Liar Game: Round 4

So, again, the rounds have become disjointed since the Korean drama threw in an extra round to bring evil mastermind Do Young into the game instead of hosting it. Thus, the Contraband Game which was in Round 3 of the Japanese drama has become Round 4 of the Korean drama. Thus, it is entirely possible that Round 4 in the Japanese drama might become Round 5 in the Korean drama. Hard to say since the Korean drama is running out of episodes quickly. There’s only 2 left. With the Japanese drama, Round 4 happened, then round 5 was the semi-finals and round 6 was the finals of which we had a movie to play out the the “end” of the game. With the Korean drama we have yet another resurrection round before going into the final battle. No previews, so I don’t know how much these dramas will continue to diverge.

With the Japanese drama, we always had Akiyama searching for the truth behind the game. Whether that was all to get behind the true evil that killed his innocent mother or not. But…we didn’t get any outside game interactions (beyond Nao’s birthday party at the beginning of season 2). If we did, it was really very brief moments mostly between Nao and Akiyama alone. The central focus of the series was always playing the games. The Korean drama takes everything a step further getting more personal and creating and even more grandiose and crazy mystery of very twisted revenge. Sure, the games take up a large chunk, but so much more time is devoted to character development and this very intricate plot…which, mind you…is nothing like the Japanese drama when we get down to the nitty gritty.

Round 4 Japanese Drama: 3 on 3 Battle

The game is comprised of three rounds. I can’t remember what each round was. The final round was sending the general into battle. The first round was like the advance troop…and I can’t remember what the second round of the game was considered. Each round was a different game. The first game was 24 Russian Roulette. The second game was Poker played only with the face cards and jokers. The final game was non-revolving roulette. Since each round of the game is different, I’ll explain the rules of each below. Needless to say, the winning team advances to Round 5 while the losers are saddled with an astronomical amount of debt.

One pet peeve I have that changed from season one is that each episode ending makes it sound like our team is definitely going to lose and then when the big reveal happens…it’s not all that big and amazing at times, and we all know our team really won’t lose since that would end the show much too early, lol.

Two years have passed since the end of Round 3 and our players are beginning to feel relieved that the evil game is over. Not so. Soon another box with 150 million yen arrives and the decision needs to be made to keep playing or stop at long last. Nao, being Nao, lets our policeman persuade her to stay in the game to save all the other players who would become ruined because of the ruthlessness of the show. Thus Nao enters Round 4. Akiyama has been traveling abroad for two years and finally comes back to Japan on his mother’s death anniversary. He doesn’t wish to continue since he found his answers…or so he thought. Eri comes with the invitation and tells him the man from the end of Round 3 was merely an investor, not the brains behind the Game. She also tells him Nao will be playing and he acts all nonchalant saying it has nothing to do with him. Riiiight.

Nao is picked up in a van with a woman who reads quietly. She’s the youngest psychology professor ever at the prestigious Todai or something like that. Just wait. She’ll prove to be a very formidable opponent and thanks to a picture on her desk, we all know that she knows Akiyama! Like the first games, there are multiple versions of Round 4 being played all over Japan. Nao is dropped off at her location and the other woman smiles and says she hopes they meet again. Nao walks into the building and promptly falls flat on her face. When she looks up she’s surrounded by three strangers. Enter Fukunaga. Of course our greedy mushroom won’t give up an will keep playing! Fukunaga then reveals that he and Nao are on the same team for the three on three battle. Then who is their next member? Akiyama of course! The duo are happy to see our mastermind.

It is decided Fukunaga will be the first player, followed by Akiyama, and then Nao will be the General and thus the final player. With the introduction of each game, a practice round is done by any two players from each team. Nao, until the final round, is always the guinea pig. Anywho, She and the round one player from the opposing team sit down and our rules are explained. There are 24 chambers in the gun. Each team chooses the location of three bullets, so that means there is a total of six bullets (these are blanks and not real bullets). Akiyama tells Nao where to put hers to test a theory of his. Once the gun is loaded and shuffled (if there are overlapping bullet choices, then they have to rechoose the bullet locations), the game begins. You can choose to pass or pull the trigger. The first pass is one chip. It then doubles each round. If there are five passes in a row, the game ends in a draw an the money goes to the house.

