The Disguiser 伪装者 - Episode 39 (Recap)

Ming Tai is in for a surprise on a grey rooftop - a surprise and a tearful goodbye. There seem to be a lot of goodbyes recently, but we're still not sure who is going to walk out of this intact. As we all suspected, that tape recorder survived the fire (*note to self: hide valuable things inside a big clock in case of raging fire*) and of course, it means the Mings still won't get their well-deserved peace and quiet.
JoAnne: Plus, either I misunderstood something or my mind is genuinely blown. But no biggie.
Eleanor: Well hopefully things get sorted out for all of us but especially for the Mings. *sigh* I think I am going to need to get some tissues soon. 

Episode 39

When Ming Tai gets to the meeting point to connect with the (Communist) Intelligence Unit Leader of Shanghai, Ah Cheng waits for him. Now wait… I seriously don’t remember what Ming Tai knows and what he doesn’t know. Seeing he is very surprised that Ah Cheng is there, he does not yet know they have double identities? Or triple or whatever? I guess not. 
He doesn't.
He doesn't know how high up they are. I think he knew they were Communists though, but maybe I am remembering completely wrong. Also. That. Blue. Trenchcoat. *swoon*
And yet, the meeting with his brother is … calm. And subdued. Ming Tai thanks him for saving his life… then wishes he’d take care of his health. Ming Lou comments that they seem to have become estranged, as brother. But he also has a task for Ming Tai: he is to pose as KMT spy and break into the communist organization. His only contact will be Big Bro and he will act as a sleeper until reactivated. Say what?! I’m confused now. So even though Ming Tai expects to meet a Communist, Big Bro pretends this is all about KMT and even gives him an order like that? Help?
Yeah, this confusing to me, also. If he's joining the Communist Party, to whom is he supposed to pose as a KMT spy? To the Communists? 'Hi, I want to join you and spy on you? Sure,come on in - let's just tie you up in the torture room right now and save time.' They must want him to only secretly leave KMT and thus spy on KMT, right?  But it didn't sound like that.
I feel like I need to go and watch this again because I wasn't confused when I watched it...but now I'm confused after reading your comments...*off to watch* Okay this is how I understood it. Big Bro knows Ming Tai wants to become a Communist (like he and Ah Cheng are), but he also wants to be able to still use Ming Tai in the KMT (and it also affords Ming Tai some level of safety from the KMT going after him if he were to openly defect.) So he's going to pose as a "traitor" to the KMT and go to the Communists and say he has betrayed the KMT, which he has, but the KMT will think that he hasn't and he can therefore still be used at a later time to get info from the KMT. So he's going to become just like Big Bro and Ah Cheng, who use both sides to make sure the war is won, but they are mostly Communists, just using the KMT. 
Now that they have time to talk, kinda, Ming Tai asks about Wang Tian Feng. He was just “one dead piece of chess in the death plan”, says Ming Lou. But, he was a KMT traitor, even if he planned his death for himself and had it executed through Ming Tai. Ming Tai wants to know about the entire plan - he deserves to hear all about it for the pain he had to go through.
This throws everything out of wack, though - does this mean Airplane Wang was also secretly Communist?
No, he wasn't a Communist. He is technically labelled as a traitor because for all intents and purposes it looks like he betrayed the KMT and his team to give the Japanese the code books, but in reality it was part of his plan. So he'll kind of be an unsung hero except for the few who know the real plan. 
And here we go: From the first time Ming Tai met Wang Tian Feng, it was about that plan. The incident in the airplane, so long ago - all a set-up to lure Ming Tai in and recruit him as a spy. And from the very beginning, it was to have him as part of the Death Plan. Big Bro tried to stop it, but failed. All that happened to Ming Tai, all he was told to do, everything he did served to prepare and ultimately carry out the Death Plan. Ming Lou gained the upper hand through that card game Ming Tai won for him and wanted to remove Ming Tai from the scene in time, to die as the only one … but he failed. In Ming Lou’s plan, he would have been the only one to die. Sadly, Ming Tai is just too good a spy. In Airplane Wang’s plan, everyone had to die. Including Wang himself.
Did you hear my head exploding while I watched this? Twitter did.
Yeah. It's very sad. Incredibly tragic. *cries*
That’s the whole plan, Ming Tai. And it worked exactly like Wang intended it to work. But one thing, he did not predict: that Ming Tai would survive the bullet to his heart because Ah Cheng put his mother's pocket watch in there before taking the shot. That makes Ming Tai sob and sob and sob. Why exactly? Because he is the only survivor? Or because the watch is broken and pierced by a bullet? (Where did that bullet go, by the way? Did it get stuck in the watch? I hope so for Ming Tai's heart)
Oh, it went into Ming Tai I think, but was slowed down and thus didn't reach his heart. The watch is shot through and through. But the plan, though: Why did Wang want Ming Tai? To screw with Ming Lou?
Yes, to screw with Ming Lou I think. I think Ming Tai sobs because he realises that if he had trusted his brother instead of Wang that perhaps his team might not have been lost. Or he would have escaped earlier and not gotten so deeply and painfully involved. Ming Lou tried really hard to make sure Ming Tai would not get involved in all the spying stuff, but Ming Tai wanted to, and now he has to realise that it means sometimes heavy, heavy burdens. 
Ming Lou admits that he was selfish, that he did everything to save Ming Tai’s life. But the deaths of his teammates were not meaningless. They saved the lives of millions. Good to know.
