We’re at D-minus-3, and it’s time for everyone to put in their last desperate bids for success. Tae-san escapes one trap and sets a few of his own, and with one week left I’m extra-eager to see how those play out, especially since there isn’t much time left for a whole lotta back-and-forthing. This is it, and I love that everyone feels the mounting pressure on the same timetable, good and bad guys both—they may all be working toward different ends, but the stakes affect them all to comparable degrees. Sure, it’s a life-death struggle for one guy while it’s more of a money and legal issue for another, but D-Day is the make-it-or-break-it point for them all.
SONG OF THE DAY
Yoo Seung-woo – “니가 오는 날” (The day you come) from the drama OST. [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Tae-san drives along according to the GPS’s directions, working through the facts to try to figure out what game the bad guys are playing. With the road trip and continuous video call, he understands that they’ve effectively tied up his time. But why? While Teacher Kim keeps him occupied with In-hye, what is Boss Moon doing?
He puts two and two together to realize that this is just to keep him out of the way, tying up the officers and prosecutor while they’re at it. Tae-san agonizes between his choices again, remembering In-hye’s plea for him to save their daughter rather than her, and grimly makes the U-turn.
Stuck at home, Jae-kyung gets a busy signal every time she tries Tae-san’s line, and she’s struck with a hunch. Thank goodness she’s thinking fast. So she intercepts a delivery man who’s dropping off food in her building and bribes him for the use of his motorcycle. That allows her to slip out of the building without attracting the notice of the gangsters watching outside, who assume she’s still at home.
Boss Moon wheels Su-jin out of her hospital room, having conveniently drugged the whole staff. I do see holes in this logic (surely they could have managed a more covert plan), but it works in one significant way, which is luring Su-jin with persuasion rather than taking her hostage. And that allows Su-jin to replay her father’s last phone call in her mind, remembering that he sounded really serious and warned her to only leave her room in her mother’s company.
So she pulls the same trick she once pulled on her mother and lets her shoe fall off, then stops Boss Moon to ask for it. I love how precocious she is. She darts off the moment he turns his back and gets into an elevator, calling out as the doors close, “I’d rather wait till my Daddy comes!”
Su-jin runs back to her wing where the staff is still out, losing her other shoe. Boss Moon arrives a few minutes behind her, but he recalls Brainy Smurf’s warning that Su-jin cannot be out of her clean environment for too long—they don’t actually want her to get sick and die. She’s too valuable as a hostage. He starts inspecting the rooms, while Su-jin hunches out of sight, moving from hiding place to hiding place as Boss Moon trawls the floor. Finally she squeezes into a cabinet… and Boss Moon spots the door, slightly ajar.
Tae-san dashes into the hospital frantically, his panic mounting when he sees the unconscious nurses and Su-jin’s dropped shoe. He stops at the outer glass doors, making enough noise to send Boss Moon ducking around the corner. Tae-san doesn’t dare enter without sterilizing himself properly, but Su-jin hears him shouting her name and emerges from hiding. Relieved to see her safe, he urges her back into her clean room and starts to call for a doctor—just as Boss Moon darts into the stairwell.
That’s when Jae-kyung arrives, and he asks her to look after Su-jin before chasing after the fleeing criminal. There’s a cut that’s almost comical as Brainy sits in the waiting ambulance and sees first his boss running by, then Tae-san chasing after him.
The pursuit goes through the streets, into a building, and up to a rooftop where Tae-san furiously beats down Boss Moon and drags him over to the ledge in an echo of the position he found himself in yesterday. He assures Boss Moon that he won’t kill him, though, because he’d much rather send him to rot in prison for the rest of his life.
Boss Moon warns that he’ll come to regret letting him live, and that he’d figured Tae-san would choose the child over In-hye. Who, by the way, will be dying tonight. Tae-san shows no nerves as he growls that Boss Moon may mess with him, but he won’t be able to mess with Su-jin or In-hye.
Boss Moon tells his minions to move In-hye from the photo studio, though Seung-woo arrives there first after the car was tracked to the location. Currently there are only two lackeys standing guard in front, and Seung-woo tries to push his way in saying he’s here to meet Teacher Kim. The two fools don’t let him through and pull a knife on him, only to get a gun to the face instead. Ha. They scram.
