Room No. 9: Episodes 13-14
Our protagonist faces the consequences of her actions as her betrayal isolates her from her loved one and leaves her with no one to trust. She slowly learns that a life with grandeur but filled with deceit isn’t as merry as she thought it would be, but bridges have been burned and punishments loom in the horizon. While our protagonist takes a step towards repentance, the chairman continues his mad spiral down as he resorts to desperate measures to achieve his desires.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Hae-yi drinks alone at a bar, ignoring Professor Kang’s call, so the rest of the team celebrate Hwa-sa’s upcoming acquittal without her. Hwa-sa gives a toast, tears pooling in her eyes, and thanks everyone for their help preparing her appeals trial. Meanwhile, Yoo-jin joins Hae-yi for a drink but seeing him reminds Hae-yi of her earlier meeting with Chairman Ki.
Chairman Ki asked her about the missing files for Yoo-jin’s case, but Hae-yi assured him that she was on his side. Tentatively, she asked Chairman Ki if he was really Choo Young-bae, and if so, she suggested compromising with Yoo-jin rather than fight. The chairman answered, “A person is judged by three things, who I know myself as, how people around see me, and who am I in this society. To you, am I Choo Young-bae?” In response, Hae-yi begged for some time to persuade Yoo-jin.
Downing a glass, Hae-yi tells Yoo-jin that all the important witnesses in Hwa-sa’s appeal and Chan-sung’s trial are dead—not by suicide but murdered. She warns him to stop fighting against the chairman, but Yoo-jin refuses to compromise with his father’s killer. Hae-yi grows frustrated, yelling at Yoo-jin about his inevitable defeat, but he excuses her outburst as a result of stress and recommends sleep rather than alcohol.
While Yoo-jin drives her home, Hae-yi tries to convince him about compromising with the chairman and explains how his safety should be their top priority. She advises him to think it over, but he remains adamant on his stance against Chairman Ki.
Prosecutor Kim looks over the documents brought by Hae-yi earlier, and he warns the chairman that stopping Hwa-sa’s appeals trial won’t be enough to protect the company from ending up in Yoo-jin’s hands. Chairman Ki understands his implications, but he muses, “During war, sometimes you need to fire a missile, and sometimes you crawl in mud with a gun. Now is the time to use the ‘Eulji Hae-yi’ card.”
Hae-yi pores over documents while memories of Chairman Ki’s volatile nature distract her, and from the other room, Hwa-sa moans loudly in pain. Mi-ran grabs her keys to take her to the hospital, but Hae-yi brings Hwa-sa a heating pad and places it on her back. Hwa-sa instantly relaxes, and when Mi-ran wonders how Hae-yi knew what to do, she reminds them that she, too, lived in this body once. Before Hae-yi leaves, Hwa-sa asks her about the date of her appeals trial, but she tells her that it hasn’t been decided yet.
Officer Oh arrives at the police station, and on the bulletin board is an announcement of his three-month suspension. He returns home and continues his investigation into Chan-sung regardless. Though his investigator friend urges him to forget about it, Officer Oh can’t help but question Chan-sung’s motive behind killing his father’s people.
Chan-sung lays awake in his hospital bed but can neither move nor speak. While his mother and Prosecutor Kim worry over him, Officer Oh pays a visit to ask Chan-sung some questions. Prosecutor Kim mentions Officer Oh’s suspension, but he mockingly thanks him for remembering a lowly officer like himself. Turning to Chan-sung, Officer Oh asks him why he killed Attorney Ma and the professor, and his question gets him immediately dragged out of the room.
Just then, Chairman Ki arrives and hears the ruckus between Officer Oh and Prosecutor Kim. While Prosecutor Kim blames the police for Chan-sung’s condition, Officer Oh says that he pities the dead more than Chan-sung and won’t stop until he figures out why they died. As the guards drag him away, Officer Oh throws a challenge to Chairman Ki, guessing that he might know the answer to his question better than Chan-sung.
Chairman Ki reacts to his provocations, allowing him to speak, so Officer Oh tells him the three categories of crime: money, passion, and silencing. Glaring at the chairman, he asks, “Why did your son kill them? For what reason did their mouths have to be shut?” The chairman simply stares at him as the guards kick Officer Oh to the curb.
