Two Weeks: Episode 10
You know, I thought this show just put me on edge when our hero was up a creek without a paddle, but as it turns out, it makes me tense ALL THE TIME. When things are bad, I’m watching through my fingers, and when things are good… well, I’m paranoid enough to watch through my fingers anyway, because you never know when more trouble will strike. I’m a nervous wreck. Is it bad that I kind of like it?
SONG OF THE DAY
Nemesis – “인어공주를 위한 소나타” (Sonata for the mermaid princess) [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Tae-san walks into the hospital in the midst of a budding argument between Seung-woo, who is upset that he was left out of the loop, and In-hye, who’s sorry for not telling him about Tae-san though she’d probably do the same thing if given a second chance.
They spot him standing there mere feet away, and Tae-san starts to bolt. Seung-woo makes to follow—but In-hye grabs him and yells at Tae-san to run. Aww, yeah. There’s something so honest in that uncalculated action that I love; it’s not completely thought-out or rational, but her reaction is pure. She cries that she’s sorry to Seung-woo even as she grabs him tight and insists that Tae-san is no murderer. (Best subverted back-hug ever.)
Seung-woo turns to In-hye, stunned and disheartened. How can she defend Tae-san like this, after everything he did to her? In-hye looks shocked at her own actions, but still keeps a tight grasp on Seung-woo’s shirt until he tells her that Tae-san is long gone.
He points out the fix she puts him in by asking the cop to let the criminal free—even if he’s no murderer, he’s still a fugitive. In-hye insists that Tae-san couldn’t turn himself in until the surgery because he would have been killed while imprisoned. Seung-woo’s upset that she had faith in Tae-san but not himself, asking if she thought he’d just let Su-jin’s lifeline die.
Tae-san flees as fast as he can, realizing that the dogged cop on his tail is none other than In-hye’s fiancé. He runs himself ragged until he falls, exhausted; he replays every spite-filled encounter he’s had with Seung-woo, the cop who called him trash and didn’t believe his claims of innocence.
Su-jin the Subconscious finds him here to ask what he’s doing. Tae-san says through his bitter tears that In-hye must’ve been so ashamed—to have her man, who’d accepted Su-jin as his own, realizing that her baby daddy was someone like him. Aw, this isn’t going the way I’d anticipated, but isn’t that the twist? After everything, mostly he’s disgusted with himself for putting her in a bind, and for preventing her from finding comfort in the person she would’ve leaned on.
Tae-san does more self-flagellating, asking why a lowlife like him even lived. Su-jin asks the question a different way: “Why did you live like that then?”
He thinks back to eight years ago, when Boss Moon had threatened his life and In-hye’s, and he had been cowed into agreeing to take the fall. Then he replays the scene from just the other day, when Boss Moon had called him stupid and weak for being maneuvered into that choice—he’d let that fear decide his actions, because he was a coward.
Now he turns those recriminations on himself, agreeing with the assessment. Su-jin asks what he means to do now, and he decides: “I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to be caught by In-hye’s fiancé. I don’t want to make you live as a murderer’s daughter.” He vows to make it known that Boss Moon is the real criminal.
Boss Moon is currently dealing with his staff of incompetent thugs, who let Tae-san get away again. The pressing question: How is the prosecutor always aware of Tae-san’s movements? Teacher Kim spotted In-hye at the shopping center, and although Halfwit argues that Tae-san wouldn’t be in league with the cop’s fiancée, Boss Moon rubs together two of his last remaining brain cells and remembers the medical supplies that were in Tae-san’s bag.
He also recalls that the day Mi-sook died, Tae-san had dropped by the hospital. Now he circles round to the sick daughter and instructs his guys to find out when Su-jin’s surgery is. Ackkkk. I knew it was too good to last that he’d assume Tae-san has no love for a child he never knew.
In-hye wonders why Su-jin’s drawings are so dark today, and Su-jin explains that she’s in the next part of her story after the sun (In-hye) leaves the mountain (Tae-san), and his world is now cold and dark, with no birds or flowers. But the mountain can’t move, so he’s stuck in that place alone. I know she’s being earnest with her sad story, but I swear, this little girl is totally itching to star in her own Parent Trap.
