Good Casting: Episode 9
Two-thirds of our spy trio have found themselves in a bind but resolving one issue only seems to lead to more. Our many bad guys continue to do bad things and as our team fights to regain lost footing, an offer of help appears from an unlikely source.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Returning with an umbrella, Seok-ho tries calling Chan-mi. Unfortunately, she’s lost her fight with the mystery agent and he plunges a syringe into her neck. Seok-ho continues to call, wandering around in search of his secretary, and leaps out of the way just in time for a silver car to speed past.
Meanwhile, Ye-eun walks home from Woo-won’s and stops when a car pulls up next to her. The driver throws a phone on the ground and speeds away. Flipping open the phone, Ye-eun declines a call from a restricted number. Texts immediately flood in, warning her to answer if she wants to see her daughter again. She answers and drops her bags when her daughter’s voice comes through the line.
Chan-mi wakes up in the backseat of the silver car, having stabbed herself with an antidote hidden in one of her rings at the same time the agent injected her with the syringe. The agent’s report to Kook-hwan is cut short by Chan-mi leaping up in the backseat and strangling him with her scarf. The car swerves and despite his struggles, the agent passes out. Chan-mi barely manages to grab the wheel and skid to a stop before the car spins over the side of the bridge.
The call is still active, and Chan-mi grabs the earbud in time to hear Kook-hwan frantically promise to contact the agent later. The line goes dead and Chan-mi shakes off her shock to grab the agent’s phone. She calls Moo-hyuk and he tells her Kook-hwan is still in his office. Back in Seoul, Woo-won runs out after Ye-eun but only finds her discarded bags in the road. Seok-ho is similarly abandoned in Busan with only a text from Chan-mi that something came up.
A second text from Woo-seok tells him: “I took care of it.” Seok-ho texts that he’ll see him soon and heads out. Ye-eun takes a taxi and finds So-hui sitting by herself outside a convenience store. Tripping her rush to get to her child, Ye-eun holds So-hui tight as someone watches from across the street. The burner phone rings and the caller reminds Ye-eun to keep her promise: “Just tell me what your teammates are doing.”
Returning home, Ye-eun immediately calls Gwan-soo but is startled by her teapot screaming. The burner phone buzzes with a message to calm down and drink some tea. Terrified, Ye-eun sinks to the floor as a second message warns she can’t live in a safe house forever. Hugging So-hui tight, Ye-eun cries, unaware of her webcam pointed at the two of them.
Director Myeong calls Ok Cheol for an update on stage three. Ok Cheol starts to whine about working round the clock but flips script when Director Myeong warns that a failed transaction will cost more lives than his own. Hanging up, Ok Cheol watches Ye-eun cradle So-hui through the feed on his computer and whimpers. Meanwhile, Director Myeong’s driver continues to get calls from Chief Tak, so Director Myeong finally answers.
Skulking outside the institute where Cheol-woong is being held, Chief Tak reveals he didn’t comply with Director Myeong’s banishment to Malaysia. Director Myeong tsks he would’ve brought Chief Tak back after a few years’ punishment but Chief Tak knows he’s lying. Instead, he demands half the money Director Myeong has stashed away with his secret accounts in exchange for “cleaning up” Cheol-woong. Director Myeong says he’ll think about it.
Bursting into the tearoom, Kook-hwan scowls at Director Myeong. Seeing through Director Myeong’s very gross pus analogy, Kook-hwan spits he’s uninterested in cleaning up Director Myeong’s mess as he’d done 3 years ago. Director Myeong’s threats towards his position have little effect, but Director Myeong’s promise to provide a solution for another of Kook-hwan’s problems succeeds in gaining Kook-hwan’s attention.
At the secure ward where Cheol-woong is being kept, a man dressed as cleaning crew sneaks in. He lights a flare, which sets of the fire alarm and tosses a smoke bomb down Cheol-woong’s hall. He shoots guards and races upstairs while doctors usher patients outside. The figure chokes Cheol-woong from behind and leaves. A guard exciting the elevator is shot down, but the guard manages to warn the team the intruder is headed towards the basement.
