Call it the Choi Jin-Hyuk effect.
I suspect they could make a show in which Choi Jin-Hyuk simply sits in front of the camera and reads the phone book, and I would still be completely mesmerized and watch every last minute and beg for more. At times “Pride and Prejudice” becomes a confusing wash of hard-to-remember names and dates, but it doesn’t matter. It’s riveting anyway. And episode 18 delivers more than enough heart-stopping scenes to keep me hypnotized.
Choi Jin-Hyuk looked tired at the MBC awards last Monday, and if he was filming this episode, I can understand why. This episode belongs to Prosecutor Koo, as he realizes he may have committed a murder 15 years ago. His desire to turn himself in is at war with the desire to see justice done, which means protecting Song Ah-Reum when he discovers the witness is still alive—and still in danger.
His father’s involvement presents another conundrum. “Pride and Prejudice” has threatened the main characters with difficult moral choices at many points, but the stakes are higher than ever here. And Choi Jin-Hyuk continues to make the moral danger feel very real, even if the plot is shadowy and vague.
As usual, this post is more of an uncap than a recap. The oblique dialogue might make a little more sense in Korean. But here I want to puzzle out how Prosecutor Koo got into the moral quandary that ends episode 18.
We pick up right where we left off, as Koo Dong-Chi realizes he killed the kidnapper 15 years ago. The kidnapper’s creepy twin brother leaves. As he’s on his way out, he suggests Chief Moon may have had something to do with his brother’s death.
Dong-Chi quickly heads to the old factory site to learn more about the kidnapper’s corpse. The evidence matches up with Dong-Chi’s memories. He struck the kidnapper on the back of the head with a steel pipe, which matches the fractures on the newly unearthed skull. The investigator believes the man who died there 15 years ago was killed by one hard blow to the head.
Dong-Chi leaps to the conclusion that he killed Kidnapper Baek. But is he forgetting that someone looking like Kidnapper Baek chased him, looking concussed but very much alive?
Twin Brother Baek is quick on the uptake. He’s already suspicious of Dong-Chi because of their earlier conversation. He’s scarier than ever as he asks Dong-Chi to find the guy who killed his brother.
The scene of the crime is strangely beautiful because of the snow, which falls heavily during these scenes. This is the real deal—it looks like those big, heavy, wet snowflakes that cause traffic jams. The director lucked out, because the snow intensifies the atmosphere of loss and tragedy.
It’s in this melancholy setting that Dong-Chi discovers one last clue: a rusted metal whistle buried with the kidnapper’s body. His hands shake as he picks it up. It resembles one that belonged to his father. His father must have found the body and left the clue there to draw attention away from Dong-Chi.
Dong-Chi makes his way to his father’s small house and joins his father for lunch. Dong-Chi and his father make a striking pair—so awkward together, yet so clearly connected by love and loyalty. Dong-Chi chides his father for not having any food in the fridge and making him feel like a bad son. His father acts the part of the doting working class man proud that his smart son has done better than him. Dong-Chi grows serious and says he owes his father a lot.
“You fed me, raised me, kept clothes on my back. You did so much…. And you buried it. The crime I committed.”
His father pretends not to know what Dong-Chi is talking about. Then, his father argues that if there was a crime, it is entirely his crime, not Dong-Chi’s. He insists Dong-Chi doesn’t know anything about it. Father Koo says something that could be a statement on the entire story so far, “Children have to pretend not to know the crimes their parents committed.”
They both fall silent and pretend to concentrate on eating, full of emotion.
Meanwhile, back at the office, Director Oh has assigned Han Yeol-Moo to investigate Kidnapper Baek’s murder. She admits it’s awkward that Yeol-Moo has personal involvement in the case, but she doesn’t leave Yeol-Moo a choice.
Director Oh also tells Chief Moon not to expect a promotion. Director Lee may be out of the competition, but Secretary Sung is still in the running.
It’s still unclear precisely which high position Lee and Sung were competing for. Certain subtitlers translate it as the position of “chancellor” and others as “president.” Because of the confusion, I’m going to refer to this position as the Comfy Chair.
As soon as Oh tells Moon the Comfy Chair will probably go to Sung, Chief Moon leaks his copy of the sex video to the tabloids, along with accurate details of the investigation. Suddenly, Sung Moo-Young and Assemblyman Kim Jae-Hak are in disgrace. As a result, Moon and Oh are now among the few people still standing, as shown on the updated web of intrigue below.
Forgive my terrible skills as an artist! I’ve crossed out the guys who have been eliminated, leaving Moon and Oh as viable candidates for the Comfy Chair. But the Hwa Young Octopus of Doom has tentacles everywhere. (This is my first attempt ever to draw an octopus, much less an Octopus of Doom, so please be merciful.) Getting to the Comfy Chair requires cooperating with Hwa Young.
Jung Chang-Gi tells Chief Moon he should show his support for Hwa Young by turning over Song Ah-Reum.
Song Ah-Reum?!? Yes, apparently Moon asked Yoo Senior to hide her and tell people she died in the hospital. Only Moon knows her location. But she knows too much and Hwa Young wants her.
We get a few moments of lightness here, as we watch Prosecutor Lee handling the case against Sung and Kim, which they’ve reopened since Moon’s tabloid leak. Lee doesn’t want to annoy the higher-ups by prosecuting anyone powerful. But Gwang-Mi has him twisted around her little finger. She convinces him with a kiss on the cheek that no danger is too great to keep him from the cause of justice. Or something like that.
Koo Dong-Chi returns from lunch having made a decision. He hands Chief Moon his ID badge and asks him to accept the resignation letter in his drawer. Moon seems to know exactly what’s on Dong-Chi’s mind. He argues with him that the evidence is merely circumstantial. Dong-Chi doesn’t know for sure that he killed anyone. And Moon adds that even if he has caused harm to someone, resigning isn’t the best way to right the wrong. Dong-Chi should focus his energy on catching lots of bad guys.
After giving a litany of reasons for Dong-Chi to forget about the past, Moon rips up Dong-Chi’s resignation letter. As Dong-Chi leaves the room, a complicated series of emotions cross Moon’s face. What else does he know about 1999? Director Oh said she knows where Moon was that night—and she said it in a meaningful way. Was Moon actually involved in killing Kidnapper Baek?