08 February 2014

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Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 7 (A SqueeCap)

Posted by JoAnne on February 08, 2014
JoAnne: I don't know about you, but I could not WAIT for it to be Wednesday. I watched this episode for the first time when it was at about 1% subbed, which means every time someone entered a room and said hello, they put that sub on the screen. kakashi: Yes, I watch this raw, of course. That either means I really, really like a show, or it means I really, really hate a show. When I really, really like a show, I watch it once raw, once subbed, and once to do gifs and screencaps. when I really, really hate a show, I watch raw AND fast forward to be exposed to it as little as possible.
JoAnne: And then I wrote what you will see is a book, because I couldn't bear to skim over anything. Sorry. Not really.
kakashi: When JoAnne writes a book-length SqueeCap, it's either because she is delirious with fever (happened last year with an epic Heirs recap) or because she's delirious with love. (It's love.)
EPISODE 7

JoAnne: We open in the dark warehouse where Jung Tae was lured by promises of kidnapped children to save. Our hero is nearly blind from the bright headlights shining in his face, and he's surrounded by 8-10 men with sticks and pipes. When asked to confirm his identity he basically says 'Yep, and you aren't ever going to forget it, either.' Serious balls on this guy. He makes short work of most of them but Jung Tae takes a brutal beating all the same.
kakashi: Guy doesn't even flinch. Respect, bro.
JoAnne: At the end of the fight, the leader steps in and says to our staggering, bloody, dazed hero that 'They told me to get as many guys as possible to go after one guy. I thought they were bullshitting, but I'm glad I paid attention to them or else we'd have been in trouble!'  Jung Tae just wants to know who hired them but the leader refuses to say, and the three men left standing move in for a final attack - which we don't see.
kakashi: Meet Jung-tae, the zombie-vampire (see below)
JoAnne: Ok Ryeon is standing outside of the restaurant, waiting for Jung Tae. Even after it closes, she stands there waiting. Like her, we know that because he promised to do it Jung Tae will show up eventually. And he does, on his last legs. We watch him crawl out of the warehouse and stagger through the streets across town, only collapsing as he finally rounds the corner and sees Ok Ryeon.
kakashi: It was about then when I realized that watching this drama will be goddamn hard. They're going to break our hearts, JoAnne, into little tiny pieces. Then, they will take each piece and put a nail through it. Then, the pieces will be eaten by a crazy dog or something.
JoAnne: She immediately forgets any anger she might be feeling as she takes in the extent of his injuries, and I am heartened by his devotion to her, which is genuine. She doesn't come first - every at risk kid in Asia does - but she matters to him very much. Sadly, I'm not sure it's enough to matter very much to someone when you want them to love you. Oh well, such is the lot of a hero's girlfriend. Still, while she cries in a panic over the blood and the wounds, his concern is for her who waited in the cold, and at the sight of his hand scrabbling in his pocket, trying to find the ring he bought her... oof, it got me. No wonder this girl hangs in there.
kakashi: Let's discuss this romance for a bit. I don't care much about it, to be honest, because this drama is about so much more (and so much better stuff). Still. There is something here that surprisingly works for me, cause it's different (and I'm totally into different lately, to be honest, because the same-same of KDrama has completely lost my interest). This romance, if we want to call it that, is absolutely heart breaking, because he really wants to be that guy for her, but he really can't. The more he tries, the sadder it becomes. He fails and fails again and every time he does, he feels more guilty.  (Exactly right.)
JoAnne: Next day, Dobi House. Boss Hwang is building his matchstick tower again and when Rock Head bursts in, Poong Cha motions him to be silent. Things don't seem as happy-go-lucky as before, when Poong Cha felt free to knock down earlier towers. Rock Head has come with confirmation that Jung Tae didn't recognize any of the men who attacked him, and they seemed to have come from PyeongYang.
kakashi: My beloved Dobi .... my heart is heavy when I see you. There is a doom cloud over your heads ... 
JoAnne: Back at the Apothecary, Ok Ryeon tends to Jung Tae's wounds. He's suffering from a fever or is perhaps shaking from the pain but he is conscious, and while Ok Ryeon is struggling to reposition him he grabs her hand and massages it tenderly. "I'm sorry," he says. "Ok Ryeon, I'm sorry." She leans down and kisses his cheek. When she moves away, he reaches up to stroke her face and then he pulls her down for a real kiss. It's tender but very passionate. The entire scene is lovely both visually and as a means of character development. I am glad to realize that he DID know who he was kissing...because my first time viewing without subs, I wasn't so sure.
kakashi: Yes ... lovely. Though I couldn't help thinking "who would want to kiss anybody in that state? It must hurt like hell!" (yeah, not a romantic) (No, even in the face of those pecs, I wondered the same thing.)
JoAnne: Bool Gam and his idiot side kick are walking down the street (why does the idiot wear a bowl around his neck?) when they catch sight of Poong Cha waiting for them. He thinks they were involved in Jung Tae's beating because they have connections to the 'wagon boys' in PyeongYang. Bool Gam takes offense at this: he never borrows outside help, and even if he's been humiliated by Poong Cha twice, that doesn't mean he's reckless. Poong Cha just tells him to admit it so they can move on, and a crowd begins to gather.
