Tunnel Episode 16 (Final) Recap

This was a satisfying final episode.

Tunnel Episode 16 (Final) Recap

Professor Shin Jae Yi (Lee Yoo Young) enters her house. She freezes. Serial killer Coroner Mok Jin Wook (Kim Min Sang) is waiting for her. She spins to leave but he grabs her. He flings her to the ground and starts to strangle her. Coroner Mok declares he will take away what is important to Kwang Ho just like Kwang Ho took what was important to him.

We see Professor Shin ask why Coroner Mok wanted the pen so desperately. We see Professor Shin wonder why Coroner Mok didn’t kill her immediately.

Now we see Professor Shin prepare to read Coroner Mok’s journal she retrieved from his attic room when he lived with his mother who was an alcoholic prostitute. Recall this was where recently Coroner Mok held Professor Shin captive. Coroner Mok’s entries:
* “My mother died. I’m not sad. She died because she is filthy”.
* “I watched a woman in a phone booth wearing stockings and a skirt. She walked past me. She was so filthy I couldn’t stand it. I strangled her with the stockings. I finished her off. Painlessly.  And I made a dot with the fountain pen on her foot. The fountain pen my mother gave me. Just like my baptismal name Noel, I killed her, so she could be reborn.”

I had to look up Noel. Beyond the standard Christmas definition, it can be traced further back to the Latin word natalis, which can mean “birthday” as a noun or “of or relating to birth” as an adjective. I’m a bit surprised Coroner Mok had a journal where he admitted to the murderers. Isn’t that valuable evidence too? Wouldn’t Coroner Mok want that destroyed too?

Professor Shin realizes that the fountain pen Coroner Mok used to mark his victims was a gift from his mother and therefore important to him.

Kwang Ho calls her. Professor Shin tells him she’s Coroner Mok’s next target.

Detective Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) and Lt. Kim Seon Jae (Yoon Hyun Min) meet with Professor Shin. She tells them that Coroner Mok knows the truth about time traveling Kwang Ho. That surprises the partners. Professor Shin is certain that Coroner Mok will not pick another random victim.  He’ll come for her. Seon Jae realizes Coroner Mok will hurt Kwang Ho through Coroner Mok because Kwang Ho took his fountain pen. Professor Shin believes Coroner Mok wants to inflect pain. He is emotionally invested in making the three of them suffer as he did.

Kwang Ho tells Professor Shin that Coroner Mok will come to her home. He reminds her of the day someone rang her doorbell but no one was there when she answered the door. Kwang Ho believes it was Coroner Mok that rang her doorbell. Kwang Ho says that Professor Shin cannot leave his side. Professor Shin disagrees. She doesn’t want to act any different. She tells her father he’ll protect her.  Kwang Ho says he’ll protect her no matter what. Professor Shin smiles trusting her father’s words.  Kwang Ho tells Seon Jae they need to perform a stakeout. Seon Jae agrees. Seon Jae calls Team Leader Chun and informs him they know what Coroner Mok’s next move will be.

That’s a relief. They figured out Coroner Mok’s next move in this game. Professor Shin put her trust in her father to protect her. Lovely.

The entire team, Team Leader Chun (Jo Hee Bong), Officer Kwak, Officer Song, Kwang Ho, and Seon Jae have Professor Shin’s house surrounded when she arrives. She nods at them before she enters the house.

When Professor Shin goes in the house, Coroner Mok grabs her and begins to strangle her. When Kwang Ho breaks through the door, Coroner Mok amps up his efforts. Kwang Ho plucks him off his daughter and throws him against the refrigerator. He throws him against the dining room table. Coroner Mok lands on the floor. Kwang Ho flips him so they look into each other’s eyes. Coroner Mok smiles. Kwang Ho hits him. He goes to his Coroner Mok again but lowers his fist.

That was satisfying.

Kwang Ho gets out his handcuffs. He then hands the handcuffs to Seon Jae. Kwang Ho knows Seon Jae needs this moment, to finally get the man that murdered his mother so many years ago. Seon Jae handcuffs Coroner Mok and reads him his rights.

Team Leader Chun, Officer Kwak, and Officer Song enter. Team Leader Chun directs Officer Kwak and Officer Song to take Coroner Mok away.

Seon Jae slumps and with tears in his eyes says “We finally got him”. Kwang Ho says “Yes, we finally got him. Good job Seon Jae”. Awk! Tears! Seon Jae looks at his partner, the man he implicitly trusts, who helped him bring justice into his life and says “Thank you.” Kwang Ho smiles. Professor Shin smiles.

That take down of Coroner Mok worked. I was a bit worried when Kwang Ho had to unlock the door but he got Coroner Mok off his daughter. Kwang Ho deserved this moment. Seon Jae deserved this moment. But it was Professor Shin that made this moment happen. I love that fact.

