Rip and Chan Take on the City: episode eight

Propositions, propositions, dilemmas and dank, dirty, dealings are what this drama’s about. And this episode, we see that the more players change, the more the game remains the same. We have some face to face time between some characters, while things come to a head for them all. And perhaps one or two will roll.

Eighth City Sweep

Hyung-min and Soomin drink then take things up to prepared private room, where they consult over the case. But when Hyung-min decides to nap, she creeps in bed beside him, willing to be his lady of the night. Hyung-min says save it for her clients and leaves, only to think twice once at the elevators.

Later, Emo applauds her skills and makes the room Soo-min’s personal boudoir. Memories of Kyung-mi meet Soo-min at the door, when she returns to pack. A framed photo of them spins her back to sisterly nagging over getting home late, drinking or homework and surprise homemade meals. Before she leaves, she places frame on the table, with Hyung-min watching from a distance. She checks into her new digs and Emo warns her to stay away from the club and she sends her goons to bump off Soo. But Soo ain’t dying today, barges into Emo’s place, and hold a knife to throat. The Doctor runs in and pleads to end it, when Soo slices her shirt open, then apologizes and leaves. Feud solved, the boys decided to go for a drink.

Safari’s prostrate before Pusan who reviews his report card and he’s failing in all his assignments: the Doctor, the goods and DC Kang. And since Principal Pusan believes in corporal punishment, he has him strangled to improve his performance. Then Pusan Jr shows up and pulls a couple strings for good measure to remind (confuse) who’s boss and start his 15 days countdown.

Emo fires her hired guns, then barks at Safari for using her to crush the Doctor. To prove his innocence (guilt) Safari hunts down Nang Mahn, who contacts Soo for help. But when he redials to check Mahn’s still kicking, Safari answers and threatens Soo, then meets Emo in a parking garage to show off his kill. This makes them even but Emo wants the hooked up with Pusan. Safari can’t have that and tells her the Doctor is in danger and to handle him while he takes care of Soo, he just needs her help to find him (again). He dangles a little power and she bites but the deal comes first. Afterward, Eun-soo thinks the Safari-Emo bed bouncing rumors are true, but he’s reaction alludes that not all smoke leads to fire.

Meanwhile, the boys deduce all Safari’s roads lead to Meth. The Doctor gives Emo a chance to come clean about her Safari dealings but she lies and he recounts a factual hypothetical. He’s right about her movements but she claims everything’s for him. But the Doctor isn’t fooled, it’s more about her greed than their safety. Exasperated, he pleads with her to stop, to get out and move to Paris, live like the models in her favorite postcard. Too bad, Emo doesn’t want to live alone. She wants that life with him— as long as he stays, she stays.

Their conversation makes the Doctor ask Safari for a favor—- let Emo go. But there’s no way out once the game starts and the only ending is death.

Everyone is on the prowl for Meth and end up at the hospital where he’s being kept. But Safari shows first and the Doctor spies them in the elevator as they leave, then hurries to the next floor to intercept. He pulls his knife, geared for blood but when the doors open, he freezes at the sight of Hyung-min. Thankfully, Hyung-min doesn’t recognize him and proceeds to the next floor.

Meth gets his assignment and locates Soo for Safari, who personally makes good on his promise. The Doctor is informed about Soo and contacts Safari, who hints there’s only one trade available. Min calls to make sure everything’s legit but Shi-hyun is quiet, still in mulling mode and answers with lies and grunts. He finally asks for help, to snatch Safari but Min can’t. He advises not to sacrifice himself for Soo, but for the Doctor, there’s no other way. He admits things have gotten too hard but he must go, then asks Min to please look after Emo.

Safari welcomes him with open arms and a smile but the Doctor wants Soo released before they dance. Sadly, there’s no negotiations on his turf, so the Doctor accepts, then flips open his knife. Safari lets his goons loose and the Doctor holds his own, until a blow to the head from Safari sends him twitching to the ground.

Then Safari stoops down and offers him a chance to escape by boat to China, but the Doctor won’t be deluded— “I thought you said one of us has to die.” He asks for Soo’s release again but Safari offers to take care of Emo instead. Then Safari tries to have one last heart to heart but the Doctor tells him to cut the crap and get on with it. So Safari thanks him for being compliant, then sends Eun-soo in for the final send off.

