18 July 2013

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Heartless City (Moojung Doshi) - Episode 15 (A SqueeCap)

Posted by JoAnne on July 18, 2013
JoAnne: This episode feels like the beginning of the end, as Baksa and the Scooby Gang start to put some pieces together and find their options narrowing. I was very worried about our hero when the episode began because the stress really seems to be getting to him. We can't have him going to pieces, now can we? He may be our ultimate sacrifice to the Cruel City, but I need him to be his awesome self right up to and past that point because let's face it - this is a character we love to love, and such good ones don't come along very often.
kakashi: Somebody told me today that what we are getting now in Cruel City is called dénouement. I guess he's right cause he's always right. Anyway, I tought this episode was a little tiny bit tooooo slow, but it could also be cause of the dénouement, which was, frankly, unexciting. Partially. 
Shuk: So I have to say "denouement" with a pinkie extended or something? I just want to watch our boy without worrying about the train at the end of the tunnel. For now.
Episode 15

JoAnne: Holed up in the Bak Cave, Baksa Adeul is obsessing over recent events and trying to hold on to his sanity. Everything he thought he knew about his world - the choices he's made in the name of a greater good, truths about himself and others...it is all in question now. He ends up at the river in a sad, one-sided conversation with Dead Mom where he reminisces about who he was as a boy, and how far he has come from that now. His pain and guilt over her death are real, though misguided. Even he recognizes that to a certain extent, but he still holds himself over that flame.
kakashi: Liked the bit where he puts his police ID into the booze-glass and smashes the booze-glass against the mirror. Otherwise, I find his breakdowns a bit ... overdone. Don't hate me for it, people, but I think he's much better at playing broody-mysterious.
Shuk: He is awesome when he is cool under fire, but when he breaks down, I just want to hug him and feel him dried squid and kimchee. I do believe with this paradigm shift we are going to see a new Baksa. I just hope he can hold the core together as greater consequences are attached to his actions.
JoAnne: Meanwhile, in a setting that is so lovely and peaceful you almost feel shocked to see him in it, Chairman Jo is truly mourning the death of his monstrous son. Even this man had people he wanted to protect. I am struck once again at how neatly we are reminded that even the worst people have other sides here. Oh look, just like in real life.
kakashi: Plus points for that, drama. Also for casting Kim Jong-Goo as the super-scary Chairman. I can't imagine anyone better suited for it. 
Shuk: The actor is excellent. The character gives me the heebie-jeebies. What next?
kakashi: Blood and gore. 
JoAnne:  This popped into my head and I had to think about where it came from:  Doom, despair, and agony on me!  I remembered.  Let's see if anyone else does.
Shuk:  Hee hee hee haw haw haw.
JoAnne: He tells Wooden Stick to let err'body know that Safari and Baksa Adeul are done for, finished, kaput, end of story. Dead, that's how he wants them. And oh by the way... pass a message to Ji Hyung Min too: butt out, or this relationship is over. I spend a minute or two thinking about whether he means relationship in a sarcastic way and I even ask an Authoriteh if the subs might have been wrong because... ok, if Hyung Min turns out to be a BAD guy? An actual bad guy that's been punking us all along? I will just give up. No. He needs to be a misguided, vengeful, often thoughtless, always deliciously muscle-bound fighter for the side of non-corruption.
kakashi: Yes, stumbled across that, too. What kind of relationship? They really do not have any. And: Is this guy really called Wooden Stick or is this a translation blunder, too? It makes me laugh every single time.
Shuk: I call him "Toothpick" in my head as being more apt. I think Chairman Jo sees Thighs as an extension of his relationship with his father, and perhaps he was pulling his punches because of it. I don't see Hyung-min as a bad guy. That was my take on the scene. No matter what, it spells a lot more hardship for Team Baksa.
