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When the Camellia Blooms: Episodes 35-36

The temporary separation between our heroine and her son unearths some unsettling truths. An eight-year-old can only endure so much and between dealing with the father that he never knew and a serial killer on the loose, the kind neighborhood cop who’s in love with his mother may prove to be too much. As the net closes in on a killer, what does the future look like for our cop and his lady love?

 
EPISODE 35: “Life of an Eight-Year-Old”

Jong-ryeol is quiet while Dong-baek and Pil-gu argue about whether or not he should move in with his dad. Dong-baek is taken aback when Pil-gu asks, “Do you only care about yourself? What about what I want?”

After asking if he can refuse the DNA test, Heung-shik allows his cheek to be swabbed. A detective finds Heung-shik’s dad when he opens the bedroom door and after learning that he can’t walk, he sees the wheelchair in the room.

The forensic officer asks if he should collect his DNA but the detective shuts the door. Heung-shik’s dad applies ointment to his scratches and mumbles, “If one more dies, they’ll be scared out of their wits.” When the detectives leave, Heung-shik locks the building, unaware that the garbage man picking up his trash is actually Yong-shik.

Kyu-tae chomps on tofu after his release, not at all happy that his mother came instead of Ja-young. When his mother suggests a blind date, Kyu-tae insists that he’ll never remarry and then leaves, announcing that he’s found his calling.

When Chief Byun and the others return to the station, they find Yong-shik and Kyu-tae sorting through Heung-shik’s trash. Yong-shik hands the chief some hair samples for his friend in the crime lab but learns that he was disciplined for secretly testing the blood from Kyu-tae’s steering wheel.

Dong-baek informs Yong-shik that Pil-gu will be living with Jong-ryeol until the Joker is caught. Yong-shik shares his suspicion that their culprit is Heung-shik but Dong-baek disagrees with him. Determined to bring Pil-gu home as soon as possible, Yong-shik pledges again to catch the Joker.

In the building where Hyang-mi made her delivery, Yong-shik takes in the luminol glow of the blood residue. In a flashback to the night she was killed, we see Hyang-mi carrying in the plate of food, still wearing the helmet. Yong-shik narrates that Hyang-mi’s accident made her late, agitating the killer and causing him to mistake Hyang-mi for Dong-baek.

During a meeting with Chief Byun’s friend at the crime lab, Yong-shik slides the hair samples toward the pile of evidence to be tested. The doctor reports that Hyang-mi was stabbed once in the neck and that something bright yellow was found in her throat. Another flashback shows Hyang-mi bleeding on the floor with something yellow in her hand as the doctor concludes that she swallowed it deliberately.

When Jung-sook saw the truck hauling the scooter, Hyang-mi was under a tarp in the back. The doctor estimates that Hyang-mi was alive for around 30 minutes and she still had the yellow item in her hand as the truck pulled away.

Dong-baek wheels Pil-gu’s suitcase as they leave his school and when he suggests thinking of his move as studying abroad, she starts to cry. Jong-ryeol is waiting and when Pil-gu climbs into his car, Dong-baek protests that he’s leaving without a hug.

When she strokes his hair, Pil-gu announces that he’s getting a headache and raises the window. After Jong-ryeol drives away, Dong-baek complains that Pil-gu didn’t look back once but that’s because he’s sobbing in the car.

Jong-ryeol asks why Pil-gu pretended to be so cool and he blurts out, “I’m not leaving because I want to…If I’m going to be anyone’s burden, it’ll be better to be yours.” Pil-gu cries that Jong-ryeol was able to get married because he was childless and now his mom can marry Yong-shik. Pil-gu’s sobs harder when he asks, “Aren’t I enough for you guys?”

While Jessica packs, her father warns her mother that if she moves back he’ll kick them both out. Tears fall from Jessica’s eyes as she listens to her parents blame each other for her problems.

Jessica’s mom helps move her daughter’s things to Jong-ryeol’s building, which is in the same complex. Mom reminds Jessica that being twice-divorced isn’t anything to be ashamed of and urges her to divorce Jong-ryeol if that’s what she wants. Jessica complains that her mother shouldn’t feel intimidated because of her.

In the elevator, a young boy stares as Jessica sobs over leaving her mom while her mother cries outside. At home, Dong-baek sobs into one of Pil-gu’s dirty socks as Yong-shik narrates that children always want more from their parents and that parents are heartbroken when they don’t have more to give.

Dong-baek hears someone at the door and is surprised to see Jung-sook, who explains that she returned because Pil-gu asked her to. Dong-baek peppers her mother with questions and when Jung-sook asks if she ate dinner, she demands to know, “Did you eat when you abandoned me?”

As she unpacks, Jeesica informs Jong-ryeol that he can’t get a divorce because he’s the one with the son. Pil-gu stares at the happy family photo on the wall as Jong-ryeol and Jessica argue.

Later, Jong-ryeol shows Pil-gu his new room and the boy takes it in stride when his dad explains that Jessica will be staying with them. Pil-gu feels bad when he learns that his sister isn’t home and that she often stays with one of her grandmothers. Jong-ryeol wonders if Pil-gu feels that way about his own situation and the boy admits that he does.

Before Jong-ryeol can offer to sleep with Pil-gu on his first night, he realizes, “I guess sleeping together would be weird.” That’s how Jung-sook feels as she paces outside of Dong-baek’s room clutching her pillow. When Dong-baek guesses that her mother plans to sleep with her she calls it weird but Jung-sook walks into her bedroom anyway.

As they lay awake, Dong-baek asks her mother how she could abandon her when she can’t stop worrying about Pil-gu. Jung-sook softly explains that she went crazy the day that she left Dong-baek.

Dong-baek surprises Jung-sook when she joins her on the floor and asks, “Don’t die, Mom…That kidney or gallbladder, whatever it is, I’ll give you mine.”

Jung-sook insists that she’d rather die than accept Dong-baek’s offer but she argues, “I can hate you all I want while giving you what you need. If you die because I don’t give it to you, how do you think I would feel?”

Jung-sook can’t understand how Dong-baek grew up to be so kind and it’s not a compliment. After Dong-baek explains that she’s tired of good-byes, Jung-sook complains, “…I really can’t bring myself to die now.”

EPISODE 36

Ja-young hums in the office, stopping long enough to inform her colleague that lie detector tests are up to 94% accurate. She looks up when someone walks in, surprised to see Kyu-tae’s mother with a cake box in her hands.

When the women sit down together, Ja-young gently reminds her ex-mother-in-law that she doesn’t like cake. As they talk, Kyu-tae’s mother can’t refrain from criticizing Ja-young, who sums up their troubled relationship, “You stab me, I stab Kyu-tae…Kyu-tae would get scared of me. Then you would stab me again.” Offended, Kyu-tae’s mother storms out, taking the cake with her.

During a video call, Dong-baek senses Pil-gu’s anxiety when he gets up to lock his bedroom door. Pil-gu shares that he met his sister and when asked if he’s made any friends, he tells Dong-baek that city kids are “weird”. Dong-baek has to suppress a smile as she thinks, “I thought he didn’t take after me.

In the morning, Pil-gu sits down to the breakfast that Jong-ryeol left for him but there’s milk on his cereal, which he can’t drink. Pil-gu gets up to search the refrigerator while Dong-baek narrates, “He keeps feeling self-conscious, and he keeps getting gloomy.”

At the Camellia, Dong-baek asks Jung-sook how old she was when she started talking. Jung-sook admits that she was a late talker and Dong-baek recalls that Pil-gu was too. She took Pil-gu out every night to practice greeting people but instead, they expressed sympathy because he had a single mother.

Dong-baek admits she’s worried because she’s just realized how much Pil-gu takes after her. Jung-sook looks relieved when Yong-shik walks in with dumplings and a rose for Dong-baek.

When Jessica finally wakes up and finds Pil-gu in the kitchen, they end up eating together. Jessica explains that she doesn’t want to be an evil stepmom and compares their living arrangement to a share house, so Pil-gu can ask her for food if he’s hungry.

As Dong-baek picks at a dumpling, Yong-shik narrates that she’s been like an alien without Pil-gu. Jung-sook nags her daughter to eat but Dong-baek confesses that with both Hyang-mi and Pil-gu gone, she can’t taste anything. Complaining that she’s tired of goodbyes, Dong-baek begs Jung-sook to set a date for her operation.

Yong-shik narrates how weary Dong-baek became from life’s blows as she stumbles through her days. Worried when she steps in dog poop and doesn’t care, Yong-shik adds, “She didn’t cry or smile. She seemed like she lost her soul.”

Yong-shik sets out Dong-baek’s freshly washed shoes while Jung-sook takes down old posters. She mentions what she hates most about dramas, “‘We’re breaking up because I love you.'” Jung-sook argues that people should just be honest, “I like you, but…I don’t want all these other things that come with you.”