While out for groceries, Mi-ran spies Hae-yi getting into Prosecutor Kim’s car and follows them to the law firm. Intern Bang intercepts her in the hallway, happy to see her back, and informs her of Hae-yi’s return. Mi-ran shares the news with Hwa-sa and fumes over Hae-yi colluding with the enemy.
At the law firm, Prosecutor Kim hands Hae-yi her car keys and suggests that she come back to work. She declines his offer, however, since Hwa-sa and Yoo-jin don’t know of her betrayal. He reveals his true intentions for calling her then and asks for Yoo-jin’s documents. As an added measure, he reminds her of the evidence he has of her bribes and corruption.
After hearing Mi-ran’s findings, Hwa-sa meets with Professor Kang to ask about her appeals trial. He explains how these things takes a while, but when she tells him that she doesn’t have much time, he agrees to pull some strings and hasten the process.
Yoo-jin calls Hae-yi to ask about the identity verification lawsuit and offers to meet her at court tomorrow to turn in the documents since he wants to do it together. Later that evening, he joins Hae-yi for dinner at her place, and Hwa-sa prepares the food. While everyone enjoys the meal, Hae-yi sits lost in thought as Chairman Ki’s threat plays in her head.
She barely touches her salad before excusing herself from the table and goes to her room to rummage through Yoo-jin’s jacket. While she looks for the photos of Ki San, Professor Kang calls Mi-ran to tell them that the documents for the appeals trial wasn’t submitted. They find her holding Yoo-jin’s photos, and Hwa-sa confronts her about the submission. Hae-yi ignores them both, but when they press her for answers, she tells Yoo-jin that he doesn’t stand a chance.
Yoo-jin chases after Hae-yi, refusing to believe her betrayal, but she argues with him that this is for the best. She says that everyone is like him at first, seeking the truth, but in the end, life goes on. Unlike her father, she won’t fall like this, and begs him to remember how dangerous Young-bae is. He wonders if all of this is for him, but she admits that it’s for herself.
Accepting the truth, Yoo-jin realizes that she may have never loved Ki Yoo-jin, the person, but the brother of Chairman Ki. He turns his back to her, but as her final warning, Hae-yi shouts at him to be cautious. He silently takes off his ring as his answer and throws it in the garbage can for her to see.
Yoo-jin sits by the river, recalling the first moment he saw Hae-yi, and she sits alone, thinking of him. As happy memories of their relationship flood her, she narrates in voiceover, “In love, there is no always.” Both alone, Hae-yi holds back her tears while Yoo-jin weeps for their end.
Angered by Hae-yi’s betrayal, Mi-ran buys peaches, blending them into a liquid, and throws away Hae-yi’s allergy medicine. Clearly blinded by revenge, she mixes the peach liquid into a jug of water and places it into the fridge for an unsuspecting Hae-yi.
Chairman Ki sits by Chan-sung and tries to feed him food, though his son refuses to eat. He attempts to uplift Chan-sung’s spirts by mentioning Christopher Reeve as an encouragement to not give up, and Chan-sung finally speaks: “Do you love me?”
The chairman affirms his love for his son, but Chan-sung begs his dad to kill him, then. Chairman Ki promises to make him stand again even at the cost of the SHC Group and barely manages to hold back his tears.
Hae-yi takes out the water Mi-ran prepared, but before she drinks it, Hwa-sa stops her. Talking privately with Hae-yi, Hwa-sa mentions her mother who is only hanging onto life because of the hope of seeing her daughter acquitted. Likewise, the only reason Hwa-sa is alive is because of Young-bae, and since she won’t live to see the coming winter, she pleads with Hae-yi to let her have her appeals trial. However, Hae-yi tells her that it’s too late, and when Hwa-sa asks why she did it, she says that she didn’t want to live like her father.
Hwa-sa finds Officer Oh at the police station to request an investigation, and though he isn’t supposed to work, he lies to his partner and sneaks Hwa-sa into a private room to talk. He wants to learn more about Ki San, and to his surprise, she tells him about the three reasons behind murder—the same ones he told Chairman Ki.
