My Secret Terrius: Episodes 25-26
It’s officially time to team up! With Yong-tae’s help, the NIS, the KIS, and the Bon Identity prepare to infiltrate Cornerstone and its evil top baddie, the Voice. But they may need to go in without Ae-rin, who suffers an emotional setback that sends her reeling. Our plucky heroine never dwells for too long though, and she may have the opportunity she needs to seek justice.
EPISODE 25 RECAP
Eun-ha rushes to meet Ae-rin with the USB evidence, but K finds her before Ae-rin does and knocks poor Eun-ha out. While she slumps unconscious to the ground, K dumps the contents of her purse out on the ground and grabs both the USB and Eun-ha’s wallet before he takes off. Ae-rin finds her friend unconscious and calls for help.
In Bon’s hideout, Bon waits with raised gun while an intruder approaches. The figure steps into the light, and it’s the missing Yong-tae who steps into Bon’s aim. When Bon speaks, Yong-tae’s apprehension melts away to relief that his precious brother is still alive. Bon demands to know where his laptop is.
At the hospital, Eun-ha is not seriously injured, but definitely furious that someone dare attack the head of the KIS, ha. Ae-rin asks if Eun-ha recalls what the man who was murdered in the video looks like and then shows her an image of Chief Moon.
Eun-ha confirms that it was him and worries about Ae-rin and what she’s involved in, but Ae-rin begs her to stay quiet about this for now, even keeping it from Sun-mi and Sang-ryul. On cue, those two arrive to comfort Eun-ha and rage on her behalf. Ae-rin uses this moment to duck away and search for the USB at the scene. When she doesn’t find it, she calls Ji-yeon and asks to meet.
Bon finally lowers his gun, and Yong-tae tells Bon that he took his advice and offered something small up to Cornerstone, in this case Bon’s laptop, and used the moment to request a meeting with the Voice. As he traded the laptop off to K, he offered the location of the bags as well if granted an in-person meeting. Bon is proud of his protege.
Ae-rin and Ji-yeon meet, and though Ji-yeon tries to dodge the truth, Ae-rin has put everything together already. Ji-yeon’s eyes widen as Ae-rin reveals that she’s seen the footage on the USB and knows all about Chief Moon and her husband’s connection.
At K’s place, he confirms he’s got the right USB and watches the footage of his handiwork.
Back at the hideout, Yong-tae seems confident that he can move forward with the plan, but Bon would rather take over. Now that he’s a ghost, just like Yong-tae was, he can get more done.
At King’s Bag, Ae-rin begins to cry as she realizes that everyone has been keeping the truth of her husband’s death from her. She vows that she’ll take her information to the police and have the man arrested.
Meanwhile, Sun-mi and Sang-ryul check in with their building security. But just like the footage of Ae-rin’s husband’s death, the footage from this evening has gone missing. Sang-ryul shivers as he makes the connection between the two occurrences.
Ji-yeon tries to comfort Ae-rin, and tells her that Bon kept this information from her because he came to care about her. Ae-rin recalls Bon’s request for her to stay on Jeju Island as she wipes her eyes.
Ae-rin returns to her apartment and cries through the night. Outside the building, Bon learns about Ae-rin’s discovery from Ji-yeon and heads immediately up to their floor. He almost rings the bell, but hesitates. As Ae-rin cries, Bon stands watch in secret in the hallway.
The next morning, Ae-rin can’t find even a drop of water in the pitcher after her long night of crying. She opens her door, where she finds Bon, who is still there in the hall. She invites him inside, and they sit across from one another at the table.
Bon apologizes for the secrets he’s kept. He says that they both lost someone precious to them, to the same killer from the same organization. He asks her to let him take care of the revenge, and says that he can’t let her get involved again (hmm, we’ll see about that).
At the NIS, Director Shim and Chief Kwon face off about the explosion and Bon’s death. Director Shim insinuates that Chief Kwon seemed awfully dedicated to Bon’s downfall, and in response the chief sneers that sure, she wants to get him, but she wants him alive. Bon is the only one who knows where the last file on Operation Candy is hidden, and she wants it.
Over at King Castle Complex, Eun-ha has a visitor: Do-woo, with freshly dyed hair, comes bearing flowers. Eun-ha assumes he wants to interview for KIS membership and ushers him in. Eventually, Do-woo manages to extricate himself from the apartment, as Eun-ha promises they’ll review his interview. Once in the elevator, he crushes the last remaining surveillance sticker between his fingers.
