The Kidnapping Day: Episodes 3-4
Now that they’re truly in cahoots, our unlikely pair must remain on their toes to evade the police hot on their heels. Secrets are revealed, but more questions surface in their place, shrouding our precocious hostage in yet another layer of mystery.
Caught in his lie, Myung-joon comes clean about his identity and the kidnapping plan. He apologizes to Ro-hee, but it’s all too much for her to take in. Shocked and devastated, Ro-hee bursts into tears, wailing that she wants to go home.
Wracked with guilt, Myung-joon takes Ro-hee to a nearby police station, where she urges him to leave and see Hee-ae get her surgery before turning himself in. He does, and Ro-hee heads towards the station — but the sirens of an approaching police car trigger a flashback. As the headlights flash relentlessly, Ro-hee begins to hyperventilate as her mind races through snippets of the events leading up to her kidnapping.
The next thing Myung-joon knows, he’s being chased by a cop, sending his panic meter skyrocketing. Except he isn’t being arrested — Ro-hee runs out from behind the cop, relieved to be reunited with her “dad.” Hahaha, she drops Myung-joon’s hand like a hot potato once the officer leaves.
Now that she’s suspicious of the police, Ro-hee demands that Myung-joon take responsibility — he kidnapped her, so he should provide her with a roof over her head and help her recover her memories. As usual, Ro-hee gets her way, which means she drafts up a written contract detailing Myung-joon’s duties. Have I mentioned that I love her?
With a cleverly-orchestrated diversion, Ro-hee misdirects the officers away so she and Myung-joon can take the train to Seoul. They head for Hye-eun’s apartment, where Ro-hee immediately starts questioning her. Hye-eun’s flippant responses do nothing to quell Ro-hee’s suspicions, so our duo tail Hye-eun to a hospital, where she finally confesses two major secrets to the pair.
First — Hye-eun has HIV. She’d found out when Hee-ae was three, and she’d left them because she couldn’t risk spreading AIDS to Hee-ae. Knowing that Myung-joon wouldn’t have had the heart to cut her off, Hye-eun chose to conceal her diagnosis and abscond. In light of this revelation, she and Myung-joon shed tears over her sacrifice, but something about this story feels a little too pat for me to believe it just yet.
Second — Hye-eun confirms what we’d been suspecting since last week. Ro-hee had been the subject of her own father’s experiment, dubbed “The Genius Child Project.” The nature of the research had necessitated it to be kept discreet, but it had garnered great interest and funding amongst those in the know. Above all, it certainly explains the needle bruises on Ro-hee’s arms, as well as her extraordinary intellect.
Our duo may have made it safely to Seoul, but Sang-yoon has prepared a counterattack — he’s decided to publicize the case. Myung-joon is now a wanted criminal. Worse yet, both Ro-hee (and us viewers) are suddenly thrown a curveball. Myung-joon is an ex-convict — and he’d been locked up on murder charges. Oh my god. Turns out Myung-joon had been a judo athlete, until he strangled an opponent to death in the ring.
Myung-joon is feeling the heat, with his instinct pushing him towards turning himself in so they no longer have to sneak around. But that’s when Ro-hee displays her first moment of vulnerability. Tearfully, she points out that Myung-joon is the only person she can trust right now — has he ever cared for her, or is he only thinking about his real daughter?
Chastened, Myung-joon apologizes, reassuring Ro-hee that he’s cared about her this entire time. Through sobs, Ro-hee asks him to protect her, and when he promises, she jumps to her feet and brushes her tears away like all’s right with the world again, hee.
There’s still the matter of finding a place to sleep for the night, so Ro-hee suggests a plan to evade suspicion. Since the police and the public are looking out for a grown man and a little girl, Myung-joon can get a motel room first, and she’ll sneak up later. While waiting at a nearby florist, the scent of fresh flowers sparks a memory of Ro-hee’s mom, gently encouraging her daughter to appreciate flowers with her heart and not her mind.
Before Ro-hee can process the memory, though, she’s accosted with a chloroformed handkerchief over her nose. Her abductor is the menacing enigma HO-YOUNG (Kim Dong-won) — we first got a glimpse of him when he tortured the junk collector for information, and now he’s taken his ruthlessness one step further. Myung-joon immediately gives chase, but that’s exactly when the police arrive to arrest him, resulting in a high-speed pursuit through the roads of Seoul.
Both criminals manage to outspeed the police, but Myung-joon is outmatched by Ho-young’s fists. Still, Myung-joon is nothing but persistent. Determined to honor the promise he made to Ro-hee, he pops back up every time he’s knocked to the floor.
When Ho-young pulls a knife on Myung-joon, that’s the last straw. Reclaiming his judo nickname of “Monster,” Myung-joon knocks Ho-young out with just his grip and several solid smashes with his motorcycle helmet. Rescuing the unconscious Ro-hee from Ho-young’s car, Myung-joon hobbles away to safety with her on his back, apologizing to her all while bleeding out from his stab wound.
Oh, Myung-joon. Yoon Kye-sang is doing such a phenomenal job with his character, imbuing pathos into his hapless floundering and sincerity into his every action. Myung-joon is a pushover not because he’s a fool, but because he’s so genuinely kind and good-natured. His desperation — and the way he pours his all into protecting Hee-ae and Ro-hee — is undergirded by a steady, selfless resilience, making him heartrendingly sympathetic. I didn’t expect Myung-joon’s criminal record at all, but the blood on his hands must have weighed on him all this while, casting his gentle and meek disposition in a new light.
Next to him, Ro-hee continues to be an absolute delight. Not only did we see more of her adorable smiles this week, but we also got a glimpse into how she ticks. Her intellect may be an unconscious shield to protect herself from vulnerability, but it’s also the only way she understands how to make sense of the world. With intelligence quite literally being drilled into her all her life, it’s no wonder that Ro-hee clings to rationality like a lifeline, and I can’t wait for her to experience the simple, emotional joys of life with Myung-joon.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying how competent Sang-yoon is. He’s on the right track, having suspected that Ro-hee’s bruises weren’t caused by Myung-joon, and he’s already made contact with several dubious individuals. There’s the hospital security personnel PARK CHEOL-WON (Kim Sang-ho), who’s in cahoots with doctor YOON JUNG-DO (Park Jin-woo). The more we see of Cheol-won, the more suspicious he seems — he’d lost his pregnant wife in an accident, which had taken place in a hospital run by Professor Choi’s father. Then there’s the youngest member of the Choi family lawyer team CHOI TAEK-KYUN (Woo Ji-hyun), whose conscience is clearly pricking him. Having tutored Ro-hee for a year, it seems he’s the only one left on the Choi side who cares about her.
Most importantly, Sang-yoon has discovered a crucial lead. The late Professor Choi had received a significant amount of money prior to his death — five different deposits of two billion won each. One of them came from chairwoman MO EUN-SEON (Seo Jae-hee), who runs a neurosurgery hospital. Eun-seon claims it was merely funds for his ongoing research project, but she demurs when asked to elaborate upon what it entailed. All parties involved in the project — even those just tangentially linked to it — seem determined to keep it under wraps, which raises the question: just how deep does this conspiracy run?
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