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Ho-gu’s Love: Episode 16 (Final)

The end is here, so we must prepare ourselves to say “good-bye” to these delightful characters that have allowed us to become a part of their world for the last eight weeks. As to be expected, there’s a happy ending for just about everyone, and while there might be a few loose ends that were tied up a little too neatly, on the whole it’s a satisfying final episode.

FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Sixteenth Foolish Act: “Let’s all cross the red light together.”

While Do-hee reads the note Ho-gu left behind, crying as she realizes that Ho-gu is her happiness, Chung-jae barges into the Kang home, demanding to know what’s up with the crazy rumor about Ho-gu getting married. Kyung-ho and Tae-hee confirm that it’s true — it’s true that’s it’s a lie!

Aw, sitting on a shelf is the photo from Geum-dong’s 100-day celebration. Time to back-track a few months (or more):

Ho-kyung counts out her fee for counseling, happy to report that this is her last counseling session with Kang-chul. He asks how Ho-gu is doing, and she sighs that he doesn’t eat or sleep and just haunts the photo studio. In short: “He’s doing fine.” Ha!

Kang-chul cautiously shakes her hand as she says her farewell, and she asks if he’s sad she no longer likes him. But he yanks his hand back when he feels his heart pound. Confused, he wonders if it’s time to go to the karaoke bar again. Pfft.

Ho-gu sadly walks the familiar path to the photo studio only to be surprised by Kang-chul waiting for him. They go to drink soju at the squid restaurant, and Kang-chul hands over the cartoon Ho-gu drew of the angel baby. He has some connections with the webtoon world, and says that a publisher is interested in making a webtoon out of the angel baby story.

But Ho-gu doesn’t seem to care, and Kang-chul asks him if he has any dreams or ambitions. Why else does he draw, if he doesn’t want to be successful. Ho-gu: “It’s because it makes me happy. That’s all.”

Kang-chul realizes that this must be why Do-hee left him. He explains that people look at Ho-gu and think he sacrificed everything for the woman he loves, but Ho-gu is just being selfish. He’s the only one who got something out of the fairy-tale life of taking care of Geum-dong and being innocently in love with Do-hee.

Ho-gu leans across the table to slug Kang-chul in the face, and they take their fight outside. Hahaha! It’s the most hilarious fight ever, as both spend more time flailing and crawling across the ground. OMG, Kang-chul — did you just bite Ho-gu’s butt?

They eventually settle down and call a truce. As they sit peacefully on the steps, Kang-chul explains that leaving someone for their own good is a valid excuse in the game of love. Do-hee’s burden would only become heavier if she stayed with Ho-gu, so she left to make life easier for him.

As Ho-gu goes through the comic he made about the angel baby, he realizes that he never really had a goal in life. The business card of the webtoon producer falls out, and he decides to embrace his life and start out on a new path. He turns in a resignation letter (er, resignation cartoon, to be precise) to Chung-jae and Tae-hee and packs up his desk.

That brings us to the moment where he runs into Do-hee at his book signing event, and afterwards, he collapses in a daze at home. He scrambles to pull out his phone, and Ho-kyung warns him not to call Do-hee. Especially since she said that Ho-gu was getting married.

Furious, Ho-gu jumps up, asking how she could have told her such a lie. Ho-kyung just wanted to make it seem like Ho-gu was doing well without her, and she says she’ll call Do-hee and tell her the truth. But Ho-gu suddenly has a new idea: just waiting for Do-hee to return won’t work — she needs to decide to want to come back on her own terms.

Ohhhhhhh. So it turns out that it was all an elaborate plan. Ho-gu got Kang-chul to leave out the school reunion invitation so Do-hee would decide to go. Tae-hee waited until she asked about Ho-gu so he could text Ho-kyung, who then gave the signal for Ho-gu to head to the restaurant. Boom! Magic meeting of fate and crosswalk kiss!

Once Do-hee finds out the truth, she paces in Ho-gu’s room as he huddles on his bed. She’s annoyed that she was conned by the Kang twins and she’s still ready to read him the riot act, but Ho-gu gives her the puppy dog eyes and says that he just wants to hold her.

Ho-kyung gives Kang-chul a bottle of wine as a “thank you” for his help in winning back Do-hee. He eagerly asks her to stay to share a glass, but she tells him that once a flirtation is over, she doesn’t drink with the guy agin. He follows her out to the elevator and asks why she stopped liking him. She explains it’s because he hasn’t seen her true face, nor is he curious about it — and she doesn’t think she can show it to him. But as she’s stepping into the elevator, her heel slips and she falls.

Kang-chul takes her shoe from her to fix the broken high-heel, and as she watches him work, Ho-kyung suddenly leans in to kiss him on the cheek, thanking him for all his help.

Taking the shoe from his hand, she tells him goodbye and gets into the elevator. Eyes wide in astonishment, he clutches at his heart, remembering the exact same scenario happening with “Ho-gu” after he had tied “Ho-gu’s” shoes. The world around him starts to implode as his memories of “Ho-gu” are shattered.

Back in her room (and tracksuit), Ho-kyung gives herself a pep-talk, telling her reflection that she did the right thing by giving a “good-bye kiss” to Kang-chul. After all the years she suffered and all the plastic surgery she went through for him, it’s the least she deserved.

Gong-mi calls her to let her know that Kang-chul stopped by Chung-jae’s studio, asking all these weird questions pertaining to that day he spent with “Ho-gu.” Kang-chul frantically speeds to Ho-kyung’s house, his brain finally piecing all the details together. Pulling up next to him at a red light are his parents, and they tell their driver to follow him.

He arrives at the Kang house and pounds on the gate, shouting at Ho-kyung to come out. When a bewildered Mom and Papa Kang let him in, he apologizes for bothering them so late at night (and Dad recognizes him as the “gay lawyer,” pffft). But he’s desperate to know why Dad named his comic shop “Two Two.” Mom laughs — it’s because Ho-gu and Ho-kyung are twins. Kang-chul: “Tw-tw-twins?

Ho-gu and Do-hee stand in the doorway, curious to know what the ruckus is about, and it’s so cute how Mom and Dad are surprised but delighted to see the two of them together. Another surprise is Kang-chul’s parents, who stumble through the door in hot pursuit of their son.

Ho-kyung shoves Kang-chul into her room for some privacy. As she asks him why he’s there, Kang-chul looks around her room and finds a photo of her dressed as “Ho-gu.” He slams it down, demanding to know why she’s changed so much from then — why did she get plastic surgery? He grabs her shoulders, begging her to tell him why she ruined his life by making him think he was gay. Why did she change her true face if she was going to like him again?

Ho-kyung shoves his hands away. Does he know how much her pride hit rock-bottom that day he ignored her at the bus stop? She carved and ripped at her face for six years just to hear him tell her, just once, that she’s pretty. She’s lived her life hiding under a disguise of makeup. But even now, in this situation, it’s his feelings that come first. She didn’t expect comfort from him, but she at least expected not to get hurt again.

He stutters out that she’s pretty, especially since she’s had plastic surgery. But she rolls her eyes when he continues to babble on, letting her know she’s ten, no, fifteen times prettier, especially since he couldn’t even see her as a girl before.

To no one’s surprise, she kicks him out of her room, and he stumbles out to see his father, Ho-gu, and Papa Kang sitting in the living room, staring at him. The women have taken over Ho-gu’s room, and as Mom tries to ask Do-hee if she’s back together with Ho-gu, Kang-chul’s mother is freaking out, relieved that her son isn’t gay.

Kang-chul’s father is also delighted to know that his son isn’t gay, and urges him to apologize to Ho-kyung. But Kang-chul pouts that he doesn’t know how — since his father never apologized, how can he have learned? Papa Kang pointedly hands over an apple slice (which is a homonym for “apology”), amazed that Kang-chul’s father has never apologized. As for Papa Kang, “it’s practically my job [to apologize].” Aw.

Mom takes Do-hee’s hand in her hers, asking if there’s anything she can do for her. But Professor Mok intervenes, bluntly pointing out that the only thing they can do to help is catch the offender. After all, sexual violence isn’t about sex, but violence. Why should the victim hide?

Kang-chul and Ho-gu go out for an awkward dinner, and Ho-gu hands over the old sneakers that Ho-kyung wore that day, six years ago. Kang-chul tries to give them back because they’re so old and dirty, but Ho-gu tells him that because Ho-kyung couldn’t forget about him, she never washed them or threw them away.

There’s another reason Ho-gu wanted to meet with him — he wants Kang-chul to take Do-hee’s case (at a friends-and-family discount, of course). Kang-chul leans forward, surprised that Do-hee told him who the accused was. Nope — it’s still a secret, and when she’s ready to say who it is, they’ll contact him.

Do-hee takes Ho-gu to her apartment and he marvels at all the awards and medals on her shelf. As he peruses them, he asks if she knows why The Little Mermaid had such a sad ending — it’s because the mermaid loved a prince, and guys that are princes, who are too grand and perfect, are terrible in reality. Ho-gu: “I’m not a prince. I’m a squid.”

He takes her hand, asking her to press charges. Quietly, he reassures her one of the benefits of a squid is that they never get tired, and that he’ll be by her side through it all. She removes her hand from his grasp, asking if he’ll continue to love Geum-dong.

Her voice catching, she admits that sometimes she hates Geum-dong. As she watches him grow, she worries that he won’t look like her, and that he’ll remind her of the night she was raped. Even so, Geum-dong is her baby. She gave birth to him, so she can love him and hate him. But what she’s most afraid of is Ho-gu, the man that she loves most, eventually hating her child.

Ho-gu pulls out a copy of the picture they took for Geum-dong’s 100-day party and sets it on her trophy shelf, telling her that she’s underestimating the squid. He turns to leave, but comes back to give her a quick kiss on the cheek, warning her that he’s planning to slowly win her over, before he scurries out the door.

Kang-chul tries to focus on his work, but Ho-kyung’s accusations are still ringing in his ears. It’s probably a good thing he’s distracted, because his client is Kyung-woo, who we all know is no good. As Kang-chul they walk out of the office, they run into Ho-kyung. Kang-chul is delighted to see her, but Kyung-woo steps forward, dominating the situation as he chides her for never calling him. She agrees to go out with him, but it seems like her agreement is more to annoy Kang-chul, whose face falls as they leave together.

Do-hee meets with CEO Park, who is astonished to hear that Do-hee will raise Geum-dong. She suggests that Do-hee try to get together with Kyung-woo, explaining that it’s obvious he must like her since all red-blooded men make drunken mistakes like that at least once. Ugh.

But Do-hee gives her the death glare as she informs her that she’s pressing charges against Kyung-woo because he’s a criminal. She demands to know why CEO Park is treating her like she’s the criminal when she didn’t do anything wrong, but CEO Park continues to insist that if Do-hee had just behaved properly, this would never have happened.

Do-hee admits that she used to think so, too. She originally blamed herself and suffered alone, but now knows she did nothing wrong. CEO Park warns her that if she continues to behave this way, she won’t be able to protect her. But Do-hee doesn’t want or need her protection any more, and she stands up to leave. Contract terminated.

Kang-chul is freaking out about Ho-kyung going out with another guy, and Gong-mi orders him to go apologize to Ho-kyung and bring her back. But he doesn’t understand why he needs to apologize when she’s the one who left, and tries to distract himself in his work. But one of the case files is Do-hee’s, which now has the “accused” section filled in: No Kyung-woo.

That’s the same guy Ho-kyung is currently on a date with, and when he mentions she’d make a nice drinking friend, Ho-kyung “innocently” asks if he was drinking friends with Do-hee. A clueless Kyung-woo agrees that she was, and it looks like Ho-kyung is reaching for her drink to throw it in his face (or at least I hope she is), but someone stops her.

It’s Kang-chul, who grabs her by the wrist, demanding that she get up. His words may be for Ho-kyung, but his angry eyes are focused on Kyung-woo. Before they leave, he returns to throw a punch at Kyung-woo, except he stops right before it connects and instead slams his fist against the table. In quiet rage, he tells Kyung-woo it isn’t his place to hit him, so he’ll wait. But Kyung-woo will need to find himself a new lawyer.

Once outside, Kang-chul’s still reeling from his worry and anger. He tries to yell at Ho-kyung for going out with another guy instead of him, but he can only stutter out an apology. As he tries to explain, she quietly tells him to just shut up and kiss her already. Which he does. And she kisses him back. It’s a good kiss.

The Kang family drive Do-hee to the police station to give her statement, and we hear Ho-gu, in a voice-over, ask Ho-kyung what is dating all about. She answers that it’s “timing.” As they pull up at the station, Do-hee is bombarded with reporters, but she ignores them as she walks up the steps.

Ho-kyung: “You need to pay close attention to whether the other person’s light is green, or whether your green light and the other person’s green light are on at the same time, or else you’ll get hit by a car.” Ho-gu follows Do-hee to the interview room, giving her an encouraging smile and a “fighting!” gesture. In voice-over, he sighs that dating is difficult.

Do-hee gives her statement, but the policeman seems suspicious as he questions her. Weren’t she and Kyung-woo colleagues? And if he did try to assault her, why didn’t she try to resist more than she did? He’s seen a lot of sexual assault cases, and based on her circumstances, it doesn’t seem like she’s a victim. Why did she decide to have the baby instead of an abortion? But Do-hee isn’t cowed as she cooly asks him what it means to be a victim.

As Ho-gu waits and paces outside, Kyung-woo arrives at the police station. He stops to smirk at Ho-gu, asking him if he’s Do-hee’s boyfriend. Ho-gu tenses up as he gets in Kyung-woo’s face, but then relaxes, asking if Kyung-woo expected to be hit.

He reassures him that he’s not going to leave a mark on Kyung-woo’s body since he’s going to prison. Krung-woo’s convinced there’s no way that will happen, but it’s not a prison with bars Ho-gu’s talking about — it’s the psychological prison that Ho-gu will create for him.

