The Fiery Priest: Episodes 7-8
This show is just getting more and more entertaining, which is interesting since it’s based on a fairly familiar story formula. Troubled person’s mentor is killed, troubled person seeks revenge with the help of a ragtag group of frenemies. But what makes it great, for me, is the uniquely quirky characters and the pitch-perfect casting, which elevates it from predictably amusing to charming and compelling.
Jang-ryong and his gang try to stop Hae-il from entering Chul-beom’s award event, but while Jang-ryong is showboating his capoeira moves, Hae-il just casually kicks him in the face. Chul-beom’s right-hand man, Hoon-seok, hears the commotion and tells Hae-il to leave.
Just as it looks like a real fight might break out, the people filming the event come into the hall so Hae-il walks right past all the thugs. He goes inside and walks right up to the podium, and begins speaking into the microphone.
Calmly, he leads the audience in a prayer. He thanks God for the buffet (lol), then says he feels a satanic presence in the room. He takes a water glass from a waiter and stalks to Chul-beom’s table, and starts flicking water at Chul-beom and the corrupt officials while praying to Archangel Michael against evil spirits.
When he’s finished, Hae-il sits down and helps himself to Dong-ja’s plate of food, muttering that they should have sprung for a better caterer. Dong-ja speaks first, telling Hae-il that she’s heard he causes a lot of trouble despite being a priest.
Hae-il says that since she’s friends with Chul-beom, she must be evil, too. He laughs when she asks what he means, then glares daggers at Chul-beom and asks, “It’s you, right? It must be you. You killed Father Lee and threw him off the cliff.”
Chul-beom’s innocent denial fools exactly nobody. Hae-il asks why he took over the orphanage and welfare facility, wondering if he hid something there. Chul-beom claims he’s just trying to do a good thing, but Hae-il growls that he doesn’t even know what “good” means.
Chief Nam signals Dae-young and Seung-ah to remove Hae-il from the room, but Seung-ah says that they have no valid reason to do that (since Hae-il is technically behaving). Representative Park asks Hae-il why he’s trying to ruin a nice day, and Hae-il is so disgusted that he spits his mouthful of food into his hand. He says they’ll see how long this “nice day” lasts, asks if there are any free gifts, and turns to leave.
Chul-beom taunts Hae-il that he obviously wants to ruin his life but doesn’t know how, and that coming here won’t make the dead priest come back to life. At the mention of Father Lee, Hae-il turns back around, and Chul-beom says that he should be well-prepared if he wants to fight him.
Hae-il manages to control his fury and finally leaves. Dae-young and Seung-ah follow him out, Dae-young warning Hae-il that he’ll get arrested if he keeps causing trouble. Even Seung-ah complains that he’s making her feel unsettled, and he apologizes to her but not Dae-young, ha.
Kyung-seon barely even looks at the case file against Father Lee before telling her underling to wrap it up. He says he feels vaguely uneasy about it, like something isn’t finished, but she yells at him to just get it done.
Even though he asked Dong-ja to give him an award, Chul-beom is mad that it’s just a generic “businessman’s award,” so when he gets back to his office he smashes it in the parking lot. Hoon-seok offers to kill Hae-il to make him feel better, but Chul-beom just tells Hoon-seok to find out everything he can about Hae-il and his past.
A broken coffee dispenser finally snaps Hae-il’s control on his temper, and he punches the machine over and over until Sung-kyu stops him. While Sung-kyu patches up his hands, Hae-il says that he can’t let Father Lee be humiliated after his death, but he won’t accomplish anything this way. He says they need to put more pressure on the bad guys, and Sung-kyu offers his and Sister Kim’s help.
The priest from the archdiocese visits Hae-il to explain that the archbishop gave it a lot of thought before deciding to accept the police’s report on Father Lee. Hae-il just asks what he wants, and the priest tells him that they want Sung-kyu to take over Father Lee’s job.
Sung-kyu yelps that Hae-il is much more qualified, but Hae-il points out that he’s not even a member of this diocese. Sung-kyu reluctantly accepts, but he begs Hae-il not to leave town until he feels more comfortable. Hae-il agrees to lead mass until the end of the month, but he tells Sung-kyu to get over his anxiety quickly.
Chief Prosecutor Kang pulls Kyung-seon into his office to complain again about her not arresting Hae-il. He says that he doesn’t think she made the right decision, and tells her to send Hae-il to jail if he makes even the tiniest mistake. Kyung-seon meekly agrees, but once she’s out of his office, she punches the air and whines about Hae-il causing trouble again.
At the convenience store, Yo-han takes the Thai man, whom he’s nicknamed Ssongsak, some recently expired food to eat. Ssongsak tells Yo-han that he went to the church because he misses Father Lee, and it feels like he’s still there, which makes Yo-han cry. They continue chatting, unaware that Hae-il was watching and listening from around the corner.
Hae-il returns to the church and goes to Father Lee’s old room, where he sits until morning. Sung-kyu brings him new mass vestments and says he’s preparing himself for a lot fewer church members attending this week. But Hae-il says they’ll hold mass anyway, even if only one person attends, for Father Lee’s sake.
Yo-han and Ssongsak show up, and awww, Yo-han even made sure to eat before church. A pair of ajummas linger at the edge of the courtyard so Hae-il tells them to come in or go home, and when they still hesitate, he accuses them of at least partly believing that Father Lee was guilty and yells that they’re not welcome.
The ajummas go, and Sister Kim fusses at Hae-il for chasing them off when hardly anyone even showed up. He just walks away from her, leaving her looking like she’s going to take a page from his book and kick some priestly ass very soon.
There are only about ten people in the chapel when Hae-il starts the service. Kyung-seon tries to creep in without being noticed, figuring it’s difficult to find a new church but not wanting to be seen, though of course her comical slinky walk just attracts Hae-il’s attention.
She tries to sneak back out after service, but Hae-il follows her outside to say that he told her not to come back. Kyung-seon says indignantly that that’s her decision and that she comes here to heal her soul, so Hae-il snaps to go to a sauna or a restaurant instead.
Kyung-seon warns Hae-il to tone his behavior down and not to get caught again or he’ll be in big trouble, cluing him in that she’s heard about what he did at Chul-beom’s ceremony. He says that he may be losing now but he’ll catch up, and he makes snarky faces at Kyung-seon while she says that she let him go free as her last respect to Father Lee.
She says her respect has limits, but Hae-il vows to take this as far as he can go. Kyung-seon invites him to tattle to the Blue House or the Pope if he wants, and Hae-il warns her not to joke about the Pope. That just makes her chant, “Pope, pope, pope!” until Hae-il nearly rips her face off, then she skips away like a bratty child.
Dong-ja and Chul-beom meet to discuss Hae-il and what he said at the ceremony, which the higher-ups are trying to use as a way of criticizing the two of them. Dong-ja advises Chul-beom to stay calm and let go of the church’s welfare center, and to find another religious group to manage them.
Conveniently, there’s a showy evangelist on the rise, who uses magic tricks and flashy performance to dazzle his congregation. His name is KI YOUNG-MOON (Lee Moon-shik), and his “church” is called Daegakgyo. Young-moon condemns traditional religious establishments for calling him a deceiver and Daegakgyo a pseudo-religion.
He works his followers into a frenzy, claiming to be the only one who can bring them enlightenment… not through Buddha or God, but through himself. He suddenly stops and asks if someone in the audience left their iron plugged in at home, and when a woman jumps up shrieking that it was her, his followers take this as proof of Young-moon’s heavenly powers.
Young-moon also performs one-on-one “enlightenment” sessions, like a form of faith healing. He’s in the middle of a session when Chul-beom bursts in to ask him a favor. He reminds Young-moon that he was nothing but a fraud mooching off ajummas when they met, and says that he wants Young-moon to take over the Gudam welfare facilities.
The Fearsome Foursome discuss a child from the orphanage who got sick after eating a spoiled school lunch, and now the nuns want Representative Park to investigate the food distributor for illegal practices. He says he’d ignore it but he’s worried the nuns might contact the press, so Dong-ja tells Chief Prosecutor Kang to take care of it. Chief Nam asks about the construction of the history museum, which Dong-ja says is almost finished, and that “it” will be sent to Chief Nam soon.
Chul-beom gets his report on Hae-il, which says that he majored in Korean Literature and became a priest, but not much else. He thinks that Hae-il seems like a guy who’s been through a lot, and he wonders why his background is so sparse.
Kyung-seon also looks Hae-il up (“Why is he so handsome even in his ID photo?” LOL, she’s so thirsty…) and sees the same generic information. She also thinks to herself that Hae-il must have a secret.
Sung-kyu offers to help Hae-il go through Father Lee’s belongings, but Hae-il says he can handle it alone. He finds a box under Father Lee’s desk that contains a thick folder full of information about the food distributor that provides meals to the orphanage, as well as articles on all four members of the Fearsome Foursome.
There’s also a petition against the food distributor, pictures of a few of the orphans, and a diary where Father Lee wrote about the injustices he was fighting against. A child had gotten sick from tainted food, but Father Lee had hit walls everywhere he went for help, and he’d written that for the first time, instead of choosing forgiveness, he would reveal their crimes to the world.
Hae-il takes this information to Sung-kyu and Sister Kim, impressed that Father Lee loved the people so much that he was willing to go against God. He feels bad that all he did when he got stopped was complain, so he vows to take over where Father Lee left off, and Sung-kyu offers to help him.
Sister Kim blurts out that they have no options, but Hae-il is reminded of Kyung-seon teasing that he should tattle to the Pope. It gives him a crazy idea, so crazy that he doesn’t mention it to the others, but later he uses a translation app to write a letter to the Pope. Sung-kyu wants to help and Sister Kim screeches that he can’t just ignore the correct order of things, so he kicks them out to finish his letter.
When he’s finished writing, he prays, and he promises to be a good priest from now on if God will grant this one wish. He swears not to get angry and live a peaceful life, then flails at a mosquito and curses it out. Baby steps.
Dae-young drives down to Chinatown and tells Seung-ah to stay by the car while he goes inside. But as soon as he’s gone, a pickpocket runs past Seung-ah, and she chases him without even thinking. She hesitates when he enters the Russian district, remembering Dae-young’s warning that it’s a lot rougher there, then she gathers her courage and goes in.
Chul-beom confronts Kozayev, who’s been sending him less payoff money lately. Kozayev owns Pentagon, the bar in the Russian district where Chul-beom and the Fearsome Foursome usually meet up, and Chul-beom reminds Kozayev that he’s supposed to pay for the fact that the police don’t arrest him for illegal activity.
The hear a crash and yelling, and they go outside where Seung-ah has the pickpocket on the ground. Chul-beom leaves, and Seung-ah complains to Kozayev that she’s trying to arrest a pickpocket, but the onlookers won’t get out of the way. Kozayev says something in Russian then he and the crowd advance, so Seung-ah breaks the wine bottle she’s holding and brandishes it at them.
Dae-young arrives before anyone gets hurt, and he explains to Kozayev that Seung-ah is a rookie detective. He promises to explain how things work to Seung-ah, but she doesn’t want to leave without her pickpocket. He manages to drag her off, screaming at Kozayev over her shoulder that he’d better behave.
Once they’re out of the Russian district, Dae-young tells Seung-ah that they have totally different rules in there and that it’s best to keep things friendly between them and the police. Seung-ah says that what’s important is to arrest criminals, not look out for her own skin. She spits that Dae-young claimed the criminals are scared of them, but she knows now it’s not true.
Dae-young stops to drink at the convenience store again, and he gets annoyed when Yo-han tries to join him. Yo-han says it’s because Dae-young is cool and he’s curious about him, then he slumps away leaving Dae-young confused.
Hae-il obsessively checks the mailbox for a reply from the Pope, but nothing arrives. Hae-il doesn’t know that instead of writing back to Hae-il, the Pope wrote to the President of Korea with an official request to re-open the investigation into Father Lee’s death, whom he considered a friend.
The president complies, and Chief Prosecutor Kang gets the call to re-open the case. He notifies Kyung-seon, who’s pretty amazed that Hae-il actually did as she said and wrote to the Pope. She’s reluctantly impressed, but she goes on her guard, knowing that she can’t afford to make a single mistake.
Meanwhile, Hae-il and Sung-kyu celebrate, loudly praising the Pope for his benevolence. Ever the buzzkill, Sister Kim says this is great, but she asks how they plan to revive the church. Sung-kyu has to admit that she has a point, but Hae-il grumbles that she’s a wet blanket,and they go back to their joyful screaming.
The Fearsome Foursome gather at Pentagon with Chul-beom, upset that they can’t block a direct request from the president. He’s also ordered them to allow Hae-il to observe the investigation, but Chief Nam has an idea — he’ll assign the most incapable, useless detective to the case.
Dae-young is horrified by the idea of working with Hae-il, especially when Chief Nam tells him that he’ll have a hidden objective. He wants Dae-young to pretend to investigate, but actually do whatever he can to mess up the case. Dae-young is skeptical, but Chief Nam says that he, the team, and Dae-young himself will all be fired if it’s found that the case wasn’t handled correctly the first time.
Chief Nam also wants him to pin Hae-il with obstruction of justice, and he promises to promote Dae-young to captain if he pulls this off. He informs Dae-young that this goes all the way up to the Blue House, making Dae-young choke, but he’s forced to accept the offer.
Chul-beom tells Kozayev to make sure that the fake witnesses from Father Lee’s case can’t talk to anyone. The witnesses are told they’re being taken to France, but judging by the terrifying Russians driving the car, I doubt they’re going very far at all.
Hae-il looks almost as unhappy as Dae-young when he learns that Dae-young is handling the re-investigation. He figures out right away that they have no intention of doing a decent job, and he wonders how long until he’s forced to kill Dae-young, HA.
Seung-ah offers to help, but Chief Nam tells her no, and Hae-il asks for a different detective. Offended, Dae-young sticks up for himself, and he and Hae-il end up in a stink-eye standoff. Hae-il promises to buy Dae-young premium beef if he solves the case, and Dae-young takes that bet.
This is going to be way more fun than what I’d pictured would happen! Hae-il working on the case with Dae-young, thwarting him at every turn, and Kyung-seon suddenly minding her Ps and Qs so as not to ruin her entire career. I can’t wait to see how they all butt heads and drive each other crazy. And I’m especially looking forward to seeing Dae-young try to screw up the case and accidentally doing something right, because you know that’s gonna happen.
What I realized while watching this episode (and it seems glaringly obvious in hindsight) is that all three of our protagonists are corrupted in some way in terms of their jobs, not just Kyung-seon. Hae-il has a lot of faith in God but none in his fellow humans, which Father Lee tried and failed to explain should be his number one job. Hae-il became a priest to seek personal peace, but he forgot about the part where he’s supposed to give peace to others. We’ve discussed Kyung-seon’s issues, but Dae-young is equally as bad — maybe even worse. Kyung-seon makes conscious decisions to do the wrong things, but Dae-young has actually convinced himself that those wrong things are right. He genuinely believes that it’s better to overlook crimes in the interest of not causing a disturbance. I think Dae-young will have the hardest time of the three in changing his attitude, because Hae-il and Kyung-seon at least know they should be doing better, but Dae-young already believes he’s righteous.
I think that what keeps me from thinking that Kyung-seon is almost as bad as the bad guys is the fact that she does go to church. Of course bad people go to church, but if she were only doing it for show, she wouldn’t have tried to sneak in and out without being seen. She’d have wanted Hae-il to know she was there. Her desire to go to mass even when she knows she’s unwanted tells me that if nothing else, her religious devotion is sincere. Now Hae-il just needs to get her to admit that even sincere devotion means nothing if she’s behaving inappropriately, and even criminally, in her private and professional life. Maybe instead of trying to revoke her Catholicism (that still cracks me up), Hae-il can use her belief system to bring her over to the good side and get her help in proving that Father Lee was innocent. At the very least, knowing that the Pope backs this re-investigation will give Kyung-seon pause.
I wanted to cheer when Hae-il found Father Lee’s box of evidence against the sketchy Gudam officials (who I’m calling the Fearsome Foursome from now on because it’s quicker), because it gives Father Lee’s character a lot more depth, even after his death. He wasn’t just “stuffed into the fridge” to give Hae-il a reason to fight corruption — Father Lee was already gathering evidence and planning something. It proves that all of his smiling and sweetness wasn’t just naivete and innocence, it was a carefully cultivated persona that allowed Father Lee to fly under the radar… at least until he couldn’t anymore.
I feel like my estimation of Father Lee went way up after seeing what he was doing, and now instead of just wanting to get revenge, Hae-il will have a purpose beyond proving his death a murder — he wants to finish what Father Lee started. Reading Father Lee’s journal seemed to have an immediate positive effect on Hae-il, because instead of just lashing out (literally) in all directions, he began buckling down to handle the problem in a constructive way that actually has a chance to do some good. Father Lee would be proud to see Hae-il channeling his energy positively, and towards something that will help others and not just seeking revenge.
- Premiere Watch: Haechi, Item, The Light in Your Eyes, The Fiery Priest
- Kim Nam-gil, Kim Sung-kyun paired up in new stills for The Fiery Priest
- The Fiery Priest releases character posters for main players
- Kim Nam-gil and Honey Lee bicker in upcoming drama-comedy The Fiery Priest
- The Hot-Blooded Priest fights his way through a sinful city in SBS comedy
- Go Joon joins cast of drama Hot-Blooded Priest
- Kim Nam-gil, Kim Sung-kyun, and Honey Lee cast in Hot-Blooded Priest