Drama Recaps
IRIS: Episodes 8-9
by | January 1, 2010 | 26 Comments

If I could title the episodes, episode 8 would be “Exposition,” and episode 9 would be “New Hairstyles, New Beginnings.”

One note: I’m going to apologize for my inability to name some of the characters. I just figured them out today (late in the game, as I’m halfway through the series) but it’s hard for me when the subtitles don’t mention their names. Anyways, the one head advisor to the President is named Jung Hyung Joon, and the female advisor is named Hong Soo Jin.

It’s annoying how the names are all similar in a slight way – most start with an S or H. Sometimes I get confused myself on what each person’s name is!

Episode 8

We left off with Hyun Joon and Yuki sliding down against the side of a bridge. They tumble down into the snow bank below until they reach the road. They escape into Hyun Joon’s parked car and drive away. Hyun Joon grabs the bomb off of Yuki’s chest and throws it out the window, where it explodes a few seconds later.

Yuki begins to cry, thinking about her family. Hyun Joon comforts her, when all of a sudden they are rammed at the side by an oncoming car – it’s Vic. Car chase ensues. The two cars face each other, and Hyun Joon begins driving in reverse with Vic after him. Hyun Joon spins the car around to face forward again, but not before Vic fires several bullets into the side of the car.

This action sequence was great with the car chase and the low angle of the camera – we could actually see the bullet shells hitting the ground and fly right past the camera.

Hyun Joon manages to avoid an oncoming truck, and Vic is forced to get back in the car as the truck nearly collides with him. But despite this close shave, Vic reacts too late and slams into another car, and Hyun Joon manages to get away.

However, not all is well – when Hyun Joon asks Yuki if she’s ok, she does not respond. He stops the car and takes her out, and sees that she was shot in her abdomen – one of Vic’s bullets that went into the side of the car earlier hit her.

While her family is in the temple for her funeral, Hyun Joon can’t bring himself to go in, knowing that he caused her death. He calls up Mr. X instead, asking for help. Mr. X tells him, “You left after rejecting me, and now you want me to help you?” But Mr. X says that Hyun Joon definitely has the USB people are looking for, because Hong gave it to him. Hyun Joon realizes it’s the rosary, and he goes back to Yuki’s shrine where the rosary is lying among her possessions.

Outside, Sun Hwa is waiting for him.

In Seoul, Baek San and Sa Woo have another one of their private meetings. Baek San relays his concerns about NSS being excluded from the secret meeting between North and South Korea. He then tells Sa Woo that the real reason he wanted to speak to him was about Seung Hee. He wants Seung Hee to return to her original position. Sa Woo thinks it will be too difficult for her, because she still cannot get over Hyun Joon’s death. Baek San says, “If she can’t believe it, then make her believe it. That’s your mission.”
(the word ‘mission’ just puts everyone in a bind, doesn’t it?)

So Sa Woo, having no choice but to follow orders, goes late at night to where all the secure computer servers are and enters a classified room using Hyun Kyu’s fingerprint ID (he has on a prosthetic fingerprint). He copies all the files into a USB.

The next day, Sang Hyun tells Jung In to summarize all the information in the ISIC (International Security Information Center). Jung In discovers a new folder – Hungary. In it contains all the news clippings and information about the man found in the plane crash. The information suspiciously matches Hyun Joon’s statistics, and so Jung In asks to speak to Mi Jung privately. She asks if Mi Jung has any information left on Hyun Joon. Mi Jung doesn’t, since all information was taken away, but she knows Hyun Kyu has it. She wheedles him for the information, which he unwillingly gives and tells her to keep her mouth shut.

Jung In reviews the files and matches it up with Hyun Joon’s secret medical records. There’s no doubt – it’s a match. She visits Seung Hee, who’s back at the greenhouse, and tells her that the body in the plane crash really is Hyun Joon’s. “The reason I’m delivering this cruel message to you,” she says, “is so that you can scrape off the hurtful feelings in the bottom of your heart, and bring an end to the feelings you have for Hyun Joon.”

Kim Tae Hee is amazing in this scene. She begins to tremble as the file confirms something she has denied for so long. When Jung In leaves, she continue to cut the flower stems, still shaking, until she can’t hold it any longer and just starts crying. And it’s not just flat-out bawling – it’s one of those cries where you can’t breathe, and even though you try to hold it in you really can’t, causing your chest to hurt.

