Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I couldn’t resist having this hi5 moment between Yeo Jin and Shi Mok headline our post today. Shi Mok’s deadpan expression, even as he raises his hand to meet Yeo Jin’s, is so perfect. I love it. 🤩
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! ❤️
Well. The stakes are amping up, that’s for sure.
I’m pretty stunned at the murder at the end of this episode, because for some reason, I hadn’t expected for Show to kill off any of our key characters, and while Prosecutor Young isn’t one of our leads, she’s still been a pretty significant player, I’d thought.
The way Show is playing it, it appears that it’s Section Chief Yoon who’d killed her, because she’d seen his “07” tattoo through his wet shirt at Yeo Jin’s apartment, and he therefore wanted to silence her.
At the same time, Show’s been twisty enough, that I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of someone else being the killer.
If Section Chief Yoon’s dark looks are anything to go by this hour, though, it seems like a pretty good possibility, that he’d killed Prosecutor Young, in order to protect his identity as Ga Young’s attacker.
I wonder if Prosecutor Young had left behind any information for Shi Mok about the “07” tattoo though. That’s a big clue, and it feels like such a big missed opportunity, if the one person who’d seen it, is now unable to pass on that very important piece of information.
Aside from this, it would seem that there’s no other reason for the rest of the special investigation unit to be suspicious of Section Chief Yoon.
I’m glad that Detective Jang comes clean to Yeo Jin, about getting the copy of the security footage off her laptop for Chief Kim.
It’s still not cool that he did that, but the fact that he’s admitting to it, and asking for assurance that he didn’t help a killer, does make me feel that Detective Jang is on the more trustworthy side of things again.
On a tangent, I feel like Shi Mok and Yeo Jin have become a little lax in terms of their secret-keeping precautions.
Not only did Yeo Jin leave her laptop where Detective Jang could easily steal the footage for Chief Kim, I notice that this episode, Shi Mok speaks on the phone about pretty classified things, while Section Chief Yoon’s been within earshot.
And on one of those occasions, this was in the hallway at Seoul Western, where any other dirty prosecutor could have overheard him.
I know that this is to drive the plot forward, but it still does feel like Shi Mok and Yeo Jin have become a little bit complacent? I rationalize that this is because they’ve come to trust the other members of the special investigation team, but it still feels like a form of negligence, to my eyes.
The invasion of Shi Mok’s apartment does feel rather creepy and threatening, and I can’t help wondering who it is, that had entered his apartment to do this.
I have to confess that when Yeo Jin gets that CCTV footage from the convenience store, my first thought was Section Chief Kang (now Chief Prosecutor Kang).
The footage isn’t clear enough for us to see the person’s face, but the general profile and height reminds me of Kang, and Kang hadn’t been present at the special investigation unit’s gathering, which is our main alibi of the day.
Still, no one seems to be able to recognize the person in the footage, so we’ll just have to see how that part of the story shakes out.
It does give me a sense of satisfaction, that the first person Shi Mok calls, on discovering the hanging suit in his apartment, is Yeo Jin. And, I’m also glad that Yeo Jin turns back after leaving, to bring Shi Mok a cup of chamomile tea. The fact that Shi Mok invites her in for a bit, is just bonus.
I loved watching them sip on their tea, and just talking. Even though they’re essentially still discussing the case and the various possibilities, this feels like it’s happening on a personal note.
It bums me out that the special investigative unit gets disbanded after all, but I’m impressed at the way the announcement is spun on TV, to make it sound like such a positive thing, when behind the scenes, the unit is clearly being disbanded because it’s done too much, too well.
That’s some impressive spin doctoring, isn’t it?
It feels like the Prosecutor General’s decision to have Section Chief Kang promoted to Chief Prosecutor, is to compensate him for the disbandment of the special investigation unit? Since that’s something that Section Chief Kang had stuck his neck out for, and received a promise on?
And likewise, now-Chief Prosecutor Kang is promoting Shi Mok to Section Chief, to make up for the fact that he couldn’t protect the special investigation unit after all?
I do love how Shi Mok tells Chief Prosecutor Kang that Kang’s holding a poisoned chalice, and he refuses to drink from it. That’s so shrewd and so.. poetic, isn’t it?
On a different note, I have to say that the way Shi Mok thanks the team, for giving it their all, and allowing him to come this far, is surprisingly empathetic, particularly for Shi Mok.
I mean, it’s not like he’s actually changed all that much, since later in the episode, he’s painfully blunt with Prosecutor Young, such that Yeo Jin asks him to be nicer to her – and Shi Mok’s answer is that he’s already being nice to her. Ha.
