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My Liberation Notes: Episodes 13-14

It’s a rough week, folks, so prepare yourselves. Despite the money and status, our returned club manager can’t shake thoughts of what he left behind. In his absence, unexpected tragedy strikes our family, and they’re left to pick up the pieces as best they can.

 
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP

We jump back and forth this week in the timeline as we learn what’s been going on with our characters over the past three years. The episode opens in the present with Gu as Chairman Shin’s right-hand man, managing the host club’s affairs and helping shield Chairman Shin’s shady dealings from the police.

No more is the quiet, nature-loving, relaxed Gu – now he’s the tense, exhausted, scaring-money-out-of-young-women Gu. He looks just as miserable as he did when we first met him albeit much more expensively miserable.

He still thinks of Mi-jung from time to time, and once, even calls his subordinate — who he seems to give random names to — Mi-jung. Gu finally can’t take it anymore and hops on a train back to Sanpo.

Before finding out how that turns out, we jump back to right after he left to catch up with Mi-jung. On the surface, she seems to be doing well. But she’s being reckless and taking dangerous walks alone at night. Now she’s the one facing off with wild dogs, wanting to bleed. Although, she’s so badass the dog ends up running away.

Mi-jung is angry and sad about being abandoned, but she tries to convince herself someone who ran from happiness isn’t worth it. Of course, that doesn’t help much. Her ability to bottle things up keeps her family from knowing how much she’s hurting. That is, until a neighbor asks Hye-sook about their lost dog. She’s naturally confused but looks like someone punched her in the gut when the neighbor says she caught Mi-jung sobbing about losing her dog last month.

Meanwhile, Chang-hee makes the bold decision to quit his job. When Ki-jung outs him about it to their parents, it leads to another tiff with his dad. Chang-hee seems to get through to him a little this time, though, when he calls his dad out on his unfair treatment. Chang-hee may be lacking, but he’s never done anything terrible. Why can’t his dad acknowledge his hard work and support his taking a break for a while?

Of the three siblings, Ki-jung is doing the best, enjoying time with her new boyfriend. Hye-sook wants to meet him and manages to convince Ki-jung to let her observe stealthily. She sits behind them at a restaurant to catch a glimpse of Tae-hoon.

Hye-sook is clearly pleased with him and can’t help herself from approaching. She comes to the table and says she’s ordered them some extra food, beaming at Tae-hoon all the while to his bafflement. Ki-jung is about to crawl under the table.

Then, we jump ahead again to Gu. After getting off in Sanpo and waiting at the train station for a while, he ends up going to Mi-jung’s house. He’s baffled when a strange woman comes out of the house and calls Je-ho “yeobo” (term of address for a spouse). WHAT?!

The family photos are down, and the kids’ rooms are empty. Je-ho says they all moved to Seoul. In a completely unexpected turn of events, Je-ho shares that Hye-sook died shortly after Gu left. She took a nap one day and didn’t wake up. Nooo! I did not see this coming. As if this family wasn’t struggling enough.

Poor Chang-hee is the one who finds her. They all struggle to cope with her sudden death – it’s clear she was the glue that held their family together. Everyone does their part and tries to keep the house running in her absence, which they realize is no easy feat.

Chang-hee, in particular, really steps up. He helps Je-ho out with work and looks after him, making sure he isn’t alone too much. They start to grow closer, which is nice to see.

As usual, Mi-jung keeps it all in while Ki-jung lets it all out. Mi-jung is quiet and stares at her phone a lot. She reads old texts and tries to call Gu, knowing it won’t go through. But she’s not the only one missing him. Chang-hee, too, wishes he could see Gu and talk to him about losing his mom.

Chang-hee at least has Hyun-ah by his side. He casually tells Hyun-ah they should get married as they stand together before his mother’s body is cremated. It’s not clear how much he means it – or how much Hyun-ah means it later when she casually says okay – but I am for this pairing.

Surprisingly, that’s not the only proposal made in grief; Ki-jung is as impulsive as ever and ends up asking Tae-hoon to marry her in the wake of losing her mother. I’m not surprised she asked, but I am surprised he says yes. Isn’t this a bit fast? Yu-rim is still barely speaking to Ki-jung, so I’m not sure how this is going to work. I was hoping this romance would grow on me, but I’m still having trouble getting behind it.

So, it seems, is Hyun-ah’s ex who is constantly teasing them. I love the weird friendship among these three. Chang-hee continues helping take care of the ex in the hospital who comments that he always felt like Chang-hee was a part of their relationship given how much Hyun-ah talked about him. Heh. They both deny anything is going on, but the ex is convinced Hyun-ah has feelings for Chang-hee and tells him so.

Poor Mi-jung can’t catch a break and deals with even more nonsense from her awful boss. He’s been cheating on his wife and has the audacity to save his girlfriend’s name as “Yeom Mi-jung” on his phone. His wife calls Mi-jung who has no problem telling her the truth (because she saw texts from her own name pop up on her boss’s computer) – he’s using her name to cover his affair.

Mi-jung apparently has long known which colleague he’s been cheating with, but she’s kept quiet. Now that she knows they’ve been using her name as a cover, she’s not having it, especially after she saw them being lovey-dovey at her mother’s funeral. She confronts her coworker and hits her in the back of the head with her purse. The woman has no problem hitting her back… and then suing her for assault.

Of course, the cheating couple lies to HR about what’s going on, and Mi-jung doesn’t have proof. And the wife is now saying she never called. Ugh. So it looks like Mi-jung might have her contract terminated and also has to pay a settlement fee for assault.

Ki-jung finds out that Mi-jung took out loan to pay the settlement fee, and that leads to Mi-jung’s loan to her ex finally coming to light. Ki-jung berates her for not telling them sooner, but Chang-hee understands why she didn’t. He damningly notes, “When have we ever relied on family?” Je-ho looks pained at that.

One positive after the tragedy of Hye-sook’s death is that Je-ho finally starts to understand how he’s created distance in his family. He relents and buys a car when Chang-hee says they need one, and they all take a family trip to the beach.

In the present, Je-ho catches Gu up and then gives him Mi-jung’s number. Gu goes to the bar and cries while telling himself he’s not sad. But then… he actually calls Mi-jung! They meet up and, aww, they’re adorable with their impossible-to-hide smiles and awkwardness. Tough Gu melts away the moment he sees her again, and he reverts to his playful, relaxed self.

