Big: Episode 12
Well it only took twelve episodes, but I finally love an episode of this show without reservation. Part of me is wistful at the what-could-have-been, and part of me is just grateful it came at all. It’s an episode full of emotional payoffs, clever connections, and lots and lots of fuzzy, funny warmth.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Kyung-joon tells Da-ran to stop putting herself through this if all it’s doing is making her cry and causing her pain. He says that he’ll take responsibility for her, which is just freaking adorable and too funny, coming from the nineteen-year old.
He says that it’s his fault she’s come this far, marrying his shell to protect him, and if he’s the one to call it quits, he’ll be the one to take responsibility.
Kyung-joon: “While you’re wearing that ring, I won’t ever break my promise not to go to you. BUT… if you take that ring off, I’m going to take it as an okay to come to you, and I’ll take Gil Da-ran away.”
Finally, the gauntlet! He makes it clear that he’s not forcing her to take the ring off, but he’s no longer going to help her keep it on either. It’s perfect—honesty from him, while leaving the choice to her.
She asks how she could agree to those terms (they’re talking about it in contract-speak, like he’s made a proposal for a requisition and she’s not cooperating). He tells her that he’ll keep his promise—if she wants him to disappear he’ll disappear. “But if you want to see Kang Kyung-joon, take off that ring.”
They head home, and Da-ran spends the car ride stealing glances back and forth from her ring to Kyung-joon’s face. He asks if she’s giving it any consideration at all, and she in turn wonders how he can talk about it so lightly.
He figures there’s no expectation on his part that she’ll ever choose him, so he doesn’t really feel the need to be serious. But it gives him pause, “Are you… considering it?” She stammers that of course she’s not, but it sounds convincing to no one.
He muses that she didn’t call him a blood clot this time, and says he would’ve taken it all back if she had. Aw. It both warms my heart and breaks it that he’s shown his feelings with zero expectation that she’d return them.
Meanwhile Dad tells Mom that Kyung-joon is in the hospital, and they can’t turn their backs on him. Mom finally shares the fact that Yoon-jae saved Kyung-joon’s life in their accident: “Isn’t the debt repaid?” Well, I always suspected you were the devil.
She tells him that Yoon-jae is trying to find Kyung-joon’s father, and she won’t stand for any of it. Dad chose once to abandon Hee-soo and Kyung-joon for Yoon-jae and Mom — the choice is his again, but she’s prepared to never let him see Yoon-jae if he chooses wrongly. Gee, tell us how you really feel.
At home, Da-ran prepares to take her ring off to do the dishes, but when she sees Kyung-joon approach, she quickly shoves it back on her finger. He looks at her sideways, chiding that he’d hardly steal the ring while she was washing dishes. It gets her all flustered and she calls out belatedly, “I’m not concerned!”
And then later she comes out of the shower with the ring still on her finger and he sighs that he’s not going to carry her away if she takes her ring off to shower, for crying out loud. By now she’s yelling, “I’m NOT CONCERNED!”
She storms into her room, completely fixated on the ring of course, and gets spun around some more when she sees the sunflowers from Kyung-joon. She’s still staring at her ring at work the next day, and tells herself that she’s the crazy one for concerning herself with a child’s joke.
She asks Ae-kyung using her ye-olden-days metaphor what someone should do to keep from falling for the young man next door while waiting for her husband to return. Ae-kyung says there’s only one sure way: move. Ha.
Da-ran tells herself that’s the right thing, and to that end, starts looking into transferring to a new school. Uh-oh. Kyung-joon comes home to find her washing shoes in the yard and makes another snipe at the fact that she’s wearing her precious ring like she’s scared he’ll kidnap her while doing laundry.
This time she snaps back that he’s made her all kinds of worried, while he’s going around making jokes. But he’s no idiot: “Just keep telling yourself it’s a joke.”
