Pied Piper 피리부는 사나이 - Episode 8 (Recap)

Crisis! Things ain't pretty and there is no end in sight. The Pied Piper is revealed but of course we cannot be sure it's truly him, data is stolen and leaked, Sung-chan gets a very bad beating and in the end, they still have nothing.
I like the fact that he isn't a good fighter. In too many shows, it makes it seem as though every man in Korea has had major taekwondo/street fighting lessons.
Koreans stereotype themselves?  
Like this? 
A Regular Korean Dude

Episode 8

The power is out at the TV station, the broadcast is cut off, but no shots are fired. Sung-chan cannot know that, so he panics. Frantically, he calls Myung-ha, begging her to pick up. Well, she's alive, but shaken - and when she finally does pick up, Sung-chan shouts at her to pick up more quickly when somebody calls. Aww. Cutie. In the meantime, SWAT-leader Han has found the weapon, but not our perpetrator. Who, for the record, walks leisurely around in the blackout confusion... at the STATION. Sonofabish.
He is quite good and quite calm. Something that only occurs if you think you are completely in the right. But who thinks like that? Crazy people, that's who.
People who know that bringing attention to themselves won't win them any prizes. Not that walking around in the Healer Ninja uniform would be exactly normal in an office setting.
I was right, this Pied Piper, such as he is, is a pompous, self-righteous git.
Sung-chan realizes that Hee-sung's phone is still connected and he screams profanities at the Piper ... who answers him calmly. He asks whether they are ready to pay the price for not following his orders and going off the air. Not a lot of time remains, he says. Oh shit... the countdown. It's still activated! All of a sudden, Sung-chan realizes that they have been dooped. Targeting Reporter Yoon was just a diversion. His real target has been the TV station all along - and the bastard was able to walk right in, cause no power? No security systems. 
In the words of my people: 'At is one wicked smaht boy, theyah'. (Trot will confirm the accent.)
Oupsie. Jung Soo-kyung is in the server room. That is NEVER good. He sets up a bomb-rigged laptop, does a bit of fast hacking, and waits while the bomb goes live.
But he's not just doing that. I remember thinking, that is a lot of stuff for just a bomb. He is downloading material here as well.
Thai lakorns - he can't get that kind of speed at home.
32 something minutes remain. Sung-chan, who has realized the Piper must be going for the copy of the secret data, tries to reason with Press Director Lee to turn the lights back on and tell them where it stored, but the guy is both totally incompetent and scared. Sung-chan runs off himself. And look who tips him off where to go! It's Seo Joon who saw how his father immediately connected to something online (which, by the way, means that The Pied Piper now knows exactly where to find the files he is looking for). Sung-chan rushes to the server room as the lights come back on.
I forget why Seo Joon helps here, since he'd want the info to be shared... I think it was the bomb business, he doesn't want people actually hurt.
Yes, and, next time, he shouldn't waste time being curious about crazy anarchists.

Downstairs, the SWAT-team and the crisis negotiators arrive. The SWAT guys evacuate the building and start searching for the bomb they suspect must be there. Not much later, Sung-chan finds Jung Soo-kyung, who has left the server room. Quickly, he catches up with him .. and whistles the Piper song, making the younger man stop.
Two crazy ass smiles, there.
Love, love, love Shin HaKyun's smile!  
You know when you see them smiling at each other like that out of context, you could almost think that they are both nice guys, fast friends who haven't seen each other for a long time. Then you remember. Then you realize. They are both crazy AF.
Hahahahahaha! But you're right.

