Suspicious Partner: Episodes 15-16
Such a sad, pitiful puppy, and it’s all his own fault. Ji-wook’s mind is in turmoil, torn between what he knows and what he still needs to discover to correct his mistake. It doesn’t help that his feelings for Bong-hee are getting to the point that he can’t ignore them anymore. Something’s gotta give, or the poor guy is going to find himself in a true crisis.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Ji-wook’s heart sinks as he sees Hyun-soo’s entire alibi for the day of the murder there in pictures on the bar wall, and he realizes that it was all made up. He walks back to the bar, and on the way he finds himself facing Hyun-soo, who’s walking his way.
Ji-wook somehow manages to smile, and he invites Hyun-soo back to the bar to have a drink with him. They return to find the rest of the team dead drunk, so they have a shot while Ji-wook asks about Hyun-soo’s family. Hyun-soo says vaguely that everyone in his family left.
When asked about a girlfriend, Hyun-soo admits that he doesn’t have one. He asks if Ji-wook wants to introduce him to someone, but Ji-wook gestures to Bong-hee, fast asleep on the table, and says dryly that she’s the only girl he knows. Ji-wook says jovially that he’s asking these questions to get closer to Hyun-soo, and Hyun-soo agrees that he’d like that. The others rouse and start acting goofy, and Ji-wook tells Hyun-soo to just think of them as crazy people.
In the morning, someone brings the very hungover Bong-hee some headache medicine while she’s still mostly asleep. She blinks up at him, unable to see clearly without her contacts in but fully expecting Ji-wook. She yelps when she sees that it’s Chief Bang, hurting his poor little feelings.
Chief Bang reports back to Ji-wook, who actually sent him in there, but he says that he’s not complaining about Bong-hee — he’s complaining about how stupid the both of them are acting. Heh.
Ji-wook asks him to find out everything he can about Hyun-soo, then he shyly thanks Chief Bang for all of his help lately. Chief Bang says with a big smile that quitting his job as a civil servant and coming here to work with such awesome people is the best decision he’s ever made. But a flashback to a drunken game of Truth or Dare last night shows him saying the exact opposite.
The guys both jump when they realize that Bong-hee is standing right there, and Chief Bang leaves the room so she and Ji-wook can talk (ha, they both snarl behind his back). Bong-hee asks why Ji-wook is doing a background check on Hyun-soo, and as he searches for an answer and tries to look innocent, he thinks back to a night when she’d gotten drunk after they first met Hyun-soo. When they’d gotten home, Bong-hee had thanked him for taking Hyun-soo’s case, since she felt like she was looking at herself whenever she saw him.
Ji-wook finally just tells Bong-hee that she doesn’t need to know why he’s looking into Hyun-soo. She argues that he’s her client, and Ji-wook says he’s not telling her because she doesn’t need to know. He asks how she’s feeling and she snaps back that he doesn’t need to know, ha.
She giggles at how petty they’re being, and Ji-wook reflexively smiles back. But his pretty smile reminds her of feelings she’s not supposed to be having, so she quickly leaves the room.
The team (minus Eun-hyuk) has their morning meeting, but CEO Byun keeps talking about how sick he feels, which makes Bong-hee and Chief Bang feel sick. CEO Byun vows that if he ever drinks again then they can call Bong-hee his mother, which has Chief Bang quipping that Bong-hee will have a son soon, and her firing back that she just wants his money. PFFT, I love these guys.
Ji-wook groans that his dearest wish is to have one normal meeting, but his dreams are immediately dashed when Eun-hyuk arrives with a cake. He tells them that he wants to take them all out to a fancy dinner tonight, but just the thought of more alcohol has the whole group slinking out of the room.
The murdered chef’s sister is charged with perjury and destruction of evidence, so she goes to the courthouse to be questioned by Yoo-jung. Afterward, as they’re all leaving, they run into Ji-wook and Bong-hee in the hallway. Ji-wook approaches the sister to ask why she hid the portrait of her brother, certain that the answer could help him understand the case, but she refuses to speak.
Hyun-soo walks in the park listening to music, and he sees a happy young woman walking towards him. He smiles at her, and as she passes out of his sight, she fades away to nothing.
