Friday, August 29, 2014

Triangle: Episode 3

Large steps for all three brothers lie waiting for us in this episode, where big bro detective Dong-soo takes his first step towards breakthrough while Young-dal realizes that not everything is a bed of roses when it comes to a nouveau riche lifestyle. Still yet, we learn more about our mysterious maknae Yang-ha, though, those answers are accompanied by plenty more questions about his character, giving us a full and solid hour.

Ailee – “하루하루 (Day by Day)” for the OST [ Download ]

As Young-dal sleeps with his millions that night, a mysterious man trudges up the stairs and enters the hideout. His eyes fly open to find himself being strangled by the ghost of Do Ki-chan, and Young-dal struggles to will himself awake in a cold sweat.
Haunted by the nightmare, Young-dal tells his buddy that they have to move, so the two haul their millions to a safer location. Jang-soo takes offense when he’s told that their loot is safe as long as he doesn’t squeal—would he betray their blood brother trust like that?
But Young-dal clarifies it isn’t his buddy but the money he can’t trust. Holding Young-dal to the same vow of loyalty, the duo head into town to live it up tonight.

Young-dal splurges on a luxurious suite for the both of them, and tsks at his country bumpkin friend’s ignorance about the magic genie called room service. He orders a lavish spread, and even though Jang-soo knows they’ve got money to burn now, he still balks at the sky-high price tag of living such an opulent lifestyle.
They’ll be able to afford all that soon enough, Young-dal assures him—they’ll be set for life once they win it all. But they have to keep a low profile about their small fortune until then, and Jang-soo all but rolls his eyes at that, saying that’s something Young-dal should worry about.
He advises his buddy to move out of the hideout lest the ghost of their prison hyung continue to haunt him.

We cut away to an illegal dog-fighting ring, where Dong-soo and his team are busy scouring the area for the top dog (I know, it’s horrible of me) to show his face. Unfortunately for them, their presence is made known, throwing the place into chaos.
Dong-soo takes off after the man, leaving the other detectives to deal with the crowd. He stops Top Dog from escaping and gets a few good punches in before the guy blacks out. It is just me or does anyone else worry that Dong-soo won’t stop punching someone once he starts?
Back in the interrogation room, Top Dog protests that he’s an innocent small-time boss and the cops can question Do Ki-chan in prison if they want answers. He’s alarmed to learn that the imprisoned man is now dead, and Dong-soo asks if he’s got any idea who might have been behind it.

Now Top Dog divulges that he thinks that it was the men in the Philippines (whom Do Ki-chan stole the money from), and it’s likely that they’d do anything to get their five billion won back, barred entry to Korea or not.
With six suspects still on their list, one detective asks what they should do about their informant, Young-dal, since he’s got history with the dead man. Young-dal answers the phone in a groggy voice, and it takes a full minute for him to register that he’s talking to Dong-soo so early, only to be told that it’s midday already.

He doesn’t take kindly to be ordered to haul his ass to Seoul, and his attitude riles Dong-soo’s temper. “You’re MY lackey!” he hollers. But Young-dal says he’s done being their informant (muttering to himself that he’s too rich now anyway)—if Dong-soo wants something, he can come to him in Sabuk.
With that, Dong-soo gets hung up on. He keeps his surging rage contained long enough to issue an order to dig up Young-dal and Do Ki-chan’s history together.
Young-dal and his buddy leave the hotel just as Yang-ha arrives, whom he flags down to call for a re-match. Yang-ha flatly declines and stomps over Young-dal’s pride at that: he’s someone who’s played with the pros in Vegas, and Young-dal is the guy who’ll never win a game in a million years. In short, they’re on completely different levels.

When Yang-ha turns to walk away, he’s pulled back and agitates Young-dal further by calling the move immature. However he agrees to another game, if only to prove to Young-dal just how pathetic his skills are. And even though Jang-soo doesn’t like the boyish chaebol, he can’t help but agree that Young-dal’s playing skills are awful.
Yang-ha stops in his tracks and smiles when he sees Jung-hee in the same hotel. He oh-so-casually waits for her to walk by, and despite her attempts to ignore him, he engages her in conversation anyway.
He invites her to join him for a drink up in his suite where he’ll be waiting, adding that he’ll blow the lid off of that little underground casino she works at. Her friend acknowledges that Jung-hee’s admirer might be nuts, but calls Jung-hee crazier for working under the table illegally. She then asks if the VIP suitor is good-looking, which has Jung-hee scowling.

