Open Thread: Stranger Episodes 5 & 6

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I thought I’d let Shi Mok headline our post today, because the way his mind creates this virtual reality, where he interacts with the crime scene, is just so fascinating to me. 🤩

Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 5

Oohh. This web seems to be getting more and more tangled, and as a viewer, I’m confused and intrigued. Confused, because I’m still trying to figure out who’s doing what, and with what motive, and intrigued, because Show’s doing a good job of making this story quite tantalizing, in its selective twists and reveals. If I’m curious to watch more of Show, just to see what Show is going to unveil next, that’s a pretty good thing, yes?

For a start, I’m rather startled, this episode, to realize that Min Ah – well, Ga Young, as of this episode – was discovered in Park Moo Sung’s house. I hadn’t seen that coming. However, it makes sense that a bunch of rebellious teenagers might break into a crime scene and hang out there, for cool points.

The question, though, is who put Ga Young there, and was it a planned thing, that she be discovered by those teenagers, or, had Ga Young been left there to die?

I’d been suspicious of the Deputy Chief last episode, but this episode, it seems like it may not have been his doing, after all. In fact, he seems genuinely offended, when Shi Mok asks him whether it was his doing. Plus, the way the Deputy Chief seems so sure that it’s not Shi Mok, even though there is circumstantial evidence against Shi Mok, it seems like the Deputy Chief might have some insight into who the actual culprit might be.

And right now, the most suspicious person seems to be Prosecutor Seo. There’s something about the way Lee Joon Hyuk is playing him, all extra intense and bug-eyed, that makes Prosecutor Seo seem a bit like a crazy person.

Prosecutor Seo always looks rather gleeful when talking with the Deputy Chief about things like Park Moo Sung’s murder, as well as the abduction and almost-killing of Ga Young. The way he seems to get delight from analyzing who the culprit might be, seems so.. dehumanizing, in the sense that he seems to take this as some kind of game, and it doesn’t seem to bother him, that actual people have either died, or been nearly killed.

In fact, with the suspicious way that Prosecutor Seo is behaving this episode, I can’t help but wonder if he’d set himself up to look innocent with the room salon as his alibi, while having someone else in position to nab Ga Young, near her home. That’s not impossible to do, and if he’s as sly as his gleeful expression implies, I wouldn’t put it past him, to create an elaborate set-up like this, to get himself in the clear.

And of course, Prosecutor Seo does have a motive, for getting rid of Ga Young. After all, she could implicate him in the bribery case, since she’d worked closely with Park Moo Sung.

The other person who appears rather suspicious this hour, is Kim Soo Chan. Even though he’s rather too low down the hierarchy to actually be involved in the Park Moo Sung bribery case, his intent efforts to argue that Shi Mok is the culprit who’s behind both Park Moo Sung’s murder and Ga Young’s abduction, do feel off-kilter. It makes me think that he’s doing this with an ulterior motive. And if that ulterior motive isn’t his own, then perhaps he’s acting on someone else’s behalf. But if so, who? Would that be the police chief?

Once again, Chairman Lee proves to be a cold, calculating businessman. The way he basically orders the Deputy Chief to set Shi Mok up as the scapegoat, never mind if more murders occur afterwards, is so unscrupulous. He doesn’t care that more people might die because of this, as long as they can distance themselves from Park Moo Sung’s case. And, he talks about this all so pleasantly, too.

On the side, I can’t help wondering about Mrs. Deputy Chief, Yeon Jae. She appears completely unruffled, impossibly elegant, and completely removed from all this scheming, but.. perhaps that’s the whole point? Perhaps she is intricately involved in this – and has secret discussions about all these details with her father when her husband isn’t around – and only appears to be the dutiful housewife who only cares about the affairs of the home?

Through all of this, Shi Mok remains his steady, focused self, always at the ready to parse through clues and analyze the crime at hand. The thing that concerns me, is how Shi Mok appears to readily share information with others, including characters whom we’re suspicious of.

This episode, he readily shares Ga Young’s (ok, Min Ah at the time) name and address with Sergeant Kim, even though, in the end, it’s Sergeant Kim who seems to be working extra hard to make a case against Shi Mok.

