Forest of Secrets: Episode 11
That’s it, the gloves are off. Now that our investigation team knows who they’re after, they’ll do whatever it takes to get a suspect in handcuffs. As always, Yeo-jin truly shines in this episode as she knocks anyone down who will get in her way. But the more we delve into this deep forest of secrets, the more I begin to fear that the corruption our heroes are fighting against is more dangerous than we could’ve ever imagined.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Newly appointed Chief Secretary Lee decides to celebrate with some champagne, though with all of his hoobaes on the clock, he suggests only one of them drink with him – the one who’s been hardest at work lately. Lee hands Shi-mok the glass and praises him on his briefing. He warns the others to watch out, since Shi-mok could show up in front of any one of them at any time.
“Anybody who’s committed a crime should be careful,” Shi-mok agrees. He pours Lee his drink and they clink their glasses to “a better world.” While Lee takes a sip, Shi-mok puts his glass aside and explains that he can’t drink since he brought his car. Lee gives him a cold look before sitting everyone down for a chat.
Meanwhile, Yeo-jin sits down with Yeon-jae in the Lee household. Yeo-jin says that Ga-young’s nurse clearly saw a pretty ajumma come by the hospital (and Yeon-jae repeats “ajumma” like she’s just been insulted).
She asks why Yeon-jae went to see Ga-young, but Yeon-jae merely smiles and pretends to be unfamiliar with the name. Yeo-jin doesn’t play along, asking if Yeon-jae did something to Ga-young’s ventilator or touched Ga-young’s pillow. Yeon-jae remains silent.
Yeo-jin then pulls out Ga-young’s photo, saying she thought Yeon-jae might’ve been curious about what she looks like. Yeon-jae’s gaze is unswayed as she notes her surprise at the Korean police force – she wonders if Yeo-jin failed to check the hospital’s CCTV footage before coming over.
Yeo-jin takes a moment before answering, which confirms Yeon-jae’s guess. Yeon-jae says that there’s no way “that person” would’ve left that footage around since they’re “not an amateur.” Curious.
Taking a different tactic, Yeo-jin points out that Yeon-jae gave up seeing her daughter to return for her husband’s promotion. However, Yeo-jin speculates that the real reason for her return was because of the news that Ga-young had woken up. Perhaps she’d followed her husband in fear that he would pity the young girl.
Yeon-jae calls the very thought ridiculous and stands up to leave. Yeo-jin rises as well and says that she’s banning her from leaving the country now that she’s a suspect. Yeon-jae bursts out laughing and challenges Yeo-jin to go ahead.
After talking with his hoobaes, Chief Secretary Lee sends them all out so he can get back to work. On their way out, Section Chief Kang tells Shi-mok to play nice and then whisks a reluctant Eun-soo away. Shi-mok takes one last look at Lee before his doors close.
Inside, Lee unblocks Chief Kim just as he gets a call from him. When Lee answers, Chief Kim cockily notes that his “gift” must’ve been very effective. He tells Lee that he’s waiting in the underground parking lot and that he better come down if he wants to keep his gift a secret.
Shi-mok gets into his car when Eun-soo comes running over and urges him to roll his window down — she wants to know if their suspect truly is Chief Kim and not Chief Secretary Lee. Shi-mok tells her that that’s what the evidence says, making her face fall.
Eun-soo asks if he moved Ga-young because she woke up. Shi-mok looks up at her and asks if she went to the hospital. Eun-soo answers that of course she did, since Ga-young’s statement could—…
She’s interrupted when Section Chief Kang waves her over to his car. She tells Shi-mok she’ll call and then hurries off. As Shi-mok watches Kang’s car drive away, he notices Chief Secretary Lee sneak down and climb into the back of Chief Kim’s car.
Chief Kim is furious that after a forty year friendship, Lee would just betray him. “Who introduced me to [Ga-young] in the first place?!” Kim reminds him. Lee calmly counters that he didn’t force him to do anything.
