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Friday, April 23, 2021

Cubic (A SnarkCap) – Episode 12

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Shuk: You would think with all the stay-at-home orders, there would be more time to continue our delightful path down Cubic’s Way. But as one of the ‘front line’ employees in this crisis, it’s been remarkably tough to find any groove to write up anything. But I know this must be completed! The world must know Truth, Justice, and the Lin Lan Ser Way!
Kmuse: I’m ready to find out if we finally have some conversation between the leads or it is more cringey staring. Who am I kidding? There is going to be a lot of cringey staring.
Trotwood: With all the changes going on in the real world (sometimes every hour), it’s sort of comforting to know that Nark’s obliviousness is ever constant. 

By the way, this one has a lot of slow-motion camera work, and lots of staring. I mean, more than the usual Cubic episode.
Like I said “ever constant.”

Episode 12

Our silly buffoon bad guy knocks on a door, holding a flower bouquet. The room contains Mina Mouse and Nark, but it’s not Nark’s container home. Are the episodes out of sync?
I remember thinking that this was the “safe house” Lin Lan Ser provided and being mad that Nark still had her container house while Mina Mouse was treated like a royal guest.

The guards say uh-uh, no way Jose. They are orders from JongSing not to allow entrance to any bad-dressing guys named Puey In.
 
The girls hear the exchange, and Mina immediately jumps up to the door, willing to open it and talk. HKP ends up apologizing through the door for his previous brutish behavior. And asking for forgiveness. And asking to see her.

Mina peeks through the peephole and sees a sad face in an ugly jacket. He wanted to tell her, that he heard her calling his name when he was injured. He gets all teary-eyed round-face.

Mina holds fast, and Puey In sadly walks away. She then opens the door and retrieves the flowers. I still think he shouldn’t be forgiven, but I have to admit the bouquet is pretty spectacular. 
Nope. Those are expensive flowers. He didn’t go cheap here.
From this scene, we know that Mina is going to forgive him for all his kidnapping, rapey, creepy ways. Glad to know that an expensive bouquet can make human sex trading OK. Also, is it just me, or is Nark getting a bit more glamorous with her styling?
I remember thinking “That’s it? Flowers are going to do it? We are forgetting the need to use a plunger to protect yourself?” smh.

At school the next day, Nark is asleep at her desk. Teacher chastises her but becomes concerned about her temperature. She gets sent to the infirmary, and naturally Danny has to accompany her.

A 1970’s-style mercury thermometer says 40C/104F. Oops, Nark’s brains are frying! A couple of pills and some sleep will set her to rights! Danny gets chased back to class.
Why did you have to make her sick? She could be just tired. I mean she has half a dozen jobs and almost got shot, but . . .

A short time later, Principal struts down the corridor, and the guards can’t hold back the squealing fangirls. LLS ends up at the infirmary, staring at our sleeping geeeenius.

He checks her temperature with a hand on a cheek and a hand on the forehead. He’s about to check her temperature with his lips…but he gets interrupted.
His lips? I thought LLS was just going a bit pervy by sniffing her hair. I guess the censors allow creepy sniffing but not lips to the forehead. Got it.
 
It’s Danny, who snarks at the touching scene. (Somebody had to) Does LLS not like her looks? Or is the big bad mafioso scared of his feelings? LLS grabs Danny’s sweater and threatens to punch him. Nice! A powerful adult ready to get violent with a juvenile.
If I were Danny, I would just be tired of watching this couple dance around what is happening to the point of offering to help. But then I can see why LLS could be annoying.

Well, Danny is a beatboxing, ThaiPop-dancing punk, but he knows how to needle our guy. He points out that Nark’s debt was cancelled when she saved his life in the warehouse. So why doesn’t he let her go? Why isn’t he open about his feelings and the real reason he can’t release her? He should show courage; or maybe this punk will steal Belle out from under the Beast’s nose. He tosses Nark’s backpack to LLS, and with a jaunty wave and a few spins, prances out the door.
Every time I see him dancing at these inappropriate moments, I just shake my head. Did he add this, or did the the director? Can you see the notes in the script: “And now Danny again dances his way out of the scene. Try to make each one a bit different but still in Danny’s ‘style'”.

And the only thing LLS does is call him crazy and then stare at Nark. And think. And stare some more. And think some more.
Stare. Think. Stare. Think. Stare. Think. He has to do extra because there are no stairs around and he’s alone in the staring. This is his solo, one-level version of the Men on Stairs (MoS) stare.

