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Mad Dog: Episode 11

The Mad Dog team has been slow to warm to Min-joon and they finally seem ready to accept him into the fold, but is he ready? Caring about people is risky and it can cloud one’s judgment, which may be something our good guys can’t afford. Faced with a cold and calculating pack, our team has an uphill battle ahead, but if they can count on one thing, it’s that their opponents can’t decide who’s in charge.

 
EPISODE 11: “Help me”

Hyun-gi offers to take down the dogs that have been plaguing Chairman Cha and he allows it over Hong-joo’s objections. When Chairman Cha leaves them alone, Hyun-gi asks Hong-joo to help him.

Min-joon looks as if he regrets his offer to treat the team to a meal when Soon-jung orders lots of meat. Ha-ri offers to pay the bill, but Min-joon reminds her about the overdue rent.

Ha-ri tells Min-joon to deduct the rent from their deposit. When he calls them beggar dogs, the team shares a fist bump and yells out, “That’s why we’re Mad Dog,” and then they sweetly wait for Min-joon to join in. Min-joon worries when Ha-ri fills a large glass with soju and asks, “What if she dies?” The question troubles Noo-ri and Kang-woo notices the change in his mood.

Kang-woo follows Noo-ri to a nearby convenience store to find out what’s bothering him. Noo-ri admits, “My father is about to make a move.”

At closing time, Soon-jung manages to stagger off and leaves Ha-ri alone to help a very drunk Min-joon to his apartment. Once inside, Ha-ri explains to Min-joon that he can get some sleep now that he’s home. In his alcohol-induced fog, Min-joon asks, “Are we sleeping together?” but Ha-ri makes it clear that he’ll sleep alone.

Min-joon falls down on the floor and pulls Ha-ri down with him. When Ha-ri complains that she’s hurt, Min-joon groggily insists, “I can’t let you get hurt.” Min-joon repeats her name until he falls asleep holding her hand, and Ha-ri looks unnerved by his closeness.

The morning sun rouses Min-joon, who is startled to find someone in his bed, covered by a blanket. Min-joon remembers asking Ha-ri if they were going to sleep together but notes that he’s fully clothed. He slowly pulls down the blanket… to discover Soon-jung in his bed instead.

He yells in German, horrified, and tries to kick him off. Later when they arrive at Mad Dog together, Ha-ri asks if they had fun.

Soon-jung asks after Noo-ri and learns that he’s taking time off for family reasons. It’s news to Soon-jung that Noo-ri has family but everyone’s distracted when Min-joon gets an alert.

The team watches as Hong-joo holds a press conference to apologize for Taeyang’s delay to pay their customers’ claims. Hong-joo ends the press conference with a deep bow as the cameras flash around her.

Once Hong-joo returns to her office, Hyun-gi calls to ask, “How did it feel to bow down? Isn’t it better to take care of things with money?” Before he hangs up, Hyun-gi tells Hong-joo that he prepared a gift to cheer her up.

Hyun-gi returns to his meal with Chief Prosecutor Ohn and marvels that someone like him could have a son like Noo-ri. It’s not long before Noo-ri is surrounded by his father’s men as we hear Hyun-gi tell Chief Prosecutor Ohn, “I need to give someone a gift. So you should start catching the dog.”

When Kang-woo gets a text from Noo-ri that he was just caught, he quickly explains to the rest of the team that prosecutors will arrive any minute. Kang-woo reveals that Chief Prosecutor Ohn is Noo-ri’s father and then instructs the team to testify that he acted alone. On cue, prosecutors show up to arrest Kang-woo and bring the team in for questioning.

Chief Prosecutor Ohn enters the car where Noo-ri was detained and slaps his son. He’s infuriated that while his daughter passed her law school exams, Noo-ri ruins everything at the most critical time.

When Noo-ri tries to call him “Father,” Chief Prosecutor Ohn angrily reminds him, “I told you. You aren’t a member of my family.” He instructs his men to place Noo-ri somewhere with no internet. Noo-ri numbly rubs his face as his father’s men demand his cell phone and then toss it out of the car as they drive away.

