My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 23-24
The election is down to two candidates, in-laws in fact, who are both determined to win. But the election isn’t the only major event on the horizon when some who are close to the candidates find themselves caught up in unexpected crises. Election night ends in joy for some and sorrow for others but in the end, someone is headed to the Assembly.
EPISODE 23 RECAP
As soon as Jung-gook pledges to stay in the election, an angry Sang-jin shouts at Myung-im’s husband to get the car.
With only two days until the election, Mi-young is hard at work campaigning from the back of the campaign truck. When Sang-jin’s van catches up to it, Sang-jin shouts to block the truck and Wang-go falls off (again) as it’s forced to make a sudden stop.
Sang-jin jumps out of the van and angrily shouts for Mi-young as he recalls Hoo-ja’s advice to tell her the truth about Jung-gook. Sang-jin spins Mi-young around but he’s suddenly speechless when she looks at him.
Sang-jin recalls what he told Hoo-ja, that it would be worse for Mi-young to learn the truth from someone else. Sang-jin looks into Mi-young’s face and apologizes for the mishap. Once he’s back in the van, Sang-jin makes a call.
Sang-jin barges into Hoo-ja’s office, interrupting her meeting with Kim Joo-myung. As Joo-myung walks out, Sang-jin demands to know, “Why are you helping Jung-gook?” Joo-myung reminds Sang-jin that’s not the kind of question to ask someone that he’s just met.
Hoo-ja knows what Sang-jin is thinking, “I’m very disappointed. If you keep this up, I can’t trust you.” Sang-jin tersely explains that as long as Jung-gook withdraws from the race, his relationship with Hoo-ja won’t suffer. Hoo-ja doesn’t look pleased with Sang-jin’s benignity.
Hoo-ja sits back and explains that for once, her hands aren’t dirty thanks to Kang Soo-il’s surprise move. Joo-myung advised her stay out of the election and see which of her candidates wins, “Han Sang-jin, who changes his word to win votes or Jung-gook, who changes his heart for the people?”
After Hoo-ja informs Sang-jin that he’s on his own, he announces that they never need to see each other again. On his way out, Hoo-ja plays a recording of their conversation plotting Kang Soo-il’s downfall. When Sang-jin turns around in alarm, Hoo-ja makes herself clear, “Don’t give me an attitude ever again.”
By the time Jung-gook returns to the campaign office, everyone is out campaigning except for Charles and Seung-yi. Jung-gook’s con-friends are upset because they’ve just figured out that if Jung-gook gets elected, they’ll be out of the con business. Before Jung-gook can resolve their concerns, he gets a call from Hee-jin.
Jung-gook and Hee-jin sit silently in Jung-gook’s van until he explains that he has one question that he’s waited three years to ask. But first he wants to hear what Hee-jin has to say.
Hee-jin apologizes for meeting his wife but Hoo-ja left her no choice. Once Jung-gook is sure that Hee-jin has nothing more to say, he asks, “Why did you run away back then?” After Jung-gook lists the many ways that she wronged him, Hee-jin blurts out that she had to leave him before he left her, because, “We’re con artists.”
Satisfied with her answer, Jung-gook bids Hee-jin farewell forever and gets out of his car. It’s payback time when Seung-yi, wearing her “work” gloves, and Charles get in and soon the van is filled with Hee-jin’s screams.
On the eve of the election, Gwi-nam and Hoo-ja are with their father. The doctors don’t expect him survive much longer so Gwi-nam offers to call their sisters.
A pensive Hoo-ja admits to Gwi-nam that even though she hated her father, she prayed for his recovery. As time passed, she realized that her life would be better if he died, but now that the time has come, she just wants to look at him while she still can.
When Hoo-ja leaves her father’s hospital room, she dismisses Ma Sang-bum who’s been busy cleaning the room. When Ma Sang-bum approaches Gwi-nam to ask if he really free to leave, she warns, “Don’t let us see you ever again. If we catch you conning people, you’re dead.” Once Gwi-nam is alone with her father, tears fill her eyes while she gazes at his face.
Myung-im’s husband runs from a building at Seoul University to call his wife with news that Yang Jung-gook never graduated from the school. The couple shares the news with Sang-jin at the campaign office and then make plans for a press conference to reveal Jung-gook’s fraud.
Sang-jin reminds the couple that Mi-young will be hurt by the news. At the same time, Jung-gook sees Hoo-ja parked nearby while he does some last minute campaigning with Mi-young.
Myung-im asks Sang-jin if he likes Mi-young just as Jung-rook walks over to see what Hoo-ja wants. Hoo-ja surprises Jung-gook when she volunteers, “Han Sang-jin knows what you used to be.” She adds that even though she made a mess, Jung-gook will have to resolve it on his own.
Myung-im’s husband finds himself caught between his wife, who orders him to set up the press conference, and Sang-jin, who doesn’t want to hurt Mi-young. When Myung-im picks up her phone to call the reporters herself, Sang-jin hurls it against a wall.
Fed up, Myung-im makes it clear that it’s time for Sang-jin to get his hands dirty. On her way out, Myung-im has some final words for Sang-jin, “Call me if you decide to hold the press conference. Or don’t call me ever again.”
