Two Weeks: Episode 16 (Final)
I can’t tell if it it’s felt like two weeks, eight weeks, or eight years that we’ve been waiting for D-Day, but it’s finally here. Now all I need is for the hero to save the day, put all the baddies away, save his daughter, not die (ya hear), oh and get the girl. That’s all. Is that too much to ask? You’ve got one hour, Show. Make it count.
SONG OF THE DAY
Toxic – “Turning” for the OST [ Download ]
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Boss Moon sneaks his way into Tae-san’s operating room and draws his knife…
Teacher Kim enters the other room, and his face goes white at the sight of the man lying on the operating table. It’s Dad. He calls himself “Boss,” the nickname his son used to call him as a child.
He gets up and takes out his half of the fountain pen that he carries with a makeshift cap, and pulls the cap out of Teacher Kim’s pocket. The two snap in place perfectly. When he hears the words, “Your name is Han Jin-hyuk,” Teacher Kim is visibly shaken.
Meanwhile, Boss Moon creeps closer, and raises the knife above his head with both hands. He stabs with all his force… and then freezes when there’s no reaction. He pulls the sheet off, and it’s a dummy. Phew, all is right with the world.
Flashback to Tae-san’s strategy session with Jae-kyung earlier that morning: He argues that there’s no stopping Boss Moon from chasing them down to the ends of the earth, and In-hye and Su-jin would have to live looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives. He needs a way to put Boss Moon away for good, and so they devise a plan to lure him to the hospital by faking an early operation (the doc’s answer was no, they can’t do the transplant early, which thank goodness the story stuck to some logical details).
They wonder how they’ll insure that Boss Moon comes himself instead of just sending Teacher Kim, and that’s when Boss Han suggests—with heavy heart—that if they set up two possible operating rooms, they could catch both.
The trick is leaking the sting operation (hur) to the baddies, and that’s where the mole comes in. As suspected, both Jae-kyung and Tae-san know about the mole, but then at the task force meeting, Jae-kyung turns to him and asks if he can handle playing the part. Oh, the mole is in on it? What, now?
A flashback-within-a-flashback (I know) reveals that the captain had already confronted him about his moley activities, and he confessed through tears that he caved to money because of his father’s surgery. That was just the first instance, and the rest of the leaks were due to threats that he’d be outed for being a traitor.
He’s ready to go to jail for his crimes, but the captain says the department is willing to be lenient with him for being honest. Ugh, I get that they didn’t reveal this for the twist, but it would’ve been cleaner if the good guys had just used the evil mole to be the evil conduit.
Anyway, Mole plays his part and the detectives are there every step of the way. They even get to the security staff before Boss Moon does, and tells them to take any payoff offered, and act like they’re going to look the other way during the operation. Nice.
Tae-san gets checked out by the doctor, who gives him the all-clear for tomorrow’s operation.
Back in the present, Seung-woo catches Boss Moon on the security camera as he enters the ward. Once Boss Moon wraps his head around the fact that he’s been played, he quickly takes out climbing rope (and even a rope ladder) and prepares his exit strategy.
Seung-woo leads the charge, and thankfully there are at least a dozen uniforms there as backup. They bust into the operating room… but it’s empty. Whaa? He was just there!
What they fail to catch is one of the ceiling tiles being gently put back in place just above their heads. ARG. Boss Moon climbs through the air vents, and by the time Seung-woo finds a rope in the staircase, the other end is out the window. YOU LOST HIM? Seung-woo! You have ONE JOB.
Tae-san sits in a car in the hospital parking lot, with strict instructions from Jae-kyung not to move, otherwise he’s giving Boss Moon an open shot. He sees a flurry of activity and starts to get anxious, but forces himself to remain hidden.
Thankfully Teacher Kim isn’t giving them any trouble—he’s on his knees from the shock, right where we left him last, and Boss Han is just holding his hand.
The rope leading out the window turned out to be a red herring, because Boss Moon is still in the building. He climbs down the elevator shaft and gets to the basement, and manages to get into his delivery truck.
And of course, the one person who sees this is the one person who shouldn’t. Tae-san has already decided to go into the hospital anyway to see what’s going on, but he spots Boss Moon driving toward the exit, about to get away.
