Liar Game (tvN): Episodes 7-8 Recaps

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Episode 7 of Liar Game really switched things up and created a whole new game called “The President Game,” which wasn’t seen in the first season of the Japanese version of Liar Game. It also allows us to see more of Do Young as he interacts with the contestants beyond the realm of just being the host. While the game itself is kind of confusing, and unnecessarily so, it does give us more background information on our main antagonist, Do Young. I quite like this opportunity to get to really know him better.

Episode 7

More and more, Woo Jin is convinced that Do Young has been targeting him from the get-go, using Da Jung as bait. By putting her in the game, considering her father’s connection to L Company, Woo Jin was undoubtedly going to get involved. Of course, Do Young isn’t going to reveal all of his cards right away and taunts him to complete the game. That’s the only way he’ll be able to find out the truth about his mother’s death and the company he ruined. When they resume filming the interview, Woo Jin responds to the question on why he is helping Da Jung: “Because I need her.” He’s willing to turn against her at the very end if it’s just the two of them left. However, he will give all of his prize money to Da Jung in the end when he wins. Surprisingly, Da Jung is not hurt by what he said because she thinks that he’s really a good person.

Woo Jin then asks Dal Goo for some secret help behind Da Jung’s back. Relaying everything about his past and his weird connection to Da Jung, Woo Jin explains that he initially suspected Dal Goo of having something to do with the Liar Game organization but no longer does. Dal Goo seems to have gotten played by Do Young too because once he got out of prison, he was approached by someone he doesn’t remember to work at his former moneylending business. That person could have just been working under Do Young’s orders. (Of course, there’s still a chance that Dal Goo isn’t as good as he seems though.)

Filming begins for ‘The President Game.’ There will be three rounds of elections where the candidates announce their campaign promises, and people will vote on whom they want to win after an hour of campaigning. The president elected in that round gets a share of the prize money and can fulfill his promise; however they are given one opportunity to not fulfill one promise. With each election they also have the power to eliminate a participant in the game, and two in the final round. In total, four people can get eliminated from this game. The participants have 24 hours to get a presidential candidate for the game. Everyone’s defense is up because they’re not quite sure what Jamie will do with her candidate, so only Woo Jin notices how confident Bong Geun is. That’s because Bong Geun solicits Congressman Kang’s help in this matter by suggesting that participating in the show may actually help his real run for election.

Meanwhile, Dal Goo sneaks back to his old office to see if he can dig up any connections between his boss and Do Young. However he gets quite the unwelcome reception, and is tied up and driven off somewhere in the trunk. One of Do Young’s men happens to be watching it unfold, but is ordered to do nothing. His boss calls up Da Jung while she’s with the other remaining contestants, and threatens her to repay her debt or else he’ll sell Dal Goo’s organs.

While on the operating table, Dal Goo is half-conscious so he tries to get information from his boss about Do Young. Too bad the boss doesn’t tell him much, but it’s clear he knows of Do Young. Just then Woo Jin and Da Jung burst in before Dal Goo gets cut… with Yoon Joo and a camera crew. Because of Dal Goo’s situation, and the other contestants’ unified faith in Da Jung, they’ve all decided to choose Dal Goo as their presidential candidate.

On the first day of filming, Dal Goo and Congressman Kang are presented as candidates. Then Jamie throws in a surprise nomination: she wants Do Young to be president! Flashback to the night before and she made the proposal to Director Jang to use Do Young as her “card” rather than a professional gambler he’s picked out for her. After convincing Jang that this could work out to his advantage (especially as it will ruin Do Young’s credibility as an MC), Jang is on board. What he doesn’t realize is that Jamie’s already working with Do Young and that this was all his idea!

Yoon Joo isn’t too pleased with the turn of events, especially since it means Do Young will now be a participant and Jang will be the new MC, and viewers will most likely be at an uproar. They turn to the other contestants: if majority is okay with Do Young participating, then he stays. Surprisingly Woo Jin, as the deciding vote, is in favor of it. In return Do Young must reveal everything he knows about the game now, and not interact with the staff in the future. Woo Jin reasons that it’s better to fight Do Young “in the ring” rather than have him manipulate the game from above. Unfortunately, his acceptance of Do Young has made the other contestants doubt whether they should trust Woo Jin at all.

The game begins, and each presidential candidate makes an introductory speech about themselves. Congressman Kang is overly showy; Dal Goo trips up when Bulldog and Jamie throw random questions at him but assures his loyalty to his supporters; and Do Young takes the opportunity to turn everyone against Woo Jin and point out that he’s a master swindler and liar.

