Hidden Identity: Episode 3
Teacher Jung’s plan to steal the hologram swings into action, with the Investigation 5 Unit right on his tail, but things rarely go as anyone plans. They’ll have to get creative in order to catch Teacher Jung, and inspiration comes from an unexpected direction. Gun-woo will have to break out of his eight-year funk if he wants to get his revenge and his justice, and we start to learn more about his past and why Tae-in is willing to offer up his life to save his old friend.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Teacher Jung hands Gun-woo a knife, and orders him to kill Tae-in. But when Gun-woo hesitates, 100-Percent crows that he knew this guy was a cop, and levels his gun at Gun-woo’s head.
Gun-woo grips the knife, and from his expression, Tae-in can see his plan to turn it on 100-Percent — he gives a tiny shake of his head to warn Gun-woo not to do it. But Gun-woo doesn’t heed the warning, so before he can put himself in danger, Tae-in uses the last of his strength to throw himself on Gun-woo’s knife.
Everyone, even 100-Percent, looks shocked, and Gun-woo struggles to control his expression as Tae-in whispers, “We’ll see each other soon,” before he slumps to the ground. Tae-in’s body is zipped into a body bag, and the thug who’d been torturing him is instructed to take his body away and disappear for a while. Teacher Jung tells Bodyguard Lee to stay here with the rest of the guys until he calls for them.
The thug drives away with Tae-in’s body, but he’s soon cut off by Team Leader Jang, who just slams his head into his car until he passes out. Jang finds Tae-in’s body in the trunk, and when Min-joo arrives she desperately administers a shot of epinephrine just in case. And whew, Tae-in starts to breathe — he’s not dead.
Back at the hideout, Gun-woo wanders off alone, and checks his phone to find a text from Team Leader Jang that Tae-in is safe. He’s so relieved, he looks as though he may cry.
Tae-in is rushed to the hospital, and Gun-woo risks a call to Team Leader Jang. He says he can’t follow through with this plan, but three words from Jang stop him cold: “Min Tae-hee.” Tae-in’s sister, and Gun-woo’s love. He says the reason he and Tae-in have been chasing Teacher Jung, is because Min Tae-hee was killed by one of Jung’s bosses.
Gun-woo gasps that that’s not possible, because the man that killed her, Nam In-ho, is in jail. But Jang says that the forensics were wrong, and someone else killed Tae-hee. Their conversation is cut short when Gun-woo realizes that Bodyguard Lee is eavesdropping, but Lee only says they’ll be getting their next order in an hour and to be ready.
The Investigation 5 Unit goes over Teacher Jung’s plan to break into the Hanyoung System building, use the video sender to scramble the CCTVs, and access the hologram from the server room. Team Leader Jang reminds his team of their job to secure all the entryways and switch the USB with the hologram on it with a fake that has a GPS tracker, and it will lead them to Teacher Jung’s boss.
Min-joo is worried about Gun-woo’s ability to switch the USB with the tracker, since there’s no Plan B – this plan is all they’ve got. Team Leader Jang confirms that Gun-woo has to succeed, or it’s all for nothing.
Gun-woo drives the thugs to the site, and Teacher Jung waits outside the building in a car by himself. Team Leader Jang and Min-joo (whose job it is to keep an eye on Teacher Jung) are also there, prepared to oversee the operation from outside. Tae-pyung is on the inside, posing as a night security guard. I love all of his disguises!
Teacher Jung gives the go-ahead, and his men don ski masks as Hacker Ahn activates the video scrambler. The entire control room goes down, then back up with fake video footage, and Hacker Ahn deactivates the door locks. Jung’s men waltz in like they own the place, and Tae-pyung plays his part of the terrified guard perfectly, slipping the fake USB with the tracker inside to Gun-woo when he ties his wrists.
The men head to the control room next, subduing the guards there and leaving Gun-woo to watch them. Hacker Ahn hacks his way into the server room, and gets to work retrieving the hologram code. Meanwhile the silent alarm tips off the local cops, who head to the Hanyoung System building to check things out.
