Pied Piper 피리부는 사나이 - Episode 6 (Recap)

This episode is centered on Myung-ha, who is going through an existential crisis that brings her right to the point where she wants to quit being a negotiator. By extension, this episode also is about Sung-chan and his feelings towards Myung-ha. Relationship status: it's complicated.
Trotwood (entering conversation six episodes late): I would say the episode is about Sung-Chan and his feeling in general, which Myung-ha's personality and position put into relief.
JoAnne: Trot! Keep a safe distance from HaKyun, Kakashi is getting a little scary.
Thanks for the warning. I'm not messing with her. She has interpol connections.
Jaehyus: But I like Shin Ha Kyun too...

Episode 6

Myung-ha visits a therapist at a trauma center ... it is someone she knows well, a very good friend of her foster father, and someone who has treated her in the past. The stress of the negotiation, the fire during the last incident ... and the irksome man she has to deal with on a daily basis are troubling her deeply. The worst: Myung-ha has started to doubt her own abilities. What if she is in fact hurting the people she wants to help?
I thought this was awkward only because I felt like the writers acted as if we knew all of this back story already when introducing the therapist character.
Does she somehow have this irrational idea that if she does negotiation 'right' they will get to walk away without any consequences because they were only acting out as a response to what was done to them? That's just stupid. No cop in the world would think that. No sentient being would think that. PLANTS probably don't think that.
I believe she does have that idea somewhere in her subconscious.
At the police station, Reporter Noh has confessed to everything the Piper did and claims to be the man himself.
They didn't seem to really test him on this though. They didn't show the police asking him questions only the real Pied Piper would know but seemed to be giving him all the information and him just saying "yes." Do they really believe him? Or do they just want to believe him? None of us believe him even before Sung Chan comes in.
Life handed them lemonade...why try to turn it back into a lemon?
Reporter Noh just isn't fabulous enough to be the Pied Piper.