kakashi: Oh, goosebumps. How can these actors be better and better every week? 
JoAnne: Bool Gam is willing to fight for his honor. Ddok Goo has joined the crowd and hides his face, wondering why they would be arguing. Poong Cha settles it quickly by soundly beating the other man, but it does appear that if it were anyone other than a Dobi, Bool Gam would be the victor. That must be hard for him to accept, that he's always second to them. Poong Cha's parting words are that if he finds out the beating WAS instigated by Bool Gam or Ddok Goo, he'll return, and then Bool Gam will die. After Poong Cha leaves, Bool Gam tells the idiot to get Ddok Goo...
kakashi: It's interesting that this scene changed my view of Bool Gam considerably. I always thought he was just a scumbag. But he isn't. He lives by the same or at least a very similar code of honor as do the Dobis.  
JoAnne:  You're right; this is where I realized he wasn't a caricature; he might be a brutal thug but he has a code of honor and  the truth matters to him.
JoAnne: ...who is back in the office and on the phone, trying to find out what happened. Was Jung Tae supposed to die? That wouldn't have prevented what's happening now. Was he not supposed to be beaten so badly? I'm confused. Idiot arrives to bring him to Bool Gam. He seems sorry to have to do it, though. Ddok Goo tries to play it off like he doesn't understand the situation, but Bool Gam knows bullshit when he sees it and understands that Ddok Goo was behind the attack on Jung Tae. He apologizes - sincerely? not? - and tells Ddok Goo that today, he just has to take a few hits and to accept it. Ddok Goo seems genuinely afraid of Bool Gam throughout the entire scene. I know he said that to Shinichi but somehow, I didn't really believe it until now.
kakashi: It almost hurts me having to point out tiny little plot holes in a show that is so stunningly beautiful and amazingly good, but the beat-up at the warehouse makes little sense. Shinichi's orders were crystal clear: bring Jung-tae to me, for a fight. Why the hell does Dog Nose do something so stupid? Yeah, we know Dog Nose doesn't particularly like Jung-tae (understatement), but still ... I also don't "get" Dog Nose, not at all, and I'm not sure whether that's intentional or because of bad writing. What motivates him? What does he want? I was under the impression that a lot of the fear we saw was a play-act, i.e. to lull Shinichi, but now it seems it wasn't?
JoAnne: Back at the Apothecary, Ok Ryeon is scrubbing bandages next to a sleeping (shirtless!) Jung Tae, who begins to mutter restlessly. 'I'm sorry, Gaya. I'm sorry. I'll apologize.' Ok Ryeon looks at him with tear-filled, disbelieving eyes. At first watch, I will admit that this is what made me think his earlier sweetness was actually him hallucinating that Gaya was there, and Ok Ryeon now realizing it wasn't meant for her. I'm so glad it wasn't the case... that would have been too painful.
kakashi: I think she looks at him that way because A) he is thinking of another woman in his sleep, B) she realizes that the Jung-tae - Gaya relationship is something way beyond guy-girl attraction and C) because she now understands that Gaya is a threat to him.  
JoAnne: Mal Sook comes by to check on her friend and Ok Ryeon takes advantage of this to rush out and pay a visit to Gaya. In one of those perfect moments that this show is so good about giving us, Mal Sook stares at Jung Tae's bare (and very well-developed!) chest and exclaims over 'that body'. After a quick check to make sure no one is in the hall and that Jung Tae is sleeping, she tentatively touches one pec with a finger (which she first licks clean.) Jung Tae stirs in his sleep and she chastises herself, but then can't resist and reaches out again - to put both open palms flat against his nipples! She squeals and flees the room. With you girl. With you. WITH.YOU. And how did Kim Hyun Joong not double over in laughter at that scene? I'll tell you why. Because he is an actor man now, beetches.
kakashi: O M G. Haha, show! Really?!Where did THAT come from?! hahahaha.
JoAnne: Meanwhile, over at Gaya's, Ok Ryeon stands motionless while Gaya sips tea and comments about the fleeting nature of its taste. There's a low table and a tea cup before Ok Ryeon, making it clear that she is not there for a social call and doesn't care to waste time on niceties. Jung Tae is still alive, she says. Ohhh, she thinks Gaya instigated the beating. Here I thought it was jealousy drove her to the other woman's territory. Gaya has no idea what's going on, of course, and satisfied with that, Ok Ryeon turns to leave. But Gaya is very upset to know that something happened to Jung Tae, and this angers Ok Ryeon. She doesn't know why Jung Tae 'owes' Gaya, but she does know this: Debt is the start of evil doings, you can't make a man love you out of obligation (hmm, Ok Ryeon...let's revisit that later, k?), and Gaya should not have any plans to embed herself in Jung Tae's heart by taking advantage of his emotional scars. The school girl in pink flounces off after she says her piece to the mysterious woman in the kimono. Sigh.
kakashi: It amazes me, but I like both women. Usually, I have a very hard time liking ANY of the women in KDrama. One is still innocent and pure, while the other has been trained as a killer. One is soft and one is hard, but there is a lot of hardness in the soft one and a lot of softness in the hard one. Intriguing.
JoAnne: Shinichi is sighing over a photo of himself (awwwww, my baby ....) and Ryoko when he was a boy when Gaya slams his door open. He hurries to hide the picture and rushes to stand in front of her. She wants to know why he did 'it', and at first he claims ignorance. 'Shin Jung Tae!' she says. 'No matter for whom, I told you not to do anything! I don't care about him. I have forgotten him!' Shinichi responds that there is no anger for someone who is not important, and there are no tears for someone who is forgotten, and that she should just accept that forgotten person's death. Ohhhhh, she says, but that's the thing: Shin Jung Tae did not die (again ... did he actually order him to die?! I don't get it). And Shinichi should know this: she no longer trusts him. Gaya storms off, and Shinichi looks floored/worried/surprised - I loved it. He can be thrown off balance!
