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Dear My Friends: Episode 2

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” so they say. The complicated relationship between mothers and daughters is never easy, especially when children are seen as the promise of fulfillment that the older generation was never able to achieve in their youth, yet somehow they still seem doomed to repeat the sins of the past. Perhaps, there’s an ocean’s worth of baggage when one realizes that they are the person on whom their mother’s entire world pivots. But when both parties have strong and stubborn personalities — and secrets they are keeping from each other — it’s questionable whether or not Wan and Nan-hee can have the aspirational loving, open, and comfortable mother-daughter friend-like relationship.

EPISODE 2: “I can do it by myself. I can live alone.”

It’s chaos at Choong-nam’s as the women tussle with each other. They’re finally separated and everyone is sent on their way. As he drives them home, Suk-gyun grumbles to his wife and Hee-ja that Nan-hee was the one who overreacted — Young-won didn’t do anything wrong. The women stand up for their friend, and Hee-ja remarks that Nan-hee holding a grudge for thirty years doesn’t seem all that long considering Suk-gyun’s inferiority complex has lasted for sixty years.

Well, Hee-ja is one to talk, considering she locked her husband in the closet and starved him to death. Hee-ja is shocked at hearing that rumor, even though Jung-ah does her best to stifle it. In another car, Choong-nam apologizes to Young-won for making the situation worse by mentioning the phone call, but she also tells Young-won to stop constantly apologizing to Nan-hee. One might think she was the one who slept with Nan-hee’s husband.

As Wan drives them home, Nan-hee vividly remembers the moment when she arrived home after grocery shopping, surprised to see an unfamiliar pair of shoes by the door and strange noises from the bedroom. The young Nan-hee cautiously opened the door to reveal her husband in the arms of another woman, and she gasped as her knees buckled in shock.

Back in the present day, Wan informs her mother that she won’t be attending any more reunions, no matter how much Nan-hee asks. Nan-hee wonders why Wan is more supportive of Young-won than her own mother, and Wan reminds her that while she has her mother, Young-won has no family of her own. Nan-hee: “What’s the point in having a daughter if she’s not on your side?” Even though Granny loves Young-won, it’s clear what side she’s on as she reveals the handful of hair she pulled from Young-won’s head.

In her empty house, Hee-ja wakes up. It’s only 3am, but the strange sounds of the house at night seem more eerie than ever before. It doesn’t help that she suddenly has the image of locking her husband into the closet at bedtime. She calls Jung-ah, who sleepily tells her everything’s okay. But Hee-ja’s now obsessed about the fact everyone knows about her husband dying in the closet, and Jung-ah just sighs as she hangs up, knowing there’s no way to r.

By the time morning rolls around, Hee-ja takes her daily medication and supplements, and then notices that it’s 8am. She peeks out the window to see her handsome neighbor working out, and this time he makes kissy faces at her. She asks the busy Jung-ah to come by when she has a chance, downplaying her concern and telling her it’s nothing serious.

Noticing the lightbulb that had burst a few nights ago, Hee-ja decides to fix it. Standing on a chair, she carefully removes the shattered bulb and then replaces it with a new one. She’s incredibly proud of herself, but then she loses her footing and topples to the floor. The new lightbulb shatters, scattering pieces of glass.

As a way to teach Jung-ah a lesson about punctuality, petty Suk-gyun drives away before his wife has a chance to get in the car. He stops at a store to drop off a huge wad of cash outside, leaving a message that it’s for the owner’s hospital bills and her son’s college tuition.

Hee-ja calls her son Min-ho to tell him about her fall, and that thanks to the broken lightbulb, her hands and feet are now all cut up. He’s too busy at work to get away, telling her to just call 911 since everyone is too busy to help her right now.

She apologizes for calling, insisting she’s fine — she doesn’t want to use an ambulance if it could help people who are in more dire need than her. Min-ho goes back to work, but he can’t focus on the car he’s repairing, and with a frustrated growl, he gets in his car and starts to back out of the alley — only to crash into a car turning in behind him.