Madame Jang’s lackey takes pity on a surprisingly well-dressed beggar and tells her the sob story behind the old man’s ruin: the once well-off man lost all his money (and family) due to gambling and is now deep in debt. That last tidbit piques Madame Jang’s interest, and although she walks away for now, I wonder if her deal is to buy up other people’s debts in exchange for indentured servitude.
Biting his nails, Jang-soo poses a hypothetical to his father: what would he do if he had five billion won at his disposal? After the practical “it wouldn’t amount to much after taxes” answer, Boss Yang laughs that he’d give that money as loans to his rich clients to collect double that amount later.
When Jang-soo wonders if that means he can play with the bigwigs, Boss Yang wonders if his son is up to no good and raps his son for his smart mouth.

Jang-soo finds Young-dal canoodling with a girl at the pool hall, and the two head out to find Young-dal a new place to live. Little do they know that they’ve got a police tail, but the cops report that their dead man and Young-dal knew each other before they were in the same gang. Also, Young-dal doesn’t hail from Sabuk.
The realtor is initially skeptical that Young-dal has the money for a new place, but seeing the wad of cash on Young-dal’s person has him singing a different tune. Jung-hee’s grandmother drops by just then, here to rent out a room at her house.
Picking up on the relation to Jung-hee, Young-dal nudges his buddy outside and declares that he’s going to move into that room. It doesn’t matter to him if it’s a little run-down and he denies that this decision has anything to do with Jung-hee.

Speaking of, it seems that Jung-hee has reconsidered Yang-ha’s offer, as we see her taking an elevator upstairs. She presses the bell to his suite and Yang-ha invites her inside. But before she enters, she makes him promise to keep her moonlighting gig a secret. He agrees.
He pours her some wine, and she downs the glass in one shot. Damn. She does the same with the next glass, and Yang-ha breaks into a smile, amused: “This isn’t fun.”
Jung-hee slams the glass down and drops the polite act, asking if he finds it fun toying with people’s weaknesses. After gulping down another hefty glass, she suggests that they up the ante and entices him to play a game of kings, where the loser drinks and strips an article of clothing. His expression remains the same, but agrees that it sounds like fun.

Her idea comes back to bite her because Yang-ha win the first round, flashing the king card in his hand. (Also, did he just mark the king card with his fingernail?) That means she has to drink, and his face momentarily darkens when she actually does. He asks about the clothing part, and when she takes off her cardigan, he questions whether they should stop here.
But Jung-hee insists on playing and polishes off the bottle, as Yang-ha looks on with a pout. She loses the next round, too. He tests her stubbornness, telling her to stop if she isn’t confident. He raises an eyebrow and is even a little surprised when she complies and rolls down one of her stockings.
They’re interrupted by the door just then, and the girl at the door greets Yang-ha with a hug. He introduces Jung-hee to his guest as “a drinking buddy,” and she takes her leave, embarrassed. And if Jung-hee thought that his guest was his girlfriend, I’d say she’s probably his sister because when she asks when he’s coming to Seoul, Yang-ha answers that he’s been exiled (or more like ran away from home).

Jung-hee spots a strange man lurking around when she gets home, so she sneaks up on him and whacks the intruder with a broom. It’s none other than Young-dal, who’s taken the rented room of course.
She rejects the money he’s already paid, saying that she’ll find a way to repay their debt and to kick him out, but Grandma says it’s too late now. Plus, he seems like a nice fellow. Aw.
Jung-hee thinks back to her friend’s warning about Young-dal, who couldn’t be happier about his new living quarters. He starts croons the song that first started off the series “Broken Promises”, and the scene intercuts with Dong-soo, who’s drunkenly singing in the smarmy ajumma’s restaurant.

Asked how Dong-soo knows such an old-timey classic, he answers that his father always used to sing this song whenever he was drunk. It’s the first time he’s brought up his father, whom he replies died early in a mining accident.
The restaurant ajumma notes it must have been especially hard on his mother, and the mention has him laugh dryly, which she takes to assume his mother must have abandoned him.
Dong-soo is woken up the next morning by female detective Kang Jin, who wryly smiles seeing him in bed (nearly) in the nude. She takes it upon herself to clean up his place and prepare breakfast. She asks about Shin-hye, and when Dong-soo remains tight-lipped, she says she did some digging herself and found out that she’s married. Hm, does someone have a crush on their team leader?

Shin-hye crashes in on this cozy breakfast, having heard from her father that Dong-soo is still refusing treatment. Dong-soo follows after her, and when he asks if this is about getting psychological treatment again, Shin-hye says it is, because they need to be aggressive about his issues.
She assures him that it isn’t difficult—all he has to do is discover his inner pain. He grudgingly agrees to think on it and invites her inside. Kang Jin isn’t happy about this turn of events, but works up the nerve to ask Shin-hye about her relationship to Dong-soo.
Shin-hye honestly answers that they lived together before. Kang Jin asks if she means like roommates, and taken aback at her confirmation. Elsewhere, Young-dal and Jang-soo happily greet an old friend upon his release from prison.