kakashi: Yes, I loved it, but I also hated it. All these character that I love are so vulnerable! 
JoAnne: Jung Tae settles himself carefully into a chair at Dobi Central. The hyungs chastise him for being out of bed and Jung Tae says he didn't want to worry them. Worry? Big Softy Hwang reminds him he is lucky to be alive, and Total Sweetheart Poong Cha says it was either Bool Gam or Ddok Goo and he is going to figure it out.
JoAnne: Rock Head and The Dobi We Like are outside working on a truck when Bool Gam drags Ddok Goo into the yard, looking a bit worse for the wear. Once they're allowed into the building, Bool Gam throws Ddok Goo to the ground and orders him to kneel. Ddok Goo looks at him, shocked, and Bool Gam shouts at him: Kneel, bastard! Ddok Goo goes down looking like he can't believe what's happening.
kakashi: Very interesting dynamics and emotions between these two characters. I don't get it, but it's interesting. And I do wonder what's wrong with me, but I feel sorry for Dog Nose, every single time he does that face. (me too)
JoAnne: I couldn't bear to kill him myself, Bool Gam explains, so just beat him up in front of me. Poong Cha reacts angrily, calling Ddok Goo a bastard, but Boss Hwang squats before Ddok Goo and asks him quietly if this was his doing. Bool Gam orders him to lower his head even further and respond. Ddok Goo has that dead man's stare in his eyes and he's shaking from humiliation and rage, but he answers truthfully that yes, it was him. Boss Hwang looks sad and thoughtful. Well he always looks sad and thoughtful, but now it's even more sad and more thoughtful. And now Poong Cha is looking sad and thoughtful too, and Jung Tae is looking shocked. I do so love those Dobi Boys. They're the best kind of criminals.
kakashi: JoAnne, I love them so much ... what am I going to do?! 
JoAnne:  We're going to be stronger women at the end of this, with a much higher tolerance for tequila.
JoAnne: Bool Gam goes on to say that he knows they all agreed not to use outside help, and his 'side' broke the agreement first - so he has nothing he can say even if they kill Ddok Goo in front of him but - he visibly swallows his pride - for the sake of his reputation, won't they reconsider that? I think Ddok Goo is hurt/surprised that Bool Gam cares more for his reputation than for his gang member. Boss Hwang leaves it up to Jung Tae, but our boy knows there was someone behind Ddok Goo. The news clearly surprises Bool Gam and the fact that Jung Tae realizes this seems to worry Ddok Goo.
kakashi: Jung-tae is cool. High-five. 
JoAnne: Ok Ryeon's mother notices her daughter's subdued appearance as she arrives at home: she asks about Jung Tae and is told that he's up and running around now. 'What about dinner?' she asks Ok Ryeon. 'I don't care if he eats or not.' comes the reply, but mama meant her daughter. The look on Ok Ryeon's face is enough for the mother to know that her baby girl doesn't care about herself, either. It dawned on me just now that with confirmation that Gaya didn't know about the attack, Ok Ryeon would be left to wonder what, exactly, Jung Tae was apologizing for so fervently in his sleep. Poor kid.
kakashi: This, again, is why this "romance" is interesting. Gaya puts in so much of herself, again and again, and she is disappointed, again and again. But she cannot keep away. I don't think this is going to end well.  
JoAnne: Poor girl, that long drive through the snow wore you out?  Or my epic-length missive has...I think you mean Ok Ryeon although in truth, Gaya does put herself out there a bit, as we come to see. I will say that I have respect for Ok Ryeon; she  has strength.
kakashi: Oupsie. Gawd, all those names ....
JoAnne: Jung Tae arrives home where Ok Ryeon's mother is waiting for him. The gisaeng comments on the decrepit condition of the house but it doesn't come across meanly at all. She reminds Jung Tae that a home needs a constant human touch to last, and then says she lives with one memory: Ok Ryeon's deceased father. She remembers even the back of his feet, since that is all she has left. She begs Jung Tae not to make her daughter live like that. Jung Tae clearly regrets that he causes Ok Ryeon such pain and her mother such worry, but we don't see him respond.
kakashi: Since the boy is smart, he knows exactly what her mother is saying. And he knows it's true. He IS that guy: the one that dies early and leaves behind their heart broken family.
JoAnne: A government official gives Evil Overload a sketch of the man suspected of the earlier assassination and instructs him to return to Joseon. EO deflects the criticism that he should have taken care of 'those pesky bugs' earlier with a claim to be simply an old man in a back room now. This is a negotiating tactic and the conversation goes back and forth, ending with the Government Dude saying this, essentially: I brought you into this world, and I can take you back out again.' It does not appear that Evil Overlord agrees with this: that man received his Foreign Secretary position as a result of Evil's bloody sword, and what's a little more blood between friends? Government Dude rages that Evil dares threaten his life, but Evil calmly replies that he has no choice when Government Dude threatens HIS, and points out that the one with more to lose WILL lose, here. Does Government Dude really want that? Evil Overlord: 1; Government Dude: 0.
kakashi: This is really bad, people. I'm even crushing over the grandpas in this drama. 
 
