Side dish: I’ve been fighting a craving for tahini bread, but I gave in today, and there’s now a package in my fridge. If you can’t buy tahini bread, here’s a recipe from Saveur to get you started.
Watching the latest episode of “Liar Game”, the trusting contestant, Nam Da Jung (Kim So Eun) learns that her father tried to commit suicide, and that genius convict, Ha Woo Jin (Lee Sang Yoon) is responsible for her father’s ruin. Appalled, she looks up to find Woo Jin standing outside the coffee shop where she works, staring at her. He turns to walk away only to get a phone call from evil puppet master, Kang Do Young (Shin Sung Rok), who cryptically reminds him that there’s something he’s erased from his memory about the orphanage and his “angelic” mother. Woo Jin demands answers, but gets none before Do Young hangs up.
Instead, Woo Jin gets Da Jung, demanding to know whether he really is responsible for her father’s troubles. He admits it’s true, and she walks away, devastated.
Da Jung’s father watches the broadcast in horror, and decides to make a phone call. Before he can finish dialing, he’s stopped by a mysterious gloved hand.
jvN Station Director Jang (Choi Jin Ho) goes to the Lloyd Capital Investment office to talk to the prospective buyers of the broadcast station. He demands to see the CEO, and proposes to him to let Woo Jin win the game, and give his winnings to Da Jung, thus recovering public opinion. The CEO laughs at his naiveté, and tells him that Woo Jin was likely colluding with Do Young from the start. The CEO instructs him to let Do Young win, and asks that he create a scene where Da Jung betrays Woo Jin to spike up the ratings in the last episode.
When Director Jang leaves, the “CEO” goes to the desk of the actual CEO, Do Young, who instructs him to sell off all of jvN’s stock at the end of the last episode.
Woo Jin meets with reporter Goo Ja Young (Choi Yoon So) in a car, and is unable to answer any of her questions about his connection with Do Young. When she asks to see the USB with all the information, he doesn’t reply, and she wonders if he suspects her, too.
Da Jung demands her father’s location from “Liar Game” PD, Lee Yoon Joo (Cha Soo Yun). Yoon Joo apologizes that she’s unable to find him again, but Da Jung tells her not to bother and walks away.
Inside, former loan shark Jo Dal Goo (Jo Jae Yoon) tries to explain why Woo Jin didn’t tell her earlier, but she already knows, flashing back to their conversation about what she would do if she found out who was responsible. Da Jung agrees with scheming contestant Jamie (Lee El) and Dal Goo to stick to the plan of letting Woo Jin win, then splitting the money.
Woo Jin enters the room, and Dal Goo keeps talking to break the tension, reminding them that even though the reinstatement game will be filmed, the finals, a game much like Russian Roulette, will be broadcast live. Jamie adds in that the three other losing contestants have joined forces to eliminate Do Young from the reinstatement game.
If we recall from the last episode, it’s no surprise that eliminated contestant and hacker Choi Sung Joon (Lee Shi Hoo) is nowhere to be found, and the reinstatement game goes on with the gangster, the has-been actor and Do Young. The game is 17 poker,; basically, poker played with all the aces, face cards, and one joker. They each get $300K in chips, and winner is whoever has the most money at the end of the game. The dealer shuffles, and each of the players in turn calls “cut” for where the dealer starts dealing. The winner of each round is the player with the highest cards, and the joker can be used to substitute for any card. Each game is played with a fresh deck.
The first round is split between Do Young and the gangster, and during the break, the gangster tells the has-been actor that he can see where the Joker is going to land. They concoct a plan to beat Do Young by making sure they always get the Joker. In the meantime, Do Young sends Woo Jin a photo of Da Jung’s father, tied up. Rather than tell Da Jung, Woo Jin goes to retrieve him, leaving Dal Goo to handle things in his absence.
While the gangster and the has-been actor clean up at the poker table, Woo Jin gets his old friend, the cop to take him to the building where his mother killed herself, in order to find Da Jung’s father. Back at the game, Do Young has figured out that the gangster can see the Joker and requests a change in shuffling method to riffle shuffling.
As Do Young starts to win, with four of a kind in each game, Woo Jin goes in to the basement of the building. The cop is knocked out from behind, and his gun lands on the ground. Woo Jin picks up the gun and continues the search, but instead of Da Jung’s father, he finds a stuffed dummy of a child tied up, holding a painting that Woo Jin saw earlier in Do Young’s apartment, of children’s feet around a hole.
Suddenly, “Liar Game” turns into The Ring, as Woo Jin starts flashing on repressed childhood memories of two boys and a girl standing around the well at his mother’s orphanage. He starts conflating memory and reality, as he sees the three children staring at him, but lucky for him, the revived cop snaps him out of it, and takes back his gun. A disturbed Woo Jin swears to end it, and walks out.
Back at the “Liar Game” studio, Do Young wins the game and is reinstated into the “Liar Game”. He explains that he manipulated the shuffling method to win.
Woo Jin returns to the studio and confronts Do Young about the whereabouts of Da Jung’s father. Do Young refuses to tell him. Instead, Da Jung overhears him as he cryptically tells Woo Jin that he’d like the three of them (presumably meaning Do Young, Woo Jin, and Da Jung) to play together as before.
With that, it’s time for the final game, Last Man Standing. Each of the players is given a toy gun, and blanks, and they go around the circle for their turns, starting with Do Young. At each turn, a player can choose to load the gun, or shoot someone, or avoid a shot from someone else. If the gun is loaded with more than one bullet, the player must continue to shoot until the gun misfires. The more bullets the gun has in it, the higher the probability that they’ll hit their target. Players who avoid can designate another player to take the hit for them, but they can only avoid three times. Players possess five hearts, and lose one every time they’re hit. When they run out, that player is eliminated and their gun goes to whomever shot them last. When only three players are left, the game moves locations for the final round.
Players can only talk when it’s their turn, or face elimination. Without instructions, both Dal Goo and Da Jung take the chance to shoot, while Do Young, Jamie and Woo Jin just load their guns. Woo Jin instructs his team to keep loading and wait for his mark. Do Young chooses to load his gun rather than avoid the bullet, and takes two hits. The next round, he avoids, and Dal Goo is hit by his own bullet.
At Do Young’s turn, he asks after Da Jung’s father, pointing out how painful it is not to be able to see your parent. From this, Woo Jin figures out that Da Jung’s father is at his mother’s orphanage. He flashes back to telling Dal Goo that the first person can go save Da Jung’s father, and at his order, Dal Goo keeps taking hits until he’s eliminated.
In the second round, Do Young eliminates Jamie, leaving Woo Jin, Do Young, and Da Jung for the final round.
During the break, Da Jung is accosted in the washroom by Director Jang, who tells her not to trust Woo Jin. He shows her something on his phone that we don’t get to see.
As the final round begins, the cop, who is watching the show, realizes that he’s missing a bullet from his gun. It’s a Mexican standoff as Da Jung, Do Young, and Woo Jin point their guns at each other.
Well, this has taken an unexpected turn, and I literally have no idea what’s going on. How awesome is this show to keep us guessing until the end? What is the secret binding Woo Jin, Da Jung and Do Young together? Who’s going to win the “Liar Game”? I know I’m going to be on the edge of my seat tonight to find out.
My only wish is that they give Da Jung more to do in the last episode. She didn’t do much more than fret here, and I would hate for this character to end just as she began in the series.
Also, I just noticed that almost all of the screen caps this week are of Lee Sang Yoon. To apologize, here’s some more: