Episode 9 of Snowdrop starts with Yeong-ro holding up the detonator as evidence against Soo-ho’s assurances that he plans to leave quietly. Yeong-ro doesn’t buy the remorse in Soo-ho’s words or expression and makes a break for the chapel.
Soo-ho gives chase before yanking the detonator from Yeong-ro’s grasp and pinning her to a wall by her wrists. Imploring her to believe him when he says that he doesn’t want to cause her more suffering, he also confesses that not being able to protect her is driving him crazy.
Neither of them spots Chung-ya, who had been scoping out the chapel’s secret passageway with Comrade Joo, watching from the doorway.
In the cafeteria, Gang-mu rallies the girls to help him ask the matron if she’s also a spy plant. It earns him the full force of her anger.
Hers isn’t the only anger directed at him. Soo-ho returns and drags Gang-mu to another dorm room before punching him square in the face. Gang-mu explains that he didn’t instigate Yeong-ro’s antics.
Soo-ho, barely placated, broaches Gang-mu’s theory again. Gang-mu rules out the chance that the ANSP will accept Soo-ho’s surrender when even the lives of their own citizens are forfeit in their power grabs. He asks if Soo-ho thinks that the North will value their spies’ lives more than the money the South is likely dangling before them.
More willing to cooperate now, Soo-ho tells Gang-mu to bring him indisputable proof through Han-na.
Outside, Chief Ahn regards Reporter Gal, the reporter Han-na tipped off, with disgust before addressing the gathered press. He delivers news that supplies are being sent in with the hope that hostages will be released in return.
Inside the ANSP base the truth is clearer. Tae-il instructs Soo-ho to make it look like the spies are prolonging the situation despite the ANSP’s best efforts. The gist: no hostages are to be released.
Chung-ya confiscates the detonator and threatens to kill Soo-ho herself if he doesn’t reacquire some revolutionary spirit. She also orders the release of 30 hostages to spite Tae-il’s treatment of their spies.
Han-na is sent in with the supplies and Soo-ho takes her to Gang-mu under the pretext of anger at how they last parted.
Meanwhile, Reporter Gal impersonates a food delivery driver – covering his face to avoid suspicion – and secretly records the inside of the ANSP base.
Gang-mu catches Han-na up on the situation and Soo-ho tells her to bring him proof by the next day when he will demand more supplies.
Gang-mu requests a minute alone with Han-na, calling Soo-ho “comrade” and Han-na his fiancé in the same breath to earn some sympathy. Soo-ho is shaken enough by his use of the term to kick them both out of the room almost immediately.
At Mi-hye’s boutique, Seong-sim counts the number of virgins in the dorm. Mi-hye balks at her inclusion of Chung-ya, prompting Seong-sim to recount the story of a man that saved Chung-ya when she fell while hiking through snowy mountains. According to Seong-sim, they spent the night in a cave together before parting ways and Chung-ya has been pining for him ever since. A flashback to the incident shows us what appears to be the same night Chung-ya asked Soo-ho to sell her his necklace.
As Han-na guides 30 students out of the dorm, Comrade Joo escorts Bun-ok to the bathroom. She pokes her head back out to observe him rustling through the dead drop goods, which are now hidden in the opposite room.
While Byeong-tae and Gwang-tae unwittingly distract Comrade Lee, Yeong-ro sneaks to Gang-mu’s side and asks why Soo-ho will only leave in nine days. Gang-mu swears her to secrecy and tells her everything.
Sang-beom sneaks into the bathroom and accosts Bun-ok, trying to get her to reveal the location of the dead drop goods. She screams and he hits her, but the sound gets Comrade Joo’s attention. Coming to investigate, Comrade Joo hears Bun-ok explain her family situation while condemning Sang-beom.
Sang-beom rages and Comrade Joo steps in, pulling him off Bun-ok and beating him, only stopping when he sees the distress on Bun-ok’s face. Comrade Joo drags Sang-beom away while Bun-ok cleans herself up and finds the matron’s radio while looking for her fallen hair clip.
Chief Ahn gives orders for the released hostages to be taken to the ANSP’s interrogation rooms. Reporter Gal spots the cars full of girls and tails them. Han-na gets to work on securing evidence, bugging the ANSP base.
As Gwang-tae gives an impromptu marriage proposal to Seol-hui, Yeong-ro slides up to Gang-mu again and asks him to use her to escape. Taking her up on the offer, he lets her know that Chung-ya is a spy.
Aemin Party’s president calls Tae-il at the ANSP base. Tae-il pretends that the hostages were released on his order to maintain an illusion of control. Tae-il makes his own call to Soo-ho to vent his anger, making mention of the money Gang-mu theorized.
Having heard that Gang-mu was shot at by their own team, Chang-su returns to the base. Tae-il doesn’t share Chang-su’s concern that Gang-mu will have figured out their scheme and won’t be easily silenced. Why? Tae-il gives a voice to Gang-mu’s fears and suggests rescuing Yeong-ro before killing everyone else in the dorm.
Han-na listens to Tae-il’s nefarious plan from her car while Reporter Gal videos the students, now blindfolded, being filed into the ANSP headquarters. Chief Ahn wants his agents to make them sign NDAs and then scare them to ensure their silence.
Finally gaining a sense of urgency, Soo-ho takes Gang-mu to a dorm room and asks for the secret frequency Gang-mu uses to contact Han-na. She’s sharing her findings with Reporter Gal in her car when Gang-mu’s voice comes through the radio. She confirms that she has collected proof but Chief Ahn, who found her bug, arrives with an entourage of agents.
