Drama Recaps
Bad Guy: Episode 6
by | July 7, 2010 | 52 Comments

Switcheroo this week — I’ll do 6, and girlfriday takes on 7.

Bad Guy continues to fly under the radar, which is sort of a shame — not because it’s better than some shows that are getting better ratings (that’s always going to happen to somebody), but because SBS has really knocked this one around. If ever a show was set up to fail, it’s this one — and that’s too bad, because at its height it was bringing in a 15% rating, which in this day and age is a pretty solid number. I’ve noticed my own interest in the drama becoming an afterthought, which isn’t due to a lack of enjoyment but because I’ve gotten in the habit of NOT having a show to watch.

(On the other hand, it’s not a show that is SO good that I feel that guilty about that; if it were a work of genius I’d probably feel pained at its plight.)


Bad Guy OST – “슬픈여자” (Sad woman) by Seo Yoon [ Download ]

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Ditched by an impatient Ryu-sensei (who has no time for the squabbling between the two Koreans over his glass mask), Jae-in and Tae-sung find themselves stranded on the road.

Jae-in is more annoyed than Tae-sung, who at least finds some humor in the moment (mostly at her expense), but the cold soon has them both shivering and looking for help. He goads her to call her buddy Gun-wook, but she’s already tried; he’s not picking up the phone.

Jae-in wonders why Tae-sung wants the mask, and he asks her the same thing. She answers that “someone I really respect is opening a museum,” and she’s putting together the exhibits. At mention of his cold stepmother, Tae-sung’s mood sours and he says vaguely that she’s “not all that.” Assuming that he’s judging Madam Shin unfairly, Jae-in jumps to her defense and tells him not to talk when he obviously doesn’t know anything. Do you taste those words, Jae-in? You’ll be eating them soon.

Back in Korea, the two stymied cops look into the Other Tae-sung’s school records, only to find that there’s no photo of the child here, either. That’s because Tae-sung #2 only attended the school for six months before he’d disappeared as a truant. Dead end.

Tae-sung calls Gun-wook on the sly (to avoid Jae-in’s suspicion), ordering him to go to Ryu-sensei’s studio to find out where they’ve been stranded, then come pick them up. Yet Gun-wook is clearly up to something, and blatantly ignores all subsequent phone calls. Instead, he takes care of a few of his own matters in a leisurely fashion, continuing his “research” into the Haeshin Group family.

After killing some time that way, he takes his sweet time moseying over to Ryu’s studio, where the latter assumes that he’s Jae-in’s boyfriend. Laughing, Ryu informs him that he just left his woman with another man. Gun-wook doesn’t correct him and lets him think he is the boyfriend, but rather than display concern, he asks about the glass mask.

Seriously, if I were Ryu-sensei, I’d be pretty perplexed (okay, irritated) with all these strangers swooping in from another country, pestering me repeatedly, and squabbling over my mask. But I suppose the gifts of soju make everything better. Hey, I get that.

I suppose he senses something in Gun-wook that he likes — Gun-wook has got an interesting air and he’s not as demanding as the other two. Ryu asks for his thoughts on the glass mask, pointing out the contradiction of making something meant to cover a face out of a transparent material.

Gun-wook scores some points by repeating some of Jae-in’s words about art being made for the artist to treasure. Therefore, a different way to look at the piece is that a person who works only with glass would have made a glass mask as a way of treasuring it.

He asks whose face is in the mask, and the question startles Ryu — like he wasn’t expecting Gun-wook to get to the heart of the matter so sharply.

With Gun-wook making no haste to find them, Jae-in and Tae-sung tramp across snowfields to seek shelter at some kind of shed. They sit in the cold, while Tae-sung twists open one of the bottles of Jae-in’s soju (meant for Ryu-sensei) to warm up with liquor.

A truck rumbles by, and Jae-in runs up to beg a ride of the driver. As she does, her phrasing is eerily similar to another incident in Tae-sung’s past — he flashes back to the first time he met Sun-young, when she had hitched a ride with him.

They’d been in Japan, and Tae-sung had commented that a woman hitching a ride with a man is sending risky signals. Sun-young, however, hadn’t been too worried and accepted the ride, perking up when Tae-sung muttered to himself in Korean, happy to run into a fellow countryman.

The two hitchhikers huddle in the back of the truck, taking swigs of soju as Gun-wook drives behind them at a distance, keeping an eye on them. As he drives, he thinks back to Jae-in’s words — how she angrily admitted that she almost liked him — and how they started to bond.

What’s your game, dude? Clearly he has no intention of helping, and he’s taking some half-assed actions to cover his tracks so that Tae-sung doesn’t catch on to his hidden agenda. But what’s the point of this? To make him suffer a day of cold? Given Gun-wook’s ultimate plan to orchestrate the grand demise of the Hong family, this seems like small potatoes.

The truck takes the pair to town, where they warm up at the hot springs with tea. Tae-sung grabs Jae-in’s forgotten scarf and returns it to her, a brief hint of flirtation in the air (on his side.) Now that they’re comfortable again, he’s satisfied with this scenario and being in Jae-in’s company for the evening. Enough so that when Gun-wook finally calls — claiming that he has been looking everywhere for them — Tae-sung dismisses him for the day.

So Gun-wook settles back for a dip in the hot springs, ignoring yet another phone call — this time from his druggie contact. And here I’m thinking, Dude, don’t piss off your lackey. Your unstable, unpredictable, easily excitable hired henchman is not on your side, bro.

And no, neglected lackey does not take his neglect well.

