05 March 2016

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The Disguiser 伪装者 - Episode 26 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on March 05, 2016
Ming Tai's leisurely days of ease are over and I bet you he will soon wish for some gentle backside beatings instead of the barbed and rigged lemons life is handing him! Ming Lou decides it's time to hasten his KMT exit, which means quite a bit of "Communists are so much better"-propaganda, but let's just pretend it's not there. I'll also pretend Miss Cheng Jinyun isn't there. I will just focus on Hu Ge in blue. He looks so damn good in blue.
Shame it's going to be waisted on That Woman.
Eleanor: Hu Ge does look so good in blue. It fits the tense mood as well. 

Episode 26

Ming Lou is in the hot seat vis-a-vis Mr. Fujita ... who is on the hunt for the traitor in their midst and demands a proof of loyalty from him. Does Ming Lou know of the Viper? Ming Lou pretends he has never heard of that code word before: he only knows of "Wasp" (immaculate acting once again). Mr. Fujita knows this: Wasp has left Shanghai a long time ago. The KMT Shanghai base is now occupied by Scorpion. And a Communist named "The Viper" is active here as well. Oups, he knows a lot of things..........
Yeah, not so blind after all. Maybe we should be a little scared.
Ming Lou's got this. He's no idiot. He can deal with Fujita. 
In fact, they have deciphered one of the KMT telegraphs, in which Scorpion is mentioned a lot. Funny thing: the Communists ALSO mention him a lot. He also knows that Minamida only told 11 officers about the guy at the hospital. Which signifies nothing, Ming Lou remarks, because everybody in the spy business has his own net of informants anyway. He is, of course, ready to reveal his sources - because he feels guilty about Minamida's assassination in his stead. And thus, he tells the old man of a huge leak in the Special Unit and convinces him of his integrity, easily deductible from the fact that the Chinese all hate him and call him a traitor. 
Only 11? Oh, well, in that case, security was air tight then, huh? (Side note: My handsome man, look at him.) (Side side note: I love the way they use lighting in this building, in particular.)
Your man is indeed handsome. Wait, did Team Ming leak the info to Fujita? Is this part of some plan that we don't know about yet? 
Cut to someone we haven't seen in quite a while ... Uncle Li! He is looking through decades old newspapers that he collects in second-hand bookstores, pretending it's because he collects first editions. But whatever he is looking for ... it's futile. Too many newspapers. Too little time. Poor Uncle Li.
Another handsome man. Let's spend more time with him, shall we?
Audition notice for The Disguiser: Seeking handsome men and beautiful women for period piece spy drama. All ages. 
Ming Lou thinks it's time Ah Cheng told Ming Tai a little something about the KMT to bring him on the right path (= Communism). Ah Cheng thinks it's far too early, Ming Tai is not stable enough (he is probably right). But there is no time, Ming Lou says: Wang Tianfeng is about to arrive in Shanghai. Oh... what?! And why does Ming Lou say that will endanger Ming Tai's life?! What is Wasp about to do?! HELP!
Are they standing on a skylight? What's with the uplighting? I mean, it totally works, but...he sort of looks like he's glowing in the light of the fridge on a midnight munchy run.
LOL. All I can see are Kai Kai's ears. That I love. And that jawline. #kaikaifangirlproblems
Ming Tai is reading something he shouldn't read, judging by the speed with which he lets the magazine disappear underneath the covers when Ah Cheng comes in. But brother Ah Cheng sees everything :D
Remember in the beginning, when he was a good spy?
LOL and that Ah Cheng eye brow raise. Walking emoticon Wang Kai. 
Well, but Ah Cheng is also doing something he shouldn't do: he is bringing Ming Tai smuggled cigarettes. The smart little one knows they are sold officially by the government - time to tell him that Division 76 sells and transports them too, on their own. Doesn't he know that the head of KMT has ganged up with No 76 to do all kinds of illegal trading, for his own benefit? No, Ming Tai did not know, but of course, he's shocked and outraged! These people at the top are getting rich while other people suffer for them.
It's very easy for the rich, pampered son to feel outrage over that, I suppose.
Ah yes, but remember that he is already leaning left. They're just prodding him further in that direction.
After he has accomplished his mission, Ah Cheng takes his leave ... but not before mentioning he has a copy of a Japanese prison camp improvement plan he needs to send to the Battle Strategy Department. He will put it in the office now. And he won't have time to hover all the time. Haha. A bit annoyed, Ming Tai tells him to just give it to him directly, but Ah Cheng reminds him that there is to be no connection between them at all - and to be careful of eyes and ears in the house.
This is just not a logical conversation, beginning to end.
What makes you say that? 
The first thing Ming Tai does after Ah Cheng has left is to peel off the tag from the cigarettes to check the stamp underneath: it tells him that it passed through the No. 9 Warehouse at Wusongkou. And he remembers talking to Guo Qiyun a while ago, who told him he was in charge of the dealings at those warehouses. I'm pretty sure he just realized that both his KMT associates must know about this dirty smuggling business.
Summabeach. My poor Psycho Kitty.
Noooooooo, Man Li wanted to tell him! 
After that, he enters his brother's office to make a copy of the document. Ah Cheng gave him back his "lighter", too, when he gave him the ciggis - he is very thorough. But all of a sudden, Auntie Gui is outside the door and wants to come clean in "Master's Office" and Ming Tai hides behind the desk. But Ah Xiang warns her that only Ah Cheng is allowed to clean in there. Once it grows quiet again, Ming Tai starts snapping away.
Someone just lock that woman in a dungeon, please.
Seriously. 

