Rip and Chan Take on the City: episode six

Sorry for the wait. Let’s get to it.

Sixth City Sweep

Hyung-min yells for the Doctor to turn around and he almost gets his wish, but Soo rolls up and his car rams him unconscious. There’s a sketch of the Doctor floating around and Soo regrets not finishing Hyung-min off. But the Doctor seems to have a regret or two of his own, as he’s reminded Soo has an informant on the Unit squad. Min keeps his word and takes responsibility for the Unit when DC Kang bursts in barking about the chain of command.

Soo-min is still in solitary contemplating whether she’s made the right decision, as Hyung-min dreams of Kyung-mi, watching the Doctor shoot her before his eyes. And when she drops to the ground, the Doctor’s face comes into full view. Min checks in on Hyung-min and Yang to make sure the Doctor’s identity is still unknown, then meets him in the park to better understand his plan. Turns out, the Doctor is purposefully leaving traces behind to point out that he isn’t Kyung-mi’s killer.

DC Kang contacts Safari livid with the turn of events but Safari deflects that keeping the Unit in the dark isn’t his job. Unfortunately, it is true he needs Kang and selects a newbie to stop Detective Suh from talking. The assassin shows up to poison Suh but a barely lucid Hyung-min intercepts. However, dizziness sets in and the man gets away. When Hyung-min snaps back, Yang has the man handcuffed in the stairwell unconscious, having encountered a strange man. Meanwhile, the Doctor scarcely misses a frantic Hyung-min as he rolls Suh to the roof to pick her brain.

When Hyung-min brings Assassin and Suh together, Suh comes clean about Kang, then plays a recording of his order to delete Kyung-mi’s whereabouts. Hyung-min dials Kang and reveals everything in hopes to get the truth but Kang channels Jack Nicholson, informing he’d never understand[or be able to handle the truth]. Just then, a gun clicks behind his ear and Kang turns to face a barrel. He grabs Safari’s wrist, but the decision’s been made and he fires. Kang is found with the gun in his hand and all residue points to suicide but remembering Kang’s last words, Hyung-min isn’t convinced.

Joo-young creates a fender bender to get Prosecutor Ahn in bed and open to a tiny negotiation with the Doctor. She plants a syringe in his arm and takes a photo, which the Doctor uses as leverage to get Emo released, but also promises to help him capture the Doctor’s Son. Later, Emo meets with Ahn and her new lawyer to get her charges dropped. Over the phone, the Doctor asks her to leave the game. This request leaves her disquieted for a moment but she gathers herself to proceed.

On her way out, she tells Soo-min to call her “Unni” from now on. As soon as Soo-min is informed Emo is leaving, she scrambles to contact Hyung-min about Emo’s release. He doesn’t pick up, however, ’cause he’s being investigated by Internal Affairs for his recent rogueness and Suh’s shady dealings. He doesn’t cop to anything and chooses to maintain Detective Suh’s innocence.

Commissioner Ji wants Hyung-min released and offers Min a media spin of emotional suicide (DC Kang) and gang shooting (Suh). Yang commends Ji’s actions as a father, but Hyung-min knows it’s not that simple given the Prosecutor’s Office is still holding onto Meth Kim.

Due to the investigation, Hyung-min is moved to standby duty and Yang promoted to Unit leader. This turn of events, causes Hyung-min to leave the team altogether but tells Min not to worry, it’s for the best and his investigation will continue— “I can only trust myself.”

Pros. Ahn informs Commissioner Ji about the Doctor (President Jung) but Ji thinks he’s shady and gets Ahn to keeps tabs on Emo. He also instructs him to find a way to control the Unit, knowing Min isn’t as cooperative as he appears.

The Doctor and Min eat jajjamyung and discuss Kang. It’s not surprising his death wasn’t suicide, ’cause the Doctor is certain his death leads to Safari or Pusan. However, he’s upset he didn’t find him first, for Kyung-mi’s murderer may have been DC Kang himself. The Doctor passes Min a present, joking it’s money. Thankfully, it’s a new leather bag— “Your last one was too old. That’s why I shot it.”

