How can every new episode be the best episode ever? It seems statistically improbable, but here we are, beating the odds. And though I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, I broke like a dam of tissue paper against Niagara. Damn you, Drama!
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Jin makes the grand gesture to sell his image and save herself, but Ae-jung freezes and steps away from him.
Ae-jung: Isn’t that what you’re saying to me—to sell your death to save myself? Don’t try to hold me. I’m not your charger or anything else anymore. Now that you’re thinking about death, you want to bury your bones in dog shit? Don’t even dream about it—this is my dog shit pile. I have no intention of letting you in. Don’t even dream about dying. At that arrogant highest [che-go] peak, live well. At the top.
And with that, she’s gone. Aw, I both love and hate how fiercely prideful these two are. They’re both heroes, trying to do the right thing for each other, but unwilling to let anyone else take the fall for them.
Jin mutters to himself, “Gu Ae-jung, please…”
She begins her press conference, staring out at the sea of reporters who toss out question after question, until one finally rattles her. Someone asks how she plans on shedding her negative image.
With tears pooling in her eyes, she wonders aloud, “Will I shed it if I die?” The cameras go off and the reporters are stunned into silence. She wonders if she died, it wouldn’t matter who she sold or who she loved, and it would all be spun differently.
She bursts into real tears as she wonders if dying will shed her image and protect… and then she blurts, “Protect what? When dying…” She’s talking about Jin, of course, only now letting herself cry from the shock that that he might die, only choosing the wrong time and place to do it.
Gong Hyo-jin is so good. My heart hurts when she cries. Every time.
President Moon ends the press conference there, and later tells Jin that she fears it’s only made things worse. He has a solution: let’s just make them forget it by topping the headlines with bigger news. He plans to out his surgery and the fact that he might die. She warns him that it’s equivalent to throwing away the rest of his days pre-surgery—he’ll be surrounded by reporters night and day. But as we know, he’s willing to protect her in any way he can.
Ae-jung drowns her sorrows in wine, asking Jenny aren’t people supposed to be sad when they hear that a loved one might die, so then they cry together and support each other; isn’t that the way it’s supposed to go?
But when he wants to sell his death to save her, is she supposed to thank him? How can she be by his side? Aw, sometimes I really just want her to stop doing the right thing.
She passes out at the table, and Jin walks in. He sits across the table, petting her head softly and asking if she’s not going to do her usual drunk parroting today. He sighs that there’s really something he wants to hear her say, even if she’s just drunk-repeating it.
“No matter what I do, forgive me. Understand me.” And then he leans in, resting his head on hers, as he whispers, “I love you.”
And Ae-jung drunk-parrots: “I love you.”
Damn. That hurts so good. Way to bring it back, Hong Sisters. I love that the drunk parroting was laid in so well before, as if designed for this moment. Nice callback.
Jin smiles, wanting even more to just kidnap her on the spot. He reaches over and clasps her fingers, like he’s desperate to just hold onto any part of her. It kind of kills me.
The Couple Making PDs give Pil-joo the chance to tell his side of the story and post it on their site, but find that news of Ae-jung’s press conference has totally been squashed by Dokko Jin’s surgery news.
Ae-jung wakes up… in Jin’s room. HA. He really did kidnap her. She says she’s leaving, but he tells her that the place is lousy with reporters, waaaay more than the last time. Eyebrow raised, “So you can’t.” Rawr?
He tells her that he told the press about his heart surgery, so basically he’s stuck in his house until then. He declares that she’s stuck here too, since the reporters are going to be here round the clock. Niiiice.
Ae-jung refuses, telling him that she doesn’t actually like him enough to do all that. Jin: “That’s okay. You never did in the first place. I started it my way, and until the very end, I’m gonna do it my way and see you as much as I want.” You are such a child. But I love you for it.
She doesn’t want to stay, so he tells her it’s her choice—either leave, by which she’s announcing to the world that they’re together, or stay—it’s basically a win-win for him. She walks away in a huff, but he calls out that his house is an open floorplan… so he can see her wherever she goes. Hee.
