City Hunter, why do I love you so? I can’t help myself, even though I fear that you’re just gonna love me and leave me in another month. What am I going to do when you’re over? Can’t Korea finally make the leap into multi-season programming and do this sucker for, oh, five seasons? I won’t be greedy and ask for forever — just until Lee Min-ho goes off to the army! Pretty please? What do I have to do to MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
SONG OF THE DAY
City Hunter OST – “Cupid” (Acoustic version) by Girl’s Day [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Both Yoon-sung and Young-ju arrive at the hospital at the same time. The prosecutor confirms Lee Kyung-wan’s dead body, while Yoon-sung spots his father glowering at him, still dressed up as a doctor, and heads out.
First off, I have to say I freaking LOVE that Jin-pyo went all badass revenge-seeker and killed Lee Kyung-wan. I get Yoon-sung’s aversion to the eye-for-an-eye vengeance spree, but it’s totally fitting that Jin-pyo’s bloodlust spurs him to act. Plus, it heightens some already steep stakes between father and son, and hammers in the whole Nana’s-in-danger worry — because Dad is not above a little collateral damage, and anybody could be next.
Young-ju and his partner Pil-jae follow Yoon-sung’s car, puzzled when it pulls up outside Dad’s hi-tech lair.
You’d think the slick City Hunter might have noticed the car on his tail, but perhaps he’s too upset over the deaths to focus on that; he beelines for Dad and asks incredulously why he had to kill two cops in addition to the target.
Dad has a chilly response: “Because that’s my method.” Damn, can’t argue with that, when the father-son battle had been about winning the right to handle the case however he saw fit. Jin-pyo adds that he hears the sound of that maritime massacre every day of his life, and that his sole purpose for surviving is to mete out revenge.
Yoon-sung challenges, “Whose revenge is that? I’m suddenly curious, whether it’s for the country’s betrayal of your comrades — or whether it’s self-inflicted torture over your survivor’s guilt.” Dayum. He may have a point, but making that point? Balls of steel.
Yoon-sung adds that the two dead cops also have families that have been left behind: “This is no longer revenge. It’s just murder.”
Dad ups the badass-crazy quotient by a factor of, oh, a thousand by warning grimly, “If you fight me, you may even die by my hand.” He’s not so much threatening to kill Yoon-sung, as he is telling him very clearly that even he could become collateral damage.
Yoon-sung replies, “I won’t avoid it — because I’m the only one who can stop you. I’ll stake my life to stop you.” Fuuuuuuck. I mean, yay for heroism and fearlessness in the name of justice, blah blah blah, but noooooooo, you can’t take my Yoon-sung!
As he exits, Yoon-sung comes face to face with Young-ju, waiting outside smugly: “You said you didn’t know Steve Lee.” Impressive how Yoon-sung turns on that flippant charm like a light switch, saying that he was just introduced to him today through an MIT colleague, regarding some investments in Steve Lee’s agricultural enterprise.
But Young-ju is not to be thus distracted, and points out that he’s entirely capable of tracking Yoon-sung’s whereabouts for the times corresponding to Lee Kyung-wan’s delivery to his front steps, Seo Yong-hak’s sniper incident, Seo’s kidnapping, the broadcast debate…
And then Young-ju goes back to his office to the upsetting news: “Lee Yoon-sung has a perfect alibi?!” Ha! Nana’s aunt confirms that Yoon-sung used hotel keycards on the nights in question, and those card entries correspond perfectly to the CCTVs in the elevators. The video shows him with a different woman each time, HAHA. Keeping up alibis and your image? Whatta multi-tasker. The only day missing an alibi, however, is the day of the sniper attack.
But our smart prosecutor connects more dots, realizing that each hotel is located mere minutes from each incident. Guessing the City Hunter had orchestrated this to solidify his alibi, it’s time to bust out the big guns: DNA testing. How to get a sample from Yoon-sung?
Yoon-sung understands that Dad is going to kill Target No. 3, Kim Jong-shik, as soon as the man returns to Korea from his business trip. Calling Jin-pyo a vehicle whose brakes have gone out, he says that the only way to stop it is to crash into it: “I’ll have to crash him.”
Ajusshi asks, “What if you die?” Yoon-sung: “I’m preparing myself.”
