Taxi Driver season 1, episode 4 recap – school’s out for summer

April 18, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Weekly TV
4

Summary

Taxi Driver episode 4 delivers plenty of catharsis in its resolution of the second story arc, finding a great storytelling rhythm.

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4

Summary

Taxi Driver episode 4 delivers plenty of catharsis in its resolution of the second story arc, finding a great storytelling rhythm.

This recap of Taxi Driver season 1, episode 4 contains spoilers.


I’ve already given props to Taxi Driver for its two-episode story arcs; it’s a smart way of keeping the pace up and varying the subjects, stopping long-winded storylines from sagging in the middle. It also gives the show an excellent sense of build-up and payoff, which is what I like most about it, on balance. It’s full of utterly despicable people, but you don’t have to wait long for them to get their comeuppance.

Take, for instance, Park Seung-Tae, Jang Hyung-Sik, and Oh Hak-Soo. After a brief opening in Taxi Driver episode 4 that sees Ha-Na and Investigator Wang (Lee Yoo-Joon) figuring out that Chief Kim Hyung-Wook’s car was flipped back in the second episode using materials meant for armored vehicles (Ha-Na requests CCTV footage from the area, setting up the cliffhanger), we return immediately to where the previous episode left off. Do-Ki has been set up for the sexual abuse of a student (Im Chae-Hyun). His fellow teacher (Jeon Young-Mi) is disgusted, the kids are close to rioting, and the bullies are indescribably smug — at least until they get back to the classroom and the school principal (Lee Tae-Hyung) turns out Seung-Tae’s bag and finds all the incriminating evidence that was supposed to be in Do-Ki’s possession in there.

Taxi Driver season 1, episode 4 quickly rewinds to show how all this came about, with Go Eun catching Seung-Tae planting the material on Do-Ki using a hidden camera and then posing as a student to relocate the evidence. She then called the principal alerting him to what happened, and quietly threatened the complicit girl into making better choices in the future. Thus begins a fun flip of the dynamic between Do-Ki and the boys as, with his new leverage, he steadily begins to torment them.

The big gotcha is that Choi Kyung-Koo and Park Jin-Eon “arrest” the elderly cigarette vendor for marijuana possession, in full view of the boys, causing them to run into the woods in panic and bury their stash, which Do-Ki films and plays in class the next day. When Seong-Tae tries to threaten him he laughingly says it can be their little secret, but when the boys return to the woods they find their haul missing — Do-Ki calls to let them know he has handed it in to the police. 

The aggravation only persists in Taxi Driver season 1, episode 4. Do-Ki starts sending Seung-Tae to fetch him coke and burgers during class, and when the boys get home to Seung-Tae’s house, they discover Do-Ki there, happily playing Go with his father. The next stage of Do-Ki’s plan is to tell the boys to loan him 5 million won, and Seung-Tae believes he has an opportunity for a setup. He tells Do-Ki he’ll give him the money but only at a time and place of his choosing, giving him chance to call his uncle for backup.

We didn’t get an action sequence in the previous episode, so when Do-Ki goes to meet Seung-Tae on the roof in his driving attire and finds plenty of black-suited goons there, it was a welcome relief. Do-Ki cleaves a path through all of them easily — he calls it “tough love” — and then kicks Seung-Tae off the roof, presumably to his death. Hyung-Sik and Hak-Soo, having wet themselves in terror, go to the police with signed confessions of everything they’ve done.

Seung-Tae is, obviously, alive and well. We rewind back once again to see that Choi Kyung-Koo and Park Jin-Eon had erected a giant crash mat on the ground below, and Seung-Tae landed on it, unharmed. But he’s no better off. Do-Ki has him held captive in a room packed to the rafters with bread, where he makes him talk to his uncle on the phone — he never wants to see him again — and then eat his way to freedom. Everything he doesn’t finish, he’ll have to pay Jung-Mi for — he has eaten off that poor boy enough, and this will be the last time. When Seung-Tae says he has no money, Do-Ki hands him a slip of paper with some employment details on it. If he works hard after school, he might just be able to pay Jung-Min off before his military service starts. As a parting gift, Do-Ki gives him a birthday cake with a single candle on it. “Congratulations on being reborn.”

Speaking of Jung-Min, in a touching scene earlier, Do-Ki gave him a meal and told him to return to school. He shared the meal with his mother and that night sobbed hysterically in his bed, presuming his mother couldn’t hear his frantic apologies. She could, though, or at least recognized his distress. But things end up okay for them. Do-Ki later gives him the bill for the services, which he’s to pay off a little each month — should be easy given his income from Seung-Tae — so that he understands there are no free taxi rides in life, least of all premium ones. But Sung-Chul also visits his mother and tells her that Jung-Min has been selected for a scholarship from the Bluebird Foundation. When Jung-Min graduates high school, his college education will be paid for. 

With the mission complete, Do-Ki is forced into having dinner with Sung-Chul, Ha-Na, and Jo Jin-Woo. Sung-Chil and Jin-Woo get blind drunk, leaving Do-Ki to take Ha-Na home, but on the way, he hears a whistle which triggers a traumatic memory. In flashback, we see Do-Ki in military fatigues return home and find his mother’s corpse in the kitchen, the kettle whistling on the stove. He collapses, and the paramedic pulls open his shirt to reveal many scars from bullet wounds and other injuries. While Ha-Na remains at his bedside, shocked by what she’s learning about him, she gets a call from Investigator Wang telling her that it was a premium taxi that flipped the chief’s car, leaving Taxi Driver season 1, episode 4 on a pretty big cliffhanger.

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