Vincenzo: Episode 8
When Jipuragi learns that Babel intends to join hands with a prominent bank with its own history of trampling on whoever gets in their way, our unconventional lawyers decide to get in their way. This time, it’s our eccentric heroine who comes up with a daring scheme that relies on our lead’s charm and ability to swindle. If they can pull this off, they’ll not only deal another major blow to Babel, but they’ll also revel in some personal revenge.
After the fight, everyone is taken down to the police station where CEO Park and his men whine behind bars about how the tenants started it. Everyone’s looking pretty rough, but Monk Chaeshin wins for having a perfect shoe imprint on his shiny bald head.
Cha-young cuts in amongst all the yelling – Vincenzo has been delegated as her purse holder – and explains the situation. To prove the tenants were acting in self-defense, Young-ho plays the video he recorded.
They have a celebratory dinner and lament not taking on CEO Park earlier, patting themselves on the back for their superior fighting skills. The tenants all thank Vincenzo for helping them find their confidence and fighting spirit.
Team Leader Ahn watches Vincenzo and credits him with inspiring everyone through his strength and leadership. His idealism reaches a peak when he has the epiphany, “Vincenzo isn’t a mafioso; he’s Che Guevara.”
Elsewhere, Attorney Han and Myung-hee meet with Chief Prosecutor Hwang and his sidekick. Myung-hee struggles to contain her anger when Chief Prosecutor Hwang lords his “favor” over her head and tells her to handle his colleague’s reputation issue.
That night, Vincenzo walks Cha-young home. She’s brimming with questions about Vincenzo’s Mafia life, so he reluctantly answers two of them. He explains that working for the Mafia was just business and that the Mafia doesn’t have a problem killing people when necessary.
Before they part ways, Cha-young thanks him for springing her out of jail. Vincenzo reminds her she’s dealing with a Mafia member – favors must be returned.
The following day, while the tenants are interviewed for a news program, Joon-woo berates Myung-hee for needing Vincenzo’s help to secure Chief Prosecutor Hwang. Myung-hee blows up that she’s not used to losing either and is only putting up with Joon-woo’s abuse so she can take down Vincenzo and quit with dignity. Myung-hee yells at Joon-woo that she’ll win no matter what, using her methods he demeans.
Joon-woo is delighted by her fighting spirit and notes that he needs a demon not a lawyer. He ignores Attorney Han’s desperate attempts to be a part of the gang and tells Myung-hee to keep the prosecution under control. He also orders them to secure more funding seeing as Geumga Plaza blew up in their faces.
Myung-hee and Joon-woo meet with Cha-young and Vincenzo to negotiate terms of the settlement. Joon-woo plays his excitable puppy role and subtly indicates to Myung-hee that Babel is okay with the settlement.
Vincenzo assures them that they have no reason to come after Babel anymore. Why poke holes into a sinking ship? Vincenzo and Cha-young’s smugness gets to Joon-woo, but since he can’t show it, he just curses Vincenzo out in English in his notes. (Does it really count as cursing him out if the profanity is censored?)
Meanwhile, a few Babel directors nervously report their failure to Chairman Jang on the ice hockey rink. Perpetrating the same abuse his brother enacted towards him, Chairman Jang viciously shoots a puck at each of them before announcing they’re fired.
In his car, he excitedly opens the item he ordered: a handgun. Chairman Jang apparently has had quite the day of doling out punishment. We catch up with CEO Park and his crew who are locked in a freezer for the Geumga Plaza mess.
While Myung-hee calls Shinkwang Bank’s president HWANG MIN-SUNG (Kim Sung-cheol) for a favor, Vincenzo and Cha-young rush to the hospital. Kyung-ja is in bad shape and is only given days to live. Cha-young plans on getting a stay of execution for her due to her medical condition.
Kyung-ja wakes up, and Vincenzo reprimands her for letting things get this bad without saying anything. She doesn’t take her eyes off Vincenzo, even while explaining to Cha-young that she can’t afford treatment. Vincenzo offers to pay, but Kyung-ja doesn’t want to be indebted. Cha-young looks at him in surprise and concern when he yells at Kyung-ja to just accept it and walks out.
That night, Myung-hee meets with Min-sung and asks him to have Shinkwang Bank give Babel a fake loan to legitimize them so they can get real loans from other banks. He’s strongarmed into agreeing since Myung-hee has dirt on him from when she was a prosecutor.
Vincenzo bails on going with Cha-young to see Kyung-ja to discuss the stay of execution that was granted and instead meets with Young-woon who has good news. He discovered that the biometrics of the Chinese commissioner of the gold room are stored in one of his security systems. Young-woon will oversee a group of hackers to obtain the data.
Team Leader Ahn runs into Cheol-wook who’s hauling a bunch of digging tools toward Geumga Plaza. As he bluffs unconvincingly that he collects tools, they see Vincenzo and Young-woon across the street. Team Leader Ahn recognizes Young-woon but can’t place him.
