Hidden Identity: Episode 10
Going rogue isn’t without its consequences, especially when that mission ends in failure. How much longer can Gun-woo seek revenge on In-ho? One month, apparently — at least, that’s all the time Investigative 5 Unit has to try and catch the Ghost. But in order to get closer to catching the Ghost, they need to catch In-ho. Again.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Everyone’s in a panic as In-ho’s surprise sniper neatly picks off all of Sae-jin’s men. Gun-woo tries to aim for the sniper but nearly gets shot for his trouble. He scrambles for cover, leaving Sae-jin vulnerable to In-ho, who shoots Sae-jin first in the shoulder, then in the head. Sae-jin and his team are no more.
Jang asks if Tae-in can put aside his personal feelings to arrest Gun-woo while Tae-pyung and Min-joo track down In-ho to get back the virus. Tae-in doesn’t have to look too hard for Gun-woo, since Gun-woo tackles him a split second before the sniper attempts to shoot Tae-in. But Tae-in isn’t happy that his life was saved — instead he yells at Gun-woo for not telling him (or the rest of the team) what he was up to in order to track down In-ho and the virus.
Gun-woo doesn’t care — his end goal is to kill In-ho, no matter what. He warns Tae-in not to stop him. Tae-in responds by using the butt of his gun to knock Gun-woo out.
Just as In-ho reaches his car, he sees Tae-pyung, who has been following him, reflected in the mirror. He spins around and shoots, but Tae-pyung ducks behind the wall. (And I’m sure we’re all relieved to know that the entire Investigative 5 Unit are wearing visible bullet-proof vests.)
But In-ho isn’t a completely terrible shot, as he manages to kill a cop with just one shot — one-handed while driving away. That’s pretty impressive, actually. It’s enough to let him escape Tae-pyung, at least.
Oh no! The sniper’s cross-hairs are centered on Min-joo, but before he can shoot her, Jang appears behind him, gun pointed at his head.
Jang tries to get some answers out of the sniper regarding the Ghost and the virus, but he only gives the vague reply that people easily forget their sins, but that doesn’t mean the sins just go away. He recognizes the sniper — it’s the guy from the composite sketch that Tae-in sent him. That also ties the sniper to the CIA assassination case from eight years ago.
One of In-ho’s men provides enough of a distraction to Jang to allow the sniper to get away by jumping off the side of the building and then grabbing onto a window ledge with his fingertips. Hardcore. As she chases after the other men, Min-joo gets shot in the arm. It’s just a graze, apparently. But it allows the men to get away.
The only person they’ve manage to catch is Gun-woo, who’s finally come to senses in an alley. It looks like Tae-in dragged him there to make sure they stayed out of the firefight, and then patiently waited for him to wake up again.
There’s a moment of hesitation when Tae-in and Gun-woo meet up with the rest of the team, but Jang simply orders his team to arrest Gun-woo. Tae-pyung tries to argue that it isn’t necessary, but a silently furious Min-joo steps forward to slap on the cuffs and lead Gun-woo to the police car.
On a rooftop that night, Tae-in and Jang meet privately. Tae-in protests that Gun-woo is part of the team and so Jang should try to protect him, but Jang points out that rules must be followed. Gun-woo got too caught up in his emotions and forgot to act like a cop.
Tae-in reminds Jang that he was the one who brought Gun-woo to their team. If it were him, he’d take full responsibility and do everything he could to help Gun-woo. Jang just sighs as he watches Tae-in walk away.
Looking snazzy in his dress uniform, Jang sits before the tribunal. They all agree that Gun-woo wasn’t acting in his right mind by abandoning his team. But instead of responding, Jang remembers all his encounters with Gun-woo and how he’d been welcomed into the team. When they press him for an answer, he calmly says that Gun-woo acted under his orders. Yesssss!
Even though we know that Gun-woo went rogue strictly by his own choosing, Jang continues to explain that it was his directive for Gun-woo to act that way so that they could try to capture both the virus and the top secret file — the latter of which they were indeed able to obtain.
