Manhole: Episode 14
Rules? Who needs rules! We are time-traveling aficionados, powered by sparkling rainbow lights and mysterious tiny aliens. We make our own rules. Problems arise, though, when our main man Pil relies too much on time travel to fix his problems, instead of his own wits. We’re winding down to the final hour, and Pil is realizing that rather than saving his relationship with the girl he loves, it’s Soo-jin’s life that is in real danger.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
While retrieving an extra suitcase from the trunk of Jae-hyun’s car, Soo-jin finds Jae-hyun’s bag with his black cap and mask. She freezes, thinking back over Young-joo’s warnings about Jae-hyun’s dark side, and of the police description of the attacker wearing a black hat and mask – just like the ones she’s now holding.
As Soo-jin struggles to accept that her husband could be the one hurting everyone, Jae-hyun walks up behind her, grimacing slightly to see that she’s found his Bag of Evil. He glares at his wife for a moment, but then his face morphs into a sweet smile, and he slips back into his good-natured persona. Gah! That’s so creepy.
Jae-hyun calls Soo-jin’s name, and she instantly looks terrified. Dropping the hat and mask back in the trunk, she slowly turns around and asks what the bag is for. Jae-hyun smiles easily and answers that it’s just his gym bag before he zips it up and shuts the trunk.
Soo-jin starts to ask him something, but she’s shaking and stuttering so bad that she can’t get it out. Jae-hyun asks what’s wrong and reaches out to hold Soo-jin’s hands, except she reflexively pulls away when he touches her. Unfazed, Jae-hyun grabs the suitcase and Soo-jin’s wrist, pulling his stunned wife back to their apartment.
Jae-hyun starts packing for their trip to England, and Soo-jin just stands in shock, remembering all the clues that point to Jae-hyun being the elusive assailant: Gu-gil’s description of his wrist scar, Pil finding Jae-hyun’s keychain in the tunnel, and now the black hat and mask.
When Jae-hyun looks up at her, Soo-jin murmurs that she has something to do in the kitchen and walks away from him.
Jae-hyun gets up to follow and pretty much stalks Soo-jin as she retreats into the kitchen, following her with this dead-eyed smile as he tells her they should revisit all their old haunts when they’re in England. Jae-hyun eventually closes the gap, wrapping his arms around the freaked-out Soo-jin and
threatens promises, “We’ll have a great time there.”
Soo-jin extricates herself and tries to get some distance by doing the dishes, but blanches to see a knife on the cutting board.
Jae-hyun picks up the knife and stares at it a moment, smiling. (Uh, he’s smiling at a knife. Run!) With the knife raised, Jae-hyun turns to Soo-jin, that creepy smile still in place. There’s a tense moment as Soo-jin’s eyes flick from the knife to her husband, then she reaches out and gently pulls the blade from his hand.
Forcing a smile, Soo-jin tells Jae-hyun to go take a shower, and she tries to act cheerful as she reminds him to pack warm clothes for their trip. Still smiling enigmatically, Jae-hyun agrees.
After his shower, Jae-hyun comes out to find that Soo-jin has left the apartment. Surprised, he searches every room before running outside, frantic to find her.
Over at the manhole, Pil paces, remembering Seok-tae telling him that he needs to apologize to Jae-hyun and Soo-jin for his “unwarranted” attack on the physician. He starts to call Soo-jin, but he can’t go through with it.
Soo-jin is riding in a cab when Jae-hyun calls her phone. She remembers Pil’s warning that he was dangerous and starts to call Pil for help, but stops when she recalls how she had yelled at her friend to never bother her again. Trembling, Soo-jin desperately wonders what she’s supposed to do now.
And so, Soo-jin ends up going to Jin-sook’s restaurant. Jin-sook immediately notes her friend’s distress when Soo-jin asks to talk, but since the restaurant is busy, she asks her to wait a moment. Jin-sook dashes off for an order, but instead of waiting, Soo-jin turns and leaves.
