Tunnel: Episode 8
Tunnel delivers another episode that’ll keep you guessing until the end. As we reach the midway point, the hunt for the serial killer responsible for the dot murders intensifies, and it may be that our hero holds the key that will enable the team to finally catch a monster. The only question is, does our hero care about the unsolved cases, or is he more concerned about finding his way back to the past?
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Kwang-ho looks at Sun-jae in disbelief as Sun-jae’s father confusedly surveys the detective before him, certain that it’s the same man who investigated his wife’s murder thirty years ago. Luckily, Sung-shik intervenes to steer him away to leave Kwang-ho and Sun-jae alone.
As Sun-jae struggles with his father’s recognition of Kwang-ho, the detective apologizes for his failure to catch his mother’s killer. Sung-shik returns to tell Sun-jae that his stepmother is in the hospital. After he leaves, Sung-shik unlocks Kwang-ho’s handcuffs and notes with surprise, “The soldier was Sun-jae’s father.”
At the hospital, Sun-jae visits his ailing stepmother before he sits with his father to ask if Park Kwang-ho was the name of the detective responsible for his mother’s case. Sun-jae’s father confirms his name and adds that he heard that the detective died, now certain that a visit to his mother’s grave that morning must have confused him.
Sung-shik sits with Kwang-ho, surprised at the revelation that Sun-jae became a cop and ended up at Hwayang station, of all places. Kwang-ho remembers Sun-jae’s confession that he intended to catch the man who killed his mother and explains that he became a cop because of his mother’s murder.
Kwang-ho goes to the hospital and runs into Sun-jae outside. He remembers holding Sun-jae as a baby and greets his partner, “Sun-jae, you’ve grown so much.” Faced with an unbelievable truth, Sun-jae just sighs.
Kwang-ho takes Sun-jae to the tunnel and explains how he emerged in the future after he failed to catch the killer responsible for the murders of six women. It’s the same tunnel that Jin Seon-chul told them about. Inside, Kwang-ho points out the spot where Jin Seon-mi’s body was found.
Sun-jae realizes that the culprit was a serial killer, but Kwang-ho tells him that the term didn’t even exist thirty years ago. Kwang-ho explains that standard investigative techniques, usually successful after three days, didn’t work with those cases — so after a month and multiple deaths, there was no suspect.
When Kwang-ho lists the women who were murdered, he includes Victim #5, Kim Young-ja, and explains how the killer marked his victims. Sun-jae was unaware of the details because there were no records of the murders or newspaper articles about the cases.
Kwang-ho confirms that murder details were kept from the public and admits that they never considered that Victim #5 survived. Sun-jae is frustrated that Kwang-ho never learned the identity of the killer.
Kwang-ho admits that he thought that the killer died once he learned that the murders stopped, but he became convinced otherwise when he remained stuck in the future, more so after he learned that his partner was Seo Yi-soo’s son. Kwang-ho wonders how the other Park Kwang-ho found out about the thirty-year-old cases and guesses that he was killed because he discovered the identity of the killer.
Jae-yi recalls that Dean Hong informed her that Hwang Chun-hee’s name never appeared in any murder reports. She decides to search the newspaper archives and finds an old article that matches Lee Seon-ok’s story, but the victim was only identified as a woman in her twenties.
After hearing about the incident between Sun-jae and Kwang-ho, detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha are surprised to see them back together and hard at work. Kwang-ho dismisses the event as payback for the prank that he pulled on his first day.
Sun-jae takes a call from Jae-yi and invites Kwang-ho to accompany him, which further mystifies Tae-hee and Min-ha. Their destination is a house that Kwang-ho recognizes as the home of the high school suspect who killed the neighborhood dogs.
Sun-jae tells him that it’s Jung Ho-young’s house, and Kwang-ho realizes that he interviewed the killer as a teenager in connection with the serial murders.
Jae-yi is already at the property, and the detectives join her. She explains that Jung Ho-young committed his first known murder ten years ago when he choked his wife, but after her interview with Lee Seon-ok, she did some research.
Jae-yi produces a newspaper article from 1985 that proves Lee Seon-ok’s story, and Kwang-ho recognizes the victim as Hwang Chun-hee. Jae-yi is surprised that he knows the woman’s identity, so Sun-jae distracts her with a question, and she explains that Jung Ho-young’s first murder could have been committed thirty years ago, when he lived in that house.
