Hero: Episode 3
Things get gnarly in this episode, where loyalties can shift in a blink of an eye. An episode centering more on Yi On, it also features Lee Won Jong as her mentor. Woohoo! That guy should probably be a cop in every thing he does. Here’s episode 3: “Crashing Sirens.”
SONG OF THE DAY
“A Week” by Shin Ji Soo (from “Superstar K” season 3) from Hero OST [download]
It’s a quiet morning at a Chinese restaurant as Heuk Chul visits an old friend, who is the daughter of a Chinese restaurateur…who happens to be Manager Jang Chae Ok!? She’s busy entertaining the Chinese ambassadors, while her father is busy trying to get Heuk Chul to get engaged to her. (Oh, weird!) Outside, a police officer is writing up tickets for parked cars, but there’s no one on the street. Quiet morning indeed.
A black car drives up in front of the restaurant; inside are masked robbers as they pull out their guns and wait for the streets to clear. They break in quickly, with one as a watch out, and another firing his gun at the ceiling for attention. They rob everyone in the restaurant, including the ambassadors, of their money and jewelry. The gunshot grabs the officer’s attention, and she heads over to the restaurant to check it out.
One of the robbers notices Chae Ok’s necklace under her dress, and he pulls it out. But Heuk Chul grabs the robber’s hand to stop him. His glove comes loose, and out of Heuk Chul’s grip, and he steals the necklace anyways. Heuk Chul notices a ring on his finger before he gets shot in the ear. Yowch – but it’s ok, his magic healing powers take effect, and he makes chase.
The robbers all make a run for their car, but they encounter the officer outside. She shoots at them, and one of them shoots her in the gut. Down she goes, but one of them tries to staunch the bleeding before they all have to run away. Hmm – robbers with a heart? Heuk Chul tries to catch up to the car, leaping over rooftops and running along the side streets, but he barely reaches them before his injuries from crashing through windows take a toll.
At the hospital, Yi On meets her former mentor, Kwon Joon Sung. He’s angry to hear that the police officer shot outside the restaurant actually lost her baby. The officer herself is in critical condition. Yi On is surprised to see her mentor here, as he’s part of the Central Police Department. She on the other hand was roommates with the injured officer back in the police academy, and was close friends with her. Joon Sung explains that he’s been after these robbers for a while now. They were part of an Anti-China protest group, and as soon as their leader was released on parole, these strings of robberies have begun.
He leaves Yi On with the officer’s personal belongings (a pregnancy diary), and reminds her of their number 1 rule: safety first.
Mayor Kim hears of the incident and tells Chae Ok that he’ll visit the officer in the hospital before attending a press conference with the National Police Agency. She asks what he’ll do about the police reform bill; he was going to implement a new police system called HSS, where cameras will automatically detect criminals and respond immediately at the scene. Police officers would actually lose their jobs with this new system, which isn’t really wise considering the crippling economic state Muyeong is in. To make matters worse, the recent incident occurred where HSS was supposed to be implemented – and it looks like it didn’t really work.
And then… the police officer dies, the surgeons unable to save her.
Hyuk Kyu hands Heuk Chul the morning paper – if Heuk Chul had caught the robbers, he would have made the front cover. Heh – I don’t know if publicity is what a masked vigilante should want. He also tells Heuk Chul about his father’s plans with HSS.
All the squad cars are taken, so Yi On can’t borrow one to investigate the crime. She tries to borrow Young Joon’s, but he says he needs it. She gets nosy and pokes around his desk – turns out he’s busy reading “How to Start a Business for Dummies.” He needs to prepare a backup plan after hearing rumors of massive layoffs and the HSS implementation. So he needs his car to look up business storefronts? Lucky for Yi On though, Joon Sung comes to pick her up in his car.
