Drama Recaps
City Hall: Episode 8
by | July 22, 2009 | 66 Comments

(written by Samsooki, editing, layout, design and “CSW is ours” by 0timelost, cleown, and mead33)

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City Hall: Episode 8 – “Wonder Woman” or “The Other Woman”?

What a beautiful opening scene, with flower petals and budding crushes in the air. Smells like spring love, perhaps. As Episode 8 begins, we see Jo Gook giving Mi Rae a bouquet of flowers and inviting her to go on an overnight trip with him. That’s like a 5th or 6th date kind of thing, but I guess both Jo Gook and Mi Rae are old enough that they don’t need to go to dinner and a movie first, with mom riding shotgun.

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But is this really even a date? The flowers could have been merely a congratulatory gesture for taking down the Mayor, and the trip, well, what’s that about? Mi Rae doesn’t look quite convinced that she should go. In fact, Mi Rae looks a little frightened here, which says a ton considering how much courage this woman has in her pinkie finger alone would be more than the rest of City Hall combined.

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Mi Rae asks if Jo Gook is being sincere, and Jo Gook says, sure. It is a congratulatory victory trip. Mi Rae replies that it is Jo Gook’s victory, not hers. Jo Gook smiles and tells Mi Rae that she should just congratulate him then. LOL! At least he is honest.

Jo Gook: Oh, and I’m no longer Deputy Mayor. I gave my resignation.

Mi Rae: Resignation? Why?

Jo Gook: Because I wanted to go on a trip with my hamster.

Mi Rae:

Jo Gook: You have no reply? Perhaps you need permission from your previous owner? Hyun Bin or whatever his name is?

Mi Rae: Why are you bringing that up?!!

(Note: Yooo, Cha Seung Won, them’s fightin words! It will take a LOT more than talk of “your hamster,” a nice voice and tall genes to make us forget about Thumbelina and Hyun Bin. A lot more.)

Before leaving on his trip, Jo Gook stops by City Hall to pick up his belongings and welcome in the interim Mayor (the Deputy Mayor who was chased out when Jo Gook took his place briefly). The interim Mayor tries but fails to determine Jo Gook’s real motives for stirring things up and then leaving abruptly. What is Jo Gook’s goal? Even Soo In is puzzled by Jo Gook’s resignation, since BB’s orders were to either become the Mayor or install a puppet mayor. What is Jo Gook up to?

Jo Gook:  Who wants to know? Is it you or the Elder (BB) whom you really serve?!

Soo In:  Hyung…

Jo Gook:  Here’s the update. I am going on a trip with a woman and I had to resign in order to do it.

Soo In:  Hyung!

Jo Gook:  Listen. When I was abandoned by him, I endured it. When I was ordered back to his side, I accepted that as well. When I was tossed to this poor Moo Yang province, I handled that as well. And even I was transferred to this country bumpkin city, I was patient. Day or night, I was at his beck and call. Are you asking me why I did this? Now, it is the Elder’s turn to come and look for me!

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Powerful words from Jo Gook. Where is he getting the strength and the courage to stand up to BB? What has made him change like this?

Ahh, well, perhaps those answers will be revealed in the future. And Jo Gook and Mi Rae are off on their trip!  Ohhh, nice!!  It’s a camping / bike trip! What a great idea!  One point for the eco-friendly travel, and one point for trip creativity, one point for asking directly and not by phone or email, and a special bonus point for making the trip intimate and yet casual at the same time. Single guys out there, take notes. Jo Gook is the man.

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The cool and distant Jo Gook has turned into a rarer bird indeed, inviting Mi Rae to an overnight camping trip, cooking for Mi Rae and even carefully cleaning Mi Rae’s hands before eating – is this a Jo Gook ploy to butter up Mi Rae, or is this the real Jo Gook?

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In no uncertain Kim Sam Soon terms, the things that Jo Gook are doing mean, “I like you.” In Mi Rae’s world, these things just mean that Mi Rae is happier than she has been in a long time, although she remains skeptical of Jo Gook’s motives. As night falls, Mi Rae asks the question that guys just hate to answer; she asks Jo Gook how he feels about her. Jo Gook demurs answering, and that leads Mi Rae to note that at least she knows that she shouldn’t be going on a camping trip with someone else’s boyfriend!

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Jo Gook indirectly corrects her, by (a little too) casually asking if Mi Rae is concerned by his fiancé. Mi Rae is absolutely stunned, since she thought Go Hae was just his girlfriend!  The difference between “girlfriend” and “fiancé” is a magnitude of difference, a world of difference – and the look on Mi Rae’s face shows exactly what she thinks of Jo Gook now.

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But then Jo Gook reveals what most women suspect and what most guys think about but don’t do.

Jo Gook: Look, this is what guys are like. Bring 10 women and we will like them all. A woman you want to marry, a woman you want to date, a woman you want to go on a trip with, a woman you want to have a drink with, a woman you want to hug. They are all different. So that’s why you shouldn’t believe in what men say, especially a guy like me.

Mi Rae isn’t one to remain silent though.

Mi Rae: What are you saying?! Should I be punished for looking at a tree that I am not supposed to climb? And let’s say I can’t climb, am I even supposed to avoid looking? Are all arrogant men like you? You should have just let me be, why did you mess with my heart? “I missed you.”  “Let’s go on a trip together.” – you totally messed with my heart, so why are you telling me not to believe in you?

Jo Gook has no fast answer for Mi Rae. Was it wrong for him to be truthful, though? And, while he may have been truthful about what most guys are like, was Jo Gook not being truthful about how he feels about Mi Rae? It is a difficult night’s sleep for the both of them. Sensing Mi Rae’s unease, Jo Gook yet again shows his sensitive side by pretending to snore so that Mi Rae can go to sleep peacefully.

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Morning comes and the bickering continues as Jo Gook challenges Mi Rae about the meaning of politics, since Mi Rae seems to accuse Jo Gook of being political.

