If I’m gonna get all the funny episodes, I am definitely not gonna complain. This is the kind of mystery I enjoy, where it lets you in on the guessing and makes it fun to play along. It’s not something this show’s more convoluted mysteries allow, because in twisting and retwisting their plots to keep you from catching on to the culprit’s identity, they shut you out rather than keep you along for the ride.
Plus, bromance and family bonding and a gussied-up Jung-in, who ultimately accomplishes more with that brain of hers than her made-over new hotness? All good things.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Hyun – “촌스러워서” (Uncool / Unfashionable) [ Download ]
EPISODE 6: “Models”
Tae-yeon reads over his serial killer wall of newspaper clippings, thinking about his conversation with Red Eyes in the previous episode. I do love that each vamp has his preferred drinking vessel; our chic hero sips his blood from a wineglass, whereas Red Eyes chugged his from soda bottles like the eternal bro-dude he is.
He ponders the big question, asked by Red Eyes: “Are the only [vampires] who aren’t prosecutors me and that one?” Who did he mean?
Welling up in anger, Tae-yeon flings his glass at his wall. Blood spatters on newspaper.
At work the next day, he’s on the phone requesting more information on blood-draining murders dating 20 years back, adding that older cases are relevant as well. He’s moodier than usual, which has his team engaging in a round of, “You go talk to him, no you.” Dong-man urges Soon-bum to do it, and Soon-bum has this hilariously apprehensive look on his face, all, “Gulp… me?”
Soon-bum treads lightly, asking how Tae-yeon’s feeling and easing in to the question of what happened at the previous crime scene. Why was he covered in blood? Did he run into his old boss Prosecutor Jang?
Tae-yeon looks at him with these pained eyes, holding the look for a moment before he laughs it off as nothing special. Soon-bum isn’t fooled, and asks, “Is it that you don’t want to say, or that you can’t?” He says he won’t press for him to answer; he’ll wait. Aw, this is why you’re a good bro.
Soon-bum adds the request that Tae-yeon tell him when he can handle hearing it, no matter how late that moment comes: “If you tell me with such difficulty and I can do nothing for you, that would be too heartbreaking.” You’re tellin’ me.
Time for a new case. The team heads over to the scene, the mansion of famous fashion designer named Gabriel Jang. (Whom Dong-man describes as that bald dude making sparkly clothes. Is this an Andre Kim reference?) It’s also the site of a competition pitting rookie models against each other, offering the winner a prize purse and the finale spot in the anniversary fashion show. They’re halfway through the process, with five models of the original ten remaining. One model is dead.
She’s Han Mina, the woman lying dead on the grass after falling to her death. Tae-yeon pictures her body falling over the balcony railing. Dr. Jo says that it may be difficult to prove murder, although it’s certainly a possibility, because if there aren’t clear signs of foul play the body doesn’t always get an autopsy.
But our doc is on the ball, and he offers Tae-yeon a vial of blood. A taste shows a hand clutching something—it looks like Mina died holding a small, rectangular object, though it wasn’t in her hand by the time they showed up.
Soon-bum argues that it’s a clear instance foul play. First off, Han Mina had a cell phone among her possessions, when those were strictly forbidden among contestants. She must’ve really wanted to call somebody, and he pulls up her phone records to find a call a half-hour before time of death.
So Soon-bum called the guy, her boyfriend, and the first thing he said was, “I think my girlfriend was murdered.” Apparently just before she died, Mina had told him if she just went “outside” and took care of “this thing,” they wouldn’t have to worry about money again. She’d suggested taking care of it, then running away, “because if that person finds out it’s dangerous.”
The team echoes: “Thing?” “That person?” “Dangerous?” It’s like a grab bag of the vaguest suspicious words ever. On the other hand, it’s looking likely that Soon-bum’s murder hunch is on the money, and Tae-yeon casts a look at his team. Hilarilously, the boys avert their eyes and studiously avoid eye contact, leaving Jung-in to be It.
Cut to: Jung-in exclaiming, “ME? As a model? No way!”
Tae-yeon points out that without more evidence, this case is likely to be closed as suicide or an accident. The designer’s not inclined to consent to an open investigation, since the publicity means bye-bye fashion show. So Tae-yeon came upon the compromise: He’ll insert someone to pose as an insider, so the investigation can proceed quietly.
Jung-in starts to yell, “WHY ME?” and then pictures Soon-bum and Dong-man, which stops her complaint. Ha, good luck dressing them up as aspiring models.
