Open Thread: Stranger Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I’ve got Yeo Jin headlining our post today, because she’s just that awesome. 😍 Also, I love the knowing looks that she sometimes shoots at Shi Mok, like this one. 🤩

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! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 11

Ooh. It looks like our players are starting to do away with niceties, and starting to play hardball. That definitely amps things up.

It surprises me quite a bit – but also, it gives me a fair bit of satisfaction – the way Shi Mok responds, when Lee Chang Joon singles him out and offers him champagne in front of everyone. Not only does he pour the champagne for Lee Chang Joon with only one hand (a sign of disrespect, when pouring for someone more senior than oneself), he doesn’t even drink the champagne that Lee Chang Joon pours him (another sign of disrespect, since the drink had been given by someone more senior). He simply puts it aside, and states that it’s because he drove that day.

I mean.. it’s all rather passive-aggressive, to my eyes, and it wouldn’t surprise me so much, if Shi Mok were a more normal character, ie, more capable of feeling emotion. As it is, the emotions that he does feel, appear to be muted because of his physical condition. Therefore, for him to be respond in what I feel is a very emotional (albeit controlled) manner, feels rather unexpected.

It definitely makes me feel like Shi Mok is getting more personally invested in the case. At the same time, I can’t help feeling like Shi Mok’s naturally deadpan expression is just perfect, for his passive-aggressive sort of pushback. I mean, it couldn’t make him look more innocent, while it also probably couldn’t aggravate Lee Chang Joon further?

Also, what a different context Show serves up this episode, of what had really happened that night at the ICU, when Lee Yeon Jae had been caught on the CCTV. I’d thought that that gloved hand, that we’d seen taking the phone receiver off the hook, had looked a bit too large for Yeon Jae, but I’d figured that maybe it was just the gloves making her hands look bigger. Ha. I should’ve known, that with this show, it was more likely a case of Show dropping a clue, than anything else. D’oh! 🤦🏻‍♀️

My view of Yeon Jae is evolving, with Show giving us this reveal, that she’s not the person who’d tried to kill Ga Young, after all. Perhaps Yeon Jae isn’t as scary and evil as she’d been made out to be, after all? She looks genuinely saddened, when she asks a dead drunk Lee Chang Joon what he’s apologizing to her for.

That rooftop takedown of Chief Kim was pretty fantastic, if you ask me.

I’d had a feeling that it was a trap, but I hadn’t anticipated how that trap would eventually unfold such that Chief Kim’s culpability would be proven in front of so many police officers, or that Chief Kim would end up being arrested in such a plain fashion, by Team Leader Choi. The way Shi Mok and Yeo Jin have it set up, there’s just no way for Chief Kim to get out of being arrested, anymore.

Also, how great was that moment, when Yeo Jin punched Kim Soo Chan in the face?!? Such fierce badassery! 🤩 Plus, he totally deserved it, being the dirty bad cop that he is.

Even Lee Chang Joon, who’s promised to help Chief Kim, ends up abandoning him, and warning him to go down alone, or risk having his family’s safety being put at risk. Ooh. Lee Chang Joon’s not holding back, is he? From promising to save Chief Kim, he’s literally now threatening him to keep quiet, by holding Chief Kim’s family’s safety for ransom. Eep. Now, even though Chief Kim might have evidence linking Lee Chang Joon with Ga Young, he wouldn’t be so sure about using it.

Also, I’m rather disappointed that I was right about Detective Jang. He had been the one to get a copy of the CCTV footage to Chief Kim, just like Show had hinted at. No wonder he’s all hypersensitive now, about the investigation. He’s probably afraid that the investigation will unearth his own involvement, I’m sure.

As for Prosecutor Young, I feel bad for her that all her efforts seem to come to nothing. She’d been so happy to tell her father that she’d submitted a request for a retrial, but that had gotten declined really quickly, just like her father had predicted.

I’d been suspicious of Young Il Jae for a while, but now, it seems like the whole reason he’s reluctant to have his case brought up again, is because he knows just how much his daughter will throw herself into it, and just what she’d be up against. He’s holding back, not because he has something to hide; he’s holding back, in order to protect his daughter. Ahhh. That makes sense now.

