Boys Before Flowers: Episode 20
I enjoyed this episode; it felt like a return to the style of earlier days, which in my book is a good thing.
(It’s sad; I haven’t rewatched any episodes since Episode 10 — up till that point I’d rewatched the episodes multiple times, or at least my favorite portions. I was a little shocked to realize when I started up this episode that I’d forgotten a few of the characters’ names! Aie. That’s how far back this show has gotten pushed in my mind when it’s not actually on. Although, like I said — I still totally enjoyed Episode 20.)
SONG OF THE DAY
8eight – “참지마” (Don’t Hold Back). I know the So-hee As Vampire song is getting all the attention right now for the music video, but I’m partial to this track. [ Download ]
EPISODE 20 RECAP
When Yi-jung finds Ga-eul at her pottery class — using his trusty super-sensory Ga-eul Tracking Beacon, I’m sure — things start out promising for the couple. He looks at her encouragingly as she works on her project, and she smiles bashfully at his attention…
…until Yi-jung looks over at the ceramic puzzle piece on the desk, that is. Instantly recognizing it, he asks urgently where it came from.
Ga-eul answers that it belongs to her pottery teacher, which sends Yi-jung rushing out in a blaze of (over)emotion. (Oh, Kim Bum. It’s okay, you can bug out your eyes and flare your nostrils as much as you like, I’ll still love you.) From his shocked reaction, Ga-eul puts the (puzzle) pieces together, and we now confirm that the girl he’d been talking about in the last episode was in fact Eun-jae, not Ga-eul (sorry, Soeulmaters). (Refresher: He’d mumbled about in his sleep that he’d retreated because he was afraid he would hurt her.)
After sending her brother away, Jan-di wanders the streets with her sad piece of luggage. She pulls out her phone to call someone — perhaps Ji-hoo, or maybe Ga-eul — but gets no answer. (We can assume this is the phone Jae-kyung bought her, but a little more continuity would be nice. Jan-di suddenly has a phone! Then she doesn’t! Now she does again!)
Jan-di tries to stake out a spot for herself in the subway station, but she’s chased off by a drunken, belligerent homeless man. I know she tried to call somebody and she heads to the clinic next, but if she was willing to squat in a fetid corner of hobo headquarters, surely she could’ve tried a few more people first. Honey, there’s pride, and there’s stupidity. (Jan-di, two words for you: PC bang.)
(By the way, the background music is a Jisun song, “What Do I Do?” [어떡하죠], and no, it’s not out yet.)
At home, Jun-hee thinks back to how her mother interfered in her life, in much the same way she’s interfering in Jun-pyo’s now. Back before Jun-hee’s marriage, Madam Kang had attempted to pay off Jun-hee’s boyfriend, insisting that someone of Jun-hee’s standing needs to marry an elite type.
Jun-hee had angrily confronted her mother, saying that all she had ever wanted was a love like the one she had with him — nobody else can replace him. Madam Kang had sneered that risking her status for love is a foolish gamble. “Do that in your next life.”
Commiserating with Jan-di’s situation, Jun-hee calls her… which is a good thing, because this occurs just as Jan-di collapses in the street from exhaustion. Worried passers-by crowd around her, and one woman answers Jan-di’s phone.
When Jan-di awakens, she’s in a guest room at the Gu Manor (or I suppose I should call it Shinhwa Manor). Jun-hee greets her with affection and cheeriness, but there’s a firmness to her tone as she reminds Jan-di that she’d told her to call if she was ever in trouble. She announces that Jan-di is her guest now, and will stay in this house until she’s able to find a place to go.
Jan-di protests — it’s too much of an imposition — so Jun-hee busts out the “But you’ll hurt my feelings if you refuse” tactic, reminding Jan-di that she’d promised to think of her as an unni, regardless of Jun-pyo. Surely she wasn’t just paying lip service, was she? Besides, Mommie Dearest is out of the country right now.
It IS a solution to her problems, so Jan-di agrees reluctantly, under one condition — she wants to earn her keep. She asks to be put to work.
