Liar Game (tvN): Episode 4 Recap

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A strong episode to conclude the Minority Game, we get to really see how money can corrupt everyone – from the contestants to the producers.

Choi Sung Joon gets up to ask his question: “I am Betrayer X.” From the TV, Do Young smiles and it looks like he’s looking directly at Woo Jin, taunting him. But the show goes on, and Do Young gives the contestants one hour to vote.

As Do Young exits the studio he sees Director Jang in the balcony above. Without too much discretion, he calls out Director Jang for preparing his man too well. The implication is that his ‘person’ is Choi Sung Joon (which is surprising to me because I thought his person would come in later rounds of the show, not in the second round). Director Jang denies giving his person any hints, and then indirectly accuses Do Young of having leaked photos of the participants online for netizens to see.

Yoon Joo wonders if Woo Jin could possibly find Betrayer X. Do Young is more curious as to whether Woo Jin can stop him at this stage of the game. He has high expectations for Woo Jin and believes that he can overcome any deceptions thrown his way. One of the production members then interrupts their break with news that Woo Jin and Da Jung are heading to the security room together, and Yoon Joo and Do Young quickly go and watch to see how events will unfold.

Woo Jin and Da Jung make their way to the security room to watch their own team members. Using Go game pieces, he explains to her that what has most likely happened is that there are three teams of eight going on. There is one Betrayer X, and this person has formed two other teams in which they will all do the same strategy as Woo Jin and split the votes. However whichever side Betrayer X votes in, that side will automatically win because Betrayer X represents three people’s votes, but since he/she can only vote once, there will always be two less votes in the side he/she votes on. And in the very end, he/she will end up being the sole winner.

Da Jung can’t believe why someone would do that. Wouldn’t that person then have to split the $2 million with 21 other people? Woo Jin believes that Betrayer X is smarter than that and probably knows how to manipulate a contract so that it would be invalid, and Betrayer X can just win the entire prize. He is now going to have to watch Jung, Bong Geun, and Jung Ah more carefully as they all made it through the first voting round.

Woo Jin enlists the help of the other ousted members to keep an eye on these three. Lawyer Go will watch over Bong Geun, Pippi over Jung, and In Gi over Jung Ah. Woo Jin gives Da Jung the task of sitting in the security room and watching the cameras; clearly he doesn’t trust her to follow anyone around. Since no one can use their phones to communicate with each other, he’s sure that the real betrayer will approach the other teams on how to vote. Woo Jin himself will talk to Choi Sung Joon and verify whether he’s really Betrayer X.

The three of them have funny ways of following their targets. In Gi chooses to boldly go up to Jung Ah and pretend that they’re a couple since Bulldog already spread rumors of the two of them sleeping together. By being right next to her he can definitely keep a close eye on her. Pippi follows Jung outright and manages to see him go inside a side room. And Lawyer Go spies on Bong Geun in the bathroom with the help of his phone’s camera.

Woo Jin approaches Sung Joon to see why he came up with that question. He doesn’t believe Sung Joon is the betrayer, and if he could get a look at Sung Joon’s face without the shades he’d be able to dispel any suspicions others may have. Sung Joon scoffs – can Woo Jin really tell if he is the Betrayer X or not? He refuses to reveal if there are other teams and adds that whatever Woo Jin may be thinking is not the whole story.

Soon it’s time for Woo Jin’s team to reconvene and as they get together, Pippi, In Gi, and Lawyer Go all shake their heads – no one did anything suspicious. Da Jung confirms that no one did anything, and then asks how the talk with Sung Joon went. Woo Jin mutters that he thinks Sung Joon is Betrayer X, but it’s unsure as to whether he’s lying and masking his thoughts from Da Jung, or really thinks so.

Woo Jin opens up the votes to the remaining three – what do they want to vote? Jung is the most superstitious so he’s not sure whether to vote yes or no. Pippi pretends she speaks to the spirits and tells him to vote no. Jung Ah doesn’t really care which way to vote and volunteers to vote ‘yes.’ Woo Jin follows her, and then Bong Geun wants to vote yes as well. He doesn’t trust Jung’s decisions so he just doesn’t want to be on the same side as him. The two quarrel for a bit and Woo Jin reminds them that they’re being watched so they ought not to fight. Bong Geun decides to give up and vote no alongside Jung, leaving Jung Ah and Woo Jin to vote yes.

