While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 3-4
This is adorable. Suzy’s character is a nutter, so Lee Jong-seok spends the drama making these hilarious faces at her like he doesn’t know what planet she’s from. That’s not to say that the thriller aspect of the show has gone anywhere though, because there are consequences to be faced for changing the future. If there’s one thing we should never be surprised about in dramaland, it’s that messing with Fate always has a price. A horrible, unfair, grossly inflated price with interest. Fate is basically a loan shark gangster.
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EPISODE 3: “The Good, The Bad, The Weird”
The police and paramedics descend on the scene of the car crash, and as everyone gives statements, it appears more and more like our heroine Hong-joo is there with prosecutor Jae-chan, and not her actual date.
Said date, lawyer Yoo-bum, glares at them the whole time and exchanges pointed looks with Jae-chan.
Hong-joo does her own share of staring at Jae-chan, remembering how he appeared in the snow to rescue her like a goblin. You can practically see the hearts in her eyes, and Jae-chan finally has to ask her to look away.
He asks how she could possibly believe him, thinking that distrust and anger are the expected reactions to his crazy talk. But she says she believes that he saved her, and shocks him by guessing that he had a dream, and that dream kept coming true.
“I have dreams like that too, and those dreams always come true. Like you,” she says. That only seems to confuse him more.
At a piano concert (cameo by Kim So-hyun, looking like she stepped right out of Page Turner), a woman in the audience is covered in sweat and looking anxious, and pulls away from her husband’s hand while trembling.
After being checked out at the hospital, Jae-chan asks Hong-joo if she has these premonition dreams often, insisting that he’s not asking because he believes her or anything. She tells him that she has them often, and there’s no consistency since sometimes the incident happens minutes later, or sometimes months later.
He asks if her dreams have ever been wrong, but she says no—some have yet to come true, but they haven’t been wrong yet. And when he asks whether she’s ever been able to change what happens in her dreams, she says that’s why he’s amazing.
He reiterates that it’s not like he believes her or anything, but he wonders what happens if she’s right and he really did change the future—what happens now? Hong-joo says, “If you block the flow of water, it will make a new path. You blocked things that were supposed to happen, so time will probably flow in a different direction?”
As she says this, we cut to the young man in the Batman cap that Jae-chan saved, HAN WOO-TAK (Jung Hae-in), putting on a policeman’s uniform. He tells his coworker that he almost died tonight.
At the piano concert, as pianist So-yoon gives interviews on camera, the woman who was covered in sweat suddenly faints at her feet. It turns out to be her mother, and everyone gasps to see her blouse covered in what looks like footprints.
So-yoon glares at her father, and the TV reporter who was conducting the interview calls the police right away to report domestic abuse. The dad screams that it wasn’t him, but his daughter doesn’t seem to believe him.
While all this commotion is going on, Jae-chan’s little brother runs into the concert hall with flowers in hand. Aw, is this the friend’s concert he was so eager to see? (Okay, now I really do have to re-watch Page Turner!)
As Little Bro arrives to see So-yoon, we ominously cut back to Jae-chan as he asks, “If time flows differently, what direction does it go in—better, or worse?” Hong-joo admits that she doesn’t know, since she’s never been able to change the future. But she guesses that at first, things won’t seem that different, but the more time that flows, the bigger the difference will get.
So-yoon’s mother gets taken away in an ambulance, and her father gets taken away in a police car… and one of the cops happens to be Batman Cap, Woo-tak.
Inside, So-yoon stands stoically, tears streaming down her face. Little Bro walks up to her with his flowers, but she doesn’t seem happy to see him. She grabs him by the collar and growls at him never to speak of this, and he meekly agrees.
She’s still gripping his lapels, so he tenderly covers her hands with his and promises sincerely not to say a word. She stays like that and lets herself cry as she thanks him quietly.
Back at the hospital, Hong-joo asks why Jae-chan went to such lengths to cause a car crash and save her, when he could’ve written it off as just a dream. He doesn’t know why, but she says she can see it plain as day: “When was it that you first fell for me?” Pwahahaha.
Jae-chan: “What? Fall? Who? Me? For you?” He physically backs away from her and says there must be some sort of misunderstanding, but she just hilariously scoots closer and guesses that he fell for her when she hugged him, which is why he hugged her back.
