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Tunnel Episode 15 Recap

Love-hate relationship with this episode!

Mok Jin Woo’s earlier conversation with his student reveals that he plans to go on a “holiday” to take a rest. In reality, he’s gone off on a Yeon-Ho-napping mission. A flashback reveals that Mok Jin Won went back to the tunnel to find peace with himself after 30 years. Young Park Kwang Ho who tagged along started digging up about the tunnel, which I assume led to his demise. Still disappointing how the show doesn’t explain WHY Kwang Ho even started time travelling. Please don’t tell me it’s all because of destiny.

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Present-day, the team tries very hard to find Mok Jin Woo by tracking his car and volunteer records. In the meanwhile, Jin Woo’s car runs over a nail so he has no choice but to call a technician.

Yeon Ho awakes and makes noises in the boot, thus triggering the technician’s curiosity. Before curiosity kills the cat-nician, his next customer calls him away via phone. The next day, the team manages to track down this technician and heads towards Jin Woo’s last seen location. Yeon Ho awakes from her drugged state to find herself in an empty house. Before anything happens, they hear sirens.

Kwang Ho and Sun Jae hurriedly search the houses, while Jin Woo peers out of his window. It seems as if the leads are all in one place, but the truth is that the crew has searched the wrong location while the police car outside Jin Woo’s house cruises away.

Mok Jin Woo calmly threatens Yeon Ho to answer his questions within three times, or she will die. As he asks, “Where is my fountain pen” for the third time, he tightens his hold on Yeon Ho’s neck and strangles her. Twice now guys! Yeon Ho chokes out that the pen is in England and calls her dubious friend Kate to send it over. The real question is, why is Kate always so grouchy? Since the pen is in the bear, we know that Yeon Ho is lying when she tells Kate to take a pen from the drawer. Kate may be dubious but she does what Yeon Ho hopes she will do i.e alerting Sun Jae’s friend (and therefore Sun Jae) that something is wrong.

Since the fake pen will take three days to arrive, the team plans a stake out at the university. During this period, Yeon Ho admirably leverages on her best skill and questions Jin Woo on his obsession with his mum. In fact, she’s being held hostage in his first home with his mum. This is my favourite part of the episode, when Yeon Ho explains that Jung Ho Young didn’t have a type, but Mok Jin Woo did because he saw his mother in the women.

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Flashbacks show us that as a young kid, Jin Woo lapped up Bridal Masks comics and eagerly sought his mum’s affirmation.

However, as Yeon Ho notices, he started resenting his mum for leaving him alone. Everytime she went out in a skirt and stockings, he knew she was out for work.

One day, his mum returned with a man only to find that her clothes had been shredded by Jin Woo. “It was you repeatedly killing your mum, not Jung Ho Young.” This triggers Mok Jin Woo and Yeon Ho pushes the moment. She shouts that Jin Woo thinks he kills for a reason but in truth, he’s not all that different from Jung Ho Young.

This drives Jin Woo crazy and he shouts that he’s different. He kills those women because they were out at night and Sun Jae’s mum was smiling at a man on the bus, “She would not be a good mother to her child.” Yeon Ho mutters that he’s just a murderer and demands for him to kill her. The gamble pays off and Mok Jin Woo rushes out of the house, stifled with memories and restraint (because he’s trying to prove that he’s not a murderer).

A flashback explains the origin of the Noel pen – it was a gift from his mother for entering middle school. She sent him off in a cab and embraced the other men while Jin Woo smiled at his gift. The cab driver casually commented, “Those filthy women” which triggered Jin Woo and he stabbed the driver repeatedly with the pen. This pen is significant on so many levels – a gift, mother’s love, but also shame of his mother and the urge to protect his mother.

Kate informs Sun Jae that the package will be arriving the next morning and the police plans a stakeout which fails (as usual). Turns out Jin Woo already picked up the pen from a separate location since he knew from the tapping device that the police would be waiting for him at Hwayang University. Ah, I was wondering where that tapping device went. Glad to know it didn’t sink down a plot hole!

Jin Woo opens the parcel and realises that he has been duped – Kate sent over a random fountain pen. Sun Jae finally realises that something was wrong since he took the chess piece and discovers the tapping device. Park Kwang Ho storms out in anger and visits Yeon Ho’s apartment. Wait there’s no lock? He picks up Yeon Ho’s recorder and hears the most recent conversation with the granny about Jin Woo’s mother. They visit the hospital to obtain the mother’s file and her address. Finally on the right track!

Jin Woo is angry that he has been fooled and threatens to leak news that Park Kwang Ho has killed the young Park Kwang Ho. However, Yeon Ho remembers her promise to Yeon Sook that she would not tell anyone else where she hid the pen, until Dad comes along. Jin Woo closes in on her, when suddenly they hear sirens.

Yeah I never get it why the police ring their sirens while chasing down criminals. I just don’t get it – doesn’t this alert them? Is there some real-life reason we need to know here? Or is it just drama writers screwing their characters over so as to create convenient plot movements?

