Vagabond: Episode 14
It may seem like time to relax now that our heroes managed to score a few successes, but it’s all just the tip of the iceberg. The F-X Plan scheme goes a lot further up than our heroes guessed, with motives far more sinister than mere money. Masterminds turn out to be only pawns and pawns are actually kingpins, but who or what is the true evil behind it all?
EPISODE 14 RECAP
It’s Chief Min’s turn in the interrogation room, and Chief Kang tells him to write down everything he knows about Secretary Yoon and Director General Ahn. Chief Min drawls that he was only doing his patriotic duty by following orders, but Chief Kang asks how fabricating evidence and killing the innocent is good for the country.
He asks if it’s true that Chief Min asked Secretary Yoon for the director general position, and Chief Min says he didn’t ask — Secretary Yoon offered. Chief Kang calls Chief Min a traitor and a sellout and storms out out, then admits to Tae-woong that he was bluffing about Chief Min being promised the director general job, heh.
Hae-ri returns to work to thunderous applause from her coworkers and a bouquet of flowers from Tae-woong. The first thing she wants to do is to honor her fallen teammates at the memorial, and she cries as she remembers how each of them died in Morocco. Chief Kang tells her that the hardest order for an agent to obey is “Come back alive,” and that the men would be proud of her for completing such an important mission.
Dal-geon is relaxing with some of the other family members, who joke that he needs to get married (and he blushes hard when they guess that he’s a virgin, hee). He gets a text with a copy of Hoon’s video from the doomed flight, which was supposedly destroyed, then the same number calls him.
He answers, and Lily, who’s sitting in her car across the street, tells him that the video is from Jessica. She passes along the message that Jessica wants him to visit her in prison, then declares her job done. Dal-geon calls Hae-ri and says they have to meet now, and that he’ll explain why in person.
She primps a bit in the bathroom and gets teased by Hwa-sook, then pouts when Dal-geon immediately notices her makeup and perfume and asks if she’s got an ulterior motive, ha. He shows her the video he was sent, and they pass it on to Chief Kang with the information that it came from Jessica. Hae-ri points out Jerome in the video and asks for a background check.
At the prison, Jessica claims that she never ordered Flight B357 to be crashed, and that she only tried to have the witnesses killed because John & Mark needed the F-X Plan. She also insists that she didn’t have Michael killed, which means that someone unknown issued that order. Hae-ri asks her about Michael’s mysterious girlfriend, but all Jessica knows is that she’s Japanese and a photography major, and says she’s never seen her.
Jessica breaks the news that Oh Sang-mi was released, which is just one thing in a series of strange things happening lately. She poses a question to Dal-geon and Hae-ri: “What if the truth you know, isn’t actually true?”
Assassin Do-su teams up with Lily again to find Oh Sang-mi, but she’s not at her home. Lily orders Do-su to find her, then suddenly yanks his head into her lap when Se-hoon and another agent show up to check the house. I can’t be the only one shipping this, right? They’re so adorable — I mean, as far as assassins can be adorable.
Elsewhere, Sang-mi checks her bank balance online and finds it at zero. She uses one of her burner phones to call someone and orders them to transfer the twenty billion won immediately. They tell her to wait three days, and she growls that if the money isn’t there, she’ll expose everything they’ve done.
After learning what Jessica said about Sang-mi being released, Chief Kang agrees that something doesn’t add up. Tae-woong says they need to determine who got her released, the identity of Michael’s girlfriend, and who Jerome works for. Hae-ri and Dal-geon want to visit Kim Woo-gi next, but he’s not in prison — he’s in a hospital for drug addiction.
He goes missing at the hospital and is found hiding in the infirmary. He fights the guards taking him back to his room, so he’s given something that knocks him unconscious. Dal-geon and Hae-ri arrive, but they’re told that they’ll have to wait for him to regain consciousness.
