Good Casting: Episode 12
The mission reaches a head as one agent decides to take matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, history threatens to repeat itself and as one life hangs in the balance, the rest are forced to come to terms with their relationships and what the mean to each other.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Chan-mi reports the NIS Deputy Head Geum that she’ll catch Cheol-woong’s killer and back out of the operation. He points out that wasn’t their deal and we flash back 6 months ago. Deputy Head Geum had received a tip they had a mole in the NIS and agreed to put Chan-mi on the team to catch Michael in exchange for digging out the traitors. In the present, he asks if Chan-mi is okay not catching Michael herself.
She admits that her tunnel vision has caused her to forget something – something important enough to break her deal. Deputy Head Geum doesn’t know what she’s talking about but since she exposed Kook-hwan, he says she’s free once she’s identified “Michael.” Leaving his office, Chan-mi calls and sets up a meeting with Chief Tak for the exchange. She then calls Ye-eun, but Ye-eun can’t bring herself to answer after their emotional confrontation.
Instead, Chan-mi leaves a voicemail and confesses she was scared Ye-eun would answer, but when she didn’t, her heart sank. Chan-mi recalls the same experience 3 years ago when she went to Min-seok’s address, but found new residents had moved in. “I felt as if I’d lost the opportunity to apologize,” Chan-mi says, adding that once she realized Ye-eun was the person she should’ve met back then, she was afraid she’d put Ye-eun in danger too.
Chan-mi vows never again, adding she left something for Ye-eun with Min-seok. We see her place the projector next to his urn in the columbarium. Chan-mi tells him she’d wanted to catch Michael first, but she doesn’t know if she’ll have another chance and promises to catch his killer. Panicked, Ye-eun immediately calls Gwan-soo to report Chan-mi has gone rogue. He calls Moo-hyuk (who’s babysitting So-hui) and learns she’d also taken the ledger. Moo-hyuk assures him it’s just the copy, and boots up Ye-eun’s laptop to track Chan-mi.
Unfortunately, Ok Cheol is still tapped in and learns Chan-mi seems to be headed to meet Chief Tak on a yacht. Meanwhile, Mi-soon is on her way to meet Joo-yeon’s teacher when she gets the call. She’s conflicted, but curses and runs out to help.Moo-hyuk locates Chan-mi, but the screen spasms and Ok Cheol grins, cheerfully singing to himself as he speeds off to Chan-mi’s location. Moo-hyuk reports Ye-eun’s computer has been hacked and Gwan-soo orders him to figure out by who.
At the marina, Chan-mi hands the ledger over to Chief Tak in exchange for his phone. He holds up his lighter to verify the contents and Chan-mi warns him to be careful… it’s covered in oil. He looks up in shock as she kicks it, knocking it to the ground as it catches fire. Chief Tak tries stomping it out and Chan-mi breaks away, making a run for it. Chief Tak grabs a hatchet from an emergency fire box and gives chase.
When she’s far enough away, Chan-mi starts watching the video but Chief Tak is on her tail. She takes off running again and Chief Tak follows only for a car to come out of nowhere and run him down. A hooded figure steps out of the car, musing with a disguised voice Chief Tak is dead. Chan-mi asks who he is and the figure approaches, wondering if she really doesn’t know. He holds her at gunpoint and motions for Chief Tak’s phone.
With no other choice, she tosses it down and he guesses she watched the footage. Before he can shoot, Ye-eun runs up with her own gun and shouts for him to drop his. The figure laughs and, thinking Ye-eun won’t shoot, moves to shoot her first. Chan-mi jumps between them, taking the bullet. Having just arrived, Gwan-soo and Mi-soon take off towards the sound as Ye-eun drops to the ground in shock.
The figure drives away as Ye-eun sobs over Chan-mi, crying even harder when Chan-mi chides her for coming when it’s dangerous. Gwan-soo reports an agent down and Mi-soon curses Chan-mi for going alone. Chan-mi whispers something to her and then passes out. Meanwhile, Ok Cheol sings triumphantly to himself as he rockets down the highway. Mi-soon sits with Chan-mi in the ambulance and when they arrive at the hospital, Chan-mi is rushed to surgery.
By daybreak, her fellow teammates are still anxiously waiting outside. Gwan-soon attacks Ye-eun for not identifying the shooter and Mi-soon calmly reminds him Ye-eun has never held a gun in the field and it’s natural she wouldn’t be able to identify anyone when her teammate’s life is on the line. Moo-hyuk calls to report Ye-eun’s laptop was hacked by Ok Cheol the same day they hacked his phone via some anti-hacking tool. Gwan-soo orders him to search the house and stay close to So-hui.
