This episode was superb…if you aren’t watching this drama…start now.
Tunnel Episode 12 Recap
Prison…Jung Ho Young (Heo Sung Tae) is told her has a visitor. They bring Ho Young to the visitor room. Ho Young sits. His visitor turns and sits. It’s Coroner Mok. Ho Young asks if they know each other. Coroner Mok (Kim Min Sang) says he’s heard that Ho Young witnessed a murder 30 years ago. Ho Young denies this. He asks if Coroner Mok is a reporter and wants to know he killed his victims. Coroner Mok chuckles and asks the obligatory question. Ho Young describes his methodology. Coroner Mok corrects him when needed. Ho Young stares and realizes who Coroner Mok is. He laughs and says “So it was you. Hide, hide, hide away. Don’t even show a hair. Who will recognize each other first? Who will catch who first? I am very curious.” Coroner Mok remarks that Ho Young is in prison for the murder of seven women. Even if the prosecutors can’t get sufficient evidence on every murder, they will for one or two. With a smile, Coroner Mok tells Ho Young he’ll be locked up for life. Ho Young visibly flinches. Recall his mother locked him in a mental hospital for almost a decade. Coroner Mok mirror’s Ho Young’s position and describes the tiny cell Ho Young will exist in. Ho Young recalls the horror of being caged in the mental hospital. His eyes fill with tears and he shakes. Coroner Mok drives home to the point that Ho Young will never escape. Ho Young remembers his mother’s harsh words. Ho Young asks who Coroner Mok is. Coroner Mok leans back and asks if Ho Young can handle being locked up for the rest of his life. Ho Young recalls his mother telling him to stay in prison until he died. Then Coroner Mok delivers the coup de grâace, “you can leave once you die.” Coroner Mok laughs heartily (and creepily). Ho Young sees the pen (the dot murderer pen no doubt) in Coroner Mok’s breast pocket. Coroner Mok leaves. Ho Young stares and knows his life is over.
Back in his cell, Ho Young rips his shirt and fashions his noose. He writes in the bible. He says “I can’t only give a gift to one person. The game wouldn’t be fair.” (the other sub baseline “I can’t give a present to only one person. The game needs to be fair.”) Ho Young stares at the window. He hangs himself. Ho Young dies holding the note.
Folks, that was awesome! Coroner Mok totally messed with Ho Young’s head. I’m hoping that Ho Young gets the last laugh and offers the clue that will spark identification of the second serial killer, Coroner Mok. My hats off to both actors Heo Sung Tae (Ho Young) and Kim Min Sang (Coroner Mok) for their stellar interpretation of that scene. The production team gets an “A” for weaving in Ho Young’s past moments into the scene which reinforced the increasing internal tension in Ho Young as Coroner Mok guided him to the single conclusion…suicide was his only option. I waited and watched this with Drama Fever subs. To be fair this scene was top notch in both sub baselines. This was one of those times I wish I knew the language.
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk), his daughter (though she doesn’t know this) Professor Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo Young) and his partner Lt. Kim Seon Jae (Yoon Hyun Min) are driving when they hear that Ho Young has committed suicide. The report states there was no letter. What? What about the note?
They meet Team Leader Chun (Jo Hee Bong), Officer Kwak Tae Hee (Kim Byung Chul) and Officer Song Min Ha (Kang Ki Young) at the prison where the verdict of suicide is confirmed. The police officer tells Kwang Ho that Ho Young left a letter for him. The note only has one word “Noel” (the name on the pen in Coroner Mok’s breast pocket). When they bring the body bag out, Kwang Ho unzips the bag and stares at the serial killer that left him the cryptic note.
I’m glad that Ho Young didn’t make it easy for the Kwang Ho. I would have been disappointed if he wrote “Coroner Mok”. This makes it more likely that Professor Shin or Seon Jae will notice the name on Coroner Mok’s pen as they are in his company more frequently than Kwang Ho. I’m going to be irked if the police don’t check the visitor log and discover that Coroner Mok was the last visitor. That would be a logic gap.
