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9

Room No. 9: Episodes 7-8

Wherever our protagonists look, all roads seem to lead to Chairman Ki, the thread that links everything together. In order to protect what he’s built, the chairman continues to weave his web of lies, and if people die as a consequence, so be it. However, the more you have to lose, the more likely you’ll make a foolish mistake.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

March 14, 2018. Hae-yi assumes Yoo-jin is buying her a ring to celebrate White Day, but he asks the salesperson for the bracelet he chose earlier. Hiding her disappointment, Hae-yi gushes about how much she loves it, but when he suggests having the word “Veritas” engraved inside, she turns down his offer.

With Yoo-jin’s birthday coming up in May, Hae-yi orders her assistant to buy matching rings with the word “Veritas” engraved on the band. When she looks up the word, Yoo-jin explains to her that it means absolute truth, which he believes is the first and most important component to perfect love.

In the present, Hae-yi sits in her cell and stares at the rings she never gave Yoo-jin. She admits to herself that she loved him for his job, looks, and title as Chairman Ki’s brother. However, after losing him, she finally realized that she truly loves him.

Hwa-sa buys Officer Oh coffee as thanks for his help from before, but he grabs her arm and asks about her new scar. His voice rises as he asks her when she got hurt, and Hwa-sa lies that she cut herself while drinking wine a couple days back.

Officer Oh chases Hwa-sa out of the coffee shop, hounding her for more information, and mentions the bruises he saw on her legs that day in Secretary Park’s hotel room. She tells him that she’s clumsy, but her feeble lies don’t quell his suspicions. Officer Oh continues studying the footage of Hwa-sa outside the hotel, while Hwa-sa and Mi-ran get the doctor to forge her medical records to hide their tracks.

Secretary Park informs Chairman Ki of Officer Oh’s investigation, but the chairman tells him to wait before helping Hwa-sa since there’s no need to rush.

Hwa-sa runs down the hallway away from Attorney Ma but ends up in the hotel room where he died. Attorney Ma grabs her ankle, and no matter where Hwa-sa turns, he cuts off her path to escape. He finally catches her, but as he chokes her, Hwa-sa notices the pen recorder on the desk.

Her screams wake Mi-ran, who worriedly shakes Hwa-sa awake from her nightmare. While Mi-ran consoles her, she remembers seeing Attorney Ma’s recorder in Chairman Ki’s office. Thus, Hwa-sa visits the chairman’s wife, who doesn’t suspect a thing, and manages to sneak into the chairman’s office by excusing herself to use the powder room.

However, the pen is nowhere in sight, but just when it looks like her search might have been for naught, Hwa-sa notices an award from the University of Chicago, which triggers a memory: In the summer of 1984, Ki Se-woong gave Hwa-sa a list of foods to send Ki San who was studying abroad in Chicago. Meanwhile, Chairman Ki watches Hwa-sa through the door but doesn’t stop her.

On their drive home, Mi-ran wonders if this all means that the real Ki San is dead. If that’s the case, Hwa-sa says that they need to figure out how and why he died. In his office, Chairman Ki looks at his contact list of “1984,” and remembers his first meeting with Prosecutor Kim.

Young-bae met Prosecutor Kim (then a detective) who told him that all the evidence pointed to Hwa-sa’s innocence. However, Young-bae offered to marry his sister, which would make her the madam to the SHC Group and allow Detective Kim to pursue his dreams of studying law.

At the request of Chairman Ki, Prosecutor Kim parks in the director’s spot at the law firm, and the office is abuzz at the arrival of the new managing partner. The sight of Prosecutor Kim sends Hwa-sa back to the interrogation room where he threatened to rip her mouth off if she changed her story and caused him trouble.

Yoo-jin meets with his private investigator who shares his discovery of a nurse who knows about the hospital. He shows Yoo-jin pictures of the nurse who’s currently serving time for selling tampered drugs, and Yoo-jin recognizes the nurse inmate.

Officer Oh kneels before his captain, begging to be reinstated to the homicide division. His captain refuses to put his neck on the line for him since his wife comes first, so Officer Oh drops honorifics before running away from his captain’s fury.

All the employees at the law firm meet one-on-one with Prosecutor Kim, including Hwa-sa. During their meeting, he mentions how her eyes have lost the drive to win compared to the first time he saw her, and asks about her defense strategy.

