Somebody pinch me. Is it possible that this drama is this good, or am I under some kind of spell? Did my coffee come laced with crack from a drug bust gone wrong? Is it maybe something to do with Lee Min-ho’s lips? (I’m not discounting that this is a possibility.) I mean, I find this show to be so consistently off-the-charts good that I’m starting to wonder if my judgment’s been impaired. But I feel normal, and just as snarky as ever. So maybe, just maybe… this show IS THAT GOOD.
Can it be true?
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Yoon-sung grabs Nana just as she’s about to lose her grip, and she hangs on for dear life. His arm makes a horrible sound like it’s coming out of its socket (ewwww) and blood starts dripping down onto her hands.
He finally gathers all his strength and pulls her up with both hands and lifts her over the edge. She falls on top of him and he quickly gets up to get away. She stops him, “Wait, it was you who saved me the last time, wasn’t it?” He doesn’t answer and runs in the target’s direction.
Seo makes a run for the exit with Young-ju close at his heels. But Jin-pyo’s been watching the whole scene unfold, and sends his man Sang-gook to trap Young-ju in the revolving door (ha) so they can get to Seo first.
Jin-pyo catches up to him just as he’s held up a getaway car, knocking him down with a few swift blows. He very dramatically unsheathes his cane, revealing a sword inside. He holds it in Seo Yong-hak’s face, aiming right in his eye.
Thankfully Yoon-sung runs up in time to keep Dad from poking an eye out, literally, and they load Seo into the car and take off.
Young-ju and his team arrive a second too late, but he tells them that he put a tracking device on the City Hunter as they were fighting. OH. Badass. I’m now back to being impressed, after laughing at you for being stuck in the revolving door.
Dad leads his crew to an abandoned warehouse, where he first berates Son for saving the girl. Yeah, let’s save the birds and the bees lecture for later, Dad. Cops are on your tail.
He then proceeds to take all but one bullet out of his gun, and begins to play Russian roulette at Seo Yong-hak’s face. Holy Hardcore, Batman.
He asks for the names of the others involved in the ’83 Incident. Seo suspected as much, and quickly agrees to give up the other names of the Big Five, if he gets taken somewhere safe. Jin-pyo tells him that he’s rotted to the core, for so easily selling them out. Yes, this is true, but you WANT him to sell them out…
They hear the sirens approach. Jin-pyo doesn’t flinch and tells Seo that their arrival doesn’t mean that he won’t die. He’s down to his last bullet. He starts to pull the trigger…
Seo cracks, and the first name he gives up is Kim Jong-shik. Ooooooh I didn’t think we’d get to him so soon, but I’m excited. Target No. 3 it is. Kim Jong-shik, father of Young-ju, culprit in Nana’s parents’ accident. Jin-pyo asks for the rest, and he says he’ll give them up, but we cut away to Young-ju outside, so we don’t know how much he gives away. I’m thinking not much else, to keep the one-target-at-a-time pace of the drama, which I’m a fan of, so no need to blow your wad with Targets 4 and 5 yet.
The S.W.A.T. team readies outside, but then suddenly Yoon-sung and Ajusshi gas the place and put masks on. Oh! Double cross by Son! It’s not even ten minutes yet and I’ve already been surprised three times. I love this drama!
Jin-pyo fires his gun into the air as he goes down, and Young-ju and his team hear the shot and bust in. Only when they get inside, the room is empty, and all they find is the gun and Young-ju’s tracker, sitting on the table. God, is there anything hotter than three badass guys outsmarting each other?
The thing I find hard to believe is how he and Ajusshi dragged three grown and gassed men out of there in time. But by the time Young-ju gets in there, Yoon-sung is driving an ambulance with Seo in the back.
He calls Young-ju to tell him to get to his office, because he’s on his way to deliver Seo Yong-hak. Ha. Yoon-sung cryptically adds the question: “Why did I have to bring Seo to that warehouse? That’s one of the things you have to find out.”
What they do find is a piece of clothing that Yoon-sung took off and left behind. Young-ju smells it (well that’s awfully brave of you) and tells his assistant to find out whatever perfume it is.