He thinks about Bong-hee’s drunken lament, asking why the killer had to kill her ex-boyfriend Hee-joon and get her in so much trouble. We go back to the night of Hee-joon’s murder, and see that it was Hyun-soo on the roof of her neighboring building.
He’d thought she’d witnessed him moving a body and gone to her apartment to kill her, but Hee-joon had been there instead and saw his face. When Hyun-soo biked past Bong-hee on the street a few minutes later and she hadn’t recognized him, he’d realized that she never saw a thing. He decides to keep an eye on her, and if she never realizes who he is, then she’ll only know him as a good person.
He calls Bong-hee to say that he was taking a walk in the park and feeling thankful to her for his freedom. On her end, Ji-wook realizes who she’s talking to and gets right up in her face, listening in on the call.
Yoo-jung rounds the corner and sees the two of them, Ji-wook hovering inches from Bong-hee’s face, and experiences a surge of jealousy. Ji-hae finds her near tears and gets her head bitten off for asking what’s wrong.
Ji-hae spots Ji-wook and Bong-hee and decides to get a little revenge for Yoo-jung’s nasty temper. She walks past them as they bicker over whether Ji-wook can join Bong-hee when she goes to talk to Hyun-soo, and Ji-hae deliberately shoulder-checks Bong-hee right into Ji-wook’s arms.
Bong-hee quickly jumps away and walks off, Ji-wook trailing behind her looking even more shaken than she is. They call for an elevator, and when the doors open, they find themselves face-to-face with District Attorney Jang. Bong-hee freezes, remembering how he choked her the last time they saw each other.
District Attorney Jang asks nastily why Bong-hee is scared to walk into an elevator, so she steels herself and steps forward. But Ji-wook clamps down on her wrist and stops her, then steps inside first. She joins him, and he stays very close to her during the entire ride.
When they reach their floor, Bong-hee rushes out, trying to pull Ji-wook along with her. But he stays still and pulls out of her grip, giving her a look as he closes the elevator doors, leaving him alone with District Attorney Jang.
Ji-wook tells District Attorney Jang that he understands that he needs someone to blame, but he warns him that he if ever tries to hurt Bong-hee again, he’ll make sure he’s punished. Ji-wook adds that he’s an honest person and will use the law, but that he’s not afraid to get a little creative, either.
District Attorney Jang asks if Ji-wook is threatening him, and Ji-wook replies that yes, he most certainly is. He gets right in his face to say that if he touches Bong-hee again, then he’ll do the exact same thing to him.
Ji-wook finds Bong-hee outside, looking ready to knock his block off. She snaps at him to stay out of her business from now on, and when he tries to say it’s his business too, she says that’s only because he interfered.
Ji-wook defends that he would have interfered even if they’d been strangers. Bong-hee says that he did that once and lost his job, and Ji-wook admits that she’s right but that it was his choice.
Giving it some thought, Bong-hee says that she thinks this may really be an ill-fated relationship like he said. She tells Ji-wook that she expects him to listen and respect her wishes just like she does with his, and to stay out of it.
She leaves, but the minute she’s out of Ji-wook’s line of sight, she slumps against a tree and cries that she can’t stop her feelings for him. Ji-wook follows and sees her struggling, but he keeps his distance as she requested.
At the end of the day, Eun-hyuk asks everyone to go out with him again, but they’re all in craptastic moods. Eun-hyuk laughs his forced laugh and opens the cake he brought to work, only to find that the others ate most of it already.
He takes the last piece of cake to the riverside and sets up a little tent, then sits down to light some birthday candles and make a wish. Oh no… it’s his birthday and they all forgot. This breaks my heart.
He’s surprised to see Yoo-jung standing next to him, and she wishes him a happy birthday. She lets him know that she’s only here by accident, but she asks if she can join him. Eun-hyuk says no, but she sits anyway.
Still at work, Ji-wook suddenly remembers Eun-hyuk’s birthday and starts to text him. He rethinks the wording several times, which is adorable and shows how much he still cares what Eun-hyuk thinks.
