While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 15-16
Jealous Jae-chan is my favorite kind of Jae-chan, followed closely by Vain Jae-chan and Bumbling Jae-chan, and lately we’ve been seeing a lot of all three, thanks to a certain cop. Our hero has a lot on his plate today, when he gets assigned a big case that everyone and their mother has an opinion on, leading to the thing he hates most—a heaping pile of expectations with his name on it.
EPISODE 15: “Pride and Prejudice”
Woo-tak gets a late-night visit from his former roommate, Cable Guy Hak-young, who’s wanted for the murder of an Olympic archer. He seems on edge and a little crazed, and he threatens to spill Woo-tak’s secret to the police if he doesn’t help prove his innocence.
But to Hak-young’s surprise, Woo-tak just goes to his desk and takes out his resignation letter, and offers to go quit the police force right now. Hak-young rips up the letter and calls him a son of a bitch, wailing that he didn’t actually intend to spill his secret.
He cries that he’s desperate and asks why Woo-tak can’t just say that he believes in him. He pounds Woo-tak’s chest and breaks down, writhing on the floor as he cries. Woo-tak looks emotional under the surface, but tries to remain stoic.
Having dreamt of this, Hong-joo runs out of the house to check on Woo-tak, and asks the cab driver to hurry.
Hak-young gets led to a police car by two detectives, as Woo-tak stands in the street, looking on. Hak-young turns back one last time to look at him, and we flash back to earlier that night, after he’d calmed down. Woo-tak had given him something to eat, and asked to be convinced of his innocence. He’d said that he couldn’t believe Hak-young, but if he could be convinced, then other people could be too.
Just as Hak-young gets led away by the cops, Hong-joo arrives and frantically asks Woo-tak if he’s okay and not hurt. He smiles and says he’s fine, so then she launches into a nagging fit, upset that he didn’t lock his door like she warned him to.
She hits him over and over in frustration, and Woo-tak grabs her wrist to block her, saying gently, “It hurts.” The tears he’d been tamping down all this time start to come out, and he quickly turns away from her to hide his tears and claims that her hits are so painful they made him cry. Batman, it hurts my heart when you cry!
Woo-tak takes Hong-joo with him to the station, and she reports to her sunbae on the way, just saying vaguely that someone convinced Hak-young to turn himself in. Woo-tak notes that she’s being awfully patient, not asking him everything she’s curious about, so she asks if he’s going to start talking, but he doesn’t.
He carefully asks how much she saw in her dream, and Hong-joo says she saw Hak-young asking Woo-tak to believe him and take his side. She says she didn’t see anything beyond that, and Woo-tak seems relieved. I don’t like this eerie background music though…
In someone’s dream, Woo-tak thanks Hong-joo for worrying about him today and pulls her into a hug.
The dreamer turns out to be Jae-chan, who wakes up in a foul mood. He scoffs and then hovers over Seung-won’s bed, rambling, “A hug? Why a hug? Do you hug if you’re grateful?”
Seung-won mutters sleepily that he could, American-style, and Jae-chan starts to agree that maybe if he were grateful to Hee-min or Hyang-mi, he could hug them American-style… but then ends up ranting, “I can’t! Even if they saved a friend, no, the country! Why? Because this is Korea!”
Seung-won hides under the covers and cries that maybe he hugged her because he likes her, which is the last thing Jae-chan wants to hear. He kicks Seung-won and starts to protest, but then deflates and tells himself that he can’t really complain.
But when he looks out the window, he sees Hong-joo getting out of Woo-tak’s car and walking toward her house, just like his dream. Woo-tak says he’s not staying for breakfast and starts to pull her in for that hug…
…When Jae-chan comes running out of the house shouting his name, wearing only one slipper. Pfffft. He acts like he ran over to ask Woo-tak if he’s staying for breakfast, but Woo-tak is quick on the uptake and lets go of Hong-joo’s arm.
