Today’s episode had some insanely choppy editing. Here I was worried that the script was the weak link when the suddenly awful directing hits me smack in the face. I think if there are script rewrites underway already and live-shoots, that would explain the choppy editing which is usually something more prevalent as dramas hit the last few episodes of its airing. Poor Spy Myung Wol, such a cute and interesting premise that is getting bogged down in execution, which is a fate shared by many a drama, and is always something I am loathe to see happen.
Episode 7 recap:
The picture of Kang Woo piggybacking a drunk Myung Wol is plastered all over the print and news media. Rabid Kang Woo fangirls and one irate In Ah confront Myung Wol in the lobby of the studio. Kang Woo comes out, not to defuse the situation or extricate Myung Wol, but rather to be inexplicably harsh in his reaction.
Kang Woo yells out for everyone to move away. He walks forward and takes off his sunglasses. He slaps Myung Wol across the face, following by the decree that she’s fired. Who does he think he is, Donald Trump? Everyone watching is stunned, shock at the casual violence of it all and Kang Woo firing his supposed lady love. Apparently that settles it for everyone that the scandal can’t possibly be true if Kang Woo will treat Myung Wol this way. If I were Kang Woo, I’d be more afraid to be labeled a violent and abusive asshole than any love scandal with an employee.
The elder spies are giddy about the public scandal (first comes scandal, next comes marriage), but their happiness is short-lived when Dae Kang arrives to drop the latest bombshell – Kang Woo has fired Myung Wol as his bodyguard. Oops, no one counted on Kang Woo reacting in such an extreme way.
In Ah tries to talk to Kang Woo but he brushes her off. She tries to show him her hurty arm but Kang Woo tells her that no one will buy her acting. He leaves and Choi Ryu walks over, asking In Ah if she’s satisfied now? She orchestrated the entire thing, so now she must be pleased because everything unfolded according to her plan.
He tells her that doing something so underhanded only lowers her own self-worth. In Ah rails at him for daring to criticize her and give her so-called advice. Yes, Choi Ryu, save your breath. It’s like asking Swiper to stop swiping. In Ah asks if Choi Ryu knows how she feels and then walks away. You mean jealous, insecure, and self-absorbed, In Ah?
Myung Wol walks to the bus stop in a daze, with passing folks giving her a second glance. Everywhere she looks there is a picture of Kang Woo promoting something plastered before her. She thinks back to all her quiet moments with Kang Woo on the mountain.
Myung Wol thought that Kang Woo was a good guy, but now she’s not so sure anymore. We get yet another unnecessary flashback to the slap and the firing that happened not 3 minutes ago. She touches her cheek and wonders why a slap on the face would hurt in her heart.
Agent Kyung tells Kang Woo that he did the right thing and the scandal will blow over. Dae Kang disagrees – Myung Wol saved Kang Woo’s life multiple times and she has a giant crush on him. Doing this is a very low and shitty thing to do. I agree, ye speaker of decency and reason, Dae Kang.
Kang Woo asks that Myung Wol be paid this month’s salary, with an added bonus and generous severance package. He leaves and Dae Kang rages that money isn’t the answer to everything, and that he sure hates this industry. Agent Kyung asks Dae Kang if perhaps Kang Woo might actually like Myung Wol?
Dae Kang asks why Kang Woo would fire Myung Wol if he likes her. Agent Kyung reveals that Kang Woo has fired upwards of one hundred employees in various positions, all for the slightest of infractions, and without a backward glance. We get a montage of Kang Woo firing various people.
Kang Woo fires people as naturally as he eats, and never offers a severance. Why Myung Wol? Dae Kang suggests that Myung Wol has got a weakness of Kang Woo in her hands, such as Kang Woo is a pervert, or has a disease, or is secretly gay? Agent Kyung asks if Dae Kang wants to get fired!
Agent Kyung meets with Myung Wol and tells her not to feel bad. The situation mandated it, and she asks Myung Wol to understand that a scandal can ruin an entertainer and this was a way out. Agent Kyung leaves and Myung Wol snipes that all people from the South (Korea) are trash like this who can’t talk in human terms, i.e. with decency. She reminds herself not to get swayed by these folks anymore.
She takes her out training videos and throws the love story movie away. She decides she doesn’t need romance anymore. She mentally warns Kang Woo that because he caused her to be emotionally confused before, for her honor and her duty, she will no longer go easy on him. Finally, the return of spirited Myung Wol.
