Nobody Knows: Episode 5
Our protagonists team up to search for clues as to how Eun-ho ended up on the roof that fateful night only to find themselves tracking down yet another person with access to a part of Eun-ho’s life neither had been aware of. Each new discovery only leads to more questions and while the detective-teacher duo dig for answers, other players are moving in the background and it’s only a matter of time before they converge.
EPISODE 5: “Looking for Dong-myeong”
While searching Eun-ho’s locker for clues, Sun-woo finds a drawing of the six-winged angel in a notebook and involuntarily mutters Seo Sang-won’s name. Young-jin’s breath catches and when she questions him, Sun-woo explains he’d seen it as a child at church when Seo Sang-won was the pastor. In a flashback, Seo Sang-won hands young Sun-woo one of the six-winged angel dolls and says he hopes Sun-woo will be selected by the angel in the future. Sun-woo asks what that means and Seo Sang-won says a miracle will happen.
Chills run down Young-jin’s spine as she recalls her encounter with Seo Sang-won. Sun-woo wonders aloud where Eun-ho would’ve seen the angel, denying Young-jin’s suggestion that he could’ve encountered it at school. Despite being owned by the same foundation, the school doesn’t participate in religious activities under Hee-seob. Young-jin is dubious since Sun-woo has only worked there the past year but asks instead for Dong-myeong’s locker.
Young-jin asks about Dong-myeong and Sun-woo opens another locker. She leaves Sun-woo to search while she answers a call from Ja-young and learns Dong-myeong’s call records place him near the hospital. She tries calling the number Ja-young sends for Dong-myeong’s dad, but it’s invalid. Sun-woo finds a child’s drawing of Dong-myeong’s family and they realize he has a sibling. Meanwhile, Dong-myeong takes a roll of cash from a bag in a locker.
Sun-woo tries to get Dong-myeong’s mother’s number while Young-jin takes a photo of the drawing. The teacher on the other end wonders if it’s about Eun-ho since Hee-seob asked the staff to look into whether Dong-myeong has been bullying anyone – particularly Eun-ho. Ja-young calls again to report Dong-myeong’s father is in jail for fraud and blackmail. When Young-jin returns, Sun-woo gives her the number to Dong-myeong’s aunt, who’s in charge of his brother.
Checking the number, Young-jin sees it pinged in the same area as Dong-myeong. She promises to call when she locates Dong-myeong but Sun-woo blocks her way. He regrets assuming Dong-myeong was going home instead of asking where he was headed, admitting he was too indifferent to Dong-myeong’s situation. “You probably wanted to avoid it,” Young-jin says flatly, but tears prick her eyes as she confesses she’d felt that way about Eun-ho in the beginning.
Vowing not to look away anymore, Sun-woo reasons that while Young-jin faces Dong-myeong as a detective, he’ll stand beside him as his teacher. She holds out the drawing of Dong-myeong’s family for Sun-woo to return to the locker, but he doesn’t move until she hands him her keys as well. Heh. While waiting for Sun-woo, Young-jin calls Jae-hong and learns there was no evidence at Chang-soo’s home or work, and the Millennium Hotel head of security is being uncooperative.
Young-jin has Jae-hong pass the phone to Ja-young and when she returns it, Young-jin has already hung up. Ja-young smiles that Young-jin wants both of them to search Dae-hoon’s house. Meanwhile, Sang-ho has hired a caregiver for Eun-ho, answering Mom’s suspicion with an insistence that he feels responsible for the accident. He praises Mom’s caution, saying most people don’t deserve unconditional kindness… but Eun-ho does.
Sang-ho adds that he was also raised by a single mother before noticing the books from Eun-ho’s bag. Mom is unsure why Eun-ho bought a children’s book, having heard from Young-jin that Eun-ho read it a long time ago. Sang-ho nods and picks up the other book (a replacement for the one Eun-ho had borrowed from Young-jin) and tells the caregiver to read it to Eun-ho. Sang-ho tells Mom he’s read it too, and was impressed by the friendship and compassion between the young boy and the middle-aged woman.
Sun-woo and Young-jin question Dong-myeong’s aunt but she insists she hasn’t seen Dong-myeong. Another cop called yesterday (one of the cops investigating Eun-ho’s case) and wouldn’t say why he was looking for Dong-myeong but knew Dong-myeong and his aunt aren’t blood-related. She suspects the school to be investigating Dong-myeong as well. When asked about Dong-myeong’s brother, Aunt explains that Han-sol’s mother – her sister – died soon after giving birth. “You know where Dong-myeong is, don’t you?” Young-jin asks.
