5 September 2013

WHO ARE YOU: EPISODE 11 & 12

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: WHO ARE YOU (2013)




Wow, episode 11 was so awesome! It hit me right in the gut and in the heart!
I really do love this drama so much and very much enjoyed the emotional depths that this episode delved into in terms of the relationships between basically every single character, as the drama deals with the fallout from Moon-shik's confession. 

It begins with that same scene of Gun Woo reacting to the news that not only has Moon-shik betrayed him but also, in a way, Shi On has too by hiding this information from him and not being honest. I feel like he begins to experience a sense of disillusionment because of this, hurt and shocked by Moon-shik's true identity but also feeling a sense of reality when it comes to Shi On, whom I feel he had sort of placed onto a pedestal as the slightly older and more experienced woman he likes, thinking she could do no wrong (or at least not on a level like this).  
I also feel like as as far as Gun Woo has been concerned he and Shi On are on equal terms, both in their work and in the the way they relate to each other personally,  however I think it suddenly occurs to him at this point that she hasn't been thinking of him in this same way at all, but rather as a subordinate to help her and a colleague whom she is fond of, but not someone she can trust or fully lean on. And I think this cold reality shocks him quite a bit, as if he realises that his love has truly been completely one-sided all this time.


But on the flip side I also feel like Gun Woo's abrupt expression of anger towards Shi On has maybe given her a different perspective on him.  
Its pretty clear straight away to Shi On that she should have been honest from the beginning and kept Gun Woo in the loop (not that I really blame her as she has had a hell of a lot on her mind) but the result of her actions that I like most is that Gun Woo's decent into despondency really changes his and Shi On's whole relationship dynamic.  Suddenly Shi On finds herself thinking about Gun Woo a lot. Is he okay? Has he eaten? Is he alone and drinking too much? 
And this worry about him causes her to begin seeking him out, following him around and helping him in his time of need in a neat role reversal from their former positions of Gun Woo always being the one following his boss around to protect and help her
Worry and caring for Gun Woo may still not be love exactly, but it is still a strong feeling and I think it is a really good beginning on Shi On's part.


Also, now that Gun Woo is no longer following her around like a sweet but harmless puppy, Shi On begins to see another side to him, as well as realising how good he was to her and how little she gave him back. And I don't just mean this in a romantic sense, but just that the dynamic of their relationship was all give on Gun Woo's side and either indifference or outright closed-offness (is that a real word?) from Shi On. 
And this is why I feel that although Moon-shik's betrayal is really heartbreaking and difficult for Gun Woo to work through, in terms of his relationship with Shi On it is actually a really good thing, forcing her to actually stop and think about Gun Woo, about how he is feeling and about how her actions affect him for once.
I feel like this change in the balance of their relationship culminates in Shi On asking Gun Woo to investigate the case with her, almost like she is offering to now involve him all the way and also trust him fully if he does still want to go on this journey with her. 

And seriously, poor Gun Woo! He is so lost this episode and I feel my heart breaking for him. He is such a loud and outgoing character I sometimes forget what a difficult life he has lead, what with the intense guilt he carried all those years regarding his dad's death, as well as the fact that really Moon-shik does seem to be his only friend. And not just a friend but a father figure in fact, making his betrayal of trust all the more terrible for Gun Woo to understand or bear.



One of my absolute favourite scenes in this episode was the bittersweet flashbacks that Shi On has of Hyung-joon in her house. The scenes that these two share of their relationship's past are so utterly lovely and I particularly love the way they aren't overly swoony in a stupid way and are instead kept to these small sweet and very real interactions between these two characters who are clearly so comfortable in each others presence and also very much in love. I think the fact that these flashbacks are always so normal is one reason why they do hit so hard, because its so clear these two were made for each other, that they would have married and lived so happily together in their domestic lives and shared work. 
Which only makes it all the more cruel that this was robbed from them. 

When Hyung-joon appears in front of Shi On and she shows him her hair bow it just made me want to cry. He smiles at her as they share this old joke again after all these years, but its so wan and tired and his eyes look so filled with agony that it is almost too much to watch. And when Shi On begins to run about the house looking for her phone, reminding him so much of old times when they were happy together, Hyung-joon can do nothing but watch on in silence, and the expression on his face. I seriously nearly cried. 
For him to be so close to Shi On, to be standing there and watching her, to be joking with her, but to still always know that the real world is not for him, that he can never engage in it ever again, with Shi On ever again, that he can only silently watch, never changing as the world moves on without him, its just too horrifying, and its all written right there on his face.

The last relationship that this episode explored and focused on was a new one,  taking a look into Moon-shik's past with Hyung-joon, which gave me the impression that Hyung-joon was once a lot like Gun Woo in a way, being Moon-shik's protege and also his close friend.  There is obviously some good in Moon-shik, he is not an outright evil guy, but he did involve himself in something really dark and crooked and so he paid the ultimate price, he actually murdered his friend. 
And yes, I can see that Moon-shik shooting Hyung-joon in that situation was an attempt to save him, but that does not excuse his actions or the fact that Hyung-joon did die, and it most definitely was his Sunbae's direct fault. That whole night was such an utter disaster, and I can believe that Moon-shik has regretted and felt guilty about it ever since, but it still can't change the fact he not only robbed Shi On of her fiancĂ©, but also 6 years of her life.


