Deus Ex Rugal
Rugal returns this week with another episode of plot contrivances and conveniences. The story lacks the substance and meaty hook needed to keep things consistently exciting and at the moment the series feels like it’s descending to The Game: Towards Zero levels of questionable cat-and-mouse dodging.
Episode 7 of Rugal begins with Ki-Beom tasking Bradley to take the Chairman to safety. Meanwhile, the AI sensor inside Ki-Beom’s eyes plead with him not to leave the scene of the crime or it will be considered murder. Instead, he connects with HQ and shows them, through his eyes, the wounded Deuk-Gu. As Ki-Beum walks toward him, Min-Joong suddenly appears but this time he has super strength. Unfortunately it’s enough for Deuk-Gu to slip away.
Gwang-Cheol, Mi-Na and Tae-Woong pass Deuk-Gu in the car and do a 180, turning around to chase him. However, Deuk-Ga is smarter than them and changes cars as Dal-Ho picks him up, slipping through Rugal’s grasp once more. Deuk-Ga also heals himself from the deadly poison but thankfully Rugal do have Yong-Deok as a consolation prize.
Back at Rugal HQ they inject Yong-Deok with a serum that’ll keep him alive for now but with every shot he needs to administer, he’ll lose time off his life. While Geun-Cheol tries to strike a deal with him, Ye-Won phones Ki-Beom and suggests a plan to kill Deuk-Gu. He meets her in the street and they take a walk together, where she talks about a party being thrown at her property. With all the big names gathered in one place, it’s the perfect time for Deuk-Gu to meet an untimely demise – as long as Ki-Beom doesn’t make a mistake that is.
With this weighing over him, he meets Tae-Woong and apologises. After talking about their priorities, the four team members run across the beach for training while back in the office, Bradley and Gwang-Cheol cower in the presence of Susan, believing her to be cold and calculated.
As the shadowy players at Argos start to conspire and make their moves, Dr Oh is kidnapped. This, of course, threatens the entire operation and it forces Rugal into trying to get him back before it’s too late. Thanks to Ki-Beom’s eyes, they spy Dr Oh lying on the ground so Mi-Na rushes off to grab him. Only, he tasers her in the neck and causes a group of hooded thugs to arrive and take her away.
Ki-Beom goes searching but his eyes start short-circuiting when he does so. He phones Bradley, who pleads with him to stop as it takes a long time to recover the feed. Only, given he’s found Mi-Na’s sensor on the ground, Bradley manages to restore his vision. Unfortunately, Mi-Na hasn’t just been kidnapped by anyone, it’s Deuk-Gu.
With Ki-Beom going off on his own, Tae-Woong decides to wake Yong-Deok up and ask him for help. Only, he stabs Tae-Woong with a needle he snatched before being brought there but in doing so, starts bleeding from the mouth and collapses.
Mi-Na is beaten to a pulp by Deuk-Ga’s men but Ki-Beom arrives to save her, sacrificing himself in the process to let her get away. As the episode closes out, Deuk-Gu knocks Ki-Beom out and bundles him onboard a lorry. Only, he actually isn’t knocked out and instead, overpowers the two guards and decides to pursue Deuk-Gu and beat him from the inside of his operation, as the lorry drives away unaware he’s alive and kicking in the back.
With lots of convenient plot devices and characters managing to break out of sticky situations, Rugal has a tendency to fly head-first into these plot tropes and not always come out unscathed the other side. It’s a pity too because the show does have some golden moments – namely in this episode the hilarious chat between Bradley and Gwang-Cheol about Susan – but these moments feel too infrequent to make this a consistent and compelling watch.
As we cross the halfway point of the show it looks like this deux ex machina carousel isn’t going to slow down any time soon, which is a shame because Rugal does have some promise. Whether it can shake the tropes and live up to that though, remains to be seen.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!