Flowers For My Life: Episode 5
It makes me sad that more people aren’t watching Flowers For My Life. It’s a series that shows that kdramas can be touching without being sappy, and funny without being jokey and gag-based. Funny how a series handling death can be so delightful.
Episode 5 was the first to make me cry, though not because it was sad, but because it was poignant. Mother storylines tend to do that to me.
(Thematically Relevant) SONG OF THE DAY
G.O.D. – “어머님께” (To my mother) In keeping with the theme of today’s episode, here’s G.O.D.’s somewhat autobiographical song dedicated to the rapper’s mother. I was going to use it in a different post, but it seems appropriate here.
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EPISODE 5 SUMMARY
Poised above Hana as though to kiss her, the saddened Ho Sang asks, in a pained tone, “I’m not alone in the world, right? Since you said you loved me, you can’t take it back later. Not you too.” With that, he falls asleep next to her, and Hana wipes a tear from his face and thinks, “Maybe it was then that I started to feel sorry toward him. That I started to see him with my heart.”
The poking is, instead, from Hana’s father, who wakes him with his angry prodding. Seeing Hana lying next to Ho Sang first thing in the morning, he’s leapt to the conclusion that they must have slept with each other all night (sex is the implication), and goes after Ho Sang. The two look like a pair of dueling monkeys.
Hana’s mother asks if they spent the night together, and Ho Sang, with no immediate recollection, shakes his head no vigorously while Hana nods yes. (Someone needs to make a gif of that bit.)
Hana’s mother takes her aside to ask if Hana was careful not to get pregnant, and Hana explains that nothing really happened. But she doesn’t want her father to know — she wants to use his misunderstanding to get his approval to marry Ho Sang — and begs her mother to keep it a secret.
Hana also tells Ho Sang she’ll take responsibility for the incident since it was her choice to stay; she could’ve left if she wanted. Hana tells him she’s sorry for making a sick person sicker, but when he asks what she means, she remembers he’s not supposed to know that she knows he’s dying. She covers, “I meant sick at heart.” Ho Sang assumes he must’ve blabbed about his fight with Nam Kyung.
Eun Tak and Ho Sang Seem to be getting by on more familiar, if not friendly, terms. Though still adversarial on the surface, I find their switching to banmal speech to be a positive sign that they’re grudgingly coming to tolerate each other better. Eun Tak mutters to himself about Ho Sang’s ignorance, and Ho Sang mutters to himself that no matter what, Hana is impervious to Eun Tak’s low opinion of him. He proudly boasts (to himself) that Hana’s completely devoted to him, before remembering with a frown, “This is not something to be happy about.”
While working, Eun Tak hears about the incident and inexplicably blows up at Ho Sang for being irresponsible: “You do as you please with a girl, then abandon her when you’re done? Haven’t you thought of the pain you leave that woman with, the life she has to lead alone?!”
Ho Sang and the other man assume Eun Tak’s bitter over losing Hana (and his claim to the funeral business), but this just confirms (to me) that Eun Tak must be referring to what that man did to his own mother.
In any case, they’re interrupted when a woman comes by to tell them they’re digging up the wrong grave. Her mother misdirected them, as she hasn’t been in her right mind since her son died. It’s a Witch Amusement reunion, with the daughter played by the actress who was Kim Jung Hoon’s fiancee. Her mother, who played Jae Hee’s mother, is equipped here with a bouquet of flowers to indicate the precarious state of her sanity.
Ho Sang’s entrusted to occupy the flower lady (to keep her from interfering) while the others finish digging the grave, and in typical Ho Sang fashion, he loses her. He frantically looks around town to find her, with Hana’s aid. He runs into Nam Kyung, who’s eating lunch with her co-workers, and they talk about what happened the other night. She apologizes, but Ho Sang assures Nam Kyung that it’s all right; he has no right to be angry at her. There are things he hasn’t told her too, so she doesn’t have to feel bad about not telling him everything.
Hana steps in and confronts Nam Kyung: “Don’t do that to our Dae Bak. He’s someone who has to be happy, a hundred, a thousand times happier than anyone else. So don’t hurt him. Someone who’s as happy and loved as you shouldn’t do that to others.” Nam Kyung tells Hana to take good care of Ho Sang, and make him happy.
Just then, Hana spies the flower lady riding on the back of a bike with the Vietnamese girl, and she and Nam Kyung take off in chase, running through the markets, finally finding the lady eating noodles with the Vietnamese girl (named Ran). Which is the strange sight that greets Ho Sang when he comes to claim the flower lady.
Thinking he’s her son Yong Soo, flower lady takes the reluctant Ho Sang along and insists on buying him meat. At first, he finds it a nuisance, but the flower lady tells him happily, “Seeing my Yong Soo eat so well makes me satisfied even without eating a thing.” Ho Sang remembers his own mother telling him the same thing, and starts to understand this lady’s pain, and changes his attitude. Ho Sang willingly accepts her offerings of food and holds her hand. When she brings out sunglasses for him to wear, he puts them on and explains to Hana (having overheard earlier that Yong Soo had sensitive eyes) that he has sensitive eyes.
