City Hunter: Episode 7
The jealousy shoe is on the other foot, and it’s just as cute. It’s been adorable watching Yoon-sung fumble to ingratiate himself with Nana while maintaining his playboy cover, but now Nana has to deal with her budding attraction — and when the source of that attraction is as cool, smart, and HOT as Yoon-sung? Jealousy is just inevitable. Good luck trying to fight that; you’re better off just giving in.
SONG OF THE DAY
Dear Cloud – “널 위해서라고” (It’s For You) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Hotel room, meet awkward moment. Yoon-sung knows exactly what everyone’s thinking, and while Sae-hee does too, she’s perfectly calm about it. Nerves of steel, that woman. With her ex Young-ju seething in front of her, she excuses herself, still angry at him for ditching her for his work. To rub salt into that wound, Young-ju follows her out for an explanation…and gets called mid-conversation.
An important discovery has come in: the identification of the hijacking driver with the limp. It’s Jin-pyo, whose official profile lists him as Steve Lee, a Korean-American businessman in agriculture. Oh, is “agriculture” what we’re calling narcotics trade now?
Yoon-sung calls Nana repeatedly, and fails repeatedly. I love that the instant his phone rings, he laughs smugly to himself, ’cause it means an ego setdown is in order when it’s not her.
It’s Jin-pyo, calling to take Yoon-sung to task for not being on-task; he asks if it’s because of a girl, and Yoon-sung says no. But the scarily all-knowing Jin-pyo has learned everything (about the progress of their research) from Shik-joong, who’s caved under pressure.
Jin-pyo wants to go public with the Seo Yong-hak/Hudson connection immediately with the video proof Yoon-sung got from the hotel, but Yoon-sung wants to wait. He argues that Seo losing the presidential election isn’t enough for him, that he wants to show him that all are equal before the law.
Yoon-sung’s spared a paternal ass-whooping (Dad is not impressed with this “soft” answer) by the arrival of the public prosecutors. Yoon-sung and Shik-joong hang back while his father receives Young-ju and his partner.
When Jin-pyo steps aside to bring a tray of beverages for his guests, the partner sneaks over to the glass on his desk and quickly lifts a fingerprint with some tape.
While keeping his tone pleasant, Young-ju comments on Dad’s apparent numerous hobbies — piano playing, motorcycle riding — and asks if he by chance also likes to shoot guns. Smooth segue there. Jin-pyo gives a false chuckle and says, “I’ve never even shot a gun. I dislike such dreadful things.”
Young-ju says Seo’s sniper had a bum leg and a gun, so they turned their search to recent arrivals from abroad (guns aren’t sold to the public, so you’d have to be in law enforcement to have one, or smuggle it in illegally).
As they leave, his partner says he’ll test the fingerprint against all those culled from the elevator button. Too bad for them that Jin-pyo is one step (or maybe twenty) ahead of them; he peels off the fake fingertips he’d been wearing during their visit, which ought to throw them off his scent. Gah, with a Dad like this, is it any wonder Yoon-sung turned out so cool? And crafty?
Jin-pyo muses that the prosecutor doesn’t seem like a pushover, and warns Yoon-sung to be particularly careful.
Nana stuffs her face with ddukbokki at the snack shop (Kyung-hee’s), complaining, “Why did it have to be Sae-hee unni, of all people? *grumble grumble* And how’d he know she likes tall guys?”
Kyung-hee gives her some banchan to take home, which is such a motherly thing to do, but what makes this immediately awesome for me is that it means her roommie will get to eat his own mother’s cooking. Aw, that just warms my heart.
Yoon-sung comes home all prepared to explain about the hotel, but Nana cuts him off, and when he grabs her wrist, she wrenches it away. He points out that she’s jealous — hence the phone-call ignoring and the peevish attitude — which she denies, but badly. Recalling their no-contact stipulations, she holds out her hand for the cash, prompting him to touch her some more on purpose and toss more cash into the mix. (Now, that’s what I’m talking ’bout…)
But that just gets her flustered and upset, so she shouts that she doesn’t want the money and storms into her room, which is when he explains through the closed door that Sae-hee spilled wine on him and offered to get his clothes cleaned.
Nana realizes she’s jumped to conclusions (and also revealed her own jealousy), and berates herself. And then touches her shoulders, where he’d touched her.
