[2012] Drama recap of Big by drama beans

191 June 5, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 1

by javabeans

Big is here!

Interestingly, it has a different tone from the rest of the Hong sisters oeuvre; while still peppered with humor throughout, it’s got a much more atmospheric vibe and a touch of whimsy. I’m as enthusiastic a Hong sisters fan as you might find, but that doesn’t mean that change isn’t good; I’m very encouraged by the spare, moody moments in between the lighter beats, when the Hongs undercut moments with humor, which is their trademark. On the other hand, it means that we’re not at crack-drama levels yet (if ever; I make no assumptions).

I’m not sold on the drama yet, which doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I do, and I actually expect to love it based on what I think is coming and flashes of storylines and character beats in the premiere. It’s not an instant love, and I can feel that difference when it is. But I saw some promising emotional threads that have me looking forward to the next episode.

SONG OF THE DAY

Big OST – “너라서” (Because It’s You) by Davichi. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

Our heroine, GIL DA-RAN (Lee Min-jung) hurries into a wedding hall to deliver a bridal bouquet. The bride is about to rip into her for being late until they recognize each other, and so does her huge posse of girlfriends. They all used to be classmates, and Da-ran was conspicuously left off the guest list.

The bride (cameo by Best Love’s Lee Hee-jin) makes an empty offer to include her in the bridal photo while the snooty girls look down their noses at Da-ran, the plebe. Da-ran declines and starts to leave, then reconsiders, stuffing cash into a gift envelope and asking for a meal voucher. Heh. She’s here, she’s now technically a guest, she may as well eat.

But then she gets a call from her delivery service boss: The bride got the wrong bouquet. No matter that she already got married with it, because it (being way more expensive) was meant for another bride and Da-ran is responsible for bringing it back.

At least Da-ran has one opportunity to claim the bouquet without making everything terribly embarrassing for everyone: the bouquet toss. Ha. How like this drama to subvert that cliche, so that Da-ran is literally clenching her fists in determination to grab that bouquet, only for the opposite reason as everyone else.

The bouquet is tossed, and Da-ran goes deep. But someone bumps her from the side, knocking her off-course, and offers a hand as she teeters backward. It’s a glorious slow-motion introduction to our hero, SEO YOON-JAE (Gong Yoo), who essentially strikes a music-video pose as Da-ran goes flying.

A radio host jumps in at this point to narrate: This is the “how we met” story for a new couple. Sure, the woman fell down 36 stairs, broke a tailbone and wrist, and spent two months in the hospital. But she got herself a fiancé; he, a doctor, treated her and proposed the day her cast came off. Now she’s set to marry him in a month, working as a high school teacher while preparing for the teacher’s certificate exam.

In exchange for the story, the host awards the sender a a rice cooker as a prize. Da-ran cheers and the gift in her wish list notebook, where everything has a description and price tag. (The host also sends her a song, Lee Seung-gi’s “Will You Marry me?”—get in all the Hong sisters cameos up front, sure why not.)

Da-ran catches a youngster staring at her from a nearby bus seat, smiling at her knowingly. It makes her wonder, and when she gets off the bus he follows her out.

He joins her under her umbrella, placing his hand over hers, looking at her with an intense smolder. It’s hot, but also totally random.

Da-ran asks if he followed her, and starts to explain apologetically that she’s engaged, and way older than she looks. To which he grabs her hand and stops her, saying, “This is mine. You took my umbrella.”

Ha. You kinda saw it coming, but it’s made better by the fact that the kid turns out to be a smartass. He walks on, forcing her to scuttle along with him to avoid getting soaked by the rain, totally unconcerned with the fact that he left her umbrella on the bus. Why would he take hers when it was her mistake?

Now she gets annoyed and they start to bicker; she calls him out for smirking at her on the bus, and he says yeah, she was acting silly while listening to the radio. The whole bus was looking at her, but she only noticed him—it’s understandable, he says, that she’d ignore the ajusshis and only see the young hottie.

Embarrassed, Da-ran parts ways with him upon arriving in front of her destination, a high school. The kid knows something she doesn’t, and says, “Uh-oh.”

As soon as she steps inside the teachers’ room, Vice Principal KIM YOUNG-OK (Choi Ran, a Hong sisters fixture) starts giving her a hard time. Either she has a grudge against her, or VP Kim is just the kind of impossible-to-please boss who doesn’t like anybody.

Da-ran’s jaw drops when the new transfer is introduced: It’s bus boy, aka KANG KYUNG-JOON (Shin Won-ho, who apparently in the past few weeks has changed his stage name to merely Shin, who knows why), a top student from a top school in the States.

VP Kim puts Da-ran in charge of showing Kyung-joon the school. Not her idea of fun, especially since the wiseass asks, “Will it be okay if I follow you this time?” He uses banmal with her, and when she calls him out on it, he fakes an American accent and says, “I’m still awkward with Korean, sorry.” Oh, you are such a punk.

Da-ran knows he’s doing this on purpose and tamps down her annoyance to tell him he’d better remember: “I am a teacher, you are a student, okay?” He obviously understands Korean perfectly, but he still has her scrambling for her dictionary just to make things extra-clear.

Then she gets a call from her perfect fiancé Yoon-jae, ignoring her charge to arrange a date tonight. She’s giddy with girlish anticipation, even as this relationship seems a little… well, less than perfect in our eyes. (Yoon-jae is too busy to meet her for dinner, but she’s happy to bring him dinner at the hospital, assuring him she’s absolutely free and has nothing else to do.)

Kyung-joon guesses this is the guy from her radio story, which she asks to keep it a secret from everyone; she’d rather not have everyone know it was her. She only did it for the free rice cooker.

Kyung-joon agrees, on the condition that she stop pointing out that his Korean is too “short” (banmal, aka cut-down speech), and draws out her name to make his point (gil = long).

With that, Kyung-joon jumps out the window (on the first floor) and walks off. He’s stopped by a trio of students, standing there in the cool-kids stance, led by their jjang, GIL CHOONG-SHIK (Baek Sung-hyun). Choong-shik eyes him up and down like he’s angling for a jjang-vs-jjang confrontation, saying, “So I hear you transferred from America.”

He keeps that cool, badass posturing as he adds, “D’you a guy named Park Min-shik? He transferred there in junior high.” Omg, it’s hilarious. They’re another idiot trio!

Kyung-joon says (in that embarrassing stilted English), “Uh-oh. You don’t even know about States? Whatever.” Except in this case it doesn’t even matter that he’s terrible (and may in fact be the point), because Idiot Sidekick #1 marvels, “He’s speaking English! He’s really good.” So Idiot Boss switches over and says, in English, “My name is Gil Choong-shik. Are you… can… Korea?” HAHA. (He means, Can you speak Korean?)

Kyung-joon calls him “stupid,” and Choong-shik has to ask what that means. His sidekick reminds him it’s the word Krystal always uses on that sitcom (hehe, High Kick 3), which tips him off that it’s an insult. Angry, Choong-shik starts to pick a fight, only his attempt to grab Kyung-joon fails and he goes sprawling. Oh, I love that you’re a bumbling fool with James Dean pretensions.

Choong-shik goes in for a punch, but finds his fist stopped by another hand. Da-ran intercepts, sending him running away in alarm, only to trip over his own feet.

Noona chases him down and starts to scold him for fighting (he yelps, “I didn’t even hit him!”), so much that Kyung-joon wonders if they ought to report the teacher for beating a student. The sidekicks tell him she’s Choong-shik’s sister.

Afterward, Choong-shik threatens to tell Dad on her, but she retorts that that’ll get Mom to scold Choong-shik. The siblings head off together with harmony restored, and Kyung-joon looks after them with an interestingly intense look on his face; I wonder if it’s the sisterly doting he misses, or affection in general.

Kyung-joon goes home to a palatial mansion, makes himself a frozen pizza, and listlessly lies on the ground. Big empty house, nobody to care.

Da-ran goes to the hospital and runs into a familiar doctor: LEE SE-YOUNG (Jang Hee-jin), who seems friendly enough. There’s nothing suspicious about the way Se-young’s part of the photos on Yoon-jae’s bulletin board, but Da-ran adds her own photo to the mix while waiting in his office.

She thinks back to a previous conversation between them, when they’d made newlywed plans like buying furniture. A demonstration of her bed’s length brings them in close contact, and turns into an excuse to put his arm around her. Aw, he’s gentle and sweet, and they really are cute together.

The memory makes Da-ran feel the warm fuzzies, but then she sees the box peeking out from under his cot. It’s their unopened box of wedding invitations, probably neglected in light of his busy schedule, though she wonders somewhat disappointedly whether he’s not even curious to see how they came out.

Da-ran drops by to see her stern father (it’s Ahn Seok-hwan, who’s toned down his exaggerated comic villainy, it seems, to my great relief—he’s so much better being understated that it’s terrible that he tends to go so overboard). He warns Da-ran not to slack off on her exam preparations just because she’s getting married.

Meanwhile, Mom and Choong-shik eagerly present their gift: a cardio machine, which Dad barks is a frivolity. (Mom looks ridiculously young—I thought it might be a sister at first—but the character description explains why. Mom met Dad when she was a 19-year-old student and he was a 35-year-old teacher, which must’ve been scandalous at the time. Still, it’s terribly strange that actress Yoon Hae-young is 40 when Lee Min-jung is 30.)

At the hospital, Yoon-jae finds that Da-ran has gone, leaving a note reminding him of their furniture-buying plans tomorrow. To his credit, at least he looks bad about it, but I’m thinking he’s a curiously reluctant groom.

At Kyung-joon’s mansion, his uncle presents the brand-new motorcycle he bought for him. Kyung-joon coolly points out that to be semantically accurate, Uncle didn’t so much buy it for him as he used Mom’s inheritance to buy it. Ah, so Kyung-joon’s mother has died somewhat recently, all her money passing to her son, who’s now all alone in the world.

Uncle Hyuk-soo doesn’t seem like a horrible person, but it seems likely he and his wife are looking askance at the great stacks of cash his dead noona left behind. Kyung-joon picks up on this and keeps them at arm’s length.

He doesn’t want to replace his old bed, whose car-shaped wooden frame his mother first got him as a child. But as he lies down with his feet hanging over the edge, he figures he’s grown big enough. (Or has he? Title pun, badum-ching!)

Kyung-joon heads to the furniture store and picks out a great big bed, saying that if he can fall asleep on it, he’ll take it. Da-ran arrives to find that another customer is looking over her bed and is in the process of buying, which makes her grumble in disappointment.

She tries her powers of persuasion, which are few, to urge him to pick a different bed since this one’s not so great. In her demonstration of its flaws, she grabs the frame and breaks a part of it, which, on the upside, gets her the desired bed after all. Although she has to buy it as a damaged product.

On the downside, Da-ran doesn’t love the idea of buying a damaged bed to usher in her newlywed life, so she buys Kyung-joon lunch and tries to persuade him to buy it from her at a discount. He says he’s an orphan with no parents to buy his bed for him; he was just trying it out.

Another call from Yoon-jae follows the similar script: Da-ran answers happily, tracing a heart on the table unconsciously, and excuses him for being unable to make yet another date.

At the hospital, shifty rival Se-young sees the photo of Da-ran added to the bulletin board, and tosses it into the trash. Aha, so she does have designs on the groom.

But… does he have designs right back? Eep! When Yoon-jae and his fellow surgeons join her in the office area, she asks when he’s going to send out his wedding invitations—hasn’t he gotten them yet? Yoon-jae averts his gaze and says no, they’re not out, and that puts a smile on her face. Uh-oh…

The next morning, Da-ran arrives at school as Kyung-joon is being reminded by a teacher that he’s supposed to buy a uniform. Assuming he hasn’t bought it because he can’t afford it, Da-ran calls Kyung-joon in and slides over a bag—it’s a school uniform that she managed to find.

Kyung-joon’s amused since he never said he was poor, but he looks pleased enough at the gesture. Inside his wallet is a card bearing a drawing of two cherubs, which is the same image on a book Yoon-jae has on his desk in the hospital, which also bears the title “Miracle.”

The fiancé is looking more reluctant by the day, and he ponders a plane ticket to LA, which he tucks into the Miracle book.

Da-ran starts class, and her students point out a “gift” for her: a pillow on her chair, to help her sore tailbone. Flustered, she goes on with class while the class snickers and uses her radio story as joke fodder.

Kyung-joon notes her flustered reaction, but it’s her brother who reacts first: Choong-shik gets up and warns the offenders to cut it out. Aw, sometimes you wanna kill little brothers, but sometimes they’re just the best.

The teasing gets her down, and Da-ran tells her teacher friend Ae-kyung that she was quite embarrassed. It makes her feel like she scored the perfect man out of pity for her broken bones, though Ae-kyung encourages her to think of it as true love—they’ve made a love match where it doesn’t matter if you’re equally matched or not because you care about each other. A nice sentiment, though it suggests that everyone assumes Yoon-jae’s far out of her league.

It shakes her confidence enough that Da-ran second-guesses herself when texting Yoon-jae about their plans to go house-hunting, which he’s late for. She waits outside school glumly, checking her phone.

I’m not sure if she’d be able to cope with another missed date, and sure enough, when Yoon-jae calls to cancel, she finds herself on the verge of tears even though she excuses him. He sounds concerned and asks whether it’s okay, and she says that no, she’s not actually.

Crying now, she reminds him of his words when he proposed, which sound awfully reluctant to my ears: He’d said he’d felt sorry and was going to “take responsibility” for her, which can sound romantic when we’re talking about true emotional commitment, but terribly hollow when done out of sheer duty. Da-ran asks, “Do you really love me? If you don’t, you don’t have to marry me.”

Sobbing, she hangs up. Watching from a distance, Kyung-joon smiles in approval, saying, “Not bad.”

Da-ran freaks out a moment later, scrambling to call or text back to take back her words. Only to have her cell phone snatched out of her hands by Kyung-joon.

He gives her a ride on his motorcycle, taking her to a pretty park by a pond to cool her head. She admits that it’s better this way, thanking him for stopping her from taking back her words. He plays it cool but Da-ran isn’t fooled, telling him she knows understands—it’s to make up for spreading the radio rumors, right?

She isn’t angry about it, but now he feels wrongly accused, saying he didn’t do it, and she’d better not treat him like she does those idiots in class. She humors him, though clearly not believing his denial, and tells him that all kids are pretty much the same, year in and year out.

He gets sarcastic with her, saying it must be nice to be so old, but thanks to his absence during his study abroad period, he delivers a catchphrase wrong. She corrects him, and asks, “Do you not even know what puing-puing is?” HAHA, are the Hong sisters High Kick fans? That’s awesome. One catchphrase generator referencing another.

Da-ran is demonstrating the aegyo puing-puing maneuver when she gets a call, and Kyung-joon hands over the phone. It’s Yoon-jae, apologetic and now ready to answer her question from earlier, which can only mean good news—that he loves her. (You wouldn’t revisit that topic unless you meant to change her mind, after all.)

Da-ran cheers up when Yoon-jae asks to meet her right away so he can tell her in person, and Kyung-joon takes this as his cue to leave. He checks his wallet to check that he has gas money, showing us once again that he’s got the “Miracle” cherub picture inside—somehow this will be our drama’s miracle-maker, per the painting’s title.

Yoon-jae leaves his office and heads for the pond, just as Kyung-joon drives away from it. Yoon-jae picks up a persistent tailgater, who flashes his lights and honks at him to go faster, then overtakes him on the two-lane road. The car swerves, though, hitting an oncoming car, and that blocks the road completely.

Yoon-jae’s fast approaching the collision from one side, Kyung-joon from the other, and both swerve in to the guardrail, crashing into the water below.

Kyung-joon floats lifelessly in the water, while Yoon-jae finds himself trapped inside his car, which rapidly fills with water. After long, harrowing moments of pushing against the stuck door, it finally swings open and Yoon-jae swims out. He’s about to bolt for the surface—his breath is fast running out—but he sees Kyung-joon sinking nearby and makes his choice.

Yoon-jae swims for him instead, reaching for Kyung-joon’s hand, and in that brief moment the two men re-create the pose of the Miracle cherubs. It’s eerie and quite beautiful imagery.

It seems that Kyung-joon barely gets a glimpse of Yoon-jae swimming toward him before he passes out entirely. Then the two are rushed to the emergency room and doctors rush to revive them, using CPR and defibrillators.

Flatline.

It’s Yoon-jae who goes. The doctors remove the respirator and wheel him into the morgue, just as Da-ran arrives to get the bad news.

She’s led to the morgue to identify the body, but halfway there she asks for a moment, breaking down into sobs and overcome with emotion.

Inside the morgue, a body jerks upright. It’s Yoon-jae, doubled over and gasping on the cold gurney. He gets a glimpse of himself in the mirrored wall and stares in disbelief at himself.

Wrapped in that sheet, Yoon-jae ventures outside and into the hallway, where Da-ran is slumped on the ground and sobbing to herself. She squints at the approaching figure, then rises in recognition. She grabs him in a hug, crying that she was afraid he’d died.

But he pushes her away and asks, “I’m… who?” She babbles on that she was afraid he’d gone, but he says, “Gil Da-ran, who did you say I am? Teacher. I’m… Kang Kyung-joon.”

She’s utterly confused, wondering how he would know Kyung-joon. He blurts that there was this accident on the road, and he’d fallen into the water, and when he woke up everything was like this. Then he has another thought: “Where am I?” Freaking out about his own teenaged body, Big Kyung-joon runs back to the morgue, with Da-ran confusedly calling after him.

Big Kyung-joon finds the body lying next to his slab and wonders in horror, “Is this me? Did I die? Am I totally dead? I’m only 18.”

He turns to Da-ran with aggrieved eyes, saying, “I’m dead. This is me!” And he reveals the body underneath the sheet, looking away in anguish.

But Da-ran just slaps his hand and tries to cover up the body: “What are you doing to this poor dead grandpa?” He’d uncovered a random body, HAHA!

Da-ran supposes he must have been addled in the accident and urges him to think back and remember: He was just about to tell her something before the accident. What was it? Can he tell her now?

Kyung-joon remembers, and she leans forward in nervous anticipation, wanting to her the declaration. He says, “Puing-puing,” and then does the hand gesture for good measure. HAHAHA, best use of puing-puing ever.

She’s disappointed, saying that she wanted him to say he loved her. He says insistently, “No, Gil Teacher, you told me to say ‘puing-puing.'”

Then to add to the craziness, a scream chimes in to their confusion: It’s a nurse, who sees (in her eyes) a woman talking to a supposed corpse in the morgue.

Yoon-jae’s body undergoes tests, and despite the doctors’ confusion for the sudden recovery, they determine that he’s normal. Da-ran says that he seems like a different person, but the doctor says that’s a likely effect of the accident, and that they’ll continue with tests.

Kyung-joon faces his new body in the mirror, slapping his face and wondering where his own body went. Then he hears his uncle’s voice asking about him at the front desk, and follows Uncle and Aunt to a room, where his own body lies unconscious and unresponsive.

He stares at himself in shock, hardly noticing when a patient is wheeled by him on a gurney, getting his blood onto his hand. Kyung-joon sees the blood on his own hand, which makes him tremble, taking him into a flashback of another time when he’d trembled at the sight of blood on his hands: when Kyung-joon had found his mother’s body, broken and bloody on the ground.

Now he wipes the blood from his hand agitatedly, traumatized at the memory and fighting a panic attack.

Da-ran wanders around looking for her errant fiancé and overhears a doctor speaking to Kyung-joon’s guarantors. She sees Kyung-joon lying unconscious in a hospital bed, and the coincidence is enough to make her wonder whether Yoon-jae could really have been telling the truth. She shakes her head, saying it’s impossible, but she won’t know till she finds Yoon-jae.

She heads to his apartment and office, but he’s not there. So she puts in a call to another teacher to ask about Kyung-joon’s address, just in case he wasn’t lying. (The teacher is Na Hyo-sang, played by another Hong sisters alum, Moon Ji-yoon, who played Jae Hee’s best friend in Delightful Girl Chun-hyang.)

So Da-ran heads to Kyung-joon’s mansion that night, where she finds the front door open and a trail of clothes leading to the racecar bed. Where Yoon-jae lies curled into a fetal position.

He opens his eyes, and they stare for a long moment at other. She asks, “Kang Kyung-joon?”

He says, “Yes, Teacher Gil Da-ran.” Well, this is awkward.

 
COMMENTS

As I said, Big feels different to me. Every other Hong sisters show has immediately felt like a Hong sisters show, and this is the first one to not have that manic-comedic vibe. Which, perhaps, may be a very good thing for some people who either don’t usually respond to their shows, or have grown tired of it. I don’t qualify as either, but I’m still encouraged by it since change can be refreshing, and I like seeing them try new things rather than churning out the same plots over and over. (They do repeat some motifs, but I like how diverse their premises have been, especially in recent years.)

This does mean that Big probably has the least outright funny premiere episode of any Hong sisters drama, and that includes the sageuk (Hong Gil Dong) and the fantasy melo (My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho). Again, this may be both a good and a bad thing, depending on your expectation.

Some of this difference in vibe can be attributed to Big’s two PDs, Kim Sung-yoon (Merchant Kim Man-deok and Dream High 1) and Ji Byung-hyun (Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, Hot Blooded Salesman). A lot of the mood is established in the music choices and editing style, and I’m warming to it. I LOVE the image of the cherubs in the water, superimposed over our two leading characters, and it’s probably that moment that had me feeling invested in the show.

Because these high-concept series do take a bit longer to establish the rules of their world than a normal trendy without fantasy elements, I expect that the series won’t really settle into its tone or plot until at least the next episode. Shows like 49 Days and Who Are You took a few episodes before falling into their groove because their characters had to first get into the body-swap scenarios before they could carry out the out-of-body premises, so I’m waiting to see what direction Big takes from here on out.

As yet, we barely get to see a glimpse of the whole concept driving the show, which is Gong Yoo acting like a kid. Although, I’m pleased to see that the premise is more than that, with deeper emotions driving our characters. Or, at least, ONE of our characters. It makes sense that the adult Gong Yoo—Dr. Yoon-jae, that is—has less development than the adolescent Kyung-joon, since the soul that will be inhabiting the body will be the latter, but I hadn’t expected Yoon-jae to be such a cipher.

Yoon-jae seems like a nice guy, but he’s got his shifty moments, and that’s interesting. He doesn’t act like a cheater or a playboy, but he also doesn’t seem all that into her, which suggests that perhaps this isn’t our OTP. And yet, you can’t have our adult teacher paired with the 18-year-old student who’s the same age as her brother, can we? I know we’ve had Biscuit Teacher Star Candy and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, but this setup seems different than those, somehow. I got the sense that Kyung-joon craves love in a sense of family and belonging, not necessarily romantically.

Speaking of whom, I was pleasantly surprised with Shin Won-ho’s (er, Shin’s) performance, since I hadn’t known what to expect. I’d hoped he would be good, but just because he looks like Song Joong-ki doesn’t mean he acts like him, and he’s such a new face that you can’t predict based on past performance. (Though apparently he was pretty good in Bachelor’s Vegetable Store.)

He gives Kyung-joon a nice depth, though, and plays both sides of his character well—the flip, cool side and the lonely little boy. He’s not an outrageous character in the vein of Cha Chi-soo, but an understated presence. In fact, he reminds me most closely of Jung Il-woo in Unstoppable High Kick, all quietly brooding, keeping his emotions close to the vest. Maybe that’s why I feel like this pairing isn’t an ultimate romantic pairing, either, because of the High Kick vibe. But this is a romantic comedy, so we can’t shirk on the romance, can we?

Gong Yoo didn’t have much time to do much—by which I mean, he was Kyung-joon for a pretty short time—but I love what he’s doing so far. He’s got the same sad eyes as Shin, and I feel like they’re well on their way to getting that character down. I definitely feel like he’s the teenager, but not in a silly, slapstick way; just in the way he reacts, and looks at things. Subtlety is definitely better than broad, in my book.

Which is why it’s disappointing that I’m not liking Lee Min-jung’s grasp of Da-ran, considering how much I love her and think she’s a talented actress who can do comedy and drama equally well. She’s doing that typical rom-com thing by overexaggerating everything—I’m used to that style in trendies, but there’s a fine line between what’s cute and what’s overly bumbling (see: Go Mi-nam, Geum Jan-di).

The thing is, Lee Min-jung can DO cute and winsome (Smile You, Boys Before Flowers) so I want to see her pull back and tone down the stupid. She was wonderful when she broke down in the hallway; she can do it. I hope she recalibrates her settings, and soon. She’s too good to waste on a role that could have gone to just another mediocre flavor of the day.

All in all, I’m looking forward to how Big develops. I wasn’t immediately hooked, but I like it so far and can see myself growing to like it more. *Knocks on wood*

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269 June 5, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 2

by girlfriday

Well that’s better. It’s like it took an episode to rev up (which makes sense given the premise, but it did feel surprisingly subdued). To make up for a less joke-filled premiere, Episode 2 brings the body swap comedy, the sex comedy, and some zippy plot to boot. We knew the premise going in, but the plot ended up a surprise: it’s the great mystery of Seo Yoon-jae. Is he an ass, or isn’t he? It turns out to be a more important question than you’d think.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

Da-ran peers over at Kyung-joon-in-Yoon-jae’s body with her last ounce of hope: “Yoon-jae-sshi?” But no, it’s Kyung-joon of course. She drags him out by the wrist to insist that they go back to the hospital and get the doctors to switch them back. Oh sure, that body-swap-ectomy. What?

He tells her that’s ridiculous, since all three of them would get locked up and studied like lab rats. Besides, he hates hospitals (understandably so, if his mom’s death was so recent) so he tells her to go by herself if she wants.

She yells at him to stop acting like a kid. Kyung-joon: “I AM a kid! I’m eighteen!” But then when she tries to drag him out again, it’s “Don’t treat me like a kid. This face isn’t a kid’s.” Haha, I love that the droll delivery is the same, but now the sassiness has an extra kick with the deeper voice and well, the face of a man.

He tells her to get it together so they can calmly try to suss things out, clearly more level-headed than her even at his age. But then his explanation kills me. He sits down to explain his theory of the events with two toy figures. So like a little boy. His faces are killing me.

His theory: they had the accident, and both fell into the water. And then seeing that his body was dying, Yoon-jae jumped bodies into his, thus leaving him to wake up in dead Yoon-jae’s body.

Da-ran watches this all, taking it in, but stops to complain that Yoon-jae isn’t the type of person to go taking over other people’s bodies all willy-nilly. Kyung-joon rolls his eyes, since clearly from his perspective, the other guy’s gonna be the bad guy.

She just keeps going on and on that Yoon-jae-sshi is so very careful and thoughtful and he wouldn’t make mistakes, and Kyung-joon grits his teeth, “Whatever.” His point is, the other guy in his body has to wake up before they can fix whatever cosmic disaster landed them in the wrong shells.

She pulls the toy Yoon-jae close and voice wavering, asks how he ended up in a place like that. Kyung-joon takes offense, since “a place like that” is his body, and pounds and pulls on his host body, yelling, “I don’t like a place like this either!”

He grabs for a soda in the fridge, and Da-ran takes it away, reminding him that this is Yoon-jae’s body, not his. Yoon-jae doesn’t drink soda, or do anything harmful to his body, ever. I’m beginning to think that maybe Yoon-jae is a cylon.

She asks him to take care of this body until they can fix things, since it belongs to someone very important to her. She starts fussing over a cut on his hand, and Kyung-joon pulls away, reminding her that he can’t exactly detach his brain from this body, no matter how much he’d like to.

They call Uncle to check on Kyung-joon’s condition, and find that he’s been moved to another hospital, but he hasn’t woken up.

She’s amazed that Kyung-joon really lives here alone, and then asks with genuine concern whether he’ll be okay all by himself, since it was a traumatic day. You can see his eyes flicker for a moment, lighting up at the concern, but he breezes that he’ll be fine and goes to bed.

She lingers for a moment and peers into the fridge, stocked with nothing but soda and frozen pizzas. She sighs.

Kyung-joon wakes up the next morning pretty much busting out of his tiny bed, which was already too small for him to begin with. “Big enough” has turned into “Too big,” but then he smiles to realize this also means he doesn’t have to go to school. Heh.

He ignores the rice porridge that Da-ran left on the table and sneers when he opens the fridge to find everything replaced with water and juice and fresh fruit. He mocks her plea to take care of his precious body and snipes that he won’t eat any of it. Haha, his petty revenge is so perfectly teenaged and nonsensical.

Meanwhile, Da-ran goes to the hospital to visit Yoon-jae-in-Kyung-joon’s body. She takes his hand and asks, trembling, “You’re in here, right?” Aw. She flashes back to a winter date where Yoon-jae had held her hand for the first time.

She swooned at its warmth, saying that a person’s temperature is as warm as their soul. It comforts her now, feeling that his hand is warm.

She sneaks inside her family’s dumpling restaurant (their house is in the back) and Mom giggles that Da-ran must’ve spent the night with Yoon-jae. Dad clucks that it’s not something to laugh about, but does help her think of sneaky ways to feed Yoon-jae things that will help his virility. Ha. (His idea—stuff them into dumplings. Of course.)

Da-ran runs into school late that morning, and Vice Principal Kim glares. I love that Da-ran has this silent secret admirer in Teacher Na Hyo-sang, the guy who is totally gruff but silently puts a towel on her chair when she’s wet or now, blocking the VP’s gaze so she can’t glare anymore. So sweet.

Kyung-joon takes his time that morning, staring into the mirror. He wonders if he ought to try growing a beard or something. But then he notices a weird feeling on his back. He looks, and some kind allergic rash is starting to break out.

He comes careening onto the school field in the middle of an assembly, hanging out of a taxi like a crazy person. He runs up to Da-ran like his pants are on fire, screaming for money (because he lost his wallet in the accident). He pays the cabbie and then runs back, jumping and writhing.

“I’m going crazy. My body is on fire!” HAHAHAHAHA. (A common euphemism for being horny.) Everyone gasps. He just keeps going, “Look at me! My body is hot!” And then he lifts his shirt at her, bopping up and down, flailing about.

She just stands there in shock so he finally just grabs her and they take off running, as if he cannot possibly wait another second. All the teachers and students stand there stunned, and Choong-shik gapes.

They run inside a classroom and he starts showing her the rashes all over his body, here, there, and everywhere. The VP and her friend Ae-kyung happen to peer into the room right when she’s got her head placed precariously low, and he’s making orgasm sounds from the crazy itchy pain. Hahahaha.

It turns out to be a mushroom allergy and the school nurse treats him. Da-ran gets ripped a new one, and hangs her head in apology to the whole teaching staff. She walks Kyung-joon out, and he asks if Gil Teacher got in a lot of trouble. He sees her welling up with tears and worries, but she says it’s because Yoon-jae is such a respectable person, but now everyone thinks of him differently, and she feels bad.

She tells him to go home and not cause any more trouble, and says that she’ll buy him whatever he needs. That wording (the same used by his uncle) turns him off and he stalks off angrily, saying that he can take care of himself.

The idea of having to look respectable as an adult is clearly a new idea to him, and he pauses at a bus stop ad for men’s suits, figuring he can clothe this body like that once he gets his wallet back.

He saunters into the hospital where his body is staying, which of course is the same hospital where Yoon-jae works. His face is plastered all over the walls in promotional posters. At the same time, Da-ran’s dad comes by with food for Yoon-jae.

They both reach the elevators at the same time, and Dad notices him. He calls out to him (calling him Seo-suh-bang, like a son-in-law), but gets no response. Kyung-joon gets in the elevator, and Dad looks him straight in the eye and calls out to him again.

This his time Kyung-joon looks, and then looks away, like he’s purposely ignoring him. Dad’s jaw drops as dramatic music plays, like his world is crashing down. Ha. He calls Da-ran to say that he’s leaving dumplings at the front desk, since Yoon-jae seems busy.

She freaks out, wondering how Kyung-joon even found out which hospital Yoon-jae works at, and fidgets nervously. She doesn’t have the guts to ask the VP to leave early, but Teacher Na totally steps in to give her the perfect excuse. Poor guy. Also, is the PE teacher in love with her another High Kick reference?

Meanwhile Kyung-joon walks down the hall and every person stops to greet him, which starts to weird him out. He wonders why, when suddenly he comes face to face with… his face, as Yoon-jae, on a hospital poster.

He freaks out, covering Yoon-jae’s poster face as if that does anything. Pfft. He pulls his shirt over his face and creeps down the hall, swerving into the bathroom. He’s met by the same poster again, and this time he tries to imitate the smile.

It’s one of my favorite sequences in the episode. It actually seems like it’s impossible for Kyung-joon to make that same face, even though we know that it’s the same body that does both. Nicely played.

He creeps down the hall and manages to avoid detection… until his colleagues step right out of the elevator and into his path. They ask what’s wrong with him, because skipping work is so out of character.

Thinking quickly, he says that he ate mushrooms by accident, and that he’s resting. Se-young uses that as an excuse to get handsy, which Kyung-joon notes. She asks if he still has “that thing” that she gave him and tells him to use it at times like this. And then she runs her hand down his arm and into his hand. Oh NOES.

Kyung-joon wriggles off her weird vibes, wondering why the ajumma is being so touchy-feely, and then Da-ran comes running up. She calls him Yoon-jae but silently growls at Kyung-joon, dragging him away.

She asks what on earth he’s doing here, but he says he’s here to see his own body—isn’t it natural that he’d want to check on himself? Besides, he has to retrieve some belongings.

She realizes her mistake, and takes him inside to Yoon-jae’s office, giving him the doctor’s coat to wear. That’s when he asks about one of Yoon-jae’s friends, saying that there’s something weird about her, and the way she touches people.

Da-ran chastises him, assuming it’s his teenage boy hormones reinterpreting everything sexually, when it’s not. He rolls his eyes at her, wondering if she knows anything about men. I’m beginning to think she knows nothing about people.

He plops down on Yoon-jae’s bed, and Da-ran notes how much he just seems like Yoon-jae right now. She sits down next to him and asks to hold his hand, sighing that it’s not as warm as Yoon-jae’s, since his soul isn’t as warm. He scoffs that he’d rather be cool anyway.

She gets up and reaches out her hand to help him up, but that triggers a memory. He flashes back to that moment in the water, when he opened his eyes and saw Yoon-jae swimming toward him with his hand outstretched.

He says he remembers seeing Yoon-jae’s hand then, and thinking that if he wanted to live, he should take that hand. So he did. He wonders now if that’s why they ended up this way. Well I’m glad he at least remembered that Yoon-jae saved his life.

She takes him to see his own body, and suggests that maybe if they got swapped when they held hands, doing so now will switch them back. He hesitates, wondering what happens if he doesn’t wake up, but she doesn’t so much care and insists it’ll be fine.

She puts their hands together. A mystical breeze comes through the room. Kyung-joon opens his eyes… as Yoon-jae? He calls her Da-ran-sshi, and tells her he’s sorry.

She starts to cry, happy and relieved, saying that she was so worried it was all her fault. He tells her he’ll say it now…

“Puing. Puing.” HA. You ass. By now, she’s totally bought that they’ve switched back and crying, so his stunt is mean. He expects her to stop, but she just cries more, asking if this is all a child’s game to him. She storms out.

He looks around for his stuff, when Aunt and Uncle come in asking after Kyung-joon. He quickly grabs the chart to look like he’s doctoring, and Aunt asks if there’s a chance he won’t wake up for years.

Kyung-joon can’t help but ask what they’d do if that happened, and she says that they’re not THAT close a relation that they’d take that kind of responsibility for him. Ooof. That hurts.

He just steps back and watches with this heartbreaking look on his face, as she asks Uncle if there’s a way they can send him to America or something. The nurse asks if they want his belongings, and she coldly goes through them, throwing everything away but taking the cash and cards from his wallet. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

He finally stumbles out of the room shell-shocked, where Da-ran is waiting for him in the hall. He just walks past her silently, kicking a trashcan in anger.

She chases him outside, asking if he’s okay, but he gets angry at her too, knowing that she’s only concerned about what he’ll do to his body. She’s actually concerned because she overheard what Aunt and Uncle said, but he screams that she’s the same anyway—she finds him burdensome and is only worried that he might stay in this body forever.

She tries to stop him, hanging onto his arms to get him to listen, and he pushes her off. But that’s when Little Bro Choong-shik comes running up, appalled. He steps up to defend his noona, (So. Cute.) asking why brother-in-law is acting this way.

Kyung-joon just yells, “I am NOT your brother-in-law!” Oh no. But the hilariously dim Choong-shik just goes, is it not mae-hyung? thinking he got the WORD wrong. Hahahaha. I luff this character.

He starts calling him sister-in-law (to his credit, family words are confusingly specific in Korean, but sister-in-law isn’t one you’d mistake for brother-in-law). Kyung-joon gapes, calling him stupid before walking away.

He storms off and purposely drinks a soda and then goes to see his body again. The trash has already been emptied of his stuff, and he assures his comatose self, “It’s okay, you have Mom’s inheritance, so for now they won’t throw you away.” Awwww. Just kick my heart why don’t you.

He comes home to find a bag of stuff hanging on his door. It’s his clothes and wallet (with the cherub picture still inside, which must’ve actually been from Mom, the way he cherishes it) and a box of dumplings from Gil-ka Mandoo (Streetside Dumplings). He looks at the name and realizes it’s from Gil Teacher.

Gil Teacher is currently being given the third degree from Dad and Little Bro, who ask if her engagement is off. (Choong-shik has finally figured out the other meaning of “I am not your brother-in-law.”)

Dad swears that Yoon-jae blew him off on purpose, and Da-ran has no excuse up her sleeve. They sigh that it must be over.

Just then, Kyung-joon comes by the restaurant looking for Teach, when Mom finds him outside. She reels him into a round of guess-what’s-in-the-dumpling using Gil-Da-ran puns until he finally gives her the right answer. I love that he doesn’t know why he’s playing this game.

She yanks him inside and announces him to the family. Da-ran gasps. Kyung-joon pauses the action for a moment to figure out the family connections – so this is Da-ran’s mom, which means he needs to call her mother-in-law, etc.

He smiles and bows to father-in-law, and waves at brother-at-law, calling them by their proper titles this time. Well phew for being faster on the uptake this time around. They ask what brings him by so suddenly, and he just stands there awkwardly and bursts, “Surprise!” Hahahaha.

She drags him out to ask what he’s doing here, and he says he just came by looking for her, but the ajumma made him play a guessing game and then dragged him inside. He thinks she should be grateful he was quick enough to call them by the right titles.

He turns to go, but she holds him back—well if he started as Yoon-jae he has to see it through. Inside, the family breathes a sigh of relief that the relationship seems fine after all, and the parents send Choong-shik out to get beer and soju so Dad can clear the air properly.

He comes outside to find the couple arguing over having to “hide the truth” and Choong-shik asks what they’re talking about so suspiciously. Hide what? Da-ran just drags Kyung-joon inside and tells him that it’s adult business and kids needn’t know.

Kyung-joon loooooooves this, and makes a point of saying it over and over to Choong-shik: “Kids don’t need to know!”

He has to spend some awkward alone time with Dad as they wait for dinner, and his behavior is so puzzling to Dad. He’s not outright rude, but he lacks the over-polite that a well-behaved son-in-law would be dripping with, in a normal situation.

Dad gets excited when he shows in interest in his rock collection, so he points out the ones that represent his family. Kyung-joon: “Oh so it’s a rock family! Rock Dad, Rock Mom, and the idols!” Pffft. (Ah-ee-dols = child rocks, but also how you pronounce idol in Korean.)

Dad says that since he’s joining the family, they’ll have to make a place for his rock too. He says no thanks, thinking it silly, but remembers that he’s supposed to care, and takes it back.

He asks what the criteria are though—is it by size? Because then… the big rock should be Choong-shik and the little rock Dad. Or by beauty? Then the big rock should be Mom and the little rock Dad. Ha. I love that he’s insulting him the entire time, and then adds a… “father-in-law?” at the end.

Dad gets angry (but in a cute petty way) and says that they’ll just have to find a rock that suits him. That leaves Kyung-joon wondering what that means. He figures it’s not his rock/place anyway, since it’s Yoon-jae’s to worry about.

They manage to get through dinner okay, though Da-ran and Kyung-joon bicker quietly throughout. Dad offers “Yoon-jae” a beer, and he lights up. Da-ran stops him—he has to drive! He reminds her of the accident, so it’s fine.

Dad goes to pour and Choong-shik tries to join in, and noona tells him no—she will not watch minors drink! She gives Kyung-joon a pointed look and he closes his eyes, to say, then don’t watch!

The silent bickering is so cute. He finally sticks his tongue out at her and accepts the beer from Dad…

…which Da-ran snatches out of his hand and guzzles down. HA. He watches in horror and then grabs it back to get the few remaining drops out of the glass, as the family watches in confusion.

She walks him home (worried because he drank some beer) and he sighs that it was a drop and not even his first anyway. She says it doesn’t matter—she feels responsible for him because he’s her student, and he groooooooans. But you know he’s gotta love it.

She adds that she’s sorry that she made him act like her fiancé, and thanks him for playing along. He says they’re even since she retrieved his wallet, and adds that if she’s really sorry she could help fill it, since this body costs more to take the bus (heh) and needs bigger clothes.

He points at his butt, “This guy keeps eating my pants!” Hee. She agrees that they can’t let him dress this way, and he lights up—are they going to buy new clothes? No, they’re going to Yoon-jae’s apartment to get his clothes. Oh right. I forgot about that solution.

Mom and Dad wash dishes and wonder about the change in Yoon-jae’s behavior. Mom swoons, thinking it means that he’s really comfortable around them now, like real family. Dad’s not quite convinced, but agrees that if that’s the case, it’s a good thing.

Da-ran and Kyung-joon head to Yoon-jae’s apartment (good thing the lock’s a fingerprint one) and she tells him to go pick out some clothes. She walks in on him changing and turns away, and he wonders what the big deal is. She must’ve seen him undressed all the time.

But she admits she hasn’t. Kyung-joon gapes, “Oh. My. God. You mean you and this ajusshi aren’t… with the seeing… in THAT kind of relationship? You’re getting married in a month! How can you not have?” Words out of my own mouth, kid.

She stammers that that’s not something a kid should be saying. He gets an idea and moves in close. “Want me to show you?” Rawr.

He lifts up his shirt, “This ajusshi’s body is awesome. Look, chocolate!” Hahahaha. She turns away again and tells him to stop.

He wonders why this ajusshi worked on his body so much if it wasn’t to show Gil Teacher. He figured that since it was so sculpted, it was to look good for her, but if that’s not the case… Hm, this is going to a bad place for Yoon-jae.

He then adds that this is the kind of body that takes hours daily to maintain. So then why did he spend all that time on it, when he could’ve taken her out on more dates? Aw, kid, you’re breaking her bubble! Stop it!

He comes to the conclusion that this ajusshi though more of his abs than his girlfriend. Da-ran’s face falls. She wonders if all those times Yoon-jae had told her he was too busy were just excuses because he didn’t want to spend time with her.

Kyung-joon realizes his mistake, and quickly adds that Yoon-jae was on his way to see her that day, to tell her something important. She wonders if it really was to say that he loved her. “What if it wasn’t?”

He takes a step closer. “Gil Da-ran-sshi, I love you.” Awwww. Now I’M confused! Swoon.

They smile at each other, lost in the moment even though they know it isn’t real. She lights up as soon as he says the words.

He takes a step back. “…is what he would’ve said.”

She smiles, calling herself dumb for thinking otherwise. He agrees that she’s dumb.

He flips through the clothes in the closet, grumbling, “Does she like Seo Yoon-jae that much?” Aw, are you getting jealous? He snipes that he doesn’t like any of the clothes, and finally lands on a sweater.

Only, when he yanks on it, a little electronic house key falls out. Oh crap. All the signs, they point to Cheaty Cheaterson! Argh.

He asks if this is a key to his house, but Da-ran says no. She thinks maybe it’s to their newlywed house? Er, that’s a leap, given he didn’t even care to be present when you went looking.

