I think this drama is finally finding its groove. The first few episodes felt like the writers were just trying to establish all the relationships and reconnect everyone so that they can all end up in one place. This episode finishes that up, so the story can really come into full force with all the double crossings and spy work. One gripe: Sean Richard’s character needs a friggin’ name!
So. Thanks to Ki Soo’s
stupidity bravado, his mistake is the shot heard ’round the villa. It tips off the baddies, and they go off to set up defense.
The DIS teams make their way up to the building and take down every single terrorist in their way, Son Hyuk taking a couple of them down by himself. Jung Woo avoids the DIS team as he goes up to the building, while Jae Hee can’t believe she’s paired up with a former North Korean “agent.” She quickly loses Ki Soo, leaving him to find his way around himself.
As NTS watches on from their headquarters in Korea, the terrorists put up a tough fight. Jae Hee comes upon two terrorists and shoots them down, but is shot herself in the arm by a third one behind her. He’s about to finish her off when he gets shot in the head – by Son Hyuk on the second floor. He gives her a “look”, and takes note of her presence even though he had explicitly said no.
Ki Soo wanders around the neighborhood, lamenting at how good of an agent he used to be. (He talks to himself too by the way – crazy much?) Two terrorists come up behind him and Ki Soo suddenly turns around, gasps in surprise, and fires two shots that kill both agents immediately. Heh – crazy lazy bum still got the skills!
Sean Richard goes around the back to infiltrate the villa. Son Hyuk arrives at the front lines, picking off all the baddies with his pistol. As they fire back, he grabs someone’s rifle and starts blasting away at the second floor. Hye In arrives at the scene by herself and comes upon four other terrorists. Once they all follow her into a narrow alley, she steals one’s rifle, rams it against another’s torso and uses all the bullets up on him. Then she takes the rifle and butts it against the others’ head. Jung Woo comes upon the scene, with his pistol aimed and ready, but he ends up watching Hye In release a strangling cord from her watch, and twist it around one of the terrorists’ neck.
They lock eyes. Hye In tugs hard, then untwists the man from her cord. Blood splatters across her neck, but she holds her gaze steady at Jung Woo. Suddenly, she grabs a nearby axe and throws it…right at the terrorist approaching Jung Woo from behind. Jung Woo stares at the dead body in shock, and when he looks back, Hye In is gone.
Min Hyuk makes a decision – since his team in China have not seen Kim Myung Guk arrive yet, and his team in Italy is getting creamed, he chooses to escape with Soo Young in tow. DIS finally enters the villa just as Min Hyuk and Soo Young escape through the top floor.
Son Hyuk figures out where Min Hyuk has gone and sends his teams after him. As the baddies are distracted by the fight with DIS, Soo Young takes the opportunity to make a run for it. She runs around a corner – and is caught by Jung Woo. He introduces himself as an NTS agent, and holding her hand, he starts shooting at the terrorists while fleeing. Jae Hee rounds a corner and shoots down the one terrorist putting up a tough fight against Sean Richard. He and Jae Hee lock eyes, registering each other’s presence, before moving on. Oooh *sizzle*…
Min Hyuk and his remaining baddies chase Jung Woo and Soo Young, trapping them behind a car from the constant gunfire. Jung Woo tells Soo Young where to run and then gets up and shoots back; he runs off just before the car in front of him explodes from a gas leak.
Jung Woo is disoriented from the blast, and he can’t manage to run fast enough before Min Hyuk’s lackey comes up behind him with a gun to his head. The lackey is about to shoot when he gets shot down first – by Son Hyuk.
Min Hyuk takes the chance to grab Soo Young in front of him. DIS, Jung Woo, and late-in-arrival Jae Hee aim their guns at Min Hyuk, so he threatens to kill Soo Young. Son Hyuk orders Jung Woo to cease – he’s already disobeyed orders once, so he better not do it again. Jung Woo lowers his gun, but inches forward towards Min Hyuk.
Min Hyuk tells him to stop, but Jung Woo won’t. So he raises his gun and is about to shoot when a bullet goes through his head first. Who shot Min Hyuk?!
Sniper Hye In from the building across. Son Hyuk tilts his head, knowing who it is. A startled Jung Woo tries to figure out who it is, but when he looks back, the sniper is gone.
The Chinese team finally sees a car heading over with Kim Myung Guk in it. But when they check, there’s no one in it. Instead, a bunch of police vans and unmarked SUVs surround them. Nyah-nyah.