Jung Soo-kyung cooly removes his face mask and tells Sung-chan he better get out ... there's a bomb in the building about to explode. And then, he runs. Sung-chan sprints after him (and we already know he's a good runner) and indeed manages to catch up and topple him over. Only... Soo-kyung might have an injured leg, but damn, did you forget he is a boxing champion?! He hits where it hurts. 7 minutes left. Sung-chan tries to negotiate with this crazy dude, even offering him his help, but it's so obvious Soo-kyung is too far down his path of destruction to give a damn.
I have to admit that I really enjoyed watching this fight - whoever this actor is, I think he has actual boxing experience because he was soooo clean. But I didn't like it as Sung-chan got progressively bloodier, of course.
Those boxing moves were totally cool! Sung-chan had quite the getting-hit tolerance.
Sung-chan won't stop talking though, because talk is what he does best, now mentioning Myung-ha and the way she chose to deal with the injustice in her life, but Soo-kyung only has contempt for this: he suggests Sung-chan should go rescue her if he cares or else, let her die, like he let his girlfriend die back then. Enraged, Sung-chan attacks, landing zero punches, but getting the beating of his life. But he's sure tenacious. Already bleeding from several wounds on his face, he crawls up to Soo-kyung and hangs onto him. Even after more beating.
He just does not quit. I find that level of physical dedication to a task... interesting. A thought occurred to me here just now, though. Contempt? Did he not say that only those who cannot punish may forgive? Isn't Myung-Ha the embodiment o... oh shit. What if she's the Piper? (no way, I'm just messing with you.) But seriously. Unless he thinks that her being a cop gives her power to punish, which yeah, that makes sense... but why would you be contemptuous of that? Doesn't he think that of all people, she has the right to punish?
This was a prime hold-and-squeeze move Sung-chan could've done right there. 
Somewhere else in the building, the SWAT-team finds the bombs (there are two). The specialists are too far away so that our Team Leader Han takes matters into his own hands. Only... he is not at all a bomb specialist. 5:57 minutes remaining. 
Team Leader Han became my favorite character in this episode. You know I have a fondness for the SWAT team, but the way he lied to the rest to get them out. The way his second in command called him on the lie. The way he called his wife. The way he wished he hadn't fallen asleep in bomb class. It was a character win all over. 
I am so very happy to see this particular actor in this particular role because I recently watched him in another role where he was a despicable shit stain on the panties of humanity and I wanted to boil him away with maximum heat and roiling (The drama that shall not be named! Noooo!). And that was distressing because I generally enjoy this actor and I was having physical reactions to him - no, not the good kind, a very bad kind.
Detective Han was so brave! What a warrior!
Sung-chan is still hanging on to Soo-kyung, who seems to realize that time is running out. But Sung-chan, now a bloody pulp, has an additional idea how to stall him - he rams his car key into the younger man's foot ... and then hangs on again. If he needs to die, then he will at least take this scumbag with him. So foolish. And yet so brave.
That would be my attitude, too. If I'm going down, I'm going to make sure the terrible terrorist is going down with me.
One might call it the commuter lane to hell. Two commuters required.
That was a good move. At least he didn't just take being beaten. 
SWAT-Team Leader Han is facing the often shown but always nerve-wracking bomb question: which wire do I cut? He successfully defuses one... and now we're down to 2 minutes and a few seconds. And then, Team Leader Han calls his wife... the dispatch lady. (I like her a lot, too. However, I am VERY glad that I did NOT know it was her when I was watching this. The fact that he is married to her makes me love him even more.) (We learned they were married several episodes ago, when she first appeared...stop staring at Sung-chan's ass, Trot.) Not letting on that he is most likely going to be pulverized in a few seconds, he starts chatting with her about vacation and lingerie to buy for her. What kind of color would she want? She has a choice between red and yellow (I was screaming: HURRY UP!!!!). She chooses red. We're down to 30 seconds. He takes a looooong time to decide what to do but FINALLY cuts the red wire. The clock stops at 2 seconds and 23 milliseconds.
I'm so happy he's not dead. Who would wear YELLOW lingerie? How is yellow sexy?
Answer: in no way is yellow sexy.
Soo-kyung, who is still trying to shake Sung-chan off, realizes that part of his plan has failed and screams in anger and in frustration. Actually, he almost cries. What a psycho. I laughed.  Well, but he got something else... the secret files. The download is complete and pretty instantly, he dumps the files on the Internet for everybody to see. Then, he walks away, leaving Sung-chan lying there, where the rest of the team finds him.
He messed that man UP. Look at him! (I like the Boxer. I mean, the actor. He kind of reminds me of a Moony, but with balls. Moony eventually grows some, yes. This guy has them right away.)
The actor is handsome with just the right amount of emoting. He doesn't overdo it.
Next, we see a patched-up Sung-chan getting drunk on soju. Alone. He looks defeated. When he wants to leave, one of the guys in the restaurant recognizes him as "that negotiator" from the Philippines and thinks he has a right to voice his opinion on the matter. Sung-chan - who is drunk, but not drunk enough - is trying to argue, as he has before, that sacrificing one person to save the lives of four is the right thing to do, but the other drunk says that he should have sacrificed himself instead. Ouch. And that after hearing the Psycho say he should just let another woman die, like it's his habit.