He runs, and in the split second that it’s stopped at the driveway, Tae-san opens up the back door and leaps into the truck. Ack. But you have surgery tomorrow. And you’re the guy he’s dying to kill. Ack.
The cops are, as always, one step too late. It’s Jae-kyung who notices that Tae-san is missing, and dammit all to hell—his phone is lying on the ground right next to her car. They at least think to check the security cameras, and learn that Tae-san jumped into the truck to go after Boss Moon.
Boss Moon pulls into a junkyard to switch cars, and as soon as he does, Tae-san shows up at his window and scares the daylights out of him. I do enjoy that look of terror on Boss Moon’s face. In fact, I’m going to rewind.
Tae-san swings a lead pipe through the car window and drags him out by the collar, screaming that he’ll never get away. Boss Moon makes a break for it and gets back in the truck, so Tae-san gets in the car to follow him.
They knock into each other in the narrow junkyard road, and then Tae-san actually crashes into the truck to get him to stop. Eep.
By the time he climbs out of the mangled car, Boss Moon is nowhere to be found. Tae-san just calls him out, taunting that he’s hiding like a rat. It works and Boss Moon comes out… armed with a two-by-four.
Boss Moon declares that there’s no such thing as an ending for someone like him, and Tae-san will never know what it took for him to become this man. Tae-san bites back with pity in his voice that he doesn’t care to dirty his ears with another rendition of the I-stole-my-siblings’-corn story. “Your brother and sister starved to death, didn’t they, you bastard?”
Tae-san: “Why, are you getting mad because I’m supposed to just lie there and do nothing, but now I’m refusing to be stomped on? That I was spineless, that I lived without a pulse—the only people who have the right to get mad at me for that are Su-jin and In-hye!”
He says that Boss Moon never had a right to interfere in his life in the first place, and makes it clear: “I never submitted to you; I submitted to the fear that the people I loved might get hurt.”
He walks right up to Boss Moon, unarmed, and unflinching. Boss Moon strikes with the wooden plank… and Tae-san hits it back with such force that it breaks into pieces. Badass. He leaps up and kicks Boss Moon down with one blow, all fired up with righteous anger.
The team is still struggling to track the truck on traffic cameras, and Seung-woo has to tell In-hye the bad news. She falls to the ground in shock.
By the time we get back to the junkyard, it’s Boss Moon who’s scrambling to run away, while Tae-san just keeps coming after him. He punches him until Boss Moon actually faints, and then hilariously ties him up with rope, reminding him that he swore he’d make him rot in jail for thirty years.
Tae-san walks away, which instantly makes me nervous. You never turn your back on a villain in the eleventh hour! Sure enough, Boss Moon wakes up and finds himself tied up in ropes. He searches for the nearest weapon to free himself, and digs out a lighter in the dirt. It still works.
He reaches behind him and flicks the lighter on to burn off the ropes… when suddenly the entire junked tanker behind him lights on fire. Whoa. Is he gonna die? Wait, Tae-san’s not going to be framed for THIS too, right?
Jae-kyung and the cops finally arrive at the junkyard, and Tae-san says he tied Boss Moon up back there… and boom, the junkyard blows just as he’s turning back to point her in the direction. Did he die?
In-hye waits outside the hospital, after getting the call from Jae-kyung that they’re on their way back. Tae-san gets out and apologizes for making her worry, and says with a smile that they got Moon Il-seok, and she never has to worry about that man again.
In-hye just grabs him in a hug, so relieved that he’s okay. Gaaaah, the look on Tae-san’s face. It’s so good. He hesitates for a moment to let himself believe it, and slowly puts his arms around her. He breaks into this I-can’t-believe-it smile for just a split second.
Jae-kyung looks on at the couple’s happy reunion… and then Seung-woo arrives just behind them. Oh noes. Poor Seung-woo. All it takes is one look at the hug and his heart sinks.
Congresswoman Jo continues plans for her charity auction as if nothing’s happened, and gets the call that Boss Moon was arrested. We see him being wheeled into the hospital screaming and flailing, half his face burned beyond recognition. Is it wrong that this makes me happy?