Sung-chan tries to find out why, but Noh only babbles about boiling frogs (you do that by slowly increasing the temperature of the water so that they don't realize they're being cooked and stay in there), about how Korea is the pot, the disadvantaged are the frogs, while people like Sung-chan are the ones doing the boiling. What the poor people need to do is to break the pot - and to do that, they need the Pied Piper. 
(whispering--cult. cult.cult.)
It's one of my favorite little folksie bits, the boiling frogs. I really want to know if it's true, but I don't want to have to boil a poor frog to do it.
I'm pretty sure the frog will jump out.
Hee-sung and Sung-chan continue puzzling over the Pied Piper's plan and how the incidents are connected. Hee-sung: "The common denominator is that he failed every time" in trying to reveal some kind of hidden truth (the confession in the Philippines' case, the message on the voice recorder, and the secret files). It also seems clear to them that all incidents are linked to Chairman Seo/ K-Group (the voice recorder thing via Chief Yang, whom they know to be in Seo's pocket). Well done, boys! And now, let's go dig deeper.
The common denominator is that they all failed? That's not a denominator. I don't think. Unless he always intends to fail for some reason.
I'm really trying to figure out this relationship. I know they shook hands and all, but the content of their conversation represents a relationship level that we know they really don't have. They seem to barely tolerate each other on personal level. Every time I see them having a confab, I find it jarring. I think I'm supposed to.
They do not like or trust each other at all. It's very tense whenever they're together.
Hee-sung, who? Kidding, kidding. I reccognize the name.
The next crisis is brewing: there's a couple who is attempting suicide together. Or rather... she has decided they will do suicide together, he seems less inclined. Myung-ha rushes there, solo. Turns out the girl is a victim of repeated date rape, seeing no way out but to kill herself (and him). But Myung-ha does well: Being honest about her own feelings and empathizing like crazy, she gets the weary woman to open the door for her to be apprehended. Sung-chang witnesses this, quietly, and unnoticed by Myung-ha.
I love how he shows up all ready to intervene but watches her and clearly decides that she can do it herself. It is that level of confidence in her that I think is really getting to him. I get the feeling that he has not really had that level of confidence in anyone else except himself.
Yes, I agree. I like how he's willing to observe and then acknowledge when something works, even when it is not the way he thinks it should be done. I think he's coming to a feeling that there are times when her way is really the best approach, and there are times when his way is.
Myung-ha did a good job. And I felt awful for the woman in this. Really, really bad for her.
The woman (her name is Joon-hee) is charged with attempted murder. This ain't pretty and it doesn't look good for her. She also tries to bite off her own tongue while in the holding cell and almost bites off Myung-ha's fingers, who puts them in the woman's mouth to stop her from chewing her tongue off. Talk about desperate... the whole thing very much affects Myung-ha.
The whole thing very much affected me!
Me, too. The poor girl is so despairing.
You'd think she'd be put into a psych ward considering her blatant trauma.
Sung-chan wanders into the Negotiator office, I think in search of Myung-ha, but only Choi is there. There's a rumor on the internet and it involved the countdown on the Underground page. Only... it has stopped at 03:01:25. Yup... 3125. Sung-chan notices something else: the background picture on the page is from that clip the Pied Piper used at the TV station. 
This should provide confirmation that Pied Pier isn't Reporter Noh, right?
Why? I mean, we can assume it's not him and that he's another of the Piper Minions, but why this as proof, particularly? (In other words, what am I forgetting?) 
I was just thinking that he couldn't have that kind of access since he's now locked up, but I guess it could've been pre-programmed.
Myung-ha comes in, lost in thought, looking exhausted and depressed. Sung-chan saunters over and attempts to talk to her (about her foster father), but she cuts him off. It's generally awkward (he seems to think about what else to say--interesting for a negotiator who is never at a loss for words) but then, Teamleader Kong comes in and announces they'll have a team dinner.
Team leader Kong was presented to us as a lazy, tired, braggart who just wanted to calmly live out the rest of his days on the force until retirement, but I've come to like his layers. He clearly notices the awkwardness and despair in the room, so he decides based on that to have some team bonding. He even volunteers to pay for it himself, and he does not strike me as someone who is always buying other people drinks.Then he takes care of the BBQ like the dad.
Yes, I like him a little more every episode. He's not a caricature, which I expected him to be.
He resolved a big issue with his son, and he's probably happy to be more involved with work now.

