Drama Recaps
Story of a Man: Episode 20 (Final)
by | June 21, 2009 | 90 Comments

Ohhhhh, what a freaking great way to go out!

I was afraid the ending wouldn’t live up to the series, especially with all the snippets of spoilers floating around… but I loved it. I can see why some might have wanted something different, but I thought it was quite fitting.

SONG OF THE DAY

8eight – “자유” (Freedom). I had a beautiful sad song picked out for the finale, but then I saw the episode and it didn’t seem to fit. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
EPISODE 20 RECAP

Shin runs out of the hospital in time to see the ambulance peeling away, and jumps inside it. Do-woo swerves sharply to knock Shin out, but Shin’s concern is solely for Eun-soo’s welfare, and he pleads with Do-woo to slow down for her sake.

Do-woo asks for Shin’s phone and, desperate to agree, Shin hands it over. Do-woo tosses it out the window and agrees to allow Shin to free the doctor of his bindings to help Eun-soo.

In the hospital parking lot, doctors and police officers rush to find Kyung-tae on the ground, and start transporting him inside for medical attention. Kyung-tae urgently looks at his fallen headphones as he tries to signal to Detective Kim to bring them to him, because of his quirk of needing them in order to talk. But ultimately this is too important, so he forces himself to speak anyway. He knows the ambulance number, and tells the detective. The police scour the area, knowing they’re on the right track when they recover Shin’s thrown-away phone.

While Do-woo drives, the doctor works on keeping Eun-soo alive in the back — but finally, she flatlines. Shin takes in the shock of the moment, but it seems like Do-woo doesn’t even register it, or is so fixated on his own goal that he doesn’t care. Shin urges Do-woo to tell the doctor to stop trying to resuscitate Eun-soo, because without his consent, he has to keep trying.

Shin’s words fall on deaf ears, and Do-woo answers as though in a trance, “I have to make it to the airport. The plane is waiting.” Shin pleads with Do-woo to let Eun-soo go peaceably, and finally Do-woo relents. The doctor calls the time of death.

Shin holds Eun-soo’s hand and mourns her passing, crying silently. (Is this interesting, or not? — the song that plays used to be Shin and Kyung-ah’s theme, the sad one that goes, “Goodbye, my love.”)

He starts to pull the blanket over her head, but stops, wracked with tears. He can’t do it.

Do-woo sits in a dull daze and imagines Eun-soo appearing beside the car to speak to him, healthy and whole.

A little bit later, they sit side by side on the beach (or rather, Do-woo sits on the beach and imagines that Eun-soo is beside him).

Do-woo: “Sometimes I wish that if I’ve come this far, I might as well go completely insane. Eun-soo, do you ever think that?”
Eun-soo: “What is it to go entirely crazy?”
Do-woo: “When I don’t know myself, what I’m doing, where I am, or who I am.”
Eun-soo: “Then you wouldn’t know me, either.”
Do-woo: “You think so?”
Eun-soo: “That’s no good.”
Do-woo: “You’re right.”

Eun-soo: “Can I ask you something?”
Do-woo: “What is it?”
Eun-soo: “Have you still never cried?”

The answer to that would be no. Although we know Eun-soo’s death must be a huge blow to Do-woo, it’s almost like the shock broke Do-woo somehow, because he sits in silence and remains unresponsive when Shin addresses him, saying he ought to say his goodbyes to Eun-soo.

Shin can’t understand Do-woo, and asks in angry disbelief: “I know you’re crazy, but what the hell were you thinking? Did you simply hate having us next to her? Then you should have just said that.”

Do-woo answers simply, “I could have saved her. That’s something you couldn’t do, not on this earth. Because you can’t do that, I could take her away, not here but somewhere else.”

Shin grabs him. “Do you still not get it? Your method was wrong. You couldn’t have saved her that way. Look at what you’ve done. I know what’s wrong and what’s right. Why don’t you know? You’re smarter than I am. You spent lots of money to be educated — so why don’t you know?!”

Do-woo’s stoic through all this. He reiterates his mantra: “I’m not wrong. Don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Disgusted, Shin lets go of him and gets up. He tells him, “Get up. Tell your sister you were wrong, and say goodbye.” Do-woo remains sitting, closing his eyes and leaning back in his blank, languid way.

And then… we skip ahead a little while.

Some time has passed, but not too much, since Kyung-tae is still in the hospital. He’s fine, and happy, as Jae-myung fills in a now-free Mun-ho. Shin’s sister-in-law has returned to Myungdoshi and re-opened her snack shop, and bought a new home with the money from the displacement payout. As for Shin — well, he’s been out of sight after briefly dropping by Kyung-tae’s hospital room.

Mun-ho sighs over Eun-soo’s death, and guesses that Shin had liked her, but wonders if it had been love. I like Jae-myung’s response; even though he doesn’t quite get it, he respects that which he does not understand:

Jae-myung: “You haven’t had a lifelong love, have you? Me neither. So we should just keep our mouths shut.”
Mun-ho, laughing: “You’ve really grown up.”

Kyung-ah opens Do-woo’s secret panel, and starts to take down all the additional drawings he had added to the collage bit by bit. When the extraneous matter has been pulled away, Kyung-ah steps back and regards the main image, the drawing of a lush and extravagant Neo-Monaco. It’s a symbolic gesture — decluttering the main drawing and leaving it in its original pristine state — and its meaning will become clear in the following scene with Shin.

She meets Shin at a pojangmacha that night, where they start out with small pleasantries and she thanks him for helping with Eun-soo’s funeral, as nobody else was around to help her. Chairman Chae still hasn’t come to terms with Eun-soo’s death, and Do-woo — well, we’ll get to him in a moment.

Kyung-ah is now the CFO of the Myungdo New Deal project and chief Chae Dong stockholder. She describes the shadowy, powerful people who want to take over the Myungdoshi project, who have already recruited Mayor Oh to their side. She, on the other hand, wants to preserve Do-woo’s original dream.

Shin doesn’t want to help her (“Rich people asking for help scare me”) and wonders why she would come to him when she’s so prominent herself and he’s a nobody. Kyung-ah answers that Shin has learned how to fight: “I may not be a good judge of character, but I know which line to stand in.”

Shin: “Let me ask one more thing. How are those lofty people any different from you?”
Kyung-ah: “I know to fear you. They don’t know you. Find a way to work together with your people and Do-woo’s dream. I’ll help you. I misspoke to you at the start. Rather than asking for you to help me, I’ll help you.”

Thankfully, Kyung-tae is healthy and well, recovering from his stab wound in the hospital. Shin jokes that Kyung-tae might not ever want to check out of the hospital, seeing how the nurses fuss over him. Kyung-tae smiles, “It’s okay with me if I don’t.”

Kyung-tae can’t resume his broadcast as Mazinger Hunter yet, but he’s resumed writing online. Shin wonders if Kyung-tae will be okay, knowing that he could always be arrested for it. Kyung-tae replies, “The first time was scary, the second time was okay. The third time, I will laugh.”

Shin discusses Kyung-ah’s request for help with Kyung-tae, and how he turned it down. It’s painful for him here, near Myungdoshi, because the memory of Eun-soo is everywhere. Kyung-tae replies, “But the eggs are also here.” Shin wonders, “Eggs?”

