Al…most…there… One more episode, and we can bid goodbye to this drama, which has seen its share of ups and downs. Maybe more downs than ups. Okay, lots more downs. It hasn’t been without its bright moments, but even taking into consideration the two-episode extension, boy has Myung-wol the Spy seemed LONG.
SONG OF THE DAY
Every Single Day – “Healing Star” [ Download ]
EPISODE 17 RECAP
Kang-woo takes a bullet for Myung-wol. My reaction must be proof of what a downturn Kang-woo’s character has taken over the course of this series, because rather than being moved by the sacrifice, I’m thinking, “Well, it’s the least he could do.”
Ryu gets to the rooftop in time to see Kang-woo go down and Myung-wol crying over his prone body. Kang-woo is raced to the hospital for emergency surgery, which Dae-kang covers clumsily by telling reporters it’s for appendicitis.
Ryu apprises Ok-soon and Hee-bok of the events, who worry that if the sniper was sent to prevent Myung-wol’s impending surrender, they’ll probably try to kill her again.
Kang-woo’s condition is kept relatively quiet from the public, but Chairman Joo’s minion reports that the wedding was canceled due to a shooting, and that Kang-woo has been seriously injured. Furthermore, Ryu hasn’t left the country as planned, which makes Joo speculate that perhaps he was the assassin. In-ah eavesdrops as usual, and tries to make sense of this. (She fails.)
Kang-woo’s surgery goes well, and the bullet is successfully removed. But he’s still unconscious, which is worrisome. And in wondering who would shoot Kang-woo, Myung-wol starts to wonder if Ryu made good on his threat after all, unable to shake the growing suspicion.
Spy Mom and Dad discuss the options for their futures, both of them leaning toward surrendering and continuing to live in South Korea. They worry that surrendering might send a sniper after them too, but living in hiding as spies is also nerve-racking. Impasse.
In-ah goes to see Myung-wol at the hospital, determined to find out the truth about her and Ryu’s true identities. The spy idea has very briefly flitted through In-ah’s mind, but she’s leery of jumping to that conclusion and asks Myung-wol to explain, adding that she knows Ryu was headed for North Korea. Furthermore, she knows he didn’t go — which just adds to Myung-wol’s fears about his involvement in the sniper attack.
At that very moment, the sniper is taking a second shot at Myung-wol through the hospital window, but Ryu stops him from pulling the trigger and warns him off this task. The sniper retorts that he’s just doing his job, and that Ryu ought to know the punishment for violating orders.
The sniper goes after Ryu, slashing him with his dagger before Ryu gains the upper hand and stabs his attacker, killing him. Hooooo boy, it’s one thing to fail in your duty, but to kill a comrade who’s doing his — that’s what we call point of no return.
In-ah almost runs Ryu over as he’s leaving the scene, clutching his bloody bicep. She offers a scarf to bind the wound, while mentally debating whether or not to confront him with her suspicions. Could he be a spy? Imagining Ryu going after her (“I have to kill you now that you know”), she wimps out and hastens away with the excuse that she’s going to buy him medicine.
In-ah heads to the police station instead, but ultimately runs away without saying anything and returns to her car, only to find Ryu gone. That’s what happens when you pussyfoot: You lose your chance to romance and/or betray your crush/enemy.
Ryu heads back to spy central, and finds himself at the barrel end of another gun, this time held by Myung-wol. Not realizing that she now suspects him, he asks confusedly what she’s doing.
She cocks the hammer with furious tears in her eyes and reminds him he’d agreed not to harm Kang-woo, and warns that if he tries anything again, she’s going after him: “My good feelings for you end here. I’ll live hating you from now on.” Aw. Dude’s having a really bad day.
In-ah asks her grandfather what Ryu’s deal is, not satisfied with his answer to mind her own business. Chairman Joo wonders if she’s transferred her romantic feelings from Kang-woo to Ryu, which she denies.
The chairman’s right-hand minion reports that the analysis of the ancient books is complete, but there’s this one teeny complication…The results completely contradict prior analyses, which tip Chairman Joo off that Ryu tampered with the books. That also means Ryu must have the real data stored somewhere, so Chairman Joo tells his minion to get on the line with the NSA, stat. Oh, so now we’re bringing the South Korean spies back?