Nao didn’t do so hot in the practice round. Not at all. She feels badly because she couldn’t find the trick to win the game. Akiyama tells her its okay as he has already discovered the trick. What is it? Load the bullets consecutively and when you come to a shot, you know to avoid the next three rounds. He knows the other team will also use this method since he said it within their hearing to tip the balance in their favor. You can safely assume that for at least the first six rounds, there won’t be a bullet since the gun’s gravity shifts when bullets are loaded consecutively so all the bullets end up at the bottom of the gun.

For the first 8 rounds, Fukunaga dominates over the dumb player from Kingdom of Moon (their team is the Kingdom of Sun). He knew the center of the gun was off by listening carefully as it was being shuffled and knew he’d be safe. He faked passing until the final pass and then pulled the trigger, thus taking all the pass chips. He took a chance with bullets 7 and 8, but that paid off. Now, though, it’s getting harder and both teams are passing like crazy. Nao sees this and realizes that all the money from passing is going straight to the dealer which is not good for either team. They should not be fighting each other, but the House.

Fukunaga easily tricks the Moon guard into shooting when he knew there would be a bullet and Nao calls a time out. She and Akiyama get Fukunaga to agree to make the game a draw for a much bigger jackpot. Fukunaga goes downstairs and is very conflicted. He does pull the trigger in the final two rounds thus the game draws with Moon having two hits and Sun having two hits (the dealer took the other four as when everyone passes 5 times, the dealer pulls the trigger and collects the money). Oh, yeah! And if you pull the trigger and get shot, your opponent gets 50 million. So Sun takes a small lead even with the draw (money wise).

I could talk more about Fukunaga’s round, but that round wasn’t all that meaningful, except to show Fukunaga’s change in character…although it’s not much a change, and he is still tempted by monetary rewards, but he did, in the end, create the draw. After this initial round, Nao poses her work together method, but no one from Moon is willing to bet that Sun will actually save them. Although Boxer does, like Moon General, ask about being saved, which does make Akiyama hesitate a bit in his game play.

The second game is Aikyama facing off with a former pro boxer. The game is 17 Card Poker which is played with the face cards of each suit and the Joker which is the wild card. Nao plays the practice game and bets and acts like regular poker. Fukunaga pulls her aside before the practice round is over and asks if she’s playing like regular poker. Of course. Fukunaga then explains that it is NOT like regular poker at all since it’s the presence of the joker which decides the winner. Since there are only 17 cards, it’s a given that in each hand a person will have at least one pair. With the joker in your hand, you’re guaranteed three of a kind, thus whoever has the joker, wins.

I won’t explain the logistics of poker…because I can’t. I don’t really understand how one hand trumps the other, etc. I can tell you that there are two betting times. The first time you bet on the original hand and you have to put a minimum bet down and your opponent can call (meets the bet), raise (increases the bet), or fold (abstains from playing a hand they believe will lose). Again, the house makes a killing if players fold. The second betting comes after an exchange of cards and again you can call, fold, and raise.

Anywho, at the start, Akiyama wins the first two hands I believe and there is like a total of seven rounds or something like that. He is a bit concerned about his opponent’s actions. In the practice round, the boxer traded FOUR cards which makes no sense since you would have at least ONE PAIR. Akiyama is suspicious, but isn’t quite sure what’s going on. Our Boxer does crow to his team that he has a sure method of winning even after losing the initial hands as it took him the practice round and first two hands to get his methodology done right. He’s also discovered that the Joker is king and he is able to track its movements thanks to highly trained eye muscles. He has memorized the starting position of the joker (since a fresh deck is used each hand) and keeps a trained eye on that card. Two different shuffling methods are being employed and then each player can choose the amount of cards to cut the deck.