Yong-shik catches on and insists that he’s not rejecting Pil-gu or breaking up with someone that he likes. After Yong-shik promises that he’ll never break up with Dong-baek, Jung-sook asks to leave her will with him.

The women of Ongsan discuss how out of it Dong-baek seems without her “burden,” forgetting that Deok-soon is nearby. Jae-young assures Deok-soon that Pil-gu didn’t leave because of what she said but she knows better, “It’ll stay with him for life…”

Deok-soon pays Dong-baek a visit at the Camellia to ask about Pil-gu and is surprised that he didn’t tell his mom that she called him a burden. When she follows Dong-baek outside, Jung-sook watches as her daughter confronts Deok-soon, “How can you of all people say that to him?”

Having been called a burden when she was a child, Dong-baek can testify that the memory will stay with Pil-gu for life. After Dong-baek walks away, Jung-sook asks Deok-soon how she plans to make up for her mistake.

After getting the DNA results, Chief Byun takes down the evidence connected to Heung-shik. Yong-shik insists that Heung-shik must be the Joker but Chief Byun yells that the composite sketch doesn’t look like him. When more detailed composite sketches are transmitted and put up on the board, Yong-shik recognizes the face and runs out.

Chief Byun’s friend calls to report that while one sample didn’t match the Joker’s DNA, the other did, asking, “Where did you get that…hair?” Meanwhile, the official regional team piles into vans and speeds away.

Yong-shik runs as fast as he can while we hear him explain, “I needed to think why he stopped murdering people instead of why he murdered them.” In a flashback to five years earlier, the police gathered evidence at the Camellia while the news reported that a man fell from a building while installing an air conditioning unit.

When Yong-shik reaches the hardware store, he recalls, “Five years ago, someone got into an accident.” Yong-shik walks past Heung-shik who stops him as we flashback to his childhood. Heung-shik watched as his father hit his brother for bringing home another cat, confessing that he’d thrown out latest pet and would do so again and again.

Yong-shik opens the door to the bedroom and when he sees Heung-shik’s father, he continues, “While he was away in the dark for five years, everyone had forgotten about him…and…excluded him for good.”

Heung-shik promises that he’ll never forget to lock his father inside, tearfully reminding Yong-shik that his dad is all he has. When Yong-shik quietly orders Heung-shik’s father to stand up, he does so without any problem.

Dong-baek takes a bus to the city and arrives at Pil-gu’s school where she asks some boys from the baseball team about Pil-gu. Calling him “Pickled Radish,” they direct Dong-baek to the cafeteria where Pil-gu is quizzed about his meager lunch when his “uncle” lives at such an upscale address.

Pil-gu eats his pickled radish and announces that it doesn’t matter what he eats as long as he gets into the Major Leagues. When Pil-gu looks up, Dong-baek is staring at him as the adult Pil-gu narrates, “I had never seen my mom so angry before.”

Dong-baek takes Pil-gu by the hand and walks him out of school as the narration continues, “But now that I think about it, she was just sad.” When Dong-baek forces Pil-gu to choose between her and a career in the Major Leagues, he’s quiet. Dong-baek spanks Pil-gu in frustration because he won’t be honest with her.

When Dong-baek threatens to leave, Pil-gu tearfully confesses that he lied about wanting to join the Major Leagues, but only because she lied first, “You told me that I’m all you need!” Dong-baek is speechless when Pil-gu asks, “Do you even know how it feels to watch your own mom get married?”

Forced to choose, Pil-gu picks his mom but as they leave the school, Jong-ryeol pulls up. When he demands to know where they’re going, Dong-baek punches Jung-ryeol in the nose, explaining, “I don’t need his uncle to worry about him.”

Dong-baek warns Jung-ryeol that if he doesn’t leave them alone, he’ll be hit with a paternity suit. Pil-gu looks at his mother with pride as they walk away and she narrates, “I was the one whom I needed to destroy, not the Joker…I’m a fighter who’s able to protect my own kid.”

As the arrest hits the airwaves, Heung-shik’s father is swarmed by reporters as he’s taken to the regional station. They’re suddenly quiet when he speaks, “What’s the big deal about murdering someone? Stop causing a big fuss.”

After being completely ignored by the reporters, Chief Byun, Yong-shik and Kyu-tae walk away. Noticing that Kyu-tae is well dressed, Chief Byun guesses that he was hoping to be interviewed. Yong-shik tries to call Dong-baek and can’t figure out why she’s not answering.

On the bus ride home, Dong-baek ignores Yong-shik’s call and smiles down at Pil-gu, asleep in her lap. She tells herself that he’s still a baby even though he’s been protecting her all of his life.

When they get home, Pil-gu runs inside to see Jung-sook and Dong-baek finally answers Yong-shik’s call, narrating, “I betrayed him and was busy being in love.” An excited Yong-shik can’t wait to see Dong-baek so she directs him to meet her at the place where she first fell for him.

Yong-shik finds Dong-baek waiting in front of the train depot and runs up to kiss her. He remembers how his heart fluttered back then and calls it a miracle that they’re now close enough to kiss.

Yong-shik’s great mood disappears when Dong-baek starts to cry, explaining, “I’m so bad at saying goodbye.” Minutes later, Dong-baek is bawling her eyes out while Yong-shik notes, “My gosh, who dumps someone and cries like a baby at the same time?”

Dong-baek tells Yong-shik that she doesn’t want to hurt Pil-gu so that she can be happy. Yong-shik tears up at the thought that Pil-gu hates him, but Dong-baek is more concerned that like her, he’s walking on eggshells.

Yong-shik pledges to win over the boy but Dong-baek calls it wishful thinking. Yong-shik wipes away his tears as he thinks to himself that he never appreciated the importance of timing. Dong-baek tells us, “I already knew what I needed to say to make this kind Hulk give up on me,” and confesses, “I just want to be a mom.”

Yong-shik protests, “You’re so mean. What am I supposed to say to that?” Yong-shik tells us, “I didn’t know how I was going to break up with Dong-baek, but I didn’t know how to hold onto her, either.”

As Dong-baek and Young-shik sit in front of the depot crying, the adult Pil-gu weighs in, “That’s how my mom’s miraculous spring day came to an end. And with her love and affection, I finally grew up.”

Wearing a suit, a grown up Pil-gu (cameo by Jung Ga-ram) tells Dong-baek over the phone to stop calling because he’s busy, while promising someone else, “I’ll be right there.”

 
COMMENTS

I’m pretty disappointed in the direction that the story took in this hour because while Dong-baek takes away increased confidence and strength as she ends things with Yong-shik, what does he get? Other than red, swollen eyes and a broken heart, not much. It’s patently unfair for a man who’s been so open and kind, willing to fight for the right to love Dong-baek in spite of many obstacles. That look on Yong-shik’s face when Dong-baek made the one argument that he couldn’t overcome just gutted me.

That said, I can’t disagree with Dong-baek’s decision because of the scars that she’s had to bear after Jung-sook’s abandonment. Dong-baek is the definition of “traumatized child” and her decision was made once she recognized the telltale signs of trauma in Pil-gu. She can’t do anything about the fact that Jong-ryeol is his dad or take back that they now know each other. And Pil-gu made a valid point, he has the right to have a father in his life instead of continuing on as a fatherless child. The presence of the Joker in their lives is also out of Dong-baek’s control, but she can do something about the suitor that is proving to be too much for Pil-gu to deal with.

As much as I enjoy some time jumps, I’m not sure I’ll be enjoying this one. What does a grown up Pil-gu mean, that Dong-baek and Yong-shik parted ways for good? Now that he’s grown up, does that mean that Dong-baek can finally get married, at what, the age of 50+? That would mean any hopes that Yong-shik and Dong-baek might have children of their own are dashed. Honestly, if anyone was meant to be a father it’s Yong-shik. I’ll just have to wait to see what the final week brings, but for now, I’m bummed.

The break-up made the end of the Joker case less satisfying than I expected. Heung-shik’s dad is finally caught, thanks to some spectacular sleuthing from Yong-shik. When Heung-shik’s dad shrugged that murder was no big deal in front of a throng of reporters, I had to ask myself why it took so long to catch him? I suppose Heung-shik’s enabling is the answer because he basically became an accomplice to protect his father, but I still felt sorry for him. Heung-shik is not just the son of a murderer, but of a monster.

The question about the yellow item that Hyang-mi swallowed was never answered and I find that loose end to be very unsettling. It makes me wonder if the Joker case is really, definitively solved. And what of Jung-sook, who needs Dong-baek’s kidney…like yesterday? There’s still lots to wrap up as we learn what’s transpired in the years between the eight-year-old Pil-gu and the grown up version. The time jump does leave us with one consolation, Pil-gu looks as if he grew up well thanks to his mother’s love and sacrifices, which is what Dong-baek always wanted.

