My Secret Terrius: Episodes 7-8
We get more of Bon’s history in this episode, which is no bad thing, because our hero is a remarkably close-mouthed individual even for someone in the spy game. Our heroine is more open, but the hints at her hidden depths come out strongly today as she puts her brains, friends and tenacity into action to solve her problems. We are moving quicker than I could have hoped for, as the moving pieces on the board zip around and connect with each other, and it’s only a matter of time before they start crashing into each other.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
3 years ago, Poland
North Korean informant (and Bon’s lover) Candy slides a look over to the man keeping a close eye on her. Just out of the other man’s sightline, Bon nods at her. Taking the cue, Candy slips out of the public venue, the man dogging her movements from a distance.
Candy leads the two across town, and manages to surreptitiously pass a USB stick with the highly-sought after files on it to Bon. Bon informs Candy that today is the day, and instructs her on how to make her escape.
Eyes downcast, Candy admits that she’s scared. Softening, Bon says, “Don’t worry. I’ll continue to watch over you.” At that, Candy gives a small smile and tells Bon he has to buy her a mojito at the Namsan Tower when they’re back in Seoul.
Tensely, Candy continues to travel across the city with both the man and Bon following her. When she reaches the hotel that NIS plan to extract her from, Bon alerts his team, who jump into action. Two agents distract the man while Candy disappears out the back to freedom.
For a brief moment, Bon and Candy stare at each other exultantly… until Bon notices a flash from an upper window and sees the laser trained on Candy’s chest. Time moves in slow motion as Bon runs to his lover, but he’s too late. A sniper shoots Candy.
Bon clutches Candy to him, pleading for her not to die, as Chief Kwon urgently orders the team to withdraw from the operation. Bon won’t leave though, and he can only watch in despair as Candy dies in his arms.
Chief Kwon barks at him to withdraw, but enraged, Bon rips out his earpiece and turns to see—the assassin K, leaving the building Candy was just shot from. Bon races after K.
After a near miss, Bon corners K, and the two men struggle. They are evenly matched, but Bon has fury on his side, and gets the upper hand. Gun levelled at K’s head, Bon demands to know who sent him.
A gunshot rings out…and blood blooms from Bon’s chest. Bon staggers, but it isn’t until the second shot hits him that he falls down unconscious, allowing K and the shooter to make their escape.
Bon wakes in a sweat. He narrates, “Every person and every place has a secret.”
Meanwhile, Ae-rin walks in on the horror scene that is her two kids destroying a $100,000 handbag. All three begin wailing, as Ae-rin berates the Joon-Joon twins and frantically tries to fix the mess. As we pan to Yong-tae’s locked door, Bon finishes, “And secrets are sometimes exposed for unexpected reasons.”
Returning home, Bon encounters Yong-tae dropping off Ae-rin’s phone for her and suspiciously asks who he is (through the time honored method of “I asked first”). Yong-tae cagily asks why Bon wants to know, and Bon’s face twitches slightly as he admits, “I’m her sitter.”
In return, Yong-tae reveals that he’s Ae-rin’s boss, but refuses to give Ae-rin’s phone to Bon. Abruptly, Bon ushers Yong-tae into the elevator, and Yong-tae reluctantly gives him the phone—but not without a parting shot, “Should a neighbor who isn’t even a husband be so involved?”
Ae-rin trudges home, so lost in her despair that she doesn’t notice a (cutely worried) Bon until he confronts her asking where she was. Haha, Bon wonders if she did something wrong to be so surprised. And aww, he takes Joon-hee and carries Ae-rin’s bag for her up to the apartment.
Bon hands over her phone, and a little too blandly notes that it’s weird for a boss to be so considerate of an employee. Wracked with even more guilt, Ae-rin falls to the floor, but brushes aside Bon’s obvious concern.
On seeing the ruined bag, Ae-rin’s friend Eun-ha gasps in horror. Self-proclaimed handbag expert Eun-ha doesn’t recognize the bag or where it’s from, but finds the label. Eun-ha instructs Ae-rin to take a photo and send it to her along with where the bag was imported from, and she will ask one of her friends for help.
The next day, Ae-rin nervously places the bag in front of Yong-tae—who, predictably, explodes at the sight. Furious, he warns an apologetic Ae-rin to stay away from him today and mutters that he only has five days to fix it.
Desperate to fix her mistake, Ae-rin even approaches a realtor to sell her house. Her heart heavy, Ae-rin doesn’t notice Bon slide up to her, and is taken aback when he quickly deduces she’s there to sell her house.
At a coffee shop, Ae-rin explains her problems to Bon, and works out that she won’t have much money left after paying for the bag. Ae-rin sighs that she doesn’t want to leave the first house she ever owned or this neighborhood that the Joon-Joon twins love. Bon is sympathetic but his attention sharpens when Ae-rin tells him the name of the company she works for: J International, one of the companies he has on his list for investigation at Star Tower.
Bon meets up with Ji-yeon, who proudly takes him to the spy store-front “King’s Bag.” Ji-yeon panics when she hears that the witness to the Blue House Chief Moon’s murder is actually dead, but assures Bon that she has kept his name away from the NIS investigation. Mollified, Bon reveals that the assassin K (or the “Magician”) is the one who killed Chief Moon… and three years ago, he killed Candy.
