Pied Piper 피리부는 사나이 - Episode 9 (Recap)

It's an uneasy stalemate between the Pied Piper aka Soo-kyung and the rest, with nobody gaining any ground right now. The next crisis in not related to the Piper ... or is it? It's not my favorite episode, in fact, it's my least favorite so far, because it seems like a filler. Sung-chan does what he does, Hee-sung does what he does (every time he's on the screen I ask, Does Jaehyus remember him now? :D) (No.), but there is neither progress nor revelations. Maybe it's because it's another double-episode and it's unclear where this is going? Hakyun looks extremely good though. It could be the really tight pants and the police vest.
Myung-Ha's hair looked better. That was enough for me. She did wash it before the attack, so . . .
I have decided I don't like Hee-sung, whether he's the Piper or not. I know Soo-kyung can't be it. He just can't. Who IS that guy, anyway, he's not listed even in Korean Wikipedia page.
Update: My Kakashi found him! Lee Shin Sung. I like him.
Me too. I want to see him in more things.
He could do a Korean remake of that Japanese movie... something Joe. It was about a boxer. Loved it.
Apparently, he can sing, too. I found out he does musicals.

Episode 9

Driving back after dropping Yung-hae off,  Sung-chan is informed that Press Director Lee's dead body has been found. It looks like suicide. Huh. Suicide? He didn't seem like the type, didn't he. Well, Sung-chan seems to find that strange too (in fact, he immediately connects it to the Pied Piper--Who wouldn't? That man would NEVER commit suicide. He doesn't have enough conviction in anything) so he tries to call Myung-ha. Who is winding down after a very emotional day by taking a shower, so she doesn't hear her phone. Her unresponsiveness worries Sung-chan and he makes a beautiful U-turn. THANK YOU for being such a worry-bone, because the Psycho is already inside the apartment now!!!!
Okay but... she's just in the shower. Doesn't it occur to him that maybe she's just in the bathroom? I mean, thank God - but how convenient.
She doesn't normally shower, so it would make sense for him to worry.
Myung-ha is out of the shower and starts to blow-dry her hair... when she looks up into the mirror THERE HE IS!! He overpowers her, chokes her until she is unconscious, locks her in - and then sets the apartment on fire. HE IS SO CRAZY. Sung-chan, huuuuuurrryyyy!
Why does he hate her so much? This seems very personal.
This is what I have been asking since the beginning of their contact. I think he thinks that she has forgotten and has gotten over it while he, clearly has not. It probably doesn't help that he sees the picture of her smiling with Team Leader Oh. (I have to admit there was a flickering moment when I thought, "I want to grab that hair, too)
I also couldn't help thinking he would've been an excellent SWAT team member if it wasn't for the fact that he is batshit crazy.
No crazy people in SWAT teams, please. I was surprised at her inability to get out of the choke hold, but I remembered she was drunk. Then again, muscle memory should've kicked in, right?
It really is a battle between crazy like-to-kill special forces person and SWAT team trying to save people person whose tipsy. Not much conflict.
There's an accident near Myung-ha's apartment, blocking the road, so Sung-chan is forced to run the rest of the way. (*adds to the good runner list* like my Beautiful Banker. Is this the new thing? No, it actually started with me kvetching years ago about how badly Vanness Wu runs in that one scene from Autumn concerto) When he gets there, he immediately sees the smoke coming out of her place. He gets into the apartment easily, but the locked bedroom door proves to be quite an obstacle. (That was a good touch by Soo-Kyung. I would've forgotten that detail) Sung-chan gets increasingly desperate. But then, out of the blue (suspiiiicious!), Hee-sung appears next to him and starts smashing his shoulder against the door too. Together, they manage to break it open. Just in time. Smoke kills!
You know, I've lived in a number of apartments. Interior doors are NOT that sturdy. Plus, as you mentioned, Hee-sung's just there. Maybe he is the Boxer in disguise. Is this a show with supernatural overtones?
I was thinking that about the door as well and being impressed. I've only lived in one apartment that an 8-year old on a sugar high couldn't bust open.
Didn't know that, probably because it never occurred to me to try busting an apartment door open!
Well unless you live in an old building (really old, pre-war) - interior doors are generally hollow-core.
They rush her to the hospital and Sung-chan worries by her bedside until she wakes up. She tells him that it was Jung Soo-kyung. Then, Hee-sung comes in, who hurt his shoulder and has a bandaged hand, so he gets all of Myung-ha's gratitude (hehe. Sung-chan actually tells her it was because Hee-sung that she was saved). Sung-chan fills the other man in on Soo-kyung by showing him a picture on his phone. That's when Hee-sung surprises us once more: he pulls out a photograph and hands it to Myung-ha: Several people are in this photo, and Myung-ha confirms, somewhat rattled, one of them is Soo-kyung. The other people? Seems to be her and her parents.