Tae-ra gets ready for a rare event — her husband is joining her for a real family dinner, for once. Mo-nae storms into the place, fuming and accusatory. How dare her sister and mother conspire to send her abroad to America? She overheard her mother talking about it, and Mo-nae doesn’t buy for a second Tae-ra’s lame excuse that it’s merely supposed to be a sisterly bonding trip.

Seems like the Hongs are going about the Mo-nae thing all wrong. Sending Gun-wook to Tae-sung seemed like a shrewd move, and might have worked if he wasn’t actually out for revenge. But this? This is classic Shakespearean blunder, Mom and Dad. What, haven’t you read Romeo and Juliet? Or seen the movie? Psst: It does not end well for your little princess. Granted, the Romeo and Juliet scenario isn’t complete without Romeo’s active participation in the romance, but Mo-nae’s brimming over with enough youthful, er, passion (read: foolishness) for the both of them.

Mo-nae hits Tae-ra where it hurts, challenging her, “Do you even know what love is?” Does the fact that Big Sis married without love mean that Mo-nae has to, too? She asks Tae-ra point-blank whether she loves her husband. Tae-ra is spared from answering that uncomfortable question by the arrival of her husband.

(Ironically, it seems like Tae-ra might have even grown to love her husband if only he paid her some attention. He greets her pleasantly, and when she’s asked about him by other people, Tae-ra always hesitates, like it bothers her that she’s in a marriage of convenience. She does care that her marriage is a farce; if she were perfectly fine with it, this shouldn’t upset her.)

Mo-nae storms out and vows that she’ll marry Gun-wook, no matter what.

At the resort, Jae-in relaxes in the hot spring while chatting with her sister, and her voice carries over to the men’s baths, where Tae-sung listens in amusement. Gun-wook also overhears, and while the conversation isn’t highly illuminating, she is much more relaxed and free with Won-in than she is with either of them.

There’s an undercurrent with Gun-wook in this scene, as he looks at Jae-in as though he’s disappointed or rueful — perhaps in the way their paths are going to be diverging, or running contrary to one another? More on that in the comments section.

Tae-sung sends Gun-wook to retrieve his wallet, which he dropped yesterday at the shed. Wordlessly, Gun-wook complies.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing at the Hong mansion, because Mo-nae didn’t come home last night. Tae-ra tells her mother about Mo-nae’s outburst at being sent away, and offers to check all the usual spots to find her sister.

Madam Shin asks Tae-ra what’s going on with her husband these days, because he apparently met with her father about money matters. She speculates that his father, who was mounting a business enterprise, must have run into trouble, but wonders at Tae-ra’s lack of knowledge about any of this. Doesn’t she talk with her husband? You know your marriage is in trouble when your ice-queen socialite of a mother who entered into her own political chaebol marriage finds yours surprisingly distant.

As it turns out, Mo-nae is easily tracked to the hotel suite where she checked in the prior night. Tae-ra shows up to bring her sister home, and is not greeted with warmth. Little Sis declares that she’s off to Japan to meet her Gun-wook oppa, to which Tae-ra grabs her wallet and takes her money and credit cards, forcing her compliance.

Back in Japan, Gun-wook finds Tae-sung’s dropped wallet. As the location is close to the studio, Ryu-sensei spots him, and the two men end up taking a trip to a graveyard. He must assume that Gun-wook is here on Jae-in’s behalf, and he leads him to a particular grave, where a box houses the glass mask.

Taking it out, Ryu now explains that this is the grave of the person whose face is captured in the mask. Peering through the glass, he wonders, “If I wear this, could I see the world she saw?”

Looks like Ryu-sensei’s got his own tragic love story, because just then another man pauses a distance away, bearing flowers. He’s clearly on his way to the same grave, and the two men recognize each other.

Being in the cemetery reminds Gun-wook of Sun-young’s death, and he watches everything with his usual impassive stare. He asks Ryu who that man was, and the answer is the expected one: he’s the man that the woman (of the glass mask) loved.

Ryu philosophizes that when you’re in love, the world only exists for the one you love. That means the mask only allowed her to see the one she loved. How… tragic?

(It’s a nicely melancholic sentiment and I quite like the actor who plays Ryu, but the tragedy of the glass mask is purely cerebral. His love triangle story is shorthand for romantic tragedy, so I recognize what feelings it’s meant to evoke without actually feeling them.)

But thankfully, the drama has other tragic beats that are far more effective, and the following is a shining highlight of the episode.

Jae-in heads out to see Ryu-sensei again about the mask, but she is told to return later in the afternoon and therefore spends the day killing time. When she spots Tae-sung heading out on his own errand, she assumes he must be after the mask as well, and tags along in order to keep from being outmaneuvered. Tae-sung doesn’t correct her misconception, and she follows him to a small udon restaurant, wondering where Ryu is.

Unlike before when he found amusement in messing with Jae-in, today Tae-sung is in a darker mood, and locked up in his own thoughts.

He sits at the counter and steals glances at the middle-aged lady working behind the counter. A flashback identifies this as his mother — the mother he’d lived with before he was taken to live with the Hongs. Like Gun-wook, Tae-sung had also had his own family prior to being uprooted and was fiercely opposed to leaving his old family behind. In order to get him to agree to leave, his mother had promised to come for him, but clearly she never did.

His mother peers over at him but doesn’t recognize him, and Tae-sung averts his glance into his bowl of noodles to keep from staring at her too intently. But the emotion overwhelms him and he can’t stop himself from bursting into tears, and he rushes outside to vomit in the alley.