Yoon-sung looks over his info on Seo Yong-hak’s draft-dodging son, and jumps a mile when Nana slides the door open. Gauging his reaction, she guesses he was watching porn. HAHAHA. He denies it repeatedly, but she just smiles knowingly and says it would be weirder for a playboy like him to not watch porn.
Nana urges him to eat up so she can return the food containers to the snack shop ajumma, and Yoon-sung asks to accompany her, for some air. When they get there, Kyung-hee’s dead tired and Yoon-sung, who stands there uncomfortably with eyes averted, darts forward to catch her when she stumbles.
Kyung-hee assures them repeatedly that she’s fine, even as she can barely keep her head up, and Nana urges him to carry her home on his back. Oh man, I’m tearing up already and he hasn’t even done it yet — the concept alone is wonderfully poignant, particularly since piggybacking, as we’ve explained, is a gesture loaded with meaning. In that post, girlfriday points out the instance in Personal Taste, when Lee Min-ho’s character piggybacks Sohn Ye-jin in a mirroring of her paternal relationship, whereas here the connection is maternal. Love.
Yet, casting a shadow over the moment (literally and figuratively) is Jin-pyo, who observes from a distance. Eep! This can’t end well, methinks.
Once at home, Kyung-hee thanks him sweetly, saying his mother must be happy to have such a strong, dependable son. He says with some difficulty, “I have no mother. I don’t even know what her face looks like.” Kyung-hee assumes he means that she’s dead, and says that if his mom were alive, she’d be happy.
Nana clues into Yoon-sung’s gloomy mood shift, and he excuses himself, telling her to go home first. Instead, she joins him, ignoring his dismissals, noting that even the playboy misses his mom sometimes. I appreciate this aspect of Nana, that no matter how much Yoon-sung pisses her off, she’s sensitive to his mother issues and is persistent in a helpful way whenever they arise.
She says that she goes to eat Kyung-hee’s food when she misses her own mom, and then comes here to the water’s edge to sing a song, and demonstrates. (Her song is “세월이 가면” (As Time Goes By), a 1988 ballad by Choi Ho-sub.)
Nana holds him by the shoulders and baby-talks to wring a smile out of him, and that starts to lift his mood.
The next day, Jin-pyo comes to see Kyung-hee, who screams for him to return her child. After she’s calmed down, Jin-pyo asks why she lives like this, confirming that he’s the man anonymously sending her money over the years. She hasn’t spent a cent, and tells him to take it back, in exchange for her child.
He replies that the boy is living well, having studied in the States and is employed well. She can’t believe him unless she confirms it with her own eyes, incredulous to hear that her son knows nothing of her existence. He says he’ll tell her everything when the time is right.
Crying, she begs for her son’s name. He tells her it’s John Lee.
Ki-joon comes back to work with head hanging, having been released from prison after his brother came forward about hacking the Blue House network. The IT team boss welcomes him back, saying he’s lucky he got off with a six-month pay cut, and says that their team wrote to request leniency for his brother.
President Choi asks Yoon-sung to tutor Da-hae, not as a president but as a father — although really, like you’re going to say no to the president. Da-hae squeals ecstatically to hear the good news and almost runs into Nana in her rush to meet Yoon-sung, and recognizes her expensive shower gel at first whiff. Then when she meets Yoon-sung, she notes the same smell and asks suspiciously what’s going on — “It’s like you’re living together!” Thankfully, that idea’s so far-fetched she lets it drop.
Yoon-sung lays out the rules of their lessons: weekdays from 6:30 to 8:30, no dinner included, and no late nights, since “I’m a guy with extremely busy nights, got that?” Nana smirks at that, interpreting that comment in the obvious way. Yoon-sung warns Da-hae not to get a crush on him either, since little brats aren’t his style, which just makes her ask what IS his style.
Nana tries not to act like she’s interested in his answer, while Yoon-sung replies pointedly, “A woman with long straight hair, who’s pretty when she smiles, who makes good kimchi chigae, who likes dogs, who sings.” Da-hae ignores all the parts of that that don’t apply to her and announces, “That’s me!” Nana just sighs, “Sae-hee unni must have cooked him kimchi chigae.”
