Naive idiot, Nam Da Jung (Kim So Eun) makes a wager against evil competitor, Jamie, and ends up losing half her prize money. Jamie observes that Da Jung is not just dumb, but unlucky as well, and it is hard to disagree.
Genius ex-con, Ha Woo Jin (Lee Sang Yoon) arrives on the game site to save Da Jung from herself. Loan shark, Jo Dal Goo (Jo Jae Yoon) creates a distraction with dangerous driving to help Woo Jin get past the security guards. Woo Jin manages to create a blackout situation and, after disguising himself as a camera man, he tracks down Da Jung.
Shining a spotlight on Da Jung, Woo Jin asks if she has given up. Da Jung realizes who the cameraman actually is just as the lights come back on. After scurrying to an area without cameras, Da Jung admits to Woo Jin that her plan to share the prize with everyone, did not work. She wonders if she is simply on the show to suffer for everyone’s entertainment, and Woo Jin agrees that it is, indeed, fun to watch.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Jamie had rigged the card game, but it takes one to explain this to Da Jung. Woo Jin then decides to revive Da Jung’s strategy to split the prize equally with the other competitors. But, he will get the other competitors on board by demonstrating the repercussions of betrayal.
Da Jung tracks down Jamie and proposes that they play the card game a second time. If Da Jung wins, she would only get half of Jamie’s stars, but if she loses, Jamie would get all her remaining prize money. “Liar Game” PD, Lee Yoon Joo (Cha Soo Yeon) and show host, Kang Do Young (Shin Sung Rok) are watching on the monitors. Much like the audience, Yoon Joo is in disbelief at Da Jung’s stubborn refusal to learn from her mistakes. Do Young, on the other hand, senses a dramatic turn in the aftermath of the blackout.
As directed by Woo Jin, Da Jung initially plays the exact same way. Jamie can’t help but snort then cackle as Da Jung starts losing. Just as Jamie is one point away from winning, Da Jung scratches a notch in Jamie’s card, then feels her way to selecting her card repeatedly until she wins.
Meanwhile, outside the game site, Dal Goo has finally been kicked out by security. He is busy getting in the faces of the security guards when his boss calls. From the safety of his cell phone, Dal Goo quits then riles his boss up by speaking his mind.
Do Young is ready to reveal the latest game standings, and sure enough, Da Jung and Jamie now share the same number of stars at the bottom of the ranking. The other contestants are shocked, but Jamie is confident that Da Jung will still lose.
After consulting with Woo Jin in the boiler room, Da Jung returns to the game. Da Jung remains in last place in the next round. She then approaches the congressional assistant and offers him her remaining $150,000. In return, he will give her nine stars so that she is tied with Jamie at the end of the game. The congressional assistant readily agrees.
In Round 9, Do Young hints at excitement then reveals that Da Jung has pulled into the lead by a wide margin. All the contestants are aghast when Da Jung reveals that the deal she made with the congressional assistant is the same one she made with every other contestant except Jamie. Da Jung looks uncomfortable about deceiving everyone, but the studio audience are cheering. Network Director Jang, who supported Jamie, looks peeved and suspicious.
With the exception of Da Jung, all the other contestants are tied, including Jamie, thanks to Da Jung giving her three stars to her. Do Young is super thrilled as the contestants protest that Da Jung has made contracts with all the contestants that she cannot keep. Woo Jin appears at that moment to say that she can.
Jamie starts screeching about Woo Jin’s participation, to which Do Young smiles and throws his hands up, helpless in the face of such entertainment. Woo Jin then claim his right to be present, because he is one of Da Jung’s permitted belongings: her vicious dog.
Back in the studio, Director Jang is furious and tries to get a hold of PD, Yoon Joo. Yoon Joo is trying to direct Do Young over earphones to get the situation under control, but he is obviously enjoying himself too much to listen. The contestants are bickering over the validity of Woo Jin’s participation. Woo Jin points out that what they should be worrying about is the fact that they are all tied with only one round left. Do Young finally speaks up to gleefully question how the contestants will entertain everyone now.
Woo Jin takes over and organizes an impromptu auction for Da Jung’s stars. Do Young has become a giddy spectator so Yoon Joo cuts filming to take him aside. Yoon Joo wonders if Do Young will deal with Director Jang, who is calling her at that moment. Do Young claims that the entertainment factor is what matters, and now, they just need to sit back and watch. He points out that she is his chosen partner, not Director Jang, then leaves the decision in her lap. Yoon Joo chooses to disconnect her cell phone.
The contestants are in pain as they debate whether to trade their prize money for stars from Da Jung. When the gangster contestant claims that he will simply refuse to pay back the TV network, Woo Jin mentions the three eliminated contestants who were unable to pay back the money, and are now missing.