Jae-in follows him outside and asks if he’s okay. The udon lady also looks out at them quizzically, and Tae-sung sees her standing there. As though desperate to keep his identity hidden and to allay suspicion, Tae-sung grabs Jae-in to him. This appeases the woman’s curiosity — they look like a simple couple hugging — so she returns to the store, and Tae-sung asks Jae-in to confirm that the woman has left before letting her go.

Tae-sung thanks Jae-in with sincerity, but she’s utterly bewildered and has no idea what just happened. He walks off, leaving her puzzling over his odd behavior.

Next, Jae-in returns to Ryu’s studio, where she learns that he already gave the mask to her friend. It’s now in Gun-wook’s possession, and as he contemplates the mask, we wonder — who will he give it to now?

Mo-nae sneaks out of her house only to be immediately accosted by the two detectives. They ask for Tae-sung’s phone number in Japan, but she doesn’t have it. Remembering that Gun-wook is with him, she dials his number instead, and is thrilled when he answers the phone (for once!).

One cop urges her to give him the phone right away, so she reluctantly hands it over. At the request to speak with Tae-sung, Gun-wook hands over his phone.

The cop explains that they’ve reopened the investigation of Sun-young’s death and have a few follow-up questions for him. Tae-sung is in no mood to humor them so he says in annoyance, “It’s all my fault, so what’s to investigate?” and hangs up.

The cop is left with a dead line, and I have to say I get a kick out of the single-mindedly pissy reaction of Mo-nae. When she can’t get Gun-wook to pick up the phone again, she all but stamps her feet in frustration.

This means that Gun-wook’s phone rings incessantly on his end, and Tae-sung picks up to yell that he has nothing more to say to them.

But to his surprise, the voice on the other end isn’t the cop but a man who drawls in Japanese, “Finally, you pick up.” It’s Gun-wook’s lackey, who has been trying to call him all day but who has gone unanswered. Seriously, dude, you shoulda just answered your damn phone.

Immediately suspicious, Tae-sung orders Gun-wook to pull over. The lackey is following behind them, and also pulls to a stop by the side of the road. The guy peers closer at their car, which Gun-wook steps out of while Tae-sung takes his call, and recognizes him, saying, “Hey, you look like that guy who went overboard.”

Now Tae-sung realizes that this is the guy who sold him fake drugs, and demands to know why he’s calling Gun-wook’s phone. What’s their relationship? What does he want? To which the lackey laughs in his maniacal way, answering that he wants money.

Tae-sung gets out of the car and approaches Gun-wook, who stands on the bridge, and as he draws near, he flashes back to the brief glimpse of his underwater attacker. Suspicious, Tae-sung asks him to confirm when he came to Japan, and whether he really came here because of Mo-nae. Hearing that he used to be a stuntman, Tae-sung deduces, “So you must know how to swim. That was you in the ocean, wasn’t it? I’ll give you the chance now. Kill me.”

Gun-wook doesn’t react, so Tae-sung shouts louder, “Now that I tell you face to face to kill me, are you scared? Try and kill me!”

But instead of attacking Tae-sung, Gun-wook lunges for a figure behind him — the druggie, who is now approaching from behind. The druggie laughs that Gun-wook’s game is over now, and they engage in a fistfight.

Somehow the fight morphs into a three-way fight where all three are fighting on different sides. Tae-sung is shoved to the side as Gun-wook attacks the druggie, but he sees with shock that the man grabs a shard of ice to use as a weapon. He plunges the ice into Gun-wook’s abdomen, which breaks the skin but doesn’t loosen Gun-wook’s grip. He growls that the druggie had better disappear if he doesn’t want to die, and the druggie runs off.

Tae-sung is confused, but the fight has mollified his anger toward Gun-wook, since it makes it seem that they aren’t working together. Gun-wook explains that the guy had contacted him by saying he could offer Tae-sung more drugs, and Gun-wook had turned him down.

Disappointingly (for us), Tae-sung buys that explanation, and even feels a little guilty for jumping to (the right) conclusions. The men limp back to their cars and head back to the hotel, where Jae-in sees them both arrive. Gun-wook is more injured than Tae-sung but he keeps his stab wound hidden, and Jae-in helps Tae-sung up to his room, where he collapses on his couch.

Tae-sung pretty much passes out, and Jae-in spies the glass mask in the room just as Mo-nae calls. She asks about Gun-wook, wondering if Jae-in has managed to run into him, since he was sent to work for Tae-sung.

It’s only now that Jae-in realizes that this is, in fact, the Haeshin Group heir, and looks at the sleeping Tae-sung in a new light. Now she recalls their introduction, and how he had given her his real name, although he let her believe that it was just mere coincidence. She also remembers that Tae-sung had told her that his reason for wanting the mask was as an act of rebellion — so this must be Madam Shin’s son.

With this revelation comes the realization that Gun-wook, then, had also been lying to her by going along with her misconception. She confronts him in his room to demand to know why he never told her.

He reminds her that she was told his name, pointing out, “Now you must see him in a special light. Now that he’s a chaebol’s son, he must look grand. Have you fallen for him?”

Jae-in takes issue to his insinuation that she’s angling after Tae-sung as a gold-digger. She retorts that yes, she admired that house, and envied their money. It was natural for her to feel curious after finding out that they had an unmarried son. Gun-wook replies that she seems to have passed beyond curiosity, and brings up her behavior toward him when she thought he was Tae-sung.

