Sorry for the delay! I watched the episodes a while ago, but then life happened. Anyways – on to episodes 12 and 13!
Every episode rehashes old issues, but there’s always one new nugget of information that the writers drop like a single jellybean into my greedy hands. Weird analogy – sorry, but basically, I’m just hoping right now that they do not rush the ending.
We last saw Hyun Joon rushing to the side of the Father who raised him in the orphanage. He spots a photo on the ground of himself when he was younger standing next to a mysterious man.
The shooter in the car reports to Baek San’s right hand man about Hyun Joon’s presence. He receives the order to go back and kill Hyun Joon and Sun Hwa.
Sun Hwa hurries Hyun Joon – those who shot them will no doubt be back for them. Hyun Joon grabs the Father’s ring and runs out to the car. The henchmen are back, and Hyun Joon and Sun Hwa put up a good fight, killing two of them before escaping in their car. It’s easy for him to see that Baek San planned the murder.
In the privacy of his office, Baek San mulls over what Seung Hee told him about Hyun Joon. She confidently states that the Hungarian government’s information was fake, and that it was highly likely, based on Hyun Kyu’s investigation, that the person in Sa Woo’s house was Hyun Joon. She also believes that the person whom she came face to face with was Hyun Joon. Sa Woo is shocked – flabbergasted – totally, completely found out! (Except no one knows it is him just yet)
Baek San visits the confidential information storage facility and opens up his storage system. He sees that a file was stolen from him, and tells Sa Woo that that file had information about IRIS and Hyun Joon’s parents. Based on his reaction, Sa Woo clearly knows that Baek San works for IRIS, and that his assignments are done to achieve IRIS’ ends, and that the missing file will spell trouble. Baek San orders Sa Woo to keep a close eye on Seung Hee and make sure she doesn’t meet Hyun Joon.
Hyun Joon tells Sun Hwa he needs to meet Mr. X now. Since more North Korean agents will show up for the next part of their plan soon, they need to act now.
Seung Hee asks Tae Sung if he’s come up with a list of asbestos factories, and although there are a lot, she asks that he sort it out in the order of which are the most probable locations. She also requests that he hand her the final list first, even though he’s not reporting to her.
Tae Sung reports to Sa Woo about Seung Hee’s interest in seeing the list of asbestos factories first. He doesn’t know if he should do as she says (clearly, by telling Seung Hee’s worst enemy, you’re not going to do as she says). Sa Woo gives the excuse that Seung Hee is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and to not listen to her at all. Instead, give him the list first.
Advisor Hong gives a report on their meeting with Chul Young and the North Korean inspection team. The President also wants the North-South summit taken place at Pyongyang, and he will send Advisor Jung (or should I say Secretary Jung), along with Hong and Baek San in the delegation.
The President has a private word with Baek San. The investigations on the terrorists aren’t going too well, so Baek San wants them to bring the issue to the National Security Meeting and hold off on the summit. The President refuses: if they adjust the summit’s schedule, it would definitely be cancelled and north-south relations will go downhill. He also believes that is the true intention of the terrorists – to put off the summit.
Chul Young reports back to the North Korean Military director, Yeon Gi Hoon. Director Yeon is surprised to hear the name Baek San, and when Chul Young asks if he knows him, Yeon says he met Baek San once in Shanghai. Yeon is concerned that after Jung and Baek San visit, the summit will definitely go on as planned, but Chul Young assures him that it will not happen.
To keep Seung Hee busy, Sang Hyun has Seung Hee working on recent criminal cases within Korea. As she goes through the list, she sees the Father’s murder case listed suspiciously as an accident. Seung Hee has Mi Jung transfer the entire investigation over to her, and notices that it’s the same Father she had met with Hyun Joon before.
Tae Sung submits the complete list to Sa Woo, telling him that the most likely facility is in the Suk Soo district of An-yang. Baek San orders him to buy some time first, so after Sa Woo receives confirmation from another agent that the terrorists are indeed hiding in the Suk Soo facility, he takes it off the list and changes the order around.
Just then, Seung Hee surprises him from behind. Sa Woo jumps like a guilty cat, but she doesn’t notice. Seung Hee shows him the Father’s murder case, and tells him that someone definitely killed the priest because of his relation to Hyun Joon.
Hyun Joon stands at the Father’s grave, brooding. Meanwhile, Seung Hee and Sa Woo are also making their way to the grave. Sun Hwa spots the two of them first in the distance, and manages to get Hyun Joon away before they arrive. Seung Hee stubbornly reaffirms that Hyun Joon is alive, sparking Sa Woo to yell at her – she’s being reckless because she is putting herself in danger in wanting to deal with a terrorist.
