Big: Episode 7
Feelings just got a shade realer, which in this great big muddy mess of an identity-swap, leads to confusion and blurry lines. It’s one thing to wonder what the heart wants; it’s another thing entirely to be unsure on who it wants that from. I’ll spare us the confusion and just say we all want Gong Yoo.
SONG OF THE DAY
Epitone Project – “이제, 여기에서” (Now, Here) [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Mari figures out the soul swap and hugs Kyung-joon, and then passes out. Da-ran figures it’s the shock from the realization and her injury, since she’s sporting a gash on her arm from the broken window. Kyung-joon averts his eyes and steps out, still squeamish about blood. Some dead Mom trauma, I’m guessing?
Choong-shik’s calls to Mari go unanswered, so he heads out to find her and ends up at Yoon-jae’s house. Eyes wide at the broken glass, he asks noona what happened, looking worriedly at unconscious Mari. Da-ran tries to usher him home quickly saying that Mari was helping her clean when she accidentally broke the window.
Mari wakes up, bolting up in bed suddenly. It’s zero to sixty for this one, which I suppose suits her character. Mari asks after Kyung-joon and starts running through the house looking for him, which confuses Choong-shik who knows Kyung-joon to be lying comatose in the hospital.
Da-ran says Mari must’ve seen him in a dream or something, and as Choong-shik watches her running around calling Kyung-joon’s name, his face falls like somebody just ran over his puppy. Poor lovesick boy.
Then to make his night even better, in walks Kyung-joon, only in Choong-shik’s eyes this is the bastard who dumped his noona. He growls, “Doctor Seo!” and swings his fist… which doesn’t connect. Instead Choong-shik gapes in pain, then slowly sinks to the ground. Behind him is Mari, her let outstretched in her trademark crotch kick.
Mari rushes to hug Kyung-joon, but Da-ran claps a hand over her mouth and drags her away. Choong-shik refuses the doctor’s help, but Kyung-joon tells him sympathetically that he’s the only one who can understand how he feels: “Those women don’t know that pain.”
Da-ran walks her brother out, asking him not to tell their parents about her getting back together with the doctor. Choong-shik can’t understand her, but she tells him it’s okay if he doesn’t.
Mari wails at Kyung-joon, “Why didn’t you tell me?! Why did you pretend to be ajusshi?!” He pushes her away with a finger to the forehead and says he can’t look at her right now, thanks to his blood phobia, so Mari crouches behind a sofa to spare him the sight. Okay, that’s sweet.
Kyung-joon explains that Da-ran is the only one who knows about his condition, and that he’s waiting for the re-swap but thinks it may take a while. Mari vows to protect both Kyung-joons and promises to keep this secret.
Choong-shik comes home after teachers Na and Ae-kyung have gone, and his parents are over the moon about the gym teacher. Choong-shik thinks how that the dream of “Na suh-bang” (as future son-in-law) is going poof in the span of one night and sighs, “One night… stand?” Haha. You lovable dimwit.
Mari leaves for the night with promises to return tomorrow. Da-ran sighs that there’s no stopping her, and now Kyung-joon wonders why she came back after they decided not to see each other again. Da-ran tells him she’ll do as he asked and meet Yoon-jae’s mother; it’ll be hard to face him with Yoon-jae’s face, but she figures the grown-up thing to do is to deal with it anyway.
Kyung-joon thanks her, and promises to help ease Da-ran’s pain… by treating her badly. HA. The hilarious thing is that he’s totally serious, not just using it as an excuse to be rude; he promises to be mean and cold and make sure to stomp on those eye-hearts if she’s in danger of feeling anything for Yoon-jae again: “I’ll make sure your feelings aren’t swayed, that you’re not attracted—I’ll behave like a dog!” Bwahaha. He says completely sincerely, “You’re going out of your way to help me, so I should at least do that much for you.”
With that, he tells her to clean up. He might want to help her, but that would only confuse her feelings. He tells her good luck, then remembers that he shouldn’t say those nice words of encouragement: “It’s not easy having dog manners. I’d better go and study.”
