We FINALLY get to the crux of the spy vs. love dilemma, for all the characters involved. I really wish it didn’t take us fifteen episodes to get to this point, but we finally have them – the guns, the ultimatums, the lives on the line, and the hero actually does something… heroic. I know!
I just wish for the characters’ sakes that they weren’t written as the most ineffectual spies ever. I’d be more fearful for their lives and such if somebody would just shoot someone already. ‘Cause the empty threat of violence is starting to get old. Less talky, more shooty!
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Finally! She speaks! And it’s a doozy, because with Kang-woo at gun-point, she calls him “Comrade.” Confused, he asks what she’s doing. She asks if he hasn’t figured it out by now. “We came… from the North…” She tells him that they’re here to take him by force.
Oh dayum, all out with it and everything. Kang-woo looks at her, aghast, refusing to believe it. He tries to call her name as he always has: “Myung-wol-ah.” But she answers coldly and formally, “Don’t call me that! From now on, I am Hallyu Crackdown Squad Agent Han Myung-wol.”
Chairman Joo gets annoyed at his minions for failing to execute them, and then tasks the same minions to find and eliminate them. See, this is why lazy villains never succeed.
In-ah tries to put the pieces together to figure out what’s going on, but alas, it hurts her feeble bird brain and she gives up.
The Hallyu Crackdown Duo and their captive go back to Kang-woo’s house, where Ryu informs them that they’ll keep him locked up and monitored round the clock, until they can use his planned trip to the States in three days as a diversion to actually go to North Korea via China.
Kang-woo is still reeling from the shock, and asks why him. Myung-wol explains without feeling that the North needs a star like him, and tells him her mission, to seduce, marry, and convince him to defect.
He looks up at her, finally understanding it all. Ryu tells him not to do anything stupid, and Kang-woo simply smirks.
Once he’s out of the room, Ryu asks Myung-wol why she changed her mind. She in turn asks why he didn’t tell her about his orders to kill them all if they couldn’t succeed. “Why did you try to carry that burden alone?”
Ever the stoic soldier, Ryu says nothing, but does clarify that there’s no take-backsies now. If they don’t bring Kang-woo to the North, then he knows too much to remain alive… Oh crap. So it’s North or Bust.
Ryu inform the spy parents that they’re northbound in three days, and Hee-bok frets that every time he packs a bag, something goes awry. He wants to see a fortuneteller to ease his mind, but Ok-soon refuses, so he resorts to flipping a coin to see if they’ll succeed or fail. They toss it expectantly, only to be foiled by Dae-kang who mucks up the toss, landing it on: Fail.
Myung-wol stands by as Kang-woo calls in sick for a few days, and then he takes the opportunity to ask – even if she couldn’t help any of the other things, being born in the North, following orders, weren’t her feelings for him real?
He asks again, “Your heart. Wasn’t it sincere?” She stands frozen for a moment, and then answers, “No.” Aaaaaaargh. What the hell is wrong with you? It stands to reason that telling him the truth now would only help you. So what’s with the lying? There’s no reason for it, which makes it lame.
She tells him that she was just following orders. He whirls around, insisting that it’s a lie, and that he can tell the difference, thank you very much. He pulls her toward him and shouts, “It’s a lie! Tell me! Tell me it’s a lie!”
She slaps him across the face. Okay, I’m not gonna lie, that’s satisfying on account of his slap-happy behavior eons ago. She tells him to shut up and get it straight – she’s not the Han Myung-wol he knows, and that for her country, she could kill him on this spot without batting an eye. God, I SO much prefer this version of Myung-wol. Where have you BEEN?
She warns him to get it together and storms out, only betraying her conflicting emotions once she’s out of view.
Meanwhile Chairman Joo gets busy reconstructing the ancient books, and we see in flashback that he had once hired Kang-woo’s father to put them all together.
He had succeeded in cracking the code, and uncovered that it was a map – a map to a treasure that would make its possessor the central world power. More than ever, I want it to be a lame cracker jack prize. Please oh please.