Team Leader Chun’s boss watches the news reports. He knows he’s the one that let Coroner Mok loose to kill again. His boss calls him.

To his credit, Team Leader Chun’s boss apologizes to the team for botching their investigation. Team Leader Chun’s boss implores his officers not to listen to superiors and keep digging for the truth. Team Leader Chun says he learned that as a rookie as he smiles at Kwang Ho. The boss reminds his team they still have work to do. He leaves.

That was a decent apology. The boss’s pride wasn’t more important than admitting a mistake. I’m casting around in my mind, have I ever seen a superior officer apologize like that in a kdrama?

Team Leader Chun says even though the statute of limitations has expired on the 30-year-old cases, Coroner Mok must confess to help ease the pain of the family and friends of the victims. Team Leader Chun assigns Officer Kwak and Officer Song to search Coroner Mok’s house for evidence. Team Leader Chun assigns Kwang Ho and Seon Jae to get the confession. Kwang Ho asks if Seon Jae can handle it. Seon Jae says he needs to hear Coroner Mok’s confession. They scatter to get what they need to put Coroner Mok away forever.

Justice for the victims left behind has been a theme throughout this series. Justice doesn’t just apply to the direct victims. Family and friends left to grapple with the pain and loss were victims of these killers too. Writer Lee has stressed this in many touching moments in this series.

The dean visits Professor Shin happy that she survived but upset at what she endured. She can’t believe Professor Shin had another serial killer so near her. Professor Shin says that Ho Young was a psychopath but Coroner Mok was a sociopath. Professor Shin became withdrawn after the stint in the mental hospital while Coroner Mok moved among people like a normal guy. The dean says Coroner Mok was more dangerous. She wonders if Coroner Mok will confess. Professor Shin says there are two option for Coroner Mok; confess or stay silent.

Interrogation room…
Kwang Ho and Seon Jae show Coroner Mok the pictures of his victims. They show him the DNA report on his fountain pen with victim’s DNA and his. Coroner Mok stares but won’t talk. Seon Jae lays down the chess piece. He tells Coroner Mok the game is over. He tells him to confess. Coroner Mok smiles. Seon Jae grabs Coroner Mok and tells him to look at the victims of his urge to kill. But Coroner Mok remains silent.

What’s a frustrated father to do when a serial killer won’t confess? Call his daughter… Professor Shin tells Kwang Ho that she knew Coroner Mok wouldn’t confess. Kwang Ho asks about Coroner Mok’s journal. Professor Shin says once she’s done reading it, she’ll let him know. Kwang Ho reminds her to lock her door. Professor Shin reminds him to eat. Sweet!

Isn’t his confession in the journal solid proof?

Seon Jae looks at a picture of his mother. He longs to get Coroner Mok to confess. Kwang Ho watches his partner knowing what he wants.

Team Leader Chun, Officer Kwak, and Officer Song search Coroner Mok’s house. They find the wall of elderly victims Coroner Mok killed. Team Leader Chun tells them to investigate these deaths too.

Police station… The white board is filled with victim’s photos. There are 26 victims they know about. Officer Kwak states they need to dig into every murder. Seon Jae says Coroner Mok first murdered after his mother died. Seon Jae states they must uncover who Young Coroner Mok killed to wrench the confession from him. Kwang Ho feels confidence dangling Coroner Mok’s mother in front of him, will get a reaction.  Team Leader Chun tells them to interrogate Coroner Mok again.

Guys…get the lie detector dude. He broke Ho Young in under a minute!

Interrogation room… Seon Jae masterfully leads Coroner Mok through everything that lead him to kill. His love hate relationship with his mother. What people said about his mother. How each victim was a quick kill to reflect that hate in his heart the surged against him mother. Seon Jae affects Coroner Mok. He feels what Seon Jae has drawn him to feel. And yet… he stays silent. Kwang Ho can’t believe it. He grabs Coroner Mok and utters what he said 30 years ago, are you human? Coroner Mok smiles. The entire team shakes their heads.

Hate to say it but Kwang Ho’s outburst changed the emotional tenor in Coroner Mok to near confession to quiet denial.

Professor Shin realizes Coroner Mok’s journal contains a confession after every victim he killed. The dates match the murder of each victim.  She reads Coroner Mok words “God saw me kill but did nothing. Why? Because I kill with a purpose. I punish the guilty. This is what I had to do. No one can criticize me.” Professor Shin wonders about his “killed people with a purpose” statement.

Professor Shin tells Seon Jae and Kwang Ho that Coroner Mok’s weakness wasn’t his love/hate for his mother but his own weakness.  She says he killed to rid the earth of filthy people. She says they must take away his zeal that his purpose for murder was justified. Professor Shin knows if they do this, Coroner Mok’s silence will be broken.

Seon Jae and Kwang Ho find Coroner Mok pretending to smoke on the jail cell’s floor. Recall in episode one, a young Coroner Mok returned to the tunnel, laid down where the victim died, smoked and smiled.

Interrogation room… Kwang Ho and Seon Jae give Coroner Mok the one two punch about his belief that the killing was justified but in actuality he was just as much of an animal as Ho Young was. Kwang Ho calls him a coward and a typical murderer who murdered the innocent. Coroner Mok laughs. He says the victims weren’t innocent. He lists their crimes: a. one lied to her mother that she was working late, but she went to spend time with her boyfriend. b. one boasted about the men that loved her.  c. one wore a skirt just to get approval of men and she flirted. d. one talked about moving to Seoul but she had no skills (inference she’d had to prostitute herself to survive). e. another slept with a man. Coroner Mok says all of these women where flirts who smiled at men for money. Coroner Mok says those women could not be good mothers.

Seon Jae asks Coroner Mok why he killed his mother. Coroner Mok says he didn’t tell him on purpose. Kwang Ho tells Coroner Mok to shut up. Seon Jae tells him to explain why he killed his mother. Coroner Mok says Seon Jae’s mother smiled at another man on the bus ride home.  Seon Jae stares at Coroner Mok stunned.

Flashback… A young Coroner Mok watches Seon Jae’s mother explain to a male passenger she’s back from grocery shopping and buying her husband a tie. She smiles. Coroner Mok stares at her with disdain.

Coroner Mok asks if Seon Jae needs more details. Seon Jae reaches across the table and punches Coroner Mok. He puts him on the ground and tells him that smiling isn’t an offense for murder. He tells him his father’s world imploded after her death. He yells his world imploded after her death. Seon Jae declares Coroner Mok needs to know that pain. He starts to strangle Coroner Mok. Kwang Ho directs Seon Jae to release Coroner Mok but Seon Jae yells at Coroner Mok to die. Seon Jae has a solid grip on Coroner Mok’s throat.

When Seon Jae releases Coroner Mok he pants with the fury that still courses through his veins. Coroner Mok stands up, dusts himself off, and says that’s why he didn’t tell Seon Jae. But Seon Jae doesn’t fall for the false justification. Seething in anger and near tears, he tells Coroner Mok there is no reason to justify his actions. Clothing, walking home late, none of it justifies murder.  Seon Jae leaves the room.

Coroner Mok yells they should be grateful that he did what was right. Calmly, Coroner Mok says his only regret is that he’ll never be able to kill again. He murmurs there are many need still need to be punished.  He asks Kwang Ho if he agrees. Kwang Ho says Coroner Mok is the only one that should be punished. Kwang Ho says he’ll be punished for the rest of his life. Coroner Mok shakes his head. No one understand him.

Seon Jae’s outburst was justified after Coroner Mok gave the paper-thin justification of his mother smiling at another man. Coroner Mok isn’t broken yet. When does Kwang Ho try and return home to his wife. Will he use the whistle to facilitate the time travel?

Professor Shin tells Seon Jae that she knew of Coroner Mok’s flimsy excuse. Seon Jae says he’d hoped the reason would help but it only proved his mother’s murder was senseless. Professor Shin hold Seon Jae’s hand and tells him he handed a difficult situation well.

Coroner Mok stares at the whiteboard of victims. Officer Song says it’s over. Kwang Ho says it isn’t over until they tell the victim’s families that the murderer is caught and their pain wasn’t forgotten.

Coroner Mok assures himself his killing was justified.

The police bosses begin their press conference apologizing to the families of the victims. When Team Leader Chun’s boss goes to the bullpen after the press conference, it is empty.

The team tells the victim’s families the murderer was found. Their reactions are varied but relief and closure is there.

Seon Jae’s Father’s home… Seon Jae stand in front of his father’s house. He goes in alone. Awk! Tears!

Seon Jae surprises his father catching him smoking. His father murmurs he’ll quit soon.  He asks if anything has happened. Awk! Tears!

Kwang Ho sits on the stoop waiting for his partner to tell his father that his wife’s murderer was caught and confessed.

Seon Jae’s father remembers the detective that promised to catch the killer. He puts his hand on his son’s knee and thanks him for accomplishing it. Seon Jae takes his father’s hand and says the detective kept his promise. His father looks at him but Seon Jae doesn’t elaborate.

When Seon Jae steps out of his father’s house, Kwang Ho walks up with flowers. He says it’s time they visit his mother. Awk! Tears!

