Item: Episodes 3-4
The theme of the show seems to revolve around the battle of truth and justice against greed and power. While an honorable prosecutor and a persistent detective would perhaps prefer to rely on the law when it comes to justice, it seems there are others who are happy to take the law into their own hands — especially when those hands contain certain supernatural items.
EPISODES 3-4 RECAP
Gon recognizes So-young as the woman from his dream, the woman who stepped off the rooftop. She, of course, doesn’t know him, and is a little weirded out by how intently he stares at her — but he does save her life by pushing her out of the way of a falling moving box.
She’s thankful, but wants to know why he keeps staring. Gon hesitantly asks if they’ve met before, but she doesn’t know him, assuming he’s mistaken her for someone else. Gon insists that he’s seen her before, and, even knowing how crazy it sounds, explains he saw her die in one of his dreams.
So-young laughs nervously in disbelief at his ridiculous story, and Da-in even steps in to tug on her uncle’s coat, probably to tell him to stop creeping out the strange woman.
But actually they do know her! Kinda — she’s the daughter of Shin Goo-chul, who used to be (and is once again) Gon’s investigative assistant. He’s also the one who helped Gon find a place to live in Seoul, so it’s no coincidence that Gon is moving into the apartment above So-young and her father. Shin Goo-chul is a friendly, cheerful chatterbox, and it’s only thanks to So-young’s nudging that he leaves Gon and Da-in alone to settle into their new home.
Over dinner, So-young cautiously asks her father how well she knows Gon. Dad assumes that she must be attracted to him, but she just wants to know why Gon seemed so shocked to see her.
Dad’s confident that it’s because Gon must have fallen in love with So-young at first sight, which So-young laughingly dismisses, as she downplays her father’s attempt to match-make. She’s happy to be single and living at home with her beloved father, no, really!
After getting settled into their new home, Gon gets ready for his first day back at work. He tells Da-in that the babysitter will be there soon, worried about how she’ll handle her first day in a new city without him. Da-in plays him a song she wrote, pointing to the lyrics that say, “Don’t be sorry.” Aw.
Meanwhile, Se-hwang has a solo dinner in his fancy lair. Suddenly his eyes flash — the polaroid camera has taken another picture. Se-hwang retrieves the photo, a smile slowly spreading across his face as he realizes it’s of an item that he hasn’t seen before. It’s hard to tell what the item is because the photo is so blurry, but there’s a vague outline of a man with glasses as something blue glow nears him.
We already know that there’s an item Se-hwang doesn’t have, which is the lighter-whip the flagellating priest owns. That’s also the weapon that was used against Chairman Nam, since the priest broke into Chairman Nam’s home the night he was killed.
Using the red laser whip to bind Chairman Nam, the priest ignored the chairman’s desperate pleading, and instead drowned him in the bathtub. The priest was sneeringly unimpressed with Chairman Nam, which makes me assume that the chairman was not as philanthropic as he wanted everyone to believe.
Also in a flashback is the moment when Gon confronted Se-hwang in the prosecutor’s office three years ago, back when Hwawang was being investigated for… something shady, I’m sure. All the prosecutors, including the chief prosecutor (and Yoo-na, who watches from the hallway), were careful to treat Se-hwang with respect and reverence, but Gon confronted Se-hwang as though the CEO of one of the most powerful corporations in the world was nothing more than a common criminal.
Amused by the lowly prosecutor’s defiance, the Hwawang CEO reminded Gon that he is special — Se-hwang is Korea. Unfazed, Gon called Se-hwang out for such an audacious statement, since Se-hwang had lied and tricked the entire country. I’m assuming it was under Se-hwang’s influence that Gon was transferred to the seaside town.
But Gon is back in Seoul — and Se-hwang is a free man again. Time does fly. Se-hwang calls Gon, welcoming him back to the Seoul prosecutor’s department, mockingly asking if he’s learned his lesson.
Gon stubbornly retorts that he’ll tell Se-hwang the same thing he used to tell petty gangsters, and starts to loudly rattle off the prosecution pledge. He emphasizes the parts that state he’ll serve the people and his country by following the truth and seeking justice.
Gon then asks if Se-hwang has learned that even a powerful person isn’t completely above the law. Se-hwang seems amused by Gon’s witty retorts, whereas Gon is just annoyed Se-hwang is taking up his time.
Back at home, the new babysitter is preparing lunch, but realizes they’re out of soy sauce. Da-in volunteers to buy some from the nearby convenience store, so the babysitter gives her some money and Da-in heads out into her new neighborhood.