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I have to say I hated how this episode ended. Of course Pil-gu is allowed to have his fears and anxieties and Dongbaek is also very emotionally damaged, but I just don't buy her argument that Pil-gu would turn into her, if she and Yong-Shik stayed together??? What Yong-Shik's mom did was horrendous, and she has beaten out Joker in my dislike because I don't even have any feelings about him (okay other than anger about what happened to Hyang-Mi, but even the show seems to brush that aside), but how would Pil-Gu growing up with two loving father figures harm him in any way?

I can see why Dongbaek would make that argument, because she is so very damaged, but the fact that no one pushed back against it is maddening. I grew up as the child of a single mother, and my mother marrying my step-father didn't make my family any smaller nor did it cause me to lose contact with my father.

Pil-gu is 8 years old, so I don't expect him to make emotionally mature choices, but someone needs to explain to him that his mother loving someone else doesn't mean she loves him any less.

Also if it turns out to be that Dongbaek is now "allowed" to marry someone, in her 50s, bc now Pil-gu is grown up and approves of that I am going to be so mad. She's her own goddamn person. Yes Pil-gu is her son, and her No1 Priority, but he shouldn't be her whole universe.

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But I still can't totally write off Deok soon. DB is a damn mess, period.

You just get tired of helping adults that don't want to help themselves and DS did not want that for Yeon sik and in that regard, I don't blame her one bit.

Can you imagine if DB and YS stayed together and DB becomes pregnant. Come on, it would not be pretty.

DB needs to step up and grow up and if she cannot have a decent talk with her own child, how will she fare with anyone else.

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Yes, but that wasn't the stated reason for Deok-soon's dislike for Yong-Shik dating DB. It was the fact that she was a single mother, which is hypocritical but human, I guess.

If she had said that Dongbaek was too much of a wuss to be with Yong-shik, I would have even understood (and then been mad at how the drama has not really been all that great at developing DBs character) and maybe DB's reaction would have been different too.

But even then, whom Yong-Shik likes is his business and his mom doesn't have to like his choice, but as long as DB doesn't actually do anything to Yong-Shik or her she needs to at least respect it.

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This whole situation with Pil Gu should and could have dealt with in a more mature and reasonable ways from early episodes. Unfortunately, this show has stuck to its characters' personalities and now it comes to this. Like you, I can see why DB made the decision (Pil Gu has always been her #1 priority), but if the show makes them break up for couple of decades long, I am gonna throw something at my screen!

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And I can't even really be mad at the show because.....this is how people really are. We are just messy, imperfect, selfish, clueless, you name it.

This show is stemmed is so much reality I am shocked sometimes that it is a drama.

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Very true, probably that's why we are so riled up by them.
Except maybe that part where dirt poor single mother have enough money to move to another town and open up a business ;)

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Maybe DB kept a stash of cash from her days with JR. He was/is, after all, a big baseball star. ;)

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I mean yes, but if this were reality I would say Dongbaek needs so so so much therapy before she even can get Yong-Shik. And I would hope that if they break up for 20 years that Yong-Shik would actually get over her and start a new family with someone else who makes him happy! So this show cant have it both ways. Either go down with the characters in some slightly more realistic ways, but that means there is no happy ending, or have characters learn and grow in perhaps more unrealistic ways but give us a happy ending.

Endings need to be earned, but if Yong-Shik and Dongbaek now end up together after a 20 year break I dont feel like it is earned because neither of them will have learned anything? And if they did we as viewers were robbed of that growth and thus is feels cheapened.

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I agree with you more that 100%. I have always felt that Yong sik deserved better and should get it.

I don't remember which show but there was a line in when the dude broke up with the gal and he reason was, it should not be this hard and exhausting.

Yong sik should have a true partner in crime in a partner and that is not DB.

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This is so true! After finishing this episode last week I thought “well this is messed up”. We hate last-minute break-ups because it has no stakes. You know our main couple is going to get back together so why break them up? I’d like them to get back together but I’ll be more than okay with it if Yong-shik ended up with someone else. As you all have said, that’s how real life works; even the most compatible couple might not end up together. I’d be angrier if YS won’t be happy, come on, my man deserves it.

With that in mind, I hope they won’t go down the HIMYM route. Like if the time jump indicates that all these years DB stayed single, and YS is now a widower who never really got over his love for DB, imma flip.

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Meep- I am right there with you! I can't even comment because all I want to do is say curse words, so I shall keep quiet and wait to see what happens. However, all this time I have been on the side of the father but when he took his son and pretended to be his uncle so others would not know the truth.... well... he lost my support, big time.

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I hope "I finally grew up" means that as soon as Pil-gu realized that his mother would give up YS for him, he also realized that he could allow YS into his mother's life without losing his own place in her affection. If it means that he kept her single until he was an adult, I will be disgusted.

Reading this recap, I realized that we never found out the message that HM intended to leave when she swallowed the little yellow thing. I hope the show isn't going to drop this thread.

I feel like this show has a lot of work to do in the last episodes to pull together different threads and give us a satisfying ending. If we leave YS with a broken heart, I think I might hate this show. More than any other character, he made us love him, and I need to see him be his usual cheerful-hearted self before we say goodbye.

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I am just reading the recaps for now - I am about 6 episodes behind because of vacations and whatnot, and I do not want to invest those hours only to be furious by the outcome. Shows that portray total parental sacrifice for the sake of the child as a "happy ending" always make me want to throw things. I am a mother of 3 grown children and yes I have made decisions over the years, in terms of money and career advancements, hobbies and time spent, that favored my children but you can almost always work out a compromise, a way to make yourself AND your children AND your spouse happy. Shows that take a black-and-white approach to life decisions for the sake of "drama" always annoy me because it is patently manufactured just to elicit a response.

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This episode made me see red, and I'm sorry but I don't agree with you @teriyaki, PilGu isn't traumatized, he is confused and he need a real talk with his mother not casting aside all male figures from his life. I was so mad when they showed DB gaining her confidence by physically attacking JR for daring to want to be in his son's life, WTF that was??? All that made Joker reveal pretty anticlimactic and I hope the show mend it's way this week, because right now I'm pretty disappointed.

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DB went a little too far, considering that Pil-gu asked and she agreed to let him live with JR. But I think she was outraged that (1) JR was passing Pil-gu off as his nephew, not brave enough to admit he is his son, and (2) JR didn't even take care of him enough to feed him properly. JR was a real loser as a father -- let me buy you some stuff, then you take care of yourself. I hope the writer is going to wind up all the threads of this drama well and properly, and that would mean giving JR another way to be in Pil-gu's life.

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I really didn't understand that part, first they showed JR making effort to prepare breakfast for PilGu, and than the scene with crappy lunchbox, it was weird progression. But I agree with nephew part, it would hard for PilGu in school if he would be known as illegitmate child.

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Gosh, my reading comprehension strike again, I meant that I agree with your comment but being known as illegitimate child from the start wouldn't be best option either.

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I thought the food stuff showed that JR is trying but knows nothing about PG and it didn't occur to him to ask (it also apparently didn't occur to DB to tell him anything). He made an effort to prepare breakfast but didn't know that PG can't drink milk. When I take my niece and nephew, I make sure the fridge is filled with stuff they like to eat but JR didn't do that. He just assumed since PG had money he would sign up for school lunch. Just more evidence of the lack of communication between DB and JR and PG and his parents.

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Exactly, it's showed miscommunication from both sides, and you right sending him to JR DB should prepared check list for JR of things PilGu needs, like or should avoid, it's basic stuff. But one of the ajhummas comment was on point, it was showed like separation of Romeo and Juliet, not mother and son.

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JR was never a thoughtful guy to begin with and is really dense. Even Jessica on her first encounter with Pilgu gets that he is walking on eggshells. JR, somehow, did not even realize. And he keeps saying, "this is my first time being a dad to an 8yo" and asks for understanding, but didn't really put much effort into it. But I guess, that is just in character for him.

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Yes, you right, that's why I can't pin any malicious intent on him, he is just too dense for that, like he is really trying but he needs someone to spell everything for him before he gets it, I hoped Jessica would that someone, because their was real connection between her and PilGu in that breakfast scene, but that storyline sailed away.

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“ JR was never a thoughtful guy to begin with and is really dense.”

I think that is giving JR a lot of credit. He foisted his infant daughter off on his and Jessica’s mothers, and doesn’t seem to give a hoot. If he has actual paternal instincts, how can he treat his daughter that way?

