Sign: Episode 20

Final recap is here! The last time you can enjoy Jung Gyu Woon, Park Shin Yang, Kim Ah Joong, and Uhm Ji Won in their mighty investigative greatness!

 

Da Kyum arrives at the apartment building and notices a shiny yellow sports car leave the parking lot. She doesn’t think much of it, and goes up to his apartment. It’s absolutely dark, and she struggles to turn on the light. She turns around, and Yoon Ji Hoon is lying on the bed. She tries to wake him – but he doesn’t move. She feels his pulse – and there’s none.

Yoon Ji Hoon is dead.

Woo Jin races to the police station, where Da Kyum is submitting a report to the police. She insists it’s not a suicide; Ji Hoon loved his work and he never suffered from such stress or depression. It was a homicide! Da Kyum remembers the sports car and tells Woo Jin that Seo Yeon did it. Seo Yeon killed Ji Hoon!

Kang Seo Yeon enters Myung Han’s office at NFS that evening. He doesn’t want to see her and tells her to leave, but she tells him she’s going to be the first lady tomorrow – so don’t be giving her orders.

Yi Han rushes to the hospital, where Woo Jin leaves Da Kyung in his care. She wants to be in charge of the case and find out what happened, but a sunbae prosecutor, Noh Sang Min, arrives, saying that he’s in charge instead. He’s also on Kang Joong Hyuk’s payroll. He says that Ji Hoon suffered from depression and paranoia – all of which point to suicide. He promises he’ll find out the “truth” with a smarmy grin on his face.

Da Kyung hurries to NFS, to make sure she can protect Ji Hoon in his final moments.

Woo Jin goes to Prosecutor Choi asking him to help her get the case. Meanwhile, the team just gets word that Yoon Ji Hoon is dead – in the form of seeing his name on the “autopsy for the day” list. They go to Da Kyung for confirmation, and Wan Tae finally feels even MORE remorseful for his treachery.

Attorney Jang begs at Myung Han’s feet to cover up Yoon Ji Hoon’s autopsy. It’s his one last request. (Everything is his one last request.) Myung Han flashes back to the night before, when Ji Hoon visited him and said that another body will be arriving at NFS and it will be THE autopsy that will solve all prior cases. Ji Hoon doesn’t want Myung Han to perform the autopsy as the Myung Han now, but as the Myung Han of 20 years ago. He won’t say whose body it is, but now Myung Han understands.

Chief Prosecutor Choi and Woo Jin confront Noh Sang Min, who gives them the lip and pretends that he knows what he’s doing as he works on Ji Hoon’s case.

Da Kyung waits for the ambulance outside, waiting for Ji Hoon’s body. And, in an act completely befitting of the drama, she steals the body before anyone – and Myung Han – can get their hands to it. It’s an act similar to what Ji Hoon had done several years ago with Seo Yoon Hyung’s body. Once again, Dr. Joo orders for security to shut down its doors. Once again, Da Kyung gets away with it, and makes it to the special autopsy room – with Jang Jae Young’s help.

Standing in front of the doors to the autopsy room is Wan Tae. Is he going to stop them or not!? He opens the door. GOOD JOB WAN TAE!

Once inside, Da Kyung unzips the body bag, and Ji Hoon’s face stares right back at them. Myung Han and Attorney Jang, and their minions watch in the viewing room above. Dr. Joo runs to get the master key, but Wan Tae (tiny that he is) tries to stop him. Myung Han yells at them to stop. He turns to Attorney Jang, and orders him to leave. “As the chief of the NFS, I’m ordering this, before you’re dragged out for causing interruption.”

OHMYGAWD YES! (Though I’m watching this for a second time, the emotion is still the same.) VICTORYYYYY. Bittersweet but nevertheless…

Attorney Jang leaves, and the rest of NFS enters the room. Da Kyung switches on the lamp, and everyone sees Ji Hoon’s cold face on the slab. They quiet, out of respect for him.

Meanwhile, Attorney Jang is tasked with holding off the media until at least tomorrow. Yi Han races to Ji Hoon’s apartment (this time his impulsive act is done with Woo Jin’s blessing) to find evidence. Yi Han checks everything, but it’s all clean. At this point, Da Kyung begins her first slice into Ji Hoon’s chest. The other NFS examiners hang their heads, but Myung Han instructs them to watch and pay attention, out of respect for Ji Hoon.