She, of course, wakes up when he checks her temperature, and freaks out at the lateness of the hour. She cutely grabs his hand and begs forgiveness. After a moment of looking at their entwined hands, he shakes her hand away and growls that he is not some young boy. #AeygoDenied
 
She chases after him, since he grabbed her backpack and stomped away. Down the corridor, he lets her beg over and over again, in slo-mo, while he ever so slightly grins.
I am so easy. These slight responses go such a long way to keep me watching.

We get mood changing music and see Nan sneaking out to speak with the owner of the house they are staying. She comes up with an excuse to see the business card that was left when LLS’s thugs previously came by looking for the father-daughter pair.
It’s amazing how attractive a rich, handsome, mafia/school principal can become when compared to an option of life on the run with a completely incompetent father.
Truth.

She dials up on her cell phone (and how has she kept up payments?). It’s the Evil Henchman from Episode 10! She offers herself into his clutches, and they agree on a rendezvous point.
It’s been months since I watched an episode and I still intensely dislike this character and her useless father.
They are such a waste in these scenes. I mean we just don’t need them to move the story forward.

Back at LLS’s office, Nark is listing some of her older sister’s likes and dislikes. She talks about Sis’s love of ballet and starts twirling around the office. Naturally, LLS gets all sparkly-eyed as it all goes slo-mo and ends with Nark smiling at him.
She is really pretty.

He shakes himself and orders her back to work. He doesn’t need a lot of Nan-details because his servant is expected to come by every day with another tidbit of information.
 . . . And because long ago he has stopped caring.

She starts her work while he reads. Multiple zoomstares! It’s like her brain is trying to puzzle out his behavior. During her fever, did it cook enough to link 2 plus 2?
Nark is probably questioning what she can do to convince LLS that Nan is the best thing since sliced bread. Although why she is trying since the whole reason she is working is to not have her sister become a mistress is confusing. 
I think she is just trying to figure him out. Because she has a mindblock about the real reason he wants her near him all the time, she has to come up with some other reason, and I bet she can’t come up with anything because NOTHING ELSE makes any sense.

She finally asks why he agreed to the 20 million baht loan, when he’s a handsome rich boy. A mild affection for the sister, but not enough to dissolve the debt, this is his answer.
Boo. That was weak.

Nark changes direction and starts to ask LLS about his own likes and dislikes, favorite sports and favorite type of woman. He stares until she’s uncomfortable and ready to drop it…then he speaks.

    

– He likes navy blue and black
– His favorite food is “mapo tofu”, a Sichuan Chinese dish of silky tofu and minced pork in a spicy chili and bean sauce
– He prefers tennis 🎾 and basketball 🏀

Annnnd. at this time, he thinks about that last question (what type of woman he likes), and he says…Ruthainark 💟

And all she says is “Huh?” Cue me headbanging on desk…
So dense.
I think I passed out briefly the first time I watched because I hit my forehead so hard.
 
He calls her crazy under his breath. He should have called her an idiot to her face. They get back to work, but spend a lot of time glancing back and forth. All done to an a capella version of their theme song.
There are so many versions of this song. I keep waiting for a bluegrass version.

At a tasteful restaurant, JS eats alone, at a table just across from LLS and Mei Jin. MJ is channeling her 40’s look with Victory Roll bangs and a leather and quilted dress with appliqued sequined sugar skulls. Both of them looked bored. Well, she does. LLS is too busy mooning over Nark photos on his phone.
I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying because I was distracted by her bangs.

MJ’s chandelier earrings swing around as she speculates whether Yong Wen murdered his wife. LLS doesn’t care and admits he’s not even listening to his dinner date. She must be used to it because she keeps talking about the situation. Ultimately, she is worried that YW will now target LLS.
Poor MJ. Why does she even put up with this? Also, how can she love him? I mean how can she know anything about him enough to love him when he never says anything? His fondness for Nark is fairly new, but it’s not like he was chatty and warm with her before.
I think before he paid attention to her as a friend or escort, but now he isn’t even giving her that little bit.

JS stops by the table with the news that Evil Henchman has Nan with him. Should he give the go-ahead to kill BadDad? LLS appears to think for a moment, then says to just bring the runaway pair back to his lair. Of course he wouldn’t kill his potential Father-In-Law! MJ listens to the two guys talk with a frown on her face. She must be worried that her tenuous hold on LLS will disappear, but she doesn’t tell him. Awkward silence ensues.
How can this be anything but awkward? She’s sitting with him while he talks about the woman that caused him to hold a teenager hostage. She has to wonder about this competition since he’s never put that kind of effort into their relationship.
 