Emo shocks the Doctor by passing on his suggestion to leave and revealing someone tried to kill her. Soo-min demands to be released, now that Emo’s gone but Hyung-min reminds her she’s not police and lists twenty reasons why leaving won’t fly—- one being she could get charged for the assault she committed in prison. However, Soo-min knows she has an ace, given she saved Emo’s life.

With this news, he has a change of heart and seeks out the store manager but Emo has beat him to the punch and drags the man to the police station to recant his statement. Meanwhile, Hyung-min uses his pull at the prosecutor’s office to get Soo-min’s case dropped.

On release day, Hyung-min waits outside with tofu, as Soo-min changes into the dress Emo left for her. When she steps through the doors, Hyung-min blinks his lights to get her attention but Emo drives up and congratulates her on her graduation with a hug.

The Doctor enters the prison to get to the bottom of Emo’s claims and meets with Eun-hye. Hyung-min has the same idea but comes up empty and heads to search CCTV. Meanwhile, the Doctor sees Soo on the CCTV footage and bribes a guard to erase it, but Hyung-min walks in before the guard presses the button and gets him to play the tape.

Unnichan: This episode gave us a little time to catch our breath, ne? But plot moves, creating more problems for our characters, without being punched in the gut. I never feel completely shocked by what happens but more so my emotional reaction to events, you know?

Ripgal: Yea, a much quieter episode, but we still feel a strong current underneath, a current waiting to sweep us off our feet, and toss us out into the vast sea of uncertainty. This drama continues to play with our minds, in unexpected and surprising ways. Some of the plot devices are familiar, some cop out random, but they somehow fit right into the bigger picture. Pieces come together to form a puzzle that we’ve yet to figure out. I LIKE!

Unnichan: I usually try to be fairly accepting of a story unless it’s too outlandish, for I believe most writers have a method. This one has proven, there’s a grander plan and it’s been mapped out. I truly just have to wait, if I’m ever thrown. Though that hasn’t quite happened yet.

Ripgal: Loved the first scene of Ep 6, the meeting between Shi-hyun and Hyung-min. Under broad day light, with rain hitting at them, hinting metaphorically at a tragic-ridden face-off and confrontation.

Unnichan: I did like the added touch of rain. Perhaps to blur Hyung-min’s vision? To make it more difficult to focus? I usually find rain a cliché but this drama uses all those tropes and crutches to its advantage. You are so invested with the characters that certain things just don’t matter.

Ripgal: I also loved how Shi-hyun was almost ready to face Hyung-min, the look on his face, fearless and calm. I almost wished the car hitting scene didn’t happen, but you know writer has 14 more episodes to fill.

Unnichan: True, but the moment was more about how Soo knew to find him, right? Writer needed to have that. It wasn’t magic but another layer. I would have loved to see how the Doctor dealt with the reveal, though. He wouldn’t have minded getting caught, maybe even relieved, me thinks. But we need him to do his job till the end, not give up. Plus, like I said, it’s too soon, not because it’s episode 6 but because Hyung-min isn’t ready yet and the Doctor still has a few loose ends. However, I do think we’ll see the Doctor tidying things up when he’s truly ready. That will be interesting.

Ripgal: Something about Shi-hyun’s reaction to Soo’s actions in the car tells me he’s disturbed. Do you think he felt uncomfortable that Hyung-min was hit, or that Soo’s up to something that he isn’t aware of or doesn’t approve of?

Unnichan: The problem is their priorities. The Doctor, with each passing confrontation, realizes that he and Soo aren’t aligned in their thinking. It’s safety and survival, short-term and long-term. The Doctor is the protector but his is an “ultimate” type of thing, where he’s constantly trying to keep everyone safe and from harm’s way but Soo is focused on the “living” part. He has a completely different endgame in mind (and he should). Soo’s philosophy is to hit first— no questions, no answers. And I kind of respect that in this weird way. He feels there’s no need to negotiate; nothing good comes of talking things through. The more time I spend in their world, the more I agree. I actually laugh, because almost every episode he says “Let’s take care of them.”

Ripgal: I think Soo would do anything to help Shi-hyun eliminate anyone and everyone who poses a threat to him, but how much of that can Shi-hyun take? His friendship with Soo is genuine, but what about his duty?