Joon Sung wants to know what her plans are for the investigation, but she has none. Heh. So she changes the subject towards his siren, those “antique loud things” that they used to use back in the day. She used to find it annoying, since he would use it even when there was no traffic on the road. However, being an awesome sunbae, Joon Sung had taught her that if it’s on, the victim that hears it in the distance might hold on for a little longer, and the criminal just might run away because of it. Joon Sung gloats with pride over how smart he must have been to have come up with it.
Except, Yi On realizes that his siren is now broken. Woops.
The two of them go to meet Heuk Chul and Chae Ok at the restaurant for questioning. She doesn’t remember much, while Heuk Chul has some information to give, but Yi On refuses to listen to him out of sheer spite. Hehe. Only Joon Sung lets him speak. Heuk Chul remembers that the robbers had rehearsed their plan, knowing exactly what to do and how to move and how to get away. Also, one robber had a ring that said “Hit and Run,” which is a baseball term. Joon Sung shifts uneasily in his seat.
TRAITOR! I can see it in your eyes Joon Sung! I can see it!
The two detectives want to question Chae Ok’s father as well, and so Yi On offers to go with her to their home. Yi On asks how well she knew Heuk Chul. They had grown up together, with him being more shy and she being more of a tomboy. However, one winter day when they were making a snowman together, a group of middle schoolers had bullied her and her Chinese background. Heuk Chul rose to her defense and tried to tackle them, but of course he was easily beaten up instead. The next day, she saw that Heuk Chul finished making their snowman, and was touched.
Yi On thinks that Heuk Chul must have been really different back then. “No. He’s still the same,” Chae Ok says.
The next day, she makes her presentation on the case to her superiors. Go Myung Suk is their main suspect, as he’s the leader of the Anti-China protest group and has threatened to bomb the Chinese embassy before. He was recently released three weeks ago, and since then, three robberies have occurred in HSS-surveilled areas. Apparently Go and his men hacked the system, and as long as they committed their crimes within a 5-minute time frame, they could get away without being caught on camera. However, in the latest robbery, the cameras caught one of the robbers trying to staunch the bleeding of the officer. That’s not typical robber behavior, but Joon Sung jumps in and says the robber in question is a 70% match to Go.
The police chief and Mayor Kim give him the warrant to do whatever it takes to arrest Go.
With the right intel, the police burst into the Anti-China group’s hideout and arrests everyone inside. Only Yi On is unsatisfied as she thinks that they’re all wasting their times. The Anti-China group can’t be behind the robberies – the pieces don’t fit. She insists on investigating more, and Joon Sung encourages her. But we all know he’s a little troubled by the fact that his protegee is getting a little too smart.
The real robbers assemble in their own hideout and split the rewards from the recent robbery. Joon Sung emerges from the shadows and addresses them as his colleagues. They’re actually all former police officers belonging to 7th police squad. Joon Sung asks if it’s possible for them to leave some of their money from this recent heist with him. Because the officer they shot died, he wants to send it over to the family as an anonymous donation. These former officers all have a heart, and with little hesitation, they hand it over to Joon Sung. He proposes one more heist – the last one – and afterwards, they’ll be reinstated to the police department.
They all agree, but Joon Sung wants one of them, Choi Yoon Soo, to sit out; his injured arm will hold them back in the next heist. He later meets with the police chief – apparently the two of them have been plotting these serial robberies. With one more hit, they’ll be able to bring down Mayor Kim and HSS, and Joon Sung and his colleagues will definitely be reinstated. If they fail, the police chief will abandon them completely.
Heuk Chul reviews some ring samples with Dong Min, who’s already getting bored because they’ve gone through hundreds, and Heuk Chul has been unable to identify it correctly. Then Hyuk Kyu arrives with some burgers and they hit the jackpot! The suspect’s ring is exactly the same as Hyuk Kyu’s!
Wait – is Hyuk Kyu the suspect?! Haha – the way their faces turn ashen is hilarious.