Cold-hearted Sa Woo, who’s been watching Jung In every step of the way, watches Seung Hee cry from afar.

In Japan, Hyun Joon begins to tell Sun Hwa the whole story – beginning with Hong’s defection, all the way to the present. Sun Hwa reacts when Hyun Joon tells her about Seung Hee’s “death”, but she does not reveal that Seung Hee is actually alive. Instead, she says that she has questions to his story:

1) Hong’s death had nothing to do with the North since he managed to successfully defect to the South. So who killed Hong?
2) The assassination of Yoon could have caused a war between the North and South, but the whole situation was quieted down so easily and quickly, which made it suspicious. Both the North and the South covered up the death – why?
3) The car explosion at the train station had nothing to do with the North. (Also, Sun Hwa never says Seung Hee’s name at any point when asking the question. She says instead, “the person who died at the train station.”)

Sun Hwa smartly deduces that the person who killed Hong is the same as the one who killed Yuki, and could have been the one who gave him the Hungary mission. Or it’s all a conspiracy by an unknown organization. All the answers lie in that rosary’s USB.

The two of them hide in a makeshift basement office and plug in the USB into a laptop. It’s locked by a password however, so they take turns working on breaking the code. Hyun Joon catches her putting a blanket over him as he sleeps, and so he asks why she doesn’t kill him and just go back to North Korea.

Sun Hwa tells her story: when she was training to become an agent, the one thing she could not handle was killing people. It took her a while before finally she could kill without remorse. But, as she says, “During all those difficult times, what kept me going, was my mother and my siblings, but because of me, they’re all dead.” She sheds a few tears, and Hyun Joon gently wipes them away, eliciting surprise from her.

The password is decoded at that point, and it’s – wait for it – “IRIS”. In it are profiles on all members of IRIS – including Baek San.

A little later, Vic enters the basement office to find no trace of their whereabouts and a destroyed laptop. He hears cars screech outside – it’s the Japanese agents searching for Hyun Joon. One of them calls Erika Sato, and she orders them to bring everything back, even if they are destroyed.

Hyun Joon and Sun Hwa aren’t far away – as they walk out of the mist the Japanese agents find them and get on their trail. The two spies immediately make a run for it. Hyun Joon and Sun Hwa get ahead far enough to hide behind a column, each taking a side. When the agents run past Sun Hwa, Hyun Joon grabs her and holds him tight against her, hiding her from view.

Back at NSS during a meeting, Hyun Kyu gives his opinion about one of the cases, saying that he does not think the evidence points to one conclusion because it is just a “feeling.” Manager Hwang says there’s no way he can explain a “feeling” in his report, but Hyun Kyu shuts him up, saying he should not question a senior. This cracks everyone else up. Sang Hyun asks if Hyun Kyu is losing his touch, which elicits an angry glare.

Mi Jung mentions that today is also Seung Hee’s birthday, and she wants to throw a surprise birthday party. Since Seung Hee has not left her house since, Mi Jung suggests they bring the party to her home. Everyone – Sang Hyun, Sa Woo, Jung In, Tae Sung, and Hyun Kyu all agree to go.

They arrive outside her house that night. All the lights are dark, and they wonder if she’s home. But Tae Sung says he tracked her via GPS – she’s definitely home. (Freaky, stalker-ish, but it is Tae Sung…)

Before they go in, Mi Jung hands everyone party hats – they have to wear it. Sang Hyun questions it, but Mi Jung just tells him to loosen up a bit.

They enter her house and start lighting the candles on the cake. The inside of the house is dark, and they think that Seung Hee is still asleep. Jung In goes over to her bed to wake her up, only to discover Seung Hee is unconscious. Sa Woo rushes to check on her, and has them call for an ambulance.

The doctor informs Sa Woo that she’s dehydrated and has high blood pressure. She will have to stay at the hospital for a few days. Sa Woo stays at her bedside, and he apologizes for not being able to help her, because he’s not Hyun Joon and he does not know what Hyun Joon would do in this situation.

Hyun Joon, meanwhile, calls up Mr. X – he wants to know what IRIS is. It turns out, IRIS is a secret international organization that uses terrorism and assassinations to create hostilities, because they profit from conflicts and weapons development. Mr. X tries to convince Hyun Joon to give him the information, and in exchange he will help with the revenge, but Hyun Joon hangs up on him.

