Last: Episode 7
Tae-ho continues with his scheme to swindle President Jung, determined to take his money and bring him down for good. While the plan is put into motion, Heung-sam has plans for his other minions as well, who have been causing problems for his business. But every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and not every plan goes, well… as planned.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
During a crucial moment in Tae-ho’s Plan, the hotel’s fire alarm sets off the Chairman’s PTSD reaction. Vice-Minister Moon is escorted from the room, and Hae-jin is relieved to see that the Chairman hasn’t been snapped out of his chairman delusion, as usually happens when a siren sets him off… until he realizes that the Chairman has no idea what’s going on.
There’s no time to regroup, as President Jung is ringing the doorbell, so Hae-jin simply shoos the Chairman into the next room. Out in the surveillance van, Tae-ho tells Ship-jang they’ll just have to trust Hae-jin now, as they watch him bring Jung into the room and say his “father” isn’t feeling well.
President Jung is forced to ask Hae-jin to let him in on the “oil sand” project, and he even drops Vice-Minister Moon’s name as a close friend of his, assuming he was here to get a piece of this pie as well. He works hard at buttering up Hae-jin so he’ll put in a good word for him, and Hae-jin’s deadpan expression just kills me dead.
Hae-jin lets slip that an investor just backed out, but they’ll need fifteen billion won in order for President Jung to get in on it. With a fifty percent deposit due day after tomorrow. The huge number takes President Jung back a bit, but Hae-jin’s projection of a five hundred percent return convinces him.
Just as the two men are shaking on it, the Chairman wanders back into the room, to President Jung’s delight and Hae-jin’s horror. He writes one of his “checks” and calmly hands it to President Jung, but Hae-jin brilliantly plays it off as his way of writing down his goals to make them a reality.
Jung falls for it hook, line, and sinker — when he leaves, he orders Big Guy to withdraw every penny the company can spare. Out in the van, Tae-ho sends Ship-jang to follow President Jung and listen in, while he goes to refresh the Chairman’s memory on the Plan.
Up in his penthouse, Heung-sam looks at old photos of a smiling family, and we see memories flash through his mind: Two boys playing ball, an older man complaining about a scam and someone telling him to disappear, then fumbling a bottle of medicine and collapsing. The other man (whose face we don’t see) kicks away the medicine bottle.
The older boy (who must be Heung-sam) witnesses this and cries for his father to wake up, and later during his mourning, the faceless man tells him to find him if he ever needs anything. The boy furiously destroys the piece of paper the man hands him by eating it, while his little brother cries.
President Jung interrupts Heung-sam’s reverie, having come to ask for a short-term loan. Heung-sam seems skeptical, but grins nastily to see Jung taking the bait so easily.
He meets with Tae-ho to tell him that President Jung is falling in line, but says that taking everything he has won’t be enough — they need to make sure he can never recover. He warns Tae-ho not to let his guard down until he gets every penny, but Tae-ho says that he’s already done most of the work by getting Jung interested. His greed will take over now.
He says again that he will make sure Heung-sam gets back the five billion won that he originally lost in the Dae Bong Bio investment, then asks if Heung-sam has taken care of things at the Han Joong Group yet. This is a bit to close to little bro for Heung-sam’s comfort, and he warns Tae-ho not to get too curious.
Of course Tae-ho’s radar pings at that, and he has Young-chil look up Se-hoon. He was apparently adopted to Canada and went to an Ivy-league school on full scholarship, and has been back in Korea for five years. All Tae-ho knows of Se-hoon is that he saw him kiss Jung-min.
Ship-jang mistakes the worry on Tae-ho’s face to be about Nara, and tells him that when this is all over they’ll go straight to Granny’s place and explain. We see Nara working so hard she gives herself a nosebleed, but she overhears Sergeant Bae threatening the men standing in the food line for not making their collection quotas.
He’s telling them they can’t eat if they don’t collect, but Nara says she’s the one feeding them, so she’ll decide who eats. But the men are too afraid of Bae and obey him, and when Nara tries to stop him, he shoves her into a wall. Nara starts to get up but faints, and even Sergeant Bae looks shocked (“I didn’t push her that hard…”).
When Jong-gu hears of this, he charges Sergeant Bae and kicks him in the chest, but Bae says he was acting on orders from Poison Snake. Jong-gu is furious and punches him repeatedly, and Bae goes with Poison Snake and Crocodile to complain to Heung-sam.
Crocodile whines to Heung-sam that Jong-gu has started getting involved in their personal matters. Poison Snake apologizes for bothering Heung-sam with these trivial matters, but says it’s hard to lead his men with Jong-gu interfering. Heung-sam is silent until Crocodile mentions how much time Jong-gu spends wth Mi-joo, and threatens to shut his mouth forever.
