Beanie level: Chaebol’s poor doppelganger

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    Gosh, she is such a stitch. I believe I promised to do something like eat a hat, or jump out of my skin with joy, if she won. So … I’ll be off doing that for a while 🎉🎉🎉

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    This was awesome! She’s hilarious!

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I\’ve forgiven Oh Master many things, but I can\’t forgive the writer for putting Joo-in through the romantic wringer not once but TWICE in two consecutive episodes, as if he thinks her sole function is to Stand By Her Man even when her man is emotionally abusing her. She is a brilliant top star who loves her profession, ffs. If he really loves her, Bi-soo should stop ping-ponging between nastiness and stupid “dates”, and just finish the damn scripts. The only good thing about ep10 is that Yoo-jin actually tries to make things better instead of taking advantage of the situation.

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I have trouble with these finger-heart things as well.

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Oh Master isn’t a masterpiece and IMO there isn’t much romantic chemistry between the two leads. But there seems to be a rather heartwarming theme of connections and reconnections running through the show. Though I can’t quite believe in the romance between Joo-in and Bi-soo, I’m completely convinced by how they’ve grown to like and respect each other as people. And I love all the interactions between them and their mums; the mums and Chang-gyu; Hae-jin and her doctor friend; the two assistants; the two agency heads; Bi-soo and Yoo-jin (who is already calling Bi-soo ‘hyung’); etc. Somehow each character becomes a better person in the light of their relationships with the others. (I think that might eventually be true of Bi-soo’s dad too.)

Which is why I’m not so worried about the makjang elements in the plot. Alzheimers and cancer are almost de rigueur in Korean melodrama, but the characters in this show have become so mutually supportive that I don’t think there will be any gratuitous suffering. Also, I’m surprised and rather moved by how the show has linked terminal illness with play-acting and story-telling – i.e. the respective professions of the two leads. Joo-in resolves to maintain her connection with her mother by playing whatever role the confused Jung-hwa might give her. Bi-soo is spinning a narrative about Hae-jin being a woman of leisure who should be spending more time with her son. Close to death, Hae-jin is nevertheless re-writing her life and playing new roles. Oh Master might be stuffed to the gills with tropes, and old-school ones at that, but what it has done with those tropes so far is more interesting and ambitious than I’d expected.

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    “ But there seems to be a rather heartwarming theme of connections and reconnections running through the show. ”

    Yes. Exactly so.

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Just found out from this article that the directors of Beyond Evil and Vincenzo are women: http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/culture/culture_general/990742.html (In Korean; Google Translate conveys the bare facts.)

I can’t comment on Vincenzo, but Beyond Evil does have a different feel from other shows of its ilk. Though of course it isn’t always necessarily for the better, it’s still pretty fascinating. For a start I wonder if the two leads’ weirdly sadomasochistic chemistry would have been quite the same under a male PD.

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    Comment was deleted

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Can’t identify the pop group but: OMG that’s Dr Park from Romantic Doctor 2! Woo Tae-ha from Stranger! And the eldest brother from My Ahjusshi!

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    The pop group is Oh My Girl. I’m not big on girl group songs generally but I actually really liked this one!

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Just finished ep12 of Beyond Evil. Ironic that poor Dong-shik was arrested for his twin’s murder, cos he seems to be the only person who was NOT on Korea’s Busiest Country Road that night. I was going to say “besides Joo-won”, but for all we know the kid was also lurking somewhere in the background…

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On a different note…

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    Thanks @knewbie and lol. That must be the ‘alternate’ universe where the BEYOND EVIL characters reside. YJG cutting loose. I love it.
    I am current through episode 8 so that is definitely an alternate place.

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I expected high-quality bromance when the stars of Beyond Evil were announced, but I never thought it would turn out to be red-hot tortured romance, twisted by mutual suspicion and past trauma. Ok, ok, I’m kidding, but the homoeroticism goes through the roof in episode 10, with Joo-won giving Dong-shik a taste (ahem) of his own medicine: teasing him with planted evidence; luring him to his fancy boudoir; even offering him wine and a sizzling, juicy piece of meat. As usual, there’s a lot of mutual space-invading. And it culminates in what we’ve all been waiting for: one of them collapses in the other’s arms!