On that revelation, Bon asks Ji-yeon to investigate J International—for “personal reasons”—and then goes to investigate one of the handbags for Ae-rin. Sweet. Outside, NIS hacker Do-woo spots Terrius with Ji-yeon and gasps.
The neighborhood trio jump into action again for Ae-rin, and activate the KIS network to find out where the ruined handbag came from. They even convince her that she needs to break in through the locked door in Yong-tae’s office for clues, so she doesn’t have to sell her house.
Ae-rin’s friend Sun-mi gives her a ride back to the office, where Ae-rin cringes to see Yong-tae waiting for her. As Ae-rin promises the still-grumpy Yong-tae to book him a flight to Milan, Sun-mi peeks from afar and calculates how much surgery he’s had done to his face—it’s a lot. She wonders why though, since she can tell he was handsome before…
Back at the office, Ae-rin creeps up to the locked door and nonchalantly wonders how difficult it would be to break through the 4 digit code—at 10,000 possible combinations, too difficult. But then a brainwave hits.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Using her foundation cushion, Ae-rin gently brushes powder onto the electronic pad. She calculates that if she finds out which four numbers are used, it will only be four factorial—which is a much more manageable potential of 24 combinations.
Inspecting the spy section of King’s Bag, Bon notices the bug-stickers used by Ji-yeon but doesn’t seem convinced by Ji-yeon’s conviction in Do-woo’s trustworthiness. As he’s leaving, Ji-yeon wonders why Bon is even working as a sitter, and Bon answers drolly, “I… have to make money too.”
Uh-oh, Joon-soo has an emergency: he needs to pee. Without a nearby public toilet, it’s a race against time to get home, but precious moments are lost to an elderly woman getting on the lift—and Joon-soo wets his pants right at the threshold to the bathroom. He wails in embarrassment.
Its another new parenting experience for Bon, as he bathes Joon-soo. Initially hesitant, Bon quickly and efficiently takes to the task, as Joon-soo squirms and giggles. Bon even washes Joon-soo’s sodden underwear by hand—and hurts his back doing it!
Joon-hee asks Bon if they can go to his house, which Bon quickly rejects because his house is too clean. Their little faces covered in ice-cream, the Joon-Joon twins guilelessly ask if he means that they’re too dirty, and Bon smiles.
A testy Yong-tae comes into the office and orders Ae-rin to stay out of the office while he’s in Italy. Although Yong-tae brushes aside Ae-rin’s offer to repay him for the handbag, he brusquely says that he’ll think about how she can compensate him when he gets back.
Later that night, Ae-rin’s imagination runs wild as she wonders if Yong-tae wants her organs instead. Spotting Joon-soo’s drying clothes, Ae-rin figures out what must have happened and texts Bon asking if Joon-soo peed his pants.
Bon doesn’t answer, sworn to secrecy by Joon-soo, although Ae-rin mistakes his silence for annoyance at the situation and assures him he didn’t need to. In turn, Bon wonders why she said that, but is impressed when he learns that Ae-rin figured it out from the combination of washed clothes. Touched when Ae-rin thanks him for his hard work, Bon agonizes over which cute animal emoji to send in return.
Aaaand he accidentally sends the worst option, an angry little pig. Oh, Bon. An understanding Ae-rin apologizes profusely and leaves the chat, to Bon’s chagrin, before he can fix the mistake. Instead, he sadly listens to Candy’s special song (Norah Jones’ “Sleepless Nights”) again.
Bon meets up with Ji-yeon the next day, and learns that everything about J International and Yong-tae looks legitimate on paper—but a restricted document on Yong-tae’s file gives him pause. Riding by, Ae-rin’s friend Sang-ryul spots Bon and Ji-yeon, though he quickly hides his face from view.
And at lunch, the cheeky Sang-ryul drops his intel on Bon and the group—from Bon’s discomfort to Sun-mi and Eun-ha’s glee, it certainly makes an impression, ha. But Eun-ha directs them back to the matter at hand—Ae-rin’s bag.
Ae-rin is shocked to learn from Eun-ha that the bags aren’t made by a master craftsman at all, and her suspicion solidifies when Sun-mi recalls the surgeries on Yong-tae’s face. Her boss is a fraud. Bon looks impressed by the team’s prowess, but uncertainty crosses his face as Ae-rin resolves to dig in to the secrets at work.
Walking back together, Bon voices his apprehension, but can’t explain to Ae-rin why she shouldn’t investigate. Undeterred, Ae-rin states that now is her chance since Yong-tae is away in Italy. Ae-rin tells him this was what she wanted to say yesterday when he was mad—Bon corrects her and casually asks if that was why she left the chat. Perceptive, Ae-rin asks if that bothered him, which Bon uncomfortably denies.
Before Ae-rin leaves, Bon tries to explain about the woman, but stops when Ae-rin warmly tells him that she’s glad for him since he always seemed so lonely. Ae-rin hands him a present (guess we know where Joon-hee got her move from)—a little sweet with a message of “good luck.” Aww.
