Remember—Son’s War: Episode 3
I was tempted to post yet another image of Yoo Seung-ho’s gloriously tear-filled, tortured eyes up top, but opted for Namgoong Min instead since he really struck me this episode—damn if he doesn’t make for an electric, psychotic villain. I thought he was fantastic going darker for Girl Who Sees Smells earlier this year, but he dials it up a notch here with an unhinged intensity I find really gripping. Not that anybody’s chopped liver; the cast is populated by interesting characters and strong performances, which makes Remember a brisk, compelling watch so far. The ratings are ticking upward (11.7% for this episode, 12.1% or the following one) and understandably so, with plots thickening and suspense building.
SONG OF THE DAY
K.Will – “시리다” (Freezing) from the Remember—Son’s War OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Backing up, we revisit the scene in lawyer Dong-ho’s office, when Jin-woo barges in with his gambling winnings and begs him to take up his father’s defense. Dong-ho turns him down flat, to Jin-woo’s confusion and In-ah’s indignation.
Jin-woo doesn’t understand why Dong-ho won’t take his money when he’d previously said that that’s what he needed, but Dong-ho remains unmoved and has him tossed out, literally. Jin-woo desperately begs Dong-ho’s sidekick, but ends up trudging away heavy-hearted. In-ah asks why he’s fixated on that guy to defend his father, questioning whether he’s even a lawyer, but Jin-woo snaps at her to mind her own business.
Despite his stone face, Dong-ho mulls over the situation late into the night, struck by the parallels in his youth and Jin-woo’s situation now.
The next day, as Dad Jae-hyuk’s trial is proceeding (and rather dismally at that), Dong-ho meets with a rich client regarding the divorce case she’s fighting against her cheating husband. He gets words from his sidekick that his hunch was on the money regarding (psycho chaebol) Nam Gyu-man—and there’s a connection between Gyu-man and the victim Jung-ah, which places her at Gyu-man’s exclusive party the night before she died.
Dong-ho heads over to the courthouse and makes his grand entrance, announcing himself as Dad’s new attorney as Jin-woo looks up at him with shining eyes. Dong-ho presents Dad with the paperwork that would make his representation official. The current public defender, stuttering Lawyer Song, protests, while the judge presses Dad to confirm whether Dong-ho is his representative.
Confused, Dad looks over at Jin-woo, who gives him a hopeful nod. So Dad agrees and signs, and Lawyer Song exits huffily.
Dong-ho turns to Jin-woo in the spectator pews, and Jin-woo wonders why he decided to come when he’d said he wouldn’t. Dong-ho lowers his voice and says that there’s a hugely powerful person—”someone you can’t take on”—who’s connected to this trial. “I’ve caught the scent,” Dong-ho adds. And right away, one of the spectators sitting a few rows away slips off to make a phone call.
It goes to Crazy Chaebol’s Secretary Ahn, who informs Gyu-man that there’s been an attorney swap—and the new guy is, “of all people, that guy from that day.” Gyu-man thinks back to that smug lawyer who taunted him about CCTV videos and his face hardens.
In the courtroom, all eyes are on Dong-ho to see what his first move is… and confused murmurs break out when he requests a postponement. The judge seems to see this as a desperate ploy, but Dong-ho says firmly that a crucial witness is needed for a fair trial, and they are in the process of tracking down his/her whereabouts. He asks for one day.
Lead Prosecutor Hong, looking smug that this case is his for the winning, voices no objection. Dong-ho approaches him after court is adjourned for the day, and it’s clear the two men are familiar with each other; there’s no love lost here. Prosecutor Hong insinuates that Dong-ho’s request for a delay was a cheap gambit, thinking he doesn’t actually have a witness at all. Dong-ho tells him that they’ll find out soon whether it’s true.
In-ah leaves the courthouse wondering at Dong-ho’s change of heart, while her law school rival Yeo-kyung figures it was money—Dong-ho’s infamous for taking on any case and doing whatever it takes, as long as the client pays.
