Bad Guys: Episode 10
That doesn’t look like a bloody good time, does it? This is the episode where things we’ve come to known start to unravel at our feet. Not only do our characters start to suspect the truth that they’ve told, but I’m starting to doubt some of the things we’ve seen in past episodes. Bad Guys has always hinted at the idea that things are not always what it seems, but now I’m starting to feel like I’ve been tricked into believing events that may or may not have taken place.
I know all of that sounds incredibly vague, but once you hear your narrator tell you that even he doesn’t know what he remembers is true or not, then you’re bound to start being wary about the one hour this show has left. I still believe in you, Bad Guys!
SONG OF THE DAY
Mino – “걔 세 (I’m Him)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 10: “The Knife Is Dancing”
In a dark boiler room, Jung-moon wakes with a start and barely gets his bearings before Doctor Kim shoves a bottle of pills into his mouth. Imma just say it now—what the fuck is wrong with this psychotic shrink?
After the medication takes effect, Jung-moon’s level of consciousness is blurry and patchy. He walks haltingly down a hallway where a familiar, unsurprised voice greets him. “You’ve finally come,” says Boss Lee.
It appears that Goo-tak has recanted the entire, lengthy flashback from the previous episode to Mi-young after all. Manipulating evidence to throw Jung-moon in jail sounds like a low move to her ears, but at least the story now helps put together some puzzle pieces in her head, like Goo-tak’s certainty that Jung-moon would go looking for his ex-girlfriend Yoo-jin.
Now she’s certain that Goo-tak sprung the other two jailbirds from prison to have Jung-moon killed, to which Goo-talk replies that wasn’t his original intention. Goo-tak wanted to keep a short leash on Jung-moon and verify whether he was the Hwayeondong serial killer that took Ji-yeon’s life or not.
When asked why Goo-tak would even bother taking Jung-moon out of prison in the first place, he recounts how he suddenly had doubts about Jung-moon’s culpability sometime last year, back when he was still holed up in his home. Jung-moon was captured on camera in the neighborhood, but there were no eyewitnesses to the murder, so why was he so sure that Jung-moon was guilty?
After a while, he had doubted whether Jung-moon had complimented Ji-yeon in the police station. Truth is, Jung-moon had said nothing and walked past, but Goo-tak was so sure that Jung-moon was the culprit and his instincts had never failed him before.
Wait a minute—are you telling me that you possibly imagined Jung-moon saying those words or that your thirst for vengeance was so great that you doubted your memories after the fact?
His thoughts of self-doubt of whether his words and behavior were out of fiery vengeance kept him up at night. Mi-young asks if his wavering conviction and guilt is what compelled him to pay Jung-moon a belated prison visit.
Goo-tak wouldn’t necessarily call it guilt, but he did feel sorry for Jung-moon. So when he had told Jung-moon that Yoo-jin was apologetic for what happened, it was because Goo-tak couldn’t bring himself to apologize himself, since that felt like it would be insulting his daughter’s death.
Mi-young is interested in what Goo-tak has discovered about Jung-moon after keeping him by his side then. A psychopathic serial killer or a wronged victim to Goo-tak’s revenge? Goo-tak replies that Jung-moon was the first guy that made him realize that he could be wrong about criminals, but then he let his guard down and Jung-moon attacked him anyway.
Goo-tak claims he wasn’t the one who ordered Woong-chul and Tae-soo to assassinate Jung-moon, though he’s sure Mi-young won’t believe him anyway. His plan to go capture Jung-moon is thwarted when Mi-young takes out the voice recorder which has recorded their entire conversation.
Goo-tak chuckles at that, reminding her that he isn’t called “Crazy Dog” for nothing. He gives himself up to the men here to take him away, but at the last moment, he knocks them out.
Mi-young raises her gun at him in warning, but Goo-tak just walks right back and lets the barrel rest on his forehead. He’ll turn himself in after he hunts down and kills Jung-moon, so he tells Mi-young to stand down.
After a tense few moments, Mi-young lowers her weapon. She asks if he can’t entrust this case to her, which has Goo-tak realize that she’s partnered with Prosecutor Oh. He doesn’t answer when Mi-young repeats her question whether Goo-tak made the assassination order or not, but he stops in his tracks when she claims to know why Goo-tak was so sure that Jung-moon was guilty.
