Legend of the Blue Sea: Episode 7
I love this episode. It wasn’t until today that I came across an episode of Legend of the Blue Sea that I’d want to re-watch just for kicks, but this one is hysterical and moving all at once, with the funniest turn in the romance yet. It’s an entire episode about jealousy, filled with double meanings and characters making fools out of themselves for love, just the way I like it.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Joseon. After being separated by the greedy mermaid-hunting Lord Yang, Dam-ryung searches high and low for Se-hwa, but finds only his friend’s body at the bottom of the cliff where he fell.
Se-hwa waits for Dam-ryung to find her in the cave, and finally someone approaches with a torch… but it’s Lord Yang’s men, here to capture her.
Dam-ryung brings his friend back home, still alive, but the doctor says he might not be able to recover from this. Dam-ryung clutches his friend’s hand, knowing that this happened because he was trying to help Se-hwa for him. His eyes harden in determination.
Lord Yang acts contrite over his people bursting into the mayor’s compound and making a fuss the other day, as if he wasn’t the one to send them. Dam-ryung remains detached and plays along, and asks about the rare tangerines that can only be found at Lord Yang’s inn.
Happy to brag, Lord Yang says that they can’t be found elsewhere because they’re so expensive and he gets them directly from Tamra. That’s exactly what Dam-ryung wanted to hear, and he informs Lord Yang that the shipping merchant who died on the beach had one of these tangerines on him.
An autopsy revealed that the merchant had been poisoned after all, and Dam-ryung deduces that his last meal was here at this inn, where Lord Yang served him tangerines and poisoned liquor. Lord Yang plays dumb, so Dam-ryung angrily calls his officers inside, and they present the poison found in Lord Yang’s quarters.
Lord Yang and his gisaeng companion Hong-ran are both hauled out like criminals, and Dam-ryung raises his sword to Hong-ran’s throat to ask where Se-hwa is. She pretends not to know what he’s talking about, igniting his fury, so Dam-ryung simplifies the matter: either she remembers where Se-hwa is, or she dies right here.
That gets her talking, and Dam-ryung finds Se-hwa tied up and battered in Lord Yang’s storeroom. Next to her is a large basket with countless pearls inside, one for every tear she’s cried. Wow, that’s an effectively heartbreaking visual.
Hong-ran tries to turn the crowd against Dam-ryung, as if he’s been bewitched by a mermaid who only brings curses and death. Enraged, Dam-ryung takes the basket of pearls and throws it into the air at the crowd. Hong-ran cries for her pearls as everyone scrambles to pick them up.
Dam-ryung caresses Se-hwa’s face and says, “I’m sorry that I came so late.” She sheds more tears at the sound of his voice, though she doesn’t have the strength to open her eyes.
He picks her up and carries her in his arms, and as they approach the water’s edge, he says in a shaky voice, “You liked hearing about my dreams, right? In my dreams we’re reborn, we meet again, and we’re together. You come to see me from the ocean of a faraway land. I don’t remember you, but in my heart I already love you.”
She doesn’t respond. Dam-ryung struggles to hold back his tears, saying, “Se-hwa, won’t you listen to more of this story?”
Present day. Joon-jae asks Chung to confirm something for him at the bottom of the bunny slope where they’ve just crash-landed. He hesitates before asking her to repeat a phrase, and finally says, “I love you.” The ski slope’s snow machines take that as their romantic cue to let it snow, and Chung gets her immaculately timed first snowfall confession. Not understanding that this is the phrase Joon-jae wants her to say, she asks excitedly, “Are you mine? Do you surrender? Did you lose?”
He gapes, and Chung falls back on the snow giggling as she admits that she was going to surrender first when it snowed, but she never imagined he’d beat her to it. She asks again if he’s hers now, and if that means he’ll believe anything she says. Joon-jae doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and Chung repeats what he taught her about love back in Spain—that she should never confess her love because it meant losing to the other person, becoming his, and leaving herself vulnerable to being taken advantage of. In flashback, we see that he’d said it as if love were the worst affliction known to man, while she listened with stars in her eyes, thinking it sounded wonderful.
In the present, Joon-jae scoffs, “Who told you that nonsense?” Heh. “A good person,” she replies. But Joon-jae only fixates on the fact that it was a guy, and he huffs jealously, “He’s a wacko. He’s crazy. If he’s throwing you lines like that, he’s a materialistic player.”