And of course, because of the guilt that Moon-shik does clearly feel regarding Gun Woo, he calls whilst he is in hiding and gives away his location. But by the time the Detectives track him down to the abandoned building he is already gone, leaving Gun Woo and Shi On alone with a truck load of thugs out to kill them. The worst thing about this situation is that Gun woo thinks his Sunbae set them up, that he was trying to kill them, and although I don't care about this for Moon-shik's sake, I am so glad Gun Woo finds out that it was not true, just because that is too awful for him to have to bear. 

I loved the badass fighting at the end of this episode! It was so much fun watching Gun Woo and especially Shi On kicking arse against so many gangsters and I particularly enjoyed the part where Gun Woo gets knocked down and Shi On swoops in to cover him as thugs try to take swings at them. She is so totally cool! Its moments like these that I just love this pairing!

There is no real redemption for Moon-shik. He can never be exonerated or proven innocent of his crimes because he really did commit them, but still life is never only black and white, and his regard for Gun Woo is real and true, proven when he comes back to save the Detectives instead of fleeing and living a safe life with his family. 

Episode 12's hilarious 'big bad guy reveal' reminds me once again that the plot of this drama is really quite simplistic. Which just proves how much heavy lifting all the other aspects of this show really are doing to keep it so good, from characterisations to relationship growth, emotional stakes, atmosphere and great dialogue, this show is just rocking so hard for me that it didn't even bother me that there was basically only one dude in the entire show who the big bad gang leader even could have been (considering everyone else is either dead or too young). Ta da, its the Police Chief!
But like I said, it doesn't even matter, because even if the mystery isn't exactly totally mysterious it is still tense watching our two Detectives run around trying to solve the case because you really do feel like the stakes they are facing are real and dangerous. And the other thing this show does right is that it has heart, as in bucketloads!


This episode was about two things: the not so twisty but still ultra dramatic and engaging drug smuggling conspiracy, and also the idea of facing life after death (and I don't mean in the ghostly sense, I mean a person actually living on after the loss of a loved one and surviving that loss).

Now this is a difficult topic which I do think was handled well and not in an insensitive 'just get over it' kind of way.  Because obviously there is no actual getting over it, but in saying that a choice to keep living on does need to be made, and the saddest thing is that by making the choice to embrace life again and live fully, Shi On would need to let Hyung-joon go, an idea that I am pretty sure has not even crossed her mind as an option at this point.
As far as Shi On is concerned she would be happy to continue on this way forever, and she has said as much in an earlier episode, telling Hyung-joon that the long as he is beside her it is okay, even if it is only like this. But of course literally living with a ghost, especially one who can neither talk or interact with you fully is nothing but living a half life, not dead certainly but definitely not alive either. I can see why this option would be attractive to her though, only because she still loves him and it is better than the thought of letting Hyung-joon go, and that is the reality of her situation.

Hyung-joon on the other hand though, is beginning to understand what this future would mean for Shi On and face the cold cruel fact that his presence isn't good for her,  keeping her in this frozen and suspended state whereby she cannot grieve for him properly because he is still there, but she cannot be with him again and be happy either.
But of course right now they still have a mystery to solve and there is no way Hyung-joon would ever leave anyway until he was sure that Shi On was safe, but still, he is going to have to make a decision on what he will do when they are done. And the heartbreaking this is that it is not really a choice at all.
He will have to leave.
Or Shi On will have to die (and there are still no guarantees they would be together even then) but seriously what man would actually want the woman he loves to die and finish with life before she was meant to?


So at the beginning of the episode we go back to Moon-shik getting stabbed. I didn't really think he would, but he actually dies in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and Gun Woo is devastated. His confusion and hurt is so raw and twisted, and after the funeral (which only he and Shi On attend because after all the guy was a cop killer) Gun Woo just drops off the face of the earth, hiding in his tiny lonely room and basically being a mess. After a week of this Shi On tries to rouse him from these dark depths, telling him nothing is over yet and they still need to catch the criminals who did this. And even though Gun Woo doesn't respond to her at all when she is trying to comfort him, (either at the funeral or later at his house) I still really liked that she tried anyway. This is the man that killed her fiancĂ© and destroyed her life and yet, for the sake of Gun woo, Shi On tried her best to understand him and not be angry in an open way that would only confuse Gun woo even further. Her actions here just once again prove to me exactly what type of a woman Shi On is, and how caring she is under her strong and capable facade.

