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Man to Man: Episode 10

Who needs the NIS when you’ve got the Chewing team on your side? Seol-woo continues to be the only one moving the wood carving mission along, but thankfully, he’s not completely without support. Whether he admits it or not, he’s tied to his employers in a way that goes beyond money or contracts, and that’s definitely going to lead to some kind of existential crisis for our ghost agent in the near future, don’t you think?

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

After Seol-woo takes off with the second wood carving, Ki-chul’s car explodes. Do-ha and Woon-kwang complete their roles by calmly leaving the hotel.

As Seung-jae and Mi-eun watch the reports on TV about the car bomb, Seung-jae receives the news that Chairman Yamato failed to purchase the wood carving. He throws his wine glass against the wall in anger, but Mi-eun doesn’t even flinch; instead, she quietly comments that the NIS must take responsibility for a bombing at an international event. This catches Seung-jae’s attention.

Assemblyman Baek receives bad news as well, as he’s told by one of his agents that Ghost Agent K killed Ki-chul and took the wood carving. To make matters worse, the agent says they assume it’s K behind it all—but they were unable to get his face clearly on any of the surveillance videos.

On a darkened street, Seol-woo tells a still-kicking Ki-chul (I knew he wasn’t dead!) that he must keep his promise—once the last wood carving is found, he’ll have to stand trial for his crimes. Seol-woo tells Ki-chul to stay alive, and Ki-chul says that he will, looking grateful as he does.

We see that the two ghost agents are standing across the street from a storefront, looking in on a woman with a young girl in a wheelchair: it’s Ki-chul’s family. Ki-chul says his wife never got a wedding and his daughter doesn’t even know who he is, but they are the reasons why he kept himself alive, doing whatever he had to do.

Seol-woo notes that the two are also the reasons why Ki-chul failed as a ghost agent. Ki-chul tells him not to be so cocky, saying, “It’s easy to fool a lie detector, but it isn’t easy to keep lying to yourself.” Ki-chul adds that he knows Seol-woo’s weakness, and Seol-woo has no comeback to that.

Our main trio reunite at Seol-woo’s place, where Do-ha and Woon-kwang express skepticism about letting Ki-chul go free (and Do-ha keeps making pointed digs about “typical” ghost agent behavior). Seol-woo says he trusts Ki-chul because he showed Seol-woo his family—a secret that even the Baek Infantry doesn’t know about. He also says that the evidence Ki-chul handed over on Agent Yoon’s real killer checks out, so Myung-suk should go free soon.

As Do-ha thanks Woon-kwang for his role in freeing her father, Seol-woo fiddles with the carving and pops out its secret compartment, startling his two companions. They watch in awe as Seol-woo pulls out the key, and Seol-woo confirms that this is what they were after. He carefully lines up the second wood carving right next to the first when Do-ha lights up, slyly pointing out that there are two carvings.

Cut to: Woon-kwang lovingly polishing the carvings at his house as Do-ha explains that the statuettes will be held as collateral. Seol-woo asserts that Woon-kwang will recoup his money as soon as the NIS director returns, and Woon-kwang threateningly says that better be true.

Before Seol-woo can make his exit, Do-ha stops him to take a photo, telling him that she’ll post his face everywhere if he disappears without paying Woon-kwang back. She goes on about her right to do this when Seol-woo interrupts her with a string of numbers: the access code to his place. She’s stunned that he’d share his code, but Seol-woo even adds that he’ll text her anytime he’s not with her to tell her where he’s going.

Seol-woo updates Department Head Jang on the deal he made with Ki-chul and gives him the evidence on Agent Yoon’s killer. When Seol-woo asks about the status of the third wood carving, he’s surprised to hear that the NIS director is on it. Department Head Jang says they’ll have the carving soon and tells Seol-woo to hang in there a bit longer.

Seol-woo’s serious about keeping Do-ha in the loop, as he texts her with the news that the evidence needed to free Myung-suk has been turned over to the NIS. Do-ha looks thrilled, and with the biggest smile on her face, she starts to text Seol-woo back. But she goes back and forth with her response, unsure of what to say, and eventually just sends back a simple, “Okay.”

Seol-woo looks almost disappointed at Do-ha’s curt response and tosses his phone aside. After examining the two keys recovered from the wood carvings (which fit together to make a master key), he looks at the evidence left by Ki-chul: A CCTV recording of the actual killer attacking Agent Yoon in his office. Seol-woo notices something on screen and zooms in on a shelf, which holds the three wood carvings—and below it, a box bearing the name of a company.

