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The Veil: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread (Final)

As we reach the conclusion of our tale, our hero is finally able to put together the puzzle that’s long been unfolding around him. The hinge pin and missing piece in the equation — the rogue agent responsible for it all — quickly becomes a major part of our tale’s conclusion.

 
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP

Ji-hyuk arrives just in time to save Deputy Director Lee from his demise, and learns an important bit of information that will set the rest of the drama’s action into motion: Baek Mo-sa is responsible for this attempted murder. Also, as confirmed last week , he’s basically the mastermind behind everything that went awry for Ji-hyuk a year ago.

And so, Baek Mo-sa quickly goes from tangential bad guy amongst a pool of bad guys, to the Big Baddie. Deputy Director Do is brought back to the NIS for her final mission: a special task force to catch Baek Mo-sa once and for all, a job which she takes quite seriously, having been responsible for his trajectory.

All our players join forces at this point, and it’s actually pretty satisfying to see them working together for a change, instead of in little factions against each other (viz., Do, Ha, Kang, and of course Ji-hyuk and Ye-ji).

The team locates Baek Mo-sa’s abandoned warehouse hideout, and quickly sets up a raid. While the plot here might not be terribly exciting, I did enjoy seeing Ji-hyuk work with other operators — particularly Chief Ha who I’ve grown way too fond of. The team shows their true professionalism and courage as they try to clear the warehouse even though it’s booby-trapped with bombs and soon results in a huge and deadly firefight.

Ji-hyuk corners Baek Mo-sa at one point, but he has a secret weapon that’s an important clue for later: he sets off an EMP that disables all electronic currents within a certain proximity. This means the team is without any kind of coms, and even their vehicles won’t work. Baek Mo-sa makes his escape, but not before a stand-off with Ye-ji, who’s trying to save Ji-hyuk’s life. Here we see a glimmer in Baek Mo-sa; he has the opportunity to, but can’t shoot the woman who’s just called him “Dad.”

Lest Baek Mo-sa become a flat villain with no narrative color, we learn more about his backstory and psychological condition, from his brutal experiences in prison, to how that torment caused his current dissociative disorder. It makes sense now, especially for Ye-ji, why her father doesn’t seem like her father. Still, like the beloved Darth Vader archetype, there is still good in him, and a shadow of the man he once was still exists.

Next up is what turns out to be Baek Mo-sa’s actual master plan, which Ji-hyuk, Ye-ji, and the rest of the team piece together just as quickly as it unfolds in front of them. At an NIS ceremony to honor fallen agents, a suicide bomber soon reveals an even bigger threat: Baek Mo-sa has invaded a major financial institution, and essentially forces the NIS choose between disabling an EMP device that will cripple the entire nation’s economy, or save the 30-something hostages he has trapped.

It’s all quite typical, and not that satisfying, to have our twisty tale culminate in a single act of revenge from a deranged agent — but if I look more at the ramifications and less at the plotting, I actually like it. Baek Mo-sa is damaged and deranged and wants to show the NIS’s callousness towards innocent lives (in the same way that he was betrayed). So the EMP versus hostages is more about the moral and ethical dilemma than the excitement of the set-up.

There are several reveals and reverses baked into this scenario, but of course, at its core, it was set up solely for Ye-ji’s character. Here she plays Luke Skywalker to her father’s Darth Vader, and her mere presence is able to change her father’s heart — he can’t sacrifice her along with the other hostages, and thus his plan is quickly overturned by our ever-awesome Ji-hyuk.

While the plot of The Veil (and particularly this “final battle”) got a bit more tired and predictable as we went on, I still liked how the drama was brought full circle. And The Veil’s ending was satisfying to me mostly because of the very K-drama-esque way it chose to wrap everything up — i.e., relying on our hearts, perhaps a bit more than our brains, to bring the story to its conclusion. And thus we have Ye-ji’s tearful goodbye to her father in the aftermath of the bloodbath that has just occured.

The drama’s twists and reveals might have lost impact over the course of the drama, but I do appreciate that it remained very much devoted to its thematic core around our NIS agents: the focus on psychological damage, how one’s morality is impacted, and how the question of losing your own humanity (or how close to that edge you can get ) is written into the job.

Perhaps that’s why, despite feeling a bit unsatisfied with how all the pieces fit together structurally, or why Ji-hyuk’s elaborate plan against himself was even truly necessary, I liked where the drama landed: with a nod at the heroes that actually live these lives, and their service to their country. A burst of patriotism and respect feels to me like quite a nice note to end on.

