I hoped a bit too much that this drama would get better after the hiatus and really ramp up, but it hasn’t. However it has connected a few loose ends (still quite loosely) and brought our main cast of characters a little closer together. I still feel there are too many things going on but at least we know that it’s a very small world in this neighborhood. And Park Shi Hoo just keeps pulling me back in with his impressive pull-ups…
After realizing that he can’t do any investigating, Tae Ho spends more time with his family, dropping all of his kids at school and cleaning around the house. His supportive wife at least reassures him that just because he’s not investigating doesn’t mean he’s being a bad employee – he’s helping his juniors be better at investigative work! But in any case, all their work in investigating Seo Joon Suk is for naught – Jung Soo Hyuk pulls some strings with the head of the police department and stops the investigation from going forward. (A little blackmail over the head’s affair with a bar hostess helped a lot in this case.) And, Tae Ho is tasked by Park Sun Hoo to get Seo’s lawyer’s computer and laptop so that he can erase the hard drives. The police are literally left with nothing regarding Seo Joon Suk now.
Meanwhile Yoon Sang Min is also trying to figure out who beat up all of his contracted gangsters, taking pictures at the scene of the crime. He sees Chan Gyu, who also returned out of curiosity, and immediately suspects him of being “Shadow.” He snaps a few pics of Chan Gyu, then heads to the hospital to see his men. They’re all so badly injured that they need to stay a few nights at the hospital. He asks Bong Chul if he recognizes Chan Gyu as the Shadow that beat them all, 10 to 1, but Bong Chul can’t positively identify him. Sang Min also meets with the head of the police department (even acknowledging Soo Hyuk when they pass by each other) and bribes him with a new watch to make sure to get rid of the Shadow who is disturbing the Hallyu Core Mall project.
Shi Yoon visits Jin Woo’s mom after the fight, and she suspects he had a hand in injuring a bunch of gangsters. Even though he technically did it for her, she just lays on the guilt by reminding him that those gangsters are also precious sons of families, and that they’re just making a living – even if it means harassing others. They didn’t need to get hurt. Wao… she just lays on the guilt, doesn’t she? Now he can’t enjoy his meal!
Min Ki, the kid that Tae Ho let go after robbing a store in episode 1, makes a reappearance. This time he’s seeking Tae Ho’s help. He is very well-connected in the neighborhood and knew of Tae Ho’s little office. After he was caught by Tae Ho he wanted to live a straight life, but his three sunbaes above him won’t let him. Once you’re in, you can’t ever leave. So they’ve been beating him up and harassing his grandmother. Min Ki hopes Tae Ho can stop them, and also let him and his grandmother stay at the office temporarily. Tae Ho agrees.
Chan Gyu heads to Neighborhood Bar, both because of his assignment in tailing Hwang but also to talk to Shi Yoon. He catches Shi Yoon doing crazy pull ups, and then asks him to mentor him. Chan Gyu wants to learn martial arts, and he wants to be the next Shadow. Well, it only took 5 episodes for us to get to this point. Shi Yoon initially dismisses Chan Gyu, but Chan Gyu knows that he’s the real Shadow, so he isn’t going to go away easily.
Shi Yoon tries to encourage him elsewhere. Doesn’t Chan Gyu want to be Jung Yeon’s Shadow because he likes her? He thinks that Chan Gyu should try to confess and go on a date with her instead of trying to be the Shadow off the bat. Chan Gyu humors him, though he knows that it’s not really going to change much. He reintroduces himself to Jung Yeon and asks her on a date, and Shi Yoon gives Jung Yeon a day off so she can’t refuse. The date goes awkwardly okay, as Jung Yeon is charmed by his earnestness. But the both of them have goals to finish: Chan Gyu is supposed to be preparing for the police exam again, and she needs to submit her screenplay to a contest and win. So for one week, they can’t date.
