Friday, August 29, 2014

Triangle: Episode 14

Triangle may not be the flashiest show to assault your optic stems week to week, but there’s something to be said for the way it keeps building upon itself to become more than we expected, deeper than what we hoped for, and achingly human despite itself. Watching Young-dal forge a path down memory lane only to get to that so-close-yet-so-far point of no return is a treat from beginning to end this hour, even if his magic therapy fairy steps in to help one too many times for my taste. Though I guess that’s what you get with free memory regression sessions that take place in coffee shops.

Jung Joon-young – “병이에요 (Spotless Mind)” [ Download ]


Dong-soo watches intently as Young-dal, in his hypnotic state, recalls the events from that fateful night Dong-soo left his two little brothers. Young-dal cries as he goes deeper and deeper into his memories: “I’m scared…”
Shin-hye offers to stop the session, but Young-dal collects himself enough to continue. The flashback he enters is our first glimpse into what happened after Dong-soo left, since so far we’ve only had Dong-soo’s perspective.
Young-dal speaks of a black car and a man taking his little brother away. As he relives the memories and emotions from that night, he cries out that he was supposed to take care of his dongsaeng… but he couldn’t do as his hyung told him and failed in his duty.

It’s honestly heartbreaking to see young Young-dal sobbing as he chases the car carrying his brother before he sinks to the ground screaming. “I wasn’t even able to protect my little brother,” Young-dal continues in the present, guilt washing over him in waves of grief.
“I’m sorry, I did wrong,” Young-dal apologizes, eyes still shut tight. “I’m so sorry.” Still reliving his thought process as a child, he says aloud how he didn’t know what he would say to his hyung when he returned, because he couldn’t keep his promise. “And I’m so scared,” he repeats.
Dong-soo looks like his own heart is breaking, since the realization that this could be his long lost brother must be hitting him by now, right? He doesn’t seem to understand the process of hypnosis though, since Shin-hye has to explain it to him after bringing Young-dal back to consciousness.

Young-dal looks weary and overwhelmed as Dong-soo asks him if he remembers his brothers’ names or even his own before he became Heo Young-dal. But Young-dal can’t remember, and Shin-hye cuts the interrogation session short to send him home to rest.
Dong-soo later confesses to Shin-hye that Young-dal’s story gave him chills, since it’s so eerily similar to his own past. When asked if he thinks Young-dal could be his brother, Dong-soo admits that the thought had crossed his mind.
But knowing Young-dal as a person and how much he’s suffered, Dong-soo admits that he’d be ashamed to call himself Young-dal’s brother now. Shin-hye remains confident that they can solve this mystery by finding out where Young-dal’s memories took place, and Dong-soo seems intrigued at the idea that a second hypnotherapy session with Young-dal could reveal more details.

Jung-hee pays Young-dal a visit later that night with what she calls a sweet rice drink, but Young-dal calls it gamju, which is just another word for the drink he happens to love. He can’t remember where he ever picked up the term though. (I wonder if he’s remembering more of his past because of his hypnosis?)
And aw, Young-dal tells Jung-hee that he wants her to learn how to make some of Grandma’s favorite recipes… so that she can make them for him. Omo. He’s definitely talking about their future, which makes Jung-hee smile despite her joking warning that he’s being too forward.
He tells Jung-hee all about his hypnotherapy session and what he remembers, and it’s endearing that he feels so free to confide in her. Even though he doubts he’ll ever find his brothers with his spotty memories, Jung-hee remains optimistic and encouraging. I legitimately love this couple.

After considering Chairman Yoon’s order for him to take care of Dong-soo once and for all, Chairman Go dismisses the services of an assassin in favor of using his top minion, SOO-CHANG, to get rid of Dong-soo without killing him.
At least Chairman Go has enough sense to know that if Dong-soo turned up dead, he’d be the first name on the suspect list. But as for what he plans to do instead, only he knows.

Detective Gook stops by Boss Yang’s office to find him playing Go-Stop with Madame Jang and her minion, only he’s not there to bust them for gambling—he’s there to ask about Young-dal, because he’s been too quiet since he was released and that usually means he’s up to no good.
No one has a clear answer, though the idea is enough to put Madame Jang on high alert. Boss Yang is the only one who defends Young-dal by claiming that he hasn’t caused any new trouble because he’s trying to live honestly.