He may not have any experience at being a father, but he knows perfectly well what being a kid feels like, and how cruel kids can be - intended or not. And JR is capable of paying attention if he wants to - one does not become an ML star without doing so. He doesn’t really pay attention to PG because ultimately, he doesn’t care enough to pay attention.

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@hebang I am not defending him on his treatment of Pilgu or his daughter. I am just saying that's just who he is. From his point of views, he probably thinks, "oh, my daughter is in a better hand with grandmas. I'll just earn all this money to ensure she gets in good school and can live a comfortable life."

I don't like JR one bit, but I give him credit for at least trying to be a dad for Pil Gu. If he is totally irresponsible, he could just let Pil Gu be. Nobody knows and wants him around anyway.

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@msrabbit I guess the point of difference is that I think what JR is doing to PG is more irresponsible than leaving PG alone with DB. Just my opinion, of course, but I have a really low opinion of the JR character.

We’ll see this week what kind of redemption arc (or not) each of the characters went through in the time jump. I have to say I really did not care for how the most recent episode went.

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@hebang I am looking more on his intention. The fact that he wants to be a dad to Pil Gu and genuinely wants to be there for him earns him some brownie points from me. I still think he cares for Pil Gu, it's just that he's always been the center of attention and has been selfish all his life, it's hard to change. I guess with so many crappy dads in dramaland lately (looking at you Baek Sr from EY), JR does not seem so bad compared to them.

I am also waiting to see what this drama will do to these characters in the last two hours. Hopefully, nothing that will make me break my screen. 🤞

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I am still confident that JR went on a tear about Pil gu living with him is because DB would not listen to him, take him back, dating and was considering marriage.

Thoughtfulness, selflessness and paternal and JR are not words that go together.

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I was really surprised by that scene between Jessica & Pil Gu and felt is was a nice gesture on her part to tell him he can eat whatever he wants. I've stayed with relatives for an extended time and remember how awkward it can be to help myself to the food in the kitchen when they're not around.

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This drama has lost its way, its heart.

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That's because YS was its heart, and he's been cast aside. But he'll be back. He'd better be back. Or I will boycott this writer foreverafter!

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My hope is that we’ve been trolled, and that the intervening years were happy ones for our crew.

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Totally agree, Yong Shik deserves better than this, It would be so unfair to make him wait until he is 50 to finally be happy and get married with Dongbaek. Just like you said, if there is anyone who we can be sure would be a great father its him.

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In as much as I don’t like JR, I like his interactions with his son. He’s a shitty husband but it’s obvious he wants a part in PG’s life and it’s his right. I found it ironic how he went on and on about DB’s way of raising PG that the moment he has temporary custody, he’s sort of neglectful. But he’s not the only guilty party - both parents have failed to sense Pil-gu’s feelings and often mistakenly neglect him or give him problems an 8 year old has no business having.
PG hasn’t been allowed to be positively influenced by the presence of his dad by JR and DB.
He’s a kid and of course he feels the fear of being a burden or being replaced. Nobody in the show but YS is acting like an adult. This is something they have to give time to. While I understand where the traumatized kid that is DB is making this decision, like another beanie, I’m pissed no one is trying to make her see reason.
And there’s no justification in telling JR not to see his kid. JR isn’t helping matters either. He needs to sort his life out and continuously try to form a relationship with his son.

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I think Pil-gu will realize that hes not going to be abandoned and will allow them to be together. He was anyway warming up to Yong-shik and even allowed him to stay at their house in his absence, which I had thought was a blessing. But I really hope it doesn't happen that Pil-gu just allows it, being the mature adult he is, just so that his mother can be happy, but Dong-baek also puts some effort and has a proper conversation with him about it. She really shouldn't just let go of someone as amazing as Yong-shik, hope she gets that.
Jung-sook and Yong-shik should've had that break up in dramas talk in front of her lol!
Why couldn't she atleast wait a day to break up with him! He caught Joker! And he started out on it for her! She should be celebrating! The ajummas are her friends now and Joker is caught! Things just started getting better. Does she enjoy being miserable?
Hope she uses this time to properly think about Jong-ryeol and Yong-shik's involvement and discuss things with Pil-gu and her mother and be strong and decisive about it.
I think even Deok-soon will see how miserable Yong-shik is and will give up her stubbornness.
I don't know why but I'm glad that the Joker storyline is done with and it wasn't that complicated or stretched out.
I think the show will end well. Fingers crossed!

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"He was anyway warming up to Yong-shik and even allowed him to stay at their house in his absence, which I had thought was a blessing."

Naw, that was Pil gu being wishy washy like a 8 year old will be. If he really was thinking like that, he would not have kept saying after DB picked him up that he was enough.

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Yeah thats true.

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Yeah poor YS his elation at catching Joker was short-lived and DB didn’t even thank him! But I suspect if she had to wait another day we’d need an extra episode 😆

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These episodes were the worst in story construction and execution. I always thought the Joker mystery was a waste of time and effort to create a sense of drama. The conclusion was meaningless, and immaterial because there was no motive or connection to the killings. HM death makes even less sense if she swallowed a bottle cap which was her actual cause of death.

The only true bonding experience was PG and Jessica at the kitchen table. It was the only truly honest moment between two frustrated and misunderstood characters.

I think it would be a cheap sudden180 degree turn to have the last episode turn into a "happy" ending for DB and YS. Their break-up showed they are at two different levels of immaturity. DB decided her life would only revolve around PG. YS gave up too quickly because he had no answer to her decision. If he could not change her mind at that emotional moment, it would hard to find a logical way for him to re-spark their relationship.

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I disagree with you on YS giving up too quickly. If I were in his shoes I would be too exhausted to convince DB. I know DB has her reasons, but it's so tiring to be the only person fighting for a relationship.

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Yep. This right here.

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DB tried to break up with him earlier and he said something along the line of 'don't use that excuse to push me away' and they stayed together. this time she used her son, so he can't say no to that. Even she knew it and used it as her weapon/last resort.

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I can understand Pil-gu’s fear of being abandoned as he’s still an 8 year-old after all, but I’d be mad if the tantrum of an 8 year-old is gonna cost Dong-baek the chance to have a happy relationship for 20 years. Seriously, all she need is just a heart to heart talk with Pil-gu and assures him that his love for Yong-shik is not going to replace his love for Pil-gu. Pil-gu is a boy who’s more mature than his age, and he was even willing to sacrifice himself by leaving her so she can get married with Yong-shik, so I don’t think it would be too hard to convince him if he knows that it would make his mom happy. And she should also consider that having a father figure like Yong-shik would actually make Pil-gu happier than having none. I still hope that the time jump will show that Pil-gu is able to grow up well with a loving mother and a father figure.

The Joker’s resolution does feel quite anticlimatic, and I’d be really disappointed if they don’t flesh it out a little bit more. I thought the yellow thing was gonna be Hyang-mi’s final message that will lead to the Joker’s true identity, but it wasn’t so what’s the point of that?

Am i the only one who’d like to see more interactions between Pil-gu and Jessica? I feel like they could unexpectedly get along quite well, so I was kinda disappointed that Pil-gu left the house so soon.

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That's what I expect. And Yong-Sik will have one last chance to shine by figuring it out, possibly with help from Kyu-Tae.

Although I would change "Joker's true identity" into "the other part of the Joker duo".

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Yeah, I thought Jessica through the time and interaction with Pil Hi could actually be a "cool" stepmom

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A much more reasonable decision would be to slow things down so PG can get used to the presence of his father in his life and the idea of YS being part of the family. DB is pulling the motherly version of noble idiocy.

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@cherrycrumble,
What a twist that short breakfast scene between Jessica and Pil-gu turned out to be. Lol it might have been her finest moment in the drama.
Strange thought. Pil-gu seems intrigued about having a sister.
In the time jump scene he may be calling out to his little sister.

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Well, the conclusion of the Joker subplot was rather poorly handled :(

I enjoyed the suspense that it induced in the earlier episodes, and I was looking forward to a better explanation than what we got.

First off, not everyone who has an antisocial personality disorder becomes a murderer (I'd know since I'm studying Psychology, and even without formal psychological knowledge, it's not a convincing argument). Even if it was, it's still hard to swallow, because the show doesn't even explore what the disorder actually is to give us more insight.
Second, if Joker stopped killing five years ago because he couldn't walk after that accident, why didn't he go after Dongbaek immediately after recovering? And for that matter, WHEN did he recover? WHY was he after her in the first place? And if he was so willing to cooperate when he got busted, why didn't he just turn himself in lol?
Third, WHAT is it that Hyang-mi actually swallowed? That seemed awfully important, but then the show just swiped it under the rug.
IDK if there is still more to the Joker plot, like a final twist or reveal, but I wish we'd been given more insight into Joker's motives, what really makes him tick, and how he came to be a murderer. His story seemed really interesting (and good enough to warrant its own drama).