Looks like Wan spent the night at Mom’s, and in the morning she gets a message from Young-won to not talk about what happened last night, but promising to meet up with her soon. Nan-hee is still a little prickly about Wan’s declaration to never attend another reunion, and her current determination not to interfere with her mother’s friends lives. Which means she won’t drive her to Hee-ja’s.

Nan-hee says she put up with the painful years of child-rearing in the hopes that she and her daughter could be friends, hanging out and having a conversation with a beer or two. Wan teasingly agrees — fine, they can be friends. That means she only has to see Mom once a month, like she does with her other friends, instead of every day like a daughter. She affectionately tells Mom she’ll see her next month, friend, before leaving.

Nan-hee calls Young-won to order her to stop coming to the reunions. The next time, she might not be able to restrain herself from just pulling hair. But Young-won tells her that she’s the one who should go if she doesn’t want to see Young-won, adding that Nan-hee should just give up while Young-won is feeling generous.

After she hangs up, Nan-hee is irritated that Young-won would pull such a two-faced act — being nice around the other friends but then giving her a threatening ultimatum in private.

Min-ho carefully cleans up the shards of glass, then tenderly takes care of his mother’s wounds. He’s such a good son, although he’s also an exhausted one, and as he sprawls out on the floor he used to lie on as a kid, he apologizes that he hasn’t been around much lately. Hee-ja knows that he’s been busy, and that his wife has also had her own family burdens taking care of her own mother who’d had a stroke — which is something she vaguely worries about as she gets older, too.

Jung-ah finally arrives after her full day of taking care of her own children. She holds out an ice cream bar as a peace offering, but Hee-ja is determined to know if Jung-ah is the one that told their other friends about her husband dying in the closet.

However, she accepts the ice cream and they relax on the sofa to watch Thelma & Louise. It’s Hee-ja’s favorite film, but Jung-ah doesn’t approve of the women’s violence and smoking. But Hee-ja asks if she sells the house, would Jung-ah would go on a “Thelma and Louise” type road-trip with her.

Speaking of trips, she wonders if Suk-gyun will take Jung-ah on her world tour like he’s promised. Even if he doesn’t, Jung-ah is determined she’ll go on her own. She doesn’t want to be like her mother, who slaved away her life taking care of her family only to collapse from a stroke and be put in a nursing home. Jung-ah’s not going to wait for death in a nursing home — she’ll die on the road. Even though Hee-ja is charmed by that romantic notion, she points out that Jung-ah actually has ended up with a life like her mother’s after all. Jung-ah dreamily adds that her mother’s wish after she dies is to become a bird and fly freely in the sky.

The clock strikes three, and Hee-ja scurries to the window to point out her handsome neighbor who always works out at 8am, 3pm, and 8pm, and each time he smiles at her. Jung-ah dismisses Hee-ja’s concerns, thinking it’s ridiculous that he’s looking at her. If it bothers Hee-ja so much, she should just keep the curtains closed.

But once Jung-ah realizes that this is another one of Hee-ja’s obsessions, she declares she’ll take care of this punk who dares to stare at an old lady. The ladies cross the street to his studio apartment, and Hee-ja adds that he always takes off his shirt when he looks at her — she doesn’t think he’s handsome because his body is “too bumpy, and his chest is as big as yours.” But Jung-ah cackles that must mean he’s worth looking at. Hee!

The handsome (and fully dressed) neighbor answers the door, and when it’s clear he doesn’t understand Korean, the ladies attempt to explain in their limited English that he looks at Hee-ja’s house every day. Realization dawns, and he invites them in to explain the situation. Jung-ah is delighted, but Hee-ja takes wary steps.

When she sees the portraits of elderly people covering his walls, Hee-ja assumes that he must have killed him. Pfft. But Jung-ah points out the cameras — he’s actually a photographer. Once they reach the rooftop patio, the neighbor explains that he feeds the stray cats on the street the same time that he works out, and so the smiles he makes is for the kitties outside Hee-ja’s house — not her.

