Remember—Son’s War: Episode 4
This is turning out to be a show that’s not easy to watch, and I mean that in the best way possible. No brain-candy here — it’s a powerful gut-punch to the stomach, multiple times per episode. Painful, but oh-so worth it.
There are more questions than answers as details are revealed about what happened the night Jung-ah was killed. Details, of course, that may or may not be exactly the truth. But that’s what happens when corrupt forces wield their power to protect their own, and when the consequences are the destruction of everything you care about, sometimes the safest thing to do is just accept your fate. But who wants a hero — or anti-hero — who just plays it safe?
EPISODE 4 RECAP
After Dong-ho hangs up on Jin-woo’s frantic phone call, he turns his attention to Chairman Nam. This dinner meeting was the chairman’s doing, as he calmly tells Dong-ho that they can help each other. But Dong-ho says he’s really there to try and persuade the chairman, instead of the other way around.
Gyu-man is more worried about his father finding out about what really happened with Jung-ah than potentially standing trial for murder. Daddy Nam is the one with the power, money, and influence, and Gyu-man frets about whether or not he’ll get to be the company’s heir if a scandal gets out.
When Secretary Ahn admits that the chairman already knows about Jung-ah, Gyu-man goes all “crazy eyes” and orders him to pull the car over.
As he throttles his secretary, Gyu-man demands to know why he disobeyed his strict order to not tell his father. Secretary Ahn points out that hiding Gyu-man’s involvement in Jung-ah’s death was too big of a job for him, and it’s thanks to Chairman Nam’s considerable influence that the police never investigated Gyu-man (who would have been a likely suspect considering how close Jung-ah was to the villa).
Back at the restaurant, Chairman Nam continues to calmly wield his influence as he questions whether Dong-ho really believes the video with his son’s confession will actually change the court’s decision. Dong-ho admits that due to the questionable way the footage was obtained, it might not admissible as evidence. But it will still make for juicy news when he ensures the video goes viral.
The trial will become a sensation, and Gyu-man’s actions will be revealed to the world. He counsels the chairman (for the sake of his precious company’s image) to make Gyu-man quietly turn himself in before the trial tomorrow. Dong-ho arrogantly prepares to leave, warning Chairman Nam that despite all the money he and his son have been trying to bribe him with, he knows when enough is enough. Even the money-hungry lawyer has his limits.
Jin-woo and In-ah have been impatiently waiting for Dong-ho to return to his office, and they immediately pounce on him as soon as he walks through the door. Jin-woo reveals that he knows Gyu-man is guilty, and Dong-ho sighs that he spent so much money and manpower tracking down evidence that apparently was easy enough for “these kids” to figure out, too.
He reassures them that he’ll reveal the confession tape in court tomorrow, and once the doctor confirms that Dad has a memory problem, the trial will be overturned. When Jin-woo desperately asks if his father will definitely be released, Dong-ho reminds him that Jin-woo so passionately wanted to defend his father’s innocence not just about the murder, but the slanderous words the media and general public called him. Jin-woo just needs to trust him — he’ll make sure that his father will able to go home soon.
In the Nam household, the chairman is enjoying the way his daughter Yeo-kyung praises him. She’s clearly the favored child. But when Gyu-man enters Chairman Nam’s office, he brusquely orders her out so he can deal with his son. Gyu-man immediately drops to knees, begging for forgiveness, but instead his father throws a kendo helmet at him, ordering him to put it on.
I’m not exactly sure what the punishment entails, but it can’t be pleasant since the sounds of Gyu-man being beaten by the bamboo kendo stick are loud enough to be heard from the hallway where Yeo-kyung and Secretary Ahn idly wait. Secretary Ahn reassures her that her brother made a just “small” mistake — but nothing to worry about. Yeah. Sure.
Punishment over (at least for now), Chairman Nam gruffly orders Gyu-man to tell him exactly what happened that night, down to the smallest detail.
In a flashback, we see Jung-ah lying on the floor of the villa, crying as she tries to hold together her ripped dress. Gyu-man digs out some pretty large bills from his wallet as he drunkenly throws some at her, telling her that’s for her singing, for transportation costs, and for “pleasing” him just now. Ugh.
His buddy stumbles into the room and then quickly bows back out, apologizing for disturbing them. Jung-ah, still trembling, manages to stand up and find an empty wine glass. She smashes it against the table and holds out the broken end threateningly towards Gyu-man, all the while still struggling to keep her torn dress from falling off her shoulders.
He’s surprised but not at all threatened by her makeshift weapon, taunting her to use it as he sticks out his chin. To his surprise, she actually makes a swing at him and draws blood by nicking his cheek. He rages back and brutally slaps her to the ground. She manages to break free and escape through the kitchen, but now Gyu-man sees it like a game. He’s the hunter and she’s the prey.
