A breezy instalment which adds a new dimension to proceedings while keeping to the excitement of the last few weeks.
This recap of Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 13 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on last week’s episode by clicking these words.
Jumping right into the thick of it, we watch as Han-joon leaves Tae-su to rescue Jae-hui from the burning RV. Unable to be stopped, the former profiler risks his life to ensure that tragedy doesn’t strike, succeeding just as Su-cheol arrives to quell the vicious flames. Shaken by what’s happened, when the saved detective comes to her senses, Han-joon collapses.
Next, Jae-hui watches as the shaman slowly wakes up in hospital, grabbing his hand in comfort. Meanwhile, Hye-jun worries about her brother’s different behaviour back at the campsite, before she claims she would die without her new partner Su-cheol, so he had better not pass away before her. Sweetly, the happy couple embrace, knowing they will be by each other’s side.
Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 13 recap
Hugging Jae-hui upon properly waking up, Han-joon expresses his happiness in his successful rescue not being a dream, relieved that the promise of protection he made to Jae-jeong was not broken. Yet the shaman is candid in his admittance that he may still run out of fear of losing someone he cares for, though he also acknowledges that he will ultimately end up finding his way back to Jae-hui anyway. So he asks for the detective to be patient, stating that once he has caught Gopuri and obtained the permission of her brother, then he will offer up his “entire heart.” With those sentiments understood, it appears like an agreement has been struck.
After we see the Minamdang group partake in a petty squabble over all that’s happened, we cut forward to the next day. There, the police arrive to share some bad news that Tae-su will be hard to catch even with the help of a local precinct, before a picture given to Du-jin proves to the tethered worker that the serial killer is indeed Lim Yeong-ju. “He was the suspect in my first murder case,” the cop says, before a flashback scene shows the harsh upbringing the man dubbed as Gopuri had due to his alcoholic father. There, we see that Yeong-ju hurt his dad in self-defence one night, though took the deed one step further when setting his entire house on fire and fleeing, aware of the consequence.
Staying away from his family after the incident, and unreformed due to the potential fear others had around him, there’s a gap in what happened to the serial killer between his childhood and now, one that needs to be filled in. Knowing he must have had an accomplice (which Su-cheol states could well be Auntie Im), an investigation looks set to start.
Back at Minamdang, Hye-jun informs the group that a weird image was found on Tae-su’s laptop, showing the names of Jun-ha and Jae-jeong written on Gopuri cloths. There’s also a folder with everyone’s sex videos, prompting Han-joon to explain the two-way system the criminal has with Auntie Im. It’s simple, the shaman makes the prophecies, and Tae-su makes them come true through blackmail and favours. It’s this successful scheming that has allowed Im to claim notable clientele, which has ultimately then led to where the duo are now.
When one of the videos shows the popular N.Joy Club as a location of criminality, Do-won arrives on the scene to explain that this place is where the cartel members received their dividends from. With rumours that the money from drugs dealt there are handed out as investment returns from Joyce Partners, a plan is hatched for the group to go undercover the next day to collect anything that can be used as proof.
After a sweet walk where the two discuss their lives openly, Han-joon and Jae-hui finalise their promise to go out as a normal couple once Gopuri is caught, while Su-cheol and Hye-jun discretely move past the pairing to avoid being caught. As we subtly see though, the new couple’s disguise might not have exactly worked out.
While the Minamdang group manage to get into N.Joy Club without too much fuss, a pursuing Jin-sang and Min-gyeong, who wish to see the shaman, find themselves whisked away. Inside, the plan has its humour too, as Do-won begrudgingly finds himself as a server under the help of Na-dan, sent out to look for anything suspicious. Concurrently, Jae-hui and Hye-jun shift their way over towards a drug deal, marking the seller so that he can be caught.
As Han-joon and Su-cheol get ready to ask the drug distributor where his boss is, Do-won springs into action in a VIP room when noticing a spiked drink that could cause harm to an unaware woman. However, the perpetrator confronts the undercover duo, forcing them to call the promised “hotter” women in an attempt to call their bluff while the club manager is phoned. Fortunately, there’s no damage done, given that Su-cheol is on hand to take the thug’s call due to his ongoing interrogation into whether the drug dealers know Tae-su.
