A tumultuous war threatens to break out this week when one mission will put more than one life in danger. Knowing who to trust will be the key to navigating this complicated maze of politics, where one wrong move can spell death. Je-ha will need to rely on the only ray of sunlight in his life to pull through the darkest of times with obstacles that could potentially pull him back under.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Master Song insists on joining the JSS agents on their mission to take out Representative Park while CEO Gook calls the police commissioner about switching sides. The politician’s men spot the drove of vans leaving the JSS headquarters, and thanks to the police commissioner, Representative Park is tipped off about tonight’s planned attack at his home.
His secretary decides it’s safer to escort Representative Park to a hideout, knowing full well that they’re being followed. Indeed the car behind them is from JSS, and they’re momentarily stopped by a traffic cop who’s actually working for Representative Park.
As a supply truck leaves the JSS headquarters, the agent tailing Representative Park reports that he’s lost the target, only to spot a similar car a minute later. It’s a classic diversion technique, as the real car transporting the politician drives away safely.
While the JSS agents stare down at Representative Park’s men in their respective vehicles, we see the supply truck—which contain JSS snipers—park outside the politician’s hideout. Sure enough, they see Representative Park’s car pull in.
Yoo-jin is pleased to hear everything is going according to plan, even praising CEO Gook for his efforts. Over at the hideout, the policemen following Representative Park look awfully familiar—it’s Je-ha and Team Leader Seo.
Representative Park’s secretary ask the men if they’ve eaten, but then everyone freezes when Team Leader Seo answers “yes.” Je-ha realizes that was a secret question, and he finds himself surrounded before he can pull out his gun.
The men are instructed to shoot, but that’s when the JSS snipers start shooting them down like flies. Je-ha and Team Leader Seo take cover in the ensuing shootout, and run after Representative Park, who is escorted away from the crossfire.
Both men keep their eye on the target, shooting at every opportunity. The snipers provide reinforcement, taking a shot whenever the target is in sight. Je-ha and Team Leader Seo tail Representative Park and his bodyguards into an office, where Representative Park’s secretary shoots Team Leader Seo in the back.
The secretary throws the now empty gun away, and Je-ha comes face to face with more of Representative Park’s men. When one of them puts a gun to Team Leader Seo’s head, Je-ha shoots him down.
He then rushes over to Team Leader Seo, who screams at him to stay focused on the target. Seeing Representative Park crawl away, Je-ha jumps into a chair and rolls across the room while shooting his gun.
As Representative Park runs into his panic room, Je-ha slides underneath the closing door. He keeps his gun trained on the terrified politician, and he curses himself as the symptoms of his PTSD rise to the surface.
Angry tears fall from Je-ha’s eyes as he breathes heavily, unable to pull the trigger. He shoots at the ceiling instead, letting out agonized screams. It takes another minute for Je-ha’s breathing to become even, and now that he’s no longer in immediate danger, Representative Park asks Je-ha to hear him out.
At the words that Je-ha won’t be able to come out alive even if he kills Representative Park, he’s reminded of Anna’s orders to return to her. Representative Park offers double however much his employers are paying him for his assassination. Reminded of Yoo-jin’s words that a bullet isn’t the only thing that can kill a man, Je-ha can’t help but laugh.
Representative Park starts awkwardly laughing with him when Je-ha says money is exactly what mercenaries like him love to hear. The politician is instructed to sit and grant the JSS agents safe passage.
Je-ha realizes that Representative Park knows who he is, though he wonders how much the politician knows. He’s relieved when it appears Representative Park knows that he’s killed before but unable to kill anyone at present. He outwardly ponders the offer and calls Yoo-jin to tell her all about it.
Yoo-jin realizes this means Je-ha is currently operating alone, thus unable to kill Representative Park. She mulls over the situation and asks to speak with the politician.
She smiles when Representative Park admits defeat, though she doesn’t take up the man on his offer to release Se-joon in exchange for sparing his life right away. He gets her attention when he offers that Se-joon can join his political party, to which Yoo-jin says amusingly that she might consider if Representative Park withdraws from this election.
Representative Park chuckles before saying he’s better off being killed, but she knows where he stands now and gives him fifteen minutes to deliberate. She asks to speak with Je-ha and tells him: “Come back alive, no matter what.”
Next thing we know, all the JSS agents move out, much to Master Song’s confusion. He’s even more puzzled when he’s told that they’ve won. Se-joon is released from the prosecutor’s office while the Democratic Party announces a formal invitation for Se-joon to join their party.
