Another Spy, Another Deal, Another Death
Episode 7 of Snowdrop picks up at Yeong-ro’s confession, which she whispers too low for Chang-su to hear over the radio. It doesn’t give her the upper hand she’d hoped for, and Soo-ho won’t release her or allow another student to take her place now. He makes it clear that she’s nothing more than a “human shield” and has her stand in front of one of the windows.
Soo-ho takes the matron aside for a conversation. Chang-su and Tae-il, listening in, learn that Soo-ho knows Yeong-ro’s identity and also discover that she hid him in the dorm.
Getting nowhere with Soo-ho, the matron excuses herself to the bathroom. She sneaks to the furthest stall as Comrade Joo stands guard outside and unstraps a radio – the thing she had been taping up in her office – from around her thigh. The radio squeals as she turns it on, and she’s forced to return it to its place under her dress when Comrade Joo comes in to investigate.
Chung-ya shows her true allegiances when Soo-ho returns to Comrade Lee’s side behind the partition. She silently shows him a note scrawled across her forearm explaining that the whole building is being wiretapped and a SWAT team is poised to break into the dorm.
Soo-ho keeps that in mind as he allows Gang-mu to receive treatment, facing the wire above them while harping on about maintaining mutual trust.
Outside, Chief Ahn whines about the matron not having told him that Yeong-ro was harbouring a spy even after being subject to water and electric torture. Chang-su and Tae-il join him at the vantage point from which Yeong-ro is visible in the window. She manages a sad smile for her father.
Soo-ho pays Gang-mu a visit mostly so that Chang-su can hear him warn that the dorm is rigged with C4 explosives from the mechanical room to the third floor. Soo-ho waves the remote detonator that he’ll use to blow them all up if anything else goes askew.
Tae-il swoops in to save the day with his secret plan. We flash back to him informing Han-na about Chung-ya’s mission to put the injured spies to sleep. He also instructed Han-na to disarm the boobytraps securing the secret passageway so that the SWAT team can dispatch Soo-ho.
Gang-mu is brought back to the cafeteria for treatment. Han-na embraces him, exaggerating the gesture to whisper the plan in his ear and let him know about the gun in Chung-ya’s kit.
Soo-ho finally releases the first group of hostages. Han-na guides them out of the dorm to the waiting agents before returning to the captives left behind.
Ae-ra arrives at the ANSP base, playing the perfect wife with packed lunch for the agents. Breaking news interrupts their meal – the press reports that Professor Han was killed during an attempted abduction by the North. A tape he gave to a priest with the recording of his time in Soo-ho’s car provides definitive evidence and the opposition party blames the current administration.
The president calls Chang-su and orders him to report back with a solution to this problem by 5pm. Ae-ra steps in, suggesting that they publicize the Hosu hostage situation and drag it out over the next ten days until the presidential election to drown out any news pertaining to Professor Han. Tae-il chimes in, confident that the North can be persuaded to control their spies in exchange for the $300M.
Soo-ryeon is needling Ji-rok in his office when Chang-su’s call comes through. Chang-su lays out the press fiasco and asks for permission to kill all three of the North Korean spies in exchange for the $300M. Ji-rok rejects the offer and calls for his secretary, Yeon-hwa, who he tells to send a message to the spies to come back alive.
Yeon-hwa informs Ji-rok that he’s needed in the Secretary’s Office. After Ji-rok follows her out, Soo-ryeon calls Chang-su back and appoints herself the head of their negotiations. She gives Chang-su permission to kill the spies. Yeon-hwa listens from the door and relays the call to Ji-rok, who breaks into a satisfied chuckle.
In the dorm, Chung-ya finishes stitching Gang-mu up. Comrade Joo eyes her as she almost lifts the hidden compartment in her medical kit. He stops her from packing up and rifles through it, finding the gun.
Comrade Joo unleashes his temper on her, repeatedly hitting her with his gun until music blasts through the cafeteria and everyone stills. Soo-ho has just walked in with Yeong-ro’s radio, satisfied that he’s deafened the ANSP agents. Comrade Joo drags Chung-ya, face covered in blood, before him.
Soo-ho tries to talk Comrade Joo down while Gang-mu uses the distraction to pocket Chung-ya’s scalpel. Soo-ho’s attempts fail and Comrade Joo flings Yeong-ro away from the window. He replaces Yeong-ro with Chung-ya and points his gun at her in clear view of the snipers outside the campus.