My favorite aspect of the story was of course Ji-hyuk and his journey. Namgoong Min was electrifying in this role (and has a new fan in me), but more than the twists breaking my brain, what I thought most effective was the portrayal of personal sacrifice and commitment that we saw in our larger-than-life hero. I admittedly never got tired of Ji-hyuk being a badass, getting the job done with no care for his personal safety, to the extent of being willing to jump on top of a bomb to protect those around him. Perhaps this is why Ji-hyuk’s story, when stitched to the examination of heroism and sacrifice, made me like the ending more.

The wrap-up was fun, too. Ji-hyuk and Director Kang are serving time for their crimes, and we meet Ji-hyuk after he has served his five-year sentence. He’s back in his old apartment, staring at the wall — everything and yet nothing has changed. He’s got letters from Ye-ji that he never opened until now, and then we see Ye-ji, soaring in career, and ready to contact Ji-hyuk after his release. If I’m not crazy, there’s a little something in the air between them, and shockingly, I don’t hate it.

But for our final sequence, we get a closing hero moment for Ji-hyuk, who’s called out of his cave to again serve his country. And so, despite all the scars and experiences in his past, he puts on the suit, slicks back the hair, and is ready to continue the fight.

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Consensus: Disappointed but not surprised, to be honest.

I didn’t find the execution of its final ideas and plot points to be that smart or interesting, I consistently felt cheated out of interesting emotional moments for multiple reasons (mainly they just didn’t have the set up), Ji Hyuk’s motivations seemed to flit in the last two episodes especially, but never really felt enough focused in the first place for his character to work outside of NGM’s acting. Je Yi, and Ji Hyuk’s relationship with Je Yi, could’ve been so much more interesting and compelling but just consistently wasn’t. None of the supporting characters except for the ones that… died early were that interesting either. Plot holes, convenient plot devices and heavy exposition dragged the rest of it down.

And then we end with Sangmuhoe being revealed super easily despite the extra-convoluted mess we waded through all show to get here.

(also this might not be much of an issue for viewers so much, but why did the violence suddenly get toned WAY down in the latter half…)

I feel like this show could’ve been a lot better and a lot stronger, and it’s a shame because NGM was 🔥 and there were parts with a lot of potential. But overall, it feels like it either chickened out, got cut off at the knees or simply just never had enough intent/guts to begin with, to end well.

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"also this might not be much of an issue for viewers so much, but why did the violence suddenly get toned WAY down in the latter half…)

I feel like this show could’ve been a lot better and a lot stronger, and it’s a shame because NGM was 🔥 and there were parts with a lot of potential. But overall, it feels like it either chickened out, got cut off at the knees or simply just never had enough intent/guts to begin with, to end well."

I think airing on a public tax payer channel was a factor. Plus censorship too, that's why I was so shocked (VIki) they didn't censor the knives/gruesomeness. From what I read, it seems some were against those scenes thus they got less violent in the 2nd half. Ep 3's fight sequence was so well directed (action), NGM did an amazing job.

I always enjoyed big blockbuster action shows, but they seldom do them in Korea. Perhaps b/c they've to tone it down a lot in a K-drama. Compare this to My Name, and I felt a bit more interested with The Veil overall. I would love to see Netflix, Apple+, or any OTT service give a blockbuster budget for an espionage/thriller/action genre again. I feel the big budget, and in a K-drama format, makes it hard for these shows to happen. Like Athena (hello bottom banner pic!) was the last star studded action/spy drama, and that was 11 yrs ago!!

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Ah so people complained?? Almost a shame because, even though I'm picky about fight scenes and wasn't a fan actually of their directing in the first half, and even though I think violence has to be used carefully in writing to be properly effective, tonally the lack of it in the second half did seem off lol.

Korea loves dark action and noir, but they typically do it in Movies more than Dramas. And their blockbuster action shows tend to end up more like Vagabond unfortunately...
I was more invested in the Veil than My Name also, probably only cos of NGM's Ji Hyuk, since neither was that well written.

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I agree with you both about preferring The Veil to My Name, and obviously NGM was to blame. It would have been interesting a NGM vs Park Hee Soon, the best things of both dramas.