Jung-ah runs terrified and barefoot through the woods, desperate to lose her pursuer. She tries hiding behind a log pile, but Gyu-man easily finds her. As he steps forward, something overpowers him — drugs, perhaps, or too much alcohol — and he collapses on top of her. In his dazed state, he drives the corkscrew into her body.
In the morning, he wakes up next to Jung-ah’s body, and once he realizes the situation, quickly calls Secretary Ahn to come rescue him. When Secretary Ahn immediately pulls out his phone to call Chairman Nam, since this kind of a thing is too much for him to clean up on his own, Gyu-man screams that he must keep it a secret from his father at all costs.
Back in his father’s office post kendo-beating, Gyu-man tearfully explains that he had no idea someone could die so easily. But Chairman Nam isn’t about to grant forgiveness to a man who’s trembling and crying about one unimportant woman dying when he should be preparing himself for the responsibility for thousands of lives when he’ll take over the company.
The next morning, Chairman Nam has a private meeting with Secretary Ahn, who reassures him that he’s kept “that thing” safe and well-hidden, as requested. Hmm. Is that “thing” the corkscrew murder weapon, perhaps?
He also reveals the information he’s found out about Dong-ho’s weaknesses — namely Joo-il, the mob boss who’s like a father to him. Secretary Ahn has also found out that Joo-il would like to expand his businesses into Seoul, but it’s difficult getting the funding for such an operation.
Our intrepid team of underdogs are all excited for today’s trial, knowing that their evidence will help them win. Jin-woo meets with his father before the trial, and they’re both so happy as Jin-woo sings Dong-ho’s praises, promising his father that if they trust in their lawyer, they’ll be able to be reunited soon.
At the courthouse, Dong-ho literally cha-chas his way to the court room, so assured that the trial will go his way today. He’s intercepted by Joo-il, who pulls him aside to tell him to lose the trial. That’s not what Dong-ho wants to hear, and he accuses Joo-il of being bribed by Chairman Nam, then leaves after telling him that he’ll pretend this conversation never happened.
Despite being momentarily rattled but Joo-il’s sudden visit, when he sees Jin-woo’s beaming smile, Dong-ho gives him a small smile in return. The first witness to the stand is the doctor who originally diagnosed Dad’s Alzheimer’s condition, but to Dong-ho and Jin-woo’s surprise, the doctor calmly states that in his expert opinion, Dad isn’t suffering from any memory disease. In fact, Jin-woo was the one who had begged for him to testify that Dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
That’s a total lie, as an angry Dong-ho points out. But it only gets him a reprimand from the judge to maintain order in court. Dong-ho glances up to see Joo-il take a seat in the gallery, and he knows that the powers that have reached his mob boss father figure, have also reached the doctor. Even more surprising is when the prosecution declares that their next witness is none other than Jin-woo himself.
During a short recess, Joo-il tells Dong-ho that the trial is doomed, so he should give it up now. There’s no point in releasing the footage of Gyu-man. Dong-ho just wants to know what Chairman Nam offered Joo-il to have him under his thumb, and it turns out it’s an entire building in the middle of Seoul. Joo-il will be able to expand his business, the same kind of business that paid for Dong-ho to become a lawyer after Dong-ho’s father died.
As Dong-ho readies himself for the rest of the trial, he remembers the day when he and his father were driving along in his father’s delivery truck. His father saw a DUI checkpoint up ahead and suddenly swerved to make a U-tun, much to teenage Dong-ho’s surprise since he knew his father hasn’t been drinking. But his father told him that if anything happened to him, Dong-ho is to take the ticket in the glove compartment — a one-way ticket to the States.
Teenage Dong-ho was confused about where the money for the ticket came from, and his father warned him that if he suddenly disappears, Joo-il will be the one to take care of Dong-ho. During one lingering glance at his son, the father ends up running a red light, smashing into a car in the middle of the intersection.
As teenage Dong-ho cries over his unresponsive father’s body, in the backseat of the car they smashed into is young Jin-woo, crying over his mother’s body. OMG, Dong-ho’s father is the one who killed Jin-woo’s mother and brother.
Back in the courtroom, Dong-ho is seemingly lost in thought as Prosecutor Moon questions Jin-woo about his request to have the doctor testify about Dad having Alzheimer’s, phrasing his questions to make it appear that Jin-woo is lying instead of the “expert medical witness.” Dong-ho finally snaps out of his reverie to object, but Jin-woo desperately jumps up, yelling that his father is innocent and Gyu-man is the guilty one.
