Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 15 recap – gripping and unpredictable

By Nathan Sartain
Published: August 16, 2022
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Largely thanks to a gripping, unpredictable end to the episode, Cafe Minamdang’s 15th installment brought with it bags of excitement, and dramatically shifted dynamics once more.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 15 contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode

Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 15 recap

When the police arrive at the ceremony hall, a fight breaks out, allowing Auntie Im to slip away from the chaos until she is caught by Jae-hui. Then, the Minamdang group ensure that the cartel are further exposed, playing their leaked videos on the screen to the shock of all in attendance. With the whole gang of criminals, Seung-won included, then arrested by the police for their alleged crimes, there looks to be some signs of positivity emerging despite some thinly-veiled threats. However, we do see that Auntie Im managed to wrangle her way out of the handcuffs she was trapped with, so she remains a free woman.

At the police station, with plenty of buzz around the ongoings, Chul-geun offers his apologies for the mistakes in the Eun-hye murder case, promising that the truth will be thoroughly investigated so that the corruption around the Jakdu-dong Land Development Project can be exposed. Later on, we see that the Major Crimes Division are struggling with their interrogations, as the evidence is not leading to any confessions. Meanwhile, Han-joon tells a grateful Jin-sang that Seung-won needs to be dealt with should he want his father to be safe, with both aware of the risk of retaliation that could also affect the former profiler now that the fraudulent land development project has been cancelled.

As Seung-won blames his naivety in trusting Auntie Im when it comes to his involvement in the scam, Do-won realises that the rich heir will soon be released due to inconclusive evidence. Not long after, he is let go, with his lawyers requesting that Jae-hui can bring her potentially key witness to court once they’ve been checked for reliability. Quietly, Seung-won exits the police station, until he ends up confronting Do-won over his tolerance levels when provoked by the prosecutor over the ability he has to stop his brother’s ascent to chairman status. Unphased, Do-won squares up to Seung-won, stating that he will ensure that all his sibling’s crimes are paid for, including one currently unnamed occurrence that took place 20 years ago.

Angered by his team’s inability to garner the targeted number of shares that will see his rise (we hear in this scene about Auntie Im’s possible secret moving of money away from the paper company she has been running too), Seung-won is swiftly made to feel even more frustrated when he finds out that the vote that could see him installed as chairman has been deferred until his investigation is complete. As such, he stabs one of his subordinates with a pen, effectively forcing him to spill information about the Minamdang group Do-won is so closely linked with. Following that, the unhinged criminal sends his colleague away to find Auntie Im, and vocalises his desire to send a warning to the shaman’s team that pursues him.

The next day, Han-joon worries that Hye-jun had been taken/killed when noticing that her computer cases had been stolen, and a hanging mannequin resembling his sister was placed in the room, but soon finds himself relieved when she sneaks into the cafe alongside Su-cheol. With that being said, we are now aware that the act of theft was Seung-won’s warning that the former profiler must ease his investigations should he want those around him to remain safe, though any tensions are eased when Han-joon officially gives his blessing for Hye-jun and Su-cheol to date.

With no evidence that could lead to the re-arrest of Seung-won, Auntie Im still being tracked, and Tae-su adamant that he acted by himself, the Minamdang group are stuck at a bit of a crossroads. Fortunately, Su-cheol at least has some intriguing information about the rich Choekang Group criminal’s history, with urban legends about animal deaths, daily exorcisms and the like all disclosed by the barrister. Then, the real suspicious activities show, as we discover that Seung-won, despite being accepted into a prestigious Korean university, left to study abroad suddenly without even applying to an overseas institution. Do-won is on hand to swiftly inform us of the reason why this occurred, with the bombshell then dropped that his brother had actually killed someone when he was young.

After a flashback shows the boy who Do-won watched die at the hands of Seung-won was called Hyeon-u, the prosecutor explains that the murder was covered up as being a suicide over test results, and that the autopsy didn’t necessarily show signs of homicide, helping everything remain hidden. So, proof is now needed that shows the culprit fled right after this event, which would push back the statute of limitations enough for the case to be brought back into the public eye. As a result, Han-joon agrees to work alongside Do-won and Jae-hui to investigate this case, while Su-cheol and Hye-jun are tasked with finding Auntie Im.