Tae-yeon shoots down each of her protests with cool logic, but he’s wearing that cheeky smirk that tells us he’s totally enjoying this. Haha.
She grumbles that fine, she’ll do it. Where to start? He gives her the up-and-down, and smiles: “First, gotta dress the part.”
I love that the Gabriel–Jung-in meeting starts off with cringing from both ends. Jung-in’s all, “What’s that sparkly thing?” Gabriel tut-tuts at the sad state of her appearance. Jung-in grits out in the worst imitation of sincerity ever, “It’s an honor to meet you.”
The scenario quickly devolves, though, as Gabriel launches into a stream of hilarious insults, like how there’s enough oil on her face to make Korea rich. He asks her questions, then snaps at her to shut up before she can reply. She gripes back, “You bowling-ball-looking thing!” Hee.
He demands, “Do you want to become human? Do you want to evolve?”
Cue Miss Congeniality makeover sequence. “Ah! My hair!” “This isn’t hair, this is fur!” Jung-in is subjected to waxing in the interrogation room, which is just a cheeky juxtaposition; she complains that she’s not a criminal and Gabriel retorts that she’s as good as one (with her offenses to fashion and all).
Dong-man wonders how she’ll have transformed while Soon-bum scoffs, using the adage about drawing lines on a pumpkin not making it a watermelon. She’d just be a pumpkin with lines drawn on it. Which means he’ll be the one eating his words the most, naturally.
He turns to Tae-yeon to back him up, but Tae-yeon says, “Hyung, you have it wrong. Jung-in wasn’t a pumpkin from the start. She was a watermelon whose lines were hidden.” (Squee.)
Enter the watermelon, glowing and sexy. Soon-bum’s jaw drops. Dong-man gapes, then makes the universal gesture for “Pay up.” Ha, did they put money on this? That just makes it funnier.
Tae-yeon just remains seated, as cool as ever, laughing at his hyung’s surprise.
On to the suspects. Soon-bum outlines the people of interest, namely the four other models and a gofer-type man who cleans up after shoots and was there the day of Mina’s death. Mina was one of the finalists, and Gabriel apparently favored her.
He identifies one of the models (Young-nam) as the most likely to be the killer; she’s also ambitious and a strong contender. Another (Yoo-kyung) is a girl who aces rehearsal and chokes in shoots. A third (Myung-hee) “isn’t that great as a model, but she’s got boobs—” and at that Soon-bum remembers the lady in the room and amends, “—er, an angelic heart, so she’s popular with the staff.” Heh. The last model (Sora) was Mina’s best friend.
The team drives Jung-in over to the mansion, and Soon-bum talks to her in this flustered way now that she’s hot. Boys. Of course, the one she wants to notice her is sitting in silence, per usual.
So when the boys send her off, Jung-in affects this coy, girly voice that has them all scratching their heads, wondering what’s gotten into her. It makes me laugh and cringe in equal measure; she’s trying out her “wiles” as she says she should’ve dressed up at the office more, since she purposely slobbed it up lest she disrupt work. Ha. She saunters off with a flip of the hair and a swing in her hips (tripping in her heels), while Soon-bum wonders, “Did all that blow-drying burn up her brain?”
The other models are about as friendly as a pack of hyenas at mealtime, and snottily turn up their noses at her; they call her a “parachute” contender (one who gets in on connections, not skill) and figure she’s no real competition. One of the girls (Myung-hee, the busty one) is friendly, but since she’s the country bumpkin she gets scorned by the other girls too.
Jung-in’s cover identity is Jung-ran, which gets shortened to Ran. Gabriel takes her aside to show her the premises, still talking down to her in his snooty way. Jung-in cuts him down to size efficiently, though, by noting the gun he’s got hanging up on the wall—is it registered? He stammers that it came with the house, and she pointedly says she’ll have to come back with a warrant, reducing him to nervous stutters.
The five models each have a test shoot, after which another elimination will occur. Jung-in is predictably awful, which has the other girls snickering that they’re safe today and Gabriel tearing out his figurative hair, wailing, “Move! Turn! Are you a woman?!”
As they wait afterward to head to the studio for the elimination, Jung-in notes the man who was on the suspect list, Kyo-min. She’s incensed at the idea that she might actually get cut today before investigating anything, but Gabriel just snipes at her to try harder, then.
Friendly Myung-hee sees that Jung-in isn’t ready for the elimination and hands her a dress—it was one Gabriel prepared for Mina. She’s told to hurry, and gets to work stuffing herself into the slinky sequined dress while the others wait.
