15 February 2014

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Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 10 (A SqueeCap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on February 15, 2014
kakashi: Hm, interesting. This episode was still made under the old crew (or wasn't it?!), but it does feel like a new chapter. Shanghai is very different from the rural world of Shineuiji, not only visually: it gives off a completely different vibe. The stakes? Much higher. Our hero? Definitely grown up. There's so many new characters that we are introduced to, and new relationships, good ones and bad ones, that we must learn to understand. This is like starting into this drama all over!
JoAnne: It's the drama within the drama!  I'm sad to lose so much of what we loved, but this new stuff looks pretty interesting, too. I don't like the new ending music, though.

Episode 10

kakashi: Gaya arrives at Shanghai station ... and she is welcomed like a Queen by the infamous Yamamoto (Jeong Jin, whom I know from The Princess' Man). But Gaya, the cool cat, walks right past him, without so much as recognizing he is there. Yamamoto is of the thick sort, though ... he doesn't get it. He quickly follows her and offers to lead her around. She turns around, slowly ... and says she heard he hasn't been able to overtake Shanghai yet, right? Might it be because he is a total loser? She talks about the temple (the one with the "railings of death" she scared Shinichi at) and how the losers in Ill Gook Hwae have to go there. He claims to know this already, which earns him a slap (meow): he knows this and he is still such a coward? Luckily for him, there's no cliff here, so he will live - but next time, things will not end as well for him.
JoAnne:  Buuuuuuuuuuuuuurn
JoAnne:  No but seriously, this was seriously ballsy on her part and such a deliberately calculated insult - I was impressed but also a bit worried because that dude is now an enemy. I did like the reaction of the driver/minion - he couldn't believe his eyes.
kakashi: She saunters away. Behind her back, Yamamoto and his minion (name, please? ... I consult asiawiki and alright, this must be Goichi, played by Lim Hyung-Joon) look at each other, and minion runs after her. They want her to take the car, but she declines: the best way to see Shanghai is riding in a rickshaw after all. Goichi says it's dangerous, but to her, that's a turn-on of course, not a reason not to do it.
JoAnne: Gaya understands that in this game with the boys, she's got to go big or go home. Or really, go big or die (it's what Grandpa and Shinichi have been telling her all the time, too!) I'm rooting for her, suddenly. I've never been one of those people who could calculate every move for maximum effect so when I see it, it's cool to me.
kakashi: Also walking the streets of Shanghai (cooool set! and an ethnically diverse crowd), uri Jung-tae. Approaching the very same spot: Gaya. Yamamoto's minion tells her there will be a welcome party for her at Club Shanghai - and they will use it to show who's in charge. She wants to go to the French part of town (Goichi Minion is shocked!) ... and she misses Jung-tae by a few seconds. Yeah, gotta love the KDrama near misses!
JoAnne: I liked how they filmed it and I caught that 'France' bit but somehow thought she didn't mean it literally - 'French' being a euphemism for something else? (Well, the street names are in French in that part, so...) It's going to take a while to settle in to this new world, for me.
kakashi: A girl bumps into Jung-tae ... pick-pocket!!! He realizes pretty quickly though that he has been robbed and follows her. Is that So So (or is it Seo So? Kim Ga-Eun)? She is very happy by the pickings, but marvels at that thing he got from Kungfu Master aka Wang Baek-San. It's a sign of proof, Jung-tae says behind her .... she bolts, but he gets a hold of her quickly. He gets everything back and she has the decency to warn him to be more careful or he will be pick-pocketed a hundred times more. He quickly understands that she could be useful and he gives her some money for getting him a place to stay. 
JoAnne: This girl's a cutie - she was the manicurist with a crush on Puppy in ICHYV. And we know Jung Tae has a soft spot for girls who dress like boys.
kakashi: The Gaya procession has arrived in the French part, it seems, and she orders her bodyguards (where is Shinichi :((( to stay back as she goes in alone. Goichi does his very shocked face again. Black-clad guys with hats and hatchets start following her and approach her from the front. There's at least 40 of them. People scurry of the streets. Gaya is absolutely unimpressed. Is there no one to greet her? she asks (This is one great female character! Thank you, Age of Feeling).
JoAnne: This was very cool and again put me in mind of Heartless City but on a much grander scale. Remember that scene where they're lining up in the street at the warehouse, and Soon-to-Be-Dead Girlfriend is stuck between them?
kakashi: Oh, but there is ... Wang Baek-San. She says a few "pleasantries" about the beauty of this neighborhood, but Baek-san isn't one to orate: he asks whether she covets this? She claims to be only envious, not greedy - and invites him to her party. Not really him, though ... the one she wants to see is Seol Doo-Sung, whom she calls the owner of Shanghai.
JoAnne:  Where is Shinichi? Is she just not even bringing him anywhere with her these days? Where is Dog Nose?  How can she travel without either of her guys?
kakashi: And off to Bangsamtong next. She wants to set two fires, big enough for her to see (I first thought she meant that allegorically, but no, this is literal! Lady Gaya is an arsonist!) (You're right, they mention fires later. That was just kind of weird.) Somewhere in Hwangbang, the owner of Shanghai is playing horsie with a kid (Lang Lang. His kid? His grand child?). Wang Baek-san interrupts them, much to the displeasure of both. In his curt way, Wang informs Seol Doo-sung that Gaya has arrived. I am not quite sure yet what the relationship between these two is, but Seol gets furious when he hears that Wang let Gaya in there that easily and didn't tell him. Seol is insulted ... I am not entirely sure why. Because he wasn't there to greet her? Ah ... so it seems Wang is Seol's Poong-cha.
JoAnne: Yes, and having her, a woman and a member of a rival gang, just walk into their territory - it looks exactly as insulting as Gaya meant it to look. He'll now be forced to respond in like manner when he probably really doesn't want to, or else it will look like he's losing control or has less balls than she does. I do love how she manages to use her womanhood as a weapon, now, when  as a kid she hid her sex to be stronger.
kakashi: Seol, a bit mollified, asks after Jung-tae. Wang thinks he isn't here yet. Bad intel, man. They are weary of Ill Gook Hwae, and then, Seol says that the only one that can save them is Shin Jung-tae. Huh.
JoAnne: Can someone PLEASE just explain to us why Jung Tae is the Neo of this part of Asia?

