Insider – K-Drama Episode 2 Recap & Review

A Minnow Among Sharks

Episode 2 of Insider starts with Yo-Han entering prison. He’s stuck in a cell with a whole bunch of gangsters and unfortunately, is beaten down to the ground almost immediately. However, with the Dean en-route, the beating stops for the time being. Their room is inspected, sending everyone outside while the cell is turned inside out.

Yo-Han heads out into the yard after, trying to find Lee Tae-Gwang. Unfortunately, he’s taken away by one of the crooked guards who takes him straight to the kitchen where a whole bunch of inmates corner him.

They’re under orders from their boss, Jo Hae-Do, to gain compensation for their losses. They want 1 million won per week, as well as further compensation for what’s happened to the den. If not, then his grandmother is going to be killed.

There’s a really nicely shot scene here, which cuts back and forth between Yo-han and his grandmother, both fighting for their lives. The latter happens to be visited by Hae-Do who demands she hand over the deed to her house.

Both of them are beaten down, but Yo-Han’s woes are quelled slightly by Song Doo-Chul, the man in charge of the gang in his cell. He learns of Yo=-Han’s debts and decides to throw him a bone, offering him a chance to win 1 million won. Doo-Chul reveals that the prison is like a gambling house; you can either be broke or win big. If he stays by Doo-Chul’s side and helps him out, Doo-Chul promises to take care of Hae-Do for him.

Outside of prison, Jin-Hyung finds himself surrounded by sharks at the prosecutors’ office. Byung-Wook continues to show off the power he has, as Jin-Hyung is told to make sure the Yo-Han situation doesn’t get out of hand.

It’s not just Jin-Hyung though who’s in trouble, Yo-Han’s grandmother is continuously stalked by Hae-Do’s men, who try to scare her out of giving up the deed to her house.

Thankfully, Soo-Yeon shows up and offers a lifeline to her. This comes in the form of organizing a call to Yo-Han, who reassures his grandmother that everything is okay and he’s being treated well inside.

This call is followed by another, as Doo-Chul comes to an agreement with Hae-Do; it’s all about gambling now and Yo-Han is right in the thick of it. His target is Jang Sun-Oh, who is actually the crazy guy Yo-Han met during the room inspection earlier in the episode.

The whole prison is being run like a gambling house, which is explained to Yo-Han through some slick animations and cutaway shots of the prison. With the security manager there serving as the house manager, the prison is essentially divided up into three leagues.

The lowest is the changing room, where cigarettes are used as chips. If you play well, you advance up to the staff lounge where cash is used. Here, the staff also bet, even waging stakes on different prisoners, sponsoring them or sharing the winnings that the players make. If you stand out there? Well, it goes up to the big leagues, and this is where Sun-Oh is currently operating.

For now though, we start with the 3rd league, playing Texas Hold’Em Poker. After a brief explanation of the rules, the matches begin. The thing is, it appears as if the other inmates have called his bluff. Every time he gets a good hand, they all seem to fold.

Things get real tense when Yo-Han has a pair of nines and the guy he’s playing against happens to have two Kings. Yo-Han certainly has some rotten luck and after losing a fair amount of cigarettes, he seems to be in dire straits.

The cycle continues each day; clean the prison room, continue the day to day grind and play cards. Yo-Han has more guts than skills though, and he eventually loses all of Doo-Chul’s money. Surprisingly, the gang leader doesn’t hurt Yo-Han, instead deciding that he can try again and win back all the money he’s lost.

Although Doo-Chul doesn’t hit out at him, Hae-Do’s gang certainly do. They grab him while the inmates are out farming and begin beating him down for not paying back the debt. Thankfully Yo-Han manages to get away… or does he? Guards show up and immediately throw Yo-Han into solitary confinement for 20 days for leaving the area. At the same time, Yo-Han’s grandmother is approached by a strange masked man in an alleyway.

Yo-Han’s woes turn into a blessing though when he gets talking to the guy in the room next to his. He knows about playing cards and asks whether Yo-Han wants to learn. Yo-Han refuses, but there are bigger problems afoot.

Yo-Han’s grandmother is killed and in her mouth happens to be the ownership deed for her house. This is a clear message sent from… Hong Jae-Sun. He’s actually in cahoots with Chairman Yang, who happens to be his uncle. Catching wind of Yo-Han messing with the gambling den, Hong sneers and claims this is revenge while Yo-Han is out, mourning the death of his grandmother.

Jin-Hyung shows up just in time as Yo-Han beats the guy down, promising to take care of this himself. When Hong leaves, Yo-Han admits he has nothing left but to continue on with his official duties. He’s going to double down on honoring his grandmother’s memory. Unfortunately, Jin-Hyung is backing off given there’s been “a setback in the operation.”

When Yo-Han returns to prison, he remains determined to gain his revenge and back in solitary confinement, decides he’s going to take up the offer of learning Texas Hold ’em Poker after all.

The Episode Review

The second episode to Insider works beautifully to show Yo-Han in over his head. Not only does he get beaten down badly by the other inmates, he’s also reckless while gambling too. It helps to show a foundation for the level of progression we’re undoubtedly going to get across the weeks ahead, and the show has done a very good job characterizing Yo-Han in this way.

This is the classic underdog journey, showing someone from the bottom claw their way to the top through sheer tenacity, heart and courage. Yo-Han’s motivations are now clear and he has a purpose.

It’s interesting to see Doo-Chul recognize the heart in this kid and he’s clearly understood that Yo-Han could be a good tool to use going forward. Of course, every action has a reaction, which comes in the form of Yo-Han’s grandmother being killed because of Yo-Han’s inability to pay back his debts.

Yo-Han has absolutely nothing holding him back now, as this week’s double bill bows out with lots of promise for the future.

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