She figures Goo-tak wanted to rectify his corruption of taking Boss Lee’s money by taking it upon himself to find the Hwayeondong serial killer. Doing so would help him feel slightly better about himself, and so Goo-tak desperately wished that Jung-moon was guilty so that Goo-tak could move on, she adds.
Rather than blaming Jung-moon, Goo-tak should probably blame himself, Mi-young argues—because everything that’s happened in the past two years was all Goo-tak’s doing. Goo-tak: “You chose a path you cannot turn back from. Even repentance is a luxury in hell.”
Another murder is reported, which means Woong-chul is called out of prison. Unfortunately for him, the victim is none other than Boss Lee, and Prosecutor Oh confirms that Jung-moon was caught on camera and his DNA was found on both the body and the murder weapon.
Remembering that Jung-moon had vowed to confront Boss Lee himself, Woong-chul asks for a moment alone. The memories with his former boss bring tears to his eyes.
Mi-young asks whether she should interpret these events to mean that Jung-moon went looking for Boss Lee and find out the truth, then the two engaged in an altercation that led to the mob boss’s death. Prosecutor Oh instructs her to stick to the facts—that Jung-moon killed Boss Lee.
Interpretation introduces emotions into a case, leading down a dangerous path to ruin like it did for him, Prosecutor Oh returns. Tae-soo joins them just then, in time to hear that Jung-moon’s whereabouts are unknown since his ankle monitor has been removed.
Once Tae-soo and Woong-chul are filled in up on the rooftop, Tae-soo has one very important thing to ask—is Goo-tak the one who orchestrated this entire operation of having Jung-moon killed as well as Woong-chul and himself if they were unsuccessful?
He has to know because he’s lost too many people in the process, and whereas Mi-young says that’s not fully confirmed, Prosecutor Oh says it is. This is mostly his gut feeling talking, but Prosecutor Oh is sure that Goo-tak’s life would have been very different if Woong-chul, Tae-soo, and Jung-moon had never entered the picture.
Killing the men who are the source of his pain ought to make things easier to bear for Goo-tak, Prosecutor Oh surmises. He suggests that both men should use their rising emotions to their advantage: Woong-chul can hunt down Jung-moon and Tae-soo can go find Goo-tak and repay the favor in kind by taking as much as what was stolen from him.
He’ll leave Woong-chul and Tae-soo to make their own judgments, though he adds the reminder that no one else knows the details of this case apart from themselves. Look who’s picked up the hunting dogs to do his own bidding.
Mi-young is not happy with Prosecutor Oh stating theories like fact, to which the prosecutor claims that he’s picking up her mess. They need to sit Goo-tak down to confirm anything, and she let him get away.
He believes that he’s given Woong-chul and Tae-soo enough motivation to track down Goo-tak soon enough. And when Mi-young asks what happens if they actually kill him, Prosecutor Oh reminds her that she works with him now, so she should keep quiet and not worry her pretty little head.
Still, they’re talking about human lives, but Prosecutor Oh tells her to keep her eye on the prize—dissolving Team Crazy Dogs. It doesn’t matter if any of those team members lose their lives on the job.
Mi-young asks if this is the kind of person he always was, and Prosecutor Oh steps forward to answer: “Someone’s who have gone through horrible suffering doesn’t think of what kind of person he is… only what kind of person he must become.”
Tae-soo seeks out the elderly baduk player to ask for his help in finding Goo-tak. When he’s initially refused, Tae-soo stresses that the few precious people in his life died because of this detective on the run. That grabs the elderly man’s attention, and he asks if it’s true.
Over at Boss Lee’s funeral service, Woong-chul imagines Boss Lee’s death in the version that was told to him: where Jung-moon strangled and stabbed Boss Lee with a conniving smirk.
Woong-chul deploys all of his men to comb the city and look for Jung-moon, reminding them that Boss Lee provided them with a comfortable life. “And to me… he was like my own hyung,” Woong-chul says. “So put your lives on the line and find that bastard.”
