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  #1  
Old 24 Oct 16, 07:38
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For Erik eyes only
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Do not nonErik here


Rankings as after Episode 1:

1.


MJ Kim


First by a mile, even before Human Janggi.

2.


Kwon Asol

Although he tailed off towards the end of the episode, this guy's actions and Hweejong vibe are strong.

3.


Yang Sangguk

Not sure I like this guy at all but his power is undeniable at this stage. Dongmin vibes ofc but unsure yet if he really has the jazz when it comes down to it.

4.


Oliver Jang

True low-level schemer vibes from this villain but his efforts to create a legit Gentlemen League in the chillzone of Nopdong have to be recognised and appreciated.

5.


Chae Jiwon

Very excellent vibes. Great as the team representative and also strong in the BTS. Actual use in games unknown.

6.


Pharoh

Made some missteps for sure and very vulnerable, but this guy's general vibe and hair are v strong, and he's come out swinging in the opening stages.

7.


Lee Haesung

Despite making an extremely dumb -if understandable- mistake, and drinking a glass full of maggots for no reason, this guy ends up as a winner imo. Undeniably strong and a potentially very spicy meatball in Madong going forwards. Good character also.

8.


Macho Yoon

This buffoon and genuinely awful human has won me over almost already. Truly incredible achievement.

9.


Hyun Kyungryul

Unexpectedly spicy contestant. Could well be all mouth and no trousers but his willingness to stir shit is a strong positive, as is his weirdo normie screen presence.

10.


Shin Jaehyuk

Kind of think this guy is awful? But providing entertainment.

11.


Jung Injik

A calming physical presence, like Kimahri.

12.


Hong Sahyuk

Guy seems like a total goob. Big fan.

13.


Park Hael

Decent vibes, looks like they could be in to the old wormtongue game on the sly too.

14.


Choi Seolhwa

Good at remembering colours I guess? Seems to have blown her starting capital extremely quickly with nothing to show for it.

15.


Park Seohyun

Potentially spicy down the line.

16.


Yang Jian

Good early vibes but went missing on Day 2.

17.


Hanbyul

This palette-swap Pycelle has fucked himself very fast.

18.


Lim Donghwan

Total nosedive in to obscurity after his high-power entrance. Biggest disappointment of the episode.

19.


Yun Taejin

Maybe undeserved but made some poor plays and did not endear herself to me.

20.


Steven Lee

Who is this?

21.


Hwang Insun

Seems rubbish.

22.


Kim Heejun

"I suck a lot" - Kim Heejun


Village Rankings

1. Madong
2. Nopdong

Pretty undeniable after the opening first 2 days. Despite Nopdong's imo greater potential for spicy meatballs going forward, and 4 of my top 6, Madong is unquestionably in the ascendancy and setting the pace.
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Old 24 Oct 16, 11:20
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Good writeup Ben!
  1. MJ - No contest. Good to see her finally being able to prove herself. Nopdong have a fucking MMA fighter in their ranks, but chose a rapper to do the grappling game because he's male. Korean guys, please get a grip.
  2. Asol - High potential to go far. Strong in games, and also seems like a bit of a schemer.
  3. Macho - This guy has some serious Hongchul potential. Also one of the first to scheme in secret without telling everyone else five minutes later.
  4. Jiwon - She was great at the Jjangi game, even insulting Sangguk by talking informally. Thought she would be the lamest, seems pretty spicy!
  5. Sangguk - The guy is trying to fit in larger schemer's boots than he can handle, and I think it's gonna cost him. Bring lots of colour to the show, though.
  6. Pharoh - This guy has a lot to prove. Tries to roll with the great leader-vibe, but doesn’t really have the chops for it. Great hair though, like you say.
  7. Haesung - Lol, what an embarrassing display. Drank bug shake and got nothing for it. Still, I think he has potential for vengeance.
  8. Kyungryul - Seems worthless in scheming, but will probably be fun in the games.
  9. Seolhwa - I like how she was instantly cool with rebelling against bug eater.
  10. Taejin - Felt pretty bad for her. She really didn’t get a chance to prove herself. Unsure why everyone thought she should go and not Insun, who seems completely rubbish.

The rest I have no real opinion on yet. I’m slightly Nopdong-biased. Glad Asol and MJ are on different teams, or else it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.
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Old 31 Oct 16, 04:29
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Default Rankings as at Episode 2

TOP TIER

1.


MJ Kim

Essentially unmoveable after last episode, but a display of a little political savvy, a heroic stoic defeat at the table and her statement -on Day 3 of a show in which she wore activewear on Day 2- that's she's out of tshirts ensure a solid first place.

2.


Kwon Asol

No change at number 2 either, if anything he's solidified his position. Foregoing the prize money this round and having a sharp nose for Haesung, he's establishing himself as not just co-leader but even the power behind the throne.

3.


Lee Haesung

Haesung himself soars right in to third. The huge early reveal both totally changes the Madong dynamic and creates a potential timebomb. Becoming my favourite player of the game. Big bonus points for killing the chicken too.

4.


Oliver Jang

Warming to this guy even as he plays himself in to a corner. Don't see him lasting long right now but he is an excellent presence on the show, poking the hornets nest of Nopdong over and over even if it's him getting stung over and over. Ice cold bare-hands chicken murder and his inexplicable switching to American English, this guy is full of top content.

5.


Yang Sangguk

Showed some naivete in the world of court intrigue today, but still places high as the Madong leader. His team's performance at the game again, his money strategy and his refusal to use the blacklist and his tears at the concept of exiling one of his own make me think he might actually be a good one.

6.


Pharoh

Remains extremely powerful in Nopdong even if I can't work out why. Like MJ Kim, had the strong stoic role in the game. Seems a major player despite his taciturn nature. V intriguing guy.


MIDDLE TIER

7.


Kim Heejun

The highest climber of all, basically all for a single word. Quite possibly batshit insane but I loved it. Seems to be brokering power quite well too in his time at the top. May have secured himself a position in Nopdong High Command, and is certainly the most intriguing enigma right now. Think he also cooked the egg soup?

8.


Lim Donghwan

Finally showing off the personality that got him to the finals of a 2014 Cool Guy contest. Seems genuinely very likeable, good approach to Nopdong and if the game is anything to go off he is really strong.

9.


Hyun Kyungryul

The PD is as responsible for this guy's charm as anyone, but he's a good vent for Madong and hopefully people are appreciating his actual game skills now too.

10.


Park Hael

Pretty sharp game sense when a lot of people are still showing none. We'll have to see if it comes to anything as she's very much staying away from the centres of power.

11.


Hong Sahyuk

This guy has a bit of a mountain to climb. He's isolated socially and quite vulnerable. He's smarter than most of Nop but isn't managing to translate that to individual or team success. A dynamic pivot could save this guy or he could sink like a stone.

12.


Chae Jiwon

Quiet game but she's still a likeable presence.

13.


Steven Lee

Shirtless scene alone has kept him above the flotsam and jetsam.

14.


Macho Yoon

Oh wow. His intrigue game is pretty much peerless on his side of the fence but holy shit he was fucking awful. Does he have a brain disease? Did unbelievably good diplo to even stay alive. This guy is all over the place. Certainly one to watch but it's a lot harder to see him as impressive after watching him fail so completely.

BOTTOM TIER

15.


Yang Jian

A handful of good lines but lacking real presence still.

16.


Jung Injik

I basically can't tell him and Steven Lee apart.

17.


Hwang Insun

Feel more convinced that she is rubbish, but her dabbling in to scheming and decent vibe are keeping her off the bottom.

18.


Shin Jaehyuk

Yeah this guy blows. Seems barely conscious. But still helped provide one of the episode's key moments.

19.


Choi Seolhwa

Adrift at sea. Needs a strong showing soon.

20.


Park Seohyun

Did nothing of note.

21.


Hanbyul

Just making up the numbers.


Village Rankings

1. Madong
2. Nopdong


So the dictatorship is the nice team that works smoothly together and everyone benefits, and the democracy is a crazy dictatorship that's barely held together. Nopdong remains the one with more irons in the fire, and early episode flashes of drama in Madong seemed to get smoothed out, but Ma's performance and actions are unassailable.
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Old 2 Nov 16, 21:36
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Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Sangook : Diamond
Digging him more and more. Really benevolent leader who nonetheless haven't suffered a team loss yet. Easy days for him right now.

Asol : Diamond
Didn't do very much this episode. Still like him a lot. Friendly giant type dude.

Insun : Bronze
Did more this time. Okay chats about alliances. Still seems dumb as a bolt.

Pharoh : Gold
Solid episode for Pharoh. Much better showing than last time. Was a champ at the game, and seemed in general humbled by his shit show first ep.

Kyungryul : Silver
I don't laugh at jokes. I don't smile. I do math.
I love that the producers are still pushing the "he has three kids and a wife"-jokes. Let's see how long they can keep it up.

Macho : Bronze
Ohhhh boy. This guy must be legit retarded. Can't solve fucking 2+2 equations. He single-handedly made his team lose, then sat there and said he missed a few "in the beginning". Now that everyone knows how shit he is at everything, I don't see him surviving many more episodes. Not in Shit tier because he's still good TV.
It's almost to the point that I feel sorry for the guy.

Heejun : Silver
Extremely uncool move to have everyone vote and then not giving a damn about the outcome. But also a spicy move.

Sahyuk : Who is this?
Generic looking korean boy with generic Korea hair. I don't know who this is.

Donghwan : Gold
Had no clue who this was until he picked up that wheel. Strong effort.

