Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 15 (A SqueeCap)

It's like childhood all over again: two weeks ago, we were playing Capture the Corpse. One week ago, we watched all the kids fight over the new boy in town. This week, Jung Tae makes a decision about his date for the prom. Along the way, we get tons of what we love: more fights, more Yummy Tummy, more Shinichi, more Aoki, more Do Ggoo....there's even a sighting of the fabled Mo! Seriously, what could be better than Mo? Do you think they really brought him back because we complained so loudly? I'm going with that. There's enough wink and nod in his reappearance to make me think that writer absolutely knows who butters his bread. Life is good. 
kakashi: JoAnne, I love this show. I fear the day it will be done. I hate goodbyes.  
Episode 15

JoAnne: We open with a review of that clash of titans - Shinichi and Baek San fighting, and are immediately reminded that none of us have the faintest idea who Do Ggoo is working for when he points out helpfully that Baek San does the kind of fighting that ... oh, you  know...kills people by destroying their insides.
kakashi: I am so fearful, JoAnne. So many characters are still alive. That just means more of them will die at one, right? Shinichi's death will be very, very hard for me. 
JoAnne: Our veteran fists seem pretty equally matched, although I do worry about the state of Shinichi's innards since it hasn't been ALL that long since he was half turned to mush the first time. Fortunately, Gaya's guards show up JUST in the nick of time to collect her wayward protector. He puts up a show of disobeying, but they have rope and will tie him up if they must. I wonder if they'll take off his robe before they tie him up, but he decides to go peacefully and I'm left cursing the heavens. She really hates him now, Kakashi... sorry. But where is my Aka?
kakashi: Sorry about Aka, JoAnne. And the rope was totally kinky, yes. I want to tie up Shinichi. Very much so. He's looked better, though. These days, he looks more like his own aunt. Old and tired.
JoAnne:  That very picture you put right below, here? When I first saw that during the show, I tweeted that Shinichi looked like a really tired trannie.
JoAnne: Jung Tae promises to repay the debt he incurred to Baek San tonight and manages to make it sound exactly like 'I will fuck you up so bad, old man, you will pray for death.' Baek San confuses me by looking really sad. Remember when we thought he was one of the good guys? Sigh.
kakashi: I remember that well. What is he, really? He is like an empty shell. A marionette. Does he have a will of his own? Does he actually feel? I think what you thought was "sad" is actually his totally normal face. 
JoAnne: Back at SeolRak, the world's most evilly insecure man feeds Gaya a combination of raw clams and half-truth, but there are enough tidbits about her mom in there to make the poor orphan girl emotional. Not so much for me, though. It's something about an old story of a woman forced to drown herself in the river who then turns into a clam to protest her poor treatment at the hands of the Empress. I could swear the first time I watched this that Gaya asked Seul if he was saying her mother was a clam, but I can't find it now. We do learn that everyone loved Ryoko, and that the room Gaya uses at Club Shanghai was hers.
kakashi: Buahaha, sub-fail again? The clam things was a bit .... sexual?
JoAnne: Now in that very room, Gaya is musing over her mother's lovely objects and furnishings when Shinichi arrives. In a twist I did NOT see coming, we learn that Shinichi went to Jung Tae at Gaya's behest. That whole fight was a plot to draw out Baek San and expose him as Young Chul's killer. Gaya, you are SO FREAKING COOL. And Shinichi, wow. We know that you really do want Jung Tae dead, so this... you are loyal, indeed.
kakashi: Huh. I am so glad it's okay to be in love with Shinichi now. He isn't all bad, you know. Quite unlike Aka. Hush.
JoAnne: Shinichi can't really stop picking at the scars, though, and asks if Seul told her anything about her mother's death. She allows that he told her the big rumor was that her mother and father were not killed by the same person, but then she gets all upset about why Shinichi is so curious about her mother. I honestly don't get why it bothers her so much that Shinichi cared for the woman he was sworn to protect and knew from childhood.
kakashi: I still don't get what's bothering HIM, either. So he failed to protect her mother? Or is it something else? Also ... what are his feelings towards her? If he was in love with her mother (something that is implied I think) wouldn't he be potentially in love with her, the spitting image of her mother? If Gaya knows about his attachment to her mother she might be freaked out by the potential interest in her. Isn't that kinda like incest? Uhm ... maybe not. Okay, I'll shut up now.
