Sunday, August 31, 2014

Triangle: Episode 20

For a show that certainly knows how to take things slow and easy sometimes, it still knows how to deliver an hour of small victories, heartwarming teamwork, and shattering reveals. Most of all, I appreciate how Triangle surprises us with character moments which subvert conventional drama tropes while also remembering that episodic payoffs are important. Love is a many splendored thing, isn’t it?
Mate – “Come Back To Me” [ Download ]


Dong-soo’s arrival puts an end to the physical aspect of Young-dal and Yang-ha’s argument, but the verbal assault continues. Yang-ha sneers that Young-dal made a big mistake in provoking him, only for Young-dal to shrug off that threat—he knows how Yang-ha works already, and he isn’t afraid.
Since he knows Yang-ha was responsible for putting him and Dong-soo behind bars, he warns the little prince not to do something so foolish ever again. Because no matter how low Yang-ha goes, Young-dal can always go lower, and swears that he’ll repay any affront one hundred times over.

Dong-soo doesn’t tell Young-dal why he was so concerned about his fight with Yang-ha, nor does Young-dal pick up on it. He believes his hyung when he says he came to Sabuk because he was worried about him facing off against Myung-jae, and assures Dong-soo that he’s got nothing to worry about since his plan is airtight.
Young-dal walks in on Jun-ho giving Myung-jae the unfortunate news that he can’t be accepted as a Daejung VIP because he doesn’t have enough class. But Young-dal plays the good cop to Jun-ho’s bad cop by issuing Myung-jae a VIP card.
However, there’s a caveat: Myung-jae can’t have the VIP room all to himself, since it’s already been reserved. Myung-jae doesn’t like this idea until Young-dal tells him that there’s a perk to playing with other people—like being able to bet past the maximum limit, for instance.

Once they’re outside, Young-dal soothes Jun-ho’s frazzled nerves and gets him ready for the next phase of the plan. Boss Min will be joining Myung-jae in the VIP room.
Jung-hee and a few other dealers are called to work in the VIP room after Hyun-mi uses her new promotion to put the annoying sunbae trio in place. Their leader vows to get Hyun-mi back for embarrassing her.
Dong-soo thinks back to Kim Jin-soo telling him to give up on his revenge against Chairman Yoon if he cares for his little brother before meeting with Young-dal.

He kiiind of tests the waters about giving up on their revenge when he reminds Young-dal about his dreams to marry the girl he loved and find his two brothers, but barely gets into talking about how “the past is in the past” before Young-dal catches on, all but scolding his hyung for thinking about giving up.
Those are the men who killed their father, Young-dal reminds him. “And you’re just going to let those bastards get away with that? I’ll never forgive them for what they’ve done.”
Chairman Yoon tears into Yang-ha as he blames his affair with Jung-hee as the reason why Jiyeon’s father cut off his partnership with Daejung. However, when he orders Yang-ha to break things off with Jung-hee and apologize to Jiyeon, Yang-ha replies with a quiet but firm, “I can’t do that.”

He gets a hard slap across the face for that, as his father tells him that if Yang-ha can’t end it, he will. But Yang-ha fights back that he’ll leave Daejung if Jung-hee is fired, to which his father asks incredulously if Yang-ha would give up everything he’s given him.
“None of that matters to me,” Yang-ha retorts, causing Chairman Yoon to finally make good on his threat to disinherit Yang-ha. Ugh, finally. Is it for good this time? I doubt it.
Before Jung-hee and her fellow dealers go into the VIP room, they’re warned to be on their toes with their mobster client. The last thing they need to do is make any mistakes.

Jung-hee greets Myung-jae when he enters, only for a shock of surprise to hit the both of them as they recognize each other from the whole kidnapping incident. Myung-jae gets over it quicker than Jung-hee does, though props go to her for swallowing her fear in order to do her job.
Even Boss Min is a little nervous before joining Myung-jae in the VIP room, even though Manbong declares that she’ll be safe as long as he’s with her. Aww. After some last minute pointers from Jang-soo, they march into battle.

Young-dal flashes back to Dong-soo reminding him that he once had vengeance-free dreams, as well as Jung-hee’s confrontation with him over knowing that he didn’t mean the harsh words he said when she was abducted.
His reverie is cut short when Jun-ho informs him that the game has begun so that Young-dal can watch it live from his office.
Myung-jae thinks it’s just coincidence when Boss Min joins him at the table, and listens when she offers to let this game decide the outcome of their personal battle. Whoever loses has to grant the winner a wish.

