Boys Before Flowers: Episode 21
Three good episodes in a row! What is going on here?
Okay, okay. Perhaps if I were to take a coldly analytical look at this, I might concede that all three episodes in question (and then some) were mightily flawed and riddled with enough logic holes to make you think a Plot-Eating Moth had invaded the production’s Closet of Storylines. And maybe I’ve gotten tired of making excuses for (or criticizing the lifeblood out of) this drama and just wanna sit back and relax and admire the too-lovely-to-be-real bone structures of Lee Min-ho and Kim Hyun-joong. (My drama-analysis mode never fully turns off, but that dial can be turned down.)
But what it boils down to is this: If cold logic rules yer brain over pure entertainment and/or emotional reaction, what are you doing watching this drama anyway, right?
SONG OF THE DAY
Jisun – “어떡하죠” (What Do I Do?) from the Boys Before Flowers OST 2. [ Download ]
EPISODE 21 RECAP
Jae-kyung walks in on the Jun-di embrace, her reaction speechless surprise. Jan-di fumbles to explain, but can’t find the appropriate words…
But that’s a moot issue, because OH CRAP now it’s Mama Kang who walks in. (Given her destructive potential, you’d think they’d have her business schedule more closely monitored, wouldn’t you?)
Talk about buzzkill. Jun-pyo can only close his eyes in chagrin as Madam Kang (who had entered the room cheerfully addressing Jae-kyung) takes in the sight of Jan-di in the maid uniform. (I guess we should just be glad Mummy didn’t see Jan-di lying on top of Jun-pyo?) Sputtering in rage, she demands to know who dared bring her into this house.
Granny Housekeeper calls out, “I did.” Lady Kang demands that she be kicked out immediately. However, while I wouldn’t say Madam Kang is intimidated by Granny, she does find her difficult to browbeat into submission, stemming from the fact that Granny’s position in this household pre-dates even her.
Granny is a crusty old broad, and says firmly that hiring and firing maids falls under her purview, not Madam Kang’s. It’s not time to let Jan-di go yet.
When Mother protests, Granny reminds her that she served the Gu CEOs even before Madam Kang married into the family, and asserts that her loyalty is to the Gu household. She will preserve its honor.
Jan-di follows Granny out and thanks her for stepping in. However, Granny tells her that she didn’t hire her because Jun-hee had asked her to — no, her motivation was related to Jun-pyo. After Granny left the household, she’d worried about Jun-pyo, knowing how he has a soft heart underneath his cold exterior. However, seeing him now, she’s noticed a change, and attributes the positive upswing to Jan-di’s influence. Granny owes this family, and feels it’s her last duty to serve him.
Also, her ability to size up people has served her well in the past, so she has to trust that instinct now. (Meaning that her gut is telling her that Jan-di is the key to Jun-pyo’s future happiness.)
Jae-kyung comes to talk with Jan-di, with a (surprisingly?) understanding attitude, even a little wistful. Maybe that’s why Jan-di feels even worse for not having told Jae-kyung about her history with Jun-pyo, but Monkey Girl doesn’t blame her. Instead, she’s able to see from Jan-di’s perspective why she couldn’t speak up.
However, she asks, “Wasn’t I your friend even before I became Jun-pyo’s fiancée?” As a friend, she wishes Jan-di could have told her; Jan-di apologizes, feeling guilty. Despite their friendship, however, Jae-kyung wants to make one thing clear: “I won’t give up on Jun-pyo. From now on, I’m going to try harder. I’m going to do my best so that I have no regrets. I just wanted to tell you that.”
Madam Kang encourages Jae-kyung along, promising to fire Jan-di. Jae-kyung tells her not to, although she does have a different favor to ask.
At pottery class, Ga-eul talks to Eun-jae after class to ask how her relationship with Yi-jung had ended. We don’t get an answer, but we do see that Yi-jung is waiting outside for Eun-jae, happy to see her until he overhears her phone conversation. From her words, it sounds like a call to a boyfriend.
After a moment, he decides to follow her, and arrives outside a café… where she walks in and enthusiastically greets…. Yi-jung’s brother! Omo omo! (I actually gasped; I wasn’t expecting this.)
This is a huge betrayal, and Yi-jung’s face crumples as he watches his brother’s cozy interactions with Eun-jae. Yi-jung calls him, and watches as his brother steps outside to take the call (though he doesn’t see Yi-jung sitting in his bright orange sports car right in front).
His brother sounds glad to hear from him, and suggests that Yi-jung call more often and drop by sometime. There’s somebody he wants to show him — someone he ought to be very glad to see. Yi-jung tries to keep the tears out of his voice as he asks, “You’re happy, aren’t you?” His brother answers that yes, he’s so happy that he almost feels guilty for it.