Jae-kyung contacts In-hye and introduces herself as the prosecutor in charge of Tae-san’s case. She explains that she knows that Tae-san didn’t kill anybody and that he escaped because of the surgery, thank god. At least somebody knows she’s on his side!
In-hye argues that Tae-san doesn’t trust anybody and that she has no sway over his actions, while Jae-kyung tries to persuade her to get him to surrender (with the digital camera). He can’t wander as a wanted man waiting for the surgery, she says, promising to keep him safe behind bars and nab his framers. In-hye agrees to convey the message the next time he calls, and I can’t tell if I’m relieved or scared—surely making himself a sitting duck can’t be good, even if the good guys try to keep him alive?
Then Jae-kyung shocks In-hye by informing her that Tae-san went to prison eight years ago, and that he took the fall for the man trying to kill him now. The timing is too much of a coincidence for In-hye to ignore, and Jae-kyung adds that he was likely threatened with the lives of loved ones. Yessss, thank you! One Big Misunderstanding finally cleared.
Finally, an explanation for his sudden turnabout regarding her pregnancy. In-hye sobs in the stairwell, realizing what he’d been about.
Seung-woo’s fuming by the time he finds Jae-kyung, ready to bite her head off about keeping the bone marrow donor part secret. If he’d known, he would never have shot Tae-san, not when the girl’s life was at stake. Jae-kyung replies that she didn’t know until after the shooting, and that it wasn’t her place to say, not when In-hye hadn’t.
She also points out that if he’d known, they would’ve taken extra precautions to keep Su-jin safe, and that would’ve tipped off the baddies to Tae-san’s motivations. Seung-woo seizes onto her wording—bad guys, plural? There are people trying to kill Tae-san aside from just Congresswoman Jo?
Now she tells him that the day she’d been kidnapped, they’d tried to kill her and would think nothing of killing Su-jin. The only reason she made it out that day was because Tae-san saved her. But she had no grounds to accuse them, with no evidence and no witness.
The mobsters put their heads together and connect Tae-san’s actions to Su-jin’s surgery. And then they realize that In-hye’s fiancé was the guy who thwarted Congresswoman Jo’s attempt to fire Jae-kyung, which means he must know something.
They rack their brains (admittedly a painful endeavor) trying to decide what to do with Seung-woo, who’s no easy mark. He’s an officer, the son of the police chief, In-hye’s man, and already suspicious of the congresswoman. They mess with him wrongly, and they’re screwing themselves.
Seung-woo sends his rookie partner Il-do on fact-finding errands, now operating on the basis that Tae-san may have been framed. And once he looks at the evidence with fresh eyes, he sees that the knife wounds are different in the two murders—unlikely, then, that the same person killed Mi-sook and Man-seok. Yay, thank you for returning to Smart Seung-woo.
Thanks to Jae-kyung, he now knows Boss Moon’s name, and recognizes him—from his trip to the hospital.
Tae-san makes his way to the other crime scene where Mi-sook was murdered, memorizing the street address. He ducks his head low, but we see there’s a camera in a parked car, recording him as he passes. Gahhh.
Seung-woo drops in on Boss Moon, using his hospital donation activities as the reason for the visit, though the men quickly cut the bull and get straight to the animosity, calling each other sons of bitches. Seung-woo warns Boss Moon not to mess with his ladies, and Boss Moon retorts that he just wants Tae-san’s camera. He offers up a deal—if Seung-woo can convince In-hye to convince Tae-san to give up that camera, he won’t kill Tae-san. And in that case, Su-jin can get her bone marrow.
Seung-woo laughs in his face then warns him, grabbing him by the lapels, to blackmail somebody who’ll stand for it. He leaves him with the promise to catch Tae-san first, and then Boss Moon.
Still, Seung-woo takes the threat to Su-jin’s life seriously and stations Il-do in the hospital with orders to not move a foot, to memorize authorized personnel’s names and faces, and to report on every visitor. I’d have a lot more faith in this assignment if Il-do weren’t such a bumbling fool, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.
Next, he pulls In-hye aside to tell her they can work out their issues later, and that Su-jin’s safety comes first. He urges her to tell Tae-san to give him self up to the police, because he’ll work to clear his name.
That night, Tae-san sends off an email to an unknown contact, then notices an icon on his desktop: Sexy Talk 69. Is this really the time for porn? But I guess it’s the strangeness that gets his attention, and when he opens up the program he finds video recordings of webchats made by his pawnshop buffoons. There’s a chat history saved there… including that day a couple weeks ago… when Head Minion got a call to send Tae-san on a false errand to the warehouse. Booyah.
Speaking of video chats, Congresswoman Jo talks to her son in Switzerland (played by Kang Haneul), who seems like a pretty happy though mentally disabled young man. He’s counting down the seven days left till his mother will come to see him, and she promises to take him away so they can live together. Aw, she does seem like a loving mother, despite her corrupt and murderous tendencies. Who says those are mutually exclusive traits?
We’ve known all along that the congresswoman has made plans to quit Korea for good and settle abroad, and I’d expect no less than the full kit and caboodle. Sure enough, she’s got a new identity all forged and ready for takeoff.
To the public, Congresswoman Jo maintains her position as a mayoral candidate, dispelling rumors that she was going to retire after the upcoming charity auction. Jae-kyung finds her after the press conference to ask pointedly whether she might be allowed to take Boss Moon’s place in the auction, and gets deflected with a canned response.
She wonders how the congresswoman can be so brazen, which goes noted by Boss Moon as well. He knows she’s planning to leave, but now this rankles—especially if she’s going to leave him to a mess and get off scot-free.
Tae-san calls In-hye at the hospital, this time getting connected via the nurses’ main line. He figures that they’re safe from tapping this way, and she tells him of Jae-kyung’s promise to help him. He’s wary, of course, but says he’ll think about it… just as we see that the call is being recorded after all. BAH! The guy listening in is a face we haven’t seen before, though, so it’s not clear whether he’s friend or foe. Let’s be safe and go with foe.
The eavesdropper gets a crucial bit of info as In-hye and Tae-san agree to a rendezvous at 3 o’clock, and calls Jae-kyung right away. She isn’t going to call in the cops today (to prevent leaks), but her boss advises her to at least take one guy as backup, somebody who won’t get recognized by In-hye.
When In-hye makes up an excuse to leave Su-jin for the day, Su-jin calls her out for lying and pouts about being left in the dark again. But she catches on to her mother’s use of the words “really important thing,” which means she’s meeting with a “really important person,” which I’m pretty sure she realizes has something to do with her dad. In-hye promises to answer all her questions after the surgery, and heads out to work in her restaurant before slipping away.
Seung-woo’s on the lookout and follows In-hye out of the shop, as does her other plainclothes guard. Both men board the subway after In-hye, who follows Tae-san’s instructions to a particular exit—ah, she’s wise to the possibility of being followed. Good thing, because the cop on the subway texts his teammates, and a contingent of plainclothes officers await her exit at the next station, with more men manning the exits.
(Pet peeve: You know what would be a lot less conspicuous, cops? Ditching those earpiece cords. I know it’s for our benefit more than the characters, but I have such knee-jerk response to their constant use, since you’re just pinning a flag on yourselves to announce, “COP WORKING UNDERCOVER, DON’T MIND ME.”)
While waiting for the train to pull in, Jae-kyung puzzles over one oddity in the recorded phone conversation. In-hye had urged Tae-san to turn himself in from the hospital room. Would she have said so in front of the child? Oh, please tell me there’s another outmaneuvering in the works.
The subway pulls in and In-hye disembarks, which prompts her follower to leave as well… just as she darts back on at the last moment, per Tae-san’s instructions. Mwahaha. I was hoping this would happen.
Seung-woo does follow her successfully, but unlike the other dude, he’s not in contact with the rest. Thus the sting fails, having lost the scent. Jae-kyung can’t understand In-hye’s actions, until she realizes that this means the two already met yesterday.
