There’s got to be touches of real-life stories in the anecdotes we’re seeing in Prison Playbook. It really feels like the writer, Jung Bo Hoon, has done his research. Mostly because I would NEVER in a thousand years dream up an opening scene like the one we got with Kaist feeding his nicotine addiction and hiding it by blowing smoking into a tube in the toilet. That image is going to stick with me for a while.
This episode revolved around belief: Kaist’s misplace belief in Je Hyeok’s athleticism, ex-girlfriend Ji Ho’s belief in what Je Hyeok actually wants in life, and Demon Captain’s desire to be believed.
When Je Hyeok Fails, Try, Try Again
Poor Kaist. He thought he had a great way to get cigarettes smuggled into the prison, by relying on Je Hyeok to win one of the many sports competitions the churches were putting on during the sports festival week. But as my momma would say, “It’s a good thing that boy is pretty.” Je Hyeok just has NO common sense and an unconscious need to catch things.
And when he’s not supposed to.
Kaist yelling his frustrations into a large bucket made me laugh AND made me yell at him to win his own dang contests to get the prize his wife was smuggling in.
All of this led to a delightful turn of events, however, when Kaist recruits Looney, the drug-addled chaebol, to win the quiz bowl for him. Turns out that Looney needs a certain amount of drugs in his system to function properly. I was very conflicted, because I really like drugged up Looney–even his voice became more tolerable and he was SUPER intelligent.
It reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld trolls, who function better the colder they are, but the optimal temperature for full troll function is not that far from the optimal temperature for full troll death. Looney may be smarter when he’s high, but the likelihood is that it’ll kill him too.
Dreaming of Saving Face
Seriously, what lunacy is this? Ji Ho thought of it, Bestie Guard recruited, and ALL of Je Hyeok’s cell mates participated? And the genius plan was to pretend that Je Hyeok’s deceased coach came to him in a dream and told him not to give up baseball? Complete with dry ice??
I love that the actual dream re-enactment got told in incredulous conversations, instead of shown. It was a clever move to show us some side characters’ reactions. But mostly I was intrigued to see that Ji Ho still knows Je Hyeok so very well—since he opted not to get the surgery, she knew he really wanted to get back into baseball. He just needed a way to save face. I adored that his cell mates were totally willing to help. It’s fascinating to watch them become a unit, and makes me wonder what the future holds for them.
Demon Captain Isn’t a Demon?!
In this episode, we see how frustrated Demon Captain is with his therapist, and he accuses her of not believing him. Of course, as a casual viewer, it’s pretty easy to write off his protests about being believed, especially after seeing his brutal backstory. So when Demon Captain breaks out of his cell and starts attacking Lieutenant Motormouth, I thought he was headed to solitary. But it ended up being the most shocking part of the episode to me–Demon Captain actually saved the lieutenant’s life. WHAT.
I remember reading an article about a prisoner saving a guard’s life a few years ago. Suddenly, like Lieutenant Sinatra, we see Demon Captain and his situation in a new light. His backstory looked brutal, but maybe it’s not? I don’t want to see Jung Hae In as evil, but y’all know I appreciate range, too. This twist is fascinating and I can’t wait to watch episode seven. And our unexpected hero definitely has earned the right to be called by his name instead of Demon Captain. Captain Yoo he will be from now on.
Until the next roll call, drama fans, I remain–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi