Manhole: Episode 6
Yes! This is what our comedy was missing: melodrama! This week, we’re trading in the antics for some much-needed gravitas, as Pil has to face the very real possibility that he may not survive the current timeline. The threat of death is quite an eye-opener, and Pil has discovered a lot of the courage he lacked before, but before he can do anything else, he’ll have to make it back to the manhole (body and soul) if he ever wants to make things right.
EPISODE 6: “Love like it’s the last time”
Having possessed Seok-tae and his father, Pil and Mr. Yang (Gu-gil’s dad) are frantically wheeling out Pil’s body when they’re intercepted by Soo-jin. Soo-jin freezes to see Pil’s body in the cart, and Pil/Seok-tae tries to push past her, saying that he can’t explain but needs to go. Surprisingly, Soo-jin answers that she knows as she asks, “You’re Pil, right?”
Soo-jin and Pil’s spirits are abruptly transported to a technicolored tunnel, and Pil hesitantly asks if she can see him. Soo-jin replies that she can’t, but she can feel him. Reaching toward his face, Soo-jin quietly says that she knows it’s him from the eyes, saying there’s something she hasn’t seen for a long time.
Unable to hold back anymore, Soo-jin hugs him with tears in her eyes as she chides him for making her wait so long. Stepping back, she asks if he can stay like this by her side, forever. Pil pulls her back into a sweet embrace and answers, “I’ve always been by your side.”
Sadly, the beautiful moment is broken when Pil is suddenly wrenched out of Soo-jin’s arms. We return to the real world where an orderly has tackled Seok-tae, effectively knocking Pil out of his body snatch. Curses.
Soo-jin crouches down to ask if Pil is ok, but with Pil out of his body, Seok-tae’s consciousness returns, and he starts stammering that he has no idea what’s going on. Soo-jin realizes that Pil is gone and wonders what the heck is going on. The recently de-possessed Seok-tae and his father (also returned to his own body) wonder the same thing.
Over at the tunnel, the streetlight flickers over the manhole and the clock strikes midnight. Pil missed his ride.
The gang gathers at the bar to catch up, and we learn that not only is Jin-sook living the corporate life, Dal-soo never opened the DVD store and is currently “living off” his brother. Jin-sook sighs that Pil used to push her to open her own business, but she couldn’t do it after his accident.
Gu-gil chimes in that Pil had once told him that Jung-ae liked him since she was always looking at him, but Jung-ae snaps that she was staring at Dal-soo. She starts reminiscing about how she first fell for Dal-soo when he wore a stylish red jacket… which Dal-soo reveals had been lent to him by Pil. Gu-gil grumbles that he should have worn the jacket.
Jin-sook’s phone dings then, and she interrupts the group with news that there’s trouble at the hospital.
The gang comes running to find Seok-tae and his dad still being detained for trying to kidnap Pil. Seok-tae is whining that he really doesn’t know what going on, while his dad dazedly says that he must have been possessed by a ghost.
Pil’s mom and dad arrive and tell the guards to let the two go, since this was probably a misunderstanding from Seok-tae believing that they were going to pull Pil’s plug.
In the hospital room, Soo-jin gazes at Pil while Jin-sook thinks that it doesn’t make sense for Seok-tae to have tried to kidnap Pil when he knew that his parent’s weren’t giving up on him. Soo-jin, sounding like she’s still in shock, says that it wasn’t Seok-tae, but Pil. She adds that she not only saw him, but kissed him.
Jin-sook doesn’t understand her at all, but Mr. Yang starts scolding Pil for wasting time kissing her when he had other things to do (like stealing his own body). Pil answers that he just wanted to console her.
Pil hangs his head, and at his side, we see his hand fade in and out for a moment. Uh oh.
Pil’s dad confronts Seok-tae’s father, scolding his subordinate for not stopping his son from doing something so rash. Seok-tae’s father trembles from holding in his rage and glares to see people around them watching as Pil’s dad reams into him.
Seok-tae tries to convince his friends that he really has no idea of how he got from the BongBong pub to the hospital. But the others just yell that he shouldn’t drink so much.
At the manhole, Pil worries about missing the midnight ride while Mr. Yang grumps about his time travel theory. Pil concludes that he and Mr. Yang will need help in order for Pil to make his midnight deadline on the coming day.
Jin-sook takes Soo-jin back home, but Soo-jin keeps trying to tell her friend about Pil’s visit. She says that she really saw Pil in the mirror, but Jin-sook just worries that Soo-jin needs to get out more. Heh.
Soo-jin will not be distracted though, and thinks that Pil/Seok-tae was trying to take his body somewhere. She’s convinced that he’ll come back to try again, but Jin-sook is convinced that her friend is losing it.
Dal-soo and Gu-gil have a tug of war over Jung-ae’s cab door, arguing over who will escort her home. When Jung-ae insists that she can just go back on her own, Gu-gil caves, preferring Dal-soo to go with her than for her to travel alone at night. (Awww.) Gu-gil watches sadly as the two drive off, and Jung-ae looks back at him through the cab window, conflicted.
At Soo-jin’s house, Jin-sook gently warns her parents that something is off with their daughter, divulging how Soo-jin believes Pil visited her earlier that night.
Dal-soo walks Jung-ae home after their cab ride, and it’s a bit awkward with Dal-soo trying to flirt, and Jung-ae looking rather uninterested. Eventually, after walking her around her block three times, Dal-soo bids her goodnight. Jung-ae watches him go, wincing over her tired legs and wondering why something feels off.
Just then, Jung-ae gets a text from Gu-gil asking if she made it home safe. He tells her that he fixed the broken light in her stairwell so she needn’t be afraid of the dark. Jung-ae appears touched, and her heart starts beating.
At the pool room, Pil and Mr. Yang watch Gu-gil fret over Jung-ae. Pil tuts that when he goes back, he’ll tell his friend to move on, but Mr. Yang tells him not to. He says that no one knows for sure what will happen, pointing out that even Pil isn’t certain if Soo-jin will choose him in his own timeline.
Mr. Yang adds that he knows that Pil was hoping to possess Gu-gil since he’s stronger than Seok-tae, but he forbids him from using his son. Pil pouts, but Mr. Yang tell him instead to “trust in the power of love that transcends time.” Pil thinks back to the luminescent tunnel and how Soo-jin was able to feel him.
Jin-sook tucks Soo-jin into bed, but Soo-jin glares at her friend, annoyed that she won’t believe her about Pil. Soo-jin insists that she isn’t crazy, but then totally spazzes out trying to explain that she can’t explain it. Heh, she’s acting just like a certain flailing eccentric we all know so well.
On her way out, Jin-sook tries to reassure Soo-jin’s parents that Soo-jin is doing better now, and advises them to make sure that Soo-jin stays at home, in bed.
Pil is heading over to Soo-jin’s house just as Jin-sook leaves it. She walks past Pil on the way out, and he casually calls out to her to get home safe. His words echo strangely, and Jin-sook stops on the spot as though she really had heard him. Jin-sook looks in Pil’s direction as he stares back, wondering if she can feel him too. Eventually, Jin-sook passes it off as nothing and continues on.
Pil goes inside Soo-jin’s house just in time to see Soo-jin sneaking out while her parents bicker over who should stay up and keep an eye on their daughter. Pfft. Might want to focus less on planning and more on action, folks.
Outside, Pil tries to block Soo-jin by standing right in front of her with his arms spread. She walks through him, but stops, having felt him. She looks around, calling out to Pil, but he can’t make her hear him without a body.
Both Seok-tae and his dad can’t sleep, with Seok-tae worrying about being possessed, and Dad raging over how Pil’s dad embarrassed him at the hospital. Dad is determined to prove his innocence and, saying he’s “thirsty for revenge,” sends Seok-tae to get water.
Seok-tae jumps up to get it, but soon as Seok-tae steps outside the room, he gives an almighty sneeze. Looks like Pil has hitched another ride, because Seok-tae is suddenly walking out the door, leaving his father suspicious.
Pil/Seok-tae sprints to Soo-jin, finding her as she’s on her way to the hospital. She brushes right by him, but stops a few steps later. Soo-jin turns back and sees Seok-tae gazing at her and asks if it’s him. Then Seok-tae disappears, and we just see Pil.
He stutters out that she really does recognize him. Wordlessly, Soo-jin grabs him in a tight hug, and Pil reaches around to hold her to him, smiling like all his dreams just came true.
Hidden behind shrubbery, Seok-tae’s dad watches his son hugging Soo-jin.
Pil and Soo-jin go to their lookout spot, and he tells her everything about the time-traveling manhole, adding that he leaves at midnight and comes back at noon. Soo-jin scoffs, asking if he’s Alice in Wonderland or something.
Looking around, Pil points to their bench and asks if she remembers when they were little, that time on the bench…? Soo-jin suddenly snaps at him to stop talking and covers her ears, saying she doesn’t remember.
Flash back to when the two were kids: Pil had promised her that no one else knew about this place, and called the bench her spot. Happy, Soo-jin had innocently kissed his cheek, making the tiny Pil freeze. So cute.