Jian : Shit
I cry because we killed a chicken. I cry because the producers gave us ice cream(?). I cry at a potato. I cry.

Steven : Silver
Silver tier all because of his amazing jawline. Don't know much about his personality yet. High potential I feel.

Hanbyul : Who is this?
I feel like Hanbyul has been in the shot a maximum of three times. Narrowly avoiding Shit tier because I can't judge if his awful but few showings are systematic.

Oliver : Gold
Good contestant that I don't root for. I enjoy his presence and the diversity and spark it brings to Nopdong. Everyone wants him gone since hour 1 for some reason. Bonus points for straight up murdering that chicken.

MJ : Diamond
I fucking love MJ. Taking shit constantly for being a strong woman in Korea, but stepping up to play with the big boys. Was painful to see Nopdong at the wheel, being hamstrung by the useless Macho. Really felt for her , both when she felt she was the weak link, but also when she was pissed that Macho tried to play down his weak performance.

Also, that bod. Holy shit.

Injik : Who is this?
I have no idea who this is still.

Seolhwa : Bronze
Not very exciting, but some good fact checking when being told lies by the opposing side.

Haesung : Silver
Stepped up when his team needed a dead chicken. Not much else going on with him that I recall. I like the guy.

Hael : Who is this?
Is she really on this show?

Jaehyuk : Bronze
Mopey guy who didn't get much screentime. I assume because he was sleeping. Surprised he was eliminated. No big loss though.

Seohyun : Shit
Does jack shit.

Jiwon : Silver
Didn't see much of her this episode, but she stays high in the rankings on her merit and disrespectful ways in the first episode.

---

It's very clear that Madong is the stronger society. I'm sure it will get spicy in there soon enough (it's the producers of The Genius after all), but right now they are all happy-go-lucky and it's not very interesting.
Nopdong on the other hand is a complete mess. Some really good players, but also some of the absolute worst.

I'm really looking forward to the jail cell being introduces next week, as well as the blacklist coming into play in a bigger way.

But most of all I'm happy that MJ got to lift that fucking wheel instead of some weaksauce brainiac.

Good ep.
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Old 3 Nov 16, 02:14
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Excellent rankings.
Interesting split emerging between people who are bad by being unbelievably bad (Macho at the game) and people who are bad by just not featuring and being ineffectual. It's hard to tell which is worse.
I would think that although it's been a long time to have not made a mark, it's still early days and there's some potential to step up.
People who sit in the background on the Genius often go further than you think, but they never win.
With the finale being 3 vs 3 though, maybe there's a chance for someone to bumble all the way through to the end, and then win as a fluke or thanks to their teammates? You never know.
Being notably awful so early though, that has to be a death sentence.

What I'm waiting for is for Madong to lose a game. It's easy to be the happy stable team when you're winning. The teams currently are more defined by their status (loser/winner) than their structure (democracy/dictator). When Madong picks up a loss we'll get a better sense of how the two teams react to this.

The jail and blacklist stuff hinted at next episode could also shake Madong more than they would like.

Noticing latent 'girl alliances' emerging in both teams. Something that often turns up on the Genius, admittedly to little effect, but with the voting/majorities involved in this game they could actually be decisive. Their lack of foundational motive (ie they aren't the 'let's win/let's get xxx to be leader' alliances the men have formed, they exist because the girls all talk to each other about the game in a way they don't with the men), their ability to transcend traditional/boy-led alliances (the Madong girl alliance notably contains people from both of the main Madong alliances to no notable detriment to its dynamic) and the innate sexism of Korean group dynamics makes them interesting to me, and quite stable (there's not a lot of shifting of members in a group formed on the basis of being female) and unlikely to be targetted as threats, but maybe the same factors limit their effectiveness and decisiveness. They feel almost self-limiting.
Basically what I'm asking for is someone who doesn't give a fuck like MJ Kim or maybe even Jiwon to grab them by the horns and make them in to something major. But I will take someone like Hael making them in to a decisive kingmaker group too.


Bumdi's tweet regarding the next episode makes it seem like this is the one that will really kick the game in to gear after the opening, so I am extremely looking forward to it.
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Old 3 Nov 16, 08:36
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I'm very hyped for ep 3 as well. I'm really hoping I don't have anyone left in Who is this? tier after it. Hanbyul especially needs to attract the attention of the editors way more.

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Old 8 Nov 16, 05:07
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1.


MJ Kim

Increasingly covered in tape, MJ Kim's total superiority to everyone else on the show is further entrenched this week. Surprising (but is it really that surprising anymore?) excellence at the tangrams, grabbing the money and solidifying her position as Core Nopdong, and even finally maybe making Team: Girl Team actually real.

2.


Kim Heejun

Another big rise for this bozo. Despite being the representative of the Nopdong protagonists, he feels like a villain at this point. The Jaysh al-Thuwar of Society Game, his motives and true allegiances are inscrutable and he has fingers in very many pies. His English chats with Oliver in their weirdly 90s US accents are one of the best parts of the show. I don't see him lasting too long right now, but he is the man of the hour in Nopdong and certainly directing events.

3.


Choi Seolhwa

Comes out on top once the Madong house is finally shaken. Her role as the least reliable of the main trio was keeping her out when things were good, but when they're on the back foot her position suddenly makes her the chief power broker and most important ally. Big beneficiary of the weakening of the Sangguk-Asol partnership and showed her power by essentially picking the elimination candidate.

4.


Pharoh

Doesn't waste words and therefore doesn't give me much to say about him, but a v strong performance in the games and in the diplo leave him as Core Nopdong in a strong position, although Heejun fallout/rise of Team: Girl Team might call that in to question. Taking a few hours in jail but still coming through with the clutch win in the games was a power move.

5.


Yang Sangguk

Tough week for Madong but I think he's playing it well. Clearly thinking of the future and the team as a whole as leader which is admirable if risky. Weaker than he was last week but keeps the 5 spot because other people are dropping harder and because he said 'I was pooing' in the preview for next week.

6.


Oliver Jang

Realised his mistakes and changed tack. Everyone else realised his mistakes too so he's under fire and in a risky position, but handling it well. Currently looks like he'll be the longest-lived of the alliance he created around himself.

7.


Lee Haesung

Not a big week for him but he has an enviable position in Madong. Going to be around a while.

8.


Macho Yoon

Looking infinitely better for not playing the game. With his more measured performance on the social side too, he's quietly slipped back to his position of Grand Vizier of Nopdong. Given his performance last week, this is nothing short of incredible.

9.


Kwon Asol

Big fall. Fucking up very noticeably in the game and a big weakening in his only real alliance. Currently carrying around the rep of a heavyweight but needs to back it up. Dealt with everything in a reasonable and sympathetic manner, but he's in a bad position if power shifts in Madong.

10.


Chae Jiwon

Quiet in the game but wise and reasonable in the diplo. Seems respected and feels pretty safe, and looks like she could help Nopdong steer a smart course when the intrigue is flowing thick.

11.


Park Seohyun

Looks to be parlaying her position to a stronger one in line with Seolhwa.

12.


Jung Injik

Partnering up with his brother in ignorance, these guys are so out of the loop diplomatically they might just stay out of sight. Prospects for future success looking like a pretty solid nil.

13.



Steven Lee

Same as above. These two as a pair works great in the show, so I hope their positive attitudes keep them around for a while.

14.


Hwang Insun

A couple of points for being called Auntie Hwang, but she looks like the intrigue is passing her by and in danger of getting left out in the cold.

15.


Hyun Kyungryul

Similarly looking like the one left over when Madong's alliances inevitably shift. You need to do more than just stick yourself on the big team and sit there.

16.


Hanbyul

I guess it was an improvement. No one on Madong looks like they'll be sorry to see him go, though. With a foot injury on top, has to be thinking about the sweet release of elimination.

17.


Lim Donghwan

Exceptionally poor diplomacy and completely an unforced error. Ring tossing was great in practice and decent for real, but this guy has gone out of his way to ensure he has no allies. Also looked extremely uncool in the BTS.

18.



Park Hael

I like her but she is at the bottom of the list in Madong and everyone knows it, including her. Will need to withstand the pressure and leverage her not non-existent social prowess.

19.


Hong Sahyuk

First name on the shitlist means he's pretty likely to go next week regardless of the result of the game, making him extremely vulnerable. Looks like he's being played by both Heejun and Oliver, and everyone else in Nopdong wants him gone. An easy kill for absolutely anyone to make.

20.


Yang Jian

No reason for her to stay. She was the weakest member of the weakest half of the weakest alliance in the weakest team.



Village Rankings
1. Nopdong
2. Madong

This is pretty much who wins the challenge huh. Think that jar of weird fermented shit was a better prize than like 3 peaches and 8 grapes or whatever the main prize was though. And tossing the oil over was a strong Sangguk/Madong move. Winning doesn't seem to have conferred any stability to Nop, but the money and positive vibes, and more than anything else the hit to Madong, see them through.

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Old 8 Nov 16, 15:50
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Great fucking episode! Like Bumdi tweeted, you really get a feel for each and every character this time.



Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Sangook : Diamond
Constantly swinging between scheming mastermind and bozo white knight, I have a hard time nailing Sanggook down. That's probably why he's so alluring. Still top tier.

Asol : Gold
Had a hard time selecting tier for Asol, but on this the third edit of this post, I'm finally putting him in gold. Was very poor at the rings, and not sure why he was even there, but I don't hold it against him. His position in Madong feels like it's slipping a bit.

