Episode 9 “The Pied Piper” …
Stellar episode where deep buried truths are revealed and the ripple effects are just beginning.
Dal Po’s story: Should Dal Po (Lee Jong Seok) follow his gut and investigate his long lost brother? Hwang Gyo Dong gave straight forward guidance to Dal Po to find the truth out about his brother. But the truth hurts and reveals that Jae Myeong wants revenge not an apology for the mistreatment of his family by reporters 13 years ago. Dal Po had the chilling realization that his brother likely murdered the missing manager and coworkers when he slipped up and referenced the missing manager in the past tense and the two co-workers without prompting. Dal Po faced a moment when he could reveal the truth about his brother to Gyo Dang but elects to keep quiet. His hopes that his brother can be saved, are likely futile. His terror that In Ha will be used and hurt by his brother forces him to elicit her promise NOT to interface further with Jae Myeong. Her simple statement that she would honor his request because “she trusts him over Jae Myeong” was perfect and inline with her belief in him. Dal Po’s relief at her promise was palpable. At the end of the episode, Dal Po’s pain was evident when he realizes In Ha knows who he really is. The secret was found out by the one person he never wanted to know.
In Ha’s story: She likes me…she really likes me…this is what In Ha (Park Shin Hye) felt about her mother finally showing some parental care and pride. From the compliment “good job” (loved the way In Ha made her mother repeat it several times), to the shoes her father gave her but her mother was behind, to the egg sharing lunch, In Ha’s hope and joy at finally cracking her mother’s aloof exterior was touching. Her realization that her mother was cruel to Jae Myeong’s family 13 years ago wipes away the joy and replaces it with horror and shame at her mother’s actions. Loved the way In Ha started to hiccup as she tried to deny the awful truth about her mother. She was sweet when she asks Dal Po to promise NOT to give up on them when her father found out about their relationship. Dal Po’s quiet assurance that he would never leave her seemed suspiciously hollow. Will he renege on that promise? When In Ha realizes that Dal Po is really Ki Ha Myung and goes to the rooftop to confirm her suspicions…their conversation changed the game for these two characters. Riveting scene to end the episode with.
Jae Myeong’s story: The irony of becoming the media darling of Seoul just like the Pied Piper (titled of the show). People are entranced by Jae Myeong (Yoon Gyun Sang) and his good deeds. On the flip side, Jae Myeong’s menacing plans against In Ha’s mother started to form. He assesses how to use In Ha to secure revenge against her mother. His meeting with Dal Po was creepy as he freely admitted that revenge against those that wronged his family 13 years prior was his priority. His toyed with reporter Jo Ho before he revealed he remembers him from the past.
* Wow! The writer, Park Hye Ryun, delivered a riveting “peel the story like an onion” episode. Simply superb storytelling.
* Double Wow! The actors all delivered spot on performances. There was not a missed moment by any of them. This cast is gelling into an ensemble that is firing on all cylinders.
* Superb story and stellar acting moments:
a) Park Shin Hye delivered impactful moments when she realized…her mother was not a nice woman…Dal Po could be the long lost brother…based on Dal Po’s actions and strident words about reporters he HAD to be the long lost brother…that he lied and kept the truth from her…her love lied to her, the pain was unbearable. Terrific acting by Shin Hye in this episode, well done!
b) Lee Jong Seok straddled the hope to hopeless moments beautifully. Dal Po’s nagging suspicion turned into full blown belief that his long lost older brother had an evil underside, an agenda of revenge, and a coldness in his heart. When he realized In Ha could be a target, he needed to protect her. When his brother proved himself more evil than good, this shattered the dream of his sweet brother.
c) Yoon Gyun Sang portrayed brother Jae Myeong with a perfect mix of creepy fixation on revenge but with a touch of humanity that makes the viewer empathize with his desire to right the wrong to his family. His methodology is morally wrong and against the laws of society so he must pay for his misdeeds. Watching him formulate his plan of revenge against In Ha’ Mother with In Ha being a piece of the puzzle was affecting. The reveal that In Ha’s Mother had Jae Myeong arrested for assault and separated him from his mother and brother on the very night they committed double suicide…wow, who wouldn’t have craved revenge for that? Fascinating the mixture of empathy and discomfort for this character.
d) In Ha’s Mother’s joining the lunch table of In Ha and Bum Jo was delightful to watch. The sharing of the egg yolk and white between the two of them was sweet. Bum Jo’s smile and pleasure for In Ha was wonderful.
e) Bum Jo confronting In Ha’s mother about the cell phone was perfect. Thank you writer for a “reasonable” explanation for a ridiculous action of reading In Ha’s texts for 13 years after In Ha’s mother left her cell phone at his house. His simple declaration to In Ha’s mother that if she read the text too, she’d fall in love with In Ha, “a hopeful fool” who sent texts for 13 years. Look forward to finding out what the back story there is. His happiness when In Ha’s mother joined them at the lunch table was wonderful.
f) Bum Jo’s mother was precious as she realized her darling son was reporting on the accident and almost burst with pride.
g) Gyo Dong gave straight forward guidance to Dal Po to find the truth out about his brother. Lee Pil Mo delivered a subtle performance with this character but only because this character and his interactions with a scared Dal Po require the gentle touch.
h) Jo Ho’s need to warn In Ha’s mother falls on deaf ears. It shows he truly cares about In Ha’ mother. When he takes the fateful step of sharing her mother’s true nature 13 years prior with In Ha, that starts the ball rolling of In Ha realizing who Dal Po really was.
* The director staged the confrontation scene between Dal Po and Jae Myeong on the walkway perfectly. When Jae Myeong steps close to Dal Po and admits revenge is what he wants…chilling. When he snatched Dal Po’s cell phone, that worried me for future ramifications, but he dropped the phone into an open flame trash can, ending that cell phone’s life and my concern it would become a weapon against Dal Po.
* Only Yoon Yoo Rae is largely ignored and underdeveloped at this point. Look forward to this character having something to do that matters.