When our ineffectual villains meet up to discuss what’s next, Seung-jae offers Assemblyman Baek a new plan: They should call the bomb a terrorist attack and get the NIS director fired. Of course, this idea was Mi-eun’s, and we see that during Seung-jae’s earlier conversation with her, Mi-eun had suggested that both the NIS and its director should bear responsibility for the bomb.

Seung-jae tells Assemblyman Baek that by taking over the NIS, the wood carvings will naturally be theirs. Assemblyman Baek says he’ll take care of it (but… when has he ever?) and calls one of his men to set up a press conference, then mentions Dong-hyun’s name.

Dong-hyun is still stuck in the interrogation room, and it looks like his stay just got extended—a group of NIS agents present him with a brand new arrest warrant, charging him with espionage in connection with terrorism.

Sang-shik’s on Woon-kwang wakeup duty again, and ha, Woon-kwang’s taken to sleeping with his wood carvings. As expected, Woon-kwang rebuffs Sang-shik’s wakeup call and won’t even let him come near the carvings.

At a catch-up session with Mi-eun, Sharon shares that Department Head Jang has been under a lot of stress lately. When Mi-eun probes a little bit, Sharon relays to her the question he’d asked her about choosing between money and honor. Sharon says if she were to choose, she’d pick the honorable Department Head Jang, saying that a man pursuing honor is sexier than a man with money.

Do-ha waits outside the prison for her dad to be released, and Seol-woo brings her a cup of coffee. She warily asks what kind of tactic he’s trying this time, but Seol-woo tells her it’s just coffee. Do-ha says he must be trying a “sincerity tactic” and tells him (and probably herself) that she’s not falling for it. Still, she can’t help looking back at him as he gives her his best “I’m sincere” look.

Myung-suk greets Do-ha in relief when he’s finally released, then excitedly asks if it was Assemblyman Baek who helped him get out. Do-ha starts to clarify Assemblyman Baek’s real role in Myung-suk’s arrest, but Seol-woo stops her by clearing his throat before shaking his head at her.

Dong-hyun undergoes another round of questioning, where he’s accused of letting Ki-chul escape and allowing him to commit the “terrorist attack.” Dong-hyun denies the charge, but the NIS agent points out that the interrogation room camera was turned off during Ki-chul’s stint in the room and asks what had happened during that time. That’s when Dong-hyun remembers that Seol-woo had indeed turned off the camera before talking with Ki-chul, and he grits his teeth, knowing that this means trouble.

At home, Woon-kwang watches Assemblyman Baek’s press conference calling for the resignation of the NIS director. He mutters to CEO Ji that the country’s going to the dogs, while CEO Ji says the same can be said of their movie, heh.

CEO Ji expresses worry about starting to film when they don’t have their investors lined up, but Woon-kwang tells him to keep the movie going no matter what. Woon-kwang reassures the CEO that he’ll be fine even if he loses money through this movie—after all, he’s lost most of his money anyway, and he can always earn it back.

Do-ha and Myung-suk celebrate his newfound freedom at Song-yi’s restaurant. It doesn’t take long before Myung-suk’s back to his old ways as he starts spouting off new “business ideas.” Do-ha is quick to rebuke her father, telling him, “Whatever it is, don’t do it. Your stupid con won’t work, so just live quietly waiting tables.”

That’s pretty much exactly what Seol-woo had said to Myung-suk during their last conversation, and Myung-suk says so out loud, noting how different Seol-woo seemed when he said those harsh words to him. Do-ha looks surprised—and maybe even a bit touched—to hear about the exchange.

Seol-woo replays the CCTV video of Agent Yoon, focusing on the man’s last moments before he was attacked. He zooms in on the image of Agent Yoon thumbing through a book, and he furrows his brows when he sees that the pages are blank.

Back at Song-yi’s restaurant, Do-ha receives a text from Seol-woo saying that he’s stepping out for a mission. Her eyes narrow, and it definitely looks like she’s up to something.

Seol-woo’s mission takes him to Agent Yoon’s old office, where he searches the bookcases until he finds the blank book that he saw in the surveillance video.

Meanwhile, Do-ha’s undergoing a similar mission, except she’s at Seol-woo’s place. She dejectedly looks through Agent K’s numerous passports, then picks up the lucky charm coin on his desk, remembering his words when he gave it to her. She next spies a gun nearby and picks it up, watching the door as Seol-woo walks in.

