08 June 2016

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The Disguiser 伪装者 - Episode 29 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on June 08, 2016
kakashi: Back to Disguiser! It's been a long time since our last recap. Our guys are currently in a good place, but not for much longer, that much I can tell you. Like ... not at all much longer, dammit. But! This episode sees the return of our beloved "Airplane Wang"! I've really missed his menacing intensity...
JoAnne: I love him to bits. And it HAS been forever, wow. It's easy to lose track because we see so many of these faces in NIF and so I don't feel like I'm away - but then we come back to this and it hits me that I've really missed these characters.
Eleanor: Man, it has been a while. I miss these characters so much. They feel so real to me. Granted I see these faces often on Weibo, but yeah, it's not the same as seeing them here. 

Episode 29

At the government headquarters, Ah Cheng and Ming Lou discuss faked telegrams between Scorpion and Battle Zone Division 3. Ah Cheng has left some clues so they can be found: He will put them in a locked cabinet at the flour factory. Ming Tai knows nothing about it. Well, dammit. They want Ming Tai to appear suspicious!!!
The one disadvantage to the breaks we take are that this plot is fairly circuitous and it takes a bit to figure out which what is which and what path is true, etc.
I'm still not sure I even get all the plot points even after finishing the drama. I feel like if I went back and watched I would get all these twists and turns much, much, much better. Even just commenting here after finishing, this makes sense.
All this, we learn, is necessary because the Japanese won't sit still. They will investigate Nan Tian's death further. Ming Lou suggest they use Lone Wolf to get Wang Man Chun moving. She needs to find out about the two rooms that Ming Tai rented for the assassination - and the transmitter-receiver that's in it. So...... this is the "Death Project" again, right? This damn "Death Project"! We thought it was the train-stunt, but nope.
I had actually assumed that the Death Project was the little spy cell itself. Ming Tai, Man Li, and ...damn, what's his name? Guo. I was close, I kept thinking Go. That would be Korean, though.
Death Project. *throws something heavy through a window. I do not like this talk of a Death Project again. Please tell me it's not going to be that bad. 
Ming Lou has another tension migraine ... no wonder. Ah Cheng quickly gets him some aspirin. So... they want to implicate Ming Tai, HAVE to implicate Ming Tai ... but at the same time, they want to make sure he's nowhere near the fire once it starts burning? They only need to convince "The Insane Person" (=Wang Tian Feng). And I'll be damned .... he is on his way to Shanghai!!!
...but I thought it was the Japanese who needed to be fooled. Airplane Wang already knows about Ming Tai. He made Ming Tai. Does he somehow need to feel suspicious that Ming Tai is no longer KMT?
Maybe they want to foil the Death Plan? I'm guessing that there must be a reason that they're not thrilled about working with Wang Tianfeng. I also think that Ming Lou needs more than an aspirin at this point. 
Ah Cheng lets himself be caught in the middle of the night by his mother, and reluctantly admits he went after some bank documents that Ming Tai has hidden in the frame of a picture. It must be dirty money, he tells Lone Wolf, so he may as well steal it! Also hidden in the picture, behold: a rental agreement. Ah Cheng puts it away in his desk, before his mother can take a very close look ... but she still sees what's relevant. That he rented something on Scott Street.
So that's for the Japanese, to think Ming Tai was involved in the assassination attempt. Okay. I'm good on this bit. Slowly working my way back in to the mess.
Muahahahahahahaha I LOVE when Ah Cheng is so sneaky! He makes such a good spy. 
That same night, the braided broadcaster intercepts a message that Battle Zone Division 3's secret code book is to be exchanged. Furthermore, Ming Tai bombs a Kuomingtang shipping delivery - without leaving any trace, but everybody knows it was him. That's another headache for poor Ming Lou (or rather, a pretense headache). Yet another: "Poison Bee" has arrived and is asking for a personal meeting.
Oh right, there's this whole bit to keep straight, too - that he's disillusioned about the illegal trade/smuggling and determined to put an end to it, even if it's his own people. Now that, I could see them wanting to keep from Airplane Wang/Poison Bee. Or do they want him to know? UGH.
I don't even know. I think I'm getting a headache just trying to keep all the facts straight. Respect for these spies. Respect. 
Wang Manchun is visibly happy when she receives word of the intercept. She orders a very tight control on all important transport routes and wants to interrogate every suspicious person herself. She also wants this to be her operation - and hers only. While having tea with Manchun, our little broadcaster casually drops something: she suspects a Communist broadcasting station near Scott Road. And she knows this: these Commies never buy houses, but always rent, which makes it much easier for them to find the thing.
Yet another evil person I can't help but care about, Killer Wang. Whenever I think of how Ming Lou is using her, my blood runs cold at his cruelty. And yet, I line him up squarely on the side of the good guys. Sometimes I think it's impossible to articulate how we know which side to put someone on.
It's what makes this drama so good - the bad guys and the good guys are all sort of grey. Wang Manchun is definitely someone to be pitied...almost. And man, Wang Ou is GORGEOUS! 
Big Sis visits her bank safe... and finds a message in there (with a ripped bank note) telling her to "stop all business" and wait. She takes the piece of paper and eats it.
I laughed and laughed and laughed. Big Sis is so into her role Secret Supporter.
I think the Ming Bros are a little dense to not involve Big Sis a little more in spy work. I think she's got great potential. 