Jae-yi produces two more articles about similar murders during that time, and Kwang-ho recognizes that he was right about the teenaged suspect all along. He thinks it possible that Jung Ho-young was the person who chased after the other Park Kwang-ho and insists that he must be found, but Sun-jae points out that the killer has evaded detection for two years.
Jae-yi asks Sun-jae if Jung Ho-young told him anything personal when he was questioned two years earlier. Sun-jae remembers that he mentioned additional victims whose murders were unrecorded, and Jae-yi resolves to consider that possibility. Sun-jae has to stop to answer a call from Sung-shik, who informs him of a new case.
Kwang-ho complains to Sun-jae that their priority should be Jung Ho-young instead of a new case, and he adds that he still hasn’t found Yeon-sook. Kwang-ho is clearly unsettled when they arrive at the crime scene, a dressmaker’s shop damaged by a fire set by a suspected serial arsonist.
Min-ha records the crowd on video, and Sun-jae explains to Kwang-ho that arsonists usually linger near the crime scene. After most of the firemen exit the building, Kwang-ho and Sun-jae enter to investigate and learn that the fire was set with a lighter.
Kwang-ho hears a faint hiss and sees a broken gas line near some unextinguished flames. He throws himself at Sun-jae and knocks him down just as the boutique explodes. Sun-jae yells for help, and the team rushes to Kwang-ho’s side as he loses consciousness.
Kwang-ho smiles as he watches Yeon-sook eat a dumpling. Seated across from her, he mentions the weird girl that lives on the first floor and then explains that the brat turned out to be Seo Yi-soo’s kid. Kwang-ho wonders if Sun-jae is all right before asking Yeon-sook where she’s been, sure that she waited for him. Yeon-sook tells Kwang-ho that if he’s sure, then he needs to wake up, and his smile fades as realizes that he’s dreaming.
Kwang-ho awakens in the hospital and immediately asks Min-ha and Tae-hee about Sun-jae, who is close by and thankfully uninjured. Sung-shik walks in and scolds Kwang-ho, his fear that he could lose his friend again evident.
Tae-hee calms the chief with a reminder that Kwang-ho’s injuries are minor. Sung-shik orders the rest of the team to continue their investigation, but Kwang-ho insists that he’s well enough to join them, and so the team walks out as Dr. Mok arrives.
Sun-jae explains to his friend that he’s uninjured thanks to Kwang-ho. Dr. Mok asks about Kwang-ho’s identity, but Sun-jae can only assure him that his partner had nothing to do with the other Park Kwang-ho’s death and that he will be the one to solve his murder.
Jae-yi asks the dean about déjà vu and explains that a visit to a new place triggered a memory. The dean explains that Jae-yi probably had a vague memory of the place, but considered it unimportant at the time. The dean then asks about the case from thirty years ago, and Jae-yi confirms its connection to Jung Ho-young, even though she noted some differences in the method.
At the police station, Kwang-ho rests on a couch while Sun-jae presents the evidence on the serial arson cases. Tae-hee explains that a store across the street reported that the dress shop’s fire started around the mannequins in the window.
Kwang-ho asks about the video that Min-ha made at the crime scene, and the team watches the footage, shaken to see the explosion. Sung-shik sends the team off to investigate but detains Kwang-ho to make sure that he’s all right.
Sung-shik reminds Kwang-ho that he has a wife to return to and wonders why he shielded Sun-jae from the explosion, but Kwang-ho answers that they have a responsibility to protect him since they never caught the man who killed his mother. Just outside the door, Kwang-ho walks into Sun-jae, who offers a simple, “Thank you.”
Sun-jae and Kwang-ho interview the dress shop’s owner and learn that her competitor, who complained about a loss of customers, was the one who reported the fire. Just then, the woman steps out from her store to smoke a cigarette, lighter in hand.
The woman insists that she was at her store and called 911 when she saw the fire. At the station, a neighborhood resident watches Min-ha’s video and identifies the members of the crowd just as Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return.
Kwang-ho points out a man in the back of the crowd and asks, “Is he laughing?” The neighbor doesn’t recognize him, so Kwang-ho suggests that they work to identify the man as Sun-jae takes a call from his father.
Sun-jae has gone to the hospital upon his stepmother’s discharge and offers to drive his parents home, but his father explains that he only called him with an update. Sun-jae looks thoughtful as he watches them drive away.
Kwang-ho shows the video of the arson crowd to Jae-yi only to quickly snatch his phone from her when the explosion plays. She notices the bandages on the back of his head and asks about his injury. When Kwang-ho insists that it’s nothing, she observes, “When you say it’s nothing, it means it’s something.” Awww.
Jae-yi confirms that the unidentified man was laughing, something that serial arsonists do. She wonders if it’s the only video of him, considering that arsonists typically crave attention.
Jae-yi gets up to answer her doorbell, but finds no one at her door. Kwang-ho thinks it’s a prank and sends her inside, unaware that someone’s watching them from a distance.
As the team reviews the arson case, Sun-jae realizes that the owner who called 911 couldn’t have seen the fire start from her store. Kwang-ho and Sun-jae question her at the station and discover that her son, KIM HEE-JOON, told her that the fire started near the mannequins.
A young man enters a building and starts a fire only to be surprised when it’s extinguished by Kwang-ho as Sun-jae records the incident. Kim Hee-joon tries to run away, but Sun-jae and Kwang-ho work as a team and arrest him.
Tae-hee and Min-ha watch an interview that Jae-yi discovered of Kim Hee-joon as Sun-jae and Kwang-ho return with him, which is proof that she was correct that the arsonist craved attention and revealed himself. Jae-yi tells Sun-jae, “You seem to be doing okay, Lieutenant Kim,” and Kwang-ho comments that she must have come to the station to see him.
The Serious Crimes Unit returns to the scene with Kim Hee-joon to recreate the crime as part of his confession. Kwang-ho looks around, surprised that a dressmaker’s shop similar to the one that Yeon-sook worked for still exists. To his surprise, he discovers a charred photo of Yeon-sook on a bulletin board, dated 1992.
When Kwang-ho shows the photo to Sung-shik, Sun-jae learns that he has a wife. Sung-shik and Kwang-ho interview the dress shop owner, who asks how they knew Yeon-sook. Sung-shik admits that he once worked with her husband, and Kwang-ho asks where they can find her.
The shop owner tells them that Yeon-sook suddenly stopped coming to work and that she didn’t have any contact information because Yeon-sook was very private. She only knew that her husband died because she heard it from others.
The dress shop owner eventually heard that Yeon-sook remarried and moved to Seoul, where her new husband was a pharmacist. Upset, Kwang-ho walks off, but Sung-shik manages to get the name of the man who married Yeon-sook: YOO SUNG-JAE.
Sung-shik sits with a stunned Kwang-ho and reminds him that even though it’s only been a few months for him, three decades have passed since he disappeared. Kwang-ho doesn’t care about the serial killer case anymore, since he’s too heartbroken that Yeon-sook didn’t wait for him as he’d hoped.
Kwang-ho tries to console himself that Yeon-sook lived well and that a pharmacist would take her on a cruise ship for her birthday. As tears fall, Kwang-ho asks his friend, “What should I do, Sung-shik?” The chief asks, “Should I look for her or should I not,” but Kwang-ho worries that he might disturb her happy life.
Sung-shik gets frustrated, not used to seeing his friend so indecisive, and yells that they can look for her so that Kwang-ho can at least see her from a distance. Kwang-ho admits that he’s afraid that Yeon-sook has forgotten him after thirty years, so Sung-shik takes control of the search, and they check various pharmacies for Yoo Sung-jae.
At home, Jae-yi studies her Jung Ho-young evidence wall in an attempt to understand why the victims were buried differently. She consults with Dean Hong and explains that Jung Ho-young was arrested after he was caught on CCTV in front of a victim’s workplace, which would explain why he buried his victims.
Dean Hong understands that a murderer usually displays bodies and then buries them to keep from getting caught, not the other way around. Jae-yi points out that if the murders from thirty years ago were committed by Jung Ho-young, his pattern was: display, bury, display. She has an idea as she tries to comprehend why Jung Ho-young’s most recent victim was left out in the open.
