Rating:
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Forest: Episodes 13-16 Open Thread

We’re at the halfway point in our forest tale, and childhood traumas are starting to connect to our present day. We learn about our doctor’s past, and even more about our rescue worker’s repressed memories. As history starts to repeat itself, everything goes up in flames (literally and figuratively).

 
EPISODES 13-16 WEECAP

But first, another day, another bathrobe. While San-hyuk seems to be gloating after their kisses, Young-jae is mortified and wants to forget the whole thing. However, that’s kind of hard to do when her father pops in for a visit and San-hyuk is left naked in her bathroom with his bathrobe out of reach. His boiler was broken and he wanted a shower so he used her bathroom (is it logical that they have separate boilers in the same house?) β€” and a whole lot of misunderstandings ensue. Also an amazing boiiing! sound effect when Young-jae sees him naked.

But more than the romantic entanglements, our suspicions are confirmed 100% that Young-jae was indeed trapped in that car as a child. Her parents died, the kind rescue work saved her, adopted her, and is quite the sweet surrogate father. He knows a little too much about her string of failed relationships, though, and is consequently pretty excited that she’s living with a guy like San-hyuk.

San-hyuk and Young-jae’s attraction to each other, and flip-flopping denial of that attraction, continues this week, but the focus also starts to shift. Rather than Young-jae being comforted in her panic by San-hyuk, now it’s his turn to be on the receiving end.

She’s digging deep into his past, and thanks to that little drawing from the tree hollow, some scrawls she came across in the woods, and erroneous hospital access to psychiatric files (lol on that), she starts to piece San-hyuk’s story together. Which he hates. His anger is even enough to stop them from commencing with another romantic moment, and I don’t know if I’m disappointed or relieved by that.

Despite having another psychological attack of his hand being on fire (due to seeing the rock scrawls in the woods), San-hyuk is actually making a lot of progress with his development project. They’re snatching up land, making press announcements, swaying public opinion β€” and for a moment that should have huge repercussions in the actual village where everyone is living, it seems like a non-event so far.

What does happen, though, is that Young-jae starts to piece together the sick village elders with the fact that they’re all drinking the “natural spring water” from up the mountain. So, Young-jae traces the water supply, testing the water with a sip every now and then (I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s done, girly).

Believe it or not, I was actually pretty interested for a second to see what Young-jae was going to find at the water source… but instead the next time she looks up, she’s surrounded by roaring flames. A fire has whipped in out of nowhere, and before we know it, we’ve circled right back to the forest fire/rope rescue scene that opened our drama eight episodes ago. I thought we’d revisit this scene much later, so I’m slightly encouraged. Maybe we’ll get more plot before this thing is truly over.

The more we learn about our characters’ pasts, the more we learn about Miryeong Forest, and week after week, the random clues continue to stack up. Memorable bird songs. Childhood treasures stuck in tree hollows. Mysterious freshwater clams. Ancient runes on a rock face (or so I assumed for a second) that are actually a child’s drawings. And let’s not forget the unique wind patterns that make Miryeong into even more of a danger. But are these clues really random?

Now that San-hyuk has confirmed the deadly fire from years past that scarred the community, wouldn’t it be funny if his childhood secret is also wrapped into the fire? Of course, that’s exactly what is confirmed for us this week. From the childhood trinkets, to the wind patterns, to San-hyuk’s “fiery” reaction to the forest itself, everything points to San-hyuk’s childhood experience in the fire. Except those baby clams.

I’m also a little confused on how the drama will balance the forest as holding trauma and terror for our characters, while simultaneously inducing a sort of euphoria for them. Because we have our token forest euphoria scene again this week, but this time it’s the both of them soaking it up. Maybe Miryeong Forest is just good at a push and pull relationship?

 
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Thankfully the Oppa Law does not apply to me and so I was able to drop this show. I did watch episode 7 on account on YY's begging and apart from the nekkid scene that was quite funny, we then got an hour of contract signing, guest fire fighting lectures, and exposition on the effect of wind speeds of mountain topography.

