Man to Man: Episode 4
If we’ve learned anything about our secret agent thus far, it’s that he’ll do whatever it takes to complete a mission. Though his quick thinking and decisive actions have served him well in the past, things aren’t working out quite as cleanly for Seol-woo in his newest mission, leading to some unintended consequences that will probably make his job—and his life—a little more complicated than he’d like.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Seol-woo follows Woon-kwang and Chairman Victor to the chairman’s secret room. Through his earpiece, Seol-woo tells Dong-hyun that they’re going to “Plan B,” and though Dong-hyun clearly thinks Seol-woo is crazy, he goes with it.
Chairman Victor unlocks his secret room with his handprint and then the secret password, which happens to be “Dark Death” and the character’s signature phrase (in Korean): “The worst there is.”
Dong-hyun watches Seol-woo as he follows Woon-kwang and the chairman into the room, then puts their new plan into action, pushing a button that shares their location.
On the receiving end of this information is Major Petrov, the Russian military leader who Seol-woo helped break out of prison. In a flashback, we see that Seol-woo sought out Petrov before the party to secure his help for Plan B. Seol-woo said he’d get the evidence on Chairman Victor that the Russian military is looking for; in return, he asked Petrov to be ready to deliver a blast of EMP (electromagnetic pulse), just in case it’s needed.
When Petrov receives the chairman’s location, he knows Plan B has been activated. He gives the order to send the EMP drone to the mansion.
Back in Chairman Victor’s secret room, the chairman shows off his collection of artifacts, which includes an original print of the first Dark Death comic book. Seol-woo carefully looks around the room, then zeroes in on a small sculpture (a wood carving, perhaps?) in the corner.
Dong-hyun’s voice comes through Seol-woo’s earpiece with an update: Petrov has been notified, and there’s one minute left. Dong-hyun shuts down his equipment since the EMP will cause the power to fail and reminds Seol-woo that he’ll be on his own.
As Seol-woo checks his watch, a drone circles Chairman Victor’s mansion, sets its target, then sends the EMP blast. Immediately, all the lights in the building turn off. A guard quickly relays to the chairman that the security system is down, but it should be back up soon. Though the chairman orders an increase in security, he tells his team to keep the party going. The group leaves the chairman’s room, and Seol-woo takes one last look at the sculpture.
Back at the party, the guests murmur in bewilderment over the sudden power outage. As if on cue, a chef wheels out Chairman Victor’s birthday cake into the darkened hall, and a performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” begins, making it look like the outage was planned.
Seol-woo and Woon-kwang return to the party, prompting Do-ha to exhale in relief. She’s worried that something might be wrong, but Woon-kwang just shrugs it off, and Seol-woo assures her that things are fine.
As the guests watch the performance, Seol-woo slowly makes his way out of the hall and heads to the second floor, where the carving is supposedly located. On his way, he puts in a special contact lens which gives him superhuman vision to detect signs of danger, and he’s able to avoid the guards stationed around the building.
Back at the party, as the song continues, Woon-kwang watches Mi-eun with a sad, wistful look on his face. A few beats later, it’s Mi-eun who gazes at Woon-kwang—and it doesn’t go unnoticed by her husband.
Seol-woo makes it to the second floor, successfully evading two guards stationed in the hallway. He confidently strides towards his targeted room, quietly takes out another guard at the door, and enters.
He gets rid of the several more guards in the room, then trains his flashlight on the door to a vault. He’s able to open the door quite easily by simply twisting the handle, which then leads to another door made of metal bars. This door, too, isn’t secured in any way, and Seol-woo swings it open.
He heads right up to a small carving—an exact replica of the piece he saw earlier in Chairman Victor’s secret basement room—then smashes the protective glass.
Meanwhile, Do-ha volunteers to look for Seol-woo when Woon-kwang notices that he’s missing.
Seol-woo grabs the wood carving, then places a tracker onto the figure before stuffing it into a bag. Outside, in his surveillance vehicle, Dong-hyun hurriedly powers on his equipment and notes the location of “SW” in the building.
Seol-woo heads outside to a balcony, then places the bag with the carving on the railing, looking up at the sky. Once he notes a drone on its way over, he steps back inside. The drone—expertly flown by Dong-hyun—picks up the bag, then flies away.
