My Secret Terrius: Episodes 19-20
We dig deeper into the mysteries of the shadowy cabal manipulating events to suit their own ends, and we see just how low they will stoop in service of profits. Thanks to our villain turned cowardly lion, Yong-tae, the team gets a little closer to the truth—and maybe he’ll even become a new member? He certainly fits right in with our oddball group, although it looks likes Yong-tae may be getting a little too comfortable for our master spy’s comfort.
2 Years Ago, China
Jung In-soo, Yong-tae’s previous identity, is walking at night, when a van pulls to a stop beside him. Men jump out and bundle In-soo into the van.
In-soo awakens tied up and blindfolded. A mysterious man lays out tarot cards, and asks In-soo a question, “Do you want to live or die?” When In-soo stutters that he wishes to live, the man replies that Jung In-soo must die then, and he is dragged away screaming.
Bandages on In-soo’s face are peeled away to reveal the Yong-tae that we know. From behind him, the TV blares the news that Jung In-soo, the wanted criminal who conned people out of millions, was killed in a fire.
In-soo has no time to process this, as the mysterious man rings to inform him that he will now live as Jin Yong-tae, in a life he never could have had as In-soo. The man warns him, “But you must remember one thing. You’re already dead.”
Yong-tae lies bleeding out, when Bon finds him and vows to save his life. Just out of sight, the killer K reports to his boss that Yong-tae is dying. On hearing this, the boss rings someone else and instructs them to go ahead with the “Cors Project.”
Bon takes Yong-tae back to Ji-yeon’s brother, Dr. Yoo Ji-sub, who grumbles about it but saves Yong-tae’s life and promises not to tell anyone, not even Ji-yeon. In a brotherly move, he pointedly asks Bon if he cares about Ji-yeon’s feelings for him.
Yong-tae wakes up, in pain but alive. Bon brushes aside his thanks, and says that he only saved Yong-tae because he needed him. Yong-tae can’t be feeling too poorly though, because he gripes about the female patient’s gown he’s wearing (he’s in an ob-gyn ward), and orders his “brother” Bon to get him water.
Ha, Yong-tae eagerly guzzles the water from Bon’s hand, but his comment that Bon seems very caring is rebuffed. Yong-tae tells Bon that he got in contact because he had a gut feeling that Bon would be able to help. Downcast, Yong-tae asks Bon to protect him. Bon tells him that he’ll think about it in exchange for the evidence Yong-tae has, and Yong-tae agrees on the condition he is given a new identity.
Breaking the moment, Dr. Yoo enters, covered in blood, and ominously snaps on a pair of gloves. Bon leaves the room, ignoring Yong-tae’s panic as Dr. Yoo advances. Outside, Bon is on high alert as he hears someone take a photo of him, but he doesn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Elsewhere, the KIS crew grow suspicious of Chief Kwon’s men lurking around King Castle Apartments, and march down to confront them. One makes a break for it, and the other is cornered by Eun-ha… who also makes a break for it, ha. The moms chase after them.
Chief Kwon is flabbergasted to hear that the “Mommy Cop” organization is ruining her surveillance, and orders the men to take a break before complications arise. She is further stymied in her investigation, this time by bureaucracy, in accessing Ji-yeon’s call history.
The neighborhood trio gather at King’s Bag (to Ji-yeon and Do-woo’s weary resignation) to chat with Ae-rin and buy more bags. As their phones go off, at least now we know who took the photo of Bon—one of the KIS crew, snitching on his location because they think he just had a baby.
Ae-rin gasps and leaves abruptly, followed closely by Ji-yeon. The neighborhood trio tut at Ae-rin chasing after someone who doesn’t even want her.
When they get to the hospital, its tricky to say who’s more shocked—Bon and Yong-tae at getting caught, or Ae-rin and Ji-yeon, who walk in on Bon cleaning Yong-tae.
On the roof, Bon smiles to hear that the Joon-Joon twins are missing him, and Ae-rin complains that he shouldn’t have left in his condition. Aww, Bon hands her a sweet and reminds her that he stayed in contact. He adds wryly, “I tried to hide. It’s embarrassing that you found me.”
Understanding, Ae-rin tells him that he needs to share his burden, and that she knows about his painful past. She assures him, “You fought for the country. You fell in love. You stayed responsible to the end. It was just bad luck there was a traitor. Don’t blame yourself or hide.” Smiling up at him, Ae-rin tells him that if he’s worried, he can just protect her.
Touched, Bon looks out at Namsan Tower and tells Ae-rin they should go there some time to get a mojito.
Although Yong-tae initially refuses to work with anyone but Bon, Ji-yeon knows he’s caught between a rock and a a hard place. She tells him that the only way he can live is if he co-operates with her and the King’s Bag team.
Who at that very moment are busy, as Eun-ha and Sang-ryul consoles a distraught Sun-mi about her cheating husband, Lee Chul-seung. Unable to just watch from the sidelines, Do-woo jumps in and offers a “detective service” he knows if they can just get Chul-seung’s phone. Eun-ha puts her plotting hat on.