Boss Min expresses her doubts about Elder Ahn entrusting Young-dal with such a big undertaking (regarding his deal with Daejung), but Elder Ahn doesn’t budge in his decision. Because even though he owes Young-dal his life, he’s not bringing the young man in out of sentiment, since he wouldn’t have made it this far in the moneylending business if he did.
He’s putting his trust in Young-dal because Young-dal knows how to gamble big, which Elder Ahn claims is a skill that can’t be learned. Young-dal was born with that ability, even if Young-dal isn’t aware of it himself.
Dong-soo flashes back to when Young-dal revealed his grand plan to him, and I love how Young-dal was reticent at first because he knew Dong-soo would call him crazy. But at Dong-soo’s encouragement, Young-dal declared his plans to take over Daejung Casino.

And ha, the first thing that came out of Dong-soo’s mouth was: “Crazy bastard.” Young-dal: “See, what did I tell you? I knew you’d call me a crazy bastard.” And though he didn’t reveal all the details to Dong-soo, he seemed confident that the takeover was possible because of his hidden card, aka Elder Ahn.
The two meet up in the present, with Young-dal finding amusement in Dong-soo’s impatience to learn what his hidden card is. They continue to bicker like brothers, unaware that they’re being followed by Soo-chang, who reports their actions to Chairman Go.
In his quest to remain relevant, Director Hyun gives Chairman Go a bit of ammo in order to better pit him against Yang-ha by telling him that Yang-ha was actually adopted. And Director Hyun hopes that in bringing down Yang-ha, his father will realize his “son” is unfit to be heir and place him in charge instead.

Young-dal reveals his hidden card to Dong-soo by introducing him to Elder Ahn, who Dong-soo remembers Shin-hye reciting facts about like a Wikipedia article.
Though Dong-soo doesn’t quite understand how Young-dal got the backing of such an affluent man, he perks up when Young-dal reveals that Elder Ahn’s condition for lending Daejung money was that he’d be able to send one of his own people into the casino.
And that person is Dong-soo. At first Dong-soo argues that it should be Young-dal, but the younger man laughs it off that he couldn’t square off against Yang-ha when he’s never stepped foot inside a school before. Dong-soo has an education, plus he spent his prison time learning about gambling, so he’s the man for the job.

Young-dal explains his reasons for including Dong-soo to Elder Ahn by telling him about how Chairman Yoon had Chairman Go kill Dong-soo’s father, so he’s out for revenge.
Elder Ahn’s concern is that Dong-soo’s bloodlust might interfere with their plans, but Young-dal puts his mind at ease as he claims that the old Dong-soo would’ve done that, but Dong-soo’s a new man after his stint in jail.
So Elder Ahn takes Young-dal at his word and agrees to let Dong-soo in, though Boss Min isn’t so sure—why wouldn’t Young-dal just do the job himself? Young-dal tells her that no gambler leaves the game he’s good at to play the game he’s bad at, which is why Dong-soo’s better suited to infiltrate the casino than he is.

Speaking of, we find Yang-ha and Chairman Yoon discussing the unknown person Elder Ahn wants to place in their casino, with Yang-ha confident that he’ll be able to control whoever it is.
The talk then turns to how Chairman Yoon plans to get rid of Dong-soo, and though Yang-ha worries that his adoptive father is putting himself into a precarious position by getting Chairman Go to do the work, Chairman Yoon has a bigger plan in mind. He’ll use this opportunity to take both Chairman Go and Dong-soo down.

Yang-ha doesn’t need to hear more to know what’s up (even if I’m not quite sure what’s up), at least until his father tries to get him to go on a golfing trip with a rich chairman and his marriage-eligible daughter.
And maybe for the first time ever, a chaebol heir tells his chaebol father that he won’t go on a matchmaking date because he likes someone else… only for the sky to NOT come crashing down. Chairman Yoon doesn’t even freak out, if anything he just seems mildly confused. Granted, he doesn’t know who the girl is yet.
Shin-hye has managed to do what Dong-soo never could during his years as a detective by tracking down the former director of Dong-soo’s orphanage. However, Dong-soo seems less enthused about that than he is about following through with Young-dal’s plan.

All of Jung-hee’s fellow dealers are pissed when they find out that Jung-hee’s not only going on an all-inclusive Las Vegas trip courtesy of the company, but that she’s going with Yang-ha.
They confront her over this fact, and though Jung-hee’s confused (she didn’t get the memo when they did), she still fights back against the onslaught of bitchy girls by proclaiming that whatever they heard about her and Yang-ha isn’t true.
The female manager Director Hyun is/was having an affair with reports directly to him about Yang-ha’s dealings, and is the one to tell him that Yang-ha’s not only dating a dealer, but a dealer who was born a poor miner’s daughter. Ah ha.

