Man to Man: Episode 8
Things get pretty interesting as Seol-woo attempts to get back into the swing of things as Ghost Agent K, only to find that he’s facing more roadblocks than ever before. Though our villains are doing their part to keep the NIS from moving forward with its mission, I love that it’s actually Chewing’s top star and his devoted manager that are tripping Seol-woo up the most—and I’m all for it.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Seol-woo disappears quickly after Do-ha is rescued, leaving her to look around for him in confusion.
During dinner with his fellow conspirators, Seung-jae receives the news that Ki-chul failed his mission once again. Seung-jae takes his anger out on his messenger, hitting him hard, then as a way of explanation, he tells his companions that he’s looking for a world where the person spending the money will feel rewarded.
After Woon-kwang and Do-ha get treated for their injuries, Dong-hyun asks them to sign a confidentiality agreement on the events of the night. But Do-ha wants to talk to Seol-woo first, and Dong-hyun has no choice but to make it happen when Woon-kwang threatens to call the media.
Do-ha and Seol-woo meet at his place, and though Seol-woo keeps his tone distant, he looks pained to see the scrapes on Do-ha’s wrists. Seol-woo apologizes for what he’s put her through, but she asks him to instead tell her the truth. Hesitantly, she asks, “Are you really a secret agent with the NIS?”
Not mincing his words, Seol-woo confirms that he is indeed an agent. He says he was disguised as a bodyguard for a mission, but now that the mission’s been aborted, he’s planning on leaving. Looking up at him incredulously, Do-ha asks if the moments he spent with her were lies and disguises too. He tells her that to someone like him—someone who has to lie often, and whose days are filled with death and violence—Do-ha is the most dangerous person. That’s not an answer!
As Do-ha tries to process his words, Seol-woo pushes the confidentiality agreement towards her, asking her to sign. She signs the agreement, but tells Seol-woo that it’s been a difficult day, and that they should talk again tomorrow with clearer heads. Seol-woo doesn’t say anything, but he looks conflicted as he watches Do-ha leave.
Do-ha tells Woon-kwang on their way home that she plans to talk with Seol-woo again the next day. Woon-kwang looks worried for Do-ha and thinks back to earlier that night, when Seol-woo told him that he’d disappear from Do-ha’s life after all of this was over. Woon-kwang had thanked Seol-woo and told him to keep his promise.
Dong-hyun berates Seol-woo for his recent actions, blaming him for not only getting his cover blown but for also getting Department Head Jang into trouble. Seol-woo’s pretty cavalier about it, pointing out that his assignment as Woon-kwang’s bodyguard is over, and that they’ve gotten everything else they wanted: the wood carving, the ring, Do-ha’s safety, and even the enemy’s ghost agent. Touché.
Giving Seol-woo a knowing look, Dong-hyun asks if everything’s okay with Do-ha. Seol-woo looks away and answers by saying that she signed the confidentiality agreement. Dong-hyun calls Seol-woo’s actions “uncharacteristic,” then returns to him his pen recorder, saying he deleted Seol-woo’s resignation message.
After a pause, Seol-woo says he’ll begin the Black Auction mission tomorrow. When Dong-hyun reminds him that the mission is worth five million dollars, Seol-woo says that the “first floor” was exposed and asks Dong-hyun to take care of it.
When Do-ha returns home, she’s greeted by a worried Myung-suk, who wonders if there’s something going on with her and Seol-woo. Instead of answering him, Do-ha tells her father to forget about the Black Auction ring, since it’s now with the prosecutor’s office. When Myung-suk freaks out about how much the ring is worth, Do-ha loses her temper and yells that the ring wasn’t even his to begin with. She asks him if he knows how dangerous the ring is, and begs him to stop.
Both Seol-woo and Do-ha stay up late that night thinking back on their times together—Seol-woo plays with his lucky coin, while Do-ha’s in bed. As Seol-woo replays his last words to Do-ha in his mind, telling her that he’s leaving, he does a final magic trick, making the coin disappear in his hands.