The big scary mob boss scoffs at whether she’ll be able to keep to her own rules if he wins, since he’ll demand that she hand over Young-dal as payment. Eek! Boss Min, now you really can’t lose!
She swallows her nervousness as she declares that it doesn’t matter what Myung-jae wants—but if she wins, he and his gang have to leave Sabuk for good. Myung-jae agrees to the terms, and the game begins.
Jun-ho tells Team Young-dal about the bets wagered, causing Jang-soo and Jailbreak to worry about what will happen to Young-dal if Boss Min were to lose.
But Young-dal tries to look at it positively, because they’ll gain everything they wanted if Myung-jae loses and leaves Sabuk.

Yang-ha calls a reluctant Jiyeon out to discuss whatever deal she made with Young-dal. She says that Young-dal told her he was just a thug, no better than garbage on the street, but then eyes Yang-ha as she adds that the real thug is someone else, aka him.
But she soon reveals that her real reason for taking Young-dal’s deal was to get back at Yang-ha for wounding her pride by playing around with her when he’d already given his heart to a lowly dealer.
He takes offense to the way she spits that word out, but Jiyeon continues on to say that he should’ve treated Jung-hee the same way she treats Young-dal—as a curiosity. Since he didn’t, she promises that there’ll be more repercussions for insulting her dignity to come. She can hold a mean grudge just as well as he can.

As Myung-jae starts losing in the game, his lackey is forced to take out more loans from Boss Yang in order for Myung-jae to keep playing. He has to go to Madame Jang to get the money to loan out, and assures them that they’ll get a return on their investment with the collateral Myung-jae put up.
While Young-dal is happy to hear that Myung-jae is digging his own grave by losing more and more money in the game, Myung-jae wises up to Young-dal’s plan when Chairman Go tells him that the game was set up by Young-dal.
So in order to help Myung-jae win, Chairman Go lends him roughly three million dollars, hoping to take down Boss Min in one go. At least Boss Min doesn’t immediately fall for the trap by matching Myung-jae’s enormous bet, and takes a time out to ask Young-dal what she should do.

And aw, I love Boss Min—she’s afraid of losing not because of the money, but because it would mean losing the battle with Myung-jae. Of course, with everyone advising Young-dal to back down since they’ll have more chances to win if they’re patient, we know he won’t.
Boss Min returns to the table and accepts Myung-jae’s bet. (Bad Young-dal, bad! *hits with newspaper*) Everyone waits with bated breath as the cards are dealt… and Boss Min’s hand turns out to be a dud. Uh oh.

However, Team Young-dal thanks their lucky stars when Myung-jae’s hand turns out to be a bust also. Phew. But the money’s still on the table, which means they have to play another hand.
Boss Min has a two, which leaves Myung-jae’s hand. If he has a higher number, they’ll be in trouble…

…Aaand he doesn’t. He doesn’t?! Wow, I was certain this was going to blow up in Young-dal’s face, but he won! Yaaay, he won!
Chairman Go receives the news that all the money he lent Myung-jae has been lost. Not only that, but he didn’t even get Young-dal out of the deal. Hah, that’s what you get.

For having lost a bunch of money, Myung-jae is actually in decent spirits as he concedes his loss to Young-dal like a good sport. He knows he’s out of the game for good now, and will leave Young-dal alone.
And in another display of good sportsmanship, Young-dal tells Boss Min return the building Myung-jae put up as collateral to him if he sticks to his word and stays far, far away.
Even though Shin-hye is the one who was positive about Yang-ha being Dong-woo, she seems surprised when Dong-soo confirms it himself. She then switches gears to urge him to tell Young-dal the truth now, so that way he can stop fighting Yang-ha before the two hurt each other further.

But Dong-soo is unsure about the right course of action—what if Yang-ha/Dong-woo is happy? Wouldn’t Dong-soo and Young-dal be doing him a greater service if they just left him to live his life in peace?
Shin-hye strongly disagrees by explaining Yang-ha’s origin story, the one we could all recite from memory by now. Because she knows Yang-ha’s existence is a miserable one, Shin-hye is convinced that he’d be much happier living as their little brother than as the unloved heir of Daejung Group.

Jung-hee gets home late only to find a drunk Yang-ha waiting nearby. “I’ve abandoned everything. You’re all I have left now,” he admits.
When she rightly asks for clarification, Yang-ha continues like she didn’t: “But if you cast me aside now, then I really…” he chokes back tears. “I’m sorry. I’ll leave.” He stumbles off, leaving Jung-hee looking confused in his wake.

