After all the angst of the past few episodes, it’s time for the couple to get to enjoy some fun and cuteness, even if those halcyon days are, unfortunately, always short-lived in K-dramas. Well, something’s better than nothing — and this time when the happiness is threatened, we get tons of plot advancement, with some crucial dots finally connected, bringing the pieces of the plot closer together.
SONG OF THE DAY
Shin Hye-sung – “생각해봐요” (Think about it) [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Kang-woo confesses to his fabricated background, his fake relationship with In-ah, and his love for Myung-wol. On live, national television. Myung-wol stops to watch the declaration in a storefront window, smiling in happiness and relief while bystanders recognize her.
The news is the talk of the town, and Spy Mom and Dad exult, patting themselves on the back for all their efforts. Yes, being a persistent anti-fangirl on the internet sure is hard work.
Ryu, though — ah, poor Ryu! — may say the words “congratulations,” but it’s more to convince himself than anything; his sadness is clearly evident. There, there. Let me make it better.
Kang-woo keeps himself out of sight while his managers field calls, all of them bearing bad news — cancelled roles, threats of lawsuits for damages, the heralding of the end of a career. Who knew a drama about spies would have so much meta on the entertainment industry?
Kang-woo says he’ll take care of the monetary damages, sitting alone in the empty concert hall. He’s still got his old baseball in his hand, which he flings across the room — just in time for somebody to pluck it out of the air.
It’s Myung-wol, who asks what he’s doing here. He replies that he’s waiting for someone.
Myung-wol: “And if that person doesn’t show up?”
Kang-woo: “I’d go to the ends of the earth after them.”
Myung-wol: “And if they won’t let themselves be caught?”
Kang-woo: “With a devastatingly appealing Hallyu star like me going after you, you’ll let me catch you, right?”
Myung-wol: “Dummy. Why did you do that?”
Kang-woo: “Do you dislike me because I did that? Now that I’m not a Hallyu star, do you not like me anymore?”
Myung-wol: [shaking her head no — i.e., I do like you]
Kang-woo: “Then I’ll go catch you now.”
Eeee! Why is it so hot to dorkily announce your intentions in advance? It’s like Ryu’s “I will make contact with your shoulder,” except sexy.
With that, Kang-woo runs up to Myung-wol and envelops her in a hug.
In-ah takes up her share of headlines by fainting and holing up in the hospital. The wilting-flower angle is for the media’s benefit — In-ah’s about as wilting as a boulder — per Grandpa’s orders. Chairman Joo tells her to forget Kang-woo, since his career is over (Grandpa will make sure of that), but In-ah counters that she didn’t like Kang-woo for his Hallyu status. Well, that’s romantic and all, but how about the part where you’re blackmailing him into dating you?
Kang-woo lights candles on a cake to commemorate the start of their relationship, and to mark his retirement. She feels bad for being the reason for his curtailed career, and he tells her that if she’s sorry, then she ought to vow her devotion to him. The first rule: When they’re together, she’s to remain within 10 cm of him. He mock-threatens, “If you mess around, I could change that to 1 cm.” That, my friends, is what we call incentive, not a threat.
He puts her head on his shoulder and decrees that their “standard position” and tells her to declare her love for him ten times. Into his cell phone recorder. She does, and he closes his eyes happily, saying, “I’ll never get tired of hearing that.”
In-ah tries to leave her hospital room, but is blocked by Ryu, who reminds her of the reporters outside. She fights him and yells that she can’t just stand idly by like he does, and have her man stolen from her. Barring the minor technicality that Kang-woo was never hers in the first place, her argument lands with Ryu when she accuses him of feeling the same way.
Ryu doesn’t let go of his hold on her until she stops struggling, and she cries into his chest.
While Kang-woo fiddles with his baseball, Myung-wol asks about his father’s death. He tells her the story of his father coming home to celebrate his birthday, and going after the stray baseball and not returning. Kang-woo had gone looking for him, and seen the tail end of the hit-and-run accident that killed him — the same one Ryu investigated in the previous episode.
Kang-woo blames himself for his father’s death, for urging Dad home on his birthday, for throwing the ball too hard. But he doesn’t believe that the death was accidental, and has been trying to reveal the true circumstances all these years, to ease his guilt. He recalls archaeologist Dad searching for the four ancient books, and thinks he was being chased because of them.
