ATHENA: Episode 6
If you keep on crying, I have a Polonium injection for you too.
Although this episode is nothing to write home about, we start seeing some cracks in Hye In, Jung Woo keeps on being gullible and generally apt for nothing more than being cute, Son Hyuk and Jae Hee are inexpressively bickering over who’s in charge. And for those of you who were wishing for Dr. Kim’s demise, your wish is granted!
Or is it?
Episode 6 recap
When confronted by the guards, Hye In at first shows her ID trying to dissuade him by saying that she’s here because she simply inputted the wrong password and therefore blocked her computer. His concern is one of mere security, she shouldn’t be able to be there, and there she is. So, how did she do it? Her excuse is Director Kwon, whom she affirms gave her the authorization.
Relieved by her words, the guard puts down his gun and offers his help. After kindly thanking him, she leaves. It’s not over between them, though, because, as she leaves, he checks the recent activity at the computer where she was working and finds that her means weren’t so innocent after all. He won’t have much time to consider how this cute girl deceived him, Hye In has returned armed with a lethal injection, which she promptly uses to get rid of this loose end. She accesses the vigilance system and deletes her trace completely.
I love it when my girls are this kind of efficient, cold-blooded HBICs.
Meanwhile, at the field agents’ party, everyone’s either bored or drunk when Hye In finally arrives. Her arrival lightens up the mood, when she’s proven to be an excellent drinker by gulping her drinks down rather easily. Since the karaoke part seems not to be of her liking, she takes this as her signal to leave the party, unnoticed by the guys who are having a great time…
…at least almost all of the guys, Jung Won has noticed her, and, as always, runs after her (under the Jae Hee’s vigilant eye). He’s curious regarding her reason to disappear back in Vicenza, but she only gives killer smiles and refers to his “if it’s fate, we’ll meet again” phrase. Her approach is much more sweeter and flirt-y, so he takes it as if they were, indeed, meant to be together. She bursts his bubble by giving a big dose of reality check – their line of work means lots of gunshots but no love, that’s the curse of the Intelligence Agent.
At home, Hye In finally downloads her illegally obtained intel on Dr. Kim, and tells her boss that the NTS is planning to move him to a new house. The details are yet unconfirmed, but the everything she gathered will be transferred to Randy (Sean Richard, is that YOU?). Aside from this, there’s another little tiny detail – the guy she killed while extracting the data. Son Hyuk gives her the most simple of orders, to act as if nothing had happened.
After hanging up, Son Hyuk, who was at a club, engages in an interesting conversation with the singer there. Apparently, she gives him information, and this time she heard a chat between Kwon and Director Han – at first they talked about the latter’s daughter, but then, they asked to be left alone in order to deal with more private matters.
Before long, that same night, the dead guard is found. The possibility of having an informant within the NTS is considered a reality by Kwon. This new situation has pushed them to redraw Dr. Kim’s relocation plan – they don’t really know how compromised his security is now.
Both Jung Woo and Jae Hee are chosen for the investigation regarding the mole. They receive the autopsy’s result – this seemed natural, but the mark in his neck suggests murder. Adding to this mystery, the disappearance of the logs and security cameras is a big setback. Their last hope is the programming of NTS’ files, which includes an Easter Egg that can be tracked when the file is unlocked.
Out of all this mess, the only thing that’s keeping Sung Chul from sleeping, is the possibility of an Internal Audit. Jung Woo finds it pathetic – how is he so worried about his own safety when an NTS guard has been killed there – and Ki Soo refuses to remove their translation records.
Ki Soo is engaged in more urgent matters, as in catching the cheater guy who took all his money while he was away. Fact is, this guy has returned to his place and Ki Soo’s not so happy about that, so he calls him to his office and offers him a Casino War challenge. There’s no price – other than the winner’s right to slap the one who loses.
When Ki Soo starts winning hand after hand, the cheater starts to panic after being slapped so many times, so he changes the rules (first lower cards win, then the other way round) to no avail: he’s the worst case of Cronic Bad Luck ever. Eventually, he admits his defeat and begs for Ki Soo’s forgiveness.
At the NTS, the investigation is being held by interrogations to all the personnel. At the same time, Chief Oh has finally identified the poison used: a vicious, radioactive toxin called Polonium 210, which is extremely difficult to obtain. The catch here – the ones who use it the most are the Black agents (why hello Hye In!).