Duk-hoo also sees the emergency signal, and alerts his team that the local force is about to interfere and mess with their plan. He tries to stop them, but since the Investigation 5 Unit’s plan wasn’t officially authorized, they’re ignoring the request.
Hacker Ahn finds the hologram code and asks for ten minutes to download it, just as the local cops arrive on the scene. The thugs use the security guards as hostages to force them to stay out of the building, and a call to Teacher Jung has them freaking out — he’s told them to handle things on their own, and escaped by himself. And this is why nobody likes you.
Team Leader Jang calls for his own backup, instructing his team to hang in there until they arrive, and in the meantime he’ll go in and try to diffuse the situation. He asks the head of the local police squad to let him handle things, and he’s given a five-minute window.
Team Leader Jang just casually walks into the building and introduces himself, and the thugs immediately demand a getaway car. In return, Jang wants to check the hostages, and while he’s being patted down, Tae-pyung fakes a heart attack. Meanwhile, Gun-woo joins Hacker Ahn in the server room, where he’s finishing his hologram download.
Earlier in the evening, Tae-pyung had told another security guard that he’s got medicinal tea in a thermos (ostensibly for his weak heart), so one of the thugs goes to get it for him. Strangely, Jang chooses this moment to say that he checked on them and he’ll be leaving now, but the thugs figure more hostages is a good thing and order him to stay.
The thug who got the thermos finally gets it open, and it literally explodes in his face. Team Leader Jang, along with a suddenly-fine Tae-pyung, takes advantage of the distraction to beat Teacher Jung’s men into submission.
Outside, Min-joo loses sight of Teacher Jung just for a moment, and panics when he disappears from his car. She gets out to look around, and finds herself with a gun to her temple and Teacher Jung on the other end. He takes the communicator out of her ear and crushes it, and suddenly recognizes her as the check-in girl from the hotel operation.
I love Min-joo, she’s a spitfire, and she tells Teacher Jung that they’ve been onto him for a long time and he will be caught. Teacher Jung just scoffs at her bravado, saying she’s like “the Sally character.” The police rush the building, and Team Leader Jang tells Tae-pyung that he’s lost contact with Min-joo.
Hacker Ahn finishes his download, and Gun-woo quickly snatches the USB and swaps it with the one with the tracker. The police bust into the server room, and Hacker Ahn recognizes the cop on their side (the one who betrayed Tae-in), and surreptitiously shows him the USB in his hand.
The cops handcuff Hacker Ahn and Gun-woo, but Gun-woo been warned there was a cop on Teacher Jung’s payroll. He doesn’t miss the handoff of the USB to the dirty cop (whose name is Young-moon). He attacks the other cops and frees himself after Young-moon leaves with the fake USB, and calls Team Leader Jang to tell him he made the switch and Young-moon is going to lead him right to Teacher Jung.
Duk-hoo confirms that the decoy USB is on the move, but before Team Leader Jang can follow Young-moon, he and Duk-hoo in the home office are intercepted by government men. They want to talk about the exposure of the hologram code and the threat to national security.
Crap, suddenly Gun-woo is on his own without backup. While Team Leader Jang is explaining the situation and trying (unsuccessfully) to convince the government officials to let him finish his operation, Gun-woo steals a motorcycle to follow Young-moon.
He meets with Teacher Jung by the riverside, and Jung hands over a fat suitcase of cash in exchange for the USB. As soon as he has the USB, Teacher Jung calmly smashes the dirty cop in the face until he’s unconscious.
Team Leader Jang is told to turn over his informant who was working within Teacher Jung’s group, but he refuses, saying that he’ll only disappear if they out him. The entire operation, including the real hologram (which is still in Gun-woo’s possession), would be lost. Right on cue, the leader of the government team receives a call from the governor, ordering him to give Team Leader Jang and his team 24 hours to finish their operation.
Teacher Jung checks on Min-joo, who he’s got tied up and stowed in the trunk of his car. He gets a text tipping him off that the USB he was given is fake and being tracked — he quickly smashes it, but his location was already given away. He quickly starts to push the car into the river, but Gun-woo arrives on the scene and he stops to face him.
