Liar Game: Episode 10
This is a really dense episode, packed with character revelations and plot twists that are actually revelatory and truthfully twisty, and even though it calls for every ounce of attention you can dedicate to it, it doesn’t fail to reward you for time well spent. So much happens this hour that it’s near impossible to sum it all up here, suffice to say that the time to reunite our dearest and most craziest of villains with his missing marbles has come and gone, along with any shot he might’ve had at redemption. He’s positively unhinged now, as opposed to just being functionally certifiable before. Don’t think there’s a difference? Wait and see.
SONG OF THE DAY
Bye Bye Sea – “내 맘이 말을 해 (My Heart Speaks)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 10: “Smuggling Game II”
Faced with a possible traitor amongst them, Woo-jin turns to Dal-goo to ask why he did it, before revealing that he never thought Do-young was psychic and suspected he had an accomplice from the beginning. He just didn’t know whether it was Dal-goo or Jaime.
And he never expected Do-young to pick Dal-goo, but it became increasingly clear he was the culprit as the game wore on. Woo-jin even figured out that Dal-goo and Do-young must’ve been sending each other hand signals through the windows, which is why he sent Da-jung with a note only she could read.
However, she was the one who withdrew the full one hundred thousand dollars when Woo-jin told her to only take an extra five grand. “I got angry at Kang Do-young for making us deceive one another,” Da-jung explains solemnly.
“What I don’t understand is the reason,” Woo-jin continues. “What offer did you get from Kang Do-young?” Jaime thinks it all comes down to money, but Da-jung refuses to believe it: “You wouldn’t do that, Ajusshi… right?”
Dal-goo can only drop to his knees and say he’s sorry.
Flashback to Dal-goo’s inspection with Do-young. There’s a part of the exchange we didn’t see, after Do-young made his claim that every person has a price. He knew that Dal-goo’s price was to get Da-jung out of her current situation, with enough money to pay off her father’s debts so she could live happily with him.
Do-young knew that Dal-goo didn’t want Da-jung to get hurt, and that he no longer trusted Woo-jin with her safety. “You don’t want her to keep playing either, right?” Do-young asked. “Wouldn’t it be better if she won her prize money and forfeited?”
While Jaime curses Dal-goo in the present, Da-jung kneels by his side and puts a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. She knows he did it for her, and Dal-goo can’t help but cry.
Surprisingly, it’s Jaime who comes to Dal-goo’s defense by blaming Do-young for sewing discord. Tears fall down Dal-goo’s face as he says he was tricked by Do-young, and Woo-jin putting a stop to his self-blame leads to a super sweet moment when Dal-goo buries his face in Woo-jin’s chest and sobs. All the while, Woo-jin pats his back comfortingly. “We’re finally a team,” Woo-jin comments. “Now, it’s time for battle.”
His strategy? They’ll use all their bank cards at once to withdraw all the East’s funds and use the East’s own team members to smuggle the money across.
In order to win the trust of the three East citizens who aren’t Do-young, they’ll promise to share the prize money (since they’d be winning instead of the East) and seal the deal by handing over their bank cards. But since they only need three cards for the three East citizens, Jaime gets to keep hers since she doesn’t do things for free.
As for who to send to convince the East team of their plan, Woo-jin says it has to be someone they’ll trust. Cue everyone looking at Da-jung, who’s modest enough to be all, Who, me?
There’s already unrest in the East’s camp thanks to Da-jung’s call to arms, but they all go quiet once Do-young enters. They probably suspect some truth in Da-jung’s claim about Do-young receiving help when Do-young defers playing inspector in the next round and instead volunteers one of his teammates to go.
…Which gives Da-jung the perfect opportunity to make the offer to all three members of the East nation. She even sweetens the pot by offering her bank card with any prize money she’d make by winning the round, even if it means she won’t see any of that money herself. She’s fine with sacrificing it if it means gaining the East’s cooperation, since they’d still move onto the final round with the ten million dollar prize.