Kyung-tae explains, “Eun-soo said this: ‘I think those people are eggs. Kim Shin once said that he was looking for a million eggs.'”

Shin is startled: “She said that?”

And now, finally, we come to Do-woo.

Now incarcerated, Do-woo is strikingly different from how we last saw him. He’s nervous, jittery, legs shaking uncontrollably and all trace of his former cool composure vanished. He is visited by a psychiatrist who is trying to understand his illness, asking questions that Do-woo answers in a stuttering, little-boy voice. It’s as though Eun-soo’s death has broken him, and he has reverted to a childlike state. He’s fixated on the memory of a sketchbook his mother had once bought him, which his father took from him.

The doctor asks why he would do that, and Do-woo answers, in a plaintive voice, “Because I drew pictures.” The doctor asks why his father hates him drawing pictures, and Do-woo just repeats, “My father lied. He lied.”

The doctor shows him a photo of himself, dressed as the Do-woo we know — sleek, sophisticated, accompanied by K. Do-woo shows no recognition of that man. When the doctor presents a family photo dating to his childhood, he recognizes everyone in the picture, identifying his father last, with some hesitation.

But when the doctor shows a photo of the adult Eun-soo, suddenly Do-woo lunges at the questioner, snarling and violent.

The doctor goes over his findings with Detective Kim, and has diagnosed Do-woo with dissociative, multiple personality disorder. One of his personas hasn’t aged past 12, probably marked by a trauma suffered at that age. Another persona is a wild man who cannot speak and acts purely on instinct. The separate personas don’t remember the thoughts of the others, although they share the same body.

The Chae Do-woo we know hasn’t yet appeared to the doctor, who says that more study will have to be conducted to confirm that Do-woo’s personality (the one we know) is his real one. This is problematic for Detective Kim, whose investigation remains in limbo while they are unable to “locate” the real Do-woo or speak with him.

If this drags on, the chances for putting Do-woo away for his crimes diminishes, and the detective therefore goes to Shin. She asks him to visit Do-woo, hoping that their peculiar connection might draw out his real self.

Shin talks to Do-woo normally, ignoring Do-woo’s sad, downturned gaze or his slumped posture. He starts by saying Eun-soo’s funeral went well, then brings up Kyung-ah’s comment that they were fighting the same enemy, so at one time they could have joined on the same team. However, Shin disagrees, saying Kyung-ah didn’t know Do-woo well enough: “Have you ever seen a man be on the same side as the pig he raised to eat?”

Kyung-ah wants to preserve Do-woo’s dream, and proposed that Shin help her do that while also protecting his own side. But Shin says, “I’m going to protect my people, because if we don’t watch over each other, we’ll get eaten up by your people.”

All the while, Do-woo’s attention has been flitting around the room, looking around randomly, and now he opens his mouth to speak, but doesn’t. Shin gets up to lean over Do-woo, and tells him to talk. Do-woo starts to… and says, “I want to draw. The ajusshis don’t let me draw.”

Shin is unmoved, and throws some of Do-woo’s words back at him: “Chae Do-woo. I know you’re in there. You’re afraid because you’re alone. If you’re afraid, come to us, we’ll take you. But when you come, come alone and kneel before me.”

Shin walks out, leaving Do-woo rocking back and forth in his chair, uncomprehending.

I’d say that it’s easy to feel sorry for the pathetic mess that Do-woo has been reduced to, even in light of all his horrible acts. But Shin has no such sympathy, and doesn’t quite buy that Do-woo is as damaged as he appears — or, at least, he doesn’t let him off the hook for it.

Mayoral elections. Mayor Oh is the clear front-runner as the incumbent, and his campaign is showy and self-aggrandizing. He has money and supporters, and everywhere he goes, he is trailed by yes men who clap enthusiastically for him and draw in passersby. He also promises big things, such as a fancy supermarket in place of the old marketplaces, and vows, “I will end your sufferings!”

In stark, pathetic contrast, candidate number 4 is Kim Jung-jin — the former mayor’s old aide. He speaks quietly but sincerely, and commands no followers or crowds. His campaign refrain, asked haltingly to the emptiness around him, is “Are you happy?”

It’s really quite sad, because it seems inevitable that the flashy but insincere Mayor Oh is likely to bulldoze over the quiet but honest Kim Jung-jin. And Kim is not unaware of this, as he explains to the crowd when Shin comes by.

At one of his rallies (although can it be a rally without an audience?), Kim stands with one assistant, speaking to uninterested passersby, when Shin seats himself at the perimeter and asks with a smile, “Why do you want to be mayor?” As he engages Kim in questions, people start to pause and listen to the dialogue between them.

Shin wonders, does a mayor make a lot of money? Kim answers no, that he’d used up his savings to run, causing his wife to become angry with him when it’s obvious he’ll lose. His family and friends all tried to stop him.

Shin: “But you wanted to be a mayor that badly?”
Kim: “No, not at all. I know what it means to be mayor. Our mayor has passed away now, but I observed under him. I was his assistant. I know that being mayor is working on behalf of the residents, enduring people’s curses. Because I know, I am running. I know how to endure curses.”
Shin: “That’s good. You know how to endure curses, I know how to fight. We can work together.”

Shin addresses the slowly growing crowd, “Everyone, this is candidate Kim Jung-jin. He knows constitutional law. Please vote for him.” (The constitutional law comment is a throwback to the mayor, who stood up to Do-woo and recited the constitution to protect his people.)

Now, Kim addresses the crowd more loudly, voice booming with energy.

Kim’s campaign is small, located in a cramped storefront, but it has picked up steam as the elections near. Kim explains his plan to build rental apartments for the people, the public health center, and the school. He also has plans for a park, and land where the farming venture group can move in nearby.

Shin assists, and even Bum-hwan wants to help. Unfortunately, Shin reminds his hyungnim why this would be a Very Bad Idea, because the campaign can’t accept money, and having Bum-hwan’s boys loitering around would look suspicious. Furthermore, Bum-hwan can’t even vote in Myungdoshi.

Bum-hwan is also here to offer a bit of advice. Someone had found out he’d been cheated (out of the building contract) by Kyung-ah, and came to him with information. Kyung-ah is in possession of something important, but no identifying information was given.

With Do-woo out of the picture, Chairman Chae and Kyung-ah are off to recover Chae Dong Construction officially (becoming primary stockholders). The chairman is only half-lucid, like he’s gone half-senile in some perverse twist of fate that made true Do-woo’s earlier lies that his father was heading into early dementia. Chae retains his gruff, proud way of speaking (telling Kyung-ah she’s got a lot to learn from him), but also sometimes reverts to childlike babble. Like father, like son?

Chae also calls out for Eun-soo, not believing or knowing she has died. When Kyung-ah steps out of the room, he fumbles for his hat, and collapses in the attempt.

He doesn’t die — he is rushed to the hospital — but he is now bedridden. (His hand flickers, possibly indicating mental awareness, but he does not speak.) Kyung-ah visits him in the hospital to inform him that she’s been named CEO, and asks for his secret account books. There are people wanting to see it, and she’s searched everywhere but can’t find them. She also tells Chae that Do-woo is still being examined by three different doctors, and has yet to be given a final diagnosis.