kakashi: Jung-tae is at the pick-pockets place. It looks like she wants him to stay! Hehe. She cooks Kimchi Jjigae for him - but it costs 2 Won. Haha. That's a total rip-off and he tries to stay strong, but she slurps and awwws and hmmmmms so that he can no longer hold back and puts 2 Won on the table. Oups, price just went up to 3 Won! Lol, cute kid.
JoAnne: How long before she dies?
kakashi: Yamamoto goes to see Gaya (gorgeous room!) - he has "something to say to her" in private. Oups. She knows he must be angry for being belittled, so this is his chance: she is alone and has nothing on her. What is he waiting for? Will he use his sword against her - or will he be her sword? Well, Yamamoto is not as dumb as I thought he was, because he bows down low and kisses her feet. Gaya is one scary chick, yo. But this guy is going to be trouble, that much is clear.
JoAnne: She has ice in her veins, that's for sure.
kakashi: Some really cool camera stuff follows and we're inside Jung-tae's current abode. (Loved that bit myself.) He is asleep, head on a table. When So So leaves and slams the outer door shut, he wakes up. He follows her outside, where she is tying her shoes: so, can she do anything than stealing? Like being a guide to places and a scout? She asks for money again (and gets it) and he asks to be taken to Seolrak. That's the most expensive place in all of Shanghai, apparently.
kakashi: Unabashed, Jung-tae tries to enter, but one of the men at the door stops him. He cannot go in: it's only for members. Out he pulls his little token, uri Jung-tae, which opens doors: he's inside. After waiting a little, he is taken to a room with a steaming tub and new clothes. Not long after, he is in front of his father's shrine, burning incense, maybe praying. Seol and Wang come in; that he isn't crying is seen as a sign of hatred. But Jung-tae says he has come in order to forget about his father.
JoAnne: Appa was so cool, though... I feel sad that we are going to learn about him mostly after his death.
kakashi: Forgetting and erasing memories is a cowardly thing, Seol says - and it will mean he will forget about his hometown ... and his sister. No, never mention his sister! Jung-tae gets angry immediately and raises his voice, but 2nd in command Hwang interferes. There is a short, but very cool fight scene with slow-mo bits. Jung-tae has no chance at all against this guy. It's totally Mo-style, this! Seol continues to say that it is his duty to tell him the truth about his father: follow him.
JoAnne: Loved loved LOVED that little 'now turn your ass around, sonny' gesture at the end.
kakashi: He takes him outside and while they walk the streets, Seol tells him the following: Twenty years ago, there was a war in Shanghai. Hwangbang was cornered by Ill Gook Hwae people. But then, a Joseon Fighter appeared, killed all the Japanese gangsters, and returned Shanghai back to its people. Of course, this person was nobody else but Shin Daddy! After much pressure, he finally asked for a favor: a street. Bangsamtong. It was a terrible neighborhood, but Shin Daddy turned it around, and made this a place of hope. Unfortunately, with Shin Daddy's demise, things are going back to bleak and not-so-nice.
JoAnne: I'm curious why he got involved, since HwangBang is Chinese. Is it that any enemy of Il Gook Hwae is an enemy of his? And why was he IN Shanghai, and not with his family?
kakashi: Eternal revenge trip, that's what he was on
kakashi: They stop in front of a halmoni who is selling food. Seol introduces Jung-tae as son of his father, and the old woman comes up to him, touches his face with shaking hands and then puts a coin into his hand - for his father's death. And then, she shouts across the street that Teacher Shin's son is here. And they all come. **Goosebumps**. All these people thank him, and give him money for his father. I think it slowly dawns on Jung-tae that his father might have been more, much more than what he thought he was.
JoAnne: Every time I watch it, I get goosebumps and teary-eyed. His face as he looks at these people - the wonder and confusion in his eyes. That old woman's voice, her happiness at seeing him... all those old men. It was perfect.
kakashi: Ah, I love this set. A guy named Mang-Chi (Kim Seo-Kyung) goes and tries to wake up Jung Jae-Hwa (Hazel Eyes or Crazy Eyes), who seems to have drunk a bit too much. Mention of Seol doesn't wake him, but when Mang-chi mentions Shin Jung-tae, Jae-hwa sits up ... and they go out to meet them. Hwang immediately steps forward ... it seems he knows that Jae-hwa is a (potential?) threat. He definitely isn't friendly: he tells Seol to eff off. This is Bangsamtong's owner, Seol tells Jung-tae. And he is dreaming of owning all of Shanghai. He also tells him about the party tonight; and gives him an invitation. Jung-tae says he isn't interested, but Seol seems to know differently.
