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Shark: Episode 19

It’s time for judgments, revelations, and gun-slinging face-offs. We’re one episode from the end, as the hero finally confronts the harsh truth that he’s dedicated his life to avenge a righteous father who may have never existed. Will he buckle under the weight of his guilt, or charge ahead, truth be damned?

 
EPISODE 19 RECAP

We open twelve years ago, the night that Dad (that’d be Yi-soo’s dad) was tasked with taking the Envelope Professor home. It’s in front of his own door that the professor recognizes Dad and calls him “Shadow,” with the most horrified expression on his face.

But Dad’s equally horrified, as the man asks if he doesn’t remember him. The professor snaps and gets hostile, and the pair struggles all the way into the apartment, grabbing, strangling, muffling. Dad looks utterly terrified.

The professor screams in a murderous rage: “I begged you—to please just kill me! But you brought me back, and you killed me, and brought me back again, and killed me again!” He can’t stand that his torturer is just living this normal life, while he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since.

What’s interesting is that Dad looks equally if not more MORE horrified, like he actually may have repressed his former life. But the professor is bringing it back up to the surface with every word, and then we witness the moment from Dad’s point of view as he snaps.

Something clicks in his brain, and he suddenly goes from scared ajusshi to trained killer. At first he was just struggling to hold the professor back in defense, but before he knows it, he’s on top.

He strangles the last breath out of him before realizing what he’s done, and falls back in a heap. He staggers out of the apartment in a daze, stopping to pick up the incriminating envelope.

And out of the closet comes Clicky the Assassin, who’s witnessed the whole thing. No doubt he’d have killed the professor if his former partner hadn’t beaten him to the punch, but now we know what he told Soo-hyun was true: Yi-soo’s dad killed his dad. Are no bromances sacred on this show?

Back to the scene that ended the last episode: Yi-soo reels from the revelation we’ve just witnessed in flashback, and takes out his gun. He tells himself that there’s no turning back now and heads out with purpose.

Secretary Jang sees him leaving the building on her way in, and stops by his apartment to pick up the recording device. That’s when she notices the empty gun case on his table.

He’s ignoring Hae-woo’s repeated attempts to call, so she finally calls Secretary Jang looking for him. She says he left without saying where he was going, and then hesitates before adding, “And he took his gun.” Hae-woo’s heart practically stops.

Yi-soo marches right into Grandpa Jo’s house, and asks the housekeeper where he is. She tries to stop him for a chat, but he goes straight for the library before she can insist. He goes into the dark room and locks the door behind him.

Grandpa Jo doesn’t seem all that surprised to see him, and asks why he’s come. Yi-soo takes out his gun and points it right at him: “I should’ve just done this from the start.” Listen, I wasn’t about to say I told you so at Episode 19, but I won’t disagree.

The housekeeper is already alarmed by the time Hae-woo comes running in, and she says Yi-soo went inside and locked the door… and the only person with the key to that room is Grandpa.

Yi-soo: “People like you shouldn’t exist in the world. Evidence, truth, proof, are nothing but empty checks for you.” But Grandpa Jo counters that Yi-soo is resorting to this because can’t face the truth.

Yi-soo insists they’re different, but Grandpa Jo just laughs, mostly because he’s evil, but also because he kind of knows what he’s talking about. He belittles Yi-soo’s lack of control, for not even being able to overcome a silly thing like personal vengeance. Yi-soo naturally flares up at that, and shouts, “Shut your mouth!” The gun shakes in his hand.

Suddenly Hae-woo calls out, “No Yi-soo-ya!” She’s still on the other side of the door, but thankfully she’s figured out that she can still talk to them. “If you end it like this, none of it will mean anything. We won’t be able to right wrongs or reveal the truth. You’ll just become a killer. You’re trying to run away right now—just like I did once—you’re trying to run away. What you sought this whole time was the truth. Even if you’ve been faced with a truth that you could never have imagined, you can’t run away.”