The men are having fun, even Sung-chan is seen to smile broadly, and Kong gets them all to call him hyungnim, but Myung-ha is just listless. Sung-chan, clearly the least drunk, glances at her again and again. Awww, he is worried.
He doesn't seem to be drinking soju only beer.
Look at his worried elf face.
Imp! :-)
All of a sudden, she rushes out ... she needs to throw up. Sung-chan follows her and tries to be ... supportive, I guess. She quite vehemently doesn't want him near her. It's clear to her that his attempts to empathize simply mean he wants something from her. Well ... yeah, that's not untrue. He wants info on Team Leader Oh to catch the Piper. She, on the other hand, is so disillusioned, she now thinks negotiation is a problem rather than a solution. She thinks it's her fault that the abused woman will most likely end up in prison. Sung-chan doesn't know what to say when she bursts into tears. That doesn't happen often to him, but often with her. 
I thought his really physically awkward patting on the back was funny. He reminded me of Wallace Huo's character in Love Me if You Dare offering the female lead candy when she thought her friend had died. Clearly these men do not know what to do with personal tears.
So it would be better that she let the woman die than go to prison, is that what she thinks? What did she think would happen when she talked her off the metaphorical ledge? Everyone would just pat her on the shoulder and say 'oh, you've had a hard time, so we'll look the other way?'
Yeah. I didn't get this either. I understand that she is sad about the situation, but thinking she should have just left it? That would've been two dead bodies on her hands with one--the horrid, entitled rapist dying thinking HE is a victim, which is way too good for him.
Myung-ha is too caught up in her own emotions again.  
It's the day of the trial and Myung-ha is there, looking outright depressed. The female TNN reporter also comes into the courtoom, claiming it's just out of curiosity (hmmm...She was way too perky for the situation. I was waiting for her to take a box of snacks out of her bag like she was at a show) (another minion, just not active yet?) (She's working on a story and working her way up the career ladder. Of course she's happy.) The Rapist is an expert liar. The prosecutor (cameo by Lee Moo-Saeng--another one of my favorite secretaries!-- and many others in that courtroom!) a smooth asshole. The defense calls a witness ... it's Myung-ha. She tries to establish that it was clearly a suicide scene she found, not a murder scene, but the mean prosecutor turns the abused woman into a liar: Would she not have severed the relationship if he had really raped her? 
I will try not to rant about this scene. It was good and was supposed to make us all mad. But it was clear that neither he nor the jurors have ever read anything at all about rape victims--not new research but research that has been coming out for the last 20 years.
I want to grind glass into that man's smug disgusting face.
Unfortunately, in my fortunately-far-far-less-than-this personal experience, the man somehow always gets sympathy. It's nasty.
Meanwhile, Sung-chan finds out that Team Leader Oh used to be Riot Police. But why did he quit? In search of the truth, he goes to see the therapist we saw in the beginning, because she is known to have been Oh's close college friend (did he study psychology?). The woman knows of Oh's pen recorder, but not what was on the one he locked in the safety deposit. She also knows that Oh quit the Riot Police because of Myung-ha, whom he adopted and wanted to "heal" (why he did that we don't know though).
She has that sort of face. Maybe for older men, they want to heal her. Me, I want to shake her and tell her to shower.
When the therapist tries to talk about Myung-ha, Sung-chan changes the subject. Several times. That does not go unnoticed, of course, and the therapist takes it as an opportunity to analyze this guy (whom she seems curious about. I think it's because she really likes Myung-ha and she has realized that this dude plays some important role in her life right now). She says he is quite good at pretending to listen, but truly skilled at selective hearing. And she diagnoses him to have a habit of running away and suspects that he keeps people at arm length because he can't help but get emotionally involved once he gets to know them better. He says: "I won't deny it". 
I actually really like this scene even though I can't put my finger on why I'm bothered by the therapist (I don't know if it the actress or the character). She is a professional psychologist, so I don't know why he is surprised that she can read him the way he can read other people. She is also not afraid to call him out on his behavior (another professional skill).
She goes right on my Piper list, which is currently Hee Sung, her, and Seo's son..although I'm not really sure how a teenager could pull this off.
Rich evil teenagers just can. Haven't you seen Gossip Girl?
She continues to guess that he was deprived of parental love, most likely of his father's. She also starts to speak of his guilt towards his dead girlfriend, at which point he walks away, very discomforted. But he stops short when she says: "In truth, don't you want to take care of Myung-ha?" Deny it all you want, we don't buy it, darling :)
Awkward is always cute on a good looking man.
