Two big things happened in this episode. The first is that Kang Woo finally smiled, and it was a big beatific smile. The second is that he did something really bad. This is surely going to be a controversial episode of Spy Myung Wol. Actually, let be me more specific, the ending scene of episode 6 will absolutely be controversial. But everything up to that point was classic SMW – Myung Wol feeling the faint stirrings of feeling towards Kang Woo, and Kang Woo being oddly amused and curious by Myung Wol at every juncture. Plus – we get the first scandal of the drama, which frankly I was expecting since we have a Hallyu superstar involved.
I like how Myung Wol is genuinely on a mission and single-minded in her pursuit. It’s amusing to watch her flustered and trying to maintain her composure. It’s funny that while Kang Woo thinks Myung Wol loves him when in truth she wants to capture him for North Korea, but in fact she’s slowly turning his perception into her reality. As for Kang Woo, he’s still a cipher, so I feel like I’m watching Eric all the time, and man is Eric delicious to look at. The drama script and execution still has huge problems, but I’ve gotten used to it at this point.
Episode 6 recap:
Myung Wol stands up and holds her chest, loudly exclaiming that she feels it. She feels the sexual energy bubbling up inside of her. She sits down with Ok Soon and Hee Bok and explains that she feels the desire to make that man hers. She thinks about him, and the feeling wells up inside of her, almost like a signal beacon.
Hee Bok and Ok Soon are silent and look at each other. They quietly ask if she’s falling for Kang Woo for real? They worry it will cause problems. They just wanted Myung Wol to open her heart to desiring him, not for her to actually fall in love with him. The North Koreans and their limited emotional range is pretty darn funny.
Myung Wol laughs and says no way. Ok Soon breathes a sigh of relief and says in their profession, no spy who has fallen in love has ever succeeded in the mission. They discuss Mara Hari, the famous spy executed for being a traitor between Germany and France, because she fell in love with a Russian officer. Ok Soon warns Myung Wol never to fall in love. Myung Wol tells them not to worry, her heart beats only for her mission.
Myung Wol walks and thinks back to what Ok Soon says (that heart beating fast may mean she’s falling in love with Kang Woo) and pooh poohs it. When she first started beating up the enemy, her heart would beat fast as well. Hahaha, Myung Wol has the same reaction to falling in love and vanquishing her enemies.
She runs into Kang Woo in the lobby of the hotel. She quickly runs away because her heart starts pumping. I love how everything with Myung Wol is fight or flight, like she’s all instinct without any emotional reserve. She tells herself to be calm, that happened because she wasn’t expecting to run into him. Choi Ryu watches Myung Wol and thinks back to Myung Wol confirming that she feels something for Kang Woo.
In Ah looks at the pictures of Kang Woo piggybacking Myung Wol. She wants to call someone but decides not to be so sensitive. She flops on the bed in annoyance, telling herself that Myung Wol is such a nuisance.
Kang Woo leaves the resort after a successful press conference. The Chairman says In Ah left early today in a bad mood. He thinks she is too emotional and perhaps not giving her emotions to the right person. Kang Woo replies that it’s fine, he gives his feelings to someone suitable for him.
Agent Kyung thanks the Chairman for helping make this a success. Agent Kyung wants to sit up front and tells Myung Wol to sit in the back with Kang Woo. The Chairman watches Kang Woo leave and mutters that he’s an arrogant guy.
Myung Wol sits in the living room drinking a glass of milk and telling herself to be clear headed. Kang Woo is a South Korean hero (love how she equates being celebrity with being a national hero) and capable of affecting people’s emotions, so she shouldn’t be so easily moved. Kang Woo sits down and Myung Wol scoots over. He asks her if she’s contagious?
Kang Woo changes the channel which suddenly flashes to a drama with a kissing scene. She turns it off and Kang Woo complains that he was watching. Myung Wol runs away. Kang Woo complains to Dae Kang that Myung Wol is ignoring him and treating him like a pesky fly since returning from the resort.
