Angel Eyes Episode 16 Recap

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At the end of the last episode, Soo Wan removes Dong Joo’s mother’s ring and returns it to him. Soo Wan says she cannot wear it. She asks Dong Joo to disappear from her life.

Dong Joo: I don’t want to. I can’t do that.

Soo Wan: You have to. You will.

Dong Joo: Soo Wan!

She turns to leave. He grabs her. She wrests away from him. He stares at his mother’s ring in his hand.

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Soo Wan meets Min Soo. Min Soo tells her she understands how Soo Wan must be upset about Dong Joo’s mother being the eye donor. She notes the feelings must be deeper than gratitude with this donor. Min Soo says Dong Joo’s mother gave her a wonderful gift. She believes Soo Wan’s mother sent Dong Joo’s family to her. Soo Wan tells her that she broke up with Dong Joo. Min Soo is stunned. Don’t do that she implores. You two love each other. Soo Wan shakes her head no. I don’t have the right to accept this gift. Soo Wan admits she is in terrible pain.

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Dong Joo turns to Father (who lays inert in the hospital bed) and pours out his pain. Pain that Soo Wan has asked him to leave, that Soo Wan can longer be happy around him, that she can not even look at him. Angry Dong Joo says he swallowed all the hate toward Father to be with her. Dong Joo tears up saying he only wants her, she’s the one for him. Dong asks Father why he did it? Why did Soo Wan find out?

The police captain and Ji Woon’s mother meet on the hospital steps. Detective Kim observes them meeting. The police captain tells Ji Woon’s mother the bad news, the car they thought was scrapped was really repainted and kept by the junkyard owner. The good news, the car can no longer be used as evidence after all these years. The police captain says the spot light will turn onto her husband and he’ll need her help.

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Dong Jo and Ji Woon are in Father’s hospital room discussing his improvement albeit slow. Soo Wan starts to enter the room, sees Dong Joo, then turns and leaves. Ji Woon finds Soo Wan and tells her he knows the whole story. He says her Father needs pity. Ji Woon says he must have been desperate to do such a thing. Ji Woon points out that her father has saved countless lives as a doctor. Yes, he made a terrible mistake, but that does not take away from the good he has done in the world.

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When Team Leader and Teddy get home from work, they find Hye Joo in Min Jo’s room. Min Jo is sick. She took him to the doctor. Team Leader tells her to go home and Hye Joo rises to leave. Min Jo won’t let go of her hand and she agrees to stay. Both men look at her admiringly. The next morning Hye Joo is obviously ill while Min Jo is much better. Alarmed Team Leader starts to carry her to the hospital while Teddy takes the car and drives them to the hosptial. At the Emergency Room, the doctors tell them Hye Joo is tired but she’ll be ok. They explain she has a weaker immune system due to her leukemia and bone marrow transplant as a child.  When Hye Joo wakes Team Leader is at her side. He tells her knows what is means to have your heart sink. Hye Joo smiles pleased that Team Leader cares. Teddy observes them concerned at what he sees between them.

Soo Wan visits her father and tells him she understands the pain he must have gone through. But he should not have killed Dong Joo’s mother. Even so, Soo Wan vows to stay by his side. She says she’ll let Dong Joo go and release Dong Joo from this hell. He’s done nothing wrong, he should be released.

Dong Joo drinks soju alone remembering a young Soo Wan telling him he could never leave her without her permission. Permission has been granted now. He returns home under the influence and Hye Joon put him to bed. He calls out in his stupor for Soo Wan not to leave him.

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The next morning Hye Joo knits as Dong Joo comes into the room. She remembers their mother’s words that knitted gifts were love and unique. Dong Joo asks who she is knitting for. Hye Joo says it is a secret.

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Ji Woon and Min Soo meet. Min Soo gives him the heads up that his father may be interviewed about the hit-and-run accident with his sports car 12 years ago. Ji Woon asks where the accident happened. Min Soo tells him and he has a visible reaction. Later he looks up admitted patients on the day of the hit-and-run accident. He finds the record for Hye Sook. The record indicates she was hit by a car in the early morning and her ankle was injured.

