Suspicious Partner: Episodes 31-32

The truth is a funny thing, both fixed and fluid depending on how you look at it. It’s possible for multiple people to have the exact same experience, yet remember it in vastly different ways. A new case will force Ji-wook to look at his own past with new eyes, and help him realize that what he’s always believed to be true may have been a lie all along.

 
EPISODE 31 RECAP

As they spend a lazy afternoon together, Ji-wook worries that Bong-hee is about to do something. When she turns to him, looking upset, he thinks that this is his sentencing. He tries to hold tight to her hand, but she pushes it away and says, “Let’s break up.”

Ji-wook knows what this is about, and he asks when she found out. She asks him when he learned about her father, and why he suffered alone instead of talking to her. Ji-wook says that it’s because it’s not important to him what kind of person her father was. But Bong-hee argues that it’s important to her, saying that it hurts to watch him suffer because of her, so Ji-wook just promises not to suffer.

With tears in her eyes, Bong-hee says that her father wasn’t the man Ji-wook thinks he was, but that she can’t even insist on it (because the law says that he was). Ji-wook says that’s something they can think about, but Bong-hee says that she hates this whole situation.

She repeats that she just wants to break up, and asks him to stop trying to change her mind. Ji-wook says that he hates this too, because no matter what she says, he won’t ever let her go. But Bong-hee tells him that no matter what he says, it won’t work.

She turns and walks away from him, fighting her tears. As she goes, Bong-hee tells herself that she did the right thing, though she isn’t very convincing and she fears that she made the wrong decision. She wonders where she should go now.

When Ji-wook arrives home, he peeks into Bong-hee’s room, only to find it empty.

Somehow Bong-hee ends up at Ji-hae’s new apartment. She boldly asks if she can stay over for a few days, pushing her way in when Ji-hae tries to shut the door in her face. Bong-hee manages to talk Ji-hae into letting her stay despite her objections, even though they both agree that they hate each other.

Ji-hae isn’t happy about this, especially when Bong-hee flops down on her couch without permission, and she asks why Bong-hee can’t stay with someone she likes. Bong-hee argues that pushing yourself onto someone you like would be rude, but doing that to someone you dislike is different. This is her way of getting revenge on Ji-hae (and getting payback for Ji-hae stealing her boyfriend). HA, I love her twisty logic.

A little sadly, Bong-hee says that Ji-hae is useful right now because Bong-hee was feeling miserable and stressed: “After I hurt him, I wondered all day if I’d done the right thing or not.” She says that she doesn’t know if she’s sane or crazy, and that she feels like she wants to die.

But she brightens a bit and says that seeing Ji-hae gives her the will to fight. Ji-hae sees how upset Bong-hee is, and she gives in, sighing that this is nuts.

Bong-hee can’t sleep that night, her mind whirling with memories of Ji-wook kissing her. She remembers him begging her never to break up with him, and she can’t stop herself from crying.

In the morning, Bong-hee startles Ji-hae by waving to her weakly from the couch and asking her to check her for a fever. Instead Ji-hae slaps a thermometer into her hand, but her temperature comes up normal.

Bong-hee is surprised to get a text from Ji-wook, though all is says is that he’s changed the morning meeting time. She thinks it’s odd that he expects her to go to work, but Ji-hae tells her to snap out of it. She reminds Bong-hee that she won’t be able to get a job at another firm easily, telling her to suck it up and go to work like a grown-up.

Bong-hee goes to work, but when she shows up, the house is empty but for Ji-wook. He tells her curtly to follow him to his desk, where she hands him her formal resignation. Ji-wook pulls out her contract which states that she will work there for two years, and he forbids her to leave before her contracted time ends.

Keeping it professional, he says that he assumed that she would be able to keep her personal and professional feelings separate. He forbids any personal discussions today, admitting that he’s not ready to talk about what happened between them.

He asks if Bong-hee thinks this job is a joke, telling her again to keep her personal feelings out of this. As her boss, Ji-wook says that her job isn’t an easy one to get, and tells her not to betray those who have trusted her.

Bong-hee says that it won’t be easy for them to go on working together considering their situation, because every time he looks at her he’ll think about his father and feel guilty. Ji-wook tells her that she’s overstepping her bounds, and to let him handle his own problems and to worry about herself.

