Dal Ja’s Spring: Episode 21
It’s a week of finales! This Wed-Thurs sees the ends of Goong S, Dal Ja’s Spring, AND Surgeon Bong Dalhee. Phew!
Episode 21:”People Unskilled In Love”
Dal Ja tells us, there are a few instances a woman says, “Let’s break up.” It could be to add a little tension in a relationship (to keep it from becoming complacent), or to test the other person’s heart, or because you’ve truly lost the confidence that you can continue being together.
Tae Bong doesn’t understand why Dal Ja wants to break up. Is it his mother? Does Dal Ja think he’s with her because he feels responsible? She says no, it’s because she doesn’t feel certain anymore, of his love, of her love.
It’s because of Dal Ja that Tae Bong gave up his dream and went back to the law firm: “What more do I have to do? What more do I have to do to make you certain?” Dal Ja says knowing that makes it even harder on her. “I even made you give up you dream. I made you return to the law firm you hated.” Tae Bong asks, “Is it harder than breaking up with me?” Dal Ja responds that liking somebody is something you feel in a moment, but reality keeps going.
Dal Ja’s narration tells us that Tae Bong just stood there, staring at her for ten minutes… and then left without a word.
And… the sun still came up. She didn’t get drunk. She didn’t starve. She goes on living, and insists she’s fine. But keeps seeing and hearing Tae Bong everywhere — at home, at work. But she tells herself she’s okay.
At work, she gives a presentation, and nearly breaks down in front of everyone when she sees Tae Bong in her slide presentation. Slide after slide is of him, and she nervously tries to fix the projector…
…until she realizes the projector is fine. It’s her mind that sees Tae Bong everywhere. And she has to finally admit to herself, ” Actually no… I’m not fine.”
Tae Bong, meanwhile, isn’t looking so hot himself. I’m serious, the boy is looking rough. He’s been sleeping in the office for the past couple of days.
Tae Bong: “In your life, have you ever felt moved in your heart before your mind?”
Su Jin: “What do you mean?”
Tae Bong: “The thing you and I have in common is, we both haven’t learned how to accept people into our hearts. Only using your mind to make decisions, or understand people. Only loving with your mind. But Su Jin, that’s not real. I’ve found, your heart has to race for it to be real. Do you understand?”
Su Jin: “So you know how to say those childish things, too?”
Tae Bong: “Truth is simple, and sincerity is childish.”
Su Jin: “Let’s stop. I don’t like this.”
Tae Bong: “You’re not happy living like this, either. Because you’re not happy, you keep wanting to take things. You acting like this with me isn’t love, it’s simply that you want to have something. Isn’t it?”
Su Jin: “You’re really getting to be no fun.”
I think all of Su Jin’s bluster about “fun” actually shows how much Tae Bong’s changed, because he used to be the type to indulge her flirting and silly behavior. But now that he’s felt more for someone, he can’t just treat it lightly like Su Jin, who constantly keeps true emotion at a distance.
Sae Do moves in next door to Seon Joo. She doesn’t understand why he gave up his opportunity to go abroad, but he tells her she’s more important. She says she hasn’t changed her mind about not wanting to get married, and he understands. But he still wants to be with her, to watch her nearby, watch their baby be born. So they don’t have to marry, but they’ll be together. (They’re so cute, talking about the baby, and Sae Do looks after Seon Joo so carefully. Aww.)
Since Sae Do can’t go abroad, Kang Team Manager offers the spot to Dal Ja. Dal Ja is taking some time to consider it, which Soon Ae thinks is ridiculous — what does Tae Bong think about leaving for two years? But Dal Ja tells Soon Ae that she and Tae Bong broke up. Not because she was dumped, but because she lost confidence.
Eom Ki Joong takes Dal Ja out for a drink, having heard that she broke up. He’s actually quite charming, and insightful. He says that he’s wanted to run away in the past, too. But strangely, it’s not when things are going badly — it’s when they’re going well. When things aren’t going smoothly, people tend to want to work things out and find solutions. But when things are going well, they get uneasy, and that prompts them to run away. Ki Joong wonders if that’s what she did.
Just then, a group arrives at that bar, and it’s a bunch of lawyers from Tae Bong’s law firm. Tae Bong sees Dal Ja there with Ki Joong and just stares, stony-faced. Awkward!
Su Jin watches from a distance as Tae Bong and Dal Ja make small talk, and she’s clearly nervous. But Eom Ki Joong (who is awesome!!) senses she’s going to go butt in, and runs interference for the couple.
He does the whole innocent, “Oh my gosh, how clumsy of me! I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there as I poured my entire wineglass in your lap!” It’s heartwarming and you just want to give Ki Joong a big ol’ hug. I’m such a sucker for loyalty and friendship story lines, and this drama always does such a kickass job of showing them in funny, not-too-cheesy ways.
Dal Ja and Tae Bong talk, and it’s awkward and tense and well-acted. (Can I say, this entire episode is beautifully acted. It’s easy to cry buckets and wail and throw things; it’s much more artful to show controlled pain, controlled turbulence.)
They make small talk, until Dal Ja drops the bomb that she’s going abroad. In three weeks. For two years. Tae Bong is shocked.
By the way, nice touch: The song playing the background is the (Beatles) song “Yesterday.” That ain’t no coincidence.
Both mothers feel something’s wrong, but don’t know what’s really going on because their children haven’t told them they’ve broken up. Thinking that they merely had a little incident, the mothers work to patch things up, and it is SO CUTE the way they leap to the defense of the other. Dal Ja’s mom defends Tae Bong, and Tae Bong’s mom defends Dal Ja:
Tae Bong’s mom: “The way I see it, something definitely happened between her and Tae Bong. Tae Bong’s like his father, he’s got a way of making women frustrated.”
