My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 13-14
With our determined cop Mi-young now privy to some truths, Jung-gook is practically squirming through hoops in fraud gymnastics to prevent further disappointment. Fiercely protective of her husband, Mi-young decides to take matters into her own hands, and her interference poses a considerable threat to Hoo-ja’s scheme. Jung-gook finds himself stuck between his badass wife and the threatening Lady Mob Boss, and he’s forced to decide whether he’ll take on the challenge of overcoming their pressure or surrender in defeat.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
When Jung-gook arrives home for dinner, he finds Mi-young deep in conflict. She admits that she tried to prepare a meal to break the news smoothly, like Jung-gook, but she couldn’t get herself to follow through. She throws a pile of surveillance photos on the dinner table — photos of Jung-gook carrying out his politician scam.
Mi-young demands to know who Jung-gook really is and says that things are finally making sense — why Jung-gook distanced himself upon marriage and why Hoo-ja’s gangsters assaulted her. Jung-gook sheepishly confirms that her suspicions are correct but earnestly pleads her to believe that he truly loves her.
Deeply disappointed, Mi-young says that Jung-gook should have never married her if he intended on keeping this secret from her, and Jung-gook apologizes. As he picks up the scattered photos, Mi-young asks how much he borrowed.
Jung-gook looks confused by Mi-young’s question until it dawns on him that she’s made the wrong assumption: She thinks that he borrowed money from Hoo-ja. Adapting his story, Jung-gook confirms that he borrowed money from loan shark Hoo-ja for his business, and now, he’s being threatened to run for office. What a perfect cover-up.
The next thing he knows, Jung-gook is sitting next to Mi-young as she drives to Hoo-ja’s office. Mi-young calls Hoo-ja demanding that they meet, and Jung-gook immediately messages Hoo-ja that he’s with Mi-young. As he tries to type out the new fabricated story to Hoo-ja, he’s stopped by Mi-young, who asks for his phone to charge her phone (read: Samsung Galaxy PPL).
Jung-gook only manages to send part of his message, and Hoo-ja calls over lil’ sis Gwi-nam and Henchman Choi to try to interpret the incomplete message. Henchman Choi hilariously interprets the text correctly — that Jung-gook is fabricating his debt to Hoo-ja to cover up the truth that he’s a conman — but Hoo-ja thinks he’s talking nonsense. She thinks that he meant to say that Mi-young discovered his true conman identity.
Mi-young walks into Hoo-ja’s office with purpose and Jung-gook tailing behind. Hoo-ja welcomes them and assures them that she knows what they’ll be chatting about. Jung-gook tries to intervene in the conversation, but Mi-young kicks him out of the room.
As he leaves, Jung-gook tries to make telepathic eye contact with Hoo-ja, and she gives him an assuring smile. But they’re all on different pages. Hoo-ja thinks that Jung-gook’s conman identity has been revealed; Mi-young thinks that Jung-gook is a threatened debtor; and Jung-gook is trying to cover his ass.
Given their different perspectives, Mi-young speaks about her husband as the poor victim while Hoo-ja claims that she’s the victim here. Mi-young claims that her husband only committed the deed (borrowing money) because he’s innocent, and Hoo-ja wonders if this deed (committing fraud) looks innocent to Mi-young because she’s an open person or just so in love with Jung-gook.
Mi-young demands to know how much Jung-gook owes her, and Hoo-ja reveals the total fraud amount as 6 billion won (roughly $6 million). That’s 5.8 billion won more than what Jung-gook had admitted to, so Mi-young looks understandably shocked.
Hoo-ja assures Mi-young that the debt will be forgiven once Jung-gook gets elected for office and says that a politician husband is better than a conman husband. Bothered by Hoo-ja continually calling her husband a fraud, Mi-young yells at her to stop calling her husband something he’s not.
Hoo-ja sympathizes with Mi-young’s denial of the fact that her husband is a conman, but she urges Mi-young to acknowledge the truth. “Once you accept that your husband is a dirty bastard, your life will get easier.” Haaa, she’s so delightfully sincere in her delivery.
Mi-young offers to repay the debt herself and demands that Hoo-ja let her innocent husband go. She even offers to let go of the investigation of Hoo-ja’s wrongdoings and threatens Hoo-ja to take the deal — or else they’re dead to her.
Outside the office, Jung-gook tries to overhear the conversation and asks Gwi-nam if Hoo-ja has the story straight. Gwi-nam shares that Hoo-ja’s interpretation of the text was that Mi-young found out about Jung-gook’s conman identity. Jung-gook freezes in shock.
Hoo-ja refuses Mi-young’s deal, so Mi-young declares war. Hoo-ja warns Mi-young that she’ll get hurt badly, but Mi-young isn’t fazed. She warns Hoo-ja that her damage will be worse and storms out, with Jung-gook following right behind her.
Once the couple leaves, Gwi-nam tells Hoo-ja that Mi-young is under the impression that Jung-gook took out a loan from Hoo-ja. That confuses Hoo-ja because somehow, they’re conversation made perfect sense with their respective unaligned perspectives.