Dr. Jo gets the word that Mina’s parents agreed to an autopsy after all. He sends Ji-hye home after checking her homework, and remains behind to prep the procedure. She walks down the hall, not really noticing two suspicious men passing by—men who barge into the examination room and clock Dr. Jo in the face.
At the same time, a group of similarly dressed men storm into the mansion and knock down Gabriel and the models violently. They’re led by caretaker-gofer (and suspect) Kyo-min, and Jung-in just barely escapes being caught up in the surprise attack because she’s still in the bathroom changing. Kyo-min grabs a rifle and demands, “Which of you killed Mina?!”
Little Ji-hye remembers leaving something behind and turns back. No, run away, little girl! As she runs to the exam room, the leader brandishes his gun at Dr. Jo and orders him to slit open Mina’s stomach to take “it” out.
OHHH. Is this a drug smuggling thing? Now her cryptic last words about “once I take it outside” and “solving money problems” make sense.
Unfortunately, Ji-hye walks into the room at this moment looking for Ajusshi, and sees him sprawled on the ground with a bloody forehead. She screams, and the accomplice claps a hand over her mouth.
At the house, the guys root through everything and report that they’ve foung nothing. Leader Kyo-min swears and hits a model. Tension mounts.
Jung-in reaches for her thigh holster, not for a weapon but her cell phone, which I suppose is more useful than a gun at this point. Except… Soon-bum doesn’t hear his phone since he and Dong-man are relaxing by the riverside with fishing poles, saying that it’s okay to take a break since it’s only Day 1.
Soon-bum seems to hear something strange, though, and heads back to the car… which is when his line gets a bite. They go tearing back to the water to reel in the catch.
Shaking in panic, Jung-in calls Tae-yeon next… just as the door quietly opens behind her. Kyo-min takes the phone calmly and identifies her correctly: “Prosecutor Yoo Jung-in?”
In the exam room, Ji-hye sobs over Dr. Jo’s bleeding head, and he tries to comfort her. But the gunman rips her out of his arms and threatens her life if Doc doesn’t cut open the body. He asks what they hope to find by opening her up.
“Diamonds?” Jung-in wonders. She’s talking with Kyo-min, who tells her of the heist plans that involved his friends, but how the instigator ripped them all off by swapping their take with fakes. They tracked him down and he spilled the info on where to find it: this mansion. The guy was arrested and his house put up for auction, soon after bought by Gabriel. Somewhere in this house is a diamond haul worth 5 billion won.
Soon-bum cooks on his portable stove, and even pours himself some soju. Dong-man protests the liquor, but it’s a feeble move since it just takes one invitation to get him eagerly joining Soon-bum. And here I’m thinking they’re both in for a monster of a reaming if/when Tae-yeon finds out. Drinking on the job’s bad enough, but falling through for a teammate in need? I cringe for you boys.
Jung-in figures out the rest of the story: Kyo-min hired Mina to enter the model competition and find the diamonds. But there was a complication….
We flashback to the night when Gabriel had given the contestants a “friendship award” where you write down the name of another contestant and the winners get immunity from elimination. During the voting, Kyo-min had taken Mina aside to ask whether she found the diamonds. She’d said yes—but she gave them to a friend for safekeeping. After all, what if she handed them over and he skipped out without paying her? This is her security measure.
He’d asked which friend it was, and she held up her voting paper—and swallowed it. She offered to tell him in exchange for half the take. An hour later she was dead—betrayed again, this time by her “friend.”
Now Kyo-min gives Jung-in two hours to find which model killed Mina and stole the diamonds. Otherwise she’s dead.
Dr. Jo takes up the scalpel and prepares to begin. Just then, the door rattles: It’s Tae-yeon, puzzled to find the door locked. Everyone tenses, and Ji-hye manages to yell, “Save us!” before she’s muffled.
The gunmen instruct Dr. Jo to continue in silence, while Tae-yeon listens intently for clues. His vampy senses hone in on Doc’s blood: bingo.
Moments later Dr. Jo’s phone starts ringing. The gunmen panic and tell him not to answer, but Doc says it’s the prosecutor in charge, who’s scheduled to arrive here soon—can’t exactly ignore it.
With the warning to watch what he says, Dr. Jo answers and tells Tae-yeon he and Ji-hye stepped out for a walk, requesting him to come back in a couple hours.
But Tae-yeon tells Dr. Jo to repeat his words to the intruders: Let the child go. I’ll go in instead. You have five minutes.