He asks nervously if that guy treated her well, and Chung says he covered her with an umbrella when it rained and held her hand when she was alone. He bristles at the handholding part and says that a guy would do anything to seduce a girl. Chung adds that he made her ramyun, and Joon-jae’s eyes bug out. She means literal ramyun, of course, while he’s thinking of ramyun as dating code for spending the night. He stammers, “Ra- ramyun?! He asked you to eat ramyun too? That jerk’s insides are black!” Chung innocently defends Past Joon-jae, which only makes him more jealous. I lub this.
He clarifies that the “I lo- you” was a prompt for her to say it, so he could confirm something. Without hesitation, she says sincerely, “I love you.” It throws him, and he just starts to walk away. She chases after him chirping that she can do it again, and he warns her not to.
When they get home, Nam-doo assumes they went on a date, and Tae-oh gives Joon-jae another death-glare at that and stomps off to his room. Chung is only happy to hear that going skiing totally counts as a date.
Joon-jae tosses and turns in bed that night, and finally calls out, “Top Room!” The second Chung’s door slides open, his heart starts beating wildly just at the sight of her. Oh you’ve got it bad. He insists that this is just because he can’t sleep and has stray thoughts running around in his head, then asks, “Are you still seeing him?” LOL. He refers to this “other guy” as Ramyun, and she admits truthfully that she is still seeing him.
That obviously upsets him to hear, but he covers it up with a laugh and asks what Ramyun looks like. So Chung looks right at Joon-jae and describes what she sees: “He’s pretty. And his eyes are sparkly too.”
Joon-jae decides that Ramyun sounds like a dandy, and she ought to be especially wary of guys like that: “What’re you going to use a pretty boy for?” Uh, I can think of a few uses.
What Joon-jae really wants to know is, “Did you say those words to him too?” He gets flustered all over again when she asks, “I love you?” And she thinks back to Spain, when Joon-jae had warned her never to say it, and she said it to him almost immediately.
Chung answers truthfully that she did. Aw, Joon-jae is genuinely hurt and says that she must say things like that easily to just anyone. She argues that he isn’t just anyone, and Joon-jae gets pissy and sends her back up to her room.
He gets petty and adds that it’s good news, actually, since he was worried that she liked him and it was starting to feel burdensome. Uh-huh. He tells her to do well with Ramyun, and she counters that she will, because she came here to do just that. Joon-jae: “Great! How thrilling for you!”
Chung reluctantly returns to her room and shuts the door, and Joon-jae flails in bed, annoyed that she’s here to make time with this Ramyun guy.
Late that night, a car swerves violently down a twisty mountain road and crashes into a tree. At the same time, Joon-jae has a dream about Dam-ryung running through the forest, wearing the jade bracelet, and then discovering his friend’s body at the bottom of a cliff.
He wakes up with a start and wonders what kind of strange dream he’s dreamt. He recognizes Dam-ryung’s friend in the dream as Ajusshi, aka Dad’s faithful assistant Manager Nam, and decides to try calling.
It was Ajusshi’s car that just crashed in the road, and from the passenger seat, hit man Dae-young checks Ajusshi’s bloody body. He declines the call from Joon-jae and deletes the car’s black box memory card before leaving the crash scene with a smile.
In the morning, Joon-jae’s father gets the call that Ajusshi is in critical condition after a drunk driving accident. Stepson Chi-hyun immediately glances at his mother as if suspecting her, while she just calmly eats her breakfast and offers to accompany Dad to the hospital.
At the police station, Detective Hong goes over the Ma Dae-young case with his team. The higher-ups don’t seem to like the idea that Dae-young is the killer in all of these cases, namely because it makes them look bad since he escaped their custody. His boss wants him to focus his energy on catching that con artist who impersonated a detective instead.
He’s referring to Joon-jae, and the chief complains that the aquarium workers nearly made a fan club for the handsome fake detective, and Detective Hong hilariously argues that he and Joon-jae look alike. We cut straight to the handsome mug in question, busy forming a plan to con Shi-ah’s sister-in-law Jin-joo. Nam-doo lays out the plan to have Joon-jae meet her twice, once on the road in a minor fender-bender, where he impresses her with his suave demeanor and business card, and then again at the seminar where she’s headed.