Detective Kim gives Shin a book containing a single picture drawn recently by Do-woo. He had insisted repeatedly on a sketchbook, so finally they had given him one, and this is what he had come up with. It’s a perplexing, possibly hidden message, and Shin seems to make a connection. He calls Kyung-ah.

He asks what she has that people want. Kyung-ah answers that it’s the secret account books of the bribes Chae had made over the past 30 years. Currently, men are over in the office searching for them.

Understanding that Kyung-ah isn’t free to talk, Shin asks yes or no questions — are these the people sent from those high-ranking shadowy men she’d mentioned before? (Yes.) Have they used these books to threaten Chae? (Yes.) Does she have it? (No.) Does she know where it is? (No.) If she tells the men she doesn’t know where it is, will they leave? (No.)

Shin asks her to transfer the phone to the man in charge, and bluffs that he’s got the account books, and will meet him in person. Grabbing Do-woo’s sketch, Shin leaves.

Shin and Jae-myung search Chae’s office, which has already been ransacked. The books contain accounts totaling in the 100 billion won range ($80 million).

Shin looks at the drawing, Do-woo’s coded message to him, deducing that the ring indicates Kyung-ah. Looking at the numbers (5000 – 4500 = 0), Shin recalls Do-woo’s proclamation that he could make Korea a top power by taking only the top 5 million out of the country’s 50 million people, leaving behind the bottom 45 million. (In Korean, 5,000 cheon-man equals 50 million, hence the numbers on the drawing.)

Shin realizes there’s no secret account, that Chae had used them merely as a threat. But without real books, how to save Kyung-ah? Shin tells Jae-myung he may have to flex his lawyer muscles.

Thus Jae-myung and Shin accompany Kyung-ah to the next secret meeting, where he announces himself as a representative of Chae. He presents a stack of account books, identifying them as the accounts they are looking for. He explains that Chae had entrusted him with a task to carry out, and he is complying with the man’s orders.

Shin pours liquid over them, causing the men to lurch in shock. Clearly, they want the information to use for themselves, although they don’t admit that. As Shin strikes a match, he explains that the chairman didn’t want to make trouble for these people with his account books. It’s a great moment because Shin speaks with false generosity — of course these men must want these books destroyed, because they don’t want to be incriminated by them! — and burns the stash, leaving the men yelping helplessly to put out the fire.

Then, he votes.

As he drives away, Shin turns on the radio to a talk show, where he listens to Kyung-tae talking finance. Now graduated from the internet to broadcast, Kyung-tae is a repeat guest as a financial expert on this program.

The host says that he must be rich because he’s so good with stocks, prodding him to brag of his personal wealth, to prove how much his advice has worked in his favor.

I love Kyung-tae’s disapproving response as he says, “Money is like Mazinger.” He starts recounting all the capabilities of the Mazinger robot from the comic book (rocket punch blast fire, lasers shooting from eyes), but reminds her that without the pilot, the robot is an empty tin can. “I am that pilot… Why are people more interested in the tin can? I find you people strange.”

When he finishes his job, he leaves his headphones behind, chatting pleasantly with producers without them.

Meanwhile, Jae-myung packs up, heading back to L.A. Mun-ho’s disappointed, although Jae-myung promises he’ll call him Uncle next time they meet. He also leaves Mun-ho a message for Shin: To do a good job, “so that I’d want to return to this country.”

At the airport, Jae-myung recalls the last time he left Korea, when his father sent him off as a child. I suppose this scene is like coming full circle for him, because he leaves now with his father issues resolved, at peace with the knowledge that his father did love him and that his killer is dead.

More circular resolution comes in the form of Shin, who arrives at Myung-sun’s new home — where she is accompanied by Joong-ho and some of the other Myungdoshi residents.

He gets out of the truck, and we see that it bears the name of Future Frozen Foods. Shin is now the president of the revived company.

Kyung-ah visits with Do-woo in the hospital, who remains unresponsive. A new persona has emerged, one who does math calculations all day and doesn’t speak. In this scene, Do-woo’s expression remains impassive while his hand moves in jittery movements, solving invisible equations.

Kyung-ah heads off to talk to the doctor, leaving Shin to watch over Do-woo.

Shin shows Do-woo the drawing, and like the last time, he speaks to him normally, not making allowances for his illness, saying he was touched that Do-woo would send him a message:

Shin: “If you make the slightest mistake, you’re heading to prison, not a hospital. You could be up for a life sentence, but even in that risk, you sent a message to me, your enemy. To watch over your wife. That’s what I thought at first. But Chae Do-woo, that account book your father has really exists, doesn’t it? You know where that is, don’t you?”

Do-woo stops fidgeting for a moment, then resumes.

Shin continues, “So are you waiting for your chance to get out, to get your hands on that book?” Shin laughs, “Then I have to wait for you again. And now I’m busy living my own life.”

He still wants some concession from Do-woo: “For you to send me a message in the last moment and acknowledge me as your enemy, shouldn’t you acknowledge me even once out of courtesy?”

Do-woo continues his calculations, and Shin sighs.

Kyung-ah arrives to take Do-woo back inside for his medication, helping him up — and suddenly, Do-woo moves smoothly, twirling her in a surprise kiss.

As Shin watches, Do-woo looks straight at him — and quirks up his mouth in a taunting smile.

Then, he’s back to playing mental patient, and Kyung-ah helps him inside.

Shin watches his enemy walk off, and smiles.

 
EPISODE COMMENTS

When I heard some people’s reaction to the finale, I was wary of how I might feel about it. It seems opinions were mixed, and I prepared myself for a letdown. There was a somewhat epilogue-y feeling to this episode, since most of it felt like a wrap-up to the prior threads, leaving me wondering how this would finally close.

Thanks be, I was actually really pleased with the ending, and enjoyed how it answers some questions while introducing a host of new ones. While I might normally find unanswered questions frustrating, I think the level of openness was just right.

For instance, the mayoral election. Part of me wanted to hear that Kim Jung-jin swooped in with a surprise victory, but on the other hand, I found that I liked not knowing the outcome. We’ve seen over and over how Shin has fought, and often lost, but bounced right back to fight some more. So in the scheme of things, if Kim lost the election, it’s not the end of the world. So what if Mayor Oh wins this time? Kim made impressive strides and gathered some more eggs to contribute to Shin’s pile. We’ve never been given one definitive victory over the course of this drama, and it’s always the fight that counts. (To bring in another pop-culture reference, this reminds me of the finale of the American show Angel, which is one of my favorite series finales of all time. Without spoiling the ending of that drama, let’s just say that it was also a show that was more about the ongoing fight than the ultimate victory.)

But then again, we don’t know that he lost for sure, so we can also hope that he won.

Shin’s joining with Kim’s campaign also marks another beginning for Shin, just when he’s about to give up. In the hospital scene with Kyung-tae, Shin has a resigned tone, hinting that he may leave for good to get away from all the painful memories of Eun-soo. Hearing Eun-soo’s comment about his eggs surprises him, but also reminds him that he had vowed to uphold the mayor’s work. I see that scene as a turning point in making this less about a fight against Do-woo, the singular evil, and more about evil as an overall, all-pervasive thing. It’s like Detective Kim scoffed in a previous episode, how Shin must have lived an awfully charmed life to believe that Do-woo is the only guy out there like that. If Shin wants to continue the mayor’s work, he ought to expand his scope to include all his eggs, not just the ones fighting Do-woo.

