My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 9-10
Imagine this: A conman, criminal politician, and mob boss agree to work together toward a common cause. If you don’t think it’s possible, you’re right because neither do they. Completely disloyal and untrusting of each other, our three misfit baddies try to outsmart each other, and it’s an amusing race to see who comes out on top. Our hero tries to con his way out of this partnership, but he soon realizes that his brilliant scams can’t protect the person most valuable to him.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
At the soondae restaurant, Jung-gook confronts ex-Assemblyman and potential sponsor Kim Joo-myung and refuses to scam the innocent older couple to buy the worthless building. Jung-gook rips up the contract, effectively ending their deal. He bluffs that he can get elected to the National Assembly on his own, without Kim Joo-myung’s schemes.
After Jung-gook storms out, Hoo-ja offers to buy Joo-myung’s building to appease him, but Joo-myung admits that he had no intention of helping Hoo-ja in the first place. He reveals that he merely tried to exploit Jung-gook’s conman skills under the guise of their deal and belittles Hoo-ja’s plan to get a conman elected to the National Assembly.
Hoo-ja looks betrayed and says that she actually trusted Joo-myung to stay true to his word. Joo-myung calls her foolish and says that he’ll send someone to collect his dues from Hoo-ja the next day. Ugh, snake.
In his campaign office, Jung-gook receives a message from his sister, Min-ji, that they’ve arrived. Hoo-ja walks into the office and asks if Jung-gook ripped up the contract because he felt bad about scamming the innocent couple, who had vowed not to raise rent prices in the building because they personally suffered through unaffordable rent hikes.
Hoo-ja reminds Jung-gook that she’s sending him to the National Assembly so that he can repeal the Interest Rate Regulation Act, which would lead to a slew of innocent sufferers like this couple. If he can’t handle this, she advises him to step down now. She realized that Jung-gook is nicer than she’d thought and doesn’t think he can follow through with their contract.
Dropping the formalities, Jung-gook erupts in anger and defends his decision not to scam the older couple. He tells her not to place these innocent people in front of him if she wants him to do the job. He claims that he’s not nicer than expected and that he’s just a crazy maniac. Then, he storms off.
Hoo-ja steams in anger at the disrespect, and she tells Sis that Jung-gook is softer than expected. Just as she concludes that Jung-gook actually sympathized with the innocent couple, Sis notices something odd in the signature seal of the contract. Hoo-ja doesn’t believe it, but Sis stamps the actual seal next to the one on the voided contract and proves that they’re different.
Throwback to the day of the contract, when Jung-gook decided to void the contract they just signed. While he did feel some degree of sympathy for the well-intentioned couple, he was more concerned about the potential of Kim Joo-myung double-crossing them. They were already at a disadvantage with Mi-young on their tail, and Joo-myung could easily rat them out to the police.
Considering this, Jung-gook decided to turn the tables — they would scam Hoo-ja and Joo-myung instead. They retrieved the original contract to make a fake seal to stamp on the fake contract, which Jung-gook then proceeded to rip up as a performance in front of Joo-myung and Hoo-ja. Then, they would start a trail for the police by applying for loans with this contract, and the police would be able to uncover Joo-myung behind the borrowed name.
As for Hoo-ja, they would frame her for bribery, since she gave Joo-myung this building. Jung-gook was determined to lock up anyone who knew of his conman background. Upon realizing this betrayal, Hoo-ja furiously calls for back-up and orders her minions to find Jung-gook immediately.
Jung-gook drives his family and briefs them on the current situation: He needs to run for office, win the election, and do everything Hoo-ja orders — otherwise, he dies. After parking the car, Jung-gook hands Dad the contract and a fake ID of Han Min-chul, the stall owner who desperately needs loans to buy the building after the owner illegally raised the price.
Original Conman Dad look nervous, and Min-ji teases him for it. Jung-gook encourages Dad to help his conman son by showing them his skills, but Min-ji continues to make snide jabs at Dad for teaching them only bad habits. Haaa, I love her sass.