Clad in a black hooded jacket, Jung Ho-young visits the house where he lived as a teenager. He surveys the spot where he buried the neighborhood’s dogs and recalls when his parents drove him home from the police station after his release.
His mother instructed him to say that he was at home with her on a day when his parents were actually together at an event, and Jung Ho-young had looked out of the car window and started to sing a song to himself. Creepy.
Jung-Ho-young sings that same song in the present as he visits the location where he killed Sun-jae’s mother. A young woman talks on a cell phone as she walks by, dressed in a skirt. Uh-oh.
Sung-shik and Kwang-ho finally locate Yoo Sung-jae and question him. After he hears that his wife is in Europe with their daughter, Kwang-ho walks out, but Sung-shik runs after him with news that Yeon-sook isn’t his wife.
The pharmacist explains that he did have a crush on Yeon-sook, but he doesn’t know how the rumor started that he married her. Sung-shik has to silence Kwang-ho so that he can ask Yoo Sung-jae why he didn’t marry Yeon-sook.
Kwang-ho is elated to learn that the pharmacist confessed to Yeon-sook only to be rejected, because she intended to wait for her husband while she raised their child. He remembers that the child’s name was a combination of her parents’ names, YEON-HO.
Kwang-ho beams as he realizes that Yeon-sook planned to wait for him with their child while Yoo Sung-jae tells him that she rented a room at an Oriental clinic.
Kwang-ho and Sung-shik visit the clinic and question the owner, an older woman who remembers Yeon-sook fondly. Kwang-ho explains that he can’t find any record of Yeon-sook and asks when she moved.
The woman breaks the news that Yeon-sook didn’t move, but died in a car accident over twenty years ago. As Kwang-ho listens in shock, the woman explains that Yeon-sook was in an accident on her way home from work and died at the hospital. He demands to know the name of the hospital so that he can verify the story himself.
At the hospital, an official verifies that Yeon-sook was admitted to the ER in 1992 after her taxi was hit by a drunk driver, and she died the next day. Grief-stricken, Kwang-ho drops to the floor as Sung-shik asks about Yeon-sook’s child, Yeon-ho, and discovers that only Yeon-sook and the taxi driver were admitted.
Kwang-ho stands up and tells Sung-shik that he needs to go home, because Yeon-sook is waiting for him. As Kwang-ho walks away, Sung-shik gets a call from Tae-hee with the news that Jung Ho-young committed another murder.
Sung-shik joins the rest of the team at the crime scene. Sun-jae asks about Kwang-ho, who hasn’t answered his calls, only to be told that he won’t be able to join them.
Sung-shik checks the girl’s phone and sees that her mother has called dozens of times. He gently tells the victim, LEE SEO-YEON, “Your mother must be waiting for you. Let’s take you home.” Sung-shik asks if Jung Ho-young is the culprit, and Sun-jae admits that it fits his method before he has to take a call from Jae-yi and steps away.
Dr. Mok watches a news bulletin about the latest murder and tells himself, “I told him not to chase him but to wait for him. I guess he failed again.” Jae-yi tells Sun-jae, “It was because of you, Lieutenant Kim,” and explains that after he caught Jung Ho-young, the next victim was left out for Sun-jae to find.
Jae-yi believes that Sun-jae triggered Jung Ho-young to remember something that he had forgotten and that he will kill again because he wants to see how Sun-jae will react. Jae-yi further theorizes that Jung Ho-young may be repeating what he started thirty years ago.
Kwang-ho sits with the old woman at the Oriental clinic as she recalls how Yeon-ho blew the whistle around her neck whenever she was hurt. The young girl explained that the whistle belonged to her father, a gift from Yeon-sook.
The woman explains that it was the first time Yeon-sook didn’t respond to the whistle because it was the day of her accident. Kwang-ho clutches at his neck and remembers when Yeon-sook gave him that whistle.
As Kwang-ho realizes that his wife is really dead, he breaks down and sobs. Jae-yi reviews some papers at her apartment, a framed picture close by, draped with a chain that holds a whistle.