Seriously, though, I really wonder how much more DS can take. The speech in the interrogation room with Chief Nam wasn’t particularly original, but Shin Ha-kyun’s delivery, his incredulous laughter through the tears, made it intensely moving. Over the past 10 episodes we’ve seen Chief Nam defending him, openly or in less obvious ways, as if to make up for what he and his family have suffered at the hands of the police. But it is this episode in particular that demonstrates DS’s emotional reliance on Chief Nam. I wonder: has JW’s use of Chief Nam as bait led to the latter’s death? In effect, has he repeated DS’s mistake with Min-jung and her fingertips?

At yet another RaFiDoC (Raw Fish Dinner of Corruption), Councilwoman Do asks Lee Chang-jin for hard drugs. Not for herself, of course, but for her dear deer-sketching son. Frankly I don’t see why Jung-je shouldn’t sketch a deer or two at the office. It’s not as if he’s watching Netflix or drinking on the job. But he IS being set up as the next suspect, possibly having run over Yoo-yeon with his car or at least witnessing it (hence all his talk of killing deer), with the crime concealed by Kang Jin-mook on Councilwoman Do’s orders. Now all I have to do is sit back and watch the next episode demolish my theory.

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Beyond Evil episode 9 opens like a rather traditional play: two incidental characters provide three months’ worth of expository detail in the guise of a casual conversation. Unfortunately, everything else is more confusing than ever before. Is there no end to my poor Dong-shik’s suffering? As if all that murdering wasn’t enough, Jin-mook had to inflict all his worldly possessions on DS, so now DS has two houses of horrors to contend with. A small consolation to me (though obviously not to DS) is that JM seems to have taken care of DS’s mum properly while DS was performing mandatory military service.

In other news: DS’s boyfriend is back in town! Joo-won pops up again in Manyang, ass apparently divested of that stick. However, it looks like the Seoul investigator’s dismissal of his confession has obliterated whatever was left of his conscience, so now he can be a bastard cheerfully and confidently. Thanks to him, I can’t even suspect Chief Nam without reservations. Oh well, at least I got an answer to one question: thanks, Ji-hwa, for explaining how your ex learnt Russian. Though even said ex, usually the model of soft-spoken roguishness, seemed genuinely rattled by the uses to which his deer farm had been put.

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Beyond Evil episode 8: in which Dong-shik and I wish he had spent less time getting elbow-deep in kimchi and checked the largest pot instead.

I’m glad we find out why Jin-mook killed Bang Ju-seon, the women in Busan and, finally, Min-jung. It isn’t terribly interesting – he’s just another tosser who refuses to see women as human beings and thinks he has the right to “punish” them – but at least it is straightforward and doesn’t glamourise the violence. And it’s good to see Dong-shik and Joo-won starting to warm to each other. Like Humph in Casablanca, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

But I wish there had been more of Min-jung and Jae-yi’s mum. Did JM just bump into Jae-yi’s mum one night and kill her? Was she really doing sex work after her husband’s death? As for MJ, all we’ve seen of her is a drunk, rebellious teen. But she was the only person who had noticed that JM was putting on an act for Manyang. What was life with JM like? If she had been more than ordinarily unhappy, why hadn’t any of her loving friends noticed?

Anyway, now that someone has passed Jin-mook a handy length of fishing line while the latter is in custody, we’re back to suspecting anyone who is a cop or has connections to cops. In the flashbacks, Jin-mook’s habitually downcast eyes gazed at shoes as well as wagging fingers, but did he really chop off the fingers AND bag and beribbon the feet all by himself? And could someone please explain why Ji-hwa’s ex-husband keeps muttering asides in what sounds like Russian?

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Oh dear…

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I’m not a Brooklyn Nine-Nine viewer, but this made me laugh anyway.