Over at Dae-hoon’s, Jae-hong explains to Ja-young they’re looking for evidence related to the money Eun-ho found, a clue connecting Chang-soo and Dong-myeong, or anything else suspicious. Ja-young’s notices a locked door and using her hairpin, reveals a room filled with toys. Ja-young sees a stack of packages addressed to Dae-hoon from Min-sung with more model figure sets inside and thinks that the room was used by Min-sung. At the same time, Min-sung arrives late to class.
Aunt demands why they’re looking for Dong-myeong but Young-jin says she can’t say yet. Instead, she points out that while Aunt believes Dong-myeong caused trouble, she doesn’t seem concerned he’s with Han-sol. Young-jin continues that Dong-myeong seems to be a doting brother and shows the photo on her phone of the drawing Han-sol made of their family. Aunt confesses that Dong-myeong came by a few days ago saying he had saved up enough money from part-time jobs to afford Han-sol’s surgery.
Although dubious of the origins, Aunt didn’t ask questions about the money since they wouldn’t be able to afford surgery otherwise. Young-jin gathers they’re at the hospital just as Sang-ho is leaving Eun-ho’s hospital. He grumbles to assistant Du-seok about going from one hospital straight to another, sighing that there are too many sick kids. Sang-ho recalls a brazen kid once saying that there would be no sick children if god existed.
Du-seok replies that at the time, he was straddling the line between life and death and thought if anyone could save him, that person would become his god. Sang-ho guffaws that saving Du-seok was one of the best things he’s ever done, wondering which child to save this time as they head over to the children’s hospital. Leaving Aunt’s place, Young-jin asks Sun-woo if he’s heard anything at school about detectives investigating Dong-myeong, but he shakes his head.
At the hospital, Dong-myeong waits his turn to pay Han-sol’s fees, but when his number is called, he chickens out and pulls a new one. He turns his phone on and returns to take the rest of the money from the locker but freezes when he sees Young-jin and Sun-woo arrive at the counter. Sun-woo calls his name and Dong-myeong bolts. Young-jin easily clears railings in her pursuit but loses him when he boards a subway and the doors close in her face.
Sun-woo catches up and offers to call Dong-myeong but she snatches his phone, fearing Dong-myeong will turn it off again. Instead, she calls in a trace on Dong-myeong’s phone. He exits the subway and leaps into a taxi. Sun-woo and Young-jin finally get a location on Dong-myeong’s phone. It’s near Eun-ho’s hospital and they call Mom to ask her to keep him there. Unfortunately, Mom is home thanks to the caregiver and Young-jin urges her to pass along the message.
Mom questions whether Dong-myeong is Eun-ho’s friend and after a brief pause, Young-jin confirms he is. Sun-woo notices the Dong-myeong’s phone has passed Eun-ho’s hospital and Young-jin turns on her siren as they speed towards Millennium Hotel. Sang-ho steps out of the performance being held at the children’s hospital and notices a young boy also leaving. Following him into the hall, Sang-ho asks what his illness is, fumbling to repeat “Epstein.”
When asked if the even was boring, the kid nods and Sang-ho sighs in agreement. The boy asks if he’d like to hear something interesting and shares that sea squirts do not have a brain. He explains that they are born with a brain but eat it once they find a safe house. Sang-ho blinks back, wondering where he heard such a fact and the boy says his brother told him. Laughing, Sang-ho offers to share something interesting in return.
The taxi drops Dong-myeong at the hotel and he makes his way to the roof, peering over the ledge where Eun-ho fell. He stumbles back, throwing the money on the ground as he breaks down in tears. Young-jin parks and wastes no time waiting for Sun-woo as she grabs an elevator. Bursting onto the roof, she finds Dong-myeong hugging his knees and approaches.
PART 2: “How They Became Friends”
Young-jin crouches behind Dong-myeong and gently asks him to face her. He swivels around, but keeps his head down, nodding that he recognizes her and knows she’s a cop. Dong-myeong mumbles that he didn’t hurt Eun-ho. Young-jin assures him she knows but he accuses her of chasing him because she believes he did. Young-jin explains she had questions and was worried for him. The question she most wanted answered: how they became friends.