Woo Jin and Da Jung set up shop at a movie ticket counter, and Woo Jin ruthlessly sets the terms for every contestant who approaches. Da Jung is worried about never being able to regain the trust of the other contestants. Woo Jin chillingly lectures Da Jung that in order to win the entire game, she must reward trust and punish betrayal.
They return to the studio for the last tally of stars. In the final moments of star allocation, everyone begs Da Jung for her pivotal three stars, but she has already decided who to give them to. To everyone’s shock and surprise, the one eliminated is not Jamie, but rather, the contestant who took pity on Da Jung and revealed Jamie’s plans to her.
The eliminated contestant wails about the injustices in his life, and Da Jung announces that she will repay his kindness by using her money to allow him to return to his family debt-free. Da Jung then reveals that she will divide up her remaining prize money with all the other contestants. “Liar Game” takes a sentimental turn as Da Jung tells everyone that she trusts them, and everyone else looks shamefaced.
Do Young appears to be sniffling from suppressed emotion when he asks Da Jung what her plans are for the future. He suggests becoming the head of a non-profit organization. This secret dig at Woo Jin’s mother causes him to storm off the stage. Do Young then announces the end of Reinstatement Game.
After a montage of the eliminated contestant spending time with his sick mother, Da Jung yukking it up with Dal Goo, and Woo Jin staring at a photo of his mother, Yoon Joo approaches Do Young. She notes that Do Young has an unhealthy obsession with Da Jung and Woo Jin, and she is beginning to think he started “Liar Game” for personal reasons. Do Young tries to leave with a clever remark, but Yoon Joo grabs him. Do Young becomes intense as he states that his mere personal ambition pales in comparison to his noble intentions for creating the show. He dares Yoon Joo to ask for more information, then laughs and walks off.
Da Jung is at work in the coffee shop when she decides to take a cell phone break. She searches for information about the suicide of Woo Jin’s mother, and discovers that the one year anniversary of her death is tomorrow. Da Jung shows up at Woo Jin’s door, and assuming that he is headed to his mother’s grave, she proposes going together. Woo Jin does not actually agree to her company, but she takes his silence as an affirmative and tags along.
After paying respects to his mother, Woo Jin orders Da Jung to follow and they end up at an abandoned orphanage that his mother supported. Woo Jin spent much of his childhood there while his mother maintained the orphanage. He was resentful at how little attention his mother paid him in comparison to the orphans. Rather than feel guilty about failing to protect his mother, Woo Jin feels guilt for failing to understand her.
Similarly, Woo Jin does not understand Da Jung and the stupidly selfless choices that she makes. He reveals that when they first met, Da Jung had unknowingly echoed his mother’s last words, “Is it so wrong for a person to trust another?” Hence, he felt obligated to help Da Jung, but he threatens to abandon her if she does not win “Liar Game”.
Woo Jin is being interviewed by Do Young before cameras and a live audience with Da Jung among them. Do Young tells Woo Jin that viewers are objecting to his recent assistance of Da Jung. Woo Jin points out that the scenario, which allowed him to do this, was manipulated by the network. Do Young then asks why Woo Jin is helping Da Jung. Woo Jin clears his throat and asks for a break in filming.
Do Young is walking off set when Woo Jin asks him how to turn off his microphone. After doing so, Woo Jin casually asks Do Young if he knows about L Company, and if all the contestants are somehow connected to the company.
Yoon Joo would love to listen in on the conversation between Woo Jin and Do Young, but, of course, their mikes are off. An assistant notifies her of a phone call, which he is unsure whether to classify as a threat or a source. Yoon Joo answers the call and initially thinks it is just another outraged nut. When the caller breaks out into sobs, she leaps to the conclusion that she is speaking with Da Jung’s father.
Back on the stage, Woo Jin is still asking about everyone’s connection to L Company. Do Young scoffs at Woo Jin then echoes Woo Jin’s mother’s last words before laughing at Woo Jin’s confusion. Woo Jin stops him from walking away, and asks if Do Young knows him. They stare intently into each other’s eyes.
Once you resign yourself to the fact that Da Jung is kind and trusting beyond common sesnse, then you can be pleasantly surprised by whatever happens. For instance, Da Jung’s ability to fool Jamie and every other contestant. It was nice to see that she is not completely incompetent.
Woo Jin was super entertaining in this episode. Whether he was teasing Da Jung for naiveté, or threatening the other contestants with punishment, or staring down Do Young, it all made me giddy.
It is hard to say much more about this excellent episode without gushing or repeating myself. The twists and turns of “Liar Game” have kept me very entertained, and that has pretty much superseded any issues I have with the show.
Here is Do Young throwing his hands up at the amusing turn of events on “Liar Game”, which is a recognizable trait of the character. I sense the basis of a drinking game slowly emerging.