I love that what’s happening in Two Weeks feels very emotional but isn’t actually motivated by the personal. It’s not about revenge or retribution, it’s about the ever present conflict between greed and justice and one very unfortunate Jang Tae San is caught in the middle of it. Unlike recent thriller dramas such as Cruel City and Shark, there isn’t much internal mythology in Two Weeks. Shark was too clinical and overly complicated, while CC at times felt like a tight wound spinning gyroscope. The set up in Two Weeks isn’t overly complicated and it doesn’t strive to be full of unexpected twists and turns. There is danger but also a narrative assurance that Tae San is going to keep wrangling out of tough situations because otherwise the drama might as well end right now. What I am prepared for is a high tangential body count, with Mi Sook the first to go down and another is soon to follow. This is a world where the bad guys are smart and ruthless, where the crime lord Moon Il Suk is actually deferring to the even more vicious brains of the operation which is Jo Seo Hee. It’s nice that a drama allows the female characters to be as strong and integral to the action. While Lee Jun Ki is running for his life and the life of his dying daughter, all the female characters that populate this world serve more than accessories and one-up him on everything. Seo Hee spent years building up her corrupt empire and she’s not going to let either Jae Kyung or Tae San mess it up. Jae Kyung spent years tracking Seo Hee and Il Suk methodically and she’s not going to let the murder of Mi Sook become just another post-script in the crime spree of Il Suk and Seo Hee. And while In Hye and Soo Jin are relegated to passive characters because so far they have to wait for Tae San to show up for the surgery, their strength of character and willpower are equally as strong. I love watching Tae San bumble and bluster his way through every obstacle in his stay-out-of-jail-to-stay-alive quest. He’s scared and inexperienced and wishes it would all go away, but his promise to Soo Jin keeps him going and keeps all us all firmly rooting for him to take down the bad guys and emerge a better man.
Episode 4 recap:
It’s nighttime now and the police are swarming the hillside scouring for fugitive murder suspect Jang Tae San. Also there is Killer Kim, disguised as a hiker though I’m not sure there is a standard outfit for killers.
Tae San can see the light from the police flashlights getting closer to him and he says over and over again “No, no, what to do, what to do.” I like that he’s genuinely frightened and unsure of what his next moves are. He takes out the stuffed animal from Soo Jin and begs it to help him. Awwww.
There is a small explosion in the hillside as the cops are searching, obviously a distraction planted by Killer Kim, but it happens right after Tae San pleads for some divine intervention. The cops are rattled and Tae San makes his escape.
As Tae San is running through the trees he’s suddenly body slammed by someone. By the time he gets back up, Killer Kim has a knife to his neck. Of course the Killer finds him before the cops, its rule #1 in this genre. Killer Kim coolly demands to know where the camera is and if Tae San doesn’t tell him then he’s going to die. Tae San is confused until he flashes back to Mi Sook urgently pawning her camera at his shop before she died.
Tae San stares at Killer Kim and his left hand nervously grabs his pocket. The Killer isn’t that easily fooled but he needs to check so he slowly lowers the knife to see if the camera is in his pocket. Tae San manages to tussle with Killer Kim and gets in a few punches but is ultimately no match. Before he gets his throat slit, Tae San manages to use the terrain to his advantage and tosses Killer Kim down a small slope and makes his escape.
The police believe someone is hindering their investigation and is helping Jang Tae San. They realize they’ve lost Tae San’s trail.
Tae San makes it down the hill and sees all the police vans parked at the edge. One of the van’s window is open and he goes to check only to be disappointed there isn’t a key left inside. He takes the clothes of the volunteer search crew from the van. Tae San changes into the clothes of a police volunteer search member and flags down a passing bus. He asks for a ride making the sad excuse that he just got a call that his mother fell ill. The driver lets him on.
Il Suk gets a call from Killer Kim that Tae San escaped. Il Suk is furious and warns him not to return until he gets that camera! His other minions pipe up that even a mouse will bite back when it’s cornered. Il Suk wonders if Tae San is keeping the camera in order to fight back against him. His minion makes the smart observation that Tae San wouldn’t be running if he had the camera. Il Suk is worried that if Tae San is captured and ends up in Jae Kyung’s hands, she’d still have ammunition against him. His minion suggests calling Seo Hee and Il Suk stops him. Without the camera back, letting her know they failed will only increased her ire.
Tae San gets off the bus in a small town and spots a local mother-daughter duo outside installing an alarm. The mother is deaf and signs with her daughter. He sneaks into their house with what looks like a knife wrapped in newspapers and ties them up.
Tae San devours their food while the mother-daughter duo stare at him with fear. He tells them not to look at him like that, even if he’s behaving this way doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. He has his reasons. He sees that they are not wearing a lot and tells them to put on some clothes. He would never touch them or any woman who he’s not close with.