If this show would just embrace its trash, I'd stick around. But trash shouldn't be So. Damn. Boring.

Apropos of nothing, I do hail from a very Sunburnt Country and the show's use of fire and firefighting is tone deaf to the point of offensiveness. I am the wrong person in the wrong place in the wrong time to be watching something this insensitive. This is the most tone deaf a drama has been since Vagabond set a romcom in a shipping container straight after the Essex lorry deaths.

I am out. Fare thee well.

Stay silent, clams. Stay still. Your time will come.

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Agreed - not only is the show filled with stupid cliches, really bad dialogue, and completely illogical actions, it still manages to be so boring that I end up fast forwarding 3/4 of it.

And let's not even get into the really bad doctoring, forest management, and fire control. I come from fire country - just a few years ago over a dozen firefighters died just a few miles from where I live, and it really offends me the way this show treats the dangers of forest fires.

Perhaps the producers and writers can set their next show as a romantic comedy on the Sewol.

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Yes, this is actually quite disappointing because it is bad, but not bad enough. Just like Melt My Brain, it falls short of full-on badness, denying us our full share of snark material. I feel thwarted.

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"exposition on the effect of wind speeds of mountain topography." this sounds genuinely fascinating to my nerdy self...

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My university had a big wind tunnel with a rotat8ng test bed. They used to run scale models of urban areas to look at the impact of the air flow on the street level as well as the glass on the sky scrapers. It turns out that a certain skyscraper was losing windows due to unexpected aerodynamic loads. It was a really interesting series of projects.

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May I provide some background info on why I coerced Elle into watching that nekkid scene. I started to laugh, and then I got worried. Was it really funny? Or was it not funny? If it was not funny, why was I laughing? So Elle watched for me, and she laughed! She found it funny, too!

#ILoveYou,Oppa
#NekkidOppaMakesMeLaugh

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He should have taken shower in my place. I have three shower rooms.

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And does your shower rooms have towel hangers nearby? If not, I am imagining 3 naked Oppas walking around... 😍☺🀭

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3???? *SWOONS*

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Towel hangers yes... unless they forgot to bring towels into the shower room.

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3 oppas ?!

1. Park Jae Hin
2. Kim Jae Wook (?)
3. ......

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Hmmm.. who rabbit who?

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Do we have to define, guys? We can have 3 different ones at any time! Woohoo! πŸ₯³πŸŽŠπŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰

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Great summary, with ironic asides. I'm enjoying this, especially everything that the forest represents in all its complexity, but I have had to overcome some irritation with Young-jae's character. Surely k-drama heroines have moved on from screaming at lizards. I'm from a sunburnt country too, and I am finding the fire scenes in the forest both apposite and cathartic. (Korea also experienced horrendous fires last year.) This drama explores many different competing and complementary perspectives on the forest.

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@azzo1 is confident our sassy surgeon can stitch that tail back on the lizard faultlessly, another first for our brash, heroic heroine!

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BTW, what was that oppa comment about "expensive salt" about? Seriously?

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Even as a hate watch, this farce is getting harder and harder to take. They spend more time talking to themselves than anyone normal. What it is with k-dramas and all this out loud talking to self? I can only assume so that random people can overhear you and make wild speculations.

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I forgot to mention that a few years ago when I worked in a city water dept, that we did all our testing by going around tasting it because nobody ever heard of things like labs and spectrometers and stuff like that. I mean, what could go wrong running around tasting for something like cyanide or heavy metals?

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Also if you could TASTE most of these things, people would know something was wrong with it before they drank it and not after they all ended up in hospital.

I still can't get over her having a full blown panic attack while a patient was open on the operating table and nobody caring. How is she still working as a doctor and not on sick leave while she gets treatment?

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That panic attack was no worse than the one she had seeing the guy nekkid. I mean this is a doctor that presumably has seen a few nekkid people, yet she goes into hysterics over it. She is not fit to be a tree veterinarian. Or even clams...

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Like St. Patrick droves the snakes from Ireland, she will drive the clams from the forest. The birds will sing her praises, and the squirrels will drop large pine cones upon her enemies. Yea, verily.

