Drama Recaps
Incarnation of Money: Episode 5
by | February 18, 2013 | 49 Comments

Evil plotting continues among the baddies as Se-kwang is faced with opposition from a man who holds an incredible amount of power and influence. Cha-don joins a new team of prosecutors headed by stern boss who doesn’t allow any room for error. We see the makings of a promising prosecutor with his astute deductions… if only his vanity didn’t get in the way.

Incarnation continues to climb in ratings with a 14.5% this episode, still behind the weekend powerhouses My Daughter Seo-young and Hundred Year Inheritance, but ahead of King’s Dream.

EPISODE 5 RECAP

So Jae-in rams a cake into Cha-don’s face and shoves him the ground, strangling him furiously. That fiasco lands them both in the police station and the officer pays an attentive ear to Jae-in as she recounts her aggressor’s acts, including a forced kiss in a dark alleyway.

Cha-don doesn’t take the accusations lying down and names himself as the victim. That earns him a whack on the head but the officer stops when Cha-don whispers that he’s a prosecutor… only to get another thwack when he claims he’s in famed Special Branch Team 2, aka Se-kwang’s team.

The officer asks Jae-in to sign off on the report but her pen doesn’t work. Hey, haven’t we seen that pen before?

Just outside the station, Mayor Jung’s assistant tends to some fresh-looking wounds on his left arm. We should know of someone else who recently sustained an injury like that, and a flashback shows us that the assistant was President Park’s killer.

But as soon as he dragged the bank president away, Jae-in came skipping along and pocketed the pen, thinking nothing of it. Ah, so this explains why he’s here and why we saw a glimpse of him at the hotel restaurant.

He moves to follow Jae-in, but Se-kwang’s sudden appearance at the station and a call from Mayor Jung force him to abandon the plan.

Se-kwang follows Jae-in as she trudges down the street, beating herself up over her naivety. She whips around (and he hilariously hides behind a pole) and hollers curses about Cha-don: “What kind of name is Cha-don anyway?!”

Her knees buckle beneath her and Jae-in sits in the street, crying. Se-kwang watches from a distance and… is that a sympathetic tear I see?

A little later, Se-kwang listens with amusement at a nearby table as Jae-in drunkenly complains to the pojangmacha ajumma about how she’s tired of all the interested men lined up at her door.

Offering her an untouched plate of food, Se-kwang asks for a few minutes of her time. He informs her that President Park is missing and hands her his business card to come find him.

Mayor Jung sits in his evil lair and smiles as he listens to the news about the unidentified corpse (whom we know is President Park) found by the river. The death appears to be a part of a recent string of serial murders which makes me wonder if the mayor’s assistant has killed more than once.

Mayor Jung just tsks at his right-hand man – he was supposed to persuade the man, not kill him. He does seem intrigued that that a hotshot prosecutor is taking the case.

Said prosecutor, Ji-hoo, walks up to Team 2’s office just in time to see Cha-don and Chief Yang get kicked out. Cha-don pleads for some time to prove himself but Se-kwang cuts him off and vows that he’ll make sure he never comes a prosecutor.

Se-kwang won’t have someone who will sell intelligence in exchange for career advancement. He tells Cha-don to relay to whomever sent him that he won’t let them get away with trying to interfere with the investigation.

Offended by the accusations, Cha-don asks him to rescind those words. It doesn’t matter if he gets a failing grade but he won’t stand to be called a traitor. Se-kwang coldly dismisses him.

The two prosecutor teams sit in a meeting with Chief Prosecutor Jo who is displeased to hear that an autopsy cannot guarantee an ID on their mysterious corpse. Furthermore, Se-kwang’s team is still without a witness. Chief Prosecutor Jo berates them: “Aren’t you all ashamed of getting paychecks from the people’s tax dollars?!” Speak for yourself.

Ji-hoo approaches the chief prosecutor in the hallway and grumbles that her team doesn’t have the manpower to take on another case. After Chief Prosecutor Jo lectures her about time and resources, she lights up at the news that he’s assigned her two new additions. Wait until you find out who they are.

Chief Yang grumbles to Cha-don (who unknowingly read up on Mom’s case) about reading through all the cases already. Cha-don leans back into his chair just as Ji-hoo walks in and Chief Yang nudges at him to rise.

She has an annoyed look on her face and when Cha-don launches into his rapid introduction, she tells him to save it. She orders Cha-don to follow her.

Once she’s out of sight, Cha-don squeals that Chief Yang should have told him earlier that their new boss is a beauty. But Chief Yang brings him back to earth: “Just wait – that beauty will turn into a witch.”

In the car, Cha-don spends more time stealing glances at his new boss’ chest than paying attention to the road. Suddenly Ji-hoo asks if he took his judicial examination, to which Cha-don answers that of course he did… and then Ji-hoo tells him to keep his eyes on the road. HA. (It’s a play on words between “cross-eyed” and an abbreviation of “judicial exam.”)

Cha-don tries to laugh off the awkward moment but Ji-hoo asks if her new trainee read up on the current caseload. When he answers, “Sorta,” she immediately orders him to stop the car.

Ji-hoo marches over to the driver’s side and rips into him – does he consider this job a joke? She can handle an inexperienced newbie but won’t put up with a slacker.

