Hero: Episode 4
The first issue of Yong Deok Ilbo has been published, causing elation for the Yong Deok team, but leaving three highly disatisfied readers in it’s wake. Do Hyuk encounters the first such reader when he personally delivers his paper to the offices of DAESE Ilbo. Kang Hae Seong does not like having his company slandered in the press, telling Do Hyuk that the company cannot be held responsible for an “impulsive suicide”.
Do Hyuk: Did you just say it was an “impulsive suicide?” All of a sudden he has no place to live, the rat’s
tail you called compensation is used up for the rent, and his shop that never produced any
profit is now just a pile of debt. So you call a person pushed into a corner like that what? An
Kang Hae Seong refuses to be rattled. He suggests that if Do Hyuk “wants to write fiction,” he “should change careers.” The two reporters engage in a battle of words, each managing to insult the other’s publication. When Hae Seong claims that Yong Deok Ilbo “regurgitate[s] complaints of 3rd rate citizens,” Do Hyuk counters by saying that is “the concept of our newspaper.” Adding with disgust, “The great DAESE Ilbo seems to only report on upper class citizens!” After the battle of words, Do Hyuk pleasantly turns to the rest of the DAESE staff and assures them he will be back next week.
Meanwhile, at the Yong Deok Ilbo office, the staff has prepared a surprise party for Do Hyuk to thank him for their jobs. As they stand ready, someone walks through the door. The staff yells “Surprise!” to a less than thrilled Jae In, who has come to discuss with Do Hyuk the way she was portrayed in his article about Madam Park (the missing Hostess Club owner). (Aah, the “wrong person walking in on the surprise party” bit. It’s a comedy cliche, but it cracks me up almost everytime. And yes, this was one of those times!) True to the cliche, Do Hyuk walks in just moments later, after the surprise had been let out. He is still shocked to see everyone dressed for a party that, at first, he doesn’t see Jae In. The look on his face when he notices her is classic! (Oh, Junki, how I looove thee!)
After telling Do Hyuk she needs to talk to him, the disgruntled police officer huffs and leaves the building. When he doesn’t follow behind quickly enough, she barks, “Hurry up and get out here!” It doesn’t take him long to follow that command. The four reporters quietly open the door to spy on the two. As each throws an insult at the other, the Yong Deok team is in danger of revealing their position as they reward each burn with an “Oooh!” Jae In finally reveals what is really bothering her. She didn’t like being portrayed as an uncaring person who discriminates in her investigations. Do Hyuk concedes and admits that he knows she is not that kind of person. Jae In, having gotten her way, stalks off leaving the staff staring after her.
Reporter Park Joon Hyung comments, “What a charming unni. I find women women that are uptight to be sexy.” (That line amused me, so I had to throw it in there! Joon Hyung is the one on the left in that last picture. The one next to him is Jin Sung. Both have definite “cuteness” potential, but it pales in comparison when Lee Junki is on the screen!)
Meanwhile, at the DAESE main office, Hae Seong shows a copy of the paper to Chairman Choi, assuring him that since Yong Deok Ilbo is the only paper that has picked up the story about the large corporation’s development, they shouldn’t have to worry. Chairman Choi isn’t worried, calling the small paper “warm” and saying people “need a publication like this.” His nonchalance is challenged, however, when he sees a story about a certain missing Hostess Bar Owner. The chairman’s reaction is not lost on Hae Seong, though the young reporter chooses to ignore it. After a quick phone call to his own mob connections, Manager Gong assures Chairman Choi that he will take care of the problem. (Cue forboding music.)
In an attempt to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Yong Deok has a copy of the newspaper delivered to her. He and Sang Chul hide in the bushes waiting for her reaction. Unfortunately, it is not enough to erase the pain caused by his violent past. (This scene is kept from being to sad by the humor of these two tough guys hiding in the bushes.)
