The Disguiser 伪装者 - Episode 17 (Recap)

Friends, it's been a while since our last Disguiser recap!! But now, the show is back, all official on viki (watch here) and I cannot wait to continue recapping this intense gem of a drama. We left the show in the middle of a difficult mission: getting the Japanese deployment plans for War Zone 3. Also, Ming Tai has gotten suspicious that his organization may be keeping something from him. He also manages to get into a LOT of trouble in this episode.
JoAnne: Look at that devilish glint!  Such a bad boy - how could you not love him?
Eleanor: Oh Ming Tai. You're giving your big brother some grey hair with all your tricks. 

Episode 17

Ah Cheng enters the building where the "Special High Forces" (and Nantian) are - soldiers are cleaning the floor. Eek, blood! Apparently, an undercover Communist spy was killed by another Communist spy/staff member, says a soldier called Gao Mu (Matsuura Noriyuki), his Japanese name is Takagi. The staff member sustained severe injuries (he is temporarily blind) and is now in the hospital ... oh my, you can basically see the cogs in Ah Cheng's head turning...
I feel bad for Ah Cheng, over and over again he hears things and has to react one way while thinking another, plus try to figure out how to solve it, plus relay the bad news to Ming Lou. He's always in such a terrible position!
At least he has a really good poker face. And what a beautiful face it is. 
Hmmm, this Gao Mu is a suspicious dude, isn't he. He is wondering why Ah Cheng came personally to bring Nantian a report? Well ... because he is not only bringing a report, says Ah Cheng with a little smile. That's right, he is spying on Ming Lou for Nantian, isn't he! But Nantian isn't in right now, Gao adds - she has gone to the hospital to see the injured Communist. Ah Cheng claims he is informed about her not being here but was asked to wait for her in her office.
Thank goodness he's always a quick thinker. Well, usually. Sometimes he does things that cause problems, doesn't he.
Poor Ah Cheng. I do think that most of the time he gets it right though. He really does have about as many identities as Big Bro these days. I wonder how he keeps them all straight. 
Yeah, "waiting in the office" my ass!! As soon as he is alone, he starts going through her drawers. HEART ATTACK! Of course, she is coming into the office building that very moment. TT____TT When she hears that Ah Cheng is alone in her office, she slaps Gao Mu ... and starts running.
These scenes always give me a heart attack!
Me too! My thoughts while watching this scene: He's sooooo going to get caught!!! How's he going to get out of this one! Eep! Eek!
Ah Cheng!!!! Put those papers back!!!! Aahhhhhhhhhh!!! Oh, but it's interesting stuff ... he flicks through several and then reads: "Ming Lou's identity is suspicious. He could be from Chongqing. Ah Cheng can be used". Hurry! They're coming!
Quickly, quickly! Come on!
Ah Cheng!!! STOP READING THE PAPERS!!! I need some heart medicine. 
Nantian busts into the room and ... it's empty. She quickly makes her way to her desk and checks the top drawer, but everything seems in order. Yup, our Ah Cheng is too good a spy to leave any traces. And here is the man, just entering from outside, with a tray of coffee in his hands! Haha, awesome. Gao Muis clearly unhappy (to say the least), but is sent outside. Ah Cheng hands over the papers he brought and then reports ... no discovery. Hehehe.
How on earth does he manage that?
*still hyperventilating* the man must have super powers. I can't explain it any other way. Haha. Lurve that smirk on his face. Lurve it! 
He says that Ming Lou is very diligent and in general well respected. When he is not at work, he goes out with Miss Wang. He is of the opinion that they are not lovers, seeing how her uncle died and she should mourn for three years. Nantian wants him to dig deeper... that will help him to a life in which he is no longer just a servant to the Mings.
I realized when I picked up again recently (thank you, Viki!) that I no longer fear Ah Cheng is a traitor to the Mings. That worries me a little because I realize that it could be a false sense of security - what do you guys think? He just doesn't seem like he could do it, now.
I don't know what to think. I desperately don't want him to betray the Mings, but I could totally see the show messing with our minds and lulling us into a false sense of security. Please don't Ah Cheng. Please don't betray the Mings. Please. 
Man Li is still in her bathrobe and showing *gulp* quite a bit of leg ... staring at the wedding photo of her and Ming Tai. She is very sad, as she remembers cute moments with Ming Tai. Ah, unfulfilled love... Suddenly, she is brought out of her reverie by some sound on the stairs below... it's Guo with his girlfriend, who drags him up and wants to be kissed "just once". Seeing the two all hot for each other does not exactly make Man Li happier and she goes back to staring at the photo.
*sigh* My poor Psycho Kitten. She's no psycho, really. Just a kitten. An orphan kitten, the tiny runt of the litter, and no one wants her. *sobs*
Why Ming Tai?!?!? Why can't you love our little Kitten??!?!?! Why??!?!?!!
The real life version of the man in the picture is at home, doing something secretive. When somebody knocks at the door, he quickly hides what he has been working on. It's Ah Cheng, with some snacks. Ming Tai wants Ah Cheng out of the room quickly, but Ah Cheng is quite interested in the homework he is doing ... and he grabs some of the paperwork to have a closer look. Ming Tai slams his hand on top. Haha. But Ah Cheng insists to see it, so Ming Tai lets go. (I do wonder why Ming Tai's Latin homework is in Cyrillic!)
Is it? Haha! I tried to open the pic in a new tab so I could see it better but enlarging it makes it too blurry.
Haha. Ah Cheng is testing baby bro spy again. Hehe. Love it!
