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When the Camellia Blooms: Episodes 25-26

Misfortunes abound this hour as things start coming to a head. Sometimes it takes the ish hitting the fan to realize what’s important and do something about it. For some it may be too late, but others find the courage to decisively stand for the future they want.

 
EPISODE 25: “The End of All the Flirting”

As Hyang-mi drives off to make a delivery, she’s followed by Jong-ryeol, another man and Jessica. Hyang-mi passes a drunk Kyu-tae and shoots him a finger-heart as she zooms by. Jessica tails Hyang-mi dangerously closely, aggressively honking.

At the Camellia, Jung-sook calls a cab but won’t tell Dong-baek where she’s going, although the words “Ongsan fishing” are visible on the note she left behind. The camera lingers on an old flip-phone left on the counter.

We see a collage of six people with a motive for Hyang-mi’s murder: Jung-sook, Nak-ho, Jong-ryeol, Ja-young, Kyu-tae and Jessica. In what looks like a rundown warehouse by the water, Hyang-mi—still alive—lies bleeding on the floor. Someone enters.

The next day, Dong-baek goes looking for Hyang-mi and finds out that she hasn’t been living in her old apartment for a while. She wonders if Hyang-mi really went to Copenhagen.

Chief Byun gets the results back on the cat food and informs Yong-shik that apart from Heung-shik’s sample, it was full of herbicide. It was previously a commonly used poison in suicides and sales were banned in 2012. Yong-shik gets riled up about catching the culprit but deflates when Dong-baek walks into the station.

After getting her car’s smashed bumper looked at, Jessica joins Jong-ryeol in his car at the car wash. He admits Pil-gu is his son, and he wants to raise him. Jessica can have whatever she wants in the divorce. When he says they don’t even eat together like a real couple, she blows up. How can she eat when she’s called a pig online? She says she would’ve already killed herself if she could’ve.

Dong-baek lays out the situation with Hyang-mi for Chief Byun. He wonders if Hyang-mi came back after stealing the 30 million won to take something else. He thinks it’s clear she ran away and wants Dong-baek to file a theft report, but Dong-baek is worried Hyang-mi got in an accident.

Yong-shik sarcastically says maybe she met the Joker (ooh, that’s going to haunt him) and storms out. Dong-baek follows him out, and he angrily tells her not to take delivery orders so late at night. Dong-baek wonders if she should close early then and only do what makes him comfortable. “Delivering food, getting robbed and getting attacked by the Joker are all part of my life.” She asks him to respect her life for what it is.

When Yong-shik says it’s exhausting, watching her go through all that, she gets insecure and emotionally pulls away (like she did with Jong-ryeol in the past). He shouldn’t be with someone who exhausts him, she retorts. Yong-shik tells her not to use breaking up as a weapon just because he likes her more. As he walks away, she thinks it’s her that likes him more.

Chief Byun has officers review CCTV footage of the terminal and call Nak-ho. Yong-shik explodes when Chief Byun sighs that Dong-baek has an unfortunate life. “If she was that unfortunate, how could she have met me?” They marvel at his self-confidence. Chief Byun makes him stay behind (and find the Joker) while the rest of the team finds Hyang-mi.

A reporter sits in a van looking at surveillance photos of Hyang-mi. He and his partner had been following her for days after hearing her refer to Jong-ryeol as “Pil-gu’s dad” at the shoot she crashed. They spotted Jong-ryeol following her moped and hoped for a photo of them together, but Jong-ryeol noticed their camera flash, so they drove off.

Pil-gu accidentally scratches their van with his rolling backpack, so they get out but pause when they realize he’s the kid in question. “Do you play baseball?” the reporter asks.

In the car, Kyu-tae’s mother asks him about his visit to his mother-in-law the previous night, but he can’t remember anything (too drunk). His mother’s main concern seems to be what the neighbors will think about his affair and potential divorce, as well as making sure Kyu-tae keeps the house. Kyu-tae asserts that Ja-young is so far above their family she deserves the house.

Yong-shik is out trying to piece everything together: the cat food, the arson, the green lighter, the Joker’s MO of arson followed by murder. He still finds Kyu-tae’s closeness with the director of the academy suspicious, so he goes to question him.

Kyu-tae claims he doesn’t know anything but appears anxious in the face of Yong-shik’s barrage of questions. To Yong-shik’s confusion, Kyu-tae exasperatedly blurts out, “I rode a duck pedal boat!” His wife left him, so why try to prove anything now? He tells Yong-shik not to investigate Hanbit Academy—it’ll stir up trouble in the town.

