The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 9
Our dressmaker’s current husband experiences both personal and professional setbacks that lead him to make an unexpected decision. It promises to put added pressure on her ex-husband but it seems there’s nothing he won’t do to protect his former wife. But after a discovery that’s both powerful and dangerous, it’s possible that all three of them are in more peril than ever.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Ah-reum pulls a USB stick from Sophie’s wedding dress as a flashback shows Sophie transferring her research to it. Unaware that Ah-reum now has Sophie’s research, Ji-hoon tells Young-gu that whoever finds it may end up dead.
Oblivious to her danger, Ah-reum clutches the USB and tells herself, “Whoever has this USB thumb drive can turn the tables around.”
Six Hours Ago
Ji-hoon and Young-gu arrive at the National Nuclear Fusion Lab at the same time that Derek cockily promises Dong-taek that his hacker will soon have Sophie’s research. En route to the fusion lab, the hacker gets the e-ticket that Derek promised her. She dons the pair of eyeglasses that Tinker provides so that he and Derek can remotely monitor what she sees plus track her location.
At the lab, the hacker is escorted to the meeting room where Ji-hoon and Young-gu are waiting. While Young-gu scans her backpack for electronic devices, Ji-hoon hands her a contact lens imprinted with Sophie’s retinal image and a latex copy of her fingerprint.
Suspicious of the hacker’s eyeglasses, Ji-hoon tosses them to Young-gu and he immediately discovers the video recording device in the frames. When Young-gu tosses them back to her, she drops them in a nearby fish tank. Whoops! She leaves with the security guard waiting to take her to Sophie’s computer and grumbles about being caught so easily.
The hacker is taken to Sophie’s colleague, Park Sung-hwan, and he proudly points to the nuclear reactor, K-Sun, on the way to Sophie’s office. Park Sung-hwan hands the hacker a key card so she can turn on Sophie’s computer and combined with the retinal image and latex fingerprint that Ji-hoon gave her, she’s soon doing her best to hack into her system.
With the hacker’s video feed lost, Derek calls Tinker who offers to remain parked outside the lab until she emerges. As soon as they hang up, Derek gets a call on a military-style cell phone and the caller appears on a giant screen in his office (but we can’t see him).
Derek promises the caller, “Don’t worry. We’ll get our hands on it this time no matter what,” unaware that the hacker can’t get past Sophie’s security protocols. A flashback reveals that Sophie made sure that her computer was impenetrable and the hacker mumbles, “This cute genius hid it quite well.” When the hacker gets locked out for 72 hours, she guesses that Sophie moved her research onto a removable device.
It’s almost midnight when the hacker exits Sophie’s office and she sneaks past some cleaners covered in personal protective equipment. The hacker hides in a bathroom stall to consider the consequences of her failure — Interpol will expect their money back while Derek and Tinker are sure to subject her to an unpleasant interrogation. When the cleaners enter the bathroom, the hacker peeks out of her stall and their protective gear gives her an idea.
Park Sung-hwan brings the hacker something to eat and discovers that she’s gone. Forced to wait in the meeting room, Ji-hoon and Young-gu are asleep when security calls them. Immediately awake, Ji-hoon rouses Young-gu and soon they’re running past the hacker in the hallway, who’s now dressed like a cleaner.
Park Sung-hwan recognizes Ji-hoon as the recruiter from Sophie’s funeral service and stops him to ask about any job prospects. Ji-hoon sees the cleaners and recalls passing someone dressed just like them and bellows, “The disinfection team!”
In the lab’s parking lot, the hacker sprays a driver with a fire extinguisher and steals his car. While she waits for the parking gate to go up, she hacks into the airline’s software and replaces a passenger’s ID photo with hers. Ji-hoon and Young-gu jump into their car and drive to the nearest airport while the hacker heads to one further away.
Tinker is still parked outside the lab in the morning and hits his steering wheel in anger when he realizes that the hacker got away. At Gulliver Publishers, the entire team is assembled to inform Jin-min that the hacker escaped.
Tae-ryong and Ji-hoon question the hacker’s decision to run and Young-gu agrees, “The money we gave her wasn’t a lot. Why would she run?” That gives Seo-ra the perfect opportunity to ask Jin-min for her money and everyone scatters when he stammers that his budget request hasn’t been approved yet.
A furious Derek joins Tinker at the garage and they’re so busy blaming each other for the hacker fiasco that they don’t notice that Dong-taek has walked in with a bottle of champagne. When Derek breaks the bad news, Dong-taek smashes the champagne bottle in rage.
