This show is proving that nothing is ever as it seems, and that our characters are all onions. Today’s episode has many great reveals, some were expected, and others shocking. We also see the return of a beloved character.
It’s hilarious to me that the prison has so many contests. But the writer made sure to hang a lantern on it when one of the prisoners laments about how this warden sure likes attention, which is why they have all the extra activities. It keeps our prisoners busy and allows the scenery of the drama to stay fresh. I’m pretty sure if the drama just showed what inmates usually do, we’d be bored to death.
Random Inspections and Class President Elections
This episode has two events running through it, and both are our main source of humor and delight. We have another prize dangled in front of our cellmates. If they come in first for random inspections, they’re granted a guest visit that is in “another location”. Je Hyeok’s deadpan facial expressions and questions turn up the hilarious when he needs them to clarify what that means. Though I’m not sure it’s exactly what I was thinking, let’s just there isn’t a bed involved and the guards have a window looking in on them… so kissing is probably as far as the visits go.
The problem with winning is that Han Yang (Looney) is not good at pulling off the roll call section of the inspection. I want to add a side note here. This writer’s portrayal of drug addicts is so off the mark. It’s mostly played for humor, but I do find it a little disheartening. I know that drug use (their own, or those close to them) isn’t something that the average Korean citizen experiences, but implying he’s a normal person and very high functioning while on drugs and a complete loon when he can’t take drugs is a little far fetched.
Which leads me to the second event. Jeombaki, (I wish they had his real name available since that just refers to the fact that he has a mole) the new prisoner that Officer Lee appointed to run the wood shop is turning out to be even worse than the last one. Dr. Ko writes a petition (of course) complaining about how he’s overworking them. Slime ball Officer Lee intercepts it, and nothing happens. But when they find out the next inspection is going to be a big deal, the cellmates tell Dr. Ko to hang it up on that little close line thing they have on the outside of their cell. That way it can’t be ignored.
They totally luck out, and the warden is being shadowed by reporters during the inspection. So not only are their concerns read, the warden can’t turn them down. Our boys get to elect a new leader for the wood shop. Except the only person willing to take on the position is Dr. Ko, and he’s not allowed to run because of his inmate status (not sure exactly what his status is vs. some of the other inmates.) Dr. Ko decides the only choice he has left is to nominate Je Hyeok. Ha! They all agree that he sucks at doing the actual wood work so if he’s the manager then it’s not like they’ll lose any labor. My favorite is during one of their discussions, Je Hyeok is in the background making what ends up being a pencil holder. You would think by this boy’s smile he just constructed a house or something.
At first it seems like Je Hyeok is a shoe in, but then Jeombaki manages to get the gang leader on his side and pulls in most of the votes. The only thing that can turn the tide in Je Hyeok’s favor is the four drug addicts. Again, their portrayal of “druggies” is super annoying, but we won’t dwell on that.
Je Hyeok and Dr. Ko set out to win the four inmates over and I really wish my GIF skills existed. The song and dance that ensues should go down in Kdrama history.
Of course Je Hyeok wins, but I’ll save how he won for another section.
Romance roll call!
I really like how the romance in this drama is more like an after dinner mint. It’s sweet, but not necessarily needed.
Je Hyeok has banished Ji Ho from visiting him anymore. He wants her to move on with her life, and not dwell on him. Which would totally make sense if he had a longer sentence. His is shorter than military service. LOL. Anyway, from all the cute flashback scenes you can tell that he’s really only had eyes for her, and it took her a long time to finally realize she could see him as anything else but a brother. The staring contest was very telling, he was uncomfortable right away, and she took a bit to feel the tension.
I had to laugh at the bra scene. Not necessarily when he was uncomfortable with seeing hers on the counter, but that they had her take her bra off like almost every girl in the history of bras takes theirs off. Not sure I’ve seen this in a Kdrama before.
On to the couple I am more invested in. Je Hee and Joon Ho. The fact that Joon Ho has phone convos with both girls to keep them updated on Je Hyeok is super sweet. Joon Ho finds out that Jee Hee has to leave work at two in the morning, but it’s during his overnight shift so he can’t make sure she gets home. Normally, I would say the girl can take care of herself, but with being sexually assaulted, I can see why he’s overly concerned about her. He agonizes over it, and finally calls on Je Hyeok’s number one fan Joon Dol, who of course will run over and help out.
