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My Liberation Notes: Episodes 11-12

This week we get a fair share of upheaval, especially on the relationship front. There are new beginnings, endings, and hard decisions. And each of our siblings finds themselves in unexpected situations. One gets a welcome surprise, one finds peace, and one gets heartbreaking news.

 
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP

We backtrack to before Gu’s return. Chang-hee is having a ball driving Gu’s swanky car around, loving the attention from his neighbors, colleagues, and even strangers. He doesn’t pretend it’s his, though, and admits it’s a loan. Even so, just being able to drive the car has made Chang-hee feel “gentler” and more at ease; he’s no longer putting on a front and feeling so insecure.

Although it does cause friction with his father who learns that the car is Gu’s. He orders Chang-hee to stop driving someone else’s car, which leads to another dinner fight. Je-ho’s own history with going into debt after helping a friend seems to have deeply affected his relationship with money.

But Chang-hee isn’t the only one who’s happened into wealth – Hyun-ah seems to have found herself with a load of money. She drags Chang-hee to a club, ordering expensive alcohol and showing him her new account balance. It’s all quite suspicious, especially because we see a woman chase her and accuse her of stealing the money.

It turns out that Hyun-ah’s ex is terminally ill, so she’s been going to see him in the hospital. He gave her all his money, afraid she’d leave and he’d die with only his money-crazed mother by his side. Hyun-ah calls his mother out for caring more about her son’s money than him and assures her that she’ll give her the money. But Hyun-ah is determined to make sure her ex doesn’t die alone and won’t be chased off.

Hyun-ah is kind of awesome. She’s gutsy and doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she’s also loyal and kind. I can see why both Mi-jung and Chang-hee are so close to her. In fact, she and Chang-hee seem especially close. Even her ex asks to meet Chang-hee since Hyun-ah talks about him so much.

Meanwhile, Mi-jung struggles at work as her awful boss steps up his terribleness. He’s horrible in general, but he does seem to have it out for her specifically. In a particularly upsetting moment, he mocks her unfashionable pants in front of the whole office.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s trying to hold her back because she’s seemingly a better designer than he is. He’s always ripping apart her designs, but his edits aren’t exactly inspired. Mi-jung’s sweet fellow temp coworker praises Mi-jung’s work and encourages her to apply for the company’s design award, which would help her secure employee status.

Things are going much better for Mi-jung on the personal front, however, as she and Gu grow closer. He’s gotten a lot more comfortable with her, playful even. It’s nice to see him letting down his guard.

One night, they take a walk under the moonlit sky and take in the view. Gu puts his arm around Mi-jung when she shivers. Then, they kiss for the first time. I’ve really enjoyed their slow, measured progress – it makes each step closer feel even more meaningful.

Alas, Gu’s peaceful Sanpo existence is threatened again when he spots a couple of men putting a tracker on Je-ho’s truck. They turn out to be Chairman Shin’s men. Chairman Shin is willing to overlook Gu’s embezzlement because he respects his strength. He asks Gu to take over Boss Baek’s role, but Gu says he needs more time.

Gu is even more unsettled when he finds his work hyung chatting with Je-ho and Hye-sook at their house. He outs Gu as successful and rich, and although no one says anything about it, the atmosphere is tense.

Gu’s hyung is upset that he’s “living a lie” and leaving his subordinates to fend for themselves. He noticed the family photo in the house, and assumes Gu is seeing one of the sisters. Gu doesn’t outright respond, but his expression gives him away.

Meanwhile, Ki-jung continues her dramatic crush saga. She brings colleague Director Kim into her relationship sharing, telling her and Jin-woo about her anxiety over waiting for Tae-hoon to text. They both encourage her to play hard to get when Tae-hoon asks her to dinner, but Ki-jung is way too guileless for that. Why should you cause the person you like anxiety by playing games?

She ends up going to dinner with Tae-hoon and is floored when he does an about-face and tells Ki-jung he’ll be her “anyone” to love this year. Sun-kyung catches them eating together and to say she’s not pleased would be an understatement. She seriously needs to cool it a bit. I get why she’s worried about the relationship, but the man is grown and gets to live his own life.

Surprisingly, Tae-hoon’s daughter Yu-rim is much more understanding. When Tae-hoon admits he likes Ki-jung because she helps him relax and have fun, Yu-rim says she’s glad. Now that they’re officially dating, Ki-jung asks Tae-hoon outright how to date a parent. He warns her that he’ll frequently be busy and won’t be able to spend time with her on holidays, but Ki-jung emphatically says that’s all okay.

In Liberation Club news, they get a new member! The club lady liked it so much when she visited that she decided to join, and it’s so cute. She admits she wants to be liberated from always smiling, something she can’t help doing around others. She’s nervous to be so vulnerable, but she likes their tenants of no pretending to be happy or sad and being honest with yourself.

It gets Mi-jung thinking, and she muses to Gu that society only works because people pretend. And the same is true of happiness – only those who can accept the lies and put aside doubts can be happy. Mi-jung notes she can’t do that.

Meanwhile, Chang-hee’s car fun comes to a screeching halt when he finds a dent in the bumper. He can’t find who did it and is forced to come clean to Gu. He takes one look at the bumper and chases Chang-hee all the way to the station and onto a train headed into Seoul.

Gu thinks of Mi-jung telling him he’s transparent while others have told him he’s hard to understand. He ends up meeting with his work hyung and shares an interesting tidbit: one of Boss Baek’s underlings deals drugs. Soon after, the club is raided, and Boss Baek goes on the run.

Unable to put it off anymore, Gu tells Mi-jung that he’s returning to Seoul. She barely says anything but cries when she’s alone. That night, she visits Gu and says she’ll call him sometimes and suggests they meet up once every month or two.

Gu wants a clean break and to keep his two worlds separate. He encourages Mi-jung to curse him, to let out her anger, but she says she’s not angry. She’s just sad. But she won’t hold onto him. Now he’s on the verge of tears. Gu hopes she’ll move to Seoul and live an ordinary life with ordinary desires. Mi-jung insists she’s fine with her life and says she’ll call, even if he’s grumpy about it.

Gu gives his notice – Je-ho says he’s always welcome back – and leaves just like that. Poor Mi-jung is devastated, especially when she tries to call and finds he changed his number. Rather than her usual hope that her exes suffer, Mi-jung wishes Gu the best.

In Seoul, Gu attends Boss Baek’s funeral (he died while fleeing the cops) and laughs in an unhinged way as he sits with his new subordinates. We then skip ahead, this time with Mi-jung looking all suave. We then end with a shorter-haired, more stylish Mi-jung walking down the streets of Seoul.

More time has passed than I realized. The calendar in Je-ho’s workshop said 2019, so I guess the Seoul scenes of Gu and Mi-jung are a few years later. While I’m sad they had to part, I am looking forward to seeing Gu 2.0 and Mi-jung 2.0 and what will happen when they inevitably meet again.

 
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Those episodes were like roller coaster ride.

Gi-Jeong : She's so different when she's with Tae-Hun or her boss than when she's with her family. She's sweet and comprehensive with them. But kinda cynical with her family, overall Mi-Jeong. I didn't like a comments about Mr Gu's money and how Mi-Jeong was lucky. Her boss is a great character, I would never thought.

Chang-Hee : I understand the feeling to want to drive a car like this at least once but every day in Seoul? I would never took the risk, it's too expensive. So I wasn't surprised by the bump... I understand the reaction of his father and the events showed he wasn't so wrong, Chang-Hee doesn't have the money to change the part and he already lost money before... The foot chase was hilarious with Lee Min-Ki's little screams.

Hyeon-A : her story is pretty Kdrama-esque but I like her character. I wonder if she had feelings for Chang-Hee, because they spend a lot of time together. It was nice that even completely drunk, he remembered and texted her to ask if she was alive and not killed by the angry mother.

Mi-Jeong : When we finally got the kiss, they separated them >_< It hurt her more than she showed. She has all these thoughts but when she's at work, she can express herself. I really want to see her fight back a little bit.

