Flowers For My Life: Episode 11
Oh, and this episode tells me her name is actually Lan, not Ran (the Korean letter used doubles for both “l” and “r” and I don’t know Vietnamese to have guessed Lan). But I’ll stick to Ran for now to stay consistent.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
K.Will – “사랑은 좋은 거” (love is a good thing) [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 11 SUMMARY
After Hana gets Ho Sang’s seashell-name-thingy in Episode 10, she runs to his place, where she panics for a moment, thinking he’s in the ambulance in front. They meet, and her former coldness dissipates as they talk — when Ho Sang asks why she thought he might be in the ambulance, she says it’s because he hasn’t been feeling well. He tells her the doctor said there’s nothing wrong with him, and Hana realizes that Nam Kyung wasn’t able to tell him the truth about his cancer.
Ho Sang asks if she was touched at his seashell gift, and she unconvincingly tells him she only came to tell him not to send things like this. Ho Sang teasingly says she could’ve just sent him a message. She has no answer, and he tells her, “Hey, wad of gum. Thanks for coming.”
With the mood now relaxed, Hana and Ho Sang catch up on recent events. Hana tells him about Eun Tak being Pil Gu’s son, although she glosses over Ho Sang’s question about whether something happened between her and Eun Tak. Ho Sang gets off the bus first to go to work, but he’s surprised to see Hana follow him out the bus. She gives (the obviously fake) excuse that she was feeling carsick, and as they walk along, they come upon a fortuneteller who solicits their attention by exclaiming what a perfect match they are.
Ho Sang knows it’s all bunk, but he laughingly submits as the old man reads his palm and tells him they’re a match made in heaven. When Ho Sang asks how long he’ll live, the guy tells him he’ll longer than the fortuneteller himself. Although the topic brings Hana’s mood down, after they leave, he tells her that even though he knows the guy was just saying that to make him happy, it’s still nice to hear it.
Hana, who’s learning bits of Vietnamese to facilitate conversation with Ran, asks her what she wants as a congratulatory present for her pregnancy. Ran shows her a picture of a family on a picnic, explaining that looking at the picture makes her feel happy. She’d like to go on a picnic. So Hana agrees to take her, which makes Ran happy. Hana hesitates to invite Ho Sang, but is excited when he agrees to go along too.
On her way to meet Ran, Eun Tak insists on driving them. Similarly, Nam Kyung runs into Ho Sang on his way to meet them and offers him a lift. Thus the five meet by the river (lake?) in a moment of awkwardness. Ran, not understanding the weird dynamics between the others, thanks everyone for coming and makes Nam Kyung and Eun Tak stay.
Nam Kyung doesn’t understand what Hana’s doing with Ho Sang, and Hana answers that she doesn’t, either: “My heart and my mind are acting separately.” Nam Kyung still would like Hana to stay by Ho Sang during his difficult times ahead, but if Hana’s just giving him false hope only to drop him again later, she’ll really end up hating Hana.
Nam Kyung: “I asked Ho Sang to let me stay by him. I want to do what I can to help him. But he isn’t giving me much of a chance.”
Hana: “Doesn’t it scare you? To stay with him until he goes.”
Nam Kyung: “What truly frightens me is not doing anything for him before he leaves. Not being able to do anything, just sending him off to his end, and beating myself up about it — that’s something I’ve already faced.”
Ho Sang muses at how nice it feels laying in the grass: “The sunlight is warm, the shade is just right, the breeze is refreshing, and it’s nice hearing the leaves rustling. If I fell asleep in a place like this, I wouldn’t ever want to wake up.” He says it makes his mind relax: “If I lived here, it feels like I wouldn’t hurt or age till I died.” Hana says they should come by more often, then. Ho Sang suggests they come back in winter, when it’s pretty from the snow.
Hana’s voiceover says: “That day, he looked so comfortable lying there. Like someone who wasn’t sick, with no worries, he just looked happy. Heaven showed us a place where we could rest.”
Meanwhile, Pil Gu feels pride in his son (who soundly beats their funeral-home rivals in arm wrestling), although it’s diluted when the guys question their relationship, saying it’s strange that Eun Tak doesn’t call Pil Gu father.
Madam Gong takes the opportunity to rectify that, and takes Eun Tak aside to give him a tip (which, although we don’t witness directly, we can infer is about calling Pil Gu “Father”). While drinking together, Eun Tak attempts to give it a try, but can only get out one syllable: “Um, ah–” to which Pil Gu sits up eagerly, awaiting the end of the word for father, “ahbeoji.” Eun Tak awkwardly cuts himself off and calls out for “ajusshi” instead.
That night, though, Eun Tak manages to say it, calling out “ahbeoji” while Pil Gu seems to be sleeping, and tests out the word for the first time. As Pil Gu opens his eyes (unseen to Eun Tak), he repeats over and over, “Ahbeoji… ahbeoji…”
Hana feels unsettled over being unable to get in touch with Ran, and finds out from her husband that Ran was taken to the hospital. It seems Ran had been experiencing abdominal pains, but was afraid that the doctors would tell her bad news about the baby, so she kept it to herself. Finally collapsing, she now awaits surgery.
