The Spies Who Loved Me: Episode 12
With everything falling apart around them, our dressmaker and her two husbandly allies are wrenched apart and forced to deal with the situation alone. Some unpleasant truths come to light, casting some relationships into doubt and others into new understanding. They may never recover their lives as they were, but at this point, it will be a victory if they just make it out alive at all.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
After being accidentally poisoned then intentionally abandoned by Doo-bong, Peter calls Ji-hoon to tell him, with his final breath, that Tinker killed Sophie and Ah-reum is next. Ji-hoon and Derek arrive at Areumdan Dress just as Ah-reum is being taken away in a police car.
Suspecting Ji-hoon as the Interpol mole, Jin-min instructs the team to trace his location. Ji-hoon calls Seo-ra just then to tell her about Ah-reum’s arrest, and Jin-min gives the official order to arrest Ji-hoon.
In Ah-reum’s office, Derek makes some calls and discovers that Ah-reum was arrested for allegedly stealing a diamond necklace, and the guys immediately guess that this is Helmes’ way of getting rid of her. Derek hurries to the police station as Ji-hoon stays behind to check the shop’s jewelry, which he notes is all fake.
Arriving at Areumdan Dress, Seo-ra calls Ji-hoon again and tells him to come outside. As soon as he gets into the van, Seo-ra handcuffs his wrist to the vehicle. Suddenly Young-gu slams on the brakes, Ji-hoon tosses Seo-ra and Tae-ryong out of the van and kicks Jin-min, then rips the handle he’s cuffed to off the wall. Just before he escapes, Young-gu slips a phone into Ji-hoon’s pocket.
Ji-hoon makes it to Derek’s car shop and finds Peter’s body on the floor, with a large purple mark on his neck where Doo-bong injected the poison. He calls Derek, who’s still at the station after being informed that because the stolen necklace was found in Ah-reum’s shop, she’ll be jailed.
He tells Derek that he’s being framed as the Interpol mole, and with a look at Peter, says that he thinks Derek is also being framed. He tells Derek to take care of Ah-reum and watch his back, then leaves even though Derek says he’s on his way.
Derek gets to the garage and tries to emotionally process Peter’s death. He goes to his computer to watch the CCTV footage and sees Doo-bong leave Peter dying on the floor, and he slams his fist on the table in fury. He pulls out some alarming equipment that allows him to quickly embalm Peter’s body, then places him in a coffin-sized shipping box.
Still looking like ten miles of bad road, Derek finally answers Jin-min’s calls and feigns surprise at the news of Ji-hoon’s supposed crimes. Ah-reum narrates That night, when we became murderers, fugitives, and thieves, I got a premonition while I was in jail. Some invisible karmic connection had tied us together. But it would eventually break us apart.
The next morning, Jin-min is visited in his office by the CIA official who tells him that their chances at Ecosun are over. He orders Jin-min to tell the CIA what he knows, but Jin-min says that if it’s all over, the information is worthless anyway. The CIA official reveals that he knows there’s a mole, and he advises Jin-min to disband the team and get his people as far away as possible.
Derek is allowed to visit Ah-reum, and he’s shocked to see her in a prison jumpsuit. She asks what Ji-hoon learned and Derek tells her not to worry, but she says that he can’t hide that he’s been crying all night. Trying to cheer him up, she half-jokes that she became a dressmaker like her mom and a prison inmate like her dad.
With their time running out, Ah-reum urges Derek to say something. He says “I love you” over and over, making cute hand-hearts until their time is up. At the last moment, he sobers up and says he’s sorry.
When the Interpol team learns of Ah-reum’s arrest, it seems to confirms the fact that Ji-hoon is a criminal who associates with criminals. Seo-ra tells the others that Ji-hoon was having secret meetings with Peter, who now can’t be found, and she assumes he was feeding Peter secrets. They’re all shocked when Jin-min comes in and announces that they’ve been dismissed from the Interpol Asia Bureau.
Young-gu mourns the loss of his first real job, while Seo-ra seethes at having lost her savings. She grumbles that it’s Ji-hoon’s fault for disappearing like a ghost, but Tae-ryong says serenely that that’s what made him their top agent.
Ji-hoon is hiding out in his tiny room, where he uses a pin from an old pincushion of Ah-reum’s to pick the lock on his handcuff. He recalls how she’d used a piece of yarn to measure his ring size, then he’d tied the yarn too tightly on her finger and made a ring-like mark, to Ah-reum’s annoyance.