Meanwhile Yoon-sung drops off Seo Yong-hak with the same sash that he had put on Senator Lee, with a note: “To Prosecutor Kim Young-ju.” Hee. Why do I find this part of the City Hunter’s routine so adorable? Perhaps it’s the grade-school note, the way he always addresses the packages to Young-ju personally?
Young-ju arrives just in time to see the ambulance drive off, and the reporters come rushing down to snap photos. He looks down and sees more dog tags around Seo’s neck, and Seo carefully opening his eyes to peek at his surroundings.
Jin-pyo opens his eyes, confused to find himself back in his own office. He looks up at a very contrite Shik-joong. Oh no. Why’d you leave Ajusshi to explain things to Dad? That’s so mean! And then of course, Dad just flips his lid and beats Shik-joong to a pulp for his insubordination.
The cops track down Yoon-sung’s ambulance, but he’s ditched it by the river and is long gone. But on his way out he gets a call from Dad, breathing fire from Yoon-sung’s betrayal. He tries to explain that he did it all for both of them, but Dad interrupts with a visual message—he pulls Shik-joong up by the collar, so Yoon-sung can see his bloodied face.
Yoon-sung: “Ajusshi!!” What did you think would happen when you left him there? That Dad would chuckle and say ‘gosh darn that rascal,’ and bake him cookies?!
Yoon-sung rushes over there, and when Sang-gook comes out to try and stop him, he beats the living hell out of Dad’s Number 2, and makes his entrance by throwing him at Dad’s feet. Hahahaha. Tit for tat. Goddamn, sometimes I love this fucked up family.
It’s so awesome that he goes from total gladiator one minute, all blood and fists of fury, to worrying over Ajusshi so tenderly the next. He makes sure that Ajusshi is okay, and he is, just mostly scared more than hurt.
Dad gets up in a furor, raising his cane… but Yoon-sung stands up and blocks it. The two of them stand there in a deadlock…
Jin-pyo: You could have died. Why did you go to the prosecutor?!
Yoon-sung: Because I don’t want to make any more children like me! If it weren’t for those five men, I would’ve grown up under a mother and father, just like everyone else. More than anyone, I want to kill those five men. But we have to stop blood spilling more blood for vengeance. When this is over… I want to try to live happily with you Father.
Jin-pyo: I will follow them to the edge of hell to kill them. Will you still oppose me then?! Answer me.
Yoon-sung: Yes. Because that is my revenge.
Jin-pyo: Even if it’s going to war with me?
Yoon-sung: Even if you go beyond war. Don’t touch the people who are precious to me. I will protect them. Even you, Father.
Swoon. When he stands up to Dad, while still loving him like a dutiful son, it just makes me die a little inside. It’s so heartbreaking.
But as soon as Yoon-sung and Ajusshi walk out, Dad orders Sang-gook to find the agent who Yoon-sung saved today. Oh crap. I knew there’d be a swift turnaround on that.
Nana gets her shoulder wrapped at the hospital, and the police question her about the City Hunter. She says that he’s tall and she could only see his eyes. The cop asks what the eyes looked like, and she starts to describe them, all of a sudden flashing back to the way the City Hunter looked at her on the ledge, and then that moment, when Yoon-sung almost kissed her.
Eeeeeeeeee! She knows! Does she KNOW-know? It might just be a flicker rather than a realization, but how much do I love that doesn’t have Lois Lane’s Black Hole of Eyewear? There’s still plenty of room for him to wriggle out of this, but the seed of uncovering his identity… it’s there.
Back at home, Yoon-sung holds Ajusshi’s hand as he apologizes. Ajusshi: “Oh, it’s okay. I guess Boss is human… he didn’t kill me.” He laughs, which is really messed up. That shouldn’t really be a moment of levity, but for this family, it is.
He worries about Nana and gets up to find out what happened to her, but the instant he stands, he collapses. It’s about time. I was wondering when the day’s events were going to take their toll.
Ajusshi runs to get Sae-hee and brings her back to the house to treat Yoon-sung. He tells her that she’s just in more danger now, since she knows yet another secret. She thinks just the opposite, grateful that he called for her.