Interesting. As for who gets credit...at first I thought about Sung-chan that it's not like he was wrong - without Hee-sung, he wouldn't have broken down that door in time. But that's really just timing; he happened to get there first. Reverse it and the same would be true. So take your credit, Sung-chan! Let her appreciate you, too. Plus, I just don't like Hee-sung. (It's his lips.)
I don't like him because I trust him the least. I mean there are other people who I know are supposed to be bad guys--Soo Kyung, Chief Seo, etc.--however, I like him the least because he acts like we are supposed to like him and gets people to admire and like him but he is completely shady. Even the chief acknowledges out right that he's a bastard and doesn't really care if anyone likes him or not. Although, I'd be really curious to see his reaction if he knew how much his own son (who now that I think about it seems young to have a father that old) hates him. I hope the show gives us this treat.
Are you talking about Seo? I thought that too!
Yeah. I want son/father confrontation scene on this one.
Now, we might all think that this is more than suspicious, but Hee-sung has the perfect explanation for everything AGAIN: He was just about to go see Myung-ha about this. "His father" asked him to give it to her. Oh, sorry, he means Shin Oh-chang, he usually calls him father.... he calls everybody that he supports mother and father. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... He's quite the quiet hero, isn't he?!
I literally stuck my tongue out at the screen when I read this. Not at you but at him.
*muttering* 'everyone he supports' 'oh he's such a dutiful son-figure' 'you couldn't give it to her at work during daylight hours? you had to show up at her house? what was the RUSH, Hee-sung?' 'can't trust you as far as I can throw you, guy.' I really don't like him...but I thought this was him putting moves on Myung-Ha, nothing else. Which is suspicious anyway, because he's always so well put together, and, you know...her hair.
. . . which looks better in the hospital after she has almost died from smoke inhalation after having been attacked than it did at the official hearing. New Shampoo? Did she have a coupon?
Maybe it just improved after having been washed and blow-dried for the first time in weeks, if not months. Although, if it was months, she'd have formed dreads, right?
After he's left, Myung-ha remarks he must not remember... they met before, when she was treated for her trauma by the therapist (is this the trauma center or a normal hospital?). He talked to her and came to the conclusion that she must hurt more than him (hmmmmmmmmmm...). He told her he was going to be a reporter and tell the world about "these things that happened", to ease her pain. And then his name is called, to pick up his prescriptions. HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... (wanna bet he remembers perfectly well?)
Ah, but do you think he connected that girl with Myung-ha all along, or just once he knew who she was? Meaning, did he always know Myung-ha was Myung-ha?
How could he when this little girl who has just lost her parents and is suicidal but still manages to have better hair?
She also was much cuter back then.
Sung-chan seems touched by this story and runs after him. To apologize for suspecting him - and to tell him about the death of Press Director Lee plus his suspicion that it must have been the Pied Piper. They immediately get into a disagreement about whether the Pied Piper has always been a monster or was turned into one by circumstances and people, people like Sung-chan and Hee-sung. Sung-chan says he has no sympathy whatsoever for the jerk and he wants to eliminate him, while Hee-sung says that won't solve anything. As long as the root causes remain the same, there will be a second, a third Pied Piper. They shake hands at the end, but nope, they won't be friends.
Hee-sung is right, but I don't have to like him. I would like Sung-chan though. And isn't it funny that this situation which solidified my dislike and suspicion of him is what finally convinced Sung-chan he could be trusted? Or... is Sung-chan FOOLING him? He looks good there, Kakashi All up in Hee-sung's business like that. Invade my space, Sung-chan! You tiny man!
(Are you crazy? Kakashi has completely claimed that little man!)
I get a bit of Sung-chan. I'm watching this show because of him.
That ends the TV-station-terror story arc and we start a new one. A young, poor, scabby (and secretly pregnant) woman is caught stealing in a super market. She is Chinese (but speaks Korean well) and her name is Shan Shan. Shan Shan is in a dire situation, her and a group of other Chinese people (they are from a Chinese Muslim minority, the Hui people) are being severely mistreated and not paid at the factory they work in.
Why is she so scabby, though?
And how did no one suspect she was pregnant. I thought that the first time I saw her, especially after she tried to steal food. She is a tiny woman; that bloating around her middle was not a beer belly.
Maybe it's from the work she did, that she's so scabby?  

