Mysterious Il-seung: Episodes 5-6
It’s another race against the clock this hour as our hero finds that his new identity comes with a price. As he navigates uncertain waters, he has to fend off both a suspicious partner as well as the mysterious Men in Black. All in a day’s work for an escaped convict on the run.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Jong-sam wakes up in the place he’d left Il-seung’s body, wearing Il-seung’s clothes. He’s greeted by the unhappy Men in Black, the older of whom wraps a tie around Jong-sam’s neck and begins choking him. He chides Jong-sam for ruining Il-seung’s body—causing postmortem trauma when it rolled around in the trunk, rendering it suspicious to call a suicide—and sighs that the only solution is to replace it with a fresh corpse.
Jong-sam produces a long strip from his pocket that’s dotted with Morse code. He calls it a treasure map and we see that he’d found it hidden in Il-seung’s police badge. The Men in Black incredulously ask what kind of treasure, finally releasing Jong-sam when he says, “The treasure you guys lost—100 billion won.” (Roughly 100 million dollars.)
Watch the scene
A narrow escape from death
The older man scans the strip and asks where the money is. With a devilish grin, Jong-sam holds up the torn end of the strip before stuffing it in his mouth.
The Men in Black call the chairwoman—Chairwoman Gook—to report the note, which states that Il-seung didn’t commit suicide, and that he hid the 100 billion won and evidence. Unfortunately, they don’t know where it’s hidden, since Jong-sam ate that part. Hee.
Jong-sam demands a new identity and a modest sum in return for his cooperation, but their conversation is cut off with the arrival of the police. The Men in Black knock Jong-sam out and we learn that earlier, they’d set Il-seung’s body—dressed in Jong-sam’s prison jumpsuit—on fire in his cell.
Jong-sam awakens in the hospital and bolts up, ripping out his IV. He’s startled to find Jin-young sitting next to his bed, who asks if he’s going somewhere. Jong-sam chuckles nervously that he isn’t. Suspicious, Jin-young flashes Il-seung’s badge, which now bears Jong-sam’s photo.
She asks if he’s really a detective, and Jong-sam laughs that it would appear so. To get out of answering Jin-young’s barrage of questions, like what department he works for, Jong-sam suddenly cries out, clutching his stomach, and insists he needs to poo before running off to the toilet.
The younger Man in Black finds Jong-sam in the bathroom and drops off a bag of clothes for him as well as some spending money. Jong-sam asks why they killed Il-seung and is told that Il-seung stole 100 billion won. Jong-sam wonders why they didn’t just forge the autopsy with the real corpse.
The agent answers that too many people were watching to be able to pass off an obvious murder as a suicide—fabricating a new identity is much simpler. Jong-sam asks what happens if he gets caught, and the agent replies that Il-seung only had a grandmother with dementia, and if anyone else asks, just say they share a name. Besides, it’ll all be over in twelve hours.
The agent explains that Jong-sam has until 10 p.m. to find the money or die. If the Men in Black find it first, he dies. And if Jong-sam tries to pull anything funny… he dies.
Chairwoman Gook gives a speech in front of the press at her retirement ceremony from the National Intelligence Service (NIS). Afterward, she finds a man waiting for her in her office, who congratulates her on her retirement, though she snipes that she’s been fired. He retorts that she shouldn’t have made a mess—he’s heard “Il-seung” is still alive and wonders why she didn’t let him rot away in prison.
Chairwoman Gook replies that she wants her money and that Jong-sam will die at 10 p.m. regardless. The man worries that they’ll be caught and points out that Prosecutor Kim is sniffing around. Unperturbed, Chairwoman Gook answers that they both know Prosecutor Kim is busy today.
Prosecutor Kim is currently with Director Lee of the Future Economics Institute. He politely promises to restore everything they confiscated when the investigation is over. Director Lee angrily wonders if that’s even possible, but Prosecutor Kim replies that he only has himself to blame.