Tae-san stops by to watch Su-jin sleep with this adoring look on his face, and then goes under for his marrow extraction. Su-jin wakes up and gets mad at Mom for not waking her—she didn’t even get to say thank you to Dad when he’s saving her life and everything. I love how terribly upset she is about this.
Mom hands her a notebook that Dad left, asking Su-jin to write down all the things that she wants to do and all her favorite foods. She instantly lights up and fills the notebook with things like “play soccer” and “draw” and “Mom and Dad and Su-jin all sleep together.”
When Tae-san wakes up, Jae-kyung is sitting by his bedside. He asks about Congresswoman Jo’s auction, and Jae-kyung sighs that it’s probably going on right now, without a hitch.
She’s here to give Tae-san one final present, and tells him that Halfwit turned himself in after Boss Moon’s arrest. He confessed to everything—that Boss Moon was the culprit who killed her father eight years ago, that he was the culprit in the attack five years ago, and of course Mi-sook’s murder. It means that Tae-san can actually clear his ex-con record completely.
And then it’s Su-jin’s turn to receive the transplant, and Tae-san watches from the window in amazement, as his blood starts to flow into her veins. Daddy and daughter wave to each other with smiles.
Brainy Smurf takes Boss Moon’s place at the auction, and smoothly buys all the pieces laced with drugs. Congresswoman Jo gets her bank account filled with the cash she needs for her new life, while Brainy acquires a boatload of drugs as the new head of Boss Moon’s organization.
But when he takes delivery of the pieces from the auction, the cops are waiting to arrest him. Excellent.
Meanwhile Congresswoman Jo walks through the airport, having slipped out before the police raid… but there’s Jae-kyung, two feet behind her. Yaaaay. I was ready to throw something if they let her get on that plane.
Jae-kyung arrests her for drug trafficking, and her partner cuffs her in the middle of the airport. We go back in the timeline to the first time Tae-san saw her crazy obsessed board, and noted with some interest that he’d heard Boss Moon complaining about having to maintain a business relationship with a woman who likes money.
Once the auction was confirmed, Jae-kyung had asked if Boss Moon dabbled in art collecting, and Tae-san said he’s never shown interest in art, and says half-jokingly that maybe if it were lined with drugs, it’d be another story altogether.
Later Jae-kyung had pieced it together, once she found out that Congresswoman Jo was acting like a person who was leaving the country for good—like someone about to make one last big score.
Congresswoman Jo sits in the interrogation room, eyes closed. Jae-kyung saunters in with her three passports and outlines her plan to disappear, while Congresswoman Jo quietly reaches into her jacket for a hidden pill.
But without even pausing for effect, Jae-kyung casually tells her to watch this video message from her son before taking that pill, and plays it for her. The sound of her son’s voice makes her open her eyes, and she sees him holding up a portrait of her with angel wings. It breaks her resolve.
Jae-kyung pries the pill out of her hand and scoffs, “To be an angel to one son, you stole the tears of countless people.” The woman actually sheds a tear, which I didn’t think was possible.
A little while later it’s time for Tae-san’s trial, and as Jae-kyung promised, he wipes his record clean. The chief prosecutor takes credit for not accepting Jae-kyung’s resignation, and Tae-san apologizes to her one last time for her father’s case eight years ago.
She thanks him instead, for being able to catch both people responsible because of him. She offers up a handshake to congratulate him on becoming a free man. Aw I really did love their partnership.
Tae-san returns to Boss Han’s room that night, and ajusshi stumbles home a little drunk. He hands Tae-san an envelope of money, just as a gesture because he feels terrible about his son killing Man-seok and chasing Tae-san for weeks.
They take turns arguing who’s more grateful for the other, which is sweet, and then Tae-san asks how ajusshi isn’t angrier about what happened to his son. Boss Han just sighs that he’s lived long enough to feel grateful that he found his son even now, knowing that even if it’s a late start, it’s a start.
Tae-san agrees and repeats his phrase, “Even now…” He returns the envelope and refuses to take the money, so then Boss Han asks if he doesn’t want to live with him. He says they could live in the same neighborhood at least, if he doesn’t want to live in the same house, and Tae-san laughs. How cute, ajusshi has grown attached.