Before he can lay a finger on Derek, Tinker runs in and throws his arms around Dong-taek while apologizing. Derek walks out but he hides his distress well when Ah-reum calls to invite him to dinner.
Derek races to Areumdan Dress and finds Ah-reum in the cutting room. He’s confused when she informs him that there’ll be no dinner but she does offer him a second chance at their marriage. Ah-reum gives Derek an ultimatum, “The only way you can become a good husband is to cooperate with Interpol and find redemption…Either betray Helmes or betray me.” When Derek tries to laugh off Ah-reum’s demand, she adds, “I’ll give you three days…This will be your last chance.”
Tae-ryong visits a friend’s restaurant and they discuss a colleague who’s now a private detective in Los Angeles, which is where Tae-ryong’s family lives. Tae-ryong sends his friend the latest photo of his wife and kids just as Ji-hoon and Young-gu join him.
Over dinner, Ji-hoon reports, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is furious. They say that Sophie’s research will fall into America’s hands.” Because the hacker failed to find Sophie’s research, Young-gu guesses that she removed the files from her computer.
Young-gu and Ji-hoon look longingly at the soju at another table and they’re thrilled when Tae-ryong gives them permission to drink. Before Ji-hoon can pour his drink, he gets a text from Ah-reum and has to leave. On his way out, Ji-hoon waves to the owner who’s staring uneasily at Tea-ryong’s family photo.
When Ji-hoon meets Ah-reum at her store, she warns that she has upsetting information and he guesses, “Is it about your husband?”
At his garage office, Ji-hoon collects all of his hidden passports, cell phones, microchips and cash and deletes incriminating evidence from his computer.
Ah-reum realizes that Ji-hoon already knows about Derek and adds that she confronted her husband with the truth. Ah-reum wants Ji-hoon to use Derek to catch Helmes so he can have a fresh start, just like the offer he made to Sophie.
Ah-reum argues that Derek isn’t evil, he’s just a bad husband. Ji-hoon can’t believe it when Ah-reum insists that she wants to save her marriage and he reminds her that she once told him that people don’t change. Ah-reum amends that belief, “…they do change once. When they fall in love. I believe it when Derek tells me he loves me. So he’ll eventually change.”
Du-rae carries a huge framed photo of Derek and Ah-reum into Areumdan Dress just as Ji-hoon warns his ex-wife that love is clouding her judgement. When he storms out of the storage room, he runs into Du-rae and she drops the picture. After Du-rae runs off to get a broom to sweep up the broken glass, Ah-reum and Ji-hoon recall the time that she dropped their wedding photo.
When Ah-reum dropped the frame and shrieked, Ji-hoon came running from the bathroom with suds in his hair. Warning Ah-reum not to move, Ji-hoon swept the shards away from her feet and had her sit on his back when her legs got tired. Thinking it safe, Ah-reum stood up and got a piece of glass in her foot and Ji-hoon carefully pulled it out. After he carried Ah-reum to safety, Ji-hoon cleaned up the rest of the mess.
About to enter Dongpoomloo, Seo-ra tells someone on the phone, “I came to check on Doo-bong. I lost my savings and my health, but I have to work. I’ll report back later.” She finds a distraught Doo-bong drinking alone and a flashback shows us that he overheard his thugs call Seo-ra a honeypot.
Seo-ra sees Doo-bong’s bare wrist and asks about his watch. Doo-bong confides that a childhood friend left the country with his money and he was forced to pawn his watch. When Doo-bong claims that he’s too poor to continue seeing Seo-ra, she places one of her fake watches on Doo-bong’s wrist, “When you’re wearing it, it’s authentic.”
Doo-bong runs out to fetch more food and when he returns, Seo-ra is gone but she left an envelope on the table. Doo-bong opens it to find cash and a note written on a napkin, “A man needs to have enough money in his pocket. Don’t lose confidence. It doesn’t suit you.”
Later, Doo-bong’s thugs are on their knees holding up baskets of onions while Doo-bong happily waves the money in front of them, “Have you ever seen a honeypot give a guy money?”
In his tiny room, Ji-hoon stares at photos of Derek and remembers Jin-min’s advice to catch just one Helmes agent. Ji-hoon angrily asks himself, “Why does it have to be him?”
After a call from Peter, Ji-hoon meets him at the pen shop and explains Interpol’s plan, “We want to bring the whole organization down including the boss.” Ji-hoon guesses that there must be another CIA agent working with Helmes and he asks Peter to help identify him as well.