But he’s not out of the woods yet—on his way back to the party, he’s met with guards from either side. Thinking quickly, he hops the railing down to the first floor, where he promptly runs into Do-ha. Aware that he’s being chased, Seol-woo scans their surroundings—and sure enough, he sees several guards running down the stairs toward them. Seol-woo’s out of options, so he does the only thing he can think of: He grabs Do-ha, whirls her around, and holds her close.
The embrace is enough to fool the guards, but the two stay close for another moment before Do-ha pushes Seol-woo away. Looking shaken, she asks him what he’s doing, to which Seol-woo answers, “Something bad.” With a slight smile, he asks her to ignore what just happened.
Do-ha regroups and joins Woon-kwang and Seol-woo back at their table, where the performance is still going on. She turns to look at Seol-woo, but he just stares straight ahead.
After Chairman Victor blows out his birthday candle, a guard breaks the news that an EMP blast was responsible for the outage and urges the chairman to leave the building immediately. Then, Chairman Victor’s given a second piece of bad news: His vault was robbed as well.
Just then, the party is interrupted by the sounds of helicopters circling the building, flashing their bright lights and blinding all the guests. Moments later, droves of Russian troops rush into the mansion, with Major Petrov bringing up the rear. Well, that was fast.
Before the troops take Chairman Victor away, Petrov catches Seol-woo’s eye, and Seol-woo acknowledges him with a nod and a smile. Outside, Dong-hyun happily lands the drone and secures the wooden carving.
After the party is officially over, Do-ha confronts Seol-woo about his actions earlier that evening. She asks him for an explanation, saying that she’ll need at least that much in order to continue working with him and treating him like family. Looking up at him earnestly, she asks him for an honest answer.
In voiceover, Seol-woo wonders, “Why do people believe what you say with words is the truth?” And out loud, he says, “It’s because you were there, and you were the only thing I could see.”
We hear Do-ha’s heart start to pound, but she doesn’t say anything and looks up at him, wide-eyed. Seol-woo continues that he knows that he wasn’t supposed to do that, and says he’s sorry for crossing the line.
As he walks away, he narrates: “During the course of a mission, you often have to think on your feet.” He checks his phone to find a message from Dong-hyun confirming that he has the carving. Seol-woo looks back at Do-ha, who’s still just sitting there in shock, then continues on his way, smiling as he notes the completion of the Moscow mission.
Back in Korea, Woon-kwang debriefs his staff about the crazy events at Chairman Victor’s party. Do-ha looks pretty uncomfortable the whole time, and when she gives Seol-woo a little glance, he looks away.
CEO Ji meets with Mi-eun and asks her to hand over the agency to him so that he can continue working with Woon-kwang. CEO Ji seems truly upset at the way things played out, and he swears that he’ll do whatever it takes to get back in Woon-kwang’s good graces, even if that means cutting off contact with Mi-eun herself. Mi-eun agrees and tells CEO Ji to stay by Woon-kwang’s side.
Dong-hyun and Seol-woo use some fancy software to scan the wood carving for clues and discover a hidden cavity. Taking a closer look at the piece, Seol-woo successfully locates the opening to the hidden compartment and pulls out an odd-shaped key. Seol-woo notes that it’s not a complete key and says that they’ll need two more pieces—one from the remaining two wood carvings—to figure out what they open.
Seol-woo hides the key in a nearby container filled with screws and other random keys, then asks about the second wood carving. Dong-hyun says it’s with the royal family in Thailand, which perks Seol-woo right up, since it means he can finally stop his undercover work as Woon-kwang’s bodyguard. He tells Dong-hyun that he’ll disappear during Woon-kwang’s shoot the next day.
At home, Do-ha can’t get Seol-woo’s “explanation” of his actions out of her head as she tosses and turns on the couch. Her friend Song-yi’s convinced that Seol-woo likes Do-ha, but Do-ha’s not so sure, finding it all too sudden and weird. When Song-yi asks Do-ha how Seol-woo’s hug made her feel, Do-ha gets all dreamy before quickly saying she felt annoyed.
