Age of Feeling / Inspiring Generation - Episode 23 (The REAL SQUEECAP)

By now, you have probably all seen our 'April Fool's' version of the ending of this series. Here's what you don't know: We've recently been collaborating with (we thought) a young woman named Mary. (You may have noticed the proliferation of posts which focus on Song Jae Rim. She's a bit (that's "a bit") obsessed, our Mary.) This young friend had described herself as a shy (and small), protective older sister, living a reclusive life on a densely populated tropical island.

She 'made up' the joke Final Cap, which we declared genius and posted as quickly as possible, never thinking for one moment that our beloved show would be anything like it in anyway. We all patted ourselves on the back for a good joke, but little known to us, SOME were patting a bit harder, laughing a bit louder. If you've seen Episode 23, well, you know: there are some startling similarities between what we posted and what was actually aired. What you may not know - and what was certainly a surprise to us - is that Mary is NOT a reclusive young woman living at home and working quietly in an IT job. No, indeed. In a shocking turn of events, we have learned that 'Mary' is actually the writer who was fired from this very show.
kakashi: I am so shocked I can barely type. 

What Mary presented as 'made up' was actually an early script from the actual series, and Mary used us to leak this version because she was angry at her treatment by the production company, who let her go because they felt she was perhaps a bit TOO focused on Song Jae Rim. (The upside: once he was convinced that it was safe to return to the set, Song Jae Rim agreed to continue with the show.) In addition to her obsession with the admittedly obsession-worthy Rim, job #1 for Mary was getting rid of Ok Ryeon, whom she found 'annoyingly chipper.' (THANK YOU) Since Mary was upset that more of her suggestions weren't incorporated into the final taping, she devised this plan and we unwittingly provided her the means to do so. We leave it to you to determine whether her replacement was a wise move or not.
kakashi: Let's do some counterfactuals here, shall we? So ... if mary had stayed, Song Jae-rim would have stayed away? That would obviously have been like the end of the show. So ... it was good that "mary" had to go. But if she HAD stayed, the most annoying character (Ok-ryeon) would probably have died a few weeks ago. That, in turn, would have been a MIRACLE. One that would balance out the loss of Mo? Ah ... it's difficult. 
For now, we will concentrate on faithfully reporting the story as it is presented on television. If we are able to uncover more information about the show as originally envisioned, we will do our best to share the information with you.
And now, on to the show!
kakashi: A show now as wtf as they come. But Mary's version (oh, that's not her real name, is it? And is she actually a she or a he?!) would have been SO MUCH BETTER! That's just my opinion. Yeah, we stand with mary, KBS!

