Wanted: Episode 3 Recap

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Finally we learn who is inside the trunk! But what’s more interesting is we get some insight into the kidnapper we’re facing here. Just who is Hyun Woo’s kidnapper? And I don’t just mean the identity. I also mean his self, his purpose in life, his morals.

So – who is the kid in the trunk?! Well, once we finally zoom in and get a good look at the kid’s face, it is decidedly not Hyun Woo. A look of relief and grief passes over Hye In’s face. What must it feel like to be relieved that your son isn’t suffering inside a trunk for God knows how long, but at the same time know that the danger isn’t over and your son is still missing?!

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The kid, whom we later learn is named Han Sol, reaches his hand towards her and her motherly instincts kick in. She lifts him out of the trunk and right over to a gurney from an ambulance. She climbs in the ambulance with another cameraman, and Dong Wook and Bo Yeon follow close behind in the broadcast relay van. Back at the studio, Woo Shin and Joon Goo quickly switch gears as they’re faced with an unexpected twist from the kidnapper.

In the ambulance, Hye In addresses the viewers directly to call in if they know who this child belongs to. While she is trying to find her son, she must save another family’s son. The broadcast is nearly interrupted at the hospital when a self-important intern decides that no cameras are allowed inside the ER. Okay fine, the intern is kind of right here, but I just want to slap the kid and say, “Don’t you realize what’s going on?! We need to save a kid here and save Hyun Woo! Go away!”

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Good ol’ ego-stroking works too as Dong Wook tells the intern that he’ll credit him for making the hospital famous if he’s allowed filming rights, even if it’s just around Han Sol’s bed. Dong Wook proceeds to interview Hye In as she waits for Han Sol to wake: Why did she come to the hospital instead of looking around the car to find Hyun Woo? His call was traced back to that location; he could have been near.

With a message written on his hand, he reminds Hye In to play to the hearts of the viewers, so she explains that as a mother she must save another child. Han Sol wakes up a bit disoriented, and then Hye In’s phone rings. It’s Hyun Woo again. Seung In enters through the curtains around the bed just in time to hear the call on speakerphone, and he recognizes the train rumbling in the background. Quickly he writes her a note: there are no trains running past 9pm. It’s a recording, so Hye In asks, “Who are you?”

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The kidnapper comes on, his voice altered. He was just testing Hye In to see if she was following his instructions to a tee. I bet he wanted a little fame for himself too, as the show was airing live and he could see that Hye In was following his instructions. He hangs up on her, and Hye In’s expression hardens. Right on camera, she boldly defies the kidnapper. If he’s going to pull a stunt like this where he harms another child, and she loses her belief that Hyun Woo is safe, she will make sure he doesn’t get what he wants at all either. That implies that she’ll stop doing this show and giving him the notoriety he seems to crave.

Dong Wook doesn’t like where this broadcast is going, especially since it’s dangerous to threaten the kidnapper when they’re on their first episode and need to hit 20% in ratings.

Meanwhile, Officer Park and Yoo trace the caller to a small motel where a witness confirmed seeing a man with a little boy enter. They go into the room, only to find a recorder with Hyun Woo’s voice on the bed. They were totally played during this second call around.

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We cut to a darkened living room where a man watches the live broadcast of Han Sol in the hospital. He turns to his wife, who is battered among a sea of shattered glass, and tells her to look presentable in five minutes. These two are Han Sol’s parents, and the father is quite the evil jerk. They make it to the hospital and the mother clutches her son protectively. As soon as Han Sol sees his father through the curtains, his eyes go wide and he won’t let go of his mother. Guess the father isn’t just a jerk to the mother.

Hye In, Dong Wook, and Seung In all notice this reaction, but they don’t say anything. Han Sol’s father, Professor Kim Woo Jin, tells Dong Wook to stop recording and grabs his son, but Han Sol starts peeing in his pants. Kim puts his kid down again, tempering his anger as there are witnesses, and Dong Wook turns the camera on again, surreptitiously telling his team to keep rolling for the broadcast. This is an interesting family.