I was actually really annoyed with that guy. Don't criticize or complain unless your are going to do something yourself. He never answered Sung-Chan's question. If he thinks that Sung Chan should have sacrificed himself, then his answer should have been, "I would have sacrificed myself," but don't go around telling other people that they should be sacrificing themselves while you are out having soju.
But that was the answer to the question. Sung-chan presented it like there were only two options: the old lady, or everyone else. For Sung-chan there has only ever been the two options. The guy's response is that there is a THIRD option (and by implication, the one he believes is right, therefore, the one he'd choose.) It was very clear Sung-chan had no clue that third option even existed until that moment. It's important here for us as we poke around among the differences between Sung-chan and the Piper, I think, because in Sung-chan's story, he positions himself as a god moving people around; Bar Guy tells him no, dude - get in here with us. Sung-chan's face makes me think that he'll choose that option. I don't think the Piper ever will.
Maybe Sung-chan lacks some empathy, hmmm.
In the meantime, his colleagues are doing post-crisis stuff when Sergeant Jo finds ... the files that were erased from the voice recorder. It's a conversation between then Riot Control Commander Oh and the now Chief Yang, like Sung-chan suspected ... and it proves without a doubt that Oh knew everything about the order to use force and in fact, was there himself to deliver it (despite some clearly voiced misgivings about the matter.)
Oh, shit.
Naturally, this is a huge shock and blow to Myung-ha, who has been under the impression that her foster father did not know and was not there. The team activates Sung-chan who rushes to the place she lives. She is on the roof, standing close to the ledge ... and not for the first time. It was from this exact same spot that Team Leader Oh saved her, about a year after he had adopted her. It was that night that she became dead set on becoming a negotiator herself.
She does tend to go to extremes, Myung-Ha. With empathy, with sadness, with disregard for proper hair care... what next? (Should we just call her Myung- Ha(rnets nest?) No, that won't play for anyone but maybe me and Trot.
Maybe she's a bit crazy too.
It does not look like she really wanted to kill herself (Sung-chan gets awfully worried for a second though), she is just reminiscing. On a ledge? That's nuts. It's very sweet how Sung-chan tries to convince her of that fact that Team Leader Oh tried to do the right thing, which means go to the media about his knowledge of K-Groups involvement through bribes, and probably just missed the opportunity to tell her. In a later scene, we hear from the therapist-friend that it was her who counseled Oh against telling Myung-ha, because she was still struggling so badly.
I'm really glad they quickly eliminated the suicide threat here. I know she was suicidal before and I know she is still facing a lot of trauma, but I also think that she is much deeper than she was as that suicidal teenager. This is a deep hurt, but making her suicidal here would have, to me, contradicted the person we saw with the laser spot on her head.
Yes, I think everything about her life now shows that she decided at some point that living was important. Although why she couldn't have saved some of that dedication for a little personal - not even beautifying, Trot. Right? Just organization! Her hair is UNORGANIZED. I find this deeply disturbing. Perhaps indicative of turmoil within. Give me time and that hair will prove she's the Piper. You watch.
(What I don't get it how it can look bad even in a pony tail. If she doesn't care, why not just get it cut short?)
As she increases in inner peace, her hair will smooth out.  
Because Press Director Lee messed up more than once, he is "retired" to the country side. With him, knowledge of the secret files is also retired, and Hee-sung is forced to read a statement along the lines of "probably all lies anyway and the crazy doings of a single person". At least, he was promoted ... he is now the new Press Director. Even if a very unhappy one.
Yup. They were all applauding their leader and he scolded them about why they are happy.
Was he? Unhappy? Did he not want that position? Even if he isn't the Piper, wouldn't he want it? If he is the Piper, would would he denounce the very information that he forced others to work hard to get out in the public? Is it possible the Piper is basically just blackmailing Seo to get a bigger paycheck? He did seem sad, though. I don't know.
I thought we found the Piper?
After some soul-searching, Myung-ha re-joins the team (even though everybody told her to take a break (she: well, Sung-chan looks bad too but he's working! he: But I'm fine! Choi: *hits him in the ribs* He: *doubles over with pain* --> issue settled). They were told by Commissioner Yang to go full-out on catching the Piper, in collaboration with the SWAT-team. Before doing that, Han invites them to a team dinner.
I love Han.
Me, too.
Hee-sung is at the nursery home, visiting Shin the Elder. When he opens the door, he says ........... "I am here, father." WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!
They call everybody abeoji. I'm not falling for that. I still feel pretty strongly that it's him, or the Reporter, or  - well, I'm only half joking about Myung Ha...but it's too early and too easy a reveal.
Actually, if this wasn't his real father, he'd say abeonim.
In some VERY psycho-looking room (photos of everyone involved in the Newtown incident), Jung Soo-kyung cleans the wound on his foot, exposes a wonderful tattoo (Justice!) on a VERY nice body (yes)... and shoots a bullet into a picture of Myung-ha. 
Hubba hubba. Who is this guy? I wonder if we'll see more of him soon. He is making the role memorable. But dude! Why the hate for Myung Ha? (Is it her hair?) It's the hair. It's traumatized him.
The actor is called Lee Shin Sung (이신성), he's been in things, but he's definitely not on my radar. Wasn't.

