Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Part 2, Pages 417-438

By Adam Johnson

Part 2, Pages 417-438

  • At the airport, the American plane lands, and the Dear Leader hands Sun Moon the keys to her improvised dressing room.
  • As they wait for the American delegation to disembark, Kim Jong Il asks Ga how he got out of the prison mines. Ga thinks of a sarcastic reply, but he suppresses it.
  • Instead, Ga tells Kim Jong Il that he put on the Commander's uniform and simply became him.
  • The Dear Leader doesn't understand how Ga compelled the Warden to do his will. Ga tells him that the Warden was intimidated because he had just defeated the most dangerous man in the world. The Dear Leader chafes at this—he is the most dangerous man.
  • The Americans pull a last-minute change: instead of taxiing to the welcome area on the tarmac, they pull away down the runway, and it looks like they will take off again.
  • Everybody freaks out and starts to move the festivities toward the plane. The Dear Leader is mighty annoyed.
  • As the commotion continues, Kim Jong Il tells Sun Moon and Ga that he's learned of a procedure that will make a Korean eye look Western. His own doctors say the reverse can be done. The couple is confused—why does this matter?
  • It appears that the Dear Leader wants to transform an American woman into a Korean one. Do they think she would be accepted as Korean?
  • Sun Moon has a ready answer: Are you kidding? She gives Kim Jong Il a patriotic explanation: to be Korean is to have your identity carved in your heart—it's not something you acquire. Part of this identity is all the suffering, she says. How can a spoiled American just assume it?
  • The Dear Leader really likes this explanation. He turns the discussion about impostors on to Ga. Ouch. But Ga is ready: the replacement is real if the Dear Leader says it is.
  • But Sun Moon can see that Ga is fumbling it. She doesn't want Kim Jong Il to go back on his promise to return the American rower. If he does, their plan will fall apart.
  • The Dear Leader is surprised that Sun Moon doesn't think that replacements are worthy of being loved, especially since she had tried to protect impostor Ga the night before.
  • The Dear Leader calls Ga what he truly is: orphan, assassin, and kidnapper.
  • Sun Moon tells the Dear Leader that this was all his doing, and that she accepted Ga for reals because the Dear Leader himself required it.
  • It's clear that Kim Jong Il still blames Sun Moon for going with the real Commander Ga in the first place. She tries to placate him by saying that she's there now, and he can take her back.
  • The Dear Leader wonders what Sun Moon wants him to do with the rower? She tells him she'll take care of her—with a knife.
  • The Dear Leader's pretty turned on by this—and encouraged, as Sun Moon intends for him to be.
  • Meanwhile, the Americans have disembarked and are ready to greet the Dear Leader.
  • The Senator explains that the pilot felt the plane was too heavy for the tarmac and therefore moved to a safer location.
  • Ga is translating and adding a few things to his old American friends. He tells the Dear Leader that they are asking after Dr. Song. Kim Jong Il tells them in his limited English.
  • Tommy speaks Korean, so he addresses Kim Jong Il directly, offering him a "pen of peace" as a gift in the hope that it will someday sign a peace accord.
  • And Kim Jong Il presents the Americans with rhinoceros-horn bookends. Awkward.
  • The Senator gets right down to it—they're just here for the rower girl, whose name is Allison Jensen.
  • But Kim Jong Il won't have any of that talk until he sees his "toy" again. In the meantime, the bizarre entertainment starts. The Dear Leader tells Ga to get Sun Moon ready for her song.
  • Sun Moon is losing it at this point. She's doubting that everything will work out.
  • Comrade Buc moves the changing room down the runway to accommodate their new location, and they go inside. Sun Moon changes and prepares for her song.
  • But the Americans want to see the rower. Now. Kim Jong Il asks to borrow Ga's camera—and Ga freaks out. He knows about the camera.
  • The Dear Leader takes the camera to his car, snaps a picture of the rower—and it shows up on Wanda's phone. Ga takes the phone from Wanda and puts it into his pocket.