But that being said, I'm not too disappointed (or surprised), because I watch this show mostly as a slice-of-life ish drama.

Now, if the show could only stop trolling us with a "break-up" with only two episodes left... but that wouldn't be a k-drama, right? 😂. I'm a little bit annoyed at it for using this trope, with everything it managed to avoid; but then again, I don't exactly think I'd consider this as noble idiocy. Dongbaek's logic makes sense for a mother in that situation somehow.

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I agree with you about joker. Too many questions left unanswered and the whole “I killed people. It’s no big deal” is a lazy motive in my opinion. The joker made a point of killing a certain type of women coupled with the fires, they could have come up with an interesting backstory.

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YES! I thought the same, the Joker serial killer could have his own drama. Yet we don't get too see much of him, like his motives, his personality and why he chose Dongbaek. There are 2 more episodes to go, so hopefully they give us a more detailed explanation of this man

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A little disappointed, not what I was expecting. The whole arrest of the Joker was so rushed, and where does Heung Shik is? He would be an accomplice of his father, because he knew that he was killing people. Pretty much all the work that Yong Sik and the Chief did to find out who was the man behind all those murders, at the end it was not recognized as it should. They were on the side.
I am wondering about what was the message that Hyang-mi wanted to give them by swallowing that yellow liquid. We already saw what happened, but they mentioned that, and I hope they follow up.
I think it was pointless for Yeong Sik and Dongbaek to break up now, when they went through so much, they grew up, they supported each other (more like he supported Dongbaek, though), and then? She says she just want to be a Mom. I am sorry, but he opened up his heart, put his life at risk to save her, the relationship with his mom got tense, and she just cries while she says BYE TO HIM? I thought that she was already a strong and more self confident woman who knows that she deserves to be happy too. Of course her priority is Pil Gu, but WHY NOT take care of her son, and not necessarily marry Yeong Sik, but give herself a chance to be loved and to love him?.
I hope that glimpse to the future of a grown up Pil Gu, means that she was his primary support, but all was the result of her being happy and loved.
I am looking forward to see how this story will wrap up.

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She could say she needs time apart to focus on her son instead of breaking up with Yongshik. I just don’t think she’s the kind of person to string him along and have him wait . That would be even more selfish.

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Kyu-tae definitely needs to join the police force. Not because I think he is a good detective but because that hug between chief and him was so cute and the only highlight of this episode.

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Those three and ahjumma's squad were the only bright points of this episode.

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I hate how the writers are portraying single moms and their relationships with their children and other people in their lives.
I was a single mom for 10 years and my son was my everything until I met my husband and we had 2 more children. I can’t believe I would EVER accept my son trying to guilt me out of a wonderful relationship with a wonderful man (which is exactly who I married). To allow a child so much latitude that they are able to guilt you into breaking up with such an amazing man is a horrible portrayal of a single mom.
By definition, we have to be made of stronger stuff. We are both parents, the breadwinner, the house parent and the person that fixes everything. If you are not mentally and emotionally strong, you won’t make it as a single parent. And to say that she is doing it so her son won’t be as damaged as she is... is just sad. Everyone has to deal with problems. As my son got older, he was able to understand that adults need adult relationships as UCB as they need to be their child’s parent.
Single parents have to be able to manage so much. They have to make their children strong enough to grow up. It’s ok for a child to voice their opinions, but it is NOT ok for o let your child control your life.

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I agree completely. The most annoying thing about this for me is that I thought her being allowed to have a life of her own was the point of the drama.

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I agree!!! I personally dislike that Pil Gu is always pushing his mom decisions, by making her feel guilty, and that everyone is completely OK with that. He is only 8 years old, and yes, of course he has been going through A LOT, but who is the adult here?

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I don't blame PilGu, he is a child and children are selfish but it's on parent to lead and set boundaries, kids need boundaries to feel safe.

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It’s not Pil-gu’s fault to feel that way, he’s not mature enough to know much about how relationships work, and how there are different kinds of love like maternal love and romantic love which can coexist together without taking each other’s place. It’s Dong-baek’s part as the adult and as his mom to explain that to him, and assures him that she will manage her relationships better so Pil-gu won’t feel like he’s a burden or being pushed away.

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I am holding out hope that DB and Yong-shik are still going to get married and that we will see that Pil-gu was actually able to grow up to be a strong man because of (not in spite of) this kind and loving man coming into his life.

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Lordy, cut DongBaek some slack. She's never had anyone teach her how to be a mother or even anyone who's taught her to confront people and stand up for herself. She's always backing off and being non-confrontational because thats how she had survived that whole childhood of taunts from every front - both kids and adults.

She's only beginning to take baby steps in understanding that she is worth standing up for her happiness thanks to YongShik. But when it comes to her son, it's understandable that she falls back into her old ways again just because he's the one uncompromisable factor in her life and now that PilGu is basically screaming that he's feeling threatened, it's no wonder her first instinct is to take that threat away.

And, well, I can't fault PilGu either. He's just 8. Throwing tantrums is his prerogative. He's got a lot of growing up to do, which I'm sure will come in due time, with how well he's being brought up by everyone - not just DongBaek but also his grandma and now even JunGi's mom. It really takes a village to raise a child and I'm sure he'll come round to it, since the issue is not that he hates YongShik, the person, at all, but just because he's fears that YongShik will take his place beside his mom. When he understands that no one can ever do that, I'm sure DongBaek and YongShik can go for round 2.

The bigger problem isn't even PilGu though. It's YongShik's mother, the adult. Damn if I will ever marry a guy whose mother makes my son feel like he is my burden. YongShik has to handle his mother before he and DongBaek can ever get back together for reals.

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Thank you for your comment! I thought I was the only one thinking in the same vein.

Sure, it sucks that DB & YS had to break up like this, but I don't agree with everyone else that the writing nor the characterisation was off, for the reasons aptly written in the comment above.

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“What’s the big deal about murdering someone? Stop causing a big fuss.”

Spoken like a true King? President? Chaebol? Not the thing to say if you are the dude who used to install air conditioners and couldn't even do that without screwing it up.

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I laughed at your comment a little too long.

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Maybe he can say that because he's the owner of Ongsan's one & only hardware store? In some ways, he's a CEO just like DB >.<

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I think the break-up is just the catalyst for Deok Soon to get over her opposition to the couple. I would have done it another way but i’ll go with it. DeokSoon has spent her life shielding Yongshik from hurt and now is the reason her carefree cheerful son will experience heartbreak and sadness while wounding another mother’s child in the process.

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I think so, too. This will provide the answer to how Deok Soon can make up for make up for what she said about Pil-gu. This was foreshadowed by DB's mom asking her what she was going to do to atone.

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My frustration with how this episode came about is probably the same as others.

I have always been a bit frustrated with DB's character - but I am frustrated with such people in real life too. Too passive and timid people make me very impatient. So, I really do admire Yonk-Shik's patience with her. After all that, her breaking up with him because he could not communicate well with her child was quite shocking.

I am kinda hoping that the last two episodes address that and tell us they actually got married that year...They just had to have Pilgu get used to the idea.

I have consistently believed that DB should have given a choice Pilgu's father to be part of his life. He actually wants to be a father and does not know how to be one now and DB does not help at all. A proper communication with Pilgu could quite possibly handle this situation - even if it is a slow process but every conversation between his father and her are about their relationship, not about what is good for Pilgu.

I do felt joker revelation a bit anticlimatic. But I am glad that is done.

Despite my frustration with DB handling things in her life, I do enjoy this drama quite a bit. After at Eighteen, my favorite drama I think.

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After all that, her breaking up with him because she (not he) could not communicate well with her child was quite shocking.

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Yong-sik's communication was never the problem. With DB or Pil gu. The reason it was the problem was in that you described DB and with the way that she broke up with Yong sik as if he was part of the problem made her look like a huge douchebag. Yong sik was so right, she is just so mean.

Them staying apart is for the best.

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@dramafan100,
What pisses me off is that Yong-shik and Pil-gu communicated quite well together -- when Dong-baek wasn't around to see it. They had a blast together at the video arcade. And when Yong-shik spontaneously swooped him up into the air, Pil-gu was so exhilarated, he asked him to do it again. Granted, that was before he began to worry that his mother was going to abandon him for Yong-shik. But they had communicated well earlier. And when Pil-gu informed Yong-shik that he didn't like him, he respectfully backed off and gave him elbow room -- while still watching out for him from afar.

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Does everyone buy the Joker story, that they got the right person?

I’m not buying it.

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Any theory on who's the real Joker?

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The son. DB’s mother was right to focus on the son, I think.

