Man to Man: Episode 3
Ghost Agent K begins to win the trust of his employers, and slowly they show him some of their most painful memories. He isn’t immune to their plights; however, with the success of his mission hanging in the balance, Seol-woo may need to exploit that trust and push them forward so that he can execute his carefully laid plans.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
We return to the edge of the unfinished bridge where K desperately stomps down on the brake of the stolen police car, trying to save Woon-kwang’s runaway car from pushing Seol-woo and Do-ha down to their deaths.
The cars break through the safety barricades, blocking them from the fall, and finally they screech to a halt just in the nick of time. Do-ha tries to gather her wits, while Seol-woo shatters the windshield and goes to Woon-kwang, who has passed out in his car. He checks Woon-kwang’s pulse and confirms to Do-ha that he’s alive and just fainted from shock.
He’s taken to the hospital, and his team waits to hear the actor’s prognosis. Do-ha looks drained as she declares that Woon-kwang will be fine, but then the statement turns into a question, and she grips Seol-woo’s sleeve for assurance.
CEO Ji arrives and is alarmed to see that the situation is more serious than he had believed. He mutters to himself in disbelief, wondering how Woon-kwang could be “in an accident like this twice.”
Seol-woo overhears the comment and looks up, shocked. Do-ha tries to continue with her managerial duties after promising that she’s fine, but then stumbles from dizziness and Seol-woo literally sweeps her off her feet.
He tells her, “You’re a patient as well,” then carries her out for treatment. Sweetly, she asks him if he’s okay since she knows he took the brunt of the impact, but before he can answer, his handler Dong-hyun shows up, dressed as a nurse.
Seol-woo voices his concerns about the suspicious nature of the accident to Dong-hyun when they are alone. He describes the shady mechanic he saw tinkering with the car right before the accident. According to Seol-woo, the man carried himself like someone who was in the military. He adds that Woon-kwang has been in this kind of “accident” before and thinks something strange is afoot, so Dong-hyun agrees to look into it.
Dong-hyun can’t help ribbing Seol-woo for acting so worried, and asks if he’s grown fond of the tantrum-throwing celebrity. Seol-woo replies matter-of-factly that he doesn’t care if the star dies but they’ll need him alive if they want to find the wood carving, adding coldly that it’ll be “annoying if he dies now.”
At home, Seung-jae reads up on Woon-kwang’s accident with a smirk. His wife walks in and so he swaps his glee with false concern, asking if her movie is in any danger given Woon-kwang’s predicament.
She’s unconcerned, and replies that they’ll simply need to replace him if it comes to that. Seung-jae doesn’t buy her nonchalance and he presses her, but she assures him that they won’t squander his investment. He’s impressed with her business-minded attitude and she smiles uneasily.
Seung-jae hurries off to give their son his bath, while Mi-eun receives a text from CEO Ji, updating her on Woon-kwang’s situation. She calls him right away and can’t keep the worry out of her voice as she instructs him to get Woon-kwang the best doctors and call her if there are any issues.
Meanwhile, Woon-kwang dreams of his first car accident: In flashback we see Woon-kwang driving while the director gave instructions through a walkie-talkie as they filmed the scene. Suddenly, just as with today, the steering wheel locked in place and the car’s speed increased out of control.
We cut to Woon-kwang unconscious in his overturned car as a stream of blood dripped across his forehead. He woke in the hospital just as the news of Mi-eun’s engagement to Seung-jae broke.
It seems that things were quick for the couple since they were engaged a month after their first meeting. He watched the segment on the verge of tears and later spoke with Mi-eun on the phone just before her wedding. She apologized half-heartedly then said, “This is where it ends for us. I’ll pray for your recovery.”
Back in the present, Woon-kwang’s ex-girlfriend Eun-soo arrives at the hospital and when questioned, she says she’s merely visiting a colleague. Do-ha points out that her face mask and sunglasses make her look like a secret girlfriend just begging to be photographed. Eun-soo defends herself and insists that she and Woon-kwang are dunzo, thanks to Seol-woo.
