Vampire Prosecutor 2: Episode 8
I’m pretty sure that’s my favorite Yeon Jung-hoon face ever.
It’s a crossover episode! How fun. Today’s episode is a play on the multi-season tvN “reality-documentary” show Rude Miss Young-ae, whose cast, led by actress Kim Hyun-sook, are guests in this episode.
The format of Rude Miss Young-ae is akin to an Office style of faux documentary, though it isn’t as overtly comedic. It’s a scripted show, but the point is to feel like we’re peeking into the life of Young-ae—overweight and rude-spoken, like Sam-soon times ten—as she navigates her career and relationships.
So this episode isn’t just a simple parody of Rude Miss Young-ae borrowing its format, it’s actually a collision of both worlds. Fun fun.
SONG OF THE DAY
The Koxx – “사랑춤” (Love dance) [ Download ]
EPISODE 8: “Rude Tae-yeon-sshi”
We open on our team driving along the highway as the Miss Young-ae narrator (same voice) introduces the scene; documentary chyrons provide time stamps and labels. It’s 11:45 am, and our prosecutor team (including little Ji-hye, aw) is taking a rare opportunity for an overnight excursion.
Dong-man comments that Park Hae-ri (the actress from last week) is doing a new movie, and her career’s doing fine after all. Jung-in grumps that although other offices take these trips during the workweek, instead of weekend time. C’mon, slave-driver boss-man, it’s not a fun work trip if it’s on top of a regular workload. But you can’t hold it against him when Dr. Jo says it was so Ji-hye could join them, and he gives the little girl this adorable smile. All right, you win.
Dong-min chimes in about putting a date on hold for this, and Soon-bum adds that he did too. Yeah, Dong-man and Soon-bum had dates, suuuure. Maybe with each other.
And then their van just dies, in the middle of the road. They go round and round passing the buck regarding who was supposed to get the car checked out: Soon-bum handed it off to Dong-man, who handed it off to Jung-in, who asked Dr. Jo, who asked Tae-yeon, who says completely deadpan, “I forgot.”
Lol, it’s a best-and-worst-case scenario: It’s not their faults, but on the other hand they can’t give the boss crap about it. So when he instructs them to get out and push, they grudgingly comply, and Narrator tells us that they’re stuck following Rude Tae-yeon’s orders. Dong-man and Jung-in grunt their complaints about Rude Boss while pushing, until the engine finally catches.
They get back on the road… and then crash into another vehicle. HA. It’s just gonna be one of those days, isn’t it?
Soon-bum gets out to angrily confront the other driver… who turns out to be Young-ae. She’s uncharacteristically apologetic and meek, until Soon-bum asks if her baby is all right. Because she’s not pregnant. Omg, I want to both cringe for you and hit you. Suddenly Young-ae is all swears and swinging arms, and they start flinging insults back and forth.
She drives off and her boss calls out at them that she’s just rude by nature, heh. That leaves Soon-bum standing in the road, at a loss for words and (our narrator tells us) unwilling to admit that he got owned by a woman. He gets back into the car sheepishly and tells his team let her off since she’s pregnant.
And then the engine fails again. Groan. More pushing.
Soon-bum’s good mood is restored by dinnertime at their retreat headquarters, where they grill up some barbecue. Everybody except workaholic Tae-yeon, that is, who sits off to the side reading some files for a case the others aren’t in the loop on. That seems to be a recurring pattern with Tae-yeon, doesn’t it?
The chyron reads: 5:30 PM. Crackpot Special Prosecutor Team vs. Beautiful People, Round 2. (Beautiful People is Young-ae’s advertising company.)
Just as Soon-bum’s about to enjoy a bite, however, a soccer ball slams into his head. It’s the Beautiful People team enjoying a round of jokgu, and Young-ae comes up apologizing for the accident. She manages to muck up her apology by backhandedly insulting Soon-bum, and the brewing confrontation is intercepted by the bosses on both sides.
As Tae-yeon shakes hands with the other boss, Narrator tells us that Soon-bum is bristling at this side of Tae-yeon, acting as the face-saving leader, and shoots him a look.
9:45 PM. Can we solve investigations with liquor instead of blood?
