Witch Amusement: Episode 14
It’s official. Witch Amusement has lost its mind.
The good news: at least the crazy is the entertaining kind. I think I’ve figured out what must’ve happened: some nutjob anti-fan of Han Ga In / Dennis Oh / Bin / Kim Jung Hoon sneaked on set, dropped a bunch of crazy pills into the punch bowl, and everyone drank the Kool-Aid. It started gradually, unnoticeably, finally culminating in the schizophrenia of this episode. Yup. That’s got to be it.
There was a time I tried to divvy out these caps to include everyone and not just Jae Hee, but they’ve all become much less interesting. Jae Hee is by far the most compelling thing in this series. So why fight it?
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Byul – “세상의 반” (Half the world) [ Download ]
This episode had me rolling on the ground with laughter. Figuratively speaking. It was so wacky and all over the place, I didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t think they did either — the writers, the production, the actors. It’s like they either forgot what show they were filming (hence the crazy pills theory), or they gave up and were like, “Aw, fuck it. Let’s throw everything in.”
Everything CRAZY, that is! It was so farcical, it was almost a parody of itself. I kinda wish they took that extra step and went into self-satire, because that would really be something.
EPISODE 14 SUMMARY
Mu-ryong tells Yoo Hee he’s not getting married, then leaves. Yoo Hee hesitates for a moment, then decides to go with her feelings and chase after him —
It’s an… interesting variation of the ubiquitous back-hug. Maybe they were going for something slightly different than the standard. But it comes off more like, “Help, I’m so tired from running twenty feet to catch you that I have no more energy! Be my arm-rest!”
Yoo Hee tells him not to go, because she missed him. She doesn’t know why, but she keeps thinking about him. Mu-ryong takes her hand, then shows Yoo Hee how normal people hug properly.
After admitting that he missed her too, the happy couple cook together, and Paran watches with satisfaction. Paran also picks up Yoo Hee’s cell phone when Joon Ha calls, mentioning she’s with ‘Mu-ryong hyung’ at the moment.
I’m infinitely relieved that there were many more face and upper-body shots of Mu-ryong than full-body shots, because Jae Hee’s hair is vastly improved (thank you, coif gods!) but his wardrobe, sadly, is NOT. They must have gone over-budget on Yoo Hee’s smashing wardrobe and figured, Hey, Jae Hee’s pretty skinny. Tell him to drop a few pounds and we’ll fit him in Yoo Hee’s castoffs.
As Mu-ryong leaves, he and Yoo Hee share a good-night hug just as Joon Ha arrives, pissed off. Never mind the fact that Yoo Hee already tried to break up with him a couple of times and return his ring. But a man’s testosterone knows no reason.
Joon Ha punches Mu-ryong, saying he’ll kill him, but Mu-ryong doesn’t fight back (perhaps feeling bad for his part in breaking up their loveless relationship?). Yoo Hee forces them apart, and defends Mu-ryong as blameless: “It’s me, I like him.” She repeats it several times because the smarty-smart doctor doesn’t seem to understand, and Joon Ha — omo! — slaps Yoo Hee.
Mu-ryong may have been willing to take the hit himself, but seeing Yoo Hee slapped, he busts out his “Oh no you di’int!” face as he forces his way into the elevator and demands that Joon Ha apologize to her immediately. Joon Ha says Yoo Hee is his woman — get lost. He says Mu-ryong will never last with Yoo Hee — he can’t do anything for her, and the President will never accept their relationship. Which, funny enough, is what the President used to say about Joon Ha.
Now that things are (finally!) out in the open, Mu-ryong breaks up with Seung Mi. The scene’s much longer (than it needs to be), because most of it is a repetitive mishmash of stuff we’ve already heard, until we get to that long-awaited line: “Let’s split up.”
Likewise, Yoo Hee breaks it off with Joon Ha and returns the ring to him. He tries to change her mind, saying they shouldn’t act rashly, but take their time. He understands if she looked at someone else for a moment, but he knows she’ll return to him. He’ll wait for her. But Yoo Hee just walks off. Good luck with that, Joon Ha! Maybe you should hold your breath while you wait.