Reciting Hae-yi’s plan, Hwa-sa explains how the prosecution lost their witness since the inspector committed suicide, so even if the court is suspicious of the current NFS document, they have no other option than to use it as evidence. Prosecutor Kim asks her if she bribed the inspector, and when she affirms it, he comments on how fortunate the inspector’s death is for her. Aware of the implication, Hwa-sa corrects him, saying that it’s fortunate for Chan-sung as well.

In Ki Se-woong’s villa, Chairman Ki shows Dr. So the video recording of Hae-yi with Attorney Ma, and asks if she’s crazy or sane. Watching the video on his knees, Dr. So cautiously says that her behavior does seem different from a typical case of dissociate identity disorder.

Yoo-jin and his private investigator try to visit the nurse inmate, but she only allows Yoo-jin to see her. She greets him cheerfully, and when he asks about the old hospital, her face breaks into laughter. She immediately orders Yoo-jin to transfer money to her husband’s bank account, and then hands him “Hwa-sa’s” blood sample to run full tests.

Having agreed to her terms, Yoo-jin asks about the hospital, but the nurse inmate refuses to share her knowledge before getting back the test results. Seeing his disappointment, she throws him a bone to keep him under her thumb: during the night of the meteorite crash, a foreigner died in childbirth. That evening, Yoo-jin unpacks a portrait of Ki Se-woong and asks him when he met his mother.

Chairman Ki mulls over the possibility of body-swapping and asks Secretary Park if he believes in miracles or mysteries. The latter resolutely states his disbelief, especially the claims of Hae-yi being Hwa-sa.

Hwa-sa and her team read over the documents of those who died in Chan-sung’s accident, and one of the ladies stands out to Hwa-sa because of her employment at the University of Chicago. With the help of their ex-inmate friend, they find the deceased professor’s social media account, and read a post about her friend named Esther who left to live in Korea 34 years ago.

According to the timeline, the deceased professor would have attended university at the same time as Ki San, making these events too convenient to be coincidental, so Hwa-sa finds Hae-yi to question her about the true nature of Chan-sung’s “accident.” However, Hae-yi tells her that her job is to help her client and ends their conversation.

Though Hae-yi tries to leave, Hwa-sa rebukes her for hiding the truth and defending money instead of people. She asks if this is what she has been doing with her life, but Hae-yi dismisses her criticisms and warns her to concentrate on Chan-sung’s trial or go to jail: “That body isn’t yours, it’s mine.”

Leaving the prison, Mi-ran complains about how complicated everything is, but Hwa-sa points out that they’ve finally discovered the link between all the cases. Everyone who’s found out or suspected Chairman Ki’s real identity are all dead, and Hwa-sa thinks that the keys to the puzzle are the real Ki San and Esther.

While Hae-yi cleans her cell, Hwa-sa’s accusations ring in her head, clearly bothering the stone cold attorney. A sudden wave of abdominal pain hits her, and she falls to the ground.

After waiting in the parking lot, Officer Oh confronts Hwa-sa when she arrives at the apartment, and he asks if their relationship allows him to grab a drink with her. They relocate to outside a convenience store, and he tells her a story of a prodigy that lived in his neighborhood.

He explains how the prodigy visited the neighborhood during his vacation while studying abroad, but he accidentally killed his friend when they were goofing around. In the heat of the moment, the prodigy threw the body in the ocean and eventually died in a police chase. Ending his story, Officer Oh says, “People with a lot to lose make foolish decisions.”

Hwa-sa thanks him for the story, though it was too heavy to enjoy over drinks, and ignoring Officer Oh’s offering of food, she tells him not to mention Attorney Ma’s death again. She walks away from the table without looking back once, and Officer Oh shouts at her, stating his intentions to help, not harm her.

Intern Bang meets with Prosecutor Kim, and they bond over their experience living in the study dorms. After Intern Bang informs him of Hwa-sa’s recent activities, Prosecutor Kim offers him the opportunity to become his person, and Intern Bang readily agrees to become his personal security camera.

Everyone else gets their meeting except Mi-ran, much to her annoyance, but a relieved Hwa-sa has a new task to keep her busy: look through the entry records for Esther. At the prison, Yoo-jin also learns of Esther from the nurse inmate, but apparently no one came looking for either the deceased mother or child.

The nurse inmate looks at “Hwa-sa’s” test results which show dangerously high levels ALP and GGT, suggesting that something might be wrong with her digestive organs. Yoo-jin recommends a follow-up examination, and the nurse inmate begs him to help. She says that she owes her life to “Hwa-sa” and tells Yoo-jin not to discriminate patients if he’s a doctor.