Cha-don insists that he was only being honest since a quick review is all it takes for him to know the case. And when she doesn’t believe him, he spouts off the entire caseload in his rapid-fire delivery.

Then he leans in and whispers that the dark circles under her eyes suggest she’s been too stressed lately. So she can count her blessings that he’s on her team now, because “I’ve got tremendous potential.”

Ji-hoo snaps that they’re her cases, so he’ll follow her rules. Cha-don huffs his agreement, so he’d appreciate it if his new boss didn’t send him away like everyone else.

Turns out that Cha-don has a weak stomach as he gags during the autopsy. A bottle of undigested food from the victim’s stomach sends him running to the bathroom, whereas Ji-hoo prods the contents for clues. Ew.

But Ji-hoo is just as susceptible as anyone else and after she hurls in the bathroom, an overeager Cha-don flutters around her, asking if she has a steel stomach or if that comes with experience as a prosecutor.

She adds his weak stomach to his ever-growing list of incapabilities but he points out that what matters is a prosecutor’s ability to catch the criminal. In fact, he’s worked out some initial assumptions and boasts that his superior will be floored by his astute deductions from such sparse clues.

All Ji-hoo has to do is refer to the partially digested food for him to fly in the other direction to the nearest bathroom.

Ji-hoo assigns her team to examine the surveillance tapes around the crime scene. Cha-don raises his hand as the only one without something to do and grumbles under his breath when she tells him to search for clues linked to the serial killer.

She calls him out on his mutterings and so Cha-don pipes that he believes this case is mutually exclusive from the serial killings. That hits a nerve and she asks if it wasn’t enough that he messed with Se-kwang’s investigation and plans to do the same here.

Cha-don tries to explain that it was just “a small mistake” but Ji-hoo barks, “A single mistake from a prosecutor is unacceptable! If a criminal who got away commits another crime, then that same prosecutor who made the error is an accomplice! Got it?!”

I like that she’s a no-nonsense type leader, but I get the feeling that the lady doth protest too much.

Ji-hoo escapes into another room for a moment alone and recalls a time when she attended a victim’s funeral and the mother blamed her for her daughter’s death. Interesting that Se-kwang also appears in this memory. That certainly explains why she’s so hard on herself.

Ji-hoo opens the door a crack and overhears voices in the hallway. Cha-don points out to Chief Yang why this case doesn’t match up with the serial killer on the loose. Psychopaths enjoy the thrill of torturing their victims, not necessarily killing them. Furthermore, the body was stripped of any identifying factors post mortem. At this rate, they’ll never be able to catch the culprit.

Chief Yang tells him to stop acting so smart and Cha-don replies in a matter-of-fact tone, “I’m not trying to act smart, I actually am smart.” Hee. He’s confident that he’d be able to solve the case if Ji-hoo trusted him this once.

He offers to make a bet with Chief Yang with the loser paying the winner a lifetime of food and drink and Chief Yang snorts, “Are you nuts? You think I’d want to see you for the rest of my life?” Ha.

At the Bok estate, Jae-in sighs at several plastic surgery ads before quickly stashing them in her desk when her mother bursts in. They bicker about how her latest “dream man” turned out to be a con artist.

Her mother sighs that no man will see her as a woman because of her weight. Once she leaves, Jae-in looks at the bag of cash to be deposited and gets an idea.

The plastic surgeon looks at Jae-in up and down and cautiously tells her that she’ll need a lot of work. She tells him that money is no object and plops the bag in front of him. He gapes. Is this 200 Pound Beauty redux? (The doc is the same one from the movie.)

Boss Bok flips a lid when she hears that her daughter has made off with the money. She orders that they report her to the police to teach her daughter how scary money can be.

Jae-in is prepped for surgery and before she goes under, she tells herself that once she wakes, she’ll be reborn as the most beautiful girl in the world.

Se-kwang takes his team out to dinner, presumably to find out who the real spy in their team is. He gets just as inebriated as his subordinates, who are all ears when Se-kwang teases them with news about a possible witness to testify for them.

Both Hyuk and one of the detectives remain silent. After another round of drinks, we see that Se-kwang isn’t so intoxicated after all and he eyes his team.

Chief Prosecutor Jo hears from his mole as he sits with Lawyer Hwang. The mayor is highly suspicious ever since President Park’s betrayal and they agree not to inform him until they receive confirmation.

At the office party, Se-kwang picks up one of his team member’s phones and calls a mysterious number. He hears the chief prosecutor’s voice on the other side call for “Detective Park” when Se-kwang remains silent. Bingo.

Angelina is greeted at Boss Bok’s restaurant by the lady of the house herself. She received word of Mayor Jung’s special guest earlier and remains courteous despite Angelina’s attitude.

Boss Bok lays out a vast array of foods and Angelina turns up her snotty nose at the smell of sliced skatefish (think ammonia) and demands it be taken away. “I thought a sewer burst!”

Now Boss Bok drops the courtesy and asks if all Angelina ate was gold-plated steaks in her time in America. Angelina says that she’s the customer but Boss Bok won’t put up with her ill manners: “Do I look so young that you think I’m your sister? Do you want to get hit with fermented skatefish?” Epic.

