Tunnel wrapped up its run with a strong ending that tied everything up nicely and gave closure to the victims and their families. Mok received the punishment he deserved and Kwang Ho returned to the past to make everything right. If every drama had such wonderful endings I would be the happiest viewer alive. Do prepare tissues because the final episode of Tunnel is full of freshly cut onions.
EPISODE 16 RECAP – FINAL
Dr. Mok attacks Jae Yi inside the house and starts choking her. We get a flashback of how Jae Yi found Mok’s journal and read it. In it he wrote that when his mother died, he wasn’t sad at all. She died because she was dirty after all. A month later he saw a woman calling someone with a public phone. She was wearing a skirt and stockings. She was dirty as well, so he strangled her with stockings and marked her with a dot.
Just like the baptismal name Noel was engraved on his pen, Mok wanted to engrave them with dots to let them be reborn. After reading the journal, Jae Yi realized that he wanted to find the pen because it was his mother’s present. She wanted to call Kwang Ho, but he called her first, asking where she was and if everything was alright.
Sun Jae, Kwang Ho and Jae Yi meet at her university at night and she tells them that she’ll be Mok’s next target since he knows that Kwang Ho is her father. He thinks that Mok will attack Jae Yi at her place and mentions the doorbell they heard a while ago and how there was no one at the door. It was probably Mok’s doing. Our guys prepare to go on a stakeout to catch the culprit and Kwang Ho promises Jae Yi to protect her this time. Everyone is ready when Jae Yi enters her home.
Mok is already waiting for her inside and starts choking her. Thankfully Kwang Ho sees him and gets inside just in time to save Jae Yi. He fights with Mok, but the guy doesn’t stand a chance. Kwang Ho stops himself from beating up Mok and offers Sun Jae the chance to handcuff his mother’s murderer himself. Sun Jae tearfully puts the handcuffs on Mok and even tells him his rights. The others finally arrive too and see that everything is already over. They take Mok away and our trio sits inside, finally able to breathe freely, now that this heavy burden is off their shoulders. Sun Jae thanks Kwang Ho for everything.
The news report about the serial murder case from 30 years ago and Mok Jin Woo being the culprit, as well as the last three victims of his. The chief of the police station watches the news and gets a call from his superintendent. He later talks with our team, apologizing for causing difficulties in their investigation. He promises to support them from now on and tells everyone to take care of their health. Sung Shik tells the others that they need to get a confession out of Mok Jin Woo. That is the only thing they can do for the victims. A search warrant has been issued, so they’ll search Mok’s house for evidence.
Hye Won visits Jae Yi at home and regrets bringing her to Korea since she had to face so many life-threatening situations. Jae Yi doesn’t regret anything though, because she met someone she had to meet. Hye Won still thinks that it’s horrible how a murderer was so close to them all this time. Jae Yi mentions that Jung Ho Young was a psychopath, but Mok Jin Woo is closer to a sociopath. He’s someone who’ll either confess easily or will keep his mouth shut till the end.
Kwang Ho and Sun Jae present Mok Jin Woo the evidence of his crimes, but he won’t say a thing. The guy just calmly looks at the pictures of his victims. Kwang H calls Jae Yi and confirms that Mok decided not to say anything. She promises to call him if she finds anything useful inside Mok Jin Woo’s diary. Poor Sun Jae sits at the police station, looking at his mother’s picture.
The forensics are examining Mok’s house and Sung Shik, Min Ha and Tae Hee find the wall with pictures of Mok’s victims. They are shocked by how many people he killed. Back at the police station, all the victims have been identified and the total count of them is 26 including young Park Kwang Ho. They have enough evidence to lock Mok Jin Woo up for good, but they want a clean confession because the statute of limitations on the murders from 30 years ago.
Sun Jae thinks that Mok’s mother was always the trigger for his actions, so their best bet is to trigger him with his childhood. Kwang Ho and Sun Jae present Mok Jin Woo a picture of his mother and tell him that they know why he resented her. It wasn’t always like that, he must’ve visited his old home and missed her because he still had some good memories left.