Episode 23

We return to the engagement celebration, where Jung Tae and Ok Ryeon share possibly the least celebratory kiss in all of their lives. I console myself with the sweetness of their words. Nobody talk about actions being louder, either.
kakashi: I read celibatory. And was confused. Another thing that confuses me ... is this a wedding or just an engagement?!
Princess Seul grimaces and grows uglier by the minute as he proposes a special toast, with a special drink. Ok Ryeon is quick to realize that this is a familiar waiter and a familiar carafe. She is almost comically alarmed as everyone hesitates an uncomfortably long time. Seul even jokes that Jung Tae must be worried he's poisoned the drink. I am so eager for him to die, you just have no idea.
kakashi: Seul makes these croaking toad-sounds, it's quite fascinating. Also quite fascinating is the fact that this poison is activated through shaking. Advanced stuff. Wow. I'm gratiously putting in Ok-ryeon pics now that we can see the end.
Ok Ryeon manages to switch cups with Jung Tae unnoticed, but that is perhaps the least intelligent of all her decisions, ever. She can't drop them? She can't spill them? She can't fake fainting from excitement? She can't, oh, I don't know, out him right there?
kakashi: She really, really, really deserves to die for this stupidity. Oh, wait .... 
Jung Tae knows something's up but not what, and then Daddy makes the creepiest comment ever to Jung Tae about the uses of young girls (is he into those too?!), and the tension just keeps rising and finally - like it's a dare he has to take, the idiot - Jung Tae says he'll drink, and they all do, and poor Ok Ryeon is just beside herself with anxiety.
kakashi: Switching the cups was kinda noble and brave, drinking it was just so stupid I want to slap her. Seul didn't even look at her! She could have easily spilled the little bit of liquid down her dress or whatever. Ack, why do I even bother ... this show has lost its mind a while ago. She needs to die and die she will. Fine with me! Go film your next show!
She asks Jung Tae if they can't just leave now, right now, please can they just leave, and a bewildered Jung Tae follows her out of the room, leaving behind a crowd of astonished well-wishers. Including the town's only doctor, Ok Ryeon-ah, but whatever. Seol, who doesn't realize that it wasn't Jung Tae who drank from the cup with the activated poison, makes grimaces so grotesque I can barely look at him. He has gone off the deep end, this evil princess, and if he weren't in a room full of people with his hands clearly in sight, and I only had his face to go on, I would completely be wrong about what it looked like he was doing/had just done.
kakashi: Well. I do wonder why this show has become so focused on this terrible Princess... it the writer a fan of Choi Il-Hwa? That could also explain Mo Il-hwa's name!
In the car, Ok Ryeon is beside herself but trying to play it off. Jung Tae knows she's upset but probably is assuming it's just nerves from the day. He takes her hand and smiles at her reassuringly. The poison is fast acting, and it begins to work on her immediately - Jung Tae is alarmed, but she doesn't tell him what's wrong. They arrive at the restaurant/hotel/clinic/martial arts studio, and by now she's so ill that Jung Tae must carry her (I clap at how effortlessly he does run with her in his arms) He lays her on his bed (about time) and says he will go for help. Ok Ryeon stops him and says she doesn't want to wait for him, she wants him to stay. She's fading fast, and there's blood at the corner of her mouth. Jung Tae just keeps asking if she's ok.
kakashi: I'm so unmoved by this I wonder briefly whether I've become a robot, but then, I realize that it's the burning (but cold) hatred for the Broom that makes me so cool.
She's not, of course. She leans against him murmuring how warm her husband's shoulder is, and she quietly dies. Jung Tae loses his shit. KHJ isn't very comfortable with more subtle emotions yet, but he can do devastated crying very well.
kakashi: MoFo emoting! Yes! Good! Good! 
After some time, he bursts out of the doors into the street, where all his guys are standing silently, looks of sadness and worry clear on all their faces. How did they all know?
kakashi: The writer told them. 
Jung Tae's crazy eyes make Mo's look tame.  He's going to go to Hwang Bang and kill Seul, and it takes every one of his men to even slow him down temporarily. They're all calling 'hyungnim! hyungnim!' and pleading with him not to go, but he punches and shoves and throws bodies until he has a clear path, when suddenly Mo appears. But even Mo, awesome Mo, can't stop crazed Jung Tae. He takes off running.
kakashi: sigh ... Mo. Mo used to be awesome, but he no longer is. Jung-tae beat him, remember? Which really, really, really shouldn't have happened and really, really wouldn't have, either, if the show didn't get dementia all of a sudden. 
As he runs, he remembers back to Ok Ryeon's mother when she was telling him how she could remember even the heels of her husband, because he was no longer with her. How she asked him not to make Ok Ryeon into a woman who always had to be waiting for the man she loved. He screams in pain and runs faster.
kakashi: Can we move on fast? Faster than he runs? The Broom is gone and it is good. 
The men all chase him, calling for him to stop, but they can't catch him, he's just too fast (yeah, cause he's SUPER Jung-tae). He beats on the locked doors of SeolRak and then makes short work of Seul's guards as they rush him. Just as he knocks the last one out, his his men arrive and try to hold him back again, but they must realize they can't stop him, because he again turns to the doors. Someone hits him over the head with a bottle! It's Jae Hwa!
kakashi: Ohhhhh, so good to have him back!!! I missed him! Looking effin GOOD.
Jae Hwa is here! He points out to everyone that Jung Tae must want to die, and then he turns to Jung Tae himself, calling him a moron and wondering that after dethroning himself, this is the best Jung Tae could do. Jung Tae is defiant, but Jae Hwa continues talking, giving an impassioned speech about Young Chul, who knew what kind of man Seul was, and so he hid his family away to keep them safe. Every night Young Chul would say he was going to see his kids, and he'd run to the train station like a mad man. And every morning, before dawn, he'd return to Bamsangtong, looking at the picture of his family and crying. This is how he protected his family, with his pain - and yet Jung Tae wants to throw away that precious life? I wonder why Jae Hwa couldn't have said this to Jung Tae when he first arrived, but whatever. We're here now.
kakashi: "But whatever" is the right attitude, JoAnne. This is a "but whatever" kinda show. But there's Jae-hwa. And the others. I will always love it. 
Jae Hwa steps toward Jung Tae and slowly kneels, calling him Dae Hyung. And now, finally, I am crying. He begs Jung Tae - even if he can't make them rich, to those people who rely on him, can't Jung Tae at least be a person they can lean on? He lowers his head and waits silently as all the Bamsangtong Boys kneel before Jung Tae. Jung Tae is sobbing and broken as he looks around in wonder at everyone gathered in the street, their pain and fear so clear on their faces; he looks at his men, kneeling before him and pleading with him, and he sobs as he cries 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry'. He drops to his knees, begging for forgiveness over and over.
kakashi: Emotionally, this was the best scene in the penultimate episode. It could have been a bit less long though.  
The next day, Seul is shocked to learn that Jung Tae is alive and Ok Ryeon is dead. Right. Everyone in town knew last night, and Jung Tae was pounding on your door last night, but you're just finding out now.
kakashi: But whatever. 