Later, Ji-hoon had been wearing a real wedding ring as he made promises to his informant on the phone and prepared to meet them. Before leaving, he’d taken off his ring and placed it behind his and Ah-reum’s wedding picture, where it had collected dust when he never returned for it.
Now, Ji-hoon gets a call from Young-gu and goes out to secretly meet with him. Young-gu tells him that the team has been disbanded, and that he checked the evidence pegging Ji-hoon as the mole but that it can’t be faked. He says he’ll call Ji-hoon on the phone he gave him, which he’s fixed to be untraceable as long as the calls are less than three minutes.
Ji-hoon asks Young-gu why he still trusts him. Young-gu says that his mother’s fortuneteller said he’ll be promoted this year, but for that to happen Ji-hoon has to get promoted first, ha. Ji-hoon assures Young-gu that they’re near the end of this, and Young-gu leaves. Ji-hoon looks inside the cup Young-gu left behind and finds a USB with data on bank transactions and phone records of their team, as well as background checks on Derek, Peter, and Kim Dong-taek.
Derek returns to Double Holdings and tosses around the two thugs who chased him and Ji-hoon out the other night, then informs them that he’s from Helmes. He shows them that he’s transferred a large amount of money to them and informs them that they work for him directly now.
He wants them to arrange new identities for him and Ah-reum and transfer their money out of the country, without letting Tinker find out anything. He warns that they’re about to be investigated by Interpol, but first they need to find Tinker and Doo-bong for him. They ask what Doo-bong did, and Derek mutters darkly, “He killed a friend.”
Tae-ryong, Young-gu, and Seo-ra show up at the jail to see Ah-reum, who recognizes them as Ji-hoon’s uncle, the random guy who helped her after Tinker ran into her, and Ji-hoon’s “girlfriend.” Only now does she realize that they are (were) Ji-hoon’s Interpol team. They break the news that Ji-hoon ran off, but Ah-reum doesn’t believe he’s the mole. She says that her arrest and Ji-hoon’s framing are a trap, and pleads with them to have faith in Ji-hoon.
Tae-ryong is intentionally vague as they leave, but Ah-reum stops Seo-ra to ask if she and Ji-hoon were really having an affair. Seo-ra simply says she likes to help others, leaving Ah-reum to regret how she assumed the worst of Ji-hoon when they were married. Now she can’t imagine how she ended their marriage without suspecting anything, and how Ji-hoon seemed to know she needed to be able to leave him without remorse.
Seo-ra had argued with Ji-hoon’s plan, saying that if anything happened to him on a mission, Ah-reum would always remember him as a bad husband. Ji-hoon had said he preferred it that way, so that Ah-reum would be less sad. He had actually set up the situation with Seo-ra to look like they were sleeping together when Ah-reum found them, just so she could easily leave him, but now Ah-reum cries, knowing the truth.
The Double Holdings thug reports to Derek that Doo-bong is still at large, but that Tinker has returned to the country and requested passage for two on a smuggler’s boat. Looks like Tinker and Doo-bong are in cahoots these days.
Derek returns to the jail to see Ah-reum, who asks angrily why he didn’t tell her about Ji-hoon. Derek tells her to focus on the two of them, but Ah-reum says they still have to catch Sophie’s killer and whoever is framing them. She accuses Derek of hiding something from her when he’d promised to be transparent, and when Derek mutters that he’s doing his best, Ah-reum points out that things are getting worse.
When Du-rae visits Ah-reum later, Ah-reum says there’s one person who can help them — Dong-ran. Du-rae makes a call to Dong-ran, who storms into the store and snaps that she’ll say she bought the diamond necklace and asked Ah-reum to hold it for safekeeping. If there was no theft, then Ah-reum gets out of jail, but Dong-ran threatens to send her and Du-rae right back if Ah-reum disappoints her later.
Ji-hoon uses a fake story of a lost dog to gain a convenience store employee’s sympathy so that she’ll show him the CCTV footage. He spots the real Interpol mole in the store, in the bucket hat and trenchcoat, and notices the red tasseled notebook he’s carrying.
Derek waits at a bar, where Jin-min joins him. Jin-min asks if Derek knows where Peter is, and Derek denies anything. He says his cover is blown if there’s really a mole in Jin-min’s team, and Jin-min muses that Derek must be a valuable agent if he hasn’t been “dispatched” by Helmes yet.
