Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 13
We’ve spent this series hoping for Dok-mi’s healing and rooting her on toward reclaiming her interest in the world outside her room, so it’s downright rewarding to see her making such significant strides, even acting on her own now without the pushing from outside forces. We’re watching her grow into her own, and it’s a lovely progression—not just because she’s learning about herself, but also because she’s using that to in turn do a little pushing of her own, turning that encouragement right back when it’s somebody else who needs it more.
SONG OF THE DAY
Yoon Shi-yoon – “사귀고 싶어” (I want to date you) from the drama’s soundtrack.
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EPISODE 13: “Should I dream a new dream?”
This episode starts with Enrique bouncing around his living room in a literal panda suit. Oh my god. This much cute and we’re only ten seconds in?
He shakes his big padded butt around and looks SO pleased with himself, dancing absurdly in front of the window for Dok-mi’s benefit. He does the whole finger-point-glare move he did the first time he caught her peeping… and then huffs in annoyance when he realizes she’s not watching. Her curtains are closed. Hmph!
He gets a call from a colleague back in Spain who asks when he’s coming back. Enrique insists, “There are things more important than animation!” and states that he’s staying.
He heads over to Dok-mi’s door still grumbling that she missed his big show, and it’s now that he sees the scary red “DIE” spray-painted on her door.
Dong-hoon tells Jin-rak that he left a note telling Dok-mi to check out their webtoon, which has Jin-rak shouting at him in outrage. Dong-hoon says he did it to help, to encourage him to keep trying because there’s hope—Enrique has to go back to Spain, and Dok-mi’s hardly going to be able to follow him there.
When Dong-hoon sees the graffiti on the door, he alerts Jin-rak about it and the boys all stand there worrying about Dok-mi. Enrique tries calling, to no avail. Then they’re joined by the security guard escorting prospective new tenants to see the apartment, though one look at the blood-red graffiti has them scurrying away. Y…ay? If we’re looking for silver linings, at least there’s that.
The ajusshi asks if they did it on purpose to chase off the tenants (thereby keeping Dok-mi there), and Dong-hoon says indignantly that they’re all reeling in shock… then concedes that both guys have been acting funny lately and might possibly have stooped that low. Ha. Jin-rak shoots him a look.
Enrique pleads to be shown the CCTV footage, only to be told that the security cameras are just hung there for show. Lol. Desperate to find out what happened to Dok-mi, Enrique enters using the guard’s spare keys and looks for clues—his first hunch is to look at her wall of travel spots or maybe track down her grandmother.
He finds the note informing her about the Flower Boy Next Door webtoon, and starts reading it. Feeling helpless, he sighs, “Ajumma, please stop running away.”
Dong-hoon wonders why Jin-rak is just standing there at the door, not entering, while Jin-rak makes a sad realization: That he knows so little about Dok-mi that he would have no clue where to even start looking for her.
Do-hwi arrives (on a flimsy pretext, as usual) though today she doesn’t stick around to inflict her presence on Jin-rak. She leaves a brunch basket for them and heads out, though she perks up right away when he calls her back.
But he addresses her in a harsh voice and points at Dok-mi’s door, asking if it’s her doing. Do-hwi’s genuinely shocked to see the graffiti and offended to be accused, saying that she may have lied but she isn’t that low. Which might be more believable if she hadn’t pretty much shown us that she is, in fact, that low. But she says that it hurt when Dok-mi told her she had considered their friendship enough for her, like that’s proof that she’s still a good person.
Enrique joins them and is just as angry at her, biting out that if Do-hwi felt hurt at those words, perhaps she ought to think of how hurt Dok-mi felt. Do-hwi leaves smarting from the dual contempt, and Dong-hoon chides Jin-rak: “If your love is important to you, other people’s love is important to them.” That’s sweet of him… but nope, still don’t feel bad for Do-hwi.
Dong-hoon chases her outside, and in his haste he collides with someone around the corner. It’s Enrique’s fangirl stalker, and she’s literally red-handed, stained from her smear job. He recognizes her from Enrique’s lecture and calls Jin-rak to bark at him to apologize to Do-hwi, since he’s caught the real culprit.
Enrique confronts the fangirl, who says defiantly that she did it. She speaks so fiercely that you’d almost think she were the one wronged here, rather than being the perpetrator. She quotes lines from Enrique’s old interviews about how making animated adaptations of his games is one of his dreams. And now there’s an animation project in the works, only he has declined to be a part of it. He’s got to go back to Spain, she insists.
He says that this isn’t exactly her concern, but says, “Why do you assume I’ve given up that dream?” Plus, there’s nothing that requires the dream to happen right this minute. Fangirl demands, “Is that woman that important?! I hate her.”
