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Boyfriend: Episode 14

For the first time, our lovers are faced with an enemy that actually has the power to ruin everything — fear. So far, the challenges they’ve faced have been easily conquered because they weren’t much worried about the consequences. But when one of them comes face-to-face with their worst fear, it may be more than the relationship can withstand.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

After Jin-hyuk’s mother begs her to break up with her son, Soo-hyun goes home feeling despondent. She can’t stop thinking about how his mother said that she wants to have her family live a normal, happy life, and that she’s scared Jin-hyuk will get his heart broken.

At work the next day, Secretary Jang brings Soo-hyun the preserved bouquet that Jin-hyuk gave her. She wonders sadly how long the flowers will last, and Secretary Jang says they’re supposed to last at least five years.

Soo-hyun’s father invites Jin-hyuk to dinner, and he asks how things are going with Soo-hyun after their rough patch. Jin-hyuk says that he cherishes Soo-hyun very much, and that she taught him how it feels to love, so he wants to take responsibility for that love.

He’s stating his intent to marry her, and her dad says that his biggest worry has always been that Soo-hyun would end up alone. Because of that, he’s always been to scared to do something he’s always wanted to do, but he says he’s going to do it now that Jin-hyuk is by her side.

Secretary Jang goes to see Dae-chan, to ask him about the note Jin-hyuk’s mom wrote to Soo-hyun. He says he didn’t read it, and Secretary Jang grumbles that Soo-hyun is acting strange. Jin-myung joins them, and he volunteers Secretary Jang to work a shift for him while he goes to a reunion, sweet-talking her into it by calling her the Goddess of Waiting Tables. LOL, she’s so easy.

Soo-hyun’s father visits the columbarium where his old friend Jung-pyo’s ashes are stored. He apologizes for not coming ever since he got into politics, and says that he’ll come back again after he gets everything sorted out.

On his way out, he runs into Driver Nam and DK, so they go to lunch together. DK asks why he stopped visiting Jung-pyo with them years ago, addressing him as “Congressman,” but he mutters that they won’t be able to call him that much longer. He says he only came to report to Jung-pyo, but he doesn’t elaborate on his cryptic statements.

Soo-hyun asks Secretary Jang to drink with her, surprising Secretary Jang when she takes her to a pojangmacha instead of a fancy wine bar. After a few shots, Secretary Jang asks what’s up, and Soo-hyun just says, “Nothing yet.” Secretary Jang guesses that Jin-hyuk’s mother must have told her to break up with Jin-hyuk, and although Soo-hyun says that’s not it, she looks like she’s on the verge of tears.

She admits that she’s not sure if she should keep seeing Jin-hyuk, and Secretary Jang says that she approves of them now, so why would Soo-hyun think this way? Soo-hyun says she thinks she doesn’t fit with his family, but Secretary Jang snaps that what matters is that they fit.

Soo-hyun says sadly that everything is new for Jin-hyuk, while she’s been married and lives in the spotlight, and there’s a limit to how much they can dream together. Secretary Jang reminds her that Jin-hyuk doesn’t care about those things, but Soo-hyun admits that she’s bothered by them.

Watching Soo-hyun struggle not to cry, Secretary Jang sighs and says that it’s Soo-hyun’s first love, too. They both burst into tears, and Soo-hyun sobs that she doesn’t want to break up, so Secretary Jang tells her not to, but Soo-hyun says that her heart keeps sinking.

Soo-hyun tells her friend, “Jin-hyuk made a decision. He made the decision to be with me, who has a life where everything works outside of common sense. But his family never signed up for this. It’s all my fault. In a life like mine, things happen all at once, like a storm. There’s no time to look back. That’s why I can’t just ignore this.”

Secretary Jang tells her to talk to Jin-hyuk about this, but Soo-hyun argues that he’ll only tell her not to worry and then suffer alone. She feels like she’s the one who has to decide if they move forward or not. Secretary Jang says that Jin-hyuk is a better person than her, because he will hug her, carry her, and be with her until the end.

Jin-hyuk gets the idea to make a camera case, so he visits a studio that teaches leatherworking. He learns how to work the leather, which is painstaking, but rewarding.

He calls Soo-hyun in the morning, disappointed that she hasn’t called him since they both have the day off. Soo-hyun tells him she’s going to the countryside on personal business, and he invites himself along to help.

They end up at an art gallery, and Jin-hyuk notices that Soo-hyun seems sad as she looks at the paintings. He invites her to walk outside with him, and as they go, they’re spotted by Woo-seok’s former girlfriend, Soo-ah.

Jin-hyuk says he’s been thinking of something to do with his vacation days, and suggests they go on a trip together in the summer. Soo-hyun doesn’t answer, so he tells her to think about it.

On the drive back to the city, Mrs. Lee calls Jin-hyuk and asks him to have Soo-hyun visit her alone. He jokes that she probably wants to tell Soo-hyun a bunch of bad stories about him, but he’s noticed that Soo-hyun is preoccupied, so he casually adds that Mrs. Lee is a great listener.

That evening, Jin-hyuk and his mother go to dinner together, just the two of them. Jin-hyuk asks how she felt about having Soo-hyun to the house, and when Mom says that she just tried to take care of their guest, Jin-hyuk chides that Soo-hyun is more than a guest.

Mom asks if it won’t be hard for them, being from such different worlds. Jin-hyuk says that he never thought he’d like someone this much, but Soo-hyun is more than just someone passing through his life. He says he’d like for Mom to like her, too, because she’s a good person who makes him a better person.

Mom says that he’s young, and she wants him to consider all of his options and not just settle on one path. But Jin-hyuk says he loves only two women in this world, her and Soo-hyun, though in different ways. Mom says that her love won’t change because she’s his mother, but Jin-hyuk insists that Soo-hyun’s love won’t change, either, that it’s too late for that.

Soo-hyun ends up visiting Mrs. Lee, who asks if Soo-hyun feels closer to Jin-hyuk after meeting his family. Soo-hyun says she does, but Mrs. Lee can tell something is wrong, so Soo-hyun asks if she can vent her worries. Mrs. Lee promises no to repeat anything she hears today, not even to Jin-hyuk.