She sees the news stories, and marvels that in one fell swoop Dokko Jin really can wipe out all her bad press. It’s the power of super-stardom. Meanwhile Jin checks his fridge to make sure they have enough food, and he smiles to himself, giddy to be alone with her. “Happyyyyyyyyyyyy.” So cute.
Pil-joo smiles to see that Jin has told the world the truth, but knows that trouble isn’t over for Ae-jung. She’s still protecting too many people, so he decides that those people need to be brought together to air out the truth. YES PLEASE.
So he sets up a meeting between the three remaining KBSN girls, to finally hear Mina’s story. Finally.
She tells them that Ae-jung’s words at the press conference—that if she died, would she shed it all—were actually hers, ten years ago. She had wanted to jump off the roof that day, but Ae-jung had stopped her and helped her escape.
She explains that her idol days were really hard on her, and that she’d always wanted out. She then fell in love (with the idol boy) and they had planned on getting married and running away together. Only Se-ri’s little prank changed all that…
She puts a hand on her stomach. Jenny and Se-ri look at her, stunned. Mina continues that she had lost the baby and wanted to end it all, but Ae-jung saved her and helped her to get out of the industry for good.
And Jenny turns to Se-ri, adding without judgment that Ae-jung taking the fall for it and not outing Se-ri meant that she could go on and have a career.
Se-ri starts to cry, finally realizing the effects of her stupid prank, just because she had felt left out and less loved by Ae-jung. All the girls sit stunned, realizing that Ae-jung protected them all.
Ae-jung continues to try and ignore Jin, which is just as he pointed out, really hard to do in his house. Not that he makes it any easier, following her around like a lovesick puppy, though he veils it as no, I was gonna do this, no I was gonna that, just tailing her around.
He at one point tries stripping in front of her (humona, humona) but that doesn’t work either. I know you’re mad, but…!
She turns on the television to find yet another story about Jin’s surgery, so he quickly turns it off and tells her to ask him directly if she wants to know anything. He obliges that he’ll even pretend to be on TV and she can ask him interview questions.
He tells her that he has a week until the surgery (160 hours, to be exact, which is both sweet and sad that he counted it that way), and that the surgery has a 10% success rate. She doesn’t ask any more questions, so he adds:
Dokko Jin: I have someone special in my life. But because there’s not a lot of time and the success rate [of the surgery] is so low, I’ve been hiding her. She’s usually one to ask ‘Why’ three times at every circumstance, so the fact that she’s not asking anything means she’s really mad. There’s only one answer to the question that’s circling her head of ‘Why’… Because I like you too much. Gu Ae-jung, I don’t have time to explain and make excuses. There’s only one answer to everything: I love you.
She begins to cry, finally getting past her anger. He tenderly holds her, and then asks still in interview mode, if she regrets not being able to be his final interviewer. She tells him not to try and make her his final Dokko Jin Special: “Don’t try to prepare me that way.” Oooof. Pain.
He holds her again, and says that he’ll do everything the way she wants. And she cries silently on his shoulder.
Manager Jang brings a reporter to meet with Se-ri, to fan the flames of Ae-jung’s dying scandal. He asks if Ae-jung really was the reason for her breakup with Dokko Jin. Se-ri confirms that she was involved… as a friend to comfort her when she was heartbroken. Aw, good girl.
She adds that all the KBSN girls got together the other night, and that they’re all besties now, just goading Manager Jang. Later he asks why she’s switching teams all of a sudden, and she just warns him to mind his current girl group, who’s clearly going through the same problems that they were. She threatens to out his idol’s secret relationship if he talks about Ae-jung or Mina anymore, and with that, his lips are sealed. Is it wrong if I like her now?
She goes to see Pil-joo, who’s proud of her taking a stand. She tells him that Dokko Jin kidnapped Ae-jung to that strange land… so is Paul going to go save Nina, or has he given up trying?
Pil-joo tells her how the manhwa ends: The ruler of the strange land disappears, and Nina comes back out to Paul’s world. Se-ri: “And he takes her back?!” Pil-joo: “Yeah, Paul really is the strangest kid in that whole story.”
She asks what happens to the Mushroom character (her), and he saucily points out that he can’t really remember, since he wasn’t really interested in that character. Heh. Se-ri: “I may not remember that manhwa’s story very well, but I DO know that the Mushroom was the most popular character!” Hahahaha. Her petulance is kind of adorable here.
