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Age of Feeling: Episode 19

Friends become enemies in the blink of an eye as the turf warfare escalates to familiar heights, with the gold standard for solving problems being the tried-and-true method of setting up a duel for any day that isn’t today… and then taking up all the time left before the scheduled date to talk about it and/or prepare. Y’all know the drill by now.

If there’s a silver lining to be found amongst all this waiting, it’s that Kaya’s storyline takes an interesting upswing as she finds the courage (or stupidity) to take on the people responsible for killing her parents. Asking who or why or how we got to this point is a surefire way to a rapid headache—I know because I’ve still got one. Ye hath been warned.

SONG OF THE DAY

I.D. – “Like a Flame (불꽃처럼)” from the OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 19 RECAP

Aoki’s bits of vague information aren’t enough to entice Jae-hwa, at least until Aoki sweetens the deal by offering Jae-hwa a chance to gain more of the people’s respect than even Jung-tae has… by partnering with Ilgookhwe to take down Hwangbang.

To cement them as allies, Jae-hwa will get ten percent of all revenue flowing into Ilgookhwe’s casino, which will keep him afloat and secure in his position since Hwangbang takes all the earnings from Club Shanghai. In return, Jae-hwa will have some added backing in his fight against Hwangbang, something they both know he needs in order to win.

While Leader Seol makes his devil’s bargain for Jung-tae to kill Jae-hwa, the latter still holds some reservations with Aoki’s deal. He worries about what would happen to the people of Bangsamtong as well as Ilgookhwe should they fail in attacking Hwangbang, which makes Aoki laugh—Japan has already invaded China, so Ilgookhwe has little to fear.

But he warns Jae-hwa that Jung-tae will kill him without his aid, and issues a subtle threat regarding Jae-hwa’s precious Doctor Jung. “You need my help,” Aoki says confidently, “or else you’ll die.” He leaves Jae-hwa to think on that.

Jung-tae runs into Ok-ryun and So-so in Hwangbang’s dojo, with Ok-ryun’s spirits back in order now that she’s had time to rest (after witnessing the massacre). She promises Jung-tae that she’ll be fine here—and besides, she’s got So-so to watch over her.

Just to be sure, Jung-tae warns Dokku to take good care of Ok-ryun. Dokku smirks as he notes that Ok-ryun is his singer before she’s Jung-tae’s girlfriend, right before he tries showing off his new kung fu skills to Jung-tae.

And then Jung-tae downs him with one solid punch to the stomach. “Your left hand was too low,” Jung-tae says about his poor form. Ha.

Aoki remains confident that Jae-hwa will take his offer, at least until Denkai shows up in front of Club Shanghai with a small army following. A kimono-wearing Kaya is also in tow as Denkai surveys Club Shanghai like a proud prospector, noting that the building hasn’t changed a bit.

A drunk Jae-hwa has taken to calling Jung-tae the English word “bro”, even though by this time they both know that Jung-tae is maybe-kinda-sorta out to get him. Since neither of them want this scenario, Jae-hwa is forthright and tells Jung-tae all about Aoki’s deal.

But Jung-tae doesn’t want Aoki’s help, and seems desperate when he tells Jae-hwa: “Hyung-nim, let’s crush Hwangbang.” Despite Jae-hwa’s warnings that one wrong move will spell the end of them and Bangsamtong, Jung-tae is insistent that they leave out the middle men and just do things themselves.

“If I want to protect the people of Bangsamtong and take revenge for my father, we have to make a move now,” Jung-tae urges. But Jae-hwa won’t allow it, which causes Jung-tae to add mournfully that he might have to remove Jae-hwa from his position.

The grieving families of those killed in the massacre blame Jae-hwa for their plight, and it’s clear that he does feel guilty. He even puts his men on double shifts to make sure that the people of Bangsamtong are well guarded.

Denkai presides over an Ilgookhwe meeting to talk about their strategy to economically undermine Chiang Kai-shek’s army by producing counterfeit money in Shanghai. By doing this, they’ll pave the way for the Japanese army to conquer China.

But for reasons left vague(-ish, since Leader Seol is helping to fund Chiang, their enemy), Denkai claims the only place they can start their counterfeiting operation is in Bangsamtong.

He starts tearing into Kaya for not having taken over the place in the month she’s been in the country, as well as for the fire she set at the intelligence office. He’s almost shocked into silence when she deadpans her defense of her inaction: “It’s probably because I love that Joseon man.” By which, of course, she means Jung-tae.

