Our trio’s past story plays out in this next to last episode…
Chicago Typewriter Episode 15 Recap
1930… The lights come back on at the exclusive party revealing the masked freedom fighters on stage with their guns pointed at the Japanese officers and the Korean sympathizers. Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) declares those that stand in the way freedom from the Japanese occupation of Korea will be eliminated.
Can I just say the Yoo Ah In looks hot in that mask?
They open fire. Got to say if they are shooting to kill it doesn’t appear to be working. Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) and the police rush in and draw their guns. Se Joo thinks of the rendezvous point for the survivors of the evening. Tae Min and his men advance on Se Joo and Jin O (Ko Gyung Pyo) who are firing from the back of the stage. Jin O and Se Joo nod to each other and retreat. Tae Min finds the Japanese commander shot. He yells at his men to get them.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) walks out after changing into her sniper outfit and her gun in a case. We hear Se Joo’s assignment that she covers the freedom fighters as they retreat. But she’s stopped by Tae Min. Rats! Tae Min order his men to open her case. He shakes his head at the dangerous side job she has.
Jin O and Se Joo meet the other freedom fighters. They realize Jeon Seol isn’t there. They guess she was apprehended exiting the party.
Tae Min interrogates Jeon Seol. He’s thrilled she’s the freedom fighter sniper. He had no idea when he invited her to the party. Jeon Seol counters that a guest at the party paid her to carry the case. Tae Min asks THE question – who is the freedom fighter leader? Jeon Seol demurs if she knew she’d tell him. Tae Min guesses either Jin O or Se Joo are the freedom fighter leader. He knows they are both in love with Jeon Seol. He knows one or both of them will attempt to rescue her. Though Jeon Seol denies any knowledge her agitation is clear. Tae Min calls in a witness.
Wanna bet it’s Jeon Seol’s mother, the Madame?
Jin O can’t abide leaving Jeon Seol behind. Se Joo reminds him that many freedom fighters have died today. If they don’t leave now, their next mission will be ruined. A freedom fighter rushes in and reports their exit points are swarming with police. It’s obvious a spy has leaded the mission details.
Did Se Joo expect and plan for this or is he blindsided by this news?
Madame is brought into the interrogation room. Tae Min asks if Jeon Seol is the sniper. When she hesitates to answer he yells her son’s life hangs in the balance. Madame and Jeon Seol stare at each other. Madame confirms Jeon Seol is the sniper. Madame is led away. Tae Min stares at Jeon Seol knowing she knows the leaders name.
Se Joo tells the freedom fighters if their identities haven’t been compromised, their only option is to return to their daily lives because they cannot escape tonight. Everyone disperses. Jin O wants to go to Jeon Seol. Se Joo tells him to come with him, so he can tend his wound.
Carpe Diem is closed now that it is known to be a freedom fighter gathering place.
Se Joo tends Jin O’s wound. A freedom fighter informs them that Jeon Seol has been captured by Tae Min. Jin O hopes they don’t find out that Jeon Seol is the sniper. The freedom fighter he’s determined that Madame is the spy and if she talked, Tae Min will know Jeon Seol is the sniper. Se Joo closes his eyes at the dire situation Jeon Seol is in. Jin O stands to go to Jeon Seol. Se Joo reminds him a gunshot wound will announce to the world he’s a freedom fighter. Jin O tells Se Joo that Jeon Seol will never crack even if she’s tortured. He declares he will save her. Se Joo orders him to stop. He’s the leader and Jin O must follow his orders. Se Joo reminds Jin O that dying for this cause is part of supporting it. Se Joo says their next move will be to regroup, purchase more weapons from the money they stole from the exclusive party, and plan their next mission. Se Joo says continuing the fight is the only way to honor Jeon Seol’s sacrifice. Jin O is shaken.
That’s exactly what Se Joo must do, continue to fight. But can he walk away from Jeon Seol? Jin O and Se Joo both love Jeon Seol, can they leave her in Tae Min’s clutches?
