Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I just love this scene of Shi Mok and Yeo Jin eating together, and just had to have it headline our post today. Don’t they make such a perfect pair? 🤩
Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
It’s all so murky.. is what I’m thinking, as I finish this episode. I feel like Show always shakes things up so thoroughly, that while I’m watching – as in, long before I even get to the end of the episode – I already feel like I don’t quite know which way is up.
This episode, I’m rather fascinated by the Chief Prosecutor, especially when he thinks back to how everything (meaning, all the bribery and shady dealings) had started with a sense of obligation after someone else had paid for his meal and a round of drinks. He also talks about how a big network is a source of power when you’re starting out in the lower ranks, but increasingly becomes a weakness, the higher you go. That’s such an interesting way of looking at it, honestly. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
Of course, this reasoning only really applies if you have something to hide, right? And our Chief Prosecutor definitely appears to have at least a few things that he’d like to keep hidden, judging from the intent way he tells his secretary to do background checks on all the section chiefs and higher. He’s clearly looking for dirt on these people, and I suspect it has more to do with gaining leverage, than with actually removing corrupt people from within the system.
The curious thing, though, is how the Chief Prosecutor destroys that leather wallet, which appears to have been a gift from the man who had bought him that initial meal. I’m guessing that it had been some kind of bribe, from the context.
It’s really interesting to me, that the Chief Prosecutor seems to have such a deep hatred for what it represents. How intriguing, then, that he’d kept it all this time, despite it holding such negative emotions for him, and also, that he’d destroy it, now that he’s about to officially move into his new Chief Prosecutor’s office. Does this mean that he’s held on to it, to spur himself towards bigger things, and now that he’s Chief, he finally feels like he’s conquered the Achilles heel that it represents?
Also, from the way the Chief Prosecutor thoughtfully surveys Prosecutor Seo, as Prosecutor Seo desperately states his case for why Park Kyung Wan is the culprit that they’re looking for, and wonders why Prosecutor Seo is so desperate to close the case, it makes me think that perhaps the Chief Prosecutor might not be involved in either murder, after all.
The other character that I find fascinating, this episode, is Prosecutor Seo.
Lee Joon Hyuk is playing him in a manner that feels more and more theatrical and bug-eyed, as we get deeper into our story, such that sometimes I feel like Prosecutor Seo is in his own makjang, while everyone else is in a parallel, much more restrained sort of drama. I really have to wonder at the acting and directing choice, because I know for a fact that Lee Joon Hyuk is capable of much more restraint. Why make Prosecutor Seo so OTT..? I feel like he’d be just as effective, if he were being played more low-key.
By the time we reach the end of the episode, I’m more confused than ever, about Ga Young’s mobile phone. Since we see Prosecutor Seo still in possession of it in our closing scene, and trying to plant it as evidence in Park Moo Sung’s house, doesn’t this mean that he’d thrown a decoy into the water?
And if he’d thrown a decoy into the water, doesn’t that mean that he basically went out and performed an elaborate show, where he pretended to search the crime scene, then pretended to throw that decoy pack of cigarettes, before actually throwing a decoy phone into the water? It’s enough to make my head spin. 🤪
Also, he’s exceedingly horrible to Yeo Jin, on that bridge, Ugh.
He really seemed to relish bullying her, with the way he threw the stuff in her face, and then ordered her to pick it up. UGH. I can’t help wondering where all of this is coming from. As in, has he been made to feel subservient and less than, so much, that when the opportunity presents itself for him to be the oppressor, he can’t help but savor it..?
Prosecutor Seo’s turning out to be way more forward-thinking and wily than I’d given him credit for. I mean, his attempt to set up Park Kyung Wan as the murderer is pretty meticulous, down to powering up Ga Young’s phone after Kyung Wan’s interrogation, so that he would be able to conjure up a plausible story, of Kyung Wan powering up the phone after his interrogation, in order to remove “evidence.”
