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City Hunter (2011) Episode 3 Recap

More developments! I am hugely enjoying Lee Min Ho’s performance – from the intense fighter to the carefree womanizer, he delivers on all aspects of Yun Seung’s character. And in this episode especially he shows both his serious and lighter sides.
Note: The spellings of character names have been changed as per DarkSmurfSubs’ new rules. Examples: Yoon Sung is now Yun Seung, Mu Yul is now Mu Yeol, etc.

Basic Information
  • Title: 시티헌터 / City Hunter
  • Genre: Action, Romance
  • Broadcast: June 1, 2011

Episode 3

Yun Seung and Na Na leave the welfare office – through a window panel, Yun Seung notices Director Shim shredding the papers with the kids’ records. When Na Na takes off for the bathroom, Yun Seung takes his chance. Grabbing a cart full of paper, he sets it on fire and shoves it into the mens’ bathroom, setting off the fire alarm outside. Pretty soon the office building is full of smoke, and workers (including the Director) are streaming for the exits. Yun Seung makes his way to the welfare office by climbing on the outside of the balcony, God knows how many floors up. Once in, he grabs an official red file and takes photos of the welfare records inside; he also takes with him the bag of shredded papers.

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Na Na, meanwhile, makes her way outside, calling for Yun Seung. Not seeing him standing outside, she curses and starts to go back in (brave girl), only to discover he’s right behind her. Na Na: “So you didn’t try to go back for me?” Yun Seung: “I can’t go in the ladies’ bathroom, can I?” lol.
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Back at home, Yun Seung prints out the records on his phone. Next up: patching together the pile of shredded papers by hand. My respect for this guy just went up. Job done, he compares the two – there’s one pile (the shredded one) with lots of names, including the kids he knows; the official file has just a few. Looks like the missing names are ‘donating’ money into the Director’s hands. Just as he’s done, his iPad blinks on with a tapped conversation on Congressman Lee’s phone. It’s Director Shim, calling to inform him that $200,000 plus a credit card are ready for delivery in a small leather case. Lee is pleased, telling him not to siphon off too much for the elderly and just to deliver directly, in exchange for a promotion. I suppose when you’re embezzling huge amounts, simplicity is best.

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Yun Seung is already in his car speeding for the drop point at a historical site, where Director Shim and some cronies are ambling through like tourists. They’re no match for our martial arts expert (dressed in a sharp suit, no less), who expertly nabs the case and then effortlessly flattens the group.

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Myeong Ju is having yet another futile argument with his stonewall of a boss. But back at his office, there’s a package waiting. It’s got both sets of welfare records, photos of Lee and Shim, the case of money, and the crown jewel – a recording of the phonetap. Apparently this is enough to put on a case right away, but for some reason, it’s going to be tried at the National Assembly, where Lee is right now.

Predictably, the defense (Lee) goes heavy on constitutional rights and claims of personal integrity, delivered with verve to the audience of Congressmen and reporters. (Technically, I suppose they’re Assemblymen, but since I’ve called Lee a Congressman from the beginning, let’s keep it that way for continuity. Another note: apparently, Yun Seung’s evidence couldn’t be broadcast to the public, so the trial is taking place on allegation only) The audience includes Yun Seung with the reporters, Myeong Ju with his team in another room, and Jin Pyo watching the televised broadcast in Thailand.

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The votes come in – it’s a sweep for ‘not guilty’. It’s a sickening moment as Lee passes free among cheers and backslaps. Myeong Ju and his team are angry and frustrated; Jin Pyo’s face is furious as the glass in his hand shatters; Yun Seung’s face, though, is hard as his eyes burn and hands clench.

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Once free, Congressman Lee confers with Director Shim in his car, both of them trying to figure out the identity of the ‘tall, slender, man’ that snatched the case. Director Shim remembers his face from the angry outburst in his office, but has no name. At his office, Congressman Lee orders an aide to find out who the kids are, and give them a ‘flower thrower’ job at his anniversary celebration. The kids, presumably, will lead him to the mysterious man.

Yun Seung is still furious at target practice with the communications team. The images of the starving kids and the victorious Congressman make him miss his shots again and again. On the way out, though, he receives an invitation to dinner from Na Na. She’s cooked up a homey meal for him and the two kids. Yun Seung enjoys himself doling out food to them (getting severely hit by Na Na for eating all the best bits). It’s a happy, friendly meal for all of them, as the kids tuck in and the two adults bicker.

Contrast to later on, when Yun Seung is eating ramen in his own home – sitting alone at the ginormous table in the cold white dining room. He feels the loneliness here, and flashes back to Na Na’s cozy apartment.

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He calls Shik Joon back in Thailand. The man seems to have become a kindly, almost-mother figure to Yun Seung, with his cooking and his advice. When Yun Seung asks about foreclosures and auctions, we learn that Shik Joon had personally asked Yun Seung to take care of Na Na (but his exact relation to Na Na seems unknown).

