Payback – K-drama Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Meaning Of Justice

Episode 4 of Payback begins with Tae-chun in his office working. Jung-soo is happy with how things are going, especially with Seong-tae having turned himself in. Tae-chun is still deliberating over whether to take Gi-seok’s offer, knowing it could lead to a swanky promotion. The flip-side though is a lucrative deal with his uncle, and the possibility of taking out the big dogs in the form of Myung and his cronies. Of course, that comes with a fair amount of risk, given it means potentially losing everything.

It would appear Tae-chun is going for the latter option, especially when he takes Eun-yong’s hand on the rooftop and stands with him overlooking the city. Eun-yong’s plan is audacious and includes buying the entire prosecution so they’ll be working on his behalf. After all, he believes that in order to get these crooks, you need to be playing above the law to do so.

Tae-chun sends over confidential information to Eun-yong and warns that he needs results if he’s going to do this. He doesn’t wait for his Uncle’s reply though and hangs up. When he does, we cut to Eun-yong who meets with Chairman Oh. He offers to invest in his company and wants to undermine Myung. He points out that Myung couldn’t get him into politics, using that as a bargaining chip.

Eun-yong then hands over the Stock Purchase Agreement for a bit of extra oomph, the same document confirming he earned cash through stock manipulation. Eun-yong confirms he got it from Dongdaemun earlier in the episode.

Eun-yong uses this to help “proposition” a deal but of course it’s basically blackmail. He wants to get Myung and Hwang in one fell swoop, proposing they look back at the previous scandal that saw Hye-rin die. That way, with Jun-kyeong by their side as a witness, she can help swing things in their favour.

Hwang Gi-seok makes his move though and decides to look further into Han-ma in, given she’s in charge of Eun-yong’s equity fund. At the same time, Jun-kyeong heads to the graveyard to pay her respects to her mother. However, she’s also warned that once things heat up there will be no way back for her. Jun-kyeong is well aware of that and believes this is the righteous thing to do.

When she leaves and heads home, Jun-kyeong finds Eun-yong there. He’s fixed them up some food and reassures her that she doesn’t need to be alone anymore. Sharing a meal is something of a family tradition for them, given Eun-yong and Hye-rin used to share food and discuss what’s happening between them.

Back then, Hye-rin always hoped Jun-kyeong would live a happy and quiet life but of course, that hasn’t transpired right now. Even worse, this fight that’s about to take place may also cause Eun-yong to lose everything if they fail.

Following the Dongdaemun situation, Myung shows up to see Ms Kim and threatens her with an iron. Ms Kim’s assets are thus transferred away from her name and into one of Myung’s subordinate’s instead, Jin-ho. It s a power move, and one that shows Myung is a step ahead of what’s happening.

Eun-yong shows up to see Oh, believing his deal is about to go swimmingly. However, he’s clearly underestimated who he’s up against given Eun-yong is followed through GMI Bank when he arrives.

At the same time, Gi-seok confronts Tae-chun about Eun-yong’s immigration status after he wraps up the Seong-tae case early. As for Han-ma, she messages Eun-yong to let him know that Financial Supervisory Service have arrived. All of this is connected with what’s been happening, as Tae-chun questions him over misusing funds and using insider information to gain an upper-hand.

We know that this is all true but how will Tae-chun react to all these charges? Not only will he be immediately outed as a corrupt prosecutor, but Gi-seok reminds him that he’ll work to take him down in record time. He taunts Tae-chun, wondering why he would waste his intellect like that.

Eun-yong is cornered in the parking lot and hit by a car belonging to Jin-ho. He’s then left unconscious while Tae-chun struggles to get through to his uncle.

Unfortunately Eun-yong is not in a good way. With the Inspection Team currently rooting through Tae-chun’s office, Myung has his men take Eun-yong out into the woods where he’s buried and told by Myung via facetime to wrap everything up neatly.

Thanks to the current investigation, Minister Son’s press conference is cancelled. Things don’t look good but with CEO Oh swaying and holding all the cards, Jun-kyeong realizes that Oh is not going to be swayed. Myung is too powerful and in fact, he has all the information needed to cover his tracks, including burning the stock transfer information and even settling the Dongdaemun situation.

Oh is still not 100% satisfied though and after bashing his subordinate in the head with a spoon numerous times, tells Myung he needs to sort out this election going forward.

Jin-ho doesn’t bury Eun-yong after all. Despite snapping pictures, Jin-ho does him a favour after helping to pay for his grandmother’s hospital bills in the past. This is a favour he’s doing, driving him to the airport and getting him out the country.

Eun-yong refuses though, going on to try and encourage Jin-ho to join his ranks. However, he notices needle marks all over Jin-ho’s arm, and realizes with dismay that his old friend is doing drugs again. Eun-yong also observes that he’s not wearing a seatbelt and so, he grabs the wheel, causing a big crash and knocking his friend out. It’s the perfect opportunity for Eun-yong, who manages to slip away after phoning the authorities to come in and help Jin-ho.

When our group finally reconvene that night, with Eun-yong back home after getting patched up for his injuries, everyone meets the eccentric Han-na who jumps into being part of their group.

Eun-yong briefs them all about the files Tae-chun sent over earlier in the episode. He’s found something. In fact, he’s found something worth money in the confidential files, which could well swing things back in their favour. All of this links back to the patent transfer for Bluenet, which are transferred to Myung’s name. Mr Lee makes the trade and he’s arrested, along with the man he made the transfer with.

Jun-kyeong steps up and gives a press conference, pointing out that she’s one of the culprits in the bribery and manipulation case involving her mother. She publicly calls out Gi-seok and asks him exactly what justice means to him. As she does, we fade to black on this massive bombshell.

The Episode Review

Payback delivers a brilliant episode, one full of twists and turns along with a whole plethora of reveals and chess-like moves across the black and white board of justice. For every step forward that Eun-yong and his team are making, it seems Myung is already aware of it and is moving to get an early checkmate.

Chess analogies aside, Payback is really starting to heat up and this chapter is a great example of how to balance political scheming with exciting action and character development. I mentioned before that episode 3 didn’t have much of that but episode 4 certainly remedies any issues.

From start to finish this is an absolutely solid hour of drama and the ending hints that next week’s double bill is going to be just as good. Roll on episode 5!

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