Ryu treats his wound at home, though I suppose it’s his hurty heart that pains him more as he scrolls through photos of Myung-wol on his phone.
Spy Mom and Dad slip into the hospital to check in on Myung-wol, who keeps watch at Kang-woo’s bedside. Ok-soon eases Myung-wol’s guilt over being selfish by saying she understands what it’s like to fall in love on a mission.
Ok-soon also tells Myung-wol that the attack was meant for her, not Kang-woo — and that the reason for Ryu not leaving was because he’d found out she was in danger.
Oooops. Now Myung-wol realizes she was out of line, just as she sees a group of black-suited men asking after her. Men in black always mean bad news in spy dramas, so she makes a break for it, and they pursue.
Thankfully, a car screeches up to the hospital curb, driven by Ryu. He drives them to safety and warns her that it seems Chairman Joo has decided to act, and that she’s in danger of being outed, which will make her life difficult even if she does turn herself in. It’s particularly tricky because she has already become known here in the South.
Myung-wol starts to apologize for misunderstanding the sniper incident, but Ryu is more worried about their current problems. They make for spy central, the only place they can stay without being tracked down — for now.
Hee-bok tells Ok-soon that Myung-wol was almost apprehended by those agents at the hospital, speculating that somebody reported her as a spy. This means they’re both in danger of exposure, so Hee-bok makes a proposal: One of them can surrender, then report the other as a spy. The second person would suffer a teeny bit behind bars before being released, and then they’d also have the reward money.
The question is: Who reports whom? Hee-bok tries to make himself look gallant while taking the coward’s route, sighing this world out here is quite hard on a single woman, and therefore, it’s probably best that she eat that “nutritious prison bean rice” and “remain safe.” Ha. Ok-soon isn’t buying it, not trusting Hee-bok for a second not to run off with the cash.
Ryu contacts Chairman Joo, who’s spitting mad over his stunt with the books. But Ryu still has a card to leverage against him, saying that if he and Myung-wol are captured, Chairman Joo also suffers: “Aren’t you curious about the secret of the books?”
Kang-woo finally wakes up after a fitful sleep, and confirms first thing that Myung-wol is okay. He tries repeatedly to contact Myung-wol, to no avail. Dae-kang assures him that she’s fine, but Kang-woo can’t shake his worry that she’s in danger, and starts to leave. Dae-kang strikes the deal to bring her to him, in order to keep Kang-woo in bed.
Myung-wol tells Spy Mom and Dad that she has “no choice” now, fearing further harm to Kang-woo. Ugh, if she leaves him again citing his own good, imma throw something at her. Please don’t be stupid and make my computer screen suffer.
Dae-kang shows up at headquarters looking for her, and Spy Parents lie that she’s not around. He tells them that Kang-woo has woken up, a fact that doesn’t seem to excite Myung-wol so much as it worries her.
Chairman Joo meets Ryu at a bar, with the world’s longest table separating them. Given their backstabbing-upon-backstabbing history, that’s probably wise.
Ryu explains the secret of the books, starting off with what we already know: The map indicates locations on the Korean peninsula, which mark a treasure, the possessor of which will be able to rise to world power several decades from now. Analysis of the locations and the book indicates that the treasure is a rare earth metal (elements 57 through 71 in the periodic table), which can be used in cutting-edge technology or weaponry.
Chairman Joo likes the idea of being the one to control this future precious commodity, practically licking his chops at the thought. Ryu points out that if Chairman Joo calls in the NSA, he’ll be unable to claim a monopoly on his treasure.
Ryu’s condition in exchange for the data: Allow Myung-wol to return to the North safely.
In-ah finds the house empty and snoops in her grandfather’s files, which turns up everything he’s been involved in thus far: Photos of Myung-wol and Ryu at the Singapore showcase, Myung-wol’s background check, Ryu’s personnel file. And finally she has the confirmation that they’re spies, now that it’s literally staring her in the face. It only took you forever.
Spy Parents tell Ryu that Myung-wol is still sunken in despair, worried she’ll bring more harm to Kang-woo but wanting to see him. Ryu tells her he’ll allow her exactly 10 minutes to see Kang-woo to say her goodbye.
She finds him sleeping in his hospital room, thinking sadly that it was her mistake to fall in love with a man from the South. When he wakes up, she puts on a happy face as he asks her to stay by his side. With that assurance, he sighs in relief and closes his eyes, promising to redo the wedding ceremony and make her happy.
She watches him fall asleep, but when he wakes up in the morning, she’s gone. He demands the truth from Dae-kang, who explains that Myung-wol disappeared after the men came looking for her, and that she’s a spy (a fact he learned from the agents who came to apprehend her).
Kang-woo staggers out of the hospital, arriving at spy central weak on his feet. But he’s too late to see Myung-wol, since she’s already left with Ryu. Ok-soon and Hee-bok tell him that the other two left to go into hiding until they could leave for the North, but hadn’t shared the details with them.
Ok-soon pleads with Kang-woo to not go after Myung-wol, because this is a relationship that cannot be and he’ll only make things harder for her.
Myung-wol, meanwhile, leads Ryu to the same mountain cave where she’d spent the night with Kang-woo. She thanks Ryu for staying with her in times like this, and he replies simply, “I was always with you.”
Kang-woo calls Chairman Joo to tell him grimly that Joo has taken away everyone precious to him. Kang-woo will show the world that he murdered his father, and make sure he receives his just deserts. Chairman Joo blusters that Kang-woo hasn’t the means, but Kang-woo says he’s spent years tracking him down and has been collecting evidence. He’d been willing to cover it up because of Myung-wol: “But now you’re finished.”
Chairman Joo is unsettled enough to think Kang-woo might really have something against him, and orders his minion to bring Myung-wol to him. She’s his only insurance against Kang-woo, since he’d do anything to keep her safe.
Sitting around a fire in the mountain cave, Myung-wol reminisces about when she first started training, and how Ryu had scolded her and told her to quit. She says that he should have insisted she quit, feeling down on herself for being a failure as an agent.
Ryu shares with her something he hadn’t told her before, that when her father had entrusted her to his care, he’d sworn to himself to protect her till the end.
Kang-woo asks In-ah if she knows where Ryu is. She in turn asks if he knows about their real identities, surprised at his confirmation. He says that Myung-wol was going to turn herself in but has disappeared, which is why he needs to find her.
In-ah points out that she can hardly help with that, and he sighs that he was clutching at straws. But she asks if Ryu’s with Myung-wol, and reluctantly offers to help, because she may be able to get in touch with him.
In-ah texts Ryu that her grandfather wants to meet, then shows up at the meeting spot with Kang-woo instead.
Kang-woo entreats Ryu to let him meet Myung-wol but gets a cold denial; Ryu warns him that Myung-wol has a pretty bleak outlook right now, and doesn’t want to make things worse. Kang-woo appeals to Ryu’s sense of sympathy, saying that he must understand how it feels to miss somebody like crazy, to feel like you’re dying if you don’t see them.
Myung-wol awakens in the cave in the morning to find herself alone, and heads out wondering where Ryu went. A mob of minions has tracked the fugitives to the general vicinity, and head up the mountain in search of them.
She thinks nostalgically to her last trip here with Kang-woo, before she senses someone’s approach. She dashes back into the cave for cover, holding her gun at the ready while a shadow falls across the entryway.
But it’s Kang-woo, and as she looks at him in shock, he declares, “Han Myung-wol, I’ve found you.”
The finale also aired today, so I won’t linger too much on comments in this episode, since the end is so near. I’ve long since let go of expectations for this drama, but yesterday’s episode was a nice surprise that amused and entertained, so I’d hoped the next episode would be similarly enjoyable. Sadly, it was not. Really, despite some plot movements like the secret of the books being revealed and Myung-wol’s identity being found out by several people, this felt like a filler episode, designed to take us another step back until the finale could wrap things up.
It’s with relief and gladness that I see this one close — it hasn’t been as painful as some other recent bombs, and in fact there have been better dramas that have been more agonizing to get through. But suffice to say that this is a show that had much more potential than it ended up delivering on, which is a shame since the early episodes were so delightfully wacky.
That quirky sense of humor has been gradually dying as the drama lingered (way too long) on the books, whose secret turns out to be some lame kind of metal (I don’t care if it’s the next big thing next to platinum or titanium, it’s still just metal), and by this point I feel like we’re limping to the finish line. No, scratch that, we’re crawling.
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 16
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 15
- 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