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Liar Game: Episode 3

Time for the next round, which packs a wallop even if it seems more tame than what our heroic duo endured last week, at least on paper. But if this episode is any indicator, then each week will likely focus on a different round of the game, which means there’s endless opportunities for fun and excitement in store. If I wish hard enough, will this be the drama that gets six seasons and a movie?

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Kyun Woo – “가면 (Mask)” from the OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 3: “Minority Game I”

Da-jung is asked to explain her reasoning behind giving Teacher Hyun her share of the prize money during an on-camera interview, but is reluctant to answer when asked if she expects Teacher Hyun to ever give the money back. I’m sure she knows better now.

PD Lee displays actual human concern (I know!) for Da-jung, because she knows that if the girl were to get eliminated in the next round, she’d be in deep debt to the broadcast company since she just gave her prize money away.

Still, she tells Da-jung to stay strong, especially since she won’t have Woo-jin to help her going forward. And she promises to help Da-jung get in touch with her father if nothing else, which is oddly sweet of her.

At home, Da-jung stares at the picture of her and her father as she asks, “Dad, I did well, right? Right? Tell me I did well. Please?” Aw.

We see the broadcast of Liar Game the way the general public has been watching it (a show within a show), and if you’ve ever seen any k-variety, reality, then it’ll look quite familiar.

And just like Do-young predicted, Woo-jin is taking the nation by storm. Do-young tells the people that before Woo-jin was put in prison, he was the youngest professor of applied psychology at Seoul University, and everyone eats his and Da-jung’s mentor/student relationship up.

Because the show is now a wild success and is on everyone’s screens, Da-jung’s father ends up seeing his daughter on TV wherever he is.

After nursing a drunken Dal-goo who’s heartbroken that she gave her winnings away, Da-jung has to face the same sort of attitude when Woo-jin shows up. He accuses her of breaking her promise that she’d stop filming after this first game, but Da-jung is firm when she says she didn’t mean to betray him.

Woo-jin thinks she was a fool for giving her money to Teacher Hyun, and tells her as much. But she stands by her decision, because she knew what would’ve happened otherwise—Teacher Hyun wouldn’t have been able to see his family again.

“That pain seemed like my own,” she tells him. “I didn’t want any more pain. That’s why I did it. I thought… you could read people’s hearts when you see them. Don’t you know how much pain and torment he would have been in? Even someone like me would know that.”

Woo-jin takes offense at this accusation, and flat-out tells her that she’s much more stupid than he thought she was. Ouch.

The only journalist who questioned Do-young and the whole Liar Game concept, Reporter GU JA-YOUNG is now the only one throwing shade at the sudden appearance of the creditors at Teacher Hyun’s house—it’s all so convenient, isn’t it? Like it was staged by the producers?

Even her boss is drinking the Liar Game kool-aid, so for now, Reporter Gu doesn’t have any support when it comes to her conspiracy theories. Instead, her boss wants her to interview Woo-jin, since they both graduated from the same school.

She and Woo-jin know each other a little better than that, and at least are on friendly terms when they meet. She’s ashamed that she works for a gossip rag now instead of a major newspaper, but produces files he asked her for nonetheless—on the promise that he’ll provide her with any new dirt from within Liar Game.

For exposition’s sake, Reporter Gu tells Woo-jin what she already knows about him: that his mother ran a non-profit organization and passed away after she was scammed, that he used his genius to take down the finance company responsible, that the CEO of that company was murdered shortly after, that he was found innocent of it and got out of jail a year later. And now, he’s in Liar Game.

But what she wonders about his involvement is actually an interesting tidbit to think about—is there some sort of connection between the show and what happened to his mother? Is that why Woo-jin is participating?

Woo-jin points out that the rooftop they’re currently meeting on is the one his mother jumped from, and that this will be his starting point. “How did I get here? Where do I go? Who am I dealing with? I’m thinking of finding that out.” Existential Woo-jin for the win.

Though there’s no dearth of backlash against the show (particularly from contestants who’ve been recently ousted), Do-young shows absolutely no concern at all when PD Lee frets that more and more contestants might begin to forfeit.

Even if they do, Do-young argues that it’ll only equal press for them—and any press is good press. But Director Jang seems to think differently, even if he’s willing to handle the bad press they’ll get from Woo-jin’s appearance.

What he’s not happy about is the creditors showing up in the broadcast, he recognizes in an almost comedically monotone voice, “Yes, ratings. We’re number one.” But he wonders where the line is. Will Do-young allow them to film a greed-fueled murder next?

The network’s board of directors are calling to axe the show or change producers, which is where Do-young draws the line. He won’t allow either of those things to happen, and points to the fact that jvN’s stocks have risen over 60%. What does Director Jang think will happen if the show is cancelled?

Even if Director Jang agrees, he still cites that Da-jung, the nation’s sweetheart, will be eliminated in the second round without Woo-jin. “What if he comes back?” Do-young offers. Director Jang is stunned when Do-young lays his cards out on the table: What will it take to avoid disciplinary action against their show?

It’s clear that Do-young’s favorite would-be player is Woo-jin, but that’s not who Director Jang wants to win the game. Nor does he want Da-jung. He wants someone of his choosing to win, which would rig the game. And that’s something PD Lee won’t stand for.

Do-young calms the impending fight between PD Lee and Director Jang by agreeing to give Jang’s special contestant more of the limelight. Y’know, for entertainment value. It’s enough to appease the director, even though we don’t hear who his “special contestant” is.

Over a drink later, PD Lee can only shake her head when it comes to Director Jang’s pick. She’s more concerned that their show will just turn scripted, but Do-young isn’t so worried: “The reason the game is entertaining is because it doesn’t go according to plan.”

They share a sly smile over that, and PD Lee is reassured. But when she asks Do-young why he stuck his neck out for her back there, he just smiles and cites good ol’ fashioned loyalty.

She knows that’s not all, and it isn’t—he expects them to be a team now, since the show is only going to get darker and they’ll have the reins to themselves now that they’ve made their deal with Director Jang.