She makes the same offer to Bulldog and Actor Gu, with instructions for how they’re to smuggle the money as well as what signal to make if Do-young catches on.
Of course Do-young notices Bulldog miming signals through the window to the West the instant he tries it. He may not know what they’re for yet, but suspects something amiss.
When Do-young volunteers to play inspector, the West team worries that he might’ve already caught onto their plan. Woo-jin is confident that he hasn’t (yet), and volunteers to be his team’s smuggler. He thinks he’s got a way to shake Do-young up.
Woo-jin uses all their bank cards to withdraw everything in the East’s bank, and hides the giant stash in a conveniently sized air vent.
He greets Do-young more enthusiastically than ever before, claiming that he was busy experimenting with whether he could control his microexpressions in the bathroom mirror. It was difficult, he even admits.
Even with ample practice, Woo-jin believes that a person can’t control their microexpressions completely even if they make themselves empty vessels to do so. After all, no one can fully shed their human qualities, even if they’re lacking in humanity.
He seems to know that Do-young told Da-jung about his role in her father’s financial downfall and questions Do-young’s use of that method, to which Do-young shrugs, “As long as it’s fun.”
So Woo-jin asks another question—did Do-young eliminate Guru Pippi from the President Game because he didn’t like the reading she gave him? The one about him being the kind to eat his own parents? “By chance, are you an orphan?” Woo-jin ventures.
Do-young’s expression remains static as he replies, “This isn’t fun.” Woo-jin pounces on the opportunity to get under his skin by asking if Do-young grew up in a neighborhood called Walden Two, and whether there’s any credence to the rumors that children were forced into sick psychological experiments.
Woo-jin: “I thought it was a ridiculous, nonsensical rumor at first. But I wonder if there’s some truth to it when I see you acting like an amused ten-year-old child watching people deceive one another.”
Do-young, who has been trying to keep himself composed this whole lecture, finally(!!) loses his temper as he slams his fist on the table.
But it’s Woo-jin’s turn to smirk as he notes, “What? I thought you were an empty shell, but now you seem human.” Do-young goes for the button to call Woo-jin out for carrying the max amount, and Woo-jin gladly opens his briefcase for him.
“It’s nice to meet you, Kang Do-young,” Woo-jin says, like it’s their first time. He also won this round.
In the control room, Director Jang asks PD Lee if there’s any credence to what Woo-jin said about Do-young being an orphan. PD Lee says she doesn’t know, but thinks it’s just Woo-jin’s way of getting to him. Orrr does she?
Do-young returns to his team’s camp in a rage, decimating nearby inanimate objects. He then turns to his teammates and tells them to handle the next round—he’s going to rest.
Da-jung wants to use the time to have the East smuggle the stashed cash from the air vent, but Do-young already seems to suspect something when Actor Gu returns his bank card.
“If, by chance, all three of you betray me, what would happen if no one reports it? Should I burn these?” Do-young asks, before he holds a lighter dangerously close to all three bank cards as a warning. PD Lee issues her own warning to make Do-young stop, and though he does, he can’t help but giggle madly to himself after. Ruh roh.
Actor Gu is the first one to carry a fistful of cash from the air vent in the East over to the West. He launders the cash through the West’s machine somehow (I literally don’t know how), so that he’s able to stash that cash in the West’s air vent.
Sung-joon is next, and slowly but surely the West’s vent is filled with the East’s money. They’ve got over half of it transferred, though they worry what’ll happen if Do-young were to snap out of his (extra) crazy spell to participate in the next round.
After Bulldog smuggles the remaining air vent sum to the West and gets passed by Inspector Da-jung, he returns to find Do-young and the others waiting. Sung-joon and Actor Gu look pensively silent as Do-young asks Bulldog why he gave him Dal-goo’s bank card instead of his own.
Bulldog panics and fishes for his other card, only to see that the one he’s holding is Dal-goo’s card. Do-young just said he had the wrong card to catch Bulldog’s treachery, and it worked.