Two things: (1) Yi-jung obviously loves his brother, despite their rift. His questions make it seem he’d be willing — albeit with a lot of pain — to relinquish Eun-jae if that meant his brother would be happy.
(2) This revelation was set up to make it seem like a big brotherly romantic rivalry, but there’s a possibility Big Bro isn’t actually dating Eun-jae. True, it’s mighty suspicious given how affectionate they are together, but I don’t know that Yi-jung’s brother would be so eager to announce that he’s found Eun-jae if he was dating her now. We’ll have to wait and see.
More surprises at Gu Manor. Jae-kyung pops in again (well, that’s not a surprise, since she always does that), but this time with luggage. Maybe feeling Jan-di’s presence to be a threat, Madam Kang is pleased to announce that Jae-kyung is moving in too. The parents have agreed to move up the wedding since they’re both adults, the union is going to happen sooner or later, and an earlier wedding is better for business. Jae-kyung’s parents have even already ordered the wedding invitations.
Jun-pyo refuses to cooperate, but his protests are ignored. Furthermore, he and Jae-kyung are set to shoot a CF for the new Shinhwa cell phone, since the media had picked up on their relationship at the launch party and public response was overwhelmingly positive.
Jae-kyung texts Jan-di to drop by her room, where she is excitedly trying on Madam Kang’s own wedding dress. In Jae-kyung’s defense, at least she has been completely up-front with Jan-di about her intentions, and has treated her with affection and understanding. On the other hand, it’s in rather poor taste to flaunt her happiness.
Jae-kyung asks for Jan-di’s opinion on the dress and shows her the jewelry Mama Kang had given her. To make this even more uncomfortable, she has a favor to ask — she wants Jan-di to be a bridesmaid. (WHAT? If showing off the dress was inconsiderate, this is straight-up MEAN.)
Now, this fishing bit is a scene I liked for its thematic purpose (if not for the acting). We start at home, when Dr. Grandpa comes out of his room and watches Ji-hoo packing his fishing gear. Eager for something to talk about, he offers advice about the equipment, then retrieves his own fishing rod and gives it to Ji-hoo, all with a childlike kind of hopeful anticipation.
Ji-hoo remains unresponsive, but asks at the last moment, “Do you want to come? I’m leaving in ten minutes.” Grandpa’s face breaks out into an excited smile, and as much as I don’t care about this story, this is so cute. And touching.
A lot of people have asked about this song; it’s finally out on the second OST: “낯선 해” (Strange sun). And yes, it was also used in latter episodes of Goong S. [ Download ]
Grandpa Yoon reminisces about Ji-hoo’s mother’s cooking, then gives Ji-hoo a box, telling him that today is his parents’ wedding anniversary. Ji-hoo opens it to find a ring — his mother’s. Ji-hoo starts to break down as Dr. Yoon continues, “I’m sorry. I stole that mother from you, because of my karma.” (I assume this mention of karma is a general “I blame myself” sentiment that Dr. Grandpa harbors.)
F4 headquarters. Jun-pyo and Jae-kyung’s recently shot CF (during which Jun-pyo had remained cold, to Jae-kyung’s unease) is out, and Jun-pyo is pissed about it.
The other guys ask what he’s going to do, but he doesn’t know what he can do. Ji-hoo tells him, “You’re the only one who can find that answer.” Probably not as helpful as Jun-pyo would like. In frustration, he rips up the wedding invitation and storms out.
Jan-di has also seen the commercial on television, and it sinks her spirits further. Ga-eul reminds her (as if she could forget!) that Jun-pyo is facing marriage — this is for real. Since this is stating the obvious, I see this as Ga-eul pushing Jan-di to put up a last fight for Jun-pyo, before he ends up married and truly out of hope’s range.
Jan-di glumly indicates the fancy CF, saying, “That’s their future, and that’s where Gu Jun-pyo belongs.”
She also gets a call from her mother, and assures her that she’s doing fine. Upset at news that Mom is feeling under the weather, Jan-di urges the family to take better care of themselves.
She also gets a call from Dr. Grandpa, who calls her out — only to find Ji-hoo waiting instead. Both are surprised to see each other, and realize that Gramps is up to some matchmaking of his own.
Laughing it off, they walk through the park together, coming upon a crowd that has gathered for some kind of event. Jan-di learns from a bystander that a “couple wedding photography contest” is being held, where all couples are invited to dress up in wedding clothes and take pictures. Winner (by fan vote) gets a prize — and at the mention of that, Jan-di perks up. As we know, Jan-di likes free prizes, and particularly homes in on second prize: health food, which makes her think of her sick family.
