Incarnation of Money: Episode 21
As our war of revenge rages on, our characters learn that the costs of battle may include some things they’re unwilling to give up. Every war suffers casualties and when you lose what’s most near and dear to your heart, will you crumble and admit defeat? Or will you be driven to new extremes to avenge their death?
EPISODE 21 RECAP
Out in the hallway, Jae-in is floored when she learns that the Traitagon are the ones behind the embezzlement charges against Cha-don. She nearly bites Hyuk’s head off before he can get a chance to fully explain the situation and leaves him hanging.
The epic confrontation from the previous episode is momentarily interrupted when Se-kwang is called away to speak with Chief Prosecutor Jo, who has temporarily assumed Prosecutor Kwon’s position. He’s slightly surprised to see Jae-in also present at this meeting and speaks to her in a polite but curt tone.
Se-kwang balks at Chief Prosecutor’s orders to let Cha-don go free, unwilling to see his enemy walk out so easily. But the acting Prosecutor General pulls rank, to which Jae-in gives a slight smirk.
Se-kwang confronts Jae-in for her brashness once they’re outside. But she won’t hear word of it – she knows that Se-kwang is the one pulling the embezzlement strings.
Her charged reaction is enough for Se-kwang to realize that it’s Cha-don, not Hyuk whom she cares for. He warns her to stay away from the situation lest she end up harboring bitter feelings against Cha-don.
To this, Jae-in doles out her own word of warning: Se-kwang won’t be able to make Cha-don suffer anymore because she’ll be the one to protect him.
We finally return to the interrogation room where Se-kwang leans back into his chair. Cha-don is first to break the silence and reminisces about the last time they met when he sought refuge in Se-kwang’s house.
Se-kwang answers that Cha-don ought to have continued to live under the radar because now that he’s declared war, he’s also placed those he cares about at risk.
Cha-don leans forward and scoffs at this thinly veiled threat. “Is this… the kind of justice you were talking about?” Unsurprisingly, Se-kwang embraces the life he’s lived thus far, proud of how his definition of justice has earned him such praise and applause with the public.
“But I need a wider world,” he says, “So I can fulfill an even greater level of justice. But I won’t stand for a small fry like you to get in my way.” How dare Cha-don disturb the world of righteousness he’s built for himself? And that, Se-kwang notes, is Cha-don’s true crime.
Now Cha-don finally understands where Se-kwang is coming from and he admits to having missed the forest for the trees in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths. Thanks to Se-kwang he now realizes “how dangerous justice is without conscience; how violent power can be without righteousness.”
However, he has something to contribute as well. He levels at Se-kwang: “There won’t be a world for you to destroy any longer. Because… I’m going to stop you even if it costs me my life.”
Se-kwang roars for Cha-don to get out and the latter gets up to leave, but not before getting the last word: “The next time we see each other, our positions will be different. You’ll be the criminal and I’ll be the judge.”
Jae-in receives word about her mother and rushes to the hospital. She warns Assistant Kim of the tail she’s picked up on her way here (Prosecutor Kwon’s lackey) before heading inside to see her mother.
What awaits her there is simply heartbreaking because Boss Bok has reverted to a childlike state, crying for her mother. Jae-in’s eyes fill with tears at this sight and she grabs a hold of her mother, screaming desperately for her to recognize her as her one and only daughter.
But that tactic only makes Boss Bok shrink back even more like a terrified child. Jae-in refuses to believe this situation as reality and she cups her mother’s face in her hands before embracing her mother in her arms.
They both break down crying and Jae-in vows through her tears that she’ll become stronger to protect her mother and Cha-don. They can’t afford to let their enemies know about Boss Bok’s condition, so they appease to her with a lollipop and sneak her out of the hospital as quickly as possible.
Both men race to find out Director Yoo’s whereabouts, who has unsurprisingly gone off the grid. It’s Team Shudal who gets to him first and they’re aren’t in the least surprised at Director Yoo’s attempt to escape, easily thwarting him with a few swift moves on Cha-don’s part.
They relocate to a hotel once they receive a call that warns them of Se-kwang’s arrival and Director Yoo has the gall to accuse them of illegally accosting him. But Cha-don cuts to the chase and asks Director Yoo if his allegations were prompted by Se-kwang.
When Director Yoo evades the question, Cha-don reminds him to carefully examine whatever it was that Se-kwang promised him. Though the public may see Se-kwang as an an upright prosecutor, he urges Director Yoo to sincerely ask himself if Se-kwang met that description.
Cha-don’s warning that Director Yoo is being used like a ragtoy goes in one ear and out the other, much to the team’s growing frustration.
At this rate, they won’t be able to get Director Yoo over to their side and they still lack the necessary evidence to incriminate Se-kwang and Prosecutor Kwon. Their only hope now is to trace Director Yoo’s phone for now and run the risk of him spilling the beans to Se-kwang.