Weak, the Doctor crouches for one last fight.

Ripgal: I’ll just start off with DAEBAKKKKK!!!! Heartless City JJANNNNGGG!

Unnichan: *wiping tears* This show is dangerous. I think I’m speechless.

Ripgal: Ep 8 was one package of wonderful, from beginning to end. No single moment was wasted, more things were fleshed out, characters stayed true to themselves and story flowed with solid yet engaging fluidity, more than ever, more than I can ever ask for. I cannot reiterate more on much I loved this episode. In fact I may come across gibberish and more so ravier than usual later, I just cannot help it!

Ripgal: I read somewhere that this drama is writer nim’s debut project/work, I don’t believe it, I just cannot! Though I do have my gripes and qualms about the writing (no major ones more nitpicky hehe), the one thing writer does so effortless and impressively in this drama, he/she manages to mesh puzzle pieces in the form of sub-plots together seamlessly, without any disconnect or obvious divide. An episode runs an hour long and yet we’re given so much to swallow and digest, story wise, character wise. Each character is given his/her time to shine, though not as elaborate and refined as hoped for, at least we feel for them, we get to understand the hows and whys.

Unnichan:I often believe that a writer’s first work, is their best work, so this rumor could possibly be true. I also agree this drama creates pieces and snippets and lays them out, scrabbles them, then just a quickly slips them back together again, in ways, that I find plausible and rational. And I will always say that I love the way this drama uses flashback and memory. The writer uses the mind as great way to tell a story, for it gives us no reason to distrust a memory, though the mind may not remember every piece, nor is it seen from every facet. Some memories are first person, second or third and I love that.

Ripgal: I don’t have a favorite scene in this episode, simply for the fact, I just couldn’t choose one over another. Every scene had a story to tell, an emotional space to fill. And the pervading and overspread sense of noir in the drama can be felt even more strongly in this episode, whereby scenes are enhanced not by dialogue, but by mere emotional conveyance and mood. Reminds me of a milder version of a Wong Kar Wai projection, which is always always a good thing for me.

Unnichan: We said no moment is wasted in this show and it continues to prove that. I have very little worries with this drama. I’m not persnickety when it comes to dramas that I choose to watch. Either I can suspend reality or I can’t. I usually realize this early on and figure out what to do after that. Here, most things work for me and I those that don’t I set aside to assess later.

Ripgal: Um… Hyung-min and Soo-min, how SEXAY was their room exchange?! I loved it SO SO MUCH. I liked everything that transpired between them in that scene. The silence, the quiet undercurrent, the oozing sexual tension that filled the air. The direction there was downright exquisite, didn’t it feel more like a film to you than a drama?

Unnichan: I’ve actually been thinking that for some time, that this drama feels like and views like a film. And though I like it most times, I’m not sure I love it. It makes me feel like something is amiss. Don’t know why.

Ripgal: I don’t know whether it’s already safe to conclude that Soo-min does have a crush on Hyung-min? It felt like it when she approached him on the bed, and didn’t seem like she acted merely out of Emo’s orders.

Unnichan: Honestly, that moment bothered me. I didn’t like it at all. Not because of the crush thing because that’s been established from jump but more that the request was odd and I wasn’t sure how to take it. I know that her actions had nothing to do with Emo because once the door is closed, she’s no longer working for Emo but with Hyung-min, therefore all that was Soo-min, it just didn’t sit well with me.

Ripgal: What I’m sure I know Hyung-min will be so affected by this out of the blue approach by Soo-min. Might have sent butterflies down his stomach lol

Unnichan: What man wouldn’t? I mean, really? But I just haven’t decided whether I believe her rationale. It’s that excuse thing, I mentioned. Have sex with me, cause I’d rather for it to be you? Erm… NO, sweets. I pass. Thanks.

Ripgal: I hope writer doesn’t make Hyung-min fall for Soo-min that soon (or ever even) if he/she has intentions to do so.

