Somehow the phrase “I wanna be like City Hunter” doesn’t quite have the ring of “I wanna be like Mike,” even though, DUDE, I totally want to be like City Hunter, by which I mean AWESOME. And exciting, and intriguing, and sexy. Damn sexy. Though that’s mostly Lee Min-ho’s doing.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Bo-kyung – “Suddenly” from the City Hunter OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Nana tells Yoon-sung that she’s glad he wasn’t the one to get shot, and her body goes limp. Yoon-sung cradles her to himself, crying.
If anything were able to inject the tiniest smidge of humor into the moment, it’s the sight of Shik-joong, bursting into the room after finding a crate to wield as a weapon, surprised to find the enemies all neutralized. Thus they’re able to escape, so when Kim Jong-shik gets the word that his captives have fled, his upset quickly turns to fear: “It can’t be…the City Hunter?”
Sae-hee answers the clinic door and quickly takes in the sight of Yoon-sung grimly carrying in a bloody Nana. Without batting an eye, she immediately locks the door and tells ajusshi to close the blinds. Gotta love a woman who’s fast on the uptake.
Lying on the table, Nana opens her eyes, and OH THANK GOD. (It’s mixed with the tiniest bit of disappointment, narratively speaking, which I’ll talk more about below. But yes, mostly relief. My blood pressure can return to normal now. I mean, I was pretty sure they weren’t going to kill her. But…what if?)
Sae-hee sees the wound and says with censure, “Guns, again?!” Even as she starts to clean the wound, she tells Yoon-sung urgently to take her to the hospital, because Nana’s lost a lot of blood and they have none here. I half-expect Yoon-sung to go flying out the door to steal blood packets from a hospital, but his response is even better: “Take my blood.” He’s Type O, the universal donor, and with tears in his eyes he overrides Sae-hee’s concerns. He insists, “I’m fine — just save Nana.”
They lie there, facing each other, while his blood supplements hers. Oh man, taken as an isolated gesture this is poignant, but it’s made all the better by the fact that we’ve established that Yoon-sung’s blood is his kryptonite — at least to his secret cover. Of all things, it’s the one that puts him in the most danger. And the two people to whom he’s offered it, despite his revenge and his scary scary father, are his mother and Nana. GOD I LOVE THIS DRAMA.
Just before Sae-hee administers a sedative so she can operate for the bullet, Nana tells Yoon-sung not to worry about her, because she’s plucky like that. Honey, after this you won’t ever have to prove that again, ever. Her hand extends from her side, and Yoon-sung takes it, holding on as she goes under.
He keeps holding it while Nana sleeps after the procedure. He wonders to Shik-joong, “What kind of person is she? Why is she so fearless? She looks just like a normal woman, but she doesn’t stand back, and doesn’t spare her health.”
Shik-joong mumbles sleepily, “It’s ’cause she’s strong. That’s how she’s lived like this all this time.”
Yoon-sung asks, “Will she live well…without me?” (I don’t know what you’re thinking, but stop it! Right! Now!) What’s lovely about this conversation is that Shik-joong is half-asleep, so he doesn’t read into Yoon-sung’s words and just murmurs unthinkingly, “The living just keep living. That’s what living is.”
Yoon-sung: “I don’t think I can do that anymore.” Do what? DO WHAT?! You mean live without Nana, right? You mean forgo your happiness for the sake of revenge, right??
Yoon-sung takes Nana home with him, since she won’t be safe at her place. He tells her not to go to the Blue House, either, since Kim Jong-shik will know where she works, and Shik-joong calls in sick for her (citing an injured arm).
Nana asks Shik-joong why he lied all those years ago, and he tells her regretfully that he caved to Kim Jong-shik’s threat to imprison him on false charges. Asked how he knows Yoon-sung, he explains about Yoon-sung saving his life in Thailand. He adds that he’d asked Yoon-sung to look after Nana when he got to Korea, because he’d felt guilty all these years.
Yoon-sung confirms that the money hasn’t moved, since the tracker he snuck into the stash is still at Kim Jong-shik’s mansion. By his calculations, there was a staggering 200 billion won in that room, which translates to roughly $185 million. It also accounts for the missing university funds that they’d been unable to trace.
