Man to Man: Episode 12
The show’s delivering pretty much everything I want from it right now, and I’m loving it. As we’re treated to more squee-worthy bromance and romance featuring our favorite ghost agent, we get the added bonus of learning a little bit more about the real Seol-woo. And now, more than ever, all I want is for him to live happily ever after with the people he loves most. That’s not too much to ask for, right?
EPISODE 12 RECAP
After shooting Seol-woo and watching him fall into the water, Department Head Jang calls Seung-jae to tell him he took care of Ghost Agent K with his own hands. Even though Seung-jae had originally asked him to hand K over to the Russians, the NIS agent explains the Russians would have been no match for K. Department Head Jang adds that he’s met his conditions, so Seung-jae should keep his promise.
Chairman Victor receives word about K’s death at the same time as Seung-jae. Though he’s disappointed he didn’t get to kill Seol-woo himself, he tells Seung-jae that he’s satisfied with the outcome.
As Seol-woo sinks into the river, the times he spent with Woon-kwang and Do-ha flash before him quickly. His mind focuses on his memories with Do-ha in particular, and that’s when Seol-woo’s eyes pop open. Now that he’s conscious, he remembers the events that led him underwater, and he starts to swim.
Seol-woo somehow pulls himself out of the water, but man, he looks awful. With a hand on his stomach where the bullet hit, he drags himself across the river bank, looking like he’s going to keel over at any moment.
Meanwhile, Do-ha, who’s been waiting outside her house for Seol-woo to show-up, goes from worry to panic when she’s unable to reach Seol-woo. Looking determined to find him, she starts to walk.
Seol-woo reaches a rundown building in the middle of nowhere and raps his hand on the door. The door swings open, and yay, it’s Ki-chul!
The former ghost agent works on Seol-woo’s injury, wondering why Seol-woo would seek him out instead of going to a hospital. When Seol-woo says that ghost agents are better at treating gunshot wounds than doctors, Ki-chul asks if Seol-woo trusts him. Seol-woo replies that he knows Ki-chul won’t kill him, since Ki-chul still needs him for revenge.
Do-ha reaches Seol-woo’s place, only to find it empty. When she calls Woon-kwang to tell him she can’t reach Seol-woo, Woon-kwang reassures her that he’s probably just running late from his meeting with Department Head Jang. He tells her that there’s no way Seol-woo wouldn’t run away without telling them, which makes Do-ha feel better.
As she hangs up, she notices a door to a room we haven’t seen before. She peeks into the space, which looks to be an actual habitable living space for Seol-woo.
Back at Ki-chul’s hideout, Ki-chul tells Seol-woo that he’s lucky that the bullet went right through him without hitting any organs or bones. Seol-woo says it wasn’t luck—the shooter just happened to have excellent aim. When Ki-chul correctly guesses that someone from the NIS shot him, Seol-woo says it must mean that he’s being told to disappear.
Ki-chul remarks bitterly that the way the NIS uses ghost agents and throws them away hasn’t changed. Seol-woo asks if that’s why Ki-chul turned against the country, and Ki-chul answers that a country that uses you and discards you is meaningless—and that he simply chose his family over that kind of a country. He says that now, Seol-woo will have to make that choice as well.
Dong-hyun sneaks up on Department Head Jang as he arrives at his office to casually ask about K’s whereabouts. Department Head Jang tells Dong-hyun that the wood carving mission is done, so K left. Taking the news in stride, Dong-hyun inquires about the third wood carving, but Department Head Jang demurs when it comes to the details.
Looking suspicious now, Dong-hyun fires off a seemingly unrelated question at Department Head Jang, asking if he knows who betrayed Agent Yoon. When Department Head Jang says he doesn’t and takes off, Dong-hyun pulls out the secret message that Seol-woo left behind for him, which reads: “Department Head Jang knows the mole who betrayed Agent Y.”
Seol-woo just barely makes it home, looking awfully pale and sweaty. Do-ha intercepts him and almost immediately begins chirping at him for making her worry. He smiles weakly at her, asking if she waited for him, and before she can finish asking him if something’s wrong, he collapses into her arms.