We go back to that night Seol-woo and Eun-soo met at the fancy sky lounge. He delivered Woon-kwang’s parting words, which were: “A true relationship for an actress like you is a luxury you can’t afford. If you truly love someone in reality, when you act, your eyes… portray a lie.” As he said this, he deleted the photos of Eun-soo and Woon-kwang on her phone, and she begged to keep one for the memories, but Seol-woo replied, “Being clingy doesn’t suit you.”
In the present, Eun-soo explains that because of that she doesn’t have any hard feelings for Woon-kwang. But when she tries to visit as a “friend,” the bodyguard stops her on account of the doctor’s orders for complete rest. She takes it well and asks only that they tell Woon-kwang that she wishes him a speedy recovery.
Before she leaves, Eun-soo tries to headhunt Seol-woo, offering to double, even triple, his current pay. Surprisingly, it’s Do-ha who rejects her, stating that Seol-woo wouldn’t accept just for money because “he’s family.” Seol-woo plays along, but looks at Do-ha from the corner of his eyes, confused.
Afterwards, Do-ha apologizes for misunderstanding Seol-woo’s meeting with Eun-soo, and also thanks him for saving Woon-kwang. She asks him to continue to look after Woon-kwang, then reveals that oppa “has a way of owing people his life.”
As it turns out, Do-ha first met Woon-kwang while he was recovering from his first car accident right after Mi-eun got married. He sat on the edge of the hospital roof drinking soju, when Do-ha (dressed in black, and eyes wet from mourning) came upon him.
She pleaded for him not to kill himself since the weather wasn’t so great that day. They sat side-by-side on the roof and Do-ha told him that according to her grandfather, “They say you don’t die when your heart stops. You aren’t dead as long as someone remembers you.”
Thinking of Mi-eun’s betrayal, Woon-kwang twisted Do-ha’s words a little and said that if so, then he’s dead. She grabbed the soju bottle from his hands and said, “You’re so stupid. I’m not saying you should die if you’re forgotten. I’m saying don’t forget and live. That is what you should remember.”
He replied morosely, “There’s no one to remember anymore.” She suddenly asked his occupation and he told her he was an action star. In the present, she tells Seol-woo that’s how their stars collided.
Seol-woo has his own depressing take on Do-ha’s words to Woon-kwang and says, “The dead won’t come back to life just because you remember them. You should forget the dead.” She looks at him curiously, then places her hand on his chest (and the sound fills his ears) and asks if his heart beats, wondering if he’s made of stone.
He’s uncomfortable and tries to leave, but she persists and guesses he’s never dated before. He cuts her off and flees, and she watches him, saying to herself, “What’s with him? His heart did beat, but…”
At Seol-woo’s, Dong-hyun admires a nifty little spy camera tool that can blueprint the layout of any building from the inside. Seol-woo asks about that mechanic he saw on set, but Dong-hyun doesn’t have anything to report. Dong-hyun suggests that Seol-woo is mistaken about seeing the man, but Seol-woo is certain.
Dong-hyun offers police back-up to help handle Woon-kwang’s situation, but Seol-woo rejects it. Dong-hyun argues that Woon-kwang could die after Seol-woo’s mission is over, and Seol-woo replies sarcastically, “Even if I leave, he won’t die, since someone remembers him.” Dong-hyun asks what he’s talking about, but Seol-woo just calls it nonsense.
In the hospital, Woon-kwang has awaken but is exhausted from his fitful dreams. He tells Do-ha about being troubled by the two oddly similar and dangerous car accidents, then tenderly says, “Do-ha, don’t do anything so dangerous again. I want you to stay by my side for a very long time.” She voices her relief that Woon-kwang’s injuries aren’t as serious as they were last time, and Woon-kwang adds that he’s even allowed to go home already.
The next day, the entire Chewing crew celebrates Woon-kwang’s discharge. Woon-kwang accepts their concerns and gives a special shout-out to Seol-woo, thanking him. Given recent events, Woon-kwang asks Seol-woo to stick by his side like glue and guard him 24/7, with a large raise, of course.