While a team finds Cheol-woong hanging in his room, the intruder strips cleaning service decals from the van and turns on a siren. The van drives away, undetected, as the police arrive. At home, Ye-eun asks So-hui who she’d been with earlier. So-hui says “Dad” and Ye-eun pales, demanding what she means when she doesn’t have a dad. Her tone causes So-hui to burst into tears and, feeling guilty, Ye-eun drops the matter.
Her phone rings and Gwan-soo tells her Cheol-woong is dead. The team meets at HQ and Gwan-soo grumpily demands where Chan-mi is. They find her upstairs but while they team heads to their office, Chan-mi storms into Kook-hwan’s office. She finds nothing in the desk while the rest of the team reviews the security footage at the ward. Chan-mi bursts back into the office and asks Moo-hyuk why Kook-hwan is gone.
Gwan-soo pulls her aside and Chan-mi confesses Kook-hwan sent an agent after her. She’s unsure why and Gwan-soo suggests they focus on finding Cheol-woong’s killer first. Gwan-soo’s job is on the line over insisting on keeping Cheol-woong as a witness instead of allowing Kook-hwan to send him to prosecution. Chan-mi is suspicious of Kook-hwan’s urgency to send Cheol-woong away without a police investigation.
When Gwan-soo rejoins the team, Ye-eun says the laundry van associated with the killer’s uniform disappeared in the underground parking lot. They find it odd there’s a police van leaving the ward just as a patrol car arrives and Gwan-soo calls Chan-mi. She’s at nerve center and she directs the agents to search for the van via traffic cams. They quickly locate it headed towards the Incheon Airport.
As the team heads out, they’re stopped by Kook-hwan, who demands they follow him. Gwan-soo keeps walking but Kook-hwan relieves him of duty and declares the team disbanded since Cheol-woong died. Gwan-soo’s argument that Cheol-woong was murdered is cut off when Kook-hwan counters they already found evidence Chief Tak is responsible for the crime. He saunters off as Chan-mi reappears, wondering what’s up with her team’s expressions.
Learning they’re being disbanded, Chan-mi rushes after Kook-hwan. He’s holding a meeting in his office and though he’s locked the door, Chan-mi pounds angrily on the window. Kook-hwan ignores her until Chan-mi grabs a fire extinguisher and reels back to smash the window. Bursting out of the office, he demands if she’s crazy and Chan-mi asks if he just realized that. She loudly accuses him of tailing her and Kook-hwan’s expression becomes strained.
Chan-mi screams for him to tell her why he had an agent followed, but it backfires when Kook-hwan counters she’d broken the rules by taking on Seok-ho – her former student. “Did you act as a spy to betray your team?” Kook-hwan sneers, “Just as you did three years ago?” Chan-mi is too shocked to answer and Mi-soon stares at her, betrayal etched on her face as she asks Chan-mi if it’s true. Without answering, Chan-mi runs off, leaving her team shaken.
Up on the roof, Gwan-soo hears from Moo-hyuk everyone is gossiping Chan-mi used to date Seok-ho. He hangs up when Chan-mi joins him and gruffly insists he wasn’t waiting for her. Gwan-soo chides Chan-mi for attacking Kook-hwan only to get knocked down and, seeing a cigarette butt on the ground, Chan-mi barks at him to stop smoking before criticizing her. Gwan-soo blinks it isn’t his – he quit 5 years ago.
“You quit smoking when you quit me,” Chan-mi snorts. Gwan-soo admits after they broke up, he really thought he’d die if he kept smoking. He turns the conversation back to Seok-ho, asking why Chan-mi took the assignment when she knew better. Meanwhile, Seok-ho drinks with Woo-seok and discusses Director Myeong’s secret ledgers. The men guess Dad found out about the ledgers and his death was a result.
