Drama Recaps
IRIS 2: Episode 1
by | February 15, 2013 | 100 Comments

It’s a new era at NSS! I started with IRIS over three years ago, moved on to Athena, and now here is IRIS 2. It’s a full circle… unless of course they decide to make an IRIS 3, and an Artemis, or ARES, or Hercules… Then my circle won’t ever complete. A quick note that I haven’t decided to fully recap this series, mainly because two rounds of the same thing are enough. But episode 2 could make or break this series for me.

EPISODE 1 RECAP

We begin with a recap of IRIS, where NSS and IRIS are pitted against each other in a war of nuclear terror.  IRIS the organization managed to convince North Korea to threaten South Korea with nuclear weapons in the hopes that a war would erupt, a coup would occur, and IRIS could take control. But then Baek San (Kim Young-chul) was revealed to be a traitor within NSS, and was finally taken down and arrested. And before you could think that all was well, Kim Hyun-joon is killed.

Now what?!

They reveal that the killer is none other than… Rei (David McInnis), former mercenary-now IRIS team leader, with a woman we later learn is Kim Yun-hwa (Im Soo-hyang).

Three years later.

New NSS section chief Park Joon-han (Sung Dong Il) keeps tabs on a secret ammunitions deal taking place in a warehouse through a spycam. He has his men approach cautiously as the buyer expresses his displeasure over the illegal goods. It’s not as much ammunition as he had expected.

Suddenly, a huge dump truck slams into the brick wall, interrupting the deal. Though his men are alarmed, Chief Park looks unfazed. Jung Yoo-gun (Jang Hyuk) steps out of the front seat, and is greeted with guns pointed at his face. Buyer laughs – is Yoo-gun all by himself? Easier to take down then!

In slo-mo action worthy of Vampire Prosecutor, Yoo-gun systematically takes down each guy – uppercut to the jaw; punch in the gut; knock a guy to the side; throw another by his collar. Flying kick’s a must. Buyer makes a run for it, grabbing his money, so Yoo-gun makes chase. Chief Park shouts into his walkie-talkie “What the hell are you guys doing!?” and suddenly his men spring to action, entering the warehouse.

Buyer escapes to his car, so Yoo-gun takes the next available unlocked car. (And this is why cars that have a button ignition are easier to steal…) Commence chase through a container terminal, except Yoo-gun stealthily searches for the buyer, who’s parked himself quietly behind containers, hoping to hide in the shadows. Yoo-gun drives right past him… Buyer lets out a sigh of relief… but then Yoo-gun slowly backs up the car. Found you.

Yoo-gun steps out, which prompts Buyer to speed forward in the hopes of crushing him. Yoo-gun calmly fires a choice shot in the back wheel of the car with his gun, and causes it to flip over. Bills of money fly out of the sunroof dramatically, and Buyer is caught.

Chief Park finds himself in a little tiff with the Seoul Regional Investigation Unit over whose jurisdiction this case is taking place in. But no matter, Yoo-gun brings Buyer over in handcuffs. Chief Park aims his gun at Yoo-gun and smirks, asking if he knows the man he just handcuffed. It’s as if they’re putting on a little show of not knowing each other too well so that NSS won’t be blamed for interfering too much.

Yoo-gun doesn’t appreciate getting a gun pointed at him, and we get a flashback to 15 years ago, where high schooler Yoo-gun (played by Park Gun-tae) is getting picked on by school bullies. Instead of running, he fights back, taking four guys at once. Not bad – where’d he learn these skills? He punches one of them to a pulp, and of course they all land at the police station. The man who raised him, whom I’ll call Ahjussi for now, (Joo Jin-mo) comes to pick him up.

It’s already quite routine for them, with Ahjussi using his position as a police officer to bail Yoo-gun out. He can only do this for a few more years until he retires. He wonders if Yoo-gun likes fighting because he has no father, but Yoo-gun doesn’t; he just can’t help it sometimes… In Ahjussi’s experience, people in his school either became gangsters or cops; maybe Yoo-gun could be a cop and then he could beat up bad guys all the time!

Ji Soo-yeon (played by Kim So-hyun, and later by Lee Da-hae) shows up at the restaurant, calling Yoo-gun ‘oppa’. She’s not surprised that he’s fought again, but Yoo-gun seems uncomfortable about her proximity. Cute. She offers to take care of his bullies for him, because no one should hurt her oppa!

Several years later, older Yoo-gun visits Ahjussi at his cabin in the woods to catch up, and informs him that NSS is recruiting him. Ahjussi is wary about this offer, and it looks like he knows something. Later that evening, he opens up his journal, where he chronicles Yoo-gun’s achievements as he grew up. On one page, he writes: “Jung Yoo-gun scouted by NSS. Is this fate?” Hmm…

Yoo-gun accepts entrance into NSS, and then we suddenly skip to the snowy mountains, where several agents have been shot dead. One agent drags a wounded agent across the snow, leaving a messy trail. Soo-yeon and Seo Hyun-woo (Yoon Doo-joon) are a sniper team and count the dead from a distance; most of their teammates are dead and they’re the only ones left. There’s only one on the other team, so they decide to split up. They search in the woods, and a stranger follows them, stepping into their already-made footprints. The stranger stabs Hyun-woo, and takes over his rifle to aim at Soo-yeon.

She radios Hyun-woo to make sure the area is secure, but instead hears Yoo-gun’s voice: “I thought I made it clear it’s suicidal to go out in the open.” (Yeah, when you’re wearing black and walking through white snow.) She turns her gun and aims in his direction, but he shoots her first. He radios to the team, and all the dead start waking up from their positions in the snow – this was all a training session.

Kang Byung-jin (Baek Sung-hyun) shivers violently, pissed that he’s been out in the cold snow. Yoon Shi-hyuk (Lee Joon) replies: “You weren’t even dead that long! I was dead for three hours!” HEE! [Edit: It's Byung-jin who was dead for three hours. I can't tell who Lee Joon is for my life. Apologies.]