He says that Dong-ho has the evidence, and his eyes plead with the lawyer as he waits for Dong-ho to confirm his statement. After an expectant pause, Dong-ho says he has no such evidence. Jin-woo is dragged out of the courtroom, yelling at Dong-ho to release the footage — after all, he put his trust in him!
Even though no footage is released, after the trial concludes for the day, the news about Jin-woo’s accusation of Gyu-man quickly spreads. Yeo-kyung barges in to see her brother, who clearly seems unbothered by the rumors as he gets a relaxing massage. She demands to know where Jin-woo got such an idea as to accuse him — is there really footage?
Gyu-man cooly tells her that his name must have popped up on some news site — they are a popular family after all. Besides, Jin-woo’s father works for them at their villa, so perhaps he was looking for an easy scapegoat. Yeo-kyung has no further questions, but it doesn’t look like she completely trust her brother’s smooth answers.
A broken-hearted Jin-woo (along with In-ah) tries to get in touch with Dong-ho, but his phone is turned off and his office is locked and dark.
Meanwhile, Jung-ah’s father weeps as he watches old home videos of his daughter. He’s deeply lost in grief when he decides to go through her belongings, but as he does so, he finds her appointment book that also has Secretary Ahn’s business card. Thinking it suspicious that his daughter would have something pertaining to Chairman Nam’s company after Jin-woo’s scandalous accusation, he immediately calls Prosecutor Moon.
The prosecutor tells him that it must just be a coincidence, but Jung-ah’s father is convinced that they should look further into Gyu-man and his father’s company. He doesn’t want an innocent person to pay for someone else’s crimes, and begs Prosecutor Moon to find the true murderer. Prosecutor Moon agrees, but as soon as he hangs up the phone, he shares a drink with the man seated across from him — none other than Chairman Nam himself.
The next morning, Jung-ah’s father is reported as having committed suicide. It’s all over the news, especially regarding the handwritten statement he left behind that accuses Jin-woo’s father as being guilty of murdering his daughter.
As the trial resumes, Prosecutor Moon submits the corkscrew with Jung-ah’s blood on it as evidence. He also calls to the stand a new witness — an ahjumma who also works at the villa, and who Jin-woo remembers seeing when he video-called his father that day.
She explains she hadn’t wanted to come forward earlier because she didn’t want to tattle on a fellow employee, but now she feels compelled to state that she saw Jin-woo’s father hiding something in the break room. The same place, conveniently, where the murder weapon was found.
The courtroom is abuzz with this new “evidence,” but Dong-ho has no objection to raise. Prosecutor Moon smoothly wraps up his closing remarks by pointing out how Jin-woo tried to get a doctor to lie about his father’s condition, the bloody corkscrew found in the employee break room, and Jung-ah’s father’s accusatory suicide note. The so-called evidence as laid out is definitely damning.
When it’s time for Dong-ho’s closing remarks, he simply stands and asks the judge and jury to make the best decision. Through his tears, Jin-woo glares at Dong-ho. But the lawyer continues to ignore him.
The judge reads out the verdict — based on the evidence provided, Dad is sentenced to the death penalty. Ooof. As the guards lead him away, Jin-woo leaps up from his seat and tries to cling to his father. Both son and father have to be dragged out of the courtroom as they desperately yell and reach for each other.
In-ah is furious with Dong-ho for just giving up during the trial and not revealing the evidence he had. She shouts at him, asking if he can truly call himself a lawyer. He just leaves without saying a word.
As Dong-ho reaches his car, Prosecutor Moon comes up to him, his smile beaming. He holds out his hand but Dong-ho ignores it, so he just grabs Dong-ho’s hand as he tells him that they should get together for a drink sometime. Jin-woo spots them just then, and seeing the two men in what he perceives to be exchanging a congratulatory hand-shake, feels even more betrayed.
Yeo-kyung finds In-ah outside of the courtroom, and tells her that she must be disappointed that the verdict didn’t turn out the way she wanted. But In-ah angrily asks if Yeo-kyung really thinks they gave the defendant a fair trial. Does she think the truth won out? This is still just a game to Yeo-kyung, but In-ah knows that it’s destroyed two lives.
Joo-il pours Dong-ho a drink, and as he watches the dispirited lawyer accept it, he thinks back to when Chairman Nam warned him that if Dong-ho released the footage, he’d make sure it was the lawyer’s last trial ever. Ohhhh, so it wasn’t so much about being bribed to increase his business as it was capitulating to protect Dong-ho.
That night, Jin-woo sits in the darkness of his empty house, recalling the happier times when his father made his favorite meals. He puts his head on his knees and cries his heart out.