Soo-jin tries her parents’ house next, but when she calls her mom over the intercom, she hears her mom call out to Jae-hyun… who is right inside the house, waiting for her. Panicking, Soo-jin runs away. Jae-hyun rushes out a moment later and sees the direction she ran in, then gets in his car.
Moments later, Soo-jin flags down a passing cab and speeds off, unaware that Jae-hyun is following her.
Pil walks over to Soo-jin’s apartment complex, presumably to apologize, but can’t do it. As he turns away, Soo-jin calls him. He picks up and she desperately asks him for help, saying that she’s really scared.
Soo-jin jumps out of the cab at a crosswalk and waits for Pil. He drives up on the other side of the street, and the two try to cross to each other, but there’s too much traffic. While Pil and Soo-jin are stalled, Jae-hyun catches up to the pair and glares to see that his wife is meeting with Pil again.
There’s finally an opening and Pil starts to run across the street to Soo-jin, but Jae-hyun suddenly guns his car, speeding towards Pil.
Soo-jin notices the car and dashes out into the street as well. She grabs Pil, twisting and throwing him out of the way just in time… and leaving herself right in the path of the oncoming Jae-hyun.
The car rams into Soo-jin and she goes flying over the hood, landing on the pavement in a bloody heap.
Pil scrambles over to her prone form and desperately yells at her to wake up. A hundred yards away, Jae-hyun screeches to a stop and looks back, expecting to see Pil injured, but he seems legitimately horrified that he hit Soo-jin instead. (Well look at that, psychopaths can feel. Who knew?)
Jae-hyun burns rubber to flee the scene, and Pil is left crying over Soo-jin.
Pil goes with Soo-jin to the hospital, begging her to wake up as he promises to save her somehow. She’s wheeled into surgery as Soo-jin’s mom and dad arrive at the hospital, with Mom nearly fainting when Pil has to tell her daughter is in the OR. Then Jae-hyun runs up, playing the concerned husband and asking what happened.
Mom cries that Soo-jin got into an accident, quickly blaming it on Pil and yelling that he is the reason that her daughter was hurt. Dad wants to know if Pil caught the driver, but Pil admits that he couldn’t catch him.
At her restaurant, Jin-sook frets that Soo-jin isn’t picking up her phone after leaving so abruptly before. Just then, Seok-tae rushes in with the news of their friend’s accident.
Thankfully, Soo-jin’s surgery is a success, but the doctors worry that she’s still unconscious. Pil listens to Soo-jin’s parents crying and leaves the room, unable to see Soo-jin like this.
Jae-hyun stands next to Mom and Dad. Looking down at her, he thinks, “Soo-jin, so why did you suspect me? You should’ve trusted me when I denied it.” Oh yeah, it’s all her fault.
The gang (minus Dal-soo) all rush to the hospital to find Pil out in the waiting room. He tells them about what happened, revealing that Soo-jin had called him to ask for help. Feeling responsible, Jin-sook adds that Soo-jin came to see her that night as well, but she didn’t have time to help her.
Jae-hyun comes out and joins the group, outwardly every inch the grieving husband as he says that he’s so shocked and laments that he and Soo-jin were supposed to go to England tomorrow for their anniversary.
Seok-tae tells Jae-hyun to remain positive and assures him that Soo-jin will wake up soon. While listening to them, Pil seems to come to a decision and runs out. Gu-gil worries that he might cause trouble in his grief, so the friends all hurry after.
Pil returns to the manhole with a new sledgehammer and starts whaling on the cover, yelling at it to take him back to before the accident so he can save Soo-jin. But the streetlight gives only a weak flicker, and Pil checks his phone to see that midnight has passed.
Desperate, Pil keeps pounding away regardless, and that’s when his friends run up and pull the hammer away. Seok-tae yells at him to come to his sense and go catch the hit-and-run driver if he’s so angry, but Pil snaps that catching the culprit won’t do anything to save Soo-jin.
