I find Spy Myung Wol such an odd duck so far. This episode was amusing, but not terribly coherent and the over-arching narrative still eludes me. I like it, finding myself chuckling at times, but as a whole it still hasn’t sucked me in. And I want to be sucked in, like some sort of vampire attraction that is inexplicable but wholly irresistible.
Not every drama can be an addicting obsession, but I’m pondering the general trajectory of SMW and still not quite sure what I’m watching. Every Myung Wol-Kang Woo moment is pretty cute, but the rest of the stuff isn’t terribly interesting. Oy vey, I hope this doesn’t become another My Princess with the OTP holding it all together while the overall story goes to the wolves.
Episode 3 recap:
We see the scenes of Myung Wol training to become a femme fatale again, and she hilariously watches MiSa with So Ji Sub and Im Soo Jung to learn the mores about weepy love confessions. Ok Soon says a direct love confession, especially one done with as much emotion and shock as possible, leaves the other side unable to remain calm and will surely be moved. This is the only way to overcome Myung Wol’s weakness in love.
Turns out Myung Wol was wired when she went to seduce Kang Woo, with her entire spy team watching and listening to the exchange after planting a camera in the movie studio. During the exchange, Ok Soon is speaking to Myung Wol via a wireless ear piece and feeding her lines.
Hee Bok derides Myung Wol as totally inept at seduction or feminine graces, using the chance to praise Ok Soon as the perfect woman. Ok Soon starts feeding Myung Wol her ridiculously sappy lines: I miss you, I miss you so much my heart feels like bursting, I miss you so I went to your house to see you one last time, etc.
Kang Woo is just flabbergasted at all this. Myung Wol says all she wants is to stay by his side, because she loves him. Kang Woo wonders if she needs to go to the hospital or go take a nap. Kang Woo repeats the love line, asking if she loves him? He suddenly sees In Ah walk out. He asks Myung Wol how far they can go together, before pulling her in for a kiss.
Choi Ryu’s stares at the kiss as the rest of the team gasp that this is not going according to plan. Myung Wol’s instincts kick in and she quickly subdues Kang Woo for his kiss assault on her, leaving Kang Woo doubled over in pain. She tries to explain that Kang Woo moved too fast, and then she takes off so that the situation doesn’t escalate.
In Ah asks Kang Woo what’s going on? She can tell he’s making her jealous. In Ah doesn’t want to film anymore today but Kang Woo tells her to learn to be a better actor and control herself. He leaves and In Ah throws her phone down in a rage. Choi Ryu walks up and hands her the dropped phone back. In Ah wants to know why he’s here, to which Choi Ryu tells her to consider it just a coincidence.
Kang Woo and Choi Ryu run into each other in the hallway, blocking each other’s path until finally Choi Ryu moves aside to let Kang Woo pass first. Later that night, Kang Woo sits in his bedroom and thinks back to his previous meetings with Myung Wol and now her added declaration that she loves him. He asks himself who this girl really is.
Next we see Myung Wol keep popping up around Kang Woo: as a server as a restaurant where he is holding a meeting, as a gopher at the studio, running up to hand Kang Woo an umbrella when it’s raining, but each time Myung Wol is wearing a different wig. Heh. Myung Wol asks Ok Soon if this will work? Ok Soon thinks it’s a great plan, since it will make Kang Woo wonder if he keeps seeing Myung Wol everywhere.
Kang Woo reads the news article about the unknown high school student who saved him in the set accident. He tells himself not to let a crazy girl disrupt his world. Myung Wol sits outside and thinks back to the kiss with Kang Woo, shaking her head to stop this train of thought. She asks her dead father if doing this really is for the good of the country?
Choi Ryu throws a dagger to get Myung Wol’s attention, asking if she’s been drinking too much of the South’s weak water and she’s lost her edge now? Myung Wol confesses that she doesn’t fully understand what she’s doing, she has no battle plan. Choi Ryu says complications make people weak. She needs to see her mission in the simplest of ways to ensure its success.
Chairman Joo is looking for Choi Ryu after their Singapore run in and he’s given a dossier on him (which is of course created by the North). Kang Woo stands in his room and looks at the manuscript he purchased in Singapore. He heads to meet with an older gentleman, who tells Kang Woo to give up. He’s spent 10 years looking for someone who he has only heard but has no confirmation even exists. The guy gives Kang Woo the name to Hee Bok’s detective agency.
Choi Ryu goes to meet with Chairman Joo. They drink tea and Choi Ryu correctly identifies the blend as made from a certain tea leaf from North Korean, explaining that his deceased grandfather loved to drink it. The Chairman asks if Choi Ryu knows what the Four Books are? Choi Ryu says one book was already lost before it was even completed so the four books have never ever been assembled.
Each book holds a key to understanding the other books, and once assembled, may cause a seismic shift power of the world. Oh please don’t pull an Rimbaldi on me, I’m still traumatized. The Chairman asks if Choi Ryu can authenticate the books, to which he says that he can spot a fake, but he’s not sure if he can authenticate the real thing.
