Taxi Driver season 1, episode 3 recap – back to school

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 17, 2021
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Taxi Driver season 1, episode 3 recap - back to school


Taxi Driver episode 3 sends Do-Ki back to school, as the next (presumably two-part) case sees him take revenge on behalf of a bullied student.

This recap of Taxi Driver season 1, episode 3 contains spoilers.

Taxi Driver episode 3 establishes a clear rhythm and structure for the show, continuing with the two-episode arcs established by last weekend’s double bill. This seems smart enough to me since it allows for variety and pace while also developing the overarching plot in increments; Ha-Na’s investigation and Sung-Chul’s rivalry with Chairman Baek are both long-game subplots that’ll pay off down the line, while whatever bother the Rainbow Taxi Service is getting into in the meantime forms the bulk of the drama.

This episode does open with Sung-Chul being interviewed about his past, though, further opening the window that was cracked in the previous episode when he mentioned how the murder of his parents led him to his dedication to revenge. As he tells his story, which is being televised, he basically turns it into a sales pitch for his advocacy group, and Baek watches from elsewhere, amused at the quality of his acting. Are his parents’ murderers still rotting underneath one of the grates in her personal prison?

The scene with Ha-Na and Do-Ki at the taxi firm is also a direct continuation from last week, but Sung-Chul’s interruption throws her off the scent, for now, leaving the bulk of Taxi Driver season 1, episode 3 to deal with the new case, that of schoolboy Jung-Min (Park Jun-Mok), who is being relentlessly bullied at school by three students — Park Seung-Tae (Choi Hyun-Wook), Jang Hyung-Sik (Lee Jae-Hak) and Oh Hak-Soo (Lee Min-Jae) – who seem free to do whatever they please thanks to a largely uncaring faculty.

Bullying is a problem the world over, and Taxi Driver is unflinching in its portrayal of it, perhaps even to an extent that seems a bit contrived. These boys are so cartoonishly cruel to literally everyone they meet that it beggars belief that they’d have been able to get away with anything for this long. Even their tormenting of Jung-Min extends to throwing him under a motorbike to claim the insurance payout, and not-so-subtly threatening his mother (Goo Si-Yeon) in her own home. There’s also a distinct undercurrent of classism here, though one gets the sense these boys would pick on anyone for any reason.

Naturally, when presented with the instructions for the arcade machine – a different one than Maria used, by the way, hinting at the scale of the operation – he chooses revenge, and so Do-Ki goes undercover as a substitute teacher at the school. He spends the entire time playing the buffoon – there’s no action in Taxi Driver episode 3 – and makes an immediate enemy of Jung-Min’s bullies, who are not shy at all about insulting and threatening him openly.

Already, this makes for a fun counterpoint to the first two episodes, since Do-Ki has been established as a no-nonsense ass-kicker, so to see him playing the dork is a laugh. It’s also a little frustrating, since nobody deserves a smack more than this mob, and I was looking forward to Do-Ki giving them one. Maybe next week. In the meantime, though, as Do-Ki accumulates evidence against them, they also retaliate by setting Do-Ki up to take the fall for sexually abusing a female student. That’s the cliffhanger that Taxi Driver season 1, episode 3 leaves us with, so roll on the next episode I guess.

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