Guess who’s baaaa~~aack?
Police Unit 38 Episode 13:
JungDo’s gets sentenced to 10 years of jail and as he’s led away, he fixes his eyes on SungIl, never looking away.
It’s not one of abject disappointment after all, but a look of you-better-do-it, because earlier during their fight, right after he’d thrown them both behind a desk, he’d commanded SungIl to search for Choi ChulWoo’s real money source before screaming and grabbing his lapels.
“Sell me out and stay alive, got it?” he’d said. I knew it!
2 years passes by rather uneventfully and SungHee pays him a visit in jail, to inform him that something has happened to SungIl. He’d been “demoted” to Team Manager of Management Support. Anyway, she knows about his dealings with SungIl and even about SungIl’s promise with him. JungDo asks her if it’s okay that they go after her dad. After all, a dad’s a dad, even if she’d lived separately from him since young.
SungHee sighs that even now, her mom sometimes says that even though her father was a terrible husband, he was cool as a person. However, recent incidents have shown her that Seowon City’s Mayor Chun is ultimately not that great.
She knows that it’s going to be personally hard for her going against her father but whenever she thinks of the hurt people – NohSeung, ChangHo and Park SangHo – she thinks that it’s right to do what they’re about to do, even if her dad gets hurt in the process. The law isn’t supposed to hurt people. It’s supposed to protect the people who have been hurt.
JungDo gives her a long hard stare, and then softens and asks her if she won’t regret it. She tells him to make it so that she never regrets it.
He wonders what happened to SungIl that he even told her all those, causing her to come all the way to him. She sighs that SungIl has changed. He’s changed back to the way he was in the past.
At City Hall, he’s screamed at by the NohSeung-replacement for not having prepared a required document and he lamely excuses himself for having too many things to do. The grandpa of the diner that our conmen always eat at come, begging for help, and it must be a common occurrence because SungIl’s face falls and he guides him out.
His former-subordinate, now a Tax Collection Team-chief himself, sees that and confronts him, wondering how he could react so coldly to a person who’d come for far and so frequently without even hearing him out, obviously having been reminded of Park SangHo.
He lays the guilt on thick, worried about what would happen if the old man went the way of Park SangHo. SungIl doesn’t think that it’s his business at all, though. After all, those people are not his family.
His former subordinate sighs, asking why he’s like this now and SungIl replies that this is the original him.
SungHee sees everything, disappointed and just gives him The Look before walking off.
Night comes and Mayor Chun waits in a car for Choi ChulWoo. He sits with him when he comes and Choi ChulWoo asks about SungIl. Mayor Chun assures him that he’s not of any threat anymore.
Choi ChulWoo commands Mayor Chun to clear the poorest neighbourhood in Seowon city, Maseok-dong, so that he can build a larger building there. After all, the people of Maseok-dong pay the least tax (and you’re the one who pays even lesser tax than them, paying $0). It’s not a problem of acquisition right now but a problem of clearing the poor tenants who have no other place to go that they’re facing.
Choi ChulWoo is a hard piece of impassive rock and doesn’t take no for an answer, telling Mayor Chun that he’s going to do things by the law, and Mayor Chun would do better to follow. He claims that he’s compensated those people and even given them time to move, so why can’t he force them out?
Mayor Chun sighs that the law is not the issue. The issue is of human rights.
Choi ChulWoo is amused to hear a guy running for his second term in office in the upcoming elections putting aside the law and says that he’s only here to tell Mayor Chun that he’ll be having those squatters who still refuse to leave the area dragged out, as per the law.
Once done, he dismisses the mayor of the city like a dog and, with nothing else to say, Mayor Chun trudges off.
Choi ChulWoo calls a certain Secretary Cha, who’s at Grandpa’s restaurant making a mess and scaring his granddaughter to go ahead with their plan.
Weasel Cha takes a few slurps of the food he’d ordered at Grandpa and throws down the bill for it. He smirks that Grandpa is costing them too much money and laments righteously that they’re being such gangsters only because they need to live too.
Grandpa gets a spine and retorts that they’re doing well for themselves and can live well without even having to redevelop this place. He however, will die. The weasel pockets his bill back and snaps at Grandpa to just die then. He walks off without even paying for his meal and sends in the crooks to turn the entire shop upside down.