Turning to Seok-tae, Pil whimpers that he can’t live without Soo-jin and asks his friend to open the manhole. Falling to his knees, Pil begs, “Please let me have a chance to save her.” Everyone stares dumbfounded at Pil’s supplication, while he continues to cry piteously, pleading with Seok-tae.
Jae-hyun stops by the police station the next morning to ask if they have any leads regarding Soo-jin’s hit-and-run accident. Pil’s sunbae regretfully tells him that the accident occurred in a remote area and they haven’t been able to find the driver yet. Jae-hyun does an appropriate sad face impression at the news, fooling the good-natured cops.
Pil visits Soo-jin, sitting beside her bed and apologizing for not keep his promise to stop bad things from happening to her. Holding her hand, Pil tells her that he doesn’t care if she’s mad at him or refuses to see him: “I just need you to wake up again.”
The sweet moment is broken when Jae-hyun steps into the room and yells to see Pil sitting beside his wife. Pil murmurs that he just came to check on her, but Jae-hyun snarls at Pil to never come here again “since Soo-jin has me.” (Ugh. Ya creep.)
Jae-hyun takes up Pil’s seat and Pil starts to shuffle out, but he pauses to ask if Jae-hyun knows why Soo-jin called last night, pointing out that if she was scared, she should’ve gone to her husband, not her friend. Jae-hyun snaps that he doesn’t know why she called him, adding that Pil can ask her… when she wakes up.
Seok-tae is distracted at work, thinking back to Pil’s pleas to open the manhole. Hesitantly, Seok-tae approaches his boss to ask if he can perform construction on the closed manhole, claiming that there have been requests to reopen it.
Sadly, when Seok-tae joins Jin-sook for lunch, we hear that his request was denied. Seok-tae worries about what Pil will do now, and Jin-sook adds that while it is an impossible story, if the manhole could really save their friend, she’d break it open herself.
At her words, Seok-tae turns to Jin-sook and says they should just open the manhole, then. Likening it to how some people worship at temples or pray to gods, Seok-tae figures they have nothing to lose by supporting Pil. (And thus, the Church of the Manhole is born.)
Dal-soo arrives at the hospital after hearing about Soo-jin, but he runs into Gu-gil out front, and the two head to a bench to talk. Gu-gil wonders why Dal-soo cares about Pil, pointing out that he left them a long time ago. Dal-soo argues back that he’s still a part of this family, too. Pouting, Gu-gil asks why Dal-soo left Jung-ae then, and Dal-soo morosely replies that as long as he still has ties to his family, he can’t make Jung-ae happy.
Gu-gil calls that nothing but an excuse, arguing that Dal-soo just didn’t love Jung-ae enough to fight for her. Dal-soo admits it, and sighs that if it had been Gu-gil, he knows that he would have fought for her to the end. He says that it’s too late in this life for him to make Jung-ae happy, but he hopes that Gu-gil can do it instead.
Unseen by both boys, Jung-ae stands around the corner, listening to their conversation and barely holding back tears.
Gu-gil comes in to visit Soo-jin and offers to stay with her so that Jae-hyun can get some rest. Jae-hyun agrees gratefully, but when he tucks Soo-jin in a final time, Gu-gil once again notices the scar on Jae-hyun’s wrist. This time, Gu-gil doesn’t brush off the coincidence, and Jae-hyun clocks him staring at the scar.
Returning home, Jae-hyun thinks about Gu-gil’s reaction and grabs a bathroom vase, shattering it against the sink.
Seok-tae and Jin-sook head to the manhole, armed with shovels and dressed to get dirty. (Hee, Jin-sook sits perched on the wheel barrow Seok-tae is dragging, innocently asking if she’s too heavy as Seok-tae gasps.) They find Pil still trying to break through the manhole with his hammer, so Seok-tae lugs a motorized drill out of his wheel barrow and plops it down next to him.