Soo-hyun says that she laughs more since she met Jin-hyuk, because she’s never been so happy. But she reveals that Jin-hyuk’s mother came to see her, and that she’d expected it. She says that ever since Jin-hyuk suggested they be in a “some” relationship, she’s been worried whether his parents would like her.

Crying now, she sobs that it would be wrong of her to disrupt the happiness of Jin-hyuk’s family. She asks if she should go to them and beg understanding, but she already knows how exhausting it is to live in the public eye. She says that she knows she must end things, and Mrs. Lee sits looking sorrowful long after she’s gone.

A news article goes out, announcing that Soo-hyun’s father has merged parties and dropped out of the presidential race. Woo-seok in particular looks sick about it, knowing that his mother will use this as more evidence that Soo-hyun should be removed as CEO of Donghwa Hotel. And he’s not wrong — when she sees the article, she fumes that she’ll get revenge on Soo-hyun’s father for dropping her before she could drop him.

But nobody is angrier than Soo-hyun’s mother, who confronts her husband for making this decision without telling her. Her main concern is the loss of her dream of being First Lady, and Soo-hyun’s father looks embarrassed at her selfish rant.

He tells her that he’s grateful for everything she’s done, but he wants to start a new dream. He says he needs her help with something else, because this is just the beginning.

Soo-hyun asks her dad why he’s doing this after he’s worked so hard. He also tells her that this is just the beginning, and that he feels there are more important things he should be doing while he has the power to do them. He says he feels like a huge weight is off his shoulders, and he thanks her for setting a courageous example.

Afterward, he goes for a drink with Driver Nam, so Driver Nam asks Jin-hyuk to drive Soo-hyun home. Jin-hyuk asks Soo-hyun if she was startled by her dad’s news, but she says she was mostly startled by his bravery. Jin-hyuk says that in times like this, you should become even happier than usual, and that she has her father, her employees, and him all loving and protecting her.

Secretary Jang calls Soo-hyun from Dae-chan’s restaurant to tell her something, which makes Jin-hyuk want to go there for dinner. Soo-hyun isn’t in the mood, so Jin-hyuk tells her to choose — spending time with him, or going to eat moon snails.

Secretary Jang is working because Jin-myung is at a reunion. He spends the evening fending off questions about Jin-hyuk and how his family must be rich now that he’s dating Soo-hyun. One guy keeps making suggestive comments about Jin-hyuk seducing a rich CEO, until Jin-myung loses his temper and punches him, sparking a fight.

He calls Dae-chan, who runs out to pick him up at the police station. While he’s gone, Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun arrive at the restaurant, so Secretary Jang nervously explains what happened. Jin-hyuk also goes to the station and finds Jin-myung looking unhappy and ashamed, and he gently takes his little brother’s hand.

From outside, Soo-hyun sees them together, both downcast. She can’t help but think of what their mother said about her fear of gossip and what it might do to Jin-hyuk and her family. She walks back to her car and cries, her own fears of disrupting Jin-hyuk’s life swirling in her mind with memories Jin-hyuk saying that he wants to live with her for the rest of his life.

Jin-hyuk and Jin-myung go to their playground, where Jin-hyuk praises his brother for defending his family. Jin-myung says grumpily that he didn’t do it for Jin-hyuk, it’s just that that guy has teased him since middle school. Jin-hyuk suggests they keep this from Mom and Dad, and he apologizes, then offers to kiss Jin-myung’s booboos, hee.

Back at home, Jin-hyuk calls Soo-hyun and tells her what happened, leaving out the reason Jin-myung got in the fight (he doesn’t know that she already heard it from Secretary Jang). She knows he’s not telling the truth, but she doesn’t say anything.

At work, Secretary Jang tells Soo-hyun that Soo-ah, Woo-seok’s ex-girlfriend, wants to meet with her. Soo-hyun agrees, and Soo-ah gives her the painting that Soo-hyun liked at the gallery, which happens to be Soo-ah’s artwork. She says she’s moving to New York, so the painting is an apology.

She explains that her relationship with Woo-seok was entirely fake, and that for the occasional dinner or play, she was paid enough to be able to go to college and open up an art academy. She confesses that after a while she developed feelings for Woo-seok, but that he never for an instant returned those feelings.

Soo-hyun thinks about this for a while, then goes to Woo-seok to say that she knows everything. She asks why he did it, and he says it was to give her space. Soo-hyun says it must have been tough, but he replies that it was nothing compared to what she went though in his home.

She says she’s grateful, but that what he did broke her heart. She tells him that she was ridiculed and gossiped about, and that you should consider the other’s feelings when you break up. Looking ashamed, Woo-seok says that he thought he could make her happy when he brought her into Taekyung Group, then he thought it would make her happy to send her away.

Soo-hyun acknowledges that it must have been hard for him too, with nobody to talk to. But she tells him to let it all go and stop worrying about her, and she says that he taught her how to part ways.

Jin-hyuk finishes the camera case he’s been making, then calls Soo-hyun to invite her to go to a bookstore with him tomorrow. He’s surprised when she accepts, since that’s one of his date ideas that she didn’t seem keen on, and she adds that she also wants to go to a famous restaurant and stand in line to wait for a table.

The next day, they stop at a coffee shop and decide to take more pictures of themselves, since Soo-hyun feels like she looked stiff in the other ones. They head to the bookstore and spend time just browsing lazily, enjoying the low-key time together.

Soo-hyun finds a copy of the book that Jin-hyuk told her about once, where a poet buried a letter to his loved one under a tree, and Jin-hyuk offers to buy it for her. Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk read one passage out loud together:

Who is this girlfriend from the poem? Someone kind. How did you two meet? You must have loved her dearly. That’s right. I did. I even wanted to take her to the ends of the world.

Jin-hyuk goes to the counter to buy the book, and Soo-hyun stands watching him from a short distance away. He looks up and gives her a happy smile, and she smiles back. But her smile breaks, and tears fill her eyes.