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Wait till she sees Oppa's fireballs next week. Yep. He remebers he set the village on fire. His firehand is cured. She asks him, "Do you remember your past?" "No," he lies, and POOF! his balls catch fire.

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Nooo... not the clams!!! 😱😱

And this is why we need you, @yyishere. Thank you for being born and for watching this.

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@yyishere ...fire balls...🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣

The image that brought to mind!

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@hebang Oppa would have to wear fireproof boxers.

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... so very very glad I never picked this up even for the trash lmao

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Dr. Yeong Jae talks to herself at the top of her voice. Everywhere. What is most interesting is she has developed a TALKING FACE, it comes on automatically when she opens her mouth and talks to the walls, her desk, the trees, the flowers, the clams and the spring. The Talking Face comes with dreamy eyes, pointed heavenward, a wide smile and long sighs. I was relieved that Oppa chose to keep his thoughts to himself.

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Did he though? I vaguely remember Oppa narrating those long sleep inducing sentences in voiceover in the first week.

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In his head. He didn't open his mouth. He thought his thoughts out loud in his head.

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Right. But we can hear him all the same. Although Oppa's voice just put me to sleep.

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@msrabbit How dare you say Oppa's voice puts you to sleep?!!! *JABS FIREFINGER AT YOU* Oppa has a lovely, deep voice. He talks to me in my sleep, sometimes.

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Yeah, after he put you to sleep first with this show...

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@yyishere dodged your FIREFINGERS with a shield made of CLAMS! πŸ›‘πŸ”₯

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Dude. I talk to myself more often than other people. I was about to judge them on that before I realized I am way worse.

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I talk to myself out loud all the time enough to have my family members get irritated at me. It's become a habit I can't control.

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O...kay...

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I live alone and regularly just yell my thoughts at the sky. But I never do it outside - although one of my colleagues caught me walking back from the shops the other day singing to myself.

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"although one of my colleagues caught me walking back from the shops the other day singing to myself."

*shivers*

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I once had both my parent ask me who I was talking to on the same day. I told my dad I talk to myself lot a lot and just made this... judgy face. If my own dad thought it was weird, WHAT IF I GET MARRIED ONE DAY, HUH?

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Oh, you're fine. You just have to find yourself a KSH who thinks you're cute when you're doing that. πŸ™‚

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Regarding separate heaters for each shower: probably each shower has its own small tankless water heater right on the wall by the showerhead. Popular in Asia and Europe.

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Oh i completely forgot about that, been too long abroad. miniature heat pump. U need to flip a switch before using it and it makes a low humming sound and presto, you get hot water.

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Hey, Oppa. Looking good. Still flaunting your new Oppa look, I see...shirtless, laundry basket in place of boxers. Cool, Oppa, cool. I know you're not shy anymore, but still...I mean, it's good that you're not shy anymore, but to actually SHOW me week after week how much you've changed, it's kind of like too much of a good thing, if you know what I mean.

The part you almost kissed her was bizarre. I mean, you were leaning in, and then you catch sight of her open laptop, and geez, you could decipher everything in there from such a distance, and I don't know how you could be READING when your mind should be clouded with lust - I mean, love - and the next moment, you're angry and mad and you stomp out and my head is reeling and what is this?????

She goes to sip the spring water, and it's all quiet and peaceful, and she turns around, and whoa, the place is on fire. Like raging with fire. So. Bizarre.

The end scene. Oppa, it was so weird. They let you go down to rescue her even though you're a newbie. You rescue her, and you're hugging her and the whole place is in flames and you're not wearing a mask but you're fine. What???? She gets hoisted up and she's shrieking to you and I'm laughing and you're stunned and you're breathing fine, no smoke inhalation issues, you're just frozen and it's so funny and I'm cackling.

Forest animal sightings:

One adult squirrel
Sex: Undetermined
Location: Tree, upper branches. Middle forest.
Status: Live. Lively.

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Hmm.. I missed the squirrel. I fast forwarded a lot though. Perhaps it was a fast squirrel.

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There was a bird, too.

