Cruel City: Ep 8

Drama ReviewsKorean Dramas

Cruel City is for sure my favorite drama of this summer season.  It is not completely realistic but it hits all the right notes emotionally particularly with its characters in the underworld.  I’m not sure if they’re doing this on purpose or not, but there seems to be more of a slant towards Shi Hyun’s side of the story rather than Hyung Min’s.  Although they are both supposed to be two rivals opposing each other, Shi Hyun still wins as the hero and the guy that we want to know more and more about.  So episode 8 continues building up the characters surrounding Shi Hyun; namely Jin Sook and Safari.  Even though the pace is slower in this episode, I’m quite satisfied because I find Jin Sook, Safari, and Shi Hyun’s relationship to be very interesting.  I feel like I’m being drawn more and more into their story as the drama progresses. 


So I haven’t really talked about the characters who are against Shi Hyun in the gang, but so far my two favorites are Scale and Safari.  You might be a bit surprised that Scale is one of my favorites, but I think we could all agree that the actor for Scale is doing a great job.  Even though he may be considered a minor character especially now that he is out of the game, Scale is still intriguing in the very few scenes that he has.  He just has this really large presence whenever he’s in the room.  I think the name Scale really suits him because he reminds me of a shark. O_O

“You, me, and Jin Sook too will never be able to leave forever.”

I also love Safari!  Again, the nicknames sound funny at times but “Safari” seriously suits him.  O_O””  Anyways there is great character development for Safari in this episode.  Somehow Safari is instantly likeable to me…probably because of his crazy hair and the way he talks.  I like how ep8 shows that he is cruel but not heartless.  He knows that the only way he can ever leave this business is through his death, but until then he is determined to do anything to save his neck even if it means killing Shi Hyun.  I really love the last scene when Safari calls Doctor’s Son by his real name and then tells him that he will take care of Jin Sook.  :’(  And when Shi Hyun has flashbacks to his happy times with Jin Sook & Safari, it makes me wonder what Safari flashbacked to when he was about to be killed by the Chairmen.  Even though it didn’t show what Safari flashed back to, I’m pretty sure he must’ve thought of his beloved Jin Sook!  And lastly it is really sad when Safari casts one last look over his shoulder at Shi Hyun before his minion goes in for the kill. 


On the topic of Jin Sook, this woman is incredible.  Has anyone else realized that she has captured the hearts of three guys in total?  First is Shi Hyun, who loves her as his noona.  Then there’s Safari.  And lastly there is Shi Hyun’s handler (sorry I keep on forgetting his name T_T).  Seems like eps9-10 will reveal what Jin Sook and Shi Hyun’s handler had going on in the past.  Part of me wonders if Shi Hyun’s handler wants Shi Hyun to continue to be close to Jin Sook so that he can make sure she is doing well.  I think that the handler still has feelings for Jin Sook, but they had a falling out in the past.  I bet that it had something to do with the handler’s being a cop!


“This deal is to keep you alive.  This deal is for you.”

Seriously Cruel City doesn’t even need romance.  Because Jin Sook and Shi Hyun are ALL I NEED.  Every scene they’re in together is full of so much emotion and sadness and tension.  My favorite Jin Sook & Shi Hyun scene in this episode is when Shi Hyun tries to talk Jin Sook out of making a deal with Safari.  At first their conversation is really tense because they are having a disagreement, but of course it dissolves into a really touching and sad talk when Shi Hyun asks Jin Sook yet again to leave the business.  AUGH something about this part just really got to me.  Shi Hyun’s eyes are so full of love for his noona, while Jin Sook looks at him with tender care and loyalty.  Shi Hyun asks Jin Sook to go be happy, but the thing is that Jin Sook herself knows that she will only be happy if her Shi Hyun is safe and well.  I really love it when Jin Sook says that she will only go if Shi Hyun goes, because she will go wherever he is.  UGH I JUST WANT THESE TWO TO BE HAPPY. 


