Good Casting: Episode 11
Although the mission finally seems to gain traction, our spies’ personal lives are overturned as family tension, past relationships, and secrets bubble to the surface. Emotions are running high as each spy faces their own challenges but unfortunately, bad guys don’t take holidays.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Having successfully swiped Director Myeong’s ledger from the hidden safe in his office, Mi-soon panics when he stops her in the hall. He slowly moves to throw his coffee cup in the bin but Mi-soon grabs it and disposes of it herself (hiding the ledger sitting in the bin in the process). With a violent cough, Mi-soon scurries away as Director Myeong returns to his office to discover his safe is empty.
In the surveillance van, Mi-soon smugly tosses the ledger to her teammates. They panic when the pages appear blank but Ye-eun notices a scent and thinks a special ink was used. Chan-mi recalls getting stabbed by a pen on Director Myeong’s desk and when Ye-eun holds Gwan-soo’s lighter to the pages, the heat makes the ink visible. Gwan-soo takes the ledger and Ye-eun thinks of her blackmailer and how after she told him Chan-mi’s plan, he ordered her to bring the ledger to him.
When Gwan-soo drops Chan-mi off, he warns her to focus on the job and not get emotional over Seok-ho. Chan-mi retorts she’s not a robot, lamenting she’d used Seok-ho’s trust (when he got her out of the jam with Director Myeong) and when all is said and done, she’ll disappear without so much as an apology. Gwan-soo points out that’s something she has to deal with and Chan-mi snaps she’ll take care of her own emotions.
At Il Kwang, Seok-ho notices the bandage on Chan-mi’s hand (from her fight with Woo-seok). Before she can answer, Woo-seok joins them and waves off the cut on his face as a drunken accident. Seok-ho orders him into the office and Woo-seok apologizes for failing to get the ledger, but Seok-ho is only concerned with his injury. Woo-seok confesses someone else was in the office but couldn’t identify them. Seok-ho is just relieved he’s okay when Woo-seok can’t even fight.
Outside, Chan-mi texts Mi-soon and Ye-eun about the mysterious fighter and asks Ye-eun to check the security footage outside Director Myeong’s office. Woo-seok exits Seok-ho’s office and asks how Chan-mi got hurt. She uses his excuse of a drunken accident and they chatter about drinks until Chan-mi accidentally knocks over a water bottle and Woo-seok instinctively catches it with his heel.
Chan-mi notices scratches – from when she’d swiped at her attacker’s foot with a shard of glass – moments before instinctively catching the bottle in the air. Woo-seok recognizes the same move from their fight last night and eyes Chan-mi’s injured hand. They stare at each other for a beat and then thrust up their hands to hide the lower halves of their faces, confirming their opponent. Chan-mi rushes to have Moo-hyuk look up Woo-seok, while Gwan-soo pretends not to hear as he duplicates the ledger.
At the same time, Woo-seok calls someone to do the same for Chan-mi. They bump into each other on the way back to the office and Woo-seok squeezes Chan-mi’s injured hand painfully for a final confirmation. They part and Woo-seok drives Seok-ho to his next appointment, shooting anxious glances at him in the rearview. Seok-ho questions him and Woo-seok snorts he isn’t looking – Seok-ho isn’t his type.
Jokes aside, Woo-seok asks for the afternoon off, citing personal reasons. Seok-ho gives it, lost in his own thoughts as he pieces together Woo-seok’s report someone else had been in Director Myeong’s office and Chan-mi was the one they’d found. Director Myeong had been insistent on her being a corporate spy and Chan-mi had seemed jittery at the office when she hid her injured hand.
That evening, Ye-eun is walking home when a car pulls up behind her, slowly stalking her as she walks. The burner phone rings, and the blackmailer demands the ledger. Ye-eun worries about drawing suspicion by keeping the ledger, but the blackmailer gives her an hour, warning her daughter’s life is on the line. The car speeds away and Ye-eun returns to the surveillance van. She sees Gwan-soo leave and sneaks inside, snatching the ledger and calling the blackmailer.
