Mysterious Il-seung: Episodes 13-14
As the fate of the 100 billion won comes to a close, Jong-sam finds his own fate thrown into the air once again. All his life, he’s been pushed around by the wills of others but perhaps now is the time to take his life into his own hands and forge his own fate.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Detective Park pulls the breaks on Jong-sam’s heist when he catches Jong-sam red-handed, mere feet from the exit. They’re both startled by the appearance of Detective Kang and Jong-sam manages to escape, but not before the security cameras blink back on and catch him running away with the money.
Although shaken by the appearance of his old partner, Detective Park still manages to run after Jong-sam. It’s too late though, as the Men in Black pick Jong-sam up in their car and speed away. Detective Park immediately calls for backup and goes to check the CCTV footage.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Kim tries to retrieve the money and discovers it’s missing. Detective Park goes back to check on his team and ask why they aren’t ready to go, but Jin-young just nods her head towards Chief Jang. Seething, Chief Jang says that he told the team to stay put because the money isn’t their problem.
The chief wants to know what’s the deal with Gil-choon but Detective Park thinks a theft in the police station takes precedence. Chief Jang demands to know why they brought the money in the first place, calling it a bomb. He points out that it can’t be used as proof of anything and that it was the NIS that took it back—in the form of Jong-sam, who’s supposed to be working for them.
Since they can’t investigate the NIS anyway, Chief Jang thinks they’re lucky the problem seemingly has taken care of itself. However when Prosecutor Kim appears moments later to demand the money, Chief Jang lies that they’re searching for it. Barely controlling his frustration, Prosecutor Kim demands the case be handed over to him.
Detective Park agrees to hand over the CCTV footage but refuses to pass the case, citing that since the theft occurred in their station, they have the right to the initial investigation. Prosecutor Kim explodes but Chief Jang benignly asks him to let the station save face by taking care of it themselves. Displeased, Prosecutor Kim relents but asks who took the money.
In the car, the agents congratulate Jong-sam on a successful mission but he admits he was caught. They brush it off, saying there’s no danger from one officer’s eyewitness account but Jong-sam clarifies that he was also caught on camera. The men sigh that things will be complicated now.
They bring the money to Director Lee but when he counts it, he comes up short. Since the missing amount is less than his finder’s fee, Jong-sam suggests they just call it even but Director Lee is far too greedy to let it slide. He says Jong-sam will have to work off the money he lost and notes that a boat will be leaving soon. Director Lee sentences Jong-sam to a decade of labor aboard the ship and dismisses him.
Jong-sam shuffles outside in a zombie-like state. The Men in Black stop him and actually look sympathetic. They’ll pick him up later at Il-seung’s place, leaving Jong-sam his remaining 3 hours to do as he pleases, but Agent Kwak warns him to behave for Ddakji’s sake. They depart and Jong-sam’s mind flashes through everything he’s heard about the horrors of ship slavery. With a rueful smile, he says, “I shouldn’t have left jail.”
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Kim is in a state of extreme agitation as he asks his coworker why no one’s issued a warrant yet. He fumes that they’ve discovered the money and now have video evidence of an NIS-aligned officer absconding with it—in all likelihood to deliver to Director Lee—but no one is lifting a finger.
At the station, Gil-choon’s case is at a stand-still and Detective Park asks if Jin-young has managed to contact Ddakji. She says she’s been trying the number his sister gave her, but Ddakji isn’t picking up.
Arriving at Il-seung’s apartment, Jong-sam finds that Ddakji has fallen asleep waiting for him. Waking his friend, Jong-sam suggests they go do karaoke like Ddakji has always wanted. Not noticing the anxiety in Jong-sam’s voice, Ddakji happily agrees and they scurry over to their establishment of choice.
Sadly, the building is already closed due to the late hour. Jong-sam suggests trying somewhere else or even going to eat or buy clothes. Oblivious to Jong-sam’s urgency, Ddakji just wants to go back to sleep. Ddakji’s cell phone vibrates and Jong-sam has to show him how to answer it.
The caller is Jin-young and Ddakji meets her at a café. Jong-sam watches them from across the street and tuts at Ddakji’s shriveled posture. Checking his watch, he wills them to hurry because he doesn’t have much time.
Inside, Ddakji tells Jin-young about how Gil-choon would fly into a rage whenever someone called him a rapist. Jin-young suggests they talk more down at the station but Ddakji refuses, saying he only met her for his sister’s sake. Jin-young is apologetic and Ddakji asks her to hurry since his friend is waiting.
