Heartless City – Episode 10 – Impressions (Not a Recap)

afterThis is a frank discussion about adult relations, so be warned if this subject offends.

That is why it is all behind the jump!

I love the fact that Baksa and Soo-min kissed at the end of Episode 9, and I love the fact that they continued this scene at the beginning of Episode 10. I love that they showed them having s*x. Isn’t it usually there is a kiss, and what follows is people pretending it didn’t happen and we didn’t mean it?


They didn’t play it as a cliffhanger.  This is unusual for many reasons, as the s*x between them was not the end game. Usually, this happens between an OTP who we have spent weeks or months with as they circled closer and closer. Only after falling in love, and then, after marriage, we see that they now have three children so they must have had s*x off screen at some point.  HA!  Rather than having a series of episodes where the ultimate goal was this coupling, or starting the drama with a one-night-stand-s*x-as-hijinks as the core set-up for an entire series, this event adds another layer and allows us to learn more about the characters. It also changes the direction of where the they are going inside the story.


Heartless City gives us troubled, wounded characters who live dangerously in a world of confusing loyalties. We never know exactly who everyone is, and whose side he/she is on. Somehow, despite this, we know how everyone feels. For the most part, we know it even if the characters remain blind to it themselves.

Why did Baksa kiss Soo-min anyway? Before him sat a pretty, playful, interested girl who did not know anything about his past or present.flirty

He was lonely and frustrated. He needed to be himself for a moment. He needed comfort. It started out with him reaching for her, and Soo-min responding in kind.


What we see next, back at Noonah’s, happened for the same reasons. It was beautiful beautiful to see how they connected. I wonder how long Baksa has wanted to be touched and to touch someone else in a non-threatening way. The acting and choreography were breathtaking. It was hot and steamy, too. Nicely done, Show.

hc11And oh for the love of all that is holy, the forehead, cheek and nose kiss.

nosekissHow can this destructive monster act so tenderly and selflessly with Soo-min? I think the internal conflict between what he has to do and what he wants to do is slowly driving him to the edge.

Later after returning to his senses, and putting back on his suit of armor,  Baksa determines that what happened was a mistake, and that he has to erase it from everyone’s memory.  No problem. Simply by leaving her cash, he hopes to make this night of passion between them meaningless and make it a business transaction. Like magic – feelings be GONE!   Only it doesn’t work like that. As he walks away down the hall from her room, does he regret the night, or does he regret leaving the hurtful tip?


Certainly it was a mistake. A HUGE one. How can this undercover man show such weakness? How did he allow himself be vulnerable? How could he bring this girl into his world? Look what happened to Cutie Soo and Cutie Soo’s woman? Not only is he setting himself up for disaster, but Soo-min as well. That is why I LOVE THIS SHOW!

This is reality for human beings living in this world. People are attracted to people that the Rules say they must stay away from. They are married to someone else, the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong religion, whatever.  Problem is the force that drives humans to keep the species on this earth is mighty. It doesn’t know the Rules and folks often risk everything for one moment of release. One night of passion. It’s messy and weak people do it and some may think it is wrong, but I tend to be more forgiving.

Problem is this force that wants so badly to create tends to destroy with equal measure.  Sharing this intimate act, being completely bare before another human is, well, embarrassing, for lack of a better word.  Then add to that what happens if anyone else finds out. We all know the consequences. Best friends separate. Marriages end. People lose jobs. Two people who may have been friendly never talk to each other again.

In this story, she loves another, and his heart belongs to the memory of the dead cop? Noonah? His job? Nobody?  What the hell are they going to do now?   I can’t wait to see!

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17 Responses to Heartless City – Episode 10 – Impressions (Not a Recap)

  1. marinai says:

    Just an amazing take on the show! Amazing post! Amazing scene, and AMAZING SHOW!
    Thank you 🙂

  2. delicatecloud says:

    Loved your impressions Jomo – spot on! For the first time (at least for me) in a kdrama that i have seen the issue of passion between two individuals treated in such a mature and sensitive fashion. He was terribly lonely and longing for some human touch – he still does not know what has hit him and is still trying to determine his feelings given that he has been brought up in that world where s*x is bought and he is a son of that environment. Leaving the money behind is “normal” for him because he does not know any different. She has a huge crush on her unni’s boyfriend, who is a thick head and a meanie, and is trying to sort out her feelings for him and her attraction to Park Sa. She is also trying to have her “first” with someone that she is attracted to at least, and not one of the many jerks that patronized the establishment run by Jin Suk. That night it happened – two lonely souls ignited their passion. It will change the dynamics of their relationship. On reflection is it fate that Park Sa, again, is getting the girl from Kyung Min. He was the first love of Kyung Mi and now Soo Min will fall in love with him and out of love with Kyung Min. Love this drama – my current crack drama.

    • jomo143 says:

      I was also thinking if paying her was just the normal thing to do, but decided he knew it would be demeaning for her. Remember he told her that despite her outward appearance having changed that SHE was the same. Let’s hope she gets out before too much other horror affects her.
      Drugs and prostitution go together. The bad guys bring in innocent girls, get them hooked on some substance, then make them work to pay for it. In this show, though, isn’t it interesting that ALL of the characters are surrounded by these drugs, but none of them are users. Is that even possible?

      • Jillia says:

        Instead they drink alcohol en masse…. It’s a drug on it’s own. D:

        Thank you for your great post! 🙂 Giving a different view on the things that happened between Shi Hyun and Soo Min.