“Did you think I wouldn’t know?” he asks the three of them, as he holds up all the bank cards—the ones they were given at the beginning, and the ones the West team gave them as a bribe. He’s already shaken down Sung-joon and Actor Gu, then.
Bulldog has to think fast before Do-young melts the cards, and makes up a lie(?) that the cards no longer matter now that they’ve safely stored the money. The others catch on and go along with it, earning a stay of execution on their bank cards.
They think they’re safe since Do-young can’t return the cash they smuggled to the West, only for Do-young to ask, “Why would I bring it back? Jaime will help me.” Does that mean Jaime’s been a traitor all along?
The West team wonders if their comrades in the East were caught, or if they’ve been betrayed. There’s no way of knowing which it is, but when Do-young is announced as the East’s inspector, Jaime volunteers to be the smuggler.
She’s cleared of traitorous suspicions during her inspection with Do-young, who shows her that he’s got all the bank cards given to the East team. Jaime all but screams in frustration, even though she can’t understand why Do-young is making a fuss when he could’ve kept the money even if his team lost.
“Games are only fun if you win,” Do-young says in an especially lifeless monotone (even for him). “I’ve never lost a battle.” So he gives Jaime a choice: she can return the smuggled money back to his camp for two bank cards, equaling double the amount she’d get if her team won.
Jaime doesn’t seem to want to betray her team, but the deal Do-young’s offering is a hard one to refuse. We don’t see the moment of decision, only the muted video of Do-young slamming his hands down on the table when he “loses.”
The West team thinks they’ve won the round, and even resident grumpycat Woo-jin manages a smile when he commends Da-jung on a job well done this round.
Too bad the good cheer doesn’t last, since Woo-jin has to only look at the East team’s long faces to know something’s gone wrong. He immediately turns to the monitor, where Do-young is slumped in his chair, barely able to contain his hysterical laughter.
The others don’t know what Woo-jin does before Jaime returns, but Woo-jin gets all the proof he needs when Jaime claims that Do-young was still too lost in his own insanity to put up a good fight.
And maybe that’s true, since Do-young does seem a bit more cuckoo than usual as he threatens to wipe the bank cards with a magnet (that he somehow fashioned from the speaker he broke).
Well, he did promise them a magic trick, and that’s what he delivers as he renders the cards useless with a maniacal grin and even more uncontrollable laughter.
For the last turn, Jaime volunteers to be her team’s smuggler so she can move the lump sum of cash from one air vent to the other per Do-young’s orders.
She demands her payment when she meets him, and Do-young is all too happy to give her the two bank cards he promised along with a bonus card. Hahaha. Those are the wiped cards, aren’t they?
Jaime doesn’t know that, so she’s more than happy to join Do-young in posing together for the camera wearing cheeky grins. The fact that Jaime has betrayed them again comes as a shock to everyone but Woo-jin, who’d already guessed as much.
Do-young uses the inspection room microphone to sardonically tell everyone that they worked hard—but none more than Da-jung, who he commends for bartering her prize money for a chance to win. Even though she lost anyway.
The round goes to Do-young, but even PD Lee is surprised that he couldn’t even be bothered to throw Jaime a bone by giving her just one functioning bank card.
Just then, something on the monitor catches PD Lee’s eye. She sends a camera crew to the border hallway just as Do-young’s leaving, only for him to realize that he’s not what they came to film as he turns around…
…And sees the whole sum Jaime was supposed to steal from him sitting behind the glass doors to the West. Jaime walks out to face him defiantly from the other side of the glass. She double-crossed Do-young? Brilliant!
Do-young looks genuinely surprised, while all the other contestants suddenly find themselves cheering for Jaime instead of scorning her. Only Woo-jin and Sung-joon think of something they’ve all forgotten as Do-young’s shoulders begin to shake with laughter.
His smile disappears in an instant when he lashes out at the partition separating him from Jaime: “Did you think it would end like this?” Cue the announcement that his team still has three rounds left before the game ends, which has Do-young happily skipping back to the East.