Back in the present, Soo-jin rants that the next day, he made that drawing of the two of them (where they were naked), and she got teased so much for it. Pil tries to argue that he was just a kid and thought that kissing meant you were married.
Soo-jin rounds him and says that they should get married, then. Pil gapes at her, stunned, and she adds that when he goes back through the manhole and fixes everything, then they should get married. Heh, Pil’s brain seems to have blown up.
Smiling, Soo-jin asks what she would be doing right now if he were to go back and return things to how they were. Wistfully, Pil answers, “You’ll probably be waiting for me, getting ready for your wedding.”
The two hold hands and resume walking, though Soo-jin starts stumbling from exhaustion, leading Pil to hoist her into a piggyback. Walking slowly, Pil admits that he thinks about her at least three times a day and says, “People… call this love.” Aww. Was that a confession?
Unfortunately, Soo-jin seems to have fallen asleep on his back, and Pil laments that when he can finally say it (the confession), she can’t hear him. But then Soo-jin sleepily murmurs, “I heard you.”
Pil smiles and sighs that even if she forgets after the manhole, he will remember. He starts to say that he needs to go back to the manhole by midnight, but Soo-jin drowsily shushes him. Pil grins, content to tell her later.
On the road behind them, Seok-tae’s father has been tailing the pair. He sees his son piggybacking Soo-jin and figures that something isn’t right: Seok-tae isn’t smooth enough to be dating her. Heh, true.
Seok-tae’s father confronts his son in the morning, but poor Seok-tae just has a sore back and doesn’t remember anything.
Without a body yet again, Pil watches over the sleeping Soo-jin. Looking at her in the morning sunlight, he reaches out and is amazed that he can actually hold her hand. He strokes her hair, and Soo-jin smiles in her sleep.
Pil holds her hand and remembers their moment in the tunnel when Soo-jin had hugged him and said she waited for him for so long.
Jung-ae and her mom are busy moving out of their apartment when she looks up and sees that Dal-soo and Gu-gil have arrived… wearing matching bright red jackets. PAHAHA!
As the boys load up the moving truck, her mom notes that Jung-ae only seems to be staring at one of them, though we don’t see who.
Dal-soo sighs that he’s hot, and Jung-ae immediately jumps up with water, only to walk right past him and hand the bottle over to Gu-gil. Aww, Dal-soo takes the loss in stride, but I guess we know which one she was looking at.
Seok-tae calls Jin-sook and confides that his father told him that he met with Soo-jin last night, but he has no memory of it. He stage-whispers that he was possessed by a ghost, but Jin-sook deadpans back what a shame it is that the ghost didn’t take Seok-tae with him.
Jin-sook says that Seok-tae must be happy to have been on a date with Soo-jin since he always liked her, but Seok-tae answers that he’s long since given up. Giving some major puppy eyes, he says that he likes Jin-sook. Jin-sook immediately calls out for the ghosts to come take Seok-tae back. Pah!
Pil wakes up, having dozed off unintentionally, to find Soo-jin gone. He rushes outside, but something is wrong. Everything is shifting around like a lava lamp, and Pil clutches his chest as he fades in and out. Over in the hospital, Pil’s body starts seizing.
At her studio, Soo-jin begins to take down the hospital pictures of Pil when Jae-hyun comes to visit. He tries to find out what happened the other night (when Pil possessed him and he woke up sans pants), but Soo-jin hedges around the question.
He reminds her of the first time they met, and we flash back. It had been pouring rain, and Soo-jin was just sitting at a bus stop with no umbrella. Jae-hyun had seen her at the bench and silently held his umbrella out to cover her. Soo-jin was so lost in thought that she didn’t notice, and they stayed like that for a half an hour.
Jae-hyun says she took ahold of his soul that day. Soo-jin admits that she had been having a hard time that day, and Jae-hyun asks if it was because of the person she took so many pictures of. She apologizes, saying that that person (Pil), is the only person she will ever have.
Jae-hyun accepts her decision sadly, adding that he feels like he’s now the one waiting for someone at a bus station. He leaves, and Soo-jin wonders where Pil could be.
At the hospital, Pil continues to seize, and the doctor orders his parents to be called in.
Pil staggers his way into Soo-jin’s studio, but he’s so weak that she can’t sense him. As he starts fading again, Mr. Yang rushes in. The older ghost tells Pil that his spirit has been gone from his body for too long and yells that he has to go back, or he’ll die.