She reminds him that his father wanted to reveal the truth and pay for his sins. She begs him not to let his father’s death be in vain, and that’s the thing that finally gets him to lower the gun.

But Grandpa Jo isn’t about to make it easy. He asks Yi-soo to shoot him, and says it wouldn’t be a bad way to die—it’d prove that you can’t fool blood, and that the son of a murderer will be a murderer. Ack. The gun goes back up.

Hae-woo screams no. Okay, enough with the yo-yo-ing. Can we get a hatchet for the door maybe? Grandpa Jo eggs him on, saying that he doesn’t regret a single choice he made. Yeah that’s not a surprise to anyone.

He calls it a cruel era that necessitated his choices, but then Yi-soo points out that it was a cruel era because of people like him. Well, slow clap for that retort. Grandpa Jo refuses to admit that he did anything wrong, and calls himself a patriot for the things he’s done in the name of country. Yeesh.

Yi-soo raises his gun: “You are beyond salvation.” He pulls the trigger. Oh shit. The shot rings out, and Hae-woo shuts her eyes. A moment of silence passes, and then Grandpa Jo opens his eyes, very much alive. Yi-soo lowers his hand and says, “You don’t deserve to die in comfort.” Excellent.

You can tell by Grandpa Jo’s twitchy fingers that it’s the perfect punishment. Well, that and rotting in a prison cell would also be nice.

Yi-soo steps out, and Hae-woo goes running in to check on Grandpa. She sees now that the shot was aimed at the window behind him. She asks if he’s okay, and he gets up to SLAP her across the face. He cries that everything he did was for her, and wails that he regrets his foolishness.

The housekeeper stops Yi-soo on his way out and calls him by name, asking him not to do anything bad. He smiles back at her without a word.

She checks on Hae-woo, who admits that she’s not okay. Mrs. Park just hugs her close as she cries.

Meanwhile Joon-young is still processing the discovery that Grandpa Jo was the person who ordered the hit on his father. Now the puzzle pieces start to fit, from Hae-woo’s elusiveness about her cases to his father-in-law’s crazy ramblings that maybe seem less crazy in retrospect.

Detective Byun reaches the right conclusion—that Yi-soo’s dad killed Envelope Professor and that’s how he got his hands on said envelope—and Soo-hyun sits by pretending not to already know all this.

Soo-hyun takes a leap and suggests that Grandpa Jo ordered the kill to get the file, but Detective Byun disagrees with that interpretation. Yi-soo’s father was getting ready to turn himself in, and he thinks an accidental killing fits the scenario better than a pre-meditated hit.

That clearly niggles at Soo-hyun, like he’s trying to force the version of the story that makes Yi-soo’s father evil… and likely justifies whatever terrible thing he’s thinking of doing? Eep. He says (almost trying to convince himself) that it still doesn’t change the fact that he killed Kang Hee-soo.

Detective Byun even says that Yi-soo’s father said he had one last person to meet before he was killed, and he thinks it may have been Kang Hee-soo’s family he was looking for. Soo-hyun scoffs that there’s no way that’s true, which is suspiciously dismissive, but then Joon-young walks into the precinct before Detective Byun can figure out what he meant.

Joon-young asks for the truth, and Detective Byun confirms that it was Grandpa Jo who ordered the hit on his father and Clicky behind the wheel of the truck. But short of a confession, there’s no evidence to tie either of them to the crime.

Joon-young still can’t believe that Grandpa is the bad guy, and Detective Byun says it was hard for Hae-woo to believe too.

Detective Byun calls Hae-woo to check in and hears belatedly about the shooting and Yi-soo’s disappearance. She worries that he’ll do something terrible like kill himself, but decides that he wouldn’t do that. You don’t sound very sure.

Joon-young’s secretary (the mole) meets Yi-soo at the river to hand over a thumb drive filled with bank accounts and company holdings. Yi-soo wishes him a nice trip, now that his secret mission is complete.

Grandpa Jo fumes in his library thinking of Yi-soo, when Soo-hyun calls out of the blue and introduces himself as Kang Hee-soo’s son. He offers Grandpa a deal. What. You’re making a deal with the devil voluntarily?

