SUCH A FUN EPISODE!
Fun, funny, and intriguing.
This is shaping up to a great drama. I was all set to crown The Return of Iljimae as the best drama of the year (it’s certainly up there), and then Story of a Man comes along… If the episodes get any better, I’m going to have to start adding expletives in front of my adjectives — as in, *[bleeping] amazing!*
SONG OF THE DAY
YB (Yoon Do Hyun Band) – “후회 없어” (No Regrets) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Mun-ho and Shin take a drive to scope out their target, while Mun-ho explains how he discovered Kyung-tae’s talent for making money. When Kyung-tae’s mother had died (Mun-ho’s sister), Kyung-tae was left in Mun-ho’s care, and for a couple months they’d been homeless, sleeping in the subway with newspapers for blankets. One day he found Kyung-tae reading the finance section, who then asked his uncle for some money. Somehow, he turned 1 million won (about $750) into ten times that within one month.
Arriving outside Chae Dong Construction’s building, Shin says he wants to see the chairman trembling on the bridge over the Han River. Then, Shin could relay the words of scorn his brother received: “If you fall in, you’ll pollute the water.”
Mun-ho: “Guys with money don’t commit suicide. That’s what guys without money do.”
Shin: “That’s why we have to show them. We have to make them realize what it’s like to be poor.”
Kyung-tae digs up news regarding a new land development deal in Zhuhai, China. It’s on a huge scale, and therefore not merely a Chae Dong project but a joint partnership with multiple companies — worth hundreds of billions of won (or hundreds of millions of dollars).
Shin sums up the situation: “So you’re saying that if we work this right, we can shake Chae Dong up really badly.” That certainly piques Jae-myung’s interest.
Do-woo has the same thought, and says so in a meeting that he takes with Director Oh at the bar. He knows the Zhuhai project was concocted by his father, who used bribes and lies to get in on the deal. But it could hurt the company if mishandled; thus he advises backing out.
Director Oh says in his simpering way that Chairman Chae can handle it. Do-woo wonders if his father knows that Director Oh is here to see him, which the other man nervously denies. Perhaps surprisingly, Do-woo answers that he likes that about Dir. Oh, because it shows he’s looking out for himself: “You don’t know whether it’ll be my father or me who ends up with Chae Dong, and who will benefit you more.”
After he leaves, Do-woo tells K (Kei?) that there’s sure to be a broker involved to liaise between the Korean construction companies and the Chinese bureaucrats. He orders him to find out who.
The Dream Team is also on the hunt for the name of the Chinese broker. Jae-myung gets in touch with his foster father (from L.A.’s Chinatown, where he grew up), who’s involved with some organized crime himself, and gets the name of a contact.
Jae-myung takes Shin along, asking, “Do you know how to fight?” Shin will have to go through a test before meeting the boss. Once they arrive, Shin tenses in preparation, counting the burly tough guys who start approaching, growing increasingly alarmed as more join them until they are surrounded.
Jae-myung tells Shin cryptically, “Leave the fighting to the dumb guys. Smart guys avoid them.” He pushes Shin into one of the guys, and Shin strikes out first.
I freaking love the exasperated “WTF?” look Shin shoots Jae-myung when the latter doesn’t jump into the fight. But he doesn’t have time to think, because the others attack, and Shin has his hands full fighting them off.
Jae-myung watches with amusement until an older man comes outside and shouts at his boys: “What the hell are you doing? Why are you fighting with a guest?”
The men protest that Shin started it. Shin looks over at Jae-myung, peeved: “You said to fight. You said it was a test!” Jae-myung gives him the thumbs-up: Hey, he passed.
With the help of the elderly boss (who owes Jae-myung’s foster father a favor), they get the name of the main broker of the Zhuhai deal, who happens to be the Zhuhai mayor’s brother: Fujin Pei. (Apologies if this spelling is wrong; I’m working off the Korean pronunciation.) With this information, they can drop strategic rumors into the ears of the Chae Dong people and therefore manipulate the deal.
Mun-ho has a colorful past as a successful scam artist, but he’s been retired for a while and doesn’t feel comfortable jumping into a con right away. Shin says that’s no problem — they don’t need to pose as Fujin Pei yet. An important man like Fujin should have a middleman. Someone who speaks English and Chinese. Someone like Jae-myung.