The reporters attempt to strike up casual conversation with the ajummas about the Camellia and the “strange lady” who’s often there, but their we’re-just-here-for-a-friendly-chat routine doesn’t work. “Are we friends?” they demand to know. “Why are you eating our rice cakes?”

Chan-sook notices the notepad in the man’s pocket and catches him recording their conversation. The ajummas assume he’s asking around about Dong-baek, so they tell him that she has a homicide-detective husband who won’t take kindly to their prying. Plus, the women here are a unit, and they don’t appreciate people messing with their little sister (Yay!).

The men leave when the ajummas get ready to throw down. They head to the Camellia and decide they’ll just ask Dong-baek (about Hyang-mi) since they’ve come this far.

Kyu-tae comes home to find Ja-young’s mud-spattered car in the driveway. Ja-young tells him they’re heading out. He sees the divorce application—with both of their stamps on it—on the table.

Kyu-tae doesn’t want a divorce, especially since he and Hyang-mi didn’t technically do anything, but Ja-young is done. Amazingly, his enticing offer of one day being the governor’s wife doesn’t do the trick. He finally goes with her to the courthouse when she threatens to tell the current governor about his affair.

At the bar, the reporter shows pictures to Dong-baek and asks about Hyang-mi. They know Jong-ryeol and his wife live separately, and they’ve seen him and Hyang-mi together. This is all news to Dong-baek.

She’s upset when she sees a photo of Pil-gu on the camera. She tries to delete it and says they shouldn’t take pictures of a kid. He didn’t do anything wrong. “Pil-gu is just my son!” Dong-baek throws the camera on the ground, breaking it into pieces, and warns him not to mess with her kid.

Fuming, Dong-beak calls Jong-ryeol about the situation. She blames him for interfering in Pil-gu’s life and tells him to protect his kid.

EPISODE 26

On the way to the courthouse, Kyu-tae wears Ja-young down until she agrees to eat one last meal as a couple. While eating, he tries to proclaim his innocence again, but Ja-young says it doesn’t matter. It’s down to incompatibility.

Ja-young points out that they looked down on each other and have lived like roommates for years, staying together out of convenience. They should stop holding back. She doesn’t even want revenge anymore since she already got it through Hyang-mi.

When Ja-young goes to get in the car after paying, Kyu-tae locks her out. He wants them to go back to when they liked each other. “Noona, I love you!” he proclaims before driving off.

Yong-shik comes to the Camellia bearing flowers but hesitates outside. Jung-sook criticizes him for buying flowers again. “Do you know how much money you need to support a family?” She calls him naïve.

He asserts you don’t need money to be happy, but Jung-sook believes it raises your chances. “If your kid asks for food right when you wake up, you end up abandoning them.” We flash back to a young Dong-baek sobbing that she’s hungry as Jung-sook holds her and cries.

Jung-sook just wants her kid to have enough to eat. Yong-shik ensures her he won’t let Dong-baek starve, but she worries about his mother’s disapproval. She doesn’t want Dong-baek feeling unwanted or intimidated. Yong-shik claims he’ll slowly convince his mom, but it’s not enough for Jung-sook.

Yong-shik marches over to his mom’s restaurant and psyches himself up to talk with her. Inside, he sees something and stops short.

At the Camellia, Dong-baek nags her mom about staying out so frequently. “Do you have another family?” Dong-baek tries calling Hyang-mi again, but Jung-sook tells her not to wait for someone who won’t come. Jung-sook takes off her cleaning gloves, exposing a bruise on her arm.

When he walks into the restaurant, Yong-shik’s mom says she was going to disown him if he forgot about his dad’s death anniversary. His intimidating older brothers, Kyu-shik and Doo-shik (cameos by Choi Dae-chul and In Gyo-jin) wonder why he might’ve forgotten—is he dating? He shocks the room into silence by stating he is.

In typical sibling fashion, his brothers tease him about his old dating experiences. They rapid fire questions at him until Yong-shik announces he’s dating Dong-baek. Again, they’re stunned.

Dong-baek sits staring at the door, clearly waiting for Yong-shik, while Jung-sook admonishes her for acting desperate. She baldly states that always being lonely has made her easy. Jung-sook assumes that comment is aimed at her.

For Dong-baek, it’s all or nothing when it comes to dating. Jung-sook urges her to just call Yong-shik then, but Dong-baek won’t. He’s out of her league, so what right does she have?