Back at the only gathering spot in Bamsangtong, it's a sad little group gathered round the table. Lady Doc says that it looks like the poison that killed Ok Ryeon is the same one that was used on Young Chul. Which is funny because I remember two causes of death, yes, but neither of them was poison. And of course, this poison has no antidote. There is nothing Jung Tae could have done to save Ok Ryeon.
kakashi: That's just details, JoAnne. But whatever details.The show spend several episodes chasing down his father's killer based on bruises? But whatever.
They begin to discuss plans for taking down HwangBang and as one final act of support from Ok Ryeon, SoSo produces detailed maps with descriptions of schedules and movements within SeolRak - just exactly everything that Jung Tae needs in order to plan his attack.
kakashi: That's so convenient. And I'm even clapping a little bit because the writer remembered something that happened a few episodes ago and actually picked it up again! 
In a quiet moment outside, it becomes clear that Jae Hwa is back for good, resolved to support the Big Hyung, Jung Tae. And it looks as though things are settled between him and Lady Doc, too. Will we get a double wedding with SoSo and Mo?
kakashi: That's SO not going to happen, JoAnne. It's not nice of this show, I know. But then, Mo is too cool for somebody like SoSo. He isn't affected by women. Not at all. I'm just saying the truth here! Don't kill me, MoSo shippers!  
Time passes and things are quiet, waiting. Seul wants to know what's going on. Jung Tae hasn't come out of the restaurant in a week. The elders of ChirinBang have sent the gold from Il Gook Hwae to Seul as congratulations. I suppose they see this turn of events as Seul maintaining control over Jung Tae and I laught at their naivete. Seul instructs Baek San to give half the gold to the military and use the other half to buy opium - they'll begin selling out of Club Shanghai immediately.  Baek San warns him that Jung Tae's men guard that place closely, especially now.
kakashi: I yawn long and hard. and all the time. Is it me or is it the show? We will never know. But whatever. I refues to put in pics of the Toad and his Man. 

