This episode was really a mixed bag. My biggest issue with it though was why the writer chose to introduce the Kumar-gate scandal when the show already has so much on its plate to handle. How long do the writers intend to delay the revelation of what exactly happened with Anna’s mother and what Yoo Jin’s role in it was? Putting that aside, let me start off first with what I liked in this episode.
I liked seeing how Sung-won’s plan fell apart because Chief Kim had planted the false witness and he literally fell into her trap. He was getting so smug in the previous episode that it was annoying. Seeing Yoo Jin regain control was strangely satisfying, because she’s ultimately the villain of the series. However, since she’s the only character whom the writers seem keen to fully flesh out, we also tend to be on her side when she faces off with all her opponents in both the business and political world.
I also liked how Yoo Jin used Mirror as a means to gain entry into Je Ha’s mind and motivations. What she said about the naming of “Mirror” was brilliant, where the questions you asked Mirror reflected who you were. It also leads us to realise that Je Ha did not ask Mirror anything about Yoo Jin or Anna’s mother; perhaps not because he doesn’t care about them, but he is likely aware that Yoo Jin can track all the questions that he asks. I hope Je Ha has a more elaborate scheme up his sleeves, because it would be disappointing to see Je Ha become yet another victim of Yoo Jin’s scheming – which leads me to several issues I have with the show.
While Yoo Jin’s victory felt satisfying, it seems to me that in order to show how scheming and intelligent Yoo Jin is, all the characters around her have to be naive and useless. It’s understandable that Anna fell for the “false-witness” trick, but certainly Sung-won, who has known his sister for so long, would have suspected something when the truth was literally delivered on a platter. In my review of episode 12, it seemed like he was being built up as a credible opponent to her, but what happens here? Upon realising that he fell into her trap, he simply backs down and pulls away from Anna. He tries to lead Yoo Jin into confesing her role in Anna’s mum’s death and recording it, but that’s just such a lame trick. Should he be responding and thinking about what he can do next? I really wish he displayed more fighting spirit in persisting in his battle against Yoo Jin. It’s the same with Park Gwan-soo who started off as a worthy opponent in early episodes, but has really shown himself to be increasingly useless and now spends his time just laughing a lot.
The next issue I have is with Yoo Jin’s characterisation. While the recent episodes have certainly provided more depth to her, we certainly don’t get that much beyond returning to the same incident of Anna’s mother’s murder time and time again. Certainly there’s more that led to her current state besides that incident? Or was that the turning point where she decided she needed to get ruthless to get ahead? We need to understand how that incident fits into the story of her life. I’ve spoken about my issues with the show’s character work at length previously, so I won’t flog a dead horse. At this point, it’s quite clear that the series going to do muchh more and understandably so, with three episodes left, the priority would certainly be to tie up the narrative loose ends.
My final issue then is with the Kumar-gate story, which seems like too neat of a way to bring the series’ key storylines to a somewhat satisfactory ending. If what Je He said is true, the revelation of Kumar-gate will bring Se Joon his political victory, allow him to redeem himself as a dad and also set him free from Yoo Jin’s clutches. This would also then lead to Anna being free and Je Ha can then move on with her. That certainly seems a bit too easy and while I’m certain that there will be some complications subsequently, I felt the show should have worked on developing existing plotlines. The execution of it was also rather flat and it introduced a new character whom we have little interest in.
Nonetheless, with only three episodes left and the show’s largely disappointing work in terms of character development, my only hope now is that it can tie up its narrative loose ends in a satisfying manner.