Meanwhile, Jung-moon finally comes to in another undisclosed location. It’s only when he raises a hand to his face does he notice his bloody hands. He stares at them, shocked. Doctor Kim walks in telling someone on the other line that there were no mistakes this time, and upon seeing Jung-moon, he runs over to stop him with the stun gun.
Goo-tak picks up a prepaid phone, and then ambushed by Detective Park, who tells him that Goo-tak’s car was spotted. Goo-tak realizes that Jung-moon’s been kidnapped and orders Detective Park to dig up information on Doctor Kim.
Goo-tak won’t tell Detective Park why he’s doing all this, especially when the prosecutors are looking for him. He simply gives his former partner a separate phone to contact him with.
Tae-soo calls Detective Park just long enough to tap into the radio frequency to track his calls. I’m not quite sure how effective that will be in tracking down Goo-tak if Detective Park uses the other prepaid phone Goo-tak gave him.
Jung-moon is woken up again in time to meet that mysterious man in Episode 4 (the one who reported to his boss that Jung-moon was still alive), who takes particular interest in Jung-moon’s stun baton.
Doctor Kim tells the guy to finish the job properly so that Jung-moon doesn’t come looking for him again. With that, Jung-moon is taken away.
Woong-chul’s men are busy showing Jung-moon’s photo to strangers when they spot the car transporting Jung-moon drive past. To their luck, the car stops at the traffic light, and the gangsters surround the car, telling the men inside to open up.
The head honcho tells the driver to gun it, carrying the cowardly maknae gangster on the hood until he finally rolls off. Using the moment to his advantage, Jung-moon grabs the stun gun and takes out the gangsters with it, forcing the car to crash into the side of the road.
Jung-moon staggers out of the car, only to be approached by more of Woong-chul’s men who have orders to bring him in. Jung-moon makes a run for it and stumbles into a hotel, grasping his injured arm.
With great effort, he climbs up the stairs and tracks down the room to the key he stole moments ago and lets himself inside. He searches the bathroom and grabs a kettle, plugs in a lamp and waits.
So when the gangsters come to search his room, Jung-moon bides his time until the gangsters try the bathroom door. They bend down to inspect the water seeping from under the door, and that’s when Jung-moon throws down the lamp and electrocutes them. That’s both smart of Jung-moon and really stupid of the thugs.
Commissioner Nam has moved onto fishing in bigger ponds, where Prosecutor Oh and Mi-young suggest that the police commissioner disband Team Crazy Dogs himself. As long as Goo-tak assumes responsibility for his actions (read: creating the team to carry out his personal revenge), then no fault will fall upon Commissioner Nam.
As always, Commissioner Nam speaks in metaphors, asking if she’s ever a dropped, bruised apple before. It’s usually cheaper and thrown into a bag haphazardly, so out of curiosity, he bought one and tried it. “Do you know what it tasted like?”
It tasted the same as those other pretty and expensive fruit, despite being blown about in the wind and bruised. Prosecutor Oh doesn’t really care for Commissioner Nam’s flowery language, but the latter is quick to point out the prosecutor’s desire to throw the bad apples of society behind bars.
“Do you not see them as human? You must see them as disposable items you can throw away after their use is up.” Commissioner Nam doesn’t see the need to be polite to someone like him—if Prosecutor Oh wants to strike a deal with him, he better learn what it means to be humane first.
After Prosecutor Oh walks off, Commissioner Nam asks Mi-young if she doesn’t regret her decision to switch sides. She’s free to come back and join him whenever she likes because he considers her like his own daughter. Aww.
“I think… I’ve already gone too far, sir,” Mi-young replies, tears welling up in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Tae-soo and the elderly baduk player tap into Detective Park’s calls to Goo-tak regardless of which phone he uses to communicate (because it’s radio frequency magic?). Goo-tak and Detective Park speak in vague terms, but Tae-soo does pick up on where they plan to meet: Hongdae.
Unfortunately for Tae-soo, the crowded place makes it difficult for the elderly man to hone in on the right frequency. His sensitive ears pick up on a familiar voice—Goo-tak’s—which instructs Detective Park to move so that he can see whether they’ve picked up a tail or not.
Goo-tak is up on a rooftop, observing the crowd below. Tae-soo makes a move when he sees Detective Park walk away, only to stop when he’s told that it’s a test. Seeing nothing, Goo-tak wonders if he was being too paranoid and starts walking, too.
