Beans of Wisdom: Of finales and kisses

This week in Beans of Wisdom…

As expected, there were a lot of different opinions on the Extraordinary Attorney Woo finale. Some were adequately satisfied, like pliplipli in comment #11:

it was a nice ending. I wanted youngwoo and junho to end up together mainly for the message that she can indeed make someone happy. I think if the drama ended with them not together, the final impression would be that youngwoo indeed couldn’t be in a romantic relationshio after all and this would go against everything the drama set up to be in my opinion: a warm, hopeful and sweet tale. I’m happy. it’s easily one of my all time favorites.

And abalyn in comment #13:

Wow, that was one of the best endings I’ve ever seen a K-drama pull off. The show really became about Attorney Woo becoming independent and solving her own family issues in her own way. I loved how she told her dad that she shouldn’t have to live her life around someone who had never been there for her. Even Attorney Jung’s stomach cancer worked, stupid as it was, because it meant that Young-woo had to find her own way ahead.
I also loved how so many of the characters were not all bad or good. The Hanbada CEO wavered between seeing Young-woo as a tool and an independent lawyer, but she was willing to listen and let Young-woo have a chance to find a middle road in the end. Her mother at times treated her as the worst thing that happened to her and then at other times would get a smile hearing of one of her accomplishments. Although episodes 13-15 weren’t the best, I do feel like 16 could not have been much better.

And eskimo in comment #16:

Despite the minor stumbling of the show in the latter half (to be fair, we are only so critical due to the high bar set by the earlier half), the ending is in my humble opinion, is close to perfect. Absolutely love that her final and most poignant achievement in the series is overcoming the revolving door alone, without anyone’s help. So simple, yet so *fulfilling* indeed!

Now, about the potential season 2, I don’t mind it. It’s a beloved series, so fans will always be happy to get another chance to see our whale-loving heroine and her entourage on screen again. From a business standpoint, it would also be a capitalist crime not to seize this opportunity and turn it into a franchise. It would be a win-win situation. The series format makes it a no-brainer too since every episode involves a different case, so as long as the writers can come out with enough mini-story and a compelling overarching plot to further woo young woo’s growth, this would be plausible. […]

However, the issue of Min-woo’s character remains a sore spot for some Beanies, like miso in comment #3:

Other than Min-woo, I was fine with pretty much everything else in the drama. Jun-ho should have had more to do but we’ve sailed through many a drama where the FL was similarly opaque. It was a nice wrap and I’d be happy with or without a Season 2.

Or Nal in comment #6:

[…] Our spring sunshine significantly changed Min-woo?? Wow… The power of love💀 […]

Or Unaspirated in comment #8:

[…] Min-woo’s storyline could have been so much better (in my opinion, obviously) if they had changed just a couple of things. He should have shown interest in Sunshine slightly earlier and more consistently (can be subtle – dramas love lingering gazes) for that part to be a little less sudden. I would have had him continue to be a jerk to Young-woo in the way he was in the ATM technology case – not sharing info with her, assigning her things he knows she won’t be good at, etc. But I would totally eliminate the part where he goes to Tae Su-mi and makes the deal to get Young-woo to quit and the whole bit where he sends the documents to the opposing lawyer. It’s too dramatic and throws off the whole tone. I would also have introduced his motivation earlier. If you want me to believe he is not just a competitive jerk for the sake of it, I’m going to need his rationale earlier in the show. This drama didn’t give us much background on any of our side characters, which I think is totally fine, but knowing his reasons for needing this job would have gone a long way to helping me develop empathy for him. And finally I would have liked to see him start to change before he realized Sunshine was potentially interested in him. Sunshine could have caught him doing something cruddy to Young-woo and reprimanded him, and that could have been the thing that made him think harder about how he was acting. Then we could have had scenes of him trying to be nicer, or at least more collaborative, but sort of failing at it, and it still could have culminated in their confrontation about him being too politically minded and her wanting him to be more foolish sometimes. The drama did a good job of making me want to cheer for him in the end, but it was hard given his history and short redemption arc.

But others, like zephyr in comment #21 saw where the ship was sailing.

The ending was… not bad, and I suppose all in all it was as measured and as good an ending as we could have hoped for.

Was still a bit disappointed with the loose ends left behind, but I guess given the 16 episode limitation there was only so much they could do. Unfortunately they ended up using symbolic actions to tie up loose ends instead of really developing some plot points, so it couldn’t help but feel rushed.

Min-Woo’s character, for example. I know it’s an unpopular opinion but probably because the actors are good and have chemistry (and fine, let’s face it, are good-looking), the KMW-CSY ship started to grow on me.

An interesting bit of “controversy” arose with the show’s handling of the OTP breakup, reunion, and what happened (or didn’t happen) in between those two plot points. Here’s Sicarius in comment #5:

I actually thought that the way the resolved the break up between Junho and WYW only made me SURER that the break up wasn’t at all necessary and their communication issues did not have to happen the way they did.

I felt that there was no great challenge or moment overcome in how Junho asked for clarification or in how WYW answered that necessitated it happened AFTER what happened in 14, and after a break up, and felt that that conversation in front of her house could’ve itself happened in 14.

In fact, as I felt last week, I feel like their entire relationship from post anxiety hug, but really post kiss in episode 10, should’ve taken a different direction, because I felt that our Whale Couple as a result of all this somehow weirdly didn’t progress or end up that much farther from where they were at in episode 10, which is the very start of their entire romantic relationship. […]

To which Nal agrees:

I totally get your point.

A break-up is usually a big deal in relationships but seeing how it was “easily” resolved, a little couple’s “argument” could have actually been enough to drive this plot point.

But then again is it really a Kdrama if they don’t force feed us an episode 13/14 break up? 😅

And pliplipli brings up another good point:

the fact that we ended up the drama without junho meeting youngwoo’s father is crazy to me. I was sure junho would meet him when he went to youngwoo’s home. and then her dad would talk about their phonecall and THAT would be the factor that would make junho go after her again. not her determination to persuade her mom on that case (like what?? lol). the fact they never met is crazy considering how close youngwoo is to her dad and the fact that he knows how important junho is to his kid. what a wasted opportunity and it would have been so much more emotional than what we got.

And then Aidualc weighs in:

The way in which they resolved the break up reiterated that one wasn’t all that necessary in the first place or at the very least they could have had that talk sooner rather than drag it out to episode 16. That time could have been spent exploring and overcoming other challanges they are bound to face, thus progressing in the relationship. Instead, like you said, they are sort of close to where they started. I don’t know when the show finished filming, but I do wonder if this was the plan all along or they changed some things because of that season 2 possibility.

However, bam has a different perspective:

take it from someone who just went through a Kdrama-esque break-up and resolution:

it’s hardly necessary. communication, understanding of each others’ steadfast commitment, and getting your head out of the angst can do wonders. 😂

Moving on to all things magical and mage-like, lots happened in Alchemy of Souls worth discussing, but the romance having its moment was a much-discussed point — viz., the episode-ending kiss. And these comments only scratch the surface.

Chungking Pineapples in comment #7 noted the wonderful pre-kiss scene:

Everyone’s gushing about the kiss scene, but really all I’m replaying is the scene leading up to that: Mudeok tearfully walking into the room thinking Wook is dead and the fifty range of emotions Jung Simon evokes in a span of 45 seconds when she finds out that he’s really not dead.
Gahhh, just hand JSM an award already. That and her now infamous “Eomoni/Mother” line is more than proof of her acting prowess.
I actually loved ep 18 & how it encapsulated everything the drama set out to be: a bibimbap of comedy, fantasy & romance in equal proportions. It did a wonderful job of showing Mudeok’s reluctance in fleeing w/ the ice stone & gave us such wonderful scenes between her and each of the boys. The different chemistry, relationships, & feelings she has for each of them is golden.

While DancingEmma replied and called out the K-drama-ness of this kiss:

I agree. I loved that scene beforehand but the kiss scene itself didn’t move me anywhere as much. I know it is a bit heretical to say this given the comments but the kiss seemed too rehearsed and paint – by – numbers to truly convey the love and sorrow and impending loss facing our pair. Too many KD kisses are drained of the appearance of spontaneity which is such a pity.

But Miranda has deep thoughts about it:

I unexpectedly liked the way the kiss worked out. I hate the staged kisses that feel like they’ve been directed to death, but in this case I guess I felt the lack of passion was better. It was much more about hands and proximity than actual lips-on-lips heat. He’s cradling her head, and she’s stretching up to meet him, and they’re delicate both in the kiss and the way their arms go around each other.

With these two weirdos and their ongoing love/maim relationship, this felt better than a heated clinch. It wasn’t tenuous (no one felt like they were wary or unsure) but the touch was incredibly light. No physical force behind it at all, but close proximity. It made me think of the whole bird analogy from early on. The kiss was gentle, and this is pretty new territory for both of them.

I don’t know. It felt like that entire kiss was less about passion and more about the last trust barrier dissolving. Everything had been telegraphed in advance so she knew exactly what that “promise” would mean, and she asked for it anyway. And he followed through in a way that didn’t minimize it as a first genuine kiss but as something that was more. She gave up a LOT with that admission, beyond wanting to be with him, and the kiss didn’t distill it to hormones.

Anyway! I was impressed they did something other than a passionate embrace. It surprised me, but in a good way.

As does CcPeeSee in reply:

I love this. I too was thinking of the episode where Mudeok remarked to herself “but I am Uk’s bird egg”.

In light of the ep18 kiss, her giving up her whole quest to return to a lonely past life full of hatred, and embrace a new unknown with someone who has unreservedly chosen her each step of the way,—

“But, I am Uk’s bird egg”.

That wonder, that disbelief that someone would care for her- who had no one and was used and abused to be a tool for revenge, the shadow assassin without a shred of guilt-

Matched with a reckless love(r), that promise fulfilled in the kiss in that secret room where he once jokingly coaxed her to be his wife,

She finally drops her defenses and chooses to be his bird egg.

While some Beanies expressed getting the blahs for the show at this point, many (most?) are still enjoying their way through, and getting ready for a [hopefully] great finale — like zephyr in comment #13:

[…] Reading through the comments here I was a bit surprised that the episodes fell flat for some because I thoroughly enjoyed these episodes.

I feel like we’re finally starting to tie up some loose ends here, although I’m surprised Naksu hasn’t figured out the body she’s inhabiting is Jin Bu-yeon yet. Seems a bit out of character as she’s usually sharp.

I enjoyed the mix of action/comedy and romance in the last 2 episodes and I felt they moved the plot along nicely.

The brawl for the ice stone reminded me a little of the Lord of the Rings and the struggle over the One Ring. I guess it’s the age-old adage of unfettered power and human greed being the downfall of mankind.

The absolute best scene for me was Secret Room scene. Yes, I would’ve liked to have seen Mudeok show more of her new powers, but I suppose the show could be trying to show us how powerful she is by dispatching Master Kang with two moves. Naksu was the most powerful mage in the land after all. All this was put behind me when we got the scene between Mudeok and Jang Uk.

Oh my god. Where do I even begin? JSM’s acting was stellar – the part when she was nearing a breakdown and then quickly collected her emotions when she realised Jang Uk was alive. That exchange between Mudeok and Uk when he asked her why she hid and why she came for him – that was poetic!

I had complained about the last few episodes because I felt like their chemistry was dwindling, but later postulated that perhaps her feelings are only revealed in life and death situations. Boy did they serve!!! I’ve re-watched the scene countless times now.

Now my only fear is that we aren’t going to get a happy ending for them (which unfortunately seems very plausible). I don’t think my heart can take it, and I’m still trying to figure out where things could go from here.

Fingers crossed that we get a great finale!


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Thanks for acknowledging my dissertation on Min-woo, hahaha!

I think I'm a live-watching convert. The beanie commenting community is just too good.


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i am loving these insights and discussions! this is a fun thing indeed.


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Disappointed because @sicarius 's essay on "Alchemy of Souls" kiss hasn't been included when the snippets used are on the same topic and from the same drama :( "Beans of wisdom" algorithm is definitely rigged.


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Asdfghjkl but it's 3000 WORDS LONG EMSEL LMAO


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I thought the same thing!


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I really love this oost ... Thanks


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I actually loved Unaspirated's comments on how Minwoo's evolution from Jerk to something better could have been handled better. They are spot on. On the other hand, I can also accept the fact that his falling for Mis Spring Sunshine was the cause of his choice to move beyond the fear and anxiety which was rooted in his and his family's very tough situation, and to live courageously instead, makes dramatic sense: That was a very tall wall to climb over, and he needed a lot of motivation to climb it. It has the advantage that it provides a plotline to carry forward into a second season.

It goes to show one of the deep ironies of humanity and the exercise of reason: Sometimes people can disagree and both sides be right, as here: Unaspirated was right and the writer was right also.


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