Tunnel: Episode 14
It’s going to take an entire team to bring down a killer who’s managed to go undetected for over thirty years. Kwang-ho has traveled through time for that very reason, and now that he’s surrounded by people who share his determination, he’s closer to his goal than ever before. Unfortunately, the monster they’re after poses a serious threat to all who try to stop him.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Kwang-ho chases the young Mok Jin-woo through the tunnel, and a familiar shimmer appears around them. After Jin-woo exits the tunnel, there is a jolt as vines drop in front of the opening, and Kwang-ho runs out to discover that he’s returned to the future.
Dr. Mok tosses a baseball in the air as he reads Jae-yi’s biography on his computer, since he’s figured out that she’s Kwang-ho’s daughter. Suddenly he stops, and the ball drops from his hand as Dr. Mok experiences a new memory — his pursuit by Kwang-ho in the tunnel thirty years earlier.
Yeon-sook looks down her street as she remembers Kwang-ho’s promise that he wouldn’t be late. In the future, Kwang-ho is heartbroken that he left Yeon-sook alone in the past once again.
Kwang-ho runs back through the tunnel and recalls Yeon-sook’s fears and his reassurance that he’d be back. He weeps in frustration because his pursuit of Jin-woo has separated him from Yeon-sook yet again.
Meanwhile, Sun-jae drives alone in his car, lost in thought after his meeting with the NFS forensics doctor who explained that only the killer could know how many times a victim was strangled. Sun-jae thinks back to Dr. Mok’s explanation that Ho-young strangled Lee Seo-yeon repeatedly and realizes that it was a lie.
Sun-jae stops at an isolated spot along the river while the reality that Dr. Mok is the killer hits him. He whimpers in agony as he recalls his history with his friend before dropping to his knees and punching the ground in anger.
At home, Jae-yi’s review of the dot murder cases is interrupted by her doorbell, and she finds Sun-jae on her doorstep, his face blank and his hand bloody. Inside, Jae-yi bandages Sun-jae’s hand while he admits how miserable he is to know that Dr. Mok was watching him all along. Jae-yi comforts him with a reminder that Dr. Mok has managed to avoid capture for over thirty years.
Sun-jae explains that his mind went blank, and he ended up at her place because he didn’t know where else to go. He wonders if Kwang-ho figured out that Dr. Mok was the killer before he returned to the past.
Kwang-ho sits alone in the tunnel and makes the connection that his time jumps occur whenever he’s there at the same time as Mok Jin-woo. He also remembers that he left the incriminating fountain pen in the past. Worried that no one else is aware that Dr. Mok is the killer, Kwang-ho pulls himself together and runs out of the tunnel.
Dr. Mok stops his car in front of Kwang-ho’s apartment and realizes that it’s just above Jae-yi’s. Kwang-ho’s unexpected return to the station shocks Sung-shik, who can barely process his explanation that he was summoned to the tunnel by the killer but returned to the past before he could catch him, and that he returned to the future when he failed to catch the killer in the past.
Sung-shik can’t believe that Kwang-ho left Yeon-sook again after he tried so hard to return to her. Sung-shik calls Sun-jae with the news that his partner has returned, and Jae-yi insists on accompanying him back to the station.
Before they arrive, Sung-shik tries to tell Kwang-ho that Jae-yi knows that he’s her father, but Sun-jae walks in and asks his partner, “Kwang-ho, what happened? I was so worried!” (Aww.)
Jae-yi nervously approaches the doorway, and Kwang-ho is surprised to see her. Her eyes well with tears as she takes in his appearance, and Sun-jae explains that she knows everything. Kwang-ho looks at Jae-yi and calls her “Yeon-ho” as he walks over to her.
Father and daughter face one another tearfully as Jae-yi confesses, “I thought I had no one.” Overcome by emotion, Jae-yi begins to sob, and Kwang-ho embraces her.
Yeon-sook sits on the stairs in front of her house and cries as she realizes that Kwang-ho has returned to the future. She puts on a brave smile as she looks at the whistle that hangs from her neck and promises Kwang-ho, “I believe in you, and I’ll wait for you.”
Jae-yi holds that same whistle and admits that she has many questions for Kwang-ho, who also has much that he wants to say. Jae-yi asks Kwang-ho how he came back, but he can only sigh heavily. Meanwhile, Dr. Mok smokes a cigarette outside of his house, certain that Kwang-ho is gone and that he can return to his daily life.