Seok-tae warns Pil that he still doesn’t believe in all this time-traveling nonsense, but he’s doing this because he’s touched by Pil’s efforts to save Soo-jin. Pil smiles at his friends, and Jin-sook good-naturedly grumps at him to get out of the way. Before they can start up the drill though, Gu-gil comes running over and grabs Pil, desperate to tell him something.
Freaked out, Gu-gil stutters that he saw the same scar from his assailant on Jae-hyun’s wrist. Pil asks if he’s certain, and Gu-gil answers that he is, but he hopes it doesn’t mean anything. Pil says it’s too much of a coincidence with the other evidence and marches off to confirm his hunch, leaving Gu-gil wondering if he did the right thing.
Pil confronts Jae-hyun in front of the hospital. Pulling him to a secluded area, Pil yells at Jae-hyun that a victim identified him as the assailant. Jae-hyun just laughs, guessing that it was Gu-gil before snarling that that now Pil has gotten his friends to frame him as well.
In reply, Pil grabs Jae-hyun’s arm and yanks up the sleeve, revealing a new bandage on his wrist. (Uh-oh). Pil rips off the bandage, and we see fresh cuts covering Jae-hyun’s inner wrist, effectively hiding his older scar. Flashback to the bathroom, where we see that Jae-hyun had used the shattered pieces of the vase to make new cuts on his wrist.
Pil snarls that Jae-hyun cut himself on purpose because he knew Gu-gil had seen his scar, but Jae-hyun just tells him to prove it. In anger, Pil cocks back a fist, but Jae-hyun warns him that if he hits him again, he won’t let it go this time.
Jae-hyun sneers that Pil is a civil servant and should use his head instead of his fists, daring him to find proof. Jae-hyun turns to leave, but Pil yanks him back, glaring as he promises to find that proof and expose Jae-hyun for who he truly is.
After the confrontation, Pil runs to the police station and starts looking through the surveillance footage, in spite of his police sunbae grumbling that he can’t be here, given his suspension.
Jin-sook and Seok-tae are busy at work over at the manhole when Gug-il arrives, excitedly tugging along a suited-up Dal-soo. The others are shocked to see him, but Dal-soo insists that he wants to help, then looks at the drill and wonders what on Earth they’re doing. Good question.
Cut to a flabbergasted Dal-soo as he asks the others if they truly believe in Pil’s time-traveling manhole theory. Jin-sook answers that they’re just supporting their friend, while Gu-gil argues that they have to try anything and everything to save Soo-jin.
However, Gu-gil does point out that even with the drill, it’ll still take them years to break through the solid concrete. He gets a sudden idea though and looks wide-eyed at Dal-soo, who stares back.
In the hospital, Soo-jin’s parents are sitting next to her when their daughter’s fingers start to twitch. They call out to her, and Soo-jin slowly opens her eyes. Jae-hyun arrives just then, and Mom and Dad eagerly tell him that she’s awake. He rushes to her side, and Soo-jin groggily looks at him when he asks if she recognizes him. Her parents ask if she remembers what happened, but she breathes out that she doesn’t.
The doctor reports that Soo-jin’s waking up is a great sign and adds that she should make a full recovery. Jae-hyun asks about her lost memories and the doctors assures them that it’s normal after traumatic accidents, and she should regain her memories with rest. Jae-hyun looks less than thrilled at the news.
Alone in her room, Soo-jin thinks back to the accident, and we see that she actually does remember not only the hit-and-run, but that Jae-hyun drove the car. Soo-jin starts panicking and tries to get out of bed, but her injuries are too severe, and the door opens before she can get up.
She immediately lies back down and fakes sleeping when Jae-hyun walks in. He “wakes” her up and says he sent her parents to get food, then nonchalantly asks if she really doesn’t remember anything about the accident.
Looking scared, Soo-jin lies that the last thing she remembers is finding the tickets for their trip to England in Jae-hyun’s jacket. Jae-hyun asks if she doesn’t recall anything else, and Soo-jin innocently asks what happened.