Now everyone has to start picking a party to support, or they can remain undecided and wait until the nominees make promises for the first round. Dal Goo worries that no one is going to support him, but Woo Jin isn’t as worried. He chooses the best strategy for the team: to lie first and use up the free pass to lie, and then try to win people’s trust in the second and third rounds, which are more important.

Congressman Kang’s promise is to divide the $900K prize money with everyone so they get $100K each. Dal Goo’s outrageous lie is to give $900K to each person. Do Young’s plan is to collect $100K in taxes from everyone and then give it to his supporters. That puts a different spin to things, and so majority of the people end up voting ‘No Affiliation’. Campaigning begins, and it’s a complicated process of who can talk to whom, and how much it will cost each person to talk to those outside of his party. Everyone is working hard to convince the ‘Undecided’s’ except for Dal Goo, Da Jung, and Woo Jin since they know their promise is false and they’re willing to sacrifice the first round. The important thing they have to do is prepare for the second round.

Voting commences, and the winner of the first election is Do Young. That means Bong Geun and Pippi, who voted for Congressman Kang instead, are up for elimination. Do Young picks Pippi for elimination, reasoning that a person who speaks too lightly and irrationally shouldn’t be a voter. After she is dragged out of the stadium, Sung Joon, Bulldog, In Gi, and Lawyer Go go check if Do Young’s campaign promise is true… but it’s not. Their money has been taken away for taxes, and there is no payout for any of them. But at least this also means all of Do Young’s future promises will be true. That also means Do Young’s strategy is the same as Dal Goo’s, so it makes things even harder and more uncertain to win people’s votes.

Congressman Kang’s second election promise is to collect taxes from those who didn’t vote from him and distribute it to his supporters; Dal Goo’s promise is to give everyone all the money in the “national safe” to his supporters; Do Young’s promise is to share the money in the “national safe” to the first three people who support him who are not currently in his party. That means Jamie’s already out of the running to receive any prizes.

In Gi, Lawyer Go, and Bulldog support Do Young right away, making them the winners for the money. Sung Joon ends up choosing ‘No Affiliation’ again, and now Jamie decides to choose ‘No Affiliation’. She can vote for Dal Goo and make those who supported Do Young not win any money, or she and In Gi, Lawyer Go, and Bulldog can all join forces and create a “new party.” If the four of them band together then they can make any candidate win to their liking. Lawyer Go likes that plan, and so they join forces with her. Meanwhile Da Jung convinces Sung Joon to vote for Dal Goo; if he doesn’t trust Woo Jin, then he should at least trust her.

The new Band of Four decide to give the second election to Congressman Kang, but they’ll have the right to decide the third election freely. With this new turn of events, Woo Jin sends Dal Goo to cause some “trouble.” He instigates a fight with Bulldog and forces Bulldog to throw the first punch. Once they’re pulled apart from the tussle, both are given their first warnings: one more fight and both will be eliminated.

Voting for the second round begins and all of Congressman Kang’s supporters hand in their votes and then create a barricade around the voting booth. This way Congressman Kang will prevent anyone from voting for the other two candidates and ensure his victory, especially since he (erroneously) thinks Bulldog has switched sides. He also plans to eliminate Bulldog when he wins, thus ensuring that he’ll have four votes to win the third round too.

Woo Jin smirks – yeah, that pathetic plan of Kang’s is not really going to work.

Episode 8

Woo Jin steps up to the voting booth and raises his hand in front of In Gi. Everyone holds their breath –  is Woo Jin seriously going to hit In Gi and risk elimination? Instead, In Gi gives Woo Jin a high five, and breaks away from the barricade. As Woo Jin votes, Dal Goo blocks the congressman from barging in. Next up to vote: Bulldog, and he clearly is on Dal Goo’s side as well. It turns out during the scuffle, In Gi was knocked over to the side. Sung Joon helped him up while slipping him a note from Woo Jin, which plays to In Gi’s ego and asks if he wants to play a role of a supporter with risk of elimination, or help turn the tide and be on the winning side. Bulldog was similarly convinced by Dal Goo during the scuffle, and their votes help Dal Goo win the second election.

Dal Goo affirms that he’ll distribute all the contents of the national safe among his supporters – except when he reaches the safe, it’s empty! Turns out the safe had no money, and therefore he’d have no money to give them all! He quickly tells Woo Jin, who then calls all of Dal Goo’s supporters over for a quick discussion prior to elimination. All of them are astounded to hear that there’s nothing in the safe, and they begin to suspect Woo Jin and Da Jung of trickery.

