Pied Piper 피리부는 사나이 - Episode 12 (Recap)

kakashi: In case we forgot, the stakes in this drama are very high, especially now, as Pied Piper overlord loses control over Pied Piper underling. For a very brief moment, it looks like a common enemy might bring Hee-sung and Sung-chan to really join forces, but that expression on Sung-chan's face when he looks at yet another victim of the Pied Piper says it all: Pied Piper, your days are numbered. Get ready to cry, people. This episode shreds our hearts to pieces and stomps on it.
Jaehyus: I didn't like the Piper even before we knew he was the dual-headed goblin of death, and I certainly loathe him now!
JoAnne: Did you guys see that in the next Gong Yoo drama he plays a goblin? Does Korea have a different kind of goblin than the west? Also, I'm loving how Hee-sung is being shown. So many parts to him.
I don't know, I'll have to AskAKorean the goblin question.  

Episode 12

After realizing that something is very fishy with his buddy (Buddy. Pfft) Hee-sung, Sung-chan suggests that Reporter Yoon should secretly go back to the editing room to get the whole Chinese sequence translated. But when she gets there, the tape has disappeared! Hee-sung was quicker and has them erased. Smugness, your name be Hee-sung. He'll have sore muscles from all this sneaking around in the TV station.
I hope all the pharmacies are out of pain patches. :D
Pas de PAS, you villain!
Commissioner Yang instructs SWAT Team Leader Han to prevent Sung-chan from doing anything at the scene, since he's been kicked out of the team, and to deal with this shit quickly (and forcefully). Then, the transmission continues and Commissioner Yang declares war on all terrorists while pretending the crisis at the trauma center is a small matter. 
Trotwood: Sigh. Commissioner Yang. Yang-shi. Does he not learn? Using force again? I find him the most boring of the bad guys.
True, he's almost as forgettable as Hee-sung's face.
I keep thinking back to his conversation with Jo, about how things started small and with good intentions and then, before you know it, he wakes up in someone's pocket - and it's probably good it's him because it could be someone worse. I remember that conversation, and I've watched him since, and he seems like a man in the grip of a terrible nightmare. He has to move forward or lose everything, and he's not willing to lose everything. So on some level he knows exactly how wrong the things that he does are, but he has learned to rationalize it away as the least amount of harm in the greater scheme of life. It's scary because it's so plausibly human.
Sung-chan arrives at the center and is filled in on the details by his team. He is just about to take control of the situation when Han arrives too and conveys Commissioner Yang's orders: Sung-chan has to step away. They want to force their way in, but Sung-chan has realized that the Pied Piper is watching somewhere in this hospital through the CCTV cameras. If they go in by force, they all die.
Good thing Sung-chan keeps his wits, eh?
I heart Team Leader Han, he is so reasonable!! (He is a love. Love him. Love him!) He believes Sung-chan. Therefore, he is ready to disobey Yang's order (though he does say that if Sung-chan is wrong, SC will die by his own hands. I love that line and the clear respect between them when it's said), even though that means losing his job, and starts searching the premise for the Pied Piper with his team. Sung-chan calls into Dr. Moon's office to talk to Detective Lee on the phone. But the Detective flat-out tells Sung-chan that his negotiation skills will not work on him, he knows all the tricks. Not that that has ever dissuaded Sung-chan. Talking about how much a forced apology is worth (not much), he gets Lee to take off the gas mask (the effect of the Sarin is instant on him).
I am honestly so happy to have had Han around, because it wipes out that awful DotS character.
The SWAT team breaks into the control room, where they find a bunch of unconscious guys and broken electronics. But where is Soo-kyung?! 15 minutes left (from 30 given by Lee). Mr. SWAT says they'll force their way in if they haven't found him in 10 minutes. Team Leader Kong implores Sung-chan to do something, to get the Commissioner here! and it seems Sung-chan has an idea.... He tells Kong and Sergeant Jo to also go look for Soo-kyung. He shouts through the firewall that Myung-ha should get Lee to watch the TV, he will try to persuade Commissioner Yang.
Are they going to splice together old footage or something?
The debate is still gong on, and Commissioner Yang has over 70% approval rate now. Hee-sung is showing a segment where they interviewed people on the street about the Pied Piper and related issues. He also receives live intel from Soo-kyung through his headset. But now, Sung-chan gets involved: he calls his father. "I hear you're getting slaughtered without even opening your mouth", he says by way of saying hello. He wants no excuses or explanations about what happened earlier, but he wants his father's help.
I couldn't figure out how this worked. How did he get a call through to his dad during a live tv show? My minor was broadcast journalism, and we would've taken people's phones before allowing them on set. No one remembers to turn them off (horrible for live tv), but then again. I'm old. I was doing this before everyone man, woman, and child had a cell phone.
I'm sure that there is a rule, but this is Dramaworld, which has a law: Cellphones will work or not work strictly in accordance with the needs of The Drama.
I don't expect rationality in Dramaworld, but frankly, in real life, on all sets, cell phones are turned off. I learnt that in First Class, a jdorama.
In this case, his father's aid had the phone! And I guess Sung-chan was very persuasive and said it was super urgent. They were on a commercial break, remember
Assemblyman Jung puts his blue tooth set in and starts doing and saying exactly what Sung-chan tells him to say and do. Within a very short time, they have cornered Commissioner Yang. Detective Lee is not a terrorist but a police man who has lost someone due to Commissioner Yang, as he claims - shouldn't Yang at least listen to him?
If Yang weren't a spineless piece of shit...
Deeeep down in the dark scary basement, Sergeant Jo finds a notebook. And Soo-kyung. Poor little Jo has no chance against the Boxer. None. (But he puts up a good fight that little cutie patootie) Boxer has a little box with a little switch.... a kill switch. It becomes pretty clear pretty immediately that he is very much in love with his little kill switch. 
I, too, thought that Jo did pretty well for those first few seconds, considering how good our sexy Boxer is at fighting.
Such a pity such a psycho is so handsome. Feels like a waste of good looks.

Sung-chan continues to discredit an increasingly agitated Yang through his father. Time for the next phase: get Commissioner Yang out of there and to the trauma center! And his dad escalates ... by mentioning his own failing as a father and saying it's never too late to apologize. "Commissioner, go to the scene now. Tell the truth and apologize."
See? Jung knows that at a certain point, you just need to stop already. Stop what you're doing and acknowledge your mistake and take the consequences like a grown up.
Commissioner Yang lies on TV that he will... but when they go into a break, he simply calls his SWAT-team. And rips into Han for not following his orders. Inside the studio, Hee-sung gives the order to raise the volume on Commissioner Yang's mic.
And I have to say, I REALLY liked Hee-Sung here. As I said before. He's a bastard, but he's an equal opportunity bastard.
It was cool, yes.
And thus, the whole nation hears things like "is it that big of a deal to hurt a few hostages in this situation?" and "Just blame it all on the crazy police officer!" Oh wow, Hee-sung. 
Sslow clap. This was brilliant.
I cheered for Hee-sung. I was very pleased with him right here. I only hope that he is exacting in his treatment of his own misdeeds, down the road.
I love when yang comes back in and no one can look him in the eye because they are all so embarrassed for him and/or ashamed of him.
I think I would be so creeped out to be in the same room as him.
Clearly, Commissioner Yang is done for. And Detective Lee realizes that Sung-chan is right ... everybody here has scars. So he comes out - and gives Myung-ha the antidote to give to the doctor (should be atropine). He then frantically signals to Soo-kyung to open the shutter door. But nope. Soo-kyung never wanted to open no shutter doors. He wants to kill.
Soo-kyung is jealous, I think.
Of what? I thought he was just desperate to kill, like an psycho itch he had to scratch.
Luckily, Sergeant Jo has regained consciousness and manages to knock the kill switch out of the Boxer's hand seconds before he gets to release more sarin gas. He also manages to grab a walkie talkie and warn everyone to get the hell out. They continue to fight, but how long until Soo-kyung gets his finger back on that trigger? It's not looking good for Cutie Jo TT_______TT
This guy has really done a nice job with Jo, hasn't he?  He was a snitch, and yet we all have always found it very easy to like and understand him.

