Sunday, August 31, 2014

Triangle: Episode 23

That’s a helluva pissed off expression if I’ve ever seen one. As more baddies are brought to light and more people on Young-dal’s side are threatened, Young-dal finds it increasingly harder to keep his anger in check. Now if you’re thinking that tidbit would prompt the evil chaebols to get hustlin’ on their ever-present-but-not-really-urgent threat to take Young-dal’s life, you’d be sadly mistaken—they’ll be throwing that threat out there until the cows come home.
But at least we’ve got a hero who will do anything it takes to protect the people who are on his side, and vows to destroy anybody who threatens to hurt them. How could you not love a man with that kind of loyalty?

Paran The Pace – “Paradoxx” [ Download ]

At the hospital, Young-dal tells his hyung that Elder Ahn is in critical condition after a hit-and-run earlier that morning, and there were no witnesses. Hearing this, Dong-soo offers to do what he does best: run around and gather information.
Team Young-dal is a bundle of nerves upon hearing the news. They worry that Young-dal will be eaten alive without the rich man’s support, and wonder if their enemies called the hit.
We already know Chairman Yoon was ultimately responsible, but now learn that he had Director Hyun carry out the task, intending to use it as blackmail should the man betray him later on. And even though Chairman Yoon said he’d take care of the Young-dal problem himself just last episode, he gives Yang-ha the honor. Gee, thanks for changing your mind again old man.

Still, Chairman Yoon has Kim Jin-soo keep tabs on Yang-ha, unconvinced that his son will finish Young-dal off. He can’t have his adoptive son join his brothers and turn against him. Or something.
Seeing Elder Ahn lying comatose is hard for Young-dal to bear, as he remembers when the aging chaebol first offered his help. The elderly man’s prognosis isn’t looking good either, and Young-dal is certain that Chairman Yoon is responsible, despite not having any evidence to back up his claims.
Young-dal is back on his revenge warpath, and he won’t forgive Yang-ha if he chooses to fight alongside Chairman Yoon. He knows Dong-soo gave up on revenge for the sake of their little brother, but he won’t do the same, not when he knows Chairman Yoon is attacking the people he cares about to get to him.

Nothing seems to be going in Chairman Go’s way today because two matters infuriate him: (1) Chairman Yoon got to Young-dal first; and (2) Boss Min has blocked off all his men assigned to that job. It’s pretty funny how he does the comically evil “I must destroy him myself!” to the first, and awesome of Boss Min telling him through clenched teeth to back off.
I’m finding Chairman Go’s villainous existential moments downright hilarious lately—this time is no different, wondering if he’s losing his evil touch again. He won’t stand to be made a fool of and declares war against Boss Min. Again.
Yang-ha is surprised to hear about the major investment deal between Hanchang Group and Anderson Group. Before that can sink in, Young-dal barges into the office and warns Manager Bae that there will be hell to pay for betraying him and his team.

Once they’re alone, Young-dal cuts to the chase: Yang-ha will face the same fate as Chairman Yoon if he continues to remain loyal to him, which also means their brotherly ties would be broken from that moment on. Those are the same words Yang-ha wanted to say to him, and since Young-dal won’t quit of his own accord, he’ll have to arrange Young-dal’s dismissal from the company.
Young-dal invites him to go ahead and try, because he won’t ever leave Daejung before Yang-ha and Chairman Yoon pay for their crimes. It’s only when Young-dal leaves, however, does that impassive expression drop from Yang-ha’s face, remembering how Young-dal was responsible for his early release.
Yang-ha seeks out Director Yeon from Hanchang Group to confront him about the impending investment deal with Anderson Group. He asks if it involves Yoo-jin, and his “I’m not at liberty to say” answer basically gives Yang-ha the confirmation he’s looking for.

So Yang-ha buys Yoo-jin some PPL beauty products to butter her up and as an attempt to fulfill that promise to impress her with his sincerity. It’s enough for her to hear him out until he brings up that Anderson Group investment deal, which she remains mostly tight-lipped about.
What she does disclose, however, is the detail that she’s currently negotiating with Young-dal. She’s amused when that gets a desperation reaction out of Yang-ha, so she says she’ll reconsider if he manages to impress her. She’ll keep the present, though.
When Young-dal runs into Director Hyun at the office, he isn’t having any of the man’s fake sympathy about his soon-to-be dismissal today—he knows that Director Hyun is in leagues with Chairman Go.

Director Hyun angrily grabs a fistful of Young-dal’s suit when the latter gets cheeky with him. He calls Young-dal a gangster, an insult that’s answered with Young-dal’s right hook. Young-dal acknowledges that his response was probably out of line, but adds that he can barely keep his temper in check lately.
Just when Director Hyun doesn’t know what to do about either Young-dal or Yang-ha, he’s conveniently told that the two are brothers, so he can use that familial connection to bring them both down.
Meanwhile, Dong-soo meets with Jung-hee, concerned about his brother’s growing vengeful emotions. He believes Jung-hee’s the only one who can get through to Young-dal right now, and she promises to do whatever she can to calm Young-dal down.

Dong-soo also asks for her help to make his brother’s dream of settling down with the woman he loves into a reality. She replies that she and Young-dal share the same dream, so she’s sure it’ll come true.
Picking up on how Dong-soo refers to Young-dal by his real name Dong-chul, Jung-hee asks if their family ever lived in the Dongjin mines dorms. She takes out the childhood photo in her possession, and when Dong-soo confirms that the boy is Young-dal, she tells him that she’s the little girl next to him.
Onto the next scene where Chairman Yoon is brusquely told by Shin-hye to get to the point already. He knows that Shin-hye is well-aware of the bad blood between Dong-soo, Young-dal, and himself and now he wants to put an end to that war.

His proposition is for her to persuade Dong-soo and Young-dal—both of whom he notes she shares “a special relationship” with—to leave Daejung alone. If they do, he’ll brush everything under the rug, too—for Yang-ha’s sake, of course.
Shin-hye doesn’t believe a word of it though, and offers her professional(?) opinion, saying how Chairman Yoon requires therapy and attributing his severe lack of moral boundaries and remorse to his self-centeredness. Manipulating his own son for his gain shows just how grave a concern this is, and she won’t stand to see Yang-ha suffer under his father’s thumb anymore.
To that, Chairman Yoon replies that he’s gained another enemy, and warns that she’ll regret not listening to him.

Jung-hee calls Young-dal up to the rooftop, where she tells him that she met Dong-soo earlier. There are plenty of things she’d like to say, but she doesn’t want to sound like she’s nagging either, so she simply lets Young-dal know that both she and Dong-soo are worried about Young-dal’s anger. He assures her that it’s not a problem.
With that, Jung-hee redirects the conversation to a lighter topic—who was his first love? It couldn’t have been someone like Lady Kim, right? Whoa, I haven’t heard that name in a while. Seriously, where did the “hell hath no fury like a scorned woman” lady go?

It’s adorable how she calls herself “his last love” and how Young-dal gets all embarrassed at the question. She presses for an answer, and so Young-dal mentions how he was told that he played house with the little girl who lived next door.
So she takes out that childhood photo, asking if the one in the picture is the same girl. Surprised, Young-dal asks how she has this picture. Jung-hee points to herself: “Your first love was me. I was your little bride.” Young-dal breaks into a wide smile.
Unfortunately, the detectives can’t find any CCTV footage that links to Elder Ahn’s accident, so Dong-soo decides to draw up a list of possible suspects for now, including Chairman Yoon and his men.