Jae-in hears the unspoken threat there and asks if he told the truth to Tae-sung. He remains maddeningly silent, so she asks him not to tell, then leaves. As she makes her exit, the skyline erupts into a display of fireworks, which seem to be a recurring motif in this drama. What could they mean, other than giving us a point of dissonance between the romance of the lights and the uneasiness of the scenes they decorate.

Gun-wook grabs his injured side in pain — symbolic, or just coincidental? — but doesn’t let on that he’s hurt.

In the morning, they cross paths in the courtyard of the resort, and Gun-wook passes by silently. She speaks up first to say that she’s leaving for home, and asks if he plans to return as well.

He says that he quit his stuntman job — he runs Tae-sung’s errands now. That news doesn’t sit well with her, and she calls after him to stop his departure, but changes her mind and tells him, “Never mind.”

Gun-wook walks off on his errand, and she leaves in the other direction.

Meanwhile, Tae-sung awakens in his room to find a note that Jae-in has left for him. It congratulates him for acquiring the mask, and advises that “rebellion should be done face to face.” It’s her way of encouraging him to face his opponent in person, and he smiles to read the note.

Now in a more receptive frame of mind, Tae-sung thinks back to the cops’ investigation and now calls Mo-nae to ask for their number.

As for Gun-wook, he sits in a sullen mood in Ryu’s glass-working studio, thinking of Sun-young’s death.


There’s no doubt that Kim Nam-gil is a good actor with screen presence, but I’m still finding Gun-wook a tough nut to crack. I wish there were a way to get past that mask of impassivity Gun-wook wears — I don’t have to sympathize with him, or like him, or even understand him completely. But I have to be able to follow his logic, even just a little, or else he leaves me completely lost and confused.

Why is he toying with Tae-sung in petty, meaningless ways like taking his time leaving them out in the snow for an afternoon? What does he want from Jae-in? Why does he keep ignoring his phone?

That last issue — his phone-ignoring habit — even makes it difficult for me to feel tension when he encounters his first hitch in this episode, which would otherwise be a much-needed twist of events. Gun-wook has been playing invincible puppetmaster for too long, and I welcome the complication when Tae-sung almost finds out the truth. But then he makes up a story on the fly, and Tae-sung — who had until then suspected him of trying to drown him — just shrugs and accepts that answer. Poof, dramatic tension gone.

The only moments when he shows some hint at deeper feeling are the scenes where he looks almost-maybe-kinda conflicted about Jae-in, but the problem with those is that I don’t feel any romantic chemistry there, so I don’t believe that he has any genuine emotion for her. For instance, there was a somewhat out-of-place flashback in this episode, when Gun-wook had followed Jae-in to a high-end store as she shopped for a replacement purse. She declines the purchase because it’s too rich for her blood, and it’s like he finds a point of connection in that. He gazes at Jae-in with such loaded meaning at times, only I don’t know what that meaning actually is.

(Sidebar: Note that her bag is a real designer brand, so she’s the kind of woman who appreciates the real thing, but has to scrimp for ages to afford it. I suppose she needs to appear more well-off than she actually is because she is constantly working around super-rich types like Madam Shin so it’s a sort of investment into her own image, but I also think she aspires to a grander lifestyle than she can afford. It’s what happens when you are privy to that lifestyle but aren’t a part of it yourself. I can see how Gun-wook might understand her on that point.)

On the other hand, I love what an emotional wreck Tae-sung is. In one way he’s the complete opposite of Gun-wook, in that his vulnerability is available for us to see front and center. But he’s also got a mean, violent streak running through him, and their childhoods share striking similarities, which makes them quite alike in other regards. But whereas Gun-wook is TOO polished, too wrapped up with a tightly controlled bow, Tae-sung is a bundle of nerves. The scene where he cries into his food is just raw and striking, and I love it.


52 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. lauren

    this episode was great! i agree with you about the noodles scene.
    great recap!
    first ^^

  2. Jenn

    Thanks JB for this recap! Been looking forward to it for the whole week 🙂

    I hope this show won’t really be going downhill anymore because I’m really enjoying reading these recaps (don’t have the patience to watch an hour+ drama) and I really appreciate yours and GF’s recaps.

  3. lzksdjfasdf

    thanks javabeans 🙂
    that cleared up a lot of stuff
    it’s just my personal preference, but i like your recaps better than girlfriday’s.

  4. pat

    Jae in feels like a plot device to me more than a person. Gotta have a triangle and heroine, but I can not care about her at all. Rather watch the two men tangle
    and the Hongs blow up one by one. I find KNG fascinating while
    doing nothing, (can’t help it) . I love the music, not so much the many flashbacks,
    but I still have hope this drama won’t be a hot mess, which still could happen. So gonna miss the man to the army (crying….)

  5. lemonzao

    I still love the drama no matter what the ratings are.

  6. JohnC

    What a difference a great soundtrack makes. Not being rude but it sounds like it wasn’t done in Korea………I know the language is Korean. If soundtracks CAN be this good and made in Korea by Korean artists then why are they so often reprehensible?
    On the other hand because of Girl Friday’s suggestion my wife and I are watching “Hello Teacher” and the music makes me want to kill myself……….and other people.
    How can a team of people……presumably artistic types……..be utterly bereft of taste.
    How can you destroy the vision with the soundtrack and actually have a room full of film makers not know it?

  7. xiaoSxin

    oohhh ME TOO JAVABEANS!!!

    I also have gotten in the habit of NOT having a show to watch in the past few months.. well I watch Coffee House right now and followed Cinderella’s Sister prior to that but the feeling is different.. but there is no intensity to my drama cravings as compared in… 2007?

