Side dish: You may need cookies after that ending, so why not bake cookies in the shape of Miffy? Here’s a recipe for lemon shortbread cookies from i am a food blog.
Note: Lee Joon Ho and Lee Joon Young are the same person. Jung Sun Ho and Lee Min are also the same person.
The childhood memories of genius criminal profiler, Lee Hyun (Seo In Guk) come rushing back as he lies unconscious in bed. He remembers the day when a criminal who wanted revenge on his father killed his mother. In an effort to protect his younger brother, Hyun took a gun from his father’s bag, and shot the criminal. The kickback (and probably the trauma) knocked him unconscious, and he subsequently forgot the whole incident. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Min, now known as Jung Sun Ho (Park Bo Gum) was left with the aftermath, and Hyun theorizes that this childhood trauma caused Min to become a psychopath.
Hyun wakes up, horrified that his own actions caused Min to become a psychopath. Police detective Cha Ji Ahn (Jang Na Ra) comforts him as he breaks down, but she has no idea why he’s crying. Outside the door, Min also cries, as he realizes that the cards he sent have caused Hyun to remember that terrible day, and to blame himself.
At his own home, medical examiner/serial killer Lee Joon Ho (Choi Won Young) wonders why his heart breaks every time he hears the crying of a child. The sole survivor of the murder of his entire family, Park Joo Ah sits silently behind him and doesn’t respond.
At the police station, newly arrested geeky cop, Choi Eun Bok (Son Seung Won) is being interrogated by his police teammates, team leader, Kang Eun Hyeok (Lee Chun Hee), veteran cop Son Myeong Woo (Min Sung Wook), and rookie, Min Seung Joo (Kim Jae Young). Eun Hyeok and Myeong Woo ask Eun Bok to give them information about his connection to Lee Joon Young in exchange for consideration, but Eun Bok only apologizes for killing Planning Officer Hyun Ji Soo. Eun Bok looks stricken, but stays silent, when Seung Joo begs him to confess, and tells him that he considered Eun Bok to be his family.
Meanwhile, Ji Ahn watches over a sleeping Hyun, then goes to the living room to talk to Min. She tells Min about Eun Bok being one of Joon Young’s rescued children, then out of nowhere hugs him. She tells him that he needs to pay for his crimes, and that even if doesn’t understand what he did wrong, he should do it for Hyun’s sake. If Min runs away, she explains, Hyun will run with him, and neither one of them will be able to be happy in that case. Min looks hopeful as he asks her why it can’t be covered up, since he only killed bad people and there’s no evidence anyway. Ji Ahn replies that she can’t ignore his crimes, and that she’ll keep investigating until she finds evidence, leaving an unhappy Hyun in the middle.
At the police station, Myeong Woo is appalled that the investigative team had no idea of the kinds of abuse Eun Bok must have suffered as a child to believe that Joon Young was his saviour. A grim Eun Hyeok points out that regardless, they still have to officially interrogate Eun Bok.
Ji Ahn’s next stop is the home of Joon Ho, where she drops all pretense and tells him how disgusting she finds him and what he’s done to the people around her. Joon Ho is all innocence, until she tells him to drop the act. Joon Ho promptly does, and tries another tack, that he only killed people who abused children. Ji Ahn doesn’t buy this either, so he asks her what she intends to do. Ji Ahn pulls a gun out of her bag and tells him she intends to kill him, but not by shooting him, because that would hurt Hyun and put her on the same level as Joon Ho. When Joon Ho walks away at this statement, Ji Ahn levels the gun at him, but he easily disarms her and empties out her bag. Sure enough, on the floor is her cell phone, recording the conversation.
Ji Ahn fights back, but Joon Ho overpowers her. With his hand on her throat, she tells him to kill her, because then Hyun and her team will be able to catch for her murder. Before he can act on her words, the door bursts open to reveal a frantic Eun Hyeok. Joon Ho releases Ji Ahn, then pretends that he and Ji Ahn were just having an argument. Eun Hyeok had come to see if he could appeal to Joon Ho’s humanity, but with the scene before him, he realizes that Joon Ho doesn’t have any left. Ji Ahn stops Eun Hyeok before he can do anything to Joon Ho, who wonders why everyone sees him as a monster. Eun Hyeok tells Joon Ho to look in the mirror as he lets him go.
As Eun Hyeok and Ji Ahn walk away from Joon Ho’s house, they both confess how scared they were to go see him. For Ji Ahn, she decided to confront him alone so she could see his true self. Eun Hyeok, meanwhile, felt like he had to confront him. Eun Hyeok was casting about for something to do for Ji Ahn, since neither his father’s apology nor his resignation would have been meaningful to her. Ji Ahn reassures him that she doesn’t count him as guilty by association, but Eun Hyeok has more to say: he confesses that he liked her. He adds that liking Ji Ahn was good for him, then walks away.
Back at the house, Joon Ho looks at his reflection, but doesn’t see anything.