The Yong Deok team celebrates the launch of their first issue at a bar, cheering everytime they toast, “Yong Deok Ilbo! By the readers, for the readers, of the readers!” They do this several times until they are, in a word, drunk. The conversation inevitably turns from the newspaper to Do Hyuk’s relationship with “the police officer.” (And, something else Junki does well, drunken annoyance.) Do Hyuk protests that she’s not his type. “She is so rough and always mad about something. On top of that, she’s so strong. She picks men up and tosses them this way and that.” Of course, Na Ga Yeon, the only woman at the paper (and probably the most insightful) points out, “Hey, that’s exactly your type!”
The next day, after a restless night’s sleep because she had been thinking about what Do Hyuk had said to her, Jae In joins her mother for breakfast. She wants to know if she’s inflexible. Myung Hee says that Jae In is a lot like her father, so yes, she is. Jae In wonders if that is a bad thing. Myung Hee observes that if her father had been “like other people” and “more adaptable” then he may not have been a great police officer, but she might not be a widow now. She then gives her daughter this advice, “Don’t listen to your head, but do what your heart tells you.” Listening to her heart is something that is probably difficult for Jae In to do.
Following her mother’s advice, Jae In does decide to investigate the disappearance of the nightclub owner. However, she does warn Do Hyuk that, “If we investigate and it turns out to be nothing, if it was all about your overreacting…You’re dead.”
So, commencing with the investigation. Jae In has one of her officers look up the car that Do Hyuk saw outside of the club the night the owner disappeared (Do Hyuk memorized the license plate number.) She then instructs Dective Na to aquire the footage from the CCTV outside of the club. Do Hyuk has one other thing he’d like them to do. He wants to trace her cell phone usage. Jae In states they need to put in a request which can take a week. Detective Na covertly informs a distraught Do Hyuk that there is another way.
The fire department can trace the GPS locator in the cell phone. Of course the fire chief (at least, I assume he’s the chief) isn’t going to trace the phone for no reason. (Last time Detective Na asked for his help it was to find a woman he was secretly in love with.) The ever smooth Do Hyuk gives him a sob story about how his girlfriend left him leaving only a note. He wants to find her and make things right. He gives quite a convincing performance and find out where the cell phone was last used. Only after they’ve left does the fire chief find that the “letter” is nother more than a chinese takeout menu.
After finding the location where her cell phone was last used, and discovering that the car in front of the night club was a fake, Do Hyuk wants to immediately follow up on these leads with Jae In. She (being the one clearly in charge of the situation) wants to wait until they’ve had a chance to review the CCTV. A level-headed Jae In and a frustrated Do Hyuk sit down to two very different dinners that night.
At a nice restaraunt with Jae In, Hae Seong tells her that he doesn’t like how close she is to Do Hyuk. She wonders if it’s just jealousy. He claims he’s worried Do Hyuk is just using her to get a story. (Jealousy might be a motivator here, but it’s not the only one, as we’ll see later.)
Meanwhile, Do Hyuk is at his tiny apartment eating with his sister and the kids. As mentioned in others’ recaps, when eating, people can truly express their emotions. This is one of those scenes (although I’m not sure how often “frustration” is one of the emotions expressed). In fact, the way he is shovelling his food into his mouth causes Sol to caution him, “Uncle, eat slowly. Your food isn’t going to run away.” (LOL. I love Sol!)
The next day, Yong Deok Ilbo truly tastes the fruits of its labor when they are greeted by Mal Soon (the missing dog), who has been reunited with her owner! Joy and happiness ensue in the newspaper office.
Do Hyuk doesn’t get to celebrate for long however, as Jae In has gotten hold of the CCTV footage, which shows a man (the same man who had been following Do Hyuk) forcing the nightclub owner into a car. (Sidebar: I find it interesting that Do Hyuk refers to her as “Noona” while he calls his actual sister “Ahjumma”.)