I like that Ji-hoo notices Jan-di’s interest, but he knows better than to wait for her to suggest it. Instead, he announces that he’s bored and this looks like fun, and drags her along to participate.
While they shoot photos, a crowd of admiring bystanders recognizes Ji-hoo, and they quickly become the favorite couple. At first, their poses are stiff and un-couple-like, so the photographer (and the crowd) urges them to be more affectionate. Ji-hoo starts to lean in, hesitating as though he wants to kiss Jan-di — but she beats him to the punch, getting into the spirit of the moment by pecking him on the cheek first.
They’re so popular that they easily win first prize, which is a trip to Jeju island. Of course, Jan-di actually wanted second prize, and Ji-hoo clocks her disappointment, and trades with the runners-up. (Touched at his gesture, Jan-di grabs him in an appreciative hug.)
At home, Ji-hoo looks over the photos and takes out the ring, contemplating them together.
And then, everyone’s off to Jeju Island for Jun-pyo and Jae-kyung’s wedding.
(How did they all ship their cars over, and just for the weekend? I know they’re all rich, but that just seems silly.)
Also, poor lonely Woo-bin, who must drive all alone! At least he looks hot?
Upon their arrival, F3 joins Jun-pyo on the terrace, where he’s brooding. Ji-hoo informs Jun-pyo that Jan-di came along.
Jun-pyo isn’t happy about that: “Do you think that makes any kind of sense? Both that the Monkey asked her to be a bridesmaid, or that she accepted?”
Ji-hoo turns to Jun-pyo and asks, levelly, “Who do you think is having it toughest right now?”
This is a lovely scene, even if the contents are a little frustrating (plot-wise). But I appreciate that the talk is open and frank, and both ladies address the issue head-on, instead of circling around the point, as so often happens in these conversations.
Jae-kyung thanks Jan-di for coming, as though she’d been unsure if she would. She says, “I know that Jun-pyo and you really liked each other. Even now, you may still care for each other. I’m sorry for pretending not to know. I’m not usually like that, but I was a little cowardly with you.”
Jan-di feels some responsibility too, and says, “No, it was because I couldn’t say so honestly.”
Jae-kyung: “It wasn’t that you didn’t tell me, but that you couldn’t. Even if you’d told me, nothing would have changed. I wouldn’t have been able to give Jun-pyo up.”
For what it’s worth, Jae-kyung honestly seems to feel bad. I think her balance between friendship and selfishness still tilts exceedingly in favor of selfish, but at least she IS aware. (Cold comfort, I know.) She takes Jan-di’s hand and says, growing more tearful:
Jae-kyung: “I really like you. If I had to choose the two people I valued most in the world, it would be you and Gu Jun-pyo. So I’m truly sorry. I’ll make it up to you for hurting you. Forgive me.”
More F4 sports! It’s soccer this time, which starts out fun and playful, but soon gets overshadowed by Jun-pyo’s aggression. He gets a little too into the body-checking, pushing his friends aside, until in the end he’s the only one still on the field.
The others call him in, saying he’ll wear himself out — but Yi-jung says perceptively that that might be what he’s aiming for.
Ga-eul thinks back to her conversation with Eun-jae, which we now get to see in its entirety. Eun-jae had told her that she did confess her feelings to Yi-jung — it was on Valentine’s Day, and she’d mustered all her courage to put everything on the line.
In the end, though, it wasn’t enough to get through to him, and afterward, Eun-jae had felt her feelings “empty out.” She’d thought to herself, “This is where it ends.” However, because she’d decided to face him honestly and live without regrets, it didn’t actually hurt. So Eun-jae had encouraged Ga-eul to go for it, so that she doesn’t live regretting it.
Yi-jung finds her in the field, at first approaching her with his usual light manner. Ga-eul can’t get her head around the idea of arranged marriage at such a young age, but the concept isn’t that shocking for Yi-jung — in F4’s position of privilege, it’s a concept they’re familiar with.
Ga-eul wonders if his future holds the same fate, and he responds that whatever happens, it’s all the same to him. (This recalls his father’s line about how once you’ve lost That One Woman in your life, all the others are pretty much the same.)
This does not go over well with Ga-eul, who bursts out, “How can you be so irresponsible with your life? That’s why nobody can stay by your side.” At this, Yi-jung’s expression darkens; he thinks she’s playing with his weakness. She shocks him by asking why he never went to meet Eun-jae on that Valentine’s Day three years ago.
(They’re really taking advantage of the Jeju Island scenery, aren’t they?)