MJ gets up and leaves and LLS doesn’t even notice. She thinks Nan is going to be her rival for his love, and she will be pushed to the side now that the little chit is on her way.
MJ is one of the smartest characters in this show. Her only blindspot is not realizing Nark is a rival. And really, wouldn’t most people discount the underage high school student?
Especially given that Nark seems to be exactly opposite of LLS’s type as well as how she’s convinced herself and MJ that she’s his servant to be used as bait.

Wait! Jong Sing also ignores her. JS! Snap out of it! Chase her into a kabedon in the restaurant foyer and tell her how you feel? [sigh] These two boys really suck at relationships.
I think they are different. JS knows about his feelings but he is loyal to LLS before everything, AND he knows that MJ is, too. He would never try to make MJ feel more uncomfortable than she already does.

 

This is what we all want to see from Jong Sing. But we never do. Waaeee??

Back at Chaihong Group, JS dumps a bunch of files in front of Nark, telling her to read and understand everything and then regurgitate a synopsis to LLS. Nark says no, JS says yes. He is going out of town for a few days on business, and she will be LLS’s PA.

She also has to take an IQ test. It looks like it was quickly printed off the internet and full of True/False questions, but she starts filling it out. She muses that everyone wants to know her IQ.

 

All that manual works she does, and yet her hands are still soft and pretty.

She completes the test, but LLS is nowhere to be found. Actually, he is snoozing in a bedroom off his main office area. It’s a different vest and shirt from the silent lunch, so I guess this is another day?
To be honest, I think it’s really been the quality vests that kept me coming back to this show.

Anyways, she sneaks a peek at his face, starting with his chin and working her way up. She whispers “sweet dreams, and…” and starts to walk away. He opens his eyes and asks, “Sweet dreams and what else?”
There is an unconscious part of her that recognizes the potential fine qualities of this man. But to her, he’s like a movie star or sports god. Someone out of her league. 
 
That surprises Nark. She stammers and tries to leave, but LLS just grabs her wrist. She pulls away but hands her IQ test to him, apologizing for waking him up.

He wonders why she is always apologizing; she responds that she wants him to be less angry at her all the time. Then she gets all shy and leaves.

Whoa! A real smile! Bomb’s acting is amazing!!
Aww…Cuteness overload.
Smiling shaves 5-8 years off his face.
Actually shaving would probably take off a few years as well.

Nark is back at the coffee table, reading and consolidating all the data left her. She stops for an occasional stretch, but that’s it.

Until an arm hands her LLS’s Special Monte Cristo Lunch With Ginger Tea. The big guy is finally awake. And showing off another lovely tea set, just for Trotwood!
I was thinking that even in the restaurant scene above the china is quite nice. There is so much fine china in this show that I can’t help to think it must belong to someone on the production team. It’s not the kind of thing you’d spend time renting so many different kinds.

He gets to stare at her while she wolfs it all down. Her mouth is covered in mayonnaise as she hands him her report. She coughs a little from eating too fast. He hands her his handkerchief so she can wipe her face.
Mayonnaise is not at all sexy. That is how you know LLS is really ga ga crazy over her.
Nodding.
 Now she gets to stare while he looks over her report, although she denies it when she’s caught red-handed. It doesn’t matter, he cheekily tells her she can peek at him whenever she wants. Cue a mutual staring session until she looks away. He leaves but warns her to stay in the office until he comes back.
Don’t forget the music. We always have some version of their theme song (TS) during the staring or (SA–Stare acting)

Nark is still working when MJ stops by, in a fully ruched power dress and tasseled red earrings. The older woman offers to take Nark to dinner and discuss…her sister. She tells Nark that her sister has been captured. Cue the fake surprise. Oh…LLS didn’t tell you, little girl?

This is the first time Mei Jin has done something underhanded, darn it. And I was liking her so far. Well, not her fashion sense. Now Nark is all sorts of worried for her sister. It doesn’t look like she’s not worried for her dad, which is perfectly okay by me.
There is so much wasted effort on these two.

We get epic danger music as LLS stalks down a hotel hallway. It looks familiar. No wonder! He’s come to Mina Mouse’s room. Good news! He’s arranged for her to return to Thailand tomorrow. She’s frets a little, and it’s not because of the cutaway turtleneck sweater.
under a jumper no less. Who designed these outfits?!?!

We get minutes of her stuttering and hemming and hawing, until she admits that she wants to stay. At least a little longer. LLS puts down his teacup in disbelief. What is her reason for refusing to leave? We get more uh…uh…uh…until.