Perking up, Jin-young asks if he’s talking about Jong-sam. Ddakji quickly backpedals but Jin-young catches his eyes flicker outside and jumps up. She stops when Ddakji grabs her arm and earnestly pleads for her to leave Jong-sam alone. He says Jong-sam isn’t bad and points out that he’s a police officer. Jin-young snaps that’s Il-seung, but Ddakji clarifies that Jong-sam passed the police exam too.
Our Men in Black report to Chairwoman Gook that they’ve wrapped the money in plastic and applied preservatives so it can be loaded onto the ship. She asks them about Jong-sam and they promise to have him and the money delivered on time. The phone rings and Chairwoman Gook confirms with Director Lee that everything is set and Baek Kyung is already en route to take care of “it.”
Jong-sam meets back up with Ddakji, who guesses that Jin-young is the girl Jong-sam had talked about. He says that she knows Jong-sam’s real identity so he’d told her about Jong-sam being an officer. Jong-sam scoffs that he’d only passed the exam but Ddakji laments that if Jong-sam had been a real cop, he could punish those that framed them and clear their names.
Jong-sam doesn’t understand why it matters since Ddakji’s already served time and his sister believes him. Ddakji just quietly replies that he wants to tell the world they’re innocent. It starts to rain and the two dart under a shop awning. Holding their hands out, the two reminisce about their days in prison and how they hated being cooped up on rainy days. Jong-sam laughs that before prison, they’d often get soaked because they couldn’t afford an umbrella.
With a mischievous grin, Ddakji steps out into the rain, lifting his face to the skies. Jong-sam tells him to come back before he gets sick but Ddakji implores Jong-sam to join him. Dancing about, Ddakji says this is the first time he’s really felt free from jail. He joins Jong-sam under the awning again, saying that it’s cold. Ddakji suggests they stand in the rain together in the spring, and Jong-sam promises to do so.
Jin-young reports to Detective Park what she learned from Ddakji and they come up with a plan for Gil-choon. In the interrogation room, Detective Park leans back to take a nap. Growing agitated, Gil-choon taps Detective Park’s knee and wonders if he’s going to do his job. When Detective Park says no, Gil-choon whines that he’s bored.
Detective Park sighs that he’s too afraid of Gil-choon, who’s killed five people. Grinning proudly, Gil-choon laughs that he did no such thing but listens pointedly when Detective Park muses that if he had killed all those people, he’d be the “best” serial killer. Tickled pink, Gil-choon giggles at the idea but Jin-young slams open the door and snaps that Gil-choon is just a lowly rapist. Haha, it’s a spin on good cop, bad cop.
Gil-choon’s face falls and he argues he never raped anyone. Jin-young concedes that it was only attempted rape, reasoning he’d killed the girls after failing to rape them. She calls him incompetent and Detective Park sighs that instead of being listed in the papers as a psychopathic serial killer, Gil-choon will be labeled a rapist and petty criminal.
Gil-choon explodes that he didn’t rape anyone, so Detective Park asked why he killed the victims. Scoffing, Jin-young degrades Gil-choon some more and he finally snaps that he was curious. He explains that watching the victims drown, he wanted to see it again. If he didn’t, he felt suffocated and couldn’t sleep. So he would kill again, and he’d be able to breathe again.
Declaring that the victims weren’t people, but animals, Gil-choon says that no one cared or bothered to look for them afterwards. He shouts one final time that he didn’t commit rape and the other detectives come in to take him away.
In Il-seung’s apartment, Jong-sam pulls a blanket over Ddakji and whispers that he’s stepping out for a minute. Ddakji sleepily mumbles for him to come back quickly and Jong-sam leaves. He’s started to find Detective Kang waiting for him and scoffs when Detective Kang admits he’s worried. Jong-sam points out that Detective Kang screwed him over, and while he can understand that Director Lee has a hold on him, that doesn’t mean he wants to see him.
Detective Kang asks if Jong-sam really plans to rot as a slave for a decade, wondering if Jong-sam knows what he’s getting into. Jong-sam retorts, “I’ll become like you.” He points out that he was on death row anyway and that if Detective Kang survived, so could he. Detective Kang implores him to run, but Jong-sam throws back that he couldn’t run either.
With a sigh, Jong-sam says Ddakji could die and Detective Kang barks that Ddakji will die anyway. Eyes wide, Jong-sam asks why and Detective Kang says Director Lee already issued the order to take Ddakji out as soon as Jong-sam is on the ship. Jong-sam starts to run back to Ddakji, but Detective Kang grabs him and tells him to listen. To what, we don’t get to hear.