Mr Gu : It was frustrating that the person who hurt him the most was the one who should be his friend... His enemy, his ex-boss let him alone. But his friend invaded his personal space by visiting Yeom's home. He made emotional blackmail like without him, they're nobody.

The separation and time jump have intervened pretty soon, so they have several episodes to make a great end! (A happy one if possible)

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The scene where the wild dogs were caught and caged as Mr Gu drove himself back to his imprisonment was a meaningful juxtaposition. The wild dogs have been a representation of Mr Gu himself, he fled his previous life and found solace in Sanpo like the strays in the open area. The separation, even though predicted, was still heart wrenching to witness. From someone who was always suppressing her feelings and afraid to speak up, MJ has just started to find her voice and learned to express her emotions. I feel both sad and glad to see the way MJ accepted Mr Gu's decision and compromised. Surely she doesn't just want a meeting once a month or two, a phone call every so often but she was afraid of asking for too much, in this regard she's still her reserved self. It was her way of saying "I won't be a nuisance or cling onto you, let's keep seeing." I'm really hoping, cheering for MJ to get everything she deserves and much more. I'm glad that MJ's grown enough to accept the decision without resentment and she was able to express how she felt with honesty. She even wished him well, something she wasn't able to do with her exes. The break up was inevitable, Mr Gu can't escape from his hell forever, sooner or later it'll catch up to him. During the hike at the beginning of episode 11, MJ and Mr Gu walked on their journey together separately and shared an embrace at the top of the hill, their final destination. Similarly, I think it's time for them to face their own battles and grow separately before they can meet and be together again.

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Lovely post! <3
The scene with the wild dogs really broke my heart :(

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I love your analogy of the wild dogs and Mr. Gu.

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Sigh... I'm judging the production team because we really deserved to see that kiss 🙄. The funniest moment in these episodes had to be Gu chasing Chang-hee 😂

I don't think I expected Chang-hee to lie but for some reason I was really happy that he did not claim to be the owner of the car when he was driving it around. The car was a good escape for him but it's now time for him to go and face his day to day problems. I hope him and Hyun-Ah find each other, she's such a sweet soul 🥺.

I liked and agree with Ki-jeong's take on not making people wait when you like them. There's absolutely no need for all those games. I'm still not sure what to make of her relationship with Tae-hun but at least his daughter seems to be happy that her father has found some form of happiness. Tae-hun's sisters need to get out of that unhealthy head space in which they are cuz it's really bad how dependent they seem to be on their current family dynamic.
I'll wait to see if Ki-jeong's boss decides to make a move now that he has ended his umpteenth office romance, although I think it might do him some good to remain single.

Mi-jeong boss irks me to no end! She really need to put him back in his place and I secretly wish one of Gu's guys or Gu himself could shake him up a bit. I would have preferred if there wasn't one but Is it really dramaland if there's no break-up? Let us wait and see what the futur holds for them

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These were bittersweet episodes, but the standout moments for me were the kiss (much more natural than most kdrama kisses and I loved that both went in at exactly the same moment with the same intensity so it was completely and obviously mutual) and Tae-hoon telling his sister to leave the restaurant. So satisfying.

I also really liked the way Chang-hee's relationship with Gu's car (because it plays like a relationship) developed his character. For so many years he has desperately wanted a car (like his sister has desperately wanted to be loved by a man she also loves) and when his dream was finally realized he experienced intense joy, then a calm kind of acceptance and peace, and then the drama of a literal dent that ends his perfect reverie. I still don't love this character despite the actor's great work here, but I enjoyed this mini-arc for him. He seemed much more human and sympathetic.

I liked the way Gu's departure was handled. It was sad but inevitable, and it didn't leave either character completely gutted. (I still remember how visceral was Oh Hae Young's heartbreak in the middle of that drama and I didn't want to see anything like that again.) It's just a profound loss for both of them, and one I do think will eventually lead to a reunion. I hope so anyway, because they are clearly in love and good for each other, even with all their quirks and struggles.

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Love the screencap used at the top (even though the exact moment wasn’t called out in the weecap):
When Mr. Gu hesitates once… twice… then finally says “I worship you”, and Mijeong smiles. It is the equivalent of those sweeping grand “I love you’s” that occur in other dramas, but here it is said simply, while watching the sunset, with no fanfare… and yet he has confirmed finally with his words that he is head over heels for Mijeong. Even in the bts, I saw that Son SeokGu said that one line and moment was the reason he chose the drama (thank goodness for that), and how he had been so excited to say it!

It’s amazing how this writer uses so much silence, and our beloved actor and actress are able to convey so much with facial expressions, actions, and just a few words. It is the prime example of show, don’t tell. But even those moments shown aren’t “showy”, grand, or over the top. Just two simple people enjoying each other and falling deeper for each other. Here’s to more beautiful moments even though I am expecting some hurt in next weeks episode as Mr. Gu tries to find his way back to liberation.

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I almost go crazy for not being able to stop fake-smiling. Being liberated from that was awesome.

Welcome to the club, eonnie.

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My senior got so angry with me because I couldn't stop smiling to almost laughing when I got lectured from my mistakes. I smile because I just laugh at my self for the stupidity I had done.
Now mask saves me from this kind of situations. 😅

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For me it was more of a survival thing, and then it became automatic. But I was able to get rid of it two years ago. Now I'm so transparent that sometimes I kill the mood for my coworkers.
Now I need to be liberated from my bad mood. LOL

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Smiling for me like "Fake it until you make it" thing. And laugh is because I miss laughing not because something is funny.

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Gu’s backstory is confusing. Based on his name and that long jump, it seems likely that he was a national athlete but then how did he start working in host bars? This is the kind of show where we probably won’t ever find out. Possible athlete. Host bars. Dead girlfriend. Embezzlement. Drug-dealing rival who tried to kill him. It’s all a bit much.

I liked Gi-jung’s reaction to Tae-hoon’s confession. Lee El is so good, the standout for me in this drama. I wish the “Just catch your breath” scene had come earlier in the series though. I liked Tae-hoon's explanation to his daughter for why he likes Gi-jung, but I don’t really get how he arrived at it from their previous interactions. She always seemed high strung and nervous rather than calming to me. If the relationship progresses, I do hope we get to see her get to know the daughter and not just have it happen over a time jump.

I liked the Liberation Club getting a new member.

Hyun-ah’s dying ex and his psycho money-grubbing mother plotline kind of came out of nowhere. I don’t think it added anything or was needed to get Hyun-ah and Chang-hee together.

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At this point I don't have anything to say about this drama any more. I'm just going to enjoy the ride. I don't expect Mijeong ends up with Mr.Gu or not, or Ki Jeong ends up with Tae-hoon or her boss, or Chan-hee ends up with Hyun-ah. The more important to me, anything can happen but at the end every character grow and learn something. Like finding meaning in little things happen in life.
Don't we love all the juxtaposition happening in this drama: Mr. Gu laughing in funeral and the club lady can't stop smiling even in funeral. Mr. Gu and the stays dogs or the scenes filled with silence no bgm and scenes with bgm that suited them. Love you writer nim and PD nim!
The funniest to from these eps are not when Mr. Gu chases Chang-hee but when Mr. Gu asks Mi-jeong to give him proper name so she won't eat him. 😂 How far he has changed being whipped hmm worshipped ha ha

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I don't know why but I never expected them to kiss. When they did I was like "oh, yeah, couples do that". I don't know, but it was kinda weird for me because their relationship it's different from other couples.
I totally forgot about the kiss until I saw the comments here. But him asking for a name was unforgettable.

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I don't mind if they don't kiss or have no sexual tension or else and just remind best friend without romance. Their relationship is deeper than that.

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I had the same feeling (or even stronger feeling) with 25-21 too, but they took the typical romantic route.
Here I wasn't that surprise about the romance (it was obvious) but I didn't love the kiss.