Upstairs, they heard the warning. Uhm, guys...... gas masks?! HEARD OF THEM?! And protective gear!!
I was very frustrated by this. At the first threat of gas, they would have brought out the masks for everyone. Readily available people. Go to the first subway station, break glass and pick one up. Get a banana milk while you're there in the machine next to it.
All this talk of gas and atropine and masks makes me remember chemical warfare training when I was a soldier and then I start thinking about calling cadence and now a particularly terrible refrain from Vietnam-era is running through my head pretty much non-stop.
They decide to finally rip down the firewall after all. And then, Sung-chan realizes something rather chilling: Soo-kyung isn't controlled by the Pied Piper at all. Or rather: he's out of control. He calls Hee-sung (who was just about to check in with Soo-kyung) and tells him that he has to say something to the Pied Piper directly. He wants to be put on air. Right now. Hee-sung doubts that this will change anything, but Sung-chan puts it this way: "He's not a simple monster. It's like he has a split personality. I believe a part of him wants to stop."
And this is the piece that has puzzled us all along about Hee-sung, really. That he does bad things, but he also does good things.
Split personality? Also, this is where I was sure Sung-chan knew Hee-sung was the Piper.
"Pied Piper, are you listening?" Sung-chan says on air. "It's over, Commissioner Yang is done". If he continues and kills people, he'll be the terrorist. People will turn against him. What about the truth? What about the ideals? Oh yes, the Pied Piper is listening... Sung-chan's plan is working. He has realized that the only one who can stop Soo-kyung is the real Pied Piper.
It's interesting how he and Soo-kyung work together, really. Hee-sung is in charge, and Soo-kyung is his right hand, and it's not that Soo-kyung wants to be the Piper, but he definitely has his own thoughts and opinions about aspects of the plan. Our Boxer is fully-realized, not just a convenient tool.
Hee-sung storms into the toilet and starts shouting at Soo-kyung to wrap things up! But Soo-kyung does not want to. People only care if someone dies. So someone must die. And then, Team Leader Kong appears in the basement. (Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!) And he has a gun. But... Soo-kyung has Sergeant Jo! Which he pushes onto Kong, which makes him lose his gun. They fight and Team Leader Kong isn't bad at all. Not bad at all!
I know when I first saw the scar he has, my first thought was, "I wonder what the other guy looks like."
Kong has been a continual surprise. I have loved that. By the way, he could have been in the 1960 Ahjussi list - and Han in the 1970 list.
I know. (Hanging my head with regret)
"Get out of there!" Hee-sung screams and Soo-kyung answers... Kong demands to know whom he's on the phone with. "Since you've found out, you're going to have to die", Soo-kyung says... and knives Kong in the stomach. Hee-sung continues to scream that he has to stop, but Soo-kyung does NOT WANT TO. He even mentions Hee-sung's name, and this time it's oh-so-deliberate.
BAD Boxer. For this, you must die.
That was kind of creepy-rebellious where he mentioned Hee-sung's name.
When Sung-chan arrives in the basement not much later, Soo-kyung flees. Team Leader Kong is gravely hurt, but he tries to tell Sung-chan everything, struggling to get sounds out, finally half-turning his head towards the head piece that Soo-kyung left behind. And Sung-chan grabs it, puts it to his ear ... and hears Hee-sung. Team Leader Kong takes one last shuddering breath after making sure that Sung-chan got it and closes his eyes. Forever.
 . . .and the tears came unbidden. I was still feeling so tense, I didn't know I'd been crying (and holding my breath) until much later during the funeral and I realized my face was already wet. I kept thinking about his newborn relationship with his son.
I was sooooo sad that this happened. He was such a good guy, such a caring person. The kind of person you are so grateful is in public service, really.
Just sucked.
I need a minute.
*pats you*