Yong-shik sits quietly while his brothers berate him for dating Dong-baek and worrying their mom. But things get heated when one of them assumes Dong-baek was the one to hit on him. Deok-soon breaks it up and tells Yong-shik to go home.

The brothers complain that she’s too lenient with Yong-shik, but she argues that they, at least, knew their dad. Deok-soon tears up as she tells them not to treat Yong-shik so harshly. Failing to hold in his tears, Yong-shik says he loves his family, but he can’t help his feelings for Dong-baek.

Jung-sook chuckles when she catches Dong-baek sneaking off to the market in her fancy shoes. She goes back inside, telling Dong-baek to wait so they can go together. Dong-baek scurries away the second she’s gone, making her mom smile.

At 5:00 AM, Yong-shik wakes for his weekly Thursday morning market trip with Dong-baek. He’s surprised to see Deok-soon at his place with breakfast made. She knows about his trips with Dong-baek—the ajumma network is strong—and asks him not to go today. They’re interrupted by a call from Chief Byun.

Meanwhile, Dong-baek waits at the bus stop and imagines Yong-shik meeting her there. She boards alone. Even though she was used to doing everything alone, it’s harder now that she’s gotten used to having someone there.

At the lake, the police investigate the third recent fire in Ongsan. As with the two other fires, they find sawdust on the ground. They also find a burnt sweater (which Hyang-mi was wearing) Yong-shik recognizes as Dong-baek’s. He remembers there were four fires before the Joker murders and rushes out.

Dong-baek receives a panicked call from Yong-shik, on his way to meet her, asking where she is. She tells him she’s at her stop and gets off without noticing the disturbed man’s graffiti food for thought on the seatback: “There’s no witch that doesn’t burn.”

An announcement comes over the loudspeaker at the market for the owner of the Camellia to come to the second floor to pick up a receipt. Shortly after Dong-baek enters the second-floor office, we see a man (dressed in the universally suspicious all-black number) leaving.

Dong-baek gets a headache and smells something right as the fire alarm goes off. The door is locked, so she breaks a window, but the flames are right outside. She bangs on the door, screaming for help.

Yong-shik learns of the fire (now the fourth one) over the police radio and rushes to the scene. He ushers people out as he makes his way upstairs, the hallway now in flames. Through the fire-burnt wall, Yong-shik sees Dong-baek lying on the floor. He douses himself in water and breaks down the door.

At the hospital, Dong-baek is horrified to see a passed-out Yong-shik with his entire arm bandaged. At the reception desk, a nurse confirms over the phone that a patient is on the list. Her finger rests on Dong-baek’s name.

On the other end, a raspy male voice asks if she’s still alive. We only see the bottom part of his face. His arm is scratched, and he has several bottles of Gramoxone (the herbicide) in his room.

Dong-baek stands by Yong-shik’s bedside and cries. Yong-shik wakes and immediately worries about her bandaged hand. She’s upset he put himself in danger for her, asking “Do you think you’re invincible?”

He laboriously sits up, looking serious. He says that he’s exhausted and can’t do it anymore. Dong-baek stands silently, preparing for the worst, as he continues that he can’t even focus on his work. He just wants to live comfortably, so they should end it.

She sits on the edge of his bed, facing away from him, and says he’s growing up. If he stays by her, he’ll catch her bad luck, so he should run. He says they should stop almost-dating now. “Let’s…just get married.” Whoa. Skipped a few steps there.

Yong-shik can’t stop worrying about her and, he smiles, “You’re so cute. I want to keep you by my side for the rest of my life.” Dong-baek stares in shock and thinks he’s gone crazy. He offers to give her his good luck.

He says he wasn’t even scared to jump into fire for her. They should just get married.

Dong-baek finally gives a small smile and says she loves him. Yong-shik smiles back (“I knew it.”) and pulls her in for a kiss.

 
COMMENTS

So much happened this hour, but let’s start with that proposal. Dude doesn’t waste any time. They haven’t even officially dated yet and he’s proposing! I can’t say I’m surprised though. Yong-shik isn’t one to play things safe or hesitate once he knows what he wants. But considering she’s got a kid, shouldn’t they take this a bit slower? It’s not right to blindside Pil-gu with this. He’s already not on-board with them dating, so for his benefit, maybe they should date for a while until he’s more comfortable with the idea. This is assuming Dong-baek says yes— she’s a lot more cautious than Yong-shik, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she wants to ease in more.