And poor Gun woo, he is just so confused. On one hand here is the man who has helped him at work countless times, who has basically become a trusted mentor and father surrogate who he not only respects but also loves, and then on the other hand this same man he thought he knew was also a crooked dirty cop whose upstanding image of honesty and justice was just a lie. He is a killer (whether he meant to be or not) and he has destroyed lives. And yet Moon-shik also felt guilty about this, and he did love Gun woo, and he even died to prove it.
Gun Woo cries in his room, but there are no answers for him no matter how hard he tries to search for a meaning behind these events. Moon-shik was what he was and Gun Woo whispers;  'Now... a chance to forgive Sunbae..... there seems to be none.'

Meanwhile, Shi On has been investigating on her own and one night coming home she reminisces about her times with Hyung-joon, particularly a conversation they shared on a similar evening when he walked her home. From their conversation it is pretty clear this couple have history, and have known eachother forever. They speak about Shi On's parents who died in a car accident leading her to give up driving, and Hyung-joon says he will always be her driver, as well as her friend and her lover. But then he died and left her alone.
Hyung-joon appears and stares at Shi On sadly back in the present, but his presence is only fleeting and soon he is gone, leaving her wishing silently that he never leaves her.


It is this same night that Gun woo makes his own decision to rejoin the world after his loss, and he turns up at Shi On's house looking fresh and like himself again, which she is obviously very pleased to see. He asks to be included in her investigation, and I like the moment where she leads him inside to her wall of suspects and evidence which she has been secretly collecting by herself up until this point. It is like she is letting him in and trusting him with this precious information, and also as if they are now in this together as equals who can support and help each other to the end, instead of like they used to be with Gun woo following always one step behind Shi On. I also liked the way he looks at her in this scene, quietly impressed and finally beginning to understand her strong drive that has been constantly pushing her forward.

Their investigation leads them to a pawn shop where Moon-shik left some evidence for them but before they can retrieve it the thugs turn up to ruin everything, and once again everyone ends up at a stalemate in a car basement, quite possibly about to die. Gun Woo saves the day however by throwing the evidence, the crushed phone, at the gang guys giving them what they wanted and giving him and Shi On time to escape. But he is a crafty dude after all and still has the SIM card in hand, which the two Detectives bring to their resident nerdy cute tech guy. There is a bit of lightness here, reminding me of Shi On and Gun Woo's fun comfortable chemistry that emerges whenever the two aren't being either chased or yelling at each other, and these scenes were fun to watch.


And (I loved this scene) when Gun Woo walks Shi On home late at night, we see him say the exact words that Hyung-joon had said to her once as he walked beside her, Gun Woo's simple complaints taking on a much deeper meaning as his words highlight how without even meaning to, he is beginning to take over that vacant spot of friend and protector in Shi On's life.
And when Gun Woo asks her about her parents and she confesses she won't drive because of the accident they had (poor girl has lost everyone!), Gun Woo tells her in a sweetly awkward but very firm way that from now on he will drive her.  He looks at her hopefully as he awaits her reply, but Shi On just tells him not to promise things that he doesn't know about. He doesn't know what will happen in the future.
Her words remind me that this potential couple have another obstacle in their path that I hadn't even thought of, Shi On's wounded heart. And also possibly her lack of ability to even believe in the idea of falling in love again, as why would she want to considering she may face the loss of someone she loves again in the blink of an eye. Why would she trust her future to another man when she has no idea what could happen?
But Gun Woo isn't deterred and he tells her forcibly that he is a person who takes responsibility for his words, and when he leaves he is smiling again, because although Shi On didn't answer him, I think he has finally explained to her what is inside his heart and made her believe he is sincere. He has promised her that he will look after her and that he is genuine and serious, and he did it all in such a non-pressurising way, which is exactly what Shi On needs right now. She needs someone to be strong and steadfast beside her who doesn't demand anything back in a hurry, and Gun Woo has basically just offered himself for the job.

Jeez this is such a bloody long review!
So to wrap stuff up the episode finishes with Shi On being kidnapped (Dum dum dum!) and with Gun woo and Hyung-joon both finding out who the big bad gang leader is, a plot twist that was so surprising I never saw it coming.... :)







2 comments:

  1. It's funny isn't it how different opinions can be. I wonder if we're even watching the same show! I just can't buy into the relationships of these characters at the moment, as much as I do like them. My mind starts to wander now whereas before, I was pretty hooked. I did enjoy that Shi On kicked some real ass and the flash backs of her & HJ are sweet. But it's just not doing it for me as a whole. I'm keep hoping for the medium and the trainee to appear more to provide some comic relief! They're the only ones who seem to be having any fun on the show!

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  2. Yeah it really is odd how two people can watch the same drama and get such completely opposite reactions! Interesting though :-)
    I dunno why this show has grabbed me so much but its probably one of my favourites from this whole year. All I can hope is that the ending doesn't totally suck and that if Shi On does decide she is in love with Gun Woo that its believable, because there isn't much time left to get them together and I am still not sure ahe is fully there yet. Fingers crossed!! :-)

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