Over drinks, Officer Oh marvels at Hwa-sa and calls her “noonim” which she comments on positively. He asks about the secret Chan-sung tried to hide, but before she tells him that, he needs to figure out who killed the witnesses and tried to silence her, too. She describes the night at the motel when the mysterious man came to kill her, and gravely says that Officer Oh is the only one who can help her. Meanwhile, Chairman Ki ponders over Hae-yi’s claim of body swapping with Hwa-sa, and while Secretary Park might not believe in miracles, the chairman is willing to believe if it means saving his son.
Officer Oh carries drunk Hwa-sa to his home since she refused to go to hers, and after tucking her in, he stares at her much to his investigator friend’s disgruntlement. Officer Oh comments on how similar Hwa-sa is to Hae-yi despite having no relation, but this just earns him a slap from the investigator who yells at him to date instead of chasing after Hae-yi.
Hae-yi hands over the documents for the identity verification lawsuit—minus the photos she couldn’t obtain—to Chairman Ki, but he dismisses the files since he has other business with Hae-yi today. He plays the video recording by Attorney Ma of Hae-yi when she was in Hwa-sa’s body and confirms with her that the body swap really happened.
He asks how such a phenomenon occurred, and she recounts that day in the prison. He wants to know where the defibrillator is now, but figuring out his intentions, she tells him that Yoo-jin has the defibrillator though it’s broken and can’t help Chan-sung. Even so, a man sneaks into Yoo-jin’s room to steal the machine and hands it over to Secretary Park.
Officer Oh returns home after a morning jog, but all he finds of Hwa-sa is the breakfast she made. He asks the investigator to help him look into the supposed suicides of the key witnesses, but his friend bluntly refuses, especially since Officer Oh should have plenty of spare time during his suspension. Meanwhile, Hwa-sa arrives home to Mi-ran’s relief, but unlike her original plan, Hwa-sa admits to not telling Officer Oh about Young-bae since she decided that he should only know about the things he can help with as a detective.
By the time Yoo-jin realizes his defibrillator is missing, Chairman Ki already has it and shows it to Hae-yi. He offers her the law firm in exchange for helping Chan-sung, but when he asks if he needs anything else, Hae-yi doesn’t tell him about Yoo-jin and lies that he has everything he needs. Suddenly, Yoo-jin barges into their meeting, but Chairman Ki extends him a peace offering, asking him to help Chan-sung. Yoo-jin simply warns him that the machine is dangerous, but once Chairman Ki is alone, he witnesses the defibrillator’s supernatural properties as it glows in the dark without a power source.
Yoo-jin grabs Hae-yi to confront her about the defibrillator, but she argues that he should want to help Chan-sung since he’s his uncle. Yoo-jin points out the sacrifice that will be made in exchange for Chan-sung’s second chance, and he asks Hae-yi how much of a villain she intends to become.
Chairman Ki’s pleas to help Chan-sung ring in Yoo-jin’s head as he watches over his sleeping nephew. He quietly asks Chan-sung to accept this life as punishment for his actions, but to his shock, Chan-sung replies, having been awake the entire time. He tells Yoo-jin that he always envied and admired him for his appearance and character, and in his current state, he would prefer death over living. In the doorway, Chairman Ki overhears their entire conversation and watches Yoo-jin while contemplating Chan-sung’s words.
Officer Oh and the investigator look around a neighborhood, and while they get access to security camera footage, the woman in charge immediately calls someone to notify them about the snoops. Meanwhile, Chairman Ki meets with Director Bong and offers him the hospital if he returns to his side. Director Bong instantly pledges his allegiance, so Chairman Ki orders him to save his son.
Hwa-sa and Hae-yi both arrive at the hospital looking for Yoo-jin and Chairman Ki respectively, but neither meets with their intended person. On her way out, Hae-yi runs into Director Bong on the elevator, and he blames her for nearly getting him killed before suspiciously wheeling away a covered man.
In the parking lot, Hwa-sa and Mi-ran spot Hae-yi, the atmosphere tense between them, but when Hae-yi overhears them talking about Yoo-jin’s absence, she puts the clues together and realizes Chairman Ki’s plan. She runs back into the hospital to stop the switch, but Director Bong readies the defibrillator for the body swap between Yoo-jin and Chan-sung.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Hwa-sa and Mi-ran follow behind Hae-yi and pull her back at the last second before she barges in without a plan. With Hae-yi breaking down, Hwa-sa takes command and orders Mi-ran to get rid of the guards. In the room, Secretary Park ties Chan-sung’s and Yoo-jin’s hands together, and Director Bong wonders what’s happening, though he’s rebuked for his questioning.
