EPISODE 19 RECAP
It’s the day of the shareholders’ meeting to elect the next chairperson of the Royal Palace Casino. Yoon Hye-rin is sitting in her office and Baek Jae-hee comes over to her and tells her it’s time to head in. She doesn’t move so Jae-hee asks if he should tell the shareholders to wait a few more minutes. Instead of answering him, she says she doesn’t want to attend the meeting at all, and she asks if she should run away. It wouldn’t be that bad to live off the dividends she’d earn as a majority shareholder, she says.
He could come with her, she tells him, and he smiles and walks toward her. He puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her to turn around, then he fixes her jacket. He’s been watching over her since she was fifteen, he says, and he knows she’s not the type to run. She’d never be able to leave and what’s more she’ll be the winner tonight. “Just wait and see,” he says.
As she goes into the boardroom, Jae-hee walks down the hall toward the exit and sees Park Tae-soo as Tae-soo is making his way into the casino. Jae-hee passes by without speaking, but Tae-soo calls out to Jae-hee to stop him, and they end up at the bar. Once there, Tae-soo tells Jae-hee if he truly cares about Hye-rin’s well-being, he’ll get her to pull out of the casino business. If she insists on running the casino herself, she’ll get hurt, he says. Jae-hee tells him that decision is for Hye-rin to make. His job is to keep her from harm’s reach. He stands up to leave, but before he walks away, Tae-soo tells him Hye-rin is lucky to have him by her side. Jae-hee turns and stares at Tae-soo, then Tae-soo downs his drink and leaves.
In the boardroom, Hye-rin asks the shareholders who oppose her to explain the reason behind their opposition. She’s been the interim chairman since her father died and earnings are up 12% over those of the same period the year before. One of the shareholders says running a tight ledger is not the only thing they look for in a chairman. The chairman also needs to have good interpersonal and diplomacy skills, he says. Hye-rin replies that he must be talking about people other than the casino customers, who have not complained about her skills. She says their real point of concern is her refusal to bribe government officials to stay in business.
She tells the shareholders she wants to oversee a new management methodology that does not involve paying out bribes. She admits they may see short-term difficulties, but she thinks it’s best for the bottom line. After all, it may get to the point where the bribes they are paying out are more than the profit they’re bringing in, she says.
Most of the shareholders think she’s being too naïve. They decide they’ve wasted enough time debating the issue, it’s time to take a vote. As they begin to pass out ballots, Hae-ahm, the shareholder Hye-rin visited at his traditional home in the last episode, asks her what percentage of the stock she holds. She tells him 43%. He has 10% so if he votes with her, there will be no need for a vote, he says. He stands up to leave and tells her she’s no longer the acting director. “Director Yoon, do us right. I’ll see you at the next annual meeting,” he says and starts walking away.
The other shareholders start calling his name and tell him to wait so they can discuss it with him. He stops and asks if any one of them will starve to death if the casino goes broke. No one responds so he says, “I didn’t think so, then the matter is settled,” and he leaves. Hye-rin stares after him and slowly sinks down into a chair overcome with emotion at this sudden turn of events.
Chang To-shik delivers the news of Hye-rin’s victory to Kang Tong-hwan. Chang asks if they should leave her alone for now and find another way to persuade her to give up control of the casino, but Mr. Kang says they don’t have time for that. With Hye-rin at the helm, they have no money coming in so something else must be done . . . and quickly.
Down in Kwangju, Oh Jong-do has taken control of the construction industry throughout the province. We get a glimpse into his methods when it’s time to bid on a government contract. When the president of a construction company arrives to place a bid, Jong-do’s men approach his car, drop an envelope of money in his lap, and force him to leave. If one of the presidents of an outside company manages to make it into the building, his men are there to escort them out . . . and they’ll use force if they have to.
The only companies getting work are the ones that have aligned themselves with Jong-do and agree to bribe him (and the government officials who back him). Jong-do predetermines the winning bid too, even though the companies go through the motions of formally placing bids at a bidding ceremony.