Still suffering from earlier, Hae-yi throws up repeatedly in the bathroom, and a guard escorts her to the infirmary. Dr. So allows Yoo-jin to examine “Hwa-sa,” though he complains about him stepping out of line. However, Hae-yi is disconcerted with Yoo-jin’s presence, so the nurse inmate has to convince her to stay.

Hae-yi hides the rings during the ultrasound, and when she peeks at Yoo-jin, he coldly tells her not to turn her head. A tear drops down her face, but he ignores her crying and asks her to sign some consent forms. She notes his uncharacteristically distant attitude, but he takes offense to her overly-friendly manner.

Chairman Ki plays chess with Chan-sung and promises to get his son’s acquittal. He suggests that Chan-sung leave the country after the trial and live abroad for ten to fifteen years. Chan-sung notes how much his dad will miss him, and then tells him that he loves him. This brings tears to Chairman Ki’s eyes, and Chan-sung wraps his dad into a hug. Chairman Ki tells his son that the only thing he wants to protect in this world is him.

Yoo-jin and a team of doctors look over “Hwa-sa’s” charts, and they discover an unidentified mass near her intestine. They suggest additional tests to figure out what might be the problem.

The captain announces Officer Oh’s reinstatement to the homicide division, and his team members welcome him back with open arms. Officer Oh immediately gets back to work and presents the captain with his findings about Attorney Ma’s death. He projects the video of Attorney Ma entering the hotel, but stops mid-sentence as he recognizes Attorney Ma’s jacket as the one Hwa-sa was wearing in the hotel room.

Yoo-jin accidentally walks in on Hae-yi as she’s giving herself a shot, and her rings fall to the ground. He picks one up and recognizes the design, recalling the couple rings Hae-yi tried in the jewelry shop as well as the ones he saw in her apartment. Noticing the words “Yeritas YH” engraved inside the band, tears fill his eyes, and he asks, “Are you really Hae-yi?”

EPISODE 8 RECAP

Back when Hae-yi was still in her body, she told Yoo-jin about a newlywed couple in a car explosion where the wife suffered from severe third-degree burns. The couple stayed married for ten years, with the wife recently filing for divorce. Hae-yi voices her skepticism concerning the relationship, but Yoo-jin believes that love is powerful enough to keep people together: “Just like that husband, I could love my wife forever.”

Putting his words to the test, Yoo-jin stands in front of Hae-yi in “Hwa-sa’s” body, and he tenderly cups her face in his hands. He breaks down into sobs, apologizing to Hae-yi for not recognizing her sooner, and she holds onto him tightly.

Yoo-jin fights with Dr. So about getting Hae-yi treatment, and after threatening to report him to the Ministry of Justice, he gains permission to conduct an outpatient examination. Hwa-sa learns through Mi-ran of Hae-yi’s hospital admittance, but they don’t know what’s wrong.

Hae-yi’s scans show signs of stage four pancreatic cancer, and the doctor in charge glumly states that she’ll have three months to live. Yoo-jin goes to Hae-yi with a heavy heart to tell her about her condition while Dr. So reports to Chairman Ki about the news.

Hae-yi’s laughs turn into uncontrollable sobs when she hears about the cancer, and Yoo-jin promises to return her back to her body. He stays by her side until Hwa-sa arrives, but before he can confront her, Hae-yi signals to him to keep their relationship a secret.

Hwa-sa chases after Yoo-jin to ask why he’s still with “Hwa-sa,” and he tells her that as a doctor, he has a duty to help those in need. She wonders if his aloofness is due to the proposal incident, but Yoo-jin knows that she’s here to meet with “Hwa-sa” and not him.

Hae-yi lies to Hwa-sa about her condition, saying that she was faking it, but Hwa-sa sees through her act. However, Hae-yi lists all of Hwa-sa’s medical problems, and Hwa-sa doesn’t push further, unable to deny the unfair trade between them.

Chan-sung greets Yoo-jin when he comes home and asks for a drink since he’ll be leaving the country as soon as his trial is over. Elsewhere, Officer Oh’s captain visits Officer Oh and the private investigator with meat, and apologizes to the latter for not doing more to stop his resignation. He then shares his concerns about the murder of Attorney Ma’s dog, and this sends Officer Oh flying out the door.