Jae Hee quickly sums up all the clues, coming to the conclusion that Hye In must be their traitor, especially considering that she’s the only one with no alibi. Jung Woo can’t believe what he’s being told, but the toxin results (and their relation to Black agents) are pretty telling.
In conclusion, Hye In is arrested.
During the interrogation, performed by Jung Woo, Hye In obviously denies having anything to do with the murder, claiming that she was finishing a report she had to submit. Her alibi can’t be confirmed by the CCTV, since where she said she was working is the only blind spot in the system. So, knowing that, she could’ve used it purposely as her alibi. Considering she’s been there for just a week, she denies any knowledge of that blind spot.
Up until now, she had been calmed, but the sole mention of Polonium as the murder weapon visibly shakes her – her eyes doubtful, her composition suddenly nervous, she has no option but to admit having used it in her missions.
Son Hyuk, after 20 hours with no contact, is informed of Hye In’s sudden unknown status. He heads off to his NTS office, where Jae Hee presents herself as the liaison between the DIS and the NTS (a position she tried to refuse, but ultimately had to accept). He picks on her obvious disgust before clearly asking about the murder case. She’s not willing to share any details, and storms off visibly upset.
Jung Woo, meanwhile, is trying to find a loophole in Hye In’s accusation, asking about Polonium and re-interrogating the security staff. Jae Hee, still upset over her new assignment, can’t believe his attitude and decides that enough is enough. She can see how his personal feelings are getting in the way of a thorough, unbiased investigation, but he’s feeling the same way about her – her jealousy is making her give up on a fellow agent rather easily.
And I got to call a huge no way on this. I mean, the proofs are pretty conclusive, right? I’m not saying they should throw Hye In into a firing pit shouting “Burn the witch”, but hey, the girl is at least a bit suspicious.
Well, at least until now. The tricky bit is about to come – apparently the Easter Egg was activated at the guy-who-found-the-body’s house. Jung Woo plus team head off immediately, and find all the incriminating clues – syringe, CDs and a general mess. While the NTS heads are at a meeting noting that they can’t point out which information was taken, the security guard is being killed by Son Hyuk (he raises the “if you want things satisfyingly done, you must do it yourself” to new heights, hey).
After all the hell she’s been through (and well deserved, bitch!), Jung Woo takes Hye In home. When they arrive, she invites him for a cup of tea. From afar, Son Hyuk witnesses the scene, and looks at a bouquet of roses with sad eyes.
The guys, though, are having a great time. Hye In can go further with her Operation Seduce Agent Dimwit, while he talks about corny stuff like fate and her having entered his heart (eh, okay, whatever).
The next day, Kwon takes the happy lovebirds to the security guard’s funeral service. A heartbreaking moment takes place, as an obviously distressed daughter of the poor victim cries for his dad to come back in front of Hye In (this would make for the classic revenge plot – the little girl who asked for help from her dad’s murderer, grows up training to kill her in the most obscure ways).
I don’t know if Hye In was supposed to be moved by the scene, because she isn’t at first. Later, she’s seen pining for her, and quite shocked at the office (she even refuses to go for a drink with da guys). So maybe she has no problem with killing eight guys in a row, or gallons of blood splattered in her face, but little girls crying always do the trick.
But wait! There’s some explanation for her sudden tenderness over human suffering, and we get to know it as she tells Son Hyuk. That little girl remembered of herself when her parents died, so she felt some kind of weird connection between them. Son Hyuk rolls his eyes, and reminds her that compassion is their worst enemy. She should cut the crap and be back to her hot, kick-ass persona asap.
At the NTS, Sung Chul tries to help Jung Woo by telling Hye In how he fought for her when she was being accused of murder. Deeply embarrassed, Jung Woo shushes him. They go for a private conversation where Sung Chul begs him to apologize to Ki Soo for his little prank – he’s not receiving money anymore and he’s beginning to worry. Proving how good a pal he is, he goes to Ki Soo’s underground hideout and tells him two simple words “I’m sorry”. Ki Soo, still grumpy, doesn’t accept his apology, to Jung Woo’s amusement.
Kwon is going through a confidence crisis, so, in order to overcome it, he assigns Jung Woo to a crucial mission.