JoAnne: Liked the tension. Liked it a lot.
kakashi: Club Shanghai! Seol arrives ... and he stops Wang from coming with him. But look who is actually coming out to greet him ... it's Gaya! She is surprised he is here, but he says he wanted to see the master's face rather than deal with her underlings. They keep on talking, it's all seemingly friendly, but what it really is is a display of power. She says he will not be in trouble tonight and he enters the club. I am not sure I like this ...
JoAnne: I love how everything they say is really something else.
kakashi: And indeed, Yamamoto is plotting something somewhere with a guy in a brown kimono. It seems he wants to attack Seol and start a war. Just as Jung-tae enters Club Shanghai (give him something nice to wear!), Brown Kimono approaches Seol's table and throws a package to him. Inside, there's a red pig tail. The ultimate insult. It's quite a trap: if he doesn't do anything, he will be considered weak. But if he does react, he will die. But just because one fears death, one cannot be a coward. Seol gets up and tells Brown Kimono - who is ready to pull his sword - that his men will hunt him down and kill him. 
JoAnne:  At first I was like... twigs? No... a TAIL? A TAIL?  They gave him a TAIL?  ...Ok, I guess it's easier than carrying around a horse's head...
kakashi: And then, Jung-tae is next to him, just like that: and he says he'll deal with this. Seol doesn't want him to, but Jung-tae says there is no way he could survive this fight. At that, Brown Kimono pulls his sword and attacks. Awesome. I LOVE that Jung-tae has become a specialist in fighting men with swords.
JoAnne: Well, you live through two of them...
kakashi: Gaya, who is currently NOT at her party, is called back by Goichi. (I thought they were going to have that whole thing be her literally washing her hands of the whole mess...) Her men pull their swords and surround Jung-tae (Brown Kimono is currently on the floor, where he belongs, the rat). Gaya and Jung-tae stare at each other. Then, she faces Brown Kimono and demands to know who ordered him to do this - he tries to commit suicide, but Gaya's man hinders him. She says she will found out who did this and has him led away. In the background, Yamamoto curses under his breath. She then walks over to Seol, to apologize for the unpleasant interlude. Not to worry, Seol says - but let my guy go. He saved my pride, that's all.
JoAnne: Like there was any question of punishing him.
kakashi: Pained, Gaya turns around and looks at Jung-tae again. She orders her men away and says: It's been a long time, Jung-tae. It's been a long time, Gaya, he replies. After the party, they meet again on the corridor. His father is dead, he says. What if it was me that killed him? she replies. Oh. This. This is a (non-)romance that actually has me interested!
JoAnne: She is focused on business, that's for sure.
kakashi: Jung-tae is home ... but the door is locked. He finds a note from So So - she is at the funeral house, come find her for the key! She wants to go drink with him, but he is in a sullen mood. He asks her what her relationship to Shin Daddy was and she says, he was her father. Seems he had many kids when he couldn't even be responsible, is Jung-tae's bitter reply. And smack! She hits him right in the face for the insult. He has no right to talk trash about that person - he was the father of the abandoned and homeless people. He was the one that helped them all. Get lost, she tells him, a person like you has no right to stay at my place.
JoAnne: I take it the news hasn't made it's way to So-So yet. I find that difficult to believe because everyone else at that funeral probably knows by now.
kakashi: At Crazy Eyes headquarters, the guys are delirious over the amount of money they got from Gaya, just for the one night at the Club Shanghai. Why not make it theirs entirely, for much more money? Jae-Hwa asks. But not on Seol's watch ... he is here and he is pissed. Club Shanghai has a meaning for Shanghai and its people and it is not just a place to be rented out by the likes of Jae-hwa. It's a zone of protection. Giving it to the Japanese is some kind of sacrilege. They will make somebody else manager of the club, Seol declares, and walks out.
JoAnne: Interesting. Club Shanghai is a separate thing from BamSongTong.
kakashi: And who will be the new manager? Nobody else but Shin Jung-tae. I DO hope they give him new clothes for this! At his father's public funeral, his new status will be confirmed.
JoAnne: Should be interesting.

