Wanted, Episodes 7 & 8

TL;DR: My dilemma over who I hate more (reporter vs. husband round) has been solved! Answer: definitely, totally, 100% the husband. I am really hoping he’s dead after this cliffhanger, but the show is unlikely to be that kind to me.

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Is the Wanted broadcast team doing the right thing? Everyone in the show continues to ask themselves and others this question, and they’re all coming up with contradictory answers. For Hye-in, the answer continues to be simple: whatever it takes to bring her son home safely, that’s what she’ll do. She’ll use whatever business information, tricks, and emotional blackmail she has at her disposal to get the job done, whether that’s reach out to her stalker/manager for information, lie to a locksmith, allow her husband to portray himself as the good guy stuck in a moral dilemma on national television, or coat an investment demand in enough positive PR points and business savvy to get her former brother-in-law to throw billions of won at a media company on life support. She’ll even use gentle (but still emotionally frought) persuasion when that looks like it will work best.

Dong-wook falls neatly in line with Hye-in’s current moral compass, but the rest of his team continues to second-guess his orders. Bo-yeon went to the police first with some information to double check that it would be okay to broadcast it, and Woo-shin keeps pushing back against what Dong-wook wants for the broadcast, even going to far as to change things and not tell him in order to preserve her own moral alignment. The public at large is even getting involved in the question of whether Wanted is morally acceptable, and shortly afterward the police got thrown into the fray, too. I don’t know if this question about Wanted’s morality is even going to be answered definitively in the show; I just like that the question is being asked and that (as long as the dissent is coming from the good guys) the show isn’t favoring one side more heavily than the others.

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One thing I’m really enjoying about this stretch of the show is watching the broadcast and (good guy) police teams work at unraveling the mystery from different ends. They work together when they can, but with the broadcast team focused so much on solving each mission as it comes, it is good that someone else can focus on connecting the behind-the-scenes dots. I really appreciated that Mi-ok does a lot of on-screen digging and questioning, whether that’s repeated interrogations with Ji-eun or asking big-picture questions. She feels like she has had plenty of experience and is a valued member of the team.

In a similar vein, it’s nice to see a police rookie who isn’t a constant source of incompetence and comedic relief. Young-kwan doesn’t have the experience of Mi-ok or Seung-in, but he’s loyal, intelligent, and continues working for what he feels is right despite not-insignificant injuries. The police team’s thorough investigative work makes me very happy, and I’m pleased that they’ve realized that the professor and doctor’s seemingly unrelated cases make no sense if they’re just random. They’ve spelled out a possibility that gets me really excited for the second half of the show: Na Soo-hyeon isn’t the mastermind and is just being used in another, larger scheme.

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It’s been a while since I’ve brought up God’s Gift, but I think it’s time for another comparison. While I think God’s Gift did a better job of getting me emotionally invested in the characters, I think Wanted is doing a better job of playing out the mystery of Hyun-woo’s abduction. God’s Gift was so convoluted that even before the disaster of an ending, I had trouble keeping track of what was going on, how everything was related, and what the point of it all was.

At the halfway point in Wanted, I feel like I can trust the writer with what’s going on. Sure, we still don’t know what the larger conspiracy is yet, but we know there is one. As the broadcast and police teams piece together the different mysteries, it feels like there is actually something of substance going on in the background. It’s to the point where I almost feel like I’m just a few vital clues short of understanding everything, and that’s tantalizing. The last crime drama I watched that teased a grander conspiracy in the background (Missing Noir M) totally flubbed it.

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Is it too early to be confident that Wanted will give us a satisfying ending? Probably. But I’m thrilled it is still a possibility.

By the Numbers

  • Creepy clowns: 1
  • Death threats: 2
  • Stabbings: 2
  • Times I wanted to set the tabloid reporter on fire: 2
  • Times I wanted to set the husband on fire: 6
  • Bechdel Test: 4 episodes passed

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