Mi Rae answers that, to many, politics is about being dirty, but for her, politics is just about trying to make people’s lives better. Jo Gook seems to have found his moment to pop the question he might have been planning to ask the entire trip. Does Mi Rae want to run for Mayor in the upcoming election? Mi Rae gags on her breakfast. Clearly, the answer is: heck no!

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With that, the trip is over.  Back in Inju City, it is Jo Gook’s turn to pester Mi Rae over multiple days, giving 1,001 reasons why Mi Rae should run for Mayor, and why she would be better at it than the ex-mayor. Finally, Mi Rae has had enough.

Mi Rae: Why are you confusing me like this. Since I am naïve, I will believe anything. Haven’t you always had an ulterior motive? Is this what that motive was? Using the trip as an excuse to ask me this?

Jo Gook: No.

Mi Rae: Don’t make me laugh. Can’t you speak honestly for once?

Jo Gook: Do you want me to be honest? Can you handle it?

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Mi Rae: (silence)
Jo Gook: I didn’t use the trip as an excuse to ask you about this. I used this as an excuse to go on a trip with you.

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Jo Gook’s eyes soften as he looks upon a confused Mi Rae, and he takes his hand and tussles her hair before walking away. And everywhere, women are pounding sofa pillows and shouting at their significant others, “What does that mean? What does that MEAN, exactly? Does he love her or not??!!” Ow! I don’t know! Stop hitting me, I’m not Jo Gook!

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The camping trip is now just a memory; Jo Gook has his sights set on making a candidate out of Mi Rae, even if Mi Rae hasn’t yet agreed. In the meantime, he takes a little time out to exercise on the basketball court and finds fellow unemployed academy graduate Jung Do there. They decide to play for dinner.

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After their boys-having-fun basketball game, Jo Gook presses Jung Do for more details of the unforgettable (for Jung Do, anyway) night they spent together. Jung Do finally relents and tells the story. Back in their training academy days, right after graduation and having just received their job postings, Jo Gook, the #1 ranked student with connections that went as far up as the Ruling party chairman, is devastated that his posting is to Moo Ang Province government, rather than some place important. All of the training academy graduates are at a bar celebrating, but Jo Gook is not celebrating. In fact, he is an inconsolate crying drunk and makes a mess of the bar before leaving. Jung Do notices Jo Gook’s briefcase on the seat, retrieves it and heads outside to see a collapsed Jo Gook on the pavement.

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Jo Gook cries out to no one in particular that he has worked so hard, done everything that he was supposed to do, and yet a certain someone won’t acknowledge the efforts of his own child, and has exiled him to some country-bumpkin provincial government job.

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So the story of Jo Gook’s past seems to be clearer now. Jo Gook has done everything that he could possibly have done to win the approval and respect from his father BB, but rather than keep his son close and help his career like other dads might have done, BB has sent his son far away, to a job unbefitting the #1 ranked graduate. The questions of why BB has treated Jo Gook this way, and why Jo Gook still went to work for BB even after the exile upon graduation, however, remain unanswered.

Meanwhile, plans are afoot to find the next mayoral candidate. Since Jo Gook is unlikely to run as a Mayoral candidate, Joo Hwa thinks her dad would be the perfect candidate to run for Mayor. In the meantime, Mi Rae’s friends are also thinking about who should run for Mayor, and they decide that there would be no better person to run for Mayor than their own Shin Mi Rae. But Mi Rae is not really in the mood for anything, as she is troubled by the fact that even ousting the Mayor did not result in Boo Mi getting her job back, she is also jobless, and nothing else seems to have changed. That, and the confusing behavior and statements by Jo Gook has her completely blind to what is going on around her.

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Her friends, unbeknownst to Mi Rae, start putting up posters of Wonder Woman with Mi Rae’s face all over downtown Inju.  Who better to lead Inju City, than the woman they believe to be Wonder Woman?  Still preoccupied, Mi Rae walks along the streets in a daze, until…

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… her ears perk up as she realizes people are talking about her, and Mi Rae looks up and finds her picture posted everywhere!

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But Mi Rae is not the only one who is dismayed at the posters.  Others now have seen her Wonder Woman picture too, including Council Member Joo Hwa and the remaining political cronies of the now-ousted Mayor. The Deputy Mayor takes the posters as a threat to their party (the Victory party) and whoever they nominate to run as Mayor.

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As usual, it is up to clever Joo Hwa to calm everyone down and take it upon herself to neutralize the Shin Mi Rae wild card. How? Bring your friends close, but your enemies even closer.  Joo Hwa meets up with Mi Rae and begins by offering her old job back.

Mi Rae is all ears (especially if Boo Mi and Jung Do can also get their jobs back), until she learns that Joo Hwa is only offering the chance to get her job back if and only if Mi Rae supports Joo Hwa’s party in the upcoming Mayoral election by being the party flower (sort of like a mascot). Clearly, Joo Hwa doesn’t know that Mi Rae is no longer a person to be used, be it by Jo Gook or by anyone. It is exactly the wrong thing to say.  For all Joo Hwa’s native intelligence, she is really is blind to what makes Mi Rae the person that she is.

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Mi Rae: Why do you always think of me as a fool?

Joo Hwa: Ohhh, this isn’t the time or place for that kind of question… Do you think that someone like me, who from the day I was born, had a golden spoon in my mouth, can be compared to you, just because you also have a mouth? It would be weird if we were the same, don’t you think?

Mi Rae: You’re right, I forgot. But even so, because I thought of you as a friend, I thought you might change. But you won’t change. You won’t change until you die, right?

Joo Hwa: And why would I change? Am I some sort of Transformer?

Mi Rae: Shut your yap and listen well. If you aren’t going to change, then fine. I will be the one to change. I will change so that you won’t be able to look down on me again, so that you won’t be able to think of me like a fool again. And so, for the things you did to me, I am going to pay you back in equal measure. No, you know what? I will pay you back even more.