The next morning, Seol-woo gets ready for his first day on his new mission, slipping the Black Auction ring onto his finger. He glances at his CCTV feed, but pauses in front of it when he sees Do-ha cautiously approaching his door.
Outside, Do-ha takes a deep breath and moves to ring the bell, but ends up coming inside on her own when she sees the door ajar. Shocked to see that everything’s been cleared out, she tries to call Seol-woo, pleading with him to answer the phone. As she realizes that she won’t be getting that follow-up conversation with Seol-woo after all, her eyes well up with tears, and out loud, she says, “Did you really leave like this? If you fooled me, you should apologize. If you saved me, you should let me thank you.”
Seol-woo watches Do-ha break down in tears through the screen, blinking away tears of his own. He turns away, unable to keep looking at her, then turns off the monitor. Oof, my heart.
After helping patch up Woon-kwang’s injuries, Sang-shik wonders where Guard Kim might be. Woon-kwang breaks the news that Seol-woo quit, and when he struggles to explain why, Sang-shik convinces the rest of the team that it must be because the two got into a fistfight (and Woon-kwang lost).
The Black Auction mission takes Seol-woo to the airport, where he strolls up to a pretty woman and envelops her in an embrace. When they pull apart, she tells him, “I’ve missed you, K.” He tells her that it’s been a while, and arm in arm, the two head off.
Dong-hyun informs Department Head Jang that the second wood carving mission has begun. Department Head Jang notes that Agent K hasn’t been himself lately, then says that Seol-woo needs to be particularly careful since the Baek Infantry is likely to make an appearance at the Black Auction. He asks Dong-hyun if they’ve been able to get any information from Ki-chul, but Dong-hyun says that he’s not saying a word.
Songsan has sent Ki-chul a lawyer, but it’s clear that he’s not there for Ki-chul’s benefit. The lawyer relays a message from Seung-jae to “take responsibility for [his] failure,” then tells him that if he wants to live, he should keep his mouth shut. Ki-chul remains silent, but he tightens his fists in anger.
When Seung-jae informs Assemblyman Baek of his decision to cut ties with Ki-chul, Assemblyman Baek encourages him to take it a step further, suggesting that the former ghost agent be “put in a pot and boiled.” Seung-jae says that he doesn’t want to take of care things quietly, then pushes the intercom button and asks to be connected to the “VIP.”
At Chewing, CEO Ji wonders if Guard Kim’s departure has anything to do with Songsan, citing rumors that Seung-jae has it out for them. Worried about finding investors for their upcoming movie, CEO Ji hesitantly suggests pursuing other projects. But Woon-kwang insists that they move forward with the movie as planned, even offering to fund the film himself—but only as a last resort.
Seol-woo’s mystery woman from the airport walks into a hotel with an older man on her arm. They easily bypass security, since we see that their names and faces are on a list for the Asia Investment Forum. At the front desk, the man places his hand on the counter, showing off his Black Auction ring. A hotel manager scans the ring, then hands him a special Black Auction box along with a key to their suite.
The couple enters the suite, where the older man starts to loosen his tie before slowly peeling off his entire face, revealing a sweaty Seol-woo underneath. He heads to the bathroom to take off the rest of his disguise, and he peeks into the Black Auction box, smiling in satisfaction.
Woon-kwang gently broaches the topic of Seol-woo with Do-ha, who can only angrily say that she’s going to kill Seol-woo. She gets teary again as she tells Woon-kwang that all Seol-woo had to do was apologize, but instead, he disappeared. She threatens to shoot him the next time she sees him before turning to Woon-kwang to ask him to buy her a gun, ha.
Back at the hotel, Seol-woo hands his accomplice a flash drive with some secret documents, noting that he’s held up his end of the deal. When he turns to leave, the woman wraps her arms around his waist, reminding him that the real chairman is arriving tomorrow, and she’s got nothing on her schedule today. Ever the cold-hearted spy, Seol-woo pushes her hands away and tells her that if she wanted romance, she should have included it in the terms of their deal.