He is fuming about this "quack" in his car when Hee-sung calls him - to tell him Myung-ha is at the trial, as witness, and being cornered. His reporter (spy?) has given him the intel. It's Hee-sung's good guess that the situation is so bad, Myung-ha will quit the Negotiation Team after the trial. And for whatever dodgy reason, he does not want that.
Yup, he's dodgy at best. He also seems to think that this would really matter to Sung Chan. More evidence, Sung Chan, that people are on to you!
It has to be him. It just does.
Well, Sung-chan also does not want that, it seems, so he rushes to the court, makes quite the dramatic entrance and immediately uses his silver tongue to be allowed as witness even though the trial is quasi over. The Prosecutor still claims that Joon-hee didn't fight enough for it considered to be rape - he uses a bottle and a pen to prove that you won't get a pen into a bottle if the bottle wiggles hard enough. This amuses everyone greatly, except for Myung-ha and Sung-chan, who looks utterly disgusted.
Anyone with a soul would be utterly disgusted. (trying hard not to rant at a fictional character)
That was shockingly grotesque. I gasped out loud at the imagery, the little smile on that pig's face, the chuckles from the audience.
I was shocked at people assuming a woman could always resist rape.
When it's his turn, Sung-chan smashes the bottle on the ground, then picks up the top bit that is still intact... and then smashes the pen into that fragment in front of Joon-hee. "This is date rape", he says.
There was a part of me that wondered if that man believed his version of events - for the relationship up to the point that she reported him as a rapist. Mostly in the context of wondering if if this was his first inkling of the damage he had actually done.
And he then talks to the jury about how date rape victims who are regularly beaten and violated instinctively react to clues of impeding violence and comply. Wow, he is seriously going all out in this... (he clearly has read all that research that has been happening for twenty years about rape and domestic violence. At least somebody in the room has) The scumbag Rapist demands to see evidence, and evidence we get to see... (I love how the jerk prosecutor warns him not to come forward, but he is so cocky that he is going to win that he comes anyway, acting like he knows more than the lawyer) Sung-chan calls him out towards him and quickly slams him on the table in front of Joon-hee, who reacts instinctively, cowering down in utter terror.
So I guess the answer to my question above is a no, then. (Side note: I recognize this actor, but can't recall from where, and have a feeling that the role would have been small enough that it would be difficult to track back to. Anyone know him?)
Because of his stellar performance, Joon-hee only gets a very light sentence. Sung-chan is visibly pleased with himself (he's so cuuuuute when he smiles <3).
She needs a protective order, though. Without it, that rapist, who will definitely stalk and harass her again (because he's crazy and crazies like this won't stop) and cause a ruckus that will likely land her in jail unless there is a clear court order telling him stay away or go to jail. She needs an order like that to back her up when he comes after her again.
He also confronts Myung-ha about whether she is still debating about staying on the team. She doesn't even seem to realize that he understands that she was debating, but then remembers back to her drunk conversation with him.
Thanks to his deduction skills, he is also quite certain what was on the pen recorder. Team Leader Oh opened the safety deposit box a few months after the Newtown incident and quit Riot Control. He wasn't at Newtown himself, Myung-ha thinks, but now-Chief Yang was. It seems that Oh had evidence that Yang received the order from Chairman Seo to go in with force. Indeed: Newtown is the missing link to connect all the Pied Piper deeds to K-Group.
Sometimes I forget that the structure of a story will give us information that the participants in the story won't have. I had a hard time not going 'DUH' here until I remembered that.
They get Choi to do some hacking to find out who the owner of Underground is.(I love how she uses her negotiator skills here, but also the only time she does a "girly" thing--"Oh Choi, we asked you because ONLY you can do it" batting eyelash. He respond to her immediately, probably because he has never seen her do cute. She and Sung-chan smile at each other like the conspirators that they are behind his back) The owner isn't noname 3125, but someone else ... who has just posted a message saying "Pied Piper, I want to help you". There's a name tag in a picture... someone "Joon". and BAM, Sung-chan knows who the owner of Underground: Seo Joon. The Chairman's only son. What the foogeddifugg.
Okay, now my list is down to two: Hee-sung and the therapist. I know Kakashi is convinced it walks and talks like a man, but I'm not so sure. I think the fact that the Piper has to use others for the difficult physical work makes a good argument for it being a woman.
I was impressed Sung-Chan could just figure out it was Seo Joon.
They track his cell phone (I assume), which leads them to the Han river, where our little Seo Joon sits and waits until his contact shows up... a man appears, sits down and ... it's Hee-sung. Damn.
I still don't think he is Pied Piper. He's shady. I don't trust him, but I don't think he's Pied Piper.
Damn. It's too early to reveal him as the Piper, so now what, JoAnne? Put all your eggs in the therapist basket? I don't feel certain enough about her to do that.