And previous to this, Shi Mok had shared details of the case with Prosecutor Young, even though she’d clearly been rubbing shoulders with Prosecutor Seo. It makes me wonder what Shi Mok’s thinking, as he shares these pieces of information.

Does he actually trust people so easily? Surely not, because he’s expressed his disillusionment around the rot – ie, the corruption – within the system? If he doesn’t trust people that easily, then why does he share information relatively easily? Is he using it as bait, so that he can see how people react to the information? I’m really quite curious about this.

We don’t get a whole lot of screen time with Yeo Jin this episode, but I have to say, that beat at the beginning of the episode, when she immediately points out that if Ga Young had been kidnapped in her home, it’s highly unlikely that the kidnapper would have locked the door behind them, is so great.

It amuses me greatly, that this entire apartment full of detectives and other police crew, did not think of this small but very important detail. I love how smart she is, and how effortlessly this conclusion seems to have come to her.

I also like that even though she’s empathetic, she is also fair. When Sergeant Kim tries to convince Yeo Jin that Shi Mok had met with Ga Young prior to the abduction, it’s clear that her instinct is not to believe it. But then, when she thinks about the fact that Shi Mok had been able to print the photograph of the school uniform, it gives her pause. I like that she doesn’t jump to conclusions either way, but is open to the evidence as presented.

I do wonder if Shi Mok’s theory, that someone’s creating an elaborate trap in order to set him up, is true? It is beginning to look that way, and it does make me wonder if Prosecutor Seo might actually be doing this? And I wonder if it’s perhaps because he’d overheard the Deputy Chief speaking with Shi Mok as a potential ally, while making overt plans to get rid of Prosecutor Seo..?

What a surprise, that Prosecutor Young comes clean to Shi Mok, about being the person who had met with Park Moo Sung before his death. How curious, though, that she claims that she was working alone. Is she telling the truth, or is she trying to protect someone else..? And, if she’s telling the truth, what was her agenda, with Park Moo Sung..?

Episode 6

This show is turning out to be a legit rollercoaster, and I am very much enjoying it.

I feel like Show’s playing a game of tease with us; the people who appear most suspicious in an episode, often get swapped out for other suspicious people of the hour, in the next episode. I mostly don’t know what to think – since it feels like all my theories will be shot down eventually anyway – but the ride itself sure is fun.

It hadn’t occurred to me before, but when Prosecutor Young explains why she’d meet up with Park Moo Sung, it all makes sense to me. Of course. It sounds perfectly logical, that she’d want to meet Park Moo Sung, to ask him to clear her father’s name, and it also makes sense, that she wouldn’t want him dead, since, y’know, he wouldn’t be able to clear her father’s name while dead and all.

But I do enjoy how Shi Mok explores all the possibilities, like when he talks through the possibility that Prosecutor Young is the culprit. It’s fascinating to me, how he thinks, and how his various hypotheses actually sound so plausible, when he tries them out. It really shows how deeply he’s been thinking about things. And, in a story world where most people are very emotionally invested in proving themselves right &/or innocent, I find Shi Mok’s relative, consistent calm very soothing.

And, Shi Mok’s got a great point; if the Deputy Chief were behind Ga Young’s abduction, why would he want to put her on display like that? Shi Mok’s right; if it had been the Deputy Chief, he would’ve wanted to get rid of Ga Young as quietly as possible.

..Which brings me to Shi Mok’s eventual point, that the culprit is likely someone who wants to punish the Deputy Chief. Right now, that’s looking like his wife, to me. After all, there’s that scene where she asks him if he’d still be married to her, if she wasn’t her father’s daughter. Plus, she tests him too, about Ga Young, and remarks how upset he must be about what happened to her. This totally sounds like passive-aggressive talk to me; Mrs. Deputy Chief definitely strikes me as a woman who would be very lethal, once scorned.

This episode, I’m glad to see Yeo Jin and Shi Mok more overtly on the same side. Not only does Yeo Jin speak up as Shi Mok’s alibi in that room where Sergeant Kim, along with everyone else, was trying to pin Shi Mok as the culprit, she takes him to dinner when she sees him walking into that store to look at perfume. These two things feel more personal than business to me, and I mean that in the best way.

