Incarnation of Money: Episode 10
What is it that’s most precious to you? Is it love, justice, power, or money? As this show continues to ask more questions about fundamental values and beliefs, our characters are challenged when those things are pulled out from under them or left to watch as they disintegrate before their eyes. Perhaps now that what they consider most dear is gone, they’ll start to chase new dreams with a new ambition.
The series suffered some setbacks in ratings this past weekend with Episode 9 pulling in a 12.2% and another dip with Episode 10 at 11.4%.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
As Se-kwang waits for an answer, it’s as if his piercing gaze can see right through Cha-don’s nerves. But then Cha-don smiles in return and in a calm voice, offers to find the infamous Shudal himself. Se-kwang tells him that won’t be necessary and they let the matter drop.
The job for President Choi still up in the air, Cha-don instructs Chief Yang to continue – Se-kwang hasn’t made the connection that he’s Shudal. I’d say he has a pretty good educated guess.
They sit in the sauna to wait for their informant and I love how Chief Yang hangs a lantern on their meeting place: “Do we have to meet in a place like this?” Did someone watch too many mafia movies? And Cha-don basically tells him to suck it up: “Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet!” Heh.
Chief Yang is about to drop off the intel in the locker room when Chief Prosecutor Jo suddenly whisks him away, pointing to the tail he’s picked up.
Back at the office, Chief Prosecutor Jo makes it clear that they have to stay on their toes with Se-kwang as the new chief inspector. He orders Cha-don to cut off all their ties in their underground network which is something Cha-don isn’t willing to do.
It becomes increasingly apparent that the idea that Se-kwang is their opponent shakes up one man more than the other. The chief prosecutor warns, “If you screw up one more time, you’ll answer to me.” Cha-don takes his leave and lets out a heavy sigh.
It’s both strange and creepy that we find Ji-hoo lying within the corpse outline at the crime scene. Er, can someone remind her that a guy died there barely a day ago?
She’s soon joined by Reporter Go, who reminds her that all arrows point to suicide – buried in debt, Lawyer Hwang wanted to die. But Ji-hoo isn’t so sure – someone who intended to kill himself wouldn’t buy a plane ticket to leave the next day. Furthermore, all of his belongings were intact apart from his phone, which is currently missing.
She orders a search team to comb for the phone when she’s suddenly called away.
The entire prosecution team goes out for drinks, and suffice it to say that it is awkward. Cha-don gives himself a pep talk in the bathroom to stay focused, but as luck would have it, he runs into President Choi on his way out, who loudly yaps on about any updates on the job.
Cha-don does his best to quiet the man when he sees Hyuk emerge from the room and quickly sends him away.
Cha-don cuts off his ties with the last of his customers (all CEOs or presidents of various companies) and it looks like his prosecution team also doubles as his underground team. The prospect of losing all of his customers frustrates him and Cha-don scolds his team members to release his exasperation.
He reviews the case on the Silver Rain apparel brand and instructs Chief Yang to perform a background check on Angelina. Convinced that this is their last big job, he says they can’t pull out now. Said like a true shyster.
The inspection department pours over documents trying to find a link between a corrupt prosecutor and a company president to no avail. To everyone’s surprise, it’s the newbie Cha-don who points out the connection within the contract that the men used a broker to settle their deal. This astute deduction earns him praise from Se-kwang.
Afterward, Hyuk asks why Se-kwang removed the chief prosecutor from the internal investigation. The answer is that Se-kwang wants to look into it himself because his sources tell him that somehow Cha-don is involved in his possible misdeeds.
The reason why Cha-don knows so much is because he’s an expert at pinpointing corruption in others. Then Se-kwang confirms that he knows that Cha-don is the infamous Shudal.
But they’ve currently got another problem on their hands because Jae-in has come to the office looking for them. It’s pretty hilarious how Se-kwang is awkwardly nervous in her presence as he stutters in surprise.
Their attempts to calm her down only riles her up even more and she grabs both men with each hand, demanding compensation for her ruined restaurant.