Jin-hyuk: “Soo-hyun-sshi, I wonder where your world ends. Wherever it is, though, I’m certain that I’ll be there with you.

Soo-hyun: “Jin-hyuk-sshi, I am now going to part ways with you.”

 
COMMENTS

I really had hoped that we could get through this entire drama without something like this happening, because Soo-hyun and Jin-hyuk’s determination to stay together no matter what happens has always been my favorite part of the show. I’m disappointed that Soo-hyun caved to Jin-hyuk’s mother’s pressure, and I just want to (metaphorically) smack his mom for making Soo-hyun feel like she’s not good enough for their family. I know Soo-hyun loves Jin-hyuk, and I know she’s scared because she’s been hurt before, but I’d just thought she had more faith in his love than to do this. I hope that Jin-hyuk fights back, and refuses to allow this — he usually knows what Soo-hyun is feeling even before she does, so I have faith in him to see through her and realize that this isn’t what she really wants.

Not that I don’t understand her fear, and her reasoning for this decision. Soo-hyun has never had a warm, loving family, and I think that she was deeply affected by that simple dinner at Jin-hyuk’s house, and how happy and close his family are. She thought, for a moment, that she’d been accepted by this wonderful family, then she got slapped in the face by his mother’s disapproval of their relationship. And Jin-hyuk’s mom hit a really big nerve when she said she’s scared that being involved with Soo-hyun might disrupt the simple peace her family has, because she’s not wrong — it already has, in some ways. So Soo-hyun, who has longed for a family like his and who, for just a moment, got to dream of joining them, was suddenly painted as the outsider who could ruin it all, and joining Jin-hyuk’s family went from being her fondest dream to her biggest fear. In her mind, she’s doing for Jin-hyuk what Woo-seok did for her — letting him go so that he can be happy.

I guess that I just wish Jin-hyuk’s mother hadn’t gone straight to “you’re going to destroy everything,” but instead had approached Soo-hyun with an attitude of, “My son loves you and you’re a wonderful person, let’s talk about ways that we can support you two without upsetting the bonds of our family.” Just because Mom fears that her family might be negatively affected by Soo-hyun’s fame and status, doesn’t mean that the family crumbing is the only possible result — they could become stronger, like Jin-hyuk and Soo-hyun have as a couple. It especially bothers me that Mom came to Soo-hyun as if she were speaking on behalf of the whole family, yet the other three members — Dad, Jin-hyuk, and Jin-myung — all love Soo-hyun and support their relationship. But Mom had a fear, and instead of discussing it with her family first and letting them help her find a more loving, understanding way around the problem, she just went straight to the “nuke it from orbit” solution all on her own. She completely undermined Soo-hyun’s confidence in herself and ignored her own son’s strength to withstand anything that might come at them. Mom made Soo-hyun feel as if her very presence in Jin-hyuk’s life would destroy his family, when Jin-hyuk’s whole argument to Soo-hyun regarding their relationship is that they don’t have to let outside influences change them.

The problem, as I’ve seen it from almost the beginning, is Soo-hyun’s lack of confidence. She wasn’t raised with love and when she married, there was no love shown to her. She was only valuable for what she represented, like status and connections — she was never treated as though she, herself, was a valuable gift. But her status and connections aren’t things that would benefit Jin-hyuk or his family, so from the moment she fell in love with Jin-hyuk, she’s been afraid that she has nothing valuable to offer him. Jin-hyuk can tell her every day for the rest of his life that her love is enough and that he doesn’t care what others think, but Soo-hyun grew up in a world where the opinions of others are more important than anything else, and she knows how painful gossip can be. She doesn’t have the confidence that Jin-hyuk has to disregard all that and let the chips fall where they may. She’s terrified that her love will harm Jin-hyuk in some way, so she would rather let him go than hurt him (and his family) just by loving him. This isn’t noble idiocy — it’s fear, plain and simple. Until Soo-hyun learns to get over her fear and trust Jin-hyuk when he says that she’s worth it, just herself and nothing else, this relationship will never work.

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@lollypip, I agree with you that she thinks she's doing for Jin-hyuk what Woo-seuk did for her, but I don't get her reasoning. Woo-seuk's love was one-sided. He knew when he let Soo-hyun go, she would be happier. But how can she think that Jin-hyuk is going to be happier without her? How can she not understand that she is going to devastate him? Willful blindness? I'm disappointed in her character, but I'm even more disappointed in the writer for manufacturing this crisis to carry the story for a few episodes, until she can wind it up with a happy ending.

Sticking with this for the side characters for now: Dae-chan, Secretary Jang, Driver Nam, and the two dads.

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I agree. What drew me into this drama was how steadfast Soo Hyun was in going after her own happiness for the first time in her life. The breakup seems out of touch with the 13 episodes prior in which this couple overcame hurdle after hurdle.

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Exactly. She gave in way too easily.

I think Mrs. Lee was sad because Soo-hyun didn't care enough to fight for her relationship with Jin-hyuk.

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totally agree.
looks like i'll drop this for a while and continue later when they make up and agree to fight together..

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I was really rooting for Soo Hyun not to cave but she did

Ugh, I had so much hope in her. We were finally seeing her taking charge of her own life but another mother had to ruin it

I really hope the writer can turn this around. The break-up is inevitable but I still want Soo Hyun to be the one the initiate the inevitable reunio

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Don’t underestimate how much Soo Hyun wishes she had a loving family, and how much she values and envies loving families.

If mom had come to her saying “I don’t want you dating my son because he’s too young” I don’t think Soo Hyun would back down. She’s got faith in Jin Hyuk. But mom basically said “you’re a home wrecker, back off” - that’s HORRIFYING to someone like Soo Hyun. She has no control or influence over Jin Hyuk’s mother and she has two very potent life experiences with mothers bending entire families to their will. She’s had two mothers make her miserable, why would she put Jin Hyuk in that position when he seems to have a good relationship with his mom?