Back at the station, Kwang-ho argues with Jae-yi about her involvement in the investigation, even when she points out that it could help him return to the past. Sun-jae and Sung-shik enter the room, and Kwang-ho laments Jae-yi’s stubbornness and wonders who’s she takes after, but an exasperated Sung-shik blusters that of course she takes after her father.
Sun-jae supports Jae-yi’s continued participation, but Kwang-ho thinks that will change when they find out who the culprit is, only to be surprised to discover that they already know. The four investigators sit together, and Kwang-ho informs the others that the fountain pen that Dr. Mok used to mark his victims was left behind in the past. He explains that it was inscribed with the name “Noel,” and Jae-yi is sure that it was meaningful to Dr. Mok because it contained the DNA of his victims and guesses that he must be anxious that it’s missing.
Kwang-ho wants Dr. Mok to know that he’s returned, but Jae-yi objects and calls him “Corporal Park” out of habit. Suddenly unsure what to call him, Sung-shik softly suggests that Jae-yi call Kwang-ho, “Dad.” Sun-jae interrupts the awkward pause to inform everyone that Dr. Mok knows Kwang-ho’s secret — that he’s not the Park Kwang-ho whose identity he’s been using.
Kwang-ho proposes that they arrest Dr. Mok and try for a confession, since he may believe that they have the fountain pen as evidence. He argues that it’s better than doing nothing, especially since Dr. Mok is sure to kill again.
The detectives find Dr. Mok’s office empty and are about to leave when they hear laughter. They find their suspect sitting with some young doctors, and the friendly atmosphere causes Sun-jae to tense as he approaches Dr. Mok, but Kwang-ho holds him back. He then kicks away a table so that he can lean close to tell Dr. Mok, “We meet again… The real game begins now.” Dr. Mok assures the confused doctors that there must be some misunderstanding while Sun-jae arrests him for the murders of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee.
Dr. Mok sits alone in an interrogation room as Sung-shik, Jae-yi, Sun-jae, and Kwang-ho decide how to proceed. Sun-jae is intent on questioning Dr. Mok, determined to hear for himself what he has to say. A peek at a background report shows that Dr. Mok was admitted as a pharmacy student to Sunhwa University in 1987.
Sun-jae places photos of Yoon Da-young and Nam Joo-hee on the table and asks Dr. Mok if he admits that he killed them. Smiling pleasantly, Dr. Mok deflects the question with one of his own, “Do you actually believe that I’m the culprit, Lieutenant Kim?” Dr. Mok chuckles amusedly as he answers, “I do not admit it.”
Kwang-ho changes gears and asks Dr. Mok if he chose “Noel” for his baptismal name because of his Christmas birthday, the name inscribed on his fountain pen. He slides photos of the murder victims from thirty years ago across the table and details how Dr. Mok used that pen to leave dots on their bodies.
Dr. Mok pretends that he knows nothing, so Kwang-ho bluffs that they can test the pen for DNA. Unruffled, Dr. Mok tells them to do as they wish before he calmly closes his eyes.
Later, Jae-yi explains to the others, “He’s probably trying to figure out whether the evidence is in our hands or not.” Since Dr. Mok can only be held for forty-eight hours, Kwang-ho proposes a look at his house, even though they have no warrant.
Before he leaves, Kwang-ho addresses Jae-yi as Yeon-ho and tells her to go home, worried that he could never face Yeon-sook if something happened to her. Jae-yi decides to research Dr. Mok to find a vulnerability, and Kwang-ho notes again that she’s stubborn but smiles affectionately when Sung-shik remarks that she takes after him.
Kwang-ho and Sun-jae enter Dr. Mok’s house, and Kwang-ho is surprised to find the living room empty. He wonders how Dr. Mok can live like that, but Sun-jae observes that he’s not normal.
They find nothing in the mostly empty house, but they hear a noise upstairs and decide to investigate. Kwang-ho discovers a wall that holds over a dozen funeral portraits, and Sun-jae realizes that Dr. Mok never stopped killing people.