As Do-ha struggles to hold him up, she realizes he’s burning up and suggests going to a hospital. But he grabs her tight and refuses, so instead, she lays him down in his bed. She can’t hide her horror and worry when she finally sees the extent of Seol-woo’s injuries, but she stays by his side to tend to him.
Some time later, Seol-woo walks out of his room to find Do-ha still at his place. She tells him that he’s been asleep for three days, then urges him to eat some porridge that she made for him. After, they watch a movie together on the couch before heading to a nearby café, where she tells him that they’ve done all the things they said they were going to do together: eat, watch a movie, have tea. She wonders why there’s no other customers at the café, when suddenly, a gunshot rings out… and hits Do-ha right in the chest. Holy crap.
Seol-woo watches in shock as Do-ha turns to him wide-eyed, then slumps down. His eyes flashing with anger, Seol-woo gets up to find the shooter, and he comes face to face with… himself? Oh whew, this must be a dream. Seol-woo stares at himself and the gun in his hands, and the images of the gun and Do-ha flash back and forth before Seol-woo wakes up for real.
Do-ha’s there next to him and starts fussing at him when she sees that he’s awake. Still reeling from his dream, he brings her in for a hug, telling her that it’s a relief that she’s okay and thanking her for staying by his side. Tears spill down her face as Do-ha reminds him of his promise to her that he won’t disappear without a word again. Seol-woo strokes her hair as he tells her that he’ll keep his promise, and that he won’t die without her permission.
Department Head Jang arrives at Songsan and heads upstairs with Seung-jae’s men. Dong-hyun watches this unfold in a parked car nearby, sighing to himself as he confirms his suspicions about the NIS agent.
In Seung-jae’s office, Department Head Jang and Seung-jae each pull out the keys in their possession, per their deal. Department Head Jang fits the three keys together, forming the master key.
Seol-woo explains to Woon-kwang and Do-ha that he was handed over to the enemy in exchange for the third wood carving, and that it was Department Head Jang who shot him. Seol-woo says that the NIS agent chose the most foolproof way to get what he wanted, and bitterly repeats Ki-chul’s words from earlier, saying that to the NIS, he was “a card you can use and throw away as needed.”
Back in the Songsan parking lot, Dong-hyun, wearing one of his trademark disguises, surreptitiously plants a tracking device onto Seung-jae’s car.
And upstairs, after carefully examining the completed key, Department Head Jang decodes the marks on the key to find a GPS coordinate, which points to the Songsan Produce Warehouse.
Once again, Assemblyman Baek proves that he’s one step behind on everything when he expresses confusion and dismay at Dong-hyun’s release, along with the news that Seung-jae’s held a secret meeting with Chairman Victor. He’s at least able to deduce that Seung-jae must have struck a deal with the Russian for the third wood carving and angrily mutters about not being included.
Woon-kwang asks Seol-woo if he’s really been discarded by the NIS. Seol-woo starts to assure Woon-kwang that he’ll get his money back when he flinches, his hand going to his wound. Do-ha jumps up in worry and insists that Seol-woo lie down, helping him get comfortable on the bed while Woon-kwang watches the two with a knowing look in his eyes.
Woon-kwang brushes off Seol-woo’s mentions of the money and sternly tells his bodyguard to worry about getting better first. He then tells the two to take some time off, instructing Do-ha to take care of “Brother” in his stead. (Seriously, best oppa ever.) Woon-kwang does add that Do-ha’s forbidden from doing anything with Seol-woo that the celebrity himself wouldn’t do, especially not any intimate stuff, ha.
Not wasting any time, Seung-jae and Department Head Jang pull up to the warehouse. Unbeknownst to them, Dong-hyun has followed them there, and he makes a phone call.
Inside the building, Seung-jae and Department Head Jang find a lone shipping container and immediately open it up—but it’s empty. Department Head Jang tells an annoyed Seung-jae that this is definitely the right location, so Seung-jae orders his men to carefully check the container. And voila, his men yell out that they’ve found a secret passageway.
As he rests up, Seol-woo thinks about all the things Department Head Jang said to him over the course of this mission, his superior’s words taking on a different meaning now. He recalls asking Department Head Jang whose side he was on just before he was shot, and ponders what the answer might be.
Back at the warehouse, Seung-jae and Department Head Jang head down the passageway and find themselves in front of an enormous set of doors, which Department Head Jang easily unlocks with the master key. The doors open to reveal a room housing tons of expensive artifacts and pallets of cash: the elusive Songsan slush fund.
Seung-jae’s face is oddly dark after the discovery, as he grumbles about his grandfather not trusting him with the key to the room. Still, he’s happy that he’s found it, and he tells Department Head Jang that he plans to spend the money to “change the world”—that is, turn the world into a place where money rules all. He invites Department Head Jang to work with him until the end before giving him his reward by pointing him toward the dirty records left by his grandfather.
Seol-woo pores over Agent Yoon’s activity log and thinks back to his conversation with Father Michael at Annam Cathedral. The priest relayed Agent Yoon’s words that what he found wasn’t everything, then left Seol-woo with this message: “If it is in the Lord’s will, He will lead you to the right path. The path is in the Word.” In the present, Seol-woo pages through the Bible and stops at this passage: “For God does speak—now one way, now another, though no one perceives it.”
As Department Head Jang looks through the videotape records left behind by Seung-jae’s grandfather, Chairman Mo, he tells Seung-jae that there seems to be a few tapes missing. Just then, Dong-hyun’s voice rings out, volunteering to search for the tapes himself.
Dong-hyun struts in with backup and shows off a confiscation warrant for the slush fund items, telling Seung-jae that everything in the room looks to be illegal. Aghast, Seung-jae turns to Department Head Jang to ask if this was part of his plan, but the NIS agent is just as befuddled and protests that Dong-hyun is interrupting an NIS mission.
Seung-jae rips up the warrant and tries another tactic by telling Dong-hyun to take a few things for himself from the room in exchange for ignoring the existence of the slush fund. But Dong-hyun has no interest in that kind of deal—instead, he pulls out his pen recorder and tells Seung-jae that he’s now on record for attempted bribery of a public official. Pretty smooth.
Seung-jae’s arrested for the charge and led away, leaving Department Head Jang alone with Dong-hyun. As soon as Department Head Jang tries to approach Dong-hyun, the prosecutor whips around and punches his colleague squarely in the face. Angrily, Dong-hyun tells Department Head Jang that if he has anything to say, he should save it for the prosecutor’s office.
Do-ha drops by Seol-woo’s to find him sleeping upright on his couch again. She quietly sits next to him, then places her hand lovingly on his bullet wound. With his eyes still closed, Seol-woo moves his hand over hers, then asks when she arrived. She’s more curious about why he sleeps like this on the couch, and he tells her it’s more comfortable, because he doesn’t dream this way.
Seol-woo asks Do-ha about her hand on his stomach, and she tells him it’s her “healing hand”—something that her grandfather did for her whenever she was sick. Seol-woo just looks at her before putting his other hand on top of hers as he shifts closer to her. Do-ha says Woon-kwang would probably be mad if he found out about this, but Seol-woo just replies that during missions, there are times you have to deceive your colleagues, hee.
When Do-ha asks if the lovers tactic is still on, he tells her with a smile, “Until you stop it.” Turning serious, Seol-woo leans in slowly to kiss Do-ha once, softly. Closing his eyes, he goes in for a deeper kiss and pulls her close as they kiss again and again.
Department Head Jang is interrogated about his connection to Songsan’s slush fund, but he basically pleads the fifth, citing matters of national security.
In another interrogation room, Dong-hyun rattles off the diverse array of crimes Seung-jae’s committed, from embezzlement, to tax evasion, to bribery. He tells Seung-jae to get ready for jail, but Seung-jae smugly predicts what’s going to happen: Dong-hyun will get a phone call, he’ll apologize to him, and he will subsequently go free.
