This show is friggin’ hilarious. I love the sense of humor of it – it’s like a farce, but played straight, like a dark comedy. The North Korean stuff feels like Dr. Strangelove which is right on the money, and the setup is perfectly ridiculous, but totally engaging. It’s like half-war-comedy, half-screwball-romance, which is refreshingly different, and also just incredibly funny.
[Watch the episode at DramaFever]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Myung-wol stirs awake… to find a Hallyu star under the covers. So…what do I have to do to substitute “girlfriday” in that sentence?
Kang-woo covers her mouth before she can scream, and she calms down once she gets her bearings. Once the coast is clear, he thanks her for jumping in there and saving his life. “If you thought that I’d be so grateful for you saving my life that I’d answer your every wish… dream on.” HA.
He tells her that he doesn’t like being beholden to people in that way, and tells her that he’s paying all the hospital bills, and making sure that she has the best herbal medicine, so that she’ll leave here in better shape than when she came in.
He adds, “I’ll remember your face in my mind, and I’ll be grateful until I die. Don’t expect any more than that. That’s the best I can do.” Pffft. What an ass. The hilarious thing is, he thinks her to be a hardcore fan (and also a high school student), so he’s in no way hiding his megastar ego, but to her he’s just an ungrateful ass.
Meanwhile, Hee-bok is busy trying to gain access into Myung-wol’s hospital room without being detected, and hilariously enough, he decides that hanging off the roof and cutting a hole in the glass window is easier than walking in the door. HA.
Myung-wol catches him in the act, but he just shushes her and continues to struggle with his glass cutter, barely squeezing through the hole he’s cut. She watches him warily until he makes it inside, and then greets her by name, and then as “comrade.” Ah, so you ARE a sleeper agent!
He tells her that he’s decoded a message from the North that she’s gone rogue after Kang-woo for reasons unknown, and asks if she wants to send a report. Otherwise, it’s death for her. Thinking on her feet, she tells him that as a member of the Hallyu Crackdown squad, she’s realized that the youth are being poisoned by the effects of the Hallyu Wave. So she’s here to eliminate the source of it… Kang-woo.
Pwahahahahaha! She’s going to eliminate Kang-woo to kill Hallyu? Hahaha. I freakin’ love this. She’s basically just trying to save her own hide, but it’s brilliant way to trap her in a wayward mission. She immediately regrets speaking before thinking, and wonders what she’s going to do now.
She attempts to escape out the window, but the guards that Kang-woo’s agency has posted catch her before she can make it. The agent wonders if she’s got some psychological damage, and Kang-woo thinks it’d be weird if there wasn’t something wrong with her head.
Hee-bok returns and sends his reply message to be broadcast by radio… except the DJ makes a last-minute change to his monologue. Thus, decoded, “Eliminate” becomes “Photograph,” so Myung-wol’s superiors get the message that she has infiltrated the set to… take pictures of Kang-woo. HEE.
It’s the perfect reversal of that message, because now the Hallyu Crackdown agent… has become a fangirl! They track her recent history to find out where it all went wrong, and then discover that she went to Singapore on a secret mission, only what they have evidence of is her attending a Kang-woo concert.
So now there’s “evidence” to prove her betrayal, and she is thus ordered to be eliminated… by the general who sent her to Singapore in the first place. Ryu is the one ordered to kill her, and he runs after the general to call him out on his hypocrisy.
He’s the one who sent them to Singapore because of his Hallyu-crazed daughter, but the general tells him that if Myung-wol dies, the secret dies with her. So in order to cover up his mistake, Ryu is ordered to kill Myung-wol.
Hee-bok shows up at the hospital in order to warn Myung-wol, and he brings his partner Dae-kang in to distract her guards by posing as a crazy person. Dae-kang does a convincing job, but Hee-bok orders him to drool anyway, for realism. I have a feeling this duo is going to be my favorite part of this drama.
With Dae-kang distracting the guards, Hee-bok tells Myung-wol about the mixed-up message, and tells her that they’re sure to send someone to eliminate her. He hands her Kang-woo’s current location and runs off.
Meanwhile Kang-woo meets with In-ah’s father, Chairman Joo (Lee Deok-hwa), and it comes out that he’s been Kang-woo’s financial backer for five years. Iiiiiinteresting. Even more so if his money isn’t all on the up and up.
He asks Kang-woo about the book he purchased at auction in Singapore, and Kang-woo dismisses it as nothing of value. Can’t wait to find out more about that book. Unless Rambaldi wrote it. Then I’m out.
Myung-wol makes her escape from the hospital, and watches one of Kang-woo’s movies in a dvd-bang as she re-bandages herself, like she’s studying her target, straight out of a serial killer movie. Heh. She discovers that her old bandages have a tracker, which could only have been placed by Hee-bok. Hm, who to trust, who to trust…
She decides that all she has to do is steal that book from Kang-woo and return home, and all this is over. She breaks into his house while he’s out and searches high and low, but no ancient book.