Speaking of whom, he’s busy eating dinner with Ji-hoo and her father, Professor Jeon. He’s taken aback when Professor Jeon recommends that he run for mayor, adding that he’s already put in a good word in the appropriate political circles. Se-kwang accepts the offer to do so and no one is quite as happy to hear the news than Ji-hoo.
Professor Jeon catches Se-kwang off guard with his next question, asking when Se-kwang plans to propose to his daughter. Explaining that Ji-hoo is naturally shy, he basically tells Se-kwang to buck up the courage and take charge.
Se-kwang drops his pleasant smile when he takes an urgent call from Director Yoo. He orders Director Yoo to chuck the phone, which leads Team Shudal to a dead end.
He bows out of dinner early and to meet Director Yoo by the seashore. He barely shrugs his shoulders when Director Yoo tell him in a panicky scared voice that he’ll be sued. Instead, he comforts the man with this gem: “What difference does it a little rain make to someone who’s already drowning?”
Se-kwang tells Director Yoo that he needn’t worry since the Yellow Sea Savings Bank will meet its demise before the man is sent to trial. Giving him another phone and a key to hotel, Se-kwang advises that he lay low until further notice.
A few bank notes richer, Director Yoo takes off and Se-kwang puts in a call to being Operation Yellow Sea Savings Bank Takedown. In voiceover, Se-kwang vows that he’ll cut off Cha-don’s last breath.
To say that things at the savings bank is chaotic is an understatement as the new account holders swarm inside to withdraw their deposits. Jae-in is none too pleased to see Hyuk show up at the door and she confronts him about whether he previously knew about the Traitagon’s plan.
When Hyuk is unable to meet her gaze out of guilt, she assumes that he was a co-conspirator and tells him that he’s no different than his horrible father. She stalks off and Hyuk gives a silent apology in his head.
Se-kwang hears of Hyuk’s appearance at the bank via his informant. That prompts him to ask Prosecutor Kwon if his son truly harbors feelings for Jae-in, of which Prosecutor Kwon hasn’t the faintest idea.
Given Boss Bok’s powerful influence in the Chungrok Literary Society, Prosecutor Kwon mentions that bringing her down won’t be easy. But Se-kwang has already though that through, telling him that there are numerous society members who invest their funds in the bank.
As the bank continues to spiral downward, those same members are bound to turn their backs on Boss Bok. As for the embezzled funds, they’re currently safely stowed away in Swiss bank accounts.
I find it pretty hilarious that these two share this conversation over tea like the classy gentlemen they are.
Later that night, Hyuk sits by the Han River, recalling his visit to his father earlier that day. When his father asks after Hyuk’s darkened mood, he answers that he always trusted whatever his father said; that there was never a time he didn’t respect him.
With that in mind, he asks his father to entrust him with the truth. “Truth?” Prosecutor Kwon answers, “What truth?” Does Hyuk want to hear the truth about how his father is charged with extortion or does he question if they framed Cha-don for embezzlement?
You can see that Hyuk slightly falters at this and Prosecutor Kwon tells his son: “The truth is something those who complain search for. Because they don’t possess the power to create the truth. That’s why people want power.”
What Hyuk sees at present isn’t the truth but he hopes that his son believes what he sees about his father in the future.
Back in the present, Hyuk chucks his soju bottle into the river and yells angrily, “I am no longer your son! I’m going to return to being a Korean prosecutor! The truth you all have buried.. I’m going to dig it out!”
Elsewhere, Team Shudal watches a news report about how the savings bank is now in danger of declaring bankruptcy. But Cha-don notices something strange – everyone coming out of the bank seems far too happy than they should be.
As for Jae-in, she sits in her mother’s office, dumbfounded. She wonders how her mother would handle this kind of situation and stumbles upon Boss Bok’s audio diary entries.
This particular entry is about a meeting with Bi-ryung who blatantly tells Boss Bok to step down from her presidency at the Chungrok Literacy Society. Naturally, Boss Bok finds the request absurd even at the face of a petition of those who agree that it’s about time she stepped down.
I love that Bi-ryung’s plan backfires in her face because although a sizeable number of the society members are on Bi-ryung’s side, Boss Bok still holds the majority approval. Then she instructs Assistant Kim to tell that majority to kick Bi-ryung out of the literary society. HA.
The best way to handle these kinds of situations is an offensive attack, Boss Bok instructs. Or in other words “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Jae-in immediately puts these words into practice and asks Assistant Kim how much cash the bank has on hand.
Jae-in immediately puts those words into practice and takes all the cash the bank has on hand to assure the rowdy crowd that their money is safe. On her cue, the employees spill out the baskets of cash onto the table. The bank has nothing to hide and she invites anyone who’d like to come forward to challenge her to freely take their money and leave on the spot.