He sleeps for a while, and when he comes to, the first thing he asks is how Nana is. Ajusshi tells him that she got checked out at the hospital and wasn’t badly injured. He sighs in relief, still worried that she’s probably shaken up.
He decides he has to move out of her house (Nooooo!) to keep Dad from coming after her. I think Dad’s smarter than you think, and will find her regardless of where you’re living. Ajusshi asks, “Do you like Nana? Is that why you didn’t go after Seo Yong-hak and rescued Nana? If you had to do it all over again, would you make the same choice?”
Yoon-sung turns his head, brushing him off with an “I don’t know. I don’t know,” but then answers honestly, “I’m scared… that something might happen to Nana.” Ajusshi just feels terrible, thinking it’s his fault for asking him to look out for her in the first place.
She calls, asking where he is and if he’s hurt, but he answers brusquely that he’s busy and hangs up. Aw, so heartbreaking that he cares so much but can’t show it.
He falls asleep and has another dream, this time back on the ledge holding Nana. He struggles and then loses his grip, and she falls to the ground with a thud. She dies instantly, the blood pooling around her. Dude, your nightmares are starting to give ME nightmares.
It startles him awake, and he decides he can’t take it—he has to go see her right now to make sure she’s okay. Aw, puppy, if you’re that worried about her now, how do you plan on living away from her?
Nana tosses and turns in bed, worried and wide awake. She finally gets up and goes to the roof for some air. She says aloud, “I miss him. I’m worried.” And then he’s there, calling out her name…
Yoon-sung: Kim Nana, do you know what time it is? It’s past 2am. It’s not enough that you shower without locking the front door, you’re out catching the night air because you think you’re good at judo?!
Nana: Do you think I want to be out here at night? I can’t sleep. I’m worried. I just came out to get some air. Why don’t you come and go early instead of worrying people?! And why don’t you answer your phone, keeping me awake and putting me in a bad mood? Who’s the cause of all this and you’re yelling at me…
Their outbursts are of course just I-love-you, I-miss-you, I-was-worried, dressed in their prickly banter. But tonight the meaning is clear enough to cut through the crap. And Yoon-sung interrupts her and grabs her in a kiss.
The camera slows down just enough to make each moment linger and float away, as he kisses her over and over again.
He holds her close and then proceeds to tell her to always lock the door, and be wary of strangers, not to eat only kimchi, and not to just take care of the dog, but to take care of herself too. Oh no. You’re saying goodbye. No, no, no, no, no!
He adds wistfully that her coffee was always the best. Not catching his drift, she sweetly offers to make him a cup, so he sends her down with a “Will you?” Don’t do it!
She goes down and makes coffee, but by the time she comes back up, he’s gone. All he’s left behind is his jacket where it fell when he kissed her. She looks around, confused and stunned.
Yoon-sung drives away, telling himself, “I’m going to protect you. This is the only way.” Aaaaargh. I mean, I know. Noble idiocy actually makes sense in the superhero’s world. It’s a trope borne of this genre and in fact I think it fits this setup nicely. It doesn’t change the fact that it pains me through the heart like a very stabby wound, but I suppose that’s a testament to the fact that it’s played effectively.
But STILL. *wail*
Yoon-sung recovers well through the night, and Sae-hee tells him that he’s doing much better. She asks how he knows Kim Jong-shik, since she heard him say the name in his sleep. He and Ajusshi freeze. Yeah, you guys need to work on your stealth mode in the reaction department.
Sae-hee coolly answers, “I wonder if the City Hunter knows… that Minister of Education Kim Jong-shik’s top-university-educated son is Prosecutor Kim Young-ju.” Oh, she’s just outright handing him information now, all by the by, if the City Hunter is interested… She’s quickly on her way to becoming the girl friday ’round here. Wait. That’s my job.
Yoon-sung and Ajusshi stare at each other in disbelief.
At the same time, Dad finds out the same connection, including the fact that the father-son relationship is strained, and that it’s also kept very secret, because Young-ju doesn’t want to be accused of riding Daddy’s coattails.