  8. Nuts

    My problem with the show so far is Gun Wook , the main character is impassive. I am not feeling hate towards him for being the bad guy or feeling sorry for him for the suffering he got as a child. All the female characters are so stereotyped. There is not much depth to the characters. So far the story is so-so.

  9. Natalia

    Thanks so much for the recap! I never get sick of reading all the little dissections of major scenes. I think I went through withdraw for the two long weeks waiting for Bad Guy, since that is the main drama I am currently watching. The noodle scene was my favorite scene this episode it really hits the heart like when Tae-Sung told Madam Shin that he was sick. I’m kind of lost with Gun-Wook as well I just want to see a peek to give me a little insight of his logic to why he gives all these long stares and other things. I just hope they start to make this drama a bit logical (if that is the right word)? Still digging the music and obvious stud muffin, Kim Jae Wook. I’m really happy that I get to see KJW act as somebody else besides a pretty boy. I’m really looking forward to episode 8 and 9.

  10. 10 tm

    I understand how you feel, jb. its like in the beginning i’ve been anticipating and will always rush to see the drama, but after this world cup thingy and sbs postponed the drama, its not that the interest for this drama subsided, its… i’d got used to not watching dramas at this timing slot. there had been far more activities i could do at this timing at night.

    anyways good recap of the episode. i’d not watched this drama and coffee house ever since the postponement started. nevertheless i like bad guy and coffee house, they are good. but.. i’d need some time to catch them back. hahaha.

  11. 11 Ani

    Hoping… Just hoping for the best for this drama.

  12. 12 ripgal

    Totally spot on on GW’s flashback of Jae In wanting to buy the designer bag. It was really like WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? So totally random.

    I agree with you to a certain degree on GW. He was all about revenge and all in the beginning, but I actually fail or cannot see how’s really doing anything about it. It’s like he’s taking his own sweet time (or maybe that’s how he wants to do it), and actually plays along when something happens. If nothing happens, like if he never meets TR or MN, he’ll never do anything to them. Out of sight out of mind. Which makes the drama a tad boring because all he’s doing is just merely waiting for them to approach him.

    Don’t feel any romantic chemistry between GW and JI either. No sparks at all. If JI was supposed to be the romantic interest, then I’m failing to see anything. I hope they’re able to step up this part of the story more, be in in terms of writing or acting, or else I’ll be wishing for more TS/JI scenes instead.

    No hope for GW and TR, but I love their silent blazing sexual tension. No love but lust and desire. At least it makes me want to watch them together more.

  13. 13 winnie

    I wanted to slam my head against the desk in frustration when TS bought GW’s story about the Japanese drug dealer. Seriously? And I thought we were finally going to get a kink in GW’s plans.

  14. 14 shirubanger

    i totally agree, i love the noodle scene, that was just really tragic. i felt more sorry towards tae sung than gun wook. and about the chemistry between the main characters, i just don’t see it. i’m thinking gun wook and jae in’s relationship is more based on sympathy. i see more chemistry between tae ra and gun wook, every time they are on a scene together, it just kills me~ or maybe it’s because they are such great actors? lol! i think i prefer tae sung and jae in together. anyways, gun wook and tae sung, i love their relationship. they are like frienemies, it’s interesting. i can’t wait to see more of this drama 🙂

  15. 15 spuf

    I want to like this; I really do. But this show feels like it could be summarized into a 2-3 hour feature-length film.

    What keeps me vaguely interested are the cinematic techniques expressed in the show, though despite how wonderfully they’re used, the artsy sequences feel a bit calculated. And I suspect that it’s because of the uncertainty I have with the plot and the characterization. Had certain motivations for revenge been more clear, perhaps I would have embraced them as a rewarding experience…

    Anyway, I’m really glad you had all these questions about Gun-wook! The character is confusing and he was the first problem that drove me away. Excellent recap!

  16. 16 Q

    I’m just dying to know

  17. 17 Q

    … Know what GW is actually thinking. Maybe he’s deliberately pushing JI and TS together (which would explain the entire day wasted letting them make their own way back to town) so he can break TS’s heart for the second time when he snatches JI away from him! In this case, the loaded looks he keeps giving her could be guilt or shame rather than affection, since he fears the situation might end up like it did with sun young. Personally, I much prefer the JI-TS duo – she’s always there when he is at his weakest. Maybe this has been specifically engineered by GW? Love will blossom from pity sooner or later (at least, in k-drama land it will).

    Anyway, thank you so much for the recap (my connection is on dial-up speed until the 15th so I am utterly dependent on your recaps to keep me going lol);
    looking forward to ep 7!

  18. 18 girlfriday

    “You know your marriage is in trouble when your ice-queen socialite of a mother who entered into her own political chaebol marriage finds yours surprisingly distant.”


  19. 19 Qwenli

    #18: “You know your marriage is in trouble when your ice-queen socialite of a mother who entered into her own political chaebol marriage finds yours surprisingly distant.”

    That is so spot on!!

    Yeah agree with JB that this show was set up to fail. I really feel sorry for Kim Nam Gil and Han Ga In. Especially Han Ga In whose last show was already a flop.

    My own interest in the show has waned too, somehow after a long while of not watching, I find GW’s angst too moody and too much.

  20. 20 belleza

    Absolutely love this show. In fact, I’m surprised the screenwriter isn’t Japanese, because a lot of the characters are being moved around like chess piece, and the situations are being written as if it were J-dorama. Characterization in J-doramas, even really good ones, can be very linear, merely a sum of all the choices. You get used to the mechanical perfection that follows the moves and speeches especially from the male leads; it’s not an antihero canonization, just that the “plot point” has to be delivered succintly and with enough discrete modularity as to connect the next plot point.

