Well now, these 2 eps do help in clearing up much of the guesswork, leaving the remaining eps to focus on the cat-and-mouse game.
Sung-chan leaves after seeing a dejected Myung-ha home. Unknown to both of them, Wrestler Guy (ok, he has a name, Jung Su-kyung) is hanging outside Myung-ha’s home, and he spies on her punching in her security code into her apartment.
On his way back to HQ (?) Sung-chan receives a call from his team mate to inform him that the police have found TNN (ex) CEO’s body at a fishing site. Preliminary findings point to suicide. Feeling that he needs to update Myung-ha about this, Sung-chan U-turns back. (hurry…)
We cut to a Psycho-esque (Alfred Hitchcock’s famous b/w movie) scene, where a vulnerable Myung-ha takes a shower in her bathroom, unaware that Su-kyung has already entered her house. She sits down in front of her vanity top to blow dry her wet hair, only to be grabbed from behind by Su-kyung. Cos Su-kyung has been trained in martial arts (and apparently was in the Special Forces), the smaller built Myung-ha (even though she is ex-SWAT) loses out to him. She is swiftly headlocked unconscious. Su-kyung proceeds to douse her living room with kerosene, and flips a lighter before leaving the burning apartment.
When Sung-chan arrives, he sees a burning unit. He tries to knock down the locked door to Myung-ha’s room to no avail (she is barely conscious, and worse, her PTSD kicks in when she smells smoke). Suddenly, another shoulder lends its weight to the bedroom door. It’s Hee-sung.
Myung-ha wakes up in a hospital, and Hee-sung explains his presence in her house. He passes a photograph of young Myung-ha with her parents which Ahjusshi Shin has kept. He claims that his “father” (he says he calls all the sponsored patients in the hospice as Mum/ Dad), has instructed him to pass the photo to Myung-ha after she visited him earlier on. Myung-ha is grateful. When Hee-sung leaves, she tells Sung-chan that she has met Hee-sung way back — when she was a young girl recovering from the loss of her parents. In the hospital where she was supposed to seek follow up treatment, Hee-sung has identified himself as a reporter, and claimed to know what happened to Myung-ha and other victims of New Town Project (the project headed by K Group which caused the riot and fire). He had promised a young Myung-ha then to reveal all injustices in the world in his role as a reporter.
We cut to the case of the day — a young, dirty looking preggy woman tries to sneak a loaf of bread from the supermarket, only to hauled to the police station for shoplifting. Turns out she is a Chinese, in Korea for employment. And Sung-bum appears to know her. He calls her by her name, Shanshan, and explains to Myung-ha that he used to work in the precinct where Shanshan and other Chinese workers are employed in a metalworks factory. He asks Shanshan what happened to her. She tearfully explains that she has been fired, and because her boss has refused to pay her wages, she has gone without food for days. She clutches her belly, and Myung-ha notices that she is in the family way. When she gets picked up by the Foreign Affairs officers (for deportation), Myung-ha stuffs a wad of money into her hand, together with a bottle of folic acid supplements.
Sung-chan and Jae-hee continue to follow the leads on Su-kyung. They learn that after the New Town Project incident (where he lost his only kin, an elder sister), he subsequently joined the Special Forces in the military. After discharge, he gets himself employed in Shin-ah Construction — the same company in charge of New Town Project. Not long after, Shin-ah Construction’s boss dies suddenly, and Su-kyung quits his job. Sung-chan and Jae-hee track down Su-kyung’s ex-colleague, a burly looking guy, and questions him for Su-kyung’s whereabouts. He claims he has no idea.
Since Shin-ah Construction is owned by (yes) K Group, Sung-chan pays a visit to Chairman Seo, only to be derided by Chairman Seo for his tardiness in agreeing to work under him again. He sneers that Sung-chan is no better than a hunting dog. And dogs cannot disobey their masters for long. Rattled, Sung-chan leaves.
At the metalworks factory where Shanshan used to work in, we see a group of Chinese workers (yay, they got actors who CAN speak proper Mandarin!) gathered around discussing their owed wages — and the unfair firing of Shanshan. It seems that they have been owed their salaries for close to half a year (?!), and their factory supervisor does not treat them like humans. We get to see an example of said treatment, as the Factory Supervisor stomps down from his office to scold them for “skiving”. When one of them tries to broach the subject of owed salaries, he sneers at them for even daring to ask. To further rub his point in, he rips off the takiyah (the Chinese workers are Muslims — from the Uyghur provinces in Xinjiang, and the takiyah is a cap worn usually for prayers), spits into it and stamps it on the floor. Factory Supervisor also insinuates that Shanshan is fired cos she dared to resist him sexually. (creeeep…we learn from an irate Shanshan also that he tried to rape her on many occasions)
This sparks off the already angry Chinese worker. One of them attacks Factory Supervisor from behind, and knocks him unconscious. Upstairs, a Lady Worker (Korean) sees this, and tries to trigger the alarm. Unfortunately, her reaction is slower than the Chinese workers, who immediately runs up to apprehend her and barricade the factory.