Se-young hears from Aunt and Uncle that the doctor was the man who saved Kyung-joon in the accident. Se-young is surprised at the extra connection and wonders if Yoon-jae’s interest in the kid is just because he saved him.
Aunt and Uncle are worried that make demands for money, since the doctor alluded to Kyung-joon’s funds. They assume Yoon-jae had Kyung-joon investigated and fear that he’ll start making threats soon. Uncle wonders, “Should I meet him, or avoid him? Or act like I’m meeting him and then avoid him?”
Mari shows up at the house with suitcase in tow, making the very generous concession to use the second floor and leaving the first for him. Kyung-joon finger-pushes her away, asking her not to do this, but Mari the Bulldozer will not be deterred.
She’s having trouble adjusting to the whole Ajusshi Kyung-joon concept, though, and holds up a fan bearing Kyung-joon’s face, asking him to use that when talking to her. In all the fairy tales, even if the prince turns into a beast or a frog, if you keep loving him he ends up coming back to himself: “You’ll come back.”
She tiptoes up and surprises him with a kiss, looking at him expectantly. Then, disappointedly: “You’re supposed to come back with a kiss.”
Kyung-joon tells Mari firmly that she can’t stay here. Holding up Kyung-joon Face: “You sticking around here is tough on me…” Revealing Yoon-jae face: “…but you can’t stay here. This is Gil Da-ran’s.” He tells her Da-ran is going to be his shield, so she can go—and if Mari doesn’t heed his warning, he won’t respond to her ever again.
Mari concedes, but holds up Kyung-joon Face and chirps, “But this one’s mine!” She asks if he was lying when he said he liked Gil Teacher, but he says nope: He told Da-ran how he felt and got rejected. That cheers Mari up, and her reaction just rubs salt in that wound as she calls Da-ran a really good person for helping him and rejecting him. For really rejecting him. He really got rejected, right? Rejected.
At breakfast, Choong-shik tests the waters by asking his father what he’d do if “Seo suh-bang” came back. Immediately Mom and Dad tense up in suppressed wrath, and Dad asks, “What’s a Seo suh-bang?”
The parents deliberately mishear and twist the wordplay [bang = room] as Mom warns, “Da-ran, if you hear about a new room like that and start hanging around it, I’m going in with a mop to clean up that room. Got it?” Oh, Hong sisters, how I’ve missed your punning.
At school, Na Teacher thanks Ae-kyung for her help in yesterday’s successful meet-the-parents excursion and declares he’s going to throw the first pitch, aka finally make a move. Well it’s about time; the only thing fast about him is the pitch he just threw. That has the side effect of making him look cool to Ae-kyung, though, bringing her Na Teacher crush to step two. He asks her to be the umpire, so that his pitch can find its way into Da-ran’s heart.
Kyung-joon and Da-ran dress up pretty to meet Mom to tell her they’re back on. He needs to be free of her helicopter parenting in order to carry out his plans; he doesn’t clarify what those are, but just says that he didn’t come back to play doctor. Thank goodness for that.
Kyung-joon pours Da-ran warm tea to help calm her nerves, which makes Da-ran think back to the first time she met Mom in this restaurant. She’d been nervous and trembling, but Yoon-jae had taken her hand in his and smiled encouragingly. Da-ran remembers how his warm hands soothed her anxiety, and in response to her fond nostalgia Kyung-joon pours her tea right back into the pot and tells her to drink cold water instead. Dog manners to the rescue!
Mom is not pleased to see Da-ran back in her precious son’s life, but Kyung-joon explains that he pleaded with her to come back to him. Saying that he needs Da-ran, he asks Mom not to go chasing her away.
Mom orders rare steak, the sight of which has Kyung-joon looking away queasily. She insists that it’s something he used to enjoy, and if he wants to return to himself he should keep encountering the things he used to like. Kyung-joon agrees, saying that’s why he’s back with Da-ran.
