Chicago Typewriter: Episode 12
Make sure you take a deep breath prior to watching this episode because I can attest that this hour will leave you breathless by the time you reach its cliffhanger. Our ghostly companion takes the spotlight in a chapter that focuses on duty, honor, and country, and makes us fall in love with him even more. Get ready to be put through the wringer, but don’t worry—I’ll be there waiting for you on the other end.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Se-joo proves his duty to his country to Seol with a kiss, unaware that Jin-oh is nearby, completely devastated. Aw, puppy.
Jin-oh walks the street alone calling Soo-hyun’s name over and over again. You poor thing.
In the morning, Se-joo automatically smiles when he feels a hand resting on his forehead. Opening his eyes to Seol’s face, he places his hand over hers, saying, “You’re still here.” But the voice that replies back belongs to Secretary Kang, and Se-joo jolts awake, belatedly realizing that he’s returned home.
He finds it hard to believe that he was smiling like a lovesick fool, but the secretary cites that he shows a Pavlovian response at the mere mention of Seol’s name. She even uses a mirror to show him that very smile, and Se-joo shudders, horrified.
Seol is having a similar conversation with her own friends, both of whom affirm that she’s an open book. They prove it by pretending to suddenly greet Se-joo, and Seol falls for it both times. Ha.
Both Se-joo and Seol are told that they’re much more naive than they think they are, and Dae-han explains to Seol that a man’s instinct is to keep multiple women on the hook. Seol sighs, having realized her chef friend is inexperienced in dating.
Secretary Kang is a bit flustered at that same comment from Se-joo, who says he’ll stick to his own method: straightforward, without any games. Seol declares she’ll be doing the same and gets up to catch a few winks since she stayed up all night with Se-joo.
Dae-han gasps, and Seol reassures her friend that he’ll find love soon enough. That’s when Sang-mi shows up looking to get a part-time job at Riccardo, only to hear that the position has already been filled.
Hearing her earnestness, Seol convinces him to let her work here, and Sang-mi catches up to her to thank her. Her smile fades moments later, and she’s invited over to talk business with Tae-min at his workspace.
She acknowledges that she’s looking to extort money from him, but her scare tactics fall flat when she sees the card Tae-min has in his hand: the video footage of her on the motorcycle that nearly killed Se-joo.
He threatens that he won’t expose her if she doesn’t expose him, and she has no choice but to back down. She cackles at the idea that Se-joo isn’t one to be trifled with, told that his staff is probably already trying to track her down. To that, she leans in, asking cheerily, “Why do you think I’m targeting Han Se-joo?” Oh shit.
Later that evening, Seol returns from the public bath with Bang-jin and her mother to discover Se-joo waiting for her. The medium and her daughter slip away to commentate on the lovebirds’ exchange on the other side of the gate, while Se-joo notes that Seol hasn’t run away yet.
He wonders why Seol hasn’t flipped another coin yet like she said she would, and is proud when she says she plans on listening to the man she likes instead of the coin gods. Cute. Noticing that she won’t look directly at him, he calls attention to her bare face. On the other side of the gate, the clairvoyant peanut gallery groans.
While Seol would like to go inside to look presentable, Se-joo stops her to pout and ask if she can quit working as Tae-min’s assistant for “the man she likes.” She agrees and attempts to go inside again, but Se-joo pulls her back once more to ask, “Don’t you want to write the novel together?”
“Couldn’t you be afraid because you don’t know yet? It could be nothing once you do,” Se-joo poses. He suggests they find out what’s contained in their memories together, with three voices in the story.
“Three?” Seol inquires, confused. Se-joo reminds her of his ghostly consultant, someone who has waited close to a century for them. And then he leans in to say that she’s pretty even without makeup. Awwww.
Upon hearing that the motorcyclist has been arrested, Se-joo and Ji-seok head down to the police station. Apparently, the suspect turned himself in, and Se-joo finds it hard to believe that an angry netizen would turn to physical violence.
