Two Weeks: Episode 12
There’s twist upon twist in this episode, and just when we’re starting to rejoice that our hero is getting smarter, the baddies step up their game. I suppose there’s no use in flailing about ineffectually when tension is the name of the game, but aaagh, I can’t help it: What’s it take for a guy to have ONE GOOD DAY around here, huh?
SONG OF THE DAY
Monday Kiz – “이런 남자 (This Kind of Man)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
The sting operation to catch Teacher Kim is on, and as planned, Tae-san takes two hits from the assassin’s sniper rifle and goes down in a pool of blood. Thankfully we see him put on a bulletproof vest in flashback, and then seconds later he opens his eyes.
Jae-kyung gives the cue for the other agents to hunt down the shooter, while she tells Tae-san to play dead—they don’t know if their bad guy brought friends. So he lies back down, only two seconds later, Seung-woo is running out of the building screaming, “No!”
Wait, nobody told him about the sting part of the sting operation? You let him think Tae-san was going to die? People! He runs for Tae-san, who panics at the thought of being caught, and bolts on his motorcycle. So much for playing dead. Seung-woo steals Jae-kyung’s car and follows.
Meanwhile the rest of the team capture Teacher Kim (with no less than four tranquilizer darts, in case of cyborg) and hit their first roadblock: their shooter has no gun. Jae-kyung starts to tell her team to send uniforms to scour the building… when something explodes outside the window.
Dammit. He blew it up, didn’t he? The special agents cotton on right away, and tell her that he set the sniper rifle to explode, which makes this man a professional. Jae-kyung digs around in his jacket for some piece of identification, and is shocked to find that he hasn’t destroyed his phone.
She calls the number in the log, and as expected, Boss Moon answers. He only asks if it’s done, and Jae-kyung quickly records the conversation. She waits silently, hoping that he’ll say the words, Did you kill Jang Tae-san.
But he’s too quick on the uptake to fall for that, and realizes that the silence means Teacher Kim isn’t there. Jae-kyung smiles and reveals herself, and Boss Moon hangs up in a panic.
Tae-san ditches the motorcycle and hides in a warehouse, and Seung-woo follows doggedly. Jae-kyung calls and finally tells him that Tae-san didn’t really get shot, and that it was prop blood. She urges Seung-woo to let him go.
He calls out to Tae-san anyway, asking to talk. Tae-san thinks to himself that he doesn’t really feel like being questioned by Seung-woo twice or being carted away in cuffs. But Seung-woo apologizes for not listening to him before, and says he believes Tae-san was framed.
Tae-san smirks to himself that maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all, and then when Seung-woo pleads with him to come talk to him for Su-jin’s sake, he can’t turn away. He comes out to face him directly.
Then we cut to a pair of handcuffs, and I have a momentary lurch of panic. But it turns out to be Teacher Kim on his way to the prosecutor’s office, which makes me feel bad for not trusting Seung-woo.
We don’t see Tae-san’s conversation with Seung-woo, but he returns to Jae-kyung’s apartment alone. It’s then that we see his jacket lined with a blood bag, over a bulletproof vest.
Jae-kyung interrogates Teacher Kim, who gives no name and simply asks for a lawyer. His fingerprints don’t show up in the system, which is hardly a surprise, and they don’t find a single weapon on him. Drat.
Boss Moon reels to discover that Tae-san and Jae-kyung have already been working together, and then suddenly Seung-woo storms into his office and grabs him by the shirt. The minions get sent away, and Seung-woo growls, “You said you wouldn’t kill him, you son of a bitch!”
WAIT. WHAT. Seung-woo… you’re not… the mole, are you? Nooooooooooo. Say it ain’t so, Seung-woo. Say it ain’t so.
Flashback to the first conversation he had with Boss Moon, where after they take turns cursing at each other, Boss Moon offers a deal: Seung-woo makes sure the camera ends up in his hands, and Boss Moon makes sure Su-jin doesn’t die.
Seung-woo refuses to make a deal with a lowlife and gets up to go, when Boss Moon calls him out on staging this whole conversation to get it on tape and arrest him for something so petty as threatening an officer.
He points out that the room is protected against such tactics, and Seung-woo realizes he failed to get it on tape. Boss Moon makes it clear that he has no problems killing Tae-san and therefore Su-jin… unless Seung-woo does whatever it takes to make sure he gets that camera, even if he has to follow In-hye’s every move.
Seung-woo sticks to his principles and refuses the deal, but then when he visits Su-jin in the hospital later that day, he recognizes the candy dish from Boss Moon’s office, along with other presents. Oh no.