Joo Hwa (sneering): Well, I guess I understand how you feel, but how exactly are you going to pay me back?

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Mi Rae (determined): How? Well, I guess I’m going to have to become Wonder Woman! I guess now I’ll have to become Inju City’s Wonder Woman! I guess now, I will have to run in the upcoming Mayor election!

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Comments -

And with that brilliant scene, the Mi Rae vs. Joo Hwa battle, Part II, is now on!  Mi Rae might have won the first battle, but now Mi Rae seems to be stepping into the home turf of Joo Hwa – the local political battlefield.  And there may not be a more skilled political operator at the local level than Joo Hwa.

Still, an unlikely and unwilling superhero has been spotted in the streets of Inju City, and she is none other than Shin Mi Rae as Wonder Woman. The Battle for Inju City is about to commence. It used to be about the prize money, and about getting fair and just treatment for herself, Boo Mi, and Jung Do. But with a few careless words tossed about by Joo Hwa, a superhero has just been born… but isn’t Mi Rae biting off more than she can chew (especially trying to go against Joo Hwa)?

And if Mi Rae decides to take on the challenge of representing all of Inju, then she will have to take on all of their burdens as well, and to do THAT, she will indeed have to become Wonder Woman. And even if Mi Rae ready to accept that kind of responsibility, would the people of Inju really be willing to vote for a secretary with no education to become Mayor?

And the other main story is, of course, the budding relationship between Jo Gook and Mi Rae. Jo Gook has his fiancé, Go Hae, but it seems he wants more. Can he really have his billionaire cake and pet his hamster too? And while Jo Gook follows Mi Rae around, secretly watching her, what does he really think will come out of any of this? And Mi Rae, I think, has strong feelings for Jo Gook at this point, admitting even to Jo Gook that she has been shaken by him. But Mi Rae sees herself as… what, exactly, to Jo Gook? Does she think of herself as “the other woman”?

It is a little difficult for me to understand what Mi Rae must be feeling at this point. She now knows that not only does Jo Gook have a woman, but that woman is his fiancé, the woman to whom Jo Gook has promised his life. And more than that, Jo Gook has said that Mi Rae shouldn’t trust men, especially not a guy like him. So how can there be anything between them?

The thing to watch for in this Episode: The chemistry of Jo Gook and Mi Rae.

The camping scenes in this Episode are really something, and the chemistry between the two, even in simple dialogue is so apparent. It is sort of like Cha Seung Won and Kim Sun Ah were made to play those roles, to talk to each other in such a natural and comfortable manner. Chemistry in a drama series is not so easy to come by, and even compared to other drama series were there was undeniable chemistry between leads, there is still something else, something a little bit different about how CSW and KSA interact with each other. Their chemistry is aromatically complex and mature, something that you might not find with drama series that merely mash together young actors and actresses.

And I love the way that they look at each other. Jo Gook looks at Mi Rae with eyes that change between humor and sadness, as he is tickled by her warmth, honesty and lack of guile, but he knows that those very elements of Mi Rae will be the ones that will be her biggest weaknesses if she gets involved with him. And if he gets involved with her, her weaknesses become his weaknesses too. Mi Rae looks at Jo Gook, and she sees a brilliant and beautiful man, one that has so much to offer and give to everyone, but a man who is greedily hoarding his talents for his own gain. Everytime she looks at Jo Gook, her eyes show longing and fear, and they show how even the strongest and most courageous person can be made the weakest.

You have to wonder what this series would be like, if someone else had the role of Jo Gook other than Cha Seung Won, or if someone other than Kim Sun Ah had the role of Shin Mi Rae. I just can’t see it.

On To Episode 9!

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66 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Anonymous

    I am a huge fan of KSA but her character in City Hall is very one dimensional . The CSA character is more interesting and or maybe he’s such a good actor he’s making it seem interesting. He’s really mesmerizing to watch. With that bunch of flowers, I missed you, and tousling her hair (cringe!) I fear he’s beginning to become the typical Kdrama leading guy. I hope not. I want it to be less straightforward.
    As a woman, I want him to chase her. She should be a little more reluctant knowing he’s engaged but then who can resist CSA! Those sad eyes, the swagger and yet at the same time doesn’t take himself too seriously. What a really interesting leading man. First time seeing a Kdrama leading guy with self irony.

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  2. questions987

    I think this is one of my favoriate eps. Something about this couple just tugs at my heart.

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  3. Qwen

    Thank you………………have been checking all day for more recaps and am loving it.

    thank you

    thank you

    thank you

     (0)


  4. Anonymous

    I wish they would stop making CSA wear such tight skinny pants.

     (0)


  5. SOphie

    I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( yay! )

     (0)


  6. Meg

    I LOVE THIS DRAMA. As I was watching it, I knew that it would be my favorite drama I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot). The chemistry between Cha Seung Won and Kim Sun Ah is the most natural chemistry I think I have ever seen. I love this drama, I have been watching it and following it since it premiered and when it had its finale I watched it again all the way through ( I had a day off). LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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  7. Jill4675

    Hmmm, I’m a little surprised you didn’t at least briefly mention the scene where JG pretends to be asleep in the tent (almost snoring) while MR touches various parts of his face! That was really cute! :)

    This drama is so well-written. I love the line where he said he used it as an excuse to go on a trip with her.

    Anyway, thanks, all, for keeping the recaps coming so steadily!

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  8. Samsooki

    @7,

    That’s because it wasn’t in this episode. Mindful of spoilers now, pls.

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  9. coco

    Couldn’t agree with you more. The success of this drama was due to the powerful chemistry between KSA and CSW. I can’t imagine anyone else doing the parts justice.

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  10. 10 rambutan

    Hmm… eating this with my breakfast. Delicious!

