Several episode titles came to mind: Things are Getting Complicated; Doubts and Second Thoughts; A Double Date. I settled on A Double Date. Can’t wait for that, but it’s not going to happen until the next episode. In the meantime…
Things were left on an uncertain note last week with Sung Il getting a phone call from Yang Jung Do. I initially thought it had something to do with Jae Sung trying to get to Sung Il through Jung Do, but episode 9 has clarified just what’s going on.
Sung Il’s plan to get to Pil Gyu through his daughter, Min A, involves scamming her through antique ceramics sales. He and the gang have set up a fake antique business and pose as agents from the Ministry of Culture. They want Min A to see their faces and openly interact with her. As Wallet, the antiques proprietor, gets hauled off for selling knock-offs she shouts that she will report Ministry of Cultural Heritage agent Sung Il for under the table dealings. He brushes it off, but makes sure Min A hears it all. So far, so good.
Sung Il gets a call from Commissioner Ahn and returns to the office. He is introduced to Mr. Shim, the new chief of Taxation Office Division Two. He is replacing Mr. Kang. Sung Il worms his way out of getting together for drinks later but the atmosphere is awkward. Commissioner Ahn is ready to follow his hunch that Sung Il is behind conning Jin Seok to get to Pil Gyu and decides to tail Sung Il.
Sung Hee happens to overhear Commissioner Ahn on the phone, something about “it’s a con job,” and sees him get in his car and follow Sung Il. She realizes he is onto Sung Il and tries to get a hold of him. But Sung Il is talking to his daughter whose phone got wet and ruined and Sung Hee can’t get through. She quickly calls Commissioner Ahn and says she needs an urgent authorization but he brushes her off. After some hesitation, Sung Hee calls Mi Joo. It is a turning point; saving Sung Il is that important to her. She asks if Sung Il is headed to the warehouse to meet them and a surprised Mi Joo tells Jung Do that the tax man is on his way and is being followed.
Jung Do, Burner, and Mi Joo hustle to get rid of the evidence and there is plenty of it. They box up drawers full of pictures, clear off desks and papers, haul off UN boxes, and even burn evidence. Jung Do unsuccessfully tries to get through to Sung Il. Commissioner Ahn has a police unit on its way to bust Sung Il et al.
Finally, as Sung Il enters the warehouse, Jung Do gets a hold of him and frantically tells him not to come, that he is being tailed by Commissioner Ahn and he’s bringing cops. It’s a swirl of police/con confusion for, just at that moment, (another) corrupt police officer working for Sa Jae Sung tells Sung Il to come with him. It is all very muddy. On top of that, Jae Sung’s boys stop Commissioner Ahn in the middle of his planned raid on Sung Il and the warehouse. For now, Commissioner Ahn doesn’t get his hands on what he wants. Even confident and cocky Jung Do is uneasy when he can’t get a hold of Sung Il.
Sung Il faces Jae Sung who asks, “How much do you know about Yang Jung Do?” When Sung Il gets up, Jae Sung tells him to sit back down or he’ll go after his team. Sung Il is on edge and even wavers. Jae Sung tells him how Jung Do spent years setting him up to con him and put him behind bars. Think about it, why would a con artist work with a government official? Does it make sense? Was it a coincidence that he, Sung Il, met Jung Do? “Nothing happens by chance,” Jae Sung chides. Or, is it a set up; something like what happened to Jae Sung, and Jung Do is using him, too? Sung Il thinks back on how he met Jung Do and the things he said. Is a con artist ever straightforward or is that an oxymoron? Don’t con artists live to con anyone and everyone? Isn’t it always just about money? “What will happen to you once the con is over?” Jae Sung plays on Sung Il’s uncertainty. And he points out that if Jung Do runs off with Pil Gyu’s 50 million, Sung Il will take the blame.
“You are being conned by him,” he tells Sung Il. After the bait he offers Sung Il a chance to switch sides. Noooo, Sung Il! You’re not thinking about doing that are you? But Jung Do is a swindler and swindlers use people for their own gain. Sung Il wonders if he’s foolishly gone along with Jung Do and will, in the end, get burned. Will he record Jung Do’s statement that he framed Jae Sung? That’s what Jae Sung strongly suggests – if Sung Il gets Jung Do to admit that, Jae Sung can get out of jail and put Jung Do behind bars. Sung Il can return to normal life. Sung Il teeters on a seesaw; how did he get involved in this so deep, anyway?