Dae Kang asks if something happened at the resort? Dae Kang asks if they really….did it!?! Kang Woo says of course not. Dae Kang says the way Kang Woo looks at Myung Wol, of course nothing could happen between them. Kang Woo gets upset and asks what Dae Kang means by that? Dae Kang says Kang Woo looks at Myung Wol with annoyance and a dismissive attitude, so clearly he doesn’t like her.
Kang Woo treats Myung Wol like she’s a crazy person. But Myung Wol saved Kang Woo’s life yet Kang Woo is hurting Myung Wol by treating her this way, it even hurts for Dae Kang to see. Kang Woo really gets angry now and tells Dae Kang to go do his work and prepare tomorrow’s schedule.
Kang Woo thinks about what Dae Kang said, that Myung Wol is mad at him. He thinks about how poorly he reacted to Myung Wol’s seduction and birthday celebration, and recalls Myung Wol drunkenly muttering that she loves him. He wonders if perhaps he’s been treating her too poorly.
Hee Bok and Myung Wol are trying to coax Ok Soon out of packing up and leaving the Team. Ok Soon is incensed that her male seduction skills are being called into question by Hee Bok, since she was the great spy nicknamed The Tuberose (a flower famous for being fragrant at night). Ok Soon apologizes to Myung Wol for leaving her to do this mission alone. She hands Myung Wol an old DVD that she watched many times when she was young and doing her missions.
Choi Ryu arrives and Hee Bok asks him to stop Ok Soon from leaving. Ok Soon says she’s used up all her ideas, so there is no reason to stay. Choi Ryu says she needs to stay. If this mission fails, everyone involved will die. So the four of them are on the same boat now. Myung Wol walks home and thinks about Choi Ryu’s ominous words.
Kang Woo asks Myung Wol where she went? She reminds herself to be alert, all her comrades lives are in danger because of her. She politely responds to Kang Woo, and is excited that her heart doesn’t beat faster around him anymore. Kang Woo stops her and asks if she changed lipsticks. He says it looks pretty on her. Myung Wol stares at him and then runs away. It’s clear her heart started beating faster. Kang Woo doesn’t know what’s wrong since he was just trying to be nicer to her.
Myung Wol lays down in bed and wonders why her heart started beating fast again. She starts doing sit ups in bed and reciting the code of being of North Korea soldier. Myung Wol guards Kang Woo as he attends a fan signing event. Kang Woo waves to Myung Wol and she gets frazzled and puts on sunglasses to avoid looking at him.
Myung Wol gets out of the van carrying bags for Kang Woo. He offers to carry some, grabbing her hand to get some bags. She drops all the bags in her discomfort. While eating, Kang Woo gives her his waffle and tells her to eat more. He smiles widely at her and in response she spits her water out at him.
Myung Wol wonders what’s gotten into her lately. Perhaps she’s dying, and when people die they behave oddly. Kang Woo comes into the kitchen and she drops the water glass and shatters it. Both kneel down to clean up. Myung Wol asks why Kang Woo is so nice to her lately. She broke an expensive glass, shouldn’t he lose his temper at her?
She leaves and Kang Woo mutters why she’s behaving this way when he’s being extra nice to her. Shouldn’t she be crying tears of happiness that Hallyu star Kang Woo is so nice to her? Myung Wol sits in her room and reads the North Korean regulations again, reminding herself that betraying her country means her entire family will be eliminated. She starts imagining Kang Woo taking a shower and she has to shake her head to clear her mind.
Hee Bok sits down with Ok Soon on the roof and asks what she’s thinking about. She wonders how her parents are in North Korea, and asks about his. Hee Bok says her parents should be fine. He only had a mom left, and recently got news that she passed away. He cries that he hasn’t even been to her grave.
Ok Soon puts her hand over his and tells him it’ll be fine. He cries that if this mission is successful they can finally go home. Hee Bok grabs Ok Soon for a hug, but she pushes him off, chiding him for taking advantage any chance he gets. Hee Bok cries that a man in pain just needs a warm body for comfort. He sobs for his dead mom.
Choi Ryu overhears Chairman Joo discussing moving the items in the secret safe. He goes to open the safe and sees the books in it. He walks out of the secret room and is confronted by the Chairman. He pretends that he was just looking for the Chairman. The Chairman orders the safe opened to see if Choi Ryu was trying to steal the books. The safe is opened and the books are all still inside and untouched.