Unnichan: Duty vs friendship, eh? I think it’s wearing and weighing him down. Or it will. But also, don’t you think he finds it his duty to be a good friend? That’s why he hasn’t retaliated against Soo but rather covered up for him. And isn’t blinded by loyalty. He understands Soo and that’s just as important as his overall goal. He believes there’s a way to do it all. Our Doctor’s an optimist–[which is kind of cute].

Ripgal: The reason why we love Shi-hyun can only be reinforced by how serenely cool he is with everything that comes his way! We know he suffers the same and as much, no less than what Hyung-min is going through, but you compare how he’s dealing with her death with Hyung-min, the latter really loses out.

Unnichan:I chock that up to personality. The characters were fleshed out so well when we first met them, it would actually be rather jolting for there to be much difference with the way they handle grief. But to his credit, I do find Hyung-min rather composed given the circumstances. Both of our guys use an outlet that fits well with their personalities and their goals.

Ripgal: Absolutely loved the hospital scene, the camera zooms in at his feet, from his actions, you know, this is the Doctor we love. Who calculates every single invariable and step with such precision. Who predicts ahead and walks a few steps ahead of others.

Unnichan: Jung Kyung-ho gives us several small beats that seem distinctly Doctor. He has a walk, talk, style and swagger. He becomes the Doctor that moment the camera roles and I am so glad I get to see it. But my question is how much is script? What are those quirks that Kyung-ho has given the Doctor, the adlibs?

Ripgal: Wasn’t Hyung-min’s nightmare cool?! I hate to say it, though I felt bad for him, my heart beat 1000X faster seeing him face Shi-hyun off in his dream! Definitely one of the coolest sequences in this episode, and totally entirely JUNG KYUNG HO’s fault!!! How can he be so smexy?! Even by imagination!

Unnichan: It was beautifully done. I absolutely loved it! It had this weird tragic romantic vibe to it. I liked how the drama is playing with the realities of the subconscious. Not only did it portray Hyung-min’s interpretation of events but also showed the Doctor’s face, which he probably saw much more of than he can remember at present. Fueling the idea that the eye sees and the mind records but that image can get lost somewhere between knowledge and awareness.

Ripgal: And for Hyung-min, sometimes I feel sorry for him, for always having to lose out to the Doctor. He is smart alright, and I think he’s gotten a whole lot more grip and resolve in this episode. To be able to predict the enemy Safari’s next move, point proven that this man does have brains.

Ripgal: But again, something which may not sit well with others, he didn’t have to put his cop colleague in danger to catch the killer, which he’d indirectly done so. Cookie points deducted?

Unnichan: Cool points have been deducted in my book in relation to Soo-min, certainly, but I say, if he was going to lose cool points, regarding Suh—it should’ve been when he shot her and left her exposed for Meth. The hospital wasn’t his doing, he was unconscious. When he realized she’d be a target he laid in wait. She was never in “real” danger.

Ripgal: Something isn’t right about DC Kang and Suh, don’t you think Unni? I am not sure she’s telling the entire truth by revealing the DC Kang as the mastermind behind the orders. The Doctor left moments before Hyung-min, do you think she could have told him something else?

Unnichan: Honestly, she seemed extremely frightened, until she spoke with the Doctor. I actually loved how surprised she was that she was “supposedly” talking with this dangerous, hardened criminal only moments prior. The shock and disbelief on her face was very interesting to me. Does he just have that effect on women? Lol. Naw, Soo loves him too. But I digress, I haven’t thought about it entirely but there could be more. Seems this show is getting to you. You’re becoming as distrusting as me. But, all I can say is, she called him when Hyung-min was on to her and it was him (Kang) that she told she wanted out. She didn’t mention anyone else. DC Kang definitely knows more than we were able to get from him, hence his quick send off.

Ripgal: Yes. Uncle Safari finally showed his guns in this episode. I don’t know why but I found him truly eerie scary in this episode. I used to think of him as coward who doesn’t feel appreciated, but I take that back. He brims with ruthlessness, and doesn’t even flinch at the sight of death. Sometimes I wonder why the evil or bad in human can be so drastic and strong. There must be a reason. I don’t believe he’s merely following orders from Busan.