The tribunal points out that the mission was a failure — after all, wasn’t the whole point to retrieve the virus? Jang admits that it’s still an ongoing mission. Even though they aren’t pleased with the result, the men agree that their purpose was to find the responsible party for the failed mission, and Jang has taken that responsibility.
After the other men leave, it’s just the Chief of Police and Jang. The chief warns him that if he had just blamed Gun-woo and fired him, then he could have continued to help keep the Investigative 5 Unit going. But even if it means the team being dismantled, Jang still believes that, as the leader, he must take the responsibility of his team member’s actions.
He’s able to get the chief to agree to one more month before breaking up the unit — which is all the time they will have to try and catch the Ghost and the virus. When they finally arrest the Ghost, Jang promises that he himself will be the one to dismantle the team, which also means he’ll be quitting the force.
The first step to reassembling the team is to release Gun-woo from jail. He seems vaguely bewildered by his sudden freedom, but when he runs into Jang, it becomes clear. Jang sets down Gun-woo’s ID badge on the bench between them. If Gun-woo decides to take it, this time Jang won’t be able to cover for him — he’ll be fully responsible for his own actions. Gun-woo asks if it’s his last chance. Yes — but it’s also Jang’s last chance, too. No pressure, though.
When Gun-woo returns home, he finds Min-joo waiting outside for him. She’s still furious with him, wanting to beat him to a pulp — but she won’t, because Jang has accepted him back into their team. She also tells him the one-month condition Jang took in order to free him, and then leaves with one final warning to not ignore Jang’s sincerity.
Never has there been so much angst over an ID badge. That night, Gun-woo downs his soju as he tries to decide whether it’s better to follow Jang or continue his path of revenge.
The warlord chairman asks one of his men about the VD107 virus, and is reassured that it was successfully obtained and it should arrive soon, once the investigation dies down a bit. Meanwhile, he has his men testing the effects of the (or a?) virus.
One of his scientists shows off their sample mice, revealing that the virus doesn’t really take affect until about 72 hours after being injected, but then it quickly spreads and destroys the body. Right now, there’s no chance of survival. But there’s a possibility that a treatment being developed in America could reduce the fatalities by half.
If left untreated, though, dire things could happen. Or so I assume based on the chairman’s raised eyebrow and the wailing strings of the background music.
In-ho calls the chairman’s middle man, confidently telling him that he’ll have the virus to him tomorrow. As he hangs up, another man suddenly appears — it looks like it was someone In-ho was waiting for (and yay, yet another baddie-of-the-week to add to the list).
That man would be Choi Suk-il, a regular visitor while In-ho was in jail. He’s a private investigator who’s also spent his time in jail, where he first met In-ho.
The Investigative 5 Unit are just figuring out Suk-il’s connection to In-ho when Gun-woo walks into the office. Everyone stops to stare — or try to avoid staring — as he quietly shuffles to his desk. Min-joo gives him the cold shoulder, but Duk-hoo can’t hide his delighted grin (awww) and Tae-pyung looks pleased, too.
But there’s no time to waste, and Jang orders them back to business. Even though they’ve tracked down as much as they could on Suk-il, they aren’t able to figure out a connection to the Ghost. Duk-hoo is all too happy to give Gun-woo an undercover outfit to investigate Suk-il’s PI firm, but Min-joo snatches it from him and gives it to Tae-pyung instead.
Tae-pyung teasingly asks if Gun-woo is hurt that his role was reassigned, then reminds him that he can’t really blame Min-joo for acting like that. After all, if Gun-woo messes up now, their team will be ruined before the month is even over.
Min-joo’s anger is easy to understand — what’s difficult for Gun-woo to understand is Tae-pyung: how can he be so nice to Gun-woo after all he did? Tae-pyung tells him that, in this job, they have to live in different identities every day, but it doesn’t mean they can totally transform into another person. All they can do is try to understand the person they’re playing.
When he brought up how he felt when he nearly lost his son that time, it was his attempt to understand how Gun-woo was feeling.