This is part of why I wonder how furious Jin Hyuk will be when he figures out what happened. He’s been so perceptive and so careful, and his mom basically found Soo Hyun’s biggest wound and sucker-punched her. Poor Soo Hyun.

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Good insight!

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"I'm even more disappointed in the writer for manufacturing this crisis to carry the story for a few episodes"

A drama has to have conflict or opposition, or it isn't really a story. If this story had only external enemies like WS's mother and her minions, it would feel too simple. A relationship like theirs would face a number of problems, and for a character like SH, significant self-doubt is not surprising.

I think this crisis was inevitable because it is realistic. It's contrasting the fairy tale of their relationship on vacation in Cuba with their "real world" of Korea.

Of course they are in a fairy tale of their own (called a drama, which we are all watching), so they will get through this crisis and end up with a Happily Ever After. And I will be happy for it!

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I think the difference is that some crises feel organic to the story, while others don't. I see things a little differently, personally. JH has been basically talking at SH about their "love" this whole time, while she spent most of her time looking like she was flattered by the attention but mostly wanted to flee. I know that, almost certainly, this was NOT the dynamic the writers were going for, but it's what it has always seemed like to me. There was no substantive build of the relationship. So, for me, her breaking up with him is not only completely in character, but frankly, the first action she has taken in the relationship that made any sense to me. I'm here for it. But I get why others, who somehow thought this was a solid relationship, are disappointed.

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Exactly, "some crises feel organic to the story, while others don't."

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Thank you for writing the analysis in such a way that it gives me hope. Once Soo Hyun overcomes her fear and lack of self-worth, they can get back together. At the same time, I hope Jin Hyuk's mum retracts her decision after seeing the pain it has caused, and gives her approval. I really do hate her for it but I know she has allowed her inner fears and protectiveness to overrule her faith and trust in Jin Hyuk.

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I don’t think Jin Hyuk’s Mom is thinking this through. She’s got a comfortable life that aligns with her expectations and a son who’s never caused her a moment’s worry. She sees Soo Hyun as a threat and made the unilateral decision to keep that threat away. She appears not to have thought of the next step, which is what happens when your infatuated son is dumped mysteriously by the woman he’s been in love with for months.

She doesn’t seem to get that there is no “go back to the way things used to be”. From here on in, Jin Hyuk will know her as the person who told the woman he wanted to marry that she’s not welcome in the family and not right for him. I don’t know why Mom would think that negligible, which is part of why I don’t think she considered it at all.

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I was hoping the last few eps would be about her fighting her ex mother-in-law for her hotel. Not her trying to do the noble idiot thing to spare Jin-hyuk and his family. That man ran 2 hrs to her place in the cold because he missed her..he ain't going anywhere. She just needs faith that her and her love is enough for him and his family.

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I'm sure the two of them will eventually work it out after the angst. I'm still mad at Jinhyuk's mom. Like you said, she was speaking on behalf of everyone in the family, but she didn't discuss it with anyone else in the family -- in fact, she's deliberately hiding what she did from everyone. Ugh.

But this ep I was happy to see that Soohyun's dad has broken free of his political pressures. It must be super hard to run for any office these days -- you can't really be yourself, you have to hold hands with people you don't want to hold hands with, you have to cover up so many things. Excited to see what he'll do next.

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This terrible of me, but all I kept thinking during the last part of this episode was how this was like basically giving a puppy everything he wants before taking him to the vet to have him put to sleep. Jin-hyuk’s devestation is going to be epic and I hope Bo-gum delivers.

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I saw the preview of his devastation and he does not disappoint.

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When Soo-hyun said that Woo-seok taught her how to part ways, I took that to mean she learned what NOT to do, since the manner in which he broke up with her (unilaterally deciding to end the relationship because he thought it would benefit her) broke her heart. So to see her readying to do the exact same thing to Jin-hyuk is confusing. Did I miss something?

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I think she might have meant that Wooseok was a jerk to her and made her believe he was having an affair to get her to leave the marriage, even for her own good. So she's being super nice to Jinhyuk before they break up, but I'm thinking that may make it worse.

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I definitely think that may make things worse. Lulling someone into a false sense of security before hurting them? How is that better than letting them brace themselves for the heartbreak? Or better yet, TALKING to him about your concerns and coming to a decision about your future together.

Sigh. A drama's gotta have some drama, I guess. Although why that drama has to come at the cost of good characterisation, I'll never know.

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While i don't agree with soo hyun, I can understand how she arrived at her decision to part ways. I think mothers are one of soo hyun's fears/weaknesses: her mum treats her as a pawn, her former mother-in-law treated her as a hostage, and here comes another one sobbing and asking her to break up with her son. She's always tried to please the mother figures in her life and perhaps this was another case of doing so, and like lollypip mentioned, the fear perhaps robbed her of her usual collectedness that she displayed in the meeting with jin hyuk's dad (but then again I thought his dad approached her in a much more respectful way by sharing his concerns but not imposing a certain action on her).

And I feel tbh, it's not easy to separate family from the equation. Yes a relationship is between two people, but in asian culture, the family is usually not far away, although I don't deny this is gradually changing. If our couple here got married, maybe jin hyuk would move out (which goes against the norm of parents staying with the eldest son)... Imagine all the gossip they would have to deal with (def bound to happen). Perhaps then jin hyuk's mum would resent soo hyun even more (not defending his mum, I think she overstepped in this case).

Whatever it is, I just hope they'll pull through as a couple in the end! Rooting for soo hyun to find her own happy relationship!

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I was so frustrated throughout this episode. I'd thought their love is so strong to hold them together. I'd never thought Soo-hyun would make that decision. She's better talk to JH.

But in term of their "behaviour". this episode is quite relate-able. We know Soo-hyun was conflicted, and she "changed" a little bit from her usual manner while she's with JH. On the other hand, JH started to feel that something is wrong.

This is the first time I love brotherly relationship after the Three Brothers in "My Mister." These two brothers are completely differently personalities, but they love each and protect each other dearly...