The tables turn and Akiyama starts losing! Fukunaga blames Nao for putting them in the precarious position they are in. But we should all know not to count Akiyama out. He tells the dealer that he believes Boxer is cheating and peeking at the cards and they switch to riffle shuffle alone. The Boxer and his team think Akiyama is a big idiot as that only makes spotting the joker easier. But then comes our final two hands and Akiyama makes some pretty serious wagers. He also shocks Moon and Sun teams by trading nearly his entire hand. Boxer doesn’t get this as the joker is always in his possession, but he surmises  that Akiyama must be chasing the joker by doing that. Akiyama wins the penultimate hand which is attributed to dumb luck. But then the final hand comes and again Akiyama says boxer is cheating and has the dealer shuffle three times instead of once. After the enormous bet (Akiyama goes all in I believe) and the trading of cards, the Boxer reveals his superior eye sight and how the joker is in his hands and thus Akiyama loses! Only…Akiyama’s hand, sans joker, trumps Boxer’s! Akiyama reveals his own scheme of switching to the riffle shuffle as it makes it easier for him to locate every card and not just the joker. Thus, he wins by using brains, and not just his “body”!

Moon is now in a precarious position when our third round is introduced. The generals will be playing Non-revolving Roulette or something to that effect. In this game there is a roulette  table with the numbers 1-4. The dealer is not involved in this hand. Instead each player takes a turn being a child and parent. The parent chooses a number 1-4 and drops the roulette ball in it. Bets are then made. The parent bets first and can place bets on each of the four numbers. The child bets second and can only bet on two numbers. The goal is to bet on a different number to throw the child into making a bad bet so you win all the money.

The practice round is between Akiyama and Dummy from round one. Dummy chooses the number and spreads his bets evenly across 1-4. Akiyama quickly bets large sums on 2 and 3 and wouldn’t you know, he gets the number right. He then explains about a psychological study that talks about giving a false answer to protect the later true answer. Dummy said placing a bet on 4 first then followed it up with 2 and 3, so Akiyama correctly deduced which numbers were more likely to be correct. When it’s his turn to be the parent, he drops the number in and places some astronomical bets. Dummy is forced to go all in since he doesn’t have the money to cover Akiyama’s bet (ah, I forgot to mention the child must meet and/or raise the parent’s bet) and Akiyama played a major bluff which lost the game for Dummy and his team. You play 8 rounds or until the other team is out of money.

Nao seeks council from Akiyama who tells her to wager big right away to put an end to the game. Nao ends down and Fukunaga wishes her luck before rushing off. We get to see him go to General Moon and offer up a deal to split the winnings in his favor if he helps Moon win. The General isn’t quite certain whether or not to trust Fukunaga, but makes the deal and then Fukunaga tells her that Nao flinches when she lies. Or… rather her eyes widen and she blinks rapidly. Using that information, it’s up to the General to win.

When Nao is the parent, General asks her every time which number she selected, and every time Nao says no to every number, but every time she lies she gives away which number it is and the General bets all on that one number. Fukunaga calls a time out early to keep Nao and Akiyama from discovering the truth. Akiyama, towards the end, realizes Fukunaga’s betrayal, but it’s too late! Or is it? The penultimate round happens and Nao is losing horribly. The next thing that happens is General bets big on one number and when it’s not 4, but 3, she’s in shock! It turns out that Fukunaga’s betrayal was a major setup engineered by…Nao! General cannot believe that she’s been had by Nao. The younger woman smiles and says that she will save their team as promised.

The final round ends and Moon comes rushing to Sun. Nao tells them not to worry. Akiyama agrees to give up any winnings and take on the promise of more debt willingly since his goal is destroying the game and its creators. Fukunaga only agrees if he takes all the rest of the winnings for himself alone. Nao quickly agrees to this. The money is divvied up and Fukunaga goes his separate way while Nao and Akiyama are back together again. He’s…impressed…proud…I don’t know, with the fact that Nao has made a move on her own to win. He knows that there will probably come a time when he can’t be by her side to save her and so its good for her to begin maturing and making her own moves. But…I think he may be just a bit disappointed or rather sad, too, that Nao is okay to be on her own.

Round 5 is officially announced as the semi finals and crazy psychology professor with a pleasant face is all happy to be meeting Akiyama again in that round.

