A burdened Sung Il stops by Jung Do’s apartment and asks him right out if Detective Sa Jae Sung is telling the truth: is Jung Do conning him? For a moment it seems like Sung Il is on the short end of a complicated scheme to bring down Bang Pil Gyu, Woohyung Corporation and its subsidiaries, and the Mayor and expose it all on the news. Jung Do’s descriptive scope of the con job is way larger than Sung Il imagined and he thinks that perhaps he truly is being conned. “Do you mean it?” he asks Jung Do over and over.
Jung Do doesn’t know what to do with gullible Sung Il. “Shoot, you’re so cute. That’s why you get conned. How are you so naive?” Jung Do teases. Jung Do’s strong point is ad-libbing his way through life and getting others to believe it. He is charismatic and has many charms, at least on the surface. Although Sung Il doesn’t quite know what to believe, Jung Do appeases his fears. Of course the detective wouldn’t have anything good to say about him, right? Sung Il is uneasy but it seems like the misunderstanding is cleared up.
But what is Jung Do really up to? After Sung Il leaves, he is on the phone to someone saying, “Sung Il found out. Let’s tighten up things.” What?
Sung Hee sees Sung Il head out of the office and Commissioner Ahn immediately follows him. She texts Sung Il to warn him. He calls her and tells her to stay out of it and not to worry, that he is onto the Commish and knows what he is doing.
With a strategic U-turn, Sung Il has the Commissioner on his tail for the set up: Burner’s signature “got-hit-by-a-car” act conveniently delays Commissioner Ahn who jumps out and dials 911.
It is time for the team to con Min A again after yesterday’s failed attempt when her father unexpectedly showed up at the antique alley to meet her. Sung Il accidentally-on-purpose bumps into Min A and knocks her down. He apologizes and insists that she rest in his van and brings her coffee. She mentions that his Cultural Heritage team is “busy” (she has observed them taking bribes). He says she’s gotten the wrong idea. The conversation eases into talk about beating the system and avoiding inheritance tax. “The government did nothing when we were born,” Sung Il complains and spins a story about his parents being so poor that he was born at home. The government never did squat for his family. Min A asks if he is helping someone now with their inheritance with antiques. She’s caught on. Sung Il explains that he provides “comfort” to those who have been hurt by the law, poor people who have no recourse and need a little assistance leaving something for their children. Tax free. Min A asks the right questions but he hedges – push and pull. Finally he agrees to let her in on how he works the system with antiques. His friend appraises goods at Busan Harbour. Real antiques are falsely appraised as fakes so the cost is low coming in, but the resale is high. She is buying his story. Things are going as planned. Next, Sung Il lets her see the rare Celadon vase – a Busan Harbour “special.” Min A is taken by its beauty. He tells her, “I’m an expert so I don’t leave fingerprints even if I tough it.” Ha! Now that’s rich. He offers it to her as a token of appreciation, a way to keep today’s conversation secret, and in the future they can help each other out.
Min A takes the vase and has it appraised to make sure – yep, it’s the real thing. She calls Sung Il and asks if they are on the same side, now. He is riding in the van with the con team and can’t hide his excitement that his bait has reeled in Min A already. “I must be a good con man now,” he grins. They are all pleased that the plan is progressing nicely.
Sung Hee gets a call from Jung Do about dinner with Ho Seok and his wife. She argues that she won’t go, but Jung Do is already in front of her office. Ho Seok pulls up in the car with his wife. He wonders if they are still fighting but Jung Do brushes it off and says they made up last night. Sung Hee obliges – what else can she do – and with his arm around her they all go to eat. A birthday cake arrives in honor of Mr. Cho Jung Do’s wife’s birthday (as he had told Ho Seok) and everyone sings happy birthday to “my wife/Mrs. Cho – happy birthday to you.”
Ho Seok’s wife playfully teases her husband about the cute way he eats. Ho Seok asks Sung Hee what she liked so much about her husband that she chased him around in college. (Apparently that is one of who knows how many stories Jung Do told him.) Jung Do grins and waits with anticipation for her answer. But Sung Hee answers honestly, “I can’t remember very well.” When pressed for details and Jung Do says he’s curious, too, about why she liked him, she sticks with her answer, “I really don’t remember. I mean it.” There is an awkward silence. Jung Do realizes she is being honest about their past encounter when she adds, “When you are hurt badly by someone you like, you can’t remember what you liked about them. That’s how it is for me.” Ho Seok’s wife whispers to her husband that he must have cheated on her. Take that, Jung Do.
After dinner the men talk business. Ho Seok’s wife thinks Sung Hee must feel contempt for her husband like she does. She spills out her true feelings of disgust for Ho Seok, calling him a pig, and says she only married him for his money.