Cut to Myung-ha, getting out of Sung-chan's car ... awww. She's slightly tipsy and when she stumbles on the stairs, he rushes there to help her. AWWWWW. She promises him she wont think strange thoughts anymore. He says it's completely normal, with all she went through.
At what point do you think she starts thinking Sung-chan thoughts? I think he might be thinking a few Myung-Ha thoughts, althought he might never act on it. And I'd be fine with that.
But then, she asks: "How do you bear it, Sung-chan? You had a lot of painful and difficult times too."
His answer: "I believe that I'm right. Not because I am, but because I have to believe it to survive.
A person falls not when they lose a loved one or when their life-long work fails... but when a person can no longer trust themselves." When he's back in his car, he stares at the engagement ring and sighs.
I do, too.
Myung-ha opens the door to her apartment and goes in. Watching from a few meters away... Soo-kyun. FUCK!
Double that! I felt that way even though I knew instinctively that he would be there and was screaming "Don't go in the apartment alone!"
She was a shoe-in for the SWAT team, though. And she's a trained fighter. Ah, but wait, she's really drunk. Never mind.  

Bits and Other Pieces

* I wasn't aware before, but Sung-chan is crazy. He really doesn't value his life much, does he. He would have died right then and there, holding on to that Psycho.
I always thought he was a bit crazy, but here I think he's just really pissed. I would've been. It's the moment in a fight when you are grabbing anything in sight to punch, stab, kick, etc. I remember often using the gravel thrown in person's eyes technique here and biting--so angry that you just don't care anymore.
Damn, Trot, how many fights have you been in? (I'm not saying) I've been in one. With my brother, when I was 10.  I beat his ASS, and he deserved it, and when it was done and I stood up, grinning, my dad looked at me with disgust and said 'Do you feel good now?'  That was it for me.  For a cop, my dad was a real pacifist.  I never forgot the bewildered shame I felt.
I can understand Sung-chan holding onto the psycho and refusing to leave. He's obsessed. 

* It bugged me that the negotiating team was just standing around outside the TV station and did not try to go and find Sung-chan, even though they knew he was still in the building. I'm not saying everybody has to sacrifice their lives, but they could have at least tried something?! I'd look for other colleagues, sweetie.
I think that was a writer oversight, maybe? I don't remember it being addressed as a specific decision to not do anything, at least.

*In her Pied Piper book, there is a girl with a lame leg who cannot follow the Pied Piper. She was sad, thinking the Piper must have taken the children to a happy place. It's what Myung-ha wants to believe too, that they were taken to a happy place (even though that's damn unlikely.)
What do you mean? Where did he take them? Aren't they on that farm where my mom took my old dog so she could retire in comfort?
They all died of disease. The girl with the lame leg couldn't go outside and catch the disease. 

* After the roof-crisis, Sung-chan tells Myung-ha: "Now that I think of it, Team Leader Oh did not make you a negotiator, but it was you who turned him into one." This is smart, true, and again, very sweet. He seems to finally have found some unknown source of compassion.  
I think he has always been a compassionate person and avoids it like the plague because he thinks (knows?) it would make him weak as a negotiator. Myung-ha has empathy and is able to use it and recover. I don't think he can. Yet.
I think Myung-Ha's shelf life as a negotiator is pretty short, though. That much empathy will burn through you pretty fast.
I used to be very empathetic towards practically everyone, and then, one day, I woke up and said, I choose not to care. It's seriously too exhausting! Just focus on good manners. 

* Chairman Seo manages to shut down a press conference about Chief Yang's wrong-doings by releasing a juicy sex-tape of an actress. Haha, it's like the secret files were never released after that. I really had to laugh, I cannot imagine that Korean press is THAT bad.
Sadly, I think it may be the one thing dramas don't exaggerate.

* We see the full flashback of what happened on the roof 13 years ago in this episode, when Myung-ha visits the site where the casino stands now. It's very traumatic. It's a miracle she isn't more troubled.
Her father started the fire... maybe she secretly feels responsible for the situation on his behalf.
And thus she doesn't brush her hair.  
Actually, it wasn't really her father... 

* During the Newtown scenes, the new OST is a woman singing "Der Doppelgänger" (based on Heinrich Heine's Still ist die Nacht), one of the six songs from Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang.
I had no idea what it was other than German, so thank you. Schwanengesang means exactly what I think it means. Does 'swan song' imply the same thing to you as it does to me?
Yes, indeed. The term originates in Greek mythology. The question is: whose Swang Song are we hearing? The English translation of the song is this:

The night is quiet, the streets are calm,
In this house my beloved once lived:
She has long since left the town,
But the house still stands, here in the same place.