    A classic motif in renzoku is the cognitive dissonance between intent and mannerisms, whether it’s the protocol of the family proper or the ambitions of the heroine. And usually ambitious women are thoroughly punished in renzoku (Nippon sexism?) Jae-in is written closely in that fashion, and I love it. Her process of rationalizing and humiliation in Episode 7 becomes that episode’s theme and denouement.


    “What a difference a great soundtrack makes. Not being rude but it sounds like it wasn’t done in Korea………”

    A lot of the music motifs are consistent with Lee Hyung Min’s other dramas. I imagine they’re using the same composer, who has also done MiSa, Snow Queen, Beethoven Virus, Fashion 70s, etc.

  21. 21 LaLaLaLa

    I really liked this episode but I think I loved the 7th one more. It was just so deep and meaningful. Sexy in a way as well. Kim Jae Wook is by far a great actor and so is Kim Nam Gil. Though I like Kim Jae Wook a lot more in this drama because of him being an emotional wreck. It adds to the story so perfectly…

  22. 22 six

    I don’t really love this show, don’t really adore the casting, don’t really like the storyline and don’t understand most of Gun Wook’s attitude but I still following this drama,lol

  23. 23 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks Javabeans for the recap…as always, I enjoyed it.

    I am still trying to figure gunwook out and every episode I am left with wanting more. I just really hope that the writers will justify what Gunwook’s character is doing and not left us with ……..is that all? (more or less what I feel with CS ending)…

    Kim Nan Gil I admit is the reason why I watch this…he is just amazing…and HOT..there I said it. lol……

  24. 24 supah

    Had I not been watching this show live and consuming it in smaller, tentative portions but rather just marathoned it in one or two sittings I would have been all enamored and starry-eyed about it. Frankly, I’m really enjoying this. It’s something I’d rather not dissect but just let it sweep me away.
    I like that Gun-wook is very unreadable (I like him, period), I like the little intimate bonding moments between GW and Jae-in. It doesn’t have to be romantic one (yet!) but they definitely share a warm bond which is showcased with a kind of subtlety that I really appreciate.

  25. 25 stee

    Thanks a bunch for the recap! I was becoming worried that you’ve grown tired of it or lost interest and are thinking of ditching the drama. Glad to see it’s not so 🙂
    Loving this drama! Can’t wait for the next episodes. I somehow like it more and more with each episode. I think the soundtrack is indeed one of the reasons, for it adds perfectly to the overall atmosphere of this drama that I like so much. Coffee House is a great example of how important the soundtrack is – some overly dramatic, annoying songs just frustrate me so much that I’ve wanted to turn the sound off at times. Subtle music has always been so much better.
    Well, enough about that. Anticipating for what’s ahead for Bad Guy, hopefully it won’t disappoint in the latter episodes. Sad about the ratings, they deserve more, in my opinion.

  26. 26 Estelle

    I find it funny that so many people don’t think there’s any romantic tension between JI and GW. I might be delusional but I’ve always felt that he was extremely attracted to her almost from the start. I feel the chemistry between them. And the TR/GW storyline actually leaves me cold. I know I’m supposed to feel there’s sexual tension there but I feel nothing.

    We’re basically in the dark regarding his intentions toward JI but this is how I read it: Although GW might be a cold, unemotional man when it comes to his revenge, his real personality is not like that. He seems open and almost vulnerable at times, like when he played with the kids, in the flashbacks with his Noona and with WI. It’s like he’s two very different persons.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if he felt unworthy of love. In JI, he might be seeing someone a bit like him. Someone he could love and who would love him in return without judging him. But he’s too caught up in his revenge to act on his feelings. He reminds me a bit of the main character in the excellent drama Mawang who was crazy in love with the heroine but couldn’t step out of his dark tunel in the end.

    Anyway, thank you for this recap. I’m so glad you girls are doing this drama. It’s my favorite 2010 drama after Chuno. I hope it won’t go off the deep end in toward the end.

  27. 27 Belva

    Thanks for the recap! Been waiting for it 🙂

    I love the “unstable, unpredictable, easily excitable hired henchman” of GW! But I can’t help thinking that my favourite actor Kubozuka Yosuke will pull that role off just as well or even better. It would be a dream come true for me to see my 2 beloved actors in the same drama.

    After seeing the flashback of SY hitching a ride, I’m thinking it is part of the reason why TS drives around asking girls to get in his car. Somehow he wants to find that familiarity in the situation. And GW has something like this too in the later ep. I think it may be the comfort he received from the candy the lady butler gave him when he was a kid in the Hong family that made him keep eating those sweet stuff (lollipop, gum, ice cream) now. I’ve read somewhere before that it’s a psychological thing when some people crave for sweet stuff to lift their mood, that because it is what they received from their parents in their childhood days (like when they cry etc.).

    I was confused of the flashback of JI in the high-end store at first, but after re watching I think it is because of what JI said when she was on the phone with her sister. The flashback happens at that point. So I guess it is to tell us that GW knows that JI is not rich, cannot afford luxury, that she is not in the situation she described to her sister (enjoying the hot spring and wonders of travelling in Japan).

