tvN’s Liar Game (kdrama) episode 12 – Final Episode!

Recap:

Da Jung is still feeling conflicted (not really) about the reveal behind Woo Jin and the L Company. Should she trust him now that she knows he’s the one who destroyed her father’s life, or should she betray him for what he did? Spoiler Alert, she trusts him. In fact, at no point in the show does she really blame him for anything.

Even during the game, when Woo Jin is forced to shoot her because Do Young threatened him to, she shoots him. Not because she’s angry about what he did to her family, but because he shot her first. But then she says, “He probably has a reason for shooting me,” and turns her gun on Do Young.

While the game is going on, Do Young tells everyone about his past with Woo Jin and Da Jung. Turns out all of them knew each other as kids. I hope something really horrible happened to explain why Do Young is doing all this.

Sadly, it’s kind of a lame reason.

Woo Jin’s mother needed money for the orphanage and even though the philanthropist that’s helping her seems shady, she still agrees to give him Do Young. Do Young overhears this and also hears that the orphanage will be getting a lot of money because of the adoption.  He isn’t happy. He’s pretty much being sold off in order to save Woo Jin’s mother, the same mother who all the kids call mom.

The philanthropist sells Do Young to the Walden Two group and his life as a human experiment begins. His anger towards Woo Jin’s mother is understandable. So when he comes back to Korea he seeks out the philanthropist and gets him to sweet talk Woo Jin’s mother. Long story short, Woo Jin’s mother dies because Do Young pushed the philanthropist to do his bidding.

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By this, his revenge should be over but it seems like he wants to also ruin the lives of Woo Jin and Da Jung too. Because they were there and knew what was going on? Because they were his friends?

Who knows.

Dal Goo saves Da Jung’s father, who I’ve grown to dislike quite a bit. He runs away when the debt collectors come leaving Da Jung to shoulder all of the hardships caused by him. That’s pretty bad. I can’t sympathize with a father who would let his daughter inherit his debt like that. This isn’t anything new though. When Da Jung was younger, he place her in the orphanage that Woo Jin’s mother kept. His reason for doing this was because his wife was sick and he needed to get money in order to save her. Since he couldn’t support Da Jung while doing this, he brought her to the orphanage hoping that someone would adopt her and she’d have a good life.

In the end, he comes back before anything happens but still. I didn’t like this very much.

Back the present, it’s the final shooting round. Whoever wins this wins the entire thing. Woo Jin and Da Jung both aim for Do Young and Do Young aims for Woo Jin. Do Young placed a live bullet in Da Jung’s podium, so when she shoots her last shot it isn’t a blank. It’s the real deal.

I guess Do Young wanted to die by Da Jung’s hands, kind of like how he ‘died’ by Woo Jin’s mother’s hands. As he awaits the final bullet to end his sorry existence, Woo Jin jumps in just at the nick of time to save him.

Woo Jin recovers at the hospital, from an arm wound, and sees Sung Joon who isn’t dead. Do Young is currently being held on suspicion for various crimes, but won’t talk to the police unless Woo Jin speaks to him first.

In the end, the 10million prize money didn’t happen but everyone got 500k instead. Bulldog has a boxing gym, the former actor is still acting, and Dal Goo and Jamie hooked up. Don’t know how I feel about that, because I feel like she could do so better than him. As for Da Jung, her life is back to normal. People still recognize her and her father is back and looks happy. He should be back and happy too, because there’s no more debt. He should be thanking Da Jung every single day for saving his family. He should also thank Do Young for making his daughter play the game in the first place.

Speaking of Do Young, he’s charged, but goes missing during an accident. He says that the Liar Game show is over, but the real game is beginning. I guess this would be the underground version of the Liar Game. Does this mean we’ll be getting a season two? If we do, I know one person who is ready to go.

liar game8

I have no idea what the stylist was thinking with this, but it’s funny.

Thoughts:

I’m kind of at a loss for words on how to describe this episode or this series in general. There are some good points here and I loved the addition of Do Young. He’s a pretty intriguing character that made you want to see him more, even when you knew that he was up to no good. I truly believe that Shin Sung Rok stole every scene that he was in and made me really like Do Young. At least at first, the last couple of episodes kind of left my feelings up in the air, but he was still the best thing about this show.

I also want to reiterate that I did like the reality show idea. I know there were some grumbles out there, but as someone who is a huge fan of the manga and loved the jdrama, I welcomed the change with open arms. I know this sounds weird since this deviates from the original, but as long as the kdrama had an interesting enough story then I didn’t really care. The show would have to work a bit more in order to make sense of it all, but if they did a bang up job then I would be happy.

Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.

Even though I liked the idea, I feel like the reality show concept was what stunted Liar Game from fully coming to its own and living up to its potential. There’s two reasons for this. The first is the fact that Da Jung would have to convince a group of people to work with her, so that she could win everything in the end. Alliances happen in game shows like this, so I didn’t mind it all that much. But when the players would talk about saving each other, or how they would split the money even though Da Jung would always get more than everyone else, or how people allowed themselves to lose so that she could continue on, or how Do Young is evil because he won’t share the money (even though he did before), then I got a bit annoyed.

liar game5

This still happens in game shows though. People act stupid when an Alpha appears and takes them under their reigns. The problem with this is whenever something like this occurs, it makes for boring TV. No one likes watching people work together to help someone win and everyone hates it when players allow themselves to lose so that someone else can succeed.

Even though this is annoying and frustrating to watch, I feel like there’s an even bigger issue with the show. The social media aspect of it all.

We live in a world where twitter and other social media platforms run our lives. It helps when war occurs and to gush with other fans when a famous boy band win an award. So when the show introduced this aspect to the universe, I was looking forward to it the most. Only, it was never utilized properly and felt more like an afterthought than an integral part of the show. Even if you don’t show the bad side of social media, like say a fan finds out where Da Jung lives and steals the money or worse kills her in order to get it, then that’s fine. I can safely assume that all of the contestants of the Liar Game has security at their house to make sure this never happens.

But it seemed like the Liar Game only used social media to show how popular Da Jung was. Even if she’s getting popular and people recognize her, I feel like fans of the show would be telling the contestants about what they’re doing wrong or try to influence the game. I’m not happy to admit this, but I use to watch Big Brother and like the Liar Game, the show is done in real time and so fans can interact with the players if they try hard enough. Some overly zealous fans would even send planes with notes on it over the Big Brother house in order to get a player out or help another one out.

Korean fans are very passionate and so I don’t see them not doing something similar, albeit in a smaller scale, when it comes to the Liar Game. Fans interacting with the players and saying things like, “Why are you helping Do Young!” or “Your final move in the last game was really bad. I can’t believe you did something like that when this would have been a better idea.”

The show had a pretty interesting idea, but never capitalized on what it had to offer. This not only affected the plot, but the characters as well. Because just like the social media on-off switch, the players had on-off switches too. One moment they’d behave a certain way and the next they’d do something else. Even my beloved Do Young went from someone who was trollish, but fun, to a full blown antagonist.

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It wasn’t only Do Young who changed, but all of the characters really. It was established that the players in the Liar Game are greedy, so it never made sense for them to happily lose and allow Da Jung to win. Since Do Young is now the villain, we’re told that he’d never share his winnings with anyone. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just ask the former actor, the lawyer, bulldog, Sung Joon, and Assistant Kim. All of them got money from in during the President Game. If they just worked with Do Young, they’d get as much money as they want, but they chose to betray him for what exactly?

It seemed like one moment they only care about money and the next they’re pledging their loyalty to Da Jung. You could argue that it’s because she’ll win and share the money, but Do Young is still there and can easily crush them.

I feel like Da Jung also suffered this as well. She started off as spunky, but almost became a background character. We’re told that she’s kind and nice, but other than that time when she saved Director Jang back in episode 6, has she actually done anything that is nice or kind? I’m drawing a blank, which doesn’t really bode well for a character that is meant to ooze kindness. She’s sweet, I’ll give you that, but she doesn’t really do much. Instead of showing us her walk the walk, we’re just told this is how she is and how you should only view her. To me, that’s a huge disservice to her character.

Woo Jin is another story. I think they tried to take all of Akiyama’s attributes and put them into Woo Jin, but ignored his warmth and compassion and instead went for an Alpha male type figure. The character is very in your face, smug, and arrogant. He is consistent though, which I appreciate, but a lot of what he did in the show seemed to be about his bruised ego than anything else. Why else would he make it his mission to bring down Do Young? His ego was hurt, so he decided to lash out at the one person who was capable of taking it.

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I think Liar Game had potential to be a fantastic kdrama, but when you compare the storytelling here to say Misaeng or Bad Guys then you start to realize that it fails in some of the basic levels. The actual games were fun to watch and I still like Do Young, but the character’s motivations, the actual plot, and the under utilization of social media and the reality of it all, really brought down the show.