Kang Woo is brought before Chairman Joo, who asks if he’s going to continue to allow such farces to happen? Kang Woo apologizes. Chairman Joo wants to make sure his investment in Kang Woo is worth it. He also reminds Kang Woo that In Ah feels hurt lately because of “that woman”, and he warns Kang Woo not to mess with In Ah.
Kang Woo reminds the Chairman that it’s the other way around. He needs to better control his own granddaughter, having In Ah work on her acting instead of getting distracted by other things. The Chairman snipes that even though Kang Woo is famous, he only got to this position because of the Chairman. The Chairman can easily destroy Kang Woo at anytime.
Kang Woo walks out and runs into In Ah returning home with Choi Ryu in tow. She asks Kang Woo to stay for dinner, to which he replies that if he ate here he might choke on his food. The men stare at each other. Kang Woo thanks Choi Ryu for saving him up on that mountain. Choi Ryu thinks Kang Woo ought to be thanking Myung Wol instead.
Kang Woo wonders if Choi Ryu has a closer friendship with Myung Wol than initially perceived? In Ah snarks that Choi Ryu also gave her a warning early because Myung Wol got fired. Kang Woo says “warning?” In Ah refuses to elaborate and Choi Ryu leaves. Kang Woo tells In Ah to get her arm off his and walks away. In Ah yells at the departing Kang Woo that if he keeps pushing her away like this, she might one day really leave him.
Kang Woo walks into his empty house and sits down, asking out loud whether Myung Wol really has left. He thinks back to how she saved him multiple times. Suddenly a spectral Myung Wol shows up and slices his sofa, warning Kang Woo that she’s not leaving so peaceably.
He goes into his room and sees words carved into the side of his bed frame by an angry Myung Wol – Kang Woo you bastard, you’ll be struck by lightning for what you did. He thinks to himself that Myung Wol is a good girl, and has quite a sweet side.
Dae Kang arrives to drop off a script but Kang Woo gets impatient with him and leaves. Dae Kang thinks Kang Woo is thrilled Myung Wol is gone and went for a drive. Kang Woo gets into his car and starts to engine only to have smoke billow in his face. Turns out Myung Wol earlier stuffed an orange in his tailpipe. Heh, love petty Myung Wol.
Team Seduce and Marry Kang Woo has an emergency meeting to determine their next steps. Leader Choi Ryu warns the members to be ready for the worst case scenario, which Hee Bok and Ok Soon immediately imagine to be their execution at the hands of their North Korean spies. Myung Wol stands up and announces it’s not over. For her own sake, she’s going to soldier on.
Kang Woo goes to get some water from the fridge only to have a glass of his preferred water handed to him. He takes it before realizing that it came from Myung Wol, who is in his house. He asks why she’s here and she reminds him that the water is exactly what he wants. Even the napkins is up to his requirements. She’s even prepared Summer foods for his meal.
Kang Woo drags a struggling Myung Wol towards the front door, with her yelling that she can cook, clean, do anything for him. She can even kill if he asked her to. Kang Woo tells her to just leave. She bows her head and walks towards the door, only to turn around and look back hoping for a reprieve. Kang Woo tells her to scram and she leaves.
Outside the door, she tells herself that she’s not giving up so easily. Kang Woo thinks back to dragging Myung Wol out of the house and wonders why it’s making him feel concern. He’s in the toilet and finds that there is no toilet paper. He gets a call from Myung Wol who is holding all the toilet paper in his house hostage unless he agrees to re-instate her as his bodyguard.
Kang Woo tells her to stop messing with him and bring the damn toilet paper. Myung Wol sends him a picture of her holding the toilet paper hostage. He thinks he can just have Dae Kang bring the toilet paper over, to which Myung Wol says Dae Kang is doing something three hours away.
Suddenly Kang Woo storms out of the bathroom and shocks Myung Wol, who wonders how he got out without any toilet paper. Kang Woo shows her the magazine he was reading, and he tore out a page to use. He shoves Myung Wol outside once more and warns her that if she returns, he’ll call the authorities.
Kang Woo wonders why there is someone as persistent as Myung Wol, and her actions are making his apologetic feelings towards her (for slapping and firing her) dissipate. He turns around and there is Myung Wol yet again. He startles and asks just how the hell she keeps getting into his house! Heh, this gag is pretty cute.
He yells at her to leave. She says she’ll leave only after they take one cellphone picture together. They get ready to take the picture but Myung Wol ducks and snaps a very ridiculous looking picture of Kang Woo. She threatens to release it to the media unless he agrees to her demands.