She yells that she’s not in the mood to match his childish pranks, and he asks what the alternative is then—to suffer in patience, like an adult? He asks in earnest curiosity—what exactly is she suffering from? Missing Yoon-jae? Or dealing with her mother-in-law?
Da-ran: “It’s you.”
Eeeeee! But of course he hears it as suffering from having to deal with him, not resisting the urge to jump his barely-legal bones, as the case may be.
He argues that he was trying really hard to be good to her. Da-ran: “While waiting for Yoon-jae-sshi to return… laughing with you, getting along with you, being happy… that’s the hardest thing!”
He spits back angry and confused, “That’s difficult? What would you have done if I had treated you even better? Would you have died suffering?!” She counters cryptically, “I was bad, but I won’t be anymore.”
She brings up his father and says that he won’t need her anymore once they find him, so they should just never see each other again, like the original plan. He shouts defensively that that sounds JUST PEACHY and storms into his room.
She grabs a trash bag and starts to clean out everything that reminds her of Kyung-joon, like she thinks cleaning out the stuff will clear him out of her heart. He watches as she throws out his sunflowers, the bottle of liquor from her dad, and (noooo!) their pandas.
He storms back into his room, thinking that she’s trying to clean out every last remnant of him to make way for Yoon-jae’s return. Not to be outdone, he grabs a trash bag too and starts looking for stuff to throw out.
Only… he can’t find anything. Why is my heart breaking?
On the verge of tears, he shows her his empty bag—he was going to fill it with all the stuff she gave him, only there’s nothing. “Look at it. It means there’s nothing you’ve done for me this entire time.” Oof.
He throws it down and yanks her bag out of her hands, rifling through all the evidence of the things he did for her. He yells that if he’d have filled the bag, she might’ve died already from all the suffering.
He leaves her reeling, and she picks up the empty bag. “There’s really nothing that I’ve done for him…”
But she’s on a mission, and she drags her bag of stuff out to the trash. She leaves it on the curb and doesn’t look back, and Kyung-joon watches dejectedly from across the street.
What he doesn’t see is that right after he walks away, she turns right back. She takes the sunflowers out and looks at them lovingly. She tells herself that flowers wilt anyway, so she’ll just keep these until they wilt.
But then she sees Kang Panda staring back at her, giving her a guilt trip with its panda eyes. She takes the China travel guide back out, thinking she might still go there someday. She flips through it and finds the little stick figure drawing of them on the Great Wall and muses that Kyung-joon got her there after all.
And then she stuffs all of it back in the bag… and takes it back inside. HA. I love it.
She crouches down to pick up his empty trash bag and tears well up. “Kyung-joon-ah… I’m sorry.” She raises it up to her face and then whispers into it, “I like you.” Aw. She ties up the bag, like it’ll keep her secret that way. That’s just adorable. I think filling it with love is way better than filling it with stuff.
But we cut to the mound of trash on the curb, and see that she’s thrown out the bag filled with her confession.
Kyung-joon meets Mari in the park and they agree that the mystery man who came to the hospital must be Dad. He figures it’s the man’s loss if he doesn’t want such a smart, handsome, well-behaved son, and Mari agrees.
He asks Mari not to tell Gil Teacher that they couldn’t find Dad—she’s waiting on it as her get-out-of-jail-free card. He figures he’ll just wait until his twentieth birthday, lie that he found Dad, and go on his way.
Dad seeks out Aunt and Uncle’s restaurant, pausing to gaze at Hee-soo’s photo on the wall. Meanwhile Mom meets Se-young and tells her about Da-ran’s last visit. Mom wants the old Yoon-jae back, while Da-ran seems to only want to stay by the new Yoon-jae’s side. Well, you’re not wrong.
Kyung-joon pouts while Da-ran packs to go camping with her family, and purposely messes with her car to make her leave it behind. Sometimes I wish we’d just stop for a regular commercial break instead of padding scenes with needless product placement. Do a commercial. I’ll take a bathroom break. Everybody wins.