Finally a connection between the storylines! Myung-wol starts putting the pieces together, from the Singapore auction to the tattered book in Kang-woo’s possession, all the while registering Kang-woo’s lingering Daddy guilt with empathy.
Ryu finds her at her that night to ask why she ran away, leaving behind all her colleagues. She says she felt she had no choice, and he guesses the reason: “Do you love Kang-woo?”
She answers indirectly, saying that she tried not to, but tells Ryu that she’ll obey whatever orders he gives. Despite her actions, because they have achieved their desired result with Kang-woo, Ryu says that he’ll let her lapse go this time — as long as she doesn’t give up on her duty again. But if she does, “I won’t forgive you.”
Kang-woo calls Myung-wol bright and early, surprising her at the door with coffee. Now that’s a man after my own heart. He takes her on a date, and upon hearing that she’s never been on one before, he’s both amazed and gratified to be her first. The cocky punk in him can’t resist comparing their scorecards, though, and says he’s been on tonnns of dates with tonnnnns of girls, souring Myung-wol’s mood.
To make up for that, he declares that today’s activities will cover the “fundamental dating course” and grabs her hand. I love that these lovebirds are so giddy for each other that she smiles happily at his endearment “our wacko.” Because of the intimacy of “our,” of course, ignoring the whole “wacko” part.
Kang-woo says she needs a nickname for him, and suggests “owner.” Pshhh. Spoken like a man about to get his ass kicked by his “possession.” Thankfully that gets pushed aside because Myung-wol says she already has a nickname for him: “sneaky bastard.” Ha!
Then it’s time for couple shirts, couple hats, and couple cell phones. Interspersed with their date activities are flashbacks to Myung-wol’s rigorous military training, using the similarities to highlight all the differences. Myung-wol In Love pops a beer can open instead of a grenade, and shoots toy targets for stuffed animals instead of real targets with live ammo.
Photos of the date pop up online and send In-ah raging. She vows to uncover Myung-wol’s true motives, and I suppose this is one of the few reasons In-ah isn’t entirely useless to this story — she’s the only person who’s suspicious of Myung-wol’s background.
She calls her fired stylist/assistant to tell her to keep tabs on Myung-wol. Huh, didja pick up from the plot that the stylist is In-ah’s actual younger sister? I thought she was just calling her unni because she was younger, but apparently Little Sis is family, which explains why they snipe at each other so freely.
The sister brattily rejects In-ah’s orders, since she has debuted as an idol singer — and what’s more, she’s already outranking In-ah in the search engine rankings, hee. She came by expressly to rub this in unni’s face, and leaves In-ah with a gift basket containing only the fruits In-ah hates. Keh.
Salting the wound is the music video In-ah catches on TV — featuring her own sister. (And sneaking in some promo for the actress/idol’s newly debuted girl group, Stellar, who are with Eric’s agency.)
Ryu mulls over his discovery that Kang-woo is also in search of the Goblin, and pokes around for more info by asking Chairman Joo about the death of Kang-woo’s parents. The chairman answers vaguely, saying he doesn’t know much because Kang-woo has always been tight-lipped about his father’s death.
Kang-woo takes Myung-wol to a coffee shop, where they attract everyone’s eyes (and snide comments about Myung-wol ruining his career). She wants to leave, but he insists they stay, yelling at her the message that’s clearly directed at the rest of the room — that she did nothing wrong, so nobody has any right to insult her. Aw. His indignation is cute.
With Sister-Minion defecting, In-ah is left to do the sneaking around herself, and snoops around Spy Parents’ quarters. She finds a stray photo of Kang-woo from one of the spy family’s strategizing sessions bearing the words “punish Kang-woo,” but the search is cut short when people arrive.
In-ah quickly slips into the wardrobe to escape being spotted as the parents welcome a reporter inside for an interview. She stews while Hee-bok and Ok-soon assure the reporter that Myung-wol is a sweet, hard-working girl and that it was really jealous, spiteful In-ah who was running interference in the couple’s romance, not the other way around.
Hee-bok brags about how Kang-woo buys Myung-wol such nice things and opens the wardrobe to show the reporter…revealing In-ah in her incriminating pose. The reporter grabs his camera and the story hits the ‘net, painting In-ah as a weirdo. She didn’t have a great image to begin with, but now she’s seen as positively cracked Ha!
