A decidedly North Korean-centric episode, as we focused on Tae-hee, Yun-hwa, and Joong-won – and their love triangle. Tae-hee harbors a serious crush on Joong-won, but he’s busy caring for Yun-hwa, who’s still acting like a total brat. Seriously, how’d she get accepted into IRIS in the first place?
Strangely enough – this is the first time I also actually have comments about the episode.
Fake out! Yoo-gun ends up visiting the home of a middle-aged woman, as Tae-hee had registered a fake address. As for Joong-won and Tae-hee, their visitor is Lee Hyuk-soo, Joong-won’s hoobae who wants to join him for his missions. Joong-won asks his hoobae for news about his mother, and Hyuk-soo’s face darkens. Apparently his mother was executed. Oh the revenge!!!
And then we have Yun-hwa wearing lipstick and visiting Young-choon. It’s the “seduce-and-kill” tactic again! Tae-hee happens to pass by his apartment just as he goes “ECK” and drops to the floor. She even sees Yun-hwa drag the body into another room and take her knife out of his heart. Yun-hwa, I thought as an agent you would learn how to be more stealthy!!!
Well of course this isn’t going to be good, but Yun-hwa is really chill about it. She even lets Tae-hee make sure he’s dead. You know what this means – cat! fight! With knives. Oh, and pillows. Oooh – feathers! And more slashing of sweaters just so Yun-hwa would have an excuse to take off more clothes.
Finally Joong-won arrives to see them mid-fight. He discovers Young-choon’s dead body and sends Tae-hee out. What Yun-hwa did is so not cool, but she feels justified because she already warned him that she’d kill any military hardliner in Korea. And, it’s vengeance for his dead mother. Joong-won aims his gun at her – if she ever shows up in front of his face again, he’ll kill her. Oh goody – time to get rid of this spitfire who doesn’t know what she’s doing.
Hyun-kyu wants Yoo-gun found, as he’s afraid that the lasting effects of bullet fragments in his brain will worsen. It’s also moving to the center of his brain, which means Yoo-gun will become a violent psychopath, or commit suicide. So they have to treat him now. While this is quite worrisome, Min first wants Hyun-kyu to help her verify something over 30 years old to see if it still works. His eyes widen when he sees an old nuclear bomb (in the shape of a sphere no less) right before his very eyes.
Tae-hee arrives at the Paris Baguette she frequents, and orders some food to go. The waiter, now aware that he must report to Byung-jin, texts him quickly and delays in giving Tae-hee her food. Byung-jin in turn notifies Yoo-gun, and he hurries over. He tails her car, but his sudden rush to beat a light causes some honking, and alerts Tae-hee to his presence. If she cares.
Yoo-gun discovers where Tae-hee is staying and informs Min, who sends Shi-hyuk and Hyun-woo over to help him. Meanwhile, Joong-won wants Tae-hee to go find Yun-hwa; he’s worried about her and swears that he would have killed Young-choon himself because the man didn’t keep his promises. I think Tae-hee has a crush on Joong-won, so she doesn’t like this sudden concern for Yun-hwa, and she never thought Joong-won would have betrayed the North Korean cause.
They’re notified that NSS has caught them, and they hurry out of the apartment. Yoo-gun and Hyun-woo’s cars trap Tae-hee and Joong-won, so they have to run off in separate directions. Hyun-woo goes after Tae-hee, and after a fierce fight, she slashes him and pushes him down the stairs. Shi-hyuk is down the hall, but he waits until Tae-hee’s out of his line of vision before running to Hyun-woo’s side. That jerk.
As for Yoo-gun, he kills Joong-won’s right hand man, Choon-sung, and then goes after Joong-won himself. It’s a hard fist-fight, but suddenly a splitting headache renders Yoo-gun incapable of punching anymore. He falls, and Joong-won starts beating the crap out of Yoo-gun. He can’t bring himself to kill him though because he still feels guilty over the death of Mrs. Jung.
Joong-won and Tae-hee finally make their escape to a new safe house/warehouse. Mr. Black is not pleased to hear that Joong-won isn’t any closer to finding Baek San, and since Young-choon is dead, he has no use for him. But Joong-won quickly makes a new deal: if Mr. Black would support him in North Korea, he’ll give him all the uranium mines in the North and give him 4 out of the 5 nuclear bombs. One of those bombs he’ll use on Seoul.
This comes as a shock to Tae-hee because it sounds like a dangerous game; North Korea could very well be ruled under Mr. Black’s thumb rather than be its own powerful republic. But Joong-won isn’t an idiot – once North Korea is on its own two feet, he’ll eradicate IRIS forever.