Pil shouts that he won’t die, because Soo-jin will save him — he told her about the manhole, and she is the only one who can help him. Except, he recalls that he couldn’t tell her everything because she fell asleep. Pil tries to make her hear him, but he’s fading even faster now. Mr. Yang urges him to get back to his body, promising to find some way to help him.
Pil runs back to the hospital through otherworldly streets, fading more and more. As he runs, he thinks desperately to Soo-jin, “Please help me. Soo-jin, please. Do you hear me?”
In her studio, Soo-jin jerks up as if she has heard him. She utters Pil’s name and dashes towards the door, but she’s stopped by the arrival of Jin-sook. (No! Girl-bond later – save the boy now!)
Pil barely makes it to the hospital, returning to his room and finding the doctors performing chest compressions to keep him alive. He realizes that once he goes back into his body, he won’t be strong enough for his spirit to leave again.
Uttering a quick plea to Soo-jin to save him, Pil lays down on top of his body, and his soul meshes back with his physical form, stabilizing him for now.
Just after his spirit disappears, Pil’s parents run into the room and the doctor tells them that their son probably won’t make it through the night.
Soo-jin tells Jin-sook everything about seeing Pil and his story about being able to travel through the manhole. She says there was something else that Pil wanted to tell her, but she was too tired to remember. Jin-sook doesn’t believe a word of it, but they’re interrupted when Soo-jin receives a text from Pil’s parents, giving her the news that Pil doesn’t have long.
Soo-jin and Jin-sook run out, and as they’re hailing a cab, Jin-sook yells that it doesn’t make any sense that Pil’s spirit could be running around if he’s in such a critical condition. Across the street, Seok-tae’s father hears them and growls that he now understands what’s going on.
He hunts down his son and tells Seok-tae that he knows who is to blame for their previous disgrace. Pointing up to the blood moon, he says that last night was for humiliation, but tonight is for revenge.
Gu-gil and Dal-soo are back to bickering over Jung-ae as she stands between the two fighting boys. But the fight is put on pause when they all receive a message from Seok-tae asking them to protect Pil from his father.
Soo-jin and Jin-sook rush into the hospital room, and Soo-jin can’t believe that Pil might be leaving when she just saw him yesterday. Grabbing onto his arm, Soo-jin falls to her knees and begs Pil to open his eyes, sobbing that she waited for him all day.
That night, Pil’s parents, Jin-sook, and Soo-jin keep vigil by his side. Soo-jin looks at the “Run to me, Pil” picture, flipping it over to look at the date. She thinks back to his time travel theory about how he leaves at midnight and returns again at noon. Remembering that Pil probably won’t survive the night, she comes to a decision.
Soo-jin rushes out of the room and returns ten minutes later, telling Pil’s parents that the doctor is looking for them. After they run out, Soo-jin brings in a wheelchair and starts towards the bed. Jin-sook wonders what she’s doing, and Soo-jin asks her to help save Pil, saying that everything will be all right if they can get his body to the manhole by midnight.
Understandably, Jin-sook freaks out and pulls her friend away from Pil’s bed, shouting at her to snap out of it. Soo-jin yells that she can’t live without Pil, threatening to kill herself if Pil dies. That freaks Jin-sook out even more, but Soo-jin growls at her to either help, or get out of the way.
Jin-sook yanks Soo-jin away from the bed, saying that she cares about Pil too. Soo-jin asks, “Then why can’t you feel him?” Jin-sook argues back and calls her ridiculous, asking why only Soo-jin can feel him, then.
Jin-sook starts to go bring the others back in, but Soo-jin grabs her wrist. She brings up the fire from that day six years ago, reminding Jin-sook of how Pil knew that it would break out.
Looking at her friend, Soo-jin answers her question, “Why am I the only one who feels him? Pil… only thinks about me, and he only likes me.” Soo-jin says that she knew Jin-sook liked Pil, admitting that she hesitated in the past because of how Jin-sook felt, but she won’t anymore: “I need to protect him this time.” The machines start beeping, and Soo-jin rushes forward to unhook him. Looking absolutely heartbroken, Jin-sook whispers that Soo-jin is right: Pil only ever looked at her.
Out in the hallway, Mr. Yang is running around trying to jump into the body of a hospital worker so he can grab Pil, but he’s rejected every time. Heh, he keeps bouncing off and grumbling that these academic types are too strong-willed.
Soo-jin and Jin-sook have gotten Pil into a wheelchair and are slowly pushing him out of the hospital, but they’re brought up short when Seok-tae and his father (who is wielding two talismans like they’re nunchucks) step directly in their path.
