26 January 2014

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Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 3 (Oh, I Definitely Felt That)

Posted by JoAnne on January 26, 2014
JoAnne: Week Two is finally here!  For a drama that isn't about an alien and a wacky actress I am curiously eager to watch these next episodes, and I am already completely enamored of the Dobi Hyungs and Jung Tae with his little Scooby Gang and the mysterious Japanese and the gorgeous scenery and just ALL.OF.IT.EVERY.BIT.OF.IT.  I am mining the whole show. Forget wasting time on any one of ten or twelve handsome men in it (not that they could every be a waste of time, no sir.) But the whole show. Mine.
kakashi: It is surprisingly good. All of it. Which is strange, considering other shows that are currently airing are also good. What happened to KDrama all of a sudden?! I am not sure I can trust this. That is why I watch this show with a sense of foreboding. Also ... several of these wonderful characters will die. I'm crying already.
 Episode 3

JoAnne: We're back to Jung Tae on the bridge. Of course he's going to jump and of course he's going to live, because otherwise where would Kim Hyun Joong be next week? But still, it's nerve-wracking as hell while we wait forever for that boy to surface. It's been several minutes, and everyone on shore has assumed that Jung Tae died on impact. Boss Hwang (I do love him so much) says he doesn't care how many men it takes - find that boy's body. Rock Head is a wreck, and even Dissenting Dobi looks distressed. As he turns to leave, though, Boss Hwang sees Jung Tae down stream - he made it! He staggers out of the water and asks for permission to jump the train, now. SO THRILLING.
kakashi: I love them. So much. I have a small complaint, though: I get that they're all good and honorable etc. But, honestly, these bosses are a bit TOO nice and good and honorable. Sure, I also like Jung-tae, and I get that Boss Hwang sees Poong-cha in him and Poong-cha sees the younger self in him, but ... if they're so nice and good and honorable, they will DIE. 
JoAnne: I was hoping if we didn't mention that...
JoAnne: There's a brief scene at Bool Gam HQ where the boss tells Dog Nose to stop getting himself embarrassed and to be patient - when Dobi Gang least expects, Bool Gam will take them out. (See?? He is after my Poong-cha!!!) Then we're back to the river with a train whistling in the back ground and a pensive Jung Tae talking to his dead mom. We learn a little about his childhood spent waiting for a dad that rarely showed, but mostly it's Jung Tae wanting Mom's blessing and good mojo for his new venture.
kakashi: That's all a bit seen-that-been-there-done-that for me. But I don't mind. Kwak Dong-yeon does pain well.
JoAnne: Gaya is there, too, and approaches Jung Tae by saying it must be reaaaal nice for his mom to see such a grumpy side of him. She softens her sarcasm by confessing that she was at the river when he jumped off the bridge and although she doesn't understand why, she was incredibly nervous until he reappeared in the water. He rightly calls her out on her flirting 'in front of' his mother. They're very cute together, but is he with Ok Ryeon or is that a one-sided thing on her part? I can't tell.
kakashi: Can anybody? Too many women, Jung-tae. Too many women. This is not going to end well.
JoAnne: Gaya returns his salve - her 'reason' for being there - and gets up to leave. Jung Tae pulls her back down next to him in the grass and asks her to watch the sun set before she goes. It's now her turn to accuse him of flirting, and he doesn't even pretend to deny it. The happy little smile on each face as they very carefully do not look at each other break my heart.
kakashi: Yeah. Not going to end well.
JoAnne: The young couple walks home slowly through dark streets, and at the intersection where they must part to go on to their homes Gaya makes a confession. Or two, depending on how you look at it. She says she has no where to go when she's upset, and doesn't know where her own mother is buried - can she visit his sometimes? Of course, he says. He's certain his mother would like that. And then Gaya KISSES him. I know, right? So bold.
kakashi: The question is - and it's an important one - what does she really feel for him?
JoAnne: I' ve been taking her at face value, so far.
JoAnne: Unfortunately, Ok Ryeon sees all of this - and even though Jung Tae's only response to Gaya is stunned paralysis, the poor thing knows what's up. As Gaya turns to go, she passes Ok Ryeon and notes her tear-filled eyes curiously. I think it's only when Jung Tae doesn't hesitate to go after his friend that Gaya realizes perhaps this boy isn't entirely available.
kakashi: There is a certain KDrama law. I'm not saying it has never been broken, but it is the "Law of the First Kiss". The Law of the First Kiss is this: Whoever gets in the first kiss, gets the boy/girl. Pining from afar doesn't cut it. Though ... is a kiss on the cheek enough?
