Mixed-up Investigative Agency: Case 3
Mixed-up Investigative Agency is getting better. I appreciate that we’re building up to the eventual treasure hunt slowly, and it’s clear the story has been well-planned in advance, which is obvious from the way they are unfolding the multiple layers to this mystery-adventure-comedy.
There’s still something not entirely “on” about the series — I’m interested, but not hooked — but one thing they’ve really got going for them are strong cliffhanger-y endings to each episode. There may be a chunk in the middle (usually about a third of the way through the episode) that loses my interest for a bit, but the episodes have all had solid endings that hook us into the next. Once the treasure hunt really gets under way, I’m hoping those laggy ten or fifteen minutes are dealt with as well.
(Theme) SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Seung Hwan – “Superhero,” the theme song from the Mixed-up Investigative Agency OST.
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CASE NO. 3: “That’s Right, Everyone Has Secrets!”
Everyone has a different reaction to Yong-su asking Eun-jae if she lied about her brother’s abduction: Hee-kyung’s upset that Eun-jae would lie; Mu-yeol immediately leaps to Eun-jae’s defense; and Eun-jae asks quietly, “When did you realize I was lying?”
Angry at being led in a merry goose chase, Hee-kyung yells at Eun-jae for deceiving them. She demands that Eun-jae apologize, but the guys feel bad and step in, sending Eun-jae off. Hee-kyung grabs the money Eun-jae paid them, disgusted — but then her eyes widen at seeing FOUR bills inside, each presumably made out to some obscenely large number. After a stunned moment, she takes two for herself (“I suffered the most!”) and the guys don’t argue.
They wonder why Eun-jae wanted to know about Dead Wall Guy and what she could be hiding. Spinning wild theories, Yong-su speculates that dead Mr. Jo dug into old tombs to steal buried gold, got caught inside when the passageway collapsed, and died trying to dig himself out (bringing us another Prison Break parody).
Mu-yeol dismisses Yong-su’s dumb stories, and Hee-kyung suggests another one: Eun-jae and the dead guy conspired in criminal activities, which explains why she didn’t go to the police — there must be something she’s hiding from the authorities. She killed her partner to keep the briefcase of gold, and shoved his dead body (clutching three of the gold bars) into the wall.
Of course, that theory’s got a serious flaw: The guy died when Eun-jae was about eight years old.
In the midst of their wild speculating, they witness Eun-jae leaving in a taxi, and decide to follow. While Eun-jae meets a middle-aged man in a cafe, Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung resume their theorizing, wondering what the meeting’s about. Hee-kyung thinks the guy’s her sugar daddy, while Mu-yeol, staunch defender of Eun-jae’s honor, disagrees.
Eun-jae asks the man, her uncle, if he recognizes Mr. Jo from an old photo; he may have been around when her father died. She also asks if he recognizes the gold bar, but her uncle doesn’t really know, nor does he know if her father had any interest in gold, or tomb-robbing.
He does, however, bring up a matter about her father’s company. They’ve evidently argued over the issue in the past, and although Eun-jae clearly doesn’t like the man, he begs her to reconsider, saying he’s always thought of her as a daughter, caring for her since her father passed away. While he has a kindly demeanor, something about him is desperate and creepy. Eun-jae feels it too, shaking his arm off and glaring at him before storming off. Her uncle shouts after her that she’ll regret her actions later.
Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung resume following Eun-jae, arriving at her home, the sight of which shocks them into silence. And then overwhelming, bilious envy (at least for Hee-kyung)…
…because Eun-jae’s home is not so much a house as it is a palatial estate. A manor. A modern-day kingdom.
Eun-jae is no simple rich girl. Her wealth is extreme, outrageous, possibly even offensive. Life is not fair.
But for all the grandeur and space, she’s completely alone, and completely lonely.
As Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung flip out over proof of Eun-jae’s ridiculous wealth, two security guards see them skulking around, and call Eun-jae to make sure they’re not sketchy stalkers. Eun-jae reacts with her customary unflappable calm, and invites them in for tea. She asks how they came to be at her house, and they admit that they followed her home. Hee-kyung suggests they call it even, balancing this with Eun-jae’s lie, and Eun-jae agrees.
Back on their own home turf, Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung relate the day’s events to Yong-su in aggravation. Hee-kyung’s bursting with jealousy; even her fantasies of riches were more modest than Eun-jae’s reality.
Mu-yeol, on the other hand, drowns his sorrows over his impossible love. He’d known he wasn’t a match for Eun-jae, but had hoped he could work hard to be on her level. Seeing where they stand, however, he realizes the futility, and it kills him: “The distance between me and Eun-jae is like the distance between Seoul and New York.” Hee-kyung, in drunken disbelief: “New York? This kid still can’t see reality. She’s at least as far as Andromeda!” (Mu-yeol’s retort: “Stick a knife in that corpse, will ya?”)