The big question throughout these episodes is what exactly happened to Hyang-mi. Although my money is on the Joker for locking her up and eventually killing her, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a confrontation(s) before that. She could have been injured from a run-in with someone before being picked up by the killer; we have no way of knowing if she was injured before or after being taken to that warehouse. She was being followed, and we know Jessica, at least, caught up with her. The mangled bumper suggests she may have even hit her. There was also the mysterious bruise on Jung-sook’s arm and the “Ongsan fishing” note, which makes it possible she was involved. Kyu-tae looked too drunk to do any real damage, but he, Nak-ho and Jong-ryeol can’t be ruled out as suspects. I seriously doubt Ja-young had anything to do with it, as it doesn’t seem her style, but I think the mud-spattered car was meant to suggest her as a possibility. It’s a sad state of affairs when six people could plausibly want you dead.

I might be in the minority here, but I don’t dislike Hyang-mi. She often made terrible decisions, but I find her more pitiful than vindictive. She’s unusually honest with no illusions about her nature and choices, which I appreciate. All her life, she’s been neglected and mistreated, even by her own family. I don’t think she ever realized there was another way to survive before becoming reacquainted with Dong-baek. She seemed to want to start living differently and maybe she could’ve with the support of her new family. Unfortunately, she’ll never get the chance to try.

One thing I appreciate about this show is the variety of female characters. From Dong-baek to the neighborhood ajummas to Hyang-mi to Ja-young to Jung-sook—they’re all so different, each with their own strengths and flaws. Even Jessica has taken on a bit more depth of late. Her outburst in the car about the cyberbullying she faces was chilling in light of recent real-life events. I hope her comments weren’t prophetic and she winds up okay. She may be unpleasant, but no one deserves that kind of public shaming and bullying. I hope she comes to realize value lies beyond the external.

To end on a positive note, how great was watching the ajummas stand up for Dong-baek? They’ve finally included her in their little family. It’s taken a long time for her to become an insider, but her kindness and persistence paid off.

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I'm loving all the characters, acting is great, and story is pretty good, but I wish the main romance was more believable. Just bugs me that the main reason YS likes DB is because she is pretty. Which is the same reason all the other men have been harassing her. That has been such a main storyline that just seems weird for her to fall for this guy who likes her for the same reasons. He is a cutie and he is supportive of her, but still, I think they could have developed the romance better.
I too really like the Hyang-mi character. She is complex, and a mix of good and bad. She will be missed!
Thanks for the recap!

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I don’t think Yong-shik likes DB for that reason only. It’s been a thing since ep 1, at first he was only attracted to Dongbaek because she was pretty but as he got to observe her more, his attraction got more and more complex. He respects and cares for Dongbaek as a person, he corrects her without being rude as well.
If you take what he said in the proposal out of context, yep it would definitely be considered shallow, but we should see it as a culmination of their journey so far. I’m also guessing that because the show juggles so many storylines at the same time, we do not get to see much of their romantic development on screen. But the bus stop scene implies that they have been getting to know each other more for quite a while now.

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I agree. I think it is much more than seeing her as only beautiful. He does not treat her like an object but as her own person. I believe he sees her inner beauty.

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I rarely assume "pretty" exclusively means pretty when it comes to YS. It's just easy to say and it means 1000 things.

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It might have started with her being pretty, but then YS got to see her being cool in how she handles her customers, kind hearted in her treatment of Hyang Mi. And also, she is a single mom, like his mom. We know he thinks the world of her. I think YS come to appreciate DB for who she is and she is certainly more than just a pretty face.

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It’s not just because she’s pretty, I thi. He’s said a bunch of times that he respects her and is amazed by how cool she is dealing with all that she deals with. He’d also said a bunch that he feels protective over her. Remember when she begged him to stop protecting her from the ahjummas but he said he couldn’t? He thinks she’s smart but also doesn’t know everything. He’s so open with his words so idk where this idea is coming from that it’s just because she’s pretty. Maybe I was skipping more parts than I thought ctfuuu.

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I dunno, seems like they give the hints and say he likes her for other reasons, but they haven't developed it well.
And, she did catch his eye because of her beauty.
I realize he is a great catch, just wish they had a better set-up in the beginning.

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Last week's "What we are watching" discussion was the first time I had heard of the extension to 40episodes. I don't know if it was just me, but I could feel the extension in this episode. For me, it just didn't feel as in control or as tightly crafted...ie. scenes lingered as if filling time. But characters have never tried to punk us before - each other, sure but not us - and I felt this episode that had changed.

Hey, that could have just been me suffering a pavlovian response.

