Suspicious Partner: Episodes 29-30
As far as they’ve come together, Bong-hee and Ji-wook still have a long way to go when it comes to being open and honest with each other. Trusting someone is difficult when there’s so much as stake, and so much to lose. But if they can’t learn to stop holding back the truth from one another, they’re never going to have a chance as a couple, much less as partners trying to take down a killer.
EPISODE 29 RECAP
Ji-wook wakes, still cuddled up with Bong-hee after spending the night together. He’s feeling snuggly and he kisses her neck affectionately, but then he spots the photo of her as a child with her father. He freezes, recognizing the man that he sees in his nightmares, coming out of the fire that killed his parents.
Bong-hee stirs, and Ji-wook tucks her into his chest. But he can’t stop staring at the photo, and as he showers later, he remembers her telling him that she also has two fathers, and that her father also died in a fire.
Bong-hee is all smiles as she prepares for the day, and she finds Ji-wook in the kitchen making breakfast. He’s still distracted, but he shakes it off as best he can to smile at her. He’s stress-cooking again, which means there’s enough for everyone, but the food must taste terrible judging by the hilariously shocked looks on the guys’ faces.
It’s so bad that they assume Bong-hee did the cooking, but she insists it was Ji-wook, then glares at him in accusatory horror when she tastes the soup, hee. Ji-wook doesn’t even seem to hear the conversation, and Bong-hee watches him worriedly.
Though Eun-hyuk’s client was convicted of starting a fire that killed a man, another man has confessed to being the true arsonist, and he’s brought in for further questioning. He’s annoyed that Yoo-jung didn’t believe him when he turned himself in, and he says that he’s changed his mind about taking responsibility.
He leaves with Yoo-jung on his heels, and Eun-hyuk sees her trotting after the arsonist and begging him to wait. Eun-hyuk runs into Ji-hae, who seems thrilled to see him until he asks about the man Yoo-jung was talking to, and she realizes that he didn’t come to see her. She hides her business card that she was preparing to give him behind her back, once she catches on that he didn’t stop to get her number.
She tells Eun-hyuk that the guy is an arsonist, then she accidentally says that her heart caught fire and has to correct herself and say that he started a fire. She’s obviously flustered, but luckily Eun-hyuk doesn’t notice as he stares after Yoo-jung.
At the house, Ji-wook asks Chief Bang for a personal favor, and Chief Bang jokes about Ji-wook and Bong-hee registering their marriage so soon. But Ji-wook’s tortured expression quickly wipes the grin off his face.
Ji-wook says that he wants to know more about how his parents died, and (his voice falters at this) who the culprit was that set the fire. He tells Chief Bang that there’s no rush, even asking him to take his time, as if he’s not that eager to have his fears confirmed.
He spends the day in an obsessive cleaning frenzy, trying to take his mind off his worries. Later he offers to help Eun-hyuk with a case, desperate for something else to focus on. Eun-hyuk is confused but grateful, though he says that all he has right now is the arson appeal.
He’s surprised when Ji-wook says he’ll take it, since he usually avoids arson cases, but Ji-wook insists that he’ll be fine. Bong-hee also offers to help, and Ji-wook reluctantly agrees.
Both Yoo-jung and Eun-hyuk fill their partners in on the arson case—a man named Sun-il was convicted of setting the fire that killed another man, named Sung-woo. Sun-il was convicted because his daughter was hit and killed while Sung-woo was driving drunk. Sun-il had openly threatened Sung-woo, so when Sung-woo died in the fire, Sun-il was assumed to have started it.
Ji-hae is concerned about Yoo-jung’s determination to get involved, since the DA wants this case buried. She warns Yoo-jung that exposing the prosecutors’ office’s past mistakes could mean her job, just as it did for Ji-wook.
Going over the case notes is difficult for Ji-wook, and he closes his eyes to rest for a minute. Bong-hee comes upstairs and finds him sitting motionless, so she kneels beside his chair and softly traces his features with the tip of a finger.