SungHee meets with MiJoo and tells her that JungDo will be released on parole in a week, after just serving two years of his ten year sentence. She’s not just here to tell her that and asks for a request – can she get the gang back together?
She knows that JungDo needs them in order to carry out what they’re planning and MiJoo scoffs, wondering if they will accede to her request after how JungDo had betrayed them all. After all, they’re conmen and only look out for themselves. She’ll try, but she warns SungHee not to have any big hope. Even she herself isn’t that interested in working with them anyway.
She wonders why SungIl isn’t the one asking her of this, and it’s apparently because he’s busy kissing up the entire offices’ ass.
His ex-subordinate is really disgusted by the display and rejects his offer of a drink. He tells SungIl to speak to him formally, since he’s now of a higher rank and when SungIl accedes without protest, the colleague just sighs exasperatedly and leaves.
SungIl walks out and sees Grandpa on his one-man protest but he just passes by without a word, even when Grandpa calls out to him.
He runs into Mayor Chun who checks that he’s living quietly. Mayor Chun walks on to meet with Grandpa and plays the contrite, warm public servant, taking Grandpa’s hands into his own and assuring Grandpa that he’ll look into the case, since he believes that a citizen shouldn’t have to lose his livelihood simply because of an entrepreneur’s greed.
SungIl sees all that from the opposite corridor, and walks off with heavy steps.
Mayor Chun himself isn’t happy with harming his own citizens either and calls Choi ChulWoo with a heavy sigh to inform him that he’ll call a meeting of all the Maseok-dong residents once in his office. It’s not simply a straightforward call to inform as it seems. Choi ChulWoo knows what he’s planning and laughs that Mayor Chun is a crocodile.
MiJoo tries to convince the rest of the gang to be in on the scheme, arguing that JungDo did his time and shouldered all the consequences of their crimes but no one is interested at all. In fact, they even try to convince her out of helping JungDo, accusing her of doing this because of her crush on him. HAHA, she petulantly swipes HakJoo’s phones onto the floor and stuffs JaWang’s head into his bowl of noodles on her way out.
SungHee learns from her that no one wants to join and SungIl doesn’t make her day better by shuffling around like a lousy bear.
The day of Mayor Chun’s meeting with the residents of Maseok-dong come and the reporters are all there, eating up the grievances that the residents are voluntarily pouring out. When Mayor Chun steps out, the reporters run out towards him, pelting him with questions.
In the safety of his office, Choi ChulWoo has planned something for the miserable residents and calls for it to start. On the ground, his men, dressed in the same protest vests as the residents of Maseok-dong, throw eggs at Mayor Chun, shocking all the residents there. Mayor Chun walks off calmly and in the chaos that ensues, Grandpa gets hurt really, really badly.
SungIl watches the news at home and lets out a helpless sigh. BangShil also watches the same thing on her television and is shocked. She tells her daughter to find out what happened to Grandpa.
Hours later, and the incident is still being covered on television, the newscasters spinning the story in such a way that the residents are painted as unreasonable while Mayor Chun is the epitome of grace and understanding. In his office, Mayor Chun sighs as he watches that play on his television, and then puts in a call to Choi ChulWoo, knowing that it was him who instigated the egg-throwing.
He asks why he would do that and Choi ChulWoo replies that it was what Mayor Chun wanted. Mayor Chun hardly believes that because says that he really wanted to talk it out this time instead of forcing the residents out. That’s just bullshit to Choi ChulWoo, who demands to know why Mayor Chun had told him about the meeting then.
He lays it bare for him –they’re both the same people with the same goal and the same processes. He ignores Mayor Chun’s angry outburst and remarks that Mayor Chun is lying to himself right now. Choi ChulWoo chuckles that he’ll let him take the high road while he will do all the dirty work himself. After all, Mayor Chun needs to get re-elected, while he doesn’t need to care what people say.
JungDo learns about the meeting-gone-wrong from the newspapers in his jail cell too and asks a passing guard for a phone call, even though he knows he shouldn’t. He must have been a good boy because the guard complies with his request, even with a small smile.
He calls the rest of the gang, MiJoo, BangShil, HakJoo and JaWang, trying another tack. When faced with the question of why them, he insists that it’s because they’re the only one who can strike fear into those disgusting rich bastards’ hearts, the way the law and normal people can’t. For the first time in their lives, the people that they’d mocked, came back to bite them in the ass.