Dong-ho goes with Jin-woo to visit Dad in jail to consult on the case. It’s a rude awakening for Jin-woo, whose newfound hope gets doused with cold water when Dong-ho talks to Dad as though he did kill the girl, asking for the truth. He presents Dad with the written confession he’d signed, and Dad tells him that he was coerced.
Flashback. After Dad is taken away initially by officers in a police vehicle, the car takes a detour to an abandoned warehouse where the officers demand that he confess to his crime. Dad swears he didn’t kill the girl, but a gun is held to his temple and the lead officer insinuates that it would be very easy to make his son disappear, never to be found again.
Dad swears earnestly to Dong-ho that despite the holes in his memory, whenever he tries to think of the dead Jung-ah, his heart insists he didn’t do it. He understands that it’s frustrating that he can’t give more answers, and tells Dong-ho he doesn’t have to be his counsel.
Dong-ho sighs, silent for a long moment, then declares, “Fine. Let’s take this all the way then.” Dad and Jin-woo look at him in relief and gratitude.
Jin-woo offers Dong-ho his backpack of gambling winnings as payment, but Dong-ho makes a counteroffer: If Dong-ho gets Dad out of prison, Jin-woo will use his talents to work only for Dong-ho. With Jin-woo’s extraordinary memory, he says he could get his legal credentials much faster than it took Dong-ho, and signs on a 50,000 won bill (about fifty bucks) as their “contract.”
He advises Jin-woo to return his gambling winnings, and Jin-woo asks why Dong-ho is taking the case if not for the money. Dong-ho merely replies that it’s not for him to know.
Jin-woo recalls Dong-ho mentioning a powerful foe who’d be too much for him to take on, and asks if he meant Jung-ah’s true killer. Dong-ho doesn’t answer that question, and instead puts Jin-woo to work remembering every last detail of the night his father didn’t come home.
Together, they start working on the case—and alone at home, In-ah begins her own one-woman investigation—and Jin-woo recalls one detail: The gun worn by the officer who arrested Dad was also at the victim’s funeral.
Dong-ho meets with his mob boss client and buddy Suk Joon-il at the sauna, and tells him that the same chaebol punk who caused trouble for Joon-il is involved in this case. Joon-il wonders if Dong-ho took the case purely because it involves “that crazy bastard,” but Dong-ho replies that it’s more for the freakishly odd talent Jin-woo has, being able to recall every single detail of everything he’s ever seen.
Dong-ho takes a trip out to the crime scene in the woods, and can see the chaebol vacation house off in the distance.
The next day when he arrives at the courthouse, In-ah blocks his path and musters up her nerve to tell him not to take advantage of that desperate kid, if he’s just looking for money. Her outburst doesn’t do much (he just heads right on into his hearing) but it does endear her to me, since she’s trying to look out for Jin-woo’s interests.
The arresting officer, Detective Kwak, is brought in to testify on the prosecution’s behalf, and we know this can’t be good, given how he forced Dad’s confession. He lies that the day Dad was found with the body, he reeked of liquor and appeared to be completely hammered, and adds that he thinks Dad is faking his memory loss.
Dong-ho surprises the court by stating that he has a witness to present as well—then points at Detective Kwak, who’s already walking away from the stand. Dong-ho sits the cop’s ass back down in the chair, reminds him of the punishment for perjury, then begins his questions. I am hoping so hard he schools him but good.
Detective Kwak readily denies that he held Dad unlawfully to force a confession out of him, and that he threatened him at gunpoint. Dong-ho confirms that the detective carries his gun with him and has it now, but before the detective pulls it out to show the court, he stops him. Dong-ho describes the gun in basic terms—and then we flash back to Jin-woo describing it to him in minute detail, all of which Dong-ho now recites to the court.
Then he asks the detective to show the gun, and there it is. Exactly as described.