We know that the young man sitting across from the detective isn’t the true culprit, but Ji-seok doesn’t know that and grabs him by the shirtfront. The man pleads on his knees to be forgiven, and Se-joo doesn’t press charges, much to Ji-seok’s frustration.
Ji-seok has a bad feeling about letting the suspect off too easy. Turns out he’s right because that young man was hired by Sang-mi and demands more money. Sang-mi ends the call and runs into Seol leaving Riccardo with a packed lunch.
She guesses the food must be for Seol’s boyfriend because Dae-han was visibly upset making it, and continues showering Seol with compliments until Se-joo arrives. When Seol picks up on him peering at Sang-mi, Se-joo remarks that she looks familiar and finds Seol’s flare of jealousy adorable.
Meanwhile, Jin-oh reads an excerpt of “Laziness” written by preacher Charles H. Spurgeon:
When roses bloom and the heart flutters
give me that smile of yours
If there is a song you must sing
then sing it now
for when your day draws to a close
it is already too late to sing.
Sing your song now
He asks the antique typewriter if they should return to Chicago and wonders if he should go back into the machine and never come out again.
Just as he types a message to be sent back to Chicago, he hears a voice call out to him.
He walks into the living room to see Se-joo and Seol, who asks if the ghost is here with them. Following Se-joo’s line of sight, Seol turns in Jin-oh’s direction to greet him in both her present and past identities. She addresses him as “Yul hyung-nim” and welcomes him to the present. Ack! Who cares about anything else, say her name!
Jin-oh is speechless, and Se-joo calls him out for welling up with tears. Seol hopes that Se-joo isn’t pulling a fast one on her about there being a ghost present with them, and Se-joo doesn’t know how to prove that he’s telling the truth.
“Tell her to flip a coin,” Jin-oh says. Se-joo realizes that he’s referring to the scene in the 1990 film Ghost (wherein Patrick Swayze’s character levitated a penny to prove to Demi Moore that he was present), and tells Seol that heads means he’s here and tails means he’s not.
As instructed, Seol flips the coin and Jin-oh uses his ghostly powers to slow down the coin on its descent and let it float in mid-air. Jin-oh relays to Se-joo to instruct Seol to put out her hand, and then gently places the coin with its heads side up on her palm.
Now that they’ve exchanged pleasantries, Se-joo suggests that they get down to work, but Jin-oh asks for thirty seconds before they step inside the office. He locks the door for good measure, rips up the message, and then lets them inside. Seol is amazed by how the door seemingly opens of its own accord, though Se-joo chuckles that this is nothing.
Resting her hand on the antique typewriter, Seol is saddened by Yul’s misfortune of spending decades trapped inside this device instead of being reincarnated like them. Se-joo explains that’s why they need to finish this novel in the hopes that doing so will also solve that mystery.
Seol is on board with the plan, which compels Se-joo to say they should draw up another contract. Jin-oh: “Again?”
Cut to: Se-joo, Seol, and Jin-oh sitting at their respective machines, though to her it looks like the typewriter is typing on its own. All parties agree to share their memories with the class and vow not to keep secrets from one another nor betray the others. And then Se-joo adds an extra clause that Seol will continue going out with him after the novel is complete. Jin-oh’s stinkface is spot-on. HA.
Se-joo says they’ve finished writing up their contract, leaving both Seol and Jin-oh flabbergasted that none of their terms made it on paper.
The trio has a celebratory drink where Seol still has trouble seeing objects move in mid-air. Se-joo is quick to point out that he’s been wrongly blamed for all of Jin-oh’s past antics, and Jin-oh defensively asks why Se-joo always forget that he saved his life.
Seol observes Se-joo’s face silently listening to Jin-oh and realizes that he must be speaking. Se-joo says Jin-oh felt bad about trying to get between them, and when he gets called away to attend the funeral of an esteemed writer, he insists that Seol stay here with Jin-oh.
