My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 27-28
Our conman-assemblyman can’t seem to stay out of trouble but he’s determined to maintain a low profile in order to save life and limb. Unfortunately, that attitude is at odds with his desire to be useful and his wife’s example of the sacrifice involved to serve the people. After Jung-gook discovers corruption in the Assembly that shocks even him, he uses his platform to do something about it.
EPISODE 27 RECAP
As soon as Hoo-ja realizes that six of her assemblymen resigned thanks to Jung-gook’s apartment scam investigation, she hurls a cup at her television and shatters the screen.
Hoo-ja calls Henchman Choi and screams for him to bring her Jung-gook. Henchman Choi and his thugs beat up Charles, scare Mi-jin and Haru, they even visit Mi-young at home, but they don’t find Jung-gook.
Jung-gook’s father sneaks into an old building and is allowed into Jung-gook’s hideout, an empty apartment. The men sit on the floor to share the food that Dad brought while he sums up his son’s predicament — Hoo-ja sent him to the Assembly to overturn the Interest Regulation Act, but six of the assemblymen on her side resigned after the apartment con was exposed.
Dad suggests begging for forgiveness but Jung-gook explains that Hoo-ja is more like the killing type. We then see Jung-gook drinking soju alone at a pojangmacha while we hear Dad’s plan to save him. Dad figures that now that Jung-gook is a public figure, he should be safe in a hospital with reporters around to monitor his condition.
Jung-gook doesn’t have a reason to be in the hospital so his father suggests an “accident”. Jung-gook guesses that he’ll have to walk in front of a car and decides, “I’ll have to drink first.”
Jung-rook calls Dad after he’s downed some soju and in true con fashion, Dad warns, “Be careful. But not too careful.” After he hangs up, Dad returns to watching a documentary about gazelles.
Jung-gook makes a beeline for the street while a lioness attacks a gazelle. The gazelle gets away only to be captured by other members of the pride just when Henchman Choi pushes Jung-gook to the ground. Dad winces when the gazelle is devoured as a black bag is placed over Jung-gook’s head.
Jung-gook is in the back of a car when Henchman Choi removes the bag and orders, “Go in. The chairman is waiting.” Jung-gook walks into Kim Joo-myung’s favorite restaurant where Hoo-ja is enjoying a solitary dinner.
Jung-gook tries to explain that he didn’t mean to cause trouble. Hoo-ja is honest about Jung-gook’s situation, “You wouldn’t be here if you were caught just a few hours ago. Time saved you.”
It turns out that the resignations of the assemblymen were cancelled, thanks to an agreement made by the two major political parties. Assemblyman Kim negotiated that deal after getting the members in the Minjin Party very drunk.
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Saved by corruption
While thankful that he’s off the hook, Jung-gook is disturbed by the antics of his self-serving colleagues. Joo-myung joins them and is aghast to learn that Hoo-ja knows that he gave Jung-gook permission to look into the apartment scam. Joo-myung assumes that Jung-gook confessed but Hoo-ja identifies her source, the old woman who owns the restaurant.
Hoo-ja has a job for Joo-myung and Jung-gook and she smiles to herself when she recalls the deal that she made with Assemblyman Kim. The crooked assemblyman wants Jung-gook to attack the nominee in an upcoming confirmation hearing, opening the door for the People’s Party to block his appointment.
Assemblyman Kim explained his reason for the aggressive attack, he wants concessions from the Minjin Party, including the general meeting that Hoo-ja needs to overturn the Interest Regulation Act. In the present, Hoo-ja tells Joo-myung to prepare Jung-gook to go after the nominee, Kim Chae-jin. Confused, Jung-gook asks, “When will you explain all of this to me?”
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Fron conman to political assassin
Mi-young and her mother are in the middle of a sparring session and discuss Sang-jin. Mom assures Mi-young that Sang-jin will return their calls when he’s ready.
