“Numbers” brings a convoluted pair of episodes this week rife with changing loyalties, new faces, and devious schemes. Jang Ho Woo (Kim Myung Soo) and Han Seung Jo (Choi Jin Hyuk) are in over their heads and fighting too many enemies at once. But the worst betrayals are from those they used to call friend, and Ho Woo and Seung Jo no longer know who fits that label.
Warning: spoilers for episodes 5-6 below.
1. Telling Joyce Jang the truth about Je Gyun
Accounting is a complex science, and while the show does a great job of highlighting just how easy it is to use numbers to perform almost every illegal act one can think of, it can get a little twisty when it comes to the scheming. This is one of them. Joyce Jang (Kim Yoo Ri), formerly known as Jang Ji Soo, Seung Jo’s ex-fiancée, is out for blood. Seung Jo’s blood. Having never asked him the truth, and with Seung Jo having felt too guilty to give it to her, she’s resented him all these years and has turned into a monster in her efforts to take him down. Beginning with Soma Tech.
Like her father, Jang In Ho’s (Nam Myung Ryul) construction company, Soma Tech uses concrete 3D printing tech to create modular homes. Despite showing much promise, the company hasn’t been managed well and has borrowed too much from Jisan Bank, who now has the leverage to force the company into a buyout so that a larger company buys up all their assets and cuts the current CEO and other employees out. Seung Jo and Ho Woo don’t want to see this happen because it’s exactly what happened to Joyce’s father’s company, Haebit Construction. However, Joyce doesn’t seem to care and is fully on the side of Seung Jo’s power-hungry father, Han Je Gyun (Choi Min Soo), to gut and sell the company. And this is the same woman who once begged him for help.
She ridicules Ho Woo’s attempts to save the corporation, pointing out that its potential growth will only require further capital injections. No creditor is required to wait forever for a company’s potential to realize itself. She’s equally curt with Seung Jo who is gutted at her callousness. Je Gyun, on the other hand, is impressed and tells Seung Jo that Joyce would have made a fine daughter-in-law, even if Ji Soo was worthless. Ho Woo knows he has to nip this budding partnership between Je Gyun and Joyce right in the bud, so he goes to her with the truth. Seung Jo wasn’t responsible for what happened to her father – Je Gyun was. And just for a moment, he has the upper hand.
2. Foiling Joyce and Je Gyun’s scheme of forcing a buyout
Only, Joyce doesn’t care. There’s nothing in her of the woman Ho Woo and Seung Jo used to know. This woman’s hard and cold, and she will happily ruin lives if it gets her where she needs to be. She also seems to be in a relationship with someone at her present workplace, HK Equity, the private equity group trying to purchase Soma Tech. Je Gyun’s hold over Soma Tech’s biggest creditor, Jisan Bank, means that no one will lend the company any more money. They can’t even pay their workers, just like Haebit Construction all those years ago. Ho Woo barely saves the CEO from taking his life, and Seung Jo is at his wits end on how to repay Soma Tech’s loans when the company is so deep in debt.
A chance comment by Jin Yeon Ah (Yeonwoo) results in Ho Woo hitting upon the solution: pawning the company’s primary asset: their concrete 3D printing tech. Selling the assets equals selling the company, but selling the patents to the assets allows for the company to be paid while retaining its assets. Ho Woo races to the patent office but Seung Jo gets there first. Just as Je Gyun is congratulating himself and Joyce on forcing Soma Tech into a buyout with HK Equity, Seung Jo bursts in to announce that Soma Tech has paid off its loans. Jisan Bank has no hold over it and cannot force the company into being sold to HK Equity. Joyce looks almost relieved that the sale didn’t go through, now that she knows the truth. But her next actions remain questionable.
3. Seeing through Joyce’s money laundering
It turns out that Joyce is sticking at HK Equity for a reason. Someone named An within Taeil sent HK Equity the funds to purchase Haebit Construction’s patents as it went under. She’s trying to work her way to the top at HK to figure out who it was and get her revenge. The difference between her and Ho Woo is that she doesn’t care who she hurts, so long as she gets what she wants. She approaches Je Gyun with a request to sell a pastry franchise known as Cakebean. Je Gyun smells that something is off, but perks up when Joyce offers to pay double the usual fees.
