Man to Man: Episode 2
Now that Secret Agent K has begun his new assignment as our top star’s bodyguard, we’re treated to the beginnings of a beautiful bromance between the two. If this episode is any indication of what’s to come, we have oodles of wrist grabs and life-saving heroics to look forward to in the coming weeks—and who can say no to that? Not me, I say.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
At top star Woon-kwang’s photo shoot, ghost agent Seol-woo grips manager Do-ha against him, while a crowd gathers around them. Seol-woo announces to Woon-kwang that starting today, he’s taking over as the head of security.
As Do-ha gapes at the news, Woon-kwang coolly informs Seol-woo that he should let go of Do-ha. Seol-woo apologizes before flinging Do-ha away before grabbing her by the back of her collar, which prevents her from falling flat on her face. He holds the pose for maximum effect, then lets her go.
CEO Ji explains to Woon-kwang that Seol-woo’s a top bodyguard from Songsan Security Service, hired to provide some additional security for the actor’s upcoming trips abroad. Giving Seol-woo a once over, Woon-kwang snarks that he doesn’t want anything to do with Songsan, nor with anyone who wears the color red.
Do-ha grabs Seol-woo for a private conversation, where they start bickering almost immediately about the stunt Seol-woo just pulled. She says Seol-woo’s skills aren’t very good, reminding him that this is the second time she’s caught him doing something shady: today, it was pickpocketing; the other day, it was secretly taking photos of Woon-kwang and his team.
Seol-woo points out that it was Do-ha who mistook him for paparazzi, then wonders why she’d make that assumption when he only said two things to her: “Who are you?” and “You looked pretty.” Seol-woo takes a few steps towards her and repeats the two phrases, wondering which one led to the misunderstanding. Do-ha just blinks back at Seol-woo, at a loss for words for once, while Seol-woo betrays the tiniest of smirks at her reaction.
Do-ha shakes out of her stupor, then gets distracted when she catches a glimpse of Woon-kwang in the distance, looking out from a balcony. She hurriedly ends the conversation with Seol-woo by telling him he doesn’t have the bodyguard job just yet.
From his perch, Woon-kwang watches chaebol wife Mi-eun drive off the site. He looks pretty depressed, but Do-ha magically appears next to him and succeeds in cheering him up quickly. Their conversation then turns to Seol-woo—Do-ha doesn’t like him, but Woon-kyung says they don’t really have a choice about hiring him because he’s a gift from their agency’s biggest shareholder.
Do-ha thinks for a minute, then suggests a new plan: They’ll use him, but they’ll make things difficult so that he’ll leave on his own. Woon-kwang agrees and resumes his flirty banter with Do-ha, while Seol-woo watches the two in distaste from around the corner.
Sometime later, Seol-woo sits down for a formal interview with Do-ha, who’s being extra friendly and weird. After an extensive buildup to her first question, Do-ha starts off the interview with this gem: “You’re on a deserted island. You see a fruit tree. What fruit is it?”
Do-ha continues rattling off ridiculous questions, and though Seol-woo starts out looking a bit shell-shocked, he answers each question with conviction. Looking pleased, Do-ha says that Seol-woo and Woon-kwang are an incredible match, then congratulates Seol-woo on getting the job. Seol-woo just stares back at Do-ha, looking unsure of what just transpired.
Afterward, Do-ha confirms to fellow manager Sang-shik with glee that Seol-woo’s exactly the type of guy that Woon-kwang detests. Sang-shik wagers 10,000 won that the new bodyguard won’t last a week. Do-ha ups the offer to 100,000 won in exchange for Sang-shik’s help in getting rid of Seol-woo, and he accepts.
Seol-woo arrives at Woon-kwang’s house the next morning and notes the CCTV cameras surrounding the property, which are now feeding directly into his phone. Woon-kwang watches Seol-woo enter from his balcony; he’s on the phone with Do-ha, going over their plan to make life difficult for the new bodyguard. And as part of said plan, Sang-shik heads out, leaving Seol-woo with the unenviable task of waking Woon-kwang.
Once inside Woon-kwang’s room, Seol-woo goes for the direct route at first, calmly asking Woon-kwang to wake up. As expected, Seol-woo is rebuffed immediately. He then weighs his options and grabs one of Woon-kwang’s alarm clocks before heading to the bathroom.
