While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 21-22
A new case makes a good portion of the cast intersect in some complicated ways, and our dreamers have to decide whether knowing the future is helpful or more harmful in some cases. And our hero has to decide whether to be a hero, or do his job. Can’t a guy just take a vacation after getting shot?
EPISODE 21: “Die or Be Bad”
On a rainy night, Yoo-bum gets a strange call from a man who demands to meet right away. Yoo-bum gets angry, until the man reveals that he’s the famous murder mystery novelist Moon Tae-min.
So Yoo-bum returns to his office right away (with his green umbrella in tow), eager to meet the novelist because he’s a big fan. The writer looks a bit on edge and says that he’s working on a new novel about a murderer and needs a lawyer to consult. Yoo-bum is happy to oblige and notes that the main character—a murderer—is a writer and professor just like Professor Moon. Well that’s not suspicious or anything.
He says the “story” begins at a party in the writer’s honor, and we flash back to a book launch party for Professor Moon’s latest work. Hong-joo was there with a camera crew to interview him about his plans to donate all the profits to scholarships for aspiring writers.
In the middle of the party, the screen flashed a single line: “The truth about Professor Moon,” and then the young man with a broken arm in a sling who’d run into Brainy Smurf in the hospital got up to the podium. Arm Sling, the professor’s teaching assistant, started a slideshow presentation to reveal the Professor’s “true nature,” which at first was a series of happy pictures of Professor Moon and his students.
But then it quickly turned into shots of them being forced to move heavy furniture, drive him around, and valet his daughter’s wedding, basically using them as his personal slaves. Before Arm Sling could get any further though, security hauled him off the stage.
Professor Moon had smiled at the reporters and said that the student must be upset over some criticism on his dissertation, but Hong-joo was immediately wary.
Later that night, Professor Moon took his rage out on Arm Sling directly and beat him up, holding his literary career hostage. But the young man refused to be threatened and showed the professor that he’d been recording their conversation, which made him snap.
Professor Moon began choking him against the elevator doors, and he used so much force that the doors rattled and shook open. Agh. The teaching assistant fell down the shaft landing on the elevator below, his head surrounded in blood.
Yoo-bum asks if there were any witnesses, and Professor Moon says he’s not sure, but he did find a child’s hat in the stairwell behind him. The teaching assistant is brain-dead but technically still breathing. We see that he was the patient admitted on the rainy day when Brainy Smurf’s mom, Prosecutor Sohn, was talking about how guilty she feels that accidents make her hopeful for an organ donor.
Yoo-bum has characteristically been rolling up little bits of paper this whole time and he tells the professor that brain-dead doesn’t count as legally dead when it comes to murder, so the most he can be charged with is manslaughter. Yoo-bum adds that he could also get him a not-guilty verdict, and the professor brightens instantly.
Professor Moon sits back comfortably and demands a cup of coffee, ignoring Yoo-bum’s polite but rigid response that the staff isn’t in the office for that kind of thing right now. The professor still demands to be served, so Yoo-bum drops the façade and spits back that he’s a criminal who just killed a poor student and is asking to be let off the hook, and now he’s demanding coffee service.
Yoo-bum shouts that he’s the one in power now, and that he holds the professor’s life in his hands. He makes the professor repeat after him to beg for his help, and when he does as ordered, Yoo-bum smirks, enjoying himself. Yikes.
Hong-joo tells the news staff about Professor Moon’s book launch party and the rumors that he abuses his power, and Bong sunbae is saddened to learn that as a fan of his novels. He then calls the rookie over to send her on a snack run, and Hong-joo loudly starts complaining about how this top-down power abuse is what’s wrong with this country. Lol.
Bong sunbae asks if she’s talking about him, but Hong-joo says innocently that she was referring to Professor Moon: “Why, do you feel guilty about something?” Bong sunbae sheepishly takes his credit card back from the rookie.