Hee-ja seems mildly deflated by this pragmatic reveal and, without a word, leaves to go back home. The neighbor tries to ask Hee-ja if he can take her picture, but she ignores him. Jung-ah is thrilled to have her picture taken, though, and is super cute as she happily poses for the camera.

When she returns to Hee-ja’s house, Jung-ah dismisses her concerns, scoffing that she must have Alzheimers or something. This spurs Hee-ja to insist that they must see a doctor right away. She is worried about Jung-ah, too, since she had to have been the one who told everyone about Hee-ja locking her husband in the closet. Jung-ah must be used to Hee-ja’s dramatics, because she just sighs and says they’ll visit a doctor the next time she has a free day.

While Young-won oversees the placement of a painting that Choong-nam brought her, Choong-nam quietly eavesdrops on Wan and Dong-jin, who’s given Wan a ride to Young-won’s place. Their conversation is flirtatious and friendly, but Dong-jin turns down her request for him to wait to give her a ride home, since he’s waiting to hear about one of his children in America who’s sick and in the hospital.

As Wan enters Young-won’s house, she’s nearly startled out of her skin by Choong-nam standing there in full judgmental auntie mode. She asks if Wan is trying to seduce a married man, but Wan just ignores her.

Young-won is delighted to have Wan over for a cup of tea, and while the two women are happily distracted by their conversation, Choong-nam steals Wan’s phone from her purse. As they set out the cups of tea, Choong-nam warns Wan to tell her mother that if she tries to interfere with Young-won again, Choong-nam won’t just stand idly by.

Back in the day, Nan-hee used to defend Young-won from the bullies that would torment her because she was the daughter of a mistress, and Young-won and her mother used to provide shelter for Nan-hee and her mother when her father would abuse them. Choong-nam adds that Nan-hee can be too obsessive and possessive — she probably considers Young-won to be her slave, and Wan, her toy.

She finishes by pointing out that due to Young-won’s efforts to keep Nan-hee’s husband from running off with the woman he was having an affair, she kept Wan’s parents together. Young-won is annoyed that Choong-nam is telling her all this, but Wan says that the reason her father didn’t leave with Sook-hee (the “other woman” and Young-won’s best friend) back then was because he couldn’t bear to leave his daughter.

Choong-nam agrees. He loved Wan more than other women, but of the women, he loved Sook-hee best. She tells Wan that this is all so she can better understand her mother — what she most wants is attention. Annoyed, Wan retaliates by telling Choong-nam that the paintings she buys are worthless, but she spends tons of money on them to feel accepted by the artsy intelligentsia.

After Wan storms out of the house, Choong-nam uses the passcode she saw earlier to open Choong-nam’s phone. She returns it to Wan, who’s waiting for a bus, telling her she left it behind. She’s curious about Dong-jin, warning her to be careful. Wan’s like a daughter to her. But Wan has enough of a burden being her own mother’s daughter — she refuses to be Choong-nam’s, too. As she rides the bus home, Wan scoffs about Choong-nam’s words, but in voice-over, Wan adds that it was uncomfortable because Choong-nam was correct about everything.

Alone in her restaurant late at night after losing money to her staff in a friendly game of Go-Stop, Nan-hee opens another bottle of beer. She sees her musician regular walking by, and she calls out to him, asking if he’s really a musician. He just smiles and continues on his way.

In voice-over, Wan explains that her mother never received attention. Her father ignored her, her mother’s favorite child was the son she had when she was fifty-years-old (and who subsequently had an accident at work, leaving him permanently disabled), Wan’s father had Sook-hee, and even though Wan loves her mother, she just wishes she could be happy on her own.

Flashback to a young Wan and her mother making their way across a field in the middle of the night, and Wan crying as she insists she doesn’t want the yogurt drink her mother gives her — but she drinks it anyway. Wan’s voice-over continues: “My mother makes me very uncomfortable.”

Despite it all, Wan calls her mother as she rides the bus home. “just because.” But she starts to panic when she realizes that Mom is on the way over to her house to bring her kimchi. After Mom hangs up on her, she grumbles that every time she tries to be nice, her mother has to ruin it and make her angry again.