Chan-sung parties wildly in a karaoke room, but Yoo-jin turns off the music, forcing Chan-sung to admit his true intentions for their outing. Over a drinking game, Chan-sung asks Yoo-jin not to fight with his dad while he’s gone, but Yoo-jin tells him to talk with his dad first as they continue downing shot after shot.

Despite the late hour, Officer Oh putters around Attorney Ma’s mansion and happens upon his daughter who’s coming home. He asks about their dog, and the daughter instantly puts up her guard.

Chan-sung takes a pill, and saunters over to Yoo-jin who’s passed out on the couch. Patting his uncle’s head, Chan-sung warns him that he won so he better not fight with his dad who’s an idol to him. That night, Yoo-jin dreams of the hospital again, growing fitful in his sleep.

Hae-yi and her team discuss their upcoming strategy for Chan-sung’s case with Prosecutor Kim, who runs a much stricter ship than Attorney Ma. With the previous witness dead, the prosecution plans on calling forth Eun-sung, Secretary Park’s son, as a witness again.

Eun-sung runs with his father but falls to the ground in exhaustion. Secretary Park reprimands his son for being weak, and Eun-sung bitterly reflects on his butler-status to his “friend” Chan-sung. Unsympathetic to his son’s grievances, he sternly tells him to know his position in life. Geez, someone’s not getting a “#1 Dad” mug this year.

The team watches footage of Eun-sung’s interrogation, but as Officer Oh grilled him, “Hae-yi” opportunely fell to the floor in a coughing fit. Hwa-sa tells the group about Eun-sung’s weak resolve, so Prosecutor Kim instructs her to prepare Eun-sung a script beforehand.

As everyone leaves to go about their duties, Prosecutor Kim stops Hwa-sa to compliment her peach allergy stunt during the interrogation, but Hwa-sa looks uncomfortable with the praise. In the privacy of their office, Mi-ran reports her findings of Esther. She entered South Korea on December 12, 1984, but no other records of her exist.

Yoo-jin looks for the old defibrillator at the prison, but the nurse inmate tells him that it was thrown away two months ago. He confirms with her that the defibrillator was from the Butterfly Sleep Obstetrics Hospital and meets with his private investigator to find the machine.

Hwa-sa’s fellow ex-inmate finds the deceased professor’s credit card statement, and Hwa-sa looks for any clues in her spending that might lead her to Chairman Ki. After staying up all night mapping the distances the deceased professor traveled through her cab fare, Hwa-sa and Mi-ran retrace her steps.

The last stop leads them to a neighborhood where Hwa-sa sees Chairman Ki’s mansion perched atop a hill with other houses in the distance. They investigate the surrounding area and notice a neighbor’s car parked down the street.

Yoo-jin stops by Hae-yi’s hospital room bearing good news—he’s figured out how to get her body back. He tells her about the defibrillator, but Hae-yi reminds him that she already tried that. He clarifies his theory and explains that there needs to be the defibrillator, Hwa-sa, Hae-yi, and him.

Hae-yi panics, though, since the defibrillator was thrown away, but luckily, the private investigator has found the collector who bought it. Now all they need is Hwa-sa’s compliance, but Hae-yi remains skeptical of Yoo-jin’s naïve idea to talk to Hwa-sa. She proposes drugging her, but Yoo-jin plans on bringing her in a conscientious way.

Chairman Ki approves the proposed strategy for the second trial and keeps Hwa-sa behind in his office for a private chat. He asks why she’s still meeting with “Hwa-sa,” so she replies with an excuse about stopping the appeals trial.

He informs her of “Hwa-sa’s” stage four pancreatic cancer, and wants to make sure that she stays in jail until the end. The news hits Hwa-sa who tries to hold back her tears, and she asks why the chairman would go so far as to keep a dying woman in jail. Her response surprises him, and he wonders if she’s grown fond of the inmate.

Hwa-sa runs into Yoo-jin while leaving Chairman Ki’s office, and he brings her to his room. She asks why Yoo-jin hid “Hwa-sa’s” condition from her, and he coldly answers, “If I did, would anything change? Were you going to shed tears for Hae-yi?”

Yoo-jin confronts Hwa-sa for lying about her true identity, and she silently listens to his accusations. Getting on his knees, Yoo-jin asks Hwa-sa to return Hae-yi, and his plea follows Hwa-sa as she walks home in the rain.