Unnichan: I have no doubt it will veer that way for a sec or two. When he was alone, looking sad with his tofu outside the prison, I knew. His feelings were changing, then the confrontation of last episode? Yea the ship will coast a bit that way.

Ripgal: Drama has been doing so well without the romance I’m just wary too much of it will bring the whole level of awesomeness and grittiness down. Soo-min can have her time with Shi-hyun for the remaining episodes (though we’ll be watching green with envy), we don’t need more lovey dovey stuff to cheese-ify the drama.

Unnichan: Lol. I don’t think we have to worry but I do agree. I only have one romantic bone and it only aches about once a year. So, no, I’m not in the mood for a great drama being tied down but love. However, I can’t wait for some steamy scenes with the Doctor and Soo-min! Mind over matter, here we come!

Ripgal: I can understand the resentment felt towards Hyung-min (his using of Soo-min), but strangely I have come to like his character more and more. I feel the richness in his character has doubled since Kyung-mi’s death and that whatever he does after makes a good justified sense to me.

Unnichan: No, not “whatever” he does, but most things, sure. I’ve always liked Hyung-min, I just don’t care for his assumptions and judgments concerning a person’s character. When it comes to people, it’s important not only to assess the data (evidence) but also a person’s actions and possible motives. He’s really great at that when it comes to his professional life but in his personal life he fails monumentally.

Ripgal: The consistency in his craftiness continues to pull me in. Though he isn’t as collected as Shi-hyun, I like that the writer still maintains the analytical and clever in him. Although the scene of him figuring out Halibut’s whereabouts coincided a lil bit too much with Shi-hyun and Safari’s (I am again on nitpicky mode), it did make for a good push forward story-wise. We might get to see our trio meet sooner.But hell that hospital elevator scene, I was on the edge of my seat the whole freaking time! Tell me you nearly screamed out too! I bet no one expected Hyung-min to be there.

Unnichan: Um, I was surprised that they had face to face so soon, yes but I wasn’t surprised it was Hyung-min. I just figured there was going to be a “oops he didn’t see my face,” thing again. It was a great moment in that I definitely believe the writer will use this to their advantage later. CAN’T WAIT!

Ripgal: Soo-min’s showing more balls in recent episodes. I love that her resolve is stronger and tries to make the best out of everything by surviving in this world alone (without much help from Hyung-min). I wonder what she has in mind playing this double spy game, but it’s always a good thing when one tries to play the game to her advantage. Be honest when you have to.

Unnichan: I’m glad you’re wondering, cause that means, I don’t have to. Lol. I have zero faith in Soo-min, not yet. I’d be hard pressed to believe she thinks more than a few minutes out. But I do believe honesty and sincerity are key!

Ripgal: Nam Gyu Ri’s look was also by far the best in this episode, which oozed ethereal elegance and sexiness from within. A great balance of class and grace as well.

Ripgal: One of the loveliest sequences in the drama, when Soo-min left her house reminiscing about Kyung-mi. That song was awesome, fitted the mood well and enhanced the whole sequence by notches. I’ve always loved how drama includes Kyung-mi in scenes here and there, but this one takes the cake as one of the most effectively conveyed scene about her character and the reason why the people love her, why we love her.

Unnichan: Seeing Kyung-mi is a treat because now that she’s dead, I can find ways to like and love her through the memories of those that already do. The way people remember us is always unique to them and says more about their personalities than the one it depicts. But isn’t it interesting that Hyung-min is always at the house? And this time he was lurking. Guess, that was his way of giving her space.

Ripgal: I don’t know about you but I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions of all the main characters in this episode. Every single conversation fleshed out more about the characters and their relationships, their expectations and hopes of each other. The most uncomfortable and emotionally complex was none other than Emo and Shi-hyun’s. Or should we address her as Noona already?

Unnichan: No, “Emo” is fine. That’s who (and what) she is. If you notice, the Doctor desires to call her Emo but changed because she’s in denial. I have no reason or intention to give into her fantasies. But I would say, that moment(the best) for me was definitely the Doctor and Safari.