On this particularly day, Min Kil-tae of Kwanghoon Construction wins a bid to construct a governmental building at the end of the selection process. Later, they return to Jong-do’s office where we see the construction companies actually have representatives on site at his office. The representatives sit at desks that line the room and they all stand up as Jong-do enters and walks to his chair in the front of the room.
Mr. Min stops Jong-do as Jong-do passes his desk to thank him for awarding the winning bid to his company. He pulls out a briefcase and tells Jong-do he’s prepared a “token of appreciation” to present to him. Jong-do ensures there’s “a little something” for his boys in there too before he allows his right hand man, Sideburns Guy, to take the briefcase from Mr. Min. Then he heads to his chair and moves on to deciding who will receive the next construction project in the area.
Kang Woo-suk has finally made his move from Seoul to Kwangju, and he’s shocked to see Mr. Oh settling into his new office when he arrives for his first day on the job. Mr. Oh tells him he shouldn’t be that surprised to see him. He’s worked for the prosecutor’s office for twenty years and has enough seniority to decide where to work, he tells him. Then he introduces Woo-suk to the new team, the receptionist, Ms. Lee, and Detective Chang.
With Det. Chang having worked in Kwangju for almost a decade, Woo-suk asks if there’s anything special he should know. Det. Chang, who has been a bit standoffish the whole time, asks when he plans to return to Seoul. If Woo-suk just wants to pass time before he heads back, he can stick to his criminal cases, Det. Chang says. If he wants to get promoted, he should put away people who violate the National Security Law. He looks at Woo-suk and says, “If you want to be a real prosecutor . . . ,” but he trails off and doesn’t finish the sentence. Instead, he tells Woo-suk to forget it and he leaves the office, claiming he has to use the restroom.
Woo-wuk stares after him and Ms. Lee tells him that he’s always like that. He’s not very popular among the prosecutors and moves from office-to-office as a result, but he has a good heart, she says.
After work, Woo-suk’s new supervisor and a few of the prosecutors from the office take him out for a welcome dinner. They’re at a traditional restaurant, and he leaves the banquet room to call Chung Sun-young and tell her he’ll be late. When he’s on his way back to the room, we learn that Jong-do has found out he’s in town. Sideburns Guy approaches Woo-suk and tells him that his boss is waiting nearby and would like to say hello.
Woo-suk refuses to go with him. He tells Sideburns Guy that his boss is free to stop by the DA’s office to greet him. Sideburns Guy gives Woo-suk one of Jong-do’s business card and reminds Woo-suk that they went to high school together. Woo-suk takes the card, but he tells Sideburns Guy to tell his boss that he never meets with suspects unofficially. And he walks away.
The next day, Woo-suk has lunch with Det. Chang and puts Jong-do’s business card on the table. He tells Det. Chang that Jong-do is the first person they’ll go after. Det. Chang says they’ll definitely find dirt on Jong-do, but he’s too big to target. Woo-suk says he knows Jong-do is powerful, Jong-do is the reason he almost resigned, but he’s going to go after him anyway. Jong-do is guilty of numerous crimes yet he’s still free, Woo-suk says, and as a prosecutor he doesn’t want to allow him to go on committing more crimes. Det. Chang nods in agreement. He’s on board, but he tells Woo-suk they’ll need some more people on their side.
Det. Chang sets about finding people to join their team. The first person they target is Sergeant Cho Myung-woo. We’re introduced to Sgt. Cho during a routine traffic stop where he witnesses a purse snatcher out of the corner of his eye and gives chase. He doggedly pursues the purse snatcher and, as he finally catches and handcuffs the suspect, we hear Det. Chang explaining to Woo-suk that the police force is under utilizing Sgt. Cho. He’s someone who can move mountains, but they have him doing petty stuff like directing traffic, he says.
Det. Chang takes Woo-suk to meet with Sgt. Cho, but he tells Woo-suk they’re going to see another prospective team member before that. Then we’re introduced to Detective Baik, who we see catch a suspect who tries to flee police custody. He slings the suspect over his shoulder and carries him away. Det. Chang explains that Det. Baik is a fourth degree black belt in judo and judo is the best when it comes to making arrests.
Their recruiting efforts must have been successful because a little while later, we see Sgt. Cho and Det. Baik report to Woo-suk’s office for duty.