Jung fires off a few shots as Gun-woo guns the motorcycle at him, and Gun-woo takes a spill. Jung points the gun at his head and orders him to take off the helmet, smiling to see Gun-woo. He asks if he has the real USB, but Gun-woo kicks the gun out of his hands.
Their fight is short but intense, until Teacher Jung slams Gun-woo onto the trunk of the car and pushes it closer to the river’s edge. Gun-woo hears Min-joo screaming from inside the trunk, and Teacher Jung takes advantage of his distraction to run. For a moment Gun-woo debates what to do, finally letting Teacher Jung go for now, and saving Min-joo.
The next day, Gun-woo sits by Tae-in’s bedside at the hospital, remembering old times when they would go, along with Tae-in’s sister, out together as friends. Tae-in and Tae-hee had grown up without parents, and his plea to Gun-woo to take care of his sister still rings in Gun-woo’s ears.
Gun-woo asks Tae-in’s sleeping form if he really planned to take on the entire burden of catching her killer himself, and he’s so touched that he cries. He tells Tae-in that the cool act stops now, and that he’ll finish what Tae-in started. He leaves behind the lighter that he prizes so highly and leaves, missing Tae-in’s weakly shaking hand.
Min-joo comes to visit Tae-in too, and runs into a little girl in a wheelchair who asks for help finding her toy. Min-joo finds the toy, and when the little girl calls it “Sally,” she remembers Teacher Jung saying she’s like a character named Sally, which she now realizes is from a children’s cartoon show.
Gun-woo offers his full cooperation to Team Leader Jang in catching Teacher Jung, in return for the name of Tae-hee’s killer. Jang says that’s what he’s been after all this time, and they’re getting close. Gun-woo growls that once they find out, “…then I can do whatever I want.”
Min-joo figures out that if Teacher Jung knows about a character from a kids’ show that’s popular among little girls, then he must have a daughter. In three years, Tae-in never discovered any information about his having a family, but Min-joo discovers that Jung has been making regular monthly “donations” for quite some time.
Teacher Jung does have a daughter, Ji-won, who’s currently in the hospital awaiting a kidney transplant and wondering when her father will visit. Min-joo finds them and talks to her mother, asking her help to catch Jung. The mother seems to want to help, and Min-joo offers them protection in return.
Min-joo talks to little Ji-won while her mother thinks about what to do, and Ji-won is a smart cookie who knows her father has done bad things. Min-joo kindly says that her dad just made some mistakes, and that he needs to take responsibility for them. She asks Ji-won to help, and the little girl nods.
Her mother calls Teacher Jung to say that Ji-won’s surgery date has been moved up to this afternoon. However horrible Teacher Jung is, he does seem to love his daughter, but says he can’t come. The team waits anyway, hoping he’ll change his mind.
Ji-won’s mom gets a call from Jung later, telling her to meet him with Ji-won at another building, and Min-joo follows them. Mom sends Ji-won to wash her hands, and Min-joo tails the girl while Gun-woo watches the mother. But someone throws a smoke bomb in the men’s room and the building’s alarms go off, creating a distraction, and Ji-won disappears.
She must have done this before, because she meets her father in a stairwell, and she immediately bursts into tears and asks, “Daddy, you’re not a bad person, right?” Oof, right in the feels. Jung just gives her a sad hug while she cries that if the police take him, he’ll miss her surgery and she won’t see him for a long time.
Teacher Jung looks stricken but does his best to seem happy in front of his little girl. He promises to see her after she’s healed up in one week, even pinky-swearing on the deal. These two are killing me dead.
Min-joo finally spots Ji-won again as she steps, crying, out of the stairwell. Ji-won wails that her daddy isn’t a bad person and to let him go, and poor Min-joo can only apologize over and over. But she’s a professional, and she notifies her team that Teacher Jung is in the building.