Seung Jo can’t rest without knowing what Joyce is up to, so he gets on the deal, along with Ho Woo. He spots that something is wrong with Cakebean’s financials right away, but refuses to tell Ho Woo. The answer comes out pretty quickly when Ho Woo digs into it on his own. Cakebean is financially dead, the financials are largely remastered, and Joyce has been looking to dump the company after getting what she wanted from it: its patents. That has Ho Woo and Seung Jo confused. She was after Soma Tech’s proprietary technology and now a bakery’s patents.
Yeon Ah is able to shed some light. It turns out that HK Equity has a bit of swallowing businesses and franchises, sucking the patents for every bit of technology that they can from them and spitting them out. Those patents are then lent out in the best bit of money laundering a drama has shown yet. Politicians and powerful figures lend those patents for bakery equipment, construction companies, etc, to cronies as bribes. They can also rent them out to companies for an arbitrary amount above market value because they’re patents. Seung Jo guessed at this from the start but wanted to be wrong. He’s horrified by who Joyce has become but still wants to protect her. But neither he nor Ho Woo can let the sale go through after discovering the truth.
4. Foiling Je Gyun’s plans and earning power with Lee Chang Jo
For his part, Ho Woo has another problem. He’s cornered at work by Taeil’s VP of Auditing, Ahn Seung Yeon (Bae Hae Sun), who is Je Gyun’s biggest enemy. She’s not a fan of Ho Woo at the moment because Kang Hyun (Kim Young Jae), the accountant who sacrificed his job to do the right thing in the premiere episodes, was one of her people. She blames Ho Woo for his departure and asks him to leave for manipulating one of her people to accomplish his goals. Ho Woo agrees so long as he can perform one last gambit. In reality, Ho Woo doesn’t trust Seung Yeon. He suspects her of being the “An” involved with HK Equity and being a quiet but dangerous enemy. But she’s been a longtime friend to Seung Jo, who doesn’t suspect anything about her.
Ho Woo needs more allies than just Seung Jo. So, he decides to go for a huge fish. Yeon Ah, who’s half in love with Ho Woo and also happens to be the daughter of the President of Jisan Bank, reveals to him that Chairman Lee Chang Joo (Jung Hae Kyun), Je Gyun’s biggest client and the head of the Sang Ah comglomerate, is also an investor in HK Equity. So, Ho Woo prepares a trap. He knows that Je Gyun has his eye on him, and when Je Gyun asks him for advice, Ho Woo provides him with information that leads to Je Gyun recommending to Lee Chang Joo to purchase Cakebean. Je Gyun is no fool and knows that the company is hemorrhaging money. But the thing with him is that he’s always confident that he can create a problem while making money and solve it while making even more money. And the worst part is that he’s usually right.
But Ho Woo steps in this time. Lee Chang Joo’s conglomerate is in dire straits at the moment too. And purchasing Cakebean looks like a godsend, until Ho Woo, Seung Jo, and Yeon Ah rush in at the last minute to stop the sale by informing the Chairman of Je Gyun’s deception. The result: Joyce doesn’t get the sale she wants, Je Gyun doesn’t get the double fee he wants, and Ho Woo just gained a huge ally. Accounting firms are at the mercy of their clients, and even if Je Gyun decides to get revenge on Ho Woo for undercutting him here, he won’t be able to push him out.
Next week seems to show just that. Je Gyun’s about to treat Ho Woo like dirt, but Lee Chang Joo is now his new best friend (for now, at least). VP Seung Yeon continues to appear really shady, leaving Seung Jo and Ho Woo at odds, because the former trusts her and the latter knows she’s bad news. “Numbers” is doing a great job of showing more than Ho Woo learning from Seung Jo, but vice versa as well. And now that Yeon Ah is finally being used as more than a love-interest, it looks like we’ll have an accountant trio fighting corruption within the firm!
Check out the drama below!
What did you think of this week’s episodes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she fangirls over Ji Sung, and spins thrillers set in increasingly fantastic worlds. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!
Currently Watching: “See You In My 19th Life,” “Delightfully Deceitful,” “Revenant,” “Lies Hidden In My Garden,” “Numbers,” and “King The Land.”
Looking Forward to: “Gyeongseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “The Girl Downstairs,” “The Worst Evil,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” “Demon,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.