Three Days: Episode 7
I really like when our hero is a loose cannon. He goes off the rails a little in his effort to find answers about Dad, though it’s actually scarier when he starts to get close to the truth. ‘Cause everyone else who knew stuff is dead or narrowly avoiding death as we speak, which doesn’t exactly put the odds in his favor.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
March 8, 5:20 AM. 57 hours, 20 minutes after assassination attempt.
Cha-young runs up to Joint Chief of Staff Kwon’s apartment and raises her gun at the man standing by the window—the window that Kwon just fell out of, to be exact. Tae-kyung turns around to face her, and they’re both shocked.
Thankfully Cha-young doesn’t assume the worst, and lowers her gun right away. Tae-kyung explains that he came to ask Kwon a question, but the front door was left ajar and no one was here when he came inside. He did see someone leaving the floor as he arrived though, so they head down to look at the security camera footage.
Interestingly, our Jaesin Group assassin calls Chairman Kim and tells him that he didn’t have the chance to kill Joint Chief of Staff Kwon. Someone got to him first, and now he can’t get inside to dispose of Confidential 98. Great, there’s a second rogue assassin running around?
Of course, when Tae-kyung gets down to the security station, he finds all the cameras down and the earlier footage missing. He takes note of the name emblazoned on the security staff’s uniforms: Jaesin.
He pulls Cha-young aside to confirm how many times they’ve seen that name over the course of the last three days, and goes darting outside. She chases after him to warn that he’ll be made a suspect if he runs off like this, and asks him to get cleared first through official channels.
He bites back that he doesn’t care about being a suspect or not: “After my father died, everything in my head is a mess! I’m not sure of anything anymore.” He says he has to find answers, even if he’s grasping at tiny loose threads.
The president reels when he gets the news of Kwon’s death, and he tells them it’s crucial that they locate a file—people lost their lives to ensure it was made, and they have to recover it. Cha-young already guesses its name before her boss can repeat it: Confidential 98.
Meanwhile, the Jaesin assassin combs through the security footage in Kwon’s building, and he sees a person of interest enter the elevator. Omo, omo—it’s Chief Secretary Shin.
Secretary Shin goes to work like it’s a normal day, and tells President Lee that they need to discuss Tae-kyung’s father, Han Ki-joon. The president remembers that Secretary Shin had always been against the professor’s appointment as an advisor, and Secretary Shin admits that the way they first met always rankled him.
We flash back to a Blue House guard performance, to showcase their training to the president before being sworn in as agents. Among the events is a chance for the president to personally greet the agents’ families.
In the greeting line, Tae-kyung’s dad whispers to President Lee that he was there in ’98, and requests a private conversation. It visibly unnerves the president.
Chief Secretary Shin asks what they talked about, and what it has to do with those men he met in the hotel.
Tae-kyung calls a Blue House agent to ask if Chairman Kim of Jaesin Group was present at the hotel meeting. The agent confirms his presence, and adds that it was strange how lax the security was for that day. Tae-kyung guesses that it’s because they had something to protect, or something to hide.
Chief Secretary Shin asks the president what he did to trigger those men to retaliate to rashly. He’s sharp enough to have pieced together the truth on his own—that the public report of the Yangjinri Incident is falsified, and that President Lee was working with Tae-kyung’s father to reveal the truth. Someone give this man a cookie.
Cha-young and her team turn Joint Chief of Staff Kwon’s apartment apart looking for Confidential 98, but find nothing. As she digs around in the desk, she finds a scrap of paper jutting out below.
It’s a post office receipt, and when she looks into it, she finds that the package was sent to the Blue House, directly to the president. Have we finally caught a break in the case?
Back at the Blue House, President Lee finally speaks up and confirms that Chief Secretary Shin’s assumptions are true—the file that Tae-kyung’s father was working on was proof of what really happened in Yangjinri.