He rambles about how she hugged him first, so he just hugged her back without any feelings. Hong-joo shoots back, “You hugged me for too long for it to be without any feelings, all pat-pat. Are you the type to just hug any woman?”
He blurts, “No!” which just gives her more ammunition: “Then I’m not just any woman! What’s so special about me? What are my attractive qualities?” He doesn’t see how she got to this conclusion, only to have her think that he must’ve fallen for her before coming to rescue her.
She asks if it was at the bus stop then, or when he brought rice cakes to her house, and with every question he backs away another seat until he falls right off the bench and lands butt-first on the floor. She completely ignores the fall and asks if he fell for her voice over the intercom, or maybe even moved across the street to be near her.
He’s near tears by now, not knowing what to do with the crazy. The frame freezes on Jae-chan’s face and a chyron labels him “Good Guy,” which must mean we have a Bad Guy and a Weird Guy on the way.
Sure enough, we cut to Yoo-bum on his way home, and he’s labeled “Bad Guy.” And then, LOL, “Weird Guy” turns out be Hong-joo.
The next morning, Hong-joo wakes up all sunshine and rainbows thinking of Jae-chan, while he’s grumpier than usual when Little Bro wakes him up forcefully. Little Bro is distracted with thoughts of his pianist friend, but puts that aside and asks if Hyung is dating the neighbor noona now, which just puts Jae-chan in a fouler mood.
Hong-joo, meanwhile, tells her mother about how Jae-chan is completely head over heels for her, turning the rice ball in her hands into a heart as she calls him handsome. Mom asks what happened to lawyer Yoo-bum, and Hong-joo rips apart the rice heart at the mention of him.
She asks how she could possibly date a man who would’ve framed her and sent them to their deaths, so Mom asks if she’s swapping him out for the neighbor boy. Hong-joo declares magnanimously that since he saved her and Mom, she’ll just have to repay him for the rest of his life and take him in. Pfft.
Jae-chan tells Little Bro that Hong-joo is completely insane and full of delusions that he’s in love with her. He says there should be some kind of law that makes people like her wear flowers in their hair so everyone knows to avoid them.
Both brothers are surprised when Hong-joo rings the doorbell that morning with rice balls to share, and Jae-chan acts like the intercom has cooties as he turns her away, saying tersely that she needn’t repay him for anything.
She seems to get the hint, and then both Hong-joo and Jae-chan take the same route to work later that morning, shown in the same spots along the way in split-screen.
They must not be that far apart, since they encounter the same people, and at one point when Hong-joo runs into a little girl who’s lost her balloon in a tree, she whispers something to her about a tall man with long arms. A few moments later, Jae-chan retrieves that balloon, and the little girl thanks him by name, heh.
Hong-joo preorders Jae-chan’s morning coffee next, and then gets on the subway some minutes ahead of him… only to pop up like a stalker the moment he sits down. He tries to stop the man between them from giving up his seat, to no avail.
Hong-joo guesses that he has a lot of questions, seeing as how it feels like she followed him but was here first. She explains that she saw him going to work in a dream, and shows him the post-its of the details she saw, like him retrieving the balloon, ordering coffee, and taking the subway.
She points out that this proves her dream premonitions are real, which means that he did save her, and that she owes him. She hands him an umbrella and says he’ll need it, and waits for his answer about her dreams.
Jae-chan says he doesn’t believe her, not because he can’t, but because he doesn’t want to. He vows never to believe it even if he has another dream like that, no matter who dies in it. He says that if he starts to believe it, there’s no end in sight to saving people, and blaming himself if he can’t.
He asks how you’re supposed to deal with that burden, and Hong-joo has no answer for that, seeing as how she can’t handle it either. He crumples up her post-its and tells her to ignore the dreams, since that’s best for her own sake.
He tells her to find someone else if she really wants to change the future, and returns the umbrella before walking away.
Hong-joo calls after him, “You were the only one. I don’t know why it’s you.” He turns around at that, but tells her to look for someone else, since if there’s two of them, there must be more. She watches him go and says forlornly that there isn’t anyone but him.