And the two are off to find “Miss Apple”. (The nightclub owner had been “Miss Apple” in her hometown. The town where her phone had last been used is famous for it’s apples, therefore, Do Hyuk deduces her cell phone was last used in her hometown.) You’d expect the wimpy reporter to drive slowly and carefully while the bad ass cop drives more recklessly, confident she can get away with it. That, however, is not the case. As they are on their way out of the city with Do Hyuk behind the wheel of one of Yong Deok Ilbo’s cars, he almost runs into pedestrians in the crosswalk, forcing Jae In to take the wheel.
While Do Hyuk is on his adventure in investigating, the rest of the Yong Deok Ilbo team is busy trying to promote their publication…with a little street theatre! It’s a bit of a ridiculous scene, but the gist is to let the people know that whatever their troubles, Yong Deok Ilbo will help them to solve it.
After what seems like an eternity on the road with Jae In behind the wheel, the investigators finally stop for a bathroom break. Jae In receives a call from Hae Seong, who is not happy that she is continuing with her investigation. He also reminds her that they have a date to see a musical that night. This leads Jae In to want to be back in Seoul before the show, so Do Hyuk sarcastically suggests that he should drive. Jae In thinks this is a “good idea!”
Meanwhile, Manager Gong has found out the police are continuing their investigation, and is not happy about it. He calls Hae Seong, and they both use their “ways” to try and shut it down. Hae Seong is particularly motivated, since Gong had previously threatened Jae In.
Hae Seong and his lackey interview the various business owners that were asked, threatened, and cajoled into “helping” Yong Deok Ilbo. They claim to be from a much smaller publication, so that the men won’t feel overly exposed to their “Hyung-nim”. Manager Gong, on the other hand, simply has his thugs remove every issue of the publication from every streetside dispenser. I suppose they think if they can make the publication that printed the story go away, they can make the investigation go away too?
Jae In and Do Hyuk (finally!) arrive at Miss Apple’s hometown. They show her picture around to many people, but only one woman recognizes her. She had last seen the nightclub owner 7 years ago when she came to have a child in seclusion. Apparently, the father of the child was a married man and didn’t want her to give birth. She stayed with the woman until some men in a big black car came and took her away.
Since there is nothing more than can be learned here, Jae In decides they should start heading back home. Only, (dum-da-dum!) the car won’t start! They get to a repair shop only to find out it can’t be fixed until morning when the auto parts shop opens! Does anyone else feel a cliche coming on? We’re not the only ones! Do Hyuk (delightfully?) points out, “In the movies or dramas, when the vehicle breaks down or the final boat has left, the lead actor and actress have to spend the night together….” A determined Jae In states she will take the bus back tonight and Do Hyuk can come back the next day when the car is fixed. Of course, Do Hyuk knows what’s coming next. The mechanic explains that the last bus to Seoul left at 4. A now highly amused Do Hyuk inquires if there is a place they can stay for the night. Of course there is, but it only has one room! (I seriously don’t know what the name of this town is, but I’m sure it must be “Kdramaclicheville”!)
While one “couple” makes arrangements for sleeping overnight, another is enjoying each other’s company. Detective Na is eating Myung Hee’s inedible cookies (and he actually looks like he’s enjoying them). The two chat comfortably in between the customers she is waiting on at her coffee shop. (I think these two are going to get my vote for the show’s cutest couple!)
Do Hyuk and Jae In sit down for a meal when he asks if she’s going to call her boyfriend, since she was supposed to go to a musical with him. It appears Jae In had completely forgotten about Hae Seong. (Of course, I’d probably forget my own name if Lee Junki was sitting across from me!) Instead of calling, she sends the reporter a text message which he receives just as he’s finishing up his work for the night and as his soon-to-be fiancee arrives. Guess it’s good to have a back up date when the first one can’t get back into town?
During dinner, Do Hyuk starts to ask Jae In intimate questions about her relationship with Hae Seong. Finding out that they haven’t even held hands yet, he’s forced to ask, “Why be so coy? You and I, we’ve even kissed already, haven’t we?” This elicits a slightly violent respons from Jae In, which Do Hyuk is more than ready for.