And that’s fine for Chan Gyu, as he needs to get to the bottom of what Hwang is recording in his notebook every day. The moment that Hwang steps away from his perch, Chan Gyu goes over to read the notebook’s open page. (It’s a bit obvious too as others do see him looking over.) The only words written in the open page are three Chinese characters, so it takes Chan Gyu a moment to figure out what it could mean. But with some deductive reasoning, he realizes that Hwang is writing a memoir, and he quickly informs Tae Ho.
Meanwhile Shi Yoon meets with Ri Soo, who has some advice on what he could do for his revenge plans. She suggests he talk to Chief Min – the guy who comes in every day practicing magic tricks. He’s actually a former agent who specialized in forgery and was like a con-artist himself. He was suddenly discharged during Ri Soo’s time, even though he was a famous agent, so Ri Soo thinks he’s a good ally. Shi Yoon then asks why she herself got fired. As a analyst in the agency, she noted something suspicious going on between Bay Star Hong Kong buying Korea Commerce Bank (the same case Shi Yoon was on!). When she heard the mission had been abruptly canceled and the records deleted, she tried to bring it up as a big problem. But that’s when she got dismissed.
Shi Yoon confesses himself that he lost a colleague because of that mission, and Ri Soo holds his hand in comfort. That’s when Shi Yoon’s mom comes in for a visit! She’s shocked to see him moving on with another woman already, and even more so when Ri Soo’s mother and son come in as well. And Shi Yoon greets the son so affectionately that his mom thinks that he’s gone and gotten himself an instant family!
Hehe – in any case his mom is there to tell him about the intelligence agents that visited the house looking for the missing firearms. She hopes that he’s also not planning for any sort of revenge and adds that she likes Jung Yeon a lot. Guh – way to be obvious about what the OTP is here…
Left with nothing to investigate, Tae Oh’s team at the police station go to check out Bong Chul and their injuries, and figure out who exactly beat them up. On the way to Neighborhood Bar after their shift, Tae Oh sees his daughter going to a karaoke bar with two other boys and chases them down. He gets really suspicious about them, and his daughter (as a typical teenager) gets really annoyed with him. Tae Oh asks Min Ki to use his neighborhood connections to find out who those boys are, and it turns out their just okay guys who are going to college soon. So this entire side story became completely unnecessary. (For now? Who knows.)
Shi Yoon catches up with Hwang and discovers that he’s planning to meet with the people who are keeping tabs on him. He purposely left a bait about his “memoirs” for Chan Gyu to find and now waits for a possible meeting for negotiation. Just then Chief Min enters the bar and Shi Yoon tries to feel him out while telling him about a new magic trick he learned. But Chief Min isn’t interested in anything Shi Yoon’s got to say; right off the bat, he thinks Shi Yoon is a terrible liar anyways.
Hwang heads home, and he finds Soo Hyuk waiting for him. Knowing that they need to talk, Hwang heads to a public cafe where Soo Hyuk definitely can’t do anything to him.
Chan Gyu heads back to the office where he finds Min Ki being dragged away by his thieving sunbaes. He dons his mask and gathers some courage, and then confronts the leader, Han Gyul. Han Gyul is an expert fighter though and easily pushes Chan Gyu around. But thankfully Shi Yoon shows up just in time and pushes Han Gyul away. (Shi Yoon had followed Chan Gyu following Hwang.) He tells the kid to run before they get hurt, but Han Gyul isn’t afraid of some well-coiffed guy. Well then, suffice to say Han Gyul gets his butt completely trounced. His arm is even broken before he finally decides to retreat with his lackeys.
More than ever, Chan Gyu wants to be Shi Yoon’s protégée and fight for justice. Literally.
Sang Min really can’t have a “Shadow” running amok in his neighborhood when he’s got a two trillion won project in his hands. He drags Bong Chul with him to the Neighborhood Bar, because according to Bong Chul that’s where all the trouble started. They see Chan Gyu and Shi Yoon there. So who is the real Shadow? Bong Chul thinks it’s Chan Gyu and refuses to approach him, but Sang Min wonders if it could be Shi Yoon because of the suspicious glances between Shi Yoon and Chan Gyu. Sang Min swings a few punches at Chan Gyu and purposely knocks a chair over, but Chan Gyu just backs away, not showing any particular adept skills of a spy. He instead calls up Tae Ho for backup.