The security level has been upped for the storage facility, and Jung In says there is no way for her to see who went into the server room and uploaded the fabricated Hungarian files. Seung Hee pleads with her, using the priest’s murder case as an additional excuse. So Jung In changes her clearance level and Seung Hee is temporarily allowed to go in. However, Baek San’s henchmen find out and start running in. Jung In herself is caught warning Seung Hee by Sa Woo.
Baek San reprimands Seung Hee and removes her from all of her cases. Likewise, Sang Hyun reprimands Jung In and asks why Seung Hee wanted to go into the confidential storage facility. Jung In admits to him everything that she found out. Sang Hyun confirms it with Seung Hee, and tells her to keep it quiet and not spread it further past Sa Woo and Baek San. He’s suspicious, and says, “If what you say is true, then there is a conspiracy involved in this that you and I don’t know about.”
Hyun Joon has managed to contact Mr. X and arrange a meeting. They go to a deserted area in the middle of a park and are met by a contact. This contact takes their weapons and cell phones, and blindfolds them in the car before bringing them to Mr. X’s beautifully modern house. It is guarded by plenty of security officers, and Sun Hwa is forced to wait somewhere else as Hyun Joon goes up to see Mr. X.
Mr. X’s room is converted into a comfortable private hospital room, with him lying on a bed hooked up to a lot of machines and IV fluids. Mr. X is paralyzed, with a large cast wrapped around his neck.
Hyun Joon shows him the photo, and Mr. X – now known as Yoo Jeong Hun – tells him that he tried to take him out of the church when he was younger. But because of Baek San’s close surveillance, he could not do anything. Hyun Joon asks if Baek San really killed his parents, and now we reach the second “exposition period” of the series.
Years ago, Yoo had brought Hyun Joon’s parents onboard the nuclear development project under the preceding president. After the former president got into an accident, everyone involved in the project started “getting eliminated” – including Hyun Joon’s parents. Yoo barely escaped with his life. Therefore he decided to dig deeper and find out who was behind the conspiracy – and it was IRIS. Yoo gathered supporters to go against IRIS but he was found out, and so all of his colleagues were slowly getting killed off – including Hong Seung Ryong, who had the list of IRIS members. Baek San enlisted Hyun Joon as bait to draw out Yoo, knowing that Yoo would want to help Hyun Joon.
Sun Hwa is getting restless, wanting to know where Hyun Joon is. The guards tell her to stay where she is, but she single-handedly brings down two guards. She meets Hyun Joon and Yoo outside, and is allowed attendance to this private meeting/story time.
Yoo tells them their work is not done – the IRIS list is not complete and they need to find out everyone involved and where the roots of IRIS lie – in that way, they can truly bring down the organization that is currently threatening a nuclear war during the North-South summit.
Meanwhile, the President’s delegation has reached Pyongyang, and has begun discussions with the North. Secretary Jung suggests that the location be Seoul instead, but Director Yeon is not appeased. Chul Young wants an additional 200 bodyguards for their delegation, using the same excuse that Seoul, being democratic, is more dangerous than it seems.
The South Korean delegation don’t like all the demands that North Korea is making in regards to the delegation, but they know they cannot put off the summit without summoning the ire of the President. Baek San says, “It could be that they’re trying to avoid the discussion the president is trying to have about the nuclear weapons.”
In the hotel, Baek San receives a secret note handed to him by Director Yeon’s assistant, and drives away with him. He meets Director Yeon, and they speak frankly about the issues of Hong Seung Ryong’s assassination and Kim Hyun Joon’s escape. And then…it becomes clear that Yeon is also part of IRIS.
CY Sidekick witnessed Baek San meeting Director Yeon and immediately reports it to Chul Young. There is no way for them to find out what they were talking about, so Chul Young orders that Baek San be closely watched from now on.
Back at the “terrorists” headquarters, Leader Kang comes in with a team of additional men to help them with their mission – many of them old friends of the current ones we all know.
Seung Hee is restless, not being able to do any of her usual work and not being able to access the NSS computer servers. She goes to the control room and uses one of the computers there, but Tae Sung tells Seung Hee quite harshly that she can’t be here – she’s putting them in a difficult situation. So then, she goes off and apologizes to Jung In for all the punishment she received. Jung In suggests that she file a formal report investigating the fabricated report, but Seung Hee wants to find Hyun Joon first and hear the truth from him, including why he became a terrorist. In that case, Jung In says she will no longer help Seung Hee. (Seung Hee’s expression looks as though she’s betrayed – but what does she expect? She’s abused Jung In so much for information already!)
