I’m doing two episodes because IRIS has already ended, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who already know the ending. I, however, don’t – and therefore I’m trying to get there as fast as I can!
These two episodes got this reaction from me: “Whoaaa…” And episode 6 DID prove to be much more interesting than the previous two (following the pattern). Episode 7 just had its moments, story-wise.
On the airplane tarmac, Hyun Joon pulls up towards the sky, and Sa Woo fires at the engines. The plane begins to leave a trail of black smoke, and no matter what Hyun Joon does, he cannot keep the plane up. There’s this great moment where all we see is Sa Woo holding the gun and then hear the plane crash in the distance, and Sa Woo’s arms fall down.
Six months later: Mi Jung enters the office wearing a yellow minidress and an insolent look on her face. She’s depressed about Hyun Joon’s death.
Hyun Kyu informs everyone about modified weapons that will be smuggled into South Korea illegally. Mi Jung has narrowed down the number of shipping docks where these weapons could possibly be arriving at, but the list is too long for the agents to go through. Mi Jung argues, “If Hyun Jun sunbae was here right now, he would be able to sense which one…” But Tae-sung hits her on the side to shut her up. Sang Hyun reminds her, and everyone else, “I told you to erase all memories of that man in this office.”
Later, Sa Woo meets Baek San in his car at a parking lot. He hands Baek San a small chip, and Baek San notes that Sa Woo seems to be getting comfortable with the idea of working under Baek San – “A man that allows his conscious or sense of responsibility to hinder his ambition cannot attain anything. I wasn’t wrong in choosing you.”
Mi Jung goes to a nightclub for some dancing and relieving of stress. On a floor above, Vic watches her dance and get accosted by a couple of foreigners trying to hit on her. He comes down and beats up the two foreigners with a few swift kicks. His expression asks for nothing in return, and he walks away. (And now let us set up the next romantic coupling…)
The Blue House is in good spirits having heard the news that talks between North and South Korea can begin once again. The President tells Baek San privately that he finds it unsettling that the deaths of Hong Seung Ryong and Yoon Sung Chul are reminiscent of a similar situation 30 years ago. He says, “I can’t help but believe that there is a powerful force out there that we do not know about.”
Baek San then meets with Sa Woo, discussing Seung Hee. She is still unable to grasp Hyun Joon’s death, and Baek San wisely says that she is in a fragile state, where she cannot even trust anyone. It will take time but she will get better.
Seung Hee’s friend at NSS, Team Leader Yang Jung In, tells her that there is no hope that Hyun Joon is alive anywhere, and so she might as well give up. But she also sends Seung Hee a photo of Chul Young and Sun Hwa, telling her that they were in charge of Yoon during his assassination.
In Pyeongyang, North Korea, Chul Young and his new sidekick walk down the hall of prisoner cells. In one of them, Sun Hwa is making do with her bare furnishings and exercising to stay strong. Chul Young, still ashamed, refuses to speak to her. He meets with his superior, who explains that someone had to be sacrificed for Yoon’s assassination. The Intelligence director tells Chul Young that Yoon’s death is also not a bad thing, since he now holds all of the nuclear development information that Yoon had. For his country, the military director is willing to go all the way in developing nuclear capabilities – and Chul Young can be part of it as a reinstated agent.
Chul Young wants Sun Hwa reinstated as well, but the military director decides against that, saying instead, “Let’s think of creative situations.”
Meanwhile in Hungary, Hyun Joon wakes up to find himself in a sparse hospital room. A man in a suit comes into his room and hands him a phone. The man on the phone, whom we can call Mr. X for now, informs Hyun Joon that he is the man who saved his life.
Mr. X: You, Kim Hyun Joon, it was not chance that you fell into this conspiracy. You were selected by those who would profit from this venture.
Hyun Joon: Are you saying you know who selected me?
Mr. X: I know that those who brought you into this and gave your latest order are not the only players.
He offers to help Hyun Joon to end the conspiracy. Hyun Joon thinks it over – but he wants none of it. And so, before he can become another pawn in another game, he fights the guards and escapes to his freedom.
Back in Seoul, Seung Hee is working in a greenhouse potting plants. Her boss tells her that she should not plan to stay working in the nursery for too long, and to mend her heart as soon as possible. Sa Woo comes to visit her, and he tries to tell her what is happening in the office. However, Seung Hee refuses to hear any more of it. “All that stuff no longer has anything to do with me. I don’t really care, and it’s not much fun either,” she says. Sa Woo changes the subject and asks about the flowers in the garden.
Seung Hee: Iris. In Korean, it’s a “Brush flower.”…In Greek mythology, the river to the underworld was called the Iris. For me, it’s not a pretty flower but a sad flower. Hyun Joon liked irises.
In Pyeongyang, a newly reinstated Chul Young goes to visit an imprisoned Sun Hwa. He gives her another chance: Hyun Joon was found to be in Japan, and she has one last chance to kill him.
Akita, Japan: Hyun Joon climbs up a mountain in the deep, fresh snow. He travels alone, but a few hundred feet behind him Sun Hwa is climbing up in his footsteps. Struggling, she continues searching for him and carries only a sniper rifle on her back.
Sun Hwa spots Hyun Joon struggling up the mountain, and immediately she drops down and sets up her rifle. She shoots, and Hyun Joon’s figure disappears behind the trees, so she climbs up to where she shot him to find his body.
Only to find that he is standing right behind her. Hyun Joon quickly disarms her and knocks her down, pushing her off an edge and lets her tumble down in the snow.
Later, Sun Hwa finds herself waking up in a warm cabin, and Hyun Joon lies on the floor beside her. She quickly grabs for a knife in her boot, but finds that she has been completely disarmed and her coat taken off. But she is not dead.
Instead, Hyun Joon makes tea for her and tells her to drink it if she does not want to die. Sun Hwa refuses the drink. A little while later, she wakes up again to find a note from Hyun Joon, saying: Don’t chase me anymore. This is the one and only instance of goodwill.
Yuki returns home to the hot springs and discovers a weak Hyun Joon sitting at the steps. She brings him into her home and tends to him back to good health. As she takes care of him, she discovers the rosary given to him by Hong Seung Ryong.
As Hyun Joon researches on the internet for gun resellers, he is contacted by Mr. X. Mr. X wants to do “something” with Hyun Joon, but Hyun Joon refuses. Mr X warns him, “Are you choosing revenge after all? There’s a saying that two graves are needed for revenge: one for your enemy, and one for yourself.” That does not scare Hyun Joon, and he hangs up on Mr. X anyways.
Hyun Joon returns home, and immediately, he senses Sun Hwa’s presence in his room. She points a gun at him – “Did you think that I’d be grateful because you saved me once? Don’t be fooled.”
Hyun Joon once again disarms her and points the gun right back at her. He ties her up as a captive, but every day he brings her three meals. She refuses to drink the water or the soup, slowly dehydrating and starving to death. Finally, she can’t take it anymore and asks Hyun Joon to just kill her. She asks him why he is treating her with such mercy when he knows that she’s only there to kill him. He throws the question back at her, “What’s your reason? For what must you do this? Just go back.” But Sun Hwa says, “I have nowhere to go back to, if I don’t kill you.”
Hyun Joon tells her to not kill him just yet. He needs to exact his revenge first, and once that is done, he will let her kill him. He unties her and leaves her in the room.
Sun Hwa wakes up to find herself in a nicely furnished room, this time sleeping in blankets. A meal is once again set beside her. Struck by guilt from Hyun Joon’s kindness, Sun Hwa begins to eat. She cries as she eats, knowing that eating is a betrayal to her country and her mission, that she is unable to fulfill that mission. She is accepting Hyun Joon’s kindness and is indebted to him for her life by accepting the food.
Sun Hwa goes to the kitchen, where she asks Yuki if she can help prepare a meal this time. Yuki brightly lets her help and Sun Hwa brings the meal to Hyun Joon’s room. Hyun Joon thanks her, but thinks it’s Yuki. When he turns to see Sun Hwa, he is surprised, and she is startled to have been mistaken for someone else. She leaves hurriedly.