Which might not reveal what they expect, as Chul-seung calls someone and says, “All clear. Let’s talk tomorrow.” Meanwhile, Mr. Park receives a message from someone and agrees to investigate—and pulls up an image of the bag that Ae-rin ruined.
At the hospital, Yong-tae teases our two spies with information about the bag’s meaning—the serial numbers refer to the subway system, subway station, the station’s locker number and passcode. Yong-tae explains that he didn’t know anyone else in the organization, and never met “The Voice” who is the head of the Korean office.
But Yong-tae does know that J International is only one part of a larger international operation called “Cornerstone” that deals in politics, business, weapons, and anything else that makes money.
Bon realizes that “Gold Clover” was the Polish branch, and Yong-tae affirms that the Magician Card refers to the assassin K. Before he reveals anything else, Yong-tae wants the hourglass, and is perturbed when told the USB is missing.
And who should have it, except little Joon-hee. She found it when she was playing with the hourglass while Bon was unconscious and thought it was pretty enough to take.
As she proudly shows it to a gang of curious children, Yong-tae narrates, “Depending on who has it, the fate of our country could change.” The children run off at the promise of ice cream, USB forgotten on the floor.
While Yong-tae gives up all the information he has on “The High Priestess” (which isn’t as much as Ji-yeon wants), Ae-rin comes bearing a gift for Bon—a new cell phone.
There’s none for Yong-tae though, and Dr. Yoo slaps Yong-tae’s hand away from the food that he brought for Bon as well. Snerk. Even more embarrassing, Dr. Yoo tells Yong-tae he can only eat after he’s farted, and leaves after throwing some finger hearts at Bon. I think both Yoo siblings might have a crush on Bon.
Ji-yeon smiles that they can celebrate Bon’s birthday on October 31st with seaweed soup, and Ae-rin files away the tidbit. Yong-tae can only watch in jealousy while Bon devours the food.
As Bon and Ji-yeon follow up on Yong-tae’s information about V (the red-heeled woman), Sang-ryul spots them from afar. He suddenly remembers that he recognized Ji-yeon from the river with Bon, but his brain nearly breaks as he tries to figure out what’s going on.
Unfortunately, V has already left the apartment.
At the hospital, Ae-rin finally gives in to Yong-tae’s incessant whining about his dirty hair, and grudgingly gives him a shampoo wipe. When Bon walks in, he takes one look at the contented Yong-tae and pushes Ae-rin out of the way to roughly finish the job, hee.
Ji-yeon brings Do-woo to a Tiffany & Co. store, where he thinks that she’s getting him a present and picks out a bracelet. His face drops when she tells him it’s for Bon’s birthday, and she doesn’t seem to notice he walks out in a huff. Except the poor fool comes right back in again to secretly buy Ji-yeon the necklace she was admiring.
That night, Ae-rin tells the Joon-Joon twins that it’s Bon’s birthday next week. Although Ae-rin tells them they can’t throw a party for Bon, both twins immediately wonder what they can give him. So sweet.
Lying in bed, Yong-tae muses to Bon about the time when he was 20, freshly arrived in Seoul, and had all his savings from his 10 years in the orphanage stolen from him. From that moment, he hated everyone and turned to conning people to make a living. Yong-tae sighs, “I know it sounds like an excuse, but that’s how I became evil.”
Bon answers, “Being good is difficult, and evil is easy. At the edge of a cliff, you chose the easy way.” Bon explains that some things need to be protected, and advises Yong-tae to think about what he wants to do now.
Operation Phone Hacking goes into gear that night, as the neighborhood trio and Ae-rin play their parts to get Chul-seung’s phone away from him while he’s in the shower. They ferry the phone over to Do-woo (though the trio think it’s going to a detective agency).
Ae-rin and Do-woo almost get caught by Ji-yeon but Ae-rin manages to get away without suspicion. The phone is safely returned to Chul-seung’s pocket in the nick of time.
Pleased with the progress that has been made, Ji-yeon joins Director Shim at a secret meeting place and crows that they have Yong-tae as a witness. Director Shim promises to find a secure hideout and a change of identity for Yong-tae—but neither of them notice that they’re being watched.
Ji-yeon and Do-woo attend the horrifying scene of the man who was poisoned through gas in the vents, blood streaming from his face. Bon deduces that Cornerstone have been conducting tests on humans, although Yong-tae is adamant he didn’t know this was happening.
At the same time, Sun-mi listens to the recording of Chul-seung’s conversations in disappointment, because they’re in English. Eun-ha runs out of the room with an upset stomach when they ask her to translate (she definitely doesn’t know English, ha) but the others pick out bits they can understand and figure out where they’re meeting. Don’t go! They were talking about the human testing!
Sun-mi catches the woman who was with Chul-seung, and wastes no time in getting into a hair-pulling match. When the woman starts to speak in English, to the disbelief of everyone watching, all Eun-ha can remember how to say is, “How are you?” Ha, the world fades and sad violin music plays around Eun-ha as sweat pours from her head. Just in time though, Eun-ha’s daughter, Seo-hyun, arrives to save the day.
Through Seo-hyun, Sun-mi asks the kid-friendly versions of what she wants to accuse the woman of… and is mortified as it becomes apparent this woman is a head-hunter for an American company, here to scout Chul-seung for a new job.