Jae-myung is unaware that he’s just been named their lead con man, and Shin takes this moment to enjoy returning the smug thumbs-up.
Sure enough, the rumors trickle into the right ears, and Director Oh relays them to Chairman Chae. Because the information has come through secret reports that can only be accessed by those in the most powerful business circles, he doesn’t suspect their validity.
Chae wants to meet Fujin Pei immediately, before the other real estate developers get to him first. Director Oh is instructed to make it happen.
Mun-ho’s past as a con man included top-notch disguising abilities, so he calls in his former buddies to outfit the Dream Team. Shin and Kyung-tae break into the chairman’s office by posing as janitors, and Kyung-tae hacks into the computer.
Kyung-tae pulls up the chairman’s agenda, and Shin takes note of a meeting scheduled at the Lion’s Club with a parliament member, Assemblyman Cha. Kyung-tae installs a hacking program “Mazinga.exe” (Mazinga = Mazinger), a spyware program. (I know this scene isn’t meant to recall the computer scene in Zoolander, but… *giggles anyway*)
The following scene at the bar shows us a glimpse into the developing Do-woo and Kyung-ah relationship, which I think is going to be quite interesting.
A bar girl whines that Do-woo’s girlfriend is at the bar looking for him, disappointed that the man is already taken (and by such an un-glam, “old-fashioned” girl, at that). Kyung-ah acts unconcerned, but the other hostess tells her she’s not fooling anyone; they all know she had her sights on Do-woo.
The visitor is actually Eun-soo, who was directed here by people at Do-woo’s (former) office. However, Kyung-ah assumes this is his girlfriend and greets her politely, as though determined to be cool, to not feel anything about Do-woo having a girlfriend. The misconception is furthered by the fact that Eun-soo calls him “oppa” — which can be easily misconstrued as boyfriend-oppa instead of brother-oppa.
However, the fact that Kyung-ah’s bending over backwards to be understanding hints that she is more interested than she lets on. Assuming that Do-woo’s girlfriend must be worried to hear her boyfriend spends so much time at a hostess bar, Kyung-ah assures Eun-soo that he uses the empty room as an office. When Eun-soo says he hasn’t been home in a week, Kyung-ah has the tiniest disappointed reaction to the word “home,” because it suggests that Do-woo lives with his girlfriend.
Kyung-ah offers to take Eun-soo to Do-woo, who spends this time of day playing piano with the jazz band. Eun-soo notes that Do-woo is smiling — an unusual enough occurrence — and Kyung-ah concurs, saying that it wasn’t until she saw him playing the piano that she saw him smile for the first time.
Kyung-ah feels the need to clarify her relationship with Do-woo, telling Eun-soo not to misunderstand, because she has a strictly business relationship with him. (The lady doth protest too much…) She merely facilitates his business meetings by keeping the atmosphere alive and the drinks flowing.
Eun-soo then introduces herself as Do-woo’s younger sister, and at that, Kyung-ah has to smile. Abashed (but relieved), she admits that she was the one who misunderstood the situation. Eun-soo senses there’s interest between the pair, and tells Kyung-ah, “I’m glad my brother has such a nice person with him.”
Eun-soo asks Kyung-ah to convey a message to Do-woo: that she’s going on a (marriage-minded) blind date tomorrow, and that he should drop by home periodically, before she’s sold off in marriage. Kyung-ah feels that that’s a rather personal message to entrust to a stranger, but Eun-soo smiles, as though assured of Do-woo and Kyung-ah’s budding relationship.
And the scam gets rolling!
Decked out in business suits, Shin and Jae-myung arrive at the exclusive members-only Lion’s Club. Jae-myung doesn’t have membership, but he flirts with the female clerk so outrageously that she ushers him to a table anyway. He’s posing as Chinese businessman “Jamie Chang” and speaks in English, and while the English pick-up lines are horribly cheesy, I suppose it’s the point.