Back in Seoul, Chang goes to the Yoon househould to meet with Hye-rin. She’s still asleep when he arrives, but Jae-hee wakes her up and walks her down to the living room. She puts on a bright smile and asks Chang if it’s okay to meet in the dining room as she hasn’t had her breakfast yet.
Inside the dining room, she learns that Chang is there to convince her to give up the casino. But he’s too diplomatic to come right out and say it. Instead, he tries to appeal to her sense of social responsibility, which he says he’s always admired. There must be something she can do to help others, he says, such as setting up programs for disadvantaged youths. She says that might be a worthy goal for her in ten years or so, but not now.
Chang, having failed at being subtle, finally gets to the point and tells her she can’t win the game she’s playing. She’ll only end up hurt, he says, and he’s telling her now for her own good. She says she’s not thinking of winning, she just wants to try. She wonders how disgraceful and filthy some of the country’s most powerful people are and she asks him if he’d like to know too. He looks at her for a moment, then he stands up and walks away.
Chang goes to see Mr. Kang, who is not happy that they’ve made so little progress with Hye-rin. With the election coming up and funds from Chairman Yoon’s contributions running low, they need an infusion of cash. Chang wants more time to try to persuade her, but Mr. Kang says he’s tired of dealing with some stupid woman. It doesn’t look good that they’re struggling against some powerless girl, he says, and he doesn’t want others to decide to hold out on them as well.
So Mr. Kang makes his first move: he causes a run on the casino’s drafts. Lawyer Min hurries to Hye-rin’s office and tells her they just got a call from the bank. They have to come up with a quarter of a million dollars within twenty-four hours and will need to raise even more than that in the coming days. She tells him to sell off whatever they can and she’ll go meet with the bond brokers to see about getting a loan. She starts walking away, but she stops and turns toward Lawyer Min and asks if he thinks Tae-soo is involved in this as well.
We don’t get to hear his response because the scene then cuts to Tae-soo. Shin Young-jin approaches him on the street and introduces herself as a reporter with the Korea Daily News. She wants to interview him, but he ignores her and keeps walking. Jong-kun stops her when she tries to follow him, so she calls out to him, asking if he knows Prosecutor Kang Woo-suk. That stops him in his tracks, and she moves closer and tells him she heard they were friends in high school. He asks where she heard that and she tells him she heard it from Woo-suk himself. She says she and Woo-suk were quite close, they almost got married in fact.
That little tidbit gains her one-on-one time with Tae-soo at his place. But he still won’t agree to do an interview or to have his picture in the paper. Instead, he just wants some information from her, specifically who else knows about his relationship with Woo-suk. She tells him about Woo-suk being pulled from a case because of their relationship and resigning afterwards. Tae-soo is clearly shocked by what he hears, but he remains calm. He tells her that her career will be over if she publishes an article about him, and she’ll have even bigger problems if she goes around claiming to know about his relationship with Woo-suk.
Duly threatened, Reporter Shin asks for just thirty more seconds of his time. She says she’d like to write a book about organized crime before she dies, and she’s particularly interested in Chairman Yoon Jae-young. Tae-soo stares at her without replying. It’s his way of telling her to leave, but she says her thirty seconds aren’t up just yet so she asks about his failed attempt to become chairman of the Royal Palace Casino. She asks if the recent run on the casino’s drafts is his doing. Again, he just stares at her and doesn’t say anything, and she finally leaves.
When she’s gone, Tae-soo tells Jong-kun to find out what she means about the run on the casino’s drafts. And do it quickly.
But he doesn’t wait for Jong-kun to get back to him. In the meantime, he meets with Chang to get more information on the casino’s financial troubles. Chang confirms there’s been a run on the casino’s drafts and tells Tae-soo that Hye-rin is not giving up though. She’s putting her real estate up for sale and is looking for a loan, but it will be hard to keep the casino afloat. He admits he’s behind the run, telling Tae-soo he’s boxed Hye-rin in pretty tightly and has made it hard for her to access her overseas accounts too.