    As for GW toward JI, I agree with Q, that GW is giving JI and TS time to bond and all (as part of his plans to make use of JI in the future?). Also that GW sees SY in JI, just like TS did. So the look GW gives her could be guilt together with sympathy. He might also feel a little protective of JI like he might have towards SY in the past. Which might explain his reluctance to incorporate JI in his plans (wanting to drive her off the idea of hooking HTS by teaching her a lesson, asking why must it be HTS she wants to hook up with, not telling her HTS is in fact THAT HTS). We can see that he is not all that enthusiastic about using JI in his revenge, but he doesn’t stop it either.

  28. 28 momosan

    @20 belleza

    Well, it is a joint Korea/Japan production. My own opinion is that it’s being shot in a very renzuko manner, yet the story is more k-drama, so it’s giving a weird vibe of styles. The shots are being held longer, there’s a lot of still framing. Along with reminding me of Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi at the beginning, it’s now giving odd vibes of Shinzanmono (from the multiple POV, hidden back stories, etc…good series, just finished watching it ) and (weirdly) Liar Game.

    I’m watching Bad Guy, and really enjoying it – this being one of my favorite genres I think it’s good but not great. Like everyone else, I got out of the habit of waiting for it to air on W/Th-s. Poor Bad Guy – shafted every which way by SBS.

  29. 29 saranga

    i like this drama the best. coffee house i find myself skimming through, but this one i sit and watch all the way. sometimes i think the suspense/mystery is overdone, but maybe it will all end up making sense in the end. love kim jaewook

    some stuff i don’t like: monae’s character is starting to irritate me. or maybe it’s the actress? lol she’s good, but her voice can get shrill and she had a lot of yelling scenes here. so just a minor thing. the sepia tones also kind of tire me out; sometimes i find myself wanting just a clear picture. and lastly, the way the camera focuses on random objects, like gunwook’s fingers or a cup of coffee. i don’t know what is more overdone here, mystery or “artsy.” i understand and appreciate some of these close-ups, but some just feel excessive. add the sepia tones and i feel that the drama is trying too hard sometimes. but the drama has a great cast, which allows me to look past these issues more easily than i might have otherwise

    i think (i don’t know) that this drama is focusing on portraying the good and bad, light and dark tendencies of all these characters. like with jae-in, we see both ugly and good. she may have gold-digger… leanings, but she’s actually just quite curious about and wistful of the lives of the wealthy people that she works around. she tries to mask this curiosity out of an awareness for, i don’t know, good taste? not to appear unseemly? i think this is an honest portrayal of human nature. and we get to see that she’s a pure person, with her heart in the right place.

    same for all the other characters. monae might not be as jaded and cynical as her mother and sister, but we see glimpses of her self-centered ways. she’s happy natured, but also spoiled and selfish and can be somewhat of a brat, without being the typical petty/nasty rich girl we usually see in dramas. i could go on…

  30. 30 starletbang

    Gosh I don’t know who I love more. Tae Sung or Gun Wook. They’re both sexy as hell and I can’t stop sympathizing for both

  31. 31 sajor

    i’d like monae’s character to develop further.. there’s the potential, i.e. become a more worthy competition for GW and not just the stereotyped spoiled-rich girl used only as a means to one’s end and where her only claims lie in her being rich, young, and beautiful. it wouldn’t matter much even if in the end she doesn’t get her object (in this case, GW) as long as she, at the very least, was able to attract someone, say, through her values. for that it wouldn’t also matter how foolish she may have become – being young has its excuses after all .

  32. 32 Calamityjanedoe

    Truly enjoy this drama, but wish there were a relatable female character! I’m on the fence about Jae-in–I like the fact that she’s tough, but I would be able to empathize with her more if she were less of a gold-digger. I thought her self-proclaimed humiliating experience with Gun-wook (when they initially met as a result of her mistaking him for a chaebol) would have matured her, but she hasn’t changed at all!

  33. 33 Buki

    I still don’t understand why GW is involving jae-in in his revenge plot. If he really cared about her, he would make sure she doesn’t get involved with TS. I guess she’s just a causality of the “war.” But, like you said JB in your podcast, I’m having trouble with GW revenge being centered on the children who are less guilty if at all. Monae was just a baby at the time, TS is clearly messed up, and the older daughter is also unhappy.

  34. 34 Belva

    Actually don’t you guys think the lack of reasons for revenge also makes GW more of a bad guy? It’s like he doesn’t care if the Hongs are already unhappy now, or that what they did was not to intentionally harm him in anyway, but just for their own interest. He just wants to break up this family and make them suffer. Period.

    But ep 8 shed a new light and hint at a twist to the reasons for his revenge (provided he knows about it). So for those having trouble with the logic behind GW revenge, do look forward for some twist. As I’m 100% certain there’s one after seeing ep 8 🙂

  35. 35 mizweng

    Am so impressed with the two main lead guys…not only that they look both sexy and hot but they also have commanding presence onscreen. Although a lot seems questionable with Gunwook’s reasons why he did those things to Taesung (I totally agree with you JB), still we can’t deny that KNG has portrayed his role well. I think the problem lies with the character and not on the way its being acted upon…hmmm am I making sense?

    Same goes to the superb acting of AJW as Taesung…

    As for HGI as Jae In…hmmmm maybe there is more to come with her character where she can show us more depth with her acting…But I should say that she definitely is one of the loveliest face in Korean entertainment industry!!!

    As a whole, I still got faith in the drama…Am hoping to see better episodes to come… Team BAD GUY…FIGHTING!!!

  36. 36 asianromance

    thank you for the recap! Though it was hard following the logic for some things, a lot of the scenes really caught my attention, especially the ones with Taesung in it. Kim Jae Wook is really more than just a pretty boy!