Hyun wakes up to find that it’s gotten dark. When he goes out to the living room, he finds Min sitting by himself and immediately asks if he’s hungry. Min has already made dinner, but when the two of them sit down to eat, Hyun does little more than pick at his food. Not one to beat around the bush, Min tells him that Hyun was not responsible for him becoming a psychopath, and that what Hyun did that day was self-defense. Hyun thanks him, but doesn’t look convinced, and Min thinks back to Joon Ho’s earlier words that maybe the reunion of the brothers was not a good thing, that Hyun doesn’t have a happy expression with him.
The next day, Seung Joo manages to track down two of the children in Ji Ahn’s photos, but when they interrogate them, neither one will admit to knowing Joon Ho. One of them asks to know Joon Ho’s identity, but still doesn’t have a response for them.
Hyeon, meanwhile, is surprised to receive a visit from Joon Ho. With no preamble, Joon Ho suggests that he, Hyun, and Min run away together. Joon Ho knows that Hyun hasn’t yet caught him because he doesn’t want Min to be caught as well. He reiterates his suggestion as a way of keeping everyone happy. Just then, Min walks in the door of the house, but doesn’t announce his presence. Hyun walks over to Joon Ho, and puts his fingers on his missing pulse again. He tells Joon Ho that he can threaten or test him all he likes, but not to touch or go near Min. In the doorway, Min sketches a smile, and quietly leaves.
Min doesn’t go far, and when Joon Ho goes home, he finds Min sitting in his chair. Min didn’t know that Joon Ho would suggest leaving to Hyun, and has come to the realization that if he leaves with Joon Ho, he’ll be stuck with being lied to for the rest of his life. But, if he stays with Hyun, that won’t be a happy ending either.
Eun Hyeok goes to see his father, Deputy Commissioner Kang (Nam Kyoung Eub), and asks about the possibility of the investigative team being disbanded. When Deputy Commissioner Kang points out that they’ve had some problems recently, Eun Hyeok tells him that he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his team. Deputy Commissioner Kang is more upset that Eun Hyeok is being distant, no longer returning home or calling him father. Eun Hyeok calls him a child and tells him to take responsibility like an adult.
Back at the house, Min asks Hyun if Eun Bok has yet confessed about Joon Young. Hyun confirms that he hasn’t, but believes that he will soon. It turns out that while Eun Bok is in jail, the team visits him in turn, apologizing for not knowing what he was going through. Ji Ahn is the last, and she offers to bring him better food than the prison, as his noona. Hyun, meanwhile, tells Min not to take anything Joon Young says to heart. Min pretends ignorance, and instead, he asks Hyun if they can hang out the next day, and do the things they haven’t done together.
The next day, the two of them go on a walk by the riverside, and take selfies together, managing natural smiles after three tries (that’s impressive; it would have taken me longer).
That night, one of Joon Ho’s former children confronts him at the park and tries to stab him in the gut. He tells Joon Ho that even though his parents were terrible, it was better to have them. Enraged, Joon Ho is about to attack him in return, but stops himself and walks away.
When he gets home, Joon Ho finds Min waiting for him. Min tells Joon Ho that they should disappear together. Joon Ho asks Min if he thinks there’s something wrong with them, but Min doesn’t; all he knows is that Hyun will be unhappy if both of them are still around. Min tells Joon Ho that he’ll just have to consider his death as the price of separating him from Hyun for 20 years. He grabs a knife from the rack and runs at Joon Ho. Evenly matched, the two men grapple with each other. Next door, Hyun notices that Min is missing, and goes running out the door. Joon Ho finally gets the upper hand and shoves Min to the floor. Joon Ho grabs the knife and stabs an unresisting Min in the stomach. Just as Joon Ho realizes what he’s done and backs away, Hyun bursts into the room. Hyun spots Min on the floor, and goes to him, begging him to come to his senses.
He’s too late, and in voiceover, Min tells Hyun that for 20 years, he hated Hyun and waited for him, that Hyun was all he had. Min’s eyes close and he dies in Hyun’s arms. Desperate, Hyun starts CPR, but Joon Ho tells him that it’ll be useless. Hyun turns to him, tears in his eyes, and rage takes over as he attacks Joon Ho. They grapple, but Hyun gets the upper hand and his hands close around Joon Ho’s throat. He’s about to strangle him, when he’s hit from behind and stumbles. He turns around to find Park Joo Ah, the only survivor of the murder of Joon Young’s family. Hyun fights it, but he eventually falls over unconscious.
When he wakes up, Min’s body is gone and he’s alone in the house. In voiceover, Ji Ahn tells us that Sun Ho disappeared from that moment, as per Joon Young’s usual MO.
Back at the police station, the investigative team watches as Eun Bok is interrogated by two cops from a different team. Eun Bok tells them that he got rid of Joon Young’s fingerprints, but vows to be a witness to Joon Ho’s crimes. As Eun Bok apologizes to Joon Ho in his mind, somewhere out on the street, Joon Ho turns on his cell phone, and uses it to call Hyun. At the police station, Seung Joo is tracking Joon Ho’s location on his computer.
Joon Ho and Hyun meet near a lake, and Hyun asks why Joon Ho was so obsessed with him from their first meeting. Joon Ho explains that when they met, Hyun told him that he was different from others, rather than labelled him a monster. Joon Ho felt as if he was being understood for the first time, and by a child at that. He wonders if being understood would have changed the course of his life, when he looked at Hyun, who wanted to be him as a child, and Min, who was his carbon copy.