That effectively puts the bankruptcy scare to rest for the time being. Jae-in remains a sharpshooter when she sits for an interview, declaring that Cha-don had no hand in the embezzlement. Once they catch the real culprit, the truth will reveal itself.
Looking directly into the camera, Jae-in addresses to the public that any further questions can be made to Se-kwang aka the “Robin Hood” amongst prosecutors. Her voice firm but dripping with sarcasm, she hopes that the investigation will be sincere and just.
Se-kwang fumes silently in his office and cracks the walnuts in his hand.
It’s sweet how Dad has assumed his responsibility as caretaker by both feeding Boss Bok and amusing her. But Jae-in recognizes him as their nightly stalker musician and when she orders that he be thrown out of the estate, Assistant Kim swoops in in Dad’s defense.
Dad talks to his wife in a sweet voice to prove his point, only to get a harsh look and a slap to the head in response. Wait, does Boss Bok still remember that she despises him? He glosses over the reaction and thankfully, Boss Bok plays along and happily pets his bald head.
Back at the prosecutor’s office, Se-kwang overhears Hyuk’s voice from inside the conference room. He catches bits and pieces of his conversation about the whereabouts of the embezzled 41.7 million won. He shakes off his suspicions about Hyuk, certain that he wouldn’t dare to defy his father.
Director Yoo seems more frantic than last time and immediately demands his cut from the embezzled funds. Se-kwang tells him not to be swayed by Cha-don’s threats but before he can press the matter, Director Yoo receives a call from Hyuk, who asks that they meet.
Meanwhile, Team Shudal confirms a phone number from Se-kwang’s call log as Director Yoo’s new phone. Cha-don learns that the new bank account followers were just Se-kwang’s minions and he orders that the phone number be traced as he drives in search of Director Yoo.
Hyuk arrives at the designated meeting place later that night and I can’t help but think that this eerily reminds me of the same construction site where Lawyer Hwang met his demise.
He finds Director Yoo on the roof and lies that he was sent by Se-kwang to move the 41.7 million won to a different location. He isn’t surprised at Director Yoo’s reluctance to trust him, so he shares information that only the Traitagon could know, including Director Yoo’s direct involvement in the plan.
Just then, Se-kwang appears out of the shadows and dismisses Director Yoo. At Se-kwang’s question of what on earth he’s doing here, Hyuk answers that as the prosecutor in charge, his responsibility to catch the criminal far transcends his familial bonds.
“Justice?” Hyuk throws back in Se-kwang’s face. “Don’t be ridiculous. Both you and my father are all trash. You’re criminals masked as prosecutors!”
So Se-kwang relies on his all too dependable right hook to get his message across. A voice recorder falls to the ground and Hyuk scrambles to retrieve it. When Se-kwang tells him that he’s lost his mind, Hyuk fully acknowledges it – how can he not be when the people he trusted the most turned out to be such devils?
Hyuk refuses to hand over the voice recorder, calling it his final thread of conscience as a prosecutor. Se-kwang approaches cautiously and then lunges at the recorder clasped in Hyuk’s hand.
They fight and Hyuk tries his best to keep the recorder away from Se-kwang. But in his haste, Se-kwang wrings Hyuk’s arm and pushes him off. Hyuk stumbles… and falls off the edge, tumbling to the ground. Oh no oh no oh no.
Se-kwang can hardly believe his own eyes at the sight of Hyuk lying still on the ground several floors below. He rushes to check if Hyuk is still alive and discovers blood from behind Hyuk’s head.
His eyes wild, he can barely process the current situation when he gets an urgent call that Cha-don is on his way to the construction site. So he grabs the voice recorder before returning to his car.
Cha-don arrives on the scene a little while later. In an attempt to save him, Cha-don performs CPR on Hyuk, who momentarily comes to just long enough to eke out Se-kwang’s name. Then his head lulls backward, lifeless. Noooooo!
But then he hears sirens approaching and soon finds himself surrounded by the police, led by none other than Director Yoo who points to Cha-don as the murder. That forces Cha-don to make a run for it and try to fight them off.
Oof, I know that Prosecutor Kwon is one of our baddies, but it is truly sad to see him grieve over his son’s dead body. Through his tears, he vows to avenge his son’s death, promising him that he’ll kill Cha-don himself. Or I could save you the trouble and tell you that the true murderer is two feet away from you.
A month after Hyuk’s death (tear), a news report tells us that Cha-don is still on the run, his current whereabouts unknown. Bi-ryung drops her spoon at this news, recalling how Se-kwang told her that he would come back to her after he destroyed Cha-don.
She screams in horror and shrills that it was Se-kwang who committed murder and framed Cha-don for it.