Ho-gu leans in close, warning Kyung-woo that he’ll call three times a day, every day, to curse him out. He’ll go to all of Kyung-woo’s swim meets to tell everyone that Kyung-woo is a rapist. He’ll find all of Kyung-woo’s other victims and write a book about him — National Rapist: No Kyung-woo.

Scoffing, Kyung-woo says it’s all ridiculous, but Ho-gu reassures him that the one thing he’s good at is making ridiculous things a reality. After all, his name is Ho-gu. He pats Kyung-woo’s cheek and smiles: “It’s scary, isn’t it?”

Later, Do-hee and Ho-kyung eat dinner at a restaurant, and one of the televisions play the news report of Do-hee’s lawsuit. Kyung-Woo was judged not guilty (dammit!) but Do-hee’s planning to file an appeal. A nearby couple remark that Do-hee must be doing this just to get money of Kyung-woo since her sporting career must be over, and Do-hee slams down her chopsticks.

She loudly and pointedly explains that she ordered more meat because she has a lot of money, and Ho-gu adds that it’s actually being paid by her boyfriend, a successful writer. He waves around a wad of cash to prove his point. Aw, these two dorks are just so adorably perfect for each other.

Coach (aw, I’ve missed you!) and Ho-kyung sit in a van, surrounded by protesters all chanting for Do-hee’s resignation. They start pounding on the windows, and from the backseat, Do-hee sits up and starts screaming. Most of her statements are not fit to print (or air, since they’re predominately bleeped out), but suffice to say, she’s not having any of it and yells that they’re ruining her wedding.

Ho-gu, in a snazzy tux and holding a fussy-but-equally-snazzy Geum-dong, quietly reminds her that it’s their wedding day, and she’s the beautiful bride. She immediately calms down and sweetly apologizes to him and Geum-dong. Coach gets a call and tells them it’s time to make a run for it.

Ho-gu carries Geum-dong and Do-hee tucks her arm in his as they start running down the sidewalk. They’re joined by Coach, Ho-kyung, Kang-chul, Chung-jae, Gong-mi, Tae-hee, and all the parents. Plus, of course, the hoards of protesters. As they impatiently wait at a crosswalk for the light to change, Ho-gu says in a voice-over: “I don’t know what dating or flirting is. Is the signal red or green? Can I cross the street? Is dating really like just looking at a traffic light, worrying about when it will turn green?”

Ho-kyung asks if it’s not that, then what is it? Ho-gu replies that it’s more like when you make eye-contact with someone, and can’t look away, not even to see if the light is red or green. You just run towards each other, crossing the street without looking. She reminds him that if he runs across the street at a red light, he’ll get hit by a car and die.

Ho-gu: “So what? We’ll be crossing it together.” The wedding party does just that — crossing the road against a red light, all smiles and excitement.

In a brief epilogue, Do-hee swims in another competition, and cheering her on from the stands is a happy Ho-gu with Geum-dong at his side and a new baby on his lap. Do-hee sees her name first on the leader-board, and she happily waves to her husband and children.

For the last time, we hear: “My name is Ho-gu. Kang Ho-gu.”

COMMENTS

Aw, what a satisfying ending. I wasn’t sure how the writers would be able to wrap everything up this week, but I’m pleasantly surprised that they managed to both tackle the serious stuff and also give us some “happily-ever-after” moments. In the end, Do-hee may no longer be the “nation’s mermaid” — it did seem like her last swimming meet was in a much more humble location than her previous competitions. But she’s Ho-gu’s mermaid. Or, rather, she’s her own mermaid. She no longer lives under the weight of trying to live up to expectations or the ghost of the past. She’s started her new life with Ho-gu, the loyal and loving “squid” that will forever be cheering her on.

This show has always walked that fine line of being cute’n’fluffy and tackling some serious issues. Sometimes it’s been successful, sometimes it hasn’t, but I do appreciate that it was willing to go to the edge and confront topics like single motherhood, rape, and homosexuality. In a way, it’s also the drama’s downfall. Because so much of it is cute’n’fluffy, when the show tries to tackle such complicated topics, it’s almost disappointing because the resolution isn’t perhaps what I would like. (It’s not the end of the world if you’re gay! Really!)

But I am glad the show didn’t shy away from making it clear how utterly against the victim the system is when it comes to sexual assault, especially when it comes to accusing a popular and beloved celebrity. Rape is too often blamed on the woman, when she’s the true victim. All Do-hee did was make sure her drunken colleague got home safe, and yet it’s her fault that she didn’t resist even more so that Kyung-woo wouldn’t rape her. Because, duh, the drunk dude who won’t take “no” for an answer is clearly not at fault. Sure; whatever. So frustrating, and yet Do-hee managed to maintain her pride and composure. Well, at least her composure to a certain extent. I can’t be the only one who was thrilled to see her fighting spirit back as she cursed out those protesters.

All in all, I’ve greatly enjoyed the time I got to spend with these characters. They felt real to me. None of them were perfect, and sometimes the situations they found themselves in were a little unbelievable, but their reactions felt true and relatable. On a more technical note, I loved all the light touches and little jokes that didn’t easily fit in a recap; the teasing word-play; the ingenious little auditory and visual cues to smooth transitions between scenes; the detailed set designs that so accurately reflected each character; the way they used background music and the official soundtrack; and, of course, those ridiculously cute title cards with the animated squid.

This may not have been a perfect show, and it may have sometimes struggled to figure out how to balance the light yet dark tone it wanted to portray. But it was an immensely enjoyable show that was pleasant to spend time with each week, and I will remember it fondly. If that makes me a fool, then, so be it. I have no shame in declaring I am a “hogu” for Ho-gu’s Love.

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Thank you for all the wonderful recaps of Hogu's love! ♥ I wouldn't have started watching if I did not read about ep 1 here first... I thought it would be too fluffy for my taste, but all the characters was so delightful, so it had been a blast watching them...

I was disappointed that the ending it seemed like the bad guy had gotten away with it all, but I guess it is very realistic...I even expected the scowling secretary of the scary boss lady to also have been his assault victim, the way she always regarded him coldly..but I suppose I was thinking too much about that...

Thanks again!

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Speaking of "very realistic", park shi woo came across my mind.

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Typo: park shi hoo

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I have to agree, I immediately thought of his case.

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Agreed, I wouldn't have started watching if not for your recaps...and I'm really grateful! This has turned to be one of those dramas I hold dearly to my heart. I love, love, love the ending. I love this couple that continue to support each other, and love the kids regardless. I love the family and friendship relationships. Love Hogu!

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I hated that kyong woo didn't get what he deserved.. at least a little karma wouldn't be so bad....

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I wish they had shown Ho Goo actually making sure Kyung Woo lived the mental prison he had prepared for him

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Oh I though he was charged guilty...and that lead me to think that it is enough for the viewers to think that he'll be in jail or he's already in jail..

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ah... i waited for this to say that I really enjoyed reading the recaps. There are some flaws w the show perhaps but the characters are so cute and I really liked the 2nd leads.

Thanks so much lollypip and odilettante.

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I really love this show!! And seriously, Ho-gu is one of my fave character ever and I don't remember rooting for someone so hard before. So happy that he got the happiness that he deserves!