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P.S. I don't blame them, this show is a ratings bonanza. Any network would find it hard to give that up and then go back into single digits with a new drama.

At least we are not drowning in PPL or the production being cash strapped.

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I agree. at least the fillers serve a purpose, and I’m not opposed to a full episode of just Yong-shik and Dongbaek. 😂

I mean, I love Signal but it would have been more perfect if the episode count was reduced. Ep 13 (or 14?) was hard to watch. It came from a very intense cliffhanger to a very slow and sad ep. The more filler they needed, the slower Hae-young walked. 😂

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I don’t mind filler as long as that filler material doesn’t include Jessica. It looks like they’re going there though and will show her in highschool or something. Just please, not too much of that...

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Wah, really? it got extended? I hope this won't ruin the drama... :)

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It got extended back around ep 6 so they have had a little bit more time to adjust. I only slightly felt the drag in ep 10, but have loved the recent 4 eps for the most part. I even feel like the show may have felt rushed with 16 eps, though I'm not sure 20 eps were quite necessary either.

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Like @happymess, I also noticed the profile for the show changed to 40 episode earlier on, back about episode 7 for me. So I don’t think it was so much a last minute (last week) thing about the extension decision. I hope that’s given them enough time to plan for it.

Though I also agree @SadKDramaLama that this episode did give me somewhat of that feeling described in your comment that it “just didn't feel as in control or as tightly crafted.” But to me it wasn’t because it seemed to be lagging or slowing pace, more that it seems their is somewhat a struggle to keep balance in juggling of maybe too many plot lines/details that is being thrown out there, perhaps to be sorted and connected in upcoming episodes. We have all the many possible suspects to consider with their various suspicious car damages and cleaning efforts; the search for Hyangmi by the police; the mysterious bruise on Jung-sook’s arm; the spying reporters and their no-good intentions; the more public and big attempt of killing Dong-beak by the Joker; the concluding of Ja-young’s and Kyu-tae’s formal marriage and Kyu-tae’s efforts to prevent the end; meeting Yong-shik’s whole family; and the more sweeter developments of Dongbaek admitting her love of Yong-Shik and Yong-Shik’s proposal! There was a lot they tried to pack into this episode.

It may seem there is less focus, but this may simply be an effect of “ish hitting the fan” as @quirkycase describes. There’s bound to be somewhat of a mess created :) and we can sense some of that mess.

But this feeling may also be normal after watching such a VERY TIGHT episode like Don’t Forget Me wrapping up the final 24 hours for Hyangmi. I probably shouldn’t expect this episode to follow suite. And now that the Joker is also taking bigger and more actions we can probably expect more new developments and frustration and problems hitting the characters and the town.

And like how @growingbeautifully describes in the comment #3 below - it also does seem like the Joker is more desperate in his actions too as
the attempted murder on Dongbaek by the large 4th fire he sets at the market seems also not the clean, desolate act he has committed back at Ok Aesthetic.

The acceleration of more development can always be a little messy.

I enjoyed watching this episode though, but actually quite glad there is this recap to reference too giving all that’s going on. Glad the recaps are also trying to catch up with the episodes!

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Thanks @quirkycase.

Reading this recap made me realise that I never did get a chance to finish this episode. It's happening a lot lately, where I start a show but have to leave off to run do something in RL and I forget to continue to watch.

Trust Yong Shik to choose such a weird and 'opportune' time to propose, LOL. Such a cute dork. Just when all and sundry are up and against his relationship with DB, and a killer is closing in too! Of course it can be said that the killer's actions sparked the urgency in YS's proposal. Once again I begin to worry though ... just as something nice happens for the good guys, the sky will be about to fall on them. Hyang Mi just felt welcomed and comfortable with her new 'family' before she gets attacked. Now Dong Baek declares her feelings and the couple are happy together at least for a while ... so what bad thing will happen next?

What I really want now is information on what makes certain people the target of the Joker. If he killed HM, was it because she accidentally replaced DB or because she had discovered that he is the Joker. And what makes DB or any of the victims a 'joke' or someone who was 'acting up' according to the Joker.

I'm thinking that the failure to kill DB with the food delivery ruse, made the Joker rather desperate and caused him to fail. The planning for the fire was done with somewhat less certainty of success. Setting up to kill by fire, at a busy market was something that surely should leave a trail. Joker had to make the announcement or send a note for the announcement to be made to get DB up to the office. Articles involved in arson would have had to have been carried in. He did try to plan meticulously … like setting the small fire elsewhere to keep the police engaged, so that at the market DB would not have YS accompanying her, but in a rare instance of insight, YS figured out the small fire decoy in time.