Gu admonishes her for changing her number, but Mi-jung was tired of waiting for him to call. He tells her he missed her a lot, and the penultimate week ends with Mi-jung finally asking for his name, and Gu introducing himself as Gu Ja-kyung.

After all the tragedy this week, I’m glad we ended with some lightness. I love that Gu is the one who reached out to Mi-jung this time; it’s nice to see him taking the initiative for once. These two are precious together and never fail to make me smile. He’d better stick around this time. With everything our characters have gone through, I’m rooting for happy endings all the way around.

 
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Thank you for the recap.

**Unpopular opinion coming**
I appreciate the acting and writing, but I've decided the continuously jumping timeline isn't artful and doesn't add anything to the story, but rather it's a device or affectation that gets in the way of the storyline, resulting in a mess.

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I agree. It actually interrupts the story because it doesn't give you time context.

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I strongly disagree. I've had zero problem following the storyline. And it makes the story much more interesting than Gu simply disappearing for three years.

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We connect emotionally with characters when we share in their (linear) chronological experience, so a time jump can be devastatingly effective when it's done well.

I said it distracted from the storyline, and not that I couldn't follow!

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i very much agree with you abt the timeline jump. I loved how its done (technically) but i felt disappointed as now my mind was more worried about when it happened rather what/why it happened.
The emotional connection i was having with characters was thrown out of place for good one episode. I would have enjoyed it more if done few episodes earlier or may be little by little in more episodes than all at once in 13th.
thanks for sharing.. i am of same unpopular opinion that you shared. creatively technically it was fab but not fitting the storyline.

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I liked the time jump execution.

We knew since the episode 10 there will be a time jump. I thought it will be just after Mr Gu's leaving, but the mum's death was an "opportunity" to do it. Everything changed in their life at this moment : their job, their relationship, their family.

I liked the superposition between Mi-Jeong and Mr Gu in front of the house.

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I agree about it being an affectation, and I'd prefer a linear timeline. Now that they've done it, however, I actually hope it continues to jump around because if Episodes 15 and 16 are entirely set post MJ and Gu reunion, I'm going to have a problem.

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I wasn’t that interested in Gu’s thug life, but I did like the scene where his subordinate’s “I want to go home” resonated with Gu and spurred him to return to Sanpo.

I feel for Gu’s liver. With only two episodes left, I don’t know if the drama will ever really address his drinking, but I wish it would. The characters may not seem to care that he’s an alcoholic, but I do.

I liked how Chang-hee was kind of the rock after the mom’s death. The beach trip and “I love you” to his dad were touching.

I thought Chang-hee quitting his job kind of came out of the blue and was mad at it for being such an obvious plot point but at least they talked about how convenient it was in Episode 14. While I get the purpose of the Hyun-ah’s dying ex storyline, it still feels random to me and the ex acting like he and Chang-hee are lifelong friends is weird. Chang-hee deciding to be happy after some guy we just met an episode ago told him to be happy just didn’t resonate.

I miss Gi-jung’s boss. I like Tae-hoon but the relationship still feels like a bad idea, especially now that a grieving Gi-jung wants to get married, and the compromise per the preview doesn't make me feel better about it. Not sure Gi-jung’s rambling is the way to get the daughter to warm up to her.

I miss the Liberation Club. I suppose we won’t see them again because of Mi-jung’s scummy boss and coworker. I could have done without that storyline, to be honest.

I liked how the drama handled everyone’s grief. I’m glad that the family actually bonded a little afterward.

I thought the whole purpose of an ambulance was to transport someone in cardiac arrest.

I liked how Gu and Mi-jung kept looking at each other and then away. The meeting and Gu telling her his name would have been a perfect ending for the series.

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Excellent points - and thanks for the recap, @quirkycase! OK, I loved seeing Gu and MJ together again - the radiant smiles, the banter, the way he caught his breath when he first saw her on the bridge. BUT. MJ needs to be liberated from Gu. He’s bad news, no matter how hot SSK is. I think he sought her out now because he’s been drinking so heavily that it’s going to kill him, and he reduced his drinking when they were together before so he’s reaching out for that salvation again. But it’s not her job to save him. It’s disturbing to see her start to express some of his tough-guy characteristics, like smacking the nasty coworker or smoking. That violent impulse cost her a permanent job. Also, don’t the sympathetic gangster characters always die at the end of kdramas? This is heading for tragedy - although as viewers it might be worth it just to see them together, looking so fabulous and sexy, for just a little while.

I wonder if the refusal to transport someone in “cardiac arrest” is a translation problem - maybe they won’t transport someone who is already dead? At that point it’s a case for the coroner, not the paramedics.

The visuals in these two episodes were such a treat. The changing seasons, the hazy sunset at the beach, the arched bridge that echoes the rainbow at the end - beginnings, endings, cycles of eternal return.

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I normally would never want Gu and Mi-jeong together because the relationship looks like a train wreck from both ends but I don't think Mi-jeong's outburst should be attributed to Gu's influence. She has been suppressing a lot of stuff on her own even before he came into the picture and left.

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I don't think Mr Gu sought MJ out because she can help him reduce his drinking. I don't think he cares about the health implications, not when he expects misfortunes as punishment. Alcohol has been his form of escape. He was at peace for the first time in a long time, without resorting to alcohol, with MJ in Sanpo and he craved for that. Now not only he is trying to escape from his guilt and grief, he's also trying to escape from his desire to run back to Sanpo, his desire to be happy because he doesn't think he deserves to be happy.

He yearned for MJ if it wasn't already clear from the way he called her name with such anguish, he was reminded of her by the little things like sweet potato stems, Sam Sik's mention of home stirred to him get on the train headed for Sanpo. He was tearing up after meeting Dad and learning about their loss. He's come to think of Sanpo as home and the Yeoms have become people he cares about. MJ as Mr Gu's salvation has always been implied, again with the light shining on his face in a room full of darkness juxtaposed with the scene of Mr Gu reaching out to MJ.

As seen in the preview, I hope the drama will address the issue by showing that Mr Gu's been seeing a doctor for therapy to address his grief, guilt and alcohol abuse.

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Not that I totally disagree with you, but as much as I oppose violence, I would still say that it was a step forward for MJ. Sure, she should not have beaten her coworker, but her previous reaction to the problem was calling her ex and crying pathetically.