Woo Jin manages to figure out the double meaning in Do Young’s first promise though: he said he was going to give the money to his supporters, but instead of giving it to no one, he gave it to one person and turned the money into a sort of slush fund. Therefore, Do Young’s first promise was true, and therefore he still has a false promise left in his arsenal. Naturally, people suspect that Jamie has the money, but Woo Jin wonders if In Gi or Bulldog have the money. It enrages them enough to show their safes, which clearly don’t have the national safe’s money. They’ve got nothing to hide.

Everyone’s now afraid that Dal Goo will be eliminated because he used up his false promise in the first round already, but Woo Jin assures them that Dal Goo will be safe. He had secretly told Dal Goo to hit the ‘true’ button when he gave his first promise, which was so impossible that everyone thought it was a lie. So now his ‘false promise’ can be used in this second round to save him.

They will have to pick someone to eliminate though, and Woo Jin decides they’ll take out the person with all the money. He first approaches Jamie with a note and asks her to write down her answer to his question on the floor: Does she have the money or not? She bends down and traces out “No.” To Lawyer Go’s view it looks like Jamie is opening her safe and showing it to Woo Jin, so he starts getting anxious. Woo Jin then goes to Lawyer Go’s booth and shows him a note that says Jamie proved she didn’t have the money. If Lawyer Go is innocent, he’ll open his safe. If he’s not, he might beg to be saved.

And beg he does. Woo Jin ruthlessly selects him for elimination and the third round can now begin with all the money in the safe.

What’s worrisome is that Dal Goo now has to make a true promise while Do Young still gets to make a false promise for this final round. As Woo Jin tries to come up with a plan, Jamie sidles up to Do Young to get on his good side again. Meanwhile Congressman Kang can sense defeat and he encourages Bong Geun to start making alliances with both Do Young and Dal Goo’s camps to try and get the most money. It disgusts Bong Geun, but he knows Congressman Kang is also right.

The presidential candidates all give their promises: Congressman Kang concedes defeat and gives an eloquent, typical-politician speech to the crowd; Dal Goo promises to share all the money in the safe equally to all of his supporters, differentiating himself from Do Young’s first promise; Do Young promises to give up all presidential authority and do whatever his supporters like.

Bong Geun, In Gi, and Bulldog all choose to have no affiliation, leaving the three of them up for grabs by either Dal Goo or Do Young’s side. Do Young starts off with a private campaign with Bulldog, and he messes with the poor gangster’s head. He tells Bulldog that Woo Jin lied to him, and pinned the whole thing on him by putting the money away in a “slush fund” in Lawyer Go’s safe. It is actually Dal Goo who hid the money away in the second round, and there is no money left in the safe. In addition, Woo Jin never showed anyone the contents of his safe, so how could Bulldog trust him?

Meanwhile, Jamie works on In Gi. She proclaims that she’ll vote for Dal Goo since Do Young has no chance of winning, but if she, Sung Joon, Bulldog, Bong Geun and In Gi vote for Dal Goo then their winnings will decrease. Therefore she suggests convincing Bong Geun and Bulldog to vote for Do Young so that they can get rid of a few people and make their pot bigger.

Do Young meets with Bong Geun next, and pretty much butters him up by saying that he’s a better man than Congressman Kang. He doesn’t want to convince Bong Geun to do anything, but rather to make his own decision about what’s right and will lead to winning the game. It doesn’t matter if Do Young’s promise is true or not, but whether he will win the game or not.

Bong Geun, In Gi, and Bulldog discuss their voting strategy, and they begin to believe that Woo Jin is lying to them about where the money really is. Woo Jin sense the danger and decides to show everyone his and Da Jung’s safes. But just before he can request a group campaign, Do Young beats him to it. Because of time constraints, Do Young’s campaign will be the last before voting. He wastes the time by simply saying how everyone should make their own decisions, and he won’t try very hard to convince them of the truth lest they begin to disbelieve him.

If letting people try to decide the truth for themselves is the way to go, then Woo Jin suggests that he get a chance to reveal his safe. Do Young sees no point in it because revealing the safes’ contents will just increase voter confusion. Does it matter that there was a slush fund before or not? Not really – what matters the most is what will happen to the money in the end. But if Woo Jin so insists on revealing the truth, then why don’t they play a simple game of heads or tails? If Woo Jin wins he can do what he wants.