Ripgal: This is where I question and ponder about Emo/Noona’s feelings for Shi-hyun. I don’t want to see it as something inappropriately or sexual but yet I do like that drama is testing waters or the audience by infusing something different into their interactions i.e a peculiar attraction between those 2. It’s obvious Shi-hyun sees her as family, but what about Emo/Noona? I know he’s grown up to be a fine man, but what is it that she feels for him actually? Family yes, but as a man?

Unnichan: I’ve been clear about my thoughts toward Emo and my impression of her “feelings” in regard to Shi-hyun. In episode one, she was very blatant about her ideas on the matter. She hasn’t changed. From my observation, she sees him as her personal man-child. Whereby she’s always been attracted to him (his personality). Now that he’s legal, she would love for there to be more (sexually), but she still wants to pull rank as the elder. In Shi-hyun’s case, I think he definitely only sees her as a psuedo-mother/aunt but calls her Noona to appease her insecurities. She’s pretty much always been the only woman in his life, therefore, by default, she’s been every position a woman can fill, the problem is, he doesn’t view as a “woman,” as they say, though he knows that’s not necessarily pleasing to her.

Ripgal: The whole exchange about Shi-hyun’s only wish for Emo to be happy tore my heart to pieces. Regardless of the uncomfortable response by Emo that followed, it reassured us of Shi-hyun’s character. That when he loves and treasures a person, he does whatever he can to protect him/her. It is in those momentary exchanges we see the true Shi-hyun from the inside. The man and the person he is.

Unnichan: I know that Shi-hyun wants what’s best for her but there comes a time, where you allow a person to dig their own grave. Not because he may lose his life trying to save her, but that his life isn’t enough. There’s nothing that could get this woman to change, therefore there’s no need to die trying.

Ripgal: I don’t blame Emo for wanting to take Soo out to protect Shi-hyun (though I also love Soo as much).

Unnichan: I wouldn’t either if that were really the case. If it were really true, that all she wanted was to protect Shi-hyun, I’d be all in, but it isn’t. She’s jealous, angry and insecure and she’s lashing out, this is just an excuse to finish what Safari started. It’s no different from what Soo tried to do in earlier episodes, but, he was decent enough to admit he had other root motives. For me, it’s always about motives. And hers are all skewed.

Ripgal:I still love this woman I can’t help it! I may have discredited her in recent episodes, but my impression of her character doesn’t change. She’s got gutso and she’s not gonna let things slide, given how she’s been all these years.

Unnichan: I find it interesting that it’s justified if Emo doesn’t let things slide but it’s betrayal if Soo does. But I still come back to, what is she letting slide exactly? Isn’t this all her fault? There’s consequences to every action and that was hers. I agree with the Doctor that she should act like an adult and back away because she was wrong to begin with. Don’t force the child be the mature one. If she wants respect, she should earn it. Then if he tried something again, she’d be justified.

Ripgal: She may not be trustworthy in your eyes, and probably hasn’t proven why she deserves to be, but I just cannot unsee how she rationalizes things just for the sake of Shi-hyun. Ye,s she may end up ruining his plans, but to me, it’s always the thought that counts. What she’s doing isn’t wrong in the context of the drama and the world they’re living in, it’s just different.

Unnichan: It’s not that I don’t trust her, it’s that her actions show, that she can’t be trusted. Nothing she says is true. She lies all day, every day to this man. He has to beg her to be up front. How can one build something on that type of foundation? And to “rationalize” can also be seen as an “excuse” and that’s what Emo does. She has convinced herself and you, that she lives for Shi-hyun but that’s not true. Do you honestly believe that she would leave the game if Shi-hyun bought tickets? HA! She says those things because she knows it will remain in the air. That there are people that believe the “thought” counts more than the “intent.” She toys with Shi-hyun instincts. I know I make her out to be horrible and though she’s not as malicious as all that, it doesn’t make it any less true.

Ripgal: I really liked the showdown between Soo and Emo. The lead up to their confrontation scene was fantastic, and the actual scene, even more fulfilling and enjoyable to watch. The characters do things which do not sit well with us, but ultimately, when we zero in on their motivations and intentions, we feel a lil bit more for them. Soo’s unwilling apology to Emo was so emotionally gratifying I wanted to hug him straight, that’s so much and how far he’d go for Shi-hyun, and it made me awwwwww hard. But then the more these people go all out and so far for Shi-hyun, the more we’re in for heartbreak in future. My heart, our hearts, we must be prepared.