In-hye dashes outside and boards a taxi with a certain license plate, and Seung-woo grabs another one to follow. She arrives at the nail salon and asks Man-seok’s girlfriend for the digital camera; her story is that she’s a frequent customer at Man-seok’s car shop and lent him the camera for his trip.
Aha, so now we see the rest of their conversation from the hospital yesterday, and the favor Tae-san had asked. It was then that he’d asked her to get back the camera, which is the reason he was framed.
The girlfriend says that her friend took it intending on throwing it away, but manages to get a hold of her to arrange In-hye to meet her on campus. In-hye thanks her, and hands over one last thing—the ring Tae-san had found at home. The girlfriend grows teary-eyed to see the ring, with a folded-up note tucked inside—a sight In-hye recognizes.
A flashback to happier days shows us a surprise birthday party In-hye springs on Tae-san, who tells her that it’s not his actual birthday today. He scoffs that birthdays aren’t a big deal to him, and declines to eat her seaweed soup saying that he doesn’t like it. She decides they can celebrate Christmas instead, and they trade gifts.
Her present is a ring with a note folded inside it, and he’s actually bummed because she got him a ring first. But the letter is the real gift, and she waits bashfully for him to read it. To her surprise, his reaction is a lot more emotional than she expected, and he gets teary to read the quote, taken from Rabindranath Tagore’s writings: “For fear of losing you I hold you tight to my breast. What magic has snared the world’s treasure in these slender arms of mine? My treasured Jang Tae-san, thank you for being born.”
The words all but shatter him, and he confides that this is the first time anybody’s told him he was a decent person. He tells her that his real birthday is the day his mother killed herself—she was left by her father when pregnant and lived a hard life because of him. So the day she died, she left him seaweed soup on the table and committed suicide.
In-hye comforts him, saying that she must not have realized it was his birthday, that she was in so much pain that she forgot.
In-hye leaves the nail shop rattled and upset, but collects herself to resume her Tae-san-approved itinerary. Next, she is to find a cafe where he has reserved a seat for her and call a certain number. Tae-san wears a mustache disguise and worries at her tardiness, but In-hye sends a text message to his IM account using the taxi driver’s phone to tell him she’ll be late.
She makes a quick stop, then IMs Tae-san a message to meet her outside, using another borrowed phone. I do appreciate that they’re getting smart about all the communication, using untraced sources like strangers’ cells and accounts with fake names.
They get in her car, where she informs him that the camera was sold. He tells her to give the details and let him off, but In-hye’s all-in at this point and reminds him that showing his face at a university campus would probably not be a good idea.
She ignores his insistence and takes them to the river to kill some time, because the meeting time is in the evening. He notes with some relief that she hasn’t changed a lot, since he’d blamed himself for changing her (for the worse). She retorts that oppa’s the same, too, on the inside—it’s just the outside that’s changed.
Tae-san apologizes for putting her in a fix yesterday, and also says sorry in a general sense for making things difficult for her. That stirs her temper, and In-hye asks what exactly he’s sorry for: “Oppa, why are you so dumb? And so mean?”
And now she confronts him about eight years ago—why did he try to decide her life for her? Did he really expect her to go off with her parents and live freely? She knows now that he didn’t leave her, “So why didn’t you tell me why when we met again? Why didn’t you make excuses? Why did you just take all my contempt in silence?”
He can’t quite meet her eyes, and sighs that it’s all in the past. In-hye scoffs, “Me hating you… you think I still hate you, don’t you?”
But Tae-san has learned to accept his part, and answers that there’s no case where you can just say that you had no choice, that you had to do a certain thing.
Seung-woo heads back to the hospital to chat with Su-jin, who wants to know allllll about his proposal to her mother. She’s disappointed with Mom’s response (long silence, then a nod), but happier when he adds that he hugged her after, “like a man.” Ha.
Seung-woo asks Su-jin hopefully if he’s good enough to be her father, since he loves her and her mom and can protect them both. Su-jin gets a little noncommittal, as she does whenever he talks about being her dad, and says, “I think maybe.”
