Boys Before Flowers: Episode 24
Last week, folks! Get ready to say goodbye…
There were a lot of nice moments in this episode. (Honestly, at several moments I said aloud, “NICE!”)
Naturally, there were other points I thought could have been done better, but we’re so close to the end that at this point I’m just glad when things are working, and proceeding relatively smoothly.
Also, good news for those of you who use the drama streaming site Dramafever.com! They’ve just licensed Boys Before Flowers and will be putting up the first batch of episodes this week. They’ll be officially partnering closely with With S2 fansubbers to bring you high-quality translations. If you haven’t signed up for the site yet, use the invite code “coolbeans” and register in time for the BBF launch. 😉
SONG OF THE DAY
Sweet Sorrow – “그대에게 하는 말” (Words Said To You) [ Download ]
EPISODE 24 RECAP
Jan-di’s mother asks what’s going on, not fooled at Jan-di’s assurances that nothing’s wrong. Jan-di keeps her tone bright and says she wants to live here with the family, which gets Mom sputtering. What about school? And Jun-pyo? Even though Jan-di has been protesting for a while that she and Jun-pyo are through, the family hasn’t believed it, but I guess Mom can sense that things have changed. She sighs, “We’re done for now. What hope do we have?”
Yi-jung wonders if Ga-eul has heard from Jan-di (she hasn’t), and she wonders in return how Jun-pyo is holding up (“He’s a mess”). With those preliminaries out of the way, Yi-jung addresses the matter of their own chemistry: “Don’t we have to talk about us now?”
Ga-eul speaks first, possibly acting before Yi-jung can shoot her down: “You don’t have to feel pressure from me. I know how you feel, and I won’t go looking for you anymore.” As Eun-jae had said, doing everything she could leaves her without regrets: “Thank you for giving me the chance to try my best.”
However, Yi-jung’s suddenly perturbed expression suggests that this might not be the way he had intended the conversation to go…
Jun-hee hesitates over whether to talk to Jun-pyo, but ultimately backs off and worries to Mr. Jung, “This time I really don’t have a good feeling.”
Perhaps feeling it’s time to reveal one truth, Mr. Jung leads Jun-hee to the mystery patient’s bedside — and at the sight of her father, Jun-hee breaks down. Not only is she hit with the shock of seeing him alive, but all the implications that accompany this.
Namely, that all evil deeds point back to one source: Madam Kang. Jun-hee storms in on her mother, demanding to know how she could sink so low: “I don’t even want to call you mother. How could a person go that far?”
At first, Madam Kang has no idea what has caused this outburst until Jun-hee cries, “How could you say that my father had died when he was still alive? … Were you planning to forever deceive us?! Why did you do it?”
Now that the jig is up, Madam Kang recovers smoothly from the surprise and answers, “Your father would have wanted it.” He had entrusted her to take responsibility before his collapse, and she couldn’t see the company ruined. “My pride wouldn’t allow it.”
Ooh, bad word choice. Jun-hee bristles: “Pride? Are you saying that you told your children their father was dead and deceived the entire world all because of your pride?”
Overhearing, Jun-pyo walks in and demands to know what’s going on. Trying to prevent a blow-up, Mama Kang promises to explain everything calmly, but he’s not having it.
He sees the proof for himself when he goes to his father’s sickbed. Jun-pyo is given a huge emotional shock, remembering the promise he’d made to his father (to take care of Shinhwa and his family after his father was gone). He recalls his mother specifically manipulating that loyalty, by invoking his (supposedly) dead father’s hard work to guilt-trip him into doing what she wanted.
Jun-pyo stalks out out in a haze of betrayed confusion and goes for an angry drive. Now his thoughts turn to Jan-di’s parting words — how they’re from different worlds, and how she’s never been able to see him as a man beyond his Shinhwa position.
It’s got to be a tough blow, not only because his Witch Mom has again done him wrong, but also because his entire struggle in this second faux-season has just been proven pointless. (Granted, his father was in a coma and unable to work, so perhaps Jun-pyo would have had to assume his position even if his mother hadn’t orchestrated this grand hoax. But still, everything that resulted from the emotional manipulation is the bigger loss.) It’s got to hurt.
Ji-hoo sits alone, pining for Jan-di — we can tell because he stares at their fake wedding photo, then his mother’s ring, which he wears on a chain as a necklace. Ji-hoo then hallucinates for a moment, thinking Jan-di is sleeping nearby, and smiles in relief — only to find that he’s imagining things.
