Episode 5 of Inspector Koo throws us headfirst back into the traumatic chase we closed on last week. It’s a race against time and for Kyung-Yi, there’s not long left until her comrades drown in the shipping container. Realizing they’re not in the sea, Kyung-Yi tries to track down the location for the lake.
Kyung-Yi does well, using her expertise to find Je-Hui and Gyeong-Su before it’s too late. Je-Hui is taken to the hospital but she’s in a rough way. Santa relays on that she’s injured her neck and needs to be kept in for observation.
Gyeong-Su is a little luckier and manages to tell Kyung-Yi details of their ordeal, including the wooden box they were kept on and the poisonous gas. Now, it would appear the container was already there too, which Kyung-Yi interprets as K not operating alone.
Together, they head down to the local vehicle rental place and begin searching through the CCTV footage. Someone disguised in a hilariously suspect mustache and glasses uses a familiar gesture which Kyung-Yi recognizes from her past. Following K’s trail, a group of elderly men mention noticing K walking into the men’s room.
It’s around this time where Kyung-Yi realizes that K’s killings have not been random, she’s actually been taunting her, using crucial tidbits of information she divulges to go after those targets.
Off the back of this, Kyung-Yi works around the clock to learn more about Yi-Kyung and her life, including familial ties and background. Through flashbacks, we learn more about what happened to K, including how her parents died out in the woods, turning a gun on themselves. K, as it turns out, actually spent a week out in those woods but strangely she wasn’t dehydrated or had any scratches on her. Her aunt interprets that as a sign.
Now, it’s around this time that Jeong-Yeon took her in, trying to help the young girl through her grief and trauma. Only, Yi-Kyung constantly sees a shadow in her periphery vision, leading her down a dark and twisted path. This seems to be the origin of this alliance.
Speaking of alliances, Gun-Wook and K’s ties link back to hospital years back. Gun-Wook, unhappy with his grandpa still being alive, wishes that he was dead. And down comes K from the windowsill promising to take care of him, unplugging the machine and letting him die.
In the present, K’s instability sees her confront Gun-Wook outside the hospital, choking him out with his dog-tags and questioning his prior radio silence. She promises to reveal all to his lover if he doesn’t cooperate, going on to tell Gun-Wook she’ll call in the future.
Meanwhile, Kyung-Yi and Santa break into Jeong-Yeon’s place and begin looking around. The perfume on the counter is the same one K was wearing that evening in the parking lot. She also finds those creepy finger puppets and strong painkillers too. When Jeong-Yeon shows up, Kyung-Yi thinks fast and pretends that Santa is actually dating K. He shoots some cute expressions their way to back this up too. Jeong-Yeon falls for it hook, line and sinker.
When she receives an international call though, she begins to get emotional and breathes heavily, needing to rush out.
Meanwhile, Yong Sook is greeted by a breathless Mr Kim, Seong-Tae and Yong Sook’s son, Hyeon-Tae. It’s a pretty tense meeting, one that eventually paves way for them talking politics. Specifically, they assess Ko Dam’s threat.
While this is going on, K and her aunt prepare to leave the country to visit Jeong-Yeon’s mother. When Je-Hui catches wind of this, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to intercept that flight and catch the pair. Although Je-Hui isn’t 100%, the gang join her as they head for the terminal. Yong-Sook and Mr Kim are there too.
Now, Jeong-Yeon arrives at the terminal but she’s alone. K meanwhile, rings and tells her aunt she’ll meet inside. When Yi-Kyung’s phone switches on, Yong-Sook and Kim immediately perk up, believing that’s their ticket to track her down. Only, there’s a problem. She’s not on the monitors and with the plane about to board, Yi-Kyung suddenly changes her mind and decides against going. She’s actually at home, as it turns out, but her phone signal is pinged from the airport, thanks to a planted decoy.
With the plan a bust, Yong-Sook is not happy, taking this out on Je-Hui. While talking, she looks up and notices that Seong-Tae is currently leading the political polls. The noose is certainly tightening around Je-Hui and the gang, as we cut to K and her inside guy, confirming the number of people after her. It was a bust all along and they knew Kyung-Yi would strike. However, what they weren’t banking on is Yi-Kyung showing up at her house that evening. As she stares through the window, the episode comes to an agonizing close.
The Episode Review
Inspector Koo returns this week with a strange episode in many ways, tonally jumping between dark and light slapstick comedy. Don’t get me wrong, the moments with Santa’s dancing were absolutely delightful, and Kyung-Yi’s character is much better suited to this wacky comedy and sudden, abrupt changes to bouts of seriousness. Her character in itself is completely bonkers so it does fit the bill somewhat.
Likewise, K’s ties and manipulation make her a formidable enemy and seeing what’s led her down this dark path is certainly welcome. At the same time, the early parts of this episode, especially through K’s flashbacks, just feel tonally jarring as they border on horror territory. Personally, this feels at odds to the espionage and wacky tone that most of these episodes have adopted so far.
Despite that though, the show has been good value for its run-time and the 60 minutes certainly don’t hang about on the plot. There’s enough here to whet the appetite and both K and Kyung-Yi make one heck of a match-up. Quite how and when K will be caught though remains to be seen but this is shaping up to be a very intriguing k-drama, even if this chapter tends to veer off into tonally inconsistent waters.
Expect a full season write-up when this season concludes!