The police (Negotiation Team + SWAT) are alerted to the hostage situation, and swarm down to the factory. The Chinese workers have disabled most of the CCTVs, leaving the police quite in the dark on what is happening inside. Sung-chan arrives on scene, and proceeds to call the workers to negotiate on their terms. Unfortunately, he doesn’t speak Mandarin…but he does pick up on a name — Shanshan, whom Sung-bum idens as the preggy lady who had been escorted for deportation. Sung-chan requests the Foreign Affairs office to release her for a while.
Shanshan arrives, and manages to get through to the workers inside. She speaks to one of them — apparently her husband? or father to her child? — and explains that the workers are not intending to create trouble. They only want to have their owed wages, and also to have her freed. Sung-chan tries to contact the factory’s boss. He appears to be hospitalized, and quite sick. Factory Boss explains that he is short of cash, and is trying to get enough money to pay off the owed wages.
With no choice, Sung-chan has to cough out the worker’s wages (about 1 month) from his own pocket. With Shanshan in tow (as interpreter), he enters the factory to try to negotiate with the Chinese worker. However, when Shanshan’s Husband sees the pitiful amount in the envelope, he is angry (since it’s barely enough to cover all 7 workers’ salaries). Shanshan pleads with him, and reveals she is carrying his child. He is shocked, but at the same time, the news that he will soon be a father starts to waver his resistance. He decides to juz make their plight public instead, and calls Sung-chan to arrange for a media interview. Sung-chan of cos calls…Hee-sung for this exclusive.
During the space where Sung-chan briefly leaves to arrange for the media interview, Factory Supervisor (who overhears about the workers going public about his abusive behaviours) gets very upset. Without them noticing, he grabs an iron rod and strides towards Shanshan’s Husband. Shanshan, who sees him over her husband’s shoulders, screams and shields her husband from the hit. She gets struck and is pushed down on the floor…and blood trickles down her legs. (oh shit…lemme remind u again she is preggy) This naturally amps the anger of the Chinese workers, they beat up Factory Supervisor and re-barricaded themselves in the factory.
Sung-bum, meanwhile, tries to get hold of Factory Boss…who is not anywhere on his hospital bed. The patient next to the empty bed explains that Factory Boss checked himself in only this morning, and is probably next door in a spiffy spa enjoying himself. Which is where Sung-bum finds (and arrests) him.
When Hee-sung arrives at the hostage site, things have already blown up beyond proportions. He still agrees to try to enter and negotiate with the workers, claiming to know a smattering of Mandarin. However, when Lady Worker sees Hee-sung, she starts blubbering about Factory Boss being loaded and having a second (undeclared) ledger, which holds billions. (so he isn’t as poor as he claims) Shanshan’s Husband forces Hee-sung to translate what Lady Worker said, and becomes incensed. More so, when he sees his wife clearly in pain and bleeding. Using Hee-sung as a hostage, he orders Sung-chan to get Factory Boss to the site.
Although Sung-chan manages to persuade Shanshan’s Husband to release Shanshan for medical care, he is unwilling to let go of Factory Supervisor (who is now heavily injured…not that i care). Shanshan is rushed to the hospital, with Myung-ha accompanying. And Sung-chan is told to leave the factory…but not before he leaves his phone behind with its recording on, in order to help the police see what is happening within.
In the factory, Hee-sung claims that he wants to help Shanshan’s Husband as the SWAT team may be closing in, and leans in close to him to speak. But after finishing, Shanshan’s Husband starts beating him up. He also orders the other to start throwing fine powder in the air. The SWAT team, who is outside and primed for action, moves into the factory to rescue the hostages. Sung-chan, who is watching the only video feed from an undamaged CCTV in the factory suddenly calls Team Leader Han to abort his mission.
And luckily too. Cos if the SWAT members have made another step into the factory, they’d be blown up. Shanshan’s Husband has rigged the entire factory into a bomb, using the powder — and the sparks created from the electrical sockets.
Sung-chan hurriedly calls Sung-bum to check on Factory Boss. However, Factory Boss gives Sung-bum the slip, by claiming to have to poop halfway to the factory…and he escapes through the toilet’s vents. Myung-ha too, reports that Shanshan’s condition is bad. The doctor has examined her, and says that she isn’t having a miscarriage…she may be birthing a prematured baby. Seems like Shanshan is at least 6 months preggy. But due to malnourishment, her infant is very small. And both mother and child are in critical condition.
