At University three roommates deal with the 30 second limit to accept a call (two phones for the entire dorm), getting on each other’s nerves while maintaining order under the dorm patrol’s watchful eye.
Pi Seung Hee (Yoon Se Ah) helps get Secretary General, Nam Tae Il (ruling party 2), out the door in the morning.
Director Eun Chang Soo (ruling party 3) recalls his wife urging him not to let Nam Tae overshadow him and be forceful in today’s meeting as she helped him get out the door.
When Chang Soo arrives for the meeting Party head Park Mu Yeol (ruling party 1) is already there. Chang Soo takes Nam Tae’s seat which displeases Nam Tae when he arrives. The President arrives and the meeting begins. Nam Tae is a bit of a showman when the men toast each other with their own blood. The President loves it. During a private meeting, Nam Tae once again says what the President wants to hear while Chang Soo is more conservation. The President prefers Nam Tae’s style.
Chang Soo’s wife Hong Ae Ra is at a disadvantage with Cho Seong Sim (Nam Tae’s wife) when they verbally spar while at the boutique run by Choi Mi Hye.
At the airport, Lee Kang Moo (Jang Seung Jo) aka the Black Tiger arrives and is picked up.
Chief Ahn Kyung Hee’s office is swept for bugs. Agent Jang Han Na (Jung Eugene) learns Kang Moo is back.
Kang Moo briefs agents about a man murdering Koreans who attempt to fly when being taken to the North.
Flashback…2 years ago…Germany…Kang Moo and another agent chase a man on the train. He jumps from the train. They jump too. Kang Moo is horrified when his coworker is killed.
Kang Moo tells the agents he’s returned to Korea to catch this killer dubbed Taedong River 1. He notices Han Na in the group of agents but doesn’t acknowledge her wave. She shoots at the screen when other agents volunteer to work with Kang Moo. That doesn’t endear her to Kang Moo. He ignores her and walks away.
Back at the University, Im Soo Ho (Jung Hae In) grills while girls watch and swoon. Oh Gwang Tae (Soo Ho’s friend) is impressed to learn Soo Ho paid for all the food.
It’s 15 minutes until dorm roll call. Eun Young Ro (Kim Ji Soo) rushes to the dorm. Go Hye Ryeong receives a proposal from a military man. She takes the ring but rejects the flowers. Young Ro runs past reminding her they’ve got to get to the dorm. Both girls run. Young Ro drops a container and goes to retrieve it while Hye Ryeong continue to the dorm. Their roommate worries they won’t make curfew. Hye Ryeong makes it. Young Ro doesn’t. At 9pm, Mr. Kim must lock the doors and Mistress Pi Seung Hee (Yoon Se Ah) begins her inspection. Young Ro tries to find a way into the locked dorm. The roommates know they are all in trouble. Young Ro scales the wall and edges her way to her dorm room. The assistant creates a distraction allowing Young Ro time to make her into the room. Mistress Pi resumes control. Young Ro is helped into her pjs. MP isn’t fooled. Young Ro promises not to be late again. MP points out her roommates could be expelled. MP declares the room only has one chance remaining. She leaves. The girls sag with relief. Young Ro thanks Mr. Kim for retrieving her container. Young Ro thanks the assistant for distracting MP. Young Ro promises to bring the requested English version of Romeo and Juliet tomorrow. The assistant scurries back into her room. The roommates wonder what she’s hiding. Back in the room, the roommates sing and dance. Life is good.
The next day Kang Moo gathers the agents to discuss catching Taedong River 1. Han Na arrives knowing she was not invited. Undeterred snatches a photo and offers to investigate Professor Han, a member of the opposition party. She can infiltrate the party. That gets Kang Moo’s attention.
Irked Yeong U hasn’t written, Young Ro jots a note then folds it into a paper airplane that she tosses into the air. The assistant points out men in the military, particularly family, don’t write during their 2-year stint. Young Ro gives the assistant the requested book. Young Ro answers the dorm phone when Oh Gwang Tae calls for Hye Ryeong. He offers a group blind date for Hye Ryeong and her 3 roommates. Young Ro tells him she’ll pass the message on but can’t guarantee the roommates will accept.
Gwang Tae begs Soo Ho to attend. He threatens not to introduce Soo Ho to Professor Han. That gets Soo Ho’s attention.
The assistant begs Young Ro to let her come on the blind date. Hye Ryeong doesn’t like adding a working girl who isn’t attending university to their mix, that’s lying to the men. Young Ro begs Hye Ryeong to reconsider pointing out the assistant has helped them in the past. Hye Ryeong caves when Young Ro points out the assistant could refuse phone calls for Hye Ryeong. She caves.
Gwang Tae warns Soo Ho not to attract Hye Ryeong’s attention. Soo Ho warns Gwang Tae he better make the introduction to Professor Han. Gwang Tae gives Soo Ho a paper airplane to be his item. One of the girls watches the exchange.
Hye Ryeong schools her roommates in the art of making men wait.
The men wait at the coffee shop. When the women finally arrive, Soo Ho has constructed a tower of matches which catches Young Ro’s eye. Gwang Tae knocks it over in his haste to greet Hye Ryeong. Young Ro instinctively tries to save the tower just like Soo Ho. Their hands touch. Their eyes lock. Gwang Tae notices only 3 women came. Hye Ryeong says one of the men will need to leave as their 4th couldn’t come. Just then the assistant saunters in all smiles. She claims she’s a senior studying literature. She’s holding the English Romeo and Juliet book. Ha! The girls agree to pair with the men by selecting one of the men’s items without knowing who put it on the table. Gwang Tae puts down his exam certificate, Soo Ho puts down a paper airplane, a pen and lighter round out the items. Hye Ryeong picks Gwang Tae’s exam certificate. He’s thrilled. Soo Ho studies the items. Just as she’s about to pick the paper airplane, the assistant snatches it, startling everyone.