It’s at that moment Tae-soo follows Detective Park, who has more information on Doctor Kim. Evidently the doctor’s wife was murdered by a serial killer, and Goo-tak instructs Detective Park to leave behind the intel in the trash can nearby.
Tae-soo keeps his eyes peeled for any sign of Goo-tak, who starts making his way towards the designated spot. But then he stops when he’s told that Jung-moon was spotted two hours ago running away from some gangsters after getting into a car accident.
Goo-tak takes a few more steps, only to stop again when his cell phone starts picking up other voices nearby. He immediately abandons the phone and walks away before Tae-soo can spot him.
It’s nightfall by the time Goo-tak seeks out Yoo-jin and asks her why she chose to stay in Korea instead of studying overseas with the money he gave her. She isn’t in the mood to entertain, but asks what else he wants from her now.
Jung-moon is tinkering around with his stun baton when he finally turns on his phone. There’s a voicemail from Yoo-jin, who tells him that she had no choice because Goo-tak had threatened her into betraying him, and he was the one behind it all.
Upon hearing her address, Jung-mon walks out in a daze, bumping into one of Woong-chul’s men and spilling the numerous photos of himself onto the ground.
Goo-tak calls up Commissioner Nam, who’s worried yet relieved to hear his voice. It’s almost sweet how Goo-tak calls him “hyung” and asks if Commissioner Nam believes him. He’s grateful to hear that at least one person in the world does, and he tells the police commissioner to take care because he could be attacked before hanging up.
It’s weirdly uncanny how well the elderly baduk player can pick up Goo-tak’s phone’s radio frequency so well in all of Seoul, but sure, we’ll roll with it. At the same time, Yoo-jin calls Goo-tak to let him know that Jung-moon is on his way when he walks past (aha, so the voicemail was bait, I see).
Jung-moon isn’t the only one on the move because Woong-chul is on his way over and so is Tae-soo. The latter two speak the same words: “I’m… going to kill you.”
Jung-moon tries knocking on Yoo-jin’s door, only to be greeted by the sound of Goo-tak’s voice. Before Jung-moon can reach for his baton, Goo-tak gives him a taste of his right hook.
When Goo-tak tells him to kneel and look up at him, Jung-moon obeys. Grabbing his hair, Goo-tak levels his gun inches from Jung-moon’s face. “I thought you orchestrated everything,” Jung-moon says. “I thought you threatened Yoo-jin and placed the blame on me.”
“Why did you do that to me?” Jung-moon asks, a question that Goo-tak echoes back to him. “My daughter Ji-yeon… my innocent daughter. Why did you kill her?”
“I… don’t remember,” Jung-moon breathes. Goo-tak accepts that answer: “Fine, don’t remember. Because I’ll distinctly remember.”
Goo-tak ever so slowly starts pulling the trigger, but that’s when Woong-chul arrives and punches Goo-tak out of the way to drag Jung-moon away for himself. Goo-tak doesn’t get very far however, because Tae-soo arrives moments later and slings another punch to his jaw.
Now there are two separate fights, and while Woong-chul demands to know why Jung-moon killed Boss Lee, Goo-tak tells Tae-soo that he isn’t the man responsible for the assassination order. Not that Tae-soo will believe him now, as he hurls another punch at Goo-tak.
Woong-chul tells Jung-moon that they had a chance at becoming sort-of friends, to which Jung-moon says that he wishes that he was the killer, that he killed all those people, and that he could remember that he did. That would be far easier to deal with, Jung-moon continues, but Woong-chul has had enough with the “I-don’t-remember-killing” line.
Jung-moon admits that he’s sick and tired of that story too, and now he just wants to end it. Woong-chul is willing to grant him that wish and unveils a knife.
As for Tae-soo, he points the gun at Goo-tak, who chuckles at his own pathetic state. Lowering the weapon, Tae-soo is willing to hear Goo-tak out—if he really isn’t the one who orchestrated everything, then Goo-tak can try and convince him otherwise. Goo-tak is too tired to try and persuade anyone at the moment, and tells Tae-soo to kill him.