Determined to stop the rumor mill at its source, Jung-hee confronts the marketing director responsible for spreading the initial talk, only to be told that she heard about the couple’s trip directly from Yang-ha himself.
So she goes directly to Yang-ha, and while he initially smiles to see her, his face falls when she maintains a formal tone and distance as she tells him that everyone’s talking about her taking the trip to Vegas with him—and if that’s his condition for taking her in the first place, then she’d rather not go.
She’s not placated when Yang-ha tells her she can go by herself then, and refuses the trip all together. But she’s not heartless, so when Yang-ha entreats her to sit down and just hear him out for a second, she does.

He starts off by saying that this isn’t how he wanted this talk to go, but he knew this was his only chance since Jung-hee would refuse to see him outside of work. “I’ll just say it now: I was planning on going to Las Vegas with you so that I could propose to you.” Omo. What?
“Because I already know you have feelings for someone else, I’m well aware that you won’t accept my proposal,” Yang-ha continues. “But I was afraid that if I waited any longer, I might lose you forever… so I decided I have to do it now. I’m not going to hesitate about the feelings I have for you anymore. I vow to take the feelings you have for Young-dal for for myself. No matter what.”
Jang-soo and Jailbreak take Jung-hee’s shy casino buddy Jun-ho for a fun night out at Madame Jang’s casino as a way of thanking him for being their informant. But their happy mood sours quickly when Madame Jang’s lackey points them in the direction of someone who’s been asking for Young-dal…

…And the man sitting at the table is none other than Manbong Hyungnim, out of jail waaaay earlier than they expected him to be. His presence is bad news bears—Young-dal still owes him a lot of cash money.
Young-dal meets Manbong at the casino after his panicked friends tell him the news, and gulps down his fear at seeing his worst nightmare walking around as a free man. So of course he has no choice but to say yes when Manbong asks if he’s ready to put his life on the line for him. (Didn’t he have a year, though?)

While Chairman Go repeats the same refrain about getting rid of Dong-soo, Jung-hee goes home to mull over the very strange proposal Yang-ha just gave her.
Along with Jailbreak, Jang-soo has resolved to take care of Young-dal’s Manbong problem without ever telling Young-dal. Since Boss Min and Top Dog are on Team Young-dal (and they’re higher on the ganster totem pole than Manbong), Jang-soo enlists them to stop Manbong from collecting his debt.

Even though Manbong claims that Young-dal made a bet with him for his life, Boss Min passes whatever little deal they might’ve made together as completely unimportant when compared to the gamble Young-dal is preparing to make. And Boss Min is going to make sure that Manbong doesn’t stand in Young-dal’s way. Go Boss Min!
Young-dal tells Dong-soo that he’ll be put into place at Daejung starting next week—and best of all will be the look on Yang-ha’s face when he sees him, since Yang-ha has no idea what’s coming.

But since Dong-soo put on his buzzkill pants today, he asks Young-dal why he’s so thrilled about this plan and what he intends to get out of it. “I know I’m doing this for revenge, but what’s your reason?” He doesn’t think that Yang-ha putting Young-dal in jail is enough of one, I suppose, and wonders if Young-dal is using his hidden card too soon.
Young-dal’s only reply is to laugh awkwardly, admitting that when Dong-soo puts it that way, he doesn’t know how to respond. “What’s your dream?” Dong-soo asks abruptly, causing Young-dal to openly confess that his dream has been constantly changing lately: At first he wanted to be the world champion at Texas Hold’em. But now…

“Now my dream is to marry this girl I know and live happily ever after with her.” Awww. “And to find my older brother and the little brother I lost. Something like that.” Gah. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.
Dong-soo worries that Young-dal might be as innocent and pure-hearted as his dreams, which would make him ill-equipped to go up against the evil they’re sure to face. He’s trying to protect Young-dal, but Young-dal doesn’t want to be protected. He’s a gambler by nature, and he won’t, can’t, pass up a gamble this big.
While Yang-ha continues to not worry about whoever it is that Elder Ahn plans to send to them and why, he has been checking up on Young-dal through Detective Gook. He’s actually mad that Young-dal has been laying so low, because he’s just itching for the opportunity to fight him.

Director Hyun takes it upon himself to confront Jung-hee about her relationship with Yang-ha, only to be politely and promptly shut down as Jung-hee asserts that there’s nothing between the two of them. So much for that trump card.
Officially fed up with all the drama surrounding Yang-ha, Jung-hee opts to take that casino job she was offered in Seoul. She offers to bring Grandma and her brothers up when she gets settled in, but Grandma doesn’t want to move. She’d rather Jung-hee take only her brothers with her.

Poor Young-dal is trying (and failing) to educate himself by reading books when Jung-hee texts him to ask how he’d feel if she moved to Seoul for work.
At first Young-dal is confused since he didn’t even know about the job offer, before he remembers that he can’t leave Sabuk with her when he’s got his own job to do. He tries to get her to stop texting and just talk to him, but she turns him down—she needs some time alone to think.
Shin-hye wants to help Young-dal recover his lost memories, and apparently the best place to do that is a cafe. I can’t even muster up the energy to be surprised with her. Of course she’d hold a therapy session in public. What could possibly be wrong with that idea.