Hae Seong and Ho Kyung arrive at his place in her car, and to their surprise, find a woman resting outside of his apartment building. It’s Hae Seong’s mother, whom we find out has no idea who Ho Kyung is, because her son has never mentioned her. She looks from Ho Kyung’s designer clothes to her fancy sports car and immediately knows she’s a wealthy girl. She also wonders what kind of girl comes to a single man’s house late at night. She dismisses the girl saying, “Let’s talk when it’s daylight out.”
Hae Seong and his mother go up to his apartment. She, of course, has quite a few things to say about Ho Kyung and none of them good. “If you want to marry, find someone who is less than your equal. That way, the husband will have the respect he deserves. A woman who makes a man wilt, that’s not allowed.” Hae Seong does not appear to agree with his mother’s traditional outlook on relationships, and it makes me wonder what kind of relationship his parents had, especially when she asks him to participate in his father’s memorial service. He refuses, simply giving her the money needed to prepare the service. He is not only dismissive of his deceased father, he is also dismissive of his mother, refusing the food she has brought for him, and not allowing her to stay the night with him. The mystery of Hae Seong’s family may explain his desire to get to the top no matter what, including ignoring his better instincts.
Another disfunctional family sits down to meal, as Do Hee has invited Jo Yong Deok over for a home cooked meal, even after Do Hyuk specifically told her to “leave the president alone!” He knows she just wants to ask him for money to pay off her debt (of course, what Do Hee doesn’t know is that Yong Deok doesn’t have that much money.) But she’s taking advantage of her brother’s absence to do what she pleases, despite the exasperated looks she is getting from Sol (who is clearly the more mature of the two.) As Do Hee continues to flirt with Yong Deok, Sol just seems to become more and more tired of her mother’s shenanigans.
After having their fill of food and soju, Do Hyuk observes that Jae In has loosened up. He accuses her of being a “dual personality” because she acts differently towards people she is close to. He understands that as the female leader of a police force, she has to be tough to keep her subordinates in check. Do Hyuk also points out that since they’ve gotten close, she should be at ease with him. To which Jae In replies, “Like you’re the neighborhood ahjumma. Strong, righteous spirit, talkative, so innocent, with empathy.” Do Hyuk doesn’t necessarily disagree, and even adds, “Has the ability to distinguish things clearly, strong with unique thoughts.” Jae In just wishes his mouth couldn’t speak. “If you drowned, your mouth would still float around on top of the water.” Do Hyuk asks, “What, like this?” And proceeds to demonstrate:
In some shows, this may seem like a kiss waiting to happen, but not here. The silliness between the two subsides and they move on to more serious topics. Jae In asks how Do Hyuk was able to memorize the license plate numbers in both this case and in the loan sharks’ case. He simply says, “It’s become a habit.”
Meanwhile, Yong Deok is exploring Do Hyuk’s apartment while Do Hee cleans up the dinner dishes. He finds the box of family mementos Do Hyuk keeps stored in there and recognizes the name on the journalism award. Yong Deok discovers that the reporter he put all of his trust and faith into is the son of the reporter he killed 15 years ago.
Do Hyuk recounts to Jae In how he picked up his impressive talent for memorizing plate numbers, and once again, he and Yong Deok share the memory of that fateful night.
Do Hyuk had been unable to see the plate number on the truck that hit his parents. Since then, he had always just memorized any plate numbers he saw. Jae In also recounts her own father’s death, revealing that she became a police officer because of him. Do Hyuk tells her that is also why he became a reporter, because of his father, who wasn’t just any reporter, but a reporter for DAESE Ilbo.
The next day, in “Kdramaclicheville,” Do Hyuk awakens before Jae In, and peeks into the outer area of the room where she is sleeping, and we get the very cliched moment of the male lead watching the female lead sleep prettily. That is, until she snores and turns over onto her back, flinging her arm against the floor as she does so. (I love how this show takes cliches and makes fun of them.)