I did a 16-eps marathon on this and found myself laughing and crying over it. It was such an enjoyable journey that even though there are some parts that are not really explained and the bad guy kinda got away at the end, I still think this is one of the best rom-com out there.

This show definitely has the right cast for all the characters, the main 4 and all the sides. Choi Woo-shik and Im Seul-ong are especially awesome.
I'm so gonna miss all of them.

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Thanks for the recap! I really enjoyed the show! I am impressed with 19 year old HoKyung actress who was totally compatible with other older (mid and late 20's) leads.

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She's only 19?! Wow she's a really good actress considering her age!

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here here love this show, i liked ordinary main leads instead of the over hyped flower boys or cold yet sensitive inside fantasy crap that dominates korean dramas. Hogoo is consistently genuine and foolishly funny squid.

this drama goes into my kdrama treasure box along with my others like Misaeng and queens in hyun man pinocchio and many other greats.

ps. really dislike pretty boy leads with 1 dimensional personalities. And fans who are only fans because of the persons looks.

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That was a pretty good setup to make her admit her desires...still need the riot act to be read though

Kang Chul being attracted to both Hogu and Hokyung in their past and CURRENT looks and only after getting to know them indicates to me he may be gray A or demisexual (and bisexual in that gender isn't a concern in that attraction) but instead the show says he's straight. Okay.

The rapist getting off is truth in television but at least she has support and they'll appeal

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I enjoyed this show a lot!
Thanks for the recap!

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me too..

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So Ji Yoon just died of a natural car accident? I thought there would be more to it.. And who was her rapist?

Though I wish Do Hee's rapist got incarcerated it makes sense that he was tried not guilty it happens so often in the real world.. I like that Do Hee will continue to appeal her case until she wins! I also like that everyone got a happy ending! This drama definitely warmed up my heart!

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It looks like So Ju Yoon's rapist/abuser was her older brother

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REally? I thought she had an affair with a married older man or something...But it would explain why Do Hee went to her house and found her running away from it. Thanks!

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This was an enjoyable show. Probably the let down for me was kang chul's storyline. Even if it was HK who kissed him way back when, he was at some point definitely attracted to HG. But to all of a sudden be attracted to HK and be straight? That was frustrating to watch. I feel like they almost pulled a coffee prince :/

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Totally agree. Plus for a show that has such progressive attitudes about sex, it's treatment of LGBT topics is ass backwards.

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Yes. I really liked the show having guys and girls going into each other's rooms like it was natural and appreciated that they tackled the "blame the victim" culture in Korea, but I'm less than pleased with the whole "treating" "gayness" with counseling thing. Or did I read that wrong? Why was Ho Kyung giving Byun Kang Chul counseling sessions?

I know tvn can be more sensitive with gay portrayals (Answer Me 1997) so was disappointed.

Or maybe because the show was trying to do so much, I expected more in this regard. I'm OK with BKC not being gay because he's pretty emotionally stunted, but compared to how every other Big Issue was treated, this one rang false.

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I see what you are saying about "treating" homosexuality. The whole idea is ridiculous.
But, I think what HK was doing was helping him explore his relations with males and females to really understand IF he were gay or not.

I was disappointed that he didn't accept that the attraction to HG was real, as was his attraction to HK, rather than having an epiphany that it was HK he loved all along.
I thought the show made it clear his heart did beat for HG as HG himself, even if that may have been a non-sexual attraction.

If the show really wanted to be honest, we would have found out if HG aroused him or not. I think Coffee Prince made it clear that GY was aroused by YEH when she was still a boy to him.

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Keep in mind Korea's public opinion on LGBT. Baby steps...

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"After all, sexual violence isn’t about sex, but violence. Why should the victim hide?"

Finally a message I agree with, why did it take so long.

My favorite part of the whole drama was the last ten seconds, pre epilogue, with everyone coming together and running down the street.

As a whole I found it to be an interesting premise with lovely characters, especially the main four, ruined by mostly horrid writing.

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off topic but aren't you doing a recap/first impression with Sensory Couple aka The Girl Who See Smells? i've been reading positive reviews about it

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It's so funny seeing Hogu with two babies at the end. I'm not convinced that he's their 'father'. He looks like he is baby-sitting for sb. Ha ha ha.
So glad things work out for these chars all around.

This show is the only one that I enjoy after the end of Healer. I'm thankful for it.

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It cud be Gong Mi's baby..

I have to say Geum Dong the baby is one of the cutest babies in kdrama..

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A nice little drama. I’ll admit that I felt somewhat let down by the fact that rapist jerk didn’t get his due, but my understanding in Korea (and unfortunately much of asia) is that rape victims are often on the short end of the stick. But I’m glad that the weight of it all wasn’t enough to crush Do Hee. Actually, the person I’m most disappointed in was CEO Park … I really did have high hopes for her. For a moment there, I thought that Director lady would help Do Hee because of her last sympathizing glance while Do Hee was walking away. Maybe she knows what Do Hee is going through and maybe that’s why she’s got such a cold exterior. Anyway, wasn’t much of a fan of Uee … but I think I’ll be watching her more.

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I was waiting for the last recap to talk about the ending in general but scrolling down saw your comment and had to respond. i take issue (its a strong word, but i cant find a better one for now) with the assumption that Do Hee's problem is mainly an Asian one. Victim blaming is universal across the globe and the case of the American high school girl whose video was passed around is just one such example (sorry am fuzzy on the details). This is a not just a third world/eastern problem.

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Never said it was only an Asian problem. Just said that it IS a problem in Asia.

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It is a problem in the rest of the world too. A more accurate statement would be..."A nice little drama. I’ll admit that I felt somewhat let down by the fact that rapist jerk didn’t get his due, but my understanding in Korea (and unfortunately much of THE WORLD)....."

Is what I think SR meant.

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Thank you for the recaps. I read first, and then got hooked.
I loved this show. And I had no problem with the serious themes that it portrayed.

I believe a lot of "slow developing" people are confused about their sexuality. Just because you knew you were attracted to males, females, or both at an early age doesn't mean everyone did. I know that in high school any time it appeared like a guy I had a crush on actually was interested in me I found a way to sabotage myself. It got so bad that I began to wonder if I subconsciously didn't want a relationship. (Was I maybe gay? I wasn't. But I tell you, there were times I wondered.) Also, I know quiet, (unmanly seeming) men who developed social skills late in life who were labeled gay, but who were not. (and I have a personal friend, a manly, suave, charismatic heart throb type who is.) I thought the drama did an excellent job in portraying Kang-chul as being confused. I never thought he was a gay man who was "cured."

Secondly. I really liked when Do Do He was being interviewed and asked the (annoying) cop how a victim should act. I also thought her concerns about Ho Gu not being able to separate baby Guem Dong from the rape valid. If you truly believe in a woman's right to choose you should realize that choice implies there are at least 2 acceptable options. Even in the case of rape, if a woman decides to terminate the pregnancy, have the baby and give him/her up, or keep and raise the baby--it is her choice.

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Excellent, insightful comments, Wag_A Muffin!

