Drama Recaps
Flowers For My Life: Episode 14
by | June 30, 2007 | 23 Comments

I hope the delay for this summary doesn’t suggest that this episode wasn’t good. Flowers For My Life is a wonderful drama and it’s going straight to the (almost-)top of my all-time favorites. You know, I’ve seen a lot of dramas in marathon sessions after all the episodes have already aired, and when you watch a batch of episodes at one time, you’re more likely to overlook flaws, or be forgiving of them. You’re not really given much time to think over a storyline before it’s time to watch the next installment.

Some dramas might be good in marathons, but don’t hold up on an individual basis — Witch Amusement comes to mind. Actually, that series might have been a lot better in one sitting with the fast-forward button. But I think the best dramas are the ones that are great week-to-week as well, because it’s a far more difficult thing to sustain interest over months at a time without bleeding viewership — every week is an opportunity to lose an audience if you don’t keep the quality up.

To me, Flowers For My Life is one of the latter kind — not only do I enjoy it week to week, but every episode leaves me feeling like I’ve just witnessed something remarkable. (And I have.) If you haven’t seen Flowers, you’re missing out. And if you have seen Flowers and didn’t like it, well, we can still be friends. Just maybe not the blood-swapping, speed-dial-programmed, oath-swearing variety.


Nell – “Good Night” [ zShare download ]

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Having heard Hana’s mother talking about Hana pursuing Ho Sang because she thought he was rich and dying, Ho Sang sinks into quiet anger. He remembers his initial meeting with Hana, seeing their encounters through new eyes, particularly how Hana confessed her love for him so early on, defying even his comprehension.

(It’s interesting to revisit their earlier interactions, because at some point we go from seeing Hana’s obvious fake admissions to her genuine caring. It’s hard to pinpoint where it happens, which I think is a mark of how skillfully they’ve developed the relationship.)

Without having to ask, Hana can tell that Ho Sang heard everything, and that he knows Hana was faking her interest in him initially. Ho Sang stays in his room alone, ignoring Hana’s pleas to open the locked door. The next morning, Hana finds Ho Sang gone.

She finds him at the bus station and approaches cautiously, gingerly asking how he is and telling him she understands that he’s angry at her. With a mix of disbelief, hurt, and anger, Ho Sang tells Hana he doesn�t want to talk to her right now. All this while, he’d felt so thankful to her — she was the first woman to ever tell him she loved him, to look after him and worry about him.

Ho Sang: “I was so worried about how it would hurt you to know about my illness. I was so sorry. I wanted to believe your words that we were fated. No — I did believe it. If it wasn’t fate, there was no reason for you to like a guy like me. But it was all my delusion. Everything I’d held precious was an act you made up.”

Hana says it wasn’t all an act — she admits she pursued him with the wrong intentions, but at some point, her feelings became real. Ho Sang responds bitterly that she probably just felt sorry for him — pity and a gulty conscience caused her to feel for him. It must’ve been fear of some kind of retribution that made her stay with him.

Ho Sang: “But still, I thought that I knew you best out of anyone in this world. I thought that I could see the Na Hana that the world couldn’t see. But now…”
Hana: “Nothing’s different. What you see is true. My feelings are just as you’ve seen them.”

Still too upset to accept her words, Ho Sang asks her to leave, saying he’d only say hurtful things if she stays, and asks for her to give him time. Saddened, Hana complies, and calls Nam Kyung to keep Ho Sang company, afraid of leaving him completely alone.

Ho Sang admits to Nam kyung that he’d intended on fleeing far away, but couldn’t. He was afraid of collapsing in an unfamiliar place. Although he hadn’t wanted anyone to treat him like a patient, now he’s unable to disregard his illness. He tells her, “People say that forgiveness comes easily when you’re at death’s door. But seeing how I feel sad and bitter, it’s not easy for me. Maybe it’s because it’s not my time to leave yet.”

He notes that Nam Kyung had also offered to stay with him out of pity, and Nam Kyung answers that it’s not a bad thing to feel pity. Truly feeling sorry for someone is because you value them, because you sincerely want them to be happy: “Let’s live feeling sorry for each other, worrying about each other, comforting each other.”

