Player: Episode 5
We spend this hour delving into the past to learn a little more about what’s driving our heroes forward. Even still, there’s no time to rest for our team. There are more targets to bring down and a huge web of corruption to unravel.
EPISODE 5: “It’s just getting started”
In the past, we see the shadowy broker working from his office with a team of scouts to track down four targets of interest to him so that he can dispose of them.
The final target is Ha-ri’s father, Chief Prosecutor Choi Hyung-ki. When Prosecutor Jang arrives back at the prosecutor’s office, Hyung-ki’s lifeless body crashes down onto the roof of his car, and Prosecutor Jang is helpless to save him.
Afterwards, news reports claimed that Hyung-ki, and several other politicians who the shadow broker opposes, all accepted bribes. The shadowy broker and his team scramble to vacate the office and erase any trace of their existence with their election meddling operation complete.
Back in the present, Ha-ri contemplates his map of the criminal organization, where we see the aforementioned election swayed in the favor of Kim Gook-joo. Ha-ri also zeroes in on his next focal point: a man named President Park Hyun-jong.
In the street, Jin-woong poses as a construction worker and diverts a car from picking up said president. Instead, President Park gets into a different car, unaware that Ah-ryung and Ha-ri are the two people in the front seat.
It’s not long before President Park notices the driver is different than usual, and calls out Ah-ryung. Knowing they’re caught, but with President Park unable to escape the moving vehicle, Ha-ri just bickers back and forth with Ah-ryung over being so easily found out. Ha.
Noticing their captive attempting to escape, Ah-ryung steps on the gas, and the president can only flee when Ah-ryung suddenly pulls to a halt.
They’re right on the doorstep of the prosecutor’s office, though, and Chief Maeng greets the shocked president with a smile, as their team was just on their way to pick him up anyway.
Meanwhile, the prosecution seizes all of President Park’s documents, and Prosecutor Jang grills the suspect over his multitude of financial crimes. President Park refuses to give up the source of his money though, and instead challenges Prosecutor Jang to follow the trail himself.
Back at con team headquarters, the team walk through their plan to track down President Park’s money.
Ah-ryung recalls President Park mentioning someone named Baek-seon who seems to coordinate the two lieutenants in charge of laundering the money, but Ha-ri argues they don’t need to worry about it since they’re just going to steal the money in the middle anyway.
With their briefing over, Byung-min and Ah-ryung argue over how impudent she is to the boys. Ha-ri tells Ah-ryung to just call them whatever names she wants and she comes up with a teasing nickname for each of them on the fly, giving the boys a chuckle in turn.
Afterward, Ah-ryung takes the lonely train ride home and sadly gazes at her social media profile with 0 followers. She looks up in time to spot a team of pickpockets working together to steal a wallet out of a purse, and catches the eye of the female thief as they depart the train.
When the female thief trips while fleeing police, Ah-ryung springs into action and lifts the thief’s money belt off her, effectively ensuring she won’t be caught red-handed.
The thief, now free thanks to being clean of the evidence, catches up to Ah-ryung while she’s mailing all the stolen wallets back to their owners.
The thief introduces herself as Young-ji, and pesters Ah-ryung to teach her how to steal more effectively, though Ah-ryung brushes her off.
At the Prosecutor’s office, Prosecutor Jang sits through a barrage of insults from his colleagues, but uses them to motivate his own team. “Don’t endure it by trusting people,” he echoes the words of Hari’s father, “endure it by thinking about the organization. If you do that, a good day will come.”
Later, Prosecutor Jang reports his progress to the deputy chief, who is pleased with the work. Before Prosecutor Jang leaves, the deputy chief asks if he knows Chief Prosecutor Choi’s son. Prosecutor Jang mournfully says that the boy apparently committed suicide not long after his father’s death.
At the hospital, Ha-ri stops by to visit Doctor Joo, and they talk cryptically about Ha-ri’s current plans. When Doctor Joo tells Ha-ri not to get hurt, he simply responds that it’s okay since he has her as his exclusive doctor, which elicits a smile from her.
They also vaguely mention something that Doctor Joo is intentionally keeping from Ha-ri, though we get no indication as to what it may be. When Ha-ri leaves, he makes a point of thanking Doctor Joo for helping him.
Elsewhere, Ah-ryung returns home only to be ambushed by Young-ji, but they’re both interrupted by the young thug who was harassing Ah-ryung earlier.
Ah-ryung orders Young-ji inside and as soon as she’s out of sight, the young thug threatens Ah-ryung with a knife to coerce her into helping out their gang. But she easily turns the knife on him and threatens him in kind. She reiterates that she will not help, and sends the thug off with a warning not to bother her again.
Inside her home, Ah-ryung learns that Young-ji is an orphan and advises the young girl to go back to the orphanage and stop getting involved with gangs.
Meanwhile, Doctor Joo reminisces about a night six months prior, when she found Ha-ri slumped over the counter at the hospital. When Ha-ri turned around she noticed a massive stab wound and he urgently needed assistance.
She pulled Ha-ri into an operating room and sutured the wound for him, but after she finished the work she’d found a stash of fake IDs in Ha-ri’s jacket. When Ha-ri came to, Doctor Joo had been inconsolable, unsure of what Ha-ri’s true identity even was.
In the present, Ah-ryung wakes to find Young-ji made breakfast, but Ah-ryung coldly kicks her out and makes her promise not to come back. As Young-ji leaves, she walks right into the young thug waiting nearby.