He adds that even though there are situations that are easy to understand mentally, they’re often hard to accept emotionally. Smiling, he gently pats Gun-woo’s shoulder, asking him to be patient for at least one month — or until they catch the Ghost.
Dressed as a delivery man, Tae-pyung easily enters the run-down building where Suk-il’s PI office is located. He picks the lock on the door and then quickly goes through all the drawers and files, looking for something that will tie Suk-il to the Ghost. Finding a safe, he quickly cracks it by using an empty coffee cup pressed against his ear the safe so he can hear the tumblers fall into place.
Once he opens it, he discovers ledgers and files, taking photos of anything that seems like it would be relevant. One of the files contains information about Im Sung-hyun, a corrections officer who’s been missing since 1994 — and who, suspiciously, happened to be one of the corrections officers at the youth detention facility In-ho and Suk-il were both in when they were younger.
According to Duk-hoo’s research, the reason he’s missing is because he was fired back in 1994 for being caught abusing In-ho and Suk-il while they were in the detention facility. That not only caused him to go into debt, but it also turned him into a social outcast. His last known whereabouts reported him fleeing a loan shark, and no one is sure if he’s currently dead or alive.
But he’s the reason Suk-il and In-ho have kept in touch all these years — the desire for revenge. That also means that Suk-il knows where In-ho is, but Min-joo isn’t sure that they’ll get any information out of Suk-il, since he’ll be loyal to In-ho.
Duk-hoo agrees that Suk-il will be a hard nut to crack, since he’s no stranger to enduring torture to keep his secrets. But Jang realizes that while Suk-il won’t spill the beans to his enemies, he will share with his colleagues. And if they can’t find one of his colleagues, they’ll just have to make one themselves. I smell a new undercover mission!
At a snack stand, Suk-il chows down on fish cakes while Min-joo and Tae-pyung carefully watch him. They try to look inconspicuous, but Suk-il senses something’s amiss, and slips away when a crowd provides a distraction around the snack stand.
He hurries down the street, looking back to make sure he’s not being followed, when suddenly an arm reaches out and pulls him into an alleyway. Someone warns him to be quiet. Ooooh, it’s Jang! Taking the lead on the undercover mission! I almost didn’t recognize him without his standard spiffy suit.
Jang breathlessly warns Suk-il that he’s being tailed by the NIS or the police because they think he knows where In-ho is. He tells him that that he’s only there to make sure Suk-il gets out of there and then says they’ll go their separate ways.
Slightly bewildered, but trusting, Suk-il follows Jang around a corner, only to take a few steps back when he realizes that Jang is being held at gunpoint, er, taserpoint by Gun-woo. With his hands up, he urgently whispers to Suk-il that he should run, but as soon as Suk-il turns his back, he’s tasered by Gun-woo. After Suk-il passes out, Jang drops his hands and orders Gun-woo to move to the next location.
That location appears to be an abandoned facility of some sort where Suk-il is being held prisoner. As he pounds on the locked door, he hears a woman scream, begging someone not to kill her. Another man’s screams fill the air, the insistent cries that he doesn’t know anything echoing all around.
Watching from his computer, Duk-hoo smirks at how terrified Suk-il is. Tae-pyung gets the rest of the crew ready for the next stage, and teasingly asks if Jang is sure he doesn’t need any rehearsal since he’s got the main role. But Jang looks down at his scarred arm and orders everyone to begin. Are those scars real? Or just part of the undercover ruse?
Flinging himself through the doorway as though he was pushed, Jang rolls into Suk-il’s room and writhes on the ground, grasping in pain at his scarred arm. Tae-pyung and Gun-woo enter, and Tae-pyung waves his gloved hand at Suk-il, telling him that he’s next.
They drag him through the hallway, where Tae-pyung’s crew convincingly makes it seem like other people are being tortured nearby. Suk-il grows increasingly more nervous and fearful, but he’s still not about to say anything. As Gun-woo fills a very scary looking needle and syringe with some mysterious blue liquid, Tae-pyung ties Suk-il to a chair, warning him that he’ll talk soon.
