Reunited Worlds: Episodes 3-4
Hae-sung begins to try to piece together what happened to him in 2005 and why he’s mysteriously back. It’s a hard lesson to learn as he realizes that his death was a tragic event to everyone who knew him, and that they’ve suffered from his loss. Every answer only leads to more questions, and increasingly strange events point to much more going on than a simple second chance at life.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Jung-won waits while the train goes by, thinking of the day Hae-sung died, completely unaware that he’s right on the other side of the tracks. Once the train passes, she’s so focused on catching a passing cab that she runs right past Hae-sung.
Hae-sung doesn’t see Jung-won either, and he looks like he’s in shock. His friend Ho-bang comes running after him, and tears stream down Hae-sung’s face as he says, “I was dead. I was dead, right?” Awww, he just now remembered.
Hae-sung starts to run off, but he steps in front of a speeding car and freezes when it triggers the memory of how he died. Ho-bang manages to grab him out of the way, and Hae-sung gasps that he was killed by a car in front of their school.
He figures out that this is why he hasn’t changed at all in the twelve years since that night, and he desperately begs Ho-bang to tell him why he’s come back. Growing frantic, he asks, “Who am I? Am I a ghost? Am I a phantom??”
Terrified, Hae-sung screams at the top of his lungs. All around him, signs and streetlights suddenly begin to explode one by one until the entire street is dark.
Back in Seoul, Jung-won settles in for the night, reaching into her fridge for a bottle of water. She finds a note from her friend Jin-ju attached to the bottle with a huge wad of chewed gum (gross).
The note reads: “Your boss confessed his love to you. You better hold onto him. If you let him go, you’re dead!” Jung-won agrees that Jin-ju is right, and she wonders what to say to Min-joon.
She falls asleep with her head resting on the coffee table, and when she wakes the next morning she panics, unable to see a thing. Eventually she realizes that she nodded off onto Jin-ju’s note and that the gum has pasted it to her hair. Ewwww…
The only way to get the gum out is to cut her hair, but just as Jung-won is about to make the cut, a loud pounding on her front door startles her, and she shears her bangs a good inch shorter than she intended. Jung-won is so freaked out by her terrible haircut that she barely registers her landlord threatening to kick her out if she doesn’t pay her overdue rent.
Ho-bang takes Hae-sung to see his gravesite, and he breaks the news that Hae-sung’s grandmother passed away three years ago, but that he hasn’t kept in touch with Hae-sung’s brothers and sisters. Hae-sung says sadly that even little Soo-ji must be about his age now.
Ho-bang mentions that their friends all visited his grave yesterday on the anniversary of his death. Hae-sung asks why they don’t keep in touch with Jung-won, wondering how he can find her.
Changing the subject, Ho-bang says that he knows the office where Hae-chul, Hae-sung’s younger brother, works now. He takes Hae-sung to the building, and Hae-sung marvels that the former family clown works in an office now.
An old classmate of theirs calls out to Ho-bang, but when she sees Hae-sung and reads his name tag, she lets out a bloodcurdling scream and passes out. Several people stop to try to revive her, and on the other side of the crowd, a man watches Hae-sung with narrowed eyes (cameo by Ahn Gil-kang).
Having canceled his plans to study abroad, chef Min-joon goes back to his restaurant and releases the chef he’d hired to replace him. He gets adorably shy when the chef asks why he decided not to go, while nearby, Jung-won eavesdrops on their conversation.
She follows him when he goes to the roof to tend his herb garden, determined to set things straight. Heh, you can see him trying not to laugh at her unfortunate haircut. Jung-won boldly asks if his deciding not to go to Paris was because of her, then she’s momentarily disarmed when he openly admits to it.
Gathering her wits again, Jung-won says that she’s insulted that he thinks she would fall in love with him for that reason, and that she considers his sideways confession from the night before to be a joke. She threatens to ruin his professional reputation if he does anything like that again, barreling over him whenever he tries to interject.
She whirls around and storms back inside, dropping a piece of paper in the process. Min-joon picks it up and sees that it’s a list reminding her of what to say to him, which he finds adorable.
Ho-bang gets Hae-sung something to wear other than his old school uniform, including a baseball cap to partially cover his face. Hae-sung heads towards the building to find Hae-chul, but on the way, he’s passed by three tough-looking men (two of whom are the loan sharks that threatened Jung-won the day before).
They corner a guy who owes them money, and one of the men refers to the youngest as Sung Hae-chul (Kwak Dong-yeon). Realizing that he’s found his brother, Hae-sung ducks into a hiding spot to watch him.
