The Burning Man
Episode 14 of Private Lives begins with Jeong-Hwan racing into the detective agency and cradling a groggy Joo-Eun who asks if he killed the President’s driver.
We then cut back to 2012 to see Jeong-Hwan following Hyeong-Gu while working for GK, feeding back information about how he may have been laundering money for All Together church. A 10 trillion won deal with the construction company happens to be the catalyst for the President’s downfall.
Byung-Jun indicted President Choi but he managed to weasel his way out of this thanks to the driver. He lied, overturning the original evidence and managing to prevent Choi from being arrested. Right before the Supreme Court made their final statement, President Choi was then killed.
Hyun-Tae happened to be there after all this and Jeong Hyeong-Gu told her to drop everything, mentioning GK Shadows being involved. Jeong-Hwan, while looking, found a poster for the church but had nothing to do with the driver’s death… apparently.
Joo-Eun passes out and is brought into hospital. Although it’s only a minor injury she’s being kept in for observation overnight. Han Son happens to be there too and he confronts Jeong-Hwan, asking exactly how deep he intends to pull her under.
Jeong-Hwan has had enough though and tells him the reason he’s doing all this is to end everything with GK. Given he’s a shadow, Han Son promises to help but most certainly will not be trusting him.
When he leaves, Jeong-hwan finally meets Joo-Eun’s parents but they’re less than enthused to see him. He promises to catch the culprit that did this to Joo-Eun and greets them as his son-in-law, dropping to his knees and apologizing for everything that’s befallen them. As he heads back in to tend to Joo-Eun, he learns from In-Sook that Joo-Eun’s feelings for him are real.
As they embrace one another in bed, we cut back in time and see Jeong-Hwan held the driver up while Hyun-Kyung struggled to find him. Does he have a hand in the disappearance? Joo-Eun isn’t waiting around to find out, as she awakens and gets dressed.
Meanwhile, Soo-Jin meets General Manager Kim, handing over what she’s managed to grab from Joo-Eun’s apartment but asking questions about it. Kim tells her to do her job quickly and quietly and to drop the questions, eventually leaving her high and dry.
As we cut back in time to 2012 again, we now see things from Kim’s perspective as he enters the board meeting with the Director. Silently, Oh leaves the room after leaving him a letter with a cross through it. Jeong-Hwan enters the room on the back of this and is told to scrap the entire case altogether including the church and driver Jeong.
In the present, Kim meets Jae-Wook and learns that the case has been re-opened. It turns out Director Oh has been laundering money through the Hangul foundation but Jae-Wook knew this and wanted a slice of the pie. He was trying to outdo the director all this time.
Kim passes over the files for the driver, warning him and walks away before he can say anything else..
Back at the police station, Detective Kim confronts the Chief and tells him that GK are playing Kingmaker. He passes over the file regarding the driver but before he has a chance to investigate further, Hye-Won rings and tells him someone broke in to their detective agency.
Meanwhile, Jeong-Hwan learns that a female detective came by to the security office and caused the cameras to go offline. As he shows her a picture, Kim turns up at the same place and learns that Soo-Jin is the crooked cop involved in all this.
Kim heads straight to see her and asks exactly what she’s doing. It turns out she hid all the CCTV to avoid questions about Jeong-Hwan cropping up, especially given he’s supposed to be dead.
Not knowing she’s dirty, Kim introduces her to Jeong-Hwan. While they talk, Hyun-Kyung listens to the recordings from the meeting with Byung-Jun and learns that Bok-Gi and Yoon-Hyung are one and the same.
As Bok-Gi’s plan continues to take shape, she invites Byung-Jun out to a concert and pays someone to teach his daughter music lessons. Instead of a concern though, she takes the congressman to a dance class where Min-Seo is practicing.
Bok-Gi sets the whole thing up to help him gain popularity and win people over. Jae-Wook sees this online too and sizes up his next move.
Bok-Gi understands what makes Byung-Jun tick and asks him for a dance – after explaining how he needs to make sure Min-Seo doesn’t explode like a normal teenager. As they dance together, this brings back painful memories of the past between her and Jae-Wook.
Eventually Bok-Gi heads back to her car in the parking lot but she’s cornered by Jae-Wok who asks exactly what she’s doing. Bringing him in close, she tells him she’s trying to be happy. Eventually she returns to her hotel room where she finds Joo-Eun there waiting for her.
Joo-Eun cuts straight to the chase and reveals that she knows Bok-Gi knew President Choi’s driver. She outright asks whether it was fated or coincidental. Apparently it was ill-fated but Bok-Gi scoffs, telling her she’s a terrible detective.
What we’ve come to realize earlier is that the driver did not kill himself willingly but in fact was killed for not obeying orders. Joo-Eun wants to know who’s in charge, which is when she learns of Director Oh. That same Director Oh of course, who’s the head of GK and Hyun-Kyung’s father.
Jeong-Hwan and Joo-Eun finally come face to face with the latter asking why he decided to get closer to Director Oh. Jeong-Hwan admits that he wanted to be successful and realized there was no way he would be in GK. He apologizes for lying, prompting the pair to head up to her rooftop together. Now it finally seems like they’re on the same page.
As we cut back to the past though, we see Jeong-Hwan is not as honest as he first seems. He was the one who threw the lighter that led to the driver being burned alive…but something doesn’t add up.
Back to the present, Jeong-Hwan apologizes and promises to act selfishly. He takes Joo-Eun out and decides to introduce her to someone.
Byung-Jun holds a press conference with the secret ledger and a photocopy of the pages including Assemblyman Kwon. Unfortunately he received 2 billion won in cash back in 2007 and this massive bombshell leads to him bombing in the polls. Now the Kingmaker scheme is taking shape as Byung-Jun’s approval rating skyrockets.
On the back of this, the police decide to reinvestigate the driver case while Jae-Wook meets with a reporter and promises to video tape a confession. With their face blurred and voice distorted, Jae-Wook watches the broadcast and says goodbye to Assemblyman Kwon, lighting the final grenade on this burning corpse of a political career.
As the episode closes out, Jeong-Hwan brings Joo-Eun to a secluded spot where a very-much-alive driver Jeong happens to be. It turns out he and Jeong-Hwan planned all of this and planted a John Doe to make it look like he did his duty for GK’s sake.
Jae-Wook makes his move though and shows up at their spot with an army of guards at his disposal. With all hope seemingly lost, what next for our characters?
The Episode Review
As the final week looms for Private Lives, this espionage thriller finally starts to bring everything into clarity as President Choi’s ledger and the future safety of Korea’s political line sits in the balance.
With more flashbacks – mostly revolving around 2012 – the truth about what happened to this driver finally shines a light on Jeong-Hwan’s troubled past and all the secrets he’s had to shoulder in order to keep things aligned for now.
As Joo-Eun is now caught up on everything that’s happened, all that’s left is to decide quite which way this coin is likely to fall in the upcoming battle for dominance. With their plans close to being foiled, is it all over for our protagonists? We’ll have to wait and see!