At first, she was a loving mother that always smiled at him, but then she started to work as a prostitute and kept smiling at other men. He must’ve been angry when she left him with his grandmother, but his anger exploded when she suddenly died, leaving him yet again. Sun Jae’s speech seems to affect Mok, but then his expression changes and he smiles as if nothing happened.
Jae Yi is looking through Mok’s diary and finds that each entry corresponds to the date when he murdered someone. The last thing he wrote in his journal was how he did the right thing when killing these women. Nothing has happened to him even though he killed so many, that means that he was doing the right thing and no one has the right to criticize or judge him.
Jae Yi comes to the police station to tell Kwang Ho and Sun Jae that Mok’s weakness was he himself and not his mother. It’s true that he started killing because of his mom, but later did it out of a sense of duty to cleanse the society. He believes that he’s fighting for justice, so they need to break his belief.
Mok is lying on the floor in his cell, pretending to smoke. This guy is crazy. They bring him in for questioning and Kwang Ho tells him that he is trash like Jung Ho Young. He isn’t as special as he thinks he is, just a cowardly murderer who kills innocent people. Mok laughs at that because he thinks that they weren’t innocent at all.
He tells them that Lee Jung Sook, his first victim, lied to her mother that she was working overtime, but instead went to meet a guy. Kim Kyung Soon showed off to her friends that her boyfriend’s friends sent her love letters. She said that she wanted to date all of them. A younger guy told Hwang Chun Hee that she’d look pretty in a skirt, so she started wearing one right away.
Kim Young Ja always talked about Seoul and earning a lot of money there. Mok thinks that it’s obvious how she wanted to earn that money. Jin Seon Mi spent a night with a guy. Every single one of the women he killed were all flirtatious, they wouldn’t be able to become good mothers. Sun Jae can’t take this nonsense anymore and asks what did his mother do wrong.
Mok tells him that she smiled at another guy in a bus and there’s nothing more to explain. Poor Sun Jae is shocked speechless. He punches Mok in the face and starts choking him, telling him to die. Kwang Ho and the others stop him, but he can barely calm down from all the rage. Mok says that he didn’t tell Sun Jae for his own good because he knew how he’d react. Sun Jae says that it doesn’t matter what they did or what they were wearing, these women didn’t deserve to die by the hands of such a piece of trash.
After Sun Jae leaves, Mok screams that all of them should thank him because he did what had to be done. He’s just upset that he won’t be able to kill anyone from now on since there are a lot of people who still need to be punished. Kwang Ho tells him that he’s the one who needs to be punished for the rest of his life.
Jae Yi finds Sun Jae outside and he asks if she knew the reason why Mok killed his mother. She confirms that he told her when she was abducted. Sun Jae thought that knowing the reason might give him some relief but it was the complete opposite. There were many times he wanted to run away, but Jae Yi comforts him by saying that he stayed strong all this time.
Inside the police station, Min Ha says that it’s all over now since they caught the culprit, but Kwang Ho tells him that there’s still one thing they must do. Even though they couldn’t save the victims, they must tell their families that the murderer has been caught. Mok sits in the interrogation room alone, mumbling how he’s different from other murderers. He seems to have lost his marbles.
The news cover the story, revealing Mok’s identity to the public. The Hwayang Police officials apologize to the victims, their families and the public for taking so long to capture the serial killer. Kwang Ho and Sun Jae visit Lee Jung Sook’s mother to inform her that her daughter’s murderer has been caught. She falls on the ground, sobbing.
Min Ha and Tae Hee go to Kyung Soon’s brother, who tearfully says that it would’ve been nice if they could come sooner. Their mother has already died without finding out the news. Sung Shik goes to the hospital to visit Hwang Choon Hee’s mother. The woman is very old and her condition is bad. Sung Shik apologizes for not being a good enough officer 30 years ago and tells her that the murderer has been caught. The woman can’t talk and only cries.
