It is getting a little difficult to determine whether Vigilante is a little boring or not. It is still too early to say, but the show is simply not as fast-paced as it should have been and fails to keep one on their toes. There was a certain expectation attached to the drama, and it is perhaps a little too soon to pass this judgment, but unlike Moving, Vigilante is only eight episodes long, which means that there isn’t a lot of room for a build-up and the central mystery should have been introduced by now. Regardless, it is wiser to not jump to conclusions yet and simply go through the recap of the episode to decipher how Jiyoon operates and what his larger objective may be.
What happens after Deokheung’s death?
Deokheung is dead, and in his final moments, Jiyoon made him write that message on the wall. “Heaven’s Net” are words by Tao Te Ching, and a little research reveals that it is an ancient text whose primary principle is that ‘we are all born good and simply corrupted by life’. If Jiyoon is truly influenced by this text, it would make sense as to why he places so much emphasis on the criminals’ reform and asks them to apologize instead of simply killing them. The text says that one has to allow themselves to be brought back to the path of goodness in life. It is reasonable to assume that this is the criteria that Jiyoon judges his targets by. He checks whether their crimes have led them to feel any remorse, and if, following their wrongs, they have sought to live a better life and compensate those affected by them. If that is not the case, then Jiyoon classifies them as sinners who are filtered by heaven and sent to hell, where they will pay for their crimes.
Mi Ryeo has already introduced Vigilante to the world, but it is in Deokheung’s case that the police take notice of him. They absolutely hate the term ‘vigilante’ since it means that they have to agree that he is on the side of justice, which would mean that the police are inept at their jobs since they are against him. It is clear that Vigilante was trying to kill Deokheung and not just rescue Siyoon, and the police wanted to catch him as soon as possible. The public is already siding with Vigilante since they see him as the one delivering justice where the police are failing. Come to think of it, Vigilante is simply a human being, with no special powers or wealth. He is not Batman or Superman (who were also vigilantes), and him taking the law into his own hands this way would cause chaos amongst the public, who may start thinking that they could also do what he is doing. There is a discussion to be had about why written law trumps an individual sense of justice and why a vigilante may be a source of temporary relief for public anger but is not a viable solution to the failings of the law. It is up to the media to address this, but Mi Ryeo is focused on ratings, and she doesn’t want to waste time with celebrations and instead bait Vigilante even more. She decides to study his patterns, and that is why she releases the names of three criminals to see which one Vigilante would pick. The one that ends up catching this weekend’s warrior’s eye is Seo Dooyeop, who brutally murdered his boss’ family after breaking into their house with some delinquent teenagers.
Who is investigating Vigilante?
The reason Jiyoon doesn’t go clubbing with his friends is that he is hunting criminals on the weekend. But he has been snooping through Dooyeop’s social media and figures out that the man is going to a party, so for the first time, Jiyoon joins his friends to go clubbing. Jiyoon immediately spots Dooyeop, but before he can do anything, a girl approaches him, thinking that Jiyoon is looking for drugs. She forcibly gives him some, and that causes Jiyoon to lose all his train of thought. He wakes up the next day having accomplished nothing. However, he has realized what Dooyeop is doing now and wants to expose his drug trafficking ring. He keeps studying the man and his patterns, and slowly, he makes it known to him that he is being followed. Dooyeop panics because, so far, he has been able to fight away anyone who criticizes him for the murders, as he was acquitted by the court. But if Dooyeop is arrested for drug trafficking, then he wouldn’t have an escape. When he shows up at his secret hideout, that is when Vigilante finally confronts him. In his last moments, Vigilante makes Dooyeop watch the videos of the children he killed, as if telling him to remember that this is the crime that he is being punished for.
Since Dooyeop was the bait thrown by Mi Ryeo, it has invited a lot of criticism for the channel, but with the man’s death, there is also a lot of praise since she is seen enabling Vigilante, and public opinion is largely on his side. Mi Ryeo believes that their battle has just started, and she wants to continue her investigation despite the roadblocks by the police.
At the end of Vigilante episode 2, a special team is set up to investigate Vigilante, and it is headed by Jo Heon, who is deemed to be crazy by his co-workers. Jo Heon’s methods are a little unorthodox, and that means that he has no problems crossing the line with the law to get the results he wants. He hangs Sungyeol off the railing and beats him up to get information about Dooyeop, and he finds that they had called the Busan DEA right before his death. Sungyeol also tells him that if Dooyeop’s killer met him at his club, then it would be someone young. Not paying much attention to the Arsene Lupin reference, the girl that Jiyoon had met could be the clue that makes Jiyoon a suspect.
The prediction for the next episode is that two equally matched people with similar ideologies but who have chosen different sides will be engaged in a battle of wits against each other. Would their fight be how the philosophy of vigilante justice is discussed in the drama? That remains to be seen.