The Legend of “The Genius” – Season 4, Episode 5

Kyeonghun (경훈) got a crack in the case, but the bandits were determined not to be found out, and no one believed Kyeonghun; they just dismissed his hunch. Even when Dongmin (동민) Oppa (오빠) correctly guessed Jeongmun (정문) was a bandit queen, the bandits were determined to survive, and win, while the villagers were just content with not losing.

Jeongmun was just fighting to survive. Kyeongran (경란) Eonni (언니) wasn’t innocent. She was also a bandit. Jeongmun didn’t sell her mentor out. She won legitimately – bandit queen vs. bandit queen. I empathized with Jeongmun so much, at that moment. You have to survive. Hyunmin’s (현민) reaction was mine: big time relief.

Jeongmun’s face, when she found out Kyeongran Eonni was a bandit, was just the best. I was blown away. Jeongmun could at least hide it better. Kyeongran Eonni had zero poker face. That’s how Eonni ended up on Exile Island. Kyeongran Eonni couldn’t stop smiling, for the entire episode. There was no hiding it: she was a bandit through and through. Obvious bandit is obvious. I was Jeongmun, in this video game.

Episode 5 is definitely the best episode, of Season 4 – if not, the entire series. You know a show is a winner, when every time you re-watch it, it gets better and better. I love The Genius. The stage was set for there to be so much drama over whether one bandit would escape, while one innocent person would be sent to the Death Match. Thankfully Kyeongran Eonni was indeed guilty. But that was such a good Main Match and hence, such a good episode. It was true catharsis – like medieval Korean dance, with folk masks, or ancient Greek theater.

Nobody got it right, so the viewer wasn’t the only one fooled. Literally no one, in the house, knew for sure, 100%, that Kyeongran Eonni was a bandit, until the reveal. It’s so ironic that Dongmin Oppa was legitimately the villagers’ king, but by the end of this tumultuous Main Match, half the village put him down as the main suspect, for the bandit king. Dongmin Oppa and Jeongmun got the evil edit and Kyeongran Eonni got the crystal clear, innocent person edit.

Thankfully, like in real life, it was a bit of both: Dongmin Oppa and the villagers weren’t so smart to figure out who all the bandits were – but they weren’t so diabolically self-interested to sacrifice innocent people, just to get ahead in the game. Kyeongran Eonni actually being a bandit queen saved everyone from being forced to go over a pretty steep moral event horizon. The group could have voted out an innocent villager, and maybe justified it or rationalized it – but what would that say about them? What would that say about society?

What NOT to do in The Genius

The true villain of Season 1 was Gura (구라) Oppa (오빠). His fellow cast-mates could not get rid of him fast enough. Once he left, the game could actually get started and the entire Genius house immediately felt lighter.

Jimmy Cha-ssi (차-씨) rubbed some people the wrong way, but he was a nicer person, than Gura Oppa was. Kyeongran (경란) Eonni (언니) literally cried profusely, when he got voted out. Jimmy Cha-ssi was nicer to Eunji (은지). Gura Oppa was always making fun of her. In Season 2, production and casting made sure to get a kind and humorous old man, Jeonghyun-ssi (정현), who then made it to the Semifinals.

Gura Oppa thought he was going to run the game. Sangmin (상민) Oppa also had mastery, of the game, in both Seasons 1 and 2 – but Sangmin Oppa was way more personable and wanted to rule with other people, and with the will of the people, not with an iron fist.

Gura and Poong (풍) were evicted; only Sangmin Oppa escaped the group’s wrath, because he reintegrated himself with everyone else. Poor Sangmin Oppa looked so bored in the Poong/Gura Oppa meeting, in Episode 3. He so wanted to be outside, with everyone else, socializing and eating finger foods. The happiest Gura Oppa moment, was when Gura Oppa was actually a zombie, the whole time. I wish we could have seen more of the happy and kind Gura Oppa.

Sangmin Oppa survived because he was a first adapter. He could see where the wind was blowing. The dominant alliance was shifting. Yuram (유람) Eonni was witness to what saved Sangmin Oppa: Seonggyu (성규)! Sangmin Oppa was able to choose the younger generation.

Both Kyeongran Eonni and Sangmin Oppa were able to choose the younger alliance, in their own ways, and make the Semifinals. They both made quick alliances with Seonggyu. They survived, when their mentors – Jimmy Cha-ssi and Gura Oppa, respectively – both got voted out.

Kyeongran Eonni’s early move, that saved her, was swiping Seonggyu from Minseo (민서) Eonni, in Episode 1. Kyeongran Eonni, the Chairwoman; she won the Main Match, in the Bread and Famine episode too.

I love that Kyeongran Eonni always sat at the head of the table, in strategy meetings. Kyeongran Eonni was also smart in befriending all the females, of the younger generation – Jeongmun (정문), Yuram Eonni, Eunji. I will miss the power quad of Kyeongran Eonni, Yuram Eonni, Eunji and Jeongmun.

Yuram Eonni’s friendship, with Kyeongran Eonni saved her, early on. Yuram Eonni was in the minority alliance, and was all set to be sent home packing, but Kyeongran Eonni swung the two big couples over – Seonggyu and Sangmin Oppa, and Jeongmun and Changyeop (창엽) – creating a new alliance, that sent Minseo Eonni home, instead.

When Jeongmun picked Changyeop, for the Death Match, in the zombie episode, Changyeop picked Sangmin Oppa, and not Poong, to be his yut (윷) partner. It’s like he wanted to lose, because he knew he and Jeongmun were now broken up. They shared train tickets to the Plentiful Land, and it was beyond cute. So sad, that it had to end. Rihanna’s “Stay” played Changyeop out.

Kyeongran Eonni and Seonggyu’s relationship never recovered, from Cha Minsoo-ssi (차민수-씨) being sent home, instead of Seonggyu. When Seonggyu was “supposed” to go home, he won his yut game – but in the episode, where he was “supposed” to win the Main Match (the 2nd horse race betting game), he instead got sent to the Death Match, and he lost his second yut game.

Kyeongran Eonni should come back, in a future season, and be the first woman to win The Genius. The zombie Main Match win was when the balance of power definitively shifted to the future Semifinalists – Kyeongran Eonni, Sangmin Oppa and the ultimate Season 1 winner, Jinho (진호) Oppa.