JoAnne: Cut to Cutie-Soo, dressed like a golfer off to Sunday Mass in Connecticut, fighting off LOTS of suits with metal pipes. He looks a bit stressed, but he manages. He rushes off to the Bak Cave, but he can't find his boo anywhere and he can't get him on the phone, either. So he breaks down and calls...wait for it...JIN SOOK. He warns her about Chairman Jo's order and tells her to stay away from her office. Man, if he's reaching out to her...things are bad.
kakashi: Some of our peeps will be happy, cause there's is quite a lot of Cutie Soo (the worst dressed man I ever liked) in this episode (and also in the next). He really has a face for looking deeply worried. Not every actor can do it as well as he can.
Shuk: Poor fish is surrounded by sharks and can't find his lifenet. Why doesn't Baksa answer his phone, however briefly? He's smart enough to know that, with the gauntlet thrown at Pusan, the landscape of the battle could change in an instant. Bad Baksa! Let me spank you.
JoAnne:  Whoa, whoa, whoa...this is MY episode.  You go spank him in your own episode.  I'm going to pat tushies lovingly in this one.
Shuk: [pout]
Cutie Soo deserves a fight gif, too, I think.
kakashi: And please notice the butt, as he leans forward on the booze table. 
JoAnne:  *pat, pat, pat*
JoAnne: Jin Sook rushes off to the Bak Cave and then remembers important documents she left behind (Prof. Jang, the chemist.) She asks Soo Min to get it, but be careful if she sees anyone suspicious (kakashi: Alright, we know how this is going to end, do we... and ...) So then of course, Soo Min does get caught up with the bad guys and the little ball of fluff once again displays her mettle. I do like this girl. She can be a ditz but she's also brave and loyal. Randomly, Wooden Stick injects her with drugs - truth serum to make her talk? No idea - but then he realizes who she is and decides to take her back to the Chairman. Baksa shows up and in a strangely unexciting fight scene, rescues Soo Min.
kakashi: A looooooooooot of drugs, lol. I thought we're going to see her being turned into an addict, but I guess ... not. But I'm getting ready to see her die now. Only a few episodes left for that. 
Shuk: I wondered why they would give her ten times the dose needed for the situation. A dead informant doesn't inform.  
JoAnne:  Ahem.  You missed the exit for Logical City about 10 miles back that way. This is HEARTLESS City.
Shuk: Darn that Apple Maps!
JoAnne: No clue where, but Safari and a minion are fighting off attackers of their own. Safari chastises the minion for taking so long because dammit, it's HOT out there. There's something about his satoori that just really makes his little speeches hilarious for me. Chairman Jo calls to assure Safari that it's ok he's won this fight, because Jo can just keep sending men after him. Safari sighs heavily. Frustration, resignation? Definitely not fear.  
kakashi: Loved that he seems so annoyed, also at having to fight these always black-suited hired muscle-guys. Is there just one shop where gangsters go buy their suits in Korea?
Shuk: I think they get them imported from the Mafioso Suit Emporium in Rome. Might as well have Italian design when you're rolling on the floor barely conscious.


JoAnne: Next thing you know, he's greeting the Special Ineptness Squad at the team room with an especially hilarious pinky wave for Do Hoon.
kakashi: This is in need of a gif.
Shuk: I snickered. Too funny!
JoAnne: Long story short, Safari says it's time for him to keep his promise, and help Thighs capture Baksa Adeul. He uses Thigh's accusation of betraying the police in the past as a jumping off point for a lesson in perception/reality. In the end, everyone looks pretty much the same. It's hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys because there's not that much difference between them. And oh, by the way, if he was wondering how come nothing ever seems to go right? He should look at his team. Cut to a shot of Chief Yang (Min connection), Do Hoon (Cutie Soo connection) and...nameless funny looking dude. HIM TOO? So they don't actually suck...they just all pretend to suck to stymy the mission? Damn.
kakashi: No. They do actually suck. But they're also sucking for other people.
Shuk: Agreed. Almost nobody is competent right now; the mooks can't subdue a couple of hotties; the undercover folks can't find the targets, and the cops can't do or find anything.
