Good Casting: Episode 14
We’re nearing the end of our run and as such our team is due some progress in their mission. Ill-advised as it may be to trust a mole, using a mole as bait may be the team’s only chance to catch the Big Baddie. He’s a formidable opponent so our spies will have to tread carefully if they don’t want him to slip through their fingers.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
We rewind to Kook-hwan’s conversation with Gwan-soo. He’s unwilling to hand over Director Myeong’s secret, instead recommending Gwan-soo use him as bait to catch Director Myeong. He says letting it be known he’s alive will spur Director Myeong and his associates to act, since exposing Myeong will bring down a lot of people. He promises to hand over the secret once Myeong is arrested.
When Gwan-soo pitches it to the team, Chan-mi is against working with Kook-hwan. Gwan-soo agrees Kook-hwan isn’t to be trusted but adds Kook-hwan claimed they could catch Michael with Director Myeong’s secret. Ye-eun chimes in the third stage will be completed in a week, thinking it best to catch Myeong beforehand. Outnumbered, Chan-mi sighs and asks for the plan. After leaking Kook-hwan’s survival to Myeong, they waited until he took the bait.
Following the men who took Kook-hwan, Mi-soon and Ye-eun recognize the “White Collar” logo on their van. Unfortunately, the drivers notice they’re being tailed and manage to shake Gwan-soo. Thankfully, Chan-mi is in a separate car and still in pursuit. Reaching their destination, the kidnappers drag Kook-hwan inside a house, where Director Myeong is stoking the fireplace. He laments Kook-hwan not understanding when to quit and demands the original audio file. Kook-hwan asks what happens when he hands it over.
Director Myeong just sighs they’ll need to jog his memory and allows the kidnappers to descend on Kook-hwan. Parking next to the “White Collar” van, Chan-mi texts Mi-soon they’re at Director Myeong’s villa. Inside, Director Myeong asks if Kook-hwan got the file from Michael. Kook-hwan feigns ignorance and Director Myeong hits him with the fireplace shovel. Kook-hwan reminds him the file will be released upon his death and plays the incriminating audio from his pen.
Snatching the pen, Director Myeong demands where the original file is. Kook-hwan only cackles and Director Myeong attacks him with the shovel, screaming he hand over the file. Chan-mi finds the van empty and while a masked woman infiltrates the villa. She easily makes her way inside to the surprise of Director Myeong, but Kook-hwan just smiles. Making quick work of the grunts inside, she grabs a gun off one of the fallen and the shots send Chan-mi running.
By the time she reaches the villa, the “White Collar” grunts are dead and the woman and Kook-hwan are gone. Director Myeong tries to run, but Chan-mi catches him. He’s stunned to see her but when he recalls catching her in his office, he throws Kook-hwan’s pen to the ground and stomps on it. Chan-mi quickly cuffs him and looks at the shattered remnants on the floor. The rest of the team arrives and Chan-mi reports Kook-hwan’s disappearance –likely planned from the start.
She leads the team to a hogtied Director Myeong, who he hisses he never liked her. Chan-mi barks at him to exercise his right to remain silent and Gwan-soo hauls him into Chan-mi’s vehicle while the women find all the dead men bear “M” tattoos. One of them even matches Kook-hwan’s poisoned soup deliveryman. They guess the men are related to Michael, but with everyone dead, it’s unverifiable. What’s more, with the CCTV not working, they have no idea who took Kook-hwan.
Grinning, Kook-hwan steps out of a vehicle and we see the masked woman Chief Tak’s former right-hand, Secretary Goo. Kook-hwan had disposed of evidence to get her released from police custody and grins he even helped her get revenge on Chief Tak. Secretary Goo spits he didn’t help her, she saved his life. Laughing, he hands her bank account info for her payment and pulls out a bag with money, plane tickets, and a passport.
Secretary Goo says someone will help him once he reaches China and asks what everyone is after him for. “A nuclear bomb that can kill everyone,” Kook-hwan replies. She asks where it is, but he just smirks and walks away with his loot. The team reconvenes at HQ and Mi-soon thinks Kook-hwan won’t get far as a wanted criminal. Gwan-soo points out he’s worked with the NIS for 20 years and can easily leave the country if he wishes.