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I hate bringing negativity to kdrama threads. People enjoy the show so why spoil the fun? I also like this show, I watch the moments the subs are out and participate in every thread. However, tbh, I am starting to question my sanity because everyone seems to enjoy and relate to it so much more than I do.

My problem boils down to Mi Jeong and Gi Jeong.

Mi Jeong most likely suffers from low empathy. It was extremely off putting that she did not help her friend who might have been getting beaten for all she knew. I also didn't like the slight arrogance in her monologue about other kids wishing to "find friends" or "get in good school" while all she wanted was to 🌟🌟know why she existed 🌟🌟 (her conclusion being that she doesn't want to be like the those people). The whole monologue was something my angsty 13 year old self would have written at 3 am. In reality, the other kids probably wondered about the meaning of life as well, but they also had the capability to want something more from life. All this would have been fine if the show actually recognized those traits as negative but no, Mi Jeong starts having a monologue about herself while her friend might or might not be getting killed by her boyfriend and all Mi Jeong's inability to relate to others, gets written off as her being different because she lives in a countryside.

Gi Jeong meanwhile is immature and not someone I would trust with an extremely sensitive 12 year old kid for an extended period of time. She changes her opinion on single dads in a span of the week because she wants to fall in love and the guy is hot and her idea of accepting a rejection is by getting her brother and friend put a show. It's difficult to be on board with her story when I can't fully support the loveline. The loveline is also her whole story.

Chang Hee meanwhile was the poster boy of the show and imao, even though he has less screentime than Mi Jeong, his story is the one of real liberation. The guy is pathetic, somewhat insensitive, but his raw honesty and desire to grow makes his story arc the most significant. It also helps that compared to his siblings his liberation doesn't depend on anyone dating or worshiping him.

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You are not insane. MJ is apathetic and I think the show does a good job showing it. I also think she is an introvert as well. So general apathy mixed with introversion causes her to seem callus or angsty. However, she feels things and understands she is strange. She has just accepted it, that is why she like Gu so much because he did too.

As for KJ, she is immature, but mostly because it doesn't seem she has had to grow up, and has been spoiled. Her parents generally let her do what she wants, she is always the only one laying about while her siblings and parents work. I support her loveline because it humbled her, she showed maturity in apologizing and her boss acted as a pseudo-therapist. She is growing, but growth comes with growing pains and she is now experiencing it as an adult. That is my take on it at least, lol.

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There are episodes when the show seems to know what is going on and others when it is fully oblivious to the characters issues. In every other context, I would have hated Mr. Gu for saying what he said to Mi Jeong prior to break up, but here I actually agreed with him. He is basically asking Mi Jeong to be more grounded to what she responds with by saying that she wants to hold him as a baby (another religion, on your nose allegory that just sounds weird in a normal conversation).

About Ki Jeong, I actually agree with you at many points. That is actually another thing that weirds me out about her relationship with the tall guy. Ki Jeong is absolutely different when it comes to her family members. The guy basically doesn't know her - with her family she is lazy, loud, selfish, unapologetic and stubborn. She isn't inherently a worse person (even though I made her sound like one) but she is definitely not the sweetheart, doe eyed girl that she is with the single dad.

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You are right, MJ needed to be grounded, but I think she found in Gu what she hadn't found in the other men she dated. He just liked her and didn't try to get anything from her. With him she was flying (to use your grounded analogy), she didn't want to be grounded. That is why she was sad and why I was sad too. It doesn't last, but you want it to last as long as possible. However, you are correct, Gu was right, maybe in the time jump she learns that.

I agree about KJ, she is definitely not that doe eyed girl. I think he has a weird affect on her. I think that is why they match. She decided to like him, baggage and all and doesn't deviate. That is where her stubborness helps the relationship. When she likes something or someone, she goes all in, that is why she gets along with her boss. On the other hand the tall guy likes that she focuses on him, but also lets him just be. I think for him that is freedom. They both alleviate each others loneliness. Now will that help them in the long term, who knows, but it works for now.

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😅 No need to question your sanity. Your problem with both sisters is valid and completely understandable. I can relate

I still have a problem understanding Ki-jeong's "childishness" or "outburst of emotions". I still don't understand the 360° turn she did regarding single fathers which is why I'm still skeptical about that relationship. It however looks like she's learning from her mistakes which is a good sign of growth.

I had commented on that week's recap and I'm still appalled by Mi-jeong's attitude. Nothing justifies walking away when your friend is possibly getting beat up to death. Ugh

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I agree with you about both Mi-jung and Gi-jung. I like the drama too but have so many issues with it that others don't seem to have. It's made me feel a little crazy at times, so I generally don't comment in the threads.

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I look for your comments to validate my opinions 🤭 but yeah i don't feel like commenting much too now.

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Are these really issues when it comes to this show? We are talking of very flawed characters. They are "ugly" people in so many ways. Like every other people in this world. The shows has no problem showing it. Mi Jeong at times seems almost on the spectrum. She is weird, has difficulty to understand other people, she often feels out of place. But that's what makes her character interesting and real. All the siblings have reached a point in their lives where their world is shaking (thanx to Mr Gu?)... what will come out of it we don't know. Maybe they will gain a better understanding of themselves... maybe they will fail. It's the struggle that makes everything so interesting. They are so very human.
Obviously each of us feels closer to one of them bacause of our different experiences... I feel very close to Mi Jeong, being an introvert. And I often feel like I would punch the other two. Still I find totally fascinating each one of them. I'm here for the ride and to cheer for them to become better human beings... or simply to find their own happiness.

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This drama lays bare the flaws of each character. Our responses to each of them will vary from one another, depending on our own personality and experience.

The drama is treating these characters very even-handedly without showing any judgement. As such, we are free to react, favour or dislike any of these characters. This, to me, is an extra enjoyment in watching MLN. You don’t need to love or hate anyone here, unlike the spoon feeding or vibe channeling in other dramas.

A human piece as best as it could be.

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Well said <3 Totally agree!

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Regarding the scene where MJ walked away after witnessing Hyuna's altercation with her bf. To me it didn't seem like it was a first occurrence (nor will it be the last) with Hyuna's terrible taste in men. Does that make it right or okay? No, but past experiences and expectations influence our perceptions thus I think MJ's reaction was shaped by past encounters. That said, if Hyuna she was screaming for help and MJ still walked away, however, that would be a very different situation.

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I'm going to defend my kids 😂

1. In MJ's defense, probably when she was thinking the kids were weird, those kids were thinking she was weird too. I don't think she was being more arrogant than other people.

About her empathy, I think that's the whole point of the liberation and worshipping. She's trying to feel and be better. And she has changed, the way she handled dude Gu's departure is a proof of that.

About what happened with HA, I have no idea. Maybe she was indeed bad or like someone said she knew the dinamic, who knows.

2. I don't want Ki Jeong to change, tbh. I guess I'm the insane one because I really like that she's a little childish and weird. Her thing about talking crap about other people or things she doesn't know is gone, so I'm really happy with her character rn. She has grown a lot, even if people don't notice it.

And no about her changing her vision about single parents just because TH's hot. It definitely wasn't like that, c'mon. She has never been that shallow.

3. Chang Hee isn't pathetic (and I think he's probably the more sensitive out of the siblings, imo), why people always call him that. He's a nice guy. He just needs some development, just like everyone else in the show (and everyone in real life).

Ps. People worship CH a lot, even if they don't name it (dude Gu, Hyun Ah, coworkers, etc). So I think the point of the show is about people helping each other to grow.

Btw, I'm not saying you're insane or wrong. We all have different perspectives of people and life.

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You are not alone. I especially agree with you on how both Gi Jung and Mi jung have till now needed love/relationships to be liberated. But I won't say Change hee is any better , he is also seeking external validation for the same purpose.

I feel GJ's relationship with TH is totally off while MJ's with Gu is the problematic too. MJ herself has been a depressed and socially anxious introvert. It's very easy for people going through these two to become apathetic. I feel she must've known that Hyuna's boyfriend won't hit her but her walking away could've been an act of apathy that has kept growing inside. So yeah all these characters are flawed and I do like them with all their flaws individually but not their stories that revolve around external validation or relationships. I hope now that MJ and Gu are finally apart, we can see her growth on her own.