Chief Park celebrates the completion of their training with some beer over a campfire. They tease each other over their failures, laughing jovially, but Yoo-gun satisfies himself by watching from afar. A level higher than all the trainees, he supervises their training drills in Jeju. They’re a tightly knit group, we learn.

Soo-yeon excels, and it’s clear she and Yoo-gun only have eyes for each other. Of course, Hyun-woo has eyes on her, and he doesn’t want to hurt her when they have their judo test. Clearly he’s not trying very hard to beat her, but she’s not strong enough to beat him. Yoo-gun stops their match: they must either face each other as if the other were a real threat, or get disqualified. This time, Hyun-woo shows her no mercy, and successfully makes her tap out several times. Of course that angers her, because that is more points against her. Before she can get up and do it again, Yoo-gun stops their fight.

Later that evening, Yoo-gun and Soo-yeon go out to a fancy restaurant, where clearly she’s still frustrated over the day’s events. Yoo-gun: “Oh really? *eats* Whyyy?” Haha – cheeky. Did she really expect to be given a handicap just because she was a girl? Soo-yeon pretends to be “cool” about this; fine – if he’s going to fail her because of her judo test score, she’ll just try again the following year. She’ll never give up!

And then next thing you know, she’s drunk over a lot of wine. Yoo-gun calls up her father and reports to him that she definitely scored high enough to make it in. Her father is concerned that she’ll get hurt, being a secret agent, but Yoo-gun promises to watch over her.

Cambodia. A boxing match begins, and Yoo Joong-won (Lee Beom-soo) is in the crowds, betting away his money. He doesn’t notice the sexy, stilettoed Yun-hwa watching him lose his money from afar. Stalking off in anger with his few remaining bills, he heads to a gambling parlor for a round of poker, and goes all in, thinking he’ll win the pot by bluffing. Not so fast – another player reveals he has a straight. Joong-won loses it all again, and finally realizes that Yun-hwa is standing beside him, asking if he really escaped North Korea just to gamble his life away.

It takes him a moment to finally recognize her. At a private bar, he wonders how she found out he was in Cambodia. Turns out he has quite the reputation as an information dealer. She needs his help, and wants him to go with her to Budapest. Joong-won thinks this is a joke. He chased her for years and she ignored him, but now she wants his help? And it turns out she had plastic surgery to completely change and disguise herself.

He’s not interested in hearing what Yun-hwa had to do to escape the North. He’s no longer the Joong-won she knew before, so she might as well stop wasting her time with him. Yun-hwa: “Do you still like me?” Oh really now? All of a sudden Joong-won dramatically admits she’s “ensnared his heart once again!” but she knows he’s just playing around.

She promises him a large sum of money after the mission, but he rejects her. He calls for the bill, realizes he can’t pay, and leaves it for her to pick up. :P

Back at NSS, Byung-jin bursts into the office and says that the new deputy director of NSS is coming. Coming from a stint at the Pentagon, Choi Min (Oh Yun-soo) is introduced to Yoon-gun’s team, the Task Force A-team (TFA). They handle most of the field assignments that have to do with the Far East Asian countries. She then meets with a higher official, Kang Chul-hwan (Kim Il-woo), and reveals that she plans to use NSS to fight IRIS. If NSS isn’t good enough of a weapon, she’ll ditch.

As soon as she sits in her office chair, she asks her secretary for all the case files on NSS’ secret missions, profiles for all the active agents, and files related to Baek San.

After some research, she heads over to the Blue House to meet with President Ha Seung-jin (Jo Sung-ha) over her findings on NSS and what its mission was (primarily to manage the nuclear development program). But NSS also had all the “black agents” – the ones that did the dirty killings and performed cover-ups over assassinations. Her belief is that Baek San holds all the secrets to NSS. President Ha refers her to meet former   president Jo Myung-ho to find out those secrets. It was his understanding that President Jo had been fully briefed, even though there is no written record. It should be easier than making Baek San talk.

A flashback reveals that President Jo knew that the nuclear development was near completion, but Baek San never gave confirmation. Instead, he had all the nuclear scientists involved killed, and thus is the only one with the key to the truth.

Pretending to be NSS, an IRIS team led by Rei helicopters to the remote island jail where Baek San is held. Rei steps out of the helicopter and is greeted by the guards, who weren’t expecting him to arrive so soon. They lead him into the depths of the jail, through corridors of locked security gates.

In solitary confinement, Baek San sits in his high-security jail cell, reading a book. An IRIS agent left back on the helicopter snipes down a guard at the watch tower. As soon as the last gate leading to Baek San’s cell opens, Rei’s men shoot the guards down. They quickly and effectively eliminate every single one of the guards with their machine guns, setting off bombs in their offices. Yeah – I’m sure Baek San heard all that.

Gunfight in the halls; bombs exploding behind the IRIS agents randomly; Rei skipping over a rolling dead body – if I didn’t know that the IRIS guys were evil, they would look like total badass superheroes right now. One of his men manages to infiltrate the surveillance room and unlock Baek San’s cell.

The lights turn on, and we find that Baek San is in a cage, isolated in the middle of a square, empty room. (I didn’t know Baek San and Magneto were considered one and the same.) Baek San is simply waiting to be escorted out.

They get on the helicopter, and once in flight Baek San unbuckles his belt to tie up a wounded agent’s bandage. He then grasps the boy’s neck, and craaack – kills him in one swift twist. The other agent attacks him, but Baek San twists his arm and then shoots him down. Rei pulls out his gun – which still has one bullet – but Baek San shoots first… and kills the pilot. He pulls open the door and freaking jumps out without a parachute into the cold sea below. WHAT!?