Do-ha and Woon-kwang unwind with a movie, during which Do-ha muses that the lead actor and actress must have been in love while they were filming their romantic scenes together. Scoffing, Woon-kwang tells her it’s just acting, then tries to prove it to her by looking deep into her eyes and saying that he loves her. At those words, Do-ha thinks of Seol-woo again, but she shakes it off and applauds Woon-kwang’s amazing acting skills.
At Seol-woo’s place, Dong-hyun marvels at the Black Auction box, which turns out to be the official invitation to the auction, complete with top secret instructions on paying the $5 million participation fee. Dong-hyun says that Department Head Jang is working hard to gather special activities funding to pay that fee and tells Seol-woo to do well.
On “duty” at Song-yi’s restaurant, Myung-suk tries calling Seol-woo while watching the local news report on Assemblyman Baek’s mayoral campaign. Convinced that his day job at the restaurant is the source of Seol-woo and Do-ha’s relationship trouble, he comes up with a new plan to get back on Seol-woo’s good side: He’ll align himself with the right mayoral candidate.
Cut to: Myung-suk, clad in full campaign gear in support of Assemblyman Baek, intercepting the candidate on the street. Myung-suk tells the assemblyman that they’d met when he was working with “Mr. Yoon,” then he hands the Assemblyman a business card that notes Myung-suk as the CEO of Gallery Yoon.
When the Assemblyman’s eyes widen at the reference to Agent Yoon, Myung-suk quietly introduces himself as Goldfinger and offers himself to Assemblyman Baek for whatever he might need. Assemblyman Baek stuffs Myung-suk’s card in his pocket and says that he’ll be in touch.
Elsewhere, Mi-eun tells Department Head Jang that she’s putting an end to their deal. Department Head Jang says the mission’s still ongoing, but Mi-eun retorts that the NIS can’t protect her or her son and adds that she’ll take her husband’s side if the NIS messes with Songsan again. She tells Department Head Jang to bury her secret, telling him that she’ll do the same for the deals they’ve made thus far.
Mi-eun heads to Sharon’s boutique next, where she tells Sharon that she’s cutting ties to both Eun-soo (the actress) and Department Head Jang. She attempts to make a quick exit when Woon-kwang arrives, but he stops her to ask why Seung-jae is scaring off potential investors for his movie. Mi-eun coldly tells Woon-kwang not to use her husband as an excuse for his movie doing poorly with investors.
Dong-hyun tells Seol-woo that Ki-chul’s been acting strange after the visit from his lawyer—he’s staring straight into the camera in the interrogation room, not saying a word, and has been tapping his fingers in some kind of pattern. As Seol-woo watches the footage of Ki-chul, he zooms into Ki-chul’s hands and starts scribbling down numbers. He tells Dong-hyun that Ki-chul’s using a ghost agent code, and he’s tapping out a GPS coordinate.
Back home, Woon-kwang recalls his conversation with Sharon, when he’d asked if Mi-eun was having problems with Seung-jae. He noted Mi-eun’s unhappiness and wondered if it could be because of him, but Sharon dismissed his concerns, saying that Mi-eun and Song-jae’s issues are between the two of them.
Aw, it seems that Woon-kwang’s in need of some brotherly company after his run-in with Mi-eun. He shows up outside of Seol-woo’s place with chicken and beer, waving the food around at the CCTV cameras and calling out Seol-woo’s name. When he gets no response, he threatens to call out the whole neighborhood, and hey, what do you know, the door buzzes open.
Inside, Woon-kwang is his usual adorable self, telling Seol-woo that he missed him and even asking him to come back as his bodyguard. At Seol-woo’s lackluster response, Woon-kwang turns serious and thanks Seol-woo for keeping his promise. He asks if everything that’s happened was really a disguise and a mission, with no feelings involved. Seol-woo says it was, but when Woon-kwang presses him, something in Seol-woo’s eyes wavers.