Re sexual assault by a friend or date, it's a nightmare for police and prosecutors as it often ends up a "he said, said" situation particularly when so much time has passed. Does not excuse the lousy attitude of the investigating officer.

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I like your comment Wag_a_Muffin. I especially appreciate you commenting on Do Hee's concern about baby Geum Dong and Ho Gu. Those are very real concerns, and raw feelings.

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Just wanted to thank for the recaps - I thoroughly enjoyed them! And true, the show wasn't perfect, but it still was amazing. Loved the actors and was pleasantly surprised by Seul-ong (haven't seen him anywhere else).
All in all, the biggest disappointment was the 'gay' thing. I mean, character-wise it made sense that Kang-chul wasn't gay, but I woul've liked if he turned out to be at least bisexual.
Also, almost OT: Are there any kdramas where a homosexual character gets a nice satisfying arc?

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For real! The closest thing I've seen is in Personal Taste, which for all of the gay pantomime really does have a minor gay character who is shown as having feelings and is somewhat taken seriously.

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Life is Beautiful has a gay couple featured prominently the entire run of the series. It was pretty realistic on how families react, and what an uphill battle it is to be yourself, out and happy. They are truly my fav OTP of all Kdrama.

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Oh, thanks! I'll check it out. After all the sad and mistreated homosexual characters I want to see some sweet love and happiness.
And the gay director in Personal taste (turns out Seulong was in there, too!) just made my heart bleed...

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I was frustrated by the "gay"plotline here, too, compared to the very intelligent treatment of acquaintance rape.

And although it's OT, I do wonder about this:

It's so rare to see homosexual characters in K-dramas, and it's even rarer to see a happy ending. "Personal Taste" did a great job in terms of having an important and very sympathetic secondary character who is gay. For a few episodes, it's kinda subversive, because he's courting Lee Min Ho's character. (Tangent: I'm trying to bring back the word "courting.") And, in one of my favorite K-drama moments, Lee Min-Ho announces to a room full of people that he's gay, out of anger and sympathy with what this guy's going through.

But like a Hollywood movie from the nineteen-nineties, "Personal Taste" treats gayness like a kind of tragic curse. So it's very sympathetic to the gay Director, but it doesn't allow him to hope for a happy ever after.

Of course, depending on where you grow up in America, being gay can still seem a lot like a tragic curse, but we have a lot of safe places, too. I'm in awe of how much it's changed in 20 years. I think K-dramas are opening up important space to talk about homosexuality, which can have powerful effects even when they don't do a good job.

I recently came across the first happily-paired gay character I've ever seen in a K-drama, and I couldn't believe it. He was, of course, a tertiary character (in 2009 melodrama "Swallow the Sun") and more than a bit eccentric. But Jimmy the deadly professional mercenary in central Africa, whose lover is a handsome African man, does function as a "good guy" in the story, without having to be a tragic celibate. He gets a minor story arc and even commits treachery and redeems himself. (BTW, "Swallow the Sun" is fabulous melo, if you skip the first episode. Ji Sung fans shouldn't miss it.)

It was pretty random that I watched STS (post-KMHM Ji Sung obsession), but it made me wonder if there are other secondary or tertiary gay characters out there who are allowed to succeed in love? Maybe the minor characters can break into new territory before the first and second leads do?

Can anyone think of any others?

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Thank you both so much for recapping "Hogu's Love"! I watched the first half and then stopped because I wasn't sure if it was going anywhere. It has been so interesting to read the recaps and find out that it really DID go somewhere. I can't believe a show tackled acquaintance rape, though I wish perhaps the court case, etc., could have gotten more time in the narrative. The fact that women so often lose these cases is a horror of the modern justice system.

It was so wonderful to see Choi Woo-Shik in his first leading role just being awesome!

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Detectives of Seonam Girls high school had an arc on it but was only for 2 episodes.There was even a high profile kiss scene.

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Hi Daisy!

I heard about the Seonam Girls kiss, but didn't hear anything besides that it happened. Did anyone see it?

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It was just a forbidden love relationship it was filled with cute moments and the kiss scene was lovely! I recommend watching it, though there story arc was really too short. It really shows love has no boundaries!

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I'm not too sure whether HoKyung knew that Kyung Woo was Do Hee's rapist though? It looked like a purely curious question on her part because there was no way she could have known especially since HoGu hadn't found out then as well?

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one of the rare dramas which I thought could have actually benefited from a 1 or 2 ep extension, to clean out and perhaps give more depth to certain quickly resolved storylines (looking at you, Ho Kyung and Kang Chul, as well as Ji Yoon, and Kang Chul's parents, and not to mention this drama owed us a whole kangchul vs rapist smackdown in court, plus a showdown with CEO)

but man, didn't this drama give us a satisfying OTP. loved, loved loved the main OTP so much. <3 and Choi Woo Shik, thank you for ruining my bias list.

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+1

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"Choi Woo Shik, thank you for ruining my bias list"

I forgot what I wanted to write here. I´m still in denial. This show cannot be over. Kang Ho-gu!!!

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I was dissapointed by the ending, I gotta say. Mostly the Kang Chul storyline. I mean, if he's not gay, ok, but it was like the narrative telegraphed a huuuuge sigh of relief-- "No worries-- that was cute and all, but we're strictly heteronormative around here! Now look at some breeders and babies!" Ho Gu and Kang Chul had way more chemistry than Ho Kyung and Kang Chul. Even though that was not going to really happen for obvious plot reasons, I wish the story would have honored what seemed to be a genuine (if confused by certain events) affection. I mean, if a straight couple accidentally brushes against each other in a crowded room, kdrama logic can spin that into a decades long fraught and weepy romance. KC was obsessed with HG, even if at one point it really was Ho Kyung and he didn't know it.

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MTE I personally loved kangchul's love for hogu even though we knew hogu was never going to return his feelings, it was sweet to see hogu turning BKC's "perfect" world upside down and graducally turn him more human and likeable in the process. I Totally agree that they had more chemistry together compared to him with hokyung. It really angred and actually surpised me that the writer decided to go down that route, especially when in the previous episode dohee got him to admitt his feelings for hogu. Kangchul even admitted that his heart beated for hogu. For him to have a sudden change of heart and turn out to be completely straight in last hour is BS. I think it honestly defeats the whole purpose of trying to address homophobia and the blurred lines of sexuality, If the writer is going to have a character openly admit his feelings for another character of the same sex, only to have them completely dismiss said character's real feelings, and force an unconvincing pairing in the end just for the sake of keeping the character straight.

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And why can't he be bisexual? At first I too wanted him to just stick to being homosexual but life isn't like that.
He also did start sorta liking Ho Kyung before he figured everything out. and it's unfair to categorize a person and box them in under one sexual preference category. There are so many times that we divide people by either the heterosexual or homosexual category when there are also: Bisexual, asexuals, and just people who don't really know because they haven't given themselves the opportunity to figure themselves out?

Anyways while Ho Gu's Love wasn't a perfect drama it is something that I thoroughly enjoyed and I was 100% behind the main couple while I still had a few issues with Kang Chul not related to his sexuality such as: his jerk treatment of the lady who was a single mom, he was so self-righteous back then, but in the end I did end up supporting him. That I have to give a big clap to Im Seu Long for doing a great job in his acting.