Unable to see him, and the plane going down quick, Rei fastens himself onto the pilot seat and quickly steers the helicopter back upright, and flies off.

At this point, the real NSS helicopter carrying Yoo-gun arrives on the island, and they see what’s left of the jail. Soo-yeon and Hyun-woo also join him, and they split up to confirm the security of the island and investigate what happened. Hyun-woo goes high, climbing the cell tower. Soo-yeon goes low, checking the shore. She finds a strange lump in the sand being washed over by the waves.

As Yoo-gun reports into headquarters over the status of the situation, he senses a presence behind him. He pulls out his gun – and aims at the person behind Soo-yeon; it’s Baek San, who has his own gun trained at her. A whisper into his earpiece, and Hyun-woo is alerted. He quickly sets up his sniper gun.

Baek San wants to speak with Chief Park alone. Hyun-woo is already at the ready, and counts down from three. Just before he reaches one, Soo-yeon spots him and grimaces. Yoo-gun tells him to hold fire, but Soo-yeon ducks down to allow Hyun-woo to shoot. Baek San quickly pulls her back up, and Hyun-woo ends up shooting Soo-yeon. They both go down.

Baek San is taken in nevertheless back to headquarters, and Yoo-gun interrogates him while he has a lot of wires taped up to his brain. It infuriates Yoo-gun that he’s not answering the most basic questions, and Hyun-woo can tell that Soo-yeon’s injury is affecting his ability to interrogate.

Chief Park realizes he needs to step in and trades places with Yoo-gun. They seem to have known each other in the past, when Baek San was still director. Chief Park wants to know why Baek San surrendered to NSS, but Baek San taunts him: “Isn’t that your job to find out?” Since he’ll be imprisoned for a while again, Baek San has one request: to get daily copies of The New York Post, Washington Daily, and The Moscow Times. Chief Park doesn’t want to give it to him, but Baek San hints that relenting to his request will be the way to find out why he surrendered.

Yoo-gun and Hyun-woo visit Soo-yeon in the hospital, where she’s still unconscious. He receives a call from Mr. Ji and updates the father on her condition. Her parents had dreaded for this moment, but knew this day would come. After he hangs up, he reassures Hyun-woo that she’ll be okay, and that he would have done the same thing in his position.

That evening, Yoo-gun tries to access more information on Baek San through the NSS servers, but his access is denied for this top level information. Left with no new leads, they then escort Baek San to the nearest safe house, Camp KC, in an armored truck and a security detail; Yoo-gun opts to sit in the truck with Baek San.

In the surveillance room, Chief Park fills Yoo-gun in on Baek San’s history as a top agent from the CIA before coming to NSS. Yoo-gun requests access to Baek San’s file, but of course he’s not getting any. On the TV screens, Baek San stares into their eyes through the cameras, aware that they’re currently watching his every move.

Security is on him 24/7 as Hyun-woo watches Baek San’s every meticulous movement. Hyun-woo analyzes his newspapers and Baek San’s eye movements to find clues into what he could be planning with IRIS – perhaps through codes.

Back at NSS, head of scientific research Oh Hyun-kyu (Yoon Joo-sang is back!) is still obsessing over his stocks. Chief Park interrupts his trading for the results on his analysis on the newspaper codes. But there are no results. There’s nothing weird with what he’s reading.

At Camp KC, Yoo-gun delivers more newspapers to Baek San and new reading glasses. Making small talk, Baek San asks after Soo-yeon’s condition. Yoo-gun merely bows politely and takes away the old papers. I bet those glasses are actually spy glasses so that it can track what Baek San is looking at better.

At an IRIS hideout, Yun-hwa hands Rei a phone. Mr. Black gives Rei the go-ahead for Operation X. The men suit up and  head out.

Chief Park returns to Camp KC with no new results on the code; it’s possible Baek San is just trying to confuse them and throw them off his scent. Byung-jin did have a theory that the headlines and pictures could be connected, but they have no solid evidence. Chief Park then sends Hyun-woo back to headquarters; they issued a new ID card for him because he lost his old one. HAR HAR – since when were agents so careless?!

Idols.

That evening, Yoo-gun does a double check on security and has everyone report in. Cameras are on, but they don’t notice the two SUV’s of IRIS agents rolling up. Yun-hwa and a fellow agent have put the surveillance cameras on a loop, so it looks like nothing has changed outside the camp. One by one, they silently take down every single guard, and throw gas bombs into the security room. One agent manages to press the alert button, but NSS doesn’t realize they’re under attack right away. After all – the cameras show nothing.

And yet, the IRIS agents inch ever closer to Baek San’s cell once again.

Comments:

Interesting first episode, but frankly not quite thrilling. But that’s also a good thing! This episode has been able to set up a the plot for future episodes. It’s given us a background on the characters so we can understand their relationships, and it also set up the investigation into IRIS and Baek San. Their new director has a straight motive to take down IRIS; we don’t know her beef against the organization, but we know that’s her goal. We also know that IRIS is desperately trying to get Baek San back – perhaps to punish him for his last failure – but we don’t know Mr. Black’s endgame with Baek San. While there are certain things where we must hold our disbelief (an agent losing his ID card?!) because there is no way that NSS agents could be that idiotic, being believable was never this franchise’s strong point. At this point, I automatically overlook them.

Now for the cast. I hope that this drama will not completely waste its cast as it did with Athena. Here, Jang Hyuk is a good fit for the spy role, as he’s excelled in playing gruff, stoic men who also have a sense of humor. Because he’s already a leader in NSS, it’s more believable when he breaks the rules, rather than if he were a low-ranking agent. (That was pretty much Jung Woo-sung‘s character in Athena.) Yoon Doo-joon exceeded my expectations – because I had no expectations for him as an actor. Lee Da-hae hasn’t had the chance to show a terrible amount of range just yet; Lee Joon and Baek Sung-hyun are my new bromance buddies. Lee Beom-soo has never disappointed me, and so I hope he doesn’t with his role either. All in all – everyone can play these roles straight, and it’ll be fine. I’m hoping for a little more depth and subtlety, but we’ll have to see.