On a rooftop, a father (cameo by Choi Won-young) teaches his daughter how to pitch a baseball, and she tells him that she had a dream that his bus exploded and he died. She asks him not to go to work that day, and he says he’ll consider it if she grants him a wish, looking at the baseball cap on her head. She sticks her tongue out at him in response.
The sky is pouring rain by the time Jae-chan steps out of the subway station, and he sighs remembering Hong-joo’s umbrella. He runs into his boss, who’s hoping that he has an umbrella to share, but fellow prosecutor SHIN HEE-MIN (Go Sung-hee) beats him to the punch.
She tells Jae-chan that there’s only room for two, and he tells her to go ahead, speaking to her in banmal. As they walk away, their boss asks Hee-min why the maknae is speaking down to her, and she says it’s because she’s his hoobae from school. Neither of them seems to approve, since he’s the hoobae now.
The pianist’s father watches elevator CCTV footage of him kicking his wife repeatedly, and the sick bastard has the gall to smile as he watches it. Unsurprisingly, his lawyer turns out to be Yoo-bum, and by the way they finish each other’s sentences about how to handle the case, it’s clear they’ve done this dance many times before. The husband is sure that his wife won’t press charges, because she would never put her daughter’s future in jeopardy.
Yoo-bum meets Hong-joo for coffee and says he came because he has questions for her, and wanted to at least hear an apology. Hong-joo says that she knows he’s disappointed in her actions the night of the accident, and that she might sound like a crazy person because he didn’t technically do anything wrong, but she won’t be able to sleep at night without a clean breakup.
She does say the word “sorry” repeatedly, except she’s shouting it at him as if she’s saying “screw you,” which makes for a hilarious apology. He’s flabbergasted and just sits there not knowing what to make of her.
Meanwhile, the bus driver dad is shocked when his daughter gets on his bus when she should be in school, but she says she couldn’t shake her worry about the dream.
That feeling only intensifies when a soldier gets on the bus just before they take off, because she recognizes his face. A moment later, the radio reports breaking news of a soldier who gunned down a police officer and is on the run. Uh-oh.
Pianist So-yoon runs to school in the rain. She’s a high school student and Little Bro is her classmate, and he runs up to her to ask after her mom. She coldly reminds him not to act like they know each other, but he says he was just worried about her.
He takes off his coat and puts it around her shoulders, sweetly pulling up the hood to shield her from the rain. She asks what his name is, and he gapes and says they’ve been in the same class for two years. She doesn’t see why that means she should know his name, and runs off grinning. Dude, are they trolling us? (Little Bro doesn’t have a name—he’s literally “Jae-chan’s little brother” in the credits.)
Jae-chan sighs when another ginormous stack of case files arrives at his office, and office manager Hyang-mi implies that he’s slow to close cases compared to the other prosecutors. Investigator Chief Choi is more concerned with Jae-chan picking the right restaurant for the staff lunch, saying that it can be more important than his case record in the eyes of his superiors.
Jae-chan goes running to hoobae Hee-min for help, only to be squarely ignored when he calls after her, again in banmal. Yoo-bum is there with the chief prosecutor, and he tells Jae-chan that she outranks him now, so he should be addressing her formally by her title.
When Jae-chan says he was going to ask her advice on picking a restaurant, Yoo-bum rattles off a list of all the prosecutors’ varying tastes like a know-it-all. He reaches up to pat Jae-chan on the head in his usual patronizing way, but this time Jae-chan grabs his arm and stops him, which the chief prosecutor finds rude. Yoo-bum plays it off, but senses the animosity from Jae-chan.
On the bus, the daughter grows more and more anxious that all these passengers could die. Dad quietly tells her that he’ll pull over and make everyone get off the bus, citing mechanical failure.
While keeping an eye on the suspicious soldier, Dad pulls over and asks everyone to take the next bus because of a flat tire, and motions for his daughter to go with them. She hurries everyone away to safety and then breaks down in tears as she looks back at the bus with just Dad and the soldier still on it.
Dad smiles at her reassuringly and then asks the soldier to help him change the flat tire, but the agitated soldier tries to fight his way past Dad instead. In the struggle, the bomb in his duffle goes off, setting the bus ablaze. The daughter falls to her knees, crying out for her father.