Seol-woo rummages around for supplies and concocts some sort of a device with the clock. In voiceover, he narrates: “First note about Yeo Woon-kwang. He finds pleasure in harassing others. A total psychopath. He is tough on the weak and weak to the strong.”
Woon-kwang peeks around the room, then startles to see something that looks like a bomb hanging down in front of him. Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang to turn the alarm clock off within 20 seconds after it rings; otherwise, the contraption will explode.
Woon-kwang doesn’t move, convinced that Seol-woo’s lying. Seol-woo responds by repeating his instructions. When the alarm starts ringing, Seol-woo looks at his watch, then slowly walks away, counting down under his breath.
That’s enough to freak Woon-kwang out, and at the last second, he turns the alarm off. Woon-kwang wants to know if the bomb is real, but Seol-woo simply tells him that he did well in trusting his bodyguard, and leaves Woon-kwang yelling after him in frustration.
It looks like the crew is going to be late for filming again, as they’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Annoyed, Woon-kwang picks on Sang-shik first, then directs his ire over to his bodyguard, asking why he’s not working miracles to make sure he gets to his shoot on time.
As Woon-kwang continues to harass Sang-shik, Seol-woo narrates his second note about the star: “A spoiled brat who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. A spoiled brat will be silent once he is removed from his mom.”
Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang that there is a way, then gets out of the van in the middle of the packed highway. As Do-ha watches in horror from the staff car just behind them, Seol-woo pulls Woon-kwang out, then grips his wrist tightly and begins to run. Do-ha gets out to run after them, calling out to her oppa in a panic.
A slo-mo treatment of their run follows, featuring Seol-woo looking back at Woon-kwang with a little smile, and Woon-kwang looking up at Seol-woo in a daze. The two soon end up at the subway station and just barely get on a train before the doors close. Do-ha is a few steps too late and can only watch as the train pulls away.
Seol-woo tells Woon-kwang they’ll make it on set with eight minutes to spare, but Woon-kwang could care less—he’s too busy trying to hide his face, afraid he’ll be recognized on the subway. Seol-woo pointedly looks around, and we see that no one’s actually paying them any attention, which deflates Woon-kwang a bit.
Just then, two fans recognize the actor, and soon, the whole car is freaking out about spotting Woon-kwang. While Woon-kwang hands out autographs and poses for pictures, Seol-woo notes his third observation about the VIP: He hates both being recognized and not being recognized, and that for a top star like this, the best things are views, likes, and comments.
During a family meal, Mi-eun takes a phone call from CEO Ji, who says that they’ve hired the bodyguard per her request. Seung-jae, her husband, looks suspicious and pointedly asks about the call. Mi-eun lies that the CEO had questions about his new movie (starring Woon-kwang, of course), and at that, Seung-jae asks if they should invest in the film, noting that she seems confident in the project.
Do-ha finally arrives on set and is disappointed to see that Seol-woo still has his job after daring to drag Woon-kwang onto public transportation. She wastes no time making her outrage known to Seol-woo, but surprisingly, Woon-kwang stops her, saying he’s already scolded Seol-woo and that she should let it go.
But then he proceeds to fawn all over Seol-woo, nicknaming him “Guard Kim” and feeding him snacks. Do-ha watches this interaction unfold and wonders why Woon-kwang’s being so nice to Seol-woo.
The stylist and makeup artist explain to Do-ha that Woon-kwang’s impromptu fan meeting on the subway has gone viral, so Woon-kwang is in a very good mood. This doesn’t cheer up Do-ha any, and she shoots daggers at Seol-woo. He doesn’t shy away from her eye contact and just raises his eyebrow at her while he downs Woon-kwang’s orange juice.
Mi-eun reviews the photos of Woon-kwang from the photo shoot, stopping at one particular shot of Woon-kwang looking pensive. She asks her shop owner friend to change the theme of the photo spread to feature this photo.
Elsewhere, covert NIS operative Dong-hyun is surprised to learn from Department Head Jang that Mi-eun’s a source of his. Department Head Jang brushes off their relationship, then tells Dong-hyun that the infamous Baek Infantry, led by former NIS agent (now assemblyman) Baek, is after the mysterious wood carvings. Department Head Jang says Agent Baek has Songsan on his side and warns his colleague to be careful.
