Vagabond: Episode 4
With our crew back on home soil, they finally have some time to dig into the reason why the terrorists targeted the flight to Morocco. But even in Korea, there are new dangers lurking around seemingly every corner, and if our heroes aren’t careful, they might meet a similar fate.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
At a military luncheon, the representatives from both Dynamic System and John & Mark mingle with top government officials. Jessica approaches Chief Park during the party, mainly to taunt him about Dynamic’s reputation going down the drain with the crash.
At the airport, Lily sets her assassination plan in motion. As the would-be assassin approaches Dal-geon from behind, however, he notices the man’s reflection in Hae-ri’s sunglasses.
Dal-geon swirls around and catches the man’s hand before he can attack. However, the murder-ring is inconspicuous enough to avoid suspicion, and when Lily sends in another lackey to pretend that the assassin is just a normal pilot, Dal-geon lets him go without further scrutiny.
Just then agent Gong arrives to chauffeur Dal-geon and Hae-ri out of the airport. Lily glares at Dal-geon as he escapes her plot, and smirks that he might turn out to be an interesting challenge.
At a restaurant, Hae-ri and Dal-geon inquire about agent Gong’s investigation into the crash, and are disappointed to learn that not only were all of the files on the suspected terrorists wiped completely clean, but the investigation into the video is stalled as well.
Dal-geon excuses himself to take a call from Hoon’s mother, but he’s enraged to learn that she’s only interested in getting financial compensation for Hoon’s death. Dal-geon warns her to avoid meeting with the other victims’ families and instead stay out of his sight.
Afterwards, a man who overheard the trio talking about the case in the restaurant introduces himself to Dal-geon as Reporter Jo from a local newspaper.
Reporter Jo has been digging into the crash himself, and reveals that the day before the accident someone reported the impending terrorist attack to the airport. However, the officer who took the call immediately fell into a coma, and the police are blocking access to her.
Reporter Jo asks to interview Dal-geon about what happened in Morocco, but to keep it a secret from Hae-ri and agent Gong, and they agree to meet later. Dal-geon makes a quick excuse to ditch the agents and heads off to meet the reporter.
Not long after, by coincidence Hae-ri spots Dal-geon chatting with the reporter, and she and agent Gong decide to stalk them for a bit.
Reporter Jo speculates to Dal-geon that the reason for the terrorist attack was because of the fighter jet contract. Reporter Jo claims he knows an informant who is going to reveal John & Mark’s involvement in the scheme, and he and Dal-geon rush off to find the informant.
The pair head to love motel to meet the informant, with Hae-ri and agent Gong tailing them (and slightly confused as to why the two men are going to a love motel together). Reporter Jo goes to meet the informant alone while Dal-geon waits in the lobby.
After about half an hour, Dal-geon’s patience wears thin, and he decides to go check out the room himself. When he arrives, he finds reporter Jo in a pool of blood.
With his last bit of strength, reporter Jo thrusts a pen into Dal-geon’s hand then falls limp. Dal-geon rushes to call an ambulance, but as he does so a masked man jumps him and starts flailing at him with a knife. Dal-geon fights him off and the man flees, so Dal-geon chases him out of the motel.
Outside, the attacker nearly runs Dal-geon over with a bike, and he jumps into agent Gong’s waiting car to give chase. They are unable to chase for long, though, as the attacker easily slips away with his more mobile bike.
Dal-geon leads the trio back to the scene and takes the emergency response teams up to the room, but when he gets there, all signs of any sort of struggle, including reporter Jo’s body, are gone.
The police are annoyed at Dal-geon apparently wasting their time, and when the cops find that nobody even checked into the room, they dismiss Dal-geon’s claims as nonsense.
Hae-ri stops Dal-geon from making a further scene, but lets him know that she believes he’s telling the truth. After the police leave, Dal-geon shows Hae-ri the pen reporter Jo gave him, and they find a damaged USB stick inside that they’ll need to repair.
Later that night, Dal-geon heads to a meeting for the victim’s loved ones, where they’re sharing stories to help heal the emotional trauma of the crash. At the same time, Hae-ri repairs the USB and finds it contains information about co-pilot Kim and his wife, Ms. Oh.
Hae-ri calls Dal-geon to inform him that not long ago co-pilot Kim took out a massive life insurance policy on himself, with wife Oh as the beneficiary. Not only that, but the couple were in significant debt, and Hae-ri speculates that the wife may be an accomplice.
Enraged, Dal-geon barges into the meeting to confront wife Oh, straight up asking her where co-pilot Kim is since she knows he’s alive. Dal-geon gets thrown through a table by Kwang-deok for his trouble.
Dal-geon is knocked out by the throw, and when Kwang-deok carries him out, he runs into Chief Park, who orders his assistant to take Dal-geon to safety.
Meanwhile, Jessica’s right-hand-man, John & Mark lawyer HONG JUNG-HYUN, advises the remaining loved ones that he will help them take Dynamic System to court over the crash.
Afterward, lawyer Hong contacts Lily and urges her to take Dal-geon out as soon as possible, so she sends her crew to find out his whereabouts.
In Chief Park’s office, Dal-geon, Hae-ri, and agent Hong meet to explain their findings with Chief Park. Turns out co-pilot Kim used to work for Jessica’s airline. Not only that, but Chief Park explains that John & Mark orchestrated a similar attack in Russia a few years prior to secure contracts there.
Hae-ri asks if Chief Park has any contacts in the Portuguese intelligence service, as they need someone to dig deeper into the apparent suicide of Michael the day before the crash, and he agrees to look into it.
