Tuesday, October 16, 2012

K-Drama Review: Nice Guy, Episodes 9-10

 



















Read episode reviews for:

Nice Guy--Episodes 1-2
Nice Guy--Episodes 3-4
Nice Guy--Episodes 5-6
Nice Guy--Episodes 7-8
Nice Guy--Episodes 9-10
Nice Guy--Episodes 11-12
Nice Guy--Episodes 13-14
Nice Guy--Episodes 15-16
Nice Guy--Episodes 17-18
Nice Guy--Episodes 19-20


Contains Spoilers for Episodes 9-10

New Feature: Click "play" below to listen to me read the review! :-)



At the beach, Maru asks since when did Eunki know about him and Jaehee? Eunki says it doesn't matter, she just loves him anyway. Maru tells Eunki that he wants Jaehee, not her, and that he's only potentially interested in Eunki if she has money. I think he's lying? To save her from himself?

It's So Hard to Tell Anymore.

Maru is played so ambivalently, it's hard to know when he's saying what he means. But Eunki recalls all the times he took care of her, and she declares that he must be lying. She cries and wraps him in a hug, saying they should run away together. Maru pulls her off and says that he played his role perfectly to fool her. Maru, how many times do you have to trample all joy in this show? This is getting repetitive.

At the mansion, Jaehee presents Eunki's Dad with the evidence of his shady business deals from years before.

Threat Delivered.
 
Dad begins to have a seizure or heart atack. Jaehee grabs Dad's medication and keeps it from him, trying to get him to write her son Eunsuk back into the will. Dad's heart attack gets worse. Attorney Ahn tells Jaehee not to call for help--this is his way of saving Jaehee, by letting the old man die before he can kick her out. Attorney Park hears all this plotting over a telephone call, and he calls Eunki to tell her the news of her Dad's passing.
 
Eunki drives home and weirdly, Maru is driving in the opposite direction. They recognize each other's cars inside a tunnel at a hundred meters away, or some other ridiculous distance. Eunki veers into Maru's lane and they both stare at each other as they, apparently, intentionally try to wreck into the other car.
 
So You Both Have Death Wishes Now. What is WITH Y'all?
 
They wreck and we immediately hear news footage about how Eunki was in a wreck and is in critical condition.

Okay, Nice Guy. You have lost me.

I could support vicious characters, emotionally raw characters and psychologically unstable characters. But when my favorite character pulls something this dumb and self-destructive, I'm gone. Checked-out. I'll be recapping on autopilot until and unless something amazing happens to make me care again. The threads maintaining my suspension of disbelief, they are fragile.


Timeskip to 11 months in the future. Waaaait. Timeskip? Color me slightly interested again. Oh show, how you tease us all.


Eunki disappeared from the hospital and has been missing for 11 months. The Taesan Corporation employees are frantic to find her, but it seems like a lost cause.

And Guess Who's Heading Up Taesan in Her Absence?

In a nice flip of fate, Jaehee is less respected and more disdained now that she's in charge of the company. Another rich executive woman tells Jaehee that she's the watchdog for an empty house--she will never be classy, will never be the equal of other powerful people.

Cut to a gambling game on a random street where a guy loses all his money. Maru shows up out of nowhere, proves the game is a scam, then returns the guy's money. Maru takes the guy out to dinner and reveals that he knows the guy has a sick wife, a hefty existing debt, and a gambling problem. How can the guy deliver himself from this predicament? By trading technological information from his company to Maru. Then Maru will see to it that he never worries about money again.

Like A Diabolical Puppy.

But just as the deal is about to go down, Maru suddenly starts choking on his drink.

Next We See Him Worshipping At the Porcelain Altar.


Why is he sick? Poisoned drink? Liver damage after that car wreck, what? At home, Maru still lives with his sister Choco and his best friend Jaegil, and we see that Maru has gotten more evil. A teenage boy comes to the house to accuse Maru of scamming his father, which resulted in his father attempting suicide when they lost their money. Maru tells the kid that his father was stupid for being so trusting, and Choco cries and basically says she hates who her big brother has become. I'm with you, Choco.

Jaegil tells Maru he hasn't been the same person since the car accident. Jaegil can barely talk through his tears as he tells Maru that he acts like wants to die. Why, when Maru survived losing Jaehee, is he not pressing on after the accident? Maybe it's the fact that losing Eunki is much worse than losing Jaehee was? Or maybe that's just my wishful thinking.

At the mansion, Jaehee turns away her violent brother Jaeshik at the door. Inside, she decides to convert Eunki's abandoned bedroom into a playroom for her own son.

And Here's One More Shot of Her Haircut, Because I Love It.

Elsewhere, Maru finds a Missing Person flyer for Eunki, and he remembers her confession of love to him.

Awhile later, outside Maru's house waits...Eunki! But she's not wearing an Eunki-like expression.

She's Smiling. Dear Gosh, Why Is She Smiling?

She walks up the street wearing a dreamy expression. Then she joins some children in making chalk drawings on a wall. Oh, no. What I think is happening had better not be happening. Eunki happily draws a chalk face, then writes a name beside it. The children ask what she wrote, so she replies "Kang Maru" just as Maru is walking past to hear! But she spelled it wrong--Kang Ruma. Then she tries Ru Kangma as the children laugh because she's an adult who can't write.

Maru kneels beside her and writes his name correctly in chalk. Tears fill his eyes as she asks, "You know me, don't you? You are Maru," like she's only 90% convinced. She shows him some pictures on her camera of the two of them together, then admits she lost her memory.



 No, no, no, no, no. Show, you cannot be throwing AMNESIA at me at this hour. But okay, so now that we're here and we've got the amnesia plot, let's see where you take it.