Insun : Bronze
Perhaps the only character that I didn't feel better about after ep.3. Stays in bronze where she belongs.

Pharoh : Gold
Didn't get that much airtime. Same old sulky Pharoh. Still gold.

Kyungryul : Bronze
Okay, I lied about Insun being the only downer this ep. Kyungryul is such a bore. Down to bronze.

Macho : Gold
Doing a 180 on this guy. He's such good TV, even though he's a bumbling fool that will no doubt cost Nopdong in the long run. Must have some charisma that doesn't show up on the telly, because everyone has warmed up to him again after yesterday's shit show. Up to gold.

Heejun : Diamond
Dictator oppa. Really interesting shit happenning in the upper echelons of Nopdong right now, and Heejun is the one behind the wheel. Seems to be playing all the horses at once. Up to diamong.

Sahyuk : Silver
Alright, I finally have a good grasp of who this guy is. Seems to be scheming with too small boots on. Don't see him lasting long, especially after being blacklisted. Up to Silver.

Donghwan : Silver
A bit disappointing that Mr. Cool is being neutral, the most uninteresting and uncool stance. Down to silver.

Jian : Bronze
Just as she works her way up from shit tier to bronze, she is eliminated. Too much open scheming for her own good. had potential after all.

Steven : Silver
Wasn't in the shot much this ep. No reason to drop him down to bronze.

Hanbyul : Bronze
Byul finally enters the game. Took one for the team in prison, but frankly unflattering hesitation as he was going in. Seems easy to manipulate for the big players. Up to bronze.

Oliver : Gold
Still almost universally hated, still the editors haven't really made it clear why. Did he jerk off in the shower on day one?

MJ : Diamond
Solid as a rock in first place. Saved Nopdong's hides, and finally getting some well-earned recognition. Her humble apologies for doing badly even when winning a round is more touching than any Gook tears. Still unknown what the shoulder tape is for. Un-family friendly tattoo?
Think I fist pumped when she got the extra cash.

Injik : Bronze
I still don't have a great grasp of this guy, but moving him to bronze nonetheless. Looks too much like that other oriental, Steven.

Seolhwa : Silver
Rapidly becoming my favourite woman in Madong. Has her fingers in the pie and seems hungry, as opposed to Hael who just seems to stir up shit for no reason. Boost to silver.

Haesung : Silver
Somehow always flies under my radar. Whenever he shows up, it's usually good tho.

Hael : Bronze
Fairly good showing, especially at the end where she was tricked into thinking she was a goner.

Seohyun : Bronze
Seems a bit too focused on the all-girls thing, which never works out in any show. Got out of shit tier anyhow.

Jiwon : Silver
Spunky maknae.
---

Finally we seem some evening out of the playing field. Madong needed a loss for the viewers, and Nopdong needed a win for themselves. Very good episode indeed.
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Default Standings as at Episode 4

1.


MJ Kim

Like every other week, she'd be #1 even if she hadn't been every other week. Displaying really good politics rn imo, building layered alliances and also smashing the vote w/ an effectively unanimous decision. And I liked her move with the migrant vote, distancing herself from the decision but then also talking (and lying!) about the vote with people as it was in progress to both influence it and build trust. Strong shit. And Donghwan just has big traps.

2.


Macho Yoon

Sorry I'm really in to this guy now. Owning that chamberlain position that's so powerful in group dynamics like this, working happily for - and switching effortlessly between - whoever it happens to be that day, or hour.

3.


Yang Sangguk

Genuinely like this guy too. I like his sincere, team-based approach and I agree with most of his gut instincts. But he's also wise enough to go with his advisors when he's bringing an unpopular opinion to the table. He's alienated himself from his alliance by not being as selfish as they like and probably put himself in moderate danger, but I don't think Madong could have hoped for a better leader.

4.


Kim Heejun

Fell out of public office hard but really landed on his feet, working well with MJ today and fomenting some nascent power trio with Macho as well. Doesn't appear to have the solidity of MJ or even Macho at the heart of Nopdong but he's certainly there right now.

5.


Pharoh

Quiet week for Pharoh, although his line about collaborating with Sahyuk was great and showed a nice side of him I hadn't noticed before. Looking like he's losing his core spot in Nop but with at the very least Donghwan and Sahyuk below him he has plenty of time to build it back.


6.


Hyun Kyungryul

Solid in the game, another certified chicken killer, and has turned his meek loyalty from a weakness in to a strength - with cracks appearing all throughout Madong he's not on anyone's shitlist. Also jumped at least a spot for BTS.

7.


Kwon Asol

Just about a climb from last week. Probably looks like he's in a worse position than he really is, but the increasing difference in outlook between him and Sangguk is a major problem and he has literally no other allies.

8.


Oliver Jang

Yeah I'm giving him 8th spot lol. Guy was really unlucky today, played imo really well and couldn't have done much better. Unlucky from the start really, picked a gameplan and it turned out other people weren't playing like that. Continuous strong presence on the show and the first major scalp.

9.


Choi Seolhwa

Fouled up in the minigame and her scheming was explicitly called out by Sangguk. Still a key-holder and therefore a player and probably safe for at least a week, but looking a lot worse than last week.

10.


Jung Injik

Respectable in the game, turning up in Sangguk's thoughts and more prominent overall. Solid performance and high time to move one's self out of the C-List.

11.


Hwang Insun

The confidante of the game's standout player. Not a bad position to be in, even if you're literally nothing else.

12.


Chae Jiwon

Also in Hwang's 'Nobody hates us and MJ likes us' gang. Feel she could be delivering a little better socially. I like that she completely hates Donghwan, but she's not turning enough people on to it.

13.


Steven Lee

Still padding out the bottom end of the middle.

14.


Lee Haesung

A swing and a miss. Right now it feels like if he ever gets to cash in his grand plan it's going to be for significantly less than he expected. The lack of actual power he has was exposed today.

15.


Park Seohyun

The girls in Haesung's alliance look like they're going to coming out of it even worse than him.

16.


Hanbyul

Seems to have gone down okay at Nopdong, but friendless and footless. Can't see him doing anything, and his injury makes him an easy elimination for a leader to make. He's so aware of all his shortcomings and so unable to change them, true Greek tragedy.

17.


Hong Sahyuk

Well he's still here so that's something. Disliked, untrusted and with no power. Shorn of his one ally, and with it MJ's interest.

18.


Lim Donghwan

As fucked as Sahyuk, except he's also dumb.

19.


Park Hael

Survives by pure luck again. She gets bottom because I feel like Madong are more likely to lose the next challenge right now. In a poor spot strategically and not showing anything else.


Village Rankings
1. Nopdong
2. Madong

Shitty prize compared to cooking oil, but stuff seems basically fine in Nop. The election result was a great show of team strength. They really only won the challenge because Ma had an extra player, but Madong's spirit seems to be so crushed by their first defeat and its whole power structure seems to be about to collapse.


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Old 18 Nov 16, 20:23
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Top end episode!



Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Sangook : Gold
I think Sangook is losing both his allies and the trust of Madong as a whole, which seems to be confirmed by next week's potential rebellion. I also think he's becoming too static in his tactics, like he was expecting this exact setup to last him the whole way.

Asol : Diamond
Asol is of course very safe from elimination because of his strength, but I also like that he's constantly having a hand in the ring of power.

Insun : Silver
She really needs to do something. She's just padding for the show, and she will be eliminated eventually otherwise. She might hang on for quite a bit as she seems like a threat to no one.

Pharoh : Diamond
Still a big fan of Pharoh. Would hate to see him go.

Kyungryul : Gold
Great Kyungryul ep. I'm sure he killed that chicken very painfully with his twig arms. Very solid in the game.

Macho : Diamond
Really good showing. Excelled at sitting/standing still in the game, and very nice socially. You're starting to see glimpses of why many people are so keen of having him around despite being shit at everything. I don't know how it happened, but he's now in diamond tier.

Heejun : Diamond
Always has a hand in the politics, and is a driving force. A big win getting Olibo out of the way.

Sahyuk : Gold
I'm actually a fan of Rap God Sahyuk. He's not long for the world, of course, but I root for him in a little way. He's solid at all the mental stuff.

Donghwan : Bronze
Donger, your time is up. You are no longer even remotely entertaining, and you have not endeared yourself to anyone. I don't know how he thought he would win this thing.

Steven : Silver
I can't fucking tell them apart, seriously.

Hanbyul : Silver
Byul is a weirdo. Always twitchy and seems very unpredictable. Wouldn't trust him at all.

Oliver : Gold
Sad to see him go. I think Gook messed up sending this asset home. He's keeping Hael around but sacks Oliver? Really?

MJ : Diamond
Hail glorious leader. Very happy to see her in the leading role, and Nopdong seems sort of unified under her rule. Or at the very least, calm. I was impressed by her trickery and cunning. That side of her hasn't shown up much in earlier episodes, and I think MJ is so much more than trusting and loyal.

Injik : Silver
Was okay, not standing out much.

Seolhwa : Gold
My favourite of the Madong ladies, easily. She's in the inner sanctum still, but I hope she's the one ringing that bell in the next ep.

Haesung : Gold
His talk of rebellion got me very interested. This could become something big.

Hael : Bronze
Getting eliminated sooner or later. Trash.

Seohyun : Bronze
I'm always surprised to see her on the list when writing these things, because I never seem to see her in the actual show.