Other Bits and Piece

* how did anybody know about the suicide/murder attempt? Did Joon-hee call it in?
I'm guessing neighbors called it in as a noise disturbance; there'd been drinking, probably arguing, maybe he was hitting her and she decided today was the day.

* Teamleader Kong shows them his scar at the restaurant. It seems that a guy called Sang-shik or Sam-shik did it? Who is that?
He keeps talking about this, so now I want to know if this is going to be important later.
Sam-shik is a very old fashioned name. It means third son, and I think usually these days when people call someone Sam-shik they're insulting them. Of course, it could be the guy's actual name

* Teamleader Oh's nickname in the Riot Police was Tiger. Rawr.
I love Sung Dong Il and his crumply ahjussi face. But look at his flower boy youth!
He has a little son who is totally growing up into this. Also named Joon.
Yup, I would've majorly had a crush on him! And dimples, too?
* It's confirmed that there is a copy of the files that were burnt in episode 5. In digital form! They are on a specially secured server, Press Director Lee claims. While snooping around in his dad's office, Seo Joon becomes aware of the login site. With the username admin2711, he tries several passwords. In vain.
What is the deal with these kids?
Disaffected youth. Corrupt establishment represented by their powerful parents.
Oh, is that what he was up to?

* Chief Yang has planted a mole to shadow Sung-chan's moves. Hmmm..... who could it be?
I'm glad to know that Sung-Chan already knows that there is a mole. It is interesting that he declared it out loud at the briefing. I always wondered why they don't do this more often in these shows. Why not tell everyone that everyone is suspect? Yes, it puts the mole on guard, but it also puts everyone else on guard, too. The percentages would seem to work in the good guys favor.

* How does Sung-chan know so much about the psychology of date rape?
Like I said, this is not new information. It is old news but not something that is often shared. I have to do training in responsible employee protocol which covers some of these things. We have to do workshops all the time on campuses. Anyone who has worked with young women and men in trauma on university campuses knows this stuff. Anyone is a trauma unit would know this. Geeze. Anyone who has ever watched more than one episode of Law and Order: Special Victims unit would know this. That's why I found the jury's response so appalling. 
A lot of what he did in that courtroom was acting (over-the-top acting at that), but it was not all fake. He did seem to care.
I don't think he ever hasn't cared, but he sets his feelings aside.

Comments and Reflections

Let's start at the end. Are we surprised? Well, YEAH! That Chairman Seo's son is the owner of this activists website is indeed a big surprise to me and begs the question: how much does he know? I guess much more than we were led to believe. But how much does Brother-in-Law Kang know about Seo-joon and what he knows? Not too much, I hope, because of all the bad guys, Kang is the one I'd be most afraid of.
Yeah. There are way too many sides that he is playing against each other (and being successful at it so far) for my liking. I wonder what Seo-joon angle is.
I am very certain that Kang isn't the Piper, at least. Justice/punishment doesn't seem to be his interest.
Plus, Kang seems cunning, but not smart.

Does Hee-sung's presence there mean he is the Pied Piper? Of course not. It could mean anything, but it certainly does not help with my overall suspicions towards him. UTTERLY untrustworthy, this dude. Did he plant his female reporter next to Myung-ha? If yes, why? Or is she acting on somebody else's behalf?
I wonder about her, too. She seems awfully spritely for someone who almost had a bullet put through her head.
I didn't really wonder until you mentioned it. On my own, I just thought she seemed really intrigued by Myung Ha.  Which sounds suspicious but I meant in a 'oh look, a peer, also capable at her job' kind of way.
I think someone who works crime news for a living has to have a really thick skin. I couldn't do it, but there are people who'll say, "I'm okay, I survived this, next!"

It seems that Myung-ha's existential crisis is over, at least for now. Sung-chan's performance at the trial served several purposes and it all turned out perfectly (no wonder he looked so pleased). First, but not most importantly, he made sure this woman would not rot in prison for 8 years for a desperate and overall "defensive" act. Second, he spoke about Myung-ha's abilities in front of everyone and made it sound like heroism. He talks about how it's their jobs as negotiators to save people ... what comes afterwards, like this trial, has no relation to what they do (are you listening, Myung-ha?).  "Even if you can't change the world, you saved one person", he tells her. Their work isn't meaningless. Third, he wants to gain Myung-ha's trust again. Or is it that he does not want to look bad in front of her, cannot bear that she thinks so badly of him? Not sure.
I'm checking "all of the above" for this one.
Me too.
I wish she'd shower.