Cut to: a man dressed in black holding some poor guy’s head under water, attempting to extract info on the wood carvings. Over the phone, the man, whose name is SEO KI-CHUL (Tae In-ho), reports to Assemblyman Baek that he doesn’t think the carvings are in the country. The Assemblyman just tells him to finish things quickly, before the upcoming elections.
Assemblyman Baek then updates Seung-jae on the status of the search, saying it will take some time. Displeased, Seung-jae rebukes the politician for being so quick to kill the “thief” who hid the carvings, then cites the need for him to stay clean for the upcoming mayoral elections.
Assemblyman Baek responds that he knows better than to get his hands dirty. Seung-jae smiles, then condescendingly applauds him on his “spirit,” which draws a murderous look from Assemblyman Baek.
Back at Woon-kwang’s, Seol-woo takes a call from Dong-hyun, who shares the latest update on Baek Infantry. Dong-hyun warns Seol-woo to be careful, but Seol-woo just tells Dong-hyun to get the gear ready.
Do-ha overhears Seol-woo’s conversation and heads straight to Woon-kwang to air her suspicions on Seol-woo. She complains that she gets a “bad feeling” from him, and Woon-kwang reassures her that their original plan to get him to quit is still on.
Woon-kwang then tries wheedle his way into a late-night snack, but Do-ha shuts that down immediately, citing his strict no-food diet in the evenings. She makes sure all the other staffers are fully aware of Woon-kwang’s diet, then tells Seol-woo that they need to talk.
Of course, Sang-shik tortures Woon-kwang by having a mountain of takeout food delivered to his place. Upon discovering that his fridge has been emptied, Woon-kwang decides to transform into his onscreen villain persona. He dons a hoodie and fingerless gloves, preparing for the mission ahead.
Over dinner at her friend Song-yi’s restaurant, Do-ha demands that Seol-woo give an explanation of his actions that morning. In his usual poker-faced way, Seol-woo says he was keeping tabs on every passenger on their train, and that he was fully in control of Woon-kwang’s safety the whole time during their commute to work.
But to Do-ha, the real problem was that she didn’t know where Woon-kwang was. As she rambles on about how she’s the one who ensures Woon-kwang’s safety, Seol-woo pulls out his phone to check on Woon-kwang. He starts to laugh at what he sees, further infuriating Do-ha.
Seol-woo watches his CCTV feed in amusement as Woon-kwang leaps down from his balcony to make his escape, then asks Do-ha if she’s really in control of her boss’s safety. Do-ha just threatens to fire Seol-woo the next time he falls out of line.
Woon-kwang has made his way to a chicken shop and is just about to dig in—only to be caught red-handed by Do-ha. Desperate, he grabs a chicken leg and makes a run for it, leading Do-ha on her second chase of the day. Do-ha does a good job of keeping up with Woon-kwang for a while, but as Woon-kwang rounds a corner, an arm shoots out and pulls him into an alleyway.
Woon-kwang comes face-to-face with his bodyguard. Relieved, he attempts to finally bite into his chicken… only to have Seol-woo pull it away. Woon-kwang tries giving Seol-woo his best puppy dog eyes, which almost works, until it doesn’t.
Do-ha’s shocked to find the two of them looking cozy in the alley. She orders the two to separate, but Woon-kwang notices that Do-ha’s limping in pain. He immediately starts fussing over her, even taking off her shoe to massage her ankle, and that’s all it takes for Do-ha’s anger to melt away. This interaction doesn’t go unnoticed by Seol-woo, who gazes at the two intently.
Do-ha refuses to go to the hospital, so Woon-kwang insists on giving her a piggyback ride back home. Seol-woo just watches them leave, and when he notices Do-ha’s shoe on the ground, he gives it a little kick.
Back home, Song-yi asks Do-ha about Seol-woo. Do-ha grumps that she doesn’t like the way Seol-woo treats Woon-kwang, and as she thinks back to the events of the day, she starts to wonder if Seol-woo might be gay. Song-yi immediately shuts her down, saying she could tell that Seol-woo’s straight just by the way he looked at Do-ha.
Over video games, Dong-hyun asks Seol-woo how his latest assignment is going, specifically mentioning “that thing” that was nagging at him. Seol-woo says everything is fine, but then thinks back to Do-ha and Woon-kwang’s lovey-dovey interactions earlier that night.