  37. 37 supah

    Thought I’d share this MV with Bidam and Bad Guy fans, it’s kinda funny.

  38. 38 LadyIgraine

    Is it just me or ep. 6 kind of suck in the final scene?! I was rather frustrated with the whole revelation between Jae In and Gun Wook, after finding out that he was actually chaeuffering Tae Sung. I don’t know if I wanna see the rest of the episodes anymore. Its starting to go downhill for me! I love Kim Nam Gil, but I think the writers are swaying downwards.

  39. 39 Jenny

    Thanks dramabeans for the recap,
    I found GW character confusing and his revenge not very logic at times. Therefore, I still have trouble connecting to GW. Can’t really read his mind, his reasons behind doing things, his undeveloped and not really logic feelings toward JI. I think, this has to do mostly with the script writer and maybe KNG is confused himself. The story keeps on changing and very confusing. Yeah, can’t feel the chemistry between GW+JI. On the other hand, HTS is very straight forward, we know what character he’s look ie. destructive and rebellious therefore we can understand all his actions.

  40. 40 asherlev1

    I adore Tae-Sung to bits. I honestly just want to adopt him and give him a good hug.

    Also: Eh, Jae-In. Lol, she could have been any other actress, as far as I’m concerned.

    Still loving Tae-Ra/Gun-Wook the most – for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that their make-out session was smoking hot. I hope the preview kiss is actually real and not another imagination session.

    Lol, kdramas are so chaste sometimes. It’s nice to see BG shaking things up a little.

  41. 41 asherlev1

    Haha, starletbang. Well said.

  42. 42 dramafan88

    I love the real Tae Sung’s character! And I really want Tae Sung and Jae In to be together – I think Jae In is good for him.

    Right now – I dont hate or love Gun Wook – although he is suppose to be the bad guy but I don’t feel anything for him. He seems more like the supporting actor where I’m ok if he dies – I won’t really miss him. Well maybe his good looks I’ll miss. 😛

    I love Tae Sung! So vulnerable and real. I look forward to Jae In and Tae Sung’s scenes. 😀

  43. 43 Sophie

    Thank you, Javabeans for the recap. I have been lurking on your website for months now and really enjoy your posts.

    I notice that you keep pondering about GunWook’s purpose in messing with Tae-sung in such trivial matters but never really do anything very detrimental. To me, when GunWook talked about the cat playing with the mouse before eating it, he’s really talking about his plan to torture Tae-sung. He wants to terrorize him (which he did because Tae-sung had nightmares for a while after that almost-drowning incident), tire him out slowly by messing with him little by little…in other words, bully him until Tae-sung’s strength is all drained, then GunWook will devour his prey.

    I don’t know if my theory is correct, but when GunWook explained the best way to kill a prey to Tae-sung, his looks seem to say “and that is what I am going to do to you until I decide to end it”

  44. 44 ctyhome

    “What’s your game, dude? Clearly he has no intention of helping, and he’s taking some half-assed actions to cover his tracks so that Tae-sung doesn’t catch on to his hidden agenda. But what’s the point of this? To make him suffer a day of cold? Given Gun-wook’s ultimate plan to orchestrate the grand demise of the Hong family, this seems like small potatoes. ”

    Don’t worry, TS stoled his toy robot, this makes them even 🙂

  45. 45 elisa

    lol except gun wook is actually rich. have you seen his house!

  46. 46 Tina Grg

    Thank you very much for the recap….was waiting for it for ages….hehe…

    just finisned watchign ep 8 and 9…omygosh….can’t wait for ur recaps….they make me understand the drama more…hehe….loved those cute scenes with Jae-In and Tae-Song in them…..so cute….i just love their pairing in the drama….i actually find their chemistry really sparking off well onscreen….i would love to watch these 2 together more in those cute lil scenes…..as long as i can see kim jae wook’s face, am pretty content with the drama….to hell with the storyline or the plot….lol…he surely has really taken his acting ability to the greater heights, that i can tell after watching this drama….when compared to his previous roles in Antique and Coffee Prince….he is just getting better and bigger in each new drama he has worked in….oh just can’t stop speaking good about him…heheh am such a HUGE fan of him after this drama….hehe xD

  47. 47 chops2

    this is the first time that i actually like the second male lead more than the lead….sometimes i’m confused about gun wook while i feel more connection to tae sung and sympathized him….kim jae wook has done a really great job…..i don’t remember him in CP though cause mostly i fast forwarded the episodes

  48. 48 Dave

    The story line is fine. It’s not so outrageous as to be unbelievable. “What’s the difference between truth and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.” And so, alas, is my take on all the complaining about how the drama doesn’t make sense or is outrageous.

    The main storyline moves on. It is a sophisticated revenge tale. Nowadays, with the proliferation of private equity funds, insider information scandals, and convoluted structured finance dealings, a revenge tale against a chaebol family needs to bring in some financial concepts.

    Get engulfed in the acting and chemistry. It continues to amaze.

  49. 49 beggar1015

    @Belva “I think it may be the comfort he received from the candy the lady butler gave him when he was a kid in the Hong family that made him keep eating those sweet stuff (lollipop, gum, ice cream) now. I’ve read somewhere before that it’s a psychological thing when some people crave for sweet stuff to lift their mood, that because it is what they received from their parents in their childhood days (like when they cry etc.).”

    Wow, and here I thought it was just GW trying to quit smoking. Now you’re making me have to review his sweet tooth.

  50. 50 Saga

    I can’t find drugger’s actor anywhere… anyone who can help me, please ? Thanks ^^’

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