I like the title for this episode – “China Gate” – because of its double entendre. But what’s best about this episode is that we learn histories of important characters in a fruitful way. It’s not like in episode 3, where we met someone from Yi On’s past. Now, we learn about Yi On, Hyuk Kyu, and Mayor Kim from before they became who they are now. Also – we finally have Heuk Chul at his best. At his real best.
SONG OF THE DAY
“Loser Hero” by Garion from Hero OST [download]
Two black cars meet at a parking lot rendezvous point, and you just know something illegal is going to go down. A couple of men start transferring boxes from their car to the other, and it’s got to be money or drugs. Overlooking the entire proceeding is masked Heuk Chul. He speaks into his ear piece: “Let’s begin.”
The lights shut off, and Heuk Chul jumps down on the men. Bam bam POW – and a guy is kicked down. Criminal 1: “Where’d he go!?” and Heuk Chul is standing right behind them “looking” as well. Then he punches them into submission.
He takes down each and every single one, and finally the parking lot is littered with unconscious bodies. But then one criminal brings a dog to the scene, and Heuk Chul freaks out. Dogs?! I can’t fight dogs! He baits the dog to run at him, and then locks him into an open trunk. Whew – close call!
And then Heuk Chul takes the car with the money and drives off.
Back at home, he calls up the Children’s Medical Center Against Cancer and flirts a bit with the receptionist before donating 1 billion dollars… in the name of Senator Shin.
Some background: Senator Shin has an underling in the name of Lee Young Seok, who is the CEO of AK Group. He bankrupted one company, which then affected 13 other suppliers. Three of those companies’ heads even committed suicide. Then another CEO Ji Il Geun manipulated the stock prices by spreading a rumor that Shin got some government contracts. A lot of people invested, then Ji sold his properties and created a slush fund. Everyone else lost their money. In that way, these two CEOs managed to make a slush fund of 120 billion for Shin.
But Shin isn’t too happy to discover that he’s been robbed – twice – and yells at his secretary for dropping the ball. The secretary puts a bright spin to things – at least the senator’s public image has improved since he reportedly made a donation of 1 billion to the Children’s Hospital. Ha – like the senator wanted to give that money away?
The great thing is Heuk Chul and Dong Min have planted a bug in Senator Shin’s office, so they can hear his plans and listen to him freaking out. But then – they have a surprise visitor – Yi On!
She comes in to ask questions about the suspect who robbed their car, since the secretary was present at the scene of the crime. The secretary shifts uneasily, but Shin prods him to tell “the truth” with a slight tilt of his head. The secretary admits that the car was stolen from him, and that the robber punched him in the face. But because it happened so fast, he was unable to remember anything about the suspect. Yi On hands her card over, asking that they contact her if they remember anything else. But she then adds, “Why didn’t you report it missing?”
Secretary: “Oh… the car… I found it later so… it’s ok!” Pffft – what a pathetic lie. Yi On: “So you found the car, but not the box inside it?”
OOOOH! The secretary lies that those were food supplies for the orphanage, and the senator quickly jumps in to say that he’ll prepare another set of food supply. After all, he is a big contributor to society, heh.
After Yi On leaves, Senator Shin receives a call from Senator Gu, who’s absolutely furious to hear that Shin got robbed again. He no longer trusts Shin, and backs out of all of their dealings. Shin is pissed off, since he bribed Gu quite a bit to get him on his side. He discusses this with his secretary – if the secretary can get his hands on that “thing,” they’ll be able to get Gu back on their side. The only caveat is that the “thing” costs 10 billion Won. Whooooo – who’s got cash to spare?!
Just as Heuk Chul and Dong Min overhear this part of the conversation in their car, the computer crashes. Dong Min gets annoyed over how he has such crappy technology. “I guess this is the end of our partnership,” Dong Min says, pouting. “We are fighting against the darkest forces of the world. Shouldn’t we need super, ultra premium digital system?”
Heuk Chul: “What’d you say?”
Haha – guess Heuk Chul’s not willing to spend that much!
He drives them over to an abandoned warehouse while Dong Min spends the entire trip trying to convince him why he needs more high-tech gadgets. Heuk Chul opens the warehouse lights and BAM – we’re introduced to his bat cave! Dong Min lets out a GASP – right before his very eyes is a super, ultra premium digital system. Aww – Heuk Chul is a good friend. Dong Min immediately sits down and starts playing with his new toys.
Yi On returns to the station where Myung Chul is angrily waiting for her. He wanted her to go after the suspect, not Senator Shin. But Yi On argues that it’s odd Shin has been the victim of two robberies in one week, while three other senators have also been robbed but only once. She thinks there is a connection between the senators and the robberies. Myung Chul dismisses the crimes as an act of political unrest and terrorism, claiming to be more objective about the whole matter than Yi On is. (Really Myung Chul? Are you THAT much of a criminal genius?)