Before they can get any further, Chung interrupts to ask what they’re doing, and the boys jump up and say they’re headed to work. They hem and haw at her simple question about what work they do, and Joon-jae launches into a very fancy roundabout description about how they help people recognize their wrongs in cases where the law doesn’t quite do its job, and redistribute wealth for the good of the country.
She asks if he’s a civil servant, and Joon-jae can’t quite lie so baldly about that, so she concludes that he does work more impressive than civil service. Chung beams proudly and says, “I knew you would,” and Joon-jae seems a little shamed by the hero worship.
Joon-jae catches Nam-doo looking at him like he grew a second head, and wonders aloud why he’s suddenly making up excuses for Chung. Nam-doo agrees that it’s super pathetic of him, and offers to make up an occupation with a more positive connotation than con artist.
Detective Hong and his team return to Joon-jae’s neighborhood, where they pick up on Dae-young’s markings outside each door, as if he’d been looking for something. At the same time, Chung steps out of the house, and Dae-young is around the corner, waiting to follow her out.
The cops are just a few yards behind, but a ringing cell phone tips Dae-young off and he starts running. He manages to duck inside a store and come back out in a different outfit, while the cops run after a different man in a black cap.
None the wiser, Chung happily goes dumpster diving for new clothes.
Chung’s little mermaid-voice-hearing friend Yoo-na gets bullied by her classmates, who gang up on her after school. One little girl in particular is a horrible little snit, and she tells Yoo-na that she’s too poor to go to their school, and that her parents being divorced means that she won’t be raised properly. (Are children really this nasty so young? I’m a little traumatized.)
They shove each other until Yoo-na is on the ground, about to be pummeled, when Chung shows up and grabs the evil snobby girl by the scruff, holding her way, way up in the air. Chung makes her promise not to bully her friends anymore.
The little girl goes crying home to mommy, who turns out to be Shi-ah’s sister-in-law Jin-joo. Ah, that explains so much. Jin-joo storms out with her precious daughter instead of going to her seminar, which puts a wrinkle in the plan the boys had imagined.
Yoo-na thanks Chung for saving her, and Chung asks her what divorce is. The little girl explains that divorce is when people who loved each other split up, and Chung is shocked to hear that people fall in love and then fall out of love. Ever the old soul, Yoo-na says that all love changes, and Chung is disappointed to hear that people can live together without love.
Yoo-na says it’s why she studies so hard and goes to tutoring even when she doesn’t want to—because she’s afraid that her mom’s love for her will change and she’ll send Yoo-na away. Awww, no!
There’s a tap on the glass, and Chung looks up to see Jin-joo staring her down through the convenience store window, with her daughter in tow. Not one to back down, Chung just finishes her yogurt calmly and comes out for round two.
Jin-joo is all prepared to out-mom her, except she’s too distracted by Chung’s perfect I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking-fabulous tousled hair, and her seemingly irreverent mix-matched couture. She even mistakes the two separate shoes that Chung found in the dumpster as a collaboration between Chanel and Dior, and barely resists asking about them.
Chung just declares that she’s Yoo-na’s friend, and she’s not going to stand by if anyone bullies her. She reminds Jin-joo’s daughter of her promise and leads Yoo-na away, and Jin-joo calls out for her to stop… and then asks where she gets her facials done. Pff.
Jin-joo tells her not to lie that she’s just naturally gifted with perfect skin, and Chung thinks back to doing mud packs with her mermaid friends out at sea. She answers, “Not Seoul. It’s really far,” and struts away.
The boys lose their chance to run into Jin-joo today when she decides to stay home and tweet about those shoes she’s dying to find. Nam-doo splits off from the others to go elsewhere, and as Joon-jae and Tae-oh are about to get in the car, Joon-jae’s mom rounds the corner towards Jin-joo’s house and spots them.
At first she just pauses curiously at the sight of Joon-jae, who’s wearing sunglasses. But when he takes them off, her face goes pale and she runs after the car. She’s too late to catch them, but she wonders if it’s possible that she just saw Joon-jae.
In the car, Joon-jae asks Tae-oh why he cons people for a living, when he could use his talents for anything. Tae-oh simply says that it’s the only thing he’s good at, and asks Joon-jae (who has to yell at Tae-oh to call him “hyung”) why he does it then.
Joon-jae says that’s why it’s the people you meet that matter, and he flashes back to the winter of 2006, after he had left Dad’s house in search of Mom. He posted a notice online asking the whereabouts of his mother, and con artist Nam-doo had approached him posing as a private investigator. Innocent Joon-jae handed over all the money he had in the hopes of finding Mom, which Nam-doo happily took.
