A Piece of Your Mind: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread (Final)
It’s the finale week of A Piece of Your Mind, and I don’t know if I’m crying so hard because it’s over, or because the concluding episodes were just so touching and beautiful. Our conclusion is all about closure, and though each character is on a different path to get there, they all arrive right where they need to be by the end of our tale.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
It took me hours to get through our finale episodes this week. They’re almost too beautiful to watch, and I wasn’t ready for the story to be over. But now that it is, I’m happy to have a place to talk about how A Piece of Your Mind has managed to bring this story together with just the right amount of conflict, drama, subtlety, metaphor, and magic.
Last week the long-coming confrontation between Ha Won and In-wook was stopped by Soon-ho, who asked him for a little more time before the rupture that’s destined to come. When that confrontation does happen, though, it’s in a way that only A Piece of Your Mind could dream up, bringing all the fragments, pieces, and halves of our story together.
In a rather bold move, Won rents out the whole of the auditorium for In-wook’s inaugural recital and turns it into an interrogation of sorts. It’s so fitting that Seo-woo and Soon-ho are both in the sound booth, not only hearing everything, but struggling with their own emotions and the sides they’ve taken. It’s an intense scene between Ha Won and In-wook, who have been vying with each other’s presence for years in such different ways.
Things don’t come to a head until the second confrontation, though, and this time Won really gets riled up. It’s ugly, but it kind of needs to be, and so many years of anguish are packed into this scene. Won is heartbroken over the cause of his mother’s death, but also angry that In-wook suggested to Seo-woo that no one can come between Ha Won and Ji-soo. And that is actually In-wook’s main source of heartbreak — first, the guilt over what he said to Won’s mother, but mostly the feeling that Ji-soo always had Won in her heart instead of him.
There’s so much heartache from all of our characters throughout this story, but it somehow transcends all that sadness and is about each of them finding closure. And each character’s path to that closure is as unique as they are.
Ha Won received the love he needed so desperately from Seo-woo, and he was able to say goodbye to both his mother and Ji-soo. In the end, the greatest thing he did for Ji-soo was letting her go — and a big part of that meant revealing Ji-soo’s heart to her husband.
Though the Won/In-wook confrontation is intense and upsetting, it’s also healing. Won leaves a letter for In-wook to read, and it turns out to be the last of many letters Ji-soo wrote. She says that she wants to comfort her husband — and it’s exactly what In-wook needed for his healing to take place. His wife loved and cherished him. She forgave him for what he did in the past and was determined to support him. That letter seemed like a gift from Won to In-wook, and even in the face of their antagonism, I love that they were crucial players in each other’s healing process. It’s a rough road, but as Ha Won says to Seo-woo, “It’s good for everyone.”
This drama is beautiful because it makes you root for these characters to become their fullest and most understanding, while acknowledging and experiencing their hurt at the same time. For example, I was just aching throughout the whole drama for In-wook to interact with the AI Ji-soo. So while we understand Seo-woo’s anger towards In-wook, and her reluctance to give him the closure that will come from talking to AI Ji-soo, at the same time we want her to overcome it.
When she finally does, it’s because AI Ji-soo asked her to, not because In-wook did, which was an interesting move, and pulls us back to the bond the two shared early on. It all comes together when Seo-woo turns on the Ji-soo device, and In-wook plays the piano for her and says what he needs to say to her. So moving! And how cool that a drama can take a story around a high-concept artificial intelligence device and yet turn it into the most human story ever.
What is it that makes this drama so beautiful? I know I love the story, the characters, the setting, and the theme, but there’s something going on underneath that takes a simple tale and turns it powerful. A Piece of Your Mind is rich in subtext and metaphor, but I think what really made it magic for me was the portrayal of people.
A great example of this was with Soon-ho’s arc, and how she redeemed herself from her selfish move last week, and dealt with her complicated emotions. In the end, she was able to hold onto her relationships with both In-wook and Won, and to me, it’s because of the quality and character everyone showed. It’s how Won was able to understand and forgive Soon-ho as his “precious family,” even after that deep wound; it’s the difference between reacting out of love versus anger.
There’s a generosity of human spirit in this drama that just captures my heart — I’m not sure if that’s the exact way to describe it, but that’s the closest I can get. The drama was able to portray something so precious and relatable in each character and how they interact with others. It’s meaningful and deep, but it’s never heavy-handed.
The most interesting part of this conclusion, I think, was where the story went for Seo-woo — and that means her breakdown, of sorts. It’s as if all of the highs and lows she’s been through over the course of the drama drained her dry. AI Ji-soo’s request to get rid of her, since she shouldn’t exist, puts Seo-woo over the edge, and she’s caught in a bout of depression.
Seo-woo knows exactly what to do and say to comfort others, and does it so warmly for Won again and again, but it turns out what Seo-woo needs for herself is time. This is not your typical “Two Years Later” light switch where everything is suddenly fine. Instead, A Piece of Your Mind guides us through the brief time that Ha Won and Seo-woo are apart.
What Seo-woo needs is some space to process everything that’s happened, she needs to sort her emotions, and she needs to make peace with Ji-soo and find a way to keep her in her heart without any negative emotions.
There’s another beautiful scene (why is every scene between people so beautiful in this drama? I can’t find a better word) between Seo-woo and the ever-wonderful Eun-joo. Eun-joo urges Seo-woo not to think that she’s alone, and to know that she’s precious to herself and to many others. This conversation brings her (and me!) to “tears of joy.” It’s only when she’s able to value herself that she can return to Ha Won.
Agh, I will miss these beautiful humans, because they (and their stories) have become precious to me too. Whether it’s those understanding embraces between Won and Seo-woo, or that corner of the kitchen floor at the homestay where everyone gathers to talk, or all the moments we’ve spent with these characters — this drama’s warmth will stay with me for a long time.
And when we look back on A Piece of Your Mind, may we see Eun-joo at the top of the hill reminding us to come back for a visit, and cheering us on to have courage as we move through life. Because that’s what was at the core of this drama, I think — stories about the courage to keep going, the courage to understand and forgive others, and the courage to love.
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