Bam! The hotel room flies open. It’s Hong Kong Puey, in a horrid combination red and blue checks, blue polo shirt, and some sort of patterned scarf/ascot/thing?
Hong Kong Puey’s fashion decisions make my eyes hurt. If Mina can get past that then maybe they can resolve his kidnapping issues.
Maybe she’s cold and is thinking that he could share some of his layers?

Anyways, LLS’s henchmen point guns at the intruder after the fact, as LLS demands he leave. HKP refuses, and Mina steps between them.
 
Immediately our sartorial disaster starts apologizing. Then Mina apologizes. Then Puey In apologizes. Then LLS tells them to knock it off. Mina has to make a decision.

HKP shouts the “L” word a couple of times, and she’s swayed. He promises to be a good man if she only agrees to stay with him. She agrees, and LLS backs down and removes his men.  HKP may now be a ‘good guy’, but he’s still an ineffectual loser of a businessman. Well, maybe she can change that too. She is the smarter of the two. I think she should keep the plunger handy, just in case.

Outside the hotel room, LLS flashes back to a convo with Jong Sing: If he finds Nantaka, what will he do with Ruthainark? And to Danny’s challenge at the school to do something about his crush. And to JSS telling him to let Nark go free.
Seriously, if HKP can find love with the woman he kidnapped . . .

The two lovebirds are billing and cooing, oblivious to anything else going on. HKP had better pay the hotel bill after all this mess.

Outside, we have stairs! (I was so excited to see women on stairs–this happens so rarely) Nark and MJ are talking. Well, really, MJ is fishing for information on her potential rival. She admits she plans to compete with her sister for LLS’s affections. Mei Jin admits to loving LLS and never wanting his money, acknowledging that he doesn’t love her even though she is publicly his woman. Perhaps Nark should advise her sister to back off.

MJ goes down the stairs with her bodyguards and leaves Nark to think about their conversations.

LLS arrives back at the office, calling for his girl temporary personal assistant, but the office is empty. A brief moment later, MJ and Nark show up, and MJ admits to kidnapping her to lunch. LLS is still angry and demands to know why Nark disobeyed his orders. Mei Jin tries to diffuse the situation. LLS brushes her off and orders her to leave. She scoffs that Nark is a debtor, not a slave, but Lan Ser snarls at her again, and she finally leaves.
I thought she would get suspicious here. LLS, despite being a mafia/high school principal (occupations where I’d think you’d yell or want to a lot), rarely loses his temper. He seems to only really snarl when it involves Nark. JSS has figured this out. Why hasn’t she?

Poor Nark is looking at the ground and nearly in tears as he yells at her further. When she finally looks at him, she sinks to her knees and formally apologizes. He’s surprised.

He’s even more nonplussed when she begs him not to do anything to her sister, that she will work harder to pay her family’s debt, and that she will bear everything as long as he leaves Nan alone.
This is the moment where some candid conversation would make a big difference LLS. Man up already.

He’s getting more upset and confused, until, in desperation, Nark wai’s to his feet. He yanks her up and warns her to never ever do that again.
He actually seems genuinely upset that she is prostrating herself before him. He has allowed himself to completely forget why she is really here in the first place, doesn’t he?

She promises to stay as long as she needs. Of course, the only thing he hears is that she will stay. He softens immediately. I’m pretty sure they are having two completely different conversations, but whatever.

He promises not to touch Nantaka, as long as Ruthainark stays with him. Relieved, she drops to the floor to wai his feet again, promising to stay and repay until the debt is completely gone. More staring, she all smiley and happy, he just…staring.
Not staring. Stare Acting. There’s a difference.

On a remote airstrip, a cute little plane lands. Jong Sing is there to meet it. So is LLS and his favorite chauffeur. Nark starts to wildly wave as soon as she sees her sister and father in the plane. Run and hug! And ignore Dad! She doesn’t listen to me, of course.
I can’t believe she is at all interested in a father who basically sold her off.

The only thing Dad says is “I’m sorry.” Jerkwad. Nark ends up hugging him anyway. He says he always knew she would survive. Nan is worried that her younger sister is no longer “intact”. Even BadDad is surprised nothing happened. Nice, you ass. After all that “she’ll be fine” BS, you actually expected her to be used goods.
These two might even beat out Hong Kong Puey as being the ultimate ethical loser of the show.
 
She is happy to tell them that 2 million HKD has already been paid back. Which also surprises that useless sperm donor. Together, the trio walk back to the limousine. Nan and LLS finally get their first real look at each other. She’s thinking he is pure hotness and is quite ready to trip and fall under him.