He’s so distracted that he accidentally walks right into Bong-hee. With horror, Ji-wook realizes that he sent Eun-hyuk a one-letter text and mutters a very naughty curse, oops. He assures Bong-hee that the curse wasn’t meant for her, but she says she doesn’t care and walks away.
Eun-hyuk laughs when he sees the text, knowing what probably happened. Yoo-jung confesses that she told Ji-wook that she left him because he didn’t love her enough. Eun-hyuk says it’s too late to regret what’s been said, and Yoo-jung agrees that everything was her fault. She asks Eun-hyuk if he hates her, and he says that he does.
Another Truth or Dare flashback shows Chief Bang asking who Eun-hyuk hates most in the world. He says that there is someone he hates more than anything, but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t hate or stay mad at this person.
That night, Hyun-soo meets with Chan-ho under a dark overpass. He’s very aggressive, and Chan-ho looks so terrified that he can barely look Hyun-soo in the face. Hyun-soo says that Chan-ho never makes mistakes, wanting to know why his shoe-print was still at the murder scene, not to mention a button that he didn’t even lose there.
Chan-ho stammers meekly that he doesn’t know, and Hyun-soo says that anyone can make mistakes. Then he slams Chan-ho into his car and growls that he gets one mistake.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
With a menacing smile, Hyun-soo tells Chan-ho that if anything like this happens again, he’ll consider it a betrayal. He says that they have to continue their plans — three people have disappeared, and there are still four more to go.
Ji-wook is in a real funk, trying to give Bong-hee her space but unable to stop himself from staring at her pathetically all day long. Bong-hee notices his behavior, and later she tells Eun-hyuk that she’s starting to be able to see him as nothing more than her boss. She says she’ll just like Ji-wook as a fan from now on, but Eun-hyuk doesn’t see how that’s any different from a crush.
Bong-hee explains that as a fan, she won’t expect anything from Ji-wook. She says that she’s almost entirely over him, but Eun-hyuk remembers her drunk confession that she’ll love Ji-wook until the day she dies. He offers to help her, and motions her a bit closer.
Knowing that Ji-wook is watching them from the balcony, Eun-hyuk tells Bong-hee to laugh, then has her lean even closer. From Ji-wook’s vantage point they look awfully cozy, and he picks up the hose to spray Eun-hyuk again. But Chief Bang is there, so Ji-wook drops the hose guiltily.
Inside, Ji-wook overhears Bong-hee telling Eun-hyuk that she’s planning to meet with Hyun-soo in his neighborhood. He checks with Chief Bang, who says that Hyun-soo’s family are all dead and he has no friends. Ji-wook asks him to look into whether any of Hyun-soo’s deceased family members were the victims of a crime.
When Bong-hee leaves, Ji-wook follows her in his car. She meets with Hyun-soo for coffee and he tells her that he lost his job because he missed so much work after being arrested. He apologizes for not being able to pay her much for defending him, offering to buy her meals occasionally instead.
They’re both surprised when Ji-wook walks into the restaurant, attempting (very badly) to be sneaky about it. Bong-hee isn’t fooled by his awkward lie that it’s pure coincidence. After Hyun-soo leaves, Ji-wook tries to slink away, but Bong-hee calls him out for following her and orders him to tell her what he’s not saying about Hyun-soo.
Hyun-soo also gets a strange feeling about Ji-wook, the way he was asking a lot of personal questions and now showing up while he’s with Bong-hee. He turns back to see Ji-wook staring at him nervously and flashes an innocent smile, but the smile melts into an annoyed frown the moment he turns his back.
Ji-wook tells Bong-hee that he just has a bad feeling about Hyun-soo, but she gets a call from her mother so he says he’ll tell her more later. She goes to visit her mom at work, and while they eat lunch, Mom asks her about her boss. Bong-hee says he’s handsome and nice, with sparkly eyes, a heart as broad as his shoulders, and it’s like he has a light attached to his back because he always appears to be backlit with a halo.
Mom swoons a bit at the description, but something in Bong-hee’s voice clues her in that her baby girl is struggling. Bong-hee tearfully admits that she feels like a little girl around him, and that he rejected her. Mom tells her not to give up, because a man who makes you feel like that is special.