At King’s Bag, Ji-yeon and Bon discuss the lost footage. Bon tells Ji-yeon about the recently reemerged Yong-tae and their plan to uncover the Voice.
Before Yong-tae begins his mission, however, he meets with Ae-rin to apologize for her husband’s death. She balks when he calls it an accident, and he can’t quite raise his eyes to meet hers.
He knows that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but he asks her to recognize his bravery, and how significant an act that is for a scaredy cat like him. A single tear manages to trickle down Ae-rin’s face as she asks him to help Bon take them down, or else she will never forgive him.
As Ae-rin leaves the café, someone takes photos of her from a distance. Moments later, Yong-tae receives a call from a blocked number.
It’s time for his meeting with the Voice, and he visits King’s Bag to pick up his spy equipment. They give him glasses that will allow them to see and hear everything. Ji-yeon tells Yong-tae he looks good in glasses, and Yong-tae smugly shrugs an “of course, I’m very handsome” while Do-woo grimaces at his vanity.
The Voice, meanwhile, USB in hand, laughs an evil laugh. He tells K to be at the ready to take Yong-tae out when he gives the signal. This meeting is, of course, a trap.
Yong-tae arrives at the restaurant for their meeting. As he sits across from the Voice and faces him, Bon, Ji-yeon, and Do-woo, who are all watching the video feed, gasp. They recognize the Voice as Yoon Chun-sang, the Blue House chief presidential secretary.
Yong-tae hands over the key fob for the car with the bags. His eyes grow wide as Chun-sang holds up the lost USB and asks Yong-tae if he planned to use this against him. Yong-tae’s response is a simple, “yes,” which sets off the secretary’s temper. Bon jumps out of the car as he hears this, gun in hand.
Yong-tae continues that there’s another copy of the video, as insurance for his own life. Chun-sang doesn’t seem to care and gives the rap to the table to signal K. But then Yong-tae mentions Bon and a Swiss bank box, and this makes Chun-sang signal for K to wait.
Bon’s already inside and disguised as a waiter, and he makes it close enough to hear Yong-tae’s offer to Chun-sang. The safe in Switzerland has a document related to Operation Candy, and Yong-tae promises to hand it over to Chun-sang. Bon grabs his gun from the catering cart.
At the meeting in the restaurant, Chun-sang asks Yong-tae what he wants in return for Bon’s Swiss account information, and Yong-tae says that he just wants a second chance to work in the organization.
Still staked out in the car, Ji-yeon is miffed at the news of this Swiss account. She wonders if Bon has been lying to her again, and calls Do-woo to ask that he dig into Chun-sang.
Yong-tae escapes from the meeting alive, and he and Bon talk by the river with some excruciatingly in-your-face PPL coffee drinks. Just like Ji-yeon, Yong-tae is in the dark about what’s inside this secret Swiss bank box, but Bon doesn’t reveal anything.
Ae-rin takes a video call with her kids that evening. They sing her a song of encouragement, and she promises to come pick them up once she’s found a job. After she hangs up, her doorbell rings. When Ae-rin opens the door, no one is there, but there is a coffee drink, with a sticky note from Bon promising that the operation has made progress. Ae-rin pauses to look to Bon’s apartment door.
Bon is over there in his apartment, and he stops to feed the fish (how are any of them still alive?!) His eyes drift to a jewelry box, and he recalls earlier, when Ji-yeon finally had the chance to give him the birthday gift she picked out for him.
She’s glad that she finally gets to give him a gift, since she’s got a pile of them that she was never able to give to him. She walks away wishing for no unrequited love in a future life.
In the present, Bon tries on the bracelet and smiles at it before returning it to its box.
In the morning, Ae-rin’s doorbell rings again. This time it’s Ji-yeon, and she’s come to ask for a favor.
Over at King’s Bag, Do-woo briefs Bon on what they know about Chun-sang’s household so far. The guy has heavy-duty security 24/7 and keeps the evidence of his evil deeds at his home, so they’ll need to get someone on the inside before they can figure out how to proceed.
Back at Ae-rin’s, Ae-rin agrees to Ji-yeon’s proposal, even as Ji-yeon warns her that it will require a lot of courage. Ji-yeon tells Ae-rin to just prepare herself as she leaves. Ae-rin’s first move is to call Eun-ha. Time for the KIS.
At King’s Bag, Ji-yeon has returned and she and Do-woo reveal their plan: they will infiltrate the residence by sending a maid to join the staff. Most staff don’t last longer than a year, but one head of staff, known as Ms. Ahn, has lasted five years.
She’s authored a book, and has a mysterious past including time spent in Russia, where it’s rumored she picked up some amazing combat skills. Bon can’t stop his imagination from conjuring up an image of Ms. Ahn throwing some swift fists, the result: a completely deboned chicken. Ji-yeon says that it’s likely that Ms. Ahn is a Cornerstone agent.
The KIS have convened as well to discuss their part in this plan. Sang-ryul casts their SWOT analysis to the TV as Eun-ha leads them through the details of what to expect from Ms. Ahn.
First, no comments on wrinkles. Next, Eun-ha confirms that everyone has read Ms. Ahn’s book, and understands her skills with a knife. Ae-rin’s mind drifts to Ms. Ahn in the kitchen, slicing a carrot she throws into the air and producing a little carrot rabbit.
They go through Ms. Ahn’s strengths (cooking by taste), weaknesses (rumored to be hot men), risks (she might beat Ae-rin up), and opportunity (she is looking for someone to make nabak kimchi, something that Ae-rin excels at making).
At King’s Bag, Ji-yeon confirms they need an outsider, since Chun-sang has an excellent memory and knows all NIS agent faces. Bon suggests reasonable alternatives, like the CIA or Interpol, but Ji-yeon finally reveals that they’ve gone with the KIS.
Bon pauses, and then realizes exactly who is headed in. He’s upset, but Ji-yeon says that Ae-rin has already accepted the mission. Bon thinks back to a moment when he started working with Candy. They met in a library, where she passed a USB through the stacks to Bon. Candy is visibly shaken by her activities, and Bon tries to comfort her.
He slips a Nora Jones record through for her, and lets Candy know that if it’s ever too much for her, she can stop.
As a Nora Jones song plays in the present, Ae-rin finds Bon waiting outside their building for her. He helps her with her bags, and asks if she’s making the kimchi to sell. Ae-rin doesn’t answer.
Upstairs, she gives Bon his birthday present from the twins. They’ve given him their toys that remind them of him, and he tells Ae-rin to tell them that he was so grateful he cried. Bon asks if there was a present from Ae-rin as well, and Ae-rin admits that she cooked a meal for him, but had to throw it out when he couldn’t come. She offers to make some nabak kimchi for him now.
Bon tries to drag information from Ae-rin, but she and Ji-yeon have agreed not to let him know (too late!). So Ae-rin dodges Bon’s questions, even as he persists, his eyes downcast as she lies to him.
The next day, Ae-rin dresses for her interview and Ji-yeon gives her a ride there. Ji-yeon pipes in on the earpiece Ae-rin is wearing to reassure her. All Ae-rin needs to do is pass the interview, nothing more.
It’s a group interview, and Ae-rin is up against two other women. Ms. Ahn demands that Ae-rin tie her hair back, so Ae-rin has to discretely tuck her earpiece into her pocket.
The first test is wheeled out before the women on a cart, but before they can even begin, one woman makes the mistake of trying to butter up Ms. Ahn by noting how few wrinkles she has. That woman is immediately escorted out, ha.
Ae-rin and the other remaining candidate are asked to taste a sauce and report what went into it. The first woman lists off a list of basic ingredients, and Ms. Ahn asks if that’s all. Ae-rin adds the final ingredient, green plum extract, and it keeps her in the running while the other woman is dismissed.
Outside, Ji-yeon watches as the two women depart. Ae-rin remains inside, and Ji-yeon wonders how things are going.
Elsewhere in the compound, Chun-sang is briefed with details of the King’s Bag operation. As he flips through the dossier, he spots the profile for Ae-rin, and asks who she is. His secretary confirms that she’s the woman they used to lure Bon out of hiding.
Ae-rin presents her nabak kimchi to Ms. Ahn. At first the woman is indignant that Ae-rin brought food in without being asked to, but she can’t help but taste the kimchi.
Ms. Ahn fills up a wine glass with the water kimchi and sips it like she’s tasting a fine wine. She lists off its taste profile, and Ae-rin is awarded the position, to start next week.
Ms. Ahn receives a phone call as they rise, and she shoots a sharp look in Ae-rin’s direction. After a halting conversation, she escorts Ae-rin out a back door, as she explains that the security system makes leaving by the front gate impossible after dark.