She tries to rustle up some sympathy with a hospital photo, but the sharp-eyed netizens are quick to suspect fakery, with comments like “The angle clearly shows it’s a sel-ca.” Hee. Now the tide turns and people start rooting for the Woo-Wol couple in earnest. I wonder what In-ah would do if she knew she was to thank for helping sway fan opinion in that direction.
Intent on hunting down info on the Goblin, Ryu snoops in the chairman’s office and finds a file on Kang-woo’s father. Hm, a clear red flag: The chairman lied about knowing nothing about the father’s death. Why?
Kang-woo and Myung-wol watch a movie together — it’s The Letter, the saddest choice ever! — and Myung-wol thinks how all the love stories in the world seem to be describing her and Kang-woo’s relationship. It’s the anthem of lovers the world over, when suddenly the mundane becomes amazing, and all love stories feel personal.
To illustrate that point, they find themselves in scenarios taken right out of famous movies, like the umbrella scene in Temptation of a Wolf, or the pillow fight from Portrait of a Beauty.
A tickle-fight leads to Kang-woo leaning over her (rawr!), and he leans in for a kiss…which is interrupted by a nervous hiccup from her. Heh. THe mood is ruined, but as he lies next to her, he sighs, “I’m so happy these days. I wish we could live like this forever.”
Meanwhile, Ryu catches a glimpse of one of Myung-wol’s CF photos of her wearing a red mask, and that triggers his memory — of the woman in red who interfered in Singapore. Finally he realizes that it was Myung-wol, and that sends more pieces of the puzzle tumbling into place.
As Myung-wol and Kang-woo sleep next to each other, she dreams of a cute couple-y scene on the beach: She convinces him to run after her, “like in all those Korean dramas,” only she runs so fast he gasps to catch up with her and ends up tripping over his own feet. Haha. Even her romantic scenarios are marred by his dorkiness.
She wakes up to find a gun pointed at her head and an angry Ryu accusing her of betraying her country. Telling her he can’t forgive her, Ryu points the gun at Kang-woo and fires.
Myung-wol jerks awake from her dream-within-a-dream and is overwrought, asking Kang-woo over and over whether he’s really okay. She grabs him in a tight hug, unwilling to let go, as he assures her he won’t die.
Kang-woo had fully expected to retire from public life, but President Kyung tells him that he may be able to make a comeback after all. Turns out that despite his falsified past, fans are lenient because he revealed the truth himself, and his Hollywood dreams may not be over. She urges him to consider it carefully, reminding him that he loves the stage.
Myung-wol is thrilled to hear it, and tells him it would be a shame for the country to lose such a huge star.
The couple’s cozy date is interrupted by the Joo entourage’s arrival at the wine bar. Chairman Joo turns to leave, but In-ah insists upon staying — and suggests joining parties, at that. Yeah, that’s one way to ruin the night for everyone in one blow.
It’s an uncomfortable gathering for all, with Chairman Joo goading Kang-woo and telling him he’ll regret his choice. Kang-woo grasps Myung-wol’s hand and says he already has regrets — of waiting so long to act.
That sign of affection gets In-ah huffy, and she snipes at Ryu that he’s just sitting there silently in front of the woman he likes. Eeeeek!
Everyone freezes, though it’s only Myung-wol who’s shocked at the revelation. Ryu makes a lame attempt to say it’s not true, and when she leaves the table, he finds her outside to assure her that In-ah was just making things up.
President Kyung tells Kang-woo to pull some video clips to send to the Hollywood contacts, so he goes through the Singapore Showcase footage. He’s reminded of In-ah’s comment that a Myung-wol lookalike was in the crowd, and his eyes widen to see for himself, although he shakes it aside.
When Myung-wol enters the room, he pulls her close in a hug, as though hoping to hug out the doubt. Alas, it’s hardly an effective way of banishing suspicions.
Bored and curious at home, In-ah snatches the tablet computer out of Ryu’s hands, then recognizes the photo on it as the book Kang-woo bought in Singapore. Finally, a hard clue about the mysterious last owner.
When Chairman Joo asks about the process he’s making, he lies and says he’s still in the process of investigating — just as he hears In-ah muttering about that dumb book.