They return to the gravesite, with the work completed, and Ho Sang finds the mother sitting alone. Now lucid, the woman thanks Ho Sang for his work, and cries that her son is a bad kid — any child who dies before his mother is awful. Even though others might complain about their rotten kids, at least they’re alive.
That night, Ho Sang tells Hana he’s a bad guy who’ll just disappoint her. He only causes trouble and lies to people close to him. Hana says he’s a good guy, and perhaps feeling guilt for her mercenary intentions, she thinks to herself, “I’m bad too, so it’s okay.”
The next day, they find that Ho Sang’s disappeared. Hana determines to go to Seoul to find him, and her father forces her to take Eun Tak with her to drag Ho Sang back.
(There’s a small detour with the tearoom lady, Ms. Gong, as the men of Hana’s funeral parlor are incensed to see their funeral competitors there also receiving her attentions. As I’m not sure how this is going to play later, I’ll leave it here.)
In Seoul, Hana and Eun Tak arrive at Wang Dae Bak’s empty mansion. Eun Tak tries to persuade her to leave, but Hana stubbornly waits all day in front of the gate. She tells Eun Tak not to look or speak badly of Ho Sang — a person who only expects bad things only sees bad things. Neither of them truly understand Ho Sang, so Eun Tak should watch his words.
Meanwhile, influenced by his encounter with the flower lady, Ho Sang has gone to find his mother, observing her at work, on the subway, and visiting what looks like his crypt (in a vault which I’m assuming is meant for people who can’t afford graves in a cemetery).
Saddened to see how he’s hurt his mother, Ho Sang stays outside her house all night, unable to go in and see her but wanting to be near her just the same.
Ho Sang accidentally comes face to face with his mother when she comes out to retrieve the milk delivery (which he’s attempting to steal — HA!), and she looks upon his face with tears, thanking God for answering her prayers to send Ho Sang to her in her dreams. He tells her he’s for real, and she thanks God for letting her hear Ho Sang’s voice. She hugs him, Ho Sang tells her it’s not a dream, and I cry.
(How ’bout now, are you crying now?) In disbelief, his mother can’t believe it’s truly him. Ho Sang assures her that he’s not dead, and she weeps with relief and shock.
And then she beats him.
(Don’tcha love how she’s so heartbroken thinking he’s died, and the minute she realizes he’s alive, she chases him with a broom and yells at him to die?)
After her anger has cooled, his mother tells Ho Sang to come back and live with her, but he can’t. He might be jailed for impersonating someone else. He tells her he’ll be fine, he’ll find a way to live. Before sending him off, she goes to fetch money for him, despite his protests. Telling him not to move until she comes back, she rushes home to get money.
But Ho Sang leaves before she can return, thinking, “Mom, I’m really sorry. It’s just that if I saw your face again, I don’t think I could leave. I’ll live well. I’ll be healthy, and live with laughter. So you have to do the same, okay? I love you, Mom.”
If there are typos, I’m sorry, it’s just that the tears are clouding my vision. Where is that damn keyboard??
Back at Wang Dae Bak’s mansion, Hana’s relieved to finally see Ho Sang arrive, although his first impulse is to run when he sees Eun Tak’s irritated face. When Eun Tak catches up to him, Ho Sang stops, and wonders, “Wait, why was I running away? Huh. Maybe it’s become a habit.” LOL. Hana’s pleased to hear that Ho Sang went to visit his mother, understanding that he must’ve felt thought of her after meeting the flower lady.
Inside the house, Hana’s amazed to see the extravagance of the surroundings, and imagines her family living in luxury. Her brief fantasy is interrupted when she remembers that Ho Sang won’t be around long enough for that to happen.
Ho Sang prepares a ritual to pay his respects to Wang Dae Bak, telling Hana merely that it’s for the person he exchanged lives with.
He thinks: “Mr. Wang, today I met my mother. I was truly happy. And then, I thought of you. You must be someone’s son and sibling too. I’m truly sorry for whoever is out there, missing you. Mr. Wang, please don’t be lonely. Until I die, I’ll live on remembering you. Please rest now.”
Ho Sang bows his respects, and Hana follows, prodding Eun Tak to do the same. The three bow in memory of Wang Dae Bak, who appears in front of his offering with a bit of a smile, perhaps appeased to know he won’t be completely forgotten.
Ho Sang’s return to Hana’s home leads to some reflection time in the coffin. He isn’t so scared this time — he’s been in there before. He feels sleepy, so Hana assures him, “Go to sleep, I’ll stay here by your side.”
Ho Sang smiles and falls asleep, thinking, “Maybe it was from then, that I started wanting to lean on Hana. I think that’s when Hana started to seem beautiful to me.”