JoAnne: Cut to Thigh's law school buddy and Useless Reporter, who is going to turn out to be not useless, I just know it. Her dad is gonna be a thing. This writer wouldn't put her in here if he wasn't. And oh, look...her dad is meeting up with Thigh's Dad at that nice Japanese restaurant. They certainly seem friendly. Hmmm...Jo is in the next room, listening to the conversation, and has Wooden Stick deliver a very expensive gift of 100-year-old ginseng to the two men. Daddy Cha delivers a warning to Daddy Ji after confirming that they're both happy that the kids might be hooking up: Hyung Min should lay off Jo, now.
kakashi: Finally, the Cha-Man appears. I thought the ginseng would be poisoned. I totally expected him to clutch at his throat, gurgle, start spewing that white or yellow stuff they always spew when poisoned, and finally cough up blood, as he dies, miserably, at Chief Prosecutor's feet. But, alas, no.
Shuk: I thought poison too. After watching this scene, is Cha the Big Bad? That was my expectation, but this meeting seems like a normal conversation between equals. Somebody's gotta be pulling the strings. Who? Who?
JoAnne: In a random room (not hers or his) Baksa is tending to a very ill Soo Min. Jin Sook calls, worried, but Soo Min downplays her concerns. Baksa begs her to get out of this world, and she explains why she can't. She used to have this sister...and the sister used to tell her 'the world is a mirror.' Baksa's mind explodes but he listens silently. The sister died, and Soo Min decided to take revenge on that world that turned out not to be a mirror after all. Soo Min is so caught up in her story that she doesn't notice how rocked Baksa is - or may she just thinks it's because he's sympathetic.
kakashi: See further up about the acting when distressed. Maybe next time, he'll do better. Unless they cast him in a rom-com, where he needs to do a different type of distressed and far less brooding.
Shuk: I loved this whole sequence: the IV and the care. When he squeezed her hand and told her not to worry, I jumped conto the seat cushion. After all, whenever she told her fears to Detective Dick, he would ignore them. Here, for the first time for her, is simple human comfort in the middle of her fright. And his earnestness! The confidence in his voice that he would protect her made me clap my hands. The link between his first love and his current rocked him to the core, though, and the moment was lost, dammit.

JoAnne: She gets up to leave, and confirms with him that if she stays connected to him, it will make things harder for him. He agrees, and she sadly runs through his names, beginning with Mister and ending up with Shi Hyun oppa, mirroring the growing closeness they sort of/maybe did/certainly could have had. It's very touching, and then she's gone, with no intention of contacting him ever again.
kakashi: A really well written scene, this sad farewell. The what-could-have-been lingering, the hope of it ever coming to be destroyed.
Shuk: I teared up when she finally said "Shi-hyun oppa". These poor crossed lovers.
JoAnne: Baksa collapses on the floor, absolutely unmanned by the realization that she is Kyung Mi's sister. (Moment of Squee: this entire scene. His face. Sigh. Also there's new music in this scene, very faint. I want to hear more of it.)
kakashi: Is it the new ending song? 
Shuk: [Wiping puddles off the floor]
JoAnne: Soo Min returns to a very worried Jin Sook. I'm relieved to see that Jin Sook actually does honestly care for Soo Min. I don't know if that will last when she makes the Baksa connection...but at least it's genuine.
kakashi: And Soo Min lies about having hurt her foot. Man, is Jin-sook in love with her or what? (see symbolism in the background) Her lies are so obvious, but she never catches on. 
Shuk: Every time I see that sculpture, I think she got it from Jabba the Hut. Just saying.
JoAnne: Hyung Min brings the Ahn Doll to the team room and 'introduces' her to Ahn as someone like a younger sister to him. Ahn's reaction is reliably comic. This guy...I'm starting to feel a bit more sympathetic to Ahn, not sure why. Thighs takes her off to the break room for coffee and tough-love while Ahn tries not to have a nervous breakdown and eventually pulls Hyung Min aside for the capitulation conversation. I think at this point that Ahn is just going to do whatever Thighs wants.
kakashi: See. You're always much slower than me, but you do, ultimately, arrive at the same conclusion. Ahn is hilarious and pathetic at the same time plus he's a drug addict, which explains a lot.
JoAnne: I think I'm more of an idealist than you are. Or maybe I'm more of a romantic. Whatever it is, it's a good quality and I win and you lose. But I love you, even if I hate that you are always right. I will be the right one some day, though.