A man stands there also and looks to the sky,
And wrings his hands overwhelmed by pain:
Upon seeing his face, I am terrified--
The moon shows me my own form!

O you Doppelgänger! you pale comrade!
Why do you ape the pain of my love
Which tormented me upon this spot
So many a night, so long ago?

Comments and Thoughts

WTF IS GOING ON?! This is a deeeeevious show. So we have a proven, very violent psycho who does not stop short of killing people, now after Myung-ha, who claims he is the Pied Piper. And we have Hee-sung, the shadiest of fookers, who seems to be Shin's SON. But which son? The one they DNA tested, another prime suspect if alive? Or is there probably another son? And what does that mean in relation to the Pied Piper? How are they connected? Will the real slim Shady please stand up?!
This is serious, but I cracked up reading this.
I love it when Kakashi is all bamboozled and starry-eyed. So much.

No lie.
Maybe this is the Piper: 

Lots of other stuff happening apart from the crisis. Man, Sung-chan has the probably worst day of his life right after that day the Pied Piper blew his girlfriend into oblivion. I am certain he is the kind of person who hates to lose, and that the Pied Piper/Soo-kyung kinda just walks away from him must irk him to no end. I felt so bad for Sung-chan when Soo-kyung made that snide remark about letting his girlfriend die. This guy is super dangerous, because he is also super smart. That is probably the one thing (apart from Myung-ha) that would make Sung-chan lose his cool. It backfired though: Sung-chan knew well that he would not stand a chance against this boxing champion, but he still hung onto that scumbag with all he had left. Like a little dog who bites and won't let go. The goal was not to bring justice. The goal was to punish. And in that moment, the ultimate punishment for Soo-kyung was to die there in that building.
Yup. He never for a moment thought he'd win... but he figured he had a chance of holding on long enough to keep Soo-kyung from winning, too. And I don't think, yet, that he's doing it for 'the masses.' It felt very much like he was doing it to keep Soo-kyung from getting to Myung-Ha.
To me, it seemed as though Sung-chan was never going to let his enemy win, even if he had to die to keep him from winning.  Kind of petty, but also super-focused. 

Sung-chan's guilt is not getting a break, is it? In fact, it seems to become worse with each episode. In the last, we saw him come face to face with the displaced tenants, and that was hard for him. And in this episode, this Psycho-scumbag had to rip open an already bleeding wound even further. That scene in the restaurant dealt another blow, bringing an additional and interesting question to the table: If a life must be sacrificed for the greater good, why not your own? Why does Sung-chan get to live if other people have to die?
I think we need to see all of this. He was presented to us in the way that the Pied Piper saw him in the beginning. Most people thought about him this way. The only way he can become a true hero is if he suffers for his sins and actually acknowledges them. He has been merely ignoring his demons; if he is going to grow as a person and deserve the friends he is clearly making, he needs to make up for it somehow. It's a typical (and needed to turn a viewer or reader around) character development ploy.
So what you're saying is he dies at the end of this, right?
Hm. Let's say that this is not improbable, sadly. 

Sung-chan lives on, trying to live with his guilt - and along comes Myung-ha, a deeply hurt and traumatized young woman, who needs to be healed. Either that scene on the roof what edited really weirdly or it was done deliberately, but the Oh and the Sung-chan scenes were almost cut into each other and at one stage, during the flashback, we heard Sung-chan's, not Oh's voice. He went up there just like Oh went up there, and they both got Myung-ha down from the ledge and into safety. But like Sung-chan himself says not much later, it is wrong to think that Myung-ha was the only one being saved. In fact, it is her that made Oh into a negotiator and by extension, gave Oh the possibility to get over his guilt. Caring for Myung-ha becomes a process of healing, first for Oh and now also for Sung-chan.
I wonder how knowing that will affect Myung-Ha.
She won't mind because she wants to help people.

I find his concern for her very sweet. He is not yet allowing himself to open up, but he is getting there. That discussion before she went up to her apartment was about the frankest thing he has said about himself to anyone. It seemed for a brief moment as if he wanted to walk away when she asked how he deals with the pain, but he did not. Because I see how important Myung-ha has become to his well-being, I am all the more afraid of what is coming next. 
Kakashi is practically swooning with love for this drama... I find it very reassuring. I am unhappy when you have nothing to love here.
Give me a good script that gives me food for thought and good actors, including one I can swoon for ... and then, I am capable of much, much love