You know, the French maid outfits are ridiculous, but I kinda like them. More to the point, I like how they, unlike the school uniforms, are not fetishized sex-kitten costumes. Sure they’re funny-looking, but in a frilly, Pilgrim-girl way, not a skimpy lad-mag way.
Jun-hee introduces Jan-di to the staff and the stern Granny Housekeeper who rules the roost. (Anyone think that the bug pin on her collar is a nod to Jun-pyo’s bug phobia? Lol.) Granny’s kind of a hoot, not least because the actress is a kdrama staple and she always does the bossy grandma role hilariously. Furthermore, although Jun-hee calls her “grandmother” out of affectionate respect, the housekeeper demands that Jan-di (as her employee) call her “sunbae” instead. HAHA. (Insisting she be called “sunbae” would be appropriate if she were about fifty years younger.)
With that, Jun-hee announces she’ll be heading back to the States for a while, and wishes Jan-di well.
Jan-di is trained under the eagle eye of Housekeeper Granny, who demands perfection. At mealtime, Jan-di is assigned to serve Jun-pyo, so she hastily tells him the menu and keeps her face averted to avoid his notice.
Jun-pyo doesn’t notice Jan-di at first, because he’s startled to see Granny back — apparently she’d left the household to work elsewhere for a while. For the time being, she’s traded places with the butler.
Granny introduces Jan-di as the new maid, forcing the latter to face Jun-pyo. Wincing, Jan-d addresses him, and both exhibit further shock when Granny announces that Jan-di will be Jun-pyo’s exclusive personal maid.
Jan-di begs to be reassigned, but Granny is unbudging — this job requires her to do tasks that may not be enjoyable, but should be done uncomplainingly. Jan-di contemplates leaving, but feels that would be disrespectful to Jun-hee, and faces her task with resignation.
Jun-pyo, on the other hand, is loving this.
He uses a walkie-talkie to issue orders to Jan-di, which was a tactic already seen in Last Scandal. But even though it’s familiar, I still thoroughly enjoy it here.
He wastes no time putting his “personal maid” to work, issuing commands for her to essentially come running at his beck and call. When she bickers with him (using his name and casual banmal speech), Granny scolds her and reminds her to do her job.
First off, she prepares ramen for Jun-pyo, the first batch of which he rejects because she fancied it up with extra garnishes and pretty dishes — he wants it commoner-style, with the requisite copper pot and lid.
Then he tells her to sit by while he eats, softening the command by telling her how to work the recliner.
The song usage in this drama, as we know, tends to be heavy-handed, but at least the meaning of the song played here fits nicely in this scene. It even ties into a scene later. (This song is also still unreleased).
As Jan-di pulls the stool up on the recliner, the song goes, “I know that this shouldn’t happen. If you say this is a lie, will my feelings for you return?” (The song talks about harboring feelings that shouldn’t be felt, indicating that her feelings are in danger of making a reluctant resurgence.)
When Jun-pyo finishes eating, he sees that Jan-di has fallen asleep. He covers her with a blanket, and watches her as she sleeps on, not noticing that the maids have witnessed this through the open doorway. (Granny looks rather pleased, as well.)
In the morning, Jan-di has the daunting task of waking Jun-pyo, which as we’ve already seen takes some effort. He’s being so bad-tempered that when she arrives at his room, she overhears him yelling at a maid to get out and that she’s fired.
The maid bursts out crying, so Jan-di grits her teeth and storms in to wake him up, prodding him incessantly with her feather duster until he does. Furthermore, she makes him come outside to rescind his firing to the maid.
(As we’ve seen in the past, Jan-di tends to let herself be abused when she’s the one at the brunt of the bad behavior, but she’s more than willing to step in on others’ behalf. I wish she’d stand up for herself, too, because Weakling Jan-di sure gets tiresome. But given my options, I’ll take this Righteous Defender Jan-di over Doormat Jan-di any day.)
Yi-jung drops by the pottery classroom to see Eun-jae, and finally we can piece together their backstory. She’d been the one to leave him — and furthermore, she’d hidden herself on purpose to make it difficult for him to find her.