During the autopsy the other examiners make their own conclusions. He looks like he was suffocated to death. His stats are all normal. She then checks his throat.

Yi Han sits at the edge of Ji Hoon’s bed, having found nothing. He looks up at the motto of NFS hanging on the wall and notices the period…

Da Kyung extracts a small fiber from Ji Hoon’s throat – suffocation, just like Seo Yoon Hyung…

They know cause of death, but not WHO killed him, so she begins to check his body, looking for any physical indication of the murderer. She checks his hand and sees it’s lightly bruised. Under a UV light, she sees a pattern of a ring.

Yi Han arrives at the observation room, holding a small memory disk – which he found behind the poster.

Everyone gathers in the conference room, where the tape is played out on the big projection screen. They watch Ji Hoon nervously prepare and look up at the camera. He opens the door – for Kang Seo Yeon. Everyone leans forward in interest. They watch as he tells her about the camera tape, and she tells him to show it to her. If he really has it, she’ll confess. As he goes to his cabinet below his TV, Seo Yeon swiftly takes out a vial of powder and BLATANTLY pours it into his teacup.

The video is irrevocable evidence that she killed him. Everyone knows it. Myung Han is stunned beyond belief, and barely containing his grief, his tears, his anger. Yi Han swallows with difficulty; the other examiners lean forward in outrage; Da Kyung is disgusted.

Ji Hoon throws the tape on the table and Seo Yeon carries on an act of pleading innocence, asking him to overlook her crime. He says, “Why should I?” and picks up the teacup.

You can just see everyone in the room getting up halfway in their seat, silently screaming “NO DON’T DO ITTTTT!”

Ji Hoon raises the cup to his lips…

The entire room inhales…

Ji Hoon drinks it. Myung Han’s eyes are red with anger.

Ji Hoon droops halfway, and the entire room gasps, covering their mouths in shock. They watch Seo Yeon help prop him on the bed, and listen to her confess how she did the crime. Seo Yeon throws him back on the bed, takes a seat cushion, raises it over his head, and suffocate him.

Ji Hoon struggles, and he grabs her hand tightly, as if trying to push her away. But he’s also getting an imprint of her humongous, limited edition ring.

The entire NFS is witnessing a murder take place. They watch Ji Hoon die. They watch Seo Yeon clean up her mess with the precision of a skilled murderer. They watch her turn off the lights, and close the door. They watch… and meanwhile Seo Yeon is home, cutting up the fabric around the pillow case and burning it in the fire. She smiles with arrogance, having “gotten away” with murder several times over.

Silence falls over the room, and at the end of the tape, Myung Han asks them to replay to the part when she put poison in his cup. A closer look reveals that Ji Hoon used a mirror to see Seo Yeon put the poison in. He KNEW it was poisoned, and he drank it ANYWAY. He KNEW he was going to die.

If you’re not crying it, you sure are now. Oh wait – I mean me.

Seo Yeon is about to toss the tape into the fire when curiosity gets the better of her and she plays the tape. Guess what? It’s a blank! She was fooled.

Da Kyung leaves the room and goes to where Ji Hoon’s body lies. She tearfully covers his chest with the white cloth and holds his hand close to her heart for one last time.

Attorney Jang desperately yells at Prosecutor Noh to stall the investigation (because that’s all he knows how to do – yell). But then Chief Prosecutor Choi and Woo Jin enter; they turn on the TV, where Myung Han is making a public statement about Ji Hoon’s autopsy. He states that Ji Hoon died from suffocation and his death was a homicide. They also have evidence of the murderer – it’s Kang Seo Yeon.

TOOOOO LATE. The Kang family is screwed. Prosecutor Noh makes the excuse that he won’t issue an arrest warrant until he reviews the evidence. Woo Jin: “Are you still scared of Kang Joong Hyuk? I’m not scared of him at all, so pass the case on to me.”

Too right he does, and Woo Jin and Yi Han arrive outside Seo Yeon’s home to arrest her. Yi Han moves to handcuff her and she slaps him instead, cutting his cheek with her ring. “Move that dirty hand away.” He pulls on his gloves, confiscates her ring for evidence, and then handcuffs her. Seo Yeon: “From birth I was not of an equal class as you two. Do not think that this is the end. I will be released.”

