Rugal: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread
This week our fighters get an up-front look at the evil that Argos is capable of. However, a deeper threat lurks amongst them as we learn that our hero is slowly losing power to fight the AI within.
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
Rugal picks up where it left off: our boring, confused hero dealing with some strange new memories. Why does he keep seeing himself at the scene of his wife’s murder, as if he were the murderer? As if being unable to forget this troubling vision wasn’t enough, his AI eyes continue to replay the scene for him.
It’s like in real life when you can’t forget an embarrassing or harrowing moment and keep replaying it in your head — except it’s worse than that because it’s literally replaying in your head thanks to self-aware bionic eyes. What does this mean for our hero? Does it make Ki-bum any more interesting? What I do know is that this is an occasion to Ki-bum to have an argument with his actual eyeballs (yes, that happens).
What was interesting this week — and was probably the highlight of the show for me so far — was the sudden invasion of Rugal HQ. One second Ki-bum is moping in his weird room with the exposed rock wall. The next, he’s trying to escape HQ while some crazy SWAT team is clearing the halls looking for our fighters. Gwang-chul pipes into his ear set and says that somehow Ki-bum’s identity was exposed (possibly due to Argos publicizing his identity last week), and he has to make a run for it. And he does!
It’s possibly the most exciting sequence Rugal has managed, and I get exterior shots to my heart’s content as Ki-bum escapes the bunker and tries to hide in the nearby neighborhood. His photo is plastered everywhere and I couldn’t help but think it was good he wasn’t wearing the weird blue Star Trek suit. And then? And then he wakes up. This whole sequence was a dream. And now I’m basically spitting tacks.
But our team has no time to rest, with Argos on the move as ever, and they crash a big Argos event. This requires some nifty role-playing and full-on disguises. Tae-woong (growing more attractive by the episode) gets slicked back hair and a weird mustache. Gwang-chul gets a sorta haircut. And Mina gets a dress and a wig. It’s not completely apparent what they’re trying to accomplish here (outside of planting a bug to listen in on Ye-won’s conversation), but that’s okay since it feels like it’s only for fun, anyway.
Then Dr Oh, who’s been all but forgotten, sends a distress signal, and our team rushes in, barely having time to change from their fancy clothes back to the black leather and face masks. The costumes in Rugal are fun, I’ll give them that.
The team is led to what I’m pretty sure is Duk-gu’s lab where all the zombie experiments are happening (but I can’t be sure since every set looks the same). Here our team is confronted with the full horrors of what Duk-gu/Argos is doing. They survey the massacre while slow, sweeping music plays in the background. I want to feel something but I can’t.
Why? Because Rugal continues to rely on dramatic music and fantastic lighting to keep itself afloat. I can’t blame them, since they do both of these things quite well, and I enjoy the music and lighting each week. But music and lighting a solid drama do not make, and what Rugal needs is more plot, not more style.
But we do finally hit on something — Ki-bum’s inner AI is starting to take over. In the words of Bradley, nothing is technically wrong, but the AI has the power to hijack his thoughts and the more Ki-bum uses the AI, the more pull it has.
We see this getting more and more serious this week, and it hits the ceiling (I think?) when they’re on a mission and Ki-bum “loses himself.” The blue bionic eyes we are used to seeing turn red, and kinda like how that works in Star Wars, red = bad.
Ki-bum brutally destroys some baddies, and even “reads” Tae-woong as a threat until he snaps out of it. Well, I guess it’s one way to make Ki-bum more interesting — pit him against himself?
We get another sudden development when Mina tells Tae-woong that her chip is actually linked to Ki-bum’s. This means she can sense/feel his emotions and knows when he’s going offline. I wish they told/showed us this in a more meaningful way, but we’ll have to take it — and the coffin it nails for Tae-woong’s budding interest in her, too (boo!).
As we close this week’s episodes, Duk-gu hacks the nation’s TV and makes it look like the government/police are behind all the crimes Argos committed. And his scapegoat is none other than Kang Ki-bum. It’s a giant mess and Rugal is in a kerfuffle, but poor Ki-bum has the time to mope around the conference table and ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” Is he talking about being vilified by the nation, or getting cast in this drama? Pretty sure I know the answer.
- Premiere Watch: 365: Repeat the Year, A Piece of Your Mind, Welcome, A Couple’s World, Unique Chef Moon, Rugal
- Murder and mania in trailer for sci-fi action drama Rugal
- Bionetic battle between good and evil begins in Rugal
- Bio-engineered Choi Jin-hyuk fights for revenge in Rugal
- Park Sung-woong to play villain to Choi Jin-hyuk’s superhero in Rugal
- Choi Jin-hyuk becomes superhero for OCN Rugal