Hidden Identity Episodes 15&16: Stayin' Alive
The wild ride that has been Hidden Identity is about to come to a close. All the action, suspense, surprise reveals and angst is finally winding up. Join Aunnie, Stephanie, and me, Cici, as we discuss just who managed stayin’ alive . . . and who didn’t.
Aunnie: I just have to say one thing; this show had so many twists and turns that by this final episode, I didn’t believe anything until the credits rolled.
Stephanie: With all the red herrings, I didn’t think the show could shock me anymore, but I have to say, they had some interesting things up their sleeves.
Cici: Oooo hooo hooo, Aunnie, look who’s so smart! I gotta admit, they fooled me again. You’d think I would have learned that they’re not dead--only mostly dead. Except for some. So let’s start off by talking about the ones who didn’t make it. Were you at all surprised when Assistant Jang’s dad bought it?
Aunnie: I was surprised he lived long enough to make it off that abandoned floor. I was shocked by how unhappy I was at being right about Undercover Brother, though. *sadface*
Cici: Undercover Brother...I really thought they would be able to save him, despite all indications to the contrary. I know I predicted his imminent death earlier in the series, but he'd made it so far! I feel just a little robbed. Okay, a lot.
Stephanie: That was one really long extended death scene, wasn’t it? Dead, not dead, dead. Stop jerking us around show! Although I guess I’m happier they left the great resurrection for Gun Woo.
Cici: I was surprised at how readily I accepted Assistant Jang forgiving her jerk of a father. Oh, well, at least he tried his best to save her in the end.
Cici: Not like my reaction to the Director’s death. Even he had a bit of a redemption arc, though. So even though he was the most sympathetic villain I’ve seen in a long time, I still felt totally okay with his demise.
Aunnie: I, too, was surprised by how quickly she forgave him but I suppose emotions are running high in a situation like that and you do what you can to make it easier. And oh, the Director's death--annoyed the heck outta me. Redemption for a character we have been playing up as evil this entire show--annoying! And yes, I know he was only doing what he thought was right but still...Although, I did like his little "I raised monsters" statement.
Stephanie: While he did ‘redeem’ himself in the end, over all, I thought he was the evilest character of them all for what he did to those kids and the fact that he just stood by and let them all die for him.
Cici: I thought it was interesting how he was so confident in the loyalty of the people he had raised--to both him and to his mission. And then suddenly he realized that he wasn’t the one running the show after all.
Aunnie: There was so much betrayal going on, I would have--in his position--been weary of everyone involved. Especially that Ninja dude...maybe I missed it but did we ever figure out who the heck he was?? I feel like he just showed up in the series to be bad-ass and that was all his character was good for.
Stephanie: Nope, random guy who wants revenge for some reason? Maybe a friend or coworker of the original guys? And the fact that he could kick the crap out of Gun Woo? That irritated me a bit after seeing Gun Woo take on like 20 bad guys at once and win only to get his butt-kicked by this one guy? It didn’t make sense.
Cici: I was pretty frustrated about that, too. He didn’t seem young enough to be of the same generation as the children of the spies who were killed, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the same age as the Director, either. So you’re right--exactly who was he? One heck of a fighter, that’s for sure. By the way, have you ever noticed that the most impressive fighters are the ones with an extreme economy of movement? They hardly have to move a muscle, and wham, their opponent is laid out on the floor. I noticed that about Team Leader as well. I always enjoyed his action scenes, and these episodes didn’t disappoint.
Aunnie: You mean the Team Leader’s One-Two Punch Knockouts? I had a good laugh during the Ninja and Gun Woo's fight scene. I said to myself, "Well, the show wouldn't be complete without another impossible Gun Woo fight scene." I mean, seriously a knee to the face would knock out most people but at the very least Gun Woo would be stunned....just sayin'.
Stephanie: I’m a sucker for a really slick fight scene. Gun Woo and his team has had some great ones. I sure hope Kim Bum liked the taste of that fake blood because he certainly had to suck down a lot of it during the filming of this drama.
Cici: But that’s his superpower! He has consistently been the Energizer Bunny of fight scenes--he just keeps going and going and going. It seriously made me wonder if he had some sort of disconnect between his pain center and the rest of his body. And in the last scene, that was what saved the day. He bought Sergeant Mustache enough time to disable the bomb of death.