Jong-gu visits Nara in the hospital, who complains that everyone is making her rest more than she wants. She teases him that Granny said he’s dating someone, and apologizes for yelling that he mooches off other homeless people. But he allows that it was only the truth, saying that with Tae-ho gone, he feels like those left behind should do something.
Nara asks if his lady is the same one he mentioned once while drunk, the one who saved his daughter’s life – he’d said he didn’t know if he felt guilty towards her, or if he liked her. She says those aren’t mutually exclusive and that he can feel both, and urges him to forget the past.
When the men have gone, Mi-joo tells Heung-sam that she won’t be sleeping with his customers anymore, but he just laughs at her. She says it has nothing to do with Jong-gu, and admits that without Heung-sam she’d be an addict and a ruined woman by now. But she feels she’s repaid her debt, and only wants to manage the club and the other girls from now on.
Heung-sam laughs again and says that he was wondering what to do about her and Jong-gu, because their little stunt the other night (when they ran out on Vice-Minister Moon) put his business at risk. He says that now he has his answer, and strokes her scar, saying that it will never disappear as long as the three of them are alive. He asks Mi-joo, which one of the three should they erase?
Jong-gu visits the building where the fire happened, remembering how he’d seen the smoke and run up screaming his daughter’s name. He’d seen Eun-ji and Mi-joo huddled in the flames, Mi-joo protecting Eun-ji with her own body, and she’d been burned when a flaming beam fell on her shoulder.
Jong-gu is startled when Young-chil suddenly comes out into the hallway, which startles Young-chil equally. He’s forced to show Jong-gu their office space, with computers and expensive epuipment everywhere, and a live feed playing of Tae-ho, Hae-jin,and the Chairman talking about the Plan.
Jong-ho orders Young-chil to call Tae-ho, telling him that he looks pretty good for a dead guy. Tae-ho looks sorry and sad as he looks into the camera, and Jong-gu asks him to come talk to him. When Tae-ho shows up, Jong-gu says that they don’t owe each other anything, and whether or not Tae-ho was dead means nothing to him. Tae-ho says he was planning to come talk with Jong-gu when this was all over.
Jong-gu says that taking responsibility is good — in fact that’s what he’s doing now, taking responsibility as the guy who taught Tae-ho to fight. They’ve worked on endurance but never got around to punching, so now it’s time.
He gives Tae-ho boxing advice, but it’s clearly meant to serve double-duty as advice on how to deal with Heung-sam… advice like using clear and precise punches, closing the distance between himself and his opponent, and only having one chance to block. Tae-ho hears the advice for what it is, declaring that he can destroy Heung-sam.
Jong-gu and Tae-ho face off, and for the first time, Tae-ho holds his own quite impressively. Jong-gu tells him that he has nothing left to learn, so to get out of his sight. But before he goes inside, he tells Tae-ho that Nara is in the hospital, in part due to Tae-ho himself.
Tae-ho walks by himself and stops to look at a small flower, really more of a weed, blooming next to the sidewalk. It reminds him of Nara and her garden, and he goes to see her in the hospital. He watches her sleep as he smiles, remembering how she’d assured him that she wasn’t interested in him, not at all, nope, not even a little bit.
Tae-ho doesn’t wake her, but Nara smiles in her sleep as if she knows he’s there. When she wakes in the morning, she finds the little flower in a cup on her nightstand. Awww.
It’s time for the next phase of the Plan, and Hae-jin and the Chairman wait in their hotel suite while Tae-ho and Ship-jang watch from the van. Some suited men pull up to the hotel after President Jung goes up, and Ship-jang thinks he’s seen them before. Oh no. But everything seems to go well, as Jung and the Chairman sign contracts and transfer the money.
Hae-jin wants to get out of there quickly, saying they have a plane to America to catch, but President Jung says he’s invited someone for them to meet. Oh crap, it’s Vice-Minister Moon, and Hae-jin and the Chairman suddenly look very nervous.
Jung says that he knew why Moon came here the other day, and Moon arrives to the shock of Tae-ho and Ship-jang watching downstairs. They start to freak out, knowing that if Moon goes upstairs it’s all over, so Tae-ho calls Hae-jin. Hae-jin is trying desperately to get himself and the Chairman out of there, but Jung is insistent.
Vice-Minister Moon arrives at the room and immediately there’s trouble when Jung refers to the Chairman as Chairman, while Moon knows him as a representative from the Blue House. It only gets worse when the suited men Tae-ho saw downstairs push their way into the room and introduce themselves as the Seoul Fraud Regional Investigation Unit. Well, shit.
They arrest Hae-jin and the Chairman, telling President Jung and Vice-Minister Moon that these two men are conmen who just scammed them. Jung demands his seven billion won back from Hae-jin, and the investigator says it will take time but promises that they will return his money after proper procedure.