Madame brings Jeon Seol food but she knocks it away. Madame warns Jeon Seol the interrogation will be so painful she’ll beg for them to kill her. But Jeon Seol doesn’t care about that. She demands to know how Madame could betray them. Jeon Seol yells that Madame was like a mother to her. Madame snaps that her son is in prison for killing a Japanese police officer that raped a Korean student. She yells this was the only way to save his life. Madame says her son is the priority. Jeon Seol yells that she’s betraying the freedom fighters that treated her like a sister. Madame is unrepentant for putting her child before the freedom fighters or liberating Korea. Jeon Seol yells that Madame never should have signed up if she didn’t believe dying for the cause. Tae Min orders Madame to leave the room. Jeon Seol tells Madame that she’ll never forgive her, not now, not when she dies, not ever! Wow!!!
Jeon Seol read Madame the riot act (recalls Madame is her mother in the present-day incarnation), and rightly so. What is the saying? If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
Se Joo sits outside alone and looks at the photograph he carries of Jeon Seol. Awk! Tears!
Flashback 1… He remembers a young Jeon Seol declaring that one day she’s marry the man in the mask that rescued her.
Flashback 2… He remembers asking adult Jeon Seol how she knows if the masked man will agree to marry her. He chided her that if every man that saved her had to marry her, she’d have multiple husbands. Jeon Seol retorted she’ll keep herself safe and not rely on a man.
Flashback 3… He remembers Jeon Seol realizing he was the masked man. He remembers the police looking for them, Jeon Seol saying this was for the country, and kissing him. He remembers being unable to just stand there and accept the kiss. He remembers pulling her tight and deepening the kiss.
Flashback 4… He remembers Jeon Seol telling him that the masked man was arrogant and refused her request for his identity. She remembers being told that even if she was the only person left, not to suffer, but gather strength from it. Jeon Seol says she may never marry him, but she wanted him to know that she’s thankful he saved her, guided her, and changed her life. She asks one last time if Se Joo is the masked man. Se Joo replies that Jin O saved her. Jeon Seol replies her instincts say he’s the masked man.
Flashback 5… He remembers Jeon Seol telling him if they are reincarnated in an independent Korea, that he must see her as a woman. He must not build walls around himself. He must not lie to her. He must not suffer alone. He must share everything with her. He must do what he couldn’t do in this lifetime, in their next. Se Joo tells her to stop talking about the next life and come back to him alive from this mission.
Se Joo cries knowing he can’t save the woman he loves. The woman whose love he never accepted. His heart breaks.
Jeon Seol sits in the interrogation room, knowing she won’t see him again in this lifetime, but she vows it will be different in the next lifetime.
Awk! Tears! That was an effective series of flashbacks. Our past couple has only the one moment, that kiss, to hang their hat on. But the longing, denial, and pain are palpable.
Jin O finds Se Joo sitting alone. Se Joo wipes his tears away as Jin O approaches. Jin O comments that Se Joo gave him enough pain killer that he couldn’t do anything rash. Jin O says it’s time for them to part company. He tells Se Joo to go forward with the freedom fighters while he stays here. Se Joo tells Jin O it is too dangerous. Jin O reminds him that his father supports the Japanese occupation providing sufficient cover. He tells Se Joo not worry about him anymore. Jin O stares at Se Joo and requests that he allow him to protect Jeon Seol in this lifetime, and he’ll allow Se Joo to protect Jeon Seol in the next lifetime. Awk! Tears! The two friends that love the same woman stare at each other and agree.
Awk! Tears! Wonderful scene strengthened by the quiet resolution of Jeon Seol. He didn’t ask Se Joo for permission, he told Se Joo what he was going to do. The acknowledgement of their friendship extending into the next lifetime, and allowing Se Joo to pursue Jeon Seol ripped me up.