Outside, the public cheers for Director Lee, who is also the former president. A news reporter reveals that Director Lee has been accused of receiving illegal funds from the former chief of the NIS, Chairwoman Gook. Curiously, the amount is 100 billion won, and Jong-sam takes note of this as he watches the report at the hospital.
His train of thought is derailed by the arrival of Jin-young, and tells her she can leave since his test results came back fine. Jin-young wants answers, though, and asks why he woke up next to the lake. Jong-sam replies that it’s classified, so she asks instead why he let attempted murderer Gil-choon go, pulling up the footage of Jong-sam meeting Gil-choon after he tried to drown Eun-bi.
Jong-sam stammers that that’s classified too, but Jin-young snaps at him to respond properly. Luckily, Detective Park comes to his rescue, revealing that “Il-seung” is doing work for the NIS and has been ever since he graduated from police academy.
Jin-young argues that he’s a suspect and implores Detective Park to arrest him. With a sigh, Detective Park has officer Min-pyo cover Jong-sam’s ears so he can launch into a lecture on how the NIS outranks them so their hands are tied.
He asks Jong-sam to cooperate and tell them were Gil-choon is, but Jong-sam is shocked to discover Gil-choon hasn’t been caught. Maknae detective Dae-woong runs up to say Eun-bi is finally stable and the detectives leave. Min-pyo hangs back to gripe that Jong-sam reeks and tells him to take a shower.
Freeing himself of the corpse-stink in the bathroom, Jong-sam thinks back to the warning about his 10 p.m. deadline. He then remembers Il-seung’s final Morse code message, and we learn that the part he ate was a series of numbers and the word “pine tree.” Ironically, the same numbers are on an advertisement sticker next to the bathroom mirror.
Jong-sam scoffs that it can’t be so simple as a phone number but dials anyway, and when someone answers he asks for So Na-mu (pine tree). The woman answers that she’s So Na-mu and Jong-sam slams down the phone in shock.
Outside, Man in Black is waiting for him and mimes “I’m watching you.” Jong-sam smiles back and then bolts into the stairwell, which gives him a slight advantage as they tear through the hospital, though the rookie stays hot on his heels. In a last-ditch effort, Jong-sam catapults himself over the railing on the second floor and crashes onto a passing gurney.
Jong-sam rushes outside just as an ambulance drops off a charred body listed under his name. Gripping his police badge, Jong-sam shakes it off and runs away just as the agent comes into view.
By the time Man in Black makes it outside, Jong-sam is gone. The agent races to his car to tell his partner that he thinks Jong-sam’s hiding in someone’s trunk. Using a tracker, they follow after a car as it leaves—while Jong-sam steps out from his nearby hiding spot.
A quick flashback shows that Jong-sam had discovered the tracker hidden in his clothes and tossed it into an open car in the parking garage.
Meanwhile, Gil-choon makes a purchase at the hardware store and Chairwoman Gook sits in her new office, running Yirim Food. She pulls a case from the safe under her desk and checks the gun inside before replacing it. The Men in Black arrive with a congratulatory bouquet but she wants to know why they aren’t tailing Jong-sam.
She scoffs that they’ve already lost him and the younger agent (who finally gains the name Agent Ki) answers that it’s too hard with just the two of them. He says they used to have backup as well as wiretapping and tracking teams, but Chairwoman Gook cuts him off, saying that those were NIS perks.
She snaps that things are different here, and the older agent, Agent Kwak, pulls Ki outside to remind him that to the public, they work at a private company. He says that they’re supposed to take care of things the NIS can’t, which is why they get paid more. Agent Ki pouts that he wants to work for the country but the older agent asserts that they do since their salary comes from tax money.
Elsewhere, Jong-sam meets So Na-mu, the woman he’d spoken to on the phone. She sighs with exasperation as she repeats that she doesn’t have anything for Oh Il-seung. She says they don’t accept personal cargo but confirms that a shipment had arrived this week. Na-mu rejects his request to see them so Jong-sam holds up his badge.
