Man to Man: Episode 7
Take a deep breath now, because there really isn’t much time to breathe in this episode. With Do-ha’s life on the line and Seol-woo feeling more desperate than we’ve ever seen him before, it may be time for him to face those enigmatic feelings he’s been dodging. The baddies have our heroes cornered on all fronts, and since no one can be trusted, Seol-woo is forced to work alone. Luckily for him, help comes from an unlikely ally.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Dong-hyun warns Seol-woo not to go after Do-ha and instead let the police handle the situation. But Seol-woo has made up his mind, and he tracks down Do-ha’s location and enters a maze of shipping containers with his gun in hand. Seol-woo rounds the corner expecting to find a welcoming party, but the area is empty.
Carefully, he approaches an unlocked shipping container and turns the latch, but before he pulls the handle, he notices a beeping red light, which makes him pause. He inspects the surrounding area and finds a bomb with only one minute remaining.
Immediately, he gets to work disarming the bomb and cuts a white wire. The clock stops only to start up again a second later. Do-ha, who is trapped in a darkened room, struggles against her restraints.
With thirty seconds left, Seol-woo selects a blue wire to cut next. He holds the wire between the blades of his scissors, closes his eyes, and holds his breath as five more seconds go by. Suddenly, he changes his mind and releases the blue wire, moving instead to a red one. Oh man, I’m sweating.
He gets this terribly sad and nervous look in his eyes for a moment before steeling himself. With less than ten seconds left, Seol-woo holds the red wire in his hands, then finally, he cuts. Whew.
The clock stops, and the bomb is disarmed. He immediately opens the shipping container, and once he does, bright lights illuminate above Do-ha.
Ah, it was a trap. Seol-woo approaches a laptop left on a table in the still-darkened shipping container and sees a livestream of Do-ha tied to a chair in another room far away. He notices the coin he gave her also on the table and furrows his eyebrows.
Ki-chul calls Seol-woo using a disguised voice, and he praises Seol-woo’s skills in disarming the bomb. He tells Seol-woo to hand over the wood carving and the ring by tonight, or Do-ha dies.
Enraged, Seol-woo repeatedly shoots the laptop until it falls to the floor. Behind him, a SWAT team swarms the entrance and covers Seol-woo in red laser dots. Dong-hyun calls the police off, and later, the two discuss the escalating situation.
Dong-hyun chastises Seol-woo for blowing his cover, but Seol-woo shoots back that Do-ha will be in danger if he misses the deadline. Understanding his concern, Dong-hyun tells Seol-woo in a softer voice to stay out of it and to let him handle it from here.
Dong-hyun instructs the SWAT team to recover all CCTV in the surrounding area, and while he’s distracted, Seol-woo removes the detonator from the bomb.
Ki-chul orders Do-ha to be untied, and she immediately shuts her eyes tightly swears that she doesn’t know where the ring is. This behavior piques Ki-chul’s interest, and when he asks why she’s telling him this, she replies that she was abducted by loan sharks in high school, so she knows how these things work. Gosh, that’s so sad.
Ki-chul crouches and says in a sincere-sounding voice that they aren’t the bad guys. He apologizes for treating her so roughly, and then introduces himself as an investigator from the NIS.
Department Head Jang calls Seol-woo to reiterate that he is not to get himself further involved in the Do-ha matter, because if his identity is blown, then he may put even Director Im at risk.
Instead of answering, Seol-woo just hangs up the phone before entering an electronics repair shop. He greets the shop owner who recognizes him and is surprised to see that he’s still alive. Seol-woo promises to explain later, but for now, he needs the shop owner to examine the detonator he took from the bomb.
The guy tells Seol-woo that it’s an instrument commonly used by “Russia’s Alpha Group,” an elite counter-terrorism unit. The shop owner guesses that the item came from a man named Master Sergeant Choi in Annam. He adds that Master Sergeant Choi is retired and now runs a junkyard, but he deals arms illegally on the backend.
