In which there are smoochies. (And if that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will.)
Pan Seok is still in jail for disobeying the escort orders when the rookies march in to show him the arrest warrant for Kim Shin Myung. Off they go to nab their bad guy and Dae Gu solemnly reads him his rights, before he’s carted off to jail. (Cutely, Soo Sun high-fives her fellow rookies, but when she gets to Pan Seok, pauses and instead gives him a bow.)
Later that evening, Sa Kyung finds Pan Seok waiting for her after work and when he invites her to have dinner with him, she proposes they instead share a drink. He broaches a question he’s had on his mind for a while: why she chose the Gangnam station when she knew he’d be there too. She chooses not to answer and simply tells him to drink.
Outside he attempts to hail a taxi for her and as he becomes increasingly agitated, she becomes increasingly morose. She stares down at the street, remembering their son, and in a rare moment of vulnerability, cries on his shoulder.
That night both Dae Gu and Pan Seok struggle to sleep and in mirrored actions, both attempt to distract themselves before giving up and taking sleeping pills. Pan Seok pops in a tape of his son and reacts to his words and actions as though the real thing is in front of him, rather than a mere moving image on a screen. Man, this is heartbreaking.
Dae Gu falls asleep to a children’s show. He dreams of being chased through the streets and as the chase wears on, he changes from boy to man. Finally he reaches a dead end and turns to confront his pursuer… and wakes up. The fear (or the agitation) has seeped from the dream into his physical body and his fingers are locked into fists, so tightly that he has to forcibly yank his nails from his palms.
The team discover that Kim Shin Myung was released – because his driver took the fall for him. Infuriated, Pan Seok barges into the prosecutor’s office and grabs him by his lapels. The moment he’s released, Prosecutor Han belts Pan Seok across the face and tells him that it doesn’t matter that the victim was a child… and at that, Pan Seok sees red and does what we’ve all been wanting to do: he punches him. Han goes down and stays down and is admitted to the hospital with a concussion.
He awakens outraged, as is his way, and vows to have Pan Seok fired for assaulting a prosecutor.
Elsewhere, Dae Gu speaks with his mysterious contact and informs him that the man with the black boots (aka Boots) has appeared, so he’s headed to the orphanage to warn the director.
As he walks through the orphanage doors, we see a young Ji Young, numb, with nowhere to go and no-one to rely upon. He goes from orphanage to orphanage, claiming not to remember anything and one by one, the directors tell him to go to the police. Exhausted, he tries one more place. This time, the director is a woman and her first question to him isn’t about contacting the authorities: she asks if he’s eaten and when he says he hasn’t, she takes him by the hand to get him some food. This, of course, is the orphanage in which he grew up.
He greets the director warmly and tells her that if anyone comes asking for him, she’s not to answer. She says someone already has – about 10 minutes ago, actually. Dae Gu sprints out, searching for a man with a prominent facial scar. He scrutinies everyone he sees, but he can’t find the one person he’s looking for.
He catches sight of one man with a marked face, but when he spins him around, he’s a stranger. The man asks if he’s a student doing volunteer work and Dae Gu apologises for bothering him. And from around the corner, we see a pair of black boots appear as Boots confirms his suspicion: Eun Dae Gu is Kim Ji Yong. Eek!
Dae Gu runs back to ask the director if the man had a scar on his face and she replies that he didn’t. He speaks to his contact and deduces that either the chemical he threw into Boots’ face wasn’t acid, or it was and he’s had surgery. He wonders why the man is looking for him now, after all this time, and his contact (presumably – it’s a one-sided conversation for us as viewers) replies that he’s probably come to kill him. But why now?
Unsettled, he’s mulling over the possibilities when he sees a shadow sneaking up behind him. He whirls around and pins the figure to a vending machine. Soo Sun squeaks and protests that she was just joking and when he yells at her, she wonders if he has anger management issues. Hee.
They return to the station to find the place surrounded (ha) by reporters and Gook and Tae Il deliver the bad news: not only was Kim Shin Myung released despite the evidence they’d collected against him, Pan Seok is now under fire by the media for assaulting a prosecutor. Sigh. It never rains, but it pours.
Pan Seok gets reamed out by the chief for jeopardising not only the public’s faith in the police department, but their efforts to reinstate independent investigation, which would give the police more investigative power and the prosecution less. Pan Seok apologises, but it’s not enough for the smarmy captain, who demands something more. Before he can get to that, another detective enters – with a warrant for Pan Seok’s arrest.
As a result, the entire team is taken off the investigation and the chief demands the case be dealt with quickly, despite Pan Seok’s protestations that the driver isn’t the real culprit. At that, Captain Cha rises and self righteously announces that Pan Seok’s getting his just desserts for his past arrogance. Personally, I’d take Pan Seok’s arrogance, coming as it does with competence and a side of justice, over the captain’s seemingly crooked ineptitude, but hey, that’s just me.