Woong-chul promises Jung-moon a swift death, which the latter seems to long for. Woong-chul raises his knife at the ready, and then falls down to Jung-moon’s eye-level, encouraging him to remember what happened.
“You could live, you bastard,” Woong-chul pleads. Aww, Woong-chul.
When Jung-moon repeats that he doesn’t remember, Woong-chul demands to know why and hollers at him to try harder. His voice breaking, Jung-moon replies, “I’m really sorry… but I really don’t remember.”
Goo-tak tells Tae-soo the answer he wants to hear—that he used Woong-chul and Tae-soo to ultimately kill Jung-moon, and that he’s the reason why Tae-soo’s loved ones died in the line of fire.
That prompts Tae-soo to point the gun at Goo-tak’s forehead again, and Goo-tak tells him to let that answer go in one ear and out the other. Dropping the gun again, Tae-soo says, “Hurry up and try to convince me otherwise. I beg of you!”
But Goo-tak says nothing to plead his case, and Jung-moon finally lets the tears come. Tae-soo raises his gun, poised to shoot, and Woong-chul swings his knife…
Seeing that image of the four of them laughing after wrapping up a case is painfully hard to bear in this moment. They all look so happy. We needed more of these moments, Bad Guys!
And then we cut away to the lake, where Commissioner Nam clutches his bloody side.
Well, you certainly have my attention now. I might not understand why Commissioner Nam may have suddenly felt compelled to night fishing after getting hung up on by Goo-tak, but something certainly smells fishy (pun intended). I’d hate to see Commissioner Nam go, especially when we’ve seen that he does have Mi-young’s interests at heart, but as is an unsaid dramaland rule that moral father-like figures always bites the dust.
I’d have to say that this penultimate episode is among one of the weaker episodes in this series. That isn’t to say that my love for the show has dwindled, but after Bad Guys spent its previous two episodes providing answers in albeit biased perspectives, we were led to think that what we saw was the truth. Then it was as if the drama sought to subvert our expectations one more time before the finale, only this time the execution was far more clumsy. I’ll be frank and say that Goo-tak’s initial monologue was both informative yet confusing—I could understand the doubts that he’d feel for manipulating a crime and throw Jung-moon into jail because he wanted him to be his daughter’s murderer so badly. And yet, we saw Jung-moon say that Ji-yeon was pretty in the previous episode’s flashback, and now Goo-tak basically said he was 98% sure of his 100% accurate instincts. Because now we’re talking about an encounter that could have influenced Jung-moon’s involvement (or not, I guess) in Ji-yeon’s death, which is crucial to understand Goo-tak’s intentions and Jung-moon’s culpability.
I wish I could say that instance was the only time that threw me off, but then after Woong-chul was told of how Boss Lee (presumably) died in Prosecutor Oh’s version, we saw Woong-chul imagine a scene of a story he was told, of a murder he never witnessed. Those kinds of flashbacks make me as a viewer begin to doubt what’s being shown on my screen, and not in the intriguing, suspenseful way. Then I have a hard time believing any information being presented to me because now I don’t know if you’re telling me the truth anymore. It’s not a good place for any show to be in, especially with one episode left, and now I feel like Tae-soo demanding the show to convince me otherwise.
This is the first time we’ve seen Mi-young look frightened to be working alongside (or is it for?) Prosecutor Oh, whose intentions are still a mystery. I can’t say I feel super terrible, since she made the decision to cross over to Prosecutor Oh’s side and she too knows that her choice is irrevocable by this point. It is sad, however, that Commissioner Nam left the door open for her and now she may never be able to repair that relationship.
I also feel bad for Jung-moon, even though he most certainly killed Boss Lee in this episode. He had a pretty rough few days being in and out of consciousness, unable to account for the times he doesn’t remember. It seems that the baddie ladder climbs higher than psychotic shrink Doctor Kim, and I’m thinking we haven’t seen the last of that mysterious gangster from Episode 4. If we’re to believe that Goo-tak wished to kill Jung-moon out of his personal vengeance but didn’t issue a hit order to have Woong-chul and Tae-soo killed, too, then it begs the question of who did then. The numbers on our side are quickly dwindling, and I hope we get an answer before another precious life is lost.