Growing defensive, Dong-myeong denies they were, but Young-jin tells him about the children’s book in Eun-ho’s bag. She’d noticed the previous volume at Dong-myeong’s aunt’s and concluded Eun-ho bought the book for Han-sol. Dong-myeong cries that they’re not friends, “I always received things from him. How are we friends?” Young-jin thinks his humility could be a reason but Dong-myeong scoffs he didn’t feel ashamed.
“The world was unfair and unkind to me,” Dong-myeong says darkly, explaining how his father wasted money he received to care for Han-sol on himself. Dong-myeong wasn’t embarrassed of stealing wallets or taking money from classmates but recalls a night he’d taken money from a man passed out drunk on the street. Eun-ho had walked up and told him to put it back, pulling out his phone when Dong-myeong dared him to call the cops.
Grabbing his wrist, Dong-myeong threatened to break it but Eun-ho calmly informed him there was a security camera watching. Groaning, Dong-myeong replaced the money, warning Eun-ho he’d make his life difficult if they crossed paths at school. Unfazed, Eun-ho asked for his help carrying the drunk man and the two boys had loaded the man into a taxi. Before leaving, the drunkard had given each boy a handful of bills as thanks.
Dong-myeong uncomfortably pocketed the money and Eun-ho chased after him, suggesting they get something to eat. Dong-myeong said his brother was waiting and Eun-ho froze, admitting he was envious of having someone waiting for him. He’d started to walk off but Dong-myeong called him back. Grinning, Eun-ho asked about Han-sol and Dong-myeong cracked a smile as they walked off together.
In the present, Dong-myeong sobs and Young-jin allows Sun-woo to help him up. Retrieving the discarded bag of money, Young-jin asks Dong-myeong why he came here. “I was running away,” Dong-myeong admits, “but I had nowhere to go.” He’d thought if he came here, he’d find out the reason Eun-ho came alone that night. Jae-hong and Ja-young are waiting in the lobby and Jae-hong greets Dong-myeong cheerfully, holding his hand out for a high-five which Ja-young swats away. Hee.
Dong-myeong questions whether he’s really a detective and Jae-hong proudly brandishes his badge. Young-jin promises to call Sun-woo later and he leaves with Ja-young and Dong-myeong. Jae-hong reports they’d found nothing tying the money to Dae-hoon, but something they’ll need to confirm with Min-sung.
The rest of the team report to Detective Han that Im Hee-jung – 9th stigmata serial murders victim – had owned considerable assets, including the building Seo Sang-won lived in. Detective Han wonders where she amassed that much money and Byung-hee snipes she must’ve embezzled it. Jin-su notes she was like a daughter to the church founder, Pastor Kwon and Detective Han adds Pastor Kwon had also considered Seo Sang-won a son. Byung-hee thinks Pastor Kwon’s death probably sent Seo Sang-won over the edge.
Detective Han doesn’t think the motive is solid and tells the pair to keep digging, sighing at their lack of enthusiasm. Jin-su reports Hee-jung’s assets will be returned to the government since she has no family and Detective Han dismisses the detectives. Jin-su thinks they should dig into Ki-ho (the church member Eun-ho saved) but Byung-hee waves him off since Ki-ho isn’t Hee-jung’s killer so there’s no point bothering.
Out in the woods, Ki-ho hides in a storage container-turned-shack and reads the newspaper on Seo Sang-won and the stigmata serial killings. Meanwhile, Hee-seob meets Sang-won at a Shinsung Foundation plot of land. Sang-won suggests building a university, hospital, and nursing home here, but Hee-seob is only interested in the university. Grumbling that’s wasteful, Sang-ho comments that since Hee-jung was the one footing the bill, her death (and the government reclaiming her assets) throws a wrench in development.
Hee-seob aruges he can apply for a special relationship through the church and Sang-ho waves him off, thinking it all sounds complicated. He says Hee-seob will need him, instead, revealing that for the past decade, Im Hee-jung had borrowed money from himself and his personal foundation. In essence, the money she’d given for this project was Sang-ho’s money and Hee-seob looks a little sick.
Young-jin and Jae-hong attempt to get the CCTV footage for the night Eun-ho found the money but Manager Sun-ah, snidely requests a warrant. Young-jin pointedly asks if the server crashed that night as well. Head of Security, Hee-dong agrees to hand it over, explaining to a miffed Sun-ah that refusing only makes them look suspicious. In exchange, he tells them to find whoever used their hotel to traffic money.