So then the day In-hye went after the camera, Seung-woo followed her to the nail shop, found out where the sale was going to take place… and leaked the info to Boss Moon. Ack. So that’s how Teacher Kim found out. Okay, so that makes him a one-time mole and not the other mole… but STILL. Ack.
Back in the present, Seung-woo growls that Boss Moon agreed not to kill Tae-san if he got the camera, but of course Boss Moon tells him to bring proof that he ordered the kill. Seung-woo now realizes what Jae-kyung meant when she described how ruthless cunning these people were.
Boss Moon easily turns the tables, wondering aloud what his precious In-hye would think if she knew he helped steal the camera, or that he shot Tae-san. And what would his chief of police father think? Seung-woo: “You were going to kill Jang Tae-san all along.”
Jae-kyung asks Teacher Kim for his name for the millionth time, with no answer. But then when his lawyer shows up with papers for him as a Martin Ramirez who came from France, suddenly he’s rattling off answers to match that identity to the letter.
He says he’s a student who came here to study the language, went to the building today to take pictures, and that he found the phone by chance. Bah, with no gun to tie him to the shooting, they have nothing. Moments later, he walks free.
Jae-kyung stews, wondering where Boss Moon found a professional like him. She realizes that all the operation did was tip their hand—now Boss Moon knows about her partnership with Tae-san.
His gangsters watch her every move, but of course the one thing they don’t suspect is that Tae-san is at her house. He paces nervously waiting for her call, but she walks in with her head hanging and has to tell him that they lost Teacher Kim.
All Tae-san can do is laugh bitterly. They’re now empty-handed, without a lead, and exposed. She points out the gangsters following her everywhere. He decides that the only move left is to steal the video file.
We flash back to their strategy session, where Tae-san points out that Boss Moon would never destroy the video completely. He’d keep a copy because he builds his power on the weaknesses of others.
Jae-kyung agrees, but how do they know where to start? Tae-san says that eight years ago Boss Moon wanted him to be his right hand, and he was around long enough to pick up a few things. He’d never keep something important in his office because it could be raided at any moment, and the night of the camera theft, he saw Teacher Kim leave Boss Moon’s house. It has to be in the house.
Jae-kyung thinks it’s too risky to go breaking into Boss Moon’s house, and tells him to just lie low until the surgery. But she realizes what Tae-san has already concluded—he can’t get to the surgery without police backup, and to do that he’d have to turn himself in, where Boss Moon will get to him first.
Tae-san: “The most important thing to me is saving Su-jin. Offering up my life to Moon Il-seok was my mistake, but I don’t want to be used again. I want to save Su-jin, and I want to live… is that hoping for too much?”
*whimper* No, no it’s not… right? Jae-kyung sputters that that’s ridiculous—of course he should live. But he points out that if they can’t get Moon Il-seok for murder, he dies. He looks up at her Big Board and sighs that the camera was the one thing that could’ve cleaned up this whole mess, wishing he’d trusted Jae-kyung sooner.
She promises to get Boss Moon for murder, and urges him not to risk breaking and entering. He does offer up one hidden card: Boss Han, the crotchety old man who healed him and ran, who knows Boss Moon’s compound like the back of his hand.
Back in the present, Jae-kyung agrees to help him break in. She gives him the things he requested—two recorders, bread, and soju. That’s a weird shopping list.
He points to the charity auction post-it on D-Day, and asks how she knows Boss Moon will be there. She says that he and Congresswoman Jo have a history of using real estate as their money channel, and usually buy and sell like clockwork. But she noticed that he was lying low recently, and started to dig into his business.
Once she found out about the auction, she called his secretary posing as a reporter and asked him for an interview on that day. He was booked and scheduled to fly out of the country that night.
Jae-kyung drives away with a man in her passenger seat, which seems reckless until all the gangsters follow, and the real Tae-san pulls out in a different car. He calls Boss Han for help, and leaves a message asking him to give him the lay of the land in his old house. Ah, Boss Moon must’ve literally squatted there as his prize for pushing him out.
Tae-san returns to the pawnshop as his base, but this time someone recognizes him as he goes in. Uh-oh. He digs around in the safe for something, none the wiser.
Boss Moon and minions stew over the latest turn of events, and he orders Teacher Kim to sit out until it’s safe. I was under the impression that his capture would shed some light on their bizarre father-son boss-assassin dynamic, but it remains a mystery for now whether their monikers are literal or figurative.
The tip comes in from the man who saw Tae-san lurking near the pawnshop, and Bits for Brains actually scoffs that Tae-san would never go back there. Boss Moon snaps at him to chase down every lead, even if they’re just chasing shadows. Crap.