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Was there? Dang. I missed it.

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Ok, so that other "doctor" who "works" at Miryeong Hospital (using " " because, seriously, the doctoring and working are truly nonexistent) .... he's just so annoying. Half-way thorough this thing and I don't even know his name nor do I care to. He does absolutely nothing ..... and he adds nothing to the show.

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annoyance is what his name is and what he adds.

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In this last set of episodes the story actually improved, although the technical/scientific side did not. Our young doctor did not need to 'taste' the water because she has very good reason to think there is a problem- a doctor would understand that she just needs to fill up a few containers with the stuff - from the tap- and send it off to the labs at public health authority- with a note saying she has good reason to suspect toxic chemicals.

Nor should our young doctor be tracing the waterpipe- that is Oh Bo-mi's job.

Oh Bo-mi and Choi-chang are the anchors of reality in this show- their romance is blossoming to the point where Choi-chang has actually asked Oh Bo-mi out.

While I say that the story has improved I do not mean to say that the writing is OK- things are still too disjointed.

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β€œ Oh Bo-mi and Choi-chang are the anchors of reality in this show β€œ

You’re right. The couple that we *think* are the main leads and the OTP are supposed to be the comic relief. So, this drama is about a forest warden and a forest ranger...which would be so much more consistent with Forest being the title.

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This is actually a really good point and I would be here for that romance (except for the part that I'm manifestly not here anymore for anything). Especially since his father is heavily into the logging business and she's trying to protect the forest.

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Which would be a MUCH BETTER story for the main arc of the drama! Oh, what could have been, should have been!

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Remember that Choi-chang's dad is not really just a lumber baron- his money has really come from dumping toxic waste. Would the giant but nasty corporation spend really big money to cover this up? You bet. Does this create a huge obstacle to the real OTP (Bo-mi and Choi-chang)? Absolutely- and the writers will be forced to spend real time on this dilemma- which might actually result in a half-way decent story despite themselves. In any case my wife is hooked on this show so I will be watching to the end. Proving once again just how addictive k-drama can be.

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Seriously @oldawyer if you keep this up, you're going to wrest a coherent show from this mess and none of us will know what to do.

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I'M SO LOVING FOREST😁😘PARK HAEJIN IS BACK AND HE'S AMAZING πŸ‘Œ 😍 I CAN'T SIT STILL WEEK AFTER WEEK WAITING TO WATCH PHJ AND JO BO AH CHEMISTRY UNFOLD IN FOREST 😘

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It’s a silly show but I still enjoy it
Mostly for Park Hae Jin scenes

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Thanks for the weecap again. I must admit I'm enjoying this show as well as the comments here.
Yes yes, it doesn't make a lot of sense - but Oppa is just. so. beautiful to look at. sigh - I'm shallow I know.
To be honest I watched the episodes before they were fully subbed on Viki, and that might be the best way to watch this show.
I just FF through the corporate scenes and I can follow the rest.

Maybe this is really a show about Climate Change and that's why Oppa was so anxious to get it out there.
I mean, those clams are really important right?

smirking a little.....

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It's better without the dialogue, trust me on this.

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β€œ To be honest I watched the episodes before they were fully subbed on Viki, and that might be the best way to watch this show.”

Absolutely correct. This way, we can make up our own dialog to make ourselves happier, and it would also make more sense.

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Welcome to the CLAMS Club. I am sad at the lack of mentioning in these episodes. πŸ™

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Thankfully no lizards...and snakes

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Honestly, Oppa is so beautiful. I almost passed out when he appeared in that long nekkid scene. *blushes* *fans self* The only reason I'm watching this show is Oppa. The things I do for you, Oppa. Sigh.

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Yeah, I think in all honesty that is why I continue to watch. He is really a fine looking man.

But who goes into a shower without a towel? Really?
that scene worked for me though

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So, a question for those watching more closely than I am. Why was there an explosion that started the fire? What were the men up to that they had explosives with them?

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I think this is what annoying rescue dude's dad (the forest logging guy) planned with the evil corporate director - set a forest fire, proving the need for the rescue team so that they can't be relocated?