Shik-joong settles back for some light reading (a home shopping catalog!) and flicks the light switch, which doesn’t work. He gets up to replace the bulb…and spots the bug planted there by Bad Daddy’s minion Sang-gook.
(You know what’s a fantastic detail that really makes this moment for me? The fact that the bug was planted while Shik-joong was distracted with his home shopping fixation — and now it’s discovered because of it. Awesome way to weave a minor point into the larger fabric of the show. It’s what gives the drama texture.)
They realize where the bug must have come from, although Jin-pyo’s already gleaned a lot of information from it, such as the fact that Nana took a bullet for Yoon-sung (ahhhh, that will never stop being satisfying to say), which suggests that they’re in “no ordinary relationship.”
Yoon-sung arrives outside Dad’s lair all ready to burst in with righteous indignation, but thankfully he catches Dad and Sang-gook’s conversation in progress, which gives him pause.
Jin-pyo says that his warning not to fall in love has gone by the wayside, so now “I’ll have to take care of Kim Nana. I’ll get rid of her.” He then asks for an update on Kyung-hee’s whereabouts, and Sang-gook reports that he’d searched hospitals far and wide, but turned up nothing. Jin-pyo orders him to find her, “Before Yoon-sung finds out she’s disappeared.”
Okay, so yes, it’s a little convenient that Yoon-sung happens to eavesdrop on this crucial bit of information. I’ll admit it. Yet the content of this eavesdropping is so awesome that I’m thrilled — this drama doesn’t drag secrets out far past their expiration date, but instead exposes them and twists them into something even more interesting. On a regular basis. This explains the crack-like addiction.
Furthermore, I appreciate that Sang-gook is starting to show glimmers of hesitation, as though even he’s uneasy with the extent of Jin-pyo’s badassery. He asks hesitantly, “But telling her that Yoon-sung died — isn’t that going too far?”
Jin-pyo shuts him up, saying, “When I stole Yoon-sung away from her, I’d already crossed a river I couldn’t turn back on.”
Stunned, Yoon-sung walks inside to face his father, and asks why he lied that Mom abandoned him. Jin-pyo answers that Yoon-sung represents his father to him, and that if he hadn’t stolen him away, Jin-pyo would probably be living a normal life right now. But every time he felt the desire for revenge ebbing, he’d look at Yoon-sung and be reminded of the betrayal.
Jin-pyo’s selfish logic is completely warped, yet makes sense in his own solipsistic, mad-for-revenge way. In his mind, the revenge has become so paramount that everything else pales in comparison.
Yoon-sung isn’t buying his explanation, saying that Jin-pyo’s mission has ruined his life. “I didn’t want to live like this! I will never, ever forgive you for this.”
Jin-pyo reminds him that they have work to do, but Yoon-sung tells him, “I will carry out my father’s revenge alone. You called this a war. I won’t run from it.”
Jin-pyo: “Yoon-sung, you can’t beat me.” Yoon-sung: “No. You can’t beat me.” Ooooh. Them’s fightin’ words.
Yoon-sung warns Dad that if he touches Shik-joong, his mother, or Nana, he’ll stake his life to fight back: “This is my last warning to you, Father.” Jin-pyo actually chuckles as Yoon-sung stalks off: “But you still call me Father.” Well, sure, if we’re going to argue semantics…
Yoon-sung arrives home as Nana is about to leave, and she tells him, their backs turned to each other, that she’ll stay with Sae-hee. She’ll return his borrowed shirt via mail, and she’ll disappear from his life, per his request and her promise.
But everything’s changed now for him, and how refreshing is it that he no longer has to keep Nana away to protect her. In fact, the reverse is true. Yoon-sung grabs her wrist and asks, “Don’t go. Please. Don’t go.”
Nana shakes off his hand and walks away anyway. He follows, and gently holds her to him.
