My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 5-6
Committed to wielding the upper hand, our benevolent mob boss brews up the perfect scheme and extends an offer to our hero that he cannot refuse. Although the mob boss’s perfect scheme goes off the rails in the most hilarious manner, she still manages to corner our hero. As we witness our hero getting stuck in a deal that he literally cannot refuse, we learn more about his relationship with his policewoman wife and the promises he makes with his enemies to protect her and his secret.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
As mob boss Hoo-ja plays a round of billiards, she assures her little sister over the phone about the idea to create their own politician. She’s tired of begging and wants the upper hand for once. Assistant Sis isn’t convinced until Hoo-ja let her in on her secret plan, and then Sis smiles, approving of the plan despite the slight risk. What’s life without a little risk, right?
Sis walks into Hoo-ja’s office and hands her older sister the background briefing on Kim Mi-young, the policewoman wife of their mortal enemy, conman Yang Jung gook. Alongside Hoo-ja, we learn that Mi-young’s parents both passed away and that she was a troublemaker in school.
Flashback to high school, when Mi-young first met Chief Seo (now her mom) while sitting through a detention for school bullies. Mi-young earned herself a solid beating from Chief Seo after disrespecting her during the class, and that’s when she turned over a new leaf. She let go of her past and studied hard to become a policewoman.
Hoo-ja confirms with Sis that Mi-young doesn’t know about Jung-gook’s real profession as a conman, and this seems to fit perfectly with her plan. She’s smiles in anticipation of her new scheme.
Meanwhile, Chief Seo cracks up as she recounts this first meeting story to Jung-gook over dinner with her son, soon-to-be politician Sang-jin, and Mi-young. Mom takes full credit for beating Mi-young into shape and allowing her to meet such an accomplished Brave Citizen husband.
After a few drinks, Mom and Mi-young drunkenly bicker and get up to fight, both threatening to beat each other up. Jung-gook gets between them in attempts to deescalate the situation, but Sang-jin assures Jung-gook that they do this all the time and end up a loving embrace.
While the drunk ladies stumble toward each other, brother-in-laws Sang-jin and Jung-gook share a drink. Jung-gook asks about Sang-jin’s launch into politics, and Sang-jin admits that he wasn’t initially interested in a political career. But he’s had enough of studying through books and now wants to fulfill his curiosity on how the world works.
He wants to meet people and understand real life — what causes their marginalization, who caused their injury, and why they’re experiencing sadness. Jung-gook commends Sang-jin for his nobility and admits that he doesn’t have much interest in politics. Sang-jin equates apathy with dislike and tries to convince him to gain interest.
Sang-jin starts to delve into intellectual discourse about political apathy, but Jung-gook finishes Sang-jin’s thought with a more rudimentary concept: The greatest cost of political apathy is that you’re dominated by people who are dumber and more inferior than you. Ha, such wise words.
Sang-jin corrects the presumed statement by saying, “The greatest cost of political apathy is that one must work for a lifetime. You work when others rest and when you get old — you simply become a machine that makes money. Let’s not live like that.” Cheers to that.
On their way home, Jung-gook expresses his admiration for Sang-jin, and Mi-young only half-listens as she sobers up. She suggests that they go out for a drink, just the two of them, so they end up at their regular spot, where they first decided to date. The ajumma comments that it’s been a while and asks if they’re living well together. Jung-gook confirms this, but once the ajumma leaves, Mi-young questions if that’s true.
Mi-young says that they’re living together, yes, but she’s not sure if they’re living well together. She shares that Mom asked if she’d made up with Jung-gook, when they hadn’t even fought. She wonders how their relationship devolved into something that appears like they need to make up. Mi-young remembers how they used to embrace each other’s hardships, but after getting married, they just make each other’s hardships worse.