Cupping his face in her hand, she whispers, “I can’t believe that you’re my man,” then she leaves. Once she’s gone, Ji-wook opens his eyes, having been awake the whole time.
Chief Bang brings his findings on the fire back to Ji-wook, looking very serious about what he discovered. The file includes a photo of Bong-hee’s father, Eun Man-soo, who was recorded as one of the victims of the fire. Ji-wook’s worst fears are confirmed when he sees Bong-hee listed as the man’s daughter.
The included news article from the fire, calling it a revenge case that killed two prosecutors, causes tears to spring to Ji-wook’s eyes. He begins to cry in earnest, but he jumps up and tries to hide his emotions when Chief Bang comes to talk to him. Chief Bang sees Ji-wook’s anguish, but he kindly refrains from mentioning it.
Chief Bang admits that he read the file and that he knows that it’s Bong-hee’s father who was the arson suspect. Ji-wook says that it doesn’t matter, and that Bong-hee has nothing to do with it, but he keeps saying it over and over as a question, like he’s struggling to convince himself more than anything.
Chief Bang calls Ji-wook downstairs to eat (pizza, naturally), but he stops on the stairs to watch the others from a distance. Seeing Bong-hee’s laughing face seems to relax Ji-wook a bit, and he smiles as he watches her.
That night, Ji-wook falls asleep on his couch. He wakes from another nightmare of Bong-hee’s father looming over him, to find Bong-hee standing there instead. It takes him a few moments to calm down, but then he notices the pillow in Bong-hee’s arms and asks her cheekily what it’s for.
Bong-hee warns him not to get the wrong idea, that she was just worried about his nightmares and that she didn’t have any ulterior motives. Uh-huh, sure. Ji-wook teases that he doesn’t believe her, and they both laugh. This time when he says he’s okay, it feels like he means it.
As they spoon on the couch, Bong-hee asks Ji-wook why he became a prosecutor. He tells her that his dad was a prosecutor, and she guesses that his father is probably proud of him. Ji-wook says sadly that he’s not sure about that, so Bong-hee turns to face him and asks why.
Instead of answering, Ji-wook asks Bong-hee why she became a prosecutor. She says that because of a perverted athletic judge, she stopped being an athlete and went into law, and soon she started thinking that she was meant to defend people like her father.
Ji-wook asks what kinds of people she means, and she says, “People like me. Innocent people who are misunderstood by the world and wrongfully accused.” Ji-wook starts to say something about all criminals, but he stops himself. Instead, he just hugs Bong-hee tightly, whispering that he’s sorry.
In the morning, Ji-wook wakes first and watches Bong-hee sleep. He goes to the gym, memories of his father playing over and over in his mind. He returns home to find Bong-hee waiting for him with a suspicious-looking homemade energy drink, and when he tries it, it’s as disgusting as he feared. Bless him, he does his best, but he can’t make himself finish it.
Bong-hee leans in for a good morning kiss, and Ji-wook reflexively flinches, unintentionally letting his revulsion show on his face. He quickly covers by saying that he’s stinky from working out, and though Bong-hee still looks hurt by his reaction, she tells herself he was just upset by the nasty drink.
Yoo-jung enters her apartment building’s elevator, then suddenly realizes that Ji-hae is the other passenger. They learn that Ji-hae moved to the building last week, and Yoo-jung says arrogantly that she knows she’s Ji-hae’s role model, but that following her to live in the same building is creepy.
Ji-hae mutters that the more she gets to know Yoo-jung, the more her opinion of her changes. LOL. They trade catty barbs, with Ji-hae getting the last word for once.
Eun-hyuk annoys everyone with his loud sighs, grumbling that he’s sure he saw the guy that Yoo-jung was chasing somewhere before. Finally Ji-wook snaps that he’s being distracting, and Eun-hyuk pouts at him then goes right back to his musing.
Bong-hee asks a question about one of the witnesses in Sun-il’s arson case, and it finally clicks that that’s why Eun-hyuk remembers him. He checks his notes from the original trial and finds the man’s name—Lee Joon-hae.