Cha-don asks Ji-hoo if she’s made any headway on the supposed suicide case. He gives her a thumbs-up at her answer that no victim should die an unjust death and asks if there’s any way he can help. Their banter is adorable.
Likewise, Se-kwang agrees to pay for the damages and cocks his head with a twinge of familiarity. Have they met before? But Jae-in misconstrues his compliments for flirting instead (or perhaps thinks he’s just trying to appease her).
Just then, both Cha-don and Ji-hoo appear by the stairwell on their way out to lunch. Jae-in eyes the latter up and down, wondering what Cha-don sees in her.
Then when Ji-hoo invites her superior to lunch, Jae-in cozies up to Cha-don to steal him away instead, declaring their status as lovers. Needless to say that Cha-don is NOT happy about this but Ji-hoo happy steps aside so the lovebirds can spend time with each other.
Funnily enough, all four of them end up at the same restaurant. Se-kwang asks Ji-hoo why she’s still unmarried and when she turns the question on him, he names his workaholic nature as the reason.
He calls her out on her sarcasm and she quickly apologizes that she means that he always seems too busy to get a drink outside the office. He laughs and tells her that he’ll be her drinking buddy anytime she needs one and she positively beams.
Cha-don watches this exchange at a distance with a stern expression while absent-mindedly putting in more and more pepper in his soup. Jae-in calls him out on his jealousy and rubs in that it’s pretty obvious that Ji-hoo isn’t the least bit interested in him.
But then she suddenly does a 180 and pours on the aegyo, pointing to Assistant Kim spying them from a corner. With a forced grin, she tells him to smile. Then she pinches his cheek. Hard.
He returns the favor and before you know it, they’re both pinching each other’s cheeks and Assistant Kim happily relays to Boss Bok that the two kids are enjoying their date. LOL.
They finally let go of that awkward and painful position when the senior prosecutors swing by to say goodbye. Cha-don spoons a mouthful of pepper-filled soup only to spit it out a second later. He asks Jae-in why her mother is suddenly keeping tabs on her and she barks that it’s none of his business.
Back at the office, Hyuk reports that Cha-don’s background check comes up clean though the montage of Cha-don laughing maniacally in his locked vault tells us otherwise. He suggests that further investigation may prove futile, but Cha-don’s blip-free record is even more suspicious in Se-kwang’s eyes.
Se-kwang is handed a file and Hyuk’s eyes flicker with recognition at President Choi’s picture. He recalls that Cha-don referred to him as an uncle, but of course no one in the president’s family tree is a prosecutor. Looks like the chief prosecutor just found Shudal’s sponsor.
Team Shudal sweats over its next course of action after President Choi relays his increased impatience to finish the job. Time is ticking and they know that Se-kwang has placed his men to follow them.
Cha-don knows that they won’t be able to shake off their tail and the others gape when he agrees to meet President Choi as planned and declares that they’ll face the enemy head on.
It’s pretty smart and hilarious how Cha-don walks into their designated meeting place and combs the room for a bug. He plays up the small talk (and Chief Yang furiously shushes the president) until he finally finds the bug hidden in the fish head.
Then Cha-don loudly talks into it about how surprised he is that the president is so unethical and that a Korean prosecutor isn’t some errand boy. President Choi leans in too and responds, “I’m sorry!” Hahahaha – this is pretty funny.
And as expected, Se-kwang’s team listens intently to this exchange in their van. By now, Cha-don dramatically yells that they’re leaving and everyone in the room gets into it. Se-kwang just smirks and immediately recognizes that it’s all an act.
Cha-don is nothing if not thorough and he has Chief Yang foot the bill to keep up the ruse. Only that tactic works against him as Se-kwang walks in to arrest President Choi and thanks Cha-don for his efforts. Ooh, smart.
At Cha-don’s concerned expression, Se-kwang tells him with a smile not to worry. The president will call for Shudal and this way, they’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Chief Prosecutor Jo is in a state of panic at the news and they brainstorm what to do next.