Da-ran clocks Kyung-joon’s reaction to the bloody steak, and finally puts an end to the misery by covering the platter. Mom is horribly offended at her lack of manners, which Kyung-joon says was his instruction—that they should leave if Mom got pushy.
Mom can’t understand how her well-mannered baby turned so rude, and Da-ran tries to smooth things over by taking his hand in entreaty. Kyung-joon holds it up for Mom to see, though: “In the past I held her hand and asked her to bear it. Now, I’ll hold her hand and leave.” Yay! Funny how Kyung-joon is more of a grown-up with Mom than Yoon-jae was, though yes, it helps that he has no vested interest in keeping Mom happy.
Da-ran protests all the way out, annoyed that Kyung-joon ruined her intention to show Mom a more composed, refined image. She threatens to give him a little taste of his own dog manners and swings her bag to hit him. He whirls her around, back to wall, smoldering. My my, did it just get hot in here?
But it’s for show, since he sees Mom out of the corner of his eye. She turns around clutching her pearls, and Kyung-joon figures that Mom won’t barge into his home willy-nilly after witnessing their passionate clinch. He thanks Da-ran for playing along, and she’s all, Derrrrr. Playing?
Mari turns to a shaman for help, because of course she would. I love her and her absurdity. In a Moon/Sun parody featuring Jung Soo-yung (remember oddball Kang-ja in Fantasy Couple?), Mari writes down the names of the swapped souls and looks to Choong-shik when the shaman requires a young man to receive the bad energy. Choong-shik: “Isn’t that a bad thing?” Mari: “I’ll deduct all the remaining pizzas.” Of course she’d see that as a fair trade.
Choong-shik is sent to the corner to receive the bad energy, while the shaman asks for the link between the men. Lovers? Brothers? Friends? Mari says no… but they do like the same woman. That’ll do; the shaman declares, “Rivals.”
At home, Da-ran finds the fridge stocked with beer. It’s courtesy of Mom, supplying Yoon-jae’s favorite things of yore, and Kyung-joon assures her he hasn’t drunk any of them. He offers them to her, and as they sit outside drinking (beer for her, Vitamin Water for him), she hesitantly asks about his aversion to blood. Why study medicine?
He explains that he doesn’t necessarily want to be a doctor, but he wants to understand what’s happening to his comatose body; he may have to look after it for a long while. Da-ran asks if he was ever in a big accident with lots of blood, and he answers that his mother died that way. They were mugged one night after closing up Mom’s restaurant, and Mom was shot.
Feeling pity, Da-ran offers the only thing on hand: a strip of dried squid with a dab of hot sauce on the end. He declines, saying he doesn’t like spicy things, so she sucks off the hot sauce and offers it again. Ha. That’s so cute. And she’s a little tipsy, so I won’t hold it against her.
He asks where she found it, and realizes it’s old stuff from over a year ago. Da-ran spits out her mouthful and asks worriedly what to do. In dry doctor mode, Kyung-joon directs her to stick out her tongue and touch her nose, and it takes her a good while before she catches on that he’s pulling her leg.
Kyung-joon goes to the hospital the next day, dressed in his doctor’s gown and giving himself a pep talk about how he can see injured patients, no problem. He can’t, though, and gratefully heads off with a doctor friend to escape the sight.
The doctor takes him to the pediatric ward, where the kids latch onto the friendly doctor, to Kyung-joon’s chagrin, and he flinches when a little boy shows him the boo-boo on his arm. But seeing the small cut doesn’t make him feel sick, so he figures that little kids mean little injuries. This, he can handle.
Se-young finds him, and Kyung-joon tells her firmly that he’s back with Da-ran so she can back off now. Se-young says it’s like he turned into a different person after his accident, and he says sure, he almost died and it changed him. He turns to go, and she calls out, “Kang Kyung-joon.” Freeze. Uh-oh, is the cat out of the bag?
Se-young finishes her thought: “He’s the patient you were in an accident with, isn’t he?” Fakeout! She’s relieved at the confirmation, because his interest in the coma boy makes sense if it’s because he’d saved his life.