Dong-hyun encourages him to get used to his current identity for the sake of the mission, but Seol-woo doesn’t think it’s worth it, since he’ll have to disappear post-mission anyway. Sad.
Assemblyman Baek meets with his hired hand Ki-chul, who asks for more time in locating the wood carvings. Ki-chul says he thinks the NIS has put a ghost agent on the case.
Assemblyman Baek gets angry, and yikes, his temper is no joke. Ki-chul takes the abuse silently, then kneels before Assemblyman Baek, who quietly tells him to do it right this time.
CEO Ji confirms that he, along with Do-ha and Seol-woo, will accompany Woon-kwang to Chairman Victor’s birthday bash. Do-ha’s far from happy at this news, but Seol-woo can’t hide his pleasure at securing his entrance into the event, even doing a little fist pump, ha.
Woon-kwang arrives on set for another day of filming, but he panics when he sees his co-star and former fling EUN-SOO lurking around—he’s trying to ghost her and hasn’t been answering any of her texts. He retreats to his van in fear, but perks up when Seol-woo offers to “take care” of the situation.
Seol-woo coolly approaches Eun-soo and asks her to stop contacting the VIP, which she doesn’t take well. Seol-woo then busts out his secret agent intel, threatening to spill the details of her latest affair to the media unless she leaves Woon-kwang alone.
Eun-soo retorts that she has some pretty compromising photos of Woon-kwang herself, but she gets back in her car and tells Seol-woo to have Woon-kwang call her. Just then, her phone rings—and it’s Seol-woo, with a cheeky smile on his face, telling her to contact him instead of Woon-kwang.
Woon-kwang watches Eun-soo leave in amazement, then asks Seol-woo how he did it. Seol-woo says he told her the actor likes men, commenting that the more cold and definitive the goodbye, the more effective it is. Woon-kwang laughs and the two walk off chummily, while Do-ha watches the two unhappily from afar.
Later, a reporter calls Do-ha with a tip that Eun-soo’s been spotted at the Sky Lounge, where Woon-kwang is a regular. The reporter says that if he can confirm the two actors are dating, he’ll run the story.
Eun-soo is indeed at Sky Lounge, but it’s not Woon-kwang she’s meeting—it’s Seol-woo, who turns all sorts of heads as he strolls into bar (because damn, he looks good).
Not too long after, Do-ha also shows up to the lounge and is shocked to spy Seol-woo there with Eun-soo. It turns out he’s there to get Eun-soo to delete her incriminating photos of Woon-kwang, but Do-ha smells an opportunity and snaps photos of the two.
At another bar, Mi-eun, her friend, and CEO Ji toast to the success of their new movie. Meanwhile, Seung-jae’s at home where he learns that his son is a fan of Dark Death, the villain portrayed by Woon-kwang in his Hollywood films. His son says he’s watched the movie a number of times with Mom, and this does not please Dad.
When a tipsy Mi-eun returns home, she thanks Seung-jae for investing in “our Woon-kwang’s movie.” Seung-jae’s expression turns hard, and he says to himself, “It was your movie that I invested in.”
Later, Seung-jae angrily races a remote control car around his darkened study. He mutters that he thought some “sympathy cash for the man she dumped” would be okay, but now, it’s not. Seung-jae deliberately crashes his toy car, then tells an assistant standing behind him to “fix it.” The camera lingers on a shot of the toy car, now on its side.
The next morning, Do-ha interrupts Woon-kwang’s makeup session to show him the photo she snapped of Seol-woo and Eun-soo. Though it seems that Woon-kwang’s warmed up to Seol-woo quite a bit, Do-ha plants a seed of doubt, suggesting that Seol-woo could come after all of his future girlfriends. This gets to Woon-kwang, who tells Do-ha to fire Seol-woo right away.
On set, the director expresses surprise at Woon-kwang’s insistance on doing his own stunt driving, obliquely referencing an event in the star’s past. Woon-kwang claims he’s fine, brushing off the director’s concerns.
Do-ha next confronts Seol-woo with her photo of him and Eun-soo. She launches into one of her tirades about how unacceptable Seol-woo’s behavior is, and while she’s talking, Seol-woo notices a suspicious-looking mechanic working on Woon-kwang’s stunt car.