Round 4 Korean Drama: Contraband Game

Yes, this was Round 3 in the Japanese drama. So…if you want to read about the jdrama version, click here: Round 3. The Korean version’s rules are pretty much the same…although I don’t think there was actually an individual ATM for each team that they had to use.Shin Sung Rok

Two teams of four are split into West Country and East Country. War is about to break out within 24 hours so both teams must smuggle their money out of the opposing country’s bank. Each team takes turns being smugglers and inspectors. You either have to convince the inspector you’re smuggling nothing and get him to pass you, or make the inspector think you’re really smuggling when your not and calling stop. If the inspector calls stop, they must then estimate what amount you are carrying. If they call less than you are carrying, you keep your money. If they call more than you are carrying, then they stop you. If you tricked them into call stop, then they must pay out half of what they thought you were carrying as a penalty. Da Jung and Woo Jin do the practice round like in the Japanese drama, only Woo Jin doesn’t go into a lengthy explanation of how he could get Da Jung’s exact amount she tried to smuggle like Akiyama did.

So, since Do Young was the president at the end of the final voting in Round 3, he’s in control. He says he considers bringing Da Jung over to his team, but in the end he sends Jamie over to be with Dal Goo, Woo Jin, and Da Jung while he has In Gi, Bulldog, and Sung Joon (who is a hacker who has been tasked by Woo Jin to dig up the real truth behind Do Young’s past which so far no connections could unearth). Before the team selection Jang warned Jamie to do whatever it takes to destroy Woo Jin and Do Young and come out on top or else. Jamie tells him not to worry as she will win even if she has to be tray Jang.

**A fair warning…I might have the country names mixed up. My apologies.**

Anywho, right from the get go West Country is in disarray thanks to the addition of Jamie. Da Jung wishes to trust the girl who was thrown away by Do Young, but Dal Goo is insistent they not trust her while Woo Jin does what he usually does…be silent and just observe everything. Of course East Country is at ease seeing the discourse…although Sung Joon looks very unhappy since he was with Da Jung and Woo Jin essentially all the way. Creepy crazy Do Young is in command over his team, ruling the country like a dictator. Da Jung decides the only way to win is to not smuggle and get the inspectors to call stop. She goes with that plan and does some really bad acting in front of In Gi who gives her some advice—don’t put up a pretense. He then passes her.

Jamie berates her saying that even if they did this from the get go successfully, there would be no way the strategy would let them win in the end. She goes next and tries to seduce Bulldog into…thinking she was carrying money? He calls pass which ticks her off. Dal Goo also fails to smuggle. They need to turn things around, but Woo Jin isn’t confident to go against Do Young face-to-face just yet (ah…Sung Joon managed to slip him a USB stick before their arrival at Round 4’s game site). Dal Goo acts as the first inspector and tries to fee Sung Joon out, but calls pass allowing Sung Joon to successfully smuggle a briefcase full of money. The angry Jamie goes in next and meets Do Young who uses the max time allotted to throw suspicion on Jamie to keep the team in disarray, which works. Jamie…I don’t really know why, calls pass like an idiot and Do Young walks away with another briefcase full of money,

Our team is completely behind now, so what to do? When it’s the final turn for East to be inspectors, Woo Jin goes. Do Young has stepped away to use the restroom (where we see his mask cracking considerably). In Gi decides by himself to go and show up Woo Jin. Only Woo Jin has a ploy, you see, and gets In Gi to reveal he’s carrying money by saying In Gi dropped a wad of bills on the floor (Woo Jin planted them there). In Gi freaks out and this reveals he is carrying money. Woo Jin calls him bad at ad-libbing and calls Stop for the full amount. Thus they win their first round of inspector! They have a load of catching up to do. Woo Jin admits his goal was to always call the full amount no matter what here because they had to know West Country are not cowards.

Do Young is peeved. How dare they act on their own? He demands they all hand over their bank cards as he will do everything now. While he’s taking care of business, they will have a new game to entertain themselves—catch the rat. Whoever catches a fellow West member trying to talk to the East, will get that other players bankcard and winnings (you need the bankcard to cash in at the end to get your prize). What a tyrant! Gone is the perfectly coifed MC and here we can see the devious and evil man, and let me tell you through this episode Do Young becomes more and more unhinged and more and more shows his true face behind his polite and put together mask.