The snipers report the situation back to base and Tae-il, distraught, has Chief Ahn locate Chung-ya. Joining the snipers, he tries to get them to kill Comrade Joo but Chung-ya is in the way.
Han-na turns the radio off as Soo-ho tries to wrestle the gun from Comrade Joo’s grip. The gun that Chung-ya snuck in falls to the ground in the struggle and gets kicked right to Yeong-ro’s feet. She picks it up and aims it at Comrade Joo, who then pulls Chung-ya to himself like a shield. Soo-ho tries to talk Yeong-ro into dropping the gun and Gang-mu tries to convince the spies not to let things spiral while they have the advantage.
Comrade Joo finally lowers his gun and an ANSP sniper takes a shot… completely missing everyone and making things worse. Comrade Joo starts firing at the snipers. Soo-ho knocks the gun out of Yeong-ro’s hand and pushes her to the floor, shielding her with his own body. The paper plane she made falls out of his jacket and lands beside her before he gets up and stops Comrade Joo from wasting more bullets.
Soo-ho snatches the note back from Yeong-ro, scrunching it in his fist before Comrade Joo or Chung-ya can see anything further. Amid all the fuss, Han-na has made a break for the mechanical room. Soo-ho notices her absence and follows.
He corners her at the entrance to the secret passageway, but she has already disarmed it. She threatens him with the SWAT team’s presence, and he tells her to go out and disband them or he’ll blow up the building with Gang-mu in it. Han-na gets outside and calls for the SWAT team, disobeying him. They loiter outside the entrance – Tae-il cancelled his grand scheme after their new deal with the North.
Soo-ho is angry about yet another plot to kill him coming to light and is unwilling to listen to Chang-su’s demand that he verifies his new instructions from the North. He now plans to kill a student within the next ten minutes.
Soo-ho agrees to Comrade Joo’s suggestion that they choose Yeong-ro for execution and then pulls the wire out of the wall next to them. Now that they can’t be overheard, he explains that Yeong-ro is their lifeline. He then sets about pulling out every wire around the dorm.
Comrade Joo hauls Chung-ya out of the cafeteria to meet Soo-ho in a separate room. To Comrade Joo’s surprise, Soo-ho unties her and stands to attention, reporting that he’s removed the wires.
Chung-ya reveals that she provoked Comrade Joo on purpose to sell her act and introduces herself as Moran Hill 1, a renowned North Korean spy sent to help them get home.
The field phone rings and Chung-ya silently listens to Chang-su explain that he’s made a new deal to send the spies home in ten days if they don’t kill any hostages. They hang up without a word and Chung-ya allows Soo-ho to confirm their instructions using the radio. Soo-ho starts to question whether the South can be trusted and Chung-ya shuts him down for doubting Party instructions.
Satisfied that the spies have accepted their new instructions, Chang-su and Tae-il make their way to meet with the president. Chang-su’s secretary gets a call about Yeong-u and he turns his car around.
As darkness falls over the dorm, Soo-ho drags Yeong-ro to a separate room to eat, which doesn’t escape Chung-ya or Bun-ok’s notice. Yeong-ro asks why he has her paper plane and begins to dread that he came back to the dorm because of it. He doesn’t get time to confirm or deny it because the reporter on the TV in the room announces that Yeong-u is dead.
The Episode Review
Though we’re still stuck at the dorm, Ji-rok and Soo-ryeon’s power struggle is now creating tangible ripples. It’s unclear if they’re fighting each other for anything more specific than power and the parameters of Ji-rok’s plan are completely obscured. Is Chang-su lying about letting the spies walk free for Soo-ryeon or is he hiding the truth in plain sight for Ji-rok?
Snowdrop is still pushing the romance angle despite all the trauma Yeong-ro has faced at the hands of Soo-ho. A tortured romance with more baggage than you’d find at an airport is nothing new in the world of K-dramas (or fiction in general), but the music choice for their longest interaction at the end of this episode felt like it would have been better suited to a slice-of-life.
It’s always better to lean into the reality of messy romances than to hide behind forced fluff, so hopefully this is not an omen for the tone of their relationship in the coming episodes.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|