Oy, girl, way to miss a hint even when it smacks you in the face. And yet, why do I find your denseness cute? Probably because it makes Yoon-sung’s life difficult, and I so enjoy seeing his dorky, bumbling ways emerge despite that smooth-talking, playboy-looking exterior.
Yoon-sung makes his daily demand for coffee by first complaining that Nana used his precious shower gel, which makes me giggle because you know he’s just thrilled silly to have an excuse to call her. He starts to brush something from her jacket, but she recoils and tells him primly, “Do that for Sae-hee unni instead.” Which he looooves, because it’s proof she’s jealous, even though she denies it and storms off in a huff.
Now, for Seo’s sons. The eldest son was exempted from military service based on hypertension, but just applied for a marine biology-related lab job in the States, which hires only people with perfect health, as that line of work can involve deep-sea pressures too high for people suffering hypertension. Trap time!
President Choi meets with Seo Yong-hak to ask if it’s true that disgraced Senator Lee lobbied with American military companies, and Seo blames it all on Lee, keeping himself out of it. But the president produces a combat boot that’s falling apart, growing angry as he points out the unforgivably high failure rate of 7%.
Seo answers that they are legally in the clear, prompting a tirade by the president who caps it off by asking, “Have you changed, or were you always this way?” The Seo Yong-hak he knew was passionate, righteous, and motivated to help the people. (Is it weird that I find angry idealist president kinda hot?)
Seo asks if Choi means to drop him as his party’s presidential candidate, warning, “But where there is a loser, there is a winner” who might rise to power. He tells him to reflect carefully.
It’s only days till their political party finalizes their candidate, and Seo gives a speech (as do the other candidates) that’s full of idealistic hot air. Young-ju asks Seo afterward if he recognizes Jin-pyo, one of the suspects in the shooting, but nobody knows who it is.
As Nana waits for the bus after the speech, Seo’s flashy youngest son drives up, having made eyes at her during the event, and offers her a ride. She declines, but he grows insistent and tries to urge her into his car. Shik-joong has been hovering all night in the background and puts in a call to Yoon-sung, telling him to come because Nana’s in trouble, which is pretty much the fastest way to get him to do anything.
Yoon-sung comes screeching up and separates the two, and asks lightly, “Man, do I have to hang a sign saying you’re my girl?” Heck, if it were me, I’d be demanding a sign, just for bragging rights. Third Son is miffed and Nana keeps her mouth shut, figuring it’s better to go along with the story, and Yoon-sung tells him to run along and complain to Daddy.
On the way home, Nana tries to pretend she didn’t love what he did, while he complains that she didn’t use her trademark judo throw on the guy: “Or are you mad you didn’t get dragged off by him?”
Ki-joon calls Yoon-sung out to dinner to thank him (and the others) for writing that letter that got his brother released. With him at the restaurant are his brother, bodyguard Eun-ah, and Da-hae, the latter of whom is thankfully too happy to see Mr. Hottie to think too hard about Nana’s uncomfortable “Umm, we just ran into each other outside” excuse for arriving together. Eun-ah apparently dragged Da-hae along so as to keep from being too transparent about coming for Ki-joon’s sake, but everyone’s aware of their flirtation anyway.
Little Bro thanks them for their help, and explains that while he hates that he lost his leg, he doesn’t hate the army: “I just had bad luck, that’s all.” It’s a comment that particularly registers with Yoon-sung, who’s plotting the demise of the bootmakers and their corrupted affiliates.
To that end, he dresses up as American businessman John Lee, posing as a manager at the company for which Eldest Son is applying. Shik-joong does a little dressing up himself, passing himself off as an insurance man meeting with Second Son.
How do these plans meet? First Son is told his army-exemption-related health problem makes him ineligible for this job; Second Son is sold on a top-shelf life insurance plan, if only his exemption-related nephritis weren’t a sticking point. Both sons lean in to confess that they aren’t actually afflicted with said ailments.
Both con artists act relieved to hear it, and request a physical exam to prove their health statuses. Shik-joong even gets the tip that to get an X-ray to show results consistent with a nephritis diagnosis, all you have to do is drink a concentrated coffee solution.
Da-hae’s first tutoring session consists of Da-hae mooning over Yoon-sung while he goes through her workbook. She uses super-cheesy lines on him, asking if he ever surprises himself (with his beauty) when looking in the mirror, as she does. Heh. She’s sort of a brat, but as far as transparent plot devices go, Da-hae’s kinda cute, because she’s essentially harmless. Like a yappy dog. She’s growing on me.
