Sunday, August 31, 2014

Triangle: Episode 19

For an episode following a rather big revelation, we’re rewarded with more planning and scheming in this hour. To Young-dal’s credit, it’s a pretty smart plan because it requires knowing what makes the other person tick and what pressure points will evoke the kind of reaction our hero wants. It also requires a lot of manpower and everyone in this large characterverse gets to do their part, whether they’re aware of it or not.
As previously announced, Triangle has added two more episodes to its roster, bumping up the total count to an even lengthier 26 episodes.

g.o.d (feat. Megan Lee) – “우리가 사는 이야기 (The Story Of Our Lives)” [ Download ]

In order to learn how Shin-hye arrived at her conclusion that Yang-ha is Dong-woo, we backtrack to earlier that day when she had spoken with Jung-hee’s grandmother. Grandma had remembered the Jang family fondly, since they were family friends, and dug up an old picture. Aw, is that little Young-dal holding hands with Jung-hee?
Although Grandma remembered the tragic fate that befell upon Daddy Jang and his three boys, she wasn’t sure what happened to the children after they were sent to the orphanage. She did, however, hear whispers that Chairman Yoon adopted the littlest one, Dong-woo.
Seeing the picture for himself, Dong-soo recognizes Jung-hee’s father as a friend of his own father. And for three whole seconds, he challenges Shin-hye’s deductive skills about Yang-ha’s adoption, claiming that he won’t believe it until he hears it from Chairman Yoon himself…

…And then back downs when she pretty much tells him: “There’s a really high possibility it could be true, therefore it is fact.”
It’s also kind of hard to believe that Shin-hye thinks Chairman Yoon was unaware that he adopted one of his enemy’s sons. Or maybe our corrupt chaebol was just that dense, who knows. The only way to know for sure is to get through to one of his longtime employees—Yang-ha’s right-hand man, Kim Jin-soo, aka the man who didn’t give her any answers in the previous episode.
Speaking of whom, Kim Jin-soo inquires about Shin-hye to Director Hyun, but the latter would rather avoid any conversation about his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Yang-ha quickly deduces that Young-dal’s up to something when he hears (from Manager Bae) that Young-dal’s been meeting up with Jiyeon lately.

Jun-ho happens to eavesdrop on that conversation, and while Jang-soo and Jailbreak make a fuss over how Manager Bae has betrayed them, Young-dal curiously remains silent. Did he plant Manager Bae by Yang-ha’s side?
Judging from Young-dal’s response, it doesn’t sound like it since he says that it’s better for them if Manager Bae has leaked info to Yang-ha. He has Jun-ho to continue to keep tabs on them.
At home, Grandma asks if she remembers her childhood friend and neighbor Dong-chul. She doesn’t, even after seeing an old picture of them together, and Grandma laughs at how the two kids used to go around claiming that they’d get married. Aw.

Chairman Yoon is running out of patience with Chairman Go, citing how Dong-soo is still alive and now Young-dal is working at Daejung. Humiliated by the smackdown, Chairman Go hilariously asks his lackey if he’s lost that villanous flair of his, and then makes the order for Myung-jae to get a move on.
It just so happens that Madame Jang’s lackey overhears the tail-end of Myung-jae’s conversation at the illegal casino. Believing that there’s a storm brewing, he goes straight to Madame Jang, feeling uneasy about the order for the gangsters to gather in Sabuk.

Young-dal tests Manager Bae’s loyalties with a request to find an informant in Lucky Casino (associated with Hanchang Group). He’s then called downstairs to see Boss Min and Manbong, who advise him to skip town for a while because Myung-jae’s boys have been ordered to Sabuk.
They’ll remain behind and do their best to stop him. Because they’re awesome. But Young-dal doesn’t have the slightest inclination to run away—he’ll make sure Myung-jae gets his due.
Yang-ha tells Manager Bae to do as he’s instructed, and there’s still no word on why Jiyeon is involved at all. When Jung-hee comes down the stairs a minute later, Yang-ha asks her out on another date, only to be told that today is her father’s death anniversary.

And things get awkward real quick when Young-dal appears before them moments later. He lingers for a few moments before willing himself to walk past them. Yang-ha’s eyes carefully trace Jung-hee’s expressions as they turn from hopeful to notable disappointment.
The silent treatment weighs on both Young-dal and Jung-hee’s mind as they brood separately. In the locker room, Jung-hee sighs at how living in a small town means that everyone knows everything, like her recent outing with Yang-ha.
Young-dal meets with Jiyeon at a restaurant, and the two drop the pleasantries when she tells him to cut to the chase. They agree that neither isn’t what the other expected (like how Jiyeon isn’t just a spoiled rich girl and Young-dal isn’t just a good-for-nothing), and Young-dal says he knows that Hanchang Group is eyeing big-time foreign clients. He can make that into a reality. She appears intrigued, and so a partnership is formed.