Young Ro embarrasses herself when she sings along to a record while listening with headphone in a music store. The students titter. Soo Ho chuckles too. When Young Ro realizes what she’s done, she tries to dash out the door but runs into Soo Ho. He teases her. She asks where his date is. He says he declined spending time with her. Soo Ho asks about her date. Young Ro says she declined spending time with him. Soo Ho smiles. Young Ro tries to make a purchase only to realize she doesn’t have enough money. She flees. Soo Ho watches it all.
Outside the shop, Soo Ho call to Young Ro. He offers the tape she tried to buy. She hesitates. He insists and walks away. She follows. A man is watching Soo Ho from a car. Soo Ho spies a man in a police officer with batons. Soo Ho spins away and runs into Young Ro. He pulls her into an alcove. She puts the tape in his pocket. She tries to leave. He stops her and tells her to wait a minute. The man with the police stops and sees Soo Ho’s back. He flips through pictures of men. Young Ro realizes what is happening. She makes a fuss accusing Soo Ho of two timing her with another woman. Soo Ho pulls her into his arms to soothe her. She tenses but plays along. The man chuckles and decides to leave them alone. He and the police leave.
Soo Ho pushes Young Ro away from him. She can barely look at him. He asks if she’s okay. Young Ro nods. Soo Ho teases she’s a good actress but not a good singer. Young Ro says her brother was arrested at a protest once. She starts to leave. Soo Ho stops her and starts to invite her to dinner then spies the man in the car watching him. He doesn’t finish the invitation and instead gives her the tape with thanks. He walks away. The man in the car drives away.
Young Ro dashes after Soo Ho and ask him to meet her for coffee the next day to even the score between them. She dashes away all smiles before he can confirm and reject the invitation.
Young Ro is giddy with glee as she dashes through the dorm and into her room. She smiles at the remembered hug. She holds the tape. She records her thoughts “now I know what love at first sight feels like”.
The next day, Young Ro waits at the coffee shop. She builds a matchbook tower while she waits. Soo Ho doesn’t come.
6 months later…Beijing, China…South and North secret talks…November 1987…
Nam Tae and Chang Soo wait at the table with the head of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea Mr. Lim. His second Ms. Choi watches Nam Tae sign the agreement. Chang Soo notices the agreement states the funds must be wired within 24 hours. He hesitates. Everyone holds their breath. Chang Soo signs.
Kang Moo tells the agents they are looking for a student transferred from Germany called Lim Soo Ho who has been time with Professor Han. Han Na interrupts to report there is no student by that name at the university. Kang Moo believe Lim Soo Ho could be Taedong River 1.
That’s Soo Ho’s picture!
Soo Ho and his men offer Professor Han after he discovers one of his tires is flat. As they drive by, Gyeong Hui and her partner begin to follow. She radios the team.
Soo Ho’s car is side swiped. The driver is knocked out. Soo Ho calls his men comrades. Professor Han is bloody and non-responsive. Soo Ho tells one of his men to run with the car with Han Na and Kang Moo drives up. Soo Ho’s man runs. Kang Moo gets out of his car and draws his gun. Soo Ho gets out of his car and stares at Kang Moo. He recognizes Soo Ho from the picture. Soo Ho runs. The agents give chase.
Young Ro and Yoon Seol Hee (roommate) worry about Yeo Jung Min (roommate). She’s at the political protest that could get ugly. The riot police advance. Jung Min and the other protestors run.
Kang Moo and the agents track Soo Ho. They find blood at the fence to the girls’ dorm.
Soo Ho pulls himself into Young Ro’s room and collapses on the floor.
Kang Moo and the agents burst into the dorm. The girls scream as the agents draw their guns. Hye Ryeong seems to recognize Han Na and ducks her head.
Young Ro goes to her room. She sees the window items strewn on the floor.
Mistress Pi demands to know what is going on. Kang Moo says they have to search for a missing north Korean spy. Mistress Pi asks for his search warrant. Kang Moo insists they must search. Mistress Pi insists they cannot without a search warrant.
Young Ro walks to the window and sees the body on the floor.
Kang Moo declares she’s violating National Security. Kang Moo order the search.
Yeo Jung Min arrives and dashes up the stairs. Hye Ryeong and Yoon Seol Hee follow. Kang Moo and Han Na follow.
Young Ro walks to the body. She sees the blood on the floor. She kneels next to the body. She turns the man onto his back. She gasps when she sees Soo Ho.
Terrific first episode. Writer Yoo Hyun Mi deftly wove the college antics with the search from Soo Ho, who may be Taedong River 1. Kang Moo appears to be obsessive about capturing Taedong River 1 to avenge his partner’s death (among others). The political one-upping between Nam Tae and Chang Soo along with the serious negotiations with the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea added another layer. The one hour and 30-minute run time made for a long recap. Thankfully I was thoroughly engaged.
Im Soo Ho (Jung Hae In) isn’t just a college student. When he started barking at his men as comrades it seemed clear that Kang Moo was right. Soo Ho is a north Korean spy. I fell for Jung Hae in in 2021’s D.P. I’m delighted to watch him again.
Eun Young Ro (Kim Ji Soo) likes Soo Ho. She doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into. I liked Young Ro and the other roommates, Go Hye Ryeong, Yoon Seol Hee, Yeo Jung Min. Mistress Pi was imposing!
The first song of the OST is “If You are With Me” sung by Sung Si Kyung.
I rank this episode as very good, 8 on a 10-point scale.