Baek San meets with Advisor Jung over dinner. Advisor Jung tells Baek San honestly that NSS was excluded from the North-South Korea meeting because the President does not trust him. “If the NSS doesn’t want to be left out of this event,” he cautions, “something must happen to decisively win over the president’s trust.” And Baek San is a smart man – he can figure out what to do.

The next day, Sa Woo informs Baek San of Seung Hee’s hospitalization and of his concerns over her ability to get better. Baek San brushes it aside, saying it is necessary for her to hit rock bottom – but then asks, “You like Choi Seung Hee, don’t you?” Sa Woo, embarrassed, denies it and leaves the office. But Baek San knows better, and smiles like an amused father.

Chul Young’s new sidekick (I’m just going to call him CY Sidekick since I have no idea what his name is) reports that Sun Hwa wants to meet him in Shanghai. He offers to accompany him, but Chul Young says he’ll be fine. It’s better to go alone and regain her trust anyways.

Sa Woo hands another job for Tae Sung to do, who then complains of all the work piling up for him. One of them is identifying a Korean for the Japanese Intelligence. Sa Woo offers to do it for Tae Sung and checks out the disc the Japanese sent. In it are Hyun Joon’s interrogation videos. Sa Woo is stunned – Hyun Joon’s not supposed to be alive. He quickly takes out the disc and brings it to Baek San’s office….

…Only to see Seung Hee there – she will be returning to her original position starting that day. Sa Woo quickly leaves, saying he will report to Baek San another time.

In Shanghai, Chul Young meets with Sun Hwa on a small cruise ship. He apologizes for her mother and sister’s deaths, but she says she does not blame him. She tells him there’s somewhere they have to go, and she will tell him what is going on once they get there. It’s a long trek – and Chul Young begins to get suspicious about their destination. They arrive at an antique store, and make their way to the back. She asks him to sit at a small table.

And Hyun Joon appears before them from the shadows.

Episode 9

Chul Young is pissed. He thought Sun Hwa was loyal to him and North Korea. Hyun Joon diverts his attention by asking for help. Even though he killed Yoon, he was only doing what he was ordered to do, much like how Chul Young was ordered to protect Yoon. Hyun Joon argues that in the aftermath of the assassination, he was abandoned and so he would like to seek revenge. He gives up his gun to Chul Young as a symbolic act of putting his life in Chul Young’s hands.

At a Chinese shipping port, several guards arrive at a fishing ship and round up the crew. They claim that there is a serious virus onboard that they are investigating. Once they are all assembled, the guards take out their guns on them, and Hyun Joon and Sun Hwa appear from behind the crew – they’re taking the boat hostage.

At NSS, Tae Sung asks Sa Woo if he identified the person the Japanese Intelligence was asking about. Sa Woo replies, “He is of no interest to us, and I reported as such.” However, when he reopens the file, Mi Jung catches it and asks if that’s really Hyun Joon. Sa Woo lies quickly and says the video came from their initiation training. Mi Jung thinks it’s odd that he still has something on Hyun Joon, especially when he’s not supposed to, so Sa Woo deletes it in front of her. Mi Jung also reminds him that a retreat celebrating Seung Hee’s return will be held the day after tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Sang Hyun briefs Seung Hee on her duties. He tells her to consult Sa Woo since he had been covering for her, and confides to her about the incident where NSS was excluded completely from the secret meeting between the North and the South. Sang Hyun tells her to keep it to herself, as the others don’t know about it.

On the boat, now headed towards South Korea, Hyun Joon thinks back to when Chul Young brought him in for questioning, where they made him undergo a lie detector test. The interrogator asks him why he sought out Chul Young.

Hyun Joon: I needed help for my revenge.
Interrogator: Who is the target of your revenge?
Hyun Joon: Baek San, the Vice Director of NSS. And, the nation of Korea, which used me and then threw me away.

Hyun Joon passes the test, but Chul Young does not trust him just yet. He gives him an assignment. “Take care” of a particular defector who used to be part of a North Korean security team, and then maybe Chul Young can trust him.

The North Korean Team Leader breaks into Hyun Joon’s thoughts and tells him they are arriving soon. He should go down to the freezer to get a few members of the crew to help with getting into port.

At Kam Chun Port in Busan, three other North Korean agents are waiting. The Team Leader calls in and tells them to prepare for their entry. But first, they have to go through customs.

