Bad and Crazy – Episode 02 recap/musings

[The theme music continues to captivate me, fyi.]

We pick up right back where we left off, at Gyeong Tae’s Inferno, with Su Yeol barrelling through the rooftop-high window with the young officer in his arms…

Hard-cut to a dazed Su Yeol waking up on a hospital bed, hearing these loving words from his family:

“This idiot.”

“Oh, he woke up!”

Followed promptly by a motherly smack on the arm. Then another, and then another, as Mama Ryu berates him for putting himself in danger. Dong Yeol tries to calm things by pointing out that Su Yeol saved someone else’s life, to which Mama Ryu responds with: “Hero, my foot. Why would you do such a thing? It’s so unlike you!” More slaps. Ha!

Jae Son takes Su Yeol to see a still-unconscious Gyeong Tae and says that false rumours are flying about that the young officer tried to take his own life because of Su Yeol’s surveillance. Just recounting it makes Jae Son frustrated at how they’re treated by their fellow cops [oof, dude, don’t you know who you work with?] and suggests tracking down Helmet Man to see if they can try to find a starting point from which to clear things up.

Their first lead is a student who says that she ordered jokbal (braised pig’s trotters) and came to the roof. She states that she only saw two people fall from the top floor, and a “handsome man” on a bike, but nobody in a helmet. Amazed by Su Yeol’s cat-like recovery after the fall, she asks if he works out. He deadpans, “I go fishing.” Heh.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman and Detective Do watch the footage from the bear that the latter swiped from Gyeong Tae’s home. It turns out to be just a sweet birthday message to her daughter. Furious at the lengths they went to for such a non-issue, the Assemblyman reminds his cousin that, even though Gyeong Tae might not regain consciousness, he still saw his face. He warns him that if he doesn’t clean up this mess, “even the President can’t save you”.

Back at Bom Pil’s office, the chief is reading out hate comments to Su Yeol from an article about Gyeong Tae’s reported “suicide attempt”. Bom Pil asks Su Yeol what the hell he’s playing at, but Su Yeol points out that he found Gyeong Tae beaten to a pulp, and that he saved his life. In case we needed another reminder of how much of a selfish, amoral wanker Su Yeol is, Bom Pil snorts at this: “You’d never save anyone if there was nothing in it for you.” He warns him to just lay low until the pre-promotion evaluations, and Su Yeol promises to sort it out.

At lunch, Jae Son deadpans that Su Yeol could have gotten promoted by ruining Gyeong Tae but, oops, he went and saved his life instead. Su Yeol says it’s not over and that he just needs to find Helmet Man, but Jae Son’s had enough of this and wonders if Su Yeol’s just lost his marbles, because nobody else they’ve questioned has seen this guy and would just think Su Yeol is lying. A frustrated Su Yeol spits (literally) back, “How do you think I feel right now?”. Jae Son insists he gets help before his cop badge goes bye-bye. “I know a good doctor.”

Su Yeol visits this doctor, Yeom Geun Su, whose grubby little office, with its broken neon lighting and shag curtains instead of doors, resembles more that of a palm reader on the lam rather than an actual medical professional. Of his friendship with Jae Son, he recalls, “the illegal distribution of mental health medication brought us together.” Hoo, boy.

He invites Su Yeol to open up by thinking of the good doctor as his mother. [So…lots of slapping?] Su Yeol talks about Helmet Man, but his story sounds both increasingly unhinged for the doctor to feel awkward but also boring enough for him to stealth-text his friends on his phone. He manages to convince Su Yeol that he probably just fell asleep and hit his head in the sauna, and “prescribes” (read: reaches into a drawer full of tubs with home-made labels) Su Yeol some sleeping pills.

Back at Bom Pil’s office, the chief is reading out hate comments to Su Yeol from an article about Gyeong Tae’s reported “suicide attempt”. Bom Pil asks Su Yeol what the hell he’s playing at, but Su Yeol points out that he found Gyeong Tae beaten to a pulp, and that he saved his life. In case we needed another reminder of how much of a selfish, amoral wanker Su Yeol is, Bom Pil snorts at this: “You’d never save anyone if there was nothing in it for you.” He warns him to just lay low until the pre-promotion evaluations, and Su Yeol promises to sort it out.

At lunch, Jae Son deadpans that Su Yeol could have gotten promoted by ruining Gyeong Tae but, oops, he went and saved his life instead. Su Yeol says it’s not over and that he just needs to find Helmet Man, but Jae Son’s had enough of this and wonders if Su Yeol’s just lost his marbles, because nobody else they’ve questioned has seen this guy and would just think Su Yeol is lying. A frustrated Su Yeol spits (literally) back, “How do you think I feel right now?”. Jae Son insists he gets help before his cop badge goes bye-bye. “I know a good doctor.”

