Delightfully Deceitful: Episodes 7-8
Our team goes head-to-head against an old enemy in a battle of wits that will test not only their skills but also their loyalties. The truth about the past is slowly coming to light, but at what cost?
At Mu-young’s disciplinary hearing (for leaking the recording of Choong-shik’s confession), he calmly explains his empathy disorder and accepts a three-month suspension (hence, he asks Ro-woom to trust him for that exact length of time). He also turns the con money over to prosecutor RYU JAE-HYUK (Choi Young-jun), who’s becoming increasingly invested in Ro-woom’s case himself. Prosecutor Ryu wonders what lines Mu-young might be crossing, but Mu-young firmly believes he’s doing the right thing.
Despite Da-jung’s warnings against it, Ro-woom lets Mu-young in on her plan, which comes with a bunch more backstory. Around the time Ro-woom planned to leave Jeokmok Academy, Kyung-ja’s late husband, former Jeokmok director AHN CHAE-HONG (Park Jung-hak) discovered the mysterious Chairman’s identity and tried to run away with Kyung-ja and Ro-woom.
Unbeknownst to Director Ahn, however, Kyung-ja was secretly in love with the very first Jeokmok Kid, JAY (Kim Tae-hoon). Though Ro-woom offered to expose both the Chairman and Director Ahn on Kyung-ja’s behalf, Kyung-ja took matters into her own hands. She murdered Director Ahn herself and betrayed Ro-woom’s plans to the Chairman, resulting in the deaths of Ro-woom’s parents.
Jay is still by Kyung-ja’s side, though he doesn’t tell Kyung-ja about meeting Ro-woom behind the scenes of an interview. But the really important thing is that Kyung-ja still has Director Ahn’s notebook containing intel on the nefarious practices of Jeokmok Foundation. She keeps the notebook safe in a VIP hotel vault, which means our team is gearing up for a heist.
First, they lay the groundwork. Ro-woom poses as a health inspector to check out the hotel’s vulnerabilities, and Ringo secures a temporary concierge job so they’ll have someone on the inside. But the most difficult task falls to Mu-young: they’ll need access to Kyung-ja’s phone for the operation to work, so he has to get a transmitter close enough that Da-jung can hack it.
Mu-young and Kyung-ja’s meeting is thick with tension, both because he fumbles with the tech and because he and Kyung-ja make for formidable verbal opponents. She knows a lot more about his connection with Ro-woom than he’d like her to, but when she chalks his involvement up to pity, he says firmly that his sympathy is reserved for those who deserve it. In short, they both leave the encounter feeling a little unsettled.
Ro-woom, having listened in, seems rather touched, especially when Mu-young invites her over for ramyun with no intention of asking more questions. He shares about the lawyer who gave him hope as a kid when his family fell apart, wondering aloud what might have been different if someone had done the same for her. It’s a nice moment of what feels like genuine connection, and Ro-woom even looks to be experiencing the tiniest bit of guilt over having had a hand in engineering his family’s downfall.
Later, Mu-young’s sentiment — that is, what if people like Ro-woom had someone to advocate for them instead of being left with nowhere to turn? — is echoed by Yo-han of all people. It turns out his only childhood friend was pushed by tragic circumstances into delinquency and ultimately died in a failed attempt at insurance fraud. And that’s why he became a probation officer: so he could help desperate, unfortunate people get a second chance.
Honestly, though, the more we learn about Yo-han, the more confused I am by him. I suppose growing up with literally only one friend might explain his total disregard of boundaries, and I appreciated his confrontation with his estranged psychologist mother after discovering that she personally selected the Jeokmok Kids (and that she cares nothing about the horrible things Jeokmok did to them). But I’m struggling to reconcile this Yo-han who says he believes in second chances with the Yohan who so gleefully hounds his probationers waiting for them to slip up.
The day of the heist arrives, but is immediately fraught with red flags. The whole plan hinges on Kyung-ja entering the vault and receiving a secure code on her phone, at which point they’ll fry the phone, steal the code, trap Kyung-ja in the elevator, and retrieve the notebook from the vault. But Kyung-ja arrives late, with a group of businessmen in tow, and updates her phone, which means they have to start the hacking part all over again.
Despite the warning signs, Ro-woom pushes through. Still, everything goes according to plan… until it doesn’t. Ringo is caught by Jay, who roughs him up and stuffs him in a locker. Nasa gives into temptation and starts grabbing all the gold in the vault instead of just the notebook. Incensed, Ro-woom goes in after Nasa with the gun he built, and that keeps them both busy long enough for Kyung-ja to escape the elevator and capture them. Having lost contact with Ro-woom, Da-jung makes the executive decision to get Ringo to safety, leaving Ro-woom and Nasa to their own devices.
It’s unclear what Kyung-ja does with Nasa, but she takes Ro-woom back to the scene of her parents’ deaths and burns the notebook in front of her, gloating as Ro-woom’s anger and bravado fade into despair. Ultimately, Ro-woom is left alone, sobbing in the cold, watching the evidence against Jeokmok go up in smoke just as her parents and their house did in this same place ten years ago.
By this time, Mu-young has discovered that Ro-woom took the gun and left in its place a USB with all the information about how she and her team destroyed his family. After wrestling with the knowledge, however, he heads out to find her and bring her home.
Much as I’m on the fence about Yo-han, I do like the contrast between his approach to Ro-woom (keeping her “out of the mire,” as he says) and Mu-young’s (getting down into the mire with her and fighting alongside her). Ro-woom said from the beginning that actions mean more to her than words, and Mu-young’s actions are definitely starting to get under her skin. I fully believe she intended for the USB to cut the ties between them for good — and that the vulnerability in her eyes when he reached out to her was real this time.
As for Kyung-ja, she’s also an interesting mix of vulnerabilities — probably some real, some an act — and power. She’s not someone to underestimate, and I’d have been a bit disappointed if she hadn’t come out on top this round. This failure makes her a more menacing foe than she would have been otherwise, and it’s also an opportunity for our con team to take a step back and consider where they went wrong. But will they come back together stronger than ever, or will they continue to fracture and break under the pressure?
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