Do Young confronts Dal Goo first and easily calls Stop for a full briefcase. Do Young essentially says he can read people’s faces and tell how much they are carrying. Do Young imparts this news to his team and Da Young goes carrying an odd amount that Do Young correctly guesses. Well they are getting nowhere. Not even Woo Jin can successfully stop Do Young’s attempts at smuggling while Do Young successfully stops his every time. It’s at this time, that Dal Goo tries something. He goes against Bulldog (since Do Young did so well by himself, he was nice enough to let his team members act as smugglers). The two are both loan sharks. Dal Goo then says he has a nose for money and sniffs the briefcase. He then successfully stops all smuggling attempts down to the exact dollar. This makes his team members happy.

Now, unlike in the Japanese drama, Dal Goo is getting the attempts right down to the money and he’s not forcing his members to treat him like king because of it, which is white chibi mushroom Ono did. Also…this game is only played with teams of four instead of five and we didn’t have a runaway player who returned once learning that he was getting stabbed in the back.

Okay, back to the game. With Do Young and Dal Goo, both teams stop smuggling and this hurts the West since they were behind to begin with. If this continues, their team will lose. What to do? Da Jung is then sent in against Do Young with a briefcase which contains money. Before she went in, she agreed to follow Jamie and smuggle 50,000 and Woo Jin wrote a tip for her to trick Do Young that she cannot open until she reaches the bank.

Da Jung goes into the inspector room and Do Young is cocky and arrogant. He tells her she is foolish for carrying money. He then tells her she is foolish for trusting Woo Jin implicitly. Da Jung wonders why that is a bad thing and Do Young gleefully reveals Woo Jin is the cause behind her father’s running away from huge debt. He then calls Stop for 50,000. Da Jung is angry now. She calls him a bad person and opens up the briefcase—it’s full! This means she keeps the money. She then presses the button that allows the teams to hear what is going on inside and tells them that Do Young isn’t psychic and cannot guess the right amount. She then urges them to not trust the dictator and join them to win against Do Young. She is forcibly pulled away from the intercom while Do Young sits stunned. He wasn’t expecting that. Looks like he didn’t expect Da Jung to snap at him like that and think he was just lying about Woo Jin to cause discord.

Woo Jin then turns and looks at Jamie. “Why did you do it?” The woman looks at a great loss for words. He then keeps looking at her and repeats “Why did you do it…Jo hyung.”

Yep, it wasn’t Jamie who was working with Do Young, but Dal Goo!!!!! Unexpected. Definitely unexpected. They are taking this game to a whole new level—it’s not bad and makes it even more interesting at times. Da Jung comes in and says she ignored Woo Jin’s advice to only put in an extra 5,000 and took the full amount because she was spitting mad. She then absolves Dal Goo of any wrongdoing because he was only joining forces with Do Young in hopes of saving Da Jung from the game and debt.

The West Country is now united as a whole team once more. The game is winding down and Woo Jin announces a sure fire method to win. They will send Da Jung in to talk to each of the three players of East Country and get them to agree to an elaborate scheme (this scheme is originally from the Gold Rush game in Season 2 of the Japanese drama—the final game before the grand finale). This scheme involves West taking out all of their money and hiding it. East must then take the money and deposit it in the correct bank and hide it again. Jamie doesn’t like this idea, but Woo Jin and Dal Goo are confident in Da Jung’s purity to bring the other East members over. Dal Goo, Da Jung, and Woo Jin will hand over their cards to show their sincerity.

First…they have to get Do Young out of the way. Woo Jin goes in and starts talking about Do Young’s fabricated past and his connection to a sinister psychology experiment. This rattles Do Young’s cage and the man is quick to call Stop for the full amount. Of course, Woo Jin isn’t smuggling anything. This is akin to the scene where Akiyama gained the upper hand and told Yokoya that his suitcase was empty and Yokoya confidently took that as a lie only to be betrayed. When Woo Jin jollily leaves the room, he tells Do Young that it’s the first time he’s seemed like a human. After that, Do Young ejects himself from the game for a time out. We all know that he’s noticed something suspicious going on between his team members and the West, but he just sits back to do his normal vicious scheming.