“But why did you start this show?” PD Lee asks. Do-young plays cute and claims it wasn’t him, but them who created it, even if she knows it’s a sugar-coated lie. Do-young pauses for a moment before saying, “We’re building the Colosseum of our era.”

When PD Lee draws a connection between the Colosseum and Rome’s eventual ruin, Do-young almost seems excited at the idea. “Is that right? Then film it all on camera yourself until that moment of ruin.”

Da-jung is asked for autographs while working her part-time job at the coffee shop, and demurs whenever Woo-jin’s name is brought up. She gets a call from the Liar Game Robot while debating whether to call him instructing her where to go for the start of the second round.

She shows up for the broadcast the next day, where about half of the formerly forty contestants remain. But due to the darkness in the studio she’s unable to see who the other contestants are. Uh oh.

Do-young announces that the prize for this round will be two million dollars, before pointing out that they’re missing one contestant… who he then introduces late for dramatic effect. It’s Woo-jin.

Da-jung actually seems happy Woo-jin is there, but when she asks him questions he cuts her off with a swift: “Don’t make any assumptions. We’re enemies now.”

The contestants are loaded onto buses to transport them to the second round location, and though it’s clear Da-jung wants to sit next to Woo-jin, she gives him space and sits next to a bespectacled girl named OH JUNG-AH (Lee El).

Jung-ah explains that while she planned to use statistics and sheer brain power to get through the first round, she ended up winning because her opponent got disqualified after physically assaulting her.

However, she claims that getting hit was actually part of her (many, many) scenarios. “I’m not an easy opponent,” she smiles.

One of the other contestants is shot down after he tries to play friendly, causing Da-jung to wonder why there can’t be any niceties even if it’s a competition. That’s when Jung-ah asks her if she hasn’t heard of “Betrayer X,” who came in to help a participant only to fool her and join the game himself. Da-jung doesn’t seem to consider Woo-jin as a possible candidate.

After having their personal phones replaced with Liar Game Only phones, the contestants are led into a room to watch as Do-young (via a projector) gives them the parameters for the game: They’re not allowed to take a step outside the building, which houses the courtroom they’re all currently standing in.

Since the round is called “Minority Game,” it’s pretty self-explanatory. While the majority makes democracy go ‘round, this game rewards the side with less voters. One participant will be randomly chosen to ask a yes or no question, while each player will be given a “yes” or “no” card.

The goal is, then, to vote for the side you think will be the losing side, only you won’t know if everyone else will think the same and in so doing make the losing side the winning side. Whoever makes it to the end will win two million dollars, and if there’s a tie, the winnings will be split.

Do-young runs a practice round just to get everyone acquainted with the game, and asks a simple question: “Are you a woman?” While Da-jung smiles that this’ll be easier than she thought, Woo-jin doesn’t look as convinced.

When the results are in, Da-jung is shocked to find that she voted yes like the majority of contestants, and is not among the five contestants who would’ve gotten to move on in the round if it wasn’t just practice. Apparently she hasn’t understood the game yet, but Jung-ah and Woo-jin did by figuring that everyone would vote “yes” because there are less women, and so they voted the opposite.

Now that they all should’ve gotten the gist, Do-young officially introduces everyone to the start of the second round, where the truth matters less than voting with the minority. This time, when they get a question, they’ll have time to think it over before giving their answer.

He picks the first questioner, a gangster who calls himself BULLDOG. So the yes or no statement Bulldog asks the others is: “I have killed a person before.”

While Do-young finishes his end of the staged broadcast, PD Lee doesn’t bother to correct Director Jang when he incorrectly assumes that Woo-jin entered the game because of money. Once a swindler, always a swindler, right?

There’s a lot of quiet in the courtroom while everyone thinks on which card they’ll submit, and Da-jung proves she’s learned nothing from the first game when she tries talking to Jung-ah like they’re friends and not competitors.

But still, they agree to use the time they’ve been given to feel out the other competitors and maybe see which way they’re thinking of voting. Everyone else is doing the same thing, but it soon becomes clear that some contestants are trying to lie in order to influence the others. Of course—why else would they be playing this game in a show called Liar Game?

Bulldog resorts to threatening others with violence if he finds out that they’ve lied in their answers, while Jung-ah tries to get Da-jung to figure out Woo-jin’s strategy. She refuses, since she wants to win on her own merit.

She does start to freak out when the clock keeps winding down, since she remembers PD Lee’s talk with her and how she’s going to be in a bad way if she loses.

Woo-jin wanders over to ask what she’s doing, and Da-jung reacts defensively: “I thought we were enemies. I’m going to treat you as my enemy.” She definitely hasn’t gotten better at lying, so Woo-jin just tells her that sometimes, you have to use your enemy to win.

“Do you think this is a simple game of probability?” he asks her. “There is a way to win this game.” Da-jung doesn’t believe him at first, but he convinces her that in order to affect the odds, he’ll need a team of eight people. It must be eight.

Da-jung excitedly asks whether that means they’re enemies or not, and doesn’t take Woo-jin’s roundabout answer as she asks again, “So, am I your enemy or not?”

“No, not for now,” Woo-jin relents. Besides, since she’s naturally much more approachable and trustable than he is, she can be the one to round up potential team members. “Will they believe me?” Da-jung asks. Woo-jin: “Of course. Since you’re the dumbest.” Hah.

He tells Da-jung to pick people she thinks would have the lowest probability of betrayal, since they’d have to agree to split the prize money if won. I know Woo-jin isn’t this naive, so is he pulling one on Da-jung again?

After he admits that he doesn’t know who this “Betrayer X” is either, Woo-jin sets up shop near enough to Da-jung so that he can give her silent cues when he reads any potential teammate she approaches.

One smooth-talking contestant actually approaches her, because he wants in on the group she’s forming. He offers to tell her who Betrayer X is if she lets him in, all while Woo-jin reads every other contestant like a book to determine their weaknesses.