JoAnne: Oooh!!!! Baksa is at the house! The one he bought for Kyung Mi! He sees the Wall of Spying and then a picture of the two sisters.
kakashi: One of the better dénouements of this episode. (snerk)
Shuk: I thought he might take the picture of the two sisters, and put a (:P) where his picture is supposed to be. (woulda been awesome)
JoAnne: Next thing you know he's calling Thighs again, warning him to pull Soo Min out. At first he sounds threatening, and he certainly LOOKS threatening...but by the end of the conversation it's clear that he's warning Thighs to help prevent another Kyung Mi.
kakashi: And I think the few brain-cells still left underneath the brain-eating hair start functioning now. Ah, no. Not yet.
Shuk: Nothing wrong in enlisting some help to keep his woman safe, especially since the goon put her in harm's way in the first place. Plus, I think Neanderthal is seeing that maybe Baksa isn't the Baby-mama murdering drug lord? Hmm, maybe not.
JoAnne: To his credit, Hyung Min is frantic with worry about Soo Min...but he's still worried about the wrong bad guy. Soo Min arrives at the house and collapses in front of Hyung Min, who nurses her carefully through the night.
kakashi: Oh well. Let her collapse. Though I don't know what purpose it serves. To show us that she is weak and vulnerable? To show us that he is strong and cares? I kinda like how she looks "without" make-up, though. I think she would also do good in a zombie or vampire movie.
JoAnne: Every time I see it I have to remind myself that's not blood and brains on her dress.
JoAnne: Jin Sook shows up at that awful striped room, where she's greeted by Meth Kim and Kim Eun Soo. I'm really disappointed at the weakening of the latter...she was awesome, and now she's just a jealous wanna-be girlfriend. But the sniping between the two women is hilarious - Jin Sook questions Eun Soo's gender and calls her a field hand. When Safari tells Eun Soo to leave the room Jin Sook asks her to pick some peppers since she's gonna be out there anyway and I laugh my ASS off. Jin Sook wants to make sure that Safari hooked up with Baksa and that he's on their side. Baksa assures her that he did which I don't remember at all. And then Safari asks her if by any chance she was the one who told Baksa that Safari killed his mother, to which she reacts with shock.
kakashi: Biatch-slap war is fun. Jin-sook wins!
Shuk: Kitty-claws bared!
JoAnne: When she leaves, Kim Eun Soo sneaks up on her in the hallway but Jin Sook easily switches that situation around. Considering how handily Eun Soo took out dozens of men throughout this series, the ease with which Jin Sook overcomes and then cows Eun Soo has me a bit surprised. Safari sees a bit of this and after Jin Sook leaves he tells Eun Soo 'You should have listened to me...there was a reason I warned you off her.' Ok, so Jin Sook really is that bad ass? I like it. But I miss the old Kim Eun Soo, too.
kakashi: Yeah, she is badass. But she also weighs about 45 kilograms only, so imagine pushing her a little ... she'd be on the floor in seconds. Even if I just pushed her a little by accident, I think.
Shuk: Both of them spinning on those impossibly high heels just made my own feet hurt. I loved it when Jin-sook just opened her hand and dropped the knife to the floor.
JoAnne: Jin Sook shows up at Min HongKi's office. She wants to know two things: Can't he catch Pusan, or WON'T he - and did he tell Baksa that Safari killed his mother? The man flat out LIES to her. There is so much going on in this conversation that we don't even fully understand yet, but one big thing is clear: there is nothing about Min that can be trusted, not even his professed concern for Jin Sook. I cannot wait to find out what his real role is, and why it's him.
kakashi: Wow, he is such an asshole. Even if he's not. 
Shuk: Man, I don't even know what to think about his character now. Watching all those emotions cross his face just has me completely turned around regarding Superintendent Liar.
Hong-ki needs some asbestos underwear.