Jiwon : Gold
Digging her a lot lately. I wish she had more of a presence, because she seems very fun.
---

In the last two days we have gone fron Nopdong being a complete chaotic shitstorm, in the games and without. Now Madong is on the verge of rebellion, and things are heating up. I'm currently a Nopdong boy, but Madong is now the more interesting place.
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Old 18 Nov 16, 21:01
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yeah I definitely find myself rooting for nopdong in the challenges.
crazy how much they affect everything, since everyone is mostly OK with the eliminations (nop almost eliminated someone voluntarily!) and the prizes are basically shit.

I also hope it's Seolhwa striking the gong, mostly because I think if it's Asol then he's fucked. I really like Sangguk but there's definitely a bad vibe in Madong and he doesn't really seem to have much to fix it. the shake up could be good for everyone. also really curious to see what Haesung actually manages to pull off, if anything. his 2 gong plan would be supremely spicy
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Old 23 Nov 16, 05:20
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Default Standings as at Episode 5

1.


MJ Kim

The edit revealed just how consciously she's been dominating the group since day one. She seemed to have a swagger today. Maybe a little can of beansiness, which could be her first potential weakness, but with another strong performance in the game she is universally respected and liked by most as well.

2.


Macho Yoon

We are getting dangerously close to a stage where him calling himself "a modern day Zhuge Liang with over 100 intellect" in the cast interviews is no longer the ridiculous statement it definitely is.
Also BTS pointing at a nascent ship with MJ. I love this guy.

3.


Yang Sangguk

I almost put him number 1, but I think he was sincere. Dictators are not famed for their smooth transitions of power but this was something else. Part of me wanted to think this was all some insane power move that paid off, but I think ultimately the burden of a long leadership through a string of tough defeats has crushed him and he ends up reminding me of emperor Leopold II during his stint as the Grand Duke of Tuscany: leading well but being disliked, trying to limit his own powers via constitutional reform and having the very people who would benefit from it throwing it back in his face. I genuinely feel like he's running on empty now and think he'll drop quickly down the ranks, but his last hurrah keeps him high.

4.


Lee Haesung

Not sure how much I buy in to him as a serious player, but inheriting a pretty stable-seeming leadership and showing a steely ruthlessness sees him soar up the standings. He has a self-belief that seems suitable for being leader of a kind rare in Madong, lost by Sangguk and perhaps otherwise held only be Seolhwa, making his decision quite a spicy meatball.

5.


Hanbyul



In one of the only events that has gone the way you may expect with the set-ups of Madong and Nopdong, a new resident in Madong was treated as an undesirable variable in a game of betrayal and intrigue, whereas a new resident in Nopdong was a new vote, a source of power to be attracted and courted. With a spring in his step* and the critical Jinho-move for the game, everyone in Nopdong wants Hanbyul to be their friend.

*probably not literally.

6.


Jung Injik

Starting to show his face in the intrigue, standing out more in the group and doing well in the games. Now a keyholder in a solid trio (and an extremely solid duo) that has been together since day 1 and recognised by many as a key element for Madong in the games.

7.


Hyun Kyungryul

Tumultuous times in Madong but I think he's building on last week. Like Injik, slowly improving his image in the group and his importance to Madong in the games is being recognised. On the wrong side of the balance of power but will probably last long enough to see it shift again.

8.


Pharoh

Quiet week again but good in the games. If there is to be a Pharoh/Heejun showdown in Nopdong (ie if MJ Kim doesn't make it irrelevant), MJ and Macho will both side with him.

9.


Steven Lee

Like Injik but dumb.

10.


Hong Sahyuk

Benificiary of Macho's caprice? No longer seen as a threat? His mental abilities prized for the games? I have a feeling he didn't get his second blackball and that he's risen in Nop's internal power structure. Still on Heejun's radar but that doesn't really seem like a problem now.

11.


Chae Jiwon

Trundling along just fine.

12.


Hwang Insun

Like Jiwon, as long as Nopdong keep winning she'll keep breathing.

13.


Kim Heejun

Today was not a good day for Heejun. Outplayed politically, I think he knows he has to withdraw and regroup. But I think he probably picked up a blacklisting and might not have so long. He's flexible and good at thinking on his feet and adapting, though.

14.


Kwon Asol

Not in a strong spot. Apart from walking-dead Sangguk, the only person he seemed to have any real rapport with is actually-dead Seolhwa. Not impressed in the games. With the new regime, he's in very dangerous territory.

15.


Lim Donghwan

I feel like he wasn't eliminated with the blacklist, and the loss of his hat has revealed some sort-of-awful but sort-of-great hair. Otherwise, all bad.

16.


Park Hael

Gong-ringer but I have no faith in her. Made a big stink during the coup attempt that will have endeared her to no one and pointedly did not get a key. Almost thought Haesung was going to cull her she's so bad.

17.


Park Seohyun

Seems like she's all over. Absolutely devastated by Seolhwa's elimination and must be the top choice to go next time Madong lose. Her opening day victory seems a long time ago.

18.


Choi Seolhwa

Absolutely obliterated. Messed up in the games, the most visible failure for the coup attempt, and also she was eliminated from the game. She tried plenty today, just all of it failed.


Village Rankings
1. Madong
2. Nopdong

Putting Madong top this week because that place is so spicy right now. Also although I was cheering Nopdong on in the games as ever, I immediately felt bad when they won. Really interested to see the landscape of Madong when they all wake up tomorrow. So many unknowns. Whereas Nopdong has had back to back 8-1 landslides and the biggest variable is how many ways they figure out to serve potatoes. Also damn Haesung and his crew hit the gong so hard, they had clearly been absolutely dying for this the whole time.
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Old 25 Nov 16, 20:13
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I fucking loved this ep! With this one I'm firmly in team Nopdong. Everyone in there keeps getting bigger in my eyes. Meanwhile, Madong is a complete crazy house. They keep eliminating their strongest players, and they take everything at face value and make stupid decisions. Eliminating Oliver, sending off Byul, killing off Seolhwa; all extremely bad decisions for them as a group.



Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Sangook : Bronze
Sangook is a fool. That shit about eliminating himself was some pure K-drama bullshit. Only way he can regain my respect is if it's actually an elaborate hoax. He also sucked so fucking hard in the game, holy shit.

Asol : Gold
Oh boy, Asol is in the shit now. Seolhwa gone, Gooker out of his fucking mind, this could be end times for the boy Asol. Especially since Madong's residents think only of themselves and not the team.

Insun : Silver
Insun's growing on me. She's not quite as useless as she seemed, but she's still Nopdong's filler.

Pharoh : Gold
Pharoh seems content to sit back now that Nopdong are winning consistently. Solid climbing.

Kyungryul : Silver
Ah, Kyungryul. You can see who this guy is by looking at him for five seconds, and you would be 100% correct. Has brains occasionally, but no cunning or charm at all.

Macho : Diamond
Golden boy Macho. How can you not like the guy? Keeps the morale up, and shows off his weaker side now and then. He also killed that 1+1 type question in the game!!!

Heejun : Diamond
If this guy stopped plotting, Nopdong would be a calm and quiet place, which is why I hope he doesn't. I do think he's the one who is closest to seeing through MJ though, and I think he's the one MJ put down in the blacklist because she felt uneasy about him.

Sahyuk : Silver
A bit of a quiet episode. He was his usual self. Not much to see here.

Donghwan : Bronze
Boring old Donger, one foot out the door, still.

Steven : Bronze
I never seem to have anything to write about this guy.

Hanbyul : Gold
Strongest ep. for Byul thus far. He is becoming an important cog in the Nopdong machinery, and I'm frankly happy for him. He didn't seem to fit in Madong at all, and now he's found his home. A long time MJ ally?

MJ : Diamond
How does she keep getting cooler??? She honestly feels like a lower key Sangmin with the way she got everyone on her side. Incredible work. Of course excellent at the game, as excpected.
Nopdong has flourished with her at the helm, and I expect she will keep getting re-elected until it's in her interest not to be. She seems fully in control of the game. That poll of who the most trustworthy person was made me laugh out loud.
She has Macho totally on a leash, and Jiwon seems to be fully on her side as well, and Insun also. Good times ahead for MJ by all accounts.

Injik : Silver
Good effort trying to save a lost cause in the game. Solid climber.

Seolhwa : Gold
My favourite Madong gal, gone. She played a sharp game, and lost. Madong grows weaker.

Haesung : Silver
The least trustworthy character of the lot. I really think Madong would do better with Asol at the helm, but Haesung's reign will no doubt spice things up a bit.

Hael : Bronze
Just a pawn in the game. Has no free will.

Seohyun : Silver
Did well in the game. She got one of the longest sequences and got it right.

Jiwon : Diamond
Top tier Nopdong material. She's ensconced herself as a central piece of Nopdong. Always doing well in the games, always prepping the others on the challenges, always got an ear to MJ. That secret question to MJ behind Heejun's back was top stuff.

---

I'm most excited about the MJ, Macho, Jiwon alliance. Three people I think were seen as weak in the first stages of the show, who now are unlikely power players.

mfw Gook talks his tripe
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Default Standings as at Episode 6

1.


MJ Kim

The MJ Goldern Era of Nopdong continues. Pretty quiet week I guess but only because of how competently she's running her kingdom. Uncontested election, another straight win, and removing the one stone in the Nopdong shoe.

2.


Macho Yoon

I think MJ might be sincere when she says she trusts no one, but she definitely thinks Macho is the best guy to have on her side. Made some nice ramen too, and another acceptable performance in the games.

3.