What. A. Fucking. Neurotic. Bitch.

Attorney Jang informs Congressman Kang of her arrest, and then goes to the opposition candidate, bearing Kang’s secret files in a bid to jump a sinking ship at the last minute. In exchange, he doesn’t want to be mentioned alongside Kang’s corruption. The opposition candidate respectfully declines Jang’s evidence. He’s already got files that will destroy Kang – from Myung Han.

Myung Han had given the candidate an autopsy of Seo Yoon Hyung’s autopsy, proving that it was forged. He did this out of a guilty conscience, and promised to resign as head of NFS. In return, he asks that the candidate protect the independence of NFS. Attorney Jang – foiled again!

Congressman Kang makes a public statement – as he has to – and before he can say a word, the reporters jump in about how there’s 30 minutes for him to resign and how his daughter was arrested. Completely trapped, Kang Joong Hyuk puts on a face of remorse and officially resigns as a candidate.

Da Kyung goes to Ji Hoon’s home to pack up his things. She sees the Yu-Gi-Oh card she gave him, and his camera. As she looks through it, she sees pictures of her helping her father at the fish market. He’s liked her for a while, and was secretly photographing her for himself. (In a slightly stalkerish but awfully sweet way.)

Flashforward some time later. Everyone’s slowly moving on.  Jang Jae Young joins his colleagues for some lunch and sees a liquor that’s meant to help a man’s virility. It’s Sook Joo’s gift! He chases her down, and she cheekily tells him that if he needs more, he can let her know. She gets back on the phone with her friend and happily announces that she just might get married soon!

Yi Han is watching a soccer game on his bed (the game being projected on his ceiling). He gets enthusiastic about it…which completely disturbs Woo Jin’s reading. (!!!!) She tells him to stop making so much noise, addressing him as Detective Choi. Yi Han tells her to stop – he wants her to call him ‘Yi Han’ or ‘honey’ instead. Woo Jin shivers at the thought. (Kae: Jung Gyu Woon – I’ll call you honey!!!)

They get an unexpected visitor – it’s Yi Han’s dad! Woo Jin scrambles to find a place to hide, and they settle for stuffing her in the closet just before his dad steps in. Unfortunately the closet door swings open, and Yi Han’s dad screams in fright at the sight of her.

Woo Jin: Chief…hi!

Dad: You two… are you crazy!?

Woo Jin and Yi Han: *cheeky grins*

Myung Han revisits the special autopsy room, where he has a private chat with Da Kyung. He remembers meeting her for the first time in that room. Though he did plenty of terrible things, he doesn’t completely regret it because back then he was trying to protect NFS. But he realizes now that he, Jung Byung Do, and Ji Hoon all don’t really fit the NFS. He shakes Da Kyung’s hand, and hopes that she can protect the NFS. (So – is she the new chief?!)

Da Kyung walks down the park, and sees all the couples and young families enjoying the spring day. She sits on a bench, and imagines Ji Hoon sitting there with her. They smile, and take in the warm spring breeze in the sun.

Review:

I love this series. Insanely. I think it’s because it never failed to bore me. I didn’t like it at first, I admit, because Park Shin Yang‘s performance was so polarizing (you either hated it or loved it, and could not be indifferent about it). However, I’m glad I gave it the chance. It took me a while to recap (that’s the thing – I set no deadlines for myself on my blog so I tend to procrastinate), but it was the one drama I was committed to recapping, no matter how late it was.

While I was initially worried that the Seo Yoon Hyung case would be dragged on for episodes on end, I had no real reason to be. It was “the case” that would be the through-line for the entire series, and each episode (or two) had new cases to keep us engaged. I like that each episode always felt fresh in that way, because something new would always pop up. It was slightly formulaic, but we learned about all the characters through each case. We saw Ji Hoon prove that he was not a cold genius; we saw Woo Jin’s change of heart about her role as prosecutor; we saw Yi Han persist and eventually get the girl (and solve the case too); we saw Da Kyung’s stubbornness and spunk be channeled in the right way as she blossomed under Ji Hoon’s guidance.