I am definitely eager to know more about Yun-hwa’s deal, since her background profile details her as Sun-hwa’s younger sister. How she ended up on the IRIS organization would be an interesting tale to see, because she had to completely change her face to run away from the North Korean spies. In IRIS, Sun-hwa (Kim So-yeon) had said that her mother and siblings died because of her, so how did Yun-hwa end up being part of the North Korean agents? Her relationship with Joong-won, and Joong-won’s defection of North Korea are both plot points I want to follow – and once again the North Korean agents are stealing the show…

I am quite impressed that director Pyo Min-soo managed to pull off this action drama when he tends to do rom-coms (see Coffee House, or You’ve Fallen for Me, or Full House). There are moments where the scenes go a little too overboard in cheesy (see the remote island jail break-in), but there were some cinematic touches that made it special: the blood on the grass, the fight sequence in the warehouse, the mostly quiet chase scene through the container terminal, the car flipping. Unfortunately, the editing is quite awkward. It bluntly cuts from one scene to the next and at times is confusing in regards to the time line. I understand that they’re trying to hit a lot of plot points as quickly as possible, but it was quite jarring because I didn’t know what was next or what to expect.

We’ll have to see if IRIS 2 can live up to its predecessors – or perhaps surpass them all. After all, third time’s a charm, right?

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100 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. chane

    Thanks for your recap kaedejun, i had just watched IRIS the movie in KBS World and it really sucked(mostly because of the ending) but your recap of IRIS S1 was awesome so i’m gonna tune in for this one!!!

  2. snow_white

    thanks for the recap……waiting for more reviews to decide whether to watch this or not…..

  3. kakashi

    I simply LOVED the first episode. There were so many beautiful sets and backgrounds … I have high hopes for this show! Please don’t disappoint.

  4. YBisTOP

    Wasn’t actress that is playing Yun-hwa in Athena too? or am I mistaking her from someone else…? Anyways, just got done watching the first episode. I’m super duper ooooober excited for the next episodes!!

    • 4.1 YT629

      No, the actress playing Yun-hwa is Im Soo hyang who was not in any of the previous series. Soo Ae, and Lee Ji ah were the leads in Athena. Yunhwa is a completely new character who is the younger sister of Kim So Yeon’s character, Sunhwa. Which is interesting because Sunhwa had thought in Athena that her mother and siblings were killed in retaliation when she defected. And then when her husband and child died, she thought that North Korean agents did it, giving her an ax to grind in this series. I would love to see Kim so yeon in a multi-episode cameo in this series wrecking havoc and revenge. Not to mention, it’d make good emotional fodder to see the two sisters pitted against each other.

      • 4.1.1 YBisTOP

        ahhh!! Lee Ji ah really looks like Im Soo Hyang to me.. lol. But, yes! I would definitely love to see Kim so yeon in a cameo in this drama. She was amazing in Iris 1.. not sure about Athena, because I didn’t watch it.

      • 4.1.2 Chris

        I agree with you 100%. I really hope Kim So Yeon comes back for even just a LITTLE BIT for Iris 2. I’m missing her too much right now from Iris 1, it’s killing me. So, I’m hoping that her and this younger sister will come face-to-face.

  5. snow_white

    one question: do I need to watch IRIS or Athena before watching this??

    • 5.1 YBisTOP

      Maybe Iris 1 so you know what happened and what they are trying to uncover.

      • 5.1.1 kakashi

        not really… they do a pretty decent wrap-up in the beginning. I think it’s very stand-alonish

        • 5.1.1.1 Laurita

          I sort of watched the first ep (with distractions and very bad internet connection, so I don’t want to repeat it again ) and I actually feel the need to get more info… (as I didn’t watch the IRIS).

          I don’t know who was Sun-hwa and why that girl is called her sister (?).
          Who is that guy in Cambodia?
          And the most important – who was (and is) Baek San? Was he a double agent?
          :)

          • 5.1.1.1.1 Orion

            The recap in the start explains it. It just goes fast, so watch it 2-3 times to get everything.

            It speaks of Baek San and briefly mentions Seon Hwa too. We will probably know more as we go along.

            As for Cambodia, you mean Joong Won? Lee Beom Soo’s character? Well, you know as much as we do. He’s a new character so let’s wait and see. ;)

          • 5.1.1.1.2 Laurita

            Yep, I meant Joong Won :)

            Ok, I’m home now and will try to watch it again, without any interferences.

    • 5.2 owl

      Hi snow white – I am on ep 8 of IRIS and am simultaneously watching IRIS 2 and I think it helps a lot. I hope to finish IRIS this week for background.

  6. hanna

    Uh-uh the killer was so scary.

    First & foremost i’m happy to see Bonggu once again after JWC. *sigh* why is it that it’s hard for me recognized LDH?
    Thanks for the recap.

  7. Orion

    Thanks for the lovely review! Just two points you misunderstood though:

    Baek San didn’t snap the agent’s neck (it’s thankfully not that easy to do). He rendered him unconscious. The actor is Kim Ji Min (An Sub in ‘Bridal Mask’) so I doubt they only hired him for that scene.

    The explosions behind the IRIS team were caused by grenades the agents behind Ray were throwing in the rooms they passed by, to make sure they killed everyone there and won’t get ambushed from behind.

    Personally, I’m loving this compared to ‘IRIS’. I didn’t sign up for bromance or chasing after girls and definitely not for corny romance. I signed up for ass kicking and intrigue. So far, I’m getting what I want.

    • 7.1 Orion

      P.S: I was trying not to give a spoiler for Kim Ji Min (he’s in episode 2), but they actually show him again in Episode 1. When operation X begins, he’s the guy who says “Get ready”.