Seol-woo panics internally as Woon-kwang makes his offer, and he looks as if he realllly wants to refuse, but with the mission on the line, he accepts.
CEO Ji wants Woon-kwang to get back to work so they can stay on schedule, but suddenly Woon-kwang is feeling dizzy and needs to lie down. The director of the movie comes over to visit Woon-kwang in bed, and feeds the star excuses about what happened with the car, but Woon-kwang tells them to find a replacement actor.
The director doesn’t want to because the scenes they already filmed look great. Woon-kwang is enchanted by the flattery and says, “My death scene was incredible, right?” The director agrees emphatically, adding that it looked like Woon-kwang was really dying. The statement deflates the actor and he says, “That’s right. I almost died.” Woon-kwang commands CEO Ji to clear his schedule and escort the director out.
The team sits down to rearrange Woon-kwang’s schedule and Seol-woo is immediately worried about the fan-meeting as other items on the schedule move to the chopping block.
Before he can think of a Plan B and try to coax Woon-kwang back into the limelight, Do-ha shows Seol-woo to his new accommodations. Naturally, the room is covered in Woon-kwang fan art, and Seol-woo immediately asks for a different room, but unfortunately Woon-kwang wants him in the room closest to his. She mentions that the staff used the room to sleep over often in the past, so he should find it comfortable.
Seol-woo reluctantly agrees, then asks about that trip to Russia; he suggests that it might be good for Woon-kwang to get away for a bit. Do-ha, ever astute, picks up on Seol-woo’s keen interest and asks pityingly if Seol-woo already packed and prepared his passport. LOL.
She assures him that they’ll have more international trips in the future so he shouldn’t be too disappointed. Aww, she’s sweet.
With a snag in their plan, Dong-hyun meets with Department Head Jang to find a go-around to get to Chairman Victor, and Department Head Jang insists that it’ll be difficult given the chairman’s influence in Russia. They then discuss Woon-kwang’s recent accident and the eerily similar one seven years ago.
Apparently, not only does Department Head Jang know about that first accident, he also knows about the love triangle between the Songsan couple and the action star. He supposes the second accident is also because of Mi-eun, with Seung-jae as the mastermind. The agents realize it’ll be hard to trace the crime back to the chaebol, what with Songsan and his connections covering all his tracks.
Back at Woon-kwang’s, Do-ha and Seol-woo read through a melodramatic scene for Woon-kwang, but he stops them short of completion, unhappy with their portrayals. He chides Do-ha for hamming it up and Seol-woo for robotically reading the lines.
Woon-kwang decides to take over, and Seol-woo is visibly relieved. Do-ha readies herself and promises to act natural, but he chooses Seol-woo as his partner instead. Seol-woo hesitates, and Woon-kwang observes his resistance, then decides to end the exercise.
Desperate to pull Woon-kwang out of his funk, Seol-woo stops him dramatically with one arm, and takes the female role. Woon-kwang becomes excited by the bodyguard’s enthusiasm and Seol-woo adorably clears his throat trying to generate a higher, more feminine-sounding voice. So cute.
Seol-woo throws himself into the role and Woon-kwang rises to match Seol-woo’s character immersion. They act out the dramatic scene, and then Woon-kwang calls cut, but Seol-woo has been so swept up in the emotions that he continues crying after it’s over and struggles to shake out of it, so Woon-kwang comforts him.
The doorbell rings with get-well gifts from Woon-kwang’s fans and when Seol-woo answers the door, he sees Dong-hyun dressed as a deliveryman. He isn’t there only for packages though, and delivers the bad news about Woon-kwang still being their only option to get to Chairman Victor.
Seol-woo sulks to be left at Woon-kwang’s disposal and goes back inside where Do-ha accepts a call from her father in prison. She takes a deep breath and hears him out when he asks for some money to use at the prison commissary. She rips into him for ending up back in prison, implying that he does this often.