After Chairman Yoon declines to show Yang-ha any leniency in disinheriting him and firing Jung-hee, Jung-hee hears from the casino manager that she’s been let go. Yikes.
She’s in total shock since she has no idea what she could’ve done wrong, but her manager keeps it a secret from her (but not everyone else) that she thinks there’s a link between Yang-ha being ordered to quit and Jung-hee being fired.

Jun-ho delivers the Yang-ha news to Young-dal, who doesn’t celebrate like his buddies do since he knows that they’ve still got to take down Chairman Yoon.
But he reacts much differently when he finds out that Jung-hee’s been fired, and rushes off to presumably do something about it.
Everyone in the seedy underground is happy at their latest victory, since even Boss Min and Madame Jang have reconciled their differences enough to celebrate together and share the winnings.

Young-dal confronts Director Hyun over Jung-hee being fired, only to be told that it was Chairman Yoon’s decision—so if he wants to do something about it, he needs to take it up with the big guy.
Kim Jin-soo actually calls Shin-hye for a talk this time (instead of the other way around) to tell her that he’s worried about Yang-ha now that Chairman Yoon might even go so far as to officially disown him.
Apparently, the reason Yang-ha first went to Shin-hye was because he’d tried to commit suicide after he found out he was adopted. Kim Jin-soo is worried that these recent events have put Yang-ha back at risk for self-harm, and asks Shin-hye to help him.

Manager Bae finds Yang-ha passed out from all the heavy drinking he did the night before and attempts to make him get his head back in the game—especially considering that Manager Bae put everything on the line anticipating that Yang-ha would be victorious.
But Yang-ha just claims he’s tired of it all. No matter how Manager Bae pleads with him to reconsider, sure that no father would actually abandon his son this way, Yang-ha’s mind seems pretty made up.

While Shin-hye tells Dong-soo that Yang-ha might be at risk for suicide considering his current situation, we find our disinherited heir taking a sponsored hike to sort out his thoughts.
Meanwhile, Jung-hee also spends some time brooding. Does this show think we’re goldfish who need flashbacks from twenty minutes ago to remember why these characters are sad, or are the flashbacks being used as filler?

After another tiny scene where Hyun-mi fields off rumors about Jung-hee being fired amongst the other dealers, Jung-hee goes directly to Director Hyun to say that she won’t accept her dismissal without hearing a clear reason for it. (Go her!)
He comes straight out and tells her that he can’t do anything to help her since Chairman Yoon fired her over her relationship with Yang-ha, which only frustrates Jung-hee more.
She claims that she has no relationship to Yang-ha and that Chairman Yoon misunderstood. “Why must I be treated unfairly like this because of Yoon Yang-ha’s own personal feelings?” Furthermore, if Director Hyun can’t give her a real reason for her being fired, she’s willing to take this to court. (Again, go Jung-hee!)

Young-dal confronts Yang-ha over causing Jung-hee so much suffering when he can’t even take care of her. “Becoming a dealer was her dream,” Young-dal grits out. “Do you know how precious this job is to her and how desperately she needs it? Who do you think you are to crush her dreams?!”
Yang-ha is NOT about to take this from someone like Young-dal, and tells him as much when he claims the only reason he became interested in Jung-hee was because he couldn’t understand how she could like a piece of trash like Young-dal.
“Because I couldn’t stand and watch her give her heart to a thug like you,” Yang-ha spits. “Anyone else in the world can insult me, but not you, you bastard.”

As you can imagine, Yang-ha gets punched for that one. When he gets back up, Young-dal punches him again, sending Yang-ha sprawling to the ground.
“That’s enough!” A voice calls out to put a halt to the fight—it’s Jung-hee. She tells Young-dal that she’s not going to quietly give up on her dreams just like that, and entreats him to stop feeling upset about it.
And to Yang-ha, she says she isn’t blaming him for what happened. “So please, don’t make things any harder for yourself because of me.” Finally, a drama heroine who does more than gape like a mute fish when two men fight over her.

