Friday, August 29, 2014

Triangle: Episode 5

Some dreams can be too good to be true, but that won’t stop Young-dal to do everything he can to make his a reality anyway. Big bro Dong-soo’s angry tendencies become a growing concern, especially when an outside force threatens to stop the one case he’s devoted his entire career to. And maybe more people should be a little afraid of the chairman who happens to know every important detail on almost everyone, sometimes even before they know it themselves.

Seungri – “할말 있어요 (Gotta Talk to U)” [ Download ]

Although Young-dal doesn’t recognize Chairman Go by face upon first glance, the name alone has him fall to his knees in respect of his gangster dae sunbae. Chairman Go is pleased that his reputation precedes him, and then berates Young-dal for his thievery.
Young-dal plays dumb, but he cringes when the gangsters bring in the loot. Chairman Go lets Young-dal off the hook this time, but sternly warns him against getting any other ideas—he doesn’t forgive and forget twice.
Dropping a paltry cut from the small fortune, Chairman Go takes the rest with him, leaving Young-dal in a bout of fury. It seems Young-dal has left quite the impression, though; impressed by Young-dal’s shrewdness to walk free with the money bags untouched, he chuckles that the young man would make a fine hunting dog. “I like the look in his eyes.”

Young-dal and his buddies drown their misfortune in soju, and Jang-soo tries to stay positive—he knows that they’re dirt-poor again, but Chairman Go isn’t one to be trifled with and they’re lucky to be alive.
It’s sweet how Jang-soo reminds his buddy of his dream to become the world-champion hold ‘em player, but Young-dal is far too cynical for that now: “Have you ever seen dreams come true?” He had lots of dreams as a kid, but those dreams never came true. For someone as misfortunate as himself, a dream is just a lofty idea. Aw, sad.
Overly eager Jailbreak apparently missed the memo about their current situation, though his little fanciful dance gets Young-dal to crack a smile.

Jung-hee and Yang-ha begin their three-month casino dealer training along with their fellow trainees. A guest drops in just in time to hear the regulations—it’s the same red-haired woman who visited Yang-ha’s hotel room in Episode 3. Her name is LEE SOO-JUNG, and seeing how she has a different surname, she likely isn’t Yang-ha’s sister after all.
Afterward, Jung-hee confronts Yang-ha about what he’s doing here workin’ like the common folk. Laughing, he says there’s no rule stating that he can’t be here, and then leans in to whisper that he’ll keep her illegal casino dealer days a secret.
He’s rather amused at her promise to keep his illegal casino visits under wraps, too, and lights up at the idea that that makes them secret-keeping buddies now, which Jung-hee eye-rolls at. He’s unperturbed to be told that he isn’t her type.

Young-dal thinks back to when Dong-soo had asked him to be an informant. Young-dal had known of Chairman Go by name as the large casino’s biggest VIP who always plays alone. His assignment, if he chooses to accept it, had been to keep an eye on Chairman Go and his moneylaundering activities.
Another flashback to a conversation with Boss Yang teaches us that Chairman Go was the legendary rags-to-riches story. The once-gangster got his start in demolition and eventually made his millions by establishing Chungjin Group, the real-estate conglomerate that has a monopoly on the industry.
He’d also been told that Chairman Go was from around these parts, and that tidbit leads Young-dal to have a eureka moment: “Sabuk.”

Young-dal rounds his gangster crew at the local pool hall, and it’s funny how none of them look at all menacing or frightening. When Young-dal learns that their newest recruit is a high-school dropout, he tells the naive kid to scram. Aww, stay in school, everyone!
Looking at his non-intimidating boys with a sigh, he tells Jailbreak to get them something to eat. Jang-soo knows his buddy well enough to know that something’s up and laughs at Young-dal’s declaration that he’s come to yet another decision.
He humors him though, and Young-dal vows that he’s going to build up their little gang and take over Sabuk. “I’m going to be acknowledged by Chairman Go and turn my life around.”

Elsewhere, Team Dong-soo barges into one of Chungjin’s redevelopment offices with a search and seizure warrant. Dong-soo practically looks giddy with excitement as he points his gun at the thugs, telling them to stand down. When the news reaches Chairman Go’s ears, he calls up Director Hyun for a favor.
Director Hyun is currently at a hotel and assures him that he’ll have his police chief father-in-law take care of it. Then he hangs up to join a woman who isn’t Shin-hye on the bed. Ugh, I suppose it’s no surprise that he’s an adulterer.
Chairman Go’s right hand man sits down with Dong-soo and offers up a bribe in the form of a luxurious apartment (owned by Chairman Go, of course). Dong-soo tells him that the offer’s no good—either the chairman can stick that apartment where the sun don’t shine or offer him an entire neighborhood if Dong-soo ever loses his job.

The mention of his current rooftop living situation (read: poor) stirs Dong-soo’s temper, but he stops himself before inflicting any real harm. Eek, I suppose I should be thankful for any time Dong-soo doesn’t hurt someone.
As he’s leaving, Dong-soo spots Director Hyun and the other woman looking affectionate as they leave the same hotel. Needless to say, Dong-soo’s flabbergasted but he feigns knowledge when Shin-hye calls a minute later.
She invites him over to her place for his next session, and aw, he brings her a flower bouquet. Even though it still bugs me how Shin-hye’s been breaking a dozen or more professional ethical boundaries by agreeing to be his psychiatrist and also inviting her longtime friend/client to dinner, she apparently sees nothing wrong with any of it… so whatever.

Dong-soo marvels at the home and remarks that it gives off the vibe of someone who lives alone. To his surprise, Shin-hye confirms it, but doesn’t elaborate for now.
As for Director Hyun, he seeks out his father-in-law Chief Hwang, who feels uneasy about glossing over the recent search and seizure. Chief Hwang is sure Dong-soo had good reason to act, but his son-in-law insists on the favor.
Shin-hye expounds on her separation after dinner, calling it a doomed match from the start. She only got married to abide her father’s wishes and there was never a moment she loved her husband. Her father never remarried after losing his wife and her mother when she was four years old, and Dong-soo finds it ridiculous that Shin-hye would approach marriage out of filial obedience.

She agrees, but says there was someone else she loved. That grabs Dong-soo’s attention as she recounts how even though she was sure he loved her back, he never acted upon them. Looking at Dong-soo, she says, “I don’t know why he didn’t hold onto me.”
She asks that Dong-soo keep her failing marriage a secret from her father, and Dong-soo sighs, saying that she’s the one who needs therapy. I’ll say.
Boss Yang find his son and Young-dal playing hooky and burning cash at penny slots. Young-dal appeals to Boss Yang for an upfront loan of 10 million Won to be used as seed money. When it’s clear that he won’t get the money that easily, Young-dal argues that he’s been working for Boss Yang for the past five years. “Don’t you trust me?”

Jang-soo is put in the uncomfortable position to parrot his father’s honest thoughts about Young-dal (basically that a person’s better off trusting a stray dog over Young-dal. Ouch). The only way for Young-dal to get even a small cut of that asking amount out of Boss Yang is to go and collect more debts.
Good thing Young-dal has a Plan B—he’ll organize a training camp to raise those small-time hometown thugs into real gangsters instead. It cracks me up how Jang-soo’s all, I hear real gangsters do that!
Just then Jailbreak inadvertently suggests Plan C: the restaurant owner Young-dal had a fling with back in Episode 1 is getting a divorce and she’s looking for Young-dal. Jackpot.

Although Jung-hee is bullied by her fellow trainees, she stands her ground well enough with her own feistiness. Her casino dealer friend arrives to break up a possible catfight, and she tells Jung-hee not to worry about them.
Madame Jang calls to inform Jung-hee that she can come back to work since they’re open for business again. She isn’t pleased by Jung-hee’s proposal to repay her debt once her salary comes in — either Jung-hee come up with the cash right now or come to work. The choice is hers.
Disheartened, Jung-hee turns around and taken aback to see Yang-ha standing there. He confesses that he couldn’t help but eavesdrop and asks if she’s being threatened. She dismisses it, and Soo-jung catches the tail-end of the exchange. Speaking of, Soo-jung is apparently a new manager at the casino, and she tasks one of her staff to do a background check on Jung-hee. Jealous of Yang-ha’s affections perhaps?

Young-dal meets up with his former noona fling at a cafe, pretending to be all nonchalant about her upcoming divorce. She asks if there’s anything else he wants, to which he says there is this other thing… but now’s not a good time. She bites the bait, though, and laughs when he immediately follows up with a request for a loan.
He knows it’s low of him to ask, but it’s pretty urgent. She agrees to give him however much he wants, but on the condition that he lives with her. That stipulation wipes the gleeful smile off of his face and he sinks back into his chair.
Jang-soo and Jailbreak think it’s a great idea, but Young-dal says he’s got standards and won’t shack it up with just anybody. He’s got greater goals to achieve.

Team Dong-soo is busy at work poring over the seized documents. The suggestion that they may have been too hasty doesn’t deter Dong-soo in the least, since he’s determined to get to the bottom of this once and for all. Judging from the exasperated expression on his boss’s face though, it’s probably unlikely.
Chief Hwang drops by to take Dong-soo out for lunch at the smarmy ajumma’s restaurant. It seems the police chief was swayed by his son-in-law’s words after all, because he asks him to close the case on Chairman Go.
Jung-hee is troubled over Madame Jang’s threats at home. Grandma is sharp enough to know something’s wrong and tells her granddaughter that if she knew of someplace where she could borrow money right away, she would have already done so.

