Thoughts on ‘Switch ~Change the world~’ Episode 15-16

April 24, 2018 in Drama / Movies / TV, Fan Account by tenshi_akuma (Japan)

WARNING: If you haven’t watched this episode, please be aware of spoiler from reading this article. If you do not want to see, please do not click the link “Read rest of this entry”. We welcome all the comments and please share your thoughts too about ‘Switch’. Thanks.
Author: Bethann Wagner from ECI
Photo credit: SBS


In the opening of episode 15, we see that Sung Doo has been set up, this time by Sa Do Chan himself. After all his cons and schemes and lies, Do Chan does the unthinkable. He immediately tells Sung Doo the truth. Yes he’s that ‘prosecutor’ from the island gambling raid, but no he’s not really a prosecutor. He freely admits that he’s only been playing a role, pretending to be Baek Jun Soo because the real BJS was injured in Sokcho. It’s a mind blower of an opening. Why would he confess the biggest secret he’s been using, and to a criminal, no less? Well SDC is a master of the con game, and he knows that sometimes the best way to hook a fish is to tell them just enough of the truth to make them think they know what’s really going on. But of course, SDC has more tricks up his sleeve, lol.
図1
With Sung Doo’s suspicions seemingly confirmed, SDC then launches into his next scam. He tells Sung Doo that thanks to his position as a (fake) prosecutor, he can do a ‘setting’ against Geum Tae Woong… one that will net him around 300 million dollars. Whether SDC knows that Sung Doo has already tried to cheat GTW or not, I’m not certain, but one thing is sure– SDC can smell another con artist a mile away. So he tempts Sung Doo’s greed by mentioning the 300 million. And right away, you can see the spark in Sung Doo’s eyes at the mention of that much money (the acting in Switch continues to blow me away. Even side characters get every little thing just right!).
02A
Sa Do Chan uses that moment to show Sung Doo a barrel and a bag of cement (apparently to seal him inside and drop it into the ocean, mob-style), and Sung Doo immediately caves. He promises not to snitch on SDC’s plans, and we see a flashback of SDC’s crew in action. Following Sung Doo, they realize that he’s looking for their partner, director Bong, so they decide to give him exactly what he needs to make GTW ease his pressure and let Sung Doo return to the fold (presumably as their inside spy). First, director Bong places himself in Sung Doo’s (drunken) path, so that Sung Doo feels close to catching ‘red underpants’. Then back to the present scene, when Sung Doo stammers that he will help SDC, and that in fact, he wants revenge on GTW himself. He promises to help them in exchange for a little of the 300 million that SDC ‘accidentally’ mentioned earlier.
03
The Switch is suddenly revealed…Eun Ji is sitting on the stairs, filming Sung Doo’s promise to betray GTW. The entire setting had only been to get him on videotape, saying something they could use as a lever against him. Some may call it blackmail, but since SDC is our guy, we’ll just call it leverage lol.
04
The scene shifts to GTW’s office at FEEL gallery, where he is musing that Sung Doo ought to have found something by now. His second in command is suspicious of Sung Doo. He tells GTW that Sung Doo may actually be working with the Prosecutor’s office, considering that Baek Jun Soo (really SDC) also showed up in Chinatown to ‘rescue’ Sung Doo. GTW sounds confident, saying, “Betrayal is for people who trust others”. A cut to show SDC smirking gives us the sense of a true set-up on both sides. Just like their chess game, SDC has captured one of GTW’s knights… but will it win the game? Or was it only a diversion while GTW makes his real move? The opening credits and the episode title give us a hint: “Betrayal eats at the soul”.
05
After the credits, we follow Sung Doo as he pulls up to a stone church and enters. Clearly not the religious sort, he tries to be respectful– first putting hands together and bowing, before he stops, realizing that’s Buddhist, not Christian. He stiffly makes the sign of the cross, but does it upside down and backwards. He’s pleased with his attempt to be reverent, enough so that it’s almost cute.
