My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 35-36 (Final)
Our conman lays it all on the line to confront corruption in the Assembly. Jung-gook defies common practices and comes clean, but only so that he can purge the dirty politicians on his way out. Jung-gook risks everything — his position, his marriage and his freedom — in order to remind the Assembly that their purpose is to serve the people. But will his fight be worth the sacrifice?
EPISODE 35 RECAP
When Jung-gook announces that he’s a conman, cameras flash and reporters type feverishly to cover the breaking story.
A short rewind shows that just as he left for the press conference, Jung-gook admitted that Assemblyman Kim’s allegations were true. Jung-gook confessed that he was a conman but Mi-young laughed, certain it was a joke.
At the press conference, Wang-go gasps as Jung-gook lists all of his crimes — Ponzi schemes, voice phishing and real estate fraud. Jung-gook freely admits that he covered up his past during his run for the Assembly. In fact, Jung-gook had hoped that the truth would never come out so that he could serve as an assemblyman. But in time, Jung-gook came to recognize his greed.
At home, Jung-gook explained that he decided to confess because he couldn’t lie to Mi-young anymore. At his press conference, Jung-gook continues, “I won’t hurt the people I cherish in order to hide my past. I won’t deceive my fellow citizens for my personal benefit.” Mi-young broke down in tears and hit Jung-gook as the truth sank in.
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I don’t want to lie anymore
Jung-gook’s words ring out as his press conference continues, “Dear fellow citizens, please don’t forgive me. I don’t deserve your forgiveness.” Mi-young’s sobs blend in with Jung-gook’s public confession that he betrayed his wife’s trust. At home, Jung-gook urged Mi-young, “Don’t forgive me…,” before he left.
Jung-gook ends his public statement with a promise to turn himself over to the police and an apology to those who voted for him.
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Please don’t forgive me
Mi-hee sits with Jung-gook and points out that in the tradition of con artists and assemblymen, he should have denied everything to maintain his innocence. Jung-gook finds such advice from a prosecutor unusual and jokes, “Should I say I’m a love artist instead?” Mi-hee laughs but opens her laptop and Jung-gook gets serious, “One should be punished for committing crimes.”
Hoo-ja hears all about Jung-gook’s confession from Mi-hee. Hoo-ja can’t understand Jung-gook’s move but Mi-hee happily concludes, “Things worked out great.” Hoo-ja informs her sister that they still need to get rid of Jung-gook’s wife to avoid future problems.
Mi-young is swarmed by reporters on her way to the police station. She walks into her office just as her team’s cases are carried away. Detective Na comes to Mi-young’s defense, “You’re a victim too…The con artist jerk who fooled you is at fault.” Mi-young understands, “When the person who was fooled is a cop she is at fault…I must take responsibility.”
Mi-young hands in her resignation but her mother won’t accept it. Mom insists that she can handle the fallout but Mi-young argues that she’s done enough after taking in a delinquent teenager and turning her into a cop.
Mom fights her tears to encourage Mi-young, “We can easily recover from this. That’s what family is for.” Mi-young insists that she’ll handle the issue herself and walks away.
Mi-young gets a call from Sang-jin and when they meet, she asks, “You knew, didn’t you,” and demands to know why he didn’t tell her. Sang-jin confesses that he tried to, but he couldn’t because he was convinced that Jung-gook’s love for Mi-young was genuine.
Sang-jin carefully explains that people don’t alway make good decisions and that Mi-young met Jung-gook when he was making bad ones. Sang-jin tells her, “He loved you sincerely, and now, he’s making the right decisions.” Mi-young angrily tells her brother, “The man I lived with for two years…feels like a stranger now.”
Mi-young leaves just as Mom calls to admit that she knew about Jung-gook but decided to hide it. Mom hoped that everything would work out but she admits that she made a mistake and that she will take responsibility for it.
The Chief faces a roomful of reporters and reiterates that Mi-young knew nothing about Jung-gook’s crimes. The Chief then confesses that even though she knew the truth, she chose to conceal it. Mi-young races back to the station as Mom defends her daughter’s reputation and announces her resignation. By the time Mi-young reaches the station, the press conference is over.