    • 7.2 The Real CZ

      I feel the same way. This drama has a lot more action and more focus on the plot than being a romance drama with all of this spy stuff in the background. Since the main two characters already have an established relationship, a lot of the romantic lead up can be skipped since they don’t need to develop that storyline.

      • 7.2.1 Boo

        Yes, I agree!!

        @Orion – I recognized Kim Ji Min from Gakistal too, hehe.

    • 7.3 Dominique

      Thanks, Orion! Your comment is very encouraging, so much so that I will watch this drama after all.

      • 7.3.1 Orion

        Hope you like it! ^_^ I disliked the first and came into this with lowered expectations, so I can’t guarantee everyone will like it, but I do think it’s doing well enough in comparison. My comparison though. :P

  8. Rin

    So I never finished IRIS but I’m giving IRIS 2 a go and see how it’ll go…

    First thing, so the time skip and stuff in the beginning was confusing… so was Yoo-gun part of NSS in the beginning with the car chase or was that after? If it’s after then damn, then they skipped a lot with him just being a team leader and all… I was just confused lol.

    Though I think the action scenes aren’t too bad! (: I actually think they’re pretty badass lol.

  9. Lola B

    Thanks Kaedejun

    CHUNO casts team-up again !. Quite exciting in the 1st episode.

    We could see the young NSS team has close team work but soon we don’t know if any one of them switch their interest or loyalty for country.

    Plot wise quite clear but the story not as “settled” yet .

    Agreed with you, the editing is confusing !.

    • 9.1 Conny

      Hahaha!! I thought the same.. Loved Chuno.

      I also have to agree on the editing part. It was a bit confusing jumping from the ‘General’ being arrested to JH getting ‘scouted’ for the NSS to him being in charge of new trainees. I think it could have been done better.
      I did like the car chase scene, especially after it turned into a near silent game of cat and mouse, and even my 12 year old had himself a good chuckle when JH drives past the ‘General’ who’s hiding in the shadow… then suddenly backs up. His reply? HA, BUSTED!!

      I’m going to keep my eyes on this one mainly because I need a break from Melo and RomComs and am just aching for a good action/thriller (The Virus anyone?).

  10. 10 Yeo Dongsaeng

    After Iris 1 ended with a very intriguing ending, there was this video revealing the person (or let’s say people) behind the death of Kim Hyun Jun (Lee Byung-hun). And that video showed Kim Sun Hwa(Kim So Yeon) killing Hyun Jun. So I was really curious because it seems like it’s not really Sun Hwa who killed him but her younger sister, Yun Hwa. Englighten me. Did they change it? or what? Ahh.. confusing! :’(

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to this new IRIS but of course, it would have been much better (the clamour of almost all fans) if they didn’t kill Hyun Jun and if they would bring back Lee Byung-hun again…. aagh …

    (sorry for my English, I know it’s disgusting kekekek ^^)

    • 10.1 YT629

      No, that was the ending to the movie. I think the movie was a completely different story from the kdrama because they obviously had to edit out a lot of material. For the purposes of the kdrama continuity in Iris and Athena, I think we’re supposed to assume that Kim Hyun Joon was killed by Iris agents Rei and Yunhwa. Also, it would make no sense if Sunhwa had killed Hyun joon because it would completely be a break with her character. I think maybe in the movie, they just ended it that way for the shock factor…

      • 10.1.1 Yeo Dongsaeng

        I missed it out, I forgot it was the ending of the movie adaptation… Aissssh …. Now I don’t know if I’m going to like IRIS 2 …But still .. My curiosity gives me a reason to keep up with this drama .. PUT LEE BYUNG-HUN BACK~! kekekek …T.T

        Anyway, thanks for clarifying! ^^ I greatly appreciate it.

  11. 11 haha

    Oh! It was full of details, key persons and backbones…I needed to use my brain quite hard…hahaha…but I liked. It was quite entertaining. Maybe because I didn’t have so much expectations, but it’s actually better than the normal K-drama which show/need explain everything. There is a lot of mystery in it, and you can’t guess exactly how they gonna develop the storyline….Good. I’m on board.

    • 11.1 Chris

      Me too. FULLY on board :D

  12. 12 lala

    Thanks for the recap!!
    Lee Dae Hae looks kind of scary!!
    I wish she never have that stupid plastic surgery when she’s already pretty during My girl.

    • 12.1 Kimmi

      THANK YOU! i hate how she looks now bc im a fan of hers back then and now she just look old n fake which is sad cause she was so pretty to began with

  13. 13 cacazeel

    The scene where Soo-yeon ducks down to allow Hyun-woo to shoot, it was so lame i think, i mean if she had stayed still, hyun-woo could have easily shot Baek San.
    It was so obvious that if she moved, that old dude would move too or do something and that’s what happened -.- seriously i found that weird

    i’m still not sure whether i’m liking the drama or not, it’s good in some parts but certain parts are very confusing
    oh well, gonna watch ep 2 and see

  14. 14 Kerstin

    Thanks for the recap KaedeJun, but I think you got the characters wrong. Lee Joon isn’t in episode 1. The one complaining bout lying in the snow for three hours is Baek Sung-hyun.
    I haven’t seen episode 2 yet but I do hope that you continue to recap this series. ^_^

  15. 15 ilikemangos

    Awesome! I had a feeling you would recap this series.
    I’m usually good at predicting which minion will recap which series once everything falls into place.
    I’ll try and stick iris 2 into my busy schedule of k-dramas!

  16. 16 V

    I want to love this drama but the editing drove me crazy. I couldn’t really follow because of it.

