Graceful Friends: Episode 15 Open Thread
While a near-tragedy works to bring some of our characters together, and rebuild burnt bridges, it also brings about an important confession. But, no matter how close we get to the bottom of the mystery and murder that opened our drama, the more complicated the scenario gets. Who played a part, and what was their motive? There’s no simple answer — at least not yet.
EPISODE 15 WEECAP
With only one episode this week due to other programming, this week’s single episode feels like a bridge to help us get to our upcoming finale week. A bit slow at first, and heavy on repeating scenes from last week, we are reminded all too clearly of how shook everyone is from Yu-bin’s accident. Goong-chul and Jung-hae keep an around-the-clock vigil at their son’s hospital bed, and they’re both shaken in very different ways.
The suddenness of the accident, and Yu-bin thrust into the spotlight, felt a little contrived to me at first. It was clear he was going to play a role, but I don’t think this was the one that I expected. Even so, Graceful Friends is quite purposeful with this plot arc, so what started out as feeling a little out of left field actually caused some believable changes for our characters.
For Jung-hae, she finds herself seeking comfort from Hae-sook. Crazy? Only at first glance. Then it made so much sense that she needed comfort from another woman, and from someone who knew her so well and deeply (before their rift). That Yu-bin’s accident and coma helped these women make peace with each other I found to be a really nice touch. I also liked that we finally took a closer look at Jung-hae as a mother. As painful as it is to see her regretting how preoccupied she was, and how little attention she paid her son, I liked her realization around this; it felt necessary.
Hae-sook (shocker!) comforts Jung-hae and even turns up at the hospital while everyone is visiting. Something has shifted with her character, though I can’t put my finger on exactly when it happened. Maybe after her heart-to-heart with Kyung-ja? After the open conversation with Jung-hae last week? Either way, Hae-sook now has some distance from her past and has made peace enough to say goodbye to everyone — especially Goong-chul. Their farewell in the hospital lobby is actually quite touching, mostly because it’s so one-sided: Hae-sook is saying goodbye to him forever, while Goong-chul thinks it’s just for a few days.
Goong-chul has a new-found clarity, too, after his son’s accident, and as much as I don’t want the story to rely on the accident to push things forward, it really works when you think about it: there’s nothing like an innocent child’s life on the line to put all the nonsense of life into perspective.
Interestingly, Jae-hoon is also included in this strong reaction to Yu-bin’s accident. In fact, he’s so shaken by the entire event, and his friend’s breakdown, that he turns himself in for the murder of Kang-san. We relive all these scenes this week, but also dig further into the investigation and our struggling police team. Will they actually be able to solve this case?
Something I love about Graceful Friends is that nothing is ever quite what it seems. After being tricked so many times by this show early on (in the best sense), I find myself suspicious of everything we see or are told. Is the hit and run really just a random crime? Is Jae-hoon really and truly turning himself in? Is the mayhem nearing a close?
The Jae-hoon we see this week definitely looks earnest — earnest in his misery and anxious to put an end to the nightmare. But is it that easy? The police team needs evidence beyond his confession, and he tells them about the duffel bag with the trophy, cellphones, Jung-hae’s red heels, etc. They quickly search the secret room and crack open the secret compartment… but there’s nothing inside. What!
Another rug is pulled out from under us (and Jae-hoon, somewhat ironically, since he can’t even get detained from the crime he’s desperate to admit to). The next leg of the search is for who emptied the secret compartment and why — and the two suspects are Goong-chul and Hae-sook.
Goong-chul is so consumed with his son’s situation, and so totally done with Jae-hoon, that his alibi seems to crosscheck. So, the attention turns to Hae-sook, who might just be the linchpin of this entire thing. Why would she remove the evidence of Jae-hoon’s guilt? How would she benefit from it?
Jae-hoon’s ex-wife Mo-ran is also highly suspicious (and has been from the start), but I can’t put my finger on the part she’s really playing yet. She picks up Jae-hoon from the police station and asks him if he had fun playing the murderer… and I don’t know what to think.
I was convinced the murderer is Jae-hoon, but this drama’s slick moves have taught me not to believe everything I see. Who’s bluffing? Who is hiding secrets? What is preventing the murder from being brought to light once and for all? I’m not sure I know any of these answers yet, but next week’s final episodes will surely be full of answers (and I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t a gasp or two waiting for us as well). Also, how can we make sure Ae-ra and Ji-wook get to live happily ever after?