In any case, I guess the sirens are useful in the teeny bit sense that it stops Jin Woo who was en-route to killing Yeon Ho. He knocks Yeon Ho out and runs away with her on his back, but Kwang Ho spots them and the duo chases after his car. Yeon Ho wakes up when Kwang Ho shouts YOUUUUUU!, opens the door and tumbles out. I guess this also teaches us that Kwang Ho’s shouts are useful sometimes.

Anyway, Jin Woo chooses his battle and drives away, while the guys check worriedly on Yeon Ho. Does anyone else notice the bad editing here, when Kwang Ho’s hand alternates between being on Yeon Ho’s cheek and on her shoulder? Why editing team?

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After a hospital visit that is quicker than what both guys desire, Yeon Ho rushes home to cut open her teddy bear and passes the pen to Kwang Ho. She wonders why Jin Woo did not kill her immediately since that would stop the pen from being discovered. “Do you think this pen mean something special to him?” Well…yeah…I thought it was obvious…

Thankfully, they find DNA of the latest two victims on the pen, as well as Jin Woo’s fingerprints, but not the women from 30 years ago. I’m just a little mind-boggled right here that although we follow the perspective of Kwang Ho who is just time-travelling like nobody’s business, this pen is actually 60 years old:O 30 from when Jin Woo got it till he became old, and then another 30 when Kwang Ho brought it back to the past, before Yeon Ho passed it to him in the present.

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Yeon Ho visits Jin Woo’s house and finds the stack of comics and a diary. She reads it and I suppose there’s something important inside that will be useful for the finale. Jin Woo goes to church and recalls the strange man who tattooed his murders and told Jin Woo to kill filthy people. When his mother died, Jin Woo asked if she died because she was dirty.

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Present-day, he leaves church and repeats a Bridal Mask line, “You invaders, gangsters who trampled over this territory.” I’m so glad I watch Kim Min Sang here after Chief Kim. I don’t know if I can handle seeing Mok Jin Woo in the accountant chief.

Anyway, Sun Jae attempts to do some Yeon Ho-level analysis and convinces the crew that Jin Woo will go after females again. One fruitful thing that comes out of this discussion is the realisation that although Jin Woo used to kill women where he abducted them, he couldn’t do that now because of CCTVs. Therefore, where he last met the women before killing them was crucial. Sun Jae realised that the last seen locations of the three dead women were all near Hwayang University, so they do another stakeout….which obviously fails again. Wait, although this is interesting information, I thought that it will be something which the police would have thought about already??

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At the same of discovering his failure, Kwang Ho suddenly recalls Yeon Ho’s question as to why she wasn’t killed immediately. Since we know that Yeon Ho is only kept alive so that Jin Woo can access his pen, and that purpose is no longer valid, it isn’t surprising that Yeon Ho comes home to find Jin Woo in her house. She tries to run but gets pushed to the ground and strangled once more.

-the end-

I’m surprised Yeon Ho hasn’t already gotten some strangled-trauma by this time. One experience of being choked to near death is bad enough, and this woman goes through it not just twice, but thrice? I know it’s because we have two serial killers with similar killing patterns, and I guess it wouldn’t make sense for her to be killed in any other method…but to be honest, I’m getting quite tired of watching Yeon Ho being strangled. I also pity Lee Yoo Young for having to act out that scene three times, although admittedly each scene conveys a slightly different emotion. The repetitive nature of the attempted murder also highlights the police inadequacies. I mean, by this time, Sung Shik and his team should at least know that Yeon Ho is a key figure and offer some form of witness protection right? Everyone in the comments is screaming “Witness protection!!” and I’m also tearing my hair out. I don’t know if I can blame Yeon Ho for not being more aware of the danger she’s in, but we know she’s a strong-headed, obstinate person and maybe that explains away why she doesn’t want to trouble the police. But isn’t it curious why she couldn’t answer her own question as to why she wasn’t killed? Or that the police didn’t even think Jin Woo would double back and kill her?

Moving on to brighter topics, who thinks Choi Jin Hyuk is totally rocking that simple rugged outfit??? I do!! I know it’s kinda old-school but I don’t really know what’s in trend for men now and I was just fangirling when he storms out of the station at various points in time with his throw-on shirt on top of a white shirt with jeans. Although I was also fuming that he once again decided not to suit up with a gun.

Jin Woo’s back story may be slightly underwhelming but I actually quite like it. We see how it has affected him since young, how love and hate intermingles to create the killer he is, how each murder actually represents at the same time his love and protection, but also condemnation of his mother. The reasons why the women died are chilling – they died simply because they were walking out at night or smiling at men. Yet, if you realise, these traits are exactly the ones he associates with his mum – a prostitute working at night. I think it’s a nice touch because I didn’t immediately see the link. Everything rounds back to his mother, just like what Yeon Ho says.

Speaking of Yeon Ho, I think she behaved admirably during her face-off with Jin Woo. She uses the skill that she knows best and turns it on Jin Woo. She does so with courage and audacity, but she still cries and faints when she’s rescued. I’m saying this because representation of women in kdramas has been on my mind recently and I find that Yeon Ho, in this particular aspect, strikes a nice balance. While I will definitely be in awe of a female lead who remains strong in face of any event, I think Yeon Ho’s tears and need for a reassuring embrace is realistic.

Let me know what you think!

<3thoughtsramble

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