From the way Yeo Jin considers that Shi Mok hasn’t eaten, to how she eventually crosses his name off her diagram of suspects, it feels like a key milestone in terms of her seeing him as a partner rather than a simple acquaintance. And I do love watching the two of them putting their heads together, as they discuss the case.

I like how Shi Mok shares intel with her, like that security recording of the resort hallway, and how they have an open discussion about it, even though there are delicate details in the video, like the fact that there are senior people from both their sides, implicated in the video. Yet, their discussion feels so neutral, like neither of them actually has any particular personal interest in either of those senior people. I like that a lot.

In particular, I love how, together, they manage to piece together the likelihood that Prosecutor Seo is in possession of Ga Young’s phone, just from his ringtone. Yes, it relies a little bit on coincidence, like how Yeo Jin had heard Prosecutor Seo’s ringtone while he’d been eavesdropping on her and her colleagues, but the result is so gratifying, that I’ll take it without complaints. Plus, there’s that beat, where, without even needing to discuss it, Yeo Jin and Shi Mok work together so seamlessly, to test Prosecutor Seo’s ringtone, when they run into him. I love it.

And there’s the way they fall into good cop bad cop roles so easily, when they visit the room salon, to talk with the Madame. They truly complement each other so well. Shi Mok’s excellent at being the bad cop, with his deadpan questioning and cold analysis, and Yeo Jin’s perfect to play good cop to his bad cop, with her natural empathy. They don’t actually get a whole lot of information from the Madame, but I do love the way Yeo Jin stays back to have that extra bit of conversation with her, and, using empathy as a springboard, actually leaves her with a pricked conscience. Really nice, I thought.

On top of this, I’m also very much enjoying the fact that Shi Mok’s speaking much more freely with Yeo Jin now. Like, when she asks him why he didn’t tell her about his doubts about Prosecutor Seo, Shi Mok shares his hesitation so easily. And then Yeo Jin analyzes it for him so readily, and tells him that that’s his sense of superiority at work.

I like this dynamic, where, if she asks him something, he tells her, and then she analyzes it for him, and includes the emotional processing bit, which he’s unable to do on his own. They strike me as partners now, and I like that a lot.

This episode, we get more time with Park Moo Sung’s son, Kyung Wan, and even though Show appears to be setting him up as another suspicious character, I tend to think that he’s telling Yeo Jin the truth, that Ga Young didn’t know who he was. From the looks of it, he likely admired her from afar – thus the stalking photos in his phone – and his father’s connection with Ga Young had nothing to do with him.

Considering that Prosecutor Young had been on my Suspicious List very recently, it did feel like quite a turnaround, to have her helping Shi Mok with his mission to search Prosecutor Seo’s office for Ga Young’s mobile phone. So now she’s tentatively off my Suspicious List.

Kim Jung Bon is still on my Suspicious List, though. I mean, he does seem pleasant to Shi Mok, and his explanations this episode, to explain how he knew things, sounded reasonable. But sometimes he does seem to have a dark shadow of an expression, like he’s only be pretending to have gotten over the way Shi Mok had treated him back in middle school. It’s possible that he’s been nursing a grudge, and is now making it his goal to take down Shi Mok, as revenge?

And now, to top everything off, the Deputy Chief gets promoted to Chief Prosecutor, as we round off this episode. That scene, of everyone coming out to the hallway to greet him with a deep bow, has such deep gangster echoes, I feel. Isn’t this exactly how gang members greet their chief? And, knowing that now-Chief Prosecutor has some very bad plans that include making Shi Mok a scapegoat, does not make me feel better about that. 😬

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Justin Us
1 month ago

An Absolute Must Watch Drama

justin
1 month ago

AN Absolute Must Watch Drama

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago

I enjoy Shi Mok’s scenario re-enactments also.

Usually with these shows featuring a super-focused crime-solver — the obvious example being Benedict Cumberbatch’s take on Sherlock Holmes, with his “mind palace” — the mental reenactment would necessarily end up being the truth of what actually happened.

