The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 2
When a friend goes missing, our estranged couple are forced to work together to find her, though one of them has an ulterior motive. Lingering emotions come to the surface against their will, and they have a lot of unresolved anger to deal with. But our secret spy has to keep in mind that he’s on a mission, and lives are more important than his failed marriage.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Something goes wrong at the bachelorette party, and before she gets a chance to meet with Ji-hoon, bride Sophie finds herself fleeing with a man dressed as a security guard hot on her heels. Her pursuer knocks down Ah-reum, then Ji-hoon follows them both, dropping his cowboy hat next to Ah-reum. The “security guard” fires a gun at Ji-hoon, then continues after Sophie.
Ji-hoon goes back and sees Ah-reum, and as fireworks explode in the sky, they think in tandem: “That’s how we met again. We were once married. Under pretty fireworks, with the sound of a gunshot…”
Ah-reum notices that Ji-hoon’s arm is bleeding, and the blood is dripping onto the veil he’s holding in his hand (nice symbolism there). He’s the first to ask if she’s okay, and she exclaims over his arm. He says a pervert with a knife nicked him, and he explains his shirtless vested ensemble by saying that it’s for a part-time job, hee.
They hear a phone vibrating and find Sophie’s bag on the ground. Ji-hoon puts the clues together, that Ah-reum is friends with the source who was to contact him here. Ah-reum answers the phone, and a man says that they caught the “stalker” bothering the bride (the Helmes lawyer who’s in love with Sophie and who tried to convince her to let him help her).
Confused, Ah-reum tells Ji-hoon what the man said, and he asks what her friend does for a living. Ah-reum tells him that Sophie is a scientist, and as one of the security guards catches up to them, Ji-hoon smoothly pockets Sophie’s phone.
The lawyer, who goes by the name PETER (Jeon Seung-bin), is tied up in the security station. He manages to work one hand free, then he tips forward to let his pen/taser fall out of his shirt pocket. When one of the guards leans down to get it, Peter kicks him over, smashes a foot into the other guard’s crotch, rolls to pick up his taser, then throws himself out a window, still tied to his chair. Welp, he’s definitely not just a lawyer.
Ji-hoon and Ah-reum go to the security station and find the guards still groaning from the fight. They watch the CCTV footage of the party, and LOL, Ji-hoon hides sheepishly behind his hat at the sight of himself pole-dancing. He eventually spots Peter as he’s being taken away by the guards, but unfortunately they led him to an area without cameras.
Ah-reum asks the guard to keep searching the premises while she calls some places Sophie may have gone. Sophie’s fiancé is still at his bachelor party, and Ah-reum speculates whether there might be another guy in the picture, since Sophie has been acting nervous. Ji-hoon wants to check out the house where Sophie has been staying, which Ah-reum finds strange (she thinks he’s just working odd jobs), so Ji-hoon lies that he wants to find Sophie to get paid for this “gig.”
Since he refuses to see a doctor for his arm, Ah-reum rips off the bottom few inches of her slip to bandage his wound. Awww, he’s so obviously enjoying that.
After being tasered unconscious by Peter, Doo-bong startles himself awake, still in the same bar. Peter, meanwhile, goes looking for Sophie with tears streaming down his face.
On the way to Sophie’s rental house, Ah-reum asks Ji-hoon what he’s doing in Jeju. He says he’s a bartender and a guide, then casually asks about Sophie again. Ah-reum tells him that Sophie leads the Ecosun project, which is developing fusion energy to create an artificial sun, and that her research lab is in Gangwon Province.
Sophie’s rental house is empty, but in the bedroom they find her wedding dress hanging up, with a muddy footprint on the hem. Ah-reum thinks someone may have broken in, but on the bed is half-packed suitcase, with her passport and lots of cash still inside.
Ji-hoon leans down and they bonk heads, and he sees a scar on Ah-reum’s forehead. She says she got it while changing a lightbulb, since neither of her husbands change lightbulbs, and Ji-hoon grumbles that her second husband isn’t any more caring than he was.
Ji-hoon looks through Sophie’s suitcase and infers from the contents that she wasn’t packing for a honeymoon, but to leave the country. He ends up with a girdle in his hands, which gives him the giggles, reminded of the time Ah-reum wore only a girdle and stockings to work under her coat, hee.
