We learn the killer’s background…
Tunnel Episode 9 Recap
1992…Shin Yeon Sook (Lee Shi A) rushes out of the dress shop and into a taxi. She asks the taxi driver to hurry as her daughter is waiting for her at home. A drunk driver hits the taxi. Bloodied, Yeon Sook struggles out of the taxi. She thinks she must get home to her daughter Yeon Ho. She calls to her missing husband, Kwang Ho, not to let her leave their daughter. She collapses on the side of the road the petals falling over the accident site like a cloud.
Present…Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) stares at the photo he just recently found of his wife, Yeon Sook. He cries knowing that she died in an accident. He’ll never see her again.
Kwang Ho’s partner, Lt. Kim Seon Jae (Yoon Hyun Min), calls but he won’t pick up. Seon Jae is frustrated knowing something is wrong his partner.
Team Leader Chun (Jo Hee Bong) is frustrated railing to his team that they know who the killer is yet they can’t mount the case to catch and convict him.
Seon Jae tells Team Leader Chun that Kwang Ho isn’t picking up his phone. Officer Kwak Tae Hee (Kim Byung Chul) and Officer Song Min Ha (Kang Ki Young) note that Kwang Ho has been out of sorts lately.
As Seon Jae drives to his partner’s home, he recalls Team Leader Chun admitting that recently they learned that Kwang Ho’s wife, Yeon Sook, was dead not alive and it has devastated Kwang Ho. On top of the news of Yeon Sook’s death, Kwang Ho learned they had a child, Yeon Ho, who Yeon Sook was pregnant and Kwang Ho was unaware of when he was hurtled 30 years into the future when he walked through the tunnel chasing the serial killer. Seon Jae thinks about Team Leader Chun’s belief that not knowing where his child is and learning his wife was dead was a double whammy for Kwang Ho.
Kwang Ho refuses to answer his door which he continues to leave unlocked. Seon Jae enters the apartment and finds Kwang Ho sitting not seeing. Seon Jae urges him to get up and help catch the killer. Kwang Ho stands and tells his partner he has a lot of nerve to suggest that he put his grief aside to catch a killer. Seon Jae reminds him that he has every right to say that as his mother was likely killed by the serial murderer, Jung Ho Young. Ripped to shreds by the guilt that he was chasing Jung Ho Young when he left his wife and unborn child behind, Kwang Ho’s eyes shimmer with tears as he shouts his pain. Seon Jae asks if Kwang Ho only gave lip service to catching the killer. Seon Jae is firm that wallowing won’t help. He wallowed in pain when his mother died just Kwang Ho is doing now. Seon Jae reminds him his daughter lost her mother when she was 6. Seon Jae bluntly says his daughter was left alone in the world. Kwang Ho’s eyes shimmer with tears of pain. He lashes in anger asking what he can do. Seon Jae yells back the simple plan – find your daughter, catch the killer and return to your time. Seon Jae continues – stop all of this from happening, save your wife and your daughter. Seon Jae reminds his partner that he came forward in time while trying to catch the killer. Seon Jae urges him to solve the case with him. Kwang Ho says he needs to catch the killer. Kwang Ho declares he’ll stop his wife from dying. He’ll catch the killer and go back to his own time. He walks away. Seon Jae shakes his head. Kwang Ho needs to do this with him not alone.
Good grief, I was emotionally jacked by that scene. Choi Jin Hyuk is a pretty crier. But the emotion of that scene ripped into me. Kwang Ho’s pain of loss. Seon Jae’s pain of wanting to help his partner forcing him to revisit his own pain at the loss of his mother. I loved Seon Jae’s direct words to Kwang Ho…buck up, find the killer, your daughter, and go back in time. That’s the formula. Now let’s see the execution of the plan.
Evil incarnate Ho Young puts on his food delivery jacket and leaves his apartment. He walks past the paper which announces his latest victim.
Kwang Ho strides into the police station demanding to know why Ho Young hasn’t been caught yet. Seon Jae follows behind. Officer Kwak and Officer Song note that Kwang Ho is feeling better though obviously upset. Team Leader Chun snaps they need a team meeting ASAP.
They discuss the circumstances of the latest murder. A witness saw a man in a black sedan driving slowly behind the victim. But Ho Young’s last known car was a white sedan. Team Leader Chun assigns Officer Kwak and Officer Song to track down the black sedan. He assigns Kwang Ho and Seon Jae to speak with Coroner Mok.
