Shark: Episode 6
Revenge, thrills, mystery, forbidden romance, investigative crime-solving—this show literally encompasses every genre but comedy and sageuk, and does so with aplomb. I can’t heap enough praise for the assured directing, which keeps the thrilling moments brimming with intensity and the quieter moments as contemplative as they should be, but it’s as good a time as any to say that the acting is really starting to shine, too.
Not like Sohn Ye-jin and Kim Nam-gil were phoning it in before (not even close), but perhaps it’s because their characters are really coming into their own that I can better appreciate all the nuance coming from their performances. They’ve got a lot to convey without the convenience of words to explain how they’re feeling, so the fact that we’re normally fine-tuned to their wavelength is a great place to be. The worst thing a mystery-laden show like this can do is make all of its characters equally mysterious, so we’ve got a great balance going on between the overarching secrets and characters we can empathize with.
Except for Grandpa Jo, that is. Of course he’d be the one drama grandfather to not meet his untimely death while someone withholds a bottle of life-saving pills. He’s just as diabolical as he is healthy, go figure.
SONG OF THE DAY
Amanda Mair – “Skinnarviksberget” from the bar scene. [ Download ]
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Cold open: We see Past Yi-soo ripping a page, or a picture, from Grandpa Jo’s incriminating documents. He leaves the picture inside the locker and takes the rest with him, in the moment right before he gets hit by a truck.
Back in the present, Yi-soo kisses Hae-woo… only someone is snapping a secret picture of them. Ohhhh. Was this something Yi-soo carefully orchestrated? And here I had my hopes up. Or this show is making me super paranoid.
Hae-woo quickly pushes him away, looking shocked and confused. Yi-soo just holds her gaze unyieldingly until she takes a few steps away, but she changes her mind and returns to slap him.
And the photographer turns out to be none other than Secretary Jang, no less. But Yi-soo doesn’t even look her way, so it’s up for grabs whether the kiss was planned or not. (It wasn’t, right? Say it wasn’t.)
Hae-woo notices her missing phone later, which has somehow made its way into Yi-soo’s hands. Yi-hyun calls while it’s in his possession, and it’s heartbreaking to see how much it hurts him to see her name and face pop up on the phone. He’s only a phone call away from the sister he loves.
Tears fill his eyes as he answers the call wordlessly just so he can hear her voice. When he eventually answers, Yi-hyun’s first reaction to a male voice is to ask: “Oppa?” And the way his face lights up, thinking she’s calling him, her real oppa… it’s horrible. He looks so completely devastated that it’s almost hard to watch.
But no, she thinks that it’s Joon-young who picked up the phone. He tells her that Hae-woo left her phone, and chokes back tears until the call ends with his assurance that he’ll return it to her.
Joon-young arrives in that moment to pick Hae-woo up, though she’s returned on her own to pick up her phone. She mentions nothing of the kiss for obvious reasons and remains visibly uncomfortable in Yi-soo’s presence, all but jumping at the chance to get out of dodge.
Tellingly, during the ride home, she uses the same word to describe the rain as Yi-soo did: a sonagi, or sudden downpour. So she’s still thinking of him.
Joon-young picks up on her unusually quiet vibe and asks her if anything unpleasant happened with her and Kim Jun (Yi-soo), but she claims that she’s just sensitive because of her recent case. He’s adorably sweet in offering whatever he can to help her untangle her thoughts, even though she won’t divulge the “secret” details of the case.
He jokes that there shouldn’t be secrets between couples, even though he admits to having a few of his own. When she presses him for details, he smartly replies that he’s so tight-lipped that he was a clam in his past life. Hah. It works to make her smile, though her gaze when she regards him is curious—almost as if she feels guilty.
Yi-hyun has such a warm family life with her adoptive parents, but it’s only when she tells Detective Byun about the telescope she won that he becomes a little perturbed. He doesn’t let it show, and acts like he’s merely curious to know the company that gave it to her. Having an investigator for a father must not be very fun sometimes.
Yi-soo notices that he’s being followed on the way home and ducks into a garage to confront his stalker. The result is a fight where Yi-soo totally dominates thanks to some impressive martial arts skills, and his stalker finally talks once he’s under Yi-soo’s heel.
He was sent to find Yi-soo’s weakness by that child-molesting hotel CEO, and also snapped a few pictures of Yi-soo’s kiss with Hae-woo. Yi-soo removes the data chip from the stalker’s cell phone while trying to ignore the pain shooting up his leg.
But before the guy scampers off, he shouts out a warning: “Be careful of that woman!” Which woman?
We then cut to Secretary Jang as she looks through the kissing photos, which might be a hint. She answers to Junichiro, who calls her from Japan to tell her that he’ll be inviting Joon-young and Hae-woo to a resort he’s opening overseas.