A flustered Hee-seob gets into his car and laughs bitterly, resolving to find Ki-ho in order to resolve the issue of Hee-jung’s money. Sang-ho receives a call from Sun-ah and frowns when he hears what happened at the hotel. He asks for Hee-dong and orders him to find whoever committed a crime in his hotel before Young-jin.
At the station, Dong-myeong tells Superintendent Hwang he found the money at the hotel, insisting Eun-ho knew nothing of it. Superintendent Hwang points out they’ll investigate Eun-ho regardless and Dong-myeong chokes out they can’t. Flashing back, we see Eun-ho had hesitated in handing the shoebox over to Dong-myeong. Dong-myeong argued they’d taken the money for Han-sol’s surgery and promised to take all responsibility. “If something happens,” Dong-myeong told him, “don’t get involved.”
Superintendent Hwang tells him not to feel guilty because friends can share difficulties and pain, but not crimes – or the punishments that come with it. They each need to shoulder their own burden. Meanwhile, Eun-ho’s caregiver reads from Young-jin’s book, “You’re still young. When you’re young, there are a lot of things you’re better off not knowing.” He then sets the book aside to wipe a tear rolling down Eun-ho’s cheek.
When showed a picture of Dae-hee, Dong-myeong recognizes Min-sung’s driver. He says he’d been keeping his eye on Min-sung because he suspected something was going on between him and Eun-ho. Eun-ho would never say what it was, but Dong-myeong recalls seeing the pair come down from the roof. He’d approached Eun-ho and been rebuffed but told him to say if Min-sung was bullying him. “The bully,” Eun-ho had replied, “is me.”
Sun-woo catches Min-sung after school and sympathizes that it had to be hard to hear something bad happened to someone close. Min-sung defensively barks he wasn’t close with Dae-hoon and Sun-woo awkwardly says he’d only assumed because they spent time together every day. He guesses that he won’t have to worry about Min-sung and releases him.
Superintendent Hwang escorts Dong-myeong to the hospital and introduces himself to Han-sol as Dong-myeong’s friend. Superintendent Hwang asks to be Han-sol’s friend too and Han-sol says he made an ajusshi friend already today – Baek Sang-ho – and he’d offered to fix Han-sol’s heart. Meanwhile, Sang-ho chuckles and tells Du-seok there’s interesting things ahead. Du-seok worries he revealed too much to Hee-seob, thinking he might know Ki-ho’s secret.
Dismissing his concerns, Sang-ho says only core members of the church like Sun-woo’s father would know. He suddenly wonders if Sun-woo’s father would tell his son-in-law, but neither seem particularly concerned, even when Du-seok assumes Hee-seob will try searching for Ki-ho. Sang-ho giggles that only increases their odds of finding him and decides to take a nap.
Jae-hong and Ja-young report to Young-jin that Dae-hoon’s phone records showed Dae-hoon was nowhere near the hotel on the day of or the day prior to Eun-ho finding the money. Ja-young suggests an accomplice could’ve lost the money at the hotel. Dae-hoon had then pressured Eun-ho, unaware Dong-myeong had the money, and hung himself in despair after Eun-ho’s accident. Young-jin still wants to interview Min-sung.
After reviewing the dashcam footage, Ja-young says the data wasn’t erased, the device was turned off prior to the incident. Unfortunately, they have yet to locate footage of Dae-hoon arriving at the hotel that night. Jae-hong points at footage he’d found of the car and Ja-young notices the headlights are off. Jae-hong curses himself for missing the detail and Young-jin tuts that it’s no fun scolding him if he already looks dejected. Ja-young doesn’t understand why the headlights are off but Young-jin says it makes sense if Dae-hoon isn’t driving.
Disappointed for failing to sniff out information from the church director, Hee-seob runs into Nosy Ajusshi on his way out. He declines the offer to look at photos and leaves while Nosy Ajusshi calls to report he’d heard about Ki-ho. In a back-alley restaurant, Sang-ho passes Nosy Ajusshi an envelop of cash and is told Ki-ho was spotted praying at a church in Ganghwa Island. Sang-ho hands him a second envelope of cash and takes his leave.
Returning home, Young-jin calls Eun-ho’s mom. They sit outside and Young-jin says she arrested Chang-soo for breaking and entering. Mom sighs that Young-jin has been in her house twice in the past 7 years, and both times arrested the man Mom was dating. She admits she should be grateful to Young-jin but hates her more than the jerk sitting in prison. “You’re horrifying,” Mom says, “because you saw me at my lowest from the start.”