There is a mix of North Korean agents and real crewmembers throughout the boat as the customs officers make their way around. The agents are wary of the officers, although the officers see nothing suspicious. The head customs officer inspects the fish that were caught to make sure nothing explosive or illegal weapons are hiding within the fish, but nothing is out of place. They go towards the freezer where all the hostages are being held, and ask why it’s completely empty. The Team Leader says they did not catch a lot of fish this time. One of the other officers then asks where Ahn Ki Nam is – he was a worker on the ship and his friend.

Good old Ahn Ki Nam is one of the hostages below, and one of the North Korean agents hiding in the side prepares his gun to settle any problems. Hyun Joon sees this and defuses the situation right away with a smooth lie: Ahn Ki Nam got sick onboard and is in another town recovering. The officer is appeased, and the boat passes customs and is allowed to unload.

As the agents go through immigration, Hyun Seok, the computer hacker, uploads false backgrounds for each agents’ aliases, including Hyun Joon’s. He then downloads the footage from the numerous surveillance cameras and erases all images of them. Their van then meets up with the truck loaded with all of their “fish.”

Sa Woo enters a super fancy jewelry store – and he has no idea what to buy. He tells the saleswoman that he wants something that won’t make the recipient too uncomfortable, and she asks, “Are you going to propose?” He replies, “Yes…something like that…” She asks if he knows her ring size, but since Sa Woo does not know, she offers him a pendant. “It’s a pendant that’s said to make fateful love possible,” she says.

On the road, Jung In drives a more cheerful Seung Hee to the retreat, and they have their heart-to-heart, good old girl talk.

Jung In: Are you okay now?
Seung Hee: I’m not laughing because I’m happy. But if I do laugh, I can become happy. I’ve been too sensitive with you lately, haven’t I?
Jung In: As long as you’re okay, I can take much more. So get angry, throw tantrums, throw hissy fits – do it all.
Seung Hee: I never threw hissy fits.
Jung In: Just don’t cry. That’s something I just couldn’t handle.

At the retreat, everyone is already there present: Hyun Kyu, Manager Hwang, Sang Hyun, Sa Woo, Tae Sung and Mi Jung. They’ve all already begun drinking when finally the girls arrive late, and they all bond over some of Seung Hee’s Special Soju Bombs.

Later on they play a game. Anyone can start off the count, but whoever says a number together at the same time have to do a “love shot.” Hyun Kyu and Hwang unfortunately say “Three” at the same time, and are forced to do a love shot. Everyone cheers for a kiss.

Another round. Sang Hyun starts it off with “One!” almost immediately. After a few moments, Seung Hee and Sa Woo declare “Two!” together. (Wah – Sa Woo totally planned that). Sa Woo blushes like crazy, but Seung Hee playfully goes along with it. They lean in for a kiss (with Mi Jung screaming a fan-girl scream) and their lips just touch…

…When Hyun Kyu breaks it up between the two of them. He complains, “This is really unfair. It’s fine to do a love shot if you get a girl, but what’s this with a guy?” (His bitterness is just so Sa Woo and Seung Hee don’t get their proper kiss now.)

Hyun Kyu invites Mi Jung to sing a song for them all. She sings a sad one about trying to forget a pain by pretending nothing is wrong and smiling to the world. It hits home for Seung Hee, and really brings the mood down at the table. But Seung Hee nods and smiles along, as though pretending nothing is wrong. Only Sa Woo notices the pain that she’s really going through.

Sa Woo and Seung Hee take a midnight walk by the lake, and Seung Hee thanks him for being there by her side and helping her get better. She asks, “You’ll continue to be my friend?”

Assuming the answer is yes, she walks away, but she does not see Sa Woo’s disappointment. He now does not have an appropriate opportunity to give her the necklace anymore.

Hyun Joon and all the North Korean agents are assembled at an abandoned warehouse, going through all of their weapons. Noticing Hyun Joon, one of them tells the other, “Once we get into action, don’t ever stand in front of him. You never know when a bullet might come at you from behind. Even betrayal becomes a habit.”

Sun Hwa warns him, “You really want to say those useless things?” The agent says in response, “Oh, you have to be even more careful of this b****. She already has a history of betraying her people.” Sun Hwa slaps him right across the face, and they start duking it out. He throws her on the table and is about to hit her again when a gun cocks and presses against his temple. Hyun Joon pulls the trigger – but the gun isn’t loaded. He tells him, “If you don’t want to die, get back to working on the guns.”

