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?

Comparing Seasons 1 and 2, of The Genius

The hacker, Doohee (두희), on The Genius: Rule Breaker, lost his ID – but eventually, he got it back again. Sangmin (상민) Oppa (오빠) had to make Doohee feel better about this debacle, by insuring him, with the hidden immunity wings, Sangmin Oppa had been searching for, all season. Sangmin Oppa also won the Main Match, in that episode, and received regular immunity.

Information asymmetry. Since so few contestants were even looking for this season’s hidden immunity item, and so few people even found the James Dean Blvd. safe – much less, opened it – Sangmin Oppa could be secure, in fooling the Hacker, by giving Doohee the hidden immunity item’s case, instead. He did not give Doohee the real, legitimate immunity item. Doohee lost the Death Match and went home.

Even though the broadcaster, Yooyung (유영), didn’t find the hidden immunity wings, she was deeply involved in the original plot, to hide Doohee’s token ID chip. Doohee was on the bottom of the pecking order, and Yooyung went up on the block, as a pawn – to use Big Brother terms. Doohee was the real target.

After Jinho (진호) Oppa was eliminated, in Week 8, the Season 1 guest cast-mates coalesced around Sangmin Oppa, solidifying his lead to win. Then Yooyung went home, in that episode. I liked Seonggyu (성규), from Season 1, way more than I liked Lim (임요환), even though Seonggyu was the craftier and meaner one, of the young guy archetype. Lim was just a bland contestant. His in-game weakness was one reason why Sangmin Oppa constantly dominated the Rule Breaker season.

When the eliminated Doohee, Jinho Oppa and Dahye (다혜) – the professional Go player – returned, in the Semifinals, they helped Sangmin Oppa win the elevator race Main Match, sending Lim and the older, former politician, Jeonghyun-ssi (정현-씨), to the Death Match. Lim was saved by Sangmin Oppa’s actual hidden immunity item – not the fake – that he gave Doohee, earlier on, in the season. Jiwon (지원), the rapper, went with Jeonghyun, to the Death Match, instead and Jiwon lost, thereby being eliminated.

Hongchul (홍철) Oppa – a comedian, of the Oppa Gangnam Style music video’s fame – was relying solely on luck, in his final Main Match. He didn’t know or didn’t utilize how the gambling die could be manipulated, to win. Hongchul Oppa did have a good run, though. He got rid of Eunkul (은결), the magician, by tricking him into thinking he was going to betray Jiwon, in an earlier Death Match.

During the memory conveyor belt Death Match, when Hongchul Oppa was eliminated, production played the Sherlock theme. Ironically, Hongchul Oppa couldn’t hack the mystery. He ran out of garnets, during the Main Match and lost that round. Like Sangmin Oppa, Hongchul Oppa doesn’t have a good memory – so Jeonghyun-ssi easily defeated him.

The last moments of Hongchul Oppa, on Season 2, were still entertaining to watch. He was a fun character throughout. Very good TV. The music reached a crescendo, in the Death Match. Jeonghyun-ssi had an ice solid poker face. Hongchul Oppa left the house. But good on The Genius for casting older people and a wide, diverse range of players. The show is a real slice of professional life.

Compared to Rule Breaker, one way The Genius: Season 1, Rules of the Game, was nice, was because of the variety of women, on the cast – Kyeongran (경란) Eonni (언니), Eunji (은지), Yuram (유람) Eonni, Jeongmun (정문), Minseo (민서) Eonni. They were all super smart, with different personal skills. They were all each their own person.