Master of Revenge; God of Noodles Episode 16:
GilDo looks intensely at Myeong, but finds nothing to support his suspicion. All he can say is that Myeong rubs him the wrong way and he feels like the quiet battle between them is nearing a close, though he’s certain that it won’t go the way Myeong wants.
Not having the evidence that he wanted, he ends the test that was never really about noodles but more about confirming Myeong’s identity as Choi SoonSeok and walks off.
Once he leaves, Myeong gives into the physical and emotional pain that he’d endured, all while GilDo’s very detailed description of fire burning runs through his mind.
DaHae peeks in from outside, seeing him cry, but ultimately lets him have his moment alone.
In his office, GilDo broods over his failed attempt to confirm his nagging suspicions and asks TaeHa if he’s ever faced such a situation. TaeHa replies that he had, with GilDo, wrongly suspecting him of turning his father into a murderer. He makes his point by stating that he’s glad that he didn’t jump to conclusions.
Congressman Choi calls then, demanding the money that he’d put into the foundation be returned immediately, having heard of the search and seizure of GilDo’s office.
DokGu, who’s in hiding, is therefore ordered to prepare the money, which we see has been transferred to apple boxes and kept in some storage area. Mid-pack, he smells something rotten and finds an apple-box full of real, rotting apples. Oops.
At the same time in Goongrakwon, GilYong complains about having to do odd jobs after working hours and whacks a box over. Hundreds of 50,000 won notes spill out from it.
He packs the boxes out and meets GilDo in the hallway. GilDo stops him and for a nerve wreaking minute, GilDo moves to open the boxes but is stopped by a phone call. Mobile phones are saviours in this drama.
After successfully getting past GilDo, the boxes find their way to YeoKyung and her investigator. GilYong’s so scared that he can’t stay still and has to be reassured by YeoKyung.
YeoKyung and her investigator check the contents of the box and strike investigation gold with a full stack of questionable cheques. YeoKyung takes that information and tells Senator So that she has the means to launch a decisive attack against GilDo and is reminded again to leave Goongrak Foundation alone.
She asks for the reason he’s so concerned with that and he tells her that Goongrak Foundation is the culmination and cesspool of many politicians’ weakness. He intends to be head of that organization and get a hold of them by their legs. With that knowledge, she’s plunged herself deep in the case and won’t be able to get out even if she wants to.
DokGu shows GilDo the switched box and gets offended when GilDo implies suspicion of him having the boxes switched on purpose. GilDo weakly sooths his anger by saying that he never said that DokGu took the money and says that he’ll be transferring everything to a private safe at a private bank tomorrow. With the going to a safe money location, DokGu anxiously tells GilDo that he can’t stand to go back to jail ever again. He’s already spent half his life there and he refuses to go back there. GilDo gives his word that he’ll keep him safe.
In Goongrakwon, the kitchen gets a troublesome order, Imjasu noodles, which they don’t usually make. Extra requests are attached to the order, specifically aimed at making the dish as easily edible as possible. DaHae is given the task of making it but Myeong comes in and takes over.
The other staff are unhappy with him and see his resignation as betrayal. He explains that he’s back with the new title of Top Head of Noodles and will be working at Goongrakwon three times a week. They scoff when he gives them orders but carry them out anyway, even if reluctant.
Even when he explains that he had to leave due to unexplainable circumstances and had fought to return, they don’t welcome him with open arms.
After around an hour, the dish is done. DaHae asks if the customers who ordered the noodles are elderlies and requests that Myeong go with her to meet them. The customers are indeed an elderly couple and Myeong sees first-hand the delight they have when simply presented with the dish. The elderly couple bicker with the old man acting brusque like Lee SeoJin, but his specific requests for how the dish should be made conveys his love for his wife. MiJa and KangSuk happen to look upon this scene.
DaHae then brings Myeong outside and makes her point about her love for noodles. She knows that he’s not working so hard just for noodles but instead is doing this in order to bring GilDo down. He therefore confesses the real reason he’s in Goongrakwon and tells her that the person who killed his parents was her father and he’s here to exact revenge.
In their room, KangSuk and MiJa talk about Myeong and how charismatic he is. MiJa admits his strengths but is annoyed at his ability to betray people. Hahaha, she gets annoyed when KangSuk asks why she isn’t taking her revenge like she always does, saying that she’s just waiting for the right moment.
Talk of the devil and Myeong enters the room that moment. He’s here to propose a deal, in which they use their shares to dismiss GilDo and install him in his position. In return, he promises to give management rights of Goongrakwon to KangSuk and install MiJa as head of Goongrak Foundation. He sweetens the deal by informing them that he’s conditioned DaHae to vote for their side with her shares and they agree to go ahead with the plan.
GilDo successfully moves his money to a private bank, and is promised that there are only two keys in the world to the safe – one for him and the other with the banker. Only when the two keys are activated together can the safe then be opened.
He meets with DokGu outside and commands him to hide again, which sends DokGu into a frustrated rant, because he’s tired of living the fugitive life.
However, he knows that there’s no other way and before he leaves, he pays DaHae a last visit. He tells her not to call him and gives her a bank book, detailing the savings that he’d made for her wedding (aw). DaHae’s annoyed by him disappearing and appearing whenever he wants, wishing that he’d just live a normal life. She asks if he’s doing this because of GilDo and he answers that he knew that being with GilDo would bring him trouble but he did it for DaHae. He wishes for her sake that she keeps as far a distance as she can from GilDo and with a last hug and DaHae’s puppy accessory, he runs off, swearing not to ever end up in jail again.
YeoKyung gets the results of the inquiry regarding the owner of those questionable checks and learn that they belong to Congressman Choi.
Congressman Choi gets a call from the prosecutor’s office and talks to the person on the other end in a nice sweet tone, thanking that person for finding his “lost” cheques. Then he asks who he’s talking too. Hahahahaha! Once he puts the phone down though, his face falls and orders his chauffer to take him to Goongrakwon.
With the situation getting bigger than they’ve expected, YeoKyung’s investigator advices submitting the acquired cash and cheque as evidence to safeguard YeoKyung from the liability of embezzlement charges. YeoKyung doesn’t care though, and insists on going through with attacking GilDo. She declares that anyone that opposes her investigation will be treated equally with suspect and investigated. Her zeal worries her investigator, who warns her to pace herself but she’s insistent on bulldozing through. She gives her investigator an out that she doesn’t take and knowing that there’s nothing she can say to convince her otherwise, her investigator says that she’ll put Congressman Choi on watch.
The same Congressman Choi storms into GilDo’s office and screams at GilDo, all jittery about the call he’s gotten from the prosecutor’ s office. Hee, when GilDo raises a glass of water as an offering, he covers his nose, reminded of the earlier time when he was clobbered right there with another mug by GilDo.
He tries to get GilDo to raise this to Prosecutor Ahn, and then Senator So, naively assuming that they’ll save him but GilDo knows that he’ll be killed the moment they do that. Even if they’re in his good graces, Senator So will not hesitate to cut down anyone who’ll bring trouble to him. Instead, they’ll have to cut off their own tail to save their hides. Oh, you ass.
GilDo gives YeoKyung a call and invites her to his office.
She sees TaeHa in GilDo’s office and requests that they speak alone. It gets rejected, with GilDo explaining that TaeHa’s involved in this too. He introduces them to each other as the perpetrator and the victim’s children.
He and YeoKyung sit and he asks YeoKyung how she had known about the fountain pen and that alarms TaeHa. YeoKyung coolly responds that she’s seen many of such a thing in her time at the Crown Office and easily gets past GilDo’s suspicions. She tells him that once she gets to Congressman Choi, she’ll get to DokGu, or “Raymond Holding’s Lee Jeong Beom”, and asks if he’s willing to cut off his tail.
GilDo asks how he’ll be able to do that and she tells him that she wants evidence of Senator So’s involvement in her parent’s murder. He offers her the partially censored copy of the report regarding Senator So’s corruption as written by her father that he’d intended to send to America’s FBI but wasn’t because he was killed instead, with the condition that she accept a bribe. The bribe’s his way of ensuring that she holds up her end of the deal of keeping him safe. The moment he gets confirmation that it’s been used or deposited into her account, he’ll tell her where DokGu is hiding.
She takes both the evidence and the bribe.
Alone with his boss, TaeHa confronts his boss about suspecting him of talking about the fountain pen and GilDo just replies that he had good reason to suspect that, given how both YeoKyung and TaeHa have reason to work together – to bring down the person who instigated the murder.
In her car, YeoKyung flips through the report, lingering a little at her father’s name.
TaeHa comes along and is livid that she took the bribe. He knows that she’d just handed her life over to GilDo and she takes a leaf out of his book, telling him that she’s doing all this for herself. She’s tired of living for others – becoming a prosecutor for him and working against GilDo for Myeong. She wants to be rid of her guilt. She throws his words back at him about friends not being anything much and swears to get to the person who killed her parents and reveal his corruptions to the world.