Seung-woo bursts in and frees In-hye. He embraces her comfortingly and supposes she’s wondering why he’s here, and In-hye says that “he” (Tae-san) must have sent him. She knows Tae-san shouldn’t have come for her but Seung-woo clocks her disappointment, and says that Tae-san had been coming to save her, and worked with him.
Tae-san gets the news from Jae-kyung that all is well—In-hye’s on her way over, and Su-jin’s asking to see her father. With the nurses busy being questioned, he’ll be able to slip through with her and the doctor’s help. So Tae-san scrubs in and waits anxiously outside the window, all jitters and nervous smiles, until Su-jin raises the blinds to grin up at him. Aww, she’s wearing his hairclip, stuck onto the brim of her cap.
She asks if this was what he meant over the phone in warning her about the ajusshi, and says, “I did a good job listening to you, didn’t I?” He praises her deductive powers, and she says she understood because there are such things as bad friends (she knows, ’cause she has experience from kindergarten), and that you shouldn’t play with those kids—the ones who lie or hit other people. He calls her smart, and Su-jin concedes that she’s not really that smart because her grades aren’t so good from being sick all the time. But Tae-san tells her she’ll do great once she goes back to school, because he did pretty well. He adds, “You don’t have to do well, but I know you will.”
Then Su-jin wishes him happy birthday, saying that Mom cooked seaweed soup and everything and told her to eat it in his place since he doesn’t like it. She even has a birthday drawing for him, with a cake and (of course) a mountain, which reads: “Daddy! Happy birthday. Thank you for having me.” It’s all he can do not to melt into a puddle of tears right there. I love how the moment his smile starts wobbling, her face frowns to mirror his, until he tells her it’s just because he’s so grateful.
They place their hands on the glass as if to touch hands, and Tae-san marvels to himself, “This child is smiling at me. She’s smiling for me.”
Boss Moon fumes in the car ride back, trying to figure out where things went awry, and then gets word that Seung-woo rescued In-hye too. They arrive at the hospital and race up to check on Su-jin, as Tae-san notes their hand-in-hand arrival from around the corner. A little grudgingly, he gives Seung-woo for a job well done.
In-hye swoops Su-jin in a hug and worriedly checks on her, but Su-jin is all smiles and says she had fun today. She proceeds to describe how her father appeared “like Superman” and made the bad liar ajusshi run away, just before she starts to vomit. Though the day’s events haven’t damaged her in the long run, they’ve taken their toll.
Tae-san waits downstairs to meet with Jae-kyung, but it’s In-hye who comes down instead. She’s thankful that he saved Su-jin, though she admits that she was hoping her hardest that he’d remember her eye-reflection words, because she wanted to survive too. She offers to call them even for everything now—he saved Su-jin today, so she’ll let go of what happened eight years ago, and he’ll save Su-jin again in two days, so she’ll let go of his eight-year absence then.
He considers that getting off lightly, but she says, “I want to forgive you. That way, you can forgive yourself.” With the promise to see each other in two days, they say their goodbyes.
Seung-woo checks with the hospital’s security team, finding that the bad guys were thorough in blacking out the relevant CCTVs. They do, however, have footage from before the outage, which should indicate how the spiked drinks were circulated.
Tae-san hands over the voice recorder taken from the pawnshop, and plays her the recording of the gangster minions mentioning the boss killing Mi-sook. It’s a step in the right direction, but Jae-kyung shakes her head—it’s not enough evidence to nab Boss Moon for murder.
Tae-san has been thinking, though, and declares that they’ll be able to get him. First off, Halfwit hadn’t told Boss Moon about Tae-san planting recorders in the pawnshop—the gangsters believed that they’d gotten them before they could do any damage, but it’s telling that they kept it from the boss. Time to divide and conquer.
The problem is that Congresswoman Jo will just step in to pressure authorities into letting Boss Moon go. Jae-kyung shares her findings about Congresswoman Jo’s house and neighbor’s house both being held in the same company’s name—as well as that photo studio building. It’s a solid lead, but he worries that there’s no time to pursue that path with D-Day so near.
Tae-san heads over to Congresswoman Jo’s house, where the lights go off past midnight right on schedule. He leaps the neighboring wall, sneaks onto the property, and stakes out a vantage point. From there he can see Congresswoman Jo enjoying a glass of wine in her backyard, looking nothing like the humble civil servant she presents herself as to the public. He snaps photos.
Boss Moon triggers the secret wall in his house, revealing that there is indeed a hidden basement chock-full of multiple safes and what must be loads of incriminating evidence—documents, security tapes, etc. He packs a bag with cash.
