Drama Recaps
Age of Feeling: Episode 18
by | March 14, 2014 | 48 Comments

Whether holding our hero’s treasured girlfriend hostage or massacring a bunch of innocent people, our ambiguously awful duo of baddies go the extra mile this episode to make sure that not one argument can be made for their redemption—which is a handy trick to employ when you want to make your good guys look even better by comparison. Not like our good guys needed the image boost, since they’re doing pretty well and looking mighty fine as is. Is that shallow? You bet it is.

On a similarly superficial note: ratings! Age of Feeling slipped into second place with 12.6% while Three Days barely (and I mean barely) edged into first with 12.7%.

SONG OF THE DAY

Roh Ji-hoon (ft. Shorry J) – “A Song For You (너를 노래해)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 18 RECAP

Ok-ryun is finally released from a separate prison where Aoki had hidden her, though the man who comes to fetch her is none other than the sleazy Dokku, acting under the auspices of Hwangbang.

He offers her a record contract under Hwangbang’s name that she has no choice but to sign—after all, it’s less about her singing and more about Jung-tae’s life.

At least Dokku keeps his word about taking her to Jung-tae, which has Ok-ryun puzzled when he stops outside the gates of the municipal intelligence building/prison/Hogwarts. It’s there that she sees Jung-tae and his buddies scaling the wall, realizing that he’s trying to save her.

Her first inclination is to jump out and stop him, but Dokku holds her back and bids her to keep quiet for Jung-tae’s sake. If he’s caught, the best case scenario would be that he ends up in prison. Worst case scenario? Death by firing squad.

While Jung-tae sneaks into the prison (we’re still backtracking), Kaya enters through the main gate. Turns out she was inside when Jung-tae and Aoki took their fight outside, and is determined to do something about it.

Meanwhile, Jung-tae’s voiceover thoughts confirm his tactics from the last episode—he can tell that Aoki’s strength lies in his confidence, which means his weakness lies in his pride.

He purposefully takes jabs at Aoki’s ego to unsettle him, and it works. Aoki becomes much more personally invested in the fight like he has to prove something, which gives Jung-tae an advantage to wait until the opportune moment to deliver a few strong blows that send Aoki tumbling to the ground.

But there’s a twist! Aoki knew exactly what Jung-tae was trying to do, and puts his jacket back on like the fight’s over. Jung-tae tries to goad him back into it (“Are you giving up already?”), which only earns a scoff from Aoki as he gives the signal for snipers on the rooftop to set their sights on Jung-tae.

Baek-san delivers the news of Jung-tae’s wall-scaling to Leader Seol, who laughs as he notes that everything is going according to plan. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he did agree to Aoki’s offer to trade Ok-ryun with Jung-tae, which is why Aoki was so well-prepared.

Leader Seol explains his reasoning for giving Jung-tae to Aoki: he wanted to see how sharp a man Aoki was to know who they’re dealing with, and he wanted to confirm that Jung-tae’s weak spot really is Ok-ryun. Now he knows for sure, and is confident that if they get Ok-ryun under their control, Jung-tae will have no choice but to become their puppet.

For maybe the first time ever, Baek-san actually asks a relevant question: “Wouldn’t he have to come back alive first?” Of course Baek-san would rather Jung-tae be dead and gone since he doesn’t think they’ll ever be able to control him. That’s where he and Leader Seol disagree, since the old man is not only confident that Jung-tae will survive, but that he’ll become Hwangbang’s greatest asset.

In a last-ditch attempt to stop the fight, Kaya sets a fire near the building. Meanwhile, Aoki isn’t swayed when Jung-tae mentions how cowardly it is for him to bring a gun to the fist fight.

Aoki’s more of a “history is written by the victors” guy, and prepares to give the firing squad the signal… but Kaya’s fire causes an explosion that distracts the guards. “You seem to be lucky,” Aoki grits out. “Next time, I won’t let you leave alive.”

But Jung-tae is still determined to get Ok-ryun’s whereabouts from him, causing Aoki to turn viciously and aim his pistol at Jung-tae’s head. He was so ready to shoot Jung-tae dead a second ago, but now that he has the option, he doesn’t take it.

Kaya denies her role in the crime to Yamamoto and speeds away in her car, but she doesn’t escape Aoki’s notice. Jung-tae and the lackeys also flee the scene.

Dokku drives away with Ok-ryun, and uses the time to convince her that for every time she’s in danger, Jung-tae will put himself in danger to save her. And since there’s no way for her to get Aoki off her tail, she only has one choice—to ask Hwangbang’s Leader Seol (aka Jung-tae’s new father) for help.

He makes Leader Seol sound like the bee’s knees and the very reason why he came to save her in the first place, like Leader Seol did it out of concern for his son. (Yeah right.) No matter how wary Ok-ryun is of Dokku and his magical record contract, she’ll do whatever it takes to keep Jung-tae safe and signs.