The phone rings and she tells Kyung-joon to answer, so he does. It’s Se-young, who only belatedly found out about the accident and is on her way with his stuff.

As they wait for her, Kyung-joon wonders what to do about the ajusshi’s job—does he have to go to work at the hospital? Dude, and kill innocent people with your non-medical-school-graduating self? WUT?

She suggests they put in a vacation request since the accident is a good excuse. He wonders what else he’ll have to do in the ajusshi’s place—like the wedding? She says no, since Yoon-jae will be back by then. Kyung-joon says he wouldn’t do it anyway.

She reminds him to be polite to Se-young and not to look at her lustfully (ha) and he swears to look at her purely, but winks at Da-ran. Hee.

He heads down to meet Se-young, looking curiously at the key again. Se-young arrives, and we get a conspicuous close-up of her keys, with an identical electronic key.

Meanwhile, Da-ran looks for the vacuum to do some cleaning, and finds a suitcase in the closet, packed and ready to go somewhere with a fresh passport inside. Not something one normally keeps in the closet at the ready.

She wonders to herself where Yoon-jae was going without telling her…

Downstairs, Kyung-joon sees Se-young arrive and waves at her awkwardly. But she surprises him by running up for a big hug. She asks why he didn’t tell her about the accident, saying she should’ve been the first to know.

And then she turns her face towards his for a kiss. He yanks her away before anything happens. She just says, “Yoon-jae-ya, I love you.” His jaw drops.

And then Da-ran shows up behind him. He looks back and forth and back and forth, as it starts to sink in…

Kyung-joon: “Seo Yoon-jae, you son of a bitch.”

Oh HELL YEAH.

 
COMMENTS

Yay for Kyung-joon being quick on the uptake! I’m sad that Yoon-jae turned out to be a cheater, though really, it’s still circumstantial evidence at this point. It’s still possible that Se-young is one-sidedly clingy while he’s just cold feet guy, and not a very expressive boyfriend. I don’t think so, but it’s possible.

I feel like either way, there’s something interestingly mysterious about him, and even if he does turn out to be a straight-up two-timing dirtbag, it’s a great mystery to solve. That sort of makes Kyung-joon the detective, in uncovering the truth about this guy, which is a fun way to twist the body swap. Because you need more narrative motivation other than just having to bumble your way through posing as the other guy until your body wakes up. Now he’s invested Gil Teacher’s future—he can’t have Teach marrying a scumbag now, can he?

I didn’t expect this drama to be Biscuit Teachery, since I assumed the student-teacher pairing wouldn’t be the main one. But it’s looking more and more like it is, if they’re painting Yoon-jae as the guy who was wrong for her, in every way. (And also because Yoon-jae-in-Kyung-joon’s-body is lying in a coma, whereas I had expected more of a Freaky Friday situation.) Already we can see that Kyung-joon would’ve done things differently, had he been this body’s owner, which makes me think this is the pair we’re going to end up rooting for. You know I already am. But it’s also the unlikeliest pair, given the student-teacher problem. And it’s a pair whose ending is less of a foregone conclusion, which I really like.

Thankfully, Da-ran is much more palatable when she’s talking to Kyung-joon because she loses the put-on aegyo and talks like a teacher, so I liked her much better in this episode than I did in the first. She was worrying me before, but when she’s with Kyung-joon she’s much more assertive and interesting. She’s still amaaaaazingly naïve for her age, but at least now she seems less like a total dimwit. She’s a pushover when it comes to Yoon-jae, but not with Kyung-joon, which makes sense and is a huge relief—it means the source of the problem is Yoon-jae and her fear that she’s somehow not good enough for him. I already love how much sense Kyung-joon makes, all Well if I were this guy, I would’ve made these chocolate abs to show YOU.

Episode 2 feels much more like the usual Hong Sisters pace and tone, now that we have the body swap in place and can let Gong Yoo play Kyung-joon, which is what we’re all here for. I love how physically different Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon are. One is uptight and perfectly perfect in an OCD way… and yet probably fake because no one can actually be that perfect. That put-on smile that Kyung-joon couldn’t replicate is the best. And I love that Gong Yoo has the kind of face you can maneuver like a lump of play-doh. So comical.

My favorite thing about Kyung-joon is how much he wants to be treated like an adult without having to do any of the work, and this is his free pass to do just that. His journey will likely be in figuring out that there’s no such thing, but it’s really fun to see him enjoy things like having a beer or telling Choong-shik that kids don’t need to know certain things. You guys know I love me some high school coming-of-age shenanigans. And Gong Yoo in Biscuit Teacher Redux? I don’t even care if that’s redundant. It’s like Christmas came early this year.

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185 June 11, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 3

by javabeans

Ah, the story reveals another twist, and this one I like very much, because it counters what seemed like a conventional setup in Episode 2. The Hong sisters are best when they’re flouting convention, so I’m glad that the story turns in a different direction (even though bitchy Other Lady maintains the Hongs’ tradition for distasteful second lead ladies). On the upside, Suzy makes her entrance as a delightfully quirky addition. It’s like Hye-mi Bot turns fangirl, with hints of an interesting (?) backstory. I hope.

SONG OF THE DAY

Big OST – “미운사람” (Hateful person) by Beast. [ Download ]

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EPISODE 3 RECAP

When Other Woman Se-young throws her arms around Dr. Yoon-jae and declares that she loves him, Kyung-joon finds out that his host body was a cheating cheater who cheats. “You son of a bitch,” he mutters to himself, just as the fiancée appears.

Da-ran misses the exchange and Se-young smoothly transitions into friend mode, inviting herself in for a cup of tea. She then gets rid of Da-ran by asking her to buy cookies to go with that tea and Da-ran, pushover that she is, cheerfully goes running.

Kyung-joon tries to shoot her looks that say, “Don’t go! Save me!” She doesn’t pick up the hint so he throws an arm around her, telling Se-young pointedly, “We want to be alone. You go!” Haha. He’s hilariously awkward in this role and his wording is juvenile, but I love him for being so direct.

On the other hand, oblivious Da-ran thinks Kyung-joon is just being rude and mutters for him to be nice to Yoon-jae’s friend. Kyung-joon ignores her and tells Se-young that if she wants cookies so badly, then she can just go and buy them, “And eat them ALL BY YOURSELF.” Oh, I luff him.

Da-ran is determined to be the polite hostess and tries to go to buy the cookies anyway, so Kyung-joon does the only thing he can think of to stop her: He picks her up.

Carrying Da-ran princess-style, he stops to tell Se-young firmly, “We won’t eat cookies. So go.” The ladies are both slack-jawed, so he makes it even clearer: “You’re so dense. I said I want to be alone with my fiancée. So, friend, go away!”

Kyung-joon lets her down once they’re back in the apartment. She darts off to fix his blunder, so he grabs her to prevent her from going. She bites him.

Kyung-joon tells her that Yoon-jae was two-timing with that other woman; Se-young hugged him and said she loved him. He’s all proud of himself, but Da-ran treats him like a little kid—was he worried about Teacher? Aw, isn’t he a sweet little boy. She assures him that her fiancé isn’t what he thinks, dismissing his concerns like he’s conjured them out of thin air. Or rather, like his hormones have conjured them; she informs him that skinship isn’t always an “erotic” occurrence, you know.

Kyung-joon gives it one more try, saying that Mr. Body wasn’t a nice guy. She says he is, and he sighs, giving up. Now she looks at the bite mark on his arm and apologizes for marring his skin, but Kyung-joon grits out, “Are you only worrying about the shell? ‘Cause the one who dealt with the pain was ME.”

Da-ran asks for him to repeat the “I love you” from earlier, wanting to relive the moment of Yoon-jae’s body telling her those words. He takes her face in his hands and says, “I do NOT love Gil Da-ran.” He points out that neither of them knows what Yoon-jae was really going to tell her; there’s no guarantee he was going to vow his love.

He tells her that since he’s such a kid, he’ll stay out of adult affairs from now on, and leaves huffily. The comment is enough of a reality check to make Da-ran wonder what Yoon-jae really did mean to tell her that day of the accident.

Kyung-joon exits, only to find that Se-young has been waiting outside all this time. She says she made her love confession because she could feel that he was hesitating over his marriage because of her: “After all, you didn’t return what I gave you.”

He remembers her referring to “it” but has no clue what it is, so he asks if “that thing” is so special. Se-young clutches her apartment key and says that obviously it is. She tells him she’ll give him a ride to their usual place, and he goes along.

That turns out to be a fancy bar, where Kyung-joon coolly takes a shot of whiskey, then reacts in pain. The bartender refills their shot glasses, and he hilariously gives it an anguished look, mouthing, “No…” Drinking’s not so fun when it burns a hole through your belly, is it?

Da-ran comes home to find her family preparing wedding invitations. She starts to say that she can’t send those invitations out just now…. and gets three sets of alarmed eyes fixated on her. She can’t muster the nerve, and instead makes a lame joke about how it’s nighttime so obviously they can’t mail them out.

Mom wonders why her fiancé was calling her “Gil Teacher” earlier, and asks if it’s a couple endearment—you know, like she’s his teacher in love or something. Da-ran jumps on that and agrees, and Mom sighs that it was so nice seeing them today, all comfortable with each other and finally seeming like a couple ready for marriage.

Da-ran reads between the lines and asks if that means they didn’t seem like a real couple before. Mom admits that they did seem rather stiff and unromantic, lacking that lovers’ chemistry. She assures Da-ran that she’s not worried anymore, which is no consolation to Da-ran.

Meanwhile, Kyung-joon’s totally hammered on whiskey and slurs to the Other Woman, “Seo Yoon-jae is marrying Gil Da-ran!” I love that he’s stating fact, but it comes out sounding like he’s talking about himself in the third person, pretentiously.

Kyung-joon declares that his body is taken by another woman, and gets up to leave. And starts to sway. The room whirls and goes fuzzy… and then he awakens in bed.

Kyung-joon’s topless and groggy, his gaze landing on framed photos of Se-young. Oh crap oh crap. He scrambles for his clothes and sees the note she left, saying she’ll see him at the hospital. In horror, he looks down at himself and recoils.

He makes the walk of shame, berating himself the entire time, and sees Da-ran at his front gate. She says he looks like he’s coming home after spending the night out, and he makes this hilarious conflicted face before lying, acting like he’s just out jogging and taking out the trash and totally unaware of the meaning of the words “spend the night out.”

Da-ran sniffs his clothes and smells liquor. He jumps on that, saying that after the (two drops of) beer he drank at her house last night, he got a headache and felt queasy: “I really shouldn’t drink liquor.” She warns him not to do anything dumb with Yoon-jae’s body, and he winces.

Kyung-joon asks cautiously how angry she’d get if, say, for instance, he were to mar the good doctor’s body. She asks if he’s hurt, and he clarifies, “No, nothing in the category of injury. I mean… like, dirty it, or make it different, or something?” But he chickens out of the explanation—he was just talking about exercise! Yep.

At school, Da-ran overhears Kyung-joon’s aunt and uncle talking with a teacher about possibly putting him on leave of absence, and that reminds her that Kyung-joon will be missing lessons. So she tells little bro Choong-shik to write down all his lessons—”And don’t pack your notes, but get the notes of a kid who studies well!” She sighs to herself in pity, how Kyung-joon’s still just a kid, like Choong-shik.

Kyung-joon busily washes his moral misstep from his body, blaming everything on “that ajusshi” and worrying about keeping this from Da-ran. He decides to go hunting for evidence of Yoon-jae’s infidelity and sneaks into his apartment, searching for clues. Like that “thing” Se-young keeps referencing. What could it be? Damn, if only he could run away.

Then Kyung-joon stumbles across the suitcase, packed with Yoon-jae’s passport and American dollars, and smiles. Magical exit, found!

Off to the airport he goes, and looks over all the cities he could run off to. He gets his old cell phone charged up, and turns it on to find several new messages. Er, make that 79 new messages, all from Jang Mari, although he has her name programmed as “Jang X.” Based on that and his expression, we can deduce that he’s not a fan of Mari.

Cut to: Mari (Suzy) in the States, narrating the content of her text messages. Things start off innocently with a simple, “Kyung-joon, why aren’t you answering my calls?” The messages turn anxious as she sets up a shrine and worries, “Is something wrong?” Then the mood turns dire as she screams, “Answer the phone!”

Kyung-joon shinks back, thinking, “Jang Mari’s angry. When she gets angry, she goes crazy.” And turns green and bounces around the countryside?

Next in the chain of texts is the announcement that Mari is going to Korea to see him. He smirks, since she won’t be able to find him. Next text: “Did you think that just because you didn’t give me your address or school name in Korea, I wouldn’t be able to find you?” Well… yes, I suppose that was the idea.

Kyung-joon starts to get nervous, looking around in paranoia. Then the last message: She’s tracked down his school and is headed there to meet “Gil Teacher.” How did she find this out? She tracked down a photo he uploaded to his kindergarten friend’s Facebook, and found out who the woman in the photo was. Kids, beware of social media: Facebook ruins lives!

Kyung-joon scrambles to leave the airport as Mari’s message reads ominously, “Whether we go together, or live together, let’s BE TOGETHER, Kyung-joon!”

Morning assembly in the schoolyard. A taxi comes tearing in, and everyone murmurs—him, again? But this time it’s Mari who emerges, not the crazed horny doctor asking for money, and Da-ran sighs in relief (VP Kim glares her way, ready to berate).

The boys drool over the pretty girl, while Mari does a scan of the teachers’ faces and target-locks on Da-ran’s. She runs straight for Da-ran and asks for money. HA. Mari grabs Da-ran’s wallet to pay the cabbie, and VP Kim shoots her a dirty look (adorable Teacher Na Hyo-sang tries to block her view, sweetly).

Da-ran puts on her teacher look and voice and starts to scold Mari, but Mari shows her the Facebook photo and demands to know where Kyung-joon is.

Da-ran leads Mari away to talk this out in private, which only makes them look more suspicious since it seems they know each other. And then, another taxi comes pulling into the yard. HAHA. Okay, this is now officially hilarious; it’s like the rake gag where once or twice is mildly funny, but then it just goes on and on and gets funnier from the absurdity.

Kyung-joon emerges, suitcase in tow, and looks around for Da-ran. Helpfully, the entire student body points up to the school.

He finds the two ladies and pulls Da-ran aside, telling her that this he’ll take care of it—this is a matter for kids, so adults butt out. Heh. He sends her on her way.

Mari starts to chase after Da-ran, but Kyung-joon holds her back. They have an old-fashioned staredown, and he growls, “So at last you’ve come, Jang Mari.” He calls himself someone who happens to have had quite a deep acquaintance with Kyung-joon’s mental state, despite being not at all the type of guy Kyung-joon would like.

He acts as his own gatekeeper, telling Mari to tell him what to convey, because Kyung-joon ain’t never gonna see her, ever: “He told you when he left America that he doesn’t want to see you or your father again.”

Mari declares that she’s gonna marry Kyung-joon, and he says that yes, that was the agreement between her father and Kyung-joon’s mother. But his mom died, so nope, that almost-family relationship won’t be happening.

Mari gets sad and asks, “Did Kyung-joon say his mom died because of me? Is that why he still won’t see me?” In a momentary flashback to the funeral, Kyung-joon rejects her comforting hand. Mari says morosely, “But I miss him so much, and I’m so worried.”

He tells her Kyung-joon is fine so she can leave. In consolation, he says Kyung-joon will feel a little thankful and sorry that she traveled all this way for him, and promises to tell him to send her a hello message via text.

Mari asks what his relationship is with Kyung-joon, and he hedges vaguely that it’s something they have to keep secret, but that entails “sharing body and mind.” Um. Did you think those words over?

Mari gasps, “Ajusshi, are you… Kyung-joon’s boyfriend?!” Haha. He recoils and denies it, just as Mari narrows her eyes suspiciously. She leans in and notes, “Ajusshi… you seem like Kyung-joon!” Oh, that’s cute. Though I guess she’d be a terrible love-crazed stalker if she didn’t pick up on that.

And then she warns, “Don’t copy Kyung-joon!” Hee. She has a message for him to convey to Kyung-joon: “I will definitely marry you.”

VP Kim rebukes Da-ran again for the disruption, warning that she’d best pass her teacher certificate exam, because it’s not likely she’ll get renewed for this short-term position.

The Idiot Trio spies the pretty new girl leaving the school, and Choong-shik tears after her, smitten. He takes a side route to put himself in her exit path, doing his best cool James Dean pose at the gate. He calls out, “I saw you earlier. You’re really pretty.” To his credit, he does manage to sound smooth and collected, though we know he’s anything but.

Mari replies, “I know.” He takes his pen to write his phone number… on her Chanel purse. Eeek.

She says, “My bag has become dirty.” He returns glibly, “So call me. I’ll buy you enough pizza to cover that bag’s cost.” What, like a hundred of them? With a wink, he dashes back to school.

Da-ran sits with Kyung-joon and asks what he was doing with Yoon-jae’s suitcase. Was he running away? Kyung-joon fumbles for an explanation: He wasn’t running so much as he was evacuating from the site of a disaster. In such a case, he needs space while finding a way to manage the mess. Otherwise, he could keep causing accidents in her and Yoon-jae’s life.

Da-ran asks shrewdly, “Did you cause trouble?” Kids tend to run away when they’ve made mistakes, so he must’ve done something. Kyung-joon hangs his head and admits that he got drunk and spent the night with that woman. She’s understandably peeved, demanding, “What did you do with Yoon-jae’s body?”

Kyung-joon says he can’t be certain, “But I don’t think anything happened.” Not exactly convincing. He says he was trying to fix things, but Da-ran accuses him of mucking things up with his interference.

Tempers rise and angry words start flying, and the conversation starts to carry the painful ring of truth: He asks if she’s just worried about not becoming a doctor’s wife, and if the wedding is the only thing that matters, ’cause then why doesn’t she just marry this body-shell while she’s at it?

He says he may be young, but he sure is smarter than her. She fires back sarcastically that she’s really looking forward to where those smarts take him, and he retorts, “Yeah, I’ll grow up smart and not turn out like you!”

On that note, he huffs away, leaving her in tears. Kyung-joon goes home in a foul mood, where he finds the lunch Da-ran made him. He shovels food into his mouth and chokes, then sees her note telling him to eat slowly.

Da-ran heads out with the suitcase while her colleague Hyo-sub busily cleans out his car to offer her a ride, wanting to impress her. She finds Kyung-joon hunched over outside, though, running through a practice apology to her—how he spoke too rashly and how she hits too hard and how he’s really sorry. Then he spots her, and she tells him to come along with her to the hospital. Still feeling bad, he jumps to take the suitcase and speaks to her respectfully, worrying that she’ll get into trouble for leaving early.

She says pointedly, “Why worry, when I’m just going to become a doctor’s wife?” Kyung-joon takes the barb, but points out that she’s the teacher, so she should know better than to take his words at his level when he’s just a kid. Heh.

Kyung-joon sure does love falling back on that age excuse when it suits him, and she calls him out on it. He returns, “That’s why I’m a kid. If I were totally consistent, I’d be an adult, not a kid.” Touché. You can’t argue with that.

He adds that when he grows up, he wants to be a nice adult like her, putting on his best little-boy smile, and she can’t hang on to her peevishness in the face of such charm. As if anyone could.

Hyo-sub finishes cleaning his car just as Da-ran sends him a text, thanking him for the offer but opting not to accept this time. Aw, poor guy.

With Da-ran’s coaching, Kyung-joon submits his paperwork for a leave of absence, citing his car accident as the cause. He’s asked about the children’s charity event, and says that he’ll be able to make that, sure.

Da-ran’s no help, because she hadn’t known of an upcoming event. Kyung-joon barks, “Don’t you know anything about him?” She shoots him a look, and he backs off, “There is enjoyment in learning about each other gradually, I suppose.”

Yoon-jae’s teacher friends call out to him, and Se-young shoots him a knowing look. Da-ran steps in and wipes that smile from her face, saying that Se-young should have called her to take drunk Yoon-jae, apologizing for the “trouble” he caused. Se-young gets the message, that it’s not their little secret if the fiancée knows about it.

The two male doctors urge the couple to take them out for a drink, so all five of them end up at a wine bar, trading pleasantries. The wedding where Da-ran and Yoon-jae met belonged to one of the doctor friends, who laughs about how shocked they were when Da-ran fell down the staircase at the ceremony.

Se-young speaks up jealously, saying pointedly that Yoon-jae’s first impression of Da-ran must have been the image of her rolling down the steps and lying unconscious. Smugly, she adds, “Then it definitely couldn’t have been love at first sight.”

Da-ran shifts uncomfortably, and Kyung-joon clocks her unease before answering that actually, it WAS: “Our Da-ran-sshi fainted adorably. She looked so lovable that I fell for her at first sight.”

Then Married Doctor pipes up that that’s not the right story—has he been lying to Da-ran? Se-young perks up and asks for the real answer, and Married Doctor replies that Da-ran’s fall down the stairs wasn’t Yoon-jae’s first time seeing her. Actually, that was earlier in the day, when she’d been hurrying to deliver the bouquet—she’d run into the elevator, heading straight into his chest while carrying flowers.

She hadn’t noticed him in particular, but as she held the bouquet over her head, he’d quietly put out a hand to hold it up for her.

Then, after the ceremony he’d been there when she’d banged her head against the wall, embarrassed at her run-in with her schoolmates, and he’d watched with amusement as she’d put in her wedding gift, noting her name. And then, he’d sat at her table while she’d eaten, mumbling to herself all the while.

Omo, then was it love after all? Interestinger and interestinger… Da-ran is pleasantly surprised as Married Doctor adds that on top of following her around at the wedding, Yoon-jae had even pulled him aside to ask for an introduction with one of the bride’s friends, named Gil Da-ran. Aw, I’m so happy for Da-ran, and that doesn’t even take into account the satisfaction of Se-young’s sour face.

All Kyung-joon can do is stay silent and let everyone assume he’s just awkward about being outed, but he seems to look at Da-ran’s radiant face particularly closely.

That night at the Gil residence, Choong-shik skips dinner, sure that he’ll be getting a call for pizza, any… minute… now…. I’m actually worried about his future health (his, erm, smarts leave much to be desired), but thankfully his phone rings after all. It’s Mari, asking to claim her bag reimbursement, and he puts on his cool voice to agree to buy her pizza as promised. And then he does an adorable happy dance.

It’s at the pizza restaurant that Mari informs him that it’ll take 300 pizzas to pay for her bag, and he drops to his knees in supplication. Like a character in a sageuk begging a queen for mercy, he asks her to to be patient and let him pay her back little by little, as his parents are but humble folk. Mari agrees: “From now on, I’ll judge from your behavior and deduct one pizza at a time.” Oh, this should make for some hilarious shenanigans.

Choong-shik vows to “noona” to do whatever she asks. She asks if he knows Kyung-joon, and when he mentions the transfer student from America, she’s pleased at the proof that he does in fact know him: “One pizza down.”

She figures Choong-shik isn’t the type to be Kyung-joon’s friend since he seems kinda like a dummy, and barks, “Why, does that make you feel bad?!” Choong-shik smiles sunnily and replies no, because he knows it’s true. Mari likes that answer and deducts another pizza. So cute.

She orders Choong-shik to find out who Kyung-joon’s friends are and report back, because she’s got to know everything about him. Choong-shik tells her Kyung-joon can’t be contacted right now, because he’s in the hospital. Mari’s eyes widen.

Da-ran is floating on cloud nine as she and Kyung-joon leave the wine party, having her “I Feel Pretty” moment while singing along to “Beautiful Girl.” Kyung-joon sniffs at her drunken state, then says she’s probably drunk on learning Yoon-jae called her pretty. He grumps that ajusshi was way too shallow, appraising her beauty on looks and not her heart. Are you jealous of your host? That’s adorable.

Da-ran motions him over to join her on a park bench, tipsily slurring instructions to be quiet for just a moment, “So I can meet Yoon-jae-sshi.” She addresses him as Yoon-jae, asking, “Did you really find me that pretty? You should have said so. Then we could have had that cheesy romantic spark.”

She holds his face and says, “I like you so, so much. I found you beautiful from the start, too.”

Kyung-joon shakes her off and warns her not to confuse him for Yoon-jae. She slumps back, dejected again.

Mari and Choong-shik arrive in Kyung-joon’s hospital room, where she looks at him through tear-filled eyes and urges him to wake up, even slapping his cheek. He remains unresponsive, and she cries.

Meanwhile, Se-young contemplates the photos of the doctor friends and muses to Married Doctor that Yoon-jae seems different these days.

Kyung-joon is grumpy about Da-ran’s newfound giddiness and says he bets Yoon-jae just made up that story to score some free liquor off his friend. After all, a man who falls for a woman at first sight surely doesn’t go around withholding his choco abs from her. ‘s what I’M sayin’.

Kyung-joon tells her that this is the same with young men and grown men alike—men’s love grows proportionately with their physical affections, so conversely if a relationship has no physicality, then the emotions have ceased to grow as well. Da-ran says lamely that it’s slowed, but not stopped.

Kyung-joon does that maddening thing of humoring her, and asks, “Ah, I see. And how far did you go?” She pulls out her “Kids don’t need to know” card, but he isn’t fooled. He grabs her hand and holds it up—did they go this far? She sneers, so he figures okay, this is nothing new.

He scoots close and puts his arm around her shoulders. What about this? He gauges her reaction and supposes this is also familiar to her.

Then Kyung-joon lowers his head and leans in close. Her eyes widen, and he crows, “Ah, you’re tensing! This is where it stops?” He taunts that even he’s gone further, and that she must not have experienced anything further. Goaded, she retorts that she has—and he moves in even closer, willing to call her bluff….

 
COMMENTS

Like girlfriday, I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole Yoon-jae-is-a-cheater storyline as hinted by the end of Episode 2, because that plot just seems so done. Not that a body-swap comedy couldn’t mine the setup for new material, but I much prefer the idea that there’s a whole lot more than meets the eye when dealing with Yoon-jae.

This accomplishes a few things: Character-wise, it steers us away from several overused archetypes—the perfect boyfriend who turns out to be a cheater, the naive girlfriend who doesn’t see that her boyfriend doesn’t love her, the standard Other Woman ready to swoop in to claim her man. Granted, some of these elements are still in play, but the revelation that Yoon-jae did fall for Da-ran changes the playing field. Yes, Da-ran is still frustratingly naive, but she’s not inventing something out of nothing. And Yoon-jae is curiously sexless around her, as Kyung-joon keeps pointing out, but perhaps there’s a reason for that other than him feeling duty-bound to marry some woman he doesn’t like.

Plus, I like that Yoon-jae fell for Da-ran in her “real” state—the one who makes mistakes, talks to herself, gripes about things, and doesn’t feel pressured to put on a perfect persona. Hm, maybe that has something to do with Yoon-jae’s cold feet… or is that too simple an answer? In any case, it also gives us a mystery to solve, and I welcome rom-coms with a mystery element to keep things interesting.

Mari adds an interesting dimension to the storyline, and I liked that flash of something deeper at mention of Kyung-joon’s mother’s death. Already we can see that that was the beginning of the end for him, the last time he cared about anybody, and how he’s been adrift emotionally ever since. I was enjoying the Mari-as-stalker storyline on its own, just because she seems so silly and harmless, and her quirky princess persona seems like such a hilarious foil to Choong-shik’s thick-headed ways. But it seems like she cares for Kyung-joon as well, and perhaps has a deeper insight into his character than anybody else so far.

In fact, I’m not yet convinced that the Kyung-joon-and-Da-ran loveline is the drama’s ultimate pairing, and I’m willing to see where everything goes without needing to know for sure what the end goal is. Usually I like to know, just because I hate feeling like the drama doesn’t know, but in this case I feel like there’s so much territory to mine that I’m content to enjoy the ride.

It almost feels as though the relationship between Kyung-joon and Teacher will be a catalyst for his emotional maturation and rediscovering his place in the world, which I would LOVE. I saw flashes of that in the previous episode where Dad tries to have an awkward bonding moment with him—it was so reminiscent of Delightful Girl Chun-hyang that I got excited for the possibilities.

In fact, this drama feels the most like Chun-hyang of all the Hong sisters’ projects, which makes me super happy since that remains my favorite of their projects. It may not be their most polished, but to me it was the most earnest, and the least slapstick. It was also the only drama with a heroine who wasn’t over-the-top cutesy or comedic, and while the drama was chock-full of comedy, it was situational more than broad. In any case, it’s probably a factor of sharing the same director, and a number of supporting players.

Anyway. If there is no romantic resolution for Kyung-joon and Da-ran, and Kyung-joon instead ends up becoming a part of the Gil family, I might be completely satisfied. No, I’d probably actually be impressed and bawling from all the acquired-family love, which is a storyline that never fails to reduce me to an emotional wreck. When done well, that is. Maybe it’s my knee-jerk aversion to the whole Korean “blood purity” motif where blood conquers all—it’s rampant in stories of birth secrets, chaebol inheritances, orphaned children, fauxcest—but the fact that you can gain a family through trust and warmth? That’s love.

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283 June 12, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 4

by girlfriday

What does it say when an eighteen-year old does a better job of being you than you? It’s an identity crisis of the highest order when the line starts to blur for everyone involved, as Kyung-joon starts to fulfill his role as Teach’s fiancé… a little TOO well.

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EPISODE 4 RECAP

Kyung-joon leans in, thisclose to kissing Da-ran, when he realizes that she’s not pulling away. He backs up like a hot potato, “Why aren’t you backing away?! Were you just going to collide?!” Oh so YOU get to mess with her head and SHE has to take responsibility?

He crosses his arms over his precious body, making it clear to “ajumma” that despite her hunger for this outer shell, a minor is on the inside. And… that’s what we call a mood-killer. Way to bring it back down to earth, kid.

But Da-ran is still floating around on cloud nine, “So that’s what it would have been like…”

HOLD UP. You’ve never kissed your fiancé? Kyung-joon’s eyes go from saucers to platters as he stammers, “Wha-? You mean this- with the- not going—? No way!” She corrects him—they did go that far, but in that crucial moment of moments… she was asleep. Hee.

Flashback to a date with Yoon-jae, when they park by the river (that was your first mistake, buddy) and she falls asleep. Yoon-jae kisses her softly, and it wakes her up…

But she loses her timing to open her eyes un-awkwardly, and has to spend the rest of the date “asleep.” That’s so lame it’s awesome.

She berates herself for not being able to open her eyes, which would’ve facilitated much more physical intimacy from that point on. Kyung-joon (in his now characteristic sour expression whenever Da-ran swoons over Yoon-jae) tells her not to be too disappointed—it could have been her imagination.

She insists it was not an imaginary kiss, but Kyung-joon says that a long-stretched imagination (another gil-da-ran pun, his favorite) is her specialty. She didn’t see, so it could’ve been like this—and he puts the back of his hand to her lips to demonstrate.

She doesn’t think that’s what it was, but it’s enough to confuse her, and she sits there kissing the back of her own hand, “Was it like this? Or like this?” Kyung-joon watches her for a while, and then pulls her hand away.

He kisses her, smack right on the lips, “Was it this?” OH YOU CHEEKY.

Da-ran says yes in a daze, only to realize belatedly that it was Kyung-joon who just kissed her. She tries to shake her head on straight, and then when she comes to, she attacks Kyung-joon.

He defends himself by saying he was just trying to help her because she was so confused, and she’s like, what do you know, little kid? Well so far, he seems to know more about kissing than you do.

Hitting turns to kicking, and Kyung-joon finally gets her to stop by pointing at his face, “If you keep hitting me, I’m going to go colliding this into random things!”

She yells that it’s Yoon-jae’s face, not his, and Kyung-joon runs with that—then it means that he took “precious Yoon-jae’s” lips and collided with hers anyway, so what’s the problem?

He tells her to think of it as a rerun since she missed it the last time. How can you stay mad at a kid so quick on his feet? She argues that Kyung-joon’s the one on the inside, and he counters that if she knows that, she shouldn’t ask him to play Yoon-jae anymore. Touché.

Mari sits by Kyung-joon’s bedside and Choong-shik wonders why his noona didn’t tell her about the accident. He saw that she met his brother-in-law too, and explains the family connection, including the fact that Yoon-jae is a doctor at this hospital.

Mari narrows her eyes, wondering why the doctor lied to her.

Da-ran stops at Kyung-joon’s house to give him something she forgot, and sighs to find him eating another frozen pizza with coke. He snipes, asking what else he has to do for the good doctor, only Da-ran surprises him with class notes.

She tells him to study even if he can’t go to school, and he asks whose notes they are. She says they’re from the first-place student in his class, and he corrects her that they’re from the soon-to-be-second-place student, when he goes back to school.

I love that against type, the smartass is actually… smart. He tells her that he could go to Harvard but he promised Mom he’d go to Seoul University, which is why she bought him this house. Da-ran says it must be nice to have such a supportive mom.

He asks for her help going over the notes, which is a totally bogus ploy to get her to stay longer of course, but Da-ran complies happily, even as her eyes glaze over from the math.

Mari thinks over what Yoon-jae told her at school, and wonders what he meant by “Kyung-joon will text you,” if Kyung-joon is lying here in a coma. She decides to test it out and Kyung-joon texts her back. Her reply: a photo of herself…with the sleeping Kyung-joon. Ruh-roh.

Kyung-joon goes tearing into the hospital with Da-ran in tow, and she wonders what the big ruckus is over one friend. But Kyung-joon explains that now that she’s found him, Mari won’t ever leave his side. EVER.

Da-ran wonders if they shouldn’t tell her the truth then, and Kyung-joon freaks out—if Mari knew that he was in this body, she’d be clinging to said body 24 hours a day. Sufficiently horrified by the vision of Mari literally hanging off of Yoon-jae’s shoulders, Da-ran agrees it’s best to lie to the stalker girl. You think?

Aunt and Uncle light up at the news that Mari intends to take Kyung-joon back to the States, and prepare for his immediate departure. Kyung-joon notes their happy expressions and guesses that Mari’s already got her claws into his body. He figures the only way to get through to her is to blow her mind.

Mari tells Coma Kyung-joon that it looks like he’s just sleeping, and sighs that in the fairytales, sleeping princesses always get woken up with a kiss. Lightbulb. She figures it’s worth a shot (which is adorable) and puckers up…

But she gets kiss-blocked when Awake Kyung-joon comes running in to stop her with a hand to her mouth. She calls the doctor a lying liar and declares that she’s taking Kyung-joon to America. She knows he’d want to go too because he has no one he likes here.

Kyung-joon: “Kyung-joonie would want to be here, because the person Kyung-joonie likes is here.” Mari says he has nothing of the sort. Kyung-joon: “He does,” and points to Da-ran. Eeee!

He declares that Kyung-joon likes Gil Teacher. Da-ran looks over at him with alarm, and he makes a face at her to just play along.

And then he tells Mari that the first time he saw Gil Teacher, he followed her off the bus because he liked her. And then he continued to follow her around, and just pretended to meet her at the furniture store by coincidence.

Aaaaaah. I LOVE this. Is it true? Is it not? Is he confessing his crush or making it up on the spot?

Mari refuses to believe it—Kyung-joon’s not the type to follow someone around like a lovesick puppy. Right, that’s your job. He says that Kyung-joon did follow Da-ran, his fiancée, around, and he, the doctor, caught him red-handed.

He says that Kyung-joon confessed everything, which is why he knows so much about him. Mari whines that the teacher isn’t Kyung-joon’s type either, “So why did he like her?” Kyung-joon: “Because she’s pretty.” D’aw.

He counts down to Mari’s brainsplosion, and walks out believing himself to be a genius. Da-ran asks hesitantly—what he said in there wasn’t true, was it? He laughs at her for falling for it.

Mari looks at the picture of Gil Teacher online, agreeing that Kyung-joon isn’t the type to take pictures of people he doesn’t care about (innnteresting) and runs outside. She catches up to Da-ran to ask how she feels about Kyung-joon.

Da-ran quickly assures her that she’s to be married, and has no interest in her student. Mari argues that Kyung-joon is much better looking than this ajusshi (he beams) while Da-ran counters that Yoon-jae is much better (he frowns).

Da-ran takes the opportunity to say that she’d never be interested in a totally immature, fresh-from-the-cradle little boy, which reassures Mari and makes Kyung-joon scowl. It’s enough to make Mari feel secure for now, and she tells Da-ran to tell Choong-shik he’s ten more pizzas down.

But then Mari notes that the ajusshi is wearing Kyung-joon’s favorite sweatshirt, and she launches into another don’t-copy-Kyung-joon lecture. She’s hilarious.

Not to be outdone, Kyung-joon starts copying her, and then it actually devolves into: Stop copying me! No YOU stop copying me! You’re the boss of copycats! Well then you’re the boss’ boss of copycats! You’re the boss’ boss’ boss! You’re the boss-to-the-infinity-power!

HEE.

Mari tells Aunt and Uncle that she won’t be taking Kyung-joon away after all. Their faces fall.

Meanwhile Kyung-joon looks over Yoon-jae’s desk and asks after the doctor’s parents (they’re notably in two separate pictures, not one). Da-ran says they’re abroad which Kyung-joon thinks is a relief—playing the son would be a lot harder to pull off.

But that makes Da-ran remember that Yoon-jae called his mother often, and that she’s probably worried. He sighs and picks up the phone, willing to play the good son. He calls and Mom says she’ll see him on “that day” and that his father will also not forget “that day.”

Is everyone in this family cryptic?

They wonder what on earth it means, and he asks if Yoon-jae doesn’t have a diary or something. Da-ran says she has his phone but hasn’t looked in it, because she doesn’t want him to think less of her. Kyung-joon flips out, asking if it’s okay for him to tell all manner of lies to Mari but Teach won’t even get her hands dirty.

She figures he’s right and gives him the passcode to unlock the phone: 0624. He pauses. Is that Yoon-jae’s birthday? She says no. “Oh. ‘Cause… it’s mine.” Oh noes. Drama, don’t you do it! Don’t you go there!

They look at the calendar and whatever family thing is going on is on June 24. As they walk out we linger on the Miracle book on Yoon-jae’s shelf, and then Mom takes out her copy of the same book. And just in case we didn’t get it, we get another close-up of the same cherub picture in Kyung-joon’s wallet.

In the hospital, Kyung-joon’s body starts to show signs of life…

Another flashback to the accident, and the moment when Yoon-jae reached out to save Kyung-joon… And Kyung-joon wakes up from the dream in a cold sweat.

Da-ran resists looking at Yoon-jae’s phone, but then reasons that she’s just going to check urgent messages and finds that Se-young texts Yoon-jae multiple times daily. One in particular piques her curiosity—a mention of “that thing” she gave him along with half the tea and how it means they won’t have to split tea anymore. Meanwhile Se-young comes home to find the key she gave Yoon-jae lying on her floor.

In the morning, Choong-shik asks if noona is sick, and she just sighs that it’s because she opened Pandora’s box. Choong-shik: “Who’s Pandora? Is she from the States too?” Pfft. He asks about Mari’s relationship to Kyung-joon, and Da-ran remembers the message to deduct ten pizzas. (Though she has no idea that they’re pizzas—they use “pan/platter” so it’s conveniently nondescript.)

Kyung-joon’s morning gets interrupted by Aunt and Uncle’s abrupt visit, and he scrambles to hide just in time. Da-ran stares off into space at her desk, telling herself over and over that the lid to Pandora’s box is now closed. Then it wouldn’t be Pandora’s box now, would it?

Na Teacher screws up the nerve to offer her a ride to the hospital, but she doesn’t need to go there today, and he has to pretend that it’s a relief. Poor awkward gym teacher.

Kyung-joon calls (she’s saved his number as “BIG” now) and says he went to the car insurance place like she asked… and got a new car while he was at it. He’s here to pick her up.

She runs out gaping, “Did you drive this here?” Kyung-joon: “Well I didn’t carry it.” She freaks out that he’s not allowed to drive, and he swears he has an American driver’s license.

The vice principal tsk-tsks at them chasing each other around the car, and Kyung-joon apologizes for all the disruptions he’s caused, running to open her car door and offering to buy her dinner. It’s sweet that he’s trying to make Gil Teacher’s life easier.

The VP says she’s too busy filling her brain to fill her belly (hur) and he notes the copy of Turgenev’s First Love in her hand and quotes it, in Russian. He succeeds in getting on the VP’s good side, and Da-ran asks where on earth he learned Russian. He says his mom’s restaurant had Russian workers. And what, the chefs walked around quoting Turgenev?

They go to Yoon-jae’s bank and thankfully his PIN is the same as his phone passcode, and Kyung-joon goes slackjawed at all the money in the account. She takes out enough to cover the deposit on their newlywed house, relieved not to lose it. So reading his text message feels invasive, but clearing cash out of his account seems kosher?

Kyung-joon says he’ll stay at their new house then, since Aunt and Uncle seem intent on stopping by his house unannounced. In fact they’re there now, going through all his belongings. They note some adult clothes and shoes that are clearly not Kyung-joon’s. Has he been seeing his father?

Uncle says that’s impossible, but they wonder if maybe Mom told him about Dad…

Da-ran takes issue with Kyung-joon being the first to stay in the house where she and Yoon-jae will be spending their post-wedding bliss, and he threatens to harm the body if she doesn’t agree. Bodily harm is really the most useful little failsafe for the bugger, isn’t it?

She then drags him along to buy things for her newlywed house, not wanting him to use any of the stuff that’s meant for Yoon-jae. She seems obsessed with the idea of firsts—she’s constantly stopping Kyung-joon from spoiling things for her, as if him wearing the couple pajamas she bought would ruin them.

I get why, (though it’s another fixation with the idea of marriage rather than the man) but it hurts his feelings, which she doesn’t seem to get. He storms off in a huff, declaring that he’ll buy his OWN stuff to use.

He comes home just in time to see Aunt and Uncle throwing out all his stuff, including the only bed he can ever fall asleep in. He overhears them telling an agent to sell the house as soon as possible.

Da-ran waits and waits for Kyung-joon to show up to the real estate broker’s office, to sign the contract for her new house. It starts pouring rain. She waits and waits and calls and calls, and the house goes away, along with her initial deposit.

Kyung-joon runs inside to grab a sheet of plastic to cover the bed, his panic and the futility just increasing in waves. He struggles with all his might to drag the bed back inside the house, trying uselessly to hold back his tears. His desperation is just killing me.

Da-ran comes over, livid for having lost the house, and storms in yelling that it’s all because of him. Kyung-joon just sits on his sopping wet bed, soaked to the bone, with his back to her. He tells her to go.

She comes around to face him, still yelling, and then FINALLY notices that he’s drenched and shaking. He tells her that Aunt and Uncle threw out all his stuff to sell the house. She kneels down puts a hand to his forehead, and goes running out.

She goes to the car, and grabs the blanket and the pajamas she had bought for Yoon-jae. Awwwwwww. Okay, I love you right now. Such a great reversal.

She puts the blanket around him and tells him to change into the pajamas and runs back out to get her newlywed kitchenware from the car, since his house has been cleaned out. She makes him tea, and then while he sleeps, she gets medicine and makes him porridge.

He guesses she must be mad at having to use all her stuff when she was saving it, but she tells him the stuff was meant to be used anyway. She suggests he come over to her house and stay in Choong-shik’s room, but he tells her he’s fine here.

She feels his forehead and worries that he’s still running a fever, and he promises to take good care of Yoon-jae’s body. She sighs, asking if he really thinks she’s worrying about Yoon-jae right now.

He looks up, “I know. Right now you’re thinking of me. When you look at Kang Kyung-joon, there aren’t hearts coming out of your eyes.” Oh, kid.

She comes out to find the couple socks she dropped while fetching the other things, and goes to the hospital to see Yoon-jae/Coma Kyung-joon. She asks him to wake up soon, because there are so many things she wants to do with him.

Flashback to the hospital after her fall. Yoon-jae worries that she missed the teacher certification exam because of him, and she tells him it’s not his responsibility. Yoon-jae: “I think I do have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility for your life.”