Tae-san asks if it’s because he’s worried about him, and Boss Han scoffs that it’s nothing of the sort, but you know it is.
Su-jin gets to move from the sterile ward to a regular hospital room today, and she gets extra nervous about primping for Daddy’s arrival, saying that he promised to shake her hand when she got out.
Tae-san comes in and greets her with a handshake as promised, and then brings out the monkey he’s been hiding behind his back. In-hye’s eyes widen in surprise. Su-jin’s had enough of this handshake business and just hugs him, thank goodness.
He crouches down and reaches out to her face, and she mirrors him exactly, doing everything he does. It’s so cute. She tells Mom that she didn’t know it before, but Dad’s nose is really pretty.
He just takes in every inch of her, trying not to cry, and holds her close.
Jae-kyung starts to take down the notes on her white board, and then sits in silence eating her cereal. Suddenly Mi-sook appears in front of her, smiling back at her just like she would on a normal day. Jae-kyung: “I’m sorry. Thank you.”
Her tears start to spill over, and Mi-sook wipes them away. As they smile, the camera pans over to her white board, now wiped clean.
Elsewhere, someone’s having a very different breakfast. Boss Moon struggles to eat his prison meal, now blind and disfigured. He accidentally knocks the corn off his plate, and while he stumbles around looking for it, the inmate next to him reaches over and steals his corn. AHAHAHA. I freaking love it.
Congresswoman Jo just sits silently in her cell, eyes closed. She still scares me, because I don’t think jail time will change her in the least.
Teacher Kim seems at peace in his cell, reading another doting letter from Dad with a smile on his face.
The cops gather for a drink, minus the mole, who turns up to bring them their food. He was naturally fired, but went into business and is much happier as a civilian. Seung-woo just got back from a vacation (a forced suspension) but the captain is eager to get him back on duty.
He says not today, because Su-jin gets to go home from the hospital today. He shows up at the hospital with chocolates, and Su-jin beams when she sees him. In-hye is clearly surprised that he showed up, and asks how his vacation was. He calls it a repentance trip, since after all it was a forced suspension.
He helps Su-jin finish packing, and the three of them head out holding hands… except Tae-san is there waiting at the curb. Dude, the family is wearing matching windbreakers. Not that I doubted this was the way the loveline would go, but that’s your answer right there.
He and Seung-woo exchange bows, and Seung-woo tells Su-jin that her dad is here, as if giving her permission to go. She runs into Daddy’s arms and he lifts her up atop his shoulders.
In-hye looks up at Seung-woo with this guilty look, but he does the good guy thing and smiles back at her, not letting her see his heartbreak.
The family goes camping and Tae-san does everything on Su-jin’s wishlist, starting with soccer. Then the pair of artists sit down to draw portraits of Mom, and Su-jin asks what Dad liked about Mom when they first met. You little cupid.
He says that when they first met, Dad sort of made a mistake, but instead of thinking the worst of him, Mom took his words at face value. We flash back to the post-boob-grab argument on the beach, where she was mostly thrilled that she did such a good job of playing a statue that he didn’t think she was a real person.
Dad insists on cooking for them, and then over dinner, Su-jin asks where Daddy lives. He stiffens up at the question, and tells her that he made a lot of mistakes in his life. He asks for some time before he can explain everything to her, and she apologizes for asking, admitting that Mom told her not to.
The three of them go to sleep holding hands, and Su-jin asks Daddy to sing her a lullaby. He doesn’t know any, so she asks for any song he knows all the words to, and he starts singing.
The song startles In-hye, and we flash back to their happy days when she had sung him the same song, and they’d argued about the lyrics (he argued they were sad, while she liked the romance of it).
It’s then that she had asked him to quit his job with Boss Moon, swearing that it wasn’t because she was ashamed, but because she believed he could make more of himself. Tae-san agreed, knowing full well he could never ask a girl like her to stay by someone like him if he didn’t clean up his act.
He wondered why she didn’t say anything sooner, and she said she wanted to wait for him. And finally, a kiss.
Back in the present, they sit outside after Su-jin is asleep (or so they think—she’s really awake and listening from inside the tent). Tae-san says that Su-jin takes after her because she’s so pretty and kind, and he tells In-hye that he wants to be the kind of father Su-jin can lean on, whether she’s nine or eighteen or married with kids of her own.
