Welcome To The Mad House
Episode 1 of Penthouse Season 3 begins with our various antagonists in prison. Dan-Tae is told about a penthouse inside the prison while Kyu-Jin is bullied into cleaning the bathroom.
Ma-Ri meanwhile, manages to bag herself a cushy position as a masseur. Seo-in meanwhile is made the Queen Bee inside the prison. She manages to bag herself a pretty cozy room too, although she learns that the Cheong-A foundation is being sold off. It’s Su-Ryeon’s doing of course, orchestrating alll of this from behind the scenes.
Outside the prison, there’s changes with the kids too. Seok-Kyung continues to show her disdain toward Ro-Na, believing she’s conspiring with Seok-Hoon – especially when she notices matching registration papers for an art college. Only, Ro-Na is conflicted and isn’t sure whether to pursue this or not given what’s happened with her Mother.
Back in the prison, Yoon-Cheol sharpens a toothbrush and turns it into a shiv, as he remains determined to take Dan-Tae out and kill him. Well, Dan-Tae is reassigned cells and forced too meet the big boss man before that happens. He easily dismisses Dan-Tae’s defiance and controls the cell with just one hand.
With everyone in the same cell, Yoon-Cheol makes his move but Dan-Tae stops him and manages to avoid being killed. However the big boss man – Bang Chi-Soon – explains the situation to the guards and manages to calm things down, claiming Dan-Tae is the one at fault and promising to punish him.
This punishment comes in the showers as Chi-Soon chokes him out and makes him pass out. He’s soon woken up though, and thrown into the visitor center. Secretary Jo is there and he updates Dan-Tae on the situation. Logan Lee is waging a war outside these walls. Interestingly, this catches us up to the moments involving the car bombing, as Dan-Tae manages to organize this.
Yoon-Cheol and Dan-Tae end up in a fight out in the yard. In the ensuing skirmish, Dan-Tae is stabbed in the stomach with that sharpened toothbrush we saw earlier. He’s rushed to hospital and in a critical state.
Seo-Jin is brought down to earth too following a brash display in front of the woman in charge of the female cells. Not only is Seo-Jin slapped about, but a swift punch to the face is enough for her to change her mind and start singing.
Yoon-Hee meanwhile, manages to make herself the meal distributor in prison. It’s an esteemed position too, and one that annoys Seo-Jin to no end. She bitterly wishes Yoon-Hee congratulations but she’s in no mood for games. She promises to kill Seo-Jin if she tries anything.
That evening, Seo-Jin goes completely off the rails and starts screaming and singing in the middle of the night. Eventually she collapses, prompting the doctors to race in to help.
Logan arrives in Korea but at the same time, Dan-Tae just wanders out the front door, casually picked up by Secretary Jo who has the bomb in the backseat. He’s paid off the doctor and made sure this plan can be orchestrated. Interestingly, Dong-Pil lurks in the shadows and he makes a copy of Su-Ryeon’s keycard.
The car bombing rocks the parking lot as the old man with the trolley is revealed to be Dan-Tae in disguise. He stands and watches as the car burns. Su-Ryeon is distraught and screams to the heavens while Dan-Tae drives off smugly.
Even worse, that whole incident at the prison was part of Kyu-Jin’s doing, teaming up with Dan-Tae. The Chairman, of course, stabbed himself in the stomach.
Chief Justice Jung receives a rude awakening from Dan-Tae, who shows up with an Excavator and demands he have his sentence lowered. After threatening his family, Dan-Tae eventually heads back to the hospital and hides out in the toilets. Doctors find him and manage to bring back an exhausted Dan-Tae from the brink.
Even worse, Dan-Tae’s trial is reopened thanks to his power play. He frames Logan as Ae-Gyo’s killer and since the man is dead, makes it very likely that he’ll manage to break himself out. He also manages to twist Yoon-Cheol’s involvement in this too.
Meanwhile, Seo-Jin sees a therapist, playing up the crazy card after the guard tells her she’s tried to commit suicide three times now. Seo-Jin goes through a myriad of different emotions, clearly trying to get moved to a different facility. Well, her plan works and she’s sentenced to 2 years in prison and 4 years on probation.
As she leaves the courthouse though, she’s grabbed by two masked women who drive off with her. This is, of course, Yoon-hee and Su-Ryeon. They take her down to the shore and eventually push her in, convinced she’s the one responsible for the Logan Lee incident.
The Episode Review
Penthouse is back and perhaps it was inevitable that Dan-Tae and Seo-Jin would manage to find a way out of jail. Still, it was satisfying while it lasted. Seeing the events leading up to the car bombing is also welcome too, especially given how big of a cliffhanger that was last season.
Meanwhile, the crazy twists continue as this makjang continues to deliver the goods. This first episode basically serves as welcome back for all our characters, holding off on any big confrontations for the time being while setting up a dramatic final season ahead.
Will the guys at Hera Palace ever be the same again? With only one episode a week this time around and a much smaller run-time, Penthouse has been undeniably memorable and easily one of the craziest K-dramas on TV. Anything could happen at this point!
Expect a full season write-up when this season concludes!