JungDo agrees that a world where evil prevails is bad, and so is a world without common sense, and a world were illegalities trump. He clearly means them with those last two lines.
However, for jerks like them who have zero common sense and break every single rule in the book to have become so angry that they band together against those rich jerks… how much worse must those jerks be for them to go that far?
Good people winning and bad people losing, that’s how it should be, and he plead the others to make that reality happen.
It touches the gang’s heart and HakJoo, MiJoo and JaWang even visit Grandpa’s store.
“Let’s show it to those bastards,” JungDo says.
The day of his release comes and the moment she sees JungDo, MiJoo still goes stunned, heh.
He complains to see that she has nothing for him, not even a cigarette, since she’d stopped smoking and after just a bit more whining, he ruffles her hair and praises her for being a good girl, like one would to a little sister.
JaWang and HakJoo come along in one car and while JaWang runs into his Hyung’s arms, HakJoo has JungDo by the lapels. All it takes is for JungDo to compliment his new hair for him to melt, hee. BangShil comes too and the gang is back!
They go straight into planning and JungDo informs them that after the IMF, a large amount of Japanese money came into Korea as loans through loan sharks. A part of it took over Pyeong-dong’s (an area) loan shark market and that’s where Choi ChulWoo is getting his money as told by SungHee.
The scenes intersperse between JungDo updating his team and SungHee giving him that information during her visit while he was still in jail.
Choi ChulWoo owns 70% of the loan-shark market in Pyeong-dong but BangShil is certain that they won’t find his name there at all. That’s true, because he doesn’t use that dirty money in his legitimate businesses and MiJoo asks what other sources of money he has.
His other source of money is Kukjin Construction. It was originally Woohyang Construction but broke from Woohyang Group before it got exposed. Even just a year ago, when SungHee went to check, there’s nothing to link it back to Choi ChulWoo.
Seeing how Choi ChulWoo wasn’t hesitant to burn down WooHyang Tech and WooHyang Construction but worked to keep Kukjin alive, she’s sure that it’s clearly important to him.
Kukjin is the one with the rights to Maseok-dong’s land and its puppet CEO is Cha Myung Soo, Choi ChulWoo’s left hand man (if we take Bang Pilgyu to be his right-hand man). He has embezzled some money, like a squat $100,000 in a year, and since it’s so little, Choi ChulWoo lets it slide. MiJoo comments that he must be terrified of Choi ChulWoo, if he only dared to try with that little.
SungHee concludes that it’s clearly why Choi ChulWoo gave Kukjin to Cha MyungSoo, since scared people don’t betray their masters and JungDo reads correctly that it also means that he must have a lot pent up too.
Cho SangJin, the Tax Accountant Hyung that JungDo once fleeced in a much earlier episode, is back in the game because he manages Kukjin Construction’s finances. He was also Cha MyungSoo’s classmate. Ha, JungDo laughs that Cho SangJin’s accounting office must not have done well if he’s stooping so low.
That’s all they get from SungHee, along with the tip that Ex-Commissioner Ahn is working as a director in Kukjin Constructions now. She warns JungDo to tread carefully from here on, he’s a really detailed person.
Providing all this information is the extent of what she can do for him and she tells him to complete the rest when he comes out.
In the present, the team mutters that something’s missing, referring to SungIl. Hee! They miss him!
JungDo tells the rest that he’s back to being a loser, but not because he’s lost his spine, but because he’s fooling the people at City Hall, haha. Since there are many eyes at City Hall, he has to fake it to bluff them into thinking that he’s a harmless blob to keep their guards down, so that when JungDo comes out, he’ll be able to work with him. That’s why he’s been ignoring injustice and enduring other people’s misjudgement this whole time, in order to keep the promise with JungDo.
The gang is surprised that teddy bear, transparent-as-glass Baek SungIl managed to pull it off for two years.
Right after work, SungIl rushes to Grandpa’s restaurant and is shocked to see his granddaughter all alone in there, among the complete mess. She runs to him crying and he holds her close.
JungDo narrates that that’s how angry he is at the world. It was due to that anger that he managed to pull his own con off for two straight years.
SungIl meets with Grandpa, who’s been incarcerated in jail, and now a totally different person, he swears to Grandpa that he’ll destroy the people who did this to him. He won’t watch his people get hurt anymore. He apologises for everything before, explaining that he had something going on and entreats Grandpa to endure it in there for just a short while, while he tears all those jerks apart outside. A few tears escape his eyes and with conviction but also regret, he leaves the place. Grandpa bursts into uncontrollable, quiet sobs.
SungIl walks out of the place and the first thing he sees is JungDo leaning against his car on the opposite road, right there waiting for him. He walks towards JungDo, who just brags that he’d told him that he’d come out early, no bad feelings between them at all.
JungDo drives them off and tells SungIl that it’ll be difficult to con Choi ChulWoo now, after what happened two years ago.
He asks SungIl for what to do, more because SungIl is the safer one, driven by justice compared to him, who got fooled two years ago because he went with his feelings. He doesn’t want to go back to jail and sew stuff ever again. He quips that SungIl will be the navigation (every time I hear that word I think of DongGu now) and he’ll be the driver.
SungIl comments that the re-elections will be held soon and that’s where they’re going to start. After all, even if they did collect those taxes, nothing will change if the people who use it don’t change. He says that they should focus their energies on people rather than taxes and is determined to see this one to the end, since duties aren’t one-sided on the ordinary people’s part and those people in power have gone too far.
Cho SangJin is in his office when he’s met by someone who makes his eye go wide.
JungDo and SungIl have a drink at the pojangmacha that night where JungDo notes that SungIl looks down. It’s because of his trip to Grandpa’s restaurant earlier and SungIl comments that it’s great to see JungDo again.
JungDo tells him not to worry too much about the restaurant because he’ll see to it that Kukjin Construction is brought down, ending the suffering of the people in Maseok-dong.
This time, however, JungDo says that he won’t go after Mayor Chun since he knows them too well. Instead, he wants to go after Chairman Wang. Excuse me, what?
The day for Chairman Wang’s (Lee DeokHwa) release from jail comes and he’s greeted at the gates by BangShil and daughter.
BangShil does the necessary greetings with the required respect and he laughs that it wasn’t hard in there, since it’s only right to go to jail for doing something wrong. His secretary has had it worse than him, Mr Fourth Offence that he is.
Secretary Kim wonders why there aren’t any reporters to meet them and JiYeon says that for the Chairman’s comfort, she’d called for a separate press conference elsewhere.
They assume that he wants to go home for a rest, but nope, he wants to go visit Yang JungDo first.
Of course it’s grave injustice that gets our band back together because money alone can’t reel them in when they can’t fully trust JungDo to give them their share anymore. Yet, none of them are bad people and they, who have only been ridiculed by the righteous in the world and now given a chance to prove to their own selves that they’re good people aren’t going to give this chance up, especially when it also means revenge for one of one of their plebeian own.
Uh, I’m not really sure what to say since I expounded about my beliefs regarding what’s right and what’s wrong in the last recap and I don’t really have more to say on the matter. That I regard JungDo as a strong reader of people is a well-known fact and that our gang will give in to their conscience is something I’ve also talked about in a much earlier recap. Plus we all know that Mayor Chun has gone to hell, having taken the road paved with good intentions. It takes more than smarts to be a good mayor. It also takes courage and conviction in doing the right thing, some things that Mayor Chun has lost along the way.
Anyway, this is another set-up episode that frankly is a little sparse in anything that
I’m interested in (wrong wording! I am VERY VERY interested in everything) makes for discussion… so I guess we’ll just see where it takes us.
JungDo’s plan to fool Chairman Wang is an unexpected and daring one but since I know as much about Chairman Wang as I do of the number of atoms in the sun, I can’t say anything for now.
To add to this random comment section, I really like the way 38 plays with time. The way it moves forwards and backwards and vice versa while throwing out little bits of information on a need-to-know basis is frankly my favourite kind of story-telling.
Violence against people who refuse to move seems to be a common thing in Korea since I’ve even seen that in the drama Piped Piper and others. I’m not sure how that’s legal at all, (honestly, I’m not even sure if Choi ChulWoo did pay the appropriate compensation) and I’m always hilariously reminded of the “highway house” in China. Unfortunately, that too has been demolished.
(credit to: NBC news)
PS: If you have anything that you wish to discuss, do comment below. I admit that I’m more of a “discussion” person rather than one who comes up with things to talk about on my own.