Vigilante Episode 1 Recap and Ending Explained: Who is the Vigilante? Can Ji Young find Deokheung in time?
After a long break, Nam Jo Hyuk is back with his new series Vigilante. Viewers, be warned: if you expect the sweetness of Baek Ye Jin or Nam Do San, you will not get it from Ji Young. Even though Vigilante does show Ji Young as a friendly and bright young man, most of his character is dominated by his darker alter ego, who was named “the Vigilante” by Choi Mi Ryeo, played by Kim So Jin. Choi Jeong Yeol directs it, and it is one of the many dramas this year adapted from a Webtoon.
Vigilante Episode 1 Recap: Who is the Vigilante?
The episode opens with a court ruling 12 years ago. A man was being trailed for the murder of a person in front of her child due to a minor inconvenience. Even though the convict had a history of violent crimes, he was only sent to prison for three and a half years. It was stated that he was sorry for his actions and additionally had mental health issues, due to which his sentence was not severe.
The lawyer, the staff, the judge and the convict all leave; only the crying child of the victim stays in the court. Justice was not served that day. Twelve years later, the convict has not changed. He bets up a bus driver for reporting him to the police. No one could do anything to stop him. Except this time, there is a shadowy figure in a hoodie that follows him.
The man in the hoodie confronts him about his 18 criminal cases, yet the criminal shows no remorse. He says he is free because the law deems him to be so. The man in the hoodie beats him up, asking him to show some form of regret for destroying so many lives. When he was beaten inches from death, the man finally squeaked out an apology, perhaps the first of his life.
The man in the hoodie goes back home, and we get to know that it was the kid who had lost his mother to the criminal 12 years ago. Ji Young, the kid from earlier, is now a student at the police academy and a very bright student at that. Not only was he good at academics, but he was good at judo as well, beating Seonwook, who was a Judoka. The professor at the academy and the instructor both agree that Ji Young is skilled enough to go out into the field, yet they decide not to tell him as it might make him too proud.
After class, Ji Young’s friends ask him to go clubbing with them for the weekend, but he says that he will be busy on the weekends as always. He seems like a sweet boy overall as he helps an old lady carry cardboard boxes, but he hides darker secrets.
The news of two criminals come out who were not punished as they should have been. A gangster was urinating in front of someone’s house when he was stopped. He had beaten up the person so much that he was hospitalised for 18 weeks. Yet the man was not jailed. On the other hand, there was a doctor who drugged his patients to rape them and even filmed the process.
Not only was his licence not revoked, but he was only sentenced to 6 months of jail. Ji Young took it upon himself to make these people suffer. He had beaten up the gangsters when they went again to urinate into someone’s house and broke the doctor’s hand when he was trying to rape yet another patient.
The next scene shows a reporter, Mi Ryeo, walking into an office. She represents a scoop to the lead of a man who takes revenge on those who the law has spared. While her case initially seemed far-fetched, she shows how money could be made through this man who only takes revenge in cases that have caused public outrage; thus, the people who want a dark hero would buy into that story.
She gives her the name “Vigilante”.
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Back in the police academy, Ji Young sees the programme where they introduce this Vigilante. While his victims try to appear innocent, the people for whom he took the revenge thank him.
The show was a hit, and Mi Ryeo decided on a follow-up. Since the Vigilante only works on weekends, they wait for the following weekend. But there is no attack since the person Ji Young had decided to punish was already remorseful for his actions; therefore, her didn’t do anything. Since it was already Wednesday and they had nothing to broadcast, Mi Ryeon was under pressure.
Since he was not taking any action on his own, Mi Ryeo asked to release the information on a rape case coined as the “Siyoon case”. Since only the victim’s information was released, the victim was the only one suffering. She even had to change her name while the information about the rapist’s identity was hidden to save his human rights. The newly released information on the perpetrator caused massive public outrage, and they swarmed his house with protests.
Jung Deokheung, the rapist, had escaped at night to the Incheon port. Mi Ryeon tried to follow him but lost him in the crowd. There were widespread searches for him by the police, but they could not find him. They think he might be trying to escape the public by going overseas.
In all, they also decide to keep someone posted at Siyoon’s house as well. Throughout the week, Ji Young was distracted due to the information on the case. In Ji Young’s class, they discuss why people commit the same crimes after being released. Ji Young comes up with the reason: often, the perpetrators do not understand their mistake, and they blame the victims for getting them arrested. Ji Young decides to take up the case and punish Deokheung. In Incheon port, the police search for Deokheung and call in backup from Siyoon’s house for support.
One of the officers goes to the port while one stays back. On his way out, the officer sees a food delivery guy, but after confirming his identity, he lets him go. The delivery guy gets attacked when he reaches the floor. Mi Ryeon looks at the map of the ports and realises that Jung Deokheung is after Siyoon in Suheung. She rushes to her house, and the police, seeing her rush off, decide to follow her, too.
As it turns out, she was correct. Jung Deokheung had dressed up as the delivery man to approach the police officer who was stationed at Siyoon’s house. They engage in a fight, and the officer, who was only armed with a stick, gets stabbed multiple times. Jung Deokheung even sprays him with acid. When Siyoon comes out to check on the commotion, she gets attacked by Deokheung.
The Vigilante Episode 1 Ending Explained: Can Ji Young find Deokheung in time?
She runs down the staircase, followed by Deokheung. He confesses that he plans on killing Siyoon and spending the rest of his life in jail as he blames her for ruining his life.
Just as he is about to kill her, Ji Young arrives. Ji Young had also correctly guessed that the man had come after his past victim. After beating him into a pulp, he says that the only way he would forgive him is if Deokheung gives a sincere apology.
Ji Young walks out of the place in his regular clothes and comes in front of Mi Ryeon’s car. She was not able to either recognise him or see his face. She reached the place where the police were already swarming. She lies and says she lives in the building to get in.
In the stairway, she finds the dead body of Deokheung with his apology letter written in blood over his head with the message, “Heaven’s Net”. Mi Ryeon, happy with her scoop, revels in the scene. Ji Young, on the other hand, has completed his transformation and tells us of his plans. The law has a flaw; the loophole allows the people who commit crimes to escape punishment. He would fill that void. Finally, justice would be served.