Sleeping With The Fishes
Episode 2 of Taxi Driver begins in the past. With rain lashing down, Do-Ki is encouraged by Sung-Cheol to join him as they head into Rainbow Taxi HQ. In his office, Sung-Cheol leads Do-Ki down to the basement. The unmarked taxi, a bike, numerous tools and gadgets all lie around like a mosaic of possibilities.
After showing him the tools, Sung-Cheol explains why he’s chosen Do-Ki. He is the one person who knows about pain and can share his lust for vengeance and getting revenge on those who have wronged them.
This motivation spills over to the present, as we see Maria choose the option to get revenge. Time skips forward and Do-Ki works out the exact funds needed to cover Maria’s expenses, including those for emotional distress.
Before that though, Do-Ki speaks to Joo-Chan about buying up his jeotgal. Inside his briefcase happens to be a whole stack of cash. Alongside greedy Jong-Geun, they come to an agreement for a 50% deposit.
Unfortunately half the drums are full of maggots, which Joo-Chan tasks his subordinate to sort out and dispatch to schools and the military instead. It’s also revealed that they’re importing this fish internationally and then trading it up with a domestic “Made In Korea” sticker in order to make more money.
To make matters worse, the social worker, Jong-Sook, was in on all this too, siphoning off half of Maria’s money to life insurance firms. If Maria were to die, then it means Jong-Sook would get a big pay day given she’s the beneficiary.
After meeting with Jong-Sook, Sung-Cheol offers to give her a lift home. Only, this leads to her tasered and brought en-route to the fermented food factory. Keeping her trapped in a barrel, just like Maria was, Sung-Cheol drives into the middle of nowhere and burns down the car.
He heads back to see the Chairman next, who has cameras on Do-Chul’s cell. It turns out he’s exercising rigorously, trying to keep himself busy.
With Jong-Sook taken care of, Do-Ki sets his sights on Jong-Geun next. He knocks the man down and immediately sends him back to Joon-Woo with a neck brace. However, as he has a mask on, he’s obviously toying with them.
With the shipment not ready, Do-Ki drops off another couple of note wads and tells them to add 20 more drums.
Next up is the despicable Chief Kim from the police station. He receives a message regarding Kang Maria’s location. Do-Ki is on the hunt, and with his new bumper installed, rams the officers from behind. In fact, Do-Ki flips the entire car around and leaves it a smoking mess on the road. With Kim unconscious, Do-Ki takes the dashcam so he can’t be incriminated.
Meanwhile, Ha-Na arrives on the hunt where he finds the abandoned registration plates and the burning car out in the middle of nowhere. Ha-Na is clever, and realizes that two cars were involved in the Do-Chul incident. The burning car they’re standing by is one of the two. The other, as we know, is currently being driven by Do-Ki.
Well, Ha-Na next heads to the police station where Sung-Cheol happens to be. He sits her down and discusses the credentials for those wanting to be a Deluxe Taxi driver. According to him, they need to have at least 10 years experience and a clean record. They could also be in their mid-40’s. This, of course, completely goes against everything we know about Do-Ki.
While Go Eun learns that Maria was being fed birth control pills, Do-Ki goes on the hunt again. This time, our main man is not alone and with a whole gang of goons by his side, Do-Ki fights them all off. He eventually knocks out Jong-Geun and removes his mask.
With Jong-Geun tied up, Do-Ki rings Joo-Chan and asks him for the jeotgal by the following day. If he doesn’t, he’s going to pay the price. Given Go-Eun is watching his search history, she poses as a jeotgal seller for him.
With the shipment coming in, Do-Ki poses as his jeotgal thief persona again, knockings Joo-Chan down in his factory. Only, he takes off his mask and now it gets personal.
Do-Ki immediately grabs Joo-Chan and does to him what he did to Maria, dumping his head inside the barrels and throwing him out a glass window. Joo-Chan is driven off, still locked inside the barrel. This immediately piques the interest of Chairman Baek though, who offers Do-Ki a job. Our protagonist remains silent.
With the rot taken out from the core of this jeotgal company, Do-Ki and the others set it up so the disabled workers can become company presidents and get a fair cut of the funds.
With the case wrapped up, the attention turns back to Ha-Na as she continues to investigate. Specifically, she checks out the CCTV from the tunnel and shows up at the taxi firm. She wants answers and hopes Do-Ki can be the one to give it. He immediately asks Do-Ki about the unmarked cars. Instead, Do-Ki nonchalantly tells her to move hers as she’s blocking everyone else.
During the epilogue of the episode, Maria is reunited with her friends. She thanks Do-Ki, who drives off in his taxi. The smile from Maria is enough to show that this firm works, and does help those who need it – but are their methods morally sound?
The Episode Review
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and when it comes to Taxi Driver, that message is clear. Interestingly though, there’s a power struggle at play here between Sung-Cheol and Chairman Baek who both seem to want different things from this line of work.
Sung-Cheol is all about rehabilitation, at least if the flashbacks are anything to go by. Baek however, just wants to capture and make these people pay. Revenge is the main ingredient regardless of which side of the coin this debate falls though.
This week’s case involving Maria ends with a really satisfying conclusion. The entire incident with the jeotgal factory was pretty shocking and another sobering look at the slavery trade that’s unfortunately very much prevalent today – just hidden in plain sight.
The methodical way Do-Ki and his associates got revenge on this group worked really well and there’s definitely echoes of Goddess Of Revenge in here too.
The premise is different though, mainly thanks to the way this show leans into a more action-orientated drive. Regardless, there’s definitely a lot to like.
It looks like we’ll be getting a number of different cases over the weeks if this is anything to go by, which could help give this show some lasting power. For now, Taxi Driver bows out with a solid opening weekend of episodes.