JoAnne: In his bedroom, Jung Tae mentally reviews Baek San's moves and uses them as his own personal version of a 'how-to' video as he practices new moves in bed. Wait, that sounded wrong. He's on the bed, practicing new moves. Fight moves, people. Fight moves. Even in his own imagination, though, he loses to Baek San.
kakashi: This is like a 1930s version of the Matrix. 
JoAnne: Yep, the Matrix has come up in earlier squeecaps - I totally agree.
JoAnne: Full of determination and blessed with a floor level camera, Jung Tae tries out a push up but his shoulder is still too weak. That's ok, he just does them one-handed instead. No biggie. His form is pretty good though,  so it actually is kind of a biggie. Yummy Tummy is strong, my friends. I imagine him doing the push ups ABOVE me, and every time he lowers himself I give him a kiss. Sigh.
kakashi: Have I stated publicly before that I have become a total Kim Hyun-joong fan? Nom-nom-nom. He is so yummy I want to snack on him. You know, just tiny little bites here and there. 
JoAnne: Get in line, sister.
JoAnne: In the morning he's observed running all over creation by Old Man Fly who eventually asks him what's up. 'I want to be strong,' says Jung Tae. Not just to avenge his father, either, although he doesn't seem ready (or perhaps able) to articulate his thoughts. Old Man Fly wants to know who Jung Tae thinks is the owner of Bamsangtong, and Jung Tae says it's Jae Hwa. Old Man Fly says what we've all been thinking... Jung Tae isn't very bright. He informs Jung Tae that fighting begins with the mind and walks off muttering that it's going to be a while. I have really strong Karate Kid feelings right now.
kakashi: Since when has Old Man Fly become this teacher-figure? I am not sure I like it. About Jung-tae's intellect ... what do you expect from somebody that gets hit in the head all the time. He should have worn a helmet. Too late. 
JoAnne: To remind us that it's not just the smart men who have qualities we should appreciate, Jung Tae takes a thoughtful bath in one of those big round wooden tubs. The camera is approximately 3cm away from his torso as he stands and we get a brief eyeful of nipple before it pulls back to show us the whole lovely package. Well, half of it anyway. We are strictly PG-13 when it comes to nekkid. Not my choice, believe me. (And yes, if SSH ever makes the rumored 19+ movie, I'll see what we can do. I wonder if I should practice on the Lee Joon movie...)
kakashi: Or on that Joo Sang-wook movie. That ass ... I'll never forget it. It's part of the strong attraction I feel whenever I see Joo Sang-wook.
haha, I'm sorry! Of course I'll give you a screencaps of the goods, not only his incredibly handsome face ... (though PDnim? I you read this, please make sure to give us a close-up of the Tummy again soon, okay?)
JoAnne: Theeeeeeeeeeeeere's the money shot! Thank you :)
JoAnne: The actress playing So So must be next on the list to have paid off the writer because she gets to come in and watch a (mostly hidden from US by screens) naked Jung Tae towel off. She maintains a straight face as she chastises him about the unhealed wounds he carries while staring at his completely blemish-free torso. Not one scar or bruise to be seen (might be where we can't see?). Jung Tae asks for some privacy and So So pretends not to give a fig while she oh-so-casually peeks at him through every available crack in the screen around the bathing area.
kakashi: That girl knows no shame! 
JoAnne: Ok Ryeon comes in dressed nicely and is eyed with a decent bit of appreciation by Jung Tae, who is now (sadly) dressed. She has an audition - it must be at Club Shanghai, right? So So has positioned herself as manager and makes big promises. The girls head off through the crowded streets toward Ok Ryeon's appointment.
kakashi: Just sad that Ok-ryeon is such a boring character. She also makes Jung-tae boring. He is always so awkward around her. 