At home, Jae-yi studies Dr. Mok’s file and notes the years that his mother and grandmother died (1985 and 1987), sure that something in his past explains his motive for murder. In spite of the late hour, she tries to call Kwang-ho, who’s listed in her phone as Corporal Park, but remembers that he lost his phone. A bit later, Dr. Mok sits cross-legged in his cell, his face placid and unreadable.
The next morning, detectives Tae-hee and Min-ha join the team as Dr. Mok sits alone in an interrogation room. They want to know not only how Dr. Mok became a suspect, but where Kwang-ho disappeared to.
Sung-shik appeals to Kwang-ho for permission to tell them the truth: “Sir, you know that they’re trustworthy.” Tae-hee and Min-ha are confused when Sung-shik addresses Kwang-ho politely, and they react in disbelief when they are finally told the truth. Sung-shik provides his old photo as proof that Kwang-ho is from the past, and Sun-jae volunteers that Kwang-ho was the detective in charge of his mother’s murder case over thirty years ago.
Tae-hee and Min-ha struggle to find a proper way to address their former maknae, but Sung-shik interrupts with more news: Jae-yi is Kwang-ho’s daughter. Min-ha erupts in nervous laughter, and the two turn to one another for support just as Jae-yi enters with coffee and sandwiches.
Happy to see her, Sun-jae jumps up, but Kwang-ho pushes him back into his chair. As Kwang-ho sweetly checks that Jae-yi has eaten breakfast, Sun-jae reaches for coffee, only to return it when he notices Kwang-ho glaring at him. Min-ha admits that Kwang-ho and Jae-yi suddenly seem like father and daughter.
Tae-hee has one question: What happened to the other Park Kwang-ho? He’s surprised to learn that Dr. Mok killed him too, and Sung-shik lists the many victims of Dr. Mok while warning the team that the man is dangerous.
Kwang-ho and Sun-jae interrogate Dr. Mok again. Sun-jae asks why he killed them, only to be cautioned, “If you want the right answer, you must ask the right question.” Dr. Mok asks Kwang-ho about the DNA results on the pen and is assured that results are expected soon.
Sun-jae mentions Jung Ho-young, and Dr. Mok recalls that he helped save Jae-yi’s life when Ho-young attacked her. Kwang-ho bristles when Dr. Mok says her name and reminds him that he knows who he is. Dr. Mok wants Sun-jae’s promised explanation about Kwang-ho’s real identity, and he clearly enjoys watching the detectives squirm. Sung-shik, Tae-hee, and Min-ha observe the interview, and Sung-shik calls Dr. Mok a monster.
Jae-yi shows an older woman a picture of a young Dr. Mok Jin-woo, and she remembers him well. Jae-yi learns that he was sent to live with his grandmother when he was eleven or twelve so that his mother could go to work.
The old woman explains that Jin-woo’s mother brought lots of presents whenever she visited, and once, she gave the old woman a pair of stockings even though they were very expensive. Jin-woo’s mother reportedly did laundry for prostitutes, but no one believed her story.
The woman describes Jin-woo as a fine young man who got good grades in school — but after his grandmother’s funeral, the woman says she never saw him again. Jae-yi discovers that Jin-woo’s mother was an alcoholic and wonders if her death is what triggered him to kill.
At the station, the team worries that Kwang-ho’s false identity will be revealed, which is when the section chief storms in to berate the team for Dr. Mok’s arrest before ordering him to be released. When the team hesitates, the section chief declares that he’ll release Dr. Mok, but Kwang-ho bellows, “No, you can’t do that!” The section chief demands to see evidence, but the team falls silent.
The section chief accompanies Dr. Mok out of the station and offers his apologies. Dr. Mok brings up Kwang-ho to the section chief, who then explains to a nervous Sung-shik that Dr. Mok blamed his arrest on Kwang-ho’s overeagerness and asked the section chief to let it go. Dr. Mok walks away and smiles at the fact that Kwang-ho has no evidence on him.
Sung-shik sends Kwang-ho and Sun-jae home to rest so that they can follow Dr. Mok that night while Tae-hee and Min-ha keep an eye on him until then. Sun-jae offers Kwang-ho a ride home, only for Kwang-ho to say, “I told you, I don’t approve of you.” While Sun-jae drives, Kwang-ho checks his phone and is not happy when he sees all of the calls to Jae-yi, so he deletes her contact information from the phone. (Ha! So petty.)