Chan-mi grumbles they never should’ve trusted him and Ye-eun points out they did get Director Myeong. They wonder about the mysterious “White Collar” group – that clearly has resources rivalling the NIS – and yet was mowed down by some mysterious accomplice to Kook-hwan. Chan-mi volunteers to interrogate Director Myeong, but Gwan-soo warns her approaching him before they’re ready could backfire.
With only 48 hours to hold him, Gwan-soo wants to focus on restoring the audio file Director Myeong tried to destroy. Mi-soon nods Myeong has a lot of prosecutors and judges in his pocket – they’ll need conclusive evidence for a warrant. Chan-mi slumps into her seat while Ye-eun slips away to answer a call from Woo-won. She tries to say tomorrow is a bad time, but quickly agrees to be at his house.
Ye-eun sits awkwardly across from a fuming Woo-won and tentatively ask how much he remembers. Woo-won rattles off the full series of events he’d previously forgotten and Ye-eun winces. She guesses he’s angry and Woo-won cheerfully agrees he’s about to explode. Ye-eun tries to leave, suggesting they reschedule handling his contract annulment, but Woo-won pointedly asks why Cheol-woong died.
Her evasive answers aren’t good enough and Woo-won demands who she is. Snatching her bag, he dumps it on the table and finds her NIS badge. Ye-eun barely breathes a sigh of relief when he assumes it’s a forgery before her phone flashes a call from “Team Leader Dong.” Woo-won knows it isn’t her Il Kwang supervisor and when he forces her to answer on speaker, recognizes the voice of “Dong Casso” – master of contemporary art.
Woo-won accuses her of messing with him, balking she’s unqualified to be an NIS agent. Ye-eun asks why not and tosses a pillow at her to prove his point: “You’re dull-witted, can’t react, and move slowly.” He adds he was able to blow her cover and briefly wonders if he’s being pranked. When Ye-eun starts to leave, Woo-won’s eyes widen as she explains having her cover blown means she’s no longer in charge of him.
Panicked, Woo-won holds her back but Ye-eun just apologizes. He doesn’t let go and she pushes his hand off her arm, pointing out he can’t order her around anymore. She doesn’t even make it to the door before he threatens to sue. Woo-won lists off his abduction and defamation over Cheol-woong’s death as psychological damage worthy of a lawsuit. Ye-eun immediately caves and they draw up a contract.
Woo-won’s demands include eating together 3 times a week, Ye-eun calling before bed (to report) and again in the morning (to brief her schedule), sending selfies during breaks (to prove she’s where she says), and report personal plans (so he knows when he can call). She finally puts her foot down when he demands she not answer calls from men or meet anyone. Woo-won says his male fans could use her to get to him. She begrudgingly agrees and he cackles he’ll sue if she doesn’t.
Seok-ho meets with Hwa-ran as she’d threatened to take it out on Chan-mi if he didn’t. Ignoring his hostility, Hwa-ran muses they got along well until the divorce. Seok-ho quips he remembers differently and has been doing much better since. Irritated, she tells him to ditch Chan-mi, revealing Chan-mi hid her identity. When he fails to react, she warns about rumors he fell for his secretary and lost his touch, adding Chan-mi is not only his first love, but NIS.
He barks at her to stop and Hwa-ran is amused he can shout, noting he’s been acting differently lately. Seok-ho says he feels like he’s drowning when he talks to her and growls at her to get to the point since he doesn’t want to be there another second. She suggest they go back to the “good times” when they cooperated and Seok-ho retorts it was only good for her – he had no choice in order to protect the company.
“I’ll manage my money how I see fit,” Seok-ho concludes, “You do whatever you want with your shares.” He leaves and Hwa-ran fumes he’s playing with fire by triggering her temper. Out in the car, Woo-seok hands him antacids, but Seok-ho waves him off since he didn’t eat. Woo-seok worries angering a majority shareholder could rebound, gently suggesting he put the company first. Seok-ho sighs that while he could live without the company, he can’t live without Chan-mi.
Joining Director Myeong in interrogation, Mi-soon tuts he hasn’t eaten his food, assuming he’s scared it’s poisoned. He ignores her, guessing she’s the one who searched his office and reminds her if they don’t find something solid in 48 hours, they’ll have to release him to the police. He thinks embezzlement is the most he’ll be charged with, knowing they have nothing unless he talks. Mi-soon grins everything will end when they reveal what Kook-hwan gave them.