Unnichan: I’ve always believed Soo respects the Doctor enough to do what he asks, even if he doesn’t agree. Not always entirely but he recognizes the chain of command and the fact that the Doctor has him beat in almost every area. What I didn’t like about that scene was Emo, as always. The fact she was actually dissatisfied just grinds my nerves. It’s another example of her being slow on the uptake. She has no idea who she’s dealing with, ever! It just annoys me.

Ripgal: And did you not love Shi-hyun and Soo’s brief moment at the car-park?! Spats, differences and what not, I want them to be together forever.

Unnichan: Where I’m from that type of friend is called an “ace boon coon,” your “ride or die.” Someone you can always count on. For now, I believe this is true of Soo. And I believe he has no intention of betraying the Doctor, but we don’t know the future and for some reason, Soo gives off a Peter vibe.

Ripgal: I also wonder about Safari and Emo. Whether they are really in the light of each others’ intentions and motivation or are merely pretending not to know? One minor gripe, I cannot buy how Emo still thinks Safari might be innocent in using her to bring Shi-hyun down?

Unnichan: The reason Safari can always play Emo is because he’s intuitive. She is not. She thinks she’s smarter than the average bear, which gets her in trouble evey single episode! I don’t believe for one second that she ever listens to a word Safari says, nor does she pay attention to his actions. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

Ripgal: I honestly thought she was aware from the very beginning when he came to see her for the very first time. Do you think, she could be in denial i.e. isn’t willing to believe that a man she’d once loved (maybe) would use her, to such an extent? Or could she still have lingering feelings for Safari?

Unnichan: She lives in a fantasy world concerning him and Shi-Hyun in almost every single way. This is another one of the multitudes of things that makes it impossible for me to like her. How can you ignore reality? When someone speaks why don’t you listen? In this world why don’t you hear? It’s a wonder she’s stayed alive this long. However, I think it’s time for me to start trying to understand why the writer had written such a dingball character. Cause if I don’t, I might lose my mind.

Ripgal: I will not contest your arguments on Emo anymore HAHA, because I frankly can’t see her the way you do… yet. I still love you EMO.

Unnichan: Oh please do, it’s fine, you don’t have to. Haha! We see her differently, that’s all. I see her for all she is, you see her for all her good qualities and what you hope she can be. Makes for interesting discussion. Two startlingly different opinions works, cause my word choice is harsh, yours is tender. I’m sure she somewhere in the middle… But clearly, I don’t care. Lol.

Ripgal: I could tell that Safari’s feelings are still there. It’s in his eyes, the flicker of concern and linger affection he has for her, despite the cynicism and sharpness in his words. I wonder when can they have their own moment together, without the real world interfering.

Unnichan: We’ve always known what Safaris feelings were. And at first I cared but now… Nada. I don’t think there’s such a thing as “their” moment. It takes two hands to clap and Emo ain’t interested! Never has been. But I truly hope he at least had a good reason to be string out on her, cause if not… Ugh! I doubt it though. Much like her, the slow burn. And did you notice his reaction to Eun-soo at the suggestion? Sad, sad man.

Ripgal: Their working together to get rid of sleazy hack ajusshi was brutal and disappointing though, considering how they’ve been part of the team together before. But that’s what drama is about I guess, one of the pervading themes, the lewdness and gluttony of that world in itself, you can’t escape. But do you think Safari did it just to prove his so called innocence, to please Emo or does he have something planned behind his back? No doubt I feel his enduring affections for Emo, but something tells me he’s not as genuine as we think.