Mom tells Mi-young that thanks to her work on the apartment scam, headquarters expressed interest in her. Mi-young reminds her mother that she still needs to catch Park Hoo-ja. Mom fakes an injury to get an advantage over Mi-young and after she throws her onto the mat, warns, “…don’t get suckered again like this. Be rational when you catch her.”
Mi-young meets with her team to discuss how to come between Henchman Choi and Hoo-ja. Detective Ku discovered that Henchman Choi is in charge of one of Baekkying Capital’s side businesses, The Godfather, a collection company. Mi-young wants to convince Hoo-ja that Henchman Choi has been keeping some of the collected funds for himself.
Detective Lee balks when Mi-young tells him that it’s time to meet with Hoo-ja. He’s afraid of Hoo-ja but when his teammates threaten to reveal his betrayal, Detective Lee salutes Mi-young and enthuses, “I am ready!”
Shaking and sweating, Detective Lee pays Hoo-ja a visit. He makes up an excuse for his worrisome condition before delivering his message, “Choi Pil-joo. I heard that he was dipping into your pot a little without your knowledge.”
In flashback, Mi-young admitted that even though she had no proof for the allegation, it’s probably true because a man like Choi wouldn’t be able to resist all of that money. Back in the present, Detective Lee urges Hoo-ja to check the ledger in Choi’s office for proof.
Gwi-nam checks the ledger and finds that Henchman Choi has been embezzling from them. Hoo-ja notes that at this point in the movies, the boss asks his Number Two, “How many years have we been together?” When Choi answers that he’s worked for Hoo-ja for over three years, she wonders that’s too long or not long enough.
Hoo-ja refuses to listen to Choi’s apology, “If you apologize after doing whatever you want, you’re not sorry. You’re looking down on me.” Calling the tens of thousands that Choi stole from her “chump change”, Hoo-ja decides to ignore this one transgression but warns, “If you do this again, I will kill you.”
On her way out, Hoo-ja calls Detective Lee to thank him, unaware that Team Three is watching her from their van parked nearby.
At Jung-gook’s campaign office, Joo-myung yells into his phone when Nominee Kim’s background check yields nothing useful. He wants details about parking tickets, foreign investments, etc., and Jung-gook explains to Charles, “That’s where the best ammo comes from.”
Jung-gook suggests to Joo-myung that they can hack Nominee Kim’s email to steal the information that they need. It just so happens that Jung-gook knows a talented hacker who’s never been caught and of course he’s talking about Mi-jin. Soon, Mi-jin has her laptop set up in the office with Haru by her side.
Before she gets started, Mi-jin reviews her complicated fee schedule and when Joo-myung criticizes her for focusing on money, she asks, “Am I wrong?” Seung-yi sits up when an adoring Wang-go tells Mi-jin, “I love you too,” and warns her rival, “Don’t touch my man.”
Jung-gook hands Mi-jin a slip of paper and orders, “Send a phishing text to this number.” While Mi-jin prepares the text, Wang-go, Charles and Seung-yi moisturize with some distinctive face masks and scare Joo-myung half to death. (A random but memorable PPL)
When Mi-jin is done, Nominee Kim gets a text promising some scintillating information on a fellow assemblyman. He doesn’t click on the link right away, so Mi-jin offers to try again for an additional $1,000.
Everyone cheers when Nominee Kim opens the link and his personal information starts to pop up on Mi-jin’s computer. Joo-myung is impressed and Mi-jin agrees to help him in the future, as long as she’s paid.
After poring through Nominee Kim’s personal documents, Jung-gook finds multiple illegal financial transactions. Jung-gook tells Joo-myung, “He’s a total con artist…worse than I am in certain ways.” Jung-gook is confused because Nominee Kim first belonged to the People’s Party before switching to the Minjin Party to secure his nomination.
Joo-myung tells Jung-gook that’s just the way politics works and urges him to get used to it. Jung-gook doesn’t want to get used to it and vows to do things his way because that’s how he got elected. The men are interrupted when Jung-gook gets a call from Hoo-ja.