Woo-seok promises to get the ledgers for Seok-ho, thinking they must be hidden in Director Myeong’s office. Seok-ho shakes his head, insisting it’s too dangerous and Woo-seok couldn’t kill an ant. “I can’t kill an innocent ant,” Woo-seok corrects, “but I will punish the guilty.” Back on the roof, Chan-mi confesses she’d worried anyone else watching Seok-ho would’ve had a bias against him, insisting he’s not a bad kid.
Sighing, Gwan-soo points out Woo-seok is not a child and the one with the bias is Chan-mi. He says Kook-hwan was right to be suspicious of her and Chan-mi fires back that Kook-hwan is the suspicious one. Gwan-soo says he’s not in a position to be suspicious. He walks away, leaving Chan-mi alone on the roof, but pauses, looking contemplative.
The next day, Chan-mi arrives at Il Kwang and sees Mi-soon in the lobby. The women share an uncomfortable glance before Mi-soon turns away and Chan-mi sighs. She heads up to bring Ye-eun coffee and learns from Ye-eun’s snarky supervisor she took the day off. The women nosily asks why Seok-ho’s secretary is looking for Ye-eun but Chan-mi brushes her off and heads to her own office.
She runs into Seok-ho at the elevator and her cheerful greeting is met with a pout. He grumbles he’d been worried sick she was kidnapped when she disappeared and Chan-mi apologizes, saying something urgent came up. Seok-ho sniffs she abandoned him and Chan-mi insists she didn’t, admitting she should’ve escorted him all the way home and vowing to never let it happen again. Seok-ho finally breaks into a smile, confessing he was punishing her for making him worry.
All the same, Seok-ho suggests they keep the incident secret from Woo-seok and tells her to wait 10 seconds before following him into the office. Chan-mi fights a smile as he scampers off, ticking the seconds off on her hand. When she enters, Woo-seok happily snags the coffee meant for Ye-eun and Chan-mi checks her email to find a chainmail letter. Opening it, the audio is an announcement her mission terminates at midnight. Woo-seok notices her frown and Chan-mi laughs it off as spam but looks sadly at Seok-ho.
At home, Ye-eun’s daughter spills food on Woo-won’s drawing. As Ye-eun frantically wipes it off with the handkerchief she’d received from Chan-mi, she notices the embroidery. Leaping up, she pulls a similarly embroidered blood-stained handkerchief from a drawer, wondering why Min-seok had Chan-mi’s handkerchief. Thinking it finally time to use Gwan-soo’s login to look at classified files, Ye-eun is disappointed to realize she’d ripped out that page to write down rice cooker instructions for Woo-won.
Presently, Woo-won glares at the crumpled note adorning his fridge. He tries reciting his lines to unsatisfying results and grumbles he needs a partner. Reaching for his phone to call Ye-eun, Woo-won freezes. He snorts Ye-eun did wrong, so he’ll never call her first… but perks up when the doorbell rings. Woo-won tries acting tough, saying he won’t accept her apology, but Ye-eun just fetches her note from the fridge.
Unfortunately, the ink ran when Woo-won chased after Ye-eun in the rain and the Gwan-soo’s login is smudged. Woo-won is disappointed she came for the note and not him and tries to snatch it back, declaring she can’t take back what was given. They end up tearing the paper in two and Woo-won makes her read lines with him to get his half. Ye-eun’s robotic delivery has Woo-won calling foul, saying he can’t get in character if she just reads the lines.
Woo-won tsks that Ye-eun must never have been in love: “You’re saying goodbye for the first and last time to the person you love before leaving them.” He sighs he shouldn’t have expected much from a virgin and Ye-eun glares. Squaring her shoulders, Ye-eun tries again and this time Woo-won stares in awe as his heart thumps loudly in his chest. When it’s his turn, he flubs the line and Ye-eun can’t understand why he’s so flustered.