The bluff works and Director Myeong flinches. She adds they also have his handwritten ledger and the recovered recording he’d tried to destroy at the scene. Director Myeong argues they’d use evidence if they had it, convincing himself she’s lying. Mi-soon remains nonchalant, saying they’ll wait and see. She leaves and behind the two-way mirror, Chan-mi muses Kook-hwan really has something. Unfortunately, the audio file will take time to restore and the bodies were unidentifiable, suggesting they were likely there illegally.
The next day, Mi-soon meets with the mothers of the girls who bullied Joo-yeon. They’re flippant, not even using the right name, and sniff her daughter must’ve done something to deserve the abuse. As the other mothers breezily justify their daughters’ behavior, we see the girls taunting Joo-yeon cruelly. The mothers say Joo-yeon attacked first and after the head bully insults Mi-soon, Joo-jeon shoves her. The girls knock her to the ground and viciously attack her.
Mi-soon says she’d struggled to understand how anyone could be so violent towards a classmate: “But now, I get why they grew up to be so mean.” The mothers balk but Mi-soon only warns they’ve messed with the wrong person. She manages to leave with her head held high, but sinks to her knees outside, crying for her daughter. She calls Moo-hyuk, vaguely asking what to do about high school bullies.
Playing a game, he distractedly mentions the Uncle Package – you hire former gangsters and then it’s “game over.” Mi-soon barks that school violence isn’t a joke, it’s a matter of life or death for the victim and snaps at him to stop playing games and get back to work.
Just as Mi-soon decides to follow Moo-hyuk’s advice, Chan-mi and Ye-eun find her. Chan-mi wonders why she’d need an Uncle Package when Joo-yeon has aunties, tsking at Mi-soon for not coming to them first. Ye-eun admits she dropped out of high school after being bullied. She’d gotten her GED and entered college early, so she’d lied about her age, hoping no one would find out. Chan-mi asks why she lives in fear while the bullies don’t.
“Because getting beat up constantly makes you wonder if you’re a loser who deserves it,” Ye-eun answers, adding Joo-yeon is probably in the same dark place she was. Chan-mi’s already had Moo-hyuk locate the bullies and suggests they teach them a lesson. We see him follow the girls into a “coin singing room” and reports to the spies as the bullies empty the machine. Mi-soon loses her resolve, worrying interference will result in backlash for Joo-yeon.
Chan-mi points out not acting will hurt her more but Ye-eun understands a mother’s worries. Chan-mi says she’ll do it alone and stalks up to the teens giddily counting their loot, cheerfully warning them that bullying others will eventually lead to being bullied themselves. The leader steps forward, snapping at this “ahjumma” to mind her own business. The girl starts to walk away but Chan-mi blocks her with her leg.
A group of boys join them and noticing Chan-mi’s annoyance, Mi-soon urges her to just use words since they’re just kids. Stretching, Chan-mi tuts these kids were raised rotten and when the lead boy rushes her, she kicks his shin, hard. Mi-soon looks at her accusingly but Chan-mi just shrugs before fielding another attack from the boys. More teens run forward and Chan-mi quickly puts them down as even Ye-eun manages to body flip one that rushes her.
Afterwards, the boys kneel in punishment as the girls stand miserably behind them. Chan-mi brightly suggests they become friends on social media to commemorate their meeting. The lead girl lies she doesn’t have any accounts, but Chan-mi whips out her phone and the girl’s phone buzzes with a friend request. The girl shakily accepts and Chan-mi warns the girls to post regular updates and not close the account – she’ll be watching.
Satisfied, she grabs the stolen coins and sashays off. Mi-soon lingers and returns a lost button to one of the girls. The trio returns the coins… by returning to the karaoke room and spending them. Ha! After multiple silly numbers complete with wigs, boas, and tambourines, Mi-soon sings a sad ballad and lets the tears flow. The other two hold her closely as she sobs, swaying to the beat. Meanwhile, Moo-hyuk is still waiting in the alley, wondering how long he has to stand watch.