She… is crazy. Legit unbalanced in the brain. Fangirl storms off, (thankfully) missing Dok-mi on her way back, safe and sound after all.
Enrique sweeps her up in a hug and blames himself for the incident, apologizing for shaking her up. But Dok-mi looks quite fine about it, even smiling a little as she assures him that she even knows how to get rid of it, since this isn’t the first time she’s had to deal with something like this. She holds up her bag, armed with cleaner.
It’s touchingly sweet that it’s Enrique who’s rattled by the incident, and he asks if she can just erase the hurt to her heart—or the confusion she felt after seeing Jin-rak’s webtoon. “Why are you okay about seeing DIE written on your front door? Why are you used to this kind of thing? It’s upsetting.”
Dok-mi says she doesn’t want to bring him down with darkness. At least he dismisses that notion readily, and urges her to go to his hyung’s apartment while he cleans her door, not wanting her to have to read it again.
Aw, but Jin-rak’s already at work, painting her door. He, unlike Dok-mi, does blame Enrique for being the liaison to Crazy Girl and shoves him against the wall, threatening that he’d better not bring any more of this into Dok-mi’s life.
She arrives (having followed Enrique) and breaks the two of them up. It really is sweet that mostly she’s worried about Enrique’s injury from his car accident, and I think Jin-rak gets that. Which makes for an uncomfortable moment as they all stand there.
At her office, Do-hwi sobs while Dong-hoon offers words of sympathy, like how Jin-rak knows she’s not the culprit and is probably feeling really sorry right now. Her friends tell her to stop crying as well, part sympathetic but also frustrated at her one-track-mindedness in pursuing Jin-rak. One friend insists on outing the whole story now and blurts that Do-hwi’s liked Jin-rak for ages, back when he was Jae-won… and that’s as far as she gets before Do-hwi glares her into silence.
It seems like she liked him as Jae-won, not that she liked him because she found out he was rich. Okay, that is a little less low than I was thinking of her… which at least means she’s not a gold-digger, though she’s just as supremely self-absorbed and selfish as ever.
Enrique has taken over the painting of Dok-mi’s door while singing to himself. HAHA, this cracks me up (though perhaps only me): He starts out singing a Kim Dong-ryul ballad (“Like a Child”), which morphs into Koreana’s Olympic anthem “Hand in Hand,” and he has to stop and shake his head. Ha, they really do have the same melody. It’s a throwaway bit that feels like it was ripped out of my life.
He looks askance at Jin-rak’s door, knowing that Jin-rak and Dok-mi are chatting inside, and tiptoes over to try to eavesdrop. Enrique supposes this is what Jin-rak must’ve done and sighs at the way jealousy works.
Dok-mi apologizes for barking at Jin-rak earlier, and Jin-rak apologizes for reacting harshly, having forgotten Enrique was hurt. He also asks her not to let the webtoon upset her, saying that the story will be changing—he doesn’t want her to think of herself as his heroine Rapunzel.
She agrees, not agreeing with the similarity anyway—she isn’t Rapunzel, but the witch imprisoning Rapunzel, she says. She’s not pure and sweet like his heroine: “I’m the opposite. I’m dark and grim and sharp. I don’t love myself, or other people. That’s why I shut myself away and didn’t intend to leave.”
Jin-rak can relate, saying he knows that feeling. As a child, he’d hide himself away when his parents fought and thought he was incapable of giving people happiness, and blamed himself of being the problem. He worked for a long time at loving himself, “And I’m still working at it.”
When she leaves, Enrique cheerily presents her with the painted door. Inside, she reads up on the latest news of the animation project and flashes back to the confrontation with the fangirl, which we now see she witnessed. Ack, you’re not going to let guilt push him away, are you? I hate that storyline in everything.
Dok-mi shakes her head and tells herself not to overthink it, and to follow her heart. Phew for that, but the fact that she seems to struggle with the idea doesn’t bode well, does it?
Enrique presents her with his new “problem” of sending his luggage on to Spain and not having any clothes here (“Especially underwear!”), telling her to go ahead and restyle him to her taste. Cute. She’s thinking of more serious things, though, and asks what he meant earlier when he’d admitted to wrestling with difficult, complicated thoughts.
I suppose Enrique must on some level recognize that he’s giving up his dream project because he evades the question and talks in circles about tangential things, hoping to distract her from the conversation and deciding to take her to the zoo.
