The Fiery Priest: Episodes 23-24
Having friends that you can trust and count on is a big deal in any situation, as our slightly-less-grumpy-lately priest is discovering these days. Even when you’re trying to bring down a corrupt government to avenge your murdered friend — or maybe especially then — trustworthy friends can be the difference between success and failure. Of course, most of us probably wouldn’t trick our friends into helping us, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
Hae-il is stopped by the Violent Crimes team as he’s trying to escape the office building. Kyung-seon pops up next to Dae-young and Seung-ah, and fusses at them for not helping catch him. She saunters over to stand next to Hae-il as the entire unit yelps at her, then she whispers for Hae-il to grab her.
He stares at her like she’s gone bonkers, but he jumps up and twists her arm behind her back. Dae-young starts to realize that Kyung-seon might actually be helping them, and she even pretends that Hae-il has a knife to her back (LOL, his eyes are looking at her like KNIFE??) as they slowly back up to where Dae-young and Seung-ah are waiting.
When they’re close enough, Hae-il shoves Kyung-seon, runs between Dae-young and Seung-ah (who dramatically pretend that he knocked them over, LOL), and escapes. Kyung-seon even fake faints on the escalator to slow down the cops, allowing Hae-il to make it out to his motorcycle and head back to his storage unit.
He rants to himself that Kyung-seon recognized him, then he realizes that when she was blocking his face to look at his eyes, she was remembering him from Chul-beom’s villa. He chuckles that his eyes are awfully attractive, hee.
Chul-beom gets screamed at yet again by Chief Prosecutor Kang, who wants to know why Chul-beom can’t manage to get a simple job done. He orders Chul-beom to get rid of Representative Park before he wakes up from his coma or it’s all over for him.
Kyung-seon continues her ruse by going to the police station to complain to Detective Lee about his team’s inability to catch the intruder. He mentions her unexpected appearance, and she makes a show of acting like he’s blaming her and profusely apologizes.
Dae-young and Seung-ah sneak off to a conference room, where they agree that Kyung-seon seems to know something and ask themselves why she let Hae-il go. Dae-young thinks she let the little fish go in order to catch the whole school of fish.
They head to the church to talk to Hae-il (who always sits on the kimchi refrigerator, lol). He’s not convinced that he saved Representative Park’s life, since he’s in a coma from being hit in the head. Sung-kyu suddenly jumps up, determined not to let the bad guys win, and he and Sister Kim rant until they’re both semi-literally on fire.
Hae-il ignores his phone when it rings, sheepishly showing Dae-young that it’s Kyung-seon calling. They make a plan for Hae-il to meet with her while Dae-young and Seung-ah eavesdrop dressed as construction workers. Hae-il says arrogantly that he won’t let Kyung-seon sway him, but when they sit to talk, he can’t even look her in the eye, hee.
Kyung-seon gets right to the point, accusing Hae-il of being the masked “thief” and ignoring his weak attempt to deny it. Hae-il does his best to look and act innocent, so Kyung-seon says that if he can make her understand why he’s doing all this, she’ll give him time to deal with it or turn himself in.
She gets frustrated when Hae-il asks if she has any proof it’s him and why she’s trying to make him out to be someone mysterious. Kyung-seon mentions that she can’t access his background information, which usually means someone is either a government agent or a spy, but she’s sure he’s not a spy.
She asks point-blank if he’s an NIS agent, but Hae-il just reminds her that it’s illegal to do background checks on civilians. Outside, Seung-ah gloats that she knew Hae-il was a government agent, winning a bet against Dae-young, who thought he was an undercover cop. HA.
Hae-il says that he’s just an ordinary priest who majored in Korean literature. Kyung-seon quizzes him, and Hae-il confidently answers every one of her questions incorrectly, but he says it’s just been a long time since college (Dae-young: “This is so embarrassing…”).
Kyung-seon is convinced that she’s right about Hae-il and tells him to confess soon. Hae-il keeps his cool until she stomps off, then he goes out to Dae-young and Seung-ah, who ask if he really was NIS, but Hae-il just snaps Kyung-seon’s trademark, “STRESS!” and says he wants to go home.
Through an informant, Chul-beom gets his hands on Hae-il’s NIS file, which was leaked during a hack two years ago. He decides to sit on this information for a while, though it makes him angry.