(Also, sniffle. It feels sad that Prosecutor Young’s last interaction with Shi Mok, whom she’s been trying to impress, both professionally and personally, is one where he dismisses her so matter-of-factly.)
This just goes to show how much Shi Mok recognizes the team’s efforts, and appreciates them. It’s just.. huge, coming from him.
Also, what an interesting turn of events, that Kim Soo Chan’s been dismissed, because of Team Leader Choi’s public apology. Hmmm. Did Team Leader Choi make his apology, then, with a view to getting rid of Kim Soo Chan..?
I mean, Team Leader Choi doesn’t exactly look like the sneaky, scheming sort, but.. looks can be deceiving..?
What an interesting nugget of information we learn from Young Il Jae, that Lee Chang Joon had once commented that Shi Mok would become someone great, if he didn’t change..
And now, Lee Chang Joon’s working to get that very same Shi Mok off his back, to protect his own interests. Shi Mok surely hasn’t changed, so I suppose it’s safe to say that Lee Chang Joon has changed, then?
I’m very curious to know what Section Chief Yoon did, from the time he left Chief Prosecutor Kang’s office, to the time we see him, all bloodied up, presumably after “discovering” Prosecutor Young’s body.
All those phone calls that he’d made to Shi Mok, to share updates on his supposed progress in tracking down Ga Young, now feel like a careful plan to build himself an alibi, while actually tracking down Prosecutor Young to kill her.
What was Prosecutor Young doing in Ga Young’s old apartment, though? Did she go there looking for clues, or had she been lured there, perhaps by Section Chief Yoon, so that he could kill her..? 😳🤔
The plot thickens, as they say.
What. An. Episode. I feel about as discombobulated as Shi Mok looks in this screenshot. 😝😅 Basically, the more we learn this episode, the more there is to process. Like, the layers of meaning and emotions just deepen, and then everything just feels that much more raw and tragic.
For example, the way the episode opens, with a scene of Prosecutor Young’s parents happily pottering around in the kitchen, and Mom musing about how this must be a good year for the family, just makes Prosecutor Young’s death hit that much harder.
It’s already tragic enough on its own, but when her death is juxtaposed with this scene of her happy parents, who obviously dote on her and see her as their entire world, it feels a hundred times worse.
I can’t even imagine how they must have felt, when that phone call had come, to inform them of their daughter’s sudden and terrible passing; how their hearts must have fallen from the highest high, to the lowest low.
For these parents, who mostly seem to live for their daughter, what will life be like, now that she’s been snatched so unceremoniously from their embrace?
And what will this do to Young Il Jae, whose determination to keep things quiet, had all been for the purpose of protecting his daughter?
Even from the beginning of the episode, where we see how Section Chief Yoon contaminates the crime scene, and nobody but Team Leader Choi seems perplexed or suspicious about it, it seems that the time that our special investigation unit has spent together, has bred a level of trust among them, that none of them actually consider the possibility that Section Chief Yoon is a suspect, and might have contaminated the crime scene on purpose.
When Team Leader Choi expresses his frustration at Section Chief Yoon contaminating the crime scene, even Detective Jang reprimands him, and says that he would hope that if Team Leader Choi saw him dying, that Choi would touch his body in shock.
The emphasis on relationships and trust is strong here, so much so that our team members would even ignore something as basic as Section Chief Yoon going against his prosecutor training and protocol, which should be ingrained in him.
Of course, there’s the inconvenient detail that at the beginning of our story, Shi Mok had contaminated a crime scene too, when he’d discovered Park Moo Sung’s body.
However, I feel like we’re supposed to have double standards here, as an audience. Clearly, we’re supposed to think that Shi Mok ignoring protocol is a rogue way of demonstrating his brilliance, while Section Chief Yoon ignoring protocol is his way of mucking up evidence.
One of the things that becomes clearer and clearer this episode, is how affected Shi Mok really is, by Prosecutor Young’s murder. He appears ok on the surface, and is calm and businesslike about what to do next, and even goes right to the autopsy room, from the crime scene.
But from the way he suffers a relapse of the headaches, which do appear to have some connection to his stress levels, and from the nightmares that he has while unconscious, it’s clear that he’s quite overwhelmed.
There’s likely guilt at play, for how he hadn’t heard Prosecutor Young out, when she’d last called him, and also, how he’d kept her so firmly at a distance during the investigation, because he couldn’t fully trust her.
I’m rather glad that Yeo Jin finally gets to know of Shi Mok’s physical condition, because that will only increase her ability to understand him. However, I feel iffy about that doctor telling Yeo Jin everything about Shi Mok’s condition, without Shi Mok’s consent.