The loan shark tells Hae-chul to explain to the man about staying in touch. After the two older men go, Hae-sung watches in horror as the brother he remembers as a cute kid who was always smiling and joking beats the guy to a pulp.
A while later, one of the loan sharks tells Hae-chul to go collect Jung-won’s money. To his credit, Hae-chul looks like he’d rather do just about anything else.
Hae-sung strides through the hallway, wondering which office Hae-chul is in. Suddenly there’s a painful ringing in his ears, and when the ringing subsides, he can hear every noise inside the building all at the same time, even voices from far down the hall.
He’s only stunned for a moment before he realizes that he can hear Hae-chul begging his bosses to let him collect from someone besides Jung-won. He locates the office, where he hears the sounds of a beating.
Hae-sung opens the office door to see Hae-chul on the ground, with the loan sharks kicking him viciously. He bursts into the room, and Hae-chul takes advantage of his bosses’ distraction to escape. One of the loan sharks tries to punch Hae-sung, but Hae-sung just grabs his arm then tosses him across the room with barely any effort.
The second loan shark picks up a bat and attacks, only to find himself swatted away as well. Hae-sung picks him up and demands to know where he sent Hae-chul. The quaking loan shark gives him a business card where he’s written down Jung-won’s address.
During the restaurant’s afternoon break, the employees play the ladder game to decide who goes for shaved ice. Jung-won doesn’t feel like playing, so the waitress asks Min-joon to play on Jung-won’s behalf. Of course he loses, and he sneaks away to avoid Jung-won’s anger.
As Jung-won is waiting for everyone’s treats, Min-joon sits beside her. He apologizes for making her lose, then says he’s here to clear up her misconception that he’s playing jokes or taking her lightly. Jung-won stammers, and when the shaved ice is ready, she grabs it and runs.
Seconds later, a screech sends Min-joon outside, where he finds Jung-won frozen in place with a cicada on her head, hee. He gently removes it and places it back in its tree, and when Jung-won tries to leave this time, he grabs the bags of ice and offers her a ride back to work.
In the car, Jung-won tells Min-joon that he’s only interested in her because he knows nothing about her. She confesses that she’s in debt and has a drinking problem, that she’s forgetful and never cleans, and that she doesn’t have much of an education.
Lastly, she adds that she’s unlucky, and Min-joon thanks her for telling him. But then he says that her honesty just makes her more attractive, ha.
On the bus to Jung-won’s place, the mysterious man that was watching Hae-sung earlier stands next to him and says, “You came back recently, didn’t you?” Hae-sung says he doesn’t know what the guy is talking about, and the man just exits the bus.
Hae-sung is too excited to see Jung-won to worry about the stranger for long. He finds her apartment and rings the bell, but she’s not home. He ends up hanging around the building until after dark, intent on waiting until Jung-won comes home.
While he’s waiting, the loan sharks he roughed up earlier show up with a van full of their cronies. They attack Hae-sung with bats, continuing to beat him long after he’s lying helpless on the ground.
Meanwhile, Jung-won’s bossy kitchen manager makes her stay late at the restaurant alone to finish closing up. Jin-ju video calls her and gasps at Jung-won’s bangs before asking if the loan sharks showed up today.
In Min-joon’s office, he and the kitchen manager discuss the merits of hiring a new cook over promoting one of the assistants. The kitchen manager says that Jung-won could be a candidate if not for her lack of focus, but Min-joon says he thinks she’s improving.
Then they look to the security cameras to see Jung-won shadow-jousting with a carrot in one hand and a green onion in the other. HAHA, Min-joon looks so embarrassed for her.
When Jung-won finally gets home that night, the first thing she notices is that the streetlight outside her door is flickering badly. Then she spots a body lying on the pavement under the light, and she steps closer to get a look. The light flickers on again, and Jung-won rears back in shock when she sees Hae-sung’s face.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
The sight of Hae-sung lying there bruised and bloodied startles Jung-won, but after a few seconds, she registers that he’s been badly beaten. She gets him up to her apartment and settles him on the couch, then takes another good look at him.
She starts to call the police, but Hae-sung softly murmurs her name, causing her to drop the phone. She tells the policeman on the line that she’s fine, then tries to convince herself that she heard Hae-sung wrong and that he only looks like her old friend.
It takes her a few moments to work up the nerve to touch him, then she cleans up his wounds and stands to look at him again. The storm outside reminds her of the day of Hae-sung’s burial, when it had also been raining.
In flashback, we see that Jung-won had run all the way to the photographer’s for a copy of Hae-sung’s smiling school photo. Hae-sung’s family and classmates had escorted his casket from the funeral home, with Young-joon leading the procession and holding the standard expressionless photo.