Unnichan: I never thought he was weak and never trusted him. I don’t like the way he looks at Baby Shi-hyun. The actor is doing amazing with that. In every memory, I see that simmering distaste in his eyes, that jealous or something. I called it creepy and slimy but you’re right, there’s a ruthlessness there. But I still believe he feels underappreciated. What do you think fuels his actions or at the very least, rationalizes them? It’s not greed or power. I believe it’s much more basic than that. However, I definitely think he can blame Busan because everything is on his order. But like I said, he’s happy to do it. He’s wanted to for years.

Ripgal: I think it could be jealousy? Of Shi-hyun and Busan? Or just the fact that he’s been in the business for too long, and having to be subject to Busan for so long, mind’s jaded and you just can’t bother. Or it could be something we’re entirely unaware of. We definitely need more insight into Safari’s back-story. The more I watch the more I am intrigued by him, he’s possibly my favourite after Shi-hyun.

Unnichan: I can’t say the same. I know enough but I’m sure we’ll get more because I do believe there’s more to he and Shi-hyun’s story. Unfortunately, there’s no gangster sob story that will change my instincts mind. Not just because he’s “supposed” to be the bad guy but because I can’t respect his motives. I can’t get passed the man beneath the quick speech and the wily plans. There’s a smallness I sense that burns me. I admit I felt sympathy for his unrequited love back in the first episode but any pricks of empathetic emotion I had for him, was gone by episode two.

Ripgal: TBH, I sometimes think the writer is taking too much liberties with the characters and sub-plots in this drama. For example, Soo’s connection with the other cop, Detective Kim? The scene of him talking to Yang Banjang, the other cop, what do you think? I am not sure what to make out of that scene to be frank. You think writer is trying to throw another curve ball?

Unnichan: Not sure but it does line up with his connection to Soo, in that he has money to give away. The reasons he gave— being single, no kids— were valid but he isn’t strapped for cash and he should be. It begs the question, how can he afford to send someone else’s child to school or pay random fees? Where does this money come from? He has a mom and siblings that “were” needy at one time but because of the Soo “extras,” he has the luxury of giving to a friend. It’s not rare to loan friends money but that fact we saw it is significant, along with the fact it felt so flippant, showy and easy for him to do and say.

Ripgal: And, I don’t want to nitpick, but I really didn’t like how writer made Soo Min’s friend (Joo Young?) someone connected to the scene. It just doesn’t make sense that everyone’s a friend of everyone LOL though I predict writer might use her someday in future to sabotage Soo Min’s cover or something.

Unnichan: She was working when we first met her, but her connection to the Driver, though cute, is a little… disturbing? Everything else I can handle, because I find it relatively true to life, given the world we’re working with. But that aspect is piling on a lot. Especially given where the drama is going, are we to honestly believe Soo-min nor Kyung-mi knew what she was doing, where she worked, who for? But I’ll be patient before it’s a full on inconsistency, writer may give a plausible half-ass excuse.

Ripgal: I think Driver-nim has a crush on her but I still find her connection to the deal a bit off (not her job but fact that she’s related to Soo-min). They could have gotten another actress to do it. The seduction scene came off bit unnecessary IMO, though it does reinforce your point about women being a tool and subject of lust (eg. Emo earlier). It does make for a convenient plot device I must admit, and to again prove how much one should fear the brains of our Shi-hyun.

Unnichan: It’s true, they could have used a different actress, but my guess is, they’ll try to tie it in somewhere, somehow, perhaps to something greater than what we actually saw. My biggest problem was I didn’t think the sex was necessary. But it is her job, it was just an aspect we weren’t privy to yet. It just felt icky, given the apparent admiration between she and Driver but yea, that female objectification. Gotta love it. And I also agree about Doctor, in that though he isn’t “by any means necessary,” he comes pretty close. Sometimes distastefully so. That’s where my unconditional love kicks in.

Ripgal: I’ve come to like Min in this episode, though I think he’s risking a lot and threading a rope by standing in between Shi-hyun and Hyung-min. I think writer is doing a good job with his character, by making him a bridge between these 2 people and also a reminder of duty to them respectively. I had doubts about his character early on, but when he approached his chief the way he’d done so in this ep, my qualms are gone. Unless writer intends to manipulate us (again!), I am all for this mentor ajusshi.

