The search is on for So-hee’s phone, which could contain the evidence that will bring justice to both the innocent and the guilty. Everyone wants the phone for their own reasons, causing them to go to great lengths to discover its secrets. It’s not easy for Joon-oh to keep his return a secret as he maneuvers close to Tae-ho — being discovered could mess up everything and ruin Joon-oh’s life all over again.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Tae-young informs Joon-oh and Bong-hee that So-hee’s phone may contain evidence to exonerate Joon-oh and incriminate Tae-ho, both in Jae-hyun’s death and Joon-oh’s drunk driving charges. Joon-oh thinks that So-hee kept changing her story because CEO Jang was threatening her, so they decide to get their hands on that phone.
Luckily, it’s been recovered from the island and shipped home, but it’s intercepted by Chairwoman Jo’s people. But she’s closed the investigation and has moved on to campaigning for public office, so she orders the recovered items burned.
Chairwoman Jo goes out to meet with her potential constituents again, though she clearly thinks they’re a bunch of unwashed lowlifes, based on the way she constantly douses her hands in disinfectant and can barely hide her disgusted expressions. She hardly gets a chance to rest in her hotel room before Tae-young calls her, and she glances nervously at Investigator Oh when Tae-young mentions the boxes of articles from the island.
Investigator Oh gesticulates that he got rid of the boxes as she ordered, but Tae-young tells Chairwoman Jo that just because the investigation was closed, doesn’t mean he’s finished looking into his sister’s murder. He says that he’s determined to get So-hee’s phone, so she barks that she’ll look into it and get back to him.
During the conversation, Chairwoman Jo was frantically writing notes to Investigator Oh, and he makes a call to find out if the articles were destroyed. Thank goodness the deed wasn’t done yet, and they find So-hee’s phone still intact. Investigator Oh notes that it’s a pretty old model, so it may be difficult to find someone who can repair it so they can see what’s on it before Tae-young shows up.
While he’s heading to get the phone, Tae-young calls Bong-hee and Joon-oh, who are on their way to see Byung-ju, Joon-oh’s former manager. Bong-hee is driving since Joon-oh’s license was suspended, and she’s an amusingly nervous driver, which causes bickering between the two friends (no surprise there, these two will bicker over whether or not the sky is blue).
One of CEO Jang’s spies sends him pictures of Investigator Oh with the box of recovered articles. He makes a call to order a meeting with his people in Seowon, then notices that Byung-ju is inexplicably standing in the corner of his office, pretending to dust.
Byung-ju nervously stammers that he just came to clean and had no idea CEO Jang was here, and CEO Jang motions him closer. He says to take Tae-ho out drinking tonight when he’s finished working, and not to leave him alone for a minute, which seems like an obvious ploy to keep Tae-ho out of the way.
Byung-ju reports to Joon-oh and Bong-hee what he overheard about the meeting, and Bong-hee realizes that Seowon is where Chairwoman Jo is campaigning. Byung-ju tells them that CEO Jang specifically instructed him not to tell Tae-ho about it, and Joon-oh reminds him to listen in to as many of CEO Jang’s conversations as possible and report back.
Byung-ju says that CEO Jang already caught him eavesdropping, but Joon-oh and Bong-hee encourage him to keep doing his best. Aww, he’s so squishy-cute. When he leaves to pick up Tae-ho, Bong-hee notices that Joon-oh seems worried for his buddy, and she promises he’ll be fine.
Tae-ho and Ji-ah are doing a photo shoot together, and Ji-ah looks distinctly uncomfortable when Tae-ho pulls her close for some intimate shots. They have to sit together during a break, and Tae-ho notices the way Ki-joon watches Ji-ah. He grumbles that Ki-joon should learn to keep work and private matters separate.
Tae-ho offers to call CEO Jang and get Ji-ah a new manager, and Ji-ah leans in reeeal close to call Tae-ho a bastard. She says he’s a murderer and that she had to have several surgeries to hide the scar he left on her arm, and warns him to keep his mouth shut.