Meanwhile, Seung-jae receives word about Woon-kwang’s bodyguard being a ghost agent. He thinks back to their meeting at Chairman Victor’s party before ordering Ki-chul to eliminate everyone (including Seol-woo and Do-ha) once they’ve acquired the wood carving and the ring.
Seung-jae also learns that Eun-soo and Woon-kwang are starring in an upcoming movie together, and his secretary theorizes that Mi-eun is meeting with Eun-soo because of the movie. He seethes and says, “I wondered why her new toy was so cheap. It was Woon-kwang again.”
Back at his house, Woon-kwang prepares for his new role with Eun-soo. But when his staff praises the movie’s script, he complains about not understanding the characters — namely the fact that his character likes someone who is both ugly and poor. Sang-shik tells him that he can’t play the lead with that attitude, and Woon-kwang barks at him warningly.
His stylist, HAN JI-SUN, tells Woon-kwang that she heard the role was written with Woon-kwang in mind, and upon hearing that, he gets a strange look in his eyes. He asks who told them that and gets two answers: CEO Ji and Do-ha.
Elsewhere, Mi-eun waits for her son to finish with his lessons for the day, but she’s taken aback when Seung-jae’s secretary arrives to inform her that the nanny will be taking care of her son for the time being. At that moment, she receives a text from Seung-jae containing the photo Woon-kwang took with her son at the restaurant. Eek.
She goes home and explains herself, calling the run-in with Woon-kwang a coincidence, adding that Seung-jae is misunderstanding the situation. He asks about her meetings with Eun-soo and wonders if he’s misunderstanding the meaning behind those meetings.
She’s surprised that he knows about that before she tries to explain, but he stops her and says, “I may get angrier if I hear your excuse. I don’t want to get angry at you.” He walks towards the door, but leaves her with one final thought, “Just accept your punishment until I feel better.” Whoaaaa.
Back with Do-ha, Ki-chul tells Do-ha that they didn’t kidnap her—they’re just trying to protect her because she’s in danger. She asks about the ring, but Ki-chul replies that it’s classified information, then adds that many people’s lives are at stake.
Do-ha asks about her father’s safety, but Ki-chul says that he’s fine since he doesn’t have the ring. She says that he definitely doesn’t because he didn’t even know where she hid it, and Ki-chul asks who else knew where it was hidden. She has to think for a minute, but then remembers that she told Seol-woo.
She doesn’t have to say it aloud because Ki-chul already knows. He asks if she’s witnessed Seol-woo act suspiciously before, like at Chairman Victor’s party, for example. Ki-chul elaborates that something important was taken from the chairman’s safe on that day. He sees Do-ha’s face become uncertain, and so he goes in for the kill, asking if she believes that Seol-woo was being sincere with her in their relationship.
While Do-ha is getting a dose of harsh reality, Seol-woo meets with Dad after the latter calls to discuss the watch. Dad’s very impressed that Seol-woo immediately recognized the watch as a fake. The situation gave him an idea, he says, and so he shows Seol-woo a drawing of the ring, wondering if Seol-woo knows anyone who can make a replica.
Seol-woo grows angry after realizing Dad’s motive, and he cruelly warns Dad not to cause anymore trouble, because his “stupid con won’t work, so just live quietly waiting tables.” Wow, harsh.
Ki-chul continues working on Do-ha, outing Seol-woo’s deception by telling her, “To him, love is nothing but a tactic to achieve his goal.” The evidence is pretty damning against Seol-woo as Ki-chul unveils each layer of Seol-woo’s mission, which, to Do-ha, explains all of his odd behavior, but also unravels her budding relationship. Aieee, poor girl.