Han Yang (Looney) is probably my favorite of the side characters. The reveal of his lover wasn’t that shocking because this team is known to include same sex love and characters in their dramas. They did an excellent job of showing a very painful unrequited love in Reply 1997 and then in 1994 did an okay job. In 1994 I think it was done more as part of their who’s the husband games, but they still didn’t play it just for laughs the way Strong Woman Do Bong Soon did. I am crossing my fingers that this character and couple gets the thoughtful depth that Joon Hee’s love for Yoon Je did.
They get to spend time together in the special room, and it’s sad when Han Yang reaches out to his boyfriend (Ji Won) and he pulls away. In flashback they reveal that it wasn’t Ji Won that turned him in, but Han Yang’s mother. But to protect her, Ji Won doesn’t tell him that.
I’m glad Han Yang is trying to quit drug use, and turn his life around even though most of it is just played for laughs. The showdown between messy Han Yang and anal retentive Captain Yoo was pretty hilarious. The fact that the cellmates were super happy when “Looney” returned both made me laugh and a bit sad.
YOU SERIOUSLY FORGOT THAT?????
One of the biggest reveals of the episode came after the election. First, a much beloved character returned. I was pretty sure we hadn’t seen the last of Jailbird because so many people on the internet seemed to love him and he wasn’t in the drama that long. When Je Hyeok wins we find out that the four drug addicts voted for Je Hyeok because their supplier aka Jailbird instructed how they should vote.
Jailbird gets to join the overnight pitching sessions. I bet by the end of the drama everyone will be in there watching Je Hyeok pitch!
He is taken back by how much Je Hyeok sucks at pitching now. The poor guy just keeps throwing those balls, but he can’t even get them close to the bullseye let alone hit it. Everyone is pretty disheartened by this fact until we hear a solid whack. Everyone is slack jawed as Je Hyeok winds up and pitching a second shot that hits its mark. He winds up a third time and guess which hand he has that ball in, you guessed it. He pitches a third straight strike with his RIGHT hand!
Joon Ho figuratively smacks himself on the head. In a private conversation we learn that Je Hyeok’s late father had actually made him switch hands to become a lefty to give him an advantage as a pitcher. So… Je Hyeok is actually right handed. Ha! Only Je Hyeok would forget this fact for so long.
Yay! We can think Woo Tak is hot again!
I can honestly say I do NOT miss the who is the husband game that this team used in the Reply series. But we do get another game, of sorts. When Demon Captain entered the story, we were presented with his backstory, but if you remember it was told (and seen) through the eyes of the people that testified against him. So on all accounts he looks like he deserves the nickname the media gave him. And his acting was pretty bone chilling.
After the cellmates win the inspection, they’re allowed that special visit. Captain Yoo’s brother comes to see him and promises to get him out of prison. After his visit, the brother receives a piece of paper in the mail and it’s the log sheet that shows the man Captain Yoo is convicted of killing signed in for his shift that night. Which is contrary to the testimony given. They’d all claimed he was found dead in his bed when they’d tried to wake him up for his shift. But in this flashback, he signs in for his shift, then is given a gasmask and told to take off his shirt. He already has bruises all over his torso and we’re to assume the mask is to muffle his screams. It’s not Captain Yoo, but the men who testified against him, who beat the victim enough for him to die.
This turn of events makes me so happy. He’s done a good job as an actor making me question if he’s demented or if there was more than met the eye. I’m happy so say you can all drool and fangirl over Captain Yoo.
This show continues to stoke my bromance loving heart. There are so many characters I want to stick in my pocket and take home with me. I was just saying to The Fangirls that it’s actually hard to recap this drama because there are SO many moments I want to talk about, but then when you look at the events, sometimes not much happens at all. This show is all about the relationships. One of the recappers said this drama is like the ahjummas of 1988 being replaced with prisoners, and it’s so true. The family is both the growing group inside the prison who support and look out for Je Hyeok (and him in return) and those people outside the prison that care and miss the prisoners.
Until the Next Roll Call,
Drama With a Side of Kimchi