The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 8
A lot of truths come out in this episode, between our dressmaker and her two husbands. One is caught in a lie while the other volunteers the truth, but only one is doing this for the right reasons. They’ve both lied to her in the past, and she has a big decision to make – who to forgive, and who to put her trust in again.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Derek meets with Peter by the river, neither of them aware that they’re being followed by Ah-reum and Ji-hoon, respectively. Peter asks Derek if he found Sophie’s killer, would he kill him. Derek asks why Peter did nothing, and Peter says that he knew he wasn’t good enough for Sophie. He says that only a bad guy would be with a woman knowing he’s bad for her, which seems to hit a nerve for Derek.
From a distance, Ah-reum recognizes Peter as the “stalker” from Sophie’s bachelorette party, and she wonders what Derek is doing with him. She goes back to her office for a soju, furious that Derek has been doing this kind of thing behind her back. She gets several notifications from the “courier” (Ji-hoon), so she calls him and they arrange to talk in person.
Ah-reum has some of Ji-hoon’s things with her — back when they’d divorced, he’d asked her to store his only possessions (treasured items such as pictures of his parents) while he was out of the country. It was just a small box, and he’d said that Ah-reum was his only family, so Ah-reum had reluctantly agreed. Now she returns his things, and he thanks her for keeping them safe.
The Interpol team meets, and Young-gu reports that the dashcam footage from Sophie’s murder scene looks edited. Tae-ryong tells Seo-ra to get footage from another car at the scene, and HAHA, Ji-hoon quickly volunteers to do it. Tae-ryong says that he’s thinking of going to the U.S. to visit his kids, and Jin-min yelps that they’re in the middle of a case.
Knowing Peter’s obsession with fountain pens, Ji-hoon sends him a gift of a Monves pen, Peter’s favorite brand. He includes a note saying that he has information about Sophie’s death, and asks Peter to meet with him about it. The store owner points out Ji-hoon as he’s leaving the store, so Peter follows Ji-hoon out to the street and down an alley, arriving at a dead end.
In the alley, Ji-hoon has set up several TVs playing the surveillance videos of Sophie and Peter at the bachelorette party. He tells Peter that he knows he last saw Sophie at her party, because he was there, too. He reveals everything — that he’s an Interpol officer, and that Sophie contacted him to blow the whistle on Helmes.
His openness makes Peter suspicious of his motives, but Ji-hoon says that it’s because they have no time. Peter is distracted by the video of Sophie, dead on the carousel, and he screams at Ji-hoon for not saving her. He throws a wild punch, then pulls a small penknife, but Ji-hoon easily dodges and asks softly, “Help me.”
Peter asks why he should, but the answer is on the screen… Derek, at the scene of Sophie’s murder. He asks if Derek killed her, and Ji-hoon says that he only knows for sure that Peter didn’t, which is why he wants to work together. He says that he understands how it feels to fail to protect the person you care about, and that they can’t bring Sophie back, but they can bring her justice.
Ah-reum goes to the hospital to visit her mom and sees that Derek is already there. She decides to set out some bait, so she pretends to be on her phone with Du-rae. She says something about finding a memory card in Sophie’s handbag, tells “Du-rae” to leave it on her desk, and hangs up.
She sends Derek home to rest, saying that she’ll stay with her mom tonight. Derek takes the bait Ah-reum laid out, sneaking into Ah-reum’s office at Areumdan Dress to look for a memory card. He grows careless when he can’t find anything and drops Ah-reum’s scissors, and the lights come on — Ah-reum is standing in the doorway glaring at him.
She picks up the razor-sharp scissors and wields them threateningly, telling Derek that she has a hunch he was involved in Sophie’s murder. She says that Sophie warned her not to trust anyone close to her, so after Sophie’s death, she looked for clues and ran afoul of Tinker.
She reveals that she heard Derek’s recording of Sophie’s Helmes boss demanding her passwords, but Derek still tries to brush it off as nothing important. She asks why he was talking to Peter at the river, then reveals that she knows Sophie was killed because she was a spy engaged in industrial espionage.
Derek desperately clings to his affable, innocent persona, laughing that Ah-reum has watched too many movies. Ah-reum says that it’s a good act that usually works on everyone, but it didn’t work on Sophie. She says that she wondered why Sophie disliked him, until it finally dawned on her that it’s because he’s a spy, too.
Knowing that he’s caught, Derek thinks, Spies train for situations when they’re cover is blown. When a spy is uncovered, that’s when you can tell a real spy from a weak one. Interrogations are about making deals. We see him handcuffed and strapped to lie detectors, being drugged and questioned, as he tells us that he betrayed his organization and become a double spy.