But why does this woman mean something to him? We are not given many clues on this. I found it interesting that Hee-sung knew quite well how to get Sung-chan to that courtroom: by mentioning that Myung-ha was about to cut all ties and leave negotiating forever. Why does Sung-chan care? He does not really need her to do the negotiations. Or has he in fact realized that he does? That she possesses abilities he does not possess? That sometimes, true empathizing and "understanding" is needed for success? His quiet observation of her actions in front of Joon-hee's apartment could be an indication for that.
I'll repeat briefly what I said above. I think he has come to respect her--her ability and her desire. She does not negotiate the way he does, but that doesn't mean that she isn't effective. He has seen her be effective again and again. I think he also--after reading the notebook--respects Team Leader Oh and that she is really training under him and with his methods. He also understands the kind of turmoil those methods cause, which is why he does not use them himself. Meaning he likes her, not necessarily romantically (yet) but he really does like her as a person. I get the feeling that the only other person he ever really liked was his girlfriend.
I forget when it is. It might be later, but someone says 'aren't you going to save her, the way you couldn't save your girlfriend?' I think he sees helping Myung Ha as redemptive.
Also, I guess he just got used to her being around and working, to the extent she does anything, with him.

We do get some other clues about him. It was a very clever move by the writer to bring in that therapist. She mainly does psychological exposition for us, but it's well packaged and delivered. Wanna bet she's 100% right about what "issues" Sung-chan has? If he was indeed deprived of fatherly love, his ability to develop serious relationships with others are stunted. He is afraid to open up to others because he does not want to get hurt - and he does not want others to open up to him, because he is, in truth, a deeply emotional and caring human being, and he fears he'll start caring too much.(which for him means that he won't be able to do his job because that has never been his method)
Plus it would be cool if she turns out to be the Piper. I know she's supposed to be Oh's long time friend but what if she grew to hate him over Newtown, for some reason? 
Wow. I did not think of this at. all. I'm impressed.

If the therapist is right, and he in fact wants to "take care of Myung-ha", what does that mean? It was suggested by one of you guys that they are having a teacher-pupil relationship, but this is way more imo. I'm not saying romantic feelings, but I'm saying that both these adults are quite strongly affected by the other. Both are not clear about what that means for them (and for the team around them, who has started to notice). Wanting to take care of someone is quite a strong emotion. It's what parents feel. Or lovers. 
Myung Ha is a living example of what his 'cost/benefit analysis' style of negotiation leaves in its wake. His second example in recent history, with the first being the situation that killed his girlfriend. That started him on a path that led him to Myung Ha, who has proven likable and decent. Then he learns why Myung Ha is so intent on negotiation as a tool to save people, and it rocks him because this is the second person he genuinely cares about who has been seriously hurt by his actions. He would have a deep investment in making sure Myung Ha is okay even if he didn't like her, and he does like her
I've a feeling this is a translation issue.

A small petty thing: I really want Myung Ha to brush her hair or get a hair cut to take care of her ends or something. I understand she's a cop and doesn't care about her looks. I've been known to go grocery shopping in slippers and sweat pants. However, she looked positively disheveled at the hearing in ep 5 (like she put on her dress uniform and then got in a fight she barely won) and then here at court she also looks like she couldn't be bothered. She stands out not because she is woman with bad hair but because every other person--man, woman, child, would-be terrorist or bank robber--has better looking/better managed hair than she does.

Leads on the Pied Piper

Nobody believes that Noh is the Pied Piper. He is still out there, planning the next stunt.

Our protagonists are now sure: The Pied Piper is related to the Newtown incident, which happened on January 25th, 2003 (3125 / 03:01:25). It could be a victim or a family member of one.
It could also be someone who was there who was disgusted by how it was handled or by their part in handling it. So: cop, emergency medical, media, employee of K-Corp.
Maybe this is the Piper: