Our Blues: Episodes 17-18
Fate can seem cruel especially to those who have experienced immeasurable loss and heartache. Though our strong Jeju leader accepts her misfortunes as unavoidable, her young granddaughter chooses to believe in miracles and shows her that hope still exists in this world. As for our other resident grandma, the wrongs from her past continue to keep her apart from her son, and even though her days are numbered, they both stubbornly refuse to talk to each other.
EPISODES 17-18 WEECAP: Choon-hee & Eun-ki; Ok-dong & Dong-suk
Living together in Jeju for Choon-hee and her granddaughter Eun-ki has been a learning curve for both parties, but as they spend more time with each other, the two of them grow closer and bridge the gap between them. After making amends, Choon-hee changes her approach to Eun-ki, and instead of denying all of her wishes, she makes an effort to cross off the little items on her bucket list.
Despite the relative peace that has fallen upon her house now, the nagging suspicions about her son and daughter-in-law remain for Choon-hee until a slip of the tongue from Eun-ki reveals the truth. In tears, Eun-ki tries to keep her mom’s secret, but Choon-hee realizes from her lies that her son is in the hospital.
Leaving Eun-ki with Eun-hee, Choon-hee heads to the mainland and finds herself at the hospital where her son lies unconscious. She remains silent during her entire visit and only speaks at the end to her daughter-in-law. With a heavy heart, she tells her to remove him from life support if the doctor suggests it.
As Choon-hee laments her cursed fate, she receives a call later that week from her daughter-in-law: the doctor told them to be prepared to say goodbye. Due to the storm, they can only leave tomorrow at the earliest, so Choon-hee continues with her chores while Eun-ki hangs out in the house. Noticing the family photos, she asks about the people in them, so Choon-hee tells her about her late grandpa and three uncles.
Eun-ki remembers what her dad told her about death and says that her uncles must all be stars in the sky. Choon-hee scoffs at her silly notion and tells her that everyone turns into dirt once they die. When Eun-ki starts to cry, Choon-hee loses her cool and tells Eun-ki that her dad is a liar. Both grandma and granddaughter openly weep with one calling her dad to come back and the other crying that he cannot.
The storm continues through the night, and Eun-ki stays by the door, hopelessly waiting for her parents to pick her up. Choon-hee coaxes her to eat dinner and finally gets her to agree when she promises to take her to see the hundred moons. Though it seems like an impossible endeavor in this weather, Jung-joon and Eun-hee’s persistence help Choon-hee make a little girl’s dream come true.
The various sailors in town gather in their boats with lights strung across and float out into sea. They honk their horns, letting the others know that they are ready, and Eun-hee takes Eun-ki and the two grannies up a hill to see the hundred moons. At first, all Eun-ki sees is darkness, but one by one the water is dotted with moons. Her face lights up, but her eyes pool with tears as she prays for her new wish: make her dad healthy. The others kneel beside Eun-ki, and Choon-hee makes a wish as well.
In an epilogue of sorts, Choon-hee receives a video message from her daughter-in-law of Eun-ki sitting next to her dad who is now awake. She brags to her grandma that she was right and sings her a song at her dad’s request. It’s a sweet ending for Choon-hee who has lost so much, and though it feels like a fairy tale, I’m happy with how things worked out for them. Losing her youngest son may have been the “realistic” outcome, but narratively, his recovery has a bigger impact.
The part that moved me the most about their story was how Choon-hee saw herself as cursed yet she touched so many people in her life in a positive way. Everyone gathers at the end to create the hundred moons because it is for Choon-hee, and thus, we see that miracles are the result of little, mundane things piling up to create something remarkable. To Eun-ki, it’s a spectacular scene of a hundred moons, but to Choon-hee, it’s the concerted effort of the people she knows trying their best to help her even if the task seems silly. Maybe Eun-ki’s dad is a similar story — just untold in this particular drama — about the hospital staff and his family working tirelessly to help him. Either way, I’m happy for both Choon-hee and Eun-ki that their wish came true because life would be too dull if even our stories were void of miracles.
