General Manager Kim
We begin episode 7 of Private Lives with Jeong-Hwan heading up to the top floor and walking tentatively down the corridors. A sign for the Gentleman’s Club grabs his attention but when he receives intel that Mr Kim has gone, he’s surrounded by security.
They demand to see his visitor card but he calls their bluff, playing the room and telling them all he’s a reporter. Thankfully it’s just the distraction he needs to charge away through the neon-lit rooms to the elevator. He manages to make it just in time, receiving instructions to use the back entrance to avoid detection.
Having shaken the security, Jeong-Hwan heads back to the PC graveyard van and starts looking through the CCTV footage. There, he notices Jae-Wook leaving out the front door. This causes him to realize Kim and Jae-Wook are working together.
As we cut across to Jae-Wook himself, he makes it into a large vault after a retina scan. Looking at the various stacks of cash and gold bars before him, the man smiles in satisfaction.
This then cuts us back 1 year prior to 2019. Jae-Wook sifts through the President’s ledger while General Manager Kim sits in his car. He receives a call from Jae-Wook who confirms he’s still alive and mentions the ledger. These files, as we soon find out, are all tied up to Mr Kim who’s berated for his mistake in the past by the board.
We then jump forward to All Together Church where Jae-Wook and Mr Kim meet and discuss what happened. Jae-Wook is convinced that this incident with the fire caused the conservative party to unify. He promises to take orders from Kim again after admitting that he’s the one who took Bok-Gi and the ledger. Given he’s been promoted to Director, Jae-Wook hands over the copy he’s made of the ledger over as a “present.”
As we see from the past, Jae-Wook and Jeong-Hwan worked together on a previous case. This saw a big explosion in town not long after Jeong-Hwan passed that area. It seems this incident may have been the catalyst for him turning away from GK and their unconventional methods of getting things done.
This is only exemplified as we see a conversation take place between Jae-Wook and Kim in the past. The Director of GK has been pulling the strings all this time, duping Jeong-Hwan into believing Bok-Gi’s details were handed over to UI.
Kim was the one who orchestrated the hit on Bok-Gi at the hotel while Jae-Wook actually had a bit of a conscience over the whole incident.
This string-pulling continued near Jae-Wook’s mansion as Kim traced his call to Joo-Eun that night. On the back of this, Kim orchestrated for the wedding day to be the fateful time Jeong-Hwan was chased off, “a memorable wedding present” as he so aptly refers to it.
This catches us up to the car accident, which Jae-Wook isn’t convinced about. He heads out to investigate the crime scene and uncovers oil spatters on the floor. Scoffing, he realizes Jeong-Hwan is still alive.
He immediately drives off to meet Kim, who hands over a 10 million won check. Jae-Wook immediately hands it over to the girls and asks Kim about the Jeong-Hwan incident.
After a brief history lesson where we learn the horrifying past that befell Byeong-Joon, Jae-Wook heads out to meet him. Their dinner is brief but it’s enough to get a sense of exactly how cold, calculating and unforgiving this man is. After dinner, he drives off as Jae-Wook curses under his breath.
Meanwhile, Joo-Eun continues to investigate her case with In-Sook, who share food before being driven off by Tae-Joo. The conversation briefly turns to the mysterious nature of Han Son.
Before long though, they make it back to the Spy Detective Agency. There, Joo-Eun wins over Hye-Won with her plans on the best way of setting up the agency for success.
Eventually this brings Joo-Eun to Bok-Gi where they drive together up to Jae-Wook’s mansion. She’s obviously been there before and hesitantly joins her as they investigate the area.
Joo-Eun is convinced that there’s no one in, eventually breaking the door handle to sneak inside. Only, this is all a trap as a gas explosion ignites thanks to Jae-Wook’s handiwork from afar.
Flames spread hungrily across the building as Joo-Eun narrowly avoids a falling chandelier. Bok-Gi arrives and manages to grab Joo-Eun though, hauling her to safety.
She’s not out the woods just yet though. At the hospital, Bok-Gi is surrounded by thugs who start knocking her down in the parking lot. Thankfully she manages to get away thanks to Jeong-Hwan arriving and lending a helping hand.
Obviously he’s wearing his motorcycle helmet but despite a slash across the back, manages to thwart the threat.
Later than evening, Han Son arrives to check on Joo-Eun who happens to safe and sound. He has a drink for her to help with the gas poisoning and thanks Bok-Gi for her help.
Back at the garage, the guards apologize to Jae-Wook for not stopping the girls. Together, they head off to the cameras to figure out what happened.
Getting nowhere, Jae-Wook heads back to his base of operations with numerous bags packed up ready to go. These bags, as it turns out, are actually for the money down in the vault. As he looks over the notes, he bemoans the helmet guy before suddenly freezing. He realizes it’s actually Jeong-Hwan.
The Episode Review
The espionage action continues in Private Lives as our protagonists continue to work toward thwarting GK. It’s obvious now that General Manager Kim is the one pulling the strings here, with Jae-Wook serving as his right hand man.
This episode helps to piece all of that together properly despite some slightly clumsy editing that adds flashbacks within flashbacks which are a tad confusing.
Joo-Eun only gets a fraction of the run-time this week too which is a bit of a shame, although the increased emphasis on Jae-Wook is decent and helps to add more depth to his character.
Given what an emotional performance Kim Young-Min put in as Man-Bok in Crash Landing, his changed role to a villain this time is a nice change of pace and helps to add more range to him as an actor.
That’s to say nothing of the main plot line though which has been pretty intriguing so far and plays on those conventional espionage cat-and-mouse vibes.
The series is building up nicely to a dramatic second half to come. Judging by the preview for tomorrow’s episode, it seems likely that Joo-Eun is going to find out the truth about Jeong-Hwan.
Until then though, Private Lives delivers another good episode.