Hong-joo and Woo-tak arrive together to pick Jae-chan up from the hospital, and Jae-chan quietly notes that Hong-joo is still not wearing the ring he gave her.
Seung-won notices that Jae-chan and Hong-joo are speaking in banmal to each other now, and Woo-tak asks brightly if they’re all using banmal now. Jae-chan glowers and says to him in jondae: “No.”
Woo-tak wilts and Seung-won points out how nonsensical that is when every other twosome in their threesome uses banmal, which just earns him a punch. Jae-chan is more preoccupied with whether Seung-won brought his prosecutor’s badge.
The next thing we know, he’s flashing it proudly to Brainy Smurf to prove that he’s really a prosecutor. Pff, are you five? Everyone else cringes in embarrassment as Jae-chan demands a bigger reaction from the kid, and instead Brainy Smurf calmly advises him not to get the legal statutes wrong in the future.
The kid makes a chic exit, leaving Jae-chan sputtering in his wake. Seung-won has to hold his brother back before he embarrasses them further, and Jae-chan just whirls around and says that the kid reminds him of smart-mouthed Seung-won when he was little.
Suddenly, Brainy Smurf collapses without warning, and they rush over to him in worry. They wait outside for news from the doctor, who tells them that he’s getting an emergency dialysis treatment, and they’re all shocked to learn that such a young child has been on dialysis for five years, and that his only hope now is an organ transplant.
In the same intensive care unit, Arm Sling lies unconscious, as Professor Moon tells the young man’s father that he should have stopped him from drinking that night. The dad doesn’t suspect for a moment that it wasn’t an accident, and thanks the professor for coming by.
The doctor tells the father to prepare for the worst because the head injury from the fall was so severe, and Professor Moon actually smiles at the news. And on the other side of the same room, Prosecutor Sohn rushes to her son’s bedside.
Woo-tak drops everyone off and asks Jae-chan if he’s going to stay at Hong-joo’s while he’s nursed back to health like him, and Jae-chan perks up at the idea. But before he can answer, Seung-won shoots it down, insisting that it would be rude when he has a brother to take care of him and it’s not like he got injured saving Hong-joo’s life, like Woo-tak did.
Both Hong-joo and Jae-chan try to find a way to make it happen anyway, but Seung-won is completely oblivious and shoots down every attempt, to the point that even Woo-tak is frustrated, hee. Stop cockblocking your brother!
Seung-won leads Jae-chan home by the hand, so finally Hong-joo just slaps Seung-won’s hand away and announces that she’s a better caretaker, and leads Jae-chan to her house. Jae-chan happily follows, and even as they go inside, Seung-won sighs that his brother is being so oblivious right now.
Woo-tak has to spell it out for Seung-won that he’s the oblivious one, and that Jae-chan and Hong-joo just reunited after 13 years and need some time together. Aw, has Batman decided to be a wingman?
Mom doesn’t seem as eager to have Jae-chan stay at their house though, and asks Jae-chan if two days here is enough for him to fully recover. Hong-joo, meanwhile, turns her room upside-down looking for the ring that she lost.
Jae-chan joins her in her room and asks if she doesn’t like the ring he got her, wondering why she doesn’t wear it. Hong-joo lies that she doesn’t want to wear it in front of her coworkers or her mom, so he makes her promise to wear it when she’s with him.
She takes his temperature and says she’ll change his bandages tomorrow, and he suddenly asks if she did all those things for Woo-tak too. She says she did and wonders if he’s jealous, but he denies anything of the sort.
But once he’s left alone in her room, all he can do is imagine Hong-joo playing nurse while Woo-tak flirts with her, making her squeal in delight. Imaginary Woo-tak talks like he walked out of a romance novel (“My fever won’t go down because you make my heart flutter.”) and uses every chance possible to hold Hong-joo’s hands.
Jae-chan throws things left and right to try and dispel the visions, and grouses that he shouldn’t have come here as he burrows into Hong-joo’s bed.
