Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 20 (A SqueeCap)

kakashi: Jeez, this is a very intense episode, with lots of, I mean LOTS of brutal fighting. It was also by far the best episode from the Shanghai arch, thank you, Dramagods! If the show keeps this momentum up until the end, I will be VERY happy. Four episodes away from the end, all our boys are still alive, but the question is for how much longer ...
JoAnne: When the only people I want to have die in this entire TOWN'S worth of characters is Princess Seul and Denkai Grandpa...I am bound to cry buckets.

Episode 20

It's show time!! People stream into Club Shanghai ... panem et circenses, I guess. Oh, but it's Mo! On the balcony!!! [A note on the Rim-bug ... I thought it was a mere flu, but people I tell you, it's an epidemic!] Aoki is also there, intense and hot as ever. That thing above them looks like a McDonald's sign in the right picture. PPL is getting more subtle! 
JoAnne: More people show up for the fight than showed up for the opening! And clearly, altitude = hotness.
Princess Seul isn't there yet ... and he is worried to hear that his Mongolian Mercenaries have gone missing. Did anything weird happen before they disappeared? he asks Baek-san. Yes! A sighting of THIS hot namja (yay, another opportunity to insert a Mo-pic). Seul orders Baek-san to start searching for the mercenaries and find out how Mo is involved.
JoAnne: I got a fever. A fever for more Mo. 
At Club Shanghai, people are still placing bets, noisily. Seul makes an entrance, with Soso and Ok-ryeon in tow. His entrance is noticed by Aoki (he scowls prettily) and by Mo, who is just too cool for words. In one of the back rooms, Jae-hwa is doing some skip rope exercises. That's so stupid show ... nobody does that BEFORE a fight. His underlings come in and he is now ready to show the people out there who the real owner of Bangsamtong is! 
JoAnne: Are you sure? A little cardio to get the adrenaline up after stretching?
On the way to the Club main area, he runs into Lady Doctor. Has she come to cheer for him? What does he think, she says ... just don't get too badly hurt. She is out of anaesthesia. He is amused and tells her to get ready for their date! Not gonna happen, she says when he is gone. Because you don't want to or because you think he's going to lose?!
JoAnne: I have a dilemma. I feel like he should always wear hats, except for when he takes his hat off and then I see his thick wavy hair and want to touch it.  What to do, what to do.
Jung-tae also makes his way to the arena. The crowd starts cheering and shouting his name when they see him. Seul observes the room and then smirks at Mo, who is still up on the balcony, being hot. Shin Jung-tae takes in who is there ... Ok-ryeon (he gets an encouraging, sweet smile from her), Mo (he gets a sexy smile and head-nod from him) and Aoki (he isn't looking).
JoAnne: Mo's To-Do List: Wake up. Continue being hot.
Enter Jung Jae-hwa. Some people cheer for him, too, but the Shin Jung-tae lovers are louder. They two men face each other. Jae-hwa takes off his hat, his jacket. And then, he proceeds to put on the toe-nail. Or Claw. Or whatever. People start whispering nervously.
JoAnne: Wouldn't most people consider that thing unsportsmanlike? Look at those boys...don't do it boys, don't do it!
Seul has mainly been watching Mo (who can blame him) and his "gut feeling" is telling him that Mo has the Mongolians - and that he will expose them after the fight. To dodge that bullet, he tells Baek-san to find and kill them first. 
JoAnne: How conveniently wise of you, Princess.