JoAnne: Meanwhile, back at the ranch gibang, Freedom Fighter pauses outside the wall and makes to light a cigarette, only to have a lighter thrust into his face. Held by Aoki, who is somehow crazily 900% hotter than Cutie Soo ever was. In way more words than this, Aoki lets the old guy know that he's on to him. The old guy insults Aoki neatly, but is prevented from leaving by a hand to the chest. This inspires a quick, silent round of martial arts arm movements which make me think they look pretty evenly matched but seem to alarm the older man a bit. They weren't fighting so much as doing shadow puppet moves of a fight, somehow. Aoki looks 900% hotter than he did at the beginning of the scene and smiles the world's loveliest evil smile, saying that he thinks they'll be seeing more of each other. He leaves, with the older man staring after him in concern.
kakashi: Hot damn, JoAnne. We need another Cutie Soo post. I just died a little. 
Look! (He's a beauty, it's true.)
 
JoAnne: Gaya, dressed in civvies, sneaks out of Il Ghuk Hwe House under dark of night. Shinichi listens to her go with a pained/concerned look on his face. I guess they didn't pay attention to young Gaya's instructions to burn her house to the ground three years ago, because here she is to reminisce. If you had any doubts, she does NOT hate Jung Tae, and she misses her father dreadfully.
kakashi: Shinichi seems to really, sincerely and very much worry about her. But is it just his bodyguardly duty - or maybe more? 
JoAnne: Soo Ok is waiting outside the gibang when Ok Ryeon comes out. He's charming and funny and dressed in the palest of pale pink suits. How long can Ok Ryeon resist this polar opposite of Jung Tae? He chides her for missing her lessons and says she owes him six hours. Starting now. Big innocent smile as he takes her hand and says he won't hurt her. (Ohh, Kim Jae Wook: we do all love you, you know. This is overkill.)
kakashi: Ah, such a sleaze-ball. I don't find him charming at all, I'd really like to kick him somewhere where it hurts! I do not like this character (yet). 
JoAnne: They're at the noodle house, empty but for them and the sleeping ahjumma in the corner. Soo Ok is slurping away but Ok Ryeon sits silently. He wants to know why she's not eating and she starts to complain that she's tired, but he's forcing her to sit there. 'I don't eat with just anyone,' he interrupts. 'No, really. The last time I ate with someone was about 20 years ago. In Japan, I ate alone in a corner. Shit, I guess it just became a habit.' His face falls. 'Eating out of steel bowls with foreheads together...I was jealous.' He sighs shakily. 'It was hard.' (KJW! Have some mercy, please.)
kakashi: I know, you don't like your guys all noodle-y. You like them a bit harder! (I make a bit of an exception for KJW, handsomest of the aliens.)
JoAnne: Ok Ryeon stares at him, and Soo Ok (are there tears in his eyes) wonders aloud if he was too descriptive, but even so he sees no sign of any empathy from her. He begins to slurp his soup again, and she gives a small smile. She'll empathize with him, she says, and gets up from the table to sneak into the kitchen and pull together ingredients. Soo Ok watches in wonder as she returns to the table and stirs up a big bowl of bibimbap and chastises him that he shouldn't make life so hard. If he has time to flirt with girls, he has time to make friends. The way to make friends is to be by their side, not to tell sad stories. Finished stirring, she places the bowl in the middle of the table and pushes aside the soup. One spoon at a time, she instructs Soo Ok. If you move your head from mine, it's game over. She winks toward the bowl and a grinning Soo Ok digs in. They are freaking adorable, and there is NO WAY he is pretending to be crazy about this girl. Also important: when Kim Jae Wook smiles deeply, he has a big dimple on his right side. It is now my life's goal to make that dimple appear.
kakashi: Yeah, okay, this show is really clever, isn't it? Boom, show us his sensitive side! kakashi swoons. Okay, I like this character too. I am glad he has found a friend as awesome as Bobby Sox.  
JoAnne: Gaya returns home to find Shinichi standing outside her door perfectly positioned for me to admire his crazy beautiful hairline (OMG how can a guy be this beautiful?!). He reminds Gaya that where she goes, he must too, her constant shadow. 'There's no room for a person in a shadow,' Gaya says. 'If I take a step, you take a step.' Shinichi's response (have I ever mentioned that I am absolutely enamoured of his voice?) is interrupted by the appearance of a beautifully suited Aoki, now 900% hotter than when we saw him at the end of the scene with the freedom fighter, where he was ALREADY 1800% hotter than he was as Cutie Soo. Will it ever stop?
kakashi: He will be as hot as the sun and we will all BURN. (In this moment, down there in the navy suit...I actually thought this: Baksa who?)
JoAnne: The three have tea while Aoki brings Gaya up to speed. He's closed all the borders so there's no getting through at DanDong. All the smugglers in Shinijui are being rounded up. Gaya responds that Leader Mo must be getting frustrated, but Aoki says with him in charge, it couldn't be any other way. Shinichi tries to be a wet blanket and reminds Aoki that Dobinori is the only gang that matters. Aoki responds with the polite early 20th century version of 'Bro, I got that.' They're going to insist upon 100% inspection of all trains. Dobi is going down.
kakashi: noooooooooo! Not my Dobi ..... 
JoAnne: Gaya surprises both men a little bit when she interrupts to say that no, SHE will handle Dobi, thankyouverymuch. Aoki simply tells her to hurry then, because Dobi has to be out of the way in order for them to move forward with the opium distribution. Huh? Just dropping in drugs like we all knew about it already.
kakashi: Evil people always deal drugs. Sometimes also the good ones. Remember Heartless City? (still)
JoAnne: (EEEE, I loved this part.) Aoki is curious about something. Is it ok to ask? he looks at Shinichi. 'Gaya - can you protect her?' One steely glare is met by another. 'I'll respond,' says Shinichi. 'One: maintain proper decorum and respect when speaking of the Princess. Two: do not insult me.' And now I'll respond, says Aoki. 'One: I'm the son of the organization, so I don't have to. But you DO have to show respect to ME. Two: If you felt insulted, why are you sitting still?' (Basically: 'Bitch, please. Come at me, then.' I cackle in glee.)
kakashi: OMfG this was SO GOOD! Like watching two predators circle each other, each testing the other one out, looking for weaknesses and totally ready to go in for the kill. But while we know that Shinichi has weaknesses and emotions, we still need to see that with Aoki. What a scary bastard.
JoAnne: Gaya interjects that Shinichi hasn't made a move because she hasn't given him instruction to do so, but Aoki responds that a sword that doesn't react to insults is like a wilted flower. Gaya wants to know if Aoki has a reason to want to fight with Shinichi, and he replies that he just wants to know if that famous sword can actually protect her. The sword in question responds that the reason he hasn't moved is NOT because Gaya hasn't given him permission. It's because a bodyguard doesn't move unless the body it protects is in danger. 'Try hurting one hair on her head,' he says. 'You'll die that moment.' (It's not just me feeling massive loads of sexual tension and testosterone coming off the screen, right? These men have immense sexual chemistry... with each other.)