Ki-joon steps outside to text Joon-oh, saying again that he can’t take Joon-oh’s side. He starts to add that he overheard CEO Jang talking about So-hee’s phone, but he doesn’t have time to send it, because Ji-ah joins him.
She asks why he booked this photo shoot if he can’t handle seeing her and Tae-ho together, and wonders how he’ll be when they start filming the movie. Ki-joon says that’s not what’s worrying him, but he can’t explain without revealing that Joon-oh is alive, which frustrates them both.
When Ho-hang goes to visit CEO Hwang in the hospital, he’s nearly mowed down by doctors rushing to his old boss’s room. The doctors stabilize CEO Hwang, and Ho-hang kneels by the bed to beg him to live and wake up. He cries, saying that he even betrayed Joon-oh to save CEO Hwang’s life — aww, he traded his testimony for CEO Hwang’s safety.
When he stands to talk to CEO Hwang’s wife, a movement catches his eye, and he blinks to see a familiar-looking man pass by the doorway. It’s Joon-oh with Bong-hee, and they hide around the corner when Ho-hang comes into the hallway, making him think he’s seeing things.
They squabble over Joon-oh’s face mask (which he hilariously uses to cover his eyes, and Bong-hee calls it good), and Bong-hee has to hold Joon-oh back from going to smack Ho-hang for his betrayal. Fixated on the idea that he just saw Joon-oh, Ho-hang has a tiny freakout when he decides it must have been a ghost, ha.
When CEO Hwang’s wife steps out for a call, Joon-oh takes advantage of the opportunity and steps into the hospital room while Bong-hee stands guard outside. Joon-oh gently takes his old boss’s hand and tells him to hang in there just a bit longer. He promises to reveal the truth and set things right. As he and Bong-hee leave, Ho-hang comes into the hallway again, and this time he definitely sees Joon-oh.
After the photo shoot, Byung-ju says that CEO Jang told him to take Tae-ho out, but Tae-ho isn’t interested. So Byung-ju takes him home, where a man lurks in the bushes, spying on Tae-ho. But Tae-ho is onto him, and he casually sits in the man’s car with him.
The poor guy can’t hide his nerves or lie very well, and it’s obvious that CEO Jang sent him. He ends up driving Tae-ho to the secret meeting, trying to surreptitiously text CEO Jang that he’s been busted. But Tae-ho sees that too, and tells him to knock it off. Byung-ju tails them, grousing about which side he should choose if he wants to survive all this spying.
Chairwoman Jo finds Tae-young waiting for her in her campaign office, and she tells him that So-hee’s phone had to be handed over to the prosecutor’s office. Tae-young grows angry, aware that she’s lying, and that she didn’t even know or care about the phone until he mentioned it to her.
He asks if she’s ever lost anyone she loves, and says that that phone is the only thing So-hee left behind that could be of some value to him. He growls that the prosecution doesn’t care as much as her own brother about discovering the truth of her death.
Chairwoman Jo bristles, saying that this isn’t the Special Investigation Headquarters — it’s her campaign office, and she doesn’t have to listen to him anymore. Tae-young informs her that she’s made a huge mistake today before storming out.
After he leaves, Investigator Oh asks why Chairwoman Jo didn’t show Tae-young the phone like she’d planned. It turns out that she heard that CEO Jang was also looking for the phone, but she keeps that bit of information to herself.
Tae-ho crashes the secret meeting, which happens to be at the same hotel where Chairwoman Jo is staying, and asks CEO Jang why he had him followed. CEO Jang tells him about So-hee’s phone being recovered, explaining that he wanted to find out what’s on it before telling Tae-ho. Tae-ho says that he wants to be involved, and CEO Jang slaps on an insincere smile.