When Da-jung gets cornered by an extra-aggressive Bulldog, Jung-ah jumps to defend her and almost gets hurt herself. Whether this was all part of one of her scenarios or not is yet to be determined, but Woo-jin’s arrival (along with a cameraman) gets Bulldog to back down.

Once assembled, Team Woo-jin introduces themselves to each other before Woo-jin tells them that they have to cooperate if they hope to survive the game. Most of all, they have to avoid the handsome young man always wearing sunglasses, aka Betrayer X.

The reason why Woo-jin needed eight people was because the math would work out in their favor—as long as they all split their votes evenly, one of them will make it to the final round and win. As Woo-jin explains, isn’t it better to be sure to get a part of the prize money instead of hoping they’ll be that one person out of twenty-two people to win it all?

As far as insuring themselves against betrayal by their fellow teammates, Jung-ah suggests that they write an official, legally binding contract. They send the actual lawyer in their group to draft up the contract and bring it back.

Since Woo-jin’s positioned them inside the CCTV room, he notices before the lawyer does that Bulldog is following him and calls to warn him. No matter what, they can’t let Bulldog see the contract.

I love that they’re using each group member’s special skills, because they send the washed-up actor to distract Bulldog while all except for Jung-ah hide. By the time Bulldog gets inside all he sees is Jung-ah in a state of undress and leaves after assuming she and the actor were just getting busy.

Once the lawyer returns, the group shows the camera their contract as a way of making it binding. And it does, since the Liar Game Robot calls each of them to confirm that they’ll split the money if one of them wins.

After deciding which of them will vote yes and no, Woo-jin has each team member log their thumbprints as their phone’s password so he can then collect and redistribute them at random.

It’s his way of ensuring the utmost secrecy around and within their group, since locked phones can only receive incoming calls and texts; no outgoing messages can be sent. They can’t let on that they’ve formed a group to the others, and agree to separate until their next meeting time.

But Betrayer X is clearly up to something. Not only does he approach Bulldog, he’s also stealthily following Da-jung.

When voting for the first round begins, everyone in Team Woo-jin votes as they agreed while making it look like they aren’t. The results are as expected, since four of them are part of the larger group set to advance to the second round.

Woo-jin notices the other contestants who aren’t within the group, and begins to suspect something is amiss. When the “winners” who voted yes are brought to the front, Da-jung unhappily notices that Betrayer X is among them.

So is Woo-jin, even though he later tells Da-jung that there’s something else going on. She doesn’t understand, since half of them survived just like he predicted, at least until he tells her that the other contestants who lost didn’t move a muscle when the results came out—which means that theirs isn’t the only alliance.

“If Betrayer X is behind this, our plan to win is ruined,” Woo-jin says. While Da-jung frets over this latest development, Do-young introduces their next questioner—it’s CHOI SUNG-JOON, otherwise known as Betrayer X. Ruh roh.

So the question/statement Sung-joon poses to them is: “I am the notorious Betrayer X.”

Everyone reels. Do-young just smirks.

 
COMMENTS

All signs point to Betrayer X/Sung-joon being Director Jang’s prize fighter, which is definitely an interesting turn of events for everyone involved. The fact that Do-young had to bend at all with regards to the deal made concerning Sung-joon is probably most fascinating, even if he made the deal more advantageous for himself in the process.

What’s been really fun so far is how Do-young manages to play people without them suspecting a thing, because he has just the right amount of false sincerity to convince a foolish person that he means exactly what he says. Director Jang might know Do-young is a snake, but he wasn’t smart enough to think a step ahead when Do-young agreed to help his plant rise through the ranks—because if he’d actually listened closely, he would’ve known that Do-young promised no such thing.

But Do-young knew that Director Jang would consider the battle won if he just said something that sounded like what he wanted to hear without actually being what he wanted to hear, and it worked. Just like how it always works. And that’s what gives Reporter Gu’s role that extra something, because while I don’t yet know what her greater role will be in all of this, so far she’s proving to be a great side character if only for her ability to see through Do-young’s facade. Even if she can’t do a thing to expose him in her current position.

PD Lee is also proving to be quite captivating in her own right, since each episode reveals another facet to her character that helps us form a bigger picture of what could otherwise be a forgettably bland tertiary character. I really like that she keeps getting subtle moments of development, since we don’t need an exposition fairy dropping in to list her character attributes when a word with Da-jung or Do-young tells us so much about her. Like how she has a heart and conscience she can’t always put aside, and that she clearly believes in the work she’s doing—hence the pearl-clutching reaction to the idea of going scripted (gasp!) for Director Jang.

I wonder if Woo-jin went into the game fully intending to keep a competitor’s distance from Da-jung, because if so, then he really IS a big ol’ teddy bear, isn’t he? Granted, one could argue that he’s just using Da-jung because she has something he doesn’t inherently possess—likability—and plans to drop her when the next round rolls around as long as he can get what he needs accomplished alone. But something tells me that’s not Woo-jin’s aim, considering the fact that he’s not in playing the Liar Game for the money, but for the truth. And if that’s not the very meaning of irony, I don’t know what is.

 
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I really have to take care to understand the rules, (especially who can "save" another contestant) and to play certain scenes over and over again so i can get what all the play/turnaround/strategies are. I had that with the J-version...and here am having it again. And it's even more complicated in this version with the politics behind the scene. Definitely a show i have to be mindful to watch. Thanks for the recap.

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did you understand the prize money and the debts when it pertains to da jung? can you please explain, if you did?
because the rules were confusing/not clear when i watched it (probably because i had to rely on subs), and i'm assuming the recapper also didn't understand because she didn't explain/state the game's rules. or are there no clear rules and we muck it as the show goes along?

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This, "we muck it as the show goes along?" is a good question, considering some of what happened in ep. 4.

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I'm still lost on how one winning character can save another although i watched and rewatched. Am waiting to see how HeadsNo2 explains it.