The news of Chan-mi’s condition reaches Kook-hwan in interrogation. Hearing she’ll likely die, he smiles he still has a chance and orders the agent watching him for his phone. He calls Hwa-ran, desperately imploring her to help him out. She coolly informs him their deal is void and Kook-hwan balks that his is how she repays his loyalty. Rolling her eyes, Hwa-ran points out he’d come crawling to her and now he wants to use her.
Growing increasingly agitated, Kook-hwan warns he won’t go down alone, but Hwa-ran is unfazed. He guesses she deleted any surveillance footage of their meetings, but spits she’s underestimated an NIS chief. Hwa-ran waves him off, saying many people will do her bidding for cash. Hanging up on his threats, Hwa-ran breezes into Director Myeong’s office. He proudly indicates he redecorated to suit the painting she gifted him and Hwa-ran calls him out for brownnosing her because she’s a majority shareholder.
Director Myeong praises her candor and suggests she team up with him: “CEO Yoon lost his touch because of a woman. Cut him loose.” Hwa-ran’s eyes flash and Director Myeong quickly backpedals, presenting the new project plan for cosmetics. Barely sparing the proposal a glance, Hwa-ran says she likes a clear give and take relationship. Her meaning is not lost on Director Myeong and he assures her there’s something bigger in the works.
The doctors finally come out of surgery and report it went well, but they’ll have to wait to see if Chan-mi wakes up. Gwan-soo blows up and Mi-soon has to hold him back as he accuses the doctors of being quacks. Ye-eun begs Chan-mi to wake up, swearing she’ll truly resent her if she doesn’t.
Seok-ho finally sits down to sign Chan-mi’s transfer paperwork but Woo-seok stops him. Muttering that he’s going to regret it, Woo-seok says Chan-mi is NIS. Seok-ho snorts, not believing him until Woo-seok adds she’s in the hospital from a gunshot wound. Seok-ho explodes, demanding why he didn’t so sooner and rushes out as Woo-seok sighs he shouldn’t have told him.
Sitting in the waiting room, Ye-eun asks Gwan-soo why he broke up with Chan-mi. He guesses she means to ask if Chan-mi was a traitor. Gwan-soo sighs Chan-mi almost died trying to help him: “For a person she likes she does everything for them. She doesn’t know how to be calculative.” He adds she probably thought she should’ve died instead of Min-seok. Gwan-soo leaves Ye-eun to her thoughts and enters the lobby just in time to see Seok-ho burst inside.
The men meet in the middle and Gwan-soo tells him to leave, pointing out he has no business being her after firing Chan-mi. Seok-ho says he never fired her but Gwan-soo counters he’ll make her withdraw anyway. He suggests Seok-ho leave the past behind and Seok-ho firmly declares he still has feelings for Chan-mi. He tries to push past and Gwan-soo grabs his arm, suggesting things could get physical if Seok-ho persists.
Before Seok-ho can reply, Gwan-soo’s arm is wrenched away and pinned behind his back as Woo-seok urges Seok-ho to run ahead. The other men tussle and recognizing Woo-seok’s skills, Gwan-soo asks how he is. “If I tell you myself, it won’t be any fun,” Woo-seok tsks. Seok-ho bursts into the ICU, ignoring the nurse’s insistence visiting hours are over, and stops in his tracks when he sees Chan-mi lying unconscious in her bed.
Sitting next to her, Seok-ho mumbles that he wasn’t really angry: “I just hated you for a moment, and I felt a bit mad.” He says it didn’t last long and he’d been waiting for her to come back an apologize… “But I ended up coming to you first, just like always,” he laughs, swearing to never let her go again as he reaches out and clutches her hand.
Ye-eun returns home, holding the projector Chan-mi had left by Min-seok’s urn. Turning it on, we finally see the man singing is Min-seok as he plays the piano in a suit amidst colorful balloons. When he finishes, Min-seok tells the camera that he insisted on joining the mission despite Chan-mi’s wishes. “I wanted to give you an impressive proposal,” he continues, adding when the mission is over, he’ll tell Chan-mi who he’s in love with and ask for a long holiday for their honeymoon.
Thanking Ye-eun for being with him, he kneels with a bouquet outstretched and (at Chan-mi’s prompting from behind the camera) tells Ye-eun he loves her. The moment breaks and he warns Chan-mi to edit it well. Laughing, she asks why she should and Min-seok pouts he doesn’t have any friends or family to do it for him. Chan-mi crankily asks how he can say that to her and Min-seok smiles as Ye-eun dissolves into sobs.
In a doctor’s office, Woo-won tells his physician the cause of his problems is “fine dust” (the nickname he’s attributed to Ye-eun). He brags he’s a people person and despite being a top celebrity, he’s truly charitable towards others. Recently, however, he confesses he can’t control his emotions and has lost his appetite and motivation. Woo-won can’t understand the sudden personality shift and triumphantly attributes it to fine dust.
