Superb second episode!
Tunnel Episode 2 Recap
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) wakes in the tunnel. He gets up grabbing his head (recall the killer knocked him out with a rock when he found him reenacting the latest crime). Kwang Ho wishes he’d seen the killer face. Okay, is that to imply that the kid from the first episode isn’t the killer? He staggers towards the light at the end of the tunnel (where the killer ran to). As he steps into the light, it shimmers.
Two cars chase each other.
Kwang Ho walks out of the other side of the tunnel. He notices the fog. It wasn’t foggy before. Behind him the lights in the tunnel go out. Nice visuals!
Two cars continue to chase each other. One driver looks is a kid and one looks like the smile of the killer in the tunnel.
Kwang Ho stands at the crosswalk. When the signal flips, he crosses.
The car chase nears Kwang Ho. The kid driver pulls out his license. OMG! It’s a young Kwang Ho! The kid driver almost hits Kwang Ho in the crosswalk. Kwang Ho orders the kid out of the car but he’s too panicked to comply. The kid sees the other car behind him. He takes off leaving a startled Kwang Ho behind. Is the killer trying to kill the young Kwang Ho so he doesn’t catch him as an adult?
Kwang Ho staggers into the police station and sinks onto the break room couch. He calls for first aide but he gets no response. During this scene, we see the shimmer. Kwang Ho sits up and sees a young officer at a desk. Kwang Ho approaches the officer who doesn’t hear him because of the earbuds. Kwang Ho taps the officer who is reading about a case involving a murdered nurse. The officers ask what Kwang Ho wants. The officer introduces himself as Lt. Kim Seon Jae (Yoon Hyun Min). Kwang Ho assumes he’s a crazy kid and tries to get him to step away from the desk. Seon Jae shakes off Kwang Ho. Seon Jae leads Kwang Ho to the door. Kwang Ho grabs Seon Jae who immediately shrugs him off. Seon Jae warns Kwang Ho he’ll charge him with obstruction. Kwang Ho laughs in his face, shoves him out the door, and locks the door behind him. Seon Jae can’t believe he’s locked out.
Kwang Ho sits down to his desk and finds a phone charging. He stares at the device not knowing what it is. He notices the desk phone is different (no longer a rotary dial like the one in 1985). Kwang Ho calls the Unit Chief’s number and starts talking but the woman tells him it’s a wrong number and hangs up. Kwang Ho looks for the emergency contact list. He notices the typewriter has been replaced by a computer (though he doesn’t know what that is). He looks around the room and sees things fade from 1985 to the current scene. He doesn’t understand. He grabs his head. He sees a fax come in. The fax has his name, born in 1988. He doesn’t understand it’s 1986. He sees the date at the bottom of the fax – 12/15/2016.
Seon Jae returns and opens the door with the keys. Kwang Ho can’t believe it. He tells Seon Jae he tried to be reasonable. He stuffs the fax in his back pocket. Seon Jae tries to grab him, but Kwang Ho cuffs his wrist and cuffs the holding cell bars! Seon Jae asks if he’s a police officer. Kwang Ho confirms this. Seon Jae asks what precinct and demands he uncuff him. Kwang Ho says he doesn’t have time for him, he’s got to catch a criminal. He starts searching desks. Seon Jae yells at him to unlock the handcuffs. When Kwang Ho can’t find the emergency contact list, he spies a flashlight. Love it! The flashlight was a well-used prop in the first episode. Muttering that he needs to catch the criminal Kwang Ho exits leave Seon Jae behind stunned at his predicament. That was a great first interaction! Neither man would give an inch but Kwang Ho had the advantage of surprise with the handcuffs.
Kwang Ho steps outside and looks at the surrounding area. He doesn’t recognize anything. He thinks the world he knew was completed changed.