A prosecutor questions Kang-woo and links him to the civil complaints that flooded the Financial Supervisory Service over Taeyang’s unpaid claims. Kang-woo confesses that he accomplished everything on his own.

When questioned, Ha-ri insists that she didn’t help Kang-woo. Soon-jung tells the prosecutor that with his record, it would be foolish to do anything that would send him back to jail. Min-joon speaks, and even sings, in nothing but German.

Chief Prosecutor Ohn decides to meet with Kang-woo alone and once he turns off the video camera, Kang-woo greets him by name. Kang-woo admits that he confessed to all of the charges to protect his team and asks, “Tell me why you didn’t arrest everyone on my team.” Chief Prosecutor Ohn confides that he’s tired of Taeyang and JH Group and asks Kang-woo if he can help him.

Chairman Cha complains to Lawyer Lee about Kang-woo’s immediate release, certain that Hyun-gi angered Chief Prosecutor Ohn because he doesn’t understand the importance of family. He may be right, because Hyun-gi’s call to Chief Prosecutor Ohn goes unanswered. Hyun-gi angrily scrolls through his photos of the Mad Dog team until he settles on Ha-ri.

Soon-jung and Min-joon return to the ransacked office with Kang-woo. Kang-woo explains how Chief Prosecutor Ohn acted out of character when he warned Noo-ri about the impending arrest. A flashback to the convenience store shows that Noo-ri apologized for getting Mad Dog mixed up with his father, but Kang-woo theorized that it was because Chief Prosecutor Ohn was after something. He assured Noo-ri that they could all take care of themselves and urged him to get away.

Noo-ri suggested that he should get caught to pacify his father in spite of Kang-woo’s concern. Noo-ri reminded Kang-woo, “I’m not alone anymore. Please tell Cheetah to find me no matter what.”

In the present, Soon-jung complains that Noo-ri never confided in him about his father. Min-joon asks Kang-woo what Chief Prosecutor Ohn is after and learns that he wants something that won’t let Taeyang and JH Group have influence over him.

When Kang-woo admits that he already gave Chief Prosecutor Ohn something against Taeyang, Min-joon realizes that he’s talking about Beom-joon’s original insurance policy. We see more of Kang-woo’s meeting with Chief Prosecutor Ohn, who explained that Hyun-gi was after something that he hoped the prosecutors would find.

Kang-woo revealed the existence of the original insurance policy and the chief prosecutor realized that it was changed to make the accident look like a suicide crash. Kang-woo produced a hidden USB as he explained that the policy wouldn’t be found anywhere.

Kang-woo then explained that the evidence that Chief Prosecutor Ohn needed against JH Group was in Chairman Cha’s possession, the original black box recording from Flight 801. Chief Prosecutor Ohn suggested, “Then you should go get it.”

Kang-woo wanted to know what Chief Prosecutor Ohn would do with the black box and was told that he planned to reinvestigate the crash of Flight 801. Back in the present, Kang-woo suggests that he can get Hong-joo to surrender the black box to him.

Min-joon asks about Ha-ri’s whereabouts and we see that she’s uncharacteristically nervous as she meets with Hyun-gi. He asks for her help and when Ha-ri asks why she would cooperate, Hyun-gi reminds her that his housekeeper can testify that she and Min-joon entered his house illegally. He notes how bad it would look for Min-joon if that news was made public and when Min-joon calls, Ha-ri ignores her phone.

Frantic with worry, Min-joon confronts Kang-woo about Ha-ri’s meeting with Hyun-gi. Kang-woo reminds Min-joon that he’s the one who urged him to trust Ha-ri, but Min-joon protests, “Don’t you know what kind of person Joo Hyun-gi is?” Min-joon announces that he’s going after Ha-ri as he leaves the office.

As he leaves, Hyun-gi thanks Ha-ri for her help in advance. Min-joon pulls up with a screeching halt and confronts Ha-ri about her meeting with Hyun-gi, shouting, “How could you walk right in and offer yourself up to get eaten?!” He says she shouldn’t get involved with Hyun-gi, but Ha-ri yells right back that they shouldn’t have gotten involved with Min-joon when he proposed the bet to take over Mad Dog.