She asks how long Paul’s going to hang on to Nina. Pil-joo: “Until she cries no more.”
AWWWWWW. Gah, somebody marry this boy!
Ae-jung asks Jin if he really had any intention of outing their relationship before he found out he might die. He admits that it was far unlikelier then, and she tells him that he’s acting like this now because he thinks he’s going to die.
She says she wants to go back to the days when he desperately wanted to hide his feelings for her. “Why are you not thinking about your future? Why are you only thinking of mine? You dying to protecting me doesn’t make me happy in the least.” Yay, reason!
He’s like, fine, I’m totally gonna live and then prove you wrong! She points out that being trapped in here, counting down to the end is horrible, and that if he really believed he’d live, he wouldn’t have brought her all the way here to not even lay a finger on her. Whoa.
Aw, yeah. He turns to her, all tiger bedroom eyes as she scoffs that she knew something was up when he kept bringing Hyung-kyu along and made excuses about his CF contracts… Dude, this girl wants your potato. Get it! Get it now!
He stands up and raises her up by the hand. He’s clearly got something to prove, ’cause he lays one on her, all hot and steamy, and they kiss over and over.
He finally kisses her sweetly and says, “You wait and see. I will make the surgery a success, and I’ll show you a future.” And he hugs her tight.
Okay, this is not where I thought that conversation and kiss were heading. Why are they not going at it like bunnies right now? Is it to do with his heart? Because we’re severely lacking in sexy times for an I-might-die-tomorrow scenario. Amirite?
She lets herself be reassured, and says that she’ll trust him, and leave now. She knows that if he has to go to the hospital from here, he’ll be surrounded by reporters and she won’t be able to go with him. “And at the most critical moment, you’ll need your charger there.” Aw.
He tells her to come and sing her song for him then, and she nods, promising to do so. They hold each other tight, as Ae-jung says she’ll charge him till his battery is full. Jin: “Chaaaaaaarge.”
They hatch their escape plan, and Jae-seok and Ae-hwan show up with an ambulance, causing a big stir. They rush up and then carry someone down in a stretcher, face covered, and Jae-seok cries, “Hyung-nim!”
As they drive away Jae-seok says it’s safe now, and Ae-hwan pops up from the stretcher. Oh, ha. I totally thought it was going to be Ae-jung in there! They basically just did the whole show to clear the reporters out, so that Ae-jung can slip away quietly once they’re gone.
Jin walks her toward the door shuffling his feet and telling her not to look so happy to leave. She offers up her feelings about leaving:
Ae-jung: I won’t explain or make excuses about not doing things your way, or not staying here to countdown with you, or not believing in success rates, and just discounting it all. I won’t make it complicated. There’s only one answer…
Jin: Because you like me a lot?
Ae-jung: Ddeng. [opposite of Ding Dong, meaning no] Because more than you think, really really, much much more… I love you.
He starts to well up with tears, and then does his trademark line, “My heart, because of Gu Ae-jung… recovered!” As he does his keuk-bok peek-a-boo. He holds her face in his hands and tells her that he had a final objective in kidnapping her (Was it sexy fun times? Because you kinda blew an open invitation earlier…) and that she’ll just have to anticipate the future. Aw.
He heartbreakingly watches her go, clutching his heart. He goes upstairs and opens a box with a diamond ring inside, shaped like two flowers. He wonders aloud, “This future, can I give it to you?”
Eeek! Was he going to propose? With a flower ring? Why are you so cute?
Jenny and her boys worry about the two lovebirds, and Jenny finds herself disappointed to realize that the reason Jae-seok has been so preoccupied lately was because of Dokko Jin, and not her. Heh.
He asks her for “more wine,” making Ae-hwan freak out that she’s already had wine with Jae-seok. I love that wine = kisses for him. She tells him to think whatever he wants, and he sighs, “Does that make me Yoon Pil-joo?” Aw, poor puppies.
Se-ri comes to see Jenny to nonchalantly ask that the KBSN girls take a photo together, since she kind of said in an interview that they were super close. She clearly wants to befriend Jenny, but she’s not making it easy. Se-ri does tell her that she’s interested in Pil-joo, and Jenny sighs that though she wants Ae-jung to choose Pil-joo, that ship’s sailed. I’d say.
Se-ri goes to a church to pray, and some ladies nearby marvel that she’s being such a devoted ex-girlfriend, to pray for Dokko Jin’s surgery. Only this is her prayer: “Please let Dokko Jin’s surgery be a success… so that he and Ae-jung unni can be together, and please give me Yoon Pil-joo.” HA.
President Moon tells Ae-jung that they’ve survived the latest scandal due to all the help from people around her. But she adds a harsh dose of pessimism, that Jin’s perspective (in thinking he can be with her) is skewed because he thinks he might die. “But he’ll live. And he’ll come to his senses.” She doesn’t mean it to be harsh, but it still cuts deep.
Ae-jung heartbreakingly says, “If he just lives, even if he cuts me like a knife and zooms past me, I can dance and wave goodbye and let him go.”
She goes to see Pil-joo to thank him for doing the interview and helping to clear the air between the KBSN girls. She gets choked up as she says “Thank you,” knowing that this might be goodbye, since he’s talked of studying abroad.
He says he’s happy to see her in good spirits, since he worried she’d be hurt. She says that she has to stay by his side and recover, sighing. Pil-joo wonders if staying by someone’s side doesn’t make it harder to recover. He says that’s why most people go away to recover, using work or study as an excuse. Aw.
Pil-joo: “You said that running away isn’t protecting. If the thing you want to protect disappears, and you want to run away… I’ll be your excuse.”
WAIL. Why is Perfect Man Pil-joo so… PERFECT? Does not compute.
His teary smile and hers back just sort of pulverize my heart, knowing that he’s even willing to be her excuse to forget Dokko Jin, should he die. I mean, what? That’s devotion. Probably unhealthy, but sweet just the same.
Pil-joo even sends his mom over to Ae-jung’s father to offer up a box of that expensive herbal medicine and apologize to the family, requiring her to send a picture proving it. Heh.
And then Jin brings Hyung-kyu over, who wonders if Ajusshi is sick, like all the news is saying. Jin explains that it’s complicated to explain to a 7-year old (yeah, I still don’t fully understand your surgery, and I’m a little north of 7), but that his artificial heart needs tuning. Hyung-kyu nods, acknowledging by comic book logic that even Iron Man needs to retune every once in a while.
Jin gives him Ae-jung’s ring, and tells him that he wanted Ae-jung to have this if he couldn’t end up giving it to her himself, and tells him to hide it somewhere, next to something that she treasures and will never throw away.
Hyung-kyu: “Are you going to marry my aunt with this ring?” Jin: “Ding dong!” He assures Ding Dong that he’s the Very Special Dokko Jin, so he’ll make it happen, no matter what. So Ding Dong goes home, and hides the ring in the box where she keeps her purple sneakers.
Jin calls Ae-jung and she promises again to be there for the surgery. He tells her that the heart is stopped when they operate, and that ten years ago, when his heart was stopped, it was her song that brought it back.
She asks if it was hypnosis, but he tells her it was fate. “When my heart stopped again, in order to make it go Du-gun-du-gun, I met you.” He tells her that he cares so much about being cool that he can’t even let other people see him scared, but “You know Butthole Jin, so you come and be next to me, so I’m not afraid, okay?”
At the office, Jae-seok gives President Moon an envelope from Jin “Just in case…” Inside are the pictures from his picnic with Ae-jung and a dvd, and Jae-seok explains that if he dies and news leaks about his relationship with Ae-jung, he wants to make sure that the public knows how much he loved her—essentially doing what he said before, making her a top star by way of his death.
At home, Jin picks up his potato, “Potato, are you going to flower? You have to hurry up and flower so that I can brag to Gu Ae-jung.” It’s so cute that he talks to Potato like a pet.
Suddenly, he clutches his heart in pain. Potato goes tumbling out of his hands, as it crashes to the ground, and so does he. He writhes in pain, and looks over at the potato lying helplessly on the ground.
Jae-seok rushes him to the hospital and the doc preps for surgery. Problem is, Ae-jung isn’t answering her phone because she’s in the studio, about to go live for the news desk portion of Section TV.
