lead we’ve now got him as a first lead, and the wall he puts up when he’s around others is the same wall he puts between himself and us. Therefore, it’s hard to really emotionally connect with Sun-woo when he’s so emotionally disconnected from the world around him.
There’s no one who can’t feel for what Sun-woo is going through with the death of his father still looming over his head, but my heart just broke for Jang-il at the beginning of the episode when sorrow took over instead of his usual tactic of lashing out. It’s a glimpse of the Jang-il we used to know, the one that I worried we’d lost forever, and it was an amazing moment to get me back on board with his character. Sun-woo, comparatively, is still going through the same motions he was thirteen years ago – as opposed to Jang-il, who may have the same objective but has to continuously change his tactics to achieve the desired result. At least he’s using semi-legal tactics now as opposed to tree branches.
We did see a glimpse of vulnerability from Sun-woo during his exchange with Ji-won – the only caveat being that I’m not all that invested in their future together, so his tears and her tears didn’t hold as much water. Whereas Jang-il’s tears came from genuine terror and remorse for all the things he’s done, so even if he never atones, the fact that it tortures him so much is gratifying. He’s not an emotionless robot, he’s a human with no one to lean on due to the nature of what he’s done. And the one person he could lean on, Soo-mi, is not an option for him.
I wonder why Soo-mi made it so that Ji-won and Sun-woo confronted each other. She has nothing to gain from their reunion, so despite the many evil smirks she displayed this episode I’d like to think that she did it out of the kindness of her heart, to finally put an end to the noble idiocy since neither Sun-woo or Ji-won seemed like they would any time soon. But with Soo-mi, one can never tell.