The second episode ups the stakes a little while continuing to build white-knuckle tension.
This recap of A Model Family season 1, episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out all of our coverage on this show by clicking these words.
Continuing on from the pretty surprising twist at the end of the premiere, Dong-ha attempts to reckon with the fact that his missus has been calling and messaging a dead man’s phone – apparently for quite some time, too. And after all her preaching? Well, things have gotten a little complicated, haven’t they?
A Model Family season 1, episode 2 recap
This is to say nothing about how complicated Dong-ha’s life has actually become given he has a good helping of moolah intended for the Sangseon Ring, a criminal syndicate who supply drugs to the Yongsoo Ring for distribution. After sale, and a labor cut, the takings are then delivered back to the Sangseon ring, which is presumably what was interrupted by whoever killed the two men inside the van that Dong-ha robbed. That means the police and two criminal groups all have a vested interest in figuring out what Dong-ha did.
And things are even more complicated than that since the police investigation into the goings-on was off-the-books and one of the dead men was an undercover agent. But beyond following Kwang-chul and his goons, there’s little they can scare up in terms of leads.
It’s safe to say, then, that things aren’t exactly going well for Dong-ha. Eun-ju continues to berate him about his failings, he doesn’t know how to launder all the money he has, several competing factions are moving dangerously close to his literal backyard, and playtime with Hyun-woo almost results in him dying – another thing for Eun-ju to hold against Dong-ha, although admittedly he should have known better.
But that experience only crystalizes Dong-ha’s desire to do what’s right for Hyun-woo by doing what’s wrong for himself, hence he attempts to launder money through cryptocurrency, which he promptly – and probably rightly – gets cold feet about. But he’s going to have to do something in short order since we also get a glimpse in this episode of how Kwang-chul and his cronies aren’t shy about lopping off digits from the people they think might have their money – even if they’ve got the wrong guy.
Is some of this overly familiar and contrived? Sure! But it’s also pretty undeniably riveting, with a compelling cat-and-mouse chase developing quickly. Dong-ha is kind of relatable as an everyman who doesn’t really have any particular skills or talents and is simply doing everything he can to try and save his family, but the fact that there’s much more going on beyond that makes for a compelling framework. If A Model Family can sustain this level of pace and intrigue, we might be onto another winner.