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In the Japanese version saving meant that they covered the debt that they get should they lose or want to withdraw, so the winner uses the money he wins to pay the debt of the person who they want to save allowing that person to drop out of the contest without any debt. I'm not sure if this is exactly the same for this version though but I think it must be along similar lines.

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UHM.....<<<>>>>

It seems to be used here to keep a player in the game.

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Thank you for the recap!

I have a question, because I am still a little confused: I thought the player who lost to the other one (in the 1st two epis., between DJ and her former teacher), was supposed to get the other person’s money. Was I wrong in my understanding? Wasn’t that the reason why the teacher was so excited, because he thought he had gotten DJ’s money (when he tricked her)?

So I thought DJ was supposed to get 1 billion (Korean) Won, and not 500,000 million? Because she (or in this case Prof. Ha) managed to trick the teacher, wasn’t it that DJ and HWJ were supposed to get 500,000 million each, instead of 250,000 million? If DJ didn’t get the teacher’s money (even though her side tricked him, essentially taking his money away), to whom did that money go back to then? To jvN, the TV station?

Please help me understand. Thank you!

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They were each given a case holding 250,000 so both together would be the 500,000.
At that point they could go on playing or give half of it back to quit playing.
So the most that you could keep and spend from round one was 250,000, but only if you quit playing.

Since she gave all of hers away after round one, she owes 250,000 back to the game that she does not have, if she loses in a later round.

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Thank you Lilly! This was very helpful.

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The money you get from the other contestant has to be returned to JVN. The contestant only gets 500 thou won, and DJ has to split this with Prof Ha, so each gets 250 thou. She gave 250 thou to her teacher, while Prof Ha actually paid JVN 250 thou for DJ who had to pay a penalty if she bailed out in the middle of the game.

What I don't understand though, since she continues on, why does Prof Ha still need to pay 250 thou to JVN?

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yes, i also don't understand these things. i wish it was explained properly in the drama.

in the first few episodes, many comments stated the players get to keep the money the contestants were given (and some stated they also get to keep the money they get from other contestants) and now that doesn't seem to be the case.

but what is the case?

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I think, from what was said at the start of this episode, that he paid it so that he could enter the game. Maybe because he's now entering as a contestant, so the money he won when he wasn't a contestant had to be forfeited so that he starts with zero like all the other contestants did?

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So, that would mean that HWJ and NDJ both lost the 250,000 Won (to the station). I wish Prof. Ha could have given his share back to NDJ, so something could have been done with it (like paying her father's debt). That way, Prof. Ha could argue that he did not have the money anymore.
I am OK with Prof Ha having the money originally (because he helped NDJ), but I regret that he had to give the money back. Why did that even matter? I hope I am making sense.

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The prize money for round 1 was $500000. The rules were to somehow take your opponent's money, but you don't get to keep it.

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@ aaannie,

I am not sure that you are entirely correct. I do think that in round one, the contestant who won, would keep the other person's money, which was why the teacher was sooo happy (or so I thought). I don't think he would have been as mean towards NDJ, and as gleeful and boastful if he didn't think he was getting to keep her money as well.

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The first round amounts were 250,000 won per participant. Da Jung won 500,000 won at the end of the game. She passed 250,000 to Woo Jin and in the end gave up the remaining 250,000 to Teacher Hyun. Hope that is accurate and helps!

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Hi Growingbeautifully,
Your explanation sounds accurate (and makes sense), and yes, it did help. Thank you!

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@ Ivoire, did you get sucked into another drama?

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Hello Rachelle!!!!!! :-)

I shook my head, and I LOLed when I saw your comment. You HAVE to know you asked the perfect question, right? :-)

Hum... "Have I been sucked into another drama?" I was trying not to, and thought I would just check the drama out. I am not familiar (at all) with the Japanese manga, dorama (all seasons) or the movie. So this is all fresh and new to me (besides the comments I have been reading about the show since they announced it. And some of those comments have compared, or do compare the Japanese version(s) and the Korean one. That is the extent of my knowledge about Liar Game and its themes).

Like some of the commenters, I find myself thinking quite a bit after watching the episodes (and while watching them actually), to see how much I can understand (about what is going on), before I read the recaps. I started watching it live last week (2nd ep., though for some reason, that channel was simply not working yesterday morning. It does seem however that the ep. is replayed right away in Korea [on tvN]? That was what I saw this Monday morning, my time). So am I being sucked in...already? (since I try to watch it live, when I can). I don't know...

I will say that I am not super duper excited about the show (meaning I don't feel like I CAN'T wait for the next ep. because I actually can wait, and I do). However I am curious about the writing, and about how the plot unfolds. Some of the things that happened in ep. 4 I could sense, so I was not very surprised at some of the revelations. I had my suspicions all along, so I don't feel that I am kept on my toes, as much as I could have been. (Just my personal opinion).

What I find interesting with this show, is that the dramatic music is very loud, so I am constantly lowering the volume when the dramatic music comes on, and then I have to put the volume higher when the actors and actresses speak, because I like to hear their voices, and see if their intonation gives anything away (I wear headphones, when I watch dramas. I always pay attention to the actors/actresses voices when I watch a movie or a drama. It is always interesting to me how distinct our voices are, and how we sound).

What about you, are you sucked in? :-) This is a tidbit I found out yesterday: the actress playing the reporter, is in the same agency as LSY, the male lead. And in the drama, they went to the same university :-) I have seen that actress in two other dramas, which made me curious about her (she looked familiar, when I 1st saw her in this drama).

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Yup, sounds like you are totally "sucked in". I think the music thing you mentioned is a throw back to the JDrama, the music was very loud and obnoxious in the Japanese version. I really like this drama so far, but it might be the influence of warm and fuzzy memories of the Japanese version. The challenges do get better and more intelligent if it follows the Japanese version.

Although the characters are better developed here, I liked the focus of the JDrama better.