He, on the other hand, is completely expressionless, more so than usual. After a few moments, he tells Nark they need to leave, while her family stays with Jong Sing and the rest of the henchman. As they drive off, Nan looks at the Mercedes with a complicated look.
Wait. Is she even capable of a complicated look. She looks like she has to pee and her ride to the bathroom just left.

Nark questions why it’s just the two of them in the car. LLS’s excuse? He wanted his driver to see her family before they headed out for business. She is happy for his generosity. He curtly tells her to hurry up, then puts on the shades so he can secretly watch her through the rear-view mirror.

On the runway, Nan gives a final glance to LLS’s vehicle before the rest of them pile into the last car.

They end up in the same hotel room that Mina Mouse recently vacated. (Well, LLS probably had it paid for already) Dad’s first action is to look around and see how rich the surroundings are. Ugh.

He is curious why he and his older daughter are unscathed in all this mess. JS tells him to ask his younger daughter or LLS when he sees them.
 
He starts grinning with a chuckle, happy that Nark didn’t disappoint him. That she survived and that everyone accepts her. He is very relaxed and calm. Does anyone remember when Dad vehicular-homicided a man? How tiny is his soul?
Soul? What soul?

Meanwhile, Nan is thinking about her new role as a gangster’s moll and smiling. I guess those souls don’t fall far from the tree. Her 1890 Newsie sister isn’t smiling, thinking about her  P’ in the clutches of her boss.

Comic relief! Danny shows up with a dance routine that…well I can’t describe it. But here it is…
 
In case anyone is wondering, this dance has nothing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the plot.

Nark is too lost in thought to notice her buddy until he’s almost in her face. She’s trying to think of ways to bring in more money. Like, does his father need any more help smuggling guns?

He dissuades her away from getting tangled in a circle of crime. She is worried about her sister, though, and what may happen to her.
Ha! Nan and LLS wouldn’t make a very dramatic stair staring entrance. I have this image of Nan trying to stare only to go cross-eyed when it turns out to be too complicated for her shallow brain. 

Danny tries another tack. Maybe Nark is feeling possessive over her boss? She vehemently denies it, since a man like LLS would never like a plain girl like her. Danny smiles. Nark doesn’t want Nan to like him! Danny looks ready to pound some sense into his friend.
Please do, Danny.
 
LLS is relaxing in his apartment, drinking out of a champagne flute, reading his driver’s IQ test. It’s 153. [Note: People of this level include: President Jimmy Carter, Rush’s late drummer Neil Peart, Alicia Keys, Colin Firth, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ben Stein, to name a few.]

LLS recalls that BadDad once said that Ruthainark would benefit him more than Nantaka. He believes Dad had an ulterior motive for this transaction.
He’s not wrong here. Can you imagine Nan managing 1/8 of the things Nark has? LLS would be dead by now if not for her.

In the hotel room, Nan is getting all antsy. Dad’s in a nice suit now and heading out to meet the big guy. He reassures his older daughter that he will be fine.

At their meeting, LLS demands an explanation for Dad’s actions. Dad was aware of Nark’s braniac-ess. And we find out that the timeline has been three months since this began. Dad asks whether JS and LLS know about the Ngao “Shadow” of the Chaihong group. Why?

Because he knew of the identity of the previous Shadow. The Shadow was his best friend, but he didn’t know what business he was in until he dropped off his baby daughter and begged Dad to take care of her.
So are we all supposed to feel better because Nark isn’t his biological daughter? I just thought it made sense. No way could she be that smart and they be that dumb. Then again, she still hasn’t figured out how LLS feels, so . . .

We get a flashback scene. It appears the former Khun Lin (Lan Ser’s father) and the Shadow were ambushed at a bar and both died protecting each other. And now we see where the tradition of turtlenecks and odd shiny fabrics came from.
 
Back in the present, JS realizes that BadDad had sent the Shadow’s daughter to the Leader’s son.

FINAL COMMENTS

Now that Stupid Nan and Murdering Dad are back, can we make them go away for good?Somehow the final revelation didn’t seem so surprising. There had to be a reason why Ruthainark, in her entire life, thought she was somehow worthless compared to everyone else. I can’t believe anyone would treat the child of their dead supposed best friend that way.
It was a relief to me because I wanted her to be as little connected to BadDad and Nan as possible. It also shows why she is so good at her job even if she is so clueless in her relationships.It is no surprise that BadDad is not her biological father. No way a man like that could give birth to anything that isn’t a soulless shallow parasite.

I’m still trying to figure out her bang action.

 


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