    Not only are the two leads perfectly cast, the supporting cast is excellent as well. Rare to find this in a drama.

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  11. 11 Jill4675

    SORRY ~ my mistake!!!

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  12. 12 MEIKO**** ^-^

    thanks Samsookie and co.

    and i really have to agree on the chemistry between JG and MR….it’s sizzling…. and they really look so comfortable with each other…to the point where ( as i have commented before) i would think that maybe these two are really dating (off the set)!!! *giggle*

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  13. 13 s21783

    I enjoyed this drama very much. Reading the recap and occasionally going back to ep 8 and 9 (which the writer/director) cleverly connected them; as you will read about it later. BTW, Ryu Shi-won was supposed to cast as Jo Gook, which I thought was a bad choice; so it was lucky that it didn’t materialised. The role is really made for Cha Seung Won, that ‘rascal look’ which was later transformed into a more romantic guy – which was why I said (before) that he reminds me of wine that needs time to breathe before you drink it. Lastly, the screen chemistry is really fantastic between the two leads. I really like this drama – more than the Brilliant Legacy (which has rating of 40%).

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  14. 14 budsdiana

    IDK if this was ever mentioned in any of the comments of other CH recaps but for fans of CSW who are not aware, he has this kdrama “Bodyguard” made sometime 2003 (?) I think. I watched it sometime 2005, its a pretty decent Kdrama. His character here is somewhat brusque and rough but of course a softie inside. Check it out, if you need additional dose of CSW lovin’.

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  15. 15 raille

    Thanks for this update, I’ve been waiting for it and checking this website this whole week:)
    I have to say, as I get more into this drama, I find myself falling deeper into the Joo Hwa and Jung Do relationship. Even though it’s immensely hard to take my eyes off of Cha Seung Won, their relationship is something so realistic(?) in a way. Somehow, I find myself understanding Joo Hwa’s perspective into her marriage. Even though she acts like a brat, I like her character. And I will forever love Jung Do’s perm :)
    Now, to my favorite couple, I absolutely love the scene where Shin Mi-Rae is at the women’s employment centre and all the sudden CSW comes and says “People tell me I’m pretty” while fluttering his eyes. CUTE. :)

    Thanks Samsooki and team for this update! <3

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  16. 16 Kender

    You didn’t talk about the women’s unemployment agency! It’s my favourite part of the episode, after the camping bits. Jo Gook is HILARIOUS. (I’m glad there’s a cap of it, though.)

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  17. 17 mememomo

    Thanks again Samsooki, 0timelost, cleown, and mead33 & Javabeans!

    Opening scene is indeed beautiful. Petals snowing down, it’s so magical. The cinematography of this show is very good. The back lighting of houses at night, the view from the hotel room, they are all very detailed and well done.

    Chemistry between KSA & CSW is really natural and believable. Each look & expression are so telling, they are both very good with acting with their eyes especially CSW.

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  18. 18 RSzeto

    I’ve been reading your recaps since epi 1and have been following avidly! Excellent work by all involved! The mood and emotions were captured so well in just words that I was so moved even before I managed to watch it. It’s that right on the spot! Thot I had to give due credit! You were right, this is a really wonderful drama, CSW & KSA’s chemistry is undoubtedly WOW! CSW’s charisma is so addictive while KSA is at her best!! Many heart-tugging scenes and great dialogue thanks to the scriptwriters…. awaiting your next recap eagerly!!

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  19. 19 mems

    Love the first pic up there! LOL

    I just finished watching the last three episodes of CH today and…can I just say WOWOWOW!! What a fabulous end to a great and wonderfully written and casted drama!

    I also love the maturity of the chemistry between KSA and CSW. They just look so natural together, like they don’t really need to try hard to show the growth of their charcacters’ relationship.

    Lastly, does anyone else find Joo Hwa hard to hate? Sure, there are many times I feel like giving her a good smack upside the head but the moments when she cries makes me cry along with her. And that’s more than I can say for a lot of k-drama supporting characters. Also, I’m a girl and I think her signature pout is so so cute. LOL

    Thank you Samsooki and Team for the awesome recaps. CH love FIGHTING!

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  20. 20 epyc

    Thanks for anothe superduper GREAT re-cap! Reading it is re-living those heart-stopping moments all over again.

    The JG and MR roles are destined for CSW and KSA. Their chemistry is simply sublime and electrifying. I don’t think we will have the same City Hall if they are played by other actors (think RSW…) They bring to the roles the maturity and ease befitting a 36 and a 39. We discussed at a previous Open Thread that this drama will appeal more to those 25+. Their dating and courting will naturally be different from, say, GJP and JD in BoF. I like Samsooki’s analogy: “That’s like a 5th or 6th date kind of thing, but I guess both Jo Gook and Mi Rae are old enough that they don’t need to go to dinner and a movie first, with mom riding shotgun.” They could be more honest and upfront than the younger lovers. I love MR’s honest questions on the camping night. Likewise, JG’s 10-women answer (though not my liking as a woman) probably rings true with every man on earth.

    The ambiquity and intriques of the “are they or are they not” in the first half of the drama have all the hallmarks of a great romantic story. The elements of JG using MR but can’t help falling for her at the same time zigzag in front of our eyes like a mersmerising rhapsody. No KSA, no CSW, then no City Hall!

    The hair ruffling scene is one of my all time favorites. This is, for once, an honest JG moment. And remember how much he hates her smelly hair in the beginning. How things have changed?

    The MR and JW scenes are always a joy to watch. You have here two alpha girls from entirely different background who would never have been that close had they not lived in the small Inju. You could picture how they could not eye to eye with each other since school days. MR did win over JW in small ways in the past aka the chicken bar/toilet scene. But we are now entering a whole new territory.

    @ 1 Anonymous “her character in City Hall is very one dimensional “. Sit tight, you are going to see the change very soon. After all, this story is about how these two people meet and fall in love with each other, and then change for the better.