Wow. I’m not sure which reveal had a greater impact this hour. As expected, we learned that Jae-yi is indeed Kwang-ho’s daughter, but it didn’t have nearly the impact that I expected, because we also discovered definitively that Yeon-sook died over twenty years ago. Kwang-ho endured an emotional roller coaster as he reacted like a typical new father to the knowledge that Yeon-sook had his child, only to drop into a pit of grief when he confirmed his wife’s death. His belief that Yeon-sook was waiting for him somewhere is what kept Kwang-ho afloat in in his new timeline, so I’m not sure how he will manage in a world where her light no longer shines. The only way that Kwang-ho will be able to carry on is through honoring Yeon-sook’s memory by finding their child — just wait until he discovers that it’s the weird girl that lives on the first floor.
The tension that existed between Sun-jae and Kwang-ho has mostly dissipated now that Sun-jae believes his partner’s impossible claim that he’s from the past. His anger regarding his mother’s unsolved case has lessened a bit as well, now that he realizes that Kwang-ho’s disappearance impacted the investigation. Kwang-ho can explain firsthand how different the world was thirty years ago, when the concept of a serial killer didn’t even exist, and Sun-jae now looks at his partner, and even his father, with more understanding. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho are finally becoming a team that respects one another and works together, but the one person who always has Kwang-ho’s back is Sung-shik.
When it comes to Kwang-ho, Sung-shik walks a fine line between the junior officer that he was in the past and the chief that he’s become in the future. One thing is always consistent: He’s loyal to his sunbae all day long. While Kwang-ho endured the most difficult day of his life, Sung-shik was right next to him, helping his friend every step of the way. It’s because of Sung-shik that Kwang-ho finally found out what happened to Yeon-sook, because Sung-shik can calmly ask questions instead losing his cool like Kwang-ho. Now that Sun-jae knows the truth about Kwang-ho, he can help Sung-shik support his old mentor in this future timeline as he processes everything that he’s learned about his family. If there’s one thing that Kwang-ho’s partners understand, it’s loss.
Yeon-sook’s fate is especially hard to accept, not only because of how deeply it wounds our hero, but because she was such a kind and endearing character who deserved better from life. She endured the loss of Kwang-ho and cared for his child while she awaited his return, even eschewing the comfort and security that remarriage could have offered. She was clearly devoted to her child, but it must have been lonely to raise her alone. Hopefully, Kwang-ho will take inspiration from her strength as he searches for his only link to Yeon-sook, which happens to be Jae-yi.
Jae-yi and Kwang-ho certainly have an unusual relationship, which can only hope to become more complicated when they discover that they are father and daughter. It’s hard enough to endure a generation gap, but Kwang-ho isn’t much older in age than his own daughter. Once the angst subsides, some hilarity is sure to follow. I can’t wait for Kwang-ho to size up Sun-jae as potential son-in-law material. Yikes! What Kwang-ho can offer to his daughter, besides hovering, is a connection to her mother, who she hardly remembers. Jae-yi seems to have thawed ever so slightly towards Kwang-ho, and I thought it was touching how she used Sun-jae’s line when she noticed his head wound. It appears as if father and daughter share more than DNA.
For now, Kwang-ho’s world just became a lot darker. It was excruciating to watch him grapple with the reality of Yeon-sook’s death, and I really have to say that Choi Jin-hyuk’s performance delivered. As much as Kwang-ho wants to go home to Yeon-sook, I’m not so sure that he will ever make it back there. Can he let go of his dream to be reunited with his wife? Will he have to? One thing is certain: Kwang-ho has to solve the mystery of Park Kwang-ho’s murder and catch serial killer Jung Ho-young before he can hope to figure that out.
- Tunnel: Episode 1
- Mysterious dots and missing bodies in OCN’s Tunnel teaser
- Choi Jin-hyuk runs like crazy to solve a serial murder case in Tunnel
- Time-slipping to catch a killer in OCN’s Tunnel
- Choi Jin-hyuk pursues hooded man from past to future in Tunnel
- Vixx’s N joins OCN’s Tunnel as young police officer
- Past detective Choi Jin-hyuk emerges from time-traveling Tunnel
- Yoon Hyun-min, Choi Jin-hyuk form detective duo for OCN’s Tunnel
- OCN’s Tunnel courts Choi Jin-hyuk, Lee Yoo-young to star