It is a sad reality that the world is still largely unaware of the complex power plays of domestic abuse. The victims are asked why they did not walk out of the situation or why they did not seek protection from someone who was offering it, to begin with. While this is pure speculation on our part, we think An Jun Ho in D.P. Seasons 1 and 2 thought something similar about his mother. He was of college-going age, though he wasn’t actually able to go due to his circumstances. An Jun Ho was already an accomplished boxer, and he must have been practicing for years.
In a scene in Season 1 of D.P., we saw a young Jun Ho hiding with his sister while their father hurt their mother. Maybe this was the incident that made him take up boxing. Years later, when he was able to stand up to his father, and we don’t doubt that the confrontation happened, we have a feeling that Jun Ho’s mother came in between them. The reason for Jun Ho’s anger towards his mother was never completely explained, and all our theories are based on the handful of clues explaining his past. From the two or three scenes he had with his mom, we can deduce from his behavior that he believed that his mother was guilty of something while she simply tried to reconnect with him.
Jun Ho had distanced himself from his house, and he wanted to be indifferent to everything that was happening there. This is what one does when they conclude that there might be no hope for a person or a situation. Of course, it is important to know that Jun Ho’s mother was probably not able to explain herself to her son. Whatever reasons she had for staying in the marriage, she must not have known for herself that it was the result of years of manipulation and not a choice that she was making out of love or compulsion. Jun Ho’s sister did not look like much help, but we might understand her better if there is a Season 3 of D.P.
In our introduction to An Jun Ho, he came across as someone who did not like injustice or being falsely accused of something. He was delivering food to someone, and a child of barely 5–6 years old had pocketed the change. He had lied to his mother that the delivery boy had not returned the money, and she had angrily confronted Jun Ho about it. It is important to remember that her husband wanted to let go of the issue because of the meager amount, and she grudgingly agreed. Jun Ho was not really in any trouble, but he made it a point to knock on her door again and tell the woman that he did not take the money. This was a direct implication that her son had lied to her, and it ended up costing Jun Ho his job. All he needed to do was be silent, and some things would have gone smoother for him, but he couldn’t do that. This is the very quality that later made him fight for the rights of the victims in D.P. Season 2.
The culture of the army must have come as a shock to him. It is not as if fighting for justice in the outside world guaranteed a just outcome, but the military was a place where the fight itself was considered to be crossing the line. When he joined the Deserter Pursuit unit and started looking for the runaways, he had asked the question before Ho Yeol did, whether they should let go of the people or not. Heo Chi Do was the only time they could justify this decision because there was some hope of the man coming back. This meant that they had done right on both fronts: they had let him take care of his grandmother, and they had also fulfilled their duties as a unit since he would be coming back. But not all situations were ideal.
Suk Bong’s demand for accountability from Jun Ho for his silence meant that he could clearly see his own hypocrisy. He had blamed his mother for not taking his help, but Jun Ho had neglected to offer help where it was most needed and was in front of him. It is true that Jun Ho was not there most of the time as he kept leaving on D.P. duties, but he had to have realized that things had gotten way out of hand with Cho Suk Bong. If nothing else, the way he lashed out at his own juniors had to be a hint. Assuming that Jun Ho could not do anything to stop Cho Suk Bong’s bullies, we never saw him even ask Suk Bong whether he was alright. There is no telling what difference that question might have made. It may have made Suk Bong feel that someone still cared and that he was not alone in the world. It was the belief that no one cared to do the right thing that pushed Suk Bong to take the drastic steps he did. A little bit of care in such a case may have been life-changing for everyone.
What followed in Season 2 of D.P. was just an extension of the problems of Season 1. The seniors were not just trying to cover up the injustices; they were also protecting their entitlement to the misuse of power. With the walls closing in from all sides, Jun Ho did not have a choice but to run away as a last resort. In a way, it was a sacrifice, not unlike the one that Park Beom Gu had made. Jun Ho could have simply stepped back to take action at a later date. Proving that one person out of so many in the shootout died not because of a bullet but because of the skewed chain of command, did not significantly help Ru Ri’s case.
What it did was highlight the institutional fault that enabled such a thing, and our point is that Jun Ho and the others would have found another way soon enough to bring this out in the open. But Jun Ho wanted to show that they could not always do as they pleased, and that is why he ran away with the USB drive. He was making a point with his actions, and that had the desired effect, at least temporarily. A possible Season 3 may tell us about the other effects of his actions.