Man-seok’s girlfriend hears that the ring came from Tae-san (ah, Seung-woo must have told her) and wonders what to do. Her friend urges her to report it, and she calls in to the police to say that a woman was acting as Tae-san’s messenger. Ackkkk.
In-hye drops Tae-san off at the university, and insists he take a cell phone. She bought new ones for them both, and although he’s loath to be more indebted to her than he already is, she wins on the practicality front.
Tae-san hands over the hair clip for Su-jin, telling her she can wear it when her hair grows back.
With that, he heads off to meet the student who bought the camera, and buys it back. Oh phew. Finally. Of course now I’m biting my fingernails at the thought that DISASTER might befall him at any moment, given that he’s gone too long without massive catastrophe befalling him today, but I’ll take the smaller stresses over the bigger ones.
Su-jin crosses off another day. D-6.
I hesitate to call the Tae-san and In-hye storyline a romantic one, though it certainly IS all about love. But it’s not a tragic love, either, in that I still have hope for the future. But what Two Weeks does really well and what makes their loveline (as it were) so effective for me is that it’s told primarily through hindsight. We know there have been eight years lost in the middle, so there’s no negotiating with the fates or hoping for a different outcome—their awful breakup forms the basis of our story. It’s moving and heart-tugging, and full of pathos because they’re dancing around the same mistakes all over again, but this time they have more knowledge and experience and we’re hoping for a different outcome.
I don’t really think it’s an even battle between Tae-san and Seung-woo, but to size them up as romantic rivals:
I’m cool with Seung-woo as a character and a person and a potential love interest. I don’t believe In-hye has led him on; she genuinely likes him, she means (meant?) to marry him and live happily. I think they all knew she doesn’t love him the way he loves her, but they seem to have all taken that into account and decided it was enough to build a family and a future.
But I’m also very much pulling for Tae-san, not only to clear his name and live up to his potential to be a decent guy instead of the one who chooses the worst option for whatever reasons, however motivated by selfless intent.
Here is the rare case where I actually have zero issues with the Noble Idiot mentality being used to drive a person away, when normally it drives me bonkers. Mostly because it’s an easy fix—or the opposite of fix, where it’s the thing a drama needs to create conflict before it can then resolve the conflict with a happy ending. Noble idiocy allows conflict to occur while presumably keeping our main characters morally pristine, because it wasn’t their fault they caused the hurt, because there was really a greater evil forcing their hand. Right?
In this case, though, I accept it and appreciate what it does for the story—perhaps it’s because The Idiocy dates back to pre-show timelines and is thus a part of the drama’s foundation, not the text proper. But pre-patsy Tae-san was a guy who lived a pointless life peripherally involved in crime—he was in pretty deep with the mobsters but not evil, ballsy, or stupid enough to actually commit the level of crimes to keep his footing in the organization. He meets a girl and finds something worth living for, for the first time ever, and starts to dream—when she gets pregnant he’s all joyfulness and light and plans to marry her.
So when her life is threatened, and it’s because of his stupidity (because I give Past Tae-san credit for realizing that he put himself in this mess by getting involved with crime in the first place), he does the one thing to save her life and cuts her free. He’s foolish and crude about it, but I do believe that’s the one noble thing he’s ever done in his life (to that point). It makes even more sense in context of his mother; it’s a backstory we knew the basic outline of, but seeing him blame himself for his mother’s misery highlights his fear of In-hye being dragged down in the same way. It’s cruel irony that the outcome was so similar to what he was trying to avoid, with her struggling to survive with a child, abandoned by her man.
Now that he’s back and sees things clearly, I love that he doesn’t let himself off the hook. In-hye may be willing to let him off, and some of us may, but I respect him more for it. So with his newly grown spine—and I’m even grateful at Boss Moon for sneering at him, thereby spurring him toward building that strength—I see light at the end of the tunnel for Tae-san. Not in the imminent-death way, but in a redemptive way. In a way that gives us hope that he’ll overcome and find a new path and win all the things.