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I was painfully aware of the state of Gu's liver as well. It has been clear all along that he's not just a heavy drinker--he's an alcoholic. Having to take a drink in the back of the car after that meeting with the boss at the start of ep 13 and the fact that he had days where he only drank and didn't eat made that very clear. I don't expect the show to explore this, though. I think we're supposed to understand that his drinking is part of his personality but not a true addiction. I don't really buy that on its face, but I always have an issue with how excessive drinking is portrayed in kdramas.

The one thing that struck me from the preview, however, is Gu's line about seeing a doctor. That may be meaningless, but I did wonder if perhaps he had sought treatment and/or has been in therapy.

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I literally thought, his poor liver in several scenes in the two episodes. His alcoholism is really obvious so I hope they address it. When you get the shakes from not drinking, you are in deep trouble.

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It wouldn't be a stretch if he died of acute liver failure at the end of this drama

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I believe that’s exactly where it’s going and it’s going to be sad.

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I guess you're correct in the hint of sex. It started with Gu stoning the post lamp, it's like turning off the bedroom lamp.

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There was something about My Liberation Notes which I couldn’t say in the previous recap and in “What we are watching”. It’s just a theory and something I felt as if happened. It’s not canon.

When Mr. Gu and Mi Jeong kissed, I felt as if that wasn’t what really happened. They were talking in Mr. Gu’s house one minute, observing the moon, comparing deeply between city life and country life and they were pretty wasted. The scene cuts to the two of them walking along a hill, despite the cold weather. Now, why would they leave the comfort of Mr. Gu’s warm home on a cold night, and intoxicated? When they came to the top of the hill (climax), Mi Jeong feels cold and starts to rub her arms for warmth, and Mr. Gu starts to caress her back gently, which isn’t what it actually shows. They exchanged a kiss, and it is shown in the distance.

This drama knows how to show things without actually showing it. They can show the time change without any description or footnotes. All the characters are able to emote with their eyes which is actually something that not every actor can do. And hence, the director doesn’t have to actually point out incidents or certain situations. This scene for me implied sex. They were drunk, they were walking, (which means yunno, the act), and they reached the top of the hill (the climax). Here, they caressed each other and exchanged a kiss. In a way that showed how Mr. Gu was comforting Mi Jeong after their night of lust.

Just like how “I worship you” means “I love you”, this scene is more than what meets the eye. If not, why did the scene cut to Mi Jeong drying her hair and wrapping herself up in the blankets like a burrito?

One other thing I noticed, Jin Woo isn’t there anymore. While I adored how Gi Jeong and Jin Woo were soon becoming besties in the office, and I was honestly scared that he might end up falling for her and creating one of those KDrama clichés, Jin Woo broke up with his girlfriend and decided to continue being Gi Jeong’s friend. But he’s not there anymore and that saddens me. It’s like he fulfilled the purpose of being the matchmaker between Gi Jeong and Tae Hun. Also, Tae Hun’s sister is so annoying. I can’t stand her, even if I do understand her frustration. Tae Hun isn’t a teenager. Despite being married and widowed (?), he deserves romance.

I didn’t actually like Mr. Gu’s longer hair, but somehow the ending of episode 14, where he meets Mi Jeong makes him look so damn handsome. I guess it’s the way he smiles with his eyes. It seems to light up the entire room and I’m smiling along with him. It seems so genuine. I adore Mr. Gu. Maybe he’s my favorite character in the entire series. Next is Mi Jeong, of course. Then Gi Jeong, then Chang Hee. Next the parents. Honestly I didn’t expect to see their mom die so soon. And when Gi Jeong started breaking down while doing chores, I felt it so much. I lost my dad too, and that brought up memories.

Speaking of Mr. Gu, his confusion with a baby in the...

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Speaking of Mr. Gu, his confusion with a baby in the bar was everything. That tiny wave when the baby was carried away made me coo so loudly. He’s hot, obviously. He’s swoonworthy. And now, he’s also cute. How can someone be so perfect.

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I laughed so hard at that. It. was interesting because I think the writer did a good job of showing the small absurdities about life. In the midst of the baby's parents fighting, the host woman humming to herself while looking for his/her jacket, and Gu sitting there drinking his drink, this innocent soul just looked at him.

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And the fact that he was raising the glass as a toast. Honestly, I can't blame him. If I was in that situation I'd be frozen too. Kudos for Mr. Gu for managing at least a wave.

I read somewhere that how it looked as if Mr. Gu was seeing Mi Jeong in the baby; someone who doesn't belong in his club and that kind of alerted him. But maybe once again I'm reading too much into the situation. It also resonates with the wild dog situation. Remember how Mr. Gu told Mi Jeong that she was the only person who scares him? The wild dog snarling at Mi Jeong was the same. It ran away soon.

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Interesting. As I said below, I think the baby represented the conventional life with Mi-jeong that Gu really wants. But I did think the wild dog (wolf?) Mi-jeong confronts in the mountains was supposed to represent Gu. Initially he is hostile, then he cowers in her presence as if she has tamed him, but finally, he slinks away in fear.

Also, I thought maybe she was imagining the whole thing with the dog/wolf. But the symbolism still works, imo.

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I loved that scene, too, but not only because it showed an adorable side of Gu. I thought it was a perfect juxtaposition of the ridiculous reality of his life. On one hand, his day-to-day existence is unconventional, to put it mildly--violent, dark, lonely. On the other hand, what he longs for, and that which the baby represented, I think, is a much more conventional life like the one he led in Sampo--honorable job, family, love.

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I loved that scene with the baby, there was just something precious about it

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That scene was important because it showed that he was entirely aware what an awful place his business was. He cursed the father for bring a child to an establishment that *he* runs.

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Whosoever aged Chun Hojin backwards did a very good job. Yeah! That was a very nice race, Daddy Yeom is also an ambitious guy who possibly for his own circumstances has tamed down his positive excesses.
Mama Yeom loved, and also liked Mi-jung, but didn’t need to pay attention to her as she is her most resilient child. Did it break her that her strongest child broke? As the sequence played out from start to finish, it dawned on me and I exclaimed ‘Gu, you killed her. Gu killed her’, albiet “Exuent, pursued by Mi-jung’s heartbreak”. Just when she retired from one stress, death came knocking. She didn’t even enjoy her respite for long.