Kang Woo finds Hee Bok, who is stunned that Kang Woo came to look for him. He pretends to be a fan. Kang Woo is looking for a man called Gobline. The team gathers and discusses Kang Woo’s search request, and decide to use this as a perfect opportunity to allow them to get close to Kang Woo.
Agent Kyung berates the assistant for losing track of Kang Woo, who is driving to the countryside. Kang Woo heads to a house high up in the mountains, where Hee Bok and crew have arranged for Kang Woo to come. Hee Bok is a tree spying on Kang Woo when a lady arrives to deliver the tea he ordered. Hee Bok tries to hide but Kang Woo walks pass the tree without noticing Hee Bok.
Kang Woo goes to the house and finds it empty. He sits down to wait. He’s thirsty but can’t get any water from the pump. He nods off only to awaken to find Myung Wol standing in the courtyard, wearing a virginal white dress with a dorky looking hat. She brings out a pot of potatoes and tells Kang Woo that she’s just here to visit her grandmother, and her grandmother asked her to bring some potatoes over to the grandfather who lives here.
Myung Wol asks Kang Woo what he’s doing here, and he says she doesn’t need to know. Myung Wol gets up to leave and Kang Woo stops her, asking if she’s doing better now. His stomach growls and she offers him a potato from the pot. He declines and she leaves, remembering Ok Soon’s instruction that she can’t approach Kang Woo but needs to let him approach her.
Myung Wol goes to meet with her team outside and asks how she did? Ok Soon just shrugs and says to wait and see, it’s not like she has a plan every time. Kang Woo keeps fidgeting while he’s waiting, until finally he grabs a potato. Suddenly he hears boys whispering. He drops the potato and a hand reaches out from under the floorboards and grabs the potato.
Three boys crawl out and start talking to themselves and ignore Kang Woo. They don’t know who he is because they have no TV in their house. Kang Woo takes off his sunglasses and still they don’t recognize him, which gets him really annoyed. In fact they are more interested in the potato than Kang Woo.
The kids point out there a few snakes may be loose around here. Kang Woo jumps and looks really scared. Myung Wol hears this and she goes to find snakes with Hee Bok. She’s great at finding snakes because during training, sometimes they would have nothing to eat. Agent Kyung is reading online about negative gossip about Kang Woo related to the girl who saved his life.
Kang Woo sits in the courtyard and eats potatoes with the three boys. He mutters that the potato tastes terrible but keeps eating. Suddenly he sees a snake crawling on the ground. He points out the snake to the boys and tells them to go grab it and keep it from coming over here. But the boys just leave and Myung Wol walks inside.
Myung Wol asks Kang Woo if the snake is really that scary? Hee Bok lets a few more snakes into the courtyard. Myung Wol asks if he ate all the potatoes, but he says he didn’t. She picks a few crumbs off his lips. The snake gets closer and Myung Wol stands up and picks up the snake and waves it in front of Kang Woo. He tells her to get rid of it and she throws it outside and freaks out Ok Soon.
Suddenly they see another snake coming from the other direction. Kang Woo jumps down and his hand lands in a pile of cow manure. Myung Wol and Kang Woo walk towards a place to wash his hands. He complains that it’s too far and they are about to stop when the boys walk by discussing the smell of cow manure is sure hard to wash off.
Kang Woo washes his hands at the side of the creek while Myung Wol splashes in the water. Ok Soon and Hee Bok think a girl playing in the water is surely an attractive sight. Myung Wol has been told to pretend to drown and have Kang Woo save her. Kang Woo looks up and sees Myung Wol playing in the water and he does appear to be mildly taken with her.
Myung Wol pretends to be drowning. Kang Woo dives in to save her, but a snake coils itself around his arm. He freaks out and needs to be saved by Myung Wol instead. Kang Woo is taken to the hospital where he wakes up to see Myung Wol and the kids all surrounding him. He’s a little curious about how Myung Wol saved him since she claimed not to swim.
Agent Kyung arrives and finally meets Myung Wol. She takes her outside and informs Myung Wol that everyone in Korea wants to know Myung Wol’s identity. Agent Kyung hands Myung Wol money as a thank you fee. Kang Woo asks Agent Kyung to investigate Myung Wol, find out why she keeps showing up in the oddest situations.
Ok Soon tells Myung Wol that the perfect plan would be for Myung Wol to ask to become Kang Woo’s bodyguard. Suddenly Hee Bok’s partner Dae Kang arrives at the agency, upset that he wasn’t told about Hee Bok’s sudden marriage. He sees Myung Wol sitting there and appears to be intrigued by her.
At a meeting of the National Security Agency, a team is briefing on Chairman Joo’s travels for the past few month, confirming that he’s had contact with the North. They suspect he’s looking for a cultural artifact, and they think he’s made some sort of deal with the North.
In Ah walks out of her house and runs into Choi Ryu again. She asks if he’s stalking her and is told that he’s working for her father. Choi Ryu says that they simply have some lucky fate tying them together. Choi Ryu meets with the Chairman and is given photographs of the possible missing books. Choi Ryu says that he can’t authenticate the books through photos alone.
The head of the NSA is practicing kendo with his daughter and finds out that she was the one who ordered the investigation into Chairman Ryu. Father and daughter belong to different teams and the daughter won’t share intelligence with her dad unless he beats her today. His daughter gets him to agree to add her to his team for this investigation.
