Air City: Episode 13
SONG OF THE DAY
Verbal Jint – “Favorite.” Somewhat new hip-hop/rap artist who has a track with Tablo and Mithra Jin of Epik High. [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 13 SUMMARY
After Myung Woo collapses, Do Kyung accompanies her to the hospital. Myung Woo tells her it’s nothing serious, although we know she must be lying, and asks her to keep it quiet from the airport employees, particularly Ji Sung (citing embarrassment at being a doctor and falling ill — because you know doctors never get sick. They’re lean, mean, medicine-administering cyborgs, they are).
Do Kyung and her boss, supervisor Min, are told by the airport director and the NIS bureau chief that they are expecting a VIP visitor, the vice president of a (fictional) airport from America. He’ll be taking a look at the operations and administration of Incheon Airport. They’re having the discussion in the context of national pride and being an airport on a world-class level, so it’s very important to make a good impression.
The director entrusts Do Kyung to take charge of the matter, which is a slight felt keenly by the supervisor. His pride is hurt at being passed over for such an important task, and he vents to Ha Joon. Ha Joon does some subtle intervening by calling Do Kyung to the scene and advising her to soothe his ego. Do Kyung asks for his help, saying the task is too much for her to handle. That does the trick.
Over the next several days, the operations team works hard to prepare for the VP’s arrival… and their plans are rendered useless when they receive word that he’s completely changed schedule at the last minute and basically disregards their preparations.
The NIS are on the lookout for an émigré who’s on his way back to Korea from the U.S. and is suspected to be organizing some mob with his Korean-American gang contacts, having already formed LA’s biggest Korean gang. (Let me just say, they’re encroaching on home turf here, and if they continue along these lines — which is an overemphasis on the the power of Korean-American gang activity — I can’t take this storyline seriously.)
Coincidentally, Ji Sung’s and Do Kyung’s objects of interest are sitting next to each other on the plane. The guy on the left is detained at customs and disallowed entry into Korea; the guy on the right is Michael Jang, whom Do Kyung greets and shows around the airport.
Apparently, the shifty-looking gang guy had guys (his little hoodlums in training) awaiting his arrival, and when he’s detained, the punks kick up a fuss in the terminal. They breakdance, crash carts into each other, and generally act belligerent. When airport personnel attempt to calm the disturbance, the young guys just say, “What am I doing that’s so wrong?” and refuse to leave.
Ohhhh boy. I’ve been in an aiport. I’m guessing most people have been in an airport. And it’s a little bit outrageous to believe these kids are allowed to make such a huge ruckus for so long before they are subdued. You pull that crap in the States and your ass is toast. In this post-9/11 world, nobody gets away with acting like that at an airport, in America or elsewhere.
Apparently Mike Jang agrees, as he looks on with mild disapproval. Then backup police are called to take the guys away, in a clear measure of overkill, which Mike Jang also notes.
Do Kyung asks Ji Sung to do something about it, and he takes the opportunity to assure he he will, and flirt with her. Lee Jung Jae’s so cute when he’s acting silly. Ji Sung takes care of the problem (kids sent off with police) and he asks Do Kyung, “Didn’t I do a good job?” like a kid asking for a pat on the head. He gets a pat on the butt instead, and in reaction, Ji Sung grabs her hand and leads her away.
She asks where he’s going, and he leans in to say, “Some place where there are no cameras” and takes her up to the roof. I admit it’s a little sexy, especially since Do Kyung really looks like she thought he was going to kiss her. I think it’s sexier that he didn’t kiss her, actually.
Yi Kyung tells supervisor Min that she’s going away on a business trip — for four months. It’s a rare opportunity for her, and she asks if he’s dating anyone (he says no), and if he’d wait for four months. She says if he’s not seeing someone when she gets back, they should go on a date. He’s thrilled and can barely contain his giddiness. (I’m going to be shallow and say that although their age difference doesn’t really bother me, what does is their height difference. She’s so tall!)
I don’t have much to say about this other than I guess they’re just really giving up on having anything interesting going on with Yi Kyung if they’re sending her off now. Please kidnap her or hold her hostage or something, instead of letting her fade back into pointlessness.
Ha Joon, meanwhile, can’t stand just watching Do Kyung and Ji Sung progress with their flirty ways while staying silent, and decides to confess his feelings for her. He buys her an expensive necklace and basically tells her he’s tired of pretending he doesn’t like her, of feeling upset and disliking Ji Sung for no reason. He tells her bluntly that she knows how he feels, and it’s up to her to decide what to do now. There’s something (nice) to be said about admissions that lack grace and poetry but are straightforward and honest. Too bad Ha Joon has no shot.
Mike Jang is proving to be a more difficult guest than anticipated, refusing to look at their presentation (trusting his own feelings more) and being hard-to-please. He and Do Kyung witness a patient who collapses from being overheated, and is rushed to the emergency room, where Myung Woo diagnoses her with complications with cancer and pneumonia. Unfortunately, she’s just gotten word from her own doctor about the severity of her own condition — some sort of respiratory-esophageal issue, if I read the placard right. Basically chest issues.
The patient dies and Myung Woo cries. Not for the patient, but for herself.
When Do Kyung returns from handling the case with the now-dead patient, Mike Jang is dissatisfied as usual and criticizes her for not knowing what her job is. She gives him a firm reply, telling him she knows what her job is, but doesn’t know what his deal is. He’s an airport specialist, but he refused to look at her carefully prepared presentation. He agrees to hear the presentation the next day.
But, he doesn’t realize that speaking in Chinese and English in Ji Sung’s presence is not the best idea, as he talks to his associate about receiving the presentation tomorrow and preparing to divulge necessary information. I have no idea what the point is of them switching back and forth between Chinese and English other than for me to be irritated that they aren’t great at either. Not bad, but one language really would have sufficed.
Overhearing this news bothers Ji Sung, who goes on to meet with his chief at a bar. The chief is preoccupied with news that someone he knows is coming to Korea. When he was younger, he was stationed in the States, where he met a nice lady with a 10-year-old son and fell for her. He only knew her for a year, but has often thought of them over the years — the son, now around 30, is arriving tomorrow. (He talks like it’s some great life’s lament, but it’s not like he was stationed as a soldier in wartime. It’s New York, it’s hardly tragic.) The guy is coming to Korea after having gotten into some trouble in the States (those pesky Korean-American gangs again).
This is the guy, a good-looking but cold-hearted bastard, who’s detained upon entry. He’s uncooperative, but is soon released after interrogation. And as he’s leaving the holding area, he assaults the officer and aims the gun at Ji Sung. Sigh. I’m not sure why. I hope we find out.
One of the sources of dissatisfaction for me, other than the plot (given up on that) is that the characters don’t seem to be very deep; they’re not operating beyond surface level. I don’t see any real emotion or drive pushing them along anymore — they’re just going about their daily lives now. Initially, Ji Sung had that great intensity as a man on a mission, which he’s since lost. Do Kyung’s never really had any intensity or emotional motivation, come to think of it. And Myung Woo’s so passive that I can’t even feel sorry for her illness.
In the scene where the patient died, and Myung Woo cried afterward, I felt nothing. As much as I mock, I’m a sucker for these emotionally manipulative moments, and I was just blank. I didn’t care about them because they didn’t seem to care about themselves. Contrast Myung Woo with Cha Tae Hyun’s character in Flowers For My Life — he’s a man desperate to live, to spend every single moment valuably while he can, to make as many happy memories before he dies. Myung Woo? She… feels sad for herself.
Three more episodes! Come on Air City, prove me wrong. Make me eat my words.