Big: Episode 9
Hurrah for major—or should we say, big—reveals, which throw a twist into the story. There are two significant developments in this episode, one of which we were waiting for as our main couple finally get onto something resembling the same page, and the other which frankly comes as a shocker. That excites me.
SONG OF THE DAY
Hee Young – “Are You Still Waiting?” [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Kyung-joon has an out-of-body moment when his soul decides to take a brief trip home, and that gives them hope that perhaps the other body also experienced something. So the newlyweds ditch the honeymoon to hurry to the hospital, where they’re let down to see that Little Kyung-joon’s still firmly in a coma.
However, he had been discovered slumped on the ground and was taken for more tests. Se-young says there’s no change in his condition, but Kyung-joon finds a flicker of hope in the fact that Little Kyung-joon’s body moved.
Aunt and Uncle are also called, and wonder why that particular doctor has so much interest in Kyung-joon. Aunt’s mind always jumps to the mercenary reason first, and figures it’s about all the money he’s going to demand because of the accident.
Da-ran figures that at least Kyung-joon had his soul-blip moment before they went on the honeymoon: “What if I’d gone on the trip with you and gotten all nervous and excited?” Whoops, that’s a little more honesty than her conscious mind is ready to deal with, and she overcompensates with the backpedaling, which hurts Kyung-joon’s feelings, till they’re in a heated round of bickering.
Da-ran clarifies that it’s just because he looks like Yoon-jae, and Kyung-joon retorts that she must be sooooo disappointed he swapped back right away, and she says she must’ve been crazy to want to go on a honeymoon together.
They decide to go on their separate vacations after all and snipe at each other, “Have a nice trip!” “Don’t you dare call, I won’t answer!” Aw, don’t leave all angry! Don’t you know it’s Opposite Day and you really mean the antithesis of what you just said?
Mari packs her bags and sadly addresses her phone picture of Kyung-joon (photoshopped to look like he married her, of course) and says that although he’s married Da-ran in body, she’ll consider herself married to him in spirit.
Na Teacher takes Ae-kyung out for drinks after the wedding, calling today the last of their fake-dating excursions and thanking her for playing along. He’ll take care of all the rumors; this round’s on him. This does not make Ae-kyung happy; she’s gotten a little too cozy with the girlfriend act and doesn’t feel like saying goodbye. She orders soju. This can’t end well.
Da-ran has four days to kill, so she heads to a jjimjilbang for the saddest solo honeymoon ever. I mean, already “solo honeymoon” rates pretty high on the pathetic scale, but holing up in a jjimjilbang (and ordering Chinese drinks as a consolation for not, you know, going to China) kind of takes the cake.
Except… the Gil family has also decided to take a family outing to the sauna. This will also not end well, will it?
Kyung-joon arrives at the house and finds a talisman posted inside the refrigerator. It’s full-on horror-movie mode with eerie music, darkly lit set, and the shadows moving unseen behind him. Mari’s voice calls out his name, and he looks up to see… Mari hovering above him, wearing a white dress with her black hair down, looking like the classic ghost. Scream.
Cut to: Lights on, back to normal. Mari’s happy he didn’t go on the trip and credits her talisman for working its mojo. He crankily tells her to go back to that other country, and she’s all, can we consider the second floor another country? I suppose this makes sense to the girl with no understanding of boundaries.
Kyung-joon heads upstairs to see that Mari has put her stamp all over the bedroom. It’s ♥ Mari ♥ Kyung-joon ♥ everywhere, with collages and photos and posters and silkscreened pillows. All the stuff of teenage stalkers with one-track minds; we should really just be glad Mari doesn’t have a criminal bent, ’cause she’d be really good at it.
She clarifies that it’s not that she set this up for herself; it’s a physical reminder that he is not Da-ran’s husband in real life, and that if he ever feels confused, he should come into this room to remember the truth. And if she happens to live here too, well, that’ll be a big help. To him, she means. It’s all for his benefit!
He escorts her out, giving her a firm Aw, hell no.