Back at home, baby sister Na Ra is bugging Heuk Chul to go to her movie premiere. He finds it unnecessary – she only appears in the movie for 17 seconds! – but Na Ra begs him. Myung Chul and Mayor Kim are not attending, and so she has no one in the family to support her. Heuk Chul falls for it – the whole “family” excuse works too well on him! Na Ra wins this round, and she reminds him to dress nicely so she can introduce him to her boyfriend. Heuk Chul: “Boyfriend? Nooooo~ I’m tired…!”
Mayor Kim receives a visitor in the form of Reporter Hong, a journalist who followed his career closely and wrote favorably on him. Hong simply wanted to know Mayor Kim’s thoughts on the autonomous medical bill that would be voted on by the congress. The new bill would mean that all health care matters would be in the private sector, making it more expensive for the poorer people to receive medical attention. Ten years ago, a similar bill was proposed and Mayor Kim – a prosecutor then – had opposed it vehemently. What’s with the change in attitude towards the bill now?
Mayor Kim chuckles – he wasn’t opposed to the bill ten years ago – he was simply opposed to the tactics and bribery that occurred behind the passing of the bill. Because they caught the corrupt politicians then, they were able to stop the passing of the bill. Mayor Kim is neither supportive or against the bill; it’s passing is solely up to the congress.
As Hong leaves the Mayor’s office with the official response, he recognizes Hyuk Kyu at the elevators. He finds it very interesting that Hyuk Kyu had resigned from the police force due to his operation regarding Mayor Kim, but now works for Mayor Kim. Hyuk Kyu doesn’t say much, but Hong guesses, “People change, right?” And he gets into the elevator first.
That brings Hyuk Kyu back in his memories, when he was an undercover detective. He followed Mayor Kim – then Prosecutor Kim – to a private bar where Kim was accusing a congressman for taking bribes. Back then, Kim was the sole, righteous lawyer who would do anything for justice. That also meant he had a lot of enemies, and when he senses that Hyuk Kyu is following him, he loses his tail and then holds a gun up at Hyuk Kyu’s head. Hyuk Kyu gains Kim’s trust by showing his badge and pointing out if Kim really wanted to kill him, he needed to remove the safety lock from the gun first.
Hyuk Kyu’s assignment was to conduct an internal investigation on Kim. After spending some time undercover, he’s learned one thing about Prosecutor Kim: “You are the prosecutor most feared by criminals, and most hated by the Prime Minister.”
Man – what happened to the righteous Kim Hoon?!
At the movie theater, Heuk Chul is annoyed that Na Ra’s boyfriend is late. He doesn’t care if her boyfriend is a big movie star – if the boyfriend doesn’t show up after he’s done with the bathroom, he’ll beat the fellow up.
Well guess what? Turns out mega-star boyfriend is actually in the bathroom! Talking on the phone with someone else about how annoying his “girlfriend” is because she’s totally smitten by him and he couldn’t care a bit about her. All he cares is that she’s the mayor’s daughter. Oooh – Heuk Chul is mad pissed. He calls up his sister in the bathroom and asks for her boyfriend’s name. It’s Park Yoon.
Kicking on the door, he goes “Hey Park Yoon!” Park Yoon opens the door and says, “Ugh, let’s take it outside ok?” but then he freezes. He recognizes Heuk Chul as the mayor’s son, and therefore Na Ra’s older brother. Hehehe – WOOPS. Park Yoon tries to be respectful and calling him “Hyung,” but Heuk Chul replies, “You know what the line goes in a movie in situations like this? ‘I never had a dongsaeng like you!'”
And with that he starts beating the shit out of Park Yoon. Hahahaha! A crowd gathers and start taking pictures. Na Ra tries to stop her brother from beating him up, but he tosses her out the bathroom. Of course, this gets all over the papers and both are hauled to the station.
Yi On is charged with writing up a report on Heuk Chul, and she sighs heavily – “You’re only 29 and fist fighting?” When Na Ra sees him in the station, she orders Yi On to put Heuk Chul away for life. Ummm – that’s a bit difficult… But it’s cute to see Na Ra turn against her own brother. Yi On wants to know why Heuk Chul attacked Park Yoon, but he’s not about to admit that in front of his baby sister.