Problem is, he comes home and she’s trapped upstairs in his bedroom. So she sneaks out to his balcony, only so does he. Once outside, he hears something weird…
And turns around to discover a pair of hands hanging on for dear life on the edge of the building. He peers over and there’s Myung-wol, dangling by one hand. He catches her just before she falls, and pulls her up, while she faints.
She wakes up in his bed, realizing what’s happened. Oh man, now she’s totally the crazy fan girl—there’s no backing out of it now. No arguing or backpedaling is going to make him believe otherwise.
He launches straight into how he knows that she loves him and all that, but does she really think he’d choose a common high school student? But then he does pause… “Are you perhaps a chaebol?” HAHAHAHA.
Oh my god, how much do I love that he’s money-hungry enough to consider marrying the crazy fangirl if she comes from money? But she says no, and so he determines that she has no money, and her face…he turns to look… “is not my style.”
She wonders to herself if she ought to just kill him on the spot. Heh. I love that the cost of insulting her vanity could be his life.
He tells her to stop worrying her parents and to go home, and then starts to get angry when she doesn’t budge. She needs a cover, so she decides to go with: crazy.
She begins with a bout of fake amnesia, leading to head trauma, going into full-on crazy mode, making him doubt her, then worry, then get scared that she really is crazy. He wonders if she jumped to save him because she’s crazy, or if saving him made her crazy. There’s just enough doubt to make him feel responsible.
But while he’s got his back turned, she disappears.
In Pyongyang, the general ignores Ryu’s concerns over executing a comrade to cover up his own mistake, and he threatens Ryu with the same fate if he doesn’t carry out his orders. That is, until Hee-bok succeeds in getting the correct message out over the airwaves, that her intention is to kill Kang-woo.
Back to the war room, where the other generals ask for the real story on Myung-wol’s rogue mission, worrying that this could rattle the entire Hallyu Crackdown Division if he’s lost control of his own assets.
So her commanding officer quickly changes his story on the spot—that he sent her there on a black ops mission to bring Kang-woo over to their side (specifically, to have him voluntarily cross over to the North of his own free will).
They ask what the message was about killing him, and the general clarifies that it’s a mistake, and that it’s been determined that an actor of Kang-woo’s caliber is sorely lacking in the North, so he devised a plan to turn him. Omg, I’m dying. Generals in a war room, discussing how to get a Hallyu star to be in their movies. Pffft.
Phase one was to get close to him. They ask what phase two is. He starts in on the doublespeak about adding Ryu to the plan to accomplish the objective. They ask what the objective is. He darts back and forth… “It’s top secret.” Heh. The war room scenes are cracking me up.
Kang-woo wonders about why the strange worrisome crazy girl keeps disappearing on him.
At the same time, Hee-bok tracks his tracker…only it’s not so much attached to Myung-wol anymore. He really doesn’t want to report that he’s lost her, scared that he’ll be next on the chopping block.
Meanwhile Ryu flies to Singapore first, to witness the sale of one of the ancient books. Chairman Joo buys it on the black market for a briefcase full of cash and then asks for it to be authenticated.
Ryu steps out from the seller’s side, and Chairman Joo recognizes him as the helpful man from the last time he was buying a so-called antique vase, only Ryu stepped in to warn him that it was a fake.
So he asks for his help again this time. Ryu tells him that he’s been had. Guns go up, and Ryu swiftly de-arms his assailant and holds the gun to the seller’s head. Now he’s perfectly ingratiated himself to Chairman Joo, not only with the sale, but with his life.
Myung-wol walks through the city and finds that Kang-woo’s face follows her wherever she goes. His face is plastered on the bus stop, the bus, two highrises above her, and even the nightclub business card on the ground at her feet. Heh. It’s apparently a Kang-woo world, and she just lives in it.
Hee-bok comes back to his office where Ryu is waiting for him. He tries to turn him away thinking he’s a regular patron, but Ryu gives the secret password. Hee-bok stands at attention immediately.
Kang-woo has his manager call the police to report the missing high school student, and when asked how long she’s been missing, he answers “Nine hours, eighteen minutes, twenty-two seconds.” Whoa. Somebody misses the crazy girl like crazy.
They find that nine hours does not a missing girl make, so he sends his manager to search all hospitals to see if someone fitting her description showed up hurt. His manager smiles widely to witness Kang-woo’s first instance of caring about another human being. Kang-woo insists that it’s for the greater social good since she’s a crazy girl, but even caring for the greater good is uncharacteristic of him.
He tracks her down and she readies a stick to stab him, but he knocks it away as he whirls her around, reprimanding her for disappearing without a word. He insists that he wasn’t looking for her because he was worried in any way, oh no, but because it’s his duty to society at large. Ha.
She just stares at him, thinking in her head, Is he possessed by a ghost who couldn’t speak in life? Why does he talk so much? He tells her that from now on, she is to report to him about all things.
Hee-bok finds her there and tells her that they have a visitor from far away, and she freezes at the sight of Ryu. She bows her head as he chastises her for disobeying orders, and offers up her life in penance.