In Mom’s room, Hong-joo asks if she’s seen her ring, but Mom says she hasn’t. She asks Hong-joo if her affection for Jae-chan has grown deeper after finding out that they met 13 years ago. To Hong-joo’s surprise, Mom blurts that she doesn’t want her getting closer to Jae-chan, now or in the future.
The doctor comes to tell the teaching assistant’s father that he was right, and his son is registered as an organ donor. Dad’s eyes well up with tears when the doctor praises his son, and Dad decides to take his son off of his respirator the day after tomorrow, on his birthday. Soon after, Prosecutor Sohn is told of the potential organ donor, and she gasps in relief.
In someone’s dream, the teaching assistant’s father screams in a courtroom at the injustice of his son’s murder, as Yoo-bum and Professor Moon congratulate each other on winning the case. Dad runs over to the prosecutor, Jae-chan, and asks in tears what kind of law is like this. In the aftermath, Jae-chan packs up his desk to leave the prosecutor’s office.
Woo-tak wakes up from the dream with a heavy sigh, and asks Robin how he’s supposed to tell Jae-chan about what he saw.
In another dream, Prosecutor Lee pleads with Jae-chan on his knees, wailing that seven people will die to catch one man. He asks what kind of justice that is, and Jae-chan sheds a tear. He cries even more when he’s alone in his room, his nameplate sitting beside him in a box.
Hong-joo wakes up from that dream, and later when Woo-tak comes over for breakfast, he spots her outside looking like she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She tells him that she had a bad dream and was debating what to say about it, and he’s surprised and asks if she dreamt about Jae-chan quitting his job too.
Jae-chan spots them together while hanging laundry in the yard, and sneaks over to eavesdrop on their conversation. By the time he gets close enough, Woo-tak says that they need to tell Jae-chan because it involves him.
Hong-joo grabs his arm to stop him and asks what changes if they tell Jae-chan. He says that Jae-chan could at least run away, but Hong-joo argues that someone else would take the fall then, and asks if Woo-tak could run away knowing that.
He says no, and Hong-joo says that Jae-chan is just like Woo-tak, and wouldn’t run away. She warns him not to say anything about the dream, and plans to make Jae-chan run away herself.
Later that morning, Hong-joo refuses to get on the bus to go to work, saying that the weather is too nice to waste. Since Jae-chan is still on medical leave, she decides to play hooky, and Bong sunbae decides that she’s lost her mind when he gets her text.
The rest of the prosecutors are exhausted from pulling consecutive all-nighters because of Jae-chan’s absence, and when Hee-min grouses about it, Prosecutor Lee assures her that Jae-chan probably feels terrible about it and is suffering right now.
Cut to: Jae-chan making cute faces at Hong-joo while they visit a picturesque farm. They stop to pose for a picture, and a few feet away, another couple (cameo by Yoon Kyun-sang and Lee Sung-kyung) does the same thing.
But these two are in matching couple outfits and can’t get enough of each other, spending more time cooing over who’s cuter than taking pictures.
Jae-chan and Hong-joo stare at them stiffly and he scoffs, only to be shown up when Yoon Kyun-sang surprises “noona” with a bouquet of flowers. Knowing of their real-life bromance makes this competition so much better. Jae-chan quickly plucks the nearest blade of barley and gives it to Hong-joo, saying, “You like beer. It’s made from that.” Hahaha.
As they go for a walk, Hong-joo suggests going to the ocean tomorrow, but Jae-chan says he’s due back at the office tomorrow. He asks if something is supposed to happen to him, admitting that he overheard her and Woo-tak talking about their dreams.
Hong-joo reluctantly says that Jae-chan will have to make a very difficult choice: As soon as he returns to work, he’ll be put on a case and will order an autopsy to determine whether a man was intentionally killed. He’ll discover that the man was murdered and will catch the culprit… but the seven people who were in line to receive that man’s organs will die because they weren’t able to get those transplants. Oh no.