As she rushes from the bus and runs down the sidewalk, trying to beat her mother home specifically so she can hide her cigarettes, Wan says in a voice-over that every attempt for a friendly mother-daughter relationship is ruined by her mom.

She barely makes it in time, but it helps that she changes the passcode right before Mom can get there. As she lets her mother in her apartment, she scrambles to clean up the mess, refusing to let her mother touch anything — it’s more out of worry she’ll find the cigarette wrappers in the trash than anything else.

Except Mom finds packs of cigarettes in the freezer, and Wan awkwardly explains she keeps them on hand for when her publishing buddies visit. Mom’s curious, though — does she have any male visitors who aren’t involved in publishing?

Wan points out that there’s nothing wrong with having a man over. After all, she’s approaching forty, and if Mom wants her to get married, she’ll have to have men coming over. Mom doesn’t care, though — she’s fine with any man, except for two types: men who are married, and men who are handicapped like Wan’s uncle.

Those words seem to hit something deep within, and Wan orders her mother out so she can get to work. Mom’s in no rush — she’s still insistent that Wan should write about the elderly. Wan’s first book was about her grandmother, which was well received, so just imagine how successful a book will be about Nan-hee’s friends. They could call it something like, oh, perhaps “Dear My Mother’s Old Friends”?

When Wan points out that she’s a grown woman who doesn’t have to listen to her mother, Mom reminds her that she’s barely making a living as a translator. Wan grumbles that not everyone has to work twenty-four hours a day like Mom does. Is there something so wrong with a carefree life?

But Mom yells at her, pointing out that it’s not because she loves her job that she works so hard at it. Yeah, Wan knows that it’s because of her, but she’s also made a point of paying her back in her own way — even though she wasn’t very smart, she worked hard to to graduate from one of Korea’s top colleges. She studied abroad, she even grew her hair out and only wore pants since Mom wanted her to. She just needs to accept that that’s the extent Wan can go. If she wants the perfect daughter, she can go find someone else.

Wan’s attitude hasn’t always been like this, though, and Mom wonders what happened in Slovenia to make her change so much. Was it because she broke up with Yun-ha? Instead of answering, Wan leaps to her feet and yells that maybe she was just tired of being sweet all the time.

Just as Mom leaves, scoffing at Wan throwing a fit, Wan’s phone rings — it’s Yun-ha. She cradles the phone to her chest as she fights her urge to cry, and then answers with a smile on her face. He happily tells her that he’s sent her an email — it’s a video Wan took of their time together in Slovenia. As she watches, tears silently fall down her face. She remembers their happy days together.

Yun-ha also sends her a picture that she took of him. He was headed home, unaware that Wan was waiting for him. Originally she told him that she wouldn’t date him because he didn’t want to get married, but she surprises him by telling him she’s going against her mothers wishes and will move in with him — no wedding required.

Those memories should be joyful, but instead Wan weeps as she gently touches her screen while Yun-ha playfully asks if his legs look good in that photo. She doesn’t answer him as she rolls over in her bed and continues to cry.

Church is in session, and Sung-jae slides into the empty spot next to Hee-ja. She gets a text from Jung-ah telling her that they’ll go to the doctor’s today, and as she steps around him to get out, he grabs her arm, telling her it’s him, Lee Seung-jae. But she just dismisses him as though that name means nothing. Has she forgotten him?

Young-won spends time with Granny and her family. Nan-hee’s once terrifying father is rendered harmless due to a mental disability, and it’s a peaceful family afternoon in the countryside. Granny apologizes for pulling Young-won’s hair, but Young-won understands — it’s only right for a mother to support her daughter.

At the hospital, Jung-ah thinks they’ve probably wasted their money getting tested for Alzheimer’s, but the doctor reveals to them that one of them does have have a slight delusional disorder. Hee-ja looks at Jung-ah in pity, but Jung-ah is like, “He’s talking to you.”