Now desperate, Chief Kim says that Lee is the only one who can save him now. Lee starts to argue when he gets a call from his wife. Kim suddenly remembers Yeon-jae in the hospital footage and asks about her, and Lee angrily says not to talk about her. He tells Kim to just hand in his resignation quietly and that he’ll handle the rest.
Shi-mok watches Lee exit the car, followed by a grateful Kim. Shi-mok rolls down his window just in time to hear Lee order Kim to keep Ga-young quiet. If she talks, Lee says, nobody will be able to save him then.
Once the two men disperse, Shi-mok calls Yeo-jin and warns her that they’ll lose Kim if they don’t catch him now.
Back in her home, we see that Yeon-jae was clearly affected by Yeo-jin’s confrontation. She desperately searches her (alarmingly large and well-stocked) medicine cabinet for pills to calm her panic attack. When her nerves finally settle, she flashes back to the day she went to the hospital.
Yeon-jae had quietly gone through each hospital bed trying to find Ga-young. However, she’d stopped when she noticed someone standing over the nurse’s station up ahead.
Her eyes had widened to see Chief Kim take the phone off the hook. (Aha, now Kim’s reaction to the CCTV footage makes sense.)
Yeon-jae had quickly hidden behind a curtain as Kim walked past and approached Ga-young’s bed. With horror written all over her face, Yeon-jae had watched him remove Ga-young’s mask and press the pillow down on her face until the alarms began to sound.
Yeon-jae snaps out of the memory and reaches for her phone to call someone. She tells whoever it is to inform her right away if anyone goes near “them.”
Chairman Lee is informed that his daughter is banned from leaving the country, and enraged that Shi-mok would dare to go this far, he orders his secretary to contact Dong-jae.
At Yongsan Police Station, Yeo-jin and Gun get an earful from their team leader for going behind his back and accusing their own chief. Yeo-jin quietly apologizes, but a phone call makes her excuse herself. As she leaves with Gun, she looks back to a snickering Soo-chan and asks him to follow.
Yeo-jin pulls Gun aside and orders him to get the CCTV footage from Soo-chan while she goes out – apparently, Ga-young got hurt. Soo-chan overhears this and calls Chief Kim to let him know that Yeo-jin is heading toward the hospital. He shoves Gun aside, sputtering that the footage is in his drawer, and runs after Yeo-jin.
Dong-jae calls Shi-mok to ask about Yeon-jae, and assuming this is Dong-jae’s first mission from Hanjo Group, Shi-mok starts to hang up. Dong-jae quickly says that he’ll be able to gain Hanjo Group’s trust if Shi-mok gives him this intel, so Shi-mok sighs and reveals that Yeon-jae is a murder suspect. With that, Shi-mok hangs up, and we see that he’s tailing Chief Kim’s car.
Dong-jae nearly salivates from this juicy new opportunity Shi-mok has given him. He reports to Chairman Lee of Shi-mok’s suspicions, calling Shi-mok an unpredictable pyscho. He tells the chairman that he’ll dig more information out of Shi-mok and figure out why he’s labelled Yeon-jae as a murder suspect.
Chief Secretary Lee comes in just then, surprised to see Dong-jae there. As Dong-jae walks past to leave, Chief Secretary Lee quietly tells him to wait for him downstairs. Lee then joins his father-in-law and happily informs him that after meeting with the director of the National Tax Administration, the tax audit has been dropped. While that is good news, the chairman is more disappointed that Chief Secretary Lee is unaware about his wife’s recent predicament.
Chief Secretary Lee is floored to see Yeon-jae’s travel ban. The chairman thinks that Shi-mok is quite motivated to go this far, but Lee says that Shi-mok just doesn’t know his place. Either way, the chairman states, Lee has a meeting coming up that has a trillion won on the line, so he better make sure Shi-mok doesn’t catch up to them.
Chief Secretary Lee bolts up to excuse himself. As soon as he’s gone, Chairman Lee shakes his head, wondering why his son-in-law didn’t even bother to ask who Yeon-jae supposedly killed, or why.
