Imo, a truly evil person will never feel sorry or guilty for the victims s/he has harmed. Therefore, to call Goo-tak and team “Bad Guys” doesn’t do them justice. Yes, they have killed people — but ep5 reveals that the killings affect them juz as much as their victims.

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1. Tae-soo

Ep2 already shows very clearly that he is capable of both guilt and love. Ep5 further emphasises, in case we missed anything, that Tae-soo is not the cold-blooded assassin he is made out to be by the police. We learn that he surrendered himself after his last mission of murdering Sun-jung’s husband, and his pained expression when Sun-jung declares that she will never forgive the murderer even if he apologises for the kill, speaks volume about the guilty secret he carries.

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It is probably the world’s worst punishment for him, to love the surviving family member of a target he has disposed of, and yet, feeling totally unworthy of her love because of the henious act he has committed. Therefore, Tae-soo rages in murderous fury when he learns that his “teacher” (or liaison person) has been hijacking the funds meant for Sun-jung. Afterall, that is the pitiable minimal redemption he can offer to Sun-jung for taking away the person most important in her life.

I think even if Sun-jung does love him back in the end, the guilt he bears may not allow him to reciprocate in kind.

2. Woong-cheol

Actually, if Woong-cheol isn’t a gangster, he’d make a fine police officer. He is loyal, hardworking, able to work the grounds, has sharp instincts when it comes to catching his preys, and a team player (juz look at how that local gangster, whom he picks up, looks up to him as a hyung). It is juz too bad he is on the other side of the fence.

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We get a little of his back story in ep5; he comes from a poor family (his dad works in a laundry shop), and is looked down by the other kids in the neighbourhood. Thus, he (wrongly) goes to the head gangster in his neighbourhood and swears allegiance to him. He gets accepted (probably for his earnestness, which is even present today), and works his way up to be a sorta No. 2. Woong-cheol’s loyalty to his gangster hyung even lets him accept Death without flinching.

However, his parting advice to his hyung reveals that he isn’t the hardcore a criminal as we are led to believe. Woong-cheol wearily tells his hyung that all those years of killing opposition gangs’ members have left him with nightmares. And he is tired of having ghosts from his past haunt him, so much so that he doesn’t mind dying if it means it’s the next best alternative (next to living as a normal man if he gets his sentence fully reduced) to banishing his mental ghosts.

Sad…and let that be a warning to anyone who thinks joining a gang is “male-bonding”.

3. Jung-moon

We have yet to see the Hyde appearing in Jung-moon, and even Jung-moon himself is puzzled. Because as Jung-moon, he clearly feels discomfited by the murderers he has caught while in Goo-tak’s team. He also knows he can feel loyalty and is willing to help his team mates when they are in danger…so where exactly is the cold-blooded psycho who CANNOT feel guilt, and only feel pleasure in the kill?

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If a manifestation of guilt points to someone being not entirely evil, then technically, a pyscho who doesn’t have empathy with his victims is truly evil. But, where is that psycho Jung-moon which everyone seems to want dead? We already have mentions of 3 orders to kill Jung-moon — Tae-soo, earlier in jail, Woong-cheol and Tae-soo again in ep5. And the reason for wanting Jung-moon dead is cos he’s a serial killer who killed so-and-so. Really? And so-and-so happens to be all connected with the underworld?

Even if Jung-moon IS really the serial murderer, having a split personality makes the issue of guilt tricky. The unknown Hyde-Jung-moon may be the one murdering those victims, but the Jung-moon we see now, has no memories of even harming anyone.

4. Goo-tak

I’ve mentioned his redeemer role earlier, and how he is working to bring his team mates away from their bestial self-images. However, Goo-tak’s dedication to crime busting can be a manifestation of guilt as well. Since till now, he has yet to capture his daughter’s murderer. And that probably serves as a driving force to wipe the streets clean of monsters who may harm other innocent people.

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He pays a price for his single-minded dedication though. He eschews all forms of bereaucratic protection that comes from being a police officer, choosing instead to hone in on capturing his targets, using whatever unorthodox means available (aka violence). That eventually leads to him leaving the force.  

5. The random murderer(s)

Rounding ep5’s discussion on Guilt will be the two murderers who go on a shooting rampage, to satisfy their personal vendettas. The pair (I shall nickname them Random Killer 1 and 2) are laid off after they discover their company boss’ embezzlement of funds, resulting in their family being broken up due to the loss of income. Random Killer 2 — Go Chang-shik — is the more cowardly one who is co-erced into killing to show that he is on board the plan. To me, his panicked frenzy and loss of control clearly show that he doesn’t WANT to shoot, and he KNOWS he is hurting innocent people.

However, Random Killer 1 (Jang Myung-jin) has buried his empathy under his rage. He coolley takes down other irrelevant passerbys, because their deaths are to mask the real target. To him, they are juz practice targets…not humans. It only dawns on him that those he killed ARE innocent people when Jung-moon lists down their names, their backgrounds, and how similar they are to him. And he gets a taste of their fear too, when he looks down the barrel of his own shotgun.

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kooriyuki says ep5 is anticlimatic after seeing 3 full episodes of gore…well, yes. But I find that ep5 is much scarier. The previous cases happen in the dark of the night, when hunters prowl for their preys. Ep5 happens in broad daylight, when we are lulled into a sense of false security. It brings to mind recent news of mass stabbings of subway passengers in Taipei, and random school shootings in the States. Places and times where we should feel relatively safe become dark and scary suddenly.

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