The pain of loss has grabbed my heart every time. That’s a huge emotional button I’m not sure I was fully aware of until this series. Seon Jae’s moment with his father and his declaration that Kwang Ho kept his promise was worth waiting for
Standing at the lake where Seon Jae’s mother’s ashes were spread in episode 1, Seon Jae stands with the bouquet and Kwang Ho a respectful distance away. He tells his mother that the detective that caught the killer bought her the flowers.  Awk! Tears!  He turns and looks at Kwang Ho. He comes forward. He apologizes to Seon Jae’s mother for being late and bows. Awk! Tears! Seon Jae kneels and places the flowers at the water’s edge. He tells his mother she can now rest in peace.

Wonderful full circle moment. From the first episode when Kwang Ho watched a young Seon Jae toddle around not knowing his mother was murdered, to the last episode when Kwang Ho watched Seon Jae kneel and tell his mother all was well. This moment defines the strength of this series and why it was special. Writer Lee never forgot the loss of those left behind.

Professor Shin tells her class the reason they’ve studied the murderers is to prevent new victims. She tells her class that saving people is the most important thing. She recalls Kwang Ho’s adamant declaration to that effect. She smiles and thanks her class.

The dean and Professor Shin have a cup of tea to mark the end of the semester. The dean notes that Professor Shin went through a lot this semester. Professor Shin smiles. The dean says she seems happier now. Professor Shin tells the dean that she’s decided to live in Korea permanently. They both smile.

The dean has been an able mentor and surrogate mother to Professor Shin. And to think I thought her nosy in the beginning of the series when she was just being a mother hen. What a difference an entire series makes. When does Kwang Ho try and return home to his wife. Will he use the whistle to facilitate the time travel?

The serious crimes unit visits the memorial marker for 1988-born Kwang Ho (which lists him as unidentified). Kwang Ho thanks him for his pursuit of Coroner Mok that helped them catch the killer. Team Leader Chun tells his rookie to rest in peace. Officer Kwak, Officer Song, and Seon Jae echo that.

The team takes 1998-born Kwang Ho’s remains to be by his Grandmother’s side in the memorial house. Officer Song finds his cell phone in the patch of grass where he struggled with Coroner Mok.

Officer Song attaches the phone to the computer. It contains evidence of Coroner Mok’s syringe killings of elderly patients. Kwang Ho declares he was a true detective. Team Leader Chun says everyone with the name Kwang Ho is a superior detective. Kwang Ho quips that it took him long enough to notice.

Kwang Ho takes Seon Jae aside. He tells him he’s going back. His mission is done. He’s wife is waiting for him. Seon Jae asks if Professor Shin knows. Not yet is Kwang Ho’s reply. Kwang Ho worries about leaving Professor Shin alone. He tells Seon Jae thank you. Seon Jae can’t believe it. Kwang Ho cajoles him that life will be easier once he’s gone. Awk! Tears!  Seon Jae begs to differ then claims it will be easier. Kwang Ho thanks Seon Jae for becoming a responsible adult. Seon Jae turns to hide his tears. Kwang Ho gently teases him. Seon Jae claims something got in his eye.

Seon Jae has grown under Kwang Ho’s tutelage. Kwang Ho has become a trusted partner, valued mentor and surrogate father for Seon Jae. Their relationship evolved in a steady, subtle way. It wasn’t your typical bromance. It was deeper, richer and more satisfying.

Professor Shin enters the room. Seon Jae stands and moves away so she won’t see his tears. He turns and greet Professor Shin when he’s gathered himself. Professor Shin tells Kwang Ho she stopped by hoping they could go home together. Kwang Ho says there’s a team dinner and he’ll see her after. Seon Jae declares he’ll take Professor Shin home. Kwang Ho doesn’t like that. Seon Jae points out there’s time before the team dinner. Kwang Ho tells Professor Shin to take a taxi. Seon Jae says taxis can be dangerous. He tells Professor Shin to come with him. Professor Shin tells Kwang Ho goodbye. Kwang Ho can’t believe his daughter just left with another man. The pain of parenting hits him. He grouses he can’t leave them alone.

As Seon Jae drives her home she admits she drove her own car. Seon Jae smiles and says he knew that. He smiles. She smiles.

Team Leader Chun’s boss gives Team Leader Chun money for a team dinner and 3 days off work. When he tries to invite himself, he quickly assesses it would be better to let them celebrate without him. They look at the money and declare tonight they eat beef. Officer Kwak calls Kwang Ho rookie which raises Kwang Ho’s ire. Officer Song calls him father. Kwang Ho smiles. Team Leader Chun looks at his old partner and says this will be the last team dinner. Awk! Tears!

