Payback – K-drama Episode 5 Recap & Review

Playing With Fire

Episode 5 of Payback begins with Joon-kyung dropping a huge bombshell, deciding to admit she’s a co-conspirator and calls out her partner conspirator – Gi-seok. Gi-seok knows this stunt wasn’t all her and wonders whether Eun-yong may be back and causing havoc.

Tae-chun shows up at In-ju’s place and decides to arrest him for misappropriation and malpractice. However, Gi-seok happens to be on the phone hearing all of this take place, given he just rang asking for help. Speaking of Eun-yong, he talks to Chairman Oh again, this time doubling down on the idea of helping him become a Congressman.

Given Baek has little hope of becoming the next Congressman, and this house of cards starting to topple, Eun-yong puts pressure on Oh to join forces and turn on his cronies. It seems to work too and he hands over a Press Pass for Eun-yong.

In the hallway, Tae-chun passes Gi-seok and encourages him to go and speak to his father-in-law. When he refuses, claiming this is Tae-chun’s case, the latter turns around and tells the prosecutor that he’s going to find his own way to the seventh floor, hinting that he has no intention of playing dirty like him.

Eun-yong delivers a speech to Change Investment Partners, getting right to the cause of the issue and advertising his own offshore mutual funds as a viable solution to the sticky Myung situation. He claims they’re impossible to trace and he even has the backing of Oh as well. With In-ju behind bars (for now at least), Chief Park Jeong-su is promoted up to his position.

Eun-yong heads into prison to see Myung In-ju, who shrugs off the charges against him and claims he can just pay some fine and then it’ll be over. Eun-yong shows off his press pass and confirms exactly what he intends to do, digging into Myung In-ju’s illegal wealth.

Gi-seok rings through to Jeong-su, enraged about what’s happened to Myung In-ju. Jeong-su is still unhappy about the apartment he’s leased over in Busan, something that’s fallen through thanks to Gi-seok’s lies and manipulation. Well, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office show up with a suspension order while they inspect him and his office. Gi-seok is not happy but it’s a small victory and a sign that the tide is currently changing.

Joon-kyung is praised for her great work, havign done due diligence and worked with a reputable firm to draw up her timeline of what happened ack in 2010. Thankfully we actually see all of this, as we cut back and see Hye-rin shamed and admitting she’s scared, especially to fight back against such powerful figures trying to tear her down. Still, she agrees to keep her head and for now, enjoy a meal together.

Joon-kyung receives the news about her mother while she’s being interrogated about the forgery of documents. As a result, she’s actually allowed to go at this point. Joon-kyung takes the burden of this and throws it back at Gi-seok, who actually spoke to Hye-rin earlier that day, according to the visitor log.

Gi-seok tells her they’re sweeping all the charges under the rug because she’s “family” and the case is over now Hye-rin has passed away. He encourages her to go and get a job at a quiet law firm somewhere and walks away.

With Myung weaseling out of questioning with Tae-chun, he instead takes a different tact. In fact, he asks Bok-sun – the lady he took the shares from and hurt with an iron last episode – to sue him. If she does that, he’ll return her shares.

When she does, Myung is interrogated late at night at the Detention Center. And for some reason, he’s left all on his own. As a result, he manages to get out and leave the Detention Center. He’s to return in 3 hours though, prompting him to drive into the heart of town.

There, Myung In-ju meets with Chairman Oh and encourages him to keep on his side rather than becoming a turncoat. When he refuses, In-ju pushes him off the roof of the building, throwing a huge spanner in the works for Eun-yong. At the same time, Gi-seok writes out a statement outlining his intentions.

In the morning, Eun-yong hears the news about Chairman Oh committing suicide, given he also had a suicide note on him too. As a result, the number 1 suspect is Eun-yong rather than In-ju.

Hong is visited at her Equity Fund by inspectors, who demand she contact Eun-yong. As for our protagonist, he realizes there’s only one way to fight back after such a bold move and he heads in nonchalantly to GMI Bank, without arousing suspicions from anyone… somehow. He steps into the middle of GMI Bank and waits. He speaks to Tae-chun and tells him to cuff his uncle and arrest him.

The Episode Review

Payback turns from intriguing to contrived in a matter of minutes and it’s quite surprising how this all came about. With Myung In-ju behind bars, he somehow concocts a plan with the guards to: Break out without alerting any other guards on duty (without even wearing a disguise), dodge all the cameras both inside and outside the center, make it into the middle of town, get up to the rooftop with Chairman Oh without alerting anyone inside that building, throw him off the roof, return to the detention center and get inside his cell before the police even show up at the scene and find a dead body on the floor.

If that wasn’t enough, Eun-yong is painted as the number 1 suspect but nobody bats an eyelid as he makes it into the middle of GMI Bank, where Chairman Oh’s death should be big news.

It’s a shame too because Payback does have some good points, especially the characters and the overarching story. Sadly, this episode is nowhere near the standard of the others and a black spot in what’s otherwise been a solid crime drama.

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