Everyone files into the room and Da Jung spots Jung Ah drinking coffee again. Jung Ah attributes it to nerves, and then they all sit down. The voting begins, and ‘yes’ is in the minority. Sung Joon, Woo Jin, Jung Ah, and another contestant Lee Min Jin make it through. Bulldog is seriously pissed at how Sung Joon has made it through and believes him to be Betrayer X. He smacks the guy’s face and knocks the glasses off. From the studio through the TV, Do Young gives Bulldog his first warning. Guards from the show have to forcibly pull him away so he won’t attack Sung Joon again.

Jung Ah is then chosen to ask the next question, and she nervously says, “I will be the last remaining person.” It’s an interesting question that makes her team mates look at her in a different light even though she acts nervous and unsure. Woo Jin does not look surprised, letting out a small smile. They are given thirty minutes to decide on their vote, and everyone files out of the voting room. As the room empties out Woo Jin tells Jung Ah right away, “I’m going to vote no.”

He suspects her. Hah! I was right!

Woo Jin believes still that Sung Joon is the key to winning this round though, but we don’t see him approaching him as the clock counts down. Back at the studio Do Young rushes out of the building to greet an approaching helicopter.

Everyone heads back inside to vote again, and once again Jung Ah is by the coffee machine. Min Jin gives her a short glance as she passes by, and it seems to me that Jung Ah is communicating with the other teams with her coffee cup! And finally Do Young arrives in person – having flown in just in time from the studio.

He takes each card out to reveal the result as it goes. Sung Joon appears first: he votes no. Do Young, as an expert game show host, asks how he feels and if he’s really Betrayer X. Sung Joon doesn’t give a straight answer: “I’m sure you probably know if I am already.” Min Jin’s card is a ‘no,’ but she looks kind of happy with that result as if she expected it, even though two no’s signifies that she most likely will lose. Do Young deftly interprets her smile as hope that there will be a tie and a re-vote.

Then it’s Jung Ah’s, and she votes ‘yes.’ It’s likely she’s won now! Do Young asks how she feels and she only says that she can think of her mom. She gives a heartfelt message to her mom about being a good daughter, which moves only Da Jung. Now it’s for Woo Jin’s vote to come out, and he of course would know the result since he knew how he voted. Woo Jin smiles and murmurs to Jung Ah, “We won.”

Jung Ah’s tears for her mother give way into a shaky evil laugh. It troubles everyone in the room, and Do Young even asks if she’s okay. “We won?” Jung Ah sneers. She gets up and haughtily faces the crowd. “I told you the winner would be me.” And she takes off her glasses and the long straight hair wig. She’s going to be the sole winner, since her name is not Jung Ah, but Jamie.

Wheee our Fujisawa is here!

Back at the studio Yoon Joo cues up the edited out footage of Jamie. She was actually Betrayer X. As the real Jung Ah’s assistant she won all of the money from round 1, but then gave Jung Ah some of it in exchange for her ID. She worked with the station to edit out her footage because it was going to be her strategy for round 2, and then took Jung Ah’s identity to progress and participate. And since she is really not Jung Ah, all her contracts with every contestant is null and void.

She reveals that she overheard Woo Jin and Da Jung initially planning it out, and that’s how she got the idea for the three teams. Everyone is shocked at the gall of her, and In Gi is embarrassed that she’s a better actor than he. Only Woo Jin and Do Young are calm, with the latter smirking because he seems to know this can’t be the end.

Jamie goes up to Da Jung and asks if she hates her even if she’s so angelic. She dares her to hit her or spit on her face, but Da Jung doesn’t do anything. Jamie even pokes her forehead and pinches her cheek, which actually makes the other teammates annoyed at the gall of her even more. But Da Jung won’t do such things for the camera, not even to play it up for ratings. Instead, she replies she has no reaction because she already knew.

Hah!

At that point Do Young announces that they’ll verify the final vote. And he dramatically reveals it to be… a yes. YAY! Everyone cheers because it’s a tie. They’re all saved! One more revote to go! Jamie yells at Woo Jin: didn’t he say he was going to vote no? He said he did, and as a result she revealed herself. So how long did he know exactly?

Woo Jin knew since they boarded the bus. He felt that she acted suspiciously from the start, but let it go for the most part. But he had more of an inkling that she was the betrayer when the votes swayed 10 to 12 then 4 to 6, with only a 2-vote difference. And finally when she said that she didn’t care which side to vote on, he thought it was most suspicious. Anyone would be as desperate as Bong Geun and Jung to make sure they voted correctly so that they could skip the reinstatement round and win. But she was to blasé about it and Woo Jin realized that it was because she knew she’d win no matter which way she voted.

Do Young, mind you, is laughing silently to himself because this is all such great entertainment.