However, instead of hypnotherapy this time, all Shin-hye has to do is ask Young-dal to think really hard about his past in order to remember. He closes his eyes and instantly remembers the night his older brother left with startling clarity—complete with names and all.
“Dong-woo,” he says once he opens his eyes. “My little brother’s name… is Dong-woo.” He knows his own was Dong-chul since that’s what his hyung called him.
Shin-hye hears these names and knows instantly that Young-dal is Dong-soo’s brother, because she remembers Dong-soo listing off his brothers’ names. Even though Young-dal can’t remember his hyung’s name, Shin-hye takes him with her to the orphanage where Dong-soo came from. Where she knows he came from now, too.

We find Dong-soo meeting with Detective Tak in town, and it looks like Chairman Go hired that scarred assassin to take care of Dong-soo after all. (For being supposedly skilled with a knife, you’d think he wouldn’t look like he has butter fingers when it comes to handling sharp objects near his face.)
At the orphanage, Young-dal is flooded with memories of his younger self and his two brothers. He asks how Shin-hye knew to bring him here. “Young-dal…I mean, Dong-chul… Your hyung’s name is Jang Dong-soo.”

Young-dal reacts with disbelief. Does she mean Detective Jang? She nods, and reaffirms that the Dong-soo he knows is truly his hyung. Young-dal hears this and goes speechless as tears roll down his cheeks.
It takes Dong-soo a while to answer the phone since he’s too busy vowing to take revenge for his father, but he finally picks up when Young-dal calls. He can’t get signal in the restaurant and goes outside to take the call… oh no. Don’t do it! The Scarred Man is out there!
Drunk but happy, Dong-soo doesn’t catch the serious tone in Young-dal’s voice and invites him out for a drink…

…Only for the Scarred Man to stab him in the gut, twist the knife, and leave him bleeding out on the street. Damn it, show!
Young-dal knows something has gone terribly wrong when he hears Dong-soo groaning in pain as well as the startled cries of people nearby. He yells and yells into the phone, but receives no answer.

Of course. Of course Dong-soo would get stabbed right then, right when it mattered most for him to hear what Young-dal had to say. Right when a reunion was within arm’s reach. I can’t blame Triangle for making good use of dramatic timing, but if that dramatic timing were a person, I’d totally punch it in the face right now.
When I saw the assassin stalking Dong-soo, my first thought was that I must’ve missed Chairman Go’s moment of decision somewhere. Toward the beginning of the hour, Chairman Go spelled out his argument on why he couldn’t have Dong-soo killed, and even though I find his character despicable and a bit of a snooze, I had to hand it to him—he’s absolutely right that he’d be the first person suspected of killing Dong-soo.
But lest we think that he had some other plan, even if he led us to believe he had some other plan, maybe stabbing and incapacitating Dong-soo was it all along. At least we know Dong-soo will live considering the episode count, so as long as he’s not struck with amnesia, I’m willing to take this new plot development in stride. But if at this point next week Dong-soo is either an amnesiac or in a coma, then I’ll have quite the bone to pick with this show.

Aside from that, I love the way Young-dal and Jung-hee are progressing, if only because their love line is so sweet and grounded. She’s not his first love or an unrequited love vying for his attention—she’s just an average girl with good taste. The fact that he turns into a different and much shyer person around her is beyond adorable no matter how many times it happens, and simple things like him trying to educate himself or him dreaming of a happy marriage continue to make Young-dal a very endearing character who’s easy to root for in spite of all his mistakes and shortcomings.
That’s why it’s easy to root for Jung-hee by association, because she’s been proving herself as a free-thinking individual for longer than I was initially willing to give her credit for. She’s not the hapless heroine in some high school drama (you know who you are) getting tugged around by two men, because she’s made her choice and is perfectly capable of standing up for herself when necessary. Come to think of it, my appreciation for her quiet yet no-nonsense demeanor has really been growing lately, especially with all the crap she has to put up with that she never even asked for. I wish I felt more sympathy for Yang-ha though, I really do.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with Young-dal’s moment of realization, even though I have to shut my eyes, spit, and spin around three times every time Shin-hye ruins a scene. There could’ve been so many overwrought ways to play the scene where Young-dal reconciles his past and the fact that Dong-soo is his long lost brother, but instead we got a beautifully realistic and poignant portrayal by Jaejoong, who has really come into his own as an actor over the course of this series. Don’t take the promise of a family and happiness away from him, Triangle. You leave Young-dal alone.

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