Jung Injik

Huge episode for this guy. What an arc. Has becoming the soul of Madong, and then torn himself to shreds in the aftermath of the game. Not sure how powerful this guy is but he's presumably safe for a while and, more importantly, the most interesting man in Madong.

4.


Pharoh

Power week for the day 1 leader. Rinsed the games, got called sexy in the village, and outlived his rival while cementing himself in the big Nop 3.

5.


Lee Haesung

He has a weird 'evil boy in an anime' voice. He's the leader of Madong now and does not look keen to lose it any time soon. I think he made a basically irreparable error that seems to have soured his side for good, and he doesn't seem at all likable. But he certainly is in charge.

6.


Hong Sahyuk

He takes on a leadership role in game-organising and it has worked very well recently. Seems to hold no grudges and be playing no politics. Have Nopdong been tranquil and victorious long enough for them to forget that they all hated this guy?

7.


Hanbyul

He's Nopdong scenery already. Which for him, is great.

8.


Hyun Kyungryul

One of seemingly only two proponents of everyone getting along and working together in Madong. His easygoing nature and unease with the uneasiness may have put him at least 2 spots off the top of the Madong hit list, and also endeared him to me, but he's a good bellwether for Madong as a whole, and he does not seem healthy or happy.

9.


Steven Lee

Probably won some loyalty points with Haesung for his spirited partisan words at the Madong meeting, but definitely did nothing for team spirit. Has finally distanced himself from Injik by being much less likable than him. Also no one has ever called this guy Steven in the show but it's been too long for me to change it now. So I want him to be evicted.

10.


Park Hael

Like 'Steven,' did not endear herself to me this episode but is in a decent position. Find it notable that those two, the members of the Haesung alliance that stood out the least, have been by far the two most set on clinging on to power no matter what, and content to let Madong as a whole burn as a result. Also she's still in jail at the end of the episode lol?

11.


Chae Jiwon

Scuffed the minigame and seemed to take a confidence hit. Quietly underperforming.

12.


Hwang Insun

Like Jiwon, except she messed up more and seems dumber overall. Bonus points for shouting 'Bravo!' in English though.

13.


Lim Donghwan

Could be worse for this guy, who was mostly invisible. He seems to grate on people a little socially and has gotta be close to bottom in Nopdong. For a team that seems to mostly eliminate by consensus, he's vulnerable.

14.


Kwon Asol

Seems totally defeated emotionally. Feels like the scythe is going to take a while to fall, but Haesung did a full purge of the initial ruling alliance.

15.


Park Seohyun

Like Asol, seems spent and over. Seems no way back in. I don't think this was a great move by Haesung if you couldn't tell.

16.


Yang Sangguk

Conducted himself well, I think, but there was no healing this wound. Did Haesung really get anything out of doing this a week later? Would things have been very different? Huge loss for Madong and probably the show too. I can see the show moving forward just fine. Madong, not so much.

17.


Kim Heejun

Well, live fast die young. Schemed hard and made himself a major player. However, he also rubbed everyone the wrong way with an aggressive style, and he had literally no allies. I don't think a single person liked him at all, even. Everyone realised they could get rid of him for free, and so he's gone. I'll miss the American English.

Village Rankings
1. Nopdong
2. Madong

The sadness in Asol's voice when he commented on how Nopdong's democracy seemed to be working well and everyone was happy there. I think this was the first comment about the different structures of the teams, and it says it all. With the removal of Heejun, Nopdong look like they have genuinely found a full consensus to move forward with, which is pretty amazing. The in-group out-group dynamics of Madong have clearly brewed up some pretty huge resentments, whereas Nopdong's democracy has kept everyone pretty happy on the whole, despite people bumbling along in it who have literally never had any impact on the politics at all beyond their vote.

This was a second really great episode in a row, imo.

So sad, too. Not sure I've ever seen so many people cry on a show, especially men. Asol was so gutted at the beginning here, and Heejun in the BTS is tragic.
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Worst episode so far. Nopdong gunning down all opposition in the usual fashion. Queen MJ ruling supreme. In Madong it's a complete melodrama though. Too pathetic. I think there were three people saying "just send me home". Why the fuck are you even on the show?

I liked the game though. It was neat that it was three-tiered and a good mix of brains vs bod. It's games like this that I expect from the show.



Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Sangook : Silver
Very pathetic still, but slightly redeemed for being a genuinely nice guy. Understandably mad after Haesung ruling like a five-year-old. I will remember the good old days of tranquility. I think he put it best himself when he said that he buckled under when it got tough.

Asol : Silver
I feel so bad for Asol. Was in the right boat until Gooker went crazy, then it's all gone to shit. Massive minus for dropping his "send me home" bollocks. Shut the fuck up Asol, and play to win.

Insun : Silver
Insun doing Insun things.

Pharoh : Diamond
Beast at the games. Looked mad cool with the shades. I wonder if he'll pull something on MJ next week, being the most feisty player after Heejun (and MJ) in Nopdong.

Kyungryul : Gold
I can't believe I'm even writing this, but Kyungryul was the most affectionate player on Madong this ep. Seemed to want peace between the camps, and tried to calm people down. Where did this come from?

Macho : Silver
This guy is so inconsistent. One week he's really likeable, the next he's sappy and whiny. Do better Macho man.

Heejun : Diamond
Called it. I knew he was gonna go, but I still feel bad about it. Great player who could've won if he wasn't on the same team as MJ.

Sahyuk : Silver
Pretty quiet ep. Nothing to report.

Donghwan : Bronze
Just go home Donghwan.

Steven : Gold
Finally him and Injik were in the same shot! Steven was actually my favourite on Madong this week. He was the only one who kept his cool and his game sense, while everyone else is either begging to be sent home or running around trying to please the enemy. Good on you, Steve.

Hanbyul : Silver
Not much to say, really. Strange that he wasn't picked for mental duty as he clearly has proficiency in it. Catching balls, not so much. Caught a few in the face though.

MJ : Diamond
Continues to reign supreme. I suppose Pharoh is next on the hit list, unless she gets rid of Donghwan first. I don't see her losing the election in the next ep. Good to see her make the hard decisions.

Injik : Bronze
Wow, that was pretty fucking bad, but not bad enough to lie in bed and tell people that you want to go home. Grow some fucking balls and do better next time.

Haesung : Bronze
Haesung is an incredibly lousy leader. He makes hard decisions, yes, but he can't handle the consequences at all. When people look to him for a decision or criticize him, he looks like he was asked to solve differential equations. Can't see his rule lasting long at all.

Hael : Bronze
Impossibly terrible in every way.

Seohyun : Silver
I consider Seohyun to be the only reasonable woman left in Madong. She's whiny, but decent in games and sort of decisive in intrigue. Spent most of this ep being rather pathetic tho.

Jiwon : Gold
Another quiet ep, except for losing the mini-game. Don't blame her when going up against Kyungryul.
---

Nopdong 100%. Madong is just a mire of pathetic drama, instead of the expected spicyness. It doesn't feel like anyone there, with the exception of Steven, even want to play the game anymore.
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Old 11 Dec 16, 18:51
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We're back to top notch eps! This game was probably my favourite so far. Could have used some brainy element, but the nailbiter was perfect! It was a close thing, despite Madong's arbitrary tactic of leaving Insun still for so long. That's no doubt why they lost.



Listed in order of image.
Name : Tier

Asol : Diamond
Asol is back from his hole. He got a new lease on life after Haesung for some arcane reason rendered all alliances void, indirectly getting Asol out of his pinch of being in a minority alliance. Did very well on the treadmill. He looked like he was gonna pass out by the time he stepped off.

Insun : Gold
She didn't start running until late, but either way a strong effort, and frankly some much needed points in usefulness on her part.

Pharoh : Gold
Pharoh gave the female audience some good material today. Massive effort on the treadmill. It seems (from the sneak peek of next ep) he's finally realizing he's not the mastermind of Nopdong. MJ's next target? I expect him to go into full politics mode and run for leader in the next ep.

Kyungryul : Gold


Macho : Silver
Least Sexy Eater 2016 award winner.

Sahyuk : Silver
Cracked the rather simple hint puzzle. Good for him.

Donghwan : Bronze
He had 7 episodes to show me something that made me want him to stay. Not sad to see him go.

Steven : Diamond
The show now inexplicably calls him Byungkwan? Anyway, he was a monster on the treadmill. Heroic effort. He's also the most politically minded guy in Madong now, and glowing stronger on my radar by the day.

Hanbyul : Silver
Really terrible at the game, but he made up for it by speaking not only english twice, but also some japanese.

MJ : Diamond
MJ is a killing machine, and I think the conditions for a happy utopia in Nopdong are no longer there. People are gradually realizing they are not in on everything. The question is, do they know that they are being played by MJ?

Injik : Bronze
Seems to be having trouble both in the game and adapting to the fast-changing setting of Madong.

Haesung : Bronze
This guy is getting more unlikable by the episode. As Steven(?) put it; he has no charisma. I don't see him being the leader by noon. Strong candidate for elimination too.

Hael : Bronze
She was terrible from the start. Sitting in prison was the most helpful thing she did in seven episodes.

Seohyun : Silver
Hard times ahead for Seohyun. Had to resort to Hael for female company, and now it's go heavy into political or go home, I feel.

Jiwon : Silver
Bad at the game. Remains MJ's confidant though. Very surprised to see her cut from MJ's list going forward.
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Default Standings as at Episode 7

1.