But here he’s just playing out each scenario to see how well it fits. To those of us in the viewing audience the initial round looks totally convincing, yet a minute later he’ll discard that scenario for a different one.

Which raises a meta-question:

Is it that Shi Mok is ridiculously brilliant, or that like a natural psychopath he is less distracted by the emotions the rest of us experience and therefore has an easier time entering hyperfocus?

It’s always struck me that this is one of the key advantages to being an evil villain. You don’t have to be that much smarter than everyone else if you’re able to direct whatever smarts you do have as if they were a laser.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

Oops, wrong box. That was supposed to be a reply to Hillview.

Hillview
Hillview
30 days ago
Reply to  merij1

Found it merij1!
Aaah interesting thought about his brilliance, and I am very curious as to where we are going with him.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

And another advantage – you don’t have to care about the collateral damage! Thinking in light of Vincenzo, where the bad guys were just so over the top in terms of damage they were willing to cause.

On a more serious note, guess he’s both. He’s able to put aside bias that comes from liking certain people and judging everything very objectively. Plus maybe the hyper rational mind loves this sort of scenario gaming. Whatever it is, this show does a great job of showing what goes on in his mind.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago

there is one question that’s kind of swirling in my brain: how come such a smart, determined, detailed, experienced prosecutor like si mok enters a crime scene,
does not have or use gloves, touches everything…seriously? even i know that.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

Yeah that bothered me too! From the very first episode. I guuueess he felt urgency to catch the culprit quickly but it was just bizarre how he trampled all over the crime scene like that, and surprised he didn’t get more incriminated with suspicion!

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Oh yes you’re right. I have blocked out this glaring gap from my mind. I can’t even justify it so I ignore it. Lol.

MC
MC
1 month ago

Oh glad we are doing this group watch. Frankly life is heavy at the moment so I wouldn’t typically watch an equally heavy show with requires a lot of heavy lifting – I’m the sort where, when tired and stressed, just want an easy breezy show. Which this is clearly not, lol.

Having said that I appreciate this show for its strengths – assured directing, writing and acting. This show kind of feels like a Money Flower in that it feels roller coaster-y and you don’t quite know where things stand/ how it will all work out but you know you’re in capable hands, that how you’re feeling is exactly what the writer and PD meant and that they know exactly where they’re going. In short, feels like we’re in capable hands. Also, the micro expressions by Jo Seung Woo are so telling though tiny, I love it. And it’s my first time watching Bae Doona but I see the hype and love for her, she’s just so good. Everyone is killing it on this show.

And how lovely is the partnership between Yeo Jin and Si Mok? I love the scene in the car where she says something about “us” and he smiles coz finally someone is on his side. He’s been so lonely all his life even though he has family and by all accounts a mum who loves him. I know they’re not going to be a couple nor is this a romance show but I could totally imagine it because their chemistry is superb.

I feel sorry for Kim Ga Young though. A little lost girl who thought she was grown up and could play with the big sharks but got eaten. I hope they do justice to her at the end.

I don’t have anything very clever to say, I’m just enjoying the ride and look forward to more twists and turns ahead!

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

Although it’s serious I find it easy to watch because it’s not particularly tense or violent, it has a very measured pace. I like that.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

You’re right about the pace! Just that I feel I’m not doing justice to the show by thinking about what it means coz my brains are fried. Haha. But it’s why I love drama recaps and analysis like this and all your comments to help me think a bit deeper!

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

I’m not much of an analyzer myself. I know lots of people love to untangle the clues, but I don’t get too deep into it, after a while I don’t believe anything and I just go with the flow.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thank you, I appreciate it! Hugs too! And yes those micro expressions – can’t go wrong with Kang Piljoo. I shall rewatch that show some other day down the road and love it again. another one to add to the list of micro expressions is Life on Mars’ Han Tae Joo – plus always my love for Jung Kyung Ho is never ending 😍😍😍😍

Yumi Cells looks cute! I can’t commit to watching much shows nowdays, even these 2 eps a week is hard, sadly. But it’s on my list of cute (hopefully happy) shows to watch – along with Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo which I know everyone loves ♥️♥️

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yes I loved the little smile! It’s like, aha! I think he didn’t even realise he smiled or felt pleasure.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  MC

MC, those little smiles are the best part of the show, for sure. So I don’t think you’re missing anything by being distracted with the heaviness of real life. Everything regarding the crime story is explained by the end.