She says that in her dream, Jae-chan quits his job over the trauma of the case, and he asks what happens if he chooses not to order the autopsy. She says that Woo-tak’s dream had that version, but he lost the case because there was no way to prove it wasn’t an accident without the autopsy.
At the same time, we see Professor Moon close in on the school where the kids wear the little yellow hat he found at the time of the murder.
Hong-joo says that in Woo-tak’s dream, the victim’s father blames him and Jae-chan quits his job over the guilt. They happen to be standing at a fork in the road, and Jae-chan goes over his choices—catch a killer and let seven people die, or save seven people and let a killer go—but either way it ends with him quitting his job.
He decides to go to the ocean tomorrow after all, and announces that he’s going to do the cowardly thing and run away. As if answering Hong-joo’s claims earlier that he would never do that, he says he’s not like Woo-tak at all and plans to just run away because he doesn’t want to lose his job, and Hong-joo agrees that that’s the sensible thing.
They’re both cheerful and glib about the whole thing, which just makes it seem like they’re both overcompensating for how they truly feel.
As they walk past, Yoon Kyun-sang asks Jae-chan (calling him ajusshi, ha) to take a picture for them, and Jae-chan refuses rudely, as if to prove to Hong-joo that he’s going to lives as he pleases from now on.
Yoon Kyun-sang pouts and Lee Sung-kyung coos at “baby” not to get his feelings hurt. Pfft.
At school, Seung-won’s new friend, class outcast Dae-gu, says that his brother seems like a good prosecutor because he let Cable Guy go. Seung-won says that that’s just a prosecutor’s job, but Dae-gu says it’s not always a given that a prosecutor follows the law. He says his father was a doctor who saved people’s lives, but he met one wrong prosecutor and became a serial killer.
Seung-won asks who the prosecutor was, and Dae-gu just says it’s someone who can fabricate evidence and create a crime out of thin air. Gee, I wonder who that could be.
Yoo-bum tells Professor Moon that he’s lucky because the teaching assistant is an organ donor, which severely lowers the chances of an autopsy. He tells the professor to just focus on finding the owner of that yellow hat, and they’re in the clear.
From a distance, someone takes a photo of their meeting, and we see that it’s Woo-tak staking them out from his car.
As they arrive on their street, Hong-joo makes sure that Jae-chan really intends to go to the ocean with her tomorrow. They’re about to head to her house when Seung-won stops them, having waited for them to arrive.
He says that Jae-chan’s two days are up, and that Mom already sent his suitcase over. Jae-chan gets dragged home by his brother, and Hong-joo wonders to herself what’s gotten into Mom lately.
She brings it up with Mom, asking if Jae-chan did something to upset her, which she denies. But once Mom is alone in her room, we see that she’s been hiding Hong-joo’s ring in her drawer. She thinks about how broken Hong-joo was when she thought Jae-chan might die like Dad, and says aloud that she’s sorry to Jae-chan, but she can’t see her daughter fall apart anymore.
Jae-chan feels a pang of guilt when all of his coworkers send him concerned texts telling him take it easy and rest longer. He tries to put it out of his mind, but he shows up to meet Hong-joo for their date the next morning dressed in a suit, insisting that the sunglasses make it beachwear.
She guesses that he’s feeling anxious knowing that someone else will suffer in his place, but Jae-chan blusters that he’s the one always getting beaten up or shot, so it’s perfectly fine for him to spread the suffering around, which he deems is perfectly fair.
Hong-joo just listens to his rambling speech and takes off her hat and sunglasses, and tells him to go to work. He tries to protest, but she shows him that she already packed her computer in her beach bag knowing this would happen, and that she didn’t feel right about it either.
She takes his sunglasses off and says, “A road will appear if you make it,” and for the first time in days, he smiles a genuine smile. She offers to come running if he changes his mind about the beach, and Jae-chan’s face brightens as he starts waiting for the bus to work. Hong-joo hugs him from behind and reminds him that it’s going to be a difficult choice, and tells him to brace himself.