Episode 14 was no easy watch either. Perhaps that’s why I watched it hours later instead of immediately. The tears gathered so easily I fought so hard for it not to fall. Well it finally fell -a single tear I didn’t bother cleaning as it traced it’s path down. Ki-jung really stepped into momma shoes this time, and she’s a different momma bear unlike Mama Yeom, the kind of energy that would have checkmated Daddy Yeom. Perhaps they wouldn’t have descended to that state if Mama Yeom had that aspect of Ki-jung’s personality.

Gu Ja-kyung has Chang-hee to deal with whenever the time comes. I was thinking he(Chang-hee) would bring it up with the family so I was surprised he didn’t.

Personally, I don’t understand and still hate why my dad goes out of his way to please his family members(immediate and extended) so when Chang-hee lent his perspective, it made and makes sense. I’m not the one having the bond with them, it’s him. I can’t fault him but I still blame him without any excuse for it. We(the family) would have fared well better as a family if he didn’t make his family so much of a priority, to the point of inconveniencing us, sacrificing us. And having the conversation with him hasn’t changed him either, he remained the same, maybe a little less. But at least like Ki-jung, I’ve had the conversation, given my tough love on it, and gained the dose of comfort from knowing I’ve let it out.

To avoid stories that touch again ‘What is your name? Gu Ja-kyung'. You should have done this earlier Mi-jung. Good thing she handles that part before it goes lovey-dovey again. I can’t wait for this though :). And where is Boss Jin-woo 😁.

That car😋🥰☺️…finally Chang-hee is connected to his father, and his father is in sync with him too. Good thing they addressed this before Gu’s return. Solid improvement, men!

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I really, really loved these two episodes.

I thought they thoroughly explored the different facets of grief and heartbreak in way that was both realistic and uncomfortable to watch, yet extremely touching. The actors and writers, as always, did an exemplary job of bringing everyday human struggles to artful life.

The mom's death was genuinely shocking to me--I thought the Dad was going to die in that car chase (wonderful scene, btw)--and I did tear up several times watching the fallout from that. I also know that families express love and grief in different ways, and thought the show did a great job of depicting the very common experience of only truly appreciating and realizing the depth of your love for someone once they're gone.

At the same time, the one wish I had was that we could have seen at least one or two more scenes like the ones where the mom showed her joy over her one daughter's romantic relationship and devastation at her realization of her other daughter's broken heart. Those made Hye-Sook's love for her children tangible and were so moving. I also wish we had witnessed at least one scene between Je-ho and Hye-sook--even a flashback from before the Aunt caused them grief--where it was clear that they loved each other. Without these kinds of scenes it was initially difficult for me to square the daily interactions between all the characters that we've witnessed across so many episodes with the displays of bone-deep grief at the loss of Hye-sook. It's not that I didn't believe they loved her (although I will admit I'm still skeptical that Je-ho truly did), but that I hadn't seen quite enough of that love on display to make these grief scenes deeply resonate.

Other surprises: Not to be snotty, but how did Je-ho manage to find another woman to fall in love with and marry him?!

Loved everyone's incredulous expression when Mi-jeong talked about getting in a fight with a crazy b*tch.

My favorite contemporary Gu scene before the reunion was him with that baby. There was a nice parallel it to when Mi-jeong watches the school boys coming home after PE class.

I totally misunderstood the thing with Gu giving the one employee fake names. I thought his real name was actually Mi-jeong and that's why Gu wouldn't say it until the end there.

Finally, I was initially very surprised by the lighter tone of Mi-jeong and Gu's reunion. I was expecting something much more bittersweet or outright painful and angry. But then when I thought about it more, it made a great deal of sense. They had just spent years of their lives utterly miserable, largely because they were apart. So when they saw each other again, of course they were simply, fully joyful to be together. And why pretend they weren't. Loved Gu's line about squeezing her and swallowing her whole. That was lovely. And ending the scene with Gu telling Mi-jeong his real name was perfect.

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"Not to be snotty, but......." is exactly what I muttered when I realized it was a new servant/wife in the house. The three siblings realizing the sheer amount of work their mom did every dang day was very satisfying. Daddy Yeom is not my favorite character.

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Since it appeared Je-ho had a stroke, I wonder if it was a caretaker turned wife situation. I can't see him going out and meeting anyone. I'm not really surprised he remarried though. Personality wise, he reminds me of my grandpa and sister's FIL, both of whom remarried within six months of their spouses of 40+ years dying. They were lonely and needed someone to cook and clean for them, and I guess the women got companionship and security.

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I'm still surprised he remarried after what 2 years? I kept thinking that the woman was a relative or something despite she calling him in an affectionate way.

I also thought the employees name was Mi-jeong 😆.

The reunion between Gu and Mi-jeong was just perfect! I initially thought there would be some angst but I was glad to be proven wrong

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Somewhere somewhere in my head I'm praying that his remarriage isn't the straw that sent his kids out of Sanpo, and gave the house that deserted look. The preview made me think it was Ki-jung's outburst but now, I don't know. It has to be that they just moved out due to Mama loss, and not that the family shattered again due to his remarriage just when they found a dynamic.

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I knew that they eventually had to leave the family but like you I really hope the remarriage wasn't the reason

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I don't think so. The kids wanted to leave the family home for years, imo. They didn't because their parents needed them; then the father needed them. Once the father remarried, they were free to move to Seoul. I doubt there was any big rift between them, although I'm sure there was some normal discomfort with the dad remarrying.

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The house looks deserted, unkempt, and the kids rooms seemed like they left on a bad note. It's not arranged, it's scattered, showing that they've hardly visited since they all loved out - all three of them. That doesn't bode leaving on a good note at all, at least to me. It paints the picture of they weren't welcome anymore so they moved out.
I expect the kids to move out too, they can't remain with thier parents forever, even if they resided in Seoul all their lives. While yes, there would be discomfort, remarriage being the trigger, instead of them wanting to move out is the justification I hope did not occur.

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This is so true, some children don't move out, not because they can't but they feel the need to stay to take care of their parents. I think it is the same worry that parents feel when they have to leave their kids

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In my law practice I deal with families who have lost loved ones. From what I’ve seen, once the mom dies, the family tends to break up. Moms are the glue. Most widowers remarry quickly.