Sung Hee is ready to leave but Jung Do wants to walk and tells her there are no cabs around anyway. “There are cabs right here…” she replies but he grabs her hand. Mr. Schmoozer Charmer has been dissed at dinner and can’t let it go. His ego is bruised. Sung Hee asks what business they talked about. Since it is time to get Ho Seok to invest, Jung Do was aggressive and laid it on thick about high stakes and playing with the big boys. Importing replicas and real artifacts brings in huge profits. Forget the chump change. “Does that even pay for your baby’s formula?” he pressures Ho Seok. Six figures is not even rich these days in China and he tosses out the term “billionaire.” It’s glitzy, the thought of the lives of the rich and famous is enticing and a hesitant Ho Seok asks to see the goods. That’s no problem, Jung Do assures him.
As Sung Hee gets into a cab she turns to Jung Do and tells him to leave her out from now on. He agrees. The cab barely pulls away when he calls her to say he’s sorry that only he has good memories.
Flashback: That evening in the café Jung Do tells Sung Hee that it wasn’t love, he meant to con her. He walks out leaving her crying. Outside, Sa Jae Sung and two officers approach and arrest him. “Is that her?” Jae Sung asks. But Jung Do acts cool. He is protecting her by distancing himself so they won’t connect her with him and acts like she is nothing to him. He turns his face so as not to give away his true feelings. All Sung Hee knows is that she was cruelly dumped. There she sits drinking alone until the café closes.
It’s time to merge. The plan is to get Ho Seok and Min A in one place to deal in antiques. Jung Do calls Ho Seok and tells him he has an antique sample. Ho Seok calls his sister who knows something about antiques already. She in turn calls expert Sung Il for a favor. Everybody is in one room at the same time.
Sung Il has done his crash course homework on Chinese antiques and appraises the piece that Jung Do has brought. It’s a beauty all right; in fact, it is Sung Il’s knowledgeable opinion that no private person should own such a national treasure. Indeed, it should be in a museum for the people to enjoy such rare beauty. Ho Seok and Min A only care about one thing: what is it worth??
Jung Do is all business now and asks Ho Seok if he’s in or out. He even offers to lend him the money but Ho Seok says he couldn’t take his money and promises to get it soon. “30 million. You need 30 million,” says Jung Do, holding up 3 fingers. Sung Il has tea with Min A at her home. They discuss when the antique shipment is due at Busan Harbour and what the profit will be. Feeling like it’s her lucky day, Min A decides to show Sung Il her private collection of tax-free antique vases. She asks Jung Il if he can appraise them for her and his surprised “Moi?” gesture is priceless. She promises to pay him handsomely.
Commissioner Ahn has New Office Guy on Sung Il’s tail. He reports that Sung Il met with Min A. The Commissioner can’t wait to tell the Mayor that Sung Il is targeting Pil Gyu for the 50 million back taxes. The Mayor finds this all very interesting and pays a visit to the office, but Sung Il isn’t there. Sung Hee covers for him but the Mayor makes it uncomfortably clear that he will find out what Sung Il is up to. The Mayor and Commissioner Ahn think Sung Hee is in on it. I’m worried for her.
The con-the-Bangs plan comes to a screeching halt when Ji Moo bails and turns on Jung Do. She met earlier with Sa Jae Sung in jail, although I’m not sure why she put up with his ugly chauvinist disregard for her as a woman. Apparently he has something he holds over her and threatens to throw her in the slammer if she messes up. Mi Joo is uncharacteristically docile. She meets with Pil Gyu, Ho Seok, and Min A and reveals the con plan with Sung Il and Jung Do. They are angry and shocked. Pil Gyu is furious with his imbecile of a son for getting conned; Ho Seok is a pathetic mess as he pleads for his father’s forgiveness.
With Mi Joo’s help they decide to invite Jung Do and Sung Il to dinner at the house to nab them. Min A calls Sung Il and Ho Seok calls Jung Do. Mi Joo begs Min A to allow her not to have to face them when they arrive and see that she turned on them. “I can’t look into Jung Do’s eyes.” *Actually, was she supposed to say Jung Do since they know him as Mr. Cho? Was it a mistake or was it meant to be a hint? Or maybe lost in translation? If anyone knows what was said in Korean, I’d love to know. Leave a comment below, thanks?*
When Jung Do arrives at the Bang house Sung Il is already there and motions him to stay back. “Stop. I think we’re caught,” Sung Il tells him. They’re arrested by Commissioner Ahn’s men (who Pil Gyu called). Ho Seok grabs Jung Do by the collar and yells, “You rat. Don’t you know who my dad is?” Just then, Jung Do sees Mi Joo in the doorway with her head hung. She gave them away.
The problem is that no crime was committed. Pil Gyu wants to use his clout to throw the book at Jung Do and Sung Il, but the officer tells him that he can only detain them 48 hours and, in fact, his own children could end up being arrested for accepting illegal goods. Min A tells the police her version, but Sung Il is aloof and repeats that no money exchanged hands therefore no crime was committed on his part. For this round there is nothing Pil Gyu has on the con team. Sung Il and Jung Do are released. !Scam alert! It turns out that this, too, was all a con. Jung Do and Sung Il waltz out of the jail cell and get something to eat. Things are going as planned. Aren’t they?