Han-na kicks Reporter Gal’s video tape under her car seat before she’s dragged away. Gang-mu listens to her shouts, livid. He gets into a tussle with Soo-ho, who keeps trying to cling to his faith in the North.
That night, the matron re-approaches Gang-mu. Convinced that she isn’t a spy, Gang-mu comes to another conclusion: she works for the ANSP. She doesn’t dispute it, but she’s under no illusions either – she considers them evil tyrants and she has never ratted out her students. Gang-mu suggests that they save those students together and holds out her hidden key.
At the ANSP headquarters, Reporter Gal denies planting Han-na’s bug, and we hear his screams as his torture session begins. Han-na is locked away in a cell, isolated.
Back in the cafeteria, the matron and Gang-mu’s plan begins. Once the hostages have gone to sleep, Yeong-ro sneaks across the room and feigns sleep near the matron. The matron nods at Gyeong-ja, who then asks to go to the bathroom. None of the spies are inclined to allow it until Chung-ya takes pity on her and asks to go too.
As Chung-ya leaves with a group of students, the matron slips her key into Yeong-ro’s hand. Gang-mu also uses the opportunity to tell Byeong-tae that they’ll be escaping tomorrow, and he’ll be charged with handling Comrade Joo.
The next day, Soo-ho comes into the cafeteria to find the matron leading the hostages through an aerobics session. He forces them to cease, and the matron complains about their conditions. The students join in, pleading to be allowed to wash up. Soo-ho caves, letting them go in groups of ten with the condition that they don’t go above the second floor.
Yeong-ro quickly slips into the first group. Bun-ok is also among them and she appeals to Comrade Joo to let her get her toothbrush from her basement-level room. He’s sympathetic enough to escort her.
In 207, while the other girls savour their own beds, Yeong-ro frantically retrieves her digital watch. She heads down to the basement and throws it through the locked gate sealing off the mechanical room.
While Yeong-ro hides from their view, Bun-ok thanks Comrade Joo for saving her from Sang-beom, glad to have someone take her side for once. While Comrade Joo waits for Bun-ok to get her things, Yeong-ro’s watch starts beeping. When he goes down to investigate, Yeong-ro sneaks upstairs and locks herself in the surveillance room.
Comrade Joo marches the girls back to the cafeteria, convinced that Yeong-ro has escaped via the mechanical room. He and Soo-ho leave to search for her. With them out of the way, Gang-mu makes short work of strangling Comrade Lee until he falls unconscious. Byeong-tae swipes the spy’s gun and the matron gathers the hostages and leads them to the main doors using the chapel’s secret passageway.
Chung-ya hears them shuffling past the bathroom. Before she can act, Gang-mu comes in and pretends that the ANSP has come for her and Yeong-ro. He leads Chung-ya to their “rendezvous point” in the fourth-floor cabin and locks her inside.
Bun-ok separates from the other hostages to pillage the dead drop goods. Sang-beom does the same.
Byeong-tae and Gwang-tae lock off the mechanical room with Comrade Joo, looking for Yeong-ro, still inside.
Soo-ho combs the matron’s office. He finds no trace of Yeong-ro until she accidentally knocks over a stack of tapes and he follows the noise to the hidden door. Unable to open it, he starts calling for her, desperate to get to her before Comrade Joo does.
Yeong-ro stays quiet. Soo-ho starts using the series of knocks Yeong-ro devised when she was hiding him, rattling her resolve. Gang-mu enters the office and brawls with Soo-ho. Soo-ho gains the upper hand, landing punch after punch, until he’s distracted by Yeong-ro coming up behind him with an ornament raised to swing at him in her shaky grip.
Gang-mu uses the distraction to pin Soo-ho down and pull out a gun. He keeps Soo-ho under his watch as they join the hostages at the main door. Byeong-tae takes over while Gang-mu disarms the boobytraps. Freedom is within reach and Soo-ho is terrified as he and Yeong-ro lock eyes.
Chung-ya, not so easily detained, appears with the detonator in hand. Gwang-tae doesn’t heed her instruction to stay put and pushes the door ajar. She makes good on her threat to blow up the dorm and we end with a bang.
The Episode Review
Snowdrop rippled the still water it was collecting with this episode – decisions had actual consequences and the pace never dragged.
The drama also remembered that the dorm girls can serve dramatic purposes aside from being background props in a political deadlock. Their banter and small-but-sneaky tactics returned to balance out the uptight spies/agents that replaced them at the helm of the story.
Along the same lines, we got a chance to observe the new ecology of the Hosu dorm, now a world of its own. Trapped together, tenuous alliances are forming, and new enemies are being singled out.
Yeong-ro and Soo-ho testing the boundaries around what they’re willing to do to protect and thwart each other brought an interesting intensity to their dynamic. Mercifully, without the weird sugar-coating that we saw in Episode 7. Jung Hae-in is pulling most of the emotional weight. Blackpink’s Ji-soo is still green but, fortunately, not stiff.
We’re also seeing the true colours of the ANSP on full display. It’s actually a little abrupt considering that the organization was portrayed as quite mild in the lead up to this point. If JTBC had begun the drama on this foot perhaps they could have avoided some of the controversy. Is it too little too late? That’s for domestic viewers to decide.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|