When she steps out, the car zooms up and unrolls the window enough for Ye-eun to throw the book inside. The car speeds away again, and Ye-eun turns to see Gwan-soo return. They stare at each other as a man stalks into the NIS with the ledger. He delivers the book to Kook-hwan and when asked if he’d been tailed, we see it’s the same agent that attacked Chan-mi. Kook-hwan smiles gleefully at the ledger, but slams the cover shut when Gwan-soo steps into the office.
Kook-hwan quickly dismisses the agent, but Gwan-soo stops him. The agent attacks, but Gwan-soo quickly arrests him. Standing, Kook-hwan demands what’s going on and Gwan-soo says he worries Kook-hwan will feel lonely with the disciplinary committee, so he’ll send them both. “Are you crazy?” screeches Kook-hwan and Chan-mi bursts in, declaring he’s the crazy one. She flips open the ledger to reveal a tracker inside and Kook-hwan pales.
A flashback reveals Ye-eun did go to Gwan-soo about the blackmail, worrying for her daughter, but not wanting to betray her team. Gwan-soo had urged her to divulge Chan-mi’s plans as she was told, saying they should catch the blackmailer. As more agents lead Kook-hwan’s lackey away, Ye-eun enters the room and Chan-mi demands why he betrayed the team. Kook-hwan spits they’re all garbage he should’ve thrown away but kept them around out of pity.
Kook-hwan sneers their plans won’t succeed by taking him down, pulling away when Gwan-soo attempts to arrest him: “How dare you touch me? I’m not someone you dirty vermin can catch.” He tries to kick them out and Mi-soon comes barreling in, kicking him to the ground in her fury. Gwan-soo and Chan-mi hold her back, but when Kook-hwan screeches at them, they let her loose and Mi-soon pummels him, screaming she nearly had to get unemployment while he took bribes.
Behind the glass in the interrogation room, Ye-eun wonders how Kook-hwan could blackmail her with her daughter. Gwan-soo sighs it’s possible Kook-hwan is only a pawn. Mi-soon leaves to take a call, while Chan-mi sits down across from Kook-hwan. He insists he was only following up an anonymous tip, guessing Chan-mi found nothing in his office. She says she’d been skeptical, but his brazen attitude makes her think he could be Michael.
Kook-hwan suggest she just wants to believe he is, reiterating she has no evidence. Nodding, Chan-mi agrees to bring evidence. She pauses to add, “You said that unlawful investigations based on reasonable doubt… are legal.” Out in the hall, Mi-soon answers the call and learns the money she’d given her daughter for school fees never made it to the teacher. She hangs up and Chan-mi tells her Kook-hwan hasn’t confessed. Stopping Mi-soon from giving him a second dose of whoopass, Chan-mi says their only hope is to get the video Chief Tak promised.
Woo-seok gets a report on Chan-mi, but her false identity is clear. The lack of social media presence is suspicious, however, and Woo-seok guesses it’s just a cover. Woo-won shuffles downstairs to find Ye-eun had cleaned out his fridge and cooked him a meal. Ever the emotionally stunted child, Woo-won curses an illusion of Ye-eun for pitying him… until he sees the stacks of fan gifts. Reading Ye-eun’s heartfelt encouragement that many fans are still waiting, Woo-won starts to cry.
While Woo-seok breaks into Chan-mi’s apartment, Seok-ho sits out in the parking lot and sees the “cleaning” van drop Chan-mi off. She immediately heads out again and Seok-ho has his driver follow her. He watches Chan-mi fill up a basket at the convenience store drinking a beer as Woo-seok continues to snoop and Ye-eun finally uses Gwan-soo’s login to check the NIS database for information on Min-seok’s death and comes across Chan-mi’s name.
When Chan-mi leaves the convenience store, Seok-ho starts to leave, but freezes when he hears her singing his red backpack song. Ye-eun reads Kook-hwan’s statement from 3 years ago accusing Chan-mi of betraying the team – insisting that’s the only reason “Michael” would’ve shot the “fake mole” instead of the team leader. Meanwhile, Woo-seok reels from Chan-mi’s conspiracy wall on “Michael” and finds a file on Seok-ho as Chan-mi turns around at the sound of her name and drops her beer when she sees Seok-ho standing there.
