Drama Recaps
Story of a Man: Episode 16
by | June 4, 2009 | 45 Comments

Ooh, more goodness abounds!

I’m actually sad this drama’s ending next week. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a series on so many levels — for the acting, writing, directing, music, suspense, and perhaps most importantly, for the pure fun factor.

(I know there are lots of criteria for judging a drama or movie, but for me, a series has three major breakdowns: acting, directing, writing. Most dramas do one of those things competently, and many dramas pull off two. But it’s not often you get all three. And then you have the true oddity with something like Boys Before Flowers — I readily admit its appeal but have to concede that it accomplished none of the three criteria well. At least not consistently.)


Ibadi – “Love Letter” [ Download ]

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Seeing Do-woo leaving Muse Café with Eun-soo in tow, Shin chases in his car. Unfortunately, he’s stymied by a red light, and Do-woo is able to lose his pursuers.

Do-woo pulls into a construction zone and stops the car, the only sound in the car his heavy breathing from an uncharacteristic loss of temper. He tells Eun-soo furiously, “If he had been there at the café instead of you, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Eun-soo’s phone rings, and they tense, sensing it’s Shin. Given Do-woo’s volatile mood, Eun-soo words her answers carefully, telling Shin that of course she’s okay because she’s with her brother — perhaps he was worried because he thought she’d gone out with somebody else?

On the other end of the line, Shin paces, worried. He knew how crazed Do-woo was and he kept pushing his buttons, “So if something happens to you, it’s my fault.” Eun-soo wraps up the phone call quickly, saying she’s fine. As Shin hangs up, he grasps at a clue: he heard a bulldozer in the background.

Once again, Do-woo slips into abandoned-little-boy mode, hurt at what he sees as betrayal.

Do-woo: “That’s why you have to be by my side. If I turn around, I have to see you. What the hell are you doing? Do I have to say these things? If I don’t tell you, don’t you know? Why don’t you know? You’re my sister. … You need me too, don’t you? You’re deceived by these bugs who make things hard on you too. Look! There’s nobody who understands us in this dirty world. It’s just you and me. You know that, too.”
Eun-soo: “No, you were wrong.”
Do-woo: “What?”
Eun-soo: “This world isn’t that dirty. People aren’t bugs. You’re the one who’s different. You’re living somewhere else. So come here to this place. To us.”

Do-woo picks up on her use of the word “us” — suggesting Eun-soo has people in her life other than him — and maybe it’s bad timing or merely symbolic that this is the moment when Shin drives onto the site.

Immediately, Do-woo thinks she called Shin and asked for help against her own brother. He clenches his fist. Eun-soo begs him not to engage: “Don’t hurt people anymore.”

Do-woo turns cold and gets into his car alone, and drives off without her. Eun-soo falls to the ground, drained of energy; Shin rushes to her side to make sure she isn’t hurt.

Eun-soo tells Shin, “I told you I was fine. My brother won’t hurt me.”

Shin looks up at Do-woo’s car, which is slowly making its way over the rough ground to the exit. Spurred by anger, he jumps back in his car and backs up speedily, blocking Do-woo’s exit path.

Both men get out of their cars, furious, circling each other warily. That leads to shoving back and forth, and then they launch themselves at each other’s throats.

Shin: “I’m taking care of your sister and your father. If you want to see them, call me first. Everyone you mess with are my people, so listen good.”
Do-woo: “Your people?”
Shin: “Yeah, my people.”
Do-woo: “Do you know what those people are like? Stupid, vulgar cowards who make me sick. You don’t know that, do you, since you’re one of them.”
Shin: “You’re not even a person, and you’re teaching me about people?”
Do-woo: “I’ll show you what a person is, so pay attention. I’ll show you properly.”
Shin: “Stop with the bullshit and listen to me. Don’t you dare hurt your sister, Kyung-ah, or any of my people. If you do, I’ll stake my life to kill you first.”

What I love about this whole taut sequence is how much these guys hate each other. Their hatred is such that they both literally shake from it.

Eun-soo pleads with them to stop, interrupting their back-and-forth, and both men break apart. Trying to regain his composure, Do-woo walks off first and drives away.

He gets back to work swiftly, calling a meeting with Bum-hwan to discuss the venture group investment. I’d like to think Bum-hwan wouldn’t give in to Do-woo’s wiles easily, but I have to admit I’ve been feeling uneasy about him since the previous episode.

Bum-hwan says he’s heard of Do-woo “from a kid I really care about,” then brings up Shin’s name. Do-woo acts purely professional, but we know it’s an act, particularly when he pretends he doesn’t remember Shin at first. Do-woo wants Bum-hwan to withdraw his investment from the venture group, and alludes to a different kind of business arrangement.

The instant Shin hears about Bum-hwan’s meeting with Do-woo, he’s alarmed. He tries to get through on the phone, but Bum-hwan’s nervous assistant has been informed not to interrupt his meeting. Therefore, Shin drives to the venture group, fearing Do-woo will try something with the union president.

After calling his guys and telling them to inform him the minute they can get through to the president, Shin has done as much as he can do over the phone. He can’t fight his growing panic and has to pull over to the side of the road. He breathes heavily, unnerved that something is very wrong.