Meanwhile, Min-sung goes to see Kyung-ja who receives him coldly. Ah, he’s the son of the chairman who assaulted her and who she was framed for killing. Cha-young comes in right as he presents an envelope of cash and warns Kyung-ja not to retry her case.
Min-sung and Cha-young face off, but Kyung-ja stops them and says she has something to tell Min-sung. He leans in close, and she grabs him by the hair and starts screaming at him. Cha-young pulls her off only to grab a fistful of his hair herself.
That night, the Jipuragi team listens in disgust to a news report about the illustrious Shinkwang Bank giving a loan to Babel. Cha-young fills Vincenzo in on Min-sung’s visit to Kyung-ja and announces that they need to take Shinkwang down.
Cha-young meets with her friendly ex-colleague again, and he slips her a USB drive. She’s promised to get him in with Joon-woo’s friend’s firm in Boston. Her ex-colleague complains about how Myung-hee is always asking him to do impressions. Cha-young commiserates and then asks him to do his spot-on Lee Sun-kyun impression.
Jipuragi discovers that Min-sung has been sued multiple times for assault. He’d approach men he was interested in, and if they didn’t do as he wished, he’d assault them. His victims were afraid of being outed as gay, so they didn’t go public. And now, Wusang is protecting him.
They need more to indict him, so Cha-young suggests sending in a pretty man to take him down. She describes Min-sung’s type while she and Joo-sung stare intently at Vincenzo until he catches her drift. He’s adamantly against it but ends up caving to peer pressure.
Min-sung is a momma’s boy who prefers the company of horses to people, so Vincenzo approaches him at the stables. Min-sung goes starry-eyed at Vincenzo’s beauty and can barely pull himself together. By the time Vincenzo seductively picks a straw off Min-sung’s collar, he’s a goner.
Both Min-sung and Cha-young – posing as a worker at the stalls – are dazzled into a stupor as Vincenzo rides Min-sung’s horse around the field. Min-sung asks him out for drinks that night, and Cha-young has to give Vincenzo a pep talk in the barn when he wants to back out.
Cha-young gets a little too boisterous around the horse, so Vincenzo grabs her and pulls her away, basically swooping her into his arms (in slow-mo, of course). He cautions her that it’s dangerous to startle a horse from behind and walks away, leaving her to catch her breath.
They really did their research on Min-sung and constructed Vincenzo’s fake identity “Tae Ho” to perfectly match his preferences. On their first date, Min-sung is already throwing words like soulmate around. Cha-young and Joo-sung encourage a reluctant Vincenzo from across the room as he easily wraps Min-sung around his finger.
After a few drinks, Vincenzo turns the conversation to Min-sung and his family business. Min-sung launches into how his father used to sexually harass women, but one of their housekeepers fought back and pushed him. He didn’t get back up.
The chairman’s wife saw this all go down, and she didn’t call for an ambulance. Vincenzo stares rapt as Min-sung says his mother let his father die out of greed – she’d always wanted Shinkwang Finance for herself.
Vincenzo struggles to control his expression when Min-sung nonchalantly states the housekeeper took the fall since their family naturally couldn’t sacrifice their reputation. Vincenzo’s resolve hardens. He touches Min-sung’s hand and asks to see him on the weekend.
Back at Geumga Plaza, the tenants separately search for the gold. Everyone plays innocent when they run into each other, but it’s hard to convincingly spin skulking around the basement with flashlights and metal detectors.
On the weekend, Vincenzo goes on an amusement park date with Min-sung who seems to be having the time of his life. Cha-young and Joo-sung follow close behind as Min-sung wraps his arms around Vincenzo as often as he can and feeds him cotton candy.
When they pass by a haunted house with zombie actors outside, Min-sung panics and drops to the floor. Apparently, he’s terrified of zombies, and Vincenzo has to practically carry him out.
As they go to leave, Vincenzo pretends to be upset. After some prodding from Min-sung, he brings up the Babel investment. He wins Min-sung over when he says he’s worried he’ll get hurt investing in such an evil company.
Vincenzo creates an emotional breakup scene, saying he broke their rule not to talk about work. Min-sung follows him out of the car and grabs him in a back hug. He begs Vincenzo not to go, but Vincenzo throws him off and walks away.
Min-sung is relentless over the coming days, spamming Vincenzo’s phone with texts about how he needs him. He even waits outside Vincenzo’s fake law office in the rain for five hours. Inside, Vincenzo remarks to Cha-young that evildoers don’t deserve love. He doesn’t respond when Cha-young asks if he deserves to love.
After dark, Vincenzo finally goes outside to see Min-sung who’s shivering under his umbrella. Min-sung throws his arms around him and says he wants his advice about work, promising to listen to him regarding the upcoming signing ceremony.
Chairman Jang and Joon-woo get ready for the ceremony, and Joon-woo does his regular ritual of terrifying his little brother into submission before his performance. At the opera house where Vincenzo told Min-sung to hold the ceremony, Myung-hee spots Cha-young. Her text to Joon-woo saying she’s there to “witness the power of love” doesn’t put them at ease.