JoAnne: Both girls leave, each upset in their own way. Jung Tae is left alone in the intersection feeling guilty and confused; it's almost comical the way he turns to look back and forth between the two streets where the girls disappeared. Don't be that guy, Jung Tae. Don't confuse them.
kakashi: Ah, but I understand him a bit. The one girl is comfort, is warmth, is a home - and the other girl is danger, is thrill, is adrenaline. Of course, you'd want both.
JoAnne: Daylight, and we get our first really good look at Aka the Assassin, previously known as The Other Japanese Guy. He's enormously tall and broad, he has a freaky eye, and we'll eventually learn that he can't feel pain. I'm terrified and slightly turned on. I also have no idea where he's going or what he's doing.
kakashi: I'm just quietly filing away the "slightly turned on" and choose not to comment at this moment.
JoAnne: Shinichi enters Bool Gam's offices, where Dog Nose is still in considerable pain from his injuries. He knows a lot about Dog Nose's terrible life and he figures that Dog Nose isn't afraid to die - he wants to buy that craziness and have Dog Nose come work for him. Dog Nose can barely sit up but struggles mightly against the pain and makes impassioned threats through his tears, enraged to hear such embarrassing facts about himself. Shinichi just reaches out one finger, presses on Dog Nose's philtrum, and completely incapacitates our Doggie. Is that because of the broken nose or is it the power of Shinichi's general awesomeness/mystery?
kakashi: It's a Ninjutsu technique: pressure points. Believe me, I know. Cause I'm kakashi sensei. Shinichi is too awesome to be healthy for me... And I am also quite intrigued by Dog Nose (not only by his hoarse voice). What's up with him?
JoAnne: I'm so glad you mentioned his voice! I had planned to and then forgot...but I do like it.
JoAnne: On a sunny hillside, Jung Tae, Rock Head, and the nice looking Dobi dude are waiting for an approaching Dobinori. He's clinging to the side of the train like a terrified monkey and I can't imagine how anyone would do this, ever. The three watching encourage him to jump and somehow we know that he's missed the optimal moment - when he does jump, he rolls down the embankment and comes to an abrupt stop, head split open on a pile of rocks. The poor kid is dead before the others reach him, and Dobi dude wastes no time relieving the corpse of his cargo. He explains that the Dobi sometimes carry secret documents that the government mustn't know about (yes! They ARE part of the nationalist movement, I just know it) but also - if the Dobi dies, then the money they were paid comes right back to Dobi Gang. He says this as he smilingly pockets an envelope of cash. Jung Tae is appalled at the callous treatment but Dobi dude lays it out for him straight (along with a swift drubbing): should they lose the goods? What if the money was exactly enough to save Chung Ah? This guy is dead and nothing they do matters to him now, but they have to keep on going. He heads off through the woods, leaving Jung Tae and Rock Head looking at the dead guy with stunned expressions. Jung Tae asks his friend to cry for him, at least, if he dies - since he would do the same - and they trudge off after Dobi dude silently.
kakashi: A strong scene, because we now fully understand just HOW dangerous that stuff is. And Jung-tae understands that there is no room for sentimentality. Also, I finally get why they jump trains: not to steal anything from them, but to travel fast and efficiently. They cannot even smuggle big amounts, so it makes most sense for documents/letters, etc. Later, we hear that the government controls the borders and the ports etc. really well.
JoAnne: Back in the village, Jung Tae's dad (Young Chul) meets with the fortuneteller guy. The conversation is cryptic, and leaves us with more questions than we started with, probably, but Young Chul has come to him (for what?) so that he can finally just be with his kids. They head off somewhere.
kakashi: Yes. I'm a bit underwhelmed by the Daddy-story, but I very much like Daddy. (yes, me too)
JoAnne: A nice looking guy in ragged clothing is picking up trash inside what looks like an abandoned building. Outside what I assume is that same building, Young Chul and the Fortuneteller have another conversation that makes no sense to us since it doesn't, you know, actually SAY anything. Basically, Fortuneteller knows everything and always has, and Young Chul has to kill No Ro and then leave. What was there to know? Who is No Ro? Why must he die? Why does it have to be Young Chul? Not a clue, but we can at least assume No Ro is the guy inside. Also, I'm not sure, but is the guy saying kill him and leave OR pretend you don't know anything, and stay with your kids?
kakashi: We know that the guy inside is Gaya's dad, the guy who is collecting rubbish, because Very Evil Japanese (that's Kim Kap-Soo's character) talked about him that way in the last episode. But his name is not No Ro but Shinjo. Noro is a virus, and it makes you go to the toilet a lot. For the rest ... no clue.