Not liking the fact that he was bested by a South Korean agent, he tackles Hyun Joon. But Hyun Joon is too strong for him, and manages to subdue him. The other North Koreans don’t like that, and so they all gang up on Hyun Joon, three to one. Hyun Joon easily overpowers all of them and knocks them down one by one. Eventually the Team Leader shows up and tells them to all stop fighting – they’re going to have to work together and this kind of conflict cannot happen again.

Sun Hwa later goes to Hyun Joon and asks if he’s ok. He tells her to leave him alone, and just as she’s about to leave, he grabs her hand. He tells her, “Don’t try so hard for me anymore.”

What a way to send a girl mixed messages.

At NSS, Tae Sung reports that a North Korean defector was assassinated – the same one Hyun Joon was assigned to “take care of.” Sang Hyun assigns tasks to Seung Hee and Jung In, but Mi Jung enters the conference room with news that the crewmembers on the fishing boat in Busan were kidnapped.

Sa Woo and Tae Sung investigate the ship, and they are informed that there are no more recordings left of the kidnappers. Sa Woo sees a camera belonging to a restaurant covering the back alley and asks if they’ve checked that one yet.

Later, Hyun Joon approaches Hyun Seok with the rosary USB. He asks if he can hack open one of the folders, but Hyun Seok tells him that they need a special program and a better computer system to support it. An NSS computer just might work.

Baek San visits the President at the Blue House, and the President explains that he does not fully trust NSS. However, to follow through on his plan for reunification, he will need NSS’ experience and expertise.

After the meeting Baek San bumps into the President’s female advisor, Hong Soo Jin, in the hallway. She hands him a small USB and tells him that the President is planning to develop nuclear weapons if the North does not stop developing them. Advisor Jung catches the two of them in the hallway, and when Baek San leaves, he asks Advisor Hong if she’s close to him. But she denies any relationship.

The North Korean Intelligence Director informs Chul Young that their leader has agreed to meet the South Korean president – any plan that Chul Young has needs to be jumpstarted. Chul Young assures him that they are already taking action, and asks to be put on the panel that will decide on the team that will attend the conference.

The Team Leader addresses everyone – Dae Hyun and Young Bum are to scout the conference venue while Sun Hwa and Hyun Joon are to check out the VIP route. Their operation will begin in two days.

While en route, Hyun Joon decides on a little change of plans. He tells Sun Hwa that the file on the rosary USB can be opened on an NSS network, and the one place he knows that has one is at his home. Once inside, he is flooded with memories of his time spent with Sa Woo as roommates.

But back to business. Hyun Joon opens up Sa Woo’s computer. It takes him a few seconds, but he remembers Sa Woo’s password and types it in. He then gives the USB to Sun Hwa, and she immediately starts accessing the file.

Meanwhile, Mi Jung receives a security alert that someone is accessing the NSS main server through Sa Woo’s computer, and she reports it to Seung Hee. Since Sa Woo is at Busan, someone must have broken into his house.

Sun Hwa receives a warning on the computer as well, and she thinks that NSS knows they’re there. Mi Jung decides to hack into the web cam to get a look at the hackers, but Sun Hwa and Hyun Joon are simultaneously notified about the connection. Hyun Joon moves the web cam, and so all Mi Jung and Seung Hee can see is the window.

Something is now definitely up, so Seung Hee has Mi Jung notify security. Sun Hwa is afraid that they’re going to be caught, especially since the code breaking is going so slowly. Hyun Joon tells her they won’t have another chance, and they have to finish it now.

The security team, including Seung Hee, pull up to the front of the house. Mi Jung reports that the intruders are still inside, so Seung Hee moves forward and has the team break in. They rush inside, and Seung Hee faces the closed door to the study. The security team open the door, but no one is there.

Sun Hwa and Hyun Joon are already in the car. It turns out, the locked folder wasn’t a data file, but instead had the location of a file that was kept in a storage section. That storage section belongs to Baek San.

Sa Woo reports that the tuna from the boat were loaded into an unregistered truck. Those tuna fish could have been hiding the terrorists’ weapons. There are two possibilities: the fish are still in a storage facility at the dock, or they were transferred to another location by that truck.