JoAnne: Hyung Min is off confirming Safari's claim that his team can't be trusted, and discovers that Chief Yang worked with Safari on the Narcotics Squad, back in the day. When he confronts Yang, the little man visibly deflates, and his apology seems sincere - but he doesn't get a chance to confess who was behind it because Min shows up and outs himself. He's still lying about shit, though. You know how I know? His lips are moving. I'm hesitant to completely write him off, still. This writer has moved us very neatly along emotional paths with several people, and Min is one of them. We don't know where we're going with him yet. Talking to Yang again, Hyung Min is able to connect Safari-Min-Jin Sook. Yang insists he never knew her, at least, though Min probably did.
kakashi: See, there are some working brain cells. It is a beginning. Maybe all that working out for the Thighs and Arms made some of the matter up there move somewhere else?
Shuk: At least he finally sees that all things aren't roses and unicorns with his team, although that limping female detective how-many-episodes ago should have been a glaring clue that not everyone on the police force is on the up and up.
JoAnne: Um...except she actually was. She was acting on orders from Min to act on orders from Kang, who she couldn't disobey ANYway. 
Shuk: Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.
JoAnne: Back in his office, a cold-faced Min makes a call to someone and insists that they meet. It's Baksa, and Lying Liar Who Lies gives him the lowdown: Hyung Min is poking around and he suspects that Min might have an undercover agent. Min wants to know: should he tell Hyung Min? If he does, it means that Cutie Soo and Jin Sook are lost. Is he prepared for that? Nicely played, asshole. Baksa tells him not to worry - he's not going to deal with Jo anymore, he's going to do the whole thing himself: production, distribution, sales...that should draw Pusan out. Ok, so Jo isn't Pusan. I think we knew that or suspected it..can no longer always distinguish between what they know and what we know. Ooooh...Min just confirmed that the Prosecutor's office is linked up with Pusan, and says that there might be a high-powered politician behind THAT. So Cha, then. Min seems resolute when he says he wants to catch them all. I wonder what his motivation is. Is he a good guy who thinks the ends justify the means enough that he became a bad guy? or does he want to be the guy in charge? Not sure. but it does seem like he's motivated by emotion more than power, here.
kakashi: Huh, I didn't think they were referring to anyone else when saying Pusan (cause how would Baksa know?). I just thought he wants to draw Pusan out to really catch him this time. And then Min tells him, waitaminute, not so easy, cause this is much bigger. Plus, I like that Min really hates the people who are involved in this, that much is clear. Though we do not know why. Maybe he is Baksa's father and wants to revenge his mother? 
Shuk: I hope Baksa's dad is Prosecutor Ji, just because I like the idea him being related to Thighs. But Min's information definitely could have helped a long time ago, when Baksa decided to take over Scale's operation. The idea that highly-placed government officials were part of the drug cartel is a pretty crucial piece of information. Thanks for leaving to the end, Min; you have just joined the ranks of "Can He Be A Noble Sacrifice And Die" list.
"Daddy? Is this you?"
JoAnne: Baksa and Safari get together for noodles and exposition. Safari lets him know just how twisted up things are between the gangsters and the city powers. He says it's so confusing he never could figure all of it out, but he knows it means that the gangsters can do whatever they want and get away with it. Interesting, though - Safari is still insisting that Pusan had Kyung Mi killed. I wonder if it's true.
kakashi: This is one of the points I'm decreasingly interested in. It's really lost any kind of punch if it ever had any. Who cares who ordered her killed. Everybody hates everybody anyway and everybody who still cares tries to make Baksa pay for it.
Shuk: The only two people who EVER cared at all are Hyung-min and Baksa. It's going to be a plot point to have them both point their guns in the same direction when they find the culprit, but that's about it.

JoAnne: And now, in a moment I NEVER thought I'd have...we watch as Jo makes Scale pay for failing his son and for choosing to side with Baksa. It's actually quite sad (and really gross, at a certain point) when Scale dies. Baksa has to listen to it over the phone, and he's even more torn up about this than I am.
kakashi: Yes, that was once again brutal and gross. Especially the son's voice that we hear as Scale closes his eyes forever, his last thought, I'm guessing. 
Shuk: And yet, for all his sniveling, baksa-stabbing ways, Scale asked Baksa to take care of his son in the end. It's a brave statement coming from someone seeing Death. Farewell, Scale, poor golfer and even worse dresser.