I am finding myself quite fascinated with the game that Prosecutor Seo is playing. He seems to be making himself something of a triple agent, with the way he’s telling Shi Mok that he’s going undercover for him, then essentially saying the same, to Lee Chang Joon and to Chairman Lee. I wonder if he ever confuses himself, in terms of what he’s told to whom, and why? 😅

How interesting, that Lee Chang Joon now wants Prosecutor Seo back on his side, after having seriously contemplated cutting him off, not so long ago. I suppose now that he sees that Chairman Lee seems to favor Prosecutor Seo, he sees a use for Prosecutor Seo, all over again?

How dangerous that’s turning out to be, though, for both Lee Chang Joon and Chairman Lee. That whole drop-and-kick move that Prosecutor Seo pulls, to get his handphone, on recording mode, under that couch, is so audacious, but actually works.

As far as we can tell, he’s getting a full-on recording of Lee Chang Joon and Chairman Lee discussing their very illegal arms dealings, to the tune of trillions of won. Ooh. This definitely is going to get interesting.

Also! Shi Mok and Yeo Jin appear to make some headway with the various fragments of clues that Ga Young’s given them. I have no idea what the clues mean, or whether Shi Mok and Yeo Jin are even on the right track, but I’m super curious to find out!

Episode 12

Dang. Just when I’d started to forget, that with this show, it’s best not to trust any character, other than Shi Mok and Yeo Jin, too much, Show reminds me, all over again, to keep my guard up.

Of course, I’m talking about the end-of-episode reveal, where we see that Prosecutor Yoon has a tattoo on his shoulder that exactly matches what Ga Young had said at the hospital, when asked for clues about her attacker. Danngg. Ok, I hadn’t seen that coming, AT ALL. 🤯

And, it does raise a lot of questions, as I revisit the episode now, to think about things, and write these notes.

Like, if Prosecutor Yoon’s the person who had abducted Ga Young, who is he working with? It had been Section Chief Kang who appears to have been the one who had gotten Prosecutor Yoon involved in things, like getting him to do that background check on Shi Mok. The fact that we are now suspicious of Prosecutor Yoon makes me think that I should probably also be suspicious of Section Chief Kang.

..Does that mean that Section Chief Kang could have been the person whom we see leaving Shi Mok’s apartment, after presumably breaking and entering? After all, the person had been wearing black leather dress shoes, and therefore.. the shoe.. fits? 😅 Sorry. That was bad. But you get my point.

The person who had broken into Shi Mok’s apartment had to have been someone who wasn’t at the special investigation team’s barbecue gathering, and the one person who had been late, Detective Jang, wasn’t wearing shoes like those. Section Chief Kang is a contender, not just because of his shoes, but because of his association with Prosecutor Yoon.

Of course, it could be someone else as well. Say, someone sent by Chairman Lee, or Lee Chang Joon, both of whom want Shi Mok to stop meddling. And of course, it could be our ever-meddling Weasel, Prosecutor Seo, who has a penchant for snooping around.

Speaking of whom, I have to say, I had my heart in my throat, watching Prosecutor Seo trying to get his phone back out from under that couch, without getting caught.

I.. don’t even know why my heart was in my throat, really, since I’m not even exactly rooting for Prosecutor Seo. 😅 Still, it was such a viscerally taut moment, that I found myself holding my breath, then nearly jumping out of my skin, when Lee Chang Joon walks back into the office, and barks at Prosecutor Seo, who’s suspiciously fishing around under the couch. Eep. 🙈

Prosecutor Seo’s really got some pretty fast reflexes, I must say, for being able to get his phone out from under there, in the split second between seeing it, and hearing Lee Chang Joon’s shout. Not that that does him much good, considering how ineffective the recording is rendered by the background music that Lee Chang Joon had put on, as a precautionary measure. Darn. Lee Chang Joon really has some sneaky moves, doesn’t he?

Shout-out to Team Leader Choi, for thinking to apologize to Kyung Wan. That takes courage, especially since he knows Kyung Wan’s not likely to respond very well to his apology. I’m glad that he apologizes nonetheless; I’m sure it’s good for his conscience. Also, with this apology, I feel like I can trust Team Leader Choi more.

