Briskly advancing the plots with fresh character dynamics, and throwing in a thrilling end for good measure, episode 11 is another solid installment of Cafe Minamdang.
This recap of Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 11 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Shocked over the revelation that Jae-hui is the sister of Jae-jeong, Han-joon takes a while to be convinced by the news, before rejecting the detective’s proposal to join forces when presented with proof. However, the woman formerly known as Jang-mi has a trick up her sleeve, blackmailing the shaman with threats of a police questioning over just what Minamdang is. Claiming to be impressed with Jae-hui’s “resolution and determination,” Han-joon then ultimately decides that the two should work together. Later on, the group all get to know the detective, hearing of her backstory.
Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 11 recap
With Park Dong-gi potentially behind Tae-su given that he kept his job at Joyce Entertainment despite having a poor relationship with Jin-sang, Han-joon wishes to use the director as a way of understanding how the two suspects are related. Yet no concrete plans are made, and Jae-hui is sent away so the group can continue thinking. The detective departs with a warning, though, one which means they can no longer go solo unless they want to risk arrest. With that being said, the shaman does inform his associates that he plans to “get rid” of their new ally when the chance arises, troubled by the idea that he cannot face Jae-jeong should his friend’s sister be hurt too.
After both Han-joon and Jae-hui reflect on their unconventional history together, it becomes clearer that the two have affection towards each other that is still managing to grow. Even the next day we see the detective applying makeup before her meeting with the former profiler, hoping to make a strong impression. Such an act does cause some speculation about her dating life, though, which includes Du-jin’s advice for Jae-hui abut going out with both Do-won and Han-joon, as love triangles are a big part of dating. Annoyed, the detective leaves for “work,” along with a message that her other colleagues should not get any wrong ideas.
Next, Do-won enters the fray as another collaborator with the Minamdang group, using his Joyce Entertainment secret investor document to ensure Han-joon allows him into the fold. Here, we see that the list includes Sinmyeong’s mayor, Lee Myeong-jun, Head of Anti-corruption Nam Pil-gu, and Senior Assemblyman Park Jeong-hyeon. The shaman alleges that Gyeong-cheol was used to provide this shady trio with overseas gambling trips and sexual favours, which included the use of Eun-hye. Following that, we hear that the money invested in the group was reinvested to Joyce Partners, resulting ultimately in massive dividends that indicates some money laundering. Hye-jun believes this is where Dong-gi comes in, but admits she cannot be sure if he is the real mastermind behind Tae-su.
After this discussion, the plan for the group becomes more concrete. Han-joon will look into Dong-gi, Do-won into where the dividends came from, and Jae-hui into stronger evidence that would allow for the arrest of Tae-su. When the meeting ends, we get a little flirtatious nugget that something is developing between Hye-jun and Su-cheol. Elsewhere, Jin-sang worries about the fact he has been left on read by the shaman, only to excitedly exclaim that he loves him when a cryptic response of “beware of the east and the colour red” arrives.
During an appointment at Minamdang, Jin-sang is told that Tae-su is an evil spirit is haunting his father, knowing that it will lead to further revelations. Of course, it does, with Han-joon soon finding out about Auntie Im, the mysterious woman who reads fortunes for the top 1% in the political and business worlds. “Thanks to her, my father’s business has been flourishing,” Jin-sang explains, prior to subtly admitting that Tae-su is taking company funds. The solution is apparently an exorcism, as Han-joon details that this is the only way to avoid his customer’s family from going down. And, even though the shaman knows that it will be tough, he is happy to embrace the challenge given that he is receiving a hefty fee for his work.
While Han-joon finds a potential way of tracking Auntie Im down, Jae-hui is told that Tae-su was involved in an accidental firearm case five years ago as a witness for the victim, so prepares to bring her willing team over to the mountain lodge currently being run by the sufferer. Meanwhile, Do-won sees that Joyce Partners has over ten affiliated companies that all look legitimate, aside from KM Leaders, a local corporation established in the Philippines by the group that has the possibility of being a “paper company.” As such, the Ministry of Justice are to be asked for financial details, and the rest of the affiliates are to have their cash flows tracked.
With Do-won joining the police for their Gangwon-do investigation, which has a slight blip when Sang-hyub eats a poisonous mushroom, we see the victim is happy to talk about Tae-su. However, he concerningly believes that the friend he is quizzed about is missing due to his watch being found in a recent recovery of a dead body. Such strange words are soon clarified though, as the lodge owner points out in a picture that the man the police currently believe is the untraceable Tae-su, is actually a man called Lim Yeong-ju.
Coming to terms with the fact that Yeong-ju stole his dead friend’s identity, Jae-hui admits that even the new name they have discovered could be false, clinging to hope that they can at least find some information under it. Du-jin knows he has heard the of Yeong-ju before, so there is definitely something to be uncovered. Concurrently, the Minamdang group rent out their cafe for a gathering of fellow shamans so they can find out about Auntie Im. Something sinister comes about here amongst revelations that basically everyone hates Im, with one women claiming to harbour disdain for the shady character because she murdered her godmother when her misdemeanours were exposed. Yet there are some moments of humour too when those in attendance start fighting, even if one particular person appears to be taking a vested interest in Han-joon.
Later, Tae-su shows Im, who is aware that people are trying to dig for information on her, the images taken at the gathering. So the cunning shaman orders tabs to be kept on Han-joon, knowing that he will soon come to her of his own accord. The accompanying scene shows Auntie Im’s foresight, as Han-joon is already hatching a plan to go undercover at a signing ceremony for the Sinmyeong land development project because he believes it will lead him to the mastermind. This scheme is one that will be done without Jae-hui, however, due to the shaman’s obvious concerns that she could be harmed. With that being said, both the detective and Do-won will be in attendance anyway, as the prosecutor received an invite, and agreed on going without the Minamdang group.
With her upgraded equipment, Hye-jun revels in being able to spy on the rich attendees at the signing ceremony in 4K, before noticing Jae-hui’s arrival. What follows is an awkward moment of jealousy between the detective and a determined Min-gyeong, who tried to help cover the tracks of the undercover investigator. Then, a smug looking Seung-won appears, eager to give his uncle flack over his delayed instalment as company president. Deemed to be at the top of the food chain by Han-joon, Do-won’s brother feels disrespected by those around him, proven by a scene which shows him express his desire for some in attendance to know their place.
After Do-won and Han-joon bicker over Jae-hui, the groups put differences aside to cooperate together, discreetly communicating over Auntie Im’s arrival when the signing ceremony is complete. At that moment though, Jae-hui and Do-won end up pulled away from the crowd when the detective spots Tae-su, who himself is busy waiting for orders on what should be done with Han-joon. “We’ll make sure it’s his last day on earth” is the ominous reply from Auntie Im.
Disguised as chefs, Han-joon and Su-cheol serve plates to the one-percenter’s exclusive table in the hopes of tracking her conversations. However, Auntie Im instantly calls the former profiler out, wishing to know why he goes out of his destined way to “appease the unhappy spirit.” Warning Han-joon that his life may be unexpectedly cut short should he not be careful, a tension rises, but falls before any true harm can be done.
Listening in on conversations, the Minamdang group hear that Dong-gi wants to know whether the Eun-hye case has been taken care of, and that it seems to heavily involve the mayor. Im claims that it has been wrapped up, much to the amusement of the shady group dining with her. Then, we find out that Tae-su is just being used to take care of business for now, and will be disposed of once their “project” is over. At that moment, following Han-joon’s discussion with Su-cheol that Tae-su knows the group’s weaknesses, Seung-won arrives, taking his seat to discuss work with Auntie Im’s entourage. Removing the bug from the plate before they continue, the villainous shaman brings an end to the episode as we see the Minamdang group attacked. In this instalment’s epilogue, Do-won notices his brother sit down, seemingly torn over what’s going on.