The deal: he’ll kill Yi-soo in exchange for money to disappear. Soo-hyun actually suggests that killing Hae-woo first would be most painful for Yi-soo, but Grandpa refuses to let him touch her.

He adds that he wants to kill Clicky too, for ruining his father’s life. I suppose Soo-hyun would kill both men for revenge anyway, but this way he gets paid for doing something he already wants to do.

Grandpa Jo says he only has one condition: he wants proof that Yi-soo is dead. He laughs at the fortuitous turn of events, which is my main gripe with this plan. How come Grandpa gets what he wants without lifting a finger?

Soo-hyun calls Yi-soo, who takes a deep breath before picking up. He declines to meet up for drinks tonight, but ends the call with an “I’m sorry.” Soo-hyun asks what he means, but Yi-soo says nothing else.

He goes back to Professor Yune that night, and asks if he knows anything about why his father would’ve chosen that train station locker, guessing that another of the torture victims may have lived nearby.

Yi-soo has realized that Dad was on his way to see that last person, before turning himself in. The professor is puzzled because he doesn’t know who Dad is, until Yi-soo finally admits with a shaky voice: “Shadow is my father.”

Secretary Jang starts to panic about missing Yi-soo and the missing gun, and calls Junichiro to alert him. But when she says that Yi-soo likely went after Grandpa Jo with a loaded gun, Junichiro’s like, Aaaand? She realizes she’s not going to get any help from him, so she sneaks into Junichiro’s room that night, and steals a USB drive. I guess we should just be glad it’s not a picture.

Joon-young meets with Grandpa Jo, barely able to hide the look of disgust on his face as he watches the man who ordered his father’s hit-and-run pretend to care about his marriage.

Grandpa Jo says he blocked the picture (the kissyface one) from being leaked, and then hands Joon-young the picture to make him see it. What the eff, gramps? That’s just mean.

Joon-young looks away, but Grandpa says he had to show him so that he’d see how Hae-woo was being manipulated. He suggests that the couple go overseas for a while because that’d be best for all. And by “all” he means “me.”

Yi-hyun and Mom do Iron Man facials at home, and Mom notes her suspicious behavior when she runs into her room to answer a call from oppa. She asks Yi-soo if they can go visit Dad’s grave tomorrow, which really stings in so many ways. I sort of hope Yi-hyun never finds out what horrible things her father did.

Yi-soo says he can’t because he’s busy tomorrow, and all I can hear in that sentence is, because tomorrow’s the day I die. He’s not saying that, but everything about the way he’s acting is dead man walking.

He promises to go with her another time, and hangs up with a bittersweet smile. And then he flashes back to his meeting with Professor Yune earlier that night. The professor had stopped him on his way out, to say that another man in his twenties came here with that same photo asking who Shadow was.

Oh. Well now Yi-soo knows that Soo-hyun knows. But if Soo-hyun doesn’t know that he knows (I know, I’m short-circuiting just getting that straight), can’t he do something to course-correct before everything blows up in his face?

It’s only now that Yi-soo notices that his gun case has been put back, and when he reaches for the recording device, it’s gone.

The doorbell rings, and it’s Hae-woo, out of breath and worried because she couldn’t get a hold of him. She says she’s seen his face so she can go now, but Yi-soo pulls her inside. Rawr.

He just takes his sweet time gazing at her face, caressing it with his hands. And when his fingers touch her lips, he swoops in for a kiss.

Almost as soon as he pulls away, he says, “Don’t come here again.” She asks what’s thinking, and he just repeats: “Don’t come here again, Hae-woo-ya.”

She says it isn’t his fault, so he should stop condemning himself, but he whirls around and says he’s doing nothing of the kind. He says that Grandpa Jo’s sins are far worse than his father’s, and he doesn’t feel guilty at all. She knows he’s lying and calls him out on it.