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thank you for the recaps. I never laughed and cried at the same time in a show for some time and yes there are some arguments I may not agree onto but that's the point right. I just can't hate a show for giving me opposing opinions on what I believed in instead I'll consider the other side and understand what they were trying to teach me.

In terms of fluff, this show tops it all. HoGu + Geum dong are the perfect combo. The four main leads are all very likeable and I never knew HoGu could be really scary esp that scene with that bastard rapist. CWS I AM SO READY FOR YOUR NEXT ROLE. :)

All in all, a very nice drama, not perfect but no other show can give me the same amount of feels as this one.

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I loved the ending. I loved this show. I am so happy that it took time in explaining what transitioned our characters (especially Ho-gu) over the time that passed. Totally loved that bit with Ho-gu and Kang-chul fighting (lol) and talking outside the squid shop. I also liked the way this show portrays a rape victim in a different kind of way: in other dramas, you see rape victims portrayed as weak which actually becomes quite a stereotype that when you're a rape victim, you should just be crying because of the trauma (I hope you get what I mean with that). But in this show, we all saw how Do-hee is fighting bravely and I even take that "How should a rape victim?" comeback as a slap to that director.

I guess it's just that I really wanted Ho-kyung and Kang-chul to be together that I wanted him, of course, to not be gay in the end. But setting that aside, I do think that the direction this show is going for Kang-chul is that he really wasn't gay. I don't know. From the get-go, it was pretty clear that his belief that he's gay was due to a lot of wrong assumptions and factors that point only to one conclusion. And I do buy that with that kiss, he knew it because he knew *that* feeling. Hasn't it occurred to some of you that when his heart beats before for Ho-gu, it was because he every time he sees him, he remembers that kiss? How he felt that time? Anyway...

What got me hooked even from the first episode was that traffic light-dating analogy that Ho-gu and Ho-kyung talked about in the first episode. I was so damn happy when they got back to it for the last episode. It made the ending more lovable because it reminds us that dating (and love) is not actually as casual and trivial as Ho-kyung said it is. That Ho-gu's romantic ideal about it is something that would actually be proven through for all our characters.

I liked Choi Woo-sik and Uee's cuteness, but I wish I'd seen something juuuust a bit more mature in their dynamics, in that I shamelessly admit that I wish they had at least one kiss as deep as that of Lee Soo-kyung and Im Seulong's. Speaking of, I've grown to like Im Seulong as the show goes. I thought he was just a minor character that I would eventually forget, but he was totally likeable in this show. And Lee Soo-kyung is a given (can't believe she's only 19!) because I liked her from the first outing. I want to see more of her in more dramas.

Ho-gu's Love definitely goes to my top favorites :)

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* “How should a rape victim act?”

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+ 1

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Among other things the tiny thing thats bothering me is-who texted Bung Kang-chul the night Do-Hee gave birth.The text saying a new member is being added to the family.I kept expecting that someone who knew the secret would start blackmailing Do-hee.

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yeah, and didn't another (mucch more minor) character also get that text? i like how that was never mentioned again

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Actually it was addressed. one of their high school friends mass-texted their whole reunion group that text when they were drunk. I can't remember exactly why...

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Ohh...thank you so much. I remember the scene now. Although i'm still confused as to why?

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We were tricked into thinking it was DDH specific, but it was actually a SPAM fishing message that had something to do with trying to sell Life Insurance. There was more than one sent out, one of them had to do with adding a family member - thus the need to upgrade your life insurance plan.

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I loved loved loved this show, faults and all. I felt like it could have used an extension maybe one more episode for a little more character growth and explanation of some of the loose strings. But as a whole It was an enjoyable experience in a somewhat barren drama land. I think they tried to handle certain situations as well as they could... it was a little sloppy with KC n HK story line but the reactions were immensely Korean through and through not to progressive but right on point. Sadly in Korea being gay is almost a death sentence, when it comes to being a celebrity or in the spotlight, There are some who have climbed through the ranks and regained their fame or prestige but it is very few (only 3 openly, ???hidden). So i thought it was funny how KC clumsily navigated through everything and was ok with the ending. Other than that kudos to the staff, writers, actors and UEE and CWS especially!!

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LOVED HOGU. I am now a super fan for CWS. I liked him in every drama he's been in, but I'm so glad he got a great role for his first lead. Just wished it had more attention/popularity and critical acclaim. Although there were some flaws, he was definitely not one. SOOOO awesome!

Is it weird that he's going to be doing an ero movie next? hahaha...he's so skinnnnnyyy

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love the show so much! thank goodness i decided to watch this(ok, so it's mainly becoz of woo shik..i love him ever since i watched him in shut up family). but the cast for this drama is so wonderfully adorable that you just gotta love them(with the exception of the CEO and that rapist jerk).

i love the 'fight' scene between HG and KC.. hahahahaha. looks like two squids rolling on the floor to me.

thank you, show..for giving me a very good time. i laughed and cried..and i lost count on how many time i said 'awww'.

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Great drama even with its flaws... I marathon the entire drama in three days.. I wasn't a big fan of Choi Woo Shik but this drama changed that.. UEE /Choi Woo Shik and the rest of the cast/writer did a great job.. thanks for recap too.. see you guys in next drama..

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For those of you just reading recaps and not watching the show, there was an actual crunch sound effect when Kangchul bit Hogu's butt. Ahahahaha.

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We got a gay couple at the end: Tae-hee and the coach! Just look at the scene where they are crossing the street, they are looking like a couple.

Everyone in the show was so relieved for Kangchul being straight and "normal" again. With that little scene, they may be trying to make it up for the people who are offended by that. At least that is what I want to believe.

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Ha! I didn't catch that. Nice cross reading!

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I'm still waiting for a gay character that is one of the main characters in a drama. I know it will take some time but I like how it's being dealt with here and there in some dramas. I understand some hate for KC's character thinking he's gay only to be straight but isn't that what most people go through? A questioning phase. So I liked that aspect.

The rape bit upset me but I believe that was the point. It's too often that rape is blamed on the victim. No matter what country or society. So sadly that ass winning his trial rang bitterly true. But how Do Hee stuck to her guns and took no shit from anyone made me fistpump. She's so badass.

Kind of sad I won't see these characters again. I really want like a mini-series of like 2-3 eps of just all their lives.

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In Hyena one of the main characters was gay. He wants to be straight, and loves a woman, but in the end just can't do it.

I also really enjoyed the transsexual story line in Saving Madam Go Bong Shil.

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Loved it! One scene I wished had happened:
Ho-kyung and rapist Kyung-woo actually meet as "drinking buddies". Ho-kyung shows up in sweats w/o makeup. Kyung-woo tries to assault her and she proceeds to beat him to a pulp. Kang-chul shows up to "rescue" her, sees her totally handling the situation and then recognizes her as the Ho-gu from "that day"...

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Omg that would've been epic!