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but changhee feels like the most sane character out of all now haha...mijeong used to be relatable but i don't know anymore..kijeong is still kijeong but matured ver maybe

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I find them relatable on the highest point. they are not perfect characters, and I feel sometimes we want our characters to be perfect or likable. I feel this drama is telling a real story, like how people wait for "external validation" just for it not to really work aka MJ with GU and Chang-Hee with the car etc.

Though I must say, as human, we kinda need this external validation, we can grow on our own but there is a limit to that, just like there is a limite to growth thanks to other people. It should all be about balance.

I'm not disappointed in MJ and KJ to want love. I feel like that is a very valid desire to have, what you make of it is important. Love does liberation and it can give you power and confidence to say "I'm loved, I'm lovable" whether its from a friend, a parent, a lover or even God (if you're a believer). Other's love and Self love are both important, valuable and precious, though I don't really know which one comes first in temporality : because you were loved, you can love yourself and because you love yourself, you can give love.

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Exactly.

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They played us with that wide shot and far kiss, meh. When Gu left Mi Jeong, and he asked her to get mad, I was like how could she, of course she was sad. I was sad too. Then he just cut off contact 😭.It is interesting because we now know all that took place in 2019.

To say I laughed when Gu chased CH all over that town, but the real kicker was the friend on the scooter giving them water. LMAO, sir, why?

I appreciate the little love story between KJ and TH too. I like that he liked her because she didn't need him to be fun, she just needed him to be himself. I think it is sweet his daughter approves. His sisters need to set healthy boundaries for themselves though.

As for CH, he needs to be with Hyun-ah. They are well suited to each other.

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Swear God, I thought Doo-hwan would give one of them a ride just for the sake of friendship

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Chang-Hee is his best friend and he's too afraid of Mr Gu... He was so cute at hidding behind the tree when Chang-Hee showed the bump on the car.

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Doo-hwan with the water was so weirdly, hilariously sweet that I had to rewind once or twice just to watch it again while half awwing and half laughing.

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What hurt me more? Mi-jung refusing to get mad or he cutting contact? They hurt each other deeply. This two have a whole lot to brush up whenever they meet. That's if they do not go for each others throat first, symbolically.

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I lol’ed when the friend in the scooter gave them water. It was like he is cheering on them for running a marathon.
Agreed with you that the sisters need to set boundaries and don’t expect Taehoon to be miserable with them. But I think only the younger sister needs to do that while the older one is much better and respectful to Taehoon’s dating life.

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Boundaries with TH, but also boundaries between them and their niece. You can't live for someone else, that is unhealthy.

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When Chang-Hee's attempt at scoring a possible Gf failed hilariously despite her 'eating all that fruit instead of squid'... xD i thought, how miserable and sad can his life get?
Then again, I felt, okay that leaves a possibility for a shot with Hyun-Ah. I love me some 'neighborhood-friends decided to give it a try' kind of a plot. But then again, I was so pissed at her for selfishly dragging Chang-Hee to the crowded nightclub and pressuring him to down all that expensive alcohol, when she knew he never liked that kind of a setting to begin with. :/

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I again have not finished this week's episode. But I'm popping in to say I've finally discovered, 12 eps in, why this show has that extra layer of authenticity, when other show don't.

It's because the main cast is, for one of the very rare occasions in Asian drama-land... actually playing their OWN AGE! All of them. Which lets them inject a level of their own age-bracket related experience onto their characters. And it's an incredibly refreshing thing to watch! Almost magical.

Looks condescendingly at High-School & 'work-place' dramas

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Gut punch episodes.

A well built-up kiss and a breakup.

I really thought we wouldn't have to deal with this. Thier worship of each other had clearly grown beyond worship. They're now fond of each other so I wondered why there was a turnaround for Gu. Clearly he did have to return. How long would he take to make peace with his world? Need I say his other world is anything but sweet. So didn't Sanpo have a littlest effect on him?

Good thing with the show giving its take on the play-hard-to-get thingy. Some valid points taken. Ki-jung is really unabashedly honest. Kindly keep the things in your head in your head, what if you were on the crowded street.

I really wished Gu caught up to Chang-hee, let us see that bad boy vibe. But as the race stretched, it seemed like Gu needed the run itself and Chang-hee just gave him an avenue to run.

And Daddy Yeom is one hell of a father. His principles are his principles, no exception to his understudy. How he took everything about Gu's history in good faith...great human philosophy and ethic.

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I really like Daddy Yeom and it was so obvious he was really sad to see Gu leave

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I don't love the Dad character, but it's clear that he's sees Gu more as his son than he does Chang-hee. That's problematic, of course, but because it's the reality I know that Gu's departure probably broke whatever heart that man has.

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He is definitely not without fault especially his communication or lack there of with his family but I don't think he loves Gu more than Chang-hee 😅.
I do hope we get more insight into him and his wife's characters

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I think Papa Yeom sees himself in Mr. Gu. He is the one with similar character with Mi jeong in that family. That's why both of them drawn to Mr. Gu.
I love to see how Mama Yeom looked so proud when Mr. Gu's friend comments how good looking all her children are. (I will feel the same way too Mama Yeom) Then she starts to gramble none of them married yet. ha ha ha

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Please, she cooked for a random gangster, and fed him with love. I need Mama Yeom in my life too! 😭

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Parental love at times veer towards one side - it's very hard for parents to love thier kids equally. Mama Yeom loves Chang-hee and Ki-jung more than Mi-jung, Daddy Yeom loves Mi-jung more than the rest of the two kids.
The only weird thing is that we expect fathers to be drawn to their sons and sons their fathers but the reverse is the case here. Daddy Yeom is more in sync with Mi-jung than Chang-hee and sorry to say, Chang-hee is a piece of work on his own. He's committed to not considering his father's perspective at all, Ki-jung at least knows when to throw in the towel.

His potential Son-in-law is leaving, man would be hurt. More so, they both understood thier voice of silence. Even his wife knows it'd be hard to find someone like that again, and also revert back into his no-talking hole.

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Daddy Yeom reminds me so much of my very own dad - a man of few words with strong work ethics and sense of responsibility. Not saying much but you just know he cares and takes things in in his own way.

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I think Gu felt he had no choice but to return, and he's right on that front, imo. His time in Sanpo was initially all about being numb and punishing himself, but over time, he fell in love, allowed himself to be happy, and reveled in his surroundings. But the reality of his life in Seoul is that he can't truly escape it. He tried as long as he could--him telling the head guy that he needed more time was a huge ask, imo, and showed how badly he didn't want to leave his life there or Mi-jeong--but they'll never fully leave him alone. These are also dangerous people, and he doesn't want to take any unnecessary risks on that front.

I do believe even if it's not evident in his day-to-day external life, he has changed internally. And eventually, I think he'll find a way to live the life he wants.

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The preview mentioned something about him scared of happiness. But at the same time his tear ducts gathered when Mi-jung said she wouldn't throw a fit about his leaving. She not giving him that benefit really tore him down. But man, you're really bent on moving so why did you want to see her break down about it? He knows they are real whether or not she mops in front of him.
And his comment about her being traditional, worshipping her doesn't mean she is gonna change that facet about her. She might be traditional but she is grounded.

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I think Mr. Gu asking Mi Jeong to get angry at him so he can be lessen of the guilt but Mi Jeong felt sad instead. I think she somehow expects Mr. Gu to leave eventually but didn’t expect it to be so soon. She said she might get angry later. I see that this shows her personal growth

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It wasn't to lessen the guilt. It was a confession of his love and he wanting her to acknowledge it. She just wasn't going to give him that satisfaction. Her refusal sounded like 'deal with it, Gu'. You'll not see me throw a fit for you.