Unnichan: You mean Nang Mahn? Pfft. They didn’t “work together.” She had no idea he’d end him. She was actually shocked, even horrified (hence her continued idiocy and my exasperation). But Safari did what he was going to anyway, he just killed two birds in the process. Bird 1:Get A’s from Principal Pusan and Posse; Bird 2: Regain Emo’s trust [read:believe his lies]. He’s on a mission to get rid of all Doctor’s Son supports. Nang was a sniveling weasel that needed to be disposed of. He couldn’t be trusted, on the basis of how he switched sides. And unlike Meth has no skill to bring to the table. If he’d let Nang live, he would’ve been exposed and he can’t chance that. He said he did to prove Emo wrong because he knows all she needs is a little push. She constantly says she doesn’t trust him but Safari and I both know there’s no truth to that. He knows exactly what buttons to push to calm down Jin-sook’s emotions and he taps them each and every time. If she didn’t piss me off so bad for being so stupid, I’d probably feel bad for her.

Ripgal: Safari is a force of nature no doubt, but little do we know his boss Busan reigns above and is even more merciless and implacable than the man himself.

Unnichan: My fear level of Safari has always been pretty low (in regards to death or dying), cause we definitely knew that from the beginning Pusan exists. Pusan is the puppet master but I find Safari more like Pinocchio. He’s a real boy, who’s gonna do things he wants, his way. He’ll just have to pay for it later. And he did this episode. I actually really like Pusan and his immovable ways. I can respect that. He told Moon what he expected, he didn’t deliver. He needed to be schooled. Thems the rules.

Ripgal: Perhaps that’s why I felt he was under appreciated before, that something was bridling and controlling him, that he couldn’t do whatever he wanted even though he could. I almost choked seeing Safari choke, it was one of the most difficult scenes to sit through knowing how he’s such unflinching figure himself.

Unnichan: I was hoping he’d die personally but the acting was wonderful. I’m not sure Safari has what it takes to be number#1 and I think he knows that. Which is probably what we see. Him, struggling with the realities of his own limitations. With each passing episode, I like him less because his motives come closer into view, and again, since I have to respect my characters, I can’t get down with him. What I found most interesting was Pusan Jr. His appearance, to me, solidifies our idea that Safari feels under-appreciated. In this case perhaps it’s nepotism? I’ve always believed Moon is a man that gets no love anywhere and due to that has become this slimy mess of a man. PJ’s undeserved authority is another nail for me. .

Ripgal: Die? No way, I’d cry if he dies early on. Shi-hyun needs him. LOL

Unnichan: I ain’t crying but I know there’s more story to tell with them. Not sure I’ll care but we’ll see. However, his dying this episode would’ve been phenomenal on the shock value front. That’s what I was getting at.

Ripgal: I wonder if Safari had owed Busan his life or a big chunk of his status to actually give his total allegiance to a man like him. And then we thought Safari was fearless, but who knows, there is always a mountain higher than the hill we see.

Unnichan: Oh definitely. There’s always someone bigger, brighter, better. Pusan is the Kingpin and who knows how this all began. Which reiterates that PJ’s pompous arrogance is unwarranted. From where I sit, he owes everything to his daddy. I just hope Show doesn’t try to pull something out of its tail to try and evoke sympathy… Cause well, I’m not the one.

Ripgal: Choi Mu Seong gave me so much laughs in my bestfav drama ever ILICDD, and I thought I could never take him seriously in this. But here he gave me chills, made me fear him and made me feel for him even when I shouldn’t. One heck of an actor he is, I’m giving him my own award.

Unnichan: The actor is excellent. Straight from episode one, he’s shown us the many layers of Safari. He established the character so well, that till now, I’ve not been “surprised” by anything, which I love! Everything seems fluid and perfect. I don’t care for Safari at all (I like Pusan much more) but with my personal character, I wouldn’t and just that tells me, Choi Ahjussi is killing this role[no pun intended, promise].

Ripgal: Remember I mentioned about the family vs. friend aspect i.e. Emo vs. Soo? It is no wonder we can only love Shi-hyun more and more, because the humanness in his character shines with every increasing episode i.e. when he befriends and when he cares, he goes all out, regardless of the mass of destruction bound to happen. I wonder what went through his mind when he offered to deal with Safari instead of allowing Emo to do so. It’s a catch 22 situation for him, in that a resolution to all is impossible.