Yoo-jin won’t celebrate until Je-ha returns safe and sound, which only makes Secretary Kim more nervous. So when Secretary Kim tries calling Team Leader Seo, the call goes unanswered.
Representative Park hands Je-ha a bagful of cold hard cash from his safe, then sits down to casually mention how he knows Je-ha was a part of Blackstone. Despite his initial surprise, Je-ha keeps his cool, and Representative Park says he had once hired the Blackstone mercenaries to protect him.
Representative Park appears surprised himself when Je-ha pinpoints that he must’ve been there on private business. When Je-ha says it reeks of oil in this room, Representative Park retorts that it isn’t oil, but likely the smell of blood.
He admits he likes Je-ha, whom he’d been trying to arrange a private meeting with. He chuckles that he should thank Yoo-jin for dropping Je-ha at his feet, because he knows Je-ha is in her inner circle.
He offers Je-ha to work for him and his country while earning some pocket money on the side. Je-ha agrees to being brought on for-hire (though methinks it’s just to make sure he leaves the building alive), and Representative Park makes sure that Je-ha leaves safely with the money in hand.
Je-ha rejoins the other JSS agents and says nothing when Team Leader Seo asks about the money. Se-joon is filled in on recent events through Sung-won, concluding that Yoo-jin wanted Anna dead. When Chief Joo says Sung-won made the first move though, he asks if Chief Joo’s loyalties lie with Yoo-jin.
Chief Joo doesn’t have much of a defense to how Anna’s life was in danger, adding that it was Yoo-jin who was responsible for his release. But Se-joon refuses to hear any more.
Yoo-jin congratulates Secretary Kim for not losing her life. She warns her not to mess with Je-ha lest she actually has a death wish. Desperate, Secretary Kim pleads with her, saying that she can do anything Je-ha can do for her.
Yoo-jin shares in that same earnest sentiment, but for Je-ha. Therefore it’s to Secretary Kim’s best interest not to push her to the edge and to focus on what she does best rather than try to do what Je-ha can do for her.
Anna stands vigil by the window and brightens when she sees Je-ha pull into the driveway. She runs down excitedly and briefly stops short at the steps outside before running into his open arms.
She welcomes him home, and he apologizes for not picking up the ddukbokki because he left his wallet behind. She says she can let him off just this once and agrees to go out to have something even better.
Se-joon’s return, however, is far less romantic as he greets his wife with a slap across the face. He seethes and Yoo-jin tells her staff to leave them. Se-joon loudly reminds Yoo-jin of their arrangement: she doesn’t harm Anna and they’ll both go to the Blue House.
“You’re nothing if I don’t become president, Choi Yoo Jin!” he bellows. Yoo-jin backs down and asks if Se-joon doesn’t wish to become president. He asks if that’s a threat, and she explains how she probably could get a few subsidiaries from JB Group if she were to strike a deal with Sung-won.
Se-joon laughs in disbelief, knowing that Yoo-jin won’t be truly satisfied with just acquiring the dregs. “Is that right?” she returns in an innocent voice. Her voice then finds in roots when she says she could entertain something bigger: “Should I make a deal with Park Kwan-soo like I did with you?”
She’d just be trading out one despicable politician for another, and she’s sure Representative Park would be enticed if she offered to hand Se-joon over in exchange for JB Group when he’s elected president: “Would [he] decline such an offer?”
She says Se-joon must think she’s joking when he chuckles, adding threateningly: “Have you forgotten who I am?” Yoo-jin reminds him that he’s nothing without her, and Anna can die too if she crosses the line. If Se-joon doesn’t like it, he can simply drop out of the presidential race.
She calls him out for the pitiful look on his face, arguing that she’s the pitiful party here. She’s the one who fell for him despite his lofty political ambitions and was never loved in return. She’s willing to make herself vulnerable in this moment, confessing that until quite recently her heart would flutter at his slightest touch.
He must’ve known that and used that to his advantage, but unfortunately for him, she doesn’t have an ounce of feeling for him anymore. She invites him to test that theory and touch her, then laughs at his face when he does nothing.
Yoo-jin admits that she was swayed by him in his heyday—he was impressive, intelligent, and just. Or that’s what she was led to believe, just like the voters. But she turns upon him with a look of disgust, saying he was just as lewd and cunning then as he is today.