Her father downplays his offense, saying that it’s all just a part of doing business, and promises to explain everything fully once he gets out. She guesses that he’ll say that he has tons of money squirreled away somewhere and when he gets out he’ll shower her with money. She asks why he needs money from her when he’s so rich.
He says that a partner has his money, but weirdly he can’t get in touch with him, so Do-ha tells him to also lose touch with her and hangs up. Seol-woo overheads the heated call and gets this thoughtful look on his face.
Department Head Jang meets with Mi-eun to discuss the strange nature of Woon-kwang’s accident, and he even tells her to beware of her husband. Mi-eun is in denial, and insists that Seung-jae’s act of investing in Woon-kwang’s movie is proof that he’s not behind the car incident. The NIS agent warns her to be careful anyway and that makes her snippy. She barks that she doesn’t want to hear that advice from him.
The conversation takes an interesting turn when Department Head Jang reminds Mi-eun of the reason why she ended up having a secret relationship, but we don’t hear that story just yet. Mi-eun says that she will protect her position just as long as he doesn’t “forget his promise.” You totally married Seung-jae for Woon-kwang, didn’t you?
After her call with her dad, Do-ha drowns herself in soju and Song-yi offers sagely, “They say parents and children were lenders and debtors in the past life in reverse. You must’ve borrowed like crazy.” For all her tough love, we know that Do-ha’s a big softie, and she starts reciting Dad’s inmate number to be written down before she forgets.
Song-yi knows she’s going to send Dad the money, and she doesn’t deny it, but adds that she keeps a record of all the money she’s loaned him and will be charging lots of interest.
She’s totally wasted as she stumbles back to Woon-kwang’s while Seol-woo is racking his brains trying to come up with a plan in his new room (one that will “move” Woon-kwang), when he notices Do-ha from his phone’s security camera feed and watches her climb the stairs.
Do-ha moves to open Seol-woo’s door, so he promptly locks it. She rattles the handle, and he watches pleased when she gives up. However, she’s struck with an idea and he panics when she picks the lock with a hairpin.
He dives onto the bed to feign sleep, but Do-ha doesn’t even notice him there. She collapses onto the bed and uses his chest as a pillow, then makes moony eyes at the oppas on the walls.
She tells the 2D Woon-kwangs that she drank too much, then starts pouring her heart out to the photos. She bemoans the return of her father into her life and wonders aloud if she should have just died back when her grandfather passed away.
Back then, her father was in prison and the creditors began harassing her. With her grandfather gone she wanted to die too, but then she met Woon-kwang. She says that she lied to Seol-woo about her being the one to save his life, because really Woon-kwang saved her. She adds cheerfully through tears, “That’s why I thought we were meant to be.”
She believed that she was the one who gave him the strength to get through his grueling physical therapy sessions, but didn’t know it was because of her. Then, she passes out and snuggles against Seol-woo.
Seol-woo gets up, having finally found the way to motivate Woon-kwang: Mi-eun.
He finds Woon-kwang downstairs and the pair sit down for a midnight snack of chicken and beer. Woon-kwang asks if Seol-woo thinks he’s pathetic for trying to pull out of the movie and Seol-woo says, “People leave in order to find a reason to return. Think only of yourself for now.”
Woon-kwang admits that after surviving his two car accidents, he’s become fearful. He describes rehabilitating his leg after his first accident and though it was hell, he made it through on hatred and rage. The actor explains that there was a woman he loved, but on the day of that accident she left him, and married someone else before they even broke up.
He catches himself then tells Seol-woo to forget it, but Seol-woo divulges that he was sent to Woon-kwang by Mi-eun. The spy lays out his bait and tells Woon-kwang that the largest shareholder of Chewing Entertainment is Mi-eun. Seol-woo says that Mi-eun probably wants Woon-kwang to return to work, then adds, “You are not the type of person who would be someone else’s puppet.”