Sun Hwa bonds with Yuki at a local market, buying groceries but not knowing what is good to buy. She bonds with Hyun Joon as she follows him during a walk by Lake Tazawako, where the unfortunate female statue is situated. Sun Hwa hesitantly reaches out for Hyun Joon’s arm, and finally she touches it with her fingertips. Hyun Joon stops, but he does not push her away, and Sun Hwa smiles shyly as she holds onto his arm.
They stop at the statue, and Hyun Joon tells her there is a sad story associated with the female statue. Sun Hwa asks what it is, but Hyun Joon tells her, “I don’t believe in stuff like that,” and pulls away from her grasp.
Sun Hwa goes into his isolated cabin and discovers all of his research around Baek San. It’s clear he is a target. She also discovers a photo of Hyun Joon and Seung Hee together in Akita, and she realizes that he is out for revenge. She leaves him a note: “There’s a place I need to go to for a short while.”
Back in South Korea, Jung In comes to inform Seung Hee that NSS arrested Sun Hwa with two Russian pistols and documents regarding Baek San in her possession. This piques Seung Hee’s curiosity, as why would a North Korean agent have that much information about NSS. She returns to NSS for one purpose: to interrogate Sun Hwa.
Baek San permits her for interrogation, despite Sang Hyun’s protests. Seung Hee enters the interrogation room, locking the door. Sun Hwa recognizes Seung Hee instantly from the photo she saw at Hyun Joon’s cabin. Seung Hee gives her a photo of Hyun Joon and turns off the audio recording for the room, raising an alarm.
Seung Hee: What I want to know is not why you came here. The man who was in Budapest back then…that man…I want to know if he’s alive or not. Is he alive?
Sun Hwa: I don’t know.
Seung Hee: I’m not interrogating you right now. I’m asking you for a favor.
Outside, Sa Woo and Sang Hyun are banging at the door, yelling at her to open up. Sun Hwa refuses to answer, so Seung Hee ends her questioning. She leaves Sun Hwa with a warning: the other NSS agents will interrogate her now, and no amount of training can save her from it. She extends her hand to Sun Hwa, and Sun Hwa sees that there is a pill in her palm.
After a long moment of regarding Seung Hee’s intentions, she lightly shakes her hand and palms the pill. Seung Hee opens the door and leaves.
Sa Woo confronts Jung In, and tells her that he knows she leaked the information about Sun Hwa’s arrest to Seung Hee. He warns her, “The information you leaked can lead Seung Hee into danger,” and tells her never to do it again.
Seung Hee, meanwhile, packs up and leaves the nursery.
Back at the interrogation room, Sun Hwa is seizing and foaming at the mouth. A doctor determines that she swallowed a poisonous pill, and they have no choice but to transfer her to a hospital. They call in an ambulance, and the EMTs give her Vasopressin to counteract her symptoms. But before they can do so, she wakes up and begins beating everyone in the ambulance into a bloody pulp, including a NSS agent. She takes control of the ambulance and drives off.
Back in Akita, Japan, Hyun Joon is taken captive by Japanese Intelligence and held at the Akita Classified Prison. An agent injects a serum into him, and begins the electrocution torture.
We backtrack a little bit to see Hyun Joon approaching an arms dealer. He wants certain modified weaponry – the ones Hyun Kyu was probably warning NSS about – and will pay a large sum for it. However, he was caught when trying to rendezvous with the dealer and was arrested by the Japanese Intelligence agents.
Then we return to the present – Erika Sato, from the National Intelligence Office, is watching as two other agents torture and interrogate Hyun Joon. She tells everyone to leave and sits for a one-on-one interrogation session. She notes, “We researched your background but we weren’t able to find out a single thing. It’s just as if you don’t exist in this world.” She offers him a deal: if he does something for her, she can guarantee his freedom. (So many people keep offering Hyun Joon his “freedom”…)
Back in Seoul, Sa Woo is frantically searching for Seung Hee after the Sun-Hwa-interrogation-fiasco. Tae Sung finally reports that she’s in Japan, and Sa Woo puts two and two together. He tells Sang Hyun that Seung Hee gave Sun Hwa the pill, which is only used by NSS agents, to let her escape and then trail after to Japan. Sang Hyun tells Sa Woo to bring her back before she causes bigger problems. He then confronts Jung In about why Seung Hee would want to help Sun Hwa. Jung In informs him that Seung Hee doesn’t believe Hyun Joon is dead, and that Sun Hwa may know where Hyun Joon is because Sun Hwa was in charge of protecting Yoon during the assassination. Sang Hyun tells Jung In to keep this information to herself.