Kang Woo jumps on top of Myung Wol and they have a brief moment of just staring at each other. Then Kang Woo grabs the phone and deletes the picture. Myung Wol then pretends to faint because she hasn’t eaten since the morning. Kang Woo doesn’t buy her tricks and forcibly picks her up from the sofa and carries her squirming and kicking out of his house.
During dinner, Chairman Joo asks In Ah to stop being angry at Choi Ryu, since it’s nice to have someone who will speak the truth to her. Chairman Joo asks Choi Ryu if he knew Myung Wol beforehand since they appear to have entered South Korea around the same time. He says no, she’s simply a passing acquaintance because they are in the same industry.
The elder spies are enjoying a lavish barbecue on the roof, thinking they need to enjoy life since they can die at anytime. Kang Woo drags Myung Wol back to her so-called parents who immediately get back into character.
Kang Woo explains that he’s sorry about the circumstances which lead to Myung Wol being fired as his bodyguard, but now she’s taken to breaking into his house. The parents pretend to be aggrieved and angry at their daughter for breaking into Kang Woo’s house to find a place to sleep. Even if they are poor, she still needs to have pride.
Mom says she ought to take Myung Wol and go die right now. Dad pretends to receive a call explaining that they have no money and can’t even pay rent. He loudly exclaims that he’ll donate his organs then. Kang Woo is totally shocked to hear this and gets the sob story about how the dad got the family into deep debt.
Mom warns Myung Wol not to go bother Kang Woo again. They all agree to go die together. Kang Woo finally can’t handle this anymore. I think it’s hilarious that he falls for their horrible acting.
Kang Woo takes Myung Wol home and allows her to stay just for one night. He warns her to leave when the sun rises. Myung Wol informs the elders that she’s successfully gotten in, and confirms that she’ll use stall tactics to stay here as long as possible. Kang Woo lays down on his bed and wonders what is going on with him.
Choi Ryu is also briefed that Myung Wol is back inside Kang Woo’s house. He goes back to investigating the original Four Book he’s swiped from the Chairman. During a walk through the market, Choi Ryu notices that he’s being followed and expertly loses the person trailing him. The Chairman is informed that his man lost Choi Ryu in the crowd. He’s not happy about that.
The next morning, Kang Woo heads to work and reminds Myung Wol that she better have left by the time he gets home. Kang Woo opens the door to find Dae Kang, so he gestures to Myung Wol to go hide. He pushes Dae Kang out the door. Kang Woo heads to a meeting with Agent Kyung and discusses his upcoming engagements.
A mini-hotel is asking Kang Woo to perform there but he refuses. Agent Kyung mentions how a member of Shinhwa (Eric’s real life idol group) was harassed by the same hotel until he agreed to go perform a few songs. Kang Woo snerks that the manager for Shinhwa is a jerk and has nothing do with him. Agent Kyung asks if Myung Wol has been back to bother him, to which Kang Woo says everything is fine.
Kang Woo enters his house and makes loud coughs and slaps to check to see if Myung Wol is still around. He opens the door to her room to find it empty, wondering if she really did leave. He goes into the bathroom and mutters that she left without saying a proper goodbye. Suddenly Myung Wol pops up right next to him and asks if he’s looking for her? Kang Woo gives the most insanely hilarious scream!
He asks why she hasn’t left like he warned her to leave. He’s off to take a bath and warns her that she better have left when he gets out. He walks out of his bath to find Myung Wol playing a shooting video game on his TV. She remarks that this game is pretty realistic. When Kang Woo asks if she’s ever held a real gun, she instinctively says yes and then backtracks and says of course not.
Her character dies and Kang Woo tells her to leave now. She grabs another video game gun and asks him to play a round with her. They end up enjoying a game. Kang Woo wonders why she’s so good. She says she was a trained sharpshooter, but then modifies that and says just in the context of the game.
Suddenly the doorbell rings and it’s a drunken In Ah demanding entrance. Myung Wol goes to hide on the ceiling and Kang Woo opens the door for In Ah, who comes in followed by Choi Ryu. She walks in offering to drink with him. She sees two guns on the sofa and asks if someone was around earlier.
Kang Woo says Dae Kang was by, and both men try to lure In Ah to leave. In Ah keeps bothering Kang Woo, and he has no choice but to grab her for a hug when Myung Wol falls off the ceiling because she can’t hold on any longer. In Ah sees Myung Wol’s in the reflection in the mirror and goes to confront her.