His instincts are correct, because he arrives at the venture looking for the president and hears he went out for an important meeting, although no more details are offered. The president and a few of the group leaders have been ushered to a meeting with Mayor Oh, who pretends he’s acting out of benevolent concern. Do they know that their investor is a famous mobster? How could they join in with such a man? What if the mobster turns on them? When the president says that Teacher Shin told them to hold out for the land’s full value, Mayor Oh replies that Shin is a professional con artist.

Framed in this way, it definitely sounds worrisome, and the venture leaders ask the mayor to help. Mayor Oh has “generously” pleaded their case with Do-woo to reconsider buying the land, and he has agreed to the initial lowball offer (14 billion won total). However, the offer is only good if they make it right away; Do-woo won’t keep it on the table long. The leaders want to their members about the decision to sell, but Mayor Oh pulls out the rule book that says that the president has the authority to make this decision.

When the men return after their lunch meeting, the president avoids meeting Shin’s gaze. When the members are called in for a meeting to discuss the situation, Shin is blocked from entry.

Joong-ho confirms that Bum-hwan has withdrawn his investment. In return, Do-woo gave him a deal as the subcontracting broker for the Myundoshi construction project. Shin can’t even be angry at Bum-hwan, because he recognizes that Do-woo dangled the right carrot, and it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Kyung-tae gets off the phone with Shin (after telling him that the decision to sell requires a two-thirds vote). Kyung-tae’s odd, jerky way of speech adds a bit of pathos to this exchange, doesn’t it?

Kyung-tae: “I think Kim Shin has been tossed aside.”
Mun-ho: “From who?”
Kyung-tae: “People.”

When Eun-soo joins Shin outside the venture, he’s annoyed to hear that she took the bus to see him. He’d told her not to travel alone, but Eun-soo says, “I came to help.” She guesses, “You’re going to do something, aren’t you? I want to help.”

Might as well put her to work. Eun-soo writes out a clause in the association’s rule book which outlines the procedure for voting on a decision. Shin stands in the hallway as the members exit their meeting and appeals to them, saying that selling at this price is tantamount to disbanding their group altogether. He points to the rules that state that they need a majority vote with signatures. Thus they can still back out of the deal with Do-woo legally.

The president throws Shin’s signs down angrily, bringing up Shin’s checkered past as reason for them not to trust him. Shin asks them to trust him anyway — he will get them the higher price, and they will be able to use the profits to build their apartments, the school, and the public health center.

The members turn away, leaving him calling after them futilely that he can do it.

Do-woo is back to listening to jazz, which indicates he’s feeling much better now that he’s regained the upper hand. When Kyung-ah lays her purse down, it hits the remote control that opens Do-woo’s hidden panel, revealing his creepy black-and-white collage. Do-woo rises and grabs the button to close the panel.

Kyung-ah’s startled to see the images, but takes a calm approach as she asks, “Is that something I shouldn’t have seen?” Do-woo ignores her and tells her to go home.

Kyung-ah fishes for information while acting sympathetic, saying he must have had it rough yesterday. Wondering where he went after leaving the meeting early, she guesses he went to see Eun-soo: “When things get tough for you, are you going to go to her?”

Annoyed, he asks, “Is that important?” Kyung-ah answers that she wants to help her tired husband, but all he does is come home in the morning to change clothes. How does he think she would feel? She’s not angry; she just came to confirm how he sees her.

Do-woo changes the subject, handing her a credit card and telling her to use it freely. He knows she’s rich on her own, but sees this as a husbandly gesture, while I see it as paying her off literally with a not-so-subtle hint to leave him alone.

Shin is exasperated to find Eun-soo sticking around when he’d prefer she left. I think it’s adorable how she doesn’t want to leave Shin alone — she said she’d help, and she is determined to do it — and drags her feet. Because she’s not the belligerent type, she doesn’t argue outright, but she deliberately hangs back when he tries to drive her home.

He understands why she’s trying to help, but he still feels uncomfortable given her relation to Do-woo.

When they pull up at the Chae mansion, it’s a surprise to find a car waiting by the gate. Kyung-ah has been waiting to talk to Eun-soo, but she also calls Shin over to talk since he’s here.

Kyung-ah is after confirmation following Myung-sun’s revelation, and wonders if Eun-soo knows who ruined Shin’s brother. She’s surprised when Eun-soo admits that she does, realizing she’s the last to discover the truth. She does concede that she never gave Shin the chance to tell her.

Although Shin contends that she didn’t need to know since it didn’t affect her, Kyung-ah says, “If I’d known, I wouldn’t have been able to treat you like that. Hurting you like that, and driving it in further afterward — I couldn’t do that. I’m not that awful a woman.” Shin: “I know.”

Kyung-ah supposes that saying these things may be pointless now. Shin asks, “Are you okay? Is something the matter?” Kyung-ah has to laugh, “Kim Shin, are you worrying about me?” She admits, “If I hadn’t run into you, I was going to pretend not to know. But since I did see you, there’s nothing we can do about it. … I’m sorry. Forgive me.”

However, being sorry doesn’t mean she’s changing her course: “I can’t turn back time. I can only keep going on my path.” After all, she explains, she’s become a queen now.