Yang-ha returns Shin-hye’s call and informs her that things are going so well for him lately that it’s making him nervous. She tells him to enjoy it and they agree to meet in Seoul the next day.
Dong-soo and Young-dal meet up for drinks, and it’s adorable how Dong-soo gets all worried about his brother’s plan to go up against Myung-jae. Young-dal assures him that he doesn’t intend to use violence; rather he’s going to teach the merciless gangster a lesson.
It turns out that ever since Daejung Casino went public, it’s managed to empty all the gangsters’ pockets, save for Myung-jae’s. Young-dal intends to make sure Myung-jae ends up penniless. When asked how, Young-dal returns a sly smile, saying it wouldn’t be any fun if he shows his cards early.

Amused by his brother’s cheek, Dong-soo hands him the childhood photo given to him by Shin-hye. Despite being told that he and the little girl next to him were attached at the hip as kids, Young-dal doesn’t remember, and seeing the photo only reminds him of his guilt for not being able to find their brother Dong-woo yet.
Dong-soo knows it won’t be easy since the orphanage director suffers from dementia, and while he completely understands Young-dal’s determination to use any means necessary to track their brother down, he mostly blames himself.
Jang-soo and Jailbreak are amused by Madame Jang’s bitterness for being left out of Young-dal’s success. But these two are here to ask if any of Madame Jang’s dealers know how to do a black trick—a scheme dealers pull whenever the house is losing money.

Some of them do, but the lackey gapes when he’s told that the target is Myung-jae, arguing that trying to con the big-time gangster is to ask for a death wish. But Jang-soo says there will be money for them if the underground casino pulls it off.
After Hyun-mi uses her recent promotion to order around the annoying casino sunbaes, we turn back to Team Young-dal, who ready themselves for the next part of their plan. Young-dal tells his boys to approve Myung-jae as a Daejung VIP client, since the gangster qualifies as a successful businessman on paper.
I’m assuming Young-dal’s plan is to rile Myung-jae up in the underground casino first (with that aforementioned black trick), then invite him to the Daejung VIP room to make him feel better, but that’s where he’ll lose big money. And that’s exactly what’s happening at the underground casino as Myung-jae loses hand after hand, and Madame Jang worries that this strategy might end badly. As in, with their own lives.

Ha, Boss Min wonders if Young-dal is a little too confident about going up against Myung-jae, but she backs down when she’s filled in from Young-dal himself. By the time Manbong visits the tables, Myung-jae is already down about 500 million won (nearly half a million USD), and suffice it to say, he is pissed.
Manbong cuts it close with his side remarks, but thankfully for him (and everyone else), Myung-jae is wiped out clean and rises from the table, furious. Once he leaves, Manbong reassures Madame Jang and her lackey that Myung-jae won’t ruin his reputation to throw a fit here.
Jun-ho finds Jung-hee smiling at her childhood photo of her and Dong-chul, whom she’s been told was her first love. At the same time, Young-dal is smiling in his office at a similar photo of themselves. Naturally neither he nor Jung-hee are aware that the other child in their photos is the other person.

Jailbreak brings up the uncomfortable topic about Young-dal with Jung-hee, telling her that his friend didn’t mean those harsh words when she was kidnapped. Explaining how he was there, Jailbreak clarifies that Young-dal was acting cruel for her own safety, so he hopes she won’t misunderstand the situation.
The truth slowly sinking in, tears start to well up in Jung-hee’s eyes. When Jun-ho drops by Young-dal’s office, he recognizes the two children in the photo on the desk as the same ones in Jung-hee’s photo.
Dong-soo is shocked to learn that Kim Jin-soo shared a hyung-dongsaeng friendship with his father. Well-liked and respected, the former Dongjin miner supposes that’s why Chairman Yoon employed Kim at Daejung later on.

After checking in with each other’s love lives, Shin-hye finally asks Yang-ha if he knows any information about his adoption process. All it takes for him to open up is the pretense that she’d like to use his case for a thesis, because all Shin-hye needs to do is breathe for people to give her information she wants.
She listens to Yang-ha telling her that he tried asking Chairman Yoon when he realized that he’d been adopted, but he’d been unable to get any answers.
Her expression seems a little too understanding, and when Yang-ha returns to Daejung, he asks his right-hand man if he knows anything about his adoption. That question prompts Kim to ask if Yang-ha has been speaking with Shin-hye. Yang-ha admits as much, but replies that he’s stopped therapy awhile back and he hasn’t had to take his meds lately, either.

Catching Kim Jin-soo on his way home, Dong-soo persuades the man for a chat, saying that he knows that Kim was good friends with his father. Kim describes how he and Daddy Jang were indeed friends, yet their different stances in the miners union strike put strain on their friendship.
It was only after Daddy Jang’s death that Kim found out that Chairman Yoon ordered his death. Dong-soo was gone by the time Kim found the two other Jang brothers at the orphanage, and in an effort to atone for his guilt, Kim went ahead to adopt little Dong-woo into Chairman Yoon’s family.