Kwon Asol

First new #1 since the show started. He is the man I want to see the most right now. Came back from almost total obliteration a new man, motivated and focused. Right in to the mixer from the outset, scheming and playing strong. After looking like he'd be nothing without Sangguk, it now seems like he was merely preserving his strength. On paper he is extremely vulnerable, but he is the man everyone in Madong is listening to.

2.


Macho Yoon

I think a shake-up might be happening in Nopdong, and if it is, he's the only guy I feel is guaranteed to come out of it well. And if not, he's still everyone's pal. For all MJ's ruthlessness, Macho is in her thoughts going forwards. He actually did pretty well in a game. He also spent $2000 on what looked like a microwave noodle meal.

3.


MJ Kim

I think we saw MJ's first missteps here. She sort of panic-fumbled the leader card to Pharoh and was immediately and obviously shaken by it. And eliminating Donghwan, while probably the right move, was done badly diplomatically and might have changed her image a bit. Still, she won another unanimous victory, the game and even the minigame. She's still seen by the whole group as too useful in the games to let go, and is popular as well. Her being the cornerstone of the Girl Alliance while secretly she doesn't give a shit about them at all and they aren't in her plans was incredible.

4.


Jung Injik

He seems to be at the centre of whatever Neo-Madong Asol appears to be brewing. Taken the role of chief conciliator and the icon of being reasonable. He's been poor in the games recently but despite recent claims to the contrary, I think politics will save him for a while for the unity of the team.

5.


"Steven Lee"

It is truly the era of the meatheads in Madong. The emergence and development of the two tank class members of the party has been one of my favourite parts of the last few episodes. They have diverged pretty sharply and have been the angel and devil on Haesung's shoulders. They might be running the good cop bad cop, but I think they might be permanently diverging. And while Injik stands for unity and calm, Byungkwan is pushing for ruthless victory. Played his heart out in the game and I think his frankness has probably gone over better with the rest of the team than Haesung's somewhat milquetoast approaches. Looks like the third power-player in Madong right now.

6.


Pharoh

Auspicious times for Pharoh. At the same moment he finds out he isn't in the high council, he gets the huge power of the leader card. I think he veers towards conciliatory in his dealings and I can't see him making some radical move, but he's now a factor people will have to deal with rather than someone they can string along. I think this bridge will probably be mended rather than burned, but in doing so Pharoh will probably get a more central spot again. Solid in the games as ever too.

7.


Hyun Kyungryul

Playing the politics game better than half of Madong by merely refusing to play. Turned some heads with his dex display today, and with both Haesung and Seohyun looking vulnerable, his brain power is probably going to keep him around for a while.

8.


Hwang Insun

Enough self-awareness to see she was in the background, and enough wherewithal to do something about it. At first I thought she was going to have it thrown back in her face while she just stood around doing nothing after all that, but in the end she got to look great by running to glory thanks to a terrible strategic decision by Madong, who love to lose the game. The revelation MJ has no intention of taking her to the final is a big hit though, especially since she has no idea.

9.


Lee Haesung

Oh boy this guy is not a good leader! Absolutely fucked it here. I didn't want Asol to go, but for him it was absolutely the right move for him and he should have listened to Byungkwan. Inspired no loyalty and is probably the least popular guy in Madong rn. Hard to see how he could have done a worse job with the leadership than he has. I do like what he brings to the show and I rly dig how his attitude, voice and appearance are truly a unified whole. Having him, all skinny and languid in his oversized tshirt, just strolling all floppy armed next to the shirtless or muscle-teed joggers was fantastic.

10.


Hanbyul

Grace period is over and he hasn't formed any relationships. Not ruffled any feathers, but when push comes to shove this guy is totally getting shoved. He did say 'Cool Guy!' though.

11.


Chae Jiwon

Been a long time since she did anything. With the revelation that MJ isn't looking out for her, she's really dropping down the ranks in Nopdong.

12.


Park Seohyun

Currently relying on Asol's long-con as her only chance to survive. Madong has other brains and she's been pretty bad in the games. The only other thing working in her favour is how volatile Madong is right now.

13.


Hong Sahyuk

Lmao at watching this guy trying to do politics today and getting shut down in 0.1 second. Just seems hopeless. I don't think anyone in Nopdong has him in their final 3 pick.

14.


Lim Donghwan

Did a pretty decent job staying in this long considering he fucking sucked shit.

15.


Park Hael

Surprising absolutely no one, the tiny girl who was completely useless has not made it to the final 3.


Village Rankings
1. Madong
2. Nopdong

Madong by a hair. I think they're fucked, but I want to watch them collapse. So much insane melodrama there right now. Was laughing out loud at some of the scheming. Nopdong looks like it's about to get spicy too. Great and funny episode, and really looking forward to the next episode's villager swap.


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Default Standings as at Episode 8

1.


Steven Lee

It's a new era. Madong are unified again, and this guy is responsible. Byungkwan has delivered what I have always hoped for in this show - an actual constitution. He even had policy! His vision was matched only by his ability to enact it. Finally stepping out of Haesung's shadow has completed his transformation and it is undeniably impressive.

2.



MJ Kim

After swinging a little dictatorial last week, MJ heavily recalibrated here. Kept strong lines of communication open with the whole team, listened and responded to everyone's thoughts. Elected unopposed, and guided Nopdong through an unwanted eviction pretty painlessly. I wont be surprised if she (willingly) steps aside as leader going forward, at least for a time, and she really should have kept Donghwan around and evicted him today, but this was smart stuff and the fact remains that every single person on her team wants to take her all the way.

3.



Kwon Asol

The other heavy hitter in Madong is suddenly the point of focus for the main drama and powerplay in the show. He is wanted by Nopdong, and he clearly at least half-wants to go. He was good in the game too with that lovely bat-hit. He wasn't trusted enough to get a key, but is in the unique and very enviable position of being a top 3 pick for both villages.

4.



Hyun Kyungryul

I've praised the results of his approach to diplomacy before, but as the game progresses and people's focus is moving from forming power-grabbing alliances towards assembling game-winning trios, Kyungryul affably and quietly getting along with everyone and focusing on becoming easily the standout brain in Madong is really bearing fruit. Seems almost a nailed on final 3 pick right now. Loses some points for the most flamboyant, camp and extremely awful gong hit of all time.

5.



Pharoh

I feel like I always say the same thing about Pharoh and he always lingers around this point in the rankings. Which is a testament to him. He is consistently good at all aspects of this game. The hard power of sitting at the Top Table and turning in strong game performances every week, and the soft power of cooking and cleaning and running the village and maintaining good relationships with everyone. Never been a standout, but imo, at least in the first half of a show like this, that can be seen as a strong point too. Burning bright early on can put a target on you, and while Pharoh can't seem to quite edge his way in to the Top 3 club yet, previous members of it like Heejun, Haesung, Seolhwa and Sangguk are not fairing so well right now.

6.



Macho Yoon

Just a touch of downward momentum to Macho here as his top 3 credentials were (understandably) being doubted by MJ this week (although, surprisingly, Pharoh put forward what looked like a fairly convincing case for him). Still seen as an essential powerbroker for the home stretch, and finally the games are getting diverse enough for his 'unique' skillset to occasionally demonstrate itself.

7.



Jung Injik

Although his place in Madong's somewhat fluid power structure seems to have been convincingly taken by Byungkwan, his ability to chop wood and mend bridges are keeping him out of any immediate elimination concerns.

8.



Hwang Insun

Lost her key ally and seems to know she wont be going all the way, she seems to be lowkey expressing some pretty solid resolve. Not in a good spot, but also not particularly in a bad one.

9.



Hanbyul

Has an opportunity to make a claim for himself as Nopdong's brain, but has so far only used it to alienate Sahyuk. Lingering in the relegation zone.

10.



Park Seohyun

Well, she's still in the game.

11.



Chae Jiwon

Went out with a whimper. So disappointing. From her BTS, seems perhaps she got settled in to being a spectator rather than a participant, her age and modesty preventing her from getting stuck in. Which is a shame because she seemed like a spicy little meatball at the start.

12.



Hong Sahyuk

Like Kyungryul, him stepping back from the diplomacy and focusing on playing the games has not gone unnoticed or unapprecited by others. However, he fucked his diplo play so hard in the opening couple of episodes he's had a long way to come back from, and more importantly than that, he's also sucked shit hard in the games.

13.



Lee Haesung

Lol. Absolutely rinsed. When Byungkwan blacklisted him I laughed. What a total collapse. Has no respect and no sympathy, and seemingly no hope. Still appreciate this guys presence/vibe as weird tool/anime villain. When he heard the gong go during his interview he even did that thumb nose rub. Amazing.


The members of my top 7 haven't changed from last week, and they really feel a step above the bottom 6 right now.

Village Rankings
1. Madong
2. Nopdong

Madong have a constitution, an inspiring leader, team spirit, focus, and importantly, a win.
Nopdong are basically fine and stable but there are a couple of emerging crises, even if they're not a huge deal right now:
Leadership - Feels like MJ may well hand over the reigns, probably to Pharoh. But more than the person, the style has been in flux. MJ has basically taken a backseat role this episode (a mode I would guess Pharoh would continue). Listening to everyone is good but it's a definite shift. Things like following the majority vote for elimination, while sounding good, invariably mean you just go the path of least resistance every time, which doesn't work out great for people like Jiwon. Sometimes you need to shake things up. This is an inherent problem with irl democracy so it's actually pretty cool that this is happening.
Brains - The 'natural fit' for Nopdong's brain in terms of the power and group dynamics is Macho, who is a moron. This is a problem. Also their actual smart guy - who is outside the power structures - Sahyuk, is also a moron. Hanbyul is on the fringes of the group and also seems very stupid. It seems there is a good chance of the group acquiring Seohyun, who is pretty smart, but she will be a complete outsider. It's not really a great selection to choose from.