As a compromise, Ji-wook offers to let her take some vacation days, to allow them both some time to regain the ability to think rationally. Bong-hee agrees, so Ji-wook sends her away for now. After she’s gone, he tears up her resignation letter.

In an attempt to get some answers, Ji-wook visits District Attorney Jang to ask about the fire that killed his parents. He gets straight to the point, asking why his parents were murdered.

District Attorney Jang says that it was revenge by someone they prosecuted, but that makes no sense to Ji-wook since Eun Man-soo, Bong-hee’s father, was only involved in a small assault case at the time. District Attorney Jang asks how he should know the man’s motives — he just knows that Man-soo kept complaining to the prosecution, then was found dead at the scene.

Confused as to why they would assume that he started the fire, Ji-wook asks if there was any other evidence. District Attorney Jang says simply, “It was because of you.” Again we see a flashback of District Attorney Jang showing young Ji-wook a photo of Bong-hee’s father, telling him that this is the man who killed his parents.

But District Attorney Jang says that Ji-wook was the one who identified Eun Man-soo as the man who started the fire. Ji-wook doesn’t remember that, and the shock of knowing that he had a role in this lingers long after he leaves District Attorney Jang’s office.

Ji-hae comes home that night to find Bong-hee sitting outside her door with her luggage, still looking weak and pale. Bong-hee takes her temperature again that night, but the thermometer still registers it as normal even though she feels terrible.

She gives in to the temptation to watch the video she took of herself and Ji-wook just before breaking up with him, the one she accidentally made while thinking she was taking a photo. She watches it over and over, smiling at Ji-wook’s adorable annoyance as tears well up in her eyes.

At the meeting the following morning, Ji-wook has a hard time staying focused. CEO Byun addresses the elephant in the room and asks if Ji-wook and Bong-hee broke up, correctly guessing that Bong-hee wouldn’t use her vacation days alone. Ji-wook confirms it, adding dryly that he would like CEO Byun to also take his vacation days now. LOL.

To change the subject, Ji-wook asks how Hyun-soo is doing, and Chief Bang says that he visited him but the doctor says that he’s not getting any better. CEO Byun asks if Ji-wook isn’t planning to make up with Bong-hee, grumbling that he raised him wrong. Disgusted, he leaves the room, with Chief Bang following and vowing to make sure he uses those vacation days.

By now Bong-hee is so weak she can barely move, but her temperature is still coming up normal. Ji-hae comes to check on her, and when she feels Bong-hee’s forehead, she realizes that she’s burning up — the thermometer was broken.

She gets Bong-hee to the hospital and calls Eun-hyuk, who arrives with a frantic Ji-wook. Ji-wook finds Bong-hee sleeping in her hospital bed and instinctively reaches out to her, but then he pulls his hand back without touching her.

Bong-hee’s eyes flutter open and Ji-wook leans down to call her name. She sees him and smiles happily, whispering that she wishes this weren’t a dream. Ji-wook reassures her that it’s not a dream, and she reaches up to take his face in both hands. Ji-wook doesn’t resist as she pulls him near and kisses him.

EPISODE 32 RECAP

Some time later, Ji-wook and Bong-hee’s moms go to lunch together. Bong-hee’s mom wonders how Ji-wook can be so unlike his mother and thoughtlessly tosses out the familiar saying asking whether she found him on the street. But Ji-wook’s mom looks hurt as she says that she may not be his real mom but she raised him from the heart.

Bong-hee’s mom looks horrified at herself, and she apologizes. She says that it doesn’t matter whether she’s Ji-wook’s birth mother or not, because every mother cherishes her child equally.

Later, Bong-hee’s mom complains to Bong-hee that she’s trying hard to be friends with Ji-wook’s mother, but they’re very different. But she admits that Ji-wook’s mom will make a halfway-decent mother-in-law and promises to train her, telling Bong-hee to concentrate on keeping hold of Ji-wook.

Before Bong-hee can tell her mother about the breakup, she’s interrupted by a call that summons her to the police station. When she arrives, she’s taken aback by a tiny little boy who points to her and says that she’s his lawyer.