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@ Rachelle,

I appreciate your thoughts. The reason why I tried to watch the show live was because 1-- I was already up and I had some time, 2--because there are not a lot of subbers on the site I watched for this show, it takes about a day and 1/2 to (at most) 2 days to get the episode 100% subbed, and I didn't know when Heads#2 would post the recap.

I wanted to at least have an idea of what happened before I read her recaps. It looks like I might not have to worry, if she continues to post the recaps on Weds and Thurds. Otherwise, as I said, I can wait a week or two (or 3) for the next episode. My main thing is trying to keep up with the recaps (hence with the episodes), in case I might have some questions.

Did I sound too defensive? I think I don't feel "sucked in" because I don't feel engaged in the show. I just want to see how the plot unfolds. Another commenter said below that when he watches a Kdrama, he wants to feel "immersed." I feel the same way. When I watch a Kdrama, I want to deeply care about the characters.

With this show, I don't (not really). I find myself thinking about the plot, the writing, the OST and the acting. Did what I watched made sense? Did I fully understand the episode? I feel detached, which was why I was questioning whether I had been "sucked in." The suspense is also not gripping for me. I can feel and sense some of what ends up unfolding.

I don't talk back to the characters when I watch this show. I have done that for other shows, and I felt that I was having a deeper experience of the show (again, that whole feeling immersed thing). I was also curious about the 3 main leads portrayal of their characters (especially LSY, since it is the 1st time he is playing a manipulating character from the get go).

I would be fine skipping a few weeks of this show. I am more interested in the recaps, because I get a lot from reading them, as well as the beanies' comments. You know me Rachelle, when I watch something, I want to understand every second of it, if I can (if it has been written in a way that always makes sense). If I and everyone else can't make sense of some of the scenes or part of the plot, then so be it. I can live with that too. I am rambling on and on, however I hope I made sense.

I am glad you are enjoying the show though. And I also appreciate the comments, even the comparisons with the manga, and the Japanese versions, because they broaden my understanding of the themes explored, and of the challenges.

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You have to pay half the money you received from the game to forfeit the game. Since Da Jung gave the half to Woo Jin and the other half to the teacher she couldn't pay for the forfeit money. Woo Jin was going to pay for her but instead after Do Young's manipulation he payed the money to enter the game. Because helpers can enter the game by paying that amount of money.

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@ akinobushu,
Your explanation is detailed and it also makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

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well, why do helpers have to pay to participate, when the contestants didn't pay anything? there was no reasoning? the drama just stated that that's one of the game "rules"?

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Oh, this is a good question. Maybe you should ask that again in ep. 4 or 5 recap, if you don't get an answer here. Just a thought...

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ahhh headsno2...community reference :)

im hooked on this drama...lee sang yoon *_*

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Yay for some Community loving! That show is the best!
Liar Game isn't bad either though

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Hi,
I was just curious. Would you guys mind sharing what the community reference is, please? I only watched a few episodes of that show, a long time ago.

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This show is really good and the one I am looking forward to watching most during the week right now.

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This show really makes me pause and think about a lot of the interactions between the players in the game to try to catch who's scheming and who's sincere. To try to catch the meaning behind the subtle or seemingly ordinary lines/dialogue.

I enjoy seeing the plans made to try to beat the game. Sometimes it was a bit confusing... (that math lol) so I'd have to replay a few scenes to get it.

This drama has quickly become one of the top shows I want to see each week. This and Bad Guys. (Three Musketeers is third. xD)

Loving all these suspenseful dramas! =)

Thanks for the great recap.

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Thanks for the great recap. I hope they got better rating. The show is really good.

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This is such a disappointing drama. I want to like it. On the other hand, it telegraphs the outcome of each episode so early on that there is really no mystery. Every step is obvious. Every puzzle easy. Every "bad person" quickly identifiable.

I realize that the puzzles need to be understood by the audience - however, if the human element is going to be such an important disruptor of the process, it would be nice to be surprised.

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You should really watch ep 4

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yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ep. 4 is even more disappointing.

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I agree that in terms of the outcomes or "twists" this show is lacking. I think it's always obvious how they're going to win the round...or who is betraying or teaming up with who. However I'm still enjoying the show. I like the atmosphere and the characters. And since I haven't seen any other version, I would say te real mystery is in the overarching storyline. What happened with his mom and why does the MC know?

I do hope they can make the following rounds a little less obvious.

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Actually, it was episode 4 that was the most obvious.

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I guess that is the result of middle-school game theory puzzles and too many damn straight tropes in the dramatic composition. Add the constraints of stylised acting and you lose any kind of suspense.

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@Jon G. (first of all let me start by saying that I know my questions below may come off as snarky, but they really aren't, I'm genuinely interested), I've seen several of your comments around and they've seemed to me to be quite critical of, not just particular shows, but of certain characteristics you perceive in kdrama as a whole (simplistic/predictable plotting, unnatural dialogues, over-use of tropes, overly stylised/stilted acting, and such). Which has made me wonder, what do you *like* about kdramas, why do you watch them, and are there any shows that you particularly enjoy, or that you think rise above the rest? Again, not being snarky, but sincerely curious about why you watch kdramas and what enjoyment, if any, you gain from them.

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I don't think I have any right to complain about others coming off as snarky.

(1) I'm quite critical of just about everything. My personality sucks. I can write several pages of "why it sucks" issues about things I thoroughly love.
(2) Not all things I say that sound negatively critical are actually meant that way (I'm lacking tact and language skills), like, for example: stylised or schematic acting is not bad, it's just different from other acting methods and has its advantages and disadvantages. I try to apply as much genry-savvyness as I can and only try to point out elements that I deem intersubjectively replicable.
(3) The K-drama genre is indeed an itchy one to me, because it prominently features so many things that I'm used to categorise as bad writing or bad design. I started to watch it for the unrestrained (even shameless) melodramatic narratives, something I cannot find in western media, and that I am able to enjoy not on a rational but on an emotional level.
(4) To enjoy a K-drama, I still need immersion. That means I need characters I can relate to and a story I can (and want to) follow (among other things, characters and stories that differ a tiny little bit from stuff I've already seen). Certain other aspects of K-drama commitment don't work for me at all (like idol actors for example).