Dokku would be rubbing his hands together in glee if they weren’t on a steering wheel. “You just watch, Ok-ryun,” he says. “I’ll make you the best singer in Shanghai.” Wasn’t that going to be Soo-ok’s job?

Shinichi reams Yamamoto for taking Kaya to the municipal building in the first place, and warns him not to tell a soul—especially Denkai. But Kaya reveals that her grandfather already knows everything because she made the report, curious to see how he’d react to the news that she saved a Korean man from danger.

Then she drops the bomb that Leader Seol told her everything the day she visited Hwangbang, and that she’s known since then that Shinichi killed her mother(!) and who ordered it. As for why she kept it in so long, she claims it was due to her hiding her “sin”, much like her mother’s, of loving a Korean man (aka Jung-tae).

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, Shinichi offers Kaya his sword and the chance to kill him for the sin he committed in killing her mother. Kaya reigns in her emotions as she tells him that only Denkai can decide who will live or die… until Shinichi all but whispers that it won’t only be him.

“I’m not afraid of death,” Kaya says defiantly, only for Shinichi to ask, “Even if Shin Jung-tae is killed?” He asks her to think about why her father died, and claims that Jung-tae will face the same fate just because Kaya loves him.

He even offers her a hint of information about her mother, and promises to tell Kaya everything she’s wanted to know if she’ll only place all the blame on him, kill him, and be done with it. Shinichi doesn’t want her to face off against Denkai and would rather die so that she wouldn’t have to, but Kaya won’t listen to his pleas.

Jae-hwa & Co. are having to shell out money to literally everyone but themselves, which has the lackeys complaining that too much goes to Hwangbang.

Jae-hwa doesn’t like it any more than they do, and despite his speech about how anal retentive Leader Seol is about counting every cent, he still filches a little money to give to a morose Jung-tae.

Dokku and an elegantly-dressed Ok-ryun bump into Jae-hwa as they’re leaving Hwangbang, and Dokku introduces her as Hwangbang Record’s main singer. In fact, she already caused a stir as the main act at Club Hwangbang (because that exists), a feat which makes Dokku proud.

Ok-ryun keeps her eyes down and her lips shut, which is a little curious—did her contract entail her not being able to talk to Jung-tae or the boys? I had assumed Jung-tae was so down because he thought she was still missing, but clearly that’s not the case.

Aoki is creating a Chalkboard-o-Intel dealing with all of Shanghai’s main players, and takes his lackey by surprise when he tells him not to pursue Jung-tae (who’s been hiding in Club Shanghai for a week). Apparently he’s talked some things out with Leader Seol, and the deal is for him to cover up the intelligence building incident and let Jung-tae off the criminal hook.

He’s none too happy when Shinichi pays him a visit, considering the pains he’s taken to keep his affiliation with Ilgookhwe a secret. No matter, since Shinichi breaks the news to him that he won’t get another opportunity to catch Jung-tae, since the big bad Denkai’s coming to town.

Aoki heaves a sigh of frustration when he learns that Kaya reported everything to Denkai, and doesn’t need Shinichi to tell him that she set the fire when he already knew. That’s why Jung-tae’s been safe, since he’s been folded up into the general cover-up for Kaya’s crime.

But when Shinichi asks Aoki if he still has Kaya in his heart, Aoki doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Shinichi seems pleased with this answer, because he’ll have to depend on Aoki to protect Kaya from the coming storm. Aoki promises that he will, but by using his own methods.

While Jae-hwa piles up all the profits from Club Shanghai that must go to Hwangbang, Leader Seol smirks like the old annoying cat who ate the canary. He knows very well that there’s no money left over for the people of Bangsamtong after the cut he takes, but blames that on Jae-hwa—he’d be able to make more money if he only sold opium.

That’s an idea that Jae-hwa finds repugnant, since he’s seen the havoc wreaked by opium addiction in his neighborhood for two decades. It’s a mistake Daddy Shin made (by not knowing what he was dealing with), and one that he won’t make. In fact, he’d sooner borrow more money from Ilgookhwe’s bank to feed the people rather than sell opium.

But at least Leader Seol is back to doing stupid and unintentionally funny things with his cigar prop, since today he’s decided to conduct an imaginary orchestra while Baek-san updates him on the state of affairs.

Because of some fuzzy reasoning having to do with Aoki investigating their finances, Baek-san claims their only choice is to kill Jae-hwa in order to take over Club Shanghai, which they’ll then use to sell opium. Leader Seol gives the okay.

The fact that Ok-ryun is perfectly well and has come to visit Club Shanghai comes as a shock to everyone there, especially Jung-tae and So-so. They hadn’t known that she signed with Hwangbang and thought that she was still imprisoned by Aoki, so So-so’s anger at her friend’s absence seems pretty justified.

She’s unable to understand why Ok-ryun couldn’t have at least called, but while she and Jung-tae were in the dark, Club Shanghai’s snooty singer announces that Ok-ryun was singing for Club Hwangbang—and that she had to sleep her way into the job.

