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EPISODE 16 RECAP 

News of Kang Dae-young’s arrest and Chairman Yoon’s suspected involvement in President Park Seung-chol’s murder has broken, and reporters surround the Yoon household clamoring for a glimpse of him.

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Chang To-shik and Park Tae-soo are watching a broadcast of one of the news reports together and Chang tells Tae-soo the powers-that-be in government want to replace Chairman Yoon quickly and quietly.  They have no problem with Yoon Hye-rin taking over for her father, as long as Tae-soo is by her side.  Chang tells Tae-soo he’s always wanted Chairman Yoon’s position and asks what he thinks about their idea for him to partner with Hye-rin.

Perhaps to ensure Tae-soo is amenable to the idea, he also tells Tae-soo about Oh Jong-do’s recent attempt to kidnap Hye-rin.  That tidbit of information surprises Tae-soo, and I’m thinking Jong-do better watch his back from here on out.

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Hye-rin pays Kang Woo-suk a visit at the boardinghouse, and as usual the landlady Chung Sun-young is none too pleased to see a young, attractive woman show up looking for her man (she’s so funny, lol).  Hye-rin has come to ask Woo-suk the real story behind the things she’s heard in the news.  He tells her although things have been slightly exaggerated, it’s just as it appears: her father is implicated in a murder-for-hire plot.  She tells him her father would never murder anyone, and if he did he would not have left evidence behind.

She insists her father has been set up and says it’s the only reason Woo-suk has been able to link him to the crime.  But Woo-suk reminds her that she told him herself what her father was capable of doing when he sent Tae-soo to rehabiltation training.  He’s also offended she thinks he’s not powerful enough to touch someone like her father without support from someone higher up the ranks.  He opens the door to his room for her to leave.  With the matter still under investigation, he won’t be discussing anything else with her, he says.  She looks disappointed and sad, but she complies with his request and leaves.

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A little while later, Jong-do is happily playing miniature golf in his hotel room when he hears men banging on his door.  Knowing it’s not just a social call, he runs to the balcony and climbs down to a stairwell to escape.  Whoever is after him has already thought of that escape route though, and when he sees men waiting for him below, he turns around and runs to the hotel’s roof.  There’s someone waiting for him on the roof too.  It’s Jung In-young and Tae-soo!  Jong-do is relieved when he sees Tae-soo and tells Tae-soo he thought they were the police.  (He must be delusional to think he’s safe just because it’s Tae-soo, but hopefully this is the end of his storyline. Can’t say I’m sad to see him go. Annyeong!)

As soon as Jong-do calms down, Tae-soo tells his men to take him to the police.  Jong-do threatens to take Tae-soo down with him if his men really turn him in.  Tae-soo doesn’t seem that fazed by the threat, but since he wasn’t really going to turn Jong-do in anyway, he grabs Jong-do and tells him he better not ever touch Hye-rin again.  If he does, he’ll kill him he warns.  Then he lets Jong-do go and walks away.  And I’m disappointed.  (I guess there are too many episodes left to get rid of him now, but I’m counting down to the day he’s gone. They wouldn’t keep him around all the way to the finale would they?)

When they go downstairs to get in their cars and leave, In-young asks Tae-soo why he didn’t turn Jong-do in to the police. Tae-soo tells him it’s not the right time yet, but In-young disagrees and offers to do it himself.  Tae-soo pats him on the shoulder and tells him they’ll have to wait, and they drive away.

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At the Yoon household, Chairman Yoon walks around the grounds of his estate. He’s pensive and melancholy and suddenly looks like an old lonely man instead of the powerful kingpin he used to be.  He has an appointment with a government official, but we see Kang Tong-hwan visit the official prior to the appointment.  Mr. Kang hands him a file, and after the official reads it he cancels the appointment.  Chairman Yoon is disappointed when he gets the news, but seeing the writing on the wall, he tells Lawyer Min to change the Swiss account numbers and codes to avoid not being able to protect the money later.

Chairman Yoon goes to the casino and asks Mr. Chae if he can speak to one of his dealers.  He points to Hye-rin and admits she’s his daughter and thanks Mr. Chae for training her so well. Hye-rin is livid that her dad has revealed her identity, but he has no time to lose and tells her he needs her to help him.  She’s all he has left now, he says.

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She stares at him wondering what’s wrong.  Although we don’t get to hear her answer, in the next scene we see Chairman Yoon introducing her to board members and other businessmen in a conference room.  She stands up and bows to the men.

That night she finds him sitting in the dining room.  The lights are off and he’s staring at the hourglass his wife bought on their first trip abroad.  She turns on the lights, and he tells her to join him.  Then he picks up the hourglass and gives it to her.  He tells her their lives are just like the sand in the hourglass: it’s finished once all the sand is gone.  He asks her to forgive him because she will have to take his place now even though he didn’t want to hand things over to her until she was ready.

