EPISODE 13 RECAP
Kang Woo-suk is discharged from the military and moves to Seoul to continue studying for the bar exam. His brother comes with him on his first night in town to help him unpack and get settled. When they arrive at the boarding house where he will be living, a woman comes out to greet them. She doesn’t speak though so Woo-suk introduces himself as the new boarder and asks if she’s the landlord. Instead of answering him, she tells him to follow her and she rapid fires the house rules. Then she points out his room and the restroom and walks away. She peeks back at him when she gets to the side of the house as Woo-suk and his brother look after her with bewildered looks on their faces.
That night, Woo-suk goes outside to get water and sees her taking care of her elderly father. When he gets back to his room, his brother Kang Young-suk tells him he talked to the law student in the next room and found out she’s the landlady, Chung Sun-young (Jo Min-soo). She runs the boarding house and takes care of her frail father, which he remarks is really impressive. He looks pointedly at Woo-suk as he talks about her, but Woo-suk doesn’t take the hint that Young-suk is trying to make—that she may be a good prospective wife—so Young-suk tells him to forget it, and he turns over to go to sleep.
Someone walks into one of the gang’s old night clubs. It’s Park Tae-soo! (How’d he get out?) A staff member sees him and tells him he’ll have to leave because they’re not open yet. When Tae-soo ignores him, he tries to forcibly remove Tae-soo, but Tae-soo isn’t having it. Some of the hired muscle come over to help and suddenly one of them recognizes Tae-soo. He runs up to Tae-soo and bows and introduces himself as Lee Jong-kun.
Jong-kun takes Tae-soo to Chairman Yoon’s casino where Oh Jong-do has his main offices. He fills Tae-soo in on Jong-do’s growing stature since he’s been away. He tells Tae-soo that Jong-do’s power base has grown and he’s picked up a mob of followers. Tae-soo smiles wryly at this news. He looks almost proud of Jong-do. (Does he not realize Jong-do betrayed him to get where he is now?) Jong-kun tells him he heard Jong-do was the one who orchestrated his arrest and imprisonment. (Well, he knows now if he didn’t know before.) He tells Tae-soo most of their boys aren’t around anymore. If the boys didn’t take sides with Jong-do, he sent them away and a lot of them are pretty bad off now.
When Jong-do finally has time to see them, Tae-soo steps forward with a smile on his face and goes to hug Jong-do, but Jong-do sticks out his hand instead. He shakes Tae-soo’s hand and greets him with a cool “Long time no see. Please step inside my office.” Inside the office, Jong-do sits down at the opposite end of a long boardroom table and lights a cigarette.
His secretary interrupts them, letting him know there’s a car waiting to take him to a meeting. Tae-soo asks if he came at a bad time and Jong-do doesn’t respond. Tae-soo tells him to say whatever it is he’s holding back, and Jong-do explains that things are different now. Organized violence is gone and he’s running a clean operation with the Chairman. Tae-soo asks if he’s trying to say he can’t afford to have ex-cons like him wandering around, and Jong-do says that’s the way it is for now.
Tae-soo asks about Lee Sung-bom and the others. Sung-bom got twenty years, Chang Il-do got five and Baek Min-jae got three years, he learns. Jong-do slides an envelope of money across the table and tells Tae-soo he should go back to his hometown for a while. Tae-soo looks at Jong-do and admits he thought it was him who had gotten him released, but now he knows it wasn’t. He doesn’t take the money and goes to leave. Before he walks out, he turns around and asks Jong-do how much of a hand he had in all of this. Jong-do looks at him and we don’t get to hear his response.
Yoon Young-jae is leaving for Paris. Baek Jae-hee drives him to the airport, and Yoon Hye-rin rides with them to see him off. In the car, Young-jae tells her he heard Tae-soo has been released. She heard about his release too and says she’ll be working for their dad now. Young-jae wonders if she’ll be okay, but she assures him she’ll be fine. He really needs to be worrying about himself, she says, as he’s the one traveling to a foreign country. He tells her he won’t be going alone though. He has a girlfriend he’s been keeping a secret all this time. He knows their father wouldn’t approve of her (she’s an orphan and the aunt who raised her runs a small store) so he’ll marry her as soon as they get to Paris and he’ll tell their father about her after they have a baby.