She beams, and he smiles, but it’s not an I’m-over-the-moon smile. I’m so confuzzled. DID YOU LOVE HER OR NOT?

Another flashback, when he ran out to meet her in front of the hospital to cancel yet another date. He notices her skirt hem has come loose, and staples it for her before running off to surgery. This time he seems genuinely sorry to miss the date.

Da-ran walks away from the room with her socks on her hands, and then we see Coma Kyung-joon with the matching pair on his feet. That’s adorable.

The next morning, Kyung-joon puts on his snazzy grown-up suit (rawr) and struts into the bank. I smell mistaaake…

He cleans out the account, which sends a text alert to Yoon-jae’s phone. Da-ran sees the enormous figure and goes running.

But by the time she finds him, he’s already signed the contract for his house—it now belongs to Yoon-jae. Ack! Of course you did.

She storms inside and locks him out, leaving him screaming that he’ll even give her the deposit money on the other house that she lost. But there’s no answer.

He sits on his front stoop, seeming more than ever like a little kid.

Hours later, she finally comes out to tell him to take his medicine, deciding that they can discuss it when he’s feeling better. He gets up and apologizes—he knows it was wrong, and that this isn’t the house she wanted to start her life in. But to him it’s his last remaining possession, and he wanted to protect it.

He admits to using his adult body to that end, and says he’s sorry, even adding an “I was wrong” in jondae. She lets him back inside with a grumbly, “If the value on this house goes down…” and he promises her it won’t, with a skip in his step.

Time to furnish the house. It’s pretty hilarious that she ends up setting up her newlywed house with Kyung-joon anyway, after all that fuss.

They bicker over furniture choices and the like, though of course with Kyung-joon, it always devolves into childish games. I love that he’s found a fun purpose for his presto-change-o opaque-to-translucent walls: shutting her up when she’s yelling at him.

Mari bribes Choong-shik with a fifty-pizza discount for access to Gil Teacher’s room. She inspects it to make sure she’s really getting married to the doctor, whom she declares a Kyung-joon-copycat. She finger-darts his photo-eyeballs for emphasis.

I really luff this character. She’s creepy, and yet not so bright, which makes her hilariously unthreatening.

Da-ran’s parents are due for a visit, so she sends Kyung-joon out to get some snacks. He goes to sneak the car keys and sees Yoon-jae’s phone ringing with a call from Se-young. He goes to meet her.

She returns her house key, asking if he left it at her place on purpose as a message, or just dropped it in his haste. His eyes widen in shock. He thought it was the key to his newlywed house, which he says aloud.

She can’t believe he’d confuse it for that, and spells it out for him—that she gave him the key to her house and believed that because he didn’t return it, he was planning to end his engagement and choose her.

She tells him it’s over and walks out. He picks up the key and sits there reeling from this added twist. Okay, so it’s possible, maybe that he’s not a cheating cheater, but he’s certainly a vague son of a bitch.

Da-ran’s family arrives and helps set up the new house, and Mom asks why a small apartment suddenly turned into a giant house. Da-ran somehow gets away with being vague about it.

Kyung-joon comes back and Da-ran pulls him aside to yell at him for his tardiness. She knows he took the car when he’s not supposed to drive, and fishes his pockets for the key. Whoa, you sure are comfortable digging around in his pants, Teach.

But out with the car key comes the mystery house key, and she picks it up, remembering that it came out of Yoon-jae’s sweater. She knows now that it’s not the key to their new house after all, so what’s it for?

He covers the keys in her hand and starts to say, “Actually… that key…” but stops short, not wanting to crush her. So he says it’s broken and throws it out with the trash.

Da-ran heads home with her family, and Mom and Dad have a conversation about wanting to share their latest batch of kimchi with Yoon-jae and how if he comes by often enough, they won’t have to split it at all.

It triggers her thoughts back to that text message in Pandora’s box about “that thing.” She asks Mom in a daze if one were to facilitate Yoon-jae freely coming by so he can eat kimchi at their house, what would she give him? Mom: “A key.”

She asks Dad to stop the car and goes tearing down the street toward the house. Choong-shik worries like a good little brother and calls his brother-in-law to ask if she’s there.

Kyung-joon goes outside to see if she’s on her way, and then notices the trash bags torn open. Balls. He figures it out right away and runs to catch up with her.

Da-ran takes a cab and calls one of Yoon-jae’s friends for Se-young’s address. Kyung-joon runs and runs and runs.

She arrives at Se-young’s door, and takes out the key. She brings her hand up to the lock, trembling…

Kyung-joon runs into the building and then up the stairs… She hesitates, unable to do it. She takes a breath and then raises her hand again…

The key makes contact. It opens. A tear rolls down her face.

Kyung-joon arrives huffing and puffing, and shakes his head as if to say no, don’t do it. But Se-young hears her door and gets up to see who it is, and the door starts to push open…

Da-ran turns to face the door, but Kyung-joon slams it shut with one arm, and pulls her close with the other. She starts to cry into his shoulder.

She tells him to let go. He shakes his head and holds on.

 
COMMENTS

Man, even when I knew that door would unlock, I still didn’t want it to. But it’s great to watch Kyung-joon go from spilling the beans on the cheater the first chance he got, to hesitating this time, and running to protect her from finding out and getting her heart stomped on. I think no matter how her feelings go, it’s his crush that’s got me in the heart.

I’m more and more intrigued by Flashback Yoon-jae, who seems equally cute and cryptic. But what I really love is the story’s stance on the unreliability of anyone’s version of Yoon-jae. As Kyung-joon keeps pointing out, it could be that she remembers him differently, or just sees what she wants to see. So nothing about Yoon-jae is ever definitive, and we have to puzzle together the bits and pieces, told by different people.

And just when we’re sure of one version of him, another side comes out and flips it back. It’s such a fresh take to make the flashbacks unreliable. Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t think it’s totally Rashomon-esque (in that I do believe that what we see did happen), but the interpretation of events is left up to each character, and ultimately, us. Did Kyung-joon really follow Da-ran off the bus because he liked her from the start? Or is he changing the intent to fit the events? We know he didn’t really follow her around and into the furniture store, but what do we really know?

The reference to Turgenev’s novella seems like a throwaway joke, but is actually quite interesting—that story is told from the perspective of a teenage boy who is in love with an older woman who shows him affection but constantly mocks his youth. Here’s where I hope this drama doesn’t follow suit though—the young boy finds out that the man she really loves is his own father. Just… no. I have hope though, that the Hong sisters are teasing out these comparisons in order to subvert them. Otherwise, where’s the fun, right? RIGHT?

I do think that the Kyung-joon/Da-ran relationship is purposely confusing to mirror that story—at times it’s the affection of a mother to a son, which fills a huge hole in Kyung-joon’s life, and at times it has romantic undertones. But I really hope that her mothering care isn’t going to be taken to the literal extreme, because, well, ew.

My favorite thing in this episode was the set-up of her obsession with having everything be new and unused for her future with Yoon-jae, and then letting that go when it counted, when Kyung-joon mattered more. And even if Kyung-joon is headed for a world of heartbreak, I guess I’m going there with him. What can I say? Act-first-think-later boys with bleeding hearts are just my dramaland kryptonite.

 
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283 June 12, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 4

by girlfriday

What does it say when an eighteen-year old does a better job of being you than you? It’s an identity crisis of the highest order when the line starts to blur for everyone involved, as Kyung-joon starts to fulfill his role as Teach’s fiancé… a little TOO well.

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Big OST – Davichi – “Because It’s You” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 4 RECAP

Kyung-joon leans in, thisclose to kissing Da-ran, when he realizes that she’s not pulling away. He backs up like a hot potato, “Why aren’t you backing away?! Were you just going to collide?!” Oh so YOU get to mess with her head and SHE has to take responsibility?

He crosses his arms over his precious body, making it clear to “ajumma” that despite her hunger for this outer shell, a minor is on the inside. And… that’s what we call a mood-killer. Way to bring it back down to earth, kid.

But Da-ran is still floating around on cloud nine, “So that’s what it would have been like…”

HOLD UP. You’ve never kissed your fiancé? Kyung-joon’s eyes go from saucers to platters as he stammers, “Wha-? You mean this- with the- not going—? No way!” She corrects him—they did go that far, but in that crucial moment of moments… she was asleep. Hee.

Flashback to a date with Yoon-jae, when they park by the river (that was your first mistake, buddy) and she falls asleep. Yoon-jae kisses her softly, and it wakes her up…

But she loses her timing to open her eyes un-awkwardly, and has to spend the rest of the date “asleep.” That’s so lame it’s awesome.

She berates herself for not being able to open her eyes, which would’ve facilitated much more physical intimacy from that point on. Kyung-joon (in his now characteristic sour expression whenever Da-ran swoons over Yoon-jae) tells her not to be too disappointed—it could have been her imagination.

She insists it was not an imaginary kiss, but Kyung-joon says that a long-stretched imagination (another gil-da-ran pun, his favorite) is her specialty. She didn’t see, so it could’ve been like this—and he puts the back of his hand to her lips to demonstrate.

She doesn’t think that’s what it was, but it’s enough to confuse her, and she sits there kissing the back of her own hand, “Was it like this? Or like this?” Kyung-joon watches her for a while, and then pulls her hand away.

He kisses her, smack right on the lips, “Was it this?” OH YOU CHEEKY.

Da-ran says yes in a daze, only to realize belatedly that it was Kyung-joon who just kissed her. She tries to shake her head on straight, and then when she comes to, she attacks Kyung-joon.

He defends himself by saying he was just trying to help her because she was so confused, and she’s like, what do you know, little kid? Well so far, he seems to know more about kissing than you do.

Hitting turns to kicking, and Kyung-joon finally gets her to stop by pointing at his face, “If you keep hitting me, I’m going to go colliding this into random things!”

She yells that it’s Yoon-jae’s face, not his, and Kyung-joon runs with that—then it means that he took “precious Yoon-jae’s” lips and collided with hers anyway, so what’s the problem?

He tells her to think of it as a rerun since she missed it the last time. How can you stay mad at a kid so quick on his feet? She argues that Kyung-joon’s the one on the inside, and he counters that if she knows that, she shouldn’t ask him to play Yoon-jae anymore. Touché.

Mari sits by Kyung-joon’s bedside and Choong-shik wonders why his noona didn’t tell her about the accident. He saw that she met his brother-in-law too, and explains the family connection, including the fact that Yoon-jae is a doctor at this hospital.

Mari narrows her eyes, wondering why the doctor lied to her.

Da-ran stops at Kyung-joon’s house to give him something she forgot, and sighs to find him eating another frozen pizza with coke. He snipes, asking what else he has to do for the good doctor, only Da-ran surprises him with class notes.

She tells him to study even if he can’t go to school, and he asks whose notes they are. She says they’re from the first-place student in his class, and he corrects her that they’re from the soon-to-be-second-place student, when he goes back to school.

I love that against type, the smartass is actually… smart. He tells her that he could go to Harvard but he promised Mom he’d go to Seoul University, which is why she bought him this house. Da-ran says it must be nice to have such a supportive mom.

He asks for her help going over the notes, which is a totally bogus ploy to get her to stay longer of course, but Da-ran complies happily, even as her eyes glaze over from the math.

Mari thinks over what Yoon-jae told her at school, and wonders what he meant by “Kyung-joon will text you,” if Kyung-joon is lying here in a coma. She decides to test it out and Kyung-joon texts her back. Her reply: a photo of herself…with the sleeping Kyung-joon. Ruh-roh.

Kyung-joon goes tearing into the hospital with Da-ran in tow, and she wonders what the big ruckus is over one friend. But Kyung-joon explains that now that she’s found him, Mari won’t ever leave his side. EVER.

Da-ran wonders if they shouldn’t tell her the truth then, and Kyung-joon freaks out—if Mari knew that he was in this body, she’d be clinging to said body 24 hours a day. Sufficiently horrified by the vision of Mari literally hanging off of Yoon-jae’s shoulders, Da-ran agrees it’s best to lie to the stalker girl. You think?

Aunt and Uncle light up at the news that Mari intends to take Kyung-joon back to the States, and prepare for his immediate departure. Kyung-joon notes their happy expressions and guesses that Mari’s already got her claws into his body. He figures the only way to get through to her is to blow her mind.

Mari tells Coma Kyung-joon that it looks like he’s just sleeping, and sighs that in the fairytales, sleeping princesses always get woken up with a kiss. Lightbulb. She figures it’s worth a shot (which is adorable) and puckers up…

But she gets kiss-blocked when Awake Kyung-joon comes running in to stop her with a hand to her mouth. She calls the doctor a lying liar and declares that she’s taking Kyung-joon to America. She knows he’d want to go too because he has no one he likes here.

Kyung-joon: “Kyung-joonie would want to be here, because the person Kyung-joonie likes is here.” Mari says he has nothing of the sort. Kyung-joon: “He does,” and points to Da-ran. Eeee!

He declares that Kyung-joon likes Gil Teacher. Da-ran looks over at him with alarm, and he makes a face at her to just play along.

And then he tells Mari that the first time he saw Gil Teacher, he followed her off the bus because he liked her. And then he continued to follow her around, and just pretended to meet her at the furniture store by coincidence.

Aaaaaah. I LOVE this. Is it true? Is it not? Is he confessing his crush or making it up on the spot?

Mari refuses to believe it—Kyung-joon’s not the type to follow someone around like a lovesick puppy. Right, that’s your job. He says that Kyung-joon did follow Da-ran, his fiancée, around, and he, the doctor, caught him red-handed.

He says that Kyung-joon confessed everything, which is why he knows so much about him. Mari whines that the teacher isn’t Kyung-joon’s type either, “So why did he like her?” Kyung-joon: “Because she’s pretty.” D’aw.

He counts down to Mari’s brainsplosion, and walks out believing himself to be a genius. Da-ran asks hesitantly—what he said in there wasn’t true, was it? He laughs at her for falling for it.

Mari looks at the picture of Gil Teacher online, agreeing that Kyung-joon isn’t the type to take pictures of people he doesn’t care about (innnteresting) and runs outside. She catches up to Da-ran to ask how she feels about Kyung-joon.

Da-ran quickly assures her that she’s to be married, and has no interest in her student. Mari argues that Kyung-joon is much better looking than this ajusshi (he beams) while Da-ran counters that Yoon-jae is much better (he frowns).

Da-ran takes the opportunity to say that she’d never be interested in a totally immature, fresh-from-the-cradle little boy, which reassures Mari and makes Kyung-joon scowl. It’s enough to make Mari feel secure for now, and she tells Da-ran to tell Choong-shik he’s ten more pizzas down.

But then Mari notes that the ajusshi is wearing Kyung-joon’s favorite sweatshirt, and she launches into another don’t-copy-Kyung-joon lecture. She’s hilarious.

Not to be outdone, Kyung-joon starts copying her, and then it actually devolves into: Stop copying me! No YOU stop copying me! You’re the boss of copycats! Well then you’re the boss’ boss of copycats! You’re the boss’ boss’ boss! You’re the boss-to-the-infinity-power!

HEE.

Mari tells Aunt and Uncle that she won’t be taking Kyung-joon away after all. Their faces fall.

Meanwhile Kyung-joon looks over Yoon-jae’s desk and asks after the doctor’s parents (they’re notably in two separate pictures, not one). Da-ran says they’re abroad which Kyung-joon thinks is a relief—playing the son would be a lot harder to pull off.

But that makes Da-ran remember that Yoon-jae called his mother often, and that she’s probably worried. He sighs and picks up the phone, willing to play the good son. He calls and Mom says she’ll see him on “that day” and that his father will also not forget “that day.”

Is everyone in this family cryptic?

They wonder what on earth it means, and he asks if Yoon-jae doesn’t have a diary or something. Da-ran says she has his phone but hasn’t looked in it, because she doesn’t want him to think less of her. Kyung-joon flips out, asking if it’s okay for him to tell all manner of lies to Mari but Teach won’t even get her hands dirty.

She figures he’s right and gives him the passcode to unlock the phone: 0624. He pauses. Is that Yoon-jae’s birthday? She says no. “Oh. ‘Cause… it’s mine.” Oh noes. Drama, don’t you do it! Don’t you go there!

They look at the calendar and whatever family thing is going on is on June 24. As they walk out we linger on the Miracle book on Yoon-jae’s shelf, and then Mom takes out her copy of the same book. And just in case we didn’t get it, we get another close-up of the same cherub picture in Kyung-joon’s wallet.

In the hospital, Kyung-joon’s body starts to show signs of life…

Another flashback to the accident, and the moment when Yoon-jae reached out to save Kyung-joon… And Kyung-joon wakes up from the dream in a cold sweat.

Da-ran resists looking at Yoon-jae’s phone, but then reasons that she’s just going to check urgent messages and finds that Se-young texts Yoon-jae multiple times daily. One in particular piques her curiosity—a mention of “that thing” she gave him along with half the tea and how it means they won’t have to split tea anymore. Meanwhile Se-young comes home to find the key she gave Yoon-jae lying on her floor.

In the morning, Choong-shik asks if noona is sick, and she just sighs that it’s because she opened Pandora’s box. Choong-shik: “Who’s Pandora? Is she from the States too?” Pfft. He asks about Mari’s relationship to Kyung-joon, and Da-ran remembers the message to deduct ten pizzas. (Though she has no idea that they’re pizzas—they use “pan/platter” so it’s conveniently nondescript.)

Kyung-joon’s morning gets interrupted by Aunt and Uncle’s abrupt visit, and he scrambles to hide just in time. Da-ran stares off into space at her desk, telling herself over and over that the lid to Pandora’s box is now closed. Then it wouldn’t be Pandora’s box now, would it?

Na Teacher screws up the nerve to offer her a ride to the hospital, but she doesn’t need to go there today, and he has to pretend that it’s a relief. Poor awkward gym teacher.

Kyung-joon calls (she’s saved his number as “BIG” now) and says he went to the car insurance place like she asked… and got a new car while he was at it. He’s here to pick her up.

She runs out gaping, “Did you drive this here?” Kyung-joon: “Well I didn’t carry it.” She freaks out that he’s not allowed to drive, and he swears he has an American driver’s license.

The vice principal tsk-tsks at them chasing each other around the car, and Kyung-joon apologizes for all the disruptions he’s caused, running to open her car door and offering to buy her dinner. It’s sweet that he’s trying to make Gil Teacher’s life easier.

The VP says she’s too busy filling her brain to fill her belly (hur) and he notes the copy of Turgenev’s First Love in her hand and quotes it, in Russian. He succeeds in getting on the VP’s good side, and Da-ran asks where on earth he learned Russian. He says his mom’s restaurant had Russian workers. And what, the chefs walked around quoting Turgenev?

They go to Yoon-jae’s bank and thankfully his PIN is the same as his phone passcode, and Kyung-joon goes slackjawed at all the money in the account. She takes out enough to cover the deposit on their newlywed house, relieved not to lose it. So reading his text message feels invasive, but clearing cash out of his account seems kosher?

Kyung-joon says he’ll stay at their new house then, since Aunt and Uncle seem intent on stopping by his house unannounced. In fact they’re there now, going through all his belongings. They note some adult clothes and shoes that are clearly not Kyung-joon’s. Has he been seeing his father?

Uncle says that’s impossible, but they wonder if maybe Mom told him about Dad…

Da-ran takes issue with Kyung-joon being the first to stay in the house where she and Yoon-jae will be spending their post-wedding bliss, and he threatens to harm the body if she doesn’t agree. Bodily harm is really the most useful little failsafe for the bugger, isn’t it?

She then drags him along to buy things for her newlywed house, not wanting him to use any of the stuff that’s meant for Yoon-jae. She seems obsessed with the idea of firsts—she’s constantly stopping Kyung-joon from spoiling things for her, as if him wearing the couple pajamas she bought would ruin them.

I get why, (though it’s another fixation with the idea of marriage rather than the man) but it hurts his feelings, which she doesn’t seem to get. He storms off in a huff, declaring that he’ll buy his OWN stuff to use.

He comes home just in time to see Aunt and Uncle throwing out all his stuff, including the only bed he can ever fall asleep in. He overhears them telling an agent to sell the house as soon as possible.

Da-ran waits and waits for Kyung-joon to show up to the real estate broker’s office, to sign the contract for her new house. It starts pouring rain. She waits and waits and calls and calls, and the house goes away, along with her initial deposit.

Kyung-joon runs inside to grab a sheet of plastic to cover the bed, his panic and the futility just increasing in waves. He struggles with all his might to drag the bed back inside the house, trying uselessly to hold back his tears. His desperation is just killing me.

Da-ran comes over, livid for having lost the house, and storms in yelling that it’s all because of him. Kyung-joon just sits on his sopping wet bed, soaked to the bone, with his back to her. He tells her to go.

She comes around to face him, still yelling, and then FINALLY notices that he’s drenched and shaking. He tells her that Aunt and Uncle threw out all his stuff to sell the house. She kneels down puts a hand to his forehead, and goes running out.

She goes to the car, and grabs the blanket and the pajamas she had bought for Yoon-jae. Awwwwwww. Okay, I love you right now. Such a great reversal.

She puts the blanket around him and tells him to change into the pajamas and runs back out to get her newlywed kitchenware from the car, since his house has been cleaned out. She makes him tea, and then while he sleeps, she gets medicine and makes him porridge.

He guesses she must be mad at having to use all her stuff when she was saving it, but she tells him the stuff was meant to be used anyway. She suggests he come over to her house and stay in Choong-shik’s room, but he tells her he’s fine here.

She feels his forehead and worries that he’s still running a fever, and he promises to take good care of Yoon-jae’s body. She sighs, asking if he really thinks she’s worrying about Yoon-jae right now.

He looks up, “I know. Right now you’re thinking of me. When you look at Kang Kyung-joon, there aren’t hearts coming out of your eyes.” Oh, kid.

She comes out to find the couple socks she dropped while fetching the other things, and goes to the hospital to see Yoon-jae/Coma Kyung-joon. She asks him to wake up soon, because there are so many things she wants to do with him.

Flashback to the hospital after her fall. Yoon-jae worries that she missed the teacher certification exam because of him, and she tells him it’s not his responsibility. Yoon-jae: “I think I do have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility for your life.”

She beams, and he smiles, but it’s not an I’m-over-the-moon smile. I’m so confuzzled. DID YOU LOVE HER OR NOT?

Another flashback, when he ran out to meet her in front of the hospital to cancel yet another date. He notices her skirt hem has come loose, and staples it for her before running off to surgery. This time he seems genuinely sorry to miss the date.

Da-ran walks away from the room with her socks on her hands, and then we see Coma Kyung-joon with the matching pair on his feet. That’s adorable.

The next morning, Kyung-joon puts on his snazzy grown-up suit (rawr) and struts into the bank. I smell mistaaake…

He cleans out the account, which sends a text alert to Yoon-jae’s phone. Da-ran sees the enormous figure and goes running.

But by the time she finds him, he’s already signed the contract for his house—it now belongs to Yoon-jae. Ack! Of course you did.

She storms inside and locks him out, leaving him screaming that he’ll even give her the deposit money on the other house that she lost. But there’s no answer.

He sits on his front stoop, seeming more than ever like a little kid.

Hours later, she finally comes out to tell him to take his medicine, deciding that they can discuss it when he’s feeling better. He gets up and apologizes—he knows it was wrong, and that this isn’t the house she wanted to start her life in. But to him it’s his last remaining possession, and he wanted to protect it.

He admits to using his adult body to that end, and says he’s sorry, even adding an “I was wrong” in jondae. She lets him back inside with a grumbly, “If the value on this house goes down…” and he promises her it won’t, with a skip in his step.

Time to furnish the house. It’s pretty hilarious that she ends up setting up her newlywed house with Kyung-joon anyway, after all that fuss.

They bicker over furniture choices and the like, though of course with Kyung-joon, it always devolves into childish games. I love that he’s found a fun purpose for his presto-change-o opaque-to-translucent walls: shutting her up when she’s yelling at him.

Mari bribes Choong-shik with a fifty-pizza discount for access to Gil Teacher’s room. She inspects it to make sure she’s really getting married to the doctor, whom she declares a Kyung-joon-copycat. She finger-darts his photo-eyeballs for emphasis.

I really luff this character. She’s creepy, and yet not so bright, which makes her hilariously unthreatening.

Da-ran’s parents are due for a visit, so she sends Kyung-joon out to get some snacks. He goes to sneak the car keys and sees Yoon-jae’s phone ringing with a call from Se-young. He goes to meet her.

She returns her house key, asking if he left it at her place on purpose as a message, or just dropped it in his haste. His eyes widen in shock. He thought it was the key to his newlywed house, which he says aloud.

She can’t believe he’d confuse it for that, and spells it out for him—that she gave him the key to her house and believed that because he didn’t return it, he was planning to end his engagement and choose her.

She tells him it’s over and walks out. He picks up the key and sits there reeling from this added twist. Okay, so it’s possible, maybe that he’s not a cheating cheater, but he’s certainly a vague son of a bitch.

Da-ran’s family arrives and helps set up the new house, and Mom asks why a small apartment suddenly turned into a giant house. Da-ran somehow gets away with being vague about it.

Kyung-joon comes back and Da-ran pulls him aside to yell at him for his tardiness. She knows he took the car when he’s not supposed to drive, and fishes his pockets for the key. Whoa, you sure are comfortable digging around in his pants, Teach.

But out with the car key comes the mystery house key, and she picks it up, remembering that it came out of Yoon-jae’s sweater. She knows now that it’s not the key to their new house after all, so what’s it for?

He covers the keys in her hand and starts to say, “Actually… that key…” but stops short, not wanting to crush her. So he says it’s broken and throws it out with the trash.

Da-ran heads home with her family, and Mom and Dad have a conversation about wanting to share their latest batch of kimchi with Yoon-jae and how if he comes by often enough, they won’t have to split it at all.

It triggers her thoughts back to that text message in Pandora’s box about “that thing.” She asks Mom in a daze if one were to facilitate Yoon-jae freely coming by so he can eat kimchi at their house, what would she give him? Mom: “A key.”

She asks Dad to stop the car and goes tearing down the street toward the house. Choong-shik worries like a good little brother and calls his brother-in-law to ask if she’s there.

Kyung-joon goes outside to see if she’s on her way, and then notices the trash bags torn open. Balls. He figures it out right away and runs to catch up with her.

Da-ran takes a cab and calls one of Yoon-jae’s friends for Se-young’s address. Kyung-joon runs and runs and runs.

She arrives at Se-young’s door, and takes out the key. She brings her hand up to the lock, trembling…

Kyung-joon runs into the building and then up the stairs… She hesitates, unable to do it. She takes a breath and then raises her hand again…

The key makes contact. It opens. A tear rolls down her face.

Kyung-joon arrives huffing and puffing, and shakes his head as if to say no, don’t do it. But Se-young hears her door and gets up to see who it is, and the door starts to push open…

Da-ran turns to face the door, but Kyung-joon slams it shut with one arm, and pulls her close with the other. She starts to cry into his shoulder.

She tells him to let go. He shakes his head and holds on.

 
COMMENTS

Man, even when I knew that door would unlock, I still didn’t want it to. But it’s great to watch Kyung-joon go from spilling the beans on the cheater the first chance he got, to hesitating this time, and running to protect her from finding out and getting her heart stomped on. I think no matter how her feelings go, it’s his crush that’s got me in the heart.

I’m more and more intrigued by Flashback Yoon-jae, who seems equally cute and cryptic. But what I really love is the story’s stance on the unreliability of anyone’s version of Yoon-jae. As Kyung-joon keeps pointing out, it could be that she remembers him differently, or just sees what she wants to see. So nothing about Yoon-jae is ever definitive, and we have to puzzle together the bits and pieces, told by different people.

And just when we’re sure of one version of him, another side comes out and flips it back. It’s such a fresh take to make the flashbacks unreliable. Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t think it’s totally Rashomon-esque (in that I do believe that what we see did happen), but the interpretation of events is left up to each character, and ultimately, us. Did Kyung-joon really follow Da-ran off the bus because he liked her from the start? Or is he changing the intent to fit the events? We know he didn’t really follow her around and into the furniture store, but what do we really know?

The reference to Turgenev’s novella seems like a throwaway joke, but is actually quite interesting—that story is told from the perspective of a teenage boy who is in love with an older woman who shows him affection but constantly mocks his youth. Here’s where I hope this drama doesn’t follow suit though—the young boy finds out that the man she really loves is his own father. Just… no. I have hope though, that the Hong sisters are teasing out these comparisons in order to subvert them. Otherwise, where’s the fun, right? RIGHT?

I do think that the Kyung-joon/Da-ran relationship is purposely confusing to mirror that story—at times it’s the affection of a mother to a son, which fills a huge hole in Kyung-joon’s life, and at times it has romantic undertones. But I really hope that her mothering care isn’t going to be taken to the literal extreme, because, well, ew.

My favorite thing in this episode was the set-up of her obsession with having everything be new and unused for her future with Yoon-jae, and then letting that go when it counted, when Kyung-joon mattered more. And even if Kyung-joon is headed for a world of heartbreak, I guess I’m going there with him. What can I say? Act-first-think-later boys with bleeding hearts are just my dramaland kryptonite.

 
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332 June 19, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 6

by girlfriday

Okay, I don’t know if they did that time jump because the previous episodes were missing that spark, but man I’m glad they did. It’s a new year and a new show, as far as I’m concerned. I might be putting too much stock in the potential that comes out of where we find all our characters a year later, but I’m hoping the change in the tide is one that’s here to stay. Best time skip ever: Nobody gets a lobotomy, and the plot gets a conflict. Win-win?

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

So we’re now a year ahead of the original story, and Da-ran attends a friend’s wedding. Yoon-jae’s shell walks right up to her and stands at the elevator, and she looks over in shock, “Kyung-joon-ah!”

But he doesn’t answer, so she asks haltingly, “Yoon-jae-sshi?” He turns and says it’s been a long time. She’s so floored she nearly misses the elevator, and then asks again skeptically, “You’re Kyung-joon-ie, right?”

He shrugs. Okay, that’s a dead giveaway, right? She asks why he hasn’t called, when he came back, what he’s doing here. He just says he’s here for a friend’s wedding, and she gets confused again, “Yoon-jae-sshi?”

Kyung-joon (I’m almost positive) looks over at her and wonders how she got so old in such a short time, and declares with almost too much nonchalance to be believable, “You’re not pretty anymore.”

She scowls, now sure, “You ARE Kang Kyun-joon!” He continues, “When I first saw you, you were so pretty I followed you around.” So it was true! That spins her around again though, “Yoon Jae-sshi?”

Kyung-joon smiles, “I’ve changed so much you can’t even recognize me anymore.” He leaves her dumbfounded in the elevator, and turns back with his trademark, “Uh-oh, mental explosion.”

When she snaps out of it, Da-ran shouts after him, “You ARE Kang Kyung-joon!” as the doors close on her. She catches up to him in the banquet hall and sits down to talk to him tenderly as Kyung-joon, not realizing that the entire wedding party sees her as desperately trying to cling to ex-fiancé Yoon-jae.

Wait, don’t touch his face! He likes you! He smiles to himself to see that she really was confused about who’s soul was in there, and then points out that the whole room is staring at them. Has she already forgotten about whose shell he’s in?

She covers her face in horror, “I only see Kang Kyung-joon, but they all see Yoon-jae-sshi.” Aw, I still find the sentiment really sweet, despite the social mortification happening right now.

Kyung-joon figures that the first person to stand up and walk away hangs onto their pride, and she agrees, suggesting they both get up at the count of three. One… two… and of course Kyung-joon springs up first, “Three.” Derp.

She’s left to clean up the mess, or rather get humiliated by having all her girlfriends run up and publicly console her. ‘Cause that’s so helpful. A real girlfriend would drag her ass out and into a bathroom first.

But just as she’s about to drown in a vat of her own pride, Kyung-joon opens the double doors and hero-walks back in. He beelines straight for her and says he’s counting to three.

She panics, not knowing what’s going on, and springs up at three. He grabs her hand and they go running out of the wedding hall like the end of a nineties music video.

Outside, she thanks Kyung-joon for saving her from an awkward situation, and he has to point out that she just got back together with “Yoon-jae.” He shows her their hands, still clasped.

It finally dawns on her what she did, only to have Kyung-joon tell her that’s actually why he’s here—”They’re telling me to get married.”

And then at the same time (or is it a flashback?), Mom is asking Se-young to stay by Yoon-jae’s side. Great. Now the monsters have teamed up?

Kyung-joon says Mom keeps pushing him to marry Se-young. Da-ran understands, “Because to Yoon-jae’s mother, you’re not an eighteen-year old blood clot.”

He makes this awesome silent oh-no-you-did-not-just-call-me-that face and tamps down his would-be outburst. “That’s a NINETEEN-year old blood clot to you!” Hee.

He says that’s what he needs Gil Teacher for—if he has to get married, then well, Da-ran is the only one who knows the real him. She hilariously leans in and narrows her eyes, asking if this is because he still likes her.

Kyung-joon: “I’m different now. I was too young then.” Da-ran: “You’re STILL young.” He explains that it’s not a real proposal—he just needs her to be his shield against Mom’s parade of women, including Se-young. Da-ran turns him down.

He catches up to her in his car, purposely making another show of their togetherness in front of her friends. She argues that if he’s looking for a girlfriend-shield, he should be looking for girls his own age.

He astutely points out that in his body, going after girls his own age would land him in jail. “I guess if I go to jail, I can’t get married.” HA. Plan B is jail then?

She says she can’t do it—after everything she did to break up with Yoon-jae and forget him, how can she be by his side again and look at him daily? He mutters, “Do you still like Seo Yoon-jae that much? Does it hurt that much to see me?”

He drops her off at home and then stops her, “Gil Teacher, will you say my name?” Da-ran: “Kang Kyung-joon. Kang Kyung-joon. Kang Kyung-joon.” If only this were Beetlejuice.

He watches her go with a wistful look. “I missed you. The one person who calls me Kang Kyung-joon.” Just break mah heart why don’t you.

Da-ran goes home and looks through her box of Yoon-jae stuff, stopping at the picture of Kyung-joon kissing her. I wonder if there are more Yoon-jae memories or Kyung-joon memories in that box, when all is said and done.

Kyung-joon dresses for work, now wearing his grown-up clothes with ease. His room is this strange mix of kiddie bed and figurines, with… medical books? Wait, he’s not going to attempt to be a DOCTOR after a year’s worth of self-teaching, is he? UM…

He meets his colleagues at the hospital and says he’s planning to return to work. He reads another medical text and murmurs to himself that he’s almost filled his brain. Dude. Not the matrix. You can’t just upload that stuff.

And sure enough, as soon as he walks into a ward, he cringes at the sight of blood. Oh, whoops, that part.

He sits with his comatose body for a while, and Mari greets him with surprise. Man, that’s some hardcore love for someone so young. He asks her about that very thing, and she says that because she liked Kyung-joon, he lost the person he loved most in the world.

So she’s going to keep liking him, and then become the person he loves most in the world. That’s… sweet. He gets it now, that it’s more like a loyalty thing for her. And if there’s guilt attached, it makes even more sense to me.

He taps his fingers on her head and that makes her ask directly if he’s got some special connection to Kyung-joon: “Are you… his dad?” Kyung-joon rolls his eyes and says that would mean Seo Yoon-jae would’ve fathered him at the age of twelve. He makes a cheesy Mari pun [Mari mari andwae = Mari makes no sense] and leaves her growling.

Aunt and Uncle work through the connection too—if he’s not Kyung-joon’s dad, then he must be some relative from the dad’s side of the family (they think maybe uncle), otherwise what’s all this talk about the inheritance?

Kyung-joon drops by the school, sending everyone into a tailspin (especially Na Teacher, who thought his competition long gone). He meets with the vice principal to ask about Kyung-joon’s credits required to graduate, and is surprised to learn that everyone thinks Da-ran was dumped.

He announces in front of everyone that he was the dumpee, and so he left to go improve himself and came back to ask again, and got squarely rejected. So cute. I do love that the guy walking around in Seo Yoon-jae’s body has no concern for Seo Yoon-jae’s pride.

As they walk out, Da-ran accuses him of making up an excuse just to come here and do that. He calls her smart and says he needed to do that so she could still save face if she were to date him again.

They argue over the issue again over dinner, and at one point she calls him a little blood clot again and he nearly stabs his fork right through his plate. He wants her to go see Mom with him, and when she refuses, he orders her to get all her newlywed stuff out of his house. Like right now.

She looks around at all the stuff, muttering as she wonders why Kyung-joon became so cold. What, do you even have to ask that? She starts packing up her things, and he arrives after meeting with Mom (just to update her that he’ll stay at the house alone and return to the hospital).

They bicker about when she’s going to move the stuff out, and he tells her to clean the kitchen while she’s at it. So petty. He then goes to the store to buy cleaning supplies and asks, “Which is one that doesn’t clean well, so it’s takes the longest time?” Cute.

Choong-shik goes shoe shopping with Mari, and I’m amazed that they got through a year and he’s STILL got pizzas left on his tab. He actually alludes to the fact that he’s winding down on pizzas, and says he has something to tell her when he’s no longer her slave. Heh.

Mari in turn muses that she never imagined Kyung-joon would still be asleep, three hundred pizzas later. Choong-shik asks if she’s heard anything about Yoon-jae returning to the hospital. For some reason she says no, and Choong-shik nearly murders a shoe as he says he’s been hearing rumblings about Yoon-jae’s return.

Se-young arrives at Yoon-jae’s house with a box of his belongings from the hospital. She walks in smiling in anticipation, but finds Da-ran there instead. They have a standoff in the living room, each wondering why the other is there.

But the hilarious part is, Da-ran is no longer concerned so much about Se-young and Yoon-jae, as she is about Kyung-joon having a hot, scantily-clad lady friend visiting him at night, and tries to reason that Yoon-jae has the mind of a 19-year old right now.

It flies right over Se-young’s head, and she acknowledges that Yoon-jae is different after the accident, but she’s not going to give up on him like someone. But all Da-ran sees is her long legs in her tiny skirt, and chases her out the door before Kyung-joon gets home.

Kyung-joon arrives just in time to see Se-young leave, and smiles to hear that Da-ran chased her out. She tattles that Da-ran thinks he’s a childish kid. Kyung-joon: “I am. I’m a kid. And I’m very childish. Can you handle it?”

Se-young argues that he’s not at all childish, or he didn’t used to be. And she’s not going to give up on him like Da-ran. He sighs, “Fine. If, IF that guy returns, you can have him.” You don’t think that’s a mixed message to the dog with a bone?

He comes in still smiling about Da-ran chasing Se-young out, but frowns to see her lost in thought as she looks at Yoon-jae’s stuff from the office.

She checks out his room and marvels at all the medical texts, amazed that he’s really as smart as he claimed to be. He says it’s not so bad, zooming to thirty in one go. But he doesn’t want to be married off the same way.

She agrees that it’s pretty serious if Se-young is dropping by this late at night. He pointedly mmmm-aaaahs at the thought of that sexy lady coming by at this hour. “Teach, this is a brain that knows no self-control.” Rawr? Or is that icky? Still confused. Though her face at his o-face is awesome.

She tsk-tsks that Se-young would turn right around if she knew that his brain was more blood-clot, kiddy-bed level. Determined to prove her wrong, he gets right up in her face, inching her backward, “Then Gil Teacher would never… ever… feel that pull?”

She says that’s right. Uh-huh. He plops down on his bed and says that’s why Gil Teacher is the only one who can protect his innocent kid-brain. Argh. Still the same Kyung-joon: a man when it’s convenient and a kid when it’s convenient.

She goes home and sighs—what is she going to do about Kyung-joon? She can’t just leave him like that. Kyung-joon looks at the picture Da-ran was holding when he walked in, sighing that the hearts were still coming out of her eyes. Aw, kid.

At school, Na Teacher bemoans never having made a move (for a whole friggin’ year, I might add) and asks Ae-kyung to shoot his heart into the race. She complies, only it backfires and makes her fall for him.

Kyung-joon decides to face the music with Da-ran’s family, but then hides in fear the second Mom appears outside the mandoo restaurant. “That ajumma is the scariest one!” He sneaks in posing as a customer and hides behind a fan.

Thinking himself cowardly, he puts the fan down and gears up to face them, only to see Dad wielding two sharp butcher blades and Mom tapping a rolling pin in her hand. He quickly hides again and makes his way to the door…

Where Mari appears and blocks his exit. They have a silent standoff while Mom and Dad greet her, and he begs her not to give him away. She lets him off the hook and has his mandoo packaged to-go.

They eat in the park and she scowls at another Kyung-joon-copying behavior, taking two radishes per mandoo (I hate that too!) and he gives her the excuse that he normally eats three.

She gets sand in her eye on their way out, and for a moment, while her vision is impaired, when Kyung-joon tells her she’ll be okay and tousles her bangs, she sees him… as the real Kyung-joon. When she blinks the ajusshi returns, and it leaves her puzzled more than ever.

Meanwhile, Yoon-jae’s mother tells Da-ran to clean her stuff out of the house because she’s selling it. Da-ran says that there’s someone who’s supposed to buy it back from Yoon-jae, but obviously Mom doesn’t care.

She looks around the house and worries, remembering how much Kyung-joon had wanted to protect his last remaining possession, and what lengths he went to, to keep it.

Se-young comes by to check in on Kyung-joon as a patient, and finds out from a nurse that Yoon-jae stopped by the hospital to visit this kid. She wonders why and starts digging around, and finds out the connection: they were in the same accident.

Da-ran gets a call to come home to meet a visitor, but Kyung-joon gets there first, to see Na Teacher (who he just calls Phys Ed, ha) making nice with the family. Dad delights in the prospect of having a son-in-law follow in his footsteps, and also squeals to find that his last name isn’t Seo (having long since come to hate the term Seo-suh-bang).

Kyung-joon sees Da-ran walk up, and stops her from going inside. His distraction tactic? An existential crisis about soul and body.

While she ponders his crisis, he sneaks in little questions about Phys Ed. Have they gotten close? She says no really quickly and without thought, and he smiles.

She doesn’t know how to solve his dilemma, but she knows one thing for sure: “You’re just Kyung-joon-ie.” She tells him that he’s young, so he shouldn’t be around adults who are drinking, and he can never smoke, and even though he has a license, the driving still worries her so.

He beams. Awww, that smile is freaking adorable.

Mari watches over Kyung-joon in the hospital, thinking over all the weird signs that Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon are so alike in every way. She wonders aloud, “In this world, is there such a thing as two people who feel the same?”

Uncle comes in to ask if she knows the relationship between the doctor and Kyung-joon, and then gives her yet another puzzling clue: that Yoon-jae bought Kyung-joon’s house.

She asks Choong-shik about it, and he says he doesn’t really understand all the changes that happened to Yoon-jae after the accident. Mari locks in on that—what accident? When? The clues are a-convergin’.

Da-ran and Kyung-joon get coffee, and he sits down first, squeamish at the sight of a barista’s bloody finger. She wonders how he read all those medical books then.

She looks over at him, noticing that his lean-back-hand-in-pocket posture is exactly the same way he sat in class every day. Aw, is she really starting to see him as Kyung-joon? She smiles at him.

But while she’s waiting for the coffee, a girl knocks into him with her drink, not even trying to pretend it wasn’t on purpose. She asks for his number. He takes out his phone and Da-ran grumbles that that kid is really easy, just as her phone rings.

Kyung-joon: “Are you just gonna watch?” HA. He reminds her that she’s supposed to protect him, so she goes running over with their coffee.

The girl asks if she’s the girlfriend, and Da-ran can only manage a “Well… um…” but it’s enough to make the girl go away. He scowls at her lackluster response to the question. He asks again if she’s going play along for his sake, and she says she’s still thinking it over.

He sighs that if Gil Teacher’s thoughts get long (gil-da-ran), her confusion just grows too. He illustrates with a piece of candy taken from a bowl.

“The bait is Kang Kyung-joon. Just bite. The only person in the entire world who knows the real me is Gil Da-ran. This isn’t happy fishing, where I’m trying to catch a lot of fish. It’s sad fishing, where there’s only one fish, and I’m hanging onto it. Gil Teacher, please bite.”