JoAnne: Sure enough, So So gets knocked back a bit as she bumps into someone on the street. It only takes a second for me (and you, I'm sure) to say hmmm... that black jacket... and then the camera slides up to reveal the profile of a chin, lips... a smile. Nothing more than that, but all familiar, all beloved. We only need that much to start a cheer which I'm sure was heard 'round the world: Leader Mo is back! Not only that, but Writer-nim returned him to us with a wink and a nod - the loud heartbeat that accompanies the brief scene says everything we need to know about So So's opinion and our own, really, and the sight of Mo plus minion walking away down the street in their oh-so-recognizable way is just the icing on the cake.
kakashi: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! By the way, people, we're preparing a post just for Mo Il-hwa.
JoAnne: Aoki, looking dapper indeed, sits down with the members of ChirinBang. He introduces himself as the new Japanese Occupation Forces Head of Security and suggests oh-so-politely that they might want to look into changing some things around the place. Seol completely mistakes the tiger for a housecat and dismisses him as wet behind the ears. *Pat-pat-pat* I hope he loses some fingers. Aoki just smiles and says well, I was being polite... but I've already made the changes. 'So suck on that, old man' was clearly heard even if he doesn't say it out loud. Seol looks like he's having some digestive issues, and even as his mouth says he'll cooperate, his eyes promise otherwise.
kakashi: I'm still so happy they brought (almost) everybody to Shanghai! Dobi gang is missing though. Not sure we'll ever see them again ... and nobody ever wondered what happened to Jung-tae's good friend Rockhead, right?
JoAnne: Next on his to-do list, Aoki brings some random dude to the brink of suicide. I think it's the man who tried to kill Jung Tae in prison, which is interesting...
kakashi: I think you're right. Thank god I have you. I had no clue who this dude was. 

JoAnne: It's a veritable Who's Got Talent-Shanghai at the club, with a lovely boy with a fake sword, a woman who shatters glass with her voice, a magician who does't quite know how to control fire, and Old Man Fly, who intends to do the old 'saw my assistant in half' trick - except he really does stab the assistant in the box, sending blood shooting. As the poor assistant scrambles off stage screaming 'Save me', Old Man Fly advises him on which type of shit would be most appropriate as a remedy, and then turns to Jae Hwa and Mei Ling to explain that he usually does kill one person every show. The look of disbelief on Jae Hwa's face rivals that of any X Factor judge after such a parade of 'talent' - and then Ok Ryeon arrives and requests an audition. Jae Hwa moves through the Oppa Modes pretty quickly: immediately protective, reluctantly indulgent, disbelievingly proud. Us, not so much. She's ok. She's not great. But with what they have to select from, Ok Ryeon will do.
kakashi: I thought the casting-show set-up was well done. I laughed. Ok-ryeon ... she still bores me to death. And as much as I love this song, she manages to turn it into a sleeping pill. Just ... move over or out. The next town maybe? 
JoAnne: My lovely friend Shel likes to point out that 'Over the Rainbow' did not yet exist during this time as another example of poor research (first it was the makes of various cars) but I cannot hear her lalalala show is perfect. I would like to respectfully point out, however, that the song IS perfect for a group of displaced Koreans surrounded by Chinese in a Chinese city, all continually threatened by the looming threat of the Japanese. The song is about dreams. Ok Ryeon is pursuing her dream, singing to a man with big dreams, in a room full of people who barely dare to dream. And so even if she's not that great a singer, the moment does give me goosebumps.
kakashi: I'm on Shel's side. Immediately after the song was used for the first time quite a few episodes back, I had to check when it was composed and ... well. Ok-ryeon must be a time traveller. 

JoAnne: Gaya and Jung Tae meet up accidentally at the temple. She's been honoring her parents, he's got his dad's tablet. They have a really nice moment of connection and communication where she finally assures him straight out that she was helping his father, not avenging her own. She all but begs him to leave Shanghai, reminding him that he has a place and a person to go to. She is the daughter of Il Gook Hwae, though, and she has her marching orders. She will not stop for anything, even if it's him.
kakashi: Ah, you two ... it's just sad. Nothing makes me more melancholic than loves that cannot be. 