Drenched, Hwa-sa sits in Hae-yi’s apartment and recalls her conversation with Yoo-jin. He told her that he figured out a way to switch their bodies again and asked her to meet him in the morning. Though she agreed to give back Hae-yi’s body, Hwa-sa stands outside in the morning sun, and after taking everything in for a brief moment, she runs. By the time Yoo-jin arrives at the meeting spot, Hwa-sa is gone.

Hwa-sa runs without a destination and ends up at the police station as Officer Oh comes in for work. He assumes she’s here to talk about Attorney Ma, but all she wants to do today is run. Skipping work, he gives her a ride on his police scooter, and Hwa-sa enjoys the wind blowing past her. He drops her off at the nursing home, and watching Hwa-sa go inside, he feigns chest pains caused by his fluttering heart. Heh.

Officer Oh joins Hwa-sa and her mother for lunch, and they enjoy their meal until Hwa-sa’s mother spills soup on herself. Hwa-sa cleans her in the restroom when a strange man nonchalantly walks in.

While Hwa-sa helps her mother into a stall, the man throws himself at her from behind, but being on guard, Hwa-sa manages to fight against his attempts to knock her out. A woman exits a nearby stall holding a taser, and Hwa-sa’s mother suddenly calls out her daughter’s name to warn her of the accomplice—but it’s too late.

Their prolonged absence worries Officer Oh who goes to check up on them. He finds Hwa-sa’s mother sitting alone in the restroom, and when he asks about “Hae-yi,” Hwa-sa’s mother frantically tells him that Ma is after her daughter. Officer Oh puts the clues together that Ma is Attorney Ma, but he doesn’t quite understand her cries about “Hwa-sa.”

The kidnappers transport Hwa-sa in the trunk of their car, and elsewhere, Yoo-jin receives the defibrillator from his private investigator.

Officer Oh runs to his captain to report Hwa-sa’s kidnapping, but the captain exasperatedly asks if he likes “Hae-yi.” When he can’t answer, the captain reproaches him for having feelings for the person who not only got him suspended and his friend fired, but is also a murder suspect. Officer Oh argues that “Hae-yi” wouldn’t have been able to kill Attorney Ma’s dog and thinks that the one who threatened Attorney Ma might be after her, too.

Chairman Ki tinkers with his car, but his thoughts swirl with images of young Hwa-sa and the news of her illness. He calls Secretary Park to set up an opportunity to see Hwa-sa, but while she’s sleeping.

Yoo-jin brings the defibrillator to Hae-yi and laments not listening to her about bringing Hwa-sa at any cost. However, Hae-yi seems less disappointed, and flashing back twenty-three hours prior, Hae-yi made one final request to the nurse inmate before leaving the prison.

Mi-ran and the ex-inmate break into the neighbor’s car and steal the memory card to her dash cam. After restoring the deleted files, they find a video of Chan-sung warmly greeting the deceased professor.

Secretary Park texts the surly prison guard to set everything up, and while Chairman Ki waits for the preparations, the kidnappers drive past him with Hwa-sa in their trunk. As ordered, the surly prison guard hands Hae-yi sleeping pills and orders Yoo-jin to leave, but Hae-yi manages to come up with an excuse to have him stay for a moment longer.

The kidnappers finally arrive at their destination, and though Hwa-sa tries to escape, they easily catch and subdue her.

Hae-yi instructs Yoo-jin to go to the emergency stairwell where Hwa-sa will be waiting, and as she said, he finds an unconscious Hwa-sa sitting there in a wheelchair. Assuming that Yoo-jin left, the prison guard also leaves her position, giving Yoo-jin a chance to sneak back into the room.

Still unconscious, Hwa-sa narrates:

“I didn’t want to return this body because I believed that I felt bad for my mother. That wasn’t the truth. Next, I thought it was due to my rage toward Ki San, that I must get revenge before changing back. That was a half-truth. I must love this image of Hae-yi. The youth which had passed me by, which I could now feel inside this healthy, beautiful body of this dominant being. I didn’t want to return this body to Hae-yi.”

While Yoo-jin prepares the body swap, Chairman Ki also makes his way to the room to see “Hwa-sa,” and one by one, the major players slowly converge to Hae-yi’s room. Collision seeming inevitable.

 
COMMENTS

We meet again, terminally-ill-patient trope.