Dong-ho asks the obvious question: How could he possibly know what the detective’s gun looked like? Dad told him, he says, when Detective Kwak threatened him with it, and to strike Dad’s son if he didn’t confess. Then Dong-ho turns to the jury box and tells them that confessions forced out of a concerned parent whose child’s life is being threatened are not valid, and requests that the confession be negated.
Dong-ho lights up in hope, exchanging relieved looks with his father, and in the audience, In-ah is also relieved to have her concerns put to rest.
Afterward, Dong-ho gives a statement to the press, saying that detectives should be punished for forcing confessions. He also drops the bomb that the true culprit is at large, and tells him to turn himself in: “If you don’t, I’ll find you.”
As they leave, Prosecutor Hong stops them to ask Dong-ho why he took the case when he’s famous for only going after money, genuinely curious (if still sneering) at this out-of-character move. Dong-ho tells him to laugh away since he’ll have the last laugh when he wins.
Jin-woo asks about Dong-ho lying in court, since he was the source of the gun details. Dong-ho says he just gave back what the other side gave, calling his minor truth-stretching nothing compared to them fabricating lies.
On to the chaebol mansion where, ah, it’s revealed that the know-it-all rival law student Yeo-kyung is the sister of our loose-cannon killer Gyu-man. Interestingly, Gyu-man is rather meek before his imposing father, Chairman Nam of Il-ho Group, who warns him sternly to be careful while the company is dealing with matters of the group succession.
Gyu-man’s eyes sharpen when the news report shows Dong-ho’s big moment at the courthouse, warning the real killer that he’ll come after him.
Alone with Secretary Ahn, Gyu-man wonders if Dong-ho might really be on to him. Secretary Ahn assures him that his style is to bluff, but Gyu-man doesn’t seem convinced. He warns the secretary to make sure his father doesn’t find out, since Gyu-man finds the chairman more frightening than court. Which makes me wonder how many victims the chairman has murdered, if our resident psychopath is scared of him.
Jin-woo gets the official diagnosis from the doctor: His father is suffering from Alzheimer’s. As he’s younger than the average patient, the disease may very well progress faster, and if Dad goes to prison it’s unlikely he’ll receive proper treatment.
Jin-woo visits his father in prison, trying to keep optimistic even though it breaks his heart to see his Dad drift off mid-conversation. Dad sympathizes with Jung-ah’s father even despite being attacked by him, because he’d react similarly if Jin-woo faced the same fate. Then he brightens and promises to buy Jin-woo a new phone as soon as he’s free, and Jin-woo fights not to break down.
He goes to Jung-ah’s house to try to talk to her father, who doesn’t want to hear any of Jin-woo’s promises to prove his father innocent and catch the real killer.
So Jin-woo is understandably downcast when he goes to Dong-ho’s office and tells him of his father’s diagnosis. Dong-ho is sympathetic but not surprised, and tells Jin-woo not to be too discouraged. The diagnosis could even prove advantageous in court.
He takes him out to dinner and reminds Jin-woo of their first meeting at the memorial vaults, when he’d called himself a lawyer who gets even criminals free. He poses the ethical dilemma of a killer being stabbed and needing surgery to survive. If Jin-woo were the doctor, would he perform the surgery or not?
Jin-woo replies that you ought to proceed because that’s what doctors do, and Dong-ho says that lawyers are like that too. He doesn’t judge his clients’ guilt, because that’s for the court to decide, and thus he never asks them for the truth. But he’d wanted to ask Dad: “Just this time, I didn’t want to defend him thinking he was guilty.”
Then he adds, “I envy you. You have a father in this world you want to protect.”
In-ah spots Jin-woo being dropped off by Dong-ho, and follows Jin-woo home to warn him not to trust the lawyer too much, because she’s asked around and has heard unsettling things. But Jin-woo declares that he’s the person he needs most right now—the man who will prove his father’s innocence.