Maybe his Jan-Distress antenna is working, though, because he turns on the television and happens to catch a news segment at the very fish market where Jan-di works. In fact, she’s in the background of the shot. Oh, Coincidence. So nice of you to show up.
Jun-pyo’s attitude settles into cool detachment — he declines to visit his father again, and when his mother tries to talk to him (saying, “Talk with your mother a moment”), he scoffs, “Mother? Have you ever truly been my mother for even one moment?”
F3 try to persuade him to go visit Jan-di, now that Ji-hoo has located her. Contrary to expectations, he ignores their prodding and says he’s not interested. Nobody really believes that but he doesn’t change his mind, so Ji-hoo leaves a scrap of paper behind (the address) and says he’s going — it’s up to Jun-pyo if he wants to come along.
And then, it’s a gratuitous topless scene! (Who else laughed? Yay for fanservice!)
We know that Jun-pyo isn’t actually indifferent to Jan-di — he’s just resigned to the futility of the circumstances. What could he do even if he did see her?
Jun-pyo: “I can’t promise her anything now. I can’t tell her I’ll always make her laugh, that I’ll make her happy or to trust in me. Being the son of someone like that, being a member of that kind of family — I hate it enough myself, so how must she feel? She’ll have hated everything she went through already.”
Woo-bin: “But she’s Geum Jan-di, she might feel differently.”
Jun-pyo: “That’s why it’s more impossible. Because she’s the woman I love.”
In the fishing village, the neighborhood ajummas accost Jan-di’s family, accusing them of lying about Jan-di’s relationship to the Shinhwa heir. They’ve seen the report naming Jae-kyung as his fiancée.
Hearing that Jan-di isn’t actually engaged to Jun-pyo, they insist on getting their money back, which they loaned eagerly when they thought it would help ingratiate themselves with a future Shinhwa family member. Now that that’s not the case, they clamor for repayment immediately — after all, what if the family runs away? (To be fair, it’s a valid concern.)
Into the chaos arrives Ji-hoo, who stops the furor by announcing that he will pay them all back.
Ji-hoo does, and the ajummas take their payment happily, chattering about the handsome young man, wondering if he is the Shinhwa heir.
One man catches their conversation and the mention of Shinhwa. This is the man introduced in the previous episode as a former businessman from Seoul who was ruined, left by his wife, cut off from his kids, and now spends all day wandering and drinking.
Jan-di wonders how Ji-hoo found out where she was, and he answers, “I heard the emergency alarm.”
She’s uncomfortable that he’s paid her family’s debts, and feels she’s received too much from Ji-hoo. At this, Ji-hoo turns to face her, crouches down so that they’re at eye level, and says, “You’ve given me more.”
(NICE. That just might be Ji-hoo’s best line in the whole damn series. It’s a lovely little moment — not too maudlin or goopy-sweet, but pleasing in the matter-of-fact way he says it.)
After some small talk about Grandpa Yoon, Ji-hoo takes off his necklace and hands it to Jan-di. He explains that the ring was given to him by his grandfather, and had been his grandmother’s, then his mother’s.
Ji-hoo: “I don’t know when it started either. But now, I can’t be without you.”
Jan-di looks down at the ring, torn over his gesture and her feelings. Unable to accept, she gives it back, saying in an increasingly choked voice, “I thought I could forget — that I did forget. But…”
Jan-di pulls out the the necklace she’s already wearing — Jun-pyo’s — and continues, “…but I can’t throw this away. I can’t let it go. I can’t tear Gu Jun-pyo away.”
Jan-di apologizes, but maybe Ji-hoo wasn’t expecting her to accept, because he’s pretty understanding. He pulls Jan-di to him in a comforting hug and tells her it’s okay.
This ring-necklace moment is another part where I thought, “NICE.” Because while there’s nothing amazing about the exchange, I thought the moment was built well, and all the symbolic and logical elements (for once!) convened in just the right way.
For example, it makes perfect sense that Ji-hoo would put the ring on a chain and wear it (rather than, say, carry around a ring box). It makes sense that he’d give it to her, and that she’d refuse it. And it makes sense that she’d be still wearing the star-moon necklace. So all these elements work together without seeming forced or fanwanky, which makes the symbolism even nicer — that Jan-di can’t accept Ji-hoo’s gift (i.e., his feelings) because she’s already wearing Jun-pyo’s.
All the while, Jun-pyo watches from his car. Naturally this isn’t easy for him to watch, since all he sees is the hug and he can’t know that Jan-di has just confessed her unwavering love for him.
He takes to lurking around the neighborhood, which is how he happens to see another shady character lurking — the disgruntled ex-Shinhwa employee, who is under the mistaken impression that Ji-hoo is Jun-pyo.