That night, Hae-il sits in his room talking to his pictures of Father Lee. He reminds Father Lee that he once told him that if he revealed one secret he could share everything with that person, and he wonders if that applies to his secrets that are revealed by someone else.
After a restless night, Kyung-seon asks Chief Prosecutor Kang if he got rid of Father Lee like he’s trying to get rid of Representative Park — by framing his death as suicide. Chief Prosecutor Kang admits it, and says it worked because Dong-ja’s corruption inspection was canceled. He tells her to investigate Chief Nam next, and she agrees, but she doesn’t look happy about it.
Kyung-seon’s investigation reveals that Chief Nam receives a lot of money from a social club called “Rising Moon.” The owner of the club is a man named Park Shin-woo — Representative Park’s son. Kyung-seon tells her people to keep digging and see what else they can find.
Hae-il receives the results of the test he had done on the blood from Chul-beom’s villa, and it’s a match to Father Lee’s blood, proving that Father Lee was killed there. He can’t do anything with the information since it wasn’t obtained legally, so first they need to convince the Violent Crimes team that Chul-beom’s villa is a crime scene.
So Seung-ah gets another supposedly anonymous call at work, and Dae-young says dramatically that they should send the forensics team just in case. Detective Lee says to ignore it since it’s Chul-beom’s villa, but Seung-ah claims that her “informant” will just report it to someone else.
Jang-ryong meets the forensics team at the villa, and Seung-ah and Jang-ryong nearly come to blows again. The room where Hae-il found Father Lee’s blood has been completely emptied and the flooring pulled up, so Dae-young tells Hae-il that someone is probably onto them.
A parishioner insists on giving Hae-il his confession. He tells Hae-il that he used to work for the government, and that he committed a huge sin in another country — he threw a grenade and killed eleven children. He asks if someone who did such a thing can become a priest, and Hae-il realizes that it’s Agent Lee.
They exit the confessional and face each other. Hae-il tells Agent Lee to leave, but Agent Lee asks Hae-il why he’s interfering with the town leaders and investigating a priest’s death. He promises that if Hae-il stops now and just lives quietly, he’ll never see him again — but if he keeps it up, more innocent people will die.
Lightning-fast, Hae-il snatches Agent Lee’s collar, but Agent Lee croons that Hae-il is the one who threw that grenade. He tells Hae-il to let Father Lee go, because no matter what he does, nothing will change. He gives him a few days to decide what he’ll do.
When Dae-young and Seung-ah come by later, Hae-il is still preoccupied. When Dae-young snaps him out of it, he tells them that Jang-ryong was the one who moved Father Lee’s body from the villa to the cliff. He’d heard Jang-ryong say on the building roof not to press on Representative Park’s armpits too hard or they’ll bruise — which he learned from handling Father Lee’s body, which was found with similar bruises.
Seung-ah and Dae-young want to find Jang-ryong and make him confess, but Hae-il says they need concrete evidence. He tells them darkly to wait a little longer, and he’ll get them all.
Kyung-seon is introduced to Agent Lee by Chief Prosecutor Kang, and Agent Lee tells them that Hae-il was his subordinate in the Counter-Terrorism Unit at NIS. He says that Hae-il is alike a cartoon character — no matter what happens to him, once he’s in enemy territory, he never backs down, and he only needs a single clue to take down the bad guys.
Chief Prosecutor Kang asks Agent Lee why he initially lied about Hae-il’s background check, and Agent Lee explains that he needed to make sure, since Hae-il being a priest threw him off. He reports that when Hae-il loses his temper, he becomes a monster. Cut to Hae-il, fiercely… picking his ear. LOL.
He goes over his evidence, and how he got each piece of proof by pursuing members of the Fearsome Foursome. Next up is Chief Nam.
Kyung-seon calls him to meet up again, this time over drinks. She calls him Agent Kim, and tells him that she put on a show to help him escape the other day. He says she probably only did it out of guilt over Father Lee, but she says it would be inconvenient if two priests from her church ended up dead.
Hae-il asks if she really felt like Father Lee’s death was just an inconvenience, and she says that it keeps getting in the way of her life. Hae-il gives her permission not to care about him so that he also doesn’t get in the way of her future. They’re both a little drunk as Hae-il says that he thinks she does this for emotional entertainment.
He tells Kyung-seon that she’s not normal, and she returns the insult (also throwing Kim Bok-ju’s “sa-waag” and dab). She warns Hae-il that she won’t let him off the hook again, and he says he’s going to stop praying for her, and they drink a shot to their new agreement.
At the convenience store, Yo-han asks Ssongsak if he wants a job at a club called Rising Moon. Ssongsak breaks into dance (to BTS’s “Fire,” and he’s not bad!), but Yo-han says the job is mostly maintenance.
Kyung-seon gets a briefing on Rising Moon, which is owned by Representative Park’s son, Park Shin-woo. There are other owners, but the names are all fake, and it’s no surprise that their true identities are the Fearsome Foursome, with Chief Nam owning the most shares.
Most of the club’s money comes from the sale of meth, which they get from Russian suppliers. The meth draws celebrities and chaebols, including Hanjoo Group’s Kim Kyun-young, the chaebol that Kyung-seon previously investigated. Occasionally the drug squad drops by, but the place is always spotless.
Last year a Gudam cop was obsessed with bringing the place down, but he died in a car accident. Kyung-seon’s assistants advise her to drop this line of investigation due to the danger, but she just marvels at the amount of information they got simply by looking into Chief Nam.
Chief Prosecutor Kang and Dong-ja visit Chief Nam and tell him that he did well lying low while they took care of Representative Park. Chief Prosecutor Kang wants him to divide his shares in Rising Moon among the three of them, to make up for betraying them. He invites Kyung-seon to lunch to meet with Kim Kyun-young, and she agrees, quipping that it’s perfect timing.
Hae-il’s NIS friend calls him to say that his friend got fired for running the unauthorized DNA test on Father Lee’s blood. Since they did the test in secret, someone from the outside must have tipped off his employer, and his friend warns Hae-il that they’re being watched from every angle. In addition, everything they had on Father Lee was wiped from the records.
Hae-il, Dae-young, and Seung-ah get together to come up with a new plan. He says that he needs Dae-young to be their “Trojan horse” and act as a double agent, but he pretends that it’s muuuuch too dangerous and that Dae-young won’t be able to do it. Seung-ah even plays along and says she’ll find someone else, and it works – Dae-young insists on doing it.
He tells Hae-il to hit him a few times to make it look like he got beaten up while investigating him. Hae-il says, all innocence, that he’s a priest and can’t possibly hit an innocent man, and Seung-ah, with much faked regret, offers to do it herself.
She does an impressive job — even Chul-beom cringes at Dae-young’s bruises and bloody nose. Dae-young reports that Hae-il broke into the villa with Sung-kyu as his accomplice. He claims not to know who reported the attempted murder of Representative Park, only that the informant has a source who works for Daebum Trading, Chul-beom’s company, so Chul-beom orders Hoon-seok to find out who it is.
Chul-beom asks Dae-young if Hae-il was the masked man who interrupted Representative Park’s murder, and Dae-young lies that Hae-il was in the church at the time. Chul-beom praises him for doing well and even gives him some money to go get a drink, but after Dae-young leaves, Chul-beom laughs that Dae-young must think him a fool.
Jang-ryong meets Dae-young outside Chul-beom’s office and needles him for being a bad spy, but Dae-young invites him out for a drink. They go to Ssongsak’s restaurant and get silly drunk, and Dae-young asks who would win in a fight between Jang-ryong and Hoon-seok. Jang-ryong says that of course he’d win, so Dae-young says that he should turn the tables on them.
Dae-young asks what will happen to Representative Park, since they can’t risk him waking up and talking. Jang-ryong tells him that they plan to make sure he doesn’t ever wake up by killing him on the day he’s transferred out of ICU, then they both pass out.
At lunch with Representative Park’s son, Kyung-seon tries to keep her head down, but Shin-woo asks sharply if she’s up to something, having learned that someone from the prosecutor’s office looked into Rising Moon. Kyung-seon claims that she’s looking into someone who’s a regular at the club, and Shin-woo buys the lie. After lunch, Chief Prosecutor Kang says that Kyung-seon looked a little too deeply, and tells her to dig elsewhere.
Chul-beom learns that Representative Park was moved into a private room. He instructs Hoon-seok to send someone after Representative Park, but not to kill the bodyguards, and to have him dress like Hae-il when he broke into the villa.
Dae-young is still drunk when Seung-ah gets the call that Representative Park was moved to a private room, but she drags him along with her anyway, snapping that he can throw up later. A masked man is already approaching the guards outside Representative Park’s room as Seung-ah and a very sick Dae-young arrive at the hospital.
He knocks out the security guards then reaches to throttle Representative Park, but a voice stops him — it’s Hae-il, who says the assassin will have to kill him first. The assassin attacks, but Hae-il neatly neutralizes him, then removes his mask.
He asks who sent the assassin, who turns out to be Russian, but he says he doesn’t know. After another round of fighting that Hae-il also wins, Hae-il takes the assassin’s vibrating phone from his pocket and tells him to answer it.
A voice asks if it’s done, and the assassin says it is. The voice tells him that he’s still waiting for his target, who will be easy since it’s a woman. Hae-il asks who the woman is, twisting the assassin’s arm until he gives him a name.
When Seung-ah and Dae-young make it to Representative Park’s room, it’s all over. Representative Park is alive, his guards are still unconscious, and the Russian assassin is wrapped in duct tape like a Christmas present. Dae-young goes to read him his rights, and barfs on him instead, blech.
Kyung-seon stops by the convenience store on her way home, and she doesn’t notice the mysterious man in a hoodie sitting at the counter. She makes her purchase and heads home, where she sees that her balcony door is somehow open. It doesn’t worry her too much, but the man standing in her living room definitely does.
She starts throwing things at him as he advances on her, but he doesn’t even pause. He grabs her and slams her to the floor, then pulls out a huge knife. Just as he’s about to use it, Hae-il crashes through the window and faces off with the assassin, somehow avoiding the knife until he can knock it from the man’s hand.
He notices a tattoo of a star on the man’s wrist, which distracts him long enough for the assassin to hit him over the head and run out of the apartment. Instead of following him, Hae-il leans down to ask Kyung-seon if she’s okay.
She looks up at him with terrified eyes, then passes out in his arms.
Okay, if this doesn’t convince Kyung-seon that she’s on the wrong side and that she’d be better off helping Hae-il, then I don’t know what will. Obviously, Chul-beom sent the assassin after her, most likely out of jealousy and to get rid of his competition, but she won’t know that. Regardless of who tried to off her, I just really want her to tell the Fearsome Foursome and anyone associated with them to take a hike, and use her resources to help get vengeance for Father Lee. She does seem to be feeling a lot of guilt and insecurity lately, so let’s hope that the attempt to murder her is enough to make her come to her senses.
The Fiery Priest is one of those dramas that just gets better and better, though I’m having a difficult time putting my finger on exactly why. It’s just fun, with interesting characters and a solid conflict, and a reliably balanced way of delivering both laugh-out-loud funny moments and edge-of-your-seat suspense. It’s not really great in any way I can point to and say, “”This is why this show is so good,” unless it would be the chemistry between the characters… and I mean all of them, not just the main characters, but the entire ensemble.
The addition of Agent Lee into the mix has given me a real sense of dread, where before I wasn’t really that worried that Hae-il wouldn’t vanquish his enemies and triumph in the end. But Agent Lee has been a problem already in the past by ordering Hae-il to do something that he knew would kill innocents, and now he’s back to throw a wrench into Hae-il’s quest for vengeance. His way of tossing Hae-il right back into that room full of dead children just by showing up makes me fear for Hae-il for the first time — and not just for his revenge plans, but for Hae-il’s very mental and emotional well-being. I’ve said before, and I still believe, that Hae-il needs to face the demons of his past if he’s going to ever heal and move on, because becoming a priest certainly wasn’t enough to erase those memories from his heart.
I do think he’s on the road to doing exactly that — I really love how he’s learning to trust and rely on others, and his partnership with Dae-young and Seung-ah is just the best thing. Hae-il is the brains and the brawn, Seung-ah is the backup sass and attitude, and Dae-young is the decoy dummy they can send in to create a distraction while they get things done. They’re a weird trio but they work for me, especially since Hae-il seems less stressed and willing to trust and count on others to back him up now that they’ve formed their little group. His experience with Agent Lee obviously did some damage to his ability to trust others, especially when things get dangerous, so just the fact that he’s allowed two other people into his plans is a huge improvement.
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