JoAnne: We're back up on the roof! It's Cutie, Jin Sook, and Baksa, and Baksa tells them that they need to get Pusan off the streets; they are officially at war.
kakashi: I cried. Out of joy. Rooftop. All I see is rooftop. Glorious, wonderful rooftop!
Shuk: And then there were three.
JoAnne: Ahn is asleep at the office when he gets a call from 'President Jung', who wants to know who Ahn reports to. He is not talking about the office org chart, either. They arrange to meet, and Hyung Min plans how to capture Baksa with the Special Inept Squad. Umm.. did he forget that Safari told him all of them were disloyal? Just because you got Yang to promise to side with you doesn't mean you have the others, fool.
kakashi: I think he thinks that Safari must have lied, cause Safari is a Bad Cop. Ah, no. Forgot that he doesn't think at all... And btw, Ahn is one of my favorite characters. So pathetic. Hahaha, how he angrily mutters at his phone for ringing...
Shuk: Neandertthall is still missing the big picture, but slowly he's putting the puzzle pieces together. Go faster, Thighs!!
JoAnne: Everyone is back at the only Japanese restaurant in town setting up positions, and Baksa is on the hills outside, watching it all, adding up two and two.
kakashi: They're really making fun of the Special Ineptness Team now, right? Cowboy hat? Etc.?Not that I blame them ...
Shuk: Those outfits screamed "I'm ridiculous!" if for no other reason than we know the usual clientele at the restaurant. Drug lords, Congressmen, Village People? Plus, no owner of a place that discreetly caters to well-known individuals is going to allow themselves to become the center ring of the Po-Po Circus. Oh wait, I missed Logical City again. Man, even Google Maps doesn't help....
JoAnne: He sneaks in and calls Ahn pretending not to be able to find the room. Ahn wanders over to one of those paper screen doors and when he turns his back Baksa punches through the paper panel and gets Ahn in a strangle hold. Min rushes in. Baksa slowwwwwly moves his head a bit to the side, where the screen door is partially open, and gives Hyung Min a look at his partially obscured face. He looks scary as HELL, and honestly... the visual here is just awesome. Previews do NOTHING to calm my rapidly beating heart, and I cannot wait for tonight. CAN.NOT.WAIT.
kakashi: Me neither. Cause 16 is gooooooooooood.
Shuk: Just an awesome final scene; Ahn like a stupid deer trapped between two warring lions. The eyebrows! The fierce stares! Woot!

Final Thoughts

JoAnne: For at least a little while longer, I firmly believe that this is a good man in a bad situation, trying hard to protect people he loves and avenge those he's lost. Though he may have rationalized doing some bad things (don't we all? Ok, maybe not throwing people off rooftops or selling drugs) at the end of the day, he wants to be a mirror of good back into the world . He desperately wants out of this life, and he wants his people out, and he's trying so hard to make that happen. What I'm interested in seeing is if Baksa becomes a true moral ambiguity between now and the end. Right now, for me, he's not. I know some of my Squee Sisters think that's a failing here but for me, the trajectory is different. I liked him when I thought he was a bad guy - then I was THRILLED that he was a good guy, and I've come to love the character deeply over the course of the show. So imagine now, if he lets me down, how much it will hurt. Maybe I'm a masochist but that's the best kind of pain this show could give me. Make it real, Show. Make me pay a price, too.
kakashi: Yeah, "some of your Squee Sisters", that would be me, right? See, I think I never was as much in love with Baksa as you are. I probably would have fallen in love with a different version of him, though. A much more evil version. But since hardly anybody is with me on this, I'll just go hide in my room and write my own Baksa story for nobody to ever see.
JoAnne: I like how you like the mean side of things. You really loved Ray, didn't you?
kakashi: Oh. Yes, I did. Especially his death scene:
kakashi: Oh man, how off topic!!!!
Shuk: Finally, the two main characters have a (somewhat) face to face conversation. Theses are the only two people who are able to bring the cartel down, so now that they have finally met, we can sweep aside the romance, angst, and emotional crap, and get on to the ass-kicking, let's-get-the-bad-guys, mayhem! And after a long, sweaty day bagging criminals, they should shower together.

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