There are ways to spoof DNA tests (or any other test really) if the sample collectors don’t follow proper procedures. And in the extreme, there are people who have two sets of DNA - human chimerism.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/3-human-chimeras-that-already-exist/

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Actually, HS would share about 50% of his DNA with his father. That result should have pointed directly at his father. It wouldn't have been negative, it would have been a result that showed they were probably father and son. (Sorry, it's the genealogist in me.)

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50% relationship IF:
1. Good clean sample from HS
2. Good clean sample from HS’ father
3. Proper handling and processing
4. They are actually related

Without correct procedures, there’s no reason to believe that the collectors got a good clean sample from HS. The Joker is known to be very careful and known for not leaving any trace behind. So I am suspicious that obvious traces were left, and I am suspicious that correct collection procedures were not followed, and I am suspicious HS aka Joker was prepared with a sample of someone else’s DNA.

Or at least that’s the way I’m looking at thing today...

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I think you are putting more thought into this than the writer did. She needed a plot device to point to the right suspect, and the two competing DNA samples worked. I don't think she's writing so much depth into the police work that she cares about clean samples and proper handling etc. I guess in the end it doesn't matter if they are biologically related. For HS, his father was his only family; that's what mattered, that's why he put up with all his cruelty and didn't turn him in.

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@hebang funny you should mention handling & processing because the way YS/police handled evidence have been driving me nuts all series.

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Who is your candidate?

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The other son. The one whose cats kept getting killed?

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@hebang,
Nope, I don't buy it entirely either. Methinks it's the missing hyung, who may have been in cahoots with dad, or was a copy cat, pardon the pun.

I just realized that we may have been trolled with Lawyer Hong's presence near the crime scene. There was a view of a person wearing a black baseball cap whom I thought was male, which is why I was stunned that it was supposedly Lawyer Hong. I bet it wasn't her we saw the first time after all.

One thing has been bothering me: Shouldn't there be some % of probability that the donor of one of the DNA samples is Heung-shik if his father is the culprit? They should share some common DNA -- unless dad isn't really dad. Hmmm.

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Father son relationships would come out in a DNA test - IF one tests for it. The police only ran tests looking for a match, not relationships. In the US, cold case detectives are using much broader relationship seeking tests and family tree DNA databases to solve some cold cases.

Or could not be an actual father son relationship, as you said.

Or, could be human chimerism.

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@hebang,
Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realize that relationship has to be tested for, but it makes sense. I've watched too many forensics shows, but have forgotten the details.

Chimerism has turned out to be a fascinating discovery.

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No , it doesn't need to be specifically tested for that, results show the percentage of match and it's up to technician to interpret them. So if it was father and son, the test would show 50% percentage of match to original sample and technician would interpret it as belonging to family member.

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I had that same thought about DNA, Paka. At the very least, police should be able to tell that it's someone related to Heung Shik. Unless, like you said, he is not dad's biological son....

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The only thing I don't buy yet is motive. The rest has been laid out so clearly by the writer, why would you think it could be someone else?

- Mom saw his eyes. The father and son have the same eyes.
- Mom smelled his smell. The father and the son have the same smell from the hardware store.
- HS's dad fell and injured himself five years ago, and that explains Joker's five-year hiatus.
- HS's dad is the cat killer. He killed all HS's cats.
- HS's dad clearly set the fire at the market in an attempt to kill DB.
- HS locked his dad in.
- HS begged YS not to take his father in a way that suggested he knew everything.
- The sketch (based on DB's description to the sketch artist of the man who stalked her at the empty mall?) matched the father. YS recognized him right away.

I'm only curious about two things. One, why did HS report his truck missing? Did he not realize his father had taken it? Did he not realize his father could walk? Two, what is the significance of the yellow thing that HM deliberately swallowed? Not sure we will ever get answers to these questions.

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Forgot to mention, HS's father also basically confessed to the reporters as he was being taken out of the station: "What's so bad about killing someone?"

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Part 1 of 3

Thank you for your recap, @teriyaki! “Jung-sook can’t understand how Dong-baek grew up to be so kind and it’s not a compliment.” – Thank you for explaining that scene. I didn’t pick up on the sarcasm. Like you, I’m bummed out over the raw deal that Dong-baek has dealt Yong-shik, despite all her protests that she hates goodbyes. This is one goodbye that she did have control over and could have avoided.

The cliffhanger at the end of last week’s episodes blew my doors off. That flash-forward of a young man in a business suit speaking on the phone to someone who sounds like a concerned parent, and the accompanying voice over immediately following Dong-baek’s breakup with Yong-shik, made me gasp. “... and so ended the miraculous spring day of my mother’s life.” The hint at THE SPRING DAY OF MY LIFE / MY BLOOMING DAYS (with Kam Woo-sung, Sooyoung, and Lee Joon-hyuk) struck me as ominous, especially as organ transplantation is a significant factor in that drama, and we know that Dong-baek’s mother is on dialysis. I had gotten the impression that Dong-baek may have the same condition. And then I couldn’t help but wonder if Yong-shik’s luck will run out and he dies in the line of duty – but is an organ donor who ends up saving one or the other of them. Yeah, my mind is going makjang ballistic.

Dong-baek has been so scarred by her own sad early life that it’s the only way she knows how to be. Pil-gu finally can’t stand it any longer, and lets her know that he never asked to be born and raised without a father. And now she’s whining and upset that he’s walking on eggshells – when that is all he has ever seen her do. She purposely deprived him of a father to protect him from Jong-ryeol’s self-centered immaturity. I think it’s also because she herself never had a father and didn’t think she needed one. Her attempt to protect him from the neglectful Jong-ryeol ends up being a bigger disservice to her boy than she ever imagined. I winced as I watched the replay of her crying with baby Pil-gu. No wonder he grew up thinking he had to protect her. Because he did.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 3

One thing that drives me up the wall in Kdramas is the propensity of mothers to beat up on their kids. It made me bonkers when Dong-baek dragged Pil-gu out of the cafeteria only to start spanking him for walking on eggshells and clamming up when she put him on the spot and tried to force him to instantly choose between her and a baseball career. WTFBBQ?! Adult Pilgu says in voice over that she wasn’t angry about his paltry lunch so much as sad. Hmmm. I think that he’s downplaying the intensity of her emotional state. To this observer, she looked like a madwoman committing emotional blackmail with a side of corporal punishment.

We later hear the rest of Pil-gu’s phone conversation with Mom. He assures her that he’s eating well. But when he tells her not to keep calling and that he’s busy, I get the feeling that he’s putting up with her. He’s not as bad as Hyang-mi’s kid brother, but the look on his face makes me think he is fed up with her. As for the party he tells he’ll see soon – could it be that he stayed in touch with Yong-shik even after Dong-baek drove him away? It wouldn’t surprise me if he secretly “adopted” the cop as a samchoon he badly needed in his life. I could see Yong-shik going along with it, too. Dong-baek told him to leave her, but said nothing about Pil-gu.

If ever there were a need for mental health care and family counseling in a Kdrama, this is it. Writer-nim seems to have been quietly advocating for it all along. Candid heart-to-hearts between the generations cannot magically solve the kinds of emotional problems depicted in this drama. We’ve seen a broad cross-section of Ongsan’s residents and visitors who have suffered from varying degrees of miserable parenting, ranging from the outright toxic and abusive (Lord No, Heung-shik, Jessica) to the neglectful and non-existent (Dong-baek, Hyang-mi). Even Yong-shik has not escaped fallout because Deuk-soon protected him so fiercely that he doesn’t really know how the world works. But she raised him to have a kind heart, and I’ll take that any day over the “upbringing” that has doomed Dong-baek to live her life in the extreme polarity of black-and-white thinking.

- Continued -

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Part 3 of 3

In looking back on her earlier interactions with Pil-gu, I recall how Dong-baek would not allow him to hang out at the video arcade with Yong-shik, with the excuse that it would ruin his studies. Now I can’t help but wonder what the real reason was. Have her own insecurities over her relationship with her son caused her to turn it into a hermetically-sealed dyad? That may have been a factor in her resenting the sudden appearance of her mother. But Pil-gu hit it off with grandma so well that Dong-baek couldn’t do anything about it. She has more control over his associations with other people – especially when that other person is Yong-shik, who respects her and her wishes.

If Yong-shik were to marry Dong-baek, he’d truly need the patience of a saint to be exposed to her bottomless insecurities 24/7/365. I fear that at some point, her hard-wired sense of inadequacy would corrode his own strong sense of self-esteem. I don’t know whether to hope that he finds a way to continue on with her, even after she has crafted a water-tight kiss-off to the one man who unreservedly adores her and her son – or to root for him to survive the heartbreak and get on with his life. But he says he neither knows how to break up with her nor how to hold onto her. I have an ominous feeling that, after he told her mother that he would never leave Dong-baek, those were Famous Last Words. But it’s Dong-baek who is driving him away. He would never leave of his own volition.