  • The Senator then allows the equipment to be unloaded from the plane. Then Sun Moon is to sing her "blues" song to the Americans.
  • When Sun Moon does sing, she sings the song about the orphan and the bear, but she uses a sad tone—and the Korean audience is stunned. Commander Park wants her to sing it the right way.
  • The Dear Leader is miffed. He wants it all to be over, so he signals for the food aid to be delivered to the American plane. He tells Ga to make Sun Moon change into her red dress.
  • When Ga and Sun Moon reach the dressing room, it's time to smuggle them out. Ga hands Sun Moon her silver dress and then puts the children into plastic barrels to get them aboard the plane.
  • Then it's Sun Moon's turn. Ga gives her the real Ga's laptop as her "letter of transit." He dumps the photos of the inmates from Prison 33 into the fourth barrel.
  • Buc has to load everyone on to the plane. He makes Ga promise to take the fall for all of this.
  • There's a tense moment when Ga realizes that the barrels clearly show the bodies of three people through their sides. He hopes no one will notice.
  • The delegations are now taken up with the rower, who appears in her golden dress and with big sunglasses. Ga wonders if she's had the eye operation after all.
  • Ga makes excuses for Sun Moon's absence and asks the Dear Leader when he should give the dog back to the Americans.
  • Tommy sees the forklifts of aid going into the plane and wonders what the heck they're giving them. The Dear Leader decides to stop one of the forklifts so that Tommy can inspect.
  • Guess whose forklift gets stopped? You got it: Comrade Buc's. At the last moment, Ga redirects their attention to another forklift full of aid, and it seems that Buc will get away.
  • But then Commander Park gets involved. He tells Buc to wait for inspection. He and Ga walk toward the Dear Leader, and Brando gets all worked up.
  • Kim Jong Il needs Park's box cutter to open the box of his books for the Senator to inspect. The rower girl balks when she sees them.
  • And now, the Dear Leader wants to know where Sun Moon is. Ga stalls by getting him to sign some of the volumes for the dignitaries there.
  • Now, Ga has to distract Commander Park. He asks him to come along to find Sun Moon—but Park is determined to inspect Buc's cargo.
  • Then Ga does what he has to: he sics Brando on the Commander. Chaos erupts. Park slashes the dog with his box cutter, the rower freaks out and runs to the plane—and, finally, Brando is shot.
  • The Dear Leader can't comprehend it, but he worries for Sun Moon. He checks her changing room and finds that she is gone.
  • Word gets around that Sun Moon and her children are missing, and everything goes on lockdown. But the American plane is already taxiing down the runway for takeoff.
  • The Dear Leader tells Commander Park that Ga must be behind it all, since he's friends with the Americans.
  • Ga recognizes that the Dear Leader has finally been hurt the way he'd been hurt his whole life—and that he has to suck it up, just like all the people he's tortured in his life. At last.
  • Ga owns his misdeed, telling the Dear Leader that he's just gotten a dose of his own medicine. He's taken away the most precious thing from the Dear Leader.
  • But Kim Jong Il doesn't know exactly what Ga's done. He wants to know what's become of Sun Moon. Ga tells him they now both have the same scars on their hearts. Now they both have to do without Sun Moon.
  • Commander Park unilaterally decides to send Ga to Division 42. Along with Comrade Buc. Ga is in disbelief and tries to get Buc out of it.
  • Park tells Ga that the Leader's wrath will be too much to take out on one man. It won't suffice.
  • Buc pleads for himself (and, really, his family) by reminding the Dear Leader who gets him all the great goodies from around the world.
  • But Kim Jong Il is taken up with Ga. He's in disbelief over the unknown man's behavior. He doesn't understand why a person who could get away, like Ga, would stick around only to ruin the Dear Leader's life.
  • Ga knows that Sun Moon is on her way to freedom, and the he's in trouble out of free choice—and it feels great.
  • Ga understands now that he could have felt this always, if only Kim Jong Il had never existed. He also has an answer to the question that Wanda had been asking him Texas: does he feel free?
  • Yup, he does now. And not even captivity is going to take that away.