Angelina huffs that she’s a famous actress but Boss Bok just cuts her down: “Get out, you bitch.” That aghast expression on Angelina’s face is priceless. She shrills at a frequency only dogs can hear, just as Assistant Kim bursts in that the mayor has arrived.

This exchange is about to get more epic as Boss Bok watches Angelina sidle up to the mayor, asking him to connect her with an esteemed literary society. You know, for networking and stuff.

Boss Bok ruefully notes that membership will be difficult if she’s not a published author and Angelina tactlessly tells her to butt out. Mayor Jung tells Angelina that they’ll have to make a request to the society president… and asks Boss Bok, the president, for her opinion. Oh man, this is awesome.

Angelina reels in shock and Boss Bok calls for another order of skatefish. Man, I could watch these two go round for round any time of the day.

Se-kwang meets with Prosecutor Kwon for a cup of tea, who informs him that he’s heard that Se-kwang will soon be demoted. Se-kwang figures that the chief prosecutor would be playing dirty.

But he furrows his eyebrows when he learns it was a government-level decision bolstered by Mayor Jung. “The mayor would seek action from the Blue House to trap an ordinary prosecutor?”

Prosecutor Kwon recounts that Mayor Jung expressed his thinly veiled interest of warning in Se-kwang. “Politics is in the business of people,” the mayor explained. “And a businessman can’t be picky about his customers. Hateful, spiteful, and dangerous men – you have to think of them as investments in order to see profits.”

The mayor openly admitted that he would want Se-kwang to work under him, since he’s more than proven himself to be a capable prosecutor. But he won’t just take a word of allegiance – Se-kwang will have to come crawling on his knees first.

Prosecutor Kwon says that the mayor’s words are basically an ultimatum and asks what Se-kwang plans to do. “I have to break the mayor’s thought that he can easily threaten a prosecutor of Korea.”

Prosecutor Kwon advises him to remain firm, no matter his decision. Se-kwang mentions that the recent invitation to the Chungrok Literary Society he received from the mayor should make things interesting.

Ji-hoo expresses her dissatisfaction with Chief Prosecutor Jo’s decision to close the case of the unidentified corpse. She sticks to her pride that as a prosecutor, the case is still being investigated.

Chief Prosecutor gives her final deadline: if her team isn’t able to identify the victim by the end of the month, the case will be transferred to the Unsolved Crimes department.

He teaches her an incompetent prosecutor’s secret to survival: ultimate obedience. Ji-hoo makes it clear that she doesn’t intend to stoop that low. The chief prosecutor laughs that the competent ones eventually get kicked out.

Just outside, Cha-don picks up a call from a broadcasting network asking for a TV appearance. Chief Yang tells him to hang up but the next thing we know, he’s being interviewed by Reporter Go in a live broadcast.

Ji-hoo and her team eat breakfast together when they see Cha-don onscreen. Ji-hoo nearly flips the table in anger watching him comment on the string of serial killings, and darts out the door.

Cha-don announces that a crucial piece of evidence was found on the victim, which is unsettling news for Mayor Jang. And elsewhere, a slimmer and recovering Jae-in falls off her treadmill in surprise when she sees Cha-don on TV.

Reporter Go asks Cha-don for a final comment, so Cha-don sends the killer a message, his shaky voice growing more confident by the second:

Cha-don: “There’s no such thing as a perfect crime. It doesn’t matter if you wipe your fingerprints or have an alibi, it’s human nature to make mistakes. You’ll probably know which one you made without my having to tell you. Don’t bother turning yourself in because I’ll show up with the perfect piece of evidence. I’ll make sure you pay for your crime.”

Mayor Jung turns that question to his assistant – what mistake did he make? The assistant denies it, though his memory flashes back to the missing pen.

Ji-hoo bursts into the dressing room, demanding to know what he’s done. Her shouts hardly bristle Cha-don’s feathers anymore and he argues that though he’s a trainee, he’s still a prosecutor who catches criminals. Ji-hoo slaps him and tell him to leave her team immediately.

Before she leaves, Cha-don manages to tell her that at least this way, their killer won’t be able to commit another crime. “Who knows,” Cha-don says, “The criminal might come looking for me.”

We learn just how powerful the Chungrok Literary Society can be as Se-kwang is filled in. Masked as a simple literary club, the reserved class of social elites holds enough influence to pass a bill at the National Assembly level.

Hyuk asks if Se-kwang intends to kneel in front of the mayor, but we see that the conversation is bugged and the mole, Detective Park, trails behind them.

We check in with Mom at the ward, who seems more sane than we’ve seen since her arrival. The guard notes as much and appears to be sympathetic to Mom’s case.

Boss Bok recites her poem at the fundraising event (for the forensic psychiatric ward at that) and the mayor’s assistant slips out to take a call. He demands that his man track down Jae-in but when he recalls Cha-don’s statement, he tells his man to find the prosecutor instead.

Speaking of whom, Cha-don drunkenly staggers down a darkened alleyway. He picks up a tail and the masked man stays at a safe distance until Cha-don disappears around the corner.