kakashi: And look whom we have here ... it's Ok-ryeon! Looking quite different than she used to ... She takes some (I guess) water from a lady (that's Lee Hae-In as female doctor Sun Woo-Jin)(She's a doctor, working in a restaurant/boarding house? - uhm ... I don't really know, I just read somewhere that she's a doctor!) and drives off on her bike ... missing Jung-tae by seconds. He is looking for a room. But the lady doctor spots someone watching from the shadows, so she tells him there is none and to go as long as he still can.
kakashi: Elsewhere, Crazy Eyes is pissed. Like ... THAT much. He tells his underlings to get people ready to guard the street: there is no knowing when Seol's people will attack. Just when he is slapping a guy for fun (eeeeevil man), another underling comes running and tells him that Jung-tae is in their street. Jae-hwa isn't dumb (unfortunately) - he immediately understands why Jung-tae was brought to Shanghai: to dethrone him. Well, maybe not just for that, but never mind! 
JoAnne: Didn't he MEET HIM this morning? Why is it suddenly NOW an issue? I can't remember if he said it was Young Chool's son or not, then, HwangBang Leader.
kakashi: Ok-ryeon is drinking with So So ... and finds out that Jung-tae is in Shanghai. She is desperate to find him. Poor Jung-tae is cold and out on the street ... but he hasn't given up on the doctor yet. A chair will be fine, he says ... it doesn't have to be a room. But Jae-hwa's men are already here. Jung-tae assures them that he isn't here to fight or take anything away from them, but of course, they don't believe him and attack.
kakashi: Of course, Jung-tae is much better than all of Jae-hwa's men combined ... and Jae-hwa himself looks at the fighting from the shadows, surprised, intrigued, awed? But then, Ok-ryeon arrives on her bike and yells to stop. Is he fighting even here? He is very surprised to see her - too surprised. Jae-hwa's men close in again and this time, Jung-tae goes down. But Ok-ryeon runs over and shields him with her body. Out comes lady-doctor and starts throwing boiling water on the men. Jae-hwa interferes. Hm ... is she his love interest?
JoAnne: That's what I was wondering, what's their connection? Does he like her? Is she his sister, maybe?
kakashi: As they walk away, Jae-hwa tells one of his underlings to get him the guy that picks up corpses ... right now.