Kang-woo waits that night until Myung-wol is asleep, and attempts to sneak out the front door. He gets about five feet from the door when Ryu finally calls out in a calm but threatening tone that he told him not to do anything stupid.
Kang-woo asks if he really thinks they’ll succeed in taking him by force without being found out, and asks if Ryu really loves Myung-wol, how he could give her a mission like this. Bitterly he wonders, “For your mission, you send the woman you love into another man’s arms?”
Ryu raises his fist, but Kang-woo scoffs that he shouldn’t really be messing up the face of the star they’re going to such lengths to kidnap. Ha. Touché.
But Ryu lays down a gauntlet of his own. He tells Kang-woo the truth, that Myung-wol faces death if this operation doesn’t succeed. Thank you. I don’t understand why you didn’t just lead with this.
That flares up Kang-woo’s temper, but then Myung-wol wakes up and interrupts them. Ryu rests assured that if Kang-woo understood him, he wouldn’t do anything stupid to endanger her.
He leaves them to break into Chairman Joo’s estate, apparently for no reason other than sport, since he doesn’t actually do anything there. Except for hide in In-ah’s bed, which gets her all aflutter.
The next day Kang-woo asks Myung-wol for a favor, to let him say goodbye and tie up loose ends, if he’s never to come back to this place. He makes an earnest plea that it’s his homeland, which resonates enough with her that she gives in.
He goes to see his agent first, and thanks her sincerely, which confuses the hell out of her. He tells her to stop pouring so much into her thankless job and to date and live her life, and assures her that she can make anyone a star.
Aw, despite the premise behind it being ridiculous, it always gets me when one party is saying goodbye and the other doesn’t know it.
He finds a moment alone with Dae-kang in the bathroom, and quickly orders him to look into the punishment in this country for Myung-wol’s crimes (in the hypothetical, of course). Dae-kang thinks it’s an odd request, to say the least, but Kang-woo gives him no time to protest or ask questions, and tells him to mail the information to his house.
He drags Myung-wol along as he says goodbye to the drama-in-drama crew, and she asks why he’s doing all this. He explains sincerely that these people made him who he is.
Meanwhile Ryu finds them gone and calls Myung-wol in a panic. She tells him that they’re tying up loose ends and hangs up before he can order her back. He angrily traces her phone.
Kang-woo takes her to the neighborhood where he grew up, and she tells him that she heard about his father, and apologizes for having no words of comfort.
He confesses that he was young and powerless, so he thought that if he became rich and famous, he could find out the truth. So he took Chairman Joo’s money, actively sought it out even. He murmurs flatly that he needs to see him brought down, knowing that it’s an impossibility now.
Myung-wol offers that it’ll happen someday, but Kang-woo realistically gives up hope on that front. He turns to her and asks if she knows how to play catch. How to play catch? You just catch.
They throw the baseball around and Kang-woo thinks to himself: “What can I do to change your mind? What do I do to make you let me stay here?” And Myung-wol thinks to herself: “Father, do I really have to take this man away? I really don’t know.”
And then after a moment’s pause, she throws long, purposely giving him an opportunity to run away. Aw. He runs after it and then realizes that she’s not behind him. He stoops to pick up the baseball and dwells on Ryu’s words that she’ll die if he runs away.
Just then, Ryu arrives on the scene, demanding to know where Kang-woo is. Myung-wol stammers, shocked to see him…
He runs past her to give chase, but Kang-woo appears, baseball in hand and a smile on his face. He puts it in Myung-wol’s hand and says that it’s a present from him. Not-a-Euphemism of the Day: Kang-woo lovingly hands her his ball. *snerk*
In-ah drinks away her sorrows after getting a glimpse of Kang-woo and Myung-wol together again. She almost calls Ryu on instinct but decides against it, and calls her ex-manager-turned-kpop-idol, and Dae-kang tags along to be cutesy and make In-ah gag. Well at least he found someone to ease his unrequited noona love for Myung-wol.
Kang-woo finds Dae-kang’s report when he gets home, outlining the punishments for espionage. They range from five years in prison and upward, but if the spy turns herself in, she can be rehabilitated to live a life here.