The DAESE Ilbo article exposing all of Yong Deok Ilbo’s secrets (including that all of the reporters are from Monday SEOUL) has come out, and everyone has read it. The reporters face off against Yong Deok and Sang Chul, both parties being guilty of their own deception, but despite that fact, had worked together to create a good paper. All of which means nothing, especially to the reporters who feel that they can’t be a paper “by the readers, for the readers, and of the readers” if people were threatened in order to build it.
On the way home, Do Hyuk calls and takes the blame for everything, promising to explain everything to both the reporters and the president, but when he returns to the newspaper office it is already too late. The public has already expressed their opinion of Yong Deok Ilbo by destroying it’s office-front.
Do Hyuk tries to convince his friends not to quit, assuring them that they had planned to pay back the people who helped them, and even do their advertisements for free. They feel they cannot be a newspaper to help people who have been wronged if they were established by threats. Do Hyuk wonders how Hae Seong found out his information about Yong Deok Ilbo and makes his way to the DAESE office to confront him.
Back at her own office, Jae In gets her team on the task of looking for President Park’s (the nightclub owner) child. She then makes her own way to DAESE to see Hae Seong, likely with a much more pleasent conversation in mind.
The both arrive just in time to see Hae Seong come out of the office…and meet Ho Kyung, who had just pulled up in her little red sports car. He takes her hand and they get back into the car together. As the car pulls away, Do Hyuk and Jae In spot each other, knowing the other has seen everything.
(I really like this shot. The two parties are connected because they are looking at each other, but they are so far away from each other and the rest of the world that they can’t give or receive comfort.)
Ok, so I hope I didn’t bore you all with that very wordy recap! There was just so much happening in this episode, that I couln’t bring myself to cut very much out. That being said, with so much happening, it’s given me lots of thoughts to ponder, so let me get on with it!
First of all, despite what the producers/writers are trying to lead us to believe, I have a very hard time believing Yong Deok actually killed Do Hyuk’s parents. I think he refused to complete the assignment, and that is how he wound up in jail. Since he couldn’t do what his bosses (whomever they may be) wanted, they set him up for the murder he couldn’t commit.
I also feel compelled to explore the issue of motherhood in Kdramas. In most of the dramas I’ve watched so far (and I’ll admit, my list is a lot shorter than most, since I’ve only been obsessed for about a year) the mothers are either ridiculous, sadly inept, or major bitches. This drama seems to take a different approach. Yes, you have Do Hee, who is sadly inept, but on the other hand, there is Jae In’s mother, Myung Hee, who is not only devoted to her daugther, but also manages to have a life outside of raising her daughter. For example, she starts her day cooking a full breakfast for Jae In, while she herself only has toast and coffee, but she ends her day running her coffee shop and starting a flirtation with a local ahjussi (who she has yet to discover works under her daughter!) Not only does she take care of her daughter, but there is honest-to-goodness affection between Myung Hee and Jae In, which poor little Sol had to witness, but never gets to experience from her own mother. Then there is the undisclosed relationship between Hae Seong and his mother. It will be interesting to see where all of these relationships take our main characters.
Finally, I just want to say a word about Yoon So Yi. I know a lot of people were worried about her being a last minute replacement, which is understandable. Personally, I don’t know a lot about her, as this is the first time I’ve ever seen her. I really don’t think I had an opinion one way or the other, I was just worried about the producers rushing a production that may not have been ready with the sudden change. That being said, I have to say that I think she fits the part really well. I find her totally believable as both the tough-as-nails cops, but also the soft woman underneath. That isn’t always easy to pull off. (Although I thought Kim So Yeon did it better in IRIS, but I am biased towards her!) I also am really digging her chemistry with Lee Junki, although a lot of the time it seems to come off as more sibling like than romantic. But, this is only the fourth episode, so that could change!