Jung-gook opens the door to Hoo-ja’s office and overhears Assemblyman Kim tell Hoo-ja that he got a call from the Minjin Party.
EPISODE 28 RECAP
Jung-gook assures Hoo-ja and Assembly Kim that he’s been busy prepping for the hearing as requested. Assemblyman Kim has to tell Jung-gook that all of his hard work won’t be needed after all because his party made a deal with the Minjin Party — they agreed to all of the People’s Party’s demands as long as their nominee isn’t challenged.
Hoo-ja and Assemblyman Kim are surprised by Jung-gook’s reaction, “You people are a bunch of thugs!” Hoo-ja isn’t interested in his opinion and reminds Jung-gook that all that matters is the general meeting. Jung-gook snaps, “You’re the one who told me to cut him down!”
Hoo-ja reminds Jung-gook that once the Interest Rate Regulation Act is repealed they can go their separate ways. Defeated, Jung-gook agrees, “Fine. I won’t go…Even if I insist on going…you’ll have Mr. Choi stop me.” An upset Jung-gook leaves first.
When Jung-gook walks in his front door, Mi-young welcomes him with a smile and a hug. Later, they cuddle in bed and Mi-young wishes Jung-gook luck at the next day’s confirmation hearing. Jung-gook doesn’t want to discuss it and asks her about work. He’s worried when he learns that Mi-young is back on Hoo-ja’s case and asks her to pick something else. Mi-young reminds Jung-gook that it’s her job to protect the people, even if it’s dangerous.
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It’s my job to catch bad people
Nominee Kim is greeted warmly when he arrives for his confirmation hearing. A news report describes the favorable atmosphere as Jung-gook watches the proceedings from his office with Charles, Seung-yi and Wang-go. The reporter adds that Jung-gook’s office issued an announcement that he won’t be attending the hearing.
Jung-gook stares at the TV screen as Nominee Kim is sworn in and promises to tell the truth. Hoo-ja watches the proceedings in her office until Gwi-nam runs in to report that the police just showed up at The Godfather offices with a search warrant.
With Team Two busy gathering evidence, Mi-young informs her team that the next step is to use Detective Lee to get Henchman Choi to turn on Hoo-ja. At the same time, Hoo-ja shouts at Gwi-nam to find Henchman Choi.
Assemblyman Kim opens the confirmation hearing with a short speech about the country’s troubled economy. Nominee Kim promises, “I will give everything I have and work hard.” Seung-yi scores points with Wang-go when she calls Assemblyman Nam-hwa a hypocrite and pronounces the word correctly.
Charles reminds Jung-gook that the only crime Nominee Kim isn’t guilty of is murder. Wang-go insists that he would prevent the man’s confirmation if he was an assemblyman.
Wang-go is appalled when Seung-yi asks, “What does the Ministry of Ecology and Finance do,” and he tells her to try reading a newspaper. They argue while Charles pressures Jung-gook to attend the hearing and Jung-gook finally snaps, bellowing, “Shut it!”
Jung-gook recalls Mi-young’s words to him the night before, “I should fulfill my role… So you fulfill your role too.”
Assemblyman Kim’s praise of Nominee Kim is cut short when Jung-gook walks into the hearing, greeted by a flurry of camera flashes. Hoo-ja watches Jung-gook’s arrival on television and makes a call but she doesn’t connect.
When called upon to question the nominee, Jung-gook announces that Assemblyman Kim asked him to pressure Nominee Kim during the hearing, but after making a secret deal with the Minjin Party, he changed his mind. Assemblyman Kim then instructed Jung-gook to keep quiet and to skip the hearing.
Jung-gook defiantly declares that he won’t do as he was told because of his responsibility to the citizens who elected him. Jung-gook decided to attend the hearing to get to the truth on behalf of, “…my fellow citizens.”