Downstairs, Chief Secretary Lee finds Dong-jae waiting just like he asked. He tells Dong-jae to work for him, under the condition that he stop hanging around Hanjo Group and the chairman. Dong-jae readily agrees.
Soo-chan follows Yeo-jin all the way to Ga-young’s room, informing Chief Kim that they’re on the second floor. As Yeo-jin gets Ga-young all covered up and tells her that they have to move her again, Soo-chan bursts in with that cocky smile of his.
Yeo-jin barely has time to react before Soo-chan tries to snatch Ga-young’s wheelchair away. Yeo-jin struggles to fight Soo-chan off while Ga-young just buries her face in her blanket. (Wait, is that really Ga-young? Please tell me it’s not.)
Chief Kim comes rushing in, and Soo-chan holds Yeo-jin back, telling the chief to hurry and take Ga-young out. Kim escapes with Ga-young as Soo-chan roughly tosses Yeo-jin against a hospital bed. Soo-chan starts to say that it’s about time the two of them face off, but Yeo-jin has had enough. She saunters right over to Soo-chan and punches him square in the face, knocking him to the ground.
Yeo-jin easily twists Soo-chan around to cuff him to the hospital bed while Shi-mok, keeping watch in the hospital’s control room, spots Chief Kim getting on an elevator with Ga-young, headed toward the roof. He calls Yeo-jin to let her know.
Once Kim makes it all the way to the roof, he makes sure the coast is clear and then bends down to Ga-young’s eye level. He tells her that he’s not trying to hurt her – he just needs her to say that she doesn’t know him. He shakes her by the shoulders and pleads with her to comply… until his heart drops at the sound of a door opening.
Shi-mok slowly makes his way across the roof and stands by Ga-young’s side. Kim tries to stumble off in the opposite direction, only to freeze at the sight of Yeo-jin pulling out her handcuffs. Yes. So badass.
Behind Yeo-jin, her team leader and other officers come flooding out as well. As Yeo-jin takes her place beside Shi-mok and Ga-young, Chief Kim nervously turns to his subordinates and weakly declares that he found the missing victim. He starts to reprimand them for failing at their jobs when Yeo-jin says, “I called them. They should know the truth too.”
Shi-mok continues that the truth is the violation of the Juvenile Protection Act and attempted kidnapping of a victim. He tells the officers to arrest their chief for those crimes. For a long moment, no one does anything. Their team leader then comes to a decision and orders everyone to escort the chief out, and to bring Ga-young too.
“No one is going anywhere,” Shi-mok firmly states. He glances behind them expectantly, and everyone turns around to see Section Chief Yoon wheel someone over – the real Ga-young, along with her mother.
Chief Kim’s eyes widen as the fake Ga-young stands from her wheelchair and peels off her blanket, revealing herself to be Clerk Choi. Shi-mok approaches the real Ga-young and asks if it’s true that she met with a man every Monday. She keeps her gaze lowered, afraid – and perhaps unable – to speak.
Yeo-jin kneels by Ga-young’s side, assuring her that everyone is here to protect her. “They’re all good people,” she says, wanting so much to believe it herself. So she asks Ga-young if she can point out the man she’d been seeing.
Ga-young finally looks up, sending Chief Kim into a panic. He orders everyone to stop fooling around and take their witness, but they’re all waiting for her answer. So Ga-young slowly lifts a shaking hand… and points right at Kim.
The Yongsan police turn to their chief, deflated with betrayal and disappointment. Their team leader begins to read him his rights, but when the chief still resists, the team leader sighs, “Chief, that’s enough.”
Kim is stunned into silence, so Yeo-jin cuffs him as Shi-mok explains that he’ll be held at the prosecutor’s office instead of Yongsan’s detention center. The two of them escort Kim off the roof as the others stand back and watch.
Later that evening, Chairman Lee and Chief Secretary Lee attend the meeting they had discussed earlier. Among the guests is a Japanese man that seems rather important, considering how the chairman goes the extra mile to please him.