Woo Jin then reveals her communication system with the other two teams. If she drank coffee, then vote yes. If not drinking, vote no.

Now they’re all back at square one and must vote again. Woo Jin is selected to pose a question, and everyone has 10 minutes to answer. He goes up to the center of the room and poses his question: “The most important thing in life is money.” On top of that, he’s already made his decision and puts in his vote for everyone to see: a ‘no.’ Everyone is perplexed – shouldn’t he have kept that a secret? But only Lawyer Go realizes the possibility of what Woo Jin is planning.

Jamie is not happy that Woo Jin revealed his vote because now it makes things infinitely more difficult for the rest of them. She refuses to talk to Min Jin, who is hoping they can still play the game as they did before and split the winnings. Lawyer Go then explains what is happening to everyone else: for the other three to win, they have to vote yes. But if they all vote yes, then Woo Jin ones. Therefore someone – or two people – have to sacrifice themselves so that one person will vote ‘yes.’ But among Jamie, Min Jin, and Sung Joon, none of them are willing to sacrifice themselves.

Back at the studio, Yoon Joo makes a snide remark to a nervous Director Jang: she didn’t realize that his insistence of editing out Jamie would lead to JVN accruing more debt. After all, Jamie was his ‘person’ that he wanted entering the round to help save the station and not have Da Jung or Woo Jin win. But right now it looks like Jamie’s going to lose.

The clock winds down and finally Jamie resorts to offering Min Jin and Sung Joon a deal. They’ll form another team this time and if Min Jin and Sung Joon vote ‘no,’ they will let Jamie win and split the $2 million amongst them three. Sung Joon doesn’t readily agree since she betrayed them first. He wants her to get $40K at first so they will get more to split with the rest of their teams. Jamie persuades him to forget the others and just think of themselves right now. But he still doesn’t want to get the same amount as she. After all that she’s done, he wants him and Min Jin to get $900K and Jamie gets $200K.

Heh – Sung Joon’s driving a really hard bargain now and making it difficult for them to decide on their vote.

Min Jin inherently trusts Sung Joon more than Jamie so when he says that he’ll vote on behalf of them, she and Jamie willingly give up their ‘yes’ cards so that he can vote ‘no’ and reach another tie. That will buy them some time to strike a deal. With barely ten seconds left, Sung Joon drops in the three votes.

Do Young reveals Min Jin and Jamie voting yes, Woo Jin voting no, and then finally Sung Joon… voting yes. WOO JIN WON! His team goes CRAZY cheering for Woo Jin, and confetti sprays all over him and the room. It’s kind of funny considering Woo Jin looks almost bored with the entire proceeding.

Do Young asks for Woo Jin to explain what just happened. It turns out after the second voting round he sent Da Jung to go talk to Sung Joon. He knew already at that point that Sung Joon wasn’t Betrayer X and that there were other teams, but because Sung Joon has his guard up he’ll never talk to Woo Jin easily. This time, Da Jung’s excessive kindness could come to use.

She goes to Sung Joon to help treat his scratches after being smacked down by Bulldog and then kindly brings up the fact that he’s not X. Sung Joon asks how she knew he wasn’t, and that’s when Woo Jin interrupts: “X is Oh Jung Ah.” He proposes becoming a team right now to stop Jamie from winning the $2 million by herself.

With that, eight cases of money arrive at the front of the room. Do Young explains that only the losers who won some money out of this round will get to compete in the reinstatement round. Just as he’s about to announce the seven contestants who’ll move forward in the reinstatement round, Jamie barges to the front of the room trying to take her case because she was apparently a part of the contract. Guards have to drag her away, and Do Young issues her first warning for use of physical force. Kekeke.

Just then Do Young gets a message through his earpiece and they all have to stop filming momentarily. He goes outside to receive a call from Director Jang, who insists that he reveal that Jamie’s contract is actually valid. Yoon Joo argues against this because she didn’t even use her real identity, but Director Jang points out that they allow the use of nicknames on contracts. They can treat ‘Jung Ah’ as Jamie’s nickname, and therefore her contract is valid.

Do Young wants to bring in his personal lawyer for consult, but Director Jang says there’s no need. It’s a show for entertainment. Why must they worry about legality? He doesn’t care about the critics as he’ll be sure to cover it up. Heh – ever since his person is now on the line he seems to have changed his tune about the show being too controversial. Looks like he’s okay with it now as long as it means Jamie is still in the game.

Jamie’s been locked in one of the rooms and finds that she’s in the same place with Bulldog, who’s also been left inside. He’s not happy with her either after her reveal and is pumped and ready to give her a beating. But before he can touch her Do Young appears onscreen again with news of the producers’ decision. Her contract is valid, and she gets a share.

As for what happens to Sung Joon, Woo Jin hands over his case to take. Da Jung gives Woo Jin a small proud smile, and he’s all, “What?” Hehe that’s kind of cute. Even Do Young seems pleased by this outcome. A crew member then goes into the makeshift “jail cell” and lets Jamie come out to take her share and participate in the reinstatement round. She smugly gets up to leave and Bulldog grabs her by the collar. “You can’t hurt me,” she says, “Because I will save you.” Pfft. Who would believe her?

She makes a spectacular entrance into the hall and opens her case. Bulldog follows right behind her, and she gives him one wad of bills. That’s enough to get him into the reinstatement round, and now there will be nine participants in the game.

They all leave the hall and all the losers with no money start reaching and grabbing at them, hoping to be saved by just a little bit of money. They all walk off coldheartedly, ignoring everyone. Da Jung is the only one who pauses, unsure at what to do. Woo Jin grabs her wrist and forces her to keep going but she wants to help them. He scolds her: “Do you think it’ll benefit them at all to continue? No, so keep walking.”

The bus drives everyone else home, and Jamie flirts with a staff member to get some info on the reinstatement round. He’s not supposed to tell her anything, but then ends up saying that only one person will be eliminated in the next round.

Once the bus stops and everyone gets off, Da Jung asks for a moment to talk to Woo Jin. They grab a small bite to eat at the convenience store and he ends up paying for her bowl of ramen because he doesn’t want her spending a penny on her winnings. There might be more traps to come with that case of money. Da Jung just wants to know what he thinks about people trusting each other. If everyone had just trusted each other they all could have won and everyone would be happy. Woo Jin points out the fatal flaw in her plan: if someone even thinks about betraying the others, then everything will fall apart.

Da Jung wants to use the game show as a place to show others that trust is possible and that it could lead to happier results for all. But that’s a pipe dream in Woo Jin’s opinion. She wonders if he even wants to trust anyone again since he’s always so negative and suspicious, and asks why he even joined the game. But that is none of her business, and Woo Jin coldly walks away.

Dal Goo calls up Da Jung to check in on her and is superbly happy that she won $250K with Woo Jin’s help. He doesn’t even insist on her paying back her debt, so when his colleague overhears this, Dal Goo gets pizza thrown at his face and gets kicked around. He’s not doing his job properly in collecting the money, and that really pisses off his colleague!

So Dal Goo visits Da Jung with his bruised face and finds her looking for a place to hide her money. She openly does it in his presence, which shows how much she trusts him. He seems quite apologetic when he tells her that the interest rate has gone up so she ought to return the money to his company soon. However Da Jung falls asleep on him. He sees the case locked to a drawer by a bike lock and considers the option of just taking the money.

And he does.

Meanwhile, Do Young enjoys a nice champagne in a darkened hallway and smiles mysteriously, as if everything is going according to his plan. And as Woo Jin walks home he turns suddenly, as if sensing someone is following him.

Comments:

I found myself really intrigued by the strange dynamic between Do Young and Director Jang. To me, it made me wonder who exactly was the bad guy in this show while I was watching it. I shouldn’t even be asking myself this question because I know it’s Do Young all the way, masterminding this evil game of manipulation and enjoying watching people crash and burn. But at the same time Director Jang was no saint either. Though he initially opposed the show and the ethics of it, he’s also become corrupted by Do Young’s game. He now would do anything and everything to make sure his person – Jamie – stays in the game and wins. He’s putting his bets on her to save the station and won’t leave it up to chance. On the other hand Do Young seemed to be more willing to leave things up to chance after he provides the situation. The final smirk on Do Young’s face kind of cemented his status as THE bad guy though. Director Jang’s corruption simply proved the game’s purpose: to watch people change in the face of money.

I really like that we get to see more of these side characters reacting and acting in their roles. For such a large group of people I’m glad that I can see their personalities take form and what their strengths and weaknesses are. It was interesting to see Woo Jin’s team suddenly take on a spirit of camaraderie when they’re technically all enemies. And yet their cheers for Woo Jin and their hope to fight beat Jamie just also proves Da Jung’s point that if people just trusted and worked together, things would be so much better for all. We’ll see how long this lasts, as the reinstatement round isn’t going to be easy. I wish that Dal Goo didn’t take all of Da Jung’s money, but it’s an important plot development to occur to make the reinstatement round that much more challenging for her.

 

 

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