Sun-jae pulls up just after Jae-yi gets home. Kwang-ho jumps into Jae-yi’s car with the explanation that he has something to take care of and locks the doors, which means that Sun-jae gets left behind as Jae-yi drives off with Kwang-ho. (Dad’s got some crazy skills.)
Kwang-ho and Jae-yi end up at Yeon-sook’s favorite dumpling restaurant. Jae-yi remembers that she she ate there with her mother, so Kwang-ho asks if they ever went on a cruise together. Jae-yi remembers that they did, and that Yeon-sook bought an extra ticket for him.
When Jae-yi asks about her mother, Kwang-ho tells her that Yeon-sook was kind and must have loved her dearly. When the food arrives, Kwang-ho mixes Jae-yi’s noodles and declares her to be too thin in a fatherly way as she looks on happily.
Kwang-ho wishes that Jae-yi wouldn’t pursue such dangerous work as he looks at the hand that she cut when she grabbed the knife and gasps at her scar. He can’t even finish his sentence when he recalls that Ho-young strangled her, and he tells Jae-yi that he’ll die if something happens to her.
Kwang-ho gets to the most important point: He disapproves of Sun-jae and wants her to forget that he told her to date him. Jae-yi smiles to herself as Kwang-ho clucks over her taste in men, but it fades when he explains that he has so much to tell her before he returns to her mother.
It’s Jae-yi’s turn to show concern when she asks Kwang-ho to be careful on his stakeout. She pulls out a new phone for Kwang-ho, and as if on cue, it vibrates with a call from Sun-jae.
When Kwang-ho and Sun-jae relieve Tae-hee and Min-ha, the pair can’t decide how to address Kwang-ho. As Kwang-ho looks at them imposingly, Tae-hee bravely declares, “To me, he’ll be ‘Kiddo’ forever,” but Min-ha follows Sung-shik’s example and calls him “Sir.”
Dr. Mok is still in his office, which leads Kwang-ho to think that something’s wrong. He and Sun-jae go inside to find another doctor in the office and learn that Dr. Mok left for the day, even though his car remains parked outside. Sun-jae calls to inform Sung-shik and asks that he track Dr. Mok’s phone as the pair leaves to check on his house.
A young teacher walks near her home to talk with her boyfriend on the phone, but is suddenly grabbed from behind by Dr. Mok. He smiles hugely while he strangles her with a pair of stockings.
The next morning, Kwang-ho joins the rest of the team at the latest crime scene. Sung-shik regrets that he didn’t keep Dr. Mok in custody and apologizes to the victim while Sun-jae observes that there are no dots. Kwang-ho shakes with anger as he says that it’s because the pen is missing. He runs off, and Sun-jae follows him to Dr. Mok’s office, where they find the doctor calmly sipping tea.
Kwang-ho grabs Dr. Mok and demands to know where he was the previous night. When Dr. Mok attributes Kwang-ho’s foul mood to the murder of another woman, Kwang-ho punches him in the mouth. After Dr. Mok laughs, Kwang-ho chokes him and tells him to die as Sun-jae stands idly by, stopped only when security pulls him away.
Sun-jae’s hand twitches as he asks Dr. Mok, “Don’t you have anything to say to me?” But he’s only asked, “What more do I have to say to you?” He wants to know if Dr. Mok knew about him from the beginning, but the doctor invites him to produce evidence if he thinks him guilty. As Sun-jae turns to leave, Dr. Mok tosses him a chess piece and explains that the game isn’t over until he catches the king.
In her office, Jae-yi reads about the latest murder before her lecture, during which she speaks about killers who blend in and seem normal. When a student drops his pen, Jae-yi picks it up and remembers a fountain pen that she held as a young girl inscribed with the name “Noel.” She runs out of the lecture hall to call Kwang-ho, who meets her on campus.
Jae-yi tells him that she found a fountain pen in her mother’s drawer, but Yeon-sook explained that she promised to keep it safe for Jae-yi’s dad. Yeon-sook suggested that they hide it together, and Jae-yi remembers that the pen was inscribed with the name “Noel,” but she can’t remember where they hid it.
Kwang-ho is confident that Jae-yi will remember eventually, but he promises to catch Dr. Mok even if she doesn’t. He leaves when he gets a call from Sun-jae and returns to the station, where he learns that the autopsy on the teacher yielded no evidence. Kwang-ho suggests to Sun-jae that they may still be able to get the evidence that they need.