Hee-ja’s reaction to this diagnosis is to install surveillance cameras in her home to monitor her activity and remove suspicions she might have. She also posts a handwritten note to memorize, stating that she can live on her own and then followed by a list of rules. Those rules are: to not become a burden to her family or those around her; to not complain if she is sick and instead go to the hospital by herself; if she should end up in a nursing home, she will go to there with a smile on her face; and lastly, if she does have Alzheimer’s, she should listen to her friends and family.

In her 4D way, she talks to the surveillance cameras, asking if they’re doing their job, and then scrolls through the video feeds to see if something’s amiss. She stops when she realizes that last night no one turned on the lights and was walking around the house, like she thought there was. Does this mean she really does have Alzheimer’s?

She reassures herself that even if she dies now or later, she has nothing to fear. She just hopes that death will come quickly and painlessly.

This leads up to the opening moments of the first episode, where she drinks her coffee and gazes around at the skyscrapers. She finds the perfect one — security that will be easy to bypass, and with a high enough roof. Staring down at the street far below, she says it would be perfect to die here, but then decides it won’t work — she might accidentally hurt someone if she fell on them.

Instead, she sits at a bus stop, eating bread and drinking milk. The hours pass by, and still she sits, watching the traffic. Finally, she stands up and walks into the middle of the street. Raising her arms, she plants herself in the middle of the road, ready to accept her fate as a truck barrels towards her.

COMMENTS

I suddenly have so many questions. Okay, not so many, perhaps, but definitely I have the same questions that everyone else seems to have. First, what did happen with Hee-ja’s husband? I feel like she’s an unreliable narrator, and therefore I’m uncertain if there was something truly nefarious or if it’s just her overactive paranoid imagination. I do trust Jung-ah, though, and find it somewhat suspicious that she refuses to answer Hee-ja when she asks about who knows what really happened. It makes me wonder if Hee-ja knows what happened or if her truth is a made up delusion in her mind.

I also see that first scene from the first episode in a whole new light. Knowing what I do of Hee-ja now, the fact that this woman who has been so cautious to not seem like a burden to anyone, and who is also a bit of a neat-freak, would purposefully leave behind her empty coffee cup for someone else to clean up suddenly sends up major red flags. While I know that she can’t die in the crosswalk (because she has to live on so she and Jung-ah can have their “Thelma and Louise” adventures), it does make me wonder if she’ll survive until the end of the show.

Second: Yun-ha. Is he… alive? I’m pretty sure there has to be a very serious reason he’s no longer in Wan’s life. Her reactions to his phone call made me wonder if it’s a voicemail she’s saved and replays like clockwork, trying to convince herself that he’s still near. It would explain why she had such a personality change when she returned to Seoul, because surely the grief is still strong if she’s reacting the way she is.

As we continue to get to know the characters, it’s clear that they are all very flawed human beings — but it’s also clear that we’ve yet to get the full story on anyone. While it would be easy for me to pass judgement on their actions or attitudes, there’s a part of me that also realizes that I am no saint myself. There’s a history here, too, that we the viewers are not yet completely privy to, and we must be patient as the truth is gradually revealed and prejudices are stripped away to reveal the original wounds from which the women had to learn to build protective barriers — be it delusions, or a desperate desire for attention, or to cling to a past relationship that, for whatever reason, did not end well.

However, I’m happy to be patient, since in this kind of drama, the journey is more important than the destination.

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Not sure why but this story kinda feels like the book Joy Luck Club which I read many years ago.
About a bunch of mothers and their daughters (ok in this case just Wan) and their personalities and dreams and expectations.
I feel like the characters are, although a little oddball at times, quite relatable and portrays the type of realistic relationship grown children have with their parents nowadays.
I'm looking forward to Ep 3!

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Yes, that is what I was thinking too. The characterization of each individual does seem like mothers from Joy Luck Club and also how it is written by one of the daughters and Tan's point of view of all the characters. I am very intrigue to know what happen to Yun-ha and want more of Lee Kwang soo!

thank you for the recap!

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yes! i was feeling that way too.

i have yet to tune into it and not quite sure if i will as of yet but i will be keeping up with recaps. i do like that this is character driven and i'm already enjoying the different relationships that are being explored.