In-ah points out that it looks bad for his father’s defense to be that he can’t remember, because people aren’t likely to believe it. Jin-woo tells her that it’s Alzheimer’s, and that Dad isn’t pretending.
Dong-ho gets a plan into motion, with his sidekick wondering if things are illegal. Dong-ho isn’t too concerned about legalities, which is probably problematic given his career choice but certainly gratifying for us. Go break some laws, dude!
Gyu-man arrives at a swank bar, where he proceeds to get drunk alone and harass the hostess girls. He dangles a set of car keys and offers them to the girl who will bark like a dog and lap liquor out of a dish, and one of the hostesses steps up to comply. He laughs up a storm when she does as he says, but denies her the prize since she wasn’t dog-like enough. The hostess glares as he kicks all the girls out… and surreptitiously fixes a cigarette box on the table, pointing a tiny camera at Gyu-man and his newly arrived buddy.
Aha, she’s Dong-ho’s girlfriend and she joins him outside in his surveillance van, pouting to “oppa” about the chaebol’s horrible behavior to her. Dong-ho promises to get him back for her, then settles in to eavesdrop on the conversation.
Luckily, they get right to the point: The friend asks why Gyu-man killed Jung-ah, pointing out that there’s an unfortunate man on the hook for his crime.
Gyu-man clarifies that she scratched him first (“Don’t you know how I get when I blow my top?”) and says airily, “How was I to know people die so easily?” He adds that it’s not his fault an innocent man is accused—it’s the other man’s fault for being poor and powerless.
The buddy looks around for a cigarette and discovers the hidden camera, and the surveillance screen goes dark. But Dong-ho’s not worried, since he got what he needed.
In-ah seeks Jin-woo out to apologize for doubting his father’s memory lapses, but he tells her he understands why people might be skeptical, although it seems excessive to jump to the conclusion that Dad’s guilty. She says she wants to know the truth for herself too.
Gyu-man arrives at Dong-ho’s office, ready to throw money at the problem. Dong-ho has expected the drop-in and shows Gyu-man a hot piece of evidence he’s preparing for court—the video from the bar where Gyu-man basically screams his own guilt.
Gyu-man offers to double what he’s being paid, which Dong-ho laughs at. He explains how he used to love gambling, but quit once he started being a lawyer—because trials are a gamble. Based on his words, somebody’s entire life is on the line—they could wind up spending their days in prison, or give up all their hard-earned wealth.
His rage triggers and Gyu-man grabs Dong-ho violently, but there’s nothing he can do and he knows it. He leaves the meeting fuming, taking out his frustration on his secretary, who promises to take care of it. Secretary Ahn assures him that he wiped his prints and has managed the situation, but Gyu-man decides he can’t trust him and needs to see for himself.
He arrives at his family’s vacation home—which is more like resort compound—just as Jin-woo and In-ah sneak onto the premises. This is where his father was last (he was the janitor while Jung-ah was here singing at the party), so they’re here for clues.
They scramble for cover when Gyu-man enters the room with his entourage, managing not to be seen behind the bar. they make their way to the dressing room lined with women’s cosmetics where Jung-ah was forced to change clothes… and Jin-woo’s memory is triggered at the dress rack. Where did he see these before?
He thinks back, and remembers Dad video-calling him that last day—he’d been preparing for the party, and a dress rack was rolled by. On it was the red dress Jung-ah was found in, which means she was here before she died.
Just then, they hear a sound and whirl around… and a lamp knocks to the floor. Out in the hallway, Gyu-man hears it.
Secretary Ahn enters to check on it, and our two intruders huddle together as he inspects for clues. He tells Gyu-man there’s nothing—did he just lie? He seems to notice the cracked-open door, which Jin-woo and In-ah had used to leave the room, he slips into a different room. He retrieves a wrapped bundle from behind a painting, and takes out a bloody switchblade. Ooh. Are you plotting something against your boss?