With only moments to spare, Woo-jin plasters a hastily-written sign saying “Commit treason” for the East team to see. Sung-joon is the first to understand, and runs to block the door before Do-young can enter.
It’s a battle of strength when it comes to the door, but luckily Sung-joon gets backup in the form of his teammates, who’ve decided to throw their possible victory to the wind as long as Do-young loses.
After his team fails one out of three rounds due to mutiny, Do-young returns to the hallway to find Jaime perched on the pile of money just to rub it in his face. He mentions how surprised he was that she didn’t betray her team, only for her to reply that she was just as surprised as he was.
Flash back to Woo-jin confronting Jaime about her would-be betrayal after Do-young made his offer. Being faced with her possible crime hadn’t chastened her, but Da-jung was the one who stopped the situation from escalating by letting Jaime leave of her own free will.
“Only you can stop your own betrayal,” Da-jung had told her. “So make a choice about what kind of person you want to be when you walk out that door.” Her words got through, since Jaime didn’t betray them after all.
The contestants are brought back to the soundstage after the mutiny succeeds in preventing the East from using its last three rounds, and the totals are tallied. As far as total money earned, Woo-jin’s team has the (much) higher number.
“It’s all thanks to Jaime,” Da-jung says, prompting Jaime to mutter under her breath that she might start to like Da-jung at this rate. (Cuuute.) But Do-young calmly contests that he’s still the winner, since he won the most prize money from collecting all their cards.
He waves this evidence at Da-jung while simultaneously calling her out for failing to keep her promise—she won no money in the round, so she has no money to share.
But Da-jung, unafraid, looks him straight in the eyes as she tells him how pathetic he is (in much nicer words). “You said you never fight a losing battle. You said that money moves people, right? You have all that money, but where is everyone standing? Why aren’t they moving toward that money?”
At least Do-young acknowledges how much Da-jung has matured before he starts feeding his cards into the machine… but they’re all invalid. Do-young starts to look just a wee bit panicked as Woo-jin reveals that he had their cards reissued before they handed them out, so that they’d keep their real cards while Do-young got the fakes.
No one knew this but Woo-jin, who now apologizes for fooling the East team by giving them blank cards—but he had a feeling this would happen, so he wanted to be prepared. Now that the game is over, he hands them the real versions to make good on their promise. Aww.
Afterward, Do-young and Woo-jin meet outside to discuss the ticking time bomb Do-young is sure he placed in Da-jung’s mind when he mentioned Woo-jin’s ties to her father’s debt. He makes a this-would-be-cool-if-it-were-meta reference to Chekov’s gun (the principle that everything in a narrative must have a purpose—literally, if you have a gun hanging on the wall in one scene/chapter then it better go off before the story ends) by reminding Woo-jin that what he told Da-jung is a gun that’s bound to go off.
Instead of being scared, Woo-jin warns Do-young to be careful, because that loaded gun will blow his brains out.
Team Woo-jin stops their car to let Jaime in with her heavy suitcase of money so she won’t have to haul it alone, and though she complains about it, Jaime begrudgingly accepts their generosity. They bond, as do the three men who stood up to Do-young’s tyranny.
Dal-goo thinks he’s leaving Woo-jin and Da-jung to their own devices, when really Woo-jin just wants to use her computer to check the USB Sung-joon gave him.
In the file, Woo-jin reads that a subsidiary company of the one Do-young worked had plans to take over L Company before its collapse. Past that, all Do-young’s records are falsified, save for the one showing that he was adopted to the U.S. twenty years ago…
…And suddenly, Woo-jin is looking at a picture of his own mother. Do-young grew up in the orphanage his mother ran before he was adopted. Holy crap.
Woo-jin hurriedly snaps the laptop shut before Da-jung can take a good peek at the screen, but she’s got something on her mind—why would Do-young tell her that Woo-jin was responsible for her father’s debt? Did he want to win that badly?