Hye-rin is surprised, but not unhappy, at the news. She warmly greets his girlfriend when they get to the airport, and they stand together talking as Young-jae asks Jae-hee to look after Hye-rin for him. (As if he has to even ask.)
When they go back home, Tae-soo is standing on the corner near the house. Jae-hee drives pass Tae-soo and parks the car in the driveway. Hye-rin has seen him, but she gets out of the car and goes inside. Jae-hee stands there looking at Tae-soo for a moment, then he goes inside too. Tae-soo waits for a while, but eventually he starts to walk away.
Before he gets far, Hye-rin comes running down the street after him. She tells him she at least wanted to say hello, but they can never meet again and he shouldn’t come by the house anymore. She gives him back his mother’s ring and starts to walk away, but she stops and asks him to say something. Isn’t he angry, or has he forgotten how to be angry, she asks. He just stares at her as she stands there with tears in her eyes.
She puts her head down and apologizes and starts to leave, but this time Tae-soo stops her. Silently, he raises his hand and touches her face, then he kisses her on the forehead.
He gently pushes her away and lets go of her shoulders, and he starts to walk away too. But Hye-rin stops him again and pulls him into a hug.
They end up going away together. They take a train to the ocean and then board a boat. (And I’m thinking, really Tae-soo, did it not sink in over the past few months that you need to stay away from this girl?) On the boat ride, they stand on the deck and Tae-soo backhugs Hye-rin. In voiceover, we hear Tae-soo say to himself: I thought about you every day that I was gone. Why would you do that? Why did you say you would marry me? Was it just because it seemed the right thing to do even though you didn’t even like me? So why did you accept my ring? Could it be that you actually do care for me?
When they get off the boat, they sit overlooking the water and Hye-rin asks what’s on his mind now? He tells her it doesn’t matter whether she really cares for him or not, because she’s still his woman and he’ll never be so powerless again that someone can separate him from his woman. He tells her to believe in him, and she asks a little incredulously if he still thinks they can get married. He doesn’t say anything.
Instead, he pulls out his mother’s ring. He tells her his mother had to live her whole life alone. When he was in school, the other women said mean things about her, and he could never put Hye-rin through something like that. He gives her back the ring and tells her if she believes in him, she’ll stand beside him.
Hye-rin looks at the ring in her hand, and in the next scene they’re in a minbak (a rented room in a private house). When she falls asleep, he rubs her head and then holds her hand. She’s wearing his mother’s ring (so perhaps she decided to believe in him after all?).
In the morning, she’s gone. She left a note though. Only, when he opens it, he finds it’s not a note. His mother’s ring falls out and he turns the paper over but there’s nothing written on either side.
Soon after that, Lawyer Min takes Hye-rin to the casino to begin her training. She’s going to start as a card dealer and Jong-do introduces her to the head dealer, Chae Yoon-shik, who he says is the best card player in Asia. Mr. Chae reminds Jong-do that they’re not hiring at the moment, but Jong-do says it’s a special favor for him. He tells Mr. Chae to find her a spot within two weeks even though the usual training period is six weeks. Mr. Chae is none too pleased, but he takes Hye-rin on a tour of the casino as Jong-do asks.
When they leave, Lawyer Min reminds Jong-do that no one there can know Hye-rin is Chairman Yoon’s daughter. He tells Jong-do to forget that she’s the Chairman’s daughter too.
Mr. Chae takes Hye-rin to a card table in the casino and spreads a deck of cards out in front of them. He asks if she knows how to play poker. When she tells him she does, he puts a stack of chips in front of her. It’s her first month’s salary, he says, and they play a round of poker with the chips. She loses, of course, and accuses him of cheating. He remains studiously calm and serious as he tells her any dealer caught cheating is fired on the spot. No exceptions. She’s still angry though and asks if this is his way of teaching new employees the ropes. He tells her yes, at least employees who claim they know how to play poker. He tells her to rest for now and they’ll try some roulette later.