Unnichan: Well, I don’t believe that the writer is manipulative. Because I haven’t been surprised by most revelations. Ep 4 was the biggest. We’ve been reminded time and time again not to trust anyone and it’s our responsibility to take that advice as truth or smoke. However, if I like you, I do and that’s just it. And, in a drama like this one, I have no intention of believing or taking anyone at face value, Min is no exception. Therefore, he’s questionable and a character I’m relatively indifferent to. He comes across as manipulative, even if he is telling the truth and I don’t know if that’s just my suspicious nature or intuitive gut instincts. Though, it was cute how he was beaming like a proud papa when he glanced at his new bag.

Ripgal: Shi-hyun and Min’s dinner scene together was my ultimate favorite scene in this ep. I love that drama is suggesting a deeper and stronger bond between Shi-hyun and Min, and that they see each other more than just superior-subordinate or friends. This scene also proves how much Shi-hyun treasures and takes to heart the people who are dear to him. Soo, Emo and particularly in this scene, Min, the friendly ajusshi he befriended since young.

Unnichan: He’s a father figure for sure, for both men. In Shi-hyun’s case, it’s mostly because of Min’s relationship with Emo, but also because he treats him kindly and seems to genuinely want what’s best for him. The scene was sweet and endearing, comfortable. Shi-hyun even joked around with him. I especially liked how Shi-hyun glanced up to make sure Min used the red pepper as well. It was precious, like a confirmation (of Min) and approval(from Min), all in one.

Ripgal: Despite all the bugging coincidences (in the flashbacks), I do like that they’re using them to strengthen Shi-hyun’s character construct. He is never inconsistent and wishy-washy, and always stays true to himself, the true Shi-hyun at heart.

Unnichan: Like I’ve said, most of these connections are completely fine with me, because it’s not terribly unrealistic. I think because we find out about the connection after certain ideas are established, it seems forced or cliché. But Shi-hyun wouldn’t be where he is without Min; if not for the cop ahjussi he knew as a kid, who cared enough to tell him the truth and set him on a new path. I don’t know how I personally process the relationship, but I won’t deny they’re adorable. They have a history and I respect that. But all we know about Min is his job and that he seems to care for three of our key players. He comes across as a straight arrow, as integral and I hope that’s true. Not holding my breath though.

Ripgal: And were they eating jajjangmyun? Korean dramas always make jajjangmyun look so tasty! YUM!

Unnichan: It’s true, every drama seems to be doused with a bit of food porn. But speaking of Daddies, I did enjoy Min’s scene with Hyung-min’s father. I agree, it’s those moments, more so, than with either of our guys, that I feel he can be trusted. ‘Cause he may give in, but it’s always for the greater good. His motives appear to be transparent. He makes choices based on how everyone will benefit and though it may paint them in a corner at times, he’s not necessarily being a pushover. It’s that consistency that he has that I take note of. With Kang and Ji, he was respectful but reticent and Ji picked up on that.

Ripgal: Commissioner Ji and Prosecutor Ahn, two very suspicious characters. They’re definitely up to something fishy, and I’m not sure I want to know the extent of their involvement in this whole drug dealing thing. His dad could be the mastermind of the shooting for all we know. From Hyung-min’s conversation with the dead DC Kang, we’re pretty much heading there, don’t you think so?

Unnichan: I hadn’t pegged Daddy Ji as the Big Nasty but we can’t ignore the possibility. I was hoping it was someone least expected or unknown to us (for now). But in some weird way, it’d work in regard to killing Kyung-mi and letting the Doctor go. Though that would mean Daddy has a totally different agenda than what we even know now. It’s actually that conversation with Kang that gives me hope that Hyung-min won’t harp the Doctor’s Son so much and shift focus. As in, knowing that the Doctor isn’t the end, just the beginning.

Ripgal: Last scene is also a favorite of mine. We see Shi-hyun confirm his doubts about Soo, and we see him struggle but make a decision about it. Shi-hyun never talks more than required, and more often than not his actions and gestures bring about a greater impact on others. I particularly loved how the camera zooms at his fingers on the table when questioning Eun-hye. Jung Kyung Ho has a lot of such moments, where he’s silent but overpowering and commanding. Can there be too much?