After Shin-hye relays everything about her conversation with Chairman Yoon to Dong-soo, she also delivers some belated news: she’s been assigned to work with the FBI for the next two years. I know it’s a fictional world, but she’s coming stateside? Have mercy on those poor, unfortunate souls.
But that’s not all: she’s looked into possible schools for Dong-soo as well. Oh, you want him to come with you? If that means both of you two get to do something in this dramaverse, then by all means go. Shin-hye pretty much says the same thing, emphasizing the need for Dong-soo to move on and start anew.
Young-dal is still smiling at the photo of him and Jung-hee as kids when Jun-ho drops off the files from Hanchang Group. He’s surprised when Jun-ho recognizes the photo, and in turn, Jun-ho is surprised to learn that Young-dal was Jung-hee’s first love.

Jung-hee is busy telling Grandma about the Young-dal = Dong-chul connection, smiling when her grandmother exclaims that this means they’re a match made in heaven. Grandma’s both happy and relieved to hear that Young-dal has found his brothers too, and tells Jung-hee to invite him over sometime.
Now that Young-dal is known to be involved in the upcoming Hanchang-Anderson investment deal, Manager Bae argues that kicking him out of Daejung won’t eliminate him as a threat. He encourages Yang-ha to consult Chairman Yoon about it, but Yang-ha won’t disappoint his father further and chooses to handle this on his own.
Manager Bae is then called in to see Director Hyun, who asks if it’s true that Young-dal and Yang-ha are brothers. He warns that Yang-ha won’t last long and advises Manager Bae to fall in line behind the right people like himself.

It should come as no surprise that Chairman Yoon thinks the idea to have Young-dal fired is utterly pointless, but he doesn’t tell Yang-ha (nor us for that matter) why it won’t work. Instead, he tells Yang-ha to find out the answers for himself like it’s some sort of homework assignment while he takes care of Young-dal himself. For realz this time.
That answer happens to be in Elder Ahn’s will, which states that Young-dal will be given all of Elder Ahn’s shares in Daejung. It would be impossible for the board to vote for Young-dal’s dismissal given that majority stake in the company, so Kim Jin-soo theorizes that Chairman Yoon (who already knows the contents of this will somehow) plans to use Director Hyun again.
At the same time, Young-dal receives the same information about those Daejung shares from Elder Ahn’s lawyer. He’s also told that Elder Ahn wishes him to use said shares to benefit society in the future.

Meanwhile, everyone with a connection to Young-dal including Boss Yang, Boss Min, and Madame Jung are slapped with a search and seizure warrant. When they demand to know who was behind it, Detective Gook whispers that it was Chairman Go’s doing.
Chairman Yoon meets with Director Hyun on the roof, sighing that he’s been thinking of Director Hyun’s father lately. Director Hyun is the only person he can trust now, and therefore he’ll have to be the one to do away with Young-dal. People have threatened about getting rid of Young-dal so many times in this show that you can turn those words into its own drinking game.
Director Hyun wastes no time to relay this turn of events to Yang-ha, telling him to refocus his efforts to deal with the Hanchang-Anderson investment deal instead. He agrees not to tell Chairman Yoon about Young-dal’s involvement in the matter just yet, so Yang-ha better get moving.

After Young-dal finds out that Chairman Go was responsible for getting all the key players on his team arrested, he rushes over to the police station, where Detective Gook assures him that Boss Min & Co. will all be fine. He adds that it seems like Chairman Go is determined to take Young-dal down once and for all this time.
But Young-dal’s got a plan to bring down a weakened Chairman Go this time: he’ll make sure Chairman Go loses all of his Daejung shares. Just then, human messenger pigeon Jun-ho comes running to tell him that the board meeting (that was supposed to determine Young-dal’s job status) has been canceled, and Young-dal realizes that Yang-ha has caught on.

Dong-soo tells Shin-hye that she’s right in that he needs to start anew, but he has to take care of family matters first. He plans to take Yang-ha out of Chairman Yoon’s clutches before the chaebol can ruin his youngest brother any further, so she should go ahead and leave first and he’ll join her later. She approves of this plan.
Right then, Dong-soo receives a call and learns that there’s a high possibility that Director Hyun called the hit on Elder Ahn. And because theories are made to be shared between our exposition fairies, Dong-soo relays that information to Shin-hye, who’s surprised to hear it.
Yang-ha happens to eavesdrop on Director Hyun’s plans to off Young-dal by using Jung-hee as bait. Director Hyun doesn’t seem to be all that concerned about the number the victims involved—the more the merrier.

After the annoying sunbae trio loses in a card game and is forced to collectively pay for lunch, Jung-hee receives a text from Young-dal to meet him after work. But then Young-dal also receives the same message.
When Dong-soo calls moments later, Young-dal is enraged to hear that Director Hyun is most likely responsible for Elder Ahn’s accident. Next thing we know, Young-dal walks right up to Director Hyun and greets him with a punch to the jaw. He then proceeds to kick the man repeatedly on the ground, not caring that he’s doing this out in the open.

The beating stops when Young-dal’s buddies intervene and have to physically hold their friend back. When Director Hyun feigns innocence to the hit-and run, Young-dal breathes menacingly that he’ll kill Director Hyun if the elderly man passes away.
Young-dal declares that Director Hyun is the man responsible for putting Elder Ahn in the hospital, but Director Hyun keeps up the act and issues the threat that Young-dal will soon come to regret his actions.

Yang-ha is still troubled by Director Hyun’s words. After work, he asks Jung-hee for a chat, only to be told that she’s on her way to meet Young-dal behind Daejung. That’s where Young-dal is waiting now, unaware that Soo-chang is in his car, waiting.
And at the opportune moment, Soo-chang turns on the ignition and guns it, speeding towards Young-dal.

Um, watch out? Don’t get me wrong—I honestly want to be the viewer who’s screaming at her monitor telling Young-dal to get the hell out of the way because there’s a car hurtling towards him. But at the same time, it’s difficult to find the enthusiasm when it’s clear that Triangle is struggling to keep its narrative momentum and stretching its story as thinly as possible in its final weeks. Considering (some of) our characters’ progression to this point, it’s sad to think that both the show and its viewers are dragging its feet towards the finish line.
Not that you could generally tell from the numbers, since Triangle still managed to net first place with 9.5% with SBS’s Temptation close on its tail with 9.0%. And the thing is that Triangle is by no means a bad show, but rather the series falls into that unfortunate category of shows that are victims to repetitive and recycled plot points until the final conflict is introduced and (hopefully) dealt with. Case in point: Our baddies have been talking and talking and talking about getting rid of Young-dal for weeks on end, and using tiny conflicts and multiple side characters to try (and fail). At this point, I’m actually amused by the innumerable failed attempts on Young-dal’s life, like it’s some special inside joke.
But instead of Chairman Yoon and Go’s collective inability to execute anything properly anymore, what leaves me more exasperated is the way Triangle chooses to introduce and resolve its conflicts. And because we’ve seen it happen so many times, you could almost break it down into steps that look something like this: (1) Introduce conflict with minor characters viewers have never seen before; (2) Let every character know about said conflict via human messenger pigeon; (3) Conjure emphasis and importance on the narrative threat; (4) THIS IS A REAL THREAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL; (5) Poof! Conflict and minor characters are gone!
Even with all that being said, there are still the sparse nuggets of sweet character moments I hold dear, especially when it comes to our main couple. I love that Jung-hee brought up her concern for Young-dal in a way that felt totally normal, and that wouldn’t push him to be even more upset and angry than he already is. They’re just so adorable together that I wish we’d spend more time on PPL dates than talking about revenge that may or may not ever come to fruition.
We’ll have to wait to see how Yang-ha will act in the last few episodes in this series, since he spent much of this hour pondering over Young-dal’s once-intentions to save him, his declaration of war against him, and now the imminent threat to Young-dal’s life. If only I could tell him to stop his moping and save his brother. Hey, if Shin-hye can manage to tell Dong-soo that he needs to do something with his life, maybe there’s still hope yet.

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