Vagabond: Episode 8
Nothing is ever simple when you’re battling with two countries and and a powerful conglomerate for justice. Nobody but our two heroes seems to care about justice, not when more important things like money and political power are at stake. Every time they thinks they’ve gotten ahead, they finds themselves facing another wall… but they may also have found a very unlikely ally.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
After letting Jessica wait for over forty hours, Chief Min finally goes in to question her and asks what she wants for dinner. She sneers that she’ll be home for dinner but he says she’s mistaken, like she was when she decided to crash that plane.
Chief Min asks if she knows Kim Woo-gi, and when she says she’s never met him, he shows her the photo of the two of them talking closely. He asks why Michael died, but Jessica says she doesn’t know why he committed suicide. Chief Min shows her the autopsy photos that prove the gun was in his hand when it was fired, and asks why a left-handed man would shoot a gun with his right hand.
Maintaining her composure, Jessica asks why anyone would kill Michael. Chief Min says that she probably needed to shut him up about the plane crash, and she accuses him of trying to frame her. Instead of replying, he plays the recording they captured of Oh Sang-mi and Kim Woo-gi on the phone, when they’d discussed his payment from John & Mark.
Jessica just smirks, saying that it’s not enough evidence to get an arrest warrant on her. She asks if he has anything that will really shock her, but that’s all Chief Min has. Director General Ahn informs him that the courts refused his warrant request again, and Chief Min figures that Jessica’s got someone pulling strings for her.
Director General Ahn agrees, and says that something is up at the Blue House, but he can’t figure it out. He tells Chief Min that the only thing that will help is if the task force can find Kim Woo-gi where he’s holed up in Morocco.
Meanwhile, Dal-geon decides to personally look for Kim Woo-gi in the area that the NIS discovered, since they’ve been unable to pinpoint his exact location. He’s spotted by one of the NIS drones, so Hae-ri calls to warn him that Tae-woong and the team are on their way to see why someone is leaping across the rooftops.
While looking for a place to hide, Dal-geon spots a balcony full of discarded water bottles and sneaks in to see if Kim Woo-gi is hiding out there. At the same time, the local cops (who are working for Jessica) are on their way up, having caught the guy who’s been bringing Co-pilot Kim his food, water, and drugs.
Dal-geon finds himself with a gun to his head, so he turns and shows his face to Co-pilot Kim. They hear the cops outside the door, so Dal-geon uses Co-pilot Kim’s distraction to grab his gun then starts beating the stuffing out of him. Co-pilot Kim breaks loose and runs to the balcony, but Dal-geon quickly catches him, and he punches Co-pilot Kim repeatedly until the cops stop him (well, one more punch, just because).
Tae-woong and the NIS team arrive as Co-pilot Kim and Dal-geon are being led out of the building in handcuffs. Tae-woong asks Dal-geon what he’s doing here, so he says honestly that he came to find his nephew’s murderer. Tae-woong argues with the police chief in charge (the one Jessica promised a promotion) over who has the right to detain Co-pilot Kim, but the cops win and take Co-pilot Kim and Dal-geon to the station.
Dal-geon and Co-pilot Kim are put in separate cells, and Hae-ri arrives to assure Dal-geon that Tae-woong will have him out soon. Ha, he can’t resist saying “I told you so” that they caught Co-pilot Kim by working together. Hae-ri reaches out for Dal-geon’s hand, but he’s handcuffed to the wall and can’t quite reach, so the other inmates cheer them on until they stretch far enough to high-five. So cute.
When the forty-eight hours is up and Chief Min still can’t pin anything on Jessica, she says she’s going home. Director General Ahn tells Chief Min to let her go, then takes a call from Tae-woong in Morocco. Tae-woong reports that they have Kim Woo-gi, and he’s honest that the capture was made by Hae-ri and Dal-geon.
He seems ashamed, but Chief Min says it doesn’t matter. He tells Tae-woong that things aren’t going well at home, so he needs to get as much info out of Kim Woo-gi as possible. Tae-woong stays calm until the connection is broken, then he flings his laptop across the room.
Director General Ahn changes his orders, telling Chief Min to keep Jessica in custody and let him handle the president. Chief Min takes great delight in stopping Jessica on her way out and telling her that they’ve captured Co-pilot Kim, and Hwa-sook has even more fun offending Jessica with banmal while she leads her back inside.
Tae-woong and Hae-ri argue about whether she was right to help Dal-geon find Co-pilot Kim – she says that she wanted to prove she’s not incompetent like he said, and accuses him of being scared to report that she and Dal-geon found Co-pilot Kim while he couldn’t. Tae-woong counters that he wanted to see if she’s reliable and trustworthy, concluding that she’s not qualified to be on his team.