Chan-mi hangs her head as Seok-ho emotionally questions whether he should be thrilled to be reunited or furious at her deception. She remains silent and Seok-ho scoffs she should at least make an excuse. Chan-mi mutters she’s never been one for excuses and Seok-ho retorts she finds no issue with lying. He guesses she doesn’t want to explain herself and asks why she lied in the first place, cutting of her response to add he’d rather her remain silent than produce more lies.
“I’m sorry,” Chan-mi finally says, “I had my reasons…” Tears sting Seok-ho’s eyes as he again demands why she lied. Chan-mi is once more silent, and he realizes she never planned to tell him. She says she didn’t know it was him at first and bitterness tinges Seok-ho’s words as he asks if she was happy to know he still missed her. Hurt, he asks if she’s a corporate spy and although Chan-mi vehemently refutes it, Seok-ho can’t think of another reason for her deception.
Frustrated, Chan-mi shouts at him to let her at least apologize and Seok-ho is stunned at her attitude when she’s in the wrong. She starts to walk away, and he stops her, asking if she was going to disappear just like last time. Chan-mi finally confesses she felt guilty: “I had forgotten about you and moved on, but that wasn’t the case for you.” She continues his father died and his marriage had fallen apart – she hadn’t wanted to hurt him more.
Her words cut deep and Seok-ho’s hand falls from her arm. “And I was too late to realize…” Chan-mi concludes, “that the person who hurt you most was me.” They stare at each other in pained silence and then Chan-mi walks away. Seok-ho stands there, blinking back tears and unable to chase after her again.
Mi-soon puzzles over how Kook-hwan, Min-seok, and “Michael” connect. Her daughter, Joo-yeon, comes home and Mi-soon demands where she’s been. Joo-yeon keeps walking so Mi-soon throws her pen, embedding it in the opposite wall. Mi-soon dumps out Joo-yeon’s bag and finds a ticket for Woo-won’s Christmas concert. When questioned how she paid for it, Joo-yeon lies she used her allowance from her father.
Unfortunately, her father is cowering in the corner, having already been questioned. Mi-soon knows she took the money meant for class and Joo-yeon shouts Mi-soon takes no interest in her, anyway. Mi-soon tries to argue but is unable to answer which class Joo-yeon is in and stutters she was too busy when Joo-yeon points out she never got around to signing her report card. Joo-yeon shouts she should just go back to how she’s always been.
Mi-soon fires back Joo-yeon’s been wearing makeup and getting into fights. Joo-yeon only glares back and furious, Mi-soon grabs a meal umbrella. Her husband intervenes and Joo-yeon crouches on the floor in tears. In the struggle, Mi-soon’s husband gets smacked in the face and he also crumples to the floor. Throwing down the umbrella, Mi-soon growls they’ll talk again after she meets with the teacher. She storms out and Joo-yeon screams.
Returning home, Chan-mi notices the tape she’d left on her door has been disturbed. Woo-seok is long gone, but the light is on over her conspiracy wall and Seok-ho’s folder lies open on her table. Chan-mi immediately makes a call to report her identity has been compromised and request a reassignment. She sinks to the floor in despair and finds a discarded projector. She turns it on and passes out to someone (Seok-ho?) singing.
The next day, Chan-mi finds her desk already packed and Woo-seok coldly says her service is no longer required. Chan-mi asks if it was Seok-ho’s decision. Instead of answering, Woo-seok says Seok-ho laughed for the first time in three years after meeting her, cursing himself for turning a blind eye. With a sigh, Chan-mi takes her things and leaves while Woo-seok hands her relocation announcement over for Seok-ho’s approval.