Her words stop him in his tracks: “I’ll come again tomorrow.” BUT WHAT IF THERE IS NO TOMORROW.

She leaves, and he doesn’t turn around. His eyes are brimming with tears by this point, and he whispers aloud to the empty room: “Don’t come.”

She wanders outside, where oh crud—Joon-young is waiting for her. He walks up to her and says they should go home, and then in the car he finally has a conversation with her.

He says he’s always known, that even if Yi-soo were dead, she would always have an invisible connection to him. “But I thought it would be okay if I loved in the way that I can, and that hasn’t changed. Protecting you—protecting your heart so that it doesn’t get hurt—that is my love.” Augh. He bleeds my heart dry.

She hangs her head and says she’s never done anything for him her whole life, except make him wait and cause him pain. She cries that she’s sorry and that she can’t make him suffer any more.

But he refuses to let her go: “I won’t send you away. Even if Yi-soo is alive in your heart forever, I can’t send you away, Hae-woo-ya.” I honestly don’t even know who’s got it right in this scenario.

After sitting up all night, Yi-soo finally comes to some kind of conclusion by morning, and bolts out.

Meanwhile, the head prosecutor gets a USB drive with incriminating evidence of Gaya’s dirty business practices (ah so this is what Yi-soo did with the mole’s thumb drive), and has a fit over the fact that his subordinate already showed it to other departments—as in, there’s no covering this up.

As soon as Joon-young arrives at work that morning, he’s hit with the bad news. He confronts Daddy Jo about making a slush fund for personal use, and Daddy Jo does what he does best, and runs to his daddy to take care of the problem. He already finds Grandpa on top of it, and meeting with prosecutors by the time he gets there. Grandpa Jo says this is why he’s nothing without his father’s shadow.

Secretary Jang hands Dong-soo a small envelope and asks him to deliver it directly into Hae-woo’s hands. She only says that it’s very important, and he promises to deliver it well, adding that he takes back the thing he said the last time, about being disappointed in her.

This must be the thing she stole from Junichiro, and whatever it is, he looks upset to find it missing.

Yi-soo retraces his father’s footsteps and ends up at the home of another activist who was captured and tortured along with Professor Yune and Kang Hee-soo. He introduces himself as Han Young-man’s son. A grandma sits down with Yi-soo and tells him that she swore once to kill the man who tortured her son and returned him a shell of a man. He died three years later, and then one day Han Young-man came to her.

He got on his knees and cried and begged for forgiveness. So she told him if he died right there, she’d forgive him, but he said he had two young children, so he couldn’t do that. Yi-soo starts to cry as he listens to her story.

She says that he came every month for ten years. Wow. She looks over at Yi-soo and says she doesn’t know why he’s asking about his father’s past, but she asks him for a favor—to make her son’s story known to the world, because no one will listen to her and no one knows of the suffering he endured. “Ask them not to forget, please, not to forget.” He bows at his waist as she sends him off.

Soo-hyun calls wanting to meet, and Yi-soo agrees despite knowing exactly what he’s planning to do. He says now is fine, but Soo-hyun suggests night, because he isn’t used to going out in the daylight. Once plans are made, Soo-hyun calls Grandpa Jo to say that today is D-Day.

Dong-soo barges into Hae-woo’s office with the delivery from Secretary Jang, and she pops the USB drive in… It’s a copy of “The Truth About Chun Young-bo.” FINALLY. It just occurred to me that it’d be really funny if every single thumb drive on Junichiro’s desk were just another copy of this document.

Hae-woo meets Secretary Jang in person to ask if Yi-soo sent the document, but she says it was her idea because Hae-woo is the only person who can end this. She says that Yi-soo has a copy of the same document but won’t ever show it to Hae-woo because he doesn’t want to hurt her.

Hae-woo asks if Yi-soo knows Secretary Jang’s feelings, but they just leave that question hanging there, and Hae-woo gets to work. She prints a copy of the document and takes it to her reporter friend, who reads it wide-eyed.

He asks if she’s okay with him reporting this, and she admits she’s not okay, but somebody has to do it.