Song-yi tells Do-ha to confirm Seol-woo’s feelings for her by eliciting two emotions in him: jealousy and worry. Do-ha thinks back to the swoony things Seol-woo’s done so far, but then she flips out over how complicated it all is.
Seol-woo bops around happily as he plans the best way to fake his death. Unfortunately for him, Dong-hyun nixes Seol-woo’s usual methods, telling him that he can’t do things like blow up cars in Korea. Instead, Dong-hyun suggests a novel idea: Seol-woo should resign.
Seol-woo grumbles about the change in plans, so Dong-hyun tells him to annoy Woon-kwang for a few days, then quit. This appeals to Seol-woo, and he starts to hatch his plan.
At Woon-kwang’s shoot the next day, Do-ha is still preoccupied with thoughts of Seol-woo. She orders poor Sang-shik to hug her, as if that will help her to figure out how Seol-woo’s hug made her feel, then pries him away from her when they see Seol-woo headed their way.
Seol-woo gets started on his new exit strategy, which seems to be to try to out-diva Woon-kwang. Complaining about the delay in the filming schedule, he plops down in Woon-kwang’s special chair and even sasses Sang-shik when he points out that he’s sitting in the celebrity’s chair.
Sang-shik wonders aloud if Seol-woo’s annoyed with him, but Do-ha has a different read. With Song-yi’s words about jealousy ringing in her ear, she comes to the conclusion that Seol-woo must be annoyed with her for daring to hug another man. She gapes to herself, wondering if Seol-woo just revealed his feelings toward her. Pfft.
Seol-woo’s still lounging in the chair when Woon-kwang appears. The star points out that Seol-woo is in his chair, but Seol-woo doesn’t move and says that he’s tired. As Woon-kwang’s staff all exchange nervous glances, Woon-kwang furrows his brow at Seol-woo—only to ask with concern if Seol-woo needs to go to the hospital. Aw.
Seol-woo jumps up in annoyance, saying he’s fine, then kicks the chair for good measure as he walks away from the mystified crew. Sang-shik calls Seol-woo’s attitude inappropriate, but Woon-kwang says that he’ll be understanding, since he considers Seol-woo to be his brother/family and not a mere bodyguard.
Woon-kwang has canceled his filming for the day, so he suggests that they go out for a team dinner. When they get ready to load up the van, Seol-woo gets into the car first without a word, leaving Woon-kwang behind.
Songsan heir Seung-jae meets with Assemblyman Baek, who can barely contain his glee as he clucks over Chairman Victor’s downfall and the problems it’s causing for Songsan’s bottom line. Annoyed, Seung-jae turns the conversation back around to the assemblyman’s inability to find the wood carvings, but the politician assures Seung-jae that things are moving along. To that, Seun-jae says he’ll deliver the campaign funds to the assemblyman by next week.
Assemblyman Baek’s underling Ki-chul has set up a white board detailing all the players involved in the mission for the first wood carving, including Woon-kwang and our NIS agents. Over the phone (and as he assembles a shotgun), he tells Assemblyman Baek that it looks like the agents found Chairman Victor’s wood carving, but that they haven’t turned it over to the NIS just yet.
Assemblyman Baek asks about the ghost agent that they’re working with, but Ki-chul has no news. The assemblyman then tells Ki-chul to bring him the carving as soon as it’s found, saying that he needs to teach Seung-jae how negotiations are done.
During their team dinner (which they end up having at Woon-kwang’s house, ha), Woon-kwang thanks his staff for getting him back on schedule, then calls for a toast. His stylist offers to pour Seol-woo a drink, and to Do-ha’s surprise, he accepts, then downs the entire thing.
Over drinks, Department Head Jang and Mi-eun’s friend Sharon discuss Woon-kwang’s departure from Chewing. But then the conversation goes a whole new direction, as Department Head Jang slips Sharon a pair of tickets to an art show and asks her to go with him.
Back at Woon-kwang’s, Do-ha is on her way to getting wasted, and Seol-woo gets a text from her that says they need to talk. The rest of the team fills Seol-woo in on Do-ha’s drinking habits: Whenever she gets drunk, she picks someone to text and ropes them into an endless conversation that lasts all night. Seol-woo looks horrified at having been chosen.
