Forest: Episodes 17-20 Open Thread
This week our leads turn honest about their attraction to each other — but once they do, it’s time to deny it completely, and forcibly. However, when they both find themselves in the Philippines on business, circumstances push them together, and though some painful truths are revealed, their relationship only continues to deepen. Gotta love a drama that invents scenarios solely to convince us that these two are soul mates.
EPISODES 17-20 WEECAP
Even though it was San-hyuk that was left sitting in the middle of a raging forest fire, it’s Young-jae that winds up passed out in the hospital. But don’t worry, she’s fine. So is San-hyuk. And so is the forest, apparently. Rather than that fire being the climax I expected it to be, instead it serves to confirm the fact that San-hyuk was the one responsible for the devastating fire that struck the forest when he was a kiddie (after which he and his grandma fled to Seoul).
Speaking of the forest, there’s not a whole lot of forward movement this week. Young-jae manages to collect some of the mountain water and send it in for testing, but the results come back normal (though we’re led to believe this is suspect). Bo-mi, in addition to being pursued by Choi Chang (I don’t know what he sees in her), finds an odd machine-bored hole when she’s bickering with Young-jae in the forest. There are no answers around what that could be yet, nor around the explosion/mystery men that started the fire last week.
Since we’re not really focusing on the actual forest, and the village’s history/mystery still feels mostly tangential, what do we focus on instead? Resonance. Young-jae finds some tuning forks at the hospital, brings them home, and creates a full-blown come-on to San-hyuk using them as a metaphor.
The two share a super straight-forward yet bizarre conversation about sound waves, resonance, and matching each other’s vibrations. San-hyuk (after calling himself a/the devil?) says he has matched her “resonance” all along which is pretty much like him admitting he’s in love with her. I wanted to get behind this scene, and its metaphor, but it was just a little too strange and out of the blue. The conclusion is that the two need to part ways, and that though they’ve just acknowledged their attraction/love, San-hyuk’s got more important things to do, like business.
That business takes him to the Philippines where he’s to carry out his plan to oust Taesong, gain control of the area, and move the rescue unit out of Miryeong once and for all. However, as usual that proves harder than he expects, and as always there’s an unexplained resistance to discussing the unit, and an even greater one to moving it. Rather than building a sense of interest and mystery, this is just getting tiring at this point.
Also in the Philippines at a conference, Young-jae seeks the counsel of some “great” psychiatrists, like her old boyfriend who’s actually a renowned PTSD expert (*insert goat baaing*). They discuss her patient from the rescue team (the guy who exercises to deal with his trauma), but we (and she) know she’s really thinking about San-hyuk and his trauma.
However, all this out-of-forest business is really just a mechanism to get San-hyuk and Young-jae into some sticky situations, and create excuses for them to bond, bicker, make meaningful wish lanterns, and sleep in/on the same bed for 15 hours.
I wish I knew what made San-hyuk change his mind, but by the time the two are back in Miryeong, he’s done a 180. Sure, three days ago he said business and success were his only goals, but now? He wants Young-jae to be his goal. He asks her to stay by his side. I think they’re officially a couple now.
This drama is supremely unsatisfying in many ways, but I have to admire its ability to drop plot lines and then pick them up again, weaving them into the story in a way that’s not only implausible, but makes you forget why it matters in the first place. Right now I mostly feel insulted on behalf of the body-building rescue work whose entire character exists solely for San-hyuk’s own plot line — I couldn’t help but chuckle to think of Eun Dan-ho in Extraordinary You.
Anyway, now that our couple is together, maybe we’ll get a little more forest mystery, and a little less plot randomness. I think I could stand to see San-hyuk and Young-jae on the same team, flipping tables to get to the bottom of whatever strange things are going on in the forest. Just no more tunings forks and wish trees, please.