Woo-tak thinks back to his dream, of being interrogated at the prosecutor’s office by Jae-chan, and changes his mind about staying for breakfast. They watch the morning news coverage of Hak-young arriving at the police station, where he shouts to the reporters that he didn’t do it, but turned himself in because a friend convinced him to trust in the law.
Jae-chan is consumed with thoughts of the hugging dream, wondering to himself if he should bring it up or not, unsure of what he’s so worried about. Woo-tak suddenly says he has something to tell Jae-chan, and Jae-chan is shocked, thinking that Woo-tak heard his inner thoughts, ha.
He tells Jae-chan about his friend Hak-young, and that he saw in a dream that Jae-chan will be assigned the case. Woo-tak says that’s why he convinced Hak-young to turn himself in, because Jae-chan would prove his innocence.
Hong-joo asks how he knows that Hak-young isn’t the killer, and Woo-tak just says that he’s known Hak-young for a long time and he wouldn’t kill anybody. Jae-chan isn’t so sure, making it clear that he’s impartial and only going to follow what the evidence tells him, which makes Woo-tak a little nervous.
As Jae-chan and Hong-joo wait in line for coffee that morning, he tells her about the hugging dream, and Hong-joo claims that she’s not the type of woman to just let herself be hugged. Jae-chan argues that she let Woo-tak hug her and even patted him on the back, and he asks jealously if she hugs anyone easily like that.
She claims not to be that kind of woman, so then he nitpicks: “Oh, so Woo-tak isn’t just anyone. Why is he so special?” I could watch this all day.
Cupid Barista advises Hong-joo to say that he isn’t special, whispering loudly that Yeong-deok King Crab seems jealous. Jae-chan snaps that he is NOT jealous, only to ask loudly what’s so special about Woo-tak.
Hong-joo wonders if maybe it’s Woo-tak’s uniform that makes him special, and admits that she has a weakness for men in uniform, like pilots and policemen. She says sometimes it makes her heart flutter when she sees Woo-tak wearing his uniform, and Jae-chan sputters that a prosecutor has a uniform too.
But Hong-joo says those prosecutor robes don’t do it for her: “It looks like you’re in a choir.” HA. Jae-chan is speechless, but then he imagines the whole prosecutor team leading a gospel jam in their court robes, and then he snaps out of it, upset that she made him imagine it.
Hong-joo takes issue with the fact that he’s upset about events that never took place, while Jae-chan argues that the hug would have happened if he hadn’t run out there this morning. He insists that this isn’t jealousy, but a prosecutor’s curiosity (mm-hmm), and asks why she’s protecting Woo-tak and Hak-young.
Hong-joo says she isn’t, and makes it clear that she thinks Hak-young is one hundred percent guilty of murder. She says that he’s the only person who entered that apartment that day, according to the CCTV cameras.
And then she thinks back to her dream, where she did see Hak-young threatening Woo-tak with his secret… but all she tells Jae-chan is that Woo-tak is only taking Hak-young’s side because they’re friends, not because he believes him. Hong-joo says in no uncertain terms that she’s on Jae-chan’s side in all of this, and that she’ll be extremely disappointed in him if he doesn’t get a conviction and lets another murderer go free.
Flashback to the night of their fathers’ funerals. As Jae-chan confronted the soldier’s older brother, Junior Cop, Hong-joo had cried and then chased after him as he left the funeral. She’d insisted on following him because she had something left to say, so Jae-chan offered to go with her.
Back in the present, Woo-tak helps Hak-young’s mom scrub the nasty graffiti off of her restaurant windows, calling Hak-young a psychopath who murdered a national hero. Mom wonders how they could call Hak-young a psychopath, when he was the kid who cried because the Little Mermaid turned into bubbles.
Mom knows he’s not a nice boy, remembering that he’d taken Woo-tak’s money and always gotten into trouble, but she says he isn’t bad enough to have killed anyone, and Woo-tak agrees. But the neighborhood violence only continues—two delivery boys on motorcycles zoom by and throw eggs, and Woo-tak barely gets Mom out of harm’s way in time.