Dal Ja’s mom: “No, in my opinion, Dal Ja’s definitely the problem.”
Tae Bong’s mom: “That’s not it! Dal Ja’s not the type to go on overseas study without a reason.”
Dal Ja’s mom: “When did you start taking my daughter’s side?”
Tae Bong’s mom: “To be honest… Well, who’s responsible for Tae Bong going back to the law firm? It’s because of Dal Ja. And it’s because of her that he’s starting to visit us at home again. Dal Ja may be a bit on the old side, but she’s a good kid. She knows when to be quiet, and she knows how to treat me well.”
Dal Ja’s mom: “Tae Bong’s pretty great too. At such a young age, he’s capable and skilled. He’s not like other kids these days. He’s the real thing. I don’t know about other things, but you sure managed to raise a good son.”
Tae Bong’s mom: “Yeah, but if it weren’t for Dal Ja, who knows where he’d be, doing god knows what.”
Dal Ja’s mom: “Without Tae Bong, Dal Ja wouldn’t have had any shot at dating decently.”
So the two moms decide to work together to set everything up themselves. So sweet, and so misguided.
At the family dinner, Dal Ja and Tae Bong are uncomfortable, not realizing that’s what they were summoned for (they were told it was merely dinner with each of their own families). They put a stop to it, and say that they’re not getting married. Dal Ja and Tae Bong rise and tell the adults to enjoy their dinner, but they’ll be leaving early.
Dal Ja and Tae Bong awkwardly decide to go have dinner together, and afterward, Tae Bong asks her if she’s really planning to go abroad for two years. And if it’s really in three weeks. Dal Ja says yes.
Tae Bong can’t help but ask one more thing: “Did I really make things that hard for you? So much that you wanted to break up?”
Dal Ja says it wasn’t because of him, it was because of her. She’d always dreamt big romantic fantasies, but in truth, she doesn’t have any experience. She says, “I didn’t have any of the answers to my own love. How to do in this situation, in that situation. If this is right, if that’s right. Is this really love? I really wanted to love, but I didn’t know how to do it properly.”
Tae Bong asks, “So, you ran away?” Dal Ja replies, “I’ve spent too much time, loving just on my own. So I know how to love one-sidedly, but loving with two people, I was too clumsy. That’s my reason.”
As Dal Ja walks off, she thinks: “Before I met him, I thought I knew all there was about love. Since I’ve known him, I’ve realized I don’t know anything about love. As I’m leaving him now, I thought, ‘Now I understand a little what love really is.’”
So Dal Ja goes on with her preparations to leave, packing her things and letting out her apartment, thinking back on all the memories she had there. Dal Ja’s co-workers throw her a farewell party.
As Dal Ja takes the mic to give a speech, she almost loses composure, as she thanks everyone for the last eight years. Seon Joo steps in and convey’s Dal Ja’s faltering words (“You were going to say, ‘Everyone, thank you and I love you,’ right?”), and tells Dal Ja on behalf of everyone that they all love her and are grateful for her too. Chae Rim is really good in this scene. God, they’re killing me with all these stirring, teary moments. So much more moving than big theatrics.
Even Crazy Wife shows up, remarkably less crazy than she’s been. She assures Ki Joong she came because Dal Ja invited her (not to stalk Ki Joong). They both muse how nice and good a person Dal Ja is. And Ki Joong thanks his wife for the tulips — recall that he never saw her cleaning his apartment, and she never told him about it, so he just knows it was her by his instinct. She smiles. These crazy kids just might work things out.
Oh, and Kang Team Manager gives a special performance in Dal Ja’s honor: “I Will Survive.” It’s awful and tacky and great.
At the merger negotiation for Handa Home Shopping, Su Jin is wrapping things up when Tae Bong speaks up. Although the deal is nearly complete, Tae Bong tells his honest opinion: Handa Home Shopping is not in as severe a situation as they believe, and a merger is not necessary.
(This is stuff that Su Jin and Tae Bong have discussed while working on the case, in Episode 20 particularly, but I assume it wasn’t beneficial to their firm to pursue that line of action. They were going to recommend the merger and go ahead.)
Su Jin takes Tae Bong aside and demands to know if it’s because of Dal Ja. But he says that his conscience wouldn’t let him continue; he’s not one to lie about something like this — even if it weren’t for Dal Ja, he would have said the same thing. Su Jin can’t understand, and Tae Bong says: “Sorry for ruining your work. I guess I’m just not suited for this. Then, I end here.”
And he walks out. Woohoo! (I am pretty sure (though not positive) that Tae Bong is quitting. And I’m glad they chose to do it this way — in the end, he isn’t deciding his career based on another person’s desires. He’s acting on his own, and come to the realization on his own terms.)
At work Dal Ja packs her stuff, and as she’s leaving, she runs into Tae Bong, who’s with a few other lawyers. They walk toward each other, tense, but pass each other like strangers.
Dal Ja wills herself not to turn around and look back (although Tae Bong does look back) and walks off, trying to pull herself together. Tae Bong sees her leaving, and chases after her.
He grabs her and kisses her without any warning, and then he tells her:
Tae Bong: “I’m sorry. But… no matter how I look at it… I can’t end things with you. So don’t go. Don’t go anywhere.”
Dal Ja: “Tae Bong.”
Tae Bong: “I said don’t go, so don’t go!”
Dal Ja: “Tae Bong.”
Tae Bong: “I love you. I said… I love you. Don’t you understand?”
Dal Ja: “Oh my god. I’m 33 years old, and I’m hearing those words for the first time in my life. Those words, ‘I love you.’”