Greetings fellow drama lovers! I’m Andromytta, and I’m pleased to bring you recaps of “Hero”! My first foray into the world of Kdrama was during the phenomenom that is “Boys Over Flowers”. (And I don’t care what anyone says, I still love, love, LOVE that drama! *covers ears while singing “La, la, la I can’t hear you!”* Anyway, I digress. I am a HUGE Lee Junki fan (He’s mine, MINE I say!), so I was quite excited about “Hero” from the moment I heard about it. It does not disappoint, I am really enjoying this drama, and I hope you all enjoy reading my recaps as much as I’m enjoying writing them. Without further ado:
Hero: Episode 3
After his confrontation with Lieutenant Joo Jae In, a freshly showered Do Hyuk sits at his desk recalling her stinging words to him. Perhaps as a way to console himself, and to remember why he became a reporter in the first place, he goes through a box of family memories, photos, a journalism award his father won, and a scrapbook he put together as a young boy of all of his father’s articles. One article in particular brings back a particularly painful memory.
One rainy night long ago, a young Do Hyuk had just finished putting his father’s latest article into the scrap book when it began to storm. Knowing his mother was meeting his father at the bus stop without her umbrella, the dutiful son races to them, extra umbrella in tow. He sees his parents just in time to see them get hit by a rather large truck.
The memory fades, and the camera focus shifts to another person sharing the same memory. It’s Jo Yong Deok.
In the brightness of a new day, Do Hyuk is taking his niece and nephew to Jae In’s house so she can care for the kids while the staff of Yong Deok Ilbo enjoy a meeting trip. (I really wish we had these kinds of bonding trips here in the States, then maybe I would feel less inclined to want to throttle my co-workers. *lol*) As the trio are headed to the house, Do Hyuk and Sol (his niece) engage in what is probably one of the cutest conversations in Kdrama history.
Do Hyuk: You should at least know where your mom went so we can catch those bad guys. Only then can we send them to the police station. Wouldn’t you like that?
Sol: I get it, I get it. Let me think about it. Don’t start nagging so early in the morning. Didn’t you say you’ll be leaving for two days and a night? Have you prepared everything?
Do Hyuk: You’re the one nagging. Are you my wife?
Sol: Uncle, you aren’t my type.
Upon arrival at Jae In’s house, they are greeted by her mother, Myung Hee. Sol is not exactly thrilled to be staying with the “biscuit auntie”, since her cookies are inedible to all but one person. Myung Hee inquires about that person, wondering why the children can’t stay with their grandfather. She had mistaken Officer Na Kyung Han for a grandfather. Time for Do Hyuk to clear up the misunderstanding that Sol had helped to perpetrate!
Meanwhile, in the middle of her morning tooth brushing routine, Jae In receives a call from Reporter Kang Hae Seong, offering to drive her to work. In her frenzy to get ready to meet the charismatic reporter, she seems to have forgotten she had agreed to care for the children. She hurriedly pulls her stubborn pajama top over her head, to the shock of her mother, who tries desperately to protect her daughter’s dignity, and to the (delighted?) surprise of Do Hyuk, who tries desperately to protect his young nephew’s innocence.
Time for the Yong Deok Ilbo Meeting Trip! When I said I wished we had these kinds of things here in the U.S., this was not what I had in mind. It’s a faux army boot camp! Jo Yong Deok is reading a book entitled “I, Too Can Become a Reporter in a Week.” Using tips provided by said book, he has created boot camp for his reporters with his faithful lackey Sang Chul as his drill sergeant. The first exercise? Something called “enzo shelling”. I have no idea what this is, but it looks painful! The smooth talking Do Hyuk manages to get Sang Chul to demonstrate, much to the dismay of Yong Deok.
Once Yong Deok restores order, he makes up tasks for the group based on what he’s read in his book.
“Only reporters who know how to tolerate and wait can get exclusive news.” Apparently, this means, “Climb trees.”
“Only reporters that come out and run by themselves are true reporters.” Self-explanatory. Running. Lots and lots of running.
“They must have the determination and want to find exclusive news.” This, obviously, means chase after a chicken while hanging inside of a tire being pulled by Sang Chul.
Meanwhile, back in the city, DAESE Ilbo is working quite closely with Manager Gong Chil Sung, a former associate of Jo Yong Deok’s who is currently the big mob boss in town. He has sent cronies to spy on Yong Deok and Do Hyuk. He warns Kang Hae Seong, “Just because it’s a has-been mobster and an insignificant reporter who started their own paper, don’t underestimate them. That will get you into trouble.”