Ok-ryun denies the allegations that she did any casting couch deals and claims that she got signed with them fair and square. But she’s also signed a contract with Club Shanghai(?), which explains her presence. (I’m confused too.)

When Jung-tae pulls her aside to ask what’s going on, Ok-ryun puts on a smiling face and acts like it was all a big misunderstanding because Dokku forgot to call him.

Jung-tae isn’t really buying it, but Ok-ryun passes off his concerns by acting extra bubbly about how great things are for her now that she signed a record deal with Hwangbang. Before she has to leave for the stage, she holds Jung-tae’s hand close for a brief jolt of support.

Jung-tae drags Dokku out for some real answers about Ok-ryun, and Dokku tells him the truth: Leader Seol rescued Ok-ryun and put her under his protection, because as long as she drives around in Chilinbang-marked cars and stays within Leader Seol’s borders, she won’t be arrested again.

Though Jung-tae goes to his father to “thank” him for taking care of Ok-ryun, he knows what’s really going on. He wants to bring Ok-ryun over to Club Shanghai, which Leader Seol thinks he’s doing out of nervousness because he doesn’t want Ok-ryun under Hwangbang’s control.

“Your eyes tell me that you see her as my hostage,” Leader Seol tries to joke. “Are you not?” Jung-tae retorts, causing Leader Seol to laugh it all off like he’s making an issue out of nothing.

In order to prove just how wrong Jung-tae is about him, Leader Seol readily agrees to let him take Ok-ryun to Club Shanghai. “If you have the confidence to protect her, then you can take her anywhere you’d like,” he adds, and Jung-tae knows better than to contest the offer.

So Jung-tae wastes no time in grabbing what little money he has and Jae-hwa’s car in order to run away with Ok-ryun. When Dokku objects, Jung-tae punches him in the face. Ha.

In the car, Jung-tae admits that he doesn’t know where he’s taking her but that it’s somewhere safe. He gives her all the money he has and tells her to lay low until he can come for her after completing his revenge against Leader Seol, but Ok-ryun doesn’t want to leave.

Jung-tae brings up how she’d wanted them to live together in Shineuijoo, and she has to remind him that they don’t have a place there anymore. She entreats him to try giving it a go in Shanghai. “I’ll try to live well,” she promises. “I won’t be a burden to you. So let’s turn around, huh?”

“Do you know what kind of place that is? How can you even say that?” Jung-tae demands to know, after slamming on the brakes. “I won’t send you there. Even if I die, I won’t send you back to Hwangbang.”

Ok-ryun finally become more truthful as she asks Jung-tae if he has a better idea. She’s wanted for assassination, is he going to scale a wall every time she gets caught? “Yes, I will!” he says without hesitating. “Even if it’s a hundred times, or a thousand. If you’re there, I’m going to find you.”

She fires back that that’s the very reason he’s such a fool, and exactly why she always lives in fear that he’ll die doing something stupid. She doesn’t want to live like that anymore, and promises him that she’ll do well in Hwangbang. It’s only when she tells him that Aoki is the same man who killed her mother and Ajusshi Choi that he realizes just how much danger she’s in, and seems to actually listen to her reasoning that she’d rather hide near him than somewhere far away.

Suddenly, an injured Bangsamtong man falls against the car door, begging Jung-tae to save his wife and children. After ordering Ok-ryun to stay in the car, Jung-tae runs toward the sound of screams only to find masked bandits stabbing and killing people in the streets.

After the tattooed bandits shoot at Jung-tae to make their getaway, Ok-ryun hunkers down to hide from the masked murderers and and is saved by the grace of nearby police whistles. The fright of seeing Jung-tae standing amongst all those dead bodies is enough to have Doctor Jung sedate her for the night in her clinic.

Dokku isn’t happy about this, and worries whether Ok-ryun will miss her singing gigs that night. Then he defends himself by acting like she’ll be the biggest loser if she misses her schedule. (Is this throwaway bit the writer’s way of getting back at the actress for double booking?)

Jung-tae finds Il-hwa outside the clinic where Doctor Jung is currently up to her elbows with all the wounded victims from the Tattooed Bandit Attack. He’s brokenhearted at all the suffering, and asks Il-hwa how Hwangbang could have done such a thing.

But Il-hwa, ever the rational one, explains that there’s no direct evidence tying the attack to Hwangbang. However, he agrees with Jung-tae that this is likely their doing—after all, Leader Seol was once responsible for a massacre of thousands of workers in Shineuijoo, so this kind of thing isn’t beyond him.

“Then why did Hwangbang choose me?” Jung-tae asks helplessly. “There are plenty of others, so why me?” Il-hwa stoically replies that it’s just Jung-tae’s fate—like his father, his destiny is now intertwined with Bangsamtong. At least he offers Jung-tae a reassuring shoulder squeeze?