Gotta have some love for the rest of the Dream Team, and it’s always enjoyable to see Kyung-tae progressing. For instance, how he forces himself to speak without his headphones in the beginning of the episode, and by the end of the episode is able to (relatively easily) speak without them as a crutch anymore. He’s always going to be quirky, autistic Kyung-tae, but he is becoming more socially comfortable. It started when Shin drew him out of his nervous shell in prison, and his progress gives us hope for his future.

It’s a little sad to see the team break up, but I think Jae-myung’s departure fits with his personality, and also leaves the door open for him to return. He started out completely detached, only staying to avenge his father’s death. Like Shin, he didn’t quite get the complete victory that he wanted, but the chapter has closed for now and he’s relatively at peace with it. When he (possibly) returns, he hopes for a society that is marginally better than it is when he leaves it, entrusting that task to Shin. That isn’t to say that it’s up to Shin to improve the whole of Korea’s vices, but rather is his way of urging Shin to keep up the fight while he’s away.

Do-woo sure is a slippery fish, isn’t he?

Here’s why I dug the ending:

The whole multiple-personality thing was a bit out of left field, and while it does somewhat fit in with Do-woo’s mental illness, it sorta sucks the life out of the whole Do-woo/Shin conflict. It’s a deus ex machina, a fancy term explaining a concept generally scorned in literature in which some magical, external force swoops in at the last minute, solves problems, and leaves the audience feeling cheated of a real resolution. A deus ex machina is a last-minute solution, an act of god, a narrative cop-out, because while it may wrap up the plot, it tends to hijack the buildup and feels like a cheap conclusion. (For instance, imagine if a drama builds up all series long for a duel between two enemies, and on the way to the final battle, one of them gets run over by a car.)

So Do-woo’s hospitalization had elements of an empty victory. One might be able to make the argument that Shin is the better fighter than Do-woo and has proven his superiority, thus winning their standoff. (Remember how I said in that episode recap that it kind of felt like Do-woo was cheating by ordering Shin’s murder? He wants to win the game but doesn’t care that he has to steal his victory. Shin likewise wants to crush Do-woo, but he wanted to win fair and square — as he once pleaded with Do-woo to do — in order for the victory to feel complete.)

That’s how I interpret Shin’s smile at the end. He may have sorta-maybe caused Do-woo to self-destruct and give into his mental illness, but there’s part of him that’s itching to beat him for real, and for good. And I think he’s disappointed that things ended so abruptly between them — like the game concluded prematurely. That’s why he asks Do-woo for an acknowledgment, because he wants to KNOW that he’s right in believing Do-woo to be faking his mental illness. When Do-woo gives him that tiny acknowledgment, Shin is satisfied on some level, even if it signifies that the final battle has yet to be fought.

That’s why I like this ending, because had we cut out the last scene at the hospital, this drama would have allowed Do-woo to escape full punishment for his crimes; this mental illness felt like it let Do-woo off the hook. The last scene, then, puts him back on the hook. No, it doesn’t solve their rivalry, but at least it doesn’t finish it unsatisfactorily.

So Shin has won this round, and he’s going to go on and live his life happily without dwelling on Do-woo’s condition, but he’ll be on alert to destroy him when the time comes, if it comes. As they say, living well is the best revenge, and until he gets his chance at ultimate payback (if he gets that at all), at least Shin will be able to live out his daily revenge by living happily.

 
OVERALL DRAMA COMMENTS

Kim Kang-woo must be acknowledged as the star, who gave Do-woo his creepy brilliance. While many actors seem to subscribe to the theory that going bigger is better — as though afraid we’ll miss their genius if they don’t Act! It! Out! Like! This! — Kim Kang-woo dialed it back and gave Do-woo life in his small, measured, controlled movements and his modulated voice. Crazy, Loud, and Violent can be frightening, but Crazy, Silent, and Blank is a helluva lot scarier. And it makes his gradual unraveling that much more chilling. Kim was a bad guy who was fun to root for, even though he was so very bad at times. What’s impressive is that while Do-woo’s mental illness may have had roots in his daddy issues, this drama didn’t cop out and make Daddy the only one responsible — in showing us the real Do-woo in the end, in full possession of his sanity, we put some of the responsibility back on Do-woo’s shoulders for his acts of evil.

His sister-love was a unique element of this drama, but thankfully wasn’t sensationalized into some kind of perverse, incestuous obsession. Do-woo’s attachment to Eun-soo was possessive, and toward the end it seemed he wanted her more as a possession than as a companion, but it was a dynamic that couldn’t be boiled down into a reductive formula, and for that I am appreciative. His relationship to K is another example of this kind of handling, because while we can all see traces of “OMG, K is sooo in love with Do-woo” throughout the drama, it wasn’t served to us in an overt, flashy way.

Although Do-woo tended to steal the show, much love to Park Yong-ha for his portrayal of Shin, and making him someone I rooted for. I’ve never been a fan of Park Yong-ha (based on Winter Sonata and On Air), but Story of a Man turned me around to him. I don’t think his performance rivaled Kim Kang-woo’s, but he held his own and portrayed Shin as a worthy opponent to an evil mastermind, who was defeated many times but never played it in a sad-sack, gloomy, depressed way. He bounced back and learned from his mistakes and above all learned to move on with his life. Without Shin’s perseverance, without his determination to defeat his enemy, Do-woo’s brilliance would not have had a chance to show itself, and they both brought out the best in each other, if by best you mean most creative and manipulative.

I see good things in Park Ki-woong‘s future, if he keeps up the momentum gained from playing Kyung-tae as he did, without vanity and without holding back. I half-expected Kyung-tae to begin curtailing his odd, nervous tics about halfway through, because if there’s anything I know about Korean actors, it’s that vanity tends to rear its head when playing non-hottie characters. But Kyung-tae remained as adorably eccentric in the end as he was at the outset, and although he tended to remain in the background, Park Ki-woong didn’t relax his guard and start to half-ass his role. He’s really grown a lot from his earlier days, and his future looks bright.

Philip Lee is still green as an actor, and I tend to think that it’s a good thing he’s so well-suited for Jae-myung, because it worked around his limitations. (I think his acting flaws are actually most evident in his English-language lines, which were often delivered a bit flat.) But yeesh, does this guy have charisma, and he has the good fortune of being on writer Song Ji-nah’s good side (she wrote this character for him after his performance in Legend).

Park Shi-yeon was not my favorite part of the drama, which is partially the fault of her character. (Booo Kyung-ah.) I think her role may have been played just as well by a number of other actresses, which is not to say that she sucked, but is more an indication that she didn’t put her own stamp on the character.

To the contrary, then, is the nicest surprise of the drama in Han Yeo-woon, who started out as a small role and gradually became the center of the drama. She played Eun-soo with a lovely sweetness — innocent at heart, but not a doll for men to toy with. She took a moral stand and lived and died by it.

This drama was a delight to watch — every episode, every storyline was smartly written, sharply directed, and acted with emotion. The music was skillfully applied, the shots layered with meaning. The plots were often dense and intricately wound up, but that made the discovery that much more satisfying as the threads unfurled and gave away its secrets, one by one.