Shi Yoon begs them to not cause any trouble, like a proper bar owner, and Sang Min leaves somewhat unsatisfied. I feel like he should know the Shadow is Shi Yoon, but he comes away still unsure exactly who it is. He enlists Bong Chul to find out which one is the true Shadow and then to have that person beat up. Because fists totally solve everything.
Tae Ho arrives with his partner at the bar completely wasted. Good thing he didn’t show up when Sang Min was around. Because he doesn’t have his senses about him, he hints that he owns a company that monitors people, and then regrets saying anything at all when Shi Yoon pretends he never heard such a thing. (Of course, they all know about it.) His partner is a bit offended that Tae Ho is running a company on the side and he didn’t know about it, and is concerned on whether it’s legal or not.
Meanwhile, Hwang sits down with Soo Hyuk for negotiations at a cafe. Hwang wants the chiefs “up there” to leave him, Shi Yoon, Neighborhood Bar, and everything that happened at Macau alone. If so, then he’ll stop writing his memoirs and remove all evidence. Hwang also adds that he’s got copies so if they try to do anything to him they won’t know where to find them. This enrages Soo Hyuk to the core, but he keeps it in. He goes to his team instead, where they make Hwang their number one target.
Soo Hyuk then goes to meet his boss, who can see that Hwang is a great threat. He’s okay with the negotiation, and notes that Hwang or Shi Yoon are dangerous ticking bombs that need to be monitored carefully. So while Soo Hyuk’s team is situated around the neighborhood, he calls up Hwang to agree to Hwang’s terms. That also means Chan Gyu should be called off from tailing him all the time, and Hwang notes that the person they sent over is such an amateur that he got made almost immediately.
Hwang is also a softy though, and when he catches Chan Gyu almost following him to a stationery store he beckons the kid over to buy him a fountain pen. After all, as an aspiring police officer, he wants to get Chan Gyu a little gift. He also advises him to pick his part time jobs carefully going forward, though I doubt Chan Gyu will understand what Hwang means exactly.
Sang Min meets with his lawyer, who happens to be from the same firm as Seo Joon Suk’s missing lawyer. The lawyer then introduces another member of the team – Seo Ye Joon, Chan Gyu’s friend back in the day. Sang Min stares at her like he just saw a dead lover. She’s just a doppelgånger of a woman he loved in New York, but is definitely not the same girl or related to her. Because of course Sang Min needs a love interest and Chan Gyu needs additional conflict in morals and friends.
At the bar, Jung Yeon asks Chan Gyu for some advice on her script. It’s about a handsome spy whose body has been ravaged by too many near death experiences. He falls in love with a woman but when they become intimate he must decide between lying where the scars are from or staying away from the girl until he retires. Chan Gyu – the idiot that he is – then tells her to ask Hwang for some experience because he’s a spy too! Jung Yeon naturally doesn’t believe him, as she thinks she knows everything about Hwang. (At the same time, for two years she clearly wasn’t observant of the people who visited the bar.)
However Hwang steps in before she gets into an argument with Chan Gyu and reveals that he really was a spy. He tells her his lonely life, how he hid it from his wife and family and in the process ruined his marriage. Why? Because he thought his work was more important than his personal life.
Meanwhile as Tae Ho meets Sun Hoo (who relays the message from Soo Hyuk that Chan Gyu got made) and gets scolded for the kind of recruits he takes on, his partner witnesses a guy trying to fleece Min Ki’s grandmother of money. He tries to stop the guy from running but gets stabbed in the stomach instead. Luckily Shi Yoon is around and he chases after the robbers. He ends up in a junkyard and engages in an intense fight, getting hit by a car in the process but still strong enough to take out six men singlehandedly. He retrieves the money and returns it back to the grandmother, who’s still crying near the bank.