The masked man runs to catch up with him and turns the corner… to see a very sober Cha-don glaring at him. Cha-don figures he’s the killer (though it’s safer to assume he’s the mayor’s assistant’s hire), stops the masked man in his tracks and seethes, “I caught you, murderer.”


COMMENTS

The more we see and get to know Cha-don, the more I find him an intriguing character. From what we’ve seen from the previous episode, it felt like we got two distinct and different Cha-dons. The quiet, reserved, and robotic-voice adolescent seemed to suddenly grow up into this loud, earnest, and charming prosecutor trainee with a vanity streak. In some ways, I felt like we’re missing pieces that explain this shift in personality. He’s still an enjoyable watch with his uncanny ability to read a situation and people albeit in a tactless way at times. But under that cloak of goofiness and offensive remarks, there’s a smart man carefully calculating how much charm to pour at the right moment to bring someone over to his side. Or what will lure a murderer right into his clutches.

There’s so much to be carved out of the character as he continues to butt heads with his superiors who all set out to kill him once. Eek, it’s like you’ve walked into the lion’s den blindfolded… and those lions can’t see in the dark either.

I already find Prosecutor Ji-hoo a character to keep on my watch list. She’s the type who labored countless hours to earn her place on the force and respect as a team leader. It’s her belief in her sense of competence that shakes her to the core. What happened all those years ago? Who was the killer that got away? And how does Se-kwang, who was also at the funeral, play into this? I love that she’s an assertive go-getter prosecutor who will seek to get things done and won’t let some hotshot try to tell her what’s what. But then that hotshot whom she thought was interfering the investigation actually propels it forward instead.

Before we get too far into the series, about the weight issue and its portrayal in the show. There’s been some hearty discussion about the topic in the comments in each recap. I have to say that I’m not a fan of dramatic character changes unless it serves a narrative purpose and the story supports a reason for that change. That said, I found it important to explore why Jae-in’s character started out as an overweight young girl and up to this episode, a young woman. Every woman has been there – struggling with body image issues and dealing with the societal pressure of what the world (or perhaps that one guy) defines as beautiful. And though Jae-in had personality flaws that seemed more two-dimensional in both life phases, to me she was still beautiful. Because every woman (and person!) is beautiful.

I won’t open the can of worms that is plastic surgery in Korea (In short, yes it does happen and Jae-in is one of those extreme cases.) I’m sure the consultation scene was to give us a throwback to the popular movie with Kim Ah-joong. But what saddened me more than anything is what she told herself before she went under surgery. Yes, years of emotional abuse took it toll on her and her poor coping mechanisms surely didn’t help; but at the end of the day, she convinced herself with the illusion that beauty is only skin deep.

We know that her brash personality is an extension of that bitterness but I don’t want her to abuse it in her new, physically reformed life. In fact, I’d hate to see either a startling change in her personality (and some hints in this episode tell us she hasn’t) or that people will excuse her potential rudeness towards others simply because she’s a beauty. We at least know of one woman who won’t put up with it: Boss Bok. I can seriously watch her and Angelina/Bi-ryung bicker back and forth all day.

But still, this makes me anticipate what Jae-in’s first meeting with Cha-don will be like. Will he be entranced by the the outward beauty or within?

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49 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Leona

    Waw this is serious stuff . I expected silly comedy ( side looking at 7LCS) but it makes you love even the bad guys

  2. TS

    Watching this now. I want to be a Korean Prosecutor like these guys! Talk about exciting work.

  3. Carrie

    Thanks for recapping!! This show looks awesome.

  4. Orion

    I think the writers are struggling with temporary insanity when they show surgery and diet can change an obese person to a model within a few days or months. It takes at least a year to lose such weight in a healthy way, a lot of surgeries (which can’t actually be done all at once) and there is terrible scaring left that takes years to heal (some of it never does). It takes strength and hard work and determination and is certainly not as simple as Sleep-Wake up-Now Gorgeous. If it was, we’d all be doing it.

    I don’t expect a medical degree for writing a drama, but some basic research of what the process is like is not hard to do. It’s not that easy and those shouldn’t be the reasons to do it. Showing that to young girls watching the drama is criminal. It’s like showing a cancer patient eating a flower and being cured overnight. Unrealistic and gives very wrong information to people. It’s frankly offending and I didn’t think these writers would ever mess up so badly.

    The story is going ok, but Cha Don is nowhere near as tragic as Kang Mo or as cool as Yoo Bang and the series seems to be missing a central plot at the moment. We have an irrelevant case and all our characters running around it without really getting back to the whole revenge thing yet. It’s taking too long to get back to that main premise and they could at least show how the current mayor and murders business can be related to that. If it’s only a case serving to have the two enemies working at the same office, why focus on the case itself so much?

    I do see how they’re trying to make a Giant/Salaryman hybrid here, but so far, they are failing. The humor is rarely funny, the drama hasn’t gotten heavy enough for viewers to actually give a damn and we’re just floating in a vague place which is neither hilarious nor epic.

    If it’s 24 episodes, then the first 5 are still an introduction, but it’s about time we get to the second act already.

    • 4.1 DayDreamer

      You know what, I wrote my thoughts down below but you expressed it far better than I did about how I feel on the Show right now. Everything was spot on, particularly these:

      “The humor is rarely funny, the drama hasn’t gotten heavy enough for viewers to actually give a damn and we’re just floating in a vague place which is neither hilarious nor epic.”