Eun-soo is all smiles when she informs her father that she’s requested a retrial. With the evidence she has, she promises to prove the injustice he suffered three years ago. Young Il-jae points out that a retrial is most likely to be dismissed, especially since the Department of Justice would be unwilling to admit they were wrong.
However, Eun-soo insists that she won’t give up. “You trust me, right?” she asks, giving him a loving hug. Young Il-jae watches her leave for bed, muttering to himself that he does trust her – he trusts her so much that he’s afraid she’ll get hurt.
Yeo-jin’s team leader walks in on Yeo-jin searching Chief Kim’s office for the hospital footage. He apologizes to her, saying he never would’ve thought that their chief would do such a thing. Focusing on her search, Yeo-jin merely says that no one could’ve have guessed it. She comes up empty-handed and shouts in frustration, wondering if the files have already been trashed.
Meanwhile, Shi-mok meets with Section Chief Kang to explain that his team’s elaborate plan was needed in order to capture Chief Kim. But Kang is worried that keeping the police out of the investigation might stir up trouble between them and the prosecutors.
If that’s the case, Shi-mok asks what would have happened if it were Section Chief Kang who’d had an inappropriate relationship with the victim, and what would happen if the police had the evidence to prove it. He states that the police would’ve done the exact same thing that they’re doing as prosecutors now.
Shi-mok gets a call from Yeo-jin telling him to come to the hospital. But before he leaves, Kang asks if Shi-mok really had to request an arrest warrant for the section chief of Unit One. Even if the section chief is Kang’s friend, Shi-mok says, he still accepted bribes. Kang just sighs and says that he’ll take care of Chief Kim’s case from now on.
As soon as Kang joins Chief Kim in the interrogation room, Kim asks for his one phone call. He immediately dials Chief Secretary Lee’s number and greets his pal with hope, but Lee tells him to shut it.
Lee already knows where Kim is and he knows that he’s done for. He tells Kim to go down alone, otherwise his family will get hurt. His lip now quivering, Kim wordlessly hangs up the phone.
Ga-young is placed back into a hospital, and the investigation team is relieved to have her safe and sound. Shi-mok comes in and informs them that Chief Kim has been arrested, making Ga-young choke on her water. Shi-mok knows that she’s been through a lot, but he tells her that she must regain her memory to prevent this from happening again.
He shows her a picture of Chief Secretary Lee, hoping that if she was able to point out Chief Kim, she can point out Lee too. He urges her to remember to ensure her safety, but seeing Ga-young struggle makes her mother ask that they stop.
They all agree to let her rest when Ga-young slowly mumbles, “Zero… Seven.” Yeo-jin quickly grabs her notebook and asks Ga-young if she has enough strength to write the numbers down. But Ga-young is still too weak, so they decide to stop here and leave her alone for the night.
As they file out, Ga-young says something that sounds like “cold,” but when Clerk Choi tries to get the blanket over her, Ga-young resists it. Shi-mok notices this, as well as the thermostat on the wall that says the room is over 80 degrees.
Chief Secretary Lee is completely drunk by the time he and the chairman return home. Yeon-jae assumes something good must’ve happened, though her father notes that men usually drink when they’re worried.
Yeon-jae isn’t sure what he means, so he sits them down to ask if she did anything behind his back. Chairman Lee assures her that no matter what it is, he can only cover it up for her if she tells him. (Ugh.) He continues that he’d heard she’d tried to kill a girl out of jealousy, and Yeon-jae asks why she would get jealous, considering her privileged childhood.
Besides, Yeon-jae is more curious as to why her father is so concerned over one girl. Chairman Lee says that if Chief Secretary Lee goes down because of that one girl, they would lose way too much. He reminds Yeon-jae that her husband has way too much ambition to lose what he’s gained.
Yeon-jae joins her husband in their room, the thought of Ga-young still in her head. She shakes the thought out and reaches for her husband’s tie when he suddenly gasps her name. He mumbles in his sleep that he’s sorry before going silent again. Yeon-jae urges him to continue and reveal what he’s so sorry about, but thinks better of it and tells him not to.