      • jomo143 says:

        @Jillia – I know! It’s like reading an old detective novel where the hero wakes up, drinks scotch, has scotch with lunch, gets into a fight, drinks a beer, meets some slinky woman in a bar, drinks scotch…All the while driving and detecting.
        I guess we can be grateful some of them have drivers.

      • Jillia says:


        I mean just see how casually Auntie tells Soo Min to drink the good stuff instead of soju. It’s choosing between the devil and the deep blue see. That’s so classic! I mean seriously no good friend would tell you to drink alcohol at all. xD

        And yes… this is probably the reason why they don’t drive… kkk

      • Shukmeister says:

        I didn’t see the money as demeaning. She IS a call girl in a illicit establishment, all internal logic aside. So, in that sense, he is treating her exactly how her environment and outward circumstances dictate. It’s his tenderness that is the anomaly here.

      • Jillia says:


        But I don’t think for Soo Min was clear that Shi Hyun guessed she was a call girl. For her she met the “Mister Gangster” not a client… So of course she felt offended when she realized that the money was for her “service”. For HIM it was probably a normal thing to do – even though he felt it was wrong.

      • jomo143 says:

        @Shukmeister (Does this go to the right spot on the page?)
        I used an wrong word with demeaning.

        Let’s see…Does he think paying a call girl is demeaning? No. He grew up with them.
        Did she take him back to an establishment for call girls? Yes.
        Do I think HE thinks SHE thinks she did it for the money? No. He felt her desire and loneliness and knew she simply wanted to be with him. In that respect, I think it was cold – or said better – like Noonah pointed out to Soo-min, it served to keep distance between them. It was business. Leaving no money, she could have wondered if maybe he had emerging feelings for her – however new and weak that signal is right now.
        Leaving money, we all know how she felt about it.
        btw, I love this discussion!

  3. Julia the Berkshire Beanie says:

    I was surprised at how tender the love making was. The tip felt like a slap in the face, but from the perspective of someone who has spent 8 years undercover, it is the right decision.

    I am worried how Auntie is going to blow her lid when she discovers Baksa slept with one of her girls. I suspect Auntie takes “He’s mine” possessiveness to extreme. Like it is ok while Baksa was being a monk, because she could imagine he will be hers one day, and Baksa showing any interest in another woman is bound to unravel the alliance she has with him. Will Auntie be angry at Soo-min or Baksa or both?

    • jomo143 says:

      It is easier to be mean to the girl since she has control over her as her Madame. Once she kicks So-min out, I don’t know if she will keep trying to hurt her.
      But then, Jin-suk, may still need her to get to Hyung-min, and may HAVE to keep her there. That would be a greatly tension filled existence for everyone. Like they all don’t have enough fear, distrust and stress already.
      But a uri Noonah scorned will vent her fury at Baksa, I think, in a fit of rage where she gives Safari or Pusan the go ahead to kill him. Which will be quickly followed by Noonah remorse and an attempt to stop them.

  4. galaxyturtle says:

    Reblogged this on Nur Aireen Hiryana and commented:
    Totally agrees with all of the points :3

  5. Pam says:

    Hi, Jomo! Didn’t know you had your own blog here. Anyway, the kiss and s*x scene were awesome! Finally! I wonder what his reaction to her being a virgin was? Disbelief? Even he left her a tip? You’d think it’d shock him senseless and he’d just bolt out of there! LOL!

    I really hope neither of them die in each other’s arms. This drama has me on the edge of my seat!

    I agree with all the above comments about how redic Soo-min’s outfit was! Reminded me of City Hunter….LOL. She was running in those stupid heels!

  6. Okay – this time without typos… would you kindly delete the previous copy? Thank you in anticipation.
    I really enjoyed reading your reflections on this subject, especially:

    People are attracted to people that the Rules say they must stay away from. They are married to someone else, the wrong gender, the wrong color, the wrong religion, whatever. Problem is the force that drives humans to keep the species on this earth is mighty. It doesn’t know the Rules and folks often risk everything for one moment of release.

    Reading this passage in your post reminded me how among all the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Arrogance), it is the one nearest to that “force that drives humans to keep the species on this earth,” i.e. Lust, that is actually considered the least ethically damnable of the lot. And, without including explicit acts of violence and exploitation which are recognizable as crimes, indulging the impulse of this force only becomes a sin when it is either damaging to some third party (e.g. adultery that destroys families) and/or when it is purely about self gratification without regard for anyone else’s welfare (including one’s partner) — all this according to Medieval thinkers who fretted over this sort of thing.

    I really like how Heartless City sounds out ethical complexities like these with both subtlety and clarity – a pretty rare feat in popular media. I like that they bring up the issue by dramatizing how two healthy human beings seeking to connect don’t know not to hurt each other as they try to navigate the crazy maze of Need and Desire that is so fundamental of the human experience…

    Thanks for the post — and I apologize that I don’t really know how to express myself better… *sigh*

  7. shelhass says:

    Great point of view!
    You have exposed the “because” for the “why”s I keep watching Heartless City. I do know it’s well written, directed, edited and acting (hell, everything), but mostly we are driven by those characters, so full of layers you cannot deny a sense of… how can I put it? Kinship, maybe? I mean you really feel for them, the same way you would for a real person. I freaking care if they are going to die or not, plot be damned!
    I give you that, I would rather not have them as my close friends, even if they can be the greatest ou there (if you are family, that is). Sorry, I’m babbling.
    What I mean is, they are portraing human emotions amazingly I find myself wondering why they cannot be real. (Yeah, I know the answer, it’s dramaland,but you know what I mean, right?)

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