Hana does her best to console Ran, who’s wracked with guilt, calling herself a bad mother for not protecting her baby. Without family back home in Vietnam, Ran had looked to her baby to create a family here, that it would make her husband love her and make them all happy. Hana assures her that the baby will understand that she did everything she could to protect her baby. Hana says everything will be okay, and promises to come by again the next day.
Little does she know that she won’t see Ran again, because the next day, the doctor comes out of surgery to deliver the bad news. Hana’s devastated at Ran’s death and sinks into sorrow.
Feeling bad for not being able to do anything to help Hana, Ho Sang tries to think of something he can do, and comes up with the idea to give Ran a proper Vietnamese funeral. He researches the idea and presents it to Hana’s father, who tells Ho Sang to handle it himself, with Eun Tak’s assistance: “Funerals are about personal feeling and sincerity. It’s best for the person who can convey that to handle it.”
Ho Sang apologizes for getting Eun Tak involved, offering to withdraw. Eun Tak warns him that he’d better not be toying with Hana’s emotions, but Ho Sang says he’s doing it because of something Hana once told him — that funerals are for the comforting the sadness for the people left behind. “I thought that if we do our best to guide her on her way, it would be a small comfort to Hana.”
Sitting alone and talking to an absent Ran, Hana realizes, “I’ve seen so many dead people, but I don’t think I understood what it meant when a person dies. Because I didn’t know anything, I couldn’t understand people’s sadness at losing someone. But because of you, Ran, I understand. I understand what it is when someone you like, someone you gave your heart to, dies. That makes me afraid, because Dae Bak’s going to leave too, and I won’t even have you around to comfort me. What will I do then?”
Ho Sang presides over the funeral, and Hana feels a bit of consolation when she sees the mother who’d angrily yelled at Ran before for trying to steal away her baby girl. Watching the little girl put her hands together in respect, Hana thinks, “Ran, can you see? That baby you’d liked so much is praying for you now. Your feelings have finally been understood. How nice if they could have understood you a little sooner.”
That night, when Hana sits alone in the spot she used to occupy with Ran, she’s “visited” by Ran’s happy spirit. They sing and laugh together, and Hana feels gladdened knowing Ran’s still around in spirit.
Sitting with Ho Sang:
Hana: “Ran says thank you.”
Ho Sang: “Tell her I say thanks for saying that.”
Hana: “She should be listening anyway.”
Ho Sang: “I suppose she is.”
Hana: “I feel a lot better, being able to send her off without loneliness.”
Ho Sang: “I’m glad. I feel that way too. At first I thought I was just doing this for your and Ran’s sake. But afterward, I felt comforted too. It’s such a comfort to know such a useless guy like me could be a little help to someone else.”
Hana: “So Ran left you with a present, too.”
Ho Sang: “Yeah. She left me a really big gift.”
Hana: “Ho Sang, I think Ran will scold me if I keep living like this. She risked everything to protect something precious, but I keep running away. So I don’t want to run away anymore, even if I’m scared. I’ll protect what I have to protect.”
After seeing Hana home, Ho Sang turns to leave, but collapses in pain. And despite the context, I found that second shot hilarious, seeing everyone gathered around Ho Sang in worry instead of their recent indifference.
The next morning at breakfast, Ho Sang apologizes to the family for causing yet more trouble. As he watches the family dining together, Ho Sang thinks, “After returning to that place, I realized how much I’d missed it. Seeing Hana’s smiling face, I realized how much I’d missed that smile.”
Ho Sang is in the middle of saying his goodbyes when Hana’s father surprises him, telling him (rather than asking, or suggesting) that he won’t offer a large wage and if Ho Sang messes up like before, he’ll fire him. But if he wants to come and learn funeral work, he can come back. If he doesn’t, he should leave and not bother with their family anymore.
After a moment, Ho Sang gratefully accepts. Eun Tak’s disappointed and Hana’s mother is caught off-guard, but Hana’s delighted.
Ho Sang remarks that he’s truly bold (and impudent) for accepting the offer, but Hana tells him he made the right decision.
Hana’s mother dislikes the idea of Ho Sang suddenly coming back into their lives, but Hana’s father points out that because of him, the girl who’d grown up only caring about money only has eyes for the penniless Ho Sang. The girl who never had friends made a friend, and cried buckets of tears, when she’d never reacted to death before. “It’s all because of Dae Bak. He made my daughter into a person, so even if you don’t love him completely, we should accept him.”
Nam Kyung takes the news warily, but tells Ho Sang she’s happy if he’s happy. (I don’t think she actually likes him romantically; she’s just worried for his sake, hoping this is a good thing.) She makes him promise to call her whenever he needs her, and thinks to herself, “Ho Sang, you have to be happy. So that you don’t regret this, and so that I don’t regret sending you to Hana.”
As Ho Sang leaves, he thinks, “Nam Kyung, I won’t forget you for telling me you’d stay by my side. Feeling sorry to you now, I’ll work that much harder to live well.”
And he returns to Hana’s home.
A lovely episode, though I didn’t love it as much as I’ve loved other recent episodes. But stay tuned — next episode, Ho Sang finds out he’s dying! Dun dun dun….