kakashi: I'll be back in a few. Need to go breathe.
JoAnne: Gaya ends the evening by saying 'Well, THIS was fun. I think I'll pass, next time.' I die laughing. The two men continue to undress each other with their eyes as she leaves the room. Perhaps a little camping in the mountains, boys?
kakashi: LOVE IT. But ... why exactly do they hate each other so? And ... who'd have thought that Cutie can be such a bitch?! 
JoAnne:  I think they are rivals for control of Gaya.
JoAnne: Bool Gam is walking alone through the town. He takes a deep breath and then enters some sort of establishment. Inside, Shinichi is eating a meal while Dog Nose kneels in the corner. Ah ha, I knew it! Dog Nose was supposed to bring Shin Jung Tae to Shinichi, NOT arrange to have him beaten to death. Back then, he said to Dog Nose 'Bring Jung Tae to fight.' I thought he meant to fight himself, but then I assumed I was wrong when that's not what happened. DDok Goo apologizes. Shinichi responds that shabby work soon leads to death. When the kneeling man agrees that he deserves death and begs for another chance, Shinichi looks at him with crazier eyes than Aka and says 'If you deserve to die, shouldn't you just die?' Hmm. I'm revising my impression of Shinichi, lately. He seemed silent, noble, Yoda-like. Maybe not.
kakashi: I think he is slowly going insane. Maybe he can be saved? From the darkness? PS: like very much how they lit his face.
JoAnne: The lighting director is a freaking genius. That scene where Bool Gam interrogates Ddok Goo? I wrote a whole paragraph then erased it as overkill. Go back and watch that.
JoAnne: In Japan, Shinichi says, they wash away their sins by committing hari kiri. But here, you just ask for another chance. 'That's how you ended up this way.' Meaning: subservient dogs to Japanese masters. The door slides open with a bang. 'Like stabbing yourself in the stomach is such a great thing!' says Bool Gam. Ddok Gu is panicked. 'Please leave, Hyungnim,' he begs Bool Gam. 'You just keep your ass on the ground there, ' Bool Gam replies. He turns his attention to Shinichi and mimes stabbing himself in the stomach. 'If he does this, he just dies,' Bool Gam says. 'How does that wash his sins away?'
kakashi: Don't anger the beast, man! goodness gracious, way to sign your death warrant ... 
JoAnne: But never mind all that, Bool Gam continues. 'I thought he just got his toes wet, but it turns out he was doing all kinds of shit behind my back. And when I looked into it, it turns out YOU were the reason. I can't let that continue.' Ddok Goo looks up at his hyungnim with agonized eyes. He is embarrassed like the boy who brings home a girl to dinner and Mom ends up showing her the naked baby on a bearskin rug pictures. If Bool Gam were his dad, right about now he'd be telling Shinichi just how old little Dog Nose was before he stopped wetting the bed, or how when he was a little boy, he worried that he wouldn't ever have a big penis like his dad. Bool Gam finishes by telling Ddok Goo to cut out the crap and come on home, now. Damn. Way to cut a fool down to size. I bet that comes back to bite him in the ass - remember that rabid dog comment Ddok Goo made after he first hooked up with Shinichi?
kakashi: I keep wondering about that. To me, when he said that in the corridor of the Swiss mountain hotel it sounded like it had already happened, but now, it could very well be that he was saying that was what he was going to do? 
JoAnne: Bool Gam leaves and son a bitch if Shinichi doesn't CRUSH THE SAKE BOWL with his bare hand. 'You have to kill him,' he tells Dog Nose. I guess Shinichi doesn't like getting dissed by multiple men in one night. Outside the room, Bool Gam exits the building and stands rigid in the street for a second, finally letting the air out of his lungs and revealing just how scared he was, inside. He acknowledges that in the end it will probably be himself that gets wiped out.
kakashi: Oh dear, Shinichi is so delicious when he is angry. I like him in all states. Totally composed and zen-like cool. Emotional because of Princess whats-her-name. Angry and ready to explode. D e l i c i o u s.  As for Bool Gam ... sorry man. I have just learned to appreciate you, but ... I know a goner when I see one.
JoAnne: The next day at Dobi Central, Rock Head, Jung Tae, and Dobi We Like are all curiously inspecting Coke bottles. The label is not there but you know that bottle. 'Is it soy sauce?' wonders Dobi We Like. Rock Head calls him an idiot. 'Westerners don't eat soy sauce!' They argue over that point. Jung Tae grabs a bottle and confirms where it came from - it was mixed in with some other stuff from China, in a warehouse. He figures they'll have to drink it to know what it is. Rock Head is worried that it could be a pesticide - Jung Tae puts the bottle back on the table.
kakashi: Was that PPL?  (If yes, it was genius.)
JoAnne: Poong Cha saunters up and grabs a bottle, and the three younger man spazz with worry. He pops it open and drains it in one gulp while the others squeal in fear. PoongCha slams the bottle down on the table and gives a loud, satisfied burp, then walks off - but not before giving them a look that clearly conveys his assessment of them as country bumpkins. Rock Head grabs the empty bottle, sniffs it, then catches the final drop on his tongue. 'It's sweet!' he says, 'Wow! It's sweet!' The Dobi We Like is round-eyed with amazement. He and Rock Head grab the final two bottles and shake them excitedly while Poong Cha grins from the doorway. Yah, boys....that's not going to end well! Sadly, we don't get to see the opened bottles explode in their faces.
kakashi: Awwwwww, JoAnne ... I love them so. It makes me cry. You know why ....  (sigh. yes. We knew it from the start, though.  Such goodness cannot survive.)
JoAnne: Poong Cha joings Boss Hwang while Dissenting Dobi complains about the closed off smuggling routes and predicts doom. Outside, the Three Stooges are finishing off the Cokes and marveling over the throat tickle and the inevitable burping when a dark sedan pulls up. It's Shinichi! Damn, he looks good. Jung Tae gets up and stalks over; the two men stare at each other menacingly. In the sedan, Gaya rolls her eyes.
kakashi: I like him emotional, I like him fuming ... but I DO like him best when he is a cold, deadly asshole.  
JoAnne: Inside Dobi Central, Dissenting Dobi is arguing with Poong Cha. Sadly, I kind of get this guy's frustration. He seems to be the only one with his finger on the current situation and a sense of urgency about solving it - it looks like he's all about survival even if it means joining Il Ghuk Hwe. Boss Hwang is just pissed off at the bickering and is yelling at them both when Dobi We Like runs in and suggests that his boss might want to um, you know, maybe come outside for a minute.
kakashi: Doom. It begins. 