He’s got a smile on his face for the whole human race…Coroner Mok is pleased with life and smiles. Seon Jae visits and bemoans their lack of insight into why Ho Young committed suicide. Coroner Mok asks about Ho Young witnessing his mother’s murder. Seon Jae says Ho Young claimed the have committed the murder until the end. Coroner Mok recalls Ho Young disavowing witnessing the murder. Seon Jae says that Kwang Ho figured out that Ho Young witnessed the murder because the real killer smoked in the tunnel. That surprises Coroner Mok. He asks how Kwang Ho knew the murderer smoked in the tunnel 30 years ago. Seon Jae is flustered knowing he’s just revealed something he shouldn’t have. Coroner Mok flashes to Ho Young’s question “Who will recognize each other first? Who will catch who first?” Kwang Ho walks into the room and asks to speak with Seon Jae. Coroner Mok stares at Kwang Ho. He remembers Kwang Ho chasing him in the tunnel!! He can’t believe that Kwang Ho is the detective that chased him in the tunnel 30 years ago. How can this be? Kwang Ho notices Coroner Mok’s stare and asks if he wants to say something. Coroner Mok pulls himself out of his revelry and tells him it was nothing. Seon Jae says he must go. Coroner Mok considers Kwang Ho as he strides away.
Wow! Another great moment. How will the logical Coroner Mok reconcile the fact that Kwang Ho chased him 30 years ago?
Kwang Ho asks Seon Jae if Coroner Mok knows that he time traveled from 30 years ago. Seon Jae says that Coroner Mok doesn’t know but could be trusted if he did now.
Choi Jin Hyuk is rocking the black leather jacket, black t-shirt and distressed jeans. Mighty fine!
Coroner Mok recalls the tunnel moment with Kwang Ho. He thought he killed him. He is surprised Seon Jae kept this from him (the other sub has him realize this is why Seon Jae was secretive about Kwang Ho). He chuckles and says “it’s nice to see you again, has it been 30 years?”
We know the answer to Ho Young’s question “Who will recognize each other first?”. Now the second question comes into play “Who will catch who first?”
Professor Shin and the dean discuss how Ho Young patterned his murder methodology based on the murder he witnessed as a young man. The dean says witnessing the murder lit a murder fuse in Ho Young. Professor Shin doesn’t understand why Ho Young committed suicide. The dean suggests it was part of the game. The dean is surprised when Professor Shin says that Ho Young left a note, though she doesn’t understand why it was left for Kwang Ho.
Professor Shin plays chess and chats with Coroner Mok. She asks why he thinks Ho Young killed himself. Coroner Mok believes that Ho Young might not have been able to cope with being imprisoned especially after his stint in the mental hospital. Professor Shin considers that. Coroner Mok says memories can plague a person. Professor Shin says she wouldn’t know and shares that she has no memories of her childhood as she was adopted and 6 and left the country. She doesn’t know who is looking for her. Coroner Mok tells her not to press and the memories will come back.
Team Leader Chun decides to continue to quietly investigate the two crimes that Ho Young was not responsible for. The team agrees to start over and take a fresh look. Kwang Ho believes looking at the similarities between the past crimes and the current crimes will provide clues about the murderer. Kwang Ho notes that Ho Young said there were crimes no one knew about. He scoffs and says the victims and their families know. He vows to catch the murderer. Team Leader Chun agrees, when the murderer is caught things can be set right again. Kwang Ho goes over all the old cases. He notes Ho Young copied the murderer’s methods when he witnessed Seon Jae’s mother’s murder. Kwang Ho talks in first person when he says the investigation failed. The police didn’t know about serial killers but their methods were inadequate. Awk! Tears! Seon Jae briefs the latest victims noting the weren’t killed near roads which Ho Young favored. He believes the murderer identified his victims while walking not driving. If they can identify where the murderer selected the victims, they’ll be one step closer. Kwang Ho mutters each woman was on their way home and should have made but not for the murderer. Officer Song asks a pertinent question; why did the murderer begin to kill again? The statute of limitation expired on the old cases, what triggered him to kill again? Kwang Ho wonders if it was because of 1988-born Kwang Ho. Officer Kwak and Officer Song don’t understand the reference. Team Leader Chun distracts them by focusing their efforts: figure out what Noel is, find the pen dye, track the movement of the last two victims. Officer Kwak and Officer Song are assigned the latest victims. Kwang Ho and Seon Jae are assigned Noel. TCL takes the pen dye.