Kyung-joon retorts, “Are you complaining because I didn’t seek you out first? I’m telling you plainly, you’re wasting your time. The Seo Yoon-jae you dated is gone.”
Kyung-joon sends Da-ran a text while she’s at school, which makes her grumble because his words are “short,” aka impolite. The follow-up makes her smile it’s the aegyo version of the loooooong (gil-da-ran) way to say it, and Ae-kyung guesses from her reaction that she must be dating.
Mari catches up to Da-ran to give her a talisman, saying that as the link, Da-ran has to pray fervently with it for the spell to work. Does it also time-jump? Mari thanks Da-ran for helping Kyung-joon and promises to stay out of their hair; she’ll focus on sticking with Little Kyung-joon.
Having deducted his pizza debt, Choong-shik is ready to stop being pizza slave and start being love slave. (His words, not mine.) He strikes a manly pose and perks up when Mari comes running at him in all her slow-motion glory… then breezes right by him. Thud goes his heart, crashing down to his feet.
Aunt and Uncle sit down to eat at a local hotspot, wanting inspiration for recipes to try at their own restaurant. They bought an Italian place after selling Kyung-joon’s house and wonder why it’s not doing as well as they hoped. In comes Da-ran’s mom carrying plates of food, and the sight of her has Uncle literally slack-jawed in shock. Flashback, really? Groaaaan. Okay, it’s the Hong sisters, we could have guessed this was coming.
The blast to the past depicts Mom in school uniform and Uncle in army camo. He’d been besotted with her back then, too, while she’d seen him as a friendly oppa.
At the house, Mari and Kyung-joon wonder how to get a body swap going. Mari says that since the ajusshi saved his life and lent him his body, Kyung-joon can return the favor. So simple when you say it like that.
Mari asks Kyung-joon for a favor, since her grades came out and her homeroom teacher wants to call Dad for a consultation. That can only be bad news and Mari fears being dragged back to the States, so she asks Kyung-joon to pose as her uncle and take care of the teacher meeting.
And then, she has an even better/brighter/more horrifying idea: “If you’re my uncle, I can live upstairs!”
Da-ran comes in while Kyung-joon’s arguing with Mari, and sees his wallet with the picture of the cherubs—is this another talisman from Mari? Kyung-joon drags Mari back downstairs and tells her to go home and study. Mari: “I’m pretty, why should I study?” HA. Kyung-joon retorts, “I’m good-looking AND smart.”
Choong-shik mopes over Mari, then has a bright (for him) idea. He plies Mom with back massages and wheedles her to send him to study in the States, so he can follow Mari there.
Da-ran drops off groceries at the house, saying that stocking the fridge full of healthy food is one way to tone down Mom’s visits. Kyung-joon points out that she only bought ingredients, which means she’ll have to come by every day to cook for him. Da-ran considers.
Off to the supermarket they go, this time loading the cart with junk food. She urges him to eat decently, and Kyung-joon brags that he’s a good cook—she’ll have to come over to judge his skills for himself. He picks a chicken for his first menu and they pile more groceries into the cart like a cute newlywed couple, and Da-ran even shields his eyes from the red meat cases.
But wait, just around the corner is Mom, doing her own shopping. Thankfully Da-ran sees her first and Choong-shik diverts Mom’s attention, so Da-ran is able to step back and hurry Kyung-joon down the aisle, warning him of the danger.
He guesses that if she’s scrambling to hide this from her parents, she intends to just do her shield duty for him, no more. He points out that they’re bound to be together a lot, so perhaps it’s worth facing the parents: “If you want me to confront them here, I can take the beating.” Tear. Kid’s all growed up.
Da-ran is conflicted about the thought of entangling Kyung-joon even more in her affairs, and asks for him to stay out of it today.
Da-ran joins her family as they check out, and feels a pang when Mom points out the chicken they’ll have for dinner tonight. Thinking of Kyung-joon’s dinner, she excuses herself and searches the store for him, coming up empty. He’s waiting at the exit, though, to her relief, and they go home together.