Jae-hwa comes to assess the damage and is left furious. He thinks it’s Ilgookhwe’s fault, until Jung-tae tells him it was Hwangbang. “How can I defeat Hwangbang?” Jung-tae asks. Maybe now Jae-hwa will listen.

Il-hwa tracks the Tattooed Bandits down to Hwangbang’s territory and engages them in a fight, easily taking each man down. He’s stopped only when a hand shoots out to grab him—it’s Baek-san. Booo.

After superficially thanking him for saving his family in Dandong (considering that Baek-san threatened them in the first place), Il-hwa throws down the meat goblet and engages in a duel with him. Oh no. Kick his butt, Il-hwa!

Their skills are pretty evenly matched, so they just end up playing patty-cake. Baek-san asks if Il-hwa is declaring war upon Hwangbang by fighting him and their tattooed guests, and Il-hwa’s evasive reply is so like him: “How about considering it as me taking a walk beneath the beautiful moon?” Ha.

He even has a convenient excuse for why he attacked the Tattooed Bandits, though both Baek-san and Il-hwa know what’s up. For now though, Baek-san has to let him go, and they part as courteously as two enemies can.

The Dream Team (Jae-hwa, Jung-tae, and Il-hwa) assembles in order to figure out a way to defeat Hwangbang, though it’s no small order—Hwangbang’s power is far-reaching, especially because they own so many different establishments in order to fund Chiang Kai-shek’s army.

But since Leader Seol needs more revenue to do so, he needs Club Shanghai to turn into the epicenter of the opium trade. Jung-tae’s father died trying to stop Leader Seol, and now the Dream Team is facing the same fight.

At least Jung-tae asks the real questions, like why Hwangbang can’t just run Club Shanghai themselves. Jae-hwa’s explanation is flimsy at best, since he claims that Leader Seol is somehow (one might say unrealistically or magically) keeping his evil dealings a secret from the people. They would turn against him as the head of Chilinbang if they knew what he was really doing.

So all that boils down to the reason why Leader Seol needs someone loyal to him to run Club Shanghai in name only. Finally.

Jung-tae goes into the lion’s den to play the part of the prodigal son, and Leader Seol is overjoyed to think that Jung-tae has finally come over to the dark side. He asks Jung-tae to become Hwangbang’s sword and shield, and all but faints at every affirmative answer Jung-tae gives. Dude, were you this easy all along?

He’s so happy that he wants Jung-tae to run Club Shanghai, but when Jung-tae asks about what that means for Jae-hwa, his pseudo-father smiles. “As Hwangbang’s sword, you should do your best. Kill Jung Jae-hwa.”

Speaking of, Aoki pays a visit to the new human target to offer a deal. “A deal,” he says, “that you can’t turn down as Bangsamtong’s owner and as Club Shanghai’s operator.”

 
COMMENTS

They’ve been working the Club Shanghai angle for what feels like an eternity now, but it really wasn’t until this episode that they finally managed to explain why it’s so important in a language we can understand and in a context that actually carries weight. Part of me wonders why they couldn’t have done this sooner, especially when whole episodes were wasted fighting over what was just a building to us. But the other part of me doesn’t want to look a gift plot point in the mouth, since I’m just happy that the stakes are finally starting to make some sense.

Even if it took assembling our Dream Team and making their first order of business a round-table discussion over what needs to be done, at least we’re all more or less looking toward one goal now. Now that so much time has been dedicated to making Hwangbang into The Ultimate Evil Organization (For Two), it makes sense that our inherently good characters would finally want to do something about it. And yes, maybe having Hwangbang randomly massacre people was a bit heavy-handed, but if that’s the kick in the pants Jae-hwa needed to join Jung-tae and Il-hwa, then what can you do?

I did have to laugh a little when they explained that Leader Seol needs someone he can control to run the club so that his pristine white name doesn’t get sullied with his evil deeds. It’s funny because Leader Seol progressively went from (1) being afraid of Chilinbang, to (2) being a member of Chilinbang, to (3) being the freaking leader of Chilinbang, that most arbitrarily powerless of organizations. And apparently he’s been able to get by with owning X number of casinos, racetracks, and opium-dealing clubs without arousing anyone’s suspicion? Please. Leader Seol is about as subtle as an elephant in a kiddie pool, and only half as smart. Let’s be real here.

The addition of Aoki to the mix in the end makes things extra interesting, since Leader Seol’s request wasn’t such a shocker when we’ve known Hwangbang wanted Jae-hwa dead for some time. I like the idea that Aoki could start veering off the course set for him by his evil adoptive daddy if it comes down to protecting Kaya, even if her storyline is getting precious seconds in the limelight these days.

And even though the idea that good ol’ grandpa would kill her and the man she loves just because she loves him is complete lunacy, as well as a weirdly specific rule that Denkai feels compelled to enforce when it comes to the women in his family. Is Kaya supposed to be chaste forever in Denkai’s eyes, or is it the fact that Jung-tae is Korean? It better be because Denkai’s afraid of rebellion and not just because Ilgookhwe is full of racists. I’ll take a bunch of weirdos over that any day.

