KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: WHO ARE YOU (2013)
Episode 9 places the romance onto the backburner after last week's kiss scene, with the main mystery of Shi On's past taking centre stage, the tragic case which destroyed so much those 6 years ago coming to light in a way I didn't fully expect for at least a few more episodes.
Don't get me wrong though I am very happy about this reveal, because being upfront and straightforward with its plotting and overall story arc is a desicion which I think really does work so well for this drama, as it is never burdened with pretending to be deeper or more mysterious than it is. For example, already we know that Moon-shik is one shady guy, and it was pretty obvious right from the start too, which is why I am pleased the drama didn't try and keep that fact hidden for any longer than it did as it would have only become silly to have a big shocking reveal later on when it was already so obvious. And this is the same for the main overall case of Shi On's past being presented fairly openly this episode, showing us the facts in a clear way as Shi On discovers them and not trying to promise any foundation shattering plot twists to come by keeping us in the dark any longer.
And that is one of the reasons why I am loving this drama as much as I am, because it is not pretentious and doesn't pretend to be more tricky or twisty than its plot can handle, relying more on its haunting atmosphere, character development and tense detective work to keep the story flowing and driving forward rather than plot buildup or promise that can't actually ever be delivered. A drama like this one is so satisfying in my opinion, as although a mindblowing twisty plot is exciting, a steady slow and emotional journey always wins over a shallow attempt to be showy with no payoff.
This episode begins with both Gun Woo and Shi On in their separate homes thinking about The Kiss, both alternating between smiling at the memory and cringing at it (possibly Gun Woo was doing much more of the smiling in this instance). The flashbacks are nice and set to some lovely romantic music which offsets the moment (have I already mentioned how much I LOVE the music in this drama? So appropriate and so so gorgeously atmospheric).
The next day at the office is awkward, though Shi On doesn't resort to running away like a big baby the way Gun Woo does and instead confronts him by pretty much saying to forget what happened the night before and remain professional. But when Gun Woo leaves the room she is left fanning herself and clutching her chest, shocked at her own loud heartbeat. That's interesting to me, because I can't ever quite tell how emotionally attached Shi On actually is to Gun Woo, but this scene is quite telling. She is clearly quite strongly affected by him and the situation, in the sense that he is a man and not just as her silly flirty colleague.
The underlings are also cataloging a bunch of lost items today and a guy turns up at the office to retrieve his cellphone, the only problem is that he doesn't have his passport or ID with him, and so the officers send him away. But this dude, a Chinese-Korean, is acting seriously desperate and he actually hides in the police office until nighttime where he returns to swipe his cell, a crushed and useless looking smartphone.
Meanwhile, Moon-shik has called in a favour and managed to get Gun Woo back onto the real police investigative team like he has always wanted, except now Gun Woo just isn't too sure what he wants anymore. He should be happy but he reacts to the news in a very subdued manner which is quite telling.
Moon-shik is obviously just trying to get him away from Shi On because I do believe his feeling of fatherliness for Gun Woo are genuine and he most likely doesn't want his protege involved in the total shit storm that he knows is inevitable for Shi On due to her relentless investigation and uncovering of her past and memory.
Shi On also seems rather unhappy about Gun Woo's forthcoming reassignment but she keeps her chin up and says he should be excited, brushing off his concerns that the department won't be able to function without him there to keep everyone in line. Of course it is Shi On herself that he is really worrying about and being the only person to know her secret I am pretty sure that Gun Woo would be feeling a kind of responsibility towards protecting her which, coupled with his obviously strong feelings for her as a woman, is going to make it very difficult for him to leave her.
As they walk home together, Shi On is accosted by the horrifying sight of a bleeding sky, as in it is literally raining blood! Its pretty disturbing and the trail leads her and a confused Gun Woo straight to a back alley with a ghost who stands clutching his bloody side and crying....... right next to his own cold and dead body! The ghost stares at Shi On in such anguish and they share a long moment of helplessness, almost like Shi On is acknowledging the horror he must feel seeing himself like this, but they both also know there is nothing that she can do to change it either.
Seeing awful stuff like this is such a burden for Shi On. I could never handle it, I would just go insane from all the different ghost's grief, which is so palpable whenever they appear near her that it is understandable for Shi On to completely and utterly fear and dread their presence.
This body is linked by the Detectives to the Chinese-Korean guy with the smashed phone, and Shi On and Gun Woo set off on a mission to discover his whereabouts in Chinatown, taking his photo around with them, but to no avail. But this is when Hyung-joon reappears, using the Shaman to relay a special password and address within Chinatown to Shi On and Gun Woo, who immediately follow the clue to a shady restaurant with an even shadier manager. The man says the dead alley guy and the phone guy were two friends who worked for him, but that they recently quit to set up a business back home, and I am getting the impression that these guys weren't exactly legal immigrants to Korea and were involved in some scary shit. He gives the detectives a photo of the two men (henceforth known as Dead Alley Guy and Phone Guy) and also an address to find Phone Guy, and then he drops a bomb..... he asks where Detective Hyung-joon is? A shocked Shi On asks him how he knows Hyung-joon but the man immediately clams straight up and tells them never to come back.