The Chairman apologizes to Choi Ryu for doubting him. He doesn’t trust anyone. He promises to show Choi Ryu the books, and he hands one to him. The Chairman asks if he likes it? The Chairman likes that book way too much. Choi Ryu goes back to his room and takes out the real book, since he in fact switched the books when he first opened the safe. The Chairman tells his lackey to check Choi Ryu’s background thoroughly.
Kang Woo tells Dae Kang that he tried being nice to Myung Wol but she’s still acting weird. Dae Kang says the best way is to hug her tightly, all woman love that rather than a hundred nice words. Myung Wol comes down and Kang Woo puts his arm around her to encourage her. Myung Wol flips him over her back. Kang Woo gets up and yells that he’s through with it. Myung Wol thinks about all the nice things Kang Woo has being doing for her lately.
Kang Woo and In Ah are giving an interview for Assassin. Kang Woo is asked what his real father is like, since his character is a father who becomes an assassin in the drama to earn money for his son’s surgery. Kang Woo says his real father was a good man, a well-respected doctor. Kang Woo goes home and takes out the baseball and looks at it. Myung Wol peeks at him, wondering why he’s been so down all day.
Myung Wol takes out the DVD given to her by Ok Soon and watches it. It’s an old Korean movie and the leads frolic on the beach. Myung Wol imagines herself running on the beach and Kang Woo chasing her. She wakes up from this dream and says she’s crazy and needs to wake up from this madness.
Dae Kang arrives looking for Kang Woo. No one can find him and he’s a no-show for filming. In Ah says the filming should be canceled today then. Agent Kyung says Kang Woo likely went up the mountains, where he goes when he’s frustrated. Suddenly thunder sounds in the sky and Dae Kang worries about Kang Woo going up the mountain on a bad weather day like this. Myung Wol offers to go find Kang Woo. Choi Ryu overhears this.
Kang Woo is hiking when it starts to rain. Choi Ryu drives to the mountain with Hee Bok and Ok Soon in tow. She wonders if Myung Wol likes Kang Woo, but Hee Bok says she’s going as his bodyguard. Choi Ryu says Myung Wol will likely find him, since this type of assignment is what she is good at. Myung Wol makes marks on the map and takes off after Kang Woo.
Kang Woo descends down a slope when he slips and tumbles, injuring his ankle. Myung Wol finds an injured Kang Woo. Choi Ryu parks as they wait for Myung Wol to return with Kang Woo. The radio reports how the rains are so heavy it might cause mud slides. Choi Ryu gets out of the car, in his suit, and races up the mountain.
Myung Wol assists Kang Woo as they try to make it down the mountain. He asks if she came because she was worried about him? She says of course, if something happened to him she would get fired. In Ah finds out from her assistant that Kang Woo isn’t back yet, and Myung Wol went to find him. Agent Kyung and Dae Kang are still worried since they haven’t heard anything yet. The rescue crews can’t go up in the dark.
Choi Ryu is silently walking through the mountain looking for Myung Wol. We know he’s serious because he takes off his tie. Heh. Myung Wol sets Kang Woo down as they need to make camp here tonight and wait for morning to head down the mountain. She tends to his wound using a poultice she made mashing up some leaves that help stop bleeding.
She applies it and Kang Woo murmurs in pain. She tells him to stop exaggerating. She asks for his cell phone and sends an international SOS signal. He asks why she knows so much, and she says she hid in the mountains for two weeks so she knows all this. He looks stunned and she says she hid in the mountains because she was hiding from her mom for not doing her homework.
Kang Woo tries to be a man and start a fire, but of course he sucks and can’t. Myung Wol finally can’t stand it and takes the stick from him. She quickly starts a fire. Kang Woo looks confused again and asks who she is really? He asks if she’s a girl scout by training? Myung Wol smiles because Kang Woo is ever so dense.
In Ah wants to go up the mountain to look for Kang Woo. Her assistant reminds her that there are tons of mosquitoes up there at night. In Ah stops and reconsiders. Myung Wol and Kang Woo sit by the fire and hear wolves braying. Myung Wol stands up and offers to go find food.
Kang Woo doesn’t want to get left behind and asks to go with her. He says he doesn’t want a girl to go alone, but she calls him on being afraid to be left here alone. Myung Wol takes some soot and applies it on her face. He asks what she is doing and she says she’s used to doing it when in the mountains to avoid detection. She applies some on Kang Woo’s face.
They head to look for food, and she has to remind him to be quiet up here. Myung Wol climbs up and find a birds nest with some eggs. Kang Woo watches her and wonders where and how she grew up since she can do so much. As Myung Wol is heading down, it’s her turn to slip on the incline. Kang Woo rushes forward and catches her. Myung Wol quickly gets up and says their mission is complete.
Choi Ryu keeps looking for Myung Wol, muttering to himself “Han Myung Wol, where are you?” Myung Wol crouches in front of the fire cooking the food. She offers it to Kang Woo, saying it’s not much, but is rich in nutrients. Kang Woo declines since he only eats specialty foods prepared by a top chef. But his stomach grumbles and he has to pretend it’s some other noise.
Myung Wol offers him the food again and this time he opens his mouth and eats it from her hand. He says this tastes better than the potatoes of last time. He asks who taught her all this, and she says she learned from her father all the mountain survival skills. Kang Woo asks why a girl needs to learn this? Myung Wol says her dad told her one day it will come in handy.
Her dad taught her that a gun isn’t just a weapon. It can be used as poison (to kill) or medicine (to save). Everything is up the a person’s heart. Kang Woo asks if Myung Wol’s dad was a soldier? She says yes. Kang Woo says he doesn’t look like one, remembering the bumbling Hee Bok. Myung Wol says her real dad, who has already passed away, just like Kang Woo’s dad.
Kang Woo confesses that this place is where he scattered his dad’s ashes. His mom died when he was young so it was just him and his dad. His dad worked all the time so he never even celebrated Kang Woo’s birthdays. All Kang Woo wanted was to celebrate his birthday with his dad and play ball. Myung Wol listens and then promptly falls asleep. Kang Woo takes off his jacket and covers Myung Wol.
Kang Woo keeps talking about his 10th birthday, and he’s not sure why he begged his father to bring him here. And if his father hadn’t agreed, or if Kang Woo hadn’t thrown the ball so far, then his father would still be alive today.
Myung Wol wakes up and goes to find Kang Woo. He’s standing there taking pictures on his cell phone of her. He says she looks totally funny right now and he wants to keep these pictures to laugh at her anytime he wants. Myung Wol grabs the cell phone out of his hand and takes off running.
They chase each other while laughing and giggling. Suddenly Choi Ryu walks out of bushes. Um, okay. Myung Wol loses her smile. In Ah is rushing to head up the mountains when she gets news that Kang Woo has been located. Myung Wol was also located, and it looks like they spent the night up in the mountains.
Kang Woo gets his ankle checked out and is told he needs to rest for a few days. He asks about Myung Wol and is told that In Ah’s bodyguard drove her home. In fact, it appears that the two bodyguards know each other. Kang Woo looks pensive, remembering the look Choi Ryu gave Myung Wol when he found them on the mountain.
Choi Ryu asks Myung Wol if she’s forgotten her mission? She says she hasn’t. Choi Ryu reminds her that only by succeeding will she be forgiven for coming to South Korea without permission. Plus her comrades life rests in her hands now. Hee Bok and Ok Soon come running out worried about Myung Wol, asking if she’s fine.
Kang Woo comes home to find In Ah waiting for him. She says that she was so worried about him. He asks how she got inside. She back hugs him and says that she knows how much he means to her now. He says he needs to get some rest. Kang Woo goes upstairs and flips through his phone, looking at pictures he snapped of Myung Wol on the mountain and smiling.
In Ah grabs the phone and sees the pictures. She goes home and grabs the piggybacking pictures of Myung Wol and Kang Woo, saying that she will no longer endure this any longer. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I hate to even use such a pithy saying on a waste of space like In Ah.
