Spy: Episode 13
It’s Operation: Rescue on Spy, where Sun-woo faces his most difficult mission yet: ensuring the safety of his loved ones. He’ll discover that while getting his family out of danger is relatively easy, keeping them safe is an entirely different matter. With things like the threat of national security in the open and corrupt superiors making some questionable decisions and committing even more terrible actions, Sun-woo can at least take some solace in the fact that he isn’t the only one having to face some hard truths around these parts.
SONG OF THE DAY
FT Island – “가질 수 없는 너 (Can’t Have You) ” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
After sending Dad out to guard the door, Sun-woo keeps the gun trained on Ki-chul. His eyes follow Ki-chul’s line of sight to a van outside when he asks where Mom is, who is taken out to show him that she’s still alive. However, Ki-chul warns Sun-woo that while killing him will enable Sun-woo to procure the hard drive, it’ll also result in Mom’s death.
Sun-woo demands that Mom be let go lest Ki-chul wishes to die, but our villain is well-aware that death would only be too easy. Ki-chul is tipped off about the NIS agents’ arrival, which has him wonder if Sun-woo called for backup.
That wasn’t necessarily the smartest idea, Ki-chul notes. “Which one of us do you think those guys will apprehend? Us?” he asks, then shakes his head. “It’s you.”
Sun-woo gets visibly upset when Ki-chul orders Mom to be taken away, but quickly assesses that it’s better to hand Ki-chul and the hard drive over to the NIS, since Mom will be eventually discarded by the baddies anyway.
Although holding two North Korean spies hostage is a more favorable position for Sun-woo, Ki-chul asks him if he can abandon his mother. But now they’re out of time, so Ki-chul says he’ll return Mom in one piece when Sun-woo and his father break that code—they have one day to do it.
The office is empty by the time the NIS agents arrive, and Sun-woo assures his worried father that leaving Mom in the hands of their captors is the best choice they have right now. As the trio takes off, Dad asks, “But, why did you bring Yoon-jin along?” We’re all asking the same thing.
Once Chief Song receives word that Sun-woo and Dad got away, he orders his men to search their home. He’s still shaken by the memory of when he was interrogating the Supervisor, who didn’t know the password.
Chief Song had injected him with a syringe to presumably coerce the truth out of him, but whatever it was, it had accidentally killed him instead. Director Jung had cleaned up the mess.
Director Jung doesn’t seem all that torn up that the hard drive is in the open, since Chief Song will be the one to face the repercussions. He gives Chief Song two days to recover the drive, reminding him that Chief Song’s father-in-law needs those funds to finance his upcoming election.
And just to prove that he can drop Chief Song like a hot potato at any given moment, Director Jung tells him to take care of the Supervisor. He denies having any involvement in the matter, adding that Chief Song is walking on thin ice.
Sun-woo drops Dad off at a remote location, then speeds back towards town to pick up little sis Young-seo. He knows that Chief Song will stop at nothing if it means recovering that hard drive; he’s totally right, because next thing we know, Chief Song orders to find Young-seo.
Discovering the Supervisor’s corpse leaves Hyun-tae in a mix of shock and grief. He still remembers the day he lost his partner on that failed mission: a bomb-rigged door had blown his partner into smithereens, and Hyun-tae was barely conscious enough to see the three-fingered Supervisor step on his hand.
Chief Song had been the one to discover him back then, and it’s painful how Hyun-tae tries to find words to justify Chief Song’s decisions when Eun-ah calls in saying that they’re searching Sun-woo’s house without a warrant.
In the bathroom, Eun-ah spots the same pill Sun-woo had asked him to look into. Curious, she checks behind the cabinet, where she discovers Mom’s written confession.
There are already field agents in the surrounding area by the time Sun-woo arrives back in Seoul. He’s determined not to lose his sister, and more than willing to take the risk of capture when Yoon-jin says there are too many of them for him to take on.
He releases Yoon-jin from the handcuffs and from any further responsibility in this matter, telling her to protect her own family. But Yoon-jin insists on helping him in this task, if only to clear some of her guilty conscience.
As it turns out, Young-seo is playing hooky at a noraebang, and is told to turn off her phone until Sun-woo comes to pick her up. The NIS agents pick up on the suddenly lost signal as well and move out.