Seol-woo waits for Woon-kwang’s reaction intently and in voiceover he says, “Faith, hope, and love cannot save a person. What saves a person is hatred and rage. At the end of Woon-kwang’s hate and rage is Song Mi-eun. She will save him.” Woon-kwang eventually asks Seol-woo where his loyalties lie, whether it is Songsan or him, and that’s the question Seol-woo was waiting for, so he replies, “I belong to the person I serve.”
His mind trick works, and the next morning Woon-kwang suits up and heads to CEO Ji’s office. He confronts the CEO about Mi-eun’s large stake in Chewing, and CEO Ji sweats.
Meanwhile, Mi-eun meets with her designer friend (whose name is SHARON KIM) and asks about Woon-kwang. After Sharon says that he’s fine, she questions Mi-eun, asking to know why she keeps up with the charade when she has everything, especially since Woon-kwang hardly appreciates her keeping tabs on him and helping him from the shadows.
Mi-eun replies that she doesn’t care about being appreciated, in fact she doesn’t want Woon-kwang to know (too late for that), and adds that she’ll keep it up, “Until the things I want to protect are safe.”
Back in CEO Ji’s office, the CEO gets on his knees and offers his head as payment for the deception. He’ll answer to Woon-kwang’s wrath, but doesn’t regret his actions since Mi-eun was the only one who could help Woon-kwang back then.
Woon-kwang won’t hear his excuses and announces that he’s leaving the talent agency. Do-ha follows shortly thereafter, while Seol-woo stands vigil outside the office and smirks as everything goes according to plan.
They return to Woon-kwang’s where the actor gathers his team and tells them to choose between him and Chewing. Unlike Do-ha, the others are less certain of what they should do, but Woon-kwang doesn’t demand decisions immediately. Instead, he asks about their first item on his schedule: Chairman Victor’s birthday party.
The main trio flies to Moscow, and Seol-woo and Dong-hyun rendezvous in the lobby of a hotel. Dong-hyun deposits a large coin into the spy’s hands and then moves on. Once Dong-hyun is gone, Seol-woo gets this look in his eyes when he sees Do-ha walk into view, dressed in a fancy white ball gown.
She’s a bit self-conscious about her outfit, but he tells her that she looks pretty. Woon-kwang enters at that moment and he compliments both himself and Seol-woo, calling them a fine-looking pair. He suddenly asks where Do-ha is, and Seol-woo becomes confused since she’s standing right next to them. Do-ha looks sad, until Woon-kwang slowly turns to her and says, “All I see is a beautiful woman.” And she giggles. You cheeseball. I love it. Seol-woo watches the entire exchange not amused.
Meanwhile, back in Korea the baddies are onto our spy team, and have tracked Dong-hyun to Russia. They have a hunch about Seol-woo’s plan to acquire the wood carving, but instead of intervening in Russia, Assemblyman Baek advises Ki-chul to let our heroes bring the item back to Korea, then intercept it.
He makes a point of impressing onto Ki-chul that he will be the one to possess the wood carving in the end and not Songsan because he is done bowing to Seung-jae.
The trio gets through Chairman Victor’s extensive security check and Seol-woo affixes his spy gear onto his body to give Dong-hyun (who acts as his tech support), a view of the scene, and to start constructing the building’s blueprint. Woon-kwang and Do-ha marvel at the ornate ballroom, but their good mood is interrupted by the arrival of the Songsan couple.
Seung-jae inquires after Woon-kwang’s health following his accident, and Woon-kwang replies that he’s fine, but as he answers his eyes drift over to Mi-eun, who avoids his gaze. Do-ha credits Seol-woo for Woon-kwang’s good condition and Seung-jae takes notice of the bodyguard for the first time. Seung-jae praises Seol-woo for his good deed, with a strange look in his eyes.
Woon-kwang announces to Mi-eun that he’s leaving Chewing because he doesn’t like the main shareholder. Do-ha accuses Mi-eun, asking how long she intended to keep her secret. Mi-eun dismisses Do-ha and says she doesn’t need to speak with her about such matters, but Woon-kwang puts his arm around Do-ha and disagrees, stating that as the CEO of his new company, Do-ha’s opinion matters.
