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Rugal: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Now that we’ve met the main players in both Rugal and Argos, it’s time for some interactions (and confrontations) between them. Whether it’s fighters bonding, enemies meeting, or possible alliances forming — the battle is on.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Last week I kindly asked Rugal for some dimension. That request was denied. Instead, we’re met with a drama that is trying really hard to be flashy and exciting, when in reality, I’ve met paper dolls with more dimension. Well, at least we have sharply choreographed fight scenes, good music editing, and lots of muscles to get us (me) through.

We open up this week’s episodes with another Rugal mission. Director Choi really keeps his agents on a tight leash, and we see more and more of that this week. The man has been leading the secret battle against Argos for ages, and clearly knows what he is doing, but he is more end-goal and strategy, and doesn’t give much thought to pesky things like emotions.

There were a few important developments this week in terms of characters overlapping and fueling the vengeance between Rugal fighters and Argos overlords. CHOI YE-WON (Han Ji-wan) is now the chairwoman of Argos, after having been married for ten minutes until the previous chairman was murdered last week. Now, she’s clawing to keep her position — and of course evil Duk-gu is swarming around her throne ready to pounce.

While on a Rugal mission of smaller magnitude, our hero Ki-bum winds up saving Ye-won from a group of thugs. It’s a coincidental meeting and rescue that’s surely not so coincidental, and I hope we have some future interactions between these two. Can the drama manage to cultivate some interesting tension here? It’s a ripe spot for it, so I’m hoping.

One issue I have with these Rugal missions that we watch unfold each week is that they’re without context. I have no idea what our team of four is trying to attain, I don’t know the skirmishes they need to win to gain ground, or even what it will take to bring down Argos once and for all. In fact, the only thing these missions seem to do is show us how good our peeps are at fighting. This week, we even got some fancy one-liners for Ki-bum as he was taking out some zombie-like bad guys.

A sense of mission would be great for the plot, but what it needs most is narrative. I can see Rugal trying. This week we watch the team all but rally around Ki-bum when his enhanced eyeballs are shut down mid-battle (with Duk-gu!) by Director Choi. Nothing like taking the fight out of a fighter by turning him blind when he is confronting the man responsible for the death of his wife. While I was glad to see Ki-bum’s old police partner Mina getting riled up to defend him, it was also good to see the other team members forming a bond with him too.

Rounding out the Rugal team of four, joining Ki-bum and Mina, are HAN TAE-WOONG (Jo Dong-hyuk) of the bionic arm (and ex-Argos affiliation), and LEE GWANG-CHUL (Park Sun-ho). While I like these two guys more than Ki-bum and Mina right now, they are hopelessly predictable.

Tae-woong is the surly, icy, almost robotic guy who you know is going to risk life and limb for them all at some point. Gwang-chul is the token cutie who warms up the barracks with his smiles. As the youngest and the cutest of course he’s also the resident hacker, drone expert — and he’s kept from full-on cellular necrosis by a series of chips and a battery pack backpack that he must have at all times. Well, the drama all but told us he’s gonna lose that thing, and if it only happens once I’ll be shocked.

Outside of Gwang-chul’s likability counterbalancing the gruffness (and dare I say boringness) of the other Rugal fighters, there’s an interesting development amongst Argos this week that I wasn’t expecting. Last week we were introduced to a lot of the Argos “family” members, but it was hard to care, since there was no story around any of them at all.

This week, SEOL MIN-JOON (Kim Da-hyun) gets a little more story. We first see that he is allied to Ye-won, and that possibly they’re in cahoots to get evil Duk-gu out of the way once and for all… and maybe they’re in love too? Nope. Duk-gu reveals to Ye-won that Min-joon is actually a deep cover cop. So she bashes his head in with a nearby saxophone. I really liked this storyline for the five(ish) minutes that it lasted. I like stories about deep cover (Heartless City shoutout!) and alliances, so I’m sorry this one ended so fast.

Overall, Rugal has a few things going for it that could really work, I just hope they take advantage of these elements instead of leading us down the road of most predictable plot ever. Don’t they know that a strong storyline to backup all those flashy fight scenes would make them pack a hundred times more punch? That the showdown is only as strong as the circumstances that lead to it? Come on Rugal, I’m not giving up yet.

 
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Feels like I’m one of the very few who’s keeping up with this; I’m still going to give it more time, hope there’s going to be a good plot at least.

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I think the problem is that they didn’t give us enough time to connect with the characters before throwing them into rugal and the group doesn’t have a lot of chemistry. I don’t really care that much about the main characters revenge journey because I can’t connect to his purpose. I know it’s sad that his wife died, but the fact that the wife and his relationship was so minimally portrayed really took away from the drama and from connecting with the main character. Also, Argos villains are comically evil. They don’t make any sense. Why did they shoot evryone and dispose their bodies but keep the main character alive and Just take out his eyes? Does it make sense that someone who has multiple rib fractures and his eyes taken out can be charged for murder? The best thing about the show is the action, and honestly all of them are so fit it’s inspiring. But otherwise, I think they really dropped the ball on what could’ve been a great concept. I will continue to follow as well.

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Argos villains stomping around yelling "we should have just killed him when we had the chance".
And I'm like "why didn't you???"
Why cut out his eyes and leave him alive? They didn't even provide some in-text rationale for the symbolism of that. They just did it for no reason. And it makes the murder charge ridiculous.

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They really jumped the shark with the zombies, I was like WTF, are those zombies, why are their zombies, it took me completely out of the show. Some other things did too to a lesser degree, but the zombies just took the cake.

