Some people may think that being disappointed in a series that they’ve been eagerly anticipating (Witch Amusement, Air City) is because their expectations were too high. That they should lower their own expectations in order to enjoy the drama, as though somehow blaming themselves for a disappointing drama rather than the production team who’s created it.
That can be true on one level, because putting anything on a pedestal just begs for it to fall down. I certainly have lowered my expectations on several shows to get to the end without stabbing something (like myself) in frustration, because I’m stubborn enough to stick with something to the end if it’s got the hint of potential at improvement. But on another level, I reserve the right to be disappointed with an inferior product.
Flowers For My Life, however, is proof that when you don’t lower your expectations, sometimes you’re rewarded.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
The The – “๋๋” (I / me) [ zShare download ]
EPISODE 9 SUMMARY
After Ho Sang leaves, Hana sits in silent depression, prompting Eun Tak to give her a reality check, that Ho Sang’s not coming back. Despite her insistence on being alone, he takes her fishing to get out of the house.
Ho Sang, on the other hand, gets work at a construction site and spends his nights sleeping in the car. I’d assumed he would go to Wang Dae Bak’s Seoul mansion, but seeing how Ho Sang doesn’t even consider that route shows that his conscience won’t let him live like that anymore. He smiles at the memory of his time with Hana, keeping his seashell arrangement spelling HANA by his side.
Hana finds some comfort talking with Ran, and although they barely understand each other’s words, they manage to communicate pretty accurately. Eun Tak, walking the dog Kkul-kkuli (meaning “piggy”), can’t follow the conversation and wonders if they’ve got some weird telepathy going on.
Hana takes offense to a large banner advertising Vietnamese brides, and rips it down. The banner’s owner chases them as they flee the scene, and Eun Tak ties up Kkul-kkuli for a moment as he runs after them. He comes back to see the dog missing, which angers and alarms Pil Gu ajusshi. They look all over, unable to find her, and spend the next few days putting up notices and searching the neighborhood.
Anxious, Pil Gu takes out his anger on Eun Tak, accusing him of being heartless over losing the dog. The dog is like a child to Pil Gu, and yells that if they don’t find Kkul-kkuli, he’ll make him pay — which in turn angers Eun Tak. Eun Tak yells back that Pil Gu feels so much emotion over a dog, but how can he feel nothing about people? Eun Tak will make sure Pil Gu pays for his wrongs, too.
Neither Pil Gu nor Hana quite understand what he means by that, but Hana can tell something is going on between them and pleads with Eun Tak to explain what it is. But he remains silent.
Nam Kyung sees Ho Sang sleeping in his car, and grows worried when he doesn’t respond to her attempts to wake him. She takes him to the hospital to undergo some tests. But Ho Sang, believing it to be nothing, leaves without waiting for results — he has no money to be spending on expensive hospital tests. He sees the “missing dog” signs and also starts looking for Kkul-kkuli as well.
A well-dressed gentleman arrives at the house looking for Choi Pil Gu, and identifies himself as Eun Tak’s father. Or rather, stepfather. Pil Gu reacts when he hears the name of the man’s wife, Eun Tak’s mother, whom the stepfather married while Eun Tak was still young. Although they lived together for twenty years, he knew that his wife was always waiting for Eun Tak’s father to return.
Seeing that Pil Gu is unaware of the truth, the stepfather clarifies that Pil Gu is Eun Tak’s father. Eun Tak made a deathbed promise to his mother to meet his biological father, and thus cannot return home until the truth is revealed.
In shock, Pil Gu takes in the revelation, grieving also for the death of Eun Tak’s mother, whom he’d left before she’d even had a chance to name their son.
Eun Tak comes home to find his belongings packed, and Pil Gu tells him to leave. Without explaining why, he shoves Eun Tak out, who’s bewildered and angered at the harsh treatment.
Pil Gu confides in Hana’s father, admitting the truth of how he left his wife and child. Hana’s father seems to know a little about the long-ago incident, referring to Eun Tak as “that child you’d buried in your heart.” Pil Gu explains that Eun Tak grew up with a loving stepfather, who sent him to a good school and who intends to eventually hand over his business to Eun Tak. Feeling that connecting himself to that bright future will only drag Eun Tak down, he cast him out — being affiliated with Pil Gu will only cause Eun Tak more trouble.
Hana overhears this, and looks for Eun Tak, whom she finds sitting alone in the dark in the storeroom. He tells her to leave him alone, but she refuses to go.
Hana says she knows Eun Tak is unable to leave because he hasn’t yet been able to meet the person his mother wanted him to meet. She asks why he can’t be straightforward, saying he came to see his father. Why stay silent and bear the hurt alone?
Eun Tak bursts out, “Who do you think you are? Why make me so pathetic?” Hana gently tells him, “Why are you pathetic? You don’t know it, but you two have already met. You can’t leave here because of Pil Gu ajusshi, and Pil Gu is trying to send you away for your sake. Doesn’t thinking for the other’s sake like that show that you’ve already met in your hearts?”