Peter has never met Helmes’ boss so discovering his identity puts him at great risk. Peter warns that Helmes has informers not only among the police, but Interpol as well. After Ji-hoon promises to protect Peter’s identity so they can catch Sophie’s killer, Peter agrees to help him and designates the pen shop as their meeting place. On his way out, Peter tells Ji-hoon, “You told me that you had to protect someone. Hope you do that.”
When Ah-reum walks out to her car, Ji-hoon is waiting, “If I had told you that I was an Interpol agent and would change for you, would you have believed me?” A flashback revisits Ji-hoon’s heartfelt confession to Tae-ryong while he was in the hospital, that he wanted to give up Interpol for Ah-reum.
Facing Ji-hoon, Ah-reum tells him, “No, you wouldn’t have changed.” Ji-hoon’s voice rises when he confesses that he’d already made up his mind to change, “You don’t believe I could change, but you trust him?”
Ah-reum explains her decision as a matter of timing, “I didn’t imagine that you could ever change…It’s me. I wasn’t mature enough…I’m sorry I learned it later instead of back then.” When Ji-hoon suggests there’s a way Ah-reum can keep from feeling sorry, she tells him, “…we can’t be together.”
Ji-hoon turns away to hide the tears in his eyes and tells Ah-reum, “If this choice is…for your own sake, then I’ll help you.” Warning that she may live to regret her decision, Ji-hoon adds, “I know this dumb guy who regrets pretending to be aloof for the sake of his then wife.”
When Ah-reum answers, “I’m doing this for…my own happiness,” a tear falls from Ji-hoon’s eyes and as he walks away, she calls out, “Could you tell this to that dumb guy? He can stop regretting.” Ooof.
The next day, Ji-hoon goes to a children’s museum to find Derek but it’s Derek who finds him, “I thought you still had feelings for my wife. But it seems like they were for me.”
Ji-hoon explains that Ah-reum called him about a problem and when he reaches out to straighten Derek’s tie, he recalls, “You said a necktie was a sort of weapon. To use to hang yourself with?”
Derek clarifies that it’s a weapon to kill people like Ji-hoon so he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty. The men’s face-off is interrupted by a panicked mother whose child is about to fall into the fountain. Ji-hoon runs to save the girl but Derek pushes him away to get to her first.
When the girl points to her ball in the water, Ji-hoon leaps in. The mother and daughter thank Ji-hoon profusely before walking away, much to Derek’s dismay.
Ji-hoon pretends that his wallet fell out in the fountain and when Derek peers at the water, Ji-hoon pushes him. They both fall in and when their fight gets physical, Ji-hoon shouts, “I came to clean you up. Because you smell rotten…You’re rotten from head to toe. You’re a dirty criminal.”
A man wearing a colorful scarf strokes a chameleon during a video call with Tinker. Tinker reports that Derek withdrew all his money from his accounts and adds that he’s changed.
Du-rae is given the message that Dong-ran asked when her dress will be ready. Du-rae still thinks the dress is in Ah-reum’s office and is shocked to learn that Ah-reum cut it apart. Worried about their business, Du-rae calls Ah-reum and reminds her, “I’m the investor and you’re the manager,” but Ah-reum hangs up on her.
After Du-rae and the staff leave the store for the day, Tinker emerges from the shadows and cuts the power to the building. As soon as Tinker goes inside, Ah-reum pulls up and sees that the lights are out again.
Tinker finds a necklace that he’s been looking for just as Ah-reum turns on the emergency lights. He quickly replaces the necklace with a duplicate that’s fitted with a listening device. When Ah-reum hears a noise in the dress’ storage room, she goes to investigate and sees that one of the dresses is swaying ever so slightly. Ah-reum tells herself, “I guess everyone left,” as she walks out.
Ah-reum returns just when Tinker emerges from his hiding place to confront the masked intruder. After slashing his leg with her scissors, Ah-reum wields both halves like knives but Tinker knocks her out with a kick to the head.
After a call from a worried Derek, Du-rae returns to Areumdan Dress to check on Ah-reum and finds her unconscious. Du-rae manages to rouse Ah-reum who weakly begs, “Don’t tell Derek.”
When Derek arrives at the ER, Du-rae lies that Ah-reum fell off a ladder and when his wife limps out after being treated, he runs to her side. With tears in his eyes, Derek confesses that he would end his life if anything happened to Ah-reum.
