United Effort to Accomplish One Thing: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
Let the games continue! This week we learn more about the circumstances around the murder, and each new kernel of information leads to a whole new set of clues — and suspicions. As if following a trail of breadcrumbs, one secret leads to another, and the more twists and reveals we get, the more the mystery is heightened.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
Bit-na is the closest we are getting to a reliable narrator in this drama, and this week we follow the story primarily from her perspective as she tries to piece together what happened the night of her father’s death.
She uses the secret she discovered as leverage, carefully playing her cards to try to find out who had a motive — but the mystery is ever so much deeper than that. Even when we get confessions from our characters, it only leads to more questions. The plot points move super fast, so by the time we’ve latched on to a clue, it’s already served its purpose and led us to the next piece of the puzzle.
It goes without saying that the greed that drove our “family” to the house in the first place also has them at each other’s throats once the lawyer arrives and reads the contents of the will. If the actual will remains missing, Bit-na, as the de facto heir, gets it all. If the will is located, however, each person gets an equal 10%. This sets a fire under everyone to figure out who stole the will, and adds a hefty dose of suspicion around Bit-na and her mother.
But there’s more than the will at stake — first, our housekeeper, known as MRS. PARK (Nam Mi-jung), finds a hidden syringe in the bathroom, and later plants it on Bit-na, following the bidding of Hae-joon, her cousin of questionable morals. Bit-na is arrested and interrogated, but it turns out the syringe of nicotine wasn’t the cause of her father’s death. Instead, it was the fact that he was highly allergic to a compound in sleeping pills, of which he was given a large (read: fatal) dose.
Bit-na is freed of suspicion and released, but she strikes up an important alliance with the lead detective, and this week we see her gathering and passing intelligence to him, which I completely enjoyed. But there’s another surprise alliance this week, and that’s with Bit-na and her other cousin DOKKO SUN (Kim Shi-eun).
Last week when we met Sun she couldn’t be bothered to do more than take selfies and videos of herself around the house… but this week we learn that this was actually quite an intentional bit of storytelling: she has various pieces of footage from the night of In-ho’s death that holds some major clues.
The girls start their own investigation, with the help an social media account Sun has set up. She’s uploaded all of the footage and information around the night of the murder, basically opening up the mystery to everyone with an internet connection. And lo and behold, the netizens are pretty darn quick — they pull out a lot of clues, and then our cousins act on them, trying to suss out who else in the house is responsible for feeding In-ho a sleeping pill.
We knew last week that Bit-na’s mother was responsible for one pill — but there were five in his system, and it turns out that five separate people snuck him a pill with the hopes of getting access to the will.
Thanks to Sun’s footage and the netizens sleuthing powers, we learn that In-ho’s friend crushed a pill into his burdock tea, that Sun’s father DOKKO CHUL (Han Soo-hyun) gave him one, that Mrs. Park blended one into his birthday soup — and finally, that Hae-joon added one to the chocolate that he gifted to his uncle. Geez, people!
United Effort to Accomplish One Thing does a brilliant job unfolding each layer of our story. With each new clue or breadcrumb left behind, we travel back to the night of the murder and see it from a different perspective, follow a different character around, and get more pieces of the story. Presumably they will all add up at the end, but right now, one question only leads to another.
Everybody is suspicious at this point, but we learn a truckload about Hae-joon and his secrets this week, making him extra suspicious. Not only did he attempt to drug his uncle, leave Bit-na for dead after she was hit in the head with a golf club (!), but he’s even more deeply invested than we thought: he was secretly adopted as In-ho’s son, making him a joint heir with Bit-na. Oh, and those headphones he’s been chilling to the whole time he’s been at the house? He actually has the whole house wire-tapped, and he’s basically recorded everyone’s secret confessions.
Each character seems guilty of something so far, but who is the mastermind behind it all? It seems like a crazy tangle as we watch, but it is all very clearly planned, with each scene of the play acted out just as the mastermind intended. Our detectives are trying to figure it all out (I love them), and so are our newly friendly girl cousins (I love them more!).
We move through each layer of this mystery quite fast, and the speed adds to the suspense. The drama’s short episode count is really working to its benefit, because it can bear the speed since it’s more like a sprint than a long-haul run. I have a few working theories on what the truth might be, and a few characters I find more suspicious than the others, but really, the fun of this drama is not knowing, and going along for the ride.