Jin-oh lights up when she says she’ll stay and play with the dog, to which Se-joo immediately protests, “No!” Se-joo mutters under his breath to remind Jin-oh that he isn’t allowed to possess someone else without permission, threatening to call an exorcist if he does.
Seol wonders what the boys are whispering so long about and teases, “Are you two going out?” Ha, if only.
Seol and Jin-oh sit in the dining room together, as she giggles nervously that this feels like a blind date. She comes up with a way for them to communicate: He can answer yes or no questions using the champagne glass where a tap mean “yes” and no response means “no.” She asks if he’s there right now and watches the glass intently… and Jin-oh taps the glass.
She asks if he came by to see her at a pojangmacha, which is followed by another tap. She’s relieved because she had an eerie feeling that someone was looking at her that night: “Just like this moment.”
And then the camera pans to reveal Jin-oh smiling warmly. He taps the glass again when she asks if he was there when her shoelaces were untied. She sighs, “I want to see your face.”
Seol says she knows what Jin-oh looks like because she saw his handsome face in her dreams. He gives a bashful smile, and she thanks him for teaching her how to shoot because those skills made her into a national athlete in this life.
They both remember how Yul advised her to always keep her eyes on the target and not be afraid of the recoil. “It’s just like dating, isn’t it?” Yul said.
As Seol asks him to forgive her, Jin-oh thinks to himself, “I read this poem before I met you. Do you want to hear it?”
She wonders why she can’t see Jin-oh whereas Se-joo and Bang-jin can, he thinks of Charles H. Spurgeon’s poem, whose lines urge the reader to seize the opportunity.
Seol gets a text from Se-joo saying he’ll be running late, so she decides that they end their conversation here today.
She rises from her seat and bids him farewell, as Jin-oh thinks of the last line to “sing your song now” and then calls, “Soo-hyun-ah. Ryu Soo-hyun.”
Hearing her name behind her, Seol slowly turns around… and sees him. “I see you,” she breathes.
Tae-min thinks back to Sang-mi explaining why she’s going after Seol: She believes it’s far more painful losing someone you hold dear right before your eyes, as well as feeling responsible for crippling the life of the man Seol loves.
Speaking of whom, Se-joo is responsible for making sure an inebriated Writer Baek gets home safely from the funeral. Writer Baek drunkenly confesses that he’s enjoyed reading Se-joo’s novel and that he has high expectations for Se-joo before getting sick.
He sits on a bench while Se-joo fetches him some water, and then admits he couldn’t help but drunkenly reminisce when he saw Se-joo today. Se-joo remembers when Writer Baek first taught him and Tae-min how to drink, and that memory makes the old man laugh.
Tae-min arrives at the venue in time to see his father laughing next to Se-joo, who tells Writer Baek that he always made the boys go on an early morning hike after a night of drinking.
Tae-min walks up to greet his father, and thanks Se-joo for keeping his father company. He doesn’t let Se-joo leave without getting in one last dig, though, passively-aggressively accusing Se-jo of taking back the Fate manuscript.
He calls this a warning for Se-joo not to mess with him again, and adds that it’ll be best for him to stay away from Seol. Calling this his last act of kindness, Tae-min says, “She’ll be in danger.”
Back at the house, Seol still can’t believe that she can see, hear, and touch the ghost that appeared before her like magic. She backs Jin-oh into the bookcase, taking hold of his wrist and pokes him repeatedly. Heeeeeee.
She excitedly asks Jin-oh how he made himself visible to her and ponders on his answer that it was “a miracle” because that’s what she wants most right now. And Jin-oh just watches her verbally process her thoughts.
Showing him the gold pocket watch, she asks if he knows who this belongs to. She grows fearful when Jin-oh identifies it as Hwi-young’s, and tells him, “I think… I killed the owner of this pocket watch.”
She tells him of how she envisioned this very watch resting by the typewriter and saw herself shooting Hwi-young. Jin-oh dismisses the possibility that Soo-hyun would ever betray Hwi-young, let alone shoot him.
