Adamas: Episode 2
As our novelist makes his intentions known, we learn more about what brought him to the Haesong mansion. And the more time he spends in said mansion — somewhat recklessly, one might add — the more the intrigue builds.
Editor’s note: Coverage will continue with weecaps.
EPISODE 2 WEECAP
Much like in Episode 1, Adamas is beautifully directed and uses its longish moments and slow reveals to build tension and suspense in a way that’s different from the jump-scare side of things. It’s more like this slowly unraveling mystery, where one clue leads to another which leads to another — good thing our heroes are both brave and ballsy, because they have quite the mountain opposing them.
We pick up with the stand-off between Woo-shin and Tae-sung, which confirms that Tae-sung is indeed undercover. But also, he’s intense, and willing to do anything (anything!) to keep his cover. We see that intention in his eyes, but also in the following scene where he puts Woo-shin’s loyalties (or ability to keep a secret) to the test.
Hye-soo happened to be out in the same forest “picking flowers” and she stumbled across the two men during their threatening exchange. When the situation is called to Chairman Kwon’s attention, all three of them wind up in his study — not at all unlike going to the principal’s office.
Hye-soo and Tae-sung offer two different sides of the story; it’s left for Woo-shin to explain himself to the chairman. What was he doing in the woods? What was the situation between him and Tae-sung? Chairman Kwon takes it lightly and seems willing to buy Woo-shin’s “walk” in the woods; dragon lady Ms. Kwon is breathing fire, though, and it sets up a tension between her and her beloved chairman later. (When she suggests the chairman likes Woo-shin because he reminds him of his deceased son, she’s brutally assaulted by the chairman, and to make it even worse, she takes the blow as if a disciplined and devoted watchdog.)
Anyway, the study scene is wildly tense, with nothing happening as we’re just waiting to see what Woo-shin will do. He winds up asking to speak to Chairman Kwon in private, and then he continues to do what he seems way too good at: gaining the chairman’s trust. Later, in flashback, we see that Woo-shin used the opportunity to tell Chairman Kwon that he will indeed keep tabs on Hye-soo and report back to him. Trust level 8/10 at this point, probably.
With Chairman Kwon’s favor in pocket (at least for now), Woo-shin not only calls Tae-sung out for testing whether he would blow his cover to the chairman when under pressure, but also refuses to be controlled by Ms. Kwon. Much to her rage.
Dragon Lady Kwon has overheard Dong-rim’s earlier “chaebol research” comment, so she thinks he’s digging for information. Of course, there’s soooo much more going on than that. Regardless, she’s utterly suspicious of him and has her maids tailing his every move (forcing them to take rat poison when they fail, omg). Meanwhile, Tae-sung uses a well-hidden satellite phone to talk to whoever his people are. He’s told to remove the threat that Woo-shin poses to their cover. Uh oh.
Woo-shin isn’t one to be intimidated, though, and he continues his exploration of the house, assessing its architecture quite thoroughly, and looking for signs of any sort of hidden room or chamber where the priceless adamas might be secreted.
During one such forbidden exploration, he meets Hye-soo, languid and mysterious as ever. But the tense scene turns even more so when Woo-shin sets off the portable metal detector in her handbag. He shrugs it off, saying he once had surgery to his finger, but the maid who’s tailing him reports it all back to the dragon lady.
Dragon lady knows — gulp — that no such surgery records turned up when Woo-shin was cleared for entry into the mansion, and she digs deeper. Surprise, surprise, she soon receives Woo-shin’s medical records stating the exact surgical procedure he claimed to have. Except he knows he didn’t have it.
This eventually leads to the best reveal of the episode, which is Woo-shin confronting Hye-soo in her home turf of the greenhouse. He suggests that she was the one who forged the medical records on his behalf (she’s the heiress of that hospital conglomerate) — and then he goes a step further to say that she was also the one who sent him the anonymous letter and the invite to ghostwrite. (The letter ties back to the opening scene of the drama where it was received in a thunderstorm.)
Hye-soo confirms that she sent the letter, but claims she didn’t invite him to the mansion. She does add, however, that nothing in that house happens by accident, and surely someone else is involved. Importantly, we also learn that her letter confirmed that the adamas was the never-found murder weapon in his father’s case, which she says she heard from her (rotten) husband KWON HYUN-JO (Seo hyun-woo).
The whole thing is brimming with intrigue, and while the Hye-soo reveal is awesome (and I look forward to what happens there), it will be interesting to see who else is involved as well. From Tae-sung to cutie pie Dong-rim, everyone seems to know more than they should.
I also wonder how much Chairman Kwon secretly knows of Woo-shin. He’s strangely calm when he catches Woo-shin examining his study (realizing the floor and carpeting is a bit off), and buys Woo-shin’s story that it’s time for their interview for his memoir.
The “interviews” Woo-shin takes are so short and odd, I have no idea how he’ll actually write a memoir out of it, but no matter — we learn what we need to learn, and so does Woo-shin. Haesong was founded by Chairman Kwon’s grandfather 80 years ago, and the arrowhead has long been its symbol. When the company was in a crisis, Kwon saved it with a pitch-perfect PR move: purchasing the priceless adamas relic and making it a symbol of the company. It’s also noted that adamas in the original Greek means “unable to conquer.” (Yay for tension-building metaphors and subtext!)
Though we stick with Woo-shin most of the time, we do follow his twin Soo-hyun a bit more in Episode 2 as he picks up the not-so-subtle breadcrumbs that report Seo-hee has left for him. He claims she just wants to erode the case against horrible inmate LEE CHANG-WOO (Jo Sung-ha) to poke holes in the death penalty movement, and then, by extension, Candidate Hwang’s campaign.
But though Soo-hyun doesn’t seem totally convinced yet, that doesn’t mean he’s not open-minded. Indeed, as he digs into the case of their father’s murder — even though it’s long past the statute of limitations — he confirms that one of the witnesses was coerced into his testimony. Creepiest part is that the witness and his ailing wife are still under the watchful eye of our baddies, and when it’s clear Soo-hyun is onto something, the witness and his wife die in a joint “suicide.” Annnd the evil power behind all of this is Hye-soo’s husband.
There have been so many reveals in just the drama’s first two episodes, I can’t imagine how the drama will continue to parse out its wonderfully twisted tale — but I hope that’s exactly what it does. With so many players, and the entire setup feeling so much like Chairman Kwon’s strategic baduk board, I’m sure there is only more coming. Keep us on the edge of our seats, and keep us guessing!