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Beyond Evil episode 7 finally moves on from all that eyeballing between Dong-shik and Joo-won. It does so partly by going back in time: to the night of Min-jung’s disappearance and – even further back – to what happened to DS’s Regional Unit partner Sang-yeob. These flashbacks contribute a great deal to our understanding of DS’s behaviour from around episode 2, including the spring cleaning and the returning of the case files.

However, I still have some qualms about Kang Jin-mook. Although MJ had apparently felt uncomfortable with him for quite a while, she didn’t seem to fear him, at least not enough to stay well away from home or to confide in DS or Jung-je. So what Jin-mook has supposedly done to his daughter still seems a bit out of the blue to me. Also, wouldn’t it have been a huge risk with so many cops circling around the supermarket that night? It’s true that everyone thinks of him as a pal, but by the same token mightn’t that familiarity have led someone (maybe not the younger and less assertive Ji-hoon, but definitely DS or maybe Ji-hwa) to barge into his living quarters and discover that MJ wasn’t in any of the usual rooms?

Anyway, i’ve got a bad feeling – yup, another one – that there is an accomplice who has carted Min-jung’s body away, taking JW and especially DS back to square one. Or maybe even worse than square one, cos DS handled MJ’s fingers…

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LUCA episode 12 is a suitably loony finale which sees many characters come full circle. Lee Son ends as he began: half-barbecued by Zi-oh. Gu-reum reverts to tough maverick cop mode, yes getting beaten up again but also doing some proper detective work and forcing Kim Chul-soo to poke lift buttons with his nose. Baby turns out to be THAT baby in episode 1. And Zi-oh, sadly, is back to being creepy and dead-eyed, though his perm is combed into something a bit less ahjummah.

Actually, in spite of all the fights and chases, episode 12 is almost melancholic in tone. It starts on a bizarrely comic note, with a near-zombified Lee Son flinging a stepladder in ZO’s general direction and babbling random threats. But in less than a minute it becomes unbearably sad: Lee Son’s last gasp turns out to be a plea for his own death, not ZO’s. This is echoed by ZO’s heavy sigh near the end of the episode. In between, we get GR’s sensible ahjusshi colleague, and then poor GR herself, joining Team Leader Choi in the Big Cop Shop In The Sky; ZO killing his biological mother without turning a hair; and, most significantly, GR trying but resoundingly failing to persuade ZO to cut the superior species crap. With GR’s death, ZO’s original reason for 10,000 ZOs – to bestow normality on Baby – is curdled by hatred for humans. Sigh.

Well I don’t think they have managed to hit the 10,000 mark, but the final image of lots of little ZOs in plastic pouches, sending bolts of electricity to the ceiling, was the last thing I expected when I started watching this show. I certainly didn’t expect Dr Ryu to survive, let alone be the only character to get exactly what he wanted. And I love it! I love the fact that the “only person who helped me” trope and even the usually powerful “childhood connection” trope just shrivelled up and died in the face of Dr Ryu’s utterly sincere arguments for creating a superior species. I don’t love this show enough to hope for a second season, but it’d be fun to see how Dr Ryu and his grouchy son get along in the future. Jung Eun-chae would be a worthy successor to Jin Kyung. And how about Baby helping her adoptive father and his colleagues defeat some evil boss?

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    Whoa, what an unexpected ending. i caught the first few eps then lost interest, and therefore – thank you for putting this post up. I’d never have expected Dr. Ryu & Zi Oh to pair up and be the winners lol. What happened to Zi Oh and GR’s baby?