From what I know of the spy world (as in, purely fictional but rather extensive, I daresay), what you really want is a valuable asset to make a deal. Something that the South wants as much as the North. Like, the BOOKS, perhaps? But nobody listens to me.
Ryu gets called back to home base by the spy parents, stuck babysitting a drunk and sleepy In-ah, who stumbled there looking for Ryu. He rouses her awake and she cries on his shoulder, upset at Kang-woo and Myung-wol, and even him, but thinking that he’d at least understand her pain.
She cries herself to sleep in his arms, and then an idea hits him. He calls Grandpa and offers a trade: In-ah for the books. Thinking to himself, Ryu apologizes to her, admitting, “I do understand how you feel.” He silently asks her for her help one last time.
Kang-woo asks Myung-wol if this is really what she wants.
Myung-wol: That’s not important. People like me… simply move according to orders. What’s right or wrong, what I want… I can’t even consider those things. Bringing you in is all that matters.
Kang-woo: Have you lived your whole life that way? Your entire life? Just following orders?
Myung-wol: Because that was my dream. To be the kind of special agent who could honorably lay her life down for her country, her people. You wouldn’t understand. Let me ask you something. Why did you come back earlier?
Kang-woo: My feet wouldn’t leave the ground. What do I like so much about a stupid spy girl anyway. Honestly, I still don’t believe it. You’re just Han Myung-wol. You’re just Han Myung-wol, the woman I love. And I’m just the Kang-woo who loves you. Isn’t that enough? If that doesn’t change, then South or North, doesn’t it not matter?
FINALLY, a swoonworthy statement from our hero! I’ve waited eleventy million years for this. Finally, he trusts her, not her title or her mission or even her lies, but just her.
It stirs her, but when he pleads with her to turn herself in, she balks. He begs, shouting, that they’ll forgive everything if she turns herself over, but she cuts him short. Calling him Comrade Kang-woo again, she reminds him that she is a North Korean agent, ready to lay down her life. It’s what she was taught, how she was trained, and what she promised to her father.
Kang-woo: “But you love me.” She looks up at him, wavering. He squeaks, “Don’t you?”
Turning to avert his eyes, she says, “No.” But he doesn’t let her walk away this time, and pulls her in for a hug. Kang-woo: “Then why did you throw the ball that far, stupid?” AW.
He says that she can’t be without him either, asking again and again. She doesn’t answer, but she hugs him back.
Over with the other kidnapper-kidnapee duo, In-ah stirs awake and wonders what she’s doing with Ryu. She tries to leave and he stops her, informing her matter-of-factly that she is currently mid-kidnap.
She asks why on earth he’s going to such lengths – is it money? Lots of money? Or Myung-wol? She can tell from his face that it’s Myung-wol, and she asks why he can’t let go of her.
He throws the same question back at her about Kang-woo, and she says it’s because she feels unfairly slighted compared to how much love and effort she’s poured onto him. Ryu then replies concerning Myung-wol: “It’s because I’ve never loved properly. And I’ll never be able to, in the future.”
Aw, poor super agent Ryu. In-ah looks at him curiously, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of Grandpa and his crew. They make the exchange, and when Grandpa predictably sends in backup to go after Ryu, she runs back to stand in their way and give him an exit. In-ah does something heroic? Did hell freeze over?
She earns a slap from Grandpa for her trouble, and goes to bed crying, wondering herself why she’s going to such lengths for Ryu. Well no one ever said you were quick on the uptake, princess.
Spy parents try to have a going away party with Dae-kang to say their farewells, but he’s the slowest wit of them all, so their heartfelt wishes for him just go sailing over his head, finally frustrating them for even trying.
On their last night Myung-wol watches Kang-woo sleep, thinking of Ryu’s warning that he dies even if she changes her mind now. Kang-woo in turn stays up thinking of Ryu’s warning that she dies if the mission is a failure. Not to be the bad guy here, but if you guys just got rid of Ryu…
They head to the airport the next morning, using his trip to the States as a cover. Problem is, Chairman Joo finds out about it, along with Ryu accompanying them, and sends minions to head them off.
Ryu gets out of the car to fight them off, and tells Myung-wol to take Kang-woo to the airport without him. They take off running.