And, back at the Criminal Investigation Unit, Officer Na and Officer Oh (who is a noticeable cutie when not in the same frame as Lee Junki) are gossiping about Officer Na’s infatuation when Jae In comes in breaking up the party, while all involved are clueless as to the relationship between the object of Officer Na’s desire and the Lieutenant. She has found the loan sharks hide out, and it’s time for a stake out.
Next on the agenda for the Yong Deok Ilbo Meeting Trip is picking apples. Yong Deok introduces the owner of the orchard as his cell mate in prison who “all he did was wave the knife around.” Whether this is true or not, it’s all the motivation the reporters need to start plucking the apples from the trees.
After a grueling day, the Yong Deok Ilbo crew are sitting around trying to come up with a concept for their newspaper. All of their ideas pretty much suck.
Jae In’s stake out is a success. She basically beats the crap out of the loan sharks (OMG she is SO cool!) with a little help from Officer Oh, and even less help from Officer Na.
Once home, Jae In is greeting by Sol, who had gotten up to use the bathroom. And, we get another cute conversation where Sol successfully manages to get a rise out of Jae In once again. How does a 10 year old manager to throw a 28 year old police officer off balance time and time again? She’s a very talented 10 year old!
Sol: Come home earlier.
Jae In: Did I go out to play?
Sol: For that, I’m not too sure.
Jae In: This is all thanks to you, your mother, and your uncle.
Sol: People are like that, when it’s something good, it’s all thanks to their hard work. When it’s not good, it’s all because of others.
Jae In’s mother awakens, and Sol comes back out of the bathroom in time to witness a very touching mother/daughter moment. I can imagine what she is feeling at that moment, and Kim Hyang Gi does well showing those emotions in her face and eyes, without words. Jae In turns in time to see the look on Sol’s face before the little girl heads back into the room she is sleeping in for the night.
Much later in the night, Do Hyuk leaves the barrack that he and the rest of the reporters are bunked down in for the night trying unsuccessfully to get a cell signal in the middle of nowhere. (Don’t you just hate that?) Instead of finding what he wanted, he finds what he was looking for. Yong Deok is sitting outside in the cold by himself. He asks Do Hyuk why he chose to be a reporter. Do Hyuk recounts a story about an ahjumma who was so touched by something his father had written that had helped her, that he made his decision right then to become a reporter. “I want to be an outstanding reporter like my father. A reporter that gives hope to those that live a hard and difficult life, to those who have been misunderstood, hope.” Yong Deok responds with a story of his own. “Taejong, (the 3rd king of the Joseon dynasty) in order to solve the misunderstandings of the citizens, placed an interrogation drum outside of the palace.” Hence, the concept for the Yong Deok Ilbo was born.
Meanwhile, at DAESE Group, a young boy is protesting the growing development of the corporation. The company had offered compensation to people for their town, but this did not sit well with all in the community, leading the boy’s father to suicide.
Kang Hae Seong sees the boy, and seems to be affected by the demonstration, but continues on with his scheduled activities. Today, it’s “DAESE Daily Love Sharing” with Chairman Choi Il Do and his lovely daughter, Ho Kyung (played by Shin Joo Ah, who reminds me of Son Dam Bi). While I’m sure this is a publicity stunt for the DAESE men, I have the feeling Ho Kyung truly wants to help people.
After the “love sharing,” Choi Il Do has dinner with his daughter and future son-in-law, the former wanting her father to speed up marriage talk while the latter would rather not.
Later that evening, we get a glimpse as to the reason for Hae Seong’s reluctance to marry the pretty and sweet Ho Kyung. He turns his computer on, and slightly resembling a stalker, Hae Seong looks at pictures from his very first interview as a reporter a couple of years ago, which was with Officer Joo Jae In. He recalls the day with an almost wistful look in his eyes. (Dude, nice girls like Ho Kyung and Jae In usually get upset when they find out their boyfriend is seeing someone else behind their back….)
Do Hyuk has returned from his trip with a bag of handpicked apples as a gift for Jae In. She has no interest in the apples, only in finding the children’s mother. She seems more determined now than ever to find the mother. Could it be because she has captured the loan sharks? Maybe, but I believe it has more to do with her late night encounter with Sol. Do Hyuk wants to find his sister as well, but, as he pragmatically points out, “It’s easier said than done. I also want to find their mother, but we also have to know where she is.”