Meanwhile, the two fools at the waterside finish their meal and sit in a contented stupor. Soon-bum slurs about the meaning of life, slinging an arm around Dong-man’s shoulder. Dong-man takes advantage of the moment to propose, “How about… we be hyung-dongsaeng?” Aw, he’s so cute. He just wants to be your little brother!
Soon-bum’s in a good mood and consents, and this has the two of them giggling in glee.
The kidnappers warily consent to the terms and open the door for Tae-yeon. He kneels down in front of the girl to assure her it’ll all be okay, and sends her out. She doesn’t want to go (“I want to stay with Ajusshi. He’s very hurt.”) but Tae-yeon says Ajusshi will be fine, and that she can wait for him at home.
With the child out of the way, Tae-yeon’s sporting a pretty fierce look as he advances, asking for an explanation. Ooh, I can’t wait for him to go to town on these amateurs.
Jung-in conducts her own investigation at the house. While under gunpoint by the perps, she interrogates each person in turn and extracts the story. Roommate Myung-hee didn’t fight with Mina, but the other two bitchy girls did; they both confronted her the night she died.
The girls were pissed at Mina’s attitude and jealous of her favoritism with Gabriel, who even made her a dress out of her design and materials (ding ding ding!). He admits he knew it would make the other girls upset, but he was too won over by Mina’s appeals, saying she wanted to be a fashion designer just like him. What motivation and drive! “What a waste,” he sighs.
I would’ve thought mention of the materials would tip people off, but they don’t seem to suspect the dress. Jung-in collects everyone together and goes over what she knows. Each person has someone else vouching for her whereabouts… minus the speech-impaired girl Sora.
Immediately Kyo-min grabs Sora and threatens her. To prevent more violence, Jung-in jumps in to say she still has an hour left to get to the bottom of the case. She’ll figure it out.
Tae-yeon sorts through the story, and tells Dr. Jo the best thing is to just cut Mina open. They’d have to cut her up for the autopsy anyway, and this is the safest approach. But Dr. Jo digs in his heels, refusing. It’s his professional ethics and his personal stubbornness that will not bow down to criminals, and tension arises as Tae-yeon’s voice grows harder and harder, till he’s yelling at Dr. Jo in banmal to do it: “Yoo Jung-in is inside.”
Sora writes out her explanation for Jung-in, saying that she knew about the diamonds. She’d been Mina’s friend, and Mina had confided in her that she found the diamonds but doesn’t know where to put them. Sora had written her advice: Hide it in plain sight, “because it’s darkest right underneath the lights.”
Mina had thanked her, and Sora had asked why she trusted her with this information. Mina answered with a smile that Sora’s mute and friendless, so there’s no pressure in telling her. She’d said this in a friendly voice, totally missing the cruelty of her words, while Sora stewed.
She’d been hurt, but she insists to Jung-in that she didn’t kill Mina. All she did was root through Mina’s things looking for the jewels. She meant to make off with the diamonds, but instead, she saw the real killer.
Kyo-min orders her to identify the killer. Shaking, she raises her finger… to right between the two mean girls. She says, “Both.” A flashback shows the night of the death, with the two models hovering over the body, taking an item from Mina’s hand, and running away.
Kyo-min grabs their heads and starts yelling at them—so they killed her? Where are the jewels? The girls insist they killed her accidentally, after shoving her while on the balcony. Mina had grabbed one of their nametags when she fell, and that’s what was in her hand.
They both blubber that they know nothing of diamonds. Today was the first they heard of it!
Kyo-min shoves the barrel of the gun to Jung-in’s head and threatens to kill them one by one until they talk. His finger tightens on the trigger…
A knock on the door stops them. It’s the nervous gunman from the exam room, warning that they’ve been made by the police, who may be on their way right now. He stammers that he killed a man—the coroner—saying he didn’t mean to do it.
A flashback shows Dr. Jo taking a bullet through the chest. The guy says his brother got caught (by Tae-yeon?) and it’s all he could do.
A scream sounds from outside. They run to check on it, and in the dark we see a man go down. Tae-yeon’s silhouette takes his gun and disarms it. He moves stealthily along, taking men down easily.
Inside, the gunman breaks down and says sorry to Kyo-min. So he was lying about his story?