Dad timidly enters the bank with his granddaughter (Min-ji’s daughter), Haru, and she runs to the bathroom while Dad starts executing his scam. He obediently takes a ticket to wait his turn, and as Haru leaves, she hands him an earlier ticket and tells him to shake off the nerves. That’s just the pep talk he needed, and he successfully applies for his first loan — the first crumb in the trail for the police.
Now that Dad’s all warmed up, Jung-gook picks up the pace and drives to all the surrounding banks in Seoul to leave a loan application trail. One of the bank managers recognizes the building address and calls Joo-myung to confirm that he’s selling his building. This is news to Joo-myung, who thought that the deal was cancelled, and it dawns on him that he’ll be exposed as a crook illegally selling his building at an inflated price.
Joo-myung immediately calls Hoo-ja and demands that she stop Jung-gook before he ruins both of them. Hoo-ja orders Henchman Choi to search every bank in Seoul for Jung-gook. Henchman Choi searches through the banks for the con family, but he misses Dad, who breezes his way through the banks, stacking up the applications.
The con family manage to avoid the gang searches and smoothly collects the applications, with Haru even getting involved by counting the applications. But when Jung-gook steps outside to call Charles, he’s spotted by Henchman Choi. With their target located, Henchmen Choi summons all the minions and gets the order from Hoo-ja to capture Jung-gook.
As Jung-gook calls Charles to plan their next move, Henchman Choi approaches him from behind him. He walks with a hammer in hand, crossing the street in slow motion. Then, he lets out a battle cry and pounces at Jung-gook from behind, prompting Jung-gook to turn around with his eyes widened.
In that moment, Jung-gook remembers practicing self-defense with Mi-young at home (with a cucumber as the stand-in weapon), and he uses the skills he learned to expertly avoid the attack and disarm Henchman Choi. Jung-gook looks surprised that his moves actually worked, and he scurries to the car, where Min-ji and Haru cheer him on with a thumbs up.
The mob minions arrive just as Henchman Choi goes down, and a car chase begins. Jung-gook speeds away and stops to quickly order Min-ji and Haru out of the car. At Jung-gook’s order, Min-ji accusingly asks, “Why? So that you can save yourself? You bastard.” Exasperated, Jung-gook clarifies that he’s trying to save them, not himself. HA, petty Min-ji is killing me.
Once his family exits the car, Jung-gook resumes his escape and speeds through the streets while making a call to his trusted car mechanic. Jung-gook then proceeds to drive into the mechanic’s garage and change the license plates on his car. He counts the mob cars as they drive past the shop, and then he speeds away in the opposite direction. Genius.
Henchman Choi looks utterly confused when he runs into a dead end, and he soon learns that Jung-gook changed out his license plates. While catching up to the chase, Hoo-ja spots Jung-gook driving the other way and starts trailing him until Jung-gook shakes them off and changes the license plates yet again.
Eventually, Henchman Choi loses Jung-gook, and Hoo-ja can barely contain her anger. As her driver pulls over, Jung-gook passes by and smiles in victory when he notices her defeat. But Hoo-ja isn’t done just yet and seems ready to see this pursuit through.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
As they wait for Jung-gook, con comrade Charles suggests to Seung-yi that they abandon ship now because Jung-gook is surely captured and probably dead by now. Seung-yi yells at the young Charles for disrespecting his elders. (Lol @ the gag on Yang Dong-geun’s real age versus his character’s age.) Jung-gook then walks in, and Charles obediently follows orders to upload all the loan applications.
Nearly done with this backstabbing scam, Jung-gook picks up a call from Hoo-ja and threatens to ruin her and Joo-myung. Hoo-ja unexpectedly encourages him to upload the files and do whatever he wants. But she isn’t about to die alone.