He remembers the day Soo-hyun was ordered to forgo her usual newsboy attire and dress as a lady. She thought it was odd that their group leader suddenly wanted her to embody her stage singer cover, and Yul remarked that their leader probably thought it was safer this way.
Hwi-young made sure to note that the phrase “clothes make the man” didn’t apply to her, and Yul changed the subject by suggesting that they go out to enjoy the nice weather and take a professional keepsake photo together.
Soo-hyun was upset to hear that Hwi-young was too busy to continue his novel, but then stopped at a vendor selling sweets. She said she was just looking at the candy because they reminded her of how her father occasionally bought them for her, and proudly stated she doesn’t like sweets before tripping up in her heels. Lol.
Hwi-young asked if that meant she wanted the candy, not knowing that Young-min was nearby, having overheard their conversation.
Some time later, Young-min approached Soo-hyun admiring the group photo. He angled for a date, and when she politely declined that offer as well as an expensive gift, he’d given her a bag made of newspaper containing the same candies from the stall.
She couldn’t shake the strange vibe she got from him, then noticed that the newspaper clipping was an excerpt of the novel she’d typed for Hwi-young, laughing that the story made it to the printer in time after all.
The date caught her eye, however, and she decoded the clipping to realize that her instructions of her first mission was contained in these words. She confronted Yul about it, and Jin-oh says Soo-hyun pressed him to tell her the whole truth, including the fact that Hwi-young was the brains behind the operation.
Seol grows silent, and then divulges, “I remembered… what I did to Seo Hwi-young.”
We’re then transported back to that critical moment as Soo-hyun bursts through the door, her gun trained on the back of Hwi-young’s head. She accuses him of deceiving her from the very beginning and now she knows everything, even the fact that Hwi-young was her half-masked rescuer.
She knows that it was Hwi-young’s call to let her into their freedom fighter organization and that he ordered her first mission where she sustained an injury. “So are you saying you’ll put a bullet through my head?” Hwi-young calmly asks.
He swivels around and takes the gun, aims it at his forehead, and commands her to shoot. She hesitates, and Hwi-young has proved his point—he needs cold-blooded snipers who won’t flinch, but everything came crumbling down for her once she learned the truth.
He retracts her qualification as a sniper for the activist group and instructs her to put the gun safely away. She asks if he kept the truth from her because he couldn’t trust her and thought she would hesitate in a crucial moment.
And Hwi-young confesses, “No… I was afraid I might.”
Se-joo arrives home just then and grows worried when he sees tears in Seol’s eyes, unable to tell if she’s happy or sad. She happily announces that her memory was fragmented—what she thought was him shooting him dead was, in fact, a moment of a man and woman finally being honest about their feelings.
Se-joo’s eyes grow wide upon learning that Seol can see and speak to Jin-oh. He immediately pulls Jin-oh aside and demands to know when the ghost figured out how to make himself visible to Seol, adding that this turn of events nearly jeopardized their friendship.
Jin-oh hangs on that word “friendship,” taken aback that Se-joo now considers themselves as friends. He vows not to do anything to put their friendship at risk… and then looks lovingly at Seol when they gather together in the office. Awwww.
He reassures Se-joo that he’ll soon disappear because he’s a ghost, then the trio refocuses to start writing. However, all three of them experience writer’s block, so Jin-oh takes out the Carpe Diem matchbox, explaining that he can light a match and send Se-joo and Soo-hyun back to the 1930s.
It’s at that moment Se-joo remembers that Jin-oh lit a match that foggy night and he was temporarily transported to the 1930s. Jin-oh clarifies that this isn’t necessary time travel — rather, Se-joo and Seol would explore the memories of their past lives.
Seol looks excited at the prospect, and Se-joo picks up on Jin-oh’s choice of words that the “two” of them have a good time. To that, Jin-oh reveals that ghosts can’t come along.
Se-joo passes, but then when Seol readily agrees, he caves. Jin-oh takes out a match and strikes it. All the lights go out which illuminates the single match until that too flickers out.