Eunki tentatively asks, "We were very much in love, weren't we?" Before he can answer, Eunki's secretary runs up, glad to have found Eunki after losing her for a moment. So has Secretary been caring for Eunki for almost a year? Maru still says not a word as Eunki looks around his house and Secretary explains that Eunki has lost not just her memories, but most of her adult knowledge and fine motor skills. That, at least, is a realistic treatment of amnesia--it usually accompanies severe brain damage.

Secretary says that she hid Eunki because if Jaehee found out about her, she'd keep Eunki from inheriting the company and maybe even threaten her life. It's beyond painful to watch our brilliant genius Eunki reduced to the level of about a 15-year-old kid with a first-grade education. Secretary says she'll need to get her memories back by hanging out with Maru before she can take back what's hers.

Secretary Deserves a Gold Medal For Awesomeness.

 Maru asks why they came to find him and why he's the one who seems tied to Eunki getting back her memories. Secretary says it's because he's the only person Eunki trusted and loved. He replies, "Those were her feelings, only." Then he grabs Eunki's arm and tells her she's found the wrong man. He coldly says he doesn't want to get involved in corporation power struggles.

BUT his attitude turns right around when Jaehee's brother Jaeshik walks through his gate. Maru pulls Eunki close, hugging her so that Jaeshik can't see her face and run to tell Jaehee that the missing heir is back. Maru does all this without thinking, so his instincts are still to take care of Eunki.

Though His Methods Can Be Really Backward.

 Jaeshik soon leaves, and Eunki asks Maru if he is embarrassed of her because she's a moron with no skills and no memories. Maru reiterates to her that they were never in love; they just knew each other once. Eunki holds his sleeve and says that isn't true for her--her heart recognizes him, not her brain, and she did love him once, whatever he says. He leaves anyway.

At Eunki's secret house, Attorney Park visits her and encourages her in her studies. His care for her is evident, and it's noteworthy that he's good to Eunki whether she's acting like a sunshiny child or a shrewish adult.

Maru is called in to the hospital, and we find that his nausea is tied to some brain trauma of his own. He's got a cerebral hematoma. This is a bad thing.

Totally Unconcerned.

Maru actually hopes to die of natural causes really soon, so he isn't worried about his prognosis, though the doctor is. At home, Maru finds that Choco has moved out and has donated all their ill-gotten money to the high school boy whose dad Maru cheated. Maru is desolate without her, and he thinks about calling Eunki's phone. He's having troubled dreams about the cruel things he said to Eunki before their crash.

Bad guy Jaeshik finds Eunki's secret house and she lets him into her garden because he says Maru sent him. He tells Eunki to come with him, and we see that this is a kidnapping (and probably murder) attempt orchestrated by Attorney Ahn who wants to keep Jaehee in power. Since Eunki hasn't developed the ability to be suspicious yet, she goes with Jaeshik and downs a very shady-looking drink he offers.

Never Take Presents From Strangers, Eunki!

Eunki's Secretary finds Maru to let him know Eunki's been kidnapped. Fortunately, the Secretary put GPS in Eunki's phone, so Maru grabs the phone and peels away. He's able catch up to them a bit because Jaeshik left the unconscious Eunki in the car while he stopped at a gas station. Maru keeps his panic just barely in check as he looks into every car in the parking lot, trying to find her.


Jaeshik pulls out of the lot, and Maru sees it just in time to jump in his car and follow. Chase scene! Maru cuts in front of Jaeshik, forcing him to stop the car. The jolt wakes Eunki up and she looks up as Maru leaves his car and walks toward theirs, our ambivalent anti-hero going into White Knight mode at last.

Things I Loved:

Eunki Writing Maru's Name. It was a simple, powerful scene, even if you have to accept the amnesia subplot in order to get it. It emphasizes that all she has left of Maru is the blurred memory of his name.

Let's Note, Too, That She's In Angel-White And He's In Villain-Black.

 
Complaints:

Eunki's Crash. I maintain that it should have been written as an accident, not a choice. An accident is dramatic and traumatic, but reckless endangerment is inexcusable and makes a smart sympathetic character look demented. Why would you do that?

Watch Nice Guy on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations:

Some really dumb things happened in these eps, things that are often deal-breakers for me. 1. Eunki's intentional car crash. 2. Eunki's convenient amnesia. Yet we keep going, and the writing may have a chance to smooth over its own flaws.

The main hope left in this story is that Maru still has good-guy instincts. He covers these instincts over with cons and tricks, plus alternate bouts of insults and silence, but he has them. When he does wrong things, his sleep is troubled and he feels that his physical ailments are deserved. No matter what Maru may say out loud, his heart feels guilt and remorse. I have no doubt that he could go full-out villain with no chance of redemption, but that very possibility is what drives me to hope that he won't.


4 comments:

  1. Oh my. I'm losing faith in Maru. He obviously cares but this is dragging out too long and the love aspect is too one sided.

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    Replies
    1. I just can't believe he hasn't fallen for Eunki already. It seems like he should have, put he keeps defying my expectations for him.

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    2. At first I understood how he had to really get over Jaehee to move on.

      Then I got how it might take a little time to switch gears from revenge to liking Eunki.

      But these weird circumstances that keep throwing them back together after he keeps doing awful things makes me a little sad for Eunki.

      I feel like they will completely destroy her as a way to rebuild his character which is sad because she's a strong character. But she's just hanging by a thread now - throwing herself at him.

      It's obvious he cares but not enough for me.

      Convince me Maru lol Or....walk away Eunki and make him work for it for once.

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    3. Yes! This! It's not like I want to see Maru suffer any more, but he's going to have to work for Eunki and sacrifice for her in order for this to work out.

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