The family pulls up and Da-ran gives the excuse that Yoon-jae has to go to a friend’s wedding so he can’t come, but when they ask him, he says he’s not busy and storms back inside.
Da-ran is forced to tell them they had a fight, and orders them not to call Yoon-jae… which of course they all do. Heh.
He pouts that he was supposed to find the Seo-suh-bang rock with Dad and that Mom was going to pack him kimbap, and he was supposed to watch porn with Choong-shik. Instead he spends the afternoon revenge-cleaning, throwing out all of Da-ran’s things.
He reaches her room intending to get rid of everything, but discovers the bag of his stuff, recovered from the trash. Yay. He smiles like loon and goes about putting all her stuff back with a skip in his step.
He finds all the messages from Mom, Dad and Choong-shik, and tsk-tsks them for not including directions on how to get there.
Da-ran searches for rocks along her hike and finds one that makes her smile – it’s pointy and harsh and shiny, just like Kyung-joon. She brings it back and finds her tent empty, just as Kyung-joon arrives.
He pretends that he’s just doing the family a favor since they bombarded him with texts, and he shows her the last one from Mom telling the two of them to make up and have a good time. They look at each other, “The two of us?”
Mom, Dad and Choong-shik drive away in a fit of giggles at their ingenious plan to leave the couple stranded, having told Yoon-jae to take a cab there. They decide to pick them up tomorrow. Love this family.
Kyung-joon looks at all the round rocks that the parents collected and scoffs that they don’t know him at all. But the jagged one that Da-ran picked up catches his eye. She asks if that one seems like him and he throws it on the ground, sighing that it doesn’t matter since he’s not the one joining this family anyway.
He convinces her to go hiking and they spend the afternoon being adorable. She sets up a camera to take a picture of herself, while he photobombs her like a great big dork.
They play in the water and he throws her over his shoulder, holding her hostage, “If you call me a blood clot one more time…” She screams and calls him oraboni (oppa) to get him to put her down, and he grins from ear to ear. So cute.
They go to the local grocery store to pick up supplies, the ajumma at the counter assumes that they’re a couple, and Da-ran quickly says no—he’s her dongseng. Omg, is he gonna call her noona? *squeal*
He runs up to defend his noona (only to end up agreeing that she does look old, heh) but she gets distracted when she runs into a sunbae from college. Kyung-joon watches them hug with a scowl on his face, and instinctively turns the cucumber in his hand into a rifle. Pfft. Dirty!
Listen, I know what you’re thinking, but these jokes just fall into my lap. They find me! I swear!
Da-ran says he’s just a dongseng and drags her sunbae away to ask him for a favor—she’s been looking for teaching positions outside of Seoul, and asks him to let her know if there’s an opening at his school.
Kyung-joon watches angrily as she gives the sunbae her phone number. When they get back to the campsite, an opportunity for revenge finds him, when a trio of pretty young girls asks for help.
They ask if they’re a couple, and Kyung-joon quickly corrects her, “No, that’s my much, much older noona.” He runs over to help them with their tent, stopping to ogle their legs in plain view of a scowling Da-ran.
She nags him to hurry up and pouts, asking what he said to them, and reminding him that they’re his noonas. Kyung-joon: “You’re a noona too, noona.” I could seriously listen to him call her noona all day.
He lies that they asked for his phone number, and reminds her that he said he has no self-control when it comes to girls who like him, running in his direction. He clocks her reaction and leans in, “If you want to hold onto me that much, take off the ring.”
Dad sits in Uncle’s restaurant for hours, until Uncle approaches him, and he finally tells them who he is. He doesn’t give specifics, but they guess right away that he has another family, which they already suspected.
He tells them that they can continue to take care of Kyung-joon’s trust fund, but he’ll watch Kyung-joon and take care of him from now on.