The whole thing where Shi Mok pieces together the gist of Chairman Lee’s dirty deal and clues in CEO Kim, in exchange for information on the whistleblower, surprised me a fair bit. It feels like he’s giving away a very big clue that his team would want and need, but Shi Mok does make a good point, that CEO Kim’s in a better position to out the dirty players, compared to their special investigative team.

The fallout looks like it’s going to be potentially pretty serious, though, with Chairman Lee out to stop Shi Mok in his tracks, and Lee Chang Joon more than willing to help him.

I’m glad that the special investigative team doesn’t get disbanded, but I have to say, I’m rather surprised that it’s Section Chief Kang who steps in to back that request, along with what looks to be the other section chiefs.

Given what we now know about Prosecutor Yoon, I’m not sure what to make of Section Chief Kang anymore. Is he working with Prosecutor Yoon, and therefore not to be trusted, or is he not working with Prosecutor Yoon, and therefore one of the good guys? 🤔

Also, looking at what Shi Mok and Yeo Jin have been piecing together about Ga Young’s attacker, ie, that he’d planned everything in such a way that Ga Young would survive the attack, I have to wonder what Prosecutor Yoon’s motive is, if he is indeed the person who had abducted Ga Young.

I’m thinking that this likely has something to do with his child who had died. Perhaps Chief Kim had had something to do with Prosecutor Yoon’s kid’s death, and that’s why he’s out for revenge..?

Even so.. I have a hard time believing that an otherwise decent, normal person, would go so far as to stab a girl and risk having her bleed to death, in order to point the finger at his desired target. So.. perhaps Prosecutor Yoon isn’t a decent, normal person, outside of his (presumed) need for revenge..?

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eda harris
eda harris
14 days ago

there is one thing that really bugs me, what country, what society will reward any person that fails in his job, admits it and resigns! well, that is how the drama handles secretary lee, after admitting being in the wrong and leaving his post supposedly in disgrace, he gets PROMOTED, really? so now he’s in the blue house, and i understand that his all mighty father-in-law had a hand in this, but isn’t it over the border? is this what we should think about the korean society?

MC
MC
15 days ago

Oo so much to unpack in these episodes! I have this strange relationship with Show where I find it hard to start episodes cos they’re not always easy watches (I mean, coz I typically like the slice of life and romcoms) but yet once I start I cannot stop cos I need to know what happens and I’m so sucked in!

I can’t believe that reveal about Prosecutor Yoon. It’s like you grow to like the little Special Investigation team (even though you shouldn’t since this show is FoS after all) and that reveal was a slap and reminder for me to trust no one. And his expression was so dark and menacing, I worry for Eun Soo who commented innocently on the tattoo.

Speaking of Eun Soo, what’s with her putting that tax reminder at Shi Mok’s door? Is it a personal acting like a girlfriend thing or a work thing? I read on Dramabeans that that sweater incident shows a lot about her – apparently the way she dried it on the rack was wrong so it stretched out (apparently one sleeve is too long) so she had to get him a new sweater. Kind of like how she would push her way into trying to help but it isn’t very helpful or makes things worse. Either way, her way of doing things is just a bit too personal. I do like Yeo-Jin’s curiosity about them – she was doing it exactly like how I would too – all the side glances, wanting to ask and taking it back. I relate so hard to Yeo Jin and love her so much!

One thing I want to say about this show is that it is just so good at making you feel for everyone. You think certain people are the baddies but they become human and understandable, after more is revealed about them. Eg Eun Soo’s crying at the Blue House office was so well done. I may not particularly like the way she does things but I felt so much for her. Seo Dong Jae started out so slimy and disrespectful of women but I’m starting to like him? And Yeon-jae: that scene of her talking to a drunk Chief Secretary was heartbreaking. The power of good writing and acting!

My thoughts are all over the place, apologies. Just – this show is so very good!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
15 days ago
Reply to  MC

Ah, so that’s why she bought a new sweater! It wasn’t really explained in show. Though as a knitter when I saw her place the dripping wet grey sweater on her rack I was like “Noooo, it’s gonna get stretched out!!” FYI for knitted sweaters try and squeeze out as much water as possible, even use a towel to roll up the garment to absorb more water. Then lay on a flat surface to dry.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
15 days ago

A very enjoyable and exciting pair of episodes! A shout out to the actor who plays Police Chief Kim, this is the most emoting I have seen him do, as his previous roles were quite brief and limited to looking implacable and stony (assassin in Are You Human Too) or scary as a psychopath (Flower of Evil). He has such a chiseled face but his small eyes mean he will forever look villainous! In this role he managed to come off as kind of a scum bag yet sympathetic too as he sees the prospect of his whole life come crashing down with the deceptions. I liked how Detective Jang at first didn’t want to believe it and then has an “Oh crap” moment when he saw the Indoor golf studio right opposite the rendezvous hotel, and how the team of detectives all came to realise that Chief Kim whom they had looked up to and respected was involved with a high school girl.

MC
MC
15 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Oh yes that scene where he calls Chief Sec and he realises he’s on his own – I don’t like the guy for what he did but at that moment I could empathise with his desperation. There are so many loose cannons and potential bombs waiting to be set off in the next few episodes. Can’t wait!

Sara
15 days ago

I loved the scene where Shi Mok pours the drink one-handed. For Shi Mok to act so disrespectfully was very impactful to me!

It is my belief that Yeo Jin does have a little bit of an attraction to Shi Mok. That’s why she’s so curious about his relationship with Prosecutor Young.

One thing I noticed is that Ga Young saw Prosecutor Yoon in hospital but did not react to him, so she must not have seen his face before. But she has seen his tattoo. Seems strange that she saw his tattoo during the kidnapping but not his face – was he shirtless but wearing a mask? Haha. Another possibility could be that the convulsions she had were due to being around him rather than being in the basement, but that seems unlikely because she didn’t react to him later, when he was in the same room as her.

Sara
15 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Also, Ga Young was scared of Prosecutor Seo, which also makes me believe she didn’t see Prosecutor Yoon’s face when she was kidnapped!

J3ffc
J3ffc
14 days ago
Reply to  Sara

Yeo Jin may indeed have an attraction to Shi Mok, but maybe not: there was a little hint a while back (while at the aborted dinner party at the vipers’ house) that she might prefer women. No matter to me – I am loving their mutual professional friendship. The situation with Prosecuter Young was of intense interest to everyone, it seemed! BTW, that team was DYING to get out and party, weren’t they?

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
15 days ago

Deciding whether to allow oneself to like Prosecutor Seo is one of this show’s guilty pleasures!

The actor who plays Section Chief Kang plays a very similar and similar looking character in On The Verge of Insanity. So I’m enjoying that.

Ele Nash
15 days ago
Reply to  merij1

Prosecutor Seo somehow manages to simultaneously be oily and suspicious, and charming and honourable 😆 I have to agree, he is a guilty pleasure!

pickleddragon
pickleddragon
15 days ago
Reply to  merij1

I’m a Stranger fan always and forever, but just here to thank you for the shout out to Insanity / OTVOI, which is one of the finest kdramas I’ve watched in recent years (and certainly the best of 2021), checking all boxes – cast, script, plot, production. I hope more people watch this show and shower it with more love!

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
15 days ago
Reply to  pickleddragon

We’re halfway through episode 14 (out of 16) for OTVOI. Yes, a really great show!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher(@seankfletcher)
14 days ago
Reply to  pickleddragon

Yes, OTVOI is one of my firm favourites 😊

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
15 days ago

Thanks again for your analysis KFG 🙂 Perhaps Lee wanted Seo in his office to keep an eye on him. Like how Shi-mok formed hi team partly with people he didn’t trust.

In Ep 11. I’m beginning to feel like they’re stringing the story out. I was quite happy when it was about the police and the prosecutor’s office, but now they have to raise the stakes with the Blue House and Military Spending, I don’t really appreciate it.

Looking forward to more.

MC
MC
15 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Oh yes I understand but I suppose they needed to up the stakes. Trusting this writer knows how to bring it all home at the end.

I did like the way Chief Sec tells both his secretaries to book different hotel rooms. I thought he only suspected Dong Jae so I wonder how it’ll pan out. I can’t wait to see the fall out from that!

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