Nearby, a group of kids are playing in front of a church — it’s the flagellating priest’s church, and he stops to check on a kid who stumbles and falls. He drops his phone in the process, and the little girl starts to cry because she feels responsible for breaking it.
He reassures her that the crack was already there, and gently reminds the terrified child that a brave girl is one that doesn’t cry all the time. He offers to tell her a secret — he used to cry a lot like she did and kids made fun of him, too. The little girl, comforted, says that she wants to be just like him when she grows up.
That gives him pause, but he redirects his attention to tending to the scrape on her hand. The other little girls ask if he was really a doctor before he became a priest, and he playfully chases after them. But his genial smile fades once he’s alone, studying the crack on his phone.
Returning home with the soy sauce, Da-in is confronted by some school-age bullies who threaten her if she doesn’t give them some money. Realizing that she’s not saying a word, they also threaten to beat her up if she doesn’t greet them politely. In the end, Da-in stays silent and is pushed around by the bullies, her belongings scattered and her knees scraped up.
The High Court Judge that had worked on Se-hwang’s case (and who was one of the four lawmen that had to gulp down a full glass of whiskey) has been having a little too much fun at a golf course bar.
Two beautiful women help the piss-drunk judge out to his car, while another man puts a new set of golf clubs in the trunk. Oooh, I bet there aren’t just clubs in that bag — there’s probably a nice thick envelope of cash, which means the judge is being bribed.
On the way home, the judge falls asleep and wakes up to the sound of the rain. His car is parked in an unfamiliar place, and he yells at the chauffeur, grumpy because they’re apparently lost. But the chauffeur wields a very familiar lighter as he asks if the judge wants to know what Chairman Nam said right before he died.
The judge stutters that he doesn’t know who Chairman Nam is, but the scary murderous priest growls that the judge is lying. The priest flicks the lighter, which shoots up a brief beam of blue light, and the judge screams in agony as he’s suddenly wrapped in the laser whip. Aha, so that’s the moment that was captured in Se-hwang’s photo. The “new item” is, indeed, the lighter.
Yoo-na enters the lair to tell Se-hwang that the judge was killed. Despite being the reason the man was able to bribe his way to being a judge in the first place, Se-hwang is unmoved by this news, and offers Yoo-na a drink. She declines, since she still has a lot of work to do.
Se-hwang reminds her about the law of “equivalent exchange” — if he gives her something valuable, then she must give him something just as precious. Yoo-na doesn’t seem to have much love for Se-hwang, but it’s clear that he’s got some sort of power over her, which makes me wonder what it is she owes him.
The cops, including So-young, are called out to investigate the judge’s crime scene. His body was found in a large, abandoned warehouse, where he was hanging upside-down from the ceiling. So-young notes something odd about the man’s mouth, and discovers that a scrap of paper was stuffed inside.
She pulls out the blood-stained paper, her eyes widening in shock when she realizes that it’s yet another page from the Bible.
Gon receives his first assignment, which is to discretely investigate the death of the judge. He’s apparently chosen since Gon knows the connection between the judge and Se-hwang, and his boss obliquely hints that Gon better not find a reason to prosecute Se-hwang or Gon will be sent back to the seaside.
But, of course, Gon doesn’t care — he vows to do his duty as a prosecutor and uphold the letter of the law.
Gon gets a call from Da-in’s babysitter, letting him know she had to leave a little bit early to take care of a family emergency. Gon offers to come home early to be with Da-in, but when he tries repeatedly calling his niece, she doesn’t answer because her phone is on the desk in her room — and she’s not in the apartment.
Da-in’s sitting in a playground near the apartment building, playing her melodica. So-young finds her there, and pleasantly talks to the girl. When Da-in doesn’t respond, So-young assumes that it’s because Da-in is wary of her in a “stranger danger” kind of way, and reveals that she’s a cop, so it’s okay.
But when Da-in spells out an answer by “writing” on So-young’s hand, she catches on pretty quickly that Da-in doesn’t speak. So-young muses that she used to be like Da-in, because So-young suffered from survivor’s guilt after her mother passed away, and she, too, felt like she couldn’t talk to anyone for a long time.
So-young reassures the tearful Da-in that it’s okay if she doesn’t speak — once enough time passes, eventually Da-in will reach a place where she’ll want to talk again. Da-in expresses her gratitude by writing “thank you” on So-young’s hand.
Gon arrives home, frantic with worry when he can’t find Da-in. He finally runs up to the rooftop, relieved to see her sitting with So-young. He apologizes for being late and thanks So-young for taking care of Da-in, but So-young demurs that it’s just part of being neighborly. Aw, at least Da-in has one new sympathetic friend.
Late at night, Gon begins to study the photographic evidence from the judge’s case, but sets it aside to google videos showing people with real-life supernatural powers. I guess he hasn’t forgotten about the gangster and the super-strength bracelet. A noise from Da-in’s bedroom catches his attention, and he goes to check it out — but Da-in is sleeping peacefully.
He carefully tucks her into bed, putting away her book that she had been reading. After her uncle leaves her room, Da-in rolls over in her sleep and we see that the super-strength bracelet is on her wrist. The bracelet begins to faintly glow.
In the morning, So-young shows up unannounced at the coroner’s office, hoping the judge’s autopsy results are ready. The coroner gives her a glimpse of the report, and So-young recognizes the wound marks as being the same as Chairman Nam’s injuries. The coroner thinks it’s unlikely both men were killed with the same weapon, but pretends to look the other way so that So-young can unofficially “borrow” the autopsy report.
Gon decides that photos of the crime scene aren’t good enough, so he heads out to the warehouse where the judge’s body was found.
It’s odd that all the CCTV cameras in the area shorted out at the exact same time last night. The cops standing guard at the crime scene blame it on the heavy rain short-circuiting everything. They check out the fuse box, but it’s completely dry — which means it’s more likely the killer purposefully turned off the power at that time.
Gon and So-young’s father also find a flyer for a Chinese restaurant, and as they’re wondering who would order delivery in such a deserted place, the delivery driver pulls up with lunch for the cop guarding the crime scene. Ha! Gon asks if the driver delivered any food the day before, and the driver says that he did come by last night and saw a weird glowing thing that freaked him out.
Back at the police station, Gon studies the CCTV footage that they do have, which shows the judge’s car parked and the flash of blue-green light. It’s hard to tell anything specific from the footage, although the technician muses that it doesn’t look like any natural, explainable phenomenon.
Remembering the unnatural strength the gangster had, Gon asks the technician to work on enhancing the video so they can get a better idea of what is causing the light from the judge’s car.
So-young and the rest of her team are in the chief’s office, being berated because So-young keeps insisting that the judge and Chairman Nam were killed by the same person. No one wants a serial killer on their hands, especially when there’s no logical explanation as to how the two men are connected. The team leader yells at her to drop the case so they don’t end up with a complete PR disaster, chasing after copycat killers.
He and So-young are ready to argue for as long as it takes, but the chief wearily tells them to knock it off. Aw, the cute maknae detective Yo-han chooses to support So-young, agreeing this is something they should investigate and that he’ll help out as best he can.
The rest of the team have to drag the glaring team leader away from So-young, but she in turn drags Yo-han into the supply closet to speak to him in private. She doesn’t want his pity, which is the only reason she assumes he’s choosing to support her. But Yo-han insists that he became a detective so that he could catch criminals — just like her.
He cheekily suggests that she use her profiling skills to figure out who the killer is, and he’ll use his detective skills to catch the killer. At least someone’s on her side!
At an illegal gambling room, our favorite gangster, Dae-soo, is repeatedly hitting his head against one of the slot machines, despondent about losing his bracelet.
When the much burlier gangster running the place tries to shove him away because Dae-soo is scaring off the cliental, Dae-soo does his best Gollum impersonation as he mutters that the bracelet was his, it was his! If only he hadn’t lost the bracelet, then he could easily beat up the bigger gangster, who seems ready for a throw-down.
Gon is also looking for Dae-soo, and is directed to the gambling hall. The bigger gangster is there, but Dae-soo is nowhere to be found. The big gangster isn’t willing to share details about Dae-soo until Gon flashes his prosecutor ID badge.
Dae-soo’s drunkenly peeing in the alleyway when Gon finds him (and Gon smartly calls for police backup when he sees the young gangster). Dae-soo blames Gon for the loss of the bracelet and tries to attack Gon, but without the super bracelet, Dae-soo is no match for Gon’s normal human strength.
Gon pins him down, shocked to discover the gangster isn’t wearing the bracelet. Even without his super strength, Dae-soo manages to fight his way out of Gon’s grasp and runs away.
Defeated, Gon heads back towards home, stopping to get a cake for Da-in since it’s her birthday. He realizes his wallet is missing when he goes to pay for Da-in’s birthday dinner. That’s because his wallet is currently in the hands of Dae-soo, who glowers at the Gon’s ID card and the photos of Gon with Da-in.
Unaware that he’s got a new sworn enemy that now knows where he lives, Gon cheerfully sings “Happy Birthday” to Da-in. Downstairs, So-young’s father hears the singing, and he and So-young realize it must be Da-in’s birthday.
Her over-eager father is ready to make a special dinner and take it upstairs, but So-young tells him to slow his roll. She reminds him that after her mother died, they just wanted to have quiet birthdays with only the two of them.
The big gangster from earlier is returning home from the club when he’s suddenly bashed in the head by Dae-soo, who repeats with every blow that the bracelet is his. (It’s his preciousssssssss.)
In his lair, Se-hwang plays a wizard-like chess game that I can only assume is another “item,” since the opponent’s pieces are holograms that disappear with the snap of a finger. He can’t stop thinking about a time, three years ago, when Gon held him in an interrogation room for hours, waiting for the witness that would support Gon’s cross-examination of Se-hwang.
Instead, Gon was the one in trouble, but before the chief prosecutor could kick him out of the office, Gon locked himself in the interrogation room with Se-hwang. Yoo-na pleaded with the chief prosecutor to at least wait until the witness arrived, but the chief prosecutor revealed that the witness — a vice-chairman at Hwawang — committed suicide.
Se-hwang clucked his tongue in pity, pointing out that the vice-chairman had such a bright future. But Gon believed Se-hwang was responsible for the man’s death. Nothing is said out-right, but it’s clear that Se-hwang must have bribed the chief prosecutor, since Se-hwang seemed to be the one calling the shots in the interrogation room.
With his trademark smirk, Se-hwang told Gon that there’s no need to worry — he didn’t kill anyone. Even so, Gon warned Se-hwang that he was going to catch the arrogant CEO at any cost. Instead of feeling threatened, Se-hwang had simply chuckled, thinking it sounded like fun. He mused that it would be interesting to see who would win in the end.
Back in the present, Se-hwang contemplates a new polaroid photo that shows the judge hanging with the red laser-whip around him. Se-hwang smiles, realizing that there’s no one who can amuse him nearly as much as Gon can. If Gon is going to investigate him, then game on.
As a fan of cat-and-mouse thrillers, I’m looking forward to whatever crazy metaphorical chess game Se-hwang is plotting against Gon, if only because I know that Gon is the one person who could withstand Se-hwang’s power. Well, at least Se-hwang’s normal chaebol-who-can-bribe-everyone power — I’m not so sure how Gon will deal with all the supernatural items. At least I am confident that should Gon discover them (as he obviously will with the bracelet, since he wore it in his dream), he would use them for good and not… whatever it is Se-hwang is using them for. Which… what is he doing with them? Just collecting them? Is there a special prize you win if you collect them all? Do they assemble to become something even more powerful?
I suppose those are questions that we’ll find out as the show progresses and we discover more items. At least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen. I’m still nervous about the trajectory of the plot, considering how awkward it was to piece things together in this episode. It was jarring to go from the unexplained flashback showing how the priest killed Chairman Nam (which, in the current timeline, would have been maybe a week ago) to suddenly, without warning, to a scene from three years ago. If there hadn’t been a title card on the veeeerrrry faintly sepia-toned scene between Se-hwang and Gon letting us know this happened three years ago, I would have been even more baffled and confused about what was happening, assuming it was a scene set in the present day. (And I’m still grumpy that there was no title card or anything explaining the priest’s flashback, which confused me until I realized we were seeing how Chairman Nam died — which, you would think, would have been a useful flashback in the previous episode).
So, yes, I’m still really nervous about this director. A show that has a lot of weird supernatural elements, especially ones that we don’t fully understand yet, shouldn’t be tripping itself up on a very basic expositional narrative flashback format that has been used in dramas since, well, forever. There’s some glimmer of cinematographic goodness though, like the eerie way the judge was shown hanging in the warehouse, and every shot of Se-hwang in his lair. I want more of those types of beautifully curated moments, and less of the unannounced smash-cuts to who-knows-when.
Despite my complaints, I’m still giving the show a chance and desperately hoping this is all just a weird first-week glitch, and that once the plot starts rolling, everything will be an exciting mystery and not a confusing mess. Because even with the awkward editing (and anvilicious hints at the inevitable romance between Gon and So-young), I can still follow the ultimate trajectory: Se-hwang and Gon are going to lock horns as they play their metaphorical chess game, using Da-in as a pawn (or perhaps she’s the queen?). Until then, though, we’ve got to deal with the Gollum gangster and the murderous priest. And figure out what brings everyone to the point where Gon tries to stop a speeding train and So-young jumps off a building (and hopefully it will be before I feel the urge to jump off a building just to escape the baffling editing choices).