At his old house, Do-won begins to recall that fateful day’s events to his two allies, shaken by his memories to the point he becomes short of breath. It means that we cannot get any conclusive details on what unfolded, but a meeting with the CEO of Choekang Construction’s subsidiary Hong Myeong-su could change that. Elsewhere, the police match the location of the mayor’s illegal activities with a resort in Junghcheon-do known for its strong security, so request a warrant so it can be inspected. While there, the team end up with an unexpected lead when deducing that a drone sent from a fan to catch a glimpse of a pop singer staying at the hotel at the same time as Myeong-jun could have captured some important footage.

Once obtained, the video appears to show both Auntie Im, as well as Tae-su, at the resort moving the body of Eun-hye. Such information is fed back to Jae-hui, who asks her team to wrap things up where they are, content with the knowledge that they should have what they need to arrest the villainous shaman. Meanwhile, Myeong-su is brought in for a chat at Minamdang, the shaman’s dramatic acting causing the CEO to admit that he wanted to reveal the truth about what happened to Hyeon-u, but was warned about going to prison if he did so. Also disclosing that it was Dong-gi who “hushed” him, Myeong-su seems truthful when denying that he saw Seung-won choking the student. Claiming that they hit the boy together, then went to a club, the businessman says that Hyeon-u was alive when they left, even remembering a clash between his friend and his friend’s counsellor that day.

When Myeong-su leaves, Han-joon tells Do-won that the trauma may have tampered with his memories, and asks if he remembers the tutor instead. The prosecutor cannot recall her, though he does realise that his old butler, Mr. Park, may have kept the records that would tell the group who this woman was, so excuses himself to call him. Elsewhere, Hye-jun is also tasked with finding Seung-won’s tutor list, before she tracks the rich heir’s car to overhear a conversation which sees the angered businessman instruct Myeong-su to keep quiet about the Hyeon-u case until he sorts things out.

At a mental health clinic, Seung-won confides in his counsellor about what Do-won has done, believing that his brother may be trying to blackmail him. As such, the mental health professional advises that the prosecutor is not provoked because it could cause the deeds of that day to be exposed, but the Choekang group criminal quickly becomes irritated, bluntly declaring that he will make anyone who gets in his way regret it. Concurrently, Do-won obtains the tutor records requested, ready to kickstart some investigative work for the group. But he becomes fixated on the profile of Jung Hye-yoon, remembering her presence in his life some time ago which, like his brother, seems to have links to the clicking of a pen.

That night, Hye-jun shifts through the tutor records, and importantly confirms that the psychiatrist Hye-yoon is the person Seung-won visited at the mental health clinic not so long ago. Riddled with some debt, which may be suspicious, Han-joon visits her in person the next day, interviewing the professional alongside Jae-hui. Rather flustered, Hye-yoon looks like she might be willing to part with a diary entry should it have information on Seung-won’s argument with her that infamous day, but it’s what happens next which is most surprising.

The ending

Shockingly, Do-won, who is said to be Gopuri, stabs the psychiatrist, asking her what it’s like to die at the hands of her own creation. “I’m giving victims the gift of salvation through my own will,” the prosecutor says, dismissing any thoughts of brainwashing before he ruthlessly begins to choke the former tutor.

At that point, we head to the epilogue, which shows how Do-won pulled the strings of the Gopuri murders by informing Tae-su of the criminals they will punish. “I think it’s finally time to show the world what happens to people who evade the judgement of the law,” Tae-su says, attacking a man released on the grounds of insanity shortly after. Then, we see the prosecutor’s involvement in Jae-jeong’s death, with Gopuri told that he is scared, and is just using “violence masked as justice,” unable to be differentiated from those who he has killed. “No one can get in the way of my judgement,” an emotional Do-won subsequently states, suffocating Jae-hui’s brother. Once we see how he escaped the building, the episode ends.

What did you think of the Netflix K-Drama series Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 15? Comment below.

You can stream Cafe Minamdang exclusively on Netflix.

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