06
Into the confessional he goes, where director Bong is dressed again as a priest. Sung Doo passes a packet of through the small confessional window to the priest he cannot see. It’s information about K-Savings Bank and the constant flow of slush fund money into the bank. Back at the crew’s hideout, they go over the information and realize that K-Savings Bank is being used as a shell. It’s a place for Choi Jeong Pil to hide slush funds and launder his dirty money, and even the bank manager is just another of his many pawns. It’s the giant reservoir of money they’ve been looking for. But…. is SDC more interested in using it to take them down (and therefore to get to Brown Bear), or in getting his hands on all that money? His grin is hard to read, and you wonder if it’s a bit of both.
07
The scene shifts to GTW’s office, where he has called the pawn of a bank manager in, who immediately admits that Choi Jeong Pil had ordered him to set up a slush fund of 100 million dollars. Many of the other Namsan club members, have secretly switched their allegiances from CJP to GTW, but the bank manager still seems to follow CJP, and dutifully sets up the fund as ordered.
08
Late that night at the bank, the manager has finally gathered the funds, when GTW unexpectedly shows up. He hands him an account number– not the one CJP wanted, but one that GTW set up for himself– and threatens the manager’s life, if the funds are not transferred to the new account. The manager does as he is asked, but GTW never had any intention of letting him live. He dangles him off the roof of the building, then drops him to his death, and fabricates a suicide note.
09
The next morning, the headlines are all about the sudden suicide, and the embezzlement of funds (with speculation that the manager had a gambling debt). The head prosecutor, Jeong Do Young reads the article, but we wonder just what he’s thinking. He has been letting the members of the Namsan club buy him off, just like the bank manager, and now that manager is dead. Is he thinking he is smarter than the manager and will end up in a good position thanks to his allegiance to Namsan club? Probably. Crooks always seem to think they are smarter than everyone else. Certainly he reads the news with some understanding that this was no suicide.
10
Choi Jeong Pil, on the other hand, is shocked by the news reports, and believes fully that the manager committed suicide. He has been at the top so long, perhaps it is hard for him to imagine those beneath him going to these lengths to set up a coup d’etat. Perhaps he has forgotten the hunger for power and money that drove him, and feels secure in his status.
11
Back at the Prosecutor’s office, the case of the bank manager’s suicide is given to crooked prosecutor Gil Dae Ro to wrap up, and SDC and Oh Ha Ra find it odd that the case is being labeled a suicide already, before the investigation is really even done. Because of their knowledge of the K-Savings Bank slush fund, they are certain this was no suicide, so they cook up their own plan to get a look at the evidence in the case. SDC heads off to FEEL gallery, saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”.
12
Sa Do Chan arrives to play chess (jianggi), but this time he brings his own pieces, saying he feels more comfortable with Korean pieces than Chinese pieces. Considering his abilities as a con artist… I am just waiting for one of those pieces to turn out to be a hidden camera or microphone, to let the crew hear everything going on in the FEEL office lol! They play chess again, and again they speak about their individual methods for playing the game in ways that are clearly allegories for how they play their con games too.
13A
SDC, aware that GTW was married to CPJ’s daughter, and that she died, and that GTW is hiding both the true manner of her death and the true date of her death, brings up the topic of marriage. He ‘innocently’ asks to have dinner with them, just to see GTW’s reaction. As expected, GTW sticks to the official story, that his wife died in a car accident. Down the road, I’m sure we will see this murder of CPJ’s daughter brought to light, and a wedge driven between CPJ and GTW… but for now it’s a thread left hanging.
14
Meanwhile, crooked prosecutor Gil Dae Ro leaves work early. He tells Oh Ha Ra’s “embarrassing sister” that the bank manager case is obviously just a suicide, so his attitude is why bother. Whether he truly is being lazy and thinks it’s a pointless case, or whether he has been tasked with burying it by his crooked head prosecutor, Jeong Do Young… is anybody’s guess at this point. Reporter Oh scolds him for jumping to conclusions, but even when she tells him that her sources are saying the bank manager wasn’t the sort to commit suicide, he just brushes off her advice. Again we are left to wonder, is he brushing it off because he is lazy and thinks he’s better than this kind of case? Or because he is trying to help bury it?
15
The next scene further confuses that question, as we see Gil Dae Ro in the company of GTW at the funeral of the bank manager. They meet up with CJP, who seems to sincerely ask for a thorough investigation. But honestly, how thorough does he really want it? Because a good investigation would reveal all the money laundering going on, and implicate him and his whole Namsan club.
16
CJP and GTW take their leave to go to the funeral service, and are met by BJS (SDC), who is using the opportunity to speak to CJP. At first CJP is very flattered by being recognized by the young man, who gives him a respectful deep bow. But he’s less thrilled when he finds out that BJS is a prosecutor, lol. At any rate, they eat the funeral food together, and BJS (SDC) needles them both with his concerns about the apparent suicide. He watches their reactions carefully. CJP is troubled by the strange ‘suicide’ and agrees with the prosecutor, but GTW merely looks away uncomfortably and says nothing. That tells SDC all he needs to know. CJP is crooked, but he didn’t do this. This was GTW’s doing. Later in his car, GTW plots to move up his coup d’etat of the Namsan Club. He knows that CJP must be suspecting him now, so he will have to speed up his timeline.
17
Back at the Prosecutor’s office, SDC and Oh Ha Ra confer on the rooftop. Now that SDC got the info he needed, it’s Oh Ha Ra’s turn to get Prosecutor Gil out of his office so they can see the investigation paperwork. They pull off their parts perfectly. SDC manages to find out that the suicide note had no fingerprints, and since it was found on the desk, not on the printer, they realize that this is proof of it being planted.
18
SDC’s crew has been continuing on the scheme with Sung Doo this whole time, and now Sung Doo returns to GTW’s office with a photo of director Bong. GTW is glad to get the photo, but annoyed that Sung Doo didn’t follow the trail to find evidence of director Bong and BJS being in cahoots. Sung Doo asks for his trust in getting the job done, but as we know from the beginning of the episode, GTW doesn’t trust that easily.
19
The episode ends with CJP reminiscing with one of his men about the good old days when everyone feared him and his Namsan Club. He speaks with fondness of having formed a shadow government back in those days, which still exerts tremendous power over Korea. And in another nice circle back to the beginning of the episode, just as GTW was warned not to trust Sung Doo, this scene shows CJP being warned not to trust GTW. He says that he doesn’t, and that he plans to cut him out of Namsan club at the next meeting. But at the fateful Namsan club meeting, we see that his move was already too late. GTW has turned or coerced the rest of the members to his side.
20B
Episode 16 begins where 15 left off, with the Namsan club members rising from their seats to greet their new leader, GTW, as he descends the staircase. CJP stares in disbelief as GTW takes the chairman’s seat. The other members are uncomfortable, but nevertheless, stand firm in support of GTW. And in a series of flashbacks we see the payoffs and the blackmailing that allowed GTW to take over. CJP realizes just what has happened– the missing 100 million dollars, the death of the bank manager– and has no choice but to leave, vowing to himself that he will take revenge for the betrayal. The coup d’etat is complete.
01B
BJS and Oh Ha Ra send their investigators to K-Savings Bank, where they discover that the CCTV system was not functioning during the time of the supposed suicide. They are now even more sure that their suspicions were correct– this was a murder. Upon hearing that they are on the trail of the bank manager murder, GTW sends for the head prosecutor. GTW tells him not to just ‘take care of it’, but to wrap it up, and kicks his leg when he begins to protest. With Jeong Do Young in pain on his knees, GTW takes the moment to school him on exactly what his position is. GTW can make him “a king”, and he can unmake him just as easily. Continuing his insults, he even compares JDY to a dog, “When the master asks you to bark, you bark”.
02B
In the meantime, a female worker at K-Savings Bank is struggling with the news of her manager’s death. She knows about the slush funds and she knows that it was no suicide, but after walking outside to call the Prosecutor’s office from a pay phone, she is too scared to even finish the phone call. One of Oh Ha Ra’s investigators tracks down the phone booth, then a dashboard camera, and finally the girl who made the call, but she runs from Oh Ha Ra and won’t talk. With the crooked prosecutor Gil Dae Ro wrapping up his ‘investigation’ and officially labeling it a suicide, There is only one thing to do…. Time for a setting!!
03B
SDC’s crew secretly looks into the lady snitch at K-Savings Bank, and find that she goes on a lot of blind dates and is looking for a handsome doctor. In addition, she has been going to the dermatologist a lot lately. So of course, the best person for this role is our handsome handsome handsome Prince! They carefully set up a scene so that ‘handsome psychiatrist, Dr. Brian Kim’ can catch her when she trips, and he tries to convince her that her skin problems are due to holding onto secrets and stress. She is still very reluctant to spill the beans, but continues to meet with the charming doctor. After a couple of meetings, she promises to tell him what’s on her mind the next day, and she gives him a gift box wrapped in traditional yellow cloth. She tells him that it is kimchi made by her mother. As he places it in his trunk, a man in a parked car snaps several incriminating photos. Of course, my stomach is churning at this…. Is the lady part of a counter-scheme? What’s really in that box? This is just so stressful lol!
04B
Another quick scene with Oh Ha Ra’s mother and the man we now know is Sa Do Chan’s (not dead after all) father, creates an interesting juxtaposition. Oh Ha Ra walks in after work, unaware of just who the man before her is. And when he gives her some rice cakes and tells her not to worry, that it’s too cheap to violate the bribery laws….I have to admit that I cringed, thinking of that kimchi in SDC’s trunk. The popcorn salesman gives her a line about how amazing corn and rice is, surviving and transforming under intense heat and pressure and training. It seems like the sort of thing that is intended to be an allegory of our heroes– that under the intense pressure they face, they too will transform and become something more than they ever thought they could.
05B
When BJS (SDC) arrives at work the next day, his car is stopped, and the trunk checked. He does see a man walking away from the back of his car, but for some reason, does not feel suspicious. Being around the upstanding members of his prosecution team has perhaps dulled his con-man senses, because uncharacteristically, SDC thought nothing of the Kimchi from the night before either. He just left it in the trunk of his car. I must admit to being more nervous than at any other point in the series so far. I keep hoping for the best….. but….. I’m so worried that our SDC and BJS are going to go down for this! Truth be told though, this is really what I love about this series. I can’t ever predict the scrapes they get into, or how on earth they will wiggle out of them.
06B
Surprisingly, there is no problem at the checkpoint, and Sa Do Chan heads on into the office. He walks in to find the whole investigation team eating popped rice cakes that Oh Ha Ra brought. She starts to repeat the unusual line she heard from the popcorn salesman, and SDC abruptly finishes it for her. He brushes it off as typical of any fast-talker, but we are left wondering if perhaps it’s a line he heard before…as a child?
07
The leave the office, still eating rice cakes, when Oh Ha Ra’s sister runs up to them, shouting about a bribe and photos in the news. Of course, it’s exactly what we feared… The photos of BJS (SDC) accepting the box of kimchi has been published along with a story saying he is taking bribes. The bank informant woman with whom SDC met is now claiming that she was coerced into giving him a bribe. Whether she was in it from the start, or forced to play a role when they saw her with him, I’m not sure it matters either way. The result is the same. Clearly the head prosecutor and GTW have calculated that bribery is the fastest, surest way to take down a prosecutor and destroy their credibility. I’m even worried for Oh Ha Ra at this point, since she could easily get implicated (and GTW might want her name dragged too).