As soon as Secretary Park leaves, Mi-ran approaches the guards dressed as a nurse and tries to force her way inside. A guard accidentally touches her breast while pushing her away, and she yells for Director Bong since she was sexually harassed. Her cries get him outside, but he merely tells her to take it to court and returns to the room. The guards drag Mi-ran away, but causing a commotion, she lures them inside the elevator with her and closes the doors. Mission complete.
In another room, Hae-yi lights a newspaper on fire and holds it up to the sprinklers. The fire alarm goes off, and as everyone else evacuates, Hae-yi and Hwa-sa weave through the crowd towards Chan-sung’s room. The lights flicker as Director Bong prepares the defibrillator, but Hwa-sa and Hae-yi arrive in time to stop him. Grasping the situation, he lurches forward to shock Chan-sung, but they grab him from behind.
Director Bong shocks himself in the aftermath and ends up sprawled on the floor, convulsing. Hae-yi calls the ER from the nurses station, but quickly hides when Chairman Ki and Secretary Park walk down the hall. She calls Hwa-sa to warn her about the chairman, and she slips into an empty room just as they come around the corner.
Since everyone involved is unconscious, Chairman Ki remains unsure of the change, but either way, they move Yoo-jin out of the room. Soon after, Yoo-jin wakes up, and noticing the clock, he recalls his last moments in Director Bong’s office drinking a cup of coffee hours ago. He hears from a nurse that he fainted from exhaustion in the director’s room, but Yoo-jin can’t confirm it since Director Bong is currently in surgery from an electrical shock to the head.
Now that Yoo-jin is safe, Hae-yi invites Hwa-sa and Mi-ran back to her apartment and promises to get back the appeals documents. She assures a skeptical Hwa-sa that saving Yoo-jin means her deal with Chairman Ki is null. Elsewhere, Officer Oh finds footage of the man who entered the motel that evening as Hwa-sa claimed, and the investigator concedes that she may have been telling the truth.
With the help of his detective partner, Officer Oh learns that the mystery man is Seo Hyuk-jin, a model citizen with no criminal record. He used to work for the NIS but is now a building owner. While the others think Officer Oh caught the wrong man, he remembers that Secretary Park used to work for the NIS which gives them a connection. After a few phone calls, they figure out Seo comes from a working class background, and Officer Oh guesses that Chairman Ki must be his current source of income.
Yoo-jin notices a bruise on his arm, and realizing that Director Bong must have drugged him, he puts the pieces together and runs towards Chan-sung’s room. He bumps into the nurse on his way there, but when he asks if she saw him come by yesterday, she tells him that management ordered all staff to leave their stations at that time.
Yoo-jin barges into Chan-sung’s room, and Chairman Ki stares at him expectantly. However, Yoo-jin calls him “hyungnim” while Chan-sung calls him “dad,” shattering any hope for a successful body swap. At the slightest movement, Chan-sung screams in pain and begs to die. Chairman Ki finally snaps at him to stop and breaks down into sobs.
Hwa-sa wonders how Hae-yi will retrieve the appeals documents, but before they can discuss any concrete plans, Hwa-sa grabs her stomach in pain. Yoo-jin comes over to administer painkillers for Hwa-sa, and she asks him to not hate Hae-yi too much. He barely glances at Hae-yi when leaving the apartment, but sitting in his car, Yoo-jin admits to himself that he doesn’t hate her, but rather, he finds it too painful to look at her.
Hae-yi drinks alone in the dark until Mi-ran joins her, and setting aside her animosity, Mi-ran offers to tell Yoo-jin that she saved his life which would mend their relationship. Hae-yi explains that Yoo-jin’s “veritas” is absolute, which means trust cannot be compensated nor moved. Standing outside, she finally lets her tears fall, and in his car, Yoo-jin also cries.
Officer Oh signs into the police database and discovers that Seo went to the Philippines on the same flight as the automobile inspector and re-entered the country the day after the suicide. This convinces the investigator that Seo is the murderer, and in a fit of rage, he nearly leaves the house in his pajamas before Officer Oh calls him back.