  17. 17 lovin it

    thanks for the recap!
    happy to see sung dong il in an action role

  18. 18 Jasmine

    I honestly didn’t see the chemistry between the two leads, which is weird, because they did so well before. Lee Dahae’s character is also not very engaging as the female lead. The BEST dynamic and chemistry right now is the Lee Bum Soo-Im Soo-hyang plotline! Action scenes were pretty good. Yoon Doojoon, on the other hand (after seeing episode 2), I’ve marked as not so good second lead to LDH. They should have brought in a more experienced actor. I’m all for idol actors if they can pull it off, but I’m really not convinced. And I’m griping about it because I want Iris 2 to be good (so I’ll continue watching). Episode 2 was literally a snooze fest half the time because the “all encompassing evil” of Iris corp and the importance of Baek San doesn’t translate well in the sequel. Kadaejun is right; the series thus far (up to ep2) is NOT thrilling.

    • 18.1 Jasmine

      oops *kaedejun…my bad!

  19. 19 AdamK

    Most of the action in this episode was terrible. Apparently all the IRIS guards are incompetent because they just run into a room and wait to get shot.

  20. 20 dany

    thank you! off to watch!

  21. 21 HeadsNo2

    I was excited for this show, if only because it features the A-Team of casts, and I pretty much love everyone in it. (Also, seriously, who ISN’T in this show? Every veteran cast member is a familiar face.) But I think PD Pyo Min-soo’s inexperience with action or any suspense-themed show really shows here. He seems out of his element, so even though things flash and bang on screen, nothing is edited in such a way as to build suspense or bring weight to the action on screen. The slowmo in the fight scenes almost does the show a disservice, because it actually only serves to slow the action down, when normally slowmo can be used effectively to maximize the point of impact (see: Chuno).

    All in all it’s like we have the most perfect ingredients imaginable, but if the cook is terrible the dish can only turn out so well. Keeping my hopes up, though. And as always, awesome recap!

    • 21.1 Orion

      This had two directors. Kim Tae Hoon who also directed Athena is on board. I’m not sure who does more or who does what, but they’re both working on it.

  22. 22 Owl

    I really love this. I am watching IRIS simultaneously and just wanna say that my dream Kdrama job is female top hacker in Korea!

    • 22.1 TS

      Yeah, because you get to hook up with TOP.

      • 22.1.1 Orion

        It didn’t end too well for her. Bwahaha. Although I can almost hear TOP’s fangirls going “It’s something”. XD

        • 22.1.1.1 Chris

          HAHAHA. Which btw, that scene completely threw me, and I nearly fell off my chair…..I was like whaaat woooooow Top. Wow.

      • 22.1.2 owl

        *shaking head up and down vigorously* uh-huh, yeah!

  23. 23 TS

    So is David Mcinnis/ Rei the TOP/Vic character here?

    • 23.1 Orion

      Nope. Not the same character. Ray was seen near the ending of ‘IRIS’ too.

  24. 24 meanrice

    I watched this before I went to work this morning. First of all it took me forever to recognize Yoon Doo-joon, and the only reason I did was because I was like he looks like that dude from Running Man Idol Olympics last summer. I was impressed that I did not realize he was an idol.

    Second of all, I like this drama. I hope we don’t get mired in romance, I want intrigue. I want a story where romance is second to the action.

    I did not finish the original IRIS, got all the way to episode 17 and stopped. I found the recap at the beginning a very useful. Thank you casting agent for all the really pretty men you put in this.

  25. 25 Cynthia

    I enjoyed this premiere ep – especially because the original IRIS had that fuzzy questionable ending (is he REALLY dead or will there be IRIS 2 where we watch Hyun joon’s miraculous recovery in a hospital bed with a vaporizer blowing that miracle-mist over him…?)
    At least this ep was clear cut about the assassination.

    It’s fun seeing the two Chuno leads together again – designer ‘spy wear’ looks good on both of them.
    :)

  26. 26 asianromance

    Thanks for the recap! My kdrama plate is pretty full, but the cast of actors makes me really want to check it out. So many recognizable faces in this drama!

    • 26.1 dcmbr

      Same here, I am currently watching 3 dramas, not sure if that’s considered full or not.

  27. 27 supidcupid

    sorry but THIS Yoon Shi-hyuk (Lee Joon)!! is not Lee Joon he is not appear in this 2 ep.

    • 27.1 andy

      i only watch iris 2 because Lee Joon, although he only has small screen time..but i don’t think i see him or is that i’m so bad in recognizing people?

  28. 28 dcmbr

    I’ve waited so long for Iris 2, and the wait was worth it so far! Love all the characters so far too!

  29. 29 pigtookie

    is there any place to get subs (preferably in good quality) besides dramafever? i think i’ll keep watching it there… i can’t tell how decent the subs are anyways but i came across a line they were speaking in Chinese, in which the translation stays true to the meaning but not so much the manner of speech, the choice of diction.

  30. 30 Mika~

    I know Jung Yoogeun and Jung Yoogun are spelled differently in Korean, but when I read Jung Yoogun in my head, I end up pronouncing it the same way… So I can’t help imagining the precious little toddler instead of the bad-ass agent when I read this recap…

  31. 31 jazz

    that is not lee joon! he hasn’t appeared on the first two episode yet, could you please check:))

  32. 32 deanna

    felt like I was in limbo while watching episode 1. fail. the narration and editing were crappy, did they edit this an hour before the show premier?LOL
    episode 2 is okay tho.

    • 32.1 confused

      i agree i mean i actually had a lot of issues with it… amongst which the c4 on the door, relatively minor but the door is just gone? it vaporized? it didnt fall.. no scorch marks or remnants… no damage to the door frame.. the whole resort training… i mean i dont remember the original iris so well, but everything just seems off. tons of things irked me

  33. 33 confused

    can i ask about episode 2… minor spoiler warning…

    was it yun-hwa in bed with the nss director right? it confused me because the time i guess was jumping, seemed she was here there here awful fast…. i was thinking it was her in cambodia… then for half a second i thought it was her behind rei after she had just been talking to him on the phone… it took me a second to realize that was someone else from NSS… presumably the leak… right? i think… sorry maybe im just tired…

    also was it just me or is it had to figure out what the heck is going on with yun hwa… they seemed to jump back and forth in time, placing her in korea (i think) then back to cambodia, now shes in budapest and i thought for an instant she was going to show back up in cambodia…

    • 33.1 Orion

      You have to realize, all this stuff didn’t happen within a few days and even if it did, I don’t find it weird, personally.