Jae Kyung and the cops are back at the precinct trying to make sense of the explosion during their search. They realize the timing was so weird which means someone was letting Tae San get away. Jae Kyung wonders if Moon Il Suk is helping Jang Tae San? The cops head to the area near the hills to do a house-to-house search for Tae San, especially concerned that he might have taken hostages. You can see that Killer Kim is nearby listening in on the police scanners.
Tae San sits and thinks back to why the Killer is looking for the camera. He realizes the cut on his neck might get infected and asks for some disinfectant. The daughter says they don’t have any in the house. She tells Tae San to take a shower and wash off the dirt and then put some medicine on and it’ll be fine.
Tae San goes to take a shower and the mother-daughter discuss how Tae San is so not afraid they might turn him in and went to take a shower. The daughter says the ahjusshi doesn’t seem like a bad person.
After Tae San comes out of the shower, suddenly there is a knock at the front door. The daughter goes to answer the door and its Seung Woo outsisde with other volunteers coming to the house to check on the family. The daughter answers the door and says nothing is wrong. We see that Tae San has the mother in his arms with a knife pressed against her stomach to make sure the daughter doesn’t turn him in, but she doesn’t seen inclined to do so anyways.
After the cops leave, Tae San keeps thinking about why Il Suk is sending a Killer after him when he’s already framed Tae San thoroughly. He also thinks about what’s in the camera. He wonders if he can keep hiding until the day of the surgery. He takes out the stuffed animal and remembers that Soo Jin is waiting for him and wishes he took a picture of her.
Tae San thinks about the camera and realizes that it’s in his roommate Man Seok’s hands.
In Hye is with Soo Jin at the hospital and telling her to rest. She goes to work at a restaurant and finally learns that Tae San is an escaped fugitive murder suspect.
Tae San gets primped the next morning for his disguise. He puts on mousse and slicks his hair back. He puts on the suit of the dead father of this house and when the daughter asks where he’s going he’s not about to tell her. He may be a fugitive but he cannot be captured at this time.
He asks the family for some money and promises to return it to them. And if they see the police, he asks that they tell the cops that he said he didn’t kill Oh Mi Sook. He may have beat up people but he’s never stabbed anyone before. He actually scared of blood.
The cops are sullenly eating a meal and Seung Woo tells them all to eat since they won’t know when they have to head off on another wild chase. Jae Kyung says that if Moon Il Suk ordered Jang Tae San to kill Mi Sook, now that Tae San has run off, Il Suk should feel betrayed. So why is he helping Tae San elude the police?
The captain says that Tae San escaped Seoul and eluded the cops in the countryside, he’s clearly not an ordinary guy. Jae Kyung remembers Tae San as being an aimless loser, so when did he suddenly become so gung ho? The captain admits they underestimated him thinking that he was still in handcuffs. The team starts they search from new angles with the junior detective tasked with getting more information on Tae San.
After Tae San leaves the mother-daughter duo, they head outside to ring the alarm. But the daughter tells the mom to call the cops later, giving Tae San more time to escape.
Tae San goes to the bus stop dressed in a suit and glasses. He gets on a bus which is stopped by at a police check point. Tae San is nervous but when the cop walks by him in the aisle, he is not recognized.
The Chief Prosecutor is called into a meeting about Park Jae Kyung needing to be removed from this investigation. His boss is worried that she’s not experienced enough to handle this case, and its something that worries Congresswoman Jo Seo Hee as well.
The Chief Prosecutor talks with Jae Kyung and notes that she’s so disheveled. She explains that Jang Tae San escaped because of help from someone sent by Moon Il Sul. The Chief Prosecutor reveals that Jo Seo Hee is behind the pressure from within to get her out of this investigation.
Seo Hee is doing an interview with a reporter when she’s told that Park Jae Kyung is calling for her. She declines to answer since she’s in the middle of an interview. The reporter says she can answer and Seo Hee politely says she’s not familiar with the caller. Suddenly the reporter gets a call from Jae Kyung and hands the phone to Seo Hee claiming it’s urgent. Seo Hee answers the phone and tries to politely end the call. Jae Kyung asks if she should say what she needs to say to the reporter directly instead?
Jae Kyung tells Seo Hee to just listen because she has a few things to say. Seo Hee doesn’t need to worry because Jae Kyung will catch Tae San. And when she does, she’ll give whatever is in the camera to Seo Hee as a present. Jae Kyung knows Seo Hee is very curious about what is in the camera, yes? Seo Hee quickly ends the call claiming she’s busy.
After hanging up, Jae Kyung is certain that Seo Hee doesn’t have the camera in her hands. This is the reason why Moon Il Suk is helping Jang Tae San escape, because Jang Tae San has the camera.