The detectives return to tell Detective Park they’ve locked Gil-choon up and ask to go home. Detective Park dashes their hopes by telling them to gather information on the suspect (meaning Jong-sam). Jin-young’s head shoots up and she asks if they’re really taking the case. Suspicious, Detective Park questions whether she has a bad feeling, but she quickly denies it. Before anyone can act, though, Jong-sam appears and announces he’s turning himself in.
In the interrogation room, Jin-young clicks off the camera and demands to know what Jong-sam is thinking. He says he’s not plotting anything and says that he actually tries to be good. He asks if she’ll grant him a favor but Jin-young wants to know why he brought a lawyer along.
Lawyer Ahn steps into the room and announces that Jong-sam can’t be investigated without the approval of the chief of NIS. Jong-sam is at a loss and Jin-young just glares. Detective Park joins them with news of his own: “Il-seung” is no longer affiliated with the NIS. He shows them Il-seung’s approved request to return to his position and says that if the NIS tries to cover up the case, they’ll have Jong-sam come to work.
Lawyer Ahn takes his leave, but says he’ll pay a visit to Chief Jang before he goes.
Out in their car, the NIS agents wait anxiously. Lawyer Ahn comes out and grumbles that he wasn’t able to take Jong-sam but their superiors are on it. After he leaves, the agents wonder where Jong-sam hid Ddakji inside the station.
In the duty room, Ddakji, huddles on one of the bunks and flashes back to earlier, when Jong-sam had brought him in. Jong-sam had assured him everything was fine, but he needed to hide here because Baek Kyung was after him. Jong-sam had then promised to send Jin-young to retrieve him later. In the present, Ddakji hears someone enter the room and ducks under the covers as Jong-sam had instructed.
Back in the interrogation room, Detective Park sends Jin-young out and addresses Jong-sam. He says that he won’t ask about the money or the theft but he wants to know about Detective Kang. Before Jong-sam can answer, Detective Park’s phone rings and Chief Jang tells him to release him. He says it’s been decided by their superiors that there’s no money and no theft.
Detective Park has no choice but to comply, however he warns Jong-sam that he’ll see him around. Jong-sam shakes off his confusion and bolts out of the room to find Ddakj. Unfortunately, when he gets there, Ddakji is nowhere to be found. Jong-sam hears the door open behind him and turns just in time to see Baek Kyung before he’s chloroformed.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The Men in Black race towards the port with the money and an unconscious Jong-sam in tow. Agent Kwak barks at Agent Ki to drive faster because time is running out and if they’re late, they’ll all die. Meanwhile, Chairwoman Gook and Lawyer Ahn wait with Director Lee at the docks.
Jong-sam comes to earlier than expected and demands to know where Ddakji is. The agents ignore him but his eyes fall on the backseat and he realizes Ddakji is probably in the trunk. He shouts for them to release Ddakji, thrashing about in the backseat and pulling on the agent driving. The car careens across the road and Agent Kwak tries to subdue Jong-sam.
They’ve arrived at the docks but another shove from Jong-sam sends the car swerving again. A net tangles around one of the wheels and it blows, flipping the car into the air and landing upside down. Chairwoman Gook hears the crash and runs over to the car as Jong-sam crawls out.
The trunk is now partially opened and Jong-sam can see Ddakji trapped inside. They call out to each other and Jong-sam struggles to pull the trunk open, but it’s jammed. The agents finally free themselves from the car but the money is still inside. The agents scramble to retrieve the case while Jong-sam shouts for them to help him save Ddakji.
They start to move towards Jong-sam just as Chairwoman Gook arrives. She screams at them to get the money and although they’re reluctant, the agents comply. Meanwhile, Ddakji notices the gas spilling across the pavement from the ruptured tank and alerts Jong-sam.
Ddakji begs him to go and reaches through the gap to hand Jong-sam his watermelon charm, asking him to look after Eun-bi. Jong-sam cries that they’ll go together but Ddakji just pleads with him to run. The money case is finally pulled free and the agents run after Chairwoman Gook while Jong-sam continues to scream for help.
A spark from the engine finally ignites the gas and Jong-sam is pulled away just in time as the car explodes. Detective Kang has to hold him back as he tries to crawl back to Ddakji. Chairwoman Gook, Lawyer Ahn, and Director Lee listen with impassive faces as Jong-sam’s sobs resonate throughout the dock. They wait until they see the agents running to the boat with the case and then they pull away.