He is so determined to kill DB, but he made the mistake of rushing the killing on a busy Thursday morning and trusting to a fire, instead of waiting for another opportunity to get DB in a desolate place, where he could ensure that she died. So I’m guessing he’s in a hurry and now, even more frustrated and desperate and I’m hoping he’ll make another mistake when he tries again, as he most certainly will.

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Frankly I suprised that with so many people at the market with all the junk lying around the fire didn't turn into some deadly inferno, this place didn't look it have fire safety check up since it opened.

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Plus a burns unit is a truely terrifying ward. Flames and flesh just don't mix and it doesn't take much to be very serious.

YS would have been drudged to the eyeballs if burns were up his arm and I was half expecting the marriage declaration to be the drugs talking.

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But he wasn't even on burns unit, it was regular ER? But I hear you, I'm clumsy cook so I know that pain on much, much smaller scale, but it hurts for days nonetheless and his must be second degree burns.

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..."he wasn't even on burns unit, it was regular ER"...

Yes, that was part of my point. I don't require total realism in my KDrama. However, just a little more on this point would have communicated the real threat the Joker represents...not only to DB but to YS and everyone else in this village (they can no longer brush it off as the fate of "immoral women"...they are all at risk now).

It also plays on the tension between all the key players. As YS throws himself headlong in he has to tread the line between filial piety (his love for his mother) and his love for DB. His mother wants to reject additional hardship for her son but struggles deep down with the desire to support her son's heart. DB is torn between her desires for love at the same time wanting the best for YS and his mother.

Mainly it just reminds us the Joker is not playing around.

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@growingbeautifully, thanks for sharing food for thought about the show here.

I think your description is spot on about the YS’s “weird and 'opportune' time to propose” :) ....it is so appropriate for his character too having such weird and opportune scenarios! Also agree that “the killer's actions [must have] sparked the urgency in YS's proposal...it so fits with his style of love that he would consider it as living more comfortably with having DB closer in his life so that he can be better position to protect her. I think his reason for the proposal is so natural too...he was willing and not afraid to jump into the pit of fire for her, so it just makes sense for them to get married. Dongbaek probably can’t argue with that. :) ....interesting to think too, that the Joker provided the conditions for this proposal opportunity.

No doubt too that the sky will fall again. We haven’t been focusing so much on the Joker in the episodes up until now, but that did allow for the threat of him to brew and now with Hyangmi’s confirmed death it would be time to boil to the surface.

Since the Joker is the elusive and main big bad boss of the story, I have been very curious of his psychology too and we haven’t been shared much details to determine any of it. I think we may be getting more puzzle pieces about that aspect of the story. I’m glad if that could be the case. Though for sure, as you mentioned, I also would bet on that the Joker is getting more frustrated and desperate about Dongbaek, she has escape his actions to try to kill her three times now, counting this attempt with the fire at the marketplace! I think that is a nice angle in the story given the view by many people that Dongbaek is ‘unlucky’....her many run-in with a killer and still surviving would suggest to those in the know at how lucky she also actually is.

I think there will probably be big shifting of the shows plot lines again and adding more problems and development before final resolutions. This episode also gives off that vibe. So it may be good/better that there isn’t just two more episodes to hash out the remaining details after the next episode. With the 6 episodes more to come, at least I could hope that we may get a more thorough storyline until the very end.

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This episode was so scary! Joker is such a creepy stalker who knows Dong-baek's every move. Great that Yong-shik got the idea to go back!
I know all those 6 people had motives, but I did not think that Jong-ryeol and Jessica would want to actually kill or hit her. With so many people following her that night including the reporters, could there be any witnesses? What a great idea to have all these people on the scene, this show is written so smartly!

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I like how YongShik push DongBaek to be honest with her feelings whenever she tries to go her usual self pity routine, he is so self assured, best character on this show.
I would pity HyangMi more if she didn't try to use PilGu to blackmail JR, it would hurt DB way more than stealing that money if she knew. But the show tries too hard with "the who killed HyangMi" and the ominous "look at that very important clue" camera work and multiplying suspects, pretty sure JaYoung didn't care enough about her after divorce, after all she was happy to hand KT over to her, to spite them both.

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I'm curious about that abandoned academy, it's keep coming back, I'm guessing there wasn't any academy really, but then what? I'm not even sure it's connected to Joker.