Doctor Su and her lovely niece Jinyun are at the Ming's for lunch (I had almost forgotten she's in this drama, too. Bliss!). Jinyun excuses herself under the pretense to go upstairs to meet with Ming Tai - but she makes straight for Ming Lou's office. Tsktsk, you sneaky vixen. Ming Tai is still inside, still taking pictures, but when he hears that someone is at the door, he quickly hides behind the curtains. She drops an earring before she goes straight to the drawers and pulls out the document that Ming Tai stuffed in there 5 seconds ago. Just when he wants to step forward (probably to give her a fright), he hears someone else at the door! It's Auntie Gui again, whose curiosity is stronger than her caution.
Oh come ON. Why not just have lunch in there, everyone!
I do not get her dropping the earring. This is obviously out of bounds and the whole "I dropped my earring and was looking for it" excuse is not going to explain why she was even in the room in the first place. She's a terrible spy. 

Jingyun flees behind the curtain ... where her lover already awaits her, grinning. Auntie Gui gets to just open the door a crack and is then discovered by Ah Xiang again, but Ah Xiang now lingers, wondering why the door is open. The close proximity behind the curtains appeals to both our young lovers, so they stay a little, whispering and teasing (hate it). They realize they have once again been after the same documents and Ming Tai wonders aloud, jokingly, whether they have the same supervisor. Hold that thought.
Dammit, she's pretty in this scene. And he's cute, but I HATE THEM TOGETHER. Well mostly I hate that she's not Psycho Kitty. I think if there were no Psycho Kitty, maybe by now I would feel better about her. They've had some cute scenes. Gah.
Oh Man Li. I just love her too much. And I agree with Jo, maybe if Man Li wasn't in the story, I would have maybe been okay with this. But yes, this scene was cute. That Hu Ge head bob. 

After she says they cannot stay there all afternoon, he agrees - and pushes her out! Ah Xiang's eyes grow large like saucers when she suddenly appears in front of her and Miss Chen quickly claims she lost an earring. That is clever but actually not, because even if she did, HOW did she get in here? (haha - I had the same thought!) Ah Xiang sees it immediately on the floor and picks it up - when Ming Tai steps out from behind the curtains ... saying something about how nice that the earring has been found ... and wipes his mouth. Hahahaaa, the Chen-girl is mortified, but Ming Tai just saved you, you idiot. This is about the only scenario that explains why you two would be in the study. 
So do we find out later on that Ah Chiang is also a spy? For the Americans or Brits or something? Maybe the French?
Haha. Cheeky, saucy, but VERY clever Ming Tai. hahahahahaha I love it!