    About the JG-JD encounter years ago, I swear when first seeing that scene I asked myself ‘did JD pick up JG’s phone that fell on the ground’

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  21. 21 katwoman

    A woman you want to marry, a woman you want to date, a woman you want to go on a trip with, a woman you want to have a drink with, a woman you want to hug.

    OMG…now that I’m reading it….I’m on Epi 14…

    And everywhere, women are pounding sofa pillows and shouting at their significant others, “What does that mean? What does that MEAN, exactly? Does he love her or not??!!” Ow! I don’t know! Stop hitting me, I’m not Jo Gook!

    lol…I didn’t do that in this episode, but I did it quite often in later epis.

    Thanks for the recap.

    At this point, I was still sitting on the fence about the love part…but I can’t deny that CSW and KSA has amazing chemistry. Still…I’m a SunBin shipper.

    And I second, er third, the employment agency scene. CSW was hilarious!

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  22. 22 Molly

    “Note: Yooo, Cha Seung Won, them’s fightin words! It will take a LOT more than talk of “your hamster,” a nice voice and tall genes to make us forget about Thumbelina and Hyun Bin. A lot more.”

    So true! I’m having trouble forgetting about Hyun Bin (KSA + HB forever!) even while watching Jo Gook and Mi Rae’s great chemistry on screen. :) Thanks so much for the funny, comprehensive recaps! I look forward to them each night…Face it, I’m addicted.

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  23. 23 tombrady

    I loved the scene when JoGuk tussled Mirae’s hair. It showed his longing and uncertainty. He doesnt quite know yet how we feels about the fact that they are more drawn to each other. To what extent, he has yet to figure out. He only knows she can shake his world and his carefully laid out plans. He is not sure whether she is worth risking it all.

    Their chemistry is undeniable. I really cannot imagine anyone else playing Jo Guk. CSW is such a good actor that he makes you believe JoGuk is really falling for Mirae. It feels and looks (to us viewers) so real!!!

    His lines are delivered impeccably and does not feel forced or contrived (….I have to give the writers some props here though delivery is all from CSW!). And what he does not say but simply shows thru his eyes and expressions are just as good, if not better.

    Thanks for the recaps!

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  24. 24 Signet

    @1 Anonymous
    I don’t think MR’s character is one dimensional rather it seems easy to read…I thought so too at first because all her actions seem pretty straightfoward but reading these caps have made me realize that there’s so much more to her. And, as epyc said, her character develops a lot later on…I would say this arc (it’s all I can say without giving away too many spoilers) is were she shows one of her biggest growths.
    Anywho, thanks Samsooki and team for teh recaps! :D

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  25. 25 bluuub

    Thanks so much for the recap! I keep checking my rss feed to see if the next one is up haha. It feels like an episode isn’t complete til I have read the recap!

    This is one of my favourite episodes, mostly because it has loads of cute scenes involving MR and JG! As everyone has mentioned, the chemistry between the leads is amazing – I think that’s what really makes this series sooo good. Even simple scenes, like him asking her on the trip or their conversation at night by the fire, can be so emotionally charged.

    This series just keeps getting better!!

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  26. 26 mtoenlob

    Samsooki, you did it again! Never a recap such a delight to read as yours. And your side comments, priceless! I must say they floored me.

    (Note: Yooo, Cha Seung Won, them’s fightin words! It will take a LOT more than talk of “your hamster,” a nice voice and tall genes to make us forget about Thumbelina and Hyun Bin. A lot more.)

    True. MNIKSS will always have a special place.

    “And Jo Gook and Mi Rae are off on their trip! Ohhh, nice!! It’s a camping / bike trip! What a great idea! One point for the eco-friendly travel, and one point for trip creativity, one point for asking directly and not by phone or email, and a special bonus point for making the trip intimate and yet casual at the same time. Single guys out there, take notes. Jo Gook is the man.”

    Couldn’t help smiling . . . (“,) Guys, are you reading this? Get a tip from Samsooki’s Dating 101.

    “And everywhere, women are pounding sofa pillows and shouting at their significant others, “What does that mean? What does that MEAN, exactly? Does he love her or not??!!” Ow! I don’t know! Stop hitting me, I’m not Jo Gook!”

    I can’t help myself but laugh out loud here. Laughing out loud at 10:30 AM isn’t that bad, is it? But at the office with your office mates staring at you strangely? (And what are you doing when you are suppose to be working?, you might ask. But, Samsooki, your recap is as addicting as this City Hall drama!! What to do then? . . . coffee break . . . so am not breaking any rules, right? (“,))

    “You have to wonder what this series would be like, if someone else had the role of Jo Gook other than Cha Seung Won, or if someone other than Kim Sun Ah had the role of Shin Mi Rae. I just can’t see it.”

    The apparent chemistry between KSA and CSW cannot be denied. From episode 1, the seeming attraction is already there – gently simmering as the viewers are introduced to the characters and slowly heating up as the story unfolds. Theirs is an ideal pairing. From the physical point of view, both look good together – tall, slender and good looking. However, more than the physical, they have this “connection” that I haven’t seen in any other pairings, even with KSA and Hyun Bin. They just complement and compliment each other. I totally agree with you. I couldn’t imagine any other actor or actress playing the role of Jo Gook and Shin Mi Rae. Cha Seung Won is Jo Gook and Kim Sun Ah is Shin Mi Rae. Other than them,. . . I just can’t see it.

    In this episode, Jo Gook is starting to show his feelings for Mi Rae. The irony of it is you really can’t say if it’s the truth or just a means to an end. For all we know and just as Mi Rae knows, Jo Gook always has a hidden agenda up on his sleeve. At the same time, this contradiction is what makes this blossoming attraction more exciting. Jo Gook shows it all with his expressive eyes, yet, simultaneously we cannot read what is really behind those expressive eyes. Again, that aura of mystery which adds to his allure.