Choong-shik calls his sister to check that she’s having fun on her trip to China, and Da-ran replies with half-truthy answers: It’s hot and crowded here, and she’s eating (Peking duck) eggs. Choong-shik catches sight of her across the room, however, and gets suspicious—she wouldn’t be lying about the trip, would she? There’s this girl who looks a lot like her in this jjimjilbang…
Da-ran realizes she’s in trouble and darts away, and Choong-shik chases her yelling, “Hey, lady with the eggs! Let me see your face!” He chases her right into the ladies’ locker room, which (1) gets him kicked out amid screams, and (2) makes his mother scold, “First the porn, and now this?!” Haha. Poor little bro.
Kyung-joon looks through Da-ran’s guide books and pulls out a large poster of the Great Wall, and starts doodling on it. He hums to himself about how it would’ve been fun to go together, then draws stick figures of them holding hands. So cute.
But then he remembers that the one to make Da-ran smile is Yoon-jae, not himself. Now his stick figure gets angry eyes and steam lines (depicting a fuming head), and he wonders, “Why isn’t she coming home?”
Kyung-joon heads outside to wait, then wanders along the street… just as the Gil family car drives by. Oops.
Kyung-joon tells the family that he got a last-minute case at the hospital, and that he sent Da-ran on the trip alone. This inadvertently makes him sound like the hero and Da-ran the selfish one, which, by the way, he is not above exploiting for sympathy points. Choong-shik grumps that noona has no loyalty, and Kyung-joon assures the family that he sent her, so she did nothing wrong. Brownie points up the wazoo.
Kyung-joon then calls Da-ran to tell her she can leave the jjimjilbang now and go to the house. She asks if he got in trouble with her family, and to squeeze even more sympathy out of the deal, he says yes. Then scampers off to eat the special dinner Mom makes him.
There’s a spicy seafood stew on the table, and Dad takes a sip and calls it refreshing. It’s one of those common sayings in Korean that is sorta counterintuitive, and Kyung-joon points it out now: How strange to call something hot and spicy “refreshing” when its characteristics are more likely to bring pain, and therefore Dad’s enjoyment of such a dish makes him a masochist, and Mom’s preparing of such a dish makes her a sadist. Choong-shik chimes in, “It’s a perverted dinner table!” Ha.
The parents ask him not to hold this trip against Da-ran since she can be a little dense, and Kyung-joon asks, “Why are you insulting your own daughter?” Haha. Just when you think he’s jumped the last hurdle, he finds a new one, dusts it off, and sets it up in front of himself. And who’re you calling the masochist?
Kyung-joon says that if they’re acting like this out of consideration for Yoon-jae, they really needn’t, since he’s not such a great guy and after buying the house he’s out of cash and he doesn’t make much money and all he does is play with kids at the hospital. Mind you, he’s also speaking of Yoon-jae in the third person, which makes him sound even stranger.
The whole point of the fish stew conversation is to point out that Kyung-joon still has kiddie taste buds, so when Mom offers to make something else, he asks for fried egg with ketchup. So does Choong-shik, fist-bump. Aw, they’re choding brothers.
Yoon-jae’s mother decides to go back to America sooner than expected, which probably has to do with that “child” she and her husband have located, sorta. Se-young tells her Yoon-jae skipped out on his honeymoon, and Mom scoffs at how silly that is—who on earth could be so important a patient to prompt him to do that? Except then she recognizes the name with shock, and confirms the other details: Yoon-jae was in an accident with him, he’s in high school, and his parents are gone.
Mom confirms that Kyung-joon is the name of Kang Hee-soo’s child. Mom doesn’t want to find Kang-joon but Dad’s reaction is the opposite, which gives me an abandoned-love-child vibe from the scenario. So… Kyung-joon and Yoon-jae may be brothers after all?
Mom looks at the Miracle book and wonders if Yoon-jae managed to find the child after all.
Da-ran and Kyung-joon chat on the phone that night as he looks around her old room, where he’ll be sleeping tonight. It’s cute and homey, the way they fill each other in on their days like a real married couple, like how her father gave him his prized herb liquor and how she’s about to eat ramyun. He tells her not to eat it, couching it as That’s mine, don’t touch! although it’s really more like, Don’t eat that junk. Which is the cutest switcheroo ever, considering how she used to be the one trying to get him to eat right. She has no food in the house, but he tells her to sit tight; he’s on his way.