The team is pretty deep into the bottle, with Soon-bum slurring most of all. He wonders why that other group is so quiet, and asks Dong-man what he’d prefer: being a full-time employee with the other guys, or staying at his temporary position here? Dong-man stars to say he’d choose the job that paid better, but has enough awareness to correct himself and give the answer Soon-bum’s fishing for.
In typical campout fashion, Soon-bum starts telling a scary story about a grisly murder that occurred at an MT much like this one, near this area. The members were drinking and talking at night, blithely unaware that there was a killer watching from the shadows. The man wielded a sledgehammer and had a bandaged face dripping in blood, and bludgeoned them all to death.
The story has Jung-in jumping practically into Tae-yeon’s lap, and while the boys tease her about her reaction she peels herself off him in chagrin. So she suggests a round of Yaja Time, the game where the whole banmal-pecking-order is reversed, and our Narrator informs us that this moment has Tae-yeon even more nervous than his big showdowns with baddies, ha.
Outside, Dr. Jo reads to Ji-hye on a swing, and she asks again when her uncle is going to be let out of jail—and if he doesn’t come out, will she be an orphan? Dr. Jo assures her that that’ll never happen, because he’ll stay with her always, and she makes him pinky-swear. So sweet.
It’s even more heartwarming when Ji-hye asks about the lingering injury on his head and he tells her he’s okay. She retorts that he’s doing the thing he told her not to do, and says that he should be honest and just say it hurts. I love that they’ve become a family organically before they’ve even put the words to it. Ji-hye sticks one of her cartoon band-aids on his head, and Dr. Jo pins a barrette in her hair.
When Tae-yeon smilingly says that Ji-hye’s band-aid will help heal him, Dr. Jo agrees: “She’s healing both the visible scar and the one that can’t be seen.” He has decided to adopt Ji-hye, “Even though I don’t know when I might die.” And so, he has a request to ask of Tae-yeon: “If something were to happen to me, just in case… take care of her.” Tae-yeon nods.
9:04 AM. A situation occurs mid-excursion.
Jung-in takes a morning jog, while Tae-yeon strolls around in deep thought, fixed on his most recent encounter with Red Eyes. Jung-in greets him cheerily and tells him to relax; surely they won’t run into a murder case while they’re on their trip.
You might as well say abracadabra, because there’s no better way to jinx yourself than to court disaster. Immediately, a scream sounds.
Jung-in and Tae-yeon race back inside their rooms, where Soon-bum and Dong-man are sprawled out in various stages of drunken disarray. Jung-in tries to rouse them politely, but it’s Tae-yeon who raises his voice and gets them moving with one scary bellow. He barks that they are now on the clock; get ready.
A body lies in the grass, a blood-drenched newspaper covering his face, so badly beaten everyone recoils at the sight. Tae-yeon’s vamp vision tips him off that a blood spatter comes from a fist to the face.
He is identified as Yoo Hyung-kwan, the president of Beautiful People. He’d gone missing last night and was discovered this morning.
The Beautiful People team is battered, bearing scars and scratches, but also unable to clear up the confusion. Dr. Jo states that they’re suffering from short-term memory loss, from either excessive drinking or shock, or both. Jung-in wonders what the hell they were up to, to land them in such shape. I’m thinking it can’t be Fight Club, since we’ve already done that episode… In any case, it’s likely that their memories will return gradually, particularly when jogged by relevant details.
Dr. Jo leaves Ji-hye in the others’ care before heading off to do his job, and she pouts that she wanted to spend more time with him. She gives him a few more band-aids and tells him to be sure not to get hurt, and he pinky-swears.
10:32 AM. Beautiful People turn Memento.
The employees are distraught and sobbing, but Soon-bum shuts them up by barking that they’re all suspects so they’d better shape up, and commences interrogation. He starts with Young-ae, and Dong-man sputters to hear her name, given the lack of resemblance to that other Lee Young-ae, the gorgeous movie star.
Soon-bum calls her Jang-geum (from Dae Jang-geum) and says she’s the only likely culprit, given what he witnessed of her dynamic with the boss, arguing fiercely. Plus, the guy died from a gruesome blow, and she’s the likeliest to have that kind of brute force.