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Hye Joo asks Dong Joo about Soo Wan. Dong Joo says there is something he needs to tell Hye Joon. Next Hye Joon and Soo Wan meet. Hye Joon tells Soo Wan she’s happy that her mother gave Soo Wan the gift of sight. Hye Joo asks Soo Wan why is this something to feel bad about? To break up about? Hye Joo says she likes that Soo Wan was the recipient. Soo Wan apologizes. Hye Joo (tears brimming) tells her don’t be sorry. Be thankful. Let’s all be happy as a family. Soo Wan says after much thought she’s realized that they are better off not seeing each other. Soo Wan says Dong Joo’s life will be better without her. She’s got her job and father. Hye Joo pleads this can all be solved with love. Soo Wan counters that not everything can be solved with love. Hye Joo tells her if that is what she believes, she feels sorry for Soo Wan.  Soo Wan tells her to feel sorry for her, hate her, whatever she needs to do. Both women look at each other eyes brimming with tears. Outside, Soo Wan removes the whistle necklace and puts it around Hye Joo’s neck. Boy, that is a strong statement from Soo Wan that she is serious. That necklace means the world to her.

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When Soo Wan returns home (doing the kdrama staple “slow walk”) Dong Joo is waiting for her. Dong Joo tries to return the whistle necklace but she won’t accept it. She snaps at him to stop being stubborn and give up. Dong Joo tells her he felt like he was going to die last time they parted. She says that is obsession and asks if he wants to be with her to extract revenge.  Dong Joo is shocked at her words. She tells him to leave and walks away. He asks if she’s being sincere. She considers for a beat (here you see the noble idiot syndrome) then flatly tells him she means it. To force him to leave she tells him seeing him hurts her and she wants him to disappear. Ouch! Poor Dong Joo.
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Ji Woon believes the woman was not seriously injured. He grabs her address and goes to find her. In a flashback we see Ji Woon’s mother visiting the woman in her hospital room (and Ji Woon lurking). He sighed with relief that the woman wasn’t badly injured. In the present, Ji Woon asks the woman to describe her hit-and-run accident. The woman looks puzzled and starts to describe her accident. But the details don’t add up for Ji Woon. The location is wrong,  she fell off her bike after being startled by a car, his mother paid her hospital bills and gave her compensation, this was not a hit-and-run. When he stops at a traffic light and Ji Woon flashes back in his memory we finally see what has tortured him. At that intersection he hit a woman while driving the sports car. He realizes the woman he hit was Dong Joo’s mother! Big reveal! A well crafted scene as present day Ji Woon and past Ji Woon each do the same actions as they remember or live the accident.
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Ji Woon’s mother stops by his apartment.

Ji Woon: Mom, the sports car that Dad bought me. They are re-investigating the car that caused a hit-and-run accident. 

Mom: Who said that?

Ji Woon: They said a woman died in that accident. But Mom, I drove the car in that accident. 

Mom: Stop it.

Ji Woon: But I cannot figure out…I drove the car, I hit a person, I ran away, but I did not kill anyone. 

Mom: That’s right you did not kill anyone. Did anyone say you did? The case has nothing to do with you. 

Ji Woon:  As expected, you already knew everything. 

Mom: It isn’t you. You saw the patient in the hospital, she was fine. 

Ji Woon: Mom, everything I saw that day, what really happened? What really happened? Mom, what did you do to me?

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Dong Joo goes to the hospital to visit Father. He finds Soo Wan on the ground with a broken vase in front of her. He tries to help her clean up but she pushes him away. She grasps a piece of glass cutting herself. He tries to help but she gets agitated saying she told him to leave and disappear, repeating it was better when she could not see. He relents and leaves.

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Cue broody shower scene for Dong Joo as he thinks over the happy times with Soo Wan.