This time, Yoo-bum represents the victim’s parents, who ask him why the prosecution is taking so long to indict their daughter’s murderer. Her father says he has terminal cancer and must see his daughter’s killer put away before he dies, and Yoo-bum promises them that they’ll see a conviction soon.
Outside, Yoo-bum’s assistant notes that he didn’t take off his watch or roll up any paper during this meeting, and that he seems to be in a good mood. Yoo-bum says he’s happy to finally be on the right side of the law for once, after fighting with the law for so long. (Innnnteresting.) He says that it feels like going from the Premier League to joining the nation team and wearing the flag.
In a dream, Jae-chan buys a ring for his girlfriend but struggles with the purchase, not knowing her size. He practices presenting the ring and then waves from across the street with a giant smile.
Hong-joo wakes up from the dream all aflutter, wondering if her heart might burst from beating too hard. She’s still blushing pink at the breakfast table later, and lies that she must be flushed from eating hot soup.
Woo-tak is scheduled to be questioned by Jae-chan today, and Jae-chan reminds him to just speak honestly rather than take his friend’s side. Mom asks Jae-chan if prosecutors can tell if someone is lying, and Seung-won says that his brother’s nickname is Human Lie Detector.
Mom is impressed and wants to test the lie detector, and asks Woo-tak a series of questions, like whether he considers himself handsome. Woo-tak: “No.” Jae-chan: “Lie!” Mom asks if Woo-tak likes someone, and Woo-tak gulps and says he does. Jae-chan doesn’t seem happy as he says it’s the truth, and the boys exchange a look.
Mom takes the teasing one step too far and asks if that person is Hong-joo, suddenly making both boys very tense. Woo-tak smiles awkwardly and says no… and Jae-chan lies and says he’s telling the truth.
At work, Hong-joo learns that the Olympic archer’s parents are filing a lawsuit against Hak-young even though he’s already being investigated, which seems to be a motion to express their frustration at the prosecutor’s office taking so long to indict.
She’s disappointed to learn that she’ll have to deal with Yoo-bum to cover the story, and heads out.
Hak-young tells Woo-tak that he did everything he advised, and told Jae-chan the truth and even took a lie detector test. He asks why he’s still in jail, and Woo-tak says it’s because the prosecutor is being thorough, and promises to plead his case when he goes in for questioning today. Hak-young cries in gratitude and says that Woo-tak is all he has left, and Woo-tak gets a little emotional at that.
Over lunch, Chief Choi tells Jae-chan that Woo-tak has an impressive resume, having graduated police university with top grades and an award to boot. He warns Jae-chan to be careful not to let Woo-tak get the upper hand during today’s interrogation.
Jae-chan is more concerned with what happens if he doesn’t get a conviction, and Chief Choi says he’d basically become Public Enemy No. 1 for letting the killer of a national athlete go free. Jae-chan says he has something to ask him.
Jae-chan’s office manager Hyang-mi is buried under the monstrous pile of paperwork for Hak-young’s case, and her coworkers bring her flowers to make her feel better. But it only serves to make her even more depressed that spring flowers are blooming outside and she’s missing it.
But then… Woo-tak walks in wearing his police uniform, literally eliciting exclamations of appreciation from the women, right to his face: “Daebak.” “Whoa.” “Nice.” LOL. Hyang-mi brightens instantly and leads him away, and then turns back to ask her friends if they have perfume.
Hong-joo goes to interview Yoo-bum about the lawsuit against Hak-young, bristling when he acts friendly with her. He claims that Jae-chan doesn’t have enough evidence to get a conviction at this point, and will end up in the line of fire for failing. Yoo-bum says that this time, he and Jae-chan are on the same side, and asks for Hong-joo’s help.
Jae-chan asks the entire prosecutor team to watch his interrogation, wanting backup to make sure he doesn’t make any mistakes. Meanwhile, a crowd of women has gathered outside the interrogation room to drool at Woo-tak, making them wonder if this country’s police uniforms always looked that good.