The fight starts! And I have a question. So it's okay Jae-hwa uses this weird Wolverine type claw-thing and Jung-tae has no weapon? What kind of fight is this??! The rules are: No mercy, no giving up. To the death. Yeah ... somebody seems to have seen Gladiator recently. 
JoAnne: Do not introduce thoughts of Russell Crowe into my happy staring at these lovely men.
Sorry for the random Mo pic ... the Rim bug made me do it! 
JoAnne: Sort of a Jaejoong thing going on, with a touch more 'unreal'.
The opponents exchange a few blows, and then, Jae-hwa slashes Jung-tae's leg, tummy (nooooo, the Yummy Tummy!!), and his back. More slashing. Ok-ryeon can no longer bear it and leaves. Jae-hwa realizes Jung-tae's left shoulder is hurt and starts taking advantage of it. It sure ain't pretty. Old Man Fly says it's over. More slashing. I wish I could walk away like Ok-ryeon, this is quite terrible!!! Or leave with Mo ... cause he's seen enough.
JoAnne: MO! How can you just leave that way? Someone has to stay there to mentally cheer on our boy, who could really use a miracle right about now. I thought his usual 'ok, now you pissed me off' wind would kick in but it hasn't yet and I'm very distressed.
Jae-hwa is moving in to use the Claw one final time, but the crowd boos loudly. (oh NOW you think about it? NOW?) He pauses for a moment and then removes the ugly thing. Good. He raises his arms in a victory sign and struts around. Jung-tae gets up ... finally, this is a fight that's even! At least it would be, if Jae-hwa hadn't injured Jung-tae already. But Jung-tae is tough ... it takes more to beat him! "Until one of us dies", Jae-hwa repeats, as he waits for Jung-tae to get back up. Jae-hwa is also starting to show signs of injury now.
JoAnne: I mean I know that either Jung Tae wins or they have a twist up their sleeves together but still I am very anxious.
Elsewhere, Mo is walking through the dark streets of Shanghai ... followed by Baek-san and his men. Mo smiles ...
JoAnne: Oh thank GOD someone has a plan at least.
Mo has reached two heavy and large bags on the ground and begins to untie one of them. Zang! there's Baek-san, saying he'll take over. He is a bit surprised Mo is giving up so easily (haha) and the SMILE should really have given it away, because inside the man-sized bags is ... cabbage.
JoAnne: Number one it didn't even look like it COULD have a man inside it and number two - if they were dead or injured shouldn't there be blood on those bags? But still I am cheering!
Inside Club Shanghai, the fight continues. Not for the first time, I wonder how this goes under "less violence". This is one of the longest and most graphic fights I've seen in a long time. The two men start to move and look like zombies. The sounds are quite hilarious, as usual. And then ... Jung-tae moves in for the "kill". Bang! Bang! Bang! goes the iron fist. Both go down, but only one gets back up ... Shin Jung-tae!
JoAnne: Honestly. If this is less, what the hell did they have in mind at first?
Aoki is pissed: they told Jae-hwa that Jung-tae had a dislocated shoulder ... so why did he not attack there? Wait .... is our Jae-hwa ... a good kid after all?!
JoAnne: I am torn. If he's good, he's as good as dead.
He is currently getting mouth-to-mouth and some form of weak CPR from Lady Doctor. Seriously, show. This is NOT what you need to give somebody who just lost a boxing match!!! It's quite ridiculous, but hey, it's totally fine. They take him to the Restaurant-that's-also-a-hospital.
JoAnne: Yes, apparently he's not breathing so she gives him CPR but before he starts breathing again she decides he's alive and can be moved, but 30 seconds ago that was not a viable option.

Jung-tae, who seems totally fine, because yes, he is Asia's Neo, looks at Seul ... and then shouts for Mo's minion to bring the Mongolians. (FUCKING awesome.) Jung-tae exposes them as the culprits of the attack and several people confirm this. The crowd demands justice: kill them. Jung-tae steps up to the Chirinbang ... what should they do with them? Of course, they should deal with them through the law, is the answer. At that, Seul jumps up! Can't they see the anger and the pain of the people! Kill them! Why not let the winner of the fight decide how?
JoAnne: I hate him so much so very very much. It gives me stomach pains that's how much.
Of course, says Jung-tae ... but aren't the sins too big to kill them right away? They should find out first who is behind it all! The crowd shouts its consent. If they talk, he will let them live, Jung-tae says. One of them starts to say something, but Baek-san steps behind them suddenly and snaps their necks, just like twigs. He has two warrants of apprehension for them, which he pulls out of his sleeve: they are fair game and might be killed on sight. What Baek-san just did was totally fine with the law.
JoAnne: but how is it ok with the crowd? Would you not immediately assume that his timing was suspect? It's not like they were escaping.