Kyung-joon prepares his chicken for roasting, and they sit down to wait for the hour and a half it’ll take to cook. Da-ran muses, “It sure takes a long time for that little thing to cook [also grow].” Kyung-joon says, “If you have patience and wait for it to cook/grow, the day will come when it’s ready to eat.” Rawr. That’s one coy smile he’s shooting her way.
Na Teacher psychs himself up to throw the “pitch” to Da-ran, and tells Ae-kyung that he’s ready. While quaking in his boots and stuttering. Ready, piffle. I do enjoy the fact that the cowardly teacher is getting in tons of unintentional dating practice with Ae-kyung while preparing for his “real” dating, though of course he’s too dense to realize that.
Ae-kyung calls Da-ran out, now that Na Teacher is supposedly ready to pitch. (He’s trembling and praying in the background, ha.) Kyung-joon’s face falls when he realizes she’s heading out, but she promises to be right back in time for dinner.
He spends the time glaring at the oven clock, muttering that she’d better be back soon. He cheers up adorably when the door sounds, but it’s only Mari, here to pick up something she left.
At the cafe, the three teachers sit in awkward silence while Na Teacher tries to muster his courage. Ae-kyung excuses herself, accidentally taking Da-ran’s phone with ther. She turns right back to return it, but an incoming caller piques her interest—it’s “Big,” the mystery possible boyfriend.
Ae-kyung answers the call and recognizes Kyung-joon’s voice (as Yoon-jae’s). She decides that he should know what’s going on, and explains the whole “first pitch” idea in a convoluted baseball metaphor, saying that the man Da-ran’s with may hit a home run and she’s the umpire and it’s Yoon-jae’s job to see if the game should continue or not.
Kyung-joon isn’t following and starts to hang up, but Ae-kyung bursts out, “Da-ran hasn’t been able to forget Seo Yoon-jae!” Ouuuuch. Just stab me in the heart, why don’t you. She says that Da-ran has become giddy and excited with Yoon-jae’s return, and asks him to step in here.
Mari shows Kyung-joon the diamond ring she found in one of the rooms, and they realize it must have been something Yoon-jae bought for Da-ran.
Kyung-joon tells Mari to go home, turning down her requests to join him in chicken-eating. He makes her day by saying resignedly that if he comes back to his body, he’ll make it for her then. Aw, the smile that that brings to her face warms my cold heart.
Da-ran fidgets in her seat and decides she ought to head back home, telling Na Teacher that she has to get going and will talk to him some other time. That finally jolts him into speaking, and he bolts up (with a red rose sticking hilariously in the back of his waistband) to declare, “I like you. I have liked you for a long time. All this while, I have only stood by watching. Today, I have summoned my courage with difficulty.”
Da-ran gets over the initial shock to let him down gently, saying she has promised to be by somebody else’s side. Poor bunny. Na Teacher is on the verge of bursting into tears, but just then, Ae-kyung pops back to chirp, “Did he tell you? He likes me. We’ve decided to start dating.”
In his initial confession, pronouns are left out so that it could just as well have been, “I like her” as it is “I like you”—although, naturally, nobody would mistake his meaning in such a context. Except that’s what Da-ran assumes now, that she jumped the gun and embarrassed both of them. She apologizes and congratulates the happy couple, and Ae-kyung tells Na Teacher that she stepped in as umpire to stop the game.
Da-ran runs home while Kyung-joon contemplates the ring moodily and keeps one eye on the clock, ticking down the minutes.
With four minutes left, she calls to tell him she’s almost home. He tells her not to come—she should go home and buy herself a chicken instead. She doesn’t understand his change of heart, but he asks, “Is your heart fluttering as you’re running here? I said I’d make sure that didn’t happen, so I’ll just let the chicken go.”
He hangs up, and Da-ran wonders if that’s true.
At school, Choong-shik tells Mari that he miscalculated; he still has 30 pizzas left on his tab. Mari awards him for being honest by taking one off, but he balks—she can’t be so frivolous with the deductions! Mari agrees, with the exchange that he’ll butt out of Da-ran liking Yoon-jae.
Kyung-joon presents the ring to Se-young and tells her to try it on. Ah, so he was afraid of Yoon-jae being even more of a bastard about that ring. The ring is way too small, though, and Kyung-joon figures with some relief that it wasn’t meant for her.
Se-young wonders why he’s clinging so hard to Da-ran when he can’t even remember buying her a ring. Is he going to give it to her now? She muses that Da-ran will probably be touched, and regret letting him go.
Kyung-joon asks point-blank, “Just how far did you go with a man who bought another woman a wedding ring? Since I can’t remember.” She tells him he hesitated to marry, “But now I don’t know if that’s because you liked me, or just that you stopped liking her. Please come back to yourself and tell me.”
Mari finds Kyung-joon staring at the ring at home and says Da-ran would love knowing that Yoon-jae bought it for her: “She’ll want to marry him right away.”
Yoon-jae’s mother arrives at the mandoo restaurant, and lets the cat out of the bag. When Da-ran comes home that night, her parents are in Deep Disapproval mode.
Yoon-jae’s mother tells Kyung-joon about her visit, and guesses that this was a tactic to get her to step back from her meddling: “But stop that now. That family was in an uproar.”
Da-ran confirms that she and Yoon-jae are dating again, and asks for some time. But her parents point out the absurdity of “just dating” someone you’d almost married and set up house with. If they’re going to insist on dating, then marry. If not, Dad has no intention of seeing Yoon-jae ever again—or Da-ran.
Kyung-joon asks Da-ran to make the decision: keep seeing him, or never see him again? He counts down and asks for an answer, then pulls the ring out and puts it on her finger. It fits perfectly, and he tells her that Yoon-jae bought it for her.
Now it’s okay for her to let her feelings sway toward the doctor, he tells her, because while she’s wearing that ring, Kyung-joon won’t go to her. “I, Kang Kyung-joon, won’t ever love you.”
What a great way to up the conflict, or twist that knife in our hearts a little more; same difference. It was a nice complication when Da-ran decided she didn’t want to subject herself to playing the girlfriend of the guy who broke her heart, but this takes it to the other side with Kyung-joon trying to protect his heart and feeling trapped by the very ruse they need to use to handle the mess in the first place.
His is similar to Da-ran’s conflict, but just that much more painful. While she wants to protect herself from reopening wounds and falling for Yoon-jae again, Kyung-joon’s got to shield himself from being loved for the wrong reason. It’s more bittersweet, because even if Da-ran fell for him in his current state, he’d never be able to know whom she really loved. Heck, she might not even be able to figure that out. It’s tempting to let yourself believe the illusion is real, but quite possibly a crueler blow than not being loved in the first place.
So he gives her the ring to soothe her heart, but deals himself a blow in the process. Because now that she has one more bit of evidence that Yoon-jae cared for her, she’s safe to go ahead and love that shell, who’d be her husband in name after the swap came to an end. And Kyung-joon would be cast adrift. (Granted, I’m not convinced that the ring is really such a strong statement of anything, though at least it wasn’t meant for Se-young. ‘Cause they’re already engaged and setting up house, so it’s not like she didn’t think he was planning to marry her. But we’ll roll with it.)
I’m really enjoying the side characters in the drama, which isn’t always the case in rom-coms like this where they’re played for comic effect or purely as plot manipulators. And granted, Mom and Se-young (or should we just call them Horribles No. 1 and 2) fall into that category. But I’m loving Choong-shik, the dummy with a heart of gold, who’s played by Baek Sung-hyun with this core of genuine heart that makes him seem less farcical than he could have been. And Mari, despite walking the line of crazy-creepy, totally amuses me with her bold sassiness. I’m waiting to hear more of her story with Kyung-joon, because I think there could be something poignant there, too.