Hyang-mi wonders why there’s no one that handsome in the prosecutor’s office, and her coworker reminds her that she thought Jae-chan was handsome. She exclaims that it was just briefly at the very beginning, and that he’s the type you get sick of if you look at him every day, and asks what he’d have without the prosecutor title.
Jae-chan walks right up to them and answers, “Visuals and long legs?” and then model-struts down the hallway. Pff.
Jae-chan greets Woo-tak with a handshake and Woo-tak even greets the other prosecutors, knowing they’re being watched. The other prosecutors worry about this case being too big for the rookie, but the chief prosecutor reminds them that Jae-chan closed the last case they messed up, confident that he’ll get a conviction.
Jae-chan begins the questioning, and Woo-tak tells him that Hak-young was a high school classmate and his former roommate.
Woo-tak admits that he considered Hak-young the culprit at first too, because he was the only person captured on all of the CCTV footage entering or leaving the building at the time of death.
At the same time, Yoo-bum tells Hong-joo that it could’ve been an accidental death—that it’s what he would argue if he were Hak-young’s lawyer. She says that doesn’t explain the symbol on the floor drawn in the victim’s blood, but Yoo-bum says neither victim nor suspect had any blood on their hands, feet, or clothes.
Jae-chan argues that Hak-young had plenty of time to wash off the blood, and that Hak-young needs to prove that he didn’t draw that bloody symbol to prove his innocence. But Woo-tak counters astutely that it’s up to the prosecution to prove that he did, not the other way around.
The other prosecutors note that the cop sounds like a lawyer, worried that Jae-chan might get outsmarted. Prosecutor Lee tries to send him a telepathic message to ask why Hak-young ran, and when Jae-chan says exactly that, he wonders if he can hear his thoughts. Wrong drama!
Woo-tak says he told Hak-young to run if he were guilty, promising to look the other way, or turn himself in if he were innocent, and trust in the law. He adds that the words Hak-young used with him were “prove my innocence” and “find the real killer,” not “make me an alibi.” That gives Jae-chan pause.
Woo-tak accepts Jae-chan’s scenario that Hak-young had motive to kill if he’d been upset by the archer’s bad service ratings and set off when he was asked to take out the recycling. But the CCTV clearly shows him taking out the recycling after supposedly having killed her in a rage, which runs counter to the theory. Even Chief Choi agrees that it doesn’t make sense, and now everyone except for the chief prosecutor has begun to doubt Hak-young’s guilt.
Flashback to lunch, where Jae-chan had asked Chief Choi if it were really possible for Hak-young to have killed the archer, made the bloody symbol, washed off all the blood, and walked out in the 13 minutes he was in the building. Chief Choi agreed that it didn’t sit well with him, but they had no other suspects.
Jae-chan argued that a lack of other suspects didn’t make it right to convict the one they had, and wondered if he should just ignore the chief prosecutor’s orders and dismiss the case. Chief Choi warned that he’d be fired on the spot, but told Jae-chan to try being a little humbler.
Jae-chan had taken that literally, wondering if he was acting arrogant, but Chief Choi asked why he assumed that his sunbaes wouldn’t see the same truth that he saw. That’s when Chief Choi had hatched the plan to invite the whole team to the interrogation, so that he could convince them of the same doubts he was having. Nice.
Yoo-bum tells Hong-joo that there’s no way Jae-chan will get a conviction, because there’s not enough evidence to prosecute. He says that Jae-chan will need Hong-joo’s help, and hands her an envelope and mentions that Hak-young’s father was convicted of a drug charge. The file contains Hak-young’s sealed juvenile records, for theft and assault.
Yoo-bum tells her to report this, saying that it’ll be enough to get a conviction. We see how it would play out the way Yoo-bum is planning—media outlets would jump at the story and netizens would go on a witch hunt. Hong-joo can’t believe he’s asking her to manipulate public opinion, but he argues that they’re backing public sentiment and helping to keep a killer behind bars.
He uses his glass of almost-full cola as a metaphor to show how it’s not full enough on its own, representing Jae-chan’s lack of evidence. But with Hong-joo’s help, he says as he pours the soda into her glass, creating a layer of foam to the very top, he’ll be able to indict. Err, perhaps it’s lost on Metaphor Boy that the glass has been made full with hot air?
