This drama’s going to be the death of me. If my head doesn’t explode, my heart will first. The tension in this episode nearly put me six feet under from the stress of it all, but I fought to stay in the land of the living. Because otherwise, how will I find out what happens next??
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Nana rescues Yoon-sung in the medico-legal lab, just seconds before being discovered by Young-ju, post-blood-sample-switcheroo. And the Most Suspenseful Use of Staircase Award goes to…
Instinctively, Yoon-sung pulls out a knife and holds it at his assailant’s throat, only to come eye to eye with Nana. It’s both scary and hot.
Without a word he sneaks her out carefully amidst the ruckus outside, and they hitch a short ride on one of the outbound ambulances. He wrist-drags her for a while before finally whipping around to ask how long she’s known.
Niiice. I was afraid you were going to pussyfoot about and try to deny it, which would’ve been not only unbelievable, but laaaame.
She tells him that she’s known since the time he rescued her, when she saw his eyes. Yoon-sung: “And you pretended not to know?!” Seriously, you’re going to fault her for lying? About your lies? Bah.
She says she couldn’t say anything because she knew that he would just avoid her even more. Aw. He warns her not to butt into his business anymore. Nana: “How can I? The person I shot is the same person who rescued me twice!”
He whirls around and pushes her up against the wall in the most threatening way he can muster. (Though what’s with the super-speed, Show? This ain’t Smallville.)
Yoon-sung: Just how many lives do you think you have? I told you not to butt in anymore. This is my true face. Cutting off your last breath is nothing to someone like me. If you don’t want to die, erase everything you know about me. Go back to the time before you knew or even met me.
He stalks off without her, leaving her trembling and confused in his wake. I think she’s smart enough to at least suspect that this is his way of protecting her, but it’s not unscary to have your life threatened. And she really doesn’t know yet if the City Hunter is a killer or not.
Young-ju gets the unhappy news that Yoon-sung’s blood sample does not match the City Hunter’s. He manages to offend the lab tech while he’s at it, implying incompetence while she regrets ever giving the “Flower Prosecutor” (HA) special treatment.
I do love this comical aspect of the character dichotomy between Yoon-sung and Young-ju – that one guy knows how to wield his pretty boy looks to get what he wants in life, and the other can only manage to offend others with his cluelessness.
Yoon-sung comes home from that day… to find Dad sitting in his living room. Aw, can’t the guy catch a break? Dad growls at him for getting the blood test done anyway against orders, but Yoon-sung reassures him that he switched the samples.
Dad isn’t convinced that Young-ju is off his trail, and adds that living with Nana has put him in danger of being found out. Dad: “If she ever discovers who you are, she has to die.”
This is something we tacitly knew, but to have Dad just say it like that? I hate feeling so stressed for Yoon-sung, but man, do I love me a drama that just mercilessly piles on the conflicts for the hero.
Nana looks at herself in the mirror and handles the bullet around her neck. She puts it to her shoulder, thinking of the moment she shot him, and then the blood running down his arm when he saved her. Nana: “It must’ve hurt so much…”
Yoon-sung looks into the mirror with determination and heartbreak. “Lee Yoon-sung. Erase Kim Nana. For Nana.”
But working together makes that harder than he’d like, and when she jumps in to try and awkwardly cover for his skipping a work presentation yesterday, he calls her out to the bench for a talking to.
He asks if his warnings were amusing to her, but she refuses to be scared off by him. She tells him that knowing his secret makes no difference to her – he’s still the same person, the one who rescued her. He tells her that he would’ve rescued her had she been her partner Eun-ah too.
She asks hesitantly, “That means you didn’t kill Lee Kyung-wan, right? The man I know… Lee Yoon-sung’s eyes… I can trust them, right?” Yoon-sung just grits his teeth and throws back: “Don’t make me regret letting you live.”
He tells her that she meant nothing to him, and that he no longer needs her or her house for a cover, so she can pack up and move out. Eeek, no need to make her homeless to get her to stop loving you!