In-hye says he will, but he tells her that in order to become that kind of father, first he has to be that kind of man. Augh, I love him. It isn’t good news for In-hye though, because she understands what this means—he brought them on this trip because he’s leaving. Wait, what?
He thanks her for forgiving him, but calls two weeks too short a time to change everything. I agree, but uh, extenuating circumstances, hello. Also, why does it require you to leave? He reminds her that she cut herself off from her own family because of him, and has bridges to mend as well. And then he tells her not to lose Seung-woo, who was there for her and Su-jin for four years. Noooo. What. It’s too late for noble idiocy!
So then In-hye goes to meet Seung-woo, but then it turns out to be another flashback, to before he left on his repentance trip. He tells her that it isn’t because he loves her less, but he doesn’t have the courage to ignore Tae-san, and In-hye, and Su-jin’s feelings. “And more importantly, that’s the father Su-jin wants.”
He tells her not to let Tae-san run off on his own, knowing that Tae-san doesn’t feel like he has the right to hold onto her. In-hye knows, but she says that what Tae-san needs most right now is time, which is true for all of them.
Back at the campfire, In-hye tells Tae-san all this, and says she’s grateful to Seung-woo and calls him a good person. She turns to Tae-san: “I have a good eye for people.” She tells him not to worry about her and Su-jin, and do as he wants.
He assures her that no matter what he sets out to do now, he’ll live right because of Su-jin. He asks timidly if once he gets his life together, she’ll let him see Su-jin once in a while, and In-hye makes it clear that she’ll get to see Dad all she wants. In fact she turns it around and says: “Whenever Su-jin wants to see her dad, when she needs him—you have an obligation to show your face. Don’t forget it.” Aww.
With tears in his eyes, he says over and over, “I won’t forget it. How could I forget that? Is that a thing to forget? I won’t forget.”
They go back to bed, but nobody can really sleep, least of all Su-jin. She turns over and puts her arm around Dad, just to hug him a little longer, and so Tae-san puts his arms around her to hold her as she sleeps.
He gives her a kiss on the forehead, as In-hye watches with a smile. Tears fall as he hugs her, and he says in voiceover:
Tae-san: There are people smiling at me. They look at me and smile. I smile too. A bud sprouts in my heart. A flower blooms.
And in the morning, he walks down a tree-lined road. Su-jin’s voice calls out from behind him: “Daddy!” He turns back to smile at her.
You know, that was more open-ended than I expected, but it feels more realistic than forcing a bow on a two-week story. We get enough hints that a happy ending is in store, and even get a glimpse of it during the camping the trip. But it would be too easy to have an instant family unit after two weeks of struggle—life-altering fight-to-the-death struggle that it was—it doesn’t earn you a free Presto Acme Happy Family. I like that Tae-san knows this and still wants to earn it the hard way, and become the kind of man who deserves In-hye (though part of me worries that he’d never let himself believe he truly deserves her). At least we’ve seen her be assertive enough for the both of them in the past, and I don’t think that In-hye’s feelings are ambiguous, in that she clearly doesn’t choose Seung-woo and lets him do the kind thing and step away.
And it’s clear that Tae-san is doing all of this for the same reason he was going to go clean eight years ago—he wants to stand by her side proudly and be someone she can lean on, and now he wants to be that for both her and Su-jin. I don’t know that he really needs to go away-away to do it (you people have lost enough time, is all I’m sayin’) but I don’t want to sweep his past under the rug either. He has a lot to answer for, even with his criminal record wiped clean. In two weeks’ time we’ve come to trust that he’ll live well and not waste his life anymore, but it’s a different thing altogether for him to take those first steps to actually make that happen. Deciding you’ll be a better man is one thing; becoming one is another journey altogether. I think the show is very clear on that front: this two-week trial gave him the will to fight to survive, and earns him his second chance at life. He has to work for the rest.