Hye-rin goes to the women’s locker room and sits on a bench looking a bit dejected. One of the other dealers tells her not to worry so much. Mr. Chae acted that way toward her because she got in so easily while the other employees had to fight tooth and nail for their jobs. She introduces herself as Cho Hyun-sook, then she asks exactly who got her a job there. Hye-rin doesn’t respond. Instead, she stands up and hautily apologizes that she used her connections to get the job. Hyun-sook laughs at Hye-rin’s attitude and jokingly tells the other girls they’ll have to keep an eye on her.
Tae-soo and Jong-kun scour the city rounding up the old gang members to join them once more. They find one former member teaching a taekwondo class. Another one is a day laborer. With some of old gang back intact, they go to No Joo-myung’s funeral and Tae-soo talks to Joo-myung’s son after the service.
Joo-myung’s son asks if his father had it bad on the inside, but Tae-soo lies and says everyone, including the soldiers, treated Joo-myung with respect. His son is relieved. He’d heard a lot of stories about how the prisoners are treated and was worried about his father. He says even though he knows the government sent his father to prison because of his father’s involvement with the opposition movement, it feels good to know even his rivals respected him.
As Tae-soo is leaving the funeral, a group of Joo-myung’s men approach Tae-soo and ask if they can talk to him for a moment. Their designated leader steps forward and tells Tae-soo they’ve heard he and Jong-do have parted ways. If Tae-soo is thinking of offing that bastard, they want to join him, he says. He introduces himself as Jung In-young. He’s Jung In-jae’s brother! And he wants revenge against Jong-do for cutting off In-jae’s foot (oh so that’s what Jong-do did that day. Why did we have to wait nine episodes to find that out?). He also has a score to settle with Jong-do because most of their gang were either turned into vegetables or sent to prison when Jong-do took over after Joo-myung and In-jae were captured.
He asks Tae-soo to be their boss now. Tae-soo stares at him for a long moment, then he sticks out his hand. In-young takes his hand and bows and calls him Hyungnim. The rest of the men behind In-young follow suit. (And I know they’re still bad guys, but I find this so touching.)
It doesn’t take long for Jong-do to hear that Tae-soo is back in business. He runs to Chang To-shik with the news. He’s scared and asks Chang if they should just let him be. Chang feigns as if he has no idea who Tae-soo is and tells Jong-do not to worry about back alley thugs.
Chang is more interested in getting the list of names of the people Chairman Yoon is secretly using as front men for his gambling operations. Apparently Chang asked Jong-do to get the information to him and Jong-do gives him the list at the meeting. In exchange, Chang tells him he’ll introduce him to some more prominent businessmen and recommend him as a speaker for an upcoming national sporting event.
As Tae-soo works to build up a new gang, Woo-suk sits for the bar exam over the course of several days. When he finally passes, his landlady is more excited than he is. She bursts into his room to share the news, but when she tells him he passed, he doesn’t even react. She deflates a little and starts walking away, but he stops her and asks if he can call home. She takes him to the main house to use the phone and it happens to ring before he can pick it up. It’s Tae-soo!
Apparently everyone knew Woo-suk passed the bar before he did. Tae-soo invites him to a private room in a restaurant for a celebratory meal, reminding Woo-suk that he’d told him long ago he’d be the first to congratulate him when he became a prosecutor.
Chairman Yoon brings Hye-rin to the same restaurant for lunch with Kang Tong-hwan and Chang. Jae-hee, who remains in the hall after his charges enter the private luncheon, is the only one who knows they’re all in the same building.
Inside their room, Tae-soo and Woo-suk sit down at the table. Woo-suk is happy to see Tae-soo, but it’s not long before he brings up their old issue: Tae-soo’s involvement in the underworld. Tae-soo says they should enjoy their food as he know this will be the last time they’re able to do this—sit together, laugh together and share a meal. Woo-suk asks him if that means he plans on doing what he’s doing indefinitely? Tae-soo tells him there’s no other path for him to take. “This has been my destiny all the long,” he says.
Both groups finish their meals around the same time. In the lobby, Jae-hee watches as Tae-soo and Woo-suk leave their private room and head to the elevators. Not far behind them is Chairman Yoon and Hye-rin. The Chairmand and Hye-rin make it to the elevator just as the door is closing and there’s a brief glance of her just before it shuts completely.
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