Yoon-sung paces back and forth, “So have we entrusted a mouse in a fox’s lair, all this time?” (A common metaphor that means what you think, like asking Cookie Monster to hold your cookies for a minute.)
He berates himself for the massive mistake, in handing over his first two targets to the son of a member of the Council of Five. Ajusshi tells him that it’s not his fault — how could he have known? But Yoon-sung doesn’t relent, saying he should have prepared, should have known.
To make matters worse, Dad calls to rub salt in it, and declares that all three, including the targets he’s already turned over to Young-ju, will die by his hand. Yoon-sung slams his fist down in the face of his first real screw-up.
Nana gets shredded at work for failing as an agent, and most of all for getting her gun taken from her in the line of duty. Yeah, not gonna lie. That’s bad. She’s told to write her resignation and clear out her desk, and in a week’s time the committee will reach a decision.
She cleans out her stuff and runs into Yoon-sung on her way out. She calls out his name but he just stops to stare, and then goes on his way, not even a flicker of interest in his eye.
Young-ju catches up to her to ask if she got a good look at the City Hunter’s face, and wonders if his eyes aren’t familiar. She just stammers that they’re not and asks what Young-ju thinks. He tells her that they’re comparing blood samples from both incidents right now, and they should have an identity soon.
He notices the little Pororo doll in her stuff, and asks if it’s hers. She starts to say that it’s Yoon-sung’s, but says that Yoon-sung gave it to her. Young-ju remembers picking up the same doll while questioning Jin-pyo, but a common Pororo doll is no smoking gun. Yoon-sung listens to the whole exchange and slips away.
Seo Yong-hak comes in for questioning, mobbed with eggs in front of the courthouse. He confesses to everything without hesitation and asks hurriedly to be placed in safe custody. “You don’t think that the City Hunter will follow me all the way there and kill me, right?”
Young-ju is surprised at Seo’s level of fear. He knows the City Hunter to be the guy who drops these guys off on his doorstep, but Seo seems to think he’s out for blood. Young-ju asks if he knows anything about the dog tags and a special forces team in ’83, but Seo remains tight-lipped about that.
The results are in from examining the anonymous note detailing Seo’s crimes – and it identifies the City Hunter as… Senator Lee Kyung-wan, aka Target No. 1. Hahahahaha. Awesome. How’d you do it?
Ki-joon’s little brother gets honorably discharged from the army, and the President attends the ceremony in his honor. Yoon-sung sits in the audience as well, watching proudly. He gives a speech that actually brings tears to my eyes:
Go Ki-wook: I’m standing here after losing a leg, but I don’t ever regret going to the army. I wanted to serve handsomely, but my time was cut short. It’s what I regret the most. If it weren’t for the City Hunter, we might’ve elected a president who rotted his soldiers’ bodies with faulty boots. Young men sacrifice their youth to protect this land. All those in politics, instead of thinking that you’re sending others’ sons to the army, I would like to ask you to protect the beautiful youth of Korea.
He salutes, and the whole audience stands and salutes him in return, the President down below, and Yoon-sung in the very back. It’s a wonderful moment, because it gives meaning to capturing Seo Yong-hak and bringing him to justice, beyond vengeance.
But of course the President isn’t without fault in this very dilemma of a nation’s promise to protect its soldiers – and Jin-pyo doesn’t lose the opportunity to remind him of his sins. He appears in the crowd, dressed in uniform, just long enough for the President to catch a glimpse of him before he disappears like a hallucination.
It’s moments like this where I soften a little to Jin-pyo’s pain. His story will never have the neat resolution like this one, with commendations and flowers and rousing speeches. There’s only the death of his brothers, which will never see the light of day.
His psychological torture is effective on President Choi, who is the only one of the Council of Five to have ever shown remorse, and the complexity of their relationship definitely makes him the most interesting of the five targets, even before counting the obstacle of his being the sitting president.
Young-ju uses this opportunity to approach the President about giving him access to classified military files—those pertaining to the ’83 Incident. He’s been denied at every stage, and so he’s come as a last resort, to the top of the food chain.
The President answers carefully that it’s not a matter he can clear on his own, but promises to look into it. Man, I love how all the threads are really starting to intertwine.