Flashback to the night before, and Ah-ryung starting to cover Young-ji with a blanket, only for the girl to call out for her mom while having a nightmare. Ah-ryung, just then, realizes Young-ji left her phone in the house, but by the time she heads back outside the girl is gone.
Ah-ryung calls Byung-min and asks him to look into Young-ji for her. Though Byung-min protests, not long after, Ah-ryung makes her way to Yeongseong Orphanage, where Young-ji ran away from two years ago.
The director of the orphanage says he looked all over for Young-ji when she disappeared since she was like family to him, and when he remarks that most of the kids there refer to him as “dad.” Ah-ryung mumbles that wasn’t what happened at her orphanage.
Ah-ryung confesses that she ran away from her own orphanage when she was nine, and sensing Ah-ryung’s genuine worry for Young-ji, the director assures her that Young-ji will come back.
Later, Ah-ryung returns to headquarters to find the boys quibbling over nothing. Ha-ri notices there is something bothering Ah-ryung but he doesn’t press her on it.
The team begins a briefing on President Park, though Ah-ryung is completely zoned out as she worries about Young-ji. So Ha-ri adjourns the meeting to see what’s up with her.
Ah-ryung dodges Ha-ri’s inquiries though, and when Ha-ri keeps pressing, Ah-ryung questions whether the money should really matter so much to them. She refuses to elaborate and instead exits, leaving Ha-ri slightly confused.
Ah-ryung thinks back to her previous work with the two thugs that were harassing her. She was a driver for them, and when she fell from her bike during an operation, the thugs chose to prioritize the goods they were after instead of Ah-ryung, and abandoned her to be arrested.
Back in the present, Ah-ryung gets a call on Young-ji’s phone. It’s a clearly distressed Young-ji, who reveals that the young thug chased her down after Ah-ryung kicked her out.
He wrestles the phone away from Young-ji and threatens to harm her further if Ah-ryung doesn’t turn up to help them.
Ah-ryung doesn’t hesitate, and drives off to a junkyard to confront the young thug. He tells Ah-ryung that she needs to do a job for them if she wants to help Young-ji, and she reluctantly agrees.
The boys can’t get a hold of Ah-ryung, so they agree to get started on their operation without her. They intercept President Park’s money immediately after it’s collected and they kidnap the man who is meant to deliver it.
The older thug that was harassing Ah-ryung assures a man whose face we do not see (though we do see a large burn scar on his arm) that their deal will go smoothly now that Ah-ryung is on board.
Meanwhile the boys interrogate the kidnapped driver, but the only thing they find is a cryptic text message from a hidden number. Ha-ri somehow deduces the meaning by searching for news reports, and they drive off toward the destination.
On the way, they spot one of President Park’s men and divert their route to tail him. They end up covertly overseeing a meeting between a large group of gangsters, and Ha-ri gets Byung-min to call the police and pretend to be a woman getting assaulted by the gang.
When the police finally arrive, the gang members scatter. Ha-ri tells the boys to follow President Park’s lackey, while Ha-ri chases the money in a separate vehicle.
Ha-ri follows closely behind the money-carrying van, but when they get to an intersection the van driver suddenly spins around and brings traffic to a complete standstill.
Ha-ri gets ready to continue his pursuit but when he looks over at the van, something stops him in his tracks. The driver of the van is Ah-ryung.
One of the major focuses in this hour was Ah-ryung and her past, both criminally and personally. She’s definitely dealing with a significant amount of loneliness, and you can see it in her interactions not only with Young-ji, but also within the group itself. She looked so disappointed when Byung-min told her to play a game by herself during their downtime instead of playing with her. Obviously this loneliness seems to stem from her upbringing, and while we didn’t get a lot of detail, there’s enough to paint a reasonable picture of her childhood and hint at just how tragic it was for her.
Surely, that’s why she feels so connected to Young-ji, even though she pushes the young girl away. To me, it seems, that Ah-ryung isn’t necessarily trying to isolate herself from a potential friend, but instead trying to help the girl avoid going down the same sad, lonely path that Ah-ryung went down to get to where she is today. She doesn’t seem to consider her relationship with the rest of the team to be more than a working relationship (even though her banter with them is top notch). There’s pretty much nobody in Ah-ryung’s life that she seems to consider a close friend, and that’s a consequence of many factors, including her life of crime.
Of course, there’s a lot more going on elsewhere, too. I’ll admit that I completely forgot there were references to the shadowy broker prior to the end of last week’s case. I think that’s more of a testament to the show’s frenetic pacing than anything else, as the broker’s presence felt so minimal given how much else went on over the first few episodes. Now, though, we got a bit of a larger look into his maneuverings, and I’m reasonably satisfied with the setup for his role in the story.
Poor Ha-ri, though. Not only was his father murdered but his mother passed away not long afterwards as well. As Prosecutor Jang acknowledges, that’s quite a large amount of hardship to go through in such a short period of time. It certainly makes the suicide cover story plausible, but I do wonder why Ha-ri would still keep that secret from Prosecutor Jang? From everything we know, he was not only an upright prosecutor and loyal to Ha-ri’s father, but he’s proven himself to be a true ally to Ha-ri through his handling of the team. Maybe it’s just that Ha-ri doesn’t want anyone to know that secret, which is probably fair, but that seems like something that would strengthen what Prosecutor Jang might consider now to be an uneasy partnership.