After walking outside with Jan-di, Ji-hoo ushers her indoors, and broaches the topic of the wedding tomorrow. By the way, I’m really, really digging how the characters are talking so honestly and frankly in this episode — I only wish they’d done this sooner.
Ji-hoo says that she’s running out of time — today may be the last day to get Jun-pyo back.
Ji-hoo: “After meeting you, there’s only been one thing I wish for — for you to be happy, and not cry anymore. I’m afraid that after tomorrow, you won’t be able to smile again.”
Jan-di responds, “Don’t worry. I will be able to smile,” but the lie is immediately apparent since she starts to tear up. Ji-hoo pulls a handkerchief out to wipe at her tears — but she rejects it. (I’d thought for a split second that he was taking out the ring, and maybe that was the intention. Perhaps he’d been considering giving it to her, but the way she reflexively pushes him away is a blatant reminder that she still loves Jun-pyo.)
Speaking of whom, later that night, Jun-pyo reluctantly sits through a family dinner, remaining silent as everyone chatters about the upcoming wedding.
Jan-di, taking the elevator down to the lobby, spots him sitting with Jae-kyung, and very briefly meets eyes with Jun-pyo. Thus he’s in a mopey mood when Jun-hee arrives that night, asking the somewhat cryptic question, “How much are you prepared to go through?”
Jun-pyo asks, “How much will it take?” Jun-hee answers, “Everything. Family, Shinhwa Group, and maybe even your name as Gu Jun-pyo.”
Jun-hee understands his dilemma and says, “I couldn’t do it. I wondered, what would I become if I abandoned everything? I didn’t have the courage to live as a nobody, as just one man’s woman… I suffered for that one moment of cowardice. I thought I could forget, but I couldn’t.”
I doubt Jun-pyo has ever talked this openly with his sister about this, and he wonders if this means she still feels sorry to the boyfriend she’d left.
Jun-hee answers, “No, not to him. I feel sorry to the twenty-year-old Gu Jun-hee, who I’d thought would always be forthright and pure.”
But she’s not here to tell him what to do; she’s here to offer moral support: “Whatever you decide, I’ll understand. And no matter what you do or where you are, the fact won’t change that you’re the little brother I love.”
I love this scene, because it shows that there’s actually one person in the world who knows exactly what Jun-pyo’s going through. Until now, we’ve seen their similarities in their circumstances, but now we can actually see that they share emotional parallels as well.
Jun-pyo meets Ji-hoo by the outdoor pool and tells him solemnly: “Ji-hoo. You’re a brother to me. You were in the past, and you will be in the future. I’ve thought from time to time how you could live on fine without me, but what would I do without you?”
Ji-hoo wonders what he’s getting at — he’s not asking for help in escaping the wedding, is he? Jun-pyo turns to Ji-hoo and instructs him: “Hit me once.”
At Ji-hoo’s surprise, Jun-pyo continues, “I’m not joking. I have to get hit by you.”
Ji-hoo starts to protest, but stops; after a moment, he punches Jun-pyo in the face, sending him sprawling to the ground.
Maybe this is an exercise in masochism, or maybe Jun-pyo feels he deserves punishment for his next words (because no matter what he decides, he’ll be hurting somebody). He says, “I can’t let go of Jan-di.”
Jae-kyung talks with Jan-di, trying to pick the right wedding dress to wear for the ceremony, again displaying either a lack of tact or a sugarcoated mean streak.
(Honestly, I’m inclined to go with supreme lack of tact, because on one hand, I don’t think she’s being purposely cruel — even though I do admit that on the other hand, it’s uncool of her to enlist Jan-di’s cooperation since she’s acknowledged that she knows how Jan-di and Jun-pyo feel about each other. But on the other hand — yes, I have three hands in this argument — her reasoning in the following scene does actually make sense. But we’ll get to that shortly.)
Jun-pyo texts Jae-kyung a message: “I have something to say.” From Jae-kyung’s expression, she already senses that this may not be happy news.
But she’s the queen of feigning ignorance, and when she meets Jun-pyo at the wedding chapel, she takes a light tone. Jokingly, she recites her vows, answering with her “I do” at the end, then asks him for his vow to take this woman to be his bride, etc.
Jun-pyo, stoic and grim, tells her, “I can’t.”
This isn’t how she wants this conversation to go, so she tries to laugh it off, saying that she was just joking around.
Jun-pyo: “It’s not a joke, Monkey. No, I mean Ha Jae-kyung. You can’t marry me.”
Jun-pyo: “I’m sorry.”
Jae-kyung: “Is it enough to say sorry? Then why are there laws and police in this world?”
Jun-pyo: “There’s already someone I love*. She’s the first in my life, and for the rest of my life she’ll be the only one. You still want to marry me?”