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Baby steps with homosexuality. Honestly, they don't always get it right here in the States either and then bisexuality is almost ignored completely. I'll forever think of Kang Chul as someone who just falls for the person irregardless of gender (I'm not sure the term for this). I at least liked that there was no declaration of him going "I'M NOT GAY!" in celebration rather he said "I thought I was gay!" which is much more open to me and less polarizing. I'm just happy Kang Chul isn't alone anymore and his parents seem to be more open, too. Sorta, lol.

I loved all the characters and their flaws and how we kept figuring them out as the show progressed even till the end. I loved that kind of growth, very gradual and natural and nothing big or flashy just people growing and learning through each other. Loved Ho Gu's threat toward the rapist. And was it just me or did the CEO of Do Hee's agency look genuinely upset at Do Hee's parting. I feel like there is someone else who believes Do Hee around.

I'll definitely remember this drama and maybe come back one day (I did cry quite a few times! TT___TT) and I'll always remember the OTP bragging about their money, LOL.

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Thanks for recapping Ho-Gu's Love (aka Ho-Goo's Love) Girlfriday, Javabeans, LollyPip, & odilettante.

Great job by Choi Woo-Sik as Kang Ho-Goo, Im Seul-Ong (aka Lim Seulong) as Byun Kang Chul, and Lee Soo-Kyung as Kang Ho-Kyung. They were fantastic at embodying their characters and immersing themselves into their roles.

Uee did well too. But it always felt like there was an element of something or other missing from her performance.

Credit to HGL for its willingness to broach serious topics and subject matters like adoption, homosexuality, questioning one's sexual orientation, rape, and sexual assault as violence. However, at times HGL didn't effectively and fully follow through with the storyline/plot development. Which I can see why it left some viewers questioning if maybe this was simply a plot contrivance and/or feeling like this was to important to dismiss on the part of the writer Yoon Nan-Joong.

Let's see I've watched CWS now in Pride & Prejudice, Fated to Love You, You're All Surrounded, Who Are You, & Rooftop Prince. I've been meaning to get around to Special Affairs Team Ten and Ten 2 for some time now. I'll definitely have to make a point to do so now.

And I'm 4/4 with watching ISO: Hotel King, Mandate of Heaven (aka The Fugitive of Joseon), and Personal Taste.

I was impressed by Lee Soo-Kyung's performance in HGL. She's now on my one to watch list.

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So, funny, I was thinking the same thing about ISL. I have been watching him with interest in all his dramas.
He is so smart to take diverse and not headlining roles first.
If only all the idols were that wise and that good.

He will be breaking hearts soon as the lead in something and I can't wait!!

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He sure is. And like you, I'm excited for the day ISL is the lead in a great project.

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Thanks for the recaps, everyone, and all your thoughts throughout. I agree that this was a gem of a drama with so many touching, lovely and funny moments. It'll be a wonderful rewatch after time passes. I know I'll be laughing as much at the KC HG "beat down."

I am thankful that the homosexual and rape as violence against women themes came out during this drama. Statistics say that rape is a big problem all over the world, so I am guessing more than a few audience members were gratified to see their story told on national TV. Same with non-straight people. They may be invisible, but a certain percentage of the audience could probably relate to the fear and excitement of realizing they love someone of the same sex. Like everyone else said, baby steps for now. In time, we can see more fully fleshed stories of GLBT characters.

My biggest enjoyment from the start was from ISO as KC, whom I loved to hate, laughed at, and finally fell in love with. That kiss was AWESOME and better than some main OTP kisses recently!

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That kiss sure was awesome. So much so that I couldn't help but smile. :)

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Well...I know for the most part the commenters here liked the show so sorry in advance for a comment that will probably be irksome. My sincere thanks for the recap- I really do appreciate hearing other perspectives even if I disagree.

The police station scene annoyed me. I was irritated that the cop trots out the "why didn't you resist" line. Because while this is a noxious, toxic question in rape culture worldwide, it is not by any means the first one anyone would apply to Do-hee's situation.

Look at the situation from an outsider's perspective. Do-hee says she didn't report the rape when it happened because of the damage to her public persona and career. OK, that's acceptable. Legally she could not be kicked of the team for this, but life could definitely be made unpleasant.

Then she goes on to say that she disappeared without permission or contact for six months to give birth. That should have been enough to get her fired, whatever the reason. The ensuing cover-up, as well as her constant lies to the public and her agency superiors, were also way, way more damaging to Do-hee's career prospects than reporting the rape would have been. From a simple logical perspective, skepticism is really the obvious reaction. Do-hee was willing to take all of these risks for the sake of a rape baby that didn't even exist yet, but she wasn't willing to take much more minor risks to report the rape?

And that's not even getting into the physical element- Do-hee should not be competitive after taking a training break like this during her peak years. From an outsider perspective, it's much more plausible that the rape allegation is just a publicity dodge to detract from Do-hee's deliberately engaging in two years worth of public lies and cover-ups. Without the rape allegation her behavior is completely unjustifiable.

This has been my main problem with the rape subject this entire time. It has always, to me, felt more like a dodge to prevent Do-hee from achieving character growth than an organic outcropping of the story. The fifth episode actually mocked the idea of Do-hee being an immaculate victim- but apparently in that case Hogu's simplistic white knight imagination was correct. It's just that the wolf was Kyung-woo rather than Kang-cheol.

But even if we take the tragedy at face value the ending is still insultingly simplistic. A literal angry mob chases Do-hee on her wedding day and the woman so scared of rape stigma she wouldn't file charges against her rapist just brushes it off with a smile. And as far as we can tell her career hasn't been affected either- the woman in the next lane over in the last scene is Do-hee's rival, which implies that she still competes internationally.

The script says that Do-hee has been taking all these risks, it states that coming out as a rape victim will have serious consequences- and we totally gloss over that for the sake of a fluffy happy ending. I've just found it horribly agitating...

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Agreed, except when the cop asked Do Hee why she didn't resist, I was actually expecting it. The show had been very clear that no one would be on Do Hee's side who wasn't already. What I wasn't ready for was for all the repercussions to be completely glossed over, like you said. The final episode frustrated me in several different ways, one of them being how smoothly the show sailed past this arc by not really dealing with how a public trial would affect Do Hee's career and psyche. Plus, another baby? That better have been Gong Mi's baby like other commenters suggested. Because to tell us she would still be competetive after that is ludicrous.

Secondly, someone else commented that Kang Chul's realization of his sexuality was treated like a "huge sigh of relief." That is exaactly how it was treated, and it irritated me to no end. By the last episode I'd pretty much accepted that Kang Chul and Ho Kyung would end up together. I wasn't happy about it, but my denial was conscious. I knew it wasn't about to go down like that. However, the fanfare with which it was treated felt excessive to me. His mother actually said 'Thank god he's back to normal' or something to that effect and nobody corrected her and the show didn't even begin to pretend she'd said something wrong. And everyone is saying "baby steps" but this was one grown-up step backwards into literal heteronormativity. And she wasn't the only one to say / behave in that way.

