I just want to jump right to where they, I mean, it’s so – I’m dying here – those gangsta shirts, it’s hilarious, what a bunch of actors (*slaps face*)! But forgive me, I’ll begin at the beginning of the episode and get to my favorite part, that is, if I don’t die laughing. But it’s just so funny!
Chairman Wang wants to see Jung Do first thing. Wallet has brought an entourage – 4 black sedans and a couple dozen men – to greet the Chairman upon his release. The Boss is back!
Choi Chul Woo concentrates on a game of Baduk when someone approaches him. It is sleazy Sa Jae Sung in his ill-fitting suit who recently got sprung from the slammer, too. The two have never met before and Jae Sung drops names – says he was close to Bang Pil Gyu . CEO Choi knows of him, the detective who went to jail for bribes, right? He is not too interested in Jae Sung who is like an annoying buzzing fly he wants to swat. Jae Sung says that for five million dollars he’ll give him a tip. He promises it’s a tip worth the money, a tip that will allow the CEO to control the Mayor. But CEO Choi isn’t interested; he says that he respects Mayor Chun. That’s fine Jae Sung tells him, but the longer CEO Choi stalls, the higher the price for the information. As Jae Sung leaves he mentions one more thing: Yang Jung Do was paroled.
When Wallet takes Chairman Wang to the butcher shop they operate out of he says, “Is this where you worked until now? I thought you liked clean places and things.” It’s because of him that she is in this situation she reminds him. The Chairman wants to see Jung Do and asks why he didn’t come to meet him when he was released. He pulls Jung Do’s ear roughly but playfully and gives Jung Do a hard time. Chairman Wang meets the whole gang – Burner, Keyboard, Gold – and when Sung Il walks in on the greetings and says, “hello,” the Chairman takes one look at him and asks if he is s wrestler. Ha. “That’s Baek Sung Il, the guy I told you about,” Jung Do fills in and adds, “He can’t fight.”
It’s another uncomfortable meeting for Mayor Chun. He arrives late at the restaurant to find Choi Chul Woo dining with his running opponent for the mayoral seat, Woo Soo Myeong. They bow stiffly. Mr. Woo excuses himself, leaving CEO Choi and the Mayor alone. The first thing CEO Choi mentions is that Jung Do has been paroled and they need to stay on their toes. Baek Sung Il needs to be watched closely, too, he tells the Mayor. Now for business: CEO Choi tells the Mayor that he has a slim 2.4 percent lead in the polls. It’s conceivable that the Mayor might lose. The Mayor, who I’ve noticed never ever smiles, is worried that CEO Choi is playing both sides. But CEO Choi says he is just making sure that they are careful and calculate properly in order to win. He offers the Mayor more money than last time (to buy votes). Remember, it only takes a nice $10 meal to ensure a kickback he tells the Mayor.
The Mayor and the opposing candidate Woo meet awkwardly in the lobby. Candidate Woo says he will make Choi Chul Woo pay his taxes – the 100 million. The Mayor is surprised when Candidate Woo lets him know that he knows he takes bribes to look the other way. If he is elected mayor, Candidate Woo promises the corruption will stop. I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone out there who doesn’t know the details of the level of corruption.
Chairman Wang meets with Sung Il who has been prompted by Jung Do and Wallet how to approach him and be convincing. “Don’t show off. Don’t lie. Don’t sound haughty. Don’t grin. Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t lack confidence or beat around the bush. He hates them all.” Sung Il comments that the chairman hates a lot of things. “Just be honest and sincere,” they advise. That’s Sung Il in a nutshell; he’ll be fine. Finding himself with an audience with Chairman Wang, Sung Il does just that. He is unpretentious, direct, and sincere. Sung Il lays out his plan to the Chairman on how he wants to bring down Choi Chul Woo. The reason he is after CEO Woo’s 100 million in back taxes is because letting it go symbolizes the unfair privilege given to him and the rich by those in the government who receive kickbacks to look the other way. Sung Il explains that in his small way, he wants to change that. From the poor, the government demands more and burdens them while letting the rich’s tax duties slide. There should be a balance between duty and rights, he explains. Sung Il has the Chairman’s attention.