Hyun is not amused by this explanation, but laughs at the irony that one word determined the course of his life. He tells Joon Ho that the only reason he doesn’t kill him is because he wants Min’s corpse back.
In the meantime, the police have tracked down Joon Ho’s cell phone, and the remains of the investigative team come running into the park. Joon Ho and Hyun are nowhere to be found, but Ji Ahn finds Joon Ho’s cell phone on a bench.
In voiceover, she tells us that Lee Joon Young disappeared from that day. And, Hyun, after visiting her house three times as he promised earlier, disappeared as well.
One year later:
Nothing much has changed with the investigative team, except that they have a new rookie, and Myeong Woo has changed his hairdo. The team went through a rough patch, but held together through Eun Hyeok’s efforts. Eun Bok is still in prison, and Seung Joo still visits him frequently. Ji Ahn is still missing Hyun, and wonders if she’d visited him more, whether he would have come more often before disappearing. And, Myeong Woo and Eun Hyeok have become friends with Hyun’s art dealer friend, Bong Song.
Ji Ahn still has moments of dislocation, and thinks about Hyun at those times. She wonders what would have happened if they hadn’t been united by Joon Young murdering both of their fathers, whether they would have met. Ji Ahn concludes that they would have, and that they may have even grown up together, Ji Ahn, Hyun, and even Min. She imagines that as adults they would get along so well that they would live together, watch movies, and have guests over.
Back in reality, the team is called out for a case. They arrive to the rooftop crime scene to find someone already there. As they approach, they all stop short when they realize that it’s Hyun. He rebukes them for being late, and starts to describe the details of the crime. No one’s interested, and Seung Joo comes in for an awkward hug. When Myeong Woo tries to follow suit, Hyun only comments on how much he’s aged, much to Myeong Woo’s annoyance. Hyun smiles as he finally turns to Ji Ahn.
Min, who is not dead, looks out the window of a hospital room from the bed. Joo Ah enters the room and tells him that Hyun has just left. Min flashes back to Hyun’s visit, where Hyun cried happy tears over his sleeping form. Joo Ah hands him an envelope, adding that it’s a gift from Hyun, his new identity. Min understands that Hyun is telling him to choose, to live as Hyun’s brother and pay for his crimes, or to disappear.
Hyun and Ji Ahn take a walk through a pretty garden, and Hyun acknowledges that apologies aren’t enough in his situation. Ji Ahn agrees, and adds that she wants to ask where he’s been, but she’s sure he won’t tell her. She asks only if he was chasing Joon Young, and he tells her that he will have to. Ji Ahn notes that he uses the future tense and adds that she’s still chasing him herself.
Hyun flashes back to the one thing that Joon Young said when they met when he was a child that he had forgotten: that Hyun had a choice as to how he wanted to live, either like Joon Young or as his opposite. He doesn’t repeat this to Ji Ahn, but thinks that he pities Joon Young.
As they continue to walk, Ji Ahn asks what he’s going to do, whether he’s going to join the team, or move on. She tells Hyun to disappear right away if that’s his intention, but he denies it. Instead, he asks her if she missed him, and she nods. He asks if she missed him a lot, and she nods again. Hyun moves some strands of hair away from her face, and kisses her. He pauses, then kisses her again.
Meanwhile, back in his hospital room, Min holds the envelope while thinking over the choice before him. He walks away from his hospital room smiling, leaving the envelope behind.
On the street, Hyun and Ji Ahn walk happily hand in hand, but fail to notice that they’re passing by Joon Young. In voiceover, Joon Young tells Hyun to come find him. As he does, Hyun and Ji Ahn stop short, and Hyun looks at Joon Young’s retreating back. He promises to chase him and the episode ends.
I predicted to JK last week that we were going to get a time skip at the end of this episode, so that Hyun and Ji Ahn could get together in a plausible manner. What I didn’t predict was that the time skip was going to be so unnecessary. Nothing useful happened in that missing year that I can see, unless I missed it and Min was supposed to have been in a coma the whole time.
To be perfectly honest, while I enjoyed the finale, I did find the ending kind of messy. This isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but much as I enjoyed his relationship with Hyun, I’m not sure that resurrecting Min was necessary. It felt as if the ending was driving in a particular direction and then suddenly took a left turn. Is it because the character of Min/Sun Ho was so popular that it was hard to kill him? I love a happy ending, but it probably would have made for a more satisfying ending to let Min die, and as a parting gesture to make sure that Joon Young went to jail for his death. By comparison, this ending seemed wishy-washy, especially since it depended on the random presence of Joo Ah, a character that only seems to pop up when there’s a hole in the plot that needs filling.
Regardless, I will miss this show, and I’m at least glad that Ji Ahn and Hyun got a happy ending, and a kiss. Surprisingly, I also enjoyed Ji Ahn’s alternate world fantasy where the three of them could have just grown up as friends, rather than the mess of serial killers, revenge and ruined lives that they did grow up with. Just look how cute these kids are:
More to come in our series review, so stay tuned!