So when Do-ha pours herself yet another glass of soju, Seol-woo takes the glass away from her and drinks it himself. But Do-ha won’t be stopped that easily—she just finds herself a new glass to fill. She’s about to drink when Seol-woo dramatically takes the glass from her once again.
He angrily tells Do-ha not to drink too much and forces himself to chug the second glass. Everyone is impressed with Seol-woo’s chivalry, and Do-ha in particular looks thoroughly moved.
Woon-kwang comments that Seol-woo must worry about Do-ha a lot, which leads Do-ha to remember Song-yi’s words about jealousy and worry being indicative of Seol-woo’s feelings toward her. As Seol-woo stumbles away, Do-ha decides that she needs to end things clearly and chases after him.
She catches Seol-woo outside the house and asks him if he’s leaving because of her. When he says yes, she tells him that she understands his feelings and says that though she appreciates how hard it is to confess his feelings, she doesn’t feel the same way as Seol-woo.
Seol-woo can’t help but smirk when he realizes that Do-ha really believes he’s into her. He tells her that it doesn’t matter, assuring her that he’ll move on.
At home, Do-ha replays the evening’s events in her head, sighing at Seol-woo’s attempts to stop her drinking. She says out loud that she’s drinking because of him, then says that she’s sorry for hurting him.
Meanwhile, Seol-woo fiddles with some equipment at his place, but keeps stopping to stretch and rearrange his chair. He finally stops for good, then looks at back at the pictures of Do-ha on his bulletin board in annoyance. He ends up putting black tape over her eyes on each of her photos, then smiles in satisfaction.
The next day, Seol-woo submits his letter of resignation to Woon-kwang, citing health issues. Woon-kwang first refuses to accept this news, then tries to offer Seol-woo some time off. But Seol-woo is firm, and leaves with a bow.
At another one of their meetings, Department Head Jang tells Dong-hyun that the second wood carving is no longer with the Thai royal family, as it’s been put up for sale at a black market auction for the wealthy. Only members can participate in this auction, but Department Head Jang knows that Agent Y had a membership card. He tells Dong-hyun to look for the agent’s informant, “Goldfinger,” to find the card.
Do-ha visits her father in prison and tells him she’s deposited his commissary money. Ever the con man, her father tries to butter her up, telling her how pretty she is and how it’s time for her to get married. Do-ha angrily asks him how he can even talk about marriage twhen he’s in prison for fraud for the ninth time.
He tells her he’ll get out soon, then asks if Do-ha still has the “gift” that he gave her a while back. She hesitates and says she threw it away, then tells him not to contact her if he’s going to cause trouble again. He can totally see that she’s lying, so he shouts after her that he’ll come see her soon, then notes to himself happily that she must have both the gift and a man.
When Do-ha returns to Woon-kwang’s, she finds her boss moping in bed. Woon-kwang tells her that Seol-woo quit for health reasons, then wonders if Seol-woo might be faking his illness. A look of realization cuts across Do-ha’s face, and she tells Woon-kwang that Seol-woo is indeed sick—with an illness of the heart. She assures her boss that she’ll take care of it.
Seol-woo studies the photographs of Do-ha on his bulletin board, all adorned with a strip of black tape over her eyes. When he tries to peel off the tape, her eyes come off with it, so he covers her face with Post-its instead.
Just then, the door buzzes. Seol-woo checks the CCTV feed and is shocked to see Do-ha standing in front of his building.
They relocate to a nearby café, where Do-ha tells him that they can’t accept his resignation. Seol-woo tries to shut down the conversation quickly by telling her that he has nothing more to say, but she stops him by saying that she’s sorry. She says she empathizes with him and that she knows how hard it is to like someone without them liking you back.
As Seol-woo watches Do-ha talk, he narrates: “When working undercover, the end is more important than the start.”
Seol-woo’s expression turns cold, and he asks Do-ha if she didn’t understand him when he said that it didn’t matter. Leaning in, he asks incredulously, “Do you think I liked you?”
He goes on to say that he’s not interested in women like her—those who make decisions without consulting others, jump to conclusions, and are just rude in general. He says that she just says whatever she wants and doesn’t listen to what others have to say; he calls her easy, simple, extreme, and exhausting. Dang, that’s harsh.