Ho Sang leaves to go on a trip alone, and Nam Kyung worriedly asks him to call her as soon as he gets where he’s going. Knowing Hana’s anxious about his well-being, Nam Kyung takes Hana out for beer while they wait, each doing a poor job hiding their worry. Hana asks if Nam Kyung’s curious to know why Ho Sang’s so angry with her, and Nam Kyung replies, “Yes, I’m curious, but I don’t want to know. If he doesn’t want to tell me, it’s better that I don’t know. I’m sure he’ll understand you in the end, so don’t worry.” Nam Kyung is a wonderful, lovely friend.

(I love the layered, interesting shots this director pulls off. Like this angled shot under a table and through the bars. So much more texture than a plain, direct shot of Hana on her bed.)

While Hana waits, Ho Sang arrives in a remote beachside town, where he dreams happy dreams of being with Hana.

Wandering through a neighborhood, Ho Sang sees some children playing, which reminds him of his own childhood, being picked on by the other kids, but bearing it all with a smile. (The kid really does resemble Cha Tae Hyun, not just in looks but in Ho Sang’s good-natured ability to laugh at himself.) He sees a little girl sitting alone and remembers Hana saying she never had friends.

So, he stoops down to talk to her, and asks why she’s alone. She says she has no friends, and suspiciously wonders why he’s talking to her. Ho Sang: “Because you’re cute.” The little girl grows even more suspicious: “You’re a bad man, aren’t you? I was told to be careful of strange men who tell you you’re pretty or want to buy you things. I’m not even cute. You’re lying.” Ha! The little girl walks off, and Ho Sang remembers Hana telling him she’s not cute, or lovable.

Back at home, Madam Gong recruits Hana’s family to help her as her wait staff that day. Despite the empty caf� and the family’s low spirits (worrying over Ho Sang), she persuades them all to help as she puts out “Completely free!” banners. The place quickly fills up with townspeople, and Madam Gong looks on as Hana’s family enjoys their work, as though taking a picture of the sight in her memory.

Madam Gong and Hana take a moment to chat, and Madam Gong explains that when life gets hard, she gives out free coffee to everyone, like today. People thank her for the coffee and give her a smile; her spirits rise, and she energizes.

Knowing Hana’s concern over Ho Sang, she advises her that it’s not necessarily good just to hold back and sacrifice everything for Ho Sang’s sake. It’s okay to get annoyed or upset. After all, they’re in the middle of a romance. Enjoying the romance will be much better for his body than medicine — but romance isn’t enjoyable when one side just absorbs and takes everything. In order to love properly, don’t worry about what may happen tomorrow, love fully today.

Hana worries to Eun Tak that even if/when Ho Sang returns, she’s afraid of how he’ll feel. What if he went on this trip to get over her? Eun Tak says he probably did, but assures her that he’ll come around to her: “Because you’re the most valuable person to him.”

Ho Sang wanders amid a field of flowers and remembers Hana asking what flowers he’s come (to this life) in search of, and her answer that she’s come looking for him.

Eun Tak, meanwhile, has been noting his father’s feelings for Madam Gong, so he calls her over for a talk, and asks what she thinks of marrying his father: “It seems like my father’s concerned about me, but I fully approve. If you marry my father, I’ll do my best to take care of you as my mother.” Madam Gong wells up with tears, grateful for the thought.

However, she doesn’t intend to marry. She was already married twice in her younger days, and was happy neither time. But now, she’s happy. Her nickname is “Chun Cheon’s Lover” (where Chun Cheon is the name of their hometown). She assures Eun Tak that although she won’t become Pil Gu’s wife, she’ll take care of him as a caring girlfriend. Once he marries, she’ll just share a cup of coffee with him now and then.

Arriving back at her caf�, Madam Gong’s employee asks why she’s so happy, and she happily boasts that she received a proposal — from Eun Tak. The woman can’t believe it, but Madam Gong clarifies — he asked her to be his mother. It’s the happiest proposal she’s ever received in her life.