He pushes his metaphor candy across the table as bait. (There you are, Hong sisters trademark! Where have you beeeeeen?)

Meanwhile, Mari has hopped the fence into Kyung-joon’s yard, and discovered his bed inside the house. She fumes and starts attacking the glass. When that doesn’t work, she tosses a chair clean through the window. What’s a little B&E for a true-blue stalker, eh? She’s officially back to being creepy.

She hardly even registers the cut on her arm as she walks past the broken glass, and goes straight for the bedroom, kept exactly as Kyung-joon would. At the same time, Se-young visits Kyung-joon’s body and wonders about the accident that left one asleep and the other without his memories.

Back at the coffee shop, Da-ran guesses that in other people’s eyes, it’ll look like she’s getting back together with Yoon-jae. He says this in-between will never work: it’s either all or nothing, and she has to choose.

Da-ran: “Kyung-joon-ah, I really want to stay by your side and help you. But I don’t want to see Yoon-jae-sshi’s face. It took so much to clean up my feelings, but seeing you with that face… can I stop myself from being swayed? Will I be able to not feel that pull in my heart?”

His face falls as she says the words. He says she’s made her decision then, and agrees not to see each other ever again. He gets up to go. Why does this feel like a break up? A real one? It’s confusing in a really good way.

Her heart sinks as she watches him walk away, and she picks up the candy on the table with a sigh.

Kyung-joon comes home to find his window bashed in and Mari waiting for him. She gives him the third degree and then sticks out her bloody arm for him to treat. He turns away at the sight of blood.

Mari: “Are you afraid of blood too?” Eeep!

Da-ran arrives outside, apparently having changed her mind. I’m happy about that, but too panicked to register it right now.

Mari finally lets the missile fly: “You’re not a doctor, are you? Are you… Kyung-joon-ie?”

Her eyes fill with tears and he says nothing, frozen in shock. Da-ran comes in, of all things calling out, “Kyung-joon-ah!”

Oh NO. Looks of panic, three ways across. Mari asks if it’s true, and then grabs him in a hug, crying, “Kyung-joon-ah. Kyung-joon-ah!”

 
COMMENTS

She found out! I’m actually a little impressed that she sleuthed it all herself, and it seems fitting that the only one who could actually get to that conclusion on her own would be the nineteen-year old. Because body swap is not a logical adult answer to anything. Excited to see what changes her new knowledge will bring.

I actually much prefer the one-year-into-his-adult-body version of Kyung-joon, so the time skip works wonders for me. The previous setup had zero chance of working out—perhaps one reason why many of us, me included, felt emotionally detached from the show as a whole despite liking it (though there could be many other explanations). For me, one thing was clear before: Da-ran was in love with the shell, and almost never saw Kyung-joon or put him first. To the point that it made me question her heart (or lack of one).

But now it’s a new game. For one, Da-ran sees him now and her go-to is Kyung-joon, not Yoon-jae. And he’s come back as an even more confusing version of the manchild that he was—now he seems more mature, more caught up to the body, but also knows better how to play that angle. Because he’s only aged a year, technically, but he seems like he’s closed the gap more than Da-ran will let herself believe. Or is he just playing adult because he’s figured out how to act like one? It’s more of a mind-bender, but in a good way.

Now Da-ran’s number one concern isn’t Seo Yoon-jae. Giving her a year to get over him offscreen is pretty much a godsend, in that now she’s no longer a Seo-Yoon-jae-comes-first mindless robot. She’s finally putting herself first, and has spent the year passing the teaching exam and growing from her pain, like a normal person. Honestly didn’t know she had it in her.

This puts the Body/Soul conundrum in a MUCH more interesting place. Before, Kyung-joon found himself having to compete with his shell, and always losing, which is a given. But now there’s a more interesting conflict: he’s trapped in the body of the man she least wants to see. Like of all the human beings ever. And that’s how she should feel. That’s what we wanted for her—to wake the hell up and grow a spine. Only, now she has… and he’s still trapped in that guy’s body. Whoops.

It’s a million times better a problem than the first one, which was rather simplistic. Before, the body swap wasn’t that big a problem. Sure, it was inconvenient, but fundamentally, it didn’t have a huge conflict that drove it (a mistake, I think, in expecting the body swap itself to BE the conflict). But now, the romance is pitted against the body swap in a crucial way: Will Kyung-joon ever get the girl wearing the body of the man who broke her heart? And if he succeeds, how much of that will be her residual feelings for her last love? Why we didn’t just start here is killing me. I suppose it needs some setup, but I don’t know if we needed five episodes’ worth.

Being stuck in the body that got Da-ran’s heart-eyes was bad, but now his shell actively causes her pain. And his hurt at that unfixable problem (FINALLY) starts to get me in the heart. I hope it’s a conflict that we tease out more, since Kyung-joon thankfully kept his crush going strong while he was away. The soul-body jealousy has been good from the beginning, but with this new dimension, it’s got some serious potential.

And I’m so glad that of all things, Kyung-joon learned to hate being considered a kid. It didn’t bother him before, but now the way he reacts whenever Da-ran calls him a kid or a blood clot is perfect. He’s figured out how to get the entire world to see him as a grown man, but the one woman he wants to impress still sees him as a tiny baby. He spent the first five episodes just wanting to be a kid again, which I understand but care less about. But now he desperately wants to grow up to get the girl, which tugs at the heart in a new way. I hope this is where the central conflict will stay for a good long while.

 
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125 June 25, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 7

by javabeans

Feelings just got a shade realer, which in this great big muddy mess of an identity-swap, leads to confusion and blurry lines. It’s one thing to wonder what the heart wants; it’s another thing entirely to be unsure on who it wants that from. I’ll spare us the confusion and just say we all want Gong Yoo.

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EPISODE 7 RECAP

Mari figures out the soul swap and hugs Kyung-joon, and then passes out. Da-ran figures it’s the shock from the realization and her injury, since she’s sporting a gash on her arm from the broken window. Kyung-joon averts his eyes and steps out, still squeamish about blood. Some dead Mom trauma, I’m guessing?

Choong-shik’s calls to Mari go unanswered, so he heads out to find her and ends up at Yoon-jae’s house. Eyes wide at the broken glass, he asks noona what happened, looking worriedly at unconscious Mari. Da-ran tries to usher him home quickly saying that Mari was helping her clean when she accidentally broke the window.

Mari wakes up, bolting up in bed suddenly. It’s zero to sixty for this one, which I suppose suits her character. Mari asks after Kyung-joon and starts running through the house looking for him, which confuses Choong-shik who knows Kyung-joon to be lying comatose in the hospital.

Da-ran says Mari must’ve seen him in a dream or something, and as Choong-shik watches her running around calling Kyung-joon’s name, his face falls like somebody just ran over his puppy. Poor lovesick boy.

Then to make his night even better, in walks Kyung-joon, only in Choong-shik’s eyes this is the bastard who dumped his noona. He growls, “Doctor Seo!” and swings his fist… which doesn’t connect. Instead Choong-shik gapes in pain, then slowly sinks to the ground. Behind him is Mari, her let outstretched in her trademark crotch kick.

Mari rushes to hug Kyung-joon, but Da-ran claps a hand over her mouth and drags her away. Choong-shik refuses the doctor’s help, but Kyung-joon tells him sympathetically that he’s the only one who can understand how he feels: “Those women don’t know that pain.”

Da-ran walks her brother out, asking him not to tell their parents about her getting back together with the doctor. Choong-shik can’t understand her, but she tells him it’s okay if he doesn’t.

Mari wails at Kyung-joon, “Why didn’t you tell me?! Why did you pretend to be ajusshi?!” He pushes her away with a finger to the forehead and says he can’t look at her right now, thanks to his blood phobia, so Mari crouches behind a sofa to spare him the sight. Okay, that’s sweet.

Kyung-joon explains that Da-ran is the only one who knows about his condition, and that he’s waiting for the re-swap but thinks it may take a while. Mari vows to protect both Kyung-joons and promises to keep this secret.

Choong-shik comes home after teachers Na and Ae-kyung have gone, and his parents are over the moon about the gym teacher. Choong-shik thinks how that the dream of “Na suh-bang” (as future son-in-law) is going poof in the span of one night and sighs, “One night… stand?” Haha. You lovable dimwit.

Mari leaves for the night with promises to return tomorrow. Da-ran sighs that there’s no stopping her, and now Kyung-joon wonders why she came back after they decided not to see each other again. Da-ran tells him she’ll do as he asked and meet Yoon-jae’s mother; it’ll be hard to face him with Yoon-jae’s face, but she figures the grown-up thing to do is to deal with it anyway.

Kyung-joon thanks her, and promises to help ease Da-ran’s pain… by treating her badly. HA. The hilarious thing is that he’s totally serious, not just using it as an excuse to be rude; he promises to be mean and cold and make sure to stomp on those eye-hearts if she’s in danger of feeling anything for Yoon-jae again: “I’ll make sure your feelings aren’t swayed, that you’re not attracted—I’ll behave like a dog!” Bwahaha. He says completely sincerely, “You’re going out of your way to help me, so I should at least do that much for you.”

With that, he tells her to clean up. He might want to help her, but that would only confuse her feelings. He tells her good luck, then remembers that he shouldn’t say those nice words of encouragement: “It’s not easy having dog manners. I’d better go and study.”

Se-young hears from Aunt and Uncle that the doctor was the man who saved Kyung-joon in the accident. Se-young is surprised at the extra connection and wonders if Yoon-jae’s interest in the kid is just because he saved him.

Aunt and Uncle are worried that make demands for money, since the doctor alluded to Kyung-joon’s funds. They assume Yoon-jae had Kyung-joon investigated and fear that he’ll start making threats soon. Uncle wonders, “Should I meet him, or avoid him? Or act like I’m meeting him and then avoid him?”

Mari shows up at the house with suitcase in tow, making the very generous concession to use the second floor and leaving the first for him. Kyung-joon finger-pushes her away, asking her not to do this, but Mari the Bulldozer will not be deterred.

She’s having trouble adjusting to the whole Ajusshi Kyung-joon concept, though, and holds up a fan bearing Kyung-joon’s face, asking him to use that when talking to her. In all the fairy tales, even if the prince turns into a beast or a frog, if you keep loving him he ends up coming back to himself: “You’ll come back.”

She tiptoes up and surprises him with a kiss, looking at him expectantly. Then, disappointedly: “You’re supposed to come back with a kiss.”

Kyung-joon tells Mari firmly that she can’t stay here. Holding up Kyung-joon Face: “You sticking around here is tough on me…” Revealing Yoon-jae face: “…but you can’t stay here. This is Gil Da-ran’s.” He tells her Da-ran is going to be his shield, so she can go—and if Mari doesn’t heed his warning, he won’t respond to her ever again.

Mari concedes, but holds up Kyung-joon Face and chirps, “But this one’s mine!” She asks if he was lying when he said he liked Gil Teacher, but he says nope: He told Da-ran how he felt and got rejected. That cheers Mari up, and her reaction just rubs salt in that wound as she calls Da-ran a really good person for helping him and rejecting him. For really rejecting him. He really got rejected, right? Rejected.

At breakfast, Choong-shik tests the waters by asking his father what he’d do if “Seo suh-bang” came back. Immediately Mom and Dad tense up in suppressed wrath, and Dad asks, “What’s a Seo suh-bang?”

The parents deliberately mishear and twist the wordplay [bang = room] as Mom warns, “Da-ran, if you hear about a new room like that and start hanging around it, I’m going in with a mop to clean up that room. Got it?” Oh, Hong sisters, how I’ve missed your punning.

At school, Na Teacher thanks Ae-kyung for her help in yesterday’s successful meet-the-parents excursion and declares he’s going to throw the first pitch, aka finally make a move. Well it’s about time; the only thing fast about him is the pitch he just threw. That has the side effect of making him look cool to Ae-kyung, though, bringing her Na Teacher crush to step two. He asks her to be the umpire, so that his pitch can find its way into Da-ran’s heart.

Kyung-joon and Da-ran dress up pretty to meet Mom to tell her they’re back on. He needs to be free of her helicopter parenting in order to carry out his plans; he doesn’t clarify what those are, but just says that he didn’t come back to play doctor. Thank goodness for that.

Kyung-joon pours Da-ran warm tea to help calm her nerves, which makes Da-ran think back to the first time she met Mom in this restaurant. She’d been nervous and trembling, but Yoon-jae had taken her hand in his and smiled encouragingly. Da-ran remembers how his warm hands soothed her anxiety, and in response to her fond nostalgia Kyung-joon pours her tea right back into the pot and tells her to drink cold water instead. Dog manners to the rescue!

Mom is not pleased to see Da-ran back in her precious son’s life, but Kyung-joon explains that he pleaded with her to come back to him. Saying that he needs Da-ran, he asks Mom not to go chasing her away.

Mom orders rare steak, the sight of which has Kyung-joon looking away queasily. She insists that it’s something he used to enjoy, and if he wants to return to himself he should keep encountering the things he used to like. Kyung-joon agrees, saying that’s why he’s back with Da-ran.

Da-ran clocks Kyung-joon’s reaction to the bloody steak, and finally puts an end to the misery by covering the platter. Mom is horribly offended at her lack of manners, which Kyung-joon says was his instruction—that they should leave if Mom got pushy.

Mom can’t understand how her well-mannered baby turned so rude, and Da-ran tries to smooth things over by taking his hand in entreaty. Kyung-joon holds it up for Mom to see, though: “In the past I held her hand and asked her to bear it. Now, I’ll hold her hand and leave.” Yay! Funny how Kyung-joon is more of a grown-up with Mom than Yoon-jae was, though yes, it helps that he has no vested interest in keeping Mom happy.

Da-ran protests all the way out, annoyed that Kyung-joon ruined her intention to show Mom a more composed, refined image. She threatens to give him a little taste of his own dog manners and swings her bag to hit him. He whirls her around, back to wall, smoldering. My my, did it just get hot in here?

But it’s for show, since he sees Mom out of the corner of his eye. She turns around clutching her pearls, and Kyung-joon figures that Mom won’t barge into his home willy-nilly after witnessing their passionate clinch. He thanks Da-ran for playing along, and she’s all, Derrrrr. Playing?

Mari turns to a shaman for help, because of course she would. I love her and her absurdity. In a Moon/Sun parody featuring Jung Soo-yung (remember oddball Kang-ja in Fantasy Couple?), Mari writes down the names of the swapped souls and looks to Choong-shik when the shaman requires a young man to receive the bad energy. Choong-shik: “Isn’t that a bad thing?” Mari: “I’ll deduct all the remaining pizzas.” Of course she’d see that as a fair trade.

Choong-shik is sent to the corner to receive the bad energy, while the shaman asks for the link between the men. Lovers? Brothers? Friends? Mari says no… but they do like the same woman. That’ll do; the shaman declares, “Rivals.”

At home, Da-ran finds the fridge stocked with beer. It’s courtesy of Mom, supplying Yoon-jae’s favorite things of yore, and Kyung-joon assures her he hasn’t drunk any of them. He offers them to her, and as they sit outside drinking (beer for her, Vitamin Water for him), she hesitantly asks about his aversion to blood. Why study medicine?

He explains that he doesn’t necessarily want to be a doctor, but he wants to understand what’s happening to his comatose body; he may have to look after it for a long while. Da-ran asks if he was ever in a big accident with lots of blood, and he answers that his mother died that way. They were mugged one night after closing up Mom’s restaurant, and Mom was shot.

Feeling pity, Da-ran offers the only thing on hand: a strip of dried squid with a dab of hot sauce on the end. He declines, saying he doesn’t like spicy things, so she sucks off the hot sauce and offers it again. Ha. That’s so cute. And she’s a little tipsy, so I won’t hold it against her.

He asks where she found it, and realizes it’s old stuff from over a year ago. Da-ran spits out her mouthful and asks worriedly what to do. In dry doctor mode, Kyung-joon directs her to stick out her tongue and touch her nose, and it takes her a good while before she catches on that he’s pulling her leg.

Kyung-joon goes to the hospital the next day, dressed in his doctor’s gown and giving himself a pep talk about how he can see injured patients, no problem. He can’t, though, and gratefully heads off with a doctor friend to escape the sight.

The doctor takes him to the pediatric ward, where the kids latch onto the friendly doctor, to Kyung-joon’s chagrin, and he flinches when a little boy shows him the boo-boo on his arm. But seeing the small cut doesn’t make him feel sick, so he figures that little kids mean little injuries. This, he can handle.

Se-young finds him, and Kyung-joon tells her firmly that he’s back with Da-ran so she can back off now. Se-young says it’s like he turned into a different person after his accident, and he says sure, he almost died and it changed him. He turns to go, and she calls out, “Kang Kyung-joon.” Freeze. Uh-oh, is the cat out of the bag?

Se-young finishes her thought: “He’s the patient you were in an accident with, isn’t he?” Fakeout! She’s relieved at the confirmation, because his interest in the coma boy makes sense if it’s because he’d saved his life.

Kyung-joon retorts, “Are you complaining because I didn’t seek you out first? I’m telling you plainly, you’re wasting your time. The Seo Yoon-jae you dated is gone.”

Kyung-joon sends Da-ran a text while she’s at school, which makes her grumble because his words are “short,” aka impolite. The follow-up makes her smile it’s the aegyo version of the loooooong (gil-da-ran) way to say it, and Ae-kyung guesses from her reaction that she must be dating.

Mari catches up to Da-ran to give her a talisman, saying that as the link, Da-ran has to pray fervently with it for the spell to work. Does it also time-jump? Mari thanks Da-ran for helping Kyung-joon and promises to stay out of their hair; she’ll focus on sticking with Little Kyung-joon.

Having deducted his pizza debt, Choong-shik is ready to stop being pizza slave and start being love slave. (His words, not mine.) He strikes a manly pose and perks up when Mari comes running at him in all her slow-motion glory… then breezes right by him. Thud goes his heart, crashing down to his feet.

Aunt and Uncle sit down to eat at a local hotspot, wanting inspiration for recipes to try at their own restaurant. They bought an Italian place after selling Kyung-joon’s house and wonder why it’s not doing as well as they hoped. In comes Da-ran’s mom carrying plates of food, and the sight of her has Uncle literally slack-jawed in shock. Flashback, really? Groaaaan. Okay, it’s the Hong sisters, we could have guessed this was coming.

The blast to the past depicts Mom in school uniform and Uncle in army camo. He’d been besotted with her back then, too, while she’d seen him as a friendly oppa.

At the house, Mari and Kyung-joon wonder how to get a body swap going. Mari says that since the ajusshi saved his life and lent him his body, Kyung-joon can return the favor. So simple when you say it like that.

Mari asks Kyung-joon for a favor, since her grades came out and her homeroom teacher wants to call Dad for a consultation. That can only be bad news and Mari fears being dragged back to the States, so she asks Kyung-joon to pose as her uncle and take care of the teacher meeting.

And then, she has an even better/brighter/more horrifying idea: “If you’re my uncle, I can live upstairs!”

Da-ran comes in while Kyung-joon’s arguing with Mari, and sees his wallet with the picture of the cherubs—is this another talisman from Mari? Kyung-joon drags Mari back downstairs and tells her to go home and study. Mari: “I’m pretty, why should I study?” HA. Kyung-joon retorts, “I’m good-looking AND smart.”

Choong-shik mopes over Mari, then has a bright (for him) idea. He plies Mom with back massages and wheedles her to send him to study in the States, so he can follow Mari there.

Da-ran drops off groceries at the house, saying that stocking the fridge full of healthy food is one way to tone down Mom’s visits. Kyung-joon points out that she only bought ingredients, which means she’ll have to come by every day to cook for him. Da-ran considers.

Off to the supermarket they go, this time loading the cart with junk food. She urges him to eat decently, and Kyung-joon brags that he’s a good cook—she’ll have to come over to judge his skills for himself. He picks a chicken for his first menu and they pile more groceries into the cart like a cute newlywed couple, and Da-ran even shields his eyes from the red meat cases.

But wait, just around the corner is Mom, doing her own shopping. Thankfully Da-ran sees her first and Choong-shik diverts Mom’s attention, so Da-ran is able to step back and hurry Kyung-joon down the aisle, warning him of the danger.

He guesses that if she’s scrambling to hide this from her parents, she intends to just do her shield duty for him, no more. He points out that they’re bound to be together a lot, so perhaps it’s worth facing the parents: “If you want me to confront them here, I can take the beating.” Tear. Kid’s all growed up.

Da-ran is conflicted about the thought of entangling Kyung-joon even more in her affairs, and asks for him to stay out of it today.

Da-ran joins her family as they check out, and feels a pang when Mom points out the chicken they’ll have for dinner tonight. Thinking of Kyung-joon’s dinner, she excuses herself and searches the store for him, coming up empty. He’s waiting at the exit, though, to her relief, and they go home together.

Kyung-joon prepares his chicken for roasting, and they sit down to wait for the hour and a half it’ll take to cook. Da-ran muses, “It sure takes a long time for that little thing to cook [also grow].” Kyung-joon says, “If you have patience and wait for it to cook/grow, the day will come when it’s ready to eat.” Rawr. That’s one coy smile he’s shooting her way.

Na Teacher psychs himself up to throw the “pitch” to Da-ran, and tells Ae-kyung that he’s ready. While quaking in his boots and stuttering. Ready, piffle. I do enjoy the fact that the cowardly teacher is getting in tons of unintentional dating practice with Ae-kyung while preparing for his “real” dating, though of course he’s too dense to realize that.

Ae-kyung calls Da-ran out, now that Na Teacher is supposedly ready to pitch. (He’s trembling and praying in the background, ha.) Kyung-joon’s face falls when he realizes she’s heading out, but she promises to be right back in time for dinner.

He spends the time glaring at the oven clock, muttering that she’d better be back soon. He cheers up adorably when the door sounds, but it’s only Mari, here to pick up something she left.

At the cafe, the three teachers sit in awkward silence while Na Teacher tries to muster his courage. Ae-kyung excuses herself, accidentally taking Da-ran’s phone with ther. She turns right back to return it, but an incoming caller piques her interest—it’s “Big,” the mystery possible boyfriend.

Ae-kyung answers the call and recognizes Kyung-joon’s voice (as Yoon-jae’s). She decides that he should know what’s going on, and explains the whole “first pitch” idea in a convoluted baseball metaphor, saying that the man Da-ran’s with may hit a home run and she’s the umpire and it’s Yoon-jae’s job to see if the game should continue or not.

Kyung-joon isn’t following and starts to hang up, but Ae-kyung bursts out, “Da-ran hasn’t been able to forget Seo Yoon-jae!” Ouuuuch. Just stab me in the heart, why don’t you. She says that Da-ran has become giddy and excited with Yoon-jae’s return, and asks him to step in here.

Mari shows Kyung-joon the diamond ring she found in one of the rooms, and they realize it must have been something Yoon-jae bought for Da-ran.

Kyung-joon tells Mari to go home, turning down her requests to join him in chicken-eating. He makes her day by saying resignedly that if he comes back to his body, he’ll make it for her then. Aw, the smile that that brings to her face warms my cold heart.

Da-ran fidgets in her seat and decides she ought to head back home, telling Na Teacher that she has to get going and will talk to him some other time. That finally jolts him into speaking, and he bolts up (with a red rose sticking hilariously in the back of his waistband) to declare, “I like you. I have liked you for a long time. All this while, I have only stood by watching. Today, I have summoned my courage with difficulty.”

Da-ran gets over the initial shock to let him down gently, saying she has promised to be by somebody else’s side. Poor bunny. Na Teacher is on the verge of bursting into tears, but just then, Ae-kyung pops back to chirp, “Did he tell you? He likes me. We’ve decided to start dating.”

In his initial confession, pronouns are left out so that it could just as well have been, “I like her” as it is “I like you”—although, naturally, nobody would mistake his meaning in such a context. Except that’s what Da-ran assumes now, that she jumped the gun and embarrassed both of them. She apologizes and congratulates the happy couple, and Ae-kyung tells Na Teacher that she stepped in as umpire to stop the game.

Da-ran runs home while Kyung-joon contemplates the ring moodily and keeps one eye on the clock, ticking down the minutes.

With four minutes left, she calls to tell him she’s almost home. He tells her not to come—she should go home and buy herself a chicken instead. She doesn’t understand his change of heart, but he asks, “Is your heart fluttering as you’re running here? I said I’d make sure that didn’t happen, so I’ll just let the chicken go.”

He hangs up, and Da-ran wonders if that’s true.

At school, Choong-shik tells Mari that he miscalculated; he still has 30 pizzas left on his tab. Mari awards him for being honest by taking one off, but he balks—she can’t be so frivolous with the deductions! Mari agrees, with the exchange that he’ll butt out of Da-ran liking Yoon-jae.

Kyung-joon presents the ring to Se-young and tells her to try it on. Ah, so he was afraid of Yoon-jae being even more of a bastard about that ring. The ring is way too small, though, and Kyung-joon figures with some relief that it wasn’t meant for her.

Se-young wonders why he’s clinging so hard to Da-ran when he can’t even remember buying her a ring. Is he going to give it to her now? She muses that Da-ran will probably be touched, and regret letting him go.

Kyung-joon asks point-blank, “Just how far did you go with a man who bought another woman a wedding ring? Since I can’t remember.” She tells him he hesitated to marry, “But now I don’t know if that’s because you liked me, or just that you stopped liking her. Please come back to yourself and tell me.”

Mari finds Kyung-joon staring at the ring at home and says Da-ran would love knowing that Yoon-jae bought it for her: “She’ll want to marry him right away.”

Yoon-jae’s mother arrives at the mandoo restaurant, and lets the cat out of the bag. When Da-ran comes home that night, her parents are in Deep Disapproval mode.

Yoon-jae’s mother tells Kyung-joon about her visit, and guesses that this was a tactic to get her to step back from her meddling: “But stop that now. That family was in an uproar.”

Da-ran confirms that she and Yoon-jae are dating again, and asks for some time. But her parents point out the absurdity of “just dating” someone you’d almost married and set up house with. If they’re going to insist on dating, then marry. If not, Dad has no intention of seeing Yoon-jae ever again—or Da-ran.

Kyung-joon asks Da-ran to make the decision: keep seeing him, or never see him again? He counts down and asks for an answer, then pulls the ring out and puts it on her finger. It fits perfectly, and he tells her that Yoon-jae bought it for her.

Now it’s okay for her to let her feelings sway toward the doctor, he tells her, because while she’s wearing that ring, Kyung-joon won’t go to her. “I, Kang Kyung-joon, won’t ever love you.”

 
COMMENTS

What a great way to up the conflict, or twist that knife in our hearts a little more; same difference. It was a nice complication when Da-ran decided she didn’t want to subject herself to playing the girlfriend of the guy who broke her heart, but this takes it to the other side with Kyung-joon trying to protect his heart and feeling trapped by the very ruse they need to use to handle the mess in the first place.

His is similar to Da-ran’s conflict, but just that much more painful. While she wants to protect herself from reopening wounds and falling for Yoon-jae again, Kyung-joon’s got to shield himself from being loved for the wrong reason. It’s more bittersweet, because even if Da-ran fell for him in his current state, he’d never be able to know whom she really loved. Heck, she might not even be able to figure that out. It’s tempting to let yourself believe the illusion is real, but quite possibly a crueler blow than not being loved in the first place.

So he gives her the ring to soothe her heart, but deals himself a blow in the process. Because now that she has one more bit of evidence that Yoon-jae cared for her, she’s safe to go ahead and love that shell, who’d be her husband in name after the swap came to an end. And Kyung-joon would be cast adrift. (Granted, I’m not convinced that the ring is really such a strong statement of anything, though at least it wasn’t meant for Se-young. ‘Cause they’re already engaged and setting up house, so it’s not like she didn’t think he was planning to marry her. But we’ll roll with it.)

I’m really enjoying the side characters in the drama, which isn’t always the case in rom-coms like this where they’re played for comic effect or purely as plot manipulators. And granted, Mom and Se-young (or should we just call them Horribles No. 1 and 2) fall into that category. But I’m loving Choong-shik, the dummy with a heart of gold, who’s played by Baek Sung-hyun with this core of genuine heart that makes him seem less farcical than he could have been. And Mari, despite walking the line of crazy-creepy, totally amuses me with her bold sassiness. I’m waiting to hear more of her story with Kyung-joon, because I think there could be something poignant there, too.

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263 June 26, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 8

by girlfriday

There are twists and turns and major decisions, some of which I wish we didn’t decide so hastily. We also start to unravel Kyung-joon’s backstory and the mystery of Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon’s connection. The way that’s being teased (one excrutiatingly teensy drop at a time), I certainly hope it amounts to something worth waiting for, that subverts our expectations. Please?

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Kyung-joon proposes with Yoon-jae’s ring… and says that as long as she wears it, he will never love her. He tells her to take the bait – this time it’s Yoon-jae – and bite now if she doesn’t want to lose him.

At the same time, Choong-shik tells Mari about the marriage-or-nothing condition given by Dad, which is still ludicrous, given that their problem was that they rushed into marriage, so maybe dating is the better thing? But nobody listens to me. Mari runs off to stop it.

Da-ran looks down at the ring, more confused than ever. Did Yoon-jae want to marry her after all? She asks what’ll happen to Kyung-joon if they get married, and he says that it’s not real for him, and he doesn’t think it’s a bad solution to growing up and becoming an adult.

Is anyone else screaming MISTAAAAAKE? I’m torn, because I get that fake marriage means fake marriage hijinks, but I worry for Kyung-joon’s heart. Besides the fact that for Da-ran and Yoon-jae, it’s just plain ol’ crazy.

She contemplates the decision, but there’s little time for quiet reflection when Mari comes whirling in, declaring that this sham of a wedding cannot happen. Am I nodding my head along with Mari, of all people? To that end, she’ll just tell Da-ran’s parents the truth—the REAL truth. She takes off running.

Kyung-joon freaks out and runs after her, and then Da-ran chases him. Choong-shik arrives at the house just in time to see them each run out one after the other, and then he takes up the caboose.

Mari tells Mom and Dad that she’s got big news, but Kyung-joon gets there fast enough to cut in. They turn their attention to Seo-suh-bang, of course, demanding that he only appear when he’s ready to marry their daughter.

But when Da-ran arrives, everyone sees the ring, and they realize the proposal has been made. Kyung-joon quickly says that he did propose, but he’s awaiting Da-ran’s answer, so it’s not a done deal.

Kyung-joon drags Mari back to his house, and she warns him that if he goes through with the marriage, she’ll blow the lid for real next time. He argues that she’s just a kid and if an adult says she’s lying, that’ll be the end of it.

She counters that when a kid whines relentlessly, adults can never win. She reminds him of their parents—because of her, they didn’t marry after all, right? Kyung-joon: “And what happened to my mom because of that?” Ouch. He leaves her reeling.

Da-ran stays up that night, pondering the ring over a can of beer. She imagines what Awake Yoon-jae would say if he woke up a married man. Scenario 1: He smiles winningly, thanks her for her smart real estate choices, presents her with flowers as the family cheers and confetti comes from nowhere. Cute.

But then she realizes that it could easily go the other way. Scenario 2: He glowers, Se-young sidles up to him, and they present her with divorce papers as they smile. Da-ran shakes her head in confusion – which one is it?

Well I’d argue that even if he had every intention of marrying you, he’d want to, oh I dunno… choose to marry you, or remember walking you down the aisle? And that’s even in the best-case scenario, in my brain.

Mom sees her worrying over her decision, and tells her not to be swept along by Yoon-jae like she was before (THANK YOU, MOM). She asks Da-ran to follow her own heart this time—don’t think about what Yoon-jae feels, but ask yourself what YOU feel. With a mom like this, how did you turn out like that?

She’s left asking herself what her feelings for Yoon-jae are now. But her thoughts go to Kyung-joon, as she remembers him saying that he’d never ever love her.

Mari asks Choong-shik how much Gil Teacher loves Seo Yoon-jae. Choong-shik says that his sister would wait alllll day for a phone call from Yoon-jae, and was pretty pathetic, if that’s an indication of how much. That puts Mari at ease—she won’t have to worry about Teacher as competition then.

Choong-shik takes that opportunity to ask Mari: “How much do you like me?” He knows that she likes Kyung-joon, but they’ve accumulated affection, over pizzas and the like, right? So… if Kyung-joon is 100 points, how many does she like Choong-shik? Thirty? Twenty? He meekly adds that even ten is cool…

Mari ponders it. Choong-shik holds his breath. Mari: “Zero!” (bbang = zero, also the sound of shooting a gun).

She points a finger gun right to his heart, “Bbang, bbang, bbang!” Poor kitten. He ends up a lifeless carcass on the couch, still holding a hand to his broken heart.

Kyung-joon sits with his colleagues in the hospital cafeteria, (I’m still confused as to how this kid is playing doctor on a daily basis.) bored by the mundane conversation. He looks over at the next table and sighs heartbreakingly at three teenage boys laughing and horsing around.

This, I love—when he was eighteen, he just wanted to hurry and grow up quickly as we all do, but now that he’s experienced adulthood, he misses acting his own age. It’s why old people always say things like “youth is wasted on the young.”

He hides out in the pediatric ward again (I guess it’s a good thing Yoon-jae is actually a pediatrician) and despite his outward dislike for children, he’s already developed a cute rapport with them, calling them by their nicknames Bunny and Teddy Bear. Around them, he doesn’t pretend to be an adult.

Da-ran meets with Se-young to ask her how far her relationship with Yoon-jae went. Se-young scoffs and without flinching, says that they slept together. Da-ran calls her bluff, and Se-young wonders if she’s found some new confidence, because she had such an inferiority complex before.

Da-ran says this time around she does feel confident, and she’s going to go where her heart tells her to. She asks again about whether or not they were cheaty cheatersons, but Se-young refuses to give her the satisfaction of knowing, and lords it over her: “I’ll never tell you.” Well… did you really expect the Hateful One to be helpful?

She heads over to Kyung-joon’s and watches him as he waters the lawn. His smile sends her heart skipping a beat, and she puts her hand over her heart as she tries to suss it out. Is she wondering what I’m wondering? Is that heart jumping for the soul or the shell?

He makes it rain for her by spraying water over the patio umbrella, and then they take turns sitting in the rain. It devolves into a water fight, of course, as they run around the yard screaming and laughing and getting soaked.

Inside, they do damage control over the wet contents of Da-ran’s purse, and then she discovers that the ring is missing. You… weren’t wearing it? That’s telling.

They go outside to look for it on the lawn, but after a cursory look, she says they should forget about it—if it’s lost, it’s lost. He looks at her quizzically. That’s telling too. Did she WANT to lose it?

He asks her as much—is she happier now that it’s lost, and it does the deciding for her? She doesn’t argue the point, saying that things were clear before, and that ring just turned everything upside-down.

She’s happy to let the ring’s disappearance be the answer. But Kyung-joon calls her a coward for not facing the thing she’s really afraid of—sticking it out with Yoon-jae until she can be sure whether or not he loved her. He calls her out for being too scared to find out the truth.

She argues that she can’t just marry Yoon-jae one-sidedly – that’s not an adult thing to do. But Kyung-joon counters that the real adult thing would be to wait it out, get rejected, and THEN give up, not any time before. “Like I did.” Aw.

Da-ran says he’s right, and she’s not a grown-up, so he should stop leaning on her then. She storms out and he screams after her that he’s just going to marry whichever girl Yoon-jae’s mom shoves in his line of sight then, and she’ll have lost her chance.

They each sigh, angry and all turned around.

Mari asks Choong-shik about his sister, and he says that she still hasn’t made her decision. She gets up to leave, and he starts in on this really cool speech about setting up shop in her heart and waiting as long as it takes to earn that first point…

…which Mom interrupts by asking him to take out the trash that she found under his bed. Porn alarm! His eyes go wide and he races to sit on the evidence before Mari sees it, but the damage has been done.

He screams at Mom that he hates her, even though she’s pretty much the coolest mom ever—her complaint isn’t the porn, but the clutter. Ha. But later that night, Choong-shik gets dressed in all black and kidnaps his piggybank with a hand over its mouth. In case he squeals?

Should I even be asking why he’s dressed for Mission Impossible if he’s running away from home?

Meanwhile, Kyung-joon stays up late reading his textbooks, and scowls at the very important file for school that Da-ran left behind in her haste. He tells imaginary Da-ran that it’ll serve her right to get into a crapload of trouble with the vice principal.

Cut to: Kyung-joon with said file in front of the mandoo restaurant. Hee.

He peers in the window, and sees the whole family pacing in worry, after discovering that Choong-shik has run away. Da-ran hesitates with her phone, realizing that she could call Kyung-joon who could call Mari, whose calls Choong-shik would answer… but she stops short.

Suddenly, someone zooms past Kyung-joon into the restaurant. It’s Na Teacher, who races to the rescue to start the search for Choong-shik. Kyung-joon wonders why he was called, and then sighs that she should make it work with him then, and turns to go.

But Mom comes out and finds him there, impressed that he came running over because he was worried about Choong-shik. He’s like, yup, yup, totally why I’m here.

He gets brought in, and immediately the search for Choong-shik devolves into a suh-bang war. Dad’s on Team P.E., while Mom’s on Team Doctor, and Da-ran gets foisted on one after the other.

The two men eye each other up and down warily, each posturing that they’ll be the one to find Choong-shik first. Pfft. This is hilarious. Suddenly which team Da-ran goes with is a Big Decision.

Kyung-joon heads out first, calling Mari into action. (He adds for her to not take P.E.’s calls, heh.) Da-ran comes out with Na Teacher, and Kyung-joon refuses to share information since she’s on the other team. So petty.

But she tells Na Teacher that she’s going to join the other team after all, and comes back to Kyung-joon. So while Team P.E. goes the CSI route (epically, I might add), Team Doctor just sits back and waits for Mari to work her magic.

Da-ran asks how he can be so calm and do nothing, but he counters that all they have to do is wait for Mari’s call. She accuses him of not understanding since he’s never rebelled. He says she’s wrong, and Da-ran scoffs, “What, did you say you were going to Harvard instead of Seoul University?” Okay, that’s pretty funny.

But judging from his stoic reaction, she realizes that he really must’ve had quite the rebellious episode. Mari calls, her face twisting when she hears Da-ran’s voice answer Kyung-joon’s phone.

She purposely separates them, sending Da-ran to the train station and asking Kyung-joon to come to the jjimjilbang. That’s where Choong-shik is, of course, and Kyung-joon finds him right away.

Choong-shik swears he’s never going back home and he doesn’t care if he never sees Mom again. But Kyung-joon tells him his own story (couched as a second-hand Kyung-joon story, natch) – he rebelled once and then his mom died.

He had said the same thing, thinking he wouldn’t care if he never saw Mom again… and yet never once actually thought it would come true. Sweet little Choong-shik immediately asks, “Is my mom okay?”

Kyung-joon advises Choong-shik to rebel often and in little spurts, not to keep it in and let it blow up like this. That’s actually really good advice. He offers to help Choong-shik negotiate the terms of his return, if that’ll help him salvage some pride.

But they’re interrupted by Mari, who thinks it’ll be fun to spend the night there. Choong-shik lights up to realize she’s been looking for him.

Kyung-joon asks after Da-ran, thinking that she went to a jjimjilbang near the train station, but Mari corrects him—she sent her to the underground train station, where homeless people spend the night.

Both boys gape, you sent her where?

Da-ran wanders the train station, calling out Choong-shik’s name. Her fear grows, but she just keeps going, until drunk men surround her on either side. Someone grabs her and she lets out a scream… but it’s Kyung-joon.

He yells, “Are you crazy? How could you come to a place like this alone?!” Her voice shakes as she insists she’s fine and asks why he’s getting mad at her. Because he’s worried!

They linger for a moment, until Choong-shik runs up. Da-ran hits him, breaking down in tears, and Kyung-joon leaves them behind. Mari watches all this with a heavy heart, and Kyung-joon pointedly walks past her like she’s invisible, angry for her stunt.

Da-ran brings Choong-shik home, and Dad growls at him, while Mom just grabs him in a teary hug. Choong-shik just ekes out a “Mom” that kind of kills me.

Dad is surprised to hear that Seo-suh-bang found Choong-shik after all, and asks to see him. It’s not open arms, but it’s tacit approval. But I’m just wondering if anyone remembered to call Team P.E., or if he’s still out there sniffing leftover ramyun in the street.

Da-ran comes out to find Mari in tears, worried that Kyung-joon is mad at her again for lying. She confesses that Kyung-joon doesn’t like her because his mom died because of her.

Flashback to the night that Mari’s dad was planning to propose to Kyung-joon’s mom. She had hatched a plan to lie to Dad and play sick, to keep the proposal from happening. She told Kyung-joon to keep his mom from coming over.

But she tells Da-ran that the same night, his mom was shot and she died… which would never have happened if Mari hadn’t stopped her father.

Da-ran comes to see Kyung-joon, who’s thinking about that same night. Return to his side of the flashback, when Mom tells him that she has a date, but he tells her not to go—”If you do, I’ll never see you again.” Aw, so he really blames himself.

Mom agrees not to go, and then later that night, Mom and son leave the restaurant… and Mom gets shot in the alley, right in front of his eyes. Her blood splatters all over him and pours out from her wound as he stands there, shocked.

Back in the present he explains absently to Da-ran that he didn’t want Mom going to someone else. (So for Mari it was her love for Kyung-joon, but for Kyung-joon it was his dislike for the idea that Mom would remarry.)

He says that he threw a tantrum like a little baby, and then Mom died and he never saw her again. Da-ran just quietly puts her arms around him, “It’s not your fault. You were just being like Choong-shik. It wasn’t because of you.” I love everything about that moment.

The next day, Mom and Dad have lunch with Na Teacher to thank him for his help with Choong-shik, and Ae-kyung and even the vice principal tag along. It turns out that the VP is one of Dad’s old colleagues… which means she’s ALSO Mom’s high school teacher. HA. Okay, that’s not weird or anything.

At the same time, Kyung-joon’s uncle comes back hoping that Mom will recognize him, and wonders if it’s because of his mustache that she can’t. He watches with his finger over his lip, but his face falls as he watches Mom and Dad fawn over each other like the happy couple that they are.

Uncle and the VP lock eyes and then recognize each other. Flashback to Scandal High, where High Schooler Mom was flirting with Teacher Dad, while jealous onlookers VP and Uncle had seen each other for the first time. With adults so immature, who needs kids?

Choong-shik tells his buddies at school that he was going to stay away, but since Mari was searching for him so desperately, he returned. They point out that he can’t seem to put his butt down on a seat like he got spanked.

But Choong-shik corrects them—he allowed himself to be beaten by Mom to make her feel better. Hahaha.

Kyung-joon finds Mari crouching in front of his gate. She’s adorable when she thinks he’s mad at her. She says she brought him his favorite ice cream, but her face falls when she realizes it’s all melted now.

He takes it anyway and tells her it’s not her fault. “And Mom… that wasn’t your fault either.” I love the round robin of everyone clearing up everyone else’s guilt. She promises not to force everything to get her own way anymore, and he just drums his fingers on her head like he used to. She smiles.

Da-ran sits with Little Kyung-joon in the hospital, thinking again about his proposal. And then she meets with Se-young again (WHY?) to declare that she doesn’t care anymore about their past. So then… why are you calling her out to coffee if YOU DON’T CARE??

Anyway, she says that she’s going to be an adult and become a tree that doesn’t waver, so he can lean on her. That sounds like she’s talking about Kyung-joon, not Yoon-jae.

Se-young counters that to test her unwavering tree-ness, she’ll have to blow some wind her way every so often. Wind, my ass. You’re more like the opossum that won’t get your tail off the damn tree.

Da-ran slams her fist down and challenges her to try, because she’s going to be like the tree in the national anthem and be strong like she’s chained to the ground. To that end, she goes back to search for the lost ring.

Kyung-joon finds her and lets her fish around for a while before presenting her with the ring that he already found. He holds it out, and she stares at it for a while first. She finally admits that she still has feelings for Yoon-jae.

Kyung-joon: “I know that the person Gil Da-ran is looking at right now isn’t Kang Kyung-joon. I’m not going to be a little kid anymore, and block someone’s heart from going to the person they like.”

She in turns says, “I’ll help you grow up well, by your side. Kang Kyung-joon, marry me. I’ll raise you well.” That’s actually cute—she’s proposing to raise him. She takes the ring with a smile and then pets him on the head. Adorable.

He goes over the terms with her, deciding that if he’s still in this body by age twenty (legal adulthood), then they’ll split up and go their separate ways. She gives herself a little pep talk that the ring is like the tree’s chains, and vows to stand firm.

She goes to put it on, but Kyung-joon stops her. He knows it won’t be like Yoon-jae putting it on her finger, but offers to do it in his stead. He promises once again not to be nice to her, just in case she forgets who he is and jumps his bones. So Dog Manners get reinstated, to her great dismay.

And then they argue over a little cheer, but I’ll tell ya right now—you two don’t get to hoi-hoi over this.

Mari returns to her Moon/Sun shaman to exchange her first talisman for a new one—this time one that will ensure that no matter how stuck together two people are, that they won’t end up liking each other.

The shaman sends Choong-shik to the other room again, but this time Mari protests that he’s not pure. Because of the porn? Pwahaha. He swears that it’s his dad’s, and goes to serve his part. Mari tells the shaman that this time the talisman has to work.

Se-young meets with Yoon-jae’s mother to tell her that she still wants to be in contact, even if Yoon-jae gets married. Well that’s just weird. Anyway, she notices the Miracle book on her stand and asks about it.

Mom tells her that it’s an unpublished book. Yoon-jae’s father drew it himself when Yoon-jae was still a child, and it’s about one child saving another… so that child can save someone else.

Wedding prep gets under way, and they’re seriously rushing this thing. With a day left, Mari tries on her bridesmaid’s dress… which looks like a bridal gown took a detour in a shrinking machine.

Choong-shik goes googly-eyed but has enough sense to tell her that wearing a dress like that isn’t really kosher at a wedding. Wouldn’t that steal the bride’s thunder? She says that’s the point, duh. This is going to be one fantastic wreck of a ceremony, isn’t it?

Da-ran and Kyung-joon go over last-minute things the day before the wedding, and Da-ran illustrates a point with a can of beer and a vitamin water. She says that the day he becomes an adult, she’ll crack open a can of beer for him herself.

He makes a move to open it now, but she stops him, saying that this is the line they cannot cross. She’s beer, and he’s soft drinks, and they are to abide by that rule.

He agrees to it—the day he becomes an adult, he drinks that beer, and they part coolly, like adults. They drink to it.

The wedding happens… offscreen? Hm. And Dad adds a wedding photo to his rock collection lineup. We catch up with the newlyweds (still trying to wrap my head around that fact) as they drive away from the wedding to the airport.

Da-ran is ecstatic about her honeymoon trip to China… which she’s going on alone. Ha. She’s using the time off as an excuse to go on a vacation. Kyung-joon is in a foul mood about it the whole way, and he drops her off, disappointed that she never once thought to ask him to come along.

But after she’s gone, he looks down and notices her ticket and passport, sitting there on the seat. That smile on his face is priceless. He just leans back and waits, and then pretends to be far away when she calls in a panic.

He says he’ll try to hurry… and then waits till the plane is in the air before sauntering into the airport with a huge grin. “Oh no… am I too late?” Pffft.

He takes her to eat Chinese food instead, suggesting she practice her Chinese with the cook in the kitchen, which is the worst consolation prize ever. She sighs that they should just go home, but he suggests that they go on a trip anyway – not a vacation, but a honeymoon. Her jaw drops.

Yoon-jae’s mom calls his father, disappointed in his lack of presence, though she seems quite used to it by now. He tells her that something important came up—he found out that “that child’s” mother was shot and killed.

She gasps and asks what happened to the child then, and Dad says he’s looking for him right now…

Kyung-joon and Da-ran walk through the airport discussing honeymoon destinations, and she says she wants to go to China, to see the long gil-da-ran Great Wall. He smiles, “Okay, we’ll get Gil Da-ran on the gil-da-ran Great Wall then.”

She wonders belatedly how he happens to have his suitcase and passport handy. Heh.

She admits that she wanted to ask him to come with her earlier, but thought it would be weird to be on a honeymoon with him. He totally raises his eyebrows knowingly, “Why?”

She gets flustered trying to explain that what people go on honeymoons for is… well… And he laughs at her. Sometimes I do wonder who the adult is in this relationship.

She makes an excuse to run off and get cash, and wonders aloud why her heart’s all aflutter at the thought that he’s coming with her. She slaps her face to get it together and not let it show in front of Kyung-joon.

He looks at all the possible destinations and grins like a fool in anticipation. But suddenly a strange feeling comes over him, and he falters.

We get a vision of Little Kyung-joon in the hospital. His body jolts…

Da-ran comes running up, “Kyung-joon-ah…”

I’m holding my breath…

He comes to, and says, “I think I just went to my own body and came back. Congratulations, Gil Teacher. It looks like Seo Yoon-jae is coming back.”

 
COMMENTS

And… I don’t even know if that’s a good thing anymore. I know it has to happen eventually, but the thought of a switch-back makes me nervous, and Da-ran seems damn near terrified of facing Yoon-jae now. As well she should, since she off and married his body while he was asleep. I still think actual marriage was a big ass mistake, since she could find other less permanent ways to protect Kyung-joon without marrying Yoon-jae’s shell. I… just don’t understand her. I’ve tried so hard to, but every time I think I get close to liking her, she throws me for a loop. I spent the whole episode thinking that the only person who made any sense was Mari. And she’s crazy. I don’t know what that says about me, but I swear, crazy girl was the only one talking any sense today.

If Da-ran had married Yoon-jae in the beginning and then Kyung-joon got swapped in, we could have had the marriage hijinks without Da-ran choosing to marry a teenager now. I know it’s not real—she’s not marrying Kyung-joon to marry him, but it’s still in no way the only solution that could have come out of the situation. I know they tried to make it a backed-into-a-corner thing with the parents, but that’s just stretching my story logic a bit too far. Body swap makes perfect sense, but this marriage does not.

That’s not to say that I don’t like the relationship, because everything about her choice to stick by Kyung-joon’s side and help him grow up is what I do really love about her. (Though in my estimation, it took us way too long to get there with the character.) I love that she’s choosing to be his tree, and that her intentions are (I think) finally in the right place. But the idea that they HAD to get married to preserve that makes me roll my eyes. Because that makes the kind of sense that doesn’t.

What I do like is that in the course of the episode, Da-ran goes from asking herself what Yoon-jae’s feelings are, to figuring out what HER feelings are. And then the conclusion isn’t actually about Yoon-jae at all, but about Kyung-joon and the fact that she wants to take responsibility for him, in the adult-to-child way. I’m with her when she decides to be his tree and not waver, so he can lean on her and grow up. That gets me in the heart. I just wish that they had come up with a method that didn’t involve a sham wedding. ‘Cause even a sham engagement is something I would’ve been onboard with, but sealing the deal?

I’m beginning to realize why I wasn’t invited to the Mistake Parade that was their wedding. Because at the “speak now or forever hold your peace” part, I would’ve been Head Nerd in a classroom, hand in the air going, “Oooh, ooh ooh ooh, pick me! Pick me! Me! Over here! Yoo-hoo! Ooh ooh! Me! Not wanting to hold my peace! Er, whatever that means!” *arm cramp*

 
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142 July 2, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 9

by javabeans

Hurrah for major—or should we say, big—reveals, which throw a twist into the story. There are two significant developments in this episode, one of which we were waiting for as our main couple finally get onto something resembling the same page, and the other which frankly comes as a shocker. That excites me.

SONG OF THE DAY

Hee Young – “Are You Still Waiting?” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 9 RECAP

Kyung-joon has an out-of-body moment when his soul decides to take a brief trip home, and that gives them hope that perhaps the other body also experienced something. So the newlyweds ditch the honeymoon to hurry to the hospital, where they’re let down to see that Little Kyung-joon’s still firmly in a coma.

However, he had been discovered slumped on the ground and was taken for more tests. Se-young says there’s no change in his condition, but Kyung-joon finds a flicker of hope in the fact that Little Kyung-joon’s body moved.

Aunt and Uncle are also called, and wonder why that particular doctor has so much interest in Kyung-joon. Aunt’s mind always jumps to the mercenary reason first, and figures it’s about all the money he’s going to demand because of the accident.

Da-ran figures that at least Kyung-joon had his soul-blip moment before they went on the honeymoon: “What if I’d gone on the trip with you and gotten all nervous and excited?” Whoops, that’s a little more honesty than her conscious mind is ready to deal with, and she overcompensates with the backpedaling, which hurts Kyung-joon’s feelings, till they’re in a heated round of bickering.

Da-ran clarifies that it’s just because he looks like Yoon-jae, and Kyung-joon retorts that she must be sooooo disappointed he swapped back right away, and she says she must’ve been crazy to want to go on a honeymoon together.

They decide to go on their separate vacations after all and snipe at each other, “Have a nice trip!” “Don’t you dare call, I won’t answer!” Aw, don’t leave all angry! Don’t you know it’s Opposite Day and you really mean the antithesis of what you just said?

Mari packs her bags and sadly addresses her phone picture of Kyung-joon (photoshopped to look like he married her, of course) and says that although he’s married Da-ran in body, she’ll consider herself married to him in spirit.

Na Teacher takes Ae-kyung out for drinks after the wedding, calling today the last of their fake-dating excursions and thanking her for playing along. He’ll take care of all the rumors; this round’s on him. This does not make Ae-kyung happy; she’s gotten a little too cozy with the girlfriend act and doesn’t feel like saying goodbye. She orders soju. This can’t end well.

Da-ran has four days to kill, so she heads to a jjimjilbang for the saddest solo honeymoon ever. I mean, already “solo honeymoon” rates pretty high on the pathetic scale, but holing up in a jjimjilbang (and ordering Chinese drinks as a consolation for not, you know, going to China) kind of takes the cake.

Except… the Gil family has also decided to take a family outing to the sauna. This will also not end well, will it?

Kyung-joon arrives at the house and finds a talisman posted inside the refrigerator. It’s full-on horror-movie mode with eerie music, darkly lit set, and the shadows moving unseen behind him. Mari’s voice calls out his name, and he looks up to see… Mari hovering above him, wearing a white dress with her black hair down, looking like the classic ghost. Scream.

Cut to: Lights on, back to normal. Mari’s happy he didn’t go on the trip and credits her talisman for working its mojo. He crankily tells her to go back to that other country, and she’s all, can we consider the second floor another country? I suppose this makes sense to the girl with no understanding of boundaries.

Kyung-joon heads upstairs to see that Mari has put her stamp all over the bedroom. It’s ♥ Mari ♥ Kyung-joon ♥ everywhere, with collages and photos and posters and silkscreened pillows. All the stuff of teenage stalkers with one-track minds; we should really just be glad Mari doesn’t have a criminal bent, ’cause she’d be really good at it.

She clarifies that it’s not that she set this up for herself; it’s a physical reminder that he is not Da-ran’s husband in real life, and that if he ever feels confused, he should come into this room to remember the truth. And if she happens to live here too, well, that’ll be a big help. To him, she means. It’s all for his benefit!

He escorts her out, giving her a firm Aw, hell no.

Choong-shik calls his sister to check that she’s having fun on her trip to China, and Da-ran replies with half-truthy answers: It’s hot and crowded here, and she’s eating (Peking duck) eggs. Choong-shik catches sight of her across the room, however, and gets suspicious—she wouldn’t be lying about the trip, would she? There’s this girl who looks a lot like her in this jjimjilbang…

Da-ran realizes she’s in trouble and darts away, and Choong-shik chases her yelling, “Hey, lady with the eggs! Let me see your face!” He chases her right into the ladies’ locker room, which (1) gets him kicked out amid screams, and (2) makes his mother scold, “First the porn, and now this?!” Haha. Poor little bro.

Kyung-joon looks through Da-ran’s guide books and pulls out a large poster of the Great Wall, and starts doodling on it. He hums to himself about how it would’ve been fun to go together, then draws stick figures of them holding hands. So cute.

But then he remembers that the one to make Da-ran smile is Yoon-jae, not himself. Now his stick figure gets angry eyes and steam lines (depicting a fuming head), and he wonders, “Why isn’t she coming home?”

Kyung-joon heads outside to wait, then wanders along the street… just as the Gil family car drives by. Oops.

Kyung-joon tells the family that he got a last-minute case at the hospital, and that he sent Da-ran on the trip alone. This inadvertently makes him sound like the hero and Da-ran the selfish one, which, by the way, he is not above exploiting for sympathy points. Choong-shik grumps that noona has no loyalty, and Kyung-joon assures the family that he sent her, so she did nothing wrong. Brownie points up the wazoo.

Kyung-joon then calls Da-ran to tell her she can leave the jjimjilbang now and go to the house. She asks if he got in trouble with her family, and to squeeze even more sympathy out of the deal, he says yes. Then scampers off to eat the special dinner Mom makes him.

There’s a spicy seafood stew on the table, and Dad takes a sip and calls it refreshing. It’s one of those common sayings in Korean that is sorta counterintuitive, and Kyung-joon points it out now: How strange to call something hot and spicy “refreshing” when its characteristics are more likely to bring pain, and therefore Dad’s enjoyment of such a dish makes him a masochist, and Mom’s preparing of such a dish makes her a sadist. Choong-shik chimes in, “It’s a perverted dinner table!” Ha.

The parents ask him not to hold this trip against Da-ran since she can be a little dense, and Kyung-joon asks, “Why are you insulting your own daughter?” Haha. Just when you think he’s jumped the last hurdle, he finds a new one, dusts it off, and sets it up in front of himself. And who’re you calling the masochist?

Kyung-joon says that if they’re acting like this out of consideration for Yoon-jae, they really needn’t, since he’s not such a great guy and after buying the house he’s out of cash and he doesn’t make much money and all he does is play with kids at the hospital. Mind you, he’s also speaking of Yoon-jae in the third person, which makes him sound even stranger.

The whole point of the fish stew conversation is to point out that Kyung-joon still has kiddie taste buds, so when Mom offers to make something else, he asks for fried egg with ketchup. So does Choong-shik, fist-bump. Aw, they’re choding brothers.

Yoon-jae’s mother decides to go back to America sooner than expected, which probably has to do with that “child” she and her husband have located, sorta. Se-young tells her Yoon-jae skipped out on his honeymoon, and Mom scoffs at how silly that is—who on earth could be so important a patient to prompt him to do that? Except then she recognizes the name with shock, and confirms the other details: Yoon-jae was in an accident with him, he’s in high school, and his parents are gone.

Mom confirms that Kyung-joon is the name of Kang Hee-soo’s child. Mom doesn’t want to find Kang-joon but Dad’s reaction is the opposite, which gives me an abandoned-love-child vibe from the scenario. So… Kyung-joon and Yoon-jae may be brothers after all?

Mom looks at the Miracle book and wonders if Yoon-jae managed to find the child after all.

Da-ran and Kyung-joon chat on the phone that night as he looks around her old room, where he’ll be sleeping tonight. It’s cute and homey, the way they fill each other in on their days like a real married couple, like how her father gave him his prized herb liquor and how she’s about to eat ramyun. He tells her not to eat it, couching it as That’s mine, don’t touch! although it’s really more like, Don’t eat that junk. Which is the cutest switcheroo ever, considering how she used to be the one trying to get him to eat right. She has no food in the house, but he tells her to sit tight; he’s on his way.

Kyung-joon runs from one house to the other, skipping along with a huge grin on his face while she waits for him at the front gate. When he arrives, he puts his blasé attitude in place and hands her a bag: “I’m just gonna throw it out—or you wanna eat it?”

She digs in to the chicken stew her mother made for him, and pours herself a cup of Dad’s 20-year-old liquor: “Hey, this liquor is your hyung.” Haha.

Kyung-joon says Dad gave him the bottle “to give him particular strength,” which cracks me up because the herb’s root is known for its health- and vitality-boosting properties, and when you give that to the man who just married your daughter, it’s basically a greenlight to go forth and populate the earth. Keke.

Kyung-joon seals up the bottle, which he calls Hyungnim, and tells him this isn’t the time/place for his powers. ‘Cause if Da-ran throws herself at him with all that excess vitality, “I don’t think I could refuse.” Rawr.

As expected, Ae-kyung gets drunk and Teacher Na ends up piggybacking her home. She slurs out that they’ve gotten along so well all this while, so can’t they keep getting along well? She demands a reply, but he’s got her bridal bouquet (won in the toss) in his teeth and can’t answer, which makes her think it’s a rejection. She storms off angrily and pitches her bouquet at him, calling a strike-out.

Kyung-joon asks Da-ran to come for him tomorrow, saying that she got back early from China, and she agrees to come by in the morning. She gives him the go-ahead to read her books or listen to her music, so when he gets back to her room, he starts looking around and comes upon her Yoon-jae box: all the photos and mementoes she’d packed away after breaking it off a year ago. He addresses a photo, “Ajusshi, come back soon. Before I don’t want to leave.” Too late for that, I’m pretty sure.

Yoon-jae’s mother visits Little Kyung-joon in the hospital, her emotions rattling her as she tells him, “I didn’t even look at you when you were born. I’m seeing you for the first time now. Kyung-joon-ah.”

Mari’s thrilled that her talisman worked (to keep the newlyweds apart), and tells Choong-shik—her evil-absorbing virgin—that she’ll deduct another pizza. He balks, of course.

Kyung-joon hears from a nurse that a well-dressed middle-aged woman dropped by last night, and wonders who it could be. Mari bursts in, and he asks her to direct him to his uncle’s new restaurant, which is a direct rip-off of his mother’s—which was named Miracle—although uncle’s lacks the reputation, good food, or clientele.

They’re here so that Mari can demand Kyung-joon’s belongings returned, but Aunt and Uncle duck for cover, assuming that the doctor is sizing up their worth so he can milk ’em dry. Kyung-joon gets Uncle to show himself by baiting him with the name of a chef—the Russian cook at his mother’s restaurant. If Uncle hands over Kyung-joon’s things to Mari’s keeping, he’ll get Chef Sergei’s phone number. One musty-smelling bag of Kyung-joon’s belongings, coming right up!

Turns out Kyung-joon’s a softy after all since he gave the number on purpose, hating to see Mom’s inheritance go up in flames for nothing. Hilariously, now Aunt and Uncle have to revise their opinion on the doctor, and wonder if he could have been sent to secretly help them. “Should I ignore him? Should I be friendly? Should I be friendly while ignoring him?” Ha. So while the Aunt and Uncle tend to be silly characters I care nothing about, I do enjoy their constant befuddlement as they scheme their way in circles and never get anywhere.

Kyung-joon is summoned for a talk with Yoon-jae’s mother, who tries to suss out how much he knows about that kid in the hospital and how far their acquaintance goes.

She seems relieved that he doesn’t seem to know anything about the big secret, but she tells him that prior to his amnesia, he’d been looking for somebody. She admits that she didn’t want him to meet that person, and if he were to meet him by chance, she’d like him not to get to know him. Kyung-joon just says, “I’m not interested in the past.”

Uncle returns to the mandoo restaurant to moon over Da-ran’s mother, and finds that VP Kim has also returned, to moon over Dad. They comfort each other (but mostly themselves) by saying that it’s a good thing the married couple can’t recognize them, ’cause they sure would regret letting go of such a younger hottie (Uncle) and/or an understanding hoobae (VP Kim). Sour grapes are sour.

At Mari’s request, Choong-shik shows her where Kyung-joon spent the night in Da-ran’s room, which is still home to his porn collection, as she notes. He’s all, “No, this is my sister’s!” which is one step below on the believability ladder than his last scapegoat, Dad. Haha. Mari sees the Yoon-jae box and perks up at this evidence of Da-ran’s love of her fiancé, and decides to return the box as a reminder.

Da-ran makes her fake-return from her honeymoon, and Mari gives her the box and wedding album, telling her to keep it nearby so she doesn’t get confused. Kyung-joon greets her with adorable enthusiasm, until he clocks those items and then deflates. He storms off to his room, barking at her to clear out all of Yoon-jae’s things because there’s no room for his stuff here. Aw. Symbolic statement is sad.

Kyung-joon smooshes all of Yoon-jae’s clothes into a suitcase and dumps it in Da-ran’s room, sending her memento box falling. Da-ran blames him for breaking her Walkman—Yoon-jae recorded things for her to help her study—and this sparks another argument-that’s-not-really-about-the-thing-they’re-arguing-about.

They toss sarcastic comments at each other and she accuses him of “confusing” her, which in a normal circumstance might make him perk up at the underlying meaning—that she’s starting to confuse her feelings for Yoon-jae with her feelings for him. But he’s too angry and he retorts that they should just live their separate lives.

She points out that he had a good time with her family, but he returns, “I have to keep my distance so that stuff doesn’t confuse me. I’m not the one who’s part of that family!” Oooof. And suddenly, this is no longer about romance, but family.

Kyung-joon retreats to his room and puts up his wall, literally, whiting out the glass between them. Da-ran notices the framed photo of Kyung-joon and his mother.

In the morning, he’s still peevish despite her attempts at making peace with breakfast and smoothies. Aw, and she even knows his favorite egg-ketchup dish.

But Kyung-joon is gone, having headed to his office at the hospital. Apparently his medical brain is smart enough to have saved a doctor buddy with seminar research, who gives him tickets to a show.

Choong-shik also has tickets for Mari, asking if she wants to see a movie. Mari happily accepts… and takes both tickets. Poor Choong-shik.

Kyung-joon takes his usual spot in the kiddie room at the hospital, and watches as a girl tries to get a boy to play with her and “eat” her plate of plastic vegetables. The boy refuses to play, and Kyung-joon tsk-tsks, telling the kid to just go with it. Then he gets a phone call from Da-ran asking him to buy bread so she can cook for him and he barks, “No, I won’t eat it!” and the kid tsk-tsks right back at him. Haha.

Pint-sized message received. So Kyung-joon gets up to go grocery shopping, and the boy shoots him a smug, knowing look. He arrives home to find all of his old clothes washed and hanging out to dry. The photo of his mother is now in his room and Da-ran has organized his shelves. He loves it, of course, though he feigns the attitude of “Why’d you touch my stuff?”

Today’s Da-ran’s last day off work, which gives Kyung-joon an idea. He tells her he’s going to “throw away” something underneath the bread, so be sure to check under it. What, you can’t just give a gift like a normal person?

With that, he puts the ticket under the bag and tells himself, “Well, I’m just throwing it away, so I can’t help it if she follows me there.” At least she shares his logic; she finds it and figures that she can’t just let this discarded ticket go to waste.

While Da-ran gets ready, Kyung-joon takes the broken Walkman to get fixed. She leaves the house just as Mari arrives, and explains that she’s on her way to meet Kyung-joon.

Mari offers her movie tickets in an exchange, pointing out that she has no need to act the couple for this show… unless she wants to go with Kyung-joon. It’s a question that backs Da-ran into a corner, since she’s not ready to admit she does want to go, and reluctantly she gives the ticket to a happy Mari, saying he’d probably have more fun with her.

Se-young drops by the hotel to see Yoon-jae’s mother on her last night in Korea, and overhears her end of the phone conversation as Mom tells her husband, “That child isn’t my son! My only child is Yoon-jae. That child was only born to save our Yoon-jae! I do not know that child, Kang Kyung-joon.”

Whoa. So this isn’t a straight-up love-child story, but a full-on My Sister’s Keeper? To make things worse, this crucial bit of information just had to fall into Se-young’s lap, of all people.

Kyung-joon waits at the concert hall lobby with the fixed Walkman, not exactly thrilled when it’s Mari who shows up and says she swapped her movie tickets for Da-ran’s. He doesn’t care to see the show after all, saying that it was his way of making amends after breaking her recorder.

Mari asks him not to make amends with Da-ran at all, but he answers that he can’t keep behaving at a child’s level, and his response makes Mari wonder if he’s still in love with Teacher.

Da-ran heads to the movie theater, feeling glum. And then out of nowhere, Kyung-joon joins her and asks, “Are you happy I came? Unhappy? Should I leave?” She stops him, and he offers to stay after all, then returns her recorder. Putting one earbud into her ear and taking the other for himself, he teases that the lecture notes sure are exciting, and they stand there listening to the boring voice and grinning big goofy smiles at each other.

Da-ran starts to feel the pull of the moment, though he remains oblivious. She looks at him intently, starting to make sense of her reaction as she leans ever so slightly closer to him.

“Kyung-joon-ah, I feel strange. Why am I so happy that you came?”

 
COMMENTS

Yay, Da-ran finally clues into her attraction! I don’t actually blame her for taking this long, because of the very blurry line of Kyung-joon looking like that other guy, but it’s what I’ve been waiting for. Plus, it’s important that it comes at a point where it’s fairly clear that her reaction is for Kyung-joon only, not for the shell.

And also: Holy crap, Kyung-joon is a donor baby? A baby born out of cold calculation, to be raised purely for whatever use he could provide the “true” child? That’s all kinds of fucked up, lady, and pretty much confirms that Yoon-jae’s mother is not only Horrible No. 1, but maybe also 2 and 3. Se-young will have to settle for being No. 4. (Unless she actually uses her knowledge for good instead of evil, in which case I will have to reconsider, but let’s face it I’m not holding out a whole lot of hope for her.)

To clarify: Yoon-jae’s mother doesn’t specify Kyung-joon’s exact purpose for being conceived, and since he seems to be a healthy and whole young man (well, coma aside), and possesses all his parts, at least we’re not dealing with an Island-esque scenario of sci-fi grotesquery. So I’ll try to hold back on the dramatics—at least till we get the particulars of the situation. Mom doesn’t specify who did the birthing, necessarily, but it seems probably that she did—if only for the fact that a genetic sibling has a much higher probability for helping a sickly child than, say, a cousin or a half-sibling.

This also explains why Mom wouldn’t look at him when he was born, and has steadfastly resisted seeking him out over the years. All series long, Mom has called him “that child” instead of “my child” or by his name, so she’s maintaining a conscious distance from Kyung-joon. I get Miss Ripley vibes from her; pretending the child doesn’t exist just makes life a lot easier.

This turn may be a bit dramatic, but it’s a heckuva lot more interesting than secret love-child or abandoned orphan, so I’ve just gotten a lot more interested in where this is heading. Granted, the Mom storyline is always my least favorite in this kind of drama (and these writers have often pulled out the secret identity card in many of their projects), but where it has me invested is what it means for all our characters. And amazingly enough, it has also made Yoon-jae a smidge more interesting by association, because him being the recipient of Kyung-joon’s unknowing sacrifice, dealing with a combination of guilt and gratitude? Well, that gives him a lot more dimension.

All of this is compounded by the fact that Kyung-joon has now lost his mother, and is all adrift in the world. I fear for the blow he’ll feel (1) If Horrible No. 1 is his bio-mom, (2) to realize she gave him up without a second thought, and (3) to lose out to Big Bro Yoon-jae twice now, after Da-ran and now Mom. Ouch. I don’t know if I can take seeing him fall apart like that.

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272 July 3, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 10

by girlfriday

Now that Da-ran is cluing into her feelings, we get some great stuff – the right kind of angst, a flurry of confused feelings, and a lot of crossed wires between two people who swore not to love each other. Oops. This is why you should always leave a loophole in your fake contract marriages, people!

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

While Kyung-joon listens to the Walkman outside the theater, Da-ran stares up at him, surprised by her own reaction to his arrival. She starts, “I feel strange…” and Kyung-joon clicks the tape to stop.

She continues, “Why am I so happy you came?” He totally hears her, but pretends not to and asks what she said. She gets so flustered that she runs back and forth blathering on about buying snacks, and he just watches her curiously.

He spends the entire movie staring at her, and finally asks in the middle of the theater, “Gil Teacher, do you like me?” Eeek! Her eyes grow wide, but his question is cued to a screaming moment in the horror movie (awesome) and she averts her gaze awkwardly.

As they walk out of the theater, she finally answers, “So you heard that…” she attempts an explanation about not wanting to watch a horror movie alone, hence the happiness at his arrival.

He asks why with the moony eyes then. She says she makes those eyes whenever she’s thirsty. She demonstrates to hilarious effect, “Ah… so thirsty.” Kyung-joon: “Are you sure what you were thirsty for isn’t this?” He points to his face.

She finally admits she’s been confused lately, and she doesn’t know why, but she was really happy he came. He takes it in but also notes Yoon-jae’s ring on her finger, and sighs.

He tells her that he promised he wouldn’t go to her so he’ll keep his end of the deal, but if she comes to him, he doesn’t have the confidence to stop her. “So stop being so clingy.” Her jaw drops, “Clingy?”

Just then, a couple with a super clingy boyfriend walks past her and she screws up her face in embarrassment. She imagines the clingy version of her confession, complete with Star Wars opening crawl to define the word he used to call her clingy (the sound of chugging a drink but also used to describe the needy clucking of a significant other).

Meanwhile, Choong-shik finds Mari in a sour mood at the hospital. She asks if a person goes to see a movie they don’t even like just for another person, that means they like them, right?

Choong-shik says that if she had gone to the movies with him, he’d have guessed she liked him 80 points. That crushes her as she wonders, “If it’s eighty, then there’s only twenty left…” For you? Aw, sweetie. Not how it works. She leaves Choong-shik wondering if she has a new crush.

Se-young walks away reeling after conveniently overhearing Yoon-jae’s mother talk about Kyung-joon. She wonders if he could be a second son that she abandoned.

She braces herself and goes to meet her, where Mom asks her for regular updates on Kyung-joon’s condition. While Mom steps away, Se-young eyes a hairbrush with determination. Aw, yeah. You might be evil, but right now your nosiness is serving the plot quite well.

Kyung-joon takes Da-ran to his uncle’s restaurant to eat dinner, and takes every opportunity to use his clingy word kkul-geuk to describe the sound of swallowing stuff, like “glug glug.” She scowls.

He asks if she knows anything about a person Yoon-jae was looking for, someone Mom didn’t want him to meet. She doesn’t, and he guesses it must have been a clingy ex. She chokes at that.

Uncle comes by the table and starts to wonder at all the coincidences—the Doc sure knows a lot about Kyung-joon. Could he… maybe be… someone sent by Kyung-joon’s father?

That’s an unexpected twist for Kyung-joon, and he asks what Uncle knows about Dad. And in case we weren’t suspecting it, we get a shot of Yoon-jae’s father, who takes out a hidden picture of Kyung-joon’s mom Hee-soo.

Uncle says he only saw the man once, right when Kyung-joon was born. All he knew was that Hee-soo called him “Teacher.” (Which is a title for all sorts of things, not just teachers – for instance, doctors.)

Da-ran asks Kyung-joon if he knows anything about his father or wants to go find him, but he balks at that, since to the rest of the world, Kang Kyung-joon is lying in a coma.

Se-young checks in on Kyung-joon and wonders if he’s really Yoon-jae’s little brother, as she suspects. She takes a hair sample from him as well and asks her friend for a DNA test between Mom and Little Bro. Is it weird that I’m cheering her on? I might need a shower after this.

So then more dot-connecting: On the way home, Kyung-joon shows Da-ran the cherub picture in his wallet. Mom told him that Dad drew it himself.

Da-ran gets this niggling feeling that she’s seen this picture before, but Kyung-joon dismisses that as impossible, since only one exists in the world. What, did he go around drawing one for each son he left behind? If only that weren’t true.

She puts the wallet back in his hand and holds his hand in hers for a moment, saying sincerely that if he ever changes his mind about wanting to find Dad, she’ll help in whatever way she can. He teases her about the handholding, and she pounds her head into the window as he laughs.

He asks if there isn’t something she wants to do on her last night of freedom before work, and she drags him to a gift shop to find stuff that’s made in China to give to her coworkers. Kyung-joon finds little white bears and figures if they color them in, they’ll be little pandas. Score.

But they argue on the proper parts to color, and it devolves into a competition. They gear up at home with a basket full of bears and a pair of permanent markers, and get to pandafying the teddy bears. The winner gets to live like a panda – do nothing but eat and sleep.

It actually is sort of confusing when you think about which parts are black, and Da-ran gets tripped up, while Kyung-joon is confident and refuses to share.

Time for the unveiling. Da-ran’s panda looks almost right but wrong, and Kyung-joon proudly presents his.

Da-ran googles pandas disbelievingly, and Kyung-joon comes out the clear winner. I love the way he describes it: “See! Long-sleeve super-cropped belly shirt, bare stomach, rain boots, no panties.” Hahaha. When you say it like that, pandas have weird outfits indeed.

He lifts his panda’s arm up to declare him the winner, and Da-ran makes her panda attack. He immediately requests a back massage and a drink and she complies grudgingly.

They finish up the panda gifts, and we see Gil Panda and Kang Panda hanging up above them. Cute.

Mari goes to see the newlyweds first thing in the morning, and Choong-shik tags along to try and deter her, insisting that it’s rude. They peer in the window and see the couple arguing over the fact that Kyung-joon won’t eat the beans in his rice.

Mari says that he doesn’t like beans. But as soon as Da-ran leaves, they watch as Kyung-joon closes his eyes and swallows the beans with a glass of water, as if they’re pills or something.

Her face falls, and she asks Choong-shik how many points he likes someone if he eats beans for her. Choong-shik says 90 points, and this time Mari says aloud, “Then there’s only ten left for me.”

Choong-shik bites down on his own fist in shock. Does Mari like… Doctor Seo??

Mari finds Da-ran at school and makes sure that they’re still on the same page: “You want Kyung-joon-ie to hurry up and return to his place, don’t you?” But this time Da-ran sighs, “I suppose that’s how it should be.”

Mari asks, “You don’t like it that Kyung-joon is here. You want Seo Yoon-jae ajusshi to hurry back, right?” And this time Da-ran can’t even answer. Aw. Mari asks her to scold Kyung-joon if he ever says that he wants to stay this way.

Da-ran sits there a while longer, lost in thought. She looks down at her ring and sighs that Kyung-joon should go back. That’s what’s right. But she doesn’t look happy about it.

She comes home to find Kyung-joon staring at the cherub picture in his wallet, and she asks if he’s really not going to look for Dad. He says that he’s not interested in seeking him out—he never needed a dad, since he was perfectly happy just him and Mom.

At the same time, Se-young gets the DNA results back, and they’re a 99.9% match. So Kyung-joon is definitely Yoon-jae’s mother’s biological son. She wonders if she should tell Yoon-jae what she knows.

Kyung-joon asks if Yoon-jae’s family situation is like his, since he never once met his father the whole time he was in the States. Da-ran just knows that Yoon-jae’s parents live apart, but that’s about it.

All he knows is that Yoon-jae supposedly sees his father once a year on June 24, but doesn’t know the significance of the date. He prods Da-ran to see if she remembers anything specific about that date, but she doesn’t, and he storms into his room in a huff.

He can’t believe she doesn’t remember that it’s also his birthday, and fumes bitterly. She knows it’s something and searches her brain. The thing she comes up with? Her essay deadline for “Why I Want to Be a Teacher,” assigned by Vice Principal Kim.

He deflates at her answer. She scours the shelves looking for an essay that Yoon-jae once wrote on why he wanted to become a doctor, and says she’s going to use it as “reference.” He guesses more accurately that she’s copying it. *facepalm* Really? Plagiarism, Teach?

He picks up the article and reads a little, as we get a flashback to the warm and caring Doctor Yoon-jae. He writes about wanting to become a doctor at the age of eighteen, when he found out that he was saved by someone extending a warm hand to him.

He writes that he wanted to become someone who could offer a warm hand to others, and thought that if he did, he could extend the salvation he received. It sounds more and more like Yoon-jae discovered at eighteen that he was saved by a transplant of some sort (which he didn’t know at the time), and feels that being a doctor is giving back that debt he owes.

Yoon-jae writes, “I always ask the 18-year old me: Am I doing well? Is my hand warm?” Kyung-joon reads it and looks at his hand dispassionately, the larger meaning lost on him. He figures she can just change all the “doctors” to “teachers” and she’ll be set.

He catches her red-handed in her plan to copy the essay, but she counters that she wanted to become a teacher at 18 too. She asks what Kyung-joon wants to be. He’s more interested in what she thinks—what does she want him to be?

He tells her he can be anything, so she should think about Kang Kyung-joon’s future and spark an interest in something for him to pursue, and then adds oh-so-nonchalantly for her to think about his immediate future as well, say June 24.

She’s left baffled again, until she FINALLY remembers that it’s his birthday. She looks at him studying in his room and muses, “One year older. Kang Kyung-joon’s future…” She smiles.

Se-young meets with Kyung-joon’s aunt and asks about his birth – was Aunt present, and was his mother his birth mother, or was he adopted? But Aunt remembers Hee-soo having a pregnant belly and Kyung-joon being born on June 24, so nothing out of the ordinary.

That throws Se-young into another round of what-hell-with-this-family, and she works out the possibilities. If Yoon-jae’s mom is bio-mom, but Kyung-joon’s mom gave birth… then… surrogate?

The Unrequited Lovers Club meets again at the mandoo restaurant, and this time Uncle tells a ridiculous story about a woman King Sejong loved named Antakab, and he was so heartbroken that he couldn’t be with her, that he invented the word antakab-da (heartbreaking) after her. Pffft.

He calls the regret and heartbreak he carries inside an Antakabi, and they each reminisce about the cruel fate of missed dates with their intendeds, because of a lack of technology (no cell phones, no navigation). I sort of understand why VP Kim might still be moony, but is anyone going to remind Uncle that he’s already married?

Da-ran wonders what she should get Kyung-joon for his birthday, wanting it to be something special that sparks a dream for his future.

Meanwhile Mari thinks priority number one is finding Kyung-joon’s dad, since then Gil Teacher doesn’t have to be his guardian anymore. Da-ran says she doesn’t mind being around for Kyung-joon, but Mari counters that she can’t do it forever, which gives Da-ran a pang of sadness.

Mari tells Kyung-joon that they should look for his dad, and being in Yoon-jae’s body is the perfect disguise for it. Um… if they didn’t share a father, sure.

He doesn’t want to, but Mari says it’s for Gil Teacher’s good—she’s surely burdened by the responsibility of being his guardian, but doesn’t say anything because she’s too nice. He’s left wondering if that’s true, and thinks maybe he shouldn’t have been such a lazy panda then.

Da-ran tells herself that she can’t be around forever in Kyung-joon’s life, so inserting herself into his future is wrong. She convinces herself to focus on her future with Yoon-jae, and thinks back to Yoon-jae’s birthday last year.

She remembers waiting for him with a tandem bicycle for hours… and then he never showed. She spent the time doodling hearts on the bench where she waited. Seriously, this is your memory of his birthday? Sigh. She psyches herself up that she was able to wait for him for hours, so she can wait longer now.

As Da-ran cleans, Kyung-joon keeps giving her furtive glances, checking to see if she seems burdened by having to take care of him. But she’s glancing at him too, for different reasons: “The face is Yoon-jae’s, but why do I keep seeing Kyung-joon?”

They lock eyes and she awkwardly blurts something about the house being burdensomely large to clean, and he fixates on that word and jumps up. He grabs the mop and tells her to lie around, and he’ll clean and mow the lawn “so that it’s ready for army duty.” Ha. I don’t think you need to shave the lawn into a crew cut.

She wants to help but he ushers her up to her room and insists that he was perfectly capable of doing all this when he was living alone, so she doesn’t need to do any of it, and tells her to rest.

She goes to her room and sighs, “Kyung-joon-ie would be fine without me.” Aw, I love this—he’s scared she’ll go away if he doesn’t help her, while she’s scared he doesn’t need her around.

She tells herself to stop thinking about Kyung-joon and heads out to try and find “The Gil Da-ran who knows how to wait.” She rides her bicycle around the park looking for that bench, confused because they all look the same.

Mari comes by to tell Kyung-joon that she found a connection between his parents—an art professor that they shared. Dad happens to be arriving in Korea at the same time, and his first stop is to meet said professor.

The professor says that Yoon-jae came by once to ask about Hee-soo and her son, and asks if they’ve found the child. But Dad says no, they haven’t yet.

Kyung-joon tells Mari that he doesn’t need to find his father because that’s not the person he wants around in his future. Mari asks who that is. Kyung-joon says that even though he can become anything that someone else wants of him, he can’t expect someone else to act according to his expectations. “So I don’t care if I’m alone.”

Mari volunteers herself for the position, and then moves another purseful of things into her makeshift room.

Da-ran searches the whole park for that bench but can’t find it, and wills her heart to beat the way it did when she was waiting for Yoon-jae on his birthday. But it won’t beat faster for Yoon-jae, no matter how much she commands it to.

And then Kyung-joon calls and says he’s at the park looking for her, and she tells him where she is. She hangs up and starts to wait, and then feels a thud in her heart.

She puts her hand there, “My heart is beating just like it was when I was waiting for the person I liked. Why am I like this? The person I’m waiting for is Kyung-joon.”

She stands there waiting with her hand over her heart, and when she sees him in the distance, the feeling overwhelms her. “I must be crazy.” She hides behind a tree, not wanting to face it.

He calls to ask where she is, and she says, “I’m not here,” which is hilariously telling. But the moment he notices her behind the tree, she tells him, “The person I’m waiting for isn’t you. So don’t look for me. I can’t look at you right now.”

He gets the message and turns around, and she watches him walk away, her heart breaking. She says aloud to herself for Kyung-joon to go because she’s in the middle of waiting right now, but tears start to fall the farther he gets from her.

The art professor looks at the Miracle book and guesses right away that it’s the story of Dad’s two sons, one Yoon-jae the other Kyung-joon. Dad says nothing in response.

Kyung-joon gets home when suddenly another jolt hits him and his coma body lifts up as he goes there for a split second. He slumps to the ground.

The nurse sees Kyung-joon’s body move and runs to get Mari and Se-young.

Da-ran finally finds the right bench, though now her heart is faded and surrounded by other people’s doodles. She puts a hand to her heart, but sighs when nothing happens. She wonders why it’s not the same as before.

Mari calls in a panic to say that Kyung-joon’s body moved. Is she with him? Is it Yoon-jae or Kyung-joon? Da-ran says she’ll find out, and the first thought out of her mouth is, “Is Kyung-joon-ie gone?”

She races home and calls out his name, and finds him slumped over on the couch, in the middle of trying to call for help.

She asks hesitantly, “Kyung-joon-ah?” He opens his eyes slowly and she can barely contain herself as she waits for his answer. She searches his face and then he finally answers, “Gil Teacher. It’s me.”

She lets out a breath of relief and then the tears hit her like a wave. We know she’s crying in relief because her fear was that Kyung-joon would leave her, but he thinks of course that she’s crying in sorrow.

Kyung-joon: “I’m sorry that Seo Yoon-jae couldn’t come back.”

A tear falls as he watches her cry.

He calls Mari to update her on the non-change, and she says things are the same at the hospital. She asks if he’s okay, and he says that it hurt a lot. He wonders why they don’t switch permanently and instead just get bursts of searing pain.

She asks about Da-ran and he sighs that she must’ve been really disappointed because she cried a lot and went up to her room.

Upstairs, Da-ran sinks to the ground and breaks down in tears, “I must be crazy.” She cries and cries, and Kyung-joon hears her from the other side of the door. He murmurs to himself, “Seo Yoon-jae, hurry back.” To end her pain? You two are killing me.

The next morning, Ae-kyung gets word that Da-ran is too sick to come to work, and she bristles at Na Teacher’s concern for Da-ran. She pretends a customer service call is from a guy she’s going on a blind date with, and he walks away and leaves her pouting.

Kyung-joon comes to check on Da-ran and asks why she’s sick when he’s the one who was in pain: “Were you that disappointed?” She turns away from him and says that it’s her she’s disappointed in.

He says that he went back for longer, almost thirty seconds this time. He’s sure they’ll switch back soon, so stop being disappointed. Aw.