JoAnne: But the Fortune guy did refer to No Ro, whoever that is.  I assumed it was  this guy.  TOO MANY. GUYS.  TOO MANY GUYS.
JoAnne: Back inside the building the one guy is joined by two more, and then a third. They aren't friendly. Oh! He limped! This must be Gaya's dad. Oop! He's got some moves, this dad, and he's got the other three right where he wants them, but then Jung Tae's dad shows up and Gaya's dad looks like he's seen a ghost. He lowers his guard and the other three attack him. Young Chul can't stand for that, though, and orders the others aside. When they protest, he kills one with (quite literally) a twist of his hand. Dude's not even breathing hard. The other two run off, and our two dads move closer. It's very clear that Young Chul is barely holding himself back from killing the man he just saved. Gaya's dad is mostly just embarrassed, and we learn that they used to be friends - or at least comrades - and that Gaya's dad betrayed their group somehow. When Young Chul finally does make a move he begs for time, saying that the assassin will be coming soon. He promises to meet with Young Chul the next night, at midnight, and swears on his daughter's name.
kakashi: Yes, confusing. Fact is: Gaya's dad and Jung-tae's dad have a (sad) past together. Both the Japanese and the Koreans after after Gaya's dad and want his life.
JoAnne: Meanwhile, back at the Dobinori hang out, the guys are grilling meat and drinking liquor when Jung Tae, Rock Head, and Dobi Dude come back from their mission. Boss Hwang asks after their runner, and everyone understands the message in the silence that follows. The boss raises a toast and says he won't be sappy, but even if they live like dogs they don't have to die like them, and if any of them do die before he does, he'll mess them up. Awwwww. He encourages everyone to eat up and says he'll get more if they need it, and the mood lifts as everyone eats and drinks and sings together around the fire. #DobiRules
kakashi: I want to be part of this awesome Dobigang SO MUCH. But no jumping for me, thanks.
JoAnne: At the hospital, Young Chul visits Chung Ah and leaves his sleeping daughter a teddy bear. As he leaves, though, she wakes and runs after him. She gives 'ahjussi' messages to deliver to her father, reassuring him of Jung Tae's love and her own health. Young Chul stands in the hallway for a bit after she returns to her room, overcome with the pain and guilt of the choices that have taken him away from his family for so long - and back in her room, sobbing, I'd say Chung Ah knows full well who he really is.
kakashi: Yes. She does.  My heart: broken.
JoAnne: At the tracks the next day, Jung Tae is digging a grave for the lost Dobi. He's joined by Dobi dude, who shows him the right way to dig a grave. Awww, he's not as cold as he seemed. Resting after, Jung Tae wants to know when he can try jumping the train. The older man tries to explain that he has things to learn, first, but Jung Tae jumps up at the sound of the train whistle - he's going to prove himself right now. Of course he fails, but at least he doesn't die. He gets yelled at by Dobi dude, but Jung Tae's desperation over Chung Ah's situation reaches him, all the same.
kakashi: He's a little bit of an idio-hothead, uri Jung-tae, but the drama did a fairly good job in showing his mounting desperation and the sense of doom over his head; his sister is dying and there is no time.
JoAnne: Gaya shows up at the gibang with a case full of make up to sell, but she's stopped by the feisty little maid, Mal Sook. Not for long though, since Mal Sook is easily silenced by some face cream. Inside, the gisaengs exclaim over the price of the face powder. As a selling point, Gaya points out that the facial cream contains lead and will rot their faces. Ok Ryeon has been watching from the doorway and says it's true, and the look Mal Sook throws Gaya is so outraged that I laugh. Gaya looks at Ok Ryeon curiously, and we cut to the two girls outside. Ok Ryeon tries to warn Gaya off Jung Tae, but Gaya wants to know who she is to even make that demand. Shocked, Ok Ryeon slaps Gaya. Gaya slaps right back and drives Ok Ryeon to her knees. When Ok Ryeon tries to hit her again, Gaya grabs her wrist and warns her to cut the crap. She says it's not like that between her and Jung Tae anyway, but when Ok Ryeon demands to know about the kiss, Gaya stumbles, at a loss for words. She starts to explain, but we don't hear it because Mal Sook, watching from the sidelines, warns the girls that Ok Ryeon's mother is approaching.
kakashi: And this is the scene in which it becomes absolutely clear that these two women can never ever be friends. 