And then he goes straight into his office and hands in his resignation.
At the prosecutor’s office, Young-ju’s assistant tells him that if it weren’t for Nana, he would’ve been able to stay on Yoon-sung’s tail yesterday. And then he adds that the blood test he took was for a Lee Kyung-hee.
He looked into her, and she’s the wife of a man in special forces… who disappeared in October 1983… Oh man. Young-ju is THISCLOSE…
He goes straightaway to question Kyung-hee about her husband, and she tells them that she’d like to know what happened to him as well. Young-ju asks what his job was before he disappeared, and she tells them that he was a secret service agent on the president’s detail.
Just as she says that, she looks past Young-ju and sees Jin-pyo lurking behind them, with a look on his face that says it all. She clams up quickly and excuses herself. She finds Jin-pyo waiting for her in her room.
She pleads with him to let her see her son just once before she dies. Jin-pyo: “Your child is dead.” She refuses to believe him but he produces a newspaper from five years ago with a young man killed in a plane crash. He tells her that it was no accident, and the men who killed her husband also killed her son.
He tells her that there’s no end to whom they’ll harm, and if they find that he’s been here, she’s next. He suggests they move her to another hospital. He shakes her and tells her that she has to get it together and live a good life, and leave all this behind her.
It strikes me that Jin-pyo cares a lot for Kyung-hee, beyond the guilt he might have felt for taking her son. Despite his coldness to almost everyone else, he wants to see her live well. Perhaps way back when he had a heart, he loved her, and it doesn’t even have to be in the romantic sense, but like family.
He leaves and she clutches the paper, weeping at the thought that she’s lost her only reason for having lived thus far. Jin-pyo leaves Sang-gook to guard her and move her safely to another hospital.
But Kyung-hee isn’t about to just follow Jin-pyo’s orders blindly, and thank goodness because who trusts a kidnapper’s word anyway? So she sends her sentry for a soda and slips out undetected.
Yoon-sung enters just as she leaves, missing her by half a second. Aaaaack! He finds her room empty, and is told that her last visitor was a man with a cane.
He runs over to Dad’s, and I never tire of Yoon-sung’s dramatic I-will-kick-your-ass-if-you-stand-in-my-way entrances when he’s angry. He demands to know what he did to his mother, imagining the worst.
Dad says that she’s safe… for now. He warns Yoon-sung that the prosecutor is onto him, even having dug up his parents’ past. He asks what the Council of Five will do to her once they find out who she is (specifically his mom, not just Mu-yeol’s wife). Er… I hate to say it, but Dad’s not wrong about that. Dad: “I will entrust Kim Jong-shik to you. Kill him by your own hand. Or your mother dies.”
Frack. Seriously? Gah, why is Evil Daddy so smart? Now he’s got Nana AND Kyung-hee on ice, and Yoon-sung by the balls. I trust that he’ll find a way out of this, but I love that Jin-pyo goes this far to try and force his hand—either kill or let his mother die.
He gets the call from Sang-gook that Kyung-hee’s disappeared, but he plays it off coolly in front of Yoon-sung. He spells out the terms plainly – that if he doesn’t follow Dad’s will, Mom and Nana die. The choice is his.
Target No. 3 Kim Jong-shik arrives in country and goes to see his son Young-ju first thing. He may have come to try and mend bridges, but he’s not very good at it, what with simply wanting Young-ju to go his own way and not regretting any of his own actions in driving a wedge between them over the years. Way to meet him halfway, Dad. Young-ju coldly tells him that they’re different down to the bone, and walks out.
Holy crackers, the Daddy Drama in this show just went flying through the roof with this episode. I love that we’re finally getting down to the nitty gritty Young-ju / Yoon-sung parallels, by bringing him into the main conflict with his own messed up father-son relationship. The drama in this foursome alone is enough to make a whole separate drama. There’s so much conflict of interest going ten thousand ways that I am ridiculously excited to see how totally screwed up everything is about to get.