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People don't always marry for love or romance, plenty of marriages are a result of convenience. This is especially common among the older generations and probably more common in Asian countries where there is a lot of pressure to marry by a certain age and live a "normal" life like everyone else. We've come a long way, of course, but I'm definitely glad I grew up in a Western country. The lady could be another widower who needed a stable home while Dad needed someone to take care of him. I don't see anything wrong with it because it's difficult for people in old age to live on their own. Who knows, maybe Mum and Dad married for convenience too.

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Agree, these two episodes were truly amazing. I am also sure that Gu was worried that Mi-jung might be bitter and angry towards him. The relief that she smiled at him, looking very pretty (and slim) made him almost chatty.

I have rarely seen a drama that shows the moments of grief after the death of a loved better than this. Ki-jung washing her mother's shirt which she will never wear again, Chang-hee bursting suddenly into tears during the meal and audibly blowing his nose away from the table.

One of my favourite scenes (of many) was the car chase and the shots inside the truck. Daddy Yeom has snapped, the mother fearing for her live is livid at being unable to stop the maniac behind the wheel, who is also encouraged by Chang-hee who should really be on her side.

I loved this bonding moment between father and son and as much as Chang-hee annoyed me before, it was so beautiful to see him stepping up, taking up the lead and taking loving care of the family members.

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This. Show! Him calling her, him waiting for her, and then finally her appearing (looking absolutely gorgeous, of course) and their subtle flirting perfectly encapsulates one of my favorite lines from a previous episode:

“You’ll be surprised if you find out what kind of person I am. You know? I’m a scary person. The kind that wouldn’t even blink if I was stabbed in the stomach. And yet you scare me. I get nervous when you’re in front of me. And that annoys me because it makes me feel like an idiot. But despite that, I keep waiting for you. You should know, Yeom Mi Jung. You should know who you are.”

We now know just how scary Gu is… and yet. That reunion. *chef’s kiss*

And of course, shout out to all the moms as well as this episode’s MVP, Chang Hee. From being his moms favorite to becoming what she was: the glue that holds them together.

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I remember really loving those lines of Gu; I think that was the first time he said more than a couple of words, lol. And they were very revealing.

Also agree about Change Hee. My favorite moment was him trying to hunt down Gu, crouching in the parking garage, because he knew Mi-jeong was heartbroken. There has really been so little in this drama to point to that shows the siblings do love each other, so that moment was very powerful and touching.

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I usually enjoy deep diving into the plot and characters of dramas on this forum, but for this drama, I am just letting it be. Whatever happens, happens. Yes, I sometimes try to find ways that make the drama better or poke at what does and doesn't fit, but things in life are quite multifaceted and random at times. Chang-hee's friendship and now kinda romance with Hyun-ah is seemingly random, but I'm finding content in taking the story as it unfolds. I even find Ki-jung's relationship with Tae-hun to be quite problematic but hey, I have aunts who started sketchy relationships and even though family members voiced their concerns, they pushed through and those relationships grew into something beautiful. That's not advised but.... life be like that sometimes.

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The first time we saw them together (at the bar) she interrupted his long work call by making believe she was an angry girlfriend, then even went so far as to show up at the convenience store and kept up the 'girlfriend' charade. That, is retrospect, was an odd thing for her to do.

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Mum was the core that held the family together. Even until her last day she was always worrying about her children. It makes me sad that no one ever showed Mum any appreciation for everything she did while she was around. Meeting Tae Hun was one of the few occasions Mum looked radiantly happy throughout the story, I hope her worries were somewhat eased. The scene of her sobbing on the way home after she found out about MJ's heartbreak was truly sorrowful to watch.

People often say we don't understand our parents' love until we become parents ourselves. Some may never know or understand until it's too late. But parents can also raise children and not understand them. Kudos to the writer for a nuanced portrayal of what realistic family relationship is like. There is no such thing as a perfect family, perfect parents and perfect children don't exist, and I think this drama showcases that very well. All our characters are flawed human beings and that makes them relatable in one way or another.

I think Mum would be glad to see how her children grew after her passing, especially Chang Hee. I never thought I'd be able to resonate with CH but this week I find him most relatable. The burden of being the only son in the family must have been difficult to endure. He must have felt a lot of pressure to make something of himself while not knowing what he truly wants in life. That's why he longed for an older brother figure to lift some of his burden away, that also explains his fondness of Mr Gu.

Mr Gu and MJ never looked so naturally happy and smiley in the last scene, which makes me think there'll be more pain to come. I think I'd better prepare myself for an open or bittersweet ending. I don't know what to expect but I trust that Writer Park has it all planned out so I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the journey. I hope to see what happened in between the time skips to explain the characters' progress. And no more deaths please!

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Mom was so happy to meet Tae Hun! I only wish Ki-jung had introduced them.
“ . . . sorrowful to watch” is exactly right. It was not just sad, but sorrowful.

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Yes about Chang-hee and Mr. Gu, Chang-hee looks for someone he caan look up to, who he can't find it in his dad. The lost he felt when Mr. Gu leaving is as the same amount that Mi-jeong feels. He lost a brother. I think it is why he feels freely using Mr. Gu's bathroom because for Chang-hee, Mr. Gu is his long lost brother.

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Writer Park’s ending in all her previous works is one with hope - and I expect no less from MLN.

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The way I cried in these episodes. That is all.

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I cried a lot. My roommates thought it was a little weird 😅

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😂😂😂, they don't understand. No worries, you have us beanies.

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My husband saw me ugly cry at episode 14 and tried to take my picture 😆 🤣 😂

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Awwwww, sending hugs even if he didn't, lol.

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I just love this drama pls where has Gu been since

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Ep13&14 were packed with action.

I expected a parent to die, but I thought it would be the father and not the mother. Ep14 did a good job of exploring the grief of losing a loved one, and the hollows such a loss leaves in the fabric of your day-to-day life. The writer, director, and actors did an excellent job of capturing the small reminders of the loss (the Mom's jacket, the leftover rice, etc.) and the cutting pain those reminders give you.

The Mother is definitely the glue that held the family together and you see the family unit fall apart in the aftermath of her death. It was sad to see the remaining 4 members grieving by themselves and wallowing in their silent misery, unable to reach out to one another for comfort.

Gijeong: I was sideeyeing the scene where she emotionally ambushed Taehun's daughter by trying to force herself into the role of her mother, and then asked Taehun to get married. It's a bad idea for the two to get married in the heat of the moment. Gijeong has always been emotionally unbalanced, and even more so now in the immediate aftermath of her mother's death.