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I'm not sure I like the glimpse we got of Joker as he appears to be a character that only got mentioned once or twice before, but now I wonder if maybe he has a deeper conection with Dongbaek or her mom who keeps using his "Don't be a joke" line as the show seems to use Fate for a lot of the relationships in the show (Hyang-Mi and Dongbaek etc)

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Someone, please explain to me why the brothers of YS were giving him a hard time for liking DB? I really don't get it. YS is in his 30's. The families resistance to their dating, even the mom's... is getting tiring. I see DB as a great woman who raised a child on her own and has good business. I think that is really something to admire and be proud of.
Also, I feel awful for Hyang-mi. I did not like that she took the money from DB, that was a low blow and her brother should be smacked on the side of his head. If for some reason, she is still alive, I believe she would become a different person, we still have not seen the body!

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I belief it’s a cultural thing (them disagreeing with DB as a wife material). I respected DB a lot and doesn’t see having a child as a big obstacle too. I’m not Korean, so I can’t say this with conviction but based on the dramas that I’d watch (loooots of drama, spanning 10 years of kdrama- watching life 🤭), that seems to be the case. Just like in One Spring Night, both parents seem to take the fact that the male lead having a child and being a single parent as such a big and negative aspect.
The same goes to family background. Having a respected family influence decision in marriage as well.
However, maybe in current South Koreans life nowadays, the trend has change and less emphasise are put into family/past relationships. 🤔

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I think it's just a very traditional mindset that you generally don't want to get romantically involved with a "messy" family/ romantic background for the fear that they/their family may come with a lot of emotional baggage. While I personally think that people can change - look at how happy Yongshik is with Dongbaek! - I do see in many cases that family background really helps to shape how a person develops. I don't think it's wrong that Deok soon wants Yongshik to live a comfortable, happy life with someone who doesn't have the emotional baggage or insecurities that Dongbaek has, or have to learn to bring up a child that isn't his (blood relations are always heavily emphasized upon). I wished that Deoksoon could have shown more willingness to open her mind and heart to Dongbaek though, especially since she's been through the struggles of being a single mother and had to deal with the stigma that came with it.

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I love it when the ahjummas defended Dong Baek and just right away scolded the 2 reporters. I did a little lap victory dance there 💃
My dance was even more glorious and fancy when Yong Shik just sheepishly grinned while proposing 💃 💃 i love that dude

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Jessica needs to take responsibility for her own actions, as far as I am concerned. She chose the social media platform, as a career- based on her husband's fame as a baseball player. She knew who he was when they married, as people reveal who they are very early on in a relationship if one is paying attention. Is he selfish or is he determined and focused? I don't see him as a bad guy at all if anything as a person who needs to grow a bit but his heart is good. Jessica may want a career and that is great but she does seem to be ignoring the child, which is not so cool. She should let go of trying to be famous and find something that she really desires to do and work on her motherhood skills. I bet if the two of them sat down and talked they might be able to start over in a better place. This might just happen. I hope so, in any case.

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Kang Haneul's tired little grin and nose-wrinkle "I knew it" smile after Dongbaek said she loved Yongsik just killed me dead. How could you not love this adorkable guy?? KHN has all my love.

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Right?! He is just...too much for my heart.

And, though it did take a great show of love and commitment from him, I'm glad she said "I love you" first, without needing to explicitly hear it in return. Hopefully she learns soon that giving love to those who value it can be even more empowering than receiving it. And there's no one more deserving of that than Yong-shik (not including Pil-gu, of course)!

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Does anyone think that Dongbaek and Yongshik is essentially the grown up, 30 year old version of Bong-soon and Minhyuk in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon? Yongshik and Minhyuk are basically spazzing non stop over their female fatales and giving them the support and encouragement they need to take over the world hehe

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Thanks @quirkycase for this recap!

I was thinking there may be an uncertainty about the post-it note in the following recap part:
“At the Camellia, Jung-sook calls a cab but won’t tell Dong-baek where she’s going, although the words “Ongsan fishing” are visible on the note she left behind.”

That post-it note with the destination written, I don’t think it was by Jung-sook. When I watched that scene, I thought that note would also be a note Dongbaek wrote when taking down that delivery order. So to me, that would imply that Hyangmi was heading to the Ongsan fishing area for that delivery....which is where that ominous figure (assuming the Joker) was waiting.

I could be wrong. But thought to comment about this uncertainty. We’ll have to find out where the mom did go that night...it may have been to the hospital.

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im getting tired about Yongshik's mom about her grown up son's relationships. im not a mother so maybe i dont understand her feeling but after she watches her son and dongbaek together and they keep asking her permission smh

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Just a quick question:
Why do you think the saying "avoid people with sad stories" is so common in KDrama?