Shik-joong wants to run away and live in the mountains somewhere, but Yoon-sung still thinks those baddies have to pay for their crimes, and he’s still in it for his revenge. Yoon-sung’s also wary of Young-ju sniffing around him, particularly since the prosecutors have samples of the City Hunter’s blood from two locations.
Nana hears the news report about Lee’s murder, with many speculating that the City Hunter did it. That shakes her, and she tells herself that there’s no way Yoon-sung would have committed the murder.
This is when she spies the photo dropped by Shik-joong as he was packing up Yoon-sung’s things — the torn-up, taped-together photo of Yoon-sung’s biological parents.
She recognizes two of the faces: Kyung-hee and Jin-pyo. And that’s enough to get her brain whirling, as Nana recalls Yoon-sung’s reactions regarding his mother, and draws the connections. Thank goodness for a drama heroine who isn’t too dumb to put together two and two!
We don’t get far into Target No. 3 Takedown Plan today, so for now Team City Hunter is in research mode. Yoon-sung looks over the accounting records of top universities (Target No. 3 was the education minister), and notes that they rake in enormous amounts of money.
Adorably, he jumps to keep Shik-joong from drinking his energy tonic — the one given to him by Kyung-hee — warning him not to touch it, not clarifying even when Shik-joong assumes that Nana gave it to him.
Kyung-hee sees a doctor for a bruise on her arm, and already I’m not liking the looks of this, especially as she explains that she didn’t even know she had it until she changed her shirt. The doctor looks worried to see that she has no guarantors or children to help her, and tells her that her bloodwork came back with bad news: leukemia. She needs to be admitted immediately.
(OH OH OH this is brilliant! ‘Cause she’s gonna need a bone marrow transplant…and there’s no better match than a blood relative…like her long-lost son…and this may just be the thing to push him over the edge and approach her, misconceptions-about-abandonment be damned… AHHHHHHHHH so prematurely excited!)
The doctor tells her she has to begin cancer treatments immediately, and they’ll start looking for a bone marrow donor. Kyung-hee is so rattled that she asks to be allowed to return to her store first to close up shop before admitting herself, which makes me fear that she won’t return for treatment after all.
At home, Kyung-hee takes out her baby’s old clothing, telling it sadly, “I’ve just been surviving, waiting to meet you. Will I be able to live and meet you?” She sobs clutching the baby clothes: “I miss you…”
Yoon-sung arrives outside the cafe where Nana works now, telling himself he’s only here because of Kim Jong-shik. Suuuure. Tell yourself that, Captain Denial. He asks Nana to chat, and the impatient guy next in line taps Yoon-sung’s shoulder to ask him rudely to get out of the way if he’s done ordering. Nana bursts out unthinkingly, “Sir, be careful! You shouldn’t hit someone that…hard.” Which makes sense to no one, not even Nana, who can’t think of a better excuse to cover up her worry for his injury.
Yoon-sung hands over Nana’s file on Kim Jong-shik, saying that he found it in his luggage, and asks who the guy is. Nana answers that he’s the man who caused the car crash that killed her mother and turned her father into a vegetable, and that she’d been collecting information hoping to reopen the investigation. However, it turns out that the national identification number of the crucial witness, Bae Man-deok, had been erased — a feat taking some doing, since you’ve essentially wiped a person’s existence from all public record.
Nana says she saw Man-deok at the noraebang a few days ago, which gets the wheels turning in Yoon-sung’s head. He asks for a physical description, and recognizes that she means Shik-joong.
Yoon-sung asks what she’d like done to Kim Jong-shik, and she answers that she doesn’t want a death for a death: “But I’d like for the City Hunter to catch him and deliver him to Prosecutor Kim Young-ju.” She wants Kim’s true nature revealed to the world, because her research on him has shown that he has a number of skeletons in his corrupted closet.
You know what makes this great? She’s dropping this info purposely, much like Sae-hee did, knowing he’s the City Hunter — yet here he is thinking his secret identity is safe and sound, so he’s asking questions AS the City Hunter, posing as Yoon-sung.
Then Nana screws up the courage to ask hesitantly, half-afraid of his answer, “The City Hunter…probably isn’t someone who kills people, right?”
He answers noncommittally, “How would I know?” She replies, “I believe he won’t.” Yoon-sung: “Then you’re probably right.”