For some reason, they’re having this argument in the holding cell room, so Dal-geon gets a front-row seat. He calls Tae-woong narrow-minded, and says that things would have been fine if he’d trusted Hae-ri from the beginning. Hae-ri tries to get him to stop, but he continues that they wouldn’t have Co-pilot Kim without Hae-ri.
Tae-woong says it was just a matter of time, and warns Dal-geon not cross the line. Dal-geon asks darkly if Tae-woong considers it “crossing the line” to try to find his nephew’s killer.
Lawyer Han calls the police chief and tells him to hold Co-pilot Kim as long as possible, which the chief says is only two days. Meanwhile, Chief Min prepares a sealed packet of information and promises Lawyer Han that Shadow will “handle” it that evening.
Director General Ahn receives an unexpected invitation to dinner from Secretary Yoon, who explains that President Jung wants to hire John & Mark to manufacture the new fighter planes, so proof that John & Mark crashed flight B357 won’t be welcome news. He advises Director General Ahn to change the entire Moroccan task force, including Chief Kang, in order to suppress the truth, and when Director General Ahn calls him crazy, Secretary Yoon says he’s willing to be the villain for the good of the country.
Chief Min joins them, and whoa, does this mean that Secretary Yoon is Shadow?! Chief Min shows Director General Ahn the packet, which is full of proof of Director General Ahn’s corruption when he was Head of Security at the Blue House, including the fact that he took bribes from Dynamic. But Director General Ahn tells Secretary Yoon that he’s wrong about what will make President Jung happy, and that he’s going to do what he thinks is right.
Director General Ahn goes to his scheduled meeting with the president, which for some reason takes place while President Jung is getting a massage. Before Director General Ahn even states his reason for being there, President Jung says that the press is criticizing his choice of John & Mark because of the scandal, and he states that there’s no evidence despite Dal-geon’s claims.
He accuses Director General Ahn of letting the media get out of hand, then sends him out of the room. Director General Ahn runs into Secretary Yoon, who’s carrying the packet and says that he and Director General Ahn are both acting in the best interests of the country — they just disagree on what that is. Director General Ahn says that President Jung will be damaged if things go wrong, and Secretary Yoon replies that that’s why they’ve never briefed the president on the facts.
Director General Ahn asks why Secretary Yoon wants to change the task force. Secretary Yoon says that Kim Woo-gi will be dead tomorrow, and in order for it to be quietly handled, they need to “change the chief mourner.”
Lily has been sent to Morocco by John & Mark to take care of Co-pilot Kim. She meets with the police chief and Kim Do-su from the Unkillables, but she has no interest in the other assassin and only speaks to the chief. He tells her that Co-pilot Kim was released to the NIS team, who will be leaving the country soon, so she tells him to handle the traffic and she’ll do the rest.
They’ve been speaking in English, which annoys Do-su. Lily refuses to interpret, sneering that he’s only there to back her up. He insults her until she pulls her gun on him and has to be talked down.
Dal-geon was released and is at the NIS safehouse while they prepare for an interrogation. The other team members apologize to Hae-ri for writing her off, a bit reluctantly, and Hae-ri stares at them like they’ve lost their actual minds. Se-hoon tells her that the guys are impressed at what she pulled off, and that when they return home, they’ll be reporting about it.
Co-pilot Kim is led in for questioning and Tae-woong snaps at Dal-geon to get out. Hae-ri argues that Dal-geon is a witness and they need him for cross-examination, so Tae-woong relents, but he doesn’t look happy about it. He starts the interrogation by asking Co-pilot Kim who was behind the attack on the plane.
Seeming confused, Co-pilot Kim says that the plane was going down, so he got a parachute and jumped out the hole made by the explosion, though we see that there was someone with him. Dal-geon grabs him and yells at him to tell the truth, and that he already heard it from the guy with the scar.
Co-pilot Kim laughs harder and says that Dal-geon is bluffing, because if Jerome had been caught… then he realizes that he just screwed himself. He starts to shake and foam at the mouth, falling out of his chair and convulsing on the floor. Se-hoon runs for a doctor while Tae-woong checks Co-pilot Kim over, then pulls up his sleeve to see the needle tracks running up his arm.
Again Hae-ri has a brilliant idea — the morphine that Tae-woong has been taking for pain can stop Co-pilot Kim’s withdrawal. Tae-woong quickly readies a syringe to inject Co-pilot Kim, but Dal-geon grabs the syringe and orders Co-pilot Kim to tell them who was behind the attack first.