When she's brought to the station, Choi Sung-Bum recognizes her from an earlier posting of his. He and Myung-ha were left behind by the rest of the team (Choi: "They are looking out for you", by which he clearly means Sung-chan, who repeatedly tells Myung-ha to rest. I think he suspects that Myung-ha means more to Sung Chan than being a colleague). They're investigating Soo-kyung's special forces background. Yeah, he has that, as we learn in passing. Thanks for making him 1000 times more dangerous.
And sexy (I actually put "sexy" in before" dangerous above and then saw you already said it.). Plus, awww.. the Scooby gang loves Myung-ha. And I think they ship Myung-Sung.
I think they do, too, especially Choi. (and did you guys notice how much better her hair looks in this pic? It's only I have a job messy, not I live in a cave unhealthy)
I was fascinated by her improved hair, washed face and makeup.
In the army, Soo-kyung was a loner and had to be closely supervised, because he seemed a bit too much into the thought of killing people. (Okay, not so sexy, that.) They also learn that he used to work for a now defunct temp agency connected to the Newtown Development. Backtracking his connections, Sung-chan learns that Chairman Seo is shaking the same trees they are, obviously in search of Soo-kyung as well, and pays the tycoon a visit. Seo thinks Soo-kyung killed the temp agency manager back then and is way too dangerous (in fact, BiL Kang suggested earlier that he might be after Chairman Seo next).
I can't get too worked up about losing Chairman Seo, though.
(Not before he knows how much his son hates him!)
Sung-chan tells him to step away, this guy is their (= police) responsibility. At which Seo gets SUPER nasty, the fucker. He brings up Sung-chan's dead girlfriend and the revenge he certainly must want, and when Sung-chan says he does not want to dirty his hands and become scum like the Piper, Seo laughs and says: "At least I know I'm bad. But you? You're just a snitch. They don't know what they did wrong until the end." All that happened in the Philippines, this was entirely Sung-chan's doing. The dead person is on him and on him only. Just continue your snitch-ways, he shouts as Sung-chan, "live by ripping off the weak with your sweet words!"
Does snitch mean something different in Korean?  
Way to drive a dagger into Sung-chan's heart.
Sung-chan sits in his car after this, paralyzed, near tears. Remember what he said not long ago to Myung-ha? "I believe that I'm right. Not because I am, but because I have to believe it to survive. A person falls when a person can no longer trust themselves." He is trying so hard to live with his guilt, but I don't think he can keep this up much longer. Unseen by him, Soo-kyung is watching him.
Seo hit him in the one spot that would hurt the most - shaking his confidence that he only did what he had to do. People have been chipping away at him all along, though, it's just that Seo finally pushed that brick out of the wall.
Because he has been able to think he was different than the chairman, but the chairman held up a mirror to him and he doesn't like what he sees. He thought he was just managing, but he didn't think about what it really would look like to decent people. Now he does. I also was worried about Soo-Kyung seeing him there. He'd completely misinterpret this meeting with good reason. It would look like Sung-chan is working with the chairman to him.
And now, things at the factory in Ansan (is it coincidence that many of the victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy are from Ansan or a nod from the writer to RL corruption?) where the Chinese are escalate. The manager (cameo by Kim Byung-Choon) is a racist, abusive scumbag who also tried to rape Shan Shan, after which he fired her. But this time, he goes too far (he even spits and tramples on one of the white Hui hats) and one of the workers, a guy named Chungze, loses it. He beats the manager over the head and starts a riot. Quickly, the workers seize control over the factory, take the three employees (one of them gets a 911 call out just in time) hostage and barricade themselves in.
What a disgusting man.
The handful of workers are very scared when the police arrive outside, but they are also determined. They will not yield before they get their money .. and justice! Outside, our crisis negotiation team arrives. This is all pretty standard stuff for our guys, but unfortunately, it's hard to negotiate with people if you don't speak the same language. Chungze demands that Shan Shan is brought in (indeed, they're either married or just a couple), so Myung-ha goes and fetches her from the near detention center.
Here, I begin to think there's a bigger plan afoot.
I just felt really bad for the workers. If people are mistreated enough, I don't think anyone can blame them for blowing up. And their demands were not unreasonable: back wages, free Shan Shan because her sitch was unjust, and new jobs.  
I was completely distracted in this scene by Sung-chan's entrance into the tent. I'm not going to say how many times I rewatched him move that curtain back and sighed. I also thought, "I really want one of those team jackets.
Trot seems to be asking for gifs? Isn't he BEAUTIFUL??