Drinking alone, Jin-pyo relives his last moments with Mu-yeol in the ocean massacre, and promises his friend to see the revenge through: “Whatever gets in the way of that revenge, I’ll kill. Even if that’s Yoon-sung.”
I love the way he says this with sadness, not wild-eyed ferocity, because he’s not actually insane, or irrational. Maybe he’s just grieving, in his twisted way that doesn’t allow him to see that he would be willing to kill Mu-yeol’s son out of love for Mu-yeol, which is the very definition of defeating the purpose.
Kim Jong-shik worries that the City Hunter saw his mountain of cash and orders his man to recapture Nana and Bae Man-deok (Shik-joong), to lure the City Hunter. Too bad one of them is off the grid, and one is a Secret Service agent, which complicates matters.
Yoon-sung tends to Nana’s shoulder, and she asks about his life back in Thailand, wondering if he had friends there. I love that their old camaraderie is back, now that they’ve smashed the whole I’m-being-a-dick-to-protect-you facade. He cheerily describes someone there who was like Nana — who was also strong, ate well, “and enjoyed whenever I touched [her].” Nana blusters that she’s not all about the skinship — well, maybe except now, but that’s only because of the injury, uh huh.
Yoon-sung warns Nana to keep out of his business, but she asks to be included in his mission against Kim Jong-shik, “Because he’s my enemy, too.” He’s prepared to argue, but she shuts him up with the simple, “I won’t leave you to do dangerous things alone anymore.” Gotta love a girl who’s as intent on protecting her man as he is about protecting her.
She backs off a bit by offering to find Kyung-hee while he works on Kim Jong-shik. It’s great how quickly she takes to this line of work, instructing him to hack into the hospital networks so she can start looking. She finally wears him down by pointedly picking up the tonic bottle Kyung-hee had given him, saying she misses her too.
Giving in, Yoon-sung pulls up a chair for her and shows Nana the list he’s compiled. The image below totally makes me happy, with Nana proud to join in as part of his mission.
At the Blue House, Eun-ah smells something fishy about the timing of Yoon-sung’s resignation and Nana’s injury, wondering if they’re playing hooky together. Eun-ah has always sensed something in the way he looked over during Da-hae sessions. Unless…he’s interested in HER! Ha. So close, and yet so far.
The IT chief asks Ki-joon and Eun-ah to help convince Yoon-sung to return to work, so the trio heads to Yoon-sung’s personal castle with mouths agape at the grandeur. (Nana scrambles to hide, lest she blow their cover.)
Evidence of Yoon-sung’s riches means the boss can’t exactly appeal to his need for a salary, so he asks Yoon-sung to come back as patriotic service. But Yoon-sung is firm about not changing his mind.
Hilariously, Shik-joong is smitten with Eun-ah at first sight, which is all the funnier since she’s thinking Yoon-sung’s into her. She offers to replace Nana in judo practice and go easy on him (getting Ki-joon’s hackles up), then flounces off to give herself a tour of his place. Yoon-sung jumps up to stop her, since Nana’s hiding upstairs, and dives to cover her from view. And then gives Nana a cheeky wink, gah.
Shik-joong sends off the trio with some homemade food, giving the men a small box and Eun-ah a huge one. (I do wonder if there’ll be any complication with the fact that Shik-joong called in for Nana as her uncle, and is introduced here as Yoon-sung’s uncle… Or maybe “uncle” is just his default cover.)
Jin-pyo knows Yoon-sung has bugged the money, and readies to steal it once it’s on the move so he can send it to to the prosecutor — but it’s not surprising that his primary motivation isn’t a sense of justice. Instead, he does it because he’s anticipating the entertainment factor of watching the fallout — will idealistic Young-ju prosecute his father, or protect him? “This should be fun,” he says.
Nana listens as Yoon-sung and Shik-joong discuss the likelihood of the money being transported within the next day. She’s still fuzzy on the details of this whole City Hunter operation, and asks whether Dad knows his secret identity. And why Jin-pyo doesn’t live with Mom Kyung-hee.
That’s a whole kettle of fish they aren’t inclined to get into right now, so Shik-joong merely says that Jin-pyo and Yoon-sung are having a “difference of opinion.” Nana’s sharp enough to suppose that such a “difference” equates to Dad offing Lee Kyung-wan.