The ceremony begins, and when it’s his turn to sign, Min-sung hesitates as he remembers Vincenzo telling him to show his sincerity. He looks up and sees Vincenzo on the balcony holding up his phone with the words “I love you. Tae Ho believes in you” scrolling on the screen.
Min-sung winks at him and announces he won’t sign, calling Babel immoral and unreliable. Vincenzo stands and cheers, earning a death glare from Joon-woo. But then, a woman waltzes onto the stage with her two little dogs. Min-sung’s mother announces she’ll sign as the chairwoman of Shinkwang Financial instead.
Myung-hee was one step ahead this time and warned Min-sung’s mother that he was susceptible to falling into a trap. She threatened to spill all their family secrets if she didn’t agree to handle the signing ceremony herself.
A dejected Min-sung stares at Vincenzo as he leaves the stage. But it looks like Vincenzo’s plan isn’t over yet. A few of the tenants pose as bodyguards and lock Min-sung in a dressing room. The room is bathed in a red light, and a woman’s voice hums softly. Min-sung soon finds himself surrounded by zombies – our zombie tenants recruited by Vincenzo – in his own nightmare scenario.
As everyone gathers around the chairwoman in the lobby, Min-sung comes running in screaming incoherently. He huddles on the floor in tattered clothes and streaked with fake blood. He clambers over to Vincenzo, grabbing onto his leg like a frightened child.
Two police officers show up with a warrant for Min-sung’s arrest citing assault and blackmail. Vincenzo leans down and whispers to Min-sung that he’s actually Vincenzo, the one who tipped them off. Min-sung stares in shock at Vincenzo and Cha-young as he’s led away, his mother screaming for his release. Even as he’s dragged out, he’s still calling out to “Tae Ho” because he’s scared.
Vincenzo and Cha-young face off with Babel and Wusang who are feeling more confident after this win. They get into a petty fight that ends with Cha-young and Joon-woo pretending to swim around like sharks, but the humor goes out of Cha-young’s face when Myung-hee references her father.
“If you don’t want to end up like him, you should keep quiet and lie low,” she threatens. Uncharacteristically serious, Cha-young yells for the reporters to gather. She announces she’s Yoo-chan’s daughter, and she intends to reveal all of Babel’s evil deeds, including their connection to the prosecution.
Vincenzo steps in when they swarm her with questions and leads Cha-young away, pushing through the throng. He and Cha-young smile at each other as they leave.
I’m actually glad to see Vincenzo’s plans are not foolproof, and he’s not unbeatable. It gets tiresome when the (anti)hero always wins since it takes away some of the suspense. Now that Myung-hee has a better understanding of Vincenzo’s style, she’s going to be a more challenging foe. Because we all know she’s the brains of the operation. Attorney Han provides simpering support, Joon-woo motivates with violent threats, and Chairman Jang is a wild card who might be plotting mutiny with that gun he bought. I’m starting to wonder how Babel and Wusang got anything done before Myung-hee come on board. Well, they did have Cha-young, at least, to pick up the slack.
Even though I enjoy Cha-young and Vincenzo’s teamwork, I do miss Yoo-chan and the budding friendship between him and Vincenzo. I understand narratively why they killed him off, but I still wish they could have left him alive. I think Vincenzo needs a paternal figure who he can lean on, especially now that things are getting more complicated with his mother. I loved how the soft-spoken Kyung-ja went feral on Min-sung when he threatened her. It’s nice to see her fight for once; she’s so resigned in general. Despite Vincenzo’s harshness towards his mother, he certainly went all in to take down Min-sung.
That was one hell of a plan that, had Myung-hee been less intuitive, would’ve handled their Babel issue and allowed Vincenzo to get his own revenge against that family in one go. It also added seduction to the growing list of Vincenzo’s special skills. Not that it’s surprising – in addition to his suaveness, he’s good at reading people and seeing what they want most. Min-sung was so easy to manipulate, and it was almost painful how vulnerable he made himself. If Min-sung weren’t a serial assaulter and an abettor in ruining Kyung-ja’s life, I might’ve felt bad for him. As it stands, he pretty much deserves what he gets.
That being said, I didn’t appreciate how the drama framed Vincenzo’s reaction to this latest scheme. I can understand feeling uncomfortable seducing someone who is as awful as Min-sung, particularly after what that family did to Vincenzo’s mother, but that’s not the angle the drama took. Instead, they framed it as Vincenzo being grossed out that he had to even pretend to like a guy and played that for comedy. I don’t see how Vincenzo’s fit at the mere idea of going on a couple of dates and maybe doing some hand holding could be read as anything but homophobia. Gay characters are still sparse in dramaland, but representation has been getting somewhat better in recent years with more nuanced and empathetic portrayals. Clearly, though, there’s still a long way to go.