Jae-hyun is relieved and tells her not to worry about it, saying they should forget all the bad memories. Soo-jin seemingly falls back to sleep, so he starts to tuck her in so she can rest, but pauses when he sees the bandages on his own wrist.
Thinking back to Pil’s promise to find evidence against him, Jae-hyun rises and stalks out. When he leaves, Soo-jin opens her eyes and forces herself out of bed.
Soo-jin limps into the hallway and sees Jae-hyun leaving the ward. She starts to head out, but a nurse stops her, trying to return her to her room. Desperate, Soo-jin asks to borrow her phone, claiming that it’s an emergency.
Over at the police station, Pil is still reviewing security footage when Soo-jin calls. He’s shocked that he’s awake, but she quickly asks him to meet her in front of the hospital, saying she has to tell him something right away. (Not this again. Just tell him over the phone, woman!)
Meanwhile, Jae-hyun drives to a darkened junkyard. Taking out his black clothes and broken keychain, he tosses all of it into a rusty barrel and sets it ablaze, destroying all incriminating evidence.
Soo-jin paces painfully in front of the hospital, but since Pil gets stuck in traffic, Jae-hyun arrives first. Seeing him, Soo-jin immediately spins and runs back into the hospital, except Jae-hyun has already spotted her and gives chase. Pil gets there a moment later and starts tailing Jae-hyun.
Soo-jin staggers to the elevators, but Jae-hyun rounds the corner before they come, calling her name. Terrified, Soo-jin heads for a side hallway and manages to hide in a shadowed doorway when Jae-hyun follows. He walks off in the wrong direction, and Soo-jin makes a break for the stairs.
Soo-jin starts slowly climbing up, but she trips on a step and jars her injury, making her cry out in pain. The noise echoes loud enough for Jae-hyun to hear it, and he makes for the stairwell. Behind him, Pil continues to follow, and soon all three of them are hiking up the staircase in a merry-go-round of suspense.
Over at the manhole, the friends are digging with… is that a backhoe? Gu-gil operates the machinery, and Dal-soo yells for him to hurry up before someone reports them for the noise.
Soo-jin has now made it up the roof, Jae-hyun right on her heels. She finds herself cornered, and Jae-hyun prowls towards her, realizing that she does remember everything. Soo-jin warns him not to come any closer, but Jae-hyun yells, demanding to know why she lied to him.
Lowering his voice again, Jae-hyun soothingly says there’s been some kind of misunderstand and claims that he can explain everything as he slowly walks toward her.
Soo-jin answers that she does remember everything, including that Jae-hyun was the one driving the car that hit her. She repeats that he should go, but he doesn’t move.
Soo-jin screams at him to leave, and just then, Pil runs up, calling her name. Jae-hyun spins to stand in front of Soo-jin as Pil calls out for her to walk to him, and Soo-jin gives a small nod. But before she can move, Jae-hyun whips around behind her and wraps his arm around her neck. Crap.
At the manhole, the friends all cheer when a fountain of water springs up from the manhole, indicating that Gu-gil has successfully gotten through. Dal-soo breaks off the cheering, though, when he asks what the next step is. Stunned, Gu-gil squeaks out that he has no clue, and Seok-tae agrees that Pil never told him what happens after they open the manhole. Pfft.
Returning to the hospital rooftop, Jae-hyun warns Pil not to come closer while Pil yells at him to let Soo-jin go. Jae-hyun snarls that this is all Pil’s fault: “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here.”
Jae-hyun tells Pil to get lost if he doesn’t want Soo-jin to get hurt again, but Pil answers that he’ll expose the truth of Jae-hyun to everyone, saying that it’s all over now. With a crazy gleam in his eye, Jae-hyun figures that if that’s the case, they can all just end this together… and he starts leaning towards the edge of the building.
