The Distractors’ Cut: Golden Cross Final (BTS)

Golden Cross ended a few weeks ago and though Ekun and I are caught in the crosssfires of Joseon Gunman, there’s no way we wouldn’t make time to give our final thoughts on one of the most unhinged villains of 2014.

Jung Bo-suk‘s turn as Seo Dong-ha brought new meaning to the word deranged in my mind, for Seo-Jo (a combination of Jung’s character surnames from Giant and Golden Cross) was a different kind of crazy, hinging somewhere between nefarious and nutty but above all, resolute in his delusion of innocence.  This made for a tale that melted brain cells and resolve but kept The Distractors with plenty to buzz about. 

Ekun: Well Unnichan, here we are, finally at the end of another drama. I feel a mixture of emotions, but overall satisfied. We have a lot of ground to cover being as though the last time we came together for Golden Cross was 2 episodes in. Unnichan: True. I guess we can jump start with the conspiracy to kill Daddy. We knew from the beginning that he would be a casualty, being he was framed and eventually he would be a loose end, but it was hard waiting for the final send off and of course it was tragic for everyone involved. And it was right after that infamous “palm” scene, where his son finally believed he was innocent.

Ekun: It broke my heart as all (good) daddy dying scenes do. But what was really mind boggling was everyone was in the hospital when it happened! Mom was 2 seconds away. Seo Dong-ha was the most unbalanced character I have seen in a long time. He actually believed to the very end he did not kill Do-yun’s sister or father. Unnichan: Exactly. He’d convinced himself of the lie. If he’d believed what he’d done was an accident or he owned it with no remorse, he’d have been a much easier character to stomach. This man attempted to kill over and over again and each time, he tried to be shocked with himself, when we as the audience aren’t even fazed by the time he ran over his Attorney.

Ekun: I mean, you reason it in your mind like he did, “Attorney Park is in the way. He must be eliminated. How can I make it look like an accident?” As soon as Attorney Park crossed the so called line, you knew he had it coming. Lets not forget the attempt at killing Do-yun a Gazillion times but begging, wishing, and hoping for mercy! Girl, I could have stepped in that pit at kicked his *censored* then buried him along with that heifer Yi-re! She pissed me off so bad and I had no more hope for her! Unnichan: He did try to kill Do-yun like 5 times and each time he’d grovel at his failure. But the open grave thing was the last straw for me. Seo Yi-re was dead to me. I honestly hadn’t liked her since the events leading up to Daddy’s demise, with all that miscarriage of justice she was doing. Having her hands in cases she should relinquish, sharing vital evidence to outsiders, being an all around prejudice idiot… But when she jumped in the grave and cradled her murderous father like he was a victim?! Girl my eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.

Ekun: My thing was how she kept thinking that her father’s love for her was enough to turn himself in! No HO! He a corrupt, power hungry, elitist *censored*! Nothing can make him “do the right thing”. Another disappointment for Ekun was Michael… just when you thought you found someone you can like for their powerful mind and corrupt ways… they go off and turn into a pansy!

Unnichan: I KNOW RIGHT?! Michael was such an interestingly evil character in the beginning but once Do-yun came back, that fell to Hell. He seemed to have no real purpose any longer other than pissing me off for having his head up his own behind. He spent so much time in the last episodes trying to “discredit” Do-yun that he lost sight of what made him wonderful. He was always working for the Americans and had his own “debt” to pay to stay above water and in the end that made him spineless and spiteful and that’s never a good look.

Ekun: It was just enough to make me want to spit on him in the last few episodes! Let’s talk about Hong Sa-ra… Her unnecessary death, her obsession with Do-yun, her shifty role in  “Golden Cross”… What are your thoughts?

Unnichan: Look, I was cool with Hong initially, even with the “Hong Kong” trips. But when she was trying to be in love with Do-yun, I was over her. Not that it wasn’t understandable; she could relate to him, they both had revenge-y hoop dreams but I was hoping, that was where it began and ended. Fast forward 3 years and after she saved his life, it was like he “owed” her. I wasn’t down for that. It just seemed nonsensical to me. Having a crush on him, sure, but believing he should or better reciprocate? I couldn’t understand. Especially knowing he loved someone else.

Ekun: And! Because she had a hand in his sister’s death! How was he supposed to take that? “It doesn’t matter Sa-ra… you were a victim of circumstance, saranghaeyo” Girl bye. I was cool with her pimp-like arrangements as well, it was that irrationality in the 3 year jump that I could not get over. And can you explain why “Splish Splash” will never be the same to me? Ever again in life?! *Closes eyes tight*

Unnichan: You’re not alone DK. “Splish Splash” will forever make my skin crawl and my lips pucker. I didn’t know and I’m sad that I do now. Ugh, that just reminds me what a waste Michael became… Anyway, what I found comical about the “Hong reveal” was who it came from. When Seo-Jo thought he was squealing on someone for their misdealings, it just furthered the depth of his delusion. How was Hong’s sex trap worse than him bludgeoning her to death? I mean, sometimes watching this show I felt like I was going to lose my mind. Like when Do-yun got arrested…

Ekun: Refresh my memory… which time when Do-yun was arrested? I believe there were 2 times, ne?