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Ughh - let's just hope this isn't limited to cloy, stereotypical characterizations like in JLC.

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These were my exact thoughts when mom said "only two men...a married man (her sunbae) and a handicapped like your uncle (Yoo Han)" Wan had such strong reactions to these words. Like her whole life she's been "living for her mom" even left the man she loved to appease her...?

The way he mentions his legs and how beautiful they were, it's almost as if he's trying to hurt her with fond memories. I think she may have dumped him after he lost his legs (without explanation) knowing her mother would not accept him. We always see him sitting...then again the whole thing seems kind of too obvious.

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I think Yunha is disabled. How he asked about his legs, maybe he lost his legs, since Wan's uncle also disabled and Nanhee doesnt want Wan to have boyfriend like uncle.

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Agree with that

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What a disturbing ending, hey!

I agree with you that YH has a problem with his legs.

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Indeed, he may be disabled.

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I started watching this and I am more intrigued by these dames than by any other drama running currently.

you do know what Alfred Hitchcock had said? A filmmaker has to hold 3 subjects sacred: children, old people and animals. These will indefinitely draw people in and get their attention.
I think it was him at least.

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Thank You for the recap odilettante :)

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I started watching this show last night and I finally caught up. I was reluctant at first because I just know this show will make me cry a lot in the long run, but after watching it even though I feel my prediction will come true I will continue watching it. I just need something to fill in my withdrawal from Signal. I just like that the characters feel human and I can actually see my grandma as one of the characters.

How precious was that scene between Min-ho and his mother?

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Thank you for the recap! I watched Dear My Friends because I heard the reviews were good, and was impressed with what I saw, though it's taken a decent amount of patience to appreciate what's going on.

This is definitely really character-driven. But despite their flaws, the characters are so compelling I keep wanting to find out more about them anyway. I'm also really interested in seeing what happens to the parent-child relationships for Min-ho and Hee-ja, and for Wan and Nan-hee. o.O

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thank you for the recaps!

i think yun-ha's alive but disabled and wan being a good daughter that she is can't continue their relationship. i was crying during that scene coz they looked so in love, happy & carefree in slovenia:) and knowing that he could be is just heart-breaking:( i didn't occur to me that he could be dead coz of the scene in epi 1, wherein wan was talking on the phone w/ her publisher 'friend,' but you could be right odilettante...

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I agree I don't think he's dead but handicapped like "not handicapped like your uncle" and that is why she broke up with him. When Yoo Han mentions his legs it's almost as if he's knowingly stabbing at an open womb with her.

Also like you mentioned in ep one when she was talking with "not a married man" sunbae, Yoo Han heard and asked her to hang up because he did not like watching her talk with other men. Sunbae also heard Yoo Han and told her not to come. Unless Wan times her video replays to come in exactly when she knows the sunbae will call, or sunbae hears dead people; Yoo Han is not dead. The other ahjummas mention knowing she broke up with him and wondering why so I don't think he's dead.

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Liked this episode a lot more than the first. Felt like everyone was just yelling for and hour.

Wan and Yun-ha's relationship is already so tragic and it's only episode 2! :'( The fact the Jo In Sung is only cameo-ing makes me worried if there will be enough screen time for closure.

Hee-ja is so cute. I agree she might be an unreliable narrator. Her and Kwang Soo are adorable, but the rest of her scenes made me so sad.

Can't wait for her and Jung-ah to have their Thelma & Louise roadtrip.

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I can't wait for that road trip too, i like the movie but I didn't like the ending,
The thing that annoyed me her thinking of suicide, it's not an acceptable idea for me

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This seems like such a high quality character-driven show from the recaps. It gives me the impression that there are many layers to the story-telling and the writer will choose to reveal his cards one by one.

Lovely seeing Go Hyun Jung on the screen as well. Wonderful job with the recaps, odilettante.

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Thank you for the recap!