So, it’s East’s turn to smuggle. In Gi takes a small wad of cash and deposits and hides it. Sung Joon then fills up the briefcase and his jacket and carries that over the border and deposits it as well. All that is left is about half. Bulldog complains about this and Sung Joon replies that he carried way more than the freaked out In Gi. Bulldog manages to carry the rest over. Once that turn is over, he gives his card back to Do Young. Do Young pulls a Woo Jin in a way as he wonders why Bulldog handed over Dal Goo’s card. Bulldog freaks out and pulls out another card and sees that he did hand the real one over. Whoops! Now Do Young has all cards except for Jamie’s.

Time for the final round. Things definitely look amiss in the East, but the West aren’t too sure of what is going on. Do Young goes in as the inspector and Jamie goes to smuggle her money. It’s here that Do Young proposes Jamie does what Jamie does best—betrayal. Da Jung and Dal Goo appear to believe that Jamie is fully on their side, but Woo Jin knows something is afoot by his expression. Jamie goes in to finish the final two rounds. She takes out all of the money that our East members smuggled for the West. She and Do young then pose for the camera. Jamie is holding the three cards of Do Young’s team members. Of course…she doesn’t know they are fake since Do Young used a magnet to wreck the cards and then had them reissued.

Do Young cockily leaves and is greeted by a camera team. He then turns around and sees the stockpile behind the doors that he cannot get to. Enter Jamie. Do Young cannot believe she double crossed him! He rushes back to do the next inspection, but Woo Jin puts a note up in the West window telling the East to rise up and revolt. Thus Sung Joon blocks the door. Do Young almost busts in, but In Gi helps. The two of them barely hold the door and then Bulldog gets involved and Do Young is trapped. The final rounds of the game are forfeited since Do Young cannot re-enter the customs room.Lee El

We then rewind and learn the whole story. Woo Jin openly confronts Jamie who does agree she will betray them and there is nothing they can do about it. Da Jung then stops Dal Goo and Jamie and tells Jamie to get out and make the decision of just what kind of person she really wants to be. Jamie cannot believe this…and oddly enough, those words stay with her and thus she pulls her greatest betrayal yet with putting the money exactly where Do Young can see it, but can’t touch it. Assa!

In the Japanese drama, Nao was concerned with everyone ending in the green…even if they lose. Thus she pleaded with Akiyama to save Yokoya. No saving of Do Young seen here. None indeed. At the results, it’s show that West has won by a landslide! Do Young then holds up the cards saying he gets whatever money is due to the East members since he holds the real cards. He then goes the ATM and wouldn’t you know that none of the cards work? Woo Jin was completely one step ahead of Do Young just like in the horrible President’s Game, Do Young was always one step ahead of Woo Jin. Our professor had all the cards reissued long before Do Young did, but didn’t tell the other players to keep Do Young from learning the truth. I’m still figuring out how Woo Jin could even had the cards reissued when they were never in his possession. Plot hole. Another one is also the fact that Do Young HAD all of the cards at one time…so…how did that work?

After this is a resurrection round and a final game.

And I don’t talk too much about the outside plot from the games…but I’m completely devastated right now. Oh, I knew that Da Jung would discover the truth before Woo Jin could tell her, so that ain’t it. It would have been nicer…possibly…if she had learned the truth from him instead of Da Jung and watching the Liar Game episodes on TV, but yeah, totally not a shocker. No, I’m completely smarting over the exit of Sung Joon!!!!!!!!! He and In Gi and Bulldog have banded together to keep Do Young from winning the resurrection round and continuing to the final game. Then Sung Joon gets home and our mystery man who works for Do Young goes out of the elevator as he enters. He then gets a call from Do Young about opening Pandora’s Box and the elevator goes hurtling down! Sniffle. They (more than likely) killed off our baby hacker! I just can’t deal with that for some reason. This goes to show how inherently evil Do Young is. At least Yokoya had some redeeming qualities in the long run. Meh.Lee Shi Hoo

I kind of…could also do without the big reveal that Do Young was at the same orphanage that Woo Jin’s mother worked at and this whole huge mess is essentially his revenge on Woo Jin and his mother. Seriously? Definitely not what I expected and for some reason…a little too twisty and convoluted, so we’ll have to see how our final two episodes play out.

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