Open Thread: Stranger Episodes 13 & 14

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! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 13

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.

Episode 14

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 deepens, 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?

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[…] | E3&4 | E5&6 | E7&8 | E9&10 | E11&12 | E13&14 | […]

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 days ago

I’m hoping that someone can shed light on something I’ve been wondering about since Ep 1. I always thought that police and detectives did investigational work and that prosecutors brought cases to court, and that the two didn’t do each others’ jobs. So the question is this: is prosecutors doing on-the-street investigations really a thing in S. Korea (or elsewhere) or is just a TV thing?

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
4 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Same

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
4 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I can answer that. Until quite recently, SK prosecutors had the right to investigate as well.

As it happens this is the primary theme of Stranger season 2.

SK police resented prosecutors having these rights and fought for many years to cut it back via amendments to law.

Prosecutors of course fought to retain it. Because who gives up power willingly?

From a Western democracy point of view, this is “separation of powers” 101 — an extension of the checks and balances needed to prevent power from accumulating in any one place. (Ditto for the internal controls a well-run business enterprise is expected to maintain.)

In season 2, Shi-mok and Yeo-jin end up on opposing sides of a joint police/prosecutor task force to consider legal reform.

The task force appears doomed since the prosecutors have so much power to ensure it fails. But things get complicated when it turns out various duos bridging both sides of the table have long-standing personal connections that enable unexpected sharing of information.

P.S. I don’t consider that a spoiler since it’s the basic set up for the season.

In real life, this reform may actually occur, due to events that took place after season 2 was filmed. Or maybe it did occur but prosecutors are still fighting to overturn it. Not sure which…

Last edited 4 days ago by merij1
merij1
merij1(@merij1)
4 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Added parenthetical.

As a newcomer to the magic of K-dramaland, I sometimes get caught up in the daebak of Hallyu and forget the recent history any SE Asian viewer would take for granted:

Not that long ago SK was still an economic backwater ruled by authoritarian regimes.

For elites in any society, corruption is considered a normal way of conducting business. But much more so under authoritarian regimes. So when democratic reforms finally do occur, they’re often seen as mere window dressing that must be observed publicly, with the same corrupt deal-making taking place behind the scenes — albeit with a higher price tag and a greater need for circumspection.

Although the public tends to assume corruption still goes on behind closed doors, we also shift our expectations for how things should be in response to the lofty words politicians mouth when reforms are enacted. Leading to outrage when the hypocrisy is exposed. This dance of “two-steps forward, one-step back” is how all social progress occurs.

Point being, the tension between those new expectations and the carried-over reality in South Korea underpin most of the shows we watch.

SK is the only modern democracy I’ve heard of where prosecutors have this much unregulated power. And that’s saying a lot, because they have far too much power in pretty much every democracy.

Last edited 4 days ago by merij1
manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
4 days ago
Reply to  merij1

I’ve only watched a few episodes, but Reply 1988 is quite a good drama set in less affluent times, when the SK government was more heavy handed I think?

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
4 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Healer does a good job showing the transition in SK from authoritarian regime to modern democracy. Via flashbacks.

That’s when I first realized how recent that history is.

MC
MC
4 days ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Although I didn’t enjoy it towards the end, Where My Love Blooms also shows this. And yes to Healer! (I imagine Youth of May would too but I’ve not watched that).

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 days ago
Reply to  merij1

 merij1, thanks so much for this info. Fascinating situation; I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t just an example of TLOLP! And enough to interest me in Stranger 2, given that theme.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
4 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Terrible lack of legal protocol (TLOLP). Nice.

J3ffc
J3ffc
3 days ago
Reply to  merij1
  • 😉
merij1
merij1(@merij1)
5 days ago

With quite a few of these people, The old adage comes to mind, “just when you think you know a person . . .”

MC
MC
5 days ago

Tough pair of episodes to watch. There’s too much to say so I’ll just bring out the most impactful or those I remembered the most.

I wasn’t Eun-soo’s biggest fan but she died so pointlessly and the part where her parents were so happy at the start of episode 14 was heartbreaking. Shi-mok’s grief and pain was hard to bear – the mix of failing to protect her and fulfil her dad’s request, his brusqueness towards her, his brushing her aside just before she was taken – that must be so so difficult to bear. His recollections of her happy face while holding to the sweater was so sad.

I did think it was lovely that Shi-mok invited Yeo-jin in to drink tea and chat – it’s nice to see him opening up slowly, I hope that he gets to experience the emotions and feelings that the surgery took away from him (and no more headaches!)

