25 November 2013



Oooh, lots of changes this week as our characters learn a little and grow a little and even more importantly, make some real decisions! Bring it on I say!

Episode 13:
Oh what a totally fun episode!  We get so many reversals to both characters and story this week that it really freshens things up.
Starting with Eun-sang's hug. 
Her decision, her choice, her move. Perfect. 
So it turns out that after spending so many episodes trying so hard to win Eun-sang over, all Tan really had to do was appeal to her compassionate side. Stop telling her why she should be with him and just show her. As in turn up outside her workplace with a gut wrenchingly heartbroken expression on his pretty face and watch her resolve to keep away from him just crumble away. 
After all the problem was never whether she liked Tan or not, it was about what she was willing to endure to be with him, so half the battle was always already won. And it turns out that reminding Eun-sang of her true feelings by making her realise just how much she cares for Tan and wants to protect him from ever again feeling as hurt and sad as he clearly did right moment, was just the key to getting Eun-sang to admit to herself that she does really want him.
A lot.

Now Eun-sang is such a cool heroine when she is making her own choices and taking initiative herself. That is why this hug really speaks volumes to me, because it lays bare her true feelings for Tan and gives her control of the situation by providing him with comfort for a change. The moment is really quite lovely as at first he reels with shock before lowering his head into her neck and soaking up the fact that she really does care whether he is happy or not. She cares about him, and only him. Not his future in the business,  not his money or his good family or society blood. She wants him to be okay and that is all.

I can't even imagine how shocking it would be for someone like Kim Tan to come across a person who cares for him in the way that Eun-sang does, sincerely and with no agendas. I doubt he has ever even witnessed anything like that in his life, let alone experienced it. And that is why this moment is so special.  Because it signifies the moment when Tan and Eun-sang are meeting half way, finally on the same page so they can fight these battles together, supporting each other.

So the first big change of this episode is without a doubt Eun-sang. She fully makes the choice to be with Tan and she finally recognises how much she cares for him. It is a scary decision to make of course but boy am I glad she did, not only for the sweet romance and hijinks that come next, but also because it seems to mark the return of spunky Eun-sang. Gone is the moping and sadness, to make way for a stronger feisty girl who can not only take care of herself but Tan as well. 
Or at least not take any crap from him which is just as good.

It turns out that all Eun-sang needed to become the awesome heroine we always knew was in there, was the chance to finally decide what she wanted. 
Tan I guess already began his big turn around last episode with his decision to stop procrastinating and just go for it in regards to the engagement. He is a brave guy, especially when we begin to see the true fallout of his choice, with Tan getting kicked out of the house. (Leading to a fun scene where Eun-sang smacks him for taking a taxi even though he has no money.  I feel he still has a little to learn...). He only furthers this though when he attempts to abolish the whole 'social welfare seat' bullying tactic at school. Apparently he created this awful tradition so he can sure as hell break it too and I just love watching the social 'rules' at the school get turned topside as everyone gets all worked up about what Tan is or isn't allowed to do. This school seriously needed a shakeup and I am so proud of Tan for being the one brave enough to do it. To stand up for the weak and the lowest in the hierarchy even if those victims aren't always that nice either. 
It's this understanding that things need to change that I love so much about him, and now he has started moving forward and being courageous he seems to feel the need to keep moving and keep pushing the boundaries as much as possible. Which is awesome!

As a random aside, this episode we got a little peek through the cracks into what is happening inside of Hyo Shin. Normally such an inscrutable and flippant character, I must say that what we saw was a bit scary. He is totally not okay.

Hyo Shin;  'How far will you go? Do I really need to die?'

His scary Mother; 'You still think your bluff with your life will work? I will never let you give up on yourself. Never'.

We know from his earlier conversations with the other students that he is planning something, and although I know he told Tan he wouldn't I actually feel quite horrified that he still might kill himself, because that body outline at the school which was hovering around in the background of that scene where Tan calls Hyo Shin all worried about him, well it can't mean anything good. 
It was interesting seeing another side to Hyo Shin this episode, the true side of him that is slowly ripping apart at the seams. He is clearly not going to be able to hold on for much longer. 
Which seriously scares me.

Now finally we come to Young-do. 
You know at the beginning of this episode I was thinking that Young-do isn't actually so bad anymore.  He is learning, trying harder to do the right thing etc etc. And for awhile I felt it was true. At the start of the episode he seemed to be hanging back and I thought it was almost as if he was studying Tan, trying to understand him and figure out why he had made the decision he did about revealing his parentage. Almost like it fascinated Young-do but was too far beyond him to make heads or tales of it. And then he even seemed to lose a bit of his bite, becoming less all-terrifying and even a little bit toothless. When he showed up to torment Tan he was just easily brushed aside and dismissed, his threats empty and non substantial. (Like for instance the hotel drawing he did of Tan to stop him getting a room, which by the way was redonkulously hilarious!)

So basically what happened was I got lulled into believing our raging bully had been turned into a cute little puppy....which was obviously a totally stupid thing to think. Because Young-do got worse.
So it starts at the coffee shop where he pays (ahem...so uncool) to get a date with an unwilling Eun-sang. But then he goes from annoying and cocky to completely awkward and embarrassing, until Eun-sang does the mature thing and tells him (not unkindly) that she must reject him. She tells him she is sorry and I believe she means it. But Young-do immediately turns into a petulant hurt child again, saying he can't bully her anymore because it will break his heart but that he will bully everyone else instead!
And then we get the closing scene. I am not sure what his agenda here is, I really don't know. Is it to get time alone with Eun-sang? Is it for his last chance to be close to her? Is it just another game he wants to win against Tan? Is it really, like he says, a way to hurt both himself and Tan? What does that even mean? Is it that he wants to punish Tan for getting the girl by making Tan afraid of losing her and thus forcing his ex-friend to hurt Young-do as a result?  Because Young-do wants to be punished? Or because he hopes to turn Tan back into the monster he used to be as a final revenge, the monster that Young-do knows he himself became in Tan's absence...?
I have no fucking idea so I give up. 
Where's my next episode??!!!

Episode 14:
Aaah here it is!
So I think this is the episode where Young-do finally breaks. And it all starts with this scene.

This plan is Young-do's last ditch effort to lash out and cause true pain. Eun-sang's rejection has hurt him so indescribably and left him with nowhere else to turn. He can't get revenge on her because she wasn't cruel, she was honest and genuinely apologetic to him, which only makes it worse. Young-do is really such a mess, so hurt, so angry and frustrated that he just wants to create more pain to make this terrible true feeling go away. So he scares Tan into thinking he will really hurt Eun-sang so that Tan will hurt Young-do as revenge, hurt him badly. It is what Young-do wants, to feel real pain because anything would be better than the slow feeling of awareness that he has caused this whole situation himself. Tan hates him because Young-do let him down, and Eun-sang likes someone else and not Young-do because Young-do was indescribably cruel to her. And Young-do knows it.

And so as a last ditch effort to create mayhem and to cause hurt to himself and Tan, just enough to dull all the other emotions he feels, Young-do makes Tan so angry that I actually thought Tan would kill him. But Eun-sang holds him back thankfully and we get this charged moment where Tan is standing frozen holding the chair he was about to smash down onto Young-do's head, staring in fury but slowly registering Eun-sang's reasoning, whilst Young-do just stares at her in shock that even after everything he has done she still wants to save him, and knowing she is only getting further and further away from him. Now this is a true love triangle moment if ever I saw one!
After Eun-sang leaves,  Tan and Young-do share a conversation that really effects Young-do and I think this is the moment he gives up and gives in. I think it is over. He is filled with so much rage and hate for everyone around him but his actions are his own and there is no one else to blame. He is just totally messed up inside.
It is actually quite sad.

This episode also features the unfortunate development of boring evil and irredeemable (at least in my opinion) Rachel finding out the truth about Eun-sang and using it to scheme and plot and humiliate.  She has the gall to tell Eun-sang that if she herself cannot have Kim Tan then no one can and she will destroy him too, only to then turn around and look shocked and hurt when Tan tells her he is done with her and that she is no longer his friend. It is like she honestly expects Tan to witness Eun-sang's humiliation and then suddenly wake up and see her the way Rachel does, that Eun-sang is below him and just a classless poverty-stricken silly girl.
Which is crazy!
She honestly honestly believes that her actions will lead Tan back to her, which in a way makes her the worst of the bunch because at least Young-do has always somewhere deep inside understood that he was fucked up, but Rachel believes truly that she is justified in her actions, that she is doing the right thing. She doesn't learn and she doesn't change. I kind of really hate her a lot... (and also can I just point out how totally awesome it was to see Eun-sang giving Rachel a well deserved slap and refusing to be reduced to a wimpy charity case in front of her. Very cool!)

I really loved the climax of this episode, it had so many elements to it that really worked. I liked the way Eun-sang uses Rachel's plotting to her own advantage, by finally revealing her true origins herself. I think it was definitely the best possible way to stop these people from constantly threatening her with the truth, just reveal it herself. And I liked what she said to Tan about it too, that she was never once ashamed of her origins, or been at all embarrassed of her poverty, only the fact that she lied. It is so true that being honest about herