Finding Kim Woo-KiS
After last week’s double bill of episodes, Vagabond returns with more action-packed drama. With the exception of some questionable romantic elements, Vagabond continues to deepen its conspiracy as we dive down the rabbit hole and learn more about the shadowy figures pulling the strings.
We begin with the President deliberating over the best way to handle the precarious situation with the grieving families. As they talk, one of the advisors suggests throwing Park under the bus if things go awry. Smiling, the President tells him it’s a great idea.
From here, we cut back to Cha during the cliffhanger last week where he was tapped on the shoulder by Edward Park himself. Back at his office, Park agrees to look into the situation with Jo before Cha heads off, sharing drinks with Kwang-Deok.
Meanwhile at work, Hae-Ri continuously checks her phone after her drunken night with Cha. As we flash back to that night, we see things are awkward between them after she kissed him but thanks to her drunkenness, she isn’t aware of what actually happened. Before she can ponder over it too much, Hae-Ri manages to get her hands on incriminating photos, prompting him to release an arrest warrant for Jessica.
This chain of events causes everything to unravel as Jessica and Jae-Sik frantically deliberate over what their next step should be. As they talk, the NIS scramble into high gear as they find out Kim’s phone has been switched on. As they trace the location, they learn he’s in the northwest region of Tangier, Morocco. Before the NIS agents jump on a plane to follow their lead, Hae-Ri and Cha have a touching moment together where he teaches her Judo. It’s another sign of romance in the air between them, and only further exacerbated by him showing up unannounced on the plane.
When they touch down in Morocco, Hae-Ri heads to the station to work in cooperation with the police but when they get there, they learn the request hasn’t come through yet, slowing things down. As it happens, the Tangier police officer is working with Jessica, which we find out via a phone call.
In hiding, Kim Woo-Ki finds out his wife has been taken and begins frantically searching through files for answers. There, he learns the truth about the burner phone and proceeds to smash it to pieces. This action is picked up almost immediately by the NIS agents too, who divide the area up into three sections to cover more ground. While the agents head out, Hae-Ri learns she’s to stay behind as back-up. Lamenting her luck, in the supermarket she runs into Cha who suggests they work together. She refuses, of course, and decides to continue playing by the NIS rule-book.
Meanwhile, the mole in the Tangier police station phones Jessica, reassuring her that when they find Kim they’ll eliminate him to prevent him talking. After hanging up the phone, she finds herself surrounded by NIS agents who have a warrant to search her property. As they get to work, Jessica is arrested for now while the investigation gets underway. Upon hearing the news, Seung-Beom phones through to an associate and tells them they’ll survive.
In Building GA, Jessica finds herself face to face with Edward Park who begins softening her up ready for the police to interject and question her. As they put their plan into motion, Cha dons a disguise and decides to go door to door to find Kim himself. In the night, he visits Hae-Ri and admits she’s the only one who can actually catch Kim and bring him in as he holds no jurisdiction. Doubting her own abilities, Cha tells her she’s the best NIS agent he’s known, giving her enough courage to head back to the others and suggest asking the locals for help. They refuse, of course, leaving her to ask for the drone schedules to “help with her job”.
This happens to be a lie, as she uses what she’s learnt to relay the information on to Cha who works with her to start going house to house to find Kim. Diving across rooftops, he stops suddenly as a drone appears infront of him. Communicating with Cha, she tells him to run away but as he looks around for a place to go, he finds a whole stack of empty bottles of water – the exact location Kim is hiding out. Heading into the house, Cha begins sneaking through the rooms while the Moroccan’s gain entry from the ground floor. While checking the drawers, Kim appears and holds a gun up to Cha’s head, leaving things wide open for the next episode.
When it comes to the action and thrills, Vagabond certainly has some positive sparks here and that’s unchanged this week too. The problem, however, comes from the romantic angle between Hae-Ri and Cha which really doesn’t feel like a natural fit and in many ways feels like it’s been implemented just for ticking off those Korean drama tropes. It doesn’t really add much flavour to the show and personally I would have preferred their relationship to be closer to friends than lovers.
Still, it’s a minor point in what’s otherwise a pretty good episode. It may not be as action-packed or set-piece heavy as some of the earlier episodes, but there’s enough here to make Vagabond an enjoyable watch nonetheless. With another cliffhanger ending. all eyes point to the next episode to figure out just what’s going on, as Cha and Kim’s future conversation should hold some clues for us.