First off…YES! I was right about DG’s first promise! It feels so good to work along with HWJ. Nevertheless, our hero didn’t get to save his false promise for the end thanks to KDY’s machinations. But that wasn’t all that occurred. We came around to the moment I dreaded upon seeing this episode preview.
This scared me. HWJ has always had his emotions under tight leash. There’s a startling similarity between him and KDY in that sense. Hence why this burst of emotion is all the more frightening. In that instant he realized he’d missed something. Infallible as he was, some part of KDY’s plan had slipped past him. That registered on some level, and frightened him. That something could lead to him losing the game, to losing the answers he’d searched so hard to find. And so he cracked for an instant, emotion leaking through. But our hero rallied soon enough, and I heaved a sign of relief. Too soon. Watching the previous episode did make me wonder if HWJ was getting perhaps a tad overconfident. He seemed to be to calm, too collected.
(You sure you have time for that, honey?)
But as the third election approached and HWJ visibly relaxed, the hairs on my spine started to rise. He’d dropped his guard far too soon, reassuring NDJ, smiling faintly at DG’s praise.
This isn’t to say that HWJ has grown arrogant. This a man who knows he has an enemy. His eyes were on KDY at every point, gauging, assessing, trying to stay one step ahead.
Look at those eyes. That isn’t an arrogant man. KDY’s relaxed demanear and feigned nonchalance don’t fool him for a second. HWJ clearly knows that something is up, KDY has something up his sleeve. The problem is, he underestimates just what that something is. Even NDJ feels that something is up but HWJ believes its just the others’ greed for money.
But KDY begins to move. And everything HWJ has worked so hard for begins to shatter. HWJ is no fool, he begins to feel that something is wrong. But it’s far too late. The look in his eyes when he discovers that KDY has already made his next move is chilling. Shock and desperation war for an instant as he says emotionless that they’re “one step behind”.
And yet he believes that he can change things, that “there is a way to win” just as he’s managed to do so before.
I will never for the life of me understand why HWJ didn’t let NDJ plead his case towards the others. NDJ has a way with people (including HWJ), if anyone could have brought the others onto their side, it was her. Why go for the game instead?
Scratch that, I know why. HWJ has never seen emotion as anything particularly positive. If anything, he has consistently manipulated them throughout the games (in NDJ’s favour of course) and is more than aware of how fickle they are. Putting his trust in something that wavers so easily would be dangerous, in his view. The cold, heard, clear outlines of a game would appear far more. More so, with a game that involves lying, his specialty. But NDJ noted what he failed to see.
(Don’t listen to him!)
You can see it in his eyes. The distrust, the wariness, but at the same time there’s confidence. This is his area of expertise, who could beat him? This is the man who could tell if a book was good or not by reading it upside down. HWJ actually starts to believe that KDY is underestimating him. And so he agrees to the game.
He even gloats slightly, assured of his victory. And then everything comes crashing down.
He loses spectacularly. Look at his eyes, that is a man who has just tasted despair. The same fear from the start of this episode when he yelled at the others comes back, magnified a hundredfold. It’s chilling to see him this way, vulnerable and lost. Our infallible hero has failed. This is the true climax of the episode.
Microexpressions are tricky enough as is. To us, it may seem obvious that KDY was faking his movements. After all, we’re seeing it through HWJ, a thousand times magnified, every moment, every detail, laid out for us to see. But imagine what a normal person in HWJ’s shoes would find. They’d see brief flickers of expression flashing here and there. HWJ is extraordinary in being capable of catching each brief flutter and interpreting it. It’s rare enough that he can be forgiven for believing himself the only one capable of it. But the look in his eyes when he realizes that KDY is faking it, is chilling. To control your outward social persona is one thing, to be able to control those barely perceptible microexpressions is frightening. KDY is no ordinary villian, and HWJ sees it too late.
It was heartbreaking to see him make his last stand and close his eyes, hoping to get it right. Only to fail.