      “We have an irrelevant case and all our characters running around it without really getting back to the whole revenge thing yet. It’s taking too long to get back to that main premise and they could at least show how the current mayor and murders business can be related to that. If it’s only a case serving to have the two enemies working at the same office, why focus on the case itself so much?”

      • 4.1.1 Jade

        Agreed!

        This drama is promoting plastic surgery. So basically, if you’re fat, just get plastic surgery? Terrible message it gives out, and no mention of complications!!

        I also have issues with the female lead. Is she seriously not self-aware? That scene at the police station was the last straw for me with her character. It wasn’t her appearance that was ugly, it was her personality! Couldn’t she have just walk away from it all? Everything about her is so exaggerated and abnormal. It’s just not realistic.

        Also, was it really necessary for the main guy to get into a car accident and get brain damage? Couldn’t they have a better revenge plot? The story is going so slow! I bet we’re gonna have to wait for like half the drama to end for his memory to recover. There’ll probably be major plot dragging before then.

        It’s a shame really.. I really enjoyed the first two episodes!

    • 4.2 Arawn

      You already explained the physical impossibility of her change but then there’s the psychological part as well. As you say, it’s not reasonable expect a drama to have a thorough understanding of weight loss and all it’s complications (unless it is a drama about the said subject, of course), but yes, SOME reality is needed. Because, and I borrow you again, it’s criminal to show these kind of changes to your girls because they are TOTALLY impossible. It’s criminal because this is an issue that is so big for many young women who are at the serious risk to go under the knife thinking it will magically turn them into models and their lives from hell to heaven.

      Psychologically speaking, Jae-In is a binge eater who stuff herself when she’s under emotional duress. No plastic surgery is going to change that trait. In real world she’d be fat again after 4-6 six months because without proper therapist she’d just keep going with her old habits. It is VERY difficult to change one’s habits but that is where the key to successful weight loss and maintaining the healthy weight lie.

      I just hate it when they portray weight loss being so EASY in these dramas. It’s not. And as said, keeping the weight down is even more difficult. You need to learn a whole new way of life which is very stressful and hard in the beginning – and this “beginning” can take years.

      Really hate this kind of a plot point. Really hate. HAAAAATE!!!

      Partly because I did the weight loss thingey and IT WAS BLOODY HARD. Grrrrr.

      • 4.2.1 Orion

        There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s lobotomizing yourself. No fictional work should require the latter for you to believe the things it shows you. XD

      • 4.2.2 Carole McDonnell

        I’m just hoping Jae In doesn’t lose her original weepy touchy fighting spirit. But maybe her sass will remain and not be sucked out with all her fat.

      • 4.2.3 Saturtledaisy

        Well, you know, they did show her walking on a treadmill with her bandages and all, so I guess that makes it realistic?

        I’m just being sarcastic. I’ve kindof given op taking Jae-in seriously, because she’s clearly not meant to be a serious character at this point. She’s just seems to be there for comedic relief, though I can understand how some people would find the comedy offensive.

        You have to take in mind that this is a /Korean/ drama though, a country in which most people aren’t ashamed to call anyone fat right to their face, without even realizing they’re doing something wrong. I had the same problem with my family in China. The first words my cousin, who I hadn’t seen in two years, said to me were: ‘You’ve gotten fatter’. She then proceeded to squeeze my upper arms to show me how fat they were. Nobody even blinked at this comment. So… yeah.

        Do I like or agree with this kind of behavior? No, I don’t.
        I don’t think society should push people to go through a lot of pain simply to lose some weight. People should get the chance to decide for themselves whether they’re happy with their own body or not, and I don’t believe anyone should get criticized for that.

        But I just don’t really take any offense in this kind of humor anymore. Jae-in doesn’t depict ‘all fat women in the world’. Jae-in is just Jae-in: a character in a drama series. And, apparently, a very unrealistic one at that.

        • 4.2.3.1 Orion

          I take offense in her getting gorgeous in a few days. It insults my intelligence as a viewer. Comedy, fine, but superhuman strength and instant beauty are a bit too far into parody in a series which is otherwise realistic.

          The fat-shaming, yes, it’s because of the culture and one can’t look at it from a non-Korean point of view, but it doesn’t make it right. As long as no one fights back and tells people it’s wrong, such mindsets won’t change. Same goes for gay people, the disabled and everyone else who has to take such crap from everyone because society (any society) is too close-minded. Entertainment and hobbies in general should be helping people grow, not giving thumbs up to the things which cause such pain in society.

          They could have had humor and even fat humor without making it so weird and the character so mentally disturbed. I hope she at least remains insane now, because obese = psychopath would be another nail in the coffin of my love for the lead girl. A character we kind of need to like.

      • 4.2.4 TS

        It’s frigging hard. I lost to where I wanted to be a couple of years ago, and a bad episode at work set me right back.

  5. TS

    Aaaaannnnnnddddd, it lost me. I think it was at the plastic surgery scene. But I was a bit bored before.

    Maybe next episode.