The mayor’s murder case meets with an obstacle: The police chief can’t close the case completely, but he can dismiss most of the investigators and take charge of the investigation, which is essentially like closing the case. Detective Kim knows this and takes the order stoically, but is unmoved in her determination to continue. Her commitment to the case irritates the police chief, who would love nothing more than for her to return to her department in Seoul, but he can’t dismiss her.

He can, however, release K immediately due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Detective Kim tells Jae-myung he’s free to leave, too, as she can’t force him to keep assisting. He ignores that and sticks with her, asking about her next plans. No evidence was found on buses or taxis, so she’s going to investigate the other possible ways K left the crime scene — he may have hitchhiked, or walked.

Jae-myung offers an indirect compliment by saying that it would have been nice if she had investigated his father’s case, and talks to her in banmal. With their age difference (and her higher “rank” as the cop), she thinks this is odd, but he answers that they’re friends now, and friends use banmal.

Yes, I also get a vibe between Jae-myung and the detective, particularly given how Jae-myung finds himself looking at her more and more. (In contrast, aside from her glances at his butt, she remains largely ignorant of his attention, or at least unmoved by it.) Who knows if anything will come of this, but it is definitely an interesting dynamic they’ve got going…

Do-woo goes all-out in wooing the venture group members, organizing a festive event with food and entertainment to follow a presentation about the future of Myungdoshi. An MC explains how the new developments will bring prosperity to the city.

The president takes an irritated tone with Shin, who stands outside the presentation. He doesn’t trust Shin’s explanation that he wants to build them the apartment, school, health center, and wonders why a guy like him would help them. Shin answers honestly, “From the start, I had no thought of helping. I don’t think a guy like me can help anyone.”

Shin: “There’s a guy I have to fight and beat. I chased him here, that’s all. But oddly, the path he takes is lined with all these weak, dumb people who suffer at his hands.”
President: “Are you calling us dumb?”
Shin: “Of course. Very. You’ve never trampled people so you don’t know you’re being trampled, and you don’t know you’re being misused.”

The MC announces that a bus is waiting to take them to the entertainment. The attendees start to rise just as Shin interrupts.

Shin: “It’s a lie. You must not be fooled. All for a mere twenty million won? Thirty? You’ve worked here your whole lives. You’re going to sell your venture for a job? Don’t make me laugh. Do you know who sent those people? Do you know what that guy is planning on turning Myungdoshi into? He plans to make this into his kingdom, and he needs servants for that. Can’t you see?”

As Shin talks, the MC tries to interrupt, and people start to trickle out slowly.

It’s kind of heartbreaking as Shin continues making his case despite the emptying room:

Shin: “I know you’ve suffered these past seven years on this agricultural venture. I know you have to keep suffering, but it’s your land. You were all owners! But you’re going to throw that away to become servants? Is being fed by somebody for the rest of your lives the only important thing? Is that your dream?”

Even when the room is empty, Shin insists he will build them their apartments, school, and health center.

Do-woo: “Do you know what the difference is between bugs and animals? Animals can still guess what to do next, whether to fight or flee. But bugs can’t do that. They can’t know where to run next.”

When Kyung-ah comes by to speak to her father-in-law, this time Myung-sun won’t look her in the eye, treating her with cool formality.

Chae asks if she’s found out more about Do-woo, as he warned her to do. Kyung-ah replies that she’s here to hear the truth from him. She learned all about business from Do-woo, and that investment in the long term requires thorough analysis of the enterprise. Therefore, she’s here to find out how much value Do-woo holds as a long-term investment.

This scene is reminiscent of Shin’s reaction after losing at the Chae Dong stockholders’ meeting; like then, he sits in the empty room long after everyone else is gone.

Mun-ho, Kyung-tae, and Eun-soo anticipate his reaction and head out to meet him, but when the door opens, it’s someone else. To his surprise, the venture group members have returned, treating him with friendliness and once again calling him the honorific “Teacher.” In fact, they joke that he’s more accurately their “Gangster Teacher.”

The president tells Shin, “We’ve heard what they’ve had to say, so now let’s hear what Teacher has to say.”

Shin is flabbergasted — he thought they’d gone to the party to make the sale official and sign documents. The people chuckle; they merely went to enjoy the free food. The president adds, “You misunderstood one thing. We’re not that dumb.”

Although he doesn’t quite understand, Shin realizes that he made some erroneous assumptions and replies, “I’m sorry.” The president says, “We never had any plans to let go of that land from the start.” They were going to kill time and pretend to listen to their offer while waiting for their produce to sprout

They repeat his own words back to him — they’re a thousand strong, and seven years in the making. Furthermore, this isn’t the first time someone’s tried to take advantage of him. They admit that they hadn’t fully trusted Shin, thinking he was out for personal gain, and apologize for that. But they want to know if Shin really believes he can get them their 50 billion won. Shin does.

Outside the room, the rest of Team Shin (minus Jae-myung) overhear the exchange and are stunned at this turn. Eun-soo smiles: “They must be the eggs he was looking for.”

Do-woo’s mole has no idea what prompted the change of heart, but he knows that the venture group has reversed its decision. Worried, he reports back to Do-woo that Shin is back on friendly terms with the people.

And just like that, Do-woo’s mood takes another nosedive. He spends all night seated at his desk, brooding.

There’s a bit of an interlude that night as Shin chats with Jae-myung; he’s realized he doesn’t actually know that much about him and asks some basic questions, like the type of law he practiced. (Jae-myung, in typical playboy fashion, asks, “Are you a girl? What would you do with information about me?”)