He thinks back to the night of Jae-hyun’s death, when he’d gone to talk the songwriter out of quitting. He’d begged Jae-hyun to stick around a bit longer, but Jae-hyun had said he didn’t want to continue living in Dreamers’ shadow. He’d gotten offended when Tae-ho asked if this was about money and told him to get out.
Tae-ho angrily offered to get Jae-hyun anything he wanted in order to stay, and Jae-hyun had taunted that he couldn’t even sing in his own voice, sneering at him to go practice. Oooohh, so Jae-hyun wasn’t just the songwriter, he was supplying Tae-ho’s voice? That explains so much.
Tae-ho growled that that was going too far, but Jae-hyun said it was nothing compared to how they treated him. Tae-ho said that he was always nice to Jae-hyun when all he did was supply his voice, and Jae-hyun had snapped that the voice was disappearing now.
Tae-ho had hauled off and punched Jae-hyun, then snatched him up by his lapel. Jae-hyun had struggled out of his grip and fallen, hitting his head on his metal equipment case. When Tae-ho had turned him over, there had been blood everywhere, and Jae-hyun was dead. He hadn’t seen Jae-hyun’s phone under the table, with a call open to So-hee.
Tae-young arranges to meet Joon-oh and Bong-hee at Chairwoman Jo’s hotel. Joon-oh jumps out of the car, but Bong-hee stays back to put on some lipstick. Joon-oh comes back and barks at her, causing Bong-hee to smear lipstick across her cheek, and he gets back in the car to ask why she’s putting on makeup.
Bong-hee sheepishly says she didn’t want to look shabby in such a nice hotel, and Joon-oh realizes that she’s never been in a hotel before. He licks a tissue and cleans her face, then takes the lipstick and reapplies it for her. He gives her a long, appraising look and pronounces her pretty, making Bong-hee smile happily.
Tae-young calls Bong-hee to warn her that Tae-ho is here, and tells her to keep Joon-oh out of sight while he goes to get a room for them to talk. Joon-oh tries to mess with Bong-hee, taking off his shoes and telling her that it’s what you do in a hotel. She grabs them and chucks them out the door, saying that she’s not stupid. She runs for the elevator as he goes to get them back, and throws one shoe out of the elevator when he leans down to put them on, hee.
As they try to get the elevator to work (turns out you need a room key), Joon-oh spots Tae-ho heading their way. Luckily, a fan stops him and the doors close, and Joon-oh and Bong-hee are safe, for now.
Once in their room, Tae-young tells Bong-hee that he thinks Tae-ho is also after So-hee’s phone. She wonders why CEO Jang was trying to come here without Tae-ho (according to Byung-ju), which makes Tae-young think.
Joon-oh goes into the bathroom and reads Ki-joon’s text, which outlines how interested CEO Jang is in So-hee’s phone. Joon-oh texts back that he’s in the hotel trying to get to So-hee’s phone first, which makes Ki-joon worry and call him.
While brushing his teeth, Joon-oh tells Ki-joon which hotel they’re in, and he spots a zit on his chin. He tries to squeeze it and shrieks from the pain, which freaks out Ki-joon, who thinks something bad happened. He makes a quick excuse to Ji-ah and grabs a taxi to the hotel, and she follows him in her van.
Back in the room, Tae-young tells Joon-oh and Bong-hee that the phone will either be in Chairwoman Jo’s hotel room or her campaign office. Joon-oh suggests that Tae-young check out her office while he and Bong-hee look in her hotel room. Tae-young warns them to be careful, since CEO Jang and Tae-ho will probably do the same thing.
While Chairwoman Jo is out schmoozing for votes, one of her workers slips away and trades an envelope for money. The man who paid him takes the envelope to a nearby car and hands it to the man inside — CEO Jang, who opens it to find Chairwoman Jo’s campaigning schedule. Investigator Oh notices the strange activity, and sees CEO Jang looking out the car window.