(My poor baby)
This brings us to the issue of what we can see versus what we can’t. HWJ has always been able to see a step (or ten) ahead. People have always been an open book to him. For the first time, he is forced to walk blindly. NDJ on the other, has always walked blindly, trusting everyone unconditionally. And the only two who haven’t broken that trust are DG and HWJ. It’s an interesting dichotomy, as HWJ just had a taste of what it was like in NDJ’s shoes. And it wasn’t good. Perhaps this is, combined with his sense of failure, is what inspires him to say “Don’t trust me too much”. He understands that he’s been her rock this entire time (along with DG) while she was walking blindly before (trying to pay off her father’s debt). And he doesn’t want her to be hurt, should she find the truth behind her dad’s debt.
(LOOK AT THOSE SAD EYES *cries*)
Onto the supporting characters who really truly shine. This show is unique in that the supporting characters literally run the show. That is, Lawyer Go, Fortuneteller Pippi, Sung Joon, they’re all vital to the game. Our hero and heroine would not be able to progress further without them. I love how well they’re fleshed out. The string of endless supporting characters that populate K-Dramaland are usually either archetypes or caricatures, while leave me yawning as I try to enjoy the drama. Not here. Jamie is gorgeous as always and the KDY + Jamie combo remains lethal as predicted. I’m simultaneously eager and worried for what her “grand role” in the upcoming game is. .
(Gosh what a creep. Shine SungRok, you fine piece of work).
Got to admit though, I’ve been wondering about his college hoobae reporter friend for a while. Who the hell is she and why does he seem to trust her? I mean this is HWJ, so I can’t help being curious (and irritated) when i see him with a female besides NDJ whom he clearly seems to trust. (Dear Show, can we have her turn evil?)
Speaking of women, the PD stole my heart once more (even that wrist grab she pulled on KDY). The satisfaction and determination she uttered “This is my show” with had me cheering. Go PD Lee! Should be interesting to see her up against KDY. Watch out KDY! Your enemies are mounting.
DG grabbed my heart in this episode. Not only was it touching to learn more of his backstory, but it demonstrates a growing similarity between NDJ and him. Whether it’s her effect on him or his true nature, I cannot say, but there’s no question that she has touched his life. His tearful wish for her to live well, had me crying and left HWJ deeply shaken.
EYES, EYES, EYES! I envy NDJ. These men love her so much! Hopefully she’ll get her happy ending, KDY or no KDY (I frankly prefer the latter scenario)
And speak of the devil (pun intended). Holy Cow, he’s chilling! Shin Sungrok takes a fantastic turn as KDY. I doubt I’ll ever be able to look at him without thinking of this. THANK YOU SHOW! THANK YOU. When the issue of motive was raised, I dreaded and anticipated the answer. Was it an ex-girlfriend? A dead girlfiend? Are HWJ and KDY brothers? Was KDY the son of L Company’s CEO? Gosh, the cliches. Because that’s what I’ve come to expect from K-dramas. Villians who make stupid mistakes. Villians who feel the need to tell the hero every single detail of their plans after but a few provoking phrases, villians who are villianous for the stupidest reasons ever (I’m looking at you Big Man). But this? This is beautiful. I did not expect them to say “Walden Two”. I cannot wait to find out more. and neither it appears, can HWJ.
Notice the board in front of him. It used to hold a compilation of information of those who’d led his mother to death. Now it holds KDY’s past. HWJ’s got a new target, and he won’t stop until he gets him. (Rawr?)
And finally, onto the romance. Honestly, the show has given us every reason to think there is one going on. The OSTs they play only reinforce this, so I’m powering full ahead. Due to how tightly plotted each episode is, there simply isn’t enough time to flesh out the romance. As such, we’re given tidbits throughout each episode. A look, a smile, a moment of shared warmth. Keep it coming, show. Keep it coming. (Can I have a kiss please?) Take this scene at the end for one.
Look at his rigid posture, his despodency is overwhelming. I love how DJ tries to cheer him up (though the tortured expression it evokes, is painful to see).
But the look on DJ’s face when DG lets slip that HWJ promised to protect her says it all for me
(Oopsies. You go, DalGoo)
(Yeah right, Ha Woo Jin)
(I love the way he looks at her)
They honest deserve a happy ending and I can’t wait to cheer them on as they race towards it. But our intrepid hero and heroine have to take KDY down first. Then we can get to more moments like this.
(Yes I do)
Hurry up and get there you two!