In this mini-game within a game, the ‘attacker’ will throw the coin in the air, hide it, and then claim whether it’s heads or tails. The ‘defender’ will guess whether the ‘attacker’ is lying or not; if the defender gets it right, then he wins the coin and the ‘attacker’ position. If the ‘attacker’ succeeds in their lie, then he gets a point and keeps the coin flipping. If the ‘defender’ is right, then he becomes the attacker and gets no point. First person to seven points wins.

Do Young goes first, and he claims it’s ‘heads’. Woo Jin asks him to describe which side of the coin is which and then, paying close attention to Do Young’s micro-expressions, calls him out on a lie. Woo Jin is right. Woo Jin then becomes the attacker and flips the coin; he claims ‘heads’. Do Young says it’s ‘false,’ but it’s actually ‘true,’ which means Woo Jin gets a point.

It seems the Do Young is very bad in this game as Woo Jin easily gets six points in no time. Everyone’s faith in Woo Jin increases, and Woo Jin himself gets very cocky. But Do Young smiles – he’s been taking it easy on Woo Jin the entire time. He flips the coin, and this time says ‘tails.’ Woo Jin calls it ‘false’ and demands the coin be handed over. Nope – it actually is ‘tails.’ Now Do Young has a point!

It continues in this fashion, where Woo Jin keeps making the wrong call on Do Young’s hand. Do Young quickly reaches 6 points as well, and it’s now tied. Woo Jin starts getting anxious. He’s been studying all of Do Young’s micro-expressions but it’s not working. Instead, could it be possible that Do Young is actually manipulating his micro-expressions and purposely leading him the wrong way? The answer is yes, because Do Young easily wins the final round and Woo Jin can’t reveal his side of the truth to the rest of the contestants.

Woo Jin is so shocked because he’s never lost a game like this before.

Voting commences, and Do Young predictably wins the election. He also reveals that he made a false promise and will not be submitting to his supporters’ will. However, though he confiscates everyone’s winnings, he also will reward them handsomely. To In Gi, Bong Geun, and Bulldog, he hands them a case of 600,000 each. When it’s Jamie’s turn, he gives her nothing. Her betrayal and mistrust of him was not appreciated. He’ll give her winnings to the eliminated Lawyer Go instead. As for the rest of the money, he’s giving it to Bong Geun to start off his own congressional campaign against Congressman Kang in the same district. And with that, Do Young eliminates Congressman Kang and Bong Geun so that the two can battle it out in the real world. At least there’s somewhat of a happy ending.

That evening, a very drunk Dal Goo is incredibly disappointed in Woo Jin for not winning the game. Woo Jin failed on his promise to protect Da Jung! Woo Jin himself feels pretty bad about it too, as he’s quite perplexed by how Do Young beat him in the heads-or-tails game. He then escorts Dal Goo home, and hears Dal Goo’s story of why he became a loan shark. His first love had done something bad and Dal Goo went to jail for her because he loved her so much. However she betrayed him while he was in jail, and so he swore never to trust anyone again. Sadly, his first mark as a loan shark was Da Jung, and it was hard to trick such a kindly girl when she reminded him so much of his old self.

Suddenly he remembers what his former president had told him when he was tied up on the operating table: “Kang Do Young isn’t human. He’s completely empty inside.” It doesn’t seem like much information, but then Woo Jin hears back from his reporter friend. She had looked into the eliminated contestants and found that Pippi sold her shop for a lot more than it was worth and was able to retire in the mountains. Lawyer Go was scouted by a prestigious law firm and had changed his tune about the legalities of the show. She also brought over Do Young’s background information again, and Woo Jin gives it another look.

Finally, he discovers something weird about Do Young’s background. It says he grew up in the States in a town called Walden Two, but that town does not truly exist. Instead it was used as a name for a horrendous experiment that happened around 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, Yoon Joo finds Da Jung’s homeless father in the train station and tries to convince him to meet his daughter. She doesn’t realize that someone is following her, and that person is reporting her moves to Do Young. He doesn’t order his lackey to do anything to Yoon Joo though, but just to follow her and observe. Do Young takes a good look at the mirror and covers up half his face except for his eyes and mouth. His face twitches, but he does his best to control his micro-expressions. He’s really manipulating them…

Woo Jin goes through his books and papers about the Walden Two Project and finds an interesting entry with a picture of the scientist in charge and five children involved in the project. All of the kids are wearing white masquerade masks, and one Asian kid in the background looks very much like the adult Do Young.

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