He tells Mom that he’s made his choice, and this time it’s Kyung-joon. Still trying to convince her to accept them both, he asks if she never once thought of Kyung-joon on his birthday. But she coldly answers that June 24 is not Kyung-joon’s birthday to her, but the day that their son Yoon-jae was saved.
Back at the campsite, Da-ran and Kyung-joon argue some more as she heads off to meet her sunbae (to follow up on the job request, though he doesn’t know that). He counters that he’ll just go hang out with those girls then, and they huff and puff, “Fine!” “Well FINE!”
She storms off muttering that he’s so excited to go hang out with those girls, and then he notices the Kyung-joon Rock, sitting back on the table. He wonders why she picked it up when he threw it away, and can’t help but smile. It doesn’t matter how angry he is; one sign that she’s thought about him just makes him melt. It kills me.
Da-ran walks for a while, and stops at the thought that when Kyung-joon is nice, he’s really nice, and worries that those girls will fall head over heels in no time. She turns back.
At the same time, Kyung-joon heads in her direction with a lantern, smiling at how thoughtless she is to go running off without a light when it’s getting dark. They run into each other and she smiles to hear that he wasn’t going to the girls, but to her.
She says she’s just going to ask her sunbae a quick question and come right back, and Kyung-joon offers to wait for her here if she wants him to. She’s quick to say yes since the alternative is him going to see the other girls, and runs off.
He tells her to hurry before a pretty ghost comes and snatches him away. “If she’s sexy, I’m going with her!”
Dad drags Mom to the hospital to see Kyung-joon, under her condition that if she does he won’t tell Yoon-jae the truth.
But just as they arrive, Kyung-joon falls over in another momentary swap back into his own body. Barely conscious, he opens his eyes for just a second, and sees the blurry outline of Yoon-jae’s parents, staring back at him.
Soon he’s back in Yoon-jae’s body and reeling from the pain.
Da-ran comes back and finds him slumped over, and he says that this time he doesn’t know if he switched back or if he had a dream as Yoon-jae. He saw Yoon-jae’s parents, but doesn’t understand why.
She asks if he’s okay and he falls onto her shoulder and closes his eyes.
He wakes up later in the tent with a headache, and scotches over to where Da-ran is sleeping. He tucks her in with a blanket and lies down next to her, grateful that every time he wakes up from a painful swap, she’s always there.
“When I change back for good and wake up there, I’ll be alone again. It’s okay. I was always alone.” Aw, kid. He knows it was fake, but here he got to have a mom and dad, even parents-in-law, and Choong-shik… and Gil Da-ran.
But once he goes back, no one will remember that he was here, because all that will remain is Seo Yoon-jae.
“Gil Teacher, you know me. So even if I disappear, can’t you remember that I was here? And don’t clean me out. Don’t just be so happy at Seo Yoon-jae’s return, but think of me too, okay?” A tear falls. And then we see Da-ran, not sleeping at all, but crying silently at his words. Okay, that got me in the gut.
At school on Monday, Mari freaks out when she hears that Choong-shik’s family left Da-ran and Yoon-jae alone all weekend. She figures she’ll have to take Kyung-joon back to the States soon.
But she gets a call from Kyung-joon’s father, asking her to meet. She runs over to tell Kyung-joon the news, excited that Gil Teacher doesn’t need to take responsibility for him anymore.
Da-ran tells her dad that she’s looking for teaching positions far away, and lies that she and Yoon-jae already talked it over. She asks what it was like for him, when he was 35 and Mom was 19 – what made him choose to be with her?
He thinks back on it with a wistful smile, saying that he tried and tried to push her away, to separate himself and live without her. But the more he did, the more he realized that he would spend the rest of his life thinking about her.
Da-ran asks how you’d know that before you’ve lived your whole life, but he figures that living the alternative is too sad, but if you just found the courage in the moment, then you’d spend the rest of your life being glad that you did.
She asks how said courage is found. Dad: “In that moment, I threw my mental strings into the ocean. And then, I could grasp your mother.” He laughs thinking about it now, and Da-ran looks down at her ring, the last remnant of her mental strings.
Kyung-joon and Mari set the stage for her to meet his father in the hospital while he spies on them, but Se-young interrupts to ask him if things are okay with Da-ran, because she seemed strangely unhappy when Se-young told her the truth about Yoon-jae not being a cheater.
He tells her she was so happy she cried about it and heads downstairs. He walks up to Mari, at the same time that Dad approaches. He’s about two seconds from discovering that they share a dad when another splitting headache hits.
WUT? Thwarted again? Grar. He falls to the ground and Dad sees him, “Yoon-jae!” Mari comes running up, “Kyung-joon!” Uh-oh. Luckily Dad is too worried to register what she says and he insists Yoon-jae get checked out.
Dad worries, saying that he might not remember, but he was very sick as a child, and asks him to get checked out to put their minds at ease. They both agree not to tell Mom. Dad takes his hand and Kyung-joon is surprised at the first sign of warmth from the man.
Later Mari wonders why Kyung-joon’s dad never showed, and Kyung-joon declares that he’s done with the dad search as of today. He’s going to tell Gil Teacher that he found him and just leave, and Mari happily notes that once they go to the States, she’ll be the only person left by his side.
Mari comes into Kyung-joon’s hospital room with a birthday cake, and drops it in shock. There’s Kyung-joon, standing at the window, back in his body. What?!
She runs up and he smiles at her, but then when she looks back, he’s gone. Oh, fakeout! She screams his name over and over, and it wakes her from a dream. Kyung-joon comes running in and she cries, “You were gone.”
She tells him that she’ll be okay if he switches back or even if he stays this way, “but don’t disappear.” Aw. He pets her hair and sweetly tells her that’s not going to happen, and she smiles again.
Da-ran comes home with lots of groceries, and Kyung-joon smiles to see she remembered his birthday. But he answers a call on her phone from that sunbae, and finds that she’s been asking for a teaching position in the countryside.
They both agree that “Yoon-jae” should go meet his family alone tomorrow for their family gathering, and then have dinner with Da-ran. She asks what he wants for his birthday, mentioning that she’s never done anything for him and she wants to now.
But he replies coldly that it doesn’t matter, since he’s going to throw it away anyway when he leaves, so it’ll just create more trash. He starts to walk away but then whirls back, all riled up.
He demands to know what he did that was so wrong, that she’s trying to run away from him. She just says absently, “I needed an ocean I couldn’t cross.”
He takes it literally, thinking she’s running off to an island just to get even farther away. He yells that he hates boats anyway, so there’ll be no reason to see each other, and stomps off. She sighs and looks down at her ring.
The birthday rolls around and Mari and the nurses throw a party for Little Kyung-joon, complete with balloons and hats. It’s adorably sweet.
Kyung-joon wakes up to a breakfast table with birthday seaweed soup, and a note from Da-ran to meet for dinner. He vows not to go to spite her.
Da-ran shops for a birthday gift, settling on a watch. The clerk asks if she wants to have initials engraved, and asks if it’s a gift for her boyfriend. Da-ran says yes with a happy smile and writes down KKJ on the slip of paper.
What she doesn’t notice is that Se-young is standing a few feet away, and has heard the conversation. It piques her interest, knowing that it’s not Yoon-jae’s birthday, and she walks past the counter. She sees KKJ and her eyes widen.
Da-ran sits in a coffee shop with the watch and then slides the ring off her finger, pondering it again. She says to herself that she doesn’t have the courage to let go of her mental strings, but tosses the ring in a little glass and looks at it, wondering if she’ll manage not to show her feelings.
But Se-young and her friend see her, and even if you weren’t evil, it would be a suspicious series of actions for sure. She interprets them logically, and seethes.