I don't think that Yun-ha is dead... from the first episode, when they had their videocall, he did interact with her and the call with her sunbae was unpredictable, but still he asked her to cut it off

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Yun-ha is paralyzed, I do not believe he is dead at all. Her mother said earlier that there are two types of men she disapproves of for her daughter: a married man and a man who is disabled like her uncle. That right there got my antennae up. Plus, Yun-ha goes on to say how long his legs look in the photo. I was literally waiting for the proverbial hit and run accident that often occur in kdramas to happen right there on the streets as he was coming to meet her (thankfully this did not happen...yet).

An aside, Zo In Sung is ridiculously handsome. Mind-blowingly so. He even managed to outshine the ever gorgeous Daniel Henney.

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Thank you for the recap, Odilettante! I was actually really expecting for people to weigh in their thought about this drama, because even though I tried, I couldn't relate with the character at all. I could not even understand them. And this really is a character driven drama without much plot so that is a small problem, them...

My issue with people in this drama is that I do not like any of them. In fact, some are downright appalling. The worst one has to be Suk-gyun who is just plain AWFUL to his wife. But I also strongly dislike Nan-hee and even Wan. Only character I found to be somewhat tolerable was Hee-ja and she is also the only one I was able to sympathise with, a little, at least.

What bothers me here is how horribly people in this drama treat each other. Other commenters say these ladies & old dudes remind them of their families but I have no such experience. For me the idea that I would yell at my mother like Wan does is unspeakable. And that is not even because she is my mother but because she is a person, a living human being. I would not ever speak to ANYONE like these people and I would cut out from my life anyone who tries to do that to me. From my perspective it looks like characters in this drama have no respect for each other at all. Everyone just does whatever they want to do and blatantly disregard any wants of wishes of other people (like Wan's mother or Jung-ah when feeding the kid). I felt like 90 % of dialogue was just fighting. Is this normal, then?

I suppose I will continue to watch, for a while, at least. I have some sort of a morbid interest for this drama now and even though I really dislike the characters, I have to give it to the drama for making me dislike them so fervently. I am kinda interested to know whether anything gets better and I hope that at least Suk-gyun gets some sort of comeuppance.

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Yeah, the way Wan treats her mom and yells at her is disrespectful and off putting and not in keeping with what I have seen of how children treat their parents in Asian dramas. I get that her mother is aggravating, mine often is too. I expected an eye roll, a sigh, scrunched face or other passive agressive behavior, not the outright yelling. Wan is relating to her mother like a hormonal teen aged girl, not like an adult. Enough with the yelling!

Even Kwang soo's character yells at his mom, too. But the scene where he lay on the ground with his mom in his arms is very, very sweet.

I like the drama despite its flaws, so I'll keep watching to see where it leads.

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Yeah I found it weird at first too, but later it seemed like her mom sometimes treats her like an equal, or at least, she seems to want to be pals with her, which is different than a typical Asian, respect the elder mentality. The show also seems to hint that this behavior may be abnormal for her so she may be overreacting. Lastly, I've found that as my siblings and I get older (I'm in my 30s and my sister is in her 40s), the authority my parents had has diminished as the world has changed from what they know. My sister does yell at my mom sometimes. She is now sure of her opinions, and I, too, am starting to see my parents in a new light that they are just humans and don't know everything. (Am also Asian so the respect parents thing is very ingrained in me. Took 30 yrs to realize my parents aren't perfect.)

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I'm fine with not respecting parents too much. In fact, where I come from, children are very independent and parents do not get any extra respect simply by virtue of being parents. Respect has to be earned.

However, having your own opinions and not respecting your parents "just because" is a whole different thing than yelling at the all the time and being outright belligerent and disrespectful. You should not treat ANY person like that, not just your parents.

And this is what really bugs me in this show because everyone does this. In Nan-hee's and Wan's situation I can at least see where it comes from considering Nan-hee's behaviour. She simply will NOT give up on anything until Wan explodes and often not even then. But Wan is not the only one, other kids are very disrespectful and rude to their parents, too. For example Hee-ja's kid who yells at her in the phone (TWICE) and Young-ah's daughters who also talk rudely to her. And neither Hee-ja nor Young-ah has done anything to aggravate them, they're just frustrated because things are not going just like they want to and think it's ok to pour that frustration out onto others. And for some reason they have gotten used to treating their mothers like trash. It really bugs me.