Two seconds, and Ah Cheng holds the paper hidden underneath the Latin homework up: what's this? Ming Tai grins and says it's because he does not longer want to study European history ... but architecture! His umpteenth subject change, haha. Ah Cheng immediately recognizes the building that Ming Tai has drawn: it's the Navy Club. Only ... it's not fully accurate. He tells him a bit more about the building, cause ... why not? I.e., there are lightning rods on the building and the top floor rooms are really small.
Just those random things anyone would be able to tell you, Ming Tai, don't think it's strange in the least.
Haha. Ming Tai. Seriously, Ah Cheng feeds him so many clues. He needs to be a little quicker on the uptake here. 
When Ah Cheng has left, Ming Tai locks his door and continues drawing, while Ah Cheng goes downstairs to talk to Ming Lou... about that Communist who is in the hospital. He is in bad condition, but the Japanese are doing everything to save him. He is a traitor who wanted to spill some secret and the other guy that died tried to silence him. Ah Cheng knows who the traitor is - a man by the name of Xu He. He'll make sure he is taken care of (possibly before he can give away secrets). Ming Lou warns him to be extra careful.
I won't lie, I feel very nervous about this because it wasn't something they started. It could be a trap.
I'm not really a nervous person at all, but I swear this show gives me nervous ticks just thinking about all the potential traps laid out for the Ming brothers. Oh those beautiful Ming brothers.
Ming Lou also wants to know how Ming Tai is doing, and Ah Chang thinks it's going well. But this is as far as they can help him. There's one last thing: Liang Zhong Chun has mentioned Guo to Ah Cheng! And Ah Cheng found reports from Guo in Nantian's office; all on the Mings. And it seems Guo is claiming that their Elder Sister is a communist. (What! Guo!!!! Is he a double agent too?!) How does he know though? There must be a spy near them. There is one person in their household who is new, Ah Cheng says ... Auntie Gui. They want to investigate her thoroughly.
*BIG FAT NOTE: This was a subbing-issue, it was never about Guo but only about Lone Wolf! 
What? Guo? Not our Guo! All along I thought they were referring to that guy who told Ah Cheng about the two Communists, but he's Gao, not Guo. Oh no!!!!
Oh crap!!! I didn't pick up on that while watching at first. But I'm also really glad that they've quickly figured out that Aunty Gui could be a problem. Also, Earnest, nodding Ah Cheng is very distracting. Just looking at that gif gives me the urge to kiss him. I think I need an intervention. 
There's pigeon soup for breakfast the next day - Ming Tai is delighted! Until Big Sis mentions that she is thinking about matchmaking for Ming Tai. He starts one of his tantrums ("Ming Tai not want to get married! No! No!"), but Big Bro and Ah Cheng enter the dining room just when he is about to storm out. Mrs. Su has a cousin, a virtuous girl named Cheng, really well suited. Ming Lou has seen her a few times at Mrs. Su's clinic, he says: indeed, a pretty match. OMG he is having far too much fun with this, as is Ah Cheng.
I will be honest: it did not dawn on me here that they both knew who she was.
Hahahahahahahahahaha. This scene was so hilarious! Hahahahahaha. So funny! 
When Bro and Sis start talking about setting a date for a first meeting, Ming Tai jumps up and declares he won't go to this blind date and he does not want to get married. Ah, says Ming Lou, then why do you visit brothels? Oh you nasty...... Ming Jing is disgusted, and Ming Tai's babbling about academics who meet there for poetry and other brainy stuff does not really make things better. When they threaten to lock him up in Big Bro's study, Ming Tai reluctantly agrees to go to the blind date.
(I sometimes find his juvenile behavior a teensy weensy itty bit silly. I suppose it's because I don't for a minute think of him as 20 years old, and I don't know many 20 year olds who'd act like that anyway...but of course, I'm not living in 1938 or whatever.)
Hahaha. I think it's for a bit of comic relief in between all the angst. Though judging from BTS stuff, Hu Ge seems to often act like he's five, but in a totally charming way. I imagine they had to reshoot scenes about a million times from all the laughing.
At the spy hideout, Man Li has prepared breakfast for Guo and his girlfriend... only the woman has been sent home by him last night. It's a precaution, he tells her. And by the way, he told her that Man Li is his cousin. Man Li drinks wine already, the poor woman. Deceiving Ming Tai almost kills her. But Guo once again explains that they have no choice - that this is to protect him. Guo and Man Li, they're just cannon fodder in this war, sure to die in any case (makes me wonder what his backstory is...). But Ming Tai ... Ming Tai will live. 
Guo...what does he know about Ming Tai? I think he knows he's Ming Lou's brother, yeah, but does he know all the things that Ming Lou is? I guess if it's really him spying...but I don't know if I believe that.
I don't know either. I know that I'm a tad suspicious of him though because of all the stuff he's holding back from Ming Tai. Poor little Kitten. She is so sad. 
She collects herself and starts to clean the table when he asks: "So you have truly fallen for him". And she answers: "Yes." Guo wants to know why she hasn't told him, but to tell him would mean farewell, Man Li adds. She hasn't gone that crazy yet.
*sobs* I need a minute. My poor little Kitten.
Seriously. I love Man Li so much. So much. 
The Mings minus Ming Tai are going to Ming Tang's perfume launch party. Ming Tai is still sulking - he won't go. But as soon as they're gone, he goes out himself! He's at the Japanese Military hospital ... to steal a military uniform from one of the patients.
I love all his get ups, especially the glasses and hats.
Me too! I bet his stylists had so much fun dressing him up in all the different outfits. 
And undressing him