Kang-woo is called by Hee-bok and Ok-soon, who greet him enthusiastically as “son-in-law.” He’s taken aback at their leap to conclusions, but at his hesitation, they play the part of protective parents and take the other extreme, asking if he’s just playing around with their daughter.
Heh, it’s an effective way to keep him confused and stuttering while they reverse-psychologize him: Asking if he’s playing around with no intention of marriage gets Kang-woo to blurt that he’s not against marriage. So then they leap on that and ask eagerly when he plans to propose. Ha!
Ryu meets with Myung-wol to ask about the books. Showing her the stab wound in his hand, he confirms that she was the one who gave it to him.
Myung-wol tells him she had no idea it was him, and that she’d come here to fix the situation that was ruined because of her. Since she knows that Kang-woo has the last book, Ryu gives her one last chance to redeem herself: Take the book from Kang-woo. Ohhhh….no.
Kang-woo comes to the apartment looking for Myung-wol, and looks around while waiting. He finds the script notes he’d given her, marked with a sketch of his face, and is touched at her obvious attachment to him. He also finds the ring that he’d given to her when he fake-proposed (and caught her in her lie). Amused and gratified that she still has it, he takes it with him.
That evening, Kang-woo directs Dae-kang to set up a romantic tableau, to set the stage for his proposal. Aww, he’s actually going to do it! He and Dae-kang bicker about lopsided hearts and the cruelty of making besotted Dae-kang lay out the candles for another man to woo his noona-crush, and then Kang-woo waits for her to arrive.
Upon returning to the Joo mansion, Ryu is attacked, and awakens tied up in a warehouse, beaten by the chairman’s minions. Chairman Joo accuses him of betraying him and withholding the info that Kang-woo has the last book. Joo is also suspicious of his relationship with Myung-wol, and calls her to make his proposal.
She’s been in a crisis of indecision all afternoon, not wanting to betray Kang-woo but understanding that this is her last shot to save the mission. Joo’s demands take that turmoil and amplify it even more, because he threatens her with Ryu’s life, saying that if she wants to keep him safe, she’d better deliver Kang-woo’s book. Aie!
Not only will Chairman Joo get the book he so wants, he also sadistically looks forward to seeing Kang-woo heartbroken.
So Myung-wol sits at home, paralyzed with fear, not knowing what to do. All the while, Kang-woo goes from anticipation to anxiety the longer he waits, and wonders what’s keeping her.
Finally he hears a sound in the house and guesses she’s home, eagerly tiptoeing over to surprise her with the ring.
He heads toward the sound and sees Myung-wol walking down the all, all giddy with anticipation. Only, the moment he steps forward, the smile dies on his lips — because she’s sneaking the book from his closet.
*Crack.* And that’s the sound of a breaking heart.
Ah, I’m pleased that the spy stuff is coming back to the fore, because that is where I think this drama has an interesting, unusual edge, and it’s too bad that a lot of that has been ignored in the past. I actually really like this couple together so it’s not like the romance is a hardship to watch, and thanks be that they at least had a full episode of happiness, at least. But given that her spy identity adds a whole other dimension of conflict to this plot, it’s high time it comes into play — and at just the most inconveniently angsty, heart-wrenching time.
After Kang-woo has been such a crankypants and a mean ol’ fussbudget toward Myung-wol in recent episodes, I didn’t think I’d feel such sympathy when he got his heart broken. But that’s the thing about K-drama heroes — they may be infuriating while they’re denying their feelings, lashing out at innocent others when they’re actually angry with themselves, but once they tumble into love, they’re pretty much all-in. (This isn’t the case for every romance ever, but it comprises a hefty chunk of the rom-com canon and could fill its own category.) In any case, once they’re so head-over-heels, it’s painful to see that come crashing down around them. And especially in this case, when he’s just come to believe in her sincerity, only to be cruelly shown otherwise.
I like that the return of the spy storyline actually provides a stronger conflict than we’ve had in recent episodes — it’s the whole Shiri-ness of this premise that makes it so exciting, the Mata Hari story of falling in love with the enemy. We spent a lot of time on the falling in love part, but now it’s time to ramp up the enemy aspect.
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- KBS speaks about Myung-wol the Spy’s future at press conference
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- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 10
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 9
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 8
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 7
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 6
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 5
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 4
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 3
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 2
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 1