But when the enemy is a loved one, it’s hard to negotiate a deal, he thinks. He asks Ah-reum if she’ll believe him if he tells the truth, but she scoffs that she doesn’t trust him at all. She warns him that if he tells her one more lie, their marriage is over.
Derek tells himself that he didn’t lie for his own benefit, and he says that it’s true, Sophie was a spy. He continues that he recruited Sophie and worked with her, but swears he didn’t kill her. Trying to understand who she married, Ah-reum asks if he was forced or coerced into being a spy, but Derek tells her honestly “It’s just one of the things I do. A secret part of my work.”
Ah-reum snaps that because of that work, Sophie died, and she demands to know who killed her. Derek thinks it was probably Felix, who works for another spy agency that approached Sophie. He says that his organization had no reason to kill her, but Ah-reum asks if he would have done it if there had been a reason.
She can’t believe Derek hid this from her, and he says desperately, “I feared losing you.” Tired of being disrespected and lied to, Ah-reum tells Derek that she’s going to stay at her mother’s house for now. Derek tells her that he’ll be waiting for her to return, then goes out to his car and starts to cry.
Meanwhile, Ji-hoon returns to Gulliver Publishers and checks the video camera installed in Ah-reum’s office. He watches Ah-reum crying, and thinks that her tears didn’t affect him much when they were married, but now he’s very affected.
Ah-reum takes some PPL lunch to her mom’s hospital room, and Mom chatters about the patient in the next room who has some rage issues (ha, it’s Dong-ran). She says she bragged about her amazing son-in-law, but Ah-reum sighs that she has bad taste in men. She runs into Dong-ran in the hall, and Dong-ran is disproportionately unsettled to see her there.
Derek goes home and calls out to Ah-reum hopefully, but she really isn’t there. He’s saddened, thinking about happier times with Ah-reum, but when Tinker calls he rushes out of the house in a hurry.
At the garage, Tinker says that “their” price is too high, so Derek takes the phone. He gives whoever is on the line the order to “go find her” and tells Tinker to pay whatever they want, and not to get the boss involved. Tinker objects, but Derek barks that they can trust the CIA.
Tae-ryong has the Interpol team looking for “the Daedong River Skipping Stone,” the famous North Korean hacker who was able to hack into the White House servers and even the U.S. president’s social media account (LOL). Young-gu says that the hacker was traced to a secret Russian compound, so the CIA cut a huge deal with Russia to hand them over.
Young-gu says that the hacker made a deal to work for the CIA in exchange for choosing where they live, and that he’s traced their messages to the CIA back to Korea, where they work for a gaming company as a cover. He and Ji-hoon go to confront the hacker, who turns out to be a woman (cameo by Hani of EXID).
They bring her in to question her, but she refuses to give them any personal information like her name or age. Tae-ryong notes that she looks like an idol (hee), and when Young-gu sighs that she’s pretty, Seo-ra shoots him a Look.
The hacker notes that the CIA pays her for information, and she offers to change Sophie’s admin settings for them if they pay her within a week. But the team has no funds for that sort of thing, so Ji-hoon asks if they can pay in installments (OMG I’m dying). Jin-min even asks the team to pitch in their own money, promising to pay them back, but they’re all pretty broke… except Seo-ra.
Later, the hacker runs into Tinker and finds herself with yet another partnership offer. She makes a deal with Derek to hand over the information to him before giving it to Interpol, for seventy percent up front and the rest after. Tinker is concerned that Derek is spending too much and he asks Derek how Ah-reum’s mom is doing, and Derek just grumbles that she’s better.
Derek surprises Ah-reum in her office with a basket of apples (the Korean word for apple is a homonym for apology), but she walks right past them. He makes a heartfelt apology, piercing the apple with a pin like when they first met and saying he’d eat it if she would forgive him. He even promises to quit spying… in a few days.
Seo-ra reluctantly lends Jin-min the money to pay the hacker, so Ji-hoon immediately pays her. She also collects from Derek, who gives her a pair of glasses fitted with a camera to take video as she works. Afterward, Derek looks wistfully at a wedding picture of him and Ah-reum and thinks, “Just wait. Once I finish this job, I’ll return to you.”
Ji-hoon visits Ah-reum as a courier again, saying that he’s checking on his informant. He lets himself into the secret room and makes her ramyun, knowing that she’s stressed. He asks after Ah-reum’s mom, remembering how fond she was of him and how she used to take such good care of him.
Growing serious, Ji-hoon tells Ah-reum that as his informant, she’s not obligated to tell him everything. “If I’m not able to make you trust me,” he explains, “Then you don’t have to tell me what you know. You have to protect yourself, too.”
He continues that since Sophie died, he’s questioned whether he’s any good at protecting people, and vowed to try harder. “I’ll wait for you. Even if you don’t trust me, I’ll trust you,” he says to Ah-reum before he goes.