Seok-ho can’t bring himself to sign it and takes the rest of the afternoon off, promising to handle it later. He walks out and glances mournfully at Chan-mi’s empty desk before moving on. Meanwhile, Ye-eun’s thoughts are still on her discovery of Chan-mi’s hand in Min-seok’s death and doesn’t even hear as Hyo Jin chews her out for not getting Woo-won’s signature yet (to dissolve their contract).
Ignoring Hyo Jin, she heads up to Chan-mi’s office, but it’s empty and Chan-mi isn’t answering her phone. Mi-soon does answer and looks warily at Chan-mi when Ye-eun asks where she is. Ye-eun catches up with Chan-mi and confronts her with Kook-hwan’s testimony against her. Chan-mi asks whether she wants the facts or the truth and confirms Min-seok’s death was her fault. Mi-soon and Gwan-soo listen nearby and Mi-soon curses him for not warning Chan-mi sooner.
Gwan-soo says he only found out Ye-eun’s connection recently and as much as it kills him to see Chan-mi in pain, this is between her and Ye-eun – they can’t interfere. Ye-eun is stunned by Chan-mi’s admission: “I know what kind of person you are. You really expect me to believe that?” Both women are crying as Chan-mi explains her arrogance in disobeying a direct command put a fellow agent in danger and cost Min-seok his life.
Reaching up, Chan-mi removes Min-seok’s ring from around her neck and hands it over to Ye-eun, saying she’d planned to give it back once she’d caught Min-seok’s killer. Chan-mi continues she’d never slept soundly wearing it and had hoped returning it would lift the weight from her shoulders… but she still feels guilty. Ye-eun sobs, “How can you do this to me after making me like you?” Apologizing again, Chan-mi takes her leave.
She makes her way to the bus stop but doesn’t board the bus. By nightfall, she’s still sitting there, tears streaming down her cheeks. Chan-mi notices a blister from her heels and pulls out the ointment Seok-ho had given her. Ye-eun returns home and tucks in So-hui. Addressing Min-seok’s picture, she asks why he sacrificed himself for Chan-mi when he knew she and their child were waiting for him.
Ye-eun sobs she knows Chan-mi isn’t at fault but can’t help hating her. “It’s your fault. You’re the one to blame,” Ye-eun tells Min-seok’s picture as she breaks down in tears. Meanwhile, Mi-soon calls to check on Chan-mi and is confused when Chan-mi says she’s at the shooting range, having just come from there herself. Chan-mi smiles and we pan out to see she’s at the arcade shooting range.
Sliding some bills across the counter, she asks for 100 rounds. The clerk smirks 100 shots in one take isn’t easy… only to watch slack-jawed as Chan-mi hits every target. She walks to her convenience store hauling a huge king platypus. Gwan-soo is seated inside and she rolls her eyes. Chan-mi loads up her basket with beer and Gwan-soo tosses in a few packets of squid, paying for both.
They sit together and drink and Chan-mi warns him not to say he told her so, it serves her right, he knew it would happen, or “what now?” Gwan-soo deadpans she read his mind and Chan-mi mumbles he has 3 seconds to acknowledge how pathetic she is. To her surprise, Gwan-soo says no one has that right and if she had a fault, it would be diving in head-first. She snorts he’s grown up and Gwan-soo sighs he matured… albeit a little late.
He asks about Ye-eun and then Seok-ho, but Chan-mi doesn’t answer. “As long as you didn’t develop feelings for him,” Gwan-soo says. She takes another swig of beer as we see Seok-ho shuffling outside her building in the falling snow. Ex-wife Hwa-ran is irked Seok-ho still hasn’t approved Chan-mi’s reassignment, even after discovering her lies, and calls Director Myeong for a meeting.
Seok-ho wonders if Chan-mi left again without saying good-bye, remembering running to find her after receiving her good-bye note 15 years ago and finding her with a guy. Choking back emotion, Seok-ho leaves but notices something out the window and has his driver pull over. He sees Chan-mi sitting in the convenience store with Gwan-soo, the king platypus between them. Inside, she admits she’s unsure if she’s developed feelings.