Yang-ha pulls up to a company building, where he’s greeted familiarly by Director Hyun, who informs him that the chairman is waiting. But on their way up, Yang-ha stops and makes a detour to the bathroom to take his meds.
The Daejung chairman is none other than Yang-ha’s father, who’s in a meeting with Assemblyman Kim. The politician plans to propose to the National Assembly about changing the foreigners’ casino investment report to support a free economic zone in Korea. From the looks of it, it seems like an idea the chairman approves of, but not the assemblyman.
Calling the chairman hard to please is an understatement as he chucks Yang-ha’s report away, deeming it subpar. He raises a hand when Yang-ha talks back at him, and you can see the hurt expression clearly written on Yang-ha’s face when he’s told to re-learn the workings of a casino.

Young-dal and his buddies rip it up at a noraebang with drinks and girls, literally showering everyone with cold hard cash. Afterward, both Young-dal and Jang-soo’s ears perk up to hear that Do Ki-chan was actually murdered and his death made to look like a suicide.
Their prison friend thinks it was those men in the Philippines, a theory we’ve heard twice in this hour. Nevertheless, the idea leaves them unnerved, and Jang-soo panics—what if those men after them next? He suggests they abandon their recently found fortune, but Young-dal doesn’t intend to give up on his nouveau riche status. He tells Jang-soo not to worry and trust him.
Young-dal heads to Madame Jang’s casino to play poker, though he says he isn’t looking to win tonight, just to blow off some steam. He sits at Jung-hee’s table and he really must be depressed because he keeps his eyes focused on the cards rather than on her.

Dong-soo seeks Shin-hye out at her office, having decided to pursue psychological treatment after all. She’s relieved to hear it, and he jokes if he can’t drink in their sessions together. Shin-hye encourages him to talk about his life before he moved in with her family because he never once talked about his past.
Dong-soo takes a deep breath and begins with his family: how his father was a miner and he had two younger brothers—Dong-chul and Dong-woo. He and his brothers were twelve, seven, and a year old, respectively when their father died; their mother abandoned them soon afterward.
Back at the casino, Madame Jang is informed that the police are outside, leaving her to calm the initial alarm. She’s more annoyed than anything else, and tells Jung-hee to pipe down when she comes running in a panic.
And then Young-dal suddenly appears and takes Jung-hee’s hand to get the hell out of dodge.

Never has one of the seven deadly sins—greed—has been so scary than when it literally haunts someone in one’s sleep. It’s good to see that Young-dal knows that he needs to tread lightly about spending his fortune, especially when the other end of the rainbow could be death and not a pot of gold.
Having a lead character who’s actually awful at the thing he wants to be the best at puts him in prime territory for us as viewers. Not only does that mean we’d get to see Young-dal grow as a card player (and I hope we actually get to see this vs. skipping over it) as he learns the tricks of the trade, we can also be witness to his journey of rising through the ranks, all while trying to fight debt and death. And boy do I love origin stories, even if it’s one where he stumbles upon a mountain of money and he’s trying to figure out what to do with it.
Moving on, I’m so proud of Dong-soo for taking the first courageous step to seek psychological help. Sure I don’t think it’s a great idea to divulge the deepest secrets of your tragic past to your first love in a professional setting, but the important thing is that Dong-soo is willing to face his issues and turn to someone about himself. We’ve seen him vent his anger often to a dangerous degree, and I so look forward to learning about what happened between those years when the brothers lost both parents, and then how they all transitioned to the lives they lead today.
And then we have the youngest, Yang-ha, and even though we got to shed some spotlight on his character, it doesn’t make him any less disturbing and creepy in my mind. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his interest in Jung-hee is genuine, but for now he seems to be fascinated by Jung-hee, in both her words and actions. His unreadable expressions make it difficult for me to get a good read on him, a layered performance we can thank Im Shi-wan for. It’s the way he occasionally cracks that stoic facade with a smile or a pout that keeps him interesting.
Yang-ha’s also the only brother we’ve seen with a legal parent thus far, whom he clearly has Daddy issues with. We don’t know what that report for his father was exactly about, but I have an inkling that there’s a tie-in to his gambling trips from Vegas to the underground circuit. Furthermore, we’ve seen a tiny glimpse of how Yang-ha plays the game, as evidenced by the tiny mark he made in the king card when he was playing against Jung-hee. That has me wondering whether Yang-ha discreetly cheats in his other games, too, and maybe our hotshot gambler isn’t as good as he toots to be. Or does successfully cheating at pro games make him an even better and conniving player than we thought? Well, I suppose he’s got an adorable pout he can fall back on if he’s ever caught.


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