My Fellow Citizens: Episodes 29-30
With her plans to infiltrate to National Assembly gone awry, mob boss Hoo-ja resorts to more threats and bribes to achieve her goals. Unfortunately for her, our hero Jung-gook is riding on the tailwinds of his good political deeds, and he’s adopting a critical eye for corrupt politics. Hoo-ja faces a demon of her own creation by provoking Jung-gook to go back to his roots, and he delivers with one final checkmate move to determine their fates.
EPISODE 29 RECAP
Hoo-ja fumes as watches the news on Nominee Kim’s withdrawal from the Ministry of Economy and Finance candidacy, and Assemblyman Kim enters her office to debrief this disaster. Much to Hoo-ja’s frustration, he acknowledges that the vote on the Interest Regulation Act will likely be delayed, but he has a solution.
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New day, new plan for the bad guys
Assemblyman Kim made a deal with the leader of the National Assembly, who happens to be affiliated with the opposing Minjin Party. The National Assembly Leader proposed a trade — if Assemblyman Kim can help pass a bill on medical device technology (which affects the Leader’s son), then the Leader will bring the interest Regulation Act vote to the table.
Assemblyman Kim revels in his genius idea, but Hoo-ja seems suspicious. She knows that the Minjin Party will protest, and Assemblyman Kim assures her that the People’s Party will counterprotest. He says, “If you believe me, there is no problem.” Hoo-ja brings up the slight chance that Jung-gook may ruin their plans again, but they doubt that he would do such a thing.
The Minjin Party (“for the nation!”) stand with their arms linked in front of the National Assembly building while the People’s Party (“for the people!”) marches toward them to break through their blockade. Their confrontation gets caught on camera by the press, but the riot is interrupted by a familiar voice.
It’s Jung-gook with a megaphone, and he tells his fellow Assembly members to stop fighting. He calls them embarrassing and urges them to use words. He then chastises the press for continuing to provide attention to these attention-seekers.
Assemblyman Kim scolds Jung-gook for negating their efforts and claims that they’re all doing this for the citizens. Jung-gook scoffs at that claim and calls for Wang-go to bring their audience: cute little children. Jung-gook dares Assemblyman Kim to continue to fight in front of these children.
When Assemblyman Kim hesitates, Jung-gook makes his point that this fight is not a good example to show children. Lee Soon-shin would have proudly fought the war in front of these children, and Kim Gu would have proudly fought the occupation in front of these children. But these Assemblyman would be mortified to continue their petty fight in front of children.
Jung-gook’s interference diffuses the situation, and the People’s Party retreats from the confrontation. Jung-gook gives the little kiddos high-fives, and he looks upon his colleagues with conviction.
Hoo-ja storms into Jung-gook’s office and slaps him across the face. She reminds him that she put him in the National Assembly for the repeal of the Interest Regulation Act, and she doesn’t want any rogue action from him. Jung-gook says that he was just fulfilling his duty, but Hoo-ja threatens to ruin him and Mi-young if he steps out of line again.
After Hoo-ja leaves, Jung-gook asks Wang-go to provide a briefing of the Interest Regulation Act. He’s heard Hoo-ja talk so much about it, but he has no idea what it entails. He’s determined to learn more it, instead of blindly taking orders.
Mi-young and her unit learns that their unconfirmed allegation about Henchman Choi pocketing money in a safe was real. He actually did have a safe where he hid the money from the lenders, so now, he’s run off into hiding from Hoo-ja.
Mi-young had banked on Henchman Choi coming to them for help instead of running away, since they assumed that their allegation would be fake. Now they don’t have a way to find him, but Detective Gu has an idea. He summons Ma Sang-bum, who’s childhood friends with Henchman Choi.
Ma Sang-bum looks strangely familiar to Mi-young, but Sang-bum pretends not to recognize Mi-young. We know that he’s a familiar face because he attended her wedding, back when he was buddies with Jung-gook as his Con Hyung. Sang-bum voices concerns about backlash if Henchman Choi finds out about his cooperation with the police, but Mi-young promises that they won’t lose their target.
Mi-young and her team find Henchman Choi at his hideout, but he immediately jumps out of the window. He somehow survives the fall and runs off. When Sang-bum learns of his friend’s escape from the team, he frets that Henchman Choi will get back at him. Mi-young promises that they won’t lose their target twice.
They chase Henchman Choi again, but ultimately lose him again! Mi-young and her team return to Ma Sang-bum with their tail between their legs and formally request his cooperation once more. Tired of the incompetence, Sang-bum asks for the handcuffs and offers to catch Henchman Choi himself.
Sang-bum stays true to his word and brings an unconscious Henchman Choi to the police station. He says that he simply drugged his friend. Ha, I guess the ends justify the means. Sang-bum tells the team that he’s done his job and warns them not to ask for his help again.
Mi-young decides to keep Henchman Choi in their custody privately, since they plan on using him against Hoo-ja. As Sang-bum walks out of the station, he talks to Henchman Choi’s mom over the phone and tries to explain why her son with the police (“It’s not because of me. He just sinned too much. Yes I did introduce him to criminals, but…”). Hoo-ja’s mole overhears this phone conversation and looks at Sang-bum suspiciously. Busted.
After reading through the Interest Regulation Act, Jung-gook seems supportive of the law. Wang-go agrees and shares his opinion that the Interest Regulation Act rightfully protects low-income people. Jung-gook nods in agreement, and their conversation is cut short by a call.
Jung-gook finds his way to an office with gangsters guarding the door. He walks in and meets the caller: Park Jin-hee aka Hoo-ja’s older sister, who was just released from prison. She exchanges pleasantries but then gets straight to the point. She proposes that they outplay Hoo-ja.
Initially, Jung-gook is confused because Jin-hee is Hoo-ja’s older sister, but he doesn’t pry further about their contentious relationship. Jin-hee knows that Jung-gook is tired of following Hoo-ja’s orders, and she offers freedom from Hoo-ja’s grip of Jung-gook works with her.
Jung-gook wonders why Jin-hee would request his help, so she reveals that she knows about his con background. She leaves it up to him to decide the how, but she has one goal: put Hoo-ja behind bars and usurp Baekkyung Capital. Jung-gook still isn’t convinced why he should partner with Jin-hee, so she clarifies her terms. Once they get rid of Hoo-ja, they can live their respective lives in peace.
Jin-hee isn’t interested in repealing the Interest Regulation Act, since she can just get around it illegally anyway. She says that shady people should continue to live in the shade instead of trying to seek the limelight. Jung-gook looks conflicted, but he ultimately decides against the scheme. He hasn’t conned anyone in a while and isn’t up for crime anymore.
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Sis No. 1’s tempting offer
At Jung-gook’s rejection, Jin-hee’s smile fades. When he begins to walk out, she snaps out of her friendly demeanor and viciously yells at him to stop before she rips his mouth. Jung-gook freezes and incredulously looks at Jin-hee. He points to his National Assembly pin and asserts that his con days are behind him. He continues to walk out and shakes his head at these crazy sisters.
Mi-young interrogates Henchman Choi, but he keeps his mouth shut. He claims that he’s loyal to Hoo-ja, despite the embezzlement of her funds. Henchman Choi insists that he donated all the money, and of course, Mi-young’s team doesn’t believe him. But Detective Na walks in and confirms that Henchman Choi actually donated all of the embezzled money. Ha!
Henchman Choi begins to preach about charitable donations, but Mi-young interrupts him by reminding him that embezzlement is still a crime. He still refuses to divulge anything, so Mi-young proposes a fight — whoever wins gets their way. Henchman Choi bluffs that Mi-young won win against him this time, but the other detectives are more worried about his safety.
As the detectives clear the room, Mi-young rolls up her sleeves in preparation. Henchman Choi suddenly realizes that he’s in grave danger and begs the other detectives to stay in the room. But the detectives close the door on him, and Henchman Choi shivers in fear as he looks at Mi-young.
EPISODE 30 RECAP
At Mi-young’s threat, Henchman Choi easily surrenders and barely holds in his sobs as he signs his testimony. Detective Lee holds his hand and Detective Na wipes his tears as they commend him for cooperating without further violence. After they leave the room, Henchman Choi breaks down in tears. LOL.
Hoo-ja learns about Henchman Choi in custody from her mole at the police station, and she pieces together with Gwi-nam that they’ve been played by Mi-young. Gwi-nam worries about what Henchman Choi shared with the police, but Hoo-ja is more interested in getting ahead of the police.
Thanks to Henchman Choi’s testimony, Mi-young and her team now know about Hoo-ja’s safe that holds all her records of bribes to politicians. They discuss their course of action to find these documents, and Detective Gu steps aside to answer a call from his wife.
Detective Gu arrives at the upgraded hospital room for his child and finds an unwelcome guest there. Hoo-ja offers him a duffel of money in exchange for intel on Mi-young’s next move, and Detective Gu refuses the receive the bribe. He claims that his family gets by and doesn’t need these luxuries.
But when Detective Gu tries to reject the money, his wife stops him. She seems desperate for the extra funds for their sick son, and Hoo-ja further taunts him by saying that just getting by is a selfish thing, especially when they have a sick child. Detective Gu’s son wakes up at the sound of his dad’s yelling, and Detective Gu ultimately complies with Hoo-ja’s request.
He shares that Mi-young plans on searching Baekkyung Capital and targeting the files in her safe. In response to this intel, Hoo-ja empties her safe and orders Gwi-nam back up all the files and then destroy them. Back at the police station, Detective Gu broods in guilt.
To try to absolve his guilt, Detective Gu meets with Jung-gook and comes clean about taking the bribe from Hoo-ja. He asks Jung-gook to stop Mi-young from searching Baekkyung Capital because she could get fired if she comes out empty-handed. Jung-gook suggests that Detective Gu admit his wrongdoing to Mi-young, but Detective Gu can’t risk losing his job.
Detective Gu reveals that he knows Jung-gook’s con history and says that he never told Mi-young because he thought the truth would hurt her too much. He asks that Jung-gook return the favor and save him this one time.
In attempts to stop Mi-young from her demise, Jung-gook visits her at work and asks about the Hoo-ja investigation. She tells Jung-gook that she’s doing her best to do her job, and if she can’t catch Hoo-ja this time, she’ll keep trying. Jung-gook doesn’t have the heart to tell her to stop, so he leaves to meet with Hoo-ja.
Jung-gook makes a ridiculous request to Hoo-ja — that she forgive Mi-young this one time and not demand her dismissal when they fail to find any evidence in the search. Hoo-ja reminds Jung-gook that Mi-young attacked her first, so she has no reason to be merciful. Jung-gook promises to follow everything Hoo-ja says, but she doesn’t him, given his track record.
Hoo-ja checks a message on her phone from Gwi-nam and clicks the link to see their tax penalty report, and then she’s interrupted by Gwi-nam in person about an uninvited guest downstairs. It’s older sister Jin-hee, and she arrives with her gang entourage. When Hoo-ja arrives downstairs, the sisters exchange tense greetings, and Hoo-ja reminds her sister that she’s a pawn shop, not a bank — you have to be ready to give up something to gain something in return.
Jin-hee shares her knowledge about Hoo-ja sponsoring conman Jung-gook to become a politician, and she notes how newsworthy this scandal would be. She threatens to take back Baekkyung Capital to reclaim her inheritance, but Hoo-ja doesn’t planning on stepping down. She dismisses her older sister and returns to her rightful throne.
When Hoo-ja returns to her office, she’s annoyed that Jung-gook is still there, asking for her mercy. He offers to suffer a beating and gets into a plank. Irritated by Jung-gook, Hoo-ja calls security and has him dragged out of her office.
The next day, Mi-young arrives at Baekkyung Capital with her team and presents a search warrant. As they head up to Hoo-ja’s office, Gwi-nam assures Hoo-ja that all relevant documents have been destroyed. Hoo-ja then asks about the tax penalty link that Gwi-nam sent yesterday, but Gwi-nam doesn’t seem to recall sending this message.