EPISODE 30 RECAP
Two years ago, Eun-hyuk had met Joon-hae during Sun-il’s trial, when he’d testified to seeing Sun-il leaving Sung-woo’s house after setting it on fire. But now Eun-hyuk knows that Joon-hae is an arsonist himself and finds it too much of a coincidence.
Ji-wook says that arsonists often have hero complexes, so they start fires then call the police in order to play the hero. Chief Bang adds that the police usually videotape arson investigations, because often the arsonist is hanging around to watch. They decide to find the videos from Sun-il’s case, and also to look into smaller arson investigations to see if Joon-hae’s name pops up.
Eun-hyuk starts to assign the collection of information to Chief Bang, but Chief Bang suddenly groans and clutches his side where Hyun-soo stabbed him. He makes a big deal of how much it hurts, insisting that he’s totally fine, no really, he can do all the work himself. Hee, he’s really milking it, and it works—everyone runs to get their own evidence.
In the car with Ji-wook, Bong-hee sighs that if it’s true that Joon-hae is the real arsonist, then Sun-il must be very upset at being falsely accused. Ji-wook gently argues that there’s no evidence proving Sun-il’s innocence, but Bong-hee counters that it’s at least a possibility.
Ji-wook warns her not to empathize too much, and she says she’s just keeping an open mind. Ji-wook disagrees, saying that she sounds like she’s identifying too much with Sun-il, but Bong-hee thinks that a little empathy is acceptable. She cuts him off and says curtly that she knows he dislikes it. Feeling like a jerk, Ji-wook apologizes for hurting her feelings, and Bong-hee also apologizes.
Eun-hyuk goes looking for Yoo-jung, but she’s not in her office. Ji-hae sees him and notes that they run into each other a lot lately, and when he asks where Yoo-jung is, Ji-hae says cryptically that he needn’t make up excuses to come by.
He has no clue what she means, so she points out that he’s asking her about Yoo-jung even though he has Yoo-jung’s phone number. Ji-hae smiles knowingly, but Eun-hyuk is mystified by her weird behavior and beats a hasty retreat.
When they arrive back home, Bong-hee asks Ji-wook if he’s hiding something from her. She can tell from his deer-in-the-headlights reaction that he is, but he lies and says there’s nothing. Bong-hee says that she’ll believe him, but she can’t help but ask if she’s done something wrong.
Ji-wook says that the way he’s acting isn’t because of her, but because he has something he needs to work through. Bong-hee asks if she’s not allowed to ask him about it, and Ji-wook nods unhappily.
Yoo-jung doesn’t pick up her phone when Eun-hyuk calls, so he goes to her apartment building to intercept her on her way home. Tired and cranky, Yoo-jung says he’ll have to follow her to her place if he wants to talk.
Poor Eun-hyuk looks extremely uncomfortable in Yoo-jung’s apartment, which makes her secretly smile. He tells her about his appeal case, surprised when she already knows about Joon-hae and confirms that Joon-hae confessed to setting the fire.
She tells him that her bosses want her to bury the confession, but instead she hands over a file of information on Joon-hae. Eun-hyuk asks if it’s okay for her to do this, and she sighs that she’s not sure, then sends him on his way.
But as he’s about to leave, she blurts out that he can stay the night if he wants. Eun-hyuk gapes at her, but she smiles and says she was just joking. She says that she’s a witch no matter what she does, so the tasteless joke seems to suit her, but Eun-hyuk objects to the way Yoo-jung beats herself up.
He brings up the night that Ji-wook found them together, asking Yoo-jung why she’s never told Ji-wook that nothing happened between them. She says it’s because something could have happened, then asks him why he never told either. Eun-hyuk says simply, “Because it’s true that I hurt him.”
Eun-hyuk gets a call to meet with Ji-wook and Chief Bang for drinks, and Chief Bang frowns at the two mopey sad sacks sitting across the table. His complaints about his stabbing scar go unnoticed, and when he asks what they think, Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk are all Yeah it’s great, it’ll be okay. LOL.
