I have no words. This episode was absolutely incredible for start to finish. Liar Game has outdone itself in term of production quality, storytelling, characterization, need I go on? Every episode is jam-packed with revelation after revelation, like peeling back the layers of an onion. And it’s so brilliant I can scarce breathe when watching it. This episode focuses particularly on the bonds between our characters, particularly how NDJ has the ability to gain trust so easily. NDJ really gets her moment to shine, time after time within this episode, treading boldly where she’d have shied before. HWJ, is surprised, proud and amused when NDJ boldly decides to take a whole $50K more, than the $5K he asked for.
While JDG’s betrayal was sudden and shocking, his motives were what one might expect, a desire to protect NDJ and fear that HWJ was using her to win the game. Yet betrayal was betrayal, as Jamie noted. But DJ and HWJ’s quiet forgiveness of DG was what got me teary-eyed. Seeing DG sobbing into HWJ’s arms, was super moving as were HWJ’s gentle words. “We’re finally one team.” (I love this man so much!)
(Yes, YES, YES!)
HWJ’s catchphrase is sweet music to my ears, “I’ve got a way to win.”And that method is the perfect harmony of his and NDJ’s philosophies. Trust the other team, but add a little incentive to prevent betrayal. HWJ’s utter demolishing of KDY only aided this along. There’s an interesting parallel between HWJ and KDY at this point in the game. While KDY mercilessly orders the others around and punishes betrayal. HWJ (whose former philosophy was reward trust and punish betrayal) has moved on to learn that forgiveness and giving others another chance is just as important. Thus a second chance is extended to every member of the East Nation that had treated him so shoddily during the President’s Game, and this one.
(Oho! SO she’s been elevated to ace, has she? You besotted man) HWJ and NDJ honestly build off each other so well. I love how he’s actively seeing as as an equal, instead of a burden. In but a few hours, she’s gone from being the team’s black hole in terms of lying and acting to the ace. And it’s arguable his influence on her, as she shows more steel and strength of character than ever before, while HWJ softens and gives her the look of love every chance he gets.
The moment when HWJ asks for the other’s cards prior to leaving to face KDY shows the contrast between him and KDY in sharp relief. Jamie, NDJ, and JDG given them their cards with utter trust. NDJ especially, hasn’t wavered, despite what DY said (for which I love her so much!). You see the trepidation in HWJ’s eyes, as he nods and adorably says “I’m going in”. The others nod nervously. This, is a team leader. And a damn good one at that. HWJ has made friends out of his teammates, partners whom he can communicate with as opposed to threaten (the way he did during episode 6, when the others dared to betray NDJ). Not that I believe his approach was wrong then, the others did need a good dose of ‘know who you’re up against’. But it was precisely that lesson he taught then, that resulted in them fearing and distrusting him during the Presidental Game. HWJ stepping down, delegating and trusting is beautiful to see. Know it or not, he has grudgingly earned even Jamie’s respect. And this makes all the difference, in how the game flows. KDY on the other hand, has his teammates under such a severe regime, that they do exactly what they did with HWJ during the last time. The smallest seed of doubt, once planted (by the beautiful NDJ during her passionate speech) is enough to shake their faith in their once flawless leader. Well, BD and GIG that is. I don’t think CSJ cares much for KDY (he seems frightened as hell, poor puppy). Though that one moment when he stood up to him and said “you’re finished” was absolutely perfect. Everyone’s wavering, and it’s all thanks to NDJ and her faith in HWJ.
Onto HWJ’s flawless destruction of KDY’s mask. Well, temporarily at least, seeing how fast he repairs it. The way HWJ pauses prior to entering the Inspection room and takes a deep breath shows more of what the show has managed to throw into sharp relief. HWJ is not infallible, and he knows it. He feels fear, nervousness, even and sometimes needs a good deep breath just as much as anyone. I love how human he is, the more we peel back the layers. It’s nuances like this that add more to his character description of ‘genius psychology, ex-con, professor’. It’s nice to see ‘feeling, caring human’ added onto that list. The taunting way HWJ managed to rile KDY is proof that he’s just as good with twisting the truth, and delving into another’s conscience as KDY. The difference is that KDY almost reveres chaos, whereas HWJ uses his abilities extremely sparingly, and certainly only with those he’d call an enemy. I did wonder back when Fortuneteller Pippi was eliminated, whether she’d actually been onto something about KDY. The dark look he gave her as she was dragged out appeared to signify something. And heaven knows, this is a show that capitalizes on the small moments.