About shows I particularly enjoyed, well, I'm very far off the target demographic group (being a middle-aged white male with a classical humanist background), and I watch those shows for very different reasons than the target audience I guess. I love the currently running "Misaeng", but I'm not sure this one actually counts as K-drama genre. I was very fond of "It's okay, it's love" despite its obvious weaknesses.

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It's junk food. You know it isn't really good or good for you but it still satisfies some primal craving. I totally enjoyed Secret Garden for instance despite it being full of tropes and positively saturated with non-consent and sexism problems. I thought It's Okay, It's Love, while not problem free was still better than most of the other Kdramas but that may just be because I'm partial to Gong Hyo-jin. It's nice to see competent adult women who more or less remain competent despite all the wacky shenanigans of love. Also the fellow being afflicted with something other than Rich A**holeitis was a nice touch.

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I think you'd love History of a Salaryman. I'm just saying.

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In addition to what I just wrote:

Sometimes I watch a K-drama simply because I like a certain "idea" or somewhat (in my mind) unique approach to the K-drama genre, two examples:
I liked "Pasta" as a very slow, almost black comedy drama with a very distinguishable visual style.
I was impressed by some of the writing and production ideas in "Arang and the Magistrate" (for example the best flashback sequence I've ever seen in K-drama there, or the inversion of the amnesia trope).

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Thanks for your reply, and for taking my questions in the spirit in which they were intended. I really enjoyed reading your views and thoughts.

Arang and the Magistrate is one of my favourite kdramas too -- I think it would probably be #2 on my top 10 list, after Reply 1997. Arang felt fully conceived and complete in a way that many kdramas don't.

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Not sure if I really like the direction of this Korean Version of Liar Game.

In the Japanese drama, the organization seemed to be an impartial party to the actual game itself. :SPOILER: And it is not until later on (second season, movie) where it was discovered that the organization actually manipulated the game - they made it possible for Kanzaki Nao and Akiyama Shinichi to join the game/have chances to join the game; although the organization don't really manipulate the actual games.

Also, a lot of people seem to think that the Jdrama heroine is more Candy than this Korean version. But I beg to differ, the Jdrama heroine wants to save everyone but that includes herself. This Korean version wants to save other people when she herself is neck-deep in debts... she gives away her prize money when she already has debts prior to joining AND she's incurring debts while playing each round. What kind of logic is that?!

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I agree with most of your assessment. However, I like the Korean version for it's subtlety. The minor characters in the Jdrama was just too wacky to relate to. The main characters in the Jdrama were casted perfectly.

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I don't know, I think by having slightly more wacky and over the top characters and vibrant colors is a great nod to the source material being a manga. instead of trying to step away from the manga aspect and try to make it more realistic they embraced what the story originally was (not alienating the manga fans, and especially not the manga writer). also by having a dark filter during the times that they were playing the games makes the games feel more darker and serious. if we want to talk about subtlety I feel like the jdrama put more in mind in how everything was presented than the korean version.

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Yes this! The look of the jversion was great the creepy opening and the jump cuts that they would use gave more of a feeling that the contestants were being watched,manipulated and that something awful is round the corner. It's why I'm so surprised that the kversion didn't push the asethetics further to give a more paranoid, untrusting and unsettling atmosphere.

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Moreover that geek girls os supposed to be a guy ! Haha i'm quiet obsessed to see korean version of funghi here :/

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actually she is supposed to be a transgender since they claimed soooooo much to be following closer to the manga,

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Yes, this is why the kdrama is so different. They're collapsing all the J-version liar game seasons into one. A very hard to row if one is also doing the puzzles AND bringing in loan sharks. I think there was a difference in episode time so that might help. Also I think the jversion was ten episode per season. So I think we won't lose some of the best puzzles. And we're getting to know more of the contestants. I keep waiting for Mr Fancy Dresser liar game expert to appear but am wondering how that can happen because in the K-version, this is the first time Liar Game is being aired/produced. Will see.

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This show is fabulous! I was smittened by CWJ! I loved how thrilling and exciting the show is... I like both j (manga) and k version...

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The show so good although I can always identify who's the bad guy. In this ep alone I can already tell who is the betrayer. I still like it because of the exciting games.

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The strength of this story has always been the strategy and this version is both keeping and enhancing it. It's actually really fun to think about which little things are the same and different in each version, like they're alternate realities.

I've mostly gotten used to the tv game show premise and it works better than I thought it would. However, because we see both the show and the "backstage" events, I sometimes feel this weird clash of styles. This is a drama and, obviously, is shot and scripted like a drama. Dramas supposedly mirror real life as much as possible and a really good one will feel like a story that's really happening in our (or at least /a/) reality. However, dramas actually use a lot of tropes and shortcuts, (perfectly enunciated, easy to follow dialogue, efficient editing, symbolism, etc.) that are not verisimilitudinous. Usually we don't notice them because we are used to these kinds of story-telling conventions. However, now you tell me these characters are on a tv show and we are seeing behind the tv show....but "reality" still feels like a tv show! I'm sitting there thinking, how are we watching Da-Jung and Woo-Jin have this conversation? Where's the camera? Why is everything so polished? It's like I want there to be a clear contrast in style when we're switching from the game show to our characters' reality. If they were really being strict about the division between the "show" and "reality" they would have to use more of a documentary style or "found footage" where we see the B-side of game shows tapes or something.
Not that I actually want the drama to do that by any means. It's just sometimes I get this weird feeling that what I'm watching somehow feels fake. I've seen dramas about actors or people making a show before, like King of Dramas, where there wasn't this weird dissonance going on, so I'm not sure what's causing it. Is it just me, or does anyone else get this feeling too? ....It's just me, isn't it? :P

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Yes, there are moments when i think "Is the game show taping this conversation? Are there hidden microphones in every corner of every room of every building? Are liar games cameras in the CCTV? Is there selective editing going on with the drama's writer as well as with the liar game PD?