    And our heroine, Shin Mi Rae is plain and simple. These qualities are both her weakness and strength. Who would want to vote someone who is plain and simple – with little education, no money, only perceive as one whose expertise is to prepare coffee? Yet, the same qualities will endear her not only to the citizens of Inju but to her colleagues as well who were all initially against her. (Sorry, did I provide a spoiler here? Sorry, sorry, sorry. . . )

    Until the next recap. Keep it coming, Samsooki.

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  27. 27 ockoala

    Was I a good girl today? Must have been, why else have I (and all other CH-shippers) been gifted with another spectacular recap of a sublime episode of CH. Episode 8 is here!! Thank you, ye giver of CH-recaps Samsooki et. al. Props for another home run recap. You guys rock so hard!

    Love the opening screencap. Seriously CSW as the King of Comedy has met his match with KSA as the Queen of Comedy. He is so friggin hilarious in the most random of moments. And I was really surprised to find out that he was a model turned actor, his eyes convey a myriad of emotions, sometimes at odds with what he is saying, and he really amps up the intensity with KSA. Like all who have commented, and Samsooki specifically pointing out, their chemistry is undeniable, and truly mesmerizing for me to watch, I cannot turn away when they are on screen, cue heart palpitations….. I see CH as having found the perfect actors to play the leads, and each of them are bringing their A-game, and then playing off each other by upping the intensity as the drama progresses. I feel so lucky to have found and watched this show. Have to thank all the early CH lover in Javabean’s open thread from weeks ago.

    Ep. 8 was a slow episode in terms of plot development, but a lightspeed episode in terms of emotional development and the romantic dance between Mirae and Jo Gook. The camping trip (best date ever!!!) just made my heart beat faster, and the little cute moments were sooooo adorable (i.e. when MR lured JG over to snap a picture of him on her cellphone, the water fight in the creek, when MR tells ghost stories to freak out JG, and thereby causing him to sleep in the tent with her, not that he needed any excuse).

    In re-watching CH, it never ceases to amaze me how complete the writer of CH has created the world and characters in CH, and all the invisible threads that tie our beloved CH characters together (for good and bad reasons).

    When JG is stalking MR and trying to persuade her to run for mayor, it is the exact parallel but in opposite of when MR was stalking JG in ep. 2 to convince him to allow her to enter the Baendaengi pagaent. Irony, anyone? While MR had to sell her physical assets to JG to enter the pagaent, here, JG is selling MR to herself, and I wonder how much of it he believes. Probably not much, if at all, his feelings (undeniable) for Mirae aside, he is still following his master plan, the one he devised after he had a falling out with BB. Samsooki captured the dicotemy of JG, his goals and his feelings starting to really set up a conflict within himself.

    How will this play out? I know, but I cannot help but still ponder all the nuances and intricacies of each episode when I read the amazing recaps.

     (1)


  28. 28 jastinel

    @samsooki
    You have to wonder what this series would be like, if someone else had the role of Jo Gook other than Cha Seung Won, or if someone other than Kim Sun Ah had the role of Shin Mi Rae. I just can’t see it.

    I also think that no other actor or actress can portray this role better than CSW and KSA. The role is somehow tailored for them.

    Thanks for the recap!

     (0)


  29. 29 cloveglove

    I see a trouble ahead.

    Mi Rae’s “relationship” with Jo Gook may complicate her mayorial campaign. The opponents will paint her as “the other woman” in Jo Gook and Go Hae’s engagement.

    This is getting predictable. But, all around, a good performance by the casts.

     (0)


  30. 30 epyc

    @ 27 ockoala

    “When JG is stalking MR and trying to persuade her to run for mayor, it is the exact parallel but in opposite of when MR was stalking JG in ep. 2 to convince him to allow her to enter the Baendaengi pagaent. Irony, anyone? ”

    Oh yeah, the parallet acts/scenes/dialogues thoughout this dramas is consumate viewing not experienced in other dramas! Hats down to the scriptwriter!

     (0)


  31. 31 mzpakipot

    another masterpiece Samsooki and Team! Thank you…..

    @cloveglove, i just have to smile with your prediction, i think most of us thought a lot of predictions but Ms. Scriptwriter is so smart that she thinks differently from the rest of the viewers. She always surprise us with her wittiness and very smart lady indeed.

    Thank you JB for this wonderful blog, i’m sure you can tell already who’s been camping out here at your blog 24/7! ^^

     (0)


  32. 32 gia

    first, it is really cute…. i want that men

     (0)


  33. 33 elaineD

    they.are.perfect.for.each.other.

    THEY ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHERRR.

    haha, their love story is pretty unique to me. In other dramas, we don’t usually see the combination of characters going through hardships and drama like them. we should all cherish this couple <3

     (0)


  34. 34 Anonymous

    Without Cha Seung Won and Kim Sun Ah City Hall would have been just like Boys Over Flowers the Korean version. It was such a let down I stooped watching after 5 episodes. The production team made a huge mistake by casting the Korean Makino & Rui. The Korean actors who played them lacked acting abilities, lacked on- screen chemistry and thus made the drama a total waste of time.

    If RSW played JG as originally planned, City Hall would have bombed as well. Just seeing his pics for the upcoming drama Style makes me realize once again how lucky KSA was when he backed out and she got a co star like CSW instead.

     (0)


  35. 35 cloveglove

    @mzpakipot: thanks for instilling optimism on the un/predictability of the show’s plot. The strenghth is not so much about plot originality. It’s the rich details of characters and interactions that I’d like to see and so far, I commended the screenwriters for it, though I feel strongly that it is CSW and KSA who carry the show.

    Predictability itself is not always bad. I would go mad if unpredictabily betraying common sense, frame of reference, or logic wins the day.

