Joon-oh and company are feeling pretty good after pulling their switcheroo on the bad guys, but unfortunately, it’s no longer just Tae-ho they’re up against. Multiple forces are determined to manipulate the murder cases to their own advantage, putting Joon-oh on the defensive once again and forcing him to put himself in danger to ferret out the truth. With nearly everyone against them, it’s going to be difficult for the underdogs to come out on top.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Tae-ho listens as the press conference is played over the parking garage loudspeaker, announcing that there’s now evidence implicating him and CEO Jang in Jae-hyun’s murder. He realizes that he’s been played and speeds off in his car, while at the same time, CEO Jang is arrested in his Legend Entertainment office.
Joon-oh and Ki-joon let Tae-ho go and give each other a big high five. Joon-oh makes a call so that as soon as Tae-ho hits the streets, several police cars pull him over and place him under arrest.
Tae-young concludes the press conference by saying that, because So-hee recorded Jae-hyun’s murder on her cell phone, she also became a target and was eventually murdered on the island. He requests a re-investigation of her death, watching from the corner of his eye as Chairwoman Oh storms out of the conference room.
The friends all convene in CEO Hwang’s hospital room to celebrate (hee, they jokingly gives Ji-ah a round of applause for doing… nothing). They relax and banter, discussing Joon-oh’s inevitable return to public life since he’ll almost certainly be cleared of all charges, though Bong-hee says that she feels a bit nervous now that everything is going well. (You and me both, sister.)
Legend Entertainment’s lawyer is called in to represent CEO Jang, but Tae-ho hires his own lawyer. The smarmy prosecutor (whose name is Prosecutor Lee) isn’t happy to see that Tae-young beat him to the station to observe their questioning, though Tae-young isn’t intimidated by his threats.
Prosecutor Lee insists on seeing Joon-oh before he does anything else, but Tae-young tells him to follow proper procedure and question the other survivors first. Prosecutor Lee says that if Tae-young doesn’t produce Joon-oh soon, he’ll resume proceedings against him and charge Tae-young for aiding a criminal. Ick, I don’t like this guy.
Unperturbed, Tae-young calmly reminds his colleague that he promised to investigate this properly. He informs him that everyone is watching him closely, so he should investigate Tae-ho and CEO Jang first. Before they go, Prosecutor Jo hands over evidence that one of CEO Jang’s employees tried to kill CEO Hwang.
Prosecutor Lee asks Tae-ho what conclusion he came to with his lawyer, since CEO Jang claims to know nothing about it. Tae-ho says that that’s because CEO Jang is the murderer before asking Prosecutor Lee a favor: allow him to speak with CEO Jang. He promises it will be worth the prosecutor’s time, smiling like he has a naughty secret.
Prosecutor Lee’s boss is a nervous wreck as he curses Tae-young for making his job so much harder. He insists that they investigated properly and fairly concluded that Joon-oh murdered So-hee, warning Prosecutor Lee not to forget it.
Joon-oh is forced to go back into hiding, since Bong-hee’s house is swarming with cops again after the press conference. Tae-young happily tells Joon-oh that both Tae-ho and CEO Jang have been arrested, so he can relax and stop worrying.
Joon-oh tries to get Bong-hee to go home without him, but she reminds him that he made her promise to stay by his side. She teases that Joon-oh would be lonely without her anyway, and cheers him up with a little fist-bump and a perky “fighting!”
In the morning, Prosecutor Lee questions each of the survivors in turn while the others wait in the van. He starts with Ji-ah, who tells him how CEO Jang sent Tae-ho and his men into the hospital in China to kill her and Ki-joon. She continues that after capturing them, he threatened to kill them if she and Ki-joon didn’t say that Joon-oh killed So-hee.
Ji-ah goes back to the van and sends Ho-hang in next, but she tells the others that Prosecutor Lee asked her some strange questions. After Ho-hang gives his testimony, in which he calls Tae-ho a psychopath, Prosecutor Lee smirks and says that that “psychopath” made him Vice President of Legend Entertainment, so Ho-hang doesn’t seem like much of a victim to him.
He did something similar to Ji-ah by looking bored while she was giving her statement, but once she was done, he’d said that she doesn’t seem like someone who would let anyone push her around. He’d mentioned the money her mother received from Legend, adding that it seems strange to threaten the daughter but give money to the mother.
Then Prosecutor Lee pulls the same move on Bong-hee. He asks if Joon-oh and Bong-hee are a couple, strongly implying that Bong-hee lied about her lost memory in order to protect Joon-oh from murder charges. Ugh, he’s disgusting.
Prosecutor Lee grants Tae-ho’s request and allows Tae-ho and CEO Jang to sit together and talk. Tae-ho asks if CEO Jang still intends to help him, then tells CEO Jang that his lawyer says that he will be released if CEO Jang takes all the blame.