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I think I understand this, as I have had some of the same questions. I wondered if there were cameras in that other room, when the lawyer went to draft the contract, I wondered if the cameras in the game/voting room paid attention to NDJ and HWJ talking, after the 1st vote results. Did they also follow and tape the conversation between HWJ, NDJ and "Betrayer X?" Those are just a few examples for me.

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I can completely see why someone would feel like that although I don't feel like that myself. For me it feels more like a manga or a comic book where even the 'reality' feels stylized. But it's a familiar feeling because of so many movies and shows that come out of those backgrounds.

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Thank you for the recap heads!

I was afraid I wouldn't like this version as much as the Japanese one, but I'm loving it so far.

Though I was hoping there would be a moment like the S&M one in the Japanese one... ◔‿◔

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Haha yah me too! That moment was hilarious!!

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me three!

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Bahahaha same I loved that bit

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This drama gives me the same feeling I had when I watched Secret. The plot is totally engaging but I just want to pull my hair out because the female lead character is such a noble idiot. Even if she wins the 10 million dollars, she'd probably end up being broke or back in debt because she would have given all her money away to anybody who gave her a sob story.

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I don't like the fact the geek girl is supposed to be a boy like in manga and j-version ... Ahh i miss funghi and akiyama sama !

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Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2. Am really enjoying this drama. You touched on this but I find it fascinating that as a viewer, I really only trust one person in the drama and that's Da Jung. Even with Woo Jin being the hero and Dal Goo being the sweet teddy bear, I'm not really sure where I stand with any one character EXCEPT Da Jung.

It's honestly a great feeling, especailly since in most media (TV, film, books, from any country), you always have characters you trust, and characters you don't. Here, I'm suspicious of everyone and protective of Da Jung!

And I don't think that says Da Jung is written badly. I find her compelling mostly because she stays so principled (I prefer that to naive haha) in the face of all the bad that has happened to her. Idk, I find her to be a strong female character in that she knows where she stands on things, and can always empathize with or find the good in someone. There's a risk of a character like that being played dumb. But I think Kim So Eun has done a great job of grounding the logic and emotion behind Da Jung's thinking. It's been great to watch so far!

Looking forward to the next recap, thank you so much for doing this.

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Completely agree with your 3rd paragraph! If I were Da Jung, I would really have liked to trust Teacher Hyun – and I might have, especially because of the whole trusted-authority-who-once-"saved"-me factor. (Though I probably wouldn't have, given the point of the show is to lie...)

In terms of trusting others, I feel it's not really about how much you can loosen up intellectually/how dumb you can get, but about how much you're prepared to potentially lose in order to persist in seeing the good in others. It's not that Teacher Hyun or others are inherently untrustworthy; it's that in people and their choices, sometimes the good wins out and sometimes the bad does. And Da-Jung is committed to believing in the good winning out, and also practicing that in her own self.

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Swooning at Lee Sang Yoon – he looks so good with this hair *-* so old and unappealing with his usual hair though ): does anyone know if he sports bangs in any other dramas?

The fact that I watch Korean variety and reality shows makes this show extra-appealing. Plus the acting on the side characters' parts (like the anxious guy, and the lawyer) so far has been commendably natural.

My favourite part in this ep and the last ep is Woo-Jin's comfortable, familiar interaction with Da-Jung. He makes actual eye contact with her! He was somewhat stiff at one point during this episode, but understandably so, because that was when he was trying to keep a distance from her. So sick of actors who play out the emotionally unavailable, "cold city man" stereotype (chaebols especially) by acting all buttoned-up and constipated next to the girl. I think it lends a character more depth when they're socially normal (as opposed, say, a weird rich hermit with OCD), because the emotional stuff is buried way, way deeper under a facade of normality.

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Thanks HeadNo2 for the recap!

As a fan of the manga and someone who has found the J-Drama a little too over the top, I'm really enjoying the liberties that the Korean version has taken with the source material. I mean, the games are similar, the outcome of the games are similar as well, but I am starting to view Da-jung and Woo-jin as separate characters from Kanzaki Nao and Akiyama...

I think the drama becomes more interesting to watch once the manga is seen as an inspiration for the drama, rather than the drama being an adaptation of it. I like the whole PD-Doyoung interaction which the manga didn't have as well! But it would be nice to see them actually trying to guess what Woo-jin's next move would be, something which the manga had!

Am trying not to reread the manga so I can be 'surprised' by the outcome of the games! Can't wait for the rest of the episodes!

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Did they make Fukunaga a female here?? I haven't watch this episode due to exams so someone please tell me~~~

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i was thinking the same thing!!!

i'm quite disappointed because i really look forward for fukunaga the korean version but come to think again its good they make a little twist here.

so far this remake is good. unlike *ehemBOFehemPKehem*

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Thank you for mentioning the PD character! I really like that light-grayish savvy person of integrity around all the rather flat corrupt and scheming people.

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Heh, nice Community reference there. Anyway, love your wonderful recaps :-)

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I'm enjoying this series a lot despite not having a full understanding of the rules concerning the prize/debt money and finding the outcomes a little obvious. It's mostly in the little details and just how fascinating the characters are to watch. I would also like to see more of Do-young's evilness. So far he just seems manipulative and just enjoying the game as everyone tries to one up each other. I wonder what he really is after....particularly when he made that ruins of Rome comment.

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I'll echo what you said - very enjoyable even though the rules re: the prize money are more than a little convoluted, and you could see the outcome of the this game from miles away. Disappointed to have the female antagonist lay her cards on the table before all the votes were in. Rookie mistake and so the victory for our hero underwhelmed me. Did like how they visually demonstrated the logic of the one versus three team outcomes. Cast is very enjoyable -- I think I've seen the female PD -- the one who spoke contemptuously to Da Jung in the 1st episode -- before in a supporting role in something recent but Asian Wiki doesn't list her in anything that I've seen.

