17 August 2016

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The Disguiser 伪装者 - Episode 37 (Recap)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on August 17, 2016
Of all the characters remaining alive in this drama at this point, Wang Manchun is by far the craziest one  - having her loose in the streets, out for blood, is a damn scary thing. But YAY for some excitement, the previous episode was just too boring.
JoAnne: I was just thinking how this was actually one of the most exciting episodes for me of the whole series -I would actually love an entire drama about Wang Man Chun.
Eleanor: Ooh yes! She is such an interesting and fascinating character! And it certainly ups the ante to have her roaming around about to cause havoc. 

Episode 37

Ming Lou has revealed his true identity (=Communist) to his sister and she reacts with outrage - and sadness. It's because she has been lied to all these years, but it's even more because all three boys in her house did not think her trustworthy enough or strong enough to share their burden and the truth with her. She is sad about the sacrifices in her life, sacrifices for the family and the family business, only to learn that Ming Lou will probably not survive to take over. And there would have been nothing she would have wanted more than to walk the same path.
I'm torn because I believe that she believes this, but I don't think that the facts support the evidence. Yes, she's hurt that they didn't share, when she supports the same cause. But she chose family (and for them to eventually also choose family) over cause - and every thing she ever did with Ming Tai (or Ming Lou) proves that what she wanted was for them to walk any path BUT this - so I question her belief that she wanted to be doing what they're doing.
I don't know. We see in her other actions supporting the Communists that she's aching to do something more. I think she chose family because that was a role more readily available to her. Thinking about the time frame and social constraints on women, it wasn't as easy to become any sort of freedom fighter as a woman. I know the drama has several female characters doing just that, but I think that's part of the appeal of a resistance movement, it allows some of the structure of formalised societal roles to break down and make way for newer things. Perhaps if they had trusted her, and seen her as not just a motherly figure, she might have been selfish enough to not choose family. Though it's not selfish per se, but she did her societal duty first before a patriotic one, but at the same time, supporting her family allowed the men to go and be freedom fighters as well. It's messy I think. 
At Uncle Li's house, another dramatic scene is brewing... he goes to his cupboard to look at his memorabilia. He unwraps the photo with him, little Ming Tai and the unfortunate wife and looks at it sadly. Of course, Ming Tai comes in to return some clothes hangers. Finally. I'm so glad they get to talk about it before Ming Tai leaves! 
Me too, but I'm distracted because Ming Tai's posture throughout this episode has been terrible.  I get it, he slouches like a teenager. But straighten up!
Maybe this episode should be called "lost chances". Here we have the opposite to Ming Jing - Uncle Li chose his country over his family and was therefore unable to be there for his wife's funeral, and he wasn't able to raise Ming Tai. That's a lot of lost, precious time that no one can ever really have back. We all must live with the choices we make though. 
Well, but how do you go about a conversation like this? It's super awkward. Ming Tai asks whether that's Uncle Li's wife, what her name was ... and whether that's his kid. He then asks why Uncle Li never went looking for the boy, whose name was Li Jia Hong. Well, the answer is that some things are more important than family, and that is one's country. In addition, Uncle Li confesses how he always thought his boy would be better off far away from him, with a good family ... as truly happened. That's the moment they kind of start acknowledging that they know who the other is. They know that they know. Awwww.
I was torn again. On the one hand, it's clear that Li loves his son and it's clear that Ming Tai acknowledges that and is grateful to finally know his father and that he accepts his father's thinking. On the other - Li never looked for the kid, but instead just hoped he found a better family? I mean, he basically said 'I know, but I was real busy with this important stuff so I took a gamble that he'd end up with good people.' We know he did 'look' in the sense of wanting to know what happened to the kid - but he didn't actually LOOK? Wow.
Isn't this what could have happened if Ming Jing had chosen country over family? I really like the juxtaposition. It's really interesting that family duty, which is super important, for Uncle Li, country is first. You can see that this pains Ming Tai, even if he can intellectually understand it, there is so much of a sense of abandonment. It's such a difficult thing. 
And then, awwwwww, Uncle Li makes me cry when he tells Ming Tai that he has no expectations. That he is already used to being alone, that he is already very satisfied to have seen him, to know that he is well. What he doesn't know is how long Ming Tai - or Jia Hong! - searched for him. And now, that he is in front of him, he is at loss what to do. Well, Uncle Li knows: he hugs his son close.
I am glad that they found each other and that they are these kind of people. I mean, this little part of the story, it's ending well here, with love and acceptance. But I'm still kind of boggled at Li's decision. I will just tell myself that he did some preliminary investigating and learned that the family his wife saved took the child, and that he deliberately avoided finding out who that family was because he knew he had to go off and do his thing, and it seemed likely that the family would do well by his son. But why couldn't he have confirmed all that and still not stepped forward? That just seems WRONG.
Yeah, I don't like it much either. Family always comes first in my book. But I am glad that they did get this reunion and some time together. 
Back at the Ming Mansion, Ming Lou tells Big Sis that the biggest trial is yet to come ... but not because she messed up greatly by storming to Division 76 and causing that huge ruckus. Yeah, Ming Jing has an awful temper and it is the prime reason her brothers did not want her as an operative. That, though, helped them! It cleared Ming Lou off the suspicion they had against him. Also, he tells her that they have managed to make it look like Manchun is the main culprit. And he says: "That traitor, she deserves what she gets". Ouch. Harsh.
Ming Lou is actually the scariest person in this drama.
He is super crazy scary. I wish Jin Dong had won more awards for his performance in this. He is amazing as Ming Lou. 
Anyway, he expects much more scrutiny from Tengtian Feng Zhen. They must be suuuuper careful. She must act like Ming Tai is dead, especially in front of Auntie Gui. Currently leaderless, Ming Lou considers her highly dangerous. Hm, she's kinda like a ronin? The plan is to leave her in the house and have her pass on "news" about the peaceful lives of the Mings. And right (back) into playacting they go when Ming Jing chases Big Bro out of the house after slapping him. Haha, she clearly enjoyed that.
We all enjoyed that. I think Ah Cheng enjoyed that, too.
Ouch! She has a mean slap! 
And then, Manchun escapes from prison, her heart full of hatred for the man she once adored beyond anything. Oh SHIT. First thing she does once she's out: call Ming Lou. "We will meet very soon", she says, which is a threat, of course. She does not pretend she does not know what role he played in her downfall. She is past conditions, all she cares for are "results". Oi, scary....
She's scary but because she follows her emotions she is predictable to a certain extent. Ming Lou is scarier to me because he can do anything no matter how he feels.
Yup. I would definitely never want to be enemies with either, but especially not Ming Lou. 
Ah Cheng rushes to the Mansion, they're both extremely alarmed and fear for Big Sis' life - and Ming Lou starts a (wo)manhunt of grand proportions. Yeah, and I'd be ever more alarmed about what Manchun told that right-hand man of Tengtian's (Guo Mu) before he let her go, disguised as a guard ... that she is sure that Scorpion wasn't really executed, because they never got to see the body.
I mean, it's so basic. How could they not have anticipated that?
Maybe they were hoping people were incompetent? Perhaps they shock of seeing Ah Cheng shoot Ming Tai, burying a body with enough witnesses was deemed enough. It's fairly convincing, no? But I guess if one is very thorough, one would go and check the grave to make sure. 
Oh no, the crazy woman is in a house! It's dark. She sneaks up the stairs, oh-so-quietly, enters a bedroom ... and slits someone's - a woman, we don't see her face - throat. Cut to Ah Cheng, rushing into the Mansion. Oh no, was it...??! But no, Big Sis is upstairs, fine, not even asleep yet. I hope she does what Ah Cheng tells her (stay home and under protection)!!! And no, don't point loaded guns at Ah Cheng!!! >.<
I love how Auntie Gui is always in the background just goggled-eyed at everything that happens. Also loved the very subtle 'ok, good job' look Ah Cheng gave Big Sis.  *tiny tiny ship, far out at sea*
This episode is low on Ah Cheng so far *stamps foot* I need MOAR! ;) 
But who did Manchun just kill? Well, whom else has she never liked? Yes, Section Chief Liang. Who has a house in which she can also collect money, a weapon, and a car. (Also: A tape recorder!) When Liang gets there, she just got to one of his cars outside - and she tries to drive him over. In vain (though she gets some of his men). But when he sees the carnage she has left inside, he almost faints on the spot. Manchun killed his second wife.
Who knew? Bugs can feel. The cockroach really did seem to care for his woman.
I'm kind of enjoying unhinged Manchun quite a bit. 
Ah Cheng finds Liang in the room with the body when he gets there later, completely destroyed. Actually, he lies on the floor like a corpse himself and gives Ah Cheng a huge scare when he starts mumbling something about reaping what one sows. It's because he found the razor blade that he gave Manchun, which she used to kill his wife. Oh man, his grief is well acted.
Yes, I thought this scene was very effective. But I mean, come on - it's hours later. Where are the police and the morgue to collect the body? Things should be pungent, that was a lot of blood...
Haha. Ah Cheng jumping is hilarious. It was a very good scene. 
Ming Lou is in a briefing with Guo Mu and some other men responsible for the prison Manchun got out of, when Mr. Tengtian is announced by Ah Cheng. He rushed back from some official business. Ming Lou notices that Guo Mu reacts rather nervously. And of course, Ming Lou makes Mr. Tengtian aware of the fact that someone that is probably very close to him has some ulterior motives and helped the Crazy Woman escape.
Ah, Ming Lou. This war has made you something really sharp and precise. I wonder if you would have reached this potential during peace?
An interesting thought. No doubt, even in times of peace one can experience trials that hone one's skill though. But yes, Ming Lou is particularly well-suited to all of this. 