Woon-kwang brings up memories of their time together—like when they ran across the bridge hand-in-hand—and that’s when Seol-woo realizes that Woon-kwang’s referring to Seol-woo’s relationship with the celebrity, not Do-ha. At that, Seol-woo confidently confirms again that there were no real feelings whatsoever on his part.
Disappointed, Woon-kwang asks if his answers are applicable to Do-ha as well: Did he just use her too? Seol-woo says yes, but then comments that this mission was the first in which he made a mistake, since he got angry when he found out about Do-ha’s abduction.
Over drinks, Do-ha spills the news to Song-yi that her relationship with Seol-woo is over. Song-yi can’t believe what a jerk Seol-woo turned out to be—he even somehow erased his photos from Do-ha’s phone—but Do-ha says that she’s just going to forget him. She says she’ll be okay soon, since she has Song-yi and Woon-kwang by her side.
Back at Seol-woo’s, Woon-kwang reiterates that same point, saying that he’ll be there for Do-ha and make sure that she’s okay. Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang that he shouldn’t come back any more, but Woon-kwang says he’s actually there for a personal reason. He asks Seol-woo to confirm what he already knows: that Mi-eun helped install Seol-woo as his bodyguard. Woon-kwang asks what kind of connections Mi-eun might have with the NIS.
Sharon and Department Head Jang catch up at a bar, where Sharon laments Mi-eun’s impossible choice, given her love for both Woon-kwang and Seung-jae. Department Head Jang thinks she doesn’t love either man and says she made the wrong choice in sticking with Seung-jae.
Just then, Dong-hyun calls Department Head Jang with the news that they’ve found Agent Yoon’s body. Ooh, so Ki-chul sold out Songsan! Department Head Jang wonders if Songsan and Assemblyman Baek will try to cover up the murder, but Dong-hyun’s one step ahead, having called reporters to the scene already.
As expected, the discovery of Agent Yoon’s body is all over the news, and reports are connecting the death to Songsan. After watching the coverage, Seung-jae tells Assemblyman Baek that he should have taken his advice to kill Ki-chul. Assemblyman Baek’s not so worried, though—he tells Seung-jae that all they need to close the murder case is a murderer. Looking down at Myung-suk’s business card, he says that he has someone in mind.
And just like that, two policemen burst into Song-yi’s restaurant and arrest Myung-suk for the murder of Agent Yoon. He’s taken for questioning, but the police seem to already have everything they need to prove Myung-suk’s guilt, from a motive to video evidence of Myung-suk going through Agent Yoon’s shop.
When Seol-woo hears the news, he tells Dong-hyun that it makes absolutely no sense that Myung-suk would be the murderer. Dong-hyun agrees that something’s off, but he says the police investigation report looks to be in order and that Ki-chul’s keeping mum about the whole thing.
Dong-hyun meets with Do-ha and Woon-kwang next, who are looking to him for help in proving Myung-suk’s innocence. Do-ha’s convinced that the Black Auction ring has something to do with Myung-suk’s arrest, but when she asks for the truth, Dong-hyun just asks for Do-ha’s trust and patience.
Outside Ki-chul’s interrogation room, Dong-hyun wonders about Ki-chul’s motives for leading them to Agent Yoon’s body. Seol-woo’s more curious about Ki-chul’s reasons for reaching out to him through the ghost agent code, so he decides to ask him directly.
Seol-woo takes a seat across from Ki-chul, and the former ghost agent opens right up, telling him that he has evidence on Agent Yoon’s real killer. When Seol-woo asks what Ki-chul wants for himself, he replies, “A certain someone’s death.”
Back at Songsan, Assemblyman Baek and Seung-jae engage in more shady business when the assemblyman gets a call. Assemblyman Baek then tells Seung-jae that everything is going as planned, and Seung-jae says they should move to the next phase.