Kwang Ho takes Seon Jae and Team Leader Chun aside and shares his belief that the murderer was triggered by 1998-born Kwang Ho’s investigation. Team Leader Chun suggests Professor Shin could help them with a murder profile. Kwang Ho barks no. Seon Jae tells Team Leader Chun who Professor Shin is. He sags with the latest reveal. He didn’t think anything else could shock him. But Team Leader Chun persists that Professor Shin’s profile will help them catch the murderer quicker. He tells Kwang Ho that he must return to his time. Seon Jae agrees. Kwang Ho is outnumbered and not happy about it.
The interaction between this trio strengthens every episode. They are caring colleagues. Team Leader Chun was stunned that Professor Shin was Kwang Ho’s long lost daughter. But he didn’t let that deter him from the obvious need for her profiling skills.
Seon Jae calls Professor Shin with the request for her profiling skills. Professor Shin asks to speak with Team Leader Chun because she wants to profile the victims and the murderer. Professor Shin believes the victim selection is an important part of the process. They agree she’ll work the case in spite of her recent trauma. Seon Jae tells Kwang Ho that Professor Shin wants all the details they have. He agrees to put the information together. He wonders what Noel means.
Check the prison’s visitor log!
Officer Kwak and Officer Song learn the two recent victims were stressed out the day they died. Team Leader Chun learns the pen dye was widely used back in the day.
Kwang Ho has a eureka moment when he realizes Noel is a catholic baptismal name just like one of the recent victims had. Seon Jae wonders of Noel is the murderer’s name. Kwang Ho wants to check the catholic churches that were in existence in 1986.
Kwang Ho and Seon Jae visit all the churches and search the record for Noel baptism names. They interview all the men. The last man remembers another man at his church that also had Noel as a baptismal name. He can’t remember the man’s real name but remembers he would listen to the war stories of the church’s veteran who had a tattoo on his leg signifying how many he killed in the war. The man says when the veteran died, the other Noel stopped coming to church. Finding Noel…that’s the hard part.
Coroner Mok (aka Noel) can’t believe that he’s playing with Kwang Ho, the detective who investigated him 30 years ago, and Seon Jae, the murder victim’s son. He chuckles that the chess board just got more interesting. He declares he will now take a more active role in the game.
Interesting that just before Ho Young died he started using the term “game” and now Coroner Mok uses the term “game”. I would have liked Writer Jin to use that term consistently from the get-go so we could realize that the murderers enjoyed NOT getting caught as part of the “game”.
Professor Shin wonders why the victims were marked with dots.
The team reconvenes to discuss what they’ve found. Team Leader Chun’s boss arrives surprising them and asks what they are doing. They hid the white board. They are ordered to support on another case. Team Leader Chun sends Officer Kwak and Officer Song. He gives Kwang Ho the list of products that the pen dye was used in. Kwang Ho tells Seon Jae he’s heading home and not to follow him. As they exit the room, Coroner Mok shows up.
It’s a bit awkward as Coroner Mok stares at Kwang Ho and scans the room. He notices the white board and asks if they are working a new case. Seon Jae shares they are trying to find the murderer that killed 30 years ago and restarted recently. Coroner Mok goes to flip the white board to see the team’s notes on the murderer but Kwang Ho stops him. Coroner Mok relents and drops his hand. Kwang Ho says the investigation details are confidential. Coroner Mok offers to help if he can. He walks away ignoring Seon Jae’s entreaty to stay for coffee. Kwang Ho gets a glimpse of the pen in his breast pocket but can’t read the word Noel.
Coroner Mok muses that Kwang Ho doesn’t know who he is. He wonders if Kwang Ho’s instinct warned him not to share the investigation details.
Seon Jae chides Kwang Ho for not getting help on the case. Kwang Ho cites Team Leader Chun’s warning about keeping the investigation quiet. As he leaves Kwang Ho reminds Seon Jae not to come to the house (and visit his daughter).
Kwang Ho goes to Professor Shin’s apartment. He’s worried when she takes a moment to his insistent knocking. Kwang Ho checks all her doors and windows. He spies her necklace on the table. Professor Shin sees him staring at the necklace and recalls him questioning her about the necklace after he saved her from Ho Young. Professor Shin asks him why he questioned her about the necklace when he found her. Kwang Ho denies doing so and leaves.
Outside Professor Shin apartment, Kwang Ho says he can’t tell her, what could he say? He apologizes to his daughter. He climbs the steps to his apartment…so near…yet so far.
Awk! Tears! I’m pleased Professor Shin questioned Kwang Ho about his interest in the necklace. His denial was lame. I hope she doesn’t accept his excuse. Kwang Ho’s separation from his daughter, even with the physical proximity, touches my heart. I feel Kwang Ho’s pain, loss, and sadness.
At the prison…Kwang Ho and Seon Jae learn that someone came to visit Ho Young on the day he died. YES!!!! Kwang Ho is surprised to see Coroner Mok’s name on the visitor log. YES!!!! Seon Jae is equally surprised and notes Coroner Mok didn’t mention it.
Coroner Mok admits he visited Ho Young. He claims to have gone to ask Ho Young why he slowly asphyxiated one victim but quickly killed the other. Seon Jae asks what Ho Young told him. Coroner Mok says the Ho Young confirm that there were two murderers. Coroner Mok reminds them he’d previously told them that two murderers were responsible for the killings. Kwang Ho takes the direct approach. Why did Coroner Mok visit and not tell them? Why did Ho Young commit suicide after the visit? Coroner Mok pretends be affronted and Seon Jae wonders why Kwang Ho is taking a firm tone. Coroner Mok and Kwang Ho stare at each other. Seon Jae tells Kwang Ho they have to go. But Kwang Ho doesn’t stop starting into Coroner Mok’s eyes. Seon Jae prods him again. Kwang Ho walks away. Coroner Mok is amused but not amused by Kwang Ho’s behavior.
Nice subtle moment. We’ve seen Kwang Ho’s emotional intelligence be a strength. He intuits something is off with Coroner Mok and his secretive ways ratcheted Kwang Ho to red alert.
Professor Shin presents the notional case of a murderer that began murdering again. The class wonders what the trigger was the caused him to start murdering again. Professor Shin agrees that is the question at hand.
At home Professor Shin grapples with why the murderer that began murdering again. She realizes after the leg of the victim that survived was found, the murders began. She hypothesizes the murderer didn’t know that one of his victims had survived, and this was the trigger. Professor Shin realizes that someone close to the investigation would know about the dot details. She calls Seon Jae (we don’t hear the call).
She’s getting warmer…
When Kwang Ho arrives at the bullpen Seon Jae is irked that he wasn’t available by cell. He says Professor Shin determined why the murderer began killing again.
Secretively the team gathers in the conference room. This time the white board photos of all the officers that worked the victim that survived case. No one likes that. Seon Jae states Professor Shin believes this case triggered the murderer to begin again. Professor Shin believes the murderer had his own code of conduct and marked his victims. The shock of realizing he failed could trigger him to begin anew. No one likes the idea of a police officer being a murderer. Professor Shin suggests they down select based on age, as they murderer was active 30 years ago. Team Leader Chun warns Seon Jae not to interview any police officers for the time being. Kwang Ho realizes that Coroner Mok did the autopsy on the victim that survived. The team culls the officers down to two. Team Leader Chun says now the can interview them.
The team, except Kwang Ho, interview the two officers. Needless to say, they are happy when they realize they are suspects.
Kwang Ho has another lightbulb moment when he realizes the pen dye would be in fountain pens…just like the one Coroner Mok sports in his breast pocket. He has a fellow officer check Coroner Mok’s background. Everything lines up. Kwang Ho knows Coroner Mok is the murderer.
Kwang Ho stands outside the police station and recalls that Coroner Mok guessed the dot murderer could have used a fountain pen, and then Coroner Mok shows Kwang Ho the fountain pen in his breast pocket. Kwang Ho realizes the Coroner Mok has been playing games with them. Coroner Mok’s position of trust gave him valuable information. Kwang Ho jogs away from the police station.
Professor Shin wonders why the murderer marked the victims with dots. Her eye rests on her whistle necklace. She recalls Kwang Ho apologizing to her in the hospital. She doesn’t understand why. Professor Shin’s friend with the name of the police officer that was looking for her.