She tells him to mind his business because even though she’s deep in this and can’t get out, he’s the one who’s in more danger.
She heads off to the bank to deposit the disgustingly large amount of bribe money and silently shows her badge to the teller when she gives her a questioning look. She takes a photo of the confirmation slip and sends it to GilDo, then throws the original away.
Immediately, she gets the address to the place DokGu is hiding at.
DokGu sighs as police sirens blare in the distance. He gets a call from GilDo and growl-assures him that he’ll kill him.
YeoKyung and her handful of investigators find DokGu, who keeps the call with GilDo live as he runs away. Quietly, GilDo orders TaeHa to beef up his security detail.
After some time, she’s informed that they’ve lost DokGu and her calm response has her investigator questioning if she’d let him go on purpose. YeoKyung replies that no prosecutor would ever do that.
Senator So gets news that they’ve lost DokGu and is unhappy at this missed chance to press against GilDo. He chides YeoKyung for failing him and YeoKyun in turn asks about her father. When she reveals that she knows that her father was not his aide-de-camp, he simply returns that it was an euphemism meaning that he had cherished her father very much. He tells her that Park MooTaek was GilDo man, which, what, what, huh? She straight up asks if he’d ordered a hit on her father and Senator So simply says that GilDo’s trying to frame him.
Myeong the not-celebrity is requested for a photo at ChiMyeon when he overhears another customer’s complaints about salty broth. He offers to have the dish redone but the salty broth disturbs him and he works on noodles through the night. GilDo’s words about burning dragonflies (an analogy for the sound that Myeong’s burning house had made) keep ringing in his ears and his phantom pains don’t help.
The next day, TaeHa wakes GilDo, who wakes up with a start. GilDo heads to a gathering ordered by the Head of the Go clan (whose name is Mr Moon, I don’t know why).
He’s there to sign an agreement that makes Myeong his successor (but not yet the Noodle Master). He prepares to leave once he’s done but is stopped when the old man puts a written proposal for his dismissal on the table.
He’s shocked, to say the least, and demands to know how he’s disgraced the establishment, enough to warrant a dismissal. MiJa brings up his search and seizure and the old man credits Goongrakwon’s drop in sales to him, accusing him of doing it on purpose (er…) and sending their head chef over to another sub-branch. He takes particular offense at GilDo’s intention to enter politics.
When GilDo reminds them of the contributions that he’d made to Goongrakwon, the elderly simply says that he only looks forward and will decide with that in mind.
With all other shareholders agreeing to his dismissal, the final decision lies in DaHae’s hands. After a moment, she asks him for the name of the most recent addition to the kitchen staff (GilYong) and GilDo stutters, trying to prolong the window of time he has to answer, because he really can’t remember GilYong’s name, even though GilYong had told him that much when they had met in the hallway.
In a few seconds, DaHae makes her decision and votes to dismiss GilDo, stating that even Grandpa Go, who was in a coma for 6 long years, remembered the names of each and every one of the kitchen staff. She believes that the Noodle Master should be like that, leading others with their heart instead of using noodles to lord over others (only in this drama does that last part not sound hilarious).
That’s a blow to GilDo but another blow is yet to come, with the elderly relieving him of his position as manager of Goongrak Foundation. That position goes to MiJa (even if she’s just the interim director and will be replaced by the next Noodle Master).
The elderly tries to soften the blow by suggesting that they keep GilDo on as advisor and rises to go but before he does, GilDo gets a last word in, swearing to show every single one present in the room how their split-second decision will affect their lives. Elderly ineffectually blubbers, taking that as a threat.
Myeong thanks DaHae for her help and she replies that she did this only because she wants the kitchen to return to its original busy state and not because of his words.
GilDo drowns his sorrows in alcohol.
He offers TaeHa a shot and asks if TaeHa can/is willing to stop DokGu for his sake.
He admits that his crying at DaHae’s mother’s memorial was an act and asks if it were sincere, would his intentions have gone through (and therefore change his fate). TaeHa answers in the affirmative.
GilDo brings up the time when TaeHa had once confessed that he’s afraid of his father’s blood in him and GilDo tells him to prepare for the appearance of a monster, the likes of which he’s never seen before.
Meanwhile, Myeong is having a freakout because he can’t taste anything.
TaeHa gets a call from DokGu, telling him to step aside as he’s coming for GilDo.