Department Head Jang briefs Dong-hyun on what they know about Ki-chul, the former “Agent S.” It isn’t much; all they know is that he’s an orphan and was in the special forces. He left the NIS after he was presumed dead during a mission and supposedly went rogue. Dong-hyun is certain that he’s working for Assemblyman Baek and suggests that they get a warrant to bring him in, but Department Head Jang wants them to gather some evidence first.
They know that Assemblyman Baek’s relationship with Songsan has some friction, so Dong-hyun wonders if they can exploit that somehow, but Department Head Jang says that Assemblyman Baek is meeting secretly with Seung-jae today because his approval rating has fallen recently. He adds that the connection between money and power cannot be severed so easily.
In that meeting, Assemblyman Baek worries that he may actually lose the Seoul mayoral race. He’s not-so-subtly angling for some more cash, which Seung-jae picks up on right away. The chaebol complains that Assemblyman Baek is a money pit, so Assemblyman Baek offers a little something in exchange. He hands over the early business evaluations for all the top public enterprises in Seoul, which he will privatize and give to Seung-jae.
Seung-jae argues that those will be useless if they aren’t selected, but Assemblyman Baek seems confident that they will. It all sounds good and all to Seung-jae, but he’s still worried about burning such a large hole in his wallet. Assemblyman Baek replies that that’s why they need the wood carvings to replenish Seung-jae’s funds.
Seol-woo tracks down Master Sergeant Choi to find out who purchased the detonator. The arms dealer becomes uncooperative when he realizes that Seol-woo isn’t a customer, but rather an agent working for the state.
He signals his men, and the workers surround Seol-woo. Thinking fast, Seol-woo pulls out his gun, immobilizes the arms dealer, and holds the barrel against his head. Seol-woo tells the man to start talking and fires warning shots at his men’s feet when they come near. He begins counting down from three, and when he reaches one, the man concedes and reveals the buyer to be Ki-chul. Seol-woo asks for the location of his hideout.
Meanwhile, Woon-kwang meets with CEO Ji and demands to know where he got the script from, because there are lines in there that are straight out of his first date with Mi-eun. He knows that Mi-eun cast him in the movie, and CEO Ji doesn’t deny it this time. Woon-kwang sighs and wonders aloud why Mi-eun is doing this.
Mi-eun isn’t having the greatest morning either. She tells Seung-jae that their son is refusing to go to school today and offers to take him, but Seung-jae shoots her down and decides to do it himself. She says that he can’t enforce the separation forever, and he replies that he doesn’t feel better yet.
He tells his wife not to worry about their son because he thinks his mother is very sick, and so his father will take good care of him in case Mi-eun gets sicker. Seung-jae wonders diabolically if Mi-eun will so sick that she’ll need to be hospitalized or maybe even leave her son forever.
Seol-woo learns from Master Sergeant Choi that the only thing he knows about Ki-chul is that he is the leader of the Baek Infantry. It’s known that Assemblyman Baek is the one in charge of the group, so Seol-woo intends to target him next to find the location of the hideout. He tells Dong-hyun as much, but Dong-hyun says they can’t do anything to the man because he’s a public official.
Seol-woo knows, and that’s why he asked to meet with Dong-hyun. He suddenly takes out his pen recorder and records his resignation message, acknowledging that from here on out, all his actions are his own and are not connected to the NIS.
He gives Dong-hyun the pen and says that their organization should deny anything he does. Dong-hyun asks why Seol-woo needs to go so far and surmises that he’s acting this way because of Do-ha. Seol-woo doesn’t confirm it, but there’s this look in his eyes, and that may be all the evidence we need.
As he drives off, Seol-woo’s mind fills with memories of time spent with Do-ha. The tone of the memories are warm and emanating with fondness. He thinks to himself, “My premonition for disaster was right.” Go get her, friend.
At that moment, Do-ha searches for her phone to call the NIS and confirm Ki-chul and his boys’ identities, only to be told that the mission is too top secret for that. (It was a good plan, and I’m glad she’s suspicious, but don’t tell him!) She scratches her head and walks over to the door, pulling out a bobby pin.
