Monday, November 11, 2013

Basketball Ep 6: My Fair Lady Edition

 Basketball Episode 6: My Fair Lady Edition

This week picks up the pace and takes our storyline from being just between the three leads, to include all of Joseon society.  We also get to enjoy several My Fair Lady makeovers and  a slew of scenes with both men brooding.  What could be better?

So we start episode 6 right where we left off in Episode 5.  Our Hero San is dragging Shin Young out of Chi Ho's car in a fit of jealousy.  Chi Ho follows and confesses to our heroine saying that he is not going to break the engagement, in which San says she is dating me......... And then it deteriorates into a fight between two elementary kids over a toy car... or the adult equivalent. All the while our blank princess is just standing there silent until Chi Ho starts to leave after saying San is not good enough for her.  It is at this point that she slaps the poor guy our of nowhere.  

 SIGH............  I just dont understand her actions and why either guy puts up with them.  

She yells at him that he should not judge San and he turns it back on her telling her that she is even worse since she has judged him in error constantly and at least he has not been hiding things and lying to her.       

 You go Chi Ho.  Tell her to her face that she is wrong.  Will she listen to you?  Not a chance in Hades, but still, am so proud that one character stands up to her annoying ways. ( Even if he would forgive her in 5 sec if she actually liked him.)

Chi Ho drives off and before the rear tire has left the scene she turns to San and has forgotten that Chi Ho even exists.   She smiles and gazes at San telling him sorry for everything since it was done without her knowledge.  He forgives her but continues to look troubled and upset.  Of course she does not notice since I am pretty sure she is incapable of human compassion and just asks him if he has missed her.  He goes in for the hug and vows to do better.  She just smiles silently.

Chi Ho goes home visibly upset and stomps into his room. (can I just say that I am loving his house.  That open style is one of my favorite styles of Asian architecture) and reflects on all of our blank princesses accusations (you know the ones where he is scum and judges others and does not truly help).  He then flashes on a memory of our street urchin which makes me suspect that he is not going to give her a choice anymore and she is going to become his Eliza Doolittle.

It is the opening ceremonies for the basketball league and we see all the teams lined up.  But there is a huge Chi Ho size gap in the blue team (not sure what his teams name is so we are going to just go with the color of their jerseys).   He is in the hallway gazing forward with a very serious expression on his face.   He tells his secretary/BFF that if anything happens to him he wants him to take care of Byeo Ri (aka Street Urchin) for him.   I get a horrible feeling that he has decided to make a stand against the Japanese establishment.  As the opening ceremonies commence everyone is told to face the national flag (Japanese flag) and bow in allegiance.  Everyone is bowing deeply until we see one person refusing.  Chi Ho stands tall and obviously defiant.  He then also refuses to bow to the picture of the Japanese emperor and people start to notice.  And instead of reciting the oath to Japan he calmly walks off the court shocking everyone.  This also causes the crowd (Koreans anyway) to start shouting that he is the Hero of Joseon.   It is a very cool scene and I just wish his motivation had been more for making a statement against the establishment and not just making a statement to impress a girl with his dedication.

I would like to take this moment and tell you how much I am loving Chi Ho right now.  He is a strong character (and very well played by this rookie actor) who sticks by what he believes, is very big on communicating, and for once is a straight forward type of guy.  Add the little bit of narcissist into his personality and you have my favorite type of character.  I am also glad that he is the 2nd lead since that means that he will probably escape the fate of hooking up with our ditzy princess and have a chance of finding a female worthy of him.  Kudos on the writers for creating him.

Chi Ho drives off to hunt down our Urchin with military police slowly in pursuit.  Also the opening ceremonies are even more ruined as the Japanese drag out anyone that had been chanting for Chi Ho's actions.  We see immediate consequences as anything that has Chi Ho's likeness on it is taken down and Shin Young is hustled home since her fiancee is infamous.  

Byeo Ri is in serious trouble being "taken" for by the Japanese out of her shanty.  Lucky for her Chi Ho is off to save her before he himself is arrested, and arrives just in time to save her.  He goes into full prince charming mode and asks our Urchin to please stay with him till her father returns so that he can know that she is safe, (totally swooning over the awesomeness that is Chi Ho at this point) and he leads her away. 

He takes her home and we get to watch his version of a makeover scene which involves a bath (thank goodness) and her wearing one of his shirts.  My favorite part is when he calls through the door to see if she needs help washing her back hehe.  She emerges not wearing anything but his shirt and obviously cleaner.  He just teases her about being short because of carrying around so many layers of dirt, but we see her crushing a bit on our prince charming.   I know that she was super dirty and a mega street urchin but seriously, are we supposed to believe that he thinks she is a little kid?  Kind of hard to buy that since she is obviously older.

As all of this is happening Kang San is playing his first official game and making his presence known.  By the end of the game the crowd is chanting his name but instead of celebrating his mind keeps replaying Chi Ho walking off the court.  He also gazes out into the crowd which is filled with the Japanese Flag being waved about.  You can feel the tension in him as he thinks about his anger at the establishment as well as how they have treated his mother.   And on the bus ride home he openly supports Chi Ho too his teammates saying "that at least Chi Ho is not a coward".

The next day the papers are abuzz with the news that Chi Ho is a womanizer and has been found to have bad morals.  But to the surprise of Shin Young there is no news about him refusing to bow to the Japanese.  It seems that the Japanese powers that be are trying to do a smear campaign and get rid of him silently.  This way he wont become a hero of the people, but just a rich loser.

 Poor Chi Ho.  Always misunderstood.  

Papa Ahjussi is in a dither trying to figure out how he is going to distance himself from Chi Ho.  He decides he needs a nice diversion to help people forget and chooses Kang San to fill that role.  He asks Shin Young to write an article about him.  His likes, dislikes, who he is dating (hehehe) and get it ready to print ASAP.   Looks like Papa Ahjussi is also pulling a My Fair Lady, but instead of trying to promote a girl he is hooking San up to be the new media sensation and golden boy.

The cops finally catch up with Chi Ho and escort him from his house.  His secretary and Byeo Ri (still dressed only in his shirt which no one seems to blink at) follow him outside the door.  She tells him not to go, but he just glances back and gives her a sad smile.  (OH MY WORD.  that look just killed me.  I am firmly becoming a fan of team Chi ho after this episode).  Just going to gaze at that picture for a second before going on.  Poor Byeo Ri has flashbacks of her father being taken as she runs after the car taking away Chi Ho.

It seems that Chi Ho's defiance has inspired others to stand up to the Japanese and it is causing chaos on the streets.  San observes this with great intensity as he goes about his life now that he is being turned into "Chi Ho #2".  Even being used to do the promotional adds that had previously been Chi Ho's.  Unfortunately, San is not as comfortable in this role and you can tell he just wants to let this all go and play basketball.

Chi Ho is being beaten and threatened in a detainment center.  He remains defiant as they ask who made him do what he did and he just yells.   "Min Chi Ho".

Seriously, how cool is he in this episode.  He has totally has stolen the show from the leads. 

He is beaten again until one of the evil ahjussi's (Papa Ahjussi's political nemesis) enters the room.  For reference purposes we will call him Evil White Hair Ahjussi.  I smell some politicking going on.

Back home in castle Min we find dad surrounded by his cronies, trying to figure out how they can help Chi Ho get out of detainment.  We also are introduced to his mother who is taking in Byeo Ri.  Also they are telling us that Byeo Ri is only 14.

SERIOUSLY???????  THIS IS NOT A 14 YEAR OLD PEOPLE.  It was bugging me enough that I looked it up on dramawiki.  Jung In Sun is a South Korean actress and 22.  Yup she is almost double the age they are trying to make her.  So annoyed now.  Yet another female character on my hit list with this drama.  So far I only like the main girls servant.

San walks the streets of Seoul serious as only San can be.  He is obviously still contemplating his stance on the politics going on right now.  And as he goes to see his mother he comes across her Japanese boss abusing his mother, hitting her with a broom and forcing her to pick up apple blossoms by hand.  Infuriated, he decides to put his personal issues on hold in order to get money to take care of his mom.