And that’s not even factoring his totally other messed up conflict of interest between Nana and his father. I mean, I don’t even know what he’s supposed to do in that situation. Either way he’s screwed.
On Jin-pyo’s orders, Sang-gook sneaks into Yoon-sung’s house and plants a bug, while Ajusshi is none the wiser, happily engaged in his home shopping obsession. I just love character details like that. It amuses me to no end, his housewifey tendencies, and Yoon-sung’s you-maxed-out-the-credit-card angry husband reactions.
The now Council of Three gathers at the Blue House. President Choi shows them the classified file on October 1983 that Young-ju requested to see. Why is it like handwritten parchment? It’s not 1483.
Chun Jae-man and Kim Jong-shik both oppose telling the truth, Kim particularly concerned with what Young-ju may have already pieced together. He doesn’t want his son finding out about this, for good reason. But they realize that President Choi is starting to let his conscience weigh on him.
He thinks it’s time that they reveal the truth and get punished for the wrong that they did. Chun is quick to remind him that the repercussions—the sitting President landing in jail—isn’t as ‘for the people’ as he’d like to think. And having a sitting Liar Liar President on Fire is?
They make their stances clear: they are firmly on the side of taking this secret to their graves. Chun adds that the President can do as he likes, except: “You shouldn’t forget that I know the one weakness that will leave a stain your presidency.”
Ooooooo. Another secret? Worse than their shared one? Yes, please.
Yoon-sung packs up his stuff and leaves the office, disregarding his boss’s pleas for him to reconsider. He pauses when he empties out his drawer with Nana’s wallet in it, and gives it to Ki-joon since he’s got no girl to give it to anymore.
Ki-joon happily takes it and gives it to Eun-ah, who comes running to show Nana her hand-me-down gift. Why Ki-joon told her where it came from is beyond me, but he’s not exactly a social swan. Nana jumps up at the mention of Yoon-sung quitting.
She chases him down as he walks out of the building, and asks if he’s really going to give up on his job so easily, just because of her. He says nothing and walks around her. With their backs to each other, she calls out:
Nana:I’ll forget you. I’ll go back to the time before I met you. I’ll disappear from your life. That’s what I came to say.
Ooof. How can something be exactly what he wanted to hear her say, and yet… be the one thing he never wanted to hear her say? Aaaauuuuughhh. It’s soul-crushing.
He turns back to watch her walk away.
Nana comes back to the office and receives a package. The sender simply reads: Bae Man-duk. She opens it frantically and finds Shik-joong’s written and signed confession inside, along with a copy of his bank statement, showing the payout ten years ago.
He had shown the confession to Yoon-sung just the day before, adorably asking if bad spelling would negate its validity. He wanted to do it for Nana, so that she’d be able to clear her father’s name if anything should happen to Shik-joong to prevent him from doing so himself.
She heads straight to Young-ju’s office to ask her aunt about reopening the case with this evidence. As she waits for Young-ju, Nana sees a quote taped to his computer screen: “Don’t be afraid of a shadow. It means that light is nearby.”
She recognizes it immediately as the same quote Daddy Long Legs had written to her in a letter. As soon as she sits down with Young-ju, she confronts him with it, just sweetly thanking him for being such a constant source of encouragement for her over the last ten years. So apparently I’m the only one who would also ask why the hell he pretended not to know her all this time? Young-ju tries to play it off at first but just sheepishly cops to it, apologizing for keeping her in the dark. Well, at least you apologized.
She thinks it’s fate, especially now that he’s going to help her reinvestigate the case. Uh-oh… here we go…
She hands him the confession from Bae Man-duk that identifies Kim Jong-shik as the culprit and the source of the bribe to get him to change his witness account. Oh, you’ve really stepped in it now. I actually feel terrible for Young-ju. I think this is the definition of ‘between a rock and a hard place,’ that’s for sure.