Kwang Ho arrives at Coroner Mok’s office. He searches for the pen. He FINDS THE PEN in Coroner Mok’s lab coat!!!!! YES!!!!
Kwang Ho gets a phone call. It’s Coroner Mok!
CM: I know who you are. I believe you know who I am.
KH: You were hiding so close. You scum.
CM: How could I have known you were the detective chasing me in the tunnel? Isn’t this a fun twist
KH: This is fun for you? (yelling)
CM: Calm down. You are in no position to yell at me.
KH: I wanted to catch you so badly. Don’t hide like a rat. Come out right now. Where are you?
CM: Come to the tunnel. We need to end things where we first met. If you don’t want Seon Jae or Professor Shin to get hurt, come alone. I wouldn’t want to kill again because of you.
KH: If you hurt either of them, I’ll kill you. I’ll tear you into pieces…(Coroner Mok hangs up)
Kwang Ho strides out of Coroner Mok’s office to meet the dot murderer where he once almost caught him. To the tunnel, where Kwang Ho’s journey to the future began.
Taking a breath, I wonder isn’t it too early for this confrontation? This is the end of episode 12. We’ve got more to come. Is Coroner Mok going to injure Kwang Ho leaving Seon Jae and Professor Shin to investigate the path he took to find Coroner Mok? I can’t imagine that Coroner Mok has anything but murder on his mind. Kwang Ho would never back down from seeking justice. He can’t be bought, bribed, or coerced.
Professor Shin arrives at the police station where the missing person officer works. She meets with him and is surprised to learn Seon Jae asked him to look into her background. The officer clarifies the search for her was because of a personal request for Kwang Ho. She’s thoroughly mystified at what she learned.
Seon Jae calls Kwang Ho but his cell phone is off. Team Leader Chun calls for an update. Seon Jae says the officer is the wrong path. Team Leader Chun agrees. He says they’ll regroup in the morning. Professor Shin calls Seon Jae and asks to meet.
Just saying, I’m very nervous for our dashing hero, Kwang Ho….
Kwang Ho runs to the tunnel. He turns on his flashlight. He runs into the tunnel. Coroner Mok waits while smoking. Kwang Ho runs to THE spot they met in 1986. He illuminates Coroner Mok. Coroner Mok steps out from the wall, dropping the cigarette. Coroner Mok walks to Kwang Ho. The two men stare at each other.
CM: Nice to see you, Kwang Ho.
KH: I guess it’s nice to see you too, you scumbag. Is this where you were hiding?
CM: That’s what I wanted to ask you. How are you here? Are you really from the past?
KH: That’s right, I came to get you.
CM: This works for me. Kwang Ho from the past will die without any records that he exists. Nothing in the present will change. They’ll think the real Kwang Ho died.
KH: Did you call the other Kwang Ho to you and kill him?
CM: I warned him to not continue his investigation.
Flashback…3 months ago…
1998-born Kwang Ho visits Coroner Mok and asks if he knows a certain Grandfather. 1998-born Kwang Ho states through Coroner Mok’s volunteer work, he treated the Grandfather. Coroner Mok recalls giving the man an injection. 1988-born Kwang Ho says the Grandfather died the next day. Coroner Mok claims the shot was merely vitamins. 1998-born Kwang Ho doubts him. They stare at each other.
1998-born Kwang Ho watches Coroner Mok. After falling asleep watching, Coroner Mok calls him and warns him there are certain paths that should not be taken. Coroner Mok asks if his Grandmother is ready to die. Coroner Mok tells Kwang Ho to meet him and tell no one if he wants to save his Grandmother. Coroner Mok hangs up.
1998-born Kwang Ho rushes to his Grandmother. Coroner Mok grabs him and injects him. The younger man tries to fight but is overcome by the drug Coroner Mok injected him with. Something get left in the grass but we can’t make it out. Coroner Mok drags him away. Coroner Mok shakes himself enough to get to his car and drive away. The chase between Coroner Mok and Kwang Ho ensues. Now we clearly see Coroner Mok is the driver pursuing 1998-born Kwang Ho. Under the drug’s influence, 1998-born Kwang Ho swerves and goes into the ravine. Coroner Mok strangles him dead.
Present…tunnel of destiny…
CM: I was stunned when I first saw you. I’d already killed Kwang Ho. But another Kwang Ho showed up.
KH: You killed and then performed the autopsy?
CM: I could manipulate the results, but I didn’t. I’m not a coward. I’m not despicable.
KH: Shut your mouth, you scumbag.
Kwang Ho lunges at Coroner Mok.
Egad! Things are tense for me!
Professor Shin asks Seon Jae why he didn’t tell her. Seon Jae doesn’t understand. Professor Shin says he knows her real name, Park Yeon Ho. She asks what he knows about her past. Seon Jae says he’s not the person to tell her the answer. She asks who she should ask.
Tunnel of destiny…the two men fight viciously.
Professor Shin asks why she needs to talk to Kwang Ho. Seon Jae tells her that Kwang Ho is her father. She can’t believe what she heard. Seon Jae says Kwang Ho didn’t want him to tell her, but she needs to know. Seon Jae repeats, Kwang Ho is your father. Professor Shin declares that nonsense. He’s too young. Seon Jae tells her that Kwang Ho came from the past. Professor Shin is stunned.
Tunnel of destiny…the two men fight viciously. Coroner Mok tries to inject Kwang Ho with a drug. They grapple. Kwang Ho flips Coroner Mok over him. The impact makes things fizzle then….Kwang Ho ends up in the tunnel IN THE PAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Present…Coroner Mok looks around him. He’s alone in the tunnel.
1986….Kwang Ho looks around him. He’s alone in the tunnel. A man rides past on his bicycle. Kwang Ho hears the music. He realizes he’s back in the past. He can’t believe it.
* When will I learn NOT to doubt Writer Lee? I thought it was too early for Coroner Mok and Kwang Ho to have the death match confrontation. I admit to having an inkling that Kwang Ho might travel back in time but it was still a masterstroke plot point by Writer Jin. The question is obvious, will Kwang Ho catch the young Coroner Mok in the past? Will he ever return to the future? This isn’t the last we’ve seen of the present characters. But will they search for Kwang Ho just like the 1986 police did? Won’t Kwang Ho’s inquiry with the police officer about Coroner Mok lead them directly to Coroner Mok? If not, will Seon Jae and Professor Shin discover the truth about Coroner Mok in the present while Kwang Ho is in the past?
With Kwang Ho in the past does the present time continuum still exist or has everything changed?
* Seon Jae told Professor Shin the truth. He felt there was no other choice that tell Professor Shin that Kwang Ho was her father. Seon Jae didn’t understand Kwang Ho’s tension around Coroner Mok. I get that Coroner Mok is in Seon Jae’s inner circle and trusted more than anyone, so I didn’t expect Seon Jae to suspect anything was amiss. But now he’ll have to.
* The chess master, Coroner Mok, was pleased Kwang Ho figured out he was the dot murderer. Why does he kill? What’s his trigger? We have an inkling that he enjoyed the veteran with the tattoo of the number of men he’d killed. Did that lead to marking his victims?
Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) realized that Coroner Mok was the dot murderer. He realized this quickly through the pen that I wasn’t sure he’d really gotten a good look at in the previous episode. In a flash, he searched and found the pen in Coroner Mok’s lab coat pocket. Was Kwang Ho foolish to meet Kwang Ho without backup? Didn’t he do EXACTLY what his daughter, Professor Shin, did when she met Ho Young without backup? Yes, Kwang Ho is stronger and younger than Coroner Mok. But Coroner Mok overpowered the 1998-born Kwang Ho and killed him. Did Kwang Ho think that through? No, he did not.
When I’m capturing screen shots sometimes I marvel how beautiful Choi Jin Hyuk is. Chiseled handsome face, rocking body, and a voice the envelopes you. In previous series, I’ve admired Choi Jin Hyuk primarily for his physical beauty. But Tunnel is different. It’s his acting that has the priority because Kwang Ho is strong, charming, loving, and realizes that victim’s families deserve justice. The series is a home run for Choi Jin Hyuk. I’m thrilled to see him headline this stellar series.
Both of Ho Young’s questions were answered in this episode.
* Who will recognize each other first? – Coroner Mok recognized Kwang Ho first.
* Who will catch who first? – I’m calling it a tie.
If I could ask only one more question…
* Who will catch Coroner Mok and bring him to justice (past or present)?