Kwon must make formal apologies to Son Hyuk over the phone about his agents’ brashness. Son Hyuk makes the excuse that Washington DC isn’t happy about the interference because it seems like Korea is hiding something from the US.
Back at the command center in Vicenza, Jung Woo wants to have a word with Hye In about what just happened. She remains vague but says that she cannot get personal with him at all.
Ki Soo is dying for a reward or compensation for his good work in the mission. (Yeah – you were really good at revealing your presence and ruining the element of surprise.) Kwon reassures him that he will be rewarded, and then tells his team to prepare for Soo Young’s return to Korea. Jung Woo is supposed to leave with Jae Hee, but when he spots Hye In driving away, he ditches his ex and drives after his new love.
Of course, she notices, and once out on the highway Jung Woo drives up to her. She speeds ahead and cuts him off, continually preventing him from coming up next to her. Aw you guys – stop flirting on the road!
Eventually she leads him to a fortress overlooking the city, and there he asks her if her real name is Hye In. She says she’ll respond to that if he wants. So he asks her one serious question: has she eaten yet?
Commence date! A real one this time, not a dream. Though Hye In is a little unsettled at the notion that this is a date, she accepts spending time with him. Jung Woo wonders if they can continue dating when they’re back in Korea, but she vaguely (again) tells him that she doesn’t know what will happen when they go back. They go around Vicenza, sightseeing and taking in the beauty. Eventually they reach a gelateria and Hye In asks if he could get some for the both of them.
Sure thing! But once he comes out with a cone in each hand, she’s already gone. Instead, Jae Hee comes up to him – where the hell has he been?! She’s been looking for him! She notes the ice cream and wonders if he was with someone. Jung Woo nonchalantly denies it, and then hands her the extra one. He’s still obviously looking up and down the street for Hye In, but with no sign of her he decides to just go back first – leaving Jae Hee with a melting ice cream cone.
Back in Korea, Kwon announces to all agents that the Italy mission proved that the NTS has a big hole in their security. They don’t even know who was behind the kidnapping. From now on, they will have to step up security and protect everyone and everything relate to nuclear technology. Privately to Chul Hwan, he admits that he thinks there is a mole in their midst.
Poor Ki Soo – he returns to his mahjong parlor only to find out that his men gambled away a lot of his money, and the police have raided his place. Ki Soo tries to bribe the detective, and then tell him that he works for the government. The detective still calls for his arrest, so Ki Soo phones Jung Woo for a little help. Jung Woo agrees to speak to the detective, but once the conversation is over the detective only says to his men, “Arrest this bastard at once.”
Hye In quits her job at the exhibition hall and meets Son Hyuk; the mission in Vicenza had blown her cover. Son Hyuk thinks it’s a great opportunity for her to rest, but Hye In says that she plans to apply to NTS and steal the intel from within; this breach into NTS might make up for their recent operation failure in Vicenza. After all, she does have Kwon’s trust in her. And she can exploit Jung Woo’s interest in her.
Meanwhile, Jung Woo tries an advanced version of Facebook stalking – Secret Agent Database Stalking. Except, he
isn’t her “Friend” doesn’t have clearance. He tries to get Sung Chul to give him access and explains that she’s a Black agent, but Sung Chul tells him there’s no way there would be any information on her. Her privacy settings are set way too high, and her profile would most likely be bare.
Chul Hwan catches Joon Ho and Jae Hee walking together and informs Joon Ho to prep for combat training again – he’s going back in the field. Jae Hee will personally train him. Joon Ho freaks – he’s not ready to go back in the field. But Jae Hee tells him he’ll be fine; he needs to try now or else he’ll be scarred for life.
In the shooting range, Joon Ho shakes as he raises his gun. A flashback shows us when he was a new agent and was dealing with a criminal who had held a victim hostage in front of him. The victim was crying for Joon Ho to save her. Jae Hee comes in from behind, distracting the criminal. Joon Ho takes the opportunity to shoot the man down, but the criminal also involuntarily pulls the trigger and kills the victim. The sight of the victim’s face haunts Joon Ho – so much so he can’t even practice shooting.
Secretary Choi and Director Han come to visit Kwon at NTS. The price for getting the Americans involved int he rescue mission is that they will want all the information on the nuclear technology. Kwon reassures them that he will withhold the core information.
Secretary Choi leaves first, and Director Han has a request – he wants Kwon to help him see Jae Hee. The kidnapping of Soo Young has made him concerned over his own daughter’s well-being, even though he knows she wouldn’t care. A flashback reveals her announcing her intention to become a field agent so that she can find Jung Woo. If he tries to stop her, she will never see him again.
Jae Hee is called to Kwon’s office and has a chilly meeting with her father. She tries to leave, but Director Han asks her one thing: he knows she was injured in Italy, so is she OK? He knows she resents him but he still stands by his decisions in the past. Jae Hee declares that she will love no one else but Jung Woo, and then leaves. She bumps into Jung Woo on the way out, who notes her watery eyes, and moves on.
Sung Chul waits outside the police station with some tofu for his buddy Ki Soo, who is absolutely miffed at being abandoned in the station. Ki Soo tells Sung Chul to never come to him for favors anymore, and that he’s declaring war against Jung Woo. Aw – Ki Soo is too cute, but an angry informant can also be quite dangerous…
Son Hyuk and his DIS team arrive at NTS, which elicits a resentful glare from Jae Hee and sparks Sook Kyung’s interest (‘cuz Cha Seung Won is so hot). Kwon gives Son Hyuk all the (allowed) information about the reactors. It turns out that DIS may also get some office space in NTS, approved by the President, so Kwon has no choice but to accommodate him. Sook Kyung is the only one excited at the news, while the other NTS agents are pissed as hell that DIS is encroaching on their territory. Jae Hee and Jung Woo confront Kwon on the matter, but Kwon advises them not to act rashly. Besides, just because they’re sharing information does not mean they are giving all the power to DIS…
Chul Hwan then calls a meeting, formally telling them to cooperate and share all information about the nuclear reactors with DIS. In addition, Hye In will now join the team as a field agent. Jae Hee makes note of Jung Woo’s reaction (jealousy in the works?). Jung Woo wonders why she’s now in NTS, and Hye In says she’s just following orders. She lays it on thick – with a bright smile she says she feels better seeing a familiar face in her new work environment, making Jung Woo smile like a school boy.
Of course, Son Hyuk receives the report that the “confidential documents” regarding the nuclear reactors aren’t that “confidential,” so he calls Hye In to do some side work. However, Hye In finds out that she doesn’t have clearance to certain servers because of the new security restrictions.
While the field agents are all out on a dinner/drinking event, Hye In sneaks into the server room and manages to hack into one of the computers. However, an agent appears behind her and points a gun at her head: “Who are you!?”
It was in this episode that I stopped trying to compare Athena to IRIS, or stopped trying to line up the characters from this one to the characters of the predecessor. Jung Woo is far more charismatic and interesting here than Hyun Joon. Yes, I question his ability as an agent sometimes – since he was kind of slow in piecing together the clues about Soo Young – but his imperfections also make him a little more relatable. When he stumbles after the car explosion, it makes him more human than superhuman. And superhuman agents can be boring; Hyun Bin was an excellent spy, but always moody. Jung Woo is a ho-hum agent (his flaw), but at least he’s relatable as a person. As for Hye In, I can really believe that she’s a Black Agent, or whatever she is, because Soo Ae does so well in selling that role. Her role would have been likened to Kim Tae Hee’s but it’s not the same; disregarding the caliber of acting skills, Hye In comes from a way darker place than Seung Hee. Jae Hee is not supposed to be another Kim So Yeon – their characters are nowhere alike (and again, the acting caliber is not the same). I do want her to be a little more aggressive though; but since most of her interactions are with people she likes so far (Jung Woo, Joon Ho), I’ll cut her some slack. For now.
I’m personally hoping that Jae Hee gets with Sean Richard. That look they gave each other in Italy – *crackling with chemistry*. He just might be the “Kim So Yeon” of this drama for me – the quiet scene stealer who will make me fall in love with him even though I shouldn’t.
Funny how the non-pairings are heating up the screen more than the would-be pairings.
What I am afraid of is that Athena will mimic IRIS in doing a lot of romantic flashbacks. I don’t mind flashbacks if they add substance to the story – such as understanding Joon Ho’s past, or seeing Jae Hee’s state of mind when she entered spy work. But two flashbacks of Jung Woo thinking about Hye In? Unnecessary. I agree with aberdeen_angus about the editing – editors, literally, cut to the chase!
Also, I’m really starting to hate this Kim Myung Guk fellow – I want him to just be done with the nuclear reactor! Then everyone can stop getting all twisted up in their pants over where he is and stopping him! The real drama can come from who will use the nuclear reactor first or who will steal it successfully.
- ATHENA: Episode 4
- Mary ends, Athena maintains top ratings spot
- ATHENA: Episode 3
- ATHENA: Episode 2
- ATHENA: Episode 1
- Athena bursts onto scene with 22.8% premiere