Chief Bang whines that he’s the one who’s raising four children at work, got stabbed, and can’t even drink because he’s still healing, so what are they so down about? Ji-wook says that everything is all his fault then smacks Eun-hyuk, who just mutters, “Me too, totally.” PWAHAHA, these two are killing me.
Many bottles of soju later, Bong-hee shows up and starts fussing, but Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk are completely drunk and adorably thrilled to see her. They beam at her and invite her to join them, but it’s her turn to drag Ji-wook’s drunk butt home.
She drops him on his bed and orders him to stay, but he leaps up to grab her and drag her in for a bear hug. He says into her neck that they should never break up, ordering her not to leave even if he tells her to go, adding, “We should only think of ourselves. Don’t leave me, okay?” Bong-hee doesn’t know why he’s saying this, but she tells him not to worry.
The next day, Eun-hyuk finds Bong-hee stress-eating her way through CEO Byun’s secret cookie stash. She just says calmly that she’ll eat them all and lie that she knows nothing of the secret stash. Eun-hyuk says that he’s ready to discuss whatever is upsetting her, but she says resolutely that what happens between her and Ji-wook stays between them.
Eun-hyuk manages to make her talk anyway by agreeing to be a cookie co-conspirator and musing that Ji-wook is acting weird lately. He says that the arson case they’re working on must remind Ji-wook of his parents’ deaths, guessing that Bong-hee is experiencing the same thing.
He tells her that Ji-wook was very traumatized because he was in the fire with his parents and witnessed everything, and also struggles with survivor’s guilt. Bong-hee nods sadly, and in voiceover we hear her ask how, looking back, she didn’t realize.
The team convene to go over their findings—although Joon-hae is only on record for attempted arson, he was on the video of the police investigation of the fire that killed Sung-woo. Ji-wook says that’s not evidence of guilt, but Eun-hyuk is certain that he’s the real arsonist. He hands Ji-wook photos of the fire scene, asking if he’ll be okay to see them, and as he leafs through them Bong-hee’s voiceover tells us that there were countless hints, “So why hadn’t I figured it out?”
During Sun-il’s appeal trial, Eun-hyuk calls arsonist Joon-hae as a witness. He asks about a certain flammable chemical called xylene, which Joon-hae pretends not to know about. But when it’s pointed out that it’s a major component of the paints he manufactures at work, Joon-hae changes his answer.
Eun-yuk says that xylene was found at the arson site, and Joon-hae claims that he doesn’t know anything about that. With a quick glance at Yoo-jung, Eun-hyuk reveals that Joon-hae was recently arrested for attempted arson, and that the accellerant found with him was the exact same mixture that started the fire two years ago.
Sitting in the audience with Ji-wook, Bong-hee has a sudden revelation. She excuses herself and goes to the hall to call her mom, telling her that their trial is going well and that she feels great, even as she fights back tears.
She grows serious and starts to ask her mother something about her father, but she changes her mind and ends the call. She sits reeling, wondering how she didn’t know. In voiceover she tells us that she read the article about her father’s accident so many times that she’d memorized the story of the victims’ family.
But somehow she never noticed that the anniversary of his parents’ deaths, which Ji-wook marks with a picnic every year, is the same as the anniversary of her own father’s death. As she recalls everything she’s been told about Ji-wook’s tragic loss, she cries, wondering how she’s never put the clues together.
At the end of the day, Eun-hyuk thanks Yoo-jung for her help. She says that she’s probably in trouble for giving him the information, but that she’ll never quit her job because Ji-wook and Eun-hyuk said they wouldn’t hire her at their firm.
As expected, District Attorney Jang calls her to his office, where he says that some people think justice is achieved through petty cases like this one. But he tells her that there’s an order to the world, and that sacrifices must be made to keep that order. We see a flashback of him saying the exact same thing to a picture of Bong-hee’s father, adding, “All I need is for you to become a murderer.” He tells Yoo-jung that there’s no room for mistakes that threaten the order of an organization, the law, or of power.