“Kyung-joon-ah, when you change back for good, will I be able to let you go?” He hears that as burden and responsibility rather than her heart, and asks with tear-filled eyes, “Am I really that burdensome?”

He tells her to stop thinking about those things and just not be sick anymore. He leaves to go get her medicine.

Se-young comes by to give Yoon-jae’s mother an update on Kyung-joon and decides to just ask her outright: “Isn’t Kang Kyung-joon your son?” Mom doesn’t need much prodding to spill the beans, and confirms how all the puzzle pieces fit together.

When Yoon-jae was twelve, he was really sick and needed a younger brother to survive (they don’t specify what, but we can guess it’s some kind of transplant). Mom wasn’t in the condition to have another child, so Dad and the woman he loved, Hee-soo, had the child.

She makes it sound like they had a child between them, though we know from the DNA test that what they did was get her to be a surrogate, since he’d have to be a biological match to Yoon-jae to help him.

She admits that Kyung-joon was born specifically to save Yoon-jae. Damn, that’s crazy. She adds that she can’t say that Kyung-joon is her child. Because then you might feel the insane amount of guilt that you should?

The art professor reads through the Miracle book and narrates that it’s the tale of two boys who save the other in turn. Se-young tells Mom that in their accident, Yoon-jae saved Kyung-joon without knowing who he was.

She wonders if they oughtn’t tell Yoon-jae, but Mom doesn’t want to do that ever and tells her to butt out. She has every intention of never seeing Kyung-joon again, barring Yoon-jae having more health issues. You are one cold fish, lady.

Se-young watches over Kyung-joon’s body, now realizing that he was born only to save Yoon-jae’s life. She worries that he might never wake up and just die this way. If you grow a conscience and meddle in this, I’ll totally forgive your other meddling. Really, I swears it!

Kyung-joon comes home with medicine for Da-ran but her room is empty. He finds her in the park and she says she’s okay now and asks if he is too. He is, but he figures it’ll hurt a lot more when they change for real.

Da-ran: “Us returning to our rightful places… seems like it’s going to hurt a lot.”

Kyung-joon tells her that if worrying about him is burdensome, she doesn’t need to waste any concern on him. “I’ll be patient by myself, and when I change back, I’ll disappear from your side.”

She looks into his eyes as he adds nervously, “I’ll disappear so you’ll never have to see me again.”

 
COMMENTS

Both a lot of development and very little at the same time, if that’s possible. I really wanted her crying outburst to be accompanied by a panicked confession of some sort, so that he’d know her fear and desperation is about him leaving and not about her disappointment that he’s still here.

But I’m grateful for at least the huge step in Da-ran realizing her feelings – no confusion this time, but a clear understanding that her heart no longer beats for Yoon-jae, but does for Kyung-joon. I liked the waiting motif, mostly because it doesn’t require their physical presence—she can’t be confused by Yoon-jae’s face if that’s not what she’s looking at when her heart thumps for Kyung-joon. Her heart seems firmly attached to Kyung-joon in that body now, so much that when she hides behind that tree and says she can’t look at him, it’s not Yoon-jae’s face she’s talking about.

I think it’s to this show’s detriment that her feelings came now (late for me) but I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Now that their relationship is charged with emotion and their equal desire to do right by the other person, it’s fraught with the right kind of tension that’s moving and sweet. I love the crossing of wires for them, because it’s not caused by some interloper (though Mari does keep trying). It’s really just that they can’t give up on the idea of what they’re supposed to do, to make the other person happy. It turns out their love triangle is soul-body-teacher, which is kind of funny and also really really hard to overcome. ‘Cause soul kinda can’t detach itself from body for the time being.

And there’s something really interesting about that problem because Yoon-jae’s shell is both the reason why she began to see Kyung-joon beyond his 18-year old shell, but is also their biggest hindrance in ever doing anything about it. And I like that in the end, it’s the same problem they would’ve had sans body swap at all. Her primary concern has shifted to Kyung-joon’s age and the lines she shouldn’t cross as his teacher, and hiding her feelings because they’re crazy and inappropriate. Well, they are till June 24. *wink wink*

I’m glad the family mystery has finally been revealed, and I’m happy that it’s more complicated than a simple secret illegitimate love child, half-brother scenario. But what the hell, family? You have a child by surrogate for the sole purpose of saving your son? That’s crazy. Now I’m curious how much Yoon-jae knew—did he simply think he was searching for a donor, or did he know he was searching for his biological brother, born to save his life? And if they chose the woman Dad was in love with to give birth to the child (which seems EXTRA crazy to me) it makes sense why Dad is more attached to Kyung-joon and seeking him out, whereas Mom puts herself at a cold distance.

The particulars of all of this still seem nutty to me, but I like the one-born-to-save-the-other connection, because they do in fact mirror the act eighteen years later without knowing why. Now the idea that only one brother might survive in the end seems more of a likely threat—perhaps according to Fate, only one brother was ever supposed to be born, but the parents took the matter into their own hands, to tragic consequences? I think we’re gonna need some major mojo for them to both walk away from this alive. Get that shaman back on the line! On the upside, this week felt a lot more like classic Hong sisters writing, full of twists and wordplay and double meanings from every other line. I feel like this drama’s been light on their usual flair, so it was nice to have that flavor back in action this week. Hope it’s here to stay.

 
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184 July 9, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 11

by javabeans

On the heels of one big confusing realization comes another one, and our girl is left reeling with her head turned upside-down and around and totally unsure of what’s what. For the first time, I felt some sympathy for what it must feel like to be Da-ran, caught in the emotional in-between along with Kyung-joon and not having a clear answer on what the “right” thing to do is. We’ve been with Kyung-joon from pretty much Day 1 so she’s 11 steps behind him, but I’m glad I’m finally with her at all, since I wasn’t sure we’d get there.

SONG OF THE DAY

Bo Kyung & Shayne – “내게 무슨짓을 한 거야” (What Have You Done To Me)
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EPISODE 11 RECAP

Thinking Da-ran is overwhelmed with the burden of taking care of him, Kyung-joon offers to disappear from her side for good, not knowing that’s the exact opposite of how she feels. He kneels down to tie her loose shoelace, telling her to make sure they’re tight so she can run far away without sparing him a backward glance. So till the day comes for them to part ways, he suggests, “Let’s get along well.”

She agrees, using his shoelace metaphor to remind herself to tie her “mental strings” tight as well (i.e., keep my head on straight).

At home, he asks why she feels so “burdened”—a word we’ll be hearing a lot, I think, used in every possible way. He assures her that he’s good-looking, rich, and smart, so he’ll be fine no matter what. Ergo, no need to feel burdened with worry.

Da-ran points out that he’s still all alone in the world. He tells her he’s going to find his father and holds up a brochure for an art exhibition, featuring the art professor who may be Dad. We know that Professor Park was actually teacher to his father and (surrogate) mom, but for now the kids are going off him as their sole clue.

Mari does recon work on the professor in paparazzo mode, which is familiar territory for her given her Kyung-joon stalkerism. The prof is with a man Mari doesn’t recognize (it’s Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon’s father), and for the time being she’ll have to wonder because she’s out of earshot of this very telling conversation: Dad asks the professor for whatever he can remember about the man Hee-soo almost married. That’s his only link to finding Kyung-joon. Or, you know, you could talk real loud and have Mari solve the mystery in two seconds flat. Especially since the professor knows the almost-husband had a daughter named Mari.

Yoon-jae’s parents call the newlyweds for dinner, and Da-ran describes Dad as quiet, difficult to know, and a doctor. I guess we know whom Yoon-jae took after. Now I’m starting to see why Mom likes Se-young so much, since they’re similar in a few key ways… which ew, makes it seem like Mom’s just trying to marry her son. Which actually makes sense from a personality standpoint, since Mom’s basically in love with Yoon-jae to the exclusion of everyone else.

Annnyway, Dad tells Mom of his hunch that Kyung-joon is in Korea. Mention of him brings Mom’s guard way up, and she declares that he’s not her son. Dad reminds her that she was the one who approached Hee-soo to be the surrogate. Mom retorts, “I didn’t need that child, I needed his umbilical cord to save Yoon-jae.” Oh, that. How annoying that umbilical cords come with such unnecessary byproducts like people.

Kyung-joon tells Da-ran that he’s not necessarily dying to meet his father, but since the man loved his mother, he wants to see him. His father must have wanted to meet him too, if he left the Miracle drawing for him.

Mom reminds Dad forcefully that he’d been on the same page—what does he care to find that boy now? “He wasn’t born out of love, he was made out of necessity!”

Oof, her statements make Kyung-joon’s assumptions harder to take, because he thinks he was born out of a love affair, even if Dad didn’t stick around. Da-ran wonders if the presence of another baby in the picture means he has a sibling, and Kyung-joon muses that maybe he does.

They head upstairs so Dad can give them his wedding gift, and Dad seems disappointed when his son doesn’t remember anything about the brother he’d been looking for. Kyung-joon spots a familiar art brochure and confirms that Dad knows Professor Park, and barely misses seeing the photo Dad keeps of Hee-soo.

Mom is very cordial over dinner, offering to bring Da-ran to a doctors’ wives’ gathering and also shopping. But it’s the backhanded sort of nice, slipping in barbs like how she wants to buy Da-ran a car for the sake of “Yoon-jae’s face” (i.e., reputation), and how if Da-ran had been thoughtful, Mom wouldn’t need to step in.

So Kyung-joon asks Mom for her credit card. No need to go through all that trouble of shopping with them; he’ll make sure to pick something to suit his “face.” I love how Kyung-joon turns her words right back around on Mom, and when he says them in his plain-spoken way, her elegant euphemisms come out sounding just as crass as she probably thinks Da-ran is. To wit: He asks point-blank just how expensive Mom thinks his face is, so he can buy accordingly.

Shocked at her son’s rudeness, Mom balks, especially since the gathering is for wives of important hospital directors and not for “just anybody.” Kyung-joon: “Then neither Mother nor Da-ran can go, since you’re just anybodies.”

Mom chides that Father may not be a director but he’s quite a famous doctor. Kyung-joon suggests Dad set up his own hospital quickly, since Yoon-jae can barely hold his head up in public without it. Haha. He’s no doctor, but he’s perfected the art of giving people a taste of their own medicine.

Off they go to car-shop. Da-ran protests, but Kyung-joon tells her his parents meant to buy her a car, so he’s taking them at their word. Ha, Kyung-joon kills me. He’s forced Mom to put her money where her mouth is, rather than lording her snooty superiority complex over everyone. Trapped by her own hubris.

Then they shop, Pretty Woman style, and he tells her to buy everything. He decrees everything “Not bad. Buy it.” He even decides, “That one’s bad. Buy it.”

Da-ran chides that Yoon-jae’s parents were shocked at the change in their nice son, but Kyung-joon replies that a nice son just means more hardship for Da-ran. So wise for one so young; so many marriages would be stronger if the husband made that realization early on.

Da-ran sighs at home, though, saying that being caught up in Kyung-joon’s whirlwind makes her feel sorry to Yoon-jae. Kyung-joon offers to remedy that by pretending his soul has swapped back with Yoon-jae, and talks to her in Yoon-jae’s voice, complimenting her on her beauty and warming his hands for her.

She laughs at his aegyo “puing-puing” and says she’s gotten more childish after spending lots of her time with a kid. He offers her more childish entertainment (learned from Bear and Rabbit at the hospital, aka his two kiddie companions) and picks up a griddle pan as his faux guitar to sing the Pororo song. Adorable.

They sing it together laughing, but then she remembers that she’s laughing thanks to Kyung-joon, not Yoon-jae. I love that it’s completely reversed now, that she sees him for Kyung-joon—but that freaks her out more and reminds her to retie her mental strings tightly.

He asks for a song in return, but she hides her face behind the frying pan and seeks refuge in her room, while oblivious Kyung-joon wonders if she’s feeling down because of mom-in-law.

Da-ran scolds herself for forgetting her circumstances, then bangs her head with the pan. Ow. She can’t tear out her heart, and this is driving her crazy.

Da-ran decides she’ll have to find a way to empty her mind and pass the time until Yoon-jae returns, and seeks safety in… a sewing kit? Imagining herself in Joseon-era hanbok, she declares that waiting wives of yore sought comfort in the concentration of needlework. So she will too.

But hark! Just outside her door a young man distracts her with his flute, and Da-ran firmly warns herself not to open her heart to him. Back to her needle. Stab!

Cut to: Da-ran’s exhausted eyes and bandaged fingers. Ae-kyung thinks she’s being too obvious about her exhausting nighttime newlywed activities (snerk), but uses this as a segue to announce her own blind date plans. She states the exact address and time for the benefit of Na Teacher, hoping he’ll pull a Samshik, but he just ignores her.

Mari shows Kyung-joon her paparazzi photos, and they decide that even if Professor Park isn’t his father, there’s a good chance he’ll know who is. Kyung-joon recognizes Yoon-jae’s father with him, but isn’t thrilled at the idea of asking him for information.

Mari and Kyung-joon both look forward to his approaching, though for different reasons. She wants to celebrate, but he’s got his eye on a bigger prize, having busily made preparations “for me to live on my own.”

To that end he meets with lawyers, who explain that once Kyung-joon turns 18, Yoon-jae will become the sole trustee to his assets. Ah, so Kyung-joon had drawn up a power of attorney for Yoon-jae, which explains his other reason for the “filling the gap” year. Basically, Big Kyung-joon has handled the legalities so that as long as he’s in this shell body, he’ll have access to Little Kyung-joon’s money and properties, which amount to $4.5 million. Smart.

Kyung-joon takes Da-ran out to a fancy dinner, telling her it’s a bribe in exchange for her help in tracking down that art professor. Seeing that she doesn’t know how to eat the dish properly, he wraps it up for her and feeds her—which gets her all confused and flustered again.

She overcompensates by shoveling in hot food, so he fans her with the brochure playfully, which gets her heart pounding even more. Adorably, he fans her alternating between “Kang wind” and “Seo wind,” which are plays on the words for strong wind and west wind. When he requests Gil wind in return, she hides her face and seeks more refuge in domesticity.

It’s ironing this time, to straighten out her crooked heart. Her Joseon counterpart does the same, determined to wait out the winds (and the young man) rattling her door. She warns herself not to give in and focuses on the ironing, telling Kyung-joon in sageuk-speak to leave her be.

He guesses she’s uncomfortable around him, though not for the real reason, which has him feeling annoyed. But Da-ran knocks the iron over and burns her leg, and he rushes back to treat the injury.

As he runs water over her leg, he asks, “Does it hurt?” She replies, “Yes.” He asks, “Should we keep doing this?” By now we’re not talking about the leg anymore, and she agrees, “Yes, stay here.”

Ae-kyung sits through her terrible blind date, but lights up when Na Teacher walks in the door. He came after all! Thrilled and puffing up with love, she runs toward him and asks if he came to stop her date, and hugs him tight.

…and then hears a bunch of buddies calling out to Na Teacher. Who is here to meet them. Not her. She dies of mortification and runs off with her face buried in her hands, which causes her to trip in front of him. The day just gets better and better.

Outside, Ae-kyung sobs her heart out in humiliation. Na Teacher brings over her lost shoe, saying he’d been worried—although for the life of him, he can’t figure out why she acted that way. He scratches his head cluelessly, and Ae-kyung delivers a swift kick in pique… and when he doubles over in pain, she grabs him for a kiss. Haha. That’s what we call a twofer.

Choong-shik has his own mental struggle as he accompanies Mari shopping and wonders how everything—stalking the art professor, dressing like Da-ran—is for Kyung-joon’s benefit when there appears to be no connection. Mari taps Choong-shik’s head with two fingers and instructs, “Empty your brain. Just look with your eyes.” Heh, somehow that doesn’t seem like a big stretch for him.

Choong-shik complies, and finds that the world is so much nicer and simpler when he doesn’t try to think so hard. But his smile fades when she decides this shirt will look good with Kyung-joon, because, uh, what does that mean?

Mari had meant to go with Kyung-joon to the art exhibit, but she gets a text informing her that he’ll be going with Da-ran. Bummer. Still, she decides that since she wasn’t instructed not to go, there’s no reason to stay away.

Just then she gets a call from her father, who has some shocking news to tell her. Mari: “WHO did you say was looking for Kyung-joon?!”

While Kyung-joon and Da-ran look around the exhibit for Professor Park, Da-ran gets a call from her mother-in-law about that doctors’ wives’ meeting. But when Da-ran explains that she’s out right now at the art exhibit, Mom freaks out and insists that she and Yoon-jae leave right away.

Kyung-joon can tell it’s the usual demands from Mom and takes over the call, telling her curtly that they can’t talk now, and hangs up. Then it’s on to meet the professor, who recognizes him from a prior meeting and greets him warmly.

Kyung-joon asks about Hee-soo and her son. The professor has heard of the accident and accepts that as explanation for why Yoon-jae doesn’t recall meeting him last year, and asks why he is interested in Hee-soo.

Kyung-joon asks Professor Park to confirm whether he drew a particular drawing, and takes out his wallet… just as Mom runs in and interrupts. She reminds the professor of his conversation with Dad, and takes her son aside for a talk. So Professor Park just tells Da-ran that he has nothing to say, having already been asked to keep mum on the matter.

Kyung-joon explains to Mom that wants to locate the father of the boy in the hospital. Seeing that Mom is acquainted with the professor, he asks whether she knows Hee-soo as well. Mom says this is the first time she’s hearing that name.

Mari gets Kyung-joon’s attention from across the gallery and motions him over frantically. She has great news, courtesy of her dad: The professor isn’t Kyung-joon’s father, but now they know that his father is trying to locate him.

Meanwhile, Professor Park chuckles to Da-ran that she owes her wedding to him. After all, when Yoon-jae ran into her at the wedding, he’d been rushing out to meet the professor. Aha! One more clue in the Not Cheating column (since Da-ran presumed that he was reacting to Se-young being newly single).

Suddenly confused, Da-ran excuses herself to confirm something, leaving Mari and Kyung-joon at the gallery. Mari wants to make a date of it but he’s distracted and decides to go home instead. Mari: “You don’t want to go to the hospital? Is Gil Da-ran more important than finding your father?” Kyung-joon: “Yeah. Gil Teacher is more important than the father I’ve never met even once.”

Before he leaves, he stops an employee from throwing out the flower decorations, remembering that Da-ran particularly liked the sunflowers. He has them wrapped and takes them home, where he scuttles around trying to put the bouquet in the most conspicuous place possible. Aw. He even practices his best version of a careless, “They were throwing it away. Take ’em.”

Da-ran meets with Se-young to confirm that the day of their meeting, Yoon-jae wasn’t hurrying to see Se-young.

Se-young does a We’re-back-to-this? eyeroll I can sort of understand, but grudgingly admits that it’s possible. She’d assumed that Yoon-jae’s pre-wedding troubles were all because of her, but now she thinks there was something else bothering him. Se-young doesn’t know what it is, but she concedes now that Yoon-jae didn’t have cold feet after all, that she wasn’t the reason.

Da-ran asks about the house key, and Se-young admits that he never came over. She expected him to, but he didn’t.

Da-ran walks home all a-muddle in confused feelings, thinking back to the Yoon-jae she knew. Was it all real, then, the way she remembered it first? Before the doubts and second-guessing?

Kyung-joon waits all day for Da-ran to come home, then puts on his nonchalant attitude. But Da-ran walks in with a heavy heart, telling him that it was all a misunderstanding. She starts to break down: “He liked me the whole time, and didn’t change his mind about wanting to take responsibility for me.”

Kyung-joon congratulates her, saying it was a good thing she’d decided to wait for Yoon-jae after all. He’s doing his best to put on a supportive face, which totally kills me, and asks, “Do you like him that much?”

He tells her he’ll make sure to step aside and not interfere with her waiting. Da-ran cries into her flowers.

The next day, Choong-shik finds her at school and notices her worn face, wondering if something’s up. He also clocks her reluctance to take a call from her mother-in-law, and asks if she’s mean to her. Da-ran denies it, but she’s not convincing.

At the kiddie room in the hospital, Kyung-joon sits with the usual suspects in the playroom, his outstretched foot getting in the way of a railroad building. The Bear boy complains that he’s “interfering” and needs to “move out of the way”—which makes Kyung-joon bristle. Et tu, Little Bear?

Little Bear actually whines at him to go back with all the other grown-ups and work, but Kyung-joon retorts that he’s still at an age where he should be studying and playing, not working. The boy asks how old he is, and he just says, “Older than you.” Which is when Rabbit girl calls him “oppa” (not “doctor” or “teacher”), which means she’s on to him. Sort of, in her little-kid way. He makes her promise not to say anything.

A hospital ajumma informs Kyung-joon that Little Kyung-joon has a new visitor today—a man, this time, not the elegant lady. It’s his father, of course, who takes Little Kyung-joon’s hand and apologizes.

Big Kyung-joon hurries to the room, which is empty by the time he gets there. He’s quick enough to see the man’s retreating back in the hallway and follows curiously, but loses him when Mari and Choong-shik arrive.

Choong-shik asks if mother-in-law is giving noona trouble, because she seemed pretty miserable at the idea of meeting her today. Uh-oh.

Mom presents Da-ran with an elegant wedding gift, nice today and admitting she wasn’t the nicest and suggesting that they get along better now. Da-ran’s near tears as she says she can’t accept—she doesn’t have the right to. She calls herself the worst; she’s rock bottom: “Even when Yoon-jae was with me, I always lacked confidence and felt uneasy. On top of that, I doubted him, let go him, and erased him. I’m a truly bad person.”

Mom doesn’t even miss a beat. “If you know you’re inadequate, step back now. Because he’s not normal right now, I approved of you just because he wanted it. But you—I won’t miss you a bit.”

Da-ran says she can’t step aside now because she needs him. Mom asks if she’ll be able to once Yoon-jae returns to himself, and Da-ran nods: “If he returns to how he was before, I’ll tell him what a bad person I was and let go of him.”

Kyung-joon arrives as Da-ran’s leaving. Seeing her teary face, he assumes Mom was terrible to her and starts to pull her back to face Mom, declaring that he’ll have to claim the price for those tears.

Dad arrives home and tells Mom that he saw Kyung-joon: “You and Yoon-jae both have to see that boy. If you don’t want to, I will make sure Yoon-jae does.”

Da-ran shakes off Kyung-joon’s hold on her wrist, refusing to go along.

Da-ran: “I can’t do it!”
Kyung-joon: “Why not? You decided you’d wait. You get hurt and dejected and cry—why do you make the people watching you feel suffocated?”
Da-ran: “If you feel suffocated and frustrated, you can just not look. I’m doing what I can to endure like an adult, so why are you creeping in and interfering?”
Kyung-joon: “Is stupidly enduring what an adult does?”
Da-ran: “An adult endures when something can’t be. If you know it’s bad, an adult doesn’t do it. If you know it’s wrong but still follow your heart and do it anyway, that’s what a child does!”
Kyung-joon: “Then since I’m a child, can I do as I please? Don’t you dare cry again. Because I don’t care who you’re waiting for, I’ll just take you and run away!”

 
COMMENTS

Woohoo for honesty, finally! I totally understand why both Kyung-joon and Da-ran have been keeping their feelings hidden from each other, and it makes sense given the twistedness of their lives at the moment. But it kills me when two people are dancing around the issue of their attraction, assuming they’re the only ones feeling this way, rather than hashing it out together.

The worst offenders are when we’re talking about the garden-variety romantic plot where the extent of the conflict is that each person is afraid of being rejected. Realistic, yes, but drives me batty in dramas where one honest conversation can basically clear up the Big Misunderstanding. In this drama, I’m totally there with the Da-ran self-recriminations and the Kyung-joon self-protection. I’d be a little happier if it were Da-ran making the big confession, but I suspect that kind of drama’s strictly Even-Numbered Episode material (*shakes fist at dramaland, fate, and girlfriday*) so for today I’m appeased.

As I said, I’ve been previously unable to feel anything for Da-ran, mostly because I just don’t get her. I understand her motivations on paper and in broad strokes—I can see what kind of character she was supposed to be—but she hasn’t felt fully formed, like a real person with complexity and depth. This was the first time I felt an inkling of sympathy for her frustration, because she’s JUST admitted to herself that she feels something for Kyung-joon, and she’s barely hanging on to her restraint and common sense by her fingertips, and then comes along this revelation that she was wrong all along about Yoon-jae.

Okay, admittedly I thought she was kind of dumb for jumping to the He Didn’t Love Me conclusion in the first place, because I don’t think that was ever clear. At worst, the situation seemed full of mixed messages, but it wasn’t a definitive “I was wrong about his love” conclusion. But I can see how she’d need to move on with her life, and the very fact that she didn’t know, one way or the other, was a pretty significant red flag.

So given that she fled to self-preservation mode (which I understand), it’s mighty confusing to have her axis tilted again. What I find most telling is that the timing is so very in-convenient—just as she’s owning up to her feelings for Kyung-joon (even if she can’t act on them)—when in fact they should be very convenient. This should clear up all her gray skies and point the way to a hopeful happily ever after… except her notion of who happily ever after requires has changed. Oof.

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230 July 10, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 12

by girlfriday

Well it only took twelve episodes, but I finally love an episode of this show without reservation. Part of me is wistful at the what-could-have-been, and part of me is just grateful it came at all. It’s an episode full of emotional payoffs, clever connections, and lots and lots of fuzzy, funny warmth.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Kyung-joon tells Da-ran to stop putting herself through this if all it’s doing is making her cry and causing her pain. He says that he’ll take responsibility for her, which is just freaking adorable and too funny, coming from the nineteen-year old.

He says that it’s his fault she’s come this far, marrying his shell to protect him, and if he’s the one to call it quits, he’ll be the one to take responsibility.

Kyung-joon: “While you’re wearing that ring, I won’t ever break my promise not to go to you. BUT… if you take that ring off, I’m going to take it as an okay to come to you, and I’ll take Gil Da-ran away.”

Finally, the gauntlet! He makes it clear that he’s not forcing her to take the ring off, but he’s no longer going to help her keep it on either. It’s perfect—honesty from him, while leaving the choice to her.

She asks how she could agree to those terms (they’re talking about it in contract-speak, like he’s made a proposal for a requisition and she’s not cooperating). He tells her that he’ll keep his promise—if she wants him to disappear he’ll disappear. “But if you want to see Kang Kyung-joon, take off that ring.”

They head home, and Da-ran spends the car ride stealing glances back and forth from her ring to Kyung-joon’s face. He asks if she’s giving it any consideration at all, and she in turn wonders how he can talk about it so lightly.

He figures there’s no expectation on his part that she’ll ever choose him, so he doesn’t really feel the need to be serious. But it gives him pause, “Are you… considering it?” She stammers that of course she’s not, but it sounds convincing to no one.

He muses that she didn’t call him a blood clot this time, and says he would’ve taken it all back if she had. Aw. It both warms my heart and breaks it that he’s shown his feelings with zero expectation that she’d return them.

Meanwhile Dad tells Mom that Kyung-joon is in the hospital, and they can’t turn their backs on him. Mom finally shares the fact that Yoon-jae saved Kyung-joon’s life in their accident: “Isn’t the debt repaid?” Well, I always suspected you were the devil.

She tells him that Yoon-jae is trying to find Kyung-joon’s father, and she won’t stand for any of it. Dad chose once to abandon Hee-soo and Kyung-joon for Yoon-jae and Mom — the choice is his again, but she’s prepared to never let him see Yoon-jae if he chooses wrongly. Gee, tell us how you really feel.

At home, Da-ran prepares to take her ring off to do the dishes, but when she sees Kyung-joon approach, she quickly shoves it back on her finger. He looks at her sideways, chiding that he’d hardly steal the ring while she was washing dishes. It gets her all flustered and she calls out belatedly, “I’m not concerned!”

And then later she comes out of the shower with the ring still on her finger and he sighs that he’s not going to carry her away if she takes her ring off to shower, for crying out loud. By now she’s yelling, “I’m NOT CONCERNED!”

She storms into her room, completely fixated on the ring of course, and gets spun around some more when she sees the sunflowers from Kyung-joon. She’s still staring at her ring at work the next day, and tells herself that she’s the crazy one for concerning herself with a child’s joke.

She asks Ae-kyung using her ye-olden-days metaphor what someone should do to keep from falling for the young man next door while waiting for her husband to return. Ae-kyung says there’s only one sure way: move. Ha.

Da-ran tells herself that’s the right thing, and to that end, starts looking into transferring to a new school. Uh-oh. Kyung-joon comes home to find her washing shoes in the yard and makes another snipe at the fact that she’s wearing her precious ring like she’s scared he’ll kidnap her while doing laundry.

This time she snaps back that he’s made her all kinds of worried, while he’s going around making jokes. But he’s no idiot: “Just keep telling yourself it’s a joke.”

She yells that she’s not in the mood to match his childish pranks, and he asks what the alternative is then—to suffer in patience, like an adult? He asks in earnest curiosity—what exactly is she suffering from? Missing Yoon-jae? Or dealing with her mother-in-law?

Da-ran: “It’s you.”

Eeeeee! But of course he hears it as suffering from having to deal with him, not resisting the urge to jump his barely-legal bones, as the case may be.

He argues that he was trying really hard to be good to her. Da-ran: “While waiting for Yoon-jae-sshi to return… laughing with you, getting along with you, being happy… that’s the hardest thing!”

He spits back angry and confused, “That’s difficult? What would you have done if I had treated you even better? Would you have died suffering?!” She counters cryptically, “I was bad, but I won’t be anymore.”

She brings up his father and says that he won’t need her anymore once they find him, so they should just never see each other again, like the original plan. He shouts defensively that that sounds JUST PEACHY and storms into his room.

She grabs a trash bag and starts to clean out everything that reminds her of Kyung-joon, like she thinks cleaning out the stuff will clear him out of her heart. He watches as she throws out his sunflowers, the bottle of liquor from her dad, and (noooo!) their pandas.

He storms back into his room, thinking that she’s trying to clean out every last remnant of him to make way for Yoon-jae’s return. Not to be outdone, he grabs a trash bag too and starts looking for stuff to throw out.

Only… he can’t find anything. Why is my heart breaking?

On the verge of tears, he shows her his empty bag—he was going to fill it with all the stuff she gave him, only there’s nothing. “Look at it. It means there’s nothing you’ve done for me this entire time.” Oof.

He throws it down and yanks her bag out of her hands, rifling through all the evidence of the things he did for her. He yells that if he’d have filled the bag, she might’ve died already from all the suffering.

He leaves her reeling, and she picks up the empty bag. “There’s really nothing that I’ve done for him…”

But she’s on a mission, and she drags her bag of stuff out to the trash. She leaves it on the curb and doesn’t look back, and Kyung-joon watches dejectedly from across the street.

What he doesn’t see is that right after he walks away, she turns right back. She takes the sunflowers out and looks at them lovingly. She tells herself that flowers wilt anyway, so she’ll just keep these until they wilt.

But then she sees Kang Panda staring back at her, giving her a guilt trip with its panda eyes. She takes the China travel guide back out, thinking she might still go there someday. She flips through it and finds the little stick figure drawing of them on the Great Wall and muses that Kyung-joon got her there after all.

And then she stuffs all of it back in the bag… and takes it back inside. HA. I love it.

She crouches down to pick up his empty trash bag and tears well up. “Kyung-joon-ah… I’m sorry.” She raises it up to her face and then whispers into it, “I like you.” Aw. She ties up the bag, like it’ll keep her secret that way. That’s just adorable. I think filling it with love is way better than filling it with stuff.

But we cut to the mound of trash on the curb, and see that she’s thrown out the bag filled with her confession.

Kyung-joon meets Mari in the park and they agree that the mystery man who came to the hospital must be Dad. He figures it’s the man’s loss if he doesn’t want such a smart, handsome, well-behaved son, and Mari agrees.

He asks Mari not to tell Gil Teacher that they couldn’t find Dad—she’s waiting on it as her get-out-of-jail-free card. He figures he’ll just wait until his twentieth birthday, lie that he found Dad, and go on his way.

Dad seeks out Aunt and Uncle’s restaurant, pausing to gaze at Hee-soo’s photo on the wall. Meanwhile Mom meets Se-young and tells her about Da-ran’s last visit. Mom wants the old Yoon-jae back, while Da-ran seems to only want to stay by the new Yoon-jae’s side. Well, you’re not wrong.

Kyung-joon pouts while Da-ran packs to go camping with her family, and purposely messes with her car to make her leave it behind. Sometimes I wish we’d just stop for a regular commercial break instead of padding scenes with needless product placement. Do a commercial. I’ll take a bathroom break. Everybody wins.

The family pulls up and Da-ran gives the excuse that Yoon-jae has to go to a friend’s wedding so he can’t come, but when they ask him, he says he’s not busy and storms back inside.

Da-ran is forced to tell them they had a fight, and orders them not to call Yoon-jae… which of course they all do. Heh.

He pouts that he was supposed to find the Seo-suh-bang rock with Dad and that Mom was going to pack him kimbap, and he was supposed to watch porn with Choong-shik. Instead he spends the afternoon revenge-cleaning, throwing out all of Da-ran’s things.

He reaches her room intending to get rid of everything, but discovers the bag of his stuff, recovered from the trash. Yay. He smiles like loon and goes about putting all her stuff back with a skip in his step.

He finds all the messages from Mom, Dad and Choong-shik, and tsk-tsks them for not including directions on how to get there.

Da-ran searches for rocks along her hike and finds one that makes her smile – it’s pointy and harsh and shiny, just like Kyung-joon. She brings it back and finds her tent empty, just as Kyung-joon arrives.

He pretends that he’s just doing the family a favor since they bombarded him with texts, and he shows her the last one from Mom telling the two of them to make up and have a good time. They look at each other, “The two of us?”

Mom, Dad and Choong-shik drive away in a fit of giggles at their ingenious plan to leave the couple stranded, having told Yoon-jae to take a cab there. They decide to pick them up tomorrow. Love this family.

Kyung-joon looks at all the round rocks that the parents collected and scoffs that they don’t know him at all. But the jagged one that Da-ran picked up catches his eye. She asks if that one seems like him and he throws it on the ground, sighing that it doesn’t matter since he’s not the one joining this family anyway.

He convinces her to go hiking and they spend the afternoon being adorable. She sets up a camera to take a picture of herself, while he photobombs her like a great big dork.

They play in the water and he throws her over his shoulder, holding her hostage, “If you call me a blood clot one more time…” She screams and calls him oraboni (oppa) to get him to put her down, and he grins from ear to ear. So cute.

They go to the local grocery store to pick up supplies, the ajumma at the counter assumes that they’re a couple, and Da-ran quickly says no—he’s her dongseng. Omg, is he gonna call her noona? *squeal*

He runs up to defend his noona (only to end up agreeing that she does look old, heh) but she gets distracted when she runs into a sunbae from college. Kyung-joon watches them hug with a scowl on his face, and instinctively turns the cucumber in his hand into a rifle. Pfft. Dirty!

Listen, I know what you’re thinking, but these jokes just fall into my lap. They find me! I swear!

Da-ran says he’s just a dongseng and drags her sunbae away to ask him for a favor—she’s been looking for teaching positions outside of Seoul, and asks him to let her know if there’s an opening at his school.

Kyung-joon watches angrily as she gives the sunbae her phone number. When they get back to the campsite, an opportunity for revenge finds him, when a trio of pretty young girls asks for help.

They ask if they’re a couple, and Kyung-joon quickly corrects her, “No, that’s my much, much older noona.” He runs over to help them with their tent, stopping to ogle their legs in plain view of a scowling Da-ran.

She nags him to hurry up and pouts, asking what he said to them, and reminding him that they’re his noonas. Kyung-joon: “You’re a noona too, noona.” I could seriously listen to him call her noona all day.

He lies that they asked for his phone number, and reminds her that he said he has no self-control when it comes to girls who like him, running in his direction. He clocks her reaction and leans in, “If you want to hold onto me that much, take off the ring.”

Dad sits in Uncle’s restaurant for hours, until Uncle approaches him, and he finally tells them who he is. He doesn’t give specifics, but they guess right away that he has another family, which they already suspected.

He tells them that they can continue to take care of Kyung-joon’s trust fund, but he’ll watch Kyung-joon and take care of him from now on.

He tells Mom that he’s made his choice, and this time it’s Kyung-joon. Still trying to convince her to accept them both, he asks if she never once thought of Kyung-joon on his birthday. But she coldly answers that June 24 is not Kyung-joon’s birthday to her, but the day that their son Yoon-jae was saved.

Back at the campsite, Da-ran and Kyung-joon argue some more as she heads off to meet her sunbae (to follow up on the job request, though he doesn’t know that). He counters that he’ll just go hang out with those girls then, and they huff and puff, “Fine!” “Well FINE!”

She storms off muttering that he’s so excited to go hang out with those girls, and then he notices the Kyung-joon Rock, sitting back on the table. He wonders why she picked it up when he threw it away, and can’t help but smile. It doesn’t matter how angry he is; one sign that she’s thought about him just makes him melt. It kills me.

Da-ran walks for a while, and stops at the thought that when Kyung-joon is nice, he’s really nice, and worries that those girls will fall head over heels in no time. She turns back.

At the same time, Kyung-joon heads in her direction with a lantern, smiling at how thoughtless she is to go running off without a light when it’s getting dark. They run into each other and she smiles to hear that he wasn’t going to the girls, but to her.

She says she’s just going to ask her sunbae a quick question and come right back, and Kyung-joon offers to wait for her here if she wants him to. She’s quick to say yes since the alternative is him going to see the other girls, and runs off.

He tells her to hurry before a pretty ghost comes and snatches him away. “If she’s sexy, I’m going with her!”

Dad drags Mom to the hospital to see Kyung-joon, under her condition that if she does he won’t tell Yoon-jae the truth.

But just as they arrive, Kyung-joon falls over in another momentary swap back into his own body. Barely conscious, he opens his eyes for just a second, and sees the blurry outline of Yoon-jae’s parents, staring back at him.

Soon he’s back in Yoon-jae’s body and reeling from the pain.

Da-ran comes back and finds him slumped over, and he says that this time he doesn’t know if he switched back or if he had a dream as Yoon-jae. He saw Yoon-jae’s parents, but doesn’t understand why.

She asks if he’s okay and he falls onto her shoulder and closes his eyes.

He wakes up later in the tent with a headache, and scotches over to where Da-ran is sleeping. He tucks her in with a blanket and lies down next to her, grateful that every time he wakes up from a painful swap, she’s always there.

“When I change back for good and wake up there, I’ll be alone again. It’s okay. I was always alone.” Aw, kid. He knows it was fake, but here he got to have a mom and dad, even parents-in-law, and Choong-shik… and Gil Da-ran.

But once he goes back, no one will remember that he was here, because all that will remain is Seo Yoon-jae.

“Gil Teacher, you know me. So even if I disappear, can’t you remember that I was here? And don’t clean me out. Don’t just be so happy at Seo Yoon-jae’s return, but think of me too, okay?” A tear falls. And then we see Da-ran, not sleeping at all, but crying silently at his words. Okay, that got me in the gut.

At school on Monday, Mari freaks out when she hears that Choong-shik’s family left Da-ran and Yoon-jae alone all weekend. She figures she’ll have to take Kyung-joon back to the States soon.

But she gets a call from Kyung-joon’s father, asking her to meet. She runs over to tell Kyung-joon the news, excited that Gil Teacher doesn’t need to take responsibility for him anymore.

Da-ran tells her dad that she’s looking for teaching positions far away, and lies that she and Yoon-jae already talked it over. She asks what it was like for him, when he was 35 and Mom was 19 – what made him choose to be with her?

He thinks back on it with a wistful smile, saying that he tried and tried to push her away, to separate himself and live without her. But the more he did, the more he realized that he would spend the rest of his life thinking about her.

Da-ran asks how you’d know that before you’ve lived your whole life, but he figures that living the alternative is too sad, but if you just found the courage in the moment, then you’d spend the rest of your life being glad that you did.

She asks how said courage is found. Dad: “In that moment, I threw my mental strings into the ocean. And then, I could grasp your mother.” He laughs thinking about it now, and Da-ran looks down at her ring, the last remnant of her mental strings.

Kyung-joon and Mari set the stage for her to meet his father in the hospital while he spies on them, but Se-young interrupts to ask him if things are okay with Da-ran, because she seemed strangely unhappy when Se-young told her the truth about Yoon-jae not being a cheater.

He tells her she was so happy she cried about it and heads downstairs. He walks up to Mari, at the same time that Dad approaches. He’s about two seconds from discovering that they share a dad when another splitting headache hits.

WUT? Thwarted again? Grar. He falls to the ground and Dad sees him, “Yoon-jae!” Mari comes running up, “Kyung-joon!” Uh-oh. Luckily Dad is too worried to register what she says and he insists Yoon-jae get checked out.

Dad worries, saying that he might not remember, but he was very sick as a child, and asks him to get checked out to put their minds at ease. They both agree not to tell Mom. Dad takes his hand and Kyung-joon is surprised at the first sign of warmth from the man.

Later Mari wonders why Kyung-joon’s dad never showed, and Kyung-joon declares that he’s done with the dad search as of today. He’s going to tell Gil Teacher that he found him and just leave, and Mari happily notes that once they go to the States, she’ll be the only person left by his side.

Mari comes into Kyung-joon’s hospital room with a birthday cake, and drops it in shock. There’s Kyung-joon, standing at the window, back in his body. What?!

She runs up and he smiles at her, but then when she looks back, he’s gone. Oh, fakeout! She screams his name over and over, and it wakes her from a dream. Kyung-joon comes running in and she cries, “You were gone.”

She tells him that she’ll be okay if he switches back or even if he stays this way, “but don’t disappear.” Aw. He pets her hair and sweetly tells her that’s not going to happen, and she smiles again.

Da-ran comes home with lots of groceries, and Kyung-joon smiles to see she remembered his birthday. But he answers a call on her phone from that sunbae, and finds that she’s been asking for a teaching position in the countryside.

They both agree that “Yoon-jae” should go meet his family alone tomorrow for their family gathering, and then have dinner with Da-ran. She asks what he wants for his birthday, mentioning that she’s never done anything for him and she wants to now.

But he replies coldly that it doesn’t matter, since he’s going to throw it away anyway when he leaves, so it’ll just create more trash. He starts to walk away but then whirls back, all riled up.

He demands to know what he did that was so wrong, that she’s trying to run away from him. She just says absently, “I needed an ocean I couldn’t cross.”

He takes it literally, thinking she’s running off to an island just to get even farther away. He yells that he hates boats anyway, so there’ll be no reason to see each other, and stomps off. She sighs and looks down at her ring.

The birthday rolls around and Mari and the nurses throw a party for Little Kyung-joon, complete with balloons and hats. It’s adorably sweet.

Kyung-joon wakes up to a breakfast table with birthday seaweed soup, and a note from Da-ran to meet for dinner. He vows not to go to spite her.

Da-ran shops for a birthday gift, settling on a watch. The clerk asks if she wants to have initials engraved, and asks if it’s a gift for her boyfriend. Da-ran says yes with a happy smile and writes down KKJ on the slip of paper.

What she doesn’t notice is that Se-young is standing a few feet away, and has heard the conversation. It piques her interest, knowing that it’s not Yoon-jae’s birthday, and she walks past the counter. She sees KKJ and her eyes widen.

Da-ran sits in a coffee shop with the watch and then slides the ring off her finger, pondering it again. She says to herself that she doesn’t have the courage to let go of her mental strings, but tosses the ring in a little glass and looks at it, wondering if she’ll manage not to show her feelings.

But Se-young and her friend see her, and even if you weren’t evil, it would be a suspicious series of actions for sure. She interprets them logically, and seethes.

Aunt and Uncle tell Mari that Kyung-joon’s dad came to see them, and plans to take Kyung-joon away. She worries, knowing that taking him away while he’s swapped is not a great idea.

Meanwhile Dad gets the results from Yoon-jae’s latest physical. His old illness has returned, and the doctor asks if Dad knows where the original donor is. Convenient he should be lying in this very hospital.