So finally, Seung Hee goes to Hyun Kyu for help, and he lets her use his computer. With his access code, she manages to get the list of factories that Sa Woo and his team would be investigating. Of course, since it’s the revised list, the team discovers nothing in each factory that they go to. Seung Hee logs on to the satellite systems in Hyun Kyu’s office and searches for a location that she noticed was missing on the list – it’s the Suk Soo factory.
Tae Sung sees on his computer that Hyun Kyu logged on to the satellite server, and Mi Jung pulls up the images that he was looking at. The Suk Soo facility is now listed as a low-probability site, but Sang Hyun has Sa Woo send the team there, especially since Seung Hee is on her way there and they can’t contact her. Sa Woo has no choice and can no longer delay in finding the terrorists.
All the while, Tae Sung is suspicious – he knows he told Sa Woo that the most probable one was the Suk Soo facility, and yet they are not going there until now.
Leader Kang is notified that their location has been discovered, and they all have to get out of there within 10 minutes with all their belongings.
But not before Seung Hee gets there first. She inches up to the front door, but Hwang Soo catches her.
He drags her into the factory, where everyone is packing and getting rid of evidence. And her eyes lock on Hyun Joon.
Leader Kang has no time to deal with Seung Hee, so he orders her to be killed. Hyun Joon reacts and Sun Hwa has to pull him back. Another agent recognizes her as the NSS agent who killed their colleagues. This makes everyone angrier, but Sun Hwa just won’t let Hyun Joon protect his girl!
But then – Hyun Seok intervenes and with just a few whispered words, Seung Hee is spared. Leader Kang asks Hyun Joon, “Do you know this woman?”
Hyun Joon says, “No. Within NSS we don’t know people outside of our own group.”
Packing proceeds, and Seung Hee is taken away as a captive. Sa Woo, in the meantime, is heading over to the facility but Tae Sung and Mi Jung can’t access the satellite to provide assistance. Sang Hyun wants Sa Woo to stand down until they fix the satellite connection, but of course he moves in as planned.
The moment the first agents enter, the motion sensors are activated and bombs start exploding within. No one is inside, and all Sa Woo has done is lose a few more men. On top of that, Seung Hee is nowhere to be found.
They reach their new location, and immediately Seung Hee is tied up and kept in the basement. Sun Hwa checks it out and reports back to Hyun Joon, who is anxious. Seung Hee will be fine until they extract the information from her, so Hyun Joon resolves to save her. But Sun Hwa warns him – if he saves her and gets killed in the process, no one will be able to stop the nuclear attack.
Using Seung Hee’s gun, Hyun Seok finds that she is an NSS agent with Level 1 security clearance, which is good for him. Leader Kang takes this opportunity to inform everyone of their mission. They will explode a nuclear bomb in the middle of Seoul to block the North-South summit meeting. They’re keeping Seung Hee alive to get the password for level 1 clearance, because the password will make everything easier. And Hyun Joon is given the task of interrogating Seung Hee. Once the password is given, Hwang Soo can kill her.
Sa Woo goes back to the office and starts ranting at Tae Sung and Mi Jung for not being able to properly do their jobs while sitting at a computer. Sang Hyun has to yell at him to stop railing against them, who already feel guilty enough. Turns out, Seung Hee had shut down the satellite using Hyun Kyu’s computer, but not everyone knows that yet.
Sang Hyun informs everyone that their new assignment is to find the terrorists. He tells them all about the nuclear threat, but also warns them that because there is high security surrounding this assignment, no one can contact their family and friends in regards to the matter.
After the meeting, Tae Sung takes Sang Hyun aside and tells him about his suspicions regarding Sa Woo and the asbestos factory list. This causes Sang Hyun to form his own conclusions.
Mi Jung loses herself in her daydreams. Late at night in a club, she was sitting alone singing “Empty” (an awesome song that she sings very well by the way) while a bartender was fixing up the chairs. As she sang, Vic came down the stairs and watched her sing. Mi Jung was startled, but she shyly approached him.
Tae Sung wakes her from her reverie, and Mi Jung decides to make a phone call. She calls up her older sister and tells her not to come visit Seoul, or if she really has to come, to leave right away. She doesn’t explain the reason though, even though we all know.