Before they leave the station, Kwang Ho asks Seon Jae how to find a missing child. Seon Jae is one step ahead of him having contacted a friend on the missing persons team. Seon Jae says the child could have been adopted. He warns it will be difficult to find the child missing for so long. Kwang Ho is grateful. Kwang Ho wonders if the child looks like him. Seon Jae quips that Kwang Ho is so ugly it would be better if the child looked like his wife. Ha!
Kwang Ho’s missing daughter (but no one knows this including her) Professor Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo Young) reads about the latest victim. She recalls calling Seon Jae and declaring that Ho Young would kill again to get a reaction out of Seon Jae. She thinks about calling or texting but puts the phone down. As she walks to class, she sees students jumping rope. She sees herself as a child jumping rope.
Awk! Tears! This series effectively inserts the past into a present scene. It tugs my heart every time.
Coroner Mok tells Seon Jae and Kwang Ho that the killer took his time killing the victim to ratchet up his pleasure. Kwang Ho snaps at Seon Jae for letting Ho Young go two years ago. He references 30 years ago but Seon Jae quells him with a look. Seon Jae tells Coroner Mok that Ho Young typically kills every two years. They don’t understand why he is killing sooner than expected. Kwang Ho checks for dots on the victim’s ankles but there aren’t any.
Taking Seon Jae aside, Kwang Ho notes there weren’t dots. Seon Jae agrees. Kwang Ho speculates they are dealing with two separate killers. Seon Jae suggests that Ho Young has changed his killing methods citing a case where incongruous murders where actually committed by the same killer when the methodology was changed. Kwang Ho considers this but isn’t complete sold on the idea. Team Leader Chun calls and tells them to meet him at the murder scene.
The victim’s brother arrives at the police station for his sister’s belongings. Team Leader Chun sits with him as he looks at his sister’s planner. He cries that he should have insisted that he drive her home, ignoring her refusal that she’d take the bus. Team Leader Chun assures him that he’s not a fault in any way. A police officer arrives with a package for Seon Jae from a bookstore. Team Leader Chun directs that the package be placed on Seon Jae’s desk.
What is it with this show that every person suffering loss, yanks at my heart?
Professor Shin, sporting the most stylish outfit yet, agrees to talk about Ho Young with her class who are upset that a fellow student was murdered. Professor Shin tells her class that Ho Young kills for pleasure but he was once a novice. She asks when he first killed. After class ends, Professor Shin wonders why Ho Young is obsessed with women wearing skirts.
You’d never be bored in Professor Shin’s class!
Officer Kwak and Officer Song are bleary from viewing the CCTV footage and come up empty. They groan realizing that they’ll have to comb through private CCTV footage next.
Seon Jae that the CCTV footage hasn’t yielded leads. As Kwang Ho and Seon Jae stand at the bus stop, Kwang Ho spies a sign stating district 18 is a short distance away. He’s shocked. Seon Jae drives him to the murder scene. Kwang Ho’s head spins. This is the SAME spot Ho Young murdered before. AND it’s where Seon Jae’s mother was murdered. Kwang Ho tells Seon Jae this is the spot his mother’s body was found. Seon Jae is stunned.
Now we know the reaction Ho Young wants to elicit from Seon Jae. It couldn’t get any more personal than another body where he murdered Seon Jae’s mother. That is sick! Will Ho Young kill again and again, each time a new victim in an old murder location or was this done only for Seon Jae?
They notice a private CCTV camera. The farmer shows them the footage. They see the victim walking the road. Then they see Ho Young following her. They find a black box camera at the farmer’s house. It shows a black sedan driving away. Kwang Ho and Seon Jae shake their head. Ho Young’s boldness is shocking. He’s practically taunting the police to catch him…if they can.
As Seon Jae and Kwang Ho stare at the photo of the license plate on the black sedan, Kwang Ho wonders why Ho Young is killing again after 30 years. That gets Officer Kwak and Officer Song’s attention. Their inquiry goes unanswered when Team Leader Chun bursts into the room saying they’ve found the black sedan.
The police chase the suspect’s car.
The team hears a ringing in the police station. Kwang Ho identifies the sound from the box on Seon Jae’s desk. Team Leader Chun recognizes the box that the officer dropped by earlier in the day. Seon Jae opens the box and finds a cell phone ringing. Seon Jae answers the phone. Ho Young asks how he’s been. OMG!!! BOLD AS BRASS!!! Seon Jae utters Ho Young’s name startling the team into rapt attention. Ho Young tells Seon Jae that the Haein River case wasn’t his crime. Ho Young admits to killing the last victim but not the victim by the Haein River. Ho Young says he’ll call again. He hangs up. Seon Jae shouts Ho Young’s name into the disconnected phone.