Tae-woong jumps up, scared that Co-pilot Kim could die before they get any answers, and he and Dal-geon grapple over the syringe. It goes flying, so Tae-woong and Dal-geon hold each other and yell at Hae-ri to inject Co-pilot Kim, and not to inject him. Hae-ri hesitates until Co-pilot Kim leaps off the floor and lunges at her, but she knocks him down and stands on his chest.
She asks who was behind the attack but Co-pilot Kim refuses to answer, so Hae-ri starts squirting the medicine out of the syringe. Panicking, Co-pilot Kim screams that it was Michael from John & Mark, but Hae-ri demands evidence. Another squirt, and Co-pilot Kim gasps that there’s a secret bank account.
In flashback, we see Michael and Scar/Jerome planning the plane attack. Jerome had recommended Co-pilot Kim as an accomplice, since he would do anything for drug money. Michael had transferred five million dollars into the secret account instantly, and Co-pilot Kim had been bought. In the present, Co-pilot Kim goes into shock, and Hae-ri finally gives him the injection.
Once Co-pilot Kim is coherent again, he pretends that he doesn’t remember saying anything about Michael or a secret account. Tae-woong stops Dal-geon from hitting him again, and Hae-ri tells them both to stop before they develop feelings for each other, ha.
Tae-woong peevishly refuses to let Hae-ri ride with the rest of the team to the airport, snapping at her to take a taxi with Dal-geon. The taxi follows behind the NIS vehicles, and all along their route, Lily’s men report on their location. They hit a road block and are directed to take an alternate route.
Eventually Tae-woong notices that they don’t seem to be heading towards the airport anymore. Dal-geon and Hae-ri’s taxi is stopped by more cops (after letting the NIS cars through) who tell them that the road is closed. Hae-ri gets out of the taxi to argue with the cop in charge, while Tae-woong and the others continue on, even more isolated now.
Meanwhile, Lily and her snipers get ready on the roof of a building, with Lily offering a hefty bonus for the sniper who takes out Co-pilot Kim. Do-su is nearby in a bus with his men, determined to make the kill if only to prevent Lily from getting the credit.
When the NIS vehicles arrive at the predetermined location, Do-su’s bus pulls in front of them, forcing them to stop. Tae-woong quickly assesses the situation and screams for his team to move, but a rooftop sniper shoots a missile into the second car, blowing it to pieces. The other snipers start shooting at Tae-woong’s car as they try desperately to reverse to safety.
Dal-geon and Hae-ri hear the explosion and the gunshots, and spring into action. Dal-geon pulls the driver from the taxi and gets behind the wheel, ordering Hae-ri into the back seat, and he drives right through the police barricade.
Tae-woong’s team somehow manage to avoid getting shot, and they shoot back at the snipers, taking out a couple. Lily grabs a rifle from one of her men and kills Tae-woong’s driver, then when the team get out of the car to run for cover, she shoots Co-pilot Kim in the knee. Lily kills another agent, leaving only Tae-woong and Se-hoon.
Tae-woong tells Se-hoon to take Co-pilot Kim and get away, then he breaks cover and runs for one of the dropped sniper rifles. He exchanges fire with Do-su and his team, then shoots at some nearby gas tanks to create an explosion. He catches up to Se-hoon and Co-pilot Kim, helping as Se-hoon practically drags Co-pilot Kim to cover.
Do-su is injured, but Se-hoon and Tae-woong are out of ammunition. Thankfully, Dal-geon and Hae-ri arrive just in time in their stolen taxi, and Dal-geon uses his stuntman skills to drive the taxi into several shooters. He whips around to pick up Tae-woong, Se-hoon, and Co-pilot Kim, and Hae-ri gets out of the taxi to provide cover fire.
They manage to escape, but the bullet that hit Co-pilot Kim’s knee appears to have hit an artery. Tae-woong says a hospital is too dangerous, but the Korean Embassy is almost an hour away. Dal-geon says he can make it in twenty minutes and starts driving like a bat outta hell.
Tae-woong calls Chief Kang to tell him about the ambush, the loss of the team, and Co-pilot Kim’s injury, and the fact that the local police are working with the enemy. Chief Kang says he’ll call the Embassy and tell them they’re on the way. Since it will be difficult to get Co-pilot Kim back to Korea now, Chief Kang tells Tae-woong to stay at the Embassy until further notice.
Director General Ahn has told Chief Min the task force’s remote office location, and he brings a huge team to raid them. Chief Min’s men burst into the office and shut everything down by force, and Chief Min tells Chief Kang that he’s being arrested for revealing state secrets and profiting the enemy.
Chief Kang fights back, but Director General Ahn has come inside and he orders Chief Kang to stop. He tells Chief Kang that Chief Min is taking over the task force, and Chief Min has the nerve to call Chief Kang a spy and a traitor. Chief Kang is handcuffed and taken away, and Jessica is released.
