Korean movies have an obsession with the nature of revenge, which is probably because of that whole North Korea thing, and if you've never seen any of Park Chan-wook's movies do yourself a favor and SEE THAT SHIT. I apologize for the emotional scars in advance, though technically they're not my fault.
Early on in this episode, Tony wanders around his bedroom, abandoned by his friends. ("Good."-us, for now) I actually absently thought of an early sequence in Chan-wook's Oldboy (which is one you should ESPECIALLY see. And do it soon, before Spike Lee's American remake ruins it forever. Also, given a certain recent incident in which Spike Lee summoned an angry mob to an elderly couple's house, maybe we should be questioning his nature-of-revenge bonafides). Thematically it's a totally different scene (Oldboy's protagonist is LITERALLY imprisoned whereas Tony is only that way socially), but from those two As we reach similarly disturbing Bs.
To some (or like, all) extent, Tony deserves to be exiled by his friends. But as I watched him help his sister Effy escape from home for the evening, I could feel my sympathies shifting back. Which was kind of uncomfortable.
Effy's a pretty rad character, right?--she doesn't speak a word for almost the entire episode, preferring instead to communicate via smoldering looks and also by burning shit with a lighter. Her anarchic spirit seems more pure than Tony's, like whatever genetic thread made Tony into the Nietzsche-reading semi-sociopath he is ended up even collecting even more strongly in her. The same way a mild poison in a plant ends up killing the bear who eats two of the rabbits who ate the plant. That happens, right?
Effy disappears after getting arrested, and Tony goes out in search of her. He enlists an only partly-willing Sid to help. And much praise is due to Nicholas Hoult in this episode--he slowly relaxes Tony's constant sneer into a very real, very open concern and fear. It's an acting choice that makes you retrospectively appreciate everything he's been doing all season long. Sid goes Ron Weasley on the search team for a brief apology/make-out session with Cassie (CASSIE!!!) and Tony's quest gets very Korean very quickly.
At a Masque Of The Red Death-esque rave, we learn that Josh, the victim of Tony's Murdochian prank, is orchestrating this new plot against Effy and Tony. At this point, the believability of this episode, vis-a-vis the rest of the season so far, should be kind of strained. But for whatever reason, it isn't. Perhaps it's the other-worldly quality Effy brings to the table. She finally speaks, delivering a great, Pinter-esque mini-monologue before overdosing on morphine.
I love that way the doctor completely murders the tension at the end, telling Tony and his parents that Effy's totally fine and that the overdose wasn't even a big deal. It's a way of winning back the viewers who don't have very strong suspension-of-disbelief muscles, but it's also a great knock against other, more serious-to-fault shows. Just because the stakes didn't end up being ridiculously high ("Did somebody say "ridiculously high?"-Effy) doesn't mean what we just saw wasn't important!
Speaking of graceful transitions toward weirdness: this episode has a lot of bizarre imagery, and I love Chris and Anwar's marshmallow pyramid kind of serving as our introduction to it all. Tony knocking it over was his most despicable act this season. But I kind of like him again, I think?
We're one episode away from the end of series 1. Thoughts?