    It’s half way down the road, the conflict has been set up, the escalation/development is on the way, and the possible resolution is on sight. Surely, I can’t help making prediction, can you? :p Though I think I better keep it to myself from now on…

     (0)


  36. 36 mzpakipot

    @cloveglove, i didn’t mean it that way…keep those predictions coming. It’s my way of saying that because I’ve seen the episodes already, and you reminded me how we were when this drama was airing live. I love to predict and speculate, but most of the time my predictions weren’t heard by the scriptwriter.

    I do apologize if i’m not making any sense. *covers face*

     (0)


  37. 37 trihok

    Samsooki and Team, once again thanks for the recap :)…I really like this part :

    “Mi Rae: What are you saying?! Should I be punished for looking at a tree that I am not supposed to climb? And let’s say I can’t climb, am I even supposed to avoid looking? Are all arrogant men like you? You should have just let me be, why did you mess with my heart? “I missed you.” ”Let’s go on a trip together.” – you totally messed with my heart, so why are you telling me not to believe in you?”

    haha at this point i also keeping asking has JG fall deeper in MR?

    Both KSA & CSW have wonderful Chemistry btw them and i totally agreed with @20 that they bring to the roles the maturity and ease befitting a 36 and a 39!

     (0)


  38. 38 epyc

    @ cloveglove

    You have no idea how many predictions that we City Hallers made during its airing WERE WRONG! Episode after episode, we discussed and predicted but ….the scriptwriter had her own idea which surprised us one after another! T’is the fun of watching City Hall!

     (0)


  39. 39 sleeplessinwgtn

    I share the same observations as ockoala @27 and epyc @30.

    There are numerous parallelisms in the story, which exhibit how well thought of the scenarios are. Lots of deja vu’s.

    When JG asked SMR “Do you want me to be honest? Can you handle it?”, I can’t help but look back years ago when I asked a boy what his intentions are. And I remember a response along the same line… “Are you ready for it? Will you be able to give me an answer?”

    I just like how SMR and JW taunt each other. Were they ever friends who drifted apart?

    And yes, the opening scene where the cherry blossom (?) petals are drifting, love … love it. Makes me want to go to Korea or Japan in springtime.

    Thanks for the lovely recaps. Looking forward to the rest.

     (0)


  40. 40 Sueyip

    Another recap that’s brilliantly written. Thank you samsooki and team.
    Love to see the gentle side of Joguk at the outing – cooking the meals,
    wiping Mirae’s hands, faking that snore so that Mirae could sleep and
    immediately handed her the water and stroking her back when she was
    choked. Love to see them playing in the water too and ….. love to see
    them bickering and challenging each other. Gosh, wonder how they could remember all those lines that they could rattle off with ease. Love to see
    them being so comfortable with each other – this is really a remarkable
    pair – the best couple award should be theirs at the end of the year.

     (0)


  41. 41 cloveglove

    @mzpakipot: No.. no.. Don’t feel bad. I was just thinking aloud apparently. There were many outcome scenarios in my head right now, knowing the show has ended and I am still catching up. I have downloaded up to final episode, yet I resist. Sort of… trying to simulate the huff and puff of live viewing: predicting and all. It’s always nice to know I’ll be surprised and shooting down my own predictions. It’s one’s way of keeping one’s expectation sensible and low…

    @epyc: Yes. I’ll be expecting more surprises of course.

    I am having fun, dears.

     (0)


  42. 42 deannadsc

    thanks, samsooki for the great recaps!!! although i’ve ardently watched CH during its airing (sometimes even with incomplete subs!!!) & thrice after..i still bought it in its DVD form!!! CH is such a beautifully written, fantastically acted out production!!! it gives you a myriad of emotions, akin to riding a “roller coaster”!!! it’ll forever be a standard i’ll compare, all other dramas i’ll be watching from now on…& i’ve watched about a 100 or so, KDramas & movies,thus far!!! at episode 8,it’s just picking up it’s pace…more electrifying episodes…coming up!!!

     (0)


  43. 43 jusash

    Reading these humor-injected insightful recaps are as good as riding the CH journey itself. And all the comments from everyone – more delicious insights!. :)

    @ 34
    >>> If RSW played JG as originally planned, City Hall would have bombed as well. Just seeing his pics for the upcoming drama Style makes me realize once again how lucky KSA was when he backed out and she got a co star like CSW instead.

    OH NO! It was originally RSW? (how how insipidly dull …)

    CSW delivered the role to such a perfect tee. Impeccable comedic timing, those nonchalent inscrutable moments of hooded intentions, those very expressive ever-changing eyes, and that voice – slow when smoothly persuasive or tersely rapid fast when making his political speeches… CSW just injected 100% pulsating life into Jo Gook!

    And the chemistry of a well matched pair. Awesome.
    That back and forth volley of bantering without either side skipping a beat ….. it MUST be CSW and KSA. They were so well matched.

    In the wrong actors’ hands it would take a whole lot of convincing, to see how someone so sophisticatedly ‘up there’ can fall (from grace) for an uncouth, not-quite-level-10 CH worker.

    So enjoyably dramatic a couple, and yet so down to earth comfortably delish in their quiet moments together. She can’t be outrageous alone without him, and in return he does outrageous with such smooth style.

     (0)


  44. 44 celestialorigin

    Samsookie and the team! You guys are absolutely awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, another great episode! I think it was around e
    Ep.7 and here, I got totally smitten by this series, and after that I sat in front of my computer for next 7 hours(all night!) to catch up with all the available episodes, I just couldn’t stop… All thanks to you original CH fans’ unstoppable??? raving about it on “Open threads” for weeks, I finally got curious enough to give it a try again(following the advice of skipping through the first 3 episodes and it sure worked for me! And ,indeed, I went backed and watched them later) Really, thank you so much for your passionate support and recommendations for CH. I got to experience it myself with all of your persuasion! And thank you for JB for this this great site, now, it’s like my daily addiction to come and visit here, sort of like my caffeine free coffee break!