She’s parked outside the police station and threatens to reveal everything to Mi-young so that Jung-gook gets arrested by his wife. The threat affects Jung-gook, and he tries to reason out an alternative. But Hoo-ja is done with compromise and seems ready to drag Jung-gook down with her.
Hoo-ja finds her way into Mi-young’s office, where she interrupts the team’s dinner. She greets Mi-young and cheerily acknowledges the team’s investigation of her, as confirmed by her photo on their whiteboard. She sits down and says that she’s returning the favor with an investigation on Mi-young and her husband, Yang Jung-gook.
With an impish smile, Hoo-ja expresses jealousy that Mi-young is married to Yang Jung-gook, the Brave Citizen. She wonders if that’s Jung-gook’s true identity and asks Mi-young if she really knows her husband. Hoo-ja doubts that Mi-young really knows her husband and presumes that Mi-young is the type of person who blindly trusted her husband without questioning a thing.
Irked by Hoo-ja’s implications, Mi-young orders her team to lock up Hoo-ja for interfering in their investigation, but Hoo-ja continues by warning her not to trust people so easily. Hoo-ja comments that Mi-young must have been hurt often because she trusts people too easily, and that provokes Mi-young to threaten to punch her.
Then, Hoo-ja reveals that Jung-gook is a conman. Before she can proceed any further, she receives a call from Jung-gook demanding to meet. With an impending new deal, Hoo-ja decides to stop divulging any more information. Before she heads out, she approaches Mi-young and whispers the reason why she’ll never be caught: Someone on Mi-young’s team took a bribe from Hoo-ja.
Jung-gook meets with Hoo-ja and hands over the loan applications to initiate a new deal. He’s followed in by Joo-myung, who immediately grabs Jung-gook’s collar, ready to fight. Hoo-ja orders the two to sit down and take care of business first, and she’s in command.
Hoo-ja holds into the loan applications as leverage over Joo-myung and threatens to release the evidence to the press if he fails to get Jung-gook elected. Sure, she would also face the consequences, but not nearly as severe as the fatal blow to Joo-myung and his career. Joo-myung looks shocked that Hoo-ja’s malicious threat.
Then, Hoo-ja turns to Jung-gook and asks if he has any other cards to play. She interprets his silence as a no and gives a final warning to the two men, “Don’t you dare try to fool me, manipulate me, play with me, or exploit me.” Then, she slams her sake glass on the table and shatters it. “You’ll die before you do.”
Hoo-ja storms out, and Joo-myung turns to Jung-gook to blame him for this whole mess. He asks Jung-gook if he’s really going to run for office. Jung-gook confirms that he will because he just realized that he’s more afraid of his true identity being revealed to his wife. Joo-myung can’t believe that Jung-gook is actually considering this gig, but Jung-gook looks determined because he has no other choice in order to protect his wife.
Meanwhile, Jung-gook’s con family sits outside, shivering in the cold while waiting for any word from Jung-gook. Little Haru needs to go to the bathroom, and Min-ji repeats her tagline: Go with Grandpa but pretend not to know him because Grandpa is a bad person. Fed up with her daughter’s sass, Dad holds Min-ji in a chokehold while Haru continues to eat her snacks. I love this family.
In the police office, Mi-young scans her team as they go through the collected evidence from the search of Baekkyung Capital. She can’t stand the internal conflict and discloses that Hoo-ja claimed to be bribing someone on the team. Whoever it is, she tells them to stop and not betray their family because it’s embarrassing, as a police officer.
When Mi-young gets home after work, she finds Jung-gook making dinner with an unusual cheer. She can sense that Jung-gook has unwelcome news for her, and she tells him to get on with it. Jung-gook sighs and reveals that he’s running for office. Mi-young thinks he’s joking, but Jung-gook denies her assumptions until she realizes that he’s serious.
Mi-young asks if this is a discussion or a notice, and Jung-gook responds that it’s a request. She interprets that as a notice and tells him that if he’s going to run for office, she’s kicking him out of the house. She starts packing his bags, and Jung-gook explains his rationale (to understand real life, what causes their marginalization, who caused their injury, and why they’re experiencing sadness), which is a literal copy and paste from Sang-jin, his politician-hopeful brother-in-law.
Confronting Jung-gook, Mi-young asks if he knows what causes her isolation, who causes her pain, and why she’s sad. She’s frustrated that he would care about other people when he doesn’t seem to care about her. Jung-gook tries to explain that he has his reasons, but he refuses to share any details about his extenuating circumstance.
Mi-young sighs in exasperation, and she accusingly asks if he ever consulted her about anything — he only gave her a notice after deciding on his own. She yells that he ignored her concerns and difficulties with Jung-gook gaining more public attention through the Brave Citizen interviews. Now, he’s deciding to run for office on his own.
Mi-young accuses Jung-gook of walking all over her, and Jung-gook angrily denies this. He reciprocates her frustration by blaming her of the same thing — she never consulted him before returning to field work. Mi-young says that she returned to the field so that she could live.
At first, Mi-young worked just to make a living, and eventually, work gave her life. Then, she met Jung-gook and liked him better than work, so she put prioritized him over work. But after they started living together, he started pushing her away. She says that she couldn’t eat properly at the dinner table for the past two years because of his silent frowns. At that confession, Jung-gook looks guilty.
Mi-young apologizes for not telling Jung-gook about work and admits that she never understood why married couples bore secrets from each other. But now, she understands that secrets are never intentional — secrets form because you can’t find the right time to tell the other person. She tearfully admits, “You end up losing the time and the person.”
As a final ultimatum, Mi-young tells him to pack his bags if he wants to run for office; otherwise, she’ll leave the house. Jung-gook sits on the bed with Mi-young under the covers, and he thinks about his decision until night turns into day.
Jung-gook makes a decision in the morning and gets up to leave, but Mi-young asks him to stay by her side. He looks conflicted but tells her that he’s running for office because he also wants to live.
At the police station, Mi-young listens to the press conference of her husband announcing his candidacy. Then, her team member calls her over to look at security camera footage from Baekkyung Capital. It’s Jung-gook walking through the company on the night Mi-young got attacked.
Mi-young looks at the footage and back at the news coverage of Jung-gook’s candidacy announcement. Something’s fishy, and she’s just caught the first whiff of suspicion.
Mi-young is on high alert now, and I’m excited to see how she peels away the façade of this election scheme. She’s astute and has sharp instincts that will surely make it a challenge for Jung-gook to squirm his way into the National Assembly. I appreciate how the show characterizes Mi-young as a strong, smart, but kind force. She stands her ground and instills fear, but she doesn’t have the heart to be cunning. Instead of sniffing out the mole on her team, she reveals the intel and trusts that her team will have her back. That speaks to her honesty and sensibility, and I admire that.
The irony of Jung-gook being the “Brave Citizen” is that Mi-young is really the brave one — tackling crime, defending the public from evil, and being fearlessly honest about her emotions. I admired Mi-young’s confession to Jung-gook at the end because she was so honest about her heartbreak and disappointment in their relationship. Vocalizing that disappointment and not hearing a satisfactory response from Jung-gook must have been crushing, but she defended her emotions and pain with grace. Part of me wishes that Jung-gook would fabricate something to explain his behavior for Mi-young’s sake, but I know that he doesn’t want to guard himself further with another lie. It’s kind of sweet in a backwards way, and I do hope that he’ll find a way to rekindle their relationship.
The highlight of this episode for me was Jung-gook’s con family, who have an exhilarating spark to them when they’re in their element. The family really came to life when they were in their fraud groove. I found it hilarious that Min-ji kept warning Haru that Grandpa was a bad person but passively accepted the fraud that was happening in the car. Yes, Grandpa may be a bad person committing crime, but go ahead and count the envelopes with fraudulent loan applications, Haru. This is how the con family genes get passed down.