The PDs get the breaking news that Dokko Jin collapsed, so they pass it to the anchors who make the announcement live. Ae-jung freezes. Then they introduce her, for her segment on Shin Mina (nice way to mention her name but deflect from anyone caring that she can’t cameo because we’re so wracked with panic right now).
She’s frozen, until finally she gets up and leaves in the middle of the live shoot. She rushes to the hospital, which is totally flooded with reporters.
It’s time for surgery, and the doc asks if the Du-gun-du-gun girl isn’t here. He asks if he should play the cd for him anyway. Jin cries the saddest tear in the world, and says firmly, “No, she’ll sing it to me live, somehow.”
Ae-jung sits outside, crying that she never even got to see his face. But she remembers her promise, and so quietly through her tears, she begins to sing:
From the beginning we weren’t right for each other
We only fought and burnt each other’s insides
But the strange thing is… One day our hearts connected
If you’re not by my side I go crazy, I want to see you
As someone special and only mine, a present full of anticipation
The closer we get I like you so much
Because of you
I love only you
The words my heart is screaming
You see me close my eyes shut and extend my lips
I’m dreaming of you, who holds me first
The day I leaned on you and pretended to be sad
Louder than my own, I heard your heart beating
Even if I try the thing I can’t hide
The thing I want even in my dreams
The one person more precious than anything in the world
I already knew
That you were like me
That our love was so bright it hurt our eyes and was seared into our hearts
Because of you
This heart, forever
I love only you
The happy words in my heart
You who opened your arms wide and offered me your trembling heart
I will hold you, full of the Best Love
Jin’s surgery is ready to begin, and the doctor stops his heart.
Ae-jung waits, on pins and needles.
Aaaaaaaack! I mean, I KNOW he’s going to live. He’sgoingtolive, He’sgoingtolive, He’sgoingtolive. The more nail-biting part is how she’s going to revive him, and if that means putting herself on camera to sing, and outing their love to the world to save him… Eeeee! I’m all jittery and dying to know how she’ll do it.
And of course the fallout, which will be great too, because of the way the stakes have been amped up all around. I know Ae-jung has been the final word in keeping their love secret to protect him, but it’s finally a case where something overrides that—if she doesn’t risk that to go to him somehow and keep her promise, he might die.
This drama has done a phenomenal job of intertwining the image-as-commodity stakes with the life-and-death stakes to the point where they now come together to infuse everything with a sense of urgency and drama in a way that keeps it from veering into the frivolous. Because at some point it’s so easy to say, well that’s just image, so who cares?
But because Jin’s life is at stake, it ups the whole game, and what they’re willing to sacrifice to be there for each other means so much more when so many obstacles stand between them. It’s a clever way to turn the gesture of love into a grand one.
The way che-go is used in this episode, to mean the highest, fits in nicely to bring back Dokko Jin’s princess in the castle metaphor. He’s now the princess stuck in that tower, high up in the air and unreachable. The sea of reporters keeps Ae-jung at bay like a row of soldiers or a fire-breathing dragon, and it’s up to her to find a way to barge into the hospital and rescue him. And whether she’ll slay the dragon or use some kind of magic remains to be seen. Go kiss Sleeping Beauty and wake him up!
I LOVE reverse fairytales like this one, especially when gender roles are reversed, and Ae-jung gets to be the white knight tasked with saving Princess Dokko. It somehow works perfectly with their characters as well, him being the perfect princess loved by all, and her being the noble protector who guards everyone around her. And though Pil-joo’s tale of Paul and his strange land were perfectly fitting from his point of view, it’s wrong, because it’s the wrong story. He saw her as the one needing to be rescued, but she’s not the princess. She’s the knight.
And THAT? Gets me. Right. Here.
- Best Love: Episode 13
- Best Love: Episode 12
- Best Love: Episode 11
- Best Love: Episode 10
- Best Love: Episode 9
- Best Love: Episode 8
- Best Love: Episode 7
- Cha Seung-won: I am Dokko Jin
- Best Love: Episode 6
- Best Love: Episode 5
- Best Love: Episode 4
- Best Love: Episode 3
- Best Love: Episode 2
- Best Love: Episode 1