A Long and Unlucky Life
Episode 2 of Big Mouth starts with Chang-ho being rushed to the hospital after his accident. As memories with Mi-ho flash by, we zone in on one during a sports event where Mi-ho is in the marching band and Chang-ho is getting ready for his turn at pole vault. Unfortunately, the pole breaks and Chang-ho falls, but Mi-ho is there to pick him up.
In the hospital, Chang-ho wakes up and immediately asks for his phone, since he was on his way to meet the prosecutor. While he does so, someone takes the flash drive and phone from his car and the car itself is crushed.
Before Chang-ho can get moving again, policemen turn up and arrest him for drug use. Turn out, his blood tests revealed the presence of drugs in his system. As he is carted away, Mi-ho tells him to hold out and trust her and her father to get him out.
At the police station, Chang-ho connects the dots regarding the spiked drink. He asks to meet with Mayor Choi and tells him everything, implying that Gong Ji-hoon did this to destroy the evidence. But Mayor Choi isn’t happy about Chang-ho meeting with Ji-hoon and refuses to help.
Meanwhile, the Regional Investigation Unit turns up at Chang-ho and Go Gi-kwang’s law office and conduct a thorough search. To his father-in-law’s surprise, they find a suitcase with gold bars, a gun and massive amounts of cash in the walls and ceiling. It also seems, they knew exactly where to look.
Chang-ho is taken to Gucheon Penitentiary — a place that he states is for the worst human trash, filled with corruption and tantamount to hell. It certainly seems so, as Chang-ho is first taken to face the three suspects of the Gucheon hospital murder. He realizes they are the ones who drugged him in retaliation for his role as a double agent. Their lackeys then begin to beat him up.
Cut to a black tie party where Mayor Choi and Gong Ji-hoon are present along with their wives and some others. Ji-hoon clearly believes the mayor is beneath him and claims to have donated to his campaign only because of his wife, Hyun Joo-hee. Joo-hee reminds him it was the mayor who got him out of a murder case. We also learn that Big Mouse stole 100 billion won from Ji-hoon. Tensions are running high when a news report breaks out that Big Mouse has been apprehended and his identity is revealed to be Park Chang-ho.
At the prison, Chang-ho has been hung up by a rope with a rickety stool beneath him. He apologises and begs for his life but the three men don’t budge. Someone knocks out the stool from under him. He flails and seems to die, but right at that moment, the warden gets a frantic call from Ji-hoon telling him to let Chang-ho live since he is Big Mouse. The warden brings along doctors, who resuscitate Chang-ho.
On the outside, Mi-ho and Chang-ho’s lawyer friend Kim Soon-tae try to meet him but are told that he has refused to see visitors. Soon, they find out about the claim that he is Big Mouse. Mi-ho takes a stand in front of reporters and defends Chang-ho, saying he has been framed. She also sends him a direct message reminding him he has a family and saying she is going to fight to prove his innocence.
Chang-ho, in his new cell, surrounded by new inmates, watches this on TV and breaks down. Later, he gets interrogated by a prosecutor and denies all knowledge about the things found in his office. They make him take a lie detector test and it goes fine until he is asked if he is Big Mouse. His heart rate spikes (seemingly because his nickname is Big Mouth, but this is not established).
On the way back to the prison he muses on the irony of having his face on TVs everywhere like he once wanted. Back at the prison, he faces the three men again and accuses them of stealing the money from Ji-hoon and framing him for it. In his cell, one of the inmates claims to be a fan and introduces himself as Jerry (inspired by the name Big Mouse). The room leader of the cell, Jerry, and the other inmates do not believe Chang-ho when he says he isn’t Big Mouse.
Back to the three men from the hospital murder case — they are trying to convince Gong Ji-hoon to do something about Chang-ho since his testimony could get them in trouble. But Ji-hoon is more concerned about getting his money back from Big Mouse.