Sun Hwa, meanwhile, calls up Chul Young, who is in Shanghai, through a pay phone. She tearfully asks him if it’s true – if her family is dead. “Didn’t you promise me that you’d protect them?”
Sun Hwa does not hear his denial, and she hangs up on him. Chul Young immediately sends for an agent to find her in Japan. For all they know, she could defect – and it might be better to just eliminate her.
In Japan, Sun Hwa threatens the arms dealer with a gun to his head – she wants to know where Hyun Joon is. He fearfully reveals that Hyun Joon is being held by the National Intelligence Office in Akita. But rather than going in to save Hyun Joon, Sun Hwa waits from afar, perhaps knowing that Hyun Joon is going to find a way to escape somehow.
As she strolls through the streets of Akita, Seung Hee follows Sun Hwa into a parking lot. She tries to stay hidden as she follows Sun Hwa up and down the different levels of the lot, but she is not the only one – a North Korean agent is also following Sun Hwa. Seung Hee hides behind a car as Sun Hwa comes around a corner, but when Seung Hee goes around, she loses Sun Hwa. Instead, she finds a dead North Korean agent.
Hyun Joon is sent on a mission – Erika Sato wants him to assassinate a politician who has won the favor of the nation, but also has ties to the mafia. If he can get rid of their “little problem” she will ensure his freedom.
The Japanese politician enters a room for a meal with friends and colleagues and to watch a drumming performance group. The drummers are all dressed in huge masks and costumes. The other drummers go around touching the guests’ foreheads as though blessing them – and one of them in a black and red mask approaches the politician. He touches the politician’s forehead and blesses him. Then at the end of the performance, the black-and-red-masked performer undresses in the next room – and Hyun Joon begins to assemble his gun with a silencer. He turns off all the lights, and dons an infrared pair of glasses.
When the light goes out in the other room, Hyun Joon can see clearly the red dot that he placed on the politician’s forehead. He shoots through the screens and into his target’s head just before the lights go back up. The guests all start screaming and running as Hyun Joon walks off. Erika Sato’s boss informs the other Japanese agents to eliminate Hyun Joon, as it is too dangerous to have him walk around. Erika is disturbed, because it would mean she cannot fulfill her promise to him.
But he doesn’t need any of her promises – as he walks down the staircase, he sees the shadow of two Japanese agents with their gun drawn. Hyun Joon knows where they are and can hear them cock their guns. When the agents decide to whip around and shoot at him, he’s already gone.
He goes home, tired and cold, and still processing all the suffering he’s gone through and the fact that there is another death caused by his hands. The next morning he is greeted by Yuki, who is excited to see him back. She tells him that she’s been waiting for him for a long time and is still wearing the rosary necklace he gave her.
Chul Young’s new sidekick (whom I have no idea what his name is) confirms the agent’s death in Japan, and Chul Young puts him in charge of finding Sun Hwa.
Sun Hwa boards a train, with Seung Hee still following her, and now with Sa Woo chasing after Seung Hee. Sun Hwa and Seung Hee board the same train, but Sa Woo does not reach the station in time, so he follows with his car.
Seung Hee continually glances over at Sun Hwa’s direction, and eventually Sun Hwa catches on. As the man next to her raises a newspaper and blocks her from view, Sun Hwa disappears. Seung Hee starts heading for the end of the train car, but before she makes it to the other car, Sun Hwa presses a gun to her side.
Sun Hwa: For the debt owed for what you did in Korea, I’ll let it go just this once. Stop following me.
Seung Hee: Are you looking for Hyun Jun? Where is he?
Sun Hwa: Go back to Korea.
Seung Hee: Hyun Jun is still alive, isn’t he?