Yoon-sung goes straight home and confronts Shik-joong about being Bae Man-deok, demanding to know the full story. Scared and sorry, he explains.
Flashback: Shik-joong/Man-deok had been on the sidewalk when he saw a car swerving wildly into the wrong lane, slamming into Nana’s parents’ car. The man behind the wheel was Kim Jong-shik, and by the time Nana had gotten there, she’d seen Shik-joong giving his statement.
Shik-joong had been called by Kim Jong-shik and told to change his story. Using Shik-joong’s gambling history as blackmail, Kim warned that he was powerful enough to have Shik-joong imprisoned, falsely if necessary. In exchange for his revised witness account, he’d make sure he’d be well compensated.
Shik-joong admits that he was foolish and weak, too cowardly to even die, wracked with guilt at the thought of Nana. He says he’s glad Yoon-sung uncovered the truth, and vows to help him fully to nail Kim Jong-shik: “And after I help you, I’ll turn myself in and receive my punishment.” Awww. He’s a coward for what he did, but his resolve brings tears to my eyes and surely makes up for it, at least to the extent that I can respect him now without feeling guilty about it.
Nana is called back to the Blue House, and because of her good work during the sniper incident and the kidnapping of Seo Yong-hak, she’s not fired. However, she’s relegated to Da-hae duty, which I think seems fair; she’s not exactly the best bodyguard anyway, despite her few key saves. I’m sure most people would rather be guarded by someone with a consistent record, rather than someone with a few spectacular saves mixed in with some gross negligence.
During judo practice, Ki-joon congratulates Nana on her good luck for facing probation twice and escaping firing. She retorts that she’d had two commendations, too, then purposely fiddles with her bullet necklace as she adds, “Thanks to somebody.”
Eun-ah and Ki-joon engage in more of their judo-as-flirtation before we turn to Nana and Yoon-sung for their…well, judo-as-flirtation. Seriously, how anybody gets properly trained in this place is a wonder.
Yoon-sung waits expectantly for Nana to begin, but she’s wary of hurting him and begins a few throws, but pulls back each time. So he pulls her down to the mat, hovering over her for a few charged moments (*whzzzzrp!* rewind), before he pulls back and walks out.
Nana finds Yoon-sung at his favorite bench and offers him coffee, reminding him that they were still supposed to be friendly at work. He gives her the cold shoulder while she keeps up a cheery stream of chatter, explaining her coffee-making technique, until he impatiently shoves her hand away and sends her coffee to the ground.
He asks if she has no pride — why does she keep approaching him?
Nana replies, “Because I like you.” Eeeeeep!
He goes through the whole rigamarole again, telling her he didn’t mean anything by the kiss, that she’s not his type, that if every woman he kissed clung to him, blah blah blahhhh. She says that she likes him anyway, and misses him.
She admits that she feels pathetic, “But I want to be faithful to my feelings.”
All he can do is turn the rejection dial to full-blast, and he mutters that he’d better ignore her entirely from now on, stalking off. I do love how this puts him in a strained spot, since it was hard enough denying his own feelings — but to turn hers away? Yeah, good luck with that, buddy.
Nana tears up, but tells herself she did the right thing: “Liking him is a good thing.”
Ki-joon sees his expression and guesses that he’s had a spat with his girlfriend, and offers to give him a few lessons at the art of the romantic push-and-pull, of which he is (reportedly) a pro. Ha.
Da-hae visits a university campus, clinging to Yoon-sung’s arm, pouting when his eyes stray to the girls on campus. They happen upon a student demonstration, demanding that Kim Jong-shik stick to his word of half-price tuitions, because those students came to school believing that promise and now have difficulty remaining enrolled. Basically, if Kim reneges on his promise, he sends the message that (1) Only the rich deserve education, and/or (2) If you want schooling, you’ll stay poor.
In the cafeteria, a rich spoiled brat gives a cleaning lady hell for not properly doing her job, at which point Yoon-sung steps in to deliver a setdown about cleaning up her own mess, which he learned in kindergarten: “Or did you not even make it that far?” He says that if she spent all that money to be thus educated and has this crappy character to show for it, her personality can’t afford the half-price version.