After posting Episode 13’s summary, I felt kind of bad for ripping into Jennifer Bae so harshly… until I saw Episode 14 and remembered that she totally earned it. I’m not saying actors don’t deserve any understanding, but once you’ve gotten the job and become a paid actor — whether or not you’re equipped with the skills — you have to take criticism as a part of being a professional. And if you can’t deliver, then you’ll get a lot of criticism. Watching this scene was like watching a bad Youtube amateur video. I swear.
As Allison merely repeats the same thing as before (Come back to New York!), it’s an utter waste of time. Except for the part where Sara sees Allison holding Johnny’s hand (I wonder if Allison is Johnny’s ex, even if she’s not his current girlfriend) and flips out. Allison recognizes Sara’s unique brand of fearsome crazy, and makes a hasty retreat.
Joon Ha meets with the President bedecked in a dark suit at the waters of the Han River, because now Witch Amusement thinks it’s a mobster movie. This tends to be a popular setting used in many other dramas/films, but the most recent that comes to mind is last year’s gangster drama Lovers (연인).
The contrast of the locale and the acting and the mismatched music makes this scene weirdly laughable. Joon Ha tells the President he will not give up Yoo Hee. The President asks if it’s because he wants the hospital, and Joon Ha answers that it’s also because of Yoo Hee. He won’t lose her, and asks for his help.
This next scene is lovely and cute, and beautifully shot — Yoo Hee surprises Mu-ryong with a grand gesture. Timed to his arrival, the bridge lights up, and Yoo Hee presents him with a cake. Mu-ryong starts to approach, but she tells him, “No, stay there. I’ll go to you.” As far as symbolic statements go, it’s a rather nice one.
Aww. Cheesy, but heart-warming… if ONLY, oh, I don’t know, I hadn’t already SEEN IT BEFORE?
As we all know, kdramas recycle stories and moments all the time… But as this one involves the same director — and even the same ACTOR! — it’s hard to overlook. I loved this scene in Choon Hyang, but my appreciation for the Witch Amusement counterpart was dulled by the striking similarities.
At least this scene is salvaged by the last bit, where we pan down past the lovers to see Manager Lee and Hee Jung, huddled in the cold with the power cord, manning the lights. Acknowledging the mechanics behind the romantic gesture (we never see how the lights turn on, even though I always wonder) redeems it slightly.
Happiness is short-lived, though, as thugs drop by Mu-ryong’s family restaurant and make a mess, overturning everything and breaking furniture, as a message to Mu-ryong from the President. In the process, Song Hwa’s girlfriend, who I think is named Mi Kyung, gets a direct blow to the stomach. Worried over her baby’s condition, the family rushes to the hospital… where we find out she’s fine. But not the baby. Because there is no baby. She’s never been pregnant. She apologizes, saying she just wanted to be with Song Hwa so much. He leaves, angry and upset at her lies.
(I was beginning to wonder at her non-pregnant physical appearance, and thought they were going to pull another Full House on us. But it’s nice to see they actually had a point in not highlighting her pregnancy.)
Joon Ha calls Mu-ryong to ask if he got his “message.” Mu-ryong did, loud and clear. Joon Ha tells him things will be fine if he lets go of Yoo Hee, and Mu-ryong answers: “I guess I have no choice. I can’t give her up. I’ll protect her.”
The thugs also go after Yoo Hee, who puts up a big struggle before she’s overpowered and kidnapped. It’s great that they remembered she’s supposed to be good at fighting, but the whole martial-arts excess is a little ridiculous. It’s like she turned into Buffy overnight.
Mu-ryong just sees Yoo Hee being driven off and tries to give chase, but can’t continue as he’s on foot. Mu-ryong’s shocked to realize Joon Ha’s behind this when Joon Ha asks him, “So how are you going to protect her now?” Ooh, evil genius keeping the lovers apart through manipulation! Looks like Joon Ha’s been watching Choon Hyang too.