JoAnne: The men file outside, at which point Gaya exits the vehicle. Boss Hwang shoots Jung Tae this LOOK... Jung Tae hangs his head. Gaya remarks that nothing seems to have changed. Boss Hwang takes a closer look and shows some surprise to recognize that scruffy girl in the woman standing before him. She invites him to go for a ride. Jung Tae is all 'I got this, Hyung.' but gets brushed aside. 'She's my guest today,' he says. As Boss Hwang enters the sedan, the two most expressionless faces in the entire drama stare at each other lingeringly. I think longingly, as well, but perhaps that's just me.
kakashi: Unfinished-business-ly, more like. And not-so-sure-this-is-going-to-end-well-ishly. 
JoAnne: It's not the Han River, but still...Gaya and Boss Hwang turn the river into a metaphor for emotion, power, the inevitability of change, and I don't know, the satisfaction of a good meal. Basically, she threatens him. He doesn't really take offense, having a long view of where their world might end up. Gaya gets a little more graphic with the threats. That makes Boss Hwang stop short and look at her a bit more curiously, and she makes an offer: stand with her, and survive. Interesting, since the instructions from Japan seem to be a bit different than that, actually.
kakashi: Next time I have an unpleasant talk with somebody, I'm SO going to use this "the river will freeze over and you will never live to see it unfreeze" line. It's über-cool.
JoAnne: But whatever, because Boss Hwang has no interest in being subservient to Gaya's people. She insists that she actually does mean beside her, and then Boss shows a bit of his steel. If she weren't a girl, her head would already have been crushed; he's going to pretend this conversation never happened. This disappoints Gaya. She gives him 10 days to wrap up business, and then after that it's game ON, baby. She does not look scary, though, so much as petulant. Gaya, Gaya, Gaya... what is going on in your HEAD, baby?
kakashi: I thought she was pretty scary alright! Hwang is an idiot not to be more afraid. Just leave and live somewhere else! Don't die! Please, don't die! 