Nosy Ajusshi picks up some groceries and drives his loaded truck down the road. While Eun-ho’s caretaker steps out, Young-jin stands beside his bed and tells him she saw his drawing of the six-winged angel, asking where he’d seen it and why he drew it. Pulling next to the storage container in the woods, Nosy Ajusshi taps on the window. Ki-ho opens the door and says he needs to meet Go Eun-ho.
It’s a hard balance to leave your audience riddled with questions and still keep them invested but not frustrated. Nobody Knows has been navigating that fine line beautifully. It’s so rare for me to watch a show and have no idea what’s going on but be completely enamored all the same. Some of that credit goes to the solid writing regarding the complicated plot, but by and large, the thing that makes this drama work so wonderfully is the characters. Young-jin is both an absolute beast in her career, but empathetic and soft when she allows herself to put the cop persona aside. Her gentle side is most visible when she’s addressing the kids and I cannot express how badly I wished for her to adopt Dong-myeong this hour. While his moral compass may not point directly north, he’s fiercely loyal and has a good heart. Eun-ho’s influence already had an effect and Dong-myeong’s brief interaction with Jae-hong had me wishing he’d grow up to be a detective too.
Young-jin and Dong-myeong have a great dynamic, but that holds true for so many pairings! I’ve gushed about Young-jin and Sun-woo in previous posts because I just really love their balance. Jae-hong and Ja-young continue to be adorable ducklings. And I could’ve cried at Dong-myeong and Eun-ho’s friendship introduced this hour. I didn’t think any relationship would top the one presented between Young-jin and Eun-ho, since that was the central piece upon which the story is built… and yet the interactions between all the characters are just so gooood. Even our more dubious characters like Sang-ho and his assistant have a great rapport. And honestly, I get some sick satisfaction from the way Sang-ho grates on Hee-seob’s nerves. Hee-seob is such a weasel that it’s endlessly amusing when Sang-ho makes him jump. Both are extremely shady, but as I’ve mentioned before, I struggle to dislike Sang-ho. He’s definitely hiding something, but as of yet, he hasn’t actually done anything bad. I can’t tell if his charismatic likability is disguising a morally reprehensible (and potentially eeeeeeevil) character, or if like Dong-myeong, it’s just another red herring. Regardless, his giggle is delightful.
New Life Church is still baffling. I’m sticking to my initial theory of cult, but honestly who knows? Everyone tied to the church and Shinsung Foundation is super shady, but just being creepy isn’t exactly a crime. Destroying records might be, but that’s a far cry from partaking in ritual sacrifice or rather ceremonial rebirth murders? It’s all very cloak and dagger right now, but with Ki-ho resurfacing, perhaps we’ll get some answers! As long as someone else doesn’t get to him first, that is. Sang-ho supplying a caregiver for Eun-ho is a little nerve-wracking because I’m wary of pretty much anyone other than Young-jin being left alone with Eun-ho. I honestly don’t think Sang-ho wants to hurt Eun-ho. Most everyone takes an instant shine to the kid – who can blame them, he’s precious – and Sang-ho was no exception. But that doesn’t mean providing a caregiver was solely out of the kindness of his heart. For reasons yet to be revealed, Sang-ho might have planted himself some surveillance. I’m not sure whether he knows Ki-ho was the man Eun-ho saved or not, but if he did it would make sense to have someone watching in case Ki-ho paid Eun-ho a visit. I guess we’ll find out next episode!
The common thread between everyone right now is Eun-ho. And I’m so glad he’s continued to be a presence in the drama. I had feared that after establishing his importance to Young-jin and her drive to find out what happened to him, that he would be delegated to nothing more than a plot device used for cheap feels until waking up at the end of the drama. I am thrilled that’s not the case because I genuinely adore his character and can’t be more pleased that we continue to see Eun-ho in flashbacks and learn more about him. He touched so many lives and is truly a source of light in a show mired with dark undertones. And yet, despite all the death and horrors, I would argue that Nobody Knows is a story of light, hope, and love, rather than the darkness. It’s something I’ve noticed in the cinematography as well with the way the camera plays with the light in certain shots. It’s absolutely beautiful and such a nice subtle touch. All of these characters have been touched by tragedy and pain and I want nothing more than to see them heal, stepping out of that darkness and embracing the light.