After Sun-woo heads inside, Yoon-jin picks up a call from Ki-chul, who tells her to help Sun-woo crack the code, then deliver the hard drive into his hands. She asks if this mission is state-ordered or a personal one, to which Ki-chul answers that that doesn’t matter—what Yoon-jin should concern herself with is her family’s safety.
When Yoon-jin says she can’t trust him, Ki-chul reminds her that he’s the only one who can save her family. They live in a world where money talks and loyalty can be bought, he adds. If Yoon-jin delivers that hard drive to him, he can guarantee safe travels for her family and a life where they would want for nothing.
He tells her to think it over, because choosing the wrong side could endanger her family.
Sun-woo pulls his sister out of the noraebang just as the NIS agents arrive. Pinning one agent against the wall, he instructs Young-seo to run and find Yoon-jin outside.Sun-woo on the other hand, stays behind to deal with the agent, taking him down with a flying kick and punch.
Young-seo is suspicious when an agent left behind invites her to get into the van, but that’s when Yoon-jin intervenes and punches him before leading Young-seo away. Meanwhile inside, Hyun-tae rescues Sun-woo from another agent (yay!), and quickly informs him that the Supervisor’s dead. He instructs Sun-woo not to get caught because they’ve got a lot to talk about.
Ki-chul rejoins his disgruntled team at their hideout that evening, who think they won’t get their share now that the hard drive is in Sun-woo’s hands. The female lackey thinks it’s possible Sun-woo could want the money for himself, a thought Ki-chul scoffs at. There’s no doubt in his mind that Sun-woo will follow through because they have what he most wants: Mom.
But the lackeys still question Ki-chul for having an ulterior motive (aka feelings for Mom) in making this hard drive retrieval mission so complicated. Enraged, Ki-chul pulls out his gun and shoots near Mom’s feet, arguing that this is a necessary step to access that hard drive.
Ki-chul pushes a minion against the wall when his authority gets questioned again. They’ll wait if they want their money, Ki-chul says angrily. With that, he sends them out so that he and Mom can talk.
Mom isn’t surprised that the way Ki-chul keeps his subordinates in line hasn’t changed at all. She tells him not to wait up for Sun-woo either, though he replies that it seems she’s the one waiting for her son.
Ki-chul tries covering a shivering Mom with a blanket, only to be literally shrugged off. He isn’t surprised, noting that she always hated anything that he gave her. Mom says it’s because she knew that Ki-chul obtained everything through dirty methods.
“Still, I did those awful things for your sake,” Ki-chul says. “And in those times, you regarded me no better than a bug. Like now.” Mom won’t have any of it, saying that Ki-chul was never selfless. To that, Ki-chul sighs, because they were lovers at one point in time.
“Do you… make a woman you love sleep with another man?” Mom returns. She was a mere tool then, which has Ki-chul roar that he needed to climb the ranks if he wanted to protect her. But those words are too little too late now, as Mom says that protecting your loved ones only when you’re able to doesn’t qualify as love.
Ki-chul counters that she must not love her family then, because if she wants to protect them, then she should leave. As long as Mom is around, no one in her family can ever lead normal lives again. “Sung-hye, we’re people who need to disappear from this place. It’s not a bad idea to find a new life.”
Yoon-jin extends a peace offering in the form of hot cocoa to Sun-woo, who looks like he’s practically been up all night. He declines, then asks why she’s staying by his side. Today,
Yoon-jin comes out with the truth that she’s here on Ki-chul’s orders.
He knows there’s no reason to think that she’d stay behind for him anymore, then notes that seeing her tell the truth now feels more like a lie than when she was deceiving him. A few tense moments of silence pass before Yoon-jin tells him to believe whatever he wants to believe because she’s trying to protect her family, and they have to work together whether he likes it or not.
Before getting out of the car, Yoon-jin says she sincerely hopes that neither Sun-woo or his family get hurt.
At least there’s good news: Dad was able to hack into the hard drive, revealing the secret funds mentioned earlier in Episode 9. Sun-woo says they can’t hand this hard drive over to Ki-chul just yet because the NIS are after it, too. Dad argues that they can’t give up on Mom, but that’s not what Sun-woo means—it’s imperative that they ensure their entire family’s future.
