The Fiery Priest: Episodes 17-18
Every time it looks like our favorite grumpy priest is getting the upper hand, something gets flipped and he finds himself struggling to keep things afloat all over again. This war he’s fighting is much more complicated than he ever imagined, but at least he’s finding himself with some pretty solid supporters. Even former enemies may be slowly starting to change sides, which is good, because Hae-il is about to need all the help he can get.
Dae-young tries to stay out of the fight between Hae-il, Seung-ah, and Jang-ryong’s men, after catching the president of Wangmat Foods giving the health inspector a bribe. But when Jang-ryong attacks Seung-ah, it reminds Dae-young of his partners’ death. Dae-young literally flies at Jang-ryong, butting heads in midair then crashing to the ground in a daze.
Jang-ryong stays on his feet, but only for a few seconds, until Seung-ah kicks him upside the face and he goes down hard. With Jang-ryong and the rest of their guards out for the count, the Wangmat president and government officials try to slink away, but Hae-il yells at them to stop. Meanwhile, Dae-young and Jang-ryong lie on the ground, weakly taking turns flailing at each other.
With Kyung-seon on her knees promising to do everything he asks for her job back, Chief Prosecutor Kang says that she shouldn’t make that promise until she’s prepared to really back it up. Kyung-seon meekly apologizes and says she’ll go back to Yeongwol.
On the news, the Foursome see the video that Seung-ah recorded of the Wangmat Foods president slipping a bribe to the health inspector. They react with varying levels of incredulity and fury, and Chul-beom even shatters a glass with his bare hand.
He’s the target of Dong-ja’s loud rant about how he can’t do anything right, sending his minions to Wangmat Foods instead of going himself. She mentions his screw-up in taking care of Father Lee, and he gives her a look like, “Oh you’ve gone too far now, lady.”
After having her battle wounds doctored, Seung-ah thanks Dae-young for saving her from Jang-ryong. She asks about his head, but he says he has a very thick skull so it’s like he’s always wearing a helmet. Seung-ah says sweetly that he felt more like a sunbae today than he ever has, and she attributes it to Hae-il’s influence.
She says that Hae-il even seems like a cop, the way he knows how things work, and even Dae-young agrees. Hae-il stops by to check on Seung-ah, and she notices that his wrist seem injured, but he says it’s fine.
They have to deal with Jang-ryong and his thugs as well as the health inspector (who swears that he thought the envelope was a letter), and the Wangmat president (who says he was just giving them some bibimbap money because they looked hungry). Chief Nam starts to tell them to let everyone go, but Hae-il says that the Lord is sending him a message to tell Chief Nam to shut his mouth, ha.
Hae-il threatens to beat the health inspector with a metal ruler, but Dae-young stops him — to give him a plastic ruler instead. LOL. He points out all the clear evidence they have, shoots Chief Nam a cheeky grin, and sails out with Dae-young trailing behind him.
They head for the Gudam borough office, which is surrounded by reporters wanting a statement from Dong-ja. She and Chul-beom are holed up in her office, and she calls Chief Prosecutor Kang, who tells her to lay low for now. But she says they need to take immediate measures to keep the press from running away with the story.
She holds a press conference, where she states that a fair investigation will be conducted, and she asks the reporters not to write any speculative articles until the results are out. She even promises to completely re-organize the entire health office if any illegal activities are found.
A loud voice laughs at the idea that the head of the borough office would have no idea this kind of thing was happening right under her nose — it’s Hae-il, of course (taking part as a “reporter” for the Gudam Cathedral, ha). Dong-ja asks what he needs to hear to be satisfied, and he says he wants to see her take responsibility instead of putting all the blame on her employees.
Backed into a corner, Dong-ja says that if evidence is found that the crime was organized and chronic, she’ll step down as borough chief. When Hae-il asks if that’s an official promise, she snaps that it’s official. Hae-il holds up a stack of papers triumphantly and announces that they’re copies of a ledger that keeps track of all the bribes Wangmat Foods gave to the health office over the past three years.
He continues that it’s only a portion of the real ledger, which he will personally deliver to Seoul City Hall’s Audit Commission. He tosses the papers in the air, and the reporters go nuts grabbing for a copy. Hae-il walks out with a giant grin on his face, and Dae-young looks at him with an expression bordering on pride.