Jin-woo and In-ah make it out unseen and rush to Dong-ho’s office, but as he’s out, they’re left waiting. In-ah spots the case files on his desk and starts rifling through them, and recognizes Gyu-man’s photographs from the mansion they just came from. While Jin-woo’s distracted, she quietly takes the CD and plays the evidence file—and there it is, Gyu-man’s incriminating confession.
Jin-woo wells up in indignation to hear Gyu-man talking of his innocent father so cavalierly, calling it his fault for being poor. He calls Dong-ho straightaway, and asks point-blank if the true killer is Nam Gyu-man.
But Dong-ho is in an important meeting and tells him he’ll talk to him later, turning off his phone and turning to face his companion: Gyu-man’s father, Chairman Nam. The old man states, “I can help you, and you can help me.”
The show’s off to a solid start, and while there are definitely areas that could be improved on, I like the overall tone of the drama, the performances, and the pacing of the back-and-forths, the small victories and setbacks, which move us along.
Admittedly the crime itself feels a little slapdash as a plot driver, in that it feels very simple and straightforward—especially with the bad guy announcing his guilt so early in the game. There are a few threads that make me think of God’s Gift—14 Days (and I mean that in a positive way) where we have a team of underdogs taking on a powerful and corrupt baddie, but it lacks a sense of mystery about the murder. Not that all dramas have to be murder conspiracies; it’s just that narrative suspense is sacrificed when we know all about the crime.
But given that this drama has chosen to reveal its cards about the murder up front, I’m fine to go along with it; I anticipate that this show will provide its gratification in the battle against the powerful chaebols, with our team of heroes fighting scrappily with every tool at their disposal.
It certainly helps that the characters are all quite interesting, from the hero and his heart-tuggingly pathetic father to the villain to his allies. I like that Dong-ho is a little unpredictable, and unscrupulous—I know dramas shy away from making their heroes do illegal things (however much we want them to), so I’m tickled that we have such a cheeky lawyer working for the good guys who’s got no qualms about bending the rules and getting his hands a little dirty.
If anything, I almost crave more darkness in Dong-ho, because I want to actually feel a moment of dread when the drama hints that he may be flirting with the other side, only to pull back and assure us that nope, he’s a good guy after all. I have very little fear that he’ll actually betray Jin-woo, which is probably good for my blood pressure but not as interesting if the drama pushed that question to a further extreme. I wouldn’t mind being a little more twisted up about it, is what I’m saying.
As for other characters: I worried that In-ah would be standard plucky sidekick stuff, and while she is that, I do like her as a character. Mostly because she’s acting for Jin-woo’s behalf more than anything, and feels strongly enough about her concerns to push aside her fears to make her stance known. As I already mentioned, I find the villain super-compelling, and that’s probably more a performance thing than a writing thing—on paper, it’s interesting to make the chaebol a live-wire with anger management issues, but when you put the performance to it, he really comes alive. I love it when actors with nice-guy images make the villain turn and actually prove to be much more effective than they ever were playing good but bland characters (Jo Hyun-jae is another example), and find myself a little extra tuned into a scene when Gyu-nam is in it. Okay, and Jin-woo too. And Dong-ho. Like I said, really solid cast.
- Remember—Son’s War: Episode 2
- Remember—Son’s War: Episode 1
- Light and dark posters for Yoo Seung-ho’s legal thriller Remember
- Double the Yoo Seung-ho in Remember’s fragmented memory teasers
- Yoo Seung-ho and Park Min-young’s emotional reunion in Remember
- Script read for SBS’s legal thriller Remember
- Namgoong Min tackles villain role for SBS’s Remember
- Park Min-young joins Yoo Seung-ho in SBS’s Remember
- Park Sung-woong joins Yoo Seung-ho in SBS’s legal thriller Remember
- SBS’s Remember courts Yoo Seung-ho to headline