Episode 7 “The Frog in the Well” …
Dal Po is humbled when his reporting does not go deep enough to find the whole truth. This causes a grieving family pain. His belief that he would never wrong others the way his family was wronged, is shattered.
Our two cub reporting teams: YGN team is Choi Dal Po (Lee Jong Seok) and Yoon Yoo Rae (Lee Yoo Bi), and MSC team is Choi In Ha (Park Shin Hye) and Seo Bum Jo (Kim Young Kwang).
Team YGN believe they have a scoop on the overweight woman who collapsed and died after over exercising. Dal Po secretly recorded the video footage of the woman’s collapse. YGN station decides to feature the story early in their 10pm broadcast.
Team MSC also has a scoop on the same story due to In Ha’s due diligence. She digs deeper to find the “why” – why was the woman exercising to excess? Station MSC decides to feature their story later in their 10pm broadcast. This lays the trap for YGN to air their incomplete story and then MSC airs the complete story winning viewers and boosting their reputation.
In Ha tells Dal Po that MSC has a scoop too but before she reveal the details Bum Jo picks her up and carries her into the station. Ha! Dal Po realizes he must dig deeper. He heads to the hospital and finds the daughter of the woman that died. Tragically her mother was exercising to excess to lose sufficient weight so she could donate her kidney to her daughter. Dal Po realizes that his story will not represent the dead woman appropriately. To his horror, the YGN news broadcast airs and the daughter sees the footage of her mother collapsing in the health club. The daughter’s tears shatter Dal Po as he realizes that he reported incomplete facts, just like the reporters did to his family years ago.
Shaken Dal Po returns the YGN conference room and remembers his indictment of reporters and his reveal that In Ha has Pinocchio syndrome (cannot lie without hiccuping). In a beautifully produced scene, Dal Po sits where In Ha sat and the memory of his words plays out. Dal Po answers as In Ha answered and feels the pain and shame his words caused. A superb scene – kudos to the writer and actor for a riveting and real scene. Loved the current day Dal Po was in the dark while the past Dal Po was in the light.
Dal Po goes missing. He regroups by hanging with Grandpa who gives him excellent advice that knowing his error allows him to not make the same mistake again. Dal Po returns to the station to apologize and take whatever punishment management decides upon. Much to his surprise the lead YGN reporter Gyo Dong (who he previously revealed his true identity to) elects not to punish him. Stunned Dal Po asks why. With a quiet intensity Gyo Dong reveals that he was one of the reporters that gave inaccurate reports about his father 13 years ago. Wow, the cards on the table, both Dal Po and Gyo Dong have revealed their secrets to each other. Both actors delivered emotions just below the surface as they admitted their mistakes to each other. Well done scene!
In Ha ends up getting sick but pretends she is fine so she will not infect Dal Po. Bum Jo and his mother care for In Ha by providing clean bedding, food, a car to ferry our cub reporting team. Mom even ferrets stories out of police officers so they have a story to report. Even with this special care, In Ha continues to worsen. When Dal Po returns to the police station he quickly determines that In Ha is sick enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. He sweeps her into his arms and carries her to the hospital where the doctor diagnoses In Ha with shingles. Antibiotics and rest are required. As In Ha drifts to sleep, she grabs Dal Po’s hand and asks him to stay. Dal Po who secretly loves In Ha cannot resist her request and stays the night. The next morning In Ha wakes to find Dal Po asleep and holding her hand. Startled she gently pulls her hand away. She cannot resist looking at Dal Po with eyes of love and tenderly touches him. As he wakes, she pulls away and claims all is well and rushes out of the hospital.
In a scene that makes me love In Ha’s inability to lie, she itemizes all Dal Po’s mistakes, to which Dal Po agrees with, much to her surprise. She continues to itemize and he accepts each identified fault. As she starts to shiver (she rushed out of the hospital without her shoes and coat), Dal Po bends down and puts her shoes on her. He puts her coat around her shoulders. He gives her a back hug. Swoon!
Dal Po’s big brother, Ki Jae Myeong, may have found his next target when he learns In Ha is MSC Manager and top reporter Song Cha Ok’s daughter.
Wow! Dal Po stuns Bum Jo with the statement that he likes In Ha as a woman. That surprised me too!
The episode ends as Dal Po meets Jae Myeong to interview him about the container fire. As the two brothers meet, Dal Po recognizes Jae Myeong but he does not recognize Dal Po. Recall Jae Myeong believes Dal Po is dead so his non recognition of Dal Po makes sense. Dal Po senses potential pain as we hear Gyo Dong ask “will you be able to handle it?” (hard messy cases). Dal Po elects NOT to reveal his true identity to his brother and shakes his hand.
* This was a well written and acted episode. Superb writing by Park Hye Ryun who crafted several riveting scenes that the production team and actors brought to life perfectly. My favorite scenes:
1) Dal Po confronts himself in the conference room as he remembers his righteous rant he delivered to In Ha when they interviewed to be YGN reporters. Perfectly played by Lee Jong Seok, Dal Po recognizes he must indict himself now.
2) Gyo Dong reveals to Dal Po he was one of the reporters that incorrectly slandered Dal Po’s father 13 years ago. With quiet dignity Lee Pil Mo laid bare his mistake. Jong Seok was equal to Pil Mo and delivered a solid performance in that scene too.
3) In Ha chews out Dal Po for his mistakes and indictment of her. Park Shin Hye delivered an anger fueled list and was visibly unsettled by Jong Seok’s placid acceptance. Lovely scene.
* Lee Jong Seok owned this episode as Dal Po learned a hard lesson this episode and Dal Po became more human and relate-able because of his own fallibility. Absolutely perfect that Dal Po witnessed first hand the effects of his improper reporting.
* In addition, Jong Seok delivered several swoon moments:
1) Sweeping In Ha into his arms and taking her to the hospital.
2) Back hugging In Ha after she reads him the riot act for his blistering critique which he calmly agrees with.
* Shin Hye delivered sweet moments for In Ha this episode:
1) When she pulls on Dal Po’s hand and asks him not to leave her in the hospital, Shin Hye portrayed a sweet vulnerability
2) When she wakes in the morning and gently touches Dal Po while he slept you could feel the love and tenderness she felt for him.
* Bum Jo’s mother rocked this episode as she swooped in and provide clean clothes to her son (loved how he relished the clean and warm clothes while she gingerly pushed the soiled clothes away from her), clean bedding and food to In Ha, and taxi service via her limousine for In Ha and Bum Jo. She found out firsthand it is hard to get a story out of police but managed to land a story for our cub reporters to share with the TV station.
* Bum Jo was stunned when Dal Po admitted he liked In Ha. I was too! Bum Jo had a slip of the tongue when he revealed he knew details about In Ha that she had not told him but he managed to cover his slip with her none the wiser. Darling when Bum Jo picked In Ha up and away from Dal Po so she would not reveal their scoop.
* Big brother Jae Myeong continues his walk into darkness as he eyes In Ha as a potential revenge target. Little does Dal Po know that as he investigates the container fire with Chan Soo (police officer and high school quiz show rival), he will find out his brother’s dark path. Even more interesting is the possibility of his brother Jae Myeong harming the woman Dal Po loves, In Ha. I am confident the careful set up occurring now will pay off in later episodes.