He looks stricken, and then starts to say, “I have something to tell you…” But can’t actually manage to tell her the truth about his father. Aw, you’re just making it worse. You should’ve said it now. Now was the only time before you become the stuck-in-the-middle bad guy.
She thanks him for being Daddy Long Legs, and for helping her with the case. She vows to bring Kim Jong-shik to justice, “Because that’s the power of the law, right?” Young-ju hasn’t the courage or the heart to tell her otherwise.
Yoon-sung continues to investigate Kim Jong-shik, but can’t figure out where he’s siphoning university money to (and we’re talking public government education funds, not private university fatcat money). Though it’s clear that he’s pocketing it, he can’t figure out how or where.
Ajusshi makes a dish for his own mother’s memorial, happy to be able to do so for the first time since he left Korea. Yoon-sung asks him to take a plate over to Dad’s, adding that at the same time he can plant a tracer on Dad’s cane.
What? On Dad’s cane? Are you not remembering the last time you sent Ajusshi on a Dad-related errand? You had to Donkey Kong your way in just to rescue him, remember?
Ajusshi’s on my bus because he freaks out too, stuttering that Dad’s gonna kill him this time. But Yoon-sung and his stupid balls of steel insist that it’ll be fine ’cause Dad’s guard is down with Ajusshi. True, yes. But!
He adds that if things ever get hairy, he can just send him this code: XYZ. “It’s the end of the alphabet. It says you have nowhere else to go.” While I appreciate the symbolism, I’m more worried about how he’s going to text you if he’s say, getting his head bashed in via cane. Right?
Nana packs a bag and heads out with her doggy, with nowhere to go. She comes to Sae-hee’s clinic and asks to stay here for a few days. Sae-hee offers for her to stay at her house, but Nana insists that the clinic’s couch is perfectly fine.
She asks brightly if Sae-hee knew that Young-ju was her Daddy Long Legs, “since you two have been friends for ten years.” Sae-hee lies that she didn’t know, and also opts not to mention the fact that he happens to be her ex-husband. Oy, the secrets with these people.
Ajusshi makes an attempt at Mission: Chicken-Cane, except of course Dad’s already onto him because they’ve been listening in on Yoon-sung’s every move. He fumbles with Dad’s cane nervously, but ends up caving to nerves. Jin-pyo laughs at their silly little boy games and asks if Sang-gook sent the letter to Young-ju…
Young-ju receives the letter in question, and opens it to find the typewritten statement: “The next target is Kim Jong-shik. –City Hunter”
Oh, bloody hell.
Young-ju storms into his father’s office at the university, demanding to know why the City Hunter is pointing at him as his next target. He cites Targets 1 and 2 as committing grave crimes against the public—is Dad just like them?
He insists that he’s clean with a confident smile. Young-ju offers that he’d be more willing to trust him if it weren’t for the accident ten years ago. Suddenly Dad starts to tremble as Young-ju recounts that he overheard Dad bribing the witness to change his story, turning the victim into the culprit, even pinning his drunk driving onto Nana’s father.
Dad realizes that Young-ju’s known all this time. “Is this why you hated me? Why you suddenly turned away from me?” Young-ju: “Because as much as I respected you, my disappointment was big.”
God, I love how the timing of it all fits, the accident being the big reason for the young and idealistic Young-ju to have his trust in Dad crushed. The higher the pedestal, the harder he fell. And that was the turning point in their relationship, which is a fact that only he knew until now.
He tells Dad about the witness coming forth with a confession. Dad steels himself, comforted by the fact that his case has passed its statute of limitations long ago. Young-ju reminds him that time does not wash away his sins. If he’s guilty of other things, they’ll come to light. Dad doesn’t budge, and refuses to play by the rules, even when Young-ju pleads so earnestly that he’d like to meet the father he once respected.
But Dad’s not about to back down now. He digs his heels in. And Young-ju does the same in turn.
Young-ju: I will show you the strength of the law that I protect.