JoAnne: The girls put up a good front of friendship, but a bloody nose on one and a cut lip on the other don't escape the older woman, and she warns them to stop fighting before she leaves. Mal Sook and Ok Ryeon freak out at the sight of the blood, but Gaya rolls her eyes in disgust and shoves a handkerchief in Ok Ryeon's face before she leaves. I really hope we get at least a little time for these girls to be frenemies before they grow up and begin serious love triangle business.
kakashi: no.
JoAnne: At home, Gaya's dad puts together some papers with a photo of him, his wife, and baby Gaya. We can see that now that mom is Japanese. Behind him, the door slides open and Aka appears. Gulp. This guy is big and he is terrifying. 'It's time for you to die, Shin Jo.' he says.
kakashi: I always assumed Gaya's dad was also Japanese (because of his name and Gaya's name), but now I'm not sure anymore. It would kinda help if the Japanese spoke Japanese and not Korean.
JoAnne: So far, the Japanese just wear Japanese clothes. Which is helpful, but at a distance I confuse Aka and Shinichi. Also...Shin Jo sounds Korean to me?
kakashi: Full name: Shinjo Deguchi. Definitely Japanese. 
JoAnne: Shin Jo tries to get him to go outside to the bamboo grove, where even now Young Chul is arriving for their appointed meeting. But Aka says that it's up to him where and when Shin Jo dies, and right here is fine. While he waits, Young Chul thinks back to the night when he discovered all his comrades dead in their hangout. Outside, he'd passed a group of Japanese men and then Shin Jo, who ran off as soon as Young Chul saw him.
kakashi: So, Shinjo is a traitor to the Korean cause? Or a double agent?
JoAnne: Shin Jo is late now, and Young Chul heads off to the house to find him. Inside, Shin Jo is getting himself thrown around the place like so much confetti. Aka is so tall he has to duck to pass through the door he just tossed Shin Jo through. Why is his eye like that? It really is scary. Is it a glass eye, or is it a cataract with just a tiny bit of his iris not covered over?
kakashi: Maybe it's a Sharingan! (I had to google.. not into the anime thing) (duh. so you talk to me every day but do not know who I am?!)
JoAnne: Somewhere else, Jung Tae exits a building and Gaya approaches. This girl is a straight out stalker, I guess. She's always whereever Jung Tae is. She apologizes for the night before, saying she doesn't know why she did it and won't do it again. She 'doesn't want to be the cause of trouble between you and her' - the words of every home wrecker ever, though. When she turns to go, Jung Tae stops her by grabbing her arm. Ohhhh, Jung Tae...you are going to be that guy, aren't you. Dammit.
kakashi: I'm much more into Gaya than Bobby Sox, too. Bobby Soy: boooooooooring. Gaya: hoooooooooooot.
JoAnne: He offers to walk her home. To the home where her father is currently getting his ass handed to him by Freakazoid Aka the Assassin. Dad's got some moves and they both land blows - we watch (me in horror) as Aka calmly pulls a knife buried to the hilt from between his ribs - but we know Dad's going down. This guy is the Terminator. Be proud I came, says Aka. Since it was me, it means you were that strong. Dad just wants him to promise that he won't touch Gaya. Aka gives a non-answer, responding that he just kills, and then he stabs Shin Jo once more in the stomach before he leaves. Dad's not dead, but he is dying, and I remember hearing that stomach wounds are very, very painful.
kakashi: Such a freaking psycho!
JoAnne: When Young Chul arrives, Aka is gone. Shin Jo is not quite dead, though, and he groans that he wanted to die by Young Chul's hand, feeling that was the only way to atone for the sin of having sold out his comrades in the name of love. He asks Young Chul to finish him off, which Young Chul does. Shin Jo identifies Aka as the assassin, and Young Chul promises to kill him. Shin Jo thanks him with his final breath, and Young Chul looks as though he might be crying, a little bit. I always thought these two had an odd mix of emotions toward each other - a fair amount of love in with the hate and regret.
kakashi: Yup, former besties, turned enemies by the awful circumstances of war. 