So sorry to hear you’re under stress. There were quite a few shows we passed on a year ago for that reason.

In our case it’s the trials and tribulations of our children. This is a second marriage for both of us and we each have a set of 20-something aged kids.

And as my wise sister-in-law once observed, “you’re only as happy as your least happy child.”

Last edited 1 month ago by merij1
MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

That’s a relief to know that it’ll all be explained in the end. If not I’ll bug you lor for explanations! This is one of those shows where you can engage both superficially as a story and go deep like a semi detective trying to piece things together. Lots to offer to everyone!

Thanks for the concern! It’s a family thing so you’re both very invested and yet you can’t do much too. Oh yes about the children thing. I’ve only got one very small one but his happiness and unhappiness is enough to lift or sink my mood too, so I totally get you! May your kids all be all right !

Trent
1 month ago

Okay, maybe one substantive comment, since it kind of came up again in these episodes. We get a bit more discussion about Shi-mok’s operation and how it supposedly chopped out a portion of his brain that affected his ability to feel emotions.

This led to me doing some ponder-y navel-gazing around the subject of what provides us with our motive to act?

Here’s what I mean (I think. I’m kind of doing the written equivalent of thinking out loud, here). It seems to me that very often we act in this world because of our emotions, because we feel something. Anger, love, irritation, infatuation, loyalty, friendship, etc. etc. etc. These are all emotions, correct? And as we feel them, they very often stimulate us to act in response, right?

In the absence of emotion, what would be the motivation to act? Would it simply be reduced to material needs (or the absence of those needs’ satisfaction)? We are hungry, and thus stimulated to seek out food. We are tired, so we go to bed. We experience hormonal pressures so we…well, you get the picture, yes?

(Actually, this opens up a tangent that I was also thinking about, likewise due to things that occurred in this episode: what is Shi-mok’s relation to physical desire. There are a couple of references to him “doing it” (as the Netflix translation puts it): someone asks if he was patronizing the escorts–actually, if he had an “encounter” with Ga-young, as I recall–and then (I believe) Prosecutor Seo asks if he and Eun-soo were physically entangled. For most of us (I presume), there is materially-based (hormones, etc.) physical desire that is almost inextricably bound up with emotions. Is his ability to feel desire also cut off? Does it exist independent of emotions, which he doesn’t feel? How does it manifest or translate into action, or does it? Yes, yes, I’m being nosy and intrusive (but it’s a fictional character! He won’t care!), but I’m actually curious…)

Anyway, back to the main point. So presuming that he is at the very least motivated by material needs, wouldn’t it be possible to construct second-order motivations that are indirect but built on a rational assessment of the actions needed to fulfill baseline needs? That is, I know I need to act within a certain range of behaviors in order to successfully hold a job and perform its duties, which in turn will allow me to earn the money I need to feed and house myself. At some point, his ability to rationally project the proper behaviors to model a “normal” emotionally-developed human being is going to fall short…which is why he defaults to “cold,” “uncaring,” etc.–because the intellectual analysis of how to act as if motivated by emotion (i.e. like most people do), when you don’t in fact feel the emotion itself, is going to be limited.

This, by the way, is similar to the speculative exercises we fans of OG Star Trek used to endlessly engage in vis-a-vis Mr. Spock, the original “he doesn’t feel any emotion” icon. The conclusion we often arrived at (and that that show is subtly pushing, I think), is that Mr. Spock actually does feel at least some emotions, often quite deeply, they’re just buried and filtered through a particularly strong rationalistic framework. And honestly, I suspect that is going to be the best lens to view our friend Shi-mok as well: I suspect he has emotions, they’re just buried and filtered. But we shall see.

spoilers for Flower of Evil
(In that, I think he resembles in some ways Lee Joong-ki’s character in Flower of Evil, a show which from a certain perspective is no more than a character study in which the ML has spent his life being told, and believing, that he is incapable of loving anyone, and then slowly learning that what he feels for his wife and daughter is, in fact, love. One of the reasons I really liked that show a lot…).