Jin Seon Mi’s brother thanks Sun Jae and Kwang Ho for not forgetting his sister and catching the culprit. Sun Jae goes to his father, as Kwang Ho waits for him outside. The father is surprised to see Sun Jae, who rarely visits, and senses that something happened. Sun Jae tells him what happened and his father thanks him for catching the culprit. He mentions how the detective promised to catch the murderer 30 years ago and Sun Jae says that he kept his promise after all.
Kwang Ho waits for Sun Jae outside with a bouquet of white flowers and tells him that it’s time to visit his mother. They go to the lake where Sun Jae’s mom’s ashes are. Kwang Ho bows in apology for taking so long and Sun Jae places the flowers on the ground, asking his mother to rest in peace now.
Jae Yi finishes her last lecture in the semester. She tells her students that they are studying about criminal to prevent new crimes from happening. She mentions the recent serial murder case and says that even if one criminal was caught, there are still others out there or those, who’ll become murderers in the future. They need to study criminals to find them and help other people.
She remembers Kwang Ho’s words and tells her students that after all the most important thing is to save people’s lives. Later she drinks tea with Hye Won and they both mention how this semester flew by so fast. Hye Won notes how Jae Yi started smiling more and seems to be happier lately. Jae Yi surprises her by saying that she decided not to return to England and stay in Korea.
Our team goes to Hwayang University Hospital to take young Park Kwang Ho’s ashes that are still labelled as unidentified. Kwang Ho thanks him, because it was thanks to him that they were able to capture Mok. Everyone else pays their respect and says goodbye to him, who was supposed to become their youngest team member.
They bring young Park’s ashes to his house, planning to place it near his grandmother’s ashes. Min Ha finds young Park’s phone in a pile of leaves. It appears he kept all the evidence he found about Mok in there. Kwang Ho says how the kid was born to become a detective and Sung Shik mentions how everyone with the name Park Kwang Ho are destined to become good detectives.
Kwang Ho asks Sun Jae to talk in private and tells him that he plans to go back today. He hasn’t talked about it with Jae Yi yet because he feels bad about leaving her alone again. Kwang Ho thanks Sun Jae for everything and tells him that he was happy to meet him again, that he grew up nicely. Poor Sun Jae can’t help but tear up at the thought of Kwang Ho leaving.
Kwang Ho teasingly calls him a crybaby and that’s when Jae Yi comes in, asking who’s a crybaby. Sun Jae hilariously hides his face and pretends like nothing happened. She was in the area and thought that maybe they could go back home together, but they have a team dinner. Sun Jae offers to take Jae Yi home and Kwang Ho hilariously complains about it, but “the kids” run off first before he can stop them.
The chief of the police station gives our team money to spend on the team dinner and rewards them with a three-day paid vacation. They joke around until Sung Shik brings up that it will probably be their last team dinner together with Kwang Ho. Later that night everyone drinks together. Sung Shik gets drunk and says that Kwang Ho is too much, coming and leaving as he pleases.
He says that now he won’t be called maknae and won’t worry about him, but everyone understands that he means the complete opposite. Kwang Ho thanks his most loyal sidekick and Sung Shik sits there crying. Min Ha wonders if the present will change when Kwang Ho returns, but he tells them that even if he comes back and Mok is free, he’ll catch him again. Everyone is gloomy until Kwang Ho asks Min Ha to mix him some soju and beer since they don’t do it in 1986.
Min Ha, Tae Hee and Sung Shik are completely passed out when Kwang Ho says his final goodbye. He thanks them for everything and tells them that he won’t forget them even if they won’t ever meet again. Sun Jae says that everyone will be sad if he leaves like this, but it’ll be even harder for Kwang Ho to leave if he stays here longer. Sun Jae offers to give him a ride and Kwang Ho takes a final look at his team members before leaving.
As they’re driving home, Kwang Ho asks why Sun Jae’s so quiet, but the other has nothing to say since farewells should be kept short. Kwang Ho remembers how they met and stares at Sun Jae, trying to memorize his face before leaving. Jae Yi prepared dinner for Kwang Ho for the first time since she usually never cooks. He’s so happy and compliments her on her cooking skills. She asks what did he want to tell her earlier, but understands everything when he stays silent.