Once seated, Jae-myung spots Chairman Chae a few tables away, sitting with Assemblyman Cha and Cha’s son (who is Eun-soo’s blind date). This is a political move for both fathers, and a mutually beneficial one, as Cha reminds his son, “A politician needs money first, and then an attentive wife. Now, if that wife already has money…”
Shin poses as an employee of a land development company and pretends to be on an important phone call while entering the men’s restroom, strategically dropping the name “Fujin Pei” so that Director Oh overhears. Shin enters a stall for privacy, knowing that Oh will eavesdrop on his conversation.
Thus Director Oh hears that Fujin Pei’s right-hand man, Jamie Chang, is here. This suggests that a rival may get their hands on Fujin Pei before they can, so Chairman Chae orders Oh to go get Jamie.
Shin and Jae-myung have their faux-meeting in plain view of the others, then rise to exit — noting that Director Oh frantically follows, trying to intercept Jamie.
The plan is going well, but Jae-myung comments to Shin that this isn’t his preferred method of revenge — he’d rather kidnap the chairman, set fire to his car, end of story. Eye for an eye. Shin, on the other hand, has a more sophisticated view of revenge, and jokes that Jae-myung’s too much of a “nice guy.”
And then, the elevator doors open and reveal Eun-soo, who is arriving for her blind date.
It is hi-la-ri-ous as both Shin and Jae-myung sorta roll their eyes as if to say, “You have GOT to be kidding me.” Shin acts fast to distract Director Oh, because if he sees Eun-soo recognizing Shin and Jae-myung, their cover is blown. While Director Oh’s attention is diverted, Shin shoves Eun-soo into the elevator and confronts her.
He reminds her, “When you visited me in prison, you asked what I wanted, and said you’d do whatever I asked. So pretend you didn’t see us today. That’s what I want. Can you do that?”
She asks whether he has some sort of connection with her father. Shin just wants a yes or no answer — will she keep it a secret, or not? (Jae-myung impatiently suggests, “Let’s kidnap her,” to which Shin interrupts, “You think we’re in L.A.?” Haha.)
In terse silence, Shin and Jae-myung try to brainstorm the best way to deal with this situation. As the doors open, Eun-soo surprises Shin by blurting out that she’ll keep the secret. (Is this a case of extended guilt? Or budding interest in Shin? The look on her face is interesting…)
Of course, this is also the moment that Do-woo, from across the lobby, spies them leaving the elevator. Suspicious, Do-woo inquires at the front desk about a man bearing Jae-myung’s description, and is given the fake business card that Shin used. (It bears the name of a construction company.)
Shin tries to explain that he feels they can trust Eun-soo, and doesn’t want to abort the mission. It’s too late to give up, anyhow — the fish has already gone for the bait.
That fish being Director Oh, who stumbles in broken English to introduce himself to Jamie. (He also chats up Jamie’s guide for information — Joong-ho in disguise.) All the while, K records this exchange on a digital camera.
Jae-myung dislikes complicated plans, but I love them — just think about it! In this scene alone, we have K watching Director Oh, who is watching Jae-myung, who is posing as Jamie Chang, who is posing as Fujin Pei’s right-hand man.
Do-woo has come to see how his little sister’s date went, and meets her at the bar afterward. She tells him that she liked Jenny, and figures, “You liked her too, right? That’s why you showed her where you play piano, and show her your smile.”
Eun-soo talks to her brother warmly, but he notices that she won’t look him in the eye. He asks, “Do you have anything to say to me?” Eun-soo knows what Do-woo is hinting at, but perhaps she’s not ready to have this conversation, so she shakes her head no. Uncomfortable now, she starts to get up to leave, but he stops her.
Do-woo: “I’m okay being fired from the company after ten years, or being hated by Father. Those are just uncomfortable, but they don’t worry me — I don’t spare more than ten minutes thinking about those things. But Eun-soo, if you and I aren’t on the same side, if you think of me as your opponent, I won’t be able to bear it. And when I say I can’t bear it, I really can’t. I’m afraid that’s what’ll happen.”
(It’s creepy, in an awesome way.)
After closing up the restaurant, Shin helps take his nieces home. On the bus ride, he promises his sister-in-law that he’ll earn enough money to send her and the girls abroad within a couple of years, thinking it’ll make her happy. But on the contrary, it makes Myung-sun nervous: “Are you doing things against the law in order to get revenge for the girls’ father?” After all, there’s no way he could have lawfully earned so much money in such a short time.