He’s one of Bong-hee’s former taekwondo students, and Bong-hee learns that he’s the only witness to a murder that happened in a convenience store. But even though he saw the killer’s face, he refuses to answer when the policeman asks him to describe the man, saying that he doesn’t remember.

Bong-hee goes back to the house, where the guys are super excited to see her. She’s brought the boy with her, and they ask curiously who he is. The boy turns to Bong-hee and says, “Mom…” which has everyone gaping, especially Ji-wook, hee.

“…and Dad died,” the boy continues. Ha! The boy adds that he lives with his mean aunt and uncle whom he hates, comparing himself to Harry Potter. He introduces himself as Kim Jae-hong and clarifies that Bong-hee is his lawyer.

The team convenes in the conference room, where Bong-hee fills them in on the case. In flashback, we see Jae-hong drop his money in the convenience store, so when the killer enters and stabs the store clerk to death, Jae-hong is crouched behind a shelf.

He peeks out just as the killer pulls the knife from the clerk’s body, and the killer hears something and approaches Jae-hong’s hiding spot. But before he discovers the boy, the killer’s phone rings, and he stops to check it then leaves the store.

CEO Byun accuses Jae-hong of lying, and Jae-hong turns to Bong-hee to stage-whisper, “I don’t like that ajusshi.” Heh, Bong-hee answers that she understands. Chief Bang and Eun-hyuk stifle smiles as CEO Byun yells at Bong-hee to go back on vacation now.

Bong-hee runs into Ji-wook in the kitchen later, and there’s an awkward pause before she says that she came to look for ice cream for Jae-hong. Ji-wook smiles a little at that, saying that the boy reminds him of someone else he knows. Bong-hee says that it’s been a while since they’ve seen each other, asking how Ji-wook is doing, and he asks in turn if she’s okay (after being so sick).

Bong-hee tenses up when Ji-wook walks towards her purposefully, but he only reaches past her into the freezer for an ice cream bar. She grabs it and hurries away, flustered.

Chief Bang gets permission from Jae-hong’s aunt to watch over him until the killer is caught. Bong-hee can’t take him because she’s crashing with Ji-hae, and CEO Byun and Eun-hyuk are both busy. So even though the idea seems to terrify him, Ji-wook is the only one who can take Jae-hong in.

Once they’re left alone, Ji-wook eyeballs Jae-hong suspiciously, like he’s afraid the little peanut might bite him. Ji-wook lays down the house rules, which include never going upstairs, never walking around alone, and never talking to him.

He tells Jae-hong to just give his statement to the police and go home as soon as possible. Jae-hong just side-eyes the weird ajusshi.

Eun-hyuk gives Bong-hee a ride home that evening, and he tells her that she looks great now that she’s no longer sick with a fever. Bong-hee is surprised to hear that he was at the hospital, and it slowly dawns on her that if Eun-hyuk was there, then Ji-wook was probably there, too.

Eun-hyuk confirms it, which makes Bong-hee loudly exclaim in shock and horror. She mutters that she thought it was a dream, appalled at the idea that she might have really kissed Ji-wook. She understands now why Ji-wook seemed amused when she said it had been a while since they’d seen each other, because in fact he’d seen her very recently.

Poor Eun-hyuk only hears her disjointed half-sentences, and he’s adorably confused and worried. Bong-hee decides to just die of embarrassment and starts banging her head into the window, so Eun-hyuk tries to grab her head but he only ends up with a bruised hand.

Late that night, little Jae-hong has a nightmare about the killer’s blue sneakers walking towards him, and wakes up with a jerk. He creeps upstairs clutching the stuffed Ji-wook rabbit, to find the real Ji-wook sleeping sitting up in his chair. Ji-wook hears the boy coming and gruffly reminds him of the rules. Jae-hong ignores him and comes closer, while Ji-wook squeaks at him to go away like he’s scared he’s going to catch cooties.

A few minutes later, Jae-hong is safely tucked into Ji-wook’s bed with him, which is just awww. Ji-wook asks Jae-hong what made him come upstairs, and Jae-hong answers that he had a nightmare.