When he asks her what she’s doing in the dark, she points the gun straight at him, an eerily calm expression on her face. Seol-woo says the gun is fake, and she tells him she knows. She fires a pellet at him, making contact. Punctuating each of her sentences with shot after shot, she tells Seol-woo that the gun is fake, he is fake, everything is fake.

Exasperated, Seol-woo takes the gun away and tells Do-ha she shouldn’t just show up at his place like this. She holds up the coin to him next, asking if it’s fake too. He honestly answers that it’s a GPS tracker, which freaks Do-ha right out, until he tells her he wanted to find her if he lost her. When he shows her how the coin works, pointing to the red dot on his phone, she says she’d like to keep track of him this way—so that he’s just a dot to her, no more, no less.

That night, Song-yi asks Do-ha if Seol-woo’s back in the picture. Do-ha says it’s just for work, but Song-yi warns her to be careful of guys like him who use women. Looking down at her phone, with Seol-woo’s dot blinking on the map, she says that she’ll just use him right back and abuse him like crazy.

As Seol-woo’s working to decode the blank pages of Agent Yoon’s book, he gets a text from Woon-kwang, calling him over. When Seol-woo arrives, Woon-kwang keeps looking for reassurance that he will get his money back soon. Seol-woo manages to calm Woon-kwang down, but then gets roped into joining the celebrity for his nightly face mask routine. As the two lie side by side with their masks on, Woon-kwang tells Seol-woo to stay right by him, then reminds him to keep his promise about Do-ha.

Seung-jae’s pleased that things are finally starting to go his way and tells Mi-eun that it’s thanks to her. He complains about Assemblyman Baek’s ineffectiveness, so Mi-eun suggests working with someone younger and more upright like Department Head Jang. Seung-jae expresses skepticism about the NIS agent coming over to his side, but Mi-eun says there’s a surefire way: give Department Head Jang the power to take down Assemblyman Baek.

Do-ha’s grand plan to “abuse” Seol-woo the next morning is to get him to bring breakfast for Woon-kwang. But when the doorbell rings, Woon-kwang’s team is surprised to find not Seol-woo, but an NIS agent (and one of Baek’s men) at the door.

The agent slides Seol-woo’s photo to Do-ha and Woon-kwang and asks if the bodyguard happened to accompany Woon-kwang to the Asia Investment Forum. Do-ha’s dramatic (and terrible) acting ensues, as she gasps in feigned horror about the agent’s attempt to link Seol-woo to the car bomb. Woon-kwang picks up on Do-ha’s cues and does some acting of his own, telling the agent that his bodyguard did not attend the event.

When the agent next asks Do-ha what she was doing on the 33rd floor of the hotel that evening, she gets even more outraged, huffily accusing the agent of trying to create a celebrity scandal to distract from the terrorism incident. Woon-kwang gets into the action and angrily threatens to call the media while Do-ha surreptitiously types out a message on her phone.

Seol-woo’s just strolling up to Woon-kwang’s place when he gets the text from Do-ha warning him about the NIS agent. Crisis averted.

Later, as Sang-shik watches Woon-kwang pace in his office, the manager gossips to the rest of the team that Seol-woo and Do-ha are dating, adding that Woon-kwang must be pissed about it. Of course, what the star is really worried about is NIS’ growing interest in Chewing, and how that may affect him getting his money back. Seol-woo just repeats that Woon-kwang will get his money when the NIS director returns to Korea in two days.

Assemblyman Baek and his fellow lawmakers interrogate Department Head Jang and ask him to identify Ki-chul and Seol-woo as ghost agents. When Department Head Jang denies the existence of ghost agents entirely, Assemblyman Baek ups the ante and demands that he submit a list of undercover agents to the National Assembly.

Department Head Jang returns to the manwha café for another secret meeting with Seol-woo, telling the younger agent that since Assemblyman Baek is targeting the director, their special activities fund won’t be accessible for a while. This is so not the news Seol-woo wanted to hear, and he can’t get past it, even as Department Head Jang tells him about the Assembly’s order to expose their undercover agents.

Seol-woo insists that he’s not as worried about his identity being exposed as he is about not having access to the money. But Department Head Jang can’t help with that and tells Seol-woo to continue living as Woon-kwang’s bodyguard until the director returns. Seol-woo starts to protest that it’s not so easy, but this time, Department Head Jang disappears first.