Jung-gook apologizes for placing unwanted attention on Mi-young through all the Brave Citizen press, but Mi-young clarifies that she’s not talking about the past two weeks but the past two years. She says that marriage shouldn’t be like this and reminds him of their proposal promise to make each other happy.
Unable to say anything else, Jung-gook simply apologizes again. Mi-young wonders if people are right about relationships becoming lukewarm after marriage, but she criticizes themselves for being too complacent in their marriage. Jung-gook continues to apologize through the criticisms and raises his voice to apologize one last time.
Mi-young tells Jung-gook that his apologies sound disingenuous and tells him to go home first. Jung-gook storms out, but when he looks back at Mi-young drinking alone, he starts to return to her. Then, someone calls his name and kidnaps him.
Jung-gook finds himself roped up outside in front of thugs who are digging his grave. Hoo-ja walks up the hill complaining about the cold, and Jung-gook shivers in fear for his life. When Hoo-ja reaches Jung-gook, she decides that it’s too cold to kill someone outside and relocates indoors. Lol, not such a cold-blooded killer after all.
Jung-gook now finds himself roped up inside a dingy bathhouse, where he sees a menacing man with a saw. Hoo-ja sits in front of him and blames him for her father’s hospitalization after his scam. Scared shitless, Jung-gook confesses his sins and says that he’ll do anything for his life. He agrees to Hoo-ja’s plan even before she proposes it.
Once Hoo-ja reveals her plan to make her mortal enemy run for office, Jung-gook looks confused. Jung-gook reminds her that he’s a conman, but he soon realizes that she’s leveraging his Brave Citizen status for his candidacy. Jung-gook asserts that he would never get elected, but Hoo-ja promises that she’ll buy votes to ensure that he wins.
When Jung-gook continues to resist the idea, Hoo-ja moves onto Plan B. She decides that she’ll kill Jung-gook after all, but she’ll also claim interest: Mi-young. Hoo-ja calls Henchman Choi and orders him to kill Mi-young, and that triggers Jung-gook to get on the offensive. Jung-gook aggressively squirms and yells at Hoo-ja to stop, but she’s already liking the campaign prospects of the Brave Citizen’s tragic loss of his wife.
Hoo-ja motions Sis to read the contract and the saw ajusshi on standby to bring the duct tape. Once Jung-gook is silenced, Sis reads the contract aloud, which basically says tells Jung-gook to do as told as a fully-funded puppet.
Meanwhile, Henchman Choi checks up on his minions, who were sent inside the restaurant to get Mi-young. As he approaches the restaurant, one of the minions is thrown through the glass door. Mi-young walks out with a couple scratches and fearlessly attacks knife-wielding Henchman Choi with a beer bottle. That scares off Henchman Choi, who runs to his car and urgently calls Hoo-ja.
When Hoo-ja sees the incoming call, she assumes that Mi-young was finished off and goads Jung-gook to sign the contract. Little do they know, Henchman Choi is scared for his life as Mi-young grabs her bat from her car, ready to fight even with her stab wound.
Hoo-ja threatens to kill Jung-gook’s entire family and frame Jung-gook as the killer of his own wife. Then, she finally picks up the call from Henchman Choi and hears the exact opposite of what she was expecting. Henchman Choi cries that he’s scared that Mi-young might kill him.
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Who’s attacking whom?
Then, Henchman Choi hears the sound of the bat dragging on the ground and hangs up. Mi-young tries to peer inside the car, but she can’t see the henchman through the black window film. He thinks he’s safe until the Mi-young relentlessly hits the car with the bat, breaking the window and forcing Henchman Choi out of the car.
At the bathhouse, Hoo-ja pretends that things are going smoothly for her and hilariously extends the ended phone conversation with her creative rendition on what happened to Mi-young. Jung-gook continues to squirm and let out muffled screams as Hoo-ja babbles on with a fabricated situation.
Mi-young chases Henchman Choi on foot and just barely catches up to him before Henchman Choi is saved by his minions. She continues to chase the car until she’s out of breath, and despite her injuries, she seems to have won this fight — one woman chasing off five men speeding away in a car.
Hoo-ja takes a break from her performance on the phone to offer Jung-gook one last opportunity to sign the contract. He offers to do anything as long as she saves Mi-young, and Hoo-ja warns him that his life and Mi-young’s life are on the line if he doesn’t win the election. With that, she lets him go to his wife, and Jung-gook gets the hell out of there.
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Hoo-ja’s bluff beats Mi-young’s fist
Once Jung-gook leaves, Hoo-ja finally takes a breath and wipes off the cold sweat from her phone performance. She turns to Sis and asks if Mi-young is really that strong.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Jung-gook runs to the hospital after receiving word of Mi-young’s injuries, and when he arrives, Mi-young she makes him stay behind the curtain because she doesn’t want him to see her in this state. As her husband, Jung-gook wants to share the pain, but Mi-young insists that one of them needs to stay strong so that they can lean on each other.
She puts on a brave voice and assures him that she’s fine, but she’s clearly holding back a lot of pain from her injuries. Jung-gook asks to step out to get some air, and Mi-young finally allows herself to express her pain once he’s out of earshot.
Jung-gook meets up with Hoo-ja and warns her not to hurt Mi-young. Hoo-ja smiles in amusement, but Jung-gook is dead serious. He claims that he could even run for president, as long as Hoo-ja doesn’t lay another finger on his wife. Hoo-ja isn’t threatened, but Jung-gook warns her that as a husband, he will certainly retaliate if she hurts Mi-young.
The next morning, Mi-young enters Chief Seo’s (aka Mom) office and formally reports the details of the attack. Chief Seo’s motherly concern contrasts Mi-young’s stoic professional tone, and Mom asks she’s being so formal. Mi-young admits that she fears if she shows any sign of weakness, Mom will start to cry.
Mi-young promises to find the perpetrators, and Mom tells her that she can’t bear to lose Mi-young like she lost her husband. After Mi-young leaves her office, Mom finally lets out the tears she’d be holding in.
After meeting with Mom, Mi-young runs into a police colleague, who requests Mi-young’s help in a search and seizure task later that day. Not too busy with her own work, Mi-young agrees to help out.
Hoo-ja and her sister scope out the new office space for their candidate, but Sis worries that they’re missing one crucial element: the campaign manager. Sis suggests that they reach out to former assemblyman Kim Joo-myung, who recently lost his spot in the National Assembly. He plays dirty and needs money, so he’s the perfect pick.
Speaking of the devil, Hoo-ja receives a call from Kim Joo-myung and starts exchanging pleasantries, but then her smile drops. Next thing they know, Sis is speeding through the streets back to their company, Baek-kyung Capital, which is getting searched and seized after Kim Joo-myung tipped off the police. Sis wonders why Kim Joo-myung would inform them that he tipped off the police, but Hoo-ja knows that he’s making them indebted to him. Now they owe him.
As Mi-young and the team wrap up their search, Mi-young sees a familiar face — Henchman Choi. As the police vans drive away, she recalls Henchman Choi as one of the perpetrators from last night. Back at the police station, Mi-young asks her colleague if her team can take over the Baek-kyung Capital investigation. She lures her colleague by letting him keep the team lead role, as she’s mainly interested in the investigation.
At Baek-kyung Capital, Sis assures Hoo-ja that they can save themselves from this search, but they need to act fast before Kim Joo-myung causes more trouble. Hoo-ja calls Kim Joo-myung and makes plans to meet him right away.
As they drive to their meeting spot, Sis preemptively worries about Kim Joo-myung’s reaction to their proposal to make him their campaign manager. Kim Joo-myung has a nasty reputation and could pose a significant threat to the company, but Hoo-ja doesn’t seem concerned because he’s driven by money. She believes that as long as they give him money, he’ll do as told.
Hoo-ja meets Kim Joo-myung at a small neighborhood soondae restaurant, and she strikes a tentative deal with him. She calls Sis (who’s caller ID tells us that Hoo-ja the fourth eldest sister) and updates her that Kim Joo-myung will make a final decision after meeting directly with Jung-gook.
When Jung-gook arrives at the restaurant, we’re finally introduced to Kim Joo-myung (Kim Eui-sang). (It’s a Mr. Sunshine father-daughter reunion!) Joo-myung recognizes Jung-gook as the Brave Citizen and skeptically asks how Jung-gook recognized the serial killer on the street. Jung-gook says it was a coincidence, and Joo-myung only seems to half-believe him.
Joo-myung asks Jung-gook about his alma mater, and Jung-gook lies that he was an economics major at Seoul University. Joo-myung astutely begins to test Jung-gook on students at Seoul University, so Jung-gook searches through his impressive memory of the Seoul University yearbook to correctly identify the named individuals.
Then, Joo-myung reveals that he was a professor in the economics department at Seoul University, and Jung-gook’s face hardens. Joo-myung says that he’d never seen Jung-gook on campus, and Jung-gook tries to feign recognition of his department professor.
But Joo-myung isn’t buying it and asks who Jung-gook really is. When Hoo-ja tries to intervene, Joo-myung yells at her to stay out of this and asks Jung-gook again. His cover blown, Jung-gook owns up to who he is and admits, “I’m a conman.”
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“Coincidence” is a nice word
The introduction of Joo-myung signals another cat and mouse chase, and I’m anticipating plenty of clever deceit in this rivalry. I appreciate how sharp Joo-myung is — how he reads straight through Jung-gook’s façade and calls bullshit. Jung-gook’s reaction to being called out was also interesting and telling about character. He’s a confident conman and unafraid to own his identity, at least to people who fall on the darker side of the moral compass. But he also has a duality to his character — the confident conman is also a timid husband.
Understandably, Jung-gook seems quite anxious about his secret identity being disclosed to Mi-young, and I find his fearful demeanor around his wife kind of endearing. He clearly cares a lot about her — as we also see the duality of timid husband versus protective husband — but he needs to hide his honest self from Mi-young unless he wants to get himself arrested. Somehow, hiding his identity also equated to hiding his emotions, and it’s sad to watch their spark gradually fade away. These two have great chemistry, and I enjoy how the show implies that these characters are actually in love with each other. Instead of explicit proclamations of love, we see moments of restraint and frustration, like with the hospital curtain scene, that convey that these two care about each other and their marriage. (But also, dude — it’s a hospital curtain and you’re her husband. Hospital curtain does not win in this situation.)
In contrast to our leads, who adopt different personas to get though their marriage versus their jobs, Hoo-ja always seems to be true to herself and it’s so fun to watch. The whole Godfather parody with Hoo-ja cracks me up, and I love the subtle humor in Kim Min-jung’s delivery. She stole the scene at the sauna, with her empty threats and fake phone conversation, and I am so pleased with her performance. Similar to Siwon, she has the charm and appeal as a beautiful actress but also happens to have a propensity for comedy. It’s a bit unexpected, especially given her most recent role in Mr. Sunshine, but I enjoy her brand of humor that she’s embedding into the role. I also love that the Mr. Sunshine father-daughter reunion is happening and that they’re still enemies. I guess sometimes, bad blood is forever.
Jung-gook has been getting most of the spotlight in these introductory episodes, and I hope that we see more of Mi-young in the upcoming episodes. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and I’m invested in her revenge against Henchman Choi and her perpetrators. She’s recklessly fierce and can hold her own, but she’s not hot-headed. Instead of taking immediate action, she’s playing her cards carefully to investigate her enemy and get to know them better before making her move. It’s a different kind of cat and mouse game she’s playing, and I’m excited to see her make her enemies chilled to the bone.