Chairman Wang listens intently and asks what Sung Il wants him to do. Sung Il says a donation to the public to celebrate his release from prison and a press release would be a good start. A call is made to the Seowon City Hall to announce a donation in the name of Sangjin Group’s Chairman. In a press conference, Chairman Wang does it right and expresses his gratitude for the great country of Korea and Seowon City that make his success possible. Without them his great business wouldn’t have thrived. As a thank you he is making a generous donation. This is all meant to get the Mayor’s attention and it does.
As expected, the Mayor contacts the Chairman. They meet in a very nice private restaurant where the Chairman makes his move. After pleasantries, the Chairman aggressively brings up the election and asks if the Mayor has enough money to secure the election. The Mayor is caught off guard at his forwardness. The Chairman says that he isn’t like others who give money in exchange for control. He won’t breathe down the Mayor’s neck watching every move. “Join hands with me,” he offers and he extends a hand to the Mayor. This is not an “I’ll scratch your back you scratch mine” alliance he assures the Mayor. It is more like a new friendship. Mayor Chun is uneasy and tells Chairman Wang that he’ll think about it.
Jung Do is on his way to meet CEO Choi who reads a paper on a bench. Jung Do sits down beside him, introduces himself, and says that he has met the people who work for him but he’s never met the CEO before. He wants him to know that they will make him cough up the 100 million in taxes. “Go ahead, how can I help?” CEO Choi replies calmly, unaffected by the threat. “Just pay up,” Jung Do tells him, because it will look bad if he gets conned. It will hurt his pride. CEO Choi never looks up but wonders out loud what kind of kid dares to talk to him that way? He tells Jung Do that he needs to go back to jail and learn some manners. “I was rude from the day I was born,” says Jung Do, smiling. Gosh, that is adorable on him. He gets up to leave but turns and tells CEO Choi to stop pretending to be too poor to pay his taxes; it looks bad, stealing from others. This is all a ploy to distract him and make him think they are after his money. But this time, Sung Il et al aren’t after the tax money; the goal is to ruin Kukjin Construction so that the redevelopment of Maseok-dong is stopped and Da Mi’s Diner and the residents are saved. It’s time to stop the corrupt rich who control government with kickbacks for their own economic gain and harm the poor who are living life honestly and trying to survive.
Grandfather Woo returns to his diner after a few days in jail to find a happy surprise. Sung Il, Jung Do, and the rest of the gang have pitched in to put things back in order. They’ve cleaned up the mess and watched over his granddaughter who runs and hugs her grandfather when she sees him in the doorway.
It’s as touching a sight as I’ve seen with a speechless Mr. Woo bowing in thanks as the group heads out all choked up at the little family being reunited. For just a moment in a forgotten alley in Seowon City, a little faith in humanity has been restored.
A highly displeased CEO Choi dines with his pack of weasels. Things have backfired. The riot instigators they planted in the crowd that day at the Maseok-dong protest were arrested and the media turned against Kukjin Construction and the redevelopment. Cha Myung Soo apologizes that he couldn’t evict the squatters after all. Accountant Cho makes excuses and asks for more time. Only Director Ahn, the new man at Kukjin, gives the CEO the answer he wants: “I’ll take care of it.” The other two are scolded for their incompetence and sent out. CEO Choi then tells Director Ahn that the person who caused all that trouble before is out on parole and has threatened to get the 100 million. Director Ahn tells him not to worry, he’ll take care of it all. This certainly puts him on CEO Choi’s good side. Director Ahn’s cool confidence makes me worried for Jung Do.