So Pan Seok’s taken back to the holding cells, defeated and head lowered in shame. Dae Gu looks surprisingly conflicted about this turn of events – because he was starting to think Pan Seok was a good guy? Or (the more likely option) because he wants to catch Pan Seok himself?
Pan Seok is disgusted by the rampant corruption, to the extent that he says he’d willingly resign if asked. But there’s still the matter of the rookies to look after, so he asks Eung Do to take care of them in his stead.
Dae Gu watches them covertly and when his cloned phone starts to buzz, he notes it’s Boots on the other end. Unfortunately for him, Pan Seok’s phone has been confiscated and so he’s not even aware the phone is ringing, let alone able to answer it.
He returns to his desk to find the team disassembled by Captain Cha and all documentation related to the hit-and-run case handed over to another detective team. It grates on the rookies to have their hard work disregarded, now that “the real criminal has been caught”, and Eung Do takes them out for a consolatory meal. (Hopefully not to the same restaurant in which they were held hostage. I’m not sure that’d be too heartening.)
Soo Sun is Pan Seok’s sole cheerleader, and while she rails against the unfairness of it all, Dae Gu points out that no matter the circumstances, Pan Seok still committed assault; sending him to jail is therefore entirely justified. Tae Il agrees, and adds that his actions have put the entire team at risk. Eung Do doesn’t disagree, but asks them to continue investigating Kim Shin Myung whilst assisting the other teams.
A dispirited Gook questions this order; after all, with his wealth and societal power, the man’s actions have no consequences, no matter the evidence against him. Soo Sun starts to say that what they do makes a difference, it does… but even as she’s saying it, she wonders if it’s true – and if it isn’t, why they should bother?
Sa Kyung visits Pan Seok in his holding cell and he laughs when he catches sight of her, musing that she must be pleased with this turn of events, given her dislike of his job. But that sets her off and spits out that if he was going to quit so easily, he should’ve done it before his job cost their son his life. Ouch.
As she’s about to leave, she tells him that although he was a terrible father, he’s a skilled detective – and the world needs more like him. Well, at least half of that was a compliment; it’s progress.
Tae Il and Gook do a little investigating and discover that the driver, Young Gu, is the sole provider of his younger sister. The girl has been ill for a while now as Young Gu couldn’t afford to pay for her heart surgery, but now she’s suddenly been booked into hospital with her surgery already scheduled. What a coincidence.
Dae Gu sneaks into Prosecutor Han’s hospital room and borrows his wallet. He finds a receipt for something which seems to be of interest, as he slips into his pocket before returning the wallet.
Meanwhile, Tae Il, too, is in the hospital. He’s visiting Young Gu’s sister and while they’re making small talk, she asks if he has an older brother as well. Tae Il hesitates, then says he does. Ohhh, was that the boy in the photograph?
At the precinct, Pan Seok tells Young Gu (who’s been placed in the holding cell beside his) that he knows he confessed to save his sister, and that’s admirable, but after losing his son, he realised that the best father in the world is the one who’s right there, next to his child. He gets choked up as he talks about assuming there’d always be another first time to witness – his first day of elementary school, his middle school graduation, his entry into college… but there were no more firsts.
He addresses Young Gu again, saying, “The moment your sister needs you the most is not next time, but right now.”
*sobs quietly in the corner*
Dae Gu and Soo Sun are on traffic copy duty and although obviously none-too-happy about it, he does his job in a professional enough manner. Well. Mostly. Case in point: he pulls a woman over for speeding and when he sees what she’s put down as her name (son of a bitch), he doesn’t call her out on it, but instead hands her the ticket and bids her a good day… as Miss Son of a Bitch. Hee!
Soo Sun hears that Kim Shin Myung is leaving the country and she and Dae Gu race off to the airport. Meanwhile, Gook is on the hunt for a new witness to the crime: a car whose black box (hopefully) caught and recorded the incident.
Tae Il visits Pan Seok in the holding cell and hands over the paper Dae Gu had found in Prosecutor Han’s wallet, with the message that it ought to get him released. Pan Seok takes one look at it and snorts, before snagging Tae Il’s phone to make a phone call.
The black box yields a perfect video of the young victim (just a baby!) running into the road to retrieve his ball, but just as the car is speeding towards him, it glitches out. Gook yells in frustration and shakes the box, but that doesn’t fix the video feed.
New Plan (or Old Plan, version 2): to convince Young Gu to rescind his confession, this time with the help of his little sister, whom Tae Il has brought from the hospital. She sees the handcuffs and deduces that he’s done something wrong and that it’s likely because of her situation. She tearfully declares that she’d rather die than have him become a bad person for her.
Pan Seok watches as the girl wrenches her hand from Tae Il’s and walks off, but just as he’s about to do the same (minus the hand wrenching), Young Gu calls him back. Eep. Please tell him the truth. Please?
At the airport, Soo Sun and Dae Gu receive the bad news about the black box and can only watch helplessly as Kim Shin Myung saunters out of the VVIP lounge to meet his girlfriend. But then Soo Sun receives a text from Eung Do, commanding her to prevent Kim from leaving at any cost, and it spurs her into action.
She runs over and clings onto him, neatly sandwiching herself between Kim and his girlfriend, who accuses him of cheating on her and storms off after delivering a resounding slap. Dae Gu seems at a momentary loss as to how to help, but when security arrive to remove Soo Sun, he comes to the rescue and scoops them both up in a luggage cart. Ha.
Back at the precinct, Young Gu hands Pan Seok something (the remainder of the black box’s footage?) and asks if it’s too late to come clean. It isn’t and Pan Seok vows to have him out before his sister’s surgery.
Dae Gu zooms through the airport with his laden luggage cart, trying to evade the security guards just long enough for Kim to miss his flight. But they can’t keep it up indefinitely and, soon enough, are caught. Kim crows that though they might be persistent, they’ve nothing to hold him on.
Enter Eung Do, who shows him a video recording of Kim’s own conversation with Young Gu, in which he admits to killing the boy and bribes Young Gu to take the fall for him. He stammers, but can do nothing as Eung Do gives Soo Sun and Dae Gu their newest orders: to arrest Kim Shin Myung.
The rookies welcome Pan Seok back and in her excitement, Soo Sun grabs him in a hug. It seems to discomfit quite a few people, including Pan Seok and Dae Gu, and when she lets go, Dae Gu eyes her with displeasure.
Sa Kyung leaves silently and after they’ve alllll watched her go, Pan Seok congratulates the rookies on a job well done and then welcomes them to the detective world. Aww, group hug. No? Next time, then.
He follows Dae Gu into the locker room to thank him for his help with Prosecutor Han, but Dae Gu protests that it wasn’t for him – it was to protect the team. He continues, saying that what Pan Seok did was truly disappointing and that he wonders if he holds others to a higher set of standards than he himself is willing to follow.
Pan Seok doesn’t refute his words, but says Dae Gu has always behaved as though he has some sort of grudge against him. Does he, by any chance, know Pan Seok? Dae Gu stares at him for a long moment, then replies that of course he does – everyone knows the legendary Seo Pan Seok.
But Pan Seok isn’t a detective for nothing. He knows something’s up and so he does a little digging into Dae Gu’s past. He discovers that Dae Gu was raised in an orphanage, a fact which he seems to find interesting, though we don’t, of course, find out why.
Dae Gu sees his own personnel file on Pan Seok’s desk and realises that Pan Seok is getting a little too suspicious. He can’t do much about it, though, and distracts himself by tagging evidence, which is where Soo Sun finds him. He’s wearing his glasses and the black frames immediately remind her of the boy she once knew. She stares at him and slowly utters his name.
Startled, Dae Gu glances up and they lock eyes, which only makes the resemblance clearer for Soo Sun, who advances forward, asking him repeatedly if he really is Kim Ji Yong.
An increasingly panicked Dae Gu spots Pan Seok coming up behind her and before she can say his name again, closes her mouth the only way any kdrama hero knows to do: with his own.
(In a brief epilogue, we find out what was on that piece of paper that so spooked Prosecutor Han: a receipt for an apparently very busy night in a brothel. He takes one look at immediately orders Pan Seok’s release. Ha.)
I know there are some who are a little less enthused about the romance starting in earnest, but personally, I’m all for it. That probably won’t come as a surprise to, oh, anyone here, because I am a self-confessed lover of all things romantic.
Which is not to that I don’t enjoy the other aspects of a drama, or that a drama which revolves solely around romance will necessarily keep my interest. But there’s a good chance that a drama I hadn’t previously found cracky will become so for me once a romantic thread is introduced to the story.
In part, that’s why I really like the growing (and grudging, hee) stirrings of attraction on Dae Gu’s side, but another reason is that it humanises Dae Gu, because who hasn’t had an unrequited (for the moment, at least) crush? It’s relatable, it’s cute, and it might be the thing, in the end, to draw him back to the human race.
The relationship between Pan Seok and Sa Kyung, on the other hand, is so much more complicated than I fear either of them can deal with. There’s so much anger and hurt and bitterness there, and it’s completely understandable and yet that’s also part of the problem for me. I can see both sides of the story (we all can, I’m sure), and I want the two of them to heal a little, to forgive each other and themselves and then to move on… but with other people, as right now, I just can’t see them working as a functional couple.
But rather than end on a bittersweet note, let’s have something that’s just plain sweet. Aww. (You’re welcome.)