JoAnne: Jung Tae takes his tablet straight to SeolRak. He kneels in the street before Scuzzy Seul with an entourage of random folk behind him. Seul is definitely feeling some tension and the mood is pretty ominous and I have NO idea what is happening that would make these things true. Jung Tae wants to keep his father's tablet at SeolRak and he wants to treat Seul as a substitute father. What? I have no idea what's going on. Seul looks like he's about to lose his lunch, Jung Tae is impassive, I am THOROUGHLY lost - but Jung Tae gets his wish. Once Seul accepts, we get our first look from Jung Tae that says he might have an ulterior motive. I still don't get it what it is, though, given what we know of Seul.
kakashi: Oh, but I do get it. Even though we all know Jung-tae isn't the smartest, he knows very well what it means to survive. And he has just improved his chances by factor 100000. Plus ... I love the look on Seul's face, which I hate. The face, I mean. 
JoAnne: Do Ggoo the Town Crier helpfully runs to Club Shanghai to share the news with Jae Hwa, who decides he's got to make a big move under these circumstances. I'm with you, Jae Hwa. This whole thing is confusing but it does seem like one point is clear: it's not good for YOU.
kakashi: No, no, you all don't understand! People say one thing, but they do another in this crazy town.
JoAnne: At SeolRak, Scuzzo and Jung Tae go through this whole official ceremony of declaring each other father and son. Wow, so this is a THING thing, not just warm fuzzies - even if they're suspicious warm fuzzies? Hmm.
kakashi: I like that this show spends so much time on little details like this ceremony. 
JoAnne: Left alone to stew in their juices, Baek San and Seul helpfully explain what just happened. Jung Tae has officially tied Seul into knots - if he doesn't do everything to support his 'son' publicly, he'll be shit in the eyes of the world. Forget KILLING the boy. Baek San seems to think his boss might be a bit slow on the uptake but Seul corrects him: he had no choice, asked in front of witnesses like that. They might still have a few tricks left to them, though.
kakashi: Very well played, Jung-tae! 
JoAnne: I'm looking at your gif down here, and I just started laughing really hard.  There's always been something OFF about the relationship with these two, and I think now that it was just my perspective.  Reposition their frequent heated debates over what to do next as lover's quarrels, and they immediately become 50% more  hilarious.  That's what I'm doing from now on.  Baek San is the guy who plays straight, but Seul is his little queen.
JoAnne: The men are shouting at each other when Jung Tae waltzes in to say that he's headed over to Bamsangtong. Everyone pretends that the argument wasn't happening and that no one could hear it even if the walls WEREN'T made of paper, and Seul just wants to know why his son can't stay with the HwangBang when there is so much room. Jung Tae explains that he wants to serve under Jae Hwa to learn the management of Club Shanghai. After all, he's now the owner of Bamsangtong. Umm... ok. When did Jung Tae come around to that way of thinking? Seul looks a bit surprised, too, but Jung Tae heads off.
kakashi: I thought this was pretty funny. So Jung-tae becomes Seul's son, and about 10 minutes later he already starts behaving like the worst teenager ever, leaving his father to go roll with the bad boys.
JoAnne: Can't leave Il Gook Hwae out of this! Gaya, of course, understands the implications of the new relationship between Jung Tae and Seul. She's curious to see what comes next. Shanghai has a river of evil plotting, too, it seems: Shinichi and Aoki are on its banks casually chatting about how much Jung Tae needs to die. Shinichi adds a chorus of 'But you can't like her, EITHER.' to his usual. Aoki's confident he can bring around a new Il Gook Hwae, one that doesn't require a grandfather to kill everything his granddaughter might love. Shinichi is just as confident that Aoki will bring about the next war.
kakashi: What the heck just happened?! One, where the fook are they? Did they travel for hours just to be hot together at some pretty riverside? Two, so we are to believe that Aoki romantically likes Gaya? Yes, there were some signs of that earlier, waaaaay earlier. But these two have hardly interacted at all for ... years. Third, this is a totally interesting storyline! I want more of that! Il Gook Hwae will destroy itself? Just perfect.