The phone rings, and the president gets word that Kwon sent him a package that should be arriving shortly. We watch the post office truck pass the Blue House gates, and then the package goes through security and lands in a pile of mail headed for the president. Cha-young and the other agents race back to try and intercept it.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Shin asks the president if he can’t just let it go—can’t they bury the truth, pin the Yangjinri Incident on the men who already died, and let the whole thing blow over? He urges President Lee to stop fighting, and to finish out his term as president. “Compromise. That’s politics.”
President Lee says Secretary Shin doesn’t know what horrible things he did around the world while working for Falcon, and so when Chairman Kim offered his hand—a way out—he took it. “I made the wrong choice. Yes. But are you asking me to do the dirty thing again?” He says that people died because of what he did, and he can’t let someone else take the fall for that.
The people opening the president’s mail look awfully suspicious, especially the guy opening Kwon’s package who hides it behind his back when Cha-young arrives. She asks for the mail, and he asks for a warrant.
Chief Secretary Shin asks how the president can just give up on his political career like that, after all he’s personally sacrificed to get them here. President Lee shuts him down cold: “I did not become the president for you.”
He leaves Secretary Shin standing alone in the presidential office, stunned and forcing back his tears. He wonders to himself, “Was I really the only one who dreamt a different dream?” Aw, poor sidekick. (Unless you’re a murderer. Then I take back the sympathy.)
We go back to last night when Secretary Shin went to go see Joint Chief of Staff Kwon. He asked for the file, and Kwon readily handed it over—the original, with Han Ki-joon’s blood all over the envelope.
As he reads it, Secretary Shin’s eyes widen in disbelief, and Kwon tells him that President Lee has always been covered in the blood of others. He screams that the president shouldn’t pretend he’s the only clean one in all this, and says he can die along with Chairman Kim. He’s already sent a copy of Confidential 98 to the Blue House.
The president walks into the mailroom to get the package himself, and opens it up… But inside is a single sheet of paper. His face falls, and Cha-young takes it from his hand to read it. Augh, it’s Kwon’s suicide note, claiming responsibility for everything (along with Team Leader Ham and Agent Hwang). Noooo. Who swapped the mail?
At the same time, Chief Secretary Shin calls someone and agrees to meet at Jaesin Hotel. And he’s got Confidential 98 sitting right there in the passenger seat.
Flashback to his meeting with Kwon: he reads the file and says this can’t get out because it incriminates the president. Kwon says President Lee is determined to go through with it even if he goes down too.
Secretary Shin says he’ll convince President Lee to change his mind, and when he says he’s been with the president since the start of his career as his political partner, Kwon actually laughs in his face. He calls Shin a glorified valet and sneers, “Do you think you made a president?”
Kwon says they’re the real players who put Lee Dong-hwi in office—their money and their power are what made a president. He likens Secretary Shin to an empty lighter on his desk, calling him dispensable: “You bark when you’re told to bark, and wag your tail when you’re told to wag. You’re Lee Dong-hwi’s dog.”
Secretary Shin’s eye flicker with a frightening icy, detached stare. He says vacantly that he’ll change the president’s mind, and show Kwon exactly what kind of person he really is. He inches forward to the window where Kwon is standing…
We cut away to the mailroom, where President Lee sighs in defeat that searching for the package will do no good—it’s already in someone else’s hands.
Chairman Kim heads to his hotel, but Tae-kyung is the first to arrive (to follow up on the Jaesin Group connection to the events). In flashback Team Leader Ham drills the agents about this particular hotel because the president is staying there for a diplomatic meeting. He orders them to memorize every inch of the place and know it forwards and backwards.
So as Tae-kyung walks through the lobby, he recalls every entrance and exit in the building, on every floor. Chairman Kim and Secretary Shin each arrive, and Tae-kyung makes his way through the hotel, ending with the service elevator.
As he gets on, a man with a familiar tattoo on his hand stops the door and joins him. You know, when you’re recapping two thrillers at once, it’s really hard to keep your tattooed men straight. This guy has the lizard tattoo, and he stabbed Agent Hwang in the crowd. Tae-kyung zeroes in on it immediately.