She says it in front of everyone, and to make matters worse, she repeats herself when Denkai answers her with utter disbelief. “Didn’t you just hear me? I love Joseon’s Shin Jung-tae. I was so immersed in my feelings that I completely forgot about my responsibilities to Ilgookhwe.” Is she being contrary on purpose or just dead honest?

Denkai wonders the same thing, but Kaya answers back unafraid: “If I love a Joseon man, just like you ordered my mother’s death, are you going to order mine?” Oh, right. Because she found out about the truth behind her show-long search off screen.

Shinichi tries to protect Kaya by begging her not to answer when Denkai asks her, at sword-point, whether she truly loves a “Joseon bastard.” Kaya looks her grandfather dead in the optic stems as she confirms that she does love Jung-tae, that she’s loved him since meeting him in Shineuijoo and has never stopped.

Aoki looks wounded at her confession, even as Kaya dares her grandfather to do to her what he did to her mother, since the rules forbid a woman of Ilgookhwe from being with anyone not in Ilgookhwe.

But since Denkai can’t do the deed himself, he orders Shinichi to do it… only to be refused. “I cannot kill her,” Shinichi proclaims. Since Denkai gave him to Kaya, he isn’t bound to obey his orders. Even when Denkai pulls a sword on him, Shinichi defends himself, citing that only Kaya can kill him and no one else.

Denkai flies into a rage until Aoki finally steps in to stop him. He begs him to calm down and think of the bigger picture—they’re at war, and they can’t afford to lose Kaya and Shinichi right now. Of course he’s saying that to protect Kaya, and suggests demoting her for the time being so she can be punished later.

The old man wants blood though, and demands punishment for those who disobey Ilgookhwe. Aoki takes his sword to carry out the punishment and slashes down at Shinichi, sinking a bit of the blade into his shoulder.

Kaya screams and wraps her arms protectively around Shinichi, claiming that only she can kill her own swordsman. The flesh wound apparently marks the end of Shinich’s career as a swordsman, and as Kaya’s eyes pour angry tears her grandfather makes the proclamation that every Ilgookhwe member can and should kill Shinichi on sight.

After she’s officially demoted from her position as head of Ilgookhwe’s Shanghai branch, Kaya takes Shinichi away for medical care. Though Denkai orders Aka to kill Jung-tae, Aoki intervenes by claiming that he has a plan in mind already and needs Aka to help him.

Leader Seol is apprised of Shinichi’s banishment from Ilgookhwe, but is more concerned about what Denkai came to Shanghai to do. All they know is that his “Mori Strategy” was devised by Hideki Tojo, a general of the Imperial Japanese Army who would later become prime minister of Japan during the war.

Jung-tae knows something’s up when Old Man Fly shows him all the extra money Jae-hwa’s been giving out to Bangsamtong residents recently, since Jae-hwa wouldn’t normally have that kind of dough.

Sure enough, he finds Jae-hwa with Aoki, which means he’s taken the deal. Even though Jae-hwa knows Jung-tae is trying to take Club Shanghai from him on Hwangbang’s orders (which Jung-tae denies), he offers his dongsaeng one last chance to join him and Ilgookhwe to take down their enemy.

Since Jung-tae abhors the thought of Ilgookhwe, his refusal is firm. He’d join Jae-hwa in taking down Hwangbang if he would work without Ilgookhwe, but he won’t join their little club.

So in return, Jae-hwa declares that Jung-tae is no longer his dongsaeng/family and picks tomorrow night as a date for their duel (because nothing gets settled without one). After Jung-tae is gone, Aoki assures Jae-hwa that he’ll receive a helpful gift before the fight.

Aka waits for Jung-tae outside the club and bids him to follow him unless he wants people getting hurt. And lest we get our hopes up that anything else would happen, the rural spot Aka leads him to is for them to—waaait for it—fight.

After a short warm-up round, Aka is unimpressed by Jung-tae’s fighting skills, since his father was far better. However, he promises to give Jung-tae ten hits to defeat him. If he’s still standing after, he’ll kill Jung-tae.

Nine hits from Jung-tae don’t do much, but he uses the tenth one to deliver a Baek-san-esque punch to Aka’s chest. He only thinks that he’s won, but Aka quickly springs back up to throw Jung-tae down a nearby hill.

There, he grabs Jung-tae in a chokehold while Jung-tae tries to punch and kick his way free, all to no avail. Jung-tae’s vision starts to fade as Aka turns him around to face Jae-hwa, who knocks him unconscious. (Did that really happen?)

Jung-tae wakes up in the clinic under Il-hwa’s care. In the hour Jung-tae’s been out, Il-hwa learned that Aka doesn’t feel pain, which would explain why he defeated Jung-tae.