Then, Mi-young and her team enter the office. She presents the warrant and demands that Hoo-ja open up her safe. Hoo-ja obliges and asks one more time if Mi-young won’t regret this. Mi-young confirms and opens up the unlocked safe.
Hoo-ja looks so sure of herself, but when she looks back at the opened safe, she looks confused at the paper documents that she supposedly cleared out. Mi-young smiles at her victorious discovery and reaches for the incriminating evidence.
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Park Hoo-ja’s safe isn’t safe?
So how did this happen? As Jung-gook left Mi-young’s office, he called up his con team for one last con to save Mi-young. He ordered Seung-yi to write up some fake income verification documents to apply for loans from Baekkyung Capital.
Then, Charles rallied the troops to apply for the loans and collect that money to send to Assemblyman Kim, who was sent a phishing message that allowed them to plant this money in his account.
To get the passcode to the safe, they also sent a phishing message to Hoo-ja (the tax penalty text sent under Gwi-nam’s number). Mi-jin used her expert hacking skills to look up the passcode, and Jung-gook also enlisted the help of older sister Jin-hee to distract Hoo-ja with an unannounced visit.
While Hoo-ja confronted her older sister, Jung-gook rushed to open the safe in the office. In addition to the passcode, they needed voice verification, so Mi-jin found a recording and sent it to her brother for access. With that, Jung-gook successfully opened the safe and planted the loan documents for Mi-young to discover.
When Mi-young finally gets her hands on the documents, Hoo-ja looks utterly confused by the mysterious documents. Mi-young browses through the document and concludes that Hoo-ja funneled her money to Assemblyman Kim through fake loans. Hoo-ja has no idea what Mi-young is talking about and finds the accusation completely ridiculous.
Mi-young tells Hoo-ja to look out for an interrogation summoning, and she leans in to whisper to Hoo-ja, “You’ve been caught by us. I’ll make sure your rot away your life in prison.” As Mi-young walks out, Hoo-ja still can’t believe this situation.
While Hoo-ja gets admitted in prison, Jung-gook calls Joo-myung with a renewed conviction to properly work in politics. Now that Hoo-ja is out of his way, he wants to do what he believes in — useful politics. He eyes the Interest Regulation Act and asks for Joo-myung’s support.
Hoo-ja changes into her prison garments and silent walks through the gates into prison. She glances back and smiles before walking into her new life behind bars.
I really enjoyed the swift energy of this episode, despite the generally mediocre writing. My favorite aspects of this show — the con hijinks, Mi-young kicking ass, Hoo-ja being unapologetically a boss — were highlighted in this episode, so I’d say that the show is ending on a stronger note. While watching this episode, it occurred to me that this show could be characterized as the less cool, still pubescent younger brother of the more hip con shows like Police Unit 38. And I mean that in an endearing way. It still has plenty of growing up to do, but I appreciate where it’s trying to go.
I also appreciated that this show never pretended to be cooler than it was. It was shamelessly explicit and exaggerated — there was no subtlety, no guessing. You could pretty much take everything at face value, and as boring as that can sound, it was also nice to embrace that simplicity. I could also tell that the actors, especially Choi Si-won and Kim Min-jung, had a blast with their roles, and that made the watch more enjoyable. Kim Min-jung was my favorite, and Hoo-ja was often the scene-stealer with her reactions, her sharp lines, and her bossy attitude. I absolutely loved her.
I’m sad that the other characters just seem to have dropped off without proper resolutions. Like Sang-jin — whatever happened to him after the election. I hope we’ll learn more about him in the context of his family. Mi-young’s adopted family was important to many turning points in the show, but I don’t have a good grasp of their dynamic and their story? That’s the gaping hole that the writers actively ignored, and it showed. I also wish that she were privy to some of the secrets about Jung-gook because that would have created more interesting dynamics. Everyone was trying to protect her from the truth, which was frankly annoying, and the only person willing to tell her the truth has now lost her ethos to convicted crime.
Overall, I’m still content with this watch. The writing often felt lazy, but innocuously so. The characters were dumb, but endearingly so. And the story of a conman-turned-politician didn’t have a clear message, but it had all the best intentions.