After fourteen episodes of watching Sun-ho’s family yearn for him, he’s finally awake. It was overwhelming to watch this family who have been nothing but strong in the face of their tragedy weep with relief. Watching the sequence of his friends and well wishers finding out the news one after the other, as if in a relay race, I couldn’t help but muse about the immensity of a single human life and the sheer number of lives it touches. This show has consistently used editing and narration to draw out emotions from the simplest scenes and it’s been a rewarding viewing experience.
It’s surreal watching In-ha and Moo-jin smile easily throughout this episode. “I feel like I’ve gained everything in the world,” In-ha tells Moo-jin as the parents stare at Sun-ho like he’s a newborn. In some ways he is, and it’s adorable how his parents are finding joy in little things like feeding him and hearing him talk. Frankly, even as a viewer, it’s pretty surreal watching the character of Sun-ho speak for himself after so many episodes of knowing him through other’s memories.
Ahn Nae-sang (The Light In Your Eyes) surprises us with his cameo as Sun-ho’s doctor. He’s such a delight to watch on screen and despite being in the show for a mere minute, it felt like he had always been a part of it. I couldn’t be happier to finally get a ‘HoHo’ sibling interaction every bit as entertaining as I expected. While everyone is super careful with Sun-ho, advising him not to push himself, it’s hilarious to have Su-ho get impatient with him and tease him for wanting to go to sleep when he’s been ‘sleeping’ all this while. Only a little sibling can be this brazen and get away with it.
It’s pretty obvious that recovery will be a struggle for Sun-ho, especially since he doesn’t seem to have regained the feeling back in his legs. On the mental front at least, he doesn’t seem too disturbed even after regaining his memory of that night. Sun-ho’s version of the events establishes that Joon-seok has been telling the truth so far, and it’s interesting that he’s the one to ask Dong-hee if Joon-seok is okay. The boy doesn’t seem to blame Joon-seok for his fall but his involvement with Da-hee’s case remains murky.
Joon-seok has been spiraling for a while now and I really wish his parents would do the practical thing and get him a therapist instead of committing more crimes for their son. He’s caught in a strange quagmire of being blamed for things he didn’t do and getting away scot-free for things he did. The scene of him offering to pay Dong-soo, a stranger, just to hit him so he could feel reprimanded really got to me. I was worried that he might turn suicidal but he chooses another way of ending it all—by going to the police and confessing his guilt in both Sun-ho and Da-hee’s cases.
Now that the tides seem to be turning against Joon-seok, the loyalties of the other boys change as well with Yeong-cheol snubbing him and Sung-jae going back to hang out with Ki-chan. His classmates continue to bully him and Teacher Lee once again sets an example by telling his students, “If you guys do that, you’re no better than Joon-seok or the adults who were unfair.”
Da-hee’s case remains the only mystery in this show. Like her parents, even I am confounded by why she would lie to both her parents and Sun-ho about something like this. The fact that Da-hee’s father is against the idea of reporting her assault isn’t helping matters and seems to reflect the really harmful attitude towards sexual assaults. “The more you hide Da-hee, the more she may feel like she’s the sinner rather than the victim,” In-ha tells Da-hee’s mom. It’s something we could all do well to remember.
It pleased me to see that Eun-joo expresses relief after finding out that Sun-ho woke up until Jin-pyo reminded her of the situation they are in. While this brief glimpse of decency doesn’t cancel out her crimes, it’s her husband who needs to pay for his blatant misuse of his influence and power more than anyone. With the police getting closer to the men involved with Shin Dae-gil’s accident, I have my fingers crossed.
At this point, I wouldn’t be averse to Eun-joo’s redemption arc as long as she gets a fair sentence for her crimes. She clearly needs to move away from her unhappy marriage and Jin-pyo’s toxic influence on Joon-seok. “I was already trapped all this while,” she says. Let’s hope everyone in the show is able to move away from traps of their own making.
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