On her way out, Jessica can’t resist saying “I told you so” to Chief Kang, and she even offers him a job when he gets desperate for work. He takes the high road and doesn’t respond. Lawyer Han takes a call from Lily, who hasn’t been as successful — Tae-woong made it to the Korean Embassy with Co-pilot Kim.
The Embassy is having trouble finding a doctor willing to come treat Co-pilot Kim, so Tae-woong video-calls a doctor he knows to walk him through surgery himself. Dal-geon notices the assassins lurking around the building, but keeping Co-pilot Kim alive is a more urgent concern.
Outside, Do-su approaches Lily and tells her to get her gear, because they’re going inside the Embassy to kill Co-pilot Kim. She says that’s a stupid idea and refuses to work with him, so he says that when he’s finished with Co-pilot Kim, he’ll come back and kill her next.
Tae-woong uses another vial of his painkillers to dull Co-pilot Kim’s pain, but he’s still screaming as Tae-woong uses the only blade he can find — a box cutter — to open up the gunshot wound (~shudder~). Hae-ri gloves up and helps hold the wound open while Tae-woong looks for the damaged artery, which the doctor says isn’t completely severed.
The doctor guides Tae-woong to sew up the artery, then he stitches the wound shut and bandages it. They all breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over, but then Co-pilot Kim starts to convulse. The doctor says that he probably lost too much blood and could die without a transfusion.
Thankfully, Hae-ri remembers reading that Co-pilot Kim’s blood type is O, and Dal-geon says that he’s type O, too. He growls at Co-pilot Kim not to die, then demands that Tae-woong do a transfusion.
Oh Show, thank you for offering us so much ridiculously fun entertainment. I mean, at this point I don’t even try to convince myself that scenes like the snipers versus the NIS make sense, where the snipers can’t make a shot to save their lives, literally, because the NIS agents kill a sniper with every one of their shots. As far as I’m concerned, this story is happening in an alternate universe with completely different scientific rules. Somehow it manages to keep me riveted, despite the lack of physics, logic, or consistent laws, and I can’t even tell you how that works.
Vagabond almost entirely consists of elements I avoid when choosing a drama to watch. I really don’t enjoy shows or movies with lots of politics, lots of action, and especially corrupt businesses and/or governments. But I love it anyway. And it’s not even on a hate-watch level, either… I’m genuinely entertained. I actually like the characters and the plotlines and all the crazy political maneuvering and alliance-switching, and yes, even the action. The logic monkey in my brain does pipe up to point out whenever something absolutely ridiculous happens (Logic Monkey and I are gonna have a field day with this blood transfusion, I just know it), but unlike with other shows, noticing the inconsistencies and impossibilities doesn’t ruin my enjoyment. I might never be able to say what magic that Vagabond has that does this to me, but I’m willing to just go with it and not think about it too much.
I do feel a tiny bit bad for being so harsh on Tae-woong in my last recap, especially after he was such a hero during the ambush. I stand by my previous negative comments, but after this episode, I can kind of see why Tae-woong is beyond frustrated with Hae-ri and the way she goes about things. Sure, she gets results, and I still think that Tae-woong should be utilizing her ability to see situations from several angles and think of creative solutions under pressure (like using Tae-woong’s pain meds to stop Co-pilot Kim’s withdrawals). But Tae-woong is correct that Hae-ri is impulsive, doesn’t think her actions through, and the way she’s going, she’s likely to get someone killed. I also remembered that he’s already lost a partner because someone ignored the rules, and I can understand why he’s unwilling to even give Hae-ri a chance to screw anything up. In that context, keeping her in the kitchen feels a bit less sexist (but still kinda sexist), and more of an effort to keep Hae-ri out of the way and out of trouble.
That said, Hae-ri and Dal-geon, as a team, have saved Tae-woong’s operation more than once now… first by catching Co-pilot Kim, then by stopping his withdrawal from killing him and losing their only witness, then by saving Tae-woong, Se-hoon, and Co-pilot Kim from being sniper fodder. Now, I’m sure, Dal-geon is going to save Co-pilot Kim by donating his own blood. And Dal-geon had a point when he told Tae-woong in the jail that if he had offered Hae-ri some trust from the beginning, then maybe she wouldn’t have gone off on her own. The lesson to be learned here is for Tae-woong not to be so rigid, because breaking the rules can cost lives, but so can being slavishly adherent to them. I’d be happy if Tae-woong and Hae-ri just sat down and talked about their issues around professionalism and figured out a way to work together in the future. That may be a bit too logical to expect from this show at this point, but I do have hope that being stuck in this dangerous situation together will force Tae-woong, Dal-geon, and Hae-ri to work as a team, whether they like it or not.
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