Ho-bang and Moon-shik had worried that Jung-won blamed herself for Hae-sung’s death too much to come to his funeral. But she’d run up in time to offer Young-joon her photo, asking if a smiling picture can be his funeral portrait. Hae-sung’s grandmother had sunk to the pavement, wailing her grief, and Jung-won had sobbed along with her.
Back in the present, Hae-sung is still asleep when Jung-won leaves for the day. She leaves a note on the table telling him to leave when he wakes, and to see a doctor. As soon as she’s gone, Hae-sung’s wounds disappear in an instant.
Jung-won meets up with Jin-ju, who guesses that she can’t go to work because of Min-joon and assumes she can’t stay home because of the loan sharks. She takes a call from Ho-bang, who says nervously that he’s in Seoul and needs to see her immediately. Heh, she threatens to kill him if he’s about to confess to her.
He tells her that Hae-sung is back, and that the friends need to meet up. He tells Jin-ju to pass this information on to Jung-won if she can, then hangs up.
Moon-shik and Tae-hoon show up first, and Ho-bang tells them the news. Jin-ju and Jung-won arrive, Jung-won looking extremely uncomfortable as the guys marvel that Jin-ju has been in contact with her all this time.
Hae-sung finally wakes to find himself in a strange apartment. He sees Jung-won’s note, then looks around for clues as to where he is. On the fridge he finds her old school photo and a group picture of him with all their friends, and he grins as he realizes that he’s found Jung-won.
Ho-bang presents the friends with Hae-sung’s school uniform as proof that he saw him alive and well. They all look skeptical, especially since Ho-bang doesn’t know where Hae-sung is now. Suddenly, Jung-won says she has to go, and she flees the restaurant and runs all the way home.
Her place is empty when she gets home, and Jung-won flops on the couch, disappointed. But then Hae-sung comes out of the next room, and when he sees her there, he breaks into a big, beautiful smile. Jung-won breathes his name, and Hae-sung babbles excitedly about how glad he is to have found her.
He grins again at seeing her all grown up, and he says that he doesn’t know how he came back. He notices her stunned expression and reaches out to prove that he’s real, but Jung-won recoils from his touch.
It seems to upset Hae-sung, but he smiles gamely like he always does. Jung-won notices that his wounds are gone, and Hae-sung agrees that it’s strange. This time she reaches up to touch him, but her landlord bursts into the room and interrupts the moment.
The landlord yells at Jung-won for being several months late on the rent, and Hae-sung tells her she’s being too harsh. Jung-won grabs his arm and pleads with her eyes for him to let it go, and the landlord says to pay before the end of the week, or else she’ll be evicted.
Frustrated, Hae-sung asks why Jung-won can’t even pay her rent. He mentions the loan sharks and asks what she’s been doing with her life, fussing like he’s still older than her.
Later he goes down to the park to think, telling himself that money troubles are a part of life and that Jung-won surely isn’t happy with her situation. Meanwhile, Min-joon grows worried when Jung-won doesn’t show up for work, so he goes to her place to check on her.
He finds her finishing off a beer on her front step and says he’s relieved that she’s not sick. He assumes she didn’t come to work because of him, but she weakly denies it. She reassures him that she’s not going to quit, and she asks him to treat her as an employee like he did before.
Hae-sung arrives in time to see Min-joon leave after getting Jung-won’s promise to come to work tomorrow. Back inside, Hae-sung apologizes for yelling at her, explaining that to him, it feels like they saw each other yesterday.
He’s visibly relieved when Jung-won says she can imagine how that feels. Excited, he asks if she remembers the last time they talked on the phone, when she’d asked him to get her wallet from the school’s art room. He asks cheerfully if she was playing another prank on him, but Jung-won starts to shake at the memory.
Upset, she asks why he’s bringing that up, and if he came back to hear her apologize. Hae-sung says softly that he was only kidding, but Jung-won yells that if that’s why he’s here, then he should leave. She runs out of the apartment, leaving Hae-sung wondering what he said wrong.
Jung-won sits by the river throwing rocks into the water, remembering one night soon after Hae-sung’s death. She and his grandmother had come home to find neighborhood kids throwing rocks at the house, yelling “murderer!” Jung-won had chased the boys away, screaming at them that Hae-sung would never have killed anyone.
They go inside to find Young-in, Hae-chul, and Soo-ji sobbing in fear. Jung-won had addressed Hae-sung’s photo, demanding angrily that he come back and tell everyone himself that he didn’t kill Jung-chul. Oh no, I was afraid that he’d died, too.