Tae-ho’s lawyer had listened to So-hee’s recording of Jae-hyun’s murder, noted that Tae-ho didn’t speak much, and said that it sounded like he was being threatened. With a crafty grin, the lawyer had crooned that if it sounds that way to him, it will sound that way to everyone. So now, Tae-ho promises to get himself released, then work on getting CEO Jang set free.
Joon-oh tells Tae-young that Prosecutor Lee is acting strange, but Tae-young thinks that he’s just pressuring his friends to get to Joon-oh. Bong-hee claims that nothing happened during her testimony, but Joon-oh can tell that’s not true by how preoccupied she’s been ever since.
Tae-ho is released from the prosecutor’s office, and Prosecutor Lee makes a call to tell someone that the plan has changed. We see that CEO Jang agreed to Tae-ho’s plan, but in return, he’d asked Tae-ho to make sure that it never becomes known that he tried to kill CEO Hwang. If that news goes public, it spells twenty years in jail for him.
CEO Jang speaks vaguely, but he’s clearly telling Tae-ho to kill his murderous minion, since he’s the only person who knows for sure that he tried to kill CEO Hwang. Tae-ho promises, and later when he climbs into his van, it’s that very same minion who drives him.
It’s a cold evening, and Joon-oh and Bong-hee sit shivering on the back bumper of the van. Joon-oh grabs a blanket and wraps it around them both, mostly as an excuse to cuddle with Bong-hee. She protests that it’s uncomfortable, so he threatens to fire her as his stylist if she doesn’t stay still and keep him warm. So cute.
Joon-oh gets a little serious and tells Bong-hee that since she won’t talk about what happened today, he feels like he’s walking on eggshells. He says that when she refuses to talk to him, it makes him feel alone, but Bong-hee giggles at his serious expression.
Joon-oh crouches in front of her, looks up into her face, and says that an ordinary woman wouldn’t be able to endure half of what Bong-hee has gone through. He tells her that because she’s been so strong, she’s made it possible for him to be strong too.
In the sweetest, most sincere voice ever, Joon-oh thanks Bong-hee for trusting and protecting him. Bong-hee assures him that she’s fine, then Joon-oh lightens the moment by giving her a new lipstick that he bought for her.
After driving a while, Tae-ho lets CEO Jang’s killer-minion out of the van and tells him to lay low for a while. Byung-jae watches from his car nearby, having tailed Tae-ho, and he sends a text to someone.
Tae-ho calls Chairwoman Jo, who doesn’t seem all that thrilled that he’s free. Tae-ho says he wants to live quietly now, and Chairwoman Jo says that’s good, but she reminds him that she has the ability to take him down at any time if he doesn’t behave.
Tae-young calls Joon-oh to deliver the news that Tae-ho has been released. Apparently CEO Jang is following Tae-ho’s plan, because he’s saying that he acted alone in killing Jae-hyun, and that he threatened Tae-ho to comply. Joon-oh is gobsmacked when Tae-young says that Prosecutor Lee is obviously helping Tae-ho.
Prosecutor Lee isn’t finished causing trouble — he sends someone some information, and tells them that he’s looking forward to a great article. Early the next morning, Bong-hee’s mother calls her and tells her to come home so they can talk. We see that the front page of the paper Mom’s reading is a picture of Bong-hee on the day she came back to Korea after the crash, with the headline: Is Ra Bong-hee guilty of aiding and abetting the murderers?
Chairwoman Jo is more concerned about protecting herself when she sees the article, so she orders Investigator Oh to have anything related to the investigation committee removed from the story. Investigator Oh feels bad about letting Bong-hee be wrongfully accused, but Chairwoman Jo couldn’t possibly care less.
Ki-joon calls Joon-oh later that morning and wakes him up, frantic about the newspaper article. He tells Joon-oh that Bong-hee is in big trouble, which is when Joon-oh realizes that she’s nowhere around. He finds a note she left on the steering wheel, telling him that she’s going home and asking him not to worry.
When Tae-young receives an official termination notice, he storms into his boss’s office to find him having a friendly little lunch with Prosecutor Lee. Tae-young asks them angrily if they had So-hee’s case all planned out ahead of time, even the results.
Prosecutor Lee turns around and accuses Tae-young of the same thing — that he’s already decided he wants Tae-ho to be the killer. Their boss yells at Tae-young to leave, but before Tae-young goes, he tells them that he’s not going to stop fighting for the truth.
While waiting for her bus home, Bong-hee overhears some schoolgirls talking about her. They sneer that she’s shameless, walking around freely after accusing their beloved Tae-ho of murder. The whispers and stares follow her onto the bus, as it seems as though everyone recognizes Bong-hee from the newspaper article.