Jung-hee runs into Young-dal outside, and it’s cute how adorably awkward he gets around her. She asks if he’s friendly with Madame Jang, which he is, but she can’t bring herself to ask him to put in a word for her.
Apparently it’s a really small world because Madame Jang is friends with the newly-divorced restaurant owner who intends to go into moneylending. She sighs that her friend still has lingering feelings for Young-dal, to which she’s told that she’d understand if she ever dated him.
Madame Jang is called away to greet a visitor just then. It’s Yang-ha, who offers to repay Jung-hee’s debt on the grounds that they stop threatening her to come back to work.

Young-dal is called in to see Boss Min (the woman who ratted Madame Jang out in Episode 4) and Top Dog in her office. She asks how he knows Chairman Go, to which Young-dal sighs that it’s a long story. No matter because Young-dal has made an impression on the chairman and she’s been personally requested to be his benefactor.
Young-dal can hardly believe it and walks back to join his buddies still in a daze. He tells his buddy the good news and they celebrate at how dreams really do come true.
Assemblyman Kim wraps up a round of golf with Chairman Yoon, then makes a quick exit once Chairman Go approaches them. The two CEOs sit down for a chat, and Chairman Yoon is surprised that the crested penguin chairman is already aware of the casino resort he plans to build.

Chairman Go prides himself on obtaining his intel quickly and says there’s one surefire way to keep his lips sealed: if he can be part of that casino resort. Chairman Yoon declines, and the Chungjin chairman is disappointed to hear that from his old business partner.
A flashback takes us back to the Sabuk miners protests, led by the Jang brothers’ father Jang Jung-kook. Publicly humiliated, Chairman Yoon had tasked Chairman Go to “take care of him,” in other words, kill him. Hm, was that coal mining accident deliberate then?

As Team Dong-soo looks into whether Chairman Go has any overseas slush funds, Dong-soo suddenly bursts into another rage episode, reminded by Chief Hwang’s request to close the case. Destroying nearly everything in his path, the teams jumps into action to restrain Tornado Dong-soo.
Once he’s calmed down, Dong-soo takes off early to honor his father’s death anniversary. It’s a humble and lonely affair.
Chairman Go is pleased to hear that the Chungjin investigation is called off. Young-dal comes looking for Chairman Go and falls to his knees to express his gratitude and loyalty. Finding his devotion cute, Chairman Go tells him to get up and asks if he’s really willing to do anything he’d told.

Young-dal swears it, but then his voice falters when given a dark hypothetical: “You think you can stab Dong-soo if I tell you to?”
And who should come walking towards them at that moment but Dong-soo himself, his eyes ablaze with fury. His eyes widen to see Young-dal, but his beef is with Chairman Go.
“Listen up,” he breathes. “No matter how desperate you were, you’ve crossed a line you never should’ve crossed. You’ve tarnished the life of a man who has never done anything in his entire life to taint his honor. I won’t ever forgive you for that.”

This is one moment I feel Dong-soo’s rage was an appropriate response and directed at the right person (destroyed computers notwithstanding), because now this personal war between them has suffered its first injuries, bringing down someone as honorable as Chief Hwang. We know that Dong-soo has been thwarted numerous times, but influencing a paternal figure has got to cut deeper… and perhaps Chairman Go knows it. Or I could be giving the corrupt man more credit than he deserves.
Having spent his entire career to expose Chairman Go’s corruption, I can’t help but wonder if Dong-soo’s motivation goes beyond a matter of justice. He didn’t get to stick around to hear the rest of the chairman’s past (which included some secret plan to have the Jang brothers’ father killed) and we don’t know whether he questions the mining accident that left him and his brothers parentless. His anger outbursts are becoming a growing concern, though I’m sure it’s worth something that he stopped himself from physically hurting someone. Maybe it’s a case where things will get worse before they can get better, but I’m afraid that the “worse” will involve a fatal casualty while he’s on the job.
Moving on to Young-dal, it rather feels like he spent most of this hour looking for his next big investor to fulfill his dream, doesn’t it? It’s just that when we finally knew he wanted to become a world champion poker player, we could see the enthusiasm to become better at his playing skills. Once that small fortune was taken away from him, we saw his street-smart cunningness at play to get seed money as quickly as possible.
Moreover, I wish I could tell where Young-dal loyalty lies. Granted, he has no reason to ally himself with any particular side if it doesn’t aid his personal ambitions, since he was willing to be an informant, and then abandoned that method when he was temporarily rich, and now he wants to work for Chairman Go. To his credit, it’s possible Young-dal doesn’t know either and it isn’t a matter of loyalty to him at all. If anything, we can tell he does hold himself to some standards, like when he declined his noona fling’s offer or his alarm when Chairman Go asked if he can even kill. If an offer looks too good to be true, then maybe it is.


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