Resident Swap:

This really hinges a lot on if Asol decides to go or not. He's really the ideal candidate - anyone in a strong position in their team isn't going to want to change, and anyone in a weak position is probably in a weak position for a reason. Asol is really in a good spot in Madong but doesn't really feel like it, I definitely don't think his heart is all the way in it.
I think anyone weak being swapped is essentially just getting killed off, especially any minnows from Nopdong. Seohyun might have a chance, and even possibly Haesung, but Sahyuk or Hanbyul or even Insun would be very lucky to survive even one elimination.
The only other high ranked player I can see moving is Injik. He hasn't expressed any desire, and nor have Nopdong in wanting him, but like Asol, the volatile political landscape of Madong has left him suddenly feeling a lot less important than he did an episode or two ago.

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Old 23 Dec 16, 21:46
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No image this time since I'm on my parents macbook.

Very enjoyable episode! Madong with an extremely well-needed win and frankly Nopdong with a well-needed loss.

Name : Tier

Asol : Diamond
It's quite shocking how Asol was pretty much eliminated a few eps ago, and now he seems to have all the cards. He can threaten to swap to Nopdong, but of course that will not be allowed. He will be Madong until the end. Very good in the game today. Clever swinging the wood like a bat.

Insun : Bronze
Insun probably feels safer than she actually is. Now that MJ is in no feels mode, she is certainly a loose end. And if there's a change in leadership she is probably gone before even Sahyuk. Perhaps resident swap will save her?

Pharoh : Diamond
Good ep for Pharoh. +100 for having the mic on his cap. He has been a power player from day one, and I think him or MJ are the top picks for winner of the show right now. They are both really well rounded.

Kyungryul : Diamond
Kyungryul is the undisputed brain left in the game IMO, with Byul perhaps on par with him. Good* choice buying the key. Money is of no consequence if you don't win anyway. The key seems very much worse than Nopdong's nameplate though. With the key you actually need to have support. The key is as much a pinless grenade as it is a boon. *see Steven below.
Top job in the game.

Macho : Gold
Macho for sure has skills, but they are not readily apparent. His best tool is his mouth, and he will need to use it, because sooner or later he will look terrible in a game again. Pharoh seems quite keen to have him in the top 3, but I'm not sure about how MJ feels about him. Byul seems far more likely.

Sahyuk : Silver
With his poor performance in the game I believe Sahyuk has sealed his fate. He was unpopular before, and while it was a good gambit I think the Nopdong squad has given him his last chance. Will probably scramble to get swapped.

Byungkwan : Diamond
"Steven" keeps going strong. Ended Haesung's awful reign, dictated his own terms, and is in complete control of Madong. His tying up of Kungryul in the end was masterly. He can blow Ryul's cover at any time and has him under his thumb.

Hanbyul : Gold
This guy is dangerous. He seems to understand the scheming going on, and I have a feeling he is more involved than the producer lets on.

MJ : Diamond
MJ switched off empathy just at the right time. I believe she will be elected the next day as well, but the path she is walking gets ever more narrow. One misstep and I am confident someone will pounce. She has been the major force for weeks after all, and is a major threat.
Pretty lacking in the game for once.

Injik : Silver
Injik is in the back seat of Madong. He's not the strongest, not the one with best stamina, not the smartest, not the best at scheming. Would not be surprised to see him go fairly soon.

Haesung : Bronze
The black sheep of Madong. No one seems to like him and he's generally mediocre in the games. Next up for the chopping block. Will probably want to swap.

Seohyun : Bronze
She has a key, but she is just a tool. She's no good in the games. How many mini games has she lost now?

Jiwon : Silver
Poor social performance after the loss. She was also a one trick pony with no agility or strength to show. She was good when there was a whole village to bind together, but her time was up.
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Old 24 Dec 16, 03:59
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Just remembered Byungkwan found the key episodes ago and kept it totally secret until now. He's not a showy guy and definitely not some Sangmin-style drama queen, and the edit didn't hype it at all, but this was a huge power move. He has sat on it for ages with a total poker face until he could use it for his own benefit (as you say, it's sort of underwhelming in its actual purpose).
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Old 24 Dec 16, 04:02
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also man did they really leave those burgers out in the sun for the whole challenge before they were allowed to eat them
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Default Standings as at Episode 9

1.


MJ Kim

So strong in Nopdong she can step down from the leadership without her authority ever being in doubt. She can get $10,000 prize money and no one objects. In reality her powerbase is really just Macho now, although they're both looking to move on Asol. She's probably not as tight with Pharoh as she thinks she is, and I think getting rid of both the people who voted for her was maybe not insanely great, but she looks strong enough to go all the way. I can't decide if her level of cunning is really great or maybe going slightly too far, but it's not been proven wrong yet. Also dominated the game based on both of the playstyles she isn't here for.

2.


Macho Yoon

MJ just realised how vital he is to her plans, even if he hasn't wormed his way in to her top 3. His easy, dopey attitude means he can be leader and act extremely decisively in his own interests (the swap, the blacklist and the prize money) and no one will think twice about it. Brought home a win and some beer, and even made MJ do weird girly body language with his moves for the only time ever. He's thrown himself fully behind MJ now, but remains close with Pharoh and open to Asol. Only his game performances keep him from the highest echelons, but he was solid today.

3.


Steven Lee

Very, very stormy seas in Madong today but he rode them out. Still the leader, still making the rules and making the decisions himself. I think Seohyun was the right move to make, although I think Asol probably wasn't. Morale in Madong is pretty much piss and I'm not sure he's the guy to fix that, but he has his eyes on the prize and is herding Madong along towards it.

4.


Hyun Kyungryul

Made what looked like a good play - his first bit of real intrigue in weeks - but 20 minutes later was a total disaster that had torn Madong to pieces and made him come very close to getting kicked. Can't blame him for wanting to ally with Asol here, but maybe he should have read the room better. Even so, he has survived it. He's semi-tight with Byungkwan, and he's alive. Still, the downside to his not-sticking-out style was on display again here, as he was constantly batted around as a potential for the swap and elimination.

5.


Pharoh

Asol's arrival is quite probably a big problem for him. But he's still the dad of Nopdong and he still smashes the games with unmatched consistency. His relationship with Macho is very solid if he needs to lean on it, and I think they're in each other's top 3.

6.


Kwon Asol

It's a little early to see how he's going to fit in to Nopdong still. He's universally regarded as a top contestant, but this was a really risky move, and he knows it. Watch with interest.

7.


Jung Injik

Seemed to make a whole string of unsuccessful plays in what was a very frustrating day of diplomatic failure for him. Also absolutely fucked the game. Still, he was never in consideration for elimination and I think even more notably than that, he was the only player in Madong no one else in Madong wanted to send over to the other team. He's the beating heart of Madong, but that means when Madong is a total shambles like it is now, he's all over the place.

8.


Hanbyul

Unacceptably bad outfit. Passed under the radar today, and is the only recognised brain left in Nopdong, but feels like the easiest cut left.

9.


Lee Haesung

A day of failed diplomacy and he's really locked himself in to a 1-on-1 battle he's the overwhelming favourite to lose. Still, he has a key and it genuinely doesn't feel impossible that he'll be voted leader again.

10.


Hwang Insun

Still in the game, which is undeniably impressive. Showed spirit today, but also her limits. I don't think anyone is impressed with her at all and she's definitely in no one's top 3.

11.


Hong Sahyuk

This guy was really a huge idiot and I don't feel bad about him going at all.

12.


Park Seohyun

Totally, totally crushed. Sad to watch. Classy exit, all things considered. She just saw what a horrible mess Madong was in and realised she didn't want to be there any more.

Village Rankings
1. Nopdong
2. Madong

Madong seems totally fucked right now. The only reason Byungkwan stayed as leader today is because everyone hates everyone else so much that they can't even unify in rebellion. Nopdong handled a loss and leader change very smoothly.
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Old 2 Jan 17, 21:13
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Name : Tier

Asol : Diamond
Man, what a roller coaster ep for the big guy. Did not predict him going to Nopdong, but I think it was a good choice on his part in the end. Heart-warming to see him "saving" Seohyun and how he was a big bro to the girls.

Insun : Bronze
Could hardly believe her bullshit when she left Nopdong, lol. Then she had the nerve to smack talk MJ when she wasn't playing badly. Is she really this stupid? Loved Pharoh's reaction to it.
I think there's a slim chance of survival for at least another episode for her in Madong, if she plays her cards right (she won't).

Pharoh : Diamond
Can this guy get any cooler? He's not been the focus of an episode for a while, but he always delivers in the challenges, and he looks fucking rock star while doing it.

Kyungryul : Gold
Kyungryul has become perhaps the most indispensable person in Madong, especially now that Asol's gone. If he wasn't so naive and more of a schemer he could have had that whole village in his fist by now. They keep talking about Haseung and him being the two brains, like they are somehow even remotely on the same level. Alpha Hyung always delivers in the games, Haesung is a fucking joke.

Macho : Diamond
Macho is the contestant I find hardest to read. I know he's very close to Pharoh, but I've always had the nagging feeling that his stretch goal was to take MJ down. That was promptly dispelled when he gave her the 10k. Is he in love for real? It's safe to say she's in his top 3 at any rate.
Bonus points for being extremely insolent and taking the cred for winning.