After being conned out of his life savings, Joon-jae doggedly spent the next two weeks crouching in the street just waiting for Nam-doo to show his face again. He finally reappeared to con some other woman with the same act, and Joon-jae jumped him and demanded his money back.
Nam-doo fed him and was so impressed by Joon-jae’s persistence that he suggested working together. Joon-jae pointed out the flaw of small-time con men like him, who invested too much time in scams that never paid well. It was Joon-jae who said that they should be conning the filthy rich, because there are countless people with pockets so dirty they could never report their money stolen.
Nam-doo’s eyes lit up, and Joon-jae promised that he’d only work with Nam-doo until he found his mother, and could afford to buy her a house. Back in the present, Tae-oh points out that he can afford a house easily, and Joon-jae says the problem is that he still can’t find Mom.
Nam-doo takes Chung’s X-rays to a doctor friend and asks him to confirm that the X-rays are of the same person’s leg. He finds out that a fracture like this takes 12 to 16 weeks to heal, and that it would be impossible for someone to completely heal in a week.
He shares this with Shi-ah, who thinks it’s scary and wonders if Chung really is a zombie. Nam-doo agrees that there’s something more to her than just personality quirks, but doesn’t know what to make of it. Shi-ah gets called back to the office when her co-worker calls with a discovery: They’ve confirmed that the owner of the artifacts they’re working on is named Kim Dam-ryung.
Nam-doo freezes when he hears that name, because he’s seen it on that jade bracelet that Joon-jae got from Chung. He tucks that fact away curiously, and smiles to himself as the wheels start turning in his head.
Chung wanders over to the river looking for a snack, and takes her shoes off to go diving for fish. She prepares to jump when a coast guard (cameo by Jo Jung-seok) grabs her arm and prevents her, thinking she’s trying to commit suicide.
He insists on helping her up, when suddenly they lock eyes and a strange moment passes between them. They both look shocked, and then he backs away from her and nods ever so slightly. She does the same, though no words are spoken between them. Are you two… communicating telepathically?
He brings her back to the coast guard office, and when Chung starts to look at him intently, he asks her to speak words, saying that he’s lived here a long time and has nearly forgotten that other language. Could that be mer-language?
The coast guard is shocked to run into a mermaid in the middle of Seoul, and Chung says she’s just as surprised to meet a merman here. Ha, you are a merman! He gapes when she tells him she was about to go diving for food because she’s hungry and has no money, and he shows her a bag with pearls inside.
Chung says matter-of-factly that those are their tears, and the merman alerts her to the fact that these are worth money here. She doesn’t understand why, but he just tells her it’s true, and demonstrates how to collect them by sticking the plastic bag handles over his ears. Hahahaha. Never leave, Jo Jung-seok!
He advises her not to waste her energy on little tears, because the big pearls are worth more, so she’s better off holding it in till she’s got a good cry. He adds that the pink ones are worth the most, and Chung recognizes those as happy tears. The merman says there’s not a lot of opportunity for happy tears while living among people.
Chung plans to cry lots and give all the pearls to Joon-jae, and tells her new merman friend all about the man she likes. She describes Joon-jae as an impressive man who serves his country, and then we cut to Joon-jae reading a book called Scamming With Neuroscience. The merman flips out when he discovers that Chung isn’t just up on land for a vacation, but here to be with a man she loves. “Do you really not know anything?!” he asks. Uh-oh, I’m not liking the sound of this!
He asks how long she’s been up here (a month), and whether Joon-jae likes her back. She says it’s one-sided still, and the merman can’t believe she’s so hopeless as to just come up on land without a plan. “This is why I tell every fish I see to call mermaids and tell them never to follow their love up here!” he shouts. Chung says she never got the message, and the merman mutters that their goldfish brains must’ve forgotten halfway there, heh. It cracks me up how seriously he’s delivering this dialogue.
Chung asks why it’s so bad to follow her love up to land, and he tells her to listen up: “You’re terminal. The moment a mermaid leaves water and comes to land, your heart starts to harden. Even if your legs aren’t terminal, your heart is terminal. There is only one way to keep you breathing and your heart still beating: the love of the person you love. His love keeps your heart warm and beating—it’s the only way.”