In the present, Hae-sung tries to come to grips with the fact that for everyone but him, twelve years has passed. He steps outside, and finds his brother Hae-chul standing outside Jung-won’s door.
Hae-chul sees Hae-sung for the first time, and he staggers back in fear. He tries to run, but he falls at the bottom of the stairs, and Hae-sung begs him to stay and listen. Hae-chul stammers out an apology, begging him to go away, but Hae-sung pulls him to his feet.
He asks why Hae-chul has become this bad person, and Hae-chul yells, “I had no choice because I’m your brother!” He asks how a murderer’s brother could live a good life when his family is ruined, and he screams again for Hae-sung to leave as he runs away in absolute terror.
Too shocked to give chase, Hae-sung gasps, “I’m… a murderer?”
He calls Ho-bang, who was just about to head back to Chungho, and he asks his friend if he’s a murderer. Ho-bang meets with him and tells him that Jung-chul, the bully he found in the art room with a head wound, also died that day.
Hae-sung insists that Jung-chul was alive when he left to get help, which was when he got hit by that car. Ho-bang believes him, but he says that everyone else thinks that Hae-sung killed Jung-chul.
Hae-sung asks if Jung-won believes it too, but Ho-bang says that she blames herself for Hae-sung’s death, because she’s the one who sent him to the school that night. He tells Hae-sung that Jung-won stopped coming to school for a while and no longer contacted them, and that though he heard she was in therapy for a while, she had a very difficult time.
He also says that Jin-ju told him that before Hae-sung’s grandmother passed away, she was in intensive care for a long time. Jung-won had paid all of her medical expenses, which is why she borrowed the money from the loan sharks. Oof.
Hae-sung suddenly realizes that Jung-won’s hardships sprang directly from her guilt over his death, and that he yelled at her for it. He rushes back to her place to find her packing her things to move, and he tells her, “Jung-won-ah, it’s not your fault. You’re not the reason I died.”
He adds that he’s not a murderer either, so he pleads with her not to run away anymore. Jung-won starts to cry, and Hae-sung reaches out to gently wipe her tears away. In a soft voice that says he’s thinking the exact opposite, he says, “You’re still ugly, Jung Jung-won.”
I can’t even imagine what Hae-sung must be going through right now. It must be bad enough to wake up and find out that twelve years has passed, and everyone you know has grown up and created lives without you. But to learn that those lives have all been negatively impacted in some way because of you must be devastating. Hae-sung was such a sweet, innocent kid, and now he’s faced with the fact that he was branded a murderer after he died, and that the lives of those he loves were ruined while as far as he knows, no time at all has passed. Now I’m sure he’s going to feel responsible for fixing things, which isn’t going to be easy for so many reasons, not the least of which is that he’s still a sweet, innocent kid.
As for Jung-won, I can’t imagine the crushing guilt she’s been living under for over a decade, thinking that it’s her fault that Hae-sung died. She’s been beating herself up ever since then, thinking that if she hadn’t sent him to the school, then he would have never been in that accident. Then to complicate things, the whole world thinks that Hae-sung killed Jung-chul before dying himself, and though it’s obvious that Jung-won doesn’t believe it, it has to have added yet another layer to her already crushing guilt. She probably thinks it’s also her fault that Hae-sung was branded a murderer. No wonder she could barely face her friends after that day.
And speaking of ruined lives, I’m very concerned about Hae-sung’s siblings, since Hae-sung’s legacy of being a murderer will have tainted all of their lives. We know that Hae-chul had no choice but to become a loan shark, and I’m pretty sure that the waitress at Jung-won’s restaurant is the littlest sister, Soo-ji. But where are Young-joon and Young-in? Was Young-joon able to go to medical school?
The whole deal with Hae-sung’s inhuman abilities is really pretty much freaking me out. So far we know he’s stronger than normal, he has the ability to heal in an instant, he has unnaturally sharp hearing, and when he’s upset he can explode streetlights (I’m assuming the light that was flickering outside Jung-won’s apartment was damaged when Hae-sung was attacked). Then there’s the triple comet that appeared when Hae-sung woke up, and the man who seemed to know at a glance that Hae-sung “came back” recently, which makes me think that Hae-sung isn’t the first person this has happened to.
What this tells me is that there’s more to Hae-sung’s return than just a supernatural resurrection — he’s changed. He’s not the same Hae-sung who died twelve years ago, at the very least, he’s fundamentally altered into something that’s no longer entirely human. It could also be a sign that he’s not here to just resume his life, but to accomplish something, and I fear that once he fulfills whatever purpose he was brought back to fulfill, that he’ll be taken away again.
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