As for why he left Jung-tae alive, Il-hwa guesses it has to do with his upcoming fight with Jae-hwa. He advises Jung-tae to delay the arbitrary duel because his shoulder has been dislocated, since he knows that will put him at a huge disadvantage. But of course, Jung-tae refuses and vows to go on with the fight as planned.

Meanwhile, Jae-hwa instructs one of his lackeys to fetch his “toenail” from Doctor Jung’s clinic. He uses the literal word for toenail (baltob), though we can guess that it’s code for something much more sinister since his lackey seems nervous at the thought of Jae-hwa using it on Jung-tae.

After Baek-san lets a maniacally-elated Leader Seol know of the scheduled fight between Jung-tae and Jae-hwa, Ok-ryun and So-so arrive at his behest. They’re offered food since they’re at his restaurant—you know, the one with the curiously modern ambient music always playing through the totally 1930s speaker system.

It’s there that Ok-ryun recognizes the neck tattoo sported by the Bangsamtong murderers on some of the restaurant’s Mongolian patrons. She tells So-so about it when they’re alone, but their attempt to sneak out and warn the people is thwarted by the same murderers acting as Hwangbang’s guards.

Jae-hwa’s “toenails” turn out to be Wolverine-like claws worn like brass knuckles, which he hides the second Doctor Jung comes knocking. She slaps him mid-sentence for taking the weapon from her care, where he’d placed them when he promised to stop hurting others and live by his fists like a true gangster.

She tries to get him to stop before he loses who he was and who she knew him as by traveling down the dark road ahead of him—but he’s insistent that what he’s doing is for Bangsamtong and because he wants the people to love him just like Jung-tae.

He doesn’t seem to get that he’s going about it the wrong way, and even Doctor Jung can’t convince him otherwise.

Old Man Fly tries his hand at warning Jung-tae away from the impending fight, especially since he knows Jae-hwa has brought out his claws. He mentions Jung-tae’s current poor condition as well as the fact that only one person (well, two people, including himself) could ever defeat Jae-hwa and his claws, and that was Daddy Shin.

While Ok-ryun and So-so devise an escape plan from Hwangbang HQ, Jung-tae tries to get some tips from Old Man Fly on how to defeat Jae-hwa. Of course there’s absolutely no way for him to win UNLESS—waaait for it—he were to learn yet another super special martial arts tactic conveniently created just for this purpose.

Old Man Fly isn’t all that confident though, since he joins the betting pool for the fight but can’t decide who to put his money on. Then Leader Seol spends some time wasting ours.

Time for another training montage! This time, Old Man Fly teaches Jung-tae how to be better, stronger, faster, and more alert by forcing him to keep his eyes open at all times—one blink could equal his death.

Jae-hwa also uses the night to train, but gives up on punching the punching bag in lieu of just slashing it to bits instead.

Later that night, Hwangbang’s assassins sneak into Ok-ryun’s room to murder her in her sleep. Luckily, she saw it coming and got out of harm’s way with So-so, though their daring escape ends with them being surrounded by the same dangerous men.

Il-hwa and his lackey come to save the day, and easily beat up the two assassins—even when one of them pulls out a gun. He offers to escort the girls back to the clinic, but Ok-ryun politely refuses. So-so is much more reluctant to leave.

Now that Il-hwa has the two men who massacred the people of Bangsamtong, he plans to give them over to Jung-tae. Hopefully the gift will lift his friend’s spirits before the big fight.

Jae-hwa muses over his lot ruefully the night before the you-know-what: “It’s all because I wanted to live a good life.” He sighs about how hard he fought over the years to claim this little bit of turf, and how he’s not ready to give it up. Even with his claws, he’s still nervous about possibly losing the fight.

On Fight Day, Doctor Jung gives Jung-tae a shot that will help dull his shoulder pain through the fight, in order to even the odds Jae-hwa stacked against him.

Even though she’s on his team, she still has feelings for Jae-hwa and asks Jung-tae not to go easy on Jae-hwa, but not to go too hard on him either. “Because if he gets hurt, I may have to take care of him for the rest of his life,” she says, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. “You too, Jung-tae,” she adds in encouragement.

When Il-hwa delivers Hwangbang’s assassins to Jung-tae, Jung-tae looks about ready to kill them himself as he screams, “Why did you do it? Why did you do it?!

But Il-hwa stops him from doing any major harm to them by telling him that he has a choice now—what will Jung-tae do with these men?

Aoki finds Kaya training fiercely with her small swords, and she wastes no time in asking him if he still stands by the promise he made to help her with her revenge… even if it’s against Denkai, the leader of Ilgookhwe.