The next thing we know, our senior NIS agents are ambushed at once: Department Head Jang is fired (and told that his special activities fund is frozen), while over at the prosector’s office, authorities arrest Dong-hyun for corruption and abuse of authority.
Department Head Jang calls out Seol-woo to relay the gravity of the situation, telling him that it looks like Songsan is behind the recent turn of events. When Seol-woo asks about the Black Auction mission, Department Head Jang says that they need to find another way, which doesn’t sit well with Seol-woo.
Seol-woo says they’ll have failed their mission—and are as good as abandoning Dong-hyun and Myung-suk—if Songsan gets their hands on the second wood carving. But Department Head Jang says sharply that they need to wait, because there is no other way. He tells Seol-woo that the mission is off.
Seol-woo interprets that to mean that they have no plan right now, which raises a flag for Department Head Jang. But by the time he looks up to ask Seol-woo what he’s planning to do, Seol-woo’s already gone.
Back at the police station, a handcuffed Ki-chul enters the elevator, escorted by two policemen. When the elevator doors open on the next floor up, the policemen are unconscious on the ground, and all that remains of Ki-chul are his handcuffs.
Mi-eun casually drops Department Head Jang’s name in conversation with Seung-jae, saying that he happens to be Sharon’s new boyfriend. Seung-jae notes this information in amusement, undoubtedly filing it away for later, while Mi-eun seems pleased with his reaction.
Now it’s Dong-hyun’s turn in the interrogation room, where a prosecutor digs through his files in a feeble attempt to find evidence of corruption or bribery. The prosecutor soon admits to a skeptical Dong-hyun that all he’s doing is following orders from above, and Dong-hyun leans in to ask who’s issuing those orders.
In the car, Assemblyman Baek receives a call from Ki-chul, who pleads for another chance as he promises to eliminate Ghost Agent K and deliver the wood carving. And in a different car, Seung-jae intercepts Department Head Jang on his way home, asking if he has a moment to talk.
Woon-kwang tries to assure Do-ha that Myung-suk will be okay, but Do-ha’s unconvinced, especially since Dong-hyun’s now MIA. She says that she’s not sure if she can trust the police, the prosecutors, or the NIS, which reminds Woon-kwang of something similar that Seol-woo had said when they were planning Do-ha’s rescue. Woon-kwang tells Do-ha that there’s only one more person left to trust.
They end up outside Seol-woo’s place, where Woon-kwang relays Seol-woo’s words about being unable to trust the NIS to Do-ha. Do-ha’s just surprised that Seol-woo still lives at this same place, and Woon-kwang just says that he didn’t want to complicate things for Do-ha.
A few beats later, Do-ha catches a glimpse of Seol-woo walking home, and her eyes go soft for a moment before flashing with anger. Before Woon-kwang can stop her, she races out of the car and storms up to Seol-woo, grabbing him and raising her arm as if to strike him. But she’s no match for Seol-woo, who immediately blocks her attack and twists her around so that he’s got her trapped in his arms.
She freezes for a moment, looking up at him with wide eyes, then she shakes him off. After getting a dig in about him disappearing without a word, she sarcastically thanks him for saving her life. When Seol-woo replies that he was just doing his job, she punches him in the stomach (which, ow.) Shaking her hand out from the pain, Do-ha tells him that she’ll never forgive him for lying to her.
Assemblyman Baek visits Dong-hyun in the interrogation room, where he tells Dong-hyun to hand over the wood carving and stay away from the NIS. Dong-hyun sneers at the assemblyman’s threats and refuses to comply, telling him that people don’t change that easily.
The other half of our villainous duo works Department Head Jang for the wood carving as well. Seung-jae offers to make Department Head Jang the head of NIS if he hands over the carving, but Department Head Jang won’t take the deal. So Seung-jae makes sure to mention Sharon’s name before he leaves, reminding the NIS agent that Sharon and Mi-eun are good friends.