I do agree with the terrible medical stuff. And how could Shi-mok just leave the hospital like that? No discharge plans? Tsk! Plus I did feel towards the end the team got a little sloppy. Sharing information so openly when Eun-soo was around at the team dinner or just outside – where’s the confidentiality?

The airport scene was well shot. And that moment when Yeo-jin and Yoon just stare at each other was haunting.

Im so curious about what was that between Chief Secretary Lee and Yeon-jae. That is a whole mystery in itself!!

The last thing I want to say is that you’d think this was the climax of the show- but knowing this writer, they’ve got more tricks up their sleeve. So I’m sure ep 15 and 16 will be a doozy. Can’t wait!

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
6 days ago

Ep 13. Well, that was creepy.
Show is sometimes a bit clumsy when it shows us people overhearing things. It’s so blatant it seems like they are suggesting the info was leaked on purpose, but I think it’s just poor directing. Like Young overhearing Shi-mok talk about about her father and 07 overhearing Shi-mok talk about Young.
Like the multiple ringing phones giving people away.

Sad music. I’m supposed to feel sad that Young has been murdered. But why? I don’t feel very connected to her. It feels more and more hamfisted. I am losing interest in this show.

Ep 14. Well I guess her parents will be upset.
They say that the guilty person often talks too much, Mr Yoon.
Are we meant to understand that Shi-mok had feelings for Eun Soo?
Why do they give Yeo Jin a hatchback car. Can’t she have a sedan like all the men have?
Shi-Mok is talking to Young Il Jae at his house. It sounds like Eun Soo was killed the previous evening, then had her autopsy and funeral within less than 24 hours???
Ah the ol’ airport scenes. We’re piling on the tropes today! We even got the black baseball cap.
I half expected Yeo Jin to whip out some handcuffs — a bit disappointed.

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 days ago

Hard to believe we’re in our penultimate week of this group watch. So much to deal with in this episode set. First of all, can we officially dub a new drama trope: Terrible Lack of Medical Protocol (TLOMP)? I feel as though we have needed it a lot. I did think it interesting that this was the first time in a while that Shi Mok’s condition was specifically mentioned in a while and that the TLOMP-practicing doctor seemed to know all about it, presumably for the purpose of enlightening Yeo Jin as to her partner’s true state.

Personally, I wasn’t surprised at the demise of Prosecutor Young…everything about her arc suggested a tragic end. Show did everything about this right: enough character development to make us care about her fate, hints about possible mutual affection with our ML, and even to the point of bringing her to group party (which would of course turn out to be fatal for her) and show her just integrating into the larger group. And the sad last interaction with PY and SM really hit home (how many of us have lost loved ones and rued that final interaction we had with them?). What did surprise me was the time and detail they spent on her wake; aside from the relatively modest plot developments it offered, she was truly given a farewell suiting a more than minor character. And overall, such a solid performance by Shin Hye-sun. I’m a card-carrying member of her fan club and, if I’m not mistaken, this was something of a breakthrough performance by her. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

The last set piece was terrific action, and I am also a fan of Bad-ass Yeo Jin (and all things Bae Doona – she is an acting force). At first, I thought that Yoon’s holding back on punching YJ didn’t ring true – he’d already committed murder and attempted murder (or the old trope of attempted-murder-but-it’s-really-just-a-set-up-to-make-it-look-like-attempted-murder-so-it’s-important-to-make-sure-the-so-called-victim-actually-survives). But I’m willing to see if there’s a deeper story there. 

Looking forward to next week (or tonight, as I am now officially allowed to watch ep 15)….

MC
MC
5 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

TLOMP is a thing! Happens so often in other shows too!

ngobee
ngobee
5 days ago
Reply to  MC

TLOMP sounds wonderfully clumsy. Will be adopted right away!

eda harris
eda harris
4 days ago
Reply to  MC

forgive my ignorance, but could please decipher TLOMP, i have no idea what it means. thanks.

J3ffc
J3ffc
4 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

No need to worry about ignorance….we just made it up! It’s Terrible Lack of Medical Protocol, i.e., when so-called health professionals act as though they never showed up for their clinical rotations in med/nursing/etc. school, or when writers make up non-existent and sometimes ludicrous medical conditions because they just wanna.

eda harris
eda harris
4 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

got it. thanks.

eda harris
eda harris
5 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc and manukajoe, that is so interesting, i am on the total opposite side of manukakoe. actually, i did develop feelings for the young, o so green, but so eager to get to the bottom of her main issue, to do right by her father, who gave her her life, and be able to straighten out the horrific INTENTIONAL screw up by the judicial system, that she is now part of and will serve her life now. these two issues, diametrically opposed in her current existence, drove her crazy, and being intelligent and intuitive, she had no choice, it became her goal, the purpose of her being part of the judicial system, to fix the injustice done to her father with the JUSTICE SYSTEM itself. she thought she can fly, but fell out of the nest, and crashed. until that part in the drama, i was following it
as part of our group watch, curious about where and how it will go, but no emotional attachment. except for eun-soo. i was sincerely rooting for her and was just as genuinely sad for the horrific end of her young full of potential life.
she was the third on my list of the top best characters in this drama, first being yeo-jin, then si-mok, and third eun soo. i liked her acting, and i must confess, i also like her exotic looks (unlike most of the korean actresses, that all have very similar features, and look to me like the faces of persian cats, sorry if it offends anybody, i can’t say the same about the korean mail actors, they can be stunning sometimes). but i am now her fan.
as far as si-mok in relation to eun-soo, i think he felt a kind of responsibility to her, as her mentor and as the daughter of his mentor. i think that he wanted to stop her as he sensed that she might do something really damaging to her life and to her carrier, and prevent her from making that detrimental step of falling off the cliff. it was painful to watch his shock, pain and devastation, especially for him that the drama shows us the aftermath of his surgery and thus lack of emotion, or is it just lack of expressing emotion? his very strong reaction to her death, that caused him to totally collapse, puts in question his lack of emotion.
in terms of romance, i think there is much more potential of developing something with yeo-jin, they walk the same path, they truly understand and relate to each other, and it is beautiful to follow the development of their mutual trust, care and even i would say affection, but is it enough for passion? i am not sure.
the other actor that i thought was worth noticing, is the killer himself, yoon, the scenes of his confession are masterfully done, portraying the humanly unmanageable pain for his burned to death young son. although he was a killer, i cried with him. i also saw him in “doctor john”, again quite impressive performance.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Agree with your views! I was shocked and upset by her death, even though it had been foreshadowed numerous times with her playing with fire and going out to meet nefarious people alone with no safety net! I agree with your read that Shi Mok felt responsible. But somehow he didn’t feel he should intervene to tell her to stop investigating and taking risks. I found it bizarre that earlier he went to the extent of borrowing an empty gun to protect her during her confrontation with Prosecutor Seo yet after that he didn’t do anything to warn her, or bring her closer into his circle of trust. Sigh.

Separately, my interpretation of his childhood operation was that it cut off his conscious awareness of his emotions. They were always there being processed ina different part of the brain but he didn’t *feel* them. Hence I’m not surprised that he is starting to connect with his emotions now.

eda harris
eda harris
4 days ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

” But somehow he didn’t feel he should intervene to tell her to stop investigating and taking risks.” but i kind of feel that he did try to stop her (in his own “non-diplomatic” way) with his abrasive short “commands” to her, hoping that she would understand that it is not her time yet, that he thinks she has not accumulated enough power and knowledge as a prosecutor yet, she was simply not ready to be brought into his circle of trust. she was too naive, too emotional, too impatient for si-mok to trust her with his secrets. i think there was a kind of nervousness when it came to her, he sensed that she is sliding on thin ice, and is able to slip into some danger, but he did not imagine that it would or could go THAT far. thus his shock and devastation – he failed to stop her.

eda harris
eda harris
4 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

remember, he also went to her father, trying to convince him to give away whatever it was he was hiding. she-mok knew that his daughter was digging, she wanted to take revenge for her father, and tried to tell her (again in his own way), that this is not about revenge, that she will not get the needed result , but rather about JUSTICE that he, shi- mok, was after. but she could not partake in it as she was so blinded by the feeling of injustice and her burning desire of revenge by all means, that she did not understand shi-mok at all.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
4 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Good points, thanks! I guess I just felt more should have been done to air out what happened between Prosecutor Young and Prosecutor Seo after he nearly strangled her in anger! So bizarre that she just shrugged it off.

j3ffc
j3ffc
4 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Although I saw it coming, sorta, I too was saddened by Prosecutor Young’s death. I think her arc was tragic from the beginning (thinking of her short-lived success in the courtroom), and I was interested to find out her motivations were re Si-mok (in the end, I think she actually liked him). Shin Hye-sun’s performance – as I noted above, I’m in the fan club – certainly made me pay more attention to the character.

And I agree that Lee Kyu-hyung was excellent as Yoon.

Trent
6 days ago

Couple of blockbuster episodes, for sure.

I was quite surprised that Prosecutor Young was murdered; for some reason I thought she would be safe (bolstered by the fact that I inadvertently got a look at the cast list for the 2nd season, where she’s listed as “guest.” I failed to consider that could be through flashback or some sort of vision, and not necessarily because she’s still alive!).