Ga-eul walks into the hallway in time to hear their conversation from the hallway. At this confirmation that Yi-jung and Eun-jae were first loves, she realizes that she’s probably out of the picture.
The girls mope together about their failed love lives. Jan-di’s lost her boyfriend to another woman, while Ga-eul is sad that she helped Yi-jung reunite with his first love, just as things were looking good for them.
Jae-kyung bursts in, worried, having found out Jan-di moved again. As telling the truth would present something of a delicate situation, Jan-di laughs it off, trying to remain vague about her new home and saying that “stuff came up.” So when Jae-kyung enthuses about another housewarming party, Ga-eul jumps in — Jan-di’s staying with her, so they can’t have a party.
Jae-kyung asks for some porridge to take to Jun-pyo, who’s sick. Jan-di almost slips by saying confusedly that Jun-pyo wasn’t sick that morning, but Ga-eul stops her in the nick of time.
Dr. Grandpa Yoon is experiencing more chest pains, which worries Jan-di. He keeps insisting he’s fine, and given that he’s a doctor, I’m interpreting this to mean that he’s actually NOT fine, which is a fear Jan-di shares. She doesn’t believe his reassurances, and says that she doesn’t like the idea of him living alone when he might fall ill again.
Thus Jan-di tries her best hand at some subtle manipulation, showing up at Ji-hoo’s home with luggage and asking if he has a spare room. The implication is that it’s for her — he’s a little taken aback, but points the way. Then Jan-di pops outside to bring in her guest: Dr. Grandpa.
This does not seem like a very good idea, and both men protest. Jan-di first deals with Grandpa, telling him he’s had 15 years to mentally prepare himself for this moment. Also, she threatens (affectionately), if he doesn’t do as she says, she’s going to reveal to Ji-hoo that he’s ill. Grandpa worries, “Will he forgive me?” Jan-di smiles reassuringly — it’ll work out.
Then she faces Ji-hoo, and as with the earlier maid scene, we see that Jan-di is more than happy to confront somebody when it’s for someone else’s behalf. Ji-hoo’s initial anger doesn’t faze her; she says, matter-of-factly, “He and you both need family. All I did was find it for you.”
She points out that even if he wants more time to “prepare himself” to confront his grandfather, at some point the preparation becomes useless.
Jan-di: “The Ji-hoo I know really loves his grandfather and misses him. That’s why you’ll be able to forgive him.”
Dinner at Jun-pyo’s is one of those scenes that isn’t a huge plot mover but is full of small, cute moments. I love it. Jun-pyo’s eating dinner with Woo-bin, when mention of the new maid comes up. He’s disgruntled that his new personal maid isn’t available, as Jun-hee had given her a five-day workweek.
Woo-bin isn’t aware that Jan-di is the new maid, and Jun-pyo’s not ready to make that news public, so he furtively signals for Granny to ix-nay on the andi-Jay alk-tay.
Then, Jae-kyung flounces in, unannounced. I laughed at Jun-pyo’s reaction to Jae-kyung’s attempt to tend to him in his moment of “illness” — could he BE leaning any farther away from her? Woo-bin, totally enjoying every moment of Jun-pyo’s discomfort, teases him about eating Jae-kyung’s porridge (hence the screencap of him above).
That night, Jun-pyo walkie-talkies Jan-di and orders her over, ignoring her protests that she’s off-duty. It turns out that he wants company while he watches a horror movie — and heh, extra lulz for using Kim Bum’s most recent film, Go-sa: Bloody Midterms.
The movie makes both of them jumpy, although Jun-pyo is the bigger scaredy-cat. Soon they’re all wound up in tension, and a particularly scary moment sends them jumping toward each other. (Is this predictable? I DON’T CARE.)
Naturally, this makes for some awkward romantic tension/frustration. They break apart uneasily, and finally Jan-di can’t take it; she gets up to leave.
Jun-pyo calls her back. She pauses, but leaves anyway.
And then she rushes back in, because she’s just spotted Jae-kyung outside, heading straight for Jun-pyo’s room. This sends her into a nervous flurry and she scurries around the room like a chicken with its head cut off, fretting over what to do.