Damn, now I’m impressed again.
Kim Jong-shik decides it’s time to meet with Bae Man-duk and Nana. I hope she judo-chops your ass, just for kicks.
Meanwhile Ajusshi goes to visit his mother’s memorial, and tells Yoon-sung over the phone that he didn’t manage to lowjack Dad ’cause he felt like he was already savvy to the plan. He offers up the food that he’s prepared for his mother’s birthday and cries as he tells her that he’s doing good things now, proudly telling her, “I help catch bad guys.” Omg, so cute.
But it’s the perfect opportunity for Kim Jong-shik’s men to find him, since it’s a connection to his real identity as Bae Man-duk. He gets attacked and carried off…
Yoon-sung gets a text from Ajusshi’s phone: XYZ.
He immediately turns on the tracker that Ajusshi failed to place on Dad. So! Smart! I LOVE this show!
At the same time, Nana gets attacked. She flips over one guy, but the other chloroforms her…
She wakes up in a basement, hands and feet tied. Ajusshi is unconscious on the ground a few feet away. (How’d he send the text? Telekinesis?) She kicks him awake, shouting his name “Bae Man-duk-sshi!” until he finally comes to.
She quickly guesses that this has to do with Kim Jong-shik, and angrily asks where he’s been hiding for ten years, and why he’s only appeared now. Ajusshi apologizes, knowing he’s a terrible person for what he did. He freaks out that they’re going to die like this, but Nana’s having none of that. Love her.
She gets him to stop whimpering long enough to untie her ropes so they can find a way out…
Yoon-sung speeds over, watching the tracer that leads him straight to… Kim Jong-shik’s house. Really? Did you not go to Bad Guy Basic Training? This is what abandoned warehouses are for. I mean, it’s great for the good guys, you incriminating yourself and all. But just sayin’.
He arrives and batmans his way in, scaling walls and gadgets galore, and stops when he finds Kim Jong-shik’s office. He finds a keypad under the desk and dusts it for prints, finding that it’s a four-number code. 4! = 24, so he figures it’s worth going through the possible combinations. But! Ajusshi!
Thankfully Nana’s not one to be damsel-in-distressy, and stages her own breakout with Ajusshi’s help. Awesome.
Yoon-sung gets through a few tries on the keypad, but then overhears all the guards running and shouting that their captors escaped. So he runs out…
Nana and Ajusshi are almost clear when another henchman spots them. He’s about to attack when Yoon-sung comes flying in with a swift kick. Oh, NOW you’re the hero? Heh.
They stare agape, and he looks at her in shock, “Kim Nana, what are you doing here?” He and Ajusshi are too gushy to remember to hide the fact that they know each other (which is so adorable) and tell Nana that they’ll explain later.
He leads them out and tells them to go wait in the car. He asks for the tracker and then runs back inside. He tries a few more keypad combinations, until one finally works, and a secret room opens up behind a wall.
He steps inside to find a mound of cash that can only be described as a jaw-droppingly Scrooge-McDuck-sized vault o’ money. It’s ridonkulous. And so cool.
He steps inside and then begins to size it up, calculating in his head the width, depth, and height of the pile to determine how much is there.
So. Utterly. BADASS.
That’s maybe the first time I’ve ever thought math was hot.
He steps out of the room, not noticing that a guard’s got a gun trained right at him. He shoots, and lands a tranq dart in Yoon-sung’s shoulder, and he goes down.
Outside, Nana worries that it’s been too long, and turns to go back inside. Ajusshi grabs her, shouting at her that her liver’s so big for someone her size (meaning that she’s disproportionately brave), and tries to stop her.
But just as she’s about to run back in, they see the henchmen carry an unconscious Yoon-sung out and load him into a car. They run to his car to try and catch up. And now they can track HIM because he took the lowjack from Ajusshi.