Ji-wook heads home to wait for Bong-hee, feeling unsettled at the way she left in the middle of the trial. When she calls him, he rushes out to meet her, and they go for an impromptu walk in the park. They spend the afternoon doing simple couple things like taking selfies (Ji-wook: “You’re taking a video right now, dummy.”) and eating ice cream.
As they walk together, Ji-wook seems much happier than he’s been in a while. But there’s something very sad about the way Bong-hee looks at him, and she thinks that she just wants to postpone the inevitable for one more moment, one more step.
Suddenly she stops walking and turns to Ji-wook, and he senses that something is terribly wrong. Bong-hee starts to pull her hand from his and he tightens his hold, trying to delay what’s about to happen. But she pushes his hand away and looks up at him to say, “Let’s break up.”
On the first night Bong-hee and Ji-wook met, he’d been forced to take her to his place when she’d been too drunk to tell him her address. She pinned him to the couch and leaned down to kiss him, and he reached up to run his hands through her hair…
Then he grabbed a double handful of hair and yanked her off of him, jumping off the couch and shaking her away when she clamped onto his leg. Horrified at what almost happened, Ji-wook stared down at the drunk, disheveled Bong-hee, looking like a man who just narrowly survived a shark attack.
Dammit, I knew it, I knew Bong-hee was going to be the noble idiot. She and Ji-wook both responded to the revelation that their fathers died in the same fire exactly as I thought they would… he was shaken but determined not to lose her, while she distanced herself as soon as she learned the truth. I thought that Ji-wook’s reaction to learning that Bong-hee’s father is the man that’s haunted his nightmares his whole life was pretty faithful to the man he’s become—he was deeply upset, and he even pulled away from Bong-hee for a while as he tried to decide what to do next, but he ultimately chose his love for her over his traumatic past. His emotional journey from denial to aversion and finally to acceptance and love felt true and realistic.
Bong-hee’s experience was just the opposite, and in a way I can understand why she is pulling away now, even though it makes me want to scream in frustration. All Bong-hee knew is that after finally showing their love for each other in the most intimate way, Ji-wook became very distant and cold for a while. So of course when she learned that their parents died in the same fire, she felt very guilty and probably assumed that he wouldn’t want anything to do with her now. She’s been hurt badly by his rejection before, so it’s natural that she would want to go ahead and end things before having to experience that pain all over again.
Part of the reason I can understand why she’s making this choice is because despite it causing problems in the past, Ji-wook is still keeping things from Bong-hee. He thinks he’s protecting her by not telling her about her father’s supposed involvement in his parents’ deaths, but you’d think that with the way it backfired when he didn’t tell her of his suspicions that Hyun-soo was the killer, he would know better by now. Bong-hee isn’t fragile, and she can handle anything difficult he might reveal. But by keeping secrets from her, it’s Ji-wook who first creates a distance between them, and I can see why Bong-hee still doesn’t fully trust him with her heart.
As for Eun-hyuk, I wasn’t really that surprised to learn that nothing really happened between him and Yoo-jung on the night that Ji-wook thought they slept together. Eun-hyuk has shown himself to be much too loyal and devoted to betray his lifelong best friend like that, so I kind of guessed a while ago that the situation was misread. And it’s just like Eun-hyuk to accept his punishment of Ji-wook’s hatred even though nothing happened, simply because it doesn’t matter if he and Yoo-jung slept together or not—what matters is that they could have, and that Ji-wook was hurt.
It feels like some of the spark has gone out of the show with Hyun-soo in his coma for two whole episodes—it’s realistic that he wouldn’t just bounce back after such a terrible injury, but his absence is definitely felt. When you have a complex and menacing villain, it makes no sense to take him out of the story right as his character is getting interesting. Not that anything is wrong with the show the way it is now, but Hyun-soo makes me feel a sort of horrific fascination whenever he’s outsmarting Ji-wook and driving him crazy in the process. I do hope that Hyun-soo wakes soon, because whether he comes out of his coma with his mind intact, or whether he does end up suffering some sort of amnesia, he brings a certain energy to the show that’s keenly missed when he’s gone.
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