The next day Tae Min meets with Jin O who cuts to the chase and asks where Jeon Seol is. Tae Min chuckles at his bluntness (or does he laugh enjoying Jin O’s desperation?). Jin O says his father’s intel confirms Tae Min has Jeon Seol. Tae Min says he cannot release the freedom fighter sniper. Jin O suggests a trade, Jeon Seol for the freedom fighter leader. That gets Tae Min’s attention.
Se Joo learns that Jin O claimed to be the freedom fighter leader to win Jeon Seol’s release. Se Joo recalls Jin O telling him last night that his actions were no longer something Se Joo had to worry about. Se Joo reels with shock. Even though this is the time to flee with the cover Jin O has given the freedom fighters, Se Joo hesitates.
Tae Min asks Jin O for an organization chart. Jin O tells Jin O that it was an organization that wasn’t fully revealed to anyone. Tae Min snaps that he doesn’t care about the minions but the leads. Tae Min counters the leads committed suicide during the last mission. Tae Min brings in a battered Jeon Seol. Jin O tries to go to her but Tae Min hold him back. Tae Min asks Jeon Seol who Jin O is. She blearily looks at Jin O and states he is the Carpe Diem owner. Tae Min asks if Jin O is the freedom fighter leader. Jeon Seol yells she doesn’t know who the leader is. Tae Min strikes Jeon Seol. Jin O lunges but he’s pulled away. Tae Min orders Jeon Seol removed. As Jeon Seol is dragged away we hear her voiceover and her eyes begging Jin O not to reveal Se Joo as the leader. She begs him to endure whatever happens next. Awk! Tears!
Wow! Another terrific moment for Jeon Seol. She’s killing it this episode. Jin O is naive to believe that Tae Min would keep his word. Bad plan dude.
Jin O grabs Tae Min and demands to know how he can betray his country like this. Tae Min demands to know who the freedom fighter leader is. Jin O yells he’s the leader. Tae Min begs to differ. The leader has never stayed behind. The leader never would have checked his watch to see if it was almost time for the explosion. The leader never would have revealed his personal feeling for Jeon Seol providing Tae Min an Achilles heel to exploit. The leader never would have foolishly turned himself to save a single person in his organization. Tae Min admits his trap of the party didn’t work out. Tae Min asks again, who the freedom fighter leader? Jin O says he’s the leader. Tae Min says unless Jin O gives up the leader’s name, Jeon Seol will die. Tae Min calmly states that Jin O won’t suffer but Jeon Seol will until he gives up the leader’s name. Tae Min feigns concern that Jeon Seol won’t be able to last long.
Tae Min saw the obvious variance between Jin O’s actions and the leader. As I stated, while brave, Jin O’s plan is bad. I hope he doesn’t give Se Joo’s name. One could argue that Tae Min knows Se Joo is the leader by simple process of elimination. But I get that he wants to crush the freedom fighter’s resolve by threatening those they love.
Se Joo learns that Jin O continues to exist he’s the leader and because of that he is in custody. Se Joo learns that Jeon Seol is being tortured but refuses to name the freedom fighter leader.
Jin O refuses to fill out the organization chart as Tae Min demands. He orders Jeon Seol brought in. She doesn’t look good. Tae Min tells Jeon Seol that Jin O could set her free but refuses. He sends her back to her cell.
Jin O continues to refuse to name the freedom fighter leader. Tae Min orders Jeon Seol brought in. She looks terrible. Tae Min amps it up further by torturing Jeon Seol in front of him. Tae Min tells him to name the freedom fighter leader. Jeon Seol implores him not to with her eyes. Tae Min puts the gun to Jeon Seol’s head. Jin O yells Se Joo’s name. Rats! Tae Min smiles. Jeon Seol cries. Jin O sobs.
I knew Jin O would cave eventually. But Tae Min’s cruelty to Jeon Seol and Jin O was disturbing. Again, I ask, why does anyone believe the lies that Tae Min’s spews?