While Chairwoman Jo is out, Bong-hee swipes her room key from the maid’s cart and tosses it to Joon-oh, but it falls short of his outstretched hand. They bicker some more while Joon-oh tries to teach her to throw properly, but eventually they make it inside the room.
They don’t find anything in their search, and while they’re still inside, Byung-ju calls to say that Tae-ho and his goons are coming. Joon-oh and Bong-hee hide under the bathroom counter, in full view if anyone bends down, but it’s the best they can do on short notice.
Tae-ho hears Bong-hee’s phone chime, and he leaves his guys to bug the room before stepping into the bathroom to search. He’s standing near Joon-oh and Bong-hee when he drops his phone just inches from their faces, and he leans down to retrieve it. A pounding at the door saves them — Tae-ho snatches his phone up quickly and leaves.
It’s Ki-joon and Ji-ah, who pretend they came here to announce that Ji-ah will do Tae-ho’s movie. We see that Ki-joon had run into Byung-ju in the lobby and had asked if Byung-ju had seen their “close friend.” They figure out that they both know Joon-oh is alive just as Ji-ah joins them. She’s shocked but takes the news in stride, and Byung-ju tells them that Joon-oh may be in trouble.
Tae-ho leads them into the hallway to ask why they came all this way to give him the news, and they stammer that it was urgent. They succeed in deflecting Tae-ho away from the room, and Joon-oh texts Ki-joon that he forgives him, and requests a pizza. Ha.
Back in their own room, Joon-oh and Bong-hee share a bottle of water (how do they make everything funny?) before Tae-young rushes in, saying that he knows where So-hee’s phone is located. He thinks that Investigator Oh has it, and his theory is confirmed for CEO Jang by the bugs on the room. Jang tells his goons to leave Tae-ho out of this from now on.
Tae-young correctly guesses that CEO Jang also knows who has the phone, and he says they need to act fast. He plans to distract CEO Jang while Joon-oh and Bong-hee get the phone from Investigator Oh. Tae-young watches CEO Jang leave the hotel in his car and calls in a favor.
At the hotel entrance, Joon-oh and Bong-hee watch Investigator Oh drive away carrying a shipping box. After a long pause, in which nervous driver Bong-hee can’t figure out which gear she needs to be in to drive the car, they head off after him.
CEO Jang calls Ki-joon, who’s in the hotel elevator with Ji-ah and Tae-ho. He tells Ki-joon to keep Tae-ho in the hotel for an hour, but the moment the elevator door opens, Tae-ho sees Jang’s goons running through the lobby, and he’s off like a shot.
The goons all jump into a van, and Tae-ho takes his follower’s car to pursue them. Investigator Oh is blissfully unaware that he’s being tailed by three different groups, and things don’t look good for Bong-hee and Joon-oh when the other drivers are much more aggressive than she is.
Meanwhile, Tae-young follows behind CEO Jang, which CEO Jang notices. His driver grows erratic trying to shake Tae-young, but a couple of cops pull them over. CEO Jang is frustrated beyond belief, especially when he sees Tae-young standing there grinning at him — aha, this is the favor he called in. Brilliant.
Bong-hee and Joon-oh briefly lose Investigator Oh, but they soon find him again, minus his other followers. He starts to have stomach troubles and pulls over at a gas station to use the restroom. While he’s in there, Bong-hee says she’s going to stall for time and sends Joon-oh to search Investigator Oh’s car.
Bong-hee jams the restroom door, locking Investigator Oh inside without his phone. Joon-oh goes to Oh’s car and grabs the box inside, but when he opens it, it’s empty. We see that Chairwoman Jo had one of her men take the phone to a repair shop to have it fixed so she can discover why everyone wants it so badly. She’d told him where to leave it, which CEO Jang heard through the bug.
Bong-hee gets a frantic call from Ki-joon, telling her that Tae-ho is following them, and to get Joon-oh out of there. But it’s too late — Joon-oh turns away from the empty box to find Tae-ho standing just a few feet away.
Joon-oh is wearing his mask, but Tae-ho can tell from the eyes that it’s him. He’s visibly shaken to see Joon-oh, and he breathes that there’s no way he can be alive. Joon-oh pulls down the mask, and answers, “I’m not alive, Tae-ho. That’s why I feel at ease.”
He walks past Tae-ho, completely unafraid, and Tae-ho actually looks scared for a moment. Joon-oh leads Bong-hee back to their car, and behind them, Tae-ho’s expression hardens again.
It didn’t feel like much happened in this episode other than trying to find So-hee’s phone. These last couple of episodes feel very strange tonally, since until now the show has had a tendency to careen from plot point to plot point so fast it gave me whiplash, and while there’s still plenty going on, it’s not moving forward at the rate I’m used to. The one thing the show is still doing well is not telegraphing its major plot points before they happen, so I’m still not clear about exactly what’s on So-hee’s phone and how it could help clear up both Jae-hyun’s death and Joon-oh’s drunk driving arrest. Hopefully when we find out, it will be worth having sat through an episode and a half of crazy hijinks, and not a lot else.
Well, I say that, but we actually did get some fun character moments, and we learned a lot more about why our survivors went to the dark side and who will probably be willing to speak up once it becomes known that Joon-oh is alive. I can tell that Ki-joon wants to help his old friend, but he’s protecting the woman he loves and he feels like his hands are tied. Ho-hang did it for CEO Hwang, so maybe when (I hope it’s when!) his old boss wakes from his coma, he can convince Ho-hang that the truth is worth risking their lives for. And Ji-ah just seems like she’s ready to explode — it won’t take much to push her to speak out against Tae-ho. She already seems about a thousand percent done with Tae-ho’s bullshit, and I can see Ji-ah calling a press conference just because Tae-ho annoys her one too many times.
As to major plot points, I was not expecting that revelation that Jae-hyun was actually singing for Tae-ho. Looking back, the clue was there (the CD labelled “Voice for Choi Tae-ho” in Jae-hyun’s apartment), but I just assumed it was a song and didn’t pay much attention. Knowing that bit of information, so many things suddenly click into place and make sense. I’d wondered why the members of Dreamers were so upset at losing a songwriter — I mean, even if he was ridiculously good, there are lots of songwriters, but as a replacement voice he’d be pretty irreplaceable. It also makes sense now as to why Jae-hyun felt so personally hurt at Joon-oh’s anger, saying that he was as much a member of Dreamers as the others. And no wonder that Tae-ho was so desperate to keep Jae-hyun under his thumb, because without him, Dreamers would have had to break up.
Which leads to another major lightbulb moment for me: why Tae-ho framed Joon-oh for drunk driving. With Jae-hyun dead, Tae-ho was at risk that it would be found out he couldn’t sing. But by causing a huge scandal, he solved several problems — he put the blame for Dreamers’ breakup on Joon-oh, deflecting negative attention elsewhere and making himself seem sympathetic. It also explains why he went into acting instead of trying to stay in music, like both Joon-oh and Yeol did. They were the talented ones when it came to music, but Tae-ho had to find something else to do if he wanted to remain a star. Unfortunately for So-hee, Jae-hyun, and Yeol, Tae-ho is just ambitious and evil enough to be willing to kill to keep his secrets.
Now I really need to know what’s on So-hee’s phone, and how it can help bring everything to light. Obviously she knew the truth about Tae-ho’s voice because she was dating Jae-hyun, and she was probably recording the fight between Jae-hyun and Tae-ho. He’d evidently tried to call her and left the line open while they fought, but I think there’s going to be a lot more to it than that. Because it still doesn’t explain why So-hee blamed Joon-oh for Jae-hyun’s death, both at the funeral and based on comments she made on the island. But I do trust that the show knows where it’s taking us, because even small details early in the series have turned out to be major clues. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the surprises the show has in store.