JoAnne: Shinichi is wondering the same thing, apparently, and reminds Gaya that this wasn't supposed to be a meeting about discussing things and finding solutions. She needs to act decisively. Petulant Gaya frowns at Shinichi and tells him to just watch her make decisions, she will make decisions, oh boy, will she ever, and won't he just SEE, then. Hmmmph. They drive off and leave poor Boss Hwang standing alone by the river.
kakashi: Whom do you think has had  more plastic surgery on their nose, him or her? (him)
JoAnne: Bool Gam is absolutely shit-faced in a little room...judging by the teapot, he's been chugging some makgeolli. He can barely stay on the chair by the time his idiot sidekick appears. Oh! He has a name! Bool Gam is happy to see 'our Omagari' and claps with joy. He swears he's completely sober then struggles mightily against Omagari's attempts to drag him out of the place. Ddok Goo watches from a distance, a mix of impatience and - what? on his face. His feelings about Bool Gam are pretty complicated, I think.
kakashi: This page helps: http://asianwiki.com/Inspiring_Generation. Seems to be Omogari. 

JoAnne: Something is up. Omogari is giving suspiciously nervous glances at Bool Gam's passed-out image in the rear-view mirror. They've driven out of town, and at some point Omogari stops by the side of the road. We hear the owls so we know it's REEAAAAALLY remote. Omogari wakes Bool Gam up with an announcement that they've 'arrived', though. Hmmm. Bool Gam doesn't think anything looks suspicious though and heads off to pee in the woods. Behind the car, Ddok Goo emerges from the woods. Oh boy. He's got a stick in one hand, money for Omogari in the other, and a determined look on his face. This doesn't bode well for Bool Gam, folks. Yup. Dog Nose sneaks up behind the peeing, humming Bool Gam. As he gets near, though, Bool Gam straightens up. He's actually completely sober. He absolutely knows what Ddok Goo is planning and asks him if he'll be the first that Ddok Goo has killed. He asks him to be brave and do it right; if Ddok Goo screws up he might change his mind and go after him, instead.
kakashi: Always very sad when people are so resolved to die ... 
 
JoAnne: He turns and rushes Ddok Goo, who stabs him. It's not an immediately fatal wound, and Bool Gam instructs him to stab again, which Ddok Goo does. I almost feel sorry for the guy, he looks so scared about all of this. Almost. Bool Gam is down now, but he has time to tell the story of HIS first kill: At the tender age of eight, he took a rock and killed a man to save the woman he was beating from certain death. That woman, it turns out, was Ddok Gu's mother. So how could he have abandoned Ddok Gu? He certainly couldn't have killed the son as he killed the father. Instead, he watched out for him over the years. Holy Sheet Pizza, Batman.
kakashi: This? Like opera. People die, but sing on and on for hours. I mean this in a good way. (This is KDrama Shakespeare, this is. Well. I'm not familiar enough with the older melos to really say that, but of the last 5-6 years? Yeah.)
JoAnne: Ddok Goo is absolutely floored and tears stream down his face: how come he never said anything? Bool Gam says nothing would have changed. Between Dobi Gang and Il Ghuk Hwe, he'd have to align with someone - but his pride prevented him from doing that, and so of course he'd have to die. But Ddok Goo, he knows, will pick a side for sure. Bool Gam uses practically his last breath to confess his worry that Ddok Goo would get in over his head and end up being killed, and encourages his young charge to just run away, instead. Run away and live. Yes, I'm crying.
JoAnne: Ddok Goo begs him to explain why he told him to kneel before Dobi, then. Were it not for that humiliation, he'd never have killed Bool Gam. Bool Gam explains sadly that he did it to save Dog Nose; if he hadn't done that, Poong Cha would have killed him. The younger man could never have stood against Poong Cha. He cautions Ddok Goo not to go against the Dobi; aren't they all just trying to survive in this dirty world?
kakashi: Farewell, Bool-gam. You were honorable. Fare thee well. 
JoAnne: Ddok Goo responds that his goal is to live today and his dream is to live tomorrow, and if he has to kill Dobi, he will. Bool Gam insults him affectionately, tells him he doesn't make any sense, and gives a final gasping breath before he dies. It's actually pretty sad for a guy I didn't like right up until he came out of that restaurant after braving Shinichi. As the tears fall from his eyes, Ddok Goo insists it makes sense to him and he instructs Bool Gam to watch him from heaven and see how well he does.
kakashi: Dog Nose just killed his "dad". He is so doomed. 