For his part, Jun-pyo declares himself ready to just come out with the truth, but Jan-di panics and beelines for Jun-pyo’s closet. She climbs in.
Jun-pyo thinks she’s being ridiculous, but she frantically motions for him to shut the door, which he does just as Jae-kyung enters calling for him.
Jae-kyung has had a similar idea as Jun-pyo, and comes bearing a horror movie — she was too afraid to watch it alone. (They don’t say whether she brought the same movie, but the point highlighting their similarity is clear enough.)
After the movie ends, Jae-kyung looks over to see that Jun-pyo has fallen asleep. As Jun-pyo had done with Jan-di, Jae-kyung covers him with the blanket, then takes a long look at him.
I’m sure this parallel is intentional, showing again how Jae-kyung is similar to Jun-pyo — not necessarily to demonstrate that they’re a good (complementary) match, but more that they’re too similar to work. This is also the scene I was referring to when I mentioned the song lyrics previously, because the same song kicks in as Jae-kyung looks at sleeping Jun-pyo, with the same lyrics that go, “I know that this shouldn’t happen. If you say this is a lie, will my feelings return?”
Jae-kyung leans in close to press a kiss to his cheek.
Jun-pyo opens his eyes after she goes (which means he probably was awake for the kiss), then remembers Jan-di.
He finds her asleep in the closet. I really, really like the tiny beat while he’s looking at her intently and raises a hand to her face, and his finger lingers on her lips — it’s like he’s giving her a kiss, too.
He carries Jan-di back to her room.
In the morning, Ji-hoo wakes up to find his grandfather at the table, having prepared breakfast for the two of them. How sad that Ji-hoo is always left to eat his tragic foodstuffs alone, and now that he has a companion, he doesn’t want it. Grandpa Yoon has put a lot of care into making funny faces in the food — stuff Ji-hoo liked as a kid — but Ji-hoo isn’t ready for this step, and rejects it. Saying he’s not hungry, he turns away.
He does, however, come back after his grandfather has finished eating, and sits alone at the table and cleans his plate. Okay, I know this scene is all meaningful and touching, but it’s hilarious how purposely meaningful it is. Seriously, has food ever been as sad as when Ji-hoo eats it?
A lingering shot at both their plates highlights more of their similarities — they’ve even eaten in similar patterns (with the same leftovers). This reminder of their resemblances troubles Ji-hoo.
Then, Jan-di is confronted by an irate Jae-kyung, who storms into her guest bedroom and accuses her of deceiving her. How dare Jan-di lie to her so blatantly, when all she ever wanted to do was be her friend? She slaps her.
But as we may have guessed — whether from the setup or merely from Jae-kyung’s crazy eyes — this is a dream, brought on by Jan-di’s guilty conscience.
It’s the weekend, which means Jan-di doesn’t have housemaid duties, so she arrives at Ji-hoo’s house bright and early to usher them both to work. At first, Ji-hoo stands aside at the clinic, keeping out of the way without anything to do. Jan-di draws him into the mix, assigning him some of her tasks like handing out tea to the patients.
When she comes out of the exam room, she finds that Ji-hoo has done well on his own, entertaining patients with a song (the tune Jan-di sang before, “I Only Know Love”) on the harmonica. (Are Ji-hoo’s musical instruments the new F4 sporting events? What next, drums? Harp? Castanets?)
Yi-jung broods in his studio, remembering his conversation with Eun-jae. He’d asked why she’d suddenly disappeared, sadly saying that she’d been like air to him — a constant presence he’d come to depend on. Her abrupt departure was a huge shock to him.
Eun-jae had replied, “I wasn’t air. You confused the wind for air.” She had made the same mistake, too, thinking she could stay with him. However, in the end she realized, “Wind can’t return to the place it had once been.”
Ga-eul comes upon a defeated Yi-jung in the studio, asking why he’s like this. (He’s holding the puzzle piece, which he hides behind his back when she enters, which I suppose suggests that he does care about Ga-eul.)