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From the Netizen post about The Veil, it seemed people were also not into Park Ha Sun being offed so early too. I did notice that in the middle, they were more talking than action. Weirdly I didn't notice it as much lol, I think safe for 2 episodes (Ep 7/8) which were boring, the OST, tension, consistent serious tone, and confusing allegiances of the characters kinda juiced it up for me.

Movies are more free in that regards, plus it goes straight into the action b/c of its shorter runtime. Oh Vagabond lol, again, Morocco parts were epic, but once it came back to Korea, it was boring political stuff.

My Name felt like a retread of Heartless City, didn't hate it but kinda neutral about it. Did enjoy Han So Hee though, she was great (Plus, Ahn Bo Hyun was nice to look at)! And a FL (only one there like of course) in this genre was refreshing to see. However, The Veil at least tried to confuse us with different p.o.v.s, and a fast moving plot. It's not like the story was better, but I guess the execution was stronger? Plus, NGM was just a beast, maybe non-descript but I think the subplots kept it from going 100% stale.

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Yeah I just... didn't find the Veil as convincing as you did clearly haha.
It wasn't 100% stale no, and it did have potential and parts I liked, and I was still invested up until episode 8, despite its technical flaws, but as I and others have already mentioned some, I found it over-complicated and lacking in enough OOMPH when it really came to the things that mattered, like character and thematic writing, and after episode 8 it lost its tension for me.

My Name was predictable, not very deep and added nothing to its genre. The Veil at least could've said something even if it actually didn't end up saying much at all.

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It's over.

The story wasn't very appealing and the characters neither. A lot of twists were predictable. I liked NGM in this role but even if his character could have been better written.

I'm kinda sorry for NGM, he worked hard for those muscles, but I think he could have done the same without it. It's not like there were so many action scenes that requested them. At the end, he was more investigating like a cop than doing missions.

In the same style, I think IRIS let me a better impresison.

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Muscles and reasons for doing so aside (especially since to get toned ab shots you have to dehydrate before the shot anyway), I think his face suits the extra 10kg he put on. He looks healthy and toothsome.

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Should there be a betting pool on how much of the muscles, abs, etc he keeps?

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... ಠ_ಠ

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I think the reason Ji-hyuk had to erase his memories is because with those painful memories he couldn't function properly. He had to erase those memories of the past year as a sort of reset on himself so he could investigate properly. With the memories of his failed mission, he wouldn't be able to find the mole. That's why he told himself to find the mole before the final video was revealed and before he regained his memories because once he did, he would become overwhelmed again, which is exactly what happened. The show sort of dragged in the middle and I can't believe they killed a certain character off so early in the show, but I stayed for Namgoong Min and he did not disappoint. That man is all kinds of delicious!

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" but I stayed for Namgoong Min and he did not disappoint. That man is all kinds of delicious!"

He keeps on getting finer as he ages?! Seriously, this is a 44 yr old man?! Props to him for getting to this figure, wonder if he'll at least keep it a bit longer since he put so much work for this show. MBC most likely will award him a Daesang, (Ep 3 in Seoul got 10%, first time since 3 yrs they got this for a Weekday drama). Him and Ji Sung prove you can choose smart prestige dramas well into your 40s, and still look like a snack!! If I were a K-writer, I would cast these two as co-leads in an action/thriller show.

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My dear Soulsearch... now tell me... how I can get the idea off my head of Ji Sung and NGM together in a drama? This comment was very cruel.

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Give us all the angst and shirtless scenes galore!!

"I'm not...a hero. Not the one we deserved. But I'll take it." Haha. Give us the goods!! I need to with my own eyes, be presented with these glorious talented eye candies working on-screen together.

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I thought last week there would a Western show down between JHJ and BMS and it did arrive at the bank rooftop but through several unnecessary plot manipulations which made the ending feel anti-climatic. Namkoong Min clearly carried the show but his character’s psychological choices were convoluted in a story with too many conflicting layers.

BMS' final master plot really made no sense: destroy 25% of SK banking/economy or kill 33 people. If he was angry and vengeful against the agency or the politicians who used the agency to their personal gain, he should have taken out those prime targets as a super spy would have done. For a cunning spy, BMS' final bout of madness motivation of terrorism made no real sense.

I really did not think the mystery puzzle fit very well. Part of the problem was the unreliable, memory "erased" narrator but who was able to send messages to his future self. If he could not trust anyone or anything, how could he make proper conclusions. He was trailing throughout the series but got to make his heroic speech. Part of the problem was the unbelievability that there was no checks, balances or accountability in the writer's NIS immoral world. You really had no one to really root for - - - HJH became a cartoon action hero surviving a hail storm of bullets on a weekly basis.