With over half the episodes aired, I wouldn’t peg Room No. 9 as an exemplar of stellar writing. The tropes are things I’ve seen, the characters are ones I know, and the general plot is typical for the genre. However, there’s something comforting in the familiar, and there’s enough originality to keep the show interesting. Most importantly, the show passed a hurdle that many don’t pass for me—it made me care. Slowly but surely, I’ve become invested in the lives of these characters (some more so than others), and even though I still see the show’s shortcomings, I can’t help but be drawn in. Undoubtedly, my growing fondness of the show can be attributed to the increased screen time of my favorite character, Officer Oh Bong-sam.

Officer Oh is the stereotypical “good” police officer who fights for justice, yet he’s not blinded by a self-righteous need to capture the evildoers. Surprisingly adorable in his earnestness and charming in his openness, Officer Oh doesn’t let his prejudices close his heart and is willing to mend his opinions of others. When he suspected “Hae-yi” of murdering Attorney Ma, I’m sure old Officer Oh would not have hesitated to share his findings with someone in charge to get her arrested. However, after interacting with Hwa-sa in Hae-yi’s body, he confronts her first and gives her the opportunity to turn herself in because he understands that good people can make foolish mistakes. I found him especially endearing in the scene where he listed all the things he did with Hwa-sa, letting himself be vulnerable in that moment when asking for a drink. At that point, Officer Oh still suspected her of murdering Attorney Ma, but he was open about how much their relationship has grown and gave Hwa-sa the agency to accept his proposal to talk as budding-friends — or part ways as enemies. Also, the way he willingly drops everything to help her and his little self-confession about his beating heart made me adore his character even more because he refuses to hide his feelings and acknowledges the fact that he might love the woman who got him suspended and his friend fired. Despite his feelings, we know that the relationship is doomed because Hwa-sa isn’t Hae-yi, so every time Officer Oh shows how much he cares, it breaks my heart because of the inevitable heartache that is to follow. Oh Dae-hwan is simply amazing as Officer Oh, capturing his doggedness, brusqueness, and straightforwardness. I’m both looking forward to and dreading the moment where he finds out the truth (or some semblance of it) because his heart will be crushed.

The episodes dropped hints at the connection behind Chan-sung’s case and the larger mystery surrounding Chairman Ki. Like most things related to the chairman, events aren’t accidental, and relationships aren’t coincidental. Chan-sung knew the deceased party (minus the innocent bystander who also died), so now the question is why he did it and how much Hae-yi knows. Chan-sung might look like the doting son, but something sinister seems to lay dormant inside. Chan-sung truly loves his dad just like how Chairman Ki loves him, but like the chairman, Chan-sung seems willing to destroy whatever threatens to harm the things he wants to protect. The almost unhinged look in his eyes when drinking with Yoo-jin suggested an unpredictable side to his character that could kill someone if provoked. My guess is that the deceased professor found out Chairman Ki wasn’t Ki San, and either a dispute or outburst triggered Chan-sung to mark her as an enemy. Thus, he ran over her on purpose that night and feels no remorse for killing her because he feels justified in his actions. Of course, this is still speculative, but there’s definitely something odd about Chan-sung.

The other major question, besides the overarching body-swap issue, is about how much Hae-yi knows. She is cunning and self-serving, but there were small moments that revealed a more vulnerable side to the calculating attorney. Hwa-sa’s criticisms of her behavior and immorality as an attorney actually seemed to bother Hae-yi a lot more than I thought it would. Maybe her childhood and years of trying to assert herself in a male-dominated field has pushed Hae-yi to become manipulative as a survival mechanism. However, the fact that she hid Attorney Ma’s sexual harassment incidents speaks volumes to how complicit she is towards corruption and accepting the status quo for her own benefit. Though her past doesn’t condone her current actions, it might explain how she became the person she is today. It also might open up the possibility for some redemption for Hae-yi, but this depends on how much she knows. Is she a willing participant who knowingly hides the chairman’s secrets like the lackeys he surrounds himself with, or is she a pawn in his scheme who blindly follows power for her own gain? Neither paint a pretty picture, but depending on where she lands on this spectrum, she might become an ally to Hwa-sa or another enemy she must overcome. On the other hand, Hae-yi seems to have realized her love for Yoo-jin was genuine, so for his sake, I hope that she chooses him over power when the time comes to take sides.