While waiting for Hyuk Kyu to pick them up, Heuk Chul steals a private moment to settle with Park Yoon. He’s giving the actor 3 days to break up with Na Ra. After that, he needs to go abroad, get sick with a disease, or just disappear. If he doesn’t do it within those 3 days, who knows what Heuk Chul could do. Park Yoon is such a coward – so he quickly accepts the money to settle.
Young Joon – late to the party – finds it interesting why Heuk Chul is involved in this case, and he reasons that Heuk Chul must have been defending his sister, and that’s why he got into a fight. After all, that’s what Heuk Chul does – protect those he loves. That brings Yi On back to memories of her own brother….
Back when she was a traffic cop, her soldier brother surprised her at a checkpoint. He tells her to meet him at a particular address after she gets off work. When they arrive at the place, he reveals a totally cool attic room that’s all her own. It’s freaking cool… and he bought it for her because he’ll be going overseas soon. (I want a brother like that!!!) Yi On is worried about where her brother, Yoon Oh Tu, is going to be placed, but he assures her it’s a safe place. He reminds her to go visit their father every so often while he’s gone.
At home, Mayor Kim asks Hyuk Kyu about Heuk Chul’s incident. Hyuk Kyu defends Heuk Chul’s actions, saying Park Yoon deserved it, but Mayor Kim dislikes his secretary protecting Heuk Chul so much. He wants his youngest to just grow up. Hyuk Kyu: “He reminds me of a younger version of you. He’s still looking… for an answer.”
Myung Chul broods in office over what Yi On said about the connected robberies (because she is SO right!) It prompts him to barge into Shin’s office and start searching for the bug. Though he makes the conversation light, he probes through the cabinets and shelves for the listening device. Finally, Myung Chul finds it under the desk. He shows it to Shin, but he doesn’t turn it off.
In a private room at a restaurant, Myung Chul berates Shin for having been so careless – Shin could have easily ruined everything! Oooh – so Myung Chul is in on this bribery issue for the medical bill to get passed. From now on, Myung Chul will call the shots.
Later that evening, Heuk Chul visits Dong Min at the “bat cave.” Dong Min only says that Myung Chul stopped by at Shin’s office, though he thought nothing of it. Then, they hear Shin making a call to Senator Gu. He wants to give Gu something to make up for the loss of money the other day. Heuk Chul immediately connects it to that “thing” that costs 10 billion. The meeting is set to be at Han River (where all dealings take place), and Heuk Chul and Dong Min cheer at the prospect of nabbing the baddies.
Masked Heuk Chul waits by a bridge overlooking the Han River-side. Dong Min can only identify one person driving in the car, which is a tad suspicious. He warns Heuk Chul to be careful, but our hero is a little too blase about the whole thing – he calls Dong Min a bit too naggy.
Heuk Chul jumps down to where the cars are parked and knocks out the guard, dropping his earpiece in the process. He sees the secretary cowardly hiding behind the car, and orders him to open the trunk. The secretary cautiously opens it, and inside… is nothing.
And then a gun meets Heuk Chul’s neck, and Myung Chul comes out to greet him. This is going to be bad…it can only end badly… Good thing Myung Chul doesn’t recognize Heuk Chul at all, but he wants to unmask the vigilante he’s just caught. Dong Min overhears all this through the earpiece and freaks out.
Just as Myung Chul reaches for the mask, Heuk Chul grabs one of the men and aims the gun at all of them. He kicks and jumps his way out and races for the railings, jumping into the dark water below. Myung Chul’s men shoot at him like crazy, and one bullet pierces Heuk Chul through the heart area. Myung Chul orders his men to stop shooting – he wants the vigilante alive.
Dong Min races over in his car, crying and hoping that Heuk Chul is still alive. He can’t see anything in the dark waters, and so he falls in despair, afraid that his best friend is gone. Suddenly, someone climbs up ashore – it’s Heuk Chul! Dong Min pulls him out and notices the gunshot wound. He wants to take Heuk Chul to the hospital, but Heuk Chul wants to just go to the bat cave. He doesn’t need a doctor.
Writhing in pain and getting black veins crawling all over your face – yep, definitely don’t need a doctor!
When Dong Min wakes up the next morning, he sees Heuk Chul studying his wound by the mirror. There’s already a patch of red-brownish burn mark by his heart, after having been shot there several times. Dong Min is shocked that Heuk Chul is fine, as he’s never heard of any technology ever being able to save a man’s life like that. Heuk Chul also doesn’t elaborate on why he’s able to regenerate, so Dong Min slaps him hard on the head: “I was worried!”
Heuk Chul: “I’m sorry!?” Of all the injuries he’s sustained, the slap on the head hurts the most.