  6. Carole McDonnell

    I love love love love looooooooove this drama. The machinations and counter-machinations! Still trying to figure out how ousted-now-returned-from-US mistress is gonna get her revenge but wow!!!

    Weirdly, this show has a lotta plot holes and generally I’d be fuming about it but in this case, the story is so good. Everyone –villain, heroines, and heroes– are so likable that I’m willing to overlook a zillion plot errors.

    That said, I really do like Lee Gwan Soon. Loyal powerless murderous minions have a soft spot in my heart. Lord knows why Cha Don has a cop shadowing him when he follows Jae In but has no one waiting in the alley when he’s waiting for a murderer. But this story is just sooo good.

  7. DayDreamer

    I have to be frank to myself: this drama is not as good as it should be. At first I was planning on ignoring the rather large plot holes but now things have really gone out of hand, that I think I might have to drop this drama. My major problem is that so many things are happening that are sooo unconnected and it feels like we’re forgetting what happened in episodes 1-3 and straying very far from it. There doesn’t seem to be a focus. I’m all for crazy shenanigans but there has to be logic somewhere, right? I don’t have any interest in this mayor procedural case because it only feels, to me, like it was a way to connect all the characters together somehow (from Jae In to Cha Don to Se Kwang, etc, etc). But I wish it did something to propel the story itself too….like give Cha Don some clues of his past. I’m probably not expressing myself well, but things seem disjointed and I can’t seem to bring myself to watch the next episode. Perhaps the only thing that will make me actually press the play button is the sense that Cha Don will prove to all that he’s quite a valuable asset.

    By this point, none of the characters (except Boss Bok) are appealing to me either. Jae In was always not a well developed character so it’s hard for me to understand her mentality and thus her actions. Cha Don is abruptly different from his pre-and post-amnesiac self that even I can’t understand what his deal is either. Prosecutor Ji-Hoo is rather uptight and the baddies are so uninteresting. Overall, not happy at all with the way things are going. Episode 6 will be the deciding factor on whether I will continue with this or not.

    • 7.1 Carole McDonnell

      You’re right. The plot holes and the mental leaps (and physical ones) in this story are a bit much but isn’t there something that keeps you returning? Or am I just too enamored of the characters to give up on this story?

      • 7.1.1 DayDreamer

        Hehe, maybe you’re too enamored. :P

        Actually, like I mentioned before, I might visit episode 6 for Cha Don to prove his worth as a prosecutor.

        • 7.1.1.1 Carole McDonnell

          LOL!!! That’s very possible. There’s a lot to dislike here. As previous commentors have stated: the quickie fat loss, the plot holes, the aged characters who seem to have lost much of their original personalities. And I might stop watching it down the line but I’m hoping my love-is-blind attitude will last throughout.

          • 7.1.1.1.1 DayDreamer

            Hey Carole, guess what. I just finished watching episode 6 and I have to say, it sucked me back in again, particularly the last scene. Finally, the original storyline is being pulled back in and I’m glad. Hopefully, it gets better, not worse. :)

    • 7.2 asianromance

      I agree with you that this drama is not as good as it should be. The first couple of episodes were great and very focused on how Kang-seok’s family was ripped apart and how there was this conspiracy against them. Then afterwards, it seems like a different drama. The only common tie between episodes 1-3 and 3-6 is Kang-seok’s crazy mom. For me, the characters are still lovable and I’m invested in them, but I’m itching to see the drama be more focused and to tie in more with the first 3 episodes. The end of episode 6 seems to give the drama its next step, but it shouldn’t be taking this long. I wish we’d also get to learn more about Cha Don. Usually, we’d get hit over the head with the male lead brooding over a sad past or a lost first love or their conflicted, but this time, we don’t get any info about Cha Don except for the fact that he’s smart.

      I’m still committed to this drama though – I’m a sucker for mysteries and police procedurals and I’d love to see Jae In end up being the boss of a legitimate bank.

  8. Suzi Q

    It does remind me of 200 Pound Beauty Redux with Jae In.I was appalled by her behavior when she accused Cha Don of molesting her. No matter how hurt you are, I thought she was horrible accusing him falsely. Didn’t think it was funny although I did enjoy the enormous whipped cream cake throwing part. WOW! KJH got whacked good!

    I agree with you that I could watch Boss Bok and Angelina duke it out and go a couple of more rounds! I hope they include more in future episodes.

    When they do the grand unveiling of Jae In’s transformation, I hope Jae In doesn’t have the same horrible attitude just because she is now a surgically transformed beauty. Just because you’re beautiful on the outside means nothing if you have a horrible, mean personality. As Dorothy Parker said, ” Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes straight to the bone” and Judge Judy said, ” Beauty fades, but stupid lasts forever.”

    • 8.1 TS

      What’s the point in boss bok and Angelina duking it out? Angelina will squeal and screech and be annoying and stupid and Boss Bok will win every time. If they could show Angelina with some brains and wit, I might get more interested.

  9. IBELIS

    I look at what we are seeing as informational because everything we have seen so far has happened in the past. Until we get back to the found money we are just being informed of what happened before that. So with that being said I saw the point of the plastic surgery as just letting us know what JI did to look how she does currently.

    The things about CD is to show us how he became a prosecutor but I’m sure it will also show how his current relationships were formed.