Kyung-seon gets a little drunk before going back to Yeongwol, but she sobers up immediately when she gets in a taxi and sees the news of the press conference, which mentions Hae-il, on the driver’s screen. She marches back to Chief Prosecutor Kang’s office, thinking that between this and the information she learned about Hae-il’s background, Chief Prosecutor Kang will have to let her back.
Dae-young asks Hae-il where he got copies of that ledger. It was Yo-han, who’d heard the president talking about it with his full-tummy superhearing, then had crept into the warehouse with Ssongsak while Hae-il was fighting the baddies and stolen the ledger. Dae-young acts like he had no clue, though he looks guilty as hell when Hae-il says that he guessed as soon as he saw Yo-han.
Hae-il accuses Dae-young of pretending to have a stomachache while they were on the roof so he could sneak off and contact Chul-beom. He says sweetly that he’d beat Dae-young up if he hadn’t just saved Seung-ah. Chul-beom is watching them, and he orders Hoon-seok to find out who stole the ledger by tonight.
When Kyung-seon tells Chief Prosecutor Kang that Hae-il’s past seems to be protected so that nobody can find out his identity, Chief Prosecutor Kang is thrilled. He thinks this explains a lot, like how Hae-il got help from the Pope, and he tells Kyung-seon to come back to Gudam immediately…
… except that that’s only in Kyung-seon’s imagination. In reality, she gets nervous and stammers while trying to tell Chief Prosecutor Kang what she knows of Hae-il. But he gives her a chance to sort things out with Hae-il and Dong-ja’s promise to resign, and although it’s not exactly what she wanted, at least she’s back in town.
Dae-young seems jealous of Seung-ah’s sunbae-crush on Hae-il, and Hae-il wisely says nothing. Seung-ah offers to go with him to deliver the original ledger, and she giggles when he says he’ll go alone, which Dae-young mercilessly teases her for.
Kyung-seon goes over the details that led to Hae-il getting Dong-ja to swear to resign if corruption is found between Wangmat Foods and the health office. She tells her coworker to bring everyone involved, including the sick child’s representative, to the Gudam Police Station, and to hire a reporter who’s good at putting together an interesting story.
Yo-han insists on going to City Hall with the ledgers himself, saying that it makes him feel scared, but also really brave and useful. Hae-il lets him go, shooting him a proud thumbs up and making me really, really frightened.
At the station, Seung-ah gets nervous when a lot of time has passed but no arrest warrants have been issued. Dae-young wants to go eat but Seung-ah is too nervous to leave, so she offers to buy dinner if he waits until later. He picks up his phone to look for a restaurant, but what he sees instead drains all the blood from his face. He goes outside, where someone is waiting for him with a car.
Hae-il goes to the church and tells Sister Kim and Sung-kyu what he’s been up to, and basks in their thankful adoration. He can’t resist reminding them of how they were so suspicious of him when he first came to town, and the looks on their faces are priceless.
Sister Kim asks about Eun-ji’s hospital bill, and Hae-il says he’s going to petition to have the costs written off since she’s an orphan. He visits Eun-ji in the hospital and tells her to hang in there and she’ll be fine soon.
Hae-il wraps up his injured wrist, grumbling that it’s not really that bad (cute — Kim Nam-gil actually did injure his wrist on-set).
Chief Nam and Representative Park get together to complain about the problems Dong-ja is causing, worried what will happen if she has to step down. Representative Park says they’d need to ensure that someone from their party gets the job, mostly to preserve Savings Day, but he doesn’t want to involve Chief Prosecutor Kang.
Hoon-seok drags Dae-young to a junkyard and tosses him at Chul-beom’s feet. Chul-beom asks him who stole Wangmat’s ledger, and Dae-young says that Hae-il won’t tell him anything. Next thing Dae-young knows, he’s taped into a car inside the crusher, and Chul-beom is holding the switch.
Dae-young swears that he really doesn’t know who stole the ledger, but Chul-beom threatens to crush him if he keeps lying. He turns on the machine, but Dae-young screams that he doesn’t know, so Hoon-seok turns off the machine and leaves him there.
Dae-young somehow frees himself and staggers towards home, telling himself shakily that he did well and he doesn’t regret lying. He sets his jaw and growls Chul-beom’s name.
Hae-il storms back to the station when he learns that the arrest warrant was denied, though Seung-ah doesn’t know why. Jang-ryong and his thugs are released, but the health office employees and the Wangmat president are told to stay. Detective Lee tells Hae-il that Kyung-seon is now the prosecutor in charge of the case, just as Dae-young returns to the station.
Kyung-seon walks in, all chirpy happiness as she marvels at the mess Hae-il made while she was gone. She swears that she’s doing her job completely fairly (cue simultaneous eyerolls from Hae-il, Dae-young, and Seung-ah) and tells Hae-il to have faith in her, and he quips that he respects faith, but doubt keeps him safe.
Kyung-seon takes the heath office employees and Wangmat’s president into a room, where she presents them each with personalized files of their illegal activities. She tells them to take responsibility for their actions (instead of blaming Dong-ja) or she’ll go with the current charges, forcing them to accept.
Chul-beom stands in front of the Fearsome Foursome, and Representative Park throws a glass at his head as he screams at Chul-beom for being generally useless. Dong-ja offers him a napkin and notices his attitude when he yanks it from her hand. Chief Prosecutor Kang assures his cohorts that they’ll be getting good news regarding Dong-ja’s problem soon, but Representative Park just wants to kill Hae-il and be done with it.
Chief Prosecutor Kang announces that he wants to bring in someone new, and that he wants to be acknowledged as the leader of their group and have everything they do run by him first. Dong-ja agrees, and Representative Park also goes along with it, leaving Chief Nam no choice but to comply.
When she meets with the head nun, Kyung-seon tells the Wangmat president to pay Eun-ji’s medical bills, current and future. In return, the nun is to drop her suit and put it in writing that she’ll never bring this up again. The nun says they want to see Wangmat punished, but Kyung-seon says it will take years and the bills will go unpaid in the meantime, and that she won’t get the full amount even if she wins.
Hae-il stands outside the door giving it death glares until Seung-ah asks him worriedly if everything they’ve done will go to waste. He says they have solid evidence, but she’s still upset and cries frustrated tears. Hae-il hands her a hankie and says he feels like he has a friend who sincerely cares for him, which makes Seung-ah feel better.
Kyung-seon exits the room and sees Seung-ah smiling at Hae-il and looking awfully close. She gets all huffy, assuming they’re flirting, and she flounces off in a snit.
Chul-beom is still in a bad mood when he gets to his car, but he perks up when Hoon-seok says he found out who took the ledger from black box footage of a car that was at the scene. He can clearly see Yo-han and Ssongsak driving off on Ssongsak’s scooter, and he tells Hoon-seok that he’s about to stop being nice.
Jang-ryong and his cronies are eating at Ssongsak’s restaurant when Ssongsak returns with Yo-han. Jang-ryong starts with his bullying again, slapping Ssongsak when he can’t correctly say tongue twisters, but this time Yo-han speaks up. He challenges Jang-ryong to repeat a tongue twister after him, then proceeds to nail it at top speed, and Jang-ryong looks nervous.
He tries, but he keeps messing up, and LOL, Yo-han is so happy that he actually dabs (and does the Kim Bok-ju “Sa-waaag!”). Jang-ryong gets so fed up that he just starts punching Yo-han and Ssongsak.
Luckily, his phone rings before he goes too far. Unluckily, it’s Chul-beom, and Jang-ryong tells him that he’s already caught the guys Chul-beom is looking for.
The whole station watches the news, where Hae-il is accused of coercing Dong-ja into saying she’ll resign to cover up the church’s “evil deeds.” The lies about Father Lee are brought up all over again, and as he watches, something in Hae-il’s eyes changes. Dae-young tries to calm him down, saying that people know now that wasn’t true, but the online comments about Hae-il are brutal.
He follows Kyung-seon outside, where he accuses her of using a sick child to coerce the health office into taking all blame. He grabs her arm when she starts to leave, then awkwardly lets go, and she snaps that he should behave himself with Seung-ah. Hae-il is scandalized that she’s having impure thoughts about a priest, and calls her garbage.