Outside, she shows Jong-sam a huge stack of shipping containers, but informs him that he needs to come back with a consent form or at least the serial number. Jong-sam ponders the serial number and remembers seeing one scrawled on a bill in Il-seung’s wallet.
He realizes he needs to retrieve the wallet but a flashback reveals that after he’d saved Eun-bi, Gil-choon had accosted him and demanded the wallet. (This was the scene caught on the CCTV.) Jong-sam had pointed out it was wet but Gil-choon had threatened to call the cops and snatched it anyway.
In the present, Jong-sam realizes that Gil-choon will likely go after Eun-bi again and heads off to the hospital.
Jin-young questions Eun-bi about Gil-choon, and she remembers waking up on the roof and screaming. Gil-choon had promised she’d be okay if she obeyed, so Eun-bi climbed up the water tank. That’s when Gil-choon had pushed her inside and tied her to one of the support beams.
Eun-bi asks about her cell phone but Jin-young says they’re keeping it for evidence and it likely doesn’t work, anyway. Eun-bi sighs and admits she was waiting for a phone call. In the hall, her brother Ddakji peeks around a corner at Eun-bi’s room but ducks back when the guarding officer looks his way.
Jin-young makes a call and learns that Gil-choon had been an employee at the building. Meanwhile, Jong-sam arrives and spots Ddakji shuffling around sadly, but chases after Jin-young instead. He catches her outside and hops into her car.
Jong-sam guesses that she’s got an eye on Gil-choon and says he’s trying to cooperate. Jin-young wants to know what the CCTV footage was about and Jong-sam admits that he was mugged. Hee.
She calls in a trace on Il-seung’s credit cards, and then they arrive at the construction site. The foreman tells them that Gil-choon had been a good worker but didn’t get along with the rest of the group so he’d been let go. The cook left with him and there were rumors they liked each other.
The foreman says the cook was an illegal immigrant so she’ll be hard to trace. He laments that she’d given up everything for Gil-choon but he’d gone and raped the woman who works at a nearby cafe. Jin-young leaves her number and they leave to speak to the cafe victim.
The woman tells them that she lives in a nearby motel, and one night when she came home, Gil-choon was waiting for her. He’d offered her a piece of gum but when she rejected it, he’d shoved her into her room. Her screams had alerted her neighbor and Gil-choon had run away.
Recalling that Gil-choon had vehemently denied it was rape, Jong-sam asks if she’s sure that’s what he was trying to do. The victim is adamant that Gil-choon had undone the buttons on her blouse. Jong-sam is briefly distracted by her chest and she giggles at his innocence while Jin-young just glares.
Outside, Jong-sam declares that it was attempted murder, not attempted rape. He reasons that it was a hot day, so cafe woman’s shirt was likely only partially buttoned. He thinks she mistook Gil-choon buttoning it up (as he did with Eun-bi) as trying to take it off.
Jin-young mentions that Gil-choon knew this woman, but not Eun-bi. Jong-sam insists that Gil-choon thinks he knows Eun-bi because he stared at her picture every day. Jong-sam’s outburst gives Jin-young pause, and she asks how Gil-choon had access to Eun-bi’s photo.
They’re interrupted by a call from Detective Park and Jong-sam takes the opportunity to scuttle away. Hehe.
Back at the station, Jin-young reveals that she thinks the case was actually meant to be premeditated murder, just like with Eun-bi. Detective Park asks how Gil-choon knew Eun-bi, and Jin-young drily repeats Jong-sam’s “it’s classified” line.
From the casefile, they learn that Gil-choon was caught two days later, drawing a bath at the same motel. They all conclude that Gil-choon was returning to drown the victim and will likely try the same with Eun-bi. Just then, they get a notification that the card was used near Eun-bi’s house, and they race off.