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I agree with what you are saying about Gu and his transformation. But I also will add an opinion you probably will disagree with, and that is, Gu's story arc, and in fact even his character, is the most cliched part of this drama.

The mysterious outsider with a violent past that he's trying to escape comes into an isolated community and transforms their lives, but he is inexorably drawn back. This is a common character in movies of all genres, but its particularly a really familiar character in U.S. westerns.

I know why Gu is a fan favorite--the actor playing him is so charismatic and good looking, but in terms of the drama I find him the least interesting. As other people were saying earlier, if he had a different backstory, then he would have been a more complex character.

Now, there are still several episodes left, so there's still time to make the resolution of his circumstances more original--I'll be interested to see what happens

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Had he remained a star athlete, would he have been less of a cliche. While making him a gangster kingpin is exhilarating - he is a money hotshot, I definitely agree that it also makes him a cliched character. And him going back to his world, being torn with this world or the other seals it completely.
Would it have been nicer if they wrote him Sorcerer Supreme-esque - draw power from his dark side without having to revert there? Would that have made his cliche background less of a cliche. He could have made a conscious choice - leave that life for good and never return.

Now, there are still several episodes left, so there's still time to make the resolution of his circumstances more original--I'll be interested to see what happens
About this, someone talked about it somewhere around this thread. The person said Gu noticed that has past dealings were already making markings on the Yeom family, so it's plausible to infer that he left to assure the safety of the family of the girl he loves and the girl herself. Well is that a nice shot at noble idiocy?

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I like that he just happens to be a man who is athletic and can jump far. That made him seem more real to me as well because that's way more common and likely than a former star athlete turning to organized crime and hiding out in a country town.

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I don't disagree; you're right--his arc is cliched. But really, there are limited narrative arcs and backstories a writer can employ, so to me it's always more about the execution rather than the originality of the idea. And in this case, I like how his arc has been executed.

Part of that is, as you say, due to a charismatic actor bringing him to life, but also comes down to the fact that the direction and writing built the story on subtle moments and silences--that's what I find unique and fascinating.

Because of Gu's heavy drinking, it was clear from the start that he had a troubled past, and I guess I never expected the reasons for that troubled past to be anything special or unique. In fact, because the drama is so interested in exploring the desolation of ordinary life, if his origin story had been more surprising it might have been out of place with the rest of the drama.

So the idea that Gu's a man who had a bad childhood and then stumbled into a shady profession he can't leave behind isn't that surprising, but I was surprised by how emotionally affecting his arc (both with and without Mi-jeon) became. His loneliness and growing appreciation/worship of this quiet, introspective woman really resonates. I feel like I've seen every step in the journey revealed at just the right time, in just the right way. Additionally, he seems plenty complex--or as complex as most of us are--in that he has a range of emotional reactions that he then modulates to protect himself and others.

Finally, I would say that I don't think Gu's backstory is any more (or less) cliched than anything else in the drama. Rather, it fits into the tone--slice-of-life with a touch of magical realism--of the entire show. But again, I do absolutely agree that Gu's past is cliched. I guess that fact just doesn't bother me that much because I'm interested in the story and character that has resulted from that past.

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It's all in the execution. You've nailed it.

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Like I said below maybe the writer choose gangster background for Mr. Gu is to make the contradiction in the drama. Because in general this drama is this extraordinary, non makjang, slice of life, withiout the usual K drama tropes, so throw in the clichés to make the contrast because she likes contradiction.

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I can't help but smell noble-idiocy behind Gu'a decision to breakup with Mi-Jeong.

As for Boss and Gi-Jeong... I love how her quirky but earnest personality shines through, with him around. The moment she stopped treating him like a potential romantic partner, she could be herself 100%, no holds barred. Which is why I think, and also see, she isn't being herself fully, whenever she's around Tae-Hoon. She looks like her jittery self, trying to walk on eggshells, even though she jas opened up to him.
Though Tae-Hoon is a good-egg, and now even his daughter has given him blessings to move ahead... I can't help but thing Gi-Jeong's one careless slip of tongue can freak Tae-Hoon out, though he's too sweet to ever lose his chill.

Boss, on the other hand, has gone from being amused to fascinated, to absolutely riveted and enraptured by Gi-Jeong's crazy, YOLO take on relationships and life. Ugh, tough decision, but I think Boss and Gi-Jeong would make an adorably bickering yet electrifying couple, whereas Tae-Hoon seems a bit safe, and... vanilla . Tough choice indeed.

Future writers, take note. This is how you do Second Male-Leads and Love Triangles! <3

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Your description about boss Jin-woo and Ki-jung is doing one thing - sailing the shop further. And your choice of words isn't helping matters at all, I'm sold on this two already ever they began this pseudo-therapy, and Boss Jin-woo's break up with the office girlfriend. Ki-jung is rubbing off on him. It better not be in vain, Writer-nim.

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And yes, it's a noble idiocy for Gu and Mi-jung. Took a while to come tp that realization. Is that one of the reasons why his tear ducts formed? If so, then perfect gut punch, show.

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I don't think Ki-Jeong's journey is about 'falling in love with the love of her life', at all. The writer has been pushing the character along that route, but also nudging us to see that her real liberation is discovering, and realizing, that despite her personality flaws (as pointed out to her via comparisons with other colleagues, due to rejections by potential partners), despite all of her quirks and strangeness... she is lovable and is worthy of love.

And I think Boss fitas perfectly, because he sees her for what she is, and loves every bit of that side she has desperately hidden from the world (which is why he hadn't *noticed* her earlier).
In fact, her weird sense of sincerity is so infectious, it has made a serial-dater like the Boss, reconsider his style of love, and whether it's all worth his time at all, in the first place.
Meanwhile, Single Dad needs more than what Gi-Jeong can ever offer him, and on the downside, has to compromise on holiday-dates too. I don't entirely find it sustainable, given Gi-Jeong's personality. :')
Writer-nim, please make her see some sense! <3

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There was definitely some noble idiocy behind Gu's decision. I think he realised that given his old line of work, the Yeom family was no longer safe in Sanpo with him around since all his old associates found his hide out

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Plus his responsibility to the boys. Everyone depends on him.

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Mr. Gu left because he realized he had no choice. At first he thought he had one, when he went to Mr. Baek and told Baek that he will decide whether to stay in Sanpo or go back to Seoul to reclaim his territory. But then the ominous Chairman Shin tracked down Gu and told him to come back to work for him. Later on, Gu's gangster-ish buddy found him and even intruded into the Yeom family home. And the worst part was the buddy said "you must have a woman here". That truly alarmed Gu. He realized his continued say in Sanpo will jeopardize Mijeong and the Yeom family's safety.

The breakup scene was heart wrenching. Kudos to both actors -- you could feel Gu's conflicted emotions, he desperately loves MJ and doesn't want to let her go, but he had to because he can't give MJ a future; and you could feel MJ's pain and her strength. Even though it was a fight, Gu and MJ were in fact both professing their love for each other. Gu's be angry, curse me, move to Seoul, just be an ordinary woman... he is really saying, why are you so extraordinary that I can't forget you... MJ's response, I will carry my child on my back, I will carry the one year old you on my back... she is saying she refuses to walk an easy, conventional path, and that her love for Gu is unconditional, and she sees the real Gu, the one year old Gu who hasn't been hurt by the outside world and she wants to protect and care for that child inside.

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That is very nice take on this indeed - them professing their love for one another while breaking up...

I wonder if MJ saying "I want to carry you at 1 year old" could also mean she'd like to bear his child (i.e. build a future with him) and be together?? Hmm what do we think?

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I don't see it as MJ wanting a baby at that moment. When Gu was chasing CH, MJ appeared in his imagination saying Gu was transparent. She sees the real Gu, the Gu before he was "trapped" by a life in the under world. The "child" in us is the purest form of us... Gu fell in love with MJ (and the Yeom family) because she is the only one who sees the real child in him, whereas others such as Chairman Shin merely see him as a tool to be used... MJ is telling Gu to be brave, to be his real self, to liberate, and she will support him unconditionally...