    I bet when we come full circle he will still hate SK and him and JI will be friends.

  10. 10 John

    Thanks for the recap.

    I was somewhat disappointed in the plastic surgery route for Jae In. I’d preferred a transformation via diet and a grueling work out routine. She could have used her hatred of Cha-don as a motivator.

    I can picture her running up a steep flight of stairs in a Rocky-esque moment, but, it is what it is.

    I liked the skatefish, (Hongeohoe), incident. I had recently watched the J Drama Moyashimon and they stated that Hongeohoe is the second smelliest fermented dish in the world , losing out to pickled herring.

    Looking forward to the next episode and recap.

  11. 11 V

    I love this drama. I really don’t like the plastic surgery angle, but after watching episode 6 I understand why they went that route.

    I pretty much threw out all logic and am just along for the ride. I was laughing so much during episodes 5 and 6. SO MUCH. They were hilarious.

    The plastic surgery part is annoying, but everything else is gold.

    • 11.1 Carole McDonnell

      Yay, V! Yes, someone after my own heart. I, too, am willing to toss aside the easy convenient plotting. I have a great deal of affection for this drama. Might be the characters. And the fact that the characters all have a kind of amnesia about the past. Or are colluding to communally forget the past. And poor Se Gwan being so would-be-honorable –as if he himself has no evil past– I just can’t wait to see the past crashing in.

      Right now, the only characters who wants to hold onto or return to the past are Cha Don’s mom and Bi Ryeong.

      And then there’s Gwan Soo, the clean-up man. And Boss lady. Whether or not she’s the “Gentleman,” I feel that woman has it in her to do great damage in a more sophisticated evil way than the actress with all her pretensions to revenge.

    • 11.2 katy

      agree

  12. 12 somanglyn kim

    this is getting interesting I love ji hwa expressions

    It is funny watching him

  13. 13 supah

    Aargh! LOVE it! This show is finally shaping up nicely. Pun unintentional.
    Laughed so hard at the fish scene between Madame Bok and Bi-ryeong. Gold.

    Gummimochi: I’m also pleasantly surprised by Ji-hoo’s character.

    I think some commenters are missing the point of Jae-in’s surgery, though. I have a mushy brain right now and can’t think clearly but… Think of it in context, think of where that money actually came from, think of it in line with her less than righteous character, and in line with this show’s theme of money, heck even this show’s very title. *ker-ching* Geddit?

    Yes, I DO want these characters to be humanised vis a vis the value of life vs cold, hard cash through the course of the series, but now certainly isn’t the time. But if writer Jang is to be trusted, there will be karmic justice — and it will be satisfying. And utterly butterly badass.

    And Hwang Jung-eum is proving to be a riot as Jae-in. Woo.

    • 13.1 V

      So true! It goes back to what the dear old Dad said: You can do anything with money so long as you have enough. Jae-In had a lot of money and she wanted to be smoking hot so she found the best plastic surgeon to make it happen.

      I hadn’t thought of it that way Supah. It fits right in with the story.

      • 13.1.1 Orion

        It is obvious it’s another stab at the power of money, but it doesn’t stop it from being highly unrealistic. I guess a lot will depend on characterization. If they don’t make sure they convey why it’s not a solution to do that to yourself without putting in your own effort, then they’re not making the right point.

    • 13.2 asianromance

      Good point about the surgery. When I was watching this unfold, I wondered why didn’t get didn’t surgery earlier. I hear about parents in South Korea getting middle schoolers eyelid surgery as birthday/graduation presents. I’m a bit surprised that Boss Bok, with all her nagging about Jae In’s chubbyness, never went and got her to get liposuction or lapband surgery or whatnot. They had the money, after all.

  14. 14 Nallali

    Anybody else notice the phones they use in this drama? I mean we r so used to seeing all drama characters using fancy Samsung Notes even when they r poor school kids (a la School 2013) but here everyone has such ancient phones I can’t help but think they r acting up or something lolz

    • 14.1 DayDreamer

      Lol, I definitely did, especially when Se Kwang was looking through the traitor’s phone. I was like, hmm, what happened to those nice looking smart phones drama characters have been carrying around? But then, this show had a bit of old days vibe to it so it didn’t matter much to me.

    • 14.2 Saturtledaisy

      isn’t this supposed to be happening in the past?I thought the present was when the show started, with Cha Don getting a call about his identity. Then we flashed to his childhood, after which we now get to see his journey to being a prosecutor. But I think in the ‘present’ he already is an established prosecutor. I could be mistaken though. If my timeline is correct, then at this point in the drama it’s around… 2005? Earlier…., later? I’m not sure about how many years have passed since Cha Don went to the orphanage…

      • 14.2.1 Orion

        Yes, we’ll be skipping again, I think. He’s just starting out as a prosecutor in training right now. We still have the whole asylum bit, which I assume they’ll still do.

      • 14.2.2 Nallali

        aah…thanks for that, makes sense now!

      • 14.2.3 asianromance

        I’m guessing something similar too. I think he went to the orphanage when he was about 17 and in the year 1997. And I think in Korea, instead of getting your undergrad degree and then go to law school, you’d actually go straight into law for undergrad and then do 2 years at the training institute. So currently, he should be at least 24. Likely 26, if he took 2 years off to do his army duty around college age like most Korean young men. It’s sometime between 2004 and 2006 at the moment.