Meanwhile, Gil-choon laughs as he watches TV in Eun-bi’s living room.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Jong-sam squeezes himself into the police van, joining the team as they head towards Eun-bi’s house. Eun-bi is already arriving home, alone, and notices the men’s boots and opened food but assumes that it’s Ddakji. She calls out to her brother, but it’s Gil-choon who answers as he drags a water-filled basin into the living room. She drops her bags in horror as Gil-choon descends on her.
Gil-choon tells Eun-bi that he had to buy the tub since she only has a sink in her apartment, and that won’t work because he wants to see her face. After buttoning up her jacket, Gil-choon lifts her up and places her in the tub, telling her to look at him as he submerges her underwater.
The detectives arrive at the same time as the patrol dispatch and they race upstairs to Eun-bi’s apartment. Whipping open the door, they find Gil-choon leaning over the tub, where Eun-bi lies unconscious.
Smashing a mirror, Gil-choon grabs a shard and barks at the cops to get out. Jong-sam rushes off to find another way in while Gil-choon holds the shard to Eun-bi’s neck. The team backs out and decides to regroup.
Detective Park instructs them to try to find another way in from the neighboring apartments but when Min-pyo tries the balcony, the distance is too far. He reports this to Jin-young, but a clanging sound catches her attention—outside, Jong-sam is scaling the wall via pipe.
Watch the scene
Jong-sam to the rescue
Jong-sam reaches the window and launches himself inside at Gil-choon, and the men grapple fiercely. Gil-choon tries to stab Jong-sam with a mirror shard, which Jong-sam blocks just as he spots the wallet fallen on the floor.
Meanwhile, Jin-young swings across to the balcony with the help of a bedsheet rope and slams into Gil-choon. As they grapple, Gil-choon manages to wrap his hands around Jin-young’s neck, and she barks at Jong-sam to help, kicking her handcuffs towards him. Jong-sam’s eyes flit between the wallet and the cuffs but before he can move, the other officers succeed in prying the door open and swarm into the room.
Gil-choon is escorted out, and an unconscious Eun-bi carried out. Jong-sam snatches the wallet and follows.
When the detectives try to load Gil-choon into the car, he asks about Jong-sam and tells them a death row inmate is running free. They take it as crazy talk, assuring him that he’ll see his cellmate soon. Jin-young overhears and thinks back to teenage Jong-sam climbing the pipe outside her house the same way she’d seen it done tonight.
Jin-young catches Jong-sam before he can get on a bus and drags him off to eat. He tries to get protest, but Jin-young threatens to arrest him so they end up at a convenience store for ramyun. As they sit down to eat, Jin-young interrogates Jong-sam on his climbing skills, hometown, and high school. He asks if she’s interested in him and is startled when she readily confirms it.
Jin-young wants to know why he didn’t arrest Gil-choon earlier and Jong-sam admits he’s not used to it, which Jin-young accepts since he’s mostly worked with the NIS. Jong-sam questions whether he’s being interviewed as a witness and Jin-young explains that he said Gil-choon’s case is classified, so she’s asking about the things she finds suspicious. Jong-sam’s disappointed that this is what she’s interested in.
Jin-young startles him by suddenly shouting “Kim Jong-sam!” and Jong-sam sputters, though he feigns ignorance when she asks if he knows anyone by that name. Jin-young says Kim Jong-sam is a thug, and he replies that he doesn’t know any thugs.
After she leaves, Jong-sam mutters that he’s not a thug but grins that she remembers him. He suddenly remembers his time limit and glances at the clock to see it’s almost 9 p.m.
Jin-young arrives home and jumps out of her skin when she turns on the lights to reveal her mother sitting at the table. Their house is packed tight with expensive furnishings and Jin-young whines at her mom to get rid of them. Mom swears she’ll earn enough to buy a bigger place but Jin-young would rather she just earn enough for different furniture.
Mom wonders how Jin-young can sleep when thinking about their situation, but Jin-young says she doesn’t think. Mom says she should dream about her future, but Jin-young says she’ll leave the dreaming to her mother.