As for his law career, Jae-myung answers simply that he’s “a lawyer who wins.” He took on homicide, rape, drug trafficking, and kidnapping cases. However, “Since I’m a winning lawyer, I set those people free. If I set them free, the next day they would kill again, or traffic drugs.”

Shin muses, “Lately I wonder if my dead brother is interfering in my business. He was always the nagging type, because he couldn’t stand to see me goofing around. Maybe he dragged me this far.”

Jae-myung scoffs, “Then am I here because my father brought me here? No thanks.”

After a night deep in thought, Do-woo calls Eun-soo in the morning, but doesn’t say anything; all Eun-soo hears is the background jazz music. (Does it mean anything that the song is “My Funny Valentine”?) Do-woo picks up the receiver as though to talk… but decides not to. He places the receiver on the desk, keeping Eun-soo on the line, and walks out of the room.

So, so bizarre.

Eun-soo thinks so too, and calls Shin. She can’t explain why, but she has a horrible feeling that she can’t shake:

Eun-soo: “I know this sounds ridiculous, but there’s something strange about my brother. You’re not busy, are you? If you ask why I’m saying this, I can’t give you an answer, but I’m so uneasy I can’t take it. Kim Shin, there’s nothing wrong, is there?”

No, there’s nothing the matter with Shin, but the same can’t be said for his crew. Mun-ho heads out to meet an old-time buddy — they used to work cons together, but Mun-ho insists that he’s clean now.

They greet each other gladly, but Mun-ho can tell that something’s the matter with his friend, who’s fidgety and nervous. He asks what the matter is, and his friend beats around the bush, saying how life is difficult and he’s been forced to do some unpleasant things.

Mun-ho starts feeling uneasy, and looks up to see several men walk in. They apprehend Mun-ho and arrest him for running a scam — his friend snitched on him and was part of the trap.

Kyung-tae has been left alone at café all day, and closes up alone just as a trio of detectives walks in. They arrest Kyung-tae for circulation of false information and defamation, and drag him off.

Ohhh, shit.


Fight scene!

This one wasn’t nearly as intense as the bone-bruising one in a previous episode, but still just as full of angst. They grapple with each other with such force that it’s a wonder they can ever see each other while remaining calm.

You know how I said in the comments of the last episode that I particularly enjoy how evenly matched Shin and Do-woo are? Case in point: If Episode 15 was all about Shin getting one up on Do-woo, Episode 16 was Do-woo’s chance to send the scales tipping back in the other direction. Not too much, of course, but enough to get Shin back on the defensive.

Speaking of which: whose heart just about broke along with Shin’s this episode? It’s one thing to fail, but to be abandoned by your people… ouch. (Even though he gained them back in the end, the feeling of defeat was genuine.) It was bad enough when he was appealing to them in the hallway citing the association rules, but when he was pleading with the exiting crowd at the meeting hall…. That was pretty crushing, particularly as he continues pleading to an empty room.

I’ve given a lot of love to Kim Kang-woo for his excellent, eerie portrayal of Do-woo, since it’s the standout performance of this drama. I think Park Yong-ha‘s role is less noticeable, at least initially, because he’s playing the more traditional character. But as with the comments on the last post that (rightly) recognized that Han Yeo-woon‘s understated portrayal of Eun-soo deserves credit for turning her into such a rounded, warm character, Park Yong-ha surely deserves a little extra credit, too, for doing the same with Shin.

I just really, really like the character of Shin. For a “good guy” character, he’s got nuances that keep him from being a Mary Sue, which is always the death trap for “good” lead characters. He’s not so perfect that we tire of his mastery, nor is he so flawed that he becomes grating. It’s a tricky thing to constantly cross back and forth between failure and defeat, smugness and fear. He’s one of the most resilient characters I’ve seen in a while, but that’s not an easy thing to pull off — too defeated, and you come off a loser. Too persistent, and you come off like an annoying yapping Chihuahua who never learns his lesson. Shin has the ability to make each defeat feel like a true setback, but still returns with renewed resolve.

Lastly, I’m just posting these caps to point out what a concise statement this image makes — Do-woo, gripping the steering wheel in anger, wearing his wedding ring, with Eun-soo in the background.

Layers, layers, layers! That’s the mark of witty directing, isn’t it?


45 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. yubikiri

    shizzles!!! i havent seen the last 3 episodes yet….but i have a good feeling!!!!!!

    never got bored with this drama!!

  2. simi

    Layers, layers, layers! That’s the mark of witty directing, isn’t it?

    This is why I’m watching this drama and loving every minute of it!

  3. jandoe

    totally agree about that last screencap- the one with EunSoo at the background!

    man, just reading your recaps i’m really starting to love this one 😉

    thanks for this, hopefully you’ll get to cover 17 ASAP! (but no rush so no pressure hahahaha :P)

  4. jackieee

    AMAZING EPISODE!! I nearly cried when Shin was left alone in the room, with the people walking out on him. Heartbreaking indeed! Seriously, this drama is top-notch. It’s a real pity that its viewer ratings aren’t that high… Either way, it is definitely on my favorite drama lists. And, Do-woo is high atop my list of creepy, CREEPY, characters!! Thanks for the awesome recap, as always!