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Oooh... didn't know rich dude's dad is in cahoot with the rescue team. I thought he wanted his son to quit that and actually glad to have that team removed somehow.

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I didn't know that, either. Wow.

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Maybe this is a result of watching with the subtitles! I knew the logging dad was meeting with the evil corporate director, but I didn't catch them starting the fire.
hmm

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Rich dude's dad is NOT in cahoots with the Rescue Team- he is in cahoots with the evil big corporation- and it is the that corporations best interests to keep the rescue team's base where it is- and where it apparently should NOT have been located to begin with.

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So evil big corporation (Taesung?) was the one putting rescue team in that location in the first place?

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So, why is the land a worth so much lot more to the bad giant corporation than the price of the land itself? Both the father and the corporate henchman seem to know why...typical illegal shenanigans that one hides in a forest wouldn’t be worth the risk to a giant corporation...

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IT'S THE CLAMS

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Well, yes, it’s the CLAMS...that is already canon. I’m just seeing if we can construct a reasonable (🀣) scenario for why the clams...perhaps the toxic chemical and the hallucinogenic herbs in the water got filtered and processed by the clams making them MUTANT HALLUCINOGENIC CLAMS with unheard of potency???

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That explains why the clam zombies are craving them.

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The clams are the reason. These are no ordinary clams, but powerful aphrodisiacs. The bad guys know. They want to make clam aphrodisiacs that will rake in hefty profits for them.

A mere touch or whiff can change you. See what Oppa is doing? Going around half nekkid. It's all because of the clams.

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Those clams fetch a super high price in the Chinese traditional medicine market.

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I'm gonna guess it's to do with the polluted water. Taesung Group probably dumped chemical waste in the region and they're using the rescue team to cover it up with the help of forestry dad. At a guess I'd say the first forest fire, from PHJ's childhood, might also be linked to it .

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Do NOT question the logic of this show. Everyone knows that tree poachers always carry explosives with them to ward off the clams.

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We're not questioning. Merely trying to fill in the blank created by the plotholes

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Or merely trying to fill in the plot-holes created by the zombie clams..

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To hunt down the Predator ?

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Wow, that would be a twist! Our special rescue team going toe to toe with the Predator!

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You know, it would be wonderful, if the show would - when they need a bit of comic relief - have a bit where the forest warden and rescue team go to investigate some reports of strange goings on in the Forest and it turns out to be a bunch of science fiction movie fans doing a bit of Predator cosplay.

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Beanies! We really hate having to delete mean-spirited comments, so let's keep things civil -- even when we have strong opinions on the excellence and/or crappiness of this drama. ^_^

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So what sort of nefarious goings on in the forest is poisoning the water? Guesses, beanies?

Illegal mining, e.g. for gold, would lead to serious pollution down stream.

Illegal crops, such as marijuana, would lead to pollution from fertilizers and pesticides.

Dumping of hazardous materials would lead to serious pollution.

What else?

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Reasonable scientific causes:
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides
untreated Sewage and wastewater
Unreasonable scientific causes:
Underground radioactive plants dumping radioactive substances
Aliens conducting experiments
Totally absurd reason:
Forest is taking revenge on annoying people

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Do you think the writer and PD will give us a reason that is:
1. Reasonably scientific
2. Unreasonably scientific
3. Totally absurd

???

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I think the writer is aiming at a totally absurd unreasonably reasonable scientific reason. A first in kdramaland.

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🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣
I asked for that response, I guess.

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You just gave me a migrane.

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@yyishere. You sure it's not the new Oppa tgat did that to you?

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Yes, but most of those causes don't the fact that it is high up in the forested mountain. Except the last one.

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Judging from the female lead's behaviour, I'm going with some kind of herbal hallucinogen.

