Admittedly, Jian and Jinman have an interesting relationship in A Shop for Killers. It is the crux of how Jian is navigating the danger she is in right now without her uncle by her side. Before episodes 3 and 4, nobody knew just how much we needed to see Lee Dong Wook and, more importantly, Geum Hannah in this role. The casting director easily deserves a raise for his vision of Geum Hannah as Minhye. In the meantime, the recap of the episodes is as presented.
How does Jinman prepare Jian for the business?
Jinman has been protecting Jian since the day he met her. On the day of Jinman’s mother’s funeral, when he was babysitting Jian in the house, he got a call from one of his associates, whom Jinman had presumably left behind. From the looks of it, before starting the said shop for killers, Jinman was probably working for the government, and he had to leave because of some conspiracy or mistake that the audience is yet to know about. That must have been when he came back to his family. That day, after making sure that Jian was safe, Jinman was rushing to settle some things when he got into an accident.
In another flashback, when Jian was seventeen years old, Jinman took her to Jirisan Mountain to camp since their house was going through some renovations. Jian was told to get some help since Jinman had fallen sick, and he gave her a slingshot to protect herself. As expected, Jian ran into some wild animals, and she shot one of them to protect herself, but she was clearly outnumbered. That was when Jinman came back and scared them off with his rifle. Jian didn’t know it, but Jinman had pretended to fall sick so that he could set up Jian on this mission, probably to toughen her up and teach her how to face danger and survive in the wild. This was also when he took the chance to teach Jian how to shoot a rifle.
Jian worked two part-time jobs so that she could save enough to move out of her uncle’s house. She never understood why he was so overprotective or different from others, and she found this attitude to be quite suffocating. Upon confronting him, he told her that her friend, Minsook, had stolen his watch, which was why he stared at her, and he had never told her to stop being Jian’s friend. She did that out of embarrassment. Next was her tutor, and he was a pedophile who was arrested a week after Jinman fired him from teaching Jian. As for the guy that Jian was seeing, Jinman was playing the role of a typical overprotective caretaker. Jinman challenged Jian, saying that if she was able to punch him once, he would allow her to move out. As strange as the bet was, it was equally hard to fulfill, and Jian found that she just couldn’t catch her uncle in a corner. Finally, she turned to Pasin and demanded that he teach her Muay Thai. Pasin has been her uncle’s longtime friend and aide, and he was as sleek and slimy as they come. He demanded that Jian give him her weekly earnings from the part-time jobs to take the lessons from him. Jian agreed to the deal, and soon enough, she started her training. She reached a point where she was strong enough, and she saved her friend from some goons who were harassing her. But when one of them pulled a knife, Jinman intervened and protected Jian. He told his niece that she was strong, but not enough to fight someone holding a knife.
Jinman had told Jian that if she ever looked at the sky and said his name three times, he would come to save her no matter what. What Jian did not know was that there was a chip in her arm that sent the message to her uncle. Jian had only called out for her uncle three times in her life. The first was when she was locked up in school by her bullies; the second was when someone was harassing her; and the third was when her boss denied her payments. All three times, Jinman had taken care of the matter without Jian knowing. This is how he had been protecting her the whole time. In the past, after Pasin taught Jian her lessons, he disappeared. People thought that he had absconded with their money, but there had to be something deeper behind his disappearance.
Is Jeongmin Against Jian?
The people trying to kill Jian may be a covert organization, but they are far from being low-key. They are certainly hired on a contract basis, seeing how they increased their charges the moment they saw Minhye in the house. Additionally, Jian’s house is being called a shopping complex by the people inside and a ‘rabbit hole’ by the people outside.
Minhye is some sort of first-rate killer, and she is on Jian’s side as part of whatever organization Jinman was running. She takes out the killers and is on guard for more. Meanwhile, Jian finally finds out why her uncle had asked her to memorize the school ID number. It is the passcode to a secret part of the house that Jian never knew existed. But the surprises are far from over. Jian and Jeongmin run into another person who claims that he has been living in the house since the day after Jian moved in. He has been spying on Jian the whole time, and even the bathroom was not spared from his hidden cameras. But this man has nothing against Jian. It is Jeongmin he is suspicious about.
First of all, the man reads a few documents to Jian, detailing that she is the heir to her uncle’s business, and the moment she accepts them, she will be his boss. Jian accepts, and now the man tells her that it was always impossible that Jinman committed suicide. He says that Jeongmin came to meet Jinman, and the latter died soon after. This means that Jeongmin is not the friend or innocent bystander that Jian is thinking him to be. The man tells Jian to check a file on the computer so that she can find proof, but Jeongmin doesn’t let her. He says that it might let the killers in.
Finally, at the end of A Shop for Killers episode 4, Jian decides to go by her gut. She tells the man to take medicine and ammunition for Minhye, and as for Jeongmin, he is finally free. However, this turns out to be a mistake. Jeongmin had never been on Jian’s side. He may have helped Jinman find her in her childhood, but he was also the one who had locked her up. As Jian is lying unconscious, she sees that perhaps this entire interaction is being recorded through a device on Jeongmin’s shirt. It could also be some other device that will give Jian more of a clue in the upcoming episodes.
It is possible that Jeongmin is not connected to the people trying to kill Jian right now but to someone else entirely who has been keeping an eye on the uncle and niece for years, probably since Jinman left whatever organization he was initially working for. Maybe the man inside had been living there to watch out for people like these. There has been enough of the past. The coming episodes should address Jinman’s real identity and what he actually did.