Tae-ho and Ship-jang follow as Hae-jin and the Chairman are driven to the police station, but before they arrive, the van pulls over by the side of the road. The leader of the suited men grins and asks if they’re curious who reported them, and the van door opens to reveal… Tae-ho!
He pays the guys and apologizes to Hae-jin, saying that he had to enact this part of the plan without their knowledge, so their reactions would look authentic. Hae-jin just stammers wordlessly, while the Chairman and Tae-ho share a laugh. Awesome.
Heung-sam visits the gigantic pile of money in his walk-in safe, as President Jung destroys his own office in frustration. He’s heard the news that the men that supposedly arrested Hae-jin and the Chairman aren’t real cops, and he’s figured out that Heung-sam was part of all this. He orders Big Guy to arm twenty of his best fighters — he’s going after Heung-sam.
Jong-gu looks for Mi-joo, but she hasn’t been to the club in two days and nobody can reach her. She doesn’t answer her door either, and Jong-gu grows increasingly frantic to find her.
Tae-ho goes to Heung-sam’s penthouse, where they share a drink to celebrate their success. Heung-sam says tha the only knew what kind of person he was after hitting rock-bottom, since that’s where human nature reveals itself. Tae-ho says that he’s repaid his debt to Heung-sam, but Heung-sam snickers. What about the interest?
Tae-ho offers to let Heung-sam sell his organs, but Heung-sam says he only needs his head. He asks Tae-ho if he wants to help with his business, but before Tae-ho can answer, Jong-gu storms into the penthouse and demands to know where Mi-joo is.
Instead of answering Jong-gu, Heung-sam says to Tae-ho that emotions only get in the way when doing business. He snarls at Jong-gu to re-evaluate his priorities, and to find his woman himself. He asks one more time where Mi-joo is, but Heung-sam says this is the difference between them — Jong-gu lets the past hold him back, while Heung-sam risks his neck reaching the top.
Jong-gu threatens to kill Heung-sam if anything’s happened to Mi-joo, but before things can escalate too far, Tae-ho steps in and stops them both. He asks what Jong-gu is doing, risking himself for a barmaid, and Jong-gu looks like he could rip Tae-ho’s face off with his teeth. Tae-ho says to wait — he’ll step on Jong-gu on his way up.
Jong-gu leaves, only to see a small army of men entering the building, and it makes him pause. It triggers a memory of himself when he still had his daughter, so drunk he could barely sit up, and a young Heung-sam had brought food for Eun-ji and a handful of syringes for Jong-gu. More memories, of a bloodied Heung-sam standing in front of himself and Mi-joo, then later leaving Jong-gu sitting in the gutter alone.
Big Guy leads the men up to the penthouse, where Tae-ho and Heung-sam are still sitting with their drinks. Heung-sam gives Tae-ho credit for saving Jong-gu, saying that he was about to forget their past together. Tae-ho asks how they met, but Heung-sam just chuckles that it’s been such a long time.
Big Guy and his men burst in right then, and Heung-sam laughs that President Jung figured it out so quickly and sent so many men. Tae-ho tells Heung-sam to escape, but Heung-sam doesn’t, though you can see the wheels turning in his mind as he says that those who want to live should leave now.
Big Guy gives the order to attack, and it’s an instant free-for-all as Tae-ho and Heung-sam defend themselves. Heung-sam gets the high ground and Tae-ho grabs one of the men’s weapons, but they’re terribly outnumbered. Eventually Tae-ho is cornered, and Heung-sam takes a knife to the gut. (I have to admit, it’s kind of sweet that the one item Heung-sam saves is his record of his favorite song.)
Despite the way he was treated, Jong-gu goes back upstairs and walks right into the fray, fighting his way into the penthouse. Meanwhile Tae-ho and Heung-sam end up fighting back-to-back, and eventually all three allies work their way to each other. Even having taken the worst of the injuries, Heung-sam is all, “This is just like old times!” HA.
Jong-gu offers to make a path so Tae-ho can get Heung-sam out of here, and Heung-sam jeers at his attackers that they’ve worked hard today. Big Guy isn’t about to let them escape, however, and pulls a large knife. His men start a fresh attack, but a stray pipe swing shatters a window — the strong winds from being at the top of the tall building send glass shards flying everywhere.
The three men try to escape, but while Heung-sam and Tae-ho almost make it to the door, Jong-gu is stabbed viciously by Big Guy. Tae-ho knocks Big Guy away with his pipe and covers them, while Jong-gu extends a hand to Heung-sam, but another swing of a pipe knocks Jong-gu away and allows a man to stab Heung-sam again.