The whole being arrested in front of Pil Gyu and his son and daughter act was plotted all along. And Mi Joo, well, she isn’t a traitor after all. I feel better about that. It’s time for Sung Il to reveal to Min A just how badly she’s been scammed. Her antiquing days are about to come to an end and Sung Il confidently calls to let her know he is on his way over.
But Jung Do makes a call to the Chairman – masterful puppeteer – and we are, once again, thrown off and unsure of Jung Do’s alignments. The chairman’s right hand man hands him the phone and says, “I think Jung Do is about to start for real now.” Huh? Who is Jung Do working for? How many sides are there? Who is scamming who? And the chairman – is that Choi Chul Woo or someone else? It’s not Jung Do’s father is it?
Sung Il wants Min A to hear what comes next in person. He asks if she will pay the 50 million in taxes that her father owes. She snorts, “Are you crazy?” But she doesn’t understand the situation yet. Sung Il is all too happy to explain what really happened since they got friendly. First, Mi Joo didn’t betray them; she just needed a way to get into the house. Those keys in Min A’s pocket, Mi Joo was able to get them make a wax mold and have a duplicate made. Getting into the locked antiques cache was a piece of cake.
Next, while Commissioner Ahn and his boys were busy hauling Jung Do and Sung Il to the police station, the house was conveniently left empty. “Aren’t you going to the basement?” he asks as Min A begins to see exactly what happened and how they were conned. While everyone was questioned at the station, Burner, Wallet, and the rest of the gang took every last piece of ceramics.
“Load them up,” ordered Wallet. Min A staggers at the immense loss she has incurred; all those years of stealing and hoarding gone. The swindler’s been swindled. Sung Il tells her the loot was sold within two days. She can’t possibly trace it to him since he was locked up for 48 hours. There’s no proof, either. He wonders if she will pay her taxes now. Min A sputters, unable to properly contain herself, and asks what she must do. She offers him three million. No, five million.
Sung Il’s response is gold:” My wife runs a pork trotter restaurant. We do well enough to survive.” He tells her to call her father.
She hands him the phone. It is Sung Il’s turn to stick it to Bang Pil Gyu. He reminds Pil Gyu that six years ago he made the statement that the nation owes him, he doesn’t owe the country anything. Finally, Sung Il feels like he has helped recompense for the people who have been hurt by Pil Gyu and tells him that the 50 million in taxes he owes – they’ve been paid in full. Bang Pil Gyu should be outraged. But what’s that? He laughs?
Sung Il rightfully thinks the con was a success, that what he set out to do was finally accomplished. He turns his back on Min A and walks out. There’s a call from Jung Do who tells Sung Il, “I’m sorry. I can’t pay the taxes with the money.” Sung Il says to stop joking. “No, I mean it. I’m going to use it for something else. That’s okay, right?” Jung Do continues. Sung Il asks where he is. Our stomachs sink – he is sitting across from Pil Gyu. Sung Il didn’t see this coming. He definitely didn’t see it coming when Jung Do says, “I did all the work anyway.” Sung Il reels and shouts in disbelief, “Shut your trap!” He begins to plead with Jung Do saying that he promised he wasn’t using him but Jung Do laughs with the ultimate dope, “How could you trust a con artist of all people?” Sung Il can’t contain the feeling of betrayal and that he’s just been the victim of the ultimate con.
Jung Do hangs up and asks Pil Gyu, ‘What will you do, now?” AAAhhhh, Sung Il!
- Wait, are we being conned?
- I have to wonder if the Baek Sung Il double name thing that lingers unexplained is the cause of our Sung Il being wrongly targeted and played by the con artists. Will it eventually be unraveled and the Chairman realize there has been a mix up? Is that what’s happening? I’m pretty sure Jung Do doesn’t realize that there are two Baek Sung Ils in the Tax Office. And does this all have to do with Jung Do’s father being unjustly imprisoned? Is there a connection?
- The Mi Joo fake out was classic and I would love it to death except that it trapped Sung Il. But, I gotta hand it to her, she Banged them good.
- So this is what it feels like to do the same thing for two different outcomes. Both parties cannot be the winner. It feels like a double trap for Sung Il: first, he doesn’t have the money after all to pay the taxes and second, he has been caught conning a citizen or at least someone who the higher-ups protect for their corrupt share. In which case, Sung Il ends up on the losing end both ways. My heart hangs heavy for him.
- I don’t think anyone is on Sa Jae Sung’s side, I can’t see that he is working for anyone but himself.
- Pil Gyu, is he teaming up against his own children? This is why I say that I have used up my allocated brain cells recapping this and don’t want to go back and piece together who is paying who under the table for what. I hope the writers do a decent job (and I have no reason to believe they won’t) walking us through the intricate corrupt relationships.
- Is Jung Do on top of this or is he being used because he is on the bottom? Is he conning or being conned? That is the $60,000 question that just about everyone in this drama could ask him or herself. Who is conning who?