At work, Ae-rin puts her brains to the test and cracks the code into the secret room. Inside, she is baffled to find stacks of handbags, with names and numbers ordering them. Rifling inside one, she discovers the different serial numbers, and being a perfectionist, takes pictures of every single one.
On surveillance, Bon and Ji-yeon stake out the new head of security, Jung In-taek. Ji-yeon suspects that Chief Jung has already been bought off by the people who killed his predecessor, Chief Moon.
Bon is alarmed to see that Chief Jung’s visitor is none other than Ae-rin’s boss Yong-tae, and takes note of the bag he is carrying. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Bon works out that J International is a front for bribing officials. Realizing what this means for Ae-rin, Bon races off to warn her.
When Ae-rin takes a break from sleuthing to answer her phone, she doesn’t understand why Bon is so insistent on meeting with her. With no good excuse, Bon covers, “Because… I miss you. I need to see you now.”
Meanwhile, Chief Jung accepts the bribe from Yong-tae and promises to complete his end of the transaction.
Bon’s “confession” isn’t enough to stop Ae-rin though, as she discovers a strange file on Yong-tae’s computer, and makes a copy of the names and dates she finds. Outside, bumping into a stranger reminds her of how she recognized Chief Moon—because he was at J International the day of her interview.
Sure that she’s onto something, Ae-rin blows off Bon when he phones to ask where she is, and checks at the hospital who died on the same day as her husband. On learning that it was someone important, it starts to click into place for Ae-rin what J International really is.
Excited, Ae-rin phones Bon to tell him what she knows—and that she’s got all the codes from Yong-tae’s bags. Concerned for her safety, Bon tells her he’s coming to find her.
At NIS headquarters, a suspicious Chief Kwon quizzes Director Shim on Ji-yeon and Do-woo’s whereabouts, frustrated that he won’t answer. Outside, Chief Kwon takes a call and orders the other person to “bring her in.”
Uh-oh, looks like “her” is Ae-rin, as a black car pulls up and two men manhandle Ae-rin into the backseat. Her phone clatters to the ground, an increasingly desperate Bon on the other end, as he hears everything.
Grim determination lining his face, Bon readies himself for rescue, and heads to his secret weapons lair. Helpless and gagged, Ae-rin sits in terror between her captors.
Phew, the pace of this show is fairly clipping along isn’t it? Ae-rin has already cracked the secret behind J International—and how much do I love that it isn’t through coincidence, but because of her own competence and tenacity—and we’re only in the second week! It looks like Chief Kwon might be the one behind her abduction, which is going to put Bon straight back in the path of his old boss. And along with Ae-rin’s trusty neighborhood trio and KIS at her back, she’s certainly not hurting for capable allies in this fight. I can’t wait.
And that folks, is how you do a good action backstory. It comes at just the right time when we wanted to know more about our hero, but well before the “mystery” has outstayed its welcome. The wonderful blend of suspense, hope, and tragedy—topped off by that thrilling chase and fight scene—was given time to breathe so we didn’t feel rushed. And we finally see Bon in full NIS-spy mode (hot damn, does So Ji-sub look good in a suit), which has injected his story with the details behind the tension and pathos we all knew it had.
As to who the mole is—I don’t want to make too many guesses on the little information that we have, but I doubt that it’s Chief Kwon. The woman is a bulldog, sure, but she’s too committed to her job and finding Bon, to be a serious contender right now. In fact, she has only resorted to sneaking around because her subordinates are lying to her and her boss is covering for them! Speaking of the lovely Director Shim though—he certainly has orchestrated everything handily, hasn’t he? His closest in command is shut out, his best agent is suspected of being the mole and agent Ji-yeon is on a leave of absence which could be a convenient cover if something went wrong. We’ll have to see how this plays out, but I know where my suspicions lie.
On the romance side of things, I’m going to have to disagree with abirdword here, because I actually do want to see Bon and Ae-rin come together. The actors have an easy chemistry that I dig, and Bon and Ae-rin are two people who can understand each other, even though on paper it looks like they’re worlds apart. And for Bon’s part, it looks like it has already started to take root, eager as he is to deny the imaginary girlfriend, and how touched he is by Ae-rin’s generosity. I can see why too, because Ae-rin is ridiculously smart, skilled, and warm—and Bon is clearly already half in love with the Joon-Joon twins as well. After being underground and isolated for three years, mired in sorrow, it’s easy to see why Bon would be so tempted by this little family. He is also surprisingly uncool about hiding his feelings for a man who kept secrets for a living, especially when his first instinct to distract Ae-rin was a “false” confession. It’s very endearing.
Ae-rin on the other hand hasn’t thought of Bon romantically yet, which is for the best. I don’t want the show to rush the romance here given that Ae-rin has just lost her husband and the Joon-Joon twins have lost their father. Ae-rin needs time to grieve (which I suspect is why she has thrown herself into work so enthusiastically) even if their marriage was already on the rocks. But I see the potential there—honestly, who wouldn’t melt a little at a man who is as comfortable washing up kids’ underwear as he is protecting the nation on secret missions?