Eun-ha is so pleased with her daughter that she offers her whatever she wants today… which is to skip her English lessons and play on her phone. Sounds about right.
That night, Sun-mi apologizes to Chul-seung, who tells her that if he doesn’t get chosen because of this, it doesn’t matter. Suspiciously though, he tells Sun-mi to stay indoors tomorrow with their child. Hmm.
The results from the lab come back, and to everyone’s horror, they discover that it’s an adapted strain of the already deadly corona virus—manipulated to have a 90% mortality rate and attack the lungs within 5 minutes of exposure. Ji-yeon explains that the “Cors vaccine” is about to be patented, which could bring in a lot of money for the company, and this rings a bell for Ae-rin.
She plays Chul-seung’s recording to the pair, which instructs that the second phase of the Core Project be carried out. Do-woo jumps up to track the phone, and discovers Chul-seung is at an elementary school, where the Minister of Health and Welfare is giving a talk. Which just so happens to be an event that KIS and all their children, including the twins, will be attending.
Ji-yeon surmises that the Minister is going to be the target of a biochemical attack, and orders Do-woo to try and stop it from here while she goes to the scene. Meanwhile, Chul-seung sets a timer for ten minutes on the bomb at the school.
In shock, Ae-rin races out the door when she processes that her kids are in danger, and runs straight towards the school. When Ji-yeon informs Bon, he jumps into action and drives as fast as he can to get to the bomb before it goes off.
After yesterday’s episode which was loaded with cuteness and a swoony, badass heroine, today’s episode inevitably felt slower. I still really enjoyed it, because we got to know Yong-tae better, who is turning out to be one of my favorite redemption stories, and we got more time with the KIS squad in a few brilliant scenes. And it was as funny and sweet as I have come to expect from Terrius—I can’t help it though, I missed the Bon and Joon-Joon moments.
But in return, we did get Bon and Yong-tae cohabiting (that one’s for you abirdword!), which mostly made up for it. We all knew Yong-tae would be a diva, and he didn’t disappoint, shifting seamlessly from gratitude to Bon to petulance and jealousy. Bon was as stoic as he was with the kids, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who scoffed when he tried to claim that he wasn’t a particularly caring person. Sure, Bon, you big softie.
My heartstrings did tug for Yong-tae when he confided in Bon about his past—here is a man who has been so alone his entire life that he felt he could only trust another man on the run. That should tell you exactly where his head is at—Yong-tae must have felt like an outsider all his life, from the orphanage, to being a con man, to having his own identity and life stolen from him. It makes a lot of sense now why he wanted to help Ae-rin, and was willing to take a risk for her. He’s drawn to her because she is a great mother, which he didn’t have, and he must have felt guilty over his part in Joon-Joon’s father’s death, when he himself grew up without parents. Bon is right though, Yong-tae needs to make a choice now to become a better man—I have hope since Yong-tae admitted himself that he is “evil” and I think his yearning to be included will give him the incentive to change.
And Yong-tae was good for another thing this episode as well—making Bon jealous. It was delightful to watch Bon get pissy about Ae-rin rubbing Yong-tae, because he has been so quietly but surely moving closer to Ae-rin, and letting his emotions grow stronger. Their connection on the rooftop was beautiful, and he for sure just admitted he loved her—at least to himself and those of us who know what mojitos at Namsan Tower mean to him. It does feel slightly melancholic that he hasn’t actually told Ae-rin how he feels, but he is a man of action rather than words after all.
I know that Ae-rin’s emotions have been harder to decipher, but she does care deeply for him, and everything indicates that she reciprocates his feelings, even if she isn’t ready to admit that herself. Ae-rin has enfolded Bon into the family, she wants to celebrate his birthday, and she thinks about him when he isn’t there. And I loved that she wouldn’t let him pull away (even though he didn’t try very hard, ha) when things started to get serious and dangerous. I understand that Bon is wary after Yeon-kyung (Candy) died in his arms, but it isn’t a good enough reason to shut down forever, and Ae-rin is right there with me in telling Bon exactly that. I do wish we could explore her feelings about the relationship more, especially how they relate to the loss of her husband, but I’m confident that we’ll get there. In every other respect, Ae-rin is the heroine I aspire to be, because she’s smart, loving, sharp, and capable without being unrealistic. She does what she can to live her best life, whether that means being a great bag salesperson, mother, or even fledgling spy.
Alongside all the good emotional stuff, this series continues to bring the funny, and this time I’d like to highlight Eun-ha’s solo moment when her secret (that she can’t speak English) comes close to being outed. Really, all of the neighborhood trio moments were great—from the Mission Impossible parody, to Sun-mi’s immediate willingness to go full catfight. And the fact that everything is connected (so it’s Sun-mi’s husband Chul-seung who is the bad guy!) elevates their diversions from comic relief to genuine plot progression. Sure, it’s a bit convenient, but I’m in favor of handwaving that away when it means the KIS crew become a bigger part of the action. Even Do-woo is diving in to help them, and Ji-yeon is impressed with how good they are.