Ji-wook’s mom eavesdrops, muttering that a man that perfect doesn’t exist — except for her son, of course. He calls her, having dropped by to see her, and she comes outside to talk saying that there are two scary women in there, ha. Their love for each other is obvious by how much Ji-wook smiles around his mom.
She realizes how grown up he seems, remembering when he was little and they’d cried in each other’s arms after losing Ji-wook’s father. Ji-wook confesses that he doesn’t feel grown-up at all because he’s still afraid, then he sends her back to work.
Ji-wook wracks his brain for a way to connect Hyun-soo to the murder, but comes up with nothing. Then he remembers that during Hyun-soo’s trial, he’d seen Chan-ho, the forensics investigator, watching the proceedings and looking terrified when Hyun-soo was found not guilty.
He goes to the police station to speak with Chan-ho, asking if he knew the murdered chef personally. You can see Chan-ho’s guard go up as he says that he didn’t, and Ji-wook guesses that he must know Hyun-soo, then. Chan-ho denies it, so Ji-wook asks why he was at Hyun-soo’s trial, and Chan-ho lies that he was there to testify in another case.
Ji-wook says that he’ll be happy to officially confirm that, and that he’s certain that Chan-ho knows either the chef or Hyun-soo. He hands over his business card, offering to help Chan-ho if he ever needs anything. In his office later, Chan-ho watches the video of Hyun-soo’s arrest, then he seems to make a decision.
Ji-wook looks through the evidence again, wondering what motive Hyun-soo would have had to kill the chef. Yoo-jung calls to tell him that they found the missing portrait in the chef’s sister’s house, so he rushes to her office. Yoo-jung shows him pictures of the portrait, with the Bible verse written in blood. Ji-wook realizes that this was a murder of revenge.
Chan-ho tries to call him, but Ji-wook is so absorbed that he doesn’t hear his phone in his bag. Chan-ho calls Bong-hee instead, and he tells her that he knows who bought the shoes that were left in her office. They arrange to meet, unaware that Hyun-soo has cloned Chan-ho’s phone and is listening to every word.
Ji-wook misses another call, this time from Bong-hee. He finishes checking Yoo-jung’s evidence and leaves abruptly, then checks his phone to see a text from Bong-hee that she’s going to meet Chan-ho at the park. He races there, anxious to get to her before something terrible happens.
Bong-hee arrives at the meeting place, but something stops her from going to where Chan-ho is waiting. Meanwhile Chan-ho paces nervously, then he answers a call from Hyun-soo. Hyun-soo says that he’s having trouble finding Chan-ho in the dark, and Chan-ho’s eyes grow huge as Hyun-soo steps in front of him.
Ji-wook finds Bong-hee safe by her car, and he startles her by honking at her. He says that he’s the one who was scared, then he fusses at her for coming out like this alone. He calls her thoughtless, particularly after everything she’s been through.
Worked up now, he gets louder as he asks, “What if something happened to you? What were you going to do? And what about me? What would I have done??”
Bong-hee turns his question around on him, asking what she should have done when Chan-ho seemed so urgent and Ji-wook wasn’t answering his phone. Ji-wook says she should have waited and Bong-hee says she did, because going without him felt wrong.
She’d worried that something would happen and he’d scold her, but mostly, she admits, she was scared. So she didn’t go into the park and waited here for him. They both have tears in their eyes by now, and when Bong-hee wipes hers away, she loses a contact lens. It’s a reminder of how they first met, and she flicks it away angrily.
Ji-wook takes Bong-hee home, but when she starts to go to her room, he stops her. He says that he’s sorry and she asks if he means it, moving closer to check his expression and see if he’s telling the truth.
After a long moment, Bong-hee sees the sincerity in his eyes and she smiles. Satisfied, she starts to step back, but Ji-wook quickly reaches out and pulls her into a hug. He nestles his face into the crook of her neck and closes his eyes, relieved that she wasn’t hurt.
Bong-hee stands frozen, scared of being rejected again. Eventually Ji-wook ends the hug and pulls back, but only a little bit. He looks into Bong-hee’s eyes, then he gently takes her face in his hands and kisses her.