Shan Shan calls into the factory and gets a list of demands, from which Sung-chan devises a negotiation strategy based on money. They also get a hold of the factory owner, who pretends to be very sick at the hospital and totally broke, the scumbag (not much later, Choi goes after him). The negotiating team also has no budget whatsoever for these kind of situations. Fine, says Sung-chan, he will take care of it. Excuse me? How?! Are you stinking rich?
Well those pants don't fit like they come off the rack, you know.
He earned lots of money doing negotiating for the K Group and likely couldn't spend it all.  
He takes Shan Shan inside with him (fully knowing she is pregnant. Sung-chan! This is not okay!!) 
Things aren't exactly going according to plan there. Chungze refuses to take any of the money - either the full amount or nothing at all. In addition, they have grievances that go far beyond monetary things. They were treated like animals.
But why are they ALL so scabby?
I was wondering if it had to do with whatever work they were doing and not being able to get medication for it or food for that matter.
They may all have some illness or deficiency from malnourishment. How anyone could not see how pregnant Shan Shan was was beyond me. She was totally out there!
That's what I'm talking about!
There is a lot of anger and a lot of screaming, at which point Sung-chan mentions the baby. Which comes as a total surprise to Chungze and has the intended effect! Chungze grows quiet and emotional and starts considering giving up. They go into the factory and Sung-chan follows them, to where they hold the hostages. He suggests to get TV involved, so that the Hui can voice their grievances publicly. Yup, we know this strategy. He used it before.
His go-to move. Do you think the baby is Chungze's or the factory manager's?
I was assuming it was Chungze's and probably why Shan Shan was so adamant about the manager's advances.
She didn't have to be pregnant to be anti-manager advances, though.
Hee-sung is in a meeting when Sung-chan calls him, but because there are no other interesting news around, he quickly agrees to go to Ansan (even if it's not a Piper-scheme this time). BUT! Soo-kyung is also shadowing Hee-sung, even getting really close to him before Reporter Yoon also comes running into the garage. Hee-sung wants to do this one alone, but I think Soo-kyung hears exactly where he is going.
Still not sure about this girl.
I like her. I think it's just the actress has negotiated a certain amount of screentime, and so she gets thrown in. Here, she keeps WhatsHisFace from getting killed because she stops him.
Things seem calmer now, but whoever untied the factory manager made a big mistake! Unhappy about the fact that the media is coming, he grabs an iron rod and attempts to attack Chungze. Unfortunately, he ends up hitting Shan Shan who falls hard on her belly and cringes in pain. The factory manager grabs Chungze and Sung-chan is doing his best to calm everyone down. Well, not happening. Chungze grabs a nail gun behind him and shoots the factory manager in the leg. Shan Shan is bleeding! Chungze seems ready to kill the factory manager.
I'm ready to kill the factory manager.
I probably would've killed the factory manager.
I think I would've.  
Hearing the screams, the SWAT team decides to go in. That's not really de-escalatory! The Chinese workers grab the hostages, Sung-chan screams they need to get Shan Shan to a hospital and Team Leader Han tells Sung-chan that the time for words is over now. Unseen by anyone, Sung-chan plants his cell-phone underneath some machinery and calls the negotiator tent, so that they have sound in addition to a video feed (from the one remaining CCTV camera, the rest were broken by the Chinese).
Seeing how tense the situation is, Team Leader Kong gives the order to retreat (I guess Sung-chan couldn't do that himself?). As soon as they're out, the Chinese barricade themselves again. The negotiators can still hear what going on thanks to Sung-chan's cell (let's hope he has a full battery and somebody else pays his phone bill and no one tries to call him). Hee-sung appears ... and lo and behold, he speaks Chinese. Nice. He also immediately rips into Sung-chan for using a pregnant woman for his plan and for not taking in enough money. Awww, Myung-ha defends Sung-chan though.
I don't think he was hoarding his pennies, this time, honestly. He took what he could.
That woman was so clearly pregnant, though. She really stuck out! 
Hee-sung calls into the factory and tells them he'll come in with a camera man. They get them to bring out Shan Shan and she's rushed to the hospital (turns out she's not in the early stages of pregnancy but quite far along! duh! Was no one looking at her below the shoulders?). When they negotiate to get the injured factory manager released into police custody too, the office assistant gets involved and tells the Chinese that the owner embezzled a lot of money through double book keeping! A lot of money. Well, this is NOT good, because Chungze feels completely cheated and grabs on to what seems the most valuable thing in the room: Hee-sung. And now, they want it all. The one billion won in that secret account.
Why on EARTH would she do that?
Because other people got out, and she thinks this will help to get her out?
She turned a blind eye to all the abuse in the factory, so she's only concerned for herself.