Jong-sam finds the correct storage container, and employee So Na-mu warns him that she’ll hold the police responsible if anything goes wrong. After she leaves, Jong-sam grabs a trash bag and steps inside amidst stacks of boxes. He pulls the tape back on one and although we don’t get to see what’s inside, his eyes widen and his face breaks into a grin.
Jin-young flips through Jong-sam’s casefile and flashes back to her father’s funeral. She had chased down a detective and declared that her father hadn’t committed suicide. The detective had told her the suicide note was clear and her mother had confirmed the handwriting.
Jin-young had argued that she’d seen someone come out of her father’s office that day, but the detective simply replied that they were still investigating. She’d tried to follow him but froze when she saw Jong-sam being escorted in by a detective, his clothes stained with blood.
In the present, Jong-sam runs among the storage containers with his full trash bag. The Men in Black step into his path and Agent Ki slashes the bag, sending boxes of knock-off cigarettes cascading to the ground. Agent Kwak laughs that Jong-sam must not have found the money but planned to barter for boat fare. Too bad, he didn’t have enough anyway.
A short while later, Jong-sam is lying on the dock with his hands bound. Agent Kwak explains the scenario where corrupt officer Oh Il-seung commits suicide by drowning, while Agent Ki tethers Jong-sam’s ankles to a concrete block. Fear flits through Jong-sam’s eyes as he stares at the water before the men kick the block and he’s dragged down with it.
Jong-sam struggles to undo the ties on his wrists as he sinks to the bottom.
Detective Min-pyo catches Jin-young on her way home to say he credited her for the drug bust. Jin-young asks about Gil-choon’s case, which he says is hers as well since she’s the one who solved it. He’s taken aback when she tells him to take the credit, but she explains that he’s the one who cuffed Gil-choon, and he concedes that’s true.
Jong-sam really has a knack for landing himself in trouble. I really thought he’d found the money when his face lit up like a Christmas tree! However, I’m happy there was a twist, because I was starting to feel a bit disappointed at how conveniently Jong-sam was able to piece together the puzzle. I love having a smart hero, but you lose a lot of tension if he solves things too easily. Luckily, Jong-sam also felt it was weird and I do wonder who masterminded that twist… Did Jong-sam make a last-minute switch? Or did Il-seung lay out a more complicated plan before his death? Both men have proven their craftiness so it’s hard to say.
I found these episodes a bit lacking compared to last week. Part of that may be because I was so invested in their childhood story line and am dying to know what became of Detective Kang. Additionally, the teen counterparts have a chemistry that has yet to translate to their adult selves. Regardless, maybe it was a lack of Ddakji or perhaps it was just a lack of desperation coming from Jong-sam that fell a little flat this hour. He had a deadline and his life was on the line, but he didn’t seem as anxious compared to his last outing. Perhaps because no one else was at risk this time? All I know is, I didn’t feel nervous for him until he ran into the Men in Black in the shipping yard.
I’m also getting concerned about the characters’ sense of priority. Llast week, Jin-young wasted time interrogating Jong-sam on his identity while Eun-bi was drowning, and this week Jong-sam actually debated whether to stop Gil-choon from choking Jin-young or grab the wallet. It wasn’t going anywhere! I know he was on a time crunch, but that just seemed silly to me.
On the upside, we finally caught mega-creep Gil-choon. It doesn’t quite seem like his story is over, unless the mention of the illegal immigrant cook was just a random red herring. I’m not sure what that means going forward but I wouldn’t mind learning why he’s nuttier than squirrel poo… He’s pretty low on my priority list, though so I’d rather not dwell on him too much unless he has something new to offer.
I’m glad we’re finally getting more insight with Jin-young. I wonder what her father’s apparent suicide has to do with the rest of the conspiracies going around. The detective was pretty dismissive, so it makes sense she’d want to investigate herself. It’s interesting that she saw Jong-sam the night he was arrested. I’ve been curious for a while, but does she think he’s guilty? Depending on that answer, I’ve wondered whether she’d be more receptive of him if he’d come clean to her about his identity. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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