It is a pretty ominous warning.
The Detectives follow the address to find Phone Guy holed up in his apartment and Gun Woo roughly takes the guy down before he can escape, holding him against the floor as Shi On retrieves the broken phone. Dead Alley Guy appears, blood still dripping down his side and we see in flashback (I presume the Phone Guy is telling them the story?) that the two men decided to blackmail the company that helped them arrive, work and live in Korea, a clearly illegal people-smuggling venture that has been aided (or possibly headed?) by corrupt Korean cops and officials. The two guys got in waaaay over their heads however, stealing the Boss's phone which is loaded with all the evidence anyone could ever need to take the gang down (convenient) but which came at a price, namely the death of Dead Alley Guy. Shi On also learns that the name of the boat involved in the smuggling matches the ship where Hyung-joon was murdered 6 years before, meaning that clearly the two cases are connected. Interesting....
In another flashback, we see Hyung-joon next to that same ship, his conversaton exactly mirroring the one Moon-shik told Shi On about in the church a few episodes ago, except this time the roles are reversed and Hyung-joon is the one that goes onto the ship to investigate, showing Moon-shik to be the immense liar that we always knew he was. So does this mean that the shooting has also been reversed and in actual fact it is indeed Moon-shik that killed Hyung-joon? Not exactly a surprise, but still a huge emotional blow for Gun Woo if it is true.
We see that Moon-shik has received a mysterious call again, this time being told to intercept that crushed phone whatever the cost, and the next second there is a group of thugs after Shi On and Gun Woo. Gun Woo brings on the awesome and confronts the gang members to give Shi On (and more importantly the phone) a chance to escape, but like the lovely Kdrama lead that she is, Shi On just runs up some stairs onto a nearby rooftop where there is nowhere else to go, leaving her trapped (Pfffht!). Gun Woo appears again however and the two put up a pretty freaking good fight, until Shi On is knocked down and Gun Woo leaps on top of her to protect her from the onslaught of blows. It is a fairly bold move and pretty cool that he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her, but I particularly liked his reaction once reinforcements arrive, mainly just being totally pissy and grumpy that he was hurt. I absolutely love that he is not at all an overly heroic too- good- to- be- true- hero-guy with his words, complaining and getting snappy at Shi On about his painful intervention, and yet his actions speak otherwise as he was definitely willing to take the blows for Shi On. It just makes me love Gun Woo all the more.
Back at the station, Moon-shik tells Gun Woo not to be so worried about changing departments as it is not like he has to go to America, after all he will still be in the same building as Shi On. But this conversation has the complete opposite effect on Gun woo than Moon-shik had intended and culminates with Gun Woo declaring to himself that he will remain by Shi On's side, a huge grin on his face as if the desicion has finally lifted a massive weight off his shoulders. I guess it is also about admitting to himself exactly how much he likes Shi On and how far he is willing to go for a chance to be with her in the future, and he is clearly not ready to let go yet.
An earlier line he uttered in this episode really sums it up for me; 'Why are there so many things I am concerned about?'. This sentence really reveals Gun Woo's feelings, as the formerly gung-ho and ambitious detective with no emotional ties at all (save Moon-shik) suddenly finds himself saddled with a new sense of responsibility for another person (not that Shi On asks or wants him to feel that way of course), someone whom he worries for and cares about which has slowly begun to creep in and shape the way he feels about all other aspects of his life, including his job, where now his career is coming in second to his need to be around Shi On and help her.
The episode ends with Shi On following a lead to a shop she used to frequent with Hyung-joon where she not only finds a photo of them being lovey-dovey together, but actually fully regains her memory of him! She sees him there as a ghost straight away, standing in front of her with that horrifyingly haunted look on his face and she begins to cry, calling him Oppa and asking him to forgive her for forgetting about him.
Oh my gosh soooo sad!
I hardly know what this means for her right now, its just such a hardcore bombshell to drop on a person, not only is she now grieving for the man she loved and lost, but he is actually still beside her where she can see him! So complicated.
And of course episode 10 only gets more complicated as everything is blown wide open. Gun Woo arrives at Shi On's house to tell her the happy news that he wants to stay beside her, only to find an empty house. When Shi On finally does come home, she is walking beside the ghost of Hyung-joon and they are smiling and enjoying each others company like they are still dating and he never died. Hyung-joon has also shown her the engagement ring he bought for her (oh, so heartbreaking) and she asks him if it is because of her, the reason that he is still here? It is so heartrending when he just smiles slightly, tears in his eyes as he stares at her lovingly.