Wow, wow, wow! Ho Young seems to be a serial killer who wants credit for ONLY his crimes. He doesn’t want his legacy besmirched by another’s crimes. I did NOT see that kind of direct interaction with Seon Jae coming. However, I did have a hard time believing the different methodology for the different crimes. Two killers makes more sense to me. Seon Jae tosses the phone to Officer Song to track the caller.
The police pull over the black sedan. The license plate is a fake. This isn’t the black sedan. Team Leader Chun and the rest of the team shake their head at the night’s events. Kwang Ho asks why Ho Young called Seon Jae who replies that Professor Shin pointed out that Ho Young is interacting because of what he said to Ho Young in the interrogation room two years prior. Officer Song finds the location where Ho Young called Seon Jae from, but looks confused.
The cell phone location is actually a phone booth. Kwang Ho tells Seon Jae that the man that called 1988-born Kwang Ho used a phone booth. Of course, there isn’t a CCTV to be found.
The next day Team Leader Chun’s boss visits the police station unhappy with Ho Young’s direct call to Seon Jae. Kwang Ho arrives late and asks why the big cheese is there. Team Leader Chun shushes him. Team Leader Chun’s boss order every case assumed to be committed by Ho Young reinvestigated and everyone in the station to work the case. Seon Jae says there are six cases in all. Team Leader Chun’s boss looks him over and comments that he’s the one that let Ho Young get away. Seon Jae says two years ago Ho Young didn’t admit to murder and the evidence couldn’t convict him. Seon Jae recommends they investigate again thoroughly. Team Leader Chun’s boss tells him to make this time count so no one every questions his abilities again. Team Leader Chun’s boss states Professor Shin must be actively involved. Team Leader Chun’s boss tells his team to catch Ho Young. He leaves.
May I say that was decent interaction by the big boss. His idea to not assume the cases were all Ho Young’s is solid. He didn’t taunt or yell. Sure no one wants the big boss to get directly involved because it implies they can’t get the job done solo. But in this case, a focused push makes sense. Involving Professor Shin set the stage for the second half of this drama. Everyone working together to find a killer while another killer, no doubt, tracks them. This should be good.
Seon Jae calls Professor Shin to come to the police station. Seon Jae calls Coroner Mok to examine the autopsy reports of the six victims to see if Ho Young was lying about not being responsible for the Haein River case. Coroner Mok is concerned that Ho Young called Seon Jae directly. Coroner Mok wonders if the King (I’m assuming he referencing Ho Young) can be caught.
The police station buzzes with activity. Professor Shin arrives and greets everyone but Kwang Ho who is irked by that. Ha! Seon Jae reviews Ho Young’s presumed murders. He admits he feels responsible for not checking Ho Young’s cast when he was in custody (the cast had a hidden knife which Ho Young used to escape). He lets Professor Shin share her nugget of insight that Ho Young only kills women wearing skirts. Some of the police snicker. Professor Shin fixes her steely glare on them and asks if they are implying these women deserved to die. Professor Shin is certain that understanding Ho Young’s fixation with women in skirts will illuminate why he began killing. Then Professor Shin reveals the three similar victims from 1986. Team Leader Chun is stunned but Kwang Ho concurs. He tells Professor Shin there are three more victims to consider. He states that Ho Young avoided arrest because he had an alibi. Kwang Ho believes Ho Young’s parents lied to protect their son. Officer Kwak asks how Kwang Ho knows these details. Kwang Ho states Team Leader Chun told him. Quickly Team Leader Chun concurs saying those murders was his first big case. Seon Jae tells Team Leader Chun after his family moved to Seoul, Ho Young spent 8 years in a mental hospital. Kwang Ho and Team Leader Chun realize that they erroneous thought the dot killer was dead when he was actually in a mental hospital. Team Leader Chun explains about the dots on the victim’s heels. Team Leader Chun wonders if the stay in the mental hospital was the reason Ho Young changed his methods. Team Leader Chun effectively assign everyone a task. Professor Shin’s task is to investigate the mental hospital Ho Young stayed in.
After the meeting Seon Jae tells Team Leader Chun and Kwang Ho if he’d had more knowledge things might be different. Team Leader Chun yells at Seon Jae’s antisocial ways as limiting his information. Kwang Ho soothes Team Leader Chun. Seon Jae and Kwang Ho leave. Team Leader Chun realizes this killer is the reason they all are here at this moment in time.