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      You’re welcome! Here’s a pretty long-winded account of Baby’s fate:

      Because ZO had agreed to, er, birth 10,000 ZOs, the baddies were no longer interested in Baby at the end of ep11. The chaps in black suits pursuing GR and Baby in ep12 (and at the start of ep1) are actually led by ZO, who understandably wants his wife and child back. Equally understandably, GR doesn’t want Baby anywhere near people messing with 10,000 ZOs. Surrounded by black-suited chaps, she decides to hide Baby by dropping her from the top of the circular building to some hidden spot on the ground floor. (Cos she knows Baby will generate a force field or whatever when in free fall.) The next day, Baby is discovered in the circular building by a random ahjusshi. A few months later, while being photographed for a family portrait with random ahjusshi and his wife, Baby – also perfectly understandably, cos family portraits are a pain – zaps the photo studio to kingdom come. And that’s the last we see of her. I hope her adoptive parents don’t decide to ship her to a children’s home there and then…

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        😂
        Thank you for this explanation. One last question, why did the men in black kill GR if Zi Oh sent them?

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          They didn’t. She took a bullet from Kim Chul-soo (Lee Son’s boss), who had been aiming at ZO. Kim’s client was willing to pay a great deal of money even for ZO’s corpse… It’s details like these that make LUCA such a scream haha.

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            LOL thanks! 😀 Sounds like it was a funny show, despite also being something of a trainwreck. Maybe I should give it a second go haha

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LUCA episode 11: in which Jin Kyung’s church-lab becomes the stage for yet more alarums and excursions, including our inter-species couple’s first (and probably last) serious disagreement over child-rearing.

After what happened at the HumanTech building, surely security at the church-lab should have been beefed up to the max? But noooo: Zi-oh strolled in, Team Leader Choi strolled in, and now Lee Son and his pals stroll in too. I was sad to see Lee Son in such a wretched state, bereft of all human feeling except anger and hatred. But although he has a nice little exchange with Jin Kyung, right now he and his boss Kim Chul-soo are just getting in the way of the truly important issue: Bringing Up Baby.

As I’ve mentioned before, the looniness of LUCA co-exists with many believable – matter-of-fact, unsentimental and sometimes surprisingly serious – moments. ZO knows just how important memory is – how much one’s identity, sense of belonging and mental well-being depend on it. But Gu-reum doesn’t think that’s worth electrocuting Baby for. One might argue, as ZO does, that GR should bear Baby’s pain now for the sake of Baby’s health and happiness in the future. Baby is as resilient as ZO; GR is just being squeamish. IMO, Baby can live with memory loss as long as she has strong, loving parents to support her at the start of her life. I can see why ZO so desperately wants to spare Baby that handicap, but in the end even ZO baulked at all those horrible electrodes.

There is another factor in GR’s favour: those electrodes are applied by Dr Ryu, whose mild and kindly manner in the last few episodes, especially towards ZO, had distracted me from all his Nietzschean talk. GR might have rejected ZO earlier, but at the start of this episode she recovers enough to beg him to leave with her and Baby. Unfortunately, just as Dr Ryu’s lecture about ZO’s genes triggered doubt and revulsion in GR, so Dr Ryu’s odes to superior beings have caused ZO to revert to his numb, pro-animal testing earlier self. I think it’s a pretty small step from being worshipped by a roomful of religious fanatics (“These people are crazy,” says Team Leader Choi with his usual pithiness) to allowing your baby to be electrocuted by the likes of Dr Ryu. After all, this is the guy who was in charge of an exploding pregnant woman, and whose creations don’t seem any less problematic than ordinary humans.

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Beyond Evil episode 6: in which there is a big reveal… or is there?

It’s perfectly plausible that Kang Jin-mook isn\’t as grateful to Dong-sik and his family as he’d appeared to be – that he might even have resented them, and been jealous of DS’s relationship with Min-jung. But it’s still a big stretch from JM the devoted adopted member of the family to JM the homicidally possessive father. And it’s a bigger stretch from DS’s reaction when JM visited him at Munju police station, to DS’s current attitude towards JM. What changed after DS was released? Or has DS always been suspicious of JM, and faking friendship and concern? Also, what exactly was DS trying to conceal when he asked Chief Nam to cover his tracks at Munju station?

The problem is, DS is as opaque now as he was in episode 1, and mainly because of that my sympathies are beginning to shift to Joo-won. Surely DS can make better use of JW than just messing with his mind? Perhaps JW is right – maybe DS doesn’t need any information about the other victims because he already knows who the killer is or who the killers are, and is playing a long, convoluted and personal game with them. Also, if the text to JM was sent by him – and it’s a kind of baiting that seems very typical of DS – how did he get hold of Min-jung’s phone?