Immediately her co-worker Ji-soon grabs her by the shirtfront and accuses her of being the murderer. She warns him to let go, and when he keeps hurling accusations she head-butts him and starts kicking him while he’s down. Uh, maybe not the best way to assert your innocence.
Tae-yeon joins the proceedings and dangles a carrot to get things moving more quickly: The person to recover their memory about the case in a clear fashion will be cleared of suspicion and given special consideration.
Ji-soon’s scuffle with Young-ae just now triggers a flashback to last night—not a complete picture, but snippets of a fight in the woods. He offers up his recollection, and refers to the urban legend of the bandaged guy they call Sledgehammer—the villain of the same story Soon-bum told last night. Ji-soon says he saw Sledgehammer.
Flashback to last night. The five Beautiful People team members trudge through the woods, grumbling at the hike while following their boss. Young-ae tries to sneak off, and makes the excuse that she has to pee.
Boss Yoo is the kind of enthusiastic boss who thinks he’s a good motivator, and he’s way into his suffering-builds-character leader role. He senses something nearby, relishing the idea of facing something fierce… and then a sledgehammer comes flying at them, hitting a tree. The team screams and scatters.
Ji-soon sees the bloodied Sledgehammer hovering over Young-ae and trembles as the guy lifts his weapon to bash him in. Only that’s when Boss Yoo cuts in and taunts Sledgehammer, all, “Come and get me!”
Sledgehammer swings his weapon and knocks Ji-soon out, and that’s the end of that flashback.
Of course, Tae-yeon and Jung-in are much less convinced that an urban legend came to life. Jung-in tells the guy to talk to Tae-yeon (instead of down her cleavage), but he flatters her saying he’d much rather talk to her. I love that look of bemusement on Tae-yeon’s face as his eyes shift from one to the other at the flirtiness.
Ji-soon then asks how much she makes, explaining that he wonders if prosecutors have the same inequities in their workplace—because he should really be paid much more based on his work, but that other manager makes loads more. This is an argument that appeals to Dong-man, who chimes in that it’s unfair when temporary employees work just as hard, but it’s the regular employees who get all the perks. Heh.
The prosecutors have to lose a bit of their skepticism when Young-ae corroborates the story, and relates a conversation from yesterday. In flashback, we see the car ride where Boss Yoo had told the team they’d be near Sledgehammer’s purported stomping grounds. (Dropping his toupee was the cause of the car accident, as we now see from this side of the steering wheel.)
Tae-yeon scoffs at the idea that they came here because of Sledgehammer, just because Boss Yoo’s misguided bravado dictated they go serial-killer-hunting for funsies. Soon-bum blows up at them for their stupidity, but the other female employee, Ji-won, balks—they didn’t want to come! Surely that is a fact the prosecutor team can appreciate, being forced to obey the whims of their superior?
Ha, I love that Tae-yeon’s expression darkens at that. Ji-won bristles at his insulting them, insulting him back by making fun of his face. Which leads to Soon-bum’s outraged counter that her face is a fruit—carved up from every which way. Haha. The woman bursts into tears, wailing, “Are you saying I had my face done? I didn’t! I swear, I didn’t!”
So now the last employee (and Ji-won’s husband), Seo-hyun, gets in Soon-bum’s face and does a few… attempted… kicks? He may as well be doing magic, for all the confidence he inspires in his fighting skills, and Soon-bum just smirks and grabs his fist.
But then, with his neck in a headlock, Seo-hyun has a flashback:
In the woods, Seo-hyun runs with his wife and manages to ward Sledgehammer off with a kick. Aw, she doesn’t want to run without him but he hurriedly spits out instructions about what to do if he doesn’t make it, like how to handle the insurance and paychecks. Amazing how one second he’s a blowhard douche, and the next second I’m impressed at how he rises to the occasion when it counts.
Seo-hyun shoves her away saying his time with her “was the happiest of my life.”
Seo-hyun remembers Sledgehammer coming at him with a pair of gardening clippers, growling, “Do I frighten you?” He’d kicked them away and run, coming upon his boss. The sledgehammer flew at them and the boss shoved him away while scrambling to save his own hide, which made Seo-hyun hit his head and black out.