It’s weird to think of an intense, oft-dark revenge thriller being a joy to watch, but Story of a Man was that. It’s rare to be able to watch a show and have complete faith in it the whole way through; often you give your heart to a drama and it betrays you halfway through or, even worse, at the very end. Sometimes a series will fall prey to viewer demands, at other times the production will compromise its goals for whatever reason — ratings, broadcast station pressure, actor demands. This drama had middling ratings at best, but it was always confident in its storytelling, and that showed through the end.

I won’t call Story of a Man the best of 2009 just yet, with a whole six months remaining in the year — but let me just say that if a drama comes along to challenge this one for the top spot, this will have been an excellent year indeed.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , ,
SPONSORED VIDEO
90 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. justpeach

    thanks for the wonderful recaps and personal insights on this series :)

    the ratings didn’t do it justice but it was a gem for those who discovered it.

  2. lonelysoul

    Yea!!!!! Im so . . . Yea!!!!

  3. yubikiri

    i hated the ending when i first saw it….but then again, after thinking thoughtfully, it was a great ending. really good drama so far…well compared to the one i ve seen until now!!! woop woop! thnks for your recap!

  4. ksushi

    Great recaps and comments which I always enjoy reading. Thanks.
    Just wish there is more on the character Chae and the relationship among with his two children Eun-soo and Do-woo in particular.

  5. nara

    I can’t breath..almost..while read your recap…it is a kind of korean drama i like…when i watched “The devil”….my husband said, “do you really wanna see that drama all night “..i don’t know what he will say when i am going to watch “Story of A Man”….tx for the recap JB

  6. anne

    brilliant commentaries
    i absolutely love reading your comments as well as your interpretations of the drama.

    this drama by far is the best one I’ve watched in a long time.

    I enjoyed every freaking second and was filled with excitement throughout Story of a Man.

  7. angle2mx

    I love this show. Thanks JB for the recaps, I also liked the ending, it held true to all the previous episodes. I felt that this show even though it focused on A fight it never failed to remind us that it was just one of many fight that is being fought. THAT was a great balance!!!!!! AGGGH I am going to miss camping out at DB everyday to get SOAM update!!! THANKS AGAIN JB

  8. cullenhale

    Oh Javabeans, I’ve been waiting for your recap of Episode 20! I LOVED this drama…up until the very end with Do-woo’s wicked smile. Like you, I didn’t particularly like Park Young Ha, but I enjoyed his portrayal of Shin in this drama. As for the storyline, it was just so well done that I was just simply amazed. I’m all for the revenge plot drama like The Devil, Rebirth (totally underrated). However, there was a different tone to this drama with wonderful traces of humor and pure charm that were not found in the other dramas I mentioned. The pacing (something that is so delicate), the character development, the wonderful complications of human nature/morality were well-executed in this drama. Park Shi Yeon, I have to say this is a big step up from My Girl which was the last time I saw her. I didn’t really care for her character but it was as well done as it could be. I also kind of admired her for staying with Do-Woo in some capacity. The only thing I wished happened was Kyung tae and Eun soo to have some sort of romantic storyline, they had wonderfully adorable moments together.

    THANKS so much for this drama, now on to TRIPLE! I cannot wait till subbers are done with the first few episodes. THE VOICE! (for now I will try to catch up with him in The White Tower)

  9. angryparsnip

    Thanks so much for the great job with the re-caps and your comments.
    This was a great great drama and I am going to miss it. I kept looking at this site all week so I could find out what happened.
    When it comes out on DVD I will have to get it so i can see all of the show.
    Thanks for everything !

  10. 10 langdon813

    Thank you JB, for a fantastic finish to your recap series of this wonderful drama! In the (admittedly) short time I’ve been watching dramas, I know this one is going to have a permanent place in my top five. Who am I kidding – top two easy! A lot of the scenes included in your recaps were missing for me, so I always appreciated having the recap handy to refer to as I rewatched, just to help make sense of it all.

    I completely agree that Kim Kang-woo was simply amazing; if he doesn’t take home handfuls of trophies during awards season then there is no justice in the world! Same goes for Park Ki-woong. Two brilliantly understated but very powerful performances.

    It’s so hard to let go! I can’t believe it’s over. :-(

  11. 11 Sevenses

    I love a well-done open ending, but how creepy was that smirk from Do-woo? Shin has a lot of work ahead of him… :D

    Thank you so much for recapping this drama! I never would have picked it up if you hadn’t started waxing poetic about its quality. As always, it’s a joy to scroll down and read your ‘additional input’. Keep up the awesomeness!

  12. 12 Molly

    Wonderful, analytic review as usual! I have been checking the blog practically every hour for this analysis, lol! And on a side note, I love how detailed and deep your recaps are. The vocabulary you use is suitable as well, and I always walk away having learned at least 10 more words, which will definitely help me with my PSAT preparation. ;) You capture the drama so well in your words and images – to be honest, I’ve only seen two full episodes of Story of a Man because your recaps did such an amazing job of covering the rest (and were often better than the episodes themselves, due to the thoughtfulness in your writing). But I have loved the drama nonetheless.

    Ahh, it’s finally over. -sad sigh- Loved the drama, loved your reviews, and I can’t wait to see what you have for us next!

  13. 13 SamuraiGirl

    Hello, this is my first time leaving a comment on your site. I visit this site a lot, because even though I do try things on a whim, sometimes I like so hear other people’s opinon’s on a drama before I watch it.

    I have to say though, the only reason I started watching Story of A Man was because of your recaps. Obviously, I made a good decision. I really loved the show & I agree with everything you said. Also, its not the normal kind of drama I watch.

    Normally, I’m into cutesy, funny, a little bit of angsty type of stuff. I do love me some drama though. It explains why I was so into Temptation of Wife. Your recaps helped me watch this drama. I always sort of got the whole general idea of the business side of this drama. Reading your recaps helped me fully understand what was going on.

    Thanks for recapping it!

  14. 14 Gia

    Hooray, thanks for the last recap!

    I feel like my comparisons for the ending of this drama were definitely ‘Primal Fear’ and ‘The Usual Suspects’ -both endings there had a kind of “aha! it really WAS him!” aspect that matches with this drama. In fact, for a little bit, it was so similar to ‘Primal Fear’ that I wished it had done something a little different, but I think the ending was really great, and I appreciate it all the more from your recap.

    Also, yay for Angel references, that really was a great series finale.

  15. 15 bbm

    i have to muffle my screams when i open dramabeans this morning and saw this!!!
    and it’s finally ends… no more Dowoo, Shin, Kyungtae, Eunsoo…
    and i agree 100% with your cast analysis, coz Kim Kangwoo and Park Kiwoong are the main reason i watched this drama , Park Yongha is quite good (compare to winter sonata days), Park Shiyeon is bleh, Phillip Lee is easy on the eyes :P
    Han Yeowoon is indeed quite a surprise, she always play the supporting character in other dramas, and i always forget about her character after the end, but Eunsoo will always be loved, and in my head eunsoo and shin lives happily ever after with their adorable children…

    after this is the man who can’t get married, right?? is it any good??