Su Yeol visits this doctor, Yeom Geun Su, whose grubby little office, with its broken neon lighting and shag curtains instead of doors, resembles more that of a palm reader on the lam rather than an actual medical professional. Of his friendship with Jae Son, he recalls, “the illegal distribution of mental health medication brought us together.” Hoo, boy.

He invites Su Yeol to open up by thinking of the good doctor as his mother. [So…lots of slapping?] Su Yeol talks about Helmet Man, but his story sounds both increasingly unhinged for the doctor to feel awkward but also boring enough for him to stealth-text his friends on his phone. He manages to convince Su Yeol that he probably just fell asleep and hit his head in the sauna, and “prescribes” (read: reaches into a drawer full of tubs with home-made labels) Su Yeol some sleeping pills.

At home, Su Yeol gets a call from Jae Son, who tells him that there’s no dirt on Gyeong Tae – everyone loves him [and who wouldn’t?], and that the last place he went was Yu Na’s apartment complex. The next day, the two head over. Su Yeol mentions that Detective Do showed him proof that Yu Na was still alive (the credit card transaction) but Jae Son said he already looked into it [god, I love him] and that it wasn’t her, but a friend.

The pair head up Yu Na’s flat, only to find that the landlord has scrubbed everything clean amid renovations. They confirm that Gyeong Tae was there and that he was looking for “a doll”. Su Yeol has a twinge of a memory in the bathroom – he clearly remembers being there. There’s no way it was a dream.

On the way out, the two piece together the possibility that Gyeong Tae was right, and that someone is violently trying to cover up Yu Na’s disappearance – maybe even Detective Do. Su Yeol semi-dismisses this (gotta protect that relationship with the Assemblyman) and suggests they lead with trying to find Yu Na first. Su Yeol tells Jae Son to check security footage and to meet with the security guard [like that’ll do shit].

A little while later, Su Yeol comes across In Seon, Yu Na’s daughter, arguing with a street cleaner about putting up her poster. He takes her out for ice cream and asks her about Yu Na, but it’s not going well. In Seon asks if he’s a really police officer, to which Su Yeol responds by snatching his badge out of her hand and shoving her ice cream bowl at her. [Which one’s the kid, here?] In Seon asks if it’s bad news, that it’s okay, he can tell her, and she asks him to give Gyeong Tae her clover bracelet because she couldn’t find a four-leaf clover to make him one. Oh, my heart.

Back at the station, Jae Son and Su Yeol comb through reams of security footage literally all night and finally spot something odd – a car with a giant stovepipe attached. Su Yeol says it resembles a pet cremation van from his youth (Dong Yeol’s idea for their dog’s funeral, aww), but notes that this is definitely illegal.

They track it to an office on a dirt road, and speak to a foreign worker who works for the owner. He doesn’t say much – other than it’s from an old business, that his boss will be back soon, and that Su Yeol is rude [ha] – and then flees by bike. They won’t catch up to him, so Su Yeol makes Jae Son break into the van without a warrant:

Su Yeol: The window’s cracked.

Jason: What? Where? Jason: …

Jason: Just tell me to break it, for goodness’ sake.

Inside, they find ashes. Oh, dear.

Elsewhere, Detective Do barges into the van owner’s cozy, impossibly string-light-decorated restaurant where the latter fills in the former on the raid. Do orders the men to leave the country before things go south, but the van owner demands money for the costs. Do hands him an envelope. “This is the last time.” He leaves, but not before warning him that if he doesn’t leave and lie low, he’ll die. That wasn’t very hygge of you, Detective Do.

Shortly after, Detective Do stands looming over Gyeong Tae’s hospital bed. He takes something out of his pocket, but we don’t know what it is or what he’s about to do. Yikes.

Next morning, the two good(ish) detectives find out via Forensics that the ashes were indeed human. But to do a DNA test, they head over to take a swab from Yu Na’s brother while In Seon, giving her grandmother the world’s tiniest back rub, looks on. Yu Na’s brother brings up his sister’s insurance policy, which Jae Son rebukes as callous. Yu Seol, to his credit, gently closes In Seon’s door, but she can still hear. He tells the brother to get custody of In Seon if he wants to manage her payout, but that the money is definitely hers and if he spends it or screws with it, he’ll go to jail.