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I agree that Gu left because he felt he had no choice. He knows that the people from his former life are never going to leave him alone. The slimy work friend eating in the family home and guessing that Gu had a girl was the last straw. Maybe it’s noble idiocy as others have mentioned, but I believe Gu is protecting not only MJ, but the whole family. I think he grew fond of all of them. Why else would he have done something so stupid as lending Chang-hee his Rolls?

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I don’t see this as noble idiocy. Sure, Gu is leaving without consulting MJ and at both his and her emotional expense, but he’s not just sacrificing their feelings for her imagined benefit - the danger to her and the Yeom family is real, and he does know more about it than they do. And rather than hurting himself unnecessarily, he’s also guarding himself from the guilt he’d feel if he exposed MJ to those dangers and she got hurt. Some comments here have said that MJ is fearless and fierce enough to be a gangster wife, but even if that were true and she freely made that choice, Gu’s judgment that that would be a bad idea is correct.

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Agreed. It’s cliched to describe Gu’s departure as noble idiocy. The risk to the Yeom family is REAL and the choice he has is close to zero.

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Yes. I also thought she meant she wanted to carry his child.

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The Good: Ep 11 and 12 had some of the best scenes of the drama. The night-time hiking montage in ep11 overlaid with the piano music and Mijeong's monologue about how she wants to achieve heaven on Earth and not heaven in the afterlife captured the essence of MLN. The HR lady joining the Liberation Club in ep12 underscored how many people are faking their happy smiles, and the exhaustion that comes with keeping up such a facade. There is also a gender element to this as women are often told to "smile". I laughed aloud when the HR lady said her permanent fake smile gave her trouble at funerals.

The Bad: The tonal shifts in ep11&12 are jarring. Gu's story makes me feel like I'm watching a bloody noir film interspersed with MLN. I still don't get why we need this specific gangster backstory. What is it supposed to represent? Why could Gu not just be a suffering widower in Sanpo?

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There is no 'antic' if Mr. Gu is only suffering widower in Sanpo, I think the gangster things suits the quirky, not monotonous MLN vibe. The way they handle how Mr. Baek's death, I like it, so sudden and simple, I never thought they will killed him in such a way, (now i sound weird hmmm).

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What do you mean by "antic"?

Gu can be a suffering widower/ex-bf/whatever and be helping Mijeong and himself out of depression. If the writer needs a plot device to pull him back into the city and leave the Gu family, I can think of many that are less dramatic than being a gangster on the run.

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Maybe I should describe it like this without gangster background for Mr. Gu, MLN is like the K drama that wants to prove itself extraordinary, non makjangish, slice of life drama that offers no the typical K drama tropes. With bringing the gangsters stuff gives the drama the contradiction (like Mr. Gu and the club lady or chatty Ki-jeong vs the introverted Tae-hoon) that the drama writer seems to like it.
Because some people think the gangster stuff makes MLN the typical K drama which they don't expect it or seem to like it. But maybe that is the point the writer wants to make?

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The night-time hiking montage in ep11 overlaid with the piano music and Mijeong's monologue about how she wants to achieve heaven on Earth and not heaven in the afterlife captured the essence of MLN.

Yes! That's the whole show in three minutes. And the cinematography in these two episodes is glorious. The moonlight on the bleached reeds waving in the breeze. The brilliant sunlit orange flowers along the roadside as CH and Gu run. The snow - clichéd as that is - falling on MJ in the last scene.

You're so right about the tonal shifts. I hate gangster stories and I was really hoping this wouldn't go there. Also, what's with that ambulance at the end?

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I read from some discussion thread that it could be MJ's dad or mum in the ambulance. The father probably overworked in Gu's absence. Otherwise, some said that the mum showed signs of pain etc.

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I feel for the father, Chang-hee would drive me up the wall, too. It is fine to take the Rolls for a spin to have driven something like this once in a lifetime, but using it on a daily basis is just wrong. He is just greedy, wearing another man's feathers to look and feel good instead of working on his own success. The bump in the car has thankfully brought him down to reality.

The father as an astute observer also knows that he cannot and should not stop Gu from leaving, even if it makes him almost as sad as Mi-jung. The car, the 'friends' showing up suddenly and the jewellery they are wearing are telling him exactly what kind of circles Gu was/is part of. He has also seen Gu's anger and frustration that his old life is following him and by offering to welcome Gu back anytime, tells him that he thinks that Gu is different from these people.

So, time is up for Gu, if he wants to keep the family and especially Mi-jung safe from his more shady connections. There are also responsibilities that he cannot ignore any longer. Poor Mi-jung! I am glad we saw her in the last scene looking more confident and happy. The writer's previous dramas give me hope that there will be a happy end for Gu and Mi-jung, especially after his most beautiful confession - 'I whorship you'.

I am not particularly fond of Ki-jung and Tae-hun as a couple, although I can see that she is starting to be a little less self centred.

I was touched by the new Liberation Club member, I am sure I know people like her who hide their suffering and pain behind a smiling facade. She really looked relieved to have found this club!

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I feel for the father, Chang-hee would drive me up the wall, too. It is fine to take the Rolls for a spin to have driven something like this once in a lifetime, but using it on a daily basis is just wrong. He is just greedy, wearing another man's feathers to look and feel good instead of working on his own success. The bump in the car has thankfully brought him down to reality.

Interesting. I feel the opposite - I feel for Changhee and find the father infuriating. He's the crux of the issue with the three siblings. Everyone in the family tiptoes around his moods while he sits there, affecting the whole room with his unhappiness.

Changhee is working hard at his own success, and it doesn't help that his dad is so quick to poo-poo all over his son for his ambitions and "failures". I'm amazed Changhee (or Kijeong) hasn't blown up at the father yet.

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I feel the 'showdown' is coming soon. Likely pre-finale.
I love how the show throws us these characters that find meaning in different things. And that it's perfectly okay to find fulfillment in a swanky car, as it is in having somebody to love, even rearing up your motherless neice or abandoning your old self to work at a carpenter's.
Not everyone's sense of fulfillment comes from a 9-to-5 steady job, a wedding and having kids.
And it would be wise if Dad realizes this sooner, rather than trying to shame his kids for it.

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Yes, the father's silent disapproval is stifling.
But Chang-hee is showing himself to be time after time irresponsible. Handing over the key of his Rolls Royce Gu showed Chang-hee that he trusts him - that he will take great care of such a luxurious car. And he did not, Chang-hee admitted as much himself when he said that he stopped checking that the car was not damaged. He is lazy.

He is also not driving the car for his own pleasure, but to show off to his friends, his superior at work. He is shallow.

This might be the result of his relationship with his father, but I suspect the mother's pampering is more at fault.

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He is also not driving the car for his own pleasure, but to show off to his friends, his superior at work. He is shallow.

No one buys or drives a Rolls Royce that could double as a downpayment for pure functionality. Gu bought that car to show off too, so he's shallow as well.

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But it was Mr Gu's world. He worked in the world of the night, clubbing, hosting, etc. The appearances are everything.

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My sense of Chang-hee has always been that he doesn't have a great deal of depth. I don't even mean that as an insult; being simple and straightforwardly petty isn't necessarily a bad thing. He's not a bad person, but he's not particularly warm or empathetic, and he fixates on the temporary pleasures wealth (or the fantasy of being wealthy) can bring.

His father has a very different--and closed off personality--that makes a relationship between them pretty much impossible. They don't seem to understand one another at all, and even though there's likely love there, there's not a whole lot of respect or affection. Oddly, this is actually one of the relationships I find the most interesting in the show because it's very true to life, imo. In fact, I'll be annoyed if the two end up close by the end, lol, or if either one radically changes. Chang-hee should stay shallow and petty and his dad should stay silent and withdrawn.

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I disagree that Changhee lacks depth. He regularly practices self-reflection and is able to assess himself and admit his flaws (something not even Mijeong does). He's also caring - as shown in the previous episode where he showed up for Gijeong and her harebrained dating scheme.