Like clockwork, Dong-hyun’s phone does indeed ring, and though we don’t hear the other end of the conversation, it’s clear that Dong-hyun’s being ordered to release Seung-jae. Dong-hyun says he understands, but when he mentions that the call is being recorded, the caller hangs up quickly.
To both Seung-jae and Dong-hyun’s surprise, Mi-eun enters the room with a lawyer, explaining that what Dong-hyun witnessed today was actually a “joint project” between the NIS and Songsan so that Songsan could provide the agency with evidence on the slush fund. Mi-eun says the money will be donated to charity, then asks why her husband’s being treated like this when he’s cooperating with the NIS.
Assemblyman Baek rehashes the recent course of events with his agent, marveling at Seung-jae’s new strategy of partnering with Department Head Jang to place the blame for the slush fund-related crimes on Chairman Mo. He orders his men to continue investigating Seung-jae.
Later, Department Head Jang meets with Dong-hyun and tells him to investigate the tapes left by Chairman Mo. Dong-hyun angrily tells him to drop the act, wanting the truth about Department Head Jang’s deal with Seung-jae. In response, Department Head Jang reminds Dong-hyun of the original purpose of the wood carving mission: to find the source of Songsan’s slush fund and eliminate the Baek Infantry.
When Dong-hyun asks if Department Head Jang is okay with letting Seung-jae go free as a part of this plan, the NIS agent says this is the second-best option. He asks Dong-hyun again to investigate the tapes, but Dong-hyun has just one more question for Department Head Jang: “K didn’t just simply disappear, did he?” Department Head Jang replies that if he’s still alive, Dong-hyun should relay to him the message that K is dead.
Seol-woo and Do-ha cuddle on the couch watching dramas, and he tries to angle for more kisses when the lights suddenly turn on, and they hear Dong-hyun’s voice. Our couple is super flustered and can’t quite get their act together—when Dong-hyun simply asks what they were doing, they each give different answers at the same time, and Seol-woo hangs his head in embarrassment.
Seol-woo tries to steer the conversation a different way, very seriously asking Dong-hyun about the secret message he left for him. But haha, Dong-hyun just tells him to shut up and relax his eyes—he’s really not letting this go, is he? When Seol-woo tries complaining about his bullet wound next, Dong-hyun rolls his eyes and asks if Department Head Jang shot him. For some reason, this leads Seol-woo to drop the act swiftly, and Do-ha leaves the two men to talk.
At the NIS building, Department Head Jang tells Director Im about activating Plan B, then says that Chairman Mo’s tapes of Assemblyman Baek have conveniently gone missing. Since they have enough evidence to at least take down the rest of the Baek Infantry, Director Im agrees to appoint Department Head Jang as a special prosecutor to formally do this work. Director Im does tell Department Head Jang that the deal he made with Seung-jae may be problematic for him later, but the NIS agent tells him that it doesn’t matter.
Back at Seol-woo’s, the ghost agent tells Dong-hyun that he knew Department Head Jang was activating Plan B when he shot him but didn’t kill him. When Dong-hyun calls Department Head Jang a traitor for teaming up with Seung-jae, Seol-woo says he was suspicious of Dong-hyun too—that’s why he left him that secret message, calling it a way of entrapping the traitor that sold out Agent Yoon.
Dong-hyun’s impressed as he pieces together Seol-woo’s plan, realizing that if he’d indeed been the traitor, he would have killed Department Head Jang as soon as he’d read Seol-woo’s note, exposing himself as the traitor in the process. But alas, since he wasn’t the traitor, the actual traitor’s identity still remains a mystery.
When Dong-hyun wonders what they should do next, Seol-woo tells him to work with Department Head Jang to execute Plan B and says that he’s considering following Department Head Jang’s orders to disappear. Dong-hyun asks where he’d go, and Seol-woo answers thoughtfully, “Just to go live an ordinary life.”