Gu & Mijeong: This is the story and pairing I find most unconvincing. Firstly, I found it incredulous that Gu ghosts Mijeong for 3 years, calls her out of the blue, and then happily reunites with her just like that. Say what? That doesn't seem like a logical sequence of emotions to me. Secondly, I have never been convinced of this pairing's depth of feeling. To me, they were two people who got with each other out of sheer loneliness and boredom (more like Mijeong threw herself at him), one party was mourning the loss of his ex, neither really knew much about each other, and then one party abruptly ghosted after 4 (?) months. We're supposed to believe this is a grand, everlasting, love affair that resonated for 3 whole years? I don't buy it.

Changhee: Changhee really came through in ep14. In the absence of his mother, he stepped up to become the glue that rebinds the family together. He let go of his resentment towards his father and confessed his love to him without expectation of reciprocation. Changhee is such a good egg.

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I was rolling my eyes hard at Ki-jeong during that sequence, she needs to give room for the child to come to terms with the situation and I was shocked that he actually agreed to the marriage.

I loved seeing Chang-hee step up. I agree with you, he's a good egg 😃

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First I was like "Ki Jeong, wth? leave the kid alone", then I was like "marriage proposal? well, she's in a bad place, let's give her a break." But when Tae Hun said "yes" I was shocked, that felt so inappropriate. She was a mess, she looked lost and desperate; he should've tried make her comeback to reality or something not answer that.

Chang Hee is the best.

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I think Taehun said yes because Gijeong was borderline hysterical in that moment and he was afraid of stirring her emotions even further.

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and he asked her to wait for ten years. In that context, I don't think he could have dealt with that any better. Still, I would have preferred if Ki Jeong proceeded with her emotional outburst away from the kid.

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It felt kind of dangerous tho. Thanks god she didn't say "let's go, pal. let's do it right now" or something, and thanks god the kid didn't hear it.

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Love Chang-hee, he is full of wisdom and childlike curiosity what's not to like?

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I know right!

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I'm still not convinced deep down Gi-jung's mindset has changed that much about being a stepparent. She's only been dating Tae-hoon a little over a month at this point. She's a mess.

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I spent most these episodes wondering if we were in the past or the present which I didn't like much.

Otherwise, this drama is really a gem with its nuanced characters. I always want to write pages filled with my thoughts after each episode but I'll stop myself today😅; a lot of my thoughts have been shared in the comments.

Everything mostly sadness this weekend but I just loved that random scene between Gu and the baby🥺. That baby was soooo cute 😍😍

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I did not expect the Mum' sudden death either and it made me tear up. I feel like she got the short-end from mariage life, and I agree with Ki-Jung that she probably died from overwork. This was the only week we've heard her complain about the amount of work that she has to do, and the thing is I was thinking abt it throughout. I think it was a good way that the writer chose to show the burden of being a woman in a mariage: we see it throughout the episodes, it is never spoken about, she does not complain but we can feel it is tiring and burdening, but no one adresses it. This could absolutely fit into life in the city as well: you both finish work, man and woman, and the woman has to come home for the second shift: the house, the kids, the food... and not a day of rest! It's a whole life 24/7 job. Also, I am frustrated that the writing never fleshed out the Dad's character so we can at least understand him better and try to relate to him.
I loved Gu's " then, lose weight and meet me in an hour". The way he said it and how he sounded was so sexy 🙈😂🤭

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My brother once said, "You're only as happy as your unhappiest child." That popped into my head watching Mama Yeom walk home in tears. After rejoicing to see her smiling and happy viewing her potential son-in-law I sniffled along with her over her other daughter's broken heart.
So many grace notes and superb writing in these two eps. The baby sucking on his pacifier staring down Gu sucking on his drink. The subtle depictions of how grief can sneak up and wallop a survivor upside the head. The stoic one foot-in-front-of-other attitude of the whole family. The best, in my opinion, was when the urn lid clanked just as a hated aunt was mentioned. Everyone's reactions were priceless, especially MJ who simply went over and secured the lid. My logical brain wanted to explain it as MJ hadn't replaced the two lids properly as she sat by herself in the dark with her mom's urn. However, Mom successfully shut down yet another family argument, right?
Echoing many who realize that we can trust this gifted writer to bring a wonderful drama to a graceful ending.

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It's all in the small touches. Masterfully.

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Ep 13-14 reminded us that, yes, this is indeed from the writer of 'My Mister'.
By the same token, the parallel running timelines also reminded us that, yes, this is from the writer of 'Another Oh Hae-young'.

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You know what, I’m so deep into this drama that I’m not interested in watching anything else - and so, I did a rewatch of Another Oh Hae-young LOL.

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1. THE BEACH SCENE. My favorite scene of the episode (maybe even of the show). It was healing, peaceful, warm, beautiful... that scene is one big hug. I want more family moments!

2. Ki Jeong saying she didn't want to be strong and just let it all out. Damn. I just wanted to tell her that it was okay to cry, that she can break down for a while...

3. Chang Hee... he made me miss my oppa. Oppas are awesome. Chang Hee you're the best. Everything he said this episode, everything he did... just wow. I have no words to describe how CH made me feel this episode. After what he said to his dad on the beach I thought "everything is gonna be alright. They'll be fine". He spent the whole episode worshipping his family. I love this dude.

4. When Mi Jeong say Ki Jeong wasn't their mom I almost screamed. As the maknae in my family of course I've said the same line my whole life, but it felt so damn wrong hearing this when their mom just died. I imagined myself saying that to my unnie in the same situation I would've slap myself tbh.

Tbh, after episode 14 I just want to watch the family dynamics. Ep 13 felt a little empty for me. Dude Gu is cute and all but Ki Jeong scolding Mi Jeong and Chang Hee defending her was iconic. I want more of that.

5. I'm supposed to feel good about watching Mi Jeong standing up for herself but actually I'm annoyed at the whole situation. Why couldn't she just bag-slap the jerk boss? that would've been actually satisfying.
I don't think we needed one of her friends to be a total witch. Well, I didn't.

Ps. If they're all in Seoul did they leave Du Hwan alone? :(

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Only two more episodes 😭

I liked these episodes. Every character was in a routine and the death of the mother changed that.

Ki-Jeong : I really don't like her when she's with her siblings. She lacks sensitivity. It wasn't her place to tell to their parents that Chang-Hee quit his job or to watch her sister's phone and bring the subject like that. Honestly, it makes it hard to like her relationship with Tae-Hoon because I wonder which part is her true personality when she's with him.