I don't hold it against Changhee (or anyone) for aspiring to be wealthy. South Korea is an extremely materialistic and image-driven society with a widening inequality gap, where people assign you value according to your material trappings.

I agree with you on your assessment of the father and their relationship.

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Yep. This is about values. Chang-hee is discovering what is of real value. Although the car gave him freedom and inner peace, it is also a burden, as he has discovered.

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I don't think it's really true. They only tiptoe when it's about money. But otherwise? They don't hesitate to fight, talk loudy, etc.

They live in their parents home, the mother makes food for them and their friends... If they're not happy, they can leave. They're adult and have a job.

Chang-Hee is kinda childish when he's home.

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Changhee tip-toed around bringing up his business idea; Mijeong didn't tell her family she changed her address or that she struggling with the loans she gave to her ex-bf. The mom shushes the kids and looks nervously at the dad every time she thinks they're upsetting him.

This family has no idea what's going on with one another. They fight and talk about everything that doesn't matter.

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Mi-Jeong let someone taking a loan under her name and had to pay for it. Her father did the same thing. Mi-Jeong doesn't talk about her issues, it's not in her personality.

The issue with Chang-Hee is not the business idea but the fact that he needs his parent money, money they don't have! Chang-Hee has dreams that he can't afford alone now.

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Mr Gu-Dad breakup is the one I felt really sad for. Not Mi-Jung, lol.
That's the thing with being engaged in a generational profession, you need to have someone to pass it onto. And the quiet understanding b/w the two almost gave Dad some hope. What was his backup option anyway.... Chang-Hee? Hah! xD

While the 'i worship you' was wholesome, I loved how casually Mi-Jeong keeps proving she's more cut-out to be a Yakuza-Boss Wife, than a farmer's daughter. She's cut-throat, man! <3

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MJ will be a badass gangster wife. I wouldn’t mind that ending at all.

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Let's just say that MJ should never be a Joseon Monarch, or I imagine everybody meeting equally gruesome ends like Impaled Big Brother, Squashed Frogs & Barbequed Goats, while MJ sits on her Boss-Chair, shining her nails and calmly delivering orders to avenge Gu, meting out justice to whoever that wronged him! :P

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I like your take on the father. How good is this acting that he can convey all of this with virtually no lines. The father sees it all and has the wisdom to let it play out because he understands.

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There seems to be this K-drama rule that the main couple are allowed to have sex only once before the drama (usually a separation) kicks in. I've seen that so many times, most recently in 'Business Proposal'.The exception to that rule was 'Nevertheless' but viewers were creeped out by the sexual nature of the relationship, not quite the chaste coupling they've grown used to in K-dramas.

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A quirky little observation, but I dejectedly realize it's probably true! </3

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When they went up the hill that night my first thought was 'They're going to be separated before the episode is over'. Because they got their one shot.

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Thanks for the recap, @quirkycase

Here are my thoughts on these episodes:

I do NOT want Ki-jung to end up with the single dad. She just seems too selfish for that. I fastfowarded all their scenes together. I like her more with the boss, because I feel like she's more comfortable around him. And just more her natural self.

When Gu chased Chang-hee, I laughed so hard.

How dare Mi-jung's boss insult her pants, which, by the way, I happen to think are quite stylish.

Gu, Gu. Gu. This guy. He continues to be mesmerizing, and it's all thanks to the hopefully-no-longer-so-underrated Son Suk-goo.

The progession of his letting his guard down around Mi-jung feels so natural. Gradually, he warmed up to her, and now he even teases her and makes jokes. I particularly liked the part where he asked her to name him so she doesn't eat him in the future (when she was talking about the goat they used to have).

The single dad, whose name I forget--sorry, Lee Ki-woo 😬--is trying to date and I'm rooting for him, but I just really, really don't want him with Ki-jung. And his sister needs to chill. We get it, she doesn't approve, but he's a grown man with a whole ass kid and should be able to do what he wants.

Boss Baek's death was so gruesome. I was expecting them to catch him, then when he jumped and fell I thought he'd broken something and they'd be able to nab him. But he died. Brutal.

There's so much more I could say but I'll end it here so it doesn't get too long 😅

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I'm also more on ship Boss Jin-woo than Tae-hoon. There's something enamoring about this two, this underlying connectedness.

Mi-jung's pants are stylish. But then he can never understand the beauty of old classics. People like him never own Fountain Pens or Old Classic Cars since he's beneath comprehending such fashion, and can never know thier value, a pale comparison to his modernness.

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But then he asks her to add shadow to the fonts 😂 that was a brutal way of the writer telling us how out of trend he is yet he's the one making sarcastic remarks over that.

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Chang-hee and A-reum, demonstrating opposite trends in personal growth: a couple of episodes ago they seemed to reach an entente at that team dinner where she "corrected" him on how to eat something and he tried it and agreed with her. His determination to not let her (and by extension, every piece of ill fortune and oppressive circumstance) get to him lasts for a while, until he starts complaining about her again and his work friends note that the benevolent Rolls-Royce effect must be wearing off. But when Chang-hee is back at his office and A-Reum has a fit about having to apologize for something, he restrains himself from telling her to shut up when even their manager can’t hold back, while she reverts to self-indulgent whining.

Also, I told you Lee Min-ki could run! 🤣 That scene was hilarious.

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I found myself relating to Mi Jeong about the expression of anger. When I express it, I find myself harboring those feelings for a longer period/difficult to overcome, and when I ignore it and let it sit, I forget about it or it doesn't affect me that much.
My dad's take is that this results in silently killing one's personality bit by bit.

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I agree with your Dad.

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Personality is squashed either way, don't you think? in one situation, one is never dealing with that anger, and in the other, one can't cope with the anger and letting it take over.

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Boss Baek's death reminds me of an infamous bit of Shakespearian stage direction: "Exeunt, pursued by a bear". Its come to mean the plot device where the bad guy dies off stage by some unrelated circumstance so the hero's hands are kept clean. Gu didn't kill anybody, his nemesis simply died.

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I was dso relieved when it happened. The most ridiculous accident to someone who absolutely deserved it. So neatly accomplished. I hate chases in dramas. So frustrating.

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The marathon scene symbolizes the journey CH and Gu each has to take to be liberated. Notice how when they first started, the scenery was dreary, then it became green and at the end they were running along flower fields... CH thought material wealth would liberate him, but after he got Gu's rolls royce, it really didn't and at the end it was more troublesome than liberating. While Gu was running, in his imagination, he heard his ex telling him in a derogatory way "people like you", symbolizing what typical people would view him given his background in the under world, and then he saw MJ telling him that he was transparent, symbolizing that MJ sees the real him. CH on the other hand, sees Hyuna, maybe Hyuna is the person who gives him comfort during his time of stress. At the end, both CH and Gu end up at the train station going back to Seoul... their marathon had taken them back where they started.

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It occurs to me that they might have filmed the Gu/CH chase in several takes over a long period of time - the vegetation and background change from dry post-harvest stubble to bright green to low-growing flowers and then to high banks of flowers, like the two men transitioned through several seasons from bleakness to new growth to full bloom.

The continuity would be a nightmare, though.

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Yes it was filmed at multiple locations, so I assume there is deep meaning behind the bleakness to flowery fields transition. desperately hoping for satisfying ending... hopefully flowers are a good sign.

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Finally our long-awaited kiss, except the scene immediately cut away. So in my imagination, they ended up back in his house or else what a waste of their sexual tension.

More than Mi-jung, I feel sorrier for Dad over losing his best worker. When he met Gu's hyung, that was the first time I saw him smile. I was on the edge of my seat waiting if Gu's identity would get revealed.

I was surprised that Gu got mad over the dent in the bumper. Since he's so easygoing, I figured he would be cool with it as he's rich anyway. When he let Chang-hee drive the car, he should've expected that he would get into an accident.