At a meeting in Blue House, all discussions with the North in regards to the summit have been moving forward smoothly. So the President takes this time, knowing that the summit is now set in stone, to inform everyone about the NSS terrorist attack and what was stolen inside NSS. Of course, the other advisors want to postpone the meeting, but the President stubbornly refuses. He does not want to lose the chance they have right now for reunification, and so while they go on with the summit plans, NSS will have the sole responsibility of removing the threat.
Hyun Joon sits across from Seung Hee. Despite their emotions, it’s business as usual. He tells her to give up the password so that she does not have to undergo torture. Seung Hee tells him that her passwords were all deactivated when she was kidnapped. However, simultaneously, Hyun Joon taps out a message in Morse code with his fingers, telling her not to reveal any information.
All this time, Sun Hwa sits several floors above listening to the interrogation through headphones. Next to her, Hyun Seok hacks into Seung Hee’s computer, and he discovers her files regarding Hyun Joon’s mission in Hungary, including a picture of Sun Hwa and Chul Young. Hyun Seok finds the entire matter suspicious, and leaves to go inform Leader Kang. Sun Hwa immediately jumps on to the computer and goes through more of the photos; they include Seung Hee’s trip to Akita with Hyun Joon. Sun Hwa immediately deletes all of those photos.
Hwang Soo tells Leader Kang that Hyun Joon is moving much too slowly, so Leader Kang allows him to start using truth serum. Seung Hee begins asking Hyun Joon why he became a terrorist, but he doesn’t respond. He sees that they have prepared truth serum, and so immediately gets up and starts slapping and punching her face. She falls off her seat, and he begins kicking her in the gut. As much as it pains him to do so, she is saved for a few more hours as she loses consciousness.
Hyun Seok brings Leader Kang over to his computer and shows him that Seung Hee was in Hungary when Minister Yoon was assassinated. Therefore, Hyun Joon and Seung Hee most definitely know each other despite what they say.
Leader Kang is disappointed with Hyun Joon for not getting the password and knocking her out. He has them wake her up with cold water, and Hyun Joon repeats his question. She doesn’t answer, so Young Bum injects the serum in her. (It takes everything he’s got for Hyun Joon to restrain his emotions.)
Baek San makes a phone call in his office to a member of IRIS (whom we don’t see, but only see Vic deliver the phone to that person). He asks for help in protecting Seung Hee because she cannot be killed by the terrorists.
Leader Kang asks her several control questions, which Seung Hee answers affirmatively. But in regards to the access code for level 1 security, she won’t give it. Young Bum injects more serum (and honestly, Hyun Joon’s anxiousness is so evident it’s surprising no one else catches on to it). But before he can get an answer, Leader Kang gets a phone call, and then lets Seung Hee go.
He’s not too happy at having to release her, and neither is Hwang Soo, but he’s ordered to do so. He has Sun Hwa and Hyun Joon let her go. Sun Hwa drives off initially, but Hyun Joon sends Sun Hwa back first and takes Seung Hee all the way back to her home. He puts her down at her front door and tearfully kisses her goodbye.
Hyun Joon: Just like you feared, I’ve become a monster. I don’t think I can return back to you. Please erase all your memories of me, Seung Hee.
By the time he’s gone, Sa Woo has come to Seung Hee’s house (Why would he visit someone he knows is not home?) He finds her at the front steps and brings her inside, as Hyun Joon watches from a distance. (Wow – Sa Woo knows the password to her house and Hyun Joon doesn’t?)
Director Yeon has come to Seoul and takes a tour of the summit location with Chul Young. They enter the meeting room, which has been cleared of all listening bugs. Chul Young tells him that the threat of the nuclear bomb is ready to be used whenever they want. However, Director Yeon says the bomb must go off.
Director Yeon says that he wants a war to happen between the North and South, even if the UN sanctions against North Korea. They will just blame the nuclear attack on someone else, and with nuclear weapons, a stronger, more independent North Korea can come out of it. This is news to Chul Young, who only did not want the summit to happen because he thought the conditions weren’t favorable enough for the North. He ultimately wants a united Korea, but only if North Korea has the same amount of clout as the South.
Director Yeon responds, “I never realized before how two-faced you were.”
Chul Young calls up Leader Kang and changes his orders. He wants to send all recordings to NSS and the Blue House as a threat to stop proceedings for the summit. However Leader Kang tells him outright that he can’t follow his orders – Director Yeon’s orders override his, and those orders are to detonate the bomb.