Seul, who has just averted his own downfall, quickly jumps up and seizes the opportunity to cheer for Jung-tae, the new owner of Bangsamtong and Club Shanghai. So let's party! It's free drinks for everybody, on him! When they stand there next to each other, they tell each other never to do something like that again: don't threaten Seul's hold over Hwangbang vs. never to hurt the Bangsamtong people again. Seul reminds Jung-tae that Club Shanghai is on Hwangbang territory ... and that Ok-ryeon is in his hands ... and out of Jung-tae's reach. 
JoAnne: Not sure if that was sweat or a tear I saw roll down Jung Tae's face at the realization that things are now worse, not better.
Slowly, slowly, says Mo, who steps up to a groggy looking Jung-tae ... they need a good plan to topple the old man. Tonight is a first step: the Tiger claw has been beaten and a new "Hawk" has arisen.
JoAnne: Mo, please tell me you see a way clear of all this for our guys.
At Il Gookie, Aoki is being scolded by his father. Didn't he tell him it's only a matter of time for Club Shanghai to become his? But Aoki has a Plan B. Or C? The door opens and there stands Shinichi. Who can't use his left arm anymore. Denkai has a rage fit that he is still alive and shouts for Aka. But Aoki calms him down ... Shinichi is their next card. It is him that will go against Seul.
JoAnne: Aka is never more than 30 seconds from Denkai unless he's off doing something Denkai-directed. So if Denkai doesn't know where he is...does that mean Aka has plans of his own?
Seul Princess also has rage fits (and does vile things to perfectly fine whiskey! Hey!!), but what can he do? Aoki has his hands on the finances (he does?)(they mentioned it before, he's been inspecting their books), he has nobody to operate the Club but Jung-tae and someone needs to stop the Gookies. Sigh ... just make up your mind. So the new plan is go against Il Gookie, because that will take care of Aoki, too. Yeah. That's totally new, this plan. (He's getting panicky. This is good.)

And here is the Gookie plan: Aoki has a spy at Hwangbang. Of course, that's Do-goo! Denkai doesn't have much of a choice, it seems ... but he does tell Shinichi to die with honor in case things go wrong. But first, Shinichi has a request: reinstate Gaya. Denkai says he'll think about it. After Shinichi has left, he orders to make known that there is a price on Shinichi's head. 
JoAnne: So...he doesn't want Aoki's plan to have a hope of succeeding?
An unhappy Aoki goes to see Gaya after this. She looks ill and weak (why?!). Aoki tells her she has been reinstated (uhm ... not quite yet, right?) and come out with him, but she just wants to know where Shinichi is. She will find out when she comes out with him, Aoki says.
JoAnne: I think she's been driven by revenge and rage, and now that she's had her confrontation...she's just drained. And she has no vision for what's next. As for the reinstatement, I also thought he was misstating the case, but I think Aoki, too, is beginning to think things are getting away from him. And he really, really, really wants her safe more than anything else.
Jung-tae is at the Club, looking through some business documents, when Doofus and Shnoofus come in and give him a bag full of money. It's from the betting! He takes out two bundles for them and tells them to put the rest into a Saving Fund. He finds out that Jae-hwa has already paid back all the debts from the opening night and looks thoughtful after that.
JoAnne: Wow, from his bed in the ICU section of the restaurant?