Yi-jung doesn’t like Ga-eul questioning his life, and tells her to keep her mouth shut and leave. But she’s determined to say her piece and refuses to shut up, calling him out as a liar and a coward.
This angers him, but she points out that he had said (regarding Eun-jae) that he had pushed her away for her own sake. Ga-eul challenges his version of the story: “No, you were afraid you’d get hurt.”
Ga-eul continues: “I know the cool, stylish, attentive So Yi-jung is only a mask. But the So Yi-jung I like is a child-like person, afraid of love and of saying farewells.”
She hands him Eun-jae’s puzzle piece (which bears the Chinese character for “time” or “era”), and leaves him with one final thought: “Children don’t hesitate with things they like — because they know that they’ll burst into tears if they lose it.”
With that, Ga-eul exits. Yi-jung takes in all her words with stunned silence, unmoving… and then snaps out of it, and rushes out to follow her.
Morning again. Knowing what this means, Jan-di prepares herself for the arduous task of waking Jun-pyo, and pesters him with an alarm clock held to his ear.
Jun-pyo mumbles and resists, burying himself in the covers, so Jan-di tries harder to bug him with the clock and drag off the covers. As we can expect, this leads to a loss of balance, and she falls on top of him.
(Like I said before, is this predictable? I DON’T CARE.)
Instead of letting go awkwardly, Jun-pyo surprises Jan-di by holding her closer to him. He says, “Just five minutes. Let’s stay like this for five minutes. Then I’ll get up. Even though I’m holding you like this, it doesn’t feel real that you’re here.”
He turns to face her… and just when you’re wondering if they’re going to kiss…
… Jae-kyung arrives! Dun dun dun!
With respect to the Ji-hoo storyline — I have to say that I like how Jan-di is set up to bring this pair together. The grandfather rift doesn’t excite me terribly as a plotline, but if we have to suffer through it, at least I can appreciate how it’s being carried out. No matter how obvious this outcome is (the reluctant reconciliation), it works with these characters.
Jan-di is just about the only person who could get away with manipulating Ji-hoo into forgiving his grandfather — and I don’t mean manipulating in a negative way. She’s blatant in her intentions, and Ji-hoo’s fully aware that she’s pestering him into forgiveness — it’s just that nobody else could convince him to let her get away with it. It has to be Jan-di pushing him along for this reunion to work, and the point is especially appreciated because it’s high time Jan-di (finally) gives back to Ji-hoo when she’d been receiving so much from him.
You know, I wasn’t sure how they were going to fit in the maid storyline into the drama at this late date, but I’m actually pleasantly surprised, because I think it worked. They worked it into the current plot in a logical way, and I think Jan-di’s reaction (to insist on working for her keep) is consistent with her character. They had to get rid of her family before she could act as maid, and things had to get pretty dire for her to accept this position… and I actually bought the setup this time.
In fact, I’ll defend this as a GOOD example of timing. Their relationship has been in a stasis since Jae-kyung came on the scene, even though their twoo wuv feelings are becoming more clear for both of them and harder to ignore. They needed a little push from an external force because they were both keeping at a distance, letting the circumstances dictate their actions rather than flying in the face of opposition, as they did in Season 1.
We may wish for them to be bold and fearless — okay, I’ll just speak for myself here and say that I wish that — but that’s also a characteristic of the youthful sort of “first flush of romance” emotion we get in the first half. That passionate, unrealistic, Romeo & Juliet fervor. They’re not MUCH older now, but the point remains that now there are other considerations they have to factor in aside from pure emotion. True Love may conquer all in a kdrama, but they’ve still got to work out some other obstacles first.
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 19
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 18
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 17
- Boys Before Flowers: F4 Talk Show Special
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 16
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 15
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 14
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 13
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 12
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 11
- A day behind the scenes of Boys Before Flowers
- Boys Before Parodies
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 10
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 9
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 8
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 7
- A closer look at Boys Before Flowers scripts
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 6
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 5
- Behind the scenes with Kim Bum in New Caledonia
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 4
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 3
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 2
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 1