Secretary Jang admits that she doesn’t know how she’s benefitting Junichiro by being there with Yi-soo, to which he admits (he calls Yi-soo by his adopted Korean name): “I am trying to help Jun. I should say I’m supporting what he intends to do, to be exact.”
She wonders if his intention is to bring down the Jo family hotel, but Junichiro insists that that’s not important. It’s how he brings it down that matters. “That’s why Jun needs me, and i need him.” But from the looks of it, he put Secretary Jang in place to keep Yi-soo from deviating off the path he wants, seeing as how he’s already got the Kiss Cam Photos and sees them as a moment of undesirable impulse from Yi-soo.
“That’s why I need you,” Junichiro asserts to Secretary Jang. Iiinteresting.
Yi-soo pops some pain killers at home, clearly conflicted over having encouraged Hae-woo to take the case only to lose sight of his own goals by warning her away soon after. Also a conflicting factor is the kiss, and how he lost sight of himself for that short period.
So in order to remind himself that he needs to be as tough as a shark, Yi-soo grabs an innocent little fish from his aquarium just to watch it gasp for air in his palm. Not cool, dude. What’d that decorative fish ever do to you?
Hae-woo stops at her favorite bookstore with Joon-young, and the air between them is heavy. She asks if he ever forgave the person who hit and killed his brother, and he ambiguously replies that forgiveness isn’t something that can be done with effort alone. But he knows that she wants to talk about something serious, and presses her to say it.
So she tells him about how she’s sure that her father was the driver in the hit-and-run case, and that Yi-soo’s father took the blame. She all but shudders when he asks if that case has to do with the deaths of Yi-soo and his father—she doesn’t want that to be the truth, more than anything. That’s why she has to dig deeper into the case.
“It started with a hit-and-run accident, but something more complicated is behind this. Despite the fact that the past events seem to be connected to the present, there is no point of connection.” And that’s what she needs to find in order to solve the case.
Joon-young asks her the tough question: “If your father is deeply involved in this case, what are you planning to do then? Even if I try to stop you, you’ll never give up, will you?”
He already knows the answer to that question, but it’s definitely taking a toll on her. “Grandfather weighs on my mind. Because he’s such an upright man, I’m afraid he may break.” Oh man. Of course she doesn’t even suspect her grandpa, but it’s going to be rough when she finds out that her dad is the lesser of two evils.
Joon-young commends her for her courage, admitting that if he were in her shoes, he would just look the other way out of fear for the truth. As he supports her with a back hug, she allows herself to cry: “I’m afraid, too. I’m afraid.”
The bookstore ajusshi returns as they’re leaving, but it’s curious that he dodges Hae-woo’s question about what’s in the box he brought. Even curiouser is how he watches them leave so intently…
…Until he pulls out a pen and starts clicking it. GAH! Is he the Poison Pen Assassin?
Hae-woo goes to her grandfather to ask about the Envelope Professor while her dad stumbles home dead drunk and very clearly worried about what she might have to talk to his father about.
She knows that Envelope Professor wanted to talk to Grandpa about the Korean independence movement, and she admits that he might be connected to her current case, only she doesn’t know how. Grandpa plays it cool when she mentions whether there was a tie between Yi-soo’s father and Envelope Professor, asking nonchalantly, “Did the two know each other?”
Hae-woo has no reason to suspect him, so she’s led to believe that her line of thinking is foolish until Dad comes in to drunkenly rant at the top of his lungs that he’s so innocent, he couldn’t even have hurt a bug when he was young. (I thought drunk people were supposed to tell the truth?)
He beats his chest as he declares: “I am not a bad man!” Which, hah. But his rampage seems to have caused Hae-woo to lose some of her nerve, so she doesn’t ask Grandpa anything more about her case.
Yi-hyun happens upon the case file in her adopted dad’s office, but before he can wrestle it away, she notices that the picture of the locker key left at the scene of Yi-soo’s accident wasn’t the same number as the one she found in her music box.
Lo and behold, we see Yi-soo holding the real set of keys for Locker 22.
It’s then that we return to the scene from the cold open, where Past Yi-soo hid a piece of the document in Locker 14. Only after that, he took the key from Locker 22 and kept it with him.
In the present he wonders, “Where could it be?”
As Hae-woo contemplates the words “Han Yi-soo” and “dead” on a board for her investigation, Grandpa Jo makes a call. Just as he’s starting to believe that Yi-soo might still be alive and orchestrating the present, Hae-woo changes Yi-soo’s status to “missing.”
Yi-soo becomes interested in the story of a movie Secretary Jang watched, in which she claims the protagonist had all his memories of a past love erased. Yi-soo wants to know if it worked, and she claims that it did—but in the end, he fell in love with the same girl all over again.