Ho Young’s wife’s sister tells Kwang Ho and Seon Jae Ho Young strangled her almost to death and when she protested he bragged that women liked that kind of treatment. Seon Jae asks if her sister knew why Ho Young was in a mental hospital. She says her sister told her Ho Young freaked out when she asked.
At the mental hospital, Professor Shin learns Ho Young’s parents admitted him for treatment without his consent which was a common practice.
Flashback…an upset and trapped Ho Young wants to be freed from his cell. He overhears his mother tell the doctor that he isn’t human.
Flashback…Ho Young tells the doctor that he killed dogs to see the contents of their stomachs. But killing dogs lost its allure. Then he wondered what killing humans would be like. Ho Young smiles when he describes that his sister liked it when he choked her.
The doctor tells Professor Shin the mental hospital allowed Ho Young to be separated from his sister and safe. The doctor has no insight on women wearing skirts. She asks for transcripts of Ho Young’s counseling sessions.
Professor Shin calls Seon Jae to report she has audio tape of Ho Young’s counseling session. She promises to call if she learns anything.
Ho Young calls Seon Jae again. He asks if Seon Jae has done his homework. He wonders when Seon Jae will show up. He hangs up.
Team Leader Chun calls Kwang Ho with the location of the pay phone Ho Young called from. When they arrive Seon Jae gets another call from Ho Young. This time he tells Seon Jae he’s got to the count of 10. Ho Young says Seon Jae should never have provoked him. He tells him do his homework. Ho Young hangs up from his second pay phone location. Kwang Ho and Seon Jae are frustrated at the games Ho Young is playing.
Professor Shin listens to a young Ho Young explain his sister liked to be choked. He sings. Recall that’s the same song he sang just before killing his latest victim. Ho Young tells the doctor his sister was smiling while he choked her. Professor Shin utters “she was smiling”.
Team Leader Chun maps out the locations of the pay phones Ho Young has used. With a sly grin, Kwang Ho states one more location and it would look like the big dipper.
Flashback…a young Team Leader Chun tells Kwang Ho that two more murder locations would make a big dipper.
They both laugh confusing Officer Kwak and Officer Song. They tell Kwang Ho he should have more decorum considering the situation. Coroner Mok calls Seon Jae.
Coroner Mok explains one victim’s body was different from the others. Yes, it’s the Haein River case victim. The victim was killed quickly. Coroner Mok says either the killer’s urge to kill had to be quickly met or that Ho Young isn’t the killer of this victim. Seon Jae shows Coroner Mok the newspaper articles of the 1986 crimes. Coroner Mok can’t make an assessment if Ho Young committed these murders. He wonders if those murders had no discernable reason like Ho Young’s victims. Kwang Ho assures Coroner Mok that Ho Young killed without reason. Coroner Mok wonders how Kwang Ho could know that. He promises to use his network to find more information.
Seon Jae and Kwang Ho interview a victim’s friend who explains that the victim’s job was hostess while she was only a part-time college student. She doesn’t recognize Ho Young’s name.
Ho Young’s wife’s sister calls and tells Seon Jae her sister and Ho Young wanted to move into a house in a different neighborhood. Seon Jae and Kwang Ho visit the neighborhood which is under redevelopment. Kwang Ho decides they need to search the neighborhood and strides away. Seon Jae follows. They find Ho Young’s lair! There a box on the bed and today’s newspaper. They call the rest of the team. The police officers split up and stake out the neighborhood.
Seon Jae gets a call from his friend in the missing persons unit. Unfortunately, Yeon Ho is a common name. He needs a photograph. Kwang Ho doesn’t have a photograph. Seon Jae implore his friend to continue looking. He asks Kwang Ho what he’ll say to his daughter when they meet. Kwang Ho muses that he should apologize. Kwang Ho spots Ho Young going to his apartment. But he sees the officers in a reflection. A chase ensues. Ho Young manages to escape. Kwang Ho can’t believe it and yells his frustration.
Seon Jae receives a phone call. It’s Ho Young who warns Seon Jae to leave him alone. Ho Young asks Seon Jae is he’d like to see “his special lady” (Professor Shin) dead. Ho Young hangs up. Now it is Seon Jae’s turn to yell his frustration. Seon Jae calls Professor Shin but she doesn’t answer. Without saying a word to Kwang Ho, Seon Jae rushes away. He calls Professor Shin but she doesn’t pick up. He calls the dean to get her address.
