Episode eight of “Liar Game” starts out with standard reality show material, as the opposing political groups desperately compete for votes. But halfway through, it turns into a one-on-one battle between Ha Woo Jin and Kang Do Young, and the result is both exhilarating and scary. The rivalry between these two men is just beginning, and I honestly have no idea who’s going to come out on top.
These were my favorite scenes in “Liar Game” episode eight:
1. Is trust possible?
Part of what I love about “Liar Game” is that while it is twisty and slick and fun, it still has a core of earnestness, thanks to Da Jung. I find her quest to maintain and inspire decency in the face of money really touching—and I loved this conversation with Woo Jin, because it so wonderfully highlights why her quest might just be doomed to failure. After all, as much as Da Jung might want for trust to be a pure, natural quality (a default rather than a choice), that’s almost impossible in the real world, and in the “Liar Game”, because power (represented in “Liar Game” by money) necessarily corrupts that trust. Trust implies equality, but, as Woo Jin points out, when only certain people hold all the cards, there is an automatic power imbalance. In that space between those with power (money) and those without, it becomes incredibly difficult to trust. I love that Da Jung wants to persevere with her faith in humanity in spite of the odds against her, but I fear that Woo Jin is ultimately correct.
2. It’s easy to hate the smartest guy in the room
It’s so easy for Kang Do Young to plant suspicion about Woo Jin in the contestant’s minds, and that feels totally believable. From the beginning, Woo Jin has been presented, both by himself and others, as an almost unnaturally intelligent and sly person. And while his cleverness makes him intimidating as a contestant, it also makes him an easy target for resentment and distrust, which Do Young takes care of with impressive speed.
3. The truth is simple
A big part of this episode was about Do Young finally revealing that maybe Woo Jin isn’t the smartest guy in the room after all, and it starts with this campaign speech. His message, basically, is that what actually happened doesn’t matter and shouldn’t influence who the contestants vote for. Who lied, who kept a secret slush fund—that isn’t important. The truth is simple, and it will feel right, so the contestants should just follow that feeling of rightness. It’s such a seductive idea, especially in the “Liar Game”, where deceit and confusion reign supreme. (I seriously think that Woo Jin missed an opportunity to rebut Do Young’s speech by quoting Oscar Wilde: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”)
4. True or false
This must be the most suspenseful coin-flipping game I’ve ever seen. Any time that Do Young and Woo Jin go up against each other is great, and this sequence was no exception. Seeing Do Young toy with Woo Jin was amazing, as Woo Jin became more and more destabilized. It’s no wonder that Do Young won the election after this—he beat Woo Jin so thoroughly that it’s a wonder Dal Goo kept any votes at all.
5. Kang Do Young is incredibly creepy
The good news: Woo Jin is starting to discover the details of Do Young’s past. The bad news: what he finds out will haunt my nightmares. It looks like Do Young was part of some bizarre psychological experiment, which helps explain why he is, as Dal Goo’s former boss put it, “empty inside”. So rather than actually feeling emotions, he just decides what emotions to project? Well that’s terrifying. We still have a lot to learn about the origins of Kang Do Young, and I honestly can’t decide if I’m excited or scared out of my wits. Maybe a bit of both.
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