Heuk Chul wants to still have his revenge on Shin, even though the atmosphere is more dangerous. He follows Shin to Gu’s office, where Gu is relishing over his new 10 billion “thing” – an authentic celadon vase. Gu is an antiques aficionado with a gallery of ceramics, and because Shin just got him the best piece to his collection, he’s willing to do anything to help pass the medical bill.
Gu later holds an exhibit with all of his pieces of art and ceramics, and so Heuk Chul attends with some flowers “in lieu of his father.” He then goes up to each of the paintings and vases, touching them haphazardly. Gu is close behind, freaking out that the reckless second son of the mayor will break something. Heuk Chul finds the 10 billion celadon vase and picks it up, swinging it around. Gosh Gu is going to have a heart attack!
Heuk Chul doesn’t think it’s worth much, and he casually puts it back on the pedestal. Except… he puts it on the edge and walks off, and the vase drops into a hundred pieces.
Heuk Chul picks up a piece and says, “This is really cheap.” He drops it and casually walks off. Poor Gu, he’s about to break down and cry. He picks up the piece Heuk Chul dropped; there’s a price tag still on it…for 30,000 Won.
IT REALLY IS CHEAP! Gu is absolutely infuriated.
The next day, the vote on the highly-contested medical bill is passed… and it is vetoed overwhelmingly 24 votes to 2. Shin is absolutely stunned, and he immediately calls up Gu to ask what happened. Gu yells at him in turn – that celadon vase was not worth 10 billion, it was fake! Uh oh – Shin is now ruined, and set back an additional 10 billion.
Dong Min is curious over what Heuk Chul did to make sure the bill was vetoed, and Heuk Chul admits to breaking a 10 billion dollar vase. He then dropped a fake chip with the price tag among the pieces to breed distrust between the senators. Heuk Chul: “It was harder to do that than getting hit by a bullet!”
Meanwhile, Yi On goes to visit her father’s grave with flowers and her father’s favorite caramels. She sees some white flowers as well, with a few pieces of caramel, before her father’s ashes. It’s her brother – it has to be! She rushes out to see if he’s still around, but there’s no one at the cemetery. It does mean, though, that her brother is still alive somewhere.
And alive he is – Oh Tu watches her from afar, slightly teary-eyed at the sight of his baby sister. And then he’s off to meet some of his former fellow soldiers – it’s time for them to begin their attack.
That evening, Myung Chul apologizes to Mayor Kim for the medical bill not passing, taking full responsibility for the failure. Mayor Kim is incensed; he is now going to have to explain himself to a lot of people… Heuk Chul enters the sitting room they’re at and notes the heavy atmosphere. Mayor Kim is dismissive of Heuk Chul… but Myung Chul gives Heuk Chul and evil glare.
Does he know!?!?
Oooh, the cat-and-mouse game is seriously ramping up between the brothers. Choi Chul Ho is great with his evil stares – it seriously gives me the shivers. It’s already gotten to the point where Myung Chul is very close to nabbing his own brother, but I hope there are more confrontations and close calls before he really catches Heuk Chul. Episode 5 would have been too soon for my liking. As for Heuk Chul, I’m sure he’s not too surprised to see his brother knee-deep in criminal activities, but I’m sure he’s also become wary in wondering how far Myung Chul will go – or has gone already.
We finally flesh out more of the characters, though it gives me more questions than it does answers. I’m really curious as to what Hyuk Kyu’s past is. He seems to have been sympathetic towards Mayor Kim in the past, even though the reporter suggests otherwise. And now, he seems to be more on Heuk Chul’s side than on the mayor’s – why is that? What has changed? As for Na Ra, though she’s a shallow character, she helps bring out more of the humane side to Heuk Chul. Though it may be irrelevant, I sometimes wonder how these three siblings are all related to one another, and how they must have grown up. The siblings are all ambitious to an extent, but it has only corrupted Myung Chul in the worst way possible. Why does Na Ra appear at this point in the story? Will she serve some purpose towards the end? (Because honestly, her storyline here could have been completely left out.)
Mayor Kim has been given an interesting arc as well, since he is portrayed as a righteous person in the past until power got the better of him. His pursuit of justice may have been why his wife married him in the first place, but the question is what happened to her after that? How did she die? And as for Yi On, knowing about her brother just makes me want to cheer for him to win his battle with Jae In. I think he’ll lose in the end, but I want to know what he’s fighting for, and what he thinks he can achieve. Yi On and Oh Tu have such a wonderful sibling bond that it really contrasts against Heuk Chul and his siblings. Even if Heuk Chul fiercely loves and protects his baby sister, he has a really odd way of showing it; I’d much prefer the way Yi On and Oh Tu show their love and loyalty to each other any day.
Good job Heuk Chul – one more case successfully handled!