It’s his turn to try and walk off, but Kyung-seon yanks him around and head-butts him in the nose. Dae-young tries to break up their fight, cringing at the blood gushing from Hae-il’s nose and Kyung-seon’s forehead, and mouthing at Hae-il to staaaaahp as he and Kyung-seon threaten to sue each other. Kyung-seon takes a swing at Hae-il but smacks Dae-young instead, and he gives up and retreats.
Hae-il and Kyung-seon keep yelling at each other, trading personal insults that seem to indicate more going on than just a professional disagreement, until Kyung-seon eventually stomps off. Oh, just kiss and get it over with, you two.
Hae-il is embarrassed that this whole situation ended on such a low note for him. Dae-young says that in judo, they award half points, so Hae-il can consider this a half point. He tells Hae-il not to give up until he gets that full point, and he and Hae-il almost smile at each other. Cute.
Hae-il says he’s going to buy Yo-han and Ssongsak a drink for their help, and Dae-young invites himself along. They’re laughing at Hae-il calling Dae-young clingy when Hae-il’s phone rings, and he listens for a moment then breaks into a run.
He looks like an avenging angel when he arrives at an abandoned warehouse. Yo-han and Ssongsak are being beaten by Chul-beom’s men, and Hae-il screams at them to come fight him. Hoon-seok approaches first, and although he’s lightning-fast, Hae-il blocks his fists and feet.
Hoon-seok gets in one good kick and calls Hae-il slow, and Hae-il holds up his injured wrist and jokes that it’s kinda heavy. Chul-beom joins them, distracting Hae-il just long enough for Hoon-seok to kick his leg out from under him. Chul-beom uses a baseball bat to hit Hae-il’s wrist, then his stomach, then slam him to the floor.
His men pick up Hae-il and hold him while Chul-beom delivers a few more punches, saying that they should end this today. He hits Hae-il again, and Hae-il slumps to the ground, looking defeated.
Oh, I’m so worried. I would hope that Hae-il arranged for some backup before walking into an obvious ambush, but he hasn’t exactly shown awesome judgment in the past when he’s angry. I’m already kind of mad at Hae-il for letting cinnamon roll Yo-han walk around with the only solid evidence against the bad guys and make a huge target of himself, because that decision was completely out of character for the guy who usually insists on doing everything himself. So now that he has proof that he allowed Yo-han to be put in serious danger, he’d better have stopped by Seung-ah’s desk on his way out and told her to bring her best fighting game along, because he needs all the help he can get right now.
Speaking of which, I’m so proud of Dae-young! Not only is he starting to help Hae-il for real, and even care and worry about him, but he even risked his life and lied to Chul-beom. I know he did that because he’s still seething from what Chul-beom did to his partner, so he’s thinking selfishly, but at the moment I’ll take help for Hae-il’s cause any way I can get it. I do think that Dae-young is beginning to like and respect Hae-il, you can see it on his face sometimes when Hae-il has done something particularly effective, and there on the roof when he and Hae-il were joking around, that looked like real affection on both sides.
I still really like Kyung-seon’s character, despite the fact that she’s pretty much a complete sleazeball at this point, and I worry that maybe I’m giving her too much credit for being a good person on the inside. Every time she has a chance to make a choice, she makes the wrong one, and not even for a good moral reason but just because she’s ambitious. That scene with her father was probably meant to show why she’s unwilling to give up the chance to advance and be successful, but being successful and being a good person aren’t mutually exclusive. I know that Honey Lee was specifically cast because she’s someone who can play a corrupt character and still be likable, but I find myself wondering why the show wants her to be likable. I had assumed that it was because she would do some horrible things then have a change of heart, but she’s really heading down a bad road right now, and I’d hate to see her go so far that if she does switch sides later, it’s too late.
Oddly, I feel similarly about Chul-beom, who is really just a horrible, violent human being who has killed before (or at least ordered people killed), yet I want him to switch sides and be redeemed so badly. Maybe it’s a symptom of Go Joon playing the role so well, but when he’s taking unfair abuse from the Foursome, something about his expression just makes me want to see him turn on them and fight for the good guys. I doubt this will actually happen since he hates Hae-il so much, and besides, Dae-young has good reason never, ever to trust him or consider him a teammate. But it would be so satisfying to see Chul-beom genuinely repent and get revenge on the people who have used him then blamed him for everything that goes wrong.
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