08
Cars screech up to surround them in the parking lot, and even worse, dozens of reporters and photographers have now surrounded him too. BJS (SDC) is forced to open his trunk. He does it willingly, because he knows it’s only kimchi. He opens the box of kimchi….only to find it stuffed full of cash. He says, almost impressed, “I fell for an incredible switch”, and recalls the popcorn line about pressure and training. The hurt look in Oh Ha Ra’s eyes really broke my heart too. Unlike GTW, Oh Ha Ra trusts people– even a con artist like SDC. So to see such a deep betrayal as this, something that would destroy the real BJS, and potentially even her own career, she must be feeling so hurt. When they are called to the head prosecutor’s office, BJS (SDC) doesn’t argue, doesn’t protest, and doesn’t proclaim his innocence. He just quietly turns in his ID card when Jeong Do Young (that jerk who probably set this all up!) demands it. JDY even has the nerve to act high and mighty, chastising BJS (SDC) for supposedly taking a bribe, when we all know who the real dirty prosecutor is!
09B
Everyone is just so depressed…..Oh Ha Ra and Yong Ji Sung feel both defeated and guilty for letting a conman pretend to be their upright coworker. SDC looks around the investigation one last time, filled with guilt over ruining BJS’s good name, and thinking about the righteous life he could have lived, but didn’t. Even back at the apartment, the mood is not much better. The crew is shamed, at a loss for words… and BJS– the real BJS– can only say basically ‘I told you this would happen’. At least SDC was able to explain what happened to Oh Ha Ra, so that she now understands he didn’t actually accept a bribe. But that small victory doesn’t help with BJS. He only tells her to stop making excuses for SDC, and accuses her of hanging around con-men so much, that she’s becoming just like them. Poor Oh Ha Ra…. that had to really cut to the bone. She has only ever looked up to BJS, idolized him, wanted to be just like him, even fell in one-sided love with him. For him to think so poorly of her, must totally be breaking her heart.
10B
Baek Jun Soo slowly, carefully, but with strength, gets out of his wheelchair and stands. Whether he truly has the strength or not, he has no choice but to do something now. He holds all of them in contempt now, and says that he will clean up the mess. Then we walks right up to SDC (OMG, Hooray for technology!! Two Jang Keun Suks!! And yet the best part is, I’m even more caught up in the tension between these two characters– which only proves JKS’s amazing acting talent), and says, “This is all because someone like you is going around pretending to be me. So embarrassing”. He isn’t totally wrong…but ouch. I don’t think he’s totally right either. The prosecutor’s team would never have figured out so much of what’s going on, if it weren’t for SDC and his team. In BJS’s black and white world, the problem is someone unethical pretending to be him and leaving a mess. But without SDC’s unorthodox approaches, BJS would still be wondering who ordered the truck to hit him, and thinking that the bank manager was just another high profile suicide. As Oh Ha Ra said a few episodes back, the problem is that she can’t mix them! If SDC could try harder to be the upstanding prosecutor he once dreamed of being….if BJS could only realize that the world isn’t always black and white, but is often shades of grey… But instead, BJS tells SDC to “get lost”.
11C
Geum Tae Woong, pleased with himself after hearing that BJS will face a disciplinary hearing will likely be dismissed, is surprised to see none other than BJS walk into his office. Though at first he doesn’t know it, he is at last facing the real Bak Jun Soo and not his lookalike. In a move that mirrors almost perfectly the first scene of episode 15, this time it is BJS’s turn to sell out SDJ. He offers to sell GTW a person, or at least the knowledge of that person. GTW seems dismissive of the idea that a con man lookalike has been pretending to be BJS this whole time, until he hears the name that BJS gives him– a frightfully familiar name. The name belonging to son of the man he thought he murdered 20 years ago– Sa Do Chan.
12B
Honestly, this time, it’s just so stressful, lol! I really can’t see any room for our boys to wiggle out. And I can’t figure out how they can continue to work together to catch Brown Bear. Do they even want to anymore? Has BJS truly turned on SDJ, or just pulling his own con, in exactly the same way that SDC did, using BJS’s name at the beginning? And the fact that SDC’s potential for romance with Oh Ha Ra is the last thing on my mind (when it’s usually the number one reason I’m watching any show)… well that is truly saying something about the fantastic writing and acting on this drama!
13
Pleeease, episode 17….hurry hurry and get our boys out of this tight spot!!

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