Meanwhile, the friends all bicker over how they started the construction without knowing the next step. Seok-tae takes out his phone to call Pil, but suddenly, there’s a crash of thunder as the streetlight starts flickering. Everyone gapes to see the strange rainbow lights of time travel start to fill the manhole.
Up above, Soo-jin bites down on Jae-hyun’s arm and break his grip. (Good girl!) She wrenches away from him, but instead of going to Pil, she runs to the edge of the building. (Umm, not-so-good girl.) Climbing up onto the ledge, she tells Jae-hyun not to come any closer, or she’ll jump.
Pil yells at her to get down, but Jae-hyun gets this freaky look of concentration and slowly glides towards her. He makes a grab for her hand, and Soo-jin manages to evade him, but the motion unsteadies her, sending her over the edge.
Luckily (magically?) Pil manages to catch her hand, resulting in her dangling over the edge of the building as he struggles to hang on.
At the manhole, the light zips out of the tunnel and past the friends. It travels over to the hospital ledge, and wraps around Pil… and Soo-jin. Omo!
The light speeds back through the tunnels and vanishes into the manhole, leaving all the friends wondering if they really just saw what they thought they saw.
In the manhole waterslide, we now hear both Pil and Soo-jin’s voices traveling through the tube.
There’s a sudden white light, and then we return to a frozen image of the night of Soo-jin’s accident, when Pil and Soo-jin were crossing the street to one another, and Jae-hyun was trying to ram Pil with his car.
Pil and Soo-jin’s future selves both poof back into their old bodies and stand there looking around. Time restarts, and Pil sees Soo-jin standing still, too stunned from her first trip through time to move out of the way of the approaching car.
Yelling her name, Pil sprints towards Soo-jin as Jae-hyun bears down on them.
Is it bad that I’m going to laugh if next week opens with Pil getting hit instead of Soo-jin? But hey, at least the manhole brought Pil back to a time where he can actually do something! Now if only he uses this fifth (sixth?) chance in the past to be proactive and use his brain, then hopefully he can catch Jae-hyun before he burns all the evidence.
I feel that I should at least mention I am not good with scary. And I mean, really not good. There are still parts of Bring It On, Ghost! that I can’t stand to watch (and it has nothing to do with Taec’s acting ability). So please understand when I say that while I praise Jang Mi-kwan’s portrayal of a psychopath, good gawd, get Jae-hyun away from me! How is it possible to be so incredibly creepy and magnetic at the same time? I really want to put Jae-hyun in a room with Min Joon-gook and just see what happens. If locusts and four horsemen come out, then we’ll know for sure that at least one of them is the devil.
There are so many other problems surrounding the rules of time travel (like why Soo-jin can go along with Pil this time, even though there had been other cases where he was touching someone and still went into the manhole alone), that I really don’t want to waste the brain power worrying over it. I don’t think that even the manhole knows how it works, and since we haven’t seen hide nor tail of those pesky aliens since they first enchanted the thing, why bother?
Regardless of why, though, I’m actually excited that Soo-jin went back with Pil this time around. Finally, someone else will remember Pil’s version of history, and maybe she and Pil can actually accomplish something together now. It does raise the question though, that since they are now in a position to get a happy ending, will Pil stay in 2018, or will he eventually have to go back to when it all started? And if he does, will this whole timeline once again become a moot point?
Going into our final week, I’m a bit hopeful that we could have some solid plot movement, if only for no other reason than we have a lot to wrap up and only two episodes with which to do it. Here’s to hoping that they actually will answer everything. (Please?)
- Manhole: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Manhole, Live Up to Your Name
- Jaejoong goes back to high school for Manhole
- Manhole gang’s funky new character posters
- Manhole goes retro for the ultimate beach holiday
- UEE and Jaejoong cozy up under the sun in new Manhole stills
- Cast of Manhole throws dignity out the window for new dance teaser
- First look at Jaejoong’s time-slip rom-com Manhole
- News bites: July 1, 2017
- Baro up for Jaejoong and UEE’s time-slip rom-com Manhole