The car door opens, and a little boy sees the gun. Seung Hee immediately pushes the gun away, sending bullets flying around the train car. The passengers all run to one end of the car and let the girls have their catfight.
They throw each other around with Sun Hwa having the advantage first, and then Seung Hee. But Sun Hwa reaches her gun first, just as the train comes to a stop at the station and Sa Woo manages to board the train. He sees Sun Hwa aiming a gun at Seung Hee, and he shoots her gun out of her hands. Sun Hwa escapes down the train tracks, and Sa Woo shoots after her, but Seung Hee stops him. Seung Hee tells him, “If she dies, we can’t find Hyun Jun!” He tells her that Hyun Joon’s dead, but she stubbornly affirms that he is still alive.
Meanwhile, at the border between North and South Korea, government cars pass right on through without stopping for inspection. This alarms several countries that are keeping surveillance over the area, including Japan, United States, and Korea’s NSS. At a tunnel, the President’s advisor gets out of his car to greet the North Korean convoy – his guest is the Intelligence director, and Chul Young’s boss.
The President reassures his other advisors at the Blue House, telling them that North Korea is under turmoil because of starvation and their nuclear program being hindered by the incident in Hungary – he needs to meet North Korea face to face to solve the problem before it escalates – and they do not need to inform the other allies about it.
Baek San tells Sang Hyun to stop the investigation into the passing of the border. The Blue House is intentionally keeping NSS out of the loop because of the Hungary incident, and Baek San is not happy about it.
Back in Japan, Hyun Joon makes his way to the arms dealer’s office. The arms dealer orders his bodyguards to stop Hyun Joon in anyway possible, but Hyun Joon is too strong for them. Even without a weapon he manages to incapacitate each and every guard until he reaches the arms dealer. The arms dealer gives him the guns, but does not have fake ID’s ready. He tells Hyun Joon that he will find a way for him to get back to Korea without ID’s, but he needs another week.
Seung Hee revisits Lake Tazawako and the statue, and reminisces her time spent with Hyun Joon. She also visits the restaurant where they took a picture together. Hyun Joon had not wanted to take a picture but Seung Hee says no one would know who they are anyways. Sa Woo watches from outside the restaurant as she breaks down in tears at the restaurant.
Hyun Joon also revisits the lake and the same restaurant later that day, and he sees that this time their photo has something added to it – someone drew angel wings on Seung Hee’s back. A waitress comments that the lady from before looked just like the one in the photo, and Hyun Joon runs out onto the street, looking up and down for any sign of Seung Hee. But he gives up – it would be asking for too much to think she’s still alive, right?
Back in Seoul, the President meets with the Intelligence director.
President: History shows us that reunification of divided nations did not happen as a result of planning for it, but occurred as a single dramatic event. I believe that was because planning for a reunification was not something that was possible. I’m sure that during the planning period, there would have been too much protest, both domestic and international…The US, China, Russia, and Japan cannot want to see our two countries become united…I would like to meet with your Leader Kim and discuss the matter of reunification.
He tells the Intelligence director that South Korea has enough nuclear reactors to produce 5,500 warheads. The Director thinks that the President wants North Korea to abandon their weapons development, but the President says that if they do abandon, South Korea will help the North with their domestic and international issues.
In Pyeongyang, the Director consults with Chul Young. Leader Kim wants to meet with the President, but Chul Young says that if they join the South, North Korea will end up following South Korea’s will. Chul Young says they need to stop that from happening, and he will take care of it using the international connections he has.
Hyun Joon manages to gain passage to Korea through a fishing boat. He is brought to his small room, and receives a call from Yuki. Yuki is scared and hiding in a closet. There is an assassin killing off the people in the hot springs. Hyun Joon tells her he’s coming for her, but suddenly, he finds himself on the phone with Vic.
Vic tells him to bring the USB he received from Hong Seung Ryong in one hour to the Amaga Bridge. If he brings it, Yuki will be safe. The problem is – Hyun Joon has no idea what USB Vic is talking about.
Hyun Joon sets himself up in a high tower overlooking the bridge with his sniper rifle. He sees Vic’s car pull up to the middle of the bridge. Before Hyun Joon can shoot him, Vic raises his arm up and reveals a detonator in his hands. He pulls out Yuki, who has a bomb strapped around her chest. Hyun Joon has no choice but to go down and meet Vic.