As with many dramas this year, I come away thinking The Veil could have been better. If you wanted to make a base, bloodfest kung fu series, OK fine. If you wanted to make a spy thriller, fine, make it simple and logical. If you wanted to make it an odd couple justice story, OK but don't make them look, feel and act like strangers waiting in and ATM line.

NM is being touted for Best Actor for his role. His expressions and emotions were muted because of lack of depth in his character development.

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Astute and accurate observations. I concur.

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This show was all over the place plot wise. And yet, I really liked it lol. Big plus, Namgoong Min. This guy is a top A actor, he held this show together. That said, Kim Ji-eun more than held her own. I'm glad she trusted and believed Ji-hyuk all the way, and she was a smart character. Not into the dasmel in distress scenes (2 of them), but I appreciate her cool and stable nature here. Poor Park Ha Sun though, she just got the short end of the stick here :( (I hope the spinoff does her better).

For me, the plot went from this guy discovering his identity again, and then delved into other subplots, and then another. The last episode gave me a lot Die Hard 1 vibes, with the counterterrorist holding people hostage inside. The villain had a sad arc, kinda like Bucky the Winter soldier brainwashing vibes. Nice Eric Clapton usage here!!

Kinda thought we were going to get some Baska (Heartless City) ending, that was ambiguous. Really liked how they clarified that Jihyuk was able to heal, and go back to work. Fell like they were going for a Stranger S1 ending, in terms of exposing the lies of the NIS, but hoping to fix the system from within. Even more recent, Devil's Judge also had a similar ending with our ML finishing up his duties, and coming out of it with a regained perspective on his life/work.

Big props, no women expect one was killed! Low bar, but thank god!! Also, action scenes were well directed. Loved that I could clearly see the action scenes, and NGM doing it himself (or most of it). One the Woman's action scenes are so poorly directed, (But Good Casting's PD does a bad job w/ shaky cam/tight shots). Its ironic b/c the PD for The Veil was shown when Park Ha Sun was on Managers (K-variety show), and the PD was very energetic and playful, but he did a great job w/ the action scenes!!

Ending gives me S2 vibes. Overall, some quibbles, but I wanted a straight up action/thriller show, with a bad ass lead, and I got that. Bonus points for it being 12 episodes, it didn't drag that much in that regards. Seriously, so over all these 16 episodes show with 1 hr + runtimes that drag on.

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Episode 11. We are at the memorial service. One of the navy servicemen who died is Deputy Director Do’s son.
Viki translates her son’s rank as a ‘Private’. I say to my self, “really, a private in the navy? Let me jump over to Kocowa and see how they translate his rank. Kocowa has him as an ‘Ensign’. Myself: “that’s more like it.
Note to Viki: you really should review Deputy Director Do’s ‘eulogy’ in episode 11. It is a mess.

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i loved NGM! he made the show for me. the cast did a great job but he is the star! he can act out any story and make me believe it

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Thanks for all Star Wars references, because while I was watching I was repeating myself "Here we go, Skywalker again". The way JeYi (a character I never liked and who had as many plot holes as the plot itself) repeated "I know my dad is still in him" made me think she wasn't referring The Force enough.

Anyway, I can't add much to what all you have said, this drama could have been better but it wasn't, but I watched and enjoyed because of NGM's acting. He's just overwhelmingly good. I think him and CSW are the actors I most admire in dramaland. They can carry a drama on their shoulders even if it's a mess.

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I have been trying to get my thought together about THE VEIL and it has been kind of tough. I was really looking forward to Namgoong Min and THE VEIL. Initially NGM’s caveman pics gave me pause but I decided to take the plunge.
The first 3-4 episodes were awesome (violent- especially episode 3) but awesome. Maybe the great car chase scenes in episodes 2 and 3 and MGM’s physicality led me to expect that for the entire drama.
I agree with many of the beanie comments above.

(O/T I remember at the conclusion of NGM’s DOCTOR PRISONER (2019) (Viki US) (5 stars) thinking, “Wow”! NGM had great nemeses in Kim Byung-chul and Choi Won-young. The story went back and forth to see who would get the upper hand. Tremendous writing.)

Well at the end of THE VEIL I didn’t get that same feeling.
NGM was terrific but I don’t think he really needed to bulk up like he did.

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