Sang Hyun visits a brooding Sa Woo sitting alone in the meeting room. He tells Sa Woo that it’s not his fault Seung Hee was hurt. Then, he gets straight to the point: Tae Sung’s list included the Suk Soo facility, but did Sa Woo know anything about it? Sa Woo pretends he knows nothing, and Sang Hyun says, “I think we have a betrayal within the company.” Sa Woo has no reaction and no comment.
Sang Hyun immediately reports to Baek San that he thinks there’s a leak in NSS – someone shut down the satellite and the Suk Soo facility was removed from the list. He suspects it is Sa Woo.
Baek San tells Sang Hyun he’ll take care of it, but he warns Sa Woo. There’s only so much protection he can provide before Sa Woo is caught. He then gives him a new mission: get rid of Yoo Jeong Hun.
As Sa Woo starts searching through the database for Yoo, Mi Jung approaches him from behind to offer some ramen or coffee. Sa Woo immediately minimizes the screen, which Mi Jung notices. She tries to make up with him by offering to help, but Sa Woo says there’s no need. (What a way to raise your suspicious profile within NSS)
Sa Woo confirms Yoo’s house, and along with two vans full of agents and Baek San, they begin to massacre every guard in the house. And here, Sa Woo acts like a cool, badass version of James Bond.
At the same time, Hyun Joon tries to contact Yoo, but this time there’s no call back. He’s worried, since they don’t know where he lives, but they decide to find out where the nuclear bomb is first.
When all is clear, Baek San enters the house and goes up to Yoo’s room. Yoo’s hands are under the covers, and he activates two hidden cameras hidden in one of his paintings and in a statue beside his bed. Hyun Joon gets a video transmission on his phone and asks Sun Hwa if she can find out where it’s coming from.
They drive off, and the whole while Hyun Joon watches as Baek San and Sa Woo confront Yoo. Yoo says that everything has already been taken care of.
Baek San: You can say that even after what you’ve suffered through? A nation, or even an individual like yourself, could not go against the will of IRIS. If you’re relying on Hyun Joon, throw your hopes away now. He’s only being kept alive for our needs. But whenever we want, his life will end. Is there anything else you want to say?
Yoo: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” Genesis chapter 9, verse 6.
Baek San: I will take that to heart.
And with that, Baek San takes a pillow, covers Yoo’s face, and shoots Yoo in the head.
There’s not much to say about episode 12. It was more exposition, and Yoo’s story just confirmed my/our/everyone’s speculations. Episode 13 though, was very interesting, and it wasn’t even the action that caught my attention. It was Chul Young.
I had been wavering between deciding whether Chul Young was part of IRIS or not. Episode 13 made it clear that he wasn’t, but Director Yeon was. I like that Chul Young has become conflicted because the leader whom he thought was on the same page as he was, was actually someone else. It’s that moment of betrayal in beliefs, and Chul Young has to decide whether to follow Yeon’s path, or the path he thinks is best for North Korea.
When Yeon says, “I never realized before how two-faced you were,” I thought, “Wow there is some serious misunderstandings in their relationship.” Each thought the other was on his side and shared his thinking. Instead, they have the warped version of Baek San and Sa Woo’s relationship. While Sa Woo knows that Baek San is part of IRIS and is unwavering in helping him achieve IRIS’ ends, Chul Young is just being jerked around like a puppet for Yeon. Their relationship is based on assumptions rather than straight-out conversations. Yeon assumes that Chul Young is on his side because of the suggestion of nuclear threat, but does not realize that that is all Chul Young wants: to threaten.
I feel like Chul Young is now on the same boat as Hyun Joon – both have been betrayed by their bosses in some way, and both have to decide what they will do about it. Hyun Joon chose to fight back, but he was also abandoned and left to die. Chul Young hasn’t been abandoned, but he can become a scapegoat for the nuclear bomb if he doesn’t follow Yeon’s wishes.
Everything is moving towards the nuclear bomb going off at the summit, which is looking to be the climax of the series where everything at stake will just come out. It’s a bit slow in getting there – and that’s what I mean by the one jellybean an episode – so I truly, truly hope that everything doesn’t happen all at once in one episode (I’m talking about all the betrayals being found out, identities discovered, the world going right – all happening in one episode).
I also have to say – I just love Hyun Kyu. He treats Seung Hee – especially in episode 12 – like a doting grandfather who likes to pretend he’s grumpy. If only he’d clean up and look like he’s taken a shower, I would hug him.
- IRIS: Episodes 10-11
- IRIS: Episodes 8-9
- IRIS: Episodes 6-7
- 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