Jae-hong asks Ji-wook if it will be his fault if he doesn’t testify and they don’t catch the killer. That triggers a sudden flash of memory in Ji-wook’s mind, of District Attorney Jang urging him, “You need to testify for us to find the culprit. If he’s not caught, it’s all your responsibility.”

Remembering this, Ji-wook tells Jae-hong that he doesn’t have to testify if he doesn’t want to. He says that even if Jae-hong doesn’t say a word, nothing that happens will be his fault.

The next day, Bong-hee calls Detective Park as she’s on her way to pick up Jae-hong from school. She tells him that Jae-hong can’t remember anything, but that she’ll try talking to him again. When Jae-hong isn’t at the school gate as promised, Bong-hee asks some students, but they don’t know him.

We see Jae-hong running down a nearby street, looking terrified as he glances back at something behind him. He dodges through the narrow alleys, then rounds a sharp corner and runs smack into someone. It’s Detective Park’s partner, and he’s wearing blue sneakers…

He asks Jae-hong if someone is chasing him, but Jae-hong doesn’t get a chance to answer before Bong-hee finds them. Worried, she runs over to check that Jae-hong is okay before noticing the cop.

She tells him that Jae-hong doesn’t remember anything, and the cop leans down to say that Jae-hong doesn’t have to testify. Jae-hong answers that he can’t testify because he doesn’t remember, looking like he wants to hide behind Bong-hee.

Bong-hee starts to take Jae-hong back to the house, but when they near the school gates again, they see that Ji-wook is already there waiting for him. Awww, the way Jae-hong smiles to see his new friend is adorable. Ji-wook and Bong-hee stare at each other for just a beat too long, which the precocious little guy picks up on right away.

In the car, Jae-hong has a grand time teasing Ji-wook about Bong-hee, and the more Ji-wook tells him not to laugh, the harder he giggles. Heh, Ji-wook looks genuinely upset that the silly kid can see right through him.

Jae-hong sleeps in Ji-wook’s bed again that night, and again he has a nightmare that wakes him up. Ji-wook pulls the little boy into his lap and tells him it’s okay, as Jae-hong utters a sad little, “It hurts.”

Jae-hong asks Ji-wook what happens if the culprit comes to kill him, and Ji-wook says that that will never happen. But Jae-hong shakes his head and says that he doesn’t know if he should testify. Ji-wook promises that whatever he decides, he’ll be there to make sure Jae-hong is safe. But he also tells Jae-hong kindly that if he doesn’t find some way to solve his problem, that the nightmares may never go away.

In the morning, Jae-hong finds Ji-wook and tells him confidently, “I want to testify.” They go the police station and find Detective Park, who’s pleased that Jae-hong decided to give a statement. With Ji-wook there to support him, Jae-hong points to the cop that he saw at his school and says, “It’s that ajusshi.”

Everyone in the station turns to stare at the cop, who’s confused as to why he’s being accused. Jae-hong hums a short tune — the ringtone he heard when the killer’s phone rang. Right on cue, the cop’s phone rings, and it’s the exact same ringtone.

The cop plasters on a nervous smile and tells Jae-hong to stop joking around. But Jae-hong looks at his shoes next, the same blue sneakers he saw on the killer, and points out the small drop of blood on the right shoe. The killer cop is arrested, and Ji-wook tells Jae-hong proudly that he did well.

Another sudden flash of memory hits Ji-wook, this time of his younger self telling District Attorney Jang tearfully that he doesn’t remember who the killer is. The memory clashes with his existing memory of pointing to a picture of Bong-hee’s father and saying that he was the killer. Shaken, Ji-wook wonders which one is the real memory.

He jumps up, leaving Jae-hong with Chief Bang as he says that something urgent has come up. He only gets a few steps before the new memory links up with the one of District Attorney Jang telling him that the man in the picture is the man who killed his parents.

Bong-hee decides to check on Hyun-soo, who is still in a coma. She turns away from his hospital bed to answer a call from Chief Bang, telling him that Hyun-soo’s doctor still reports no improvement. She hangs up and turns back around — to find Hyun-soo standing a few feet away, staring at her.

Epilogue.