  16. 16 budsdiana

    Finally, after waiting for 1 week for your recap IT’S HERE.

    I have been avidly reading your recaps from the very start. Then watching the drama in the internet. I stopped when it was finally shown in cable in my part of the world last May 18. Since then I just watched on TV and refrain myself from watching in the internet. Tonight they will be showing episode 11. So I read your recaps instead to be updated and just wait patiently to watch it on cable tv.

    Well, while reading your final recap and I reached the point where you wrote

    “And now, finally, we come to Do-woo”

    Not for I second I bought the storyline that Do-woo disintegrated into the character you described. It has always been my gut feeling that he was only “acting out.”

    Do-woo’s character (ending part) where he kisses his wife, reminds me of an American movie (which I can’t remember the title) starring Richard Gere (lawyer) who defended his client (with multiple personality) vigorously and passionately. They won the case and when Richard Gere for the last time talked to his client to announce happily that he is now a free man, the client dropped his “multiple personality act” and Richard Gere realizes that he had been conned all along.

    So the moment you tackle the “And now, finally, we come to Do-woo” immediately that American Movie came to my mind and I was right when I finally saw the picture you posted of DW kissing KA with that scary smirk/smile. It was the exact effect I got when I watched the old American movie.

    Now, I will continue watching the drama on cable/tv patiently. Yes, this drama is the best so far that i have seen made by Korean Entertainment.

    I am now intrigued in watching Legend so I can get a glimpse of Philip Lee. I am also one of the few K-drama fan that have not seen Winter Sonata, so I am also tempted to watch it so i can see PYH.

    Well, 10 hours to go before its 9pm (my time) so I can watch SOAM on KBS.

    Thanks a lot JavaBeans, as always keep up the good work. Hugs and Kisses

  17. 17 djes

    thank you for recapping this drama, it’s a great journey!
    I always interested in dark, thriller drama, and this one is surely not disappointing.

    I haven’t watch it again since ep. 12, but now as it already ended and the subtitles already completed, I will resume watching it…

    this is one of the best drama in 2009 so far, and yes it’s only half way, we still have many interesting dramas later.

    once again, thank you Javabeans!

  18. 18 Taohua

    Thanks for the awesome recaps JB! I LOVED this show, easily one of my favorites! While initially I had mixed feelings about Eun-soo’s death, I always thought the last scene where Do-woo gives Shin a smirk while kissing Kyung-ah was perfect. I absolutely loved the ending. And after thinking it over for the past week or so, I realized that Eun-soo’s death was probably the best way for the ending to unfold i.e. Do-woo finally losing his cool and allowing Shin to have the upperhand (at least indefinitely). This drama definitely was a gem, like you mentioned in a previous post, the writing, acting, and directing was amazing. I’m going to definitely miss it, but am looking forward to the lighter fare ie. Triple, Partner, etc . Thanks again for the recap!

  19. 19 Norun

    Wait a minute.

    Was Kyung ah ever explained? I mean what the hey? Did I miss the explanation of the other reasons why she ends up being a bar girl? (other than for money?)

    Also, the idea that such a controlled ambitious person,, and CEO of a large company, would marry a bar girl, essentially a prostitute, is just a ridiculous idea. And she becomes the CEO? Sure, why not have her run for President?

    The whole drama was well paced and directed. The story however IMO sucked. It had too many holes, And if Doowoo dosen’t have MPD, he clearly does has clinical mental problems — that much was clear from practically the beginning. It’s easier to believe the fantasy prince charming/jerk dramas than this one

  20. 20 MEIKO**** ^-^

    JJJAAAVVVAAABBEEAANNSSS!!!!
    The end is here and i love it!!!! love it! love it! love it!

    FIRST… I love your song!!! Its actually quite moving…. nearly cried while i was reading your recaps… i guess am kinda sad it’s over…

    SECOND….LOVE the ending!!!!! OMG!!!
    I didnt buy the mutliple personality disorder one bit just because it doesnt fit Chae Doo Woo’s medical history… but i was so engrossed with CDW that i let it slipped right away, and didnt even try to analyze it….

    I give my high respect to Kyungha for staying and taking care of CDW and being strong till the end…. i thought she’s going to falter and make a big drama scene…

    I love that smirk CDW gave Shin at the end…..gave me quite a lot..lots.. to ponder, especially regarding his personality…

    I love Shin for being such an honest and true man….he definitely grew up after his brother died… and I love the fact that he didnt get fooled by CDW’s act….love that smile he returned to CDW….

    I definitely have a soft spot for BumHwan….gosh! he is one tall, handsome, intelligent-amicable- honest-looking gangster Boss!!! ^-^ But he did have a soft heart for a “Boss”……

    and Kyung tae, JaeMyung,EunSoo ( shoot i thought she’ll end up with Shin or KyungTae)…and…

    To cut short….i love all the characters! Even the irritating Mayor Oh (gosh! hate his hair too! GGRRR!!) And I agree with JavaB, the story was smartly written and the plots were interestingly done and it was riveting till the end….

    hhhaaaaa….*sigh*…..

  21. 21 Susan

    I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed watching a drama as much as I did Story of a Man. Having had a rather disdainful view towards kdramas, watching this one has given me hope that not all dramas are plagued with bad acting, ridiculous story-lines and drawn out plots and I’ll be looking forward to finding dramas as great as this one in the future.
    and thanks for taking the time to write up these recaps! Even though I watched all the episodes it was always interesting to read a well-written commentary on every episode.

  22. 22 Anonymous

    After episode 20, I just felt so sad because of Eun-Soo’s death. I couldn’t cry, so there was no relief. The ending didn’t provide a catharsis for me… Whenever I thought back to Eun-Soo’s death, my chest would hurt. o.o The feeling lasted for three days.

    Amazing how Story of a Man got me so attached to its characters.

  23. 23 asianromance

    @#$&! That Do-woo! I don’t really know what to say. I was sure he was going to get killed off in the end, but he’s alive and as devious as ever! Omg that smirk at the end. It got me simultaneously feeling chilled and hot all over (can’t remember, is that the first time we have seen him kiss Kyung-ah besides the wedding?). I was feeling sorry for him when he was in the mental institution in his childlike state. Then I was suspicious- it WOULD be like do-woo to pretend to be even crazier to get out of going to jail. Then I chastised myself for being so suspicious of the poor mad. In the end, sane, devious Do-woo is still there!

    I felt sad about Eun-soo’s death. I would have loved to see her live out the rest of her life a bit more happily considering she had spent most of her life apologizing for her family and taking care of her selfish brother and father.

    However, the ending really was fitting and I’m glad that Shin has sort of moved on.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RECAPPING THIS WONDERFUL SERIES!

  24. 24 Kay

    Thanks so much for the recaps. I love the ending, in my opinion was just perfect. For a moment I felt really disappointed to see the easy way out of Doo woo became just crazy, but the only thing i can think was only I don’t think this is true! It cant be! So the last scene was way too brilliant, and I most say a perfect fitting way to end the series.
    Very pleased with all the acting, directing and writing. Quite glad this drama don’t drag in any part, like usually korean dramas do.
    It was a long journey but I was glad to avoid the spoilers, so I can totally understand the end and not be aware of any detail.
    Thanks again I always love your recaps and the way you analise all the situation.