Kyung-joon runs from one house to the other, skipping along with a huge grin on his face while she waits for him at the front gate. When he arrives, he puts his blasé attitude in place and hands her a bag: “I’m just gonna throw it out—or you wanna eat it?”
She digs in to the chicken stew her mother made for him, and pours herself a cup of Dad’s 20-year-old liquor: “Hey, this liquor is your hyung.” Haha.
Kyung-joon says Dad gave him the bottle “to give him particular strength,” which cracks me up because the herb’s root is known for its health- and vitality-boosting properties, and when you give that to the man who just married your daughter, it’s basically a greenlight to go forth and populate the earth. Keke.
Kyung-joon seals up the bottle, which he calls Hyungnim, and tells him this isn’t the time/place for his powers. ‘Cause if Da-ran throws herself at him with all that excess vitality, “I don’t think I could refuse.” Rawr.
As expected, Ae-kyung gets drunk and Teacher Na ends up piggybacking her home. She slurs out that they’ve gotten along so well all this while, so can’t they keep getting along well? She demands a reply, but he’s got her bridal bouquet (won in the toss) in his teeth and can’t answer, which makes her think it’s a rejection. She storms off angrily and pitches her bouquet at him, calling a strike-out.
Kyung-joon asks Da-ran to come for him tomorrow, saying that she got back early from China, and she agrees to come by in the morning. She gives him the go-ahead to read her books or listen to her music, so when he gets back to her room, he starts looking around and comes upon her Yoon-jae box: all the photos and mementoes she’d packed away after breaking it off a year ago. He addresses a photo, “Ajusshi, come back soon. Before I don’t want to leave.” Too late for that, I’m pretty sure.
Yoon-jae’s mother visits Little Kyung-joon in the hospital, her emotions rattling her as she tells him, “I didn’t even look at you when you were born. I’m seeing you for the first time now. Kyung-joon-ah.”
Mari’s thrilled that her talisman worked (to keep the newlyweds apart), and tells Choong-shik—her evil-absorbing virgin—that she’ll deduct another pizza. He balks, of course.
Kyung-joon hears from a nurse that a well-dressed middle-aged woman dropped by last night, and wonders who it could be. Mari bursts in, and he asks her to direct him to his uncle’s new restaurant, which is a direct rip-off of his mother’s—which was named Miracle—although uncle’s lacks the reputation, good food, or clientele.
They’re here so that Mari can demand Kyung-joon’s belongings returned, but Aunt and Uncle duck for cover, assuming that the doctor is sizing up their worth so he can milk ’em dry. Kyung-joon gets Uncle to show himself by baiting him with the name of a chef—the Russian cook at his mother’s restaurant. If Uncle hands over Kyung-joon’s things to Mari’s keeping, he’ll get Chef Sergei’s phone number. One musty-smelling bag of Kyung-joon’s belongings, coming right up!
Turns out Kyung-joon’s a softy after all since he gave the number on purpose, hating to see Mom’s inheritance go up in flames for nothing. Hilariously, now Aunt and Uncle have to revise their opinion on the doctor, and wonder if he could have been sent to secretly help them. “Should I ignore him? Should I be friendly? Should I be friendly while ignoring him?” Ha. So while the Aunt and Uncle tend to be silly characters I care nothing about, I do enjoy their constant befuddlement as they scheme their way in circles and never get anywhere.
Kyung-joon is summoned for a talk with Yoon-jae’s mother, who tries to suss out how much he knows about that kid in the hospital and how far their acquaintance goes.
She seems relieved that he doesn’t seem to know anything about the big secret, but she tells him that prior to his amnesia, he’d been looking for somebody. She admits that she didn’t want him to meet that person, and if he were to meet him by chance, she’d like him not to get to know him. Kyung-joon just says, “I’m not interested in the past.”