Commissioner Ahn thinks he’s got it all figured out and tries to trap Sung Hee into admitting she knows what Sung Il is up to and, in fact, is involved herself, isn’t that so? Sung Hee remains cool but she isn’t sure how much Commissioner Ahn really knows at this point. Still, he is getting too close to her boss, Sung Il, and she doesn’t like it. And, she wonders, how involved does she want to get?
Pil Gyu decides to make an appearance at the office to appeal his tax case in a public hearing. He is dismissive to the tax team and disdainfully greets Chun Sung Hee. Then he enters Commissioner Ahn’s office and the blinds are closed. She calls Sung Il but he ignores her. He, too, is at a crossroads.
Sung Hee makes another call to Ji Moo and asks for Jung Do. As Jung Do heads out, Ji Moo asks where he is going. When he tells her that Sung Hee wants to meet she scoffs and says, “Why are you so obedient?” She comments that he doesn’t come and see her when she calls. “The situation is totally different,” he laughs. She doesn’t let it go, though, and replies that it’s not the situation that’s different, it’s the person. Jung Do doesn’t get it and pats her head (who wouldn’t hate that).
Wallet observes the entire conversation and after Jung Do leaves she tells Ji Moo that it shows – she likes him and he is clueless. “You give too much and get too little. What comes and goes is never equal,” she advises Ji Moo, who tells her not to be such a know-it-all. “I do know it all,” Wallet replies. You know what, I think she probably does. Liking someone is fine but don’t expect that person to reciprocate. It’s worse that way.
Sung Hee only wants to meet to tell him to stop and leave Sung Il alone. He is in too much danger now that the commissioner is on to him. Jung Do casually says he will look into it; after all, it’s not a given that there is a problem. He’ll check it out he says and tells her not to worry. She insists that he is too flippant and that her chief might get hurt. No worries, he reassures her. Oh really? She won’t let it go and nails him for being irresponsible and making empty promises. “That day… and today too. You say things so easily. That’s why you hurt the people around you,” she scolds. Her words get to him; aren’t they true? He grabs her wrist and tells her that he never said things to her easily. Sung Hee asks him why he had to tell her that he was a con man when they broke up.
In the middle of their disagreement, our dummy daddy’s boy Ho Seok happens to stop by for coffee. When he sees Jung Do (Mr. Cho), he walks over to say hello and greets Sung Hee as his wife. “Shoot,” is all Jung Do can say. Thinking quickly on his feet has hopes against hope that he can just get Sung Hee to leave as if she is mad and give the impression the she is his wife. He pretends they are arguing about his business appointment and dinner later with her (his wife).
Will Sung Hee blow his cover? After a long, tense silence, she does more than jump in – she kills it as Mr. Cho’s outspoken wife who lays into Ho Deok for making her husband lose big on an investment because he couldn’t reschedule with the Chinese investor tomorrow on account of the appointment he made with him. She tells Ho Deok to be sure and buy her husband an expensive dinner to make up for it. Jung Do couldn’t have written a better script than Sung Hee’s ad lib. He is relieved, but most of all, he’s impressed. So is Ho Deok.
Pil Gyu ruminates over the conversation in Commissioner Ahn’s office. The Commish is going full force dark and turning on Sung Il to gain Pil Gyu’s favor. And, he is apparently leaving the Mayor out of the loop. He told Pil Gyu that one of his guys really did con Jin Seok for the taxes in a larger effort to get to him. Pil Gyu, ever worried about his blundering son being a target, makes a call to check on him. He outright asks Ho Deok if he’s had any suspicious contacts lately to which he replies, “Who gets conned in this day and age? Don’t worry, your son is smart.” Jung Do is sitting right there with him as they enjoy coffee together.
Everything about Mr. Cho Jung Do impresses Ho Deok. He wants to make up for the business deal that he lost because of him and suggests that he might invest a little. Jung Do won’t hear of it; money is all the same, but friendships are unique. A deal could ruin the friendship; no – he won’t hear of it. (I’m even embarrassed at how low he’s making Ho Deok go, in a satisfied sort of way.) Before Ho Doek leaves he says, ‘Mr. Cho, why don’t we make it a double date for dinner tomorrow?” Jung Do’s stunned expression is priceless.
What to do, what to do? Our poor Sung Il is stressed about what direction to go. Is Jung Do toying with him? He must think it is a possibility. Still, is there a more unlikable person than Sa Jae Sung and why should he believe him?
