Onwards ho! Episode 2 is “Justice for the Helpless” – a fitting motto for our new vigilante hero. What’s nice about this drama is that it has both episodic cases, and a story arc that’s a little stronger than past OCN dramas. Instead of watching a band of characters with different pasts come together, and then have their pasts come out into the light as they work on cases, we seem to have a set of characters who will grow as the series goes along. We’re not really here to learn about their past (though I’m sure they all have one). We’re here to watch them battle the future, and assume their inner powers.
SONG OF THE DAY
“Time to Fly” by Soul Dive – Hero OST [download link]
In an abandoned building, a faint light shines through an upper floor’s window. The room is littered with trash, and three frightened girls wait inside the room, one of them – Choi Jung Eun – curled up on the floor. A man, Kim Young Joon, unlocks the padlocked door and orders the girls out – it’s time for them to work.
Ah, this is a prostitute den.
Jung Eun can’t get up, as she’s feeling super sick. Kim Young Joon (whom I’m just gonna call ‘Kim’ to avoid confusion with the detective) thought the cold medicine would make her feel better, until another girl tells him that Jung Eun is asthmatic. She needs a certain type of medicine, one that the guy won’t get her. He just slaps her and locks her inside the room again.
At the Kim Mansion, a party is held in honor of Kim Hoon’s recent victory. Heuk Chul joins the party separately though, as he’s not so much a representative for the family as Myung Chul is. Dong Min even tries to get Heuk Chul to smile – as the second son, he’s supposed to be happy and supportive of his father! Heuk Chul can’t be bothered with all this fluff. Dong Min’s father then joins them in the party; as a real estate tycoon, he has interests in being on Mayor Kim’s good side. Dong Min is embarrassed of his father’s fawning tactics, but since his father is getting involved in District 7’s redevelopment, it’s no wonder he is at the party.
A party crasher arrives: Yang Pil Sung, a rich bank president with a gaudy personality. He announces his presence with loud greetings and yelling at his assistants on not properly carrying in congratulatory bouquets of flowers. It’s clear the Kim family finds Pil Sung an embarrassment, but they can only stare and endure until the guy shuts up.
Myung Chul pulls Pil Sung outside – pretty much to kick him out, and Pil Sung knows it. He gets to the point – his bank is not doing well, and he’s barely making ends meet. He helped deal with the transactions on the District 7 redevelopment plan, but now he wants more. Since he’s a supporter of Mayor Kim all the way, he wants a high position – whether it’s a government one or one where he’s a CEO of another company. He’s gotten a little greedy. Myung Chul hates him to the core, but he grimaces and says he’ll find a suitable position for Pil Sung.
The next day, Heuk Chul joins his father in their studio preparing to practice kendo. He remembers the day when he was a child all beat up by bullies at school, and his father handed him his first wooden sword. He was told that he had to fight back in any way possible to ensure victory. The means will justify the end. However, Heuk Chul didn’t listen to his father, and still came home all beat up the following day.
Heuk Chul: I didn’t feel the need to defeat them.
Mayor Kim: Are you saying it’s different now?
Heuk Chul: Yes. I found someone I want to defeat.
Oooooh – the gauntlet is throne! As the two of them fight viciously, memories of Pastor Lee and Kyung Ho’s deaths fill Heuk Chul’s mind. Heuk Chul is no match for his father, and he quickly loses the match. Mayor Kim: “If this were a real sword, you’d be dead. This is the result. The world only cares about results.” And with that, he is called away by Manager Jang for a meeting.
Later that day, Hyuk Kyu hands over Heuk Chul his mail, and one of the letters is regarding his mother’s old law office. The office had been left intact after her death, but Heuk Chul was being summoned to go through them before the building gets demolished. It’s the same building where the prostitute den is located, and because it’s so abandoned, some loose wiring even sparks up and catches fire.
Heuk Chul reminisces the time he spent playing in his mother’s office. She was a hardworking civil rights lawyer who also doted upon her son. Young Heuk Chul had seen a scroll on the wall with the words “Mu Won,” which meant “justice for the helpless.” His mother explained that there were people who were in such difficult situations that they couldn’t ask for help. While she cannot help all of them, she can try to help as many as she can. She can be likened to a lighthouse – lighthouses can’t light up the whole world, but if they turn off, the world will end up in complete darkness.
Heuk Chul – I think your bat signal should be a lighthouse.
Hyuk Kyu brings him back to the present, saying that he’ll pack up whatever Heuk Chul wants to keep. Meanwhile, the upper floors get covered in smoke as some wiring catches fire and spreads throughout the floor. Jung Eun is still trapped inside her room and starts coughing from the smoke. Heuk Chul and Hyuk Kyu notice the smell and hurry upstairs to investigate. They search around for a fire extinguisher, but then Heuk Chul hears a door rattling.
It’s Jung Eun, and she’s banging her fist weakly against the door. Hyuk Kyu finds a fire extinguisher and Heuk Chul smashes it against the pad lock. He rushes inside and finds Jung Eun lying on the floor. It’s too late – she’s suffocated from smoke inhalation.
Once again right before his eyes, Heuk Chul witnesses another person die, and he was unable to help them.
The police arrive to take the body away, and Yi On is the detective in charge. She manages to track down Jung Eun’s mother, but the mother insists that Jung Eun can’t be dead; she’s supposed to be in China. However, Yi On shows her pictures of Jung Eun’s corpse, and Young Joon adds that no visas leaving the country were ever granted to people living in the Special Management District. (The Special Management District is the fancy name for the poorest district in Muyeong.) Poor mother – she cries out in shock at seeing her daughter’s dead face.
Yang Pil Sung is making shady side deals, promising his clients that he’ll help them as long as they raise the new buildings in district 7, as he has rights to redeveloping that area. He tells them to forget about investing in the Special Management District, because that way no one will know about his side business in prostitution. His assistant interrupts his meeting with a call from Kim, who’s freaking out over the death of Jung Eun. He wants money so that he can run away; if he gets charged with involuntary murder, he’ll be put away for ten years.
Pil Sung hangs up on the guy, and then tells his assistant to get rid of him.
Yi On and Young Joon figure out quickly that Jung Eun is one of the stowaways – those who pay an exorbitant amount to get smuggled out of Korea. The autopsy then reveals that she had semen from different men in her body, plus illegal drugs and cold medicine in her blood. Young Joon believes that Jung Eun was a drug addict who sold her body for more drugs, and was locked up in the room because of debt – but that’s not really the story…
When Yi On turns around, she sees another body with a precise bullet through his head. The M.E. tells them not to touch the body, as it’s being turned over to the Ministry of Defense without investigation. It’s the second missing soldier found assassinated without a trace. Yi On takes a closer look and sees an odd blood pattern by the side of the neck. At least it’s not her brother…
She goes to investigate the crime scene where Jung Eun was found, and finds a bank book with a card saying “19” and “61900” on it. She’s interrupted by Heuk Chul, who also wondered why the girl was locked up in here. He blames the police for not acting on this sooner, which pisses her off. C’mon – it’s not her fault! She tells him to leave, as the case has nothing to do with him, but he goes: “A person died in front of me. Twice. And I couldn’t do anything.” Yeah Yi On – how could he not get involved now?
Yi On then gets a call that the suspect – Kim – is at Paradise Motel and she goes off after him. She and Young Joon approach the suspect’s room and pretend to be room service. Kim opens the door a crack, and then tries to shut it when he realizes they’re cops. A tug-of-war over the door ensues, so Yi On just grabs the edge of the door and pulls it wide. Problem solved. Young Joon then tackles the suspect head on and arrests him.
As they leave the hotel, Kim sees Pil Sung’s assistant hiding out of sight, watching. Pil Sung is not happy to hear that his man got arrested, and calls up Myung Chul for some help. Myung Chul sighs and says he’ll take care of it for him, but Yi On overhears him. She reports that Kim will confess everything for a reduced penalty. Myung Chul’s eyes light up – he’s found an out. He tells Yi On to squeeze out all the information and bring the head of the prostitution ring to him on a silver platter. Now he can get rid of the Pil Sung pest!
Dong Min is loath to help Heuk Chul hack into police files regarding the Jung Eun case, for fear of getting caught. Heuk Chul casually mentions that his sister Na Ra came back home; if Dong Min helps him, he’ll give him his sister’s schedule for the next few days. Turns out Na Ra is also an actress, but she quit when her director wanted some nudity. Dong Min is so outraged he wants the name of the director so he can hack into his files and ruin him. But first – the police files, and they come across a photo of the card in the bank book.
Heuk Chul goes into his makeshift gym and starts practicing with a punching bag, with Hyuk Kyu watching. Hyuk Kyu was a former detective who had first taught Heuk Chul how to fight. He comments on Heuk Chul’s improved form and suggests they spar. Heuk Chul passes, and then Hyuk Kyu notices that the punching bag has a tear. Hm… Heuk Chul has gotten a lot stronger.
Heuk Chul then goes to the docks where he trades his snazzy outfit with one of the bums. Now fitting in more with the environment, he goes up to one of the ship captains and requests passage to China. The captain asks if he has two grand; Heuk Chul: “If I did, why would I want to go to China for work?” The captain hands him a card to a bank – PS Savings Bank – and tells him to go there for a loan. Then, he gives him another card that looks like the one in Jung Eun’s bank book: he should go to the specified pier at 10pm.
In the interrogation room, Kim admits that Pil Sung uses his bank to lend women money when they want to stow away. When they’re in debt, he then forces them into the prostitution ring. Meanwhile Pil Sung gets hit with two disturbing calls: one from a client saying that the news is reporting a different person as having the rights to district 7’s redevelopment plans, and another from his henchmen saying that Kim has confessed. Pil Sung is so pissed that Myung Chul screwed him over.
Heuk Chul goes to the bank and finds out that by opening an account with them and getting a loan, he will be able to go to China, get a job, and then have 80% of his pay go back to paying off the loan. Heuk Chul wonders aloud why the women are still in Korea rather than in China, which confuses his bank teller. He asks to see the CEO of the bank, but Pil Sung comes out just on cue, speaking obnoxiously into his phone.
The interrogation over, Kim is led away by two security guards, but one of those guards is actually Pil Sung’s assistant. Once far enough, he stabs Kim to death, and then surrenders to the police. He claims to be the one behind all the loans and the prostitution ring, and has never heard of Yang Pil Sung. Myung Chul knows better and tells Yi On and Young Joon to prod further.
Pil Sung has to start creating insurance for himself, and so he hands over a folder to a Congressman. In it is evidence that could bring down Kim Hoon. Even though the evidence could bring Pil Sung down in the mud as well, he’s counting on the congressman to have his back. The congressman agrees – he wants to bring down Kim Hoon too.
Later that evening, Heuk Chul makes his way to the specified port and gets into a shipping crate with a whole bunch of other male stowaways. They’re all told to keep quiet by the guards, but then Heuk Chul whips out his laser pointer and burns away at the padlock. He climbs out of the crate, changes into his new superhero outfit, and then heads back to open the crate. He gets caught by a couple of the guards.
Crap – time to fight! With some improved skills and his super fast speeds, he knocks them out and forces one to admit to where the women are being held.
There are even girls younger than ten who are in the shipping crate; all of them think that they’re going to go to China and earn money. Suddenly, the door slides open – it’s Heuk Chul, and he orders all of the women to get out immediately. They have to go home – NOW. He tells them the ship would never leave to China, but that they’d all end up somewhere ten times more horrible.
Outside, some more guards discover that the crate has been opened, and so Heuk Chul fights them all, 1 to 20 (or so) men. As the women all run for their lives, Heuk Chul beats them all silly, and then leaves them on the ground. One man manages to pull out his gun. He aims for Heuk Chul’s retreating back, but before he can shoot, someone steps on his arm and confiscates the gun silently.
It’s Hyuk Kyu!!! Yay for sidekicks!!
Hyuk Kyu knocks the man out, and Heuk Chul turns around at the sound of his grunt. But there’s no one there. He must have just been imagining sounds…
Once again, Pil Sung gets hit with a double whammy of calls – Myung Chul has raided his bank and confiscated all his documents, and that he lost his most recent “shipment” of women. He opens his safe and starts taking all of his money and gold bars, but then makes one more angry call to Myung Chul. He’s pissed that he’s been backstabbed and is getting investigated for dirty money laundering, when it’s the exact same money that got Kim Hoon to be mayor. He threatens Myung Chul that he’ll take them down, that he has a hiden card.
Um, why do all the bad gangsters always say “I have a trump card!” right to their biggest enemies?
A knock at the door, and Pil Sung warily opens it. It’s Heuk Chul, Masked Vigilante. He’s here to see Pil Sung for Jung Eun. Pil Sung: “Who?!” Heuk Chul punches Pil Sung in the gut: “Choi Jung Eun died because of you, and you don’t even know her name. You deserve this, don’t you think?”
Pil Sung quickly holds his hands up and claims to have remembered her, as she came in wanting to make money. In the lull of the moment, he grabs a knife from his safe and then stabs Heuk Chul in the gut. He falls back and staggers, but then his wound heals, and he gets right back to beating Pil Sung. He throws the dirty criminal over the desk, and knocks him out.
Young Joon and Yi On arrive at Pil Sung’s office and find Pil Sung and his henchmen all beaten up and bloody on the floor. Well, that was easy for them.
In the interrogation room, Pil Sung insists on speaking with Myung Chul alone. Myung Chul reads out the charges against him, but Pil Sung isn’t scared. Myung Chul will end up in jail for a long time as well.
Myung Chul laughs: “You should have found yourself a more trustworthy back up.” He throws an envelope across the table; inside are the files that Pil Sung gave to the congressman, who then handed the files over to Kim Hoon and Myung Chul. Pil Sung won’t ever get a position in politics or the government – his place is behind bars. Ha. Pil Sung then grovels at Myung Chul’s feet, begging for mercy. Myung Chul: “You said life is all about timing? You missed your timing.”
When he returns home that evening, he finds his father escorting a much younger woman in skimpy clothing out. One can only wonder what that “evidence” against Kim Hoon was… Myung Chul watches his father leave with the woman; he seems to disapprove, and yet he’s helping his father cover it up.
A young man races down the stairs to the parking lot, running from an unseen assailant. However, the assailant appears in front of him, being two steps ahead. It’s Jae In.
The young man quakes in fear, and pleads that he’s innocent. Jae In: “That’s not a reason for you to live.” He raises his gun and fires three shots – two into the chest, and one straight into the head. The blood pattern from the bullet hole creates a similar blood pattern in that of the dead soldier earlier…
Yahoo! This is the perfect drama for me to watch while I wait in anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises. I’m thrilled Hyuk Kyu is on Heuk Chul’s side. We have really good villains set up: not only are Son Byung Ho and Choi Chul Ho killing it in their roles, but it raises the stakes for Heuk Chul. What is he to do when his family is his enemy? With the flashback of his mother we get to understand where he gets his sense of compassion; I am now curious as to where the sister stands morally. I also have a feeling the mother was murdered, and it was made to look like a suicide. Or she simply couldn’t stand living with a monster like Kim Hoon.
And for Myung Chul – he is quite the complex character. Both a hero and the anti-hero in his own way, he’s fighting corruption by cleaning out the streets as it benefits his father’s political career. However he also seems to hate his father’s lifestyle. This drama questions what a real “hero” is supposed to be: is he someone who will fight for justice for the helpless? Will he fight against corruption outwardly, just like how Heuk Chul is doing it? Or should the “hero” work from the inside by fighting with the enemy until it is time to betray him, like how Myung Chul could be doing it?
We also have a new story arc with the killings of the soldier. We don’t know why these soldiers are being killed, or why Jae In is the one doing it. I love it – conspiracy time! And Yi On’s brother could be behind it all! As long as this case can get solved…
- Hero: Episode 1
- OCN lines up new action drama Hero
- Trailer for Kim Tae-hee’s Grand Prix
- Yang Dong-geun replaces Lee Jun-ki in Grand Prix