Angry, Ha-ri barks at Min-joon, “Don’t try to be considerate now. You’re the one who offered us up to them.” Stung by Ha-ri’s words, Min-joon stands frozen as she drives away. Across the street, Hyun-gi watches from his car and asks Secretary Han if emotions are a weakness.

Chief Prosecutor Ohn meets with Hyun-gi and confides that he has a copy of Beom-joon’s original insurance policy, which confirms what Ha-ri and Min-joon saw in his house. When Chief Prosecutor Ohn suggests that the evidence could ruin Hyun-gi’s career, Hyun-gi notes that Chief Prosecutor Ohn will run the country one day and shouldn’t bother with trivial matters.

Chief Prosecutor Ohn counsels Hyun-gi to settle the succession of JH Group as soon as possible but Hyun-gi argues that that’s how Taeyang became entangled with his company in the first place. In order to ensure that JH Group isn’t at risk of a special investigation, Hyun-gi serves Chief Prosecutor Ohn some food along with a veiled warning, “You need to stay healthy to protect Korea and your son for a long time.”

Ha-ri reports that Hyun-gi asked Mad Dog to find Noo-ri and help him escape. When Ha-ri suggests that it might be better if they didn’t look for him, Soon-jung reminds her, “Pentium is waiting for us. No, he’s waiting for me.”

Ha-ri worries that something could happen to Noo-ri and that it would be their fault. Soon-jung delivers an impassioned argument that family members don’t blame each other and asks, “Aren’t we a family?” Min-joon overhears the exchange from his spot by the door but when Kang-woo sees him, Min-joon slips out and motions for him not to say that he was there.

In a hospital, Noo-ri asks a nurse for his hat to protect him from the sun. Once outside, Noo-ri activates a hidden tracker inside the hat so that Soon-jung can find him.

Soon-jung detects the tracker and informs Ha-ri that Kang-woo wants Min-joon to accompany them. In the car, Min-joon explains that there’s a mental hospital in the vicinity of the tracker and Soon-jung grumbles about a father who could lock up his son.

Soon-jung picks up on the silence between Ha-ri and Min-joon and announces the need for a nap. He instructs Min-joon to keep Ha-ri awake, so he offers her some juice but she rejects it.

When Ha-ri has to avoid another car abruptly, some juice spills on Min-joon and he’s surprised when she apologizes in German. Ha-ri offers some tissues from the glove compartment but remembers too late that Min-joon’s handkerchief is still in there.

Ha-ri slams the compartment shut and explains that Min-joon can’t have the handkerchief back because it needs to be washed, but she’s been too busy to do laundry. When Min-joon scoots away from her like she has cooties, Ha-ri insists that the clothes that she’s wearing are clean and Soon-jung smiles to himself as they bicker.

Manager Park has to get Hong-joo’s approval on some claims, which gives her a chance to ask if he’s upset about his demotion. Manager Park assures her that he’ll remain with Taeyang to process legitimate claims and prevent fraudulent ones because, “That’s my job, and that’s what an insurance company does.” Once Manager park leaves, Hong-joo’s thoughts are interrupted by a call from Kang-woo.

When she meets Kang-woo, Hong-joo admits that he came around faster than she thought. Kang-woo wonders if she’s disappointed with him but Hong-joo wonders if they’re close enough to feel disappointed anymore. Kang-woo says it isn’t that simple because she was family to him, clearly striking a nerve with her.

Hong-joo refuses to talk about the past and stands to leave, until Kang-woo asks if the crash of Flight 801 was caused by a problem with the plane, and her face goes pale. Kang-woo wants to know if the black box would prove that the plane was faulty and unable to communicate with the control tower.

He expresses his confidence that Hong-joo was unaware of any problems with the airline’s planes because she would never renew insurance or allow his wife and son to board a defective plane. Hong-joo blurts out that she didn’t know anything but can’t seem to look Kang-woo in the eye.