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As much as annoying it is, it's quite the truth at least in my country. I live in Southeast Asia, and asking for parents permission actually needs to be done first. The couple can go backstreet without the parents knowledge, but usually if they have parents, they will also ask for the parents permission. I personally try to put my parents' blessings first in anything, not just relationship because otherwise I would feel guilty in many ways. This isn't something that my parents forced me to, it's just that with time, I learn that I feel at ease when my parents know and agree with my decision. Even after marriage, some couple are still dependent of their parents, and living together with parents or in-laws is common too.
Of course, it seems like in South Korea, the society is more hardcore about status etc., because Yongshik's mother suffered similar experience such as Dong Baek, you see how the neighbors blatantly abuse her verbally. She had to keep up with all of this, and knowing how harsh it could be for them, she doesn't want Yongshik to relieve the same thing by marrying someone who's viewed as 'broken' and 'unfortunate' by the korean society. That's why she also felt guilty for being a bad 'mom' for Dong Baek, but she had no choice due to the peer pressure she couldn't stand, and because in Asian's belief, I think children is a lifetime bearing. It doesn't end when the child reach the adult age, but the feeling of being responsible for the children's well-being continue until death.

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i live in Southeast Asia too. i will understand his mom more if they actually trying to hide their relationship or ignoring her. both YS and DB being so respectful and try to talk about their feelings and relationship again and again, she know about his son's character well, she know DB's personality too. the whole situation is going to be better if she acknowledge their relationship and protect them from the pressure around. the village people not even hate DB right now.

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"i will understand his mom more if they actually trying to hide their relationship or ignoring her."

I couldn't see relation between these two statement though, because it seems like two different things for me.

"both YS and DB being so respectful and try to talk about their feelings and relationship again and again, she know about his son's character well, she know DB's personality too."

But that's why I actually love about the dynamic between the couple, and with their parents. They're mature. They realized their parents view also matters as accordance to their culture, in which the parents' happiness play an important role on their life decisions. But here, YS never truly give in to his mom. He respect her by telling his intention of dating DB, but when her mom disagree, he convince her with his stubbornness and determination, and it kinda works. Mom is already fed up, but did give him a chance. Only when she overheard the confrontation of YS, DB, JR in the bar that she opt-out again. She may not be fully on board, but before the confrontation she doesn't really mind their relationship to an extent. The confrontation only confirm her fear of DB hurting her son's pride with her interaction with her ex. The problem with YS mom is that, she's injected her own fear into her son, while YS is a completely different person, and he has his own way of dealing with things too. This could be annoying for me, but the way the actress portray her emotion, and the way her character is written also makes me sympathize with her so I can't hate her... for now. x)

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To add to your point, it's unfortunate that the society has taught her the wrong lesson: That a person coming from a broken family calls for trouble and disgrace, despite him/her showing good personality.
I'm sure she could relate to DB, because DB reminds her of her younger self, but with the unfair treatment she had all her life, feeling lonely, raising three kids, and how no one seemed to support her, and of course, no matter how much she relate to her, she still value YS over anything else (because it seems like she felt at her lowest point when raising him), she developed this mindset:
'People will not bother me and my son when I wedded him with a woman from a 'normal' background. Anything other than is unacceptable, and will make my son suffer just like me, or even worse. I already got so much trouble in order to raise him into a man, and he had to grow up without a father.. He needs to at least have a happy life ahead, with a loving wife, and started a family together."

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Some moms are just like that. Most Korean moms I know personally are trying very hard to control their children's lives, even as they turn 30, 40, 50, 60. I don't have a handle on what it is in the culture that makes it so hard for them to let go, but that's just how it is, I guess. I understand Dongbaek and Yongshik wanting his mom's permission, as they both love and respect her. I have the feeling she'll give in pretty soon.

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FYI - see if you can find a small blog post on SK's version of hierarchal confucianism and filial piety.

There are also a couple of posts in earlier episode recaps if that helps.

Lots of beanies are hitting their culture clash envelope in this drama so you are not alone.

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This is one reason why I stopped watching US tv - precisely because they DIDN'T have the kind of family drama crap like this "need my partner's parents' approval" which ALWAYS happens in some form with Asian families. So welcome to Asia tv drama @froyo, it's a real slice of some lives (not all, but most) :) Dont stress if you dont get it; just saying this isn't a writing issue, they're not dragging or exaggerating the conflict.

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