The men try to diffuse the situation but In Ah demands to know why she’s here? Myung Wol says she sneaked in to beg Kang Woo to re-instate her position. In Ah slaps Myung Wol and warns her to know her place and stop trying to climb higher than her lowly status. In Ah moves to slap Myung Wol AGAIN when Choi Ryu grabs her hand and tells her that he will speak with Myung Wol.
In Ah warns Myung Wol never to show up before her again or else she’ll be reported to the police as a stalker. Uh, In Ah, Myung Wol doesn’t show up in front of you, she shows up in front of Kang Woo. And frankly, you are the one stalking Kang Woo that he doesn’t want around him.
Choi Ryu walks Myung Wol out. Kang Woo asks In Ah if she has to do this? He tells In Ah that Myung Wol is a poor girl who has done nothing wrong. In Ah screams about her. What about poor her who only has eyes for Kang Woo? Oh god, her insane character gives me a headache.
Choi Ryu ruefully reminds Myung Wol that he once told her that she’s not suitable to be a spy. She says that she just wants to be like her father. He conversely doesn’t want her to end up with her father’s fate, i.e. dead on the job. He reveals that it was also his desire for her not to work in his department. Well, this might be as close as he’ll ever get to confessing he has personal feelings for her.
Choi Ryu reminds Myung Wol that they have one choice left – to continue straight ahead and successfully complete this mission. Only then can it all end. He leaves, but not before warning Myung Wol that there are people keeping an eye on them lately, so she needs to be careful and not reveal her true identity.
Chairman Joo is briefed that his suspicion is correct. There is someone with the same name and background as Choi Ryu, but it’s another person. Ooooh, secret identity is out. The Chairman wants to keep his friends close, but his enemies closer.
Ok Soon wants to find another plan, but Hee Bok and Myung Wol think there is nothing left. Myung Wol says they have to resort to their ace card – using physical violence to subdue Kang Woo since getting his consent appears to be impossible now. Kang Woo is at the preparation for his upcoming showcase.
He gets into the car and Myung Wol climbs into the driver’s seat and proceeds to abduct him. Turns out this is just her imagination of how the abduction will work. She has Hee Bok and Ok Soon dressed like staff members for Kang Woo’s showcase, used to misdirect people who may be looking for Kang Woo.
Agent Kyung wonders why she’s never seen these two staffers before. Hee Bok hilariously says he’s a back up dancer, while Ok Soon says she’s his back up vocals. Dae Kang arrives and the elder spies quickly run away. Dae Kang tells Agent Kyung that the two old fogies are Myung Wol’s parents.
Kang Woo gets into the car and Myung Wol gets into the driver’s seat. Kang Woo immediately recognizes her and gets out of the car. He wonders why she keeps doing such things, perhaps to force him to believe he needs a bodyguard. She says she has a reason, reminding him again that she really likes him, and just wants to stay by his side. Can’t he just let her stay by his side. Kang Woo says he never wants to see her again, she is never to show up in front of him ever again.
After Kang Woo leaves, a car pulls up and Myung Wol is drugged and dragged into the car. The elders tells Choi Ryu that their plan isn’t working and they’ve lost contact with Myung Wol. Choi Ryu goes outside and sees a car screeching away, and Myung Wol’s cap on the ground. Choi Ryu runs after the car but can’t keep up, so he places a call asking to track a license plate number.
Myung Wol demands to know what is going on from her abductors. They show her the newspaper scandal with Kang Woo, saying they aren’t looking for her, they need her to get to Kang Woo. They think the denial and her firing is just cover up on the part of the agency, especially when they just witnessed Kang Woo and Myung Wol bickering like lovers outside the showcase.
The abductors lob a call to Kang Woo, identifying themselves as from that mini-hotel. Kang Woo tells them he doesn’t want to perform and is ready to hang up when they inform Kang Woo that they have his girlfriend. Kang Woo’s eyes widen when he realizes they have Myung Wol. He informs them that she is nothing to him, and they can do whatever they want to her. He hangs up.
The guy asks Myung Wol if they really aren’t lovers? She shakes her head. He thinks perhaps they just had a bad fight and wants her to call Kang Woo and apologize. Kang Woo sits in his dressing room with 5 minutes to go before showtime. He thinks back to Myung Wol confessing her feelings again to him outside. He tells himself that she’s nothing to him, and he won’t ruin his career for her.
The showcase is about to start and the fans outside are in a frenzy. Choi Ryu rides a motorcycle and heads to save Myung Wol. She’s been trussed up in a warehouse. Her abductors wonder if perhaps they made a mistake. The leader suggests getting rid of the evidence, i.e. offing Myung Wol.