I’m going to need a minute, having a little trouble breathing over here. (Screams internally for several minutes.) Okay, I feel like I can string some words together now. Maybe.
That kiss was every bit as good as I’d hoped. But even more than that, I just live for the tiny little interactions between Ji-wook and Bong-hee, the ones that show how much they care about each other even when they’re still denying it. For instance, the scene when they got in the elevator with District Attorney Jang didn’t have any dialogue at all, yet so much was communicated between Ji-wook and Bong-hee. From her tensing in fear, to his gripping of her wrist, to the look he gave her when she got out of the elevator, so many things were said that didn’t even need words: I’ll protect you… I have your back…I won’t let this man hurt you… Let me handle this. Ji-wook somehow managed to convey safety and protection to Bong-hee with just a touch and a look. It just goes to show how much in sync they are with each other (and what a gifted actor Ji Chang-wook is!).
That said, I was very proud of Bong-hee for sticking up for herself with Ji-wook, because until now she’s been a fun, sweet character, but she hasn’t really done much beyond pine after Ji-wook. It’s not easy to look the man you love in the eye and tell him to respect you or get out, but she handled the situation with his unwanted interference beautifully. I may not agree with her reasons for being angry, because I think that she was actually upset that his actions were displaying a level of caring that he’d already refused to offer to her, so she was confused.
But I can understand that she doesn’t want him sacrificing pieces of his own life for her anymore, particularly after he made it clear that he didn’t want a relationship with her. She’s correct that if he wants to keep a distance between them, then he also has to stop stepping over that boundary. And the way she asked for the same respect that she affords to Ji-wook was very strong, and really made me see her in a different light. She may be a marshmallow when it comes to Ji-wook, but she’s not going to let anyone steamroll her.
I don’t know what it is about Eun-hyuk that really tugs my heartstrings, but he’s really killing me lately. He did a terrible thing years ago and broke his best friend’s trust, but he’s not a bad person. He’s doing everything he can to show Ji-wook that he’s sorry and that he wants to reconcile, and to stay away from Yoo-jung even though he obviously still loves her. He’s actually pretty pure, and so sweet-hearted that I just want to hug him and make all his loneliness go away. I’m glad that he’s finding a friend in Bong-hee, and a place where he belongs. I’m still unsure how I feel about the potential of Eun-hyuk and Yoo-jung becoming a couple, because I just don’t feel that Yoo-jung has shown enough personal growth to deserve a wonderful man like Eun-hyuk. But on the other hand, I want him to be happy and loved, so if being with her would make him happy, and if she truly loved him (remembering his birthday was a decent start), then I want it for him.
I’m starting to get some I Remember You vibes in the last couple of episodes, what with the killer turning out to be a pair of men instead of a single murderer, and I mean that as a very high compliment. But it’s a very different dynamic here — rather than a father/son, mentor/student relationship, Hyun-soo and Chan-ho’s relationship feels more like a hostage situation.
It seems obvious now that Hyun-soo is the murderer and that it’s Chan-ho’s job to make sure the murder locations are clean of evidence. But the way Chan-ho responded to Hyun-soo when we finally saw them together, plus the dismayed expression on his face when Hyun-soo was acquitted, tell a very complicated story. Chan-ho appears to be an unwilling participant in this partnership, and I wonder what Hyun-soo is holding over him to keep him under his thumb. I’m also very curious about Hyun-soo’s statement that they’ve killed three and have four more to go — are they doing the seven deadly sins? We’ve already gotten a fantastic homage to The Usual Suspects, so it would be interesting to continue that trend by honoring the awesomeness that is Se7en.
But despite his assisting a murderer to go free, there’s something about Chan-ho that’s small and vulnerable, as if a part of him wants to get off this ride. It has me hoping for someone to reach out to him, and save him from the hell he’s stuck in. The evidence at the chef’s house seems to have been an attempt to get Hyun-soo caught so that Chan-ho could be free, and that his expression of fear and dismay at the trial was because he had failed. Maybe Ji-wook will be the one to rescue Chan-ho, and that together they can stop Hyun-soo from murdering again, and save each other in the process.
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