I can't root for Ki-jung and Tae-hoon's romance because one, they don't really know each other, and two, she doesn't want to be part of that family. So this is the ex-boyfriend that Hyun-ah's boyfriend had broken her stuff over.

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Oh, they certainly did the deed on the hillside, to the point where she had to rush home and wash her hair afterward.

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I doubt Mi-jung is the type to have sex in public.

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😂 I agree that it would seem out of character for both. I choose to believe that they went back to his place if anything actually happened after the kiss

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@panshel: Not knowing each other surely isn’t a deal breaker as people date to get to know each other, right? Why would this be any different?

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As I expected the saparate between Gu and Mijong will come but I never expected that will be done at ep 12. I thought they will saparate at ep 14 but I'm glad they did that sooner, so we can see development each characters without being together in the proper remaining eps, I hope so.
The highlight ep12 is when Gu begging MJ to gave him a name, so hilarious for me.
CH realize that his liberation is not a car. The car only gives him momentary pleasure.

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Do I feel disapointed that Gu went back to Seoul just like that, leaving everything behind despite having admitted that living in Sanpo made him happy and relaxed for the first time in 15 years? Of course. But I think it's par for the course with his character development so far. While our 3 siblings tried to tackle the root of their unhappiness all these 12 eps, or at least tried to do something different when they encountered the exact same problem, Gu has only focused on... taking a breather, I guess. I don't think he knows what he actually want just yet. He has just only noticed how unhappy he was all this time, and now it's finally time for him to sit down and ponder on that. What kind of life does he want? How does happiness look like for him, now that he has a choice?

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Did Gu and Mi-jung do the thing? Why did she wash her hair at night? And she had said she wanted to experience happiness on earth than in heaven.
I just like her line "I am going to carry my kid". Just hoping there will be a kid indeed, but there's no hint in the preview for the next epi.

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Poor Mr Gu, the maybe erstwhile gangster boss. He so wished Mijeong would keep some of her thoughts to herself. He was so freaked out by her comment about wanting to eat cute things.

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That was one of the least morbid things she said. It has a technical name: 'cute aggression'.
The other stuff however... was very graphic and disturbing. I'm sure, in a parallel universe, Mi Jeong came up with the Japanese phrase of I want to eat your pancreas as a phrase of affection & endearment! :P

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Chibi8535: oh, I didn’t know about that term! Thanks!

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I have lost count of the number of times I have corrected my students’ autocorrect absurdity or misuse of ‘tenets’ as tenants! Always cracks me up.

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The scene where gu was crying sorry I meant laughing oof
My favorite part in ep 12 Mr gu chasing Chang hee, that shriek was epic 😂😂😂

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By the way, I like Mr' Gu's a little curly bangs. He looked young.

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Seeing Gu laughing during the funeral is so painful. He wasn't laughing because he's happy or amused because his arc nemesis had gone and kicked the bucket. He was laughing at how ironic and fucked up his life is. His ex died of suicide by jumping off (from cliff? building?) and her brother died being chased by the police, he scaled and jumped off the wall and got impaled by some constructions steel reinforcement bars. Both deaths are cruel and gruesome and Gu thinks that he's caused their deaths. He was laughing at the absurdity of his life situation. He's basically entrapped, resigned to a fact that he'll never know when and how will he be liberated from his hellish cage. His life in Sanpo seems to be just a fleeting dream. Mi-Jeong is like a mirage so does their 'worship me' thing. His past and current life are the gravity that keeps on pulling him off from liberation and he doesn't know how to break free from it. I only hope that the years that he spent being apart from Mi-jeong will give him courage to break free from his shackled. I hope Mi-jeong will find something meaningful for herself and stand up to her obnoxious, overbearing, jealous kkondae boss!

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My only gripe with this drama is how the dialogues are set up with the secondary characters. Maybe it's because it's the POV of the main characters but it's just monologuing and then secondary characters agree or prompts on. The only people having some kind of dialogue is the two main characters. And maybe the brother and the cafe friend.

Would be very weird IRL to just talk at people like that. This is especially salient with Gi-Jeong the elder sister. She just kinda drones on with her friend, boss, and Tae-hun. There was a weird moment where something she said triggered some weird aha moment with Tae-Hun but you really don't know why he would change his mind... It's weird how unlikeable of character they made her.

On a side note, I love all the eating in the show. Everyone is constantly eating. Does feel more lived in as a show that way.

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Just came across this beautiful comment on Reddit:

"
Episode 12 was heartbreaking.

Not even the laugh out loud comedic scenes could soften the ultimate blow of Gu walking out on Mi Jeong. I say walking out on Mi Jeong, but actually he abandoned himself and she knew it, which is why she was sad rather than angry. She'd promised him he'd be a different person after worshipping her, but it seemingly wasn't enough and instead he regressed.

However, it feels as if the trigger point was actually not Baek, nor Chairman Shin, but Gu's brother realising there was a romantic relationship for Gu in Sanpo. Gu knows grief and he was not about to endanger Mi Jeong.

It was such a clever parallel to have the newest member of the liberation club talk about her out of control expressions at funerals, then end the episode with Gu spiralling internally but exhibiting a lack of humanity at Baek's funeral. There was one funeral but it felt like two deaths, because it's as if Gu is destroying himself.

That preview of Gu gazing at the sweet potato stems was the final pull on the heartstrings - taking us straight back to his meal in the Yeoms' home and Mi Jeong taking him extra sweet potato stems because he enjoyed them so much. He is now back in a joyless life.

Gu taking that parasol to the strays was so touching. To then see them caged and the continuation of their shared metaphorical experience was devastating. I am taking Gu driving off in the dented Rolls Royce as a symbolic ray of hope that the Yeoms have left an impression on him which cannot simply be erased.

I've also been wondering about the symbolism of cars in this drama. The Rolls Royce was damaged (just as Gu is) and was also blocked in the car park (just as Gu is caged in his old life). The Rolls is also driven by someone other than Gu until today's episode, signifying that Gu has lost control over his trajectory. Mr Yeom has repeatedly mentioned that one should not drive someone else's car, almost suggesting again that liberation is being satisfied with what you have and subsequently in control of your own choices - not at the mercy of others. Tae Hoon struggled to find a parking space last episode, mirroring him struggling to find a space for his own personal life alongside his familial responsibilities. For Chang Hee the lack of a car has reduced his sense of freedom and independence. It's an interesting narrative tool and I'm sure I've missed other elements of its usage.

Edit: just realised the OST from Something in the Rain is playing when Tae Hoon and Ki Jeong are in the restaurant together. Doubt it's a coincidence that the drama most famous for crazy family members trying to ruin a relationship is referenced in a scene with Tae Hoon - his sister is on the exact same level.

It was so sad to see Mr Yeom's sense of inferiority in the face of Gu's wealth. How belittled he must have felt when he'd been the one advising Gu on how to make a successful living...

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successful living. Equally, I sensed that Gu was beyond ashamed of walking out, especially breaking things off with Mi Jeong when he'd asked for her number directly from her Dad. I really hope we get a heart to heart between these two before the end of the drama. Mi Jeong is Gu's salvation, but Mr Yeom has been his daily companion who gave him an occupation to sustain himself before the worshipping began.

The way Son Seok Koo's voice broke in the kitchen was a magnificient piece of acting. Kim Ji Won is mesmerising in her portrayal of resoluteness. It was also the first time we've heard Mi Jeong speak about having a family of her own, and I don't think it's a coincidence that this took place after a prompt from Gu's own speech.

The one thing I know is that Gu shouting for Mi Jeong on the mountain better not be a hallucination, because my heart can't take it. It's taken these characters a long time to discover both who and where they want to be (with some still working on it e.g. Chang Hee). I believe Gu and Mi Jeong know the answers, but are yet to find the routes via which such hopes can transform into their realities.

Given the spirituality of this drama, episode 12 seems like the juncture at which the writer is asking us to have faith in the characters to find their way. That's what I'll be doing for now, because the alternative is just too sad.

The long wait begins...
"

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