They join the two elder women for more tea and when Ming Tai flat out refuse-whispers to hand "the item" over to Jinyun, she says out loudly: "Big Sister, I would like to confiscate Ming Tai's lighter". Awww, Ming Tai, you lose. By the way, I really hate those interactions between them, when she tries to be all cute-smart. Because she's not. I also think she should get her own spy gadgets.
Yes, I'm back to being irritated, but this is a little bit funny too.
Yeah. She needs to learn to be a better spy. 
While they're about frolicking some more, Auntie Gui has proceeded to searching Ming Tai's desk! How dare she! And OH SHIT, she discovers the plan he drew of the Japanese Embassy a while ago! She only gets to take a furtive glance though because time is short - she moves on to the next item, a newspaper. Ming Tai, who has just sent the two visitors off outside, realizes with a start that something is amiss (not sure how, laser eyes?) and speeds up the stairs to his room. When he bursts in, he almost catches Auntie Gui in the act, but she is too good and pretends she just brought him some fruit.
Yes, that makes sense, because he was just downstairs eating, but hey, let's just fill up his room with fruit flies for giggles.
Lone Wolf must go! Like now! 
He tells her (friendly enough) to never again enter his room when he is not in and dismisses her. After she has left, he goes through his things slowly and carefully. What might she have seen, touched, understood? He takes out the newspaper, looks at it - and then sets it on fire. What does it say, what does it say?!
He burns the paper, which could be easily explained, but not the blue print? Sigh.
I think the paper had some info with a secret code for a meeting time, or maybe I am remembering wrong. 
And now, time to do some work at the flour factory! Looking good there, Ming Tai.
Mmm. Yes.
So pretty. 
Sadly, that's not the point though. The point is that he observes his two associates being secretive about a new telegraph and then goes to the docks late at night for a little surprise visit. Guo determined, Manli terrified. And heartbroken. Probably because she has not scenes with Hu Ge anymore, I'd be sad too! Ming Tai is dangerously quiet as he walks into the warehouse and surveys the goods. He asks what is in the crates and Guo quickly lies that it's battle zone supplies. Ming Tai orders him to open it. Of course, it's not at all battle zone supplies, but cigarettes and opium and all that shit.
SO DISAPPOINT.
*cries* don't be angry at Man Li! She wanted to tell you! 
Ming Tai gets violent now and puts his gun against Guo's head, but Guo shouts that he is just following orders, like any good soldier. Manli falls to her knees and vouches for Guo and then screams that they did not tell Ming Tai to protect him, because she was afraid he'd lose it and be executed for it.
Because she, unlike certain other young women of our acquaintance, is actually smart.
Man Li. Man Li. Man Li. Listen to her Ming Tai. She is smart. Marry her. 
They beg him to not be impulsive, which is like begging a volcano to please not erupt. At least he doesn't shoot Guo. This dirty business of smuggling goods is all part of the filthy game the higher-ups are playing on both sides - and it's BIG business, Guo explains. It's keep your mouth shut or die for them. As the truth and the dimensions of all this sinks in, Ming Tai looks more and more defeated. He puts down his gun, picks up his coat, and walks out into the night without a further word.
I like these two so much. What happens to them when Ming Tai gets all principled and joins the Communists?
I would bet that at least Man Li would follow him in a heartbeat. It doesn't seem to me that she has ever really been in this for the politics - it's been a survival thing for her from the get go. And she loves Ming Tai - she would follow him anywhere.  
They follow him, but he shouts at them to get lost. They keep following him and end up getting very drunk together. Ah, young and heartbroken fools... it's a sweetbitter moment of sad and desperate bonding. Ming Tai has already forgiven them for not telling him and they all feel the burden of their duties most keenly this night. 
They're feeling ominously tragic, Kakashi. I do not like this.
Me neither. Things seemed to have taken a rather dark turn. At least they are there for him. 
Miss Cheng finds him at the flour factory the next day. The hangover must be massive. He is also very low in spirits. What's the point of all this, he wonders? She puts her hand on top of his and says: "I will be waiting for you" (and other stuff). Outside the room, Manli, who wanted to bring him something to eat and drink, witnesses their moment of closeness. She puts the tray she was carrying down and leaves without a word.
Just twist the knife in my heart, why don't you.
*cries* 
The second-hand bookseller sells Uncle Li a new batch of old newspapers. And because fate works in mysterious ways, Uncle Li finds what he has been looking for: an announcement about a woman who died for somebody else.
Well, I do at least want this relationship to move forward.
Me too. Oh me too. 

Comments

All the Communists want Ming Tai! I want Ming Tai! Am I a communist? Anyway, the destruction of dreams and ideals in this episode was quite emotional (the details are beside the point or rather, in wars, everybody gets their hands dirty, sadly, which Ming Tai should have known). That they end of getting drunk together was a nice touch, because really, what use is Ming Tai's little hissyfit against his team? They are just pawns in the big game. And pawns get sacrificed for the King and the Queen.
Don't say it.
Right now I feel like everyone in this drama that we love is going to die by the end. 

But it's always sad when ideals die and it is also sad that a bit of that fervor that drove Ming Tai into the arms of Wasp is gone forever now. I really envy the youths their unchecked energy and beautiful naivety sometimes - and feel sad when life kicks them in the butt and takes that from them. Ming Tai may be a pampered brat, but he is also earnestly trying to fight for a better future. Darling, I hope you succeed.
I look at it this way: if you fight, it's at least better than it would have been. So all of those earnest young people are successful, in some small measure at least.
My idealistic and pragmatic sides are often at war. Life can be rather rough sometimes, but also good. It's an interesting balance. 

Ming Tai will get over it by joining the Communists, of course, especially because Miss Cheng is there "waiting for him". Thank you NOT drama for showing us that little scene with Manli. You are so mean. We already know her heart will be broken. In fact, it already is broken. But you want to break it even more it seems, which is just mean.
This drama is a bitch who wants to rub our noses in it.
*cries* Man Li! 

As for Uncle Li: I like the man and I do hope he finds Ming Tai and they get to live happily together, all of them, one big, happy patch-work family. 
Maybe Uncle Li and Ming Jing will fall for each other.
Ooh! That's a pairing I hadn't thought of actually. 




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