Ye-eun gets word from a contact in Taiwan about Michael’s phone number they’d found in Ok Cheol’s phone. Her contact agrees to send what he’d found via email. Meanwhile, Woo-won flicks through the selfies Ye-eun has been sending. He grumbles she takes terrible photos despite being so beautiful and groans the pictures aren’t enough. Calling, he orders her to come over and when Ye-eun arrives, he presents a home-cooked meal for her.
Eying the food warily, she chokes on the first bite as Woo-won continues to stare at her. She asks if she did something wrong, admitting she feels more comfortable when he treats her poorly. He agrees his kindness would be jarring to a nobody, but shrugs she’ll have to get used to it. Ye-eun asks if the meal means he’s managed the rice cooker, but Woo-won breezily replies he’d ordered in.
Frowning, Ye-eun argues he’d claimed home-cooked and Woo-won says he set the table and food eaten at home becomes home-cooked. Dismissing his shaky logic, Ye-eun says he should’ve told her since ordering in isn’t good for his health. Woo-won mutters if he had, she would’ve come over to cook. At her confusion, he continues she won’t want to come if he makes her work all the time: “I should harass you less if I want to see you more often.”
Ye-eun says she’d rather be harassed now and then, than annoyed all the time. Woo-won retaliates by calling her dense with emotions the size of a pea. He’s stunned she’s an NIS agent when she can’t even recognize flirting. Understandably baffled, Ye-en asks why he’s yelling and defends that she’s great during her missions and she’s a flirting expert. He asks why she’s failing now and Ye-eun snaps she was just about to.
They fall silent and stare at each other for a long beat before Ye-eun draws back. Flustered, Ye-eun claims she left the stove on and runs out, reasoning her heart is racing because of the exercise. Meanwhile, Hwa-ran meets with the board but it’s clear they were expecting Director Myeong, instead. The group grumbles and she snaps they’d all pledged fealty to her only to side with Director Myeong.
She reveals Director Myeong is being investigated by the NIS and announces anyone who gained their position without her help is free to leave. She warns it’ll be the last time they meet, however, and everyone sits down. She tells them their current ship is sinking, and pointedly asks whether she should save them… or push them overboard to drown.
At home, Chan-mi is still bothered by the song in the video. She flashes back and we finally hear Michael humming a classical piece as he strangled Cheol-woong. “It’s not something I heard,” she repeats “It’s something I saw.” Digging through her boxes, she finds the printout of the album she’d seen on Ok Cheol’s desk. At the same time, Ok Cheol speeds down the road, speaking to someone in Russian about his “mission.”
Frustrated, he spins a u-turn, unknowingly passing Chan-mi. Ye-eun runs to show Gwan-soo the man she’d discovered purchased Michael’s phone. It’s the man from the bombing incident and Gwan-soo points out he didn’t have a scar where Chan-mi shot Michael. He orders her to look into the man’s connections, but Ye-eun just flicks to the next photo – the man is with Ok Cheol.
Kook-hwan makes it to the airport, but when he washes his face in the bathroom, the lights flicker ominously and a pen similar to the one with the audio file rolls across the floor. Mi-soon reports to Gwan-soo the audio has been restored and it’s a conversation between Michael and Director Myeong – but Michael’s voice was altered. Gwan-soo orders Ye-eun to track Michael’s location and search the lab immediately.
Chan-mi is already there and picks up the CD she’d noticed in the spycam footage and plays it, hearing the same tune Michael was humming during the murder. Kook-hwan picks up the pen and looks up to see a dark figure: “Did you think I wouldn’t find you if you run away in the shadows?” The man lunges for Kook-hwan’s throat. They struggle and Kook-hwan manages to knock of the hat. “That’s right,” Ok Cheol hisses, “I’m Michael.”
As he squeezes the life out of Kook-hwan, he says he wants his cellphone Kook-hwan took. Tightening his grip, he decides it doesn’t matter – Kook-hwan will die anyway. The scene shifts to Cheol-woong’s death as Ok Cheol reveals his identity to him as well. Kook-hwan manages to dial the police but drops the phone as Ok Cheol chokes him harder. Leaving the lab, Chan-mi smirks.
Epilogue 3 years ago. Following his harrowing escape from Chan-mi, Ok Cheol nurses his gunshot wound. Kook-hwan replays the recording of Director Myeong and Michael again, confirming he’s in the right place for the meeting. He sees Chief Tak enter carrying a briefcase. As he waits, a pen slides toward Chief Tak’s feet and the tattooed man from the bomb incident walks towards him, posing as a blind man.
He flashes his tattoo, asking for directions. Setting down the briefcase, Chief Tak points and the man nods, taking the briefcase with him. Chief Tak opens the pen to find a chip inside and walks off with a smile. Kook-hwan stares after him in confusion. The tattooed man joins Ok Cheol and reports the transaction successful, opening the case to reveal stacks of cash. He worries this is the first time Ok Cheol has been injured and Ok Cheol sighs he should stay out of the field.
The tattooed man is further concerned by the missing cell phone, wondering if it’ll land Ok Cheol in trouble. Ok Cheol tells him to call it and Kook-hwan answers. Neither man will identify himself so Ok Cheol goes to hang up when Kook-hwan asks if he’s looking for Michael. Ok Cheol asks if he’s Michael and Kook-hwan suggests he might be. Ok Cheol asks to meet and vaguely mentions China is interested in Korea’s semiconductor tech.
Kook-hwan repeats what he’d overheard from Director Myeong about the 4D NAND Flash. Ok Cheol asks for his price and Kook-hwan grins, saying the price goes up if he’s to steal it without alerting authorities. The men hang up and Ok Cheol orders his associate to drive to Il Kwang Hitech.
Man… for all this fuss about Michael, that reveal was lackluster. Maybe it’s because the show all but confirmed Ok Cheol was Michael last week after shooting Chan-mi, but I wasn’t surprised, nor did I feel gratified for figuring it out before the show announced it. I think a large part of the issue is we still don’t understand why. The ending was the first hint towards Ok Cheol’s motivations with a sketchy call in Russian about a mission and his tattooed buddy’s concern over Ok Cheol getting in trouble over the lost phone. While I’d pegged “Michael” as being an organization, I admit the revelation Michael himself may be a grunt was new. It’s still possible it’s all one faction and Ok Cheol is just one of the more skilled members. I guess we’ll see.
The bullying incident has taken a weird turn and while the music suggested Chan-mi’s interference was supposed to be funny, as Mi-soon pointed out… they’re kids. What they did was atrocious and unforgivable – and their mothers are even more appalling for not only turning a blind eye, but justifying the abuse – but a professionally trained adult smacking a bunch of teenagers around felt wrong. Still, nothing turned my stomach more than Woo-won forcing Ye-eun to comply with his obsessive conditions for fear of getting sued. We knew he was emotionally immature, but his demands were unreasonable, controlling, and frankly, creepy. Their early interactions were cute, but Woo-won has become increasingly verbally abusive to Ye-eun, and his white-knighting last episode was more insulting than heroic. I am officially disembarking because Ye-eun needs someone to nurture her confidence, not to babysit someone who constantly tears it down and I doubt Woo-won is going to suddenly grow up in the next two episodes.
While this episode left me largely disappointed, it only highlights why I love Seok-ho so much – he’s the only one (aside from Woo-seok) that I find genuinely likable and has remained consistently so. I like our spy team and they’ve built a nice relationship, but Chan-mi gets on my nerves, Mi-soon’s family life got weirdly dark (and still feels unresolved), and poor Ye-eun can’t catch a break between mourning her dead lover, seeking revenge, and running around at the beck-and-call of a man-child that doesn’t understand how to treat another human being. It’s not that I don’t like our characters, I just wanted to like them more. All the same, I’m glad we’ve fully cleared Seok-ho of all suspicion. Him being Michael made less and less sense as the story progressed, but it would’ve made for an intriguing twist before we learned how deeply he’s in love with Chan-mi, and this show is not above throwing curveballs. So, I’m glad he’s not evil, but this does mean Seok-ho’s been relegated to a lovesick CEO and now the drama has played out between him and Chan-mi, there’s not much for him to do except glare at his obsessive ex. I’m not thrilled we seem headed for a power struggle, but with 2 episodes left, that hopefully means it won’t drag on and we can get back to Seok-ho being the adorable dorky CEO we know and love.