      She went to Cambodia to try her luck with Joong Won. Then went back for the second raid to get Baek San. I don’t think IRIS would just put their huge organized attack off to let her stay in Cambodia and beg after one guy. She’s the one who has to stick to IRIS schedules, not the other way around. And it seems like getting Joong Won was more her idea than IRIS’.

      After the raid was done, she went back to Cambodia to take another whack at him before going back to HQ to get ready for Budapest.

      I’m sure IRIS has enough money for a few tickets and if a spy doesn’t travel a lot, who would? :P

      I think that, as viewers of kdrama, we’re just too used to airport/flight/travel cuts that most people are now getting confused over something clear as day. She’s in Cambodia, then Korea, then Cambodia, then Hungary. She clearly reached those countries somehow (hopefully not by swimming) so what is confusing?

      • 33.1.1 confused

        it was the bedroom scene on the phone that confused me… think that was right between 2 cambodia scenes, take that out and give me a little more sleep and i think im ok haha

        • 33.1.1.1 Orion

          Bwahaha. That wasn’t Yeon Hwa, so don’t worry. She can’t teleport. She’d be a kick-ass spy if she could though. XD

    • 33.2 deanna

      Warning : SPOILER

      No. She’s the secretary of NSS Director and revealed to be the mole of NSS. I haven’t watch ep 2 w/subs yet so yeah, that’s all I know.

      • 33.2.1 confused

        i hate to ask this (talked to a friend actually stopped mid episode 2 and forgot whats going on haha) but without backing up… youre saying that the one in bed with the director is the secretary (makes more sense, forgot about her). which means that the one behind rei was probably her… which also makes a shit ton more sense… i was just tired and jumped to a conclusion then just got confused… i also literally though howd her hair get longer then shorter then longer… massive fail me i forgot the secretary existed… wow… feel really dumb now haha… this also completely solves my timeline issue

        • 33.2.1.1 confused

          yeah im an idiot, i just forgot the secretary and went waiit who is that, theyre clearly showing her for a reason and convinced myself it was someone it wasnt. from that determination nothing made sense because it was wrong… wow… fail

          • 33.2.1.1.1 confused

            one point though.. .despite how wrong i was… i did think it cool if ridiculous tha yun-hwa was doing so much shit and still managed to directly get info out of the nss director. essentially giving her direct ties to iris, north and the south and probably doing her own thing on the side so shes some super spy and no one has any clue what side shes on except her own agenda

  34. 34 Tina Tann

    tq kaedejun,

    Now netizens are commenting about the fake guns .

    So they want to see real guns with the big budget ?.

    Scary man !!.

    • 34.1 confused

      i suppose i deserved that haha, i kept that in mind but there were writing and other things… the didnt need to do a fake explosion to get that door open…

    • 34.2 Orion

      Real guns can and should be used in any production. Not for looks alone, but so that actors can act with the real weight of a gun and make it believable. They’re just not shooting real bullets.

      The thing here is, it’s one thing to have glaringly obvious toy guns anyone can tell at any time are fake and a whole other thing for a gun expert to notice them after manically pausing every little scene.

      Yes, if you act like a Korean obsessed netizen and pause ever 2 frames, you’re bound to find a looooooot of mistakes. Any movie/series is full of them, but it does not count as a mistake when most people simply don’t notice.

      Also, the picture was apparently from ‘IRIS’, not ‘IRIS2′, so I guess this whole thing was done by some losers and then elevated to “big news” by crap outlets like Nate. It works. The net is full of it. I say, good. More publicity. :P

  35. 35 Fiona

    thanks kaedejun

    I am wondering who is mr black ? Another white man ?.
    They should take a black man for a change.

    Will there be romance between
    yun hwa and joong won ?

  36. 36 Abbie

    I actually watched this episode first and was quite impressed. I’ll stick with it for now. Thanks for the recap, Kaedejun.

  37. 37 Maris

    Do I need to watch Iris before this one?

  38. 38 Ruth

    I feel like I’m coming in a little late to this. Been out of town with my husband and son for some college stuff. I finally watched ep. 1 and 2 of Iris II, but I’ll just give my impressions of I since that’s what this thread is about.

    1. I love Jang Hyuk. He’s not the prettiest man out there, but when he smiles, you just fall right into it. Swoon.

    2. I thought I was going to be really annoyed by Lee Da Hae but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. I like that she’s confident and happy.

    3. I LOVE that the English speaking parts sound like people speaking English rather than people that have memorized the sounds of English speaking (if that makes sense).

    4. That said, I’m not sure why there was so much English speaking. I get that character played by David McGinnis might be a native speaker, but the rest of the characters all seem Korean. Is this part of Iris’ plan to keep people from understanding what’s going on if they happen across their radio frequency? Why not Russian? or Icelandic or something?

    5. Um, the fight scene on the island? Really? That was seriously one of the most unrealistic, gratuitous pyrotechnic exploding, awful gun battles, I’ve ever seen. NONE of the baddies got shot? Not even one? McGinnis gets to walk in at the front of the onslaught; fire off two or three shots (which never miss); and, NEVER even gets grazed by a bullet? Come on. I get that it’s a tv show, but you could at least TRY to make it semi-realistic. Couldn’t you?