Okay – so just that we’re on the same page, Team North Korea wants to get rid of everyone. Oh joy!
Yun-hwa hurries back to the old apartment, ready to apologize to Joong-won for killing Young-choon. HAH! That makes me laugh so hard – she sounds like a little sister sorry for breaking Mom’s vase and blaming it on older brother. Little does she realize, Yoo-gun is behind the door. He knocks her out and carries her to his own private interrogation cell in the trunk of his car.
Yoo-gun notifies Min about Yun-hwa, but refuses to bring her to NSS; someone had clearly tipped off Joong-won’s team about his presence earlier, and if Hyun-woo and Shi-hyuk were the only ones who knew to go to the apartment building, then one of them must be the mole. Because of that, Min assigns Soo-yeon to do thorough background checks on Hyun-woo and Shi-hyuk. (She also shows Soo-yeon the four nuclear bombs they retrieved. To Hyun-kyu’s estimation, if South Korea studies these bombs, they can surpass the North’s, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear technology by creating 20,000 nuclear bombs almost immediately.)
In his secluded interrogation room, the tables have turned for Yoo-gun and Yun-hwa. He wants to know where Joong-won is, but she doesn’t know for sure. He wants any information she can give regarding IRIS and Mr. Black, but for that she won’t tell. So he decides to do his worst: he puts on a pair of headphones on her, blasts rock music, and then turns on glaring headlights in her face. That’s enough to drive someone up the wall. But even then, she can’t tell Yoo-gun how to find Joong-won. He appeals to her humanity – hundreds of mothers will die from nuclear terrorism! And Joong-won killed his mom!
Speaking of which, Joong-won meets with Mr. Black’s contact… who is none other than Shi-hyuk. He’s amused to see that Min’s right-hand man is actually Mr. Black’s. Shi-hyuk gives him a picture of Soo-yeon (so they can kill her) and Chul-hwan (so they can see if they can turn him to IRIS). Shi-hyuk returns to his car and finds that his partner has followed him. His partner even saw him meet with Joong-won, so of course this means he’s got to die.
When Shi-hyuk returns to NSS he’s immediately arrested. Soo-yeon has already commenced her investigations on him and Hyun-woo, but based on hard evidence, Hyun-woo seems more suspicious (even though she instinctively doesn’t believe it). He had lost his ID card the day before Park Joon-han died, when IRIS first ambushed Baek San’s safe house; it sounds more like he gave his ID card to IRIS. Hyun-woo refuses to talk to her, as he feels betrayed that she thinks he’s a traitor.
Soo-yeon has Shi-hyuk put in the same room as Hyun-woo, and of course Shi-hyuk claims innocence and antagonizes Hyun-woo. Which makes Hyun-woo look worse too.
Joong-won hosts a team meeting and wants them to recover Baek San’s nuclear weapons. He assigns one in his team, Kang Min-woo, to hack into NSS and CCTV’s to see if there’s any information on Baek San’s whereabouts. Tae-hee is in charge of keeping tabs on Soo-yeon so that they can later kidnap her and bring her in. And this… is all for the glory of the North!
My comments have to do mainly with Joong-won. I feel like I’m watching him lose sight of his goal for his country; even though he says that he wants North Korea to become a strong and powerful nation, he seems to just want revenge against anyone who hurt him or his mom. Even if a North Korean or an IRIS member would have helped him make North Korea great faster, he seems to be more than willing to off them just because they hurt him on a personal level. How do you go from “ruthless agent who’ll even go undercover for the sake of the country” to “I’ll kill you because you killed my mother, but I won’t kill you because I killed your mother”? And frankly, I don’t like him very much for that. Even if this makes him more human, it doesn’t make me respect him more as a character. It’s true that I generally enjoy complex baddies, but this whole “I lost my mother” deal is not making them complex – not when everyone and their mother is suffering from it. (Yun-hwa, Yoo-gun, Min, Joong-won…)
Watch – we’ll also learn that Shi-hyuk’s mother was killed before his very eyes, and that’s why IRIS recruited him (because he had so much rage) and sent him abroad. And then we’ll learn that Tae-hee’s mother is a North Korean government official (hence her patriotic sense of duty). And then Soo-yeon’s mom will die from a heart attack. And everyone will go on a revenge spree. At least they’ve toned down the romance in this drama (and I mean, really dialed it down in past couple of weeks), but they sure are amping up the mommy issues.
I sure do feel bad for Lee Beom Soo, who’s a phenomenal actor. But as we all know from the IRIS franchise, they tend to give the best actors crappy scripts.