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I am placing my bet on Taesong Group (the other business group trying to usurp PHJ’s efforts at purchasing the land) having illegally dumped chemicals into the forest. It’s leeched into the ground water and poisoning the village folk. Chances are the fire from much earlier which PHJ thinks he’s responsible for was started by that Group in an attempt to flush the village folk off the mountains and down lower where they can access tapped treated town water. Unfortunately for them, the village folk still used the mountain spring water because it’s β€œfree” unlike tap water which they would have to pay for. Taesong don’t want PHJ to buy the land because their dirty deeds would all be uncovered if the project goes ahead. Plot is in a similar vein to The Lies Within.

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Plot twist: PHJ is actually a civil rights lawyer undercovering at the investment company against the misdeed of Taesong, boom!

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The clams.

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Possibly the dropbears

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*swallows* *shivers* First, the singing post, now this...

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For those unfamiliar with drop bears:

The Drop Bear legend tells of a large, arboreal, predatory marsupial related to the Koala that 'drops' on it's prey.

Identification
Around the size of a leopard or very large dog with coarse orange fur with some darker mottled patterning (as seen in most Koalas). The creature is told as a heavily built animal with powerful forearms for climbing and holding on to prey. It lacks canines, using broad powerful premolars as biting tools instead.

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*legend*
What do you mean legend?

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There are some suggested folk remedies that are said to act as a repellent to Drop Bears, these include having forks in the hair or Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears. There is no evidence to suggest that any such repellents work.

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Thanks for scaring me, Elle.

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I myself think its funny how I still find myself lurking around this thread 🀣 hahaha
I think, Im still finding a reason to watch this but as the week passes by I am discouraged. Haha. I think I read this and be amused that all of us here think its really funny (and weird) how ridiculous sometimes our kdramas are. Haha. Though, I really do think they make a decent pair! πŸ˜‰

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My favourite part of the week is reading the comments on the weekly Forest threads

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The comments are so much better than the show.

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Hello everyone,

I've been an irregular here at Dramabeans for at least 6 years maybe longer. I rarely comment or read more than the recaps but this thread makes me laugh.

Re clams: Option 1. One of the writer's or producer's of the show is trying to drum up interest in a relative's clam business. By including the clams as a relevant or irrelevant side plot perhaps people will want to eat the delicious soup people make with the clams. I did some research into Korean freshwater clams and there are an impressive number of them. Option 2. The clams are mother-of-pearl/freshwater pearl mussels and they all gonna be rich!

Re: Electrical short. What the heck was that all about? Admittedly I skipped every thing in every episode leading up to that, but still.

Re: The editing. I can't decide if the editor is valiantly trying to save us from the excrescence that is the script or if the editor is a diabolical minion of evil flaying the writer's beautiful and subtle script into dreck. It doesn't matter I guess. Dreck's dreck. But I'd like to have a clear cut hero behind the scenes.

Maybe they are all out to get us.

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The only clear cut hero in this drama is Oppa. Why? Because I say so. So, take that, @leetennant @msrabbit.

Thank you for your input on The Clams. Could I add Clam Cream to your list of clam goodness? It has a natural waxing effect on abs and legs *blushes thinking of Oppa's laundry basket scene*.

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Did I ever say Oppa isn't the hero? πŸ€”

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Don’t leave the director out of the discussion - the expressions on Jo Boa’s face (I think) are at the direction of the director. I know she is a better actor than what we’ve seen so far.

Perhaps there is a love/hate triangle behind the scenes with the writer, the director, and the editor, with our poor cast as the cannon fodder in their battle.

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I want to see THAT show. A cross between The King of the Dramas and Ex-Girlfriends Club with a splash of Jealousy Incarnate minus the breast cancer. And cast Kim Seul Gi please.

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Ah, if only!

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Reading comments about Jo Boa's character....probably she did ate the magic mushrooms offered in ep 3. Hua3

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Ooo... new character! Tell us, what is this magic mushrooms about?

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Not a new character rabbit but a forgotten one. I won't be surprised if theres a magic mushroom farm somewhere in the forest ala the poppy farm in TLE. And the people living in this forest are all hallucinating.

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"… but instead the next time she looks up, she’s surrounded by roaring flames" - I think this is not a mistake she is hallucinating after drinking polluted water. She and San-hyuk are having shared psychosis (Folie Γ  deux) about fire.

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