Young-ju catches up to Yoon-sung to ask if he knows a Steve Lee, checking on that hunch about the Pororo toy he found in Dad’s office. Yoon-sung says no and walks off.
During judo training today, Eun-ah takes all her frustrations at Nana’s dismissal out on poor Ki-joon, who basically serves as a large lanky punching bag. Yoon-sung comes for his lesson and Nana’s boss steps in to take over for her, telling him that the change might be permanent, if the committee decides to fire her.
This is the first Yoon-sung is hearing about it, so he asks defiantly if this is because she got her gun taken from her. Her boss gripes that her being a female agent is the problem. Oh, NO YOU DI’N'T! I thought you were just strict, but you’re sexist too? He takes Yoon-sung’s arm to throw him over his shoulder, but Yoon-sung doesn’t budge, instead picking him up and slamming him down with a, “Agent Kim Nana taught me that!” So. Satisfying.
Back in the office, Ki-joon rolls over to ask for something and sees Nana’s present sitting in Yoon-sung’s desk. He gets giddy, asking if it’s for his girlfriend. “Did you go on a sogaeting? Hunting? Booking?” Hahaha. You could say he goes hunting.
He gets a call from Nana and he answers curtly again, but this time she asks straightaway for him to come over… and the camera pans up to show Dad, looming right behind her. Oh crap. He takes the phone out of her hand, “Are you very busy?”
Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. Yoon-sung darts out of his chair and zooms over there, biting his lip in a panic the whole way.
Turns out Dad’s not here to threaten directly, well not in a hold-a-gun-to-her-head kind of way, although in some sense this nice dad act is way creepier. He sees Yoon-sung’s bullet necklace around her neck (oh god, you HAD to wear it today?), the bullet that he dug out of his own chest to give to Yoon-sung. Oh, this is BAD. Very bad.
Yoon-sung runs in there, thinking the worst, only to find Dad smiling and having a tea party with Nana. HA. Dad’s message is effective though, and Yoon-sung trembles, his hand shaking as he clenches his fist.
They walk out and Dad asks if he loves this girl. Yoon-sung gulps and quickly says no. Dad: “Foolish kid. I told you not to fall in love. Know this: because of you, she could die.”
Yoon-sung’s eyes dart back to Dad in fear – is it a threat? A warning? Dad says nothing more and turns to walk away. I do read some genuine fatherly concern in his words though. Not the happy-kittens-and-rainbows kind, just yunno, the I’m-worried kind.
Nana runs down, concerned that Dad misunderstood their situation. The living together situation? Well who would do that? All that was missing was you walking around in his shirt. But Yoon-sung cuts her off coldly: “Butt out. My relationships with women are so complicated that my Dad’s long since stopped caring.” Damn.
Ajusshi freaks out at the news that Dad went to see Nana. Yoon-sung tells him the message was loud and clear: I’m going to kill Kim Jong-shik, and if you get in the way, something happens to Nana. He decides to clear his stuff out of there first thing. He notices Nana’s earring on the floor and picks it up.
For now Target No. 3 is out of the country, and Yoon-sung figures that he has to find some sort of dirty secret before he’s back. Ajusshi blathers quickly, “He has one! I know he does!” Yoon-sung: “How do you know?” Ajusshi: “I just do!”
Um… now might be the time for you to spill the beans about the accident, no?
The next day he sends Ajusshi to pack up his stuff, and stops in to get treated at Sae-hee’s clinic.
At the same time, Young-ju gets the results from testing that piece of clothing found at the warehouse. It’s a particularly unique designer shower gel… Oh NO. He scans the list of people who order it directly… and stops at one name: Lee Yoon-sung.
Damn that fruity shower gel! I knew your obsession with that was going to bite you in the ass, but I didn’t think it’d be the clincher! Gah, who needs false DNA tests when you use some shower gel that only 50 other people use? Just buy your soap at the drugstore like a regular dude!
Young-ju puts all the pieces together, all the clues that have been hovering around him for weeks. He lands at that suit—his suit, from the night after the City Hunter was shot. Sae-hee.