Because Show has already unflinchingly depicted so much unpleasant stuff, I’ve girded my loins for the finale. We’ve been trolled so often about so much that I can’t help but expect more mind games. On the other hand, characters have done dumb stuff and had to deal with the consequences of their actions. I kind of hope that Dong-baek’s knee-jerk decision to dump Yong-shik haunts her til the end of her days. In fact, I will be mad as hell if we get a ridiculous unicorns and rainbows happy ending after all the bleakly realistic emotions Writer-nim has unloaded on us and the denizens of Ongsan. Maybe Yong-shik will wake up and realize that love is a two-way street, and that it’s not simply a matter of one party’s willpower. Don’t push the river, Yong-shik. Go with the flow.

-30-

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This may be a drama about love, but it is NOT a love story.

“ In fact, I will be mad as hell if we get a ridiculous unicorns and rainbows happy ending after all the bleakly realistic emotions Writer-nim has unloaded on us and the denizens of Ongsan. ”

Could not agree more. I too hope the creative team stays true to spirit of this drama.

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Considering the way the ahjummas went from picking on DB to being her buddy and defender, I would not bet against unicorns and rainbows.

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😱

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@lindag latebloomer,
I was thinking the same thing about the Marinated Crab Matrons circling up the wagon train.

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"That may have been a factor in her resenting the sudden appearance of her mother."

IMO, DB resentment for her mom solely stems from her abandonment. I'd go off too all the time if this mother who abandons me suddenly comes back as if nothing happened.

"If Yong-shik were to marry Dong-baek, he’d truly need the patience of a saint to be exposed to her bottomless insecurities 24/7/365."

On the contrary, I think Yong shik and DB are a good fit, maybe that's why they lasted up until this episode. Often, loud personalities like Yong shik need to end up with quiet, resiliet personalities like DB who are willing to put up with people like that.

(I could never date someone like Yong shik who's hyperactive and loud all the time, I'd get anxiety and fatigue just by talking to him lol)

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*resilient

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Oh, good god! I hope they do not go “makjang ballistic!”

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@hebang,
Sorry about that, chief. I was pretty shaken up when I read that phrase/drama title.

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hey @teriyaki I think the childhood flashback belongs to Yong-shik based on the taekwondo uniform (it has his name) so it understandable how suddenly Yong-shik remembers Heung-shik's dad face.

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Thank you for that great catch, @enika!

I initially thought that might have been Yong-shik, but couldn't read his name on the uniform. Now it makes sense that Heung-shik said that dad is all he has. So much for my theory that Heung-shik's long-lost hyung is the culprit.

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Oh well, this drama went downhill on its latter half. Disappointed but not surprised. The murder mystery never appealed much to me and as it began to take more and more space of the story the narrative got lost. They can pull an amazing plot twist at the finale week, who knows, but at this point I'm not expecting much.

I'm more disappointed at how they manage the other plotlines. It always feels like we're taking one step forward and two steps back. We had so many good characters to explore, so many interesting dynamics and tensions. Instead the drama chose to revolve the same situations over and over. Hell, in episodes 33-34 JR was STILL trying to convince DB to move in with him. At this point we should be waaay past this conversation.

I love the chemistry between JR and PG and wish we'd had the chance to see their father/son relationship bloom, wish we had seen more of how the presence of PG would affect Jessica and her marriage to JR.

I'm also disappointed at DB. YS has done pretty much everything to prove he loves DB and PG, he's made so many concessions and compromises. I'm frustrated that at this point their relationship still feels so one sided in the sense of the level of effort each one is making to make it work. I don't believe the break up will last but if it turns out to be definitive I won't be mad.

I have so much affection for this characters so I hope they can still deliver a somehow satisfying finale, though I'm also bracing myself for the worse.

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The revelation of Joker’s identity as Heung-shik’s father hit me hard. I recalled the news of a man falling off a building after the OK Aesthetics murder report, but there was no follow-up. When we finally saw his father in the room with a folded-up wheelchair and the bottles of paraquat (the name by which the herbicide is known in the US), I thought that the cat killer had developed Parkinson’s disease from exposure to the chemical. But that was not the case. He’d fallen off the roof (it sounded like karmic payback for all the cats he threw off), and took years to recover.

Dang, he’s been ambulatory for how long? He’s been poisoning the cat food after Heung-shik puts it out. And that is why Hyang-mi addressed an unseen cat feeder as “ajusshi.” Did she know who he was? I suspect that when she saw him through the open door across the hall from the room she was staying in at the hardware store, they recognized each other. Hmmm. In his voice over, Yong-shik states that Joker killed her because he mistook her for Dong-baek since he couldn’t see her face under the helmet. But was that really the case? It wouldn’t be the first time he drew a logical conclusion that was incorrect. Hyang-mi hadn’t known who he was when she met him outdoors as she had only been in Ongsan for two years, and his accident happened three years before her arrival. But now she knows that he can walk, and it’s only a matter of time before the police find out. Hmmm.

My blood ran cold when I realized another possible reason for Hyang-mi’s death: Heung-shik liked her. His father killed all the cats he (or was it his brother?) brought home when he was a lonely, motherless kid. (Did dad kill mom, too?) When Hyang-mi asked Heung-shik for a place to stay, she had no way of knowing that she would be just like one of the stray cats he used to bring home. I’m not even sure that her seeing the burns on the underside of the table was the issue. From what I gather, his father hated hearing the ticking of the clock (Because of hypersensitivity to noise? Because it drove him nuts when he was bedridden after the fall?), which is why none of them worked. When she installed batteries as a way of thanking Heung-shik for a warm place to crash, she unknowingly antagonized his father. In the long run, it was her showing up like a stray cat herself that sealed her fate, at least metaphorically. His father seems to have begrudged him any kind of relationship with another living creature.

With a father like that, Heung-shik never had a chance. Even so, he was a decent human being. I understand why he tried to contain his father’s homicidal tendencies by padlocking him in the house. It’s a wonder that he himself was still alive, if you can call that living. And now he faces the prospect of jail for aiding and abetting his horrid father. He is truly a tragic figure. I feel as if I’m watching COME HERE AND HUG ME.

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"Like one of the stray cats he used to bring home" - yes! @pakalanapikake, I love that you made this connection. I'd like to think that the writer intended it, but I'm not sure. I also think that you recognized a lot of very valid reasons why Joker could have wanted to kill HM, and yet he wrote that note blaming DB, "She died in your place." It's as though the writer had a lot of cards in her hand, but chose not to play them. Was she in a hurry? Did she not take in the whole view of the world she created?

I had a lightning flash of understanding about halfway through the drama that HS's father was Joker, but we knew nothing about him at that point. We still really don't know much. I'm waiting for more. I want to know, why DB? I hoped there might be a connection to her unknown abusive father, but I guess that's a little too much to hope for from closing episodes that already have so many threads to pull together.

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@lindag latebloomer,
Aw, thank you.

Just because Joker wrote that Hyang-mi died in Dong-baek's place doesn't make it so. Who's to say he isn't lying? He poisons cats, for Pete's sake, and seems to enjoy inflicting mental cruelty on his son. Why wouldn't he torture the potential victim who got away?

Holy crap! I just recalled that little Dong-baek said something to Mom about "oppa" before she was dropped off at the orphanage. Unless I totally misunderstood something, I got the impression that Dong-baek had a brother, too. -- But Heung-shik is younger than she is, so I don't think they're related.

As for why Joker is after Dong-baek, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. He could have gotten away cleanly from the OK Aesthetics crime scene if he hadn't returned when he heard the tanning bed timer go off. Maybe he's got a compulsion to be thorough.

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Or maybe he killed her friend because, like HM, she was close to DB. Maybe he's been fixated on DB all along. Which brings me back to some kind of connection to her abusive father.

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One of my favorite scenes in this episode was of Capt. Byun comforting Lord No outside the police station. Gyu-tae is itching to be interviewed about his role in assisting in the apprehension of Joker. The way in which Byun envelopes him in a knowing hug and pats his back really got me. When I looked up Jeon Bae-su’s filmography, I was stunned to realize that I’d already seen him in supporting roles in HAECHI, GUEST, 17 BUT 30, MAD DOG, and the movies MASQUERADE, THE PIRATES, and ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. He’s been in many films. What a chameleon.

Another chameleon in the show is Lawyer Hong. When I saw that person in a black baseball cap watching Hyang-mi drive up to deliver the food across the way, I thought I was seeing a security guard or something. I was floored to learn that it was actually Lawyer Hong, whose testimony is invaluable in tracing Hyang-mi’s last rides.