    Btw, I’m SOOOOOO excited/anxious to see how it will end. Only 4 more episodes left!! *sadness* As of now.. I have absolutely no idea. Well, besides the fact that the Dream Team will kick Do-Woo’s ass!

  5. twing

    yikes…second…i always love reading your recaps…i haven’t watched this yet but i’ve been following your recaps…anticipating…thank you so much…

  6. ayana

    thanks Javabeans… oh boy, can’t wait for next episode.

  7. Asmaa

    Beautiful! Especially the last 2 pictures.. Aah the pain and the agony they show!

  8. Sue

    “I readily admit its appeal but have to concede that it accomplished none of the three criteria well.” — LOL, amen.

    wasn’t kyung tae SOOO CUTE when he mumbled outloud how hard it was for him to run the cafe by himself when he was about to close? awwww!

    and jae myung and detective kim make me giggle so much. jae myung’s doing his usual thang and detective kim just doesn’t give a shit! HAHA.

  9. adorkabelle

    Awesome recap (as usual) – Thanks for all of your hard work Javabeans!

  10. 10 Kender

    Oh man, Shin’s temporary abandonment just about broke my heart. I wanted to hug that poor man.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do after this show ends.. I haven’t been this invested in a drama in a long time.

    On a side note, I really like this Ibadi song you posted. I always enjoy your music choices, but I particularly like this one. I may have to investigate this group..

  11. 11 bbm

    KyungTae???!!! NoOOOoOOO…!!!
    This drama is soooo layered, i don’t even know what to expect. In one time Shin is winning, but BAM!! DoWoo strikes… I know in the end shin’s team (or the good side) had to win (at least at the grand/bigger purpose, but not the personal victory, IMO), coz, it’s a drama, not reality… but i’ve beginning to have second thought… really can’t wait for the next episodes, is it ending already?? NooOoo…
    great recap as always, JB

  12. 12 yuu

    I literally omonaa-out-loud at the “My funny valentine” part! O__O srsly, that never happened before..omona is not even my first language…! XD LOL…not that its even a language…(I guess I am that shocked, just like Eun-soo)

    & hoh shiett!! what’s going to happen to Mun-ho and Kyung-tae >_<….!!

  13. 13 Taohua

    Thanks for the great recaps! It will be really sad when this series ends next week. Seriously thank you for recapping this, otherwise I might have missed out on such an awesome series. I watched 17&18 without subs, and there’s such a big cliffhanger at the end of 18…next week cannot come fast enough—but I don’t want the series to end either…

  14. 14 hbhjjb

    i LOVE this drama! i’m so sad it’s ending soon.
    and yes, the scene of DW calling his sister and playing “My Funny Valentine” was CREEEPY….i love how they are able to provoke such emotions on us viewers with these subtle yet powerful scenes

    brilliant acting, writing and directing…just love it! ^__^

  15. 15 Day

    You know i really like Shin and i want him to defeat Do woo badly..But honestly other actors such as Kim Kang-woo, Han Yeo-woon and even Park Ki Woong have done such an amazing amazing job that Park Yong-ha just blends in. His not a bad actor by no means…but when i think of a mans story his one of the last characters to come to mind. There just isnt anything really outstanding about his performance. And i wish there was, so that i could cheer even more for him and cry with him…but is just not happening. I kinda wish Kim Rae won was playing Shin…because he is one actor that can really make people sympathize with his characters

  16. 16 obsessed

    thank you for the recap!
    i totally missed the intense-ness of the fight scene the first time around – i must’ve been distracted for the few minutes that was on. i rewatched it and it was awesome!!

    i feel like everyone in this drama was cast well, and everyone embodies their characters well, even down to the smallest characters. like this grandpa who lived next to myungsun and the girls in myungdoshi. he wasn’t in very many scenes, but left a lasting impression on me. http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm96/javabeans122/drama/iyagi/iyagi10-092.jpg

    btw, the scene where do-woo compares animals vs. bugs, i’m pretty sure he was saying you can predict what animals will do when faced with threat, but you can’t predict how bugs will react. you can’t tell which way they’re going to jump to next. i thought this was interesting since he sees “inferior people” as bugs. has he had a revelation of sorts, admitting that he can’t be in complete control? but that the loss of control, as he sees it, is not due to a shortcoming or fault of his own but because of the nature of these “bugs”?

  17. 17 cosmopolite

    I’m getting tingles! Beautiful drama.

    I always try to check my expectations but in this case I’m really desperate for a great ending.

    Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Ahhhhh

  18. 18 ina

    This drama is easily one of the best dramas of… 2008 (lets not flashback to such horrific times) and 2009. Personally, I think it is the most refreshing. You were right about all three of its strengths; great acting, great directing, great writing. My personal favorite would have to be the acting. Every single character is acting their backsides off in this drama. All the members of the cast are protraying their characters with such depth that one can’t help but fall in love with them (good or evil).
    To be honest, when this drama began to air, I didn’t watch the episodes. I had my preconceptions and labeled it another revenge saga. Your recaps changed all of that. After episode 4 or so…I started watching and oh, did I get hooked! THANK YOU JAVABEANS for your amazing recaps. If it werent for you, I would have missed out on this drama..which I will miss terribly when it goes off air. It was an amazing diamond in the rough.