Aunt and Uncle tell Mari that Kyung-joon’s dad came to see them, and plans to take Kyung-joon away. She worries, knowing that taking him away while he’s swapped is not a great idea.
Meanwhile Dad gets the results from Yoon-jae’s latest physical. His old illness has returned, and the doctor asks if Dad knows where the original donor is. Convenient he should be lying in this very hospital.
Kyung-joon gets called out by Se-young, who tells him what she saw today—Da-ran buying a man’s birthday present, and calling him her boyfriend. That gets his attention. But she’s not done—the whole time she was waiting to meet this guy, she took her wedding ring off and looked insanely happy.
Kyung-joon: “The ring?” I love that of all people, it’s Se-young delivering this news to him. He lights up. She adds that his mother told her that Da-ran agreed to let him go if he returned to his old self. That REALLY gets his attention. “Let Seo Yoon-jae go?”
And then to seal the deal, she says she saw the initials for the watch: K…K…J. He laughs, asks if she’s positive, and when she swears she is, he shoots up and heads toward the door, grinning, “Gil Da-ran, you’re dead.”
Da-ran waits for Kyung-joon on a bench, giddy with anticipation. She remembers her ring at the last minute and moves to put it on, when Kyung-joon appears.
“Gil Da-ran, are you cheating with another man? Is he the reason you were having such a hard time? Are his initials KKJ? Is it Kang Kyung-joon?”
He moves closer, and she puts the ring up to her finger like a threat, telling him not to come. But he just takes her hand, slipping his fingers through hers just below the ring. She tries to yank her hand away but he holds on.
Kyung-joon: “The wind has already blown [meaning the cheating’s been done], and the boat has already crossed the ocean that can’t be crossed. So what are you going to do?”
She looks up at him. She tries to wriggle her hand free, but then stops and looks at him again…
As he inches closer, she finally slides her fingers out of his grasp…
…so that the ring falls to the ground with a clink.
She closes her eyes and leans in just enough to meet his lips.
He pulls her in for a kiss. And another. Swooooon.
I’m doing a happy dance, not just because they finally confessed their feelings, but because this show finally seems to be hitting the right buttons for me. Until Da-ran owned to her feelings, I pretty much struggled to understand her or care at all, but as soon as she began to wrestle with her feelings for Kyung-joon a few episodes back, I found a relatable, endearing side of her that I could care about.
And in this episode when she gets to the breaking point, my heart really goes out to her. We spent more than half the series with Kyung-joon as our only solid emotional anchor, but now Da-ran is pulling her weight as a character, and the story starts to feel right. Oh how I wish this were the case from the get-go.
I loved Da-ran’s conversation with Dad, because he’s her sunbae when it comes to this kind of relationship, and he has a really good point – once you love someone, isn’t regret something you only feel when you don’t try at all? No one regrets trying, but everyone will regret not having the courage to take that chance. It required a vast amount of courage from Kyung-joon, but thankfully he’s a fearless nineteen and has lots to spare—and finally, she takes that step. Oh the distance she traveled for that inch to meet his lips.
In the end the space between them is just a matter of perspective. She thinks it’s an ocean. He shows her it’s really one inch. But I love that it’s an inch she has to take, and he waits for her to make the decision. He forces her to face her feelings and be honest, but doesn’t force her choice. And that, I really really love about Kyung-joon.
The Who’s Your Daddy storyline is really limping along on its last leg, (If we have one more near-miss meeting, I’ll scream.) but the reintroduction of Yoon-jae’s childhood condition is at least a step forward for the brothers, and it takes us into interesting territory. I couldn’t care a rat’s patootie about either of the parents but I want Kyung-joon to know why he was born, and be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to save Yoon-jae… again. Because now it’s not just a body-soul thing, but a we-both-love-Gil-Da-ran thing, which confuses matters greatly.
Though it took nine million years, they made the love between Da-ran and Kyung-joon credible, and for that, I give you kisses, Show.