Meanwhile, Detective Byun has been searching for Kang Hee-soo’s son, and the orphanage hands him the file. It’s Soo-hyun, plain as day.

He calls Hae-woo and frantically explains what he found out—that Soo-hyun is Envelope Professor’s son, has been helping Yi-soo all this time, and now that he’s found out that Yi-soo’s father killed his own… he’ll likely seek revenge.

She tries calling them both, but neither picks up. Yi-soo hangs out on a high-rise rooftop waiting for Soo-hyun to call, and then heads out to meet him.

Soo-hyun picks up a tail on the way. Is it a second assassin sent by Grandpa Jo? Because you can never hire too many assassins to kill all the assassins you previously hired.

The reporter takes the story to his boss at the paper, who shuts it down immediately because Grandpa Jo is too powerful a man to go after.

Yi-soo waits by the river (naturally, where all vengeance goes to die) and Soo-hyun arrives. Yi-soo says he’s sorry, but Soo-hyun doesn’t hesitate. He raises his gun: “You can tell that to my father once you’re dead.”

Yi-soo just smiles and thanks him, and Soo-hyun says he’s the one who ought to thank him for the chance to make money by killing him.

Hae-woo and Detective Byun follow their cell phone signals and finally arrive at the scene. But they’re on the bridge above… and as soon as they spot the standoff below and turn their backs to head down, a shot rings out.

They look over the edge and Yi-soo stumbles backward and falls into the river.

Soo-hyun looks up at the man who’s been following him. Ah, he must’ve been sent to be the eyewitness confirmation for Grandpa Jo, who gets the call and rubs his hands together in glee.

Hae-woo and Detective Byun scan the riverbank, but it’s too dark to see anything. She spots something on the ground, and picks up Yi-soo’s shark pendant.

 
COMMENTS

This episode had some key moments and confrontations that were satisfying, though overall it still felt like the show was holding onto its best stuff for the finale. It’s fine as long as the finale delivers, because second-to-last episodes are often all setup and little payoff. But I did enjoy it, because we finally got a charged confrontation between Grandpa Jo and Yi-soo without any bullshit or thinly veiled references to truths they both know the other knows but won’t acknowledge. I like that we’re past that now.

I was hoping that we’d get some new reveals—things that WE don’t know—but mostly the show seems to be sticking to its One Truth and we pretty much spent the last few episodes just having various characters catch up to stuff we already know. Now that everybody is fiiiiiinally up to speed, I almost just want the finale to have a segment where we lock everyone in a room, spit out the truth, and wait for their collective reaction.

The thing that I find incongruent about Yi-soo that’s always been a concern of mine from the beginning is that he’s never as dark or as far gone as I want him to be. Like the immense guilt that he feels when he learns the truth about his father—it’s at a level that would be consistent with someone who had done far more damage in the name of justice. I feel like the writer wants to have his cake and eat it too—Yi-soo walks the line of a bad guy but is a good guy underneath it all.

That isn’t a bad conflict in and of itself, except for the fact that he’s made out to be irredeemably bad, and he’s just not. In retrospect I wish he’d done more damage, because it would break my heart more that he wanted redemption when he’d already crossed that line. Right now the redemption has more to do with the sins of his father, which are grave to be sure, but doesn’t resonate as much as it would if they were his own sins. Basically I want to feel more conflicted about the hero—say, guy who makes me wonder what’s wrong with me when I’m rooting for him—but they gave me a pretty tame guy who flirts with badness and does the occasionally questionable thing. (Okay, he does a lot of questionable things.) It’s funny because this show has all the goods, but I’m always left feeling like the characters are more conflicted than I am.

The I’m-the-only-one-who-knows-I’m-going-to-die thing does always get to me, so Yi-soo’s round of pseudo goodbyes to everyone today did pain me in a good way. Obviously I hope he survives, because no amount of the bad guys getting their due will be as satisfying as watching the hero finally get his emotional payoff. Just don’t deny me that, Show.

 
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