  19. 19 Blakey

    Do-woo’s recent interactions with his sister have been really intense and creepy. Like how he asked her in the last and this episode, “Do you really don’t know? Do I really have to say it?”

    It feels like a strange way of admitting feelings for her. That and on top how he played “My Funny Valentine” to her on the phone. Funny in deed. I found it creepy that just as he walked out of the room while he was playing it, the song went “You’re my favorite work of art”. I got chills thinking about it.

    And I remember you writing something like this before, but I was reminded that although Kyung-ah is his official Queen, she’s not the one in his heart. It seems that in the past for King’s and Queen’s, the Queen was always merely a beautiful figurehead that served political needs and the job of bearing children. While the woman the King really loved, his mistress, was not usually what would be socially acceptable to have ever been his Queen, but they keep them by their side for the emotional aspects of life.

    And my heart broke with Shin, I love him so much! I wanted to cry when I saw him talking the the emptying room.

    And NOOOOOO!!! KYUNG-TAE!!!! ><

    Thank you so much for the recap!! ^^

  20. 20 lkl

    Oh my goodness. This drama is getting SO GOOD! I can’t believe the end is near, but I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds. I love every episode so far and have never been disappointed.

    It breaks my heart to see “Mazinga” arrested =[ I really like the chemistry he has with Eun Soo haha

  21. 21 GreenFreak

    Man… I have some catching up… just finish ep 10..

    I am completely impress with Park Ki-Woong… so cute and never out of character…
    he is so fun to watch.. I just adore him… <3<3

    Everyone else is awesome too.. probably going to be one of my favorite this year… just hope it all ends well..

  22. 22 Nom Kitteh

    Thank you for the recap and commentary, JBeans. I circle your blog constantly waiting for the recaps, not with the kind of frenzy I did during BOF days, but it is now coming close to that.

    I have no idea what to do with the phone call-“Valentine” scene. The first time I watched it, I went WTH? I went back and rewatched it and am more inclined to feel that the writer made a mistake here because there is no reason for DW to pull a stunt like this. He is very open about his needy feelings for ES and he doesn’t play emotional games with her, which is why ES can say with such certitude that her brother would never hurt her. But this scene — I felt annoyed with it because it is inconsistent with DW. Unless of course the writer is showing that DW’s feelings for ES are changing and he is starting to toy with her the way he toys with everyone else in his life. But why would that change happen now, at this particular point in time? I think I am going to chalk this scene up to a bad play by the writer.

    I see your points about Park Yong-ha and am persuaded by them. I was wondering the other day if another actor would have delivered a stronger performance, but I can see after your comments that his performance is pretty good. I guess the fact that he doesn’t elicit strong sympathies in me makes me think that his handling of the role is not as effective as it could be. I mean, it’s a revenge story after all and if I am not rooting for the good guy, in the face of an evil, evil villain, something is off. I am rooting for him, but only because I want good to win over evil, but I don’t find myself moved by Park Yong-ha’s Shin the way I think I should be. I do think Shin as a character is great — as you put it, he treads delicately between defeat and resilience.

    I hope KA is kept on the side until the end of the drama. If she plays a large role in bringing down DW, I will get seriously stabby and killy. This is Shin’s and ES’s game, just as K is JM’s. Everybody else, back the f off 🙂 .

  23. 23 Besco

    Oh, PYH. He’s really great in this drama. While it’s been interesting to see Do-woo tread the line of sanity, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Shin’s machinations — while some of his schemes fail, he hasn’t exactly lost. I think this echoes what Mun-ho said in a previous episode that Shin’s enemy is money. He stated that money doesn’t kill like being stabbed by a knife, but it takes away those important to you until you’re left with nothing. Along the way, he gained friends/surrogate family and a sense of purpose. PYH really struck that balance between being good and being flawed, how both aren’t mutually exclusive from each other.

    I can’t believe it’s ending next week. I’m so anxious to see the finale that I’m almost tempted to play hooky. Thanks for the recap!

  24. 24 Icarusfalls

    Thanks for the recap!
    I can feel Shin’s pain even though I haven’t watched any of the episodes.. and my Kyung-tae is arrested?? Noooo!!

  25. 25 MEIKO**** ^-^

    omo! omo! omo! What is DoWoo up to now? Geez, he’s fast for a guy who hasnt slept.., more like, doesnt sleep nor eat!! I can see a nervous breakdown around the corner!

    “Yes, I also get a vibe between Jae-myung and the detective, particularly given how Jae-myung finds himself looking at her more and more. (In contrast, aside from her glances at his butt, she remains largely ignorant of his attention, or at least unmoved by it.) Who knows if anything will come of this, but it is definitely an interesting dynamic they’ve got going…”

    You’re right JavaB, PYH deserves a whole lot of credit too for his portrayal of Shin…the thing is, KKW’s character is quite strong and atypical of any character in kdramas, not to mention that, KKW’s great facial expressions/mood swings has been captured quite a lot of times making the scenes more memorable to us, and thus would sometimes overshadow PYH’s character.

    what am hoping too is…,i hope Mrs. Queen wont go back to Shin…., i just dont want her to be with him…..pleaassee!


  26. 26 Snikki

    Just 2 more episodes to go! I hope nobody else dies, not even Do Woo. He should be sent to the booby hatch instead – sit in the corner of his cell, rock back and forth in a fetal position. But if they really want to kill a character, then K can go buh-bye.

    I’m glad the ratings picked up a little, albeit in the single-digits. But why all of a sudden towards the end though?

    I want to see the deserving actors win awards for their outstanding portrayal of their characters – namely Kim Kang Woo and Han Yeo Woon.

  27. 27 MEIKO**** ^-^

    Am just thinking…. I hope Mrs. Queen wont go running back to Shin in the end, and Shin accepting her back, whether she helped take DooWoo down or not… I Would really, really, really roll my eyes!!!!

    I would give her my standing ovation if she goes off somewhere…to Paris and starts a new life…or the more, if she will stand by DooWoo, even if he will be send off to…an institution…. yeah, take care of him, make sure he sleeps and eats!

  28. 28 kay

    love the song of the day! one thing i noticed is shin’s dedication to the chairman and eun soo. maybe it’s mingled with slight personal interest in eun soo, but you sense that he chases after do woo bc he feels this obligation that he cannot break away from. shin is earnest with his concern and it’s not done to aggravate do woo (as opposed to do woo who plays everyone to his advantage). as obvious as it is, i like how the show displays that they are polar opposites of each other. i was a late comer on this show but i really don’t want it to end..can’t they just go back and forth with their games forever?

    and also i like the conversation shin and kyung ah have in front of eun soo. it makes me feel like it’s confirmation that they can’t go back to how it was before his brother’s death. what a relief! =)

  29. 29 langdon813

    This episode KILLED…Do-woo scared the bejeezus out of me with that “Funny Valentine” stunt and his creepy behavior in the cafe. I really thought Eun-soo might be a goner there for a few minutes. My heart broke for Shin again and again; and then Kyung-tae’s arrest ripped what was left of it right from my chest. This show makes me a nervous wreck and I LOVE IT.

    The way Shin and Do-woo were grabbing each other was the most realistic fight scene yet; because it was REAL. None of this choreographed, precise “fighting” we see so often, but down and dirty “I hate you so much I’m going to kill you or die from it” fighting. The acting in this show is phenomenal, it just can’t be said enough.

    Boy, this one was all about betrayal. Real (Bum-hwan betrays Shin, sad but not surprising), imagined (Eun-soo betrays Do-woo, but only in his mind, not in reality), inevitable (Mun-ho’s buddy betrays him, proving that he was wrong to only trust cons); and imminent (Kyung-ah’s pending betrayal of Do-woo). I’m sure I left something out…lot of story packed into this one ep!

    I’m so worried about my sweet little Kyung-tae. 🙁

  30. 30 hana

    well i have seen 15 eps from this drama

    i think the acting is great but somehow i feel the drama lacks something

  31. 31 magichouse

    thank you thank you ^_^

    i always enjoy reading your recaps, looking forward to more.

  32. 32 G

    Thanks for the recap! I can’t wait for you to do ep 17 and 18 (hint, hint…lol) because the do-woo-eun soo-kim shin dynamic just grows. I think the funny valentine scene was superbly done because Do-woo left thinking that his sister didn’t trust him to be alone with him, that she called Shin. So he tries to emotionally cut himself off but he can’t…she will always be his funny little valentine….shiver. Some part me wonders how much eun soo knows about her brother’s unnatural love for her. I understand the girl is sweet, naive and helpful but is she deaf, blind and mute as well. Her brother’s eyes and actions speak volumes…sigh, I can’t wait for the fabulous end and hope that it won’t be too tragic.

  33. 33 MiJo

    MANG I LOVED THIS EP!!! but is it just me or in the fight seen the cars were there for a reason (in the background)? Like Shin’s car is white while Doo woo’s was black. I guess to emphasize their polarity?????

  34. 34 vis

    “This drama is easily one of the best dramas of… 2008 (lets not flashback to such horrific times) and 2009.”

    Ahahaha! I couldn’t agree more, really! I’m so sad that it’s ending next week >___< It’s indeed been a long time for me since I was so invested and addicted to a kdrama (BoF didn’t work for me at all, though I read the recaps here).

    I’m also one of those who might not have given this drama a proper chance if not for your recaps! I remember downloading the first episode right after it’d been aired, taking a peek at it raw and wasn’t too impressed. It was only when I had read the recaps up to episode 4 or so that I seriously fell for the drama ^^ So, major, MAJOR thanks for that!!! *bows*

    Those last two screencaps were really intriguing (definitely caught my attention when I was watching it raw) and spoke volumes despite no words being uttered in that scene. Really superb!

  35. 35 heejung

    i TOTALLY agree with #32 G!!! HOLY [email protected] 18 was intense!!! and what a cliffhanger… i swear, this drama just keeps on getting better every episode.

    that whole bit with shin and the party with the venture group was so touching. especially at the end. it kinda restores faith in humanity, especially after one is slammed by the preceding scenes.

    i luuuv park yong-ha. i luuuv kim shin~

    eagerly awaiting 19… i’m really keen to know how this drama ends, but i’ll be really depressed when it does. yukshi the mark of an excellent drama!!