Do-ha visits Woon-kwang to give him an update on Seol-woo’s condition. When Woon-kwang sighs at the difficult life of ghost agents, Do-ha confirms his thoughts by talking about the three ghost agents she knows: Ki-chul, Father Michael, and Seol-woo. Looking concerned for her, Woon-kwang gently tells Do-ha that though it seems like things with Seol-woo will work out now, she’ll only end up getting hurt.
But Do-ha tells him that she’ll get hurt no matter what, so she’s choosing to enjoy things now and hurt later. She smiles and cheerfully asks Woon-kwang to support her—since she has him by her side, she tells him she’ll be herself and face it head on, doing her best until the end.
At the prosecutor’s office, Dong-hyun tells his team to investigate everyone in Chairman Mo’s tapes and to get the job done properly. And with his new authority at the NIS, Department Head Jang begins taking down the Baek Infantry, starting with Assemblyman Baek’s main man. During their interrogations of suspects, Dong-hyun and Department Head Jang use the videotapes to draw out confessions, and they successfully start capturing members of the Baek Infantry one by one.
Seol-woo, meanwhile, does some thinking in his hideout, focusing on four people on his whiteboard: Chairman Mo, Assemblyman Baek, Mi-eun, and Seung-jae.
Seung-jae holds a press conference to apologize for the slush fund and promises to donate the funds to a scholarship foundation. Afterward, at one of their usual meetings, Assemblyman Baek congratulates Seung-jae for turning the crisis into an opportunity, while Seung-jae insults the assemblyman’s rock-bottom polling numbers.
Though the assemblyman clings to the fact that he doesn’t appear in any of Chairman Mo’s incriminating tapes, Seung-jae asks how his campaign will carry on without the Baek Infantry, who have all been arrested. Assemblyman Baek’s not calling it quits just yet, so he asks if Seung-jae’s intent on cutting ties with him. When Seung-jae says he is, Assemblyman Baek says that things will be chaotic for the country if the two face off. Seung-jae’s not perturbed one bit as he replies that things are already plenty chaotic.
At Seol-woo’s, Woon-kwang tells his “brother” that filming for his movie is back on schedule. Seol-woo says he’s working on getting Woon-kwang’s money back too, but Woon-kwang tells him not to bother if it means he’ll have to go back to Department Head Jang. He tells the agent to stay by his side instead, as his family and his brother. Ahhh, I’m swooning over here.
Seol-woo looks grateful, but tells Woon-kwang that he doesn’t even know who he (Seol-woo) really is. Not missing a beat, Woon-kwang says he does know him: Seol-woo’s someone who’s as lonely as he is. Those words seem to strike a chord in Seol-woo, and Woon-kwang ups the offer, telling him to come live with him. He tells Seol-woo not to hurt Do-ha, and to not get hurt himself.
As Seol-woo mulls over Woon-kwang’s offer, he gets a text from an unknown number, which reads: “Find the missing tapes of Assemblyman Baek. The traitor knows our weakness.” The message is signed “Y”—as in, Agent Yoon? Interesting.
The next thing we know, Seol-woo’s back in action: “Disguised” as a
sexy prosecutor, he and Dong-hyun head to the slush fund room. Seol-woo tells Dong-hyun that he’s searching for a clue that Agent Yoon possibly left behind to indicate where the tapes of Assemblyman Baek might be. Recalling Father Michael’s words that “the path is in the Word,” Seol-woo starts looking through the stash of artwork in the room.
He zeroes in on a large frame and examines it with a smile—he’s found it. Dong-hyun wonders if there’s a clue within the painting itself, which depicts the verse from Revelation that was written in Agent Yoon’s activity log. Seol-woo has a different idea, and much to Dong-hyun’s horror (and mine), he takes a pocket knife and cuts out the canvas from the frame, revealing a floor plan underneath.