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Han Sol tries to hide behind his mother but his father sweeps him up again. Han Sol tugs at the mother’s scarf, and it reveals bruises around her neck. Now Hye In can’t stay quiet anymore. Seung In restrains the father as Hye In goes to the mother and reassures her to stay strong. What happens next is going to be necessary…

And on live TV, she rips open the mother’s shirt and reveals all the bruises on her body for the world to see.

Seung In arrests the father right then and there, which causes a furor with the press. Once again it’s a twist that Woo Shin and Joon Goo weren’t expecting, but a good dramatic one that just might help with the ratings. Even Jung Ho has to be satisfied with that broadcast as he watches it all unfold from the comforts of home.

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Seung In later asks Hye In if exposing the abusive family on screen was necessary. Was it for the benefit of the mother and Han Sol, or was she just doing it for the ratings? Hye In doesn’t care what he thinks, but admits that it was a bit of both. She wants to help the family and knows the mother would not have been able to tell the truth on her own, but she also knew that this would really boost ratings. It’s a fine line she must walk every single day. Seung In then questions Han Sol’s mother to see if she knew anyone who could be a suspect, or anyone that might have known about her situation at home. He believes that the kidnapper took Han Sol away on purpose, to expose the abusive father on live television. The mother can’t think of anyone, as she was isolated from her friends and had no family left after her marriage. Knowing that she has nowhere to go, Seung In takes pity on her and lets them stay in his apartment; he’ll be staying in the police station all night anyways.

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Hye In returns home and falls asleep on the couch, reminiscing a time when she read “The Chronicles of Narnia” to her son at home. She wakes to find Kyung Hoon cloaking her with a jacket and shrugs it off. Though she no longer is angry with him, she encourages him to find employment with another actress. Kyung Hoon is very loyal to her though and already rejected another position. He wants to do everything in his power to help her, which is really sweet. It also makes me really suspicious of him.

Hye In goes to Hyun Woo’s room to rest and finds Jung Ho fiddling with Hyun Woo’s toys on his bookshelf. He congratulates her on a job well done, which is really unsettling considering he should be more concerned about his (adopted) son’s safety rather than the broadcast ratings. He leaves, and Hye In reorganizes the toys on the shelf. And then she notices a small video camera under one of the trucks. Did Jung Ho put it there?!

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Back at the station Jung Jung Gi officially puts Officers Park, Yoo, Seung In and Young Gwan all together as part of this case’s team. Park and Yoo are still to work closely with the production team but stay out of their broadcast and hairs. Park wants the assurance that if anything goes wrong during broadcast that he and Yoo won’t be held liable, but if they do manage to find the kidnapper he wants a promotion. Competitive little fellow huh? I’m going to keep reminding myself of the fact that he has a daughter and a family to support, so he probably needs all the money he can get.

Seung In and Young Gwan return to their desks to find the nosy Reporter Jang looking around their files. Reporter Jang just wants a scoop, as this case is going to be his way out of being a gossip columnist. While Seung In refuses to entertain him and his questions at all, Park does seem to waver a bit. Park claims that he’s not interested in a promotion (lies) or in Jang’s book about the show, but he is willing to work with Jang if the reporter finds any information before he does.

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The following morning Bo Yeon goes to a local cafe and overhears some girls gossiping about “Wanted.” It makes her feel good to see people talking about the show or watching a replay because it makes her feel like she succeeded. At the same time, the protests from other workers wanting to shut down the show and UCN (because of Jung Ho’s money troubles) makes her feel horrible about working on such a show. The good thing is “Wanted” eked out a 20.3% rating. They succeeded in their mission!