When Hong-joo asks what Kang-woo hopes to accomplish, he confesses that he’s after Hyun-gi. Hong-joo warns that Hyun-gi can’t be caught but Kang-woo clarifies that he can’t be caught by Hong-joo and Chairman Cha because their companies are joined.

Kang-woo offers to retrieve the original insurance policy and have it discredited by Min-joon as a fake, but only if Hong-joo gives him the black box. Kang-woo promises that he’ll use it to prove that the airline alone was responsible for the crash caused by a faulty airplane.

Noo-ri isn’t happy to see a former high school classmate among the hospital’s patients. The bully, Kim Sang-min, is happy that Noo-ri is around to keep him from getting bored and knocks his hat to the ground for fun. He plops down next to Noo-ri and assumes that he’s here to get exempt from army duty as well, and points out the healthy young men playing basketball and identifies which wealthy families they’re from.

Thanks to a recommendation from Nurse Oh, who was his teacher in nursing school, Soon-jung gets a job at Noo-ri’s hospital, though he has to sign a confidentiality agreement before they’ll hire him. Soon-jung reports to the team that he suspects fraud, before he’s forced to leave his phone in his locker. He quickly taps into the phone, and on the other end, Ha-ri mutters, “Tap tap, tap. Two, one. 9 P.M.,” and then calls Manager Park to report fraud and request a raid at the hospital before 9 P.M.

Ha-ri produces clothes to change into so that she and Min-joon can join the raid. When he doesn’t immediately turn around, Ha-ri teases, “Do you want to watch?” and then orders Min-joon to turn around while she changes in the backseat, and he uses the suit she handed him to block the window.

During Soon-jung’s rounds, he finds Noo-ri surrounded by bully Sang-min and some friends. Soon-jung makes eye contact and holds up two fingers and then one before he slips out of sight, and Noo-ri snaps to attention.

When bully Sang-min smacks Noo-ri’s hat again, he’s told not to touch it but he argues that it’s nothing between “friends.” When he does it again and laughs, Soon-jung mutters, “Punk.”

Hong-joo gazes out her office window as she recalls Kang-woo’s offer. She calls her father’s secretary and learns that Chairman Cha is in a meeting with Hyun-gi.

Hyung-gi confirms that he postponed the shareholders’ meeting until things calm down. Hyun-gi brings up the 10 billion won that Chairman Cha raided from the unpaid claims and reminds him that Chief Prosecutor Ohn is still a problem. Hyun-gi offers to deal with him before the succession deal proceeds.

Hong-joo interrupts to suggest that her father should go home, but first she sends Hyun-gi away. Once they’re alone, Hong-joo asks her father to stop trying to take JH Group too and assures him that Taeyang Insurance is enough, but he refuses to listen.

Manager Park meets with Ha-ri and Min-joon before the raid to say that he looked into the hospital, and all of the patients are males in their twenties and thirties. Manager Park and Ha-ri have to explain to Min-joon, who is a German citizen, that the hospital helps the sons of wealthy families avoid their mandatory military service.

To Manager Park’s dismay, Ha-ri and Min-joon pose as claims examiners when they accompany him into the hospital. Manager Park demands to see the director and before they can be escorted out, an alarm goes off just minutes after 9 P.M. A panicked nurse reports a schizophrenic patient with a weapon and Ha-ri calls the police about the incident.

The trio finds Soon-jung trying to calm Noo-ri, who has a scalpel pointed at bully Sang-min’s neck. Soon-jung explains that he just went crazy while Noo-ri screams to Sang-min, “I told you not to touch my cap!”

Min-joon sees a smoke alarm and gets an idea. He takes Manager Park’s lighter and runs down the hall where he finds a room with a table. He stands on it to get close enough to a smoke alarm to trigger it with the lighter.

Ha-ri whispers to Soon-jung that they’re ready and as soon as the fire alarm sounds, he calls for an evacuation. Soon-jung tosses clothes to a wild looking Noo-ri and growls at bully Sang-min to leave him alone. Noo-ri snaps out of it and seems stunned to see his friends there.