Detective Gu has Yang Shi-chul’s address for the Chief along with an update, “After being out for a year, he served three years because of a real estate con in 2008.” Detective Gu also learned that Shi-chul’s son, Yang Jung-gook, is a known con artist as well.
Detective Gu suspects Jung-gook is the reason for the Chief’s interest in Shi-chul. The Chief gets Detective Gu to see how ridiculous that sounds, that his lieutenant’s husband, the Chief’s son-in-law, is a con artist. She advises Detective Gu to forget his suspicions before dismissing him.
Jung-gook meets Sang-jin at the bar where he proposed to Mi-young. After pouring Sang-jin some soju, Jung-gook gets to the point, “I heard Chairman Park told you. Please say what you want. I’m ready.”
EPISODE 24 RECAP
Sang-jin asks if Jung-gook really loves Mi-young. Jung-gook answers that he dated Mi-young because he loved her and he married her for the same reason. It’s why he feels so guilty.
Sang-jin instructs Jung-gook to listen to what he has to say and then to choose wisely, “In exactly thirty minutes, I’m holding a press conference. I will say that you lied about your education. Then Mi-young will find out too.”
Sang-jin knows that Mi-young will be crushed by the news and we see her slap Jung-gook and then sob, “How could you do this to me?” Sang-jin predicts that he’ll easily win the election while Jung-gook will lose everything, unless he takes action.
Jung-gook confirms what he just heard, “‘If Mi-young finds out you’re a con artist, your marriage is over.’ You just threatened me with that, right?” Jung-gook admits that even though he considered dropping out of the election on his way to their meeting, Sang-jin’s threat just awakened his competitive spirit.
Jung-gook knows too well that Mi-young will be hurt once she learns the truth and this time we see her toss Jung-gook with superhuman strength and pull him into headlock as she rages. But Jung-gook paints an entirely different picture when he argues that Sang-jin will lose the election after people turn on him for using smear tactics.
Jung-gook reasons that in the end, Sang-jin will gain nothing by exposing Jung-gook’s secret. When Sang-jin isn’t swayed, Jung-gook shares his plan to tell Mi-young the truth before the press conference. Sang-jin agrees that it would be best for her to hear it from Jung-gook.
As soon as Sang-jin is gone, Jung-gook jumps in his car and calls Mi-young, who’s at the campaign office eating dinner with Charles, Seung-yi and Wang-go. Jung-gook tells Mi-young that he’s on his way to tell her something important.
With Mi-young distracted, Wang-go steals some food from her plate. He has to give it back when he’s caught, so he’s surprised to find some meat sitting on top of his rice. When Seung-yi bats her eyes at him, Wang-go loses his appetite. Haha.
On his way to the press conference, Sang-jin is tempted to call Mi-young but he calls his mother instead. He wants her to know that he’s about to make a shocking announcement about Jung-gook and hangs up before she can respond.
When Charles learns that Sang-jin scheduled a press conference, Mi-young turns on the TV just as an announcer speculates that Sang-jin has shocking news about Jung-gook.
The Chief hears the same report as Jung-gook speeds to reach Mi-young. With no time to spare, Jung-gook runs up the stairs as soon as he reaches the office building.
With only thirty seconds until the press conference, Sang-jin gets a call from his mother. He answers and explains that he needs to call her back but his mother warns, “…Sang-jin, if you say it, we might never see Mi-young again. Let’s not dump her for the election. She’s family.”
By the time that Jung-gook reaches the campaign office, Sang-jin’s press conference is already over. Mi-young nonchalantly reports what Sang-jin had to say during his brief announcement, “I hope it’ll be a good fight.”
When Mi-young asks Jung-gook what he wanted to tell her, he takes one look at the bandages on her hands and apologizes for making her suffer. Mi-young encourages Jung-gook to suffer just a little longer and they hold hands as they head out to campaign together one last time.
After the polls close on election day, Jung-gook and his team watch the televised results. The candidates appear on screen — Jung-gook dressed as a boxer and Sang-jin in a traditional hanbok.
Jung-gook’s team cheers when it’s reported that he’s in the lead, but a correction has Sang-jin leading by 4.6%. While the rest of the team moans, Seung-yi and Charles secretly celebrate.
Sang-jin’s team erupts in cheers and when the People’s Party representative arrives he whispers to Sang-jin, “Everyone in our party lost. You have to win.”
Jung-gook’s father steps out of his house while on the phone and stops when he comes face to face with Mi-young’s mother.
With 20% of the votes counted, Sang-jin’s lead widens considerably. Seung-yi and Charles share a fist bump while Joo-myung offers encouragement. Mi-jin kills the time by drinking soju and sharing snacks with Ha-ru.
The in-laws sit down together and the Chief notes their unlikely connection, “Who would’ve known your son would become my son-in-law?”
Gwi-nam is with her father when an alarm sounds as he starts to crash.
Shi-chul exhales shakily when Mi-young’s mother assures him that Mi-young doesn’t know the truth about Jung-gook. She confides, “…I raised Mi-young as if she were my own. I may not have given birth to her, but she was born from my heart. She’s my child.”