The plan is for the 58th floor of Songsan’s office and includes outlines of the three keys hidden in the wood carvings, which Dong-hyun happens to have on him. Seol-woo lays the keys in their designated spots on the plan before staring down at the plan, not quite sure what to make of it. But Seol-woo looks like he may be hatching a plan.
At home, Mi-eun shares the news that Woon-kwang’s bodyguard was in an accident, and says that he almost died. Seung-jae incredulously asks if this means he’s still alive, causing Mi-eun to ask if he knows something about it. Seung-jae says no, but adds that he learned something new that he didn’t know before.
Later, Seung-jae enters his office at Songsan but stops short when he sees someone sitting in his chair, his back to him. The chair swivels around to reveal Seol-woo, who smirks at Seung-jae in greeting.
What a great episode all around—I love where we are in the story right now, not just with the developments in Seol-woo’s personal life, but also with his continued involvement in the ongoing NIS mission. After all the hoopla about the wood carvings, it’s kind of funny that we just skipped over how the third one was procured. But really, I’m not mad about it, since it means that we’re actually getting to spend more time on the things that I find at least semi-interesting, like the shifting alliances between our players, Mi-eun’s real motives, and the mystery behind who betrayed Agent Yoon.
Though I don’t have anything new to say about Seung-jae at this point, I have to laugh at how things unfolded for him this hour—he finally got to his slush fund, only to be arrested for it, and then he’s forced to give it away to charity to secure his freedom (at the suggestion of his wife!). To top it all off, he then finds out that the Seol-woo still isn’t dead. I’m not sure if he can get any more incompetent, but since we have four more episodes to go, we’ll have to see how the confrontation between Seung-jae and Seol-woo goes. Who knows, maybe Seung-jae will surprise us all with a resurgence in his evilness.
I was somewhat relieved that Department Head Jang didn’t really cross over to the dark side, and that his actions were, as Seol-woo said, the best option for continuing on with the mission. That said, I think the bigger issue with Department Head Jang is that he’s so blinded by his obsession with the mission that he doesn’t see the real issue here: The Baek Infantry may actually just be a symptom of what’s wrong with the NIS, rather than the cause. The NIS’s dehumanizing treatment of ghost agents—even if the agents are signing onto the job voluntarily—clearly bears some responsibility for leading former agents like Ki-chul astray. How can the NIS expect to keep the country safe when they can’t even keep their own from turning against the agency?
It was pivotal for Seol-woo to experience that sense of betrayal and to connect with Ki-chul about it—and I think this is part of what drove him to let his guard down even more in his relationships this week, especially with Do-ha. I liked seeing Seol-woo just start to wrestle with this dilemma of staying as a ghost agent or running away from it all and living an unremarkable life with Woon-kwang and Do-ha. I’m sure there’s so much more he has to unpack when it comes to making that decision, especially since Seol-woo seems to actually enjoy his work, and he also happens to be really good at it.
But if there’s something—or someone—who can convince him to even explore a life outside of the NIS, it’s gotta be Do-ha. I chose to suspend my disbelief and confusion about Seol-woo’s feelings for Do-ha at first, but this week’s developments have caught me up to where the couple’s supposed to be, especially since we finally got some real talk from both parties about their feelings for one another. And that kiss! It was a lovely moment between the two, and miles away from all the other kisses we’ve seen thus far—it was heart-pounding yet sweet, and above all, real. It’s also great how they’re so dorky and cheesy together—how hilarious was it when they were bumbling around, trying to come up with an excuse for Dong-hyun as to why they were hanging out? I’m sold on these two!
But, BUT! I can’t forget about that freaky dream Seol-woo had in his feverish state—not only because I nearly jumped out of my skin when Do-ha was shot, but also because it showed Seol-woo literally facing off against himself in the battle for his relationship with Do-ha. With the mystery text from “Agent Y” warning Seol-woo about his “weakness,” there’s no doubt that our villains will try to use Do-ha (and maybe Woon-kwang too?) against Seol-woo in the final showdown. I’m just not ready for that to happen yet—so I’ll retire to watch that kiss one more time, thank you very much.
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