Air City: Episode 10
If I hadn’t committed to recapping this series, I’d have jumped off the train and stopped watching, if not by Episode 6, then definitely this weekend. I still love Lee Jung Jae to bits, and find his acting is still top-notch in a sea of mere adequacy, but it’s not like I can’t appreciate his hotness in pictures and screencaps, rather than video. Plus I’ve got all those episodes of Feelings (Neukkim) to catch up on, and he’s barely aged in all these years anyway. I’d stop giving myself these self-inflicted headaches, and just read someone else’s recaps instead. Ah, irony.
Eye candy is what Air City has going for it, and in many scenes, I’d find myself zoning out and musing, “He has great cheekbones” (agent Min Wook), “Nice profile” (Lee Jung Jae), or “I like that hairstyle better than the one he had last week” (Min Wook again, and Ha Joon).
Does anyone still watching think this series is good? I’m not being sarcastic (for once), I really want to know.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
BAY – “Saturday Night” [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 10 SUMMARY
Ji Sung and Do Kyung rush back to Incheon to deal with their respective crises. NIS is dealing with some guy named Sergei with Russian crime ties, and Do Kyung’s big emergency is… wait for it… drum roll… LUGGAGE. No, seriously. Would I make a joke as stupid as that? It’s really a luggage backup problem caused by some machinery malfunction, grounding planes whose cargo cannot be loaded/unloaded. How sexy.
So Ha Joon runs through the airport with determined focus and acts really cool, and with the way it’s shot and the pounding background music it also sounds really cool, only it’s not cool because the problem is still LUGGAGE.
Ha Joon ties a handkerchief around a suitcase handle and everyone acts like he just saved Private Ryan. I could make more fun of this inane story, but honestly I’m just so embarrassed for Lee Jin Wook right now.
Do Kyung looks up at the skies, now that the freaking luggage issue is solved due to her brilliant plan to open up the carousel at an unused gate. She’s relieved to see planes taking off as usual. Ji Sung, however, has no real purpose being on the runway other than to give us a cool shot. Wouldn’t this moment have been great if it meant anything?
Air City has just spent fifteen minutes pumping up mundane cargo issues as a huge emergency, which is lame. Not because luggage is an intrinsically bad idea. But they’ve mixed so many different plots, all on differing planes of melodrama, that coming after a high-stakes international story full of fighting, gunfire, and mobster activity, what reaction can they expect to this other than absurd laughter? Furthermore, aside from treating problematic cargo like it’s as critical as mass terrorism, they end this storyline a mere fifteen minutes into the episode. WTF? It was entirely unnecessary and apropos of nothing.
(Edited to add: Yes, we find out later the luggage system was messed with by hackers — but they never do anything to support that point. After Do Kyung and Ha Joon fix the problem, it’s gone. Poof.)
Moving on, Ye Won and Min Wook are on the trail of Russian counterfeiter Sergei. They maneuver a strategic collision in order to place a tracking device on him.
On the relationship front, Do Kyung asks Nan Young about giving her the wrong boat departure time, and Nan Young admits that she did it on purpose. She wanted to try putting Do Kyung and Ji Sung together to help them along, because she herself likes Ha Joon, but Ha Joon likes Do Kyung, and if Nan Young helped Do Kyung with Ji Sung, then Ha Joon would realize that Do Kyung was out of reach, and maybe be available for Nan Young… and who else feels like we’re stuck in middle school?
Do Kyung asks Ha Joon if he felt jealous, and he denies it, saying Nan Young has the wrong idea. He insists he isn’t interested her in that way, and asks if things worked out well on the island with Ji Sung. She doesn’t say much, just that things turned out well.
Ji Sung congratulates Do Kyung on solving her problem successfully, and she asks about his problem, before realizing he can’t talk about it. She notes, “The woman who dates you must have a hard time, since everything’s a secret.” Ji Sung asks meaningfully, “That’s why I’ll have to date someone who can understand that about me, won’t I?” Do Kyung nods, and he continues, “Would you be able to understand me? You told me not to leave. I decided to stay.”
Do Kyung is called away by the airport director, who shows her to a restricted archive area, where she’s informed of his intentions due to possible hacking to examine all the airport employees’ computers and IPs.