Hyang-mi’s presence of mind that prompts her to swallow the yellow object to catch the attention of the medical examiner is amazing. What is truly sad is his pronouncement that it took her half an hour to bleed out. Could she have lived if Dong-baek’s mother had told the cabby to follow the truck with Camellia’s scooter instead of taking her to the hospital? Was she alive when she was dumped in the lake? (Her lungs would be full of water if that were the case.) The more we learn about her demise, the more hideous it becomes.

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He also appeared in Fight My Way, Forest of Secrets, and it seems like I've seen in him in 20 other things even though they're not listed on his page. He's so familiar, like finding an old neighbor in a new neighborhood.

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I understand where pil gu is coming from. This stranger comes suddenly into their lives and suddenly wants to marry his mom. It does put them in an awkward position. Remember that kids at that age are sensitive with how others perceive them especially his classmates. It doesn't feel right either to let him deal with comments about why he has 2 dads and such. Like how do you expect him to deal with that? That's too much for an 8 yr old to handle. And I don't understand why Yong shik is in a hurry to get married when his mom is so against it. Will dongbaek end up like ja-young having to deal with an antagonistic mother-in-law all her life? That's not fair for DB either. So my position here is to let time heal all these people, maybe let pilgu get to know and bond with Yong shik some more, deok soon may come around if given ample time to accept them. Deok soon and pilgu should bond too, cause that may open her feelings for DB again. I mean how can you hate the mom if you love her son so much?

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@ theimprintonmynose,
I totally agree with you about letting relationships unfold in an unhurried, unpressured manner. It makes so much sense, it couldn't possibly be used in a Kdrama plot. ;-)

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This drama I keep getting torn between loving this drama (mostly because Kang Haneul is so adorkable) and wanting to smack all of these characters upside the head and tell them all to grow the fluff up. Pil Gu is not a possession. Why hasn’t anyone taken the time to talk things over with the kid? Instead, they spend all their time playing tug o war over the child (he’s mine, no he’s mine). No wonder the kid is confused and stressed. I am still having a hard time with DB as a character. I can’t sympathize too much with her when it comes to the baby daddy issue. She had no right to do what she did to both Pil Gu and JR IMO, and a lot of the trouble she could have avoided by simply doing the right thing in the first place. But everyone at this point is on my nerves. “Hey JR, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about your son. I was scared and confused, and then some time went by and you got married and I didn’t know how to tell you. Let’s tell PG together and let’s try to come to an agreement so you two can get to know each other . I’m in a relationship right now but let’s make sure PG knows we are all on his side.” “YS eomma, put a GD sock in it. We are grown @$$ adults, and my child is not a burden and you should apologize immediately.” “Pil Gu. I know it’s shocking for your dad to suddenly come into your life out of the blue, and your mom suddenly starting to date someone. It is important that you know that you are my first priority, but I’m important too. We will all take things nice and slow, and We won’t live together with YS until you feel comfortable.” There. Fixed it.

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Children are often possessions in divorce custody battles. JR and DB's irrational basis for exclusive custody of PG happens all the time in US divorce courts. JR's rational for custody is weak: he does not want his kid to be "poor."

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They are both being stupid. PG can spend time at his dad’s. There is literally NO reason for DB and JR to be enemies. JR can support PG financially without having sole custody. The whole thing is stupid. They both need to behave like adults.

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I think the ending was a bit of a fake-out.
I predict that the person grown up PG was going to 'be right there' with was his step-dad, YS.
I predict that YS's mom will be the go-between. I think she is basically a decent person and knows she did wrong, especially to the kid. This is foreshadowed by DB's mom who asks YS's mom 'you messed up, now what are you going to do to fix it?'
In typical non-direct Kdrama fashion (which as many commenters have noted, is really the main cause of all the unnecessary problems, but I digress)
As I was saying, in typical non-direct Kdrama fashion, YS's mom will start inviting PG back over for food and YS will be there and they will become friends and YS and DB will marry, and YS will be the best dad ever for PG. And, PG will also become friends with JR.
The ultimate happy ending....
now, what about that yellow thing?

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@kd6606,
I agree with you about the identity of the other person Pil-gu was speaking with. But I could see him and Yong-shik staying in touch even if Dong-baek sticks to her noble idiocy crusade. I could just imagine Yong-shik and Pil-gu having a standing date at the video arcade. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake,
As mentioned above, I have a strange thought Pil-gu maybe calling out to his little sister.

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Great image of the arcade! and yeah... the little sister..
Alas, though, I have watched the ending so I can't fully comment..... more later!

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At this point in the drama I still could not get it why DB is shown to be walking on eggshells even at her age. She was as good as an orphan at young age when her mother abandoned her, became a single mom and was the target of a killer. Over the years she has been dealth with blows left and right but is shown to have raised a good a d smart kid, and having someone romantically interested in her. Can you have done all that if you were weak and kept on walking on eggshells? Her sniffing and pouting when being verbally attacked or abused has been getting on my nerves. Inconsistent characterization, if I might say. Overall, though, I give the show a thumbs up for bringing out parenthood issues.

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What a crushing disapointment this series has become. From a story I looked forward to watching it has become a pathetic nightmare. Its original beauty has become so ugly and irrelevant. I just can't continue to watch it. What a shame!

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I'm bummed about the time-jump, Joker's end and the break up.
I mean I'm happy Joker was caught but the reveal felt a bit anti-climatic.

As for the break-up, it could be avoided if the adults learn to talk to Pil Gu! He's a very smart, protective kid and has obviously been putting up a strong front so it was totally heart-breaking when he broke down and declared it felt like the end of the world when DB didn't pick him up and the door code was changed. Amazing acting by the little boy!

If only they gave Pil Gu reassurances - DB would love him no matter what, JR is trying to build a relationship with him and will never abandon him again, YS is a good man and will love him too - then i'm sure Pil Gu will welcome them with open arms! Poor kid, and he doesn't even know about HM's death or grandma's sickness yet :(

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Please, writernim, make the DB and YS break up permanent. I want YS to be happily married to a woman with no hang ups.

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Yes, @lookie I agree. Yong-shik gave that relationship his all and I think he was worn out even though he didn’t want their relationship to end. I hope he gets happily married and has kids. He will be a great husband and father.

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aww this drama was doing so well until this episode!!! lol

it's ironic because in doing so, pil-gu does indeed become a burden....which he never really was.

but they had that scene where pil gu was warming up to yong sik and yong sik came to save him during the baseball game. i'm really surprised they decided to take the drama this direction lol

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Whatever they have written in the last two episodes for the ratings has worked, because I'm going mad waiting for the finale. Also I'm reading every new comment put up here.

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You're not alone, @edgarpordwed. I'm wondering if we've seen the Ghost of Christmas Future, aka adult Pil-gu. ;-)

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O/T. Lol @pakalanapikake. There must be something in those marinated crabs. They turned Pil-gu into Jung Ga-ram.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,
ROFLMAO! Well, Jong-ryeol did say that Pil-gu would hit 180cm at a certain point (middle school? high school?). Methinks the "special sauce" on the marinated crabs is growth hormone from the nearby pharmaceutical company pipeline that discharges into the sea -- which Yong-shik will have to investigate. ;-)

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Hahaha! Whoa that would be interesting!

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Netflix is 20 episodes.. what's going on here?
And it was a decent ending

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I don’t believe that flashback was Heung Shik, but rather Yong Sik’s. He was peeking in at the Park place and saw the Park Dad hitting Heung Sik. I don’t know, and assume Heung Sik doesn’t have a brother. As an adult he also spoke of the father and what he did to his cats.

This may be an unpopular thing to say (I don’t mean to offend anyone and hope that I don’t), but I feel bad for Heung Sik, he was raised with a violent horrible monster and was made to suffer mental and physical abuse. But even through all that suffering he still tried to take care of his father and felt that he was all he had. That’s just sad to me.

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What a horrible image Dongbaek portrays in this scene. There is cruelty in her indiference. In earlier scenes she told him how her heart was fluttering, but now we see she really has no heart. Of course it is the script writer (Im Sang-Choon) who has produced this radical revision of Dongbaek's personality with no credibility whatsoever.

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Turns out noble idiocy isn’t less annoying or selfish when it’s an 8 year old doing it.

As far as I can tell, like a lot of overly mature children he suddenly discovered the benefits of chucking a tantrum later in life. Because that's what this was - a tantrum. He should have gotten it out of his system younger. But also the minute he told his father the real reason he was leaving he should have turned the car right back around.

The comments on the fan wall about this episode are the reason I waited till I had all of them to watch because it looked like the show was about to go full kdrama. My instincts weren't wrong. I really hated it.

One thing I will say about it though, its previous fetishisation of motherhood was annoying me because it's the kind of misgoynistic philosophy that lets men off the hook for parenting. So it was nice for this show to finally make the point that parenting is parenting and both parents have a role here.

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