Back at Seol-woo’s, Woon-kwang tells Seol-woo they can’t get in touch with Dong-hyun. When Seol-woo asks for more time, Woon-kwang asks if there’s a plan, and if there’s anything he can do to help. Seol-woo looks straight at Woon-kwang and says there is a way to help: He needs five million dollars to continue the mission. Do-ha’s jaw drops, and Woon-kwang almost falls off his chair as he repeats the amount in disbelief.
YES—this is exactly what I was hoping for when Woon-kwang first partnered with Seol-woo to rescue Do-ha. I love that our trio is back together, but this time, all three are on a level playing field–at least in terms of what they know about Seol-woo, anyway. I’m excited that they’re putting their heads together (along with Woon-kwang’s awesome martial arts skills, of course) in support of the bigger mission at hand, and I can’t wait to see what kinds of hijinks unfold as they press on with the Black Auction plan. Though Seol-woo’s tendency to “go rogue” might be a headache for our NIS ajusshis, it sure does make things more entertaining for us!
It’s kind of funny that once Seol-woo was basically all out of options, he was perfectly fine with partnering back up with Woon-kwang and Do-ha—essentially rendering his whole “I’m disappearing forever” move completely useless. After his emotional response to watching Do-ha break down in tears (kudos to both Park Hae-jin and Kim Min-jung for being amazing in that scene, by the way), I thought he’d maybe put up a little more resistance to having Do-ha and Woon-kwang waltz right back into his life. I mean, I’m sure he wants to get Dong-hyun out of trouble and is all about completing the wood carving mission, but I think having Myung-suk involved is also a key factor in his decision to keep going—he can’t, after all, sit back and watch as both Do-ha’s love life and her father are left in ruins, can he?
Woon-kwang continues to surprise me with his levelheaded reactions to this weird scenario that he’s been thrust into. I wasn’t expecting Woon-kwang to support Seol-woo’s decision to disappear from Do-ha’s life after he rescued her, and I certainly wasn’t thinking that Woon-kwang would continue his brotherly affections for the agent. But I guess it makes sense, considering Woon-kwang’s extreme sense of loyalty to his people. He showed it again this hour by sticking like glue to Do-ha’s side after her kidnapping–the way he cares for Do-ha and knows exactly what she needs always gets to me. I won’t be mad if Seol-woo’s now forever cemented his place in Woon-kwang’s life as his “brother,” given that he did save Do-ha’s life, especially if it means I get to watch the two further develop this reluctant (on one side, at least) bromance.
Kim Min-jung is really impressing me in her role as Do-ha, and I’m completely won over by this character now. Her reaction to Seol-woo’s true identity and disappearance was so raw and real, teetering back and forth between murderous rage and aching sadness. My favorite moment for her this episode was when she marched up to Seol-woo to confront him—I just love that she was able to say and do everything that she wanted to, from sarcastically thanking him for saving her life to punching him and then basically moving on. She went through so many emotions in that one scene, and it was really well done.
Though the rest of our supporting cast members aren’t as multi-dimensional as our main characters, I do find Ki-chul interesting in his parallels with our ghost agent hero. Like Seol-woo, Ki-chul’s motivations are difficult to pin down, and I’m not sure where his loyalties lie at this moment. Who is he after? He can’t really be on a mission to get back into Assemblyman Baek’s good graces (or Seung-jae’s, for that matter), after being abandoned by them, can he?
Similarly, I can’t figure out what was up with Mi-eun feeding Seung-jae the gossip on Sharon and Department Head Jang’s relationship. I wonder if she’s trying to earn back Seung-jae’s trust after he threatened to take her son away, or if she has a bigger plan that she’s working on. I’m not that curious about what the “secret” connecting her to the NIS might be, but if it has the potential to blow up her marriage to Seung-jae, resulting in some Woon-kwang/Seol-woo/Do-ha tag team action to save her from her twisted husband, I’d totally be up for that.
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