Seung-jae interrupts and advises that they talk business later, making it a point to put his arm around Mi-eun’s waist. It doesn’t go unnoticed by Woon-kwang. The trio leaves the couple, and Seung-jae studies his wife’s face and asks if she’s flustered, but she insists that she’s merely taken aback.
Chairman Victor finally makes his appearance and immediately he beelines for Woon-kwang, greeting him excitedly as a fan. In his mind, Seol-woo goes through the plan he and Dong-hyun had mapped out, which mainly involves hacking into the security mainframe to disarm the sensors and stealing the carving during the happy birthday song while all of the lights are off.
Later, after her husband peels away to talk shop with Chairman Victor and Do-ha disappears to the bathroom, Mi-eun approaches Woon-kwang and recommends that he reconsider his decision to leave Chewing. She warns that he could lose everything. He tells her that that’s his problem, and she replies back cryptically, “It’s also my problem.”
She thinks he’s just being prideful, but he’s adamant and asks if to her, he still looks pathetic. He says, “Please let me get away from you.” Oof. The exchange doesn’t go unnoticed by Seung-jae, who watches them from a distance with a grim expression.
Meanwhile, the blueprint mapping is done and Dong-hyun directs Seol-woo to the security mainframe in the basement. He’ll need to get his timing right in order to avoid the security cameras monitoring the entrance. Seol-woo intends to slip away from Woon-kwang while he’s getting the tour of Chairman Victor’s collection in his “secret room.”
Only Woon-kwang is allowed into the secret room, so Seol-woo escorts him to the door to see him off and prepares to shut down the security sensors. However, he’s caught off-guard when Woon-kwang requests special permission to bring Seol-woo along.
He’s met with some resistance from Chairman Victor (and Seol-woo), but Woon-kwang describes Seol-woo as a “brother and soulmate” with whom he has no secrets. When Seol-woo tries to whisper that he doesn’t need to go along, Woon-kwang shushes him with a finger to Seol-woo’s lips. At Woon-kwang’s insistence, Victor concedes and Seol-woo panics.
Dong-hyun warns Seol-woo not to go in since it’ll mess up their plan, but seeing no other option, Seol-woo goes forward. Now that he’s lost his timing to disarm the security sensors, he’ll need to speed up his plan to sneak away during the birthday song and retrieve the carving. Dong-hyun is certain the plan won’t work given the short timeframe, but Seol-woo isn’t a super spy for nothing and answers: “Plan B.”
This episode was a lot more toned down compared to last week, and our zaniest characters, Woon-kwang and Do-ha, had some quiet moments to shine and show us their scars. So far, their relationship feels like the emotional core of the drama and I love how deeply they care for one another. I thought it was interesting that Do-ha was not a fan of Woon-kwang’s before they met, and slowly her adoration for him grew over time after getting to know him as a person and friend. That scene on the roof now colors every interaction between the two for me and it’s a warm and lovely feeling.
With Do-ha and Woon-kwang in somber moods, it fell on Seol-woo to bring the comedy and high energy we got before, and I’m sorry to say but I think Park Hae-jin missed the mark for me. I don’t think he has that innate sense of comedic timing or creative flair as like, say Jo Jung-seok has. To be fair, the scenes themselves weren’t particularly hilarious but even his delivery was a bit lackluster, so those two things together resulted in some flat scenes.
Seol-woo’s motives kind of leave me confused from time to time, especially regarding Do-ha. I think for now he’s just trying to figure everything out and focus on getting his mission done and then “die” as he always has. So I’m willing to bet that he himself isn’t accustomed to facing the various feelings he may or may not be having for the people in his undercover lives, since he rarely develops emotional attachments. It’ll be interesting to see him grapple with those thoughts especially since he’s shown a tendency to manipulate others in order to achieve his mission, which makes him a great spy, but a crappy friend.
The spy elements of this episode were kind of underwhelming, but I’m hoping the next episode propels us into stickier and more perilous situations, and overall raises the stakes on all fronts, because I don’t feel particularly invested in anyone’s journey right now.