More clues emerge when Myeong Ju goes off in search of comfort to ex-girlfriend Jin Su Hee’s place (Hwang Sun Hee). They seem to be on friendly terms, and Myeong Ju says that she ‘is the only person who understands him’. Interestingly, she too asks about Na Na – it turns out that Na Na’s aunt works in Myeong Ju’s office.

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Back in Thailand the next day, Jin Pyo orders Shik Joon to join Yun Seung in Korea; he makes no reply when Shik Joon tentatively puts forth the alternative of letting the revenge plan go. Before he leaves the office, though, Shik Joon spots recent photos of Kyeong Hee (Yun Seung‘s mother) on Jin Pyo’s desk. Oh, this is going to be interesting…

Back in Korea, the Five are convening to discuss the recent issue – they don’t perceive it as that big of a deal, but President Choe commands them to tread carefully nonetheless. They aren’t so thrilled with his heavy-handedness, but they’re forced to stick together. The President relaxes in his wood workshop, until Da Hye strolls in. They banter back and forth about his wrinkles, until Da Hye brings up her real objective – she wants a new tutor. One guess who that is.

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Next day, Yun Seung spots Na Na running along the street, late for work. He honks and pulls over; she spots him and cheerily demands a ride. With little-boy contrariness, Yun Seung refuses (“No! Just run to work”) and drives off. He’s accosted by Da Hye at the entrance to the Blue House compound just as Na Na arrives there.

Da Hye’s method of requesting tutoring: Stand in front of car door and refuse to let out Yun Seung. Demand, “Give me English lessons!” (Ignore the nerdy office sunbae who eagerly offers calculus help). When he flatly refuses, insist that he shouldn’t treat women that way (“You, a woman? You’re a kid”). Miffed at his refusal, demand a date. (“You’re not my style. What did I say? Have you seen yourself in the mirror?”). Run to Mother for backup.

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Yun Seung is saved from the First Lady when dear old Shik Joon arrives in Seoul airport. Both of them are happy to see each other, even though Shik Joon flip-flops between wailing about his lady friend in Thailand and marveling at Yun Seung. He’s even more impressed at the swanky apartment, and happily goes off to make coffee.

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At his desk, Yun Seung receives a text from Na Na, who’s helping the kids make crepe flowers. She asks him to come over and assist, which he regards in puzzlement – why would the Congressman pick these two kids specifically for his anniversary event?

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The event takes place the following day, in a large glass water-front building. The Four (minus the President) are there, but they’re uneasy about recent suspicions, especially Cheon Jae Man (Choi Jeong Woo), who orders his bodyguard to stick with the Congressman today. Kim Jong Shik (Choi Il Hwa) is also unsettled because of his son – Myeong Ju, who’s polite but assertive in front of his father’s friends.

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Also in (unofficial) attendance is Shik Joon, dressed as a window cleaner (with cell phone concealed in cleaning rag) on the balcony outside the glass-walled hall. He waves to a figure across the water - Yun Seung, dressed for action on a motorbike.
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Na Na arrives with kids and basket of flowers. The Congressman greets the kids and leads them inside, while his minions dump the flowers in a trash can. About to follow, Na Na bumps into Myeong Ju; both are happy to see each other, and she commends him for his recent efforts. They both walk into the reception hall, which is broadcasting a life history of the Congressman.

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The man concerned is now questioning Mi Jin and Do Jin (the two kids), about the identity of the man with them. Alarmed by the guards standing around, Mi Jin nudges her brother to keep quiet, even as he lets slip about ‘hyung’. At that moment, guess who’s calling on the Congressman’s phone? It’s Yun Seung, still outside – the Congressman demands to see him in person, in exchange for the kids’ safety.

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Yun Seung is now forced to his knees in the kitchen by a couple of bodyguards, as the Congressman leans in to demand information. Who is he, and why is he taking the Congressman’s money? Yun Seung scoffs that he’s just a guy who hates to see kids starve – and wait, that’s the taxpayer’s money, meant for the poor. The Congressman responds:
“So what if I take the tax money? If I don’t, someone else will. It would be a hundred times better for me to use it, since I stand up for democracy. And you know, the law will take care of me – because I have power that you don’t. That’s what having power is like. You people are all food to me, food.”

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Unfortunately for him, Yun Seung’s glasses are equipped with a tiny camera, which transmits the video directly to Shik Joon’s phone, and from there into the building’s video network. As the Congressman gears up into his speech, the televisions in the room suddenly turn to his rant in the kitchen. Computers all over the building – the security team, the reporter team, and others, all start to broadcast the video. Myeong Ju spies his chance and calls for an immediate arrest for a confession of crime.

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Yun Seung has to now fight his way out of the kitchens through a whole team of thugs. It gets tricky when a burly chef armed traps him and starts to lay into him. Trapped in a narrow corridor and hampered by his backpack, Yun Seung can only take the hits – until they move into a larger area, where turns it around suddenly and ends the fight in a flurry of blows.

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Back at the reception hall, Cheon Jae Man thinks fast – he quickly calls his bodyguard over: “Get him overseas or kill him, but get him out of here.” Yun Seung at a high window spots the bodyguard and the Congressman boarding a yatch at the dock outside. No time to take the elevator - Yun Seung slings his backpack over some flag-decked cables and slides down onto the dock. Racing, he makes a leap for the yatch as it sets off, and just manages to make it.

The body guard quietly unravels a short length of rope, just before Yun Seung appears. Once again, the hired muscle is no match for Yun Seung, and the bodyguard goes overboard. The Congressman cowers against the railing as Yun Seung approaches him, gun pointed. After a long moment, Yun Seung pulls the trigger and fires – a dart. He disappears as patrol boats come up to the empty yatch.
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Yun Seung and Shik Joon, dressed as deliverymen, drive a truck up to the Justice Department buildings, where they leave a large box addressed to Prosecutor Kim Myeong Ju. When he arrives, it’s amid a crowd of reporters who were called here to see ‘something interesting’. The box is opened, and in it is a taped-up Congressman Lee, decorated with a patriotic sash and three military ID tags. Myeong Ju gets a call from Yun Seung to confirm the arrest of the Congressman.

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In the truck over a bridge, Shik Joon is jubilant at their victory: “Why did we train so hard? It was a piece of cake.” Yun Seung is not as happy as he gets rid of Shik Joon’s phone into the river. He in turn calls Na Na, who’s at the park with the kids. Yun Seung uses the excuse of a coffee errand to meet her at the fountain, but we all know it’s not the coffee he wants to see.

When Na Na gets there, she finds Yun Seung playing in the fountains like a kid – a sight that makes her laugh. He spots them and jogs up, insisting that they play too. It’s a fun afternoon as the four of them frolic in the water.

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In Myeong Ju’s office, Lee is still blustering, and again insinuates that Myeong Ju’s father may not have clean hands. He’s led off, but Myeong Ju insists on following the leads. When he asks his assistant (Na Na’s aunt, presumably) to identify the tags, she responds that she tried, but there was no information on any of them.

It’s evening now, as the four come back to Na Na’s building, with Yun Seung carrying Do Jin (and complaining about the kid drooling on his shoulder). They see the kids off, and Yun Seung takes this chance to complain about the cold and race up to Na Na’s apartment. Na Na: “Hey, why are you going to a woman’s apartment?” He replies: “Who’s a woman? You just know how to throw me over your shoulder every day.”

Inside, Na Na watches the broadcast of the arrest as Yun Seung fussily picks vegetables out of his noodles and protests about the lack of meat. She retorts: “What meat? What have you done today?” and proceeds to sigh admiringly over Myeong Ju and his crime-fighting. Yun Seung: “Do you really think that’s admirable?” She replies in the affirmative, but just then a call comes in from an irate Jin Pyo. Yun Seung turns his phone off instead of answering. Na Na is distracted again by the TV, where citizens are being interviewed. Many are just angry, but some express admiration for the mysterious man who brings criminals to justice – their City Hunter.

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As he leaves, Jin Pyo calls again to question his decision about handing things over to a prosecutor. Jin Pyo’s in favor of killing the Congressman, but Yun Seung is firm about trusting Myeong Ju.

At the Blue House, the President forgives the lapse in computer security and instead instructs his team to focus on Congressman Lee’s case. Alone with an aide, however, he hears the news that the military tags were dated October 1983…
Shik Joon manages to track down the restaurant in Yun Seung’s parents’ photo, where the hostess knows Kyeong Hee. Jubilant, he races back home and breaks the news to Yun Seung. Yun Seung’s face is first shocked, then set: “Whose mother have you found? I don’t have time to look for people that abandoned me.” Shik Joon leaves the address anyway.

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At an outdoor ddokkbukki restaurant, Kyeong Hee is serving customers, unaware that Yun Seung is watching her behind a screen of foliage. Mesmerized, he watches his mother as she is told by a man that someone wants to see her in a nearby car. Kyeong Hee gets into the car, whose other occupant is the President. Back in the restaurant, Yun Seung turns to leave – and spies Jin Pyo.

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The bad: The light-hearted parts of the drama still don’t gel well with the more intense moments. In addition, the revenge plot developments are still on the slow side. The focus is not yet as tight as Episode 1.

The good: We’re developing relationships and backstories. Speaking of relationships, Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young have really good chemistry. It’ s going to be interesting, given the upcoming conflict. And conflict is already starting to rise up in the tension between Yun Seung and Jin Pyo. At the moment, Yun Seung is ideologically in between Myeong Ju and Jin Pyo, but it remains to be seen which way he will swing in the future. The cinematography continues to be great; there are several moments when it looks like a manga, which fits with the drama’s origins. On to Episode 4!



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