Se Joo and the remaining freedom fighters prepare to leave. He asks to see the commander alone. That’s not a good sign. Se Joo asks the commander to act in his stead. Se Joo says he must stay. The commander knows this is certain death. Se Joo assures him that once his business is concluded, he’ll join them. The commander asks the right question – are you going to try and save Jin O and Jeon Seol? Se Joo doesn’t answer, which answers the question. The commander offers to go with him. Se Joo says this is too dangerous. The commander asks why he’s doing this alone. Se Joo counters that he’s stepping aside as leader temporarily, so he’s not acting as a freedom fighter but only as a friend. He needs to be a man for his friends. Awk! Tears! Se Joo assures he’ll succeed in rescuing them. The commander has no choice but accept Se Joo’s decision.
I struggle with rationale of sacrificing one’s life when it is futile. Jeon Seol was captured. She knew she was a dead woman and refused to give up Se Joo. But Jin O either stupidly believed he could save her OR couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t try to save her. Now Se Joo falls into the same trap. Keep the big picture folks. I know people matter more. BUT each of them dedicated their lives to securing freedom for their country, and gave that the priority over their personal happiness. Jin O put that at risk when he handed himself over to Tae Min. It appears Se Joo will do the same. I shake my head. Forget noble, this is stupid.
As Se Joo leaves to rescue Jeon Seol and Jin O, Tae Min and the police search and seize the remaining freedom fighters. Tae Min is livid that Se Joo is nowhere to be found. As the police lead the freedom fighters through the wood, Se Joo mows them down with a machine gun. Tae Min hears the gun and realizes Se Joo is the one firing. Se Joo orders the commander and the freedom fighters to flee per their plan. But Tae Min and his men arrive and fire on the freedom fighters. Se Joo turns his machine gun on them but runs out of bullets. Tae Min is grazed and orders his men to catch Se Joo.
Se Joo runs to the edge of a cliff. Tae Min and the police corner him. Firing ensues. Se Joo is shot in the leg. Tae Min pushes himself to the front and laughs. He has his big prize within his grasp.
Present… Tae Min pretends to be willing to step off the roof’s edge. Se Joo pulls him away. Jin O struggles to materialize in the parking lot. In the ensuing struggle Se Joo goes over the edge of the roof. Tae Min watches his enemy fall. Jin O sees Se Joo falling. He’s able to suspend a then lower Se Joo, who falls on him. Tae Min can’t believe his eyes.
Jin O checks Se Joo’s pulse. Se Joo tells him he’s not dead. Se Joo wonders how he survived. Jin O says he entered Se Joo’s body without permission. Jin O says it saved his life. Se Joo struggles to sit up. Se Joo wonders how long Jin O’s been able to enter a human body. Jin O fades out then comes back. Jin O says it just happened. He claims it is a miracle. Jin O fades out then comes back. He claims he overexerted himself. Then Se Joo remembers that Jeon Seol is in the clutches of the blackmailer. Se Joo declares he must save Jeon Seol. Jin O tells Se Joo to save Jeon Seol and he’ll catch Tae Min. Se Joo agrees and staggers away.
Tae Min rushes to his car. Jin O stand in front of the car. Tae Min yells at him. Jin O declares it is time for him to pay for his sins. Jin O disappears just before Tae Min tries to run him down.
Se Joo reaches his car. Secretary Kang calls him to report they haven’t found the blackmailer’s address yet as she’s moved many times. She says the police are involved. Se Joo surprises Secretary Kang when he announces that Jeon Seol has been kidnapped by the blackmailer. He states the priority is saving Jeon Seol before arresting the blackmailer. Secretary Kang concurs.
Secretary Kang informs Publisher Gal Ji Seok (Jo Woo Jin) and the police that Jeon Seol has been kidnapped by the blackmailer. The blackmailer spots the police as she walks up to her apartment and runs.
The police break into the apartment and find Jeon Seol tied up but unharmed. She doesn’t understand what happened. The police inform her that the blackmailer’s brother was Se Joo’s stalker. The police state the kidnapping was to get revenge on Se Joo.
