We’re now right at the halfway point. Every character we need to know has been exposed to us, hopefully, and every key character is in position, ready to execute whatever plan they have in mind. We may not be privy to what their end goals are or how they’re gonna accomplish ’em, but we know they’re already working on it. This is better than watching them in planning stage for episodes on end.
And if God of Noodles continues to deliver the same quality it had in the first half in its latter half as well, it shall become a well-produced revenge melodrama.
Regardless how unpredictable the storyline is, it inevitably includes some foreseeable plot points. Episode 8’s cliffhanger for example, it’s no-brainer that Myung-yi has gotten his burn scars removed (simply because it’s too early for a revelation), which means bad news for ex-Assistant Hwang. However, i expected Gil-do to cast doubt on both persons. Hwang might have fooled him about Choi Soon-seok’s corpse and disobeyed his orders on more than one occasion, but Gil-do should’ve known that he won’t point finger at just anybody, especially after betting his life on the line. It is therefore quite shocking to see him taken care of so quickly. Maybe Gil-do can’t tolerate betrayal. I bet that’s only the first out of many more to come. Although if i were him, i would be more wary of Hwang’s farewell face, which is eerie to say the least.
So, Myung-yi is safe — for now — because Gil-do won’t let him off the hook that easily. He manages to dodge the run-in with Congressman Choi, but the Master of Trickery shall lay even more traps in the future. His current mission is to be on Gil-do’s good side, through noodly skills or forged affinity, though the more impressive Myung-yi is, the more vigilant Gil-do becomes. At least Myung-yi has secured a position in the elite noodle department, though strangely not as the head. It was my mistake to assume as such — isn’t it odd to test Myung-yi’s managing skills when he will only be placed in junior position? Even then, the deputy head isn’t pleased to welcome him to the team he plots to overwork the nakasan (someone hired through nepotism) and make him quit. The newbie, however, proves to possess the resilience and endurance to shut naysayers up. I loved the look he gave the douchebag and his pretending-to-be-injured assistant upon completing every single order perfectly, on the third day. That was a satisfying moment.
What’s even more satisfying than that is the scenes between the four childhood buddies. I guess it’s still a long way before we get all four in one frame, so having two of them at a time is enough of a consolation, especially since Tae-ha is one half of the combinations. First off, you can imagine how thrilled i was when he meets Gil-young. He may still avoid Yeo-kyung, but at least he doesn’t cut off contact with his friend(s) like our revenge-driven hero. That’s the second person Tae-ha bumps into, at Goongrakwon (after deciding to meet with Gil-do, naively thinking he will come out with his father’s puppeteer for free). There’s this palpable air of tension between them, yet they’re able to talk openly and honestly — about Myung-yi’s presence there, about his parents and ultimately his revenge — which is relieving.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait another episode/week for Tae-ha/Yeo-kyung reunion, which is neither as awkward as Tae-ha/Myung-yi’s nor as heartbreaking as their last. I had no doubt whatsoever that the talk would end well, as in their parents’ history wouldn’t ruin their friendship, which was apparent from the way Yeo-kyung handled the news in episode 8. If anything, this one-on-one is more for his benefit than her. He needs to know she doesn’t view him any differently after learning the truth, so he should stop feeling guilty for his father’s action. The 6 years spent apart has toughened her up, it’s time for him to return to his old self. In all honesty, i felt the fact that the crime was a proxy murder helped a lot in re-connecting the two — they share common goal and enemy now. If it hadn’t, it might have been a different case altogether.
That said, this also showcases what a tight camaraderie the foursome has: they tell what the other person needs to hear, do not judge his/her decisions, yet support in whatever way they can. Even if it’s as simple as delivering a box of veggies once in a while, or as dangerous as serving the evil master. I’m still ambivalent about Tae-ha working under Gil-do, even if it’s to protect Myung-yi (however that may be). On one side, i wish not see him descend further into darkness; i’d surely hate it to watch him do all the dirty work for Gil-do. On the other side, we wouldn’t have drama if he didn’t.
The last person Tae-ha’s running into is Da-hae, which is bound to happen now that they’re working in the same place. And it’s as cute and awkward (on his part) as ever. I’d love to see how their relationship progresses, if that would develop into something else. So, the only pair that has yet to reunite is Myung-yi and Yeo-kyung. At this point, i seriously have no idea if Show’s gonna push the love angle, which is merely hinted at. I don’t mind if Noodles ended up a romanceless drama, it’s doing great without it thus far, but if they did consider pairing the two, they’d better do it sooner than later… before we’re entering the last stretch of the series, which by then the romance becomes too forced and shoehorned in.
But looks like Goongrakwon is setting up to be everybody’s meeting point. Myung-yi and Da-hae work in the kitchen, Gil-young is the regular veggie supplier, Tae-ha is Gil-do’s assistant, and Yeo-kyung is digging into it. I’m still curious about Jung Yoo-mi’s lack of screen time or significance in recent episodes when she’s supposedly the leading lady, as well as the roles of Congressman So Tae-sub or Kang-sook’s father. The former is the comrade of Yeo-kyung’s father who seems to know more than he lets on, the latter has been in comatose state for most of the series and chooses to respond to Da-hae’s approaches only. Him regaining consciousness has been teased for a couple of episodes, i expect more to his character.
The plot may sound over-convoluted at this stage, but i always find the development and happening easy to follow. This is what i like about Noodles (besides its drool-inducing noodles): each scene has a purpose, which leads or links to the following one. It’s also nice to see our characters on the move rather than watching copious long shots of them brooding or smoldering at their nemesis’ pictures. Myung-yi’s connections continue to surprise me, although it’s hard to tell if the exposure will make or break him.
Of all characters, Da-hae’s motive remains unclear to me, but she too* is fixated on finding Gil-do’s secret lair, and actually is the first to unlock it. Gil-do’s reaction to Da-hae’s trespassing (if he ever finds her there, that is, which i doubt) shall determine if he really is the unfeeling monster who’s cold enough to harm his own flesh and blood. He killed his own father indeed, but can he do the same to his own daughter? That’ll be interesting to find out.
*) Do-kkoo wishes to find where Gil-do keeps all of the laundered money, Myung-yi to discover Gil-do’s well-kept secrets and hence, weakness. Well, he has got a major scoop though: Da-hae’s parentage. What is he gonna do about it?