The Player 2: Master of Swindlers — K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of The Player 2: Master of Swindlers starts in 2021 with the group getting ready for their newest heist. With minor hiccups, the four manage to escape from the Joongnan Industries basement and Ah-ryeong drives Ha-ri, Jin-woong and an injured Byung-min away with the stolen goods. The gang lays low for a bit and decides to get some food together when a truck rams into their car, causing it to topple over.

Ha-ri wakes up surrounded by Jeffrey Jung and his men. At the same time, Ah-ryeong, Jin-woong and Byung-min are made to kneel before them with their hands tied. Jung’s men ask Ha-ri to shoot one of the weakest links of his team in exchange for trying to steal their valuables. However, Ha-ri tries to shoot himself.

This infuriates Jeffrey Jung and he takes the gun to shoot Byung-min but Ah-ryeong jumps in and saves his life. After Ah-ryeong’s death, Ha-ri meets his sister – Je-yi and gives her Ah-ryeong’s share of the loot so far. Je-yi refuses to take the money and asks Ha-ri to make her a part of the Swindler gang.

Ha-ri refuses her offer but Je-yi is sure that he will come back around. She leaves the players’ hideout when Byung-min and Jin-woong enter. Just then, Je-yi gets inside Ha-ri’s car and locks it from the inside. She calls Ha-ri to tell them that they have to get out of there quickly as the cops are going to show up. Since they were already on the run, Ha-ri asks the two to collect all that they can before escaping.

However, Ha-ri notices that the cops are right outside the house while Je-yi is waiting inside his car. He begs Je-yi to exit the car. Je-yi asks them to let her join their group if they want to escape the cops. Ha-ri agrees and Je-yi lets the three guys in, just as the cops close in on them. Je-yi impresses the men with her driving skills as she manages to drive them away from the cops and into safety.

Now as a member of the players, Je-yi is a part of many other heists between 2021 – 2022. The news reports how after Ha-ri and his gang’s escape from prison there is another gang that is looting the wealthy criminals and helping the police. As the year 2023 rolls in, Ha-ri is at a bar in Hong Kong when an anonymous woman sends him a message, asking him to see her in Thailand.

In Thailand, Kang Do-young, the CEO of a leading NFT brand beats up his bodyguard for making a joke. He throws some cash on the guard’s face, to keep him from talking about the incident. At the same time, Ha-ri takes Je-yi, Jin-woong and Byung-min to Pattaya, Thailand with him. He finds the woman who left him the note in Hong Kong and begins flirting with her.

The two end up in Ha-ri’s hotel room and are about to hook up when the three swindlers interrupt him. The woman escapes the hotel room from the window but leaves behind an invitation to Kang Do-young’s VIP party. The four swindlers go to the party and try to figure out who Kang Do-young is as Ha-ri flirts with the woman. Just then, a Korean man shows up and tries to shoot Do-young.

Ha-ri interrupts and fights the man, preventing him from shooting Do-young. He asks the man to flee into the market to help him escape Do-young’s guards. The guards chase after the man but Jin-woong and Byung-min show up there to save him. They bring the man to safety while Ha-ri waits at the party hoping to have a chat with Do-young.

Do-young thanks Ha-ri for saving his life. Ha-ri lies to Do-young and introduces himself as his high school junior – Si-woo. He claims that he was in Thailand for his side business which was money laundering. Do-young is surprised to hear this but greets Ha-ri pleasantly and escorts him out. He then asks his bodyguard to look into the money launderer named “Si-woo”.

The next morning, the man who tried to kill Do-young wakes up with a panic attack. The man – Shin Woo-young is a soldier who recently lost his wife to suicide after she was scammed due to investing in Do-young’s NFT. At breakfast, Woo-young meets the swindlers and learns that they know everything about his life and family already. Woo-young is overwhelmed and leaves the table.

The swindlers then discuss their plan of action in bringing Do-young down. Ha-ri states that Do-young often starts new projects and gets first-time investors to invest in them. He adds that Do-young announces the failure of these projects and closes them without paying back a single penny to the clients.

Ha-ri reveals that Do-young had 260 million won in cryptocurrency that he wanted to launder. He also states that he is desperately looking for someone who can launder the money for him. At the same time, Do-young’s bodyguard tells him that Si-woo is authentic and has been in the money laundering business for years.

That day, Ha-ri (Si-woo) takes Byung-min along to meet Do-young for a business deal. Byung-min pretends to be Nason Jang, Si-woo’s business partner. The swindlers use facial morphing technology to make Do-young believe that Si-woo and Nason were working with the richest men in Korea and were authentic money launderers.

Seeing that Do-young was buying into their lie, the swindlers state that they were willing to start an NFT business with Do-young and would share 50% of their profits with him. This makes Do-young laugh out loud as he calls Ha-ri and Byung-min’s bluff. He asks his guards to attack the swindlers.

At the same time, the mysterious woman who invited Ha-ri to Do-young’s party. The episode ends with the woman – Jung So-min looking Ha-ri in the eye and calling him by his real name.

The Episode Review

I love how this show just went up in budget with tvN taking over the production of this drama. And all of a sudden, we see foreign locations with the gang of swindlers going abroad when it’s time for them to go undercover. While it is sad that we won’t have any more of Ah-ryeong (played by Krystal) in the drama, I am glad that she came back even if it was to film the end of her character’s arc giving viewers some much-needed answers. 

With little to no mention of Ah-ryeong’s death, I am happy that the makers did not make this episode melodramatic but it was just as fun as the other past episodes of The Player have been. With that being said, I think Ha-ri, Jin-woong and Byung-min are working together and by the end of this season, we will avenge Ah-ryeong’s death. There is no way Ah-ryeong sacrificed her life for her friend for it to not even be acknowledged by them.

I have a lot of faith in the upcoming episode and something about the kind of plot twists one would expect from this show tells me that Ha-ri is already one step ahead of So-min. I cannot wait to see how Jin-woong takes the Thai guards down single-handedly considering the giant that he is.


Next Episode

Expect a full-season review once the season ends!

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