You may say it’s because I’m a fan of the manga and jdrama that I’m only hating on the show, because it’s nothing like the original, but couldn’t be further from the truth. I expected changes, in fact I welcomed them. Plus, the jdrama is slightly different from the manga, so it’s not like I’m averse to change. Liar Game has to tweak some things in order to fit the market that its in. Just like how Boys over Flowers was changed from Hana Yori Dango. It’s to be expected.

Plus, the moment Da Jung slept on a bed filled with money I realized that this wouldn’t be like the original. The show isn’t the worse thing out there, far from it actually, but I had a lot of expectations that this would be the drama to watch and it ended up disappointed me instead.

If there’s a second season, then I hope that it fixes some of these things and comes out with something magical. Because even though Liar Game didn’t really do anything for me, I would still watch a second season of it.

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16 thoughts on “tvN’s Liar Game (kdrama) episode 12 – Final Episode!

  1. Steven

    Thanks for your recap and thoughts. Rant will come later. May I add that Sung-joon’s alive and magically in the same hospital as Woo-jin.. 😀

    A quick question. There’s something that’s been buggering me about how Dal-goo saved Dad. Was he hypnotized by the TV or his ears covered? Is there a part that I missed, of how he looking back when Dal-goo was being beaten with a chair and shouted? Did he look around to see his surroundings as what an abductee normally does? If not.. Holy hell, the show was very hypnotizing that he didn’t see the match just to his left and didn’t care when someone got beaten just behind him. I want to buy that TV.

    Reply
    1. mochirochi Post author

      No hypnotizing happened. I think it was a mixture of him being focused on Da Jung and what was being revealed on the TV that he tuned everything else out and not being able to turn around safely.

      Reply
    2. Steven

      I still don’t get why he’s struggling though. There’s no moment showing he tried to slip his hands. If he had fallen it would have done nothing except making his situation worse.. But then again, I read so many book chapters this week and my mind refused to stop nitpicking every single detail.. Sorry about that.

      Reply
      1. mochirochi Post author

        No need to apologise as long as you comment I’m happy. He’s struggling because he didn’t want Da Jung to know that he gave her up when she was younger. He wanted it to remain a secret. That and he didn’t want to see his daughter even more hurt.

        How did you find the final episode and the series in general?

        Reply
      2. Steven

        Like junny, I find your review quite objective, and other people finding flaws in this.. adaptation is good enough for me. I know that if I made a review myself I’d start ranting and end the review by saying “this show is shit”. Now I find it decent.. for a Kdrama. The Jdrama is by no means a true masterpiece, but it (with Nodame Cantabile) raises the bar high enough for live-action adaptation for TV. Although it had the potential to be even better..

        The Kdrama almost got there, but the writers seems like they doesn’t know which part to adapt faithfully and which to alter. In some parts the dialogue doesn’t make sense. The reality show aspect is actually very interesting and realistic, but like you said the social media factor seems to be ignored. There’s so little impact on the public from a show supposedly so controversial. The debilitating debt is what drives the tension in the source material, in here it’s pushed to the background, changed instead to confrontation between fail(ure)-Jokoya and Woo-jin. What you said about the characters is also spot on. But Shin Sung-rok still rules though. I like how he laugh, everytime he laughs in the last episode I also laugh. 😀

        For the final episode.. I’m gonna add just some gripes aside from the dad. Sung-joon’s ‘death’ means nothing, it’s just to add cheap tension and make fail-Jokoya seem more evil. Fail-Jokoya doesn’t actually kill anyone (stated or shown). Still don’t know why he wanted to bankrupt jvn. He also has no qualms about telling his entire background on TV. Woo-jin looks worse in comparison because he’s actually killed someone and ruined others’ lives in the process. Da-jung.. She’s so nice that she forgives Woo-jin, but even after hearing fail-Jokoya’s sob story she still shot him.

        About the ending.. Good for Jamie and Dal-goo, even though their pairing come from nowhere. Da-jung somehow goes all philosophical. The organization comes from nowhere. I have a conflicted feel about the ‘real’ Liar Game. A part of me says, ‘we got trolled, 12 episodes just to set up the real one’. The other part says that ‘this is so brilliant, using the reality show to sucker gullible people into their game’. Going by the sub, even a guy said “Those people don’t go into debt because they lose on TV.” But the hook for season 2 is definitely better than the ending of Jdrama 1st season. Kdrama season 2 is confirmed, Jdrama season 1 wrapped the show abruptly and got season 2 two years later.

        But the real travesty… is Woo-jin’s sudden appearance. LOL dude, you’ve got back from time travel to the 90s?