Tae-san takes the information Jae-kyung has collected on Teacher Kim and passes it along to Boss Han. So far they know that the guy was adopted to Colombia, where he initially held citizenship, but served in the French Foreign Legion and was granted French citizenship. Now Boss Han why he thinks Teacher Kim may be his son, though it’s nothing more than a hunch. Back in his days as a successful gangster, Boss Han had wanted a different path for his son and given him an engraved fountain pen. One day the boy just disappeared from in front of the house, and the pen (minus the cap) was the only thing left behind. Boss Han had waited for a ransom demand, and never gotten it.
Boss Han admits that that’s why he decided to help Tae-san, after being reminded of his lost son, and Tae-san promises to find out more once the surgery is over.
With this latest setback, Boss Moon is on the rampage for Tae-san’s head on a stick, and orders Brainy Smurf to take this bag of cash to assemble the bestest, deadliest team to increase surveillance all around and finish the job. Brainy nervously suggests that it be best to give up on the plan to kill Tae-san, who doesn’t have any evidence against him anyway, because it would be safest to draw back and protect himself now.
Boss Moon has no intention of backing off now and orders Brainy to do as he’s told. Just then, Tae-san calls to play that recorded exchange for Boss Moon, proving that his Three Stooges admitted the boss was the killer. He knows that Halfwit would be the easy fall guy, and thus is going to ensure that Boss Moon take the fall for his own crime this time.
Next, Tae-san calls Halfwit to fan the flames the other way, telling him to get ready to go to prison. He says that Boss Moon is ready to throw him under the bus, and all the evidence points to him (including the name on Mi-sook’s house being Halfwit’s wife’s).
Thus the air is strained when the boss calls him in with orders to find a new fall guy—one with a nice clean record—who can take the rap for killing Tae-san. They can disguise it as an accidental killing to lessen the charge, wrapping up the case nicely. Halfwit is so relieved to not be on the hook that he gratefully agrees to do just that, even though I’m pretty sure Boss Moon has other plans in store for him.
Halfwit finds himself in more hot water, though, with Seung-woo following up on the property lead for the house Mi-sook died in. His wife has no idea what the case is, and Halfwit clearly hasn’t been telling her the half of it. He lies that Mi-sook was a tenant who was renting from him, and is told to bring proof of the rental fees to the police.
Sweating, Halfwit heads over to the real estate office, perhaps in a desperate bid to forge some documents. Tae-san is there to confront him, though, telling him it’s no use. Halfwit is ready to gloat that Tae-san was wrong about the boss making him his patsy, until Tae-san reminds him of all the things the boss once told him—find a guy with a clean record to take the accidental killing charge—right before forcing Tae-san in anyway. He plays the recording for him, and Halfwit tries to keep from pissing himself.
Jae-kyung tracks down the reporter she had previously contacted—back when she’d offered the bet that Congresswoman Jo would get Boss Moon off the hook following his arrest. She’s curious to know why all this huge news has landed in the reporter’s lap but somehow hasn’t made it to the papers.
The reporter surprises her by saying that Congresswoman Jo had urged him to go ahead and print. She’d all but taunted him into it, asking if he could handle the blowback. Jae-kyung asks what he’d do if she were to give him another tip.
The strained relationship between Jo and Moon frays a little bit more when they have another secret meeting, wherein he all but orders her to stay in the country until Tae-san dies and Jae-kyung is fired. She’s been practically counting down the seconds till her escape and doesn’t take kindly to her gangster underling suddenly exerting himself, but he finds his spine and says she’s shat on him for ten years, and half her current power is thanks to him. Thus he’ll be needing to use some of that power to extricate himself from this situation—therefore, stay put for now.
Congresswoman Jo threatens to call off the auction, and he calls her bluff. No auction means his advancement up the business ladder gets delayed, but no payday for her derails her entire Swiss escape plan. So if she wants her multimillions, they’ll have to ensure Boss Moon doesn’t go down for murder.
The confrontation shakes her badly, and she drives home trembling. It’s nice to see that she’s scared of something in the world.
Jae-kyung delivers cameras, clothes, and supplies to Tae-san in preparation for their new operation, to unfold shortly.
