Vigilante: Episodes 3-4
A new player enters the game, confusing investigators and furthering our protagonist’s violent agenda even as he gets in the way of it. Meanwhile, our determined reporter tries her best to remain in control of the narrative that’s starting to take on a life of its own.
In the aftermath of Ji-yong’s publicized killings, copycat Vigilantes pop up all over the country, brutalizing anyone they feel deserves it and complicating police investigations. Ji-yong’s friend Seon-wook muses that these people are simply using the Vigilante as an excuse to justify the crimes they already wanted to commit. When Ji-yong agrees, Seon-wook observes that he’s acting strange these days — though I’d argue that Seon-wook is also acting strange. He keeps giving Ji-yong these long, searching looks, like he Knows Something and they’re both trying really hard not to talk about it.
Meanwhile, Mi-ryeo prepares her next bait: a truck driver who accidentally hit a deliveryman and then reversed back over him instead of calling for help. But even before Mi-ryeo goes public with the story, Ji-yong does his own digging and witnesses the truck driver’s clear lack of remorse or accountability. That night, the Vigilante sneaks up on the truck driver at a bathhouse and drowns him.
But hang on a minute — something’s weird here. To our knowledge, Ji-yong, for better or for worse, doesn’t cover his face when punishing his targets. But this time the Vigilante wore a black, voice-modulating mask. He goes on to kill three more alleged underpunished criminals in quick succession, one of them just 18 years old. Much to Mi-ryeo’s fury, another news station gets the scoop first… and they also get an exclusive video message directly from the Vigilante himself.
Again, he’s wearing that mask. He fully admits that vigilantism is a crime. But he also says that it’s born from empathy for victims who have been failed by the so-called justice system, and that the Vigilante won’t stop until the law does what it’s supposed to do. Except, when he refers to the Vigilante, he says “we,” not “I” — this isn’t Ji-yong. Professor Lee suspects this message was meant solely to provoke the real Vigilante, and by the look on Ji-yong’s face as he watches the broadcast with his classmates, it’s working.
Not long after, a new crime occurs, this one hitting close to home. The sweet old lady who collects cardboard boxes in Ji-yong’s neighborhood (and always gives him candy when he helps retrieve the ones she’s dropped) is run over by an impatient man named JANG SOON-DO (Kim Dae-gon). A bystander rushes to help, only to be arrested for fighting back. Soon-do is hospitalized, and police and reporters alike swarm the place, confident that the Vigilante will soon appear.
Sure enough, Ji-yong sneaks in and attacks Soon-do. He doesn’t kill him yet — instead, he orders Soon-do to turn himself in and beg for the harshest sentence possible. Or else. On his way out, Ji-yong walks right past Heon, instantly pinging his radar. Heon follows him downstairs and outside, but Ji-yong has just enough of a head start to lose him.
But that’s where things get really interesting, because the Masked Vigilante was hiding in Soon-do’s room the whole time. He takes a few moments to fanboy over how cool Ji-yong sounded before throwing Soon-do out of the window to his death. While the police and reporters flounder in confusion, the Masked Vigilante rappels down the side of the building and commandeers an ambulance for his getaway car.
Ji-yong, having witnessed the escape, surprises and delights his impersonator by jumping into the ambulance while it’s going. He demands to know who the Masked Vigilante is, but only gets a gleeful, “Nice to meet you, Ji-yong-ah!” in response. The Masked Vigilante drives erratically to a deserted parking lot. He fanboys some more, and then explains that he’s been cleaning up after Ji-yong to keep him from getting caught. Shaking with excitement, he offers to act as Ji-yong’s sidekick so they can “hunt even larger prey” together.
In response, Ji-yong starts throwing fists. He’s not a hunter, thank you very much, and he detests that the Masked Vigilante doesn’t have personal rules governing his vigilantism. They fight long and hard, and in the end, Ji-yong literally leaves the Masked Vigilante hanging (er, clinging to a ledge, that is), refusing to give him the satisfaction of an unmasking. Undeterred, Ji-yong’s “biggest fan” texts him later that night to ask if he needs an alibi.
The next day, we finally get a peek under the mask. The Masked Vigilante is JO KANG-OK (there you are, Lee Jun-hyuk!), Vice-Chairman of DK Group. He breezes into Mi-ryeo’s office, proudly sporting the scars from last night’s altercation with his hero, and offers to fund her coverage of the Vigilante. She has no intention of letting her journalism be dictated by an investor, but he counters that they both love the Vigilante and might as well protect him together, and smoothly swipes her footage from last night.
On her own time, Mi-ryeo investigates the evil chairman of a different corporation whose enemies seem to conveniently disappear. For example: the staged suicide of an actor who had recently agreed to speak to another reporter. Though, relatively speaking, that’s probably better than getting fed to the chairman’s pigs (which happens to a couple other people who crossed him, and which I could have gone my whole life without seeing, but here we are).
Back at police university, Professor Lee questions Ji-yong about the wounds all over his face. In the middle of Ji-yong’s bumbling attempt to blame it on an overenthusiastic sparring instructor, a strange woman shows up with the police in tow to thank Ji-yong for rescuing her from an attempted assault. Elsewhere, Kang-ok pats himself on the back for impeccable timing.
After Ji-yong agrees to meet up with Kang-ok, that same woman appears at the bus station to give Ji-yong an excuse to ditch his friends. But first, he has to confront Heon, who’s been tailing him. Heon doesn’t outright accuse Ji-yong of being the Vigilante, but he hints that Ji-yong’s weekend activities had better stop here and now. See, Heon knows that if the Vigilante is a young, attractive, upstanding citizen like Ji-yong, the public will go wild for him when he’s finally caught. So instead of arresting Ji-yong, Heon intends to take someone most people will find repulsive and turn them into a scapegoat for the Vigilante’s crimes.
I’m sure that evil chairman will be important soon, but for now I’d rather not think much about him or his pigs — so let’s talk about the other violent (vice-) chairman in the room. Kang-ok may be a murderous loose cannon, but he sure breathes life into the dark atmosphere of this show. I’m curious how his principle-less vigilantism will influence how Ji-yong approaches his own principles. Or, perhaps, vice versa.
On that note, I definitely thought Seon-wook was the Masked Vigilante until I remembered we hadn’t seen Lee Jun-hyuk yet. While I’m sure the misdirection was intentional, I suspect there’s still something going with Seon-wook that will complicate things for Ji-yong even more. At least, I hope so, because I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten inside Ji-yong’s head — and giving him conflict involving his best friend would go along way toward making that emotional connection.
- Premiere Watch: Vigilante
- A closer look at the leads of Disney+’s Vigilante
- Nam Joo-hyuk is judge, jury, and executioner in Vigilante
- Nam Joo-hyuk serves his own justice as Disney+’s Vigilante
- News bites: October 30, 2023
- News bites: October 17, 2023
- News bites: April 8, 2023
- Nam Joo-hyuk
- Yoo Ji-tae
- Lee Jun-hyuk
- Kim So-jin