Sorry for the extended delay! I may be a few episodes behind on Mixed-up Investigative Agency, but I do intend to keep watching the series. It continues to be fun and fresh, with dashes of unexpected humor.
The group is gelling together nicely, with Eun-jae becoming more integrated with the other three. She still isn’t one of them, necessarily, but that adds another dynamic to the foursome, since her presence keeps the balance off-kilter. The other three, who are comfortable with each other, try with only partial success to maintain politeness and distance with the dignified Eun-jae, and that awkwardness is fun to watch.
SONG OF THE DAY
Younha – “손을 잡고서” (holding hands) [ Download ]
CASE NO. 5: “All Signs Point In One Direction!”
At the end of Episode 4, the gang finds themselves being chased by thugs, and hide in a crawlspace in the wall of a nearby park. Eun-jae starts hyperventilating, succumbing to another panic attack, and runs out for air — landing her at the feet of the gang of thugs.
Mu-yeol charges out of the wall and fights off the attackers, managing decently despite being outnumbered. The head thug, whose name is Kang Seung-ho (I’ll call him Mr. Kang; he’s the man who’d commissioned their overnight trip), arrives and asks for the map, which he says was originally theirs — Jo Man Gi (dead wall guy) had stolen it from them. Mu-yeol fights Mr. Kang, but unlike his subordinates, he’s a strong opponent.
Hee-kyung and Yong-su find their way out of the tunnel-space, and we learn one more thing about Yong-su in the process: He had an older brother who disappeared when he was in high school. This adds a little more weight to his deduction that Eun-jae lied about her own brother going missing.
Yong-su calls the authorities for help and spits out a hurrried, disjointed explanation. Unfortunately, the authorities don’t take them seriously, thinking it’s a prank call. Impatient, Hee-kyung runs off and finds a group of police officers, gasping for breath and yelling for help, but they likewise don’t take her seriously. So she takes matters into her own hands, and swipes an officer’s cap and runs — prompting them to chase after her. Hey, it doesn’t matter what gets them to follow, as long as they follow.
Mr. Kang and his henchmen grab Eun-jae, shove her into their car, and take off. In a manic chase scene, Mu-yeol runs after the gangsters’ vehicle, while Yong-su flags down a police patrol car. Mu-yeol flings a rock into the gangsters’ windshield, sending the car crashing to a halt, just as the police arrive. Officer Jang (the same guy from before) handles the aftermath in bewilderment (once again, the buddies have basically handed over a criminal to him to arrest).
They rescue Eun-jae from the car, and return to their headquarters, where Hee-kyung single-mindedly rejoices over the return of the map. She’s not a bit fazed by the harrowing chase they’ve all encountered, rationalizing that if those guys were after their map, that means the map must be real. Which means there must really be gold hidden somewhere.
They speculate over what kind of gold it could be, making up theories of its origin. Rather than speculate, Eun-jae calls an acquaintance to help identify the map.
An unexpected visitor enters the office, and with the appearance of their landlord, we realize that they haven’t been renting the space — they’ve been squatting, unbeknownst to their building manager. The electricity and water are still running (the space had gone unoccupied since the previous tenants ran the former investigative agency), but now that their landlord has finally pinpointed the source of his high electricity bills, their jig is up.
The next day, they visit Eun-jae’s acquaintance, a university professor with a team of specialists to pore over the map and lend their professional opinions about its origin.
Going by the markings and the paper, which is of the highest quality, made specially not to tear or be susceptible to water damage, they estimate the map to be from around the turn of the century. It was probably drawn by an unskilled worker at the construction site for a public sewer system.
Hee-kyung tries to ask delicately whether the map indicates something that might be hidden. The professors don’t understand what kind of hidden item she means, leading her to ask flat-out, “You know, like gold” — which gets them laughed out of the building. Literally.
But one professor follows them out and tells them that if they seriously think the map has a connection with gold, he can direct them to someone who may be able to help.
The group arrive at their contact’s address, only to find the store closed. While waiting in the car outside, Yong-su notices that they’re being followed, indicating a suspicious car behind them.
Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung alert Officer Jang, who then approaches the suspicious car to check it out… but unfortunately, their presence draws the attention of some bad guys down the street, who take off. Because! The suspicious car was on a stakeout. For drug dealers.
The gang are taken in for questioning in the drug matter (minus Yong-su, who wasn’t seen by the police), are found to be unrelated to the dealers, and are let go.