 
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48 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. chicken

    no soso in this edisode :( . thanks for the recap!

    • 1.1 the50-person

      IKR. I was hoping for more SoSo-IlHwa interaction 😅 shallow much? xD

    • 1.2 Navi

      ummm, there’s soso here…

  2. Steph

    What’s with the lead girl’s costumes for this show? I saw the leading screencap and went wait…this show has a section that takes place in the present-day?

    The cut on that jacket is straight out of the 2010s…same goes for the rest of her outfits.

    • 2.1 HeadsNo2

      Product placement. Plus it’s easier (and cheaper, since they’re broke) than creating custom, period-appropriate costumes for her.

    • 2.2 Peridot

      I agree. The costumes for the actresses really bother me.

  3. the50-person

    Ahhh the dream team! FINALLY the writer does smth useful to the plot.

    and Il-Hwa is as awesome and badass as always. (shippity-ship) xD

  4. zakin89

    I just need Jung Tae, Jae Hwa and Il Hwa to survive this whole mess! Then I’ll be satisfied… I’ve long given up on caring about anything else… Dokku that sleaze can drop dead as can Seol for all I care and I am just glad when all this is over in three weeks!

  5. Nomi

    Finally the Dream Team has come together! Now we just need Gaya to complete the team.

    Mo and Baek-San’s fight and subsequent chat were awesome, and Mo’s gleeful smile and “I was just taking a stroll under the moon” story were just made of win.

    Also, did anyone notice that Mo and Baek-San had the EXACT SAME fighting style? Do you think this will become an important detail down the road?

    • 5.1 owl

      I believe Old Man Fly called that style Shaolin (Kung Fu).

      • 5.1.1 Snickers

        Mo’s style didn’t look Shaolin until this episode. Baek San’s has been consistently Shaolin-ish. I’m guessing the writers just pick the most well-known kung fu name.

        • 5.1.1.1 Nomi

          Heheh, well Jung Tae’s fight style didn’t look like Wing Chun (Young Choo Gong in Korean) either in the last episode. Il-Hwa has always been stated to use Shaolin martial arts since the beginning (if you check the KBS website’s character descriptions). Guess they just didn’t consult the experts to find out what each fighting style really looks like.

          • 5.1.1.1.1 Snickers

            So much has changed from the beginning, and not all that tactfully. Correct name going with the fighting style is the least of their concerns.

            To be fair, I have no clue what Mo Il Hwa’ style is. Before this episode, the style just felt too upright and refined to be created by warrior monks who did hard, physical labor work in the “off-season.”

        • 5.1.1.2 Lc

          I think the similarity in fighting styles is because they are fighting in close proximity, so there’s no range for them to exhibit their individual styles. Also, Mo could be sending a message to Baek San that he is familiar with his moves and how to counter them.

          Even if it’s Shaolin kungfu, there are many sub-styles for practitioners to specialise in. From ep 15 and 16, it was already established that Baek San is a martial arts exponent skilled in Chul Sa Jang (朱砂掌). He can use his palm and arm strokes to kill because he spent years building up immense strength in them.

          Mo’s specialisation – not known to me, but he uses swift and sharp strokes targeted at the body’s weak points.

          If I just enjoy the drama as a manga brought to life with its fight scenes, I can forget that the plot is going nowhere.

          • 5.1.1.2.1 Nomi

            Accuracy of the fight style/names wasn’t my concern. I was just curious how they choreographed the fight scenes to show Il-Hwa and Baek-San almost perfectly mirroring each other’s moves, as if really trying to put emphasis on how their fighting style is the same. I then wondered about the implications – did the two train together or have the same master at some point in the past? Or is it foreshadowing that Il-Hwa will be the one to finally stop Baek-San in the final showdown, or teach Jung-Tae his style so that Jung-Tae can counter Baek-San’s moves?

  6. owl

    Scaling walls is high on my list of hot skills. No doubt Il Hwa would have been sizzlin’ at scaling walls if not for his recent injury.

    This drama reminds me of the game where a number of people stack hands and the bottom hand pulls out and goes on top and the order keeps changing ~

    Is it too much to hope for a grand finale? Somehow? Some way? Is there a way?