With no more cards up his sleeves, Sung-chan is caught in a bind. He recalls the drunk patron of the night before when he posed the train + elderly man/ 5 workers scenario…and also how Chairman Seo has derided him. The drunk patron had ignore Sung-chan’s win-lose situation, and claimed he (if he is the train driver) could leap off the train and save the people in the way…and that is what Sung-chan decides to do. He enters the factory alone. Thankfully, during the tensed negotiation (where he had to admit the police lost Factory Boss), Myung-ha calls. Sobbing, she tells Sung-chan (over speaker phone) that Shanshan and her daughter are ok. The doctors manage to save them. Hee-sung translates for Shanshan’s Husband, and behind him, the other workers cajole him to give up, as he is now a dad. They surrender peacefully.
Hee-sung reports on the strike and hostage situation that night, and promises that both the Foreign Office, the Labour Union and the Chinese embassy are looking into a resolution, and preventing further such incidences from happening. Meanwhile, Sung-chan passes Myung-ha a set of keys — to his old house, explaining that he is lending her the space, since she has no more apartment to stay in now. Grateful, she accepts the temporary shelter. In his old house, Sung-chan revisits old memories in his high school days…where his mum collapsed due to an illness, and his politician dad, Senator Joo, (who had walked out on them) refusing to give help.
With no choice, Sung-chan tried to borrow money from Chairman Seo (who was then a loanshark). Chairman Seo had told him unless he was prepared to sell his soul, he won’t be entertaining him. Although Sung-chan later managed to get the money from his dad (with the condition to burn all the “evidence” that Senator Joo had an illegitimate son), his mum passed away before he can reach the hospital.
In the same night after Myung-ha settled into her “new” house, we see Factory Boss standing at the edge of a precipice and reciting his…suicide note? He sorrowfully apologises for his greed, and has transferred all the money in his undisclosed ledger to the Chinese workers. When he finishes reading, he looks back at a hooded man (Su-kyung?) and fearfully asks if “this is enough”. Hooded Man doesn’t say anything and pushes him off the edge. Next day, Factory Boss’ death is reported as suicide.
Hee-sung gets invited to join in Negotiation Team’s meeting to hunt down Piper — currently targeted as Su-kyung. Hee-sung promises to use his media power to track him down. He leaves shortly after receiving a call…
…and in the carpark, after getting into his car, the camera pans to Su-kyung sitting in the backseat. Hee-sung, who isn’t surprised at all, reprimands Su-kyung for “losing sight of the big picture”. Flashback to years ago, when Su-kyung murders Shin-ah Construction’s boss in revenge for his sister’s death. Hee-sung was present. He made himself known, and managed to placate a furious (and dangerous) Su-kyung to work with him to rid Korea of corruption and injustices.
We also get flashbacks into how Hee-sung planned each of the previous Piper-related hostage situations, starting from the explosion that killed Team Leader Oh (and Sung-chan’s almost-fiancée), to the more recent Chinese workers’ strike — Hee-sung had instructed Shanshan’s Husband on how to rig the factory into a time bomb.
Su-kyung promises not to stir up more trouble, since the police are on his tail, and gets out of the car. Hee-sung returns to TNN, and while in the lift, starts whistling the Piper’s tune.
Ok, so our niggling suspicions about Hee-sung’s true identity is finally laid to rest. In the opening, his very smooth explanation about referring his sponsored patients as his “parents” actually do sound a bit stretched. But given that Sung-chan et. al. are dealing with a pyscho ex-wrestler with violent tendencies and background, they probably don’t have time to look into Hee-sung’s various claims. After all, an available and very plausible target is in view.
Like I said, I don’t think this is “too soon” for Hee-sung’s identity to be exposed. In fact, there’s no better time than now. We viewers now have the omniscience knowledge that Hee-sung is toying with Sung-chan, and that juz ups the excitement factor. We see through Hee-sung’s acts, but Sung-chan and team are totally clueless. And Hee-sung now gets first hand info from the police on how the Piper’s investigations are progressing. Best place to instill roadblocks or red herrings in their investigative process.
But like all villains, even the smartest one can make mistakes, no matter how careful they are. At the moment, Hee-sung’s best tool is also his Achilles Heel. Su-kyung (whom Hee-sung primed to be his assassin), is volatile. Given the recent eps, where he gives in to his violent tendencies (while self-justifying it’s for “the greater purpose”); those acts can easily backfire and trip up Hee-sung’s grand plan.