KDY really doesn’t seem to care anymore going openly unstables, smashing speakers, playing with fire (both literally and figuratively) and ruining the others cards, openly laughing at their expressions. The crazy is in full force here. His recklessness, overconfidence, and sheer insanity are a force to reckon with, and utterly mindblowing to watch.(SSR is absolutely fantastic in more way than one.
This is more than enough incentive to get GIG, BD and CSJ behind HWJ. Though I’m glad, that the three of the, or the two rather as CSJ was always on HWJ’s side, are now joining hands, everything I said in the previous recap still stands. BD and GIG remain mindblowingly foolish. These are the same men that switched camps from from HWJ’s team at the start of the Presidential game, to KDY in the first election, then Congressman Kang before the second, then HWJ again, then KDY before the third. Whew! I’m not surprised that the plan cracked at their hands. What did surprised me was their reactions. There was genuine despair there, as they sat there unable to signal at HWJ and the others. This was arguably as KDY would now take all their money and leave them with nothing, whereas HWJ and NDJ would have at least shared. But something here went beyond money. All they had to do was grovel at KDY’s feet and plead for more, heaven knows they’d done it before. And KDY would be more than happy to have his God-complex flattered. Instead, they make the very picture of doom and gloom. And it’s definitely (gasp!) their conscience at work. Not to say this is because they wanted NDJ to win, but because they hated themselves for being foolish enough to trust KDY in the first place (Once again CSJ is excluded from this). Now they’ve lost everything. You can practically see them berating themselves for not joining hands with NDJ from the start. “Why was I so stupid?” is what their very posture radiates. It is this change that HWJ picks up on instantly and guesses that something is wrong. At this point, his quiet commanding presence has more than managed to gain their trust in stark contrast to KDY’s insanity. The moment they all joined hands and spectacularly betrayed KDY will stay in my heart forever.
And speaking of about faces. Jamie, good heavens Jamie. I was fearful enough when KDY mentioned that Jamie would get the money back for him. But things got even worse when Jamie appeared to acquiesce to KDY’s demand. Our sharp HWJ doesn’t miss a trick though.
I was holding out to the end for her to have a change for heart. I never expected it to be this beautiful. She rose magnificently to the occasion and to the unwavering trust NDJ had in her. She gloated, and even let KDY think he’d won. The expression in his eyes, and the tilt in her proud shoulders was beautiful to see (Jamie is absolutely gorgeous to begin with as well).
(Whoa, look at those eyes)
NDJ’s influence on people, and the bonds she formed through the other episodes really coalesce in this one. Jamie has seen NDJ’s strength of character, and her unwavering trust. The moment of forgiveness with JDG moved her, though she deftly covered it with sarcasm. But there’s only so many times you can hurt a girl like NDJ without feeling guilty. And Jamie’s conscience kicked in at the last. NDJ didn’t threaten her, or manipulate her the way KDY did. She simply accepted her. It was this quiet acceptances that drew the other contestants to NDJ, and finally brought Jamie on the true winning nation. Welcome, Jamie! And yes you’re going to have to ride in their car as well
(I love how these two are just like, “they’ll get along”)
KDY’s reaction to losing the game demonstrates quick clearly that it’s not the money he’s after her but the win itself. And yet, as the beautiful NDJ is so quick to catch onto, his ‘money rules all’ philosophy has brought him nothing. HWJ’s look of pride once even KDY sarcastically compliments how much she’s grown is beautiful to see.
HWJ’s final victory over KDY is a wonderful reversal from the past episode. This time, it is KDY’s arrogance and brutality that brings about his downfall. And gosh was it satisfying to see.