“He erased his memories, but he was still the same person who fell in love with her in the beginning, because that’s something that can’t be erased or changed. Although it was erased from his head, his heart remembered,” she says. Since Yi-soo’s trying to erase his memories of Hae-woo, this isn’t his ideal ending and he dismisses the movie. (Which sounds like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, not that it really matters.)
On her way to the office after her forced vacation, Hae-woo is troubled by memories of the kiss. Soo-hyun meets her with information he found on Envelope Professor—namely, that he was an activist in his younger days and had actually been imprisoned by the government for it, after which he needed psychiatric treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.
Ah, so this might be how and why he knew Yi-soo’s dad, if we count in his memories of torture at the hands of Yi-soo’s dad. If so, Yi-soo’s dad was into some seriously shady government work.
Their conversation is cut off by the arrival of their boss, who seems to be nursing a broken/bandaged finger as he matter-of-factly informs Hae-woo that she’s been taken off Detective Jung’s murder case.
Though she insists to be kept on, he brings up the fact that her father was in the late detective’s call log as a conflict of interest for her. Plus, if the news broke and she was heading the investigation, it would not only put her in a bad spot but also her Prosecutor General father-in-law.
Speaking of Prosecutor Oh, we find him in a meeting with Grandpa Jo, who offers his personal take on how to solve Detective Jung’s murder case, only it’s actually a suggestion for how Prosecutor Oh can fabricate the events in order to “solve” the case.
So in order to sneak under Hae-woo’s radar, Grandpa Jo wants the case closed while she’s in Japan for Junichiro’s resort opening to prevent her from doing anything to stop it. That sounds good in theory, but does Prosecutor Oh even have that kind of power? I know corruption must be rampant, but can we get a checks and balances system up in here?
Secretary Jang leads Dong-soo into the hotel for his first day of work, where he’s informed that he’ll be working for the actual CEO. He assumes that all CEO’s are old men with rickets, which gets a laugh out of her because he couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Before he goes into meet a surprisingly-young Yi-soo feeding the fish he hasn’t yet killed, she tells him that there’s only one rule: Don’t ask any personal questions. I’d give Dong-soo five minutes before he asks one.
Hah, it doesn’t even take that long—while driving Secretary Jang and Yi-soo as per his job, Dong-soo doesn’t stop talking even to breathe. But he notices that Yi-soo looks about his age and asks him his birth year, which counts as a personal question. He shuts himself up.
There’s a strange moment where Yi-soo asks him if he has a girlfriend. Dong-soo says no. Then Yi-soo asks if he has a boyfriend, and he doesn’t just mean straight guy friends. Dong-soo acts all scandalized, and makes doe eyes at Secretary Jang as he asserts that he does, in fact, like women.
Yi-soo: “That’s too bad.” Say what?
Joon-young has been unable to track down the Pervert CEO ever since Yi-soo got ahold of him, but he finally manages to find the hospital he’s staying in after some digging. The CEO had promised to sell him his hotel, after all.
But Yi-soo is the one who put him in the hospital, and he confronts the pervert about sending someone to find out his weakness. Since Yi-soo holds the threat of blackmail over his head (this was the guy that raped little girls, remember), he immediately apologizes for being foolish, since he’s at Yi-soo’s mercy.
“Shall I tell you my weakness?” Yi-soo asks him menacingly. “I don’t tolerate mistakes.” So he lays out the law for him: Pervert CEO will hand his hotel over to Yi-soo, but he’ll claim that his deal to give it to Joon-young is still good in the meantime.
He can either do all that or go to the police and confess his sins, which prompts Pervert CEO to ask, “No matter how much you love money, shouldn’t you have a bit of a conscience too?” Is this child-molesting pile of shit being serious right now?
Yi-soo doesn’t hit him as I’d hoped, instead leveling him with a vicious look: “You should never teach to others what you can’t practice yourself.”
Joon-young runs into Yi-soo in the hospital lobby, since he’s on his way to meet with Pervert CEO. At Joon-young’s urging, Yi-soo agrees to have a drink with him later.
Soo-hyun gets to follow Hae-woo everywhere but doesn’t get to have any of the fun, since he’s stuck asking for refills in The Only Coffee Shop in Seoul while she and Detective Byun talk about the missing keys for Locker 22. (If it means anything, he has a short interaction with Yi-hyun, who works there as a barista.)
It takes two, but they eventually come to a consensus on the fact that Yi-soo must have hidden the documents in the locker, which is why Detective Jung stole the locker key from the evidence room. There’s no telling whether he would still have the keys or the documents with his belongings.
Hae-woo takes the opportunity to broach the topic of her father’s involvement, but Detective Byun spares her from having to explain since he knows already. What they don’t know is why Yi-soo and his father were killed, and how it ties to the dead Envelope Professor.
The only thing that might tie them together are the documents, but Hae-woo and Detective Byun are stuck, in that neither of them know what was in the documents in the first place. And then there’s that other issue of Hae-woo being taken off the case, even though it seems clear that she’s still running her own investigation.