Once they get away, Myung-wol stops and tells him to run. He asks her to come with him, but she can’t let her comrades die because of her. She takes out her gun and tells him to go.
He sees a police car headed their way, and so he turns… and runs away from her. She runs in the other direction.
Ryu arrives at the airport and finds the spy parents waiting, but no Myung-wol or Kang-woo.
Myung-wol arrives back at her apartment alone, and finds Ryu already waiting for her. He asks what happened, and she tells him the truth: “I let him go.” She says she couldn’t bear it anymore, and couldn’t bring herself to do it.
Trembling, he asks how many times he’s supposed to understand and forgive her. She tells him not to forgive anymore. Ryu: “Don’t forgive? Do you know what happens if I don’t forgive you? You die.”
She tells him that it doesn’t matter to her. But it matters to him. He takes out his gun and heads toward her door. She blocks his path, asking what he’s about to do.
He’s headed to kill Kang-woo, of course, now that he knows everything and they’ve failed. She stops him, pleading. He raises his gun at her…
Myung-wol: “Do as you wish. If you want to kill me, kill me. Just leave that person alone.” Ryu’s eyes fill with tears, as he shouts, “Are you trying to make me crazy? Are you saying this knowing what I want? What I really want…?!”
Meanwhile Chairman Joo finds out about Myung-wol and Ryu being Northern spies, and calls Kang-woo straightaway with threats. He comes running over and offers a trade – he’ll cover up his father’s murder, and return the books, and in exchange he leaves Myung-wol alone.
At home he takes out a picture of his father and apologizes for not being able to avenge his death, “But I can’t let this woman go.”
Ryu decides that he’ll follow Myung-wol’s wishes and let Kang-woo live. But in exchange she must return to North Korea with him. He plans to trade her life for the books. At least it’s a plan! Is he the only real spy up in here?
She asks what they’re to do about the mission (to kidnap Kang-woo), but Ryu confesses that the mission was a failure from the moment he let her into his heart. Omo! Is that a love confession?
Just then her doorbell rings and Ryu hides as Myung-wol approaches her door cautiously. She opens it, and Kang-woo comes rushing inside.
She tells him to leave at once. Kang-woo: “No. I’m not going anywhere. Let’s get married. And let’s live here together.”
Grar, this is setting them up for another bout of I’m-going-to-pretend-not-to-love-you-to-protect-you, isn’t it? Can we just skip that and get married, to shake things up? That’d be a nice twist. Sigh.
You know what I feel like this drama is doing? Playing catch. We’re not going anywhere, just tossing a ball back and forth, back and forth, as the power dynamic switches from Ryu, Chairman Joo, Kang-woo, to Myung-wol. Nothing really changes. The ball simply changes hands, and no one scores.
I’d say we need to up the stakes, but the stakes are already up. They’re as high as you can get—treason, death, death by treason. There’s no going any higher than that, really, unless you get into apocalypse territory. It’s just that, your putting your life on the line would mean more if I actually, yunno, feared for your life in any way.
I’m sure I’ll regret it, but I’d really appreciate it if someone got shot, and sometime soon. If one more person points a gun at the person they love with zero intention of firing, I’m going to reach right in there and pull the trigger myself.
What I really want is for Myung-wol to step it up and take some action, instead of just reacting to everything and being a victim of circumstance. What the hell is the point of you being a secret agent if all you do is stand around and be told what you can and cannot do, and choose based on other people’s ultimatums?
I’m finally starting to see a glimmer of the old Myung-wol who began this series – the spy, the woman of action. But she’s still bound by the same frustrating dilemma that refuses to change. So what can you do? Change it yourself. Make some decisions. Change the rules. Kill everyone, whatever. Just DO something, and I’ll be with you.
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 14
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 13
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 12
- News stills from Myung-wol the Spy
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 11
- KBS speaks about Myung-wol the Spy’s future at press conference
- The Script Doctor is in: Myung-wol the Spy
- Myung-wol the Spy unable to complete shoot, to air special
- Myung-wol the Spy gets an extension, sort of
- 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