Myung Wol stills has concerns about this assignment, but she doesn’t question it because she wants to succeed and not let her country down. She wants to be like her father, someone who can sacrifice for the greater good of the country and the comrades. She doesn’t want to join the special ops unit for glory. She doesn’t have any family, so joining the special ops unit will allow her to join her family (i.e. die but in a way that she can benefit her country). Choi Ryu tells her that she must succeed in her mission then.
Dae Kang tells Hee Bok that he wants to keep working at the agency because of his love. He’s fallen for Myung Wol after seeing her once. He sneaks up behind her and she almost twists his arm off. Dae Kang sits down and tries to talk with her by saying there are mosquitoes around and he’ll protect her because he’s fallen for her at first sight.
Kang Woo is in all the newspapers as they discuss the mysterious high school student who saved his life. Agent Kyung meets with Kang Woo and says that she’s decided to hire Myung Wol because that is Myung Wol’s only request. They have to do as she asks otherwise the gossip will continue to spiral out of control.
Kang Woo meets with Myung Wol, his new bodyguard. Agent Kyung reminds her of all the rules: she has to keep Kang Woo’s privacy, cannot have a scandal with him, and keep his image pristine. Agent Kyung is pleased and tells Myung Wol to take good care of Kang Woo.
Kang Woo wakes up in the morning and Myung Wol is waiting with breakfast at the foot of his bed. He’s getting dressed and she’s standing next to his closet. He comes out of the bathroom and she’s waiting for him. He asks how long she’ll stick to him? She says Agent Kyung told her not to let Kang Woo out of her sight.
The dry cleaner comes with a delivery and Myung Wol looks through it carefully and finds an errant staple on one of the bags. Suddenly she hears chanting outside and she walks out to see some high school boys protesting Kang Woo for causing a scandal with their idol. Myung Wol walks out and totally schools the boys, ending with them doing bunny jumps around a school yard. The boys call her noona and want to learn to fight like her. They compliment her on being beautiful and a great fighter.
Myung Wol walks up to the roof to find Kang Woo sitting there. He tells her to go down and not bother him. She says she won’t disturb him. Myung Wol reminds herself that she’s supposed to be madly in love with Kang Woo. She tries to touch his face but he grabs her hand. She makes an excuse that a mosquito was on his face.
She thinks back to what Dae Kang said to her and uses the same line, that a mosquito is trying to suck Kang Woo’s precious blood. But she stammers and ends up saying that she hates mosquitoes. She tells Kang Woo that he can think she’s crazy, but she just want to protect him. He tells her that he agreed to let her stay beside him because she saved his life and he wants to repay her. But he will continue to make her crazy love for him even more tiring. She can look forward to that.
In Ah is at the studio and is told that Kang Woo and his new bodyguard’s story is really hot on the internet. In Ah gets jealous and rushes off to speak with Kang Woo. Myung Wol won’t let her pass and In Ah totally has an attitude with her. But Myung Wol continues to not let her pass. In Ah tries to strike her but Myung Wol grabs her arm.
Kang Woo walks up and asks Myung Wol to let In Ah’s arm go. In Ah them tries to slap Myung Wol which is when Kang Woo grabs her arm. Kang Woo tells In Ah not to touch Myung Wol.
Thoughts of Mine:
To be honest I found this episode really choppy, with incredibly fast scene transitions that didn’t flow properly and a lot of scenes felt just random. My critique is on the script, not the directing, but more the story isn’t flowing very cohesively. It’s like the Myung Wol seduces Kang Woo elements are just haphazardly assembled scenes one on top of the other. The slap stick elements also felt a tad random. I’m not sure if it’s just me that doesn’t feel like this production has gelled yet in terms of how the entire story is supposed to flow. I’ll continue to take a wait-and-see approach because I was mildly entertained as a whole by this episode.
I see three main plot threads: Myung Wol seduces Kang Woo to make him defect to the North, Kang Woo and his search for the mysterious Dok Ge Bi (which will probably reveal Kang Woo’s backstory), and Chairman Joo and his search for the Four Books. So far only the main plot is even remotely interesting, so I’m hoping either the latter two threads get developed more or simply doesn’t bog down the drama in the long run.
I like the OTP – Myung Wol’s like a Quaker transplanted to New York City, and her fish-out-of-water reactions and spy-behavior is pretty entertaining to watch. Kang Woo still remains a cipher three episodes in, but I like what I see of his overall personality. He’s pretty full of himself, somewhat high maintenance, but in general he seems like a decent guy with a good head on his shoulders. Choi Ryu is still a giant block of wood, and In Ah can get swallowed by a bear and I wouldn’t miss her presence in this drama one bit.
I do, however, genuinely love Hee Bok and Ok Soon, their chemistry and banter is really cute. I vote for making them the second leads. I thought SMW started off with a whiz bang first episode and since then it hasn’t been as exhilarating for me to watch. But I still find it different and a refreshing drama option from all the straight rom-coms this year. Here’s to hoping for more funny and cute and less odd and random scenes in this drama.