 
JoAnne: Gaya and Jung Tae reach her house and say good night. Gathering up her courage, Gaya suggests going to a movie and in response Jung Tae swoops in for a kiss, so I guess he's decided to give Ok Ryeon the boot. If he ever was officially anything with her, that is. I never could tell that, but it was obvious from the start that Gaya rocked him in a way that Ok Ryeon didn't.
kakashi: Ah, just let them be happy for a few seconds, JoAnne.
JoAnne: Tongue-tied and happy, Gaya heads into the house. Jung Tae stands there in the street smiling for a second, so he's right there when he hears her scream. He rushes in to find his father standing over her father's dead body. Gaya is huddled against the wall looking terrified, but that's nothing compared to the look on her face when Jung Tae sputters out 'A-a-abeoji?' Guess they won't be seeing that movie anytime soon.
kakashi: In such moments, I always think: which assassin would stand around dumbfounded like that? It's crystal clear it wasn't him.
JoAnne: Gaya kneels near her father, crying piteously and touching his face, but very quickly her expression changes. She grabs one of the knives and leaps at Young Chul, who stops her and tries to explain that it's not what she thinks. She begs him to kill her too and vows that if he doesn't, even if he hides in hell she will find him and kill him. He tries again to explain but she's so crazed he has to knock her out to subdue her.
kakashi: She does have a death-wish indeed, this one. And she is quite a bit crazy. Very interesting female character.
JoAnne: Young Chul tells Jung Tae to watch over her - the assassin can't have been gone long and he will try to find him. Jung Tae warns him that if he tries to run away this time, that's the end for them. Young Chul heads out and Jung Tae is watching over Gaya's sleeping body when he hears a noise in the outer room. It's Shinichi!
kakashi: Oh. Hi there. *smiles enamoured*.
JoAnne: Jung Tae demands to know who Shinichi and Shinichi simply responds with 'I saw you once. You were a born fighter.' when Jung Tae demands his name again, Shinichi says that he will remove all the evidence, and that Jung Tae is part of that evidence. Jung Tae insists that no one will touch her father without Gaya's permission, and that HE will be protecting Gaya. Shinichi says 'show me what you got, boy' and then proceeds to disable Jung Tae in about 30 seconds flat. Gasping with pain, Jung Tae insists that Shinichi not hurt Gaya. Shinichi responds that Jung Tae misunderstands - he would never hurt Gaya, ever. He raises his sword to kill Jung Tae and Gaya rushes in to stop him. Shinichi responds that Jung Tae saw his face, so he has to die and then - Holy crap. Gaya says 'I'll kill him. I'll kill them both. I will kill the father in front of the son, and the son in front of the father.' Damn. Where did that come from? Jung Tae passes out just as Gaya tells him to stay alive until she can kill him.
kakashi: What a mess!

Comments:

JoAnne: Well I don't know about this sudden about face in Gaya. It feels very abrupt, like - where was all that hiding before? She was tomboyish girl but not a killer, and even if Jung Tae's dad DID kill her father, why does that translate into her killing Jung Tae? The guy she just asked out to a movie?
kakashi: I thought about it a bit, because it bugged me (it was WAY too sudden), and this is what I came up with. She said it to save Jung-tae's life: If she hadn't intervened, Shinichi would have killed him. But for whatever reason, she knows that Shinichi is absolutely devoted to her (does she know him? from when?) and obeys her. Anything else doesn't make sense. She knows it might be Jung-tae's dad - but she also has doubts that it was. 
JoAnne: I considered that, but she seemed sincere in her desire to kill Jung Tae. Is she that good of an actress? Not the actress herself because yes...but the girl the actress is playing.  She met Shinichi when he saved her from that gang that wanted to beat her up and that's the other thing bugging me, but we mostly don't see it in full effect until the next episode so I'm saving it for then.

JoAnne: For the rest of it, this drama continues to thrill and delight me. Getting my head wrapped around the cast is a bit of a challenge and will apparently continue to be so as they continue to introduce new characters, but I'm dying to find out how they all connect and on every level, this show just pleases me. Good acting, great cinematography, I even love the background music! The tiny niggling doubt of worry for when the adult actors show up is there, but I like the story so much (so far) that even if they turn out to be just serviceable, as long as the story doesn't go crazy I'm going to love this until the end.
kakashi: Yup, me too. In fact, I am quite certain that the adult leads will not be as good as the teens, at least in two cases ... but let's go with it and take this drama for what it is! One thing I am very happy about is that it is based on a manhwa. That means it has a good, solid story as basis - and the writers cannot suddenly go into crazy territory (or at least not as easily as with other dramas).

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