Unnichan: When the Prosecutors dragged him in for his false identity.

Ekun: Oh yeah! I was like, wait, this man said that he is the deceased’s family and giving clear proof evidence that Seo Dong-ha killed his sister and father. And you *censored* are arresting him because of what?! What kind of legal system is this!? Not to mention the abuse from the prosecutor in the interrogation room! I spit on his face in my mind– you know that is worst than a stab wound to me.

Unnichan: I was beyond incensed by the brutality. And he was degrading him like he wasn’t an educated person. He kept going on and on about Do-yun being a fake and I was like, “THIS MAN WENT TO LAW SCHOOL TOO!” However, I do wish we’d spent more time dealing with the Law aspect of things. I get that the first half of the drama covered that portion and effectively displayed where the Law becomes obsolete, yet a part of me wishes we’d kept that thread throughout the entire drama.

Ekun: I agree, without it, it just seemed like “rich people paying their way out of this” and “poor people never get justice that”… Give me some law behind all the corruption and justice flinging. What else happened? Do we have to talk about Do-yun and Yi-re as an item?

Unnichan: Heh. Honestly, I’m glad we didn’t revisit that in the last episode. Yi-re never said the right things to Do-yun. Her thought process was all wrong. But ultimately I can’t get over how clueless the women were in this drama. As in, they weren’t effective at all. The only woman that was endearing was Do-yun’s mother for being quick on the uptake and believing in the people she loved. She was built of strong stuff. I think Hong was supposed to be considered a “relatable” woman but I just couldn’t get there with her. I loved how she played Michael and stayed close to him, slinking into “Golden Cross” but even that crumbled in the end. I mean, did she even get her revenge?

Ekun: I am not sure, but for some reason I felt her death was pitiable. I was glad it was not revisited with Do-yun and Yi-re as well. I mean, the simple fact that she kept picking her father over Do-yun said that it was not meant to be. She was no Se-ryung from The Princess’s Man. That girl cut her hair and rolled on her family for Seung-yoo! I digress, the women were messy. Mom was questionable, but she really came through and made it all the way until the end!

Unnichan: Se-ryung was a queen among men, let alone women! But Yi-re didn’t have to choose Do-yun. All she needed to do was do her job well. She couldn’t even do that! I was beside myself when Do-yun apologized to her. What did she ever do? To me, her mindset was never aligned correctly, seeing and placing the evidence before her in it’s proper place and examining reality for what it is, not some pipe dream she’d concocted during her tippy-toe dances with daddy! It’s what consistently boils me about how revenge dramas depict women. They are always portrayed as the bystanders grabbing on the leads ankles crying for them to stop, instead of understanding them and finding a way to get things done, without diminishing or belittling their pain.

Ekun: I think the only person I remember who was constructive and was down for whatever was Lee Bo-young’s character in Equator Man. She didn’t try to stop him and I think she helped when she could, and she told the *censored* around him to piss off!

Unnichan: Han Ji-won (Lee Bo-young) started out fine, but by the end, she was no better. So, with all that transpired in Golden Cross, was it worth it? The journey?

Ekun: Now that I have talked out my feelings I really did like the show. The acting was superb, the storyline was entertaining, and Do-yun did not end up with Yi-re in the end. Oh! And we got to see Seo- Jo exit prison once again… It took me back to Giant girl!

Unnichan: What I appreciated was Do-yun truly understanding and respecting his father and realizing how much alike they really are. I loved that moment when he was honest and said, throughout his time abroad he had moments when he wanted to just chuck it all and live freely but he couldn’t, because the injustice was too deep, too alive within him. The romance was always secondary and this is perhaps the first Korean revenge drama that created a romantic thread and cut it; instead of trying to make the characters tortured or starcrossed. They loved one another at one time but it was never going to work and there was no need to pretend to try or continue to cry over it. Future dramas could learn from that sentiment.

Ekun: Absolutely, just because I love you does not mean we HAVE to be together. All I wanted was Do-yun to be “happy” (even though happy is a yuppie word) in the end. He was able to practice law, be with the people he loved, and bring the corrupt to justice–even if for a little while.

Unnichan: And I guess, that’s all we can ever ask for.

Ekun: Cue Golden Cross theme music!

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