Unnichan: I’m not convinced about the family thing because I don’t believe that the Doctor makes that distinction. Between Safari and his crew sure but Emo and Soo, I’ve never been sold on that concept. Either both are family or neither, because in either case, family is what you make it. It’s formed with people you love and care for. We see that will all our characters. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve known a person or what you’ve been through. Once they have membership, that’s it. And I’m hard pressed that anything the Doctor does concerning Emo is solely kind and precious like you. He knows it’s better because she can’t be trusted. She’s weak— in mind, body and heart. He knows it.

Ripgal: Either way, Shi-hyun and Safari are my alternate OTP! They are so delicious and are so much perfection together! I savor every single moment they share, their conversations, their constant gauge and prediction of each others’ actions. I know there can only be one winner, possibly none, but I hope for a reconciliation piece in future, however brief and temporary it may be.

Unnichan: Wait. Maybe you are the dreamer. Isn’t that a little too unrealistic? Too romantic? If a person is actively trying to kill you, how on earth can you kiss and make up in the end? That’s laughable. Not matter what sob story they tell, or reasons they give, it’s not something that can be swept away. The only way that Safari can keep a small ounce of human dignity is to be a man and never try to excuse his actions towards Shi-hyun. But will that happen? Probably not, cause that’s the kind of dumb stuff Korea loves to do. Whether you are the scum of the earth, a murderess harpie, a deadbeat parent or gone past the point of no return, drama will always write characters that smile and say, “Oh, you abandoned me as a child and left me in a gutter? That’s ok, the gutter was cold but I found a jacket” or “You tried to kill me and my parents, six times and failed? Well, at least you failed. I understand. Come live with us.”

Ripgal: Haha! I love to dream 😉 and I always think there’s nothing truly black and white about relationships in the world. Yes perhaps, unrealistic and idealistic, but you never know about human feelings. They change, just like the way we do. It’s just a personal wish of mine because I ship their interactions so hard (they have the best chemistry in the show), don’t be too bothered chinggu.

Unnichan: Not bothered chinggu. Worried. I don’t care if they get out alive but we have to! And, there’s black and white in everything but I believe we all live in the grey. Story wise, I just think it leaves room for narrative inconsistency, due to personal projection. It’s true that feelings change, I’m not sure that people do though. Either way, being feelings can’t be trusted and shouldn’t rule us, there isn’t a decision that should be made based on feelings alone. Isn’t that what makes the Doctor so great? Why we love him? What sets him apart from Hyung-min, Soo, Emo, even Min?

Ripgal: But this ep gave Shi-hyun lots of trouble huh? Nothing beats the emotional conflict and dilemma he suffers inside, on whether to forsake his family and friends for the cause of justice. His conversation with Min was amazing in so many ways, a whole chunk of my heart went out to him T__T. It conveyed so much, the silent but desperate plea for help, the grueling realization of RL, that things cannot be so clear when it comes to relationships with people. We’ve seen bits and pieces of that in earlier episodes but the impact was stronger and more overpowering here. Jung Kyung Ho, amazing amazing AMAZING, I can only utter words of praise )_)#*@)#(@+#)(@+_# non-stop. Please stop me will you chinggu?

Unnichan: Shi-hyun’s conversation with Min was my favorite moment. Nothing compares to what we witness in that moment. From both characters but mostly the Doctor, of course. His grunts of deliberation, then his final plea for help, his admission— everything was perfect. My heart broke for him because he’s stuck and he knows it. Yet there’s no other choice to make, he will go. There’s no way he’ll let Soo die, in his place or otherwise (if he can help it). It takes us back a few episodes where he told Soo he’d roll on him if in his shoes. And here we are and he chooses to stay, which we all knew he would. It’s one of those things that keeps us loving this character down to our bones.

Ripgal: But Safari and Shi-hyun, their last phone conversation, how powerful and efficacious it was? Shi-hyun’s plea to Safari, you could feel desperation and yearning in his voice, despite how calm he sounded. Safari understood and knew perfectly well, and yet he pointed out a grueling reality that will forever follow them – that they can never leave this world of decadence.