Eun Tak: “I thought a lot about Dae Bak today. The adults probably did too. For this family to do something together, and have him missing, it feels weird. Even if he isn’t much help when he’s here.”
Hana: “You’re right, he always just gets into trouble.”
Eun Tak: “If even I feel his absence, I worry over how you feel. It makes me anxious.”
Hana: “It does?”
Eun Tak: “Of course it does. On one side, there’s the girl who doesn’t like me. On the other is the guy who took my girl away. Why do I have to worry, when both annoy me so much?”
Hana: “I know you’re a good person.”
Eun Tak: “I didn’t say it asking you to say that. Although, it doesn’t sound bad to hear.”
Hana: “Do you think Ho Sang knows? How you’re concerned over him, how our family’s all worried and waiting. I wish he’d know.”

Ho Sang finds a string of voicemails on his phone: Hana’s mother worries over his health, and feels terrible for her part in spilling the truth. Eun Tak tells him not to try acting cool wandering around, he should come back. And finally, Hana’s wavering voice says, “It’s me. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry… It’s okay if you say hurtful things to me everyday, or get angry and scold me… so come back, okay?”

As Madam Gong makes a coffee delivery to an elderly man, she passes through town, exchanging greetings with everybody, laughing and smiling and being her usual cheerful self. It’s a lovely send-off…

Because shortly thereafter, we get news of her death in an accident. It’s shocking and sudden, and the family is stunned to hear it.

(Just a quick note at how I love the juxtaposition with Madam Gong’s mourning funeral lantern and her smiling face on her caf� sign. I’m sure it was done purposely.)

Meanwhile, while Ho Sang stands at a bus stop, undecided over which direction to go, he gets a text message from Hana informing him of Madam Gong’s death. She thought he would like to be back to pay her respects.

The entire town turns out to participate in the funeral, walking in a long line behind her daughter and Hana’s family.

And as they cross over into the countryside, flower petals begin wafting through the air. This may be reading a little too far into the symbol, but it seems altogether appropriate — Madam Gong had found her purpose in life and fulfilled it, finding the “flowers” she was put here to seek. And now that she’s gone, the flowers pay their last respects as well.

Ho Sang remarks that living and dying seems so hard, unfair. Hana’s father explains that the word for “living” came from the term used to light a fire: “It meas we light the candle we were given by fate, day by day. But that wick differs for each person. Somebody’s wick burns out soon, and another’s goes on much longer. Only heaven knows if our fire burns out today, or tomorrow. It seems unbelievable to lose Madam Gong this way, but she must have left because she’d burned up the fate heaven had given her.”

Ho Sang answers, “It’s not purely a bad thing to know when the candle heaven gave me will burn out, is it?”

Madam Gong’s daughter hears the truth of her mother’s situation (that Hana’s family was not, in fact, her step-family) with some comfort: “I’d always worried that my mother was lonely, so my mother lied to me to put me at ease. But coming here today, I realized I’d worried for nothing. My mother lived receiving so much love from so many people, I’m sure she wasn’t lonely.”

Ho Sang watches and thinks, “That day, I realized that people who do their best to be loved leave behind love even after they’re gone. People who do their best to be happy leave happiness behind when they’re gone. What will I leave behind?”

That night, Hana and Ho Sang have a strained conversation. Hana knows he can’t forgive her just yet, but she tells him, “I love you. You don’t have to forgive me, but don’t ignore my feelings. I love you now, and I will in the future.” She tells him of Madam Gong’s advice, how she should love to the fullest today. “No matter how your feelings change, I felt I should tell you mine properly…” With a rueful smile, Hana continues: “I didn’t know saying ‘I love you’ was so painful. If I’d known how my heart would hurt, I wouldn’t have been able to say it so easily before.”

Ho Sang: “But at least you’ve said it. I’ve never said those words. I kept saving it, wanting to wait for a perfect moment to say them. But what if that perfect moment never comes?”

Ho Sang decides to visit his mother while he still looks healthy, and as he departs for Seoul, Hana follows him out the gate…

…and to the bus stop…

…onto the bus…

…and to the train station. Ho Sang sees all this, but doesn’t say anything to her, just as she doesn’t say anything to him. It’s as though Hana’s feelings of love and worry and fear, all mixed up together, render her physically unable to stay away.

Seeing how Hana can’t leave, he finally approaches her and asks: “Do you… want to go together?” and Hana’s anxious face breaks into a tiny, hopeful smile.

23 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. suzie

    Congratulations on your new site! And thanks for this…I can’t believe it’s gonna end soon…the story is so refreshing, I hope they won’t make us too teary-eyed in the end (although it’s a huge possibility)

  2. Jessica

    I totally agree with suzie.

