Reunited Worlds: Episodes 35-36
Hae-sung is starting to feel his time running short, and as truths are coming out and emotions are running high, it’s a bad time for him to start issuing ultimatums. Despite having been the head of the family before his death, he tends to forget that his loves ones have lived twelve years without his influence. He may have their best interests at heart and big plans for them after he leaves, but he’s made a serious miscalculation — he’s never bothered to ask them what they want.
EPISODE 35 RECAP
Jung-won finds the farewell video that Hae-sung made, and she realizes that he’s not back for good and that he’ll leave again soon. She asks if it’s true when Hae-sung comes home, but when he doesn’t answer, she runs out crying.
Hae-sung follows her out, begging her to listen, but Jung-won anticipates all of his reasons for not telling her and is still angry. She tells him to just go and not say goodbye, furious that he would risk disappearing on her without warning. She storms off, leaving Hae-sung feeling terrible.
Jung-won remembers that she’s never seen Grandmother’s husband — when she was at the farm she’d said he was in Seoul, and when she was in Seoul she’d said he was at the farm. She goes to see Grandmother, who can tell right away that Jung-won knows the truth about Hae-sung.
She tells Jung-won that her husband was back for a total of six months, and that she didn’t get to say goodbye to him because he just left suddenly. She says that they were the happiest six months of her life, but Jung-won isn’t comforted, and is instead terrified at the idea of Hae-sung disappearing on her again.
She asks Grandmother how she’s supposed to go on, knowing that there’s no hope for happiness without him. Grandmother says that this is why Hae-sung was afraid to tell her, but adds that when she learned that her husband would leave, she’d decided to think of her time with him as a gift to be grateful for. But Jung-won can only wonder how she’s supposed to let Hae-sung go again.
Ho-bang and Jin-ju went to a noraebang after getting caught making out, and Jung-won calls Jin-ju to ask her to let her use her apartment alone for the night. Ho-bang sees his chance to have Jin-ju sleep over, but she decides to go see her mom instead, hee.
Jung-won spends the night at Jin-ju’s crying her eyes out, miserable at the thought of losing Hae-sung again. Meanwhile, Hae-sung paces outside Jung-won’s door all night, worried that she hasn’t come home.
In the morning, he’s still there when Jung-won gets off the bus, and they stare at each other across the short distance. Then Jung-won smiles and waves, and relieved, Hae-sung runs to meet her. She gives him a chip with a video that she made for him while at Jin-ju’s, and Hae-sung hugs her gratefully.
He watches the video later when he’s alone. Jung-won says that she’s fine, and that she’s thought about how hard this must have been for him. She says she’s sorry for being angry, because being with him again has been a miracle, and even if he goes back, this will still have been the happiest time of her life.
Later, Hae-sung stops by the gallery to tell Jung-won that they’re installing the lights in his new restaurant today. She pouts as he leaves, wishing she could go with him. Grandmother finds her and fusses at her, calling Jung-won absent-minded and saying that she can’t allow this to continue.
Jung-won thinks she’s in trouble, until Grandmother barks, “What are you doing? Hurry and go after him!” She runs after Hae-sung to tell him that she’s got a few days to spend with him, and takes his hand as she vows not to hide her feelings for him anymore.
She wants Hae-sung to likewise show his devotion in the form of couple shirts, but Hae-sung balks, saying he’s not ready for that. They head to the restaurant hand in hand, and when they arrive, Hae-sung has to correct the man delivering Hae-sung’s equipment when he assumes that Jung-won is his older sister. Oops.
Hae-sung gets busy directing the workers while Jung-won goes to the restroom. She comes back drenched from a broken faucet, so she grabs her couple shirt to change into. Min-joon comes in a few minutes later, also dripping wet from the faucet, so Hae-sung gives him the other shirt from Jung-won’s bag.
Things get tense when Jung-won and Min-joon return at the same time, wearing the matching shirts. Hae-sung acts like it’s no big deal, but seeing them dressed like a couple obviously bothers him. Min-joon had brought lunch for himself and Hae-sung, but he pretends to remember something and leaves.
Ho-bang and Jin-ju make a big show of telling their friends over dinner that they’re officially dating. Hae-sung and Jung-won wonder if this means they’ll end up getting married, prompting Moon-shik to tell one of his tactless stories about his cousin who just broke off her engagement.