In the chaos of evacuating the building, Gun-woo glimpses Teacher Jung at a distance, and attempts to follow him. Jung gives him the slip and steps into an elevator, unaware that the other occupant is Team Leader Jang. Jang doesn’t say a word to him, but just alerts his team that he’s got him. Badass.
Teacher Jung calmly asks if he’s the one who planted Tae-in and Gun-woo, but Team Leader Jang says he’ll hold storytime later on. Jung actually admires that Tae-in was loyal even as he was dying, asking how Jang gets his people to do that, and Jang informs him that Tae-in is alive and he can ask him himself.
This finally rattles Teacher Jung, but again he compliments Team Leader Jang’s ability to create such good team members, saying that it’s not the painting that’s impressive, but the painter. Team Leader Jang isn’t interested in his admiration, and gets ready to arrest him.
There’s a long pause, and suddenly Teacher Jung whirls and throws several punches, which Jang easily deflects. The two men grapple in the elevator, until they end up face-to-face, gripping each other in an even deadlock.
Well… it took until this episode, because (and I recognize that this is my own personal issue) I have trouble “bonding” with shows like Hidden Identity. But I’m here to admit that I’m liking the show a lot more than I did at the outset, and I’m feeling much more enthusiastic and eager to see what happens next. With this episode, because we’re getting a deeper look at the characters and their backstories, I’m suddenly perking up and paying attention, where with the first two episodes, I struggled to even understand what was happening. I can’t get into a show if I don’t care about the characters personally. So a show that’s strictly about spies and espionage doesn’t float my boat, but a show about spies and espionage, where one of the leads is putting his life on the line to save the other because of their personal history? Count me in. Personally, the whole plot about counterfeit money and the hologram barely interests me, and it wouldn’t really matter to me what Teacher Jung was up to and how the Investigation 5 Unit goes after him. But now that we’re learning more about the people involved, on both sides of the conflict, now you have my attention, Show.
I’m already so invested in Tae-in and Gun-woo’s connection, and what happened to Tae-in’s sister Tae-hee (who I erroneously referred to by the wrong name in my first episode, mea culpa) and why that destroyed the relationship between Tae-in and Gun-woo. It appeared as though after his sister’s death Tae-in pushed Gun-woo away, based on Gun-woo’s, “Why are you doing this?” comment in Episode 1, yet he apparently still cares so much about Gun-woo that he’s willing to die in order to save him. Throwing himself on that knife was such a powerful statement about how much he still cares for Gun-woo, that Tae-in would rather kill himself than let Gun-woo blame him for the death of another person he cares about, and to save his life by keeping his secret identity in front of Teacher Jung intact. That’s more than normal friendship and brotherhood — that’s pure love. So why then, has Tae-in held Gun-woo at arm’s length since his sister’s death? I’m just twisted up inside, dying to know what went wrong between them and more importantly, how they can fix it.
And now that we know that Teacher Jung isn’t just your garden-variety thug looking for money and power, but a loving father with a sick little girl — well, now I’m toast. The “villain with the heart of gold” is my drama kryptonite, and yeah I know, Teacher Jung is still a killer and a horrible person. There’s no denying that he’s done things that make him completely irredeemable. But he loves his baby girl, and you can see that it kills him inside that she might know he’s not a good man. It takes a lot for a villain to make me go all wibbly, but I’ll admit that in the stairwell with his daughter, when he pinky swore he’d see her soon, I got choked up.
And that is how you get viewers like me, who don’t normally watch this style of show, to get invested and need to see more. It’s not about the sleek cinematography, or the fabulous acting, or the intricate twisty plot. It’s not about the great soundtrack or the undeniable hotness of the lead character. Though those things are also important, they’re not what hooks in viewers who usually give crime dramas a pass. But give us people we care about, who tug at our hearts and make us love them (yes, even — maybe especially — the bad guys!), and you’ve got us in for the long haul. But even better, you give us a show that has all of those things, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. It’s early days, and I’ve been watching dramas long enough now to know that things can always go south at any point, but I have high hopes for Hidden Identity. Keep it up!
- Hidden Identity: Episode 2
- Hidden Identity: Episode 1
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