In the following days, the gold bar is examined and is estimated to date back to 1832; a character engraved on the back appears to be one that had been used by the government or royalty.
Eun-jae exits her home one day to find a deliveryman with a package for her, and while she’s distracted, he kidnaps her. He stuffs her in the back of the truck, bound and gagged, then calls someone to inform them that the assignment has been completed.
Meanwhile, Yong-su finds some interesting information about Eun-jae in an online search, and informs Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung. Apparently, fourteen years ago, Eun-jae appeared prominently in the newspaper regarding some disturbance involving her uncle and an inheritance dispute (the inheritance numbered in the vicinity of 100 million dollars).
The neighborhood dry-cleaner drops by and asks them to drop off Eun-jae’s clothing for her, as she hasn’t been by. Mu-yeol calls Eun-jae, who struggles to wrest her cell phone from her pocket with her bound hands, but she can’t yell for help because of her gag. Eun-jae manages to call back, then grunts her cries into the phone, which is enough to alert Mu-yeol that something’s amiss.
Yong-su listens to the background noise — the delivery guy has parked in a busy shopping district to await his accomplice — and hears promoters shouting announcements. That provides her general location, and the three friends rush to save Eun-jae from whatever danger has befallen her —
— but, as luck would have it, they’re seen speeding by the overeager policeman Jang Taek-su, who signals for them to pull over. The friends ask Officer Jang to let them off the hook as they’re in an emergency, but the officer (who has a bit of a rivalry going with Mu-yeol) won’t let this offense go. He chases them, and when the guys get stuck in traffic and abandon their car to take off on foot, Officer Jang follows on foot as well.
Running through the crowded district, the guys peer into all the vehicles in search of Eun-jae. Mu-yeol spies the shifty delivery guy and senses something strange — which makes the delivery guy flee.
Mu-yeol pursues, bringing him down and detaining him long enough for the cops to arrive and take over.
They open the back storage area to find Eun-jae tied up, and bring her out to safety as a crowd of curious onlookers, well, onlook.
And, Officer Jang also gets his moment of glory as the bystanders applaud him for catching a criminal. He basks.
Eun-jae’s uncle is brought in to the police station for his part in the kidnapping — the deliveryman says he was paid to abduct her. The uncle defends himself (rather smoothly) by saying he’d just asked for his niece to be brought to him, and the deliveryman misunderstood his directions. However, the police officer confronts him with his suspicious interference in Eun-jae’s life over the years (demanding proof of her paternity — presumably for inheritance issues — and repeatedly changing her guardians), and the uncle visibly blanches, ill at ease under the scrutiny.
The three friends visit Eun-jae in the hospital, making awkward attempts at conversation before Eun-jae admits that she has a panic disorder similar to extreme claustrophobia. It only started recently after she saw the news report about Mu-yeol & friends finding the body in the wall. Afterward, being in an elevator triggered a flashback of being in an enclosed space as a child (the man in the pinstriped suit holds out a gold bar to her as she watches in fear). The flashback caused her to panic and faint; the process recurred at the Gold Building the day Mu-yeol first met her. She’d had the strange feeling that she’d been there before.
Eun-jae apologizes for lying — she should have just told them the truth, but she felt ashamed. Mu-yeol, who’s been unable to speak all this while, fidgets at Eun-jae’s self-recriminations as she continues that she didn’t want others knowing she was going crazy. Mu-yeol bursts out in her defense: “Why laugh? If you’re afraid, why laugh? Honestly, you want to cry, didn’t you? If you’re afraid, then say so. Is being scared something to be ashamed of? You’re not going crazy. Absolutely not! I’ll make sure of it!”
He continues: “Last time, I revealed my feelings before I was prepared to, but I’d like to confess them to you officially. I like you, Eun-jae. I don’t care if you’re poor or rich, I just like you!”
Startled, Eun-jae just tells him, “I’m sorry.”
And then, Mu-yeol realizes that his grand moment has come in decidedly less-than-grand circumstances. All around them, the other patients pretend not to have heard, and Yong-su and Hee-kyung look away, feeling his embarrassment.
Mu-yeol arrives back at headquarters — unaware they were followed home by a mysterious stranger — fully ready to kill himself for the shame of it all. He begs Yong-su to beat him for his humiliation, and Yong-su prepares to comply, when they’re interrupted.
A well-dressed stranger enters, and requests their services.
But unbeknownst to them, the new guy is — gasp! — their very own follower.
End skit: “Unspeakable Pain!”
The end spoof this time takes the form of a silent-movie parody — Mu-yeol anxiously sits by as paramedics attend to an unconscious Eun-jae. They’re afraid of ripping off her duct-tape gag, and Mu-yeol bravely steps up to the task. He prepares himself, then as Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” plays (to underscore Mu-yeol’s role of heroic bodyguard, no doubt), he rips off the tape, and Eun-jae looks at him with tears in her eyes.