Upstairs, they are cutting open the fire door. Soo-kyung grabs a doctor's coat and is walking towards the exit ... kill switch in hand. Enjoying the moment of power he has, he walks on... and then activates the switch.
So Crazy. 
But it's a fake-out. Everybody is out. Sergeant Jo's and everybody else's grief over Team Leader Kong's death kills me a second time. I need a minute.
Sexy Boxer or no, I will kill him myself. He will just get worse, you know. Something rabid has been unleashed in him, I think.
Hee-sung pays his Boxer buddy a visit - he seems to be living in some abandoned building. Hee-sung is VERY unhappy: because of Soo-kyung's craziness, all the attention is on the murder and not on Commissioner Yang.
True that--I know that I didn't give a rats ass anymore about that lame bad guy Yang while watching this. All my satisfaction at his full public exposure was completely overshadowed by my grief. I like the way the show gets viewers to mirror what the viewers of the news show are thinking.
Yes, it's very clever. I completely forgot about Yang.
And even though the Boxer could easily beat this man to a pulp, Hee-sung has the upper hand in this relationship. He starts slapping the younger man... harder and harder, until it's a punch. Many punches. He beats him until he cries, but Soo-kyung keeps repeating that he does not know what he did wrong. Worse: he thinks he's right. "Don't do anything and stay hidden until I give you a new order", Hee-sung says as he leaves.
What did you guys think of this? I'm trying to make out why Soo-kyung is so passive here when there is no way he should have lost a fight to anyone else in this show. What emotional power does Hee-Sung have over him. SK treats our reporter like a god. 
It's probably a few things, really. Soo-kyung was lost and Hee-sung saved him. He accepted Hee-sung as his leader and has a deep respect for him despite what he considers the aberration of his affection for Myung-ha. Hee-sung gave Soo-kyung direction, focus, a mission - he has been conditioned to follow a leader, too, by his military background. Perhaps especially so because of the special forces aspect. Hee-sung's feelings about Myung-ha are distressing to Soo-kyung because they make his hero weak. It's not just jealousy - he wants to protect Hee-sung. It's not rebellion, it's love. It would take much more than this for him to raise his hands against Hee-sung.
Also, Soo-kyung is nuts. So, there's not much point to figuring him out, just to stopping him.
The day of Commissioner Yang's hearing is here. They now have not only the Newtown voice recording, but also his recent blunder from live-TV. The scumbag has no decency whatsoever though - and he tries to pin Kong's death on Sung-chan. And he has Sergeant Jo Jae-hee there to testify in his favor. (Once again, so predictable. He is just so boring and fairly slow) And testify he does... only he tells the full truth. That he was forced to spy on Sung-chan, that he was made to erase the voice recording, etc. Goodbye, Yang. You BASTARD.
I cannot believe that he still thought that Sergeant Jo would continue to lie for him. But then again, he didn't see the way that Jo sobbed by the stretcher that took Team Leader Kong's body away.
Because he cannot imagine giving up and taking his rightful punishment, he cannot imagine that anyone else would, either. He has convinced himself that he made the right choice.
Sung-chan, Choi Sung-Bum and Myung-ha are waiting outside the station for the hearing to end. When Jo sees them, his face crumbles. Bravely, he starts to say something... but Choi interrupts him: "Nevermind, Jae-hee".
"I am sorry", Jo says and cries. 
I need a minute.
The "I'm sorry" broke my heart. I needed a bunch of minutes. I actually got up and walked around. That is when I realized I had cried before and didn't know it.
It killed me. I could feel his sadness and shame and regret, but I felt their forgiveness, too. It was genuine, and it's not the first time we've seen people be so generous in this drama. In quiet, small ways, it has happened throughout - a steady counterpoint to the punishment doled out by the Piper.
You really feel as though the cops in this show are one really big family. You see it in the way Team leader Kong wanted to help Detective Lee and the way all of the cops are more sad about Detective lee than angry that he's trying to poison them. You see it in the way they responded to Myung Ha after she heard the truth about Team Leader Oh. What Sung Chan gets from them is family, something he has never really had, especially since his mother died and maybe not very much before that either.
This poor kid. And if the cops are a family to each other, then Yang is an even bigger betrayer.

We end this sad episode with Kong's funeral. Carefully, Jo Jae-hee places a green Crisis Negotiating Jacket on their Teamleader's grave.
We need another minute.
And then, flashbacks....... I'm crying.
Jesus, this episode is just as hard the second time around.
After they walk back from the grave, Hee-sung arrives with Reporter Yoon. Sung-chan stays behind and tells Hee-sung he'll catch the bastard - whatever it takes. And he will help, Hee-sung affirms - didn't Sung-chan says he's a complex one and wants to stop. 
"But I was wrong", Sung-chan says. "He is ruining my life and dragging me into this. I thought there had to be some kind of meaning. A split personality or some interesting conviction. But ... there's no such thing. The Pied Piper is a crazy murderer". 
"He must be", Hee-sung agrees.
There are always so many subtexts to their conversations.
How hard must it have been not to just bash Hee-sung's face in? And there's poor Reporter Yoon, feeling this undercurrent and having no clue at all.
Sung-chan is patient beyond belief, and that makes him awesome.

Additional Stuff

* Chairman Seo rages at his brother-in-law about not doing enough against the Piper, suspecting he is doing it deliberately, so that the Piper can kill Seo. Hold that thought. Chairman Seo then collapses. Looks like his end is nigh. 
That would be too easy show! Where is my confrontation with his son? I feel like we are owed that since they introduced that aspect of the show. And a heart attack would just not be just.
He'll probably be on a respirator and the evil BIL will try to kill him at the hospital.  I'm calling it.
It's funny because I'm much more interested in Hee-sung/Sung-chan than I am either of them with Seo, and if you think about it, we haven't had much with Sung-chan and Seo but that could have been really good, too.