I love the look on Tae-yeon’s face as he hears this recounting, which is the embodiment of Are you KIDDING me? Soon-bum retorts that they’re pulling their legs, pointing out that the stories directly contradict each other.
Soon-bum orders them to fess up: They all planned this story, didn’t they?
Tae-yeon asks for more recollections, and Ji-won speaks up: “I know who Sledgehammer is.”
Back to the start of the hike, when Young-ae pretends she has to pee to hang back. As she goes, Ji-won notices the clippers in her back pocket.
Young-ae’s insists she didn’t do it, nervous and eyes downcast. Tae-yeon stares her down, saying that this means she’s either the killer, or knows the killer.
Young-ae cries that she knows nothing, but the prosecutors press, knowing there’s something there. Finally she bursts out, “I just wanted to scare them!”
She admits that the moment her boss told her about the story, she felt this compulsion to do it—if she didn’t do something to the boss who drives her up a wall, she’d actually go crazy. You know, like spitting in his coffee or something: “Don’t you all feel that way too?”
Again, Dong-man relates: “Yes, like you have to write on his forehead in his sleep or something.” Cut to: Soon-bum waking up drunk, with BIG HEAD written on his face. Haha. Immediately Soon-bum shoots him a look: “It was you?” Dong-man quietly sits down.
Young-ae says she decided to dress up as Sledgehammer, just to see her boss cowering in fear in front of her. It was supposed to be a brief sight gag, but her boss attacked her and he couldn’t understand her words, so she ran away.
A while later she came upon Ji-won and was super relieved to see her… only Ji-won freaked out, naturally. She tried to take off her bandages and pulled out the clippers, but didn’t want to cut at her own face. So she held them out to Seo-hyun, saying, “I’m frightened.” Instead, he kicked her in the head and knocked her down.
2:01 PM. Prosecutor team sees blood instead of relaxation.
Ji-soon calls Young-ae murderer, and this leads into a whole round of employee bickering where everyone points out how much everyone else also hated the boss. Like spitting into his sandwiches or popping his tires. The prosecutors just let them at it, and Dong-man sighs that at least their team isn’t as bad as that one.
Tae-yeon looks at them with a wry smirk, though, since he knows better. Flashback to last night, where a drunk Dong-man and a drunk Soon-bum take that Yaja Time game to heart—the game that allows everyone to drop propriety for a short time and speak one’s real mind. ‘Tis a dangerous game played in the best of circumstances. And this isn’t the best of circumstances.
Dong-man is on a real tear, slapping Soon-bum around and ordering “Tae-yeonnie” to pour him a drink. Omg, I love this whole sequence where Tae-yeon speaks absolutely nothing, but the whole crux of the scene lies in his hilarious reaction shots as everyone embarrasses him/herself, snapping at him or blowing on bottles or complaining about his job status. And then Soon-bum even rolls with the reverse pecking order and calls Dong-man “hyung,” asking him to hit Tae-yeonnie for him.
Dong-man assures “Soon-bum-ah” that he’ll take care of it, and grabs Tae-yeon’s cheek, slurring, “Ya think you’re so good-looking, don’t you?” Jung-in grabs his other cheek and talks to him like he’s a dog. She wonders why he never eats or drinks: “What the hell do you live on?”
Then Soon-bum grabs a soju bottle and brandishes it at Tae-yeon, yelling, “Hey! VAMPIRE!”
Screeeech. Everything stops for a second… and then he adds, “…punk, with no blood or tears…” and collapses. Phew. Put that way, it sounds like a metaphor, though I’m pretty sure for a second Tae-yeon was about to panic.
Back to the current scene. Tae-yeon gets a call from Dr. Jo, who has the autopsy results. The verdict? Let everyone go, ’cause the dead guy isn’t Boss Yoo. HA. His face was so bashed in that it took a blood test to confirm it, and this means the boss could still be alive.
The door opens, and in staggers a bruised, battered boss dressed only in his underclothes. Chyron: 2:45 PM. Hyung-kwan is back.
The man whispers, “Rotten bastards,” then falls to the ground and starts wailing. And just like that, his employees are at his side, checking in concern and cheering his return.
They fuss over him and Young-ae offers him coffee, to which he asks if she didn’t spit in it today. Ha, so he knew?