As they’re being released, an elderly man arrives at the same counter, having been brought in for unknowingly selling a stolen book. The grandpa (whom Mu-yeol and Hee-kyung casually know — he plays chess with their landlord) sees the map and starts to comment on it, but Hee-kyung impatiently snaps at the old man to mind his own business.
Back at headquarters, the guys are stunned to see some drastic changes — it’s been cleaned up and supplied with expensive, tasteful furnishings. Eun-jae has rented it out as their proper headquarters.
Although the guys are happily surprised, Hee-kyung reacts indignantly (Eun-jae always rubs her the wrong way) and berates Eun-jae for acting without even consulting them, like she’s automatically their boss. But she starts her tirade JUST as Eun-jae is drawing out three gold credit cards (for their business use). Hee-kyung sees them belatedly, too late to retract her words. Eun-jae withdraws the cards, and Hee-kyung curses her bad timing.
The next day, they go back to the man’s store for his help identifying the map — and realize that their contact is none other than the grandpa from the police station. As he’s still miffed at Hee-kyung for her poor treatment of him the night before, he refuses to help.
Hee-kyung once again busts out her tearful act, kneeling before Grandpa and begging for his help, but he’s unmoved. So she tries another tack — reverse psychology. She tells her comrades, “Let’s go! It’s obvious he knows nothing.”
Grandpa takes the bait, and identifies the map with a defiant, “so there!” attitude — it’s a treasure map, one in a set of three. He’s about to identify what the buried treasure is, then cuts himself short as he realizes what Hee-kyung’s done. He tells them, “That’s all you get!” and refuses to say any more.
Until, that is, Yong-su whispers something in his ear. Something that makes Grandpa suddenly change his mind and agree, very reluctantly, to give them three questions. One question each (Hee-kyung doesn’t count; he’s still pissy towards her). Clearly he’s been blackmailed into it, but Yong-su doesn’t reveal why.
Careful not to waste their three questions, the group confers amongst themselves. Eun-jae asks the first: What kind of gold is the leaf-shaped bar from? Answer: Emperor Gojong was purported to have hidden his reserves of dirty (secretly used) money in twelve urns of gold.
Mu-yeol asks the second question: In his expert opinion, where does he think Emperor Gojong would have hidden his gold? Answer: Somewhere nearby, because they are in the vicinity of various embassies. Upon entry of any one of those foreign embassies, Emperor Gojong could step inside another “country,” escaping his own immediately. His secret money stash, therefore, would have been nearby.
Yong-su’s last question: Do you know where the other two maps are? Answer: Nope.
Hee-kyung entreats him for one last question. One last, very important, very earnestly asked question: How big do you think those urns are? Like, gochujang-jar big, or soy-sauce-urn big? HA. (Answer: There should be 31 tons of gold.)
The gangsters continue their surveillance of the group, and stake out their office from a parked car (they’re the same henchmen who tried to steal the map).
The gangsters follow them the next day too, while the group makes their way around the city trying to make sense of the map. On top of that, a guy on a motorcycle spies Eun-jae’s bag, where she keeps the map, and readies to steal it.
The motorcyclist snatches the purse, flashing a few fancy bike tricks as he makes his getaway. Their gangsters take off after the biker, and the friends (I need a better name for the group!) appeal to the police to find the thief.
Hee-kyung’s practically hysterical over the loss of her map (“My map, my gold! My future depends on it!”), but there isn’t much the police can do. Meanwhile, the thugs chasing the biker are no match for the guy’s fancy maneuvering, and he escapes.
Empty-handed, the friends trudge back to their office tiredly.
The food delivery guy arrives, and Mu-yeol informs him that they haven’t ordered any food. With a sly smile, the delivery guy tells them, “But you did,” and brandishes his delivery box.
With a flourish, he opens his case, to reveal… Eun-jae’s stolen handbag!
End skit: “I Know What You Did!”
This segment is hilarious, because it actually ties into a plot point from the episode. The map-specialist grandpa plays a game of Korean chess (badook) with the landlord, and he’s losing. The landlord gets up to answer a phone call after plunking down a game piece, and while he’s not looking, Grandpa quickly moves it over one square.
At JUST that moment, Yong-su walks in and sees him cheating, and is startled speechless. The landlord takes his seat, and looks at the board, puzzled that he seems to be in a vulnerable position. Grandpa sits nervously, waiting to see what Yong-su will do. Just as the tension mounts, Yong-su asks innocently: “Whatcha betting on?”