That night, Yoon-sung flips through his books looking for something — that missing photo — and comes up empty. When he sits down for dinner, he sees that Shik-joong has prepared his favorite — that japchae dish without vegetables — which makes him think of Nana.
He sends Nana a text requesting her driver services, and she heads out with excitement (stopping at a makeup store to freshen up with their samples first, hee). Only…when she gets there, he’s got some new floozy on his arm. Aw, you bastid. I totally get why you’re doing this…but it doesn’t make me like it any!
Then Nana has to sit there stewing while he flirts outrageously with the girl, and he tosses out the barely veiled insult that short, dumb, inexperienced girls do nothing for him — the kind “who overreact and think you like them if you treat them the least bit nicely.”
Nana gets fed up watching Yoon-sung sucking face with the girl and pulls over, and I do love how perfectly this mirrors their first encounter in Episode 2. Only, this time she grabs the girl out of the car and hails a taxi, sending her off in it.
Yoon-sung asks if she’s jealous, and Nana replies, “No. That woman isn’t even worth getting jealous about. If you’re doing this to push me away, you don’t have to. My feelings are my own — I never forced them on you. If you still want to push me away, then at least date someone good enough that I can accept it. I’ll get properly jealous then. But don’t waste precious time and money like this! And don’t call a designated driver when you haven’t drunk, either. Acting like this — your parents wouldn’t like it.”
With that, she returns his photo, and walks off.
Aw, looks like someone’s onto you, smooth operator. At home, he sighs, “Kim Nana, don’t like me. You have to be happy.”
Young-ju reviews the facts of the hospital murders: All three victims were taken out with one efficient blade. CCTVs were obscured by spray, as in the sniper incident, and Yoon-sung was right there with him at the hospital. He orders his co-worker Pil-jae to have Yoon-sung followed again.
Kyung-hee’s back at work, as feared, where her health is not holding up well. When she gets up to fix Nana some food, she collapses, breathing heavily.
Nana calls Yoon-sung, who feigns indifference when she tells him the snack shop ajumma is at the hospital emergency room. But she tells him to come anyway: “Because she’s your mother.”
(Omo! This is even BETTER! ‘Cause Nana knows, and she’ll be the one to push him to donate his bone marrow…My mind’s running wild with all the fantastic dramatic possibilities.)
So Yoon-sung heads to the hospital, unaware that he’s being tailed by Pil-jae, although that tandem illegal U-turn really shoulda been a clue. You sure do stalk people really well, but you suck at detecting stalkers of your own. Good thing Daddy’s got your back. Even if he may be the one to ultimately stick a knife in it.
Yoon-sung arrives at Mom’s bedside, where Nana introduces him to the doctors as Kyung-hee’s guarantor and son, despite his protests. (Mom’s unconscious and doesn’t hear this.) He’s shaken badly by the diagnosis, especially when the doctor informs them that she’ll need to receive cancer treatment immediately. He also advises Yoon-sung to test his bone marrow for transplant right away.
This has thrown him for a loop, and Nana admits that she doesn’t know their family circumstances — but he’s ajumma’s son, and should get tested. Yoon-sung finally bursts out, “And why should I?! After she abandoned me?”
Nana’s surprised, but she entreats him to remember that he’d longed for her anyway, that he’d kept that photo: “If you hate her, say so. If you miss her, say so. You have a mother you can say that too.” Ooooof. And that’s why Nana’s the perfect person to do this, because he knows she doesn’t have her mother, and this juxtaposition highlights that his reaction, while understandable, is something he ought to overcome while he can still appreciate having a mother who’s alive.
Nana hammers that nail in: “Or, you know, you can just watch her die.”
That does it. Yoon-sung signs forms as Kyung-hee’s guarantor and pulls out his credit card to request “the very best room.” He doesn’t see that he’s being followed by Pil-jae… and Pil-jae doesn’t see that he’s being followed in turn, by Bad Daddy’s cohort Sang-gook. HAHA. It’s both hilarious — this is like 49 Days, where even stalkers had stalkers — and worrisome, since you know that means Jin-pyo’s on the scent. Ahhh, crap.
Both minions report to both bosses, leading to a few conclusions: (1) If Yoon-sung is related to the patient, the prosecutor’s office may be able to get their grubby hands on a blood sample, and (2) Dad now knows that Yoon-sung is “a weak little boy” AND that the prosecutor is on his tail. Young-ju orders Minion to get that blood no matter what, and Dad orders Other Minion to prevent Yoon-sung from giving blood no matter what.