Ah, but Do Hyuk has an idea! He’s sure his smart niece knows where her mother is, so he and Jae In work out a plan to get the info out of the 10 year old. As the reporter and the police woman are talking with the kids, Myung Hee serves up some of her inedible cookies. Do Hyuk informs the children that, having joined a new publication, he will be on assignment for at least a month, and Jae In has agreed to take care of them while he is gone. To punctuate his point, Do Hyuk adds, “Both of you get to eat such delicious cookies every day.” Sol should know her uncle well enough by now to know he could be playing them, but, she’s also smart enough to not want to take that chance, so, she finally reveals that, in fact, she does know where her mother is.
Do Hee went after the ahjussi who stole her money. He is, apparently, a ballroom dancer. Do Hyuk and Jae In go undercover as “Sylvester” and “Sofia”. Jae In’s plan, which Do Hyuk easily goes along with, is that they pretend not to know each other as they search for the missing mother of two. This plan seems brilliant, until the two most attractive people in the room take off their trench coats revealing their slinky dancing costumes. All the single ahjummas and ahjussis flock to the two like bees to honey. Do Hyuk then decides that yes, they DO know each other, in fact, Sofia is his partner. She agrees, and lets the much older men know that she came with Sylvester.
They begin to dance as they scan the crowd for the missing Do Hee. Jae In constantly barks orders at Do Hyuk as she spots women who fit Do Hee’s description. (While I believe this dance is supposed to come off a bit silly and cute, since it is Lee Junki, frankly, I find it hot!) Finally, Do Hyuk spots his sister, and Jae In barks a final order to be turned over in order to see the woman. Do Hyuk is sure his sister will run if she sees him, so the two come up with a plan to trap Do Hee. As they part, Do Hyuk tells Jae In to be careful, to which she replies, “Don’t command me to do this and that.” (Ha!) Do Hyuk readily agrees, “Understood.” (Ha ha! So, Do Hyuk likes women who order him around?)
(I have never wanted to be a Kdrama actress so much in my life! No…wait, there was that one time…oh, yeah, and that other time…Oh heck, let’s just say in my next life I want to come back as a hot Kdrama actress!)
On the way home, Jae In explains to Do Hee that she captured the loan sharks and that the illegal interest can be reduced, but Do Hee still has to pay the capital and the legal interest, despite the fact that she didn’t spend the money. They return to find the children waiting on some steps outside. The silent Jung rushes into his mother’s waiting arms, while the bright Sol is less enthusiastic. She stops by her uncle’s side and directs a bow at Jae In, perhaps thanking the police woman for finding her mother, and maybe, finally, showing her some respect?
Do Hyuk is escorting (read “following”) Jae In home, and when she inquires as to why, he lamely responds, “Ah, isn’t it more dangerous for a lady to be walking alone in the night?” She simply looks at him and says, “You mean me?” (Ha! Of course, it’s MUCH more dangerous to others for her to walk alone at night!) Do Hyuk starts a pleasant conversation, thanking Jae In for all she has done for him. She responds, telling him she was just doing what she was supposed to do. She then proceeds to lecture him about associating with someone like Jo Yong Deok, someone who has a criminal record. He accuses her of being “too fickle,” since Yong Deok is an elder who served 15 years in prison. He then goes on to tell her she has a misunderstanding about him, how he is not the type to make up news stories. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Hae Seong, whom Do Hyuk accuses of being a “stalker”. Once he puts two and two together and realizes they are dating, he takes his leave.
Hae Seong and Jae In walk to a local playground where they sit and talk. Jae In asks if he needed her help with something. Hae Seong replies, “I just…wanted to see you, that’s all.” (Oh..smooth talker!) He continues, “Actually, I’ve been keeping your pictures, because that was my first interview. That’s why I often think of you and want to see you.” (Do Hyuk was right! He is a stalker!)
The next day, Jo Yong Deok is waiting for story ideas from his reporters. Once again, they all pretty much suck (except for one, but I’ll get to that later.) Do Hyuk was too busy “fetching his sister back home” to come up with anything. Yong Deok tells them to take their time, because, “wages only start to be paid after the first issue.” This, of course, puts the reporters on their toes, but doesn’t help them come up with any better ideas. The former mob boss didn’t become a mob boss through brawn alone, he does have a brain to go along with it. He’s been scouring local newspapers and came across the story about the DAESE Group’s development and the related suicide. He says to his team, “I think there’s a problem with the progression of the development structure of DAESE Group. What’s interesting is…it seems that someone has committed suicide. I can never figure out what is the reason behind it. Isn’t the news lately a little bit stingy when it comes to these matters? We should be digging into these kinds of unthinkable cases. Am I right?” He then assigns the story to his top reporter, Do Hyuk.