Students stage another sit-in regarding the forfeited tuition promise, and Kim Jong-shik walks in to address them in his (falsely) earnest way. He says that he feels their pain, and is doing what he can to find more funding support, asking them to end the demonstration. But the leader, while thankful for the offer, says that they must see that the promise is honored.
Kim Jong-shik accepts that decision graciously and wishes them well, bowing deeply. But as he walks out, he sneers that they dare quibble over that measly money, in light of the school’s reputation as the top university in the country? If those students drop out, there are students for miles who’d be happy to enroll, AND pay full tuition.
In his paranoia (well, maybe it’s not paranoia if his fears are founded), Kim Jong-shik calls techs in for daily sweeps of his office, searching for wiretaps and hidden cameras. Kim is so nervous that he orders all phone and internet access cut off in his office.
Yoon-sung scopes out the situation from the lobby (“reading” a book titled Romance Novel, haha), deducing that Kim is readying to move his stash.
Kim is also fighting a toothache, and heads to the dentist for an appointment. One step ahead of him, Yoon-sung precedes him to the dentist’s office and delivers supplies, which then get implanted in Kim’s tooth. Hee!
Kyung-hee turns up in a monastery some distance away, but she decides to head back to Seoul to take care of something. She’s managed to remain hidden, and the prosecutors are likewise unable to locate her. Young-ju tries to look up Mu-yeol’s records, but finds that they don’t exist and wonders if they’d been purged.
Nana asks Yoon-sung to pick up her clothes from Sae-hee’s clinic, where she left her luggage. Once there, he sees Sae-hee being questioned by a minion and remains out of sight as she lies, saying she doesn’t know anything about Nana.
Shopping time! Yoon-sung starts out by asking the saleswoman for some “comfortable clothes to wear around the house,” but a dress catches his eye, and another, and another, until he’s cleaned out the racks. But he can’t give a sincere compliment to save his dorky hide, so he tells Nana that he bought things to hide her lack of a figure, ha.
But Nana’s on to him now, and smiles that he’s like her Daddy Long Legs. Which reminds her of her actual Daddy Long Legs, and she reveals that it’s Young-ju. She asks if they can go to him for help, still unaware of the Daddy-Son relationship, and Yoon-sung barks at her to remember that the prosecutor is on his tail. (He calls her Gom Nana, a play on her name which means “Bear Nana” and refers to her denseness. But I think I’ll call her Nana Bear instead, ’cause that’s just ridiculous and adorable.)
Shik-joong offers Nana some nifty (home-shopped?) shampoo, but she says she can’t shower because of her shoulder. He offers to wash her hair for her, and Yoon-sung immediately overreacts, jumping up in protest. Shik-joong: “Then you do it!” Yoon-sung: “I will!” Cute cute cute.
He washes her hair for her, taking his time and being gentle, which has got to be one of the sweetest romantic gestures ever. Nana playfully flicks suds at him (prompting another “Nana Bear” exclamation) and they engage in a play-fight.
Then it’s time to listen in on the bug implanted in Kim Jong-shik’s tooth, as he takes a meeting with a prospective donor. Who is…Kyung-hee?
Eek! She’s here to hand over the funds Jin-pyo had sent her over the years, now that she believes she has no son left living and is not long for this world. She tells Kim to use it to help the troubled students to continue their eduction. The amount: 1 billion won, which is just under $1 million.
As soon as he realizes it’s his mother, Yoon-sung runs out.
Kim Jong-shik smirks at this easy get, because Kyung-hee’s request to remain anonymous works out perfectly for his desire to pocket the funds. He can leave it unreported and just enjoy the spoils. You bastard!
Yoon-sung arrives at the school and passes by his mother, who’s hidden in a group of students. Noooooo! Turn around! He does, but a split second too late, and returns home in dejected spirits. His team reads his disappointment clearly, and Shik-joong confides to Nana that Yoon-sung had snapped when his surrogate mother died in Thailand. Nana asks for an explanation, but he tells her to hear it from Yoon-sung directly.