When Ji-hoo comes into view, the ex-Shinhwa man gets into his car and revs the engine with maniacal determination, muttering that he’ll bring Shinhwa down with him.
Ji-hoo doesn’t notice the car heading toward him, but Jun-pyo does, and he realizes that his friend is about to be mowed down. He leaps into the street, shoves Ji-hoo aside, and gets hit instead.
The impact actually looks really painful — Ji-hoo takes a hard hit too, but it’s nothing compared to Jun-pyo, who receives the full brunt of the collision and flies over the windshield and roof, crumpling on the ground. Ji-hoo races to him and calls for emergency help.
When Madam Kang arrives — looking genuinely worried — Jun-hee confronts her angrily: “Are you satisfied now? Is this what you wanted? You said this was all for Jun-pyo in the end.”
Madam Kang is unusually quiet, not responding as Jun-hee continues, “Do you know one thing that your son enjoys eating, what he likes, what he wants to do?”
When Mr. Jung confirms that Jun-pyo’s surgery went smoothly, Madam Kang turns to leave — she has an important meeting. That riles Jun-hee up further, who calls after her mother, “Was our father not enough? Answer me! Tell me if what’s important to you is Shinhwa or Jun-pyo!”
Madam Kang leaves, but for once her hard exterior slips a little. Jan-di comes running, sees Mama Kang sitting, and approaches. But rather than taking this moment to kick her when she’s down (which honestly, she’s earned the right to do at this point), Jan-di sits quietly for a moment. When she speaks, it’s without rancor:
Jan-di: “Jun-pyo really likes egg rolls and ramen. He particularly likes the fish cakes at pojangmachas [street stalls]. He’d eat twenty at once. He likes packing lunch and going on picnics, and he likes looking at the stars through the telescope his parents gave him.”
All throughout this, Mama Kang has remained silent, though her expression is more vulnerable than we’ve seen from her. Jan-di says insistently, “Don’t worry, he’ll get better.”
Mom gets up to go without acknowledging Jan-di, but the words have their impact. On the way home, Mama Kang tells Mr. Jung to pull over at a pojangmacha, where she watches a father and son eating fish cake skewers together. She even — omo! — sheds a tear. But because Lee Hye-young is awesome, her performance isn’t TOO soft, and she soon recovers her brusque demeanor.
(By the way — good lordy, do we really need a flashback here to Jan-di’s pojangmacha comment from a minute prior? I think this just proves that BBF’s problem isn’t that the drama is made by idiots, or that its fans are idiots — it’s that the drama makers just think the fans are idiots.)
At the clinic, Ji-hoo remembers the last thing Jun-pyo had told him after being hit by the car: “I told you, it can’t be anyone but you.”
It’s a callback to the night before his wedding, when Jun-pyo admitted how he didn’t want to give Jan-di up, but Ji-hoo was the only person he could bear seeing her go to.
In the hospital, Jan-di holds Jun-pyo’s hand and cries, feeling guilty for the way she’d broken up with him. In another nice moment, Jan-di’s tearful confession here echoes the tearful confession she’d made way back when Jun-pyo had faked his injury:
Jan-di: “Gu Jun-pyo, do you hear me? I lied to you again. To me, you’re always just Gu Jun-pyo. You’re the dummy Gu Jun-pyo who likes the unpretty, poor, nameless me. So wake up. Wake up, Gu Jun-pyo.”
And then, time passes. Jan-di returns to Seoul (moving back with her family) and resumes her school life. Some time later, F3 finds her at school to announce the good news: Jun-pyo has woken up.
Everyone gathers in his hospital room to welcome him back to the land of the conscious. Woo-bin drawls, “Yo ma bro, welcome back,” which is hilarious and also makes me admit that I’ve really missed his embarrassing gangsta-speak.
Ji-hoo tells him, “Thanks for surviving,” and everyone’s relieved to see that Jun-pyo’s old arrogance is back. Until, of course, he looks blankly at Jan-di and wonders, “What’s with that chick?”
That startles everyone — how can he not know Geum Jan-di? (Jun-pyo: “Geum Jan-di? What’s that?”) They test his memory, but he knows who everyone else is: “Should I know her? Ji-hoo, is she your girlfriend?”
More tests are performed, and while he’d been previously pronounced healthy, the doctor thinks that his selective amnesia could be a symptom of stress, or trauma. (Yeah, I know, selective amnesia = stupidest fake-disease ever, but it’s in the original, so sigh.)