“How does that atone for your sins?” Dong-soo asks. “How could you think to have my brother be raised by my father’s enemy?”
But Kim says he believed that it was better that Yang-ha be brought up in a life of wealth and privilege, and that belief remains unchanged. If Dong-soo truly cares for his little brother, then he’ll stop his revenge against Chairman Yoon, Kim Jin-soo tells him, because the rich man raised Dong-woo until now. Well yeah, but he raised an heir, not a son.
Instead of arguing the point any further, Dong-soo just… gives up and walks away with tears in his eyes, recalling his declaration of vengeance against Chairman Yoon and when he punched Yang-ha, his own baby brother. He lets out a horrified scream in the streets.

Jung-hee attempts to strike conversation with Young-dal at the workplace, but he cuts her off, keeping up his coldness act. He turns to walk away, and Jung-hee calls out that she knows he didn’t mean what he said when she was kidnapped and that he’s deliberately trying to keep a distance from her. In a breaking voice, she pleads, “Don’t do that… please.”
Although those words shake him, Young-dal holds back his tears and walks away.
It’s D-Day for the next part of Young-dal’s plan at Daejung, and Jailbreak sends in one of the Sabuk neighborhood wannabe thugs (remember them?) to approach Myung-jae about a loan, which the gangster desperately needs.

Myung-jae is then led to see Boss Yang, who drives a hard bargain with a quick turnaround on said loan. But since Myung-jae is quite desperate, he agrees and orders his lackey to reserve a VIP room, unaware that he’s playing right into Young-dal’s hands.
Meanwhile, Young-dal assigns the female casino manager as the senior dealer in Myung-jae’s card game in the VIP room. His plan becomes a bit clearer when he tells Boss Min and Manbong that they’ll also be present because their tactic is to outsmart the gangster by beating him in a card game.
All they have to do is bet the opposite of whatever Myung-jae does. The game won’t be rigged, but they’ll be using Myung-jae’s currently agitated state to their advantage—he’ll likely place the maximum bet, so they’ll do the opposite.

It looks like Jiyeon went ahead to pull some strings too, because Yang-ha is informed that Hanchang Group has cancelled their contract with Daejung. Right on cue, his father calls, absolutely beside himself at these turn of events.
Yang-ha wastes no time to confront Young-dal about it, grabbing a fistful of his suit. But Young-dal is hardly fazed—this is simply payback for what Yang-ha did to him, and maybe then some.
Dong-soo arrives at the lobby just then to see his two brothers engaged in a dramatic stare-off. “Dong-chul-ah,” he calls out.

Of course you would leave us hanging on that note, Triangle. It’s not like we waited almost twenty hours for this brotherly reunion or anything. And now that we’re getting two more episodes in this series, I can foresee that we’re going to have to wait even longer for the payoffs we’ve been longing to see. Series extensions are like a double-edged sword, and in Triangle’s case, my happiness to see Jaejoong exercise more of his growing acting chops barely trumps the fact that the story will move slower than molasses for a show that already lost some steam recently.
That being said, I really did enjoy seeing Young-dal’s plan being laid out in this episode, even if it took a long time to actually see the beginning of its execution in the final minutes of the hour. It’s a thorough plan that involves lots of side characters to work together and trust that the bigger goal is to outsmart the evil gangster by tapping into his vice for gambling. At first, I thought that Young-dal covered all of his bases by planting a spy in Yang-ha’s presence, but I was left even more impressed when he kept his cool and then placed a false trail to keep his opponent distracted. And I think it’s even smarter that Young-dal didn’t have to rig anything when he knows what it is that makes his enemy tick, and then use that against him.
Conversely, I was disappointed to see a childhood first love origin storyline between Young-dal and Jung-hee. I know it’s a trope we see so often in dramaland, but I’d been spending so many content hours knowing that two adults naturally developed feelings for each other that I felt it was unnecessary to cement that pairing with childhood puppy love. I’d say that it helps that neither of them actually remember each other as children, but then again, the same is true for dozens of love stories in other shows. And I cringed when all it took for Jung-hee to realize the truth was a tertiary character telling her the truth, because up until recently, she’d been a refreshingly normal and sometimes even practical heroine, and now I fear she’s being painted as another character used to stand idly by until Young-dal’s plans are over.
And then there’s Yang-ha’s adoption, a reveal I wish was executed far better than it did in this hour. I’d generally accepted that Shin-hye would play the uncertain exposition fairy again, but I’d hoped that Kim Jin-soo’s involvement was more developed than his own justified act to atone for his sins against Daddy Jang. Even though I didn’t understand why Kim didn’t just adopt both Jang brothers at the orphanage instead of separating them further (since Chairman Yoon is apparently someone who recruits and disposes heirs at will), I would have been far more intrigued if his reasoning included something like psychologically tormenting his late friend’s enemy by unknowingly forcing the rich man to raise Dong-woo, who would later take over the Daejung empire.
Instead, the explanation we got came across as flat and recycled, and I don’t see how it at all negates the fact that Chairman Jang had Daddy Jang killed and may or may not know that his future heir (not son) is his enemy’s son. The answer to the latter half of that question still remains frustratingly vague, and now Dong-soo is under the weight of so much guilt that I’m surprised that he can even wake up every morning. Maybe it’s the PPL ice machine in Shin-hye’s house keeping him cool.

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