Aunnie: Right! Gun Woo's superpower: Anhidrosis. I couldn't help but laugh while watching Sergeant Mustache try and disable the bomb...like he had all the time in the world.
Stephanie: I loved his wincing every time he cut a wire. That would totally be me.
Aunnie: Know who I was impressed by though? Jang's fight scene--the handcuffs was a smart move.
Cici: I truly loved Assistant Jang. She was not only a fierce fighter, she was smart about it. When she was being overpowered by someone much bigger and heavier, she used whatever came to hand (hehe) to win. I never felt like she would play the “poor me, I’m just a weak woman” card.
Aunnie: Exactly. I'm glad that she maintained the same toughness throughout the entire series. It brings me back all the way to the beginning when Sergeant Mustache and her came up to the three guys in the garage and SM said "You want them while I go search?" Just totally confident in her skills. I half expected Investigation Team Five to retire after the Ghost case though, I feel like they had a condo in Bali with their names on it--or should have, at least.
Stephanie: It was interesting to see them end basically exactly where they started. With the exception of Gunn Woo as an official, fully functioning member of their team. Makes me wonder though if he can actually have the happy ending with the rest of them.
Cici: Well they certainly deserved one, but you know none of them would have been happy retired for more than about five minutes. The kind of adrenaline rush they’d been living with is pretty addictive, not to mention the satisfaction of putting the bad guys away. But was I the only one who honestly believed that Gun Woo had died on the bus? When he twisted that knife in his own gut in order to get it out and stab Ninja Dude, I thought he was a goner for sure.
Aunnie: No, you are definitely not alone however, the second the Commissioner guy said "The lives you've lost..." I knew Gun Woo wasn’t actually dead. Just because it was such a....cliched thing to say.
Stephanie: I was waiting for him to pop back up--I didn’t think dying was part of his journey. Someone of the three had to live.
Cici: See, the plural threw me. They really only lost one life from the team. I call a writer cheat! Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I was so relieved when Gun Woo’s handsome, very-much-alive face came up on the screen! So now they can go back to being Team Investigation Five, and they won’t even have to change their name to fit their numbers!
Aunnie: I think it was just a catchy name. I imagine the conversation went a little like this: "Now, what to call ourselves...Team Investigation. But it's missing something, there's no ring to it. Ooh ooh, I got it. Team Investigation Five....yes, yes...that sounds perfect." Which is probably right around the time Sergeant Mustache said "But there are six of us." And Team Leader gave him the look.
Stephanie: Dun, dun, DUUUUNNN…. I’m a little surprised they didn’t lose anyone else of the group.
Cici: I can just imagine Team Leader saying, ”Okay, that does it, one of you guys is going to have to die. Who’s going to take one for the Team?"
Aunnie: And then they drew straws....it was supposed to be Duk Hu but then Undercover Brother got infected. And THAT'S how Duk Hu made it through his first mission. Happenstance.
Cici: And Undercover Brother got all the tear-jerking scenes as recompense. Seems fair to me.
Aunnie: So, overall; last thoughts on Hidden Identity...?
Cici: I enjoyed it! The action scenes were amazing, and I appreciated that there wasn’t a romance side line to distract us from the main plot. There were just enough twists to keep me guessing up till the very end, and enough tears to make me feel connected to the characters. All these things made me more than willing to suspend my disbelief at the occasional ridiculous scene. And yes, I am a sucker for a happy ending. So in summary, thumbs up! You?
Aunnie: It's been a long time since I watched a drama that didn't have a romantic arc to it and I wasn't disappointed by a lack thereof in this one, which is great. The fight scenes were, indeed, awesome even if slightly unbelievable but then again--so was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at times. I mostly just enjoyed watching these characters grow together and become friends. The last scene was saved from being cheesy BECAUSE the writer did an amazing job bringing them all together. However, Dear Writer, next time...less plot twists please.
Stephanie: While I like what they attempted, I’m not entirely sure the show was successful. Yep, awesome fight scenes, but they tended to get lost in the sea of characters. I’m a smart cookie, but sometimes I had trouble keeping up with who was who and who was bad and who was about to die. (Answer? Everybody!) I enjoyed seeing Kim Bum on the screen again and really look forward to whatever project he chooses next.
So, dear readers, what did you think? Did the awesome action, suspense, and intense feels overcome any flaws this drama had? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and until next time, watch more dramas!
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