Editor’s note: Since Snowdrop’s beginning, the show has not been without controversy. The most notable of which is the backlash over what many claim to be the drama’s alleged revisionist approach to South Korea’s democratic uprising in the 1980s, a movement against dictatorship marked by blood and loss. Following its premiere on December 18, a petition to stop the broadcast of the drama has gathered upwards of 300,000 signatures. Anyone going into Snowdrop should, therefore, watch it with a grain of salt.
Episode eight of Snowdrop jumps right into the middle of an emotional maelstrom, as Yeong-ro’s brother (Song Geon-hee) ends up losing his life in the aftermath of the skirmish between the Southern and Northern forces at sea. Back at the dorm, Yeong-ro (BLACKPINK’s Jisoo) is rightfully devastated upon finding out the news, doubly so once she realizes that Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in) was the leader of the group that opened fire on the South Korean forces.
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While Soo-ho is distracted by the commotion, Kang-moo (Jang Seung-jo) escapes his restraints and tries to find out what their plans are. Through the comms all over the dorm – planted by the dorm mother, who is revealed to be an ANSP agent – he hears Soo-ho instructing Gyeok-chan (Kim Min-kyu) to plant another bomb in the building, just in case the ANSP tries to deceive him again. Just as he’s rushing back to the room he was kept prisoner in, he’s discovered by Soo-ho, who recaptures and moves him.
At a press conference the next morning, Kang-moo and Han-na’s boss Ahn Kyung-hee (Lee Hwa-ryong) claims that there are seven spies – instead of the three – holding the women of Hosu dorm hostage. The misleading claims are part of the ANSP’s plans to sustain the hostage situation until the elections in 10 days, and possibly using the same to usher their candidate into power. As Chung-ya (Yoo In-na) and Soo-ho watch the news, Chung-ya suggests that Soo-ho release half of the hostages and foil ANSP’s plans.
Soo-ho’s intentions send panic through Tae-il (Park Sung-woong) and the ANSP’s higher-ups, who’ve only just managed to contain the situation in the press. In return for releasing the hostages, Soo-ho demands some necessities – and that they be sent in only through Han-na (Jung Yoo-jin).
Back at the cafeteria, Kang-moo breaks free of his restraints yet again, and is told of the emergency exit out of the dorm by Man-dong (Kim Jong-soo). However, his exit is sabotaged by the ANSP forces surrounding the building, who open fire on him and order him to go back in.
Once back inside, Kang-moo rushes to the comms room, where he overhears Soo-ho and Chung-ya speaking to each other and discovers that the latter is a spy. Soo-ho and Chung-ya – and now Kang-moo – have also figured out ANSP’s plans. There is, however, a bigger conspiracy that only Kang-moo seems to get: turns out, it might be more beneficial for the ANSP to have the spies blow up the dorm and leverage the ensuing national tragedy as a ploy to keep their candidate in power. When he’s captured again, Kang-moo tries to warn Soo-ho. To his chagrin, Soo-ho refuses to listen to him, claiming he would gladly die for his country.
Upon hearing from Kang-moo that the dorm had been rigged with explosives, Yeong-ro takes matters into her own hands and pretends to be sick to have Soo-ho patch her up. In the infirmary, she tricks him into thinking she might have feelings for him and, while hugging him, snatches the detonator off his person. Sensing danger, Soo-ho tries to assure her that he had no intentions of hurting anyone in the dorm and that all the hostages would be free in nine days, but Yeong-ro doesn’t believe him and tries to escape with the detonator.
Soo-ho chases her and calms her down, indirectly confessing his feelings for her. This confession, unfortunately, is overheard by Dr Chung-ya, who was already suspicious of Soo-ho’s allegiances.
Elsewhere in the dorm, Soo-ho pulls Kang-moo away for a chat. By now, Soo-ho doesn’t know what to believe – Kang-moo asks him to “wake up” and consider the situation. There was no way the North would forsake a costly deal to save the lives of three spies. Having the ANSP Chief’s daughter – Yeong-ro – would not be of any help to the spies either, since the ANSP could easily paint the hostage situation as an unfortunate tragedy.
Despite this, Soo-ho asks Kang-moo for “hard evidence” that their countries were planning to kill them all. Knowing that this would be his only chance to make sure everyone got out alive, Kang-moo agrees.
Shortly after, Dr. Chung-ya asks Soo-ho to hand over his detonator to her, calling his allegiances under suspicion and warning him that she would kill him herself if she sensed him swaying.
When Han-na arrives, Soo-ho ushers her in to meet Kang-moo, where the latter informs her about the ANSP’s plans. The two give Han-na until the next morning to find proof of the plan to save the lives of the hostages. When Han-na leaves, Soo-ho releases 30 hostages along with her, sending panic through the ANSP higher-ups.
Upon learning that ANSP forces shot at Kang-moo, ANSP director Chang-soo (Heo Joon-ho) gets into an argument with Tae-il about how to contain Kang-moo’s justified anger at being shot at by his own colleagues. To Chang-soo’s horror, Tae-il reveals his plans to let the hostages – including Kang-moo – die. Their conversation is heard by Han-na, who’d planted a bug in their makeshift office earlier to gather evidence.
Unfortunately, the bug is discovered just as Han-na is relaying confirmation of the proof to Kang-moo and Soo-ho. She’s captured, but both now know what the larger conspiracy is. Together with Yeong-ro and the dorm mother, Kang-moo hatches a plan.
The next morning, the remaining hostages request the spies to let them wash up, to which they reluctantly agree. Once alone, Yeong-ro rushes to the washing area where, into a small alcove, she throws her electric watch. By the time the other girls come down – accompanied by Gyeok-chan – the alarm on the electric watch is going off. Gyeok-chan figures out that the whole thing was a trap and ushers the girls back up. It’s too late – Yeong-ro is already rushing to the comms room.
As Soo-ho goes after her, Kang-moo overpowers another spy and tracks down Chung-ya. He leads her to the fourth floor attic and traps her inside. Meanwhile, Soo-ho comes to the dorm mother’s office looking for Yeong-ro and pleads with her to open the door in order for him to save her. He doesn’t get anywhere as he is intercepted by Kang-moo, who overpowers and captures him.
By then, the girls have made their way to a gate to escape. Kang-moo arrives shortly after – with a bound Soo-ho in tow – and helps the hostages dismantle the booby-trap around the door. He succeeds and, for a minute, it seems as if the hostages will be safe. Just as they’re about to leave, however, Chung-ya – who managed to escape from the attic – arrives with the detonator activated. She warns everyone to step away from the door. As Kang-moo is negotiating with her, one of the hostages tries to sneak away – enraged, she presses the trigger. Off of Soo-ho and Yeong-ro’s panicked expressions, the dorm goes up in flames.
- The plot around the dorm mother Ms Pi thickens. Not only is she a disillusioned ANSP agent, she was also hired under suspicious circumstances – apparently, the previous Hall Director was opposed to bringing her on as a successor, even claiming shewould take over Hosu “over my dead body”. It didn’t help that shortly after the opposition to hiring Ms Pi, the previous Hall Director died by suicide in the dorm’s attic.
- The episode also contained moments of bonding amidst the chaos, not just among the hostages but also between the hostages and the spies. Case in point: the impromptu performance put on by the dorm members to break the monotony, followed by a tense encore requested by one of the spies..
‘Snowdrop’ airs every Saturday and Sunday on JTBC at 10:30pm in South Korean, and is also available in the APAC region on Disney+