To prove that I am not ALL criticism and hatred, there’s one scene I not only liked but flat-out loved, because it’s true to life and cute at the same time (but not cutesy). Mr. Eom the Cart Man and the cleaning ladies are at home, cooking an elaborate dinner and wondering why Ji Sung isn’t coming home. Mr. Eom speculates that Ji Sung won’t be home for dinner, and the ladies visibly deflate in disappointment. But upon his arrival, everyone perks up. But Mr. Eom, despite being happy to have him home, puts up his gruff exterior and tells Ji Sung to pack his things and leave — he’s kicking him out. (Ji Sung didn’t tell Mr. Eom he was going to Hong Kong, and hadn’t contacted him since he’d come back all those days he was on that island.)
Ji Sung apologizes to Mr. Eom, and asks him to let go of his anger, while the ladies chime in with their disapproval (although they don’t mean it). They furtively indicate to Ji Sung to hurry and make up with Mr. Eom, and Mr. Eom grudgingly asks, “Did you eat?” Ji Sung says no, and Mr. Eom yells at him for not taking care of himself properly: “Well, we might as well feed him before turning him out.”
We need more scenes like this. It made me smile the whole scene through, because it was familiar but fitting — we see the affection between the two men while allowing both to preserve their pride and not get all touchy-feely. Well played.
The next day, all the computers are seized for inspection (they’re on alert for hacker activity), which greatly distresses Ha Joon, who tries to hold onto his laptop for as long as possible, insisting it’s his own personal computer. But it’s no use, and everyone hovers around to see all of Ha Joon’s photos of Do Kyung. Thankfully, when Do Kyung arrives and wonders at the commotion, the other managers step in and cover for Ha Joon, distracting her so she doesn’t see. Ha Joon gives one favor to each to buy their silence.
Ji Sung’s colleague from Hong Kong comes into town to work on the Sergei case, and as a matter of courtesy goes out to dinner with Ha Joon and Do Kyung. There, he spots Myung Woo and eagerly greets her, assuming she and Ji Sung are back on, and the rest is a whole mess of awk-ward!
He invites Myung Woo to join their table, but she makes an excuse to leave, and the agent guy teases Ji Sung about having her around again. Ji Sung tries to deny it, while Do Kyung and Ha Joon uncomfortably stare into their food, and finally figures the best way to shut up his friend is to announce, “I’m dating Do Kyung.” Do Kyung looks startled, but doesn’t deny it.
And we have not yet met our quota for short, disjointed plot fillers, because we move onto our next one: Do Kyung gets a bomb threat. They trace the caller to a pay phone within the airport, made by a guy whom they see via security camera escaping to the bathroom after making his call. They do not, however, spot his shady associate, watching from a distance all the while as the police force captures the guy, who turns out to be a scared wuss who admits it was all a “joke.” The shady guy seems to be taking note of the security’s response times, so the bomb scare seems to be the diversion to something else (and possibly related to the computer hacker).
Ji Sung arrives at the agents’ stakeout of Sergei and senses something fishy going on. Approaching with guns drawn, they find Sergei with a bullet hole in his neck, and Ji Sung blows up at his agents for missing that very crucial detail. They don’t notice that they’re being watched by another shady guy.
The shady guys converge in a warehouse, where they pry open a crate to reveal stacks and stacks of counterfeited US hundred-dollar bills. Woot woot! Someone’s going shopping!
Although my complaint (one of them) is that they’re mixing mundane, small stories (baggage problems, birds on the runway) with big ones (weapons technology, drug smuggling), I’m not saying that these mundane airport matters can’t be interesting. They can be, if you frame them properly in the context of the series. It’s just that Air City is mixing all of its plots without a care for how they fit together. And even when they’re supposed to fit together (if the hackers and the luggage and the money are all related), they don’t fit well — they’re confusing.
If you nest a small story within a large story, you’re golden — one small story framed within a larger story can allow you to weave the two thematically. For instance, if the Bad Guys caused the baggage malfunction, do something with that point! Instead of introducing the problem, then solving it so easily, use that connection to tie in both stories — Do Kyung and Ji Sung are both running around to fix their respective problems, but neither one knows their problems are connected. Therefore, when Do Kyung successfully fixes her cargo issue, she doesn’t know she’s unwittingly assisted the money counterfeiters in smuggling in their loot — the crisis enabled them to work around the usual checkpoint. Do Kyung’s work has unknowingly interfered with Ji Sung’s work. Therefore you can use the minor story to build upon the larger story.
But the way Episode 10 operated, putting such a small story next to the unconnected, dramatic terrorism story somehow makes both seem sillier. i.e., Who cares about birds when a potential terrorist is on the loose? I held back during the bird story line, but to the way they played out the luggage scenario, I say: Are you effing kidding me? Air City, you are not only getting sloppy, you’re insulting my intelligence. Come on writers, are you even trying?