She tells him he should let the greedy people take whatever they want and go to Paris to visit Yoon Young-jae or move to the U.S. or Southeast Asia.  He asks what about her if he leaves, and she tells him she has no need for his money anymore.  He tells her his assets are more than just money.  They are things he gave birth to and raised.  She doesn’t understand why he’s trying to hold onto them and tells him she can only stand by his side for just a little while longer.  Then she stands up and walks away.  He looks after her for a moment, then he slowly lowers his head.

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At Woo-suk’s office, it’s all abuzz with activity.  The head DA knocks on the door and signals for Woo-suk to come to his office.  Over a game of padeuk, the head DA asks him if he’s really going to the National Tax Administration to investigate President Park’s murder.  Woo-suk confirms that he is.  The head DA interrupts him and starts talking about two padeuk players who learn the game at the same time.  He says only one of them improves because only one of them learns from his mistakes.  He tells Woo-suk if a player can’t learn to strategize, he should just give up on the game.  Woo-suk asks him if he’s trying to tell him something and the DA responds, “I just told you.” Then he puts the final padeuk piece on the board to win the game and asks Woo-suk what he plans to do.

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Chairman Yoon pays a visit to Mr. Kang as he’s leaving a restaurant one day.  He tells Mr. Kang he realizes he has two options: he can beg for forgiveness or he can make a deal.  It seems to him it’s too late to ask for forgiveness so he’s there to make a deal.  Mr. Kang laughs and asks if he still has a card up his sleeve.  Chairman Yoon assures him he does.  He tells Mr. Kang he started hustling when he was fifteen years old and one thing he’s always done is maintain a ledger.  He thinks a lot of people might be interested in the ledger he’s maintained documenting the funds he’s used for his lobbying activities.  Mr. Kang asks if he’s suggesting they both go down together, and Chairman Yoon tells him he’s just using the only option he has left.  Mr. Kang smiles and asks if they should see who will win in the end.

Now that Hye-rin is taking over for Chairman Yoon, she visits the casino to check on things.  When she sees Cho Hyun-sook on the casino floor, Hyun-sook walks past without speaking.  Hye-rin stops her and tells her to treat her the same as she’s always treated her, then she asks to see Mr. Chae.

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As she’s talking to Mr. Chae, police arrive to execute a search warrant on the casino.  She tells Mr. Chae to stall for more time and she’ll get all of the Korean nationals out of the casino.

Mr. Chae meets Woo-suk and a group of men from the police department on the stairs leading to the casino.  He introduces himself as the manager and asks why they’re there without giving prior notice.  Woo-suk steps forward and introduces himself.

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Meanwhile, Hye-rin goes to the VIP room and apologizes to the Korean nationals, but tells them they have to leave immediately.  They’re outraged, and she tries to appease them by claiming there are newspaper reporters there and she’s trying to protect them from appearing in the paper.  Woo-suk gets by Mr. Chae and eventually makes it to the VIP room.  By the time he gets there though, Hye-rin has gotten all the Korean nationals away.  He sees her coming out of the room and walks past her without speaking.  When he sees that the room is empty, he turns around and looks at her, and she silently walks away.

The police execute a search warrant on Chairman Yoon’s house next.  Luckily Chairman Yoon has his ledger hidden in a safe deposit box by then, but Hye-rin tells Lawyer Min it’s time for him to tell her the truth about what’s going on.

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Lawyer Min explains that it all began when the powers-that-be in government brought in President Park as a sort of check on Chairman Yoon.  Things got complicated when Jong-do killed him because now it’s clear they think it will be easier to just get rid of him.  Everyone knows he had nothing to do with President Park’s murder, but it’s unclear whether Jong-do was working alone.  Lawyer Min tells her Jong-do claimed he killed President Park to stop Tae-soo from getting too powerful, but Tae-soo and Jong-do may have been in on the whole thing together.  They were once a part of the same gang and it’s well-known Tae-soo has been out to destroy Chairman Yoon.  He says Tae-soo is the one who went to the district attorney’s office, and he asks if she knew the investigating prosecutor is a friend of Tae-soo’s

Chairman Yoon contacts the press and announces he will be holding a press conference.  Reporter Shin Young-jin is excited when she gets the call informing her about it, but it doesn’t look good for her.  Her editor is listening in on the call and tells her to come to his office as soon as she hangs up.

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As workers hurriedly set up the room for the press conference, Reporter Shin walks into Woo-suk’s office and asks if anyone would like to have a drink with her.  She’s depressed and says on a day like today she likes to tie one on.  Woo-suk’s clerk, Mr. Oh, pulls a bottle of liquor from under his desk and pours her a drink, lol.  But she’s more concerned about Woo-suk’s non-reaction.  She asks him if it seems strange she stopped by asking for a drink today of all days.  Woo-suk doesn’t say anything and she turns to leave.  Before she goes, she tells Mr. Oh she’s sworn off alcohol, but she was so mad it made her want to drink.