At the dinner, Officer Song asks if he’s going back. Kwang Ho confirms. Seon Jae arrives and confirms that Kwang Ho is going back. Team Leader Chun says he knew he’d get left behind. Kwang Ho chides him for getting drunk. Team Leader Chun says it was hard to be a rookie again but it all worked out. Awk! Tears!  Kwang Ho thanks Team Leader Chun who cries. Kwang Ho gets tears in his eyes. Officer Song asks THE question, when Kwang Ho returns home will the present as they know it change? Will Coroner Mok be caught in the past? Kwang Ho doesn’t know but promises to catch Coroner Mok if needed. They manage to rally their spirits and drink until they pass out.  Kwang Ho thanks his team (only Seon Jae is awake) for their efforts.  He says he won’t forget them. Team Leader Chun asks him not to go. Kwang Ho thanks his old partner for everything. Seon Jae doesn’t want him to leave like this. Kwang Ho says the time has come. Seon Jae says he’ll drive him home. Kwang Ho has one last drink and pats Team Leader Chun goodbye. He looks at the team and tells them he’s leaving. Awk! Tears!

Kwang Ho asks why Seon Jae isn’t talking. Seon Jae says their good bye should be simple. We see flashbacks to their moments. Kwang Ho stares at Seon Jae and says he won’t forget him. Seon Jae says he’ll come back later to support Professor Shin.

Kwang Ho gets out his phone and calls Professor Shin. Awk! Tears! She tells him she was waiting for him. She asks him to come inside. She’s made them a goodbye dinner. Awk! Tears! Kwang Ho is immersed with the spread of food. Professor Shin smiles her pleasure. Professor Shin asks what he needed to tell her. Kwang Ho looks at his daughter. She knows. She says this is their last dinner together. She asks when he’s leaving. He says after the meal he’ll return to her mother. Professor Shin knows he can’t stay but wishes he could. Kwang Ho gives his fatherly advice – eat 3 meals a day, lock your doors, and if something happen…Professor Shin prods him…Kwang Ho says to rely on Seon Jae, but only for emergencies. Professor Shin smiles and agrees. Professor Shin asks if they can take a picture together and they do. Kwang Ho takes the phone and directs it to send the picture to Seon Jae with the message protect YH. Awk! Tears! They chuckle at his technical savvy.

Seon Jae arrives and sees the picture he smiles. Seon Jae and Professor Shin drive Kwang Ho to the tunnel of destiny. It is quiet in the car.

Tunnel of destiny…
They stand outside the tunnel. Kwang Ho says he’ll get going. Seon Jae asks if he can return without Coroner Mok. Kwang Ho is confident he can return because the killer is caught. Seon Jae wonders if the cases won’t happen. Seon Jae shakes his head at the possibilities. He tells Kwang Ho to have a safe trip back. He tells him to correct anything that needs correcting. Kwang Ho thanks him. With tears shining in her eyes, Yeon Ho says goodbye to her father. Awk! Tears! She tells him to return to Mom. Kwang Ho agrees. When Kwang Ho turns, and starts to walk away, Yeon Ho feels the pain of his loss and calls “Dad”.  Awk! Tears! Kwang Ho turns and sees her tears glisten just like his. Seon Jae puts his arm around Yeon Ho in support. Kwang Ho looks at the man that loves his daughter and thanks him. He tells Seon Jae to take care of her. Awk! Tears! Seon Jae bows to his father-in-law. Kwang Ho smiles. Awk! Tears! Kwang Ho wipes a tear away and says he’s going.  He takes a deep breath and walks into the tunnel. Yeon Ho watches her father leave and cries. Seon Jae holds Yeon Ho as they watch Kwang Ho walk out of their lives.

Inside the tunnel of destiny… Kwang Ho asks to return to his wife. He wants to see his wife. We see the shimmer! His wish will be granted! He jogs into the tunnel’s end and returns to the past.

Kwang Ho and Team Leader Chun chase a criminal. They bump a pregnant woman. Kwang Ho notices her distress. At the hospital with her new baby, the new mother thanks Kwang Ho and Team Leader Chun for helping her. Kwang Ho says he has a 5-month-old daughter. As they start to leave, the woman asks Kwang Ho his name. He tells her his name is Kwang Ho. They leave. The new mother tells her son his name is Kwang Ho. She smiles. She asks if he’ll be a good detective like his name sake. Awk! Tears!

Wonderful attention to detail as Writer Lee shows us how 1988-born Kwang Ho came to get his name.

We close this series…
Kwang Ho walks home. When he gets there his wife Yeon Sook holds his sleeping daughter Yeon Ho, and a young Seon Jae is there visiting. Everyone is happy and healthy as we end this wonderful series. Awk! Tears!

My Thoughts

If you had told me that a Tunnel would tug my heart as often as it did, I wouldn’t have believed you. For all that Tunnel was, the heart of the show was the pain of loss and recovering from that loss. Capturing two killers not only freed Kwang Ho to return back to his life but also allowed all the victim’s families to have closure. I didn’t know this theme would grab my heart repeatedly and regularly but it did. I learned something about myself watching this series.