Dong-hoon packs his things, brimming with angry hurt now that he knows the full story about Jin-rak’s background. So he was really the son of a rich businessman all this while, was he? Did he enjoy acting the part of the poor loser while watching Dong-hoon, the actual poor loser? Dong-hoon had thought they were similar guys from similar backgrounds, putting their heads together to build something out of their ideas. But all this while Jin-rak was really Jae-won, famous in U.S. chaebol circles.
Jin-rak is chagrined, having intended on telling Dong-hoon himself, but also says that the stories have it wrong. Dong-hoon doesn’t want to hear it, though, pointing out that he had every single day of their acquaintance to explain things.
Enrique and Dok-mi head over to the bus (he’s so eager to show her the elephants, it’s cute) and he explains his habit of filming the world. He wants to infuse a sense of reality into his games, and so he films reality to get a sense of how to translate that to the screen. He encourages Dok-mi to give it a try, and she says she will.
Jin-rak stops Dong-hoon before he storms out the apartment, wanting to get the record straight. He clarifies that he wasn’t a chaebol, and neither was his father a businessman. In fact he doesn’t know how they got their money—only that every so often there was fighting and run-ins with the law. (I’m guessing some sort of gangster or loan sharking, then, which would explain the suited guys always out looking for him.)
That shadiness is why Jin-rak chose to study abroad, and on the plane ride to the States he decided he’d cut ties to his family.
But then Jin-rak’s father died and his older brothers came to him with official documents to disinherit him. That’s why he changed his name, and now he’s totally alone in the world, and totally empty-handed.
Dong-hoon’s anger mollifies somewhat, but he’s still hurt and says, “But you have a place to go back to.” He heads for the door.
Jin-rak stops him and says that if he leaves now, it’s over between them. Aw, it sounds harsh—and I’m fearful that ultimatums are just going to blow this thing up bigger—but he’s talking in desperation and adds, “I may have lost my hyungs, but I don’t want to lose my dongsaeng.”
He admits that he’s the one who envies Dong-hoon—he has a family that calls and nags him about what he ate, and drawing talent, and isn’t burdened with a one-sided love.
Dong-hoon drops his bag (yay) and turns to face him, advising Jin-rak to give up on Dok-mi if he wants to be rid of his one-sided love. He draws on an analogy he knows well, saying that Jin-rak needs a more realistic woman who’s capable of being his guarantor (say, for loans and debt), and that Dok-mi couldn’t do that.
Jin-rak narrows his eyes—did Dong-hoon take out some kind of loan? Ha. Now their hyung-dongsaeng dynamic is back and he’s nagging him for the unwise move, and he tells Dong-hoon to unpack. Dong-hoon mutters, “I just kicked up that fuss, how can I unpack? So embarrassing.” Haha.
Turns out there are no elephants at the zoo this winter, to Enrique’s disappointment, but he’s just as happy with the polar bear exhibit—he wants to show her animals that like winter. He says they’re lethargic in summer, but you can’t judge them based on how they are out of their element, and that’s why he comes in the summer to cheer them on. That’s so like him.
Then he confides a story about coming to the zoo at ten years old in Spain, and being told, “Go back to your country, you monkey!” His mother didn’t know how to explain it and they never spoke of it afterward, but he encountered more of that racism regularly, whether at school or work.
Recalling Dok-mi’s high-school despair that led her to ask why people had to discriminate, he says he’s been wondering that since the age of ten. He doesn’t have the answer yet, but wonders hopefully, “If we meet lots and lots and lots of people, maybe that answer will come?”
Dok-mi guess that Enrique really wanted to come to the zoo to share that story with her, and he admits that it’s his first time confiding it in anybody. He supposes that although he thought of himself as being her elephant trainer at first, she’s really the trainer. “We’ll both be each other’s trainers.”
Dok-mi says that she always thought people hated her, and that she was why her parents fought, and therefore she never liked herself. Enrique points out that on the beach that one day, he could see the way she looked at the ocean and how she gives her heart to the things she sees: “You like so many things—why can’t you like yourself?”
Dok-mi replies, “Because I’ve never received love, I don’t know how to love.” Enrique says, “Then just receive what I give. Start with receiving.”
At the sound of a girl crying next to them, Enrique bounds up to cheer her up. Dok-mi takes her phone out and starts her process of filming the world, beginning with him.
Thinking of that day on the beach, Dok-mi starts to write a new passage of her book, but deletes the words “That woman” and revises it to:
“The wind and the waves tear down the sand castle. That man is able to love even the wind and the waves. He says that the castle hasn’t been torn down, but that it has been permeated. That man knows how to be healed.”
As they leave the zoo, Dok-mi tells him that she has realized that working at home is a form of locking herself away, although she had previously thought of it as working the way she wanted. Therefore, she has contacted her publishing office, and told them she wants to report to the office every day like a regular employee.
Enrique is amazed at the huge step this represents, though part of him (the petty, petty part) can’t resist noting that Jin-rak’s one webtoon was more effective than all the dragging around he’d done. Dok-mi corrects him: “I realized I was shut in. That’s why I’m leaving.”
Enrique gives her a hug: “Good job.” And then, it’s time for our Pretty Woman shopping montage, though I suppose he is taking both of those words loosely with his goofy modeling.
Of course, she gets the obligatory pretty-dress transformation too, and then he picks out ridiculously cutesy couple tees for the both of them. It’s a smile-inducing date for its ordinariness, although the mood sours when Dok-mi catches a glimpse of his phone when the animation studio in Spain calls. Reality intrudes and wipes the smile from her face. Aw, don’t feel guilty!
Dong-hoon resumes his nighttime job by hanging out outside the nightclubs for his clients to call. With the income, he can resume making payments to his PD, who is hilariously reviewing her “dating notes” as she primps and wills her phone to ring. Is it funnier that she’s studying how to date, or that her notes come from Jin-rak the Hapless?
When Dong-hoon calls, the PD actually squees to herself, even though all he does is tell her that paid back another installment of his debt. I think he’s actually expecting her to rip his head off, as per her usual, but she’s reminding herself to speak slowly and gets a confused look out of him. Heh.
As Enrique and Dok-mi head to a movie theater that evening, we catch a glimpse of his stalker fangirl, recording the date on her phone. Ack, you again! I thought we’d done away with you. Haven’t you fulfilled your crazy quota?
Enrique suggests watching the newest animated movie for their date tomorrow, and Dok-mi notes how passionate he is about the world of animation. And now she can’t keep silent anymore, asking how he can give up his dream because of her—she can see plain as day how much he loves it.
Assuring him that she’ll be fine now that she’s started to venture into the world, she encourages him to return to Spain. After all, everything he has is there, with nothing for him here.
He points out, “You’re here.” But it’s not enough of a reason to convince her, not after she wrote his book and understands his feelings so well. She can’t be the reason for him giving it up.
Enrique scoffs at her to quit lying to herself, but she knows that this time he’s the one who’s fooling himself. And he can’t deny it, although he pleads with her to ask for what she wants for once, not acting just for the other person’s good. Can’t she ask him to stay?
It’s something of an impasse, and she shakes off his arm from hers. But he doesn’t let her go, and instead takes her in a hug, right there in the lobby.
Holding her close, he asks, “Come with me to Spain.”
Character-wise, we had a lot of turning point moments in this episodes, which were both angst-ridden and rewarding. I really couldn’t care less about Do-hwi so I don’t count her in the bunch, though I suppose you could say it extends to her. Sorta. I’ll concede that she’s not quite as horrible as I thought her previously, but being “less hateful” isn’t really that much of a difference from being plain hateful.
Jin-rak and Dong-hoon, on the other hand, are just adorable. I love that they had their big blowup, and that Dong-hoon got a chance to fume about being the dead-broke artist instead of just being sunny about it. And we could feel that it made a difference that Jin-rak wasn’t really as broke as he was, because it made Dong-hoon feel lesser, like he was being humored. But that misunderstanding also gives Jin-rak the chance to show Dong-hoon just how much he does care about him, as much as a real brother (and more, if you consider how mercenary his real bros were). Just, awww.
It was a nice bit of connection to have Jin-rak and Dok-mi both identifying with each other’s pasts and their inability to love themselves. Fitting that once again they’re on the same side of the situation, totally in accord with that sense of bleakness and able to understand what that feels like—but I think today’s confessions highlight that being exactly alike don’t really work to bring them together romantically. Dok-mi’s afraid of bringing her darkness into Enrique’s life, but really, it’s the complement they need. I love that Jin-rak is able to help Dok-mi a little by having trod that path before and having come to the realization first that he needs to work at loving himself, but for once he’s not putting himself in the position of her savior. I want him to be a co-traveler on this path with her, friends and confidantes who don’t have to cut ties once he’s given up his romantic aspirations. He’s such a great hyung figure, I want that to remain constant.
I didn’t love the whole fangirl segment, and I groan a little to see that we’re still not done with it, even though I was relieved at the swiftness of the arc in this episode. I was afraid they’d let it be a bigger plot point than it was, and happy that it resolved so early on. I can deal with it being the catalyst to bringing the greater issue to the table—the Spain-Korea divide, literally—and only hope that the next segment is used in a similar vein. Fingers crossed.
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 12
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 11
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 10
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 9
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 8
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 7
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 6
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 5
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 4
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 3
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 2
- Flower Boy Next Door: Episode 1