Hong-joo wakes up from another dream in tears, and writes down the details: “Seung-won becomes a murderer because of his hyung.” She doesn’t know who Seung-won is, or why he becomes a killer. Aaack, please don’t let it be who I think it is…
She adds the post-it to her wall of dream notes, but then remembers Jae-chan telling her to ignore her dreams if she can’t handle them, and throws that one in the trash.
At school, Little Bro storms up to pianist So-yoon in front of all her friends, demanding to talk. She takes him to the gym and starts hitting him for not keeping his promise, but he shouts that he saw her doing an internet search on killing your own family members. Wow, that went dark fast.
He asks why she would do such a thing, guessing right away that she intends to kill her father. She bites back that she’s trying to save her mother, but he argues that her father will be punished by the law.
She says her father will never face trial, “because prosecutors are stupid and lawyers are savage.” She knows exactly how the lawyer will reduce the charge, and we see it play out just as she describes, as Yoo-bum brings new evidence into Jae-chan’s office indicating that her mother’s injuries were from skiing, days before the concert.
Little Bro says that her mother could still press charges, but she knows her mother will never do that because she’s more afraid of her father than the law. Sure enough, her mother tells Jae-chan over the phone that she was injured from a skiing accident.
Jae-chan scoffs at the phone and tells Yoo-bum that he gets it now—that this is how Yoo-bum makes crimes go away and how he turns clients into regulars. Oh snap.
Yoo-bum asks why Jae-chan is holding such a grudge over what happened thirteen years ago, which he thinks is the only explanation for why Jae-chan made a move on his girlfriend, rammed into his car, and is now making a fuss over an open-and-shut case.
Jae-chan’s staff gapes and Hyang-mi starts spreading the gossip right away, which spreads like wildfire through each team’s office manager. Yoo-bum has the brass to tell Jae-chan to do things according to the law, and tells him to stop acting like an immature kid. I hate you.
Little Bro says that there must be some way to save her mother, but So-yoon says that old adages are always true: “That the law is always far, and fists are close.”
At the staff lunch, Jae-chan tries to wave Hee-min over to their table, which she refuses to acknowledge because he keeps speaking in banmal.
He then makes another faux pas when he tells the chief prosecutor that he’s an atheist, and has to sit there awkwardly as the rest of them join hands and pray for him in hilarious passive-aggressive fashion, calling him their lost brother, and praying for him to respect his superiors and not let personal grudges affect his work.
Their comments light a fire under his ass to at least do a good job on his cases, and he comes back from lunch with a plan to blaze through his unfinished caseload. His staff finds it so odd that they assume he’s drunk.
The bus driver is given a hero’s funeral, attended by numerous politicians and covered extensively by the press. The whole thing seems to be for show though, with reporters angling for an interview with the “son” who helped passengers off the bus.
Jae-chan has fallen asleep at his desk, and wakes up with a violent start from a nightmare. He insists that he’s fine, but he’s woken up in tears.
He goes over the dream, which is short but heartbreaking: Little Bro being escorted away in the back of a police car in handcuffs, crying for Hyung to save him because he didn’t do it. Noooooooooo, not the brother, goddammit!
He calls Little Bro, who’s still at school, and makes sure that he’s okay and not hurt. Jae-chan tells him to go straight home without stopping anywhere, and Little Bro brushes off his concern, and then looks out the window to see So-yoon leaving.
Jae-chan tells himself that it was nothing but a bad dream, but then he remembers another detail: Hong-joo in the distance, shedding a tear and saying that he should’ve believed her, because then they could’ve stopped it. Also, I don’t know if he’s noticed, but he’s wearing today’s outfit in his dream…
The bus driver’s daughter crouches in an empty funeral hall and takes out Dad’s cherished baseball, charred from the fire. She thinks back to how she’d begged him to get off the bus too, promising to grow her hair long like he wished. Dad had beamed and promised to be right behind her, urging her to get everyone to safety first.
Hong-joo can’t get the last dream out of her mind, and finally fishes the post-it back out of her trashcan and sticks it back on her window.
At the bus driver’s funeral, the reporters learn that it was a daughter who was with him, not a son (I’m realizing now that we were meant to assume she was a boy this whole time, but come on). They go up to the wife to ask where her daughter is, and of course it’s Hong-joo’s mother, because this is her backstory.
Hong-joo steps outside right as Jae-chan is about to knock, and he says he’s not here because he changed his mind, but to explain why he doesn’t believe her. He says he’s a prosecutor and his job is to punish people after a crime, not stop them before they happen. He says it’s not his business who lives or dies, but…
Hong-joo interrupts, “You feel like you’ve become a catcher, right? There’s a 160-mph ball coming at you, and you’re afraid to catch it, but if you avoid it, you’ll ruin the game.” He admits it and says he can’t pretend he doesn’t see it, and asks why she passed this onto him.
She doesn’t know either, and argues that she doesn’t even know why she dreams this stuff in the first place. He says there must be a reason it’s them.
Back in Hong-joo’s flashback, someone picks up her father’s baseball and hands it to her… it’s Jae-chan, not that they ever knew.
In the present, Hong-joo asks if he just came here to blame her, but that’s when he finally says, “Help me.” Jae-chan says that he had a dream and she was in it, upset that he didn’t listen to her, “and Seung-won left in an ambulance or police car.” Gack!
She asks who Seung-won is, and he says the horrible words: “He’s my brother, why?” af$gik&#%@!
Hong-joo tells him that in her dream, Seung-won killed a person, and said that it was all because of his hyung.
At the same time, Seung-won stops So-yoon as she’s about to reach for a bottle of antifreeze at the store. She’s startled, while he just notes happily that she remembers his name now.
She asks if he followed her here, and he holds onto her hand and just says brightly that he’ll take her home.
Hong-joo’s father’s columbarium starts with photos of her as a child, and fill with pictures of Hong-joo growing up, growing her hair long, and becoming an adult.
No, not the little brother! Oh man, if he becomes a murderer all because they messed with Fate to save Hong-joo and her mom… I mean, how can they keep changing the future if the consequences are this drastic? Why the heck is Fate so bloodthirsty? Maybe it would’ve happened anyway and this new dream has nothing to do with the future they changed, but it seems that we’re meant to believe that all of these events are related and a direct consequence of their actions. And since they’re not traveling through time and the world stays changed once it’s changed (that we know of), there’s no telling how many ripple effects that one shift could cause down the line.
It’s scarier this way, since each choice causes permanent, irreparable damage—but it also gives more weight to their actions, making it less like a fantasy and much more like reality. Every choice is something they have to take responsibility for, and that makes me far more cautious about how they should intervene in other people’s lives, even though I know they’ll do everything in their power to save people, because they’re good. Also weird, but good.
I was surprised again when Jae-chan had another dream premonition, which likely means that he’ll continue to have them, and that he and Hong-joo will be two pieces of a puzzle on every case. It still leaves so many questions about why he’s suddenly having the dreams too, but perhaps they’re connected through their fathers’ deaths, or maybe it’s as simple as fate. I do think we were meant to be more surprised that the bus driver and his daughter turned out to be Hong-joo and her dad, but it was so obvious from the start that I was actually confused when they revealed her mother like it was supposed to be dramatic, and realized that the past scenes were seamless with the present ones for a reason. The rainy day in present and past alike worked nicely to make it appear as though it wasn’t a flashback, but maybe they shouldn’t have mentioned Hong-joo’s father at all before this if they really wanted to pull one over on us.
On the upside, it’s interesting to note that not all of Hong-joo’s dreams are terrible tragedies, as I had initially thought, and that she also has mundane premonitions, like Jae-chan’s morning commute. I can see this coming in handy once the romance gets going, and I hope this means he’ll get happy premonitions too. At present, Hong-joo’s delusions about him falling for her are hilarious and I want that to keep going (and going), but it would crack me up if Jae-chan started dreaming about her romantically before he developed feelings for her. If the drama continues to be this cleverly directed and witty, I could get really invested in this romance, really fast.
Seeing Shin Jae-ha and Kim So-hyun playing high-schoolers together just made me want the 16-episode drama where they’re the main characters. Seriously, can’t they just remake Page Turner as a full-length drama after this one? I really hope that her cameo is long and doesn’t end with her ruining his life. I mean, he JUST got a name! Let us wear it out a little! Please…?
- Premiere Watch: While You Were Sleeping
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- Lee Jong-seok’s awkward social skills in While You Were Sleeping
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- While You Were Sleeping gets a September premiere date on SBS