He then meets with the prosecutor who was questioning Chang-ho. The prosecutor lets him know about the investigation and promises to get his money back. It looks like Ji-hoon has the prosecutor in the palm of his hand. But the tables turn as we see the prosecutor enter a car with none other than Mayor Choi! He hands the mayor a book with Big Mouse’s list of drug dealers. They talk about having leverage over powerful people like Gong Ji-hoon. Mayor Choi warns the prosecutor to not betray him.
Meanwhile, Mi-ho, her father, and Soon-tae discuss how to move forward with proving Chang-ho’s innocence. They decide on finding the research paper written by the dead doctor, the one he was killed for. Despite being dissuaded by the other two, Mi-ho remains actively involved.
In prison, people theorise about who Big Mouse really is. One says it’s Park Chang-ho, another says he has a tattoo of a mouse on his back, and another says he’s a woman. The fact remains that he is terrifying.
One of the gang leaders picks a fight with Chang-ho and throws away his food. The warden sees this and gets Chang-ho to a special room where a lavish meal is laid out for him. They bond over a connection in their family lineage until Chang-ho, once again, says he is not Big Mouse. The warden’s attitude flips like a coin and he sends Chang-ho to solitary confinement. The poor man can’t seem to catch a break and is in more despair than ever before. He misses Mi-ho, leading us to a flashback to when she fought with the upstairs neighbours for causing a leak in their house and got them to pay for the repairs.
Mi-ho wistfully looks at a photograph from the same night. She later applies for the position of a nurse at Gucheon University Hospital, in order to find out what the late doctor was working on.
Soon-tae relays this news to Chang-ho, who worries for her and wants her to stop. He asks his friend to draw up divorce papers on his behalf since this is the last thing he can do for Mi-ho to live a normal life.
At this point, we get another flashback to when Chang-ho wanted to break up with Mi-ho since he wasn’t able to pass his exam twice in a row. At the time, Mi-ho tells him she’ll take care of him. She even tells him they should get married.
We then see another flashback of when Chang-ho finally opened his law firm. He presents Mi-ho with the life insurance he bought and tells her they should get married.
Back to the present, Chang-ho, now at his lowest, has decided suicide is the best way out. In the prison courtyard the next day, he has his suicide note ready but his room leader tells him that trying to kill himself could land him with a disability for life. The room leader counsels him on living as he was meant to live. Chang-ho instead realises that he is surrounded by murderers of all kinds and doesn’t need to do the deed himself.
During meal time, he tries to get the gang leader who picked on him earlier to kill him. But in the process of instigating him, Chang-ho throws a punch that incapacitates the man! Never having punched anybody before in his life, he is surprised by his own strength. He then gets into a fight with a psychopath who killed nine women, but Chang-ho’s taunts about the man’s mother make him break down into sobs. His last resort is the warden himself. At night, he pretends to escape prison and ends up in the courtyard. Surrounded by guards holding batons and with snipers aiming at him, the episode ends as Chang-ho screams at the guards to shoot him.
The Episode Review
As predicted, Episode 2 of Big Mouse takes things a notch up. The stakes are high and power dynamics are taken deeper. The person and the reason behind Park Chang-ho’s framing are shrouded in mystery and that’s exciting. Meanwhile, the flashbacks with his family balance out the show’s darker tones.
There are a few plot points that leave one with questions. Like how Chang-ho seems healthy even after undergoing a car accident and being hung in prison. How does he get out of his cell during his escape attempt? How was Soon-tae able to see him but Mi-ho doesn’t? But these are small details in an overall thrilling episode.
The crux of this episode seems to be Chang-ho’s perpetual run of unluckiness, as mentioned by him at several points. It’s heartbreaking to watch him go through such hardships but at the same time, we can already see the transformative effect of these events. We’ve seen him go from righteous lawyer to groveling for his life, across to taunting people and picking fights in order to instigate his own death. It’s a hell of a ride but Lee Jong-suk’s incredible acting makes it all believable.
As the episode closes, it’s clear that he is at his absolute lowest. But the show promises that this is not the end, but a turning point.
You can read our full season review for Big Mouth Season 1 here!