Cruel City: Eps 12-14

Drama ReviewsKorean Dramas

(Featured Image: the threesome that I’m still holding on for.  All we need to do is add Safari in the picture too.)

Last week I decided to hold off on posting about episode 12, while this week I refrained from posting about episode 13.  I am frustrated enough with the drama to consider dropping it, but let’s be real here…..I can’t drop it.  ARGHHH!!  I’m too invested in my favorite characters to drop it, darn it!  Also the freaking cliffhanger at the end of episode 14 makes me have to watch on.

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It is no secret by now that I’ve been growing more and more frustrated with Soo Min and her love story.  I get it, she’s new to the field, she’s trying hard, she’s inexperienced, etc. etc. but really.  It doesn’t even feel like she’s undercover anymore, instead she is just turning everything into a love game.  Does she really have time to go around chasing her new love interest?  Does she really have time to be all lovesick and forlornly sigh and mope around her safe-house?  What does she do besides 1) Talk to Jin Sook 2) Call Shi Hyun 3) Wait for Shi Hyun in cafes 4) Call Hyung Min 5) Meet Hyung Min 6) Do random tasks for Jin Sook ???  URGHHH.

It’s not even my gripes about Nam Gyu Ri that is making me dislike Soo Min so much.  It’s the way the character is written and portrayed.  Soo Min’s character still falls flat amongst all of the other characters who are consistently well developed.  With Soo Min it’s like all of a sudden she’s not thinking about bringing justice to her sister’s killer, she’s not thinking about all the dangers and risks that her job poses to her, and she is barely doing anything tangible to probe deeper into Doctor’s Son’s organization.  Yeah it takes time for her to infiltrate Jin Sook’s organization and gain the trust of people, but come on, we’re on a time schedule we only have 6 episodes left!  So far it feels like the main purpose of Soo Min’s character is to fall in love with Shi Hyun, and not to show what it’s like being an undercover cop. 

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So what keeps me coming back even though I always facepalm at all of Soo Min’s lines?   OF COURSE, it is the wonderful trio of Hyun Soo, Jin Sook, and Shi Hyun.  I loved seeing the three of them collaborating with each other to plan out their strategy, just like old times.  I really love the scene in ep13 when Jin Sook apologizes to Shi Hyun for her mistake of killing Director Jo.  (I like the little detail that she calls herself “noona” and she calls Shi Hyun by his first name and not “Doctor’s Son”)  Of course Shi Hyun accepts her apology and says that he is sorry too.  Hyun Soo just stands there all awkwardly as Shi Hyun and Jin Sook gaze at each other, and then he tries to lighten up the atmosphere by laughing it off.  AWWWW.  I love this trio!!!!!!!!

But I still wonder what Jin Sook and Hyun Soo would do if they found out that Shi Hyun is a cop.  Judging by Jin Sook’s reaction to the news about Safari being an undercover cop, I think Jin Sook wouldn’t hold it against Shi Hyun either.  What’s important to her is that Safari is still Safari, whether he is an undercover cop or a boss.  She would probably apply the same belief to Shi Hyun especially since he is like her younger bro.  But the fact that Min is backing Shi Hyun might make it more complicated than that.  As for Hyun Soo, I really hope he would stay loyal to Shi Hyun. 

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^THE BODY LANGUAGE.

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Jin Sook is freaking awesome as always, but in these few episodes we see that she is still very vulnerable and she still makes mistakes.  If she did not have Shi Hyun & Hyun Soo there to help her out, chances are Jin Sook would not hold the fort all on her own.  She is independent, strong and fierce but that will not save her butt when things go sour.  In the end, her connections and wit are most important for her survival.  Even though she claims that she doesn’t want to remember her past, she is inevitably tied down by it as well.  She hates Safari and Min and yet somehow she always goes back to them when she needs them.  She doesn’t want to remember her past as a prostitute, nor does she want Soo Min to experience what it is like, yet she is always reminded of it simply through her work.  Her position is not secure (just as Safari, Scale, and Shi Hyun’s positions aren’t either) and she must use her connections to maintain her authority. 

I was also surprised that Jin Sook goes to such great lengths to protect Soo Min.  She takes on Director Jo, someone whose authority shouldn’t be challenged, all for the sake of protecting Soo Min.  Yep, Jin Sook shouldn’t be messed with!  I actually thought it was kinda funny when Hyung Min tells Soo Min that Jin Sook used her to kill Director Jo.  Soo Min believes that Jin Sook wouldn’t do that, but when Jin Sook acknowledges that she killed Director Jo, Soo Min looks all disturbed.  Soo Min, she did it FOR YOU.  Considering Jin Sook’s reaction to Soo Min’s situation, I can only imagine what she would do to whoever hurts Shi Hyun.  O___O  I think the only thing holding her back from striking Safari is that she still remembers their past friendship and he can still be useful to her. 

And this is random but lately I feel like Jin Sook has been getting the most random outfits.  O_O  Before she would usually wear very similar-style dresses but now her outfits feel more experimental.  For instance, she pairs a neon pink blouse with a neon yellowish green skirt.  She also has another outfit where she wears this headband that looks like…metal spikes.  My favorite outfit is in episode 14 when she wears a REALLY PRETTY dark pink-magenta-ish dress with a full skirt.  Omg I loveee that dress!