After realizing that several men are spying on CEO Hwang in the hospital courtyard, Ho-hang wheels his boss back to the ward. There’s another man hanging around the door to his room, and CEO Hwang mouths the name “Joon-oh,” thinking that’s who all these people are looking for.
Ki-joon and Ji-ah are also being tailed, so they decide to cut contact with Joon-oh for the time being, for his own safety. When Ki-joon calls Joon-oh, Joon-oh gets careless, and a couple of schoolboys recognize him. He still hasn’t read the article, but he overhears the boys speculating about whether Bong-hee was an accomplice in So-hee’s murder.
Bong-hee is stunned when she arrives at her mother’s home to find graffiti scrawled on the door, ugly phrases like Why didn’t you just die on the island? and Murder accomplice. Mom is fighting with the neighbor ajummas, who seem to enjoy saying nasty things about Bong-hee falling in love with a murderer. Bong-hee steps inside the door just as one ajumma throws a pan of water, and it lands on Bong-hee, drenching her.
Mom screams and chases the neighbors off, and later, as Bong-hee dries off, she gently asks if Mom’s been having a rough time. Mom is angry that everyone has the wrong impression about Bong-hee, but Bong-hee tells her that this will pass and the truth will be known.
Back in Seoul, Tae-young tells Joon-oh that he wasn’t allowed to visit CEO Jang — in fact, CEO Jang is refusing to talk to anyone. Joon-oh wonders if CEO Jang is worried Tae-ho will change his mind about helping him now that he’s free. Tae-young agrees, thinking that it will he difficult to see CEO Jang until Tae-ho makes a move.
Joon-oh calls Bong-hee later, and it’s adorable how she lights up when she hears his voice. But Joon-oh seems sad as he asks if she’s okay, then he doesn’t believe her when she says she is. Bong-hee tells him to just keep hiding, but Joon-oh says he’s more worried about her, and we see that he’s sitting on his car not far away, watching her. Awww, he drove all that way to see her. The look in Joon-oh’s eyes just kills me as he asks Bong-hee to come back soon.
Before Bong-hee leaves to go home the next morning, her mother takes her hands and asks if she’s sure she can trust Joon-oh. She says that it takes strength to trust someone that way, and Bong-hee hugs her tearfully.
Tae-ho runs into Byung-jae at the Legend building and asks to use his phone. He calls Joon-oh, who snaps that he doesn’t want to hear what Tae-ho has to say. Tae-ho continues anyway, saying that he can’t stand to watch Joon-oh go through this. He begs Joon-oh to give up, if only to make things easier for his friends. Damn, just when I thought Tae-ho was being honest, he turns all threatening again.
Prosecutor Lee issues an arrest warrant for Bong-hee and mobilizes his men to find her. She’s on the bus coming home, and the man sitting next to her seems strange, but there’s not much she can do. Joon-oh hears about the warrant and drives off to the bus station without a plan, nearly out of his mind with worry.
On the way, Tae-young tries to call Bong-hee, but she doesn’t hear her phone ring. As she steps off the bus, Bong-hee’s creepy seat mate follows her, but all he wants is to return the phone she left in her seat. While Bong-hee is relaxing after that fright, the real cops find her.
Joon-oh arrives at the station in time to see the cops dragging Bong-hee away, and he starts to run after them. Tae-young grabs him just in time, reminding Joon-oh that he’ll only get himself caught. It goes against Joon-oh’s every instinct, but he knows Tae-young is right that he can only help Bong-hee if he stays free.
As they drive back, Tae-young tells Joon-oh that Bong-hee will meet Prosecutor Lee, who will probably offer to let her go if she tells him where to find Joon-oh. He knows that Prosecutor Lee plans to wear Bong-hee down so that she either gives up Joon-oh, or Joon-oh goes to Prosecutor Lee himself.
That’s exactly what happens, but Bong-hee stays strong and refuses to say where Joon-oh is hiding. That night, Joon-oh calls Tae-young with a plan, unwilling to allow Bong-hee to be tortured because of him. Soon after, Bong-hee is suddenly allowed to leave.
Prosecutor Lee rushes to his office, where he finds Joon-oh waiting for him. The prosecutor looks as happy as a kid on Christmas, but Joon-oh just smiles at him enigmatically. He refuses to say a word or answer a single question, and after a few hours, Prosecutor Lee isn’t so happy anymore.
Eventually, they leave Joon-oh alone in the interrogation room to see what he does. Joon-oh has a great time entertaining himself, playing with his food and doing silly things in the one-way mirror until the cops all think he’s gone completely bonkers.
It’s all part of the plan — Tae-young had told him not to answer any questions, and eventually, the prosecutor would talk first. Joon-oh stays silent when Prosecutor Lee comes in to question him again, until Prosecutor Lee finally loses his cool and demands to know why Joon-oh turned himself in if he wasn’t going to speak.