Comments

We got a lot of stellar performances in this episode, I'm quite impressed! The probably biggest surprise was Liang, though... the actor's name is Yue Yang (he'll be in Candle in the Tomb!!) and he seems to be younger than me, which makes me wonder about his skin regimen, but anyway! He was excellent. His utter dispair was so well done I almost climbed into my computer to give him a hug.
Really, he's that young? I mean, I'm 15+ years older than you, and I'd have thought he was my age.
Make-up? I've seen some photos of him recently on Weibo where he's shooting for a show and he looks muuuuuuuuuch younger. 

Liu Min Tao deserves a special mention as well (she can be a bit shrill in this role, but I love to watch her), those conflicting emotions over the different duties and being lied to were utterly believable. I really felt for her.
I agree, but I don't actually like her all that much. I respect her, she's walked a difficult path alone - but she's so abrasively LOUD and she can't control her temper.
She is an excellent actress and I think plays the part well. 

And Manchun/Wang Ou! Gorgeous and great. I hope she is cast in many more shows that I will watch. She is probably one of the best female villains I know. I'm afraid. I'm very afraid! Only a few episodes to go and it is unclear who will live and who will die.
She's so good at this role, I fear I won't like her in a nice person role. I did try Ode to Joy but it wasn't pulling me in.
She really does play a villain so well! It might be a little jarring for her to play a nice person. I can't remember what her next project is. That would have been awesome though if she had been in Ode to Joy
Ha, I very strangely mixed up Liu Tao and Wang Ou, remembering Wang Ou in the place where Liu Tao had been.

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