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The next day he packs up his office at the fire station. The chief tells Dong Joo they’ll all miss him. Dong walks around the fire station remembering the happy times with Soo Wan. He packs up the old letters and the mp3 player and asks Min Soo to give them to Soo Wan. He tells her Soo Wan is having a hard time and needs her friendship. Dong Joo says for now they have broken up. Min Soo tells him she’ll keep investigating his mother’s case. Seriously bummed out, Min Soo visits Detective Kim who in turn tells her love is hard and you can’t always stay together. Look at how he left his wife, because that was best for her. Min Soo asks why do people in love treat each other badly just to break up. Detective Kim tells her that breaking up with those you love is sometimes what people do. Min Soo says she does not want to be in the middle of a complicated love. Detective Kim tells her to leave, she making him sad. Min Soo leaves and delivers the items to Soo Wan who is in her father’s room.

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Soo Wan opens the box of letters. She puts the earbuds in and listens to Dong Joo’s message on the mp3 player.

Dong Joo: Soo Wan. Don’t cry. Don’t be hurt. I put so much effort into not making you cry. But, in the end, it turned out like this. I’m sorry. You can forget me and the promise to me and Jung Hwa. Just don’t be in pain and live for a long time. Please keep that promise. I have nothing else to say. 

Before he can cut the sound to the recording, he sobs. Soo Wan sobs. I sob too.

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The next morning Dong Joo stares at his plane tickets to Boston. Dong Joo stops at the hospital to say good bye to Father.

Dong Joo: I’m not going to visit anymore. I’m not planning on coming back. So I’m going to say everything. Why did you do it? You are an excellent doctor. You made me dream to become a doctor just like you. Why did you do it? Why did you come to Boston, find me, and take care of me?  You should not have come. You should not have treated me well. You should not have adored me. Why did you do that? I cannot hate or resent you. Losing Soo Wan, do you know what it means for me to let her go? I hate you and wish the earth would crumble. But I need to leave her. I was confident I could make her happy and smile. I never doubted it. But I don’t have the confidence anymore and need to leave.  I wish the surgery had gone better and you could talk. I wanted to know something. What do I mean to you? What kind of son was I?

Dong Joo gets up to leave. As he exits the room, Father takes off his mask and attempts to speak. Dong Joo pauses at the door but doesn’t see Father reaching out his hand to stop him from leaving. He exits the room and slowly walks down the hall. He stops and turns back. Did he hear Father?
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Comments:
* This was the first episode where emotionally it got me. I cried when Hye Joo begged Soo Wan to stay in their lives. I cried when Dong Joo begged Soo Wan to stay in their lives. I cried when Dong Joo made the goodbye message for Soo Wan. I cried when Dong Joo said his goodbye to Father. Good grief.
* This episode belonged to Lee Sang-Yoon (Dong Joo) and Ku Hye Sun (Soo Wan). These actors delivered powerful, intense, and subtle (not over the top) scenes.
* I’ve liked they let Dong Joo have an edge. He’s been openly angry with Father, Soo Wan, and Ji Woon. The young Dong Joo was all bubbly happiness but the adult Dong Joo has been kicked hard by those he loves and respects so anger and resentment are natural.
* I liked that Soo Wan was calm and firm with Dong Joo and Hye Joo. She’s made her mind up. You have not seen much indecision on her part. Pain yes, but only a couple of faltering moments otherwise it was solider on with the plan to extract herself from Dong Joo and Hye Joo.  You could have dubbed this episode “Soo Wan walks away”.
* So we know Ji Woon is the hit-and-run driver from 12 years ago. I had thought about that possibility but dismissed it thinking he would have been too young to drive. My bad there. Makes sense they did not employ a younger actor to portray the young Ji Woon. They needed to make it clear a young adult Ji Woon had caused the accident and fled in terror of the potential consequences. And his obsessive mother cleaned up the mess. She tricked him into believing that he had not caused a death. I loved how he yelled at his mother. What have you done to me? What indeed. More importantly, what will Ji Woon do? Bring his crime into the open or keep it buried?

Angel Eyes
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