Ack, that’s because he is suspicious—it’s Assemblyman Baek’s man Ki-chul, and he’s clearly fiddled with Woon-kwang’s car. But Woon-kwang doesn’t know that, and so he gets in and starts the engine.
Do-ha eventually tells Seol-woo that he’s fired, but by then, Seol-woo’s too distracted to fully process her words, his eyes going back and forth between Ki-chul and Woon-kwang’s car.
Woon-kwang drives out of the lot, but after a few seconds, his voice rings out over the walkie-talkie, yelling that his steering wheel and breaks don’t work.
Not wasting any time, Seol-woo gets into an empty police car, and Do-ha hops in next to him. Seol-woo peels after Woon-kwang, who’s lost complete control of his car and is now barreling down a public road. As his car continues to speed up, Woon-kwang is hit with flashbacks from an earlier car accident, and his panic grows.
Do-ha holds on for dear life as Seol-woo weaves in and out of traffic to gain ground on Woon-kwang’s car. They finally catch up to Woon-kwang, but there’s not much either car can do at this point, and both cars keep racing forward at top speed.
The two cars quickly approach a construction barricade, along with signs that indicate that the road’s coming to an end. Our trio sees what’s coming: Woon-kwang shields his face, Do-ha screams, and Seol-woo barely flinches as their cars crash through the barricade.
With the end of the road looming ahead, Seol-woo speeds ahead of Woon-kwang, then swerves right. After a beat, he hits his brakes and frantically turns the steering wheel, causing his car to spin right into the path of Woon-kwang’s car. Seol-woo pulls Do-ha into his chest and prepares for impact, and a few seconds later, Woon-kwang, screaming, runs right into them.
The crash leaves Woon-kwang unconscious but miraculously, Seol-woo and Do-ha seem fine. Unfortunately, the collision isn’t enough to stop the cars completely, and both cars continue to move towards the precipitous drop beyond the end of the road. Slamming down on his brakes as hard as he can, Seol-woo holds Do-ha tight and braces himself.
I’m SO digging Park Hae-jin in this role. I love that our stone-faced top secret agent is actually quite human, and sometimes terrible at hiding his emotions. (How cute was that fist pump when he found out about his trip to Chairman Victor’s party?) It was great to watch him maneuver his way into Woon-kwang’s good graces in just a few smooth moves and ramp up the bromance so quickly. And though it may still be an act, I’d like to think that there’s already a hint of fondness on Seol-woo’s end for the top star—and if nothing else, the two of them together are pure comedy gold.
The only thing that bothers me about Seol-woo is his unexplained pull towards Do-ha. At this point, nothing we’ve seen indicates that there’s any reason for Seol-woo to give her a second thought. His mission doesn’t even involve romancing her, as he did in previous missions, so why would she be the thing that’s “nagging” at him? It makes no sense to me.
Speaking of Do-ha, she’s the character I’ve warmed to least so far. I appreciate that she’s brash and a little unhinged, and I know she’s the ultimate fangirl, but I find her complete adulation of Woon-kwang a tad uncomfortable to watch (and Woon-kwang is a total enabler, by the way). Maybe this is also why I don’t buy Seol-woo’s interest in her—she’s given me very little to connect to, so I don’t understand how anyone else can connect with her, unless that someone else is Woon-kwang.
This point aside, I thought the second episode felt a little more cohesive than the first, especially since our main setup is now complete. The show’s doing a nice job balancing humor with its more intense scenes, and while I did find most of the episode pretty funny throughout, I have to say there were a few jokes that didn’t quite land with me, like the way Woon-kwang’s black fan on the train was played for laughs.
Overall, though, I’m intrigued by all of the stories that they’ve introduced so far, including Mi-eun and Woon-kwang’s relationship. We still have so many things to learn about the two: why did they break up? Does it have anything to do with that car crash that Woon-kwang was in earlier in his career? What is Seung-jae’s involvement in their relationship? Woon-kwang is such a ridiculous diva most of the time that it’s rather interesting to see him react so differently to Mi-eun. In addition to getting the full story on that couple, I’m looking forward to seeing what else Seung-jae cooks up in his villainous quest to destroy Woon-kwang—and the secret agent badassery that it will unleash, of course with Seol-woo at the forefront of it all.