Other Bitsies

* They come to the conclusion that Soo-kyung is going after Myung-ha because she has become a police woman and is "betraying" the victims. I doubt that's the only reason.
Jaehyus thought that was it, too. It seems logical.
Yes, it is logical, but I keep thinking that it is more than that or maybe I just want to think it is more than that because that doesn't seem a big enough reason to take such time to try to kill her. I mean, if I were Soo-Kyung, she might be on my list but she wouldn't be that high on my list.
Well, what could be the other reason? Her hair? Soo-Kyung is totally emotional in some ways, and MyungHa totally pushes some buttons, the most obvious of which is her different response to Newtown.

* Sergeant Jo is the profiler of the group, he is doing quite a good job.
I was glad to see that he wasn't actually a bad guy, he was sort of duped by the Chief.  

* Myung-ha gives Shan Shan some folic acid when she's brought to the detention center. Haha, where did she get that from so quickly? Does she always carry it along with her?
I had the same thought. Maybe it's good for your hair.
That's why her hair looks better. I just thought she bought it at the pharmacy in the hospital. Don't they have pharmacies in hospitals in Korea?
They weren't at the hospital though. that was at the police station
It's good for your cells generally, from what I recall. Perhaps Myungha has been taking it for a while and it kicked in after the last episode.

* In that picture that Hee-sung gave Myung-ha, it's her with her parents in the foreground and that means it must be Soo-kyung in the background, with the hoodie?
I guess? I think that picture must have some particular significance we can't see yet, though.