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Safari is like a cat with 9 lives.  Now that I think about it, he even looks like a cat O_O  It always feels like everything with Safari is a gamble; the thing that makes him a bit different from Shi Hyun is that he does not have many powerful allies to depend on.  Shi Hyun has Hyun Soo & Jin Sook, but Safari only has himself, and his loyal minion Eun Soo.  All of his makeshift alliances with people like Scale and Jin Sook tend to go sour.  Hopefully he will finally be able to team up with Jin Sook and Shi Hyun one last time.  But I got really scared by this one scene when Safari dramatically leaves Jin Sook’s room like it is his final farewell or something.  Please let this not be foreshadowing!!

Episode 14 also gives us a hint at why Safari left the police–money.  But I don’t believe Safari betrayed the police all for money, it seems like this is just his excuse to deflect any further questions.  With Eun Soo he hints at his disappointment in the police force, but he doesn’t elaborate any further.   I think Safari knows that Min and the other higher ups in the police are corrupt.  He knows he was only used as a pawn so he got out.  There are already plenty of hints, and in ep14, there are scenes that make it clear as day that the higher ups have connections with the big sharks like Pusan. 

Another totally random development with Safari is that…Eun Soo loves him.  Uhhhhhhh what? Just recently I was complaining about how Eun Soo didn’t have a very important role, but I was still surprised when she told Safari about her feelings for him.  Plus Safari knows about her feelings.  Why is the drama suddenly making EVERYONE have a love interest?!? 

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Anyways in episode 14 (yeah a lot happens in ep14 >_<)  Safari reveals that he didn’t kill Shi Hyun’s mom.  Actually, Shi Hyun’s mom used to distribute the drugs from Safari.  And Shi Hyun (when he was a kid) helped deliver those drugs to his mom.  So Shi Hyun freaks out because he believes that he himself had a hand in his mom’s death.  All this time he thought Safari was directly responsible but really, Shi Hyun feels like he himself is to blame.  I really like the lines when Safari says that if he’s responsible for all the people who have died by his drugs, then Shi Hyun is just as responsible.  I guess the thought never really registered with Shi Hyun until now.  Because now he has a tangible example of someone who was affected by his own dealings–his very own mom.  I guess this is all a part of the danger of being at the top–Shi Hyun no longer sees the people he directly affects and therefore he becomes desensitized to the reality of what he is doing. 

What really surprised me in episode 14 is the big cliffhanger that Shi Hyun is breaking it off with Min!!!!! OMGG how can I not watch after such a cliffhanger, right?!?  This is either 1) Something that Shi Hyun said out of anger, so he doesn’t really mean it  or 2) Something Shi Hyun will go all the way through with.  I really hope it is #2 because #1 would be way too easy!  Also if Shi Hyun does turn his back against Min, this means his whole relationship with Soo Min will change.  If he knows she is an undercover cop, and Shi Hyun is no longer with the police, he will have to be extra careful around Soo Min so that she doesn’t catch onto his trail.  (which I highly doubt considering Soo Min asked Shi Hyun if he knew who Doctor’s Son is.  Ummm..)  Or Shi Hyun could even use Soo Min to set up Hyung Min’s investigation team.

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To the drama’s credit, episode 14 tries REALLY HARD.  All of a sudden it feels like the drama is including as many cool camera shots as possible, a lot of switching between scenes and short moments, all in an effort to amp up the quality of the storytelling and suspense.  The screenshots above are just some of the pretty shots that I had to include, hehe.  But the episode still felt a bit…off.  I don’t know how to describe it but it didn’t fluidly switch from scene to scene and it just felt really out of the blue in comparison to the previous episodes. 

Overall

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^I often want to do Jin Sook’s classic eye-roll.  *rolls eyes at CC*

Ok really, the drama isn’t HORRIBLE.  It’s still fun to watch and it has great characters.  Maybe I’m so unsatisfied with the drama because I’m just expecting way too much from it.  I think the problem though, is that it’s not reaching its full potential.  It’s dragging on and on on extraneous points, trying to fit in way too many side characters, making Shi Hyun into a superhero, and trying to force in the Soo Min x Shi Hyun romance.  On top of that it’s also trying to interweave the Shi Hyun’s underworld with Hyung Min’s police work.  Cruel City is ambitious but it seems to has lost its focus and it ends up leaving much to be desired.  It hasn’t totally blown me away because it feels like it’s playing safe and it hasn’t taken that extra leap to go super dark.

heisui

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!
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  • I have a nagging feeling that Shi Hyun left for the same reason as Safari had. They thought they were on the side of justice but when they realize how they are manipulated, they both want outs. Why gamble your life away for an organization( the police) that isn’t completely as clean and pure as they keep claiming? They can be no different from gangs like Pusan and all. I’m curious how this affects Shi Hyun and Safari’s alliance. Maybe they’ll actually work out now that they’re on the same situation? It’s me and you against the world kinda thing

    • I’m not sure yet if Shi Hyun has left for good. But yeah I think he is fed up with Min’s deception and he knows that he probably will never become a normal cop again. Even though Min tells him he can leave, Shi Hyun knows he cannot.

      OOOOO I also wanna see Safari & Shi Hyun team up, AGAINST MIN!

      • It seems like they might take the path of Shi Hyun leaving. He won’t be on bad terms with Min I think but he won’t do what Min says any more kinda thing. Instead of obeying orders, I think he wants to be independent… I’m quite skeptical whether Safari and Shi Hyun alliance will last because Safari has backstabbed him quite a number of times. Hope this time, they team up for real instead of manipulating each other.

  • I actually really love the tension and romance between Shi Hyun and Soo Min. When she’s not waiting for him at cafes, she’s working as a hostess/escort, so she’s doing her part to stay undercover …

    • It’s assumed that she is working as a hostess and yet the drama rarely even shows her doing that. I wish it would show her working as a hostess, otherwise it just feels like she’s not really doing much undercover.

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