A tearful In Seon rushes outside to ask if her mother is dead or alive. Su Yeol says they don’t know either way. In Seon reminds him that it’s okay, she doesn’t have to hide the truth, and bursts into tears. Su Yeol just stares at the sky.

Jae Son calls Su Yeol while he’s visiting Gyeong Tae and tells him the ash DNA was a match for Yu Na. He tells a still-comatose Gyeong Tae that he was right.

Su Yeol returns home to find two pairs of shoes that aren’t his in his entryway. He hears his older brother wooing a noona over pizza with some suitable cheesy lines and rolls his eyes. She asks Dong Yeol to call him ‘jagiya’ [I see you, Strangers From Hell reference], but he replies playfully that he can’t say it, so Su Yeol shuffles in saying it himself while pretending to call the cops on the pair for trespassing. Dong Yeol accidentally calls the noona ‘jagiya’ while telling her to get out. Pfft. Su Yeol tells his brother to kindly piss off, but when the jokbal Dong Yeol ordered shows up, Su Yeol has a thought: checking the dashcam of the jokbal the student from before mentioned.

Su Yeol reviews the footage and clearly spots Detective Do. Over the phone, Jae Son connects the dots and our dramatic irony is over – both now know what we, the viewers, know, and the pair meet up outside Munyang Police Agency to confront Detective Do. He’s there with a posse who threaten to start shit. Su Yeol asks why Do went to Gyeong Tae, mocking that “there are dash cams everywhere”, but Do lies that he went there to apologise… and then reveals that he didn’t know that Gyeong Tae had killed Yu Na. Su Yeol laughs at this, but Do reveals that a knife with both Yu Na’s blood and Gyeong Tae’s prints were found on the latter’s rooftop. But Jae Son isn’t having any of it, and flat-out accuses Detective Do of lying, killing Yu Na, and trying to frame Gyeong Tae. A mini-brawl breaks out, but the station’s beat cops flock out to break it up.

Next morning, Bom Pil stares at Su Yeol with all the disassociated disappointment of someone who ordered crepes but got a pancake instead. “I don’t even get angry anymore,” he laments. Su Yeol insists the killer wasn’t Gyeong Tae but actually Detective Do, and that they should clean this up because there’s no way Assemblyman Do would want to be associated with a killer [oof]. Bom Pil tells him that the detective already has an alibi – the Assemblyman said they were together. Su Yeol, with the inference skills of a vintage bowling ball, wonders out aloud why Assemblyman Do would lie, but Bom Pil just tells him to shut the fuck up about it all, especially given that it’ll take away his promotion that he’s literally about to get – and even shows him the paperwork for it.

At the hospital, Detective Do keeps an ominous watch on Gyeong Tae while overhearing a news broadcast about the latter being charged with murder.

Now we’re at Yu Na’s funeral, where In Seon gazes stoically at her mother’s funeral portrait, and her uncle is dozing off. This poor kid. Other than one other person, the only other people there are Su Yeol and Jae Seon. The latter spots the former fidgeting with the clover bracelet, and he jokes that In Seon is talented, that his own kids can’t make anything with their hands. Aw. Su Yeol pours him more soju, and Jae Son apologises for losing his temper but adds that they can’t just stop now. Su Yeol appears to nod in response.

But the next morning, Su Yeol is decked in uniform and holding flowers: He got his promotion. Jae Son isn’t best pleased. Su Yeol tries to chat, even invite himself over, but Jae Son gives him the cold shoulder, pretends to swat a fly while batting away Su Yeol’s hand, and finally walks away in disgust. Su Yeol eyes his new nameplate on his desk, but a slow camera pan away shows how alone he is.

After work, Su Yeol finds Hui Gyeom waiting at his car. She sarcastically congratulates him, then sits in his car to talk. Like my dad, he scolds her for slamming the door as she gets in. She tells him she looked into Yu Na’s case and there’s no way the killer could have been Gyeong Tae as they’d had zero connection before he started looking into her disappearance. Su Yeol mumbles about the knife being found but Hui Gyeom says there isn’t even a motive, nor did he bother to look for one, and drops the reveal that Yu Na was a secret informant of Min Su (the slain cop mentioned in Episode 1). Hui Gyeom recounts how she found out that Yu Na wore a necklace that had a secret spy cam inside, sent by Min Su, and asks Su Yeol if he’s seen it. Su Yeol says he hasn’t and grumbles at her to get out of his car. She does, but then slams the door shut as hard as she can. Ha!