Menacingly pacing around, Tae-pyung explains that in the old days they used all sorts of different torture devices to get someone to talk, but now they just need this. He squirts a bit of the blue liquid out of the needle and says that it seems harmless, but it makes you feel like you want to die. However, they’ll give Suk-il one more chance to tell them where In-ho is, without any blue liquid assistance.
They throw him back into his holding room to give him some time to “think about it,” and the haggard Jang staggers to his feet, asking if Suk-il remembers him. They met once, a long time ago. He, too, works for the Ghost.
As they monitor the room through the hidden cameras, Min-joo asks Gun-woo if he came back for Jang, or to get his revenge on In-ho. Either way, it doesn’t matter — if he disappoints Jang one more time, she’ll never forgive him.
Suk-il is still suspicious and denying that he knows where In-ho is. He tries to trap Jang by casually asking if he ever drank with In-ho, but Undercover Jang neatly avoids it by scoffing at the idea, because In-ho can’t hold his liquor. That answer seems to satisfy Suk-il, but watching Jang writhe in pain from supposedly a dose of the mysterious blue liquid has him worried.
The next stage is set in motion as Tae-pyung barges in and drags Suk-il out. He’s still not going to tell them where In-ho is, and Tae-pyung readies the needle to pierce Suk-il’s skin when Min-joo suddenly enters, telling them that they’ve found out In-ho’s location.
Suk-il is released back into his room, his knowledge supposedly worthless now. When Jang hears that their captors have learned In-ho’s location, he finds it hard to believe that Suk-il didn’t tell them anything. He roughly grabs him by the collar, but Suk-il insists that even though he knows where In-ho is, he didn’t tell them.
Jang decides they’ll need to escape to warn In-ho, and he hatches a plan that involves Suk-il acting sick. Jang pounds on the door, yelling for help, but when Tae-pyung arrives and bends down to look at the “sick” Suk-il, Suk-il kicks the gun out of hand and tries to wrestle him. But he’s quickly pinned by Tae-pyung who, ouch, twists and breaks Suk-il’s ankle.
Just then a gun shot is heard, and Jang is holding the gun while Gun-woo is sprawled on the floor. Jang chases after Tae-pyung, and Suk-il hears another gun shot. Hurrying back into the room, Jang says he killed the other one, and now they have to hurry and escape. But Suk-il’s not going anywhere fast with that broken ankle, so he tells Jang the address where In-ho is staying so he can warn In-ho.
As soon as Jang gets the address, the frantic look of Undercover Jang is replaced by the calm expressionless visage of Team Leader Jang, who asks if Duk-hoo got it. The supposedly dead Gun-woo sits up, and Tae-pyung also reappears in the doorway. Suk-il realizes with growing horror that he’s just been tricked.
Tae-in gets the word about the new “catch In-ho” mission, and he’s heading out just as Director Choi appears. He reminds Tae-in that the information sharing goes both ways, and Tae-in confesses that they’ve found out In-ho’s location. But just as he’s leaving, Director Choi warns him that even though he knows how much Tae-in wants to catch In-ho, it’s easy to focus too hard on the target and miss the knife coming for you.
Everyone’s assembled outside the building where In-ho is, and Jang reminds them that their mission is to capture In-ho and the virus. Just as everyone is headed to their assigned positions, Jang calls Gun-woo back. Tae-in had begged Jang to keep Gun-woo out of the operation, but as Tae-in pulls up (to Gun-woo’s surprise), he simply tells Gun-woo to do well (and not, y’know, go rogue and mess it up for everyone else).
Tae-in’s team is the first to find In-ho, and an unsurprised In-ho stands and holds out his wrists to be cuffed. With gun drawn and aimed at In-ho, Tae-in orders everyone else out. His arms still outstretched, In-ho slowly advances towards Tae-in, almost as though he were taunting Tae-in to pull the trigger.