  7. plumseed

    Wasn’t the major point of the drama the relationship between Jung-Tae and Gaya and their lives entwined with the lives of other characters? I have to say that I’m getting more and more disappointed with this drama as time goes on, especially since I saw so much potential for it in the first couple of episodes (childhood version). The Hwangbang and Ilgookhwe villains are just ridiculous and plain boring at this point, and Shinichi’s character is unpredictable and unstable. As a Jung-tae Gaya supporter (in the beginning) I expected AoF to transition smoothly into adulthood, showing Jungtae struggling to vindicate his father and achieve justice and Gaya being badass, a killer assassin with a heart using her power to find the secrets of her family, yet all I see are meaningless fight sequences and a whole slew of shallow, inconsequential characters. Not to say I don’t like Ok-ryun, but what was the whole point of introducing the Jung-Tae Gaya relationship and putting her in the teasers as the main female character when she’s clearly being used as a plot device and appears for at most five minutes? I’m becoming more and more confused about the central plot and drive of this drama.. frankly, none of the characters have depth or dimension. I have to say I’m most disappointed with Gaya’s trajectory so far- both the poor writing and Im Soo Hyang make her into a flat, boring,predictable character without a trace of the courage, personality, and strength of her younger days

    • 7.1 pogo

      I second all of this. Child Gaya was a heroine worthy of her own series, but the writer change has reduced her from co-lead of the show (Jung-tae’s girlfriend status be damned – but even so, that’s another dropped thread, tragic destined love aside) to, well, random plot thread we’re just never sure about.

    • 7.2 Silverteem

      All three of the child versions deserves a drama of their own. Their adult continuity was just a disheveled mess… if you could even call it a continuity.

      • 7.2.1 Dramanut

        The new writer change the direction of the drama because he is famous for just pleasing the audience. If you visit other website, all you see is the people want more JT and OK kissing scene, and want to ship them together. So the new writer change Ok because the first lead and Gaya became the second. The drama has a lot of potential. But because of KBS again want to get higher rating. they change the course and mess up the drama again like the other they did.

    • 7.3 luvig

      I think you are looking for a different k-drama. I am loving the way that it is unfolding. Jung Tae and Gaya love story was dead at the time the father died, and she went to Japan. She still loves him, but their love is not to be. The only way that it will be revealed is by her helping him, which I think it started to happened and it will happen more. I would’ve been disappointed if this was just another too-predictable romantic k-drama. I’ll like it that they tied the story to Chiang Kai-Shek, gave the story a valid and historical reason for all the gang related activities and the opium trade. if we are “realistic” to the story, how would Jung Tae and Gaya have more romantic scenes when this is not entirely about them two, but about a whole generation. It was never meant to be a romantic story.

  8. kooriyuki

    Mo Il-hwa (or Song Jae Rim).
    *swoon*

    superficial reasons aside, Heads, I think it’d be much much better that you (along with all of us), watch this after leaving your brains at the door. Apparently writer-nim has no idea what they/he/she/it (?!) has written, and AoF has become a fist fighting drama. I’m not complaining though, because pseudo kungfu dramas are always welcomed in the midst of every other dramas available these days.

  9. Navi

    Denkai will be on the house!!!! (I still find it amusing to see everyone shocked that that old grandpa will be out of his secret chamber)
    and I’m excited to see Leader Seol’s true (crazy) nature meet up with Denkai. Like, can an old man get any crazier? (please add Old Man Fly when both gather, lol)

    The plot twist of Shinichi makes one of the old stories clear. It was kind of sad since he is the one who actually loves Ryoko and Kaya, and when Kaya wants to meet up with Denkai, Shinichi’s expression was killing me. He really doesn’t want her to get hurt… TT.TT

    Dokku has been really sleazy and sneaking into everyone territory without being noticed, he’s good being ‘dog’ to everyone while no one knows who he’ll bite in the end.

    The Dream Team tho, ohh, finally they gathered up! Took notice in the end of the ep they gave the f4 (with aoki) pic. >.<

    • 9.1 TS

      I just wonder where Dokku keeps his suits.

  10. 10 John

    Heads ~

    Thanks for the recap.

    It’s funny because Leader Seol progressively went from (1) being afraid of Chilinbang, to (2) being a member of Chilinbang, to (3) being the freaking leader of Chilinbang

    I’m feeling as woozy as a Shanghai Opium addict trying to keep up with Leader (?) Seol . He’s the Drug Cartel kingpin !

    Cue the following scene from The Wizard of Oz

    Dorothy, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Woodsman
    approach the Emerald City’s gates and try to gain entrance. After some bantering, the Gatekeeper let’s them in.

    Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: Oh, so she is! Well, bust my buttons! Why didn’t you say that in the first place? That’s a horse of a different color! Come on in!

    Why didn’t they say Leader (?) Seol was the Dope Dealing king say, about 8 episodes ago ? It would have been sooo much smoother.

    Aoki was this (pinch fingers together) close to having Jung-tae and the Wall Climber Boys shot, but curses, his plot was foiled by those “meddling kids” , in this case it was Princess Gaya aka Arson Barbie, gas can sold separately.

    They should have used Blue Oyster Cult’s Burnin’ for You as the background music during that scene.

    And I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you
    I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you

    Ok, that was Blue Oyster Cult, call now with your requests, the request line is open.

    Wait a minute, what do B.O.C and Dorothy have to do with show? Nothing, just thought I’d ramble on, kind of like this show.