Tae-soo looks disgusted and says, “You people really are something.” Chang just chuckles and says Hye-rin told him herself that she wondered just how disgraceful and filthy they could be. As for them, they’re determined not to stop until Hye-rin surrenders in defeat. Tae-soo starts to walk away, but Chang calls after him and says it’s already too late for Hye-rin. The powers-that-be want to make an example out of her. She’d be wise to quit while she can. If she doesn’t, they’ll not only make her an example, they’ll also teach her once and for all, he says. Tae-soo asks what they will do if Hye-rin is able to stop the run on the drafts, but Chang is confident it won’t get that far. “The lesson here is a basic one. Step on a roach and you better kill it. Don’t give it a chance to crawl off and breed,” he says.
The scene then cuts to the casino and we see Mr. Chae berating one of the staff members for allowing Korean nationals to gamble there. The staff member says they forced their way in, and we learn this is the plan Chang alluded to earlier when just moments later the Regulatory Bureau barges in and demands to see all of the guests’ passports.
The lapse forces the casino to close and the shareholders are livid that the casino has been busted on Hye-rin’s watch. The most vocal opponents converge on the casino and demand to know what she plans to do about it. She tells them she needs more time to resolve the issue and one of the shareholders asks how long they should wait—until they’re all broke, he asks. She stands up and tells them they have no time to waste arguing. They need to leave so she can work on a solution, she says. One of the shareholders grabs her arm to stop her from walking away. Good old Jae-hee is there to hold him back and the other stockholder decides they should leave and figure out a solution on their own.
When they leave, Hye-rin’s nose starts to bleed. Jae-hee pulls out a handkerchief and presses it to her nose. He tells her that everyone is gone now and she puts her head on his chest and bursts into tears. He puts his arm on her shoulder and lets her cry it out.
A short while later, with the casino still closed, Hye-rin turns to Lawyer Min for advice. They’re about a week away from going bankrupt and she asks him what her father would do in this situation. Lawyer Min says he was never able to guess what her father was thinking and he never knew why her father ordered things done the way he did until after they were done. It means it’s up to her to figure it out.
As Lawyer Min heads out, Tae-soo walks into the casino. Jae-hee sees Tae-soo, and he stands up and blocks his path with a hardened look on his face! (See why I looove this guy!?) Tae-soo doesn’t try to get past Jae-hee, but he looks over to where Hye-rin is standing and tells her that her side has won. Lawyer Min stands at the doorway looking at what’s going on, then he walks out.
Hye-rin pours drinks for Tae-soo and herself. As she slides the glass over to him, she tells him they’ve won and congratulates him. She asks if he came over to witness her surrender in person. Either way, she tells him to have the powers-that-be send over the transfer documents and she’ll sign them. Tae-soo says he didn’t come over for that. “I came over to talk,” he says. She laughs and stands up and walks away.
She walks over to the roulette table and tells him she’s thought about him a lot during this time. She’s tried to see things from his standpoint, and she can admit she’d probably have done the same things he’s done if she were in his shoes. Tae-soo is angered by her words. He throws his glass to the ground, shattering it, and stands up and walks toward her. He tells her it wasn’t like that, but Hye-rin interrupts him and says she’s apologizing. It’s his turn to apologize now, she says. She asks if it’s that hard for him to say he’s sorry. He drove her father to his grave, after all, didn’t he, she asks.
Tae-soo says he was never angry at her father and the things he did were not out of spite. Hye-rin scoffs and turns her back on him, but he grabs her arm and turns her back toward him. He tells her he never once considered revenge. As she pulls her arm away and hits him, he tells her all he ever wanted was her. He tries to restrain her and she finally stops trying to hit him and stares at him. He tells her he thought he could have her by doing the things he did because she’s his woman. She has been the only thing on his mind, he says, and he reminds her that he vowed never again to be so powerless that he couldn’t stop someone from taking his woman from him.
They both stare at each other for a long moment. Tae-soo is still holding onto Hye-rin and she pulls her arms from within his grasp and looks him in the eyes. She says her father truly loved her. She loved him too, but she didn’t know it. By the time she realized it, she wasn’t able to tell him because it was too late. “It’s over now,” she says and she turns her back on him for the last time. Staring at her back, Tae-soo tells her he knows it’s over, and he leaves.
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