Liar Game – Overall Review

Year: 2014
Korean Channel: tvN
Episodes: 12

“In order to trust, we have to be suspicious first.” – Ha Woo-jin

Based on Japanese manga of the same title, Liar Game is a reality game show where people throw themselves into fierce competition in order to win money. A naïve and innocent girl is invited to join the psychological survival game, tempted to pay off her father’s debt. However, she gets betrayed and, out of desperation, she seeks help from a genius ex-con swindler and former psychology professor to win the game.

Stealer of the show
No doubt, the villain of this show has stolen the spotlight and he is none other than Kang Do-young (played by Shin Sung Rok), the MC of the game show. Shin Sung Rok also stole the spotlight in You Who Came From The Star as a villain. He is so darn good in Liar Game, with his creepy expressions and all, that I even found his character scary. Way scarier than his previous role and I don’t think I can ever see him as “good” and “nice” guy. Do-young, though his gestures are hilarious, is just too creepy, showing almost no emotion! Many credits to Shin Sung Rok, who played villains so perfectly. Hopefully, he will get a male lead one day.

Psychological battle
Ep12-4 Ep12-3
Love the mind games. They make me think, but it’s not a bad thing. I kept thinking as to how they can have “winning strategy” to survive and they give me answers. I like how the hero and villain challenge each other through psychological minds. They do not need to reach each other’s minds. Instead, Ha Woo-jin (played by Lee Sang Yoon, hot damn!), a genius conman (who is known to be a human lie detector), reads people’s micro-expressions to get how they truly feel and whether they are lying or not. However, it seems that Kang Do-young is fated to be Woo-jin’s enemy as Do-young can manipulate his own micro-expressions, therefore tricking Woo-jin whose ability is useless against Do-young’s ability for the first time. The intense atmosphere between these two is always interesting to watch and I like them together.

Lies, betrayals and twists. The contesters, especially Jamie (played by Lee El), definitely know to play. Jamie used to be on her own side, wanting money to all herself and used every way to betray people and turn them against one another. Like Woo-jin and Do-young, she is smart as well, engaging in psychological battle, smarter than the others. She worked with Do-young, but eventually, she betrayed him like how she betrayed Da-jung and whole team.
Ep12-15 Ep12-16
I am glad that she becomes a better person and finally chooses a side – Woo-jin’s – in the end, up against Do-young, together with Da-jung, Woo-jin and Jo Dal-gu (played by Jo Jae Yoon) and even telling them to take down Do-young when she is eliminated. And, oh, her little budding romance with Dal-gu at the end, hehe. What an unexpected love line.

Overall Thoughts
Love the show. Love the characters. Love the backstory revealed. Love everything. As for the innocent female lead, Nam Da-jung (played by Kim So Eun), I was surprised at her relation to the male leads which was revealed in the final. I didn’t expect it at all. I thought she was just one of the people being tested and picked out among many to take part in the game show by Do-young.
Ep12-6 Ep12-8
Turns out that Da-jung used to hang out with Woo-jin and Do-young as kids at Woo-jin’s mother’s orphanage. They were all childhood friends. It’s dramaland, guys, where the leads are always having connection to one another. But, what intrigued me was that Woo-jin and Da-jung don’t have memory of one another. Except Do-young, who remembers everything and even found the other two in adulthood. His younger self said, “This isn’t over. Let’s play later.” when they parted and he really meant it even years later, when he finds them again. He uses Liar Game to reunite them three together, at the same time, to make them remember their olden days. Do-young totally has planned it out perfectly.

Ep12-12 Ep12-13
It almost has no romance. Not that I am complaining, in fact, I love that there isn’t romance because Liar Game should focus on what it is – mind games. And its mystery. The trust in friendship between Da-jung and Woo-jin is the most important and meaningful thing when it comes to working together against their enemy. Da-jung may be naïve, but she still trusts him no matter what people around her say. And Woo-jin not breaking that is what matters most. He doesn’t break her trust in him at all. Well, almost. But still, because she understands him no matter what reasons he has. Besides, he sees his mother in Da-jung and it’s also probably the reason why he decided to help her and doesn’t break her trust.

Liar Game has been mind-blowing and fantastic. I am so glad that I didn’t watch while it was airing last year, because I don’t think I could wait a week for next episode. It’s just so darn good! Totally one of favourite shows now. 😀 The ending is bit hanging, kinda open-ended, and definitely trying to tease us for season two. I really do hope there will be second season because they can’t just leave us hanging and wondering about the “real” game Do-young mentioned at the end. This awesome show definitely deserves to have its second season. Let’s wait patiently because it gotta take years and it’ll be all worthwhile if they ever decided to get on it. But, not with that hairdo on Woo-jin, please. xD


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