Back at Il Kwang, Woo-seok sighs Seok-ho seems to be working late. Chan-mi offers to stay behind and Woo-seok eyes her suspiciously. He briefly wonders if the sudden change in behavior is because she intends to quit, but gleefully takes his leave. Chan-mi apologizes for always leaving work on time and thanks him, making Woo-soek even more nervous he’ll find her desk cleared out tomorrow. She smiles and he laughs it off.
Struggling to iron his shirt, Woo-won grumbles at Cheol-woong for leaving without a replacement. He still hasn’t given Ye-eun his half of the note and scoffs at her weak excuse to see him. Snickering it’s his ticket to boss her around, Woo-won irons it as well. News breaks of Cheol-woong’s “suicide” and Woo-won freezes, too shocked to notice the note burning behind him.
Ye-eun finally brings Woo-won’s drawing to Gwan-soo and he sighs it’s clearly Chan-mi and Mi-soon. He says he’ll have an expert analyze the psychological implications and asks how Woo-won has been. Ye-eun groans he’s been acting strange and as she ticks off his moony eyes and frequent frivolous demands, Gwan-soo realizes Ye-eun has never dated aside from So-hui’s father. He sighs telling her the reason for Woo-won’s behavior will only mess with her head and Ye-eun worries Woo-won’s condition is getting worse. Hee.
Kook-hwan meets with Hwa-ran (Seok-ho’s sketchy ex-wife) and asks if she had someone else look into Seok-ho and Chan-mi because she didn’t trust him, admitting he felt offended. Hwa-ran reveals she knows the connection between Seok-ho and Chan-mi, demanding whether he chose not to tell her, or didn’t know himself. Blanching, Kook-hwan mutters he planned to report it soon and Hwa-ran spits stressful subordinates are why she can’t quit smoking.
Particularly annoyed by Kook-hwan’s complaint of being offended, Hwa-ran demands how she can trust him to do his job and back up his promotion. He promises to do better and she dismisses him, adding he should take the stairs so as not to be seen on the elevator cameras. Weezing down multiple flights of stairs, Kook-hwan curses Hwa-ran talking down to him when she’s younger and winces as he continues downward.
Seok-ho knocks on the office door and Chan-mi asks if he’s leaving. Pouting his secretary didn’t bring him anything to eat, Seok-ho says he’s headed out for a snack. Chan-mi apologizes and offers to make reservations or pick something up, but Seok-ho suggests they go together. Sitting down for ramen, Seok-ho says he’s only buying because he’s grateful and hiding a smile, Chan-mi says she hasn’t done much.
He points out she kept him company, waving off Chan-mi’s argument anyone could do it: “Keeping me company… is a huge deal to me. Everyone precious in my life left me, you see.” Chan-mi flashes back 15 years to being barred from seeing him at his mother’s funeral service. In the present, Seok-ho says his mother died in a sickbed, his father passed away without warning, and the person he trusted most left. He hopes Chan-mi never leaves him.
Bringing dinner to the security team, Woo-seok scans the cameras for Director Myeong’s office as they dig in. Chan-mi’s phone buzzes with a restricted number and when she answers, her eyes widen at Chief Tak’s voice. Woo-seok coyly muses many executives are working late, yet Director Myeong’s office is empty. The head of security says Director Myeong arrives three hours early and always leaves on time.
Woo-seok pities the secretary, but the head of security says Director Myeong handles his own documents and his office door opens automatically. The man brings up footage as evidence of no security lock on the door and they watch Director Myeong step up to the door and it open for him. The head of security adds there’s one more person with access to Director Myeong’s office.
Stepping out to take the call, Chan-mi learns Chief Tak didn’t turn her over to Director Myeong for insurance. Chan-mi points out his insurance just ran out but Chief Tak knows and wants to make a deal. When he went to kill Cheol-woong, he witnessed someone else strangling the man. He sends a screenshot from the video he took, and Chan-mi tells him to name his price.