After dinner, Ho-bang walks home with Jung-won and Hae-sung, and he says it’s been bothering him how Dong-seok knew where Jung-won works. Jung-won says that she’s only given her business card to one person: Yoo-min, Hae-chul’s ex.
They wonder if Dong-seok somehow got the address where she works from Yoo-min, and Jung-won tells them that she did see him for the first time outside the cafe where she was supposed to meet with Yoo-min. Thinking about how Yoo-min’s lawyer cancelled both times they were to talk about the custody dispute, they wonder if Dong-seok is Yoo-min’s lawyer.
They take the CCTV footage of Dong-seok outside the gallery to Hae-chul, who confirms that he’s Yoo-min’s lawyer, and that he goes by the name of Jason Park. Hae-sung tells Hae-chul that they think that he’s the one who really killed Kyung-chul.
Ho-bang explains everything — how witnesses saw Dong-seok there that night, and that he left the country before his fingerprints were taken for a national ID card. Jung-won says that there were a set of unidentified prints on the statue that killed Kyung-chul, so they need to see if Dong-seok’s prints are a match.
Hae-chul sighs heavily, then offers to help catch Dong-seok, all fired up to stop the man who’s trying to take his little girl away. Ho-bang warns that they have to be careful so that Dong-seok doesn’t flee back to the U.S. He says they need to capture his fingerprints first, and if they’re a match, they can request a reinvestigation.
Hae-chul still wants to help, so they come up with a plan. Jung-won calls Yoo-min, who says that she’s not supposed to talk to Jung-won, though she seems to think it’s strange that Dong-seok forbade it. Jung-won offers to talk with her about Gong-ju after her next meeting with her lawyer, so Yoo-min promises to let her know when that meeting will take place.
While they wait, Hae-sung and Jung-won go to the park, where they work on making his restaurant menu in the form of cartoons. Jung-won leaves to get them some drinks, and while she’s gone, Hae-sung finds a lost little boy and takes him to find his family.
When Jung-won returns, she finds their table still covered in Hae-sung’s drawings, but he’s nowhere to be seen. She searches frantically, calling Hae-sung’s name, terrified that he’s disappeared on her.
Hae-sung comes back and sees Jung-won looking for him desperately, and it’s like he’s seeing what will happen when he leaves. When she finally sees him, her legs go out from under her and she sinks to the ground.
Hae-sung runs to her, worried, but she lies and says she just felt dizzy. Hae-sung explains that he was just taking a little boy back to his mother, and that when they saw each other, the boy cried even harder and his mother got angry. Hae-sung says that people go through lots of emotions when they see their loved ones, and Jung-won agrees, gripping his hand tightly.
EPISODE 36 RECAP
On the bus home, Jung-won realizes that they left her drawings at the park. They rush back for them, but the drawings are gone when they get there. Jung-won fusses all the way home, so Hae-sung grows irritated and offers to recreate the drawings if she’ll stop complaining.
She’s skeptical, but he says haughtily that he can do whatever he puts his mind to, so she leaves him with paper and pencils. When she returns she finds him studiously pretending to read a magazine, and his drawing looks like a hot mess.
On the page, he’s written in a word balloon over a dog’s head, “I’m sorry, Jung-won.” That’s so cute. Luckily, someone calls Jung-won to say they found her drawings at the park along with her business card.
Dong-seok runs into a friend from high school at a restaurant, who tells him that Ho-bang from the old gang is looking for him. Dong-seok says hastily that he’ll call Ho-bang, but when he sees on his business card that Ho-bang is a detective, his expression grows sharp.
Once alone he grows upset, wondering why Jung-won, and now Ho-bang, are looking for him and how much they know. He calls Yoo-min and asks to meet with her immediately.
Yoo-min texts Jung-won to tell her where and when she’s seeing Dong-seok. Jung-won sends Hae-chul to the coffee shop where they’re meeting, and Hae-chul listens in as Dong-seok says that he doesn’t think they’ll be able to take Gong-ju to the U.S with them as they planned.
He suddenly argues Hae-chul’s side, saying that he’s raised Gong-ju all alone while Yoo-min never contacted them for years. But Yoo-min refuses to go back without her daughter, even when Dong-seok tries to order her to just visit twice a year and try again when she’s in a better position.