With only a week left before its end, the show finally gets to the biggest unsolved problem: Ok-dong and Dong-suk. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ok-dong prepares for her death and gets rid of her belongings from her family photos to her numerous blankets. Word of her illness spreads throughout the town, and eventually, Dong-suk hears of it, too. Though conflicted by the news, he pretends to not care.
While in Seoul to restock his supplies, he texts Sun-ah, asking if she would be happy to see him again. She tells him that she would, so he waits outside her workplace, hoping to surprise her. Right when he spots her, her son calls her name, and Dong-suk’s face turns grim as he watches Sun-ah with her ex-husband. He drives away in anger and ignores her calls.
Once Dong-suk is back in Jeju, the others corner him to talk about his mom and tell him to take Ok-dong to his stepdad’s memorial since that is her wish. They all claim to understand his feelings, but Dong-suk lashes out at them for acting like they know what he went through. His outburst leaves them speechless, and Jung-joon chases after Dong-suk to give him a ride back home.
At the house on the ranch, Dong-suk finally answers Sun-ah’s call and shares his dilemma about his mom with her. She is the first person to take his side and tells him not to go if he does not want to do it. Hearing her response, Dong-suk opens up about his past and describes the day Ok-dong took him to his stepdad’s house after his dad and sister died.
Ok-dong ordered her son to call her aunt, but young Dong-suk begged his mom to change her mind because she was the only family he had left. When he kept calling her mom, Ok-dong slapped him across the face repeatedly until he started to bleed. Even after that, Dong-suk trailed after his mom and promised to do better if she would come back to him.
Dong-suk wonders why his mom acts so entitled towards him and vents his frustrations to Sun-ah. Listening to his grievances, Sun-ah advises Dong-suk to confront his mom while he still has the chance since she wishes she could ask her dad all her lingering questions. Her words help him work through his own feelings, and Dong-suk decides to asks Ok-dong everything that he carried in his heart.
The next day, Dong-suk joins the others at Ho-shik’s stall for lunch, but everyone gives him the cold shoulder. He asks Ok-dong when the memorial starts, and she asks if he will come. Dong-suk remains silent for a moment and then finally answers her. He suggests taking a plane, but Ok-dong tells him to pick her up for the morning ferry. He agrees, and the others break into a smile.
Dong-suk arrives at Ok-dong’s place early in the morning as promised and finds her cleaning the toilet. She gives him a few tasks to complete before they leave, and Dong-suk does them all between his grumbles. To his surprise, they have to pick up Choon-hee next, and he is given even more things to load onto his truck. Dong-suk speeds down the road to make up for the unexpected delays, but his crazy driving skills are not enough. He sits in disbelief as they watch the ferry leave the harbor, and the grannies awkwardly suggest grabbing coffee and breakfast.
At this point, I don’t understand why everyone sides with Ok-dong and gives Dong-suk such a hard time about his mom. In-kwon is clearly projecting his own regrets onto Dong-suk, but why are Eun-hee and Ho-shik so inconsiderate of his feelings? They say that they understand him, but if they did, then why are they not more compassionate? I feel like both the audience and the characters are lacking one side of the story — we don’t know Ok-dong’s, and they don’t know Dong-suk’s — which is causing this disconnect, and hopefully, the final episodes will shed some light on their relationship.
With each passing flashback, my sympathies for Dong-suk grow more and more. He’s an angry and reckless person who can be terrifying, but behind that volatile nature is also a young boy who wants to be loved. The biggest question that still haunts Dong-suk is whether or not his mom loved him. Everything he wants to know about her boils down to this one issue, which is why Dong-suk could never let go of their relationship even if it meant getting hurt. I think it says a lot that Dong-suk asked Ok-dong to run away with him that night he stole from his stepdad’s house because he still thought of her as family. It has always been Dong-suk who reaches out to Ok-dong, and every time he makes himself vulnerable, she tramples on his heart. It’s not surprising that he resents her so much right now, and it also explains why he’s so hesitant to ask her about their past. Ok-dong is a strange and stubborn soul, but just as I have come to understand Dong-suk, I’m sure the show will make me see Ok-dong in a new light once they tell her story.