Is it strange that I finally think the series is picking up? (And imagine – it’s 4 episodes to the end already!) I am suddenly more interested in the drama because we find out who Mr. Black is in this episode! I. Am. So. Excited!!! In the same vein, it’s kind of pathetic that it took me so long to finally care about the series. Ah well – it is the IRIS franchise.
Yoo-gun releases Yun-hwa from her straps and invites her to a nice cooked meal. He sympathizes with her because she might be having an identity crisis. His kindness goes a long way, because she then reveals that back in the day, Baek San was ordered to kill 5 nuclear scientists; Mr. Black is the one survivor.
As he transports Yun-hwa to a new safe house, Yoo-gun contacts Min for help. He’ll need access to the National Archives and the tools to record his findings regarding Baek San’s past. She promises to leave him the needed supplies in the locker room, and tells him that she’ll begin interrogating Shi-hyuk and Hyun-woo. Little do they know, Section Chief Hwang is listening in on their conversation. He reports to Chul-hwan, but the conversation is not enough evidence to pin Min for treason.
Yoo-gun gets a new ID card and some reading glasses that can take pictures. His new ID checks out with security and grants him access to the classified archives. He finds the files regarding Baek San’s induction into the agency and how he had to kill several nuclear scientists (including Hyun-joon’s parents). One scientist went missing – a Mr. Yoo Jong-chul – and he became the head of IRIS. Ooooh – personal vendetta! And Baek San’s enemy became his boss! Oooooh!
Anyways – Section Chief Hwang has assembled some men to go to the National Archives and apprehend Yoo-gun, per Chul-hwan’s orders. They fail, dismally, as Yoo-gun can out-fight and out-run all of them. Meanwhile, Yun-hwa wakes up in an empty apartment (the new safe house) and makes her escape. Except – she ends up leisurely walking on a bridge – and approaches the railing. Wait – why?! Are you going to jump!?
Baek San visits the grave of Soo Min/Ji Young, and leaves a bouquet of flowers for her. Who should find him there, but Yoo-gun? They both have a moment to pay their respects, and then chat for a bit. Baek San lived his life without regrets until now, knowing now that he had left the love of his life and his son. He hopes that Yoo-gun can leave IRIS to him for revenge, but Yoo-gun refuses. He reveals Mr. Black’s identity, which comes as a surprise for Baek San because Yoo Jong-chul is none other than Yoo Jong-hoon’s older brother.
Side note for those who need an IRIS refresher on the reference: Yoo Jong-hoon (played by Kim Gab Soo) was also known as Mr. X, and had helped Hyun-joon (Lee Byung Hun) in his fight against IRIS. He was a nuclear scientist that brought Hyun-joon’s parents on board the project, and then barely escaped death from Baek San’s bullet (per IRIS’ orders). Jong-hoon was paralyzed, and began to dig deep into why all the scientists were getting killed. He found out about IRIS, and when Baek San found him in 2009, he killed him properly.
Another bit of trivia: in IRIS, Choi Seung-hee (played by Kim Tae Hee) is the “adopted” daughter of Baek San; because of her father’s early demise, Baek San decided to help raise her as a daughter and even got her a job at NSS. That makes Kim Tae Hee and Jang Hyuk pseud-siblings.
Baek San can’t believe that Jong-chul would order the death of his own brother, but then again, Young-choon wanted the death of his brother, Young-chan. Yoo-gun swears that he’ll go after IRIS and Joong-won, and until then he hopes that Baek San can avoid capture.
When Yoo-gun returns to his apartment garage, Min shines her headlights at him. She wants to know what he found at the National Archives, and believes that Yoo Jong-chul might be the Anthony Choi her contact in the States told her about, since he moved to the States around the same time period the nuclear scientists were dying, and he got citizenship almost immediately.
Surprisingly for Yoo-gun, he returns to the apartment and finds Yun-hwa there. She didn’t kill herself, nor did she run away. She was hungry – so Yoo-gun hands her an apple and milk. Clearly she’s attached to him and finds a kindred spirit in him.
The president visits NSS and Min shows him the results of her investigations. She suggests that Korea inform the allies of the nuclear bombs and proceed with denuclearization. However, the president is reluctant to do so because the North has nuclear weapons. They need to have a balance in military power for peace to continue.
Section Chief Hwang and Chul-hwan join the meeting, and while Hwang recognizes the danger of having nuclear weapons (because other countries may try to develop them now), Chul-hwan supports the president fully. So of course he gets to come back to NSS and head a team to manage the nuclear warheads.
Now that he’s in charge of the nuclear weapons, how fitting is it that Joong-won has him “kidnapped” from his home and brought to a secluded area? Joong-won gives a grand speech about true patriots working in the shadows in an attempt to convince Chul-hwan to work with him and IRIS. Joong-won believes Chul-hwan will bite because he’s into heroics.
Meanwhile Min is interrogating Shi-hyuk as to whether he’s the mole or not, considering that his partner was found dead. Shi-hyuk maintains his innocence, and unfortunately forensic evidence is on his side (his gun is proven to not have been used). Lie detector tests are not reliable since both he and Hyun-woo pass, and they might have been trained to fool the machine. They get moved to NIS for further internal investigation, and Chul-hwan issues an order to the team to shoot without needing to report it when arresting Baek San and Yoo-gun.
A list of the IRIS operatives in the church incident are identified and given to Soo-yeon. They discover that all of the operatives have at one point stayed with Sister Mary Jung. Soo-yeon goes to visit her, and the sister presents herself as someone who is helping North Korean escapees get into South Korea. In actuality – she is intentionally helping Joong-won. She excuses herself and notifies Joong-won, who then instructs her to keep Soo-yeon there until Tae-hee arrives.
In a great pan-reveal, we see Soo-yeon on the phone with Min, and Sister Mary behind her. Then a slide of the camera, and next thing we know it’s Tae-hee behind her, ready to chloroform and kidnap her.
Joong-won calls up Min demanding Baek San in exchange for Soo-yeon, knowing that the news will trickle to Yoo-gun’s ears as well. Min tries to keep Joong-won on the line for more than two minutes so that the team can trace the call, but he hangs up with 10 seconds left to spare. Min makes her last call to Yoo-gun: since she can no longer help him because of Chul-hwan, he will need to find Soo-yeon through Yun-hwa and Baek San.
Because Yoo-gun treats her so well, Yun-hwa is willing to help him find Joong-won, and leads him to the sister’s church, where she thought they’d be hiding out. But they’re not there. Using the New Day article, NSS puts in a secret code to notify Baek San of Soo-yeon’s situation. Baek San instructs his assistant to not say a word to Yoo-gun if he calls, knowing that it won’t end until he confronts IRIS himself.
Chul-hwan calls up Joong-won at the end of the day, and while he is flattered to be regarded as a patriot, he will not accept IRIS’ offer. Omigod – I suddenly have respect for him. Instead, he warns Joong-won to just return to the North before he causes up more trouble, since NSS has (most of) the nuclear weapons. Joong-won’s not happy, so that means he’s going to torture Soo-yeon with electrified rods for information about that.
Yoo-gun manages to call up Joong-won and warn him not to touch Soo-yeon (of course). Since he’s Joong-won’s real target anyways, he gives him the address of where they are as long as Yoo-gun comes along. (With Yun-hwa, of course.)
And at that point, Baek San’s also arrived at the location as well….