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I'm only following the drama through recaps & I just gotta say: *facepalm.

The unilateral decision making & the withholding of information trope has been rearing its ugly head from earlier episodes - like when Jin Hyuk knew he was being transferred but didn't inform Soo Hyun - and seems to be out in fill force now. I hope all of the next episode won't be wasted on them pining for each other. :/

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Lack of communication leading to disaster is pretty much consistent throughout fiction. I wished it wasn't the issue here but sadly... Wouldn't everything be less problematic if Mom had just TOLD HER SON ABOUT HER WORRIES??!
I get that Soo Hyun knows what he'd say before he says it (me too), but it's still so frustrating.

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@BdxPelik @Bangtan to respond to both, the lack of communication in these women is typical of those who claim to know everything and are actually insecure and scared, because strong people, as Jin Hyuk or father, do not fear comparison.

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I think Soo Hyun is pretty strong too. Probably stronger than Jin Hyuk given what she's gone through. :/

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what a bad thing to follow something with the stories and impressions of others. it means not living it in the first person. Read summaries rather than books and reviews rather than watching a movie? You do not know what you're missing. The emotions through a third party are fake.

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LOL thanks for your concern but don't worry, I watch my own dramas. I dropped this one because it put me to sleep & am simply reading to find out where the story is going.

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y'know, i waa*yaaaawn*nt to like this drama, but for some reason i find myself getting up to go look for something to eat or get distracted in the house.....

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I agree. It's pretty and I like the art work (and the ex). Jang Seung Jo deserves a lead role.

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After decades of abuse at the hand of people she called 'mother', the last thing in the universe SH needs is another 'mother''s rejection.

If there's one thing I'd call her condition it would be PTSD.
She desperately wanted their relationship to work out, but for the entire time she could not shake the feeling that it was all a dream; that the universe could not stand her being happy, and that one moment or the other it will all be taken away. When SH's mother did what she did, it only came as a confirmation of her worst fears. She knew it was coming, that's why she could not even fight it; learned helplessness we call it - when life has beaten you down so badly that you don't even dare to try rising up anymore...

And I've heard people pile all the hate on SH for it. But to me this is unfair. I blame JH's mother for (metaphorically) stabbing her straight in the heart. I am somewhat angry at JH too - for naively hoping things would sort themselves out on their own, rather than doing something about it. But SH is but a victim here. And she has the tears to prove it.

No matter what comes of their relationship they need to have an open conversation about all this mess. I am tired of all the deciding-on-behalf-of-the-other-for-their-own-benefit nonsense.

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I think you are spot on here, CHARLIE. I couldn't sleep after watching ep 13 and the scene when JH's mother slipped the knife in (and she acknowledged that she tore SH's heart apart!). After reading your reflection I remembered a similar event in my own life, and how a comment that perfectly fit my worst fears made me give up and decide I couldn't do something any more.

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I don't want to rain on anyone's parade..... but PBG is so good at playing quirky that seeing him play a nice normal boring guy is, well, kinda boring.... And SHG's character just has no personality. I know that she is supposed to play the repressed, but likable lady, but to me, she isn't so likable, just kinda boring. And, I don't feel the chemistry between the two. BUT.... will I stick it out to the bitter end? Yeah, of course!

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She’s good at portraying stoic characters that much I can tell

I think her claim to fame nowadays is being half of the Song-Song couple whose hype I just don’t get. DOTS was written by an idiot

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I couldn’t get through the first episode of DOTS either, but SHK was famous way before DOTS and that “idiot” who wrote it makes about a half million dollars ever time she writes a script. I understand the hype, even if it wasn’t my cup of tea.

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I also couldn't get into DOTS. I don't particularly like the writer. But I wouldn't characterize her as an "idiot." Seems a little harsh.

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I watched DOTS for the bromance. The romance was eh.... And the story was even more eh... But there were some great fun bromance moments

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I think Jin Hyuk is anything but boring. Is it boring to love a woman and his family with all of herself? want to protect it from everyone? Is it boring to love art and poetry? if so, I would like a man so boring for me. Jin Hyuk is a sensitive man, charming, with a beautiful thinking mind and a big heart. I I also like SH character, even if I do not approve of her decision, I understand her. She's afraid. It's the first time he loves. very good the SHK in acting to interpret her feelings even just with the eyes. I find then that Bo Gum made it masterfully as always and I liked him in this role as in others. The characters that I find boring are the men arrogant, forcibly eccentric and I find trivial the actors that exaggerate their interpretations with overly false expressions.

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Episode breaks my heart for SH and JH and wanted to pull JH's mum's hair for what she did.

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every relationship goes through negative moments, now it's up to them. this is realistic, as is the concern of Jin Hyuk's mother to keep the family situation always the same. I do not leave the drama because I know that JH will suffer but will fight for her. I only wish there were twenty more episodes. There are stupid dramas that go an eternity and this masterpiece will end too soon.

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Why do you have to wine and dine someone before you break up with the person. It doesn't make it any better. Saying to her ex that because of him she knows how to break up with someone. If you want to break up, go straight to the point. Dont use dubious means. It'll still hurt

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Maybe because she loves him?

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Probably she meant that she won't say something like: "I don't love you" as WS did with her.

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What will she now say??

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The truth, I hope. We'll see.

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After watching this episode I was very upset and disappointed (and those who read my wall know), but the comments on episode 13 about social context, LollyPip's considerations here and my own reflections about SH's character made me understand better the situation.
I don't like it anyway, but it has sense now.

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I really hope Soo-hyun's last words won't be put in effect and that the show is not leaning towards noble idiocy. It has been so good so far in being mostly rational.

It wouldn't make sense for her to actually break up with JH. I really thought that the conversation she had with WS after finding out about the fake girlfriend shifted her ideas, and let her see things a little clearer and more objectively. SHE was the one going on about how he was inconsiderate of her feelings, and that she was ridiculed... which is the same thing that would happen to JH if she breaks up with him!
Plus, if she's really planning on doing it... why go to the lengths of stepping out in public in such a major way and having a really good time? Breaking up after that would just be cruel and like rubbing salt into the wound.
I'm hoping that her words were cut short for the sake of drama or something, and that we'll get to hear the rest of that train of thought. Something along the lines of "I am now going to break up with you... that's what I've been telling myself. But I can't bring myself to do it."

