Bargain – Season 1 Episode 5 “Guns, Money, Lies” Recap & Review

Guns, Money, Lies

At the beginning of episode 3 of Bargain, we see the religious woman who murdered the other remaining bidders has lost her marbles. In one moment, she suddenly realizes what she has done. And in the other, she is scared witless about how she will be punished by God for taking another person’s life. She asks for salvation from the cop, who is clueless about what to do. He calls out for Joo-young, who is in the bathroom. Somehow, he gets the door open and sees Joo holding the injured guy from the bathroom on a ladder that leads out of the bathroom.

Hyeong helps her get him up in the vents. He even asks the religious lady to come with them, but she chooses to stay in the room. Joo explains that she had to make a move on the bidder holding the knife. Even though he had promised he would let her go, he had no intention of doing so. They make it to the office of the injured guy, who is presumably a janitor. Before he breathes his last, he tells Joo that there is a gun inside the fridge with only six bullets. 

The guy had a dog who was killed by the henchmen. After he dies, Joo and Hyeong put him on the bed and the latter asks her to explain everything to him. Joo explains that she ended up in a juvenile center when she was 15. Since she was an orphan, Joo had to mandatorily spend at least 18 months in there. The kids had 2 hours of religious sessions every week. And apparently, the reverend held high esteem with the authorities.

Joo tried to impress her and embraced God with all her heart. She got out in five months, but the reverend sold her to the owner of this establishment for a total of three thousand. He drilled a hole in her head and inserted a tracking device. Joo reveals that she tried to run away once and one of her kidneys was removed. She was warned not to repeat any of this again or else her entire body would have been auctioned off. 

Hyeong confesses that he was indeed undercover and not trying to “buy” Joo. She also reveals that the old guy made the gun with her by hand. A former army man, who had his organs stolen, also helped in the procurement of gunpowder. Suddenly, they hear noises up in the vent. One of Hee-sook’s goons tries to enter the room. But Hyeong pins him down and ties his hands. He says that there are seven more henchmen alive, including him. 

The pair tie him up and Joo says to Hyeong that she wants her revenge. Hyeong reminds her that they have to steal the money from Kwak’s office as well. After they prepare a bunch of items from the room, they begin their ascension to the roof. They reach the fourth floor where Joo points to Room 404. That is the room that houses the money. The pair is able to shoot everyone in the room, except Kwak and Hee-sook and, to their utter surprise, Geuk, who is still alive. 

Hee-sook says that he has been torturing Kwak for half an hour, but he won’t give up the location of the money. It is revealed that Joo does not know where the money is. Hyeong is greatly upset when he learns he has been tricked yet again. They all try to form alliances with each other and stand in the room in a Mexican shoot-off kind of setup.

The episode ends with Joo shooting Kwak as he claims his stake on her because he “bought her.” 

The Episode Review

When you really look to read between the lines, Bargain offers commentary and insight about class divide at the preposterous minutiae of society. The show’s episode 5 might not nibble at the roots of its central gold mine but has moments that make you see the show in a different light. There was an air of inevitability about how things unfolded. Some would even call it anticlimactic.

But perhaps a renewed focus on the show’s strengths and ironic culmination of our protagonists’ final act will make us see it differently. Joo-young’s moment of redemption did not feel as impactful as it might have in the writers’ room. Due to the choice of the format, Woo-sung’s hands are tied in terms of presentation. 

Such affecting moments are best brought out using dynamic camera movements and marrying them with a moving score. But the lack of variety does end up hurting the eventual reveal. The small doses of lighthearted humor are not necessarily misdirected but aren’t surely always in sync with the tone of the moment. This episode pales in comparison to the brilliance of Bargain but nonetheless sets up an exciting finale. 

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