Kyung-joon gets called out by Se-young, who tells him what she saw today—Da-ran buying a man’s birthday present, and calling him her boyfriend. That gets his attention. But she’s not done—the whole time she was waiting to meet this guy, she took her wedding ring off and looked insanely happy.

Kyung-joon: “The ring?” I love that of all people, it’s Se-young delivering this news to him. He lights up. She adds that his mother told her that Da-ran agreed to let him go if he returned to his old self. That REALLY gets his attention. “Let Seo Yoon-jae go?”

And then to seal the deal, she says she saw the initials for the watch: K…K…J. He laughs, asks if she’s positive, and when she swears she is, he shoots up and heads toward the door, grinning, “Gil Da-ran, you’re dead.”

Awwwwwww yeah.

Da-ran waits for Kyung-joon on a bench, giddy with anticipation. She remembers her ring at the last minute and moves to put it on, when Kyung-joon appears.

“Gil Da-ran, are you cheating with another man? Is he the reason you were having such a hard time? Are his initials KKJ? Is it Kang Kyung-joon?”

He moves closer, and she puts the ring up to her finger like a threat, telling him not to come. But he just takes her hand, slipping his fingers through hers just below the ring. She tries to yank her hand away but he holds on.

Kyung-joon: “The wind has already blown [meaning the cheating’s been done], and the boat has already crossed the ocean that can’t be crossed. So what are you going to do?”

She looks up at him. She tries to wriggle her hand free, but then stops and looks at him again…

As he inches closer, she finally slides her fingers out of his grasp…

…so that the ring falls to the ground with a clink.

She closes her eyes and leans in just enough to meet his lips.

He pulls her in for a kiss. And another. Swooooon.

 
COMMENTS

I’m doing a happy dance, not just because they finally confessed their feelings, but because this show finally seems to be hitting the right buttons for me. Until Da-ran owned to her feelings, I pretty much struggled to understand her or care at all, but as soon as she began to wrestle with her feelings for Kyung-joon a few episodes back, I found a relatable, endearing side of her that I could care about.

And in this episode when she gets to the breaking point, my heart really goes out to her. We spent more than half the series with Kyung-joon as our only solid emotional anchor, but now Da-ran is pulling her weight as a character, and the story starts to feel right. Oh how I wish this were the case from the get-go.

I loved Da-ran’s conversation with Dad, because he’s her sunbae when it comes to this kind of relationship, and he has a really good point – once you love someone, isn’t regret something you only feel when you don’t try at all? No one regrets trying, but everyone will regret not having the courage to take that chance. It required a vast amount of courage from Kyung-joon, but thankfully he’s a fearless nineteen and has lots to spare—and finally, she takes that step. Oh the distance she traveled for that inch to meet his lips.

In the end the space between them is just a matter of perspective. She thinks it’s an ocean. He shows her it’s really one inch. But I love that it’s an inch she has to take, and he waits for her to make the decision. He forces her to face her feelings and be honest, but doesn’t force her choice. And that, I really really love about Kyung-joon.

The Who’s Your Daddy storyline is really limping along on its last leg, (If we have one more near-miss meeting, I’ll scream.) but the reintroduction of Yoon-jae’s childhood condition is at least a step forward for the brothers, and it takes us into interesting territory. I couldn’t care a rat’s patootie about either of the parents but I want Kyung-joon to know why he was born, and be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to save Yoon-jae… again. Because now it’s not just a body-soul thing, but a we-both-love-Gil-Da-ran thing, which confuses matters greatly.

Though it took nine million years, they made the love between Da-ran and Kyung-joon credible, and for that, I give you kisses, Show.

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205 July 16, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 13

by javabeans

Major revelations come pouring out, including the birth secret, the link between the brothers, and even the mechanism of the body-swap. It’s a lot to take in, and our characters struggle to deal with the aftermath of having their minds blown fifty ways to Sunday… and try to figure out what this means for them now. What really matters when all’s said and done?

SONG OF THE DAY

Suzy – “그래도 사랑해” (But I love you anyway) from the Big OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 13 RECAP

Da-ran owns up to her emotions, and smooch.

It’s a nice long kiss and they’re wrapped up in the moment, but when it ends Da-ran starts to blame herself Then she blames Kyung-joon for seducing her with all his thoughtfulness and cuteness and attention and care… and Kyung-joon just smiles, since it all amounts to “Why you gotta be so awesome?”

They extend the blowing-wind metaphor, which is also a figure of speech for cheating; she concedes that the wind blew her astray, but soon the wind will stop and she won’t shake anymore. But Kyung-joon says since she’s already shaking he’s going to make sure to uproot her entirely. Rawr.

He drags her off to celebrate his birthday, while at the hospital the nurses remember Little Kyung-joon’s birthday and send around slices of birthday cake. Se-young notices that it’s decorated with Kyung-joon’s initials, though she doesn’t link the KKJ as more than coincidence.

She speaks to Dr. Seo, Yoon-jae’s father, who asks for updates on the patient. Se-young agrees, since Dr. Seo is Kyung-joon’s father… just as Mari overhears around the corner. Dun dun dun!

Mari calls out to him and gets a good look at the doctor’s face: “But you’re Seo Yoon-jae’s father. Are you also Kyung-joon’s dad?” Thank goodness somebody knows!

Da-ran takes Kyung-joon to a restaurant where the wait staff sings him happy birthday. There’s a cake, beer mugs filled with orange juice, and birthday cone hats. Kyung-joon glowers, all, I’m not a baby!

Da-ran says that this is how kids celebrate, which has him scoffing at the inconsistency, given their very-not-kidlike makeout session earlier. Da-ran hushes him and mutters, “Let’s just say that was an American-style birthday greeting.” Then where’s MY kiss-dispensing Gong Yoo?

She says that while he may not have any hang-ups about this relationship, she’s not like him. He tells her to just kick away those doubts, but she sighs that she doesn’t have the strength. He offers to supply her with the needed strength via more of his awesome nice deeds.

Dr. Seo asks Mari not to cause trouble with this knowledge, saying he had his reasons for hiding his paternity. Those reasons aren’t important to Mari: “You wronged Kyung-joon, which makes you a bad person! Kyung-joon would be sad if he knew it.” She leaves muttering to herself that finding Dad just made things more complicated.

Kyung-joon takes a CF moment to demonstrate a nifty phone feature, presenting Da-ran with an e-ticket to the moon. In twenty years, surely it’ll be usable, right? And here I thought you were trying to prove you weren’t a kid. He suggests, “Let’s go together, listening to Seo Taiji’s 40th-anniversary album.” Ha. He says that they’ll see the Great Wall from the moon, and she’ll be glad he seduced her after all.

Da-ran is momentarily touched, then says glumly that she’s a lowly earthling: “Don’t drag me out into the universe. I’ll want to fall into a black hole and die.” He persists: “I’m going to keep seducing you. Be strong. Hold onto me.” And she’s resisting… why? You’ve already admitted you like him and moved on from the ex. I officially don’t get her.

Arriving home, he asks for his gift and she remembers the watch. He holds out his wrist so she can fasten the strap, which he equates to grabbing onto him (metaphorically, as in, I choo-choo-choose you). She doesn’t feel comfortable with the added meaning, but he refuses to accept the watch unless she fastens it for him. First the ring, now the watch; where would the Hong sisters be without symbolic jewelry?

Kyung-joon instructs her to take a good look at the watch. Pointing out the time (10:10), he says in a smooth, trance-inducing voice that every day at this time, she’ll think of him. Snap! “You’ve been hypnotized. Twice every day, when this watch hits this time, you’ll think of me. For the rest of your life.”

Mari arrives in time to catch the last exchange, and watches sadly as they bicker and joke. Kyung-joon heads off on an errand and Mari follows him to share her important news. She doesn’t want to be the reason for crushing his good mood, but he tells her to go ahead; he’s feeling so good he can stand to be let down a little.

Mari: “You like her that much?” Kyung-joon: “Yeah.”

Mari decides she doesn’t want to be the messenger and tells him she’ll have Da-ran tell him the bad news later.

That night, Da-ran dreams of the ticket sending her to the moon; she’s in a cartoonified landscape and thanks Kyung-joon for bringing her. Another scene has her in a submarine on the ocean floor (a reference to her other complaint, about wanting to throw herself into the ocean).

Okay, that’s sweet. Kyung-joon told her he’d essentially turn her lemons into lemonade, and here’s proof of that: the things she curses herself with have been turned into thoughtful gifts she’s thankful for.

Unconsciously, Da-ran’s arms spread out to form the 10:10 position on an imaginary clock.

In the morning, Da-ran finds the refrigerator stuffed with Vitamin Waters, their labels bearing the faces of Kyung-joon and Mari. I wonder what Dokko Jin would have to say about that. They’re Mari’s birthday gift; Kyung-joon notes that she can be single-minded once she’s latched on to an idea. Or a person.

Da-ran teases that he ought to feel pleased that a pretty girl is chasing after him, and he admits that Mari is “totally pretty.” And rich. That has her feeling a teeny bit insecure, especially when Kyung-joon says he’s sick of the bread she bought, which he’d liked until today. She notes, “Kids get sick of things quickly.” He calls her out for projecting her emotions onto the bread.

The thwarted lovers—Uncle and Vice Principal Kim—show up at the mandoo restaurant to make another go of their missed connections. Today Uncle’s wearing his old uniform to jog Mom’s memory, and it appears to do the trick, because Mom approaches with tearful eyes and reaches out to pat his hand… leaving a 1000 won bill inside. Ha, she thinks he’s a beggar. She clucks in dismay at his pathetic appearance and quietly asks him to leave, lest he disturb the clientele. This storyline’s going somewhere, right?

At school, Mari and Choong-shik notice that Da-ran’s missing her ring. Mari puts two and two together, reading the forgotten ring as a forgotten Yoon-jae, and insists on finding it right away.

They head back to the park/street where she dropped it last night, and Mari asks if she threw the ring away purposely. Da-ran hedges, saying she just forgot to retrieve it.

Mari also starts arranging for Da-ran to take over as the Bad News Messenger, and asks Da-ran to meet with Kyung-joon’s father.

At the hospital, Kyung-joon finds the Little Bear boy and wonders why he didn’t come to the playroom today. Little Bear tells him that Rabbit Girl is sicker and leads Kyung-joon to see her.

Kyung-joon flinches at the sight of bloodstains and excuses himself, unable to comply with the mother’s request to hold the girl’s hand. But he stops himself and returns with determination, taking Rabbit Girl’s hand. She squeezes tight.

Little Bear wonders why he’s scared—he’s a grown-up. Kyung-joon says that he’s not an adult, and besides, there are things adults can’t do—Little Bear will find out when he grows up. The boy just says matter-of-factly, “They say I won’t become a grown-up. Me and Ji-min [Rabbit] can’t live till we’re grown-ups.” Oof. That’s terrible.

Kyung-joon takes this in, then grabs Little Bear’s hand too. He declares, “You can too. You’ll grow into a big bear, and Rabbit will turn into a sexy rabbit. And Kang Kyung-joon will grow into an even more impressive person than Seo Yoon-jae. The three of us will keep growing.”

Da-ran sighs that it’s just as well that she lost the ring. It’s the easy way out—no ring, no need to explain why she has to return it to Yoon-jae—which is why she feels guilty when VP Kim admonishes, “You can’t do that! Find it and ask for forgiveness.” VP Kim’s actually addressing errant students, but Da-ran fidgets because the conversation applies to her.

Da-ran imagines herself as an errant student herself:

Da-ran: “I know, I’m dumb. I’m just going to say I lost the ring and not go to Kyung-joon either.”
VP Kim: “Do you want to go to K-K-J? If you do, find the ring, return it, and receive forgiveness properly.”
Da-ran: “I’m scared.”
VP Kim: “If you’re certain you want to go to him, be courageous.”
Da-ran: “How do I know if I’m certain or not?”
VP Kim: “Ten-ten. If that catches you, you’re certain.”

So Da-ran heads off making ten-ten arms, intending to find out whether she’s “caught” or not—aka, whether her feelings are on the hook. But strangely, everything reminds her of Kyung-joon. She hallucinates the wrong time on the clock—ten-ten, of course and imagines everybody walking by with their arms outstretched in clock positions. “My clock is set to ten-ten all day long!”

Kyung-joon has been waiting for ages at the bus stop for her, and asks the rhetorical question, “Do you know what time it is?!” She mumbles, “Ten-ten. My heart definitely wants to go to you.”

His smile is infectious. Da-ran decides, “I have to have courage. I have to start by finding the ring.”

She darts off to find the ring again, not seeing that Choong-shik is already there, also looking. (Aw. I love him.) Yet Choong-shik hears a very different conversation, as Kyung-joon asks about the forgiveness she wants to ask. Is that going to reverse everything? How can that happen when she’s already cheated, and already “crossed the uncrossable sea to KKJ last night”?

Da-ran admits, “Yesterday, I was just ashamed of being found out. If I want to keep going forward, I have to have courage and seek forgiveness.” Kyung-joon: “Then are you going to find the ring, dump Seo Yoon-jae, and go to KKJ?” Da-ran tells him forgiveness comes first. That’s something she needs to do, so she asks him to leave.

Choong-shik reacts in horror, bursting home in panic to tell his parents of this calamity. The Gil family’s eldest daughter has had an affair.

Mom smashes a watermelon with her bare fist. Dad’s worse—he beelines to the police station to arrest his own daughter of adultery. He literally has her locked up, telling her to reflect on her misdeeds.

Kyung-joon sees her being taken away in a cop car and heads to the station, where he faces Dad and says that Da-ran’s affair was caused by his own. Dad locks him up, too.

They sit in their cell together, sorta chuckling at the situation, which confuses Dad. The police officer tells Dad to let it go; he’ll let them out after they’ve had some time to reconcile.

Kyung-joon says it’s too bad they’re getting their new start in a jail cell, but she says it’s fine: “I have a hard time when I waffle and then the situation explodes”—YOU DON’T SAY—”but once it’s out, I’m good at withstanding the frightening things.” If they’re together, she tells him they’ll be seeing their share of ugly places on top of the pretty ones; it’s not all moon travels and roses.

Kyung-joon holds out his hand and she takes it. Adorably, he says, “Now even this place seems pretty.” She agrees, and they admires the cell, not so ugly anymore after all. Aww. Then she falls asleep on his shoulder, which he thoroughly enjoys.

Mari shows Choong-shik the replica ring she bought, thinking now Da-ran can reconcile with Yoon-jae. Except Choong-shik says that Da-ran wanted the ring so she could end the relationship. Mari protests that Da-ran can’t like anybody other than Yoon-jae—she promised!

The couple walk home together after being freed, and Da-ran muses that she’ll have to apologize to Yoon-jae first before going to Kyung-joon. She says Yoon-jae comes first, but he’s not offended since she’s speaking in terms of the right order of things. He agrees, adding, “But when I return to myself, hold my hand when I wake up. I’m scared too, about whether I’ll return safely.”

She promises. Kyung-joon teases a little, asking what she’ll do if he runs away while she’s off dealing with Yoon-jae. He throws her words back at her: “You know, kids change their minds easily.” He holds out his wrist, telling her to put the watch on so he can’t run.

She fastens the watch. He wonders what time it is, and she readily replies, “Ten-ten.” It isn’t, but she explains, “It was ten-ten all day for me.” Aww. He holds out his ten-ten arms, and she hugs him. Gah, so cute.

And around the corner, Stalker Mari cries.

Mom From Hell flips out when Dr. Seo tells her that Yoon-jae had a relapse recently. He was waiting till Kyung-joon woke up to tell her, but she yells, “Yoon-jae comes first!” Yeah, I think you made that clear.

Mari sets up the meeting between Da-ran and Kyung-joon’s father at Uncle’s restaurant. She asks if Da-ran will put the ring back on when she finds it, and Da-ran admits that she was the one to take it off. Mari deliberately ignores the implication and says, “So what if you took it off? You can just put it back on. I’ll find it so you can wear it again.”

To answer the question of how The Body can have relapsed without Kyung-joon knowing about it, a doctor friend asks if he’s had tests done lately. Is he ill? Kyung-joon replies that his father’s on top of the results, but the friend urges him to look at the tests himself.

So Kyung-joon speaks with a doctor and finds out that his body is ailing. The doctor assures him that his father’s working on the donor, so he’ll be fine.

Mom From Hell tells Se-young about Yoon-jae’s relapse from his unnamed illness, but figures it’s a simple matter of harvesting Kyung-joon for another transplant. Ugh, I hate you. Se-young protests that you can’t do that without the guardian’s consent, but Mom argues that they’re Kyung-joon’s parents, and Dr. Seo is meeting the legal guardian. Easy peasy. If you have no soul.

Se-young, to her credit, seems skeeved out but Mom presses, saying that all they need is Kyung-joon’s blood. She doesn’t even intend to tell her son about the identity of the donor, and asks for Se-young’s cooperation.

Thus Se-young prepares to do the not-quite-authorized blood collecting, against her better judgment. Um, I know Mom’s the devil, but shouldn’t you have some kind of medical ethics other than “The guardian will agree, I’m sure of it”? God, you people.

Yoon-jae’s illness revelation comes as a shock, and Kyung-joon thinks back to the clues, like the essay Yoon-jae wrote about the warm hand that reached out to him and saved his life.

Mari finds him to inform him that Da-ran is meeting somebody today. She’s cryptic about the bad news that’ll make him unhappy, telling him to hear it from Da-ran directly.

And then… Kyung-joon is hit with another brainwave of pain. Se-young hasn’t yet injected Little Kyung-joon’s body when it lurches in bed. She puts down the needle and checks on the body’s condition, and from the other end Kyung-joon has the hazy vision of Se-young and Mom hovering over his bed.

A few moments later, his spirit snaps back into the shell-body, leaving him wondering what he just saw. He beelines for his hospital room.

Se-young declares Little Kyung-joon’s condition stable again, but tells Mom she can’t go through with it—consent comes first. Phew, so she’s still got her soul. And also, DUH.

Kyung-joon steps inside the room just as Mom protests that this is for Yoon-jae’s sake—and it’s not even a big deal. All they need is a few shots and a little blood. What’s a little non-consent between friends?

Se-young says no, advising Mom to tell Yoon-jae everything first. She concedes that there’s no better donor than Kyung-joon, “because he has the same mother and father as Yoon-jae.” Uh-oh. Se-young continues, “But taking his blood like this, secretly like a thief, is not right.” Well, blow me away, I kinda want to golf-clap for the Bitter Other Woman.

She heads for the exit, stopping short: “Yoon-jae!”

Kyung-joon asks for explanation, and Mom confirms what we know: That they’re brothers, and that Kyung-joon was conceived to save Yoon-jae.

Mari also overhears this exchange from the door, because why mess with a perfect record? Far be it for her to miss ANY secret conversations in this episode.

Kyung-joon asks fiercely, “What were you about to do to that kid?” Se-young tells him to ask his mother. Even caught red-handed, Mom has no shame; she says he’s looking at her with colder, scarier eyes than the first time she told him the story, pre-amnesia. But, “I don’t care. If I can save you, it doesn’t matter. Because to me, Yoon-jae, you come first before anything else.”

Ooof. Terrible words to hear from the mother you just realized you had. He asks, “You’re Kang Kyung-joon’s mother?” She nods and says that after giving birth to Yoon-jae, she couldn’t have any more children. Hence the surrogate. She entreats him to think of curing himself first—”With this child, you can be saved.” Afterward, he can blame his parents all he wants. Why, thank you for that permission.

Kyung-joon walks away in shock.

Meanwhile, Da-ran sits with Uncle and rises expectantly when Dad’s arrival is noted. And… then father-in-law and daughter-in-law gape at each other, confused. Uncle confirms that this is Kyung-joon’s father.

At the house, Mari sits with a numb Kyung-joon, who wonders, “So you’re telling me my mother… isn’t my mother? Now I know why I was swapped with Seo Yoon-jae. The reason he was lying there waiting, not waking up… was so he could live.” Aww. When you put it that way, it sounds pretty fucked up. He wonders whether saving Yoon-jae, who saved him in the water, will swap them back: “It was a clear case of give and take.”

Mari suggests that after it’s all done, they can retreat to the States. But he says no, “I won’t go. Gil Da-ran will stay with me. I’m going to ignore everything—they’re people who don’t matter to me anyway. If my blood can save us, I’ll just pretend not to know and end it all.” Oh no, are you thinking to stay stuck in this body forever?

Mari challenges him—he’s wrong, and Da-ran already knows. She went to meet his father today. She explains wanting to tell him herself, but she decided to let Da-ran break the bad news per his wishes.

Da-ran sits with Dr. Seo, who explains that he drew the Miracle picture for his sons. He wanted to wait to tell Yoon-jae the truth, because if he knew, he might refuse his surgery.

But the trouble is, they’re running out of time. He asks Da-ran to persuade Yoon-jae to agree to the surgery. Eeeek. Rock and Hard Place, say hello. Shake hands. Get to know each other.

Mari feeds Kyung-joon just enough truth mixed with falsities to rattle his confidence. He argues that Da-ran wouldn’t pretend not to know the truth, but Mari counters that she would if she was doing it all for Yoon-jae: “Because to her, Seo Yoon-jae’s more important.” Kyung-joon, tearing up, denies it—Mari’s lying.

Kyung-joon heads straight to see his parents, and asks if Da-ran was here. Mom thinks this is a sign of his turnaround and smiles, “So she must have convinced you.” Augh.

When Da-ran comes home, Mari confirms that she knows about Yoon-jae being sick.

Mari: “Kyung-joon knows everything. This is all your fault. Seo Yoon-jae being sick and Kyung-joon being sad, that’s all because of you. Kyung-joon says he’s going to ignore it because those people don’t matter. That he’ll just stay with you. So he’s going to ignore Seo Yoon-jae too. This is all because of you. You broke your promise to never, ever like him, and things ended up like this. If Kyung-joon saves Seo Yoon-jae, everything will return to its place. For that to happen, you have to cut Kyung-joon free.”

Mari hands her the ring and asks her to keep her promise to only like Yoon-jae. Da-ran stutters that she can’t do that now, but Mari bursts out, “Then pretend! If you try to be greedy and stay with Kyung-joon, Kyung-joon and Seo Yoon-jae will both die.”

Showing her steel, Mari says, “I can lie if it’s for Kyung-joon’s sake. Teacher, you lie too. Please, tell Kyung-joon to return to himself.”

Da-ran contemplates her dilemma in tears, but she’s calm by the time Kyung-joon finally comes home. He asks, heart in his throat, “Did you really know everything?” She answers yeah.

He asks why she pretended not to know, asking in part-hope, “It’s because you’re worried about me, isn’t it? I’m so angry and afraid. Gil Da-ran, hold my hand.”

He reaches out and puts his hand on hers. She places one on top of that, but it’s not to hold it—it’s to push him away. And adding insult to injury, it’s the hand that wears Yoon-jae’s ring.

Da-ran: “I can’t hold your hand right now. Yoon-jae comes first. I’m going to hold onto Yoon-jae again. Ten-ten has past, and the wind around me has stopped. Kyung-joon-ah, save Yoon-jae. And go back.”

Augh, those eyes. Kyung-joon says, “If that’s what you want.”

 
COMMENTS

On the upside, all the secrets are out, and everyone knows everything. Hurrah for that!

If the Hong sisters learned something from My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, it’s that relationship angst doesn’t get any better (in terms of motivation) than true life-or-death stakes, which they then also applied to Best Love. When your big obstacle is a Meddling Other, or a Disapproving Parent, the conflict can only go so far before the audience is scoffing, “So what? Just be together already.” When it’s death, however, you really can’t argue with the stakes. They’re big, and finite. If being together means one of you dies, then the show has effectively created a solid rationale for the angst, and upped the ante.

On the downside, I sort of hate that in order for this conflict to work, everybody has become kind of hateful. Right now I pretty much hate everybody in the Seo family, which irrationally includes Yoon-jae (for seeming weak and easily manipulated) even though I know he was purposely kept from the truth and was probably trying to do the right thing. But since we never got to know him outside of flashbacks from other people’s POVs, I’m not all that inclined to cut him slack, especially when he’s the object of such creepy-fierce maternal affection. And when that maternal affection is basically the root of all evil.

Seriously, what is WITH Mom? I understand that we need that antagonistic force propelling the conflict, but one of these days I’m going to have to write a treatise on the Hong sisters’ terrible depictions of motherhood and how it unfortunately tends to undermine all the awesome and kickass heroines they’ve created over the years. In every drama, you’ve got either an absentee or outright terrible mother (Delightful Girl Chun-hyang flighty, My Girl absent, You’re Beautiful godawful, Gumiho absent…). In this drama, there’s no explanation for the horribleness other than that this particular character is a horrible excuse for a human being. It’s so irritating. Give us characterization, psyche, explanation. It’s the same problem with Da-ran; painted only on the surface, with little driving her under the topmost layer.

I feared for Kyung-joon’s reaction to the news, and on one hand I think he took it much better than I worried… but instead he’s poured all of his hope into one person, and that one person is playing noble eejit at the moment. Again, thanks to the life-death setup we can’t blame her for urging him to have the surgery and swap back, but it effectively isolates Kyung-joon and gives him little choice. I suppose he could reject her request anyway, but what would be the point when she’s threatening to remove herself from his life anyway? So he readily agrees, because she asked him. We know it’s really to save his life, but it feels like a betrayal.

I did briefly wonder why they can’t just do the operation and resume the romance post-swap, but I can see where the very act of complying with the Seo family is symbolic. He doesn’t want to help them, he doesn’t want to be their key to happiness and survival, because they don’t deserve that of him. So if he’s going to do it, he’s going to have to understand that he’s putting aside his objections to help them, even though it also means he’s helping himself too.

All that heaviness aside, I did find the clock metaphor really cute, if obvious. It’s not a new idea, but it’s a sweet way of visualizing one of those universal truths about being in love and seeing your beloved in everything. It’s just in this case, your beloved is an extended metaphor. That it happens to form the perfect position for enthusiastic bear-hugging is just an added bonus.

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302 July 17, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 14

by girlfriday

Just when you think you’ve gotten through all the major revelations, more twists and turns come barreling through everyone’s lives like a tornado. The twists are cool, but the way everyone’s acting has me climbing the walls and losing my patience. Must everyone be on the path to noble idiocy? And if you get found out and keep going down that road anyway, doesn’t that just make you… an idiot? Thankfully Kyung-joon’s heartbreaking reactions keep me grounded in the moments, otherwise I’d just be throwing things.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

In a dream, Da-ran walks down a hall, where Kyung-joon is standing at the end, bathed in light. Or is it Yoon-jae? She asks, and he answers cryptically, “The one Gil Da-ran wants it to be.”

Then they’re suddenly in a dark hospital room, with a body covered by a sheet. It’s Kyung-joon’s body, and she asks who this one is. “The one Gil Da-ran let go.”

She looks back over in alarm, and then they switch places – Yoon-jae in the bed, and Kyung-joon standing next to her. And then back again, as Yoon-jae says, “The one you let go will disappear forever.”

Crap. That’s pretty much worst-case scenario, as far as omens go. She looks back, and then they both disappear, and she’s left standing there alone.

She wakes up with a start and finds Kyung-joon awake too. She asks if he’s sick and tries to drag him to the hospital, but he pulls away coldly, saying that if she pushes, he’ll just run away.

He looks down at his watch and scoffs, thinking now that she cuffed him to her because of this, and not because she wanted him by her side. Ow, that hurts my heart. Stop letting him think these horrible things!

In the morning, he ignores breakfast and the note to go to the hospital from Da-ran, and Mari comes by with a see-didn’t-I-tell-you-so, to confirm that Da-ran followed through with the lie. Now you’re gloating? Can we put her on a plane already?

Kyung-joon asks her point-blank if she asked Da-ran to lie to him, and Mari stammers a no. But he says it doesn’t matter – regardless of the reason, he can never forgive the fact that Da-ran let him go.

He says he doesn’t need anybody and doesn’t care. He’ll just give them what they want and then disappear forever. Aw. See what happens when you lie?

Da-ran goes to see the boys’ mom and asks what’ll happen to Kyung-joon after the transplant. Mom says Dad will take care of him.

Da-ran insists that Kyung-joon will wake up, and demands that Mom beg that child for forgiveness, and even if he says he’s fine and pushes her away, to grab hold of him and spend the rest of her life making it up to him. “Don’t ever leave him alone.”

Mom: “Don’t concern yourself with that child. Yoon-jae comes first.” Da-ran: “No. Kyung-joon-ie comes first.” Hell yeah. Finally she does something I can cheer for. She asks for Mom to promise to put Kyung-joon first. And you trust this woman to keep her word?

Da-ran asks her to swear that she’ll say that she’s sorry and grateful to Kyung-joon in front of Yoon-jae, otherwise she won’t convince Yoon-jae to undergo treatment. Mom agrees.

She drags Kyung-joon out to dinner with the parents, and he goes with revengey thoughts, wondering how traumatized they’d be if he told them it’s Kyung-joon in their precious Yoon-jae’s body.

But he doesn’t go through with it, and Mom does what Da-ran asked. She tells Yoon-jae that they’re always really sorry and grateful for Kyung-joon and want to keep him close and make it up to him when he wakes up.

That gives Kyung-joon pause, but he says that that isn’t necessary. Mom says she’s going to hold onto him and spend the rest of her life making it up to him, and adds that it’s what Da-ran asked of her.

Da-ran says that Kyung-joon is kind and smart, and notes that Mom picks the beans out of her rice just like Kyung-joon does. She says that if she nags him enough, he’ll eat the beans when she’s not looking because he’s a good kid who listens to your requests when you ask sincerely.

Mom marvels that a child she’s never met could take after her in some way. And then she admits that it could very easily have been the other way around—Kyung-joon could have been her son and Yoon-jae born to save him. What?

She explains that Yoon-jae and Kyung-joon aren’t just brothers… they’re fraternal twins, separated on purpose by the parents. One to be born right away through in vitro, the other saved for later. Saved for later?! Like a frickin’ cookie?!

She says that the order could just as easily have been reversed. Kyung-joon gapes, “That’s when it was decided? That Yoon-jae would be first and Kyung-joon would wait… and then wake up when he was needed? That was it?”

Da-ran takes his hand, but he throws her off and storms out, “This time it’s Seo Yoon-jae’s turn to wait, so go ahead and wait with desperation.”

Damn. They’re TWINS? Separated by twelve years? Well it’s far more interesting than a pair of brothers, I’ll give you that.

Da-ran chases him out and he throws his hand up, “You said Seo Yoon-jae’s hand is warm but mine is cold. Now we know why. I had to wait so long it froze.” Ouuuuch. He goes to the hospital and sits with his body, wondering aloud why they keep telling him things he never wanted to know.

Da-ran sits at home with the Miracle book, wondering, “If all this is a miracle, then Kyung-joon-ie has to have a happy ending.”

Choong-shik gets grilled about noona’s marital status, and Mom asks if he’s figured out who KKJ is. He says he searched all the teachers and Da-ran’s friends, but came up empty. He wonders, “Maybe it’s not a person, but a code… like… Kiss Kiss Jagi-ya.” Pfft.

What’s ever funnier is that Mom calls him smart, and asks him to keep searching. Choong-shik IS smart enough to know that the only KKJ in noona’s life is Kang Kyung-joon, but of course wouldn’t suspect that connection in a million years.

Kyung-joon goes to see Aunt and Uncle to tell them that he’s going to be taking over care of Kyung-joon and his estate. They kick up a fuss, but “Yoon-jae” has his bases covered—he has legal consent from Kyung-joon and he’s his hyung.

Uncle’s jaw drops to realize that they share a dad, and he says that when Dad came by, he sang a different tune. He said he didn’t care about the money, but just wanted to take care of Kyung-joon, because he was the son of the woman he loved.

That in turn confuses Kyung-joon, who says Hee-soo would never have done that for love. It must have been money. But this time it’s Uncle who knows his sister better than anyone, and says she grew up wealthy to begin with—it was for love that she had Kyung-joon and raised him in the States all alone.

That just gets Kyung-joon’s blood pressure rising yet again, as he says with fire in his eyes that those people used his mother’s love for their gain. He confronts the parents, demanding to know if Dad loved Hee-soo.

He says he did, but has no right to. With tears and a quivering lip that just breaks my heart, Kyung-joon searches Dad’s face, “If you loved her, you should’ve stopped her! How could you just leave her be? You used her!”

Mom admits that it was all her doing—she asked Hee-soo, because there was nothing she wouldn’t do to save Yoon-jae. Kyung-joon turns her words around and says there’s nothing he can’t do now then, and walks out.

Mom is hateful, there’s no doubt about that, but she’s willing to take all the blame, even for Dad’s part in everything, which makes me think she feels a lot guiltier than she lets on.

Mari has followed him back and forth this whole time, and now as he walks past her dejectedly, her heart sinks.

Da-ran waits and waits and calls and calls, with no answer. Kyung-joon sits at a bar nursing a drink, and I guess it says something about the portrayal of the character that it looks wrong to me. You’re barely legal!

He thinks back to Mom’s words about Hee-soo being kind and willing to listen to their request, the same words Da-ran had used to describe him. He balls up his fist in anger.

Mari tries to follow him in but gets denied at the door, so she has to turn back. Kyung-joon finally answers a call from Da-ran and says that he’s drinking. “Stop me if you can. Because I’m a good kid who listens to your requests when you ask sincerely.”

She comes running in to find him lining up shots of whiskey. He tells her to ask him sincerely to stop, and if her sincerity gets through, he will. He picks up the first glass, “Do you really think those people are my parents?” She says yes. He downs the shot.

He picks up the second, “Do you think that I have to accept and listen to those people, who aren’t even parents?” She answers yes. He downs another.

She begs him to stop acting like a child. He says it’s not working and gulps down another one. He asks if she thinks it’s a given that he should give up everything for Yoon-jae. She sighs and answers yes again, because that’s how Yoon-jae will live. He grumbles that it’s killing him, and drinks.

She tries to stop him, and he whirls around and yells at her to tell him the truth then. “Tell me to do whatever I want! That no matter what I do, that I come first! That because I’m first, you can let go of everything else!”

Oof. It’s everything she’s feeling, but she doesn’t admit it, and says that she can’t. “You won’t do that. Because you’re a good kid.”

He looks at her with heartbroken eyes, “You sincerely believe that. That because I like you, I’ll do whatever you ask.” She says yes, “Because I trust you.”

He finally stops with the drinks and gets up, refusing to let her touch him. He washes his face in the bathroom and says aloud to himself, “I won’t be used so easily, like my mother was.” He turns to go, and leaves his watch on the sink. Sadness.

Mari comes running in with a guardian in tow, but Kyung-joon is long gone. The manger says her friend left his watch behind though, and she takes it.

At home, Kyung-joon picks up the Miracle book with a smirk, fueled by drunken anger. “Miracle? You mean a miracle for Seo Yoon-jae, and misfortune for me.” He throws it to the ground and stalks off.

Da-ran picks it up and reads it, thinking that Kyung-joon saved Yoon-jae when he was born, then Yoon-jae saved Kyung-joon in the accident. And now it’s Kyung-joon’s turn to save Yoon-jae… only if this is the end, how will it be a happy one?

Se-young meets Mom for coffee and says that Yoon-jae needs the transfusion soon. Mom says that Da-ran is trying to convince him, but she’s curiously more concerned about Kyung-joon. Se-young thinks that’s weird, since she assumed Yoon-jae would be her priority.

Da-ran makes breakfast and tells Kyung-joon to go the hospital. Today he says he will, replying numbly that he’ll do as she asks and get it all over with.

It’s then that they both notice his watchless wrist, and he searches his room for it. Well at least you didn’t know—I thought you left it at the bar on purpose. Da-ran asks him about it, but he pretends not to notice or care.

He wonders to himself what the point of finding it is, when he’s going to leave it all behind. At school Da-ran sighs thinking that if she had just given it to him as a regular ol’ birthday gift, he could’ve just kept wearing it.

Ae-kyung absently asks what time it is, and Da-ran looks down at her own watch. It’s actually 10:10, and Da-ran breaks down in tears, “It’s 10:10. Ae-kyung-ah… I think it’s going to be 10:10 for the rest of my life!”

At the hospital, Kyung-joon administers the drug to his comatose body, and Se-young marvels that when Yoon-jae does it, Kyung-joon stays calm. He mutters if this is what he studied medicine for, feeling bitter about its use now.

He says that Seo Yoon-jae is pathetic, and Se-young says that Kyung-joon wouldn’t think that way about saving his big brother, but Kyung-joon says he would very much, actually. Heh. Can’t argue with that.

He then takes Da-ran to see his parents, and agrees to be treated—but at Dad’s hospital in Germany, and by himself. He asks if they love him to stay by Kyung-joon’s side.

Da-ran runs after him to say she’ll go with him, but he asks her to keep her one promise, to be there when he wakes up in his own body. She promises that she will.

Da-ran tells her family that Yoon-jae will be in Germany for a while because of work, and that she’ll be back home. They worry, and she doesn’t tell them anything, but does indicate that she and Yoon-jae are not planning their futures together.

Choong-shik is already depressed at that news, when Mari says she’s planning to leave to chase after someone else. She tells him to erase her from his brain.

He points to his head and says it won’t matter. She’s not in there, but in here, and taps his heart. So cute. How could you not love him?

Da-ran gives Kyung-joon a plane ticket from his dad and says they’ll all come to the airport. She asks if he’s going because of her, and offers to move out of the house if that’ll get him to stay.

He says he’s selling the house anyway, and tells her to throw everything they gave each other out, and he’ll do the same. He adds coldly that the only thing she ever did for him was give him that watch, and since he already lost it, there won’t be much cleaning up for him to do.

But once she’s gone he heads to the bar to retrieve it, and finds that Mari has her grubby paws on it. He finds her at the hospital and demands she give it back. She swears she doesn’t have it and he calls her a liar, but she says she’s going to stick to her lie until he lets it go. He tells her to lie to the end then.

Da-ran shows up at the bar to look for the watch, only to hear that Kyung-joon came to do the same. She lights up at that, but when she gets home, she sees him throwing out the watch box.

She asks if he’s really going to throw it away, and he says he’s not like someone who picks up something she threw away to wear it again. He glances at her ring, and she instinctively hides it.

Her heart sinks all over again, thinking he found the watch just to throw it away.

He visits his body in the hospital, staring at the Miracle picture from his wallet. This time he drops it on the ground without looking back. But the wind picks it up and it floats away…

Kyung-joon goes to say goodbye to the parents, saying cryptic things like, “It’s the last time, so give your son a hug,” and “Keep waiting for your son to return,” like he’s on a suicide mission. I have a bad feeling about this.

Downstairs he says goodbye to Da-ran and tells her to hug Yoon-jae too, but she tells him to stop acting this way. She takes out the Miracle book and says she’s thought long and hard about the miracle that swapped their souls.

“Isn’t it possible that your body grew so that your heart could grow and you could deal with these things like an adult?” He argues that his body may have grown overnight, but his heart didn’t, and he’s not an adult.

She believes firmly that all this happened so that he can be happy—so that he could have a family. All he needs to do is open his heart to accept them. But he says curtly that there’s no such thing as a miracle to rapid-grow a heart.

She wants him to wake up and be happy, but he says this story is about Yoon-jae being happy, so she can wait for Yoon-jae to return and be happy with him and his family, while Kyung-joon disappears from the picture.

With that, he heads to the airport alone.

Da-ran and the parents wait by Kyung-joon’s bedside, and Mom wonders how she’ll face him when he wakes up. Da-ran just asks her to be sincere, and Mom admits now that she couldn’t accept him because of Dad’s love for Hee-soo. But Dad had the hardest time of all, because he loved her and spent his whole life being unhappy.

Kyung-joon arrives at the airport, where Mari is already packed and waiting. She tells him she’s going to Germany with him, and he tells her she can go, since he never planned on going there in the first place. I knew it! You had all the signs of a teenage runaway.

He says he’s going to disappear in this body, and leave them all waiting and wondering. He tells Mari to go back and tell them about the body swap too—that way they’ll be in even bigger pain.

Mari tries to stop him—it’s dangerous. What if something happens and he dies? But Kyung-joon scoffs that when it becomes dangerous for this body, he’s sure that Yoon-jae will figure it out and re-swap, since this is all about him. He stalks off, leaving Mari panicked.

He won’t listen to her, so she calls Da-ran in tears. Da-ran runs to the airport, thinking back to what he said at the bar, that the only way to stop him was to be sincere and tell him the truth.

She catches up to him just before he enters the gate, and he stops in his tracks at the sound of her voice, but doesn’t turn around. She says through tears:

“I’ll tell you the truth. Will you listen? Your father loved your mother sincerely. But to save his sick son, it was the only thing he could do. So he spent his whole life unhappy. Kyung-joon-ah, don’t go. Save Yoon-jae-sshi, even if it’s difficult. In exchange I’ll live the rest of my life being unhappy. I probably will anyway… because I love you.”

OR… you could just be happy with each other?? Sigh. Anyway…

A tear falls as she says the words, and he turns to face her. He wonders how things could be this way, because now Gil Da-ran will end up unhappy too.

Mari walks up to see them facing each other in tears.

At the hospital, Teddy finds the Miracle picture that Kyung-joon dropped, and gives it to Rabbit to make her feel better. These two are so cute. She recognizes it right away as the angel picture that Doctor Seo showed her a while back, from his book.

At home, Da-ran says as much to Kyung-joon, that Yoon-jae had the book too, and that he must’ve been searching for Kyung-joon intending to make things better for him, not worse. Kyung-joon complains that he should’ve woken up in the other body then, if he was so concerned, instead of leaving him alone to deal with all this.

He picks up the book and decides to go find out the story from Dad. Dad says he drew the pictures, but didn’t write the story. That was Hee-soo.

Kyung-joon goes to ask the art professor about it, since she first gave it to him asking for him to pass it along to Yoon-jae on his eighteenth birthday. The professor recalls now that she had made the book in hopes that when the two brothers would meet someday, that they would help each other find happiness.

She had always thought of Yoon-jae with a thankful heart, because he’s the reason she had Kyung-joon in her life. She had planned that when Kyung-joon grew to be Yoon-jae’s age, she’d tell him about his parents and his brother, so he wouldn’t be lonely.

Kyung-joon argues that it’s not exactly going according to plan—nothing he’s discovered will help make Kyung-joon’s life any happier. But the professor argues just the opposite. Kyung-joon knows nothing of what happened while he was sleeping. So when he wakes up, he will have a brother and parents waiting for him.

Then a new truth dawns on Kyung-joon, and he sits a while with the book to suss it out. “To be the happy miracle that Mom wanted, my memory has to disappear from that moment [of the accident]. The reason that Seo Yoon-jae isn’t waking up in my body and has stopped time… Is that to save me, to make me happy? If that’s another miracle… when I return to my body, I lose the memory of everything that happened here.”

Ruh-roh.

Mari asks Da-ran why she said those things to Kyung-joon at the airport. Da-ran replies that nothing but the sincere truth would’ve stopped him. Mari asks nervously: Then is she going to hold onto Kyung-joon?

Da-ran says no, “Because I like him so much, I said I wouldn’t hold onto him.” BUH. If the theme in this drama is that adults do everything ass-backwards, then I guess kudos for sticking to your guns. I’ll just go be annoyed in the corner.

She sighs that she wanted to hide it and let Kyung-joon return to his place, and Mari tells her to erase it all from her brain. Da-ran wishes she could.

At the same time, Kyung-joon sits at home, thinking of all his happy memories with Da-ran, as if watching them replay in front of him. He repeats her words, “It’s strange. Why am I so happy you came?” He smiles and reaches out to her, but she disappears.

He starts to cry, and this is an angst that I understand and agree with—the fear that going back will be giving up the fact that he loved her… I mean, what higher price could there be?

He makes her his famous chicken dish for dinner that night, and says that tomorrow is the big day. He tells her to be by Yoon-jae’s side instead, and not to be there when he wakes up. He makes her promise. Oh god, this is killing me.