Sun-woo has a plan that involves meeting Chief Song at a safe location. When Yoon-jin asks him if he’ll be okay on his own, Sun-woo has her promise that if things go south here, she’ll take the hard drive to Ki-chul and rescue Mom.
As for Chief Song, he pulls into the office to hear that another team will be taking of the Supervisor case per Director Jung’s orders. Well, that’s not good. He then interrupts a chat between Eun-ah and Hyun-tae and sends them home, unaware that their excuse of talking about Sun-woo is only half-true, since it was more about keeping Mom being a former North Korean spy a secret from Chief Song.
The NIS has managed to capture one of Ki-chul’s minions, whose interrogation from here on out goes unrecorded. Chief Song goes straight for the truth serum injection, warning him that some people have died from the syringe in the past.
Hyun-tae happens to witness the act from the doorway, and when Chief Song instructs his men to go ahead and give him another dose, Hyun-tae closes the door and sighs that this isn’t right.
Chief Song mutters half to himself that they need to catch the other spies before they skip town. Recalling that he gifted Young-seo with one of their phones, Chief Song says that phone can be tracked even when it’s turned off.
When Ki-chul’s calls to Sun-woo go unanswered, he notes that Sun-woo must not wish to keep up his end of the bargain. He smirks when Mom asks if what he said last night was true—that if she leaves with him, he’ll take full responsibility and let her family live in peace. Oh Mom, you can’t still be that naive.
But Mom agrees, if it means ensuring her family’s safety. Ki-chul can barely contain his happiness.
Yoon-jin grows worried when her call to her mysterious contact goes unanswered. A minute later, there’s a sudden knock at the door, and Yoon-jin instructs Young-seo to stand back before someone on the other side tries to force their way in.
Chief Song drops by at home to learn that someone from work is here to see him. And what do you know—it’s Sun-woo, reading a book to his daughter.
Well, there’s no safer place to confront an enemy than in his home. Especially one like Chief Song, who is so fixated on that procuring that hard drive that he’ll search his subordinate’s house without a warrant, deploy a team of agents to kidnap family members, and inject spies with potentially lethal truth serum.
Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what Chief Song’s intentions were in acquiring the hard drive, since it seemed like Director Jung had a greater interest in by funding corrupt politicians like Chief Song’s father-in-law with the slush fund. And then we learned in this episode that it was Director Jung who covered up the Supervisor’s death for him. It certainly explains why Chief Song would continue to serve his superior despite the director’s threats that he’s easily expendable, and yet what concerns me is the dark shadow slowly consuming Chief Song.
While he may not have always been the upright NIS secret agent, we’re also seeing how far Chief Song is willing to go if it means achieving his goal. Something tells me that what we’ve seen in this episode only skims the surface of that potential, because it also troubles Hyun-tae as well. And if in these final three episodes Spy chooses to plunge deep and make Chief Song into a complicated baddie, then I’m all for it. Even if so far, none of our villains have been super threatening or evil. And the two we were supposed-to-maybe be afraid of are dead (see: Comrade Oh and the Supervisor).
Speaking of deceased villains, it was heartbreaking to watch Hyun-tae grieve because the man he’d spent years hunting down is dead. I have to say that 30-second flashback struck a deeper chord with me than than most of this show has—not only because Hyun-tae’s character arc has been one of the more interesting points in this show, but also because you could feel the shock, anger, and sadness of discovering that he’d been chasing a ghost. Not only that, I’d been waiting for Hyun-tae to doubt his friend and superior’s decisions and actions, and there’s nothing better than a corpse to prove it. It still broke me when Hyun-tae tried formulating the words in Chief Song’s defense, as if he still wanted to believe the words coming out of his mouth. It’s okay, Hyun-tae—you can form a new bromance with Sun-woo.
I’m at least glad that Sun-woo is a variable neither Ki-chul nor Chief Song can really predict when it comes to this mission. Even if he is like Mom in that he’ll keep a gun pointed at someone but doesn’t ever really shoot at them, Sun-woo has been getting smarter when it comes to what decision will protect his family. If loyalty can be bought in this world, who can I buy off to make sure that he and his family will be together again at the end of this mission?