Jae-hwa is up and about already - good. He is walking through Bangsamtong with Lady Doctor, saying how he is sick of this shitty place. She takes his hand ... But no. He is leaving. People don't want him here anymore. Ohh, he is crying now. And when she says to not go far and come back cause she will be waiting, he says he would love to turn around and look at her face, but that would make him lose his composure and he can't have that, being a gangster and all. He walks away, saddened, while she shouts that he is an idiot, since he already HAS lost his composure. Oh, woman, I don't think you understand ...
JoAnne: He was so good here. And so very, very handsome. I keep trying to talk myself into why he has to leave...the deposed king and all that, but I can't make myself agree.
He takes that weighty step into the French territory, when someone shouts his name behind him. It's Jung-tae! And the whole posse! They stop RIGHT at the border (cause stepping over would set all hell loose  - but see who doesn't care: Jung-tae. He takes a step forward, towards his hyung. Does he know, Jae-hwa says, he tried to get them identification papers instead of those temporary passes, for all of them. But he only got one for himself ... and for Jung-tae. And he gives him a key to the safe: all the documents are there that will be necessary to make Hwangbang fall.
JoAnne: STAY. Stay and do it WITH THEM. They all love you. WE love you. I just realized that since I'm writing this watching The Walking Dead, I almost wrote that Jae Hwa will die out there alone because of the zombies...I was very relieved to realize that it won't be an issue - but I do worry about him!
And finally, he hands over his ChiChis to Jung-tae and tells them to serve him well. He then takes off his hat and bows deeply before Jung-tae, before he walks away. Behind him, everybody falls on their knees and wishes him all the best. It's very, very moving.
JoAnne:  Don't goooooooooooo.
Shinichi bows to Gaya, unseen by her, and wishes her to become "the spark" for Il Gookie. When he turns, he is confronted by a first set of hoodlums. They have a notice from Il Gookie, telling them to bring Shinichi's head - and the document he stole. Huh? But he is cool and arrogant as usual and informs them that he will not die by their hand. Well, he is definitely good enough with just one hand, but one of the men pulls out a whistle and screams that Shinichi is here.
JoAnne: Denkai, you will die by my hand, I swear it.
Oh, surprise! Aoki steps up behind him and beats him unconscious. In a backalley, he hands Shinichi the document that everybody is after (or will soon be after): The Tojo Mori Strategy Document. That Shinichi is supposed to have stolen. So ... this is all to fool Seul? Shinichi thinks it's an honor that it's not only the Princess he has to take care of, but the whole of Japan. Ack, so ready to die! I hate it!!! Before Aoki walks away, Shinichi entrusts Gaya to him.
JoAnne: So much crying tonight. Dammit. Is he even going to make it to the next episode?
Who is currently taking a sexy bath. In the exact same bathtub she bathed so many episodes ago when she was still in Japan.
JoAnne: They brought it with them. I do not understand the reason for this bath at all, though. How is this part of the story?
Suddenly, she remembers seeing something ... a letter and a necklace, on the table. It's the missing piece to her necklace (remember? see here). It comes with a letter from Shinichi. In which he finally tells her everything. Her mother jumped in front of his sword in order to protect her wounded husband. Each day after that was living hell for him. Until he met her and could wash away some of his guilt. He was happy. And now it's her turn to be happy ... when she is reinstated. She totally gets what this is ... a friggin farewell letter!!! ... and jumps up. She dresses in red killer garb and heads out.
JoAnne: Oh my GOD so it was an accident after all? I am not sure if that's better or worse, as far as Shinichi feeling guilty goes. Ugh.
All hell is loose on the streets of Shanghai .. it's everybody on two legs against Shinichi! Seul is driving by ... as expected. Seul shouts to stop the car and gets out. Baek-san warns him, he smells a trap, but Seul wants him to save Shinichi anyway. Baek-san takes his time getting there, but he does manage to save Shinichi's life and limbs and kill everybody else in the process. He might be AoF's most efficient killing machine, in fact. It's Do-goo, who is always waiting somewhere in the shadows, that helps Shinichi up.
JoAnne: Do Ggoo...that kid. What is he up to?
At Club Shanghai, two Joseon Hotties are broody (but no shower) - when minions come in with cake and champagne! It's party time! They think. But it's so NOT, of course, cause Jung-tae has other things to take care of. This scene? Well, there was Mo. So thanks.
JoAnne: Seriously, what the fuck was that?
At Seulrak, Seul Princess and Black Knight are happy that the Mori document is now theirs ... I bet it's a fake. Seul is very happy though, because that document is his entry ticket to echelons of power waaaay above his current one. Beak-san, ever the party pooper, warns him to be very careful. And then, Do-goo is there .... and he tells them ... something about the document! Oh no! 
JoAnne: I am holding out hope that since he's so obviously telling them that it's fake that either that's NOT what he's doing, or he's doing it as part of a plan.

At Il Gookie, Gramps hears that Gaya went to bust out Shinichi. He sends Aka after her and tells him to kill her, if necessary: she can absolutely not get there. When Aoki wants to leave too, Denkai orders him to friggin stay. He will kill him, too, if he betrays him. 
JoAnne: Where's the Aka picture?  I refuse to comment since you're being so unfair.
Shinichi is summoned to Seul - but he has to leave his sword outside. In the process, Baek-san gently presses his wounded arm ... just to make sure he is no threat. Charming. The only problem I see is that it is Shinichi's LEFT arm. And unless he is a lefty (is he?), who cares about the left arm?! When he steps into Seul's inner chambers and sees Do-ggo standing there, grinning, he realizes he has been betrayed by him - and has failed. Nooooooooo! 
JoAnne: Silence from me.
He informs Seul that he wants to go back now, but Seul just laughs in his face. He has no place to go, since he is an outlaw. Ah, but since that's where he was born, he wants to crawl back, says Shinichi. While he bows very deeply, he starts calculating his next move. Of course, he has knives hidden in his boot and elsewhere and he makes a move against Seul ... but fails.
Of course, it was Do-goo that betrayed him ... but Seul is also far too clever for everyone, it seems. He knows his history and his stories, too, and apparently, the same plan was tried by another assassin, against a Chinese King. And Seul sings ... the song the assassin's friend also sang. And now, he will behead Shinichi. Three seconds later, Shinichi is out the door, fast like lightening. Maybe the singing lulled everybody? 
JoAnne: One: Never trust appearances. Two: What the HELL was that?  And it went on too long anyway.
Seul's men corner him on a bridge ... oh no .... they're not going to kill him, will they?! They take the fight into the pond and Shinichi tells them he will take as many as he can to hell with him. Ok-ryeon, who has taken the opportunity to draw a map of Seulrak for her lover, took the opportunity to get out of her room. And there is Jung-tae! Shinichi has found a way out of the water, but it still doesn't look good for him ... he is cornered again, this time in the courtyard. His blade is very short, and he stands no chance, really. He is down and soon dead it seems but ... YES, here comes Gaya! She saves him! For now ... And she informs Baek-san that she will take her Shinichi home. Oh, but you will not, says he: he came to kill their leader. It's the end.
JoAnne: Oh but I disagree. It is not the end, not at all.
In the garden, Jung-tae hides his face with cloth, looking very, very determined. The END!
JoAnne: NINJA tummy!

It's the "OMG they are going to kill my Shinichi!"-episode, which almost made me die! Shinichiiiii! I mean, I knew this was going to happen, but, but .... I'm not ready!!! Not my Shinichi!!!! He is ready to become a thoroughly good guy!!! And he would always have been, if somebody had taught him the right values, you know. Bad, bad Il Gook Hwae! The revelation about her mother's death could be called anti-climatic, but I thought it was really well done. Especially when one loves Shinichi like I do ...
JoAnne: Holding out hope for Aka, since Shinichi has been revealed as a decent guy and Aoki is showing some human feelings as well. Can they all just turn on Denkai together?

Alright, deep breath ... not sure what else I can say. I really, really liked this episode!
JoAnne: It was really good.

Also, is there any Soso-Mo fanfic out there? If not, there should be.
JoAnne: Dunno. My KDrama life is pretty much confined to watching and commenting.