Do Ggoo comes in with a bowl of something, congratulating Princess on his appointment as the leader of the anti-opium enforcement. He's even more obsequious than normal and I keep staring at the steaming bowl in his hands. He says it's to give Seul strength but dare we hope he's going to double-cross yet again? Seul drains the bowl greedily and I wait with my breath held.
kakashi: Oh .... could it be .....? 
Someone rushes in, shouting in a panic. Everyone takes off to look. Oooooh everyone in the kitchen is dead. And that bowl, DoGgoo. Where'd you get it? The cook hadn't cooked anything, so its not the food - there's only been water, so far. You mean... the water we DRINK? says Seul. All eyes are glued to him. Do Ggoo insists he was no part of this, and Seul starts screaming for the ipecac syrup. Oh man, that stuff is so nasty. You don't want it, ever. Cut to Do Ggoo literally funneling medicine into Seul to make him throw up. It's hilarious and disgusting all at the same time. Watching Seul suffer is the best, really.
kakashi: Very, very satisfying! I totally don't get it though. Who poisoned the water? I first thought stupid Do-ggoo had given Seul a drink from the poisonous bottle (out of stupidity, rather than smartness). Also ... so there WAS something Jung-tae could have done for Ok-ryeon, right?
JoAnne: I'm going with Jung Tae poisoning the water, since he asked Lady Doc to get him a lot of The Drug.  And I'm also going with Seul never actually ingested any of the poison, which is why he didn't die.  IE - drink is made, then water is poisoned.
Jung Tae appears in the doorway carrying his father's tablet. He'd originally planned to have the one year remembrance there at SeolRak after killing Seul, but now he figures that place is so evil and dark he wants nothing to do with it at all. Princess is beside himself with rage. Jung Tae promises a slow and painful death after 10 years of revenge. When Seul reminds him that he is standing in the very heart of HwangBang, Jung Tae rattles off the schedule. And oh, by the way - the guards aren't coming. All dead.
kakashi: Is he now just going around killing people? I don't like that, show. But hey, whatever.
Baek San tells Seul to go; he will take care of Jung Tae. The little troll runs from the room with Do Ggoo trailing behind. All you can hear are his retching gags, and it's the best sound ever.  Especially because you just know he didn't actually take any poison. Do Ggoo smiles at Jung Tae and wishes him well as he runs behind the tiny troll. I will NEVER figure that dude out.
kakashi: He is a "but whatever" kinda character. 