Yoon-sung wakes up tied to a chair and surrounded by the guards. Oh, NOW we’re in an abandoned warehouse—because they intend on killing him. One guy grabs him by the scruff and yanks his head back, and Yoon-sung drawls, “Let go. I said, let go. I’m someone who really values his hairstyle.” Pwahahaha.
That goads him just enough, and Yoon-sung head butts him viciously in the chin. It’s exactly the kind of thing to injure the petty henchman’s pride… and he totally falls for it, ordering the others to back off and untie him.
Yoon-sung gets up to fight, only what would’ve been an awesome plan is now backfiring on him because he’s too woozy from the tranquilizer to actually take on Fight Club, who just viciously knocks him around.
Nana and Ajusshi have tracked him here, only to find Yoon-sung getting beaten to a bloody pulp. Ajusshi runs off to call Dad or the cops to try and stop it, and Nana watches until Yoon-sung falls to the ground, spitting up blood.
She finally can’t take it anymore and bursts through the doors, fighting her way in. Why so awesome, Nana? She impressively manages to knock down all the other guys, but one has a chance to reach for his gun…
She sees him aim at Yoon-sung…
She darts in front of him, taking the bullet in the back and collapsing into Yoon-sung’s arms. Her blood splatters on his face she goes down, and he holds her, lingering for a moment in shock.
He runs after the gunman in a bloody rage, beating him to a pulp with ferocious, uncontrollable anger. Wow, just… wow.
He snaps out of it and walks over to Nana in a daze, as she lies there, bleeding out. Oh god, the look in his eyes.
Yoon-sung: Kim Nana. Kim Nana… Wh–Why?
Nana: [in banmal] You rescued me. Twice. Did you hurt this much too?
Yoon-sung: Don’t talk. Don’t say anything.
Nana: Did… you hate me? Can’t you tell me you didn’t? That’d be nice. I wanted to say Thank You.
Yoon-sung: Why did you run in and get shot?! Why did you run in and get shot?!
Nana: It’s a relief that it wasn’t you.
Yoon-sung: Kim Nana. Kim Nana. Kim NANA! KIM NANA!!
She closes her eyes. Her hand falls to the ground.
He shouts her name again and again, clutching her to his chest and crying.
OH. MY. GOD.
She’s not gonna die, right? She can’t die. She’s not gonna die. She’s not gonna die. *rocking back and forth in a catatonic stupor*
The crazy thing is, she COULD actually die at this point in the story. It would officially be the ballsiest move ever, but it’s totally within the realm of the story’s trajectory. Her death could be his turning point. It could make him become the City Hunter in a real way, not just motivated by his revenge. She’s served her major narrative purposes and this would be dying to save him and the hero that he’ll become.
Okay, but she can’t die. Not like this, right? Gah, I think the chances are slim, but there’s enough motivation to do it—to off her. I would simultaneously give Show a standing ovation and hurl vitriol at it for weeks, for the emotional wreckage. Why do you toy with me so?
I’m consistently impressed with Lee Min-ho‘s acting, but the last ten minutes of this episode just blew me away. He went from animalistic rage to the most vulnerable heartbreak in just one scene, which totally floored me. He owes a lot to the director, of course, who is now officially my favorite k-drama PD ever, because I can feel the character beats viscerally in every scene. The action, the emotion, the narrative twists—everything is packaged for maximum impact, which only heightens every performance and every turn in the story.
I love directing as storytelling – when the PD and writer are not separate entities, but part and parcel of the same thing, with the same goals. It’s probably why I respond so frenetically to this drama. Because when one or even two aspects of a drama are good (acting, writing, directing), it’s great, but when you get the trifecta, well, you can see why I’ve lost my mind.
I can’t believe how quickly Yoon-sung is living his nightmare, every time ending in Nana’s bloody death, at times accompanied by his own. How many times can they survive shooting each other and taking bullets to save the other? Yoon-sung’s question at the beginning now rings eerily: “Kim Nana, just how many lives do you think you have?”
- City Hunter: Episode 10
- 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