Hyun Joon throws down his gun, and Vic insists on getting the USB first. Hyun Joon says no, “Let the girl go first.” Vic shoots at the ground right at Hyun Joon’s feet. Hyun Joon throws a black USB at Vic, who checks it immediately on a USB reader.
It calls for a password, and Hyun Joon gives him one. However, it’s the wrong password, and Hyun Joon immediately kicks the detonator away from Vic’s grasp. The USB reader flies up in the air and explodes, while Hyun Joon grabs a rope lying among a construction set up on the side of the bridge. He grabs Yuki and jumps off the bridge, letting the rope bring them down as far as they can until it gets stuck.
Vic begins shooting at him, and Hyun Joon begins running alongside the bridge, escaping from Vic’s bullets. Vic manages to shoot at the rope, thus forcing Hyun Joon and Yuki to slide down the side of the bridge.
Ok, I’ll comment in order of the episodes. First, for episode 6 – I was so surprised at how fast it moved even though the episode was a little “slow” in the storyline. It mostly showed how everyone at NSS was dealing with Hyun Joon’s death/disappearance, and how Seung Hee was still in denial about his death. Then Hyun Joon returned to Japan and all of a sudden he was face to face with Sun Hwa. I thought it was terrific that he kept trying to get rid of her, and she wouldn’t let go. First she wouldn’t let go because she had a mission that she was stubbornly trying to accomplish while trying to disregard her emotions and guilt. Then she wouldn’t let go because she saw that Hyun Joon was not who she thought he was – he had revenge on his mind against his superior.
Interesting isn’t it, that the two women fall for Hyun Joon when they realize that he’s got more to him than they initially thought. Women love a complicated man…
I don’t like the way Sa Woo’s character is going. He’s becoming the pathetic third wheel in the relationship, with the skills of a secret agent. Since he couldn’t get the girl in the first place, he has resorted to betraying his best friend and working for (the evil) Baek San. And he is always chasing after Seung Hee as she goes off trying to find Hyun Joon. His betrayal makes the stakes higher because he can kill (rather than a simple betrayal of not telling the lead guy where the lead girl is or something like that). But I don’t understand his motivations anymore and why he would so readily give up years of friendship – is it really all just for a girl?! Man up, dude.
And now for episode 7 – it was heavy on the action, as though making up for the less amount of action in episode 6.
Sun Hwa was already a complex character in episode 6, and I have to admit her sudden switch in loyalties threw me in for a loop. But the whole curve ball of a family that was killed came in a little too late. If that had happened in episode 6, then I would understand that it was the last straw, and she therefore went rogue. To have it happen in episode 7 made that little fact seem so unnecessary; her feelings as a woman, her guilt, and a possible semi-resentment for being the sacrificial lamb in the Yoon assassination would have been enough. Her personal feelings and how she regarded Chul Young could have complicated the situation too. That was the one scene that frustrated me.
Otherwise, yay for the fight between Seung Hee and Sun Hwa! I liked seeing Seung Hee get into the action. All the characters are also finally coming together now because by this episode, everyone has met one another. Vic has encountered his main target, Hyun Joon, and his love interest Mi Jung; Hyun Joon has already faced off with Chul Young and Sun Hwa, AND is in constant interaction with his second leading lady; Seung Hee has met Sun Hwa, her love-rival and general-nemesis, etc. Fun, fun, fun!
- IRIS: Episode 5
- Scorecard: How did IRIS’s stars measure up?
- Kwon Sang-woo for IRIS 2?
- IRIS: Episode 4
- Lee Byung-heon targeted for blackmail
- IRIS served with plagiarism suit
- IRIS: Episode 3
- Lee Byung-heon won’t star in IRIS sequel
- Kim Tae-hee attempts new challenges with IRIS
- IRIS’s popularity still falls short of expectations
- IRIS: Episode 2
- Iris bed scene too hot for broadcast television
- IRIS: Episode 1
- Iris’s strong start endangers Heading’s ending