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Haha yeah, have to agree

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Gotta love that black mask (in the first screenshot), with masks being the hot fashion/health item these days.

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Ha, I just came here to look at the pictures, if this could be worth a try, and stumbled upon the mask. I ordered quite a similar one weeks ago due to recent events, it is supposed to arrive sometime in summer. If I start training now I'll surely have the physique by then to work as a Choi Jin Hyuk stunt double.

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Haha! Make sure your training music is the Rocky theme song for the full Choi Jin Hyuk transformation effect 😂

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I'm on it. My first training step is to google Choi Jin Hyuk Work Out to get a good idea of which muscle groups I should train first ;D The rest should be easy peasy.

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This series will work, if there is less Choi Jin hyuk. He really is taking up too much screen time to be so useless.

I liked the pairing off's without him on the screen and this has the making of a fun drama if he was not the lead.

And still too little Park Sung woong.

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@missvictrix: "Last week I kindly asked Rugal for some dimension. That request was denied. Instead, we’re met with a drama that is trying really hard to be flashy and exciting, when in reality, I’ve met paper dolls with more dimension"
Thank you! This is exactly what I think but couldn't think of how to say it. You've stated it exactly.
Is this what sometimes happens when a kdrama is a "Netflix original" for western (American) audiences?
What's surprising is how bad the acting is. And these are usually quite good actors.

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Netflix has no real production input for dramas like Rugal, they simply bought the exclusive right to stream the series. They are NOT the production company. The series would be the exact same if it was Viki who secured the streaming rights instead.

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Yeah, I know, but I've been wondering (with good reason) if the Korean production is trying to "Americanize" some dramas, esp the action ones.

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Why is it people do not understand this. People where bitching about Hospital Playlist being 12 eps at 1 a week and blaming Netflix with the creator and director explicitly said it was their decision to do it and possibly have a multi season arc for it. Netflix is not the issue here. They would have bought the right whether they wanted to or not. They are picking up a ton of international material right now and it is doing well. So why the hell would they have to 'westernize' it. Netflix is international. They have catalogs for all parts of the world that others will not see right away.

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I guess it's just because the whole thing reminds me too much of why I dropped American action dramas: action with no character development, cardboard characters, episodic, etc. And I seem to remember what made kdramas special to me was the character development, the over-arcing story (not episodic) and 4 act play so that everyone has depth and there aren't necessarily winners/losers/good guys vs bad guys. But maybe I just hadn't watched enough kdramas in the past and they've been telling stories like this all along. So forgive me, I didn't mean to blame Netflix (entirely).
Obviously I hadn't made my point very well.

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It's not Netflix. Itaewon Class and others still appeal to Korean Audiences. I honestly think this drama would still have issues even if it wasn't on Netflix.

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A lot were complaining about Netlfix and Vagabond, also Netflix and Arthdal. Netflix did not produce any of these dramas. I suppose it's easier to blame Netflix for anything that doesn't fit the normal kdrama template.

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The acting is terrible. All the actors here are good in other series, but here they suck. PSW is given some praise, but for me he's just as bland and wooden as everyone else. I think this really boils down to the writing and direction. The show screams inconsistency. It doesn't matter who played in this series, it still would have been just as bad. I watched this because I liked the comic. The comic isn't the best out there, but it was far better than this.

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The first couple of minutes of the first episode told it all. He was supposed to show so much emotion and happiness at his wedding but somehow the smile was empty and fake. Somehow the actor didn't emote any expression and I don't know if it's him, the writing, the directing, or what. But it was just -empty and void.

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That first scene didn't bother me, but considering I don't like anyone's acting here and the whole drama feels fake and empty. I think it's the overall direction. The actors were fine in other shows, but here it's like the director lacks experience and aren't doing proper re-shoots until everything looks/feels polished. Or he just doesn't have an eye for what looks good. The actors look like they don't get their own characters and are just doing anything on set. Tae Woong and GD are little bit better in portrayal since they are older and more experienced, but the younger actors that play Ki eom, Mina and gwang chul suffer more since they are less experienced thus need a good director to properly direct them. The shots are dry and the effects still feel cheap. The show feels incomplete and rushed. It seems all they care about is shock value and cool action scenes. You can't build a show only on action alone without the proper depth to keep you interested. What a waste, they should have just copied the webtoon word for word, if this different version of the script was going to be this underwhelming... Mina was one of my favorite characters in the webtoon, but here I feel nothing from her.

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ah seriously only 1 has a face mask.
everyone should have a face mask.

....wait.... zombies? this has zombies?
...I wonder if zombies can get corona virus.

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Not only the leaden acting and poor character development have made this my least favorite Choi Jin Hyuk vehicle (and he’s a sentimental favorite of mine)—it’s the the poor makeup that's been the nail in the coffin for me. Everyone, not just the “zombies,” looks like the walking dead, with pasty faces and peculiar eye shadow. The final straw was the undercover cop nightclub owner and the bad femme wearing the exact same color of lipstick. Why?

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Thanks for the weecap.

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Zzzzzz....
I don't know if that sound is me dropping the drama or me dropping off the couch after I fell asleep again.
I guess the banging sound would be the same.
Dropped: both it and me.

PS: Now @rueffie pointed out the abs I can't not notice them. It's abs city.
PPS: Zombies??

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I agree. I was so hype and waiting for it to be completed but everything is so messy. It feels so forced. MC being stupid and selfish, and arrogant. Too many unnecessary scenes.

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