Episode 3 of Snowdrop begins as the matron searches high and low through the empty cabin. We cut to Yeong-ro and Soo-ho balancing on a narrow ledge on the face of the building.
Bun-ok sneaks into the cabin and signals Gyeong-ja, pointing to an open window. Gyeong-ja alerts the matron, who pokes her head outside. Yeong-ro and Soo-ho remain out of sight on the adjacent wall.
Yeong-ro slips and almost plummets. Soo-ho grabs her with one hand and clutches a wall pipe with his other. The noise has the matron striding to the window above them. Thankfully, its ornate sill shelters them from her gaze. Although, how the ANSP agents miss them is never explained.
Soo-ho struggles to pull Yeong-ro back up as the matron leaves with the others. The matron forces Man-dong to lock the cabin behind them and hand over his key.
Back in the safety of the cabin, Soo-ho tries to calm Yeong-ro’s nerves with a blanket over her shoulders and a drink in her hands. It almost works, until she spots the huge bloodstain that bloomed over his bullet wound while he pulled her up.
The matron hangs the cabin key in a cupboard in her room. She checks a secret compartment inside the cupboard, revealing a mysterious key.
After rebandaging Soo-ho’s shoulder, Yeong-ro discovers that the cabin is locked. Fortunately, Man-dong and Jeong-min – who noticed that Yeong-ro wasn’t tucked into her bed – are on their way.
To ease Yeong-ro’s panic, Soo-ho makes a paper airplane. Yeong-ro makes one of her own and the distraction becomes genuine enjoyment until they’re interrupted by Man-dong picking the lock.
Soo-ho, his desire to leave renewed by this ordeal, asks Man-dong for help. Man-dong leads them to an emergency exit in the mechanical room that the students are unaware of. They pass Gyeong-ja sleepwalking through the hallways. For an instant, Man-dong sees her as the ghost of the late matron.
They make it to the emergency exit without further incident but there are ANSP agents stationed right outside. Soo-ho stays trapped for now.
The next day is filled with preparations for the dorm’s upcoming open day when the students are allowed to invite male guests into the dorm. With the ticketing system there to keep the ANSP agents out, Yeong-ro plans to use the day to sneak Soo-ho out.
Meanwhile, Gang-mu combs through Haedal Boarding House where Soo-ho was staying undercover. Gwang-tae is one of the more permanent residents there and Gang-mu has him agree to keep tabs on Professor Han and report Soo-ho if he resurfaces.
Ae-ra, Seung-sim, and Mi-hye have an appointment with a famous shaman. The shaman says that Chang-su will have bad luck in the coming year, warning that he could be devoured by a tiger. The only way to avoid it is to sacrifice 13 young virgins to appease the Snake God for an ancestral sin. As the shaman delivers his counsel, a snake that only Ae-ra can see slithers over his shoulder and strikes at her.
That night, the matron arrives back at the dorm, heavy with some unknown burden, as Hye-ryeong, Seol-hui, and Jeong-min accuse Bun-ok of theft. The matron pulls the trio into her office and asks for proof. Hye-ryeong and Seol-hui cannot produce any. Jeong-min saw Bun-ok wearing stolen items when they snuck Soo-ho to the cabin but cannot say as much. They are dismissed.
Bun-ok is next to be called into the matron’s office where the matron calls out her jealousy towards the students. The matron tells Bun-ok to remember her place and lets her off with a warning, so long as Bun-ok returns everything she stole.
Later, in her bedroom, the matron pulls out a folded photo from between the pages of a book. On the visible half, she smiles into the camera.
Needing a suit for Soo-ho to blend in at the open day, Yeong-ro makes a call from a public phone booth. A housekeeper picks up and is delighted to hear from her. Yeong-ro arranges to drop by the following day when the mistress of the house will be out golfing. The mistress in question turns out to be Ae-ra, who overhears the phone call and cancels her game.
On the third day of waiting for the North Korean delegates (Ji-rok and Soo-ryeon) to negotiate with them again in Beijing, Chang-su and Tae-il get testy. In an exchange of verbal blows, we learn that Tae-il was the previous director of the ANSP – a title he claimed when he killed his predecessor. By the time the North Koreans arrive, the two are even pulling each other’s hair. Ji-rok calls off the entire deal.
Afterwards, Soo-ryeon contacts Comrade Joo. She instructs him to follow protocol if he cannot confirm that Soo-ho is alive within 72 hours.