His expression is as steadfast as his answer: “My answer will never change, now or in the future. Whether it’s the leader of Ilgookhwe or the emperor of China, they’re all the same to me.”

However, Aoki asks if she’ll grant him what he wants in return for his unwavering aid. “What do you want?” Kaya asks.

“What would you do if I said I wanted you?” he replies.

 
COMMENTS

I didn’t quite believe it when Kaya admitted to Shinichi that she’d learned the truth behind her mother’s killing off screen last episode, and decided to withhold judgment until the show had another hour to explain itself, maybe by giving us a flashback to the conversation she was referring to. And then it didn’t.

I couldn’t believe—or rather, refused to believe—that the one question Kaya’s been asking since this show’s infancy (“Who killed my mother?”), the one question that brought her to Ilgookhwe and drove her to give up everything she once knew so she could commit murder while acting the part of a dolled-up slave in the service of lunatics, that one question which she wanted to know above all else… was answered OFF SCREEN. Seriously, let that marinate for a second. Isn’t it awful?

What’s worse is how we found out—not by her showing, but by her telling the audience that this major, life-changing conversation had not only transpired without us, but that it happened a good few episodes back. We had no way of telling anything had changed from Kaya until she up and said it, which is literally the worst possible and completely self-negating way to deliver a reveal like that. Not necessarily because the issue of who killed her mother was all that important to us, since the culprits were pretty obvious if not cemented down from day one, but because eons had been spent imparting the importance of that question and answer to Kaya.

And to rob her that moment of revelation, to rob us from being with her character as she finally received an answer to the question that’s been haunting her for years (and for us, most of the show), isn’t even a matter of what an audience is or isn’t owed. It’s not even the fact that the writer essentially flipped us the bird. It’s the fact that such a gargantuan disservice has been done to the story and her character, in a way that’s made it almost impossible to connect with her as she goes forward. They had one job!

That’s not to say that everything would’ve been solved if we had seen that one mystical scene, but hell, it sure couldn’t have hurt. I’m honestly just mystified at how this show still manages to be vaguely watchable as it hobbles along week to week, struggling to fill the space between the big fights it sets up in order to distract us from the fact that it has no idea what it’s doing, where it’s going, or why. And the only thing more unfortunate than wasted time is squandered potential.

 
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I think the show is one convoluted mess. I actually find Kaya's story line the most interesting with questions involving family, love, loyalty, duty, and honor. The complexity of all her relationships, with the exception of Aoki, is drama plot gold. The fact that her screen time has been massively compressed is such a disservice - with her storyline sidelined and then resurrected by a few lines of dialogue is just making me doubt the ability or taste of the production team. (So I echo HeadNo2's comments here...)

Aoki's character is very interesting as well but we also know very little of him; and why he's nurturing his one-sided love for Kaya. Again, we're just told. I can do less with the gang sniveling and shoving. It is done in a manner that is so contrived, overwrought and laughable at times that they drag down the show.

The show's greatest weakness is in its characterizations, making it really hard to completely connect to the main characters for the entire run of 50 episodes. The gems tossed in every now (such as Shinichi's backstory, Kaya's revenge against Grandpop Denkai) keep me interested but the show sure tries my patience...especially ever since they just went and off Soo-ok...show, while you're at can you add a few other hated characters to that list - you know balance the scales a little?

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I always loved how loyal Sinichi and Aoki to Gaya. Though conflicts never leave them the hell alone. Its just d'aww.

And mygoodness. “What would you do if I said I wanted you?” If I was Gaya (yeah, in my dreams) before he can evan ask that, I'd already given myself to him. Gaaaaah.

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LOL. I must add that Aoki is completely underutilized: the actor is quite competent in his role.

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Downside of having too many cast. Already excited about his future dramaaas.

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I enjoyed this episode, I thought it picked up slightly in quality from previous ones. There was development in romance - we got to see a glimpse of what maybe Doctor Jung reciprocating feelings for Jae Hwa, and Aoki finally confessed to Gaya.

I think Gaya is scorned too much by viewers. In this episode, her character was developed to a fair extent - she can no longer be criticized as a stiff, unfeeling girl bent on revenge. Despite knowing Shinichi was her mother's killer, the fact that she was still so concerned about his safety and defended him showed us that she isn't as single-minded as we thought her to be, and actually has a great sense of loyalty. Also, I thought it was very brave of her to stand up against the leader of Ilgookhae and directly confronting him about her mother's death. She is the cool and strong-headed badass female this show needs.

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I really don't understand all the Gaya hate by viewers. She is going down her own path, and not being a wallflower *cough*OK Ryeon*cough*. She has been clear from day one about what her In tensions are and her love for SJT. I also hate that the writers robbed her and us of a monumental reveal about her mother, but keeps dragging ass about the plot . The writer definitely wastes a lot of screen time on useless things, like yet another fight scene with SJT that leads to nothing.

I love Sinichi And Aoki for their devotion to Gaya.

Shin Jung Tae + Mo Il Hwa 4ever!!!! OTP.

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same here, I'm on Team Kaya even if the writers have no clue what to do with her.

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It's like the writers are stumped by a strong woman.

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I've been complaining about the Gaya hate from the very beginning! She's been my favorite character and the lack of scenes and explanations for her makes me wonder if the writer is listening to the loudest voices (Ok Ryeon fans) on who should get more time and development.

It's not the first time that writers have sided with the viewers on the direction that a drama takes and to be honest, it's a shame.

I find Gaya likeable, I find Im Soo Hyang likeable, and it's a shame that we only get snippets of her story.

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My goodness, I do not mean to be a downer but is it just me or in almost all of the stills I've seen him in, his face is the same freaking expression. I've always thought he was one dimensional as an actor and always wished him the best, but hmmm...

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Yeah it really was a disappointment to realise over several episodes that we were never going to get a Gaya climactic scene... And you're right, it would've been nice to see even though we knew from one of the first Shinichi and Denkai conversations what really happened... Sigh... But Lim Soo Hyang and KHJ are too pretty not to watch haha. Please keep recapping! It's how I get through my Fridays

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We were hoping you would have gotten a better drama to recap, Heads.

#JusticeForHeads2014

Hopefully the next one you recap doesn't start off promising (again) then take a massive dump over anyone who watches it.

Thankfully I stopped when the writer switch was announced, but just from reading the recaps, the drama is turning out worse than I expected it would.

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Squandered potential you say? Haha yea that last screen cap sure lays it down.

Oh Heads, next time. Next time you are going to recap a drama that is the next city hunter. Hey, at least this is better than the last one.

I had watched the show in the middle but I have switched back to reading the recaps.

With the last episode it seemed like there was a plan and we were going to get our trio join together to defeat leader Seol, but now they are fighting among themselves again. How long are they going to keep doing this?

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no more, show! no more! 4 more episodes left, why don't they just solve EVERYTHING off screen and be done with this SLOW torture (kinda Baek San-esque torture, with the whole slow internal bleeding to death in pain thing) ok maybe i'm being to dramatic. I'll tune in for the last recap.

HeadsNo2 Fighting!! ~~

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HeadsNo2 I truly believe you might have been better off recapping Empress Ki even with the makjangesque antics that appeared around the [SPOILER].

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Hah, you hit the nail on the head. One of my biggest regrets this year was not recapping Empress Ki. I shouldn't have chickened out at the thought of fifty episodes and just gone for it. Alas.

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The shipper war would be glorious here if that happened. Sad..

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Heads ~

It would have been awesome if you had selected Empress Ki. You could have avoided Basketball and Age of Feeling ! Is it possible to do a Time Slip thingy and go back?

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God's Gift - 3 months ;)

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Series review, maybe? DB didn't recap The Princess' Man either but we did get a wrapup once it was over (and god knows you deserve it, after the string of dud shows you've had to recap)

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Hope you write a nice series review in the end, so we all can fangirl together, about our ships, TalTal's ponytail and how awesome Ha Ji Won is, haha!!
I will look forward to it! :D

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Appelsin ~

I refer to TalTal as "Chili Pepper" because I thought he looked like Anthony Kiedis of RHCP.

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A good point indeed!! good name for that sexy thing XDD

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Came for Yoon Hyun Min, but stayed for Aoki. LOL, they're not really one and the same!
This drama seriously has wasted soooooo many opportunities to make itself great, it's hard to get too emotionally invested in any relationship because no matter how promising they'd appeared in the beginning, sooner or later they all just... fizzed out. Which is probably why, at the moment the relationship that I'm rooting the most for (not in a romantic/shipping way) is the one between Shinichi and Kaya. While Shinichi has done his fair share of logic defying things (who hasn't in this show?), his loyalty to Kaya and her mother has not wavered one bit since he was first introduced to the screen. I actually cheered out loud in a certain scene with him and Kaya in the next episode!
Having said that, the most intriguing character in this show for me is Aoki... For a supporting role, the guy sure has a huge presence and oodles of chemistry with anyone he interacts with. Also, he's probably the only one person who I still am not sure which way he'd go- is it a path of (relative) redemption? Or??? Though with just four more episodes left and judging from the writer's performance so far, guess it'd be foolish for me to believe a supporting character can get decently developed?