Secretary Shin arrives to meet Chairman Kim, who stands in the room with a hot poker in his hand. Uh, message received. Secretary Shin hands over Confidential 98, just like that.
Tae-kyung rides the elevator with Lizard Tattoo, who stupidly calls Tae-kyung by name and asks if he doesn’t know that the top floor is restricted. Yes, let’s warn the other guy that you’re about to attack. That seems smart.
No matter, because Tae-kyung is already about to attack him right back, and they come to blows.
Back in the suite, Chairman Kim asks what he wants in exchange for handing over Confidential 98. Secretary Shin says that everything he has now is what he built together with Lee Dong-hwi, but the president’s obstinance has ruined it all. “What I want is my own political power, that no one can touch.”
In the elevator, Tae-kyung matches the other guy blow for blow, until he takes out a gun. Shots ring out, and it sends the entire Jaesin security staff after them.
Tae-kyung narrowly misses being shot multiple times, but manages to finally get the upper hand and knock the other guy out. Man, I love it when Tae-kyung fights.
The elevator doors open, and Tae-kyung walks out, gun in hand.
Secretary Shin hands over the laptop he used to create Kwon’s suicide note. We don’t get to see him actually push the guy out the window, but he’s definitely our killer. Chairman Kim just smiles in satisfaction to have the solution handed to him, tied with a bow and everything.
Tae-kyung runs up to the top floor, knocks out the guards in swift succession, and enters the suite. When he reaches the inner room, Chairman Kim is standing there tearing out the pages of Confidential 98 one by one, and tossing them into a fire.
Tae-kyung runs over and grabs the remaining pages from his hands and sticks his gun in Chairman Kim’s face: “It was you. You killed my father.” But Chairman Kim doesn’t bat an eyelash, and just grabs the barrel and sticks it right to his forehead.
He eggs Tae-kyung on to hurry up and shoot if he’s going to. Tae-kyung shakes with his finger on the trigger, but he can’t pull and Chairman Kim knows it.
He says that a Secret Service agent’s job is to defend, not kill, and turns the blame for Dad’s death onto the president. “That’s the man you’ve protected until now.”
Tae-kyung screams at him to stop, and the security team uses that moment to knock him down. Chairman Kim picks up the gun and tells him that you have to have the power to use a weapon otherwise it’s pointless, and picks up the rest of Confidential 98.
He tosses it into the fire, and tells his guards to let Tae-kyung go. They leave him lying on the ground and he cries as he watches the file burn to ash, taking all the answers about his father’s death with it.
The screen fades to white and Chairman Kim’s disembodied voice rings out: “Shall I show you my real power now?”
Meanwhile, Bo-won has told her version of the story to Prosecutor Choi, who asks if it’s true. They’re suddenly interrupted when Internal Affairs storms in and calls Bo-won in for interrogation. They accuse her of knowing Tae-kyung before the incident and breaking laws to help him.
She swears she never met him before this case, but then they call in a witness—her police sunbae who was paid off to falsify the accident reports. He comes in and testifies that it was Bo-won who came and asked for reports about Tae-kyung to be doctored.
She looks at him agape, but he averts her eyes and sticks to the lie. No matter how much she protests, they refuse to believe she didn’t know Tae-kyung before this, and they suspend her from duty until further notice.
Things get worse when Chairman Kim releases the fake Confidential 98 to the public, under Joint Chief of Staff Kwon’s name. The Blue House staff confirms that the suicide note came from his own laptop, and wonder if that closes the case. Thankfully Cha-young isn’t about to let it go that easily.
After being suspended and dismissed, Bo-won leaves the station and finds her cowardly sunbae waiting outside for her. He sputters an apology about his circumstances, and she whirls around to say that she understands: “You go ahead and live that way. But I can’t.”
She says that being a small-town cop may not mean much to other people, but it was important to her, and she won’t take this lying down. She gets right back to the case, and finds the wife of one of the deceased men bombarded by reporters outside her house.