It takes Woo-jin a second to realize that this is what Do-young meant when he said he put a ticking time bomb in her head. “Da-jung-ah,” he calls her fondly, “I’ll come to your cafe tomorrow night.” He wants to talk to her then about himself… and Do-young.
Sung-joon is accompanied by ominous lighting and orchestra strings (noooo!) as he enters an elevator later that evening. He answers a call from Do-young, who asks if he’s heard of Pandora’s box and what happens to those who open it.
Suddenly, Sung-joon’s elevator malfunctions, and he finds himself trapped in his own coffin as the car he’s in hurtles down the shaft before crashing far below.
PD Lee is confused and upset when Director Jang wants to air soundbites of the conversation she had with Da-jung’s father—one she thought was private, when it was secretly being recorded.
Da-jung is caught completely unaware when she hears her father’s voice on the broadcast… only to then hear his secret confession that she’d inadvertently stopped him from hanging himself with his own necktie.
As she reels in horror, Woo-jin reaches the door of the cafe to have that talk he promised her…
…But he’s too late. The broadcast reveals that what Do-young told her was true—Woo-jin was responsible for L Company’s collapse, and thus her father’s debt.
Woo-jin chooses not to enter as he answers a call from Do-young. “Who are you?” Woo-jin growls. “What do you have to do with me and my mother?”
Do-young clucks his tongue at Woo-jin for failing to remember that moment at the orphanage.
“You saw the true face of your angelic mother,” Do-young grits out, his expression going from leering to dead serious in the blink of an eye. “That’s why… you erased it from your memory.”
Just when I thought the episode had gone above and beyond the call of duty when it came to making one point, it was really setting up for about a dozen more. At first it seemed to be about Team Woo-jin triumphing over Do-young, only for it to really harken back to Da-jung’s Disney princess worldview trumping Do-young’s psychopathically skewed perception of humanity, leading to a sidebar on the bonds of friendship, the pitfalls of revenge, the depths to which determined madmen can stoop to, and the heartbreak that inevitably comes when someone finds out their guardian angel may have/sort of/kind of had a hand in ruining their life.
I know that Woo-jin’s involvement in L Company’s fall will be explored in the show’s final week (*sob*) and that it may be hard for Da-jung to think through this issue rationally for a while, but I do hope she gives it a very good shot. Because while I see how this can be a damning reveal—especially in the way Da-jung heard about it—I don’t want the blame game to be drowned in a puddle of tears next week. Woo-jin did a bad thing in razing a company and probably ruined a whole lot of lives, true, but him being unintentionally and tangentially responsible for Dad’s debt when he wasn’t even using his own money but borrowed money to invest isn’t the same as Woo-jin holding a smoking gun over the corpse of Da-jung’s father. Or so I hope, because if I needed my smelling salts after Woo-jin called her “Da-jung-ah,” just think of the damage a whole scene could do.
Watching Do-young give into his insanity was more frightening than I thought it’d be, though I realized somewhere along the way that the reason I felt so unsettled during his mad scenes was because I actually care about what happens to him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m advocating forgiveness or reconciliation for him, only that he’s not the kind of villain I can view through a dispassionate and detached lens. I actually can’t quite figure out what it is, only that I felt a twinge in my chest when Do-young started to panic with the invalid bank cards. It was something-like-but-not-necessarily pity, which came on unannounced because Do-young does NOT deserve it.
And yet I felt it. I don’t know what that says about me, only that there’s something sad about the idea that Do-young was once a normal child who endured something sinister. Just how sinister is yet to be revealed, though the pieces of the puzzle are starting to form a coherent picture. If Woo-jin’s mother had something to do with Do-young’s stolen childhood, and if everything up to this moment has been an act of very, very elaborate revenge on Do-young’s part, then I’ll have to prepare my mind before it gets blown to smithereens next week. In the meantime, R.I.P. Sung-joon. Yours was the kind of death that will live on forever in our nightmares. *pours one out*