JoAnne: Back in town, Shinichi waits for Jung Tae to return home. Jung Tae calls him out as the shadow figure behind Ddok Goo, and Shinichi doesn't even try to deny it. His job is to protect Gaya, and he'll do whatever it takes. Jung Tae misunderstands and says it's Shinichi's fault that Gaya is in danger, since he brought her into that organization. But no, Shinichi responds. A woman weakens in love or in farewell - but if Gaya weakens, she will die. It's for this reason that Shinichi must kill Jung Tae. He causes Gaya to weaken.
kakashi: This makes perfect sense. So it's nothing personal - but as a bodyguard, Shinichi must eradicate all threats for her. And Jung-tae seems to be the biggest of them all.
JoAnne: Fine, says Jung Tae. We can stop talking now. Kill me - if you can. Fighting commences! Hand to hand they seem pretty evenly matched, but Shinichi grabs a bamboo stick and uses it much like a sword. It's clear that if Shinichi had a real sword in his hand Jung Tae would die pretty quickly. Well sure. If you and I are walking down the street and you run into me, I might get knocked down but I won't die. If you're driving a DUMP TRUCK, though... Why was that even necessary, Shinichi?
kakashi: Hm. Oh yeah, it would be totally dishonorable to go against an unarmed guy with a sword. But would it in Shinichi's world? He has a sword. Jung-tae does not. I am sure he isn't even allowed to have one, let alone wear one. It's his way of showing who the master is. Also, don't forget ... Shinichi isn't interested in an honorable fight. He wants him dead. End of story.
JoAnne: Shinichi caps off his night of asshole moves by throwing away the stick (arrogant bastard) and explaining that this isn't the right place. They should fight in front of Gaya. Dude, what are you trying to do? Do you love her? What is going on? Shinichi explains to Jung Tae that Il Ghuk Hwe actually has orders to destroy Dobi, but if Jung Tae will come to fight and die in front of Gaya...he doesn't finish that sentence. If Jung Tae WINS, though, Shinichi will not destroy Dobi and he will bear the consequence of his actions. So..what? If he loses, Dobi goes down? Is that it?
kakashi: I don't think Shinichi love-loves Gaya. But she is the most precious thing to him, so that is also a kind of love. My explanation for the fighting in front of Gaya is this whole thing about strength. She must be strong, so seeing the potentially deadly weakness she has die would serve the right purpose. 
JoAnne: Whatever, Jung Tae never met a fight he didn't want to join, so of course he says yes. He has one additional condition, though. If he wins, Gaya will ALSO be free of Il Ghuk Hwe. Shinichi points out (with a wicked little smile) that the decision belongs to Gaya alone, so no dice on that one, sorry. Jung Tae's still down though, and promises to appear. Just wait, he says. You'll see my real self then.

JoAnne: Later in the evening, Boss Hwang finally makes it back from the river and finds Jung Tae waiting in the yard at Dobi House. He tells Boss that it's his fault Il Ghuk Hwe is eyeing the Dobi family and promises to take care of it. Boss Hwang reminds Jung Tae that he's part of that family, too. All the time, not just when they eat together - and go inside and get some sleep before his balls freeze, please. Jung Tae responds with a request for help: he needs to know how to win a fight against swords. Annnnnnnnnnd, SCENE.
kakashi: It is time to say goodbye to some of these characters, folks. We're 7 episodes in, and only a few people have died yet. Soon, the carnage will begin. I do not know how I will be able to deal with it... (I'll probably write a book. *coughs*)

Comments

JoAnne: Well I don't know about you but I am just drained. Why is Shinichi being such an ass? You cannot tell me that his thing about Jung Tae isn't personal. Please don't be that guy, Shinichi. Please. On the other hand: Aoki, you deliciously evil man you - I like it. I like it!
kakashi: 3 hours of giffing, screencapping and commenting! Awesome! No, I'm not drained. And Shinichi is delicious, even though he is a total asshole. And since this was a very Shinichi-heavy episode, I am quite happy right now. The black sugar coating that is Aoki made it perfect. 

JoAnne: I have a bit of a problem with Gaya - I can see that she feels something for Jung Tae and I mentally appreciate her desire to avenge her parents but her shift was just so sudden and absolute and it feels forced to me. She's the only person I really struggle with, at this point - I see what she's doing and I know why she's doing it but I don't FEEL why she's doing it and I feel everyone else.
kakashi: Yeah, it's not quite clear what her deal is. But I think that's part of the allure. Characters that have secrets and keep secrets? Give me more.

JoAnne: That whole bit with See Ok and Ok Ryeon? Too freaking cute for words. All these side people are just so REAL, too. And the show continues to deliver the sly bits of humor that I love in a very organic way, which just makes me love the whole thing even more. Because if you hadn't noticed.... I love this drama. So very, very much. I'm sure I'll pay for this, down the road. Much like Jung Tae, I don't care. It's worth it.
kakashi: You don't say ... you love this drama? No, I haven't noticed. Seriously, I actually fear I'm going to piss people off with all this raving. Where is the snark? It's completely gone! We're a gooey mess of pink fluffballs! 
JoAnne: It has to go south in SOME kind of way... we'll find something to snark about just to save ourselves.

Jo Note: Possible side effect of enormous cast, and not a happy one: There was no Aka in this episode, nor was there any Leader Mo. We haven't seen Jung Tae Appa in several episodes, Crazy Eyes hasn't shown up YET..and there was only one scene with Kim Jae Wook. Granted, it was a great scene. But that's all there was. Personally, I feel the lack of Aka deeply. I expect you to correct this immediately, Show.
kakashi: Never crush on a side-side-side character. It's KDrama rule No 4087.

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