Jung-hee comes home late after a few drinks, and shares a cute backhug with Grandma. She apologizes for all the suffering she thinks she’s brought on Grandma, only for Grandma to get all choked up when she tells Jung-hee that she’s the one who’s had to bear the weight of supporting her and her two brothers all by herself.
If anything, Grandma is the one who feels sorry. Aww. But I can’t shake this eerie feeling when Jung-hee promises Grandma that she’ll make enough money to buy her nice things and send her on vacations soon, because promises like that never seem to come true in dramaland.
But once she’s alone in her room, Jung-hee lets out all her bottled frustration in tears, her fingers grasping at the necklace Young-dal gave her which still hangs around her neck.

She’s not expecting Young-dal’s call announcing that he’s outside her house, and runs out to meet him. She doesn’t see him at first and frets that he’s gone, only to hear him softly call her name from behind her.
They walk up to each other in silence, an unspoken agreement passing between them as Young-dal pulls her into an embrace. He pulls back only to look into her eyes…

…Before he leans in and kisses her. Omo omo. A tear falls down Jung-hee’s cheek the second their lips meet, and if you can believe it, they actually kiss. Maybe this is my twelve year old self talking, but their lips move, and the action is reciprocal. (Mind = Blown)
After Director Hyun gets Chairman Go’s support for his bid to replace Yang-ha and take over Daejung, we find our displaced heir with (who else but) Shin-hye.

He admits that he’s not sure what his next move will be—either he’ll try to regain his father’s acceptance or accept his own shortcomings and give everything up. Shin-hye tries to get him to see that it’s his father who has shortcomings, not him: “Don’t let this weaken you and stay strong.”
“The reason why I don’t have anyone in the world to stand by my side must mean that I’ve been living my life all wrong, right?” Yang-ha asks ruefully. But Shin-hye shakes her head and says that he’s wrong—he may not know who they are, but he has people on his side.

Cut to: Young-dal and Dong-soo as the former updates his hyung on how well his plans are going, and even wants Dong-soo to meet Jung-hee because he’s going to live his dream after all. Awww.
But now that he’s checked everything off his list except for Chairman Yoon and Chairman Go, “We just have to find Dong-woo.”
“I found Dong-woo,” Dong-soo sighs. Young-dal excitedly asks the usual questions—how? Where? He’s only further confused when Dong-soo tells him that Dong-woo is already in his life…
“Yoon Yang-ha is Dong-woo,” Dong-soo finally says. “Chairman Yoon adopted Dong-woo and raised him as his own.”

Dun dun dun!
While I’m glad Dong-soo got to deliver such relevant information, we’ve spent enough episodes with him just floating around that now’s as good a time as any to say: Man, does that man need a job.
I had high hopes when he initially quit the police force to pursue his revenge, but ever since he took a back seat to Young-dal’s master plan, all he gets to do in any given scene is be worried. It doesn’t help that the only person he has to talk to during the day is Informative Vending Machine Shin-hye, which is probably because every other character spends those hours doing their, I dunno, jobs. He’s a perfectly good character that could not be any more of a free agent right now—they need to find a better use for him other than being Shin-hye’s male counterpart.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Young-dal’s risky plan to get rid of Myung-jae work, and was actually doubly nice since it yielded an actual character exit from the show before Myung-jae really got a chance to wear out his welcome. The victories in this show may be small, but like Young-dal pointed out at the end, they’re starting to add up. I have a feeling that Young-dal isn’t quite as close to reaching the boss level as he thinks he is though, at least as long as Director Hyun is around.

Yang-ha choosing Jung-hee over himself and his inheritance should’ve theoretically carried so much more weight than it did, and I’m honestly a little confused as to why it didn’t. Maybe it was Yang-ha’s fatalistic approach to it all, but Young-dal definitely had a point in berating Yang-ha for involving Jung-hee when he had no intention of fighting for her. And it’s true—I don’t doubt that Yang-ha’s twisted feelings for her are sincere, but I couldn’t get a read on what he was thinking by doing nothing when Jung-hee was fired regardless of the deal he tried to make with good old dad.
At least he wins points for being the most polite stalker ever, since he didn’t even expect anything from Jung-hee in return for his grand gesture. But c’mon, at least talk to the girl. Weren’t they even becoming friendlier with each other as of the kidnapping incident too? It’s not like we’re in the dark ages where Jung-hee wouldn’t even give Yang-ha the time of day… unless I missed the pivotal moment where we switched back. (Seriously, did I?)
But as far as post-noble-idiocy reunions go—a term I promise I’m using lightly since we know Myung-jae’s departure removed Young-dal’s reason for pushing Jung-hee away—that kiss scene was really aces. They earned that moment. And I’d like to think we did too.

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