When The Chips Go Down
Episode 3 of Inspector Koo opens with two spotlights, one on K and the other on Kyung-Yi. This stylish flashback establishes rapport with both characters, as Kyung-Yi questions her about the janitor’s death. Having listened to K, she realizes the pair are pretty similar, as white smoke paves way for us snapping back to the moment out in the hallway at the hospital.
K is eccentric and flamboyant, bringing up the subject of Kyung-Yi’s husband and telling her that he’s in a better place now. This sets Kyung-Yi off though, as she clutches her head and has Santa drive her away. Although he gives her some medication to help with her anxiety, it doesn’t stop her from hallucinating and see him next to her. K, in a car nearby, films the whole thing.
In the middle of a press conference, Yong-Sook is interrupted by Je-Hui who greets her warmly. She wants to be the bridge between her and Kyung-Yi, serving as the liaison between both parties. Ypon-Sook chuckles and agrees to the terms. She does give her some advice though, telling Je-Hui not to chase money and instead, chase power. The thing is, that doesn’t help with Je-J=Hui’s work, which – despite halving the debt her department have accrued – still sees the team relegated to the basement. And more specifically, the storage closet.
Kyung-Yi is there with them of course, and receives a deliver of whiskey to help her with the all-nighter load. While she marvels over the bottle, Gyeong-Su and Je-Hui engage in a hilariously over-the-top sequence where they remain determined to catch the serial murderer. With no suspects, the gang are forced to start from the beginning. Gyeong-Su though, has the idea that the killer may well be a professional contract killer.
That’s not actually a bad idea in truth, since a guy called Park, a med student who’s released from prison after originally leaking videos of his girlfriend, happens to be K’s next target. Knowing he’s a bad man, it gives her incentive to make him pay in her own twisted way.
So off K goes, hacking into Park’s phone and seeing everything she can. Turning her nose up at his audacity, K sets to work concocting her plan for revenge. Now, part of that comes from poisoning chips, first testing it on a rat and secondly on the delivery man who arrives with a parcel (containing a book about medusa) for K at her place. Now, this package links back to that earlier quote about seeing evil.
Anyway, having created the perfect blend of chemicals to do the trick, K tasks her subordinates with heading to the campus of Inseo University and staking the place out. Now, this is all part of a much larger plan to take out Park Gyu-Il. We see all of this take place in real-time, witnessing the elaborate plan come to life.
As the chemicals do their work, Gyu-Il tries to leave as the others in attendance chalk it up to him being drunk. As he slumps down, Gyu-Il’s terrorized partner heads up and confronts him, demanding he delete the videos. When he doesn’t respond, she plunges a knife into him six times and only realizes what she’s done after the deed. Now, this video is broadcast over to the NT Life Insurance firm, played on the massive screen across from their main headquarters. When Kyung-Yi notices, she immediately suspects K is behind all of this.
Kyung-Yi heads up to see the medical examiner, learning that Park’s body is completely clean. She deduces that he must have been drugged (the toxicology hasn’t been completed yet) too. There are six stab wounds, each clean, and given he didn’t even try to fight back, then it seems to back up Kyung-Yi’s theory.
K is clever, but Kyung-Yi seems to be cleverer. She realizes that this sadistic woman has managed to mix together a concoction that’s nigh-on untraceable thanks to three separate chemicals used. Je-Hui works with the team and begins looking through CCTV footage for clues. Only, some of the data appears to be missing. Of course, we know Santa and the others are covering their tracks.
Kyung-Yi follows up on the water balloon gig, finding the man responsible and tailing him as he heads to the station and sells his camera to a shady woman. This sees her and Santa split up, with Santa watching the guy as he heads back to his apartment. As for Kyung-Yi, she hangs unusually close to the camera buyer, who manages to easily lose her by skipping off the train at the last second. Now, she happens to be on the phone to K, who receives photos of Kyung-Yi and Santa.
Kyung-Yi meanwhile, talks her way into serving as a lawyer for Park’s girlfriend. Specifically she asks the young woman if anyone approached to help kill her partner. Now, it turns out she didn’t actually kill Park, given he was already dead at the time of the stabbing. It’s a clever red herring, and one that most detectives would have overlooked completely. However, given the stab wounds never pierced any of the major organs and it would require a lot of force to actually do that – especially from a petite woman like her. Kyung-yi tells her to focus on making the most of her current situation.
As the episode closes out, we cut to the CCTV footage in the parking lot as K walks toward Santa, wearing a mask and ready to strike.
The Episode Review,
Inspector Koo is just starting to get interesting now. With the elaborate schemes, plenty of tension and some incredibly stylish shots, this crime drama has done a decent job stepping into this bloated field and standing out as something a little unique. Now, the similarities to Killing Eve are still here, and they probably will be for the rest of the show to be honest. However, Inspector Koo has a distinct Korean feel to it, and given how brutal some of these thrillers have been in the past, it’s hardly surprising to see this show follow suit.
The comedy is still a little hit or miss at times but the more flamboyant displays, like Gyeong-Su putting on a show to try and deduce key moments of the story, feel parodical in the best possible way, taking cues from numerous old-school crime dramas that would use this trick a lot – especially in the 70’s and 80’s.
The ending leaves things on an almighty cliffhanger too, with Santa’s fate hanging in the balance. Wil he survive the night? We’ll certainly find out tomorrow!