Meanwhile, Lone Wolf has got herself an audience with Manchun (who is frosty and condescending). However, when she hears that Ming Tai has hired an apartment in Scott Road, she perks up. Lone Wolf reveals her deep hate for the Mings, as she urges Manchun on to get all of them into prison - and also shares her suspicion that Ming Tai must be hiding most of his secrets at the flour factory.
Oddly, no sympathy from me for Lone Wolf, who is also being played very cruelly by someone important to her. Maybe subconsciously I don't really believe she cares for Ah Cheng, despite her story of loss, betrayal, grief, etc?
Maybe it also has something to do with that she abused a child terribly whereas Manchun is an adult - so it's a bit different. But yeah, Lone Wolf I really don't like. 
Guo is doing some overtime at the flour factory when Airplane Wang turns up all of a sudden. Poor Guo ... he gets the fright of his life! As does Manli, who comes bouncing in all happy and carefree. Wang Tian Feng treats them like naughty children, actually ... who are having fun, while others suffer. Like the Division Leader, who was called in to HQ because of the bombing incident, and might actually be executed for it.
Oops. But....Manli! It's my Psycho Kitten! I've MISSED HER.
Manli!!! Just let the kids have some fun Airplane Wang. 
They remain almost frozen in fear as he menacingly licks the lollipop he stole from Manli - and declares he has returned to die. And then bites the lolly into pieces. It's very dramatic.
And kind of hot.
Man. This scene. What a way to so set up something so menacing with something so simple. 
And hot, don't forget hot.
And then, it's time for the meeting... between the titans. They're at the Country Club, discussing the "Death Project". Poison Bee is not ready to negotiate. He'll have it his way - or no way. His way ... means Ming Tai will die. Within seconds, they get into a physical fight. Ah Cheng and Guo rush in to break them apart, but it doesn't take long and they are screaming at each other too. Then, Ming Lou and Wang start to insult each other's aides. Haha. Petty.
I love petty.
Um, Ming Tai will die. Um. Hell no. That is NOT allowed. Also, Wang Kai, please always wear trenchcoats. Always. 😍
They send their underlings out and sit down again - but their words are still full of contempt for each other. Ming Lou cannot get over the fact that this man has plucked his brother from sweet juvenile innocence. Is it not enough if he, Ming Lou, sacrifices himself?
I do understand Ming Lou wanting to protect his brother...but really, what makes his brother any different from anyone else? Nothing, just that he knows him. Why is it unthinkable that he'd have to die? No reason, just that he knows him. It stinks uncomfortably of the villain who thinks it's okay to blame a poor kid for his own son's misdeed, because being rich means never having to say you're sorry.
Yes and no. I think that for Ming Lou it's also extreme guilt. Ming Tai is really young, in his early twenties and wasn't supposed to get sucked into this - and Airplane Wang kidnapped him knowingly. There is also the whole Big Sis thing and the promises he has made to her to keep Ming Tai safe. I do understand his desire to keep those he loves safe and sound - but I also think that Ming Lou isn't such a big fan of the Death Project and feels like whomever would die would be a waste. Ming Lou strikes me as the sort of person who wouldn't wantonly waste life, but I could be wrong about that. 
And then, Wang apologizes. And Ming Lou apologizes back. That calms them both down - even though it's not entirely clear what they apologize for - and they go back to discussing the Death Plan again. A plan so precarious nobody will know whether it's a success or failure until the very end. This cannot get any more cryptic.
So then it's not really any one event. It's either a series of events leading to a specific outcome, or it's the fact of the cell itself.
It seems like it's a rather desperate plan. I don't know if I like a plan that has such high stakes but not a sure outcome. Death is kind of a big deal. Unless you can guarantee it won't be a waste...but then again I'm in the camp that thinks all war is waste. 
Ming Lou suggests a game ... if Wang wins, they follow his plan. If Ming Lou wins, he gets to command the mission. And into this charged atmosphere, Ming Tai arrives. Ming Lou pretends Ming Tai does not know he knows about his brother's identity and Ming Tai plays along. Wang pretends he doesn't know Ming Tai and Ming Tai plays along. It's all a bit confusing to me, because I'm asking myself: do they really not know they all know? Also, Ming Lou suggest little brother should play cards in his stead, since he's no good at it.
So let me get this straight: Ming Lou and Ming Tai are pretending to Wang that Ming Lou doesn't know Ming Tai is KMT, and Wang and Ming Tai are pretending to Ming Lou that Ming Tai isn't KMT. Except: there was a rescue attempt at the school way back when, so Wang knows that Ming Lou knows, and Ming Lou (I think) knows that Wang knows he knows.
I'm not sure that Wang knows that Ming Tai knows that Ming Lou is KMT. I don't think Wang knows just how much Ming Tai knows, but I could be wrong about that. I think that's what's going on. Wang knows Ming Lou tried to stage a rescue, but he doesn't know that Ming Tai is in on the knowledge. So if Wang doesn't know that Ming Tai knows that Ming Lou is KMT, then Wang has to pretend that this meeting has nothing to do with spy stuff, so that Ming Tai won't side with Ming Lou. That's how I read the situation - he wants Ming Tai loyal to him (Wang) and no one else. 
Surprisingly, I followed that very easily.  And I think you're right.  (But it made me laugh that we're reduced to a comedy skit in order to tell this story.)
And so, the game begins. Ming Tai does not even look at his cards and just follows. Why? Because "gambling is like a war zone. The situation can change thousand of times". BAM.
Well that's certainly true.
Crap. This had better end well.