 His face is quickly plastered in every window and magazine and our new Golden boy is born.  Staying silent against the Japanese becomes more complicated as other basketball teams start to refuse to play until the national team has their suspension lifted and Chi Ho is set free.  San's own team has smatterings of talk about joining the protest but for the most part they are still concerned about being arrested if they support Chi Ho.  Through everything San just stays silent, but you can tell he is upset by the fact that he is not playing as well as usual.

Shin Young goes to Chi Ho's house to ask about his prisoner status.  She learns from cute secretary that Chi Ho will be moved to a prison soon and she becomes upset.  She reminisces about all the times she yelled at poor Chi Ho and how wrong she was about him.   It is becoming apparent that she might be starting to rethink her stance on him. 

Poor San again is just trying to survive but manages to upset Shin Young when he tells her that he will not be attending the Pro Joseon./ pro Chi Ho rally but instead will be going to his basketball game.  When she tries to guilt him in to it he declares that he is not interested in politics.  That he is there to play basketball not to start problems.  This obviously upsets his ditzy girlfriend and she declares that she is sorry she can not support him but will be at the rally instead of his game.  He yells at her that since he is doing all of this to become worthy of her she should do her part and support him.  And in emotional subtext you can see him begging her to choose him over Chi Ho.


So the day of the game/rally arrives.  We see various basketball players walking with purpose towards the rally as well as a very solemn San preparing for his game.  Just as the announcer is finishing the intro Shin Young walks quickly into the game and waves at San.  And we see him visibly relax.  Yet just when we think everything is peachy in OTP land, Shin Young says to her companion that she does not feel this is right to stay here and leaves. 


 I don't mind her deciding that she needs to stand by her opinions and going to the rally.  But to go support your boyfriend and then openly leave right away dashing his heart is just selfish and makes you look insincere to both causes/men.  Of course San is devastated and can not even go running off after her since it would be to close to Chi Ho's walk off the court.

At the prisons gate we see the bus transporting Chi Ho surrounded by supporters, guards, and reporters.  Chi Ho looks extremely dashing as he comes down (artistically bloody) and his expression is one of appreciation as he looks at all his supporters.  It intensifies when he spots Shin Young in the crowd and she stands there with her standard blank smile on her face.

My Thoughts:

I am liking the story surrounding our two heroes.  As circumstances shift around them they both have to make hard decisions.  Chi Ho finally is pushed into standing up for his Pro Korean beliefs.  And does it to the nth degree.  And through it all he keeps his prince charming persona intact.  On the other hand San decides to embrace the Japanese regime and uses it to better his circumstances which will in turn protect his mother.  Both men are bent on protecting what is important to them.  However I would like to point out that although both men have the opportunity to stand up against the Japanese, their circumstances are in no way similar.  Chi Ho comes from a very influential family who is not going to be hurt by his defiance.  I would be surprised if he really expected much more to happen then his imprisonment.  But with the exception of himself, his decision really is not fatal to anyone else involved.

In comparison, San understands what is at stake if he stands up against the establishment.  No one would be there behind the scenes to help him.  His mother would be left alone in poverty to suffer with no other family support.   And pretty much it would be a guaranteed death sentence if he was caught by the police.  It makes me wonder if Chi Ho had actually had someone else that he was responsible for if he would have made the same decisions.

Shin Young is driving me nuts with her waffling.  She has not even been dating our hero for very long before she is starting to drift off mentally with Chi Ho.  It just makes me feel like all of her "love" is very shallow.  She needs to maybe work on sticking with one thing and being sincere for a while rather then running around wherever her activist whim moves her.  She is my least favorite type of heroine.  I have noticed that this is the third drama by this director (Runaway Plan B, Chuno) where I have similar complaints.  Not sure if it is just chance or if this is just the way he sees women, but whatever it is, I am not a fan.  In all three dramas there is no depth beyond the pretty and if that is how a character is written/directed then how can I care if they have a happy ending.

It looks like next week brings more problems  to our heroes and I have to admit that at least for them I will continue to care a bit about this drama.


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