    6. And a secret passage from a maximum security safe house holding cell? Really? That’s what you’re going with?

    7. Even so, I’m loving Kim Young Sul. I didn’t like him in Iris (he was just so evilly bad). I like this older side of him though. It makes sense to me. No, he’s not redeemed, but I’m not sure that he needs to be in the very gray, shadow world they all live in.

    8. Oh Yeon Su – I tend to not really like her characters. Not so in this case. I love her as the deputy director. I’m interested to see how her obvious need for some type of revenge will put her at odds with her boss.

    • 38.1 Orion

      1. Agreed.

      2. Oddly, agreed.

      3. Oh hell yes.

      4. IRIS is international so English makes sense because all members can speak it to some degree.

      5. Many IRIS members die in both episodes, but they’re not the main characters we keep seeing. You can see them falling on the background. The explosions are caused by grenades thrown by agents in rooms behind them, to kill any NSS members in them and these goons also shoot most of the NSS agents that come near Ray. The goal is to get in there fast and get Ray to Baek San. His main task is to Run, Ray, Run. And at the end of the day, when has an action movie or series been realistic and just killed off a main characters because it made sense? :P At least people survive semi-believably here.

      6. I loved that idea, actually. Perfect escape plan. If all outside routes have been taken care of, it’s brilliant. Hide it well from the prisoner and make it work with a code and you’re ready to go.

      7. Agreed about Baek San. He was a caricature in ‘IRIS’. Bad for being bad. No motivations, reasons, explanations. I want to know more about the morals and events that lead him to this in ‘IRIS2′.

      8. Choi Min is awesome so far. She will whip everyone into shape in there. THE Boss!

      Happy watching! :D

  39. 39 beggar1015

    I at least made it through the entire first episode, unlike the first IRIS. I totally agree with Ruth about the island prisonbreak. All the prison guards, wearing body armor, all get killed without taking down or even wounding any of the IRIS guys? Puh-lease. Not sure if I’ll bother with the next episode. I like action as much as the next person but so far I’m not impressed.

  40. 40 Drakyu

    Even her first Action role, LDH did really well. This is the 1st episode, so her action scenes aren’t thrill and tough. But you all can watch her toughness in all the teasers. At first, I thought why did they offer the leading lady to LDH? It should be Ha Ji Won. But I was wrong. LDH is really hardworking. She has respect on her job. After I watched IRIS 2 performance on KBS Drama Awards, I knew that. Now I am expecting her more and more. She rock me. Ha Ha……IRIS 2 and LDH Fighting!!!!!!

  41. 41 amareally

    I like this drama … it’s pretty intense and action pack, though sometimes cliché. I didn’t watch the first one, or Athena, I’m kinda interested to see the connections between them

  42. 42 Irish Law

    I feel a lil bit odd myself watching the romance scenes between the lead characters, especially if the man is the secret agent team leader in mission, how could he have dinner and sightseeing with his secret agent partner while the enemy is scary and tough like the IRIS team? it could be dangerous if the enemy knows our hero is currently dating his secret agent partner, our hero will be more emotional and could do irrational action if something happen to his secret agent partner, is this what the writer wanted for the story end?
    I don’t mind the romance but in the world of secret agent, we have to be more careful in showing personal emotion, it would be better if they show a little romance but it left deepest feeling to us, just like in ALIAS..
    To be honest, the scene when Yoo Gun told Soo Yeon’s father on the phone that he will protect his daughter is a bit cheesy and somehow make me think that Yoo Gun will more protect his secret agent girlfriend than his country. It would be interesting plot but it’s still weak and cheesy for a grand production like IRIS 2. I wish they won’t waste the talented leading cast for that.

    • 42.1 Orion

      Korean drama. Melo sells and there’s no escaping it, but we can hope for a less soapy version of what we usually get.

  43. 43 Jennie

    TQ KAEDEJUN.

    I am guessing that somewhere in the middle of this

    drama something will happen to yoo gun – seriously

    injured and amnesia ?, I hope not. Such lame plot !.

    Better make it more realistic this time !.

  44. 44 Yj2465

    My guess is that the main man’s father is director Baek. I just have this odd feeling, and if were delving more into director baek’s secrets, I bet Jang hyuk’s character is one of them. He is fatherless…

    • 44.1 Orion

      I don’t think they’d go with that again. Baek San already has one daughter and that birth secret was over and done with in ‘IRIS’. It would be ridiculous to do this again.

      • 44.1.1 Yj2465

        Ah I forgot about that storyline lol. Who know they’re known for being redundant with storylines

  45. 45 Boo

    I finally watched this and EP 2. EP 2 is definitely more interesting to watch since EP 1 had to include a lot of background info.

    I’m glad that Doojoon had a lot of screentime. I didn’t know how active his character would be. I really want him to do well.

    I wasn’t a fan of Lee Da Hae, but she’s already growing on me from the 2nd EP.

    So far, there’s been more action than romance, thank goodness.

  46. 46 Noelle

    HOLY CRAP! David McInnis where the hell have you been all my life!?

    • 46.1 Orion

      Growing older and more handsome to grace our eyes with his amazing looks now. ;)

  47. 47 Fanny

    well, I didn’t like IRIS but I loved Athena… let’s see what the amazing Jang hyuk has chosen as project this time, I’m a big fan of this man, so, i’m definitely watching !

  48. 48 Hanh

    The editing is super jarring and there is no smooth transition. So, I got confused an had a hard time following along in this first episode. Here’s hoping it gets better since I’m dying to the know the back story to the little sister.

  49. 49 bunchie

    thanks for the recap kaedejun.. :) where are the other episodes’ recap ??? im so addicted with this drama…. thanks and more power…..

  50. 50 나타

    heyy. i totally agreed with you on the comment. but i already got through the first two boring episodes and the third one is worth it! so please don’t stop watching and recapping. at lease the first season is one of legendary action dramas so this second season will sure be worth watching. let’s watch it together!

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