Seo Hee storms into Il Suk’s office and slaps him. She asks if he has the camera? She reveals Park Jae Kyung knows about the camera! After Seo Hee leaves, Il Suk wonders how this has totally affected her since she came to his office.
Man Seok’s girlfriend calls him over and he reveals that he’s not in the mood to hang out because of Tae San’s situation. The girlfriend wants to give him back the camera but he tells her to hold on to it because it reminds him of Tae San.
Seung Woo gets his hands on Tae San’s cell phone records to try to find out who he was in communication with. He discovers a call between Tae San and In Hye. Dun dun dun. He rushes out to confirm with In Hye. He wonders why In Hye would call Tae San?
Jae Kyung asks Seung Woo for Tae San’s cell phone records and he lies that it’s still being gathered. Another cop says recently Tae San was involved in something because of a woman.
Poor sick Soo Jin is retching into the toilet while In Hye takes care of her. Soo Jin tells her mom not to cry, she can endure this. There is a call on In Hye’s cell and Soo Jin tells her mom to answer.
In Hye goes outside and answers the call which is from Tae San calling from a pay phone. She yells at him for putting Soo Jin at risk and he tells her not to worry, he’s escaping solely because of Soo Jin’s surgery. In Hye is angry and asks if being captured means he won’t be able to do the bone marrow transplant?
Tae San tells her that if he’s captured, he’s going to die and won’t be able to have to surgery. He may be a piece of trash who has never even heard his own dad’s voice before, but he would not escape if his own child may die. He tells In Hye emphatically that he did NOT kill anyone. In Hye screams that his fingerprints was everyone and he was arrested.
Tae San can’t explain further and only tells her not to worry, he’ll be there for Soo Jin’s surgery. He tells In Hye not to mention his name otherwise Soo Jin and In Hye will both be in danger. He asks her to make sure the doctor knows to keep quiet as well. In Hye just yells at him to turn himself in. Tae San says he made a promise and he’ll be there for the surgery. In Hye doesn’t think his promise is worth jack shit but Tae San says the promise was between him and Soo Jin. He tells In Hye not to call the cops or reveal to anyone what his relationship is with Soo Jin.
Seung Woo has an imaginary sequence where he confronts In Hye about her relationship with Tae San and whether Tae San is Soo Jin’s birth father. But he’s too scared to find out. Seung Woo gets called away when the mother-daughter duo finally call the cops and he needs to go get more information from them.
Tae San tracks down Il Suk’s minion, the one who told him to go see Mi Sook that day, and beats him up. He demands to know why he’s being framed by Il Suk? The minion cries that all he did was turn off the CCTV and tell Tae San to go see Mi Sook, that was it and he was not involved in anything else. The minion reveals that Il Suk killed Mi Sook and framed Tae San.
Tae San calls his roommate Man Seok, who tells him to come back to the apartment since the police no longer have it under surveillance and it’s the safest place.
Man Seok goes to see the cops and confirms that they will help Tae San clear his name once he’s been captured. Man Seok silently apologizes to Tae San but he believes the cops will help him. Sadly for Man Seok, we know that Killer Kim has been tapping into the police scanners and his phone as well.
The cops are outside waiting for Tae San to return to the apartment. Tae San goes in and finds Man Seok dead on the ground covered in blood. Killer Kim is hiding behind a wall as Tae San tries to save Man Seok but he’s gone.
Tae San rushes out of the apartment and when the door slams open it sends Seung Woo, who was standing just outside, flying to the side. Tae San turns around and locks eyes with Seung Woo.
Thoughts of Mine:
There is a calmness to watching Two Weeks because it doesn’t rely on the viewer getting anxious to suss out conspiracies or mysteries. It’s not a who-dun-it but a let’s-solve-it puzzle. The bad guys are clever but not omnipotent, the good guys are smart but not always capable. It’s an equally weighted battle and the question is who will get the lucky break here and there. The camera is a major prize both sides want, but will it contain the evidence to absolve Tae San and can the good guys get it first. Even if it doesn’t, I’m certain that during the chase more clues will emerge as to the criminal enterprise of Jo Seo Hee and Moon Il Suk, and it might not require a “gotcha” type of reveal to trip them up. This drama doesn’t shy away from killing off side characters and logically I think even main leads aren’t immune from falling victim to a brutal fight between powerful villains and dogged law enforcers. I’m sad Man Seok died, especially since he believed in Tae San’s innocence, but losing his one and only friend ups the ante for Tae San, hammering home the point that he’s facing a lethal adversary that he must take down first if he wants to protect Soo Jin. Jae Kyung is facing both pressure from within to take her down as well as an investigation that is littered with Jang Tae San guilt and not much else. I trust that she’s experienced and savvy enough to keep using her common sense to assess Mi Sook’s death beyond the police assumption that Tae San killed her out of rage or on orders of Moon Il Suk. I need her to be on Tae San’s side fast because our boy is quickly running out of options.