For all the flaws in the writing of the show – both in terms of the plot and the characterisation of Min Ho, I have to say I’m really really enjoying the performances of both Ji Sung and Uhm Ki-Joon and they play off each other extremely well in this episode.
Ji Sung’s performance as the tormented, floundering Jeong Woo has been compelling and engaging thus far, but I enjoy his performance of Jeong Woo pretending to be crazy and out of his mind even better. What’s even more perfect is how he overplays it in such a frenzied and exaggerated manner that those of us who’ve seen him actually break down can tell the difference, but not Min Ho. We also learn get an explanation regarding Jeong Woo’s repeated loss of memory – it happens when he recovers all his memories because of his desire to protect himself. It’s not the best explanation in light of what’s been going on because I always thought Min Ho had a role to play in ensuring Jeong Woo lost his memories – wasn’t that why he kept arranging for Jeong Woo to be sent to the prison cell?
Min Ho is vicious as always and we finally get to see what happened on the night of Ji Soo’s murder. The act of him pausing before stabbing Ji Soo and then changing to his left hand was so devious, creepy and shocking at the same time. In prison, he truly turns on his manipulative prowess, provoking Jeong Woo in such cruel ways by firstly pretending to perform a scene from a play which is actually Ji Soo’s last words, and then bringing Ha Yeon to prison. I loved how sharp and smart Jeong Woo was in both those instances, especially when Min Ho acted out Ji Soo’s last words. He indeed lost control of himself and wanted to get Min Ho, but realised that he needed a decoy to divert Min Ho’s attention hence he pretends to be angry instead over his bread.
Beneath Min Ho’s deviousness is a huge sense of insecurity as we witness a nightmare of his with Jeong Woo strangling him. He’s grappling at all ways to regain control over Jeong Woo and his condition; while he is able to use his power to manipulate the prison warden to put Jeong Woo in a separate prison, it is in the area of psychological warfare that he loses out to Jeong Woo because if there’s anything we’ve seen from Jeong Woo’s time in prison, we know that he’s not just smart, but also very mentally strong and determined. I found his act of stopping himself from seeing Ha Yeon very admirable, because it showed how he could see in the long term and overcome his most heartfelt desire to be with his daughter, so as to ensure she’s safe. While not explicitly mentioned, Seong Kyu’s previous visit must also have given Jeong Woo a sense of assurance that Seong Kyu is protecting and keeping Ha Yeon safe, hence he cannot do anything now to jeopardise that situation.
We’ve had a little less focus on Jun-Hyuk and Eun-Hye recently, but I’m glad Eun-Hye is proving her worth in the short appearances she has. This time, she manages to spot a key detail even before Jeong Woo tells her about it, which is that two knives were missing from the kitchen and not one. I’m keen to see the latest development of Min Ho getting Eun-hye to defend him and am wondering what he has up his sleeves. Now that Jun-Hyuk has heard Ha Yeon’s voice, I’m sure that will prompt him to take more action, but that also potentially means his promotion and career could be on the line, since he was so resolute in putting Jeong Woo behind bars. Will he finally make the right choice this time?
Besides the Jeong Woo-Min Ho drama that we got in this episode, I also enjoyed the brief insights we got into the struggles of the Cha family, especially the scene between Min Ho’s dad and mum at the altar of Seon Ho. They know the truth but the tension they face is genuine as revealing the truth would mean they lose both sons and also means the whole reputation of the family goes down the drain. We see Yeon Hee increasingly losing her nerves too and becoming increasingly frazzled when she remembers Jennifer Lee’s cry before dying. How long will she be able to keep up the pretence before she breaks down completely?
I’m glad to hear of the two episode extension, because I feel there’s much scope to flesh out some of the relationships that may not be critical for the main storyline, but useful nonetheless. Of particular interest would be Min Ho’s relationship with his mum over the years, and also with Yeon Hee. It’d be nice if we got clearer sense of Min Ho’s gradual downfall over the years to the cold-hearted murderer that he is right now. I don’t necessarily need him to be softened or redeemed as a villain, but at least it’d be nice to see him humanised so that we understand how he became who he is today.
Nonetheless, in spite of certain plotholes, I’m really enjoying this drama because we see two equally intelligent, capable protagonists continually trying to outsmart each other. Now that Min Ho knows that Jeong Woo remembers, one has to wonder what his next step is going to be.