Hae-yi and Prosecutor Kim listen to the tape recording of the firefighter, and offering to prepare the defense strategy, she reaches for the documents. He blocks her, though, because they already have one made and insists that she just focus on stopping Yoo-jin’s lawsuit. She watches him place the envelope in his safe, catching the first two numbers of the passcode.
Since Prosecutor Kim is suspicious of Hae-yi, Mi-ran will have to enter the office and steal the documents. However, Mi-ran has only been there once and expresses her concerns over the plan, so Hwa-sa steps up to go herself since they only have tonight to grab the evidence before it’s destroyed.
Later that night, Hwa-sa passes through the office easily with Mi-ran, and the only other person there is Intern Bang, who’s sleeping in the meeting room. With a list of possible passcodes, Mi-ran enters two, but both are wrong. The safe beeps loudly, waking Intern Bang
With only one chance left, Hwa-sa remembers how dearly Prosecutor Kim adores his sister, but there are two possible passcodes related to her. Hwa-sa chooses her birthday, and luckily, it’s correct. However, she can’t find her envelope, and only manages to grab one with Hae-yi’s name written on it when Intern Bang opens the door.
Though he finds it strange to see Mi-ran and a custodian in Prosecutor Kim’s office, she lies about needing to talk to him and drags him away. In her efforts to distract him, Mi-ran confesses her love for Intern Bang and kisses him so Hwa-sa can escape undetected. As they report their failure to Hae-yi, the documents end up in Chairman Ki’s hands, and he burns all the evidence.
Hae-yi agrees to prepare another copy of the documents for the appeals trial, but Mi-ran bitterly points out that they still lost their most crucial piece of evidence. Even so, Hwa-sa won’t give up, and though she was unable to recover her envelope, she did find one of Hae-yi’s, correctly guessing that this must be the reason for her betrayal. As Hae-yi looks at the pile of evidence documenting her crimes, she apologizes to Hwa-sa, though no one is around to hear it.
Director Bong finally wakes up from his surgery, and both Yoo-jin and Chairman Ki rush to his room in order to hear what exactly happened that day. Unfortunately, the day will stay a mystery since Director Bong suffered irreversible brain damage and has reverted to a child-like mental state. Yoo-jin conveys the news to Hwa-sa where Hae-yi silently motions to her to keep their actions a secret. Meanwhile, Secretary Kim calms Chairman Ki who assumes Hae-yi lied to him and nearly got Chan-sung killed.
After hearing about the state of Director Bong, Mi-ran calls it heaven’s punishment, and the idea seems to weigh heavily on Hae-yi. She goes for a jog, thinking of how Attorney Ma’s and Director Bong’s desires led them to sell out an innocent woman and ultimately caused their demise. She wonders to herself if she can be free, and ends up running to the hospital. Watching Yoo-jin from afar, she narrates that one of the prices she paid was losing Yoo-jin and more punishments might await her.
Intern Bang reports to Prosecutor Kim about Mi-ran’s presence in his office with a custodian, and though he notices the missing envelope, Prosecutor Kim pretends that everything is fine. Elsewhere, Officer Oh buys Hwa-sa dinner since he solved her puzzle, and she recognizes Seo as the man in her motel room.
Secretary Park presents Chairman Ki the hospital security footage that came on during the false fire alarm, and in his office, Yoo-jin watches the same recordings. The footage clearly captures Hae-yi and Hwa-sa in the hallway, and Chairman Ki destroys the laptop, cursing them for ruining his plans. Right then, Prosecutor Kim arrives to tell the chairman that Hwa-sa snuck into the law firm to steal documents, and Chairman Ki roars at them to destroy Hwa-sa and Hae-yi.
Since Officer Oh kept his part of the bargain, he asks Hwa-sa to tell him the secret behind Chan-sung’s murders. She warns him that he could die, but he still wants to know the truth and won’t go down without a fight. She explains to him that Chairman Ki is trying to kill her, and the reason is because he’s not the real Ki San but Young-bae. While she’ll prove his identity, she needs Officer Oh to reveal Young-bae’s crimes.
Prosecutor Kim expresses his disdain towards Secretary Park’s methods, but since Chairman Ki wants to end things now, he has no choice but to trust him. He hands Secretary Park the keys to Hae-yi’s apartment and sends him off.