He was *sobs* prepared to die for Ming Tai? Had a whole plan? What about the millions, though?
Well we don't get to know Ming Lou's plan, but my understanding is that Ming Lou's plan would have still saved the millions, but only Ming Lou would have died. 
And then, back to their initial talk. “May I ask whether you brought cigarettes”? asks Ming Lou. That is what Ming Tai knows the Communist operative will ask him. He has to answer: “Sorry, I just quit”. They go through this, but Ming Tai is utterly shocked now. Big Bro…. a Communist. Oh halleluja. It’s out.
Well what the fuck did he think was happening there on that roof for the last ten minutes? Ming Lou just happened to be hanging out and thought it would be a good time to catch up? He's that buddy-buddy with the Communists that he could ask to piggy back on their meeting?
For reals, you're a bit slow there Ming Tai. I guess that was what was perhaps a tad confusing about the earlier conversation. They had to make it vague enough so that Ming Tai would still think he was being talked to by KMT people, but we already knew Ming Lou is a Communist. 
Ming Lou conveniently switches hats and now speaks to Ming Tai as the Leader of the Shanghai Force. It seems all a bit much for our Young One. So many identities.
Chinception. That's what I'm calling this drama from now on. Chinception.
Oh Ming Tai. You look like you need a big hug. 
But time is tight and Ming Lou has a task for Ming Tai: he will be a spy for the Communists while inside the KMT. Haha. So he will spy on the Communists as a KMT agent and spy on KMT as a Communist? That’s so confusing. But of course, Ming Lou wants to get rid of KMT spies within the Communist ranks and who to better use for that than Ming Tai. Ming Tai, our little Double Agent.
But where will he be a sleeper agent? And if he's going to do this, then what's the big deal about his cover as a KMT agent being blown? He's going to be a Communist to the Communists, so what would they care? To the KMT, he'll be switching sides but only to spy, so why would they care?
They haven't told us where he will go yet. Well, he has to be a KMT agent to catch the other KMT agents spying on the Communists pretending to be Communists. So he has to make sure his covers look good for all the spies they are going to catch. 
Ming Lou also says that he envies Ming Tai… he openly gets to do what he has to do in secret. Where? What part is in the open? He's spying on both sides. Okay, but ultimately for the Communists, I guess. He would like the people in his city to know that he is fighting for them against the Japanese. But he has to live as a traitor in their eyes. And he feels so sorry he disappointed both Ming Tai and Big Sis. But he did not, says Ming Tai. “You were always our pride”. Awwwwwwwwwwwww.
HUGS!!!!!!!! We need some hugs!!!!!
This is also a goodbye, yes? Ming Tai will be sent out of Shanghai, together with Jin Yun (aka Trainwreck, yes). Ming Lou starts to tell him that Uncle Li is his real father, but Ming Tai cuts him short - he knows it all. Ming Lou will let Ming Jing know (he says “Us Mings are reasonable”, weeell…..), he is sure she will be okay with it. But he also thinks she would hope Ming Tai would keep Ming as his family name. “I am a Ming forever”, says Ming Tai and both cry a little.
I join them.
Me too. *grabs some tissues*
And then it’s time. Goodbye, Big Bro. The two hug and it’s very sad.
Uncle Li returns from grocery shopping, he bought something delicious. As soon as he gets home, he calls out for Ming Tai - but Ming Tai isn’t there. It looks like he has left, but he has not…  he is in his father’s room, looking like he broke his father’s most valuable possession… and maybe he has, because what he has in his hand is the pocket watch. He hands it to Uncle Li, who carefully touches the image of his wife inside, now without face cause bloody bullet hole. Oh well. Anyway, Ming Tai wants to hear stories about his mother. 
Yes, so do we.
I'm still teary eyed, I'm not sure I can handle too much more. 
Ming Jing and Ah Cheng stroll through their garden - her arms interlinked with his. He says she looks so much better. (SHIIIIP!) She just regrets the fact that she may never see Ming Tai again. Ah Cheng tells her to be patient and relax. The two newlyweds will be happy together - and there might be a time soon when she can go visit them. When everything is over and they can be who they really are.
My ship just got bigger.
He starts flirting mildly (yes, I know, my interpretation) and she asks how old he is. He is 27 and she says it’s high time to get him married. And she wants a nephew. Yeah, get on it! Match making is in order! I know someone, Ming Jing. Her name is Eleanor and she currently lives in Korea. Forget about that other woman you have in mind (a teacher whose surname is Jing. A teacher! For Ah Cheng?!)
But did you see how reluctant he is about that teacher? SHIIIIIP.
Korea is really close to you Ah Cheng! I mean, I saw Kaikai here in Korea last month even...see, it's totally doable. 
It’s night and we’re at the Noodle Factory…. it’s Lone Wolf. Oh no. She is looking through the wreckage and of fucking course, she finds the tape recorder. It isn’t broken or damaged enough. Can she just go away, the horrible woman!!! Manchun told her where she would go. Oh no.
Fucking Auntie Gui. Ah Cheng I blame YOU for whatever comes next, because you went and got her from the drive way.
Nooooooooo!!!!! Don't blame Ah Cheng!!! He was being good and filial. These are good things. Even though she is horrid and evil, he is good. 
Liang gets a promotion to Leader of the Information Department by Ming Lou (*clap clap*). Yeah, despite all his faults, I think Liang is not the worst of Ming Lou’s choices.
Well he's not as bloodthirsty as HairDo was, at least.
And probably a lot easier to control than Manchun as well. 