Crap. Well that explains how Joon-jae rushing to her side seemed to bring her back from the brink of death. The merman tells her to hurry and return to the water while there’s still time, and asks what Joon-jae said to her to make her come all this way and risk her life.
“Did he ask you to date? Get married?” he asks. Chung: “He asked me to eat tasty food. And see fireworks.” The pity in his eyes is unmistakable. He asks if she wants his help, and gives her another tip: “All human men are jealousy incarnate.” She doesn’t know what jealousy is, so he tells her that it’s “the fastest road to love.”
He offers to help and thinks that a makeover would be ideal, so first, they need to make some money. Cut to: Mermaid and merman sitting side by side in front of the TV with bags hooked on their ears, watching Master’s Sun (featuring Gong Hyo-jin and made by this PD, for maximum meta). Of course he watches dramas to make tears!
After getting decked out in new (hilarious) duds, they ring the doorbell at Joon-jae’s house, and the merman introduces himself like he’s Chung’s boyfriend and asks Joon-jae to take good care of his “jagi” while she imposes and stays here. He says he was a little concerned to hear that she was rooming with a bunch of guys, but after seeing Joon-jae in person, he feels that he can rest at ease.
Joon-jae’s jaw drops about five times during that whole introduction, and he laughs in disbelief and shoots back, “You’re at ease? My face isn’t really one that puts people at ease,” he snipes jealously.
The mer-couple ignores him and makes plans to meet tomorrow, and the merman tells Chung to wear her hair back tomorrow so he can see her pretty neckline. The second his hand reaches up to touch her hair, Joon-jae’s eyes narrow in anger.
When she starts preening, Joon-jae has had enough and pulls her inside, but she runs back out to tell the merman to go first. They argue about it back and forth until Joon-jae snaps and yells at her to come inside, and even then the merman makes a fuss over seeing her one last time and snapping a mental picture just in case he misses her. Chung does the same to him, and Joon-jae grows livid. This is so great.
He finally slams the door in the merman’s face. Nicely done, merman.
Joon-jae’s father goes to visit Ajusshi in the hospital, and Ajusshi’s wife wonders if this was a deliberate attack, because her husband wouldn’t drink and drive, and go so far from home. Stepmom tells her not to leap to such conclusions, but Chairman Dad seems unsettled, like he might agree that something about the accident is off.
That night, someone creeps into Joon-jae’s room while he’s asleep and roots around for something. Joon-jae tackles the intruder to the floor and Nam-doo crows that it’s just him, and he admits openly to wanting to peek at the jade bracelet.
Joon-jae knows something’s up, so Nam-doo fills him in on the strange coincidence between the Dam-ryung who owned the artifacts that Shi-ah is working on, and the Dam-ryung whose name is inscribed on that bracelet. He says they could be two different Dam-ryungs, of course, but if not, that bracelet could be worth far more than they originally expected.
Joon-jae tells Nam-doo that he’s holding onto that bracelet with the intention of returning it to Chung when she leaves, and the only reason he isn’t giving it to her now is so that Nam-doo will leave her alone. Nam-doo thinks he’s being weird lately: “Do you suddenly want to be a good person or something?” Joon-jae tells him to get out with a stone face, and Nam-doo laughs it off, but his expression hardens on his way out. Joon-jae thinks back to his strange dream, where he saw himself in Joseon wearing that bracelet, and he wonders why all this bizarre stuff is happening ever since he met Chung.
The next morning, Nam-doo and Tae-oh are wowed by Chung’s fashion upgrade when she shows off a new outfit, but Joon-jae just yanks her ponytail out, insisting that it’s winter and too cold to wear her hair back.
Nam-doo likes the skirt, but Joon-jae tells her to wear pants, and when she points out that he bought it for her, Joon-jae spits back, “Did you think I bought it for you to wear? I bought that for you to hang in your closet! Just because they’re clothes, do you have to wear them all outside?” Everyone looks at him like he’s crazy.
At the table, Nam-doo praises Chung on her chopstick skills, and she pats her mouth with a napkin proudly. She’s about to say that she has plans to go out today, but Joon-jae cuts her off and tells her to clean the house to earn her keep. Tae-oh offers to do it instead, but Joon-jae pulls rank and says that Chung has to do it, insisting that she can’t step foot outside the house until everything is spotless, obviously wanting to prevent a date with the merman.