Mi-jin nervously twirls Ha-roo’s hair as she and her father wait outside of the prosecutor’s office. When Jung-gook emerges, Ha-roo hands her uncle some tofu but he reminds everyone that he was only questioned.
Dad scolds Jung-gook for confessing on TV and he and Mi-jin hit him but everyone is quiet when Mi-young arrives. She asks to speak with Jung-gook privately.
Mi-young and Jung-gook end up at the restaurant where he proposed. Mi-young asks, “What should we do now,” but all Jung-gook can say is, “What do you think we should do?”
Angry, Mi-young suggests, “It’s best we part ways, right?” Scenes highlight their relationship while Jung-gook confesses that his feelings for Mi-young were the one true thing in his life. He feared that if Mi-young learned that he was a con artist, she would doubt the sincerity of those feelings.
Mi-young proves his point when she admits that she can’t tell if he’s telling the truth. Mi-young then brings up that Hoo-ja is out to ruin her and informs Jung-gook that Hoo-ja’s sister was the prosecutor who interrogated him.
Mi-young delays any personal decisions to focus on catching Hoo-ja and asks Jung-gook to share his plan. In her experience, con artists don’t make a move without a plan and Jung-gook’s confession is no exception. Jung-gook admits that his actions were intended to force a general meeting.
Assemblyman Kim visits Hoo-ja to explain that there will be two general meetings three days apart — one to waive Jung-gook’s immunity and the other to approve his arrest. At the second meeting, the vote on the repeal of the Interest Regulation Act will be held. Assemblyman Kim reminds Hoo-ja that she needs lots of money to win back the assemblymen who sided with Jung-gook.
Mi-young asks Jung-gook how to bring down a moneylender and he suggests, “We can freeze their accounts.” Mi-young points out that Hoo-ja’s accounts are already frozen, it’s her fake accounts that can’t be found.
Jung-gook has the details on all of Hoo-ja’s fake accounts. When Mi-young asks how he got that information, Jung-gook recalls the night that Mi-jin’s text accessed Hoo-ja’s phone. Jung-gook stays mum about the details but urges Mi-young to hurry and freeze the fake accounts, cutting off Hoo-ja’s money supply.
Gwi-nam barges into the office to inform Hoo-ja that all of their fake accounts are being frozen. Hoo-ja calls bank after bank to check on the accounts but Team Three is one step ahead of her. Hoo-ja’s panic mounts and she lets out a scream while the detectives confirm that all of her accounts have been successfully frozen.
Mi-young calls Jung-gook to report that all of Hoo-ja’s accounts are now frozen and he praises her efforts, “Thanks. Good job.”
EPISODE 36 RECAP
There’s a buzz when Jung-gook arrives for the first general meeting. After Assemblyman Baek takes his seat, Jung-gook tries to apologize but is ignored. As the meeting gets underway, Jung-gook asks Assemblyman Baek if he still plans to vote against the repeal but is told, “We became co-conspirators with a con artist thanks to you.”
Jung-gook argues that the repeal of the regulation must be stopped, no matter what. As the leader of the Assembly introduces Jung-gook’s matter, Assemblyman Baek reminds Jung-gook how everyone turned their backs on Assemblyman Kim, “This is the same thing.”
Jung-gook pleads his case, “We are fighting jerks who buy people’s favor with money. The only thing we can do…is to show the truth. So how could I lie?” Assemblyman Baek points a finger in Jung-gook’s face, “There are times when you must hide small truths in order to obtain greater justice.”
The Assembly schedules the second general meeting for the next day. Meanwhile, Jung-gook reminds Assemblyman Baek, “You said you’d make sure bills like this never make it to the floor again.”
Assemblyman Baek denies any such promise and voices his intention to follow the decision of the People’s Party, “From now on, the party’s opinion is my opinion.” Assemblyman Baek walks out and is followed by the People’s Party to delay the vote on the repeal. Jung-gook tells Assemblyman Kim to get lost when he gloats over his victory.
Hoo-ja panics when Assemblyman Kim informs her that she has one day to come up with 1 billion won to bribe the five members of supreme council. Hoo-ja assures Assemblyman Kim that she’ll have the money by the morning. Once Assemblyman Kim is gone, Gwi-nam voices her doubts but Hoo-ja insists she just needs time to think of a plan.