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I agree. There is nothing great about this show but somehow it keeps you interested. There is enough suspense to keep me interested and Mostly due to the casting. All the key actors are excellent and when am watching the show they keep me entertained and glued to the screen.
Oh Bong Is cute but at times I do find him annoying. His over zealous nature can be a difficult trait in a workspace. He comes across as one of those rogue cops and I find it hard to route for him.
Qn: how did HaeYi end with Ma’s jacket when she came down. Did she throw his coat to the balcony first? I thought she just jumped down and had nothing in her hands.

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Good question! I don't remember her throwing a jacket, but maybe the jacket was already in the room? (Or it's a plot hole, heh.)

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Methinks the jacket was already in the downstairs apartment when Hwa-sa "dropped in." I recall that her white dress was covered in gore, and she shucked it off in the bathroom. She needed something to cover her slip.

It makes me wonder whether Ma had met with his boss earlier -- and possibly been poisoned before he even started eating fermented fugu roe.

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I think the most annoying thing about these two is that they keep so much information and so many secrets from each other. It's like they have not woke up to the fact that if they don't get their act together very soon, they are both doomed.

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Beware Of Rampant Speculation

Part 1 of 3

Thank you for recapping, @lovepark! I went back and rewatched both episodes to refresh my memory. So much is happening simultaneously, especially towards the end of the episode, that I'm really glad you're keeping score.

I'm glad that you've been noticing Oh Dae-hwan's terrific performance as the homicide detective busted down to traffic cop. In the 4-5 years since I first saw him in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG, he's become appealing as a he-man who can turn on the charm, and has been maturing into an attractive ahjussi in a down-to-earth, normal guy-next-door way. His comic timing is excellent, but he also deftly portrays serious, nuanced emotions. Sheesh, what expressive eyes he has, and an engaging smile. His detective role in LIFE ON MARS really got my attention, and made me root for a character whose personality was initially difficult to like. In ROOM NO. 9, he's turning into Hwa-sa's co-conspirator in shining armor. A true mad dog, he's not going to let go of the investigative bone he has chomped onto. Alas, it looks as if he is headed for heartbreak with body-swapped Hwa-sa, but not for one second can I imagine him willingly breaking off his monumentally-compelling investigation. I just hope that he manages to steer clear of the Ki family's murderous preemptive proclivities.

As I had suspected, Hae-yi hadn't really loved Doc Yoo-jin in the beginning, and was after him for mercenary reasons. I'm currently watching THE THIRD CHARM, and am just about at the end of my tether with half-baked relationships. Arg! It is sadly touching that Yoo-jin places such store by “veritas” as the basis for love when his whole life – through no fault of his own – is one big lie. How is he ever going to survive the revelations about his kinfolk and parentage? It strikes me that he has lost track of the fact that it was Hwa-sa in Hae-yi's body that first made him realize there was something different about his girlfriend. Ouch when he realizes that she has played hardball on the wrong team for the wrong reasons from the get-go. Even more so when he learns how Hwa-sa has been framed by his ever-loving(?!) hyung.

Buk woon Buddhist Temple caught my eye as Mi-ran and Hwa-sa reconstructed Chan-sung's accident victim's travels just before her death. Professor Emerita Morgan Kim may have been on her way to the temple when she was run over. Her social media mentioned her friend Esther, who had gone to Korea 34 years earlier. I think the scholar may have been looking for her final resting place near the last-known home address of Esther's husband/significant other, Ki San. Morgan Kim may have assumed she died when she never heard back from her friend. She also would not have heard back from Ki San because he was dead. Choo Young-bae would not have known about his half-brother's relationships with the women.

- Continued -

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Beware Of Rampant Speculation

Part 2 of 3

In the touching scene in which Chan-sung gave his father a back hug, Ki San said there was one thing he treasured above all else, the implication being it is his son and heir. But I think he really means himself. It would not surprise me one bit if Ki San is willing to sacrifice Chan-sung in order to secure his secret identity. The brake lines of Chan-sung's car could really have been tampered with by auto mechanic Choo Young-bae. I'm suspecting that this is a red herring, and that it's really a fake-out. The NIS forensic technician may have properly identified the cause of the accident, but not discovered or stated that it was sabotage.

@lovepark sees a whack-o glint in Chan-sung's eye as he threatens Uncle Yoo-jin. That could be. OTOH, we also see him pop a white pill in the noraebang after Yoo-jin has passed out from drinking many shots of whiskey while losing to his nephew. Maybe the boy is “just” stoned. The implication is that Chan-sung is as much of a psycho as his father. But I think he's small fry in comparison to dad (and Kim Young-kwang's sociopathic father & son nemeses in LOOKOUT). *shudder*

- Continued -

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Beware Of Rampant Speculation

Part 3 of 3

Smoldering Issues:

1. Real Ki San seems to have met a Korean adoptee in America, perhaps a coed classmate/friend of
the future Prof. Morgan Kim. Kim herself seems to have been a Korean-American adoptee, or a
Korean expatriate who had moved to the US permanently at a young age.