He says that he’s going to pretend like none of this ever happened, so not to feel too bad. She agrees that if he acts like it never happened, she will too. No! Don’t do it!

She’s on the verge of tears so she goes to the fridge, and muffles her cries. At the table Kyung-joon starts to cry too, and covers his mouth. They each cry silently, not wanting to be heard by the other.

It’s D-Day, and Kyung-joon braces himself, as Da-ran and Mari wait outside. Se-young finishes prep and he says he’ll do it himself, and the machine starts to pump the blood from Kyung-joon’s veins.

He holds his own hand. At the same time, Teddy and Rabbit hold the Miracle picture and argue over which angel is prettier, while spinning the card back and forth.

The room starts to spin and Kyung-joon falls to the ground.

Se-young comes to tell the girls that Yoon-jae collapsed. Mari takes off running toward Kyung-joon. He’s still asleep.

Da-ran goes to Yoon-jae. He stirs awake and she calls out to him nervously, “Kyung-joon-ah.”

He looks back at her without saying anything, and gets up. He looks around, confused, slowly taking it all in.

She asks again, “You’re Kyung-joon-ie, right?”

 
COMMENTS

Ooh, you WOULD cut there. If they’re going to swap back at all, they’d better have swapped there, otherwise yet another fakeout would just make me kick something. I want enough time in the final week for Da-ran to show us that she loves Kyung-joon the same in his own body, and if they don’t switch back now, there’s not a lot of screentime left to convince me. I’m not worried that she won’t, but I need to see it in drama time to be left satisfied at the pairing, because we’ve spent ninety percent of the drama getting attached to the hero in the wrong body.

While I understand each character’s motivation for perpetuating a lie, it’s stupid and frustrating when you consider the alternative, which involves trusting the other person to be mature and just do the right thing. At least Kyung-joon’s big rebellion made Da-ran confess her feelings, though it packs less of a punch than the first time, because you’ve spent the entire last episode going, but you guys already know that you love each other! This whole noble sacrifice trope is such a staple of dramaland that when I encounter characters who just take the other face value with no new twist, it leaves me frustrated.

I think the memory dilemma is far more interesting as far as big final arcs go, because then you’re setting up something massive for Kyung-joon to lose in saving Yoon-jae. I wish this had been the focus of the will-he-or-won’t-he-save-him, rather than the family strife and just wanting to make them feel bad. They certainly deserve that and worse, but ultimately I don’t care about that nearly as much as I do about the soul-body-teacher love triangle.

I like the idea that Yoon-jae might not be waking up in Kyung-joon’s body to somehow facilitate his waking up with a clean slate, to give his little brother a second chance at life. And on the flipside is Kyung-joon’s price, in forgetting that he ever loved Da-ran, and that she loved him back. It’s a great conflict, and I think one that should’ve been given more weight instead of the parental drama.

The twin twist is a great one, since it makes the age question even stranger. It’s so much crueler to know that the order could have been reversed, and that Kyung-joon could have been the older one who was the right age for Da-ran, and that it was just a luck of the draw, weird twist of fate that he ended up the twin born twelve years later. In that sense the age gap is artificial, and Kyung-joon should technically be twelve years older than he is right now. How strange to think of the body swap as Fate course-correcting. I still hold out hope that the real solution for a happy ending to the so-called miracle is to return to their own bodies, souls intact. Even if Kyung-joon wakes up with no memory of the events of the past year and he has to fall in love with Da-ran all over again from the beginning, I’d rather he do that than be stuck in his brother’s body for the rest of his life, twin or not.

 
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243 July 23, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 15

by javabeans

Oy, my head hurts. This wasn’t a straight-up bad episode, which I might have even been fine with, given the entertainment value of bad. (See: Dr. Jin.) Instead, it was outright incomprehensible, leaving me scratching my head in confusion and wondering if I suddenly lost a few brain cells in the story comprehension department, because I felt like everyone in the drama was acting like stuff made sense… only IT MADE NO SENSE. I don’t understand. I don’t understand. I don’t understand.

SONG OF THE DAY

Hey – “Une Dance” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 15 RECAP

Kyung-joon initiates the blood transfusion with his body, leaving us to wonder: Did he swap? DID HE SWAP?!

In a dream-limbo state, Yoon-jae sits beside the racecar bed, reading the Miracle book to sleeping Kyung-joon as with a bedtime story. Big Kyung-joon observes this as an out-of-body experience from the sidelines. He comes face to face with his hyung, although it’s trippy that they’re both wearing the same body, and Kyung-joon wonders, “Seo Yoon-jae? Were you waiting for me, remaining just as you were when we met in the water?”

Now we see that this dream state has a watery feel to it, with light bending and reflecting around them as though they’re both still underwater. Little Kyung-joon is awake too, but Big Kyung-joon wonders if he’ll lose all his memories once he leaves this place.

Yoon-jae holds out his hand, and Kyung-joon hesitates: “If I take that hand, I’ll wake up as a happy kid.” This is one of the better twists in that Kyung-joon is facing the ultimate ignorance-is-bliss scenario—the only thing is, his unhappy, fully informed self has to be the one to choose to let go of that knowledge in favor of that ignorance. Like Charly, peering into the fate of Algernon.

Kyung-joon reaches out a hand to take it, but before they make contact, Da-ran’s voice calls out his name. She’s at his bedside, and he opens his eyes. Still in his shell body. Ah, so the switch wasn’t an automatic side effect of the transfusion?

He sits up and she checks that he’s still Kyung-joon. He gets up and heads for his hospital room, Da-ran hot on his heels. Mari’s at his bedside, and his body is still asleep.

Da-ran joins them and calls his name. Kyung-joon looks at her for a long, long moment—and we return to dreamland, where the two hands are still outstretched. Take it or not? Kyung-joon thinks, “If the me that was here disappears, there’s somebody who becomes unhappy. Give me a little more time.” Yoon-jae registers the request and lowers his hand.

In the real world, both ladies anxiously await proof of his identity. He says in this cool voice, in stiff jondaemal, “Yes, I am Kang Kyung-joon. Gil Da-ran Teacher.” He acts like he doesn’t understand what happened—and furthermore, he pretends he’s lost all his memory post-accident.

Ah, interesting. So he’s going to prepare Da-ran for the eventual blank-slate version of him, only he gets to have control over this scenario. I’m not sure if that’s shrewd, or a terrible idea in the making.

He turns to Mari for an explanation over Da-ran, feigning indifference to everything. It’s a totally unnatural way to respond to being told you’ve swapped bodies with the brother you never knew you had, but I suppose portraying a realistic response isn’t really his priority.

The parents arrive and Mom embraces him worriedly. Mari notices how Kyung-joon doesn’t react to her touch—he must really not remember a thing.

They go home, and Kyung-joon acts like this is all new to him. Mari’s chipper about Kyung-joon’s no longer being in love with the teacher, while Da-ran tries not to act crushed. Kyung-joon keeps up the distant act though he does stop upstairs to hover his hand above Da-ran’s head (twenty feet away from it), as if wanting to pat it comfortingly.

Mari pushes her luck by informing Kyung-joon that they’d fallen in love, but he scoffs at her: “Don’t lie. I remember everything.” What, you’re going to share this big secret with the bulldozer? He explains that the lie will become true when he really wakes up, and that suddenly disappearing on Da-ran will be too much for her. So, he wants to undo everything now, to help erase what they shared together. Which, wut? How does that even make sense? Just rip the band-aid off and do it for real, rather than going through the pain of a practice round.

Mom watches at Kyung-joon’s hospital bedside and tells Se-young she wishes he’d be able to accept them easily when he wakes, with a face as peaceful as the one he wears in sleep. Well, duh. That’s the easy way out where you don’t have to account for any of your sins, of course that’s what you want. You get no insight points for that statement, lady.

Kyung-joon tells Da-ran that Mari filled in all the gaps of his memory—like how he married Da-ran so she could be with Yoon-jae and also look after Kyung-joon. Anything other than that, Mari has supposedly told him not to wonder about, since it’s painful. He figures that his lost memory is good for both of them, a comment that has her looking hurt. He adds that he’ll keep up the Yoon-jae act, but she doesn’t have to look after him, “Because I hate when other people interfere.”

It’s jarring and hurtful for Da-ran to suddenly be relegated to an “other,” an outsider with no influence or importance in his life. He says he’d rather do things alone—being around her is awkward. He even knowingly eats pizza with mushrooms, to emphasize the memory loss.

Da-ran asks if he’s just making good on their promise to pretend not to know each other, but he feigns ignorance. She asks, “Are you really going to act like that? Do you really feel nothing when you look at me?” He replies, “Yeah.”

She keeps looking for a crack in his facade, wanting to believe it’s just an act. She reminds him of the ten-ten clock and asks him to throw away a bag of trash—the stuff she’d rescued previously. Kyung-joon complies, but pauses by the curb to look in the bag, finding the moon ticket she’d printed out among their other mementoes.

Da-ran comes outside and tells him she knows he’s faking, but that there’s no need to rush the scenario even if it’s going to happen later. Well thank you for speaking sense for once, Teacher. She says, “When you said you’d lost your memory, I was so scared. When you said everything we went through together had gone away, everything in my sight turned white.”

He sticks to his denial, so she challenges him to throw away the bag. He tosses it in the garbage truck—goodbye flowers, panda, 20-year-old Hyungnim liquor. Stunned, she watches the truck sweep up the trash and crush it.

She’s near tears, unwilling to believe it, but he tells her that he really can’t remember and therefore her reactions just make him uncomfortable: “So don’t act so burdensome and just throw it away.”

Finally, she tells him fine, she’ll throw everything out: “But there’s so much trash to clear, it might take a while. So even though it feels burdensome, put up with it.” On his side of his whited-out door, Kyung-joon fights his own tears and forces himself not to go after her. I guess I might have more sympathy for his pain if it weren’t so stupidly motivated.

Da-ran cries, “How can you turn everything into nothing?” That’s what I’M sayin’.

At the hospital, Mari has Choong-shik take photos of her glued to Kyung-joon’s bedside so she has proof of her devotion. She imagines that he’ll be touched at her loyalty, picturing the fairy-tale scenario where he wakes up as the sleeping prince and she’s the Snow White waiting for him, telling him, “The person you fell in love with while you were asleep is me.”

He blinks at her confusedly, so Snow Mari grabs his face and growls ominously, “Believe me. MARRY ME!” Okay, the fact that she can’t even be nice in a fantasy cracks me up, but more so the fact that Mari seems to consider this scenario an ideal one.

Mari instructs Choong-shik to erase everything in his head about, say, the fake-ring she bought and replaced for Da-ran, and only remember how she spent every day taking care of Kyung-joon so he can play eyewitness. He points out that that means she’s copping to spending every day with Choong-shik, but she says blankly that she’s erased all such thoughts from her brain.

Choong-shik tells her that insisting on it doesn’t make it true. Love doesn’t stick around in your brain, but in your heart. “Jang Mari, no matter where you are or what you do, I’ll find you not with my memory, but my heart.” Then he ruins his cool exit by bumping into a table, ha. It’s okay, Choong-shik, you’re still the most mature character in the bunch, even though I’m not sure that’s a compliment to anybody.

Kyung-joon and Da-ran meet with Mom, who says she’s trying real hard to accept Kyung-joon as her son. Oh, congratulations, you get a cookie. Kyung-joon points out that Kyung-joon may not accept HER as parent; how would he feel knowing why he was conceived and then abandoned? Mom says that’s why it’s best for Kyung-joon not to be told, but he jeers that it’s an excuse for Mom and Dad to feel better.

Da-ran looks at Kyung-joon suspiciously—this rings false to her. Or rather, perhaps too true for someone who supposedly shouldn’t know this. Afterward she asks if he remembers this, and he says that the moment he saw his parents, he felt such anger that the memory tagged along with the emotion.

She sighs, “So you remember all the things I wish you wouldn’t, and say you’ve forgotten everything I wish you would.” He asks if she’s referring to something about herself, and then says, “When I see you, I don’t feel anything coming to mind, so I don’t remember anything.” Aw, and ow.

At home, she points out all the ramyun she’d bought for him because he like a particular brand, which he again says he doesn’t remember. She says that memory or no, his liking of it should be there, so they sit there eating ramyun together. And then to extend the point into a metaphor about herself, she tells him, “See, you like it. You don’t have to say so, I can just tell. That’s enough for me.”

Kyung-joon asks Mari for a favor: Once he swaps back to his body, don’t let him meet Da-ran, or tell him a word about what happened all this while. He tells himself it’ll be okay if they make things as though they never were: “I’ll erase them in advance.”

Which, again, huh? I so don’t get his train of thought. Are you doing this for her sake, or your own? Because if you have to play God in your own life like this, it just seems like you’re going through a lot of trouble to keep everybody unhappy. Bah. It’s not even noble idiocy because I can’t see where it’s noble. It’s just… idiocy.

Da-ran continues making plans to switch schools to one outside of Seoul, which coincides with the Seo family’s impending departure to Germany as Yoon-jae seeks treatment. Oh, so he’s still going even after the blood transfusion? Her parents don’t understand this separation (I’m with them), but she says she’ll explain it all later.

Da-ran finds Kyung-joon at home, typing up a report to be given to his family regarding Kyung-joon. He’s not going to just let them jerk around Future Amnesiac Self; he wants them to do some of the work getting to know him and trying to be attentive parents.

He adds that Mari informed him that there were some feelings between the two of them, but that he has no memory of them to get over. But he advises her to get over hers, and that pushes her over the edge.

Angry now, she says sarcastically that there’s nothing to remember: “It’s just a scandal. Ah, you won’t remember, but you liked me. I said I didn’t like you, but you brought me flowers and blew the wind to me and sang me songs. I was so won over that I found it cute. But I have no intention of drawing out this child’s play any further. I’m just ashamed of myself and afraid that someone will find out. Since you’re offering to act like nothing ever happened, I’m the one who’s grateful.”

She storms off to cry, leaving him shaken as well.

Kyung-joon drops off a journal with his aunt and uncle, telling them that it’s because Kyung-joon won’t remember stuff when he wakes up—like uncle selling his house.

The Gil family hears about Da-ran’s job interview and search for a home near the new school, worrying about the state of the marriage. Choong-shik seeks Kyung-joon out to ask if he’s really just going to send her away and go to Germany, without a care: “Brother-in-law, you’re quite cold.”

That rattles him, and he sits at home in agitation. Da-ran had told him she’d be home late or not at all given her interview, and he worries that she won’t come at home at all before his departure next week. Her belongings have been packed and she’s been cleaning up, which has him feeling uneasy.

Kyung-joon tells himself it doesn’t matter since he’ll forget soon enough, but saying the words aloud gives them a sad finality: “I won’t see her today… or tomorrow…”

That gets him moving, at least. He gets in the car and drives, arriving at the school just as Da-ran arrives for her interview. She pauses to look at sunflowers, remembering the bouquet he threw out. Are you going to pick them? You’d better pick them.

Da-ran exchanges pleasantries with a teacher while waiting to meet with the principal, and Kyung-joon overhears that teacher then chatting with another. They wonder why the Seoul teacher’s coming here in the wake of her divorce—here in the sticks, she’ll be under more scrutiny and face more gossip than at her current school.

It’s those magic words that spur Kyung-joon into acting—that coming here will be more painful for her—and he interrupts the interview to take Da-ran away.

He accuses her of running away to the boonies—she said she’d forget everything, but if she hides away here after changing jobs, losing her husband, and leaving her family, she’s hardly forgetting anything at all.

Da-ran cries, “Yeah, I wish I were like you, able to get over everything in one shot. I wish what I said about loving you could go away, that I could take back admitting my wayward feelings. No, I wish I hadn’t met you at all.”

Kyung-joon says, “Since I messed everything up for you, everything will be fine once I leave.” Da-ran: “Yes. I hope that’s what happens.”

You people! I just. Don’t. Get. Is it me? Tell me it’s me. That this all makes sense and this angst has purpose and I’m the idiot for missing how all these pieces fit together perfectly into a solid narrative whole. Because I’m not following anything so far in this episode. It’s frankly hurting my head.

Da-ran’s parents find a bit of encouragement hearing that Yoon-jae asked about the rural school. But it’s not enough given Yoon-jae’s impending departure, and Mom urges Dad to step in and talk with her about it.

So Dad takes Da-ran out for a drink and asks if her running away to a new job is an attempt to cast away the husband, or grab onto him. If you say you don’t know, I am going to slap you. Da-ran says she knows what she mustn’t do, but asks about his struggle from years ago when traveled to an island trying to send Mom away. What if she had told him she didn’t care, that she forgot all about him? Then would Dad have been able to say he forgot too?

Dad says no, he would have stayed on that island for a long, long time. Da-ran figures that since Dad is like her, he wouldn’t have been able to leave that island for the rest of his life.

Dad says that with things you mustn’t allow yourself to do, running away to the countryside isn’t far enough. Are you trying to comfort her, or send her away? She wonders if going farther would work—Dad’s island trip didn’t work, after all. She sobs, “Father, I don’t think it would work even if I ran to the moon.”

Kyung-joon gets a call from Dad, and heads to the pojangmacha to tend to a drunk Da-ran. She starts to stumble off, but he stops her before she trips over her own feet.

She mumbles, “You may be able to erase it in one shot, but I can’t do that. But I’m good at enduring things. I can endure because I like you. And I can let you go because I like you. But if I’m supposed to forget about liking you, what strength can I use to endure? You asked me to just remember you. Can’t you just remember me too?”

Yoon-jae’s parents wonder about the kids’ relationship, like why Da-ran told Mom that they hadn’t yet filed the marriage registration paperwork. There’s a big family dinner tonight with both sets of parents, so they’ll have to see how things play out.

Da-ran tells Kyung-joon of her plans to announce the end of the marriage. Saying it’ll be harder with him around, she tells him to use the hospital as an excuse to stay away. She’ll take care of the rest.

Choong-shik worries about the big family dinner, sensing that noona’s going to make a big announcement. Ah, at least I can relax a little, because I swear, Choong-shik is the only character I still understand. Mari declares that she’s going to go to the family dinner too, because why draw boundaries with the girl who doesn’t see any?

Kyung-joon demands the watch back from Mari, saying it’s the only thing he has from Da-ran and he needs to return it, “And return that time to her.” Erm… you know that’s not how time-space works, right? I get that it makes for nice wordplay, but there are some rules to punning: First off, the words have to make sense before you play with them.

Kyung-joon uses Da-ran’s explanation of how she’d let go of her “mental strings” to be with him, so once she realizes that he’s gone, things will return to their original places. Yes, if emotions were chess pieces, which they aren’t, because feelings aren’t little wood figures you move around on a board! Lordy.

Kyung-joon offers her a ride, assuring her that he’s not tagging along to her announcement dinner. But she realizes he’s driving away out of Seoul entirely. He says that there’s something they have to take care of first.

They arrive at the lake where they’d gone the first day, just before the accident. He tells her that when he returns to his body, he’ll return to this time in his memory. Oh thank you, you’re finally telling the truth. It only took 50 excruciating minutes to find some sense.

He tells her that the Kyung-joon who’d been with her will disappear—the reason Yoon-jae never woke up was to stop time for him on his return. “So turn your time back to that time too.”

He returns the watch and sets it to 10:10: “Your ten-ten will disappear forever, and the Kang Kyung-joon you loved will also go away.” He throws the watch into the water, telling her to do that with her feelings, to return to the time she stood her hoping to hear Yoon-jae’s confession of love.

He leaves her at the lakeside, taking in the realization that everything will soon erase whether they want to or not. (Begging the question: Why the need for this episode, then?) She thinks back to their times together, such as the time Kyung-joon had asked her not to forget him—back when he’d been afraid she’d only have eyes for Yoon-jae upon their re-swap.

Then she tromps right down into the water, fishing for the watch.

The in-laws convene at Uncle’s restaurant that evening, sitting uncomfortably while waiting for the kids. Choong-shik and Mari arrive while Da-ran hitches a ride back, caked in mud and clutching the watch.

As she runs, Kyung-joon arrives to address the adults, explaining that he and his parents will be going to Germany. His parents will stay after his surgery, and he’ll return to Da-ran. But he doesn’t mean as himself, but as Future Yoon-jae: “When Seo Yoon-jae returns, everything will go back to their rightful places. I’ll return and hold on to Da-ran again. Right now you have the wrong idea about Da-ran being in love with someone else, but there is no such person.”

But Yoon-jae’s mother remembers KKJ as the Other Man. Kyung-joon confirms, “He does not exist in this world.”

Just then, Da-ran bursts in through the doors, exclaiming, “No! That person does exist.”

But at the same time, the vitals spike on Little Kyung-joon’s hospital monitor.

She continues, “Because of him, my heart will always be stuck at the time ten-ten. We’ve held hands and crossed the uncrossable sea. We’ve been to the moon together, and the city on the ocean floor. I’m crazy, aren’t I? Because it couldn’t be erased, I’m telling you all. So that it can’t become erased, everybody please listen up and remember it.”

She smiles up at Kyung-joon, and declares, “I love KKJ.”

 
COMMENTS

It’s amazing how much one episode can change things. Previously, I was watching Big with a sense of detached amusement—maybe not everything flowed smoothly, and maybe there were some plot points I didn’t care for, but I was generally along for the ride, bumps and all. And then Episode 15 hit and not only slammed on its figurative brakes and screeched everything to an abrupt halt, it basically shoved you out the door, ran you over, backed up and ran you over backward, then forward, and back again a few times. Leaving you broken and confused, wondering Kerrigan-style, “WHYYYY?”

Aside from the very obvious reason that we needed to fill the time, I see no reason for Episode 15 to have existed. What was the purpose of the fake amnesia, given the impending real amnesia, especially if he’s just going to pretend that the fake is the real? Was it to ease Da-ran into a (false) sense of… what’s the opposite of security? Shoving you off a cliff without warning, only you feel sorry about it while acting like you meant to do that all along?

I actually think the amnesia bit is pretty spiffy, if it would only just play out already. Why do we have to mess with the whole practice round? It’s like doing a dress rehearsal for a funeral: Let’s get into character with the sadness now, to make the real thing worth it! I mean, WTF?

Alternately, you could use the impending amnesia as a wonderful ticking clock, making the lovers appreciate the teeny sliver of time together before he’s gone. It would have been way more understandable if Kyung-joon hid the amnesia bit from Da-ran and enjoyed their last moments, keeping her from the pain of discovery so they could bask in the glow just a few days more. That would be dumb in a different way, but at least it makes sense from a story and a human-psychology standpoint: You protect the ones you love. Instead, he’s trying to deal with future amnesia… by hurrying it up faster, and inflicting intentionally the pain upon Da-ran that he doesn’t want to inflict upon her unintentionally. WTF? I repeat, WTF?

The problem is, if Kyung-joon was going to reject the body-swap from his underwater-dreamland exchange, he should have gained something from it. Even if it was something that brought pain, there had to be a reason he needed that time—some benefit to prolonging the body-swap limbo. At least when Harry Potter went back he defeated Voldemort.

So you have Kyung-joon pretending he doesn’t care because it’s all for her good. Because hurting Da-ran now is supposed to somehow help her not hurt later… when you repeat this whole pain-a-thon anyway when the fake becomes the real like the Groundhog Day from hell? Apparently one can erase feelings that way…? Honey, the only way that works is if you hit somebody so hard that you damage their ability to feel anything ever, and I’m talking in a literal brain-damage way, not in some sort of twisty metaphor for emotion that involves time and erasing and tens of clocks and stupid people.

All series long my heart bled for Kyung-joon, because he was the emotional center of the show. But as it turns out, you can’t suddenly make him do stupid things and have that sympathy extend, because once you start bringing needless pain upon yourself for reasons that make no sense, I totally lose sight of your character and I’m stuck in Not-Caring-Land, party of one. Basically at this point the only character I remotely can comprehend is Choong-shik, and he barely does anything.

This drama, I swear. I went from pleasantly enjoying myself, brain checked halfway at the door, to RAGEFIT.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I CAN’T EVEN.

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873 July 24, 2012January 24, 2016

Big: Episode 16 (Final)

by girlfriday

Well, it ends. Listen, my mother said that if I don’t have nice things to say… waitaminute, my mother never said that. Let the ragefest begin!

This show is basically a lesson in math. Turns out you can have great parts, but the sum can add up to less than those parts. I know! I didn’t know it worked that way either! But math is wily like that. And apparently, so are dramas.

SONG OF THE DAY

Big OST – Gong Yoo “Because It’s You” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Da-ran makes her big confession (handy to have the whole cast rounded up) that she’s in love with KKJ. She takes off the ring and leaves it on the table. Kyung-joon drags her away, and her parents are left to apologize to the in-laws.

Kyung-joon calls her crazy—he’s going to lose his memory and she’ll be all alone and hurt. Da-ran: “I’m going to remember. Even if it hurts, I can’t pretend you weren’t here.”

He stammers, “You’re not going to pretend it didn’t happen?” Is the question you’re really asking, Then was the last episode all for nothing? Because that sure is MY question.

Da-ran: “No. Because I said that my feelings for you were real. The you that I like is there. He’s there now and will be in the future.” He looks at her, dumbfounded—but he might not remember, and he might call her a crazy person!

She says through her tears that it doesn’t matter. She’s going to remember and protect their love, and she’s going to tell him everything. She’s crazy now, so why not go with it? He agrees that she sure doesn’t appear sane.

She gives him the watch she fished out of the lake, and he decides she’s officially crazy. He cups her face in his hands, sighing that she’s all dirty and smelly. She says it again—that even if he can’t remember her, she’s going to remember for the both of them, and that she won’t let go of him.

A tear falls as he hugs her tight.

Little Kyung-joon’s vitals spike, and his heart rate gets dangerously high. Se-young calls the parents, who run over and stay up with him that night, worried.

Kyung-joon and Da-ran walk down the street hand-in-hand, and he asks if she doesn’t want to go home and shower first. But she says she’s going to have to learn to be seen as a crazy person by the entire world, so she may as well steel herself now.

To that end, she decides to pick some flowers out of a planter on the sidewalk, to make up for the time she threw out the flowers he gave her. She runs across the street to wave them about and sing the Pororo song, and she successfully gets called crazy.

Kyung-joon runs over and sighs that he’d hate to forget this—it’s fodder for a lifetime of mockery. She says in turn that there are so many things she didn’t do for him when she thought he’d remember, and now that he’s going to forget she’s just full of regret.

Mari comes back to the restaurant to retrieve her fake ring and asks Aunt and Uncle to be a witness for her when Kyung-joon wakes up, to say that she’s the one who was by his side the entire time.

They nod that she’s right about that, and she sighs that she’s the only one who has the right to be by his side, and not lying Gil Teacher who goes back on her promises.

The Gil family waits on pins and needles for the fallout, and Choong-shik worries—if Yoon-jae and Da-ran left like that, the air must be frosty between them right about now…

Cut to the happy couple shooting furtive smiles at each other across the kitchen table. Kyung-joon starts in on his interrogation: “When did you first start liking KKJ?!” He slams his hands on the table for emphasis.

She retraces her steps, like the time she felt something when he showed up at the theater, or realized in the park that she was no longer waiting for Yoon-jae, but searching for Kyung-joon.

She argues that they should be going over his half of the story since his is the memory they have to recreate, but he counters that his part is just full of pain, like the time he confessed he liked her and she called him a blood clot, and on and on ad infinitum. Well, when you put it like that, *sadface.*

She wonders why she didn’t find the courage to confess her feelings sooner, and he tells her to just do well from here on out, because he’s going to write it all down from now on. And then they just make moony eyes at each other in an explosion of cuteness.

Mom and Dad sit by Kyung-joon’s bedside all night, and Mom says it feels just like when Yoon-jae was young and sick all the time. She wonders how it feels the same now, watching over Kyung-joon.

Da-ran heads home to face the music, telling Kyung-joon that they can’t exactly see each other out in the open anymore. He asks if they should just run away to the boonies and she vows not to do any more running.

She steps through the door cautiously to find the whole family waiting for her. They send her upstairs right away. Mom comes in brandishing a pair of scissors: “Even when my mom cut off all my hair, I still liked your father.”

She tosses Da-ran a wedding photo, and in it Mom’s hair has been chopped off. She asks now if Da-ran wants to end up the same way. Da-ran says it doesn’t matter, because if she has to pretend her feelings aren’t real, then she’ll never be able to smile like Mom in this photo.

She closes her eyes and braces herself, and even when Mom grabs her hair and puts the scissors to her head, she says nothing in protest. Mom stops when she sees Da-ran’s resolve, sighing, “You’re really crazy, aren’t you?”

Mom sobs in her room, as Dad comes to pat her back. She adorably calls him Teacher, and cries that she just said the same things to her daughter that her mother said to her. She wonders now how much she broke her own mother’s heart. Aw.

Kyung-joon stops by the hospital to check on his coma body, and is alarmed to hear about the near-heart attack. Se-young remembers that he first woke up in the morgue after the accident, after being declared dead.

He confirms it. Oh noes. This is going to an ominous place.

He sits with Teddy, blowing balloons, and tells himself the body swap will be fine—just like inflating a balloon, deflating it, and then inflating it again. But next to him, Teddy over-inflates his, and it pops, jolting them both. Kyung-joon grabs his heart in fear.

Meanwhile Mom happily tells Se-young to wait for Yoon-jae to return to his old self. Mari tells Kyung-joon that she’s going with him to Germany, but he says they’re not going anywhere.

He tells her that Gil Teacher will stay by his side when he wakes up and Mari gapes—you mean by your side, the little brother of the man she just cheated on? She calls Da-ran crazy, and he affirms that she is with a goofy grin.

Kyung-joon spends the entire next day trying to see Da-ran, but the Gil Family is on high alert, taking shifts to watch her every move. He finally has to romeo his way to her window late at night, and puts his arms out to 10:10 for her to jump.

She’s about to when Mom stops her, reminding her not to do something as despicable as keep all her options open (ie. play both Yoon-jae and KKJ), a phrase that means in the literal sense, to “maintain your fishing pond.”

Da-ran grumbles that her pond only has the one fish, and then worries, “What if it dries up and dies?” She decides to jump, to water her fish and save it.

She gives Kyung-joon his watch, newly fixed, and then leaves him with a peck on the cheek. He watches her go with a swoon, muttering that if she was going to water the pond, she should’ve splashed him, not given him one little drop. But then he goes right back to swooning.

The next day Mari stomps into the hospital with a team of bodyguards in tow, and declares that she’s going to take Kyung-joon away. Um… are we adding kidnapping to your ever-growing list of crimes? Because you can’t just steal people’s coma bodies and get away with it!

Kyung-joon goes to see Mom to tell him that he’ll go to Germany with Dad, and they should leave Coma Kyung-joon here. To his surprise, Mom says she’ll stay here with Kyung-joon then.

But they’re quickly interrupted with bad news: Kyung-joon is gone. WUT. She really took him? How does a person just walk away with a coma patient? SIGH. Whatever.

She answers Kyung-joon’s call to announce that she’s going to hide him away till he wakes up, and keep him from ever seeing Gil Teacher again. “You said Gil Teacher was crazy? Well then I’m double double double crazy!” Um… were you waiting for someone to argue?

He tells her that he’ll just stay in this body forever then, and not get treated. She starts to panic that he’ll die that way, and Kyung-joon calls her bluff: he’ll meet her tantrum for tantrum, and he’ll just die in this body if she keeps going. She breaks down and tells him she’ll stop.

Kyung-joon tells her that being with Da-ran is what he wants, and Mari can’t force things to go her way while ignoring his feelings. She counters that he’s doing the same, ignoring her feelings and Yoon-jae’s.

She puts the ring on the table to remind him that when Yoon-jae wakes up and finds Da-ran by Kyung-joon’s side he’ll be as heartbroken as Mari. Yeah, but I doubt he’ll resort to kidnapping to argue the case.

At the same time, Little Kyung-joon’s vitals spike again. Teddy and Rabbit worry that they yanked too hard, and we see that the Miracle picture has been torn in two.

Mari continues on her quest to meddle, and why this character is even still trying to run interference at this point is beyond me. She goes to the mandoo restaurant to lie to Da-ran that she hid the ring in the mandoo filling, just to send her digging for it.

Da-ran bursts all the mandoo to look for the ring and then chases after the delivery guy to steal other people’s mandoo dinners, all the while feeling terrible that she ignored Yoon-jae’s feelings.

At the hospital, Yoon-jae-in-Kyung-joon’s-body cries a tear, and then his heart rate goes shooting up again. But Kyung-joon shows up to hold his hand, and he comes back down to normal. Kyung-joon says he’ll wait until Yoon-jae’s stopped time gets cleared up too.

He finds Da-ran trudging along in the street, looking for something. He guesses right away that it’s the ring and he says he found it. They stand across the street from each other, talking on the phone, and Kyung-joon sighs that it won’t work for them to hold hands right away, will it?

The blinking red light and her silent pause confirms that he’s right.

He wonders how long it’ll be before they can be together, hoping that it won’t take too long. He worries that he won’t remember and they’ll be apart for so long that they’ll miss their opportunity.

But she assures him that she’ll remember. Kyung-joon: “If my heart has grown enough to be able to look back at someone else’s heart, if my heart has grown just a little… then won’t I wake up, not as a child who knows nothing, but someone who can remember Gil Da-ran, just a little?”

She says that her heart will grow too, every day as she remembers him. She promises to keep growing her heart, so that it’ll be impossible to ever let him go.

Kyung-joon finally (FINALLY) spells it out plainly for Mari, that he’s not going to wake up by Da-ran’s side right away, but he’s not going to stay by Mari’s side either. He tells her to stop running after him, because no matter how much she does, he’ll never go to her.

Just think of all the felonies that could’ve been avoided had you done this sooner! He says he ignored her feelings completely in all this and did as he pleased, but now he feels sorry and can’t keep letting her do this.

He says he’ll put up a very clear signal for her, and puts up his hand, “Mari-ya, stop coming.”

She looks up with her puppy dog eyes and cries, and then steps forward, just until her head meets his outstretched hand. Aw, that’s kind of heartbreaking. She goes literally as far as he’ll let her, and stops there, resting her head against his palm. He drums his fingers on her head one last time.

And then Choong-shik sees her off at the airport with a long face, as he watches her approach the gate. He calls after her at the last minute and runs up to write his name on her purse.

Mari: “Gil Choong-shik!” Choong-shik: “That’s right! I’m Gil Choong-shik! This will probably take about ten years to repay via pizza. I will pledge that time to you. You wait, Jang Mari!”

And then he walks away, finally getting his cool exit down just right. She smiles after him.

Kyung-joon meets with Mom to go over travel plans, and finds her studying a notebook. He asks what it is, and she says it’s her Kyung-joon notes, gathered from Da-ran and Mari, so that she can learn as much about him as she can.

She worries that he’s a picky eater and that she isn’t the best cook, but Kyung-joon tells her to do her best, and prepare for a cold response since he’s not the most well-behaved child. He grins to himself, touched at her effort.

Ae-kyung and Na Teacher pass around their wedding invitations, and Ae-kyung asks Da-ran what she’ll do next if Yoon-jae heads off to Germany. She says that he’ll return someday to give her an answer.

She says that she’ll tell him then, that she’s no longer waiting for his answer, but has come to love someone else, even more.

Kyung-joon watches over his body and says that he’ll meet Yoon-jae soon, and by now I’m just screaming, You said that eons ago. Can soon be now?

He runs into Se-young and apologizes to her for acting so immature lately, and says that when she touched his arm after the accident that was kinda sexy. She should do it again, when Seo Yoon-jae returns. He walks away with a smile, leaving her confused.

Da-ran walks through the park and stops to drop some money for a homeless man sleeping on a bench, and is shocked to find her green umbrella sitting right there, still with her name and number on it.

Wait… did you just steal from a homeless man? Er…

She takes it to a shop to get it fixed and finds Kyung-joon watering the lawn. She tells him to make it rain and opens the umbrella, asking if he remembers the day they met.

He remembers, and confesses now that he followed her off the bus, not because she stole his umbrella, but because he swapped them on purpose. Ha.

They ride the bus together now, remembering that day, and he says how funny she was, giving herself away with the radio story. He saw that their umbrellas looked similar so he slid his over to her, and she picked his up without even looking.

They wonder that if he liked her enough to do that, maybe when he wakes up, there’ll still be a little of her in his heart.

They get off the bus and she opens her umbrella, and he puts his hands over hers just like that first day. She hopes that if she remains in his heart, he’ll come after her again. He asks that if he does, for her to hold onto him, no matter what, and tell him about their love.

Kyung-joon: “Then we’ll come back to this time.” She takes his watch and says that the moment she tells him her feelings, Kang Kyung-joon will return to this instant, and says he’s now been hypnotized.

They get ready to part, and she starts to cry but smiles through the tears. He ekes out that he’ll be going, but then stops to say one last thing. “I didn’t want to say this. I wanted to say it to you when I returned, but… Gil Da-ran, I love you.”

A tear trickles down his cheek as he says it, and then he puts the umbrella back in her hands, and walks away.

One year later.

Da-ran is a teacher at a new school, and Mari sends her an email to say that both boys have returned to their rightful places, and that neither remembers anything after the accident. Wait… the big finale body swap happens offscreen? @&*#$T#*#KK!

Kyung-joon hasn’t asked about Gil Teacher, and per her promise to Kyung-joon, Mari won’t tell him.

Da-ran says to herself that per her promise, she’ll continue to remember.

Rabbit gets better and even gets to go home from the hospital, and Teddy gives her a big hug. Ae-kyung and Na Teacher are pregnant and happy. And Da-ran still stops every time she sees sunflowers.

Choong-shik slices and dices as the new chef at the mandoo restaurant, and Mom and Dad say that Da-ran is due for a visit, after stopping by her old school. Choong-shik heads out to send Mari yet another package of mandoo, only to find her standing at his door.

She’s here to accept an award, having turned her stalker photographer skills into an artistic pursuit instead. Well that’s lemonade out of lemons if there ever was. Choong-shik asks hopefully if she’s been eating the mandoo he’s sent, and she says her dog enjoys them.

She admits she’s tasted at least one, and he asks her how many points she’d give them. She judiciously says, “One.” Choong-shik pumps his fist in the air, to have finally made it out of zeroland.

At this rate it’ll actually take you a hundred years to get your girl. He asks if they can take a picture together and eagerly awaits the day he’ll get to two points. Aw.

Da-ran drops by Kyung-joon’s old house and sees a mother and her son living there now. She says she used to live here and just dropped by, and as she leaves the kid says that the hyung who was just here said the same thing…

It starts to rain, and Da-ran hops on the bus. She hears her letter being read over the radio, wishing the person she loves a happy birthday this June 24. Da-ran whispers on the bus, “Happy birthday, Kyung-joon-ah.”

The radio message continues that she’ll be going next month to see him, and though he won’t remember, she’ll tell him everything that she remembers. She looks down at her watch and it’s 10:10.

The message concludes, “I’m running towards the time right now, 10:10.” She looks down at the aisle, where another green umbrella lies next to hers, and she smiles.

She gets off the bus with her umbrella, and then suddenly a voice calls out to her: “Gil Da-ran!” Wait, that’s still Gong Yoo’s voice. Urg, and though we only see him from above as he runs under her umbrella, it’s still Gong Yoo. WHY. Why Show, why.

It’s supposed to be Kyung-joon back in his own body, but they refuse to show it to us. This is so lame. I waited sixteen episodes for them to reunite like this?

He puts his hand over hers and she looks up. And then the scene is intercut with Kyung-joon’s farewell scene, earlier in the episode. If we were going to do that anyway, would it have killed you to have Shin playing the present-day half of his own character?

Past Kyung-joon tells her to hold onto him if he comes back. Da-ran looks up and smiles at him now, “Hello, Kang Kyung-joon.”

Kyung-joon plays it cool, saying that he just came around because he was curious how she was doing, and she says she knows the real reason (his little crush). He walks off with the umbrella and an, “Uh-oh, you’re overreacting.”

Back to Past Kyung-joon, who asks her to hold on, even if he’s mean and cold and bristly in the future. She runs after him now, returning that gesture and putting her hand over his under the umbrella.

Past Kyung-joon says that when she tells him her feelings, they’ll return to this moment. She smiles up at him now, and his watch reads 10:10.

Back to Past Da-ran: “I love you.” Past Kyung-joon: “The moment I hear those words, my heart will grow, as big as it is now. Like a miracle.”

They beam at each other, and then we end, on Past Kyung-joon and Past Da-ran, under the umbrella on that day they parted.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

What? Huh? What? What? Was that just in her head? What? How did he get his memory back? What? What was the point of the year? Did Yoon-jae get over his sadface? What?

I have no more words for you. Drama, you don’t deserve any more words. Go sit in a corner and think about what you did.

RAGEQUIT.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

*HULKSMASH*

THE FUCK? We don’t even get ONE measly glimpse of Kyung-joon in his own body, even when they meet again? BAH. So. Disappointing. I know it’s jarring, but you’re the one who stuffed the hero in the wrong body for the entire goddamn series; own up to it and let us see the couple who’s supposed to be together, TOGETHER. If that’s the line you’re playing, you have to see it through!

It’s not like Shin has to appear 30 for crying out loud; he’s just 21 so how hard is it to let us see the 21-year old hero in his own body, finally getting the girl? I was so ready to say that despite some unnecessary episodes and senseless prolonging of plot points, that they managed to salvage a satisfactory ending. Until they didn’t show the swap. And then that last scene… where they didn’t give me my ONE moment, of Da-ran with the real Kyung-joon! Aaaaaaaaargh.

That’s just… plain mean.

Siiiigh. So many ways this drama went awry, and sadly, I think it began at the roots. They should’ve stuck with the original Big concept of a boy who rapid-grows into his own 30-year old body, because then at least it would’ve been HIS body. Having him stuck in Yoon-jae’s shell (even till the final moments of the show, dangnabbit) just kept me at arm’s length the whole time, knowing that she was having to look past his shell. Sure, it’s admirable that she can, and I went along because I expected that we’d get the final scene with Kyung-joon in his own body to say yes, Da-ran still loves him completely, as himself. IS THAT SO HARD? Why must you take that away from me? How can a story culminating in a body re-swap… not show the swap??? I. Don’t. Get. It. And did Yoon-jae just never come back to see his fiancée, or did that happen offscreen too? Why do you need a drama if all your most interesting narrative payoffs are going to happen OFFSCREEN?

Okay, calming down now. Truth be told, I might be angry now, but I was pretty checked out emotionally for most of the show’s run. There were definitely things that kept me invested, like Gong Yoo’s fantastic performance. But a showcase for one actor does not a drama make. And despite my love for Gong Yoo as the teenage Kyung-joon, my heart is always with the story first and foremost. That’s why I needed to see Shin playing the character in the end, because to me, telling me that they re-swapped offscreen is not enough. If I’m buying into the idea that he’s one character, no matter whose body he’s in, then you have to trust that I’m going to buy it till the very end. It shows a lack of trust in the audience, and for that, I feel betrayed.

I certainly don’t think that it was all bad, because there was a whole lot of cute and some good coming-of-age stuff in there amidst the confusing. But one thing I constantly asked all series long was: Are we there yet? I feel like somehow every step of the way, the show never got a step ahead, never surprised me. I held out hope that the boys would swap back sooner than the final hour (because honestly, I think the fallout is FAR more interesting than the lead-up), but that didn’t happen, and then to top it off, we didn’t even get to witness the big moment. No heartfelt first official meeting between the brothers, who saved each other’s lives? No my-hand-was-warm-because-you-reached-out-to-save-me-first? No wonder twins, activate? Nuthin’?

It’s really too bad that the whole drama failed in the writing department, because the Hong Sisters have penned some of my favorites over the years. I don’t love all their works before Big, and neither am I going to just write them off because of this one drama. But I’ll call a dud a dud, and this one just sailed right into the crapper. It turns out you can’t shape a whole drama on one big premise and leave things like logic and character motivation and emotional payoffs at the door. We kinda like that stuff. It’s sorta why we live here, in dramaland.

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