^I will capture EVERY SINGLE ANGLE of Shi Hyun.  😛

Anywho, Shi Hyun is still a perfect ideal guy, except that this episode finally shows that he is not invincible when he gets ganged up on by Safari’s minions.  At least there is more of a moral conflict for Shi Hyun when he has to decide between obeying his handler and saving Soo Hyun.  I think this is one of the few times when we actually get to see Shi Hyun agonizing over a decision.  He has made some rash decisions before but this one beats all.  He decides to save his bro, even at the risk of his own life and the undercover operation.  Of course we gotta have the bromance, right? 

I’m sure Shi Hyun must have some sort of back-up plan (or not, maybe he just went in blindly trying to save Soo Hyun) because there is no way he’s gonna die here.  If Jin Sook finds out about this she could charge the place and try to stop Safari.  After all, Jin Sook is one of Safari’s only weaknesses.   Or Shi Hyun’s handler might somehow intervene, but goodness knows how.

I also like the concept of how Shi Hyun can never get away from his past even though he is an undercover cop.  It is exactly his past connections with Safari & Jin Sook that support him in the underworld, but these connections also weigh him down because he can’t help but get emotionally involved with Jin Sook, Safari, and Soo Hyun.  Likewise, even though Soo Min must forget her former self, she is also tied down by her past with Kyung Mi’s death.   In a way she must move on and take on a new identity, and yet she must never forget her roots and why she became an undercover cop in the first place.


Like I said before, the story in Cruel City is kinda disproportionate because Soo Min & Hyung Min hardly had any screentime.  Not that I’m complaining. 😛  It just feels kinda disjointed at times, like when they suddenly show Hyung Min mulling over his fancy flow charts to show that he is working oh so hard on this case.  T_T”  Really not necessary.  Another gripe I have is that Soo Min and Hyung Min talk about their undercover operation when they’re at Jin Sook’s club!!!  T___T  Omg, how in the world are these two gonna keep their undercover operation a secret when they can’t even keep hush hush about it IN JIN SOOK’S LAIR!?!?  Did they not even think once that there might be wiretaps in the room or something?  And even if there weren’t they should always assume that the walls have eyes and ears. 

Aside from those complaints, I was impressed with Soo Min’s character even though she only had a short scene in the beginning.  We can discuss Nam Gyu Ri’s circle contacts to no end but really, I think her overall doll-like look really suits Soo Min’s character.  Soo Min transforms from a wide-eyed innocent looking girl to a mature and alluring woman, all with a change of clothes, hairstyle, and makeup.  O_O  Nam Gyu Ri pulls it off really well!  I also like how even though Soo Min acts tougher and more mature with her new undercover persona, she shows glimpses of her real self in private.  At this point she is only acting more mature and pretending to be one of Jin Sook’s minions.  But this is where it can get interesting—at some point she will act so much that she will start changing and becoming her new self.  I think Shi Hyun has done just that—he is not always putting on an act as Doctor’s Son, there are times when he has actually become Doctor’s Son.  I hope we’ll get to see this transformation and conflict with Soo Min’s character!

Anyways I didn’t realize this until this episode, but Soo Min will be a high level escort (I guess at first I thought she would be more like a hostess, oh silly me) meaning she will have to sleep with Jin Sook’s customers.  O_O  Soo Min tells Hyung Min that she is a virgin and that she doesn’t want one of the customers to be her very first time.  In other words she’s saying, I WANT YOU TO BE MY FIRST TIME.  OMG HOW AWKWARD!  But then Hyung Min just makes it WORSE by saying that they’ll like it better that way.  (JERK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  And then he runs away like the wind.  T_____________T   I don’t think Hyung Min meant to be that insensitive but that was not a comforting thing to say at all.  Hyung Min is wary of Soo Min because he seems to be growing more aware that she is a woman and not just Kyung Mi’s little sis anymore.  I’m not sure if he’ll fall for her because then that would lead to the Kyung Mi situation ALL OVER AGAIN but I think Soo Min might already have some feelings for him. 


On a side note, one of the supporting characters Eun Soo (one of Safari’s minions) really strikes me as someone who comes straight out of IRIS or ATHENA.  Just look at her awesome studded jacket and her dark colored lipsticks!  For some reason Eun Soo looks really familiar to me but I don’t know where else I’ve seen this actress before.  It seems like she is mainly in supporting roles. 


I’m really glad that Cruel City focused less on the investigation and more on Shi Hyun, Safari, and Jin Sook.  To me it is obvious that Shi Hyun’s story is more interesting than Hyung Min’s and it really shows in episodes 7-8.  I think the challenge for Cruel City is to maintain a balance between the two.  I also feel like the next couple episodes are where the drama will either make it or break it, since the previews show that Shi Hyun and Soo Min are finally gonna get romantically involved.  AUGH I really don’t want the romance to be introduced because I can just picture everything crumbling before my eyes as it turns into a revenge-romance-melodrama. T________T  I’ve said it before, but Cruel City is the kind of drama that doesn’t need romance….but alas……kdramas always have to have the romance. 

So, I’m trying to have faith that Cruel City will pull this off.  If anything, I hope that the drama does not try to force in romance too much.  Hopefully the awesome cast can make it work!  Also…I think I would probably be more annoyed by Hyung Min than by the romance, HAHAHA. 



I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
Cruel City: Ep 7
Itazura na Kiss: Ep 12 (Updated)
  • Since my midterms are just around the corner,I don’t have time to watch any of the dramas.
    I just skimmed through your review and I’m very to see that there will be more Safari/Jin Sook/Shi Hyun.I really am deeply intrigued by these three characters and their relationship with each other.It’s good to know that there will be a focus on these three.

    To tell you the truth I really really and really don’t want any romance between Soo min and Shi Hyun.Seriously I’m not even interested in the romance genre in this drama.
    I liked the type of reationship Shi Hyun had with Kyung Mi.
    I have a bad feeling that the romance gonna bring down the main interesting storyline 🙁

    • URGH I know I don’t want romance either but it will inevitably come. I really hope that the romance won’t drag down the plot. I also don’t think Soo Min & Shi Hyun have that much chemistry…but that might be since they haven’t had many chances to interact…

      • For me,for the part of chemistry in a drama the chemistry between shi hyun and his noona jin sook in enough for me.These two look awesome together in a scene.
        And you know Safari is a name of chocolate in my country 🙂
        I have nothing against Nam Gyu ri,I think she is doing better but in any role except for her 49 days one,she looks lifeless to me.I mean I really can’t be moved by her emotions even when she is crying or laughing,all of them feel forced.

  • Me too, me too, I don’t want the romance to be introduced!! =(
    I didn’t like their meeting and how Soo Min hit on Shi Hyun, it just felt forced and jarring.

    I agree, Cruel City is the kind of drama that doesn’t romance, and even more, Cruel City is the kind of drama that can be ruined with romance. And I don’t want to see that at all because those episodes were so intense, so powerful and so good…
    But let’s see how the romance will be shaping up…

    And Jin Sook is definitely awesome. I love, love, love her. If Shi Hyun were to die there (but he won’t, everyone knows that :P) Jin Sook would totally kill Safari! Safari, watch out!

    Now, I need to watch something less heavy because I sobbed so much at the end of this episode! ^^”

    And thanks for this wonderful post! Love your screencaps. =)

    • Omg Kaa I’m writing my comment on your post RIGHT NOW, hahaha!

      Yeah I’m sure Jin Sook’s love for Shi Hyun trumps her past relationship with Safari. I think it would be awesome if she really does come to save Shi Hyun. (LOL I’m such a Jin Sook x Shi Hyun fan……)

          • Yeah, this scene was so beautiful, I was almost crying because it’s so sad. Can’t they have their happy ending? Pretty please? I’m ok if they are never romantically involved. I just want them to be safe, together, and happy. (like it can happen. I know, but still…! T_T)

  • ermergerd. i didn’t realize earlier in my CC watching that you have that all-angles montage of Shi-hyun. Do you have a montage of his biceps? ahihihi

    • LOL that collage isn’t even of ALL the possible angles of Shi Hyun. And no, I don’t have a montage of his biceps but if you ever find one, let me know. 😛

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