Spy in the Closet
Episode 2 of Snowdrop sheds more light on the situation that led Soo-ho to 207. Too convenient to be a coincidence, Professor Han’s flat tire is orchestrated by Soo-ho. Unbeknownst to Soo-ho, Gang-mu has also chosen today to make his move.
The car crash is part of Gang-mu’s plan. This time, during the chase, we see the ANSP agents open fire on Soo-ho. Gang-mu eventually lands a shot in Soo-ho’s back.
After Yeong-ro finds Soo-ho in 207, she starts wiping his blood off the floor and window. Seol-hui comes in soon after.
The matron, not a woman to be messed with, uses the dorm speakers to announce that all students are to lock themselves in the nearest room until she instructs otherwise.
Hye-ryeong and Jeong-min make it back to 207 as the order is issued. Yeong-ro assumes that Soo-ho is being chased for protesting and wants them to help her hide him. Jeong-min gets onboard immediately. Hye-ryeong, having heard Gang-mu say that Soo-ho is a North Korean spy, is less inclined. She gives in after Jeong-min asserts that student protestors are framed as spies so that they can be arrested and Yeong-ro reminds her that Soo-ho was one of the boys on their group date.
When Ha-na levels her gun at the matron’s head and instructs her to reverse the lockdown, the matron reinforces the order instead. Enraged, Ha-na almost strikes the matron with her gun but Gang-mu stops her and sends her to retrieve a search warrant from the Prosecutor’s Office.
While they wait for Ha-na’s return, Bun-ok enthusiastically shows Gang-mu the dorm blueprints without the matron’s permission. From them, Gang-mu gleans that the main door is the building’s only exit besides a locked door in the mechanical room.
In 207, Soo-ho wakes up and Yeong-ro reminds him who she is. He limps to the window, intending to leave to keep the girls out of danger, but Gang-mu is right below. Gang-mu finds a trail of blood leading to 207 right as Ha-na arrives with the search warrant.
In her office, the matron has a flashback to being beaten, tied up, and dangled over a dam wall by an unknown captor. Ha-na slaps the warrant down on her desk, bringing her mind back to the present.
The matron follows behind the agents as they burst into 207, finding Hye-ryeong alone. The matron notices a blood stain that the girls missed near their door but says nothing to alert the agents. The agents themselves find nothing.
When Gang-mu presses for the missing girls’ location, Hye-ryeong points to the dorm bathhouse. The lie is weak, but the matron backs it with the explanation that there are no speakers in the bathhouse for the girls to have heard the lockdown instructions from.
The rest of the 207 girls hide Soo-ho inside a bench in the bathhouse sauna. When they hear Gang-mu drawing near, they undress and cover Soo-ho with their clothes before closing the bench and sitting on it.
Ha-na is the only agent to enter the bathhouse after the matron criticizes the impropriety of the male agents storming in. She follows the sound of the three girls singing to the sauna and barges in with her gun raised.
As Ha-na questions the frightened trio, a line of blood trickles out from under the bench. Yeong-ro leaps off the bench, concealing the blood beneath her feet. She plays it off as outrage at Ha-na’s intrusion.
With the all-clear from Ha-na, Gang-mu pulls his agents out of the Hosu dorm. Meanwhile, the rest of their team hauls Soo-ho’s driver, Geum-cheol, into their headquarters.
The 207 girls transfer Soo-ho to a closet in the bathroom for the night. He wonders how he can repay Yeong-ro. Not to worry – she says she’s just getting even after he bought her the cassette tape.
One of the agents on Gang-mu’s team makes a secret call to Chang-su. When Chang-su reprimands the agent for being unable to stop Gang-mu, the agent points back to his orders to act discreetly. The agent also informs Chang-su that Professor Han is sticking to his flat tire story.
Tae-il approaches Chang-su as he finishes the call, unhappy that their plan has gone wayward. Through their back and forth, we learn that Operation Phoenix is their joint operation with North Korea – they provided the funding for the North Korean spies to abduct Professor Han and defame the opposition party. With the public rallying for fair elections, they are eager to sway voters in their direction. The top-secret classification of the operation also meant that Chang-su had to act without the support of the ANSP agency. Even Gyeong-hui is kept in the dark.
The next day at the ANSP headquarters, Gyeong-hui tells Gang-mu to step down from the Taedong River 1 case. Gang-mu tries to argue but it’s a direct order from Chang-su.
With not a single article about the gunfire from the chase worming its way into the newspapers, Ha-na smells a cover-up. She asks Gang-mu if they’re really backing off the case and he immediately refutes the possibility, still devastated that he lost a junior agent in Germany to this pursuit. His determination irks Ha-na, and she starts to complain that he didn’t show her the same resolve. He cuts her off before we can understand what she means.
Gang-mu and his team interrogate Geum-cheol until he’s swollen and bleeding profusely. Gang-mu can’t figure out why the North Korean’s abducted Professor Han after taking such careful measures to get close to him. Geum-cheol gives them nothing, ingesting a cyanide pill.
The 207 girls, minus Hye-ryeong, hatch a plan to stow Soo-ho on the fourth floor in the abandoned, and apparently haunted, cabin where the last matron committed suicide. Needing a key to get in, they convince Man-dong to help them.
While helping Yeong-ro and Jeong-min sneak Soo-ho to the cabin, Man-dong warns them to watch out for Bun-ok, who was enthusiastically asking about the reward money for turning spies in.
The ANSP agents stationed outside the campus have clear view of the cabin, which means no lights. It’s also right above the library, which means no heavy movements. After the others leave, Yeong-ro bandages the bullet wound on Soo-ho’s shoulder. She notices that he wears a pigeon pendant hanging from a necklace.
Yeong-ro starts smuggling food and supplies to Soo-ho, and even comes up with a knock code so that he knows when she has come to see him. He asks her for batteries, saying that he wants to use the radio he found to listen for news of his fellow student protestors. Little does she know, he’s been secretly tampering with it.
Much like their husbands, Hong Ae-ra (Chang-su’s wife) and Cho Seung-sim (Tae-il’s wife) are locked in a power struggle. Gyeong-hui’s wife, Choi Mi-hye, does her best to suck up to Seung-sim at her birthday gathering, wanting to secure a lifeline within the party. She’s also pressured Gyeong-hui to do the same with Tae-il.
Meanwhile, Tae-il gets a check-up from his doctor/mistress, Kang Chung-ya. Chung-ya even provides Tae-il with a gift to take home to Seung-sim, having guessed he would have forgotten her birthday.
One day, the dorm’s student president, Shin Gyeong-ja, hears the library ceiling creak above her head as Soo-ho shuffles around. A chair gives in when he sits in it and the crash has the girls in the library scampering away before a ghost can make an appearance.
The university campus opens to visitors on Saturdays, but the dorm has a strict female visitor only policy. Yeong-ro’s brother, Yeong-u, has pulled some strings to come see her. He heads around the side of the dorm and shouts for her. Soo-ho also hears from the cabin where he’s been making notes on the ANSP agents’ movements, and watches as Yeong-ro rushes to embrace her brother.
That night, as Yeong-ro tends to Soo-ho’s wounds again, he has a flashback to his own sister Su-hui. In it, Su-hui gifts him the pigeon pendant necklace and tells him to find his way back to North Korea. Soo-ho tells Yeong-ro about the pendant’s origins and she’s relived, having thought it was a present from another woman.
Yeong-ro uses the bath in the cabin to wash Soo-ho’s used bandages. She doesn’t notice the water leaking from the tub into the floor drain. It swells through the library ceiling and drips onto Gyeong-ja’s desk.
Gyeong-ja alerts the matron. Taking Man-dong along with them, they head to the cabin to investigate. Bun-ok shadows them, eager to find a spy to turn in.
As they approach, Yeong-ro is drawing a rough map of the dorm for Soo-ho. Man-dong makes a show of pretending to unlock the cabin, coughing and muttering to alert Soo-ho and Yeong-ro to their presence. Unfortunately, there’s no way out.
The Episode Review
Running for almost an hour and a half, this episode dragged its feet all the way to the credits. Considering that all the new information we learned about Operation Phoenix came packaged in one conversation, the editing needed to be a lot tighter.
The episode also leaned away from the 207 girls after the chase ended, which was a shame because Yeong-ro and Soo-ho’s homemaking adventures in the cabin weren’t nearly as interesting.
Now, onto addressing the big ANSP agent in the room. The drama’s handling of Operation Phoenix and Aemin Party’s use of North Korean spies has opened more cans of worms.
The narrative plays into a very particular – and many would say distorted – interpretation of the student-activists of the pro-democracy movement. That is, the students protesting lacked personal agency and were merely pawns unknowingly influenced by North Korean spies. Jeong-min even fights to save Soo-ho from what she sees as unfair accusations that he’s a spy. Except, he is a spy, and it makes her look naïve… exactly how the student-activists were made to look in real life.
Also concerning is that Gyeong-hui and his agents are represented as righteous individuals being used without consent by their higher-ups. This is a far cry from actual historical accounts of the agency’s offences.
With a lot of backlash and sponsors dropping left, right, and centre, JTBC will be airing three consecutive episodes this weekend to try and clear up this controversy. It’s either going to do just that or land them in even hotter water.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|