  25. 25 anne

    thanks java!
    omg this drama was awesome
    its not an extreme favorite of mine, lol
    but it was definitly a heart pumping thriller that i enjoyed
    but omg seriously i am totally in loooove with Kim Kang Woo
    omg he is my new favorite actor
    do woo was captivating till the very end
    looooved that last smirk!
    soo coool

  26. 26 budsdiana

    As for Kyung Ah she deserves it, now she will spend the rest of her life taking care of her crazy hubby (and probably his crazy (?) father-in-law). Is she happy now, she is now a RICH gal but what a life she will have, alone with her money and thoughts, and the burden of having a loveless marriage. What a pathetic life, indeed. Good for her there is divorce in Korea, unlike in my country, your stuck with the person you married for the rest of your life.

  27. 27 cosmopolite

    That smile creeped the hell out of me!

    *Applause* This was some good sh*t!

  28. 28 yumi-chan

    None of my lovelines worked out =/
    But man is Do Woo one sneaky sexy son of a bitch :]

  29. 29 Anonymous

    this was definitely one of the most intriguing finales i have seen EVAR. i am going to miss the awesome of namja iyagi so muchh!!! where am i going to get my weekly dose of intense park yongha oppa and craaazaay kangwoo??!
    so good. there should be more dramas like this in the drama world.

  30. 30 celestialorigin

    Thank you for your recap! This drama was so intriguing and unpredictable I could hardly wait for a whole week or longer(for subs) for past 10 weeks(was this for 10 weeks?) Great story telling, interesting assortment of characters and personalities and good to great acting, I was captivated… One of the better K-dramas I’ve watched so far. The only thing I really didn’t get was Kyung-ah, somehow, I couldn’t figure her character out and I don’t think she was not well explained or, did she simply surrender and turned into a gorgeous gold digger type? and I’m just making a big deal out of it? What was the base of her relationship with Doo woo? Was there love? needs? Well, some chapters, I got impatient enough o watch them with incomplete sub-titles and that can be why. Anyway, Javabeans,Thank you so much for your re-caps and comments. They are really great companions for the series. You are so very much appreciated!

  31. 31 aly

    Started watching cos of the excellent reviews on this website…I just lurve the ending.. crossing my fingers for a sequel…, maybe a movie version?

    • 31.1 Gasenadi

      Right? I thought that ending definitely pointed to a sequel.

  32. 32 kitty

    Thanks for recapping the entire series! It’s been lovely reading each episode recaps, and I enjoyed that. Kim Kang-woo was brilliant in the drama and I hope this means he gets more recognition, he’s so underrated and slips under the radar too often for my liking!

    Thanks again and keep up the awesome work!

  33. 33 sue

    LOL when dowoo’s eyes rolled up like that with that smirk when he kissed kyungah i literally jumped out of my chair and had goosebumps all over, omg.

    i think this is the best drama ending i can think of..

  34. 34 poheijo

    thank you for the recaps and the analyzes…it was a joy reading your analyzes, especially the ending because i proved it to myself that i was right in my own analyzes…that CDW was just playing mentally ill in order to escape a life sentence in jail…Kim Kang-woo certainly can act very well…a superb actor…PYH is good too, in my opinion….he portrayed the character of Shin very well…but the best is Park Ki-woong…he’s autistic character is really authentic…love this drama…one of the best…better than East of Eden…

  35. 35 movall

    Excellent recaps, JB, and million thanks for introducing us such a wonderful dramas.
    The last scene perfectly fits to the whole drama, I dare say it’s one of the best ending in Kdramas I’ve ever seen.

    “It’s weird to think of an intense, oft-dark revenge thriller being a joy to watch, but Story of a Man was that. ” –> perfect conclusion, officially on my Top favorite dramas now.

    Thank you.

  36. 36 k-lover

    It is one of the most refreshing dramas I have seen in a long time. Cliqued? No. I loved it especially that the main focus wasn’t entirely on romance. (don’t get me wrong I love my light-hearted rom-com but was looking for something a bit different and this delivered it well all the way.)

    There were also a lot of good warmhearted, and substantial lessons well learned too!
    I also loved the ending because there’s hope for the two main characters to battle it through and maybe even do that fair and square.

    LOooooooooved the dynamics between the two leads. It’s ironic in itself that Chae Do Woo drove Shin to revenge but also challenged Shin to grow up and become much more mature than as someone who initially came off as too complacent.

    And last but not least, thank you for recapping the last episode! :)

    • 36.1 Gasenadi

      Thanks for that insight. Hey! there’s something to thank DW for after all!

  37. 37 hanjanman

    Oh JB noona, you are a goddess!!! Your final recap and overall comments left me breathless. Just like what this drama’s final episode did to me. Do Woo’s smile sent shivers down my spine. You’re not wrong about Park Shi Yeon. She didn’t really do bad but a better actress would have delivered more. Had the role been done by, say, Ha Ji Won then we would have probably seen better results (and, with so many Ha Ji Won fans, maybe even better ratings). But I doubt Ha Ji Won would go for what is, afterall, a secondary role. Anyhow, Park Shi Yeon aside, this is the classiest kdrama I have ever had the pleasure to watch so far.

  38. 38 vis

    @21: Ditto… ES’s death left me depressed for a whole week after I saw the last episode raw and from the spoilers on the soompi forum~

    Actually I was disappointed with what I saw in that last episode back then, but I had a feeling it’d come out different in your recap due to your insight and understanding of what’s actually being said (which is why I’ve been so eagerly awaiting today’s recap ^^) and I was right. Thanks to your analysis I must agree that it was indeed great ending. The subs for ep19-20 came out yesterday (thank you WITHS2 <3), but I’ve yet to watched them (been dreading a bit)… but now, I will do that as soon as I get home!

    Yeah, I was also skeptical about Park Yong-ha from the beginning since I didn’t like him in Winter Sonata or what I’d seen in On Air. But Story of A Man really did bring out the best in him, he was great as Shin! So I’m gonna keep tabs on him in the future, like many of the other actors (Kim Kang-woo, you genius! You better appear in another cool drama soon!!) and one actress (Han Yeo-woon!!!) from this drama!

    Ohhh, I’m so sad it’s over! I can’t remember when I was last this addicted to a drama… It’s been one hell of a ride! It’s all comedy dramas now, but somehow I don’t feel in the mood for that so I’m eargerly anticipating Friends which will start airing in less than a week! Hope it’ll turn out good and worthwhile to follow~

    Anyway, THANK YOU JAVABEANS for recapping this awesome drama! I’m so grateful~ Like many others here I wouldn’t have given it much of a chance if not for your recaps!!! ^_________^

  39. 39 jandoe

    finally episode 20!

    thanks so much for the recaps, i’ve been following them faithfully :)

    i’m watching it on-off in KBS (i’m always out during the showtime sheesh) but i really do like it. and reading your recaps just make me appreciate the drama more.

    the ES ending for myself, i think is a little surprising and DW actually pretending to be mental too but i’ve always liked dramas with a different take to its endings so yay to this drama for doing so! (or is it the scriptwriter? ;p)

    anyway, overall i just wanna say thanks! :)

    i’m following Triple now and hope you’ll cover Partner :D (but even if you don’t i’ll still be around cos honestly i enjoy your recaps/reviews/outtakes!)