*I keep wondering about Assemblyman Jung. He seems like such a nice guy! And truly sorry. Immediately ready to admit his fault in front of the camera. Immediately ready to go along with his son's plan to save people. Are we told the whole story, I wonder? Why did he abandon Sung-chan's mom with kid? I have a hard time believing it's just for "ambition".
I don't know. Was it ambition or more about being passive? Many of the students I know who really want to "do good" are also fairly wimpy people. They can organize and volunteer, but they have serious problems confronting and/or addressing any kind of serious conflict. They are adept at trying to help with big picture problems--volunteering at a shelter or a soup kitchen or habitat for humanity, etc. anything that any good person could not argue against. However, when it comes to personal matters like a roommate who keeps bringing a boyfriend over to spend the night or a mother who demands that they change their major or a girlfriend that they've dated since high school but whom they have no more interest, they cannot speak up. If they do get out of these situations, it's because they just walk away and don't discuss and they wipe it out of their minds as if it did not happen because it is easier. I can so see Sung-chan's mom playing the noble idiot and disappearing for a bit, and Assemblyman Jung just walking away. I'm not excusing his behavior, but I've seen this pattern. He is a coward but not evil.
I'll go with Trot's explanation. I also think Sung-chan's mum was an idiot and not at all noble for letting her kid suffer and herself die like that.
I think Trot has hit the nail on the head - this guy thought he had a calling and that he couldn't have that and his family, both. I'm sure he saw it as a noble sacrifice, and I'm equally sure she was convinced of that, too.

* Sung-chan's negotiation strategy was masterfully done. 
Applauding at the memory
He is our guy for a reason. Smart is sexy. Sexy is sexy, too.

* I don't fully understand why the writer took his liberties with the Sarin thing. To make it more dramatic? It wouldn't even have been necessary. He could have made Dr. Moon foam (which you do if you inhale Sarin), that would have been dramatic too. As I mentioned in the comments section of episode 11, Detective Lee should have immediately been poisoned too, because his skin got exposed. A gas mask alone isn't sufficient. Why Myung-ha showed no signs at all even after going into the contaminated room I don't understand. 
Okay, I thought I'd missed something with Myung-ha having zero effect from that gas.
Perhaps the writer doesn't understand that EVERYONE has google fu. 

* Sergeant Jo broke my heart. 
Absolutely, but also a weird sense of relief because I fully expected him to sacrifice his life to make up for it. Kong died, instead. Better and worse, I guess.

* The little detail with the green jacket on the grave broke it again.
Tears and snot. 
Why are you doing this?

* Teamleader Kong was such a sweetheart TT____________________TT
Tears, snot, and wheezing.
Sobbing more.
Damn you.


For the first time in this drama, the tables are turned. Sung-chan knows something Hee-sung does not know: That Sung-chan knows he's behind it all. The very last scene is loaded with tension because what Sung-chan is saying is this: "I will bring you down. You dragged me into this. I don't care about your convictions. I don't care that there is someone even crazier working for you. This is ON YOU." Hee-sung on the other hand has realized that Soo-kyung has become a huge liability. A guy who wants to kill, who will kill again if he gets the chance. What he is telling Sung-chan is this: "Soo-kyung is a crazy murderer. I am not. I will help you bring down Soo-kyung, whom people think is the Pied Piper."
That was my thought throughout this episode: Sung-chan knows. And I think he suspected well before, back to when he was getting friendly with Hee-sung.
We did the mis-translation thing yes? That's when he knew, although 100% confirmation came with the head set. He suspected before, and I'm never quite sure how much.
I think Sung-chan knows he needs proof. He suspected a long time ago, but he couldn't be quite sure. Now he is sure

Hee-sung losing control like this is scary. He is crazy himself, but of the controlled sort. A guy who - for whatever reason - is obsessed with "the truth", who wants to end corruption and free the frogs. Those are noble motives (even if the means he uses are still wrong) and it makes him one of those villains we cannot just hate. All the more so because part of what he says and does rings so true. (and what he does to Commissioner Kang is perfect!) Along comes this other guy, whom he recruits to his cause, believing he would see things the same way. But oh no. Not at all. Maybe he doesn't know about his "special forces" interlude or the guy he killed but wasn't he there?), but Soo-kyung is highly unstable. He clearly is psychotic. Stark, raving bonkers. Hee-sung should have realized. So yes, this death? It is on him. How dare he turn up at the funeral like that.
I couldn't figure out what the point was. Does he go to every funeral? But then I thought, "He is so full of himself." Of course, he has to go because he needs to show how he is on "their team" because he is reveling in his "I'm the real good guy here." Look at me, I'm the only person telling the truth. I'm the only person taking care of victims. I'm such a good guy. 
Yes, I think that's exactly it. Plus, I genuinely think he's sorry that Kong died.
Hubris. I think it's Hee-sung's big, big weakness. 
He doesn't realize he's the most boiled frog of all.
I wonder if he tastes like chicken.