The plot was intricate, and didn’t suffer at all from the changeover in director and writer for the series. If anything, I’m probably glad it happened. I think it was a much more substantial drama than My Princess (although a fluffy rom-com never hurt anybody, and Song Seung Hoon and Kim Tae Hee finally acted), and I’m glad it got the attention it deserved near the end of its run. I didn’t like the fact that Ji Hoon had to die, but it was the best death I had ever seen. It was executed with such emotion that I literally teared up in sadness and fright watching Ji Hoon’s murder play out. There have been dramas where the main character(s) died (49 Days, Autumn in my Heart, Stairway to Heaven, etc) and I didn’t feel satisfied. I accepted it, but it didn’t make me feel anything other than, “Oh. So that’s how it ended. OK.” This one had me raging mad and then completely happy, knowing it was the only way things could turn out. Ji Hyun didn’t have to die at the end of 49 Days; Song Hye Gyo‘s character didn’t have to die from leukemia or whatever it was; Choi Ji Woo didn’t have to die either in Stairway to Heaven – if Winter Sonata could provide a loophole for Bae Yong Joon, I’m sure the other drama writers could have come up with another scenario as well.

However, this drama didn’t let for that to happen. It systematically destroyed ALL evidence, and made you wonder, “How the hell are they going to get Seo Yeon for murder, aside from her confessing?” It pushed you to the brink, and finally Ji Hoon takes the radical step in sacrificing himself for his profession. It shows how much he valued truth: over his own life. It was a twist I didn’t expect either, because I thought Ji Hoon would brilliantly think of something. The only thing I didn’t like about the end was the last scene, where it reminded me too much of how A Man Called God ended (Han Chae Young remembering Song Il Gook as she wonders where he is.)

Plus – this drama had awesome cameos – Kim Sung Oh anyone?

Rating: 9/10

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2 thoughts on “Sign: Episode 20

  1. Yay! finally done!…though I didn’t watch the drama..I’ve been faithfully keeping up with the recaps…I may be nits but I’m so intrigued by serial killers it’s not even funny………by the way, If you liked mystery thrillers you should check out White Christmas…it was a 8 ep drama special , I saw it a couple of days ago and cant stop thinking about it….Fighting fansubs has subs for it

  2. Sigh…now I finally know the ending. I knew that Ji Hoon was going to sacrifice his life for justice because I read the overview of this drama on dramabeans. But I didn’t know how he would die, and how his death would be able to resolve all the conflict. I think this twist was brilliant as well.

    Also, I don’t know about you, but I completely accepted the endings of Autumn in My Heart and Stairway to Heaven. I agree that the drama writers could have found a way for the main characters to survive. However, in the case of Autumn in My Heart, I feel like the death of Song Hye Gyo’s character was pivotal to the drama. What would have been storyline for the second half of the drama if she wasn’t terminally ill? Her terminal illness was the impetus for many things in this drama, such as Won Bin’s character’s growth as he learned how to put the happiness of Song Hye Gyo before his own. Her illness also put things in perspective for Yoomi and Han Chaeyoung, and resolved the conflicts separating Song Hye Gyo and Song Seunghoon. Also, some of the most beautiful moments in the drama were the ones depicting two people in love preparing to say goodbye to each other. Endings don’t always have to happy. This one was realistic; she had leukemia; I personally know several people who have passed away due to leukemia. It would have felt more contrived and artificial if she miraculously recovered and the two lived together happily ever after. I think all in all, this drama captured the melancholiness of autumn.

    As for the ending of Stairway to Heaven, I feel like it fitted well with the character of the drama. Stairway to Heaven was a melodramatic drama with lots of over-the-top developments, like memory loss, a fake death, blindness, Shin Hyun Joon’s purposeful car accident, the evil stepmom’s eventual insanity, etc. Choi Jiwoo’s death was a sort of fitting conclusion for an excessive drama like this. It’s spinning off the whole tragic love story motif. Also, Choi Jiwoo’s death was the premise the drama began with; the opening scene of the drama was Kwon Sangoo playing the piano on the beach, talking in past tense about his love. The title of this drama was also Stairway to Heaven, hinting about its possible end.

    I don’t know, maybe I accepted the endings b/c I watched them when I was rrreally young, and they were among the first dramas I had ever watched.

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