Comments

This episode mildly confused me. The subs are really rocky and sometimes don't even make much sense, so there's that. But I'm guessing that even with perfect subs, the episode would have been confusing - nobody talks straight, it's all super cryptic.
Here, sit with me. There's plenty of room here in the Confusion Zone.
I feel like I need to rewatch the drama many times. 

This is what I got: Ah Cheng and Ming Lou are implicating Ming Tai in Nantian's murder. Why? We don't fully know or understand, but it seems that someone has to take the blame, and he's the one whose name is on that rental agreement. Also, he's the most expendable.
I mean, I know they have a plan that puts him at risk but includes saving him, but when you get down to brass tacks, if it doesn't work, they HAVE basically agreed that if someone has to die, it should be him. Wow.
Maybe. I don't know. All of this seems pretty cold-blooded to me. There has to be a reason for all of this. 

At the same time, the "Death Plan" is back on the table - and it seems pretty clear it has something to do with that codebook that was mentioned, seeing the way this info is fed to Manchun et al. The codebook and Ming Tai's Scott Road adventures seem somewhat connected, but we're not sure how ... It's also clear that the Death Plan means people will die. Seeing how Insane Person Wang tells everyone he has come to Shanghai to die, I'm guessing he actually will.
I really don't want to see the last of Wang.
I'm guessing more than just Wang will die if it's called the Death Plan. *sigh* I hate war.

But what about Ming Tai? Here, the info we have is not exactly straightforward. Ah Cheng and Ming Lou are trying to come up with a Plan B, because Plan A (Insane Wang's) involves Ming Tai's death. Right? Only, Insane Wang does not want plan B. He wants A. If Ming Tai wins this game, though... Plan B will be it.
I'm sort of thinking Wang has always, since he first realized that Ming Tai is Ming Lou's brother, planned for Ming Tai to die - to hurt Ming Lou as payback for something. That he could use him to further KMT objectives is a plus. But along the way, he became fond of Ming Tai, and that complicates things a bit. Only in the sense that it will now cost him as well, though, because he is after all Insane Person Wang, and breaking his own heart wouldn't be enough to stop him from anything.
I do think that Insane Person Wang does care for Ming Tai, but I also think he is ruthless - he will do whatever he can to save his country and if that means Ming Tai will die, well so be it. I think it's also part of a general tone of painting the KMT as more heartless than the Communists (given how history progressed). Man, I really hate war. Can everyone just stay alive and not die? 










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