Dong Wook won’t rest though, because 20.3% is not good enough. Woo Shin believes they need to create some kind of narrative even if there are a lot of unexpected twists in each mission. The next mission is to come tonight (as it’s actually a show for 10 consecutive days rather than weeks, which I had misunderstood), and Woo Shin wants to find a way to characterize the culprit so that they have something to fall back on to keep viewers engaged while they work on the mission. But the police still aren’t any closer to figuring out who the mastermind is.

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Seung In questions Han Sol and his mother in the station about what happened the night Han Sol disappeared. The mother had planned to run away with her son the night before but didn’t know where to go other than a sauna. She fell asleep for a moment and when she woke up her son was gone. Seung In shows them a picture of Ji Eun and Sae Yong, and Han Sol recognizes Ji Eun as the one who led him astray. Ji Eun had said that his father was near and he needed to run now so that his mother could have a better chance to survive. She then gave him banana milk laced with a sleeping pill, and when he woke up he was in the trunk.

Autopsy also confirms that Sae Yong killed himself by hanging, and reveals that he had a large amount of anti-epileptic pills in his stomach. He never had seizures before, but taking a lot of it will induce hallucinations and memory loss. One thing Sae Yong definitely had was intestinal cancer. He didn’t have long to live even if he didn’t hang himself. While it’s not a complete motive, it explains why he did what he did and then killed himself so quickly. He was manipulated by the kidnapper and then was able to get rid of himself when he was no longer necessary without much fear or need to live. Seung In fears the same fate may fall on Ji Eun as well.

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Hye In finally arrives at the studio and Kyung Hoon offers to get her something to eat so she won’t lose her energy. She declines and focuses on the clothes rack to pick her next outfit… only to find an envelope pinned to a black dress. Kyung Hoon looks at her blankly. He doesn’t know where it came from, but then realizes he left the car door open in the parking lot when he stepped away to take a call. This guy… So busy and so careless. Inside the envelope is a picture of Hyun Woo tied up and asleep, leaning on a somber Ji Eun, who’s holding up the morning’s newspaper. On the back is a simple message congratulating her on successfully passing the first mission.

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Kyung Hoon calls Seung In over, and he asks Hye In again if she remembers Sae Yong or Ji Eun at all. She’s already racked her brains over this a hundred times and really doesn’t remember them. She’s never met them before all this. Seung In believes that the kidnapper is closer to Hye In than to Sae Yong or Ji Eun, and asks if there’s anyone who comes to mind. Of course the first person she thinks of is Jung Ho, and she’s about to show Seung In the video camera she found in Hyun Woo’s room when the devil enters the door.

Jung Ho wants her to meet the advertisers for the show and picks out the same black dress where the envelope was found for her to wear. Coincidence much? Hye In declines the meeting, and Seung In kindly adds that he needs to finish questioning her. Seung In can read between the lines about Jung Ho and Hye In’s relationship too, so hopefully he will look further into the husband.

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So Jung Ho goes to meet with the advertiser on his own, seemingly more a money hungry businessman than concerned father. Mind you, the advertiser looks a lot like Kim Woo Jin, who was released scot free even after being charged with abuse. I don’t understand how a professor is in the advertising business, and I’m really not trying to be racist here, but those two guys look alike. And if anything, it implies that Jung Ho got Kim Woo Jin out of jail for a purpose.

Meanwhile Young Gwan questions Kyung Hoon as the manager is kinda suspicious. Hyun Woo was gone under his watch, a hidden camera was found inside Hye In’s van, and he had parked the car in an area where the CCTV camera was broken. They wouldn’t be able to verify who pinned the letter to the dress now. Kyung Hoon resents the suspicions but ultimately doesn’t care; he’ll do anything the police wants if it means getting Hyun Woo back. He has a list of stalkers that Hye In had during her long career and promises to email it over to Young Gwan. I really don’t want to suspect Kyung Hoon but usually the real perpetrator is someone we’ve already met…

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Seung In goes to a small manga cafe to find his good friend Oh Mi Ok (Kim Sun Young). A talented profiler, Mi Ok is on a sabbatical trying to focus on only happy and nice things. Looks like she had a traumatic case in the recent past. She doesn’t want to get involved with this case but he leaves an envelope with all the case notes with her anyways. Five seconds after he leaves the cafe, he gets a call from her. She’s interested.

Dong Wook visits Hye In in her dressing room and asks if she got any messages from the kidnapper about Hyun Woo’s safety. She claims she hasn’t, and he calls her out for being a terrible liar. However he can’t force her to reveal anything to him and leaves. Just then Hye In gets a text from the kidnapper. The second mission has been emailed to her and she needs to watch it alone. Hye In locks her dressing room door and logs on to her email.

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It gives her a link to Coconut TV and the log-in information to Park Sae Yong’s account. A video pops up, and it’s Ji Eun onscreen. “Jung Hye In,” she intones, clearly forced to do what she’s doing. “This is Wanted’s second mission.”

Some Thoughts

I really believe that Jung Ho is behind it all, but at the same time it seems like the kidnapper is a bit of a vigilante. The fact that he used the show to expose an abusive husband implies that he’s trying to make a point about Jung Ho and Hye In’s family. He made the viewers think (in the show and in real life) that Jung Ho is also physically abusing Hye In, and that just adds to the salaciousness and tragedy of their marriage. He also just made Hye In a hero for saving a mother and a son from being killed by a dangerous father. And, if the abusive husband Kim Woo Jin is the very same advertiser and partner of Jung Ho’s, then it seems like the kidnapper is targeting Jung Ho on purpose. It would also slightly exonerate Jung Ho from suspicion as I don’t know why he would want to expose the private affairs of an important client except for the fact that it’s good TV.

If we go with this “vigilante” description for the kidnapper, it suggests that a disgruntled UCN employee could be behind all this. It’s also possible that Kyung Hoon is behind it all. I would even go so far as to say Dong Wook is involved too, or even Joon Goo (who is largely absent in this episode). This is why Mi Ok’s addition to the team would be so great. She would be able to shed some color for us viewers to try and figure out who’s really behind this kidnapping. And if she ends up on the right track the kidnapper could turn careless or even more deadly. Which makes the show as a whole even more interesting.

I really like the intricacies in this show even though the case itself is not super complicated. There are a lot of clues and red herrings, but the writer still manages to have a grasp on all the loose threads. What’s intricate is navigating between the production team’s morals as well as our own as a viewer. It is a really hard balancing act for Hye In and Dong Wook to come up with the best show possible so that Hyun Woo won’t get hurt but at the same time do everything they can to get him back sooner than planned. Dong Wook has Woo Shin and Joon Goo as his guides, his devil and angel on the shoulder telling him what he should do. Hye In has no one, and because of it she’s more distrustful of Dong Wook. She could easily share the messages from the kidnapper with him and reveal it on camera; I feel like that would definitely add to the show and help make it a ratings hit. At the same time, it’s possible she doesn’t want to do that to maintain her sanity and sense of morals. She can’t risk hurting her child yet.

But I’m pretty sure Hyun Woo is going to get hurt because one of the episodes did not garner high enough ratings, and we’ll see Hye In grapple with this internal conflict very soon.

Now, the fact that I even said that last sentence means that I myself am a bit of a messed up person that the writer is kind of poking at. The writer, Han Ji Wan, is making me a more a self-aware viewer because I actually want more danger to happen to amp up the tension and the thriller aspect of the show. Which also means I want the characters taking more risks and Hyun Woo getting hurt to raise the stakes of the show. Raising the stakes would raise the ratings within the show, and ideally raise the ratings of Wanted itself, which is not doing so great against Lucky Romance in the same time slot. I manage to distance myself a bit and really enjoy the show for what it is, but I do like that the writer is niggling at my brain, just like how The Hunger Games (books and movies) made me think and more self-aware as a consumer.

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