(However, all the older ladies bug me, too, so.)

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Oh, two things I forgot to mention. First, Suk-gyun was giving money to someone in this episode. That really caught my attention? Why?? The guy is SO stingy that there must be a really good reason. And the reason has to be something fishy considering the person he was giving money to didn't even want it but ran after him trying to return it. It also made me think whether he actually has a lot of money at all. Maybe he became so stingy because he had to give out part of his money away and so had to same money when it came to his family? Hmm?

Another thing. Hee-ja. Yes, I said I found her most sympathetic out of them all but she lost all my sympathies with that last scene. YOU DO NOT DO THAT. Using another person as your proxy in your suicide is a HORRIBLE thing to do! That other person will be scarred for life. No one has a right to do that and it always makes me so mad when people pull this trick. In Hee-ja's case it is even worse because she is not so far gone that she doesn't realise the possible damage she might cause to other people with her suicide. She even decided not to jump from a building because it might hurt someone when she lands. But hey, trucks don't have drivers, right! No one will be hurt, right!

UGH.

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Someone who understands korean may be able to confirm or deny, but i thought the dramafever subs had the other person calling suk gyun brother in law. Made me wonder if he was secretly giving money for his mother in law's nursing home bill and I guess his nephew in laws college tuition?

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So glad to see real people of today's world with their insecurities and sorrows. Though some things feel slightly romanticised but i should not jump into conclusion because this is not a kind of drama where the viewer is served on a platter.
I have some assumptions made, lets see how far they are right. I know i made them too early but this drama is providing a lot of fodder to think.
Here goes.
I think Yun-ha is disabled but i will be very unhappy to know that Wan left him because of her mother. I do understand that however rough she is with her mother, she feels responsible for her and that is how she has ended up doing everything her mother expected to fill in the gaps her dad left. But leaving her lover coz of that would be too much. Because the end of the day she wont be happy as her decision was not her own making and she would be passive aggressively taking it out on her mom. The blame game will begun and it will sour her relationship with her mother more.
I think probably Hee-ja's husband had alzheimer's/dementia and she according to herself was protecting him by making him sleep in the closet so he doesnt wander off or she thought he had but if he didn't wouldst he protest when she put him inside the closet? And also wouldnt the children notice. Not too sure about this one but a normal man would protest if he were made to sleep in a closet. Som there's gotto be something there.

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I love Dear My Friends so much and I'm so glad you all are reviewing it, but I don't think I can wait for the (not so secret) reveal about Yunha.

I'm quite invested in all the older characters right now, and I not only want answers about Wan/Yunha (since I believe she lied to her mother that she broke up, considering Yunha proposes the breakup in the preview for episode 3) but also for Yeongwon- why does she fawn upon Wan so much? Does she actually know what happened between Wan/Yunha, and is she all that she seems?

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Some ppl have speculated here that Wan would have left Yun-ha knowing her mother cannot accept an invalid for her husband (assuming something happened to Yun-ha).

In my opinion, if someone got dumped in that kind of a situation, it was Wan herself. It does not seem like she would go on and do as her mother wishes her to do. If she were in love with an invalid, she would fight tooth and nails with the mommy dearest and would absolutely refuse to break up. Come on, she even smokes cigarettes even though mom disapproves and while this is a minor matter, I think it showcases her attitude towards her mother's demands. She might have told Nan-hee that she HAS broken up and then continue the relationship in secret.

However, it's pretty clear that Yun-ha and Wan are not together anymore even though they do communicate still. So my guess is it was Yun-ha who terminated things after whatever happened to him and knowing Wan's mother would not accept him.

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Jung-ah getting her photo taken and joking that she was getting a funeral photo for free makes me very nervous.

Thanks for the recap!

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I am not familiar with this granny actress but they catch my attention to this drama.... I remember my parents if they getting old.

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I love seeing Wan and Yuhan conversation I feel emotional with their relationship. Hope they wouldn't end up and give up each other.

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What is the name of the song where jo in sung called the woman?

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