Se Joo arrives. Publisher Gal greets him and sees he is in bad shape. He sees Secretary Kang leading Jeon Seol out of the building. Jeon Seol sees Se Joo and rushes to him seeing all is not well with him. Se Joo hugs her fiercely. She tells him she doesn’t die easily. She asks what happened to him. Se Joo stagger and says he’s glad he wasn’t late this time. Publisher Gal catches him as he falls.
As Se Joo is wheeled into the hospital he looks at Jeon Seol and Jin O (who is there beside him) and thinks “I remember what happened. How I parted with you guys.” Awk! Tears!
1930… Se Joo and Tae Min stare at each other. Se Joo puts the guns to his head. Tae Min isn’t happy with that move. Se Joo declares he won’t be taken alive. Tae Min tells him not to be stupid. He owns him now. Se Joo declares he won’t be captured by the Japanese. There’s a gun shot.
I assuming Se Joo pulled the trigger. It’s a long shot and his body does not move.
Se Joo enters the interrogation room where Jeon Seol sits. He puts his hand to her face. He murmurs that she had a hard time waiting for him to arrive. Awk! Tears! She demurs that he kept her alive. He saved her long ago, so by all rights she should be dead. She cries.
Se Joo tells her that he loves her. He apologizes for being mean to her. He apologizes for pretending not to know that she cared for him. He promises not to do that in their next life. She asks why he keeps talking about the next life. He promises in the next life, he’ll recognize her first. He promises to come back. Jeon Seol asks why he’s leaving. She tells him not to go. But Se Joo leaves as she sobs for him not to go. She sobs alone.
Se Joo shoots himself in the head and falls to the ground.
Awk! Sobbing now!
Se Joo reaches into his pocket.
No, no, no, don’t pull out Jeon Seol’s photo…I can’t take it!
Se Joo pulls out Jeon Seol’s photo, stares at it and says “I miss you”. He dies.
Terrific episode, in many ways the series could end with this episode. We know what we need to know about the past characters. The final act of the present characters remains. Because this episode was steeped in the past, their resolution is what I craved and got. As I watched and blogged this episode, I made several comments in the recap that I will try not and rehash extensively.
My biggest issue in this episode was Jin O’s decision to try and save Jeon Seol. It was futile and his plan was paper thin. Se Joo’s subsequent decision to try and save both of them did not rankle as much because I was thoroughly upset that Jin O caved and gave Se Joo’s name as the leader. I give Se Joo a pass on his own need to be a friend not a leader.
Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang) is rotten and relishes hurting others. I prefer he die in both the past and present. He’s scum.
Jin O (Ko Gyung Pyo) sacrificed himself without realizing the mental torture Tae Min inflicted by hurting the woman he loved. Foolish and futile.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) was strong and never wavered. She has my admiration and respect. Lim Soo Jung killed multiple scenes this episode. The confrontation with Madame was terrific. The ending conversation with the ghost of Se Joo ripped at my heart.
Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) couldn’t turn his back on his friends. He cast off the mantle of leader to pursue the futile hope of saving Jeon Seol and Jin O. But that was for naught when Tae Min and police cornered him on the edge of the cliff. Do I agree with Se Joo killing himself? Yes, I do. How much did it hurt to watch Se Joo pull out the photograph of Jeon Seol for one last look before dying? It gutted me.
What does Writer Jin have in store for the final episode? What’s my Wishlist for the final episode?
* I don’t need to see any more of the past characters. Their story is complete.
* Tae Min can expire and I’m okay with that.
* While I’d love Jin O to evade vanishing, I don’t believe that as possible. I’d like his final act to be one of friendship. It could involve saving his friends from Tae Min. It could involve him watching them from heaving and smiling.
* Jeon Seol and Se Joo need admit that they love each other. Their past counterparts managed to finally admit their feelings. It’s their turn. I won’t mind a tinge of passion between these two. Their past counterparts delivered passion with their kiss. It’s time for the present Jeon Seol and Se Joo to do the same.
“Time Walk” by Boni Pueri has been released as part of the compact OST.