Jae Yi asks when he’s planning to return and he says that he’ll leave right after this meal since he kept Yeon Sook waiting for too long. After dinner, Kwang Ho tells Jae Yi to eat properly, not to stay out too late at night and always lock her doors. He also reluctantly tells her to call Sun Jae if something happens. They take a happy picture together and Kwang Ho sends it to Sun Jae, who already arrived outside their house.
The three of them drive in heavy silence to the tunnel. When they arrive, Kwang Ho says his farewell, but the kids can’t seem to let him go that easily. Sun Jae worries that he might not return since Mok Jin Woo isn’t with him in the tunnel, but Kwang Ho is determined to go back. Sun Jae wonders if it’s possible for Kwang Ho to go back to the time before the murders happened, but brushes it off and tells his partner to go back safely.
Jae Yi tells him to great mom for her. As Kwang Ho turns to go, she calls him dad, crying her eyes out. Sun Jae hugs her to somehow comfort her and Kwang Ho thanks him and asks to take care of Jae Yi in his place. Sun Jae nods and bows deeply in farewell. They are all crying when Kwang Ho finally enters the tunnel. As he goes through it, Kwang Ho begs the tunnel to let him go back to Yeon Sook now that the culprit is caught. He runs towards the light.
Year 1988th. Kwang Ho together with Sung Shik runs after a thief, screaming that he’ll catch the guy today, because he even travelled through time to catch criminals. The thief thinks that he’s talking nonsense and continues running, almost bumping into a pregnant woman. She avoids the guy but falls down on the ground. Kwang Ho lets the thief get away to help the pregnant woman who needs to go to the hospital.
She gives birth to a healthy boy and thanks Kwang Ho for helping her. He’s just happy that the child is born healthy. The woman asks if Kwang Ho also has a baby and he answers that his daughter is five months old. She asks him his name and later decides to call the baby Kwang Ho, noting that her husband’s surname is also Park. The woman says that her son might also become a great detective like Kwang Ho.
Meanwhile, Kwang Ho returns home, where Yeon Sook holds sleeping Yeon Ho in her arms. Little Sun Jae is visiting them as well, he seems to be a frequent visitor at their house. The episode ends with everyone smiling happily at each other.
What a wonderful journey Tunnel has been. This last episode was fantastic, it was pure perfection on so many levels and has greatly surpassed my expectations. Tunnel was an interesting drama, but I didn’t go crazy over it, which might’ve been noticeable in my recaps. It was good but I thought it lacked something to pull me in completely. That was true before I watched the final episode. Now I don’t even how to express my love for this amazing episode and the drama overall.
They did everything right and so much more. So many scenes brought me to tears this episode. OCN continues treating the victims of the crimes and their families with respect and care. Much like voice Tunnel showcased how important it was to the families to bring the culprit to justice. All these people waited 30 years to her one single sentence – that the murderer of their loved ones was finally caught.
I cried and adored the scenes where our team went to the families of the victims to bring them the news of Mok Jin Woo getting caught. Then I cried at the last team dinner, where Kwang Ho said goodbye. Then I cried even more when Kwang Ho said goodbye to Jae Yi and Sun Jae. The relationships and separation were portrayed in a fantastic way.
The ending itself was great and full of hope. Kwang Ho caught Mok and there will be no more victims. He returned to Yeon Sook and together they will raise their cute daughter. Little Sun Jae is a frequent guest and when he grows up, he might end up dating Yeon Ho. The young Park Kwang Ho will become a great policeman and won’t get killed by Mok. Kwang Ho and Sung Shik will work together at the Hwayang Police Station and maybe even welcome the maknaes Tae Hee and Min Ha.
I did not expect that a single episode could be this powerful. I don’t regret any second of watching Tunnel, it’s no wonder it received such high ratings. I’m a little sad to let this drama go, but the ending gave me hope that our characters will have a happy future awaiting them. Yet again I’d like to thank everyone, who took their time to read mu recaps. Thank you and see you again in the near future. There’s still many great shows to follow.