Unnichan: I stick to my assessment that Shi-hyun is an optimist, a dreamer. He walks around like a realist and though he knows this world and it’s consequences are real and fatal, he still believes sacrifice and integrity mean something.

Ripgal: All of a sudden I’m jolted back to reality, Shi-hyun may never get to see the light at the end of the tunnel after all. I don’t know if there lies a good or happy ending to these characters. They are so deeply entrenched within the world that they can only go deeper. There is no way out until everyone gives up, until everyone dies.

Unnichan: I don’t think anyone is getting out alive. Not sure what kind of ending that constitutes. We’ll just have to wait till we get there. But I’m predicting tears (just maybe not from me…).

Ripgal: The last scene, absolutely the best and evilest of the crop! Did I mention earlier I didn’t have a favorite scene? Okay scrap that, this scene was DA FREAKING BOMB! I don’t even have enough words to describe how much perfection and awesomeness was there, in the shot of Shi-hyun walking towards possible demise with his usual poise (where the heck did he get that confidence of his?!!), that shot of Safari welcoming him with open hands, right until the very last scene of him struggling in pain, waiting for death’s door to open before him.

Unnichan: Those last moments were phenomenal! That’s what I keep coming to about this show, in that we aren’t always surprised by what happens, it’s more about how we react to what transpires. Our emotional attachment to the characters is paramount. I could have has the scene solely without any score or dialogue and I would have reacted the same. What I loved the most was the Doctor’s stealth, right until the end. It was stellar.

Ripgal: We know this drama excels in blurring lines between black and white, good and bad. That temporary moment of endearment between Uncle Safari and Shi-hyun is the perfect example of that. There is no right and wrong, it’s all about choice. I teared like mad, so mad. I even blame the world for making them the way they are right now. It is very obvious Safari still has lingering feelings of affection for the boy, and Shi-hyun no less. But the world is still the world they’re living in, there can be no perfection resolution.

Unnichan: It’s not the world, it’s the choice. Their world says alot of things about what life should be like and how the game should be played. Everyone’s world does, but at the end of the day, your choices are what makes you, regardless of your world. If you blame the inanimate world, then humans become blameless and that’s just irrational. Also, feelings mean very little to me because they can leads us all to a Hell of our own making. Safari may have had a twinge of emotion, but he should’ve thought of that sooner, back when I cared. I definitely believe he surprised himself that he was so moved but he’s moved by practically every kill he makes given his reaction to DC Kang in the earlier episode, the Doctor is not different. It just shows that he’s a human being, which we already knew. I certainly found myself in tears because JKH was amazing in that scene. And though we knew the Doctor wasn’t going to die, he thought he was and were right there with him. However, I wasn’t anymore fooled by Safari’s little antics than Shi-hyun.

Ripgal: Safari is a monster in the making, no he is already one. But whatever that came out of Choi Mu Seong’s acting in that scene, I couldn’t help but hit myself in the chest (like how they do so in Korean dramas, you know it). The man is ruthless the way he is and will continue to be, but can I say deep down there, he still has a heart?

Unnichan: I don’t like the man (though he did say my favorite line in this episode) and agree he’s a monster, I doubt we’ll agree on the type. He has a heart but what’s more important to me is, what his heart’s concerned about. Like I said, his moment with Shi-hyun was interesting but didn’t change who we know him to be. He even takes the opportunity to flaunt that he’d take care of Emo (Yes, I used the word flaunt). Safari is the worst kind of man because where it counts, he lacks integrity and that puts a bad taste in my mouth. In that respect, I consider him dangerous because he’s jealous-hearted, spiteful, dubious against those he thinks he loves and allows the wrong feelings to be a factor in his decisions. But he’s not a monster because of what he does or is willing to do, what’s monstrous is why.

Ripgal: I don’t hate Safari for what he’d done to Soo and Shi-hyun. I still like the man. Villain or not. But can I ask for one small teeny weeny wish? Can writer spare one of them? Pretty please!

Unnichan: Oh kid, are sure you really want to know that answer to that question? No, are you sure you’d be satisfied with the answer?

Ripgal: I am a dreamer you know! Heh!

Unnichan: My sentiments exactly, Pak Sa. My sentiments exactly.

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