I enjoyed this series finale. The first half of “breaking” Coroner Mok to confess was cerebral and not completely riveting. Episode 14 was had so many reveals my head spun. That made the last two episodes almost tame by comparison. Both episodes 15 and 16 were satisfying but in a quieter way. As a kdrama watcher, we all live in fear that the final episode will be huge disappointment, we’ve all suffered the inability for effective closures. I didn’t doubt Writer Lee. I knew this finale would be solid. Writer Lee delivered.

I’ll keep it simple with my final thoughts:
* I am pleased to that the violent crimes team didn’t have a bad cop among them. They were honest, hardworking, and joked around. They were a true team. The tie that Team Leader Chun being Kwang Ho’s rookie partner was great. Team Leader Chun banged the drum for the victims and their families more than anyone. He was an effective leader.
* Even the killers gained my understanding with their back story. Jung Ho Young (Heo Sung Tae) was more compelling than Coroner Mok Jin Wook (Kim Min Sang). But it was Coroner Mok’s story that was the underlying basis for the murders as Ho Young was merely a copycat killer. The fact that Coroner Mok didn’t fully break down under interrogation was appropriate. He’d been killing for 30 years. He’d brainwashed himself effectively that he was justified to kill.
* Kim Seon Jae (Yoon Hyun Min) finally had the emotional connection with his father, Kwang Ho, and Professor Shin. He was the most guarded character. The snippet reminding us that Seon Jae initially hand cuffed Kwang Ho in episode 2 seems like a lifetime ago. What worked for me is that Seon Jae was able to work through the pain of his mother’s death, gain closure, and reconnect with his father again. Add to that a quiet love for Professor Shin. Add to that approval from Kwang Ho at the end. Then add to that the fact that Seon Jae broke through the emotional wall he’d built around himself to find himself able to trust a partner/mentor/surrogate-father, enjoy his co-workers, and find love, and I’m very happy at the evolution of this character.
* Professor Shin Jae Yi (aka Yeon Ho) (Lee Yoo Young) was the true detective of the series. She found answers and truths throughout. Her emotional walls were shattered when Ho Young attacked her. And rightly so, that kind of brutal, almost lost my life moment, would force anyone to reevaluate and rip away their curtain of control. I grew to love this smart, calm, cool, collected, but with a heart character. Yeon Ho’s final dinner with Kwang Ho and when she called him Dad at the end…touching, heartfelt, will be two touchstone memories of this series.
* Park Kwang Ho (Choi Jin Hyuk) caught the killer and was able to return home. Kwang Ho was a wonderful mix of heart, brains, humor, and a never say die attitude when it came to getting justice for the victim’s families. This was the breakout leading man role that I’d hoped Choi Jin Hyuk would enjoy one day. He killed it. He was the heart of this show. His good looks were eclipsed by his good acting. Bravo!
* I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Writer Lee for a riveting series. How many times did I doubt and was proven wrong? The missteps were few. The emotional content and consistent message was strong. I loved this show. I will watch this writer again.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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14 comments on “Tunnel Episode 16 (Final) Recap
  1. Jane Tilly says:

    I wondered last episode when the Violent Crime Team discovered the bug 🐛 in the chess 👑 piece why they didn’t use it give false 4⃣1⃣1⃣ to lure Mok instead of using Jae Yi being the bait 🎣 and thus allowing her to be strangled again. I cannot imagine having to go through 👐 strangulation TWICE‼. What a relief that Jae Yi was rescued by her dad and Seon Jae‼ 😌

    I appreciate Kwang Ho turning over Mok to Seon Jae to arrest 🚔 after he took Mok ⤵; helping Seon Jae fulfill his promise to his mother to catch her murderer.

    Mok was so arrogant, I don’t think he realized his childhood 🏠 would be discovered by the 👮. When Mok was discovered at this hideout, it was too late for him to get rid of his murder journal 📑, if he even remembered he left it 30 years earlier; there were 🕸 on the attic ladder.

    *RANT ALERT​* I don’t understand why Korea 🇰🇷 has a statute of limitations on murder. Recently some renters discovered a body, from a 30 year old cold case, a foot below the dirt floor in a shed on the property where the victim lived with her boyfriend. 👮 are investigating this cold case and prosecutors plan to prosecute if they find enough evidence. *RANT OVER*

    You gotta 💗 Jae Yi for determining Mok needed to realize he was not ⚖ justified in his murders. I was sooo excited why Mok opened the floodgates 🚰💦🌊 with his confessions and he realized he would never be able to kill again. Let’s face it, you know he would kill again in prison; wouldn’t he find plenty of “dirty” victims⁉

    It was refreshing to see the police 👮 chief acknowledge and apologize for getting in the way of the gang’s investigation. Nope KJT, I can’t think of a kdrama instance of such an apology to the investigating officers, although maybe to the public.