We are also treated to a full flashback to the events of 6 years ago, and it is all pretty freaking sad. The stakeout that Hyung-joon and Moon-shik are on doesn't seem very serious which leads me to believe it is more routine and not the case of them really expecting to find anything at the dock. Which is probably why Hyung-joon invites Shi On there to meet him during his shift, where he wants to ask her to marry him (I could have thought of a few more romantic scenarios for a proposal, but anyway...). He never gets the chance to ask her though as she has brought him a gift herself, a couple shirt, the one he appears in every time she sees him as a ghost. It is so sweet as she laughingly hands him the present, insisting he wear it straight away, except..... that of course means he forgets the bullet proof vest he was wearing when he returns to his duties.
Oh no, how awful, Shi On will certainly believe that was her fault now.
We once again watch the tragedy unfold, this time with a glimpse of the actual murderer and it is indeed the main suspect, Moon-shik.
When the two former lovers arrive back at Shi On's house, Gun Woo tells Shi On that he wants to stay beside her and there is nothing she can do but break his heart and tell him that she has now remembered the man she was in love with, and will only be focusing on his murder case because that is all that is important to her right now. She walks past him into the house leaving him crushed and alone, but hey, at least she was completely honest with none of this stringing guys along for no reason plotline that dramas enjoy so much.
The two detectives bring their smashed phone to an expert to try and retrieve its contents and then they send Phone Guy back home safely, along with the ashes of his dead best friend, telling him they won't give up in finding the criminals responsible. Shi On watches them go sadly, seeing herself and Hyung-joon reflected in their similarly tragic situation.
But just as the computer hack guy manages to crack the coded data on the phone all his gear is stolen, including the evidence he had retrieved from the phone. Which leaves Shi On to take drastic and desperate measures by accepting Moon-shik's clearly devious invitation to accompany him to meet a witness which he has suddenly conjured out of thin air. This is a huge risk obviously and I am not sure that Shi On is completely prepared for the showdown that occurs (she goes in with basically no plan and no backup!) which ends with her and Moon-shik at a stalemate with their guns drawn.
Luckily though, Gun Woo has found his own evidence also pointing at Moon-shik, and when he can't reach Shi On by phone he starts to freak out. I actually found the scene in the office with Hyung-joon using his ghostly powers to let Gun Woo know Shi On's location quite sad. I mean Hyung-joon loves Shi On and he wants to protect her but he is so utterly helpless and useless in this situation, the best that he can possibly do is to send Gun Woo, a man he knows to also be in love with his fiancée, off to save her and be the hero of the day whilst he remains behind in shadow. Of course what is important is actually helping Shi On, but to be so useless in the face of the woman you love being threatened and in danger, and even having to send another man off to save her must be incredibly painful for him.
So with Gun woo's arrival on the scene, Moon-shik is totally outed and although he does admit (much to Gun Woo's horror) that he killed Hyung-joon, he also says that he didn't mean to and that there is more to it than they know, clearly suggesting that he was being forced by someone else to do all these terrible things.
The thing that intrigues me here though is that he did ask her there to kill her right? He is trying to act like its not all his fault but wasn't that his mission? Would he really have gone that far?
Moon-shik escapes when the police turn up, leaving a furious Gun Woo to confront Shi On about keeping the truth from him about his Sunbae. I do feel like he has a right to be this angry in this scene, because her trying to constantly shut him out of this case that actually involves him through association with Moon-shik is pretty low. He has a right to know the truth and I loved the line he screams at Shi On at the end of the episode when she tells him she didn't want to tell him because she didn't want him to get hurt. He answers that how does she think he feels now anyway? Clearly, waiting to tell him this terrible fact didn't make it any easier for him to hear.
And he has a point, what difference does it make to a painful truth whether you find out sooner or later and I think Shi On has made a mistake being so secretive with Gun Woo. Here is a man willing to get hurt to save her, someone completely on her side and trustworthy, and yet she isn't using him to help her solve this thing, instead running off all headstrong into danger alone. I understand that she has issues and doesn't want anyone else to be hurt because of her, but Shi On needs to understand that Gun Woo is an officer too and capable of making a real contribution to the case, not just a useless lump who will get in the way.
Although there is also the possibility that maybe her motives are more along the lines of not wanting him around considering he has confessed to her, making their relationship awkward and confused now?
Now that the plot has basically all been revealed and Moon-shik has been outed as a criminal I am wondering where the drama will go next? I am still not getting massive romantic vibes off Shi On towards Gun Woo either so am wondering how on earth she will begin to see him as a viable love interest with Hyung-joon still hanging around clouding her vision with his loveliness, although I do think Gun Woo's angry outburst at the end of this episode will wake her up a bit and make her understand and know him much better, and hopefully she will let him become more involved in the investigation as a result.