I love how Nana steps in immediately when Yoon-sung raps on Da-hae’s head (to knock a little sense into her), telling him that he isn’t allowed to use physical discipline. But the moment Yoon-sung replies that the president gave him permission to use whatever teaching methods he finds appropriate, Nana steps right back, totally fine with letting this continue.
Getting a text alerting him to Third Son’s appearance at a certain Hongdae club, Yoon-sung declares the lesson over, declining Da-hae’s dinner invite with the reminder that he’s busy at night. Nana smirks, “You sure are busy.”
Da-hae’s so bummed to see her crush leave that she tells Nana to get ready — she’s gonna work this disappointment out of her system in her usual way: Club time!
(Okay, groan, I know it’s major coincidencelandia we’re in, but I’m telling myself it’s not SO strange that these two parties would end up in the same club, given Korea’s penchant for flocking to the Hot Thing of the Moment en masse, and the fact that the president’s daughter and the presidential candidate’s son are bound to move in similar circles.)
Third Son perks up to recognize Nana on the dance floor and sidles up to put an arm on his waist, which gets him swiftly bent over and twisted into an awkward position. Wait, that sentence came out wrong. I mean in a bad way. Nana lets go upon recognizing Third Son, but is unresponsive to his suggestion to “take this to a quieter place,” which results in a wrist-grab (again, we’re talking the bad version here).
To which Yoon-sung shows up to fling the unwanted arm off Nana and remind the party boy, “I get angry when people touch what’s mine.”
Asshole Son takes this outside, and Yoon-sung goes willingly, not even lifting a finger in his defense as Third Son goes to town on him, punching him in the gut, shoving him to the concrete, and kicking him violently. The girls watch in horror, although I suppose this fits into his image as the weak boy of the Blue House — and certainly they’re unaware that this is for the benefit of the hidden camera, with which Shik-joong tapes this incriminating scene.
But what makes this EVEN BETTER? (It’s already pretty awesome.) Mr. Right Hand Man lurks in the shadows (and it occurs to me that it’s a lucky thing all these lurkers picked different corners behind which to hide, hee) and reports to his boss, Chun, that this dude is totally NOT the City Hunter. Stone, meet three dead birds.
The ladies are bound to guard Da-hae so they can’t interfere — at least, not until she tries to stop Douchebag Son and gets knocked aside, and then Nana and Eun-ah are in this fight and quickly knock him down.
Yoon-sung slips away, leading the ladies to assume he was too embarrassed after getting his ass kicked. At home, Nana sees him applying a band-aid to his face, and it’s time for her to return the favor as she replaces it with a better one (all while he protests — very faintly — that he doesn’t want her help).
Nana scolds him for not doing a single thing in his defense despite all her lessons, saying irritably, “Do you know how embarrassed I was in front of Shin Eun-ah?” He has no idea why she would be, and she bursts out, “Because you suck worse than Go Ki-joon!” Eeeeeee! How much do I LOVE this? In her hastiness, she doesn’t realize that she’s basically admitted her interest in him, that the ladies are comparing boyfriends.
Yoon-sung reviews the video of him getting his butt kicked, carefully filmed to keep his face hidden. They’re well on their way to taking down the three sons, with Eldest Son emailing his health records to Yoon-sung. He and Shik-joong chuckle over what a dumbass he is, since they’re just going to send it straight to the Military Manpower Association, i.e. the administration in charge of the draft.
In the morning, the entire Seo family is assembled to see off Eldest Son, who thinks he’s about to work at a lab in the States. Suddenly, from one side of the road zoom news cars, while the other direction yields military jeeps. An officer salutes and announces that all three sons have been deemed perfectly healthy, via the records and the video uploaded to the internet.
The three sons are hereby ordered to enlist, which unleashes a flurry of questions that Seo is unprepared to answer, about whether this is a media play in light of the election, or if their exemptions were illegally begotten.
Seo recovers to say that he’d wished to send off his sons quietly, and that he’s proud to send his sons to serve their country, acting like this was the plan all along. With that, the sons are escorted away to begin their service asap. Watching the scene, Yoon-sung smiles at this demonstration that everyone is the same before the law, after all.
Jin-pyo is, naturally, displeased with what he considers insufficient punishment, but Yoon-sung tells him, “Even when meting out punishment, the injured citizens must be comforted. My son had to go to the army and suffer, but someone else’s didn’t. The citizens without power or support who’ve been hurt — who will comfort them?”
“Comfort” isn’t a word that registers with Jin-pyo, who asks what his son will do if Seo Yong-hak wins the election. The answer: “I’ll place him in the highest position, then make him fall.” He promises to do that in the upcoming election.
While Team City Hunter has been working on the sons, Team Prosecutor has been working on Seo’s daughter. Young-ju receives confirmation that a company in her name, H & C, is really a bogus front — created by US military firm Mars.
Wasting no time, Young-ju goes in with a warrant for search and seizure the next day (election day).
Yoon-sung and Shik-joong ready their plan at the election site, which consists of Shik-joong going in with a press badge and blustering to the man working the lighting booth because he needs to get to the computer with his flash drive. Meanwhile, Yoon-sung shows up in a half-mask, flings a few guards around by their ties, disarms them, and clears the hallway. That is, until one last guard flies at him — I love that it’s the female guard, who’s older to boot, who manages to land a few blows on him while the men dropped like flies. Hilariously, though, it’s this very gendered thinking that impedes him, because Yoon-sung can’t bring himself to elbow a woman in the face, and he pulls back just a hair short of landing his own retaliatory blows. Hee.
So his clever way out of this moral quandary? He grabs the tie that he’d spun off one guard’s neck, and whirls the female guard around to tie her wrists together.
Seo prepares his speech backstage, bombasting to the empty room when a persistent knock sounds at the door. The instant he reaches for the metal knob, he’s sent reeling with the electrical shock, because Yoon-sung has tazed the door. Ha! Seo is knocked out cold.
The lighting/sound booth guy isn’t budging from his station, so Shik-joong keeps inventing complaints about the faulty system, trying to get him to step aside. Too bad his shoddy badge is detected, and Shik-joong hightails it out of there before he’s caught. He calls Yoon-sung to tell him to turn “it” on.
Nana is sent to escort Seo, and finds the hall littered with bodyguards. On alert, she makes her way to the green room, which is empty.
Police are called to the hall in response to Seo’s kidnapping, and Nana runs into Young-ju, who’s come in response to the news. She says that he’s sure to be in the building since exits are being monitored. (Adorably, proud Auntie gives her a silent “Fighting!”)
The elevator comes to a halt, though, when the electricity is cut — by Jin-pyo. Nana is hoisted out of the elevator and continues her search, while Yoon-sung readies his exit on the rooftop, hooking up cables to the railing with a prone Seo lying at his feet.
Which is when Nana levels her gun at his back and yells at him to stop.
Yoon-sung recognizes her voice, pauses for a second… and then makes a flying leap for the ledge.
And Nana shoots, the bullet landing in his back.
I’m really digging the various schemes involved in Yoon-sung’s City Hunting, which are fun if a little simple. I sort of miss the slickness of the schemes of Story of a Man, which is like City Hunter’s big brother in terms of darkness and complexity, but there’s a quick, zippy fun about the missions here.
I like that Yoon-sung is onboard with the revenge plans at the outset of each stage, but that he develops an additional, more personal reason in each case to really bring it home. With his sense of justice, he’d probably be as willing to embark on his masked avenger escapades purely based on the corrupt politicians’ misdeeds, but adding that emotional tie elevates the connection he has with each case, and therefore our connection to the drama as well.
As for the villains: These men do, interestingly, seem to love their country in their own way. I like that they’re not depicted as comic-book villains, completely evil or selfish power-mongers with no rhyme or reason. Lee Kyung-wan was (thus far) the most extreme in terms of being like a caricature of evil, but even he had his own set of twisted morals that justified, to himself, all his actions. It’s just that power corrupts, little by little, and they believe they’re still doing good while letting it infect everything they do. You can’t introduce corruption into your system and expect it to stay contained in one spot; it’s like cancer that way. And while killing the main component of that disease (i.e., the politician at the core) would cut out a good chunk of evildoing, Yoon-sung’s got the bigger picture in mind, as he says in this episode — the health of the nation. This isn’t about pure punishment, because what good is punishment if the injuries go untreated?