Angry now, Dong-seok tells Yoo-min to just follow orders, and be ready to go back to the States at a moment’s notice. Yoo-min calmly retorts that she doesn’t take orders from him, and they both walk out.
Hae-chul quickly runs to their table and carefully retrieves Dong-seok’s glass. But Dong-seok sees him carefully placing the glass in a plastic bag, and he figures out that Hae-chul is purposely getting his fingerprints. Unfortunately for Dong-seok, Yoo-min distracts him, and he loses track of Hae-chul.
Hae-chul is adorably pleased with himself as he turns over the glass to Ho-bang at the station. Meanwhile, Dong-seok packs his things and makes a call to book the next flight out of the country.
Tae-hoon’s mother is so distraught over Tae-hoon leaving home that she calls her friend, Director Sohn, to bring her an IV. Director Sohn chides her for her histrionics, knowing from experience that opposing your child’s choice in a partner never works out well for the parent.
Tae-hoon goes to Young-in’s home, hoping to talk to her even though she broke up with him. Instead he finds Soo-ji collapsed on the steps, in too much pain to speak. He scoops her onto his back and runs for help.
The fingerprint analysis results come back, and Ho-bang lets Hae-sung do the honors and read them first. They all hold their breath nervously as Hae-sung opens the envelope… and reads that the prints are a match. Dong-seok’s fingerprints are on the statue that killed Kyung-chul.
Hae-sung looks a bit stricken at the sure evidence of his innocence, and Ho-bang suggests that they make a formal request to reinvestigate the case. Hae-sung agrees as Jung-won clutches his hand in support.
Young-in finally learns of Soo-ji’s illness, and she feels guilty for not noticing the signs. She begs Soo-ji’s doctor to let her donate a kidney to her sister, but he says that she needs to be tested first, as well as any other siblings who may be a match.
She enters Soo-ji’s hospital room to find Tae-hoon sitting by her sister’s bedside. They go outside to talk, both shocked that such a bright, energetic girl as Soo-ji could be so ill and never tell them.
Tae-hoon sighs and admits that he’s been foolish, but he says that the one thing he’s sure of is his feelings for Young-in. He asks her softly to just look after Soo-ji, and to let him take care of everything else. Young-in starts to cry, and Tae-hoon takes her hand and offers to go with her to tell Hae-sung.
A little while later, Young-in runs into Young-joon as he’s working up the nerve to go visit Soo-ji. Young-in orders him to leave, but Young-joon just tells her to take Soo-ji to another hospital and that he’ll pay for everything. Young-in slaps him across the face, and he walks away without another word.
At Hae-sung’s restaurant, Jung-won meets with the woman who found her drawings, who turns out to be a chief editor at a famous publishing company. She says that she liked Jung-won’s story and drawings, and that she’s interested in making it into a comic book for adults.
Hae-sung is listening in and he gets excited at the woman’s offer. But Jung-won turns the editor down, saying that she’s too busy right now. The editor leaves disappointed, and Hae-sung asks what Jung-won is so busy with that she’d turn down the offer of a lifetime.
He gets upset when Jung-won doesn’t give a clear answer, and he tries to make her go apologize and tell the editor that she’ll take the offer. But Jung-won just digs in her heels, and soon the two are yelling angrily at each other.
Hae-sung goes outside to cool off, and Min-joon, who accidentally heard the whole thing, stays inside with Jung-won. Over soju shots, she asks if she was wrong, and he completely agrees with everything she says. They commiserate over how stubborn Hae-sung is, and how he only thinks of what he wants and ignores Jung-won’s feelings.
Once Jung-won has vented her frustration, Min-joon says that he thinks that Hae-sung wants to be with her every moment of every day. But he adds that there’s something Hae-sung wants to see even more, and that’s to be able to imagine Jung-won with a secure future after he’s gone.
Min-joon leaves Jung-won to think about it and joins Hae-sung outside. Still a bit drunk, he tells Hae-sung that he and Jung-won decided that he’s stubborn and foolish. And with that, he weaves his way home.
Hae-sung goes back inside to find Jung-won polishing off the soju, and he says that he has something to say. He tells her how Min-joon actually met her the night before he hired her, and how she’d been drunk and had mistaken his car for a taxi and paid him with a cartoon.