Ji-hoon had had to bring her a skirt, and Ah-reum teases that he brought her a summer skirt in the middle of winter. They argue over whether there’s a difference and end up laughing together, but then things get awkward again when they remember that they’re divorced. Ji-hoon wonders what happened to them.
Peter sneaks into the house downstairs and sees the bloody veil on the couch. Ah-reum and Ji-hoon hear him drive away, and Ah-reum wants to call the police, so Ji-hoon says he knows a detective in Jeju. He calls Seo-ra from his team, and he makes it sound like he’s reporting a missing person while he whispers to Seo-ra Sophie’s name and passport number.
While they brainstorm what to do next, Sophie is in the forest, still running from her pursuer. She trips and falls down a hill, and she’s knocked unconscious on the way down. Luckily though, her pursuer loses sight of her.
Ji-hoon takes Ah-reum to a pawn shop crawling with sketchy-looking guys (he’s still in that goofy vest, HAHA). He shows the owner a picture of Sophie and tells him to have his guys look for her. Ji-hoon and the pawn broker whisper something to each other, then the pawn broker leaves Ji-hoon and Ah-reum and dispatches his men.
Ah-reum asks what the shop owner whispered to him, and Ji-hoon says he asked if she’s his girlfriend. He said no, but he mentions that they never really dated, having gotten married six months after meeting. Ah-reum crows that they now have no legal or emotional connection, but Ji-hoon takes off his vest as he says they’re not strangers, either, and his physique stuns her to silence.
Ah-reum helps Ji-hoon remove the makeshift bandage on his arm and applies some medicine from the first aid kit. She notices that he has a new scar, among his many others, and she thinks about how only a married couple would notice such things:
Briefly, we were heaven for each other… a playground, a bed, an empty room, a place of exile, and a ruin. When you’re married, you become incredibly vulnerable. After a certain age, we don’t like to show our naked bodies even to our parents. But a couple, even though you didn’t know each other for the past twenty, thirty years, you get naked in front of them, use the toilet, and do all sorts of things together. Like a baby that doesn’t feel ashamed in front of his mother.
We see them early in their relationship, when every scar had distressed Ah-reum and she’d begged Ji-hoon not to do dangerous things. But later, she had slapped him and scarred his cheek herself when she demanded a divorce, after Ji-hoon had gone to a dangerous country and nearly gotten bombed. She’d said he was too selfish for marriage, and had told him not to feel sorry for her if he ever figured it out, “Because I won’t.”
Seo-ra locates Ji-hoon with a tracker app and pulls up outside the pawn shop on her motorcycle. She calls him, and Ah-reum hears him whisper that he’ll call her back and assumes he has a girlfriend. Once off the phone, Ji-hoon asks about Sophie again, and why she would call the guy at the party a stalker when they seemed to know each other well.
He supposes that the guy may have been an ex, and Ah-reum bristles at him, asking if he was thinking about his exes right before their wedding. She sneers that he did cheat on her, and again, Ji-hoon can’t really refute it without blowing his cover. They’re still arguing when Seo-ra walks into the office, and Ah-reum recognizes her as the woman she believes Ji-hoon cheated with. Oh noooo, poor Ji-hoon!
All he can do is stand there looking like he’d love to melt into the floor as Ah-reum and Seo-ra snipe at each other, Seo-ra playing into the “other woman” narrative Ah-reum has constructed for her. Ah-reum eventually storms out, but she stops on the stairs, recalling a very similar scene when she and Ji-hoon were married. She’d gone to Gulliver Publishers, his cover company, and had walked in on him and Seo-ra laughing and half-undressed.
She had run out then, too, and had stopped on the stairs when she felt someone grab her bag. She’d yelled at Ji-hoon to let go, but she’d only caught the strap on the newel post. She’d been angry and disappointed that Ji-hoon hadn’t come after her, and she feels the same way now, against her will.
Ji-hoon informs Seo-ra that Ah-reum is a friend of his source, who’s supposed to be getting married tomorrow. They assume that he was shot by a Helmes agent, and Ji-hoon believes Sophie is in hiding after learning that her cover was blown, afraid to trust even them.
Seo-ra tells Ji-hoon to stay with Ah-reum, who’s their best bet for finding Sophie. He freaks out a little, knowing he’ll have to apologize in order to get back in Ah-reum’s good graces. Seo-ra gives him advice not to just say he’s sorry, but to give three things he’s sorry for.