The investigation team regroup in their office, speculating about who could’ve disconnected Ga-young’s oxygen tube at the hospital. Yeo-jin is positive that Yeon-jae must’ve seen someone at the hospital, though the team considers the fact that Yeon-jae could’ve lied. Watching Yeo-jin’s expression, Shi-mok asks if there’s anything odd that strikes her.
Thinking back to what Yeon-jae had said about “that person” not being an amateur, Yeo-jin thinks she’d said that knowing exactly who’d gotten rid of the footage. Shi-mok thinks the most logical person would be Chief Kim, and with Kim’s authority, the team agree that he would have the power to delete all the footage.
Gun suddenly jumps up, demanding to know why they’re all so adamant on accusing the police. He thinks they should be focusing on people like Dong-jae, who’d hidden the victim’s phone, or Section Chief Yoon and Clerk Kim, who’d come up with the idea to tell the media about Kyung-wan’s abuse at the station.
Yeo-jin cuts in that she’s the one responsible for that, which just fuels Gun’s frustration. He storms out, and we see that the real reason he’s frustrated is because of the copy of the hotel footage he’d sent to Chief Kim.
Yeo-jin spends the night writing the numbers “0” and “7” over and over in her notebook, wondering what they could mean. At the same time, Shi-mok calls Clerk Choi to ask how Ga-young is doing and hears that she’d mentioned feeling damp. With that in mind, Shi-mok tries to figure out why Ga-young would build up the strength for comments like “cold” and “damp.”
The next day, Dong-jae sits down with Shi-mok during lunch and instantly starts bragging about his new job at the Blue House. But more importantly, Dong-jae tells him, he discovered that Chief Secretary Lee had a meeting with four people (he’d spied on the meeting). Before he reveals who, he wants Shi-mok to drop his arrest warrant.
Shi-mok turns to the TV beside them and notes that it must have been a five-way meeting, referring to the Japanese businessman of Matsuyama Group shaking hands with Chairman Lee on the news. The headlines read that Matsuyama finally agreed to return national assets through Chief Secretary Lee’s mediation.
Shi-mok tells Dong-jae to keep witnessing big moments like this, especially if it has anything to do with CEO Park’s murder. Now that Dong-jae’s working under Chief Secretary Lee again, Shi-mok asks, doesn’t he want to know if Lee really killed CEO Park?
It’s Dong-jae’s first day at the Blue House, and all he can think about is what Shi-mok had said about Lee. Though when he tries to provoke Lee with a comment about Ga-young, he still comes out empty-handed.
But Dong-jae is suddenly brought back to attention when Eun-soo comes storming in and walks straight into Chief Secretary Lee’s office. He tries to drag Eun-soo out, but she ignores him and continues glaring at Lee. “The person who denied our request for a retrial was you, wasn’t it?” she demands, her eyes brimming with tears.
Lee blankly asks if that was what happened. Holding her ground, Eun-soo says that the judiciary of this country missed a good opportunity to right a wrong they did to a former minister of justice. She continues that Lee must mistake himself as a god, since a few words from him hold such power over people’s lives.
“Me?” Lee asks, the same blank tone. Eun-soo’s tears spill over, whatever hope she had left destroyed. Dong-jae suggests she leave on her own accord instead of getting dragged out, so she moves past him and Lee’s female secretary.
As soon as she’s out the door, Eun-soo drops to her knees, overcome with grief. Dong-jae silently hands her a tissue, while the female secretary answers the ringing phone and informs them that the chief secretary is complaining about the noise. Eun-soo immediately rises and makes her way out of the building, so busy wiping her eyes that she doesn’t notice Chairman Lee walk past her.
Dong-jae watches the chairman enter Chief Secretary Lee’s office, and thinking fast, he presses the record button on his phone and slides it up his sleeve. Dong-jae then enters the office to drop off the tea, and while the chief secretary and chairman aren’t looking, he pretends to slip and drop the tray, swiftly dropping his phone and kicking it under the couch. Okay, that was pretty slick.