It’s morning at the police station…
Seon Jae is asleep still handcuffed to the holding cell. Kwang Ho is sleeping his head on the desk. Two other officers enter startled to see Seon Jae in that state. LOL! They take pictures of Seon Jae! Yes, it is present day! Another officer walks in. The resulting noise wakes Seon Jae and Kwang Ho. Seon Jae sees a groggy Kwang Ho push his head up from his desk. Kwang Ho assumes the men are there to pick up Seon Jae. He uncuffs Seon Jae telling the men this guy insisted he was a police officer. Seon Jae stands and shoves Kwang Ho back. He demands to know his precinct. Everyone stares. Playing along, Kwang Ho introduces himself as from the Hwa Yang precinct. One officer asks if he’s the Kwang Ho that is transferring to their precinct today. He hugs a stunned Kwang Ho welcoming the new rookie. Seon Jae strides away saying they’ll let anyone on the force. One of the officers’ stares intently at Kwang Ho.
Kwang Ho is introduced as a rookie with only 2 years of experience. He thinks he had 4 years of experience. They say this is his first time with violent crimes unit. He thinks he had 10 years with the violent crimes unit. They say he was born in 1988. They invite Kwang Ho to say a few words. Kwang Ho thinks back to the fax with him name and the 12/16/2016 date at the bottom. He shrugs and stands. He states he is Kwang Ho but not that Kwang Ho. He strides away leaving behind a room of confused officers.
Outside the station, he wonders what is going on.
Inside the police station, they talk about Seon Jae’s treatment and marvel at the antique handcuffs. They ask the team lead (the man that stared at Kwang Ho) if these were similar to the handcuffs he used to use. Is he Officer Chun? Yes! We see a flashback of Kwang Ho and a young Officer Chun.
Kwang Ho walks the street wondering how he time traveled 30 years to the future. He stares at the sights and sounds of the modern world.
Team Leader Chun finds a picture from 1986. He stares at Kwang Ho in the photograph. He wonders if Kwang Ho is the son of his former mentor. He rejects that thought. He asks to see the transfer order for Kwang Ho.
The violent crimes unit search the tunnel for Kwang Ho. Shin Yeon Sook (Lee Shi A) is there too calling for her husband. Officer Chun finds Kwang Ho’s flashlight. They find the rock with blood on it. Yeon Sook stares at the bloody rock and faints.
Kwang Ho goes to his neighborhood and sees sights he doesn’t recognize. It’s not his past memories. The neighborhood is run down. He walks the familiar streets and wonders what happened to his house. In front of him is a road and a high rise.
The coroner is caring for Yeon Sook. She wakes and asks about Kwang Ho. The coroner (this doctor must multi-task between live and dead patients) tells Yeon Sook she’s pregnant. She’s shocked.
Kwang Ho thinks to Yeon Sook that it must be 2016 because their house is gone. He wonders where his wife is. He wonders what he does next. He remembers chasing the criminal through the tunnel. He thinks if he can reverse his path through the tunnel, he’ll go back to 1986. He gets into a cab. The driver is Journalist Oh! Kwang Ho asks Journalist Oh why he’s driving a cab. The driver asks if they know each other. Kwang Ho claims he mistook him for someone else. He asks about an old tunnel. The driver goes around in circles jacking his fee. Journalist Oh is not happy that Kwang Ho won’t pay him. Kwang Ho states he won’t pay a con man. He says he liked him better as a journalist. Taxi Journalist Oh fingers his clothes and asks if he’s homeless. Really? A black leather jacket NEVER goes out of style. Kwang Ho grouses that they are destined to have a bad relationship.
A woman wants the cab. Taxi Journalist Oh says he won’t drive until this guy pays. The woman says she’ll cover the fare and gets in the taxi. Kwang Ho doesn’t understand why she’d do this. She ignores Kwang Ho. Taxi Journalist Oh gets in the cab and they drive away. Kwang Ho looks around. He’s at the Ogin Psychiatric Institute. Is the young kid from episode 1 there? Was that woman his mother? Kwang Ho remembers when it was a prayer house. He realizes the tunnel must be close. He starts that way but sees a patient running away from the staff. He sighs and heads their way.
We see a cell phone in the grass, ringing.