Sahyuk : Silver
I understand Sahyuk's disbelief when he got eliminated. He was, mostly, a strong player. He should never ever do another mini game, though. I think it was impressive he got this far without actively playing the politics game.

Byungkwan : Silver
There were some signs of cracks in the leadership, especially when he took the (bad, I think) decision to lie in front of Injik about selling the key to Kyungryul. The fact that people are constantly either trying or talking about rebelling is a sign of possible bad times for Steve.

Hanbyul : Bronze
Hanbyul again finds himself in obscurity. Hardly has any cam time, poor at the games, and gets the stone wall treatment by Macho. With Insun gone he's the weakest link in Nopdong. Needs to grasp the reins of his destiny, fast.

MJ : Diamond
MJ has by far the best interviews of all of the contestants. She lays her plans bare and they almost always happen just like she tells it. Now Macho is leader but MJ has him around her finger. In the game she proved that she isn't only strong and dextrous, but also a mind player. We viewers also know she's one hell of a manipulator. She's the full package.

Injik : Gold
Arguably Injik's best episode. He started a failed rebellion, but strangely enough seemed to lose no trust with Byungkwan from it. In an episode where everyone in Madong looked really bad at some point, I think Injik pulled through the best.

Haesung : Bronze
Haesung continues his extremely bad political plays by making just about everyone distance themselves from him. I'd argue he's a weaker link than Insun since she has absolutely nothing to lose.

Seohyun : Silver
It was going to happen, but now that the time is here I was sorry to see her go. She did the most classy exit so far, even dressing up. Emotional scenes with her and Asol.

---

This is the kind of drama that I love! Madong was great throughout. Never a dull moment. With Asol now in Nopdong it's very clear that they will be fielding the better top 3, almost by default. The Asol-Seohyun scenes were nice and the Insun scenes were hilarious.
The challenge was okay, but the wind made it a bit random. And as usual most contestants sucked balls at the mental bit.
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Old 6 Jan 17, 05:19
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Default Standings as at Episode 10

1.


Hyun Kyungyul

Tough call for top spot today but I think Kyungryul gets it despite some reverses towards the end. Although he's causing friction with whatever passes for an inner circle in Madong, he's the most reliable gamewinner in the village and the rest of the team seem to appreciate this. By far the best in today's game. He also seemed to have a cool look about him all episode today.

2.


Macho Yoon

No one is dominant now, everyone has weaknesses. In such a world of weakness, Macho passes towards the lategame unnoticed. With 4 players left in Nopdong, Macho the Incumbent now requires a coordinated coup by every single other member to unseat him from the leadership. Would Asol do it? Absolutely. MJ? Maybe? Pharoh? I don't see it. Unless things change (that leader letter in the next episode could very likely make things change), he's made it.
And really, he's not that terrible a pick for it. The games are weird novelty games, being a doctor or wrestler hasn't really been that much of an advantage. Except for an obsession with arithmetic, which to be fair Macho is awful at, the games seem basically like a crapshoot. Why not take the guy that has veered between 'fine' and 'actually competent' for a solid half of recent games.

3.


Steven Lee

Still the leader. Seems to have neither the favour or trust of any of his subjects, and his own alliance is 2 people, both of whom are plotting to overthrow him. But the plotting feels like its going nowhere, they've waited too long and the moment has passed. Even if he is overthrown, the simple fact is the only way he isn't getting to the final 3 is if Insun goes instead.

4.


MJ Kim

She's still going to the finals. But today she lost, and after that, she looked like a regular team member. No longer a superwoman, just an equal. This is the first time she's looked mortal. The first time I can even really conceive of her not winning.

5.


Jung Injik

Like Byungkwan, the only way he doesn't get to the final 3 is if Insun does, and even then I can't see it happening. Good in the games today, but inconsistent overall. He's what passes for a popular figure in Madong.

6.


Pharoh

Pretty sure everyone left has him in their final 3. But somehow Asol still feels like a threat to him, and not Macho (who he clearly is an actual threat to). Maybe it's just his soft character, but he seems overly concerned when in reality I think he's the safest guy left in the whole show?

7.


Kwon Asol

Slipping outside the top 6 at the worst possible time. He seems very competent, and he has the mentality to cope well in the games. He's just failed at the politics. It's not over yet, and it feels like there's definitely a way back in for him, but he has to unseat Macho to do it, and that is going to be easier said than done.

8.


Hwang Insun

Any coup involves her. Her price will probably be a seat in the final 3. Even if it isn't, that's almost the inevitable result of a shift in Madong's power now.
This is one of the key reasons why I don't think there will be a coup.

9.


Lee Haesung

There's no way Kyungryul and Haesung are both going to the finals. It's by no means impossible, but it seems insane that someone would pick Haesung. He's very bad.

10.


Hanbyul

The final no politics bozo has fallen. Not making enemies gets you through blacklists. But not making enemies also means not making friends. Friends get you through eliminations. Thanks to the fortuitous timing of his village swap, he didn't really face any eliminations. Once they came around, he went out almost immediately. (Can you imagine if they'd swapped him back? He'd have won all but one event and still be in.)

Village Rankings
1. Madong
2. Nopdong

Nopdong is sad right now. I like everyone left and don't want to see any of them eliminated. The time for politics is over and the last one to go is going to be stabbed in the front.
Madong however is still a cowboy shitshow and I am hyped to see how it pans out. I wouldn't care if any 2 of the remainers got eliminated. Still feels like there's some shifts left in the tank.









Some extras, due to a presumable hiatus and the beginning of the end:

Translation: Bumdi is apparently unwell, so along with wishing him the best we should praise his work. Although today's game was not a particularly excellent watch as someone who doesn't speak Korean, I can't even imagine how hard it was to translate. The very concept of the official dictionary is totally alien to English, and trying to bring that across through stuff that literally doesn't translate is a monumental task. Despite this game being syllables I don't know being made in to words I don't understand, I could still tell which would be rejected before it was announced. Amazing work. Although a lot of the charm and uniqueness of this & the Genius comes from the editing and visual idiosyncracies of Korean variety shows, I suspect a very large amount is down to bumdi's personal turns of phrase and aesthetic choices.

Editing: While I don't love all the editing decisions in this show (I certainly don't need to see another reaction shot of someone repeating the name of the game every time they announce it ever again in my life), and it's not as strong overall as the Genius, it's still good. The opening of this episode, with the reflections on the paths of both Nopdong and Madong, and then the quiet rest day, really set this as the calm before the storm, the night before the battle. Very nicely done imo and helped a lot to build the bittersweet feelings of the endgame up.

The Least-Worst Government: I don't think there's going to be a coup in Madong. I don't think anyone thinks Byungkwan is a good leader at all, but with the realistic impossibility of an Injik administration (Haesung and Kyungryul have the keys. Both of them would stay on as leader to eliminate the other one), it seems like everyone is slowly coming to accept the fact that Byungkwan is the least-worst leader available for the team as a whole. This gives him a weird security despite the open lack of stability, and I think he will just about bundle it over the finish line as the rest of the village realise any possible alternative involves Insun.

The Madong leader who never was: Ever since Sangguk left, Injik has been the true heart of the reds. But somehow, he's never ended up as the leader. As you pointed out, he's been able (repeatedly) to openly politic and plot coups, even to the leader's face, without losing any trust or regard. His focus on the team, all his politicking being for the benefit of the team, seems to ensure this. Byungkwan might well have wanted to be leader to stop the run of losses and to motivate the team, but he also just plain wanted to be leader. Injik sincerely seems to possess no such want for power, and therefore his powerplays are not schemes, not intrigue. So no one sees them as such, no one is left out in the cold, and no one minds. But perhaps his lack of greed is also the very reason he hasn't ever been leader.




Alternate Final Threes: My top 6 are my presumed final 3 for each team, but let's take a quick look at other potential combinations the villages could send out.

MJ - Pharoh - Asol
- this is the only other lineup I can see coming out of Nopdong. Barring the appearance of some weird game Macho is actually great at (aren't the dice making a reappearance?), this is basically a straight up better team. I just think it's less likely to happen. No recognised brain but no real weak one either, and you'd have to bet at least evens on the brain component of the finals being arithmetic based, which they all seems broadly fine at and unlikely to come completely unstuck like Macho when he tried to hold a cube properly. Physically this team would surely beat anything Madong can send out, and no worse than an even fight at Dexterity.

Byungkwan - Injik - Haesung - these guys are ostensibly still a trio, if only due to inertia. I can actually see this happening, even if the cameraderie between Byungkwan and Injik has completely gone. I see Madong coming down to Byungkwan picking between Haesung and Kyungryul to take with Injik. As we saw in this episode, there is a definite bond between Byungkwan and Haesung still, so it might just happen.
I think this is just flat out a worse team in every possible scenario. Kyungryul is the only real gamechanger we've seen from that side (except maybe Injik, who's just as likely to fail completely), and Haesung has been underwhelming at best in absolutely everything he's done.

Kyungryul - Injik - Insun - the likeliest team to come out of a coup. This team is....ok? They do basically have everything covered, but if Kyungryul doesn't bang or the challenges lean away from brains, it doesn't look like a Nopdong beater.

Haesung - Injik - Insun - the only other plausible team to come out of a leadership change. This....is a pretty horrible team. There's a slim chance Injik could pull something inspired out of his bag, but I'd see them going out to straight sets.
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Old 11 Jan 17, 12:05
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