  36. 36 jin

    @nom kitteh
    you make an excellent point about the “my funny valentine” scene but, just to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, maybe it’s a sign that dowoo is slowly loosing control and needs eunsoo. like he said before, why would he need words for eunsoo to understand? jazz seems to speak to his emotions more than people. plus, eunsoo points out that her brother is indeed acting strange by calling kim shin in warning. i would argue that dowoo, while perhaps feeling something akin to love for his sister, has always manipulated those around him, playing emotional games because it has always gotten him what he wants. he always appeals to eunsoo’s mothering nature when he tells her he needs her despite the fact that he probably knows he causes her pain. dowoo may be an ingenious, layered, psycho (and psychopathy is actually the umbrella term–like all psych terms are– for a variety of related “issues” so medically diagnosing someone that doesn’t really dismiss their 3D individuality) but he is a human psycho and it’s inevitable that he eventually lose his composure to take the fall. finally, and perhaps most importantly given this is an entertainment drama, it’s a very interesting scene that highlights the peculiar relationship he has with his sister (as javabeans pointed out, eunsoo is supposed to be by his side, in the background, like the jazz music) while foreshadowing something sinister. eunsoo is no longer by his side as his brakes so he’s going all out.

  37. 37 jin

    also, i, too, am beginning to see kim shin’s appeal. these days it’s hard to push so strongly for the lead but kim shin has me completely at his side. his willingness to be ridiculed and even thrown away as long as he prevents dowoo from hurting his people is both tragic and touching. he’s a savior he speaks the truth but no one is listening. huh, i know from “the legend” that the writer has had religious undertones in her work but it seems like it may also be in here (however inadvertently).
    finally, i’ve read previous recaps and people are surprised by how eunsoo wasn’t included in the 3-some posters but she’s not the flashy female who played a prominent role in the beginning epi’s. rather, she’s the one that people overlook, perhaps dismiss as strange (like kyungah’s coworkers did in the episode where kyungah and eunsoo first meet), but she is a hidden jewel of sorts. i don’t think including her in the preview posters would have been in line with that agenda. it’s more fun discovering that special someone rather than having them pointed out to you on a preview poster (as many romance dramas tend to do).
    finally, i no longer dislike kyungah and hope she and kim shin can eventually be good friends once again. but i’m also a eunsoo-kim shin shipper.

    • 37.1 Gasenadi

      Thanks for the great insights on DW, Shin and ES.

      And, just came to me, perhaps he wants to convey the sense of “control” jazz offers him and offer that to his sister who, to his way of thinking, is “out of [his] control”. Besides, of course, being a valentine to his “favorite work of art”. *shudder*

  38. 38 Janet

    Shin is initially overshadowed by Doo wo but he had since overide Doo Woo in the the latter episodes. Park Yong Ha is an excellent acter and singer. His acting skill have improve tremedously and his charater is developing well. He is one of the main reason why i am so eager to watch this drama. Kim kang woo is a talented actor and he shows just how evil he is in this show.

  39. 39 Janet

    Both main characters deserve the same credit. Nothing to compare, because they are most suitable in their respective roles. I personally thinks that nobody can take over ther roles. Just hope that this drama gets more credits and viewership. It is a real PITY, to see the ratings. I feels sorry for the whole team as i believe everybody worked hard to make the drama a success. What a shame.. Hope it will get better as the story unfolds. Thank you for the wonderful ( as usual) recap of the series. PYH, KKW, A Man’s Story, Fighting!!!!

  40. 40 loveydovey

    ew i hope the jea-myung/detective relationship doesn’t grow into anything romantic. i’m sorry, but that’s just too gross.

  41. 41 yumi-chan

    Was I the only one that screamed “RUN -insert name here- RUN!”?
    When Do woo took Eun Soo to the construction site I was holding my breath hoping he wouldn’t hit her, even though that would have knocked me right off my ass if it did happen. I like how Eun Soo thought soft she holds up and sticks firm to what she believes and wants.

    & Kyung tae oh my dear Kyung tae =/

  42. 42 kaye

    what a concise statement this image makes — Do-woo, gripping the steering wheel in anger, wearing his wedding ring, with Eun-soo in the background.

    Layers, layers, layers! That’s the mark of witty directing, isn’t it?

    I loved those two shots. And yeah, my thoughts exactly.

  43. 43 Gasenadi

    Gracias mil, jb, for the recaps.

    Two things: Jazz. DW’s taste in cool jazz has turned me off the genre for awhile. I seethe everytime I hear it cuz I associate it with Evil Spawn’s machinations.

    This was another tear-jerk-y episode for me. It speaks to the quality of this drama that, despite knowing and anticipating the pattern of victory/defeat in Shin’s quest, I’m still devastated at his losses. All the actors are superb, but that Eun-soo is the BOMB!! I’m checking out everything she’s ever been in.

  44. 44 Am

    Shout out to Eunsoo for standing up to her brother and taking a more active role. Also, her sixth sense is no joke! Now, if only she could speak up more in front of Shin and not let him treat her like a child sometimes…

    Oh Kyungha… You not only want your cake and eat it too, you also want your neighbors cake with the cherry on top. You think you know what you want but you are never satisfy with what you ask for. Keep going down that road you are on. Hopefully it will take you far far away from here. *Rolls eyes*

    I will never be able to see a “My Valentine” scene as romantic anymore. Creep factor too strong now lol

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