After Han-joon gets the boss to admit he knows who Tae-su is, and Jae-hui deals with the drink-spiking VIPs, we head to the police station. There, Du-jin, who claims to have evidence of narcotics trafficking after his colleague’s club raid, startles the police Chief worried about the consequences. However, Chul-geun is easily swayed by the idea of going to headquarters at the conclusion of the case that could wipe out an entire cartel, so seems willing to help out.
Back at the club, we discover that a pill called “Ruby” was on sale there, with Tae-su in charge of the operations. The ledger kept by the serial killer would provide definitive proof that the dividends were paid with the drug trafficking money, something revealed to be kept in a hidden safe on the top floor. Luckily, with help from the police and an easily manipulated Jin-sang, the operation looks to be a success, even if the emergence of more guards threatens to scupper it.
Unfortunately, an emerging Tae-su fights off Han-joon when the shaman stutters over Seung-won’s inspection report being in the safe, leading to a bitter confrontation between the two enemies which culminates in the serial killer fleeing with the files after landing a crushing blow. Though the shaman did sneakily retain one, meaning the group have something to work with.
At Minamdang, the full plan Auntie Im’s group had becomes clear. Her cartel invested into Joyce Entertainment, who reinvested the money into N.Joy Club, which allowed Tae-su to make money through drug trafficking which would ensure the members got their payouts. Wanting more profit, the cartel then got greedy, kickstarting the Jakdu-dong land development project, which will exploit the people unaware enough to buy the apartments there. “Cha Seung-won is trying to become the chairman by ripping off innocent people,” Han-joon adds, ruing his error in not taking Seung-won’s inspection report that could have exposed the group’s contingency plan set in motion by Dong-gi.
Continuing, the shaman details that he spotted a document showing that Seung-won sold the Jakdu-dong land for a marked up price, showing that he sells his cheap land to the government for a higher fee, while moving up the construction plan. “They’re playing in the big leagues,” he states, while the group acknowledge that the important file must now be in the hands of the higher-ups.
Concerned, Dong-gi orders Tae-su and co. to keep hold of the files so nobody else can see them, drawing the ire of an annoyed Seung-won who believes he was to be stabbed in the back by his uncle. There are more pressing matters to be dealt with, though, regarding potential delays to the development project that could be caused by a police investigation. The response is that the cartel should hurry, stoking up a frenzy about the project until the “groundbreaking ceremony,” selling apartments right after, and ensuring that the construction fee can be pocketed for protection. Then, a more sinister message is sent, that Dong-gi should be taken care of before the shareholder’s meeting, with Auntie Im essentially threatened not to deviate from any plan.
At Minamdang, we see that Do-won is expressing his concerns over the potential paper company KM Leaders, where all of Dong-gi’s investment has been directed (we know from the previous scene this is due to Seung-won’s plan). What instead comes of this is Han-joon realising that Auntie Im is conning the cartel, wanting to use the overseas business to steal the investment for the Jakdu-dong project now that she has the blind trust of her high-class peers. The shaman also notes that she will be working with Seung-won to attempt to get rid of Dong-gi, deducing the situation accurately.
Intervening in Dong-gi’s potential kidnapping, and alerting Jin-sang, the Minamdang group head out to the last place he was seen with CCTV, while Do-won is tasked with stopping Im any way he can so she has no means of exiting the country. What follows is a high-speed pursuit taking place as the group consider the MO of Tae-su and Auntie Im, which concludes in the group heading to the serial killer’s family home with an understanding that the meaningful place will be the perfect location for things to be wrapped up.
When there, Han-joon interrogates a typically stone-faced Tae-su, who appears willing to kill himself in the impending act of arson. “If it’s for him, sacrificing my life is nothing,” the killer states, only to be shaken by the fact that the shaman vocalises that the criminal did in fact care for Eun-hye, and that Auntie Im took away his chances to atone for the wrongs committed. Stunned when hearing that he should have protected the deceased woman, even if it went against orders, we cut to the epilogue, which shows a young Tae-su walk solemnly away from his house, collapsing before being taken in by Auntie Im and a young boy, who refers to him as his “magpie” after claiming he doesn’t care that he is cursed. This, we see, is likely to be the final accomplice.