Later that morning, Chairwoman Gook reports to Director Lee that the money was shipped off safely. The director pours tea for Lawyer Ahn and looks pointedly at Chairwoman Gook before pouring her some as well. He says things wouldn’t have been so messy if she’d done her job properly and sighs that it would’ve been best if Jong-sam had died in the accident with Ddakji.
Chairwoman Gook notes the empty place beside her and asks if she should throw out Chief Jang’s tea. Director Lee says that he saved someone he shouldn’t have so they’ll wait instead for a chance to kill him. Just then Chief Jang walks in and Director Lee notes that he always arrives before his tea gets cold.
Jong-sam sits in an empty funeral room, fumbling with Ddakji’s watermelon charm. A shadow falls over him and he looks up through his tears to see Eun-bi standing there. He hands her the watermelon charm and she flashes back to her reunion with her brother and sobs. Afterwards, they sit silently in the hall and Jong-sam stares at the blank funeral picture frame while Eun-bi cradles her brother’s ashes.
Outside, Detective Kang is waiting for Jong-sam. As they walk, Detective Kang apologizes, saying he thought the police could’ve stopped it. Dejected, Jong-sam’s voice is empty as he replies there’s no need to apologize since he and Ddakji were going to be killed anyway. Detective Kang tells him to go ahead and work for the police but Jong-sam doesn’t see any point in it since Director Lee can surely kill detectives too.
Detective Kang points out it at least won’t be easy and he’ll be able to rally Detective Park and Prosecutor Kim. He admits neither is as strong as Director Lee but it’s better to work together than stand alone. He adds that it’s where Il-seung wanted to be and implores Jong-sam to go and arrest Director Lee with the help of the other detectives. With a rueful smile, Jog-sam points out many detectives are under Director Lee’s thumb. He calls the police agency a joke and walks away as tears spill from his eyes.
At the station, Chief Jang praises Detective Park’s unit on getting Gil-choon’s confession and tells the other detectives to take after them. He leads the team outside for a press conference but Jin-young holds back, telling Detective Park she’ll sit this one out. Outside, Chief Jang conducts his briefing on Gil-choon’s serial murder case but is overwhelmed by the press, who point out concerns over violent crimes that go undiscovered.
Chief Jang flounders as they ask how many victims there are, pointing out that the ones they’ve found so far were never even reported missing. Chief Jang is unsure how to respond and the reporters shout that there are possibly hidden victims, wondering why he’s holding a briefing. Hee.
On his way home, Jong-sam passes a group of teens happily arriving at a karaoke builing. He flashes back to the other night when Ddakji had excitedly talked about going and when the vision clears, he’s sitting inside one of the rooms. Flipping open the song book, he finds the Big Bang song Ddakji had wanted perform together and keys it in. As the music starts, Jong-sam holds the mic up but he chokes up and puts it back down.
Instead, he goes through Ddakji’s bag and finds their personal effects from prison, including Jong-sam’s mother’s bracelet, Ddakji’s letter from his sister, and finally, the notice that Jong-sam had passed the police exam (that Ddakji had on him the night they were arrested). Staring down at the paper, he flashes back to the night before, when Ddakji had said how nice it’d be if Jong-sam were a real cop that took down the bad guys and cleared their name. Jong-sam dissolves into sobbing once more as he thinks of all the good times they shared.
That night, Jin-young flops down on her bed and thinks about Jong-sam, remembering the night she’d seen him get arrested. Going over to her desk, she pulls a small box out of one of the drawers. There’s a card from her dad, congratulating her graduation, and inside is a pretty gold necklace.
In a flashback, teen Jin-young had walked into her father’s office to find it empty. Instead, she’d seen the box on his desk along with his will.
The next morning, Chief Jang tells Detective Park’s team to move offices. When asked why, Chief Jang explains that since they arrested Gil-choon and found the corpses under the asphalt, they’re responsible for the embarrassment of yesterday’s press conference. He continues that he created a new department to quiet the public’s unrest so they’re now the Hidden Crimes Investigation Team.
The detectives point out they do that already but Chief Jang isn’t listening, so they relocate to a storage room. The guys whine that they’ve been demoted and Detective Park can only apologize. Jin-young optimistically reasons that they’ll get extra points since their cases will be harder.
A knock on the door alerts them to the arrival of Jong-sam, decked out in an official police uniform. He scurries into the room and salutes Detective Park, announcing himself and reporting for duty. Yeah!
Chief Jang reports to Director Lee that Jong-sam’s been assigned a unit and he’ll be watching him. Afterwards, Chairwoman Gook apologizes for missing Il-seung’s application to return to the police. She admits no one thought Jong-sam would be so brazen but promises to take care of it. Director Lee says his real concern is, “People who shouldn’t meet… keep meeting. I don’t like that.”
Alone with Jin-young, Jong-sam asks why she isn’t speaking. He admits he’d prepared himself for the worst but Jin-young doesn’t know what he wants her to say: his real name, that he’s an escaped death row convict, or that he murdered a prosecutor. Jong-sam argues the last statement is incorrect and is surprised when Jin-young agrees.
He asks how she knows he’s innocent and she replies that he was somewhere else at the time. Confused, Jong-sam asks where he was. “18th floor, Jinsung Group building,” Jin-young answers, “You were there… with me.”
Yay! I’ve been waiting for Jong-sam to jump aboard the revenge train. He’s needed a fire lit under his rear since the start and I’m only sad that it took Ddakji’s death to do it. I may have predicted this outcome from the onset, but that doesn’t mean the impact was any less heartbreaking. And this is exactly why I’m always reluctant to grow attached to genuinely good and innocent characters like Ddakji—because unless it’s a cotton-candy romcom, they just never seem safe. The upside is that now Jong-sam truly has nothing to lose, and a man with nothing is a far more terrifying adversary.
From Director Lee’s standpoint, I’m not really sure why Ddakji had to die. He was the perfect pawn in getting Jong-sam to do his bidding and he posed zero threat as an ex-convict that was still somewhat naive. Instead, his actions have only managed to “poke the bear,” if you will, because until now, Jong-sam has only been concerned with living quietly. He was taken aback when Ddakji had wished he was a real cop, not understanding the point in clearing their names and willing to let the injustice of their past go. Jong-sam really isn’t one to rock the boat, but Ddakji’s death has capsized his little vessel and I’m pumped to finally see him motivated to take down the jerks that have hurt them.
On the other end of the spectrum, Director Lee’s obsession with money is downright disturbing. I was already aware that he was a few fries short of a Happy Meal when he shared his desperate dive into human waste over the equivalent a nickel. So I wasn’t really surprised when he quibbled with Jong-sam over the missing money—despite his own men pointing out it was unavoidable, and he’d agreed to give Jong-sam that much plus more—because a man that riddled with greed never planned to let Jong-sam keep his cut anyway. That should’ve been made clear when he ordered his men to kill Jong-sam last week after he’d handed over the money.
At least we know very clearly where Director Lee stands. All his underlings, however, are a bit of a mystery. His main cohorts all have their own agendas and while I’m pretty confident that Chairwoman Gook and Lawyer Ahn are bad news, Chief Jang is up in the air. We don’t know when he started working for Director Lee or what his motivations are, yet. So far, he’s the least sinister of the group but I’m not making any bets until more is revealed. As for Detective Kang, he’s pretty much defected, what with all the times he’s saved Jong-sam’s life. He certainly wronged Jong-sam in the past no matter how valid and unavoidable the reason, I just hope he knew nothing about the scapegoat plot before he was shipped out.
The “bad guys” I find truly baffling, however, are our Men in Black. One minute, they’re pushing Jong-sam off a pier to a watery grave, and the next they’re feeling sympathetic that Jong-sam is to be trapped on a smuggler’s ship as a slave for the next decade? Agent Kwak had laughed about sending Detective Kang on the same boat 10 years ago, but actually seemed remorseful that Jong-sam was facing the same fate. They’re so bizarre! To their credit, they had been about to help Jong-sam save Ddakji… but that’s also strange because they had kidnapped him in order to kill him anyway. I always notice Agent Ki’s conflicted expression, but Agent Kwak usually doesn’t seem to share his reservations. Regardless of their inner turmoil, they still obey Chairwoman Gook’s commands so they’re definitely on the “naughty” list, but I do wonder what they would do if she wasn’t around.
Are we done with Gil-choon yet? I hope so, because his character has really worn out his welcome. I’d been wary when the show started tacking on extra bodies and dragging out his interrogation. I guess the point was so there’d be an excuse for Chief Jang to create his little pet project with the Hidden Crimes Investigation Team? There were probably other ways to accomplish that but I’ll let it go so long as we’re done with crazy pants.
On a brighter note, Jong-sam has officially joined the police force! I’m happy that this means we’ll get to see more of the detectives and, of course, Jin-young. She’s really taken the back-burner lately and it’s made it difficult for me to connect with her character. Apart from a lot of glaring, and a few glimpses at past scars, we haven’t been able to gather much from her and that’s such a shame because she has some interesting components. I’m looking forward to learning more about her… and maybe getting some fun workplace hi-jinks while we’re at it.
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