    This series is so refreshing. I keep making predictions based on how I think k-dramas should be, but I keep being wrong!

    They’ll pulled off so many stunners!

    I’ll miss this show terribly when it ends… 🙁

  3. Ubo

    Usually I don’t like dramas depicting death (esp that of the lead characters) but the fact that I’m willing to make an exception here goes to show how much I like this drama. I find it touching that Hana who is so materialistic at the start of the show is now so in love with someone who about to die penniless. Such is the strangeness of love; it defies logic but it’s wonderful at the same time.

  4. gail

    ahhh. madam gong… shocking…

    thank you, javabeans. (may i call you sarah?) thank you for pointing out the lovely shots. the director is skillful in this drama.

    i must buy a copy of english-subbed DVDs. i must squeeze it into my budget somehow… 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    oh thank you thank you…

  6. its_trish

    thanks for the summary!
    It’s still sinking in.. very powerful imagery for sure

  7. doozy

    thank you for this summary! I love your choice of screen caps, not just for this episode and this drama but for all the other ones that you’ve written before, because they really do a terrific job at capturing the important plot points and emotions of the scene. And also, thanks for point out technical things like a scene was filmed (angle, juxtaposition, etc.). Because of those tibits, I now look for things like that while watching this and other shows and appreciate the dramas beyond just having a good plot.

    It’s episode 14 already (wow, that was fast!). Although it’s disheartened to see that the ratings points have been abysmal, I’m glad that the drama is still going strong. This is one of those times when I like the Korean entertainment system for not canceling shows with low ratings. woot woot.

  8. Marzy

    thanks for this sarah! 🙂 i cant believe how this drama shows so much emotions, give of lessons and bring a heartwarming smile at the end of each episode. i love the fact that it talks about life, how we value life and how we should live our lives to the fullest. not only life, but relationships and loving others. sigh, such a gem of a drama. CTH does a great job here. ^^
    im glad that KBS didnt cut this or shorten it as some would when ratings are low. i dont thinking the ratings are always as accurate too.

  9. ripgal

    Thank you so much Sarahbeans. I’ve been waiting anxiously for this episode’s write up, and it turned out to be really good, with your to die-for articulate illustrations and words. I loved how the drama manages to captivate our attention with the meaningful conversations incorporated into every single scene. I noticed that you’ve utilised the dialoguese from the drama and put them into your summaries..and I knew it’s because you wanted to capture the moments in the drama and let us readers feel what the characters have gone thru inside. Once again, thank you so much for doing such a great job with the summaries.

    Like what most of you guys have said, I love this drama because it doesn’t come off as a typical meaningless drama but instead provokes us to think about life and how we should treasure our moments while we still have our yaers alive. Like the saying, It doesn’t matter if you live a short life, but what matters is what you’ve lived thru and encountered within those years. I think I wouldn’t be too sad if Ho Sang dies (we all know he will)..because at least we know that he will leave in peace, knowing that he’s at least loved by somebody before he leaves the world.

    This drama is already on top of my NO.1 Best Drama of the year (Before it was Thank You..but I can’t just help but edge it out because Flowers is just AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL) and this coming from one who’s not even seen/finished Ep 9-14 yet.. I just read all your summaries. =P

  10. 10 Bamidele

    Beautifully done summary, and I want to comment on how I am trying to notice these little details, that you are always noticing, like Madam Gong’s smiling face above the lantern, I didn’t notice that at first, till you said something. There is so much beauty in this stroy, and I actually am beginning to like flowers more, never was a flower fan, but this drama makes them seem heavenly.

    I like this idea of finding your flowers in life, translating to finding your fate, or purpose on this earth, before you leave. I often wonder what my purpose in life is, and have not found a straight answer yet, but I have hope that I will come across my flowers, so that when my own fire burns out, they send me off too.

    This drama is so touching, and only 2 episodes left, two torturous weeks of wondering how will they end this drama, will Ho Sang die at the end, or will they end it letting us know of what will happen on some tomorrow, but letting us enjoy their todays?

    Ho Sang fighting!!!!!