With that, Seol and Se-joo find themselves in the middle of a bustling street in the 1930s. The sound of gunshots ring out and people frantically run away from the commotion. Se-joo grabs Seol’s hand and takes off into the street as the police continue to shoot at them.
As Jin-oh oversees Se-joo and Seol dreaming, he takes the gold pocket watch in his hands… which starts filling up with blood. Uh oh.
Images flash through his mind: his bleeding head slumped over the typewriter, his blood drops through its mechanisms, the pocket watch in a pool of his blood.
As the pocket watch falls from his hands, he now sees his death with gripping clarity: a gun-wielding hand shoots him and his head falls on the typewriter. His blood drips down from his wound onto the paper and through the typewriter until it finally collects around the gold pocket watch.
Oh my god, I… I’m speechless. We knew that Yul met a tragic demise for some weeks now, but it’s on a whole other level to see that scene play out before our eyes. Man, as if our hearts weren’t already bleeding for Yul/Jin-oh as it is. I know that’s a terrible expression to use in this moment, but I’m all kinds of discombobulated right now—not only do I grieve for Yul, I feel sorry for Jin-oh, and most importantly, I want to hunt down the evil bastards responsible for his horrific death.
Although I’m still wary of pinpointing Seol as the one who pulled the trigger, it would certainly explain much of the spliced memories we’ve seen in this series thus far: Yul was sitting at the typewriter when he died (which would also explain his afterlife connection to the machine; nice catch, everyone), his blood came in contact with the gold pocket watch, and Seol felt a deep sense of guilt of shooting someone she felt she “shouldn’t have killed.” So if it’s true that Soo-hyun put a bullet through Yul’s head, the next question is—why?
Yul was always the gentle caretaker who looked out for her, so what could’ve happened in the past that led her to that decision? Could Madam Sophia have transmitted something to her? Because that would certainly answer the reason Jin-oh harbors a deep-seated grudge against the club madam.
It was a relief to get solid confirmation that Soo-hyun didn’t kill Hwi-young in that moment of the past Seol feared most. We had guessed as much, but I love how that whole sequence gave us a more meaningful moment: Hwi-young’s admission of his feelings for Soo-hyun. That scene was beautifully played out from beginning to end, from Soo-hyun’s misunderstanding that Hwi-young hid the truth from her and made her change her disguise following her injury during her first mission, and how all of that was to mask how he felt toward her and wanted to protect her from afar because Hwi-young is too damn honorable and almost always sticks to his duty to his country. And to that end, that makes Se-joo and Seol’s kiss that ended the previous episode that much more meaningful and heartfelt because their predecessors granted them the luxury of having a romantic relationship in a free democracy.
I admit I’m a bit unnerved by Sang-mi creeping on Seol, and that now she’s the one in danger in this life, but I’m firmly rooted in the belief that Se-joo and Seol’s love for one another transcends time and space, and that they have a greater appreciation for one another because they can see that their romance is nearly a century in the making. It’s a breath of fresh air that both of them choose to not play mind games with one another, and that they stick together, especially when Seol went to go meet Jin-oh. I personally thought it was a bit of a skip for her to believe everything Se-joo told her about Jin-oh prior to this meeting, but that’s something I can overlook given that they did promise to be honest with each other.
Which brings me to my favorite and heart-shattering portion of this episode. My heart was already in pain when Jin-oh was ready to say goodbye, broke in half when he couldn’t bring himself to call Seol as “Soo-hyun” upon their meeting, and then shattered into a million pieces when he finally did. It was absolutely touching how Seol spoke to him with such patience and yearning like a lost friend, and freakin’ adorable how eager she was to get on board with his ghostly time-slip idea. Out of all the moving relationships in this series, nothing warms my heart more than seeing Seol and Jin-oh finally reconnecting in the present.
I know I’m setting myself up for heartbreak once we learn who truly was responsible for Yul’s death, but you know what? I’m not afraid of the recoil, so go ahead Chicago Typewriter, fire away. *whimper*
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