All Out Carnage
It’s been coming for a while but after a few episodes of build-up, Vagabond spills over to an explosive hour of drama, tension and all-out carnage as our heroes race to the court. It’s a simple enough plot used across the episode but boy is the execution on-point. While there are, as you’d expect, some illogical plot points and silly melodrama dotted throughout, for the most part it all ties in nicely with the absolutely bonkers narrative that makes good on its action-packed premise.
The episode begins with the compensation claim beginning as a news broadcast gets us up to scratch on what’s going on. The police arrive at the court and ID everyone, as Kwang-Deok laments the extra security. Meanwhile at the Blue House, the President is in a good mood until Prime Minister Hong outright asks if it’s because of the “slush fund” from John & Mark. It’s one step too far for the President but as they talk, they’re saved by Jessica arriving, meeting the Prime Minister. He tells her he’s heard a lot about her before flattering her looks. She, of course, uses this to her advantage.
Eventually we return to the shoot-out, with Joo-Cheol racing to the scene while Cha and the others find themselves under attack. Tae-Ung decides to make a run for it and buy them some time but as Cha mentions, he should do it as he’s the quicker runner. However, just before they head out, Joo-Cheol hits one of the men, acting as a sniper from some way out. Unfortunately Min has a sniper of his own and as he looks over to their location, Joo-Cheol acts first and manages to take him out.
Seizing their opportunity, Tae-Ung and the others bundle into the car as Min’s goons follow in hot pursuit. Unfortunately they’re moving too fast for Joo-Cheol to take them out. Thankfully, Cha’s stunt-man reflexes help him dodge oncoming traffic as they race toward court. Hearing the news, Kan-Ki heads straight for the President and tells him the bad news. Here, he lies and tells them he had nothing to do with crashing the plane but it was John & Mark behind the operation. With Kim Woo-Ki en-route to destroy everything that’s been built so far, he urges the President to give the money back to Jessica.
The trial begins and immediately Edward Park tells them the co-pilot and Cha will be present at the time. However, Sang-Mi steps up and tells them all she has evidence of Dynamic linked to the transaction. Kwang-Deok is having none of it though and immediately berates everyone. The judge loses his temper, breaking his hammer and telling them all to be quiet as we continue on.
The victims immediately rally together and try to stay positive, backed up by footage of Cha en-route to the court with police in hot pursuit. Kwang-Deok decides to head out and help while Jessica calls on Lilly’s expertise if needed. While the judge is told to wrap things up, the news catch wind of what’s happening and prep a live broadcast of the speeding car.
With the TV copter overheard, Cha decides to take a gamble as the police blockage the road, trapping them within. With news that Kim Woo-Ki is in the car, the NIS agents manage to force the helicopter to return to base leaving Cha and the others alone. Realizing they’re now fighting against the Korean government, Min takes to megaphone duties and tells Cha he’s a good driver. While Lilly finds an opportune spot to snipe from above, Kim Woo-Ki steps out along with the rest of the group and hold their hands up in defeat. Cursing his luck, Cha begrudgingly steps out too.
However, one of the assassins breaks the silence, followed by everyone else as they fire repeatedly at the car while our group hide behind it. With everything seemingly lost, they’re saved by a truck driver shielding the bullets as Cha and the others race toward the court. Kwang-Deok sacrifices himself to save the others, ramming his car into Min’s. As everything looks set to kick off, the police block off Cha’s entrance to the court resulting in an all-out fist fight to ensue. Cha watches the chaos unfold before hurrying into the family court away from Lilly who watches on through her scope.
She manages to hit Kim in the arm though but it’s not quite enough to drop him. The second bullet sees Hae-Ri and Kim both hit the deck. Rallying together, the entire group protect Kim and shield him from the sniper as they head inside the court. Cursing her luck, Lilly finds herself on the receiving end of another sniper given she was unable to complete her task. On the phone to Jessica, she tells her she’s pinned down before taking her chance and aiming. However, he’s gone. It was all a ploy to, presumably, give Cha and the others time to get away.
Cha and the others burst into the room at the last second as they breathe heavily. Edward Park nods in approval while the opposition watch on, wide-eyed and afraid. The tables may just have turned in Cha’s favour here.
With plenty of action and a whole slew of exhausting chases and gun-fights to boot, Vagabond delivers its best episode here, even if the shaky-camera is a little distracting at times. The high-speed chase down the highway, along with the sniper fights dotted through the episode boast some really slick aerial shots and these really help give the show a cinematic feel. I wish Vagabond had doubled down on using these across the other episodes too as aside from the different sections in Morocco, it hasn’t really been used that often.
Having said all that, Vagabond bows out with an explosive episode and the tension is sky-high throughout the hour. There’s a masterful use of pacing this time around too, with some nice juxtaposing shots of the Blue House acting as a proverbial deep breath before plunging back into the action again. As we approach the back-end of this K-drama, who knows what will happen next but given what we’ve seen so far, don’t count against this one ending with one almighty bang.