Unable to hear the conversation, Seok-ho drives off, hurt. Gwan-soo waves it off as nothing if she’s unsure, but Chan-mi becomes adamant. Gwan-soo rapid-fires all 4 taboo phrases and grumbles at her for not keeping her emotions in check. Chan-mi retorts he has not right to say that to her but Gwan-soo argues he’s probably the only one who does because he knows how she gets when her emotions take over.
Chan-mi demands why he’d broken up with her, then. “This is exactly why,” Gwan-soo snaps, “Because when I’m with you, I’ll only be a pathetic moron… and a loser… who gets in your way.” He starts to offer her his jacket since it’s snowing but Chan-mi barks it stinks so Gwan-soo leaves. Chan-mi’s phone rings and she answers a call from Chief Tak asking if she has the ledger. Chan-mi asks if he has the video and says they’ll meet alone.
Woo-seok takes Seok-ho to the arcade firing range to cheer him up. Seok-ho pouts missing shots isn’t going to help but Woo-seok promises to help. Seok-ho snorts he’s never shot a gun but moves to let Woo-seok get their ammo. Unfortunately, Woo-seok notices the platypus is missing. The clerk says some lady won it and Woo-seok balks the prize Seok-ho has been trying to win for years was won so easily… and by a woman?!
Growing increasingly offended by Woo-seok’s reaction, Seok-ho barks at him to hush up. Woo-seok pouts he wanted to bring Seok-ho in hopes of the prize cheering him up a bit, but it’s gone. “You’re annoying me even more, so let’s just leave,” Seok-ho whimpers. He walks away and Woo-seok runs after him, wondering who could’ve won the prize. Seok-ho throws him off, cursing him for talking so much and leaves in a huff of embarrassment.
I am so thrilled Ye-eun did confide in Gwan-soo. She cares for her team and I couldn’t imagine her betraying them without at least attempting to ask for help. And this gave them the perfect opportunity to nab Kook-hwan. I was a little surprised how easily Ye-eun seemed to buy Kook-hwan’s statement from 3 years ago – when they literally just arrested him for being a weaselly jerkface – but her confrontation with Chan-mi was perfect. Ye-eun knew Chan-mi wasn’t the type of person to intentionally hurt her teammates but being so fond of Chan-mi made it that much harder to realize a person she respected was, indirectly, responsible for the death of her lover. I appreciated that she admitted to knowing Chan-mi wasn’t at fault but hating her anyway. Chan-mi’s survivor’s guilt fully accepts that but I think the bond between the women is strong enough to overcome it. Min-seok was important to Chan-mi too, and the real enemy is still out there.
Mi-soon also had some struggles, but for the first time, I had difficulty empathizing with her. She may be a badass spy and a fiercely loyal friend, but Mi-soon has neglected Joo-yeon. And while smacking her husband around has been meant to be comical, it’s never sat well with me and this episode it looked like full on abuse. It’s unfortunate that while a husband hitting a wife is clearly identifiable as “not okay”, a wife hitting her husband is often played for laughs, disregarding the fact that men can be victims of domestic violence too. I don’t think that was intended to be the message here, but I found the scene unsettling enough I couldn’t avoid commenting. I like Mi-soon, but this left a bad taste in my mouth.
On a lighter note, I demand more Woo-seok/Seok-ho bromance scenes! Of all the pairings in the show, I think I enjoy these two the best and I needed a dose of silliness after seeing Seok-ho get his heart ripped out TWICE this episode. Reuniting with his first love should’ve been a joyous occasion, but Chan-mi’s job requires her to keep secrets… so while there was certainly truth in her admittance towards feeling guilty, I don’t believe she ever fully moved on. Her insistence on protecting Seok-ho when she saw he was one of the marks, all her painful flashbacks, and the fact that she still has the mitten he dropped (and possibly the bouquet?) are all proof he was just as important to her. I’d venture to guess the footage on her projector was also of Seok-ho but as we couldn’t see the projection and can only guess from audio, perhaps I’m grasping for straws. I just really want Seok-ho to be happy… and a king platypus plushie of my own.