As Hong-joo contemplates the envelope in her car, the scene changes from day to night and Jae-chan and Hong-joo whiz through the intersection on his motorcycle, 13 years ago. They chased Junior Cop until it was light out, finally catching up to his abandoned car near a waterfront. They ran through the field and found him just as he was walking into the water to drown, and Jae-chan had tied a rope around himself and told Hong-joo to pull him up from the other end.
Hong-joo had asked why she should, thinking of how the cop’s brother killed her dad, and had dropped the rope, refusing to save someone she hated. Jae-chan had slugged her (I have to keep reminding myself that he thinks she’s a boy) and shouted that hating someone isn’t a reason to just let them die.
Jae-chan said that Junior Cop was just like them—shocked at what happened, desperate to turn back time, wishing it were just a dream. He put the rope in her hands and ordered, “Save us—me and that ajushi too—you save us, if you don’t want to regret it.” He’d said he was going to trust her and jumped into the water, literally leaving his lifeline in her hands. Hong-joo stood there staring at the rope, contemplating her choice.
Back in the present, Hong-joo picks Jae-chan up after work and they go for coffee, where Cupid Barista adds heart-shaped cookies to their order. Hong-joo asks about the case off the record, and Jae-chan tells her that he might not be able to indict.
He takes her hand in his and asks her to listen, and explains that he tried to match the puzzle pieces to Hak-young as the murderer, but they didn’t fit. He also discovered that the archer suffered from chronic inner ear problems that caused dizziness and fainting, and her injuries match up to a fall where she hit the back of her head.
Hong-joo says that doesn’t explain the symbol in blood, and Jae-chan agrees that it’s the one puzzle they haven’t solved. The symbol was made in one continuous line, and he has doubts about how Hak-young could have done that and cleaned up all footprints and other traces of blood in 13 minutes.
And then we cut to the archer’s apartment just after her fall, and watch as her robot vacuum scuttled right through the pool of blood, drawing the bloody pattern in its wake just before falling right off the balcony onto the lawn below. Roomba did it! Also, are we really just going to show it like that, instead of watching a character uncover the truth? What a waste.
A little boy found the vacuum and put it in the trash, where it still sits, stained with her blood.
Hong-joo can’t believe Jae-chan is about to let the only suspect walk free, and he sighs, knowing that it’s his fault he wasn’t good enough to prove the case, and Hong-joo can’t disagree.
Then Jae-chan suddenly says, “I like you. I like you so much that I would rather die than disappoint you.” Aw. Hong-joo gets up, taken aback by the sudden confession, and he gently takes her hand again.
He says he tried his best to indict Hak-young to keep from disappointing her, but he says that he can’t turn something false into something true when it would destroy a person’s life. “I’m sorry for disappointing you,” he says, and Hong-joo can’t help but melt at his words.
She sits back down and takes the twisty-tie from the cookie pouch and fits it around her ring finger, and then slides it onto his pinky, saying that he’ll need it. Heh.
She says he reminds her a lot of a boy who hit her when she was young, and he asks what kind of crazy boy would hit a girl. She says she doesn’t know his name or where he lives, but that he didn’t seem like a bad person. Jae-chan tells her never to give someone like that the time of day, upset that she said he resembled him.
At the office the next morning, Hong-joo tells her sunbae about the records that Yoo-bum gave her, and he asks if it’s newsworthy.
That takes her back to the moment when Little Jae-chan had put the rope in her hands and jumped into the water. As he swam down and wrapped his arms around Junior Cop, she stood on the bank, staring at the rope numbly as more and more of it disappeared into the water.
Jae-chan struggled to swim up and then began to sink, the rope still slack in the water above him. But Hong-joo finally snapped to attention and began to pull on the rope, using all of her strength to pull Jae-chan and the cop to the surface.