The showcase begins and Kang Woo is a no show. Suddenly a car drives up to the warehouse and Kang Woo gets out of the car. He walks into the warehouse and demands that they let Myung Wol go. Kang Woo starts to fight the gangster and is quickly beaten up.
Myung Wol struggles with her bindings and breaks free right as Kang Woo is about to get his face re-arranged. She warns the gang that they picked the wrong person to mess with. Myung Wol proceeds to kick some ass, with Kang Woo staring at this real display of her fighting skills with his mouth gaping open. More gangsters show up and Choi Ryu, who has also arrived and is hiding in the back, take those guys out.
Myung Wol helps Kang Woo up and he asks who she really is? He turns to leave and she thanks him for coming. He turns back and says he came because if something happened to her, it would reflect badly on him because she’s always showing up around him. He can’t believe she caused his showcase to be ruined. He warns her never to show up around him again. Choi Ryu, who has easily dispatched all the other gangsters, stand back and watches Myung Wol.
Myung Wol goes back to meet with the elder spies and she’s strangely subdued. The elders wonder what happened, since Choi Ryu called Hee Bok earlier asking for a license plate number.
Choi Ryu goes back to Chairman Joo’s house and finds the Chairman still awake and waiting for him in the living room. The Chairman asks Choi Ryu to sit down and asks to discuss holding a secret auction to lure out the person who has the books. He wants to set a trap to catch the person who has the book. Choi Ryu thinks it’s a great idea.
Kang Woo goes home and sits down to hear voice messages from the frantic Agent Kyung looking for her MIA Hallyu star. Kang Woo flashes back to Myung Wol kicking some serious ass in that warehouse. He wonders again who she really is? Kang Woo turns on the TV and suddenly he sees Myung Wol’s face in the TV playing various strong female characters, such as Lara Croft and even Sailor Moon. Heh.
He turns off the TV and looks around the living room, and this time he sees multiple Myung Wol’s fighting and sparring in his living room. He thinks to himself……”could it be, my feelings for Myung Wol…….?”
Thoughts of Mine:
The slap-happy propensity of this drama drives me nuts. I’m not just talking about Kang Woo slapping Myung Wol, I’m talking about In Ah as well. She’s tried to slap Myung Wol twice before and failed, but finally it’s third times the charm for her. I hate how they make Myung Wol so strong in her profession, but then so placid when it comes to accepting mistreating by Kang Woo or In Ah for the sake of her mission. I just want her to give In Ah a roundhouse kick and send the pinchy-faced brat flying to Mars never to return again.
I don’t understand why this drama persists in piling on the flashbacks. I don’t recall a drama in recent memory that constantly pulled flashbacks, especially for scenes that just happened. It’s a very patronizing technique that supposes the viewer can’t remember what happened and needs to see it again. Imagine being told something, and then the person repeats it very slowly and very loudly word for word in your ear just in case you didn’t get it the first time around. It’s annoying and cuts the narrative flow like a tourniquet.
I’m totally sprinting towards team Choi Ryu now, because seven episodes 7 in Kang Woo is a poorly written character without much depth. The only reason to like Kang Woo is because he’s played by Eric, and with Eric’s usual charm, comic timing, and redeemable bastard vibe. On the other hand, Choi Ryu as a character is finally coming alive for me, even if conversely Lee Jin Wook sadly continues to lurch around most of the time. But the character of Choi Ryu? Me likes. He looks out for the mission and Myung Wol, all the while gradually becoming aware of his own human emotions and frailty.
The elder spies continue to steal any scene they are in, and I love how they are almost always doing scenes with each other. They play off each other so well it’s like watching Fred and Ethel from I Love Lucy bumbling around. The spy team is actually so sweet to watch, the way they look out for each other and striving to accomplish their mission, I actually want the four of them to run away and make a real family together without North Korea and this mission looming over their heads.
While I found many of the comedic interludes between Myung Wol and Kang Woo rather charming, but at this point in the drama it’s starting the fray a little old. If Kang Woo fires Myung Wol as his bodyguard, only to have her resume the same position two episodes later, this just leaves this drama spinning in plot circles rather than moving forward. I don’t think SMW is a bad drama, but it’s a really inconsistent drama that has thus far failed to deliver on a fast start out of the gate, leaving me still searching for a hook to keep me genuinely entertained and emotionally connected with the story or the characters.