Seeing how he lurks around, false-coughing, a nurse gets suspicious and follows him into the room with the patient clothing ... he is already waiting for her behind the door, a belt in hand. She can quickly get out of his grasp though and almost sticks a scalpel into him... wait a second, we know that little knife! Indeed, it's Miss Communist aka Trainwreck aka Emo Log. They get into an argument about who is following whom and who has the more useless weapon (her scalpel vs. his belt), and of course, they can't tell each other anything.
I feel very stabby. Do you feel stabby? Let's stab someonething, ladies.
I feel very stabby too. 
The whole thing ends after he HAS told her everything about what he is doing (going to the Japanese Consulate) and when he tells her to go out, he needs to change his clothes - and threatens to do it in front of her. Yes, please! She gifts him with her little knife and tells him his glasses are really ugly. Hu ge ugly? NEVER.
Just go AWAY no one wants you. He will forget all about you if you just go AWAY.
What Jo said. And the woman must be blind if she thinks those glasses make him look ugly. They make him look rather sexy in fact. Then again, I am rather partial to men in glasses. 
And thus, this crazy bastard walks into the Japanese Consulate! He studies the floor plan intensely - and goes to the passport registry office, asking for a passport for his sister and husband - they want to go on a honeymoon to Europe. He gets a few documents to fill in, leaves ... and decides to get a bit lost on the second floor. He is carefully checking out all the signs above the doors until he finds two he was looking for. One triggers a memory of the secretary he sweet talked at the Navy Club, the other contains the safe with the documents he's after.
What the hell is that shit on your face, Ming Tai?  If I were you I wouldn't be smiling so smugly, not looking like someone drew on your facial hair with a Sharpie.
LOL. Yeah, don't be smug Ming Tai, smugness gets spies caught. 
When he is about to leave, a Japanese officer steps out of one of the rooms... yeah, shit. That went a bit too smoothly until now!! Ming Tai says in perfect Japanese that he is looking for a bathroom. He gets directions and leaves, when a second guy (a civilian) also steps out of the room. He looks after the retreating Ming Tai and something ... something makes him follow him. Ming Tai speeds up ... and hides behind a corner, scalpel ready. Luckily for the other guy, somebody calls him (he is called Mr. Li) back, since his document is signed. Who is this guy?! DAMN.
How dare they have someone perceptive up against our guy? How DARE they!
I swear, these episodes need to come with a health warning. My heart rate keeps spiking!
He won't let it go either!!! On the street, he keeps following Ming Tai. Well, Mr. Li is an idiot, because Ming Tai is a deadly assassin, and won't let himself be followed at will. He ducks into an alley, the idiot follows, and BANG, Ming Tai throws a basket over his head, beats him up and steals his documents. He dumps them into a bin (?) and keeps walking. The bleeding Mr. Li is quickly discovered by a policeman who walks by and he tells him to ... call Division 76! And Wang Manchun! I'll be damned, Ming Tai...... not good, not good.'s Mario Mustachio going to get out of this one?
*Hyperventilating here again*
Ming Tai is walking when the crazy Mr. Li is appearing behind him again, screaming to stop. Luckily, they're right at the Shanghai Hotel and Ming Tai goes in quickly. Mr. Li has a small fight with the police officer at the entrance, because he has not yet called Division 76 and just followed him. It turns out Mr. Li is Japanese and a spy ... in fact, he is one of Ming Lou's secretaries! The fight has bought Ming Tai some time, which he utilizes to steal a dinner jacket from a clothes rack and a rose from a maid.
There's always time for flirting.
That maroon dinner jacket is quite fetching. 
Mr. Li orders all exits of the hotel secured and all the newly arrived people checked. And here comes Wang Manchun! Ming Tai is walking towards the exit where he bumps into his relative Ming Tang, who is holding his perfume launch event in this hotel and understandably angry about the security measures. Knowing full well that Ming Tai wasn't here ten minutes ago and hating the Japanese with a vengeance, he covers for his young cousin by dragging him on stage with him, to play a piano duet. What a big surprise for everyone! Yeah, also for Ah Cheng and Ming Lou, who exchange puzzled looks. They clearly expected their little bro elsewhere.
Considering that Mr. Li is a spy and that it doesn't seem Ming Lou or Ah Cheng are aware of this a backwards way Ming Tai's bad luck will probably turn out to be good fortune, in the way that they manage to turn all the obstacles into benefits for themselves.
Let's hope so. Let's really hope so. The Mings need to win. 
Happily playing on stage is where Ming Tai is when Wang Man Chun and her henchmen appear at the back of the hall, all eager to spoil the party. Ming Lou quietly signals Ah Cheng to check out what they want. Ah Cheng takes Wang Manchun aside and explains the situation: both the Mings are here, plus they invited that famous singer with the close ties to the Japanese military. They can't create a ruckus here, it would be too improper. She can check people at the entrance if she has to.
She is so jealous of Ah Cheng.
Haha. True dat. Also, can we please have Wang Kai always dress in a tux? Like always, always. 
Just then, the piano piece is finished and Ming Tai and Ming Tang get up and bow. Mr. Li whispers to Manchun that nobody here resembles the person from behind, but only when an orderly appears and informs Manchun that the uniform that the suspicious person wore has been found in a laundry room is she ready to leave. Thank god, they have not recognized Ming Tai. Yet!
Yet. It's bound to happen. No matter, they'll just kill whoever it is.
Speaking of killing, what's the body count so far in this show? It's pretty high, isn't it? 