2. Were San and Esther married in the US? If so, the civil records are probably in Cook County, Illinois.

3. Since no one claimed Esther's body after she died in childbirth at Butterfly Sleep Obstetrics Hospital on Christmas Eve 1984, she would have been treated as a Jane Doe. Would she have been cremated and her ashes left to languish in a warehouse somewhere? Or are paupers inurned in numbered graves in a potter's field? Or would she have been interred? Yoo-jin needs to follow up on the circumstances and disposition of Esther's remains, and the whereabouts of her baby.

4. How did crowing pater familias Ki Se-woong end up with custody of infant Yoo-jin?

5. What was the disposition of Choo Young-bae's [the real Ki San's] remains? If he were buried (since he was his father's son, albeit illegitimate), recoverable DNA could still be extant (from bone marrow?). Could it be used to identify a relationship between the long-dead Choo and
Yoo-jin?

6. It looks as if Chan-sung is getting the same education deal that the real Ki San had received many years earlier when he was sent abroad to study and attended U. of Chicago. It's as if he's being exiled for 10-15 years in the chaebol heir version of money-laundering. ;-)

I finally recognized scurvy Busan District Prosecutor Kim Jong-soo as actor Son Byung-ho. He did a dandy job as Traitorous Uncle Prince Yangan in GRAND PRINCE.

-30-

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"Veritas" is the word of the day but half-way through this story, we are no closer to finding out what the real truth is on so many matters.

We do know that Morgan Kim most likely came to Korea with a purpose in mind given that she mentioned in her social media account her friend Esther and 34 years ago. It certainly can't be a coincidence. In retracing Morgan Kim's footsteps, Mi-ran and Hwa-sa stop by a temple. I don't know if that particular temple has a burial ground, but I wonder if Morgan Kim was looking for Esther's final resting place (assuming she knew Esther died). But perhaps it's not convenient to find Esther's resting place ..... or perhaps Esther is not the one buried there and it's the real Ki-San buried there instead.

What was interesting was the revelation that Chairman Ki's son, Chan-sung greeted her so warmly. That was an unexpected surprise and one that brings up so many questions. Why do they know each other? How did they meet to begin with? If they met/spoke before, what have they discussed? Does his father know? I'm going to go with yes on this last one given Chairman Ki's track record.

Speaking of Chan-sung, I'm starting to wonder a couple of things about him also. First, is he really Chairman Ki's biological son? What if he's just his wife's son? What if he's not biologically related to either one of them? ..... Second, regarding the night of Chan-sung's accident that ultimately took out Morgan Kim. We've seen Chairman Ki tinkering with his cars and he was a mechanic in his younger years. While we haven't seen it, I'm wondering if on the night of Chan-sung's accident, it was Chairman Ki's intention to have Secretary Park's son, Eun-sung, drive the car instead of Chan-sung. Was the car altered in any way by Chairman Ki? ..... Third, as pointed out by our recapper, something does seem to be going on with Chan-sung. We saw him take some undisclosed pills and drink a lot, but there is something unsettling about his demeanor. I think the young man has secrets of his own. We'll see.

On another note, that at this stage of the game, both Hae-yi and Hwa-sa haven't come together as a team of some sort, to work something out that will benefit both of them is a bit frustrating. I know they're both women who stand their ground but frankly, I think anyone else would've seen by now that continuing on this track of withholding information, or non-communication, or whatever else you want to call it is a recipe for disaster. I do hope this changes soon.

Finally, I hope we get our answer if being in the actual Room No. 9 (in the jail) is an absolute requirement for the body swap or if Yoo-jin's presence is the only requirement. But with Chairman Ki coming down up the elevator and down the hallway, who knows if Yoo-jin will even get a chance to operate the defibrillator.

Thanks for the recap, lovepark!

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I like Officer Oh the best too! I also agree that there's nothing really original about the story but the acting is impressive and they've crafted it well in terms of making us care about the characters. Ugh sad that real Hwa Sa has 3 months to live when she was the kind-hearted underdog and it's obvious how much youth means to her.

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