I just love this. It’s such a perfect setup on both sides, but it’s not just dropped from the sky into our laps out of nowhere; it’s laid into the plotting so well that when it all clicks into place, it just makes the suspense richer.
Kyung-hee protests to Nana that she’s not in a position to receive medical care right now (meaning: she can’t afford it), to which Yoon-sung counters that taking time to think about it won’t change her circumstances. Kyung-hee doesn’t understand why he’s speaking to her so harshly all of a sudden, while Nana urges him to soften his words, to no avail: Yoon-sung continues, “You say you have no family. Why don’t you just obey [the doctor]?”
Nana assures Kyung-hee that despite his mean words, he’s not a bad person, and this also happens to be the first time that Mom hears Yoon-sung’s name.
Yoon-sung stomps up the stairs to the rooftop, where he yells in frustration. He asks Shik-joong, “Does this make sense? She abandoned me to live happily on her own. Then she should be living proudly, and well! But why is she sick?!”
With that, he tells the doctor that he’s not family after all, and that it was a misunderstanding. The doctor worries that this means her situation is dire, and that in a worst-case scenario, Kyung-hee could die while waiting for a donor match. She doesn’t have much time.
Yoon-sung asks if he can donate if he’s a match, which requires a simple blood test. Eee! Do it! No, don’t do it! Do it! Don’t do it! You’re driving me mad, drama!
For once I’m relieved to see Jin-pyo there, since that takes care of the dilemma. Yoon-sung says that he can donate the bone marrow if he has to, despite Mom’s abandonment. Jin-pyo tells Yoon-sung that until their revenge is complete, Yoon-sung doesn’t have the freedom to do whatever he wishes with even a hair or drop of blood. Yeesh. That’s taking the term “possessive parent” to extremes.
Yoon-sung says that even if she abandoned him, a mother is still a mother: “And if she dies now, I can’t even hate her freely.”
Jin-pyo warns that the instant his blood is drawn, his identity will be revealed, and their revenge is kaput. Plus, if the prosecutor followed him this far, he should be able to connect him to Kyung-hee as well: “I’m warning you: Your life rests on your choice.”
Yoon-sung tells Shik-joong he’ll do the blood test anyway, because otherwise his mother might die. Shik-joong reminds him that he might die instead, but Yoon-sung says, “It’s okay.” (Ughhh, I’m feeling mighty uneasy with this episode’s constant reminders that Yoon-sung may be facing death… This is a red herring, right? They’re just trying to surprise us later, RIGHT?!)
That’s when Minion Sang-gook (who has just come from locking Minion Pil-jae in the bathroom, heh) stops Yoon-sung, saying, “The Boss says NO.”
They relocate to a shady basement area to duke it out. It’s three to one, but our City Hunter knocks ‘em all down. Shedding blood so he can go shed blood…that’s deep, man. (LOL.)
Yoon-sung gives blood for the test, only to be joined by the prosecutor duo, who have him just where they want him. Pil-jae’s looking mighty smug for someone who’s just had to be liberated from the bathroom by his boss, I’m thinking.
Yoon-sung smirks, “Someone might misunderstand, and think you like me.” Oh, don’t I WISH that were the case. He tells Young-ju to pick a number and wait his turn, so as not to upset the others waiting in line. HA.
Young-ju answers that he needs his blood, and Yoon-sung quips, “Are we playing vampire now? I hope it’s fun!”
Young-ju produces a warrant and demands the blood, and rather than balking, Yoon-sung gives his okay like it’s no concern of his. The nurses hand over the vial, and Yoon-sung maintains his careless attitude until he’s out of there, and then it’s a race to get that vial before Young-ju can get it tested by the forensics lab.
Pil-jae is sent back to stalker duty, but as he’s about to follow Yoon-sung from the hospital, he’s stopped by Nana. She’d spotted the prosecutors leaving the hospital and understands, partially, that they’re after Yoon-sung, so now she races in front of Pil-jae’s car with a trumped-up excuse about the reinvestigation, ensuring that Yoon-sung gets away. Atta girl.