  40. 40 `Sliver

    I agreed with Susan – I usually don’t fancy the korean dramas or even moives. i only rememered watching the drama loving you during my teenage days but i did not finish watching the drama because it is so draggy but i do like park yong ha beacause he look so hot! But the ending is so disappointing. Winter Sonata? i have no patience to watch. Haha, i have forgotten who is park yong ha until i watched On Air last year. He is getting better and better ever since. He look more hot and charming than ever in this drama.
    Totally agreed with all the above comments, thank you drama beans for recaping this wonderful drama.
    To aly: i totally support the idea.. Hope to see a better and more exciting dama. As for now, this drama is the best from my limited knowledge of good korean dramas.

  41. 41 hana

    i was a little bit disappointed coz i wanted Shin to live happily and have Eun soo

    but she died

    well it was a good drama but not the best

  42. 42 afternoontea

    I have to say the beginning and end of episode 20 was AMAZING! The middle…not so much. And I still have to roll my eyes at a bar girl ending up being the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation…oh kdramas.

    Anyway, I think it’s so sad that Shin spent the entire drama pining over Kyung Ah, only to realize he loved Eun Soo. All that time he wasted.

    I knew Do Woo was faking it!! He just did what he had to do to stay out of jail. He’s still a psychopath, obviously, but I think his main M.O. was manipulating people. K do do his dirty work, and Kyung Ah to be the queen of his city. Now, however, I think Kyung Ah will be his K also.

    I still want to know K’s backstory. Since it’s obvious he was in love with Do Woo. How exactly did Do Woo manage to make him become so devoted he’d actually kill for his employer?? Aww!! I guess I will just have to use my imagination:-)

    • 42.1 Gasenadi

      “I still have to roll my eyes at a bar girl ending up being the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation…oh kdramas.”

      There have been madams in history who’ve managed their multimillion-dollar “houses”. If I’m not mistaken, the Mayflower madam was one of them. KA was a college student who couldn’t get a good paying job. (I’m writing this after Occupy Wall St and the M15 demonstration in Spain, etc; so, yeah, many are familiar w/jobless or underemployed college grads)

  43. 43 jae

    OMO!! I didn’t even need to watch it to appreciate it! Thanks Javabeans!

    Anyway, I really love this series, from start to finish… the characters played their parts well, especially Chae Do Woo. He lived up to his sick and wicked character in a very slick and suave way. And may I just say that his picture where he smiles at Shin while hugging Kyung Ah was just plain freaky??

    Wooh~~ may the next drama in-line be as good as well! ^^

  44. 44 sari

    Just wanna say THANX VERY MUCH for your recaps,finally i can read it and feel happy also sad at the same time coz it over now.Hope you’ll recap PARTNER, JB?*cross fingers*Let’s hope.

  45. 45 Sogba

    This drama put such a smile on my face
    i belive it will be in the top 3 best dramas of 2009 for me
    like you said we have 6 months to go
    lets see whats coming.

    Would you belive i fell for Do Woo character, i cant explain for the first time i was routing for the bad guy as well as the good guy.
    I like how they left it open at the end (the ending was amazing by the way)
    but does that mean a season 2 could be in the oven but i dont know if that is a good or bad thing!!!

    Love lee phillip(very cute) is acting was ok but i belive he will get better, i loved most of the characters but K let me down in portraying her character but i loved how she truely decided to love Do Woo.

    but i would give that drama 9 3/4 out 0f 10 (i would give it 10 but i dont want to be easy ^_^)

  46. 46 etsy

    i liked the last episode, but i don’t like how the note wasn’t explained fully. i still don’t understand how a reference to do woo and shin’s past conversation can explain that there is no note. this curiosity probably comes from my love of detective shows, but i wish they would have explained that

  47. 47 Biscuit

    Thank You for the recaps!

    Usually endings are always either a hit or miss… rarely in between. But I liked the way the Story of a Man ended.

    Some stories make it where the whole issue is fully solved and a happily ever after ending – but here it was realistic and still carried the whole dark/revenge feeling.

    I’m still trying to get over the shivers from Do-Woo’s smile at the end -_-

    I’m happy with the cast as well. This is the same for the directing, writing, everything. Everyone was great and it was certainly a memorable drama.

  48. 48 serendipity

    I liked the ending very much. It was true to the whole arc of the drama.

    There’s enough closure to keep me (personally) happy. But not so much closure of the too-neat-to-believe, forced kind.

    Everyone stayed in character, which I appreciate. Shin stayed nice and principled, but with an edge. Do Woo stayed sneaky (I half-expected him to be faking, but the way he signalled to Shin was totally unexpected, but totally in character – mocking, cheeky, possessive, arrogant…). Kyung Ah stayed clueless. Grandfather stayed evil. Jae Myung was still the rebellious non-conformist (and womanizer), Mazinger is himself (but a new improved version), etc. I didn’t think it was a tragic or unhappy ending. Everyone lives to fight another day. Well, everyone except Eun Soo, poor soul. But, the moment it went for the Shin-Eun Soo pairing, it was pretty much curtains for her if the series could be brought to conclusion at that stage. The I’m-in-love-with-my-beloved-brother’s-would-be-killer dynamic would take at least another ten episodes to resolve satisfactorily.

    And the whole drama stayed in character. Right to the end it was serious but a little cute. As it was in the beginning. I like a consistent and well-conceived plot. Me, satisfied.

  49. 49 chez

    extremely satisfied that i decided to watch this series…it was all thanks to your summaries…i haven’t seen the last episode yet, but you’ve done an awesome job in helping me to just picture it in my head by just reading you stuff

    i don’t know whether or not i’m happy with the ending because i guess i’m one of those people where i get a bit lost or am like “what the hell” when watch a movie or a show and everything all builds up and the ending just doesn’t give you the answer you’re looking for or it just seems that there isn’t a definite ending

    with this one i guess you know everything was just left out in the open…like with shin vs do woo and the myeongdoshi thing, everything kinda just stopped because of eun soo and then like now kyung ah wants to blah blah blah and you’re kinda not sure how it’s going to turn out…then the whole love part…i don’t know whether shin had any romantic feelings for eun soo because, well first i wanted her and kyung tae to actually hook up, i felt like both of them didn’t have any, it was more for like they felt a need to repay the other…eun soo for the shit her brother has done and shin for her helping them out

    aaahhhhhhhh and omg i guess in the end i wanted do woo to come down crashing real hard and it didn’t happen so that’s why i felt a bit cheated by the ending, but how it turned out kept it interesting…i think that it’s like you know more will happen and you won’t know it since it’s the ending…maybe that’s why i probably feel this way

    i hope this is the series that finally gets your 10 out of 10 rating…because for me and it seems like many others…this series was just awesome from beginning to end

    oh and by the way for some reason has anyone noticed how handsome and joong ho and bum hwan are (despite bh being a bit in the older category)…everytime they were on i would just smile

    well thanks jb for all your hard work

  50. 50 kay

    The romantic in me wanted a happy ending for Shin – although he did get his own version of a happily ever after, I wished it involved Eun Soo alive that is. =/ Still a really great show. Thanks for keeping with the show!

Add a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)

Website

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.