Se-kwang’s interrogation of President Choi reminds us of the already known fact that he excels in this field. Using Cha-don’s name and the president’s daughter’s upcoming wedding is enough to shake the president’s resolve.
So Se-kwang presents his proposition: that the president join hands with them or go to jail. President Choi cracks.
Cha-don is led to the other side of the two-way mirror just as President Choi spills the beans on all of their monetary exchanges and confirms that Cha-don has multiple sponsors. Oh crap.
Then Se-kwang asks his final question: Does he know who Shudal is? The president nods, Cha-don holds his breath, and the president answers: “Lee Cha-don.”
Cha-don looks to Prosecutor Kwon and asks in a soft voice if he really believes what the president just said. Prosecutor Kwon answers that he doesn’t believe the voice of the accused over his own employee.
He does, however, issue a thinly veiled warning: “If you betray my trust, you’ll pay severely. Not just you, but because every prosecutors’ honor depends on it.”
I love how Boss Bok catches her daughter every time she tries to sneak out of the house and that using Cha-don as an excuse backfires on Jae-in. This time, she runs away to a spa appointment and who should jabber on next to her than Angelina.
Jae-in tells her to quiet down and Angelina’s eyes bug out at her neighbor’s rudeness. Angelina passive-aggressively barks at the employees not to let anyone into the VIP room, referring to Jae-in as a bar girl. Jae-in shrills, “Bar girl?!”
Jae-in gets up and stands over Angelina with a bowlful of treatment. Then with a smirk, she pours it on her. Angelina screams and blindly grabs for the nearest person as Jae-in walks out. HA – I could watch Angelina go up against the Bok women all day.
Boss Bok follows her daughter by car and is utterly surprised when she learns that Jae-in owns her own restaurant.
Meanwhile, Ji-hoo informs Cha-don that a search warrant has been issued for his house and that Se-kwang is looking for him. Cha-don makes a run for it but he soon finds himself flanked by Se-kwang’s team.
In a panic, Cha-don calls Chief Yang before hiding his phone near a potted plant just before he’s cornered by Se-kwang. Cha-don plays dumb as Team Shudal listens to the conversation about a secret vault in his house.
Se-kwang advises him not to beat around the bush but Cha-don remains on the defense, calling out the passcode so that Team Shudal can hear. He agrees to cooperate and stalls for time while Team Shudal heads out.
Boss Bok reviews the books on Jae-in’s restaurant and sighs at the sizeable debt. Jae-in scoffs when her mother instructs Assistant Kim to freeze her credit cards. “Money, money, money! Is that all you know, Mom? Is money more precious to you than your daughter?!”
Jae-in bites back that she started this business so that she doesn’t end up like her mother in the loan shark business. Angry tears well up in her eyes when Boss Bok yells at her to get out. “Did you kick Dad out like this too?”
The question stops Boss Bok in her tracks as Jae-in continues that she knows her father isn’t dead like her mother told her. Did she kick him out because he couldn’t make money? Boss Bok slaps her daughter in response.
Jae-in cries that what she’s most embarrassed about is that she carries her mother’s surname (Bok) instead of her father’s. She storms out. Boss Bok lets out a deep, regretful sigh and then grabs her head in pain.
Team Shudal gapes at the piles of amassed cash within the vault and starts piling it into boxes. They’re just about to haul the lot into the car when they hear the police sirens nearby.
The prosecution team arrives at the house with Cha-don in tow and inside, Chief Yang sweats over what to do. An idea comes to him and he nervously hovers over the gas line before cutting it. He slips out of the house and nervously holds a lighter in his hand.
Cha-don notices that his car is parked by the house and realizes that his team is still in the area. He grabs onto Se-kwang’s arm in a last ditch effort to dissuade him. But Se-kwang won’t have it and Cha-don finally hollers: “Have you never committed a crime in your life?!”
The house bursts into flames and Cha-don watches in shock as the fire burns. He thinks to himself: “What’s happening in front of my eyes. My money! My money that’s as precious as my own blood!”