CEO Ji and Woon-kwang are on their way to a business meeting with the investors for Last Love, and CEO Ji is relieved, since he was sure Woon-kwang would refuse. He complains about not being able to get in touch with Do-ha or Seol-woo all day, and adds his hunch that they seem to be dating. Woon-kwang becomes annoyed by the CEO’s comment and says that Do-ha only has eyes for him. Aww, are you protecting their secret?
Seung-jae heads to dinner to meet his wife after calling the CEO of the company who’s allegedly the main investor for Last Love. Mi-eun wonders why her husband is alone, since she expected to see her son at last. But Seung-jae mocks her assumption, adding that he invited the “person she likes” because he is always thinking about her… and in walks Woon-kwang and CEO Ji.
Everyone is confused except for Seung-jae, who says that he decided to invest in Woon-kwang’s movie. CEO Ji tries to quickly usher Woon-kwang away, but surprisingly, it’s the top star who suggests they stay and hear Seung-jae out.
During dinner, Seung-jae outlines his investment proposal, which sounds agreeable to Woon-kwang. Seung-jae says it’s an incredible offer for a new production company, but he’s doing it because his son is such a huge fan of Woon-kwang’s. Woon-kwang pushes back that investing in a movie starring a Hallyu star is hardly charity work, and Mi-eun calls Woon-kwang as arrogant as ever. He tells her to butt out, and Seung-jae comments on how openly rude they are to each other.
Seung-jae wonders if it’s because the two have known one another longer than he has. Mi-eun knows this setup is a trap for her, so she continues baring her fangs at Woon-kwang, telling him that he should be humble in front of people who paid to increase his worth. Seung-jae smirks.
Woon-kwang thinks he understands the purpose of the meeting, and when Mi-eun says she’s against investing in the movie, Woon-kwang elects to refuse the investment anyway. Seung-jae remarks that he’ll regret it, so Woon-kwang shoots back that it’s none of his business before leaving. When they are alone, Seung-jae comments on what a waste of an expensive meal it was, all while watching his wife’s face closely.
Seol-woo ambushes Assemblyman Baek and easily gets Ki-chul’s location out of him. Meanwhile, Do-ha successfully breaks open the door, but she doesn’t escape for long, because Ki-chul and his guys are sitting right outside.
She doesn’t totally waste the opportunity though, and ends up seeing a relationship chart which includes a picture of her, Woon-kwang, and Seol-woo on a clear whiteboard before she steals a phone out of one of the guard’s pockets.
When she’s alone, she calls Woon-kwang to tell him that she’s been kidnapped and to inform Seol-woo before the phone is taken away from her. Ki-chul’s men tie Do-ha up again, but then he receives a call with some troubling news.
Under Dong-hyun’s direction, the SWAT team arrives at Ki-chul’s hideout, but it’s already been evacuated. They think there might be a leak in their ranks who notified Ki-chul before they could get there. Ki-chul warns Seol-woo that his actions have shortened Do-ha’s lifespan, so he’s giving him one hour to hand over the items. Meanwhile, Woon-kwang tries to call Seol-woo, but is ignored.
A security officer finds Assemblyman Baek and his bodyguards tied up and gagged in a storage room. The security officer removes the tape from Assemblyman Baek’s mouth, but interestingly, the assemblyman tells the officer to put the tape back on and take a photo of them as proof.
Dong-hyun tries to get Seol-woo to stop his crazy suicide mission, because he knows that after Seol-woo hands the items over, Ki-chul isn’t going to let him or Do-ha go unharmed. Seol-woo replies that they can’t trust anyone anymore, and since there is “no country” left to save Do-ha, he can’t give up on her too.
The SWAT team chief tells Dong-hyun that they are pulling out of Do-ha’s investigation case. Dong-hyun can’t understand why since the case is still pending, but the chief merely apologizes.