They were both unconscious, and she’d screamed for Jae-chan to wake up. She performed CPR and he finally coughed up water and opened his eyes, and then they saw that Junior Cop was alive too.
Hong-joo was sobbing by then, and Jae-chan had hugged her and thanked her for saving him, patting her on the back just like he still does now.
In the present, Hong-joo tells Bong sunbae that it’s not a story, because Hak-young’s past records have nothing to do with the current case, and reporting on this could cloud the investigation. Bong sunbae asks if she’s sure, and trusts her judgment enough not to press any further.
Jae-chan’s boss finally makes his decision to sign off on Hak-young’s release, and when Yoo-bum hears about it, he fumes and calls another reporter right away.
Hong-joo dreams again about the night Jae-chan meets her to give her the ring. He practices excitedly and waves at her from across the street, but then she sees someone dressed in black walk up and stand in front of Jae-chan and bump into him before walking away.
Jae-chan looks over at Hong-joo, and then down at his stomach, which is leaking blood from where he was just stabbed. Gack, more stabbing!
The light changes and Hong-joo runs over to him as he crumples to the ground. She takes him into her arms and screams for help as his hand falls to the ground with a heavy thud.
She wakes up gasping and crying, and narrates, “The sweetest dream of my life has changed into my worst nightmare.”
Did the dream change, or did she just dream more of it the second time? I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, even though I think it would be more interesting if their choice to believe in Hak-young led to something changing in their future. But maybe it doesn’t matter, since the stabbing is likely a direct consequence of Jae-chan’s “failure” to indict anyway, even though it’s the lawful thing to do and prosecutors don’t just decide people are murderers and put them away, for crying out loud.
I found it so interesting that Yoo-bum thinks of being a defense lawyer as fighting against the law, which means he considers prosecutors to be the “right” side, as if there’s a right side and a wrong one, regardless of the facts of a particular case. That’s just crazy, but it makes me wonder even more why he quit being a prosecutor if he thinks that they’re on the right side. He clearly has a moral code too—one uniquely his own and completely warped, but it’s there—and he enjoys the rare case where he gets to feel like he’s one of the good guys. I actually think that’s worse than if he were just completely unscrupulous (say, for greed alone), because it makes him capable of blind fanaticism once he decides something is righteous or true.
And of course, in stark contrast is Jae-chan, who will always do what’s right in the end. Of all the things he’s ever said to Hong-joo, I found it swooniest of all when he said he’d rather die than disappoint her, but that still doesn’t make wrong into right. I would call his character unbelievably good in an unrealistic way if we hadn’t seen him struggle with a moral dilemma to keep his job and support his brother, or gotten his backstory where he’d made a huge mistake, disappointed his father, and then lost the chance to prove himself and make it up to him. We’ve seen time and again that Jae-chan lives to show his father that he’s done the right thing and become the man Dad wanted him to be, and that he places a huge burden on himself to meet others’ expectations for him. I like knowing that this comes from his character, and has nothing to do with his job as a prosecutor—he just happens to be perfectly suited to be the best kind of prosecutor there is, but he’d be the same as a lawyer or a cop. He’s the obvious contrast to Yoo-bum, who thinks the law is something to fight and not uphold, and makes moral judgments based on perception and position, rather than the true nature of something.
What we don’t know is where Woo-tak falls on this spectrum. Hong-joo may falter and let her prejudices get in the way sometimes, but when push comes to shove, she’s like Jae-chan, and likes him because he’s the kind of person to risk personal attack to do what’s fair and right. I believe that Woo-tak is like them, if you take his actions at face value, but I still expect him to end up at odds with Jae-chan somehow. I’m hoping that his big secret is a delinquent past similar to Hak-young’s, though I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a secret from the police force. It just makes me nervous to think that he and Jae-chan might end up on opposite sides one day for something bigger and more personal; it was hard enough watching them face off in the interrogation room over a friend (not that it wasn’t pleasant for other reasons—Hong-joo was not kidding about him in uniform). Can’t they just be best friends and get past that awkward part where they both know they like Hong-joo? Agh. They need beer, lots of beer.