Shi Yoon heads back to the bar, and Jung Yeon notices his bleeding fist. She watches him enter the kitchen and then her curiosity gets the better of her. There he sits on the table, shirtless and full of scars, cleaning up the wound on his arm. She helps him bandage it up and then realizes that Shi Yoon is the handsome spy in her script. She can tell that he’s a spy, even if he doesn’t say anything to confirm it, and that he is most likely Shadow. After all, the vigilante appeared soon after he came to own the bar.
Meanwhile Soo Hyuk goes to see Jin Woo’s mother and promises to find her another place to work, especially with all those gangsters trying to push her out. He gives her another photo of Jin Woo to keep, and it includes himself, Shi Yoon and Seo Ahn. Jin Woo’s mother is surprised as she didn’t know that Shi Yoon worked with Jin Woo directly; he had only said he worked in the same organization but not the same team. Why would he lie to her?
While Jung Yeon is treating Shi Yoon, Tae Ho stops by Neighborhood Bar to give Chan Gyu his new mission. He’s not happy that his guy got made, and warns Chan Gyu to be more careful when he tails his next mark. But Chan Gyu doesn’t want to know it now (even though it’s Shi Yoon and it’d be a lot easier to tail Shi Yoon!). He wants a “day off” and heads out early.
Han Gyul has been watching the bar all day as he’s been enlisted by Bong Chul and he reports that he thinks Chan Gyu is the Shadow. However, he’s blatantly lying, knowing that it’s Shi Yoon all along. Why did he lie? Because he doesn’t want anyone other than himself touching Shi Yoon. Kid’s got pride and he doesn’t like someone like Shi Yoon destroying it for him.
As the bar closes up for the night, Jin Woo’s mother stops by and asks Shi Yoon why he didn’t admit to being part of Jin Woo’s team. Guilt fills Shi Yoon’s mind as he feels directly responsible for Jin Woo’s death, proceeding with a mission even though he was told to cancel it. He can’t answer, and so the mother simply says to please not do anything that will dishonor her son’s name. “Don’t use Jin Woo as an excuse for your actions,” she says.
That evening, Shi Yoon sits in his bar drinking, wondering if he really is using Jin Woo as an excuse for revenge. As he drinks in his miserable state, Hwang is writing a letter to his estranged family at home. Both of them hear a strange rattling at the door, and Hwang goes up to check it out in his apartment. Shi Yoon cautiously approaches the main doors.
Hwang’s lock pops off. It’s a threat.
Shi Yoon opens the door and it’s Seo Ahn.
Hwang is attacked by Mr. Yo Yo – who specializes in strangulation. The poor old man doesn’t stand a chance.
And neither does Shi Yoon. Though he tries to resolve to never look at her, he can’t help himself and kisses her passionately. And then – he sees something out of the corner of his eye.
I’m just going to say that I think this is going to be the last recap for this series from me. I will continue watching but it’s not something that is enjoyable to recap. I think I have too many issues with this drama to properly enjoy it if I have to write about it. Suffice to say, there are a lot of things that happen in each episode that are unnecessary.
But the lighting director is just the bomb, and it makes this drama so pretty to look at. And, counting on one awesome fight scene every episode makes it somewhat easier to watch.
It’s funny how Jung Yeon at one point says, “If this was a properly written movie script, the shadow would be you.” It’s a bit of a meta joke because we know that Shi Yoon is the shadow. But it’s arguable whether this drama is a properly written script. Granted, it’s clear to us that Shi Yoon is Shadow, but everything else about this drama is still taking too long to come together. The introduction of Seo Ye Joon as Sang Min’s new lawyer and Chan Gyu’s friend should have happened in episode 1 or 2, and the hierarchy between Soo Hyuk, Sun Hoo, and Tae Ho should have been clearer in the first week. And scenes of Jung Yeon with So Mi in these episodes were completely unnecessary.