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Totally unrelated, and I've been wanting to say this for a few episodes now. Jin Hyuk's mom reminds me of Sandra Oh

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seriously, they could be sisters!

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I was thinking she resembled someone.. now I see! Thanks!
Dr.Yang is the best!

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Just have to say: the acting in this drama is impressive. When KSY cries, I feel like crying too. When JH says he loves her, I feel it too. I'm hoping for a nice ending, a happy finale. But, however it ends, I think I am satisfied with this drama. It was a simple, contemplative love story about two individuals, with different personalities, who love each other very differently, but very dearly. I think it's different, and I particularly like the fact that JH is written the way he is and not the typical alpha-male. Really hope the ending won't make me regret watching the drama ( I have MoA PTSD, lol).

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After reading LollyPip's closing comments on the Jin's Mom, I have thought about 2 things.

1.) She went for the jugular when she said there is no way those two would get married. She saw the rings, she knew they were serious.

2.) She needs to get over this dream that Jin-hyuk and Jin-myung are the same when their actions have been anything but. Jin-hyuk, who chose to work and travel and take a corporate job and become involved with a woman who is educated, refined, successful and wealthy. The things that she wants are the things that Jin-myung will more that likely do in the future. She needs to stop this pipe dream that Jin-hyuk will do the same. That dude does not strike me as stagnant and it is amazing that Mom would expect that of him all under the guise of disruption.

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The way JH's mum structured the entire argument was for maximum effect, meant to silence SH before she could even get a word in:
1) I'm sorry (but not really, since it's all your fault anyways)
2) please break up with my son (this is the best solution I've decided on, no need for discussion)
3) Rubbish excuse about see what the neighbor said about JH - qed you can only make him (but mostly me) miserable
4) It's not like you were getting married anyways
(who cares about rings and 'can't live without her' declarations - marriage was always out of the question in my book.)
5) Sees SH broken and crying so she starts crying harder (see you are totally destroying our happy family.)
She gave SH absolutely no chance.

I called this manipulative for a reason. Whether it came from a rational plan or intuition does not matter. She was delivering a proclamation. That 'discussion' was intended as completely one directional. The message: "you are not good enough, so stay away." And everybody's feelings but mine be damned.

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Good breakdown - I agree. Mom knows she’s going nuclear. That’s why she’s being secretive about it, and also why she posed it the way she did. “You’re destroying my family, and besides you wouldn’t marry in regardless” to a woman wearing your son’s ring, who your son describes as being the only other woman in his heart? She’s willfully misrepresenting a lot of this, so as to better argue that Soo Hyun should duck out.

She thinks she’s doing it out of love, but YIKES.

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"Mom being secretive." Ok, again, more than 99% of k-drama parents who try to get their child's significant other to break up with them do so secretly. They are usually mothers, but are occasionally fathers. They call to summon the significant other and then order them to break up. Unless you are new to k-dramas, you have seen this time and time again.

So why the especial hatred for this mother? That is what parents in the culture according to dramas when they do not approve of a relationship.

This would be completely outlandish boundary-crossing behavior in Western cultures, but it is not in the context of Korean dramas. It is just an obstacle to overcome.

Do I like Jin Hyuk's mother? No, not especially. Am I happy she decided to interfere? No. I cried with SH. But the sheer amount of vitriol directed to JH's mother, and only his mother, is amazing to me. This while everyone is virtually ignoring the other two mothers who are just incredibly abusive.

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Two things:

1) just because a thing is done all the time does not make it right.

2) the reason why I am angry at JH's mum specifically is because I expected better from her. SH's mum and WS's mum were clearly labeled from the beginning as 'crazy kdrama parent' types. I hate them in the abstract, but don't care about them as people. And at least they are upfront about their position. But I do feel entitled to a lot better from a parent of someone like JH.

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"...the reason why I am angry at JH's mum specifically is because I expected better from her."

Well, ok, but then she is getting a disproportionate amount of hate for the crime. Whereas the crazy moms are the ones that inflicted all the scars on SH. JH's mom is not trying to grind SH into dust. She is just trying to get SH to stop dating her son, for very understandable reasons. She doesn't know that SH has sustained deep emotional wounds inflicted by the other mothers.

I'm sure JH's mother knows that it will hurt both SH and JH to break up, but I believe she is operating under the assumption that it will hurt less in the long run to "nip it in the bud." She doesn't really understand how deeply JH is already in it at that point.

I could tell you blood-curdling tales about real-life Korean moms I have known, lol. JH's mother is a pussycat.

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Not to mention that the accusation that this timid, unsophisticated woman, who has been shown to care deeply about her son, is some vicious, manipulative,mother, with a well planned mission to attack and destroy SH is so far fetched and divorced from what’s being shown on the screen that it actually made me laugh out loud.

It’s just another tired, unoriginal storyline in this badly written drama, which is being romanticized and given undeserving praise from some viewers.

I blame it on fan loyalty to certain actors. What else could explain it??

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I agree with the first half of your comment, Vespertyne, but not the second.

I don't think it's tired, unoriginal, or badly written. I think it's telling a story within certain recognizable boundaries (you can call them tropes if you like) - but with a twist on the usual.

And I think the actors are doing a fine job with characters that are out of the norm and consistent to themselves: a restrained professional woman, a non-alpha man who manages to be different while still fulfilling societal expectations (good son, good friend, office worker, etc.).

They have close friends, but not many. They are more on the introverted side, and think and feel more than they say. The arts are deeply meaningful to them and are a part of their inner worlds (painting, poetry, photography, music).

The lead characters and this story are not going to be to everyone's taste. I like this drama. :)

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The more I replay it and the more comments I read from you all, the more awful it is.