Jung-gook visits Joo-myung, who now regrets his confession and blames Jung-gook, “I feel like I was conned.” Jung-gook reminds Joo-myung that he’ll soon be keeping him company.
Aware that the Assembly holds Jung-gook’s fate in their hands, Joo-myung tries to reassure him. Jung-gook knew that he could end up in jail and is prepared to take responsibility for his crimes, he’s just sorry that others don’t feel the same way.
Jung-gook believes that everything can change when the time is right and promises to rid the Assembly of the dirty, stagnant water. Joo-myung wonders if he’ll succeed and Jung-gook reminds him, “I always did the thing I had to do.”
When Jung-gook arrives at the Assembly in the morning, a news report explains that the vote to repeal the Interest Regulation Act will be held after the vote on Jung-gook’s arrest. Assemblyman Kim is on the phone with Hoo-ja, who promises that she’ll call once she has the money.
When Assemblyman Kim walks by, Jung-gook gives him one last chance, “Don’t live like that. Have some shame.” Assemblyman Kim reminds Jung-gook that he’s headed to prison and walks away.
In spite of her efforts, Gwi-nam can’t access a single account. With no other way to raise the money, Hoo-ja decides on a gift certificate exchange.
As the Assembly prepares to vote on Jung-gook’s arrest, Hoo-ja’s thugs order all of the Baekkyung employees to hand over their corporate credit cards. Hoo-ja has her team max out each card to purchase gift certificates.
Jung-gook is invited to address the assembly while Hoo-ja’s thugs purchase gift certificates all over town. Jung-gook is only at the podium long enough to admit to his guilt and to accept all charges.
Hoo-ha’s men have the gift certificates converted to cash while the anonymous vote gets underway in the Assembly. Assemblyman Kim can’t resist taunting Jung-gook who acts surprised, “Who are you?” Jung-gook laughs, “That’s right. Assemblyman Kim Nam-hwa. The former Nationalist party leader candidate who is totally in the sewer now.” Jung-gook insists, “Don’t act like you know me,” and then returns to his seat and checks his phone.
Hoo-ja orders her team to return to her office once the gift certificates have been converted to cash. She watches TV as Jung-gook’s fate is determined while his family is glued to their television.
In Jung-gook’s Assembly office, Wang-go coldly comments on the proceedings, “…he’s just a con artist.” The Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of Jung-gook’s arrest and he mutters, “I’m paying for all of my sins, that’s all.”
Mi-jin and Haru bawl while Dad comforts them, “It’s okay.” Seung-yi and Charles are bereft but Wang-go is unmoved. Seung-yi attacks him, “You jerk! I’ve been too nice! Just because I say I like you all the time.”
Hoo-ja smiles over Jung-gook’s fate just as Gwi-nam announces the money is ready. Hoo-ja’s men head out with duffle bags of cash as the People’s Party asks for a ten minute break before the repeal vote.
Assemblyman Kim is the center of attention as he calls Hoo-ja, who confirms, “I sent a billion dollars…” Assemblyman Cho calls Assemblyman Kim once he’s in possession of Hoo-ja’s money and the People’s Party agrees to repeal the Interest Rate Regulation Act. Assemblyman Kim uses his victory to campaign for his return to the party.
Just as the repeal vote is about to begin, Jung-gook gets a text. Assemblyman Cho’s car is blocked by Mi-young and he’s surprised when she arrests him for violating the Political Fund Act. She reminds Assemblyman Cho that his trunk is full of cash.
Jung-gook raises his hand and asks to speak about the repeal. As he approaches the podium, we see that Jung-gook met with Team Three to lay out his plan to catch Hoo-ja. Jung-gook was confident that Hoo-ja would find some way to raise money for bribes and Mi-young instructed her team to follow Hoo-ja’s men.
Team Three followed Hoo-ja’s team during every step of their scheme and their diligence paid off. When Team Three sees the money in Assemblyman Cho’s trunk, they’re confident that they have enough evidence to lock Hoo-ja up.
Jung-gook addresses the Assembly in a last ditch effort to preserve the Interest Rate Regulation Act, “If that act disappears…People with tough lives will have tougher lives.” Jung-gook’s father and sister are moved by Jung-gook’s appeal and Charles and Seung-yi are in tears. When Seung-yi glances over at a battered Wang-go, he pretends that he’s moved too.