Tae-san sleeps on the couch in the pawnshop, thinking it as safe as ever. He dreams about the day of Su-jin’s surgery, where she guesses that her marrow donor is her father. But then he gets brought into the operating room in prison orange, handcuffed and flanked by Seung-woo and Jae-kyung.
He can barely look at her, and Su-jin looks up in fear: “Is my daddy not a good person? Is he a murderer?” In-hye runs in to hold her: “That man is not your father!”
He cries and screams that he isn’t a killer, that he didn’t do it, that he was framed. But nobody listens, and Su-jin shrinks away in fear. Oof.
He wakes up with a start, and just in time too. The gangsters come tearing in, but all they find is an empty room with bandages and medical supplies. They search to make sure nothing is missing, and discover a recorder that Tae-san left with a message for the three of them.
He thanks them for the nice comfy digs, and nags the two pawnshop lackeys to do a better job at the office, ha. And then he names Bits for Brains minion as Mi-sook’s killer, knowing that it was his knife that Boss Moon used. He asks if Boss Moon would really not throw him under the bus when push comes to shove.
That gets the minions arguing amongst themselves about whether or not the maknae told Tae-san that Boss Moon killed Mi-sook… and we see that Tae-san has planted the other recorder in the room. Nice.
It turns out Tae-san wanted the bread and soju to offer up at someone’s grave. He pours a drink at the foot of a tree, and suddenly his accent comes out as he tells his mother that he’s here. Oh. It’s the day his mother died. Doesn’t that also make it his birthday?
He thinks all this in voiceover, and says he wants to just ask her one thing: “Did my father really say he hated me?” He starts to cry and then decides against that question, in favor of another: “Is it nice there? But I don’t want to go there… not now.”
He calls Boss Han again and says he’s in the woods for his mother’s memorial, saying that it was windy the day he spread her ashes, so all forests have become his mother’s resting place to him. A minute later Boss Han calls back to bark at him to come down so they can eat.
In-hye brings Su-jin her lunch, and she takes one bite of Mom’s seaweed soup and knows she made it at home. She wonders why, and Mom says it’s because today is Dad’s birthday. Aw.
Su-jin asks if she made it to give to Dad, and In-hye says no—Dad doesn’t like seaweed soup. She tells Su-jin to eat it in his place, to wish him a happy birthday.
Tae-san goes to meet Boss Han, and the ajusshi scoffs that the fugitive’s got it made, riding around in a prosecutor’s car. Over lunch they discuss Boss Moon’s house, and Tae-san draws the layout as he remembers it. Boss Han is surprised that he kept it pretty much the same.
Tae-san wonders if he wasn’t mad about being chased out of his own turf, with Boss Moon literally squatting in his house as his trophy. But ajusshi says he didn’t have a wife or children to protect, and didn’t much care for revenge, calling it his karmic payback for living the way he did.
He says it was all because he belittled Moon Il-seok when he came to him as a little punk, asking to be his right hand. Overlooking him back then was what led to Boss Moon’s revenge ten years later.
Based on Tae-san’s sketch he guesses that a false wall was built to hide the entrance to the underground safe. He still thinks it’s a fool’s errand especially for Tae-san, but he’s caught by surprise to hear that he’s thought out the particulars for a way to empty out the house, and is suddenly talking like a guy with a brain.
He asks how he plans to open the safe, and Tae-san takes out all his research, saying he’s picked up a few tricks here and there. Boss Han doesn’t even listen and shoves it all aside: “I’m going in with you.”
He said he was planning to leave the country anyway, and sighs that he might as well save Tae-san’s stupid life before he goes. He says in his crotchety way, “In all my life I have never seen a bastard with nobody in the universe to lean on like you.” Awww. Is it hoping for too much that you turn out to be his father?
Meanwhile, the prosecutor team starts piecing together the circumstantial evidence they have for Mi-sook’s murder, starting with Tae-san’s frame job. They head back to the crime scene hoping to find a neighborhood shop with a security camera, but when Sang-hoon finds one, the shopkeeper says someone already came by and bought the tape for a bunch of money.
Seung-woo’s one step ahead of them and finds a different camera—a car that’s been parked on the corner for quite some time, judging by the layer of dust. It’s the black-box camera that we saw Tae-san walk past when he came back to the crime scene.
He finds the owner who confirms that the car hasn’t moved, and hands over the video footage. Seung-woo joins the prosecutors and they go through all the files until they find the smoking gun: Boss Moon arriving at Mi-sook’s house that day.