Jung Do waits for Sung Hee at her house. He didn’t have her number and felt weird about asking Baek Sung Il for it. She tells him not to dare tell Mr. Baek what happened earlier. He tells her that’s why he came in person. He laughs at how she handled Ho Seok but she doesn’t think it is funny. She did it because he would be in trouble if it weren’t for her. That’s all. Anyway, she is annoyed. “You need to eat with me,” he blurts out. She immediately knows that it means she has to show up as his wife for the business dinner. “You should have refused!” she insists. Jung Do explains it just ended up that way. She is mad and tells him to leave her out and get out himself, too.
“So come. I told you what I needed to say,” he says and doesn’t look back and Sung Hee shouts after him, “I won’t go!”
Bang Ho Seok is only half of the story, however. Sung Il gets a call from Wallet that they have to carry on with their con plan to get Min A. Sung Il, the mastermind behind the antiques plan, lays out the next steps. The idea is to let Min A observe them – The Ministry of Culture – in corrupt exchanges.
You know, let her think she has something on them by seeing that they are just as dirty and will do anything for money. Wallet wants to know what comes after showing her that they’re all corrupt. “We’ll become friends,” Sung Il tells her. The team likes it.
Sung Il approaches Min A with the intention of letting her see his goods, but his mind is filled with Jae Sung’s words, “What if he runs off with the 50 million? You’ll be blamed. It’s time to switch sides.” Sung Il can’t focus and just as he is about to meet Min A, she calls out, “Dad!” It’s Pil Gyu and the three are nearly face to face. If Sung Il isn’t careful, they will both recognize him. He must abort the mission and passes by with his head turned. He bumps shoulders with Pil Gyu who calls out to Sung Il, “Hey! You should apologize for bumping into an elder.” Sung Il turns halfway to remain unidentified and bows. It’s hard to tell if either of them recognize him, though, because it is more than a close call. Pil Gyu asks his daughter the same thing he asked his son, “Are there any suspicious people around you?”
Sung Il shuts down the operation. Wallet is perturbed and tells her assistant that she has been in touch with Mr. Kim (the Chairman). Perhaps she should have her own backup plan; after all they’re con artists. They should stick to what they do best. Her assistant isn’t sure what she means and neither are we. Not another “oh noooo!” Is that Ji Moo paying a visit to Jae Sung? Really? Turning on Jung Do? I have to wonder if he might deserve it as his treatment of people, well, some of the females in his life anyway, isn’t exactly chivalrous. Ji Moo’s first encounter with him after he got out of jail resulted in him getting slapped. We also know that he nonchalantly dumped Sung Hee. But siding with Jae Sung and possibly for relationship revenge – only time will tell who deserves what. All the same, I can’t say I am happy about her jail visitation.
It’s late. Jung Do answers the door to find Sung Il standing there. He has spent all day weighing out the things Jae Sung said, what Jung Do has told him, and what he thinks his own position is in all this. He has decided to be up front with Jung Do and tell him the deal Jae Sung wants to make with him. His expression shows how conflicted he is. “Why are you telling me this?” Jung Do asks. When Sung Il says he wants to confirm for himself that Jung Do isn’t using him, Jung Do surprises him and says that Jae Sung is right. “I am using you.”
- In a world of using people, it is true that those same people who use others don’t like being used and don’t let it go. But the Ji Moo thing threw me. I’m wondering just what her position and dealings with Jung Do really are.
- I have to believe that when Jung Do told Sung Il that he is using him, he is really looking out for Sung Il. With Commissioner Ahn and now Jae Sung moving in too close, I think Jung Do is afraid that Sung Il will get hurt. Maybe his conscience is pricked after what Sung Hee said to him: that he doesn’t take responsibility and is too careless with his words and that’s why everyone around him gets hurt. Jung Do couldn’t deny that. It seems like Jung Do has grown fond of Sung Il and (unless I’m conned and that certainly is possible) was working together for him.
- Everyone’s jumping ship. Sung Hee looks like she’ll jump on board with the con artists. Ji Moo is switching con ships. Wallet can afford her own ship. Sung Il decided not to jump ship but Jung Do may make him do so. It’s a multiple shipwreck at sea and everyone is out for him or herself.
- Commissioner Ahn, Jae Sung, Mayor Chun – what a cast of despicable public servants whose hands are dirtied with the likes of Pil Gyu and his minions. All in pursuit of a dollar more than the guy below you.
- Seo In Guk and Ma Dong Seok are the best – I’m loving these two together. Kudos to the writers for navigating the veins of the story so well and making it easy but exciting to follow. And – we don’t know what’s coming next!
- Jung Do in a normal job? Won’t happen. Can’t happen!