Meanwhile, Jae Hee (riding with Dr. Kim), Joon Ho (supported by SRT, he has to ride near vehicles) and Jin Seok (riding the leading car), have to relocate Dr. Kim to a new place with tightened security. The operation seems to be successful… until the house where Dr. Kim was taken suddenly explodes.
Neither was Son Hyuk, who just can’t believe this report. Dr. Kim? DEAD? Talk about a surprise.
The explosion was caused by napalm improvised explosive devices, showing that it was carefully planned, according to NTS analysis. Meanwhile, NTS agents are worried because, if they stop nuclear research due to Dr. Kim’s death, the need for a NTS is virtually non-existent (as their main mission was to protect South Korea’s nuclear development). Jung Woo, upon hearing this, drinks his coffee without uttering a single word.
Son Hyuk, after the initial shock, becomes suspicious. He asks Jae Hee about all this, but has no positive answer – she was there, she couldn’t do anything to prevent the tragedy. Seeing that her cranky attitude persists, he tells her to stop it with the daily report thing.
Moving onto greener pastures, he asks Hye In if there’s been any changes after Dr. Kim’s demise. She’s puzzled by his suggestion, so he elaborates: this death should’ve stopped Korea’s nuclear plan, but it’s still running… That, added to Korean government’s mutis and that no one was held responsible, point only in one direction: there must be something fishy around this. Hye In is a bit unwilling to consider his doubts as something real, however she’ll have to find any clues that prove them right or wrong.
Hye In’s first move is to go and have a casual chat with Chief Oh. She’s drinking a glass of wine, completely unworried over past or future events at the NTS. Okay, maybe Son Hyuk’s right – something is off around here – it’s time for Hye In to dig deeper, so she asks Chief Oh to go for a drink. Her suspicions are confirmed when Chief Oh tells her the truth: Dr. Kim is not dead.
Damn. And LOL, actually. The super mega top secret operation was blown up less than 24 hours after staging it.
Director Kwon also tells everything behind this fake death to the president: after Jae Hee and Joon Ho left Dr. Kim at his house, a partially masked Jung Woo picked him up secretly and took him to his final destination: a transportation to Osaka, Japan. After that, he detonated the explosives.
Such a perfectly planned deception, now completely useless: via Hye In, now Son Hyuk is aware of it.
Fairly interesting episode, even when I still have this uncomfortable sensation that something is missing in Athena. When you aim for a product like this, the route of “action-romance” is a risky one to take, since you’re always on the verge of extremely cheesy and ridiculous.
Jung Woo, I love you, but I wonder how you passed “Elemental Espionage 101”. You’re too much of a mushy teddy bear to be working there, and you absolutely can’t separate work from personal affairs. Please, wise up or I’ll consider your survival in that line of work as something miraculous that makes no sense at all.
However, no matter how strangely timed and worded Jung Woo’s declaration was (honestly, I didn’t like it), Hye In’s ambivalence is what’s keeping me intrigued. One can’t deny that she’s still super loyal to Son Hyuk/Athena, and that makes me wonder if we’ll ever see her hesitating as to which path she should follow. As for now, she’s simply playing with Jung Woo, and don’t call me a baddie junkie, but I love it.
She’s cold-hearted, blood thirsty and doesn’t waver – you’re an obstacle, you’re dead; I need you to confess, I’ll make you drink till you don’t know which year this is. That’s why I find the inclusion of the crying girl interesting: she had to show she had feelings or some sort of compassion, when she’s a monster. Apart from being a neat way to see Son Hyuk’s tutoring over the intricate matters of compassion in their line of work, it revealed how complex her mind is. When she expresses sadness over the scene, she refers at it not as regret for having killed a father and husband, but because she was reminded of her own tragedy. In the end, it’s still all about her, not the people. She cares, only isn’t completely aware of her empathy.
So we could say that thanks to the superliminal kid crying (blergh), Hye In was introduced as the first, non-unidimensional character in Athena.
…And that makes me happy, there’s room for growth, for internal conflicts, for more betrayal and crazy sudden awareness of those hidden feelings that had been there all along, only buried under loads of bones and dry blood.
(Hey, if she stayed as a killing machine with no heart at all, just playing with everyone around her, I wouldn’t complain really, but the lack of depth would be boring by episode 10, so I’m praying for some sort of change)