Professor Moon finds the one little boy in the school playground who’s missing his yellow hat, and the boy recognizes him instantly. The boy had witnessed Professor Moon strangling his student, and worse yet, he saw what really happened: Professor Moon had noticed the elevator doors shaking loose in the struggle, and purposely shoved his student down the elevator shaft. That is definitely not manslaughter.
In the present, Professor Moon returns the hat on the little boy’s head, noting that it’s a perfect fit. The boy lies that he doesn’t remember him, but pees his pants in fright and runs away. The professor chases him down the street and closes in on him when the boy trips and falls. What is he planning to do, kill a child??
Just as he’s about to grab the boy, a hand stops him and flips him around, pinning him to the ground in one swift, badass move. Yay, Woo-tak’s here to save the day! It turns out that Woo-tak had been following the professor all this time, and he and his partner arrest him for attacking the child.
Hong-joo saunters into the city news desk still dressed like she’s going on holiday (in a movie), scaring Bong sunbae. He tells her that the teaching assistant is due to be taken off life support today to donate seven of his organs, and Hong-joo realizes that this is Jae-chan’s case from her dream.
At the same time, Prosecutor Sohn rushes off to the hospital in a hurry, and Prosecutor Lee follows after her. Jae-chan sees them approach and holds his arms out, ready for hugs to welcome him back, but they both just nod and run past, and he says meekly that they must not have missed him much.
Prosecutor Lee asks if something is wrong, and Prosecutor Sohn tells him that her son might get a transplant today. She’s a nervous wreck and reminds him not to tell anyone, and he assures her that he’s very tight-lipped, otherwise everyone in the office would know about the boss getting face fillers and Hee-min being a Buddhist.
Prosecutor Sohn laughs in glee, and he asks if she feels a little better now. She smiles in appreciation and he cheers her on to reassure her that everything will be okay. Aw.
Jae-chan is disappointed yet again when he bursts into his office expecting a welcome, only to find it empty. Hyang-mi greets him with her back turned, too embarrassed to face him, and says that he likes her back more anyway. Ha.
Chief Choi is the only one who gives Jae-chan the reaction he wanted, excited and worried and full of care, and Jae-chan does a little dance of joy before going in for that hug he’s been craving so badly. Chief Choi insists that everyone missed him plenty.
The first case Hyang-mi hands him is the teaching assistant, who’s waiting to be taken off of life support today as soon as Jae-chan signs the paperwork. Jae-chan braces himself and tells Chief Choi that they have to go to the hospital to investigate before signing this, and Chief Choi mutters to Hyang-mi that this is why no one welcomed Jae-chan back, because he insists on digging into everything.
On the way, Woo-tak calls to tell Jae-chan that he thinks he’s arrested the murderer in his case, and that he’s also got a witness. Professor Moon calls Yoo-bum, who tells him to keep his mouth shut while he takes care of things.
Jae-chan and Chief Choi take a look at the marks on the teaching assistant’s neck, and they share a knowing look.
Prosecutor Sohn and the doctor are in the middle of telling her son that he’s going to be running around like a regular kid in no time, when the hospital administrator arrives to tell them the bad news that the prosecutor hasn’t signed off on the surgeries because they might need to order an autopsy.
Yoo-bum arrives at the hospital to inquire into the surgery as well, and finds out that Jae-chan put a stop to it. He laughs and marches out with a determined look, ready to fight it out in court to see who really wins.
Prosecutor Sohn is close to breaking down when she returns to work and has to tell Prosecutor Lee that the surgery might not happen, and then they get called into the chief prosecutor’s office for an emergency meeting.
To their shock, Jae-chan asks the team for their advice on his case, and Prosecutor Sohn freezes up when she realizes that the victim is the organ donor she’s been pinning her hopes on. Prosecutor Lee argues that they can’t risk seven people’s lives on so little evidence, since all Jae-chan has is footage of the teaching assistant not drinking very much at the party, and the possible testimony of a child.