Mi Jung was able to download the footage from the restaurant’s camera, but the video was grainy. She presents it to everyone, and while they cannot see their faces or identify anyone, only Sa Woo recognizes Hyun Joon’s figure. He looks over at Seung Hee, but she has a neutral expression – she does not recognize Hyun Joon.

As Sa Woo leaves the meeting, Hyun Kyu calls him over. Hyun Kyu tells him he analyzed the footage from Sa Woo’s web cam. He says, “This is completely my personal opinion, but I think it might be Hyun Joon.” Seung Hee catches the tail end of the conversation and asks Hyun Kyu, “Did you just say Hyun Joon?”

They go to Hyun Kyu’s office, and replay the footage. Based on his analysis of the reflection on the window, the bone structure is a 74% match to Hyun Joon. However, there are still many people who could match that frame, so Sa Woo brushes it off, saying that it’s a stretch to say it matches Hyun Joon. Later, Hyun Kyu treats Seung Hee to drinks, apologizing for his insensitivity towards her.

Sa Woo goes home and checks out the study. He sees that half of the rosary chain is still on his desk, and immediately remembers that Hyun Joon was looking at it when they were in Hungary together. If it wasn’t already confirmed before for him, it is now: Hyun Joon is here in Seoul and working with the terrorists.

CY’s Sidekick brings in a uranium capsule enclosed in a briefcase for Chul Young to bring to the South safely. At the same time, Hyun Seok finishes organizing all of the photos, VIP route and information for the team to use, so the Team Leader announces that they will now start the operation.

Sa Woo presents his report to Baek San, and tries one more time to tell him about Hyun Joon. However, Mi Jung interrupts – they’ve located the unregistered truck and traced it to a storage facility. Baek San orders Sa Woo to send a tactical team over right away.

The team is already packing up their equipment and weapons. Hyun Seok struggles with carrying two large cases, so Hyun Joon wordlessly picks one up and helps him carry it. Score one for Hyun Joon in earning a team member’s trust!

As they finish putting away their weapons, the NSS tactical team arrives and surrounds the warehouse. The North Korean agents pick up on the noises outside, and freeze, listening to what is going on. The NSS team breaks the locks and throws tear gas through the windows. And then, from all sides, they invade the building…with the North Korean team still inside.


These two episodes were easy for me to watch but so hard to recap. Episode 8 was really like a catch-up episode. The beginning and the end were exciting, whereas the middle just summarized and ended the prolonged suffering of Seung Hee. But in Episode 9, so many things kept happening at the same time. It felt as though there were so many threads going at once, but they all tied up neatly by the end. Slick. Real slick.

And the hairstyles – did you see the North Korean Team Leader’s!? Wooh that must have been a bad perm…

While watching the episodes, I started ranting irrationally about the plausibility of the series. I already don’t understand Sa Woo, and every time they have to confirm Hyun Joon is actually alive, it implies his hesitancy and (slight) stupidity at being an agent. How many times must it take before he can believe Hyun Joon really is alive? If he didn’t die the first time, he won’t die the next eight times. I was also mad at Sun Hwa’s character in episode 8. Why did she forgive Chul Young so quickly for her family’s deaths? And why did she have to blame herself for them?! I saw no reason for her to try to be on good terms with Chul Young, especially since she already “betrayed” her country by allying herself with Hyun Joon. And she figured out all the connections between the deaths and Vic for Hyun Joon – it is as if had she never figured it out, neither would have Hyun Joon. And Hyun Joon’s targets for revenge – I can understand Baek San, but “Korea”?! Really? He probably said that to make the North Koreans trust him, but I thought he was stretching it, and nothing turns me off more than when I can’t believe in what the actor is saying. Lee Byeong Hun doesn’t even do much in episode 9 except brood. Sun Hwa is just the brains and beauty, and Hyun Joon is all brawn.

I’ll be understanding though, and say that they all have a reason for doing what they do. It’s just that these moments struck me as unbelievable, but then I got over it quickly and just kept watching. This series has become just complete spy-fun, with the appeal of 24 or Alias. I liked Alias despite its own implausibility, so I can like IRIS too.