I was a bit sympathetic to her at first, now, she is just like the other mothers but with a smaller bank account.

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I realize I sound really mad and bitter. That's because I am actually furious. I knew from the very beginning that getting mum's approval would be the biggest hurdle in their relationship - from the very beginning she was shown as having a stereotyped way of thinking and being quietly stubborn (it's no great secret that JH got his one-way ways from mum, his generosity from dad, and his openness from Mrs.Lee). So mum saying no was perfectly expected. But the way she went about it... that was just horrible. Can't imagine any worse scenario. With a few well-placed words, she destroyed the little confidence SH had spent an entire series to build. She completely and utterly broke her son's heart and wrecked their happy family. The fact that she thinks everything will neatly go back to normal after shoving SH out of the way is borderline insane...

At this point I want SH to just stand up for herself, even if she breaks up with JH in the process. Come out and spell it out - that she is worth more than another crappy mother in law. Of course she loves him too much to risk alienating him from his family...

Another thought that crossed my mind is that if SH did not believe in the possibility of a happily ever after, then she blew up her everything for a little bit of temporary happiness. I find that awe inspiring, but also immensely sad.

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Yet, I am afraid it will be noble idiocy. Which I don't know if I can bear. I will cry rivers 😩😥

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I really love lollypip comment about Soo hyun! Also I think she is struggling with depression... Reason for me thinking that way is because she seem to have low energy true the drama, even though she have become more lively with Jin Hyuk. remember her having insomnia and taking sleeping pill for it, where she even did take a spur at the moment walk in Cuba after, not caring for her safety. that to me is a sign for depression where a person just doing random dangerous stuff because they don´t care for their life... Point is that I think this in some way have affected how she react to heir relationship with JH. To me she have clearly taken longer time to be where he is and also reacted with being apprehensive. But she like JH in her own way. I am scared for her mental stage as she is even thinking about breaking up with JH... heck I am scared for both of them

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I think she is depressed, too. There are all signs. And this makes the things sadder and sadder.

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I‘m honestly tempted to wait until I watch the final two episodes before commenting but that’s cheating.
I have to give this show credit for inspiring quite a lot of analysis, even though my opinion on it flip flips almost daily.
I was loving every minute of it even though I had a few quibbles about it. Then episode 12 came along and it was almost entirely an episode made up of those quibbles - and that means they can hardly be said to be quibbles anymore.
The biggest quibble is how stylised and almost awkward the OTP can be. Cuba blew those concerns out of the water for me but since episode 12 they’ve come back with a vengeance and it’s made worse by how much in love the show keeps telling me they definitely are. She in particular looks uncomfortable and stiff all the time. He initiates everything and is clearly trying to bridge the gap between then but every time he does she stiffens like a board, pulls back and then laughs it off.
Basically, through episode 13 and a lot of this as well I had no idea what this show was trying to say - what its point even was. All the Cinderella imagery - reverse or otherwise - the giant beasts they were facing together, what did that really mean? Why did they keep showing people making arbitrary decisions about others “for their own good”?
And why did they keep showing this relationship - and especially SH in this relationship - as being not completely in it? Was this supposed to be what “true love” looks like? Because it looked like two awkward teenagers who’d read too many romance novels.
Except of course in Cuba where it didn’t.
As @ally-le has mentioned quite rightly, there’s a definite holiday affect here - in Cuba they’re outside of the rigid social hierarchies and expectations this show is ultimately about. So it makes sense to a certain extent that they’ll be more free in Cuba, since they are very genuinely more free in Cuba. But I didn’t think that was enough to explain what I was seeing.
It’s possible that this was simply suffering from being a kdrama with all of its weird insistence on female asexuality. If that was the case, I was planning on dropping it since I didn’t tune in to this show to see another romance schematic that insists on a woman having no sexuality - especially when she’s supposed to be a mature, successful divorcee finding the courage to liberate herself from the unfair and stifling strictures that society has forced her into.
It’s true that this should be SH’s story. For this to work, JH should be simply an impetus to her emancipation, not the sole reason for it. For the story to work, she needs to be doing it for herself. So the romance really is and should be the secondary story here. But since it takes up so much time, it should be believable. And frankly I find the whole thing contrived and yes, as people like @greenfields have said, stylised.
Real relationships are kind of hard and kind of messy and “true love” is kind of meaningless if you can’t make...

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something work on a day to day basis in a way that’s real. I always hated that fairy tales ended at “and then they lived happily ever after” when the couple barely knew each other - all the real hard work was about to start.
To get to the point, when this episode finally got to the conversation SH has with her ex and the ones between her father and her mother, it was like a lightbulb flicked off in my head.
I now think that the problems I was having with the main relationship and the writing around it are deliberate. Completely deliberate.
The relationship post-Cuba isn’t supposed to be some sort of perfect representation of romance. it isn’t supposed to be an overly-stylised schematic of a perfect relationship. It’s supposed to be awkward, it’s supposed to be stilted. We’re supposed to see her keeping herself back from it.
And it’s not just because of the “back to reality” thing of being in a strict and brutal hierarchy after the freedom and warmth of Cuba. It’s because SH doesn’t know how to have a relationship because she’s never seen a functional one. Ultimately, we learn these things from the people around us and all the relationships about SH are terrible.
SH’s parents in particular have an awful relationship. Not only did SH’s father make huge decisions about his life and political career, he didn’t tell his wife about them but let her be blindsided by media reports.
This goes right back to a simple fact of misogyny – a man who wants power is being a man, a woman who wants power is greedy and selfish. I personally don’t like this woman and I don’t care if she achieves her goals. But I really felt for her when her husband made these huge life and career decisions without any reference to or consideration for her and then left her in the dark about them. No wonder SH sucks at relationships if this is how her father treats her mother.
I think the show is making a broader point here about arranged political/corporate marriages and how that system maintains itself by spiralling down to the next generation. People who don’t know how to have a real relationship with each other bring up children who don’t know how to have a real relationship and it just keeps perpetuating itself.
SH doesn't know how to have a relationship because the ones around her - and the one she was in - were are so completely dysfunctional. And so what happened at the end of episode 14 was utterly inevitable because we as people display the behaviours we've been modelled. In this case, it's no surprise the couple have been stilted, uncomfortable, stylised and slightly removed from each other the entire time - she's been keeping herself out of it slightly. And I agree with @lollypip that this is fear but I also think it’s inexperience and poor experiences - people don’t just change suddenly. Keeping herself separate to protect herself is an ingrained reflex and she has kept that even in this new relationship. It’s no wonder she’s ready to jump ship so...

