Live Episode 5: Family & Work Stressors Collide

Things begin to get tense for our rookies and their mentors as family and work stressors continue to increase.  Join me, Kmuse, as I discuss how being a police officer is a job that you can’t leave, even when your shift ends.

If you had told me a few days ago that our rookie Sang-Soo and Officer Oh would be having an insightful conversation together via sleepover I would have thought you were insane. But here we are.

We start off this episode with Sang Soo confronting Officer Oh about the wishy-washy way he has been teaching him. First he tells Sang Soo to go by the book, but then Sang Soo gets in trouble for following the manual exactly. What is a poor rookie supposed to do with so many mixed signals?

I’m pretty sure stalking your mentor to his house and threatening him is not the solution. Which is why I laughed when Officer Oh called him out and stated that Sang Soo had obviously not thought the confrontation through past grabbing his lapels. Officer Oh then let Sang Soo know that he had given him a poor review, not for arresting an important person, but for apologizing afterward. To be a good cop, you have to stand by your convictions. Officer Oh then stomps inside his house, only to have Sang Soo follow him in and declare that all the buses are gone and he will be sleeping over.

Ha! I am laughing so hard at this awkward sleepover. The sleeping arrangements also provide a moment for the two men to come to terms with each other as a mentor and mentored. I foresee more teamwork coming from them in the future.

The theme of this episode seems to be about how dealing with family can be exhausting. First, we get more insight into Officer Oh and his father, when we learn that Officer Oh’s mother is in the hospital. Hence the father walking to and from the hospital every day. We also learn that Officer Oh’s father had been an abusive husband and made bad life decisions, decisions that Officer Oh believes to be the cause of her failing health. To say that these two men have a poor familial relationship would be an understatement.

But it is not just the mentor that has issues. Jeong-o also is having her share of parent problems. Not only is she working the grueling schedule of a rookie policewoman, she is also having to help her mother with the coffee house. Jeong-o’s mother gets resentful when her daughter reprimands about her cleaning habits and relying on her daughter’s help and lashes out. She tells Jeong-o that she should stop complaining about something so many people can do and she should just quit. Jeong-o leaves, then stalks back, asking her mom who would pay for this coffee shop if she quit. Also, she mentions again seeing dead people and the stress.

Later, Jeong-o gets some good advice from Officer Ki. Civilians get to be scared of something and run away. On the other hand, the police can be scared, but they then have to overcome the fear and face the problem. You just have to decide which you will be. I really love the small teaching moments this drama scatters throughout. Sure, it can sometimes come from an overbearing and angry Officer Oh, but they are teaching moments nonetheless.

Even Sang Soo suffers from some bad parent memories.  He and Officer Oh are called to the scene of a woman who collapsed in a internet cafe and left behind her son.  The son was showing obvious signs of abuse and had been living with a mother who neglected him, focusing instead on gaming.  It broke my heart when we see a young Sang Soo who had a similar experience, but in his case it was a drunken mother.  She was unable to hold a job or take care of him and his brother.  The suffering made me tear up and feel for the boy Sang Soo used to be.

Sang Soo visits the neglected child, who had been put into social services until his mother recovered.  It is such a touching moment seeing the man share a meal with the poor boy.  Sadly, we witness the mom being released and heading to grab her son.  Sang Soo askes Officer An if there is anything they can do to change the situation, but is told that he needs to let this case go and forget it.  He has new cases to focus on.

I know that half of my co-bloggers are Officer Oh anti-fans.  But to be honest, it is Rookie Song Hye-Ri who is really pushing my buttons.  I originally saw her a strong confident female, but the more we see of her the less I enjoy her character.  Hye Ri spends this episode loudly airing her prejudice against the age of her mentor, as well as her jealousy over Jeong-o being on a murder case.  Sure, she kind of apologizes later to Jeong-o, but for me the damage has been done.  I just don’t like her and find her selfish and aggressive.

I am sure my feelings will change in the future since this seems to be a drama that likes to make your emotions jump around.  But for now I am going to sit here and fume at her horrible treatment of those around her.

Before we get into so more angsty case moments, can we take a moment and appreciate the aesthetic beauty that is Officer Choi?  So so so pretty.  I’m so glad Shin Dong Wook is back to acting.

Sadly, there is only so much sexy Choi we can distract ourselves with before we must return to the murder and mayhem.  The officers are next called to the scene of a crime where a woman is witnessed running from an apartment drenched in blood.  She’s obviously running from the assaulter.   A man had been chasing her but turned back when a horrified tenant screams and calls the police.

Upon entering the apartment building, it’s clear the bloody footprints lead to an apartment which is set up for sex. It is deduced that a prostitute ring was being run from the location. And, more than likely, a John had gotten physical during the encounter. Officer An finds a secondary blood trail (which had been quickly mopped up) in a neighboring apartment building. Upon entering the apartment, Officer An finds a bunch of women, including the victim, who had washed away all the blood and evidence of the assault. I’m taking a wild guess that this will be a case that covers multiple future episodes.

The final scene of the episode involves Jeong-o, waiting for her partner while he parks the car. They have arrived to take care of an aggressive drunk who is destroying a restaurant. Jeong-o is told to wait for her partner, but decides that she can handle it alone. Of course, things go to hell and Jeong-o not only isn’t able to take care of the situation, but ends up using her taser on the wife of the drunkard. A wife who, of course, is pregnant. Who didn’t see this scene coming back when they were told to never use a taser pregnant women or kids under 14? Looks like we will have to hear some more yelling about not following orders in the next episode.

Final Thoughts:

I am really enjoying this drama.  I am a huge fan of slice of life shows and I am finding a more realistic view of police work interesting.  The various ethical debates are intricate and interesting, despite there being maybe a few too many of them shoved into an episode.

One way I find my opinion diverging from my co-bloggers is in regards to Officer Oh. Don’t get me wrong, I totally condemn the physical/abusive way he deals with being stressed. However, behind every verbal shout-fest is some kernels of truth and learning. Heck, sometimes I even see the deep concern and worry for those around him. I appreciate that the writer shifted Sang Soo and Officer Oh from combatants to  partners. The dynamic works a lot more for me and I can step back and see Officer Oh’s actions without the constant haze of anger because of his abuse.

Until the Next Patrol…

Kmuse for Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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