His doctor has no idea what he’s talking about and suggests overwhelming stress can lead to obsession as the mind activates defense mechanisms to guard against the stress. She asks if he hasn’t been obsessing over trivial matters recently. Woo-won flashes through hiding Ye-eun’s note, chasing after her in the rain, and then fighting over the scrap of paper… and adamantly denies it.
Unconvinced, his doctor continues that experiencing emotional highs followed by depression could mean bipolar disorder. She starts to warn him about going untreated, but Woo-won waves her off. “As long as I’m not just depressed. I still have good moments,” he says holding his arm out for a fist bump. The doctor complies and Woo-won grumbles his agency overreacted. He stands she holds out a paper. Woo-won says he’ll give his signature next time, leaving the doctor dumbstruck and still holding his prescription.
Outside, Woo-won crankily tells the agency CEO it was nothing. The CEO argues Woo-won has been acting just like his lovesick cat and Woo-won rounds on him, demanding an explanation. The CEO says his cat has even been hospitalized and as he lists the cat’s symptoms – depressed, not eating, not playing – Woo-won checks them off with increasing alarm. The CEO concludes he’s acting exactly the same. Woo-won starts to argue but looks up to see Ye-eun breezing through the lobby and thinks himself crazy when he looks back and she’s gone.
In interrogation, Ye-eun confronts Kook-hwan with his statement 3 years ago, asking why he did that to Chan-mi. He eyes the recording light and Ye-eun turns it off, deanding he answer if he feels at all guilty for kidnapping and threatening her child. Kook-hwan sneers Chan-mi was so blinded by vengeance he felt he had to teach her a lesson. He asks if Ye-eun wants revenge on Chan-mi, suggesting he has an idea. Disgusted, Ye-eun strikes him and turns back on the recording, ignoring his threats as she leaves.
Mi-soon finally meets with Joo-yeon’s teacher over Joo-yeon being involved in a bullying incident. She apologizes for not paying more attention to her students but Mi-soon takes the blame, saying she’s been too busy to meet the teacher or realize what was going on. She admits she suspected but swears Joo-yeong isn’t a bad person and assures the teacher she’ll get through to her.
Confused, the teacher says Joo-yeon isn’t the bully… but the victim. Shocked, Mi-soon now thinks of her confrontation with Joo-yeon, accusing her of getting into trouble. Now Joo-yeon’s torn shirt and stockpile of first aid supplies takes on a horrifying new meaning. Mi-soon can barely eek out questions for details and leaves the office in a stunned state, the teacher’s assurances that the committee will investigate and uncover the truth ringing in her ears.
She flashes back to the fight and Joo-yeon’s accusation that she doesn’t care and the way her daughter had cowered when she’d raised her hand to strike her. Ashamed and horrified, Mi-soon bursts into tears. Meanwhile, having failed to get help from Hwa-ran, Kook-hwan calls Director Myeong. He’s even less sympathetic and thinks Kook-hwan is getting what he deserves.
Kook-hwan says he helped Director Myeong 3 years ago and is simply asking he return the favor. Director Myeong is unmoved until Kook-hwan accuses him of talking to Michael 3 years ago, screaming he wouldn’t be in this mess if not for meeting Director Myeong. Flashing back 3 years, Kook-hwan is furious and appalled to learn Director Myeong organized Seok-ho’s father’s death.
Director Myeong coolly asks him to clean up the loose ends, pointing out Kook-hwan’s hands are already dirty. Kook-hwan argues he’s not a murderer, but Director Myeong insists they’ll both go down if he’s caught by the police. Kook-hwan storms out and Chief Tak shows Director Myeong the pictures he’d taken of their meeting. Smiling, Director Myeong says now they can pursue the 4D NAND Flash technology, unaware Kook-hwan is still listening outside.
His phone rings with the report on Chan-mi going rogue, despite his orders to stand down. He shouts at the agent to track her and when he gets to his vehicle, he receives the blackmail pictures Chief Tak took of him with Director Myeong. He arrives at the scene just as Chan-mi has Michael at gunpoint and grabs her, causing her bullet to graze Michael’s shoulder and allow his escape.
Afterwards, Kook-hwan finds Michael’s cellphone at the scene, containing a recording between Michael and Director Myeong discussing a business arrangement to secure another company’s technology and setting up a meeting. Pocketing the phone, Kook-hwan’s face twists into a smile. Back in the present, Director Myeong hangs up and Ok Cheol worries Kook-hwan has the recording. Director Myeong suggests they eliminate the problem. Meanwhile, Kook-hwan curses himself for aiding Director Myeong instead of turning him in.
At the hospital, Mi-soon confesses to an unconscious Chan-mi that she wasn’t happy to return to the field, but she was thrilled to be called back in. She’d felt useless at the NIS and yet was scared to quit. Being called in felt like the universe saying she was still useful. Crying, Mi-soon says she didn’t even know her daughter was hurting and only cared about the mission. Chan-mi’s vitals suddenly crash and Mi-soon screams for help.