There is a WHOLE lot of talking which bores even Jung Tae before the two men fight.  It's a pretty active match, spilling out into the hallway. This allows the older actor playing Baek San a rest, I guess, because that is NOT his silhouette fighting in the hall with Jung Tae. There's a weird hawk scream sound effect, and the fight spills back into the room and gets really dance-y. It ends with Baek San dead on the floor, of course, and I cheer. Now for his bitchy wife.
kakashi: WTF for this scene. The sounds? Priceless. 
But no, Jung Tae goes to the temple and offers prayers for his father and Ok Ryeon. Gaya appears, of course, with a nice little bouquet of flowers. She did have some respect for Ok Ryeon, although she gets in a little dig about Ok Ryeon's leaving him hurting Jung Tae more than anything Gaya ever did. Gaya drops some big news to encourage Jung Tae. Chung Ah is alive! (Who?) Of course she is. And probably you've had her all along. Jung Tae demands to see her, but Gaya is silent. After a while she reminds him that anyone he loves isn't safe right now, and promises to tell him everything 'after.'
kakashi: No, no, no! Writer .... go back to writing school immediately! This is NOT how it is done. You guys haven't mentioned Chung-ah for about 14 episodes, you cannot just spring her on us! We're not ready! 
No idea how much time has gone by, or what they are celebrating, but Seul is having a congratulatory party at Club Shanghai. Jung Tae appears with a tray and glasses, offering drinks. Is Seul ever going to let anything wet past his lips again, though? His face is priceless as Jung Tae ceremonially pours. When he reaches Seul, he slowly shakes the bottle. As he fills the glass, we see Seul sitting round-eyed and pale, panicking. Does he dare, in this game of chicken? He does NOT. He is faster on his feet than Ok Ryeon, and suddenly comes up with an excuse for leaving: I have something I must investigate!
kakashi: I liked that scene! Way to establish your power over the Toad, Yummy Tummy!
In an office somewhere, Seul orders Do Ggoo to call HwangBang. He sure got over Baek San fast, didn't he? No one answers the phone at HwangBang, and Do Ggoo orders the operator to try again - it's impossible, he says. Someone has to be there. No answer again, so Seul orders him to call Tall ChirinBang, who is apparently 'Security Director Heo'. Heo doesn't sound like he wants to be on the phone with Seul at all, and makes a quick excuse to get off the line. Oh, that's because some little cutie has his sword at his neck! And Gaya is there. They're rescuing Aoki! Who looks pretty fabulous for having been in jail, by the way. He only has eyes for Gaya. I think if he could eat her, he would. Remember when we wondered if he really cared about her or if it was part of his plan? Oh, he cares.
kakashi; Oh, Aoki ...... you are just too perfect. I hear you're in a new drama already? I like that.
Apparently this guy was sent from Osaka for the express purpose of rescuing Aoki, who is shocked by the news. Apparently it's a case of the leader is dead, long live the leader. They don't care who it is, they just follow him.
kakashi: I think it's a Denkai clone. 
Back at the club, we confirm that Princess can dish it out but can't take it at all. He has had enough, and tells Jung Tae kill him now or lose the chance forever. Jung Tae doesn't even look at him and just repeats what he'd said about taking ten years, doing a really nice, slow, torturous revenge. Seul grimaces toadfully and promises that Jung Tae will regret letting him leave that room alive, some day. Jung Tae replies that sometimes, staying alive can be harder - and then mentions that he saw Seul's granddaughter at SeolRak the other day. Ran Ran, isn't it? Seul freezes. He asks if Jung Tae is holding her hostage (because who would ever hold someone HOSTAGE, that's just barbaric, right?) and when Jung Tae gives only a tiny smile in response, Seul promises to rain fire and damnation down upon Jung Tae, no matter where on earth he may be.
kakashi: It's the episode in which the long-lost and never-seen-again girls make a reappearance! 
He stalks out of the room while Jung Tae quietly chuckles, but when we see him at SeolRak he's racing through the rooms screaming Ran Ran's name in a full on panic. The little girl is safe, of course, and Seul starts yelling for Baek San. What the - did he forget that Baek San is dead? Does he not even know? How long has that body been lying in the living room and no one noticed? How BIG is that place?
kakashi: Baek-san is undead, JoAnne. Mary told us. 
That son of a bitch isn't dead (see?). And apparently the fight JUST happened. Wow, story. Your sense of time is certainly elastic - about as elastic as Seul's sense of loyalty. Baek San is pretty much worthless now that he's injured?
kakashi: We're now leaving dementia territory and are moving FAST into the WTF lands. 
Jae Hwa and Jung Tae are listening to the commotion inside SeolRak's walls and Jung Tae tells Jae Hwa that they can't just kill Seul - they need to completely destroy HwangBang in order for the Bamsangtong people to be safe.
kakashi: Of course. 
Back at Il Gookie, the three remaining members of the Shanghai Branch - why does Yamamoto always live? Why? (maybe he slept with the director?) - argue over future plans. Gaya wants to return to Osaka. Yamamoto argues for the Mori Document and taking over Bamsangtong. Aoki stops the bickering by laying it out clearly: they have no choice. An army contingent is coming. Either they take control of Bamsangtong and prepare the way for the army contingent, or they will be killed. That's it. They have their mission from Osaka, and failure means death.
kakashi: I must admit, that late into the drama, I fail to establish any emotional attachment to what is happening. It also seems like a deja-vue. Quite eerie. 
Turns out Jung Tae does have the Mori Strategy document.  And So So can read Japanese. Ok. Where's Mo? Have they had their first date yet?
kakashi: Why, show, why? How does he have the document? Why? From where? 
At SeolRak, the tiny troll is fondling a sword while Do Ggoo looks on in alarm. Which seems wise when the next thing PrincessTrollFace does is grab a pistol and point it at him. He doesn't shoot him, just smiles. And then Baek San walks in the room, miraculously healed. Even Seul is surprised, but then it's quickly back to business. Did Baek San send the military fund? Nope, turns out all the money is gone. Troll tantrum, commence!
kakashi: He drinks the blood of unicorns, this one. 
Now the pistol is in Baek San's face. He doesn't even flinch. Seul tosses the pistol aside and orders Baek San to check the bank branches and the casino to see if they've been robbed, too. Then he asks about the opium - when does that arrive. When he learns that it should be in Shanghai within 4 days, he tells Baek San his job is to make sure Ran Ran is in Hong Kong by then.  The minute he knows Ran Ran is safe, Seul plans to start the final war.
kakashi: The final of the final, final quite final wars. 


Some of this stuff is more wild than what Mary came up with. They are clearly ready to be done with the show. I don't care. As long as these people are alive: Jung Tae, Mo, Jae Hwa, SoSo, Aoki, Gaya and these people are dead: Seul, Baek San, and these people are married: Mo, SoSo - I don't really care what happens.
kakashi: WTF Paris is actually better than this. Yes, I mean it. Show, you make no sense whatsoever, but I don't even care.