I don’t just have complaints though. Episode 8’s highlight for me was Kim Tae Hee’s crying scene, and Sun Hwa and Chul Young’s walk through Shanghai (I miss that place!). And what’s great about episode 9 is that they utilize all of the supporting characters at NSS. (Haha – as though my wish for seeing more of them came true!) I can understand better the dynamics of the place, and they are making it seem like the workplace is actually more fun than it should be. And now, I just want to know Chul Young’s grand ole’ plan – because if it involves blowing up something like a national stadium, then woohoo! Cheesy, but fun.


26 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Anonymous

    thanks for the recap! i love iris

  2. daisytwenties

    thanks! i look forward to the next episode’s recap! 😀

  3. LL

    KTH’s transformation started at ep.8. The scenes at the flower shop and the hospital was so emotional! Imagine loving someone and trying to hold to the hopes that that person is still alive and then wam you are forced to confront the reality that the person really died. KTH portrayed that turmoil exceptionally well.

    People may argue that KSY deserved the Best Actress award at the KBS Award show and not KTH but we have to think about what KSY’s character and KTH’s character were about. KTH had more on her plates and she delivered what was ordered quite well. Her character ranged involved avoiding someone, falling deeply in love, suffering from a lost love, recovering from that, trying to rebuild herself and moving on, and then enduring internal conflicts with the later IRIS. KSY’s character included: assassin, a tiny bit of emotional release with the death of her family members, secretly falling in a unrequited love, assassin, and becoming an awesome partner in crime with the protagonist. Her acting was amazing but there wasn’t as much a demand of “going up high, falling to the bottom, and trying to come back up again.” Sure she thought that she had no where else to go, but was that as bad as what Choi Seung Hee had to endure? Believing the words of all your loved ones only to realize that they were all lies?

    I think it was it was the other way around, KSY would have won the Best Actress award too. Looking back KSY had more screen time than KTH (those Akita flashbacks would not count), so the viewers would have more emotional connection with her.

    You could also say that this Best Actress award will encourage KTH to do better in her acting. It is could be a form of encouragement to let this sensitive individual know that she can do it, that she is capable of doing it.

    Wow, that was long. Thanks for the recap. 🙂

    • 3.1 mike choi

      Personally, at least up to this point (watching this for the first time now in 2015), I am not as emotionally into this drama as I have been with other melo/rom-com dramas I’ve watched lately. I dunno why. However, I am really drawn into KSY’s character the most– I really like her and her character. Much more than the “lead” KTH. In fact, I think she’s my favorite person in this whole series, I’m going to look up if the actress was in any other dramas to see if she can act totally different roles too– but here, I really like her guardedness and aloofness and smarts, yet a little bit of person underneath it all. I’m not a particularly big fan of LBH (last time I saw him was in JSA, which I liked, but thought his acting still had about 5% missing in that role)… And KTH, she’s super pretty and all, but not a big fan either. I dunno if it’s the actress or the character or both. In any case, I’m enjoying the drama– it’s different from the usual stuff so it’s entertaining, but emotionally it’s just not resonating with me– esp. the love story between the leads– i don’t feel it at all or care about it. *shrug*

  4. sukispop

    Hi Kaedejun,

    Thanks for the recap!

    I agree with your thoughts on some of the less plausible moments. Like you, I enjoyed Alias, and was just as forgiving about those “holes”.

    I also agree with you on how beautifully Kim Tae-hee did the greenhouse scene. I know that she’s been panned for her acting, but in this scene I really felt she was excellent.

    And I’m still head over heels with Kim So-yeon…Sun-hwa…wow. I really think she deserved the acting award that they gave to Kim Tae-hee. Tae-hee had that great greenhouse scene…but So-yeon was superb throughout the entire series.

  5. haikuwarrior

    Did anyone catch how the premise for the IRIS Organization seems really similar to the Patriots from Metal Gear Solid? More specifically, the story from MGS: Guns of the Patriots? A “military industrial complex” causing strife and continued warfare between international bodies in order to reap profit and maintain power.

  6. cheekbones

    Thanks for the recap !

    Vic’s jacket is just too flashy and fashionable for an assassin…. 😀

  7. ...

    thanks for the recaps!!! ur comments are always great to read!

  8. fraulein

    Kim Tae-hee may have one or two good scenes but let’s not get carried away. She still isn’t considered a good actress yet

  9. melica

    Maybe I am missing something, I am only on episode 8, but I want know why all the North Korean agents can seem to find our hero in Japan while none of the North Korean agents can. Does that make any sense?