The con team discusses what’s next. Jung Do proposes a scheme to distract CEO Choi using money as bait. It’s something he came up with while in prison, making good use of his time there and all. It’s a sure way, low risk, but slow – it may take some time he tells the others as they look over his notes. Wallet thinks that it may take too long though, and as hey mull over the idea, Sung Il speaks up. “I came up with this idea. Have a look,” he says as he passes out binders. Jung Do flips through and grins at Sung Il. Wallet says that it’s actually quite good. “You’re a real con artist now,” Jung Do is impressed. “Well, I didn’t just waste the last two years,” a pleased Sung Il answers. The plan has a flaw from the start, however; since they all have a high profile it makes it difficult for any one of them to pose as the front man and meet directly with the people they are conning. Eyes are watching; it is too dangerous. They need a person who won’t cast suspicion but knows the ins and outs of Woohyung subsidiaries.
To remedy that issue Jung Do has already recruited a mercenary. It’s Ma Jin Suk and he strolls in with a grin. This feels bad to me from the get-go. Looks like Sung Il thinks so, too. When Jin Suk extends a hand Sung Il shakes his head saying, “This isn’t right.” But Jung Do reassures him that they had a little chat while in jail and vouches for him. Jin Suk sees that Sung Il is still skeptical and tells him that he has to survive, too. After all, he was thrown to the wolves by Bang Pil Gyu and took the rap for his son and now that Pil Gyu himself is in jail his breadline has been cut off. Why wouldn’t he be willing to go after those rats? He vows to “chop off the heads of the jerks who did this to me and live like a model citizen.” Man, that doesn’t ring true coming from him. He really wants Sung Il’s trust, but Sung Il turns aside to Jung Do and reminds him that they can’t afford to make any mistakes – they’ve waited two years for this. Jung Do seems confident that Jin Suk will be just the one to infiltrate the inner world of Choi Chul Woo. Wallet places a hand on Jin Suk’s shoulder giving her cautious approval and tells him to “do it well.” The air is uneasy but Jung Do turns to Sung Il and sheepishly asks, “Don’t you trust me?” Sung Il reluctantly answers, “Fine.”
Rather than Sung Il being the contact person – too risky – they will use Jin Suk. Cho Sang Jin, the sleazy accountant, is the first target this round. The aim – to take down Kukjin Construction (and ultimately Choi Chul Woo) through a loan fraud scam. It’s been a while since Jin Suk and Mr. Cho worked together in various capacities for Bang Pil Gyu. Mr. Cho normally wouldn’t give Jin Suk a second look what with him being broke and having gone to jail. The idea is for Jin Suk to hook Mr. Cho with his sudden good fortune now that he is out of jail – quick money and lots of it. Pique his curiosity: “What did this punk do to make all that money?” With Wallet banking-rolling the con, Jin Suk can look and play the part with finesse.
Jin Suk shows up at Mr. Cho’s office looking rich and confident. Next day, Jin Suk “happens” to show up at the golf course where Mr. Cho frequents carrying top designer clubs. They “run into each other” at a fancy restaurant and Jin Suk greets Mr. Cho. His expensive limited edition watch catches Mr. Cho’s attention. At a stop light, who should roll down his car window and cheerily greet Mr. Cho but Jin Suk – in a new luxury sedan. Finally, they set a date for dinner. Mr. Cho wants to know how Jin Suk recovered after being ruined by Pil Gyu. Jin Suk is modest at first, “I’m barely getting by,” he teases. But Mr. Cho presses for tips on getting rich quick. There’s some push and pull until Jin Suk pretends that he has no choice but to spill the details. It’s a fake loan scam and here’s how it works: by inflating export figures for a friend’s paper company they obtained a guarantor and took out loans to the tune of 20 million dollars. Mr. Cho practically chokes at the sum and asks if they aren’t worried about getting caught. “Come on. Since when did we not break the law?’ Jin Suk hits home with that and says he’s not cleaning up after rich people’s garbage any longer but working independently. He leans forward and confides that he is leaving Korea soon, too. In fact, his already sent his family to Australia. He has money and he is young and he is going to live the good life abroad. Jin Suk tells Mr. Cho that he’s telling him this because he is worried about him cleaning up after Choi Chul Woo. Kikjin Construction – isn’t he and his childhood friend Cha Myung Soo running that company? Don’t you two do all the work? Choi Chul Woo, he doesn’t do anything, does he? With the wheels turning in Mr. Cho’s head, Jin Suk tells him that the Maseok-dong redevelopment project would be the perfect opportunity to pull out from under CEO Choi and go independent. Get a fraud loan on rake in billions. Isn’t it time to stop being the lackey for Mr. Choi after 30 years and make it big on his own? Doesn’t he deserve that? Mr. Cho acts angry – is he telling him to betray CEO Choi? “I’m buying, eat up,” says Jin Suk, lightening the mood.