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Great analogy with Spock, who was, after all, only half Vulcan.

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

Yes! That was always the out, wasn’t it? That his pure Vulcan blood was tainted by that illogical human side… (Of course, on the couple occasions we get to see his father Sarok, we see that he also actually indulges in things that look suspiciously like emotions–he clearly seems to love Spock’s mother, for instance. This is likewise ascribed to “illogic.” (at least, as I recall…I watched those old eps multiple times in syndicated reruns, but it’s been awhile)).

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

I’m no Star Trek expert, but I seem to recall that Vulcans had willed themselves not to feel emotion. Which is not the same as being incapable. And that on some rando cyclical occasion their emotions would break disastrously free, making up for spare time!

Sorry, btw, for being such a dweeb misinterpreting your Taiwan comment regarding The Bond. That was lame.

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

Pon Farr! (aka “Vulcan sexy times,” which canonically, occurs in seven year cycles, during which the subject has to get extremely wild ‘n crazy (wink, wink) or risk doing extreme harm to themselves (and others)). First seen in that classic OG episode “Amok Time,” as I recall…

(Don’t worry about it. In the annals of internet commenting bobbles, that didn’t even register).

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

i think his motivation is pursue of justice, and i can truly understand and relate to it, as justice always preoccupied my brain, whether in politics or just life.
in regards to his emotions or lack of it. remember yeo jin asking shi mok if aliens exist, and he answers: “ya, otherwhise it is a waste of space”. (very intersting perspective on this question, even that it’s a bit funny) and then she shows him her drawing of a brain, actually proving that his brain does include that part that is “housing” emotions and if it would have been empty, it would have been a “waste of space”. so he must have emotions, he just needs to find the key to the door to unlock his emotions, just like he’s looking for the killer. i think she is very much encouraging him to employ his talent to search and find his own emotions.
on another note, i am letting go of the “cat” in me, too many rats gets confusing. so i am just leaving it to shi mok and yeo jin.

Trent
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda harris — good of you to point out that scene where he interacts with Yeo-jin, because that is one of the scenes that caused me to reflect on this whole issue in the first place.

You may be right that “pursuit of justice” is a motivation for Shi-mok, which would be some evidence for the theory that he does feel at least some emotions, wouldn’t it, even if they’re buried or attenuated in some way, since pursuit of justice is a form of desire or emotion, isn’t it?

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

Cats gonna cat, but sometimes it’s good to know the chase is somewhat futile. At least if you consider the endpoint as your goal. This time I think it’s more the journey itself. (Ooh. Deep sounding I am!)

Last edited 1 month ago by merij1
eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

as always merij1, deep sounding! (i am not joking).

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

“It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”. Did you know this saying is believed to be Chinese? possibly coined by then premier Deng Xiaoping (1904–97).

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

one of my cats, the original ones, is black and white, a tuxedo cat, but she’s not catching mice. i guess she never picks up the chinese, although she does watch all these asian dramas with pleasure next to me in bed. i’ll have to show her your comment, and of course translate into catish, although i am convinced she knows all that i know (called telepathy, or whatever…you know.) but she pretends not to know, she’s the smart one, it’s easier to live this way.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

Sharing intel is not a strong suit for cats. Unless you count demands, such as “feed me, pet me, let me in, let me out, move over so I can cuddle.”

As they say, “dogs have owners and cats have staff.”

We have a cat and a dog, so that’s fun. This is the second dog for our cat, so she had to train him when he showed up as an idiot puppy. She found that a bit annoying, but she truly was lonely when his predecessor died. Sigh. Death and birth, death and birth.

Last edited 1 month ago by merij1
eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

my cats and dogs, and fish, have mama and papa equally, but sometimes each one of them thinks that they are our owners (not the fish). and you forgot another one of the demands: lets talk, at least mine trained me well.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Appreciate the shout-out to Flower of Evil! Despite its flaws, I enjoyed the ride very much, especially the dynamic between the main couple who has been together for many years, not something I have seen yet in many dramas!

