If you thought the capture of Hee-sung and the death of Su-kyung mean the end of the Piper, think again. Hee-sung has another mad man up his sleeve, and allowing himself to be police bait is juz to earn more time to carry out his final plan…which is bloody plain scary.

Synopsis:

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Hee-sung calmly allows himself to be arrested on air, after confessing to the nation that he is the mastermind (ala Piper) behind the series of recent terrorist attacks. Cos of the nature of his crimes, the police had to pass the case over to NIS (National Intelligence Service). The NIS guy is kinda smug when he sits down with the new Police Comm and Sung-chan for the debriefing. He pooh-poohs Sung-chan’s fear that something isn’t “right” about Hee-sung’s arrest, and claims that yes, there are SOME copycats, but generally all of them are limited to “harmless” school kids seeking to imitate Piper. (he will take his word back on the harmless very soon)

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Sung-chan isn’t the only one who feels uneasy over Hee-sung’s seemingly lack of resistance. Myung-ha also thinks the arrest is far too easy. Plus, Hee-sung is unaccounted for during the 4h when the police are sent on a wild goose chase around Chairman Seo’s hospital. The duo decides to sneak in (pretending that NIS gave permission) to interview Hee-sung.

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During the interview, Hee-sung reveals that yup, the event hasn’t ended, and he is preparing for the finale. Sung-chan immediately guesses that Hee-sung has a new helper after Su-kyung, and s/he is probably related to Underground site. True enough, we cut to Joon at home trying to login to Underground — someone has removed him as the site admin. Sung-chan calls then, and Joon relays the info to him. Sung-chan immediately sets Sung-bum to trace the missing hacker who helped them earlier, and also planted the bug in their office.

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But before Sung-bum can come up with anything concrete, Joon’s personal info is leaked online via Underground. When Chairman Seo learns of it, he panicks… cos Joon is now targeted online as his son (or the heir of the big, bad villainous culprit, K Group). Chairman Seo informs Director Kang to send Joon away to Shanghai on the next available flight. And omg, who should be on the same flight to Shanghai but Team Leader Han and his wife, Call Centre Officer Oh? (we din know she is his wife until now…this is such a big reveal) They are on their way for the promised honeymoon (remember the time when Team Leader Han was disarming the bomb and he agreed to take time off to go on a trip together?). Sung-chan calls with the news that it is possible that someone may be targeting Joon on the flight.

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We see Joon settling down with a bodyguard a few seats away from Team Leader Han. But behind him, a plump teenage boy plonks himself on his seat, all the while eyeing Joon suspiciously.

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The plane takes off as planned, and midflight, the teenage boy pulls out a laptop from his bag, and something that looks like a router. He connects to the plane’s control system, and while waiting for the hack to complete, he asks for a glass of wine.

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The only way to help Joon is through Hee-sung, and when NIS receives info that the flight is compromised, Sung-chan splits up the work with Myung-ha. Hee-sung has refused to talk to the NIS guy, and requests only Myung-ha’s presence. So Myung-ha and Jae-hee go to the interrogation room to see if Hee-sung is willing to give them more clues to save the plane. Sung-chan heads over to NIS temporary headquarters at the Police HQ to monitor the situation with Sung-bum (who is tasked to find out the hacker’s iden and hopefully break his hack).

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Sung-chan relays whatever he knows about the hacker to Team Leader Han via satellite phone, who has also suspected something is up when the plane swerves madly off course, and the attendants appear nervous. Sung-chan confirms that the plane has been hijacked. And the possible Hacker is male, in his early 20s, and would likely have a laptop of some sorts nearby. Team Leader Han casually strolls down the aisle, and spots a young man on his laptop. But he is innocent. Further down the row, he notices our plump Hacker, who tries to hide his laptop under the seat. However, sharp eyed Team Leader Han notices the wine in his hands. A quick check with the stewardess confirms that Hacker had ordered the beverage before the plane swerved off course…and his wine is still intact, when everyone else’s drinks have been spilled all over.

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On the ground, netizens find that an interesting voting game has been pushed into their SNS feed — they are to choose between 3 choices on where to stage a plane crash. The first 2 options are either K Group Tower, or a sparsely populated site (marked for redevelopment) on the outskirts of Seoul.

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During the interview with Hee-sung, Myung-ha finds out that the voting results will determine where the plane will crash into. She relays the info to Sung-chan, and the NIS team. The latter is inclined to shoot the plane down asap, in order to avoid increasing the casualty count. Up in the air, the other passengers have noticed the plane returning to Seoul, and are starting to panic. Hacker isn’t helping — he loudly proclaims that he has hacked into the plane’s control, and it is all becos he wants to target ONE person, aka Joon. Juz too bad that the other passengers are sharing the same flight with Joon. The passengers begin to get restless and afraid.

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Myung-ha tries to talk Hee-sung into revealing whether it is possible to save the plane and redirect it to the airport. Hee-sung smiles and says Yes…but only if he is dead. He taunts Myung-ha to shoot him, Myung-ha staunchly declines…but Jae-hee rushes into the room with his gun drawn. Myung-ha manages to calm Jae-hee down, and continues to try to persuade Hee-sung to reveal the solution. Meanwhile, Sung-chan and Sung-bum try to jack up the votes for the plane to land in Option 2, instead of crashing into K Towers. It appears to work — temporarily. Director Kang, seeing that no one is paying attention to him, slips off to reveal this juicy news to the media (when NIS has strictly ordered no media leak, to avoid a mass panic). As to why Director Kang is doing that — well, he basically wants Chairman Seo to die of a heart attack, and hopefully push NIS to shoot the plane down with Joon…so he will be the next in line to inherit K Corporation. (weasel)

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The media leak has an unfortunate effect though…netizens who are unhappy with the oppressive rich start to band together to swerve the votes towards K Towers again. It doesn’t take much for NIS and the police to figure out where the leak stems from, even though Director Kang is less than sorry about his actions. And up in the air, tension is high, as passengers start to act in anger. One burly guy punches Hacker, trying to force him to reverse the hack. Hacker laughingly says he can’t, and had Team Leader Han not stepped in, he’d probably would have been punched to death. To prevent a murder, Team Leader Han drags Hacker into the cabin toilet and ties him inside.