Jerome is there, and he orders Woo-gi given a stimulant. Woo-gi wakes up in a straitjacket with his ankles shackled to the bed, and Jerome looming over him. Jerome orders him not to say anything to Dal-geon, or he’s dead.
When they get to his room, Woo-gi is no longer restrained, but he cowers on his bed and refuses to say a word. Dal-geon asks if he knows his wife was released, and if it could have been Michael’s girlfriend who had him killed and not Jessica, but Woo-gi only claps his hands over his ears and screams “I don’t know!” over and over.
Hae-ri tries to calm him down, but when she asks him to tell them anything he knows about Jerome, he freezes, knowing that Jerome is watching on the CCTV. A flashback shows that Jerome saved Woo-gi from getting beaten up at a gambling den, then later got him hooked on drugs. Woo-gi comes unglued and starts screaming, so the guards tell Dal-geon and Hae-ri to leave.
Woo-gi grabs Hae-ri and gasps that they’re going to kill him. The guards lead him out for “treatment,” and he yells over his shoulder, “Jerome is here! He will approach you soon!” On their way out, Dal-geon notes that Woo-gi seems a lot worse than when they last saw him, when he’s supposed to be improving with treatment.
As he watches them leave, Jerome thinks about the day that we thought he was killed for angering the mysterious Samael. Instead of being shot, he was informed that Samael was offering him one last chance.
Back at the NIS, Tae-woong tells the team that Jerome was abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, adopted to France when he was five, then abandoned again at age twelve. He was jailed for assault, drugs, and burglary and released when he was twenty-two, at which point he fell off the grid.
They need more details, so they go back to the savant hacker at Vagabond Chicken. While they’re gone, Chief Kang orders Se-hoon to learn which high-profile politicians are the friends of the judge who released Oh Sang-mi.
When Secretary Yoon eventually wakes up in the hospital, Prime Minister Hong is standing over his bed. He criticizes Secretary Yoon for getting greedy and aiming too high, and says that President Jung also puts on a show about the good of the country when in reality he’s motivated by greed.
Secretary Yoon tells him to get to the point, so Prime Minister Hong says that his tablet (that was stolen) is blank. He wants to know where Secretary Yoon has hidden all his secrets about the president. Secretary Yoon asks why, and Prime Minister Hong claims that it’s to strip away the lies and finally make Korea truly powerful.
Secretary Yoon asks if Prime Minister Hong put the charcoal briquette in his car, and we see that it was actually Press Secretary Seo who left the deadly box and stole his tablet. Prime Minister Hong only tells Secretary Yoon to be glad he’s alive, and that all he needs to know is where to find the money that was paid to President Jung.
Secretary Yoon asks him incredulously, “Who are you really??” Prime Minister Hong promises that the investigation into Secretary Yoon will stop, and gives him time to think about it. Secretary Yoon asks again who he is, and Prime Minister Hong says simply, “A patriot. A real patriot, unlike Jung Guk-pyo.” ~shiver~
After he leaves Secretary Yoon, Prime Minister Hong calls Dal-geon and asks him to come to a certain hotel that afternoon to discuss something important. When Dal-geon and Hae-ri arrive, they find a press conference being set up, and the other bereaved families also there.
The press conference isn’t just a surprise for the family members — President Jung had no idea Prime Minister Hong was planning it, either. He starts to get concerned when Prime Minister Hong declines his call, and for good reason… when the press conference starts, Prime Minister Hong plays an audio file of Jessica saying that John & Mark paid President Jung five hundred billion won to hire them for the F-X Plan.
Prime Minister Hong tells the entire room of reporters and family members that the ultimate mastermind behind the B357 crash was President Jung, and that Secretary Yoon aided the president in the deal. He claims this is why Secretary Yoon tried to kill himself, and that he’s still in a coma. He asks the bereaved families to stand and calls them heroes for risking their lives to bring back Kim Woo-gi to testify, naming Dal-geon specifically, but Dal-geon looks uncomfortable at the blatantly manipulative move.