She tells him not to do it, and he asks, “You don’t want to be rich?” Myung-sun has a simple, honest perspective: “What’s the point in getting rich illegally?” Even if she had money, she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.
Shin responds with what is pretty much the crux of this drama:
Shin: “You still don’t understand. If you have enough money, you won’t get caught by the law. And even if you do, you can escape. That’s what the law is. After seeing Hyung die, don’t you get it?”
This is no consolation for Myung-sun, who pleads for Shin to be content with Kyung-ah and live a comfortable, honest life.
Shin: “I want to try being rich. While I’m at it, I want to do it by taking money from the guys who killed Hyung. That money was made ignoring the law in the first place. So I can ignore the law and take it myself. I can do it. I’ll make you a promise — I’m going to bring home an old man one day and make him bow his head and beg to you on his knees. When I do, spit in his face. I’ll make that happen. I can do it.”
That scares Myung-sun, who doesn’t respond.
Kyung-ah (who has a pretty good head for stocks herself) reads reports of another company about to go under due to Do-woo’s work. She asks if he feels even a little sorry to the other party, and he responds, “I don’t see people, I see charts. It’s hard to feel sorry toward charts.”
Do-woo asks a seemingly random question: Did she have a dream when she was young? To be someone, or have something? Kyung-ah answers yes: A nice house with a large lawn and white lace curtains.
She asks him the same thing — did he have a dream? This sends Do-woo into a childhood flashback, when his sister had asked that question. In order to find his answer to that, Young Do-woo had picked a random book from the shelf, which happened to be about Monaco.
Do-woo tells Kyung-ah, “I’d once thought I’d like to have it,” with “it” meaning Monaco. Not for any particular reason; he just decided that having Monaco would be his first dream. He wonders, “Are other people different? Is there a special method for having a dream?”
Kyung-ah wonders, “If you can’t get what you want, what do you do?”
Do-woo has to think about this, as though it’s something he’s never had to consider — and maybe he hasn’t. He sighs, “I don’t know. I’ve never not gotten what I wanted.”
The next day, Do-woo walks into his father’s office, disregarding attempts to stop him, as he is now persona non grata at Chae Dong. Ignoring his father’s aggravation, Do-woo says he was concerned about him, regarding Fujin Pei — something is fishy about the man’s representative.
Chairman Chae ignores this and yells at his son to get out. At this unhelpful reaction, Do-woo says in a resigned tone, “You could have made use of a son like me.”
The chairman blusters, “A normal father wouldn’t use his son. And a normal son wouldn’t try to get rid of his father!”
Do-woo leans over his father’s desk — slowly, almost menacingly, causing his father to gulp nervously. He tells him, “I wanted to help you. That’s why I came. I’m saddened, Father.”
And then he smirks, ever so slightly, and leaves.
Chairman Chae had acted like he didn’t care about Do-woo’s warning, but as soon as he’s gone, he orders Director Oh to check out Jamie Chang.
Thanks to Kyung-tae’s hacking program, he’s immediately alerted when Director Oh and Chae’s secretary go online and look up a website — the spy software shows what sites they’re on, giving him the opportunity to put up a fake site. (Clever!)
The Dream Team is able to watch as the other computer searches the website of the law firm where Jamie Chang supposedly works, and clicks on his profile. This confirms Jamie’s identity and allays Director Oh’s concerns.
With those suspicions calmed, Director Oh acts on leaked information that says Fujin Pei is arriving secretly in Korea the next day. He puts together a grand welcome in order to woo the man to their side.
Director Oh sweats a little when Fujin doesn’t show at the airport gate, which is when Shin again strategically name-drops within Director Oh’s earshot. According to Shin, Fujin Pei is arriving at the VIP entrance, and Director Oh follows along. Once there, Oh steps forward to greet the Chinese man — who is actually Mun-ho in disguise.
All the while, K records this exchange from a distance and sends the video feed to Do-woo… who most certainly recognizes one of the parties involved. OH SNAP.
This drama sure has an awesome ending song, doesn’t it? When those strings kick in, my heart beat kicks it up a notch.