Looking super uncomfortable, Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang and Do-ha that the money won’t be available as quickly as he’d promised. The two take turns needling Seol-woo for not keeping his word, then assume that he must be going on a new mission to get the money. Seol-woo takes a deep breath before announcing that he’s not leaving: His mission is to stay by Woon-kwang’s side as his bodyguard twenty-four hours a day. He tells them to keep him as collateral, and they’ll get the money back eventually.

Seung-jae takes Mi-eun’s advice and offers Department Head Jang a new deal: In exchange for working with Songsan, the NIS agent will get Assemblyman Baek and the Baek Infantry. Department Head Jang still refuses, but Seung-jae tells him to think it over. Telling him that the NIS needs people like him, Seung-jae adds that this may be the last chance to save the agency’s honor.

After Woon-kwang and Eun-soo wrap a scene for their movie, Woon-kwang compliments ACTOR NAM (cameo by Namgoong Min) for his work playing the villain. Curiously, Eun-soo whispers to Woon-kwang to be careful around Actor Nam.

Later, Actor Nam heads up to Woon-kwang’s rest area to find Seol-woo standing on guard. He gets a bit handsy with the bodyguard, treating him like merchandise for sale and making rude comments. When Woon-kwang pops in to chide him for his words, Actor Nam mutters an insult just loudly enough for the star to hear, then walks away with a cackle.

Woon-kwang marvels at what a psycho Actor Nam is, then tells Seol-woo that it’s okay to beat up guys like that. Seol-woo says he was thinking of doing something to the actor after filming is done, and the two exchange a little fist bump. I love them.

At their next meeting, Seung-jae is decidedly uninterested in what Assemblyman Baek has to say, except when the assemblyman mentions the third wood carving. Seung-jae says that the carving isn’t where the assemblyman thinks it is—but that it should be in their hands soon. Seung-jae’s words raises a flag for Assemblyman Baek, so after conferring with one of his men on their plans to bring down Dong-hyun, he tells the agent to look into Seung-jae as well.

Back on set, Seol-woo’s on his way to Do-ha with two cups of coffee when Actor Nam takes the coffee right out of Seol-woo’s hands and delivers it to Do-ha himself. Do-ha gushes over the coffee and Actor Nam, all the while sneaking glances at Seol-woo, who’s watching the scene unfold from not too far away. Though Seol-woo wears his usual stoic look throughout most of Do-ha’s conversation with Actor Nam (save for some gagging at her over-the-top flirting), his eyebrows shoot up in alarm when Do-ha accepts the actor’s invitation for a glass of wine later.

After Actor Nam leaves, Seol-woo joins Do-ha at the window looking out onto the street. He notices a suspicious car below, then tells Do-ha that they’re being watched. When Woon-kwang catches wind of this, he heads downstairs to confront the NIS agent who’s taking photographs from his car. Woon-kwang tells the agent that they’re engaging in “illegal surveillance of a civilian” and demands that he leave, threatening to call reporters again. Surprisingly, that’s all it takes for the agent to comply.

Woon-kwang proudly details his “victory” over the agent to Seol-woo, but Seol-woo is worried about the agency messing with the celebrity. Just then, Do-ha comes in with more bad news: All the locations they’ve booked for filming are canceling, and there’s rumors of Chewing being audited.

Department Head Jang meets with the recently returned NIS director, Director Im, who tells him that he failed in his attempt to get the third wood carving—Russia most likely has it now, and he thinks Songsan was involved. Director Im then says he’s thinking of resigning to protect his staff from the National Assembly, but this infuriates Department Head Jang, who’s more concerned about protecting the honor of the NIS. Director Im just sighs that they’re too powerless to bring about reform to the agency.

Back at Woon-kwang’s, the star asks Seol-woo if he and Chewing are now targets of the NIS because of the wood carving mission. Seol-woo says yes and starts to take the blame, but Woon-kwang interrupts him, saying, “Let’s accomplish this mission.” Woon-kwang tells Seol-woo that he will protect his brother until the end… or at least until he gets his money. This gets a smile from Seol-woo, and he looks genuinely touched.

Do-ha drops by Seol-woo’s at the agent’s request, and he asks her about skipping out on her date with Actor Nam. She confesses that he’s actually kind of a weird guy, but she knows that’s not why Seol-woo called her over and asks him if something’s wrong. Seol-woo answers that he’s trying to close things out, since he’s stayed too long in his undercover role. Wait, what? He’s leaving?

When Do-ha asks if leaving would resolve everything, he says it won’t—but he’s leaving to at least try. Seol-woo stretches out his hand to her and shows her the lucky coin in his palm, telling her that it’s his promise to return.