Uncle returns to the mandoo restaurant to moon over Da-ran’s mother, and finds that VP Kim has also returned, to moon over Dad. They comfort each other (but mostly themselves) by saying that it’s a good thing the married couple can’t recognize them, ’cause they sure would regret letting go of such a younger hottie (Uncle) and/or an understanding hoobae (VP Kim). Sour grapes are sour.
At Mari’s request, Choong-shik shows her where Kyung-joon spent the night in Da-ran’s room, which is still home to his porn collection, as she notes. He’s all, “No, this is my sister’s!” which is one step below on the believability ladder than his last scapegoat, Dad. Haha. Mari sees the Yoon-jae box and perks up at this evidence of Da-ran’s love of her fiancé, and decides to return the box as a reminder.
Da-ran makes her fake-return from her honeymoon, and Mari gives her the box and wedding album, telling her to keep it nearby so she doesn’t get confused. Kyung-joon greets her with adorable enthusiasm, until he clocks those items and then deflates. He storms off to his room, barking at her to clear out all of Yoon-jae’s things because there’s no room for his stuff here. Aw. Symbolic statement is sad.
Kyung-joon smooshes all of Yoon-jae’s clothes into a suitcase and dumps it in Da-ran’s room, sending her memento box falling. Da-ran blames him for breaking her Walkman—Yoon-jae recorded things for her to help her study—and this sparks another argument-that’s-not-really-about-the-thing-they’re-arguing-about.
They toss sarcastic comments at each other and she accuses him of “confusing” her, which in a normal circumstance might make him perk up at the underlying meaning—that she’s starting to confuse her feelings for Yoon-jae with her feelings for him. But he’s too angry and he retorts that they should just live their separate lives.
She points out that he had a good time with her family, but he returns, “I have to keep my distance so that stuff doesn’t confuse me. I’m not the one who’s part of that family!” Oooof. And suddenly, this is no longer about romance, but family.
Kyung-joon retreats to his room and puts up his wall, literally, whiting out the glass between them. Da-ran notices the framed photo of Kyung-joon and his mother.
In the morning, he’s still peevish despite her attempts at making peace with breakfast and smoothies. Aw, and she even knows his favorite egg-ketchup dish.
But Kyung-joon is gone, having headed to his office at the hospital. Apparently his medical brain is smart enough to have saved a doctor buddy with seminar research, who gives him tickets to a show.
Choong-shik also has tickets for Mari, asking if she wants to see a movie. Mari happily accepts… and takes both tickets. Poor Choong-shik.
Kyung-joon takes his usual spot in the kiddie room at the hospital, and watches as a girl tries to get a boy to play with her and “eat” her plate of plastic vegetables. The boy refuses to play, and Kyung-joon tsk-tsks, telling the kid to just go with it. Then he gets a phone call from Da-ran asking him to buy bread so she can cook for him and he barks, “No, I won’t eat it!” and the kid tsk-tsks right back at him. Haha.
Pint-sized message received. So Kyung-joon gets up to go grocery shopping, and the boy shoots him a smug, knowing look. He arrives home to find all of his old clothes washed and hanging out to dry. The photo of his mother is now in his room and Da-ran has organized his shelves. He loves it, of course, though he feigns the attitude of “Why’d you touch my stuff?”
Today’s Da-ran’s last day off work, which gives Kyung-joon an idea. He tells her he’s going to “throw away” something underneath the bread, so be sure to check under it. What, you can’t just give a gift like a normal person?
With that, he puts the ticket under the bag and tells himself, “Well, I’m just throwing it away, so I can’t help it if she follows me there.” At least she shares his logic; she finds it and figures that she can’t just let this discarded ticket go to waste.
While Da-ran gets ready, Kyung-joon takes the broken Walkman to get fixed. She leaves the house just as Mari arrives, and explains that she’s on her way to meet Kyung-joon.
Mari offers her movie tickets in an exchange, pointing out that she has no need to act the couple for this show… unless she wants to go with Kyung-joon. It’s a question that backs Da-ran into a corner, since she’s not ready to admit she does want to go, and reluctantly she gives the ticket to a happy Mari, saying he’d probably have more fun with her.