(* The word he uses is not sarang [사랑] but “like” [좋아]. However, in this context it really indicates love, not simply liking.)
Jun-pyo wonders if she’s crazy, and she replies:
Jae-kyung: “I know that woman is Geum Jan-di, but I want to keep going with you. It’s funny, but I like that you’re so devoted, and I like even more that you know what real love is. I can bear knowing that the person is Jan-di. She won’t be easily forgotten, but if I wait — if I keep waiting, I’ll have the next chance. You’ll love me like that too.”
He tries to reason with her, but she says, “That’s enough for me. It’s worth it for me to invest in that.”
And then Jun-pyo kneels, to beg her: “Forgive me.”
Jae-kyung says in a harder tone: “No. Listen to me. Tomorrow we will stand here and become spouses. Whatever the past, we’re going to promise to love each other until we die. So there’s no reason for you to beg for my forgiveness, or for me to forgive you.”
She walks off, fighting her own tears.
And then it’s wedding day.
The pews fill with guests, Jae-kyung nervously sits in the prep room in her dress, and F3 wait for Jun-pyo to emerge.
When he finally does, he’s wearing his tux and a dire expression. He asks Woo-bin for a favor: “Break my arm.”
HA! The guys gape in surprise, but he means it, and Woo-bin seems to get that he’s serious about the arm. Jun-pyo presses him, “There’s no time. With your abilities, you can do this in one blow.”
I find Yi-jung’s facepalm expression particularly hysterical as Jun-pyo sets his arm on the table and Woo-bin takes it, readying to deliver a blow…
I was actually hoping we’d get to see Jun-pyo chicken out, but instead, Jan-di appears in the doorway, upset at this display. She looks disappointed and irritated at Jun-pyo for sinking to such an avoidant tactic, and charges, “That’s all you could think of? If this is the only way you could stop this, then I’d rather you just went ahead with it.”
It’s not necessarily his intent that bothers her, but the methods. Jan-di faces him accusingly: “You’re a coward. You aren’t being forthright with anybody. You’re not facing things, you’re running away. If you run away like this now, it’ll happen again someday.”
So Jun-pyo approaches her, grabs her by the shoulders, and tells her intently, “Then tell me not to do it. Tell me not to go.”
Okay, this was:
(1) a FANTASTIC ending to go out on, and
(2) I HATE THIS ENDING!! (as a viewer)
(3) But also, I LOVE this ending! (as an appreciator of dramatic structure).
Okay, let’s talk Jae-kyung. Madam Kang’s enthusiastic reception of Monkey Girl makes me wonder whether she likes Jae-kyung genuinely or is mostly afraid of losing a merger. I think it can’t all be business-related; there must be elements of the former in there — perhaps she likes her because she’s so eager to play along, and thus seems like she’d be easier to manipulate.
I don’t hate Jae-kyung as many people seem to, but I did find her logic twisty and puzzling in this episode. For instance, the whole bridesmaid issue. If we give Jae-kyung the benefit of the doubt, I can understand (kinda) that as a friend she’d want her big day to be supported by her supposed best friend, and if they were truly good friends, the other party would be able to rise above her feelings out of love for the friend. In theory. However, the one glaring flaw in that logic is that Jan-di has never invited Jae-kyung to be her friend — she probably does like her, but she never agreed to this level of companionship so she shouldn’t be held to those standards.
Also, Jae-kyung may (selfishly) expect Jan-di to able to compartmentalize her heartbreak in service of friendship — but people can’t compartmentalize emotions like that, and we don’t play our roles out of our neat little boxes, and I think Jae-kyung is missing this, probably because she does actually compartmentalize as a sort of survival tactic. It’s how she’s able to remain so chipper in the face of a rather lonely and bleak childhood and adolescence.
As for Jan-di… I know she’s swept up by Jae-kyung’s strong gravitational pull and not really acting out of her own volition, so she has a hard time protesting. But really, what would it take for Jan-di to go Jerry Springer on her ass, just for a little while??
And finally, I have to say that I freaking LOVE that Jun-pyo actually kneels down in front of Jae-kyung. Omo! That’s something we could never have expected of him a mere few episodes ago, but it also shows how much he wants out of this relationship. And before we complain that he can still back out without Jae-kyung’s consent, I think that’s beside the point — the point is that this new-and-improved Jun-pyo wants, and needs, Jae-kyung’s consent. He has to do the right thing by both women, rather than taking what he wants and letting the other person suffer alone. It’s the price he pays for tapping into his humanity — he’s subject to its pains just as much its benefits.
- Boys Before Flowers: Episode 20
- 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