Kim Jong-shik wastes no time spending his money, taking his wife shopping for expensive bags and clothes. Posing as a shopper, Yoon-sung follows him along and overhears him confirming his plans to move the money tomorrow.
Young-ju goes over the university account records, finding discrepancies between the actual numbers and the recorded ones. There’s 200 billion that’s unaccounted for, and that suggests the possibility of a slush fund.
With that suspicion bouncing around in his head, Young-ju drops by to see his father — and finds him busily boxing up his money. My, isn’t that a satisfying “Oh shit” look on Kim’s face when his son calls out to him, looking stunned and disillusioned. Also furious.
Upset but also pleading, Young-ju says he doesn’t want his father to turn out like Lee Kyung-wan or Seo Yong-hak, and tells him that it’s still not too late. He gives him two options: “Return this money to the school, or turn yourself in.”
Dad says no, actually using “Everyone else does it” as his defense. What’s so wrong about him doing it too? If your friends all jumped off a bridge…
Young-ju replies with all earnestness, “Because it’s the law. Because it should be upheld. Because there are people who are hurt by your greed. I beg of you, please return to the father I respected. Please.”
Dad sighs that he’s come too far to turn back, but adds that his son is a prosecutor, and “You have to do what you have to do.”
Aw, I love this. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s another intra-family declaration of war, even as both parties acknowledge that they love each other. But not enough to back down — one believes in the value of justice, and the other can’t give up his selfish greed. Dad had wanted to preserve both his power and his son’s respect, but when push comes to shove, he chooses power.
Young-ju stalks out. Yoon-sung listens on the other end — having sent Nana away purposely to avoid this discovery — and muses, “Prosecutor Kim Young-ju, your dilemma has begun.” That’s a mild way to put it.
And then, D-Day.
Team City Hunter follows the tracker to the prepping grounds for the money move, which has been loaded onto a freight truck. Yoon-sung declares that they’ll have to return the money to the honest people who sweat blood and tears to earn it, and warns his team that Jin-pyo will be on their tail the moment they take the money: “No matter what, we have to protect it.”
The plan swings into motion, and it’s so genius-simple that I love it. Yoon-sung strolls over to the van and tosses some kind of teargas bomb inside, and when the window rolls down, he elbows the driver in the face. Then Shik-joong strolls over to the freighter and knocks on its window. When the driver rolls down the window, he tosses another bomb inside.
The driver jumps out quickly, and Nana steps in, flipping the guy to the ground — she’s only got one good arm, but the arm sure is good. It makes the guys gape in wonder, cutely.
Yoon-sung commandeers the truck, with Shik-joong and Nana in the car behind him. He’s soon joined on the road by Jin-pyo and Sang-gook, who pull up alongside them, and Yoon-sung begins Phase 2.
That means Shik-joong and Nana drive between the truck and Jin-pyo’s car, running interference and allowing Yoon-sung to speed up and drive on. Dad’s car tries to overtake the lead, but Shik-joong swerves back and forth to remain in front, and both cars get stuck at an intersection when the light turns red.
Dad catches up soon, overtakes the truck, and stops in the middle of the road — a direct echo of Yoon-sung’s own move in Episode 4. Eee, I love the parallel! But Yoon-sung isn’t his father, and may not have the balls (steel though they may be) to actually run him over.
And sure enough, he screeches to a halt just a few feet shy of collision.
Yoon-sung gets out and faces Dad, who tells him he’ll be taking the money, thanks. Yoon-sung intends to return the money to their sources, and then continue his Kim Jong-shik revenge.
Jin-pyo: “And then you’ll fight me?” Yoon-sung: “I warned you, didn’t I?”
Dad whips out his cane and whacks Yoon-sung with it, bringing him to his knees. Yoon-sung won’t hit him, so Dad challenges him to fight back, saying, “War means needing to win no matter who your opponent is.”
Jin-pyo gets into the truck and drives off, leaving Yoon-sung stranded in the road alone. He’s down, but not out — because when Dad pulls over a short distance later, he finds the truck empty. Muahaha!