Seon Jae arrives outside Professor Shin’s apartment. He can’t believe that Kwang Ho lives here too. Kwang Ho asks what he’s doing there. Seon Jae says he’s looking for Professor Shin. Kwang Ho tries to laugh that off, but Professor Shin comes out with her trash. Professor Shin stares at her in surprise. Seon Jae rushes to Professor Shin and yells at her for not answering his phone calls. He barks his frustration. Professor Shin asks why he’s mad. Kwang Ho asks why he’s mad. Professor Shin explains she was listening to audio recordings. She invites him inside for coffee.
Inside the tidy apartment Seon Jae watches Kwang Ho lounge like he’s a regular visitor. He asks if they live together. Kwang Ho retorts he lives on the second floor. Professor Shin asks what Seon Jae wanted to tell her. Seon Jae hesitates then asks why Ho Young claimed the Haein River case wasn’t his victim. Kwang Ho sputters that was his question. Seon Jae retorts he had the same thought. Professor Shin says either Ho Young killed the victim he said he did AND the Haein River case victim or he killed neither woman. Seon Jae doesn’t think that could be. Kwang Ho announces he’s going to his apartment upstairs. Seon Jae tries to stop him but Kwang Ho avoids his grasp. LOL when Kwang Ho mutters the coffee was dreadful!
Kwang Ho steps outside and smiles that he gave his partner a gift by leaving them alone.
Seon Jae spies the handkerchief he wrapped Professor Shin’s injured hand in her purse. Absurdly pleased he softly says to keep it with her always. Professor Shin asks what he said. Seon Jae tells her to be careful and not be alone.
Coroner Mok and a colleague discuss records from the old murder cases. His colleague believes Ho Young committed the murders from 30 years ago. Coroner Mok smiles. Oh no, I just got a weird vibe. Is he hiding in plain sight?
A man kills a woman at a playground. He says “I don’t kill people without a reason”. He says he is different from Ho Young. The camera reveal the killer…it is Coroner Mok!
I didn’t want to believe it. You told me, but I didn’t’ want to believe that Coroner Mok was a killer. You pointed out his “hide in plain sight” comment and other moments that gave you a weird vibe about Coroner Mok. Today he chuckled when Kwang Ho knew facts from 30 years ago. He must know who Kwang Ho is. I hang my head because I didn’t want a character I liked to be a murderer. I ignored the signs. The blinders are gone. Today Writer Lee showed us that we are dealing with two killers. Coroner Mok and Ho Young. This is good story telling.
What stood out in this episode:
* Ho Young actively taunted Seon Jae. Ho Young claims that Seon Jae’s interrogation triggered him. I said it last time and I’ll say it again, the interrogation seemed innocuous to me. But I was proven wrong just moments ago, so I must be wrong about this. I found it interesting that Ho Young was surprised when Kwang Ho and Seon Jae found where he lived. I thought he was expecting them to track him down.
* Professor Shin shows she values Seon Jae by keeping his handkerchief with her. Seon Jae showed he values Professor Shin when he flipped out when Ho Young threatened her. He reverted to his standard stance and left Kwang Ho standing there without sharing what Ho Young said. That is a dumb move Seon Jae. You need to report that Professor Shin, Kwang Ho, and the rest of the police. Professor Shin needs protection and she needs to be forewarned.
* The background on Jung Ho Young, answered questions. He killed the dogs (which we knew). But he choked his sister for pleasure. His desperate parents put him in a mental hospital and walked away. Ho Young heard his mother declare that he wasn’t human. And she was telling the truth! But Ho Young was abandoned by his family. His stint in the hospital is the reason for the break between murders. But there are unanswered questions too. What’s with his fixation with skirts? What’s with the song he sings? Do they relate to the anger of the mother that emotionally abandoned him then physically abandoned him?
* There are tons of questions about Coroner Mok. Why is he killing? He kills quickly. How many women has he killed? What is his trigger? Is he the coroner from 1986?
* This episode was more about tracking Ho Young, finding out about his background, Therefore the emotional oomph was limited. Two emotional moments of note – when Professor Shin recalled jumping rope as a child and the murder victim’s brother shared his guilt over not insisting his sister accepts a ride home with him. Instead she took the bus and Ho Young killed her.
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) had Ho Young in his sights but he got away…again. The agony of losing a killer in a foot race again. Kwang Ho was cute when he left Seon Jae and Professor Shin together. He was cute when he reminded Team Leader Chun about the big dipper moment in their past. He was distraught as he grappled with his wife’s death and leaving his daughter alone in the world. That had emotional punch too. Seon Jae’s pep talk to Kwang Ho to find the killer and return home was a positive moment in their relationship.