While Ji-wook visits Bong-hee in her hospital room, Eun-hyuk stays behind to chat with Ji-hae. Ji-hae says that Bong-hee will be fine but suggests that they can visit too, starting to head in that direction. Eun-hyuk grabs her wrist to stop her and says, “We should stay here.” He wanders off to answer a call from Yoo-jung, while Ji-hae stays behind, swooning at Eun-hyuk’s use of the word “we.”

COMMENTS

And then Hyun-soo asks Bong-hee, “Where am I and who are you?” Right, Show? For some reason I’m very invested in the idea of Hyun-soo waking up with amnesia, or at least the inability to remember his killing spree of the last few years. I think that it would be a fantastic opportunity to further explore the moral dilemmas of guilt and innocence that the show has consistently brought up, and just personally, I would love to see what kind of person he was before tragedy twisted him into a homicidal avenger. I can see how he may have been sweet and sensitive, and that his fury was driven by his emotional trauma. But no matter how it plays out, I’m thrilled that Hyun-soo is back.

It gives me hope to see Bong-hee admitting to herself that she misses Ji-wook, though she’s never been one to deny her own feelings. Hopefully it’s a good sign that she can’t stay away for long. Now that we know her reasoning for the breakup, I do believe that she’s being a noble idiot, because the definition of a noble idiot is when one half of a couple decides to break up for the good of the other without taking into account what the other person actually wants. It’s true that Ji-wook was struggling to reconcile his belief that her father killed his parents with his need to be with Bong-hee, and that he was stupid not to tell her what he was going through so that they could tackle the problem together. That was very painful for Bong-hee, but ultimately her reason for leaving was because she decided that being with her would be too painful for him. But that’s Ji-wook’s decision to make, and he had decided that loving her was worth it. So even though a separation to work things through may be a good idea, and even though she may have been entirely justified in making the decision to break up, it was still very nobly idiotic of Bong-hee to decide without letting Ji-wook have any input.

I really think that Ji-wook showed a lot of character growth in his response to Bong-hee’s breaking up with him. When he walked in on Yoo-jung and Eu-hyuk years ago, he never said a word, and never fought for his relationship or his friendship. He just let go and walked away. Even when Bong-hee pushed him away in the past, he passively let it happen, which was respectful of her wishes but also a bit of a cop-out because he didn’t have to accept any responsibility for losing her. But this time he stood his ground and fought for what he wanted, trying his hardest to convince her to stay and work things out. That’s a difficult thing for Ji-wook to do because it means laying out all his feelings and risking being hurt again, which is something he’s avoided for years. I don’t think he’s finished fighting either, based on the way he refused to let her break her contract.

The adorable Jae-hong did a lot to ease the continued lack of Hyun-soo in this episode, and I found his story here very compelling. I just loved watching Ji-wook identifying with the little guy, since they both witnessed a murder at a young age, and both suffer from nightmares. I just melted to see Ji-wook open up to someone so small and vulnerable, finding a way to help the little boy feel safe enough to tell the truth and hopefully avoid the lifetime of pain Ji-wook has suffered. I think that seeing Jae-hong being so brave made Ji-wook subconsciously desire to recall his own true memories and tell the truth, which is why he’s suddenly remembering things he’d repressed.

I think it’s pretty obvious now that District Attorney Jang somehow orchestrated the deaths of Ji-wook’s parents, and that he brainwashed Ji-wook into thinking that he saw Bong-hee’s father start the fire. But Ji-wook’s fake memories are definitely breaking down, and he’s remembering the coaching and starting to suspect that his memories aren’t reliable. I’m really eager to find out what actually happened, and why District Attorney Jang killed Ji-wook’s parents and framed an innocent man, but at the same time I appreciate that the writer does a great job of not telegraphing the answers to the mysteries before it’s time for us to know them. I really enjoy this writer’s style of storytelling and ability to surprise the audience, as well as the way that all of the characters are given layers until we even sympathize and care about the villains. Between this and the mystery of why Hyun-soo became a murderer, we have enough pieces of the puzzles to make educated guesses, but not enough that the eventual reveals will be boring confirmations of what we figured out several episodes ago. I love being able to look forward to being surprised, even this late in the show.

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