On the day before the open house, Yeong-ro visits the sizeable estate where Ae-ra and the housekeeper are waiting. Upon realising that Ae-ra is home, Yeong-ro’s smile drops and she marches down the hall without a word.
Ae-ra approaches Yeong-ro on her way out, wanting to know why she’s clutching one of her brother’s suits. Yeong-ro is curt and Ae-ra berates her for having an attitude on her first visit since she moved in with her maternal grandma ten years ago. Ae-ra, Yeong-ro’s stepmother, expects a better greeting and gets nasty. Yeong-ro smashes a framed portrait, earning a slap across the face from Ae-ra, and leaves.
The day of the open house arrives. Soo-ho and Yeong-ro meet outside the cabin, sharing a tender moment in their fancy attire. That’s the last moment of peace they get before having to dodge the matron and Bun-ok while trying to reach the main door.
Outside, Gwang-tae accosts Seol-hui, annoyed that Hye-ryeong didn’t invite him (the 207 girls deemed him a risk). He follows Seol-hui into the dorm, pretending to be her guest at the ticket station. Seol-hui distracts him before he can catch Yeong-ro and Soo-ho trying to get to the door again and sends him to 207.
Yeong-ro and Soo-ho hide in the room where Hye-ryeong’s guest, a soldier named Byeong-tae, is showing off his marksmanship in a shooting game. Byeong-tae singles out Soo-ho, pushing him to play the game with the intention of feeding his own ego. The targets are made even smaller, and Soo-ho hits them all as the students applaud.
Soo-ho and Yeong-ro try to reach the main door again. Dodging the matron, Bun-ok, and Gyeong-ja, they’re pulled into a dance train to the couples’ dance room.
In 207, Gwang-tae realises that Seol-hui’s father owns Baekha Brewery. He immediately makes her his new relationship target, pretending to have been coveting her since their group date. Seol-hui falls for his flattery without a second thought.
Yeong-ro finds herself alone in the middle of the dancefloor. She imagines herself dancing with Soo-ho to the song she sang at the store where they were first alone. Hye-ryeong snaps her out of it and Soo-ho grabs her hand to pull her away. Seeing this, Bun-ok’s face twists with anger.
Finally making it out the main door, Yeong-ro and Soo-ho rendezvous with Jeong-min, who has been waiting for them with a bike. She insists that they ride it together, so they don’t raise the suspicion of the agents watching, and places Yeong-ro’s arms around Soo-ho. Bun-ok fumes as she watches from behind a tree.
As they ride along, Yeong-ro asks if Soo-ho remembers the dorm phone number and her room number so that they can contact each other again. He stays quiet and she loosens her hold on him. He still says nothing but grips the handlebars tighter.
Seol-hui and Gwang-tae have gone to the café by the university’s main gate. From their window booth, Gwang-tae sees Soo-ho and Yeong-ro parting. He tips off the ANSP. Gang-mu, who is with the agents outside the campus, runs towards the front gate.
After a lukewarm goodbye, Soo-ho peddles halfway down the street. He stops and returns to Yeong-ro, who is still watching him from outside the front gate.
The Episode Review
Open day brought dorm life back into the spotlight and made for quite an upbeat escape attempt despite the odds stacked against Soo-ho. If Gang-mu does capture him at the gate, we have to wonder what “protocol” means for Comrade Joo – is he simply going to pack up and leave, or will it be more sinister?
Gang-mu’s vendetta against Taedong River 1 is clearly personal after he lost a junior agent in Germany. With Soo-ho in Seoul for Operation Phoenix, it’s possible that Gang-mu is chasing the wrong spy.
The matron is quickly cementing herself as an interesting puzzle to solve. Strong willed even in the face of the ANSP, her past seems to be connected to the political turbulence brewing. Is it similarly connected to Taedong River 1?
Family secrets also came to light this episode. Yeong-ro is much more than the humble granddaughter of a rice cake shop owner. Her father being the director of the ANSP explains why Yeong-u has been having a relatively comfortable time in the military even after being arrested for protesting. It also puts her comments to Soo-ho about the futility of protesting in a strange light. Maybe she knows more about the agency’s methods than we think.
With Bun-ok, the late matron, and a shamanic prediction in play as well, Snowdrop has a lot of moving parts even if it continues to chug along at a languid pace.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|