The president is furious as he watches Prime Minister Hong pin everything on him, on national television. He confirms with Press Secretary Seo that Secretary Yoon isn’t expected to ever wake up, and he calls an emergency meeting with the chief secretaries. As soon as she’s alone, Press Secretary Seo calls Prime Minister Hong.
President Jung visits Secretary Yoon in the hospital, and Secretary Yoon has the sense to feign his so-called coma. President Jung tells him, “Sleep for a decade. I hope the world will be better by then. When you wake up, I’ll give you a big gift. In the meantime, you mustn’t ever wake up, Han-gi-yah.”
Over drinks, Dal-geon admits that he feels like Prime Minister Hong used them to put on a show. Tae-woong reveals that the judge who released Oh Sang-mi is close to Prime Minister Hong, and that the NIS is investigating the situation. He asks rhetorically who would benefit most if the president were to be impeached, and Dal-geon realizes that the prime minister would be made acting president.
At the chicken place, the hacker impresses Hwa-sook with his ability to hack into the CIA’s database, looking for more information on Jerome. Turns out, he’s skilled enough to hack into most of the government intelligence agencies in the world… so if he can’t find Jerome, then Jerome can’t be found.
Dal-geon offers to piggyback Hae-ri when she gets sore from walking. He mentions Reporter Jo as they walk, who he thought he saw die in that hotel room but later saw on the street. Hae-ri suggests they visit his newspaper tomorrow and ask some questions.
Hae-ri says that being carried like this reminds her of her dad, who used to do the same thing. Dal-geon says he’ll carry her anytime she asks, and they both grin.
At the newspaper office the next day, they’re told that Reporter Jo died in a car crash in New Zealand. Dal-geon spots a photo of the city desk reporters, and the reporter they’re speaking with points out Jo Bu-young. He’s a completely different man than the person who claimed to be Jo Bu-young, making Dal-geon wonder who on earth he met.
Whoever he is, Lawyer Hong takes him to meet with Prime Minister Hong, who gives him a fat envelope of money. He mentions that Samael thinks highly of Prime Minister Hong, and Prime Minister Hong says he’s supposed to come to Korea soon. Not-Reporter Jo leaves, and Lawyer Hong stays behind to ask his uncle for a ride. Oooooh.
Prime Minister Hong tells Lawyer Hong that he did well, and Lawyer Hong returns the compliment, sure that Prime Minister Hong will end up in the Blue House. Prime Minister Hong says that Secretary Yoon hasn’t made up his mind to join with them yet, but Lawyer Hong thinks it’s only a matter of time. He assumes that Dynamic will get the F-X Plan now, but Prime Minister Hong says he won’t hand it over that easily, and that Edward Park will have to pay for it.
In response to Prime Minister Hong’s claims, the president holds a meeting for the reporters at the Blue House. He claims to know nothing of any payoff money, and says that Prime Minister Hong is probably trying to stain his reputation for political reasons.
Prime Minister Hong indulges himself, sitting in President Jung’s chair while he waits to talk to him. When President Jung arrives, he says that Prime Minister Hong is fired, but Prime Minister Hong says that firing him will only make the people think his claims are true. President Jung says that the National Assembly will vote for Prime Minister Hong’s dismissal, and Prime Minister Hong counters that President Jung will probably be impeached first.
President Jung asks why Prime Minister Hong is doing this, and he says it’s because of President Jung’s incompetence, irresponsibility, lies, and greed. He claims that the country is suffering, and so he plans to take President Jung’s place. President Jung points out that he didn’t do everything alone, and he tells Press Secretary Seo to arrange a meeting with the three party leaders immediately. Later, Prime Minister Hong tells her to make sure he meets with them first.
That evening, Prime Minister Hong has dinner with the bereaved family members and makes a lot of promises, like staying in touch with them until the case is solved and inviting them to share their thoughts with him. Dal-geon asks about the reporter who appeared to have been murdered in front of him, but who turns out to be neither a reporter nor dead.