Prosecutor Lee asks what happens if they do the autopsy and find that it was an accident after all, and Hee-min agrees that it’s not enough to go on yet. Then the chief prosecutor asks what Prosecutor Sohn thinks. Voice trembling, she tells Jae-chan that he did the right thing and that they should order an autopsy.
In private, Prosecutor Lee gets worked up, asking how Prosecutor Sohn could choose to give up on her son’s kidney like that. He argues that this isn’t the time to be a noble prosecutor, but she says this wasn’t a choice as a prosecutor: “It was a choice as a parent. If I were that teaching assistant’s parent, more than saving other people, I would want to reveal how my child died. Whether seven lives or seventy… That is the heart of a parent.”
She finally lets herself break down in tears.
The chief prosecutor tells Jae-chan that the victim probably won’t last the week before his heart gives out, at which time they can do the autopsy. He tells Jae-chan to file the paperwork, but Jae-chan hesitates.
He thinks back to earlier this morning when he’d asked Hong-joo which choice she would make—save seven lives or catch a killer—and she’d replied that she wouldn’t choose either option.
So then Jae-chan takes a deep breath and presents his boss with a third choice: to conduct the organ transplant and autopsy at the same time. He shows the chief prosecutor that there’s precedent, though it’s very rare, and he says that because the injuries are concentrated on the head and neck, he thinks it’s possible to limit the autopsy to those areas, leaving the rest of the organs free for transplant surgery.
The chief prosecutor is skeptical that he’ll get enough evidence for trial this way, but he decides to trust Jae-chan’s choice.
Back at the bus stop, Hong-joo had answered, “If it were me, I would save the seven people and catch the criminal. That’s my choice.”
He’d smiled at her gratefully and brushed her hair back, and in the present, he breaks into a big smile after having found a way to do both.
After the last episode, this one was a letdown. It was so heavily procedural, on top of which the killer was revealed at the very start, and uninteresting as a character to boot. I found the previous cases far more interesting, and this one seems so straightforward in comparison that I was a little bored by the details. I appreciate that Jae-chan found a creative third option when he was stuck between two impossible choices, but come on, it doesn’t surprise anyone that our hero would attempt to save everyone and also catch the killer, or that the Three Dragons would each do their part to help.
The one element that saved this storyline from being completely pointless was Prosecutor Sohn, who grounded the case emotionally. It would’ve been nice to have Jae-chan grapple with his choice while knowing her position in all this, because it would’ve added a more interesting layer than a simple ethical dilemma that he assumes is far removed from him on a personal level. Maybe after getting shot, everything else is going to pale in comparison; though if that’s the case, we shouldn’t have gotten him shot so early on in the show.
I often wish that this drama weren’t so black and white with its morality, because I might be more interested in the cases if they were drawn with subtler lines, or if they weren’t all lawyered by Yoo-bum, who is losing his humanity day by day to the point that he’s becoming too obvious to care about. I either want to see more of his human side, or just cut to the chase and start that case where he was the prosecutor who made a killer out of an innocent man, if what Seung-won’s friend said is true. We’ve done enough of the dance. I think it’s time to start charging Yoo-bum with some crimes. That, or give his screen time to Bong sunbae.
I was grateful for the moments of comedy where we got them, from Jae-chan’s jealousy to his petty competitions with Brainy Smurf and giant baby Yoon Kyun-sang. And I don’t think it’s too out of character for Mom to react that way after seeing Hong-joo so heartbroken when Jae-chan was injured. She reacted similarly when Hong-joo first wanted to return to work—she seems to just dig her heels in when she wants to protect her daughter. It doesn’t seem like a very serious obstacle for them, but I do want Mom to be back on Team Jae-chan soon. I think even Woo-tak is on Team Jae-chan now, despite his heartbreak. *sniff* It’s okay, Batman, you’ll walk away with all the fanlove in the end!
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