Flashback: In the exam room, Dr. Jo isn’t shot after all. Instead, Tae-yeon orders him to cut open the body, adding in a tone of pleading that Jung-in is
With the doc safe again Tae-yeon shares a smile with him, and Dr. Jo recognizes that Tae-yeon was purposely arguing with him as a tactic: To fool the enemy, you’ve got to fool your teammate first. He asks if Tae-yeon’s going to Jung-in now, and Tae-yeon heads off with a wave.
Now, Tae-yeon takes down his last opponent and heads over to Jung-in, who’s sprawled on the ground near tears. (Hilariously, Gabriel takes in this scene like it’s the most romantic thing ever. I mean, yeah there’s some romance there, but he looks like a huge sap. It’s cute.)
Tae-yeon offers her his hand, sees the tears, and tells her that her mascara has run. Ha, I guess making her laugh is one way to keep her from crying.
Ack! But behind them, Kyo-min rouses himself and reaches for his gun. He aims it up… at Jung-in… and Gabriel shouts, “Watch out!”
The gun goes off. Tae-yeon jumps in front of Jung-in. Ahhhhh! He’s not shot, is he?
Jung-in looks up in shock… and sees a shower of diamonds raining down on them.
Oh, ha. Turns out Mina had stuffed the diamond in the gun. I guess it wasn’t the dress. Back in the office, Prosecutor Joo has this tired You have got to be kidding me look on her face as she says, “You lost the diamond.” Ha, well not lost exactly; it’s just been blown into a zillion little ones.
Prosecutor Joo actually sighs that the milk’s already been spilled, which is more lenient than I was expecting, and just tells him to take care of the aftermath. But where are the rest of the diamonds? Nothing turned up at the house.
Tae-yeon’s surprised: There were more? She says the one in the gun only amounts to about 1 billion won’s worth, so there’s 4 billion unaccounted for.
Jung-in arrives at home and gets a call from Dr. Jo, who has retrieved the paper from Mina’s stomach. Sure enough, there’s a name written on it. It seems to read Jang Choong-gil. As in… Gabriel?
AH! I was right!
Jung-in thinks back to her interrogations, landing on: the dress. She pulls it out of her bag and takes a close look… and then balls it up, sighing that it’s so full of sparkles it’s worthless even as a rag. She throws it on a chair.
Prosecutor Joo explains that they were black diamonds—rare and expensive.
At the office, Soon-bum cooks up his fresh catch for Jung-in and urges her to eat up, but she’s miffed—this is supposed to make them even for his neglect? Dong-man ladles another bowl and offers it to “Soon-bum-ie hyung,” who balks. Oh no, did the drunkenness wipe his memory? Aw.
Tae-yeon walks by smiling at their antics, and heads into his office. There’s an envelope on his desk, and opens it to find photos. Curiously, each face has a slash through it. The subjects? Soon-bum, Jung-in, Dong-man, and Dr. Jo.
A suspicion flits through his mind: Red Eyes.
Oh, that ending. It’s both creepy and awesome. Yes, our main characters are in peril. (Are they ever not?) But on the other hand, you’re toying with Tae-yeon’s emotions here, and that can only lead to fierceness and intensity. I can’t wait to see him react.
I’ve been feeling a bit disenchanted with this show thus far, but this episode brought me back because it did something that a lot of its episodes forget: It made the murder case about its characters. Not in a deeply thematic way—last week’s episode was actually more of a link in that way—but in the way that the point of this case wasn’t the murderer or the diamonds at all, but how the case worked to shape our characters’ relationships.
Tae-yeon spent the episode slightly apart from his team, emotionally weighted down by recent revelations, but I love how the case brought him back, culminating in the chilling ending scene where he receives the silent threat to his people. Not MY family, you asshole, seems to be his overwhelming emotion, and I can’t tell you how much I love that.
Never has he seemed more like a Papa Bear, and while you dearly wish he could confide everything into his team—if only to have an outlet, but also to enlist their help in sharing his burden—it also fits the father profile. He’s in the position of protector, and not only is it his job to keep his family safe, but also to hide from them the very nature of their danger. You protect not only their bodies but also, in a sense, their innocence.
Tae-yeon has had a bit of a father-son relationship with Dr. Jo wherein he’s the recipient of knowledge and help, the younger one being guided by the wise older man. This episode turned the tables a bit, in a nicely poignant way. It’s not so much that Tae-yeon is the new dad, but echoes the way real relationships evolve, like the way we all reach a day in our adult lives when we realize our parents are just people. While the crime may not have had anything to do with the main characters, it leads to relationship development and character insights. And that’s the stuff that makes this show tick for me.