Eun Tak asks, “It was really for my sake?” Hana sees him holding back his tears, and reaches over to touch his hand, telling him, “You don’t have to hold back anymore. You’ve been holding back all this time, so now you don’t have to.” Eun Tak breaks down.
They spend the night sitting side by side, interrupted in the morning when Ho Sang finally calls to say Kkul-kkuli’s been found and taken to the vet. They arrive too late, as she’s (he’s?) been badly hurt, and Ho Sang delivers the news that Kkul-kkuli died just before he arrived.
Ho Sang and Hana talk, and he tells her he didn’t call on purpose because he didn’t want to make things harder on her, even though she assures him not to worry about her. He gets up to leave, and Hana asks him to stay just a little longer. So they sit in silence, as the world blurs around them.
Pil Gu and Eun Tak sit together after burying the dog. Pil Gu calls himself stupid and foolish, without any fatherly abilities. This is the second time he’s lost a child. To him, the dog represented the happy life he’d foolishly abandoned.
Pil Gu: “I was going to go back and find them once I’d earned some money, once I’d become a man. But even if I tried, it just didn’t work. I’d think, by now he must’ve started school, now his voice must’ve deepened. Merely thinking about it, time passed. Thinking I couldn’t show my pathetic appearance in front of him, even though I wanted to see him, I held back. I lived like that. And I met this Kkul-kkuli, who seemed to come to me to be in place of that kid. So I gave it the name Kkul-kkuli… My son had such a good appetite, so his mother and I used to call him Kkul-kkuli. This Kkul-kkuli must’ve felt she’d lived her purpose. Having filled in for my son, she must have felt she could go now.”
Now that things have been resolved and Eun Tak seems more at peace, Hana asks if he plans to stay, and he says yes. He still has something he wants to do here. Hana asks what it is, and Eun Tak just smiles at her and says, “I’ll tell you when the time is right.”
Hana meets with Nam Kyung to ask about Ho Sang’s health, and Nam Kyung tells her that he’s been feeling a little ill lately. He went to the hospital, complaining of digestive issues and an aching back, but he attributed it to stress and the new construction job. Hana tries to get more detailed information as to his symptoms, but Nam Kyung doesn’t know, and is bewildered that Hana’s upset reaction is so strong. Hana tells Nam Kyung to tell her the next time he’s sick.
She goes home to read up on cancer symptoms, which fit his complaints, and worries that his health has started to deteriorate. She imagines him collapsing in pain, and calls him while he’s eating dinner with Nam Kyung, asking just to see him for a moment. He says no firmly and hangs up. Nam Kyung sees how he’s trying to harden against Hana and says he must really like her. Ho Sang says, “If I don’t end things this decisively, I’m afraid I’ll go back and be unable to give her up.”
Unable to shake her worries, Hana follows Ho Sang around, seeing him overexerting himself at work. She doesn’t understand why he’s putting himself through this, and tells him not to work himself so hard. He just yells at her to leave him alone.
Ho Sang watches her leave, feeling bad over forcing her away like that, and Hana recalls Nam Kyung alluding to Ho Sang being in a difficult situation. She wonders what that means, and asks Nam Kyung for clarification. Nam Kyung hopes that telling Hana the truth will allow Hana to become a greater support to him, and tells her the truth about Wang Dae Bak.
Hana’s greatly shocked, understanding now that Ho Sang has nobody and no place to turn, and stumbles along, Drained of energy, she collapses.
Eun Tak calls Ho Sang to warn him against hurting Hana. Although Eun Tak doesn’t understand the whole situation because Hana won’t tell him, he blames Ho Sang for pushing Hana to collapse. He warns Ho Sang not to appear in front of Hana anymore.
Hana cries alone at home, trying to convince herself, “There’s no reason to feel sorry for him. I’m the one who was fooled. There’s nothing to pity him for.” When Ho Sang calls her, worried after hearing she’d collapsed, she ignores it and doesn’t answer.
Hana’s voiceover says: “That night, I realized that I was being punished. For looking for a rich, short-lived man, heaven was punishing me.”
Ho Sang remembers Hana telling him she’ll always be his wad of gum, sticking to his side, and his voiceover tells us: “That night, I realized how much I wanted to believe those words.”
Ho Sang loiters around Hana’s house, not intending on going in, but is intercepted by Hana’s father, who still doesn’t know the truth of the situation. Her parents merely think he’s been up in Seoul on business. He brings Ho Sang into the house, and Hana takes him aside for a talk.
Ho Sang says he was worried about her, and asks if she was really disappointed hearing the truth about him (Nam Kyung told him about telling Hana the truth). Hana coolly tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore, and closes the gate on him with finality.