The boys head out while Chung starts cleaning, but Joon-jae forgets his phone and heads back inside. At the same time, Chung looks longingly at the pool as she cleans, tempted to go for a swim. She holds herself back a few times, but in the end she dives in and enjoys the feel of the water, sighing that she feels like she can live now.
She thinks back to a conversation with the merman, who’d asked why she thought mermaids were on the verge of extinction. “Because we don’t change,” he said, “people change, but we’re dummies and don’t change, and get betrayed.”
She asked if people change, and he said that they do—even the woman he loved, who promised she’d love him her whole life, changed and left without looking back. He says that’s just their reality. He’d warned her to be careful: “There is no human on this Earth who can accept our kind as we are, and the man you love is no different.”
Joon-jae walks into the house and stops to stare in the direction of the pool. He gets closer and closer, and just as Chung pops up to the surface, their eyes meet and she gasps.
Right after the merman drops Chung off at home, Joon-jae comes back out and asks what he does for a living. His face falls when the merman says he’s a civil servant, adding that it’s a very stable career for taking responsibility for someone. Joon-jae is further cowed when can’t answer the same question thrown back at him.
The merman asks him to take care of “our Chungie,” and Joon-jae gets huffy again and shouts, “WE will be fine!” The merman leaves with one final thought: “It seems like you’ll always have time and chances, doesn’t it? You don’t.” He turns to go, and Joon-jae mutters in annoyance that he’s trying to act cool in front of him.
But that night Joon-jae falls asleep with his laptop open, the browser on a website called “Becoming a level 7 civil servant.” Aw.
That was such a good cameo. This show tends to use its cameos well, but Jo Jung-seok’s was so effective that I wish he could stick around to play the merman for a few more weeks. Okay, then I’d probably get really angsty about him being a real romantic rival, but the jealous reactions from Joon-jae would be worth it. I couldn’t get enough of the whole jagi act they put on and the faces Joon-jae was making as he watched them. There’s really nothing better than jealousy to kick a romance in the pants, and I thought the development was well-timed for where we are with the couple, with Joon-jae in denial but obviously struggling with his feelings. He might not have meant the “I love you” the way he thinks, but he sure did feel something when she said it back to him, and when he thought she was running around saying it to Ramyun. It’s nice to have Dam-ryung commenting on Joon-jae through his dreams too, like even he can see plain as day that Joon-jae already loves her and doesn’t know it yet.
I thought the self-jealousy was funny when it happened in W–Two Worlds, but it’s even more hilarious here, where the hero has no idea he’s got amnesia and is jealous of himself, like a moron. It pairs so perfectly: Chung’s very innocent, very literal character says the simple truth, and Joon-jae’s twisty wordsmith character interprets everything sideways and thinks that he’s gaining the upper hand by talking smack about Ramyun. I love that he thinks he’s being clever, because that foolish pride makes him really relatable and endearing. And now that he’s starting to care what Chung thinks of him, and how he appears to the outside world as a suitor, it gives him more depth. The jealousy and fancy description to cover up his shame about being a con artist was one thing, but when he started to actually research becoming a civil servant, I swooned.
We gained some traction on the mythology front as well, especially with the merman cameo. His character answered a few lingering questions concerning Chung’s personality and intelligence—turns out, not all mermaids are as dumb as she is, and most of her traits are due to her personality, not her species. I think it helps a great deal to know that even the merman is shocked at how quickly and easily Chung fell in love, and how little she knew before taking the leap to walk on land for that love. So she’s innocent and sheltered even by mermaid standards, and didn’t know exactly what she was getting herself into, or any of the rules involved. I fully expected a terminal diagnosis for her, given that mermaid lore always comes with fatal consequences, but again it makes a huge difference when we get it in concrete terms like this, that she will actually die on land without Joon-jae’s love. It’s a little nebulous, this love-as-life idea, but it sets the stage for some grand romance to come. I mean, his love actually gives her life? It’s almost too on-the-nose, but you also can’t argue that it won’t be narratively effective down the road.
It’s simple, but I like the setup that mermaids are known for their unchanging love, and humans are known for betraying that love. It sets Dam-ryung and Joon-jae up for the very big task of overturning convention, and I get the sense that Dam-ryung’s overwhelming regret might become the catalyst for their reincarnation, leaving Joon-jae to finish the story the right way. And by right, I mean happy! I sincerely hope that Chung asked the merman how he’s still alive if the love of his life turned her back on him—there is a loophole, with a very cruel choice down the line, yes? And a loophole within that loophole?