Department Head Jang isn’t faring much better, as an Internal Affairs team interrogates him for information on Seol-woo after having received the picture of Assemblyman Baek. Department Head Jang pushes back against the allegations and maintains that he doesn’t know anything.
Woon-kwang arrives at Seol-woo’s hideout, and after being mistaken for an intruder, he asks Seol-woo if Do-ha has really been captured. Seol-woo is alarmed that Woon-kwang knows about that, but then Woon-kwang demands to know who Seol-woo really is.
The spy fesses up and tells Woon-kwang everything, but adds that there isn’t much time when Do-ha is still in danger. Woon-kwang refuses to be ignored and punches Seol-woo in the face before asking Seol-woo why he’s acting alone.
Seol-woo explains that no one in the NIS can be trusted, so Woon-kwang invites himself along. Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang that the mission is too dangerous for a civilian, but Woon-kwang argues that he has military experience and eight degrees in various martial arts, so he’s going. Reluctantly, Seol-woo allows it, but only if Woon-kwang promises to follow his orders.
Ki-chul gives Seol-woo the rendezvous location before calling Seung-jae to thank him for his warning about the SWAT team storming their hideout. Looks like Seol-woo was right about not involving the police, because we then see that same police chief meeting up with Seung-jae and Assemblyman Baek for dinner.
Seol-woo and Woon-kwang arrive at the location. The plan is for Woon-kwang to keep the guards distracted for as long as he can while Seol-woo goes in to save Do-ha, even at the cost of his own life.
Ki-chul’s men walk toward Woon-kwang, who is standing outside. Meanwhile, Ki-chul stays with Do-ha and counts down the minutes until the deadline. Woon-kwang hands over the ring as asked, but he wants to see Do-ha before he’ll transfer the wood carving. Without warning, Ki-chul raises a gun to Do-ha’s face, but then Seol-woo crashes through a nearby window.
He fires a barrage of shots to separate Ki-chul from Do-ha while Woon-kwang unleashes some gas on the lackeys until they are momentarily distracted by the sound of gunfire. Woon-kwang takes on all of Ki-chul’s men and displays some impressive skill and agility while the ghost agents fight one-on-one.
They’re evenly matched in close combat, at least until they both run out of bullets. Seol-woo knocks Ki-chul down and saves Do-ha after one of his men threatens her with a knife. Seol-woo easily takes out the man and assures Do-ha that he’ll free her soon, but for now, she should avert her gaze.
He turns her chair so that she’s facing away from the fight and steps toward Ki-chul as they each hold knives in their hands. Outside, Ki-chul’s men are getting the best of Woon-kwang, who struggles to hold them off. (Stay strong, oppa!)
The knife fight commences, and the fighters shuffle back and forth, with Seol-woo doing double-duty protecting Do-ha. He barely manages to push Ki-chul away from stabbing Do-ha, but when one of his men attacks her, he turns his back to Ki-chul and is sliced from behind.
The ghost agents engage in a final bout, until Seol-woo manages to gain the upper hand enough to hold a knife to Ki-chul’s throat. Do-ha couldn’t bring herself to heed Seol-woo’s warning and catches his gaze before he’s about to deliver a fatal blow. She desperately shakes her head, begging him not to kill Ki-chul, and Seol-woo lowers his arm.
He removes the tape from her mouth and asks if she is okay, but she’s more worried about his wound. They hear Woon-kwang struggling outside, and so Seol-woo hurries to lend his brother a hand. The duo reunites, and together, they tackle the remaining men. And not long after, an army of SWAT cars roll up.
The SWAT team storms the area, and the leader approaches the two. Seol-woo watches the man tensely, but phew, it’s Dong-hyun in uniform. Woon-kwang runs over to be with Do-ha while Seol-woo observes from afar.
He frets over the cuts on her wrist from her restraints, but she says she’s fine and asks him what he’s doing here. Woon-kwang tells her that he came to save her, adding that he taught those guys outside a lesson. It’s then that she finally breaks down and tells him how scared she was, and he pulls her into his arms and says that it’s all over now. So precious.
Seol-woo asks Dong-hyun how he got the police to help since they can’t be trusted, but Dong-hyun assures him that he got help from units who weren’t loyal to the Baek Infantry. Seol-woo warns Dong-hyun to guard Ki-chul well, since the Baek Infantry might try to get him back.
He looks over to Do-ha, who is already watching him from Woon-kwang’s arms, and they share a long, loaded moment. Woon-kwang notices and reclaims Do-ha’s attention, trying to give her a piggy-back ride. Seol-woo asks Dong-hyun to take good care of Do-ha, and when Do-ha looks back in search of Seol-woo, she’s confused to find that he’s vanished.
Things are really coming together nicely. The stakes rose sharply, and the relationships between our characters deepened in both heartwarming and terrifying ways. I adore Woon-kwang so much. Who knew he was such a badass? His whole relationship with Do-ha is so precious, and I’m moved by how much they truly care for one another. Every ounce of affection she has for him is reciprocated in such an unshakeable and binding way, and I love what they’re doing with these characters. I don’t sense anything romantic between them, and thank goodness, because I’m rooting so hard for Seol-woo and Do-ha now.
I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief, because watching Seol-woo suffer as Do-ha remained in danger was everything I hoped for. All those little moments spent observing Seol-woo’s fear, anger, and helplessness were a very welcome sight, but they were also executed with restraint and underlying intensity. Park Hae-jin did not let me down. Nothing about Seol-woo’s feelings were overdone, and I truly understood everything he was struggling with. He cares about Do-ha, and it drove him act a little out of character, but it also felt authentic to the situation and to the relationship he and Do-ha have developed over the last few episodes. The cherry on top was when he still decided to leave her in the end, because while he doesn’t want anything to happen to her, their relationship is still built on a lie, and so he has to disappear just like he’s always intended to. So much delicious drama, I love it.
When they reunite, things are going to be really different because they’re going to have to figure out how to get past all that deception, and Seol-woo has to prove which parts were real to her and to himself. I’m also looking forward to Woon-kwang being a major obstacle in their relationship. I did wonder why he was so extra supportive of them in the beginning, though I dismissed the thought because it’s easy to just give that umbrella explanation of “Oh, he’s awesome, that’s why.” But now, that feeling of betrayal and protectiveness for Do-ha will be heightened in light of Seol-woo’s many lies. Well, at least I hope that happens. I could also see Woon-kwang forgiving Seol-woo immediately, but that would be a waste.
Besides all the goodness we were getting from our main trio, Seung-jae and Mi-eun’s relationship took a dark and much-needed turn. I don’t find Mi-eun’s tragic love story with Woon-kwang that compelling just yet, and all of Seung-jae and Assemblyman Baek’s exchanges range between almost interesting to tedious. But the scenes between husband and wife in this episode made me so much more invested in them.
I thought it was it smart to show what their relationship was like in the beginning, before he revealed his cruel side. Even though it seems like she had an inkling about it before, it’s clear that she underestimated it. When Seung-jae was secretly eating all of their son’s beans and she told them she could see them doing it, that was really cute. And it added layers to this reversal, which we could sense coming, but really hit a lot harder than I was expecting. In the beginning, Seung-jae didn’t even have a clue that Mi-eun was still hung up on Woon-kwang all this time, but once he realized she still may be harboring feelings, he became ruthless and dogged about catching her in a lie. It’s fascinating.
The way he threatened to remove her entirely from her son’s life was so evil. It’s behavior I would normally associate with a chaebol elder or a mother/father-in-law as a way to punish their daughter-in-law, perhaps motivated to preserve the family honor or something of the like. But when it’s done by a husband against his wife out of jealousy and possessiveness, it so much more brutal and twisted to witness.
- 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