While the first episode of Rugal worked to set the scene for the drama to come, the second follows a much more simple premise, with a couple of missions for our team to complete sandwiched between a power struggle at Argos. In terms of content, there’s a good amount here in this 70 minute episode but ultimately this simply serves as a second part of building foundations for the rest of the season.
Ki-Beom and the others arrive at Geun-Cheol’s headquarters at the start of episode 2 of Rugal where he briefs the team on their first assignment – stealing and obtaining evidence to use against Yong-Deok.
While the team begin their mission and infiltrate the building, Deok-Gu antagonizes Ye-Won on her wedding day, dropping all her wedding gifts off while using the empty boxes to transport money for the illegal operation he’s conducting on behalf of Yong-Deok. When he leaves, Deok-Gu learns the elevators aren’t working and starts heading up the stairs, until he’s ambushed by Yong-Deok’s men. As he fights them off, Mi-Na and Tae-Woong work together and manage to infiltrate the Situation Room.
With the stage set, Mi-Na and Tae-Woong head down to the parking lot where they take out a whole group of guards. At the same time, Ki-Beom drives a motorcycle away in hot pursuit of Dal-Ho. After a high speed chase through the streets, Ki-Beom manages to catch up to him and stops the car. He beats Dal-Ho relentlessly until Tae-Woong arrives and bundles him in the back of the lorry, knocking him unconscious. This happens to be the same lorry that holds the entire stack of cash for Argos.
An enraged Yong-Deok heads off alone when he learns what’s happened but unfortunately his car loses control and starts driving on its own while Gwang-Cheol uses his drone to watch from afar… until it gets caught in the tree. The car capsizes and ends up upside down on the side of the road while the police scramble to save Yong-Deok. Ki-Beom and the others make it back to headquarters with the money and truck, and go on to discuss what happened earlier in the night.
Meanwhile, Deuk-Gu arrives at the familiar dock from the last episode with a weakened Yong-Deok presented inside a body bag with an oxygen mask on. All of this was orchestrated by him. Deuk-Gu decides to use Ye-Won for his own diabolical scheme, forcing a gun into her hands and making her shoot the Chairman in the head.
Overcome with grief, Ki-Beom vows to avenge his beloved back at headquarters. He’s given time to reflect on his actions and decides, with a level-head, to return to training. This time though he’s much more focused and determined than before. Along with the training we also learn more about the different team members and their cybernetic enhancements.
Ki-Beom apologises to the group for letting his emotions get the better of him and agrees to obey the rules and stick with Rugal from here on out – for the sake of his wife’s memory.
The Chairman’s death earlier in the episode leads Argos into new leadership – with Deuk-Ga taking the reigns for now. Ye-Won tells the group that Assemblyman Park was the one behind the attack on Yong-Deok, before telling them all they can leave.
Meanwhile, a man named Dae-Sik admits to killing Ki-Beom’s wife and gets himself arrested as he turns himself in at the police station. In the middle of the night he sets off an explosion and demands to speak to Ki-Beom during the ensuing carnage. Not long after he gets his wish, as both Gwang-Cheol and Ki-Beom snatch him up from the police and drive him away.
Out in the middle of nowhere, Ki-Beom starts to interrogate the boy but he giggles maniacally after admitting he just did “what he was told to do”. Ki-Beom watches in horror as this boy triggers a self-destruct implant in his head and kills himself, where the episode ends.
The plot thickens! Who is this boy and just what connection does he have to Argos and Geun-Cheol’s operation? There’s plenty to ponder here and although the story is a little light in terms of progression or big twists (outside the Chairman being killed of course!), the episode more than makes up for that with some slick action sequences. The parking lot fight was really well choreographed and the various chase sequences help to stick this in action territory while keeping the sci-fi elements running throughout the show.
So far Rugal is doing a good job to keep its elements simple but effectively written. The revenge trope is something that’s been done numerous times before but the sci-fi spin and simple motivations for our characters is enough to keep things from falling too far into melodramatic waters. Quite what’s next for our characters is still a mystery but hopefully the show can sustain its effective tone and pacing throughout the upcoming episodes.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!