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Chairman Seo is angry that the NIS and police have leaked out info on Joon and the hijacked plane, and decides to take matters into his own hands. Using his connections, he squirrels Hee-sung away from the interrogation room, and drags him to the (now empty) Negotiation Team’s HQ. Although Sung-chan, Myung-ha and Jae-hee manage to locate where Hee-sung has been kidnapped to, they arrive only to see a badly beaten up Hee-sung and Chairman Seo pointing a gun at him.

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The trio try to talk Chairman Seo into putting down the gun, but as usual, Hee-sung taunts Chairman Seo…and Chairman Seo pulls the trigger. Hee-sung collapses, but not before he gives a clue to Sung-chan — self-sacrifice.

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Thinking hard about the clue, Sung-chan figures out that the way to reverse the hacking is probably through the Option 3 in the voting system. He pulls out his phone — previously the Option 3 is Police HQ (which Sung-bum tries pushing in as many votes as possible, but the count doesn’t increase). However, the Option 3 has changed to his current location. He borrows the mic from Bo-ram, who is covering the event, and exhorts the public to all vote for Option 3, in a bid to reduce the counts for Options 1/2.

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But…that doesn’t work. And Team Leader Han relays that the plane is running low on fuel…and probably can last another 10-15mins. Desperate, Sung-chan requests that everyone travel to the nearest domestic airport, to collate the Option 3 into one single spot. To amp up the emo factor, Sung-chan reads out the names on the passenger manifest, and exhorts the friends and family members of the innocent passengers to call as many people as possible to carry out the plan.

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And we see dozens of Seoulites who respond to Sung-chan’s plea. Bus and taxi drivers ply the streets ferrying people to and fro the city centre to the airport for free. The crowd line up waving their mobile phones at the airport’s runway, and the count for the new Option 3 (airport) creeps its way up.

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The plane lands safely amidst cheers on the ground and in the cabin. Chairman Seo (who has checked himself into hospital again), has to report to the Prosecutor Office a few days later for causing hurt (Hee-sung isn’t dead…) and also for alleged corruption charges. Bo-ram visits a comatosed Hee-sung in hospital, and we see that the new team leader for Negotiations Team is now Myung-ha. Team Leader Han brings in a rookie from his SWAT team who has insisted on joining Myung-ha, and history repeats itself as we see Myung-ha and Team Leader Han pretending to “fight” it out to see if rookie cop steps in to stop them.

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Myung-ha continues her method of empathizing during her negotiation sessions, while Sung-chan, who reverts back to his prior hobo status, listens in to the police radio on the Negotiation Team’s activities.

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In his hospital bed, Hee-sung dreams…to the time when he sends Ahjusshi Shin’s photo of a young Myung-ha and Su-kyung for development. He steps out of the photo developer shop and cries when he sees the picture of happy Myung-ha…and in the present, Sung-chan steps into the shop when he notices a bunch of thugs harassing the aged owner of the shop. He dares the thugs to come forward with evidence of eviction and/or a lawyer, and says he will represent the owner in any of the negotiations. The thugs leave in irritation, and Sung-chan parts way with the shopowner, whistling the Piper tune as he walks off.

Review:

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Hee-sung, imo, remains one of the most enigmatic and charismatic villains of kdramaland to date. Although his crimes are heinous, he does strangely try to minimize the loss of innocent lives — on the condition you can decipher the clues he left. True, he is juz as cruel as Chairman Seo. He “punishes” the wrongdoers by giving them the same treatment the family members of the victims (not the victims) suffer. Instead of going after the people directly involved, he targets the innocents who are unfortunately related them.

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In the first hostage case, where Team Leader Oh and Sung-chan’s fiancé die, his objective was all along to target these 2. Sung-chan and Team Leader Oh were involved in the New Town Riot, but since he can’t possibly kill Myung-ha (out of guilt), he goes straight for Team Leader Oh. But notice he released the family of 3 who are caught in the crossfire. Same for the bank hostage. Other than the required personnel who had to be IN the bank to open Team Leader Oh’s safe, the other employees were not harmed.

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The only problem Hee-sung has is in his selection of helpers. Since only mad people will help him carry out his insane activities, he had to contend with them getting overboard. Like Su-kyung. And now crazy Hacker. Though he does give a clue on how to save the rest of the passengers.

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Interestingly, Hee-sung’s ultimate message is there need not be any more inane deaths — if we can juz see beyond the need for “expediency”. When my hubby was watching the last ep with me, he was firmly on the side of the military: shoot the plane down, sacrifice that few hundreds to save the thousands on the ground. Even after I argued that the terrorist in question has a history of leaving clues to save everyone. Hub counter-argued that if there’s no guarantee that the solution could be found in time, killing that few hundreds still made sense. Much better than having everyone die, isn’t it? [kooriyuki: I thought Hee-sung’s justifications of his own actions are just being way too contradictory, but hey, food for thought so I’m not really complaining about the logical fallacies.]

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Tbh, in real life, not every terrorist is like Hee-sung, who throws (near-invisible) life lines. Sadly, the choice to sacrifice a few to save the majority will still hold.

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