* Myung-ha sticking up for Sung-chan in front of Hee-sung was a first. I'm not sure why she did it though, because he totally DID jeopardize a pregnant woman to appeal to Chungze's emotions (whereas the money-accusation was unfair). That said, I really did not like the pregnancy subplot. It's kinda lame.
Cheap emotional ploy. Effective for the most part.
It moved the plot along. For one thing, Shan Shan being injured by the factory manager while pregnant escalated everything for Chungze beyond return.

Thoughts and Comments

Okay, so ... this was messy. Of course, Sung-chan cannot be successful every single time he goes in to negotiate and I guess I kinda like it that this didn't work out at all, because this drama is also about "teaching Sung-chan to be human again", which means rattling him and his hubris. I also like how we got to see the desperation of the workers, who are acting on emotions, not strategy at all. Maybe this episode wants to show us that Sung-chan, who has difficulties with emotions, gets bested when people don't use their heads, only their emotions?
Oh, I like that. Because otherwise, what struck me is how BADLY he bungled this whole thing - in ways large and small, but I thought it was because this time he WAS emotional.
I have to say that I was worried about Hee-Sung being in there. I don't trust him. I also was worried that Sung-chan and everyone else had to trust that he was saying exactly what each side was trying to convey. Also, whether you think this was a good idea or not is this the time to argue? I feel as though Hee-Sung has to try to be better than Sung-chan in every situation.
I found Hee-sung very arrogant. Yet, he had a valid point regarding the pregnancy because seriously, SK police don't have anyone who speaks Mandarin? That's seriously hard to believe.

We're once again treated to some "Sung-chan and his guilt" scenes as well. This time, it's his (former) boss Chairman Seo who mocks his sincerity. He taunts him by calling him a snitch, someone who hurts other people but always thinks he's in the right. It's not entirely without base to say that. We know that Sung-chan hangs on to his version of things because he knows there is an abyss close, one he fears to fall into when he digs too deeply into his own past. He did live with the guilt of the Philippine killing and the death of his girlfriend by putting the blame on others to a large degree: Chairman Seo because he did not give him enough money and the Pied Piper, who made the bomb explode. Seo tells him that everything he did was his own choice, that nobody forced him. That is true. And Sung-chan knows it's true. He has also realized that the drunk in that restaurant who told him that there is always a third option, self-sacrifice, had a point. But what are his options? I really hope he's not going to do anything stupid, but I actually think that's exactly where we're going.
It's why he decided to go in there himself rather than keep talking from the outside.
Oh I absolutely think this ends with Sung-chan dead. He might get rescued at the last minute by Myung-ha in a Hail Mary play, but that's debatable. He will definitely sincerely offer his life for someone, and we will spend at least a few minutes believing he's dead.
I think SungChan has a Revenge Desire, not a Death Wish, but he is willing to die to get revenge.
I don't think he has a death wish, either - but I think he's moving toward a state where he will be able to sacrifice himself for someone else - which means a whole lot more if you would actually prefer to live.

Finally, Hee-sung. The drama makes him look extremely suspicious again and again - and then hands us potentially plausible explanations from his own mouth to make us doubt our suspicions. Is it pure coincidence that he's in the middle of everything? Or is it just the Piper who sees him as a target too? The thing that makes me the most uneasy is the Elder Shin's behavior when Sung-chan and Myung-ha first went to see him and he so desperately tried to tell them something. That wasn't out of sheer joy that a "stranger" pays his hospital bills. It did indeed look like he wanted to warn them. But of what?
Yes, that man looked SCARED.

Myung-ha's memory of him at the trauma center is also bugging me. We don't know what he was there for (except to pick up a prescription... for whom? for what?), but it is pretty clear that he did not just talk to her because she looked lonely. It's true, he always had this "I want to report about the truth" calling, but doesn't he often sound very much like the Pied Piper when he talks about injustice and what to do against it?
What if Newtown wasn't the first thing that happened? What if him being at Newtown wasn't just because of his job? I'm still hearing 'parents are in the US' as a lie. What if HE is the guy in the hoodie behind Myung-ha and her parents? What if HE is the guy who got them to protest in the first place?
oooh. I did not think of that at. all. Now I won't be able to erase it!
Maybe this is the Pied Piper: