Liar Game: Resurrection Round
This might be the last comparison I can make depending on how the Korean drama version continues. It’s been awhile, but they did not play a President game in the 3rd round of the competition in the Japanese drama and I’m not certain they ever played such a game in the course of the series and movies.
One thing to note. I said in my last post that it seemed like Akiyama was much nicer to Nao than Woo Jin is to Da Jung. Oh, Woo Jin isn’t horrible to Da Jung, but he’s definitely a lot rougher in his treatments in trying to shove her out of the game. This round actually has him being better than Akiyama believe it or not! While a good portion of the drama does focus on the game, the Korean drama shows a lot happening outside of it and that brings a richer meaning and more depth at times.
Restructuring Round Rules – Japanese Drama
In this version of the game, the game is altered a bit, so I’ll explain both versions. In this version, anyone who lost in the second round was eligible to participate. You could bring whatever personal items you wanted in hopes of trading and bargaining. Everyone was given a checkbook full of coupons they could use to make trades. Once the trade had been approved, you get penalized if you break the contract in any way. You get a voting slip with 5 blanks. You are not allowed to write down your own name and you are not allowed to leave any spot blank. If you do you are disqualified from the game. At the end of the game, whoever has the lowest amount of votes will be kicked out and saddled with even more debt.
Restructuring Round Rules – Korean Drama
Like the Japanese drama, yes you can bring whatever personal items you want. Yes, you can make trades with game money in a special app on the smartphone they provide you and you are penalized if you break the rules of that contract. That’s all the same. The difference just comes in how they are allowed to vote. In this game each player is given three stars in each round and again cannot vote for themselves. The person with the least amount of starts is restructured, aka laid off. And we all know due to the contract they signed when entering the show that means more and more debt.
At the end of the previous game when Nao was freed from her obligation to play, Cop came and revealed Akiyama’s tragic past. He’s a young man studying psychology whose mother became seriously ill. A friend of hers came to her with a job opportunity that would allow her to work only when she was well enough to do so. Mrs. Akiyama later tried to leave the organization, but that involved paying a huge penalty and her debts spiraled out of control until she kills herself to end the debts and secure her son is able to financially finish school. After that, Akiyama set out to avenge his mother and that landed him in jail. Because Nao is like his mother, that is why he could not refuse her request. Thus Nao is guilted into continuing to the revival game as her goal has now become to save Akiyama.
She arrives at what looks to be an old arcade and meets several other players from the previous round including Mushroom icon of betrayal Fukunaga. Since the remaining 8 players cannot afford to pay back their debt, they are there to stay in the game in hopes of finally earning enough money to break free. Everyone is given a chance to leave without incurring more debt…of course the LGT offices will immediately send someone to collect the rest of the money they still owe and that’s what keeps anybody from leaving. Only after they are locked in is it revealed the winner gets a special bonus while the loser’s game money is split between the remaining safe players and the debt increases even more.
Compared to round two, everyone is calm and relaxed from the start as they all know he is about to be restructured and sent home—Fukunaga. This is their payback for his betrayal in round two. Fukunaga comes over and asks about a game of ice breaker. He gets everyone to talk about their debts and how much money they owe. Nao is slated to go last and Fukunaga points out when it’s her turn that she presently has no debt because she won money in the last round, right? True. Then why is she there when she doesn’t need to be? Knowing Nao is debt-free has everyone else turn their backs on the young woman. They won’t talk to her or look at her. I guess they don’t care that if she is restructured, what money she has left is NOT enough to save her from taking on a huge debt she cannot afford to pay.
There is exactly one hour between each round of voting. Fukunaga does approach Nao at this time before the first vote session to tell her that what he did was an attempt to save both himself and her. Given what he pulled, no one would vote for him, so he had to shine the light on Nao being in the black and not the red. Fukunaga then genuinely (by this I mean his acting is really so good that he does appear very genuine and earnest) offers a plan to save them both. All they need to do is vote solely for each other in every round and they will come out on top. Fukunaga also tells her that whoever falls behind in the first round will be the ultimate loser. Nao doesn’t like thinking of anyone as losing the game, but is happy to have a way to stay in it to save Akiyama.
The game begins and after the first round Nao is startled to see she has gotten no votes. Fukunaga gloats over his betrayal. I know Nao is a trusting person and she really is made out to be rather stupid, more so than Da Jung, but how on earth can she trust that man after everything he has already pulled. He really is the original icon of betrayal in a game. The rounds speed by and Nao continues to not receive a single vote and people continue to avoid and ignore her. Eto, whom she protected from Fukunaga’s violence in the second round hands over a drink free of charge and then explains that Fukunaga came to them after making a deal with her. He then offers to sell them his betrayal to ensure that Nao is the one who leaves, sparing the others from incurring more debt. Of course they take this chance to save themselves. Eto really regrets that he cannot help her at all, because Fukunaga had them all right out M Tickets stating who they were voting for in each round. This means they have contracts and will forfeit everything if they break them.
Fukunaga scolds Eto for talking to now and shoves him into lockers. Eto picks himself up and runs out as Nao tries to keep Fukunaga from hurting him again. Fukunaga does offer a deal. He shows her a deck of cards, one has two backs—a misprint. He then asks if she likes light or darkness. Nao says light and Fukunaga tells her the joker card is hers while the double back card is his. If Nao draw the Joker card face down, she wins. If she draws the double back card, Fukunaga wins. Whoever has the most wins at the end of round 10 is the winner overall. Fukunaga will hand over several votes if loses and Nao will hand over half of her game money if she loses. The game commences and she does lose. Fukunaga congratulates her on being both stupid and horribly unlucky. Nao is at a loss and Eri wonders what she will do as she will lose at this rate. Nao knows this, but what can she do?
Meanwhile outside of the game, Cop finds Akiyama and reveals something shocking—the CEO that died after Akiyama destroyed MLM is NOT the ultimate person behind that organization. This means Akiyama’s revenge is not complete yet. Of course Cop doesn’t go into details and disappears. Akiyama then gets a call that has him running like madman. Who called? We can all assume it was probably Eri telling him about Nao’s grand losing streak.
Nao is all depressed in the darkened locker room when Akiyama comes in. He isn’t horribly gentle, but he’s not horribly rude either. He’s just stating the facts and has Nao tell him everything. After hearing about Fukunaga’s game, Akiyama tells her it wasn’t bad luck, but a trick. It may seem like a 50/50 chance, but the odds were more in Fukunaga’s favor since his card always counted while Nao’s wouldn’t if it was pulled face up. Akiyama then tells Nao how to proceed to get back at Fukunaga.
Nao approaches Fukunaga and he’s sweating bullets that she has discovered the truth behind his trick. He is immensely relieved that she wants to play again and not accuse him of cheating. The rules are essentially the same. Fukunaga will give up a smaller portion of his stars and Nao will have to give up all of her remaining money. Fukunaga keeps the double-sided card while Nao keeps the Joker. Nao surreptitiously makes a thumbnail mark on Fukunaga’s card before the game begins. Nao plays the game normally until the score is 5 to 9. She does make comments about it being strange that with a 50/50 chance her card does not come out more. This makes Fukunaga hurry through the rounds. Nao then uses this time to change her luck. She feels for the double-sided card and pulls out the opposite one consecutively. Fukunaga accuses her of cheating, but Nao reiterates its 50/50, so how is that so? Fukunaga clams up and in the final round, Nao wins! Fukunaga explodes and accuses her of cheating, but finds no mark on the Joker and Nao wonders why his winning is fair, but hers is cheating. Fukunaga runs away angry.
During the next voting round, everyone is shocked to see several of Fukunaga’s stars transfer to Nao. They didn’t even know that was possible. Afterward, Fukunaga tells Nao it doesn’t matter as she still can’t win. He walks away and Nao says she is only pretending to be weak in front of Fukunaga. During the next break, she slowly begins to make her moves. Akiyama has instructed her to lie and she goes around from player to player telling them all the same story. She has just learned that a player in another game has dropped out so that means that one loser will be allowed to re-enter the game. Currently the lowest scoring loser has 19 votes. Nao needs 20 to pass. In exchange for the votes needed, Nao will give up all of her remaining money.
When the 9th round commences, everyone is startled to see Nao’s starts jump to over 70! What just happened. Nao apologizes for conning them and Akiyama makes his grand entrance. What’s he doing there? Eri confirms that Akiyama is simply Nao’s personal belonging that she can utilize however she wants. Akiyama is arrogant and ruthless and says that Nao controls the game and everyone’s life and death. If they don’t want to lose, buy her stars to stay in the game!