Do-ha starts to shrink at Seol-woo’s verbal attacks, looking down and clasping her hands together nervously. But he continues to hammer hard at her, telling her that she shouldn’t be confused by what happened at Chairman Victor’s party—he did what he did out of “curiosity.” He even raises his voice, yelling that he tried to play it off by telling her that he’d move on. He asks her if she understands now that the reason he quit had nothing to do with her.
As Do-ha struggles to hold back her tears, Seol-woo ends things by telling her not to think of him or come looking for him ever again.
On his way out, Seol-woo answers a call from Dong-hyun, who asks him if he’s quit yet. Seol-woo says he did—definitively at that—but nearly trips over himself when Dong-hyun tells him to take it back. To Seol-woo’s dismay, Dong-hyun says that they’ve found the second wood carving, and Seol-woo will have to play the role of Guard Kim for a bit longer.
Seol-woo looks back at Do-ha, who’s slowly walking out of the café. In voiceover, he repeats something we’ve heard before: “Love is a useful deceit and tactic to a secret agent.” He adds that his new target is Cha Do-ha, and that she’s one of many assignments that he’s had.
He strides over to Do-ha purposefully and plants a kiss on her. In the middle of the kiss, Seol-woo opens his eyes to look right at Do-ha and thinks to himself: “But I have a bad feeling.”
Let’s talk about that last conversation between Seol-woo and Do-ha—I don’t know about you all, but man, my heart was in shreds for Do-ha in that moment. I know that Seol-woo was doing his secret agent thing and trying to end things with Do-ha as clearly and painfully as possible, but it’s really hard not to hate Seol-woo in that moment for being so cruel to her.
What makes that conversation even harder to watch is the fact that Seol-woo’s words, on some level, aren’t too far from the truth. After all, he is a master of identifying weaknesses, and we’ve seen firsthand that Do-ha does, at times, jump to conclusions and talk a mile a minute without listening to what others have to say. You can just see it in Do-ha’s face that Seol-woo’s words hit her to the core, not just because of how mean they were, but also perhaps because she’s all too familiar with those very weaknesses in herself.
So it will be interesting to see how Seol-woo comes back from this to try to win Do-ha’s heart, aside from his usual repertoire of hugs, twirls, and kisses. It’s clear that he has some kind of an effect on Do-ha, but if I were her, I’d be extra wary of anything else Seol-woo has to say following his brutal attacks on her personality and character.
And as for Seol-woo, I’m really hoping that we’ll get to see some insight into his character soon—I’d like to know how he came to be this stone-cold secret agent who can manipulate the hell out of any situation. Understanding his background would make his journey more interesting, especially as he gets closer to Do-ha and Woon-kwang, the two characters who seem to have a knack for not only throwing things off-kilter, but also eliciting some actual feelings in our secret agent.
Seol-woo’s successful theft of the wooden carving almost seemed too easy (seriously, why was that vault so easy to break into?), but at least that means we are a third of the way closer to figuring out what Agent Y was hiding. I hope we move even faster with the other two, because I want the show to make room for the other storylines and relationships, particularly those that have to do with Woon-kwang.
I missed our big celebrity a lot this hour—I felt like we didn’t get nearly enough time with him, or the usual repartee between him and his Guard Kim, which I particularly enjoyed last week. I think Woon-kwang’s backstory and current storyline is the more interesting one in the series thus far, and without him, there’s a noticeable lack of heart and humor. Given that Seol-woo’s going to have to continue his role as Guard Kim for the foreseeable future, I’m hopeful that this will be rectified quickly—and that we’ll never have to see poor Woon-kwang so sad about the loss of his bodyguard ever again.
- Man to Man: Episode 1
- Park Hae-jin stoically endures indignities for Man to Man trailer
- Woman + Man × Man + Woman + Man + Man for Man to Man
- JTBC’s Man to Man gets snapped up by Netflix
- Man to Man teases bromantic wrist-grabs and slo-mo runs
- Park Hae-jin’s simple pick-up lines in Man to Man teaser
- Park Sung-woong’s chicken run in new Man to Man teaser
- Ghost agent Park Hae-jin moves throughout Hungary in new Man to Man teaser
- Man to Man teases James Bond cat and mouse games