While watching this week’s episodes, I had the thought that the recent Dream Team caper vibe of Story of a Man vaguely recalls what Tazza (the drama) was aiming for, only it does everything better. Stronger acting and a tighter story, for instance.
In the first four episodes, I had mad love for the character of Do-woo (followed by a distant but distinct second in Kyung-tae) because he was so damn fascinating. I still dig Do-woo (as I mention below), but I’m glad that Shin is starting to make up some ground. In the early episodes, he was generally fine but didn’t stir a deep interest in me. But now, as he pulls his big scam together, I’m finding him more charismatic and entertaining. I’ve never been a particular Park Yong-ha fan (mostly because I didn’t like his previous dramas), but this drama may turn me around — I definitely like the tough, scrappy character here better than his previous softer image.
I loved the bus scene in this episode, which pretty much encapsulates Shin’s raison d’être in this drama. Is what he’s doing illegal? Yes. Is it wrong? I… don’t know. Probably, although he is sympathetic — he would never have hurt anyone had the immoral corporation not messed with him first. Is he sliding down a slippery slope with his justification for his actions? Oh hell yeah — we can see him tumbling headlong into moral ambiguity, which makes his potential future path rife with tension.
Regarding the loan shark he took down in the previous episode: The illegality of Shin’s theft may be somewhat mitigated by the fact that he was helping the authorities take down an illegal gambling ring, as well as putting away a violent loan shark who terrorizes his victims. He just happened to take a cut of the cash for his trouble. In a real-life person, my reaction might be different, but fictional heroes might get a little more leeway, because they’re fictional. So I can let go of Shin’s vigilante streak in this case because he didn’t hurt anyone physically, he didn’t ruin anyone who was living honestly, and his “revenge” wasn’t even too mean-spirited — he cleaned up a dirty situation more than took revenge.
On the other hand, who knows how morality will play out later. Will Shin will get his revenge? Will he have to pay a price? Maybe he’ll give up revenge to save his soul — who knows. That’s what we’ll have to wait to find out.
Do-woo continues to be a cipher, in the best way. What the heck is he planning? He must have a plan, he must know what he’s doing… but so far, it’s like he (and/or Kim Kang-woo) only let us see exactly how much he wants us to see — so we are at his mercy.
I was struck with his line to his father, because I had thought the same thing — that if the chairman were a shrewder man, he could have used Do-woo. On one hand, I don’t think Do-woo would have let himself BE used… but I think he means, rather, that they could have played on the same side. Chairman Chae would have had to defer to his son in that scenario, which one gets the sense he is absolutely unwilling to do. He may fear his son but he damn well won’t bow before him. Foolish, short-sighted man, right? Because if he were truly clever — clever like his son Do-woo — he would have opted for another tactic, the only tactic that would have worked with Do-woo, and that is to give Do-woo the lead.
This, in fact, is Do-woo’s own strategy — to defer to others when it makes political sense. I was surprised early on that Do-woo would acquiesce to those more powerful than him. Remember when his friend forces him to drink and call him “father” in Episode 2, and Do-woo complies? Or how he meekly steps aside after his father fires him in Episode 5? I expected Do-woo to have more outward pride, because that’s what we expect of our control-freak alpha males. But that isn’t how he works, because that just acts as a hindrance to his endgame. And what payeth pride when there is money to be earned?
If the chairman had allowed Do-woo his head in doing what he is capable of doing, they could have both benefited. Instead, he cast out his son, and created an enemy. Now, the parties have taken their corners: Shin versus Chae Dong versus Do-woo. But if Shin and Do-woo both want to bring Chae Dong down, does that put them on the same side? On the other hand, maybe Do-woo just wants to weaken Chae Dong enough to take it over, rather than destroy it. I don’t know. THE PLOT THICKENS.
Also, how creepy is Do-woo’s sketch?
- Story of a Man: Episode 5
- Park Ki-woong moved to tears at acting praise
- Kim Kang-woo: Birth of a Devil
- Story of a Man: Episodes 3 & 4
- Story of a Man: Episodes 1 & 2
- Currently airing dramas: A roundup
- First teaser for Story of a Man
- Park Ki-woong added to Story of a Man
- Philip Lee in Story of a Man
- Story of a Man to follow the Boys on KBS