Tae-yeon asks Boss Yoo for his accounting of yesterday’s events.
We flashback to earlier that day, before the hike when Boss Yoo sees Young-ae’s practicing her mummy-wrap. He decides to turn the tables, which is why he was unafraid of Sledgehammer in the woods. He slapped mummy-head and cackled, “Try and catch me!”… only this time, it really IS the fabled Sledgehammer.
Thus when he comes upon Young-ae, he attacks and sends her running, thinking he taught her a lesson. Next he comes upon Ji-won screaming, because Sledgehammer stands over her wielding his mallet. He draws Sledgehammer away from the others, not realizing until too late that this is a different villain.
Sledgehammer comes at him with his mallet, and he gets knocked out in the scuffle. When he awakes, he’s lying in his underwear while Sledgehammer dresses himself in his clothing. Slowly, Boss Yoo creeps away and slips down a steep incline—just as he looks back and witnesses an interesting sight: Somebody grabbing Sledgehammer by the throat. We can’t see his face, but he’s tall and wears black… Omg, is that… a vampire?
And so Sledgehammer existed, but is now dead.
Ji-soon starts sucking up to the boss and heaps insults on Young-ae for starting this all, but surprisingly Boss Yoo cuts in and tells him to cut it out. They’re all the same, just pretending to care about him. He asks Young-ae sadly, “Do you really hate me that much? You want to say that I’m the worst of all, don’t you? Take a good look—I’m really trying very hard. I’m working to pay you all, and sometimes I make mistakes and make you all curse me. But Young-ae-ah, living is hard and working is harder.”
He starts crying, and by now they’re all in tears. Young-ae sobs that she’s sorry, and Ji-won scoots over to hold her. And then everybody comes together in a group hug, which just, awwwww.
As the prosecutors leave, the three underlings all sweet-talk Tae-yeon, telling him they really, really didn’t mean what they said yesterday. Soon-bum: “You’re not pissed at me, right? You know how I feel, right?”
Dr. Jo calls with the killer’s identity, a man with a record of attacking people. He asks how Ji-hye’s doing, and Tae-yeon says she’s fine. But when Dong-man goes to get her, she’s gone. Oh no!
Her things are where she left them, TV still on.
One more flashback to last night shows us the arrival of the mysterious serial-killer-killer, who easily attacks Sledgehammer and knocks him down.
Vamp teeth come out… It’s Red Eyes.
Ack! Ji-hye had better not be another Yeon-ji! On a basic level she’s adorable and innocent and means so much to Dr. Jo, who in turn means so much to us. But on top of that, I don’t want this show to retread last year’s themes with the hunt to reclaim the lost little girl who’s been claimed by the bad vampire, since we’ve done that.
I love this episode for a lot of reasons, but most of all because its emotional themes resonated not just in the case proper, but echoed with our main characters as well. And when the case ties so nicely into the ongoing relationships of the show, the texture of the show is so much more rich and layered than when you’re dealing with a straight crime mystery.
So far we’ve seen the broodier side of the Tae-yeon-as-boss-father dynamic—and the burden of his knowledge that they’re in danger holds him apart from the pack. It’s a moving conflict and the vampire conceit just heightens it further, since that already alienates him from the rest. So while last year was a gradual bridging of that divide as he grew closer to his team, this year inserts a wedge again: same theme, new obstacle. I love that we get a comedic spin on the issue, though, with the underlings bickering and resenting their silent and lofty boss and working some of that out of their system. Everybody dumping on Tae-yeonnie and slapping him around is a scene I could watch forever. Especially with Yeon Jung-hoon’s awesome reaction shots.
This was a crossover show that could have really easily fallen back on its gimmick, but didn’t. I haven’t seen above a few episodes of Rude Miss Young-ae (and with ten seasons under its belt, there are a lot of them) but it seems the relationships and personalities of their cast members were kept intact, but they didn’t take over the episode. I’m impressed, and relieved. It could have been empty stunt casting, but it was a fun crossover that developed the Vampire relationships as well as the Young-ae ones, and in a nicely emotional way. With humor and heart. That’s a whole lot of things they accomplished with one hour: Well done, Show.