Target #2 is Cha Myung Soo, Kikjin’s CEO of Kukjin in name only. He pilfers smaller amounts of money on the side and Mr. Choi lets it slide to keep him loyal out of fear. Mi Joo sets him up. She sits down at the bar where Myung Soo drinks alone. With a smooth pick-up line she asks if he’d like to get another drink somewhere else. “Are you kidding me? Of course,” he answers too eagerly. Once they’re outside Burner takes over and punches his lights out, just like that.
Now for the best part. They take him to the warehouse and tie him to a chair. When he comes to he sees Keyboard across from him also tied up and badly beaten. Keyboard plays it up and tells Myung Soo not to yell or he’ll get beaten up like him.
The mobsters enter, all thug. What gangsta catalog did they order those shirts from? “Are you up?” Jung Do demands. When Myung Soo sees Mi Joo he realizes he’s been had and yells, “You witch!” Keyborad tells him not to yell which gets him beat up some more.
“You jerk!” Burner shouts and hits Keyboard. “Harder!” Keyboard shouts back. Myung Soo watches in horror. Jung Do plays it for all it’s worth, pulling useful tools from a bag – a hammer, a knife, large shears – and laying them out on the table. That expression, the gold chain, and the flowery nylon shirt are priceless.
Sung Il the boss (that coi fish shirt is amazing) telling Myung Soo that Keyboard got swollen like that even though they didn’t feed him for a month and tells Burner to lay off; he’ll only get more swollen. “Who are you?” wails Myung Soo, but Sung Il slaps him one-two and tells him to shut, they know all about him. “Mr Yang, where are the pliers? I want to pull out his teeth,” says boss man Sung Il. Myung Soo squirms when Mr. Yang says that a hammer is better – you can knock out a mouthful with one blow. *wince*
Sung Il pretends that it’s CEO Choi who is the one behind nabbing Myung Soo to put a little fear into him for the money he stole. Embezzlement. So Sung Il has one question: Why did you touch the chairman’s money? Chairman Choi sent us. He said we could bury you. No one who ever saw our faces lived to tell the story. He lays in on thick .These guys should just stick with being mobsters, they do it so well. With hammer in hand, Sung Il grabs the records and waves it in Myung Soo’s face: “You stole $50,000.” He calls Jung Do over to weigh him like a pig in a butcher shop. No doubt Myung Soo’s life is flashing before his eyes as Jung Do swings a hook above his head and telling him to stay still, it’ll hurt more if he misses. Just then, Sung Il gets a call (wink ^^wink) from CEO Choi. “Yes, sir, will do.” He turns to Myung Soo and tells him that he is so lucky; the chairman said he’ll forgive him this once. They reluctantly let him go but not before Jung Do adds, “We already dug up the spot. Darn it.” (Practically peed my pants.) Myung Soo can’t scramble out of there fast enough.
Poor Keyboard put on a commendable show and took a real beating. The rest baby him and Sung Il says he’s sorry and will buy him dinner.
It’s been a good day’s work. They’ve baited and set the hooks in Cho Sang Gin and Cha Myung Soo. Jung Do is so proud of Sung Il for coming up with a decent con artist scheme. “Come now. It was nothing,” Sung Il acts shy but his smile says he’s pretty pleased with himself, too. “Isn’t it fun?”