Heuk Chul, of course, contacts Yi On right away, who in turn contacts Joon Sung. She wants to meet in a certain cafe where a lot of former police officers hang out. That cafe is also managed by one of the masked robbers. Dun dun dun… Joon Sung rushes to meet Yi On before she can ask too many questions of the cafe manager, and tries to pull her outside. However, Yi On shows him a picture of Yoon Soo, saying that she found out he’s a former 7th Squad officer with a gun shot wound – he matches the description of one of the masked robbers.
At that moment, Heuk Chul calls Yi On with more information – Dong Min found a photo of the former 7th squad team, and he’ll be sending it over to Yi On. Perhaps all the officers are in on the robberies, except why they are committing the crimes is a question that remains to be answered.
As the photo downloads to Yi On’s phone, guess who enters the shop? Yep – Yoon Soo. Oh great. Yi On quickly raises her gun to arrest him, but the cafe manager aims his gun at Yi On. What will Joon Sung do?! He sees the photo download onto her phone, and it has his face on it. He pulls out his gun… and aims it at Yi On’s head. Uh oh… Joon Sung forces her to put the gun down, and then ties her up in another room.
The three former police officers regroup and finalize their plans. One of their members, Park, is going to meet them at the stadium where their next heist will be. Joon Sung goes over to Yi On and discreetly calls the last number on her phone – Heuk Chul’s. He then explains to Yi On that if the reform bill goes into effect, many more officers will be laid off. To protect those jobs and to stop the reform bill, he’s committing these crimes to prove that HSS is a failure.
Yi On still refuses to understand that the crimes committed are “for the sake of the police department,” so Joon Sung slaps her across the face. Heuk Chul hears all of this, and immediately demands Dong Min to trace her location. Joon Sung looks away regretfully, and the other two cops prime the place for a fire explosion.
Yi On: “Cop rule #2! Do you remember it? ‘A police officer abides by the laws of the right path!'” The line between police and criminal is very thin, and Joon Sung is crossing it. It hurts to hear it, but it doesn’t steer him off his chosen path. The cafe manager kicks her in the face, and she falls unconscious. Good thing Heuk Chul arrives just as the toaster lights the jammed paper on fire. He rushes inside, saving the toaster before it falls off a table and lights everything – including Yi On – ablaze.
Meanwhile, Mayor Kim invites the police chief to his home for a private, impromptu meeting with Myung Chul. Mayor Kim offers the chief a drink, but then pours so much alcohol that it spills over. “The way you’ve been acting up lately – you’re pushing it, and so I was unable to stop myself,” Mayor Kim says benignly. He knows – he totally knows the police chief is behind the recent spate of robberies. How? Well, because Officer Park just sold everyone out to the Mayor.
Mayor Kim gives the chief an ultimatum: if he gets rid of his little team of robbers, the chief will be able to keep his position.
When Yi On wakes, she finds herself in the hospital with Young Joon at her bedside; he had rushed over as soon as he got a call that she was hurt. They both then here a police report calling officers to the stadium. Yi On realizes that the police are all assembling to stop Joon Sung and his team. She quickly unhooks herself from the IV and runs out of the hospital.
Heuk Chul is waiting in a car outside and sees Yi On run to the car. Of course, he follows. Meanwhile, Joon Sung drives into the stadium parking lot – where a SWAT team and police force are lying in wait. When Yi On arrives, she hears an order through the walkie-talkies to kill the robbers on sight. Their target is a safe full of cash.
First, Joon Sung’s team hacks into the security system to turn off all cameras. Then they don their masks and make their way to the safe. Yi On begins her own search for her mentor while the police force’s snipers get into position. Right behind Yi On is Heuk Chul…
Eventually, the robbers realize that Officer Park hasn’t met up with them. That’s because he’s busy leading the police force right to where Joon Sung and the others are. He guides them to the rendezvous point, where Joon Sung starts to realize that they’ve just walked into a trap. They try to retreat, but Yi On appears right behind them, gun pointed at Joon Sung.