Nao is really displeased with Akiyama’s plan, but he does not care. His goal is to make Nao the supreme winner with ALL the game money. You reward loyalty, punish betrayal. Those 8 need to be punished and Akiyama will see to it that they are. Nao’s only job is to choose the loser in the end—the person she hates most. Once she’s done that, she must retire from the game completely with her astronomical winnings.
We see everyone come to Nao for stars as well as Fukunaga. Since she has until the beginning of the 10th round to pay everyone the money she promised, her contracts aren’t invalid yet. Akiyama brokers deals to ensure that each player breaks even with Nao’s debt. This means that she is not in breach of any earlier contract. Towards the end, Nao is really getting frustrated with Akiyama’s coldness and demands he let her do things her way. Akiyama does eventually agree to this, but I don’t think he realizes just what Nao’s grand scheme really is. She complained that in the second game there was a way to save people and she sees one, too, in this game. She will put her happy ending in place.
During the final round, everyone is on tenterhooks and pleading with Nao who calmly and coldly says she has made her choice and won’t change her mind. Fukunaga takes this to mean he’s getting restructured. The votes are shown. Nao is the winner! Not shocking. What is shocking is that she chose ETO to be in last place! This astounds the others. Wasn’t Eto the one who was nice to her from the beginning? Nao agrees to this and says that his kindness really made her happy. Then why? Now comes a grand speech from Nao. She saw this as an opportunity not to hurt one person, but to save them. Since Eto was good to her, she is saving him by making him lose. She has all the money in her hands now, plus she gets a bonus and part of Eto’s game money. She hands over the money to clear his debts and get himself out of the game. Eto is very touched by this.
Nao then explains that if they just work together instead of fighting each other, then they can all win with no debt. From the start of round 1, LGT incurs a huge debt for each pair of players. The winner returns half the money, but LGT is still in debt. By collecting the amount from the loser, they break even. When the winner withdraws, they are now in the good with extra money. And it works that way for each round. The others are amazed and think back…that’s right! Turns out Nao isn’t as stupid as we necessarily think. She explains it is the same for the second game. All they had to do was agree to split everything evenly among themselves, back out of the game and then LGT will not get any profit and no one will incur debt.
After giving Eto the money to clear his debts and save himself, Nao divides the winnings between the members so she does not have enough to withdraw. Akiyama is not happy with this…but he isn’t yelling at her or washing his hands of her. He simply tells her it’s time to go home. Just as he will not be withdrawing from the next round, he knows Nao will stubbornly insist on staying in to not only help save him, but all the other players. Just at they are about to leave, men come in and drag the winning players out and Eto is forced to the ground to keep him from following. He does yell out Nao’s name. Straight from this round, the Contraband Game will start and a new and formidable opponent connected to Akiyama will surface.
Before we even enter into the resurrection round, we get lots of scenes revolving around Dal Goo, Woo Jin, Da Jung, and Do Young. I already said in my last post that Woo Jin catches Dal Goo in the act of stealing Da Jung’s winnings from round 2. Woo Jin is so blasé about Da Jung remaining in the game and this incites our loan shark who is essentially Da Jung’s stand-in father/uncle in a way. He tries to fight Woo Jin after yelling at him for not paying Da Jung’s debt as promised. After he fails he yells about L Company being the downfall of Da Jung’s father. Woo Jin then learns that when he manipulated the stocks of L Company, he essentially destroyed Da Jung’s life. Sure, her dad was at fault, too. But still. I think between revenge and guilt, he’ll help Da Jung even though he says they are now enemies.
So what about Da Jung? She’s supposed to go to work when she gets a call from Do Young. She refuses to meet him outside of the game and he cancels her work schedule and asks how much time she needs. Da Jung is going to a photo shoot! An actress dropped out and they called up Do Young. There apparently is a clause in the Liar Game contract that members are expected to do such things now. Da Jung is dressed up prettily and does a semi-awkward photo shoot before being taken to a hotel for dinner. She balks at this and Do Young gets her to come up to his room with him by stating Woo Jin is also invited. Riiiight. But the girl is gullible, so she believes him.
No, Woo Jin is investigating things with his female reporter buddy. Ja Young or something like that. He’s floored when he gets Da Jung’s call and hurries to the hotel. Before he gets there, Do Young lays out his whole sordid past and explains that Da Jung is just like his deceased mother. Enter Woo Jin. Are they talking badly about him? Woo Jin also does not like the idea of this dinner. Do Young replies he will take all participants out to dinner and started with their ratings champs first.
The next day Woo Jin continues his investigations into the losing players, L Company, and Do Young while Da Jung goes to participate. Unlike in the Japanese drama, Da Jung, from the get go, asks to work together with everyone just like before. The others agree, but not in the revival round. When they make it to round three, then they will consider it. Like in the original series, our players start out relaxed because they all believe Betrayer X Jamie will be getting laid off. Even though Bulldog was saved by her, he still wants her out for her bigger betrayal. Jamie approaches and asks for them to hear her story as well as tell their own. Jamie talks about how she’s not the perfect daughter, but she’d like to do her family somewhat proud. The other members talk about their own lives and what drove them to debt and thus why they need to stay in the game. When it’s Da Jung’s turn, Jamie cuts her off since they already know her story, right? Jamie then throws pictures on the floor of a dressed up Da Jung with Do Young. Immediately the others turn on Da Jung. I don’t understand how they think that naïve girl could be as manipulative as Jamie says, but they quickly freeze Da Jung out.
After this Jamie proposes her deal to Da Jung. They will give each other their full stars in every round thus to ensure they don’t get restructured. I feel here that Fukunaga’s offer was more natural and believable as he did express what looked like genuine concern whereas Jamie expressed it coldly as the only way they can possibly survive. I would actually have been more willing to trust Fukunaga than Jamie for some reason. Anywho, Da Jung, who stupidly trusts before being suspicious of motives (remember Woo Jin constantly tells her to doubt in order to trust).
The first round voting takes place and Da Jung is shocked when Jamie does not keep her end of the deal. Dal Goo has watched everything from the audience and even goes to the mall where the players were transported. He reports everything to Woo Jin who is in the middle of his investigation. When he sees Da Jung getting trapped, he urges Woo Jin to hurry. Woo Jin promises to go to the mall as soon as he possibly can. He and the reporter are trying to locate the female player from the final four of round two, but she’s gone. It looks to be a run away job, but why would she leave her precious dog. No, she was abducted. Why? Woo Jin then manages to track her possible abductors back to an office in which he finds papers emblazoned with L Company in a shredder. He’s then hit from behind. He wakes up tied to a chair hanging off the edge of a building. Looks like this was the same thing he did to the CEO of L Company. Needless to say he’s struggling to get free while Da Jung is still being ostracized and keeps getting closer and closer to losing.
He breaks free and heads to the mall to meet with Dal Goo. Meanwhile, Da Jung is panicking, she tries to plead with people, but they ignore her. Finally Director Jang pities her and tells her what Jamie did. She sold her betrayal and then made everyone right contracts on their phones about who they will give their stars to. Since they all did that, they can’t renege or they will be in deep doo doo. Jamie scolds him for spilling the beans. He skedaddles and Jamie then offers her card game to Da Jung who takes up this last shot at possible survival. She chooses light and thus she gets the face card while Jamie gets the double-sided card. Da Jung’s first draw is her card so she is happy, but as the game commences, she becomes depressed and anxious. Needless to say Jamie wins and she dubs Da Jung both stupid and unlucky.
There are linebackers in suits guarding the mall. What to do? Dal Goo gets in a car and speeds around the place allowing Woo Jin to sneak in. He breaks into the employee section and cuts the power. He quickly dresses like a Liar Game staff member VJ and goes to find Da Jung. The two go to a place where there are no show cameras right after the lights come back on. Woo Jin explains he knows she’s losing astronomically and has her explain things. Da Jung does and Woo Jin explains that Jamie had a 50% chance while Da Jung in reality only had 25%. He then tells her what to do to keep her foot in the door and Da Jung listens closely.
PD-nim is watching the cameras with Do Young and is astounded to see Da Jung stupidly asking Jamie for another round. She didn’t learn her lesson did she? Do Young, meanwhile, is eagerly awaiting what comes next. Da Jung doesn’t disappoint. She turns the game around when Jamie is one hand away from winning and takes the win. Jamie is livid, but what can she do? She does assert to Da Jung that the stars she exchanged still won’t be enough to save her and stalks off.
After the voting reveal and the transfer of stars, Da Jung goes back downstairs where Woo Jin tells her what to do. Da Jung isn’t 100% sold on the plan, but she will listen as long as she gets what she wants—her game, not the Liar Game. Woo Jin actually readily agrees to this unlike Akiyama who was adamantly against Nao doing her own thing. Of course, Woo Jin does echo that people should be rewarded for loyalty and punished for betrayal. Anywho, Da Jung starts her plot by starting with our Congressional Assistant. She explains Jamie’s second duplicity and money and this gets the assistant on her side. He agrees to trade X amount of stars for the rest of Da Jung’s money. This shocks PD-nim who wonders how Da Jung could have come up with such a plan. Do Young is rather happy. Things are getting interesting.
The next vote happens and Do Young is there announcing that there was so many transfers that they are just going to show the final results. Da Jung shocking has a far lead over everyone. The other players are unhappy about her betrayal. Why would she do such a thing. Da Jung also tells Jamie that she’s the only reason that Jamie is not dead last, but tied for last with everyone else. Enter Woo Jin. He tells them all that Da Jung is now in control of the game. Of course Jamie is making a fuss over the identical contracts and Woo Jin assures everyone that Da Jung will have the money to pay everyone as promised. When they then complain about Woo Jin even being there, he himself claims to be Da Jung’s personal property. Absurd! He points to Pippi’s bird and says she has that while he is Da Jung’s angry and vicious guard dog who will stay by mistress’s side. Do Young is all for allowing this since the rules could be interpreted that way. Director doesn’t like it, but PD-nim takes the battery out of her phone and goes along with Do Young.
Ah, I forgot to mention this earlier, but when Jamie reveals the pictures before the first round to destroy Da Jung’s credibility, PD-nim questions Do Young who says that he did ultimately leak the pictures to make the game more fun. Sure, they will get the ratings, but at what cost are we getting them? This being a televised game show and this having hugely successful ratings tells you something about the kind of world we live in today, doesn’t it? It’s not good commentary at all.
Woo Jin announces an auction. Eventually all players start buying Da Jung’s stars. Like in the Japanese drama, Woo Jin makes it so the two contracts cancel each other out and any additional stars take all the players’ remaining earnings. When the hour is up, the players are transported back to the studio for the final reveal. They plead with Da Jung who says her mind is made up and the final voting is done and results revealed. One by one, our players are relieved to hear they are safe. Finally it’s down to Jamie and the fired company director who talked to Da Jung and revealed Jamie’s huge betrayal. Who do you think loses? The director. He breaks down and cries and yells about how he gave his life for his company, but he got fired when he had to care for his sick mother which sunk him deeply into debt.
Da Jung responds by saying she was really happy when he talked to her when no one else did. So then why? She then expresses how she saw a way to save him. With her bonus prize and other money, she will give it to him to repay his debt and rejoin his family. This makes everyone tear up. Da Jung also says she will share all of her winnings equally with the remaining members. She then expresses that this is what should be done, etc. Do Young even tears up. He struggles to hold back his emotions (I’m kind of being sarcastic hear as with him it’s hard to believe it’s not just plain acting) and then asks Da Jung what her future holds. She doesn’t know as she hasn’t thought about it. Do Young then says he could see her running a charity foundation…Woo Jin storms off the set.
They do NOT immediately go into round three. Da Jung goes home with Woo Jin where she reveals she’s hate the person who ruined her father. Then there are the after-game interviews. Do Young tries to get Woo Jin to announces his official relationship with Dad Jung. Woo Jin fakes being nervous and calls for a break. He’s given five minutes and both he and Do Young turn off their mikes. Woo Jin grills Do Young about L Company, but the man never gives up any information, although Woo Jin has a pretty good guess going on, but still doesn’t know everything.
Ah…and we get to see Da Jung be with Woo Jin during his mother’s death anniversary and we get to learn about Woo Jin’s past. It’s kind of funny and I never thought about this before, but here we have a girl who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a mother and only a father and here we have a man who only knows what it’s like to have a mother and not a father. Go figure.
Scenes for the next game show things going in a different direction than the contraband game, so I don’t know if I will do a Round Three comparison or not since it’s hard to compare rounds when they are completely different games, isn’t it?