When Ah-reum returns to her office, she finds Du-rae waiting for her. She’s seen the dashcam footage from when Ah-reum borrowed Mr. Ma’s car, and she asks if Ah-reum used it to follow Ji-hoon. It’s the first Ah-reum has heard that Ji-hoon was at the salvage yard that day, and after what he just said, she realizes that Ji-hoon knows the truth about Derek.
She’s distracted as Dong-ran arrives to choose a dress for her wedding. But soon Dong-ran’s snide, nasty comments about her dresses get through, and Ah-reum starts to get offended. Dong-ran spots the dress that Ah-reum designed for Sophie, which is displayed in the office, and she decides she wants it.
Ah-reum explains that it’s her friend’s dress, but that it was never worn because her friend died before the wedding. Dong-ran actually looks compassionate for half a second, then demands the dress again. Ah-reum tells her that it’s not available, but Dong-ran snaps that she doesn’t like any of the other dresses.
She compares Ah-reum’s dresses to sauce-covered bibs at a rib restaurant, all except for this one, and she orders Ah-reum to get it ready for her before sailing out. Furious, Ah-reum vows that Dong-ran won’t get her hands on Sophie’s dress, so she angrily removes it from the dress model and accidentally rips it in the process.
Meanwhile, Derek promises his boss that they’ll have Sophie’s research soon, as the hacker works on cracking Sophie’s security code. Young-gu and Ji-hoon are wondering what happened to the memory card that Sophie had before she died. Ji-hoon doesn’t know where it is, but he knows that whoever has it is in as much danger of being killed as Sophie was.
Ah-reum sobs over Sophie’s ruined dress, but as she puts it to right, she feels something strange inside the bodice. She makes a small tear in the fabric, and pulls out… the memory card that everyone is looking for, which holds the information that got Sophie murdered.
I know that I’m biased, and thus inclined to love every role Yoo Inna plays, but Ah-reum is just on another level when it comes to strength, bravery, and sass. I’m equally proud of and scared for Ah-reum, after the way she laid out everything she knows about Derek all at once. I know she’s fed up of being lied to by the men she should have been able to trust most in the world, but I’m worried that her fearlessness, while impressive, will put her in serious danger. I think that she feels some safety that Derek loves her (in his dysfunctional way), but I wonder if that will be enough if/when he finds himself in a position where the only way out is to get rid of her.
It’s obvious to me now that Derek does love Ah-reum, as much as someone who almost certainly has some sort of personality disorder can love someone. My concern is that he’s been lying to people for so long, and he’s even been lying to himself, so does anyone know who he truly is and what he’s capable of? Ah-reum said herself that she has no idea who Derek is because he’s been acting a part ever since they met. I don’t think even Derek knows who he is because he’s been playing this part for so long, first for fun and then for a living, so how can he genuinely love someone else? I’m scared he’ll be faced with a decision where Ah-reum could end up dead if he chooses wrong, and he’ll either freeze up or make the selfish choice.
On the other hand, there’s Ji-hoon just quietly being awesome, not putting any pressure on Ah-reum and expecting nothing from her, but taking care of her from afar. I love how he worries about Ah-reum yet doesn’t impose on her to tell him anything, which puts all the control of their relationship entirely in her hands. I melted when he brought her ramyun knowing that she’d be stressed and that it’s her favorite stress reliever. Ah-reum had to sneak around to learn Derek’s true nature and confront him, while Ji-hoon voluntarily told her about his real profession, late though it was. You can even see the difference between Ah-reum’s husbands in how they regard her mother – Derek is all about impressing her, while Ji-hoon speaks of her with genuine love and affection. But the biggest difference is that they’ve both told Ah-reum “I’ll wait for you,” yet each statement felt so different… Derek is waiting for Ah-reum to get over his lies, while Ji-hoon is willing to go without Ah-reum’s trust if that’s what’s best for her.
I liked this episode because not only did Ah-reum and Derek’s relationship change, but it felt also like the spy side of the plot made some big forward moves. Ji-hoon offering to work with Peter, and the discovery of the hacker and the deals made for Sophie’s research, were interesting enough to keep me invested in the espionage while not getting too convoluted and losing my attention. I’m glad that the show keeps things simple and doesn’t bog down too much in the spy games because I’m here for Ah-reum and her husbands, but I still want to be engaged when it comes to the spy side of things. It can skew towards being a bit too simple, such as the fact that everyone was able to easily find the most dangerous hacker in the world all at the same time, but that’s kind of okay with me — any more complex and I’d be hopelessly confused and lose interest. But Spies keeps its focus where it matters… the relationships… and doesn’t take itself too seriously otherwise, which works for me.
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