I’m satisfied with where we end up as far as the central plot goes—justice prevails, baddies get their due, and Boss Moon gets his corn stolen. That little beat just made my day, more than the self-inflicted burns or the beat-down from Tae-san (though that was awesome too), because it’s like a little grace note of perfection: immensely petty and really satisfying. The villains each get fitting wrap-ups, in that you get the sense that Boss Moon has become his own worst nightmare—powerless, irrelevant, gum under people’s shoes—while Congresswoman Jo sits in her cell thinking she did nothing wrong because she’s a sociopath that way. And Teacher Kim, well, his flicker of emotion might mean he’s not a cyborg. Maybe. And I really loved Jae-kyung’s send-off, which had such a sweet melancholy tone. Part me had the sinking feeling that in wrapping up the case, she’s lost the single-minded purpose that drove her for eight years, and she might have a mental breakdown. For her a new beginning felt scary but necessary—she might wake up tomorrow and not know what to do with herself, but that’s probably a good thing.
As a finale, this episode managed to satisfy the bulk of what I wanted for the characters, which is saying a lot since I came into it feeling like I’d be disappointed with anything less than a happy-but-realistic ending. It tied up the bad-guy chase early enough (with a really great reversal from Tae-san who makes his stand against Moon—a necessary “graduation” moment if there ever was one) to leave enough time for an emotional build in the finish, without rushing the daddy-daughter reunion. It’s the thing we’ve been waiting for all series long, the real, non-imaginary, non-dream hug. It was no question that he’d get to save her (otherwise, where be the redemption) but it was their reunion afterwards that I had been on pins and needles to watch play out onscreen. I thought Lee Jun-ki’s performance, as it was throughout the series when he was with either of the girls, felt sweetly understated and perfectly awkward. It kind of kills me that after all that, he’s scared to do anything more than offer her a handshake. So fitting.
Two Weeks’ central conceit really worked to its advantage in keeping the story chugging along. It’s a show that has such a strong premise and motivation (life and death stakes, danger, danger, murder, danger) that the central plot is literally just that one straight shot we set up in Episode 1. On the flipside, that puts much more weight on the finale to close up the story with a satisfying conclusion. If we’ve spent fifteen episodes with all roads leading to this, it’s the kind of burden on a finale that could retroactively make me hate the time I had invested. Thankfully it made me happy I had gone on the run for eight weeks, even if it made me a nervous wreck sometimes. I do wish the show had been a little twistier at times (the auction turned out to be ridiculously simplistic), and the finale’s use of flashbacks was overkill. We’re used to flashbacks on this show, and they’re mostly used to great effect, since on the two-week premise alone you can’t go very deep with characters without them. But still, in the finale it seemed like a crutch, or a way to fancify the proceedings, which should’ve been rather straightforward. I would’ve rather watched our characters learn the crucial plot points as they happened, not have them be kept from us for the surprise. Because, uh, it’s not a surprise if we already know. The point is that we want to be with them when they make the discovery.
Overall it was Tae-san’s character that made the series worth watching, because his redemption feels truly earned. They weren’t afraid to make him despicable at the start, knowing how hard he’d have to fight to survive, to stop feeling sorry for himself, to think that life was worth living. His internal journey had a great progression as he started to grow a spine and change his external circumstances for the better, and I really watched the entire series for his redemption arc. It wasn’t that he was saving his daughter (noble and heroic, yes), but that he would be saved by being able to be a father to her in that one way—being needed became his lifeline, and that felt so raw and earnest. There are a few repeated beats when Tae-san looks at In-hye, or Su-jin (and in the end both), in amazement that they’re laughing and smiling because of him and for him. There’s something so lovely about how simple love is to him—he spent his life feeling worthless and hating himself, but In-hye and Su-jin thank him for being born, and are happy to see him, without reservation. It still kind of blows my mind that that one fact makes him so happy, but it’s also a reminder that he’ll never take anything for granted from this day forward.
- Two Weeks: Episode 15
- Two Weeks: Episode 14
- Two Weeks: Episode 13
- Two Weeks: Episode 12
- Two Weeks: Episode 11
- Two Weeks: Episode 10
- Two Weeks: Episode 9
- Two Weeks: Episode 8
- Two Weeks: Episode 7
- Two Weeks: Episode 6
- Two Weeks: Episode 5
- Two Weeks: Episode 4
- Two Weeks: Episode 3
- Two Weeks: Episode 2
- Two Weeks: Episode 1