    • 14.3 So3

      I did notice that the year for this episode is still 2007 (correct me if I’m wrong) so that’s the reason for the ancient phones.

  15. 15 luri

    I kept noticing the phones too and believe that they are intentional because there has to be another time leap. Remember Jae-In has to become an honest head of a bank and Cha-don gets locked away in a psych ward.

    Right now Cha-don isn’t even in massive debt which is supposed to be the prompt for Jae-In to break him out of the hospital.

  16. 16 DHM

    I don’t expect to see this, but I think it would be a cool twist if Cha-don actually recognizes Jae-In after her plastic surgery, and is the only person who does.

  17. 17 WM

    The plastic surgery bit…I was so disappointed. I was hoping something would happen to Boss Bok and/or her business, and Jae In would have to step in and take over. I would have loved to have seen her change during that process, maturing, gaining confidence, and learning to take care of herself and not use food as a crutch. Since all of these episodes – save the first few minutes of the episode 1 – are supposed to be in the past, it would have been easy to show the progression in an almost “80’s montage” style so it wouldn’t be overly drawn out, yet we’d understand her change. Sad, sad, sad, but then, maybe they are going for making her this shallow now, and maturing her later? Maybe? Please drama? Please?

  18. 18 asianromance

    Thanks for the recap!

    *Sigh* the plastic surgery….I was disappointed, but was even more disappointed by how there was no mention of how she would need to change her eating habits if she wanted to maintain her new look. I guess having her run on a treadmill shows that, but I think we need a message here that plastic surgery is not a magical cure. Maybe she needed that completely new start to get herself motivated? But I feel like it should have been addressed.

    I was hoping she would just lose all that weight during the next time skip. Or they could have shown Cha Don liking Jae In a bit before the surgery or at least respecting her a little -now I feel like their future loveline is going to be tainted by this.

    Can I just say how much I love Ji Hoo and Boss Bok! Ji Hoo- finally a young, attractive woman who is competent at her job and has no time for shenanigans and machinations. And I love the, hopefully, running gag of her not being outwardly phased by mangled corpses while the dudes around her can’t stomach them.

  19. 19 ysc

    I think the plastic surgery scene means more than what it seems to be.. I think it’s a twist only showing the bright bright side of the plastic surgery, like a clown’s comedy.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but at least writers are not promoting plastic surgery, seeing their last two dramas.. I trust their sense of goodness.
    So… I’ll keep my eyes on this drama. We have 15 episodes more :)

    (Sorry about my English, it’s not my first language T_T)

  20. 20 iam

    I do have some questions regarding certain aspects of the story, but since this is a 24-episode drama and I’ve seen only five, I’m not expecting to get all the answers now. I trust that the drama’s creators will be able to flesh out the missing links as the narrative progresses.

    I am of the opinion that the drama does not promote cosmetic surgery, and neither does it reinforce stereotypes about overweight people. Rather, I see it as a subtle social commentary. To me, IOM mirrors the sad reality that in a conservative country that still clings on to Confucian values, beauty is just skin deep.

    I’m liking this drama so far. I love how it’s able to juxtapose the zany with the serious and make them look organic in spite of those two elements being polar opposites. I look forward to watching more episodes.

    And thank you, Gummimochi, for recapping this one. Really appreciate it. ^_^

    • 20.1 maakopla

      “I am of the opinion that the drama does not promote cosmetic surgery, and neither does it reinforce stereotypes about overweight people. Rather, I see it as a subtle social commentary. To me, IOM mirrors the sad reality that in a conservative country that still clings on to Confucian values, beauty is just skin deep.”

      I totally agree with you about this part. TOTALLY! Though, in my opinion Korean dramas promote everything you can imagine. It’s easier to list things they don’t promote. I also might be paranoid but seriously, whenever they go to Jeju in any drama they tend to film the tourist sights pretty well…

      Just like almost everyone above I was a tad bit, actually a lot, disappointed with the plastic surgery. Not that I wasn’t expecting it… But it’s the Korean society, you can’t get away from it. Sigh…

      Anyway, I adore Cha Don even though his name sounds stupid. I also like the old cop who got into trouble because of Cha Don xD And I like how they were paired with the woman detective, sorry I forgot all the names. She is totally in love with Se Kwang, lol.

  21. 21 Lilian

    So many are commenting on the plastic surgery part so I probably won’t! Overall, I am still very much enjoying this show though as it has a good mix of comedy+mystery+drama going all around.

  22. 22 Albert

    I hope no one took Jae In’s illico presto transformation seriously: Dramas are fantasy, right?
    Ji-hoo arriving on the crime scene on her motorbike was cool.

  23. 23 Julia the Berkshire Beanie

    I will be glad when Jae-In will transform into not-a-chubby just to stop all the fat jokes. But I have yet to see any inner beauty in this character. She is angry, aggressive, sexual predator without any sympathy for others or even the capability of making friends.

    So, this does give us a bad character that could be transformed later in the drama. Will it happen? Or do the writers already think Jae-In is lovely and admirable as she kicks off car doors and molests men?

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