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    always suspicious.. initial episode when he went to take care of DS mother.. DS literally hated him touching his mom

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    It seems like JM has been putting on an act all of his life, so I don’t think that is such a big stretch. DS’ attitude certainly changed this episode, but that’s typical with a reveal. I did think he acted a little weird with him in the scenes with the mom. Maybe he has been putting on an act all of these years with JM too. Or maybe MJ’s disappearance made him certain? He searched the house afterward, maybe?

    I’m not sure JM is the only killer. I could see him killing the sister, MJ’s mom who “left” and MJ as there seems to be a possessive element there but not sure about all of the others.

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      I dunno. Even a twist or a reveal needs to come from somewhere. Actually I don’t have a problem with JM’s deceit. I’m beginning to think that he despises his fellow Manyang’ers for pitying him while quietly capitalising on their pity, like when he distributes kimchi to the cops in this episode. But the show has laid the groundwork for this “deceitful JM” reveal, e.g. by consistently showing JM using food to gain goodwill and trigger guilt. In contrast, I don’t think the “homicidal JM” reveal has been managed very well, with JM suddenly become Suspect Number 1 simply by looming into DS’s consciousness when JW asks him whom he is protecting. In fact, I’m still not 100% convinced JM has killed anyone…

      Come to think of it, Jung-je and Ji-hoon also became fishy rather abruptly, but at least DS hasn’t been shown suddenly doubting them. In fact, JM’s sudden promotion to Suspect Number 1 doesn’t worry me as much as DS’s attitude towards him. I’d be particularly disturbed if DS has been suspicious of him all this time, yet was ok leaving him to mess with his mother and his friends in Manyang for 20 years.

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        It’s entirely possible that the show is simply going to go through the whole list of people that COULD have done it, with misdirect after misdirect after misdirect- bear in mind they painted DS as the suspect at first.
        Sometimes I really enjoy the messed up and seemingly complex characterization, and sometimes I can’t help but think it’s not really that smart, just tense and confusing, and therefore faking being smart. But I don’t really know yet. I still think there’s a lot more than just the serial murders going on.

        If it is indeed JM- it is very concerning if DS knew all this time and did nothing about it. I kept asking myself why- because he had no condemning proof or evidence? *Shrugs*

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Beyond Evil episode 5: The show is starting to feel like an ever-expanding web of stupid questions, cryptic answers and constipated behaviour. Maybe that\’s meant to reflect the Manyang experience: in the absence of truth and redemption, each lost soul just keeps shuffling along, and woe betide the outsider who gets trapped there. And much as I enjoy Dong-shik and Joo-won’s cat-and-mouse games, I really wish they’d start investigating the case properly.

Still, I’m glad JW at least has an awakening of sorts, though it’s a pretty rude one. His dad denounces him, a reporter hounds him and – worst of all – his lumpen Manyang colleagues embrace him. He follows DS into a fray and gets caught on video stylishly wielding a baton. Ji-hwa ships him with DS and suggests they move in together – with some justice, since he is often found loitering outside DS’s house.

And JW finally realises he is a mouse, not a cat, and admits his guilt over sending Lee Geum-hwa to her death. It isn’t much, but it’s nice to get a straight answer for a change, especially as we get a new batch of questions in this episode: Why is Jung-je so fragile? What happened to DS’s partner Sang-yeob? Why is Kang Jin-mook suddenly looking… well, murderous?

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LUCA episode 10: Each unhappy family is certainly unhappy is in its own way, but even Tolstoy couldn’t have seen THIS coming. When Jin Kyung announces that she and Dr Ryu are Zi-oh’s parents, the look on Kim Rae-won’s face is pure gold.