But something tells me that man has more up his sleeve. I mean this is KDY, and look at those eyes. That’s a man with a mission, I can only hope NDJ, HWJ and crew will figure out what that is before it’s too late. CSJ, BD and GIG deciding to fight honestly brought tearsr to my eyes, as did GIG’s confession that he felt empty inside. Money isn’t everything, and they’ve finally, realized it.
But have we rejoiced to soon? The eerie music that plays as CSJ enters the elevator,KDY’s subsequent call and the crash..Please no. Please tell me he’s alive. He can’t die. Not the puppy! Is this the show’s first death?
(WHYYYYY?? Show, I am not believing you until I get a body.)
AND WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT HWJ’S MOM? This is incredible news as a fellow devotee to this show over on dramabeans, the wonderful Ivoire (shoutout!), and myself were discussing theories behind why KDY was after HWJ and we had the following conversation about a week ago.
Ivoire: “If DY lived in HWJ’s mom orphanage for a while, was the mom lied to, when DY was taken away (as you said, told that a good family wanted to adopted him in the US?) Also, as an adult, did DY resent HWJ’s mom for letting him leave the orphanage (even though she probably didn’t know what would have happened once DY came to the US?) DY could still be angry about that. Did DY set HWJ’s mom to be taken advantage of, since he knew the kind of woman she was? (she couldn’t say “no” to someone who needed help). And maybe that was DY’s way of “punishing her?” For “abandoning” him?”
Me : Could WooJin’s mom actually have had something to do with the Walden Two project? Perhaps it was a misguided attempt on her part to help all the orphans. Then what WJ told DJ about his mom insisting that all the other kids were her kids as well, would take on a much darker meaning.If a tie does exist between the orphanage, KDY, HWJ and his mother, then things start to get weird. How on earth is it that both KDY and HWJ are so incredibly clever? Having two geniuses tied together by a shared past, cannot simply be coincidence (as we have learned from this show) Could there have been something more to HWJ’s childhood? He did tell NDJ that he didn’t really remember his time at the orphanage.”
Minds blown. I never expected this to happen and it feels damn good to see something so clever, complex and stunning unfold before our eyes. We never thought it would come true. But it explains everything. EVERY DAMN THING. But for some reason, all I care about is my OTP. We shift to my favourite part yet. HWJ and NDJ’s ridiculous off-the charts chemistry, and their brief moment of hesitant sweetness at the end (with DG being hilariously quick at noticing the tension and terrible at making a quiet exit xD).
(You’re excited as hell. Admit it)
Aww, she went straight to tell him about the ‘time bomb’ that KDY had planted in her mind. And double awww, at the fear in his eyes when he thought he’d lose her. HWJ is a man of few words, which is why gentle moments where he gives away his feelings like this are so beautiful to see.
(You big old softie)
That beautiful “Da-Jung ah” HWJ uttered was enough to make me faint. The man’s voice should be illegal. But I was immediately fearful when he postponed the reveal for the next day. Something was going to happen to change this, that much was painfully obvious.
(Gosh, she’s startled)
And happen it did. (Excuse me while I go off on a brief rant here). The great damned reveal, at the most inopportune time. Everything I wrote in my Episode 9 recap stands true now. Dang, this show’s a tease.
But now? I’m on such an edge, waiting for the final two episodes that I can’t help but address the characters. Everything I said in my analysis for the ep 9 preview, stands. DaJung-ah, please don’t go backwards now that you know the truth. Your character has progressed so wonderfully, don’t do this to yourself and him. We’ve only two more eps left as well! You saw his reticence, you saw that he wanted to talk to you. He said so, didn’t he? AND HWJ YOU COWARD WHY BACK OUT THEN? That’s when you go to her, hold her, and try to explain things to her.
Dear Nam DaJung. Please, please don’t distrust him. Look at him, at everything he’s done with you and for you. It’s not like he was after your dad in particular. Hell, he hadn’t even met you then. Don’t be irrational. Go after him, and demand him to explain things. Don’t hide from him and cry, that’s what KDY wants.
Kiss and make up? Pretty please? Give me back moments like these?
(My love for this show is honestly painful. What am I going to do with my life once its over?)
Probably snoop and scour for ever BTS video possible. Physics tests? Who cares?