Outside, Manager Park explains to the police that he visited the hospital because of a tip that it provides patients with illegal military exemptions. When Manager Park sees the team leave safely with Noo-ri, he invites the police inside.

As the team walks away from the hospital, Soon-jung jokes that Noo-ri should see a psychiatrist. But he smiles sadly when Noo-ri explains that he’s been evaluated every time he was hospitalized and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a delusional disorder, and a personality disorder.

Bully Sang-min suddenly comes after Noo-ri to get payback. Soon-jung steps forward angrily but Ha-ri holds him back and asks, “Do you want to go to prison again?” But when she steps forward, Min-joon holds her back and makes sure that the bully isn’t Noo-ri’s friend before he approaches him.

Min-joon calls himself Noo-ri’s friend and then knocks Sang-min down with a punch. He immediately clutches his hand in pain as the team oohs but Ha-ri warns, “Don’t be a crybaby, and let’s leave before he stands back up.” As they get in the car, Noo-ri smiles at Min-joon.

Hong-joo meets Kang-woo to hand over the black box with the understanding that he’ll leave Taeyang alone. When Kang-woo assures her that he has no interest in Taeyang, Hong-joo releases the black box.

On the drive home, Chairman Cha is bothered by Hong-joo’s confrontation and checks to see if anyone entered his office. When he learns that Hong-joo was there, he returns to Taeyang and confirms his suspicion—Hong-joo took the black box.

While he copies the black box recording in his car, Kang-woo asks the team to track Hyun-gi’s phone. Min-joon can’t help but wonder why Kang-woo wants Hyun-gi’s location.

Hong-joo is about to leave the restaurant where she met Kang-woo when she gets a call from her father. Chairman Cha yells at her for ruining his plan, but Hong-joo assures him that Taeyang will be safe. When she mentions Kang-woo, Chairman Cha calls his daughter stupid for allowing herself to be fooled and insists, “It means he fears nothing!”

Hong-joo calls Kang-woo to warn that her father knows about the black box and becomes alarmed when Kang-woo admits that he’s on his way to see Hyun-gi. After they hang up, Kang-woo wordlessly takes a seat next to Hyun-gi in the hotel bar.

Chairman Cha immediately calls Lawyer Lee from the greenhouse and says, “You have a job to do.”

Ha-ri and Min-joon are alone in the neighborhood restaurant and he wonders why Soon-jung and Noo-ri haven’t joined them. He looks pleased when Ha-ri places some meat in his bowl but he can’t eat it because his hand still hurts.

Min-joon stares at Ha-ri as she applies some ice to his hand and utters, “How pretty.” Flustered, Min-joon claims that he was talking about Ha-ri’s necklace as he takes the ice from her. He suddenly announces a craving for coffee and leaves to get some for them.

Upstairs, Noo-ri complains that he’s hungry but Soon-jung explains that they’ll eat when Kang-woo arrives, to allow Ha-ri and Min-joon some time alone. Noo-ri glances out the window and sees Min-joon walking out.

Kang-woo has spent the last thirty minutes watching Hyun-gi drink. Hyun-gi calls it a waste of time and Kang-woo finally speaks up in quiet fury to say that he should remember the victims of Flight 801 and one person who wasted two years.

Hyun-gi claims that he doesn’t understand, so Kang-woo takes out his phone and plays the black box recording. Beom-joon can clearly be heard trying to communicate with the control tower on Jeju Island before the plane crashed. Hyun-gi asks Kang-woo where he got the recording just as Hong-joo shows up.

Kang-woo promises to be in touch but before he leaves, he leans close to Hyun-gi’s ear to warn, “If you touch my people again, I will kill you.” Before he walks away, Kang-woo faces Hong-joo but says nothing.

Chairman Cha sits in his massage chair and breathes, “Kang-woo. I warned you. You don’t mess with family.”