Ji-hoon borrows Seo-ra’s motorcycle and catches up to Ah-reum, and he leads with his apology. She asks what he’s sorry for, and he follows Seo-ra’s advice: “First, I’m sorry for reminding you of painful memories. Second, I’m sorry I didn’t stop you earlier — it’s dark, and I left you out here alone. Third, I’m sorry I didn’t walk past you earlier. If I had just walked past, I wouldn’t have ruined your mood.” Oof, that last one looks like it hurt to say.
Ah-reum grudgingly accepts his apology and asks if he and Seo-ra got married, and when he says no, she wishes them luck in the future. His phone rings while he’s trying to say that it’s not like that, and he learns that a woman has been found in the woods. He asks Ah-reum to go with him to see if it’s Sophie, then he puts her on the back of the motorcycle and wraps her arms tightly around his waist.
When they arrive, Ji-hoon gently tells Ah-reum to wait while he goes to see the woman. She’s okay, but she’s not Sophie, and for a moment Ah-reum forgets herself and buries her face in Ji-hoon’s chest for comfort. He gives her a ride back to her hotel, promising to bring her car later, and he asks her to call him if she hears from Sophie.
Back in her hotel room, Ah-reum charges her phone and sees that she’s missed two calls from Derek. She calls him back and tells him that Sophie disappeared, and he’s on his way to join her for the wedding so he says he’ll be there soon. Derek makes another call, looking very serious this time.
After looking up Sophie with Ji-hoon’s information, Tae-ryong calls director Jin-min to tell him that she’s the top scientist for the Ecosun fusion energy project. There are partners in several countries who have all agreed to share the technology, and it can’t be weaponized, but the nations have been competing to be the first to achieve nuclear fusion — and Helmes won.
Jin-min tells Ji-hoon that he thinks Helmes paid Sophie for the technology, but then she got nervous when they expected too much from her so she approached Interpol. Ji-hoon gives Jin-min Sophie’s phone, and Jin-min cackles in delight that he’s having to stick with Ah-reum, who still doesn’t know what he really does for a living.
When he stops laughing, Jin-min muses that if Doo-bong is in Jeju, then someone named Felix is involved. And if Helmes is chasing Sophie, Jin-min finds it strange that she’s not contacting Ji-hoon, which means Ji-hoon failed to earn her trust.
Ah-reum dreams that she’s being chased through the woods in her wedding dress, and she’s relieved to run into Ji-hoon. But Sophie joins Derek, also in her wedding dress and bloody veil. Ji-hoon points a gun at Ah-reum, then turns and shoots Sophie.
Meanwhile, Sophie wakes up where she fell in the woods. She stumbles to the nearest road and flags down a couple on vacation, and she uses their phone to call Ah-reum. In tears, Sophie tells Ah-reum, “I shouldn’t have gotten my feet dirty to cross this river…”
Ah-reum thinks Sophie is just freaking out about the wedding and tries to calm her friend down, but Sophie sobs that Ah-reum is the only person she can trust, because she’s no longer sure about “the sheriff who’ll save me.” Sophie says that she plans to tell Ah-reum everything, but she has to promise not to tell another soul.
She arranges to meet Ah-reum at a small amusement park, and Ji-hoon surreptitiously tails Ah-reum there. He intuits that Sophie is an experienced agent by the location she chose, and guesses that she picked it because she can watch from a distance. He spots Sophie watching him from the top of a climbing castle, so he uses his sheriff badge to reflect the sun in her eyes, signaling his identity to her.
Sophie responds, so Ji-hoon moves closer to the castle as she starts to climb down. He’s tripped by a little boy in an electric toy car, losing sight of Sophie. When she gets to the bottom, she sees someone who makes her turn and run.
Sophie jumps into a carriage seat on the carousel, with her pursuer close behind. He sits beside her, his face hidden, and she growls at him, “You’re frightened. I didn’t even do anything yet. So why? You’re making me look like the only bad person, when we’re all bad.”
Her scream rings out across the amusement park, drawing both Ji-hoon and Ah-reum to the carousel. Ji-hoon keeps away from Ah-reum, who sees Sophie first as the carousel turns — and Sophie is dead.