“Do you really trust Ma Jin Suk?” Sung Il asks Jung Do, still concerned and on edge. Jung Do brushes it off and says it’s fine. “What’s fine?” Sung Il says, trailing off.
Choi Chul Woo gets a call from Director Ahn who says someone they worked with two years ago tipped them off about what Jung Do and the others are up to. “Loan fraud?” says CEO Choi. Oh boy.
Jung Do waits for Sung Hee in her neighborhood. He is uncharacteristically tongue-tied. Even though he told her that her father might end up in the crossfire, still he feels bad. She says what if, somehow, her father doesn’t join hands with Chairman Wang? He says he hasn’t thought that far ahead. She wishes out loud that her father does what’s right and becomes a great mayor who doesn’t accept dirty money. It’s a daughter’s hope for her father, that’s all.
Sung Il is just about to leave when he gets a call from Jin Suk. Cho Sang Gin has taken the bait. Sung Il tells Jin Suk to go ahead and tell him to fudge the figures for Kukjin Construction. He throws in that he doesn’t trust Jin Suk yet and tells him not to get any funny ideas.
As he heads out the door, Sung Il is shocked and staggers back when he sees Choi Chul Woo sitting in the warehouse. “It took me a while to find you,” he says and asks, “are you Baek Sung Il? I’m Choi Chul Woo.” Sung Il is clearly thrown for a loop. He calls Jung Do and tells him there is a guest at the warehouse and he needs to come now.
When he tells Sung Hee that he has to go, she asks if there is something wrong. He says no, it’s nothing and that he’ll call her. But she suspects that’s not the case.
Jung Do looks worried as he drives off. Sung Il shifts from foot to foot; he is unnerved as Choi Chul Woo calmly sits and waits for Jung Do to show up.
- First, I don’t think Ma Jin Suk ratted them out. I suspect it has something to do with the conversation early in the episode between Sa Jae Sung and Choi Chul Woo. He offered information for 5 million but CEO Choi wasn’t interested. Maybe he decided to pay up and find out what Sa Jae Sung had to offer.
- I’m still reeling in laughter over the whole thug scene with the tools and the facial expressions, and those shirts, – it was rich. Just rich! Poor Keyboard, but he just played the victim so well, I felt so sorry for him. And Seo In Guk as the hit man taking orders from Sung Il, beautiful! It was a truly memorable scene.
- I can go for a good con, and I have to remember that this is all for Sung Il to right the corrupt world of tax arrears, kickbacks, and the balance of rich/poor balance and duty/rights. So I want to see how it all turns out. But the hoops that have to be jumped through to get to Choi Chul Woo are tiresome as are the twisted paths and scads of people involved.
- And the love story, subtle and mild as it is, I’ve nearly forgotten about. It actually doesn’t have to be anything but a reconciled friendship between Jung Do and Sung Hee. I actually can’t see that there is time for much more than that anyhow.
- There are too many people and I say that on the heels of a yet another new person being introduced to the story: opposing candidate Woo Soo Myeong. Ho hum.
- Two things that confuse me: When Sung Il introduced his idea for the first time and everyone liked it, Jung Do already had Ma Jin Suk on board as a mercenary for their side. But Jung Do didn’t know about Sung Il’s scheme, yet. The other thing is Chairman Wang extending a hand to Mayor Chun to join him. Is that to save him and give him a way out from remaining tangled with Choi Chul Woo? That’s what I thought, but at the end Sung Hee wished her father wouldn’t join hands with Chairman Wang, as if that was a kickback, too. I didn’t think Chairman Wang offered financial backing with strings attached. So, I’m unsure about Chairman Wang’s connection with the Mayor and Sung Hee’s comments.
- This comedy of the gangsta scene contrasts with the tender sentimental moments at grandfather Woo’s diner for a satisfying episode overall.
- We’ve learned one thing: it is extremely difficult to get to Choi Chul Woo
- And what about Jung Do’s father? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him, either.
- So, who will remain standing?