On his way back to the restaurant with the promised coffee, Min-joon is startled by a figure in a hooded jacket. It’s Noo-ri, who set out to spook Min-joon and teases that he scares easily.

Min-joon objects when Noo-ri speaks to him casually and rejects his offer to do the same with the argument, “I heard that you’re only supposed to speak casually with friends.” Noo-ri explains, “That’s why I’m asking you to speak casually. You never know. I might end up calling you Hyung.” Min-joon contains his surprise and answers, “I’ll think about it.”

Noo-ri smiles at Min-joon’s retreating figure… and then he sees a dark figure approach Min-joon. It’s Lawyer Lee.

When Lawyer Lee pulls a scarf from his pocket, Noo-ri recognizes it from Min-joon’s earlier attack, but this time, the scarf hides a knife underneath.

Noo-ri screams out in a panic, “Hyung!” as he runs to Min-joon’s side. He jumps between them… and the knife that was meant for Min-joon is plunged into Noo-ri’s chest. Min-joon’s eyes widen when Noo-ri holds up a hand covered with blood, and when he falls to the ground, Min-joon realizes that Noo-ri was stabbed.

At the restaurant, Ha-ri wonders what’s taking Min-joon so long when he calls, but he’s sobbing so hard that all he can manage to choke out is, “Help me!” Min-joon cradles Noo-ri as he tries to stop the heavy bleeding. While Noo-ri gasps for air, a helpless Min-joon screams for help.

 
COMMENTS

The entire episode lays the groundwork for that heartbreaking cliffhanger. Min-joon finally takes a baby step into Mad Dog’s circle only to have his heart crushed by fear and guilt, a terrible thing for anyone, but especially for someone with abandonment issues. Min-joon is so ill-equipped to handle another loss, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Noo-ri will survive to call Min-joon “Hyung” another day. I have to recognize Woo Do-hwan’s incredible skill in that final scene, it was so well done. He conveyed the panic and fear that consumed Min-joon in that moment with such intensity, a far cry from his typically cool and mocking persona. That final scene makes it hard to remember Min-joon’s emotional distance, and effectively strikes a tragic contrast to his happier emotions as he found himself treated like one of the Mad Dog team.

Min-joon and Ha-ri continue to keep each other at arm’s length, even as their thoughts and hearts are focused on each other more and more. Min-joon worries about Ha-ri constantly, which seems like a foreign concept for him because he doesn’t know how to manage it. Add to that Min-joon’s offer to buy the team dinner and his willingness to punch that bully as Noo-ri’s friend—it was a huge episode for Min-joon in so many ways, but now we’ll have to see if he retreats emotionally in the aftermath of Noo-ri’s crisis.

I confess that at this point in the drama, I’m seriously confused about who exactly is running the JH Group/Taeyang show and I’m going to blame that on the intricate writing and the actors’ performances. I’ve seen Choi Won-young in several roles at this point and I’m really impressed with his portrayal of Hyun-gi. He’s created a very complicated character who is a mystery. Is Hyun-gi really in league with Chief Prosecutor Ohn? Has he joined forces with Hong-joo now? What about Chairman Cha? They’re allies one moment and then they’re not. This group crosses and double crosses each other and then they do it again. It’s both fun and confusing, but I’m ready for everything to make sense and for people to pay for their crimes.

My guess is that Hong-joo is key to what’s really going on and how this alliance will topple, but she’s mostly invisible so no one pays attention to her. Except Kang-woo. He’s the only one who’s able to play Hong-joo somehow, even as she’s playing him. Maybe I’m wrong and she’s sincerely trying to save Taeyang and her father, but what was her answer when Hyun-gi asked her to help him at the beginning of the episode? When Hong-joo learned that Kang-woo was headed straight for Hyun-gi after she gave him the black box, she showed up at the bar where Kang-woo found him. How did she know Hyun-gi was there? I know Kang-woo offered to leave Taeyang alone because of what Hong-joo once meant to his family, but I also think that he’s fully prepared to let her suffer the consequences of her choices. Faced with a Mad Dog, Hong-joo needs to think very carefully before she crosses him.

 
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