        Reply
        1. mochirochi Post author

          You bring up a good point. It would be a pretty ingenious way to get people to play the underground version of Liar Game by promoting a TV show version first. That way, players might say “Da Jung did fairly well herself. If I joined, then I can do even better!” If the second season went this route, if they do get a second season, then that would be pretty clever.

          It would make the lack of real tension in this season a means to get people to fully trust the game and sign up for it.

          Now I’m really hoping that this is what they were going for.

          I’ve read that while the producers have secured the rights to the Liar Game, they still haven’t confirmed a second season quite yet.

          Reply
          1. Steven

            Oh? I don’t usually watch Asian dramas, so I thought a cliffhanger ending always means a follow-up season.. But if they make it so, I wonder how Da-jung goes back into the real Liar Game. I hope it’s purely because she wants to help Woo-jin. No more being coaxed into it, not “I’m gonna save other people too”, not even “I pity fail-Jokoya and now I want to to save him”.

  2. Pingback: LIAR GAME. TVN. | IKurate

  3. junny

    This sounds like a sensible, objective review of the series. Kudos to you for sitting through it and even finding positive things about it. LOL at Woojin’s new hairstyle, makes him look old. And that’s not good what happened to Dajung, since she’s supposed to be the central character driving this forward, with Woojin’s help (like how Nao and Akiyama worked in tandem). I guess the drama suffered from the old failings typical of k-dramas – possible live-shoot mode, incomplete script and lack of a general idea as to where things were going. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided midway that Woojin and Doyoung were more interesting and focused on them at the expense of Dajung.

    Reply
    1. Steven

      If I’m not wrong (and I’m gonna try to the link later), I heard that this show had completed the shooting before it aired. So there’s a possibility the writers actually intended the story to be this way.

      Reply
    2. mochirochi Post author

      Thank you for the kind words 🙂

      Not going to lie, I spent some time laughing at the new hairstyle. It’s so completely out there, but maybe he’s trying to start trusting people more and the first way to do that is to change his wardrobe? lol

      With Da Jung, I don’t know what they could have done with her. She is meant to be a moral compass for Woo Jin (at least Nao was with Akiyama and they did work together), but it wasn’t like that here. We know she’s in debt, so she actually needs the money and because of that she’s willing to just follow whatever Woo Jin says so that she can achieve her goal. You can’t have her be like Nao, when she actually needs the money and Nao didn’t.

      They did have to change things to make this fit a korean market, which is why Woo-Jin came off as more cold and Da Jung was sweet and just there to support the guy. One of my main gripes with kdramas is that the girls usually lose themselves once they fall in love and while there isn’t any romance here, the same sort of thing still happened to Da Jung once she met Woo Jin.

      Reply
      1. junny

        Nao was also in debt when she got cheated by her former teacher, and then when she saved him by giving him all her winnings so she had to participate in the next round. It wasn’t the sort of debt Dajung had, but I think even if Nao were in the same situation, her inherent goodness would come forth and she wouldn’t end up like Dajung.

        The losing oneself after falling in love bit also grates on my nerves, and I think the drama had hints of a loveline between Dajung and Woojin – at least the fangirls were swooning everytime he looked at her and were all for romance. I suppose it was something one could buy if Woojin didn’t look twice Dajung’s age. Certainly no Shota-Erika vibes here.

        Reply
        1. mochirochi Post author

          I feel bad for Lee Sang Yoon, because he’s only eight years older than Kim So Eun. I think if he smiled more in this drama he’d look younger, but he was hard all the time so it didn’t work in his favour….except when he has the new hair. Then everything works lol.

          Nao was in debt, but only through the game, while Da Jung was already close to 200k in debt with the interest still growing. I should have clarified what I meant, but I’m glad you got it. I agree that Nao wouldn’t have ended up like Da Jung though, but if she was with Woo Jin and not Akiyama I wonder if the same thing would happen?

          Reply
          1. junny

            Hmm… if Nao was with Woojin, I think she’d have lost it after maybe two rounds, haha. I think Woojin being so hard and alpha male all the time would have taken a toll on even Nao, and she might not return to the restructuring game just to save him. The thing with Akiyama was that he was always cool, calm and collected, and that steadied Nao’s nerves. He gave her a reason to trust that he’d get them through the LGT. And he was manipulative without seeming so, which I would find hard to believe if it’s coming from Woojin (he really just doesn’t have the face or acting chops for it).

            I just watched a couple of minutes of Woojin in ep 9, the contraband game (randomly clicked on an episode). Yeesh, he was annoying.

          2. mochirochi Post author

            Lol, he was annoying. If you do decide to watch a random episode, the best two are about the presidents game. It’s a new one that they created for this show, but it was good.

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