And inside, the bills burns to a crisp.
Ji-hoo backtracks to the crime scene. Surveying her surroundings, she deduces that a fight must have ensued before Lawyer Hwang’s fall and she rifles through the scene… and finds the missing phone.
The fire having died down, Cha-don sheds a tear at the sight of his burned house. Once the prosecution leaves, Team Shudal pops their heads from their hiding places.
Chief Yang apologizes through tears – this was the only solution he could think of. Now penniless, Cha-don breaks down, crying.
What in the what? Mom, what are you doing back at the psych ward? Tears silently stream down her cheek as she recalls that fateful day five years ago when Se-kwang came to pick her up at the orphanage.
Blindfolded and held down, she demands to know where she’s being taken as Se-kwang silently sits across from her. Taken back to that hellish prison, she vows that she intends to fight now that she knows the truth.
After some silence, Se-kwang finally speaks and instructs Mom that if she ever finds Kang-seok, to tell him that he was his father’s killer. But what if Kang-seok is already dead?
Mom cries that it’s not true and Se-kwang gives an evil laugh, telling her to hold onto that silver lining if that comforts her.
In the present, Mom thinks: “You keep on living believing that too. That my son is dead. It will be the happiest time in your life until he appears in front of you again.”
More bad news for Cha-don as his assistant tells him that a disciplinary hearing will be held to determine his future as a prosecutor. With a determined voice, Cha-don declares, “I won’t go down alone. ‘Shudal’? Don’t be ridiculous. Was I the only one who benefited from that money?”
His eyes glaze with new drive. Without a shred of hesitation, he resolves: “You heard of a suicide bomber, right? I have a bomb. Once I take the safety pin out, there are plenty of people who will tremble with fear. I won’t go down alone!”
He crumples the burned bills in his hand.
Cha-don beelines for Chief Prosecutor Jo’s office, who asks if he’s crazy to go ahead with the proceedings – he’ll be indicted for sure. He stammers, confused when Cha-don asks him to stop the indictment, citing that he lacks the authority to do so.
But Cha-don names the laundry list of people who all took his money as prosecutors and notes that the paper trail will lead to one person: Chief Prosecutor Jo.
Cha-don: “Whether I get fired as a prosecutor or get locked up in jail, it’s the same as a death sentence to me. A dead man walking won’t enter the afterlife alone.”
This man is on a mission and I wouldn’t underestimate him. Now that Cha-don doesn’t have a cent to his name, I look forward to see how he’ll build himself back up from the ashes. We missed that transition with the last time-jump in the previous episode where the rookie prosecutor suddenly bloomed into an experienced one with a small secret vault on its own. Money doesn’t grow on trees, right?
As a viewer, seeing the beginning stages where Cha-don has to tap into his natural charisma and astute observations to build those corrupt relationships would have been helpful to better understand his present destitute state. To him that money is linked to his freedom, no matter where it came from and to see that literally burn before his eyes is the same thing as being sent back to hell.
I’ve noticed that the people who make the most sense in this show are the ones dipping into the evil deeds. Like how Lawyer Hwang boldly admitted that he was evil and how Prosecutor Kwon told us that it isn’t easy for someone to stay on the straight and narrow. But if anyone can abide by the law, it’s definitely Ji-hoo, whose character seems to be getting pushed more and more into lovelorn unrequited love territory. Her snap, crackle, and pop personality is still there so I dearly hope she doesn’t get pushed into the wasteside.
I’m just going to say it: Se-kwang, you evil ass. As if we needed another reminder about how you despise the late chairman’s family. I should be thankful that Mom’s still alive and now knows the truth, but I ain’t happy that she’s back in the hellish psych ward. We see that Se-kwang is a smart villain – wearing an invisible moral cloak and thinking three steps ahead of our other baddies.
Which means it makes for a great and exciting upcoming battle between our prosecutors? Will it be corruption versus corruption or will someone turn over a new ethical leaf?