Comments

kakashi: I will repeat what I said at the very beginning ... this was interesting. For the first time in my KDrama-watching experience, a time jump actually changed a main character, quite considerably. The Jung-tae in Shanghai is not the Jung-tae we knew from back then. That is good, because it's what would happen to a real person, but the new Jung-tae is also much more disillusioned than the "old" one. It will take quite a bit of investment from a variety of people to turn this Jung-tae into what he must become: the true hero of this story. A leader. 
JoAnne: He is different, I agree. For all his hot-headed ways and Daddy issues, younger Jung Tae was a positive, hopeful person. This guy...t his guy's just going through the days. He's still looking for his sister, but even that feels like habit.

kakashi: I will also be honest though and say that I really, really MISS the old, now lost world of Shineuiji, with the Dobi Brotherhood, and the intensity Jung-tae had back then. And maybe I also miss the relative simplicity of that time ... Shanghai? It's complicated, baby. I have little love for Seol so far; he seems honest enough, but he also isn't very endearing. More like an eternally grumpy old man! I want Hwang Bong-shik back!!!! His 2nd in command (and bodyguard?) Wang is also one stiff kinda dude ... loyal, correct, etc., but also not all that lovable (Pooong-cha!!!! I miss you!!!!!!).
JoAnne: Seol must be dealing with some actual insecurity about his ability to hold on to Shanghai, because that's where he gets really prickly; that and his 'image'. I remember back to his visit to Leader Mo, and how he seemed likeable and caring, even fatherly. And we saw him with Lang-Lang, same way.

kakashi: As for Jung Jae-Hwa... hm. He is the most interesting of the new characters. At first, he just seemed like your everyday greedy and treacherous villain and he might be just that ... but still, there seems to be a little more to him that meet's the eye and I really like how Kim Sung-Oh plays him.
JoAnne: Earlier I likened him to Do Ggoo and said these are guys you can't ever discount; they always have something hidden that they can use to save themselves. I really think, though, that this guy won't be as good at that as Do Ggoo was. And I really hope we see Do Ggoo again.

kakashi: From the preview it seemed as if some of the old world characters are coming to the new world with the new Jung-tae, and I really hope that's the case (it could really just be a flashback, too, some old material they still had and haven't yet used.) We need Mo Il-hwa there and we also need Do-ggo there. We need Aoki and we need Shinichi. And if the Dobi made up their mind to visit Shanghai, I wouldn't mind either. As for losing Kim Jae-wook, I'm totally over it. And I wouldn't mind getting rid of Ok-ryeon too while we're at it. I'm also really, really afraid of next week and how this drama will fare with the new writer. Like ... REALLY afraid.
JoAnne: I hate that we all kept saying for weeks this is too good, something will go wrong... and then all this shit happened. Why must we be so smart?  I'm still holding out for more good stuff.  Change is not always bad. Change is not always bad. Change is not always bad.

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