With his last bit of strength Jong-gu drags Heung-sam into the elevator, and Tae-ho jumps in with them. He fights off the men, but they manage to grab him and yank him out as the doors are closing. One last well-aimed jab from Jong-gu knocks away the last man holding onto Tae-ho, and he squeezes into the elevator as the doors close.
Mi-joo comes back from the trip she took with a client, with Praying Mantis right behind as her bodyguard-slash-jailer. Praying Mantis gets a call, and he goes visibly pale and barely manages to hold on to his trademark poker face — whatever he’s hearing on the other end is bad.
Mi-joo and Praying Mantis go straight to Heung-sam’s bedside, where Praying Mantis looks as though he’s going to burst into tears at any moment. He swears to catch President Jung and give him the most painful death possible, which is kind of sweet, in a super creepy way.
Mi-joo tells Praying Mantis to focus on cleaning up the penthouse so Heung-sam can go home soon, and Tae-ho tells her that she can find Jong-gu at Nara’s clinic. She asks why he’s telling her this, and coolly says to relay her greetings when he sees him. Ouch.
Jong-gu is busy giving Nara a hard time and pretending he’s not waiting for Mi-joo at all, even as he gazes into the distance from the roof. Awww. Nara says he should call her if he misses her, and asks how they met. Jong-gu just gives a long, sad sigh.
Excuse me while I catch my breath — that fight scene was a doozy! Normally I’m not one for long drawn-out fight scenes, but this show is so good, it even managed to use a fight scene to set a stage for an important character moment between our three leading men. It was interesting how they started out fighting alone, and were each losing badly, and only regained enough leverage to get themselves to safety once they stood strong together and helped each other. Well done, Show.
Tae-ho has to walk such a fine line at this point, because he has so many things to stay aware of in order to just survive. Heung-sam is realizing the value of Tae-ho’s intelligence, yet he’s still Number Seven out of seven, which makes him low man on the totem pole and the Golden Boy all at once. We’re already starting to see Poison Snake, Crocodile, and Sergeant Bae noticing this and feeling threatened in their positions — and there’s still Number Three, Straw Cutter, to contend with soon. I have no doubt that when he gets out of jail, there will be a mad scramble as everyone jockeys for position again. Tae-ho doesn’t have the other Seven’s years of experience with each other to know how to navigate their unique little Seoul Station hierarchy, and one misstep could cost him everything. Especially with such an unknown as Straw Cutter, who has been foreshadowed to be quite dangerous.
I’m conflicted in my feelings about Tae-ho in the last few episodes… on the one hand, he’s finally using his brain to get ahead, and in this situation that can only be a good thing. But on the other hand, he’s in danger of burning bridges on the way, and it concerns me. I’m worried that his relationship with Jong-gu could be destroyed before they even get started, the way he’s pushing Jong-gu away with his words and actions. And while we know that Tae-ho is doing it to protect Jong-gu from Heung-sam, who could be unpredictable if he discovers that Tae-ho and Jong-gu are becoming close, Jong-gu doesn’t know that.
Speaking of Jong-gu, I’m ready to learn more about his past with Heung-sam, and why he’s allowed to be Number Two when he doesn’t really seem to have done anything to have earned that honor. Heung-sam keeps talking about their past, and the flashes we’ve seen show two men who appear to have been much closer than they are now. I want to know what there was between them, and how it went wrong, and what Mi-joo had to do with it. And most of all, why Heung-sam continues to bestow a level of respect on Jong-gu that he doesn’t seem to care about or respect in return.
I was a bit taken aback that the Plan to take down President Jung wrapped up so quickly and without any real hiccups (well, other than that one manufactured one, which turned out to be part of the Plan after all). I fully expected to get another episode or two out of the Plan, and that we’d get to see things go wrong and watch Tae-ho flounder to get things back under control. But then I realized that that’s not how Last rolls — I really should stop expecting it to be like other dramas, and sit back and let it surprise me. Because if there’s one thing this show does, and will almost certainly continue to do, it’s surprise me.
The fun part was that after I got over my surprise, I realized that I’m actually glad to see the plot continuing to zoom along at this rapid pace — the balance in this show is so perfect that nothing feels rushed, while the zippy pace gives the audience a sense of events in danger of spiraling out of control for our players. It’s a nice use of timing on the writer’s part, to utilize the quick transitions from plot point to plot point to actually contribute to the sense of approaching disaster. For Tae-ho and Jong-gu, especially, the faster events move, the higher the chance that they will lose their grip and possibly their lives. We’re already seeing it start to happen — they nearly were killed because President Jung retaliated so quickly, they didn’t have time to prepare to defend themselves. I think this is the first time I’ve wished for a drama to actually slow down a bit, if only to allow the characters to catch their breath and get their feet back under themselves!