Unnichan: Never! It’s who is or at least who he’s become. A man of few words, his silence being his answer. Also, silence gets more done. People tell you more the less you speak and he knows that. Silence makes people uncomfortable, whether they are lying or not. It’s fun to watch and addictive when you try it. I absolutely adore the writer making this a facet of our Doctor’s persona. We relish every second but become greedy for the moment he opens up. But it’s actually moments like these that make me wonder if he can ever assimilate to regular cop life.

Ripgal: Also, I’m all for Hyung-min to bust the gang, but I almost wanted the prison warden to delete Soo’s video right off!

Unnichan: Almost? No, I definitely wanted that joker deleted because we’re not sure where this will lead. How close will this get Hyung-min? Will he deduce he’s the Doctor? If not, will he find Soo? Naw, delete, delete, delete!

Ripgal: I felt a slump in my stomach, because I can already predict how Soo and Emo would react to this video, and what would happen! Shi-hyun wanted to save both, but can he? Now that Hyung-min’s caught up to him?

Unnichan: Hyung-min hasn’t caught anyone yet. It’s just a video, with a partial face. Who knows what will come of it, but I’m anxious to see how far he gets, where his head will lead him. Will he allow his revenge to cloud rational thinking? Will his anger botch a good lead? Soo and Emo are going to be angry and the Doctor will have to find a way to put them in their respective corners. How? Who on earth knows? But I do have to say, though at some point I know I’m going to want him to stop, I rather enjoy that the Doctor tries so hard to save his world from destruction. He doesn’t want hard feelings to crop or mistrust to arise, though justified. Nor does he want anyone to serve sentences masqueraded by outside machinations. All the Doctor does is gain my respect. Week after week.

Ripgal: Which brings us to the man himself, Soo. I really don’t want to see anything bad happen to him, but can it be avoided? Can a rift or change in the entire course of things be evaded altogether? I almost wish so it can be done.

Unnichan: Look there’s no way that’s going to happen but who knows in what way. All I know is I don’t want to “see” Soo die again. I’m too attached to him. I have a feeling he’ll sacrifice himself for the Doctor or betray him at some venture.

Ripgal: I dunno for sure, but I feel writer’s trying to experiment with the idea of choosing between friendship (Soo) and family (Emo). We already noticed earlier how sure Shi-hyun was when it came to Soo and Emo (in different situations and circumstances), despite their differences in opinions of each other.

Unnichan: Perhaps. But I’m not sure. ‘Cause there comes a point where friends become family and know you better than your own kin. It’s the same here. It’s true Emo is “family” but how is Soo not? Writer is definitely pitting them against one another, which makes me terribly uncomfortable because Emo demands blind loyalty, while I don’t feel Soo does, yet neither deserve it.

Ripgal: I feel it’s come to a point whereby the Doctor can’t control things any further. Soo is slipping away gradually, Emo doesn’t trust the guy. It must be hard for him to actually think straight. Why does he have to choose and take sides?

Unnichan: Emo is insecure and doesn’t like that her Shi-hyun values someone else besides her. I think she knows that Soo is a better friend to Shi-hyun than she is. That he wouldn’t purposely deceive or trick him, even in the guise of protection. However, though I like Soo much more than Emo, they are similar and I can’t negate that. I just believe that Soo has the respect for the Doctor that Emo lacks because she’s mixed up in her thinking toward him. Therefore, Soo knows when to back down and let things go, he realizes his limitations, Emo does not.

Ripgal: Ah, well, I loved Shi-hyun and Emo in this episode. They spent only a few minutes over the phone together, and we already feel how much they both mean to each other. It’s obvious it’s more than just family love and him owing so much to his Emo, he wants her out of the business altogether, how sweet?

Unnichan: I was more concerned about how she would process his request. His concern for her is based on his motherly familial affection for her, perhaps his debt and she isn’t quite there. She thinks of him in a different way than, he views her, therefore, she could try to consider his genuine concern as an affront or rejection. We know that ultimately, he needs her out so she won’t be in danger or get hurt once his true identity come to light but she’s silly enough to believe he’s abandoning her.