She catches up with the boy who witnessed the hit-and-run and appeals to his conscience by revealing that the teenager he told about the watch was her friend, and she’s only trying to find out why he went missing. “I’m not curious about whether you saw the watch or not. What I want to know is why you lied.”
She’s able to figure out from his posture and silence that someone threatened him with his grandfather’s hospital bills, but when she asks who, Soo-hyun practically runs onto the scene as if to remind the kid to keep his mouth shut.
But Hae-woo’s not blind, so she doesn’t miss the little glance the kid sends Soo-hyun’s way, and figures out that Soo-hyun is the one who threatened the kid to lie. Whoa. Wasn’t expecting that to come out so fast.
When she angrily confronts Soo-hyun about what he did, he claims that he did everything for her and that he won’t ever reveal who ordered him to do it, even though he has no idea how his actions benefitted her and sings like a canary with only a little pressure.
“If you really care about me, then tell me the truth,” she says. He seems reluctant as he asks her if she really has the confidence to go through with the case, and when she proves that she does, he tells her who told him to undermine her investigation: “The Prosecutor General.” Aka, her father-in-law.
Soo-hyun seems innocent enough despite that, if not too naive for his position: Because her father-in-law said it was for her sake he did what he was told, and only later found out that her father might be involved. He does seem to genuinely care for her, at least, but he can’t stop her from going to confront Prosecutor Oh.
She stops herself eventually, having to process the fact that her father-in-law might be corrupt. Meanwhile Yi-soo stares into his “Orpheus” painting like it’s a crystal ball showing him her every move.
Hae-woo ends up at the bar where Yi-soo is supposed to meet her husband, but she makes it there before he does. Before Yi-soo can even mention the kiss she passes it off, claiming that she’s already forgotten about it because it was a mistake she chalked up to alcohol.
“What if it wasn’t a mistake?” Yi-soo asks. “Even if it wasn’t a mistake, would you still understand?”
Way to be a tease on the romance front, Shark. After the kiss, I was waiting all episode for the fallout and all I got was an engaging hour of television full of big reveals. What gives?
I was worried at first that there wouldn’t be much in the way of surprise as we followed Hae-woo’s crime-solving adventures, but the writer did something ingenious in giving us just enough to know what Yi-soo knows, while at the same time keeping secrets that even he isn’t aware of. It would have been boring if we knew all the details beforehand only to have Hae-woo discover them belatedly, since it would just be like waiting for the inevitable, so while there is an element of that (in that we know she has to eventually discern her family’s involvement)—we don’t necessarily know how it all ties together, either. So there’s an emotional stake in that she’s a very likable character and we know the path she’s on will only hurt her, but she’s also the most active player in the story right now, and for as long as Yi-soo continues to stare at paintings and pull invisible strings, she’s the only method we have to reveal the whole truth.
It seems like her grandfather is the mastermind behind every bad thing that ever happened in the history of the world, but one of the most interesting reveals in the show was that of Yi-soo’s father’s dark past. He wasn’t just some blameless victim, even though we don’t really know his previous crimes or how his past is tied to Grandpa Jo, or how that’s all tied to Junichiro’s revenge. This episode revealed that the common factor might be the Korean independence movement, but that only provides another piece of the puzzle—I need the picture on the box before I can start trying to put it together.
I like that there’s so much to think about without feeling like the show is deliberately obfuscating just for the sake of fooling us into thinking that it’s a cooler show than it is. (Because it is that cool.) The mysteries at play and the choice reveals don’t come off as cheap tricks, but as an organic part of the story, so much so that you can’t separate the mystery element from the rest of the plot and come out with anything coherent. There are different elements, sure, like the romance angle—but now Yi-soo and Hae-woo’s romance isn’t just about them, it’s about serving the big mystery we only have a faint idea of. It’s that dash of raised stakes that makes their scenes together so compelling, even though I wish there were more of them. I forget that patience is a thing sometimes.
Junichiro is definitely someone I want to know more about, though I like him as an unknown and unpredictable factor in Yi-soo’s life exactly because it’s hard to know whether he’s good, ruthless, or somewhere in between. He also said some strange things to Yi-soo from the start, back when he was a teenager, like the whole “We will meet again” line. How DID he know they would meet again? How much of all this did he plan? I’m curious to know not just his reason for revenge (since we know it has something to do with his father and Grandpa Jo), but what he really wants from Yi-soo in the end.
As for Yi-soo—it’s not a problem yet, since we’re still early into the run, but I do hope that we get to see him out of his element soon. Aside from his moments of emotional weakness (which are admittedly done very well), he gets to steer events from his living room while Hae-woo does all the work. If he has time to draw pictures of her and suffocate fish, maybe he could at least pack her lunch for the day, ‘s all I’m saying.