Money Heist: Korea – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Dissent In The Ranks

Episode 2 of Money Heist: Korea begins with a flashback to the past. A bunch of defectors do their best to try and escape from the hell that is North Korea. A poor boy is beaten to a bloody pulp; his mum is shot trying to cross the river.

Fast forward 25 years and that boy grows up to become Berlin, the fearless leader inside a North Korean prison that manages to organize a coup and thwart the guards inside.

This flashback works well to get a sense for just how charismatic Berlin is – and how dangerous he is too.

Back in the Mint, the hostages are split into groups, forced to dig a tunnel in shifts. There are clear ripples of descent in the ranks though – typified by the Mint Director asking too many questions. This is something Berlin is aware of too, shaking his head up on the balcony “you’re far too naïve, Professor.”

Now, among the hostages happens to be a girl called Anne Kim, who’s the US Ambassador’s daughter. This, inevitably, brings the whole operation into far more scrutiny than before. Woojin manages to silence the press for now, but urges the officials on this taskforce to work as a team. If not, this could get messy.

Woojin deduces that this raid isn’t being done for political reasons, and speaks to the Professor again, confirming as much. This time she deflects her questioning and gets personal, asking about sex and orgasms in order to “build a relationship” with her. Woojin scoffs but realizes that the Professor is a pretty skilled negotiator of his own.

The phrase “time is money” definitely comes into focus here, although the wildcards are, of course, the hostages. Nairobi watches over those printing money, while Moscow watches the Mint Director make a hash of drilling their escape route.

Speaking of escape, when one of the hostages ends up hurting his hand, the Mint Director takes advantage and try to leave. He heads up to his office, intending to get a smartwatch he tucked away in his drawer last episode. He’s stopped by Berlin and the others.

Now, Youngin’s plan here is to get the watch and communicate with the police, something he tells Misun about later in the episode, dead-set on resolving this conflict before things turn ugly.

In fact, back in the main atrium, Berlin moves all the hostages around so the South Koreans are on one side and North are on the other. He decides to turn them against one another. If a North Korea is out of line, then a South Korean will be punished and vice versa.

This is all the Professor’s plan, using the infamous “divide and rule” plan. This is something North Koreans are well aware of too, given spies are dispatched to villages pre-unification to make sure no one speaks ill of Kim Jong-Un or the regime.

With the hostages subdued for now (minus Misun, who goes off hunting for the watch) Woojin organizes traffic outside. She turns off all electronics, deciding they should communicate via radios instead. She’s convinced that the Professor will make a mistake sooner rather than later.

Well, it arrives sooner. Misun manages to find the watch and tries to communicate with police. At the same time, Rio is held up at gunpoint by Anne who manages to trick him through a kiss in the bathroom. Come on Rio, the honeytrap is the oldest trick in the boot!

However, Anne’s plan goes completely awry when she learns, in horror, that the gun isn’t loaded. Rio regains control.

The Professor is concerned that all is not well given how calm the police are. The wildcard here is, of course, the Mint Director and that smartwatch. He’s using this to try and communicate with the police, and they get a ping on its location several times.

Trying to learn more, the Professor meets Woojin for lunch. Just before they eat, she receives a call about the smartwatch – which the Professor eavesdrops on. He tries to turn the attention across to their relationship when Woojin calls him out for listening, but Woojin leaves, claiming she’s not ready for this.

In her absence, the Professor communicates with Berlin inside, telling him about the smartwatch. Given his history inside the prison camps, Berlin is well prepared for dealing with dissent and immediately calls out the Mint Director.

Youngmin is clever though and manages to set up a signal for the police, who install a Backdoor on the Smartwatch. This allows Woojin and the others to listen in to everything that’s taking place inside the Mint. That is, until Berlin finds Misun smuggling this under her jumpsuit… and destroys it.

Berlin brings Misun out of the group and demands she be executed. That way it teaches the other hostages a lesson. Half the robbers are against this, believing it’s crossing the line. Denver in particular believes it’s morally wrong, although Berlin hands over a gun and demands he take care of Misun.

Alone in the bathroom, Denver screams at her to tell the truth about her pregnancy. Tears streaming down her face, Denver pulls the trigger and fires. But did he fire at Misun? Down in the main atrium, Berlin hugs the Youngmin and tells him he knows the Mint Director is the one responsible for the smartwatch.

The Episode Review

So far, Money Heist: Korea has essentially stuck pretty closely to the original Spanish version. The main difference though stems from the way these characters have been presented. Showing clear divides in the ideologies between those in North Korea and those from the South. This helps to build up a nice bit of tension in a realistic manner.

The bank director is a great inclusion and he manages to perfectly capture the same disdain and annoyance that the original Spanish version conjured too.

Whether Denver has actually killed Misun or not is up for debate but with extended episodes and plenty of tension, this has been a decent remake thus far. It’s certainly not perfect, but there’s enough to enjoy nonetheless.

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Expect a full season write-up for part 1 of Money Heist: Korea later this weekend!

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