Jung-gook then begins questioning Nominee Kim, starting with a sizable cash payment that he accepted to avoid paying taxes. Hoo-ja gasps in shock and a call from Detective Lee only adds to her distress.
Detective Lee informs Hoo-ja that a safe was discovered during the raid, filled with repayment certificates. Detective Lee guesses that Henchman Choi was keeping all of the money that some of the lenders repaid.
Detective Lee laughs when Hoo-ja sets down her phone to scream. Mi-young reasons, “Of course, she’s angry. Someone she works with betrayed her. Right?” Detective Lee apologizes again for his betrayal but the team is finally warming up to him after all of his help.
Jung-gook questions Nominee Kim about some farmland that he owns. Jung-gook found just one tree on that “farm” and guesses that Nominee Kim intends to sell the parcel for a significant profit once the area has been rezoned.
When Assemblyman Kim jumps in to defend the nominee, Jung-gook brings up a questionable money exchange involving U.S. dollars, purchased just before the value went up. Jung-gook believes that Nominee Kim received a tip about the exchange rate and used that information in his favor.
To support his claim, Jung-gook mentions a social club started by Nominee Kim and an old school friend, which he delicately labels “The Libertines” (Oh my). A member of that club handles the foreign exchange rates and Jung-gook is convinced that the members benefitted from inside information. Jung-gook wants the identities of those members to check their currency exchange history, but Nominee Kim won’t cooperate.
Jung-gook asks Nominee Kim if he’s qualified to become the Minister of Economy and Finance. When Nominee Kim answers that he’s lacking in many ways, Jung-gook insists that the nominee is actually overflowing, with money and greed.
Assemblyman Kim motions for Jung-gook’s microphone to be turned off just as Jung-gook shouts that he won’t play political games. Once his microphone off, Jung-gook stands up and shouts that he’ll do right by the citizens. He challenges his fellow assemblymen, “Have a conscience, people.”
Epilogue: A black sedan, a van and a team of thugs are waiting when Hoo-ja’s eldest sister, Jin-hee, walks out of prison. Jin-hee hands her bag to her Number Two in exchange for a pair of sunglasses. As she places them over her eyes, Jin-hee inquires, “So, where is our dear Assemblyman, Yang Jung-gook?”
Way to go Jung-gook! He decided to stand up to those corrupt assemblymen who look down on all of their constituents while they line their pockets with illegally acquired money. His anger grew exponentially during all of that posturing at the confirmation hearing until he finally exploded. Jung-gook blew into that hearing like a breath of fresh air and that bright yellow tie was like an illuminating ray of sunshine. And Jung-gook shined that light on all of the shady dealings of the nominee, who has no business being in public office.
Jung-gook can expect some serious repercussions for confronting entrenched political practices, plus Hoo-ja is sure to retaliate. However, he’s been emboldened by his responsibilities as an assemblyman and inspired by Mi-young’s dedication, so Jung-gook can no longer live in hiding as he did in the first half of the episode. He’s ready to tell the truth about what really goes on in the Assembly, but is he prepared for the truth about his past to be revealed? It seems to me as if he hasn’t thought that far ahead.
Jung-gook hasn’t suddenly transformed into a Boy Scout and that phishing scheme is proof that he’ll break the law when it suits him. But so far, everyone that he’s encountered in the Assembly is dirty, so Jung-gook used his conman know how and his sister’s talent to prove that the nominee is unfit. What I found funny is that not only was Joo-myung impressed, he’s now eager to partner with Mi-jin. Those two make an unlikely, yet intriguing, team.
Just when I was about to give up hope, Jin-hee was finally released from prison. But why is Jung-gook her first order of business? Does she want to exact revenge for her father’s collapse and subsequent demise? So far Jung-gook has barely managed to stay alive in his dealings with Hoo-ja, but what if he’s hunted by two lionesses? He could end up like that gazelle…I’m still haunted by that scene. Here’s hoping that the gazelle’s fate is as dark as this drama gets as we head into finale week.