Se-young drops by the hotel to see Yoon-jae’s mother on her last night in Korea, and overhears her end of the phone conversation as Mom tells her husband, “That child isn’t my son! My only child is Yoon-jae. That child was only born to save our Yoon-jae! I do not know that child, Kang Kyung-joon.”
Whoa. So this isn’t a straight-up love-child story, but a full-on My Sister’s Keeper? To make things worse, this crucial bit of information just had to fall into Se-young’s lap, of all people.
Kyung-joon waits at the concert hall lobby with the fixed Walkman, not exactly thrilled when it’s Mari who shows up and says she swapped her movie tickets for Da-ran’s. He doesn’t care to see the show after all, saying that it was his way of making amends after breaking her recorder.
Mari asks him not to make amends with Da-ran at all, but he answers that he can’t keep behaving at a child’s level, and his response makes Mari wonder if he’s still in love with Teacher.
Da-ran heads to the movie theater, feeling glum. And then out of nowhere, Kyung-joon joins her and asks, “Are you happy I came? Unhappy? Should I leave?” She stops him, and he offers to stay after all, then returns her recorder. Putting one earbud into her ear and taking the other for himself, he teases that the lecture notes sure are exciting, and they stand there listening to the boring voice and grinning big goofy smiles at each other.
Da-ran starts to feel the pull of the moment, though he remains oblivious. She looks at him intently, starting to make sense of her reaction as she leans ever so slightly closer to him.
“Kyung-joon-ah, I feel strange. Why am I so happy that you came?”
Yay, Da-ran finally clues into her attraction! I don’t actually blame her for taking this long, because of the very blurry line of Kyung-joon looking like that other guy, but it’s what I’ve been waiting for. Plus, it’s important that it comes at a point where it’s fairly clear that her reaction is for Kyung-joon only, not for the shell.
And also: Holy crap, Kyung-joon is a donor baby? A baby born out of cold calculation, to be raised purely for whatever use he could provide the “true” child? That’s all kinds of fucked up, lady, and pretty much confirms that Yoon-jae’s mother is not only Horrible No. 1, but maybe also 2 and 3. Se-young will have to settle for being No. 4. (Unless she actually uses her knowledge for good instead of evil, in which case I will have to reconsider, but let’s face it I’m not holding out a whole lot of hope for her.)
To clarify: Yoon-jae’s mother doesn’t specify Kyung-joon’s exact purpose for being conceived, and since he seems to be a healthy and whole young man (well, coma aside), and possesses all his parts, at least we’re not dealing with an Island-esque scenario of sci-fi grotesquery. So I’ll try to hold back on the dramatics—at least till we get the particulars of the situation. Mom doesn’t specify who did the birthing, necessarily, but it seems probably that she did—if only for the fact that a genetic sibling has a much higher probability for helping a sickly child than, say, a cousin or a half-sibling.
This also explains why Mom wouldn’t look at him when he was born, and has steadfastly resisted seeking him out over the years. All series long, Mom has called him “that child” instead of “my child” or by his name, so she’s maintaining a conscious distance from Kyung-joon. I get Miss Ripley vibes from her; pretending the child doesn’t exist just makes life a lot easier.
This turn may be a bit dramatic, but it’s a heckuva lot more interesting than secret love-child or abandoned orphan, so I’ve just gotten a lot more interested in where this is heading. Granted, the Mom storyline is always my least favorite in this kind of drama (and these writers have often pulled out the secret identity card in many of their projects), but where it has me invested is what it means for all our characters. And amazingly enough, it has also made Yoon-jae a smidge more interesting by association, because him being the recipient of Kyung-joon’s unknowing sacrifice, dealing with a combination of guilt and gratitude? Well, that gives him a lot more dimension.
All of this is compounded by the fact that Kyung-joon has now lost his mother, and is all adrift in the world. I fear for the blow he’ll feel (1) If Horrible No. 1 is his bio-mom, (2) to realize she gave him up without a second thought, and (3) to lose out to Big Bro Yoon-jae twice now, after Da-ran and now Mom. Ouch. I don’t know if I can take seeing him fall apart like that.