Ripgal: Aw, but it’s young Shi-hyun all over again, thinking for his Emo <333. Of course she won’t leave, but it’s that thought of Shi-hyun that counts, that genuineness in his voice, ahhh *melts*

Unnichan: Baby Shi-hyun was bomb. I loved that kid. He was wise beyond his years. But given what he was dealing with, how can we blame him? I think that’s also something that makes me wonder why he chose to follow Safari. He had such a great mind and a determination, even after his mother died. Did he revere Safari that much or find his life that insignificant or pigeon-holed? It truly makes me want to have a coffee with teenage Shi-hyun.

Ripgal: And another reason why I love Emo more than deserved? Gratitude towards those who have helped her i.e. Soo-min. Though her approach wasn’t right, but that sleaze-ball ajusshi totally deserved it alright.

Unnichan: She has been kind to Soo-min but you don’t get a gold star for doing what you ought to do [ie being grateful]. But, I do acknowledge she went beyond a common “Thank you.” And, I don’t find fault in her actions because she didn’t go around the Law per se, she used it. She may have threatened him but with someone like him, it’s what you have to do to get to the truth. She didn’t ask him to lie, she didn’t pay him off. It was her reputation and a few hard slaps, that did the job. She could have done much worse. I only wish she was more intelligent. Or at least stick to what she knows, like she did here. If she’d focus more on her club and her girls, I might have cause to like her.

Ripgal: I also feel Emo and Soo-min are going to forge a friendship that might change the course of things in future. It’s somehow like Shi-hyun and Soo, it cannot be as simple as we think because of the different stances and positions they take. Soo-min already feels she owes Emo something for what she’d done to that scumbag, gratitude is budding inside her and I fear it might not be long before she sinks into a dilemma, on who to side.

Unnichan: Soo-min is ill-equipped to put things in their proper perspective, so she’s certainly going to be a problem. She likes Emo and if I didn’t know her like I do, I would too. She’s been kind and shown generosity to Soo-min, however, she’s a job. No matter what, the line has to be drawn in your head. The thing is when you’ve survived something detrimental or life threatening with someone and you come out the other end together, that experience changes things and it changes you.

Ripgal: There is no right and wrong in friendship, it’s the invariables that you cannot avoid. Imagine, this is what Shi-hyun has been dealing with for years, how did he do it with Soo?

Unnichan: Oh, there’s a right and a wrong way in everything, but most of us don’t choose either. And, I think “years” is the operative word, here. That’s what makes the difference. If he’d been able to do his job and leave, the dilemma would have been much less. Soo would’ve been just a job as well. But now, he’s a confidant, an ally, a friend. I think the only parallel that perhaps makes their cases more equal or may work to speed up this bond would be Soo-min’s attachment to Emo as a Kyung-mi replacement, her age and naiveté.

Unnichan: However, with all our characters, I’ll say, that I like where we’re headed because I’m not sure what exactly lies ahead. This drama isn’t as dark as it could be and reins in that noir vibe, not only with it’s scope but the way it chooses to express and examine its characters. I find myself engrossed and intrigued, even hopeful at times, against my better judgement. For some reason, there are aspects and attachments in this drama that make me a dreamer, which reels me even farther. It makes me love it, no questions asked, for the simple fact that it never asked or needs me to. Maybe that’s the manipulation factor you were talking about… So, now that we’re just over a fifth of the way in what are your thoughts as we head into to muddier waters?

Ripgal: One of the reasons why this drama lures me in is it gives me such overwhelming feels and vibes of one of my favs (and I believe a lot of others’ to), Infernal Affairs, the best of HK triad cinema. The pitting of cop against gangster, gangster against undercover cannot be more reused rehashed and recycled, but the genre never fails to captivate and catapult me into a world that I can never dream of being in. There is always an underlying current to such themes, it can be all BING!BLANG! BAM! WOW! action, but all of a sudden, things can come to freezing emptiness—- things are not always all grand and flamboyant as they seem. The combination of style tone and mood, the slow panning of characters scenes far in and out, the use of suitable noir like music, everything pretty much gets to me. It’s not terribly slick, nor is it under-produced. I like how things are going.


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