Ae-rin is proud of her success at first, but she quickly becomes uneasy as she senses someone stalking behind her. She hurries her steps, Ji-yeon no where in sight, but the footsteps behind her catch up. She slips the earpiece from her pocket into her ear, but before she can call for help, she feels the barrel of a gun pressed to her temple.
The lax spy skills have finally caught up to the King’s Bag crew, and Ae-rin is paying the price. They’ve gotten away with a lot of sloppy work up until now, but it seems that Chun-sang is not playing around and no amount of delicious kimchi will sway him to release Ae-rin.
This episode was an excellent recovery from last week’s pair of snoozers, mostly because it remembered to balance emotion with forward plot momentum. The dramatic irony in that scene with Ae-rin and Bon in her kitchen was intense. As Ae-rin doubles down on her deception with Bon’s every question, we know how much it hurts Bon, even if she’s unaware. Ae-rin’s lies are not so different from the ones that Bon told her along the way, but now that his secrets are all out, things don’t feel so great on the other side.
I also wondered if Ae-rin kind of knew that Bon knew already, and she wanted for a moment to make her feel how she felt when she was lied to. I don’t think that Ae-rin is a vindictive person, but she’s still hurting right now, and I could see how she could find some catharsis in dealing out some hurt to others, especially those she trusted.
And that’s what’s interesting about this episode. Everyone is so conflicted and struggling with their emotions in the fallout of the lies. Bon and Yong-tae come clean, while Ae-rin takes a turn at deception to ensure that she remains to see this operation to its conclusion. The plot is focused on set up, but there are so many emotions burbling at the surface for everyone that made for so much tension. Ae-rin doesn’t seem to hate Bon, she wants to work with him, but things are definitely tense between them.
Ae-rin isn’t new to deceiving others to protect them though, so I’m not sure that she can stay angry with for Bon too long, at least not until she comes clean with Sun-mi about her husband’s death.
It’s a bit of emotional whiplash to return to Ae-rin in mourning for her husband, and yet it also feels like the right move. Ae-rin seemed to move forward so quickly past her grief, mostly to advance the plotline between her and Bon, that it feels odd to be right back where we started in the first few episodes. But grief is a process, different for everyone, and Ae-rin has received information that completely changes everything she thought she understood about that major moment in her life.
Ae-rin is just now doing what she probably would have done all along, had a certain attractive sitter not shown up just in time. Heading to her parents to regroup, taking some time alone to search for a job while the kiddos are tucked away on Jeju Island, this all feels like the natural path she would have taken. Everything with J International and King’s Bag and Bon seems like a blip in time, a quick deviation from reality as a way to avoid coping with her loss. It almost feels like she woke up from a fantasy, if it weren’t for the coffee of yearning left at her door to confirm that Bon is really out there still, fighting for the both of them.
There was a part of me, the part now invested in the romance, that wished that Bon had actually rung the doorbell and stood by Ae-rin’s side as she cried. It would have been a great moment of friendship, one that put aside all other feelings to comfort someone, whose pain you contributed to.
But this was the moment Ae-rin has needed all along, to be by herself to process, and Bon respects that. Staying outside the door, he’s very much the Terrius following behind her, always watching, but he’s not Bon, the friend who provides the distraction from reality.
It’s Ji-yeon again who is willing to invest in Ae-rin’s skills. It’s not that Bon doubts that how capable Ae-rin is, but he is a little too caught up in taking care of the mess, as if he alone needs to fix things. But it’s impossible for Ae-rin to not want to see this all to the end, especially now that she knows how personal it is to her and Bon. Ji-yeon sees Ae-rin as a friend and equal, and I hope as the fear Bon harbors gives way to trust, he’ll ease up and work together with Ae-rin.
And Chief Kwon, you know and I know exactly who tried to get rid of Terrius! Stop playing who-has-the-biggest-armchair and take Director Shim down! But speaking of Bon’s supposed demise, why would Chun-sang want Ae-rin if they think Bon is dead? She’s not very useful as a lure if Bon is dead. But then again, someone was taking photos of Ae-rin after her meeting with Yong-tae, and Chun-sang is the most likely to put a trail on him. He also has great memory for faces, so he’s probably more interested in her connection with Yong-tae than Bon. I suspect that it won’t be long though, before ghost Bon will have to step out of the shadows and reveal himself.