He says that Min-joon still has that cartoon, and that he’s liked her since the moment he met her. Jung-won tries to stop him but he barrels on, saying that he wants to know she’ll be happy after he’s gone. Steeling himself, he says, “I hope that your happy future includes Min-joon.”
So angry that she can’t even speak, Jung-won stands and walks out, leaving Hae-sung sitting there alone. As soon as she gets outside, she bursts into tears.
I knew it would be hard for Jung-won to discover that Hae-sung will leave again, but I’d forgotten how bleak and empty her life was before he came back, and how that would enter into her fears. She basically stopped living after Hae-sung died, unable to enjoy simple things like friends and birthdays with the love of her life gone. All this time I’ve been thinking that Hae-sung will leave his loved ones happier than he did the first time, because he got a chance to improve their lives and clear up the misunderstandings surrounding his death, and everyone will have a chance to say goodbye this time. But it’s natural that Jung-won doesn’t see it that way — she’s terrified to go back to the life she had before, with no love and nothing to look forward to.
So for Hae-sung to tell her that he wants to basically give her to Min-joon, regardless of how Jung-won or Min-joon feel about it, is cruel and selfish of him. He doesn’t see it that way, but it’s easy to forget that he’s still just a 19-year-old boy, and all he knows is that he doesn’t want Jung-won to be devastated again when he leaves. He’s not wrong to want her to be happy and to find love again, but it’s not up to him to dictate when it happens or who that person is. Jung-won has never loved any man but Hae-sung, to the extent that she basically lived a half-life after he died. And Min-joon, although he loves Jung-won, has already told her that he cherishes her and Hae-sung’s friendships more. He’s not the kind of guy who would wait for his friend to die so that he can have his girl, and I think he would be furious at Hae-sung for even thinking such a thing.
But what makes me sad is that I’m sure that things will just blow over like they always do, without really much discussion or upset over anything. I had such high hopes for this to be a really heart-wrenching drama about love and loss, but it’s hard to stay emotionally engaged as a viewer when the characters’ reactions to their situations are so unrealistic. Their boyfriend/friend/brother comes back from the dead, and they all just accept it without much shock, and nobody ever questions how it’s possible. Arguments happen over real, serious issues, but the angry person just goes and has a two minute talk with someone other than the person they’re upset with, and they get right over it.
I’ve been steeling myself for Jung-won’s reaction to learning that Hae-sung is leaving again, but again, while she is devastated at first, she gets over it relatively quickly. Literally overnight, she’s perfectly fine with it and acts like nothing happened. But the thing that frustrates me the most is how Hae-sung comes back from the dead and spends most of his time pursuing the girl he’s loved since childhood, but they act like no more than close friends. I have to be honest, if my boyfriend came back from the dead, I can promise you that we would be making up for lost time and telling each other how much we love each other as often as possible, not arguing about whether we’re “ready yet” to wear couple shirts!
That’s not to say that the actors aren’t doing a good job, because goodness knows you can see them trying their hardest. Yeo Jin-gu is putting in his usual fantastic performance, and he’s made me tear up a few times, but it’s difficult to feel what I know the show wants me to feel when nothing is actually happening. None of the conflicts introduced in the first half of the drama have actually moved forward at all — we’ve basically been circling the drain for weeks now, waiting for something to happen. But all conflicts are sitting almost exactly where they were when we first learned of them, with almost no forward motion at all.
Now there are only two episodes left to wrap up everything (four episodes? Two hours, anyway), and it’s going to be terribly rushed if they try to handle every single conflict in the final week. The parents’ objections to Tae-hoon and Young-in’s relationship, Soo-ji’s illness, Hae-chul’s custody battle, Young-joon’s bad attitude about his family, the murder mystery, and CEO Cha being Hae-sung’s killer — how do they expect to satisfactorily wrap up all these stories? The show had twenty hours to tell a story, and plenty of story to tell. But we spent weeks and weeks with very little happening, so that now we have to cram it all into the last two hours. It’s just disappointing, because this show had such a great, unique premise, a stellar cast, and a wonderful story to tell. I’ll never understand why such a promising story spent so much time doing nothing with it.
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