Chief Park offers the three of them a safe house in the meantime, as they’re obviously dealing with some dangerous people. He brings them to his penthouse apartment, but agent Hong ducks out at the last minute to head back to the office, so it’s just Hae-ri and Dal-geon alone together.
Meanwhile, Lily gets wind of Dal-geon’s location and sets up a spying base across from the apartment, complete with high-tech cameras that can listen in on their conversations through the windows. Lucky for her she gets a treat right away when Dal-geon sulks off for a brooding shower.
Later, Hae-ri and Dal-geon make small talk, and she encourages him to get back into being a stuntman, since that’s what Hoon wanted him to do. Dal-geon doesn’t respond, so Hae-ri apologizes for bringing it up, but Dal-geon sincerely thanks her for remembering Hoon’s wish before retiring to research John & Mark.
The next day, Prime Minister Hong arrives at a meeting about the defense contract, and he and President Jung are pleased to see Minister Park is now on board with their plan to select John & Mark.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Hong shares the reason for Minister Park’s sudden change of heart to President Jung, as he produces a collection of photos of the Minister snogging Jessica that they’re using for blackmail.
Back at the NIS, Hae-ri arrives for her first day back, but immediately runs for cover when she spots Tae-woong nearby.
Flashback to just before Hae-ri’s transfer to Morocco, where Hae-ri, completely drunk at a dinner with her colleagues, stakes her claim to Tae-woong and tells everyone to keep their hands off them. She caps it off by grabbing his face with both hands and planting a big kiss on the lips.
In the present, Hae-ri tries to hide in embarrassment, but Tae-woong happens to walk toward her and agent Hong, and she’s forced to greet him. Tae-woong stops to ask if she still drinks, and says that if it were up to him she would have been fired. “An agent who drinks herself into oblivion isn’t qualified,” he opines.
Immediately after getting to her desk, Hae-ri gets called in to see Chief Min for her report on the terrorist attack. Instead of the praise she was expecting, though, Chief Min dismisses her report for lack of evidence, shredding the documents in front of her.
Hae-ri threatens to go straight to the director, but Chief Min informs her that this is the director’s order, and that she’ll be assigned to a new country, so she just needs to get Dal-geon to behave himself until then. She furiously storms out of the building.
Later, Tae-woong, who was observing Hae-ri after her meeting, stews over whether her report might be accurate. Chief Kang joins him and advises that under Director General Ahn, the NIS is nothing more than the errand boys of the Blue House.
He tells Tae-woong that he can either kiss up to the Director General or get sent to a do-nothing post like Chief Kang.
Later, Kwang-deok calls Dal-geon to apologize for throwing him through the table, and invites him out to lunch. Lily realizes she’s finally got a shot at Dal-geon, so she mobilizes her troops to take him out.
Kwang-deok picks Dal-geon up and Lily rides closely behind them. Lily’s henchman hacks into Kwang-deok’s car and disables the brakes.
Just before they crash, Dal-geon grabs the wheel and starts steering them through traffic. He pushes Kwang-deok into the back seat and moves into a better position while Lily keeps accelerating the car for them.
Dal-geon barrels through back streets, plowing into street vendors and even other vehicles but can’t bring the car to a stop. He finally sees an opening when he spots a truck stopped at the side of the road, and uses it as a ramp to corkscrew the car onto its roof.
Dal-geon dramatically pulls Kwang-deok out of the wreck, and Lily just smirks, annoyed that Dal-geon evaded her once again, as she drives past the smoking car to avoid getting caught.
This experience has completely changed Kwang-deok’s mind about Dal-geon, however, and he now fully believes everything Dal-geon was claiming previously.
Meanwhile, Jessica exits a charity event she was running, as a gaggle of reporters throw softball questions to her. Just then, a tow truck carrying the wrecked car arrives, and Dal-geon kicks the door off and makes a bee-line for Jessica and she and Dal-geon stare each other down tensely.
This show is desperately trying to get me to trust Tae-woong, but I absolutely cannot bring myself to do it. On the surface, Tae-woong doesn’t really give much away. Even when Hae-ri was making a complete fool of herself in the flashback scene, he just sat their stoically until she planted that kiss on him, and only then did he get visibly angry with her. He strikes me as someone who doesn’t actually know for certain that the crash was a terrorist attack and genuinely wants to clean up the NIS from within.
And yet, I refuse to trust him. This is largely on Shin Sung-rok for being too good at playing the bad guy for me to believe he can be anything other than a deranged villain controlling everything from within, but I think I’m going to have to grapple with the idea that he might be a pure, innocent soul for once and my head is just not ready for that reality. To be fair, we still don’t know that much about him, or his past, so it’s probably too early to pass judgment, but the fact that he appears to be a good guy in this is sort of unnerving me more than watching him play a bad guy.
Speaking of villains, Jessica and lawyer Hong are giving us the classic evil-doer partnership of mastermind and right-hand-man, even down to doing a bunch of charity work to make everyone think you’re a good person. It’s pretty formulaic so there’s not too much to talk about with them. The villain I do find to be interesting is Lily, who admittedly, you could say is your typical mercenary. But she’s a lot more fun on screen than the other two, and even good for some comedy bits too to lighten the mood. Her character works really well with the more action-heavy thriller tone that the show is going for, so I’m excited to see more from her pursuit of Dal-geon.
Is it maybe ridiculous that a stunt-man like him is outfoxing this trained assassin and some of the most powerful people in the world? Sure, but I don’t think this show is trying to be super serious. Even the heavier character moments like Hae-ri bringing up Hoon’s wish for Dal-geon to get back into being a stunt-man don’t linger for too long. This show is at its best when it’s bringing high-energy, fast-paced action, and I don’t mind if it wants to take it easy on the heavy stuff so I can just enjoy the ride.
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