As he remembers his sister, Tae-in also remembers the words he told Gun-woo — to let go and move on. Instead of pulling the trigger, he uses the gun to punch In-ho in the face, and continues to punch him. But In-ho fights back, and soon both men are grabbing at each other’s throats. In-ho has the upper hand, though, and he repeatedly hits Tae-in until he’s knocked out.
He digs through Tae-in’s pockets until he finds his wallet — and his NIS ID card. In-ho pulls out his phone to make a call. To whom, we don’t know.
In-ho’s trying to make his escape, but the sound of police sirens stops him and he turns around to double-back. He halts when Gun-woo looms out of the darkness, eyes burning bright with the desire for vengeance. But In-ho isn’t a pro for nothin’, and he taunts Gun-woo about his eight-year-long quest for revenge.
Gun-woo quietly threatens that he will kill In-ho tonight, but In-ho chuckles. Does Gun-woo think that he’s the only one who’s tried to kill In-ho? Instead, it’ll be Gun-woo who’ll soon be able to see his dead girlfriend again, and “tell her I said hello.” But Gun-woo says that In-ho can tell her “hello” himself.
Setting down the briefcase containing the VD107 virus, In-ho prepares himself to fight. Gun-woo balls his fists and then launches himself at In-ho.
Jang undercover is maybe my new favorite thing. I’ve grown so accustomed to him wearing his suits that are practically uniform, plus his non-stop poker face, that to see him wearing jeans and a t-shirt and acting so desperate you could feel it from his pores made me almost believe it really was someone else. Part of me cynically wonders if it was just so Park Sung-woong could prove that his acting skills go beyond a poker face.
But it actually makes a lot of sense, character-wise, especially considering that this is Jang’s last chance. Of course he’d want to make sure it goes perfectly, even if it means getting his hands (literally) dirty. I do still wonder about those scars on his arms, though — I’m going with “they’re real” and not just a make-up job for the mission. That implies Jang has experienced some sort of torture in the past, and when you add in how much his role as police officer means to him, it adds up to a whole lotta meaningful backstory we’ve yet to uncover. I’m betting it has something to do with the Ghost, though, and this investigation is highly personal for him, too.
I mean, let’s face it, this isn’t the most original plot, and it would be a nice denouement to reveal that Jang’s past proverbial ghosts are tied up with our Ghost. Except, of course, I wanna know what those ghosts are. What made him decide to establish this Investigative 5 Unit in the first place? I’m pretty sure we’ll get an answer to that, although who knows how long it will take, considering it took forever for us to get the full story about how Tae-hee died and why Gun-woo (and Tae-in) are still so obsessed with their revenge. I’m not too concerned, though, because I’m happy to be distracted by all the pretty cinematography.
Which, btw, is still incredible. It’s not uncommon for dramas to lose their grip on the cinematography as they head into the latter half, when time and money start to become rarer and rarer. So it’s a relief — and a delight — to see that this show still feels as cinematic as it did since the first episode. That’s probably why I don’t care about all the little plot holes that get lost as the plot continues to hurtle forward. I’m too enthralled by all the shallow visuals of pretty, artistic shots and nifty, slick editing that I can wave away a lot of those minor irritants.
I’m also still pleased that the plot continues to move. It does mean that I’m still wary about getting attached to any new bad guy since I assume he’ll be killed (and aw, I was actually beginning to like Sae-jin). But I at least know a new one will take his place. Maybe. It seems like In-ho has some sticking power, and while I might assume that this might be the time when Gun-woo finally gets his revenge (because those cliffhangers no longer fool me), I also know that this is a test. Will he go rogue again, or will he follow Team Leader Jang’s orders? Is this about his personal feelings, or is he able to put himself in his team’s shoes? Y’know, do that empathy thing that Tae-pyung was trying to teach him.
This still isn’t a perfect drama, but I think we’ve previously pretty much covered the faults in the show, and now it’s more of a matter of accepting that it’s just the way it is. I may have my quibbles, but I also really enjoy watching it every week. Now, if the show could just find more excuses to have Jang in his dress uniform as well as looking all scruffy in jeans and a t-shirt, I would be a very happy viewer indeed.