Back home, Su Yeol takes the elevator up to his flat, but it stops suddenly. Guess who? It’s Helmet Man! – who uses a knife to pry open the door with a “peekaboo!” and then starts jumping up and down like a kangaroo on cocaine atop a trampoline inside a bouncy castle during an earthquake, sending them hurtling downward. Before they crash, Su Yeol wakes up…

…On a motorcycle, strapped butt-to-butt against Helmet Man, which takes us into my favourite set of shots of the show so far: a series of jumpy, wild POV and tracking shots of the duo just tearing through a shopping mall and a motorway, with Helmet Man turning on his red LED helmet lights while a flailing Su Yeol struggles to right his jostling, lanky frame like a deranged spider crab. It’s a stunning sequence, but made next-level by this: They briefly stop to let an elderly lady cross the road with her zimmer frame, but before Su Yeol can use this as an excuse to free himself, off they zoom again. Hee!

They arrive at the hideout of the van owner and his workers, and Helmet Man literally has to force Su Yeol into the doorway. The latter tries to play it cool, but the van owner keeps asking if he’s the fried chicken delivery guy. Ha. An impatient Helmet Man cuts to the chase and punches the van owner, and a full-blown brawl breaks out. While Helmet Man fights off 6+ guys with his bare hands, Su Yeol hides behind a desk, throws a box of pens at one guy (and misses), then trips over his own feet while running upstairs. Good contribution, dickhead!

He’s about to outright just fuck off without helping when he notices an open cabinet, whereupon he peeks in and notices a box of jewellery. He spots the spy cam necklace and grabs it, then makes a calculated leap from the mezzanine balcony – only to fall into a pile of ashes. Eurgh. He sees Helmet Man through the window and then frantically waves bye before fleeing like the bag of human skin stuffed with arseholery that he is, leaving Helmet Man to fend for himself.

But you know what? Helmet Man’s doing fine on his own: He pushes over a vat of oil, gets in, slips about (wait, what? why?), then taunts them with a lighter. He throws it to distract them, then beats the shit out of everyone with the perplexing grace of a drunken ballerina, even removing his helmet to use as a boxing glove. Honestly, the choreography and comic timing of these fight scenes are a joy to watch.

Back home, Su Yeol watches the necklace cam’s footage: It’s of Assemblyman Do screaming at Yu Na’s bloodied body. It’s clearly him, and it’s clearly Yu Na. Su Yeol shuts the laptop in horror.

But the next day, he stands on a bridge, holding the necklace, thinking of its implications for his job, his connections, for any future promotions. He throws his arm back to hurl the necklace off the bridge but Helmet Man drives by and snags it right in time, and stops a short distance away. Su Yeol leaps into his car to chase him but Helmet Man zooms back and smashes his passenger window with his front wheel, then doubles back to basically fart out debris and petrol fumes from the other side of his bike. It’s working: Su Yeol is scared and screaming, and sits and flails for a bit before realising, I don’t know, he can actually drive away, fucking moron? Which he does, knocking Helmet Man to the ground.

Su Yeol jumps out of the car and berates Helmet Man, who asks about the necklace. Su Yeol doesn’t reply, but tells him to give it back and that Helmet Man has no idea what it means. Helmet Man removes his helmet for an introduction:

Su Yeol: Who are you? Who the heck are you? Who are you and why are you doing this to me?

Helmet Man: Me? Hero.

Su Yeol: Wot

Helmet Man: To punish those trash-like rotten punks. The last of this era! The hero.

Su Yeol:

Su Yeol: !!!

Su Yeol: You’re one crazy idiot, aren’t you?

Helmet Man:(laughing) You… You still don’t get who I am, do you? (points)

Su Yeol: (backs away in fear)

Helmet Man: Watch closely from now on. About who I am.

And with a wink and a wave, he hurls himself backwards from the bridge. Su Yeol rushes to the barrier, but he sees nobody in the water. He’s utterly flummoxed. Completely baffled. Heckin bamboozled.

Next morning, a news broadcast shows that Assemblyman Do has been re-elected. Su Yeol enters Bom Pil’s office to find the Commissioner visiting. They exchange pleasantries before Assemblyman Do walks in. Bom Pil tells everyone that, entre-nous, Su Yeol owes his promotion to the Assemblyman, and nudges him to thank him (which he does). They head out for a meal, but Su Yeol, suddenly suffering from a headache, says he’ll use the restroom and meet them there.

He tries to pep himself up in front of the restroom mirror but Helmet Man (sans helmet) walks out from a stall, mocking him and saying he saw the necklace cam footage, before running away. Su Yeol gives chase but is stunned when Helmet Man keeps ending up one step ahead of him.