Department Head Jang mulls over Seung-jae’s offer in his darkened office as he puts together a handgun. He points the gun straight ahead as he recalls Director Im’s words about being powerless to change things, then he makes a call.

On their walk home, Do-ha pokes fun at Seol-woo for not having an actual plan for what he’ll do after he leaves. She then wonders if Seol-woo would have left without saying goodbye again if she’d gone out with Actor Nam that night, but Seol-woo says that she wouldn’t have gone on that date at all—he would have used his sincerity tactic.

This leaves Do-ha speechless, but Seol-woo cuts the moment short, telling her they’re being followed. He says that he’ll disappear now, then tells her to wait for him to repay the debt. With that, he’s gone, and the NIS agent on their tail immediately switches courses to follow Seol-woo.

As Seol-woo walks, the agent following him quickens his pace, shortening the distance between them. But before the agent can get too close, Do-ha comes running back and calls out Seol-woo’s name, causing the agent to quickly hide himself. Do-ha looks up at Seol-woo with a bright and hopeful look on her face and says she has a tactic: a lovers tactic. She takes a step toward him, then pulls him forward for a kiss.

Seol-woo just kind of blinks at her during the kiss, then continues to look puzzled afterward, asking Do-ha what her plan for this tactic would be. Looking exasperated, she retorts that since it’s a lovers tactic, they, as lovers, would need to come up with the plan together.

She sighs and tells him to just go, but as she’s turning away, Seol-woo tells her that he’s in. After a beat, he whirls her around and pulls her into his arms for another kiss, but this time, they both close their eyes.

 
COMMENTS

Well, I’m confused. Why Do-ha would propose a “lovers tactic,” and what does she think that will accomplish, besides keeping Seol-woo close to her? I mean, maybe that’s what’s she’s after subconsciously, but story-wise, it makes no sense that after going through all that she’s gone through, she’d actually think that proposing a “relationship” with Seol-woo would be a logical thing to do. Does she really think that this will get the NIS agents off their backs? Maybe she thinks she can change Seol-woo by playing his game? Who knows?

And why would Seol-woo say yes to this three seconds after telling Do-ha he was going to disappear? Wasn’t he leaving in the first place because he thought his presence was causing too much trouble for Woon-kwang and Do-ha? I didn’t really get Seol-woo’s reasoning for wanting to leave his undercover role so suddenly in the first place, but then to double back so quickly and agree to Do-ha’s idea is truly baffling. Seriously, I have so many questions!

Here’s the thing—our villains already suspect that Woon-kwang and Do-ha are involved in the wood carving mission. At the very least, they know who Seol-woo really is, and that he’d previously put his life on the line to rescue both Woon-kwang and Do-ha. Even if he did some of those things in the name of completing a mission, he still went back to them as a bodyguard after securing the wood carvings—so you’d think that would raise some kind of flag for Seung-jae and Assemblyman Baek, right? If I were them, I would not take my eyes off the Chewing team based on these facts alone—so how does it make things better if they thought Seol-woo and Do-ha were in a relationship?

But alas, our bad guys aren’t great at being bad guys, and maybe that’s part of where my frustration/confusion comes from. You have these powerful guys who can issue arrest warrants and use the National Assembly to control the NIS—and yet they can’t win against one ghost agent—one they’ve already identified. So while I didn’t think I’d be saying this, I’m glad we have Mi-eun shaking things up a bit. No matter what her actual intentions are at this point, at least she’s doing something to help her husband move things along. She’s clearly way smarter than all of those folks at Baek Infantry and Songsan combined, so it will be interesting to see how her involvement unfolds.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m still enjoying the show and the performances that the actors are turning in. This show is best, though, when it focuses on our main trio, since that’s when it goes all in with the comedy. Seol-woo’s interactions with Woon-kwang never fail to make me laugh even as they’re building a true friendship with one another, and I could watch Woon-kwang work to win over Seol-woo’s heart all day long. I also love the way Woon-kwang and Do-ha team up against Seol-woo—they just have a way of pushing his buttons, and it’s so funny to see them always get a rise out of the usually stoic Seol-woo. You can’t fault our ghost agent for starting to actually care for these two, but for our sakes, I hope that we don’t lose the funny as we move full steam ahead with the “romance.” Because while I’m always up for swoony Park Hae-jin, I love surly Park Hae-jin too, and you shouldn’t make me choose between the two.

 
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