Because there’s only one person Jun-pyo cannot remember, the doctor speculates that it may mean that person is linked to really painful things or was really important to him. It’s unclear how long it might take to recover his memory — six months, perhaps years.
Through this all, Jan-di continues to visit Jun-pyo, trying not to let her disappointment show when he fails to recognize her.
It’s difficult, though, because not only does he not remember their relationship, he’s back to treating her as he did before — namely, as an insignificant, unfashionable commoner. When she drops by alone, he grumbles, “What makes you think you can just barge into someone’s hospital room whenever you want? Are you interested in me?”
He’s still under the impression that she’s Ji-hoo’s girlfriend, and she starts to correct him, saying, “I’m more your girl than Ji-hoo’s…” But he cuts her off and rudely says, “Get lost.”
Jan-di takes out her frustration on the vending machine, which is when a girl comes up and kicks the machine for her. She hands Jan-di the drink and introduces herself in an open, friendly way — she’s Jang Yumi, a second-year high school student who has broken her leg in a ski accident.
When Yumi explains that she’s cheerful because she doesn’t want to be one of those patients who sinks into depression or irritability, Jan-di asks how one would deal with a person like that, thinking of Jun-pyo. Yumi answers, “Just naturally.”
Spotting Jun-pyo attempting to walk down the hall, Yumi approaches him and tries to help, calling him oppa and offering her crutch. Jun-pyo initially treats her like an annoying pest and tells her to get lost — and Jan-di attempts to offer her help to keep him from Yumi (lol).
But when faced with the option of accepting the help of one annoying girl or another, he opts for Yumi’s, and leaves Jan-di looking after them, hurt.
F3 try to figure out how to get Jun-pyo’s memory back, mulling over their options — should they give Jun-pyo another shock? (Suuure, hit the head-trauma patient in the head!)
They decide they’ll have to jog his memory by bringing up a memorable moment involving Jan-di — say, for instance, their first encounter with the ice cream cone. Thus they stage an encounter so Jan-di can shove her ice cream cone at him, stick a card to his head, and tell him, “Call me when you get your memory back.”
Unfortunately, that has no effect. Woo-bin resolves, “This was too weak. Let’s try something stronger next.”
Their next plan has Jan-di storming into the hospital room, flinging a towel in Jun-pyo’s face (to re-enact the spinning kick encounter). But Jun-pyo just asks, “Why do you keep messing with me? I’m not going to take any more, even if you are Ji-hoo’s girl.”
Continuing with the re-enactment, Jan-di clenches her fists and growls, “I told you I’m not going to take any more!” and flies into the kick (although she doesn’t hit anything). (Btw, I love how intently F3 watch for his reaction. It’s hysterical.)
Too bad Jun-pyo just yells at Ji-hoo, “Keep her out of my sight!”
Ji-hoo tries to cheer Jan-di up, saying, “Don’t worry. You’re not someone who can be forgotten that easily.” Ruefully, Jan-di wonders, “Who knows, maybe things were so difficult for him he wanted to forget.” Ji-hoo: “If your relationship could have been more easily forgotten, would that have been easier?”
They’re joined outside by Yumi and Jun-pyo, who are getting along pretty well, it seems. Jun-pyo’s actually laughing along with her chatter, although when they spot the other two, he shows no warmth for Jan-di.
Interestingly, when Yumi cheerfully introduces herself to Ji-hoo, whom she assumes is Jan-di’s boyfriend, he doesn’t even bother to acknowledge her. He’s not overtly mean TO her, he just pretends she doesn’t exist and walks right by to Jun-pyo, ignoring her overture.
(I know how this plays in the original, but for the purposes of seeing this plot play out here, I’m going to stick with thinking this is an intriguing little exchange.)
That night, Yumi drops by Jun-pyo’s room bearing pizza, which they eat together outside. She looks up at the sky and asks if he likes stars, which triggers a memory — the one at the Jeju villa with Jan-di. However, he can’t see Jan-di’s face in the memory, and wears a troubled look as he tells Yumi, “I think I’ve forgotten something important. But I can’t remember. It feels like my chest is going to burst in frustration.”
Yumi advises that he not push himself to remember — if it’s really important, it’ll come back. And if it doesn’t, it probably wasn’t that important anyway.
When F3 arrive with Jan-di, they note that they’re seeing an awful lot of Yumi lately. Not picking up on the implication (read: “We’re seeing you too much, so get lost”), Yumi links her arm through Jun-pyo’s and announces that they’re the official “Hospital Couple.”
Ji-hoo: “Do you still not remember?”
Jun-pyo: “What is it I’m supposed to remember?”