Heads, thanks for another great recap! I do hope you'll get to recap a better show next time! Though this one can't even be among the worst five you've suffered through, no?

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I agree with everything in your third paragraph - I doubt Aoki will be as well-developed as Soo (Yoon Hyun-min's character in Cruel City) but even with the little he has, it's hard not to be intrigued by him. And the ending.....WHOA. If I were the writer, I'd be throwing down for a makeout scene already - we know he can do those well!

(and also let the girl not remain hung up over Jung-tae, I doubt he's worth it)

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Kaya's story hasn't been heartfelt for me since mostly forever. 19 episodes in and they decide to make a main course a side dish? Not even, more like a condiment. That's all we get when we're starving?

I'm losing hope that I will care whether Ok ryun and Jung tae end up together.

What about the sister??

Gangs of New York, sorta similar, was done really well.

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The annoying part is, they spent the childhood portions building up Kaya......then forgot all actually paying attention to her storyline once she wasn't played by a child actor any more. And she's supposed to be this show's co-lead!

Such a waste of a promising character, and the blame is solely on the heads of the writers for not even trying with her. I know Im Soo-hyang isn't the greatest of actresses about damn, at least give the girl the actual scene of finding out who her mother's killer is!

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I thought this episode is better than last episode, and we got the plot moving forward.

I know it's not the epic drama we've been expecting for but I'm still really enjoying the show, despite few not so good episodes in between. I still think most episodes are quite good. I guess I'm just not the type to think too much and pick up the flaws or other little things, so I can just enjoy the story.

The drama's main story has always been the Shanghai background (that's how they've been promoting it before it even airs), but seems like people enjoy the backstory in Shinuiju more instead.

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Husband was watching Suits last night.

ME: Come to bed after Suits.

Husband: No, after Inspiring Generation.

LOL.. Needless to say, we're enjoying this show and I can't believe people who don't enjoy it spend so much time not enjoying it. LOL!!!

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My husband and I were watching episode 20. When the episode ended, He was like what is next. I told him he has to wait for next week. This is the first time we are watching K-drama together after a long time. The last time was Coffee Prince. That's how long it is.

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I know aoki is badass but I really want story to focus on aoki and gaya love story. their story seems more interesting. I don't have hope for gaya and jung tae. And jung tae and ok ryun bores me out

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I find Jung Tae and Ok Ryeon boring also, so I'm hoping that somehow, Gaya becomes receptive to Aoki's feelings because they're the two most bad-ass characters in the show at this point.

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I’m honestly just mystified at how this show still manages to be vaguely watchable as it hobbles along week to week

That's the mystery. This show is in sore need of a do over. A fan-fic make over or something. Is there any hope of Kaya passionately kissing someone before this show ends?

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Despite all the failings of this show, it was moving to see Kaya try to protect Shinichi. I have a feeling that Shinichi will die soon, though it pains me to write this. I think that the show did a disservice to his character by all but erasing him from it for a good number of episodes (and what's with Dokku being used solely for comic relief? What happen to the ambition that drove him in the earlier portion of the show? Okay, sorry for that aside :)).

I wonder how Aoki's story will end. I agree with many of you that he is one of the more interesting characters. It would have been nice to have been give some of his backstory. My favorite characters, though, have been Jaehwa and Mo. And despite his lack of screen time, Shinichi still holds a special place in my heart :).

Why do we all continue to watch despite writing and plot disappointments? Good question.

I, for one thing, have invested too much time in watching this show and am determined to see how everything ends. And occasionally, I see glimpses of what this show could have been.

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The show moves at a good pace. It's watchable as long as I don't think much. Based on my relatively brief experience with kdrama, 15 completed dramas in 16 months, this show turns out to be about average. They all started well. Majority of them then... Sigh.

Gaya is a very lonely character who had a very tough life. Regardless of whether she loved/loves JT, young JT was the closest thing to a good friend she ever had. Regardless of what Shinichi did, he is the closest thing to family that she has.

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And yet another week goes by with me fervently thanking the drama gods that not one, not two, but THREE of my favourite actors stayed away/got away barely in time or before they got too far involved in this bloated, meandering mess.

(Lee Jun-ki, Kim So-eun and Kim Jae-wook, for anyone who's wondering)

I keep feeling like I'm only bothering to watch for Il-hwa, So-so and Aoki, plus the hope that maybe, maybe the writers will get a slap upside the head and do some justice to Kaya. Im Soo-hyang isn't in any way a worse actress than Kim Hyun-joong, but apparently not being the hero's love interest means you get robbed of key character moments. I don't care about Jung-tae any more, and Ok-ryun was always a Mary Sue so never of any interest to me.