JoAnne: Just as Jae Hwa girds his loins and prepares to go to HwangBang and drop his bombshell, Jung Tae shows up. Jae Hwa assumes it's bad news and starts off insulting Jung Tae, but we all get a big surprise when Jung Tae calls him Hyungnim and shares the REST of the plan. Jae Hwa is suspicious and assumes this is Seul's move to topple Jae Hwa from within, but Jung Tae assures him it's nothing of the sort. This is his own idea; he has learned who killed his father and he wants revenge. Since he has no people of his own, he wants to align with the Bamsangtong Boys. His reason for choosing Jae Hwa is simple: at least he didn't try to stab Young Chul in the back. Jae Hwa is reassured but has a condition of his own: from now Jung Tae only fights at his express command. He can't even take revenge for his father without permission. Jung Tae agrees readily.
kakashi: I love it. Bromance coming! 
JoAnne: Jae Hwa takes Jung Tae to a boxing ring. Chubby Gangster laces him into the gloves and explains the rules - no feet (Jung-tae doesn't get it AT ALL. He's like: what's with the gloves? No feet? Why?). Predictably, Jung Tae gets his ass kicked in the first round. Once those endorphins kick in and he starts noticing stuff though, it doesn't take Our Hero long to latch on to certain truths in the other guys fighting and he starts to give more pain than he receives. Pissed, Other Guy starts using feet, too. Jung Tae doesn't resist long and wallops the guy. He's down and out in seconds.
JoAnne: Jung Tae apologizes to Jae Hwa for using his feet, since he wasn't supposed to. Jae Hwa wants to know who told him that bullshit (evil glare towards Chubby)- Bamsangtong's way of fighting has one rule: win. You just have to win. You have something you need to protect? Win, by any measure. Young Chul and he thought differently on that subject, but he's in charge now. Jung Tae nods in agreement. Jae Hwa turns to the idiots (now three, since Do Ggoo is always there) and says that from now on, regardless of anything, they are to consider Jung Tae as Jae Hwa's number two. This does NOT sit well with Mutt and Jeff, although Do Ggoo seems pleased. Jae Hwa tosses a wallet toward his new brother and orders him to get a sharp-looking suit. Half of being a gangster is looking good, he says.
kakashi: Age of Suits! Finally!!!! And those Gangster Dumbos ... they make me laugh.
JoAnne: Back in the Lair of Evilness, Seul and Baek San figure out their next move. Seul decides it this way: Club Shanghai belongs to Jae Hwa, not Jung Tae - but even if they don't figure out why Jung Tae is doing what he's doing, he still needs to understand that even if that's true, serving under Jae Hwa is pointless. Baek San just wants to know who to send. Hmm.
kakashi: Papa is now trying to educate his wayward son. 

JoAnne: The girls are celebrating with beer and snacks - Ok Ryeon has been hired as a 'stand-in singer', meaning: the main singer sucks and her mic will be turned off. The audience will see her, but hear Ok Ryeon. (That always goes well, I think, as I pull out my newest CDs of C&C Music Factory and Milli Vanilli, each covered in dust and cobwebs.) Jung Tae strolls in and the ladies are slack jawed over suit-clad pretty. So So demands flowers for tomorrow, but Jung Tae is a bit slow on the uptake and the other women chuckle.
kakashi: Jeez, he gets slower and slower, this one! He is even stammering now. He needs a healthy does of Gaya I would say! But ... Age of Yummy Suit! 
JoAnne: The next day dawns clear and Jae Hwa addresses his gathered employees: This is your new home! he promises proudly. He puts an arm around Jung Tae and they head in. Do Ggoo does likewise to the guy next to him and everyone except the Idiot Brothers make their way for the door. Those two stand dumbfounded. To be fair, I can see why they feel pushed aside, but if they turn into a real problem I'm going to be mad.
kakashi: They're too dumb to be a real problem, that's my guess ... 
