“Trust is an emotional matter. When truth pushes its way in, it can be broken anytime.”
Han Joo Wan’s words reverberate throughout the current episodes and set the mood for the turmoil that is wrecking its havoc on the Manyang townspeople. The culprits are rather masquerading together and it is difficult to separate reality from their carefully woven lies and deception. As our main leads fight their inner demons, it is a battle against time. The past collides with the present and the future is dead set on digging old skeletons hidden inside the closet. Today, we will be dissecting the finer details of Episodes 11 and 12, as we discuss our main character’s blossoming relationship.
A Journey from Foes to Something More
Lieutenant Han Joo Wan has come a long way and his rather strained relationship with Lee Dong Shik is finally paving the way for mutual understanding. Partnership or Romance? That’s the million dollar question, because these two have such a refreshing chemistry, that you can feel the tangible tension stretching between them. It’s high-strung, emotional and is developing into something more substantial. As Han Joo Wan attends Chief Nam Sang Bae’s funeral, both of them have a moment where their connection becomes more viable.
Joo Wan isn’t an overtly emotional person, so he holds his composure in front of Dong Shik. But as he turns and walks away, there is a flicker of sadness and remorse followed by guilt and you realize that Joo Wan is trying so hard to control his emotions. Yeo Jin Woo is certainly one of the finest actors in current generation and his micro-expressions vividly betray Joo Wan’s inner turmoil. On the other hand, Dong Shik is being careful and trying his best to stay calm while mourning his lost adoptive parent.
The best part about this show is the adoptive familial environment. For this, we need to understand our characters better. Twenty years ago, Dong Shik’s twin sister disappeared, his father died from the shock and his mother was hospitalized. Dong Shik has been through hell and the only person who kept him sane throughout these years was Chief Nam. He became a father figure, albeit someone who took care of Dong Shik and made sure that the lost kid was protected and looked after. Apart from Chief Nam, Dong Shik’s close bonds with his friends and Yoo Jae Yi are enviable. They became his makeshift family who trust him and never doubt his intentions. So, although Dong Shik lost his own family, he still had support at close quarters. People who genuinely care about him, understand him well and will always stand by him in all kinds of situations.
Han Joo Wan on the other hand has spent a major part of his life abroad. The rather strained relationship with his own Father is evident due to the lack of familial affections. As such, he is extremely reserved, doesn’t trust people easily and is an introvert. In short, a complete opposite to our other main lead Dong Shik, who loves easily and cares deeply about his friends and family. They are like two extremes that cannot reconcile. But they do and Dong Shik’s interpersonal connections intrigue Joo Wan.
In the current episodes, Joo Wan goes through phases of guilt and remorse. Couple his complex emotions with the fact that he blames himself for Chief Nam’s death, he certainly needs saving. I must appreciate the scriptwriter here, because suddenly they switched the pace and Joo Wan was included into Dong Shik’s makeshift family. It could be in those moments where Oh Ji Hwa invites him to drink with them at the butcher’s shop. The group realise that he feels guilty and in Dong Shik’s absence, they try to comfort Joo Wan in their own simple ways. I really enjoyed watching those scenes because Joo Wan is slowly getting integrated into their group and this might help him understand Dong Shik better. The way Jae Yi accepts the fact that Joo Wan might be the only one who could get Dong Shik back to Manyang, is a clear indication of their relationship. Dong Shik’s friends are slowly accepting his new relationship with Joo Wan and that’s heartwarming.
I’m enjoying the slow burn chemistry between these two. Joo Wan is acting less suspicious and instead seems more worried about Dong Shik. Dong Shik on the other hand understands Joo Wan’s inner struggles and decides to ease the tension by letting him off the hook for Chief Nam’s death. They aren’t entirely in tandem, but their relationship is less strained now. Dong Shik wants Joo Wan to stop acting recklessly and not follow his path. The fact that Joo Wan actually listens to Dong Shik and invites him to join the investigation reveals their changing dynamics. Joo Wan is genuinely worried about future repercussions (that Dong Shik might be targeted next). As such Joo Wan is being extra careful because he doesn’t want to repeat his unruly mistakes again. Dong Shik supports Joo Wan, reassures him and tries to soothe his dormant fears. The fact that Dong Shik seems more like himself whenever Joo Wan is around, speaks volumes about this subtle romance.
Dong Shik trusts Joo Wan implicitly, so much so that he won’t let even his close friends question Joo Wan’s integrity (when Ji Hwa expresses her concern about Joo Wan questioning his Father). Joo Wan does question his Father and realizes that he truly doesn’t know anything about the autopsy report that Chief Nam was searching. But when he calls Dong Shik and informs him about the same, Joo Wan is rather cautious. He actually starts to explain himself but Dong Shik brushes off his concerns, because he knows Joo Wan quite well. They have a short romantic interlude where Joo Wan chides him and Dong Shik apologizes. But this sudden shift in their relationship is sweet and I’m happy that both of our lone rangers are finally leaning onto each other for support. The connection becomes more vibrant when Joo Wan learns the actual truth behind Dong Shik’s arrest. He gets enraged when he realises that Dong Shik was arrested without any solid evidence and as such, has been put through literal hell for the last twenty years, even though he wasn’t responsible for the crimes occurred.