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I find Im Soo Hyang to be a good actress, a really good one when the roles suit her (New Tales of Gisaeng) But then again it may be because I'm one of her biggest fangirls :) I like that calmness about her that other actresses don't have, and it's not like I'm bashing my head against the wall because of her reactions like I do with some other actresses.

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For a second i think, "the eyed cat guy is a vampire????" Oo

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the people who wrote in this site are the most intelligent drama audiences. In other site, you can only read that they just want OK and JT kissing more. If you wrote something against OK. They delete your comments. with the poor writing of new writer and the pleasing of some viewers. I think they cut the story of Gaya part to give more time for OK which is ruin the whole drama.

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Just wait: the OK-JT Fanatic Shippers will descend on the people bewailing the loss of a Gaya storyline because heaven forbid an interesting character get time rather than their ship.

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totally agree. even on soompi sometimes, crazy and unreasonable OR shipper are exegerating with their behaviour if someone is talking nice about gaya. OR
is boring. JT-OR are boring as well. gaya so far has the most interesting character. whereas aoki is more attracting than JT. IM soomhyang and aoki's actor are definitely better in acting than khj. even the younger JT

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I agree... i never buy JT and OK's love story... it's a boredom from the very beginning...
I always like gaya's character.. from the poor muggler girl who struggle to make a living and become the badass girl that lead a badass organization... look tough outside but fragile inside... but her strory had not been delivered properly on screen...
I wish the writer will write her happy ending where she can find peace and smile happily, and I really wish it will be ON SCREEN.. Not by backstrory telling,, if it happen i will be damn regrets to watch this drama all this time..

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I said it from the beginning .. Gaya doesn't give me a bit of interest . I'm not interested in your story . I don't care Gaya's revenge. I don't care her character either.

She's just a big cliche.

And definitely I think if she dies the show keep going with the difference of a character less

All her scenes seem boring to me since she began with this pointless revenge . Revenge, revenge. All is revenge with her. Always the same sad story of her dead parents and seeking revenge... She keeps repeating the same old song over and over again.

When Gaya tells his grandfather about his " forbidden love " it's a huge stupidity ... That just complicates things for her and also gives problems to Jung Tae.

I 've had enough of the nonsense of Gaya. I'm here to see Jung Tae's journey and how he becomes the owner of Shanghai. That's all.

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I understand what you mean because I feel the very same way with Ok Ryeon. She is totally that typical naïve drama girl that doesn’t even have a real part in the main plot. A Candy/Mary-Sue-character without real purpose or personality.

I really don’t care for her at all since all she is doing is whining and fainting and crying and bla bla bla. I don’t understand any of her actions. She wants to protect JT by joining HwangBang? Every idiot with little common sense knows that she is doing something stupid. How in hell is being a “hostage” a way to protect JT? Will never understand that. I think she is just plain stupid and naïve.

Her story is as boring as her character but since she is the “good girl” she got a large fanbase, which is a real cliché in my eyes. What happened to “We want to show a different side of Ok Ryeon so that she fits the story?” Isn’t that why every person she was close with died? Apparently she is just the same annoying, simple-minded and boring girl she was when they were in their hometown. I don’t see any change for the better.

Her character was supposed to be a freedom fighter – but what did we get? A stupid wannabe-singer – and it’s not even the actress’ singing. I know I’ll get bashed by Ok Ryeon and Jung-Tae shipper but I really don’t care anymore. Their love story is boring to me and her character is like “Mok Dan 2.0” from Gaksital. She is easily outshined – but because she is the “good girl” it’s a sin to say something bad about her. For me it’s not enough that this girl is the heros girlfriend. If I want to watch a plain love story I’ll watch something else. But in my opinion the writers made Ok Ryeon in one of the most useless characters in this whole story. I totally forget about her when she isn’t on-screen. My opinion. Doesn’t need to be yours.

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Its depressing how this particular thread turned out to be a bash site. Its only in this particular drama that i noticed how everyone has been analyzing the plot to its tiniest bit. I'm really curious as to why youstill bother to watch the drama and religiously comment here when you find the drama a mess.

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1) gotta finish what you start
2) moral support for HeadNo2
3) abs

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This.

But if the guys weren't hot, I'd definitely drop the show, moral support & finishing what you start be damned.

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So what if it's a bash site? The show started out great and then totally deteriorated. And we're entitld to say if we don't like things because so far, no site admin has declared we are limited to praise.

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hi...all, miaann...
each person has personal preference, i keep saying it as a DAEBAK DRAMA
it's unfair to influence other who want/curious to watch diz..... even I can rrun it for times..hehe

so,what's wrong mif me?? lol

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Yes, it is awful about Gaya finding out who murdered her mother and her reaction to finally solving the puzzle that has consumed her all these years happened offscreen.