    Did the North Koreans plant a GPS up his bum when he was unconscious in Hungary?
    What gives?

  10. 10 melica

    Oops… meant South Koreans can’t find him 🙁

  11. 11 kaedejun

    @ melica:

    hmm, i think it’s because sun hwa is just that good of an agent =) she’s the only north korean to have found him. everyone else in south korea thought he was dead, or had sa woo manipulating the evidence and situation so that they wouldn’t look for him. sun hwa doesn’t have anyone like that to muddle her investigation.

  12. 12 melica

    But what about T.O.P.? That is two for North Korea and 0 for South Korea!

    Though I suppose I can appreciate the tampering of the evidence angle, but then what about his buddy from the army camp? He should be able to find him since he is the one that is tampering with the evidence.

    And my second plot problem is why is T.O.P. trying to kill everyone who has direct information to what he is looking for? The information power play doesn’t go his way and then he must kill them. I understand that he is heartless and badass but that makes no sense. He kills everyone in the direct line of information and then he has to seek out new people cuz’ he killed all the previous people with the information. And in actuality the information piece could just disappear with one of those dead folks. Seems at cross purposes IMHO.

  13. 13 kaedejun

    But TOP doesn’t work for the North Koreans. He doesn’t work for the South either – he works for IRIS, which is completely independent of either Korean governments.

    Sa Woo works off the belief that Hyun Joon is dead and so he’s not trying to find him. No one is trying to find him (except for Seung Hee) – so it’s not a comment on how bad NSS agents are. Seung Hee does manage to find him, but Sa Woo just keeps preventing her. Since he’s not taking any initiative himself, he only knows as much as Seung Hee would know in regards to the location of Hyun Joon, because he’s really just following her leads. That’s my theory.

    As for why TOP keeps killing his targets – that was my problem too!! =P Unless he can read minds and figures that he’s not going to get any information out of them, and that they really don’t have the IRIS list… He probably can’t keep them hanging around, alive, because those targets alive would be at cross purposes of what IRIS is trying to do as well.

  14. 14 melica

    Thanks for the clarification of T.O.P. being independent (working for IRIS). I realized that as well while I was watching episode 9.I don’t really think they made that explicit before now, or I am up too late not paying attention, which is always a possibility! 🙂

  15. 15 Vic

    that japanese family died because of him (LBH). he was so careless all the time. it was obvious that his simple presence there would put that family in danger sooner or later,yet he kept staying there. leaving, then going back etc.

  16. 16 MF

    Thanks for the thorough recaps. I don’t know why but I keep thinking Mr. X sounds like Hyun Kyu (the “whacky” Forensics investigator in NSS). He seems to know a lot anyway, especially during that episode where he reveals to Sang Hyun detailing two people that have become sacrificial lambs years ago (perhaps Hyun Joon’s parents?). Anyway, this drama is so obvious at times– I figured the password would probably be IRIS or the rosary would end up something pertinent to this whole plot. Or maybe this is the drama’s intent.

  17. 17 )(

    What is the song that Mi-Jung sang??

  18. 18 ysmn

    what is the song that hyun jyu ni sang?

  19. 19 Tevi

    lol yeahhh, what 17 and 18 said.
    what was the song mi jeong sang ?
    i remember it from somewhere.. but cant seem to figure it out.

  20. 20 Misery

    Mi Jeong sang 8Eight – Without a Heart ( during the party ) and the song Empty ( in the club)

  21. 21 Linda165

    Fine, you don’t remember the name of some of the characters, but the name of the cute hacker you do remember. LOL!

  22. 22 Ken

    where can i watch this??? with english subs Thanks 🙂

  23. 23 John

    Hey does anyone know what that drinking game is called?

  24. 24 hannah

    I love how this drama uses YG songs!!! especially Big Bang <3 ^^

  25. 25 hana

    hi. may i know what is the song they are singing while in the car and having this conversation..

    Jung In: Are you okay now?
    Seung Hee: I’m not laughing because I’m happy. But if I do laugh, I can become happy. I’ve been too sensitive with you lately, haven’t I?
    Jung In: As long as you’re okay, I can take much more. So get angry, throw tantrums, throw hissy fits – do it all.
    Seung Hee: I never threw hissy fits.
    Jung In: Just don’t cry. That’s something I just couldn’t handle.

    thankss 🙂

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