  11. 11 blueseeker

    I think you hit the mark on the meaning of the flowers for each episode, i have noticed them throughout and if it’s not that, the title would or should had been different. This is such a great drama, i cannot believe i had reservations at first. They just started broadcasting it here in NY so am sure many people will be watching. Thanks for bringing us these recaps every week!

  12. 12 atalanta_jbs

    ei, congrats on ur new website…
    —————————– 🙂
    this episode already leave me teary eyes (just reading it)… my my… i think i’ll need a box of tissue while watching the rest of this drama… huhu

  13. 13 erms

    i am expecting every episode of this drama is because of the recaps. u have done a good job, and my credits go to you. it’s disheartening to see that the show receives low ratings, but i am glad that some of us do appreciate good moving dramas rather than those typicals. this is indeed a good development in k-drama makings, the story line (i never have guessed the next episode right), shots and everything just went perfectly on pace and moving. even if it doesnt win the ratings, hopefully it will win something for award. i just hope that the ending will be satisfyingly good. dun let me hate flowers just like ive hated witch amusement. hehe..

  14. 14 Anonymous

    I have been reading your entries and now i cant wait for the next episode. You are really good. Now I cant wait for the DVDs of this TV series to be released so tt i can buy and watch this series for myself. Many thanks for all the effort and insights you have provided.

  15. 15 HALA


  16. 16 Philippa

    OMG! I’m so happy! I was so depress this days that I haven’t been updated on my Korean Dramas! I’m in NY right now on a vacation, Happy Independence Day! So yeah, thanks a lot again! I haven’t read the summary yet, but it looks sad…

  17. 17 quiet reader

    Am looking forward to the last 2 epsiode summaries… havent had the time to watch the actual series BUT the summary posted here is enough to move me… so please please keep it coming until the end!


  18. 18 Anonymous


  19. 19 Philippa

    Thanks a lot! I can’t believe that she died. There’s so many characters in this drama who dies. Like that vietnamese woman died (right?). I don’t remember,,, well thanks again!

  20. 20 okhmill

    Truly wonderful series. Very inspiring and heart-warming, human and humane. This is definitely becoming the top drama for me. I have got 2 more episodes to watch and am getting the feeling that by that time, this is going to be my most favorite drama. And your blog and with the footprints from others just made it it even better – knowing that I am not ‘alone’. Life is beautiful. 🙂

  21. 21 bleuzelle

    I hesitate to buy this drama when reading the lead actor have terminal disease. But when i saw how high you rated this drama, i decided to give it a try. I finish off the 16 episodes in 2 nights. I’m not sure if the fact that my beloved aunt died of the same pancreatic cancer influenced my judgement of this drama. Pancreatic Cancer is such a silent and slow murderer! When she began experiencing back pains and lose weight dramatically, we brought her to hospitals so many times, but the doctors didnt detect it. we also tried traditional medicine. Only when her conditions gotten worse, that we found out that its cancer. Why am i telling u all this? ^_^ my fingers just wouldnt stop.
    This drama will be among my most treasured one. It makes me want to be like Ho Sang, to be able to laugh at myself. to be like Hana, Eun Tak, Nam Jeong and the others. I dont know what is my flowers yet, but I’m sure in time I would find it…
    Oh, you make such nice recaps, by only reading it makes me tear-up all over again

  22. 22 Anonymous

    I’ve just realised this drama is hugely connected to death. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s just hit me now, I’ve only just pieced everything together – the funeral parlour, Lan, Ho Sang’s news etc
    This (very very late) realisation was due to the death of Madam Gong.
    That was a massive shock. I was wondering why they were focusing on her taking her little trip so much… and then BAMMMM. I just burst into tears.
    She was one of my favourite characters – this episode did well showing nice little scenes with her… where she gave out free coffee to cheer everyone up, when she thought Eun Tak’s ‘proposal’ was the best and bought her to tears..
    Actually, looking back on it now, the episode was like a lead up of nice scenes centered around her to kind of like ‘send her off’ before she died… ahh, stupid sudden realisations.

  23. 23 faridah2201

    It is strange, I want to hate this show sometimes as I watch it. It hurts so much to watch it so I figure if I hate it I will stop watching. But in the end it is a good hurt so i go back to loving it, despite the tears I cry because of it. I guess that is why I think it is such a great drama, I love it in spite of myself.

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