He asks why Derek trusts Ji-hoon, and Derek says, “He’s still in love with my wife. Even if he’s roaming out there, he’ll never completely leave my wife’s side.” Jin-min asks if Derek believes he still trusts him, and tells him to call as soon as Ji-hoon contacts Ah-reum, or when he finds Peter — or even better, his boss.
It’s late when Derek gets home, and he’s surprised when his mother (Kim Hye-ok, I love her!) shows up on his doorstep. She surveys his house with a critical eye and asks when Ah-reum will be released, but she says pleasantly that she’s not worried about someone else’s child. Damn.
Ah-reum returns, surprising Derek, and his mom fawns all over Ah-reum in a way that seems a little too effusive. Ah-reum apologizes, but Mom confesses that she was once kidnapped by a Miami criminal gang, saying that sort of thing happens to “real businesswomen” all the time. She hugs Ah-reum, but as she does, she shoots Derek a look over Ah-reum’s shoulder.
There’s a much more sincere welcome waiting for Ah-reum when she returns to Areumdan Dress. As soon as she can, she asks Du-rae if Ji-hoon came here, but first Du-rae wants to know why Dong-ran was asking questions and what the atomizer really is. Ah-reum says it will save them, and Du-rae reveals that Derek’s mom called her while Ah-reum was in jail and transferred a ridiculous amount of money (almost a million U.S. dollars) to the store’s account.
When Ah-reum calls her husband to ask about it, he admits that he told his mother that the store was in financial trouble. Derek apologizes and offers to pick her up after work, but Ah-reum distractedly tells him not to bother and hangs up. (Random side note: I love that Derek has her saved on his phone as “Beautiful Ah-reum,” which in Korean is “Areumdan Ah-reum,” a sweet play on words using her name.)
Derek’s mother shows up at Double Holdings, though it seems nobody has been there in a while. She lies that she’s at the dentist when Derek calls her. Derek asks why she sent Ah-reum so much money and she says it’s because they’re family, and Derek’s only response is to ask her to come home soon. On her way out, she walks right past Ji-hoon, who’s used his police badge to get a look at the building’s CCTV footage.
Seo-ra heads to Dongpoomloo to see Doo-bong, who’s arranged for her to meet him there. Young-gu calls her, worried because he’s picking up a strange transmission in the area, and Seo-ra tells him to let Tae-ryong know. Instead, Young-gu decides to check things out in person.
Inside, Seo-ra is served a meal but Doo-bong is nowhere to be seen. She notices that the man serving her food has a black thumbnail. She raises a spoonful to her lips, but at the last second she recalls Ji-hoon talking about a thug with a black thumbnail. Sure enough, the guy is waiting in the hallway, holding a wicked knife and wearing a wicked smile.
Meanwhile, Young-gu follows the strange signal and sees Doo-bong riding by in a car. He tries to warn Seo-ra, but she can’t answer her phone because she’s busy handcuffing the thug that she’s already disarmed. Young-gu follows Doo-bong to the dock, where he meets with the Interpol mole… Tae-ryong.
From a short distance, Young-gu videos their conversation, but he can’t clearly video Tae-ryong’s face because of the shadows. A pair of Doo-bong’s thugs attack Young-gu, and when Young-gu calls out to him by name, Tae-ryong takes off with a briefcase.
Back in his room, Ji-hoon finds that Young-gu sent him a folder that he found on Tae-ryong’s computer. What’s strange is that the documents are all in English, when Tae-ryong doesn’t speak English well. One of the documents is titled Purple Field, which Derek said was a request by the mole for a new identity and relocation to the U.S. Ji-hoon suddenly remembers the photo Tae-ryong keeps of his family, who are wearing hats that say “Purple Field,” the name of a golf club.
Caught, Young-gu is forced to unlock his phone, but Doo-bong is less interested in the video than he is of the many candid photos he’s taken of Seo-ra. Doo-bong asks who Young-gu is, and Young-gu lies that he’s part of a voice phishing gang. They’re interrupted by Seo-ra, who pulls up on her motorcycle and bellows Doo-bong’s name.
Doo-bong whines that he had real feelings for her and wishes they’d met under different circumstances. She barks at him to get over it, then she picks up a burning two-by-four and starts swinging. Doo-bong picks up another board and they fence, while Young-gu struggles free of his captor.