And to add to the murky mix that we have going on, we have that attempted murder of Ga Young, as she lies in the hospital. From the glimpse of the elegant high heels and the short-haired silhouette, I can’t help wondering if this is Mrs. Chief Prosecutor. Circumstantially, the shoe fits..? After all, not only does she look the part, she would want to punish her husband for his philandering ways. And, she would, at the same time, want Ga Young silenced. Hrm…
All that said, I really did enjoy watching Shi Mok and Yeo Jin working together, this episode. They don’t spend a great deal of time in the same frame, but this tag team sort of set-up, where they tip each other off on a regular basis, is pretty great. The last time, Yeo Jin had tipped off Shi Mok that Prosecutor Seo wouldn’t be in his office, and that’s how Shi Mok had managed to search his office. And this time, Shi Mok’s the one who tips off Yeo Jin, that Prosecutor Seo’s on his way out, and that’s how Yeo Jin’s on the alert to first hide herself, and then tail Prosecutor Seo.
I also like the detail that even though Prosecutor Seo has several tricks up his sleeve in the form of decoys, our little investigative team isn’t too shabby either. I was really quite pleased to realize that Shi Mok had also asked Detective Jang to tail Prosecutor Seo, as a back-up. Of course, that does turn out to be rather futile in the end, since the phone they’d fished out of the water had turned out to be a dud. But still, just the idea that they’re thinking ahead and working together, pleases me.
In particular, I love that little beat where Yeo Jin teases Shi Mok about being angry, and then, proceeds to do a sketch of his angry expression, while blithely ignoring his protests, that he’s not angry. Hee. It makes me happy to think that Yeo Jin’s starting to understand Shi Mok, more or less against his wishes, and is casually leaning into it and becoming familiar with him, never mind what he thinks.
I find it so endearing, that Shi Mok doesn’t throw those drawings away, even though they’re rough sketches torn out of her notebook, that are given to him almost as a joke. Instead, this episode, we see him actually studying the drawings, and trying on a smile, in a bemused, experimental fashion. He doesn’t quite know what to make of it all, but he seems at least somewhat open to the idea that he does have feelings, and I like that.
This episode, I’m starting to get the sense that Prosecutor Young might actually be nursing some kind of crush on Shi Mok. There’s something about the way she talks to him, especially when she barges into his apartment, that comes across as her being a bit desperate for his approval and trust. Plus, she looks rather deflated, and even a little bitter, when she points out that he wouldn’t care about what she does there, no matter what. That definitely smacks of some kind of unrequited affection, wouldn’t you say?
As we close out the episode, I’m ridiculously pleased that Shi Mok and Yeo Jin catch Prosecutor Seo in the actual act of trying to plant Ga Young’s phone as evidence against Kyung Wan. YESS. The wily fox get one-upped, after all of his elaborate scheming this episode, and I love it.
Is his claim that the Chief Prosecutor is behind the murder true, though? I mean, on the one hand, it looks plausible, because we see the Chief Prosecutor deleting what looks like evidence from his computer. On the other hand, that could all just be a dramatization of Prosecutor Seo’s accusation – and that accusation could be yet another decoy, in a desperate attempt to get himself off the hook?
It’s beginning to come together in my head, that every episode, Show changes tack and explores the probability of someone else being the culprit, than the person whom we’d just been convinced was the culprit, in the episode prior.
The only reason this approach works, is, of course, because so many of our characters have such questionable backgrounds, that it’s not that difficult, to spin a motive and a set of circumstances, that would lead us to believe said new person is likely the culprit that we’re looking for.
The deeper I get into this show, the more it becomes clear to me that a lot of people in this drama world have things to hide.
Even Team Leader Choi, who had earlier seemed to me to be only involved in a reluctant sort of way, makes me think that he’s pretty much as dirty as the next dirty cop, with the way he beats up Park Kyung Wan so badly, that a cover up is needed.
At the same time, the problem is clearly systemic. That beat, where Team Leader Choi and Detective Kim sheepishly tell the Police Chief that they’d thought that this was what the Chief had meant, when he’d told them to get a confession out of Park Kyung Wan, no matter what it took, reminds me of a somewhat similar scene in D.P. (Deserter Pursuit), which I finished recently.
[VAGUE HIGH LEVEL MINOR SPOILER FOR D.P.] Basically, the idea is that the orders to resort to violence are never given directly; they are hinted at, and the subordinates are expected to know what to do. BUT, if anything goes wrong, the supervisor’s going to turn around and say that he never gave the order. And that really does seem to be the dynamic at work here, too, doesn’t it? [END SPOILER]
In this sense, I don’t tend to blame Team Leader Choi as an individual for being cruel, as much as I blame the system for being rotten. Yeo Jin is completely right on this point; regular folks who seem perfectly decent, can end up doing terrible things, because the system has taught them that it’s ok to do so.
This episode, I don’t know how much I believe the idea that Prosecutor Seo is innocent. I mean, just because he doesn’t actually kill Prosecutor Young when she tests him by blackmailing him, doesn’t prove anything, does it? In fact, the violently aggressive way he reacts when he gets that text from her, makes me think that he absolutely has something to hide. Otherwise, why would he rush to the crime scene, and attack Prosecutor Young?
Personally, I don’t buy Prosecutor Young’s explanation to Shi Mok, that Prosecutor Seo’s reaction proves that he’s not the culprit. Plus, there’s always the possibility – which Prosecutor Young points out herself – that he could have been working with an accomplice. If he’d had an accomplice, then it doesn’t mean anything, does it, if he personally didn’t kill Prosecutor Young? Also, how can she forget that he came thisclose to actually killing her, with the way he was strangling her?
I don’t get Prosecutor Young’s explanation, and therefore, Shi Mok’s suspicion, that Prosecutor Young’s too keen to have the culprit be proven to be someone from the Chief Prosecutor’s family, makes me sit up and take notice. After all, Prosecutor Young does have a motive to take down the Chief Prosecutor.
Also, why would she put herself in such danger, just to test Prosecutor Seo? That doesn’t seem quite normal to me – unless she has a vested interest in this case..?
I’d almost guess that Prosecutor Young might be the whistleblower who brings the bribery case to light at the end of the episode, but she looks genuinely puzzled at the way everyone’s rushing around like headless chickens, so.. I guess it’s not her, then.
One of Show’s consistent highlights, is the way Shi Mok and Yeo Jin continue to become closer and better at working together.
I like that even though Shi Mok himself thinks that they should abide by the cover-up of Kyung Wan’s mistreatment while in police custody, so as not to create unnecessary trouble, he takes Yeo Jin’s angst over this seriously.
I mean, he may not feel the same way she does, but he respects her frustration and passion enough, that he gets Kim Jung Bon involved, so that Kyung Wan’s mistreatment can come to light, without them having to risk Yeo Jin being taken off the case for being a whistleblower. That’s win-win, to my eyes.
I love that when Shi Mok thinks that he’s figured out who the whistleblower is, he calls Yeo Jin right away. Ahhh! This is so unlike how he’d used to react around Yeo Jin, where he’d basically ignored her and gone about his own investigations, and she had to badger him for answers. Now, he’s the one calling her? I love that.
And I love the beat where Yeo Jin changes her order from udon to ramyun, just because Shi Mok said so, and then waters down his ramyun broth because she deems it too salty. She’s so cheerfully, casually familiar with Shi Mok, and he just lets her. I also love the little thing where she holds up the bottle of soju questioningly, and he gives her a quick shake of his head. Is it weird that I’m so thrilled at the fact that they’re familiar enough with each other, to communicate without words now? 🤩
And! There’s the cute moment when Yeo Jin playfully tells Shi Mok that she doesn’t trust him at all, and Shi Mok leaks an actual smile, without even realizing it. Eee!!! I love it, So Much. 🤩🥰
How interesting, though, that Yeo Jin talks about her theory that the culprit is someone who’s personally suffered because of all the bribery – and then we basically cut to Kim Jung Bon greeting Kyung Wan upon his release the next morning. It does make sense, plus, Kim Jung Bon’s still on my Suspicious List, so maybe Yeo Jin’s hit the nail on the head after all?
And, what is this about Shi Mok being selected to investigate all his colleagues for corruption? I mean, objectively, I’d say Shi Mok would do a good job, but surely the Chief Prosecutor has a deeper agenda to this?