Ji-hoo: “Geum Jan-di. Don’t you?”
Jun-pyo: “You keep going on about Jan-di. Why do I have to remember your girl?”
Worse yet, Jun-pyo mutters that Ji-hoo should’ve picked a better girlfriend instead of such a common gangster like Jan-di, and tells him not to bring her around anymore.
That sets off Ji-hoo’s temper, and he lunges for Jun-pyo, just barely held back by F2. Jan-di tells Ji-hoo to stop, and they all walk off, leaving Jun-pyo bewildered: “What’s with him?”
Later, Ji-hoo apologizes to Jan-do for losing his temper. Jan-di responds, “I didn’t stop you because I was afraid you’d hurt him. It’s because if you hit him, you’d hurt more.”
Ji-hoo tells her, “You don’t have to act so brave with me.” Jan-di: “It’s not acting brave, it’s that because you’re here, you give me strength.”
She doesn’t mean anything romantic by it — and she’s made her feelings clear — so she breaks the moment by getting up for some tea, leaving Ji-hoo to brood alone.
I know I’m not the only one who has tired of the Soeulmater relationship, although they were at one point the highlight of my BBF watching experience. I think it was around the same time Yi-jung turned into a pathetic emo wreck and Ga-eul lost her spunk.
For the sake of nostalgia, I’d be happy to see these two end up together, and also wouldn’t mind having this one point deviate from the rest of Hana Yori Dango canon. Just to keep things fresh. However, I’m not emotionally committed (as committed as I can be to this drama at this point) to this outcome anymore, and I actually think this episode left their relationship at a nice parting point for me. If they get together after this, great. If not, I think it works too.
If they ARE going to keep this going, I think the flicker of hope comes in Yi-jung’s reaction to Ga-eul “breaking up” with him. If she hadn’t spoken up, I think he may have suggested they try dating — but that would have been in a casual, “normal” dating relationship. But if he still wants to be with her now, I think it should mean something more — kind of how you don’t realize what you’re losing until you’ve lost it.
I expect to be in the minority about the amnesia plotline, but I actually really dug it here. Well, clarification — I hated the idea that we were getting it and I was bracing myself in anticipation. But given that it’s a prominent point in the manga and was going to be included, if we HAD to have it, I was relieved that it made sense in context.
The circumstances that led to the accident and its significance flowed logically — and, as we know, logic isn’t exactly this drama’s strong suit. For instance, it makes sense that Jun-pyo was being targeted by a disgruntled man with a Shinhwa vendetta, as well as how he acted to save Ji-hoo. The rescue, significantly, occurs just after he’s seen Ji-hoo looking chummy with Jan-di, when he should be feeling the most grudging toward his friend.
But that’s not the case, and even as he passes out, Jun-pyo’s last words are, “It can’t be anyone else but you.” The spoiled little rich boy has learned, hasn’t he? He’s come a long way since he broke Ji-hoo’s robot (albeit accidentally). (I’ll say it again: NICE.)
How awesome is Mama Kang, huh?
I mean, awesomely twisted and bitchy and plain wrong, but still, as a character she is so complex and acted so fantastically that I just love to hate her, and also love to love her.
In the past, I loved her as the awesome villain, because she was frightening and cruel, but in a supremely chilly way. I didn’t particularly need her to be that humanized because she has always been the unequivocal villain in this drama, but I always appreciated whenever she showed her layers underneath all that wickedness and evilry.
But I hadn’t expected to see this much vulnerability from her — when she shed a tear, it was like it cracked her mask to reveal the humanity underneath for a split second. I never thought I’d see true emotion from her, and it was great. Yet interestingly enough, the hint of vulnerability in no way makes her less scary for me. I think the fact that she shows a moment of true emotion, then swiftly covers it up and resumes her normal exterior, is probably just as frightening a prospect as if she were always cruel. ‘Cause this lady, she has control.
Furthermore, the scene between Jan-di and Mama Kang (thankfully without music, too!) was another “NICE” moment today. Jan-di has frustrated me to no end when she hasn’t asserted herself as much as she used to, and she even let Madam Kang drive her away last episode. But when she passes up the chance to poke at her raw wounds, Jan-di did something unexpected and proved herself to be the Bigger Person in a way that I admire.
She didn’t exult that she knew Jun-pyo better (and she could have, saying everything in a tone of “I know him so much better than you do”) but instead, she just shared. She let her in on the secret rather than keeping it to herself — which is something Mom could never do. Yunno, since love can be spread around instead of controlled tightly, guarded jealously like something with a price and a limit.
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