Outside, Mi-young yells at Jung-gook for lying to her about the total debt and says that she can’t help him with such a massive amount. She tells him to figure it out himself, and Jung-gook confidently promises to win the election. He adds that it’ll be good for Mi-young to be called a politician’s wife, but Mi-young isn’t keen on that title.
Mi-young confesses Jung-gook’s words are more important to her than what anyone else says about her. To her, that’s what it means to be a couple. She warns him, “Don’t lose what you have now to gain what you don’t. Because I won’t be here forever.” Then, she gets into the car and drives off without him.
Jung-gook drinks at his new regular soondae restaurant while Mi-young does the same at their regular spot. Mom joins Mi-young to hear her out, and Joo-myung arrives just in time to catch Jung-gook before he drunkenly stumbles out.
Jung-gook admits that he was going to tell Mi-young the truth until he realized that she made the wrong assumption. Then, he lied to her again. He’s disappointed in himself for feeling relieved when Mi-young revealed her incorrect conclusion about his lies. He feels sorry that she ended up with a guy like him.
With Mom, Mi-young confesses that she’s so frustrated with Jung-gook but still pities him, even after all the lies he’s told her. She resents him but also sympathizes with the reason why he told those lies. She admits that it’s heartbreaking to think about how difficult it must have been for him.
Joo-myung tells Jung-gook that despite everything, they’ve still proven themselves to be a standing couple. Mom explains to Mi-young that their couple still have sincere feelings for each other, which Joo-myung explains to Jung-gook as the reason why he’s agonizing over her.
Mom says that that sincerity alone is enough to overcome all the ridicule that Jung-gook may face, and Joo-myung tells Jung-gook that it’s not a bad thing to be dishonest to his wife. He adds that anyone who equates love with honesty should go die. Lol.
Joo-myung says that there’s not much to marriage — it’s feeling bad when you think about your wife. Mom says that marriage is feeling angry when you think about your husband. Joo-myung says that marriage simply ends when one side runs out of battery.
Mom looks relieved by the couple’s affection for each other and assures Mi-young that they can work hard to pay off the debt. But Mom’s smile drops when she hears the total amount in “loans” that Jung-gook borrowed. She yells at Mi-young to get a divorce immediately, and Joo-myung adds that marriage is something that never goes the way you think.
When Sang-jin returns home, he finds his younger sister Mi-young snoring loudly, asleep on the couch. Mom wakes up from the loud snoring and tells Sang-jin to throw a punch at Mi-young to make her stop. When he refuses, Mom obliges and lands a full-swing slap across Mi-young’s face. That does the job, and Mi-young keeps sleeping. LOL.
Sang-jin asks Mom if something is going on with Mi-young, and Mom tells him to ask Mi-young himself. He considers calling Jung-gook but ultimately decides against it, letting Mi-young sleep off her drunken state.
The next morning, Mi-young wonders why her face feels so sore, like she’s been slapped in the face. Over the phone, Mom hilariously tells Mi-young that she was slapping herself in her sleep. Haaa. After the call, her unit member reports that Ma Sang-bum — who we formerly nicknamed Con Hyung — was found dead at a nearby hill.
The team member also shares that an informant notified the police that Sang-bum was murdered by Hoo-ja. With that information, Mi-young marches up to the investigating team leader and demands that they hand over the informant caller information so that she can catch Hoo-ja.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
At a community meeting, hungover Jung-gook answers questions for his fellow citizens about housing plans for their neighborhood. The locals oppose the expansion of affordable rental apartments and support the construction of luxury apartments to increase the value of their current land. Playing the politician role, Jung-gook promises to fulfill the locals’ wishes, and Joo-myung looks impressed.
After the meeting, Jung-gook tells Joo-myung that the expansion of affordable housing has no effect on the current value of their neighborhood. As a real estate (fraud) expert, he says that housing prices will rise regardless of the type of housing. Along the same lines, Jung-gook opposes the expansion of subway lines to the neighborhood because it will destabilize real estate and the local economy.
Joo-myung only half-listens to Jung-gook complaining about the wealthy locals not needing additional subway lines or fancy apartments, and he walks off at Hoo-ja’s summon to her office. When he arrives, she gets straight to the point and asks if he can use his police connection — the one that landed the search and seizure of Baekkyung Capital — to do them a favor.
Hoo-ja isn’t shy about her request and asks Joo-myung to help get Mi-young transferred or suspended. She’s starting to get annoyed by Mi-young’s interference and considers her a threat to their whole scheme. Hoo-ja tells Joo-myung that it’s in their best interest to keep this a secret from Jung-gook. She seems thrilled to be manipulating the police, since mobsters like her have always begged the authorities for mercy.
Jung-gook’s campaign team eagerly awaits the results of the preliminary public opinion polls, and he decides to keep his expectations low at 15%. Charles’s friend calls as soon as the results are revealed: Kang Soo-il at 35%; Han Sang-jin at 28%; and Jung-gook at 39%. The team celebrates their unexpected lead, but then Jung-gook realizes that those numbers don’t add up.
The friend calls back and corrects his mistake — he meant 3.9%. YIKES. Mortified by the results, Jung-gook sits down deflated. He then answers a call from his sister urgently calling him about Dad and leaves looking even more irritated.
We see a familiar couple (cameo by Jugglers duo Baek Jin-hee and Daniel Choi) visiting their newly bought apartment, and Dad arrives to greet them as an apartment cleaner. He offers his fraudulent services to the couple, but Jung-gook arrives just in time to intercept the scam. Jung-gook explains that Dad is a dementia patient, and the couple looks at them sympathetically.
Over jjajangmyun, Jung-gook scolds Dad for scamming people and putting his political career on the line. Dad explains that he trying to make some pocket money and blames Jung-gook for rekindling his conman instincts from their recent family bank stint.
Dad then asks what the polls looked like and scoffs when he hears Jung-gook’s low numbers. He even teases Jung-gook for his boring campaign slogan. Jung-gook asks his father to provide some fatherly life advice, but Dad continues to joke around lightly.
After getting thoroughly drunk, Jung-gook sits with Dad on the stairs while waiting for their driver. Dad leans against the rail as Jung-gook voices his concerns about the election he must win to protect his family and Mi-young. He asks Dad what he should do to win people’s votes.
Dad says that he can’t offer wise words because he wasn’t educated, but he offers one piece of advice: Don’t lie. Jung-gook laughs that a conman father would tell his conman son this, but Dad says that he’s relaying this advice to his politician hopeful son, who’s struggling in his marriage.
Dad elaborates with simple wisdoms: “Don’t pretend to enjoy something when you actually aren’t enjoying it. Don’t say words that sound nice if you don’t actually mean it. Don’t make a fool out of someone by avoiding a situation. Don’t pull a scam if your life depends on it.”
Jung-gook thinks about all the lies and empty words he told Mi-young, all the cover-ups that left Mi-young in the dark. Dad adds, “You may earn money by telling lies, but you can’t earn someone’s heart that way. Lies only disappoint and cause harm. And then, everyone leaves you.” Jung-gook tears up at those words and holds his father closer.
When Jung-gook returns to his campaign office, he finds Joo-myung with news: He’s nominated for a televised debate alongside Kang Soo-il and Han Sang-jin. We see that Hoo-ja had bribed the media folks to include Jung-gook in this debate, and Joo-myung received orders from Hoo-ja to ensure that Jung-gook wouldn’t mess up this opportunity.
Meanwhile, Mi-young reports to Mom about her plans to catch Sang-bum’s killer, who’s linked to Hoo-ja. She intends to rope Hoo-ja into this murder case and refuses to delay this any longer because arresting Hoo-ja is the only way to save Jung-gook. Mom warns her that Hoo-ja may be a formidable opponent, but Mi-young claims to be tougher.
Joo-myung asks if Jung-gook can seize this opportunity, and Jung-gook confidently says that he’ll take on his opponents. He’s over the public opinion poll and looks forward to winning the election.
Seeing Jung-gook getting cornered is the funniest thing, especially because he’s a conman with a heart. He’ll do anything to keep his secret from Mi-young, and his motivations are quite pure, despite him being a compulsive liar. He can’t bear to disappoint Mi-young even more than he already has, and it’s kind of sweet that he would go to such lengths to make sure she stays in the dark about his true conman identity. He’s doing everything to protect Mi-young, and I love how the protective instincts are mutual. In Mi-young’s reality, she’s doing everything in her power to protect her husband by targeting Hoo-ja. As a couple, their hearts are in the right place — Jung-gook is just misguided, and Mi-young is just misdirected.
I enjoyed the sequence with Mom and Joo-myung that showed the drunk couple in parallel conversations about their strained marriage. That sequence allowed us to observe the couple from the wiser and more experienced shoes of Mom and Joo-myung, and the scene demonstrated that this couple still deeply cares for each other. The back and forth between Mom and Joo-myung as they imparted life advice was well-done and seamlessly wove together the couple’s respective concerns. Also, I loved that drunken conversation Jung-gook had with Dad, who had just the wise words that Jung-gook needed to rejuvenate and recenter himself. I appreciate that the scam family serves as support and as a backbone to Jung-gook — whether it’s in fraud or in life.
Despite feeling minimal guilt about the crimes he’s committed, Jung-gook still seems to have a moral compass. His short debrief with Joo-myung after his community meeting with the rich locals indicated that he carries the slightest air of vigilante justice. In public, he’s willing to say whatever to get elected because he needs to protect himself and his family, but he actually seems to have thoughts on the greedy rich people who adamantly oppose sharing their wealth. Looking at his past scams, he only seems to have conned rich people who had plenty of wealth to share, and that seems to hint at where Jung-gook’s loyalties truly lie: with the common everyday citizen. This may just be my hopeful thinking, but I think he could become a politician for the people. He’s a conman with a heart, and that may be the perfect combination to get him elected to office.