    One last movie reference, the scene from On the Waterfront where Terry (Marlon Brando), a washed up fighter, confronts his mob boss brother Charlie (Rod Steiger ) who coerced him into taking a dive in a prize fight, destroying his career and his dreams.

    You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am

    That’s my feeling on the show. It could have been a contender, but we wound up with a one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! The show had plenty of potential, now it’s a zombie of it’s former self.

    I have one last question: Where the heck is Chung-ah?

    • 10.1 owl

      Now that was way more entertaining than AoF. When they switched writers, they should have called you, John.

      • 10.1.1 John

        owl ~

        From the Coulda,Woulda,Shoulda Department:

        The perfect character that could have explained the whole Shanghai Club/ Hwangbang/ Chilinbang/Leader Seol/Drug Deal thing to Jung-tae and us as viewers would have been Old Man Fly.

        He’s the old Shanghai hand who knows the dirt on everyone. He could have explained it to Jung-tae in 5 minutes way back in Episode 11 (?)

        It would have given Jung-tae a much clearer picture of the politics of the city and the different factions. It would have also provided a bit more gravitas to Old Man Fly’s character.

        Five minutes of screen time ! The remaining episodes could have been spent fleshing out the story.

        • 10.1.1.1 owl

          Also, Fly’s explanation could’ve mentioned earlier the fact that JT’s father opposed the opium trade and was taken out for that. (I guess we just have to live with the reality that he was an absentee father to his kids, but a hero to the town folks. A double standard that I really hate, but it’s a life already lived.) You’re right, meaningful reveals along the way aren’t a bad thing. Instead, they moved the plot (loosely speaking) along by leaving perfectly basic questions unanswered after every single fight.

          Yeah, where IS Chung-Ah, anyhoot? Wasn’t Dog Doo, I mean Dokku, supposed to know that from way back in, like, episode 5?

          My AoF headache is my own fault – my initial impression of this show was that it was too broad. I watched. I stopped. I watched again. Now it’s too fractured. I’ll admit Mo Il Hwa keeps me watching.

          I actually wouldn’t mind tracking down the manhwa it is based on (Bang Hak-gi), because I am interested in how the story is originally told and portrayed.

    • 10.2 Carole McDonnell

      YES!!! Right now I’m thinking the continued search for Chung-Ah would have been a really good thread to hang my hopes on… but wow
      –> “It’s funny because Leader Seol progressively went from (1) being afraid of Chilinbang, to (2) being a member of Chilinbang, to (3) being the freaking leader of Chilinbang, that most arbitrarily powerless of organizations.” <–

      This drama, like Heartless City, is one which one should not even try to figure out because of action and substance over plot. Why does that kind of stuff tend to happen in action/fight dramas, I wonder? Do the writers get so caught up in double-dealing and flashy action scenes that they lose their way?

    • 10.3 Snickers

      What about JT avenging Poong Cha’s death? That man was more father to him than Daddy Shin, not to mention how many times the man saved JT’s rear end. What about Mo Il Hwa’s sworn vengeance on the loss of Dandong to Ilgookhwe? Maybe both incidences will turn out to be Hwangbang’s doing. So JT’s gang and Ilgookhwe can join forces to overthrow the REAL evil organization.

      • 10.3.1 owl

        The story with Poong Cha seems like a different kdrama at this point.

        • 10.3.1.1 Snickers

          This drama has been simplified and reduced.

  11. 11 Illu

    I think many people forget the secondary title of this drama is “The Birth of the God of Battles” – at least on that front the story is progressing :)

    Actually I rather enjoyed the last couple of episodes where it felt like things were moving along a lot more, with some tie up with past episodes. Perhaps the new writer has finally found his footing.

  12. 12 cherry89

    For me,, this episod was boring…
    Why jung tae was so clueless…?? He stayed in shanghai longer than ddok-gu.. and he didn’t notice the chilinbang symbol without ddok-gu shared the information…
    Just like Aoki said,, jung tae was dumb.. *off to Aoki’s ship*
    Sorry jung tae..

  13. 13 Peridot

    So Gaya found out the details of her mother’s death in the background? And she’s be keeping silent about it for so long. That part of the story just seemed to be thrown in there (life many things in this drama actually).

    I continue to wonder where this drama would have gone had the original lead writer not left. Right now, all I see is plot filler and a drama that should have had fewer episodes.

  14. 14 Silverteem

    They’ve been working the Club Shanghai angle for what feels like an eternity now, but it really wasn’t until this episode that they finally managed to explain why it’s so important in a language we can understand and in a context that actually carries weight. Part of me wonders why they couldn’t have done this sooner, especially when whole episodes were wasted fighting over what was just a building to us. But the other part of me doesn’t want to look a gift plot point in the mouth, since I’m just happy that the stakes are finally starting to make some sense.