At his office, Jin-woo studies the 50,000 won note “contract.” He slips it into his pocket as Gyu-man swaggers in, congratulating him on now becoming his father’s primary lawyer. Dong-ho’s face remains blank until Gyu-man mentions Joo-il, and pleased to get some sort of reaction, he tells Dong-ho he’s just there for his “life-price.”
Dong-ho tosses what looks like a USB card at him — presumably the original footage of Gyu-nam’s confession. Gyu-nam takes it and teasingly-yet-threateningly warns Dong-ho he better not have made a copy, then saunters out.
It’s just poor timing all around today for Jin-woo, because he arrives at Dong-ho’s office to see Gyu-man drive off. When he sees Dong-ho, he rushes up and punches him in the face. With angry tears streaming down his face, he yells at Dong-ho for giving up on the trial.
Wearily, Dong-ho tells him that the attorney never gives up until the client is dead, but Jin-woo doesn’t trust him. He’s decided that he’ll be the one to save his father — no one else.
At the prison, Jin-woo meets with his father. Both father and son try to keep things sounding lighthearted, but the true meaning behind their words is too painful to ignore, and neither can hide their tears as Jin-woo reassures his father that he’s all grown up and can take care of himself. Dad only has one request — that Jin-woo take Dad’s dress shoes and put them by the door so it looks like there’s someone else at home.
Visiting time is over, and as the guard escorts Dad away, Jin-woo yells through the glass that he’s going to become a lawyer and exonerate Dad before he can be executed.
In the morning, Jin-woo sets out his father’s shoes, as requested. But he also has a suitcase packed, and with one final look around, he leaves his old home. His first stop is at Jung-ah’s father’s memorial. The rest of the neighborhood guests are appalled that he would show his face there, but In-ah is protective of him as she tries to defend him. Jin-woo just quietly takes their abuse as he focuses on the memorial, kneeling and bowing deep as he weeps his apologies to Jung-ah and her father.
In-ah follows him out, promising him that she’ll help find him a new lawyer, one that will believe in his case. But Jin-woo doesn’t want her help — he no longer trusts that such lawyers exist.
Dong-ho visits his father’s urn, apologizing that today he has nothing to brag about. But he holds up the 50,000 won note, promising that the contract isn’t over. He can’t give up on his client, not like this.
Four years later. In-ah is now a prosecutor, and as she prepares to go to trial, everyone waits for the defense attorney who is running late. We see a set of well-dressed legs confidently stride through the courthouse until the doors of the courtroom swing wide open.
In-ah stands up in shock when she recognizes the defense attorney: it’s none other than Jin-woo.
What a roller coaster of an episode. I’m glad we’re finally caught up to the present-day where we started back in the first episode, although I’m curious to know about Jin-woo’s journey to become a lawyer and what has happened in the past four years. I’m sure we’ll find out, though, since the show likes to give us bits-and-pieces of flashbacks as needed.
Speaking of flashbacks, did anyone see that car crash coming? I admit I let out an audible gasp when that happened because it took me by such genuine surprise. I did not expect to see Dong-ho and Jin-woo’s fates entwined so early in their lives, but now I’m dying to know how Jin-woo will handle the discovery that his mother and father were killed by Dong-ho’s father. I’m also deeply curious to know what shady business Dong-ho’s father was involved in, since clearly there was something dangerous and scary that made him buy a one-way ticket for his son to get out of down.
But that’s a layer we’re not privy to, yet, and I’m fine with that. We still need to focus on Jin-woo’s journey to becoming an attorney. I’m just glad there are layers, though — and lots of them.
There’s actually something very noir-ish about this series — not just in the masterful use of light and shadow, color composition, and general blocking and framing of scenes (seriously, this is such a gorgeously filmed drama), but also the way it deals with Jung-ah’s brutal murder and having an innocent man take the blame for it. There’s a deep element of powerful corruption ruling everything, which is why this episode was difficult to watch at times since it seemed like at every turn, the heroes were faced with the hopeless discovery that they were going to lose, no matter what they did. Watching the vibrant Dong-ho just sort of “power-down” once he realized there was no way he was going to win this case was almost as painful as watching Yoo Seung-ho’s puppy-eyes fill with tears of anguish every few minutes.
I really want them to win in the end, of course, but I’m also worried for them because both the unpredictable rage-filled Gyu-man and his powerful, ruthless father seem like enemies that one simply can’t win against. Not at this point, at any rate. But I suppose that’s why we’re only four episodes in. We still have a long ways to go, and I hope that the show can maintain its momentum as we move on to new period in our characters’ lives.
- Remember—Son’s War: Episode 3
- 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