Because now we are in a thriller-action film, Yoo Hee is taken to a dark, sinister warehouse where she’s bound and gagged. Joon Ha plays his part as the action star, bursting into the warehouse in a blaze of heroic glory. He singlehandedly takes down the gangsters, rushing to Yoo Hee’s rescue. (He later pays the gangsters off for carrying out his plan.)
Is it ridiculous? No. It is beyond ridiculous. Even if it’s staged so Joon Ha can be Mr. Man and save Yoo Hee, it’s total overkill.
Seung Mi and Song Hwa drink, and Song Hwa mentions their thug encounter earlier, while also worrying about what to do about Mi Kyung. He doesn’t necessarily want to break up with her… but what she did still pisses him off. Seung Mi tells him she can understand — Mi Kyung did that because she likes him so much. (Seung Mi had better not be getting any strange ideas from Mi Kyung.)
Mu-ryong’s parents (more his mother) blame Yoo Hee for the recent trouble, and combined with Joon Ha’s threats, Mu-ryong avoids Yoo Hee’s phone calls. She seeks him out, asking what’s wrong, and why he’s distant. She jokes, “Has your love cooled already? Do you not want to see me anymore?” and Mu-ryong answers, serious: “Yes. Let’s stop seeing each other.”
She doesn’t understand, so Mu-ryong speaks coolly and harshly to make his point clear — she’s not his type, he thinks the relationship is too much for him, he doesn’t want to handle a woman like her… “Goodbye, and don’t call me again” are his final parting words. Even though it’s written all over his face that he doesn’t really mean it, that he hates saying those words. Actors take note! See how much you can do with one facial expression!
Despondent Yoo Hee goes to see Johnny for support, but changes her mind and leaves without meeting him. She does run into Seung Mi, however, who tells her to let go of Mu-ryong. Yoo Hee’s ruining him, what with her father sending thugs to bust up Mu-ryong’s family restaurant. Yoo Hee’s shocked to learn of her father’s doings.
Our favorite man-couple drink together — Johnny can sense something’s wrong (is it the man-love intuition?), even though Mu-ryong says nothing’s the matter. Mu-ryong asks if life would’ve been better if he’d just become a doctor instead. But seeing that Mu-ryong doesn’t want to elaborate, Johnny doesn’t press, and they just drink. In the solace of each other’s loving company.
Yoo Hee confronts her father, who says he doesn’t want to give his daughter to a man like Mu-ryong. He doesn’t like Dr. Yoo either, but “Since you two like each other… I just want you to be happy.”
In shock, Yoo Hee stumbles home, stripped of her energy, and finally collapses in her lobby, where Joon Ha’s waiting. It must be that pesky Conveniently Timed Mystery Illness that arises whenever the plot needs it to.
Joon Ha comforts Yoo Hee, who accepts him uncertainly. He says pretty words about how he doesn’t like seeing her hurt, and their wedding plans are back on, even though Yoo Hee doesn’t look whole-hearted about it.
Yoo Hee gets an unpleasant surprise visit from Joon Ha’s ex-fiancee, who’s come to warn her against Joon Ha. Yoo Hee doesn’t believe her accusations, but the fiancee has come prepared with evidence — papers for a hospital signed in President Ma’s name, and a recording of her conversation with Joon Ha in Episode 13, when Joon Ha all but admits to marrying because he wants the hospital. How very secret-agent of her.
In a determined fury, Yoo Hee storms in to face Joon Ha —
And she is PI – ISSED. She’s SO pissed off, the word needs an extra syllable.
Come on, Joon Ha. You don’t fuck with the girl your hired kidnappers complained was such a good fighter that they demanded more compensation.
…and we are two episodes away from the end! I wonder how they’re going to wrap this up. At this rate, anything could happen. And I mean anything. Monkeys? Nuclear weapons? Amnesiac serial killers? Flying potatoes? You never know.