Seok-tae’s father is convinced that one of the girls is actually Pil and is determined to regain his pride from yesterday. Execpt, while Seok-tae’s father is advancing on the girls, Seok-tae gives an almighty sneeze… then sneaks up behind his dad and knocks him out with a fire extinguisher. Mr. Yang is back!
The girls stare dumbfounded as Seok-tae – with Mr. Yang’s father’s voice – yells at them to get going. He then grabs Pil’s wheelchair and pushes him out of the hospital, with the girls trailing behind.
As the three of them wheel Pil towards a taxi, Dal-soo, Jung-ae, and Gu-gil arrive (answering Seok-tae’s summons to protect Pil) in time to see them load their comatose friend into the cab. They quickly tell their own driver to follow.
Soo-jin, Jin-sook, and Seok-tae/Mr. Yang succeed in getting Pil to the manhole, though they hit a snag when Jung-ae and her boys come running toward them through the tunnel. Jin-sook and Seok-tae/Mr. Yang run to interfere, while Soo-jin stays with Pil.
Soo-jin crouches down next to Pil, and in her mind, she asks him if this is going to be their last day. She hears his voice from last night saying that once he goes through the manhole, everything will turn back to how it was, and she won’t remember any of it.
Stroking Pil’s face, Soo-jin thinks that it feels like she’s sending him away forever, and she pleads with him to be sure to find her again. She hears his answering promise to find her wherever she is, telling her not to worry.
In the tunnel, Seok-tae/Mr. Yang and Jin-sook stare at the trio bearing down on them. Mr. Yang bails from Seok-tae body, moments before Gu-gil takes a running leap at Seok-tae and kicks him to the ground. Poor Seok-tae returns to his body to find himself getting beat up while Jin-sook tries to tell Gu-gil that he’s actually kicking his father.
As the others pound on Seok-tae, thunder crashes and the street light starts to flicker again. Soo-jin asks Pil, “Why couldn’t we be together? What is in the way between us?” As soon as she asks, we hear the midnight chime, and the manhole cover magically bursts off.
Wind whips all around as the magic time travel light zips out of the manhole. Soo-jin and the others stare at the light that flies around them before the light turns to wrap around Pil. Surrounded in a cocoon of colors, Pil vanishes into the light.
The light dives back into the manhole and the cover slams down on after it. The friends all gape at where their friend just disappeared to, and Soo-jin stares almost desperately at the manhole, thinking, “Don’t lose me.”
Pil’s reply from before echoes, “Of course, I’ll go find you wherever you are. So don’t worry.”
Ack! No preview? But, where is he going?!
I was glad to see the show take a serious turn for this week’s episodes. As much as I don’t want him dead, this calmer and more mature Pil really was something to see. Before, I watched him because all the flailing was entertaining, but this time around I watched because I just could not look away. The gravitas of Pil’s situation and seeing how it affected not only Soo-jin, but everyone around him, brought together a lot of elements that were missing before. It highlighted how, in spite of his own lack of drive, Pil greatly influenced those around him to the point where his absence drastically changed the lives of all his friends. Not to mention Soo-jin, who became a mere shadow of herself without Pil.
I warmed a lot towards Soo-jin’s character this week, and I have to say I think it’s because she had to play the drama more than the comedy. UEE seems to shine when she does dramatic, heartfelt scenes rather than physical comedy. She has the potential to just nail the powerful and moving scenes, but her comedic timing falls a bit flat, making her appear more confused than funny. Granted, I haven’t seen her in any real comedic dramas, so this could just be a flaw in the character since Soo-jin herself isn’t exactly a goofball. But I felt a much stronger connection to Soo-jin while she was sobbing desperately for Pil to wake up than I ever did during their upbeat banter. I hate to say it, but it wasn’t until she started crying that she had my attention.
It’s fascinating that each of Pil’s small actions in the past have produced such dramatic butterfly effects, changing not only occupations, but the character’s temperaments as well. We saw a whole different side of Jae-hyun this episode. I know that we’ve seen proof in other timelines that he’s being unfaithful, but in this one, he really seemed like a sweet and caring guy, and his moment in the rain with Soo-jin was just lovely. (Though, there is also a part of me that’s freaked out that he’s trying to make Soo-jin his seventh bride…)
Then there was Jung-ae and Dal-soo, who seemed like they were a couple that would always find a way back to each other. Instead, she legitimately chose Gu-gil over Dal-soo this time around. Maybe the two of them really are better suited to one another, or maybe, there is no Meant To Be pairing, and the “right” person varies each time. If that’s the case, how will this end? Will there ever be a “correct” timeline? Is there even such a thing?