After hearing about Da-hee in whispers for a couple of episodes, we meet her when Su-ho and Dong-hee decide to stake out her house. We’ve seen her look afraid of Joon-seok before, but in a confusing turn of events, it’s Sun-ho’s name and memory that makes her recoil from Su-ho and scream from terror. To add to the chaos, Da-hee’s mom reaching out to Sun-ho’s parents to inform them that their son was a predator and an attacker just makes the water murkier.
Instead of being angry with Security Guard Shin and demanding answers, Moo-jin tries to appeal to his better side. It almost seems like it will work because Shin tells him about his drug addict son and Moo-jin offers his sympathies. But one look at Oh Jin-pyo’s guy who’s been keeping an eye on him shuts him up and he leaves Moo-jin without much information.
In-ha is able to grab hold of Joon-seok for a while and notices several incriminating details about him, one of which is how his shoelaces are tied exactly like Sun-ho’s shoes. Like Moo-jin did with Shin, In-ha tries to plead to the good in Joon-seok and the boy looks like he’s about to break. It’s funny how Joon-seok is most human in the company of Sun-ho’s parents instead of his own. I guess one can say there’s still a trusting child inside him who is receptive to kindness but he’s never learnt to act on these feelings thanks to his parents, who seem intent on moulding him into a self-centered, lying monster.
Joon-seok’s brief moment of being receptive vanishes when his mother asks him to lie once again. It’s worrying how the teenager is being trained to lie and cover up crimes with precision. Ever since Eun-joo heard the recording of Sun-ho and Joon-seok’s conversation, the mother and son relationship seems to be developing cracks. But before Joon-seok can feel guilt, Jin-pyo swoops in to fill his son’s head with arrogance. “If you feel guilty, you’re already a criminal,” he tells his son, unconcerned that he’s raising him to be exactly that. Eun-joo is so horrified by how unperturbed her son is that she asks if he’s becoming a monster. Lady, you’re a tad late asking that question.
The normally feisty and hot-headed Su-ho is crushed after Da-hee’s mom slaps her for trying to talk to her sick daughter. I don’t feel that her anger was unwarranted, but its effect on Su-ho was heartbreaking. Su-ho doesn’t visit or cry for Sun-ho as much as her parents do but it’s obvious how much she misses him—he’s the first person she finds when she wants to have a good cry. She won my heart again when she displays real maturity in asking her mom to not get angry with Da-hee’s mom. Both parents worry that their little daughter is maturing too soon and ask her to have fun with friends. It’s a bittersweet moment, but a testament to this family’s beautiful connection.
Journalist Choi’s article on Sun-ho’s incident gets published and manages to get people talking. Su-ho’s petition also sees an influx of signatories and the family enjoy a small victory for a while, but it doesn’t last too long. The school tries to destroy the credibility of the article by bringing up Journalist Choi’s criminal record. The Vice Principal spreads rumours that Sun-ho’s family paid a criminal to write the article. Aided by Sung-jae’s mom who hasn’t ceased her efforts to vilify Sun-ho’s family even after being humiliated by Joon-ha, Sun-ho’s parents get accused of making money using their sick child in the article’s comment section. The comments eventually get to the normally unfazed In-ha and she breaks down.
After standing up for Dong-hee last time, Teacher Lee wins some major points from me once again when he calls out the Vice Principal for always only asking the female teacher to prepare drinks during meetings. Ha, take that casual sexism in workplace! K-dramaland’s favourite manager Lee Sung-min makes a surprise cameo as the polief chief who is in cahoots with Oh Jin-pyo. In his characteristic gruff manner, he tries to pressure the detective who questioned Joon-seok’s mom into leaving Sun-ho’s case alone and manages to make the few seconds he was in the episode’s most gripping moment. I hope we get to see more of him!
As viewers, our sympathy for Sun-ho has mostly rested on the memories of his family and friends, who know him as a diligent, kind-hearted boy who stands up to bullying. The developments in this episode are bound to cast a shadow on the pristine memory of Sun-ho for both his parents and the viewers. It’s yet another riddle in the show that we will have to wade through to get to the truth of everything.