     (0)


  45. 45 ockoala

    “Can he really have his billionaire cake and pet his hamster too?”

    Of course not, but I am happy that neither Jo Gook nor Mirae is nattering incessantly about his engagement to Go Hae. It’s almost like they both realize that his engagement is NOT the true obstacle in their way. And to focus on it would be trivial to me. The central obstacle between JG and MR are themselves, their burgeoning feelings, the confusion each causes for the other, their goals in life, their uncertainty about how to reconcile their feelings with their position vis-a-vis each other in the real world. Yes, MR knows better than to take the trip with a man with a girlfriend/fiance/entangelement, but their attraction is so palatable, their relationship is unfurling inspite of all the odds. That’s what falling in love is like, thinking about the other person all the time, the fluttering in your stomach, the uncertainty, the anticipation…..JG and MR captures the essence of falling in love so brilliantly, it’s laughable to compare to the vanilla cake stylings of the twenty-somethings in most k-dramas and their superficial and highly stylized courtship.

    And I LOVE, LOVE how funny they are with each other, how goofy, how jokey, MR we know to be a ham, but JG unexpectedly always shows his not so serious side with MR. The women’s employment agency scene with JG parodying the Kim Sam Soon pose killed. And when MR is furiously biking home after the trip, and JG is pedaling behind her and trying to convince her to run her mayor, MR says something like “are those the neighborhood dogs barking, SHUT-UP!’ Ha ha. Okay, must resume a semblance of working hard now.

    P.S. Lump me in the with (minority) opinion – CSW, he of the amazing voice, crazy charismatic line readings, impossibly long legs (more tight pants please!), a thousand emotions in one gaze of his eyes – Mr. Jo Gook has made me forget Sam Shik for Sam Soon. To me, it’s like Sam Soon went from being 30, entered her late 30s (36 here for MR), and is embarking on an even more mature, gut-wrenching love affair that will (hopefully) be the one and final love of her life. Cue all dissenters, just my humble opinion. And I adore Hyun Bin, really! I just think the JG-MR pairing cannot be surpassed in all respects. Wait and watch in the later episodes.

     (1)


  46. 46 kimmy

    “Ohhh, nice!! It’s a camping / bike trip! What a great idea! One point for the eco-friendly travel, and one point for trip creativity, one point for asking directly and not by phone or email, and a special bonus point for making the trip intimate and yet casual at the same time. Single guys out there, take notes. Jo Gook is the man.”

    I love your recaps :) …. this part make me laugh, you’re right, guys should take notes =D …
    Keep the recaps coming, great job.

     (0)


  47. 47 srk

    45 – ockoala , I am with you and I dont think we are a minority . City Hall also made me forget MNIKSS. Well, not forget exactly, but it did make it to my number 1 all times favorite drama spot making MNIKSS fall down to number 2.

    I think KSA and CSW are a better suited leading pair and JG is a much better hero than Sam Shika . CSW is a mature actor, more than that, he is a better actor than HB who still has a lot to learn while CSW (and im quoting you) shows “a thousand emotions in one gaze of his eyes” – So True!!! and CSW shows us that amazing ability from episode 1 to 20 again and again……………

    I agree that JG-MR pairing cannot be surpassed in all respects.

    Another thing CH made me realize : the strength of MNIKSS was in the charming story about a brave woman and the amazing acting ability of KSA. HB was the weak link in and I do believe the drama would have worked even if some other actor played the role of Sam Shika.

    But City Hall would have never worked without KSA and CSW as the leading pair.

     (1)


  48. 48 epyc

    @ 45 ockoala

    “The central obstacle between JG and MR are themselves” – very well observed! This is indeed why I love City Hall so much, which is so refreshing to be without the usual cliche. Here, you still have evil dad, finacee but they are NEVER the real obstacles and the story is squarely on how these two people discover their true selves on a very enlightening journey.

    @ 45 ockoala and 47 srk

    I don’t think you are in the minority. At the risk of offening all HB fans, he is to me the weak link in MNIKSS but his ‘greeness’ fits the role to make it perfect for what that drama needs.

    I also agree that JG-MR pairing cannot be surpassed in all respects.

     (0)


  49. 49 doug

    The camping trip was delightful. What movie was Mi Rae referencing when she held a flashlight under her face and said “Do you want the red pill or the blue pill”? Her gobbling down all the ramen was pretty funny,too.

     (0)


  50. 50 ockoala

    @49 doug

    Mirae’s red pill/blue pill choice is dialogue lifted from the first Matrix movie, when Laurence Fishburne’s character offers Keanu Reeves the choice to leave the Matrix or stay within.

    HOWEVER, in the context of this scene in CH, it has nothing to do with that movie. After their water fight, JG remarks that he is going to catch a cold, and MR offers him “pills” to ward off the impending sickness. And she does so in a hilariously creepy way by shining the flashlight under her face and using a totally old gypsy woman voice. I see it as her just being totally dorky and goofy with JG, like if good friends had gone camping and take turns telling ghost stories to freak each other out. That how without pretense and artiface she is with JG, never trying to be proper or pretty herself up for him. And he is still mighty attracted to her, that man has good taste. MR is a diamond in the rough.

    @47 srk and @48 epyc

    Glad to find fellow JG-MR shippers that share my opinion. At the end of the day, we each watch a drama and form our own opinions and takeaways from the story and characters. In CH, never has a drama made me so profoundly affected by the central love story, and we had 20 episodes to watch their journey together, and it was spectacular. Cue the fireworks!

    Lastly, a special shout out to EVERYONE, whether on dramabeans, soompi, viikii, etc., who are not shy about expressing their love and appreciation for CH, reading your comments, here and everywhere, is so very rewarding. Thanks for also taking time to comment or respond to my musings.

     (1)


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