Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Master–God of Noodles: on episode 5~8

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Ooh, it’s getting more interesting now.

God of Noodles has hitherto been ending its episodes with good cliffhangers, though they never really had me stewing in anticipating. And while the closing shots of episode 8 technically are a rehash of those of episode 6, i’m itching for the next installment already, which i gotta wait one more week four more days for.

To be completely honest, i still wasn’t into the show after 4 episodes. It surely was intriguing but some of its plot points were confusing to me. Only after i watched the next 4 episodes did i realize that the first two weeks were really the phase for establishing the setup and building the story. As we’re given more puzzle pieces about the characters’ backstories, their motives became clearer and some things made more sense, i’m finally getting in the groove. I didn’t expect to get more of the protagonists’ backgrounds actually, probably because i’m used to less-developed supporting characters, and thus am noticing the possibility of them having their own arcs and purpose in the story with interest. It’s surprising to learn that their fates intertwined with one another in ways i totally didn’t see coming. It shouldn’t be; it’s a drama after all.

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Episode 5 opens 3 years after the orphanage director’s death broke the foursome, one month away from Tae-ha’s discharge. It’s a relief all those inmate brawls didn’t add months or years to his term. Myung-yi runs a three-pax noodle shop, Yeo-kyung has passed the bar exam and is preparing for the final round of interviews, and Gil-young still does deliveries with broad smiles on his face. Tae-ha is the head of his cell and goes along well with his cellmates but not so much with the other prisoners. But apparently he’s quite talented because both the other gang and Do-kkoo (Jo Hee-bong) are so agog to take him under their wings.

Kim Da-hae who appeared only briefly in the early episodes gets a lot more screen time in the recent ones as the focus of the story is around Goongrakwon, its politics, and her as well as Myung-yi’s endeavors to enter the kitchen. The girl with perfect sense of smell and the guy with perfect sense of taste shall make an interesting comradeship or rivalry. If Gil-do can imitate someone else’s behavior with one look, these two are able to replicate any dish with one taste. Myung-yi may inherit that innate talent from his father, but what about Da-hae? Does she inherit hers from her father too? Then, does that mean Gil-do is actually skilled in noodle making?

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Yup, that’s the first shocking reveal: she is the monster’s daughter. It’s astonishing because 1) i’m amazed that someone could love him — his union to Kang-sook (Lee Il-hwa) was purely for business; 2) he’s presumably the one who killed her mother; and 3) this scenario doesn’t seem to fit into the past timeline. If Da-hae is around Myung-yi’s age, then Gil-do had her between taking over Jung-tae’s identity and marrying Kang-sook? Besides, we are yet to know her reason for coming into Goongrakwon, aren’t we? I thought she’s female version of Myung-yi, yet she seems to be completely passionate about noodles to have a hidden agenda.

Thing is, both geniuses are pretty much a nobody that they need an inside person to cut through the finicky selection process. Their mutual connection is renowned food critic Seol Mi-ja (Seo Yi-sook), the frenemy of Gil-do and maybe-friend of Kang-sook. Da-hae approaches her by writing scathing article about her merit whereas Myung-yi lures her by his inventive seabream noodles. It should be a mutualistic team-up yet they look like Mi-ja’s pawns to take Goongrakwon over. However, unlike for Da-hae, Mi-ja isn’t Myung-yi’s only hope. He also approaches dubious Congressman Choi who harbors ill-feelings toward Gil-do, with whom he allies to sabotage the restaurant’s 100th anniversary banquet. Alas, the dealings are done too overtly that he falls on Assistant Hwang’s radar, though thankfully the creepy minion continues to defy his master’s orders, presumably to keep up his lie that Choi Soon-seok was dead.

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We get another 3-year time jump since the day Congressman Choi told on Myung-yi, who then got stabbed by Assistant Hwang, which also the day Tae-ha was released from prison and greeted by no one but Do-kkoo. The latter scene choked me up for obvious reason: he sacrificed his life for his friends’ benefit that it’s tragic none of them showed up to welcome him back. They have their own circumstances, yet i couldn’t help resenting them for that. That Yeo-kyung might not make it in time for the reunion has been hinted for a couple of episodes, but for all of them to renege on their promise…why are their fates like this? I think the problem lies in them not being fully honest with one another — do they even know about the others’ parents? I mean, Myung-yi keeps his revenge plan to himself and i doubt the other boys knew that Tae-ha covered for Yeo-kyung because of their parents’ history.

That’s the second shocking reveal: his father was responsible for her parents’ deaths. So, i totally misinterpreted Tae-ha’s statement about the case was also the reason he was in prison. I thought he meant it to be another way to discover the truth; turned out that’s a way to pay his debt to her. The revelation came at about the right time because i was so ready to complain that he did nothing to get closer to that goal. Oopsie.

I like that this realization didn’t cause a crack in their friendship as she works at it right away, but dislike that she keeps in touch with Gil-young only throughout the years. It seriously upsets me that they search for Myung-yi’s whereabouts (who disappeared since the incident) but not Tae-ha. I really wish to be proven wrong, but Tae-ha flashing back to that day when he waited till nighttime for them to come suggested so. I sincerely hope he won’t think his buddies abandoned him, also vehemently want him to stick to his guns and to not cross over to the dark side despite the tempting offers from both Do-kkoo and Gil-do. However…we know his dad is his weakness that i fear Gil-do’s last word about him knowing who made his father a murdered may do the trick. *unjinx unjinx*

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Tae-ha is the character i’m most invested in that my main grumble remains the same after 8 episodes: there isn’t enough Tae-ha! Lee Sang-yeob hasn’t done much besides looking sad or agitated, but again he already made my heart bleed multiple times through his emotive eyes. I root for Myung-yi as well, it’s just he comes off a bit dull and Chun Jung-myung doesn’t play him as intense as i’d like him to be. He is one step closer to exacting his revenge, now that he’s secured the head chef position of Goongrakwon though i was baffled by his decision to show up before ex-Assistant Hwang this early in the game. He can’t be found out by Gil-do yet, so i suppose he’s done something to his burn scars. He’d better be.

Timeline-wise, there could be room for another time jump. Tae-ha was released in late 2011, so at the moment we’re in either late 2014 or early 2015. Which means our main characters are now in their mid-20s. If anything, i wish they were styled (a lot more) differently since only Yeo-kyung looks maturer. Is it too much to wish for a complete reunion? I miss their friendship beats. Or maybe i simply miss Tae-ha/Myung-yi’s smiles.

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[How i wish this wasn’t only Tae-ha’s vision 😢]

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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