Yoo-jin waits outside Hae-yi’s door when she comes home from her jog. He asks her again if she sided with the chairman for his sake, but she says that it was for her own. She finally realized that the person holding her back was herself, and now all her past wrongdoings are boomeranging back to punish her.
He wants her to explain why she saved him at the hospital, so Hae-yi tells him that she did it to give herself a second chance and plans to finish Yoo-jin’s lawsuit, too. He pulls her into a hug, and a smile finally spreads across his face as they embrace.
One of the major conflicts this week was the separation between Hae-yi and Yoo-jin. Their breakup seemed inevitable with Hae-yi’s betrayal, and it was only right that Yoo-jin was the one who dumped her. Hae-yi struggles throughout the episodes between siding with Chairman Ki or doing the right thing, as well as coming to terms with her past and facing the consequences. I liked the reason behind Hae-yi’s struggle even if some of her actions were questionable. Her regret over her past crimes and the fear of heaven’s retribution felt genuine since she experienced firsthand the consequences of her sins when the chairman blackmailed her and witnessed the fall of those around her who walked similar paths. While she may not have wanted to live like her father, she realizes that the other side—ignoring the truth and committing crimes to fulfill one’s desires—is actually a worse fate. Choosing to save herself over everything else leaves her alone and with no one to trust, and though her father might have lost his glory and family, at least he was able to sleep at night unlike Hae-yi.
My favorite aspect of this portrayal of Hae-yi was how she accepted her past actions as wrong rather than try to justify them or avoid punishment. While Attorney Ma and Director Bong joined Hwa-sa’s side, the motivation behind their actions was the same as the one when they sold Hwa-sa to Young-bae, thus, they both faced untimely ends. On the other hand, once Hae-yi decided to change sides in earnest, she didn’t expect forgiveness but, instead, punishments as she deserved. Her current attitude is a stark contrast to the Hae-yi who was willing to lock Hwa-sa in jail forever, because she helps Hwa-sa and Yoo-jin knowing that this may cause her demise. She doesn’t want anything in return which is why I believe Hae-yi has changed for real this time.
However, the consequences of Hae-yi’s struggle in regards to her relationship with Yoo-jin felt selfish instead of sacrificial. While I understand why she thinks she should lose Yoo-jin, I still believe her choice to keep the hospital event a secret from him was self-centered because it stripped him of his agency. She assumes that their trust cannot be mended and doesn’t want to force him to forgive her just because she saved him, but as a result, she’s doing the same thing to him that Chairman Ki and Ki Se-woong have been doing to him his entire life. He never gets to know the truth, so consequently, his actions are constrained by those who withhold information from him. Even if she thinks she’s doing the right thing and helping him, she’s inadvertently controlling him and making decisions for him. I doubt Hae-yi meant any harm to Yoo-jin with her actions, but she clearly still has a lot of room to grow.
For Yoo-jin’s sake, I’m glad that their separation ended with him making the choice to mend their relationship. He figured out the truth by himself and decided that his relationship with Hae-yi was worth saving. Though she tries to push him away, he won’t let her make that decision one-sidedly and takes his life into his own hands. Unfortunately, the actual separation and moping felt overdone, partly because I never understood why they loved each other so much, especially Yoo-jin. The acting was great, and in lesser hands, I’m sure the scenes would have felt cringey. However, the writing has failed in establishing their relationship, and it was evident in the flashback scenes chosen during the post-breakup weeping. Most of the memories were of Yoo-jin doting on Hae-yi, such as his proposal, and the main moment shown right after Yoo-jin was when he first saw Hae-yi and confessed as a high schooler, which frankly, isn’t that cute of a scene. I think there have been more scenes of Yoo-jin with Hwa-sa (both in Hae-yi’s body and her own) than with actual Hae-yi, and as a result, I’m not as invested in their relationship as the show wants me to be.
While the main romantic relationship may not give me the feels, I’m loving all the relationships involving Officer Oh, especially his bromance with the private investigator. The two of them together are a hoot to watch and their rapport is effortlessly amazing. I also enjoy Hwa-sa with Officer Oh because he treats her with care and doesn’t seem all too concerned with labels. He’s a good addition to Hwa-sa’s team as a reliable ally who won’t be swayed, but I do worry about when he figures out the body swap. Their end won’t be good no matter what, and as the show heads into the final two episodes, I worry for all the leads’ safeties and wonder how the show will wrap things up.