    I ❤💖💗 that the team’s first priority was to inform the victims families of Mok’s capture especially for the cold cases. I wondered what happened to the elderly 👵👴 deaths it looked like they put the information on a whiteboard but we never found out the outcome of that investigation.

    How cathartic it must have been for Seon Jae to be able to tell his father the murderer was captured. I also ❤ that Kwang Ho gave Seon Jae 💐 for his mother’s memorial. It was a “Wonderful full circle moment” ⭕ of closure for Seon Jae AND Kwang Ho. I concur their bromance was
    “deeper, richer and more satisfying” than most. I think that also goes for the comrodery of the entire Violent Crime Team. Eventually all of them were privy to Kwang Ho’s time-travel secret and work well together in solving the fit serial murders under the 📡 of the disapproving 👮 chief. I’ve seen all the team members in other dramas and I 💗-ed each of them the MOST in Tunnel. What an amazing cast that worked together so well!

    The writer did an excellent job of tying 👔 up the loose ends. We found out that there was meaning behind the Rookie 👮 Kwang Ho sharing his name with the time traveler. Kwang Ho made a point if introducing Seon Jae to his daughter as children.

    Throughout the series I thought Writer ✍ Lee made interesting choices in not showing many critical moments or disclosures, but character’s reactions, letting our imaginations fill in the scenes. Examples were when it was disclosed Kwang Ho was from 1986 to Jae Yi and the violent crime team and Kwang Ho’s last time travel to the past. Initially I was slightly annoyed, but then I realized that it is not unusual reactions to critical disclosures to be overacted. I’ve come to the conclusion these were wise choices. Sometimes things are better left unseen 🕶. It’s hard to believe this is Writer Lee’s first drama, what an excellent inaugural drama‼. I 💗 the consistency in the characters and storyline.

    As always I appreciate your awesome recaps and providing a forum to discuss our bias.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JT, so glad you took followed and loved this series as I did. The more I watch dramas the more I want to spend my time with quality dramas like Tunnel, not subpar dramas. I manage to find elements of every drama I watch enjoyable. But Tunnel made it simple. Every aspect of this drama was superb. I can find little fault, nor do I want to try as it seems like quibbling.

      I wondered last episode when the Violent Crime Team discovered the bug 🐛 in the chess 👑 piece why they didn’t use it give false 4⃣1⃣1⃣ to lure Mok instead of using Jae Yi being the bait 🎣 and thus allowing her to be strangled again.
      I about flipped when they had to break into her house to save her. You know and I know it, Mok could have easily killed her in the timeframe he was given. Stakeouts are NOT my favorite tactic.

      Kwang Ho turning over Mok to Seon Jae to arrest 🚔 after he took Mok ⤵; helping Seon Jae fulfill his promise to his mother to catch her murderer.
      One of many examples of Kwang Ho’s emotional intelligence.

      Mok was so arrogant, I don’t think he realized his childhood 🏠 would be discovered by the 👮
      His arrogance was his downfall. He left breadcrumbs that our intrepid detective and daughter finally recognized.

      I was sooo excited why Mok opened the floodgates 🚰💦🌊 with his confessions and he realized he would never be able to kill again
      That wasn’t satisfactory to me. His punishment not to kill again doesn’t punish him sufficiently in my mind. Mok goaded Ho Young into suicide. I wish the lie detector guy could have done the same to Mok. Yes, I think the lie detector guy was fabulous and would have liked to see him again. Ho Young was the more compelling of the serial killers and I disagree with the assertion that Ho Young was only a copycat. Ho Young also killed his mother repeatedly with each victim. His mother’s hatred was difficult to watch. Mok’s mother in comparison was trapped in a lifestyle that brought him shame but she wasn’t a terrible mother. That is my primary nitpick about this series, Ho Young was brutally captivating while Mok was cerebral and arrogant.

      I wondered what happened to the elderly 👵👴 deaths it looked like they put the information on a whiteboard but we never found out the outcome of that investigation.
      I imagined they would fully investigate them and visited the families too. That was a terrific touch, providing closure to the families.

      Nope KJT, I can’t think of a kdrama instance of such an apology to the investigating officers
      I am so used to inept police with corrupt management that competent, caring, and willing to admit fault was a refreshing change of pace.

      The writer did an excellent job of tying 👔 up the loose ends. We found out that there was meaning behind the Rookie 👮 Kwang Ho sharing his name with the time traveler. Kwang Ho made a point if introducing Seon Jae to his daughter as children
      Spot on. I appreciated those efforts to dot all the is and cross all the ts.