Myung Wol thinks about her time with Kang Woo in the mountains, juxtaposed with Choi Ryu’s reminder about her assignment. She borrows the DVD for Mata Hari and watches it. Myung Wol starts to cry as Mata Hari says goodbye to her lover and is led away to be executed. She wonders why this movie is so damn sad.
The next morning the newspapers carry the scandal about Kang Woo piggybacking his bodyguard. Ok Soon and Hee Bok are so pleased with this latest development, as is General Kim in North Korea. General Kim gets a call from his superior and confirms that the plan is going swimmingly. He says he doesn’t need a month, this project will be completed in one week at this rate.
Agent Yoo at the NSA reads the newspaper and wonders who the man in the car was that Kang Woo’s secret girlfriend was hugging. Director Yoo asks for an update on Kang Woo. He tells the team to stop investigating Kang Woo anymore, to stop using her imagination and implicating innocent people. Agent Yoo looks upset to have her hunch thwarted.
Kang Woo arrives at the television studio and is promptly surrounded by the media. Agent Kyung asks Kang Woo what to do now that the media is all over this. Both of them know this isn’t the truth. Agent Kyung asks how a careful person like Kang Woo could make such a mistake. She tells Kang Woo to quickly eliminate the problem. Kang Woo sighs, reminding Agent Kyung that Myung Wol saved his life. Yeah, dude, many times in fact.
Agent Kyung wonders why Kang Woo is hesitating over firing one person. Dae Kang informs them that Singapore is calling asking about the scandal. Agent Kyung reminds Kang Woo how hard he worked to get here, and how quickly he can lose it all in one instant. Kang Woo takes a deep breath.
Myung Wol arrives at the studio and sees fan girls outside. In Ah confronts Myung Wol and wonders how she dares to show her face her today. In Ah accuses Myung Wol of trying to change her life by landing Kang Woo. Myung Wol tells In Ah to just live her own life properly. In Ah grabs Myung Wol, who shakes her off. In Ah falls to the ground and pretends to be all aggrieved.
The fan girls rush inside and accuse her of striking In Ah. They pull at Myung Wol and toss eggs at her. Kang Woo arrives and everyone parts for him to approach Myung Wol. Kang Woo walks up to Myung Wol and slaps her hard across the face. Everyone watching gasps at the sudden violence of it all. He takes off his sunglasses and tells her that she’s fired.
Thoughts of Mine:
Don’t ask me to take a side in the “should a man slap a woman” debate – my position is purely that no human being should ever physically hurt another, period, the gender involved doesn’t make it better or worse for me. Drama-wise, slapping is so common place that it’s like the piggyback ride. However, it’s almost always woman-woman or man-man, and occasionally woman-man, so perhaps it’s truly disconcerting to see Kang Woo slap Myung Wol. Directly, and in public no less.
Either you accept this drama narrative or you don’t. I can’t say finding out that Kang Woo had some sort of protect-Myung-Wol motivation would negate his action if I find it reprehensible to begin with. In drama land, we see ladies kneeing guys in the groin all the time for yuks and laughter purposes, so I suggest this slap be taken in the context of the drama and allowed and discussed in the greater context of whether it moves the story forward in consistent and logical ways.
I like how Myung Wol and Kang Woo are slowly revealing private things about each other as they spend time together. It’s obvious now that they are slowly and surely falling for each other, but in very cautious and oblique ways. Choi Ryu also likes Myung Wol, of course, and what might prompt him to pursue her might be out of duty rather than personal gain. He can’t have Myung Wol fall for Kang Woo and risk jeopardizing the mission, so he’ll try to make Myung Wol fall for himself.
The elder spies are still so winning a duo, and I love Ok Soon’s spy sensibilities paired with Hee Bok’s bumbling elder statesman ways. I appreciate how the drama tries to explain North Korean sentiments for why they serve their country, and touch upon a little of their sacrifices to be away from family and homeland. SMW still confuses me as a drama, in terms of how the plot will continue to unfold, and how best to approach it as a viewer. I’ve settled on wry amusement at this point, and that leaves me able to just enjoy an episode without getting too worked up about anything.