He says there are a lot of confusing things going on, and Prime Minister Hong asks Dal-geon to explain about the reporter to his secretary so he can look into it. With a little smirk, Dal-geon asks, “Why did you release Oh Sang-mi?” Prime Minister Hong pretends he didn’t know, but Dal-geon points out that the judge who released her is his good friend. He also mentions that Prime Minister Hong would become president if President Jung is impeached, and the atmosphere around the table gets very tense.
Edward Park waits for Prime Minister Hong to leave the dinner then introduces himself. He asks for a moment to talk, but Prime Minister Hong tells him to talk to the president if it’s about the F-X Plan. Dal-geon runs into Chief Park and tells him that Oh Sang-mi was released and the NIS is looking for her, as well as his suspicions about Prime Minister Hong and how Jessica claims she didn’t have Michael killed.
Meanwhile, Oh Sang-mi runs from a pursuer on the crowded subway, and he grabs her bag with all of her things, but she gets away by slipping through the doors just as they’re closing. She calls Dal-geon from a pay phone and says they need to meet, and that “they” are trying to kill her.
She tells him her location, and he says he’ll go to her. She says that her husband threatened “them” and she has the evidence, which is why they’re after her. He asks what evidence she means and who is after her, but she suddenly screams and runs. Her pursuer picks up the phone… and it’s Jerome.
He listens to Dal-geon’s voice then hangs up. He follows Sang-mi into a home goods store where she’s hidden, and stalks the premises looking for her. Dal-geon arrives soon and calls the police for backup as he goes inside, and Jerome hears him calling Oh Sang-mi’s name.
He confronts Dal-geon, whose eyes go wide to see him alive. Dal-geon growls, “You son of a bitch…” and starts running at Jerome.
I finally feel like we have a truly dangerous villain again now that Jerome is back. He’s really the only hired killer in this whole show who has managed to take out his targets, and I always thought it was a little weird that such an important character was eliminated so quickly, leaving behind “elite” snipers — as adorable as they are – who can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Jerome makes a good adversary for Dal-geon… their fight in Morocco was exciting because it was the only time Dal-geon seemed to have found a foe that could truly challenge him. The last few episodes have been a bit bland apart from the action scenes (which continue to be very exciting, for me anyway), so bringing Jerome back gets me hyped up to see Dal-geon engage in some more good old-fashioned brawling.
I’m not that surprised that the Korean mastermind behind the B357 crash turned out to be Prime Minister Hong… he’s never done a very good job at hiding his shady behavior. What worries me is his contempt for those who facilitated things out of greed for money, and how he sees himself as a true patriot, the only one who’s genuinely acting for the good of the country. There’s nothing more dangerous than a villain who thinks his motivations are powered by morality and the greater good, because he can’t be reasoned with — his twisted moral beliefs will outweigh any logic that says that no, it’s really not okay to kill a plane full of children to make yourself president, even if you think you’ll do a better job than that other guy.
But we still don’t know who the true Big Bad is, other than that their name is Samael and that they’re pretty much the boss of everyone. There’s a pretty good chance that Samael is a codename for Michael’s girlfriend, who we still know very little about. I have a theory that she could be Hae-ri, but it’s a pretty weak theory in terms of proof and mostly based on the fact that seven years in the future, Dal-geon will find himself staring down the barrel of a gun at her. But I also think Samael could be Edward Park, though I’ll admit that that theory is also only based on flimsy clues. Park (and Dynamic by extension) is the one who will ultimately benefit most by getting control of the F-X Plan. Also, as much as he’s seemed to be a benevolent and helpful entity throughout this whole thing, something about him and Micki just seems mysterious and not-entirely-trustworthy to me. And then there’s the fact that story-wise, having the person who’s helped Dal-geon the most end up being the guy who killed his nephew would be a pretty big shocker.
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