Tae-kyung sits alone at table with a bottle of soju, still in shock after his confrontation with Chairman Kim. He stares numbly at the bottle without drinking it, and then suddenly someone appears and pours him a glass.
It’s Team Leader Ham, who says in his soothing mentor voice that the choice ahead will be a difficult one, but no matter what his choice, he shouldn’t waver like last time. He passes Tae-kyung a glass and says he’ll be up to the task, and then offers his hand for a shake.
Tae-kyung looks up and slowly raises his hand. As soon as he takes it, the vision disappears. He tamps down his tears and gets up with determination.
While all this is going on, the news breaks that a congressional hearing on the president’s impeachment will go forward right away.
Tae-kyung storms into the Blue House and demands an audience with the president. His superiors stop him, but he pleads over and over for one chance to ask the president about his father.
President Lee doesn’t look especially eager to have the conversation, but lets Tae-kyung inside and asks to speak to him alone. Tae-kyung asks with such hope in his voice, “What kind of man was my father?”
He says that Dad is the only family he’s ever had, but he realizes now that he knew nothing of who his father really was—what worried him, and what he struggled with. He says that even in his final breath, rather than leave his son a message, he chose to protect that file. Tae-kyung asks if that dying act has any real meaning.
President Lee says that twenty-four people died in Yangjinri, and he lived for years as an ignorant patsy until Tae-kyung’s father came to him with the truth. So he set out to reveal that truth, but one by one everyone around him began to die.
They want him to go back to being the ignorant fool. He asks if that’s really the right thing to do, because if he stays on this path, more will die. And at every death, he’ll stop and ask himself if this is the right path.
At the same time, Congress calls an emergency session to vote on impeachment, and Chairman Kim sits in his office rubbing his hands together in glee.
President Lee turns to face Tae-kyung: “The answer will always be the same: I won’t give up. Even if they tell me I’m not fit for this position, even if they call me a sinner covered in the blood of others, I am the president who swore to protect the constitution and the justice of this country.”
He says he can’t back down—he must remain as the sitting president until the truth can be uncovered. He asks Tae-kyung, “Until then, can you protect me?”
March 8, 8:00 PM. 72 hours after assassination attempt. The last part is amended to start a new timeline: Impeachment brought before Congress.
I like that we’re presenting Tae-kyung with a choice this time. He’s no longer going in blind and just doing a job out of civil duty regardless of what kind of man the president is. His faith in Dad is shaken, his judgment put into question, and his once rigid sense of right and wrong is has no meaning in the world of politicians where everyone is dirty. It’s nice to see him unraveling bit by bit as he’s confronted by the truth, and heartbreaking that in that moment he wants to lean on the mentor he killed.
Up until now, Tae-kyung’s motivation has been to seek answers about his father’s death, but the next segment sets us up for the stage where he takes up his father’s dying mission as his own. I really like the idea that he’s motivated by needing to give his father’s dying act meaning. And perhaps if he makes the same choice that Dad did to stand by the president, he’ll come to understand who his father was as a man.
Chief Secretary Shin had a great arc in this episode, and it made me wish we had gotten more scenes of him and the president working together as a team before the fallout. Because the story is great, but I could’ve used a little more buildup. I love how convinced he is that because they got to the Blue House together, the presidency is theirs to share. The look on his face when President Lee cuts him down to size is crushing, like he just got kicked out of the band.
And then in retrospect it’s even worse, because he’s gone so far as to kill a man to protect what he thought was their legacy, believing that his friend would see him as more than just a lapdog. It’s the perfect setup for his betrayal, which I liked as a story turn, despite having my hopes up that Secretary Shin would turn out to be a good guy.
Now that we’re entering the second three days of our nine-day story (whatever, show that can’t count), it’ll be nice to have Tae-kyung working with the president on the inside. Can we get Bo-won involved too? Because I know you needed your rogue broody time, but you’re kind of a downer without her.