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Bargain – Season 1 Episode 2 “The Detective and the Kidney” Recap & Review

The Detective and the Kidney

Episode 2 of Bargain begins in the aftermath of what looks like a strong second wave of an earthquake. The exact source of this destruction is yet to be identified. But that is what it looks like. We see the whole floor is filled with injured people, and amidst all of this, Geuk is still trying to figure out whether he will get his father’s kidneys. Everyone is confused and unable to make something of what has happened. It is also revealed that Joo-young saw the victim’s wallet and learned that he is a detective. Hence, giving rise to the episode’s title.

Joo-young wants to make the most of the opportunity that presents her next. She cannot find her boss, Hui-sook but does get her hands on his walkie-talkie. On the other end is Director Kwak, who is equally concerned and puzzled by what just happened. Young lies to Kwak about Hui, saying that he died during the earthquake. But before she can do more damage, Hui-sook learns of her plans. He takes preventative action and throws her into a giant hole that is plastered into the ground due to the earthquake. That pit is now being used to take care of all the bodies that are left in the aftermath of the quake. 

Hyeong-su has also been sent before Joo in the pit along with Geuk. Both of them are still alive. Joo finds herself targeted by Kwak’s men, both of whom are loyal to both Sook and him. Joo tries to manipulate them by convincing them that Sook is plotting Kwak’s murder but they do not listen to her. She soon finds Hyeong-su nearby and tries to go through the ventilator which can help them escape the pit. We listen on the walkie-talkie that Kwak is dead. It is Sook who delivers the news…so we cannot say for sure if it is true. 

However, his loyal henchmen believe it to be true. They realize that Kwak must have been eliminated by the police. News about Hyeong-su has now got out and one of the guards tries to kill him as a gesture of revenge. Geuk is alert to what’s happening and kills the man with an axe, saving the cop’s life. The situation is unique for Hyeong-su as his eyes have been covered ever since he was brought into the room on the stretcher. He has no idea about what is going on. The trio is saved from the pit and the cop is finally free. 

He is told the truth by Geuk about what was supposed to happen to him next. He identifies himself as one of the bidders, which really gets the screws off the cop. Hyeong vows to put both Young and Geuk to justice when he gets out. But the desperate son is not ready to give in and latches on to the cop to strongly get him in his grasp. 

The Episode Review

Episode 2 of Bargain is even better than the first one. Even in its preposterous setting, or perhaps inspired by it, the new episode packs a motley of thematic plays and narrative setups. All of them might not materialize but definitely foment the dramatic fabric of the show. The meetups between the cop and his potential kidney bidder, and the auctioneer who made it happen are as crazy to say out loud as they are to bring to the screen.

And Woo-sung doesn’t just stop at that. He goes one step further by making them work together. Episode 2 captures remnants of Korea’s rich cinematic heritage to imbue the overall storytelling, which is quite loose. Shades of violence and human darkness, given a permanent and timeless shape by movies such as Old Boy, are beautifully brought out through the twins and Geuk-ryeol.

The show isn’t tightly bound by the rigid structures of the story. This episode provides ample evidence that the unlikely partnership between Hyeong and Joo-young is meant to be a statement rather than to serve cinematic purposes. It is difficult to like Bargain; the challenge is especially complex. But in an increasingly homogenous creative landscape, this offers a refreshing change.

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You can read our full season 1 review for Bargain here!
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