Ah-reum ends up at the police station, believing that Sophie was simply killed by a stalker. Ji-hoon gathers with Seo-ra and Jin-min, who’s furious that he didn’t protect his source. He asks how Ji-hoon could repeat such a mistake, but Seo-ra says they need to focus on catching the killer. Ji-hoon says he’ll find the killer and slumps out, and Seo-ra chastises Jin-min, knowing that it’s traumatic for Ji-hoon to lose another source.
Ah-reum misses several calls from Ji-hoon, and when she hears someone call her name, she turns with Ji-hoon’s name on her lips… but it’s Derek. He hugs her tightly and she tells him about her dream last night, and how Sophie died right in front of her. Ji-hoon arrives at the station just in time to see Derek leading Ah-reum out to his car.
Derek takes Ah-reum to their hotel and puts her in a warm bathtub, and he warns her not to cry with an adorable smile. But as soon as he’s alone, he angrily wipes something off his hands, then turns up the television to cover a phone call.
Ji-hoon is on a stakeout that night, and he knocks over a guy on a bike with his car door. He asked who ordered guns involved last night, but the guy stammers that he didn’t see their faces. All he recalls is that the man who paid him had a bruised fingernail.
At the same time, Peter leaves the police station and calls Doo-bong to threaten to kill him if he killed Sophie. Doo-bong is actually very nearby, purposely ignoring his call.
On the plane back home, Ah-reum is uncharacteristically quiet despite Derek’s gentle care. Derek gets up to go to the restroom, and Ah-reum thinks about Sophie’s warning not to trust anyone, “…even the person next to you.”
As Derek walks past his seat, Ji-hoon stands up right into him. Derek jovially laughs it off, but moments later he gets a wary look in his eyes. He returns to his seat next to Ah-reum, and they both pretend nothing is wrong while they hide their secrets from each other.
Ooooh, so mysterious, I love it! I gotta confess, so far I have very little idea of what’s going on — I understand that Sophie was killed because she made a deal with Helmes then got scared and asked Interpol for help, but I somehow missed who Helmes is and why they’re sketchy. And yet I find the show highly compelling anyway, mostly because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m content to sit back and let the details unsnarl themselves over time, because the show itself is so darn endearing. Ji-hoon and Ah-reum are hilarious and heartbreaking together, and I’m already very invested in their past, present, and (hopefully) future love story. The humor is silly without being slapstick (with the slight exception of Doo-bong, who is too funny for words). But even the more subtle humor, like how hilariously loooong Ji-hoon wore that ridiculous “leather” vest, and dropping the keys Seo-ra tossed him (which looked like an outtake they kept in) just keeps me going.
Like @TeriYaki, I’m here in large part for Eric and Im Joo-hwan, but unlike TeriYaki, it’s because I’ve been a fan of both actors for many years. I loved them as a viewer early in my drama-watching adventures, and I’ve had the pleasure of recapping both of them in some pretty amazing dramas, and they never disappoint. I think this drama will also be a fun showcase of their skills — they both build intense chemistry with their female costars, and they can both do comedy and dark-and-broody equally well, though with completely different styles. It will be fun to watch them being spies while trying to keep their secrets from Ah-reum. Speaking of whom, I’ve only had the pleasure of recapping Yoo Inna once before, and only in a supporting role, though again I’m a fan from way back.
Sophie definitely seems to be the key to whatever is going on, as she apparently knew enough to get herself killed. Unfortunately she’s gone now, and it’ll be up to Ji-hoon and Ah-reum to put together what they know of her personally and as a source, to figure out what happened to her. I also find it suspicious that Sophie’s intended husband has been conspicuously absent — was he even at the police station after she was killed? Even if he’s not a major character, shouldn’t we have seen him grieving? It makes me think he may be involved somehow. And was Sophie even planning to get married, or was the wedding just a smokescreen to have everyone looking one way while she got Interpol to help her disappear?
On a more personal note, I absolutely love Ji-hoon and Ah-reum together! We still know very little about their relationship other than that it ended because of a misunderstanding over cheating, one that Ji-hoon couldn’t clear up without blowing his cover. It seems pretty obvious to me that Ji-hoon is still very in love with Ah-reum, even though he pretends none of it bothers him. And she wouldn’t still be so angry at him if she didn’t have lingering feelings as well. They have a lot to settle between them, even if they don’t end up getting back together, but their feelings are so obvious and their chemistry is so good that I can’t help but hope they find their way back to each other.
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