We see Mi-young by Jung-gook’s side as her mother continues, “Her birth parents passed away when she was young and she grew up lonely and all alone…with no one to turn to or give her heart to.” Tears fall from the Chief’s eyes as she admits, “I thought she could finally stop suffering.”
Jung-gook’s father falls to his knees, “Please forgive me, Captain. My son…was cursed with a bad father, but he’s kind and pure-hearted.” Shi-chul promises to disappear and reasons that if Jung-gook is elected to the Assembly, he won’t get into any more trouble.
Shi-chul can hardly speak as he vows that he’ll never see Jung-gook again. He sobs, “Please forgive Jung-gook. Then I’ll do anything.” Mi-young’s mother drops to the floor to take the hand of the grieving father and confesses that she can’t rob him of his child.
Mi-young’s mother proposes, “Let’s bury all of this in our hearts.” With Jung-gook and Mi-young finally happy, her mother can’t bear to tear them apart. Shi-chul thanks the Chief through his tears as the mother and father weep for their children.
With 90% of the votes counted, Jung-gook pulls into the lead by 27 votes. Everyone at Jung-gook’s campaign headquarters cheers, except for Charles and Seung-yi. Joo-myung shouts, “It’s almost done. He can’t pass you!” When Sang-gin leads by 1,592 votes at the 95% mark, Joo-myung changes his tune, “We can pass him!”
Gwi-nam starts to cry when the doctor pronounces her father dead. She calls Hoo-ja with the news just as it’s announced that Sang-jin’s lead has narrowed. Seung-yi and Charles pray for Jung-gook to lose as Wang-go prays for him to win.
Jung-gook has a 52 vote lead at the 99% mark. Jung-gook shouts, “Let’s become an Assemblyman,” while Sang-jin erupts, “Let’s pass him. Please!”
With 99.6% of the votes counted, Jung-gook is declared the winner and his boxer avatar raises his fists in victory as Sang-jin’s hangs his head in defeat. Jung-gook is in shock as Mi-young wraps her arms around his neck, tears streaming from her eyes. Charles and Seung-yi pretend to celebrate amid the cheers while Mi-jin and Ha-ru sleep through the whole thing.
At Sang-jin’s campaign office, a tearful Myung-im and her husband are soon the only ones left.
Hoo-ja weeps alone while staring at a photo of her father, but she’s composed by the time that she exits her office. Hoo-ja is met by applause and cheers from the Baekkyung employees waiting to greet her, “Here comes the chairman!”
The mood between Jung-gook’s father and Mi-young’s mother is much happier as they laugh together and share some soju.
Once the shock of the election wears off, Jung-gook thanks Mi-young for all of her hard work and promises, “You won’t have to cry anymore.” When garlands of flowers are placed around their necks, Jung-gook and Mi-young raise their hands in victory. In the commotion, their wedding photo is knocked to the floor, shattering the glass.
With so much invested in the election, I wasn’t expecting extra angst as the votes were being counted. While Chairman Park’s demise wasn’t a surprise, the timing certainly was. But his death was long expected and while Hoo-ja and Gwi-nam were sad, they weren’t necessarily devastated. That can’t be said for Jung-gook’s father and Mi-young’s mother, the Chief, who were forced to confront the truth that their children are in an impossible situation. What a powerfully acted scene by Woo Hyeon and Gil Hae-yeon as two parents who want what’s best for their children. In my experience, Woo Hyeon usually plays funny or quirky characters so I was impressed by his dramatic abilities. His grief at the realization that he would never see Jung-gook again was heart wrenching, but Shi-chul was willing to do anything to give his son a chance at a happy life. And of course Mi-young’s mother had to choose between what she knows is right as a police chief and what her heart tells her is best for her daughter. No wonder these two were so heartbroken.
Mi-young was also at the center of the confrontation between Jung-gook and Sang-jin. Sang-jin was ready to expose Jung-gook’s fraud to win the election but Mi-young is his kryptonite and in the end, he spared her, thanks to a furtive plea from Mom. After losing that very close election, Sang-jin now has to come to terms with the kind of man that he really is. He’s not as pure as he saw himself, quite the contrary. Sang-jin proved to be a huge hypocrite as the campaign heated up and his colleagues were as dirty and conniving as they had to be to get him to the Assembly. There’s going to be some serious soul searching now that Jung-gook has bested Sang-jin.
Hoo-ja took a step back in this episode as her two candidates duked it out for the Assembly position. She’s sure to be back with a vengeance now that her father is gone and I expect to see the other Park sisters making Hoo-ja’s life difficult. How that affects her power could impact Jung-gook now that he’s an assemblyman. Will he have to overturn the Interest Regulation Act or will Hoo-ja have to abandon that quest to fight her sisters? The election may be over, but Hoo-ja still poses a serious threat for Jung-gook and Mi-young. Now, even more people are aware of Jung-gook’s duplicity, so how long can Mi-young remain in the dark? If the shattering of that wedding photo is any indication, Mi-young is bound to learn the truth about her husband very soon.