Lone Wolf brings the tape recorder to Mr. Tengtian and they listen to it together … as we know, Ming Tai’s voice is on it and Lone Wolf knows it is. She tells Tengtian to hurry and arrest Ming Lou. Well, that’s not that easy… in fact, Tengtian thinks this has huge implications, also for him. He gave the order to execute Ming Tai after all. But he did not execute him himself, says Lone Wolf. Whoever did clearly lied to him. Uh-oh. Liang, will you not be able to profit from your promotion at all? 
Yes! A CYA coverup!
Okay, that recording isn't exactly super clear. Be hesitant Tengtian. Don't follow up. Leave the Mings alone. Kill Lone Wolf. See, those are much better suggestions. 
Lone Wolf wants to disappear, to remain secret, but that’s no longer necessary, says Tengtian. And thus, she is in the room when Liang gets presented with the tape information. He is completely surprised to hear the voice of Scorpion on there and vehemently assures Tengtian that’s complete bullshit. He was there when he was executed. He died.
Yes, Liang. Lie! Lie!
Haha. I do feel a little sorry for Liang. He was there and he did see Ming Tai get shot and "die". Liang really does think he's dead. 

Lone Wolf pipes up and says Liang was certainly bribed by Ming Lou and let Ming Tai go. Liang demands to know who that woman is - and when he hears she was an agent’s of Manchun, he goes like: aha, I understand … it’s because he got a promotion, which upset many people. This is a stupid plot against him. It’s complete bullshit and circumstantial evidence at best. Scorpion? That? No way. He can ask all the members of the execution squad, Ming Tai is dead. 
Very well played. Reminiscent of a certain court scene, in fact.
Please believe him Tengtian. Please! 
Liang is dismissed. Yes, Lone Wolf … it does not look too good for you. But Tengtian listens to the tape recording again, thoughtful. What does he believe?
Oh, for sure, he knows he got played.
Crap!!! This will NOT be good for the Mings! 

The phone rings at Ming Lou’s office, Ah Cheng picks up… and the tape recording plays. Oh no. Who is it?! Ah Cheng rushes to Ming Lou and tells him to leave immediately. If he goes now, he can still make it.
That has to be Tengtian, right? Did Auntie Gui grab her tape recorder and leave in disgrace? I think not. Tengtian would have held on to that piece of equipment for sure.   
I think I'm going to close my eyes and pretend everything is going to be okay T___T


Who is it? Tengtian ... or Lone Wolf, acting as a lone wolf? I am pretty sure it's her, because Mr. Tengtian would not just call anonymously, right? But what does she want, this radicalized housekeeper? Revenge? Damn, I wish those Mings could catch a break.
Ha ha! It doesn't seem like a Tengtian move, but it also doesn't seem like he'd have let that recorder go. I guess we'll see.
Could she have made a copy? Maybe Tengtian is being sneaky. I don't know. I'm panicking a bit. Well actually a lot. Someone is going to die, aren't they? 

I'm glad Ming Tai finally knows about all his brother's identities, but I guess I'm not patriotic aka pro-Communist enough to feel that it really matters. Dying for this or that resistance movement ... same-same for me. Ming Tai heard what we already knew for the most part - Wasp's plan etc., though we now have certainty that it was all planned by him exactly this way. Pretty amazing planning skills, respect.
He was a very smart man, that Airplane Wang.
I would have vastly preferred Ming Lou's plan that didn't end up with Manli dead. Though that would have meant Ming Lou's death...hmmmmm all bad options. 

As JoAnne said not too long ago, Ming Tai should get over himself and his grief already. I get it. It's terrible, but all those tears and all that soul-searching... what for? I hope he will stop having any survivor's guilt now and move on. I don't even mind if he moves on with his Trainwreck and makes happy babies somewhere outside of Shanghai. Just make them.
And keep her out of my sight.
I don't think Ming Tai really understood what all the spying was about before this. He was a baby and wasn't thinking things through - totally a bit of an entitled rich kid. 

I also want Ah Cheng and Ming Jing to hook up and have a bit of fun ... both could use some. Ah Cheng always needs to clean up after the other two brothers, I would definitely be sick of it. Let him be happy ... but definitely not with a teacher who is three years older than him. Seriously, Ming Jing, what were you thinking? 
I think she has no idea how secretly awesome he is.
But we know, yes we do ❤️