      It’s hard to believe this is Writer Lee’s first drama, what an excellent inaugural drama
      I hope Writer Lee is given another opportunity. If so, I’ll watch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jane Tilly says:

        I concur Ho Young was a much more compelling character than Mok. I concur with your analysis in last episode’s recap that Mok was shrouded 🙈 in mystery for a bit too long. That said, it’s a pretty small complaint. 🙍 There was do much that was 🔵-on, I feel petty for mentioning it. I look forward ⏩ to dramas written by writer Lee.

        The trend for preproduced dramas, which doesn’t not guarantee quality dramas like Tunnel, seems to have improved the quality of Kdramas. My hope 🛐 is that the preproduction trend will spawn more high quality dramas. OCN put out Voice and then​ Tunnel; Tunnel was Choi Jin Hyuk’s luxury​ vehicle 🏎 to showcase ✨ his talent 🌟, while it seems OCN gave Jang Hyuk an old beater 🚗 vehicle with Voice to showcase ✨ his talent 🌟. Hyukie did his best with vehicle provided; he did shine, but a better writing ✍ and direction 🎬 could have made it intensely brighter‼ Don’t get me wrong, I do not begrudge Choi Jin Hyuk’s opportunity and was pleased to see him and the rest of the cast shine ✨ like never before; I simply would have liked OCN to have given Jang Hyuk a vehicle worthy of his talent 🌟. Hyukie would take care of the shining ✨. There was a drama that was the perfect vehicle 🚙 for Hyukie … and we’re back to Chuno … @prettysup would be so proud‼


        • Tunnel was Choi Jin Hyuk’s luxury​ vehicle 🏎 to showcase ✨ his talent 🌟, while it seems OCN gave Jang Hyuk an old beater 🚗 vehicle with Voice to showcase ✨ his talent 🌟.
          That is a spot on observation. If you noticed both series were first time kdramas for their respective writers (Writer Lee Tunnel and Writer Ma Voice. I wonder if OCN has a push to find and produce new writers.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jane Tilly says:

        With all the competition for dramas 🎭, OCN may be recruiting and grooming new writers ✍.


  2. DramaDazed says:

    I waited too long to enjoy this drama, glad kjt and Jane encouraged me to go back and finish it. I will add two thoughts to the (mostly agreed) comments above.

    One is about kjts note in the recap about a button hit that was previously unknown: I can’t count the number of times in my 6 six years of drama watching that I have melted into tears with a feeling I either didn’t know I had or something I didn’t know I needed to release. Similarly I have on occasion had a happy or satisfying recognition of something inside made present by the (drama). I treat those moments as opportunities.

    The second comment is about the emphasis on Confession in crime. I think it is cultural…in US justice I don’t think it carries the same weight. In dramas it seems like a very emotionally necessary component for completion.

    Thanks for the recap kjt, a good companion to my watching as always, along with all the comments.


    • I can’t count the number of times in my 6 six years of drama watching that I have melted into tears with a feeling I either didn’t know I had or something I didn’t know I needed to release. Similarly I have on occasion had a happy or satisfying recognition of something inside made present by the (drama). I treat those moments as opportunities.
      That was beautifully stated.

      Glad you enjoyed this drama. It was a winner.

      In the recap I stated I’d watch this writer again. I checked Screenwriter & Director Kim Sung Hoon only has this drama to his credit as a writer. He won multiple awards for the 2014 movie A Hard Day. I hope to find it and watch it. He’s turned his focus on directing since Tunnel.


  3. Maria says:

    Love this drama and all the actors were wonderful. When they put the right people in the right roles you can feel the chemistry in the show. The story was well written and I loved the humor between the characters and seeing them grow and break through the barriers they had to build around them. I hope another season will be written with Choi Jin-hyuk and cast.


    • When they put the right people in the right roles you can feel the chemistry in the show. The story was well written and I loved the humor between the characters and seeing them grow and break through the barriers they had to build around them
      Well stated on key points that made this drama stellar!


  4. beez says:

    Well, I finally got around to bingeing this show (thank, JT). I am just not interested in any of the shows currently airing so I remembered JT highly recommending this one.

    I really enjoyed it, but my only disappointment is I really hoped we would see a glimpse of the changed future although that change may mean that Seon Jae and Professor Shin might not end up together. But I’d be okay with that if the result of her father never disappearing is that she grows up to be less creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane Tilly says:

    Beez, I’m glad you got around to watching Tunnel.

    If I recall correctly, Kwang Ho made a point of introducing Seon Jae to his daughter when they were children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beez says:

      @JT – I didn’t see that. Was it during one of his times while back in his current-past mid series? Because it wasn’t in the last episode (unless I had a narcolepsy moment and missed it).


    • beez says:

      @JT – You’ve right (of course)! I never should’ve doubted you! (I re-read KJT’s recap just now) 😊

      Liked by 2 people

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May 2017

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