I rationalize that this might be because Yeo Jin is a police officer, but.. that doesn’t actually make sense, because Shi Mok isn’t a suspect in a case or anything, and therefore Yeo Jin’s identity as a police officer shouldn’t have any bearing on Shi Mok’s hospitalization.
I call Terrible Lack of Medical Protocol, as per so many other kdramas before this one. 🙈
While we’re on the subject of Shi Mok’s brain condition, I’d just like to say that up to this point, I’d always assumed that because he’s had insular cortex surgery, that he’s been physically incapable of feeling emotions, beyond a certain point.
However, it occurs to me now, that I’ve read somewhere, that our brains are pretty wondrous things, in that it’s possible for another part of the brain to step in, to learn to do what the missing part is supposed to do, and kind of.. replace that function, in a manner of speaking.
I wonder if Shi Mok showing more emotion in degrees, over the course of our story, is an example of this?
And show his emotion he does, like how Shi Mok shouts at Young Il Jae at the funeral wake, and demands to know why Young Il Jae had kept quiet all this time, and why he hadn’t used the law as a weapon to fight, like what he’d taught his students.
That moment is so explosive and raw; there’s so much frustration and even.. shades of betrayal and disgust, I feel like, in Shi Mok’s voice and in his gaze, as he blurts out his thoughts right at Young Il Jae.
It’s.. complicated, seeing Shi Mok like this. On the one hand, I feel a sense of satisfaction, to see that Shi Mok’s so capable of feeling things, and expressing those things.
On the other hand, this is highly inappropriate, and I worry that he’s hurting a grieving parent even more. Also, in a weird sort of way, it pains me that Shi Mok’s able to feel all this, because, perhaps it would have been useful to not feel any emotion, in a terrible time like this. 😭
I’m rather intrigued by the way Lee Chang Joon tells Prosecutor Seo to never step up to take a blow for him again, like he does at the funeral wake. It almost feels like Lee Chang Joon wanted to receive that blow himself. Is this.. his conscience talking..?
Also, how interesting, that Lee Chang Joon’s ordered a background check on his own wife. I wonder what that’s about, and whether it’s even true, that he’s the one who’d ordered the check.
The other thing that’s interesting, is how viscerally offended Yeon Jae is, at the thought that Lee Chang Joon might be getting ready to divorce her. The more we know about their relationship, the more it seems that underneath all the power play, these two people actually do care about each other.
How.. unusual, really, given the businesslike vibe that we’ve gotten of their marriage, so far.
Going by Lee Chang Joon’s account of the way they’d met, it seems that Yeon Jae had become taken with him, because he’d refused to bow to pressure from her father, to let her brother off the hook.
She’d fallen for him because he’d been a righteous prosecutor who wouldn’t bow to dirty pressure?
Oohh. How ironic, then, to see how things have turned out in the present. I imagine that a series of small compromises have led Lee Chang Joon to the chest-deep corruption that he now finds himself in.. like, perhaps he doesn’t even really know how he got here.
The way Shi Mok pieces together the various fragments of information and comes to the reasonable conclusion that Section Chief Yoon is the person who’d murdered Prosecutor Yoon, is nothing short of brilliant.
I mean, ok, it’s true that from an audience’s point of view, it can look rather convenient, like it’s a case of reverse engineering, since Show’s pretty much already pointed out to us, an episode ago, that Section Chief Yoon should be our prime suspect.
However, ignoring that fact, and just going by what Shi Mok has to work with, the way he pieces everything together, and reasons it out, is really impressive. And, that manhunt at the airport is suitably edge-of-your-seat exciting, because Section Chief Yoon looks to be extremely skilled and savvy.
The way he effortlessly throws down regular police officers, definitely says something about him. He’s no regular joe, for sure.
Trust Yeo Jin to be the quick-thinking badass who manages to catch Yoon long enough to wrestle with him – YES. I love badass Yeo Jin! 🤩
I’m most intrigued by the way Yoon raises his hand to hit Yeo Jin, but stops short, when he looks at her face. What is this supposed to mean, I wonder? Is it because they’ve worked together in the special unit, and he’s grown enough regard and respect for her, that he can’t bring himself to hit her..?
If that’s true, then Yoon isn’t as heartless as one might imagine him to be. I really want to know what’s caused him to take this path of deceit and murder. Does this really have something to do with his daughter? Is he really under Chairman Lee’s employ, like that phone call implies?
Is he really just a mercenary, hired for his special forces expertise and experience in the UDT (Underwater Demolition Team; ie, Navy special forces)?
It’s all very dramatic, now that the team’s apprehended Yoon in the middle of the airport, and Shi Mok’s confirmed that Yoon has the tattoo that Ga Young had mistakenly read as “07.” What I want to know is, what is Yoon really all about, and who, if anyone, is behind him?