It’s enough for an arrest, and Jae-kyung storms into Boss Moon’s office to cuff him herself. *fistpump* It leaves the idiot minion especially nervous and more buffoonish than usual, and he squirms at the thought that he’ll be the one to take the fall as Tae-san predicted. He gets a panicked call from the mole, and barks that his identity is safe for now so stop freaking out.
The cops find out belatedly what Seung-woo is up to (trying to gather evidence to clear Tae-san’s name), and the captain gets especially angry about it, ordering the others to bring him everything Seung-woo has gathered on Tae-san. Hm, suspicious.
Congresswoman Jo gets the call about Boss Moon’s arrest, seconds before a reporter walks in. She postpones the interview because of an emergency, and the reporter asks if the emergency has to do with Boss Moon’s arrest. Whoa.
She freezes, as the guy says someone made an interesting bet with him today, that Moon Il-seok would be released in 48 hours, and by Congresswoman Jo’s maneuvering at that. Nice one, Park Jae-kyung.
Her boss isn’t as happy with her, and chews her out for keeping him in the dark and arresting Boss Moon so rashly. She doesn’t have enough to indict and she knows it, but she says she had to stop the injustice that Tae-san was suffering. She promises to do her best to find enough evidence in the time she has.
Boss Moon doesn’t break a sweat when she comes in to question him. She shows him the security footage of him arriving that day, along with a picture of him cuddling up with Mi-sook. He doesn’t deny that he was there, though he does wonder to himself why she’s taking her sweet time with the interrogation.
Meanwhile Tae-san gets the call from Sang-hoon that Boss Moon is in custody and his minions are at the station. That means the house is empty, and he gets ready to go. Ajusshi tells him his safecracker is waiting for the call (apparently he can crack them remotely) and they head out.
Boss Han wheels a cart loaded with cardboard past the house, and Tae-san spills out from the back, jumps on top, and leaps over the wall in one swift move.
Jae-kyung and Boss Moon go ’round and ’round in circles about why he was at Mi-sook’s house that day, and his minions pace outside.
Tae-san makes his way to the circuit breaker and shuts off the alarm, and drills carefully into the front door to unlatch it from the inside. Gah, I’m already sweating bullets and it’s just the front door?
He makes it inside the house, but then something stops him in his tracks. He turns to the window, and there’s Boss Moon, standing right there in his living room, smiling back at him.
I really loved the twist that it’s not just one mole, because it seemed pretty simple and pat to have a tertiary character be the snitch (though the main mole’s identity is still unconfirmed, of course). But when Seung-woo turned out to have been manipulated into giving up the camera, I was appalled, but surprised in a good way. I should’ve known Boss Moon wouldn’t let Seung-woo’s connection to Su-jin go to waste. It had just been so long that I forgot he hadn’t put that threat to use, and lately he seemed so single-minded in just catching Tae-san.
In my head I’m totally berating Seung-woo for falling for the exact same threat that Tae-san fell for, (I mean, how many times is In-hye going to be used as a weapon to control the men who love her? She’s kryptonite for the mens, I swear.) but at the same time I love the parallel. Now Seung-woo has no high horse to sit on, and he should understand better than anyone why Tae-san made the choices he did.
I don’t know if that was the final straw in making him work so hard to clear Tae-san’s name, but it should change his attitude since he now knows firsthand. You do dumb things to protect the people you love, even if it’s really really (really extra) dumb to make deals with murderous gangsters who are known to renege on their deals. I’m still pissed about losing the camera, but I enjoyed the surprise left turn in upright Seung-woo’s path.
I’m wary of the whole father birth secret storyline, because I don’t really think it’s necessary for the show to tell us who Tae-san’s father is. It’s really only crucial to the backstory that he had a deadbeat dad, and I’d rather focus on what kind of father Tae-san becomes to Su-jin. But I do like grumpypants Boss Han, who seems like a prime candidate for Baby Daddy (the worst-case scenario obviously being Boss Moon).
There is a nice cyclical philosophy that Boss Han and Tae-san share, about karma and the lives they’ve led. I appreciate it when people acknowledge their agency and their mistakes, rather than whining about fate dealing them a bad hand. It’s what I’ve always liked about Tae-san—he owns up to his failures. Of course he also goes too far, in thinking he’s trash that’ll never amount to more than trash. But today when he asks if it’s too much to hope that he gets to live at the end of this, it’s the first time he doesn’t say it’s okay if he dies, the first time he might consider his life worth something. Naturally, the moment the hero decides he wants to live, my stomach falls to my feet. This writer don’t mess around, y’all. She’s not afraid to be anyone’s grim reaper.