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  Trent

Really like what you say and appreciate the thoughtful comment. Agree that Si Mok probably does feel some emotions but it’s very deeply repressed and far away (or maybe he doesn’t recognise them? Possibly the adults in his life just thought ok emotionally stunted and chopped off by way of the surgery so maybe he has no emotions and never tried to teach him?? So he might feel just that he doesn’t know what they are).

I figure that for a less-emotional person/ more rational person, perhaps the driving force is about trying to solve a problem or make sense of something.

Itll be interesting to see where this show takes us in terms of him exploring the world of emotions! Thankfully he has a Yeo Jin with him!

Hillview
Hillview
1 month ago

Totally agree with your analysis of how the show is messing with our expectations of who is the most suspicious character, and I am enjoying that ride too. I like the extra bits being dropped in, and I find the re-enactment scenes in Shi Moks head add nicely to the whole flow. All in all these two episodes provided some solid plot development but also some really nice emotional development of their relationship! Lots of hooks to keep watching.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  Hillview

@Hillview, I replied to this but put it in the wrong box. At the moment it’s up at the top.

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

Loving this group watch.
Just a silly thing that I noticed. Why does Shi Mok keep getting interrupted when he is about to eat? I also agree with the phone ringing when they were searching the other prosecutors office, why wasn’t it on vibrate like is was supposed to be?
Cant wait for next weeks episodes and commentary.

Hillview
Hillview
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

Me too, too much food wastage and how does he work those crazy hours with no fuel 🙂

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

That’s pretty standard in all dramas, the actors don’t really want to eat on screen, since they can end up doing multiple takes and don’t want to put on weight! Probably they usually spit it out off screen anyway. A lot of dramas you will hardly ever see them actually eat anything. When from time to time I do see someone swallow I am surprised!!! And I bet a lot of that alcohol is just water +/- colour. Maybe it’s more noticeable in Kdramas since they have SO many eating and drinking scenes.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Yes to this! A rare exception is My Roommate is a Gumiho as both Jang Ki Yong and Hyeri chow on screen. But it’s funny to see him always being conveniently called away whenever he’s about to eat!

Hillview
Hillview
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Unless it is two minutes noodles! Seen those being eaten lots!!

Timescout
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

Ha, I was begining to think that no-one noticed this. Back in the day, during the initial run of S1 people were pretty amused with the “running gag” of Shi Mok never getting to finish his meals. There was quite a bit of fist pumping going on when he finally did get to eat uninterrupted. 😀 This actually carried over to S2.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 month ago
Reply to  Timescout

Haha yes I cheered when he finally got to eat later in the season! BTW did you enjoy S2? I was really bored by the first episode of S2 so I haven’t continued yet.

wonhwa
wonhwa
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Season 2 takes a while to get going, but once it does, it’s also wonderful, although in a bit of a different way – it’s less about solving a case and more about the challenges of reforming problematic systems. It also does a particularly good job at looking at the stresses women face in professional situations, and how the men around them are often completely unaware of this.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  wonhwa

Last week someone expressed surprise that prosecutors in the show have so many of the investigation powers and roles we normally associate with the police.

As wonha says, season two takes a deep dive on that, with the police and the prosecutors pitted against one another as as systemic reforms are considered.

But the coolest part is that even though the two teams have become straight-up political enemies, pairings of individuals from both sides remain friends who work together behind the scenes. Including, of course, our dynamic duo.

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

That person was me! And I still wonder about it though I’ve parked it aside for now. That’s an interesting theme to explore in S2. If S1 goes well – which I think it will – then I’ll probably watch S2 someday!

Timescout
29 days ago
Reply to  MC

Korean prosecutors have historically had broader duties and power than what most of us in the west are accustomed to. Like taking active part in investigating crimes. Some of that has now chaged though, as of this year. Here’s a link to an article I came across, for those who might want to know more and don’t mind a bit of “leagal jargon”. 🙂

Like merj1 said, S2 is centered on the tug of war between the police and the prosecution about what and how much should be changed to make these two arms of law enforcement more equal.

Last edited 29 days ago by kfangurl
Timescout
29 days ago
Reply to  Timescout

Dang, that html link didn’t quite work as supposed to and I wasn’t able to edit it. Can you perhaps correct that K?

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
29 days ago
Reply to  Timescout

Fascinating. When I get a chance I’d like to research how the politics of this played out and whether the show was mentioned in the press as it unfolded.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Season 2 took me literally half the season to get into it – but then I was utterly invested and considerably worried about a certain character! I’d say first half of season 1 is better, but the latter half of season 2 is better.

Timescout
1 month ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Yes, I did enjoy it, though it’s bit of a different beast than S2. Like other’s have already stated, S2 takes a while to get properly going. It took me a few episodes to really get invested but once I did, I was all in. The writing’s still as assured as ever and the cast is great.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  Timescout

That’s so funny. I’ve seen both seasons and never noticed that. Or rather I sort of noticed it but didn’t give it any thought. Haha.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

That Shi Mok never gets to finish his meals in public.

merij1
merij1(@merij1)
1 month ago

I like this dynamic, where, if she asks him something, he tells her, and then she analyzes it for him, and includes the emotional processing bit, which he’s unable to do on his own.

Brilliant observation, KFG!

As to why Shi Mok shares intel with insiders still on his suspect list — including (now) Chief Prosecutor Lee — I think it’s a balance of testing to see their reaction and knowing that he should be sharing information with his colleagues. Up to a point.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  merij1

I agree re kfangurl’s observation on emotional processing. Yeo Jin s great at emotional reasoning and articulating her deduction to Shi-mok without impatience or judgement. They are a great team – and such a joy when she crosses him off her ‘suspicious’ list.

Trent
1 month ago

I fell a little bit behind this week, so I’m still finishing this week’s episodes…more substantive comments (maybe) later.

But I did want to make one slightly silly observation:

It kept niggling at me where I’d seen our high school escort/victim before, so as is usually the case with these things, I had to go track it down, and the actress (Park Yoo-na) was the ML’s kinda-sorta wannabe girlfriend in Hotel del Luna, but also (more importantly) the eldest daughter (the fake Harvard student) in the law professor’s family in SKY Castle.

Then, early in ep. 5 here in this show, Chief Prosecutor Lee Chang-joon’s wife walks in, and she’s played by Yoon Se-ah, who played the law professor’s wife (and did an amazing job in the role, by the way) in SKY Castle.

So the silly observation is just this: Yoon Se-ah’s daughter from SKY Castle was having a liaison with her husband in this show, Stranger. That’s…well…okay; nothing, really.

Still, it’s these sorts of meta-games and observations that amuse me no end.

That’s it, carry on with the informed and intelligent commentary…

manukajoe
manukajoe(@manukajoe)
1 month ago

Ah KFG you seem to know a lot about gang members…

I’m enjoying this show well enough, it’s easy and engrossing, even though crime dramas aren’t really my thing. I chose this over Secret Love Affair, one group watch is enough.

Ep 5 I love the mental recreations Si-mok does where he is appearing in the scene watching, that’s pretty cool.
I feel like Si-mok is a bit dumb confronting the boss Lee Chang Joon so directly. And boss still didn’t answer the question did he?
Why didn’t Si-mok tell the policeman that Yeo-jin saw him playing with the knife that time?
The actor Lee Kyung Young who is playing The Godfather character – I have seen him in too many shows – particularly Misty and Misaeng and Hyena.
Don’t you wonder what drives Si-mok’s determination to solve the case? It’s not compassion. It’s more like obsession? 

Ep 6 The ringing cellphone is getting a bit overused. Didn’t Si-mok say they have to turn it to vibrate at work anyway? So why didn’t Prosecutor Young have it on vibrate?

MC
MC
1 month ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I guess to Si Mok it’s a problem to solve and he can’t leave it unsolved? And the deeper he gets, the more he needs to solve it?

The ringing handphone was rather jarring for me too, since they did say they have their phones on vibrate. I just take it as a convenient way to drive the plot forward. A rare clunky misstep for this show imo.

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