    Exactly. I don’t know if I should thank the live-shoot for this one instance but it seems the production finally caught on that no one is really catching on with their drama’s inner colloquial knowledge. Did they just assume that everyone knew where the hell Club Shanghai is situated (if it even existed in real life) in relation to this entire gang politics?

    And damn Leader Seol’s progression was just hilarious. It now just raises more questions of inconsistencies – if Leader Seul is so damn powerful, then why can he not just take over Club Shanghai and be done with it? The Owner is dead, Jung Jae Hwa is a dog, but they still insist on Jung Tae, whom Baek San repeatedly warned, was far more dangerous than Jae Hwa or his father, and they freaking brought him in this entire situation. I cannot decide if Leader Seul is the quintessential genius villain behind it all, or just a half-wit king pin.

    • 14.1 Snickers

      In the beginning, there were lots of talk about “the resistance.” If I remember correctly, in the show’s preview, Adjusshi Choi was said to be JT’s protector.
      Adjusshi Choi and Soo-ok were dropped along with the resistance. Storyline pretty much shrank down to personal grudges.

      Ilgookhwe was built up as the main villain in the first 10 or 11 episodes. Has Ilgookhwe committed any kind of serious villainy since it came to Shanghai?

      Also, in the beginning, many commented how this show reminded them of Gaksital. I have never seen it. Wonder how well that show did in Japan, if it aired there. How well would this show have done in Japan if it stayed in the old trajectory?

      The inconsistencies just show writers winging it to quickly build a new Big Bad. By linking Hwangbang to financing Chiang Kai-shek’s (Nationalist) army and his wars (against Communists was mentioned, against Japanese in Manchuria was not clearly articulated, I think), the show can air in (Communist) China and get away with villainizing some Chinese people, well, actually just 2.

      Major markets taken care of?

  15. 15 Mm

    The story is getting boring. The first few episodes were a lot better compared to the last ones. This drama has a lot of potential because of the cast. They should challenge KHJ acting through good script, otherwise it’s just mediocre.

    • 15.1 TS

      Yunno, for a while, I thought KHJ was an awful actor. Now I realize JungTae’s character is super-boring.

  16. 16 charmcasy

    oh gosh..! after all these episodes i feel this is the most overratted drama of this year . wt started as a soccer match turned out to be a game of squash! so utterly boring …….. god knows how long i longed for a kissing n sum love scenes between gaya and sin jun tae! n moreover i stronly bielieved tht once the identity of her mother-killer wud be revealed she will develop a desire to take vengeance against them.. but geez! she accepted this hard bitter fact so calmly!!!!!! such a pathetic show i have lost all interest!

    • 16.1 Lol...

      Yes… because gaya and jun tae doesn’t have any love scenes, this drama is “pathatic”. *rolls eyes*

      • 16.1.1 TS

        The problems that I understood charmcasy as highlighting are the dropped story lines, the teases, and making the audience think one thing and then pulling rugs out from it.

  17. 17 TS

    If Mo Ilhwa’s still offering, I’ll take a shoulder squeeze. And other squeezes too…

  18. 18 Sho

    Been a silent reader of this recap series, because 1) Heads is an awesome (albeit kinda unlucky) recapper and 2) my baby Soo (?!) is in the show <3 But I was unable to bring myself to actually watch the drama because, after Soo's ending in Heartless City heartlessly broke my heart, I didn't think I could take another sad drama ending for Yoon Hyun Min… By the look of the above recap though, it would appear that Aoki isn't going to be simply die a hopeless, one-dimensional villain (he could very well still die, of course), I am finally going to watch the show now.
    Thank you Heads for the great recap, as always =)

  19. 19 belle2010

    I still enjoy the drama very much.I think it is a good balance of fighting , funny and love . I personally feel the romantic scenes have given a warm-heart feeling to the drama.

    It ‘s interesting to see how JJW and JT will do after being proposed by Aoki and Leader soeul. I feel like the writer is going to do another twist.

    To be honest there are a lots of k-drama I have seen that the story line were very poor but they did not receive much complain as much as IG . I wonder why ?

    • 19.1 Louise

      Exactly that’s what i noticed too. Some of the comments i’ve read here are sometimes overcritical. One even mentioned it’s overrated. How can it be overrated when it’s always second in rating. For me other drama like heirs with 20 plus ratings is the overrated one. The story is just a bleh to me..But i guess everyone has different taste in drama. I’m still loving this drama and will continue to watch it till the end. AOF fighting!

      • 19.1.1 belle2010

        I feel some comments are full of angry and emotional. It might be because they have some source of certain expectation. However I my opinion IG is a very interesting k-drama and worth to spend time watching it.

        I just feel a bit sorry for the production team that news behind the scene is not support the drama at all . It’s rather make the viewers wondering from time to time what is going on with the drama.

        However the drama still doing well . I think this drama would be a great one if the production process was going smoother. It’s a pity because it’s such a good drama and a good plot . I love it.

  20. 20 yousra

    if jung tae ends up with kaya i will jump off a mountain

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