No need for that, because he relays her new orders: She is to get close to Kang-woo, marry him, and turn him so that he voluntarily returns to North Korea with her. HA. Awesome.
Her reaction is perfect—she begs him to let her kill Kang-woo instead. Hahaha.
She tries to talk Ryu out of it, but he is as rigid as he is humorless, ergo no killing. Must marry. She sighs to herself, “How am I supposed to seduce him?” It’s endlessly amusing, the girl who is skilled at killing but knows nothing of how to get a date.
Enter new sleeper agent Ok-soon (Yoo Jee-in), who goes from bar owner to chic society lady the instant she hears the coded radio announcement. Hee-bok shows up in the park for a meet, as Ryu and Myung-wol look on.
She’s a legendary agent, who will be Myung-wol’s new handler, and her purpose is to train her in everything that she knows. She’ll also be part of Myung-wol’s new cover… and she is to marry Hee-bok so they can pose as her parents. Hee. Fake family! I love it.
Hee-bok swoons thinking about the marital bliss ahead (Awww) but she balks at crossing the line with him. He pretends to be equally offended. I love that the two older spies are going to be in a contract relationship for a cover. Bickering romances everywhere!
Ok-soon worries that Myung-wol lacks the proper feminine wiles for a seduction mission, and Myung-wol answers truthfully that she’s never had any experience with men and doesn’t have the confidence to carry out this sort of mission. But Ryu asks if she really wants to be in the special forces like her father, and that changes her attitude.
Ok-soon begins her training, starting with makeup and facial expressions. She tells her to look like an angel, but I’m gonna have to say she looks more demented than angelic. I don’t know why they’re trying so hard when Kang-woo already thinks her to be a crazy girl anyway.
Pffft. She is hilariously bad, and it’s equally amusing to watch Ok-soon being a drill sergeant of girliness as it is to watch Myung-wol be so bad at it. She takes to studying it like a school subject, writing down notes as if it’s like a math problem she can solve.
Ok-soon tells her to try and feel her way through it, and has her watch Hollywood movies to watch and learn. She reports to Ryu that Myung-wol’s success on this mission seems highly unlikely, since “she doesn’t know what it means for her heart to skip a beat. How is someone like that supposed to fall in love?”
In-ah finds Kang-woo in his dressing room and demands that he marry her. Uh…okay. Weirdo. Are you a gangster like your daddy? Do you just order people to marry you?
She offers up the chance for him to marry her for her money, knowing that it’s the only reason he’d be interested. He dismisses her, so she backhugs him and says that he should hold onto her while he can, since, “You’ll never find anyone who’s as crazy about you as I am.”
Well he KNOWS that to be untrue, and he smirks, “Is that so?” and walks away.
Someone grabs his arm as he walks out, and he turns around to see Myung-wol standing there. She pleads with him that she wants nothing more than to be by his side, and tells him that she’s missed him like crazy.
He laughs incredulously, and then she blurts, “I love you!” He thinks that’s just par for the course, and is about to chastise her again, until he spots In-ah staring at them from down the hall…
He smells an opportunity and has no qualms about using one crazy girl to get rid of another, and asks, “If you’re crazy, anything’s possible, right?” And with that, he pulls her in for a kiss, all the while giving In-ah the evil eye.
OH, YOU BASTARD!
A pretty great start in the first two episodes. I took to the story right away because Myung-wol is a great heroine. She’s got tons of flaws, but she’s also a kickass efficient spy, so she’s impressive in some ways and totally clueless in others.
I like that there’s a reason behind the conceit that the heroine knows nothing of the Hallyu Wave (beyond the fact that it’s an evil force that she must destroy, heh), or that she’s completely lacking in feminine graces. I hate it when rom-com heroines are just written as stupid or sloppy just because with no real reason. Being a North Korean agent means that she has believable reasons for being so clueless, within this world.
I really wish Han Ye-seul would stop making that surprised face, eyes bugged out to high heaven, but I like when she’s exasperated with Kang-woo and cursing him, and I kind of adore her badness at being a girly girl. Eric’s playing the asshole self-important star to the hilt, and I appreciate that his character isn’t even jokingly assy, but an actual ass. It’s going to be so fun when his ego struggles with where his heart is bound to end up.
I love the look of the show — it looks like it’s shot on film, so it instantly has that cinematic feel to it, with a rich visual palette and of course, gorgeous stars. I’m excited to see something new come out of the genre blender in kdramaland, and even happier that the result is laughs-a-plenty.
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 1
- Character stills and posters for Myung-wol the Spy
- Han Ye-seul in action as Myung-wol the Spy
- Myung-wol the Spy heads overseas for shoots
- Myung-wol the Spy’s poster and promo stills
- Han Ye-seul, Song Joong-ki’s Penny-Pinching Romance
- Eric confirms Myung-wol the Spy
- Eric up for Myung-wol the Spy
- Lee Jin-wook joins Han Ye-seul in spy drama
- Han Ye-seul returns to TV as a spy