Chairman Lee eyes Dong-jae has he leaves the room and gestures for his son-in-law to turn on some music to cover their voices. He also advises him to check his office for any wiretaps often since he’s an important person now – and since they have to discuss how they achieved their advancement in weaponry. In fact, Chairman Lee has just taken care of a deal with Ukraine.
The chairman notes that the division of the two Koreas has made the people only want the most advanced and expensive products, not the sturdy products, adding that they couldn’t even import weapons from Japan until the current administration. Chairman Lee praises his son-in-law, saying that his presence alone had to have influenced the Ministry of National Defense and the Defense Administration. He says that there’s no stopping the corruption in the defense industry, but they can still do what they can to get the best possible results for Korea.
Back at the investigation team’s office, Shi-mok asks Jung-bon to look into the Matsuyama Group and the artifacts they returned. The team splits up to complete their individual assignments, leaving Shi-mok with Yeo-jin and Clerk Choi in the office.
Shi-mok tells them that he plans to visit CEO Park’s house. He thought about Ga-young’s comments about feeling cold and damp and figured that she probably hadn’t felt that way in the moment, seeing as how she resisted the blanket. Instead, she might’ve been remembering feeling that way in a specific place.
And so Shi-mok and Yeo-jin head out to what looks like CEO Park’s basement, hoping that his speculation is right. Meanwhile, Ga-young shakes in her hospital bed, reliving that cold and damp place in her nightmares.
That poor girl. Ga-young has most likely been through hell and back, and it’s tough having to watch her suffer. And while she can’t seem to gather enough strength to help with the investigation just yet, Shi-mok’s team has been doing a fine job doing whatever they can to move forward anyway.
Their scheme against Chief Kim unraveled so perfectly, slowly revealing that each team member played an important part. I cheered when Yeo-jin punched Soo-chan’s lights out, I breathed a sigh a relief when Shi-mok was manning the control room, I gasped when Section Chief Yoon brought Ga-young out, and I clapped when Clerk Choi revealed herself to be the decoy (she was one brave soul for putting herself in that position). It was truly teamwork at its finest. And I’ve never been so happy to see someone get arrested. At long last, we got an official arrest!
I know I probably shouldn’t, but I finally feel like I can throw away my suspicions and trust some of these characters. They’ve done so well to prove their loyalty to the team that I can’t imagine any one of them becoming a traitor. In a strange way, I’m even opening up to Yeon-jae a little bit. She still carries multiple warning signs of being unstable, but after seeing more from her perspective in this episode, things definitely make more sense.
The flashback in the hospital made me think that her search for Ga-young was meant to be more confrontational and not so much lethal. Besides, if she looked that frightened watching Chief Kim attempt murder, I doubt she could attempt murder herself. But then again, there’s still so much we don’t know about her. For instance, she seems to genuinely love her husband, but the way she reached for his tie sent a shiver down my spine. (Why is it that whenever someone reaches for a tie in this drama, I’m afraid someone is about to get choked?)
I’m also opening up to Eun-soo again, despite my better judgment. Her breakdown outside of Chief Secretary Lee’s office was so raw and heart-wrenching, I couldn’t help but feel for her. When she’d first told her father about the retrial, her intense hope for justice to finally bless her family put her in such an innocent light – it was a nice change from the cold, calculating Eun-soo we’ve gotten so far. So it wasn’t easy having to watch that hope of hers instantly get snatched away by Chief Secretary Lee. And even though I can’t stand Dong-jae as a character, I was a little relieved that he at least showed some pity and comfort towards her.
I’m consistently impressed with how tight this drama’s writing is. I was so sure that Yeon-jae was the culprit, but the sudden reveal that she wasn’t the culprit not only made sense, but it also explained some of her behavior from before. I love that the twists here serve to clear things up rather than serve as some sort of shock value. The writer obviously has complete confidence with this story. With Chief Kim now in custody, we’re one step closer to justice, and I can’t wait to see where this writer will take us next.
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