I ignored my initial instincts and started watching Age of Feeling (aka Inspring Generation).

As of right now and more than likely in the future if someone asks me about AOF, my response will be stay away from it (run away in the opposite direction). If you are just determined to watch it, be forewarned that it experienced a change in writers. Do yourself a favor and adapt the mindset that it is a 10 episode drama.

I thought the following comments about AOF were spot on:

"...with the gold standard for solving problems being the tried-and-true method of setting up a duel for any day that isn’t today… and then taking up all the time left before the scheduled date to talk about it and/or prepare. Y’all know the drill by now."---HeadsNo2

"Asking who or why or how we got to this point is a surefire way to a rapid headache—I know because I’ve still got one. Ye hath been warned."---HeadsNo2

"I’m honestly just mystified at how this show still manages to be vaguely watchable as it hobbles along week to week, struggling to fill the space between the big fights it sets up in order to distract us from the fact that it has no idea what it’s doing, where it’s going, or why. And the only thing more unfortunate than wasted time is squandered potential."---HeadsNo2

"I think the show is one convoluted mess."---anya

"The writer definitely wastes a lot of screen time on useless things, like yet another fight scene with SJT that leads to nothing."---whatsthescenario

"no more, show! no more! 4 more episodes left, why don’t they just solve EVERYTHING off screen and be done with this SLOW torture..."---dramalover

"This drama seriously has wasted soooooo many opportunities to make itself great, it’s hard to get too emotionally invested in any relationship because no matter how promising they’d appeared in the beginning, sooner or later they all just… fizzed out."---Sho

"Why do we all continue to watch despite writing and plot disappointments? Good question...I, for one thing, have invested too much time in watching this show and am determined to see how everything ends."---Periodot

"Age of Beatings."---pogo

"And yet another week goes by with me fervently thanking the drama gods that not one, not two, but THREE of my favourite actors stayed away/got away barely in time or before they got too far involved in this bloated, meandering mess. (Lee Jun-ki, Kim So-eun and Kim Jae-wook, for anyone who’s wondering)"---pogo

"...her character is like “Mok Dan 2.0” from Gaksital."---JinHee

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I love coming to DB for the recaps BUT 99% of the comments always annoy the heck out of me. Generally because I don't see one positive review yet people still continue to watch it after trashing it. Then coming to leave their comments here- why so that if you hate it so much? Hmmmm...

Anyways, I've enjoyed this drama a lot... Although it is definitely flawed, so every other drama ever made. Most great dramas have sucky endings. Good dramas start lagging terribly around episode 10 (let's admit it- most dramas can easily be wrapped up in 14-16 episodes!) sometimes the characters go a totally different direction than we expected and sometimes they are just plain out annoying!

That said. Sure this drama is flawed- as they all are. But When all is said and done, we watch them because we enjoy them and they are good programs.

This show provided such a great break from all the typical (and plentiful) romantic comedies, engaged both male AND female viewers in a storyline that would typically have appealed only to guys, provided a great backdrop and scenery that really conveyed the gritty, filthy and tiring life that most immigrants faced.

In addition, it showed a really fascinating time period where tradition and old ways of doing things met with the new and younger generation- it showed in fights (swords vs fists), it showed on fashion an so much more

I really congratulate the director on touching on such a touchy subject as the Japanese occupation and portraying it in a truthful manner without overplaying the korean sense of patriotism and racism against Japanese people still so highly prevalant today. It would have been easy to make this the korean good guys vs Japanese evil guys. But that wasn't the real story when you get down to it- simply put, it was just about good vs evil. good people who are the underdogs standing up bravely and making a better life for themselves by facing the power-hungry bad guys. (As evidenced in the last few episodes)

Sure there are confusin moments and times where I get angry with the writers for their messy storyline and lack of details (as in the horrible departure of a certain cutie pie who likes music). I know he left and all but to not even mention him again after they set him up to be a main character is ridiculous at best! In addition, the lack of details about Jung Taes best friend in jail Nd the dobi gang were awful (in addition to Jung tE essentially leaving the gang and never even looking Back). Sloppy sloppy sloppy.

In the end tho. The story held my attention and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a nice departure from my regular romantic comedies that start to blend together after a while.

The best part? It wasn't watching Jung tae develop as a leader and fighter. It was watching Gaya as she battles against herself in the war of good vs evil. Watching her struggle was the essential point of the entire plot- will good triumph in the end?

I recommend the drama whole heartedly ^^

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