Seok-ho is unable to focus during a meeting and when someone calls him, he accidentally knocks his cup to the floor where it shatters. He stares at it like a bad omen while the doctors rush in to help Chan-mi and her team hovers at the doorway. Wiping his hands, Seok-ho realizes he has Chan-mi’s handkerchief still and then his phone rings. A nurse tells him Chan-mi is in critical condition and Seok-ho bursts from the meeting without a word.
Chan-mi flatlines and Gwan-soo barks at the doctors to bring her back. With each jolt from the defibrillator, Chan-mi sees flashes of the video of Michael killing Cheol-woong. Strangling the man, Michael ominously says the reason he’s never been identified is because he eliminates anyone who could. While the doctors fight to revive Chan-mi, a hooded figure arrives at the NIS with a food delivery. The guard lets him in and an agent brings Kook-hwan his dinner.
Complaining about the wait, Kook-hwan is further incensed by the portion size. The agent sheepishly said the larger portion went over the price limit for people under investigation. “Which jerk gave that order?” Kook-hwan screeches, sitting down embarrassed when the agent answers he did. The agent leaves and Kook-hwan takes a bite, collapsing to the floor at the same time Chan-mi opens her eyes.
Ripping her mask off, she sits up and says she saw Michael. Chan-mi tries to get up and Mi-soon holds her back. Chan-mi insists Michael killed Cheol-woong and Chief Tak: “Who do you think is next?” Realization dawns on Gwan-soo and he quickly calls. There’s no answer so he runs out. Chan-mi tries to follow, but Mi-soon argues she’s not fit and urges her to leave it to them as she and Ye-eun run after Gwan-soo.
Kook-hwan crawls over to the call button, straining to reach it as he chokes to death. The security agent in charge notices he was overcharged and calls the gate attendant to stop the food deliveryman. He calls out to the hooded man, who pulls a knife from his pocket. Luckily, the security attendant is stopped by Gwan-soo’s arrival, ordering him to initiate lockdown and the hooded figure escapes.
Chan-mi stumbles down the hospital hallway, but collapses. A hand reaches out to catch her and she looks up to see Seok-ho. He begs her not to go and Chan-mi leans into him. Holding her tight, Seok-ho swears to never let her go again.
Epilogue Chan-mi wakes up in her private ward to find Seok-ho sleeping at her bedside. Looking down, she sees him tightly gripping her hand. She starts to move and Seok-ho sleepily takes her hand back, begging her not to go. Flashing back to 15 years ago when Seok-ho had asked for a wish in exchange for improving his grades, we now hear him ask Chan-mi to never disappear from him.
He says after his mom died, he gradually got used to it, but then it hit him that he’d never see her again. “Knowing someone I love can disappear from my life…” he confesses, “and not being able to see that person again… scares me.” Looking her in the eye, be pleads for her never to leave. Unable to answer, Chan-mi just puts more dumplings in his soup. In the present, she squeezes his hand back.
Two bad guys down! Still too many left but it would seem we’ve finally narrowed down Michael’s identity? I must say Ok Cheol at least makes for a more interesting mastermind than Kook-hwan. I’m pretty annoyed that we still don’t understand his motivations this far into the show, but that’s been fairly true of all the villains. It’s upsetting that I find Cha Soo-yeon’s performance to be the most compelling as an antagonist and yet her character, Hwa-ran, is the most unnecessary. I imagine she’ll become more prominent as our pool of bad guys shrinks and Seok-ho has not only discovered Chan-mi’s identity but chosen to hold on to her no matter what.
Ye-eun and Mi-soon both suffered emotional whiplash this hour as Ye-eun fully understood how much Chan-mi cares for her teammates and no one blames Chan-mi more for Min-seok’s death than herself. Sacrificing herself for Ye-eun brings their story full circle and while it sucks someone got shot, the event put their reconciliation on the fast track. Meanwhile, Mi-soon had to come to terms with her own mistakes. Realizing her daughter was not only a victim of violence at school… but that she’d completely misinterpreted the signs and assumed the worst had to be gut wrenching and I hope knowing the truth will help Mi-soon rebuild the bond with her daughter and regain lost trust.
Due to Chan-mi’s near-death experience, we skipped over a lot of angst with Seok-ho and while it may have been a little too convenient of a plot progression, I don’t think I could sit through another Seok-ho Torture Hour. Lee Sang-yeob is a fantastic actor and although I find his heartbreak entirely compelling and convincing, I feel the show has underutilized his wide range. Nothing makes me laugh harder than Seok-ho being a complete dork and while this episode was a bit heavy for that, now that Chan-mi is out of the woods and he’s determined to stay together, I hope that leaves room for some fun antics ahead.