From a distant balcony he spots Helmet Man descending the steps and calling out rudely to Assemblyman Do. Su Yeol yells at Helmet Man to stop whatever he’s about to do, but Helmet Man gears up for a flying kick towards Assemblyman’s face.

And it’s then, right then, before the moment of impact, that Su Yeol realises, through a series of flashbacks: that it’s him. He’s Helmet Man. He was Helmet Man the whole time – at the apartment blaze, while using the UV light for clues at Yu Na’s place, and during the entire fight at the hideout, even wearing the same motorcycle leathers. And, to bring it home, we see (while wearing his day suit), it’s definitely, unequivocally, indubitably, Su Yeol himself Mortal Kombatting the Assemblyman in his jowls. Oh, damn!

And thats episode 2 down!

This show continues to get madder, and I’m happy it set down some rules early on how Helmet Man/K manifests and that only Su Yeol can see him. Though, with just 10 episodes left, I’m curious as to where this will go now that Helmet Man has created such a damningly public scene. Ooh, the implications!

I can’t wait to see more of his internal struggle with Helmet Man/K (can they just finally introduce him as K in the show so I can start calling him that in my recaps?). Will it be like Venom (or the arguably much better Upgrade)? Are we going to see split shots of Su Yeol talking to K and then talking to nobody?

I’m also curious about who K is or what he might represent. When he removed his helmet, Su Yeol didn’t recognise him. So he can’t be a manifestation of someone from his past, surely? Argh! I need to know more!

I’ll just sleep until Friday. It’s what Su Yeol would do.

Stray thoughts:

  • Why is everyone eating jokbal in this episode?
  • Assemblyman Do, do you not have earphones? Why listen to a potentially incriminating video on a laptop on full volume on the boot of a car during the day?
  • Detective Do is terrified of his much, much smaller cousin. To be honest, so am I. People who laugh when they’re angry are definitely to be feared.
  • I hope visiting dodgy pill-peddlers isn’t the standard for mental health care in South Korea, but the little bit of research I’ve done suggests that the services provided by the state are both under-funded and under-utilised. Sigh.
  • The poster of the smiling Assemblyman Do right behind little In Seon is chilling.
  • Jae Son and Su Yeol screaming excitedly over each other when they find the van made me snort a bit of a giggle.
  • The forensics dude said that ashes found in the van were only a small amount. Maybe Yu Na’s not dead?
  • Surprised to see Jae Son walk away like that after In Seon asks if her mother’s dead. I know she was talking to Su Yeol but, still. Doesn’t he have kids, too?
  • Seeing a bit more of Su Yeol’s flat and it’s more of the same, sad set-up – just a single bar stool in the kitchen. Does he ever entertain? I did spot a roomba by the sideboard so at least there’s some form of life there.
  • Lee Dong Wook’s Agent: You have to say ‘jagiya’ in everything you do now, sorry, them’s the rules.
  • That kitchen spread that poor, cock-blocked Dong Yeol had put out actually looked quite nice!
  • Su Yeol’s little jump at the jokbal place when a driver wearing red and black pulled up behind him. Ha.
  • Jae Son: “I will kill that jerk today and quit.” Whoa. Cool, but, whoa. I’m really liking him as the passionate/gung-ho voice of reason.
  • When K bent over before jumping, I seriously thought he was about to twerk.
  • Those sweet nods exchanged between K and the old lady at the crossing!
  • The van owner handing the foreign worker the bat, who slips and then hands it to K in resignation, who then uses it to paddle the van owner on the bum: comedy gold.
  • Other than being owned by Su Yeol, what did that poor clearly-an-Audi car do to deserve all this punishment?
  • I’m not surprised, but a little bit surprised, that Su Yeol would turn a blind eye to actual murder if it suited his own interests. Which begs the question: How many times, if at all, has he done this before?
  • K’s breaths of joy as he lets his face bask in the sunlight are probably real reactions from poor Wi Ha Jun. We all saw the on-set photos of him in that neck fan.
  • Su Yeol’s new desk nameplate states his rank as Captain, but in the final scene, Bom Pil refers to him as Superintendent. I’m going to split the difference and call him Supernintendo Dickhead.
  • HELMET MAN DID NOT WASH HIS HANDS, HE DID NOT WASH HIS HANDS, HE CLEARLY DID A NUMBER TWO AND HE DID NOT WASH HIS HANDS, WHAT THE FUCK, I don’t care if he’s a psychological manifestation of whatever he STILL NEEDS TO WASH HIS FUCKING HANDS
  • That tiny misdirect when Hui Gyeom saw and acknowledged K!
  • I really hope both LDW and WHJ do more physical comedy roles. They’re both nailing the timing here.

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