Yoon-sung is, at the moment, busy following Young-ju, who remains unaware since his tail’s tail has lost the trail.
Yoon-sung waits as two ambulances are stopped at the security point of the National Forensic Service, and oh-so-casually ambles his way over to the one in the rear. He slips inside and disguises himself in a body bag among the other dead bodies being delivered here to the morgue. *Shudder* Also, ballsy.
From there, it’s an easy matter to exit his vault and walk out, leaving the slab open and bound to freak out some coroner tomorrow.
A senior lab technician is insulted at the prosecutor’s high-and-mighty demands, waltzing in with one teeny vial and insisting on instant analysis when they’re up to their eyeballs in materials awaiting processing. She storms out to give Young-ju a piece of her mind…but one sight of his charming, polite face has her smitten, and suddenly she’s all understanding and smiles.
This gives Yoon-sung the chance to spot the lab tech holding his vial, and he seizes his opportunity — by stepping off the rooftop, freefalling a full story, and catching himself on the window ledge below with his fingertips. JEEZUS, Mr. Death Wish.
And then he does it again, down another story, and this time manages to catch himself with ONE HAND. Holy shit, Balls of Steel. That’s your new nickname, I swear.
He hoists himself inside the lab, watching as Ms. Lab Tech moons over the hottie prosecutor (“He’s exactly my type!”). She waxes poetic about his shining eyes, perfectly chiseled features, physique like Michelangelo’s David… Get a grip, lady! It’s not like he’s Lee Min-ho.
Yoon-sung is smart enough to swap in a false vial for his, so that she’s none the wiser when she takes it to test. Young-ju, alas, is just as sharp as he is, and he notices the open window, out of which Yoon-sung has just leaped, where he dangles by his fingertips.
Suspicions firing, Young-ju approaches the window and looks down — and sees nothing.
City Hunter, why so cool? He struts down to the lobby, mission accomplished, not seeing that he’s not out of the woods yet — because Young-ju is just half a flight of stairs behind him.
He hasn’t been seen yet, but he’s in imminent danger of it — just as an arm grabs Yoon-sung and yanks him out of view. Young-ju walks out, none the wiser.
Meanwhile, Yoon-sung instinctively grabs a hidden blade and whirls his assailant/assistant against the wall. Nana.
Goddammit, City Hunter, I love you so hard it hurts a little. You’re cool and exciting, but you’ve also got a soft underbelly of sweetness to counter the bloodlust and revengey bits. Mmm, revengey bits…
It’s not a perfect drama, no, but it serves up such a perfectly balanced plate of intrigue, action, romance, moody ambiance, suspense, hero suffering and inner conflict, and superhigh stakes that I’m left feeling satisfied and craving more. There’s just so much more to be pleased with than to nitpick here. It’s been a while since a drama has got me so hooked, and so assured of its continued delivery of the goods — the last time was Joseon X-Files, and the time before that probably Story of a Man. That’s pretty good company.
When you see a drama with really poor writing, or really poor directing, it’s easy to declare that the deficiency is really THE key ingredient in making a drama work. Crap directing in the presence of decent writing makes you sigh, “If only this drama looked as good as its story is written — it could have been elevated so much higher!” (For instance, I’m imagining Miss Ripley with Bad Guy’s music director and cinematographer.) And then you see a decently directed drama with insane or inane writing and you think, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear.” And really, it’s a little bit of both, because the exact same story, expressed visually in a different (less arresting, more pedestrian) way wouldn’t have nearly the same effect. It’s just the nature of the beast in this visual medium.
But those extremes aside, it’s when you’ve got a solid handle on both that I’m happiest. Addicted. Drooling a little at every one of Lee Min-ho’s perfect angles. (Hey, I’m screencapping this sucker — you really notice it when you end up with a folder containing hundreds of almost-identical frames of his face. Swoon.)
No, really — can’t we have another season or four?
- City Hunter: Episode 9
- City Hunter: Episode 8
- City Hunter: Episode 7
- Lee Min-ho gets into a car accident, escapes injury
- City Hunter: Episode 6
- City Hunter: Episode 5
- Lee Jun-hyuk for Bazaar
- Behind the scenes with City Hunter
- City Hunter: Episode 4
- City Hunter: Episode 3
- City Hunter: Episode 2
- City Hunter: Episode 1