Last of all, I love this show so I gave it a lot of slack, but as I take a step back and look at the picture I have to say that there was very little character growth for everyone involved. Really...who can you pinpoint as having gone through significant growth throughout the series? My first instinct would be to say Ho-gu, but tricking Do Hee into thinking she was stealing Hogu from another woman and having everyone go along with it like it was a good idea just shows that the characters are still as immature as they were at the beginning. Why do you need to trick Do Hee into going back to Hogu? She was already looking for him, she already missed him, they didn't need to do that. She should have just chosen him with her eyes wide open. She would have been choosing happiness for herself, unlike her previous pattern of self-imposed misery. That way, when she finally went to the police, it would have felt more like her idea than everyone around her coercing her into it-- which is the impression that I got.

This show was beautifully shot and acted and so, so funny. But other than its upstanding discussion of rape and contraception, I can't really recommend it. It was problematic from the jump with its treatment of abortion, and the missteps just snowballed from there. The things that were approached appropriately were not treated in depth and ended up feeling frivolous and unresolved.

... All this said, I'd watch this again sometime. But I would fast forward a lot, and not get so deeply...

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... invested in the plot.

ps. That cut off on the last line, I've never written so much before lol. Thanks so much for the great recaps you guys, they were much appreciated.

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I know they skirted around the homosexual issue, but they did try to justify it (and I buy into it). He fell in love with someone after spending a day with them. He meets the person he thinks that person was a long time after, and he's friendly and sweet and manages to open him up in a way nobody else has except for maybe his one friend Do Hee. He can't help but gravitate towards this person, and be so interested in this whole new way of life. Other friends consolidate this 'other' life through doing normal friend-y things. He's confused whether he was romantically attracted or becoming comfortable with himself. Turns out first and foremost that he was a lonely, lonely person that grew up in a cold environment where the parents had never had true interaction (that sagwa-sorry-apple scene was good on so many levels).

And it angers me so much when issues such as sexual assault are tackled well on screen. Because it should. It should make you so SO angry that offenders get away with it 99% of the time, and even the people that are supposed to be trustworthy i.e. the police are skeptical. UGH.

But really, all the claps to the stunning stunning stunning cast. And the sound effect team. And the director and yeah ok everyone. I want to send them a food truck and a tshirt and a getaway to Bali.

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the best drama gonna miss all the cast

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Loved this show into smithereens.

I finally finished a show with UEE in it. *pats self on back* She wasn't the best in the cast however she didn't disappoint me. I was going in this series with less expectations anyways.

Anyhoot, one more cable show to add into my top 5 favs.

Thanks, you four, for recapping this squidward.

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I think i would have swallowed the rape plot better if the drama didn't sell itself in the initial promos as a fluffy romcom.

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Thank you, odilettante and thank you show! I LUV YOU. I've had so much fun!!

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Thank you for the amazing recaps!!!

I am feeling a bit down now that Ho-gu's Love is over, what a drama! Personally I think the drama was great, tackling socially sensitive issues (though some could have been tackled better) especially the rape victim stigma and the accusations - without making the overall ambiance too heavy or dark.

The KISS!!! Way to go Kang Ho-kyung and Byun Kang-chul!

I hope something light yet interesting turns up to fill the void.

Thanks again for the recaps! <3

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Does anybody know the song playing when Ho-gu leaves the restaurant and "accidentally" bumps into do-hee ?

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Odilettante, thanks for the recap. I just have one quibble. In the last swim meet, Do Hee is competing against her arch rival, Han Sung Shil, so I don't the humbler setting for the event indicates a comedown in her career. Unlike the Asian Games race in the first episode, this competition seems to be a domestic event, populated by fellow Koreans. (It could be the swim trials for a larger event, hopefully the Olympics.)

I do agree that Do Hee is in a different place in her life, where she is no longer bound by old expectations and is now her own "mermaid". Yet, I think it is fitting (in the "making a full circle" kind of way) that Do Hee is finally able to beat her rival. I like how her win in the pool, while being cheered by Ho-gu and kids, symbolizes her personal triumph. It made for a very satisfying ending.

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I stay away from kdrama for a few months after so many disappointments shows that I watched . Nothing's special it's all typical drama over and over again, since misaeng and marriage not dating drama nothing outstanding fallows. Ok let's add Pinocchio! The benchmark was set higher after those memorable dramas.
But this was so refreshing, at first I was hesitant because of the leads, but then I gave it a try and never leave it alone since then! They gave life and justice on each characters that they portrayed. Salute! It's a breath of frresh air finally! I love them in every bits and pieces! Story was ordinary but they made the ordinary in an extra ordinary approach! It's memorable and will yet entertaining. It's rich with nutrients that life needs. Love, family, friendship, motherhood, about your being and about happiness. I love you Kang ho Gu and Ho goo!

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the ending is sooooooo satisfying and wrapped up all the feelings.. T^T
Good job, hoguu
you are all love

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A lighthearted romcom with awesome, awesome cast. No excessive cheesy acting and draggy story. The guy who portrayed Hogu deserves special commendation IMO. The only complain tho, is that there are too many flashback scenes with all the replays.

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I'm going voting crazy!

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OMG!! Luv luv this drama, and the awesome thing I noted was in the end HO GU the loser was the 1 with the most crush back in school. he was the guy both the popular girl and guy wanted and could not forget. in the end he was popular after all.

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Overall, this is probably one of the best dramas and biggest surprises I've watched in a long time. I agree with the recap and comment. Choi Woo Shik did a great job as Ho Gu and the way they handled Ho Gu and Do Hee's relationship was perfect.

One issue I have is that they handled the rape case a little too rushed at the end. It seemed like they really brought it to light towards the middle of the last episode, which wasn't really good enough I think. I know the show isn't about rape, really, although it was a big topic, and there were points throughout the drama that addressed the victim's position in smatterings. But I thought it was too important and big a topic to just kind of bring it up towards the end with the resolution a bit fuzzy. I guess the point isn't that the resolution of the rape case is important, only that Do Hee, the victim, was finally able to break through the social stigma pushed on rape victims (so unfairly - I mean, what the F does it mean to "act like a real victim" as the police detective asked Do Hee), to file the complaint against her perpetrator and finally embrace what it means to be happy and be ok with feeling like she deserves to be happy.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm glad I watched this drama, 2 years late but never too late. It was in fact a great binge.

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One correction in the otherwise great recap: In the last scene, Do Hee is competing in the National Competition (that's what the banner says), it's not a smaller competition. Her rival Han Sung Shil is in the lane next to her and Do Hee finally beats her. So, she is doing well, presumably with a new sports agency.

Also, during the newscast when Do Hee and Ho Gu were having dinner, the news said Do Hee won her rape case at the trial court level and No Kyung Woo received a 2 year sentence. Then, on appeal he won and the ruling was reversed. So Do Hee appealed to what is equivalent to the supreme court. Also, the protesters were from No Kyung Woo's fanclub, his mom's rotary club and his dad's company affiliation or something. So, they were clearly just biased and not necessarily representative of the public opinion. Usually, at least in the United States, it's hard to overturn a criminal conviction from the trial level on appeal. So it's possible Do Hee had success at the supreme court level appeal - hence the protesters. Just a thought.

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