DokGu powers and fights his way through GilDo’s men in black and heads to his office. He sees TaeHa resolutely standing in his way as the last man before GilDo and beats him powerless.
Nothing in his way, he walks right up to GilDo, asking if GilDo knew that he would be dying in his own office.
GilDo doesn’t reply, only giving a small, haunting smile.
Whew, Noodles is on a roll and the ratings reflect that. With a jump of 2.1% compared to the previous episode and a total Nationwide AGB Nielsen rating of 9%, Noodles is placed first among all other dramas in the same time slot. I am thrilled at its success because I felt like this episode was worth it. I’ll be honest in that I fully didn’t share the sentiment that Noodles was being underappreciated with its low ratings because it was a heavy show or something. I mean, it is true that dramas are mainly used to escape tiring reality but I place its low ratings solely on the writing that was frankly, hard to follow and not because there was a problem with the viewers. When you have shows like Jo JaeHyun’s previous drama Punch beating out even favourites like Healer and the immense success that was Six Flying Dragons, the excuse that the content is too heavy and doesn’t fit many people’s taste doesn’t stand.
The thing with revenge dramas is that everyone knows that they’re over the top. No one actually spends years and years and has that much hatred and such laser focus in bringing one person down. Okay, maybe there are but they’re few and far between and totally not the norm in society (and we actually call them zealots). As Confucius once said, when you start on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves. Therefore, the crux of every revenge drama is making its audience feel, as in FEEL, for the (lead) characters and display master strategizing in order to keep the audience on its toes and capture their attention, in order for normal everyday people to follow, invest and believe in with what are frankly, wonky and illogical acts.
I know I’m harping on this but Noodles really dropped the ball on that in a few episodes and I can’t say that the low ratings weren’t deserved. As a drama with heavy content, it had its work set out for it when it comes to capturing and holding people’s interest, so losing its audience, even for a while, is a big no no. Also, Myeong keeping everything to himself (TaeHa tries, but is transparent as clear glass) drives me nuts because I don’t get WHY he has to do that with people who have declared and shown themselves to be his allies in every single sense of the word.
That said, Noodles is a very good show, from directing, acting to sound. Even the writing on the whole makes sense and the plotting is quite well done. It’s just that it failed a little on the execution, the little bits that, frankly, with this genre, results in relatively heavy consequences. I’m glad that it’s picking up the pace and putting everyone on the same-ish level field now.
Besides the fantastic uptick in quality of writing and pace, I want to talk more about GilDo. Frankly, I felt pity for him when he had everything he had robbed away from him. Yes, that was what it felt like – a robbery. When GilDo said that he slaved away to get to where he is today, I believed him, and with the exception of MiJa, I don’t see how any of the shareholders have the right to judge whether he should be allowed to continue as Noodle Master or not. Yes, he may be greedy, yes, he may be ruthless and lacking humanity but it is undeniable that he made Goongrakwon what it is today and the way KangSuk keeps whining about keeping Goongrakwon in the family actually really rubs me the wrong way. That does not mean to say that GilDo didn’t deserve what was coming to him because he did do too many nefarious acts. I’m just saying that I feel for him. It is also interesting to note that in the two scenes that we’re shown of him sleeping, he never sleeps relaxed and straight like a normal person. He always curls into a fetal position, tighter than would a normal person would, and he always frowns while he sleeps. It’s like I can see the tenseness of every muscle and the way he startled awake actually broke my heart. It’s clear that he’s an insecure person suffering from a distinct lack of affection. His inability to trust in anyone is, I believe, learned, and in his own way, he is naïve. He’s a real study in whether monsters are made or born and I think I’ll be pondering about that for a while.
YeoKyung’s step into the dark side upset me, not because I didn’t expect her to but because I didn’t think that what she was offered was worth doing that. I’ll concede that she’s acting rash and a little crazy because she’s being pushed away from all sides and crumbling with the new information that her parents’ murder is a larger scandal than she can handle. Also, she’s racing against time, because with what she knows, she wants to get her beloved friends out as soon as possible. Her crushing guilt and need to make amends is blinding her somewhat and I really hope that her investigator is able to pull her back when needed so that she doesn’t just freefall into crazy, inescapable trouble.
Myeong losing his sense of taste is a weird turn in the story for me but I’ll keep watching to see where that takes me. (Yes, I get that it was trauma induced and brought about by GilDo describing the way his house and his parents burned in disgustingly rich detail, but it’s just a very odd development in the story for me. We’re only 4 episodes away from the end, just to remind you.)