That’s the point at which Tae-young told Joon-oh to make Prosecutor Lee an offer he can’t refuse. He says he’ll talk, but only after he sees CEO Jang. Brilliant.
Tae-young knows that CEO Jang is refusing to way a word to anyone, knowing that if he’s found guilty of killing Jae-hyun or trying to kill CEO Hwang, he’ll stay in jail until he dies. Since he’s already been caught, Tae-young is certain that Jang is refusing to talk because he’s waiting on something, and guesses that he and Tae-ho made a deal. Joon-oh’s mission is to drive a wedge between CEO Jang and Tae-ho.
CEO Jang is brought to Joon-oh’s interrogation room, and Prosecutor Lee retreats to the observation room, leaving the two alone. Joon-oh goes right for the throat, asking if Tae-ho visits often, and it’s obvious by CEO Jang’s expression that he hasn’t visited once.
Joon-oh asks if CEO Jang really thinks Tae-ho will hold up his end of the bargain. He says it looks like Tae-ho has forgotten him, then informs CEO Jang that CEO Hwang can talk now. Oh, the naked fear on Jang’s face is delicious.
To cover his reaction, CEO Jang stands as if to leave, but Joon-oh lunges for him. He slams CEO Jang against the door, blocking it so the cops can’t come in. He snarls into CEO Jang’s face, “Do you really trust Tae-ho that much?”
I’m very pleased at how well Missing 9 has recovered from its mid-run slump, when it seemed as though there was no real plot happening once everyone returned from their island ordeal. Luckily it found its footing again last week, and I’m very much looking forward to a great ending, as we’re leaving the penultimate episode with a lot of questions and knots to untangle. My only complaint about this show so far has been in regards to the motivation of the officials back home, who have been very invested in covering up the truth about Jae-hyun and So-hee’s deaths. They’re willing to go to insane, illegal lengths to protect the true killers and implicate innocent people in the murders, but I’ve never really gotten a clear explanation as to why.
I can make some educated guesses, the most likely one being that Tae-ho is a respected and famous actor who brings a lot of money to Legend Entertainment, while Joon-oh was already in disgrace after his scandal. Since people already believe that Joon-oh drove drunk, it would be much easier to get the public to believe that he went off the deep end and started killing people. But even after they had clear and damning evidence in the killers’ own voices, not to mention CEO Jang’s confession, they didn’t decide to do the right thing and arrest the true murderers. Chairwoman Jo and both crooked prosecutors doubled down, insisting that they suppress that evidence and continue to pursue Joon-oh, even throwing Bong-hee into the list of suspects. I’m guessing that they are doing this because they don’t want to admit they were wrong, but again, I’m only guessing. I don’t want a show that spoon-feeds me answers, but on the other hand, when you have multiple people investing so much into a cover-up with nothing seeming to be in it for them, a little explanation of their motives would be nice.
But aside from that, on the whole I’ve found Missing 9 to be engaging and exciting, with great characters and a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat week after week. The fantastic characters have a lot to do with that, and if I could make any changes in that direction, it would be that I wish we’d seen more of the other survivors after they got home from the island. Bong-hee and Joon-oh are wonderful and I adore them, but I want to see more of Ki-joon and Ji-ah falling in love, Ho-hang finding his courage, and CEO Hwang fighting to recover so he can help take down the true bad guys.
Speaking of them though, Joon-oh and Bong-hee’s growing relationship makes me so happy — they’re just so impossibly perfect together. It’s so beautiful how they were each other’s rocks on the island, then that relationship of necessity became a friendship that seemed to grow every single day, and now it’s blooming into something more. It’s their strong friendship that I adore most about them, the way Bong-hee keeps Joon-oh from sliding into his self-indulgent slumps, and how Joon-oh always knows when Bong-hee needs to hear that he cares about her. I appreciate that the show hasn’t made a big deal about their romance, letting it happen naturally as just part of their entire shared experience, from the plane crash to now. They spend so much time together, time when anyone would be stressed beyond endurance, yet being together obviously keeps them both emotionally centered and able to do what needs to be done. There’s so much genuine like and respect on both sides that I don’t think any of their friends will be surprised when they finally admit their romantic feelings for one another. In fact, they’ll probably all be thinking the same thing: What took so long?
More than anything, I love Joon-oh and the gang’s capers that they keep coming up with, and I can’t wait to see what they do to finally take down CEO Jang and Tae-ho once and for all. I like the plan to break the trust between them, especially since I’m already pretty certain that Tae-ho never had any intention of holding up his end of their deal. In fact, I won’t be surprised if Tae-ho has gone completely to ground, and Joon-oh will have a devil of a time just finding him, much less bringing him to justice. Whatever happens, I’m sure the finale is going to be one wild ride!