She pleads with him to turn himself in, so that he can at least get out alive. After all, the entire location is surrounded with police officers. Joon Sung slowly inches towards her, his arms outstretched as if he were about to put his gun down. However, one of his colleagues rushes up to him and gets shot by a sniper. Chaos ensues as the robbers fire back at the police. A bullet very nearly hits Yi On, but Heuk Chul pulls her behind a pillar to safety.
The robbers try to escape, but one of them – the cafe manager – has been shot dead. Yoon Soo managed to get out, but was shot in the leg. Heuk Chul sees the police approach him, and Yoon Soo surrenders, begging them not to shoot. They shoot.
As for Officer Park, he victoriously puts his hands up to the police waiting in the parking lot, thinking that he’s safe. Nope – they point their lasers at him and shoot him dead. Mayor Kim wants no remnant of this rogue activity to survive.
All that’s left is Joon Sung. He’s managed to run away, but Yi On is on his tail. When he realizes that it’s just her, he reveals himself from his hiding place and approaches her. She keeps her gun trained at his chest, asking him to unmask himself. However, Joon Sung raises his gun, and out of instinct she shoots.
Oh the pain and sorrow that fills her face as she realizes she just killed her mentor, her partner, her friend. He proudly looks at her, noting how much she’s grown as a cop, and then dies.
The police report in to headquarters – the mission is complete.
The next day, Mayor Kim announces the implementation of the new reform bill and HSS with the police chief’s full “support.” Heuk Chul watches the news disinterestedly, knowing that there’s not much he can do about it. As for Yi On, she receives Joon Sung’s cellphone, which was found next to his body. There’s a video message for her.
Joon Sung: If you’re listening to this message, it means that you’re safe as I’d expected. I never regretted what I was doing, not even once. I thought I was doing it for the good of the police. But… as soon as I saw your face at the hospital, I wished I hadn’t done it at all. There were moments when you had me cornered while we were investigating together, but I was really proud of you for becoming a better detective than I. I’m a failure. Don’t ever try to understand me. I’m sorry Yi On.
A flashback reveals that he had emptied his bullet chamber before revealing himself to Yi On. He was never going to shoot her, but he pretended he was so that she’d be the one to kill him instead.
This episode managed to show how the present Mayor Kim makes decisions that affects everyone’s past memories and future actions. Because of his police reform bill, he manages to ruin a good memory between Yi On and Joon Sung, and spoil it so that it has a bittersweet after taste. I’m glad we got to see a little bit of how Yi On became the detective she is today in the context of issues occurring in the present. However, I was a bit more disappointed because I was hoping for more Heuk Chul action. I guess this week our vigilante was taking a little break.
It was quite sweet to see Heuk Chul’s childhood, and we now know who those bullies were that prompted Mayor Kim to advise him to fight back (mentioned in episode 2). Heuk Chul is still very much the little boy in the past. Rushes headlong into things without a plan? Check. Still quite the shy but persistent boy? Check. Sentimental and sensitive? Check, check. But his childhood friend being Jang Chae Ok?! That’s the weirdest pairing ever, especially since I’ve filed Chae Ok away on the “Baddies” column. Now all of a sudden she’s a victim of a robbery, subject to racial discrimination, and a friend Heuk Chul could have married? I guess she is supposed to be morally ambiguous, but I preferred her as someone I could hate. She’s so much more fun evil.
Back to Heuk Chul… While I don’t want him to change very much because he’s quite charming, I do hope he becomes a stronger person who will rush to save the day. He knew the motive behind the robbers’ actions, and he knew his father was somewhat at fault for it. However, he did nothing to help save Joon Sung or stop his father. For that, I am very disappointed. It felt like he was more a spectator than a doer, and that’s not how I like my heroes.
But I am sure he has to make a mistake – or several, for that matter – so that he can find the inner strength to fight. His father is the big fish, and he really can’t just rush headlong into a fight without a plan anymore.