Damn, Ming Tai!!! You're always creating trouble, aren't you. How will he get out?! Well, it was very bad luck to run into this Mr. Li, who seems competent enough as a spy to recognize if someone is acting suspicious. It's good for Ming Lou and Ah Cheng that the secretary has been exposed as a spy though: they did not know, it seems (hahahaha) Also, thank god for Mr. Perfume, really (your rudeness from before is almost forgiven), and Ming Tai's quick thinking.
I was just thinking that Ming Tang isn't so bad, myself.
Anyone who saves the Mings is good in my book. 

This episode brought us lovely Ming-interactions (couldn't stop giffing the faces), which are probably my most favorite thing in this drama. We all know who this Miss Cheng is, right? Haha, Ming Tai will love his blind date, that much is clear.
Sadly, I did NOT have a clue until the episode when it happens, although at least I pick up on it in the scene before the official meeting.
I haven't watched far enough to have picked up on it, but I have my guesses. 

So very sorry, Man Li. Guo told you, you and him will die and Ming Tai will live on, thanks to your sacrifice, probably happily married to Trainwreck. Nice, show, to tell us this NOT. How heartbreaking was is to hear her talk about her dreams to Guo, about being with Ming Tai, just by his side, forever happy! Everybody knows this will never be, including her.
Stabby, so stabby. Very, very stabby. I feel that. Yes.
I think a fanfic might be in order where Ming Tai does love Man Li. 

That bit about Guo and documents of his in Nantian's office ... I don't get it. I don't think he's a spy? (also thinking of later, I don't think it comes up again?) So who was he reporting to about the Mings? The KMT superiors? And who got those documents and why? Is this a sub-mistake? Am I missing something?
--> see big fat note above and comment below: subbing mistake. We're good, people, we're good! 
I am JUST as confused (and concerned) about this as you are, Kakashi.  I'm up in the 30s and it hasn't come up again, and while we know he's there to report to Airplane Wang and make sure that certain business items other than spying are handled... I didn't ever get a whiff that he could be connected to the Japanese.
Yeah, I don't know. Hopefully it will come out that it's just a coincidence, but now I'm worried. Eep!
Ming Tai's TRUE wife, if the heavens were in alignment

and more BTS