Chang-Hee : He was childhish. He should talk to his parents before quitting his job, telling himself... But after the death of his mum, he seemed more mature. The proposition in a crematorium was not very romantic, poor Hyeon-A.

Mr. Gu : he's definitively as miserable as before... Drowning in work and alcohol. He never forgets Mi-Jeong and her father was the little boost he needed to take action. The scene with the baby was the cutest :p

Mi-Jeong : She acted cooly with Mr Gu with "I won't ask your name, why, I won't stop you, etc." but their relationship was more than she thought I think. She realized it too late. She said he was running away from happiness but she was too proud to ask him to stay too. She always fights in her head but not in the reality, the situation with her coworkers was so unfair and I don't even know how it was possible and how she accepted to pay anything to this b...ip.

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Episode 13 broke my heart, then episode 14 stomped on it and flattened the pieces. I did not see that loss coming, and it hit me pretty hard because of it. It was so uncomplicated and realistic. She had a lovely moment with her daughter and her boyfriend, went to the market, got sad about Mi-jung, cried, went home, sat at the kitchen table in thought, went in for a nap, then fell asleep and didn't wake up. Which happens. But she was fine. She was fine but she died anyway and we never got to see those warm moments we thought would happen between her and her kids and I AM NOT OKAY 😭

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When you are away from Kdramas for almost 2 months and a drama like My Liberation Notes happened... you feel nothing else but This drama.
You literally breathe the emotions those characters on screen feel. I binged 12 episodes and it was like a swim across a beautiful beach but then this weeks episodes just gave me a tsunami of emotions.
13th with time jumps as editor myself i loved how it was done but as viewer i was baffled. i dint like it at all. it made me feel as if someone just switched the channel while my fav tv show is on.
then 14th episode... i Cried and Bawled cause it brought back so many my painful memories after losing my dad long back. that emptiness around, killer loneliness, those silent cries while keeping tears hidden so your family dont see it, everyone trying to brave the strom for the sake of other people you have in life... it was such heart shredding episode for me.
But the beach scene turned this while trauma into a beautiful union for Yeom Family. Chang Hee saying I love you to dad brought a grin to my face.
14th epi is a masterpiece.. it will remind people for a long time to Value - Love - Appreciate people in your life before they become a memory.
this whole thing impacted me so much that i couldn't feel Gu - Mi Jeong reunion. I loved it no doubt but i still loved the rest of the eoisode more.
My Favorite drama alongwith My Ahjussi... for a long long time.

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The loss of the mother was done brilliantly through small touches: the things left behind, the shoes, the shirt in the washing: through her absence: their realisation of everything they relied on her to do, the changed meals, so different to what they were used to. The writer "got it all" perfectly. It was so moving, I could hardly bear it.

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Everyone’s writing deeply insightful things about the characters and themes, meanwhile I’m just here still absolutely broken from these episodes. I think the only moment I wasn’t in tears in some way was Gu and Mi-jeong meeting up. God, these two look good together. I love this show. I love this show so much.

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Behind the deeply insightful themes lies the tears shed for this two episodes. We've shed enough, I fought back enough save for a long trace down thanks to the pause play button. Again, the tears- It hurt. Burying momma's joint brought it back all over again. I don't think I'd have the strength bury that though, to let it go. I'd have kept it as a keepsake from mom to the family.

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@ladynightshade: I felt exactly the same. Just gutted.
And, this show has sure been such a treasure.

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This week's episodes were my favourites of the show.
Mum.
She always stayed in the background, supporting the family. I knew that something was wrong when she had a lot of sweats in autumn weather. Still, I was too shocked to see her go like that.
Death was like a form of liberation for Mum. All her life, she supported her husband, shared the burden, raised the children and dedicated herself to the family. I think most of the mothers in Asian households would be similar to some extent to Mum. I talked about it with my mum and my mum said she could at least get to go with no suffering after all.
They all wished they could have done better only after that she left. Dad's realisation of his family taking care of him, not the other way round, was a bit too late when he said that in an empty house with a new wife.

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It was a form of Liberation. Well spotted.

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Agreed.

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Death is always tragic and devastating, but it is also something common that we will eventually experience in our lives one way or another. My biggest problem with the way death was portrayed in media so far, was the laser focus on the first aspect, but complete neglect on the latter part. They made death into a huge, insurmountable thing that it didn't feel like a part of our reality anymore, and it felt so wrong. I'm so glad to know that that wasn't the case for this drama.

I've read somewhere how the casts described this drama as documentary-like, and I think that's exactly the way they approached the portrayal of Mom's death. The sudden, huge loss. The big emotional upheaval. The abrupt re-sorting of everyone's priority. The way it brought to light the broken way the Yeom family operated all this time and how many changes were needed for them to come out of this experience stronger and happier.

I love how realistic everything felt as the family tried to pick themselves up in the aftermath of their grief, the way they coped with their loss. The urge to cry that strike out of nowhere, the reckless bravery that infused Mi-jung, the sudden clarity that inspired unexpected proposals from both Chang-hee and Ki-jung, even the newfound understanding between Chang-hee and Dad, and Ki-jung and Yu-rim.

What I loved most, though, is the late night talk between Chang-hee and his friends. It was a familiar sight, something my own family had done as we tried to cope with several losses in the past few years. How we tried to see new patterns in past happenstances, injected new insight and understanding into it so that new hope might emerge as we grappled with the new reality. How we tried to re-arrange our past decisions, no matter how perplexing it was at the time, into something that prepared ourselves for this particular loss. How we blindly felt our way towards being grateful for whatever circumstances in our past so that we didn't drown ourselves in the overwhelming grief. It mimicked real life right to the gritty, not-so-pretty details.

I appreciated MLN for its raw depiction of grief and loss. But more than that, I'm grateful for the way it showed the bumbling way people give hope, comfort, and love for one another even in the middle of huge emotional shakeup. It felt like a beautiful celebration of what it was like to be human.

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Insightful and beautifully written.

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Thank you.

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Instead of commenting on these 2 moving episodes, I wanted instead to say how much I love the majority of the comments. They are my jam and they kept me company on a night when sleep eluded me. So many of you dug deep and read nuances which were profound, challenging and at times even more sorrowful than I had assumed. I reevaluated some things and got even more adamant about others. Thank you for your collective observations.