Just as Doo-bong gets the upper hand, Young-gu flies at him to protect Seo-ra and is stabbed in the stomach with the knife Doo-bong was hiding. Doo-bong and his men run, and Young-gu gasps to Seo-ra that he’s fine, though he’s obviously very not-fine.
In her office, Ah-reum is still worrying over Ji-hoon when she gets a message from the “courier service.” She waits anxiously in her hidden room until he shows up, looking exhausted. Ji-hoon asks how she got out of jail, and she says, “I got out of jail to find you.”
She tells him how his team came to see her and she recognized all of them, and how they said he’s a traitor. Ji-hoon says he plans to catch the real mole, and when Ah-reum asks how when nobody trusts him, he just smiles a little and retorts, “You trust me.”
Ah-reum sighs that her life has been a roller coaster since he came back into it. Knowing she’ll regret it if she doesn’t, she asks Ji-hoon if it was all an act when she caught him with Seo-ra. He just says she saw them herself, but Ah-reum starts to cry that she knows he did it to give her a reason to leave him without guilt.
Again she asks him for the truth, but he slips back into that vague, distant demeanor and she cries even harder. She tells him that she’s crying because she’s sorry and her heart is breaking, and Ji-hoon whispers that he knows. When Ah-reum sobs harder, he can’t help himself and takes her in his arms as she wails that she hated him then, and apologizes for leaving him when he had nothing.
Ji-hoon softly assures her that she did nothing wrong, and that it’s his fault for not staying with her. He looks up and sees Derek standing there, watching them as they cry in each other’s arms.
I had a feeling Tae-ryong was the Interpol mole, so it’s not a surprise, but it’s absolutely breaking my heart! His serene calm has been making me suspect him for quite some time now. I’m sorry to be right about him because he seems like such a good guy and has been there for Ji-hoon when he had no family. But now Tae-ryong is letting Ji-hoon take the blame for his treasonous actions so I have no sympathy for him, just sorrow for Ji-hoon when he finds out.
And poor Ji-hoon… he’s going through so much, what with being falsely accused of treason and trying so hard to let Ah-reum go and just internalizing all that pain. Ah-reum knows now that he sacrificed his own happiness to give her freedom, so I don’t think it’s going to be so easy for him to leave her again, in large part because I don’t think Ah-reum will let him. It’s really telling to me that, regardless of what’s been going on with Ah-reum and Derek, Ah-reum’s main concern this entire episode was Ji-hoon. She didn’t even bother to hide the fact that she was more worried about him than her own husband. I admire Ah-reum’s determination to make her marriage work, but it’s becoming clear that her love is still Ji-hoon, and I think Derek was definitely picking up on that even before he saw them crying together.
My opinion of Derek is slightly more charitable than @TeriYaki’s, but only slightly. Seeing that he was groomed to be a spy from a young age makes me feel a bit sorry for him, as clearly, he never had a choice to be anything else/better. But then, he’s made plenty of choices since then, and he revels in his ability to lie effectively and manipulate people. He’s just so damn likable, and he seems to earnestly want to help and get free and to save his marriage, but every time I start to consider trusting him, I remember that he’s been lying to everyone for so long that even he may not know what he truly feels. Even in this episode, just when I start to think Derek has a conscience, he makes plans to save himself and Ah-reum, intending to just leave Ji-hoon to fend for himself.
But then I can’t really blame Derek for being who he is now that we’ve met his mom. She’s too polished, too composed, too quick with just the right response in the same way that Derek was before Ah-reum blew his cover and knocked him off-balance. It’s no wonder he was who and what he was before, if this is the woman who raised him. Mom pings every radar I have, with that just-a-bit-too-sweet manner and her repeated comments about how “real businesswoman” get in trouble all the time. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s this mysterious boss we keep hearing about, because if she’s as ruthless as I suspect she is, she’s absolutely capable of sending Tinker to frame her daughter-in-law and who knows what else — even against her own son if he’s become a liability.
The more harrowing things become for Ah-reum and her husbands, the more I worry that they may not all make it to the end. None of them is totally innocent, none of them is totally blameless, but I do believe they all are trying their best, in their own ways, to right a terrible wrong. Yes, even Derek. But it feels like, as the darkness closes in on them, a sacrifice may be necessary by one. And I honestly have no idea who it might be. I can see how each of them might give themselves to save the others out of love, loyalty, or duty, and any way I look at it, it breaks my heart.
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