Joo Wan’s rage paves way for a new partnership where both of them work in tandem to corner Park Jeong Je and councilwoman Do Hae Won. After catching them red-handed, Joo Wan stands up for Dong Shik when Do Hae Won starts her usual tirades and begins to badmouth Dong Shik. He won’t stand by and let anyone hurt the man whom he is growing to admire and like. In the initial episodes, Joo Wan displayed hostility which slowly changed to intrigue and now we are faced with a remorseful individual who wants to protect this fragile man (Dong Shik) whom everyone keeps stringing along. So, while Dong Shik is trying to adjust to this new reality where his best friend might be a possible suspect, Joo Wan becomes his silent supporter.
Dong Shik is left shaken with Jeong Je’s fragmented memories. Dong Shik still wants to trust his friend, but his faith is shaken to the core. So, Joo Wan tries hard to fence the border between Dong Shik’s confused emotions and the morbid reality glaring back at them. Obviously he is trying to appease Dong Shik, who turns the entire conversation into flirtatious banter. This new carefree version of Dong Shik is highly amusing, because he is entirely comfortable around Joo Wan and loves to make him plush. Watching him endlessly pokes the bear is entertaining, because Joo Wan would never accept that he is worried about his volatile partner. Dong Shik’s flirting leaves Joo Wan flustered and although Joo Wan keeps denying his feelings, I’m waiting for the day when he would readily accept them. While Dong Shik jokes about being a suspect, Joo Wan gets angry and rebukes him. This endless teasing actually liven the atmosphere and gives some much added relief to their contrite situations.
Joo Wan likes to defend his territory and certainly doesn’t appreciate the fact that Park Jeong Je is stringing Dong Shik’s trust. The fact that he understands Dong Shik so well and feels betrayed on his behalf is a clear indication of his emerging feelings for Dong Shik. He is also hyper aware of Dong Shik’s emotions and even in the midst of investigations, Joo Wan is always focused on Dong Shik’s fluctuating expressions. This week’s episode ended on a terse argument between our adorable couple as Joo Wan loses his calm over Dong Shik’s unwavering trust on Park Jeong Je.
Joo Wan has lived in a world, where he never had people he could implicitly trust. As such, he is unable to understand how Dong Shik can still trust Jeong Je. Dong Shik on the other hand turns the tables and questions Joo Wan’s stance on familial relationships and his trust issues. The episode ends on a shocking cliffhanger and the real culprit is revealed. I’m wondering how this will affect Joo Wan and Dong Shik’s fledgling yet delicate partnership. Will Joo Wan confront his own insecurities and face the glaring reality? Will Dong Shik accept the fact that Joo Wan might be connected to his painful past? Will they stand beside each other or fall apart?
The Deceits, Lies and Shocking Truths
Do Hae Won, Lee Chang Jin and Park Jeong Je have always been the epicenter of this crime thriller and even after Kang Jin Mook’s death, the mystery surrounding Lee Yoo Yeon’s death circles around these three. The fact that Jeong Je has no recollection of events that transpired on that fateful night certainly seems suspicious. Despite his mother’s fervent warnings, Jeong Je never gave up on Dong Shik and although his mental condition is questionable, Jeong Je is a righteous character who cares deeply about his friends. So much so, that they are more important to him than his own Mother, who has been surreptitiously guarding him for years by bribing police officers.
So both friends are left at loggerheads, when Dong Shik tries to jog Jeong Je’s hidden memories and forces him to confront his morbid past. There are painful memories that Jeong Je has locked away, because he couldn’t stand to face the reality. The reveal of his real relationship with Yoo Yeon was rather startling, because he is guilt ridden about being unable to save her. Would Yoo Yeon be alive, if he had stopped her that night? There are so many tangents to this story that it leaves you shell shocked.
Yoo Yeon walks away after her terse argument with Jeong Je and unknowingly ends up becoming a witness to Bang Ju Seon’s murder. As such, Jin Mook binds her and slices her fingers. She does manage to escape from his clutches, but ends up getting hit by a car and while she is lying wounded on the road, a drunk Jeong Je runs over her again. I’m still trying to get over the fact that this innocent teenager met such a heinous death. The next episodes will decide the fate of Yoo Yeon’s killer. Will Joo Wan and Dong Shik work together to implicate him for his grievous offence or will he walk away scout free, in the same manner as he did twenty years ago? Looking forward to this week’s episodes!