Teacher Kim prepares his weapons, and it’s then that he finds the cell phone in his car trunk. It’s the one Boss Han had tossed in to track him the other night, and he’s been sending texts asking, “Are you Glue Stick?” Ah, that must have been his nickname for his son. For now, Teacher Kim ignores the messages and tosses the phone aside.
Tae-san dresses up in a business suit and drops by Congresswoman Jo’s office, presenting himself as a reporter to get in the doors. Once there he reveals his face and shows her the photos he took, using them as leverage to get her to listen without calling the cops.
She laughs at his childish attempt to blackmail her with a few photos, but nope, he came prepared with a deal, and it’s a pretty tempting one. He explains that all he wants is to save his daughter’s life with surgery, which he can do if he can prove Boss Moon killed that woman. He shows the evidence he has collected about the properties all being bought in one company’s name, and promises to keep her connection to Moon secret. So Moon goes down, Congresswoman Jo gets off scot-free, and Tae-san gets his surgery. It’s worth considering, and she does.
But there’s more to this operation, and Jae-kyung waits on a rooftop with a camera at the ready. She starts snapping photos of Tae-san meeting with Congresswoman Jo through the window from afar.
Congresswoman Jo is rightly suspicious, though he argues (rather convincingly) that he knows Congresswoman Jo is to be feared, and that he wouldn’t double-cross her and send her to prison because she has the wherewithal to retaliate. However, if she refuses his deal, well, he’s already prepared to die to save his child’s life, so he’ll make sure this information is spread far and wide.
She asks if he has the evidence to nail Boss Moon. He assures her that he’s got it covered, and all she has to do is stay out of it and not get him off the hook.
She accepts the deal. He thanks her profusely, and asks for a handshake to seal the deal. Jae-kyung gets the money shot.
Two days left.
Yay for this turning of the tables! I know a thriller can’t successfully keep us engaged and on tenterhooks if the good guys were always getting out of scrapes safely, but for the sake of my nerves let’s just say I’m really glad we’re in the final stretch. There’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that we don’t have the literal screentime left to screw Tae-san over too badly at this point, so I can enjoy the downfall of the bad guys in relative peace. (I’ve never doubted that he’d make the surgery and save Su-jin’s life, but suppose there’s always the question of whether Tae-san will survive after that… but really, I’m not thinking that’s very likely. All roads point to redemption and forgiveness, and you can’t save Su-jin’s life only to have her daddy die! Nope, not gonna happen.)
The problem dogging Team Hero has always been that the baddies have been a united front with all number of resources at their disposal, unafraid to pull strings and do whatever it took to get things done. Jae-kyung and Seung-woo often had their hands tied by their jobs, while Tae-san didn’t have the means or power to strike back. So it’s satisfying to see the cracks starting to grow as each bad guy is separated from the pack, and Tae-san knows the gangsters well enough to know just where to jab. Especially since none of them is as loyal (or maybe just threatened) a minion as Tae-san was and would sell out each other in a flash to save his own neck. We saw that in Tae-san just two weeks ago (two weeks of drama timeline, I mean), as the aimless pawnshop owner who assumed Boss Moon would always ensure he had a job because he took the fall for him twice.
It seems pretty clear that the gangsters are going down, and aside from just being dumber than the congresswoman to start with, they’re also gangsters with a lot more shady dealings in their backgrounds to dig up and hold against them. I’m more curious to see how they’re going to nail the congresswoman to the wall, because she seems like the type who has got her ass covered multiple times over. Tae-san had it right when he pegged her as the scariest of them all, and she has a rather chillingly disconnected way of looking at the world that’s borderline psychotic—she can find a rationale for anything, and has the brains to make it happen.
It’s starting to look like Seung-woo recognizes that his place in the family is shrinking, which is sad for him because he’s a decent man who genuinely loves In-hye and Su-jin. But I suspect he’ll take the honorable route and step back once all is said and done, because if anything that saves In-hye the trouble of pushing him away. Two weeks is a pretty short time in which to overturn your long-held feelings about a person, but the show has done a pretty credible job of bringing In-hye around (especially with her comment about her memories remaining the same over the years) so I have no issues with a happy family reunion capping off this story. The guy’s earned that much, hasn’t he? I don’t think it’s so much a case of Tae-san being let off the hook for everything so much as it’s him being allowed a second chance—it’s up to him to live right this time around. Like the congresswoman said (in one of her unnerving moments of clarity), Tae-san seems to have learned the value of a life, which he won’t soon be forgetting.