JoAnne: Turns out they have issues with Jung Tae's ascendancy but it's really Do Ggoo who sticks in their throat. They lure him outside with plans to beat him up while inside, Gaya and her crew say their goodbyes as they leave Club Shanghai for new digs. She stops before Jung Tae and asks him to protect her mother's room. He agrees readily.
kakashi: And now ... kiss! kiss! kiss! By the way, laughed very much at how Shinichi turned his head in order to not having to look at Jung-tae. What a drama queen he is!
JoAnne: Outside it's a whole bunch of guys against one, and Do Ggoo does this weird kind of fighting that has him scrambling on the ground subserviently a lot of the time, but for a minute you think he's going to come out on top - and then someone gets him from behind.
kakashi: O M G, Do-ggo. WTF are you doing?! He has me in stitches. 
JoAnne: Gaya and Ok Ryeon meet in the street and do their little polite cat-fight thing. Ok Ryeon is very much the school girl in this, but it pisses Gaya off enough that when Shinichi dares to warn her about Jung Tae, she actually threatens his life - but she listens, also, and promises that if Jung Tae ever becomes too much of an issue for her to manage, Shinichi has permission to kill her.
kakashi: And he says that will not be possible. Shinichi is in looooooooooove.
JoAnne: While the Idiots and their little yes-men are outside messing with Do Ggoo, INSIDE, the men HwangBang sent to teach Jung Tae a lesson have arrived just behind So So and Ok Ryeon. They hide in fear, watching as Jung Tae and Jae Hwa confront the intruders. They seem to know right away who is behind the attack and resolve themselves to deal with it. (Yay, bromance?)


JoAnne: How could they end there? No! You have the fight THEN you end the scene. Overall this episode definitely moved things forward. I love it when an hour both clears up a lot of questions and raises new ones for me - but somehow, too, this hour felt like something was MISSING. Where's the hero's decision scene, the one where Jung Tae shares his thoughts about future plans? I don't mind not knowing everything but all this maneuvering today? When did he ever demonstrate an affinity for strategic thinking? When did he come up with this?
kakashi: Still waters run deep, I guess. But you're right, this show does this all the time. Suddenly, somebody does something and we have no clue why. In drama, this seems weird, because we are in fact used to those weird monologues the character have with themselves. In real life, this is totally normal though. 

JoAnne: That being said, the scene outside the temple was really well done in particular. I almost felt like I was watching their younger faces superimposed over those of the weary, saddened adults. I honestly don't see them together at all anymore. It feels like that ship sailed, somehow, yet another casualty of the coming war. The show hasn't completely convinced me that if push came to shove, Gaya would choose her plans over Jung Tae's life... but there's still time.
kakashi: I feel you. This is a love that never was and that never will be - and it's very sad that way. The show could at least give them a night together, but that doesn't seem very likely anymore ... 

JoAnne: We are definitely continuing on a good path!  For me this show is that perfect mix of serious business mixed in with observational humor and seasoned with stunning visuals - both human and scenic.  PLUS fighting.  And whoever said we were getting less of that...well, if there was more planned, that would really have been too much.  This is the right amount of fighting, I say.  Although we could lose the cartoon sound effects, I think.
kakashi: Thanks for mentioning the humor! There's definitely more of that since the writer change and I like it! The only character I have issues with is Old Man Fly - he is a bit too blunt for my tastes. The gangsters are priceless though. Including Do-ggo. 

JoAnne: Actually, I thought this before...the sound effects reminded me. This comes from a manhwa; doesn't it feel as though the scenes are often framed like a graphic novel would do it? The off-balance angles, the tweaking of perspective? And so strongly colored and styled, as well.  I suppose in that sense, the fighting sound effects fit right in.
kakashi: Not sure about the sound ... though if it's meant to make me laugh, it's working! But yes to the manhwa-visuals, that's absolutely it. Unfortunately, I have never read it, but it is even possible that the PDnim or his Director of Photography have taken visual clues from it.