He used her rage and jealousy to betray Anna’s mother, whom he loved and left her to die. She grits through clenched teeth that despite Se-joon’s hand being the first one that has ever struck her, she’ll let him keep it to continue his campaign.
“Take good care of it,” she warns, tears threatening to spill from her eyes. “Because I’ll come back to claim it once you don’t need it for your political activities.”
Yoo-jin does her own makeup without the help of Secretary Kim and calls up a tiny smile before it fades away.
Je-ha and Anna, meanwhile, joins the other JSS agents on a celebratory dinner. He stops Anna from drinking, worried that her cheeks might flush pink again, but she insists that she’ll be fine. The other agents whoop excitedly as she downs the glass, and when Mi-ran makes a wrap for Sung-gyu, Team Leader Seo swoops in to eat it. Lol.
Yoo-jin watches the group celebrate from her car. Her eyes trained on Je-ha and Anna celebrating together, she declines the suggestion of bringing Je-ha in, letting him take the night off to enjoy himself.
The entire group heads back to the safe house afterward, where Je-ha feels uncomfortable when Team Leader Seo looks at him fondly: “What’s with you, hyung?” Touched by the term of endearment, Team Leader Seo pulls him into a hug. Je-ha kicks him away.
Since everyone’s been drinking tonight, the group opts to spend the night at the safe house. Cut to: the JSS agents in sheet masks, including Team Leader Seo whom Mi-ran smacks into submission.
He refuses to join in, though he winces when Anna hits his back. He argues that someone as handsome as him doesn’t need to partake in this, a statement that offends all the other agents. But then he ends up wearing a sheet mask too. HA.
Je-ha can hardly sleep amongst the snoring men and their odd sleeping habits. Anna can’t sleep either, thinking back to the kiss earlier that afternoon. Remembering Je-ha’s injured back, she sneaks out to grab the first-aid kit.
She checks in to see if he’s awake, and he invites her up to the roof. She squeals excitedly when she sees that he had the attic organized, then proceeds to start unbuttoning his shift. He’s taken aback, but she doesn’t explain herself and keeps trying, and he replies softly, “No, I’m not ready yet.” Pfft, what sort of thoughts are you having?
She tenderly treats the cut on his back and berates him for treating his body so recklessly when he belongs to her. He says he won’t anymore and thanks her, adding that it doesn’t hurt anymore.
With that, they head up to the roof, where Anna notes how chilly it’s gotten. But Je-ha isn’t worried as he opens a window to reveal a blanket he’s hidden… and wraps it around himself. Heh.
Anna gives him a dirty look and starts coughing, which is when he laughs and covers them both. When she asks if they only have one blanket, he answers no, and she giggles, “Why are we sitting like this then?”
He stares at her face for a few moments before snuggling closer and asking if someday into the future, she might want to live with him in Spain. He wonders if she doesn’t when she says nothing, and Anna explains how Spain was somewhere she so desperately wanted to escape from.
Still, she acknowledges it’s also where they first met, so she agrees to go. “I think it’ll be okay if I go with you.” It’s at that moment she realizes she doesn’t know that much about him. Honey, you aren’t the only one.
She asks what he was doing in Spain when they met, and he takes a beat before answering that he was on the run. Asked why, he replies, “Because I’m being framed for murdering someone I couldn’t protect.”
“Was it someone you loved?” she ventures. He grunts in affirmation, and Anna realizes this must be why he’s suffering from his nightmares every night. He says it is, and Anna places his head on her shoulder, comforting him. “It must’ve been hard for you,” she says before correcting herself. “No, it still must be hard for you.”
He buries his face in her shoulder as a tear rolls down his face. “It’s okay,” he says before burrowing deeper. He then lifts his head and tells her that he used to think he had nothing to lose because he didn’t have anything to protect.
“But now I’ve found someone I want to protect,” he continues. “So… I think I can be happy now.” They both smile at that, and she wonders when they can both leave for Spain. Caressing her hair, he answers, “When this war is over?”
Je-ha is met with a parade of thumbs-up by his fellow agents when he arrives to work the next day. He heads down to the Cloud Nine sublevel where Yoo-jin is already waiting for him. Je-ha tells Secretary Kim not to worry since he didn’t take Representative Park’s life, but the latter is apologetic anyway.