Hae Seong has come across the same story, and decides DAESE Daily should also look into it.
After interviewing the boy who was protesting, Do Hyuk, fellow reporter Park Joon Hyun, the boy and his mother walk out into a desolate looking town that almost resembles a western ghost town. The results, no doubt, of the DAESE Group’s development project. The boy isn’t hoping for much, he just wants people to care.
After parting ways with the boy, Do Hyuk and Joon Hyun run into Hae Seong with a reporter lackey in tow. Hae Seong seems to care more about protecting DAESE’s image than finding the cause of the suicide, but still manages to look down on Do Hyuk and his publication with scorn.
Back at the newspaper office, Do Hyuk is working on his story, when another reporter, Na Ga Yeon, points out how easy Do Hyuk has it. She reminds him that he gets exclusive stories from the police department, as well as high end stories from his friend who owns the night club. This reminds him that he hadn’t yet been able to get in touch with her to explain why he and his other reporter friend, Cha Man Soo, had to quit being waiters at her club. He immediately goes once again to talk to her.
He finds out from a waiter friend that the President of the night club hadn’t been to work in several days, leaving the business in a mess. Her cell phone is also turned off so no one can contact her. Do Hyuk finds this strange, as she is not the type to leave her business in that kind of shape. He gets her address from the waiter, and, disguised as a delivery driver, does some investigating of his own.
Do Hyuk discovers newspapers and mail that have been piling up for days. The security guard in her apartment complex confirms that he hasn’t seen her for a while. Do Hyuk leaves, on his way to the police station, unaware that he is being followed by a gangster who works for Manager Gong.
At the police station, Do Hyuk appeals to his friends to help him find the nightclub president. He is making a passionate request to view the CCTV in the area outside the nightclub where he saw the suspicious car. It is that moment when Jae In chooses to walk in. She is not happy to see him, tells him he doesn’t have the right to the CCTV, and tells him that informers typically move from one place to the next. Since he doesn’t know if she’s missing or hiding on purpose, she refuses to help. Frustrated, and determinded to needle the lady cop, he tells her she is being “unreasonable” for their “intimate” relationship. When she questions him, he reminds her that they kissed on their first meeting and danced a hot dance just last night. When she slams her fist on her desk in aggravation, Do Hyuk quickly makes his exit.
Not pleased with the way the Yong Chung Police Criminal Investigation Department 2 chose to handle his case, Do Hyuk goes for the only weapon at his disposal, his words. This story about how “Officer J. of K. police department [is] discriminating picking cases,” along with the story about DAESE Group’s development, and a search for an elderly lady’s lost dog (the one idea from earlier that didn’t suck) make up the first issue of Yong Deok Ilbo, which proclaims, “We will be a publication that hears your unjust stories.”
Would I have started watching Hero if it didn’t star Lee Junki? Probably not. That being said, despite the meager ratings this show received while it was on the air, I am really glad he chose this as his “comeback” role.
This little show about the little guy going up against the big guy in order to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves is at times funny, witty, and smart; at other times funny and vulgar; and again, at other times full of heart. I was easily hooked on this show after the third episode. I hope, as I watch this show progress from episode to episode, it keeps all of the qualities that are making me enjoy it now.
Hero doesn’t take itself too seriously, while at the same time gives the more dramatic moments a chance to breathe without unnecessary humor. It’s a nice balance, and I will be disappointed if this show goes overboard in either direction.
In my personal opinion, Lee Junki can do no wrong. I’ve loved him in every role I’ve seen him play, so it seems unlikely that this show will be any different. I look forward to seeing how his character evolves, both personally, and in his relationships with both Yong Deok and Jae In. I can’t wait to see what happens when Do Hyuk inevitably finds out about Yong Deok’s involvement in his parents death. I see a tragic moment on the horizon, and perhaps one of those crying scenes I think Junki does so well.
Speaking of Junki doing no wrong, he can make anything look good!
(Really, how many costumes does one former tabloid reporter need, anyway?)
In closing, I’d like to thank javabeans for this opportunity to discuss/gush about a show I have already come to love! I’d also like to thank the folks at HaruHaru Subs and Aja-Aja.com, without whom, watching and understanding this show would be impossible. If you have the time, drop by those sites and show them some love!