The senior prosecutors sit in Boss Bok’s restaurant as they lament over Hyuk’s death. Prosecutor Kwon blames himself for not doing away with Cha-don earlier with the Truck of Doom. But speak of the devil and Se-kwang receives a call from Cha-don himself.
We see that Cha-don is calling from a payphone and outlines his plan to tell Prosecutor Kwon who Hyuk’s murderer truly is. Se-kwang calls his bluff and says to tell him himself, and hands over the phone with an amused expression on his face.
Prosecutor Kwon takes the call and his voice shaking, demands that they meet. He’s astounded when Cha-don tells him that the prosecutors had a hand in Hyuk’s death. “Your disgusting ambition and lust for money killed your son.”
It looks like Cha-don has been spending his days living in a tent by the Han River. He asks after Jae-in and Assistant Hong warns him not to go looking for her, since the police are keeping a close watch on her.
Both the truck driver and Director Yoo are currently behind bars, serving their prison terms and Chief Yang wonders if Cha-don intends to land himself in jail to find them.
The team gets a call from Jae-in and stand outside as she chats with Cha-don in private in the car. Jae-in assures him that he needn’t worry because she’ll do everything in her power to prove his innocence.
Cha-don cuts her off and in a warm and gentle voice tells her that he intends to turn himself in. She finds this plan as ridiculous but Cha-don reminds her that they can’t prove anything at this point. He asks, “You trust me, don’t you?”
Tears fall from her eyes as he tells her that he has to enter the lion’s den to find the weapon to destroy the Traitagon for good.
With new determination, Cha-don marches into the prosecutor’s office right up to Se-kwang. He balls up his fists and offers up his hands to be handcuffed immediately.
Se-kwang asks if he’s in his right mind and Cha-don answers, “No, I’m not. I’m crazy. I feel like I’m going to go crazy looking at the bastard who killed my parents and Hyuk standing before me.”
And just further down the hallway, Ji-hoo’s eyes grow wide at this declaration.
Then Cha-don shouts at Se-kwang to hurry up and arrest him already.
Oh the lengths to which our hero will go to discover the truth. Cross-dressing as a woman, going to the depths of a hellish asylum, and even turning himself in for a crime he didn’t commit. If I step back to examine how hard our hero has had to work to gain some traction, then I realize how relatively easy our baddies have had it. All Se-kwang has to do is delegate one techie guy to send an email to figure out Cha-don’s true identity or to point the finger at Cha-don to frame him for murder. That isn’t to say that Se-kwang isn’t sharp because we’ve all seen so many other dramas where the baddies just can’t figure out the clues set out on the table before them, wandering around in endless circles until their epiphany is convenient for the narrative. Which then makes me think that Se-kwang continues to bide his time when dealing with Cha-don and hasn’t placed our hero in a situation he hasn’t been able to figure out how to get out of.
I’m so relieved that Jae-in finally knows about her mother’s condition, though it’s heartbreaking that she found out when her mother completely reverted to a childlike state. It’s not the most ideal way I would have imagined it, though it did achieve its goal to strike me in the heart. The current situation forces Jae-in to step up to the plate and gives her a chance to protect her mother this time around. The audio diary entries has me recall another drama (The King 2 Hearts) and I’m intrigued to see how Boss Bok will continue to guide her daughter through them. Here’s to Boss Bok to make a triumphant return even if it’s for a short while, though that may not be possible given her condition.
Speaking of casualties, this episode marks the end for Hyuk (Do Ji-han), who came into the foreground in recent episodes. I’m so glad that we didn’t discount him in the beginning and that his character rose above the possible side character comic relief territory. I love what his character means to the series, as someone who lives under the shadow of his father his entire life, only to discover that his father has a black heart instead. There, there – we were confused by the metaphorical life lessons too. So I was excited to see him start to challenge that notion and search for what justice truly means in a corrupt world driven by selfish ambition and pride.
When I initially noticed that Hyuk was getting more screentime and especially in this episode, I had this sinking feeling that this could mean the end of our baby-faced prosecutor. Naturally, I ignored it for as long as I could and was even bitter that the show brought him back to life just long enough to name his killer. How can you bring him back to life and then kill him off again, Drama! Ack!
In any case, though his death left me feeling wanting (I so wanted to see him to be the one to bring down his father), his death serves as a catalyst for Prosecutor Kwon to take action and what will now drive a firm wedge between our senior prosecutors. So we won’t be able to see you again, beautiful prosecutor. Know that you’ll be sorely missed.
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 20
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 19
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 18
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 17
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 16
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 15
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 14
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 13
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 12
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 11
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 10
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 9
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 8
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 7
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 6
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 5
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 4
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 3
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 2
- Incarnation of Money: Episode 1