What a satisfying drama Tunnel turned out to be. I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. Which is kinda odd thing to say about a crime show. 😉
I do agree with the assesment of Kwang Ho being the emotional centre of the drama. He was the focal point without whom the story wouldn’t have been half as engageing and it was his warm presence that anchored the story. Kwang Ho was also the one who ultimately helped to turn Task Force Team 1 into a proper crime fighting unit. Choi Jun Hyuk was wonderful in the role, he just radiates warmth and empathy. Kwang Ho may be somewhat hot headed and quick to anger at times but he does seem to have an innate ability to read people. Combined with the “famous” gut feeling and dogged tenacity, this makes him pretty effective as a detective, despite of his tendency to get too emotional at times.
I really liked the rest of the main cast as well. Sun Jae and Jae Yi satarted out as bit of enigmas but neither was really as cold or unapproachable as they seemed to begin with. That certain kind of aloofness was just a coping mechanism, a shield against further hurt for both of them. It was so satifying to see how they melted in the presence of Kwang Ho, no matter how hard they resisted at first. In the end the threesome formed a well functioning team. There was genuine respect, understanding and even love between them. Which is why it was so sad that Kwang Ho inevitably had to find a way back to the past. “Magne” Sun Shik and the comedic duo Tae Hee and Min Ha each had their place in the storyline as well. Sun Shik and Kwang Ho were just aaawwww… inducing, pals forever.
The two overarching cases may have been nothing new, but I don’t think the crime solving was ment to be the main point anyway. Drama was always more about the characters, their interactions and feelings, about ties that bind and the efects of absence of loving care… Even when it came to the Big Bad. Dr Mok being the original killer came as no big surprise. The whole thing was a shade too “IRY” for my liking but I wasn’t too hung up on it after a while. Dr Mok is an interesting character though. At first he didn’t seem particularly deranged or even bad. Yet, there were glimpses of someone else lurking in there. Of course, his rationale and reasons for killing were totally bonkers. One of those killers who think they have a God given mandate to decide who deserves to die.
Drama took a while to get going but I’m pretty sure this is how it was supposed to be. Slow build up, gunning for the finale. Things were steadily heating up, with stakes getting higher by each episode, until we finally arrived to a point where the protagonists were at the same page with us viwers. More or less. It’s like all these different rivulets of information, secrets and personal history converged. A full picture started to form but some realised it faster than others. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise who those are. 🙂
I was afraid TPTB would give us one of those non-endings OCN is so fond of but thankfully they settled with more of an open one. All the Ts were crossed and Is dotted in the present timeline. Kwang Ho got back to his little family and seems to have settled just fine in his ‘past’ life. But… they never told us what happened with the serial killer cases. Did they capture young Dr Mok? How about budding murderer Jung Ho Young? No idea, but I can live with that.
I’m sure drama has it flaws, I just never paid attention to them enough to notice. Tunnel may not be as well plotted as e.g. Signal but it’s emotional beats were right on the dot, big part of which can be laid to Choi Jin Hyuk’s heartfelt portrayal of Kwang Ho.