Even Jin-pyo has to laugh, impressed even as he scowls, “Yoon-sung dares to fool me?”
Kim Jong-shik is much less amused (as in, not at all) and flips his lid when he hears the money has been stolen. Panic, rage, shock.
Shik-joong swaps out the license plates on his truck, applauding Yoon-sung’s forethought in procuring the exact same truck to act as decoy. With that, Team City Hunter gets down to business, boxing up money to mail back to the appropriate students. The accompanying note states that the City Hunter is returning funds hoarded by the university chairman for his personal use, in order to honor the tuition promise.
An interesting aside: One of the demonstrators is the bitchy girl from the previous episode, whom Yoon-sung had chided for her bad attitude. She’s the only one of the demonstrators who hasn’t received a package from the City Hunter, and wonders why.
Feeling celebratory, Shik-joong sends Yoon-sung and Nana to the supermarket for party ingredients. Shopping for groceries is such a delightfully mundane, domestic activity that it never ceases to put a smile on my face, especially when the sample lady refers to Yoon-sung as Nana’s husband and he smiles adorably in response.
As they’re heading to the parking lot, however, a cart knocks into theirs, and Nana darts forward to retrieve fallen tomatoes. Which is when the automatic sliding doors slam shut, separating the two, and the lights cut out. OH NO.
A motorcyclist speeds into the darkened garage, heading directly for them. Jin-pyo.
I didn’t really think Nana would die, but there was enough uncertainty to make me mighty uneasy for a good half-day. I doubted this drama would go that dark, but thematically speaking, it would have worked wonderfully with the direction the story is taking. Thus far, Yoon-sung is the voice of justice (and reason), while Jin-pyo is driven by bloodlust. Killing Nana would have spurred Yoon-sung to revengey thoughts, and driven him close to — or over — the edge, much as he’d lost it when his surrogate mother was killed in Thailand. That means this not only becomes a son-vs-father battle, and a City-Hunter-vs-baddies-vs-The-Law battle — but a Yoon-sung-vs-himself battle, in which he fights to claim himself from the dark side. How great would that be?
Plus! Could you imagine the additional angst of Young-ju finding out that his father not only killed Nana’s mother, but also Nana? I would have been massively impressed had they gone that route, definitely.
On the other hand, I want SO BADLY for Yoon-sung to be happy, and I can’t see him ever being light and free without Nana by his side. So I’m not terribly disappointed, even though I still think it would’ve been an awesome way to go. Even if it would have broken my heart.
You know, I don’t want City Hunter to be extended, per se — I’ll take one if they give it to us, but that’s not what I mean when I say I want more, more, MOAR. I want them to wrap up this season as planned, then take some time to plot out a Season 2 with a new arc and a new set of character development issues, and see that complete story through as badassedly as they did this one.
Which, I think, is entirely feasible, possible, and desirable given that this season — imma call it Season 1 because I blindly refuse to give up the idea of a Season 2 — is really an origin story. It isn’t really until this episode that we have the assembly of our City Hunter Scooby gang, and with it now in place, I can totally see this structure playing out over multiple seasons, like Buffy or Angel.
Extending it into more seasons would also bring us closer to the original story, though I’ve long since stopped worrying about the manga ties as a requisite for enjoying this one. Consider that this season establishes Yoon-sung’s playboy alter ego, as well as setting him up for the Girl Friday relationship he has with his sidekick, and introduces the XYZ code as a call for help. The Blue House stuff was an invention of the K-drama, and it’s what gets our hero here at the beginning of his journey — but from this point on, we could even drop it and not lose anything. In future stories, all we’d need is a new Big Bad for the season, broken down into smaller Bads per this season’s five targets, to keep up the steady buildup-and-payoff rhythm we’ve established.
‘Cause really, this is a sustainable premise. I’m loving this team, and the characters, and the possibilities that this world has created. It would kill me a little to know they won’t get to realize the full gamut of stories built into the world.
Ahhhhh Season 2, where are you??
- City Hunter: Episode 11
- 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