Yoo-jin greets the hero of JSS in a melodic voice, though Je-ha doesn’t feel comfortable with the new status. He notes how he didn’t take out Representative Park, but Yoo-jin still offers to hand Secretary Kim’s life over to him, and Je-ha remarks there are times when her jokes sound dangerously genuine to his ears.
She laughs that she must be that great of an actress, and is pleased to hear that he’s gained Representative Park’s trust.
Sung-won checks in on Anna and informs the rest of the staff that they now work for him. When Sung-gyu says this safe house belongs to JSS, Sung-won reveals that JB Group owns this property, so they should go ahead to switch out the entire security system… he says with the JSS security system still in place.
He hands over his unlimited credit card and tells Anna to continue to live here because he’ll put her name on the deed. She doesn’t quite understand the terminology, and the housekeeper says she should be incredibly grateful to Sung-won, who laughs that she needn’t know these things.
Back at Cloud Nine, Yoo-jin ruminates over Representative Park’s rhetoric of “the smell of blood.” It’s possible he could’ve been referring to his weapon dealings, but she believes it’s best they check in with her magic mirror.
She mentions she’ll need to lay out her trap because it won’t be long before Representative Park will try to enlist his help. The politician will want her head, and Je-ha must continue to foster his trust.
When Anna asks about her mother’s grave, Sung-won promises to go and pay their respects together prior to the fashion show held in her mother’s tribute later that evening.
Je-ha says nothing to Secretary Kim on his way out, and Yoo-jin invites her inside. She states, “It’s time for you to do your work, too.”
Secretary Kim replies that things are already in motion, and Yoo-jin returns that Je-ha must never know about this.
Ooh, know about what? Putting Anna in danger again? Because that would be the nerve to pinch if Yoo-jin doesn’t want Je-ha to find out. That, and Je-ha didn’t complete the kill, therefore technically allowing Yoo-jin to continue to target Anna. Her concern toward Je-ha mirrored Anna’s affection for him more than ever this hour, particularly when she issued the same order for Je-ha to return alive. Yoo-jin is keenly attuned to Je-ha’s known vulnerabilities, immediately picking up that Je-ha was unable to pull the trigger even though he had Representative Park cornered. The choice of words in her voiceover is misleading, however, since it almost suggests that Je-ha couldn’t finish the kill because he wasn’t flanked by the other operatives.
So we have to trust in the idea that Je-ha is currently unable to pull the trigger to take a life because of his trauma, not just because he was facing Representative Park alone. It’s possible that she and Je-ha could’ve trusted in another agent, though I wonder how satisfied Je-ha would’ve been if, say a sniper were to have taken Representative Park out. This is where the deal gets rather tricky since it seems like Je-ha had to be the one to kill Representative Park though both he and Yoo-jin would’ve known how tough it would’ve been for him even if all the conditions were right.
Furthermore, our characters seem to focus more on the takeaways of the supposed failed assassination. Although the cards seemed stacked against Yoo-jin last week, she anticipated the diversion along with her enemy’s desire to recruit Je-ha. Even Representative Park put a positive spin on the attack because it gave him an unintentional audience with Je-ha. The politician would be a fool if he thinks that Je-ha is but a mere mercenary who goes where the money is, so we’ll have to wait and see if Representative Park is someone who sets up clever fail-safes (like the secret question) or falls into other traps.
In that same vein, while it was good for Je-ha to test how much Representative Park knows about him, he really should question the veracity of how much comes out of the politician’s mouth. He may think that the politician doesn’t know that he can’t shoot to kill, but if Chief Joo was able to dig up his PTSD diagnosis, then it’s altogether possible that Representative Park knows as well. He’s surrounded by politicians and those involved in business, who would promise almost anything if they stand to have something to gain.
But perhaps this is all because like Anna, we still don’t know all that much about Je-ha aside from his tragic hero backstory, his revenge, and his love and desire to protect Anna. We don’t even know his real name, either, and despite the moment Anna directly asked him about his past, we left that scene knowing just as much as we did before. Then there’s Yoo-jin, who laid out her vulnerability on the table with Se-joon. We’d seen hints of emotion whenever Se-joon let her down, but now we can confirm that at one point, she did love her husband enough to strike this business deal with him, even though she knew full well that his heart remained with someone else.
Like she said, she could barter new deals with anyone at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already cast a line with everyone she mentioned. Because if anyone is best prepared for war, it’s the woman sitting across her vanity mirror putting on her armor all on her own.