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I had a bit of an unhinged thought a few minutes ago so bear with me. Could Mi-ju have gotten pregnant after they had sex (I think they did) and had the baby? I don’t quite remember in which ep but MJ refers to having a baby and raising it IIRC, and the comment about putting on weight when she meets Gu again after a few years made me think about this outlandish possibility. It would be a trope for sure but weirdly, it might not be entirely absurd. What if?

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When MJ told Gu she had gained weight, I thought, uh oh. Did she pull a Hee-do (25-21) and get married and now she’s pregnant?! 🥺 But maybe the weight gain is due to COVID? Although not addressed in the drama, it falls within the time jump.
I do like the idea of a GuMi baby. It would be cute, for sure. 👶🏻🥰

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Lonestar Girl: Thanks for making feel as though I wasn’t entirely alone on this!

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@dncingemma, you know I got your back! 😉

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@Thanks a bunch my fellow Beannie. I hope you have been well as I remember your lovely comment last year about how much your comfort and pleasure you derive from the site. I second that. Also, if you are still in Texas, sorry about the horrific event. Just horrifying. I read this poem by Amanda Gorman, one which she wrote only a few hours ago in response to this tragedy:
“ Schools scared to death.
The truth is, one education under desks,
Stooped low from bullets;
That plunge when we ask
Where our children
Shall live
& how
& if”.
Please take care.

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I didn't think they had sex. The kiss was pretty simple but meant a lot for them. Wouldn't that make Mr Gu a jerk to leave just after they had sex? Even more if they had a child together...
At the beach, Mi-Jeong talked about being an aunt, not a mum. For me, it meant she was seeing her siblings being parents before her.

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Ep 14! I was crying. This ep makes me realize that I should be thankful for whatever mundane things happening in my family. My mom just arrived from her work and sang loudly without paying attention to the note. I could hear her voice from the kitchen (not... that that I like it). But then, I let her be, and continue stirring the vegetable.

Yes, I was crying, but then smiling ear to ear when it reaches the end. These two people are so genuinely sweet. Never thought that 'wae...' could sound so beautiful...

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You really do grow up overnight after the loss of a parent. Chang-hee was the star of Episode 14. He was so relatable when he cried while eating lunch with his father, then blew his nose in his room and laughed to hide his tears while drinking with Du-hwan and Jung-hoon. When he asked the shop owner for the date, she assumed that he was asking about his mom, but he was asking about Mi-jung. He was so sweet waiting for Gu's car in the parking garage. I pity him for being the one who found both his mom and grandma. Chang-hee makes me want to quit my job.

If this drama wasn't so depressing, it would make a great romance because Gu is crazy heart-fluttering. His nervousness on the phone, smiles during their reunion, and honesty about missing her made my heart flutter. I loled at Sam-sik answering to the name "Mi-jung."

Both marriage proposals were made in moments of grief and should not be taken seriously. Ew, why would Su-jin sleep with their scummy boss?

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The editing of the train trip back to Sanpo is sublime. At first, it seems there is only a few hours difference between Gu and MJ's trip back to Sanpo, then you realize it was a two year difference and they never met. The writer's message to us seems to be each person has to liberate themselves from within. Gu in a way was using Sanpo/Yeom Family's love as an escape from his miserable life in Seoul. And he was doing it again when night club life became unbearable. But when he got to Sanpo, everything had changed, the idyllic Yeom Family was no longer there. Mama Yeom had passed away, dad remarried and kids moved away. It was then Gu realized he had to look within to find happiness, to build his own heaven on earth. Like Father Yeom said, even when things are unbearable there is always a way to move forward. Gu didn't like his night club life; then he had to find a way to get out, liberate himself. MJ had offered her unconditional love, and Gu realized his heaven is to create his own home with MJ, his soulmate and the love of his life.

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These comments are amazing. The one insight I had from these episodes that I don't see here was that the parents were a love match. Hye-Suk complains to herself as she cooks that she married her husband because he looked sad (!) and now she's stuck cooking for him as he works constantly at two jobs. I thought Yeom Je-Ho was regretful that his children thought they couldn't ask him for help.

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I don't know what I can add that hasn't already been mentioned here. So I'll just say that at episodes 13 and 14, this show continues to exceed my expectations.

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@dncingemma, thank you for your condolences. Yes, I am still in Texas. I have driven through Uvalde on the way to South Texas. It’s a sleepy little town, the kind that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Matthew McConaughey is from Uvalde. The events of yesterday are hard to fathom.

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One of my fave part in the last scene was the change in tone. When they reunited, they had been speaking in banmal but when MJ asked Gu what's his name is, MJ asked formally and Gu also answered formally. It felt like a new start, like what you say on a first date with fluttering butterflies in your stomach feels.

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It's interesting. Kim Ji-Won asked the PD how she should ask his name and the PD said like in a blind date.

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They nailed it. That's what I felt xD

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Nobody is born an alcoholic, and people do recover from it providing there is adequate motive. Nobody is born introverted: patterns of life bring out characteristics one way or the other. I believe Gu and MJ can find salvation in each other since each is yearning for something different from what they are doing with their life, and there is clearly a huge connection. Having wept and raged at the ending to 21/25 which I found completely unreasonable, I am perfectly prepared to accept without question the final shot of MJ and Gu walking into a hazy sunset (probably with a sea shore in the background) and pushing a pram. Yes, and with toddler too. SO, drama, you know what I expect. And a lot of Tanquerey and Tonic will be consumed if this does not happen!

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Hi. How do you know that 3years has passed?

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Calendar on the wall 2019 then New Year's 2022. Though more like 2+ years not 3.

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Ki Jeong lost a wonderful opportunity to bond with Tae Hoon's daughter, in their shared grief in losing their moms. But Ki Jeong selfishly turns that into an uncomfortable, stressful moment by almost demanding that she take the place of the daughter's mom. How horribly insensitive. Caused a wider rift between them.
I loved the reunion of Mi Jeong and Gu, the joy here! Gu likely had no happiness in his life during their years apart and Mi Jeong very little. Gu's free admissions of having missed her and wanting to squeeze her! This couple has a lot of issues to work through but the joy in this scene was contagious. I also loved the light, happy music "Be My Birthday" song, it made me think of Gu on that bridge as a little boy anxiously waiting to see if his friends will show up for his birthday party, and then his excitement when his favorite person arrives!

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