Dean Hong delivers a photo album to Jae-yi and suggests that she move back into her old room. Once she’s alone, Jae-yi looks through the album, and her memory is triggered by a photo of her as a young girl holding a red bear, which was the hiding place that she and her mother chose for the pen.
Jae-yi gets into her car as she calls Kwang-ho to tell him that she remembers where the pen is hidden and promises to meet him at the station. Dr. Mok opens her car door and leans in to ask, “Where… is the pen?” We see that Dr. Mok placed a transmitter inside the chess piece before he tossed it to Sun-jae and was able to listen in on the investigation, so he heard Kwang-ho confide that Jae-yi might know where the pen is hidden to Sun-jae. In the present, Dr. Mok gives Jae-yi a huge smile.
It’s dark as Kwang-ho waits outside the police station. Worried, he takes a taxi to Jae-yi’s office and learns that she left long ago. He calls her phone as he walks to her car, only to find it on the ground. As Kwang-ho stands frozen, his call rings on Jae-yi’s phone as “Dad” while his phone shows his call to “My Daughter.”
When Kwang-ho realizes that Dr. Mok has taken Jae-yi, he screams out, “Yeon-ho!”
Kwang-ho never expected to return to the future, but now that he has, he’s proving to Jae-yi that he’s a typical father as he worries about her each and every day even though she’s a grown adult. Jae-yi has transformed from an emotionally distant professional to a young woman who thrives under a father’s (mostly) tender concern. Armed with the knowledge that she was loved and cherished by her mother and now her father, Jae-yi has blossomed into a caring young woman. The father-daughter moments between Jae-yi and Kwang-ho don’t seem to be marred by the fact that they are pretty much the same age — rather, their interactions are natural, due in part to great performances by Choi Jin-hyuk and Lee Yoo-young.
As sweet as it is to see Kwang-ho and Jae-yi explore their relationship, it was devastating to witness Sun-jae’s realization that his friend and mentor was his mother’s killer and the man who he’s been searching for for years. Of course, the one person in the world who could help Sun-jae navigate the betrayal was Jae-yi, who is now able to offer him comfort and support. Their relationship has deepened into one of affection and respect, and I’m really pleased that the romance factor hasn’t been more pronounced. Sun-jae and Jae-yi are two very injured souls who have managed to help each other heal, and the slow advancement of their relationship feels just right. What I feel conflicted about, however, is Kwang-ho’s rejection of Sun-jae as a suitor for his daughter.
Sun-jae has landed himself in the middle of the strangest triangle ever, with Jae-yi on one side, and his partner/her father, Kwang-ho, on the other. Sun-jae and Kwang-ho have turned out to be a great team, but Kwang-ho seems set against Sun-jae and Jae-yi becoming anything more. In a way it makes sense, since Kwang-ho has only just found Yeon-ho, and he’s loathe to share her with anyone else since he thinks his time with her (as an adult) is precious and fleeting. Sun-jae has been uncharacteristically patient with Kwang-ho even as he continued to thwart his attempts see or speak with Jae-yi. Kwang-ho does know that as soon as he returns to the past, they will be alone to pursue their relationship, doesn’t he? Unless, of course, Kwang-ho’s return to the past alters the future, and somehow maybe he and Yeon-sook will both be around to make their daughter’s life more interesting. (Please, let this be so!) I’m encouraged by the fact that Dr. Mok and Jae-yi possess new memories based on Kwang-ho’s brief return to the past, so Kwang-ho’s actions do have consequences on the future.
One thing that Kwang-ho has in common with Sun-jae is the desire to catch the serial killer, and that makes Dr. Mok their common enemy. He is a formidable opponent, and now that he’s taken Jae-yi, I think that Kwang-ho may actually kill him; he already came close this episode. It’s impossible to fully understand someone who has no normal personal attachments — not to things, as evidenced by his home, or to people. The one person who may connect with him is Jae-yi, because she knows what it’s like to grow up without parents. I can’t wait to see what she uncovers as she analyzes Dr. Mok in the final episodes. No matter how Kwang-ho feels about her line of work, Jae-yi will be be vital in stopping Dr. Mok once and for all.
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