Derek also realized that if anything happens to him, Ah-reum would grieve deeply. Just that thought made him feel as if he was drowning and Derek admits, “Then it hit me that I’ve done a terrible thing.”
Taking Ah-reum’s hand, Derek tearfully agrees, “I’ll do as you say…I’ll cooperate with the police.” When Ah-reum warns it will be difficult, Derek assures her, “No matter how hard it is, if you’ll be by my side, I can do it.”
In Ah-reum’s office, Du-rae sees the dresses that were slashed during the attack and pulls out a bottle of soju. When Ah-reum limps in, Du-rae announces it’s time to tell her what she’s been hiding from her.
After several bottles of soju, Du-rae has been told that Ji-hoon is an Interpol agent and Derek is a spy. While she’s shocked, Du-rae confesses, “…it sounds plausible…It’s strange that Derek is so perfect.” When Du-rae scolds Ah-reum for picking the wrong men to marry, she confesses, “I can’t stand my ex-husband and husband. But I’m going to fix it.”
The next day, Derek meets Ah-reum in a public square and she motions to a man by the fountain. Ah-reum follows Derek as he walks over to the agent but when Ji-hoon turns around, Derek demands, “What are you doing here?”
Derek looks at Ah-reum questioningly while Ji-hoon extends his hand, “I’m Jeon Ji-hoon, an Interpol officer with the Asia Second Bureau.” When Derek remains silent, Ji-hoon continues, “And you’re Derek Hyun, an industrial spy working for Helmes.”
Derek takes a step back and Ji-hoon grabs him by the wrist while pulling back his jacket to reveal his gun. Leaning closer, Ji-hoon whispers, “Your cover is blown.”
I’m beginning to think that the CIA director is the Helmes boss which would explain why Jin-min’s team hasn’t been allowed to question Harrison Young. That makes Peter’s warning that Helmes has informants at every level of law enforcement true, which is why Ji-hoon hasn’t been forthcoming with his team about Ah-reum and Derek. After losing two sources, Ji-hoon isn’t willing to trust anyone, especially when it comes to Ah-reum. Derek is just an unwelcome complication that Ji-hoon can’t ignore.
But Ji-hoon can do his best to annoy Derek and he does just that. There’s nothing too small or too big whenever Ji-hoon and Derek pit themselves against one another. Ji-hoon tries to help a little girl, Derek will make sure he gets to her first because they compete about everything. It offers some levity as the story promises a deadly confrontation now that Ah-reum has discovered the memory stick with all of Sophie’s research.
Armed with that memory stick, Ah-reum puts into play her plan to free Derek from Helmes so that they can live happily ever after. The only problem with her plan is that she needs Ji-hoon’s help and while he’s more that happy to help Ah-reum, helping Derek is another story altogether. Ji-hoon would like to see Derek as far away from Ah-reum as possible because he doesn’t consider him worthy of her and I have to agree with him.
While it’s clear that Derek does love Ah-reum, to the point that he’s willing to betray Helmes, I’m not convinced he can actually walk away from the world of espionage forever. Being a spy is not only lucrative, it’s thrilling, especially for someone as adept at lying as Derek. Ji-hoon dreamed of being an ordinary salaryman and actually looked forward to being nagged by Ah-reum. I can’t imagine that’s the kind of life that will satisfy Derek but if he falls back into the spy business, that’s the end of his marriage.
It really gutted me to witness Ah-reum shutting the door forever on her relationship with Ji-hoon but I also admired her loyalty. She was even brutally honest when she admitted that she wasn’t staying with Derek for love but because he was her family. Ah-reum didn’t give Ji-hoon any false hope but I still prefer them together because he’s by far the better man. Even if Derek does manage to get away with betraying Helmes to save his marriage, he’s just too good at lying to convince me that he can be trusted. The only reason that Ah-reum trusts him is because she’s convinced that Helmes took advantage of Derek and forced him to work with them. Ha. She’s in for a rude awakening, especially when one of the bad guys figures out that Ah-reum has Sophie’s research. Will Derek be able to resist selling that information? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Complicating Derek’s situation even further is the fact that Peter has officially joined forces with Ji-hoon while Tinker has shared his suspicions about Derek with their boss. Tinker and Peter are both working independently from Derek for different reasons which makes him everyone’s target. Ah-reum doesn’t really see Derek fully because she’s given him the benefit of the doubt but Ji-hoon doesn’t have that luxury. Even though he knows that Derek isn’t trustworthy, Ji-woon will work with him for Ah-reum’s sake. At least for now…
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