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I have a question for the people who read the manga.
Was DJ really that naive and selfless? Did she really just give the money away to the teacher even if she had debts to pay? Was there really a similarity between DJ and WJ's mom?

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I don't think the female lead had any debts to pay prior to joining the LIAR GAME. She's naive and selfless because she thinks there is a way for every contestant to "win" in the game - if they don't betray each other and if they don't succumb to greed in order to gain more money. In later rounds of the game, she wanted to win so that she could save the other players - she will use the prize money to cover for their debts.

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The winner has to return half of the prize money in order to quit the game altogether, but since she is using the prize money to cover the debts of the other contestants then she had to proceed to the next round. But the female lead did not incur any debts herself too, she wanted to save everyone and that includes herself.

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I meant the father's debt which she was trying to pay.:)

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The first sentence in my first comment addressed that. =)

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actually DJ(I will refer to as nao) is selfless and gullible but hardly naive. I find that she is pretty smart in terms that while she doesn't come up with any of the really great schemes and falls for peoples lies she is pretty smart and understands many complex theories without explanation. she even is fully aware of being gullible and that being a weakness in the game.
she gave the money to her teacher to cover the debts that he occurred from losing to her in the game. however, she made him make a promise in return.
her father doesn't have debt in the manga, he has cancer and only shows up a little bit. actually her relationship with her father is very loving and well, and no she does not play the game to get money to pay for medical bills(here in Japan insurance is very cheap and covers most everything). the korean version probably put that in because its the only way to add the debt aspect of the original.

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HeadsNo2 ~

Thanks for the recap. I'm enjoying the show. Yay for Kim So-Eun. Her Da-Jung is worthy of Erika Toda's Nao in the J version.

Shin Sung-Rok is perfect as the show host. Look forward to next episode.

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Like others here, I too wish the rules regarding the money were explained better. Even with that complaint, this show has quickly become one of my favorites this year. I'm so hooked on it.

I've already seen Episode 4 so I have to be careful not to leave comments relevant to that episode in this recap...such as who Betrayer X is, etc.

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I like the show well enough but a lot of elements seem messier, like they've stuffed too much in and not given time for the audience to digest some of the important bits of information. I also feel that the characters don't seem to take their debts seriously, it just seems that the stakes if you lose aren't as dire as they were in the jversion which in turn means there is less tension going on making the episodes feel a little flat. Especially in regards to the actual games. It seems this is more focused on the intrigues behind the scenes of the liar game rather than the liar game itself. I also prefer nao as I feel she had more of an innocence to her whereas the female lead here has more street smarts which works in some areas but fails in others. I do like how the male lead here is shown working things out and even voicing his concerns, but he doesn't seem as infallible as akiyama was and I'm not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing just yet.

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I hear what you're saying. The debt being owned to a weird bunch of people in some hidden warehouse is way more dangerous than the debt being owed to a seemingly up-and-up radio station. After all, what is JVN going to do with its debtors...when all the audience is watching? Would be a strange twist if the station goes offing contestants or cutting off fingers.

I definitely hope the character stories don't take over too much. I liked going into each episode of the J-version anticipating a puzzle. Here it seems as if there will be episodes dedicated to non-puzzles. Not liking that "seeming" but it's possible that we won't get too much makjang.

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I agree, the stakes just don't seem as high. The episode 5 preview tho....

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I had thought they would frame the tv show in a dystopian world so kind of like if there had been tv in the book 1984. But it didn't do that and instead the station is concerned over what it can and cannot broadcast which kind of sucks the shock factor out of it all. I hope that there are dark going's on within the tv station like you say because at the moment TV show setting just seems to be a way to take the mystery out of the liar game which is a little sad. I hope also that they do their own puzzles and they're not all the same as the Jversion.

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Agree with you, the stakes are really very low compared to the J-version, you don't feel scared for the contestants at all, I think making the Liar Game organisation a live reality show had it's advantages and disadvantages, viewers including me felt it's something new and fresh to make the organisation a reality game show but now you realize it is completely taking away the shock factor that you want to feel. Even so I wish the drama does well because I really love KSY and she deserves to have a hit show, so far the ratings are not helping her.

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IA I was so interested to see a kind of big brother style version of liar game. They could have really pushed the "always watching you" angle and made it even more darker by having it framed in a kind of 1984 style world where people get kicks out of seeing people deceive and cause suffering to others. But it's all pretty light and there have been no down side to being filmed all the time, none of the contestants seem to mind. I honestly hope it amps up the stakes and make it more shocking.

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The stakes don't seem as high, but a show that makes its contestants have debts can't exist in real life. This k-drama version is taking a more realistic approach to Liar Game. I personally like how how the main characte,r Nao/Da Jung is less unrealistically innocent.

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I don't think Da Jung is naive, I think she's seriously empathetic. She follows the Golden Rule. She often understands the consequences of her actions, but still goes through with them nonetheless.

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Another great episode! I agree, I think Woo-jin's true objective is the truth about his mother's death and not the money. I think that, if he does win, he'll give the money to Da-jung, who definitely needs it more than he does. Just my theory.

I like PD Lee. There is a lot more to her than what we're getting, and I can't wait to get more character growth from her.

Still loving Do-young, that evil man. Looking forward to episode 4!

Thanks for the recap!

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While not entranced, I'm sticking with it for now. I feel like they're just barely keeping Nam Da-jung on the Self-aware Sacrificial Angel / Naive Idiot divide.

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ok I read almost all the comments but I still don't understand the significance of that betrayer x person, why is their plan ruined if X is behind whatever is going on?
is doesn't matter that he gets to ask the question and what the question is, right?
is he dangerous because he's super cunning or because he is Director Jang's guy? But Woo-jin doesn't know that...

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It's not because of X per say that Woo-jin is suspicious, it's because he suspects there is another team of 8 because no one reacted badly to being eliminated.

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