The next generation isn’t doing much better. Baby zaps Gu-reum! GR drops Baby! Baby levitates in a ball of electricity! Knewbie almost drops a cup of tea! I completely disagree with viewers who say GR is a vacillating, gullible bitch who is abandoning ZO for no good reason. On top of what she has experienced herself, the details of the wrecked car containing her parents’ remains are pretty damning, and ZO’s current denials contradict his earlier claim that he really doesn’t know whether he killed them. And I think she would still have tried to work things out with ZO if Jin Kyung and Dr Ryu hadn’t taken her to the lab and given her a massive dose of body horror, David Cronenberg style. I doubt any new mother, let alone one who has recently had her baby prised from her arms, could have accepted all that gross gene editing stuff with equanimity.

I also think GR is so horrified now precisely because she truly did accept ZO as a human being earlier. ZO had followed Dr Ryu’s advice, grabbed happiness with both hands and become more human than he’d ever been. Without the interference of both well- and ill-intentioned outsiders, his powers were just something the couple took in their stride, like pets that can be trained to adapt to Baby. The same would have applied to Baby’s powers. Too bad the world refuses to leave them alone. Thus begins ZO’s backsliding into his less than human state. But what a magnificent backsliding it is! Even the far from impressionable Jin Kyung is so impressed that she takes a knee in her white trouser suit. At the same time, GR busts out of her cell with Baby strapped to her back and a stake fashioned from a wooden spoon. Woohoo!

Enough about our inter-species couple. It’s the baddies who interest me more, and they get so many good lines in this episode. Jung Eun-chae is deadlier than anyone else, having mastered all Deputy Kim’s old tricks and with lots of new ones up her immaculately tailored sleeve. Jin Kyung shows ZO that cliches have no place in the modern world (“I said I was your mum, not that I gave birth to you”). Dr Ryu continues to be a disturbing combination of compassion and megalomania (“I created ZO. I am already a deity.”). Deputy Kim knows exactly how many times lunkhead Lee Son punched him. Most amazingly, Team Leader Choi really does redeem himself! When he and ZO revive the sensible but trusting ahjusshi cop, I wanted to kiss them all.

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IMO LUCA episode 9 is more brutal than usual, and unnecessarily so. Two sympathetic characters are killed in a particularly nasty way; even worse, the killers are Zi-oh and Lee Son at their most savage. However, I can see that the violence has a narrative purpose, underlining how desperate first ZO, then LS, have become.

That pretty much sums up why I’m watching LUCA. Generally it’s a nutty, OTT show that has to be seen to be believed; yet a lot of it is believable in a way that isn’t that common in K-drama. In most K-dramas, Deputy Kim’s subordinates would have continued working for him even after he’s sacked. Here, Team Leader Choi dumps him asap, while even lunkhead Lee Son is sticking close to him only to protect Yoo-na. Choi is convincingly conflicted, believing that Zi-oh is bad for Gu-reum, and that he has betrayed GR for her own good. And nothing cheered me more than GR’s dopey ahjusshi colleague, who has turned out to be anything but dopey. Tracing GR’s call, suspecting weirdness (as he would) and begging his team to investigate further – the guy gets the Most Sensible Character of the Month award! Thanks to him, Zi-oh’s gate-crashing of the cops’ team dinner is so much more satisfying – now everyone knows what Choi has been up to.

Poor GR spends the entire episode being lied to, but for someone in such a vulnerable position I think she does rather well – challenging Choi, demanding evidence, suspecting faked DNA results, etc. I was hoping she could last the episode without being physically attacked, but that meathead Lee Son had to lose his temper and grab her by her head. (I felt bad laughing at Deputy Kim’s “Why did you pull out so much of her hair?”) ZO, on the other hand, is completely eclipsed by Won-yi, who leaves the show in a blaze of glorious lines: “We’re used to being abandoned.” “Never chase after women and cats when they choose to leave home.” “Don’t try to be logical.” As the other departing character, Yoo-na doesn’t get any funny lines (though her “Forget the arm, and live with me” made me think of a love triangle involving her, her beloved captain and THE ARM). However, her final scenes with Lee Son convey so much with so little that I wish the show had given us more of them.

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