Jung-gook challenges the assemblymen, “…you’re much smarter, and you’re much more thoughtful than a mere con artist like me. How can people like you call yourselves assemblymen?” Jung-gook calls out the People’s Party for accepting illegal funds from Hoo-ja and shouts, “You don’t fear the people!” In her office, Hoo-ja’s cup of tea slips from her hand and stains her clothes.
Assemblyman Kim bellows that they’re in the National Assembly. Jung-gook seizes his point, “This is the National Assembly…You’re assemblymen who took bribes.” Before anyone can stop him, Jung-gook shouts, “When this is over, you will be summoned for illegal political funds. You’ll become just like me now.”
The corrupt assemblymen check their phones and verify Jung-gook’s claim. Team Three barges into Hoo-ja’s office but they find Gwi-nam alone, holding the name plate that identifies her as the chairman.
In a passionate delivery, Jung-gook tells the Assembly, “…stop looking around for the party’s opinion, and follow your beliefs…show politics that are for the people.” Jung-gook argues that the best way to start is by protecting the Interest Rate Regulation Act.
Jung-gook concludes his powerful address with a plea, “Don’t abandon the people for your personal gains. That is the least you should do for the people. I’ll watch you in prison.” As Jung-gook returns to his seat, we hear that the bill to repeal the Interest Rate Regulation Act was defeated by a large majority.
At a park, a soccer ball hits a jittery foot that belongs to Hoo-ja. She’s soaked in sweat and looks around nervously and wonders, “Why did I become like this? What went wrong?”
Years later, Jung-gook walks out of prison and finds Charles, Mi-jin, Wang-go and Seung-yi waiting for him. Jung-gook asks Charles about his university studies, after being accepted in 2021(!).
When asked about their relationship, Wang-go admits that he and Seung-yi have broken up many times and pats her stomach as he concludes, “we are still well together.” Seung-yi swats his hand away and appeals to Jung-gook, “this guy is such a jerk. He cheated on me…”
Jung-gook interrupts Charles and Mi-jin (yet another couple) to ask about his father and Haru. Mi-jin explains that Haru is at school and, after she shoves some tofu towards Jung-gook, adds that Dad is preparing a feast.
Jung-gook unwraps the tofu and grouses that getting out of prison doesn’t deserve a feast. He pauses when a car pulls up and is surprised when Mi-young gets out. After Mi-young smiles first, Jung-gook’s face breaks into a huge smile.
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A fresh, hopeful start
So, Jung-gook’s sincerity turned out to be genuine, which was always his greatest strength. But it was at odds with his life as a con artist and so it was a relief for him to confess to his wrongdoings in order to fully reset his life. Jung-gook used his longing to free himself of his past to finish off Hoo-ja, once and for all, and to take with him the corrupt assemblymen who made a mockery of the people who voted them into office.
Jung-gook risked his marriage and hurt Mi-young in the process, but I think it ate at him to know that their relationship was based on lies. Mi-young was Jung-gook’s inspiration when he struggled over how to best serve the people but over time, he realized that he didn’t deserve her. Jung-gook had to confront his greed before he could challenge the greed of others.
And that was really the main theme of My Fellow Citizens, that greed that drives people to want something that they don’t deserve. For Jung-gook, his family, Hoo-ja and the corrupt assemblymen, it was other people’s money, illegally obtained. In this group, laws were meant to be bent, broken and ignored because money, power and influence were all that mattered. Once all of that was stripped away, they had nothing and were nothing, with the exception of Jung-gook, who was finally free from all of his lies. That image of the sweat-soaked and nervous Hoo-ja, with nowhere to go and no money, says it all.
It was rewarding to see Jung-gook reunited with his friends and family once he paid his debt to society, but the best reward was that Mi-young was waiting for him too. When you think about it, they both had troubled pasts, it’s just that Mi-young was rescued at a young age. Jung-gook had to rescue himself and it took lots longer for him to realize that his life of crime didn’t suit him. If anyone should understand Jung-gook’s dilemma, it’s Mi-young. Her mother and Sang-jin recognized a diamond in the rough teenager and took her into their home. It makes sense that Mi-young should forgive the man whose love for her was sincere and never wavered. Here’s to second chances.