The head of security reveals Director Myeong hired his own cleaning lady and pulls up footage of the woman pushing her cart up to the door and it swinging open. Woo-seok wonders aloud how the door works, fibbing he plans to install the same system for Seok-ho when the head of security eyes him suspiciously. His answer is easily accepted and as they cycle through more footage, Woo-seok has them replay a day when the cleaning woman couldn’t access the room.
When the door doesn’t open, the woman walks away and then returns, touching something on her cart. The door opens and Woo-seok grins, having figured out the mechanism. Chief Tak tells Chan-mi about Director Myeong’s ledgers and wants her to bring them too him. She says her mission is over tonight, but Chief Tak asks if she wants to catch Michael, claiming the killer announced himself as Michael before offing Cheol-woong.
“Do you know what’s more interesting, though?” Chief Tak asks, “He’s around you. Somewhere close.” Chan-mi jumps when Seok-ho touches her shoulder, having finished his food and gone in search of her. He says her food is cold, smiling they’ll try again another day. As he walks away, Chan-mi thinks over Gwan-soo’s insistence Seok-ho isn’t a child and she’s the one with the bias.
Mi-soon wakes up to a text from Chan-mi, telling her to come outside. Mi-soon gets up and sneaks past her husband faking sleep on the floor. He springs up when she’s out, wondering where she’s going and following after. Mi-soon jogs out to the surveillance van, finding Chan-mi and Ye-eun inside. Chan-mi fills her in on Chief Tak’s call, saying she thinks Michael killed Cheol-woong and had their team disbanded.
Ye-eun asks if they’re still suspicious of Kook-hwan and Chan-mi corrects that she’s not suspicious – she’s positive. After Chan-mi drops her off, Ye-eun uses the burner phone to call (presumably) Ok Cheol and tell him Chan-mi is stealing the ledger tomorrow.
Epilogue Gwan-soo heads into Kook-hwan’s office, but the burner phone is no longer in the drawer. Instead, he finds a folder hidden inside with Chan-mi, Mi-soon, and Ye-eun’s profiles. Flipping through, Gwan-soo frowns at a note on Ye-eun’s that she was in a relationship with Min-seok and he died the same day their daughter was born.
I understand Ye-eun fears for her daughter, but I hope she either purposefully gave misinformation, confided in her team and they’re planning to catch the not-so-mysterious man (Ok Cheol) as well as nab the ledger, or Chan-mi was suspicious enough to tell Ye-eun the wrong thing in the first place. All I know is I need our team to get some substantial wins because I’m really sick of Kook-hwan’s face. I admit, I was mildly surprised there was a second person infiltrating the ward to kill Cheol-woong but it made sense Director Myeong wouldn’t allow himself to be in Chief Tak’s debt and making Kook-hwan do it himself would be a good power move. I am suspicious Chief Tak’s footage actually contains the killer announcing themselves as Michael because that’s weird, but I’m not going to analyze the spy plots too closely – they just make me mad.
Chan-mi was always bound to be busted and I had wondered why she didn’t come clean sooner. It was good to get an explanation, albeit a weak one, since it wouldn’t matter if another agent was suspicious if Seok-ho was as innocent as Chan-mi believes him to be. If anything, her protecting him looks worse, not to mention caused a rift between her and her teammates. Chan-mi has never been a good team player, but Mi-soon and Gwan-soo, at least, never believed she betrayed the NIS. Mi-soon had a right to be upset, but I feel her reaction was a little forced because Mi-soon struck me more as the type to drag answers out of her friend rather than sulk. Either way, I’m confident the women share a bond strong enough to overcome this hiccup.
This episode was less entertaining with so much focus on the parts I find least interesting, but I was glad to see more Woo-won antics. His crush is hilarious and oblivious Ye-eun is adorable, but she’s still very much hung up on Min-seok and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Woo-seok continues to be entertaining and possibly a better spy than the real ones? I am interested in his story and want to see more of the bromance between him and Seok-ho. We seem to have finished with Chan-mi and Seok-ho’s past, so hopefully now we’ll focus on the present because Seok-ho is the only reason I’m still powering through this hot mess.