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We find out why she’s mad in the next scene.   Chairman Yoon arrives at the press conference venue and Lawyer Min tries to stop him from entering the room—because no one is there.  Apparently Mr. Kang has flexed his muscle and forbidden the news organizations from attending the press conference.

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Chairman Yoon is shocked when he opens the door and finds the room completely empty, but he stays calm and remarks that he must be a bit early.  He says he’ll wait, and he slowly makes his way to the front of the room and sits at the head table.

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Lawyer Min goes back in the hallway, and Chairman Yoon just sits there looking around the empty room.   The camera starts to pan around and around, and Chairman Yoon looks as though he’s ill.  He loosens his tie and then he starts gasping for breath.  He slumps forward in his chair and reaches in his suit pocket for his bottle of pills.  He can’t get the top off though and when he finally does the pill bottle drops and the pills scatter across the floor.  He tries to reach for the pills, but he loses his balance and falls forward.  He overturns the table as he falls and ends up on the floor.  It looks like he’s trying to say something or call for help, but nothing comes out.

He’s rushed to the hospital, and by the time Hye-rin and Jae-hee come running down the hallway to his hospital room, his heart has stopped.  The doctor stops trying to resuscitate him and goes out to inform Lawyer Min that he’s died.

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Hye-rin hurries inside the room where a doctor is covering Chairman Yoon’s body with a sheet.  She stops him and yells that they need to do something.  The doctor tells her it’s hopeless so she turns to her father and asks him to hold on.  Then she begs the doctor to help, saying she has to speak to him—she has one last thing to tell him before he goes. Jae-hee grabs her and holds onto her until she stops struggling and calms down.  When she’s relatively calm, he tells her to pay her last respects to her father. She puts her hand by his face, but she can’t bring herself to touch him and starts crying again.

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At Chairman Yoon’s funeral, Young-jae and Hye-rin walk behind his casket as attendees wheel it to the alter at the front of the church.  As the camera pans out, we see that Mr. Kang, Chang, and other governmental officials and businessmen are there.

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After the service, Young-jae and Hye-rin stand by the casket and bow to the visitors as they place white flowers on top of it.  When Chang bows in front of Hye-rin, she doesn’t bow back.  She just stands there staring at him until he walks away.  Then she spots Tae-soo coming through the door to pay his respects. Jae-hee refuses to let him through until Hye-ring gives the go-ahead though.  She nods to Jae-hee to let him know it’s okay, and Tae-soo walks down the aisle and puts a flower on Mr. Yoon’s casket. 

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He bows in front of Chairman Yoon’s picture and walks over to Hye-rin.  He bows to her, then he turns to leave.  Halfway down the aisle, he turns around and stares at her for a long moment before he finally leaves the church, and the episode ends.

MY THOUGHTS

So Chairman Yoon is gone. Wow! As much as I thought of him as an amoral greedy villain, I have to admit I felt really sorry for him in the end.  Because even if what he was doing was wrong, the fact of the matter is he had a relationship with Mr. Kang and the government officials for many decades and it all came down to nothing in the end when they abandoned him.

His final scene in the empty press conference room was really amazing.  I loved it and hated it at the same time.  Chairman Yoon’s reaction when he entered the room to find that it was completely empty was hard to watch.  And when he went to the front of the room and sat down at the head table even though he knew no one was coming—it was such a powerful moment.  It made me want to reach out and hug him.  All along he had been this powerful, untouchable almost-diety and then he was just a weak old man in a room alone.

The part that bothers me though is the motive behind his downfall.  No matter how much the show tried to sweep that part under the rug, I could never see a legitimate reason for the political machine turning on him.  He certainly had not outgrown his usefulness to them in funneling money into their pockets and into the government’s coffers.  And he hadn’t shown any inclination to stop sending money their way so I’d say this story arc failed to provide a true motivation for the decision to bring him down.

Think about it. When Tae-soo approached Chang for help, what rational reason did Chang have for accepting the offer? Chairman Yoon was running his operation and benefitting the politicos just as smoothly as ever. Yes, he had a hand in sending Tae-soo to rehabilitation camp, but none of them cared about that because it didn’t affect their money. Later, they tried to make it seem as if Chairman Yoon was getting too big for his britches (so to speak), but if that was truly the case, we never saw any evidence of that in the earlier episodes. In fact, Chairman Yoon was quite skilled at playing the modest businessman, a trait Chang recommended Young-jae observe and adopt from his father.

It was only after they decided to take him down, did we see Chairman Yoon try to flex a little muscle.  And that was merely to save himself.  They got a little lucky when Jong-do orchestrated President Park’s murder because that legitimized their efforts to bring him down, but without the murder, I’m quite curious as to how they would have justified their decision to get rid of him.  There had to be something going on—it prompted Chang (and whoever is behind him) to bring President Park onboard in the first place, but the lack of a rationale behind this move (aside from being purely a plot device to move the story along) baffles me.

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