At the police station, the rookie officer, Song Min Ha, says that Kwang Ho isn’t answering his cell phone. Team Leader Chun sends them out to a crime scene. He calls Seon Jae over and asks why he can’t keep a partner for long. Team Leader Chun doesn’t understand why a police university graduate is working with the violent crimes unit. He says Seon Jae has been a guest too long. Seon Jae won’t leave. Team Leader Chun says Kwang Ho is his new partner.
Kwang Ho enters the mental hospital and the alarms have sounded. He finds a woman murdered with a pencil in her neck. Ouch! Kwang Ho flashes back to interrogating a woman that poisoned her cheating finance but claims not to remember it. Kwang Ho sympathizes that she killed a man that beat her. He notes that her little sister needs her care and lying won’t help her. She’s about to confess when another officer interrupts pulling Kwang Ho from the room. When Kwang Ho returns to the room, the woman is steadfast that she didn’t kill her fiancée. Kwang Ho stares at the dead woman and mutters someone caught her in the end. Impressive he was able to identify her from a 30-year-old memory. That flashback also shows Kwang Ho had people skills and empathy.
Kwang Ho exits the mental hospital as the police arrive. The violent crimes officers spot Kwang Ho and ask how he knew to come. Seon Jae arrives. Kwang Ho brushes past the officers. Seon Jae snipes at him not to come back. Kwang Ho sneers. The other officers wonder what’s up with them. I’m loving the Seon Jae/Kwang Ho chemistry!
Kwang Ho finds the tunnel. He smiles. He declares he’s going home. He tells Yeon Sook to wait and he’ll be home. he runs through the tunnel but one the other side it’s still 2016. He doesn’t understand. He runs back through, but it’s still 2016. Frustrated he runs back and forth.
Yeon Sook walks the tunnel speaking Kwang Ho’s name.
Kwang Ho runs the tunnel yelling Kwang Ho’s name.
Yeon Sook spots the whistle in the gravel. She stares. She picks it up. She knows it is the whistle she gave her husband. She sobs.
Exhausted from running Kwang Ho calls Yeon Sook’s name.
Yeon Sook hears Kwang Ho’s calls! Awesome!!! She looks for her husband. She walks the tunnel. She hears him call her name. She assumes he’s coming and smiles.
Yeon Sook stands on one side of the path in 1986 as Kwang Ho runs past her on the other side of the path in 2016. His passing make her hair flutter. She stares and sinks to her knees sobbing. She cries his name. Kwang Ho stops running and feels his neck. He knows he doesn’t have the whistle. He sinks down the side of the tunnel crying. Yeon Sook cries what will she do about their baby. Kwang Ho cries that he can’t go back. He doesn’t understand. What did he do wrong? He screams Yeon Sook’s name.
Perfect scene! Wow, I felt their anguish and frustration. I loved that she heard him though she surmised she was hearing things (understandable given the circumstances). And did I just see Choi Jin Hyuk emote perfectly? The anguish, the unfairness, the frustration…he nailed it!
Kwang Ho returns to the police station. He pulls out “his” transfer paperwork. He tells himself, he’ll have to impersonate this guy until he can return to 1986. Seon Jae sweeps past him and asks why he came back. Kwang Ho grouses young kids are lieutenants in 2016. He enters the police station telling his colleagues he’s back. He sees the real Kwang Ho isn’t there yet. He’s told Seon Jae is his partner.
In the briefing room, Seon Jae details the female serial killer they found dead at the mental hospital. Kwang Ho is surprised that she killed multiple people. Seon Jae states they are waiting on the DNA and fingerprint results from the pencil in her neck. Kwang Ho hypothesis that family member of someone she killed did this. Seon Jae goes to the slide of family members of past victims. Kwang Ho is impressed. The officers say the Kwang Ho was broken. Kwang Ho wonders what Kwang Ho is. They mention she did have a visitor that day, a woman. Kwang Ho recalls the woman getting in the taxi. Team Leader Chun assigns Seon Jae and Kwang Ho the task of finding the taxi.
As Seon Jae strides into the parking lot Kwang Ho apologizes for handcuffing him. Seon Jae refuses to accept his apology. Kwang Ho scoffs at his grudge nurturing partner. Kwang Ho describes the taxi colors and Seon Jae supplies the taxi company’s name. He tells Kwang Ho remember the name would have been more helpful. Kwang Ho sighs and hold his tongue.
Team Leader Chun calls the precinct Kwang Ho transferred from and asks about him.
Taxi Journalist Oh tells Kwang Ho and Seon Jae he dropped off the woman at the University. Seon Jae calls Team Leader Chun and reports that the woman is the daughter of the last person the female serial killer murdered. He says they are heading to the University. Kwang Ho stares at Seon Jae’s cell phone. Taxi Journalist Oh asks what the case is about. Kwang Ho shakes his head and the snoopy man who is just like Journalist Oh from 1986.
Schedule in hand, Seon Jae walks down the university hallway and stares into the classroom for the woman. He sees her teaching the class. He’s about to enter the classroom, when Kwang Ho gets on the intercom system and says he needs to pay back the woman that paid for his taxi outside the mental health hospital. He asks her to come to the broadcast room. Seon Jae gets a call that the woman checked into a hotel in Busan with her daughter. The teacher comes out of the classroom. She stares at Seon Jae. Kwang Ho comes down the hall and recognizes her.
Seon Jae and Kwang Ho tells the teacher that the patient she visited at the mental hospital is dead. She doesn’t offer much of a reaction. The teacher says she’s a psychiatrist that is researching female serial killers. She suggests they listen to the audio file to prove she’s telling the truth. Kwang Ho asks why she researches killers. She asks why he captures killers.
Seon Jae confirms from the teacher’s boss, the Dean, that she is researching female serial killers. She says the teacher wrote her thesis on female killers. Seon Jae asks the Dean what kind of person the teacher is. He’s heard that spending time with evil makes it hard to discern between good and bad. The Dean asks if Seon Jae is implying that the teacher is a murderer.
As the teacher watches Seon Jae and Kwang Ho leave the University, the Dean enters her classroom and says they must talk.
Team Leader Chun goes to visit his friend in the precinct Kwang Ho transferred from. Team Leader Chun is stunned to hear that all the pictures of Kwang Ho have disappeared. Why doesn’t Team Leader Chun whip out the picture from 1986? Team Leader Chun mentions in 1986 his partner went missing and that’s why he transferred to the precinct his friend worked him. His friend recalls how much Team Leader Chun liked his partner. His friend realizes the transfer name and the missing partner have the same name. Team Leader Chun says they never found his partner. Team Leader Chun how his friend would react if a former coworker showed up looking the same as they did 30 years ago. The friend laughs. Team Leader Chun laughs too but mutters Kwang Ho looks like his old partner.
At the coroner’s office, Seon Jae and Kwang Ho learn about the wound. The coroner declares it suicide. Seon Jae doesn’t understand why the woman would choose suicide 26 years after her last murder. The coroner says the pencil owner might know why.
Outside the coroner’s office, Seon Jae asks Kwang Ho why he speaks informally. Kwang Ho grouses but then remembers he’s supposed to be 28 years old. He shakes his head at how difficult Seon Jae is. I just checked and Choi Jin Hyuk was born in 1986 and Yoon Hyun Min was born in 1985.
The teacher works with a sharp pencil. Seon Jae returns to ask her more questions. He stares at the pencil. He asks what she and the victim discussed. The teacher plays the audio file.
Flashback to the interview…the serial killer is nuts. She tells the teacher that she not only killed 3 men but also her father that beat her. The teacher asks her if a killer can’t killer, why does she exist? The two women stare at each other. The serial killer smiles. The teacher is impassive.
Back to the present…the teacher stops the audio file and says the woman laughed after that.
Flashback to the interview…the teacher drop her pencil on the floor.
Gotta say, that’s clever. Plant the idea of limited self worth and leave behind an instrument that can be used as a weapon.