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quickly because that is also an instinct to protect herself.
I admit I didn't think this was the story they were telling - and I'm not entirely sure how this fits with their original motifs, animations and other directing choices. But, in terms of characterisation, this episode showed it's much better than I thought it was. If this portrayal of the relationship is deliberate than the show becomes much more nuanced and much more complex than the awful of episode 12 would lead you to expect.

Which brings me to the parents and more importantly the mothers. @oppafangirl has discussed this in depth and I mostly agree with her. This is about three women who represent three types of acceptable femininity in traditional Korean culture and how each of them respond to SH’s new determination to forge a new path.

In this case, all three mothers are standing there looking at SH going, “How dare she when I couldn’t”.
For JH’s mother, deep down and regardless of whether or not she is a loving parent, her two concerns are clearly
1. People in her daily life are gossiping about her and this makes things difficult for her. She’s used to being an unobserved cog in a certain machine. i.e. she’s used to being a part of a very specific cultural and social system and this is now threatened
2. A mature, intelligent, successful woman with her own life isn’t going to move into her home and be bossed around like a good daughter-in-law should. That is, she was expecting things to stay the same as they’ve always been. So, yeah, this is all entirely about her. She has 5m square of space where she has power and that is being threatened.

What I originally liked about this show was its subtlety and I felt that had been stripped away somewhat. But I personally like my interpretation because it brings that subtlety back. Let’s hope that episode 15 and 16 keep that going. Otherwise, and I know some people are waiting for it, there may be a table flip.

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Nice post. I don't agree with everything but I like your theories. :)

When the show began I thought it would be really interesting if it was more about SH and her story of finding her true independence, and maybe love too. As it went on, I realized the show was more about the romance itself and I don't like how artificial they are with each other many times. During 13 and 14 I also felt she was being too distant and started a theory too. Almost like going back to the start, I wanted it to be more about SH and thought it would be really original if she was finding out she wasn't ready for another marriage, if she only needed to love him and be loved by him for some time, to find the courage to change her life, but later she would decide they should part ways. It would be a really nice story. People would hate it. Anyway, I know it isn't what they are telling us.

I really like the idea she is hesitating because she doesn't really know how to be in a relationship but I'll be honest and say that's probably much better than the writer had in mind. If I consider all they have told us so far, I'd say her distant ways simply come from her fear of not being able to keep him for a long time. It's much more about protecting HIM than herself.

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I suspect you're probably right. Unfortunately, every time this show moves towards greatness it opts for mediocrity instead. And it's done it too many times for it to be a single misstep.

I too would be fine with her deciding she wasn't ready for another marriage now - if ever. I said something similar after last episode too, that she's just enjoying how things are now and all his unsubtle references to marriage actually make her super uncomfortable. Whether she marries JH or not shouldn't be the main point of the show. And I honestly didn't think it was.

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As always, I COMPLETELY agree with you. Except after all of the missteps in this drama, I have a difficult time giving the writers this much credit at this point.

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I think your analysis is as good as any and I agree that SH has no idea what love is and how to be in a relationship that has any. Looking forward to the last two episodes. I don’t want you to flip a table, really.

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I hope you're right since I blame your earlier analysis for keeping me from fast forwarding through all but the pretty scenery, artwork, and ex's scenes. If this becomes a study in how the culture perpetuates a specific social role for women I'll applaud the drama. On the other hand if it goes where I think it will, I'll applaud your table flip.

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The thing is, I think it was supposed to be. I just think they've got sponsor and network interference. Advertisers always want to play it safe and the PPL in this is INSANE. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of our problems are due to script interference. The question is whether the whole thing ends up coherent and profound or a trite mess.

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I think you’re giving the writer WAAAAY too much credit. It’s just bad writing.

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This!! So much this.

In particular, I loathe the prentious and out of place literary quotes and art work this writer constantly inserts to try to show that the OTP are “soulmates” and deeply in love.

This is one of the worst kdramas I’ve watched, which shocks me considering the actors and high production values.

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It would be INCREDIBLE if what you said was true and the depiction of the relationship was actually deliberate.

About the stylised nature of the OTP: I think the makers of the show really focused on making it beautiful. Beautiful shots, beautiful artwork, beautiful words. But in so doing, some realism was lost because real relationships are messy and they aren't always pretty to look at. That's how we end up with a picture-perfect already-prepared dinner instead actually seeing them try to cook together for the first time. So of course Jin-hyuk's "hey we made dinner together because we're soo close and super in love" rings false.
That's also how we end up with monologues full of declarations of love - sure, they're beautiful, but the other person can barely get a word in. This isn't how people converse.

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It isn't how people converse, and it isn't how love really happens. At least, not lasting love. Which is why a breakup makes sense here. Lasting love is based on growing together in the mundane. In the very beginning, I could kind of forgive it, because the obstacles they were facing (trite as they were) were such that they really couldn't have focused on the little things. But in the episodes since he came back from [solitary confinement] whatever that place was that wasn't Cuba or Seoul (I've already forgotten), it's still been grand declarations, poor use of poetry, and very little substance. This becomes (for me) unforgivable when they are actually given the opportunity to grow in their relationship UNLESS the end game is for them to split up. I'm waiting to see where they go from here. There is still a chance the writers could surprise me. I'm not above admitting I was wrong if they get the ending right.

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Lol. You mean Sokcho and yes, you're right.

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Thanks, LollyPip! Your recaps and reflections have been a great help with this realistic, beautiful drama.

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