He rushes over to Sae-hee, questioning her like a suspect, and calling out all her tells, like her finger motions when she’s lying. She holds up well enough, just acting like it’s uncomfortable for her to talk about her new man with her old husband. But Young-ju isn’t buying it.
He runs outside to dig through her trash, hoping to find anything used to treat Yoon-sung. But he finds nothing.
Once he’s gone Sae-hee opens the door to the next room, where Yoon-sung has been sitting the entire time. She hands him a bag of his bloody clothes and the supplies she had used that night. Smart girl.
He thanks her for her help yet again, and wonders why she’s always saving his hide. She tells him, “I feel bad for a dog that’s lost its way. And you seem lost.” Aw.
Ajusshi packs up Yoon-sung’s things in Nana’s apartment (with no fear that she’ll come home at any point?) and sighs to himself that since living here, he’s seen Yoon-sung genuinely laugh and smile. He drops something while packing but doesn’t notice. Oh god, it’s not Nana’s picture is it?
Yoon-sung sends him home first with his stuff and waits to say goodbye to Nana. She’s busy buying groceries, and decides to make Yoon-sung’s favorite dish as requested, with no veggies and just beef. She thinks again about the City Hunter and Yoon-sung, and says aloud, “It can’t be, right? It’s not.”
She comes home to find him asleep on the couch, and makes him dinner. She goes to wake him up and he doesn’t stir. Then she suddenly thinks back to the City Hunter. Slowly, trembling, she raises her hand toward his face…
She covers everything but his eyes. She flashes back to the City Hunter. And back to his eyes.
Her eyes grow wide. SHE KNOWS!
She covers her mouth as she gasps, and he darts awake. She tells him to eat and turns away, the recognition settling in on her face. They sit awkwardly over dinner, both their heads spinning over different things.
Yoon-sung looks at her, and at his bullet around her neck. He finally starts in:
Yoon-sung: Forget what happened that day. You’re such a prideful stick-in-the-mud that I just played around with you, but if you’re like this it’s no fun. We kissed once and the way you look at me has changed. Turns out there’s not much to you. You’re easy… So easy it’s no fun. I’ve lost my taste for it. The me you saw in the beginning is right—I’m really that guy.
Daaaaaayum. Why you gotta rip a girl’s insides out to save her?
He adds that he’s already moved his stuff out. She can stay as long as she wants and he won’t tell her to leave. He suggests that they can at least say hi to each other at work, to make things comfortable. And with that he makes his exit, Nana frozen from his ice-cold words.
He leaves and looks out at the night, “I can’t love. That is my fate.”
He comes home and finds Ajusshi unpacking his things. Ajusshi asks why he’s collected all these old news stories on Kim Jong-shik, and he looks at the file—it’s Nana’s, not his. He flips through it, wondering why she’s collecting information on him. Ajusshi worries, realizing that his wires might cross and he’ll find out about Nana’s parents.
Just then, news breaks of Lee Kyung-wan being rushed to the hospital from prison. Yoon-sung looks up at the tv, and standing at the hospital’s entrance ready to receive Target No. 1? Is Dad, in a white coat.
Yoon-sung races to stop him…
At the same time, Young-ju gets a call that Lee Kyung-wan is ready to talk about the ’83 Incident. He rushes to hospital…
They get there at the same time, eyes meeting in the corridor. But they’re too late. The bodies of two police officers get carted away between them.
Young-ju goes in to Lee Kyung-wan’s room… and finds him dead.
Yoon-sung watches from behind the police line, and then turns to see Dad with a look of grim determination on his face.
He’s too late.
I seriously cannot remember the last time I watched a show this gripping and tightly, rapidly plotted. It’s enough to make a recapper giddy. I could go on endlessly about the awesome badassery at every turn, but in the end what really seals it for me is that this show has heart. It’s so bleeding-heart earnest and idealistic, and the epic journey of a young hero that it makes me swoon a thousand times, and then pump my fist in ever-living glory. Why yes, I AM that geeky.
And I don’t normally have to moderate too many spoilers since most of you know not to do it, but please for the love of superheroes, don’t spoil me on Episode 10! I will hunt you down and poke you with my sword-cane!
- 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
- Lee Min-ho nekkid