Back at the police station Kwang Ho wonders how to get home. He thinks this is the killer’s fault. Kwang Ho asks about the man caught as a serial killer that began killing in 1985. Kwang Ho learns the chief was at Kwang Ho’s precinct in 1985. He asks for the chief’s name. But a woman interrupts the conversation. Turns out she’s Kwang Ho’s landlord and has been worried that he didn’t answer her phone calls. The woman drives him to his apartment and hands him the keys. She leaves. Kwang Ho enters the apartment and sees the boxes. He sits and marvels at the unbelievability of the situation. He lays on the bed and yells he wants to go home.
1986 or a dream…
Yeon Sook gently wakes Kwang Ho. He hugs her, he holds her face. He asks if the year is 1986 not 2016. She asks if he was dreaming. Kwang Ho explains he worked with a rude partner and he never thought he’d see her again. Someone knocks on the door. Kwang Ho tells Yeon Sook to wait. He answers the door. It’s Seon Jae! Kwang Ho calls to his wife…. Kwang Ho wakes with a start. He calls Yeon Sook’s name. He can’t believe his predicament.
1986 or 2016?…A man murders a woman. On her heel is 5 DOTS!!!!! OMG!
Kwang Ho does his morning ablutions. He stares in the mirror and shakes his head that he was supposed to be born in 1988. He pulls clothes out of the boxes. He has difficulty determining the correct bus to get to the police station. He notices people waving something as they get on the bus. When he gets on the bus, he puts his hand on the sensor. The bus driver stops him and kicks him off. Kwang Ho flags down a police car and gets a ride. Clever! Kwang Ho doesn’t understand why the pants are so tight. LOL! I’m enjoying that!
When Kwang Ho arrives at the police station the teacher, Professor Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo-Young), is introduced as the violent crimes consultant criminal psychologist. She introduces herself as someone that likes crazy people. Ha! Kwang Ho tells her that criminal should be caught not researched. He scoffs that she’s a woman. Team Leader Chun stares at him then tells him not to be rude. Seon Jae comments they don’t need help. Team Leader Chun is irked by that. The other officers welcome Professor Shin. She stares at them impassively. She tells Team Leader Chun to call her when a case occurs. She leaves. One officer says he’s got a feeling they’ll have a case soon. The phone rings startling them. The call is about an old body just found. Everyone stares.
The dogs are deployed at the site of the body. Police officers search for clues. The forensics team unearth the lower part of the leg and foot of the victim. Kwang Ho sees the heel. He sees the 5 dots! He is shocked.
What a difference an episode makes. I LOVED this episode. It was clever, well-paced, with characters I liked. Writer Lee I doubted you on the first episode, but you have my respect with the second episode. Things that stood out:
* The clever use of the past and present scenes. We saw the 1986 team searching for Kwang Ho. The crossover in the tunnel between Kwang Ho and Yeon Sook was superb.
* The use of the flashlight in 2016. That’s a detail that Writer Lee carried from 1986 to 2016. As a detail person, I appreciated it.
* The 2016 violent crime unit officers were distinct and likable. Nary a jerk in the bunch. Amazing!
* Professor Shin intrigues me. She has been affected by researching murderers but she’s not overtly evil. In fact, you might have to take a pulse to confirm she’s alive because she’s so impassive.
* Team Leader Chun’s quandary trying to figure out if Kwang Ho was indeed the Kwang Ho he knew from 1986 was the only plot point that felt like a chink in the armor.
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) could only sputter utter disbelief at being stuck in 2016. His reaction felt real. His anguish at being separated from his wife (and her equal anguish at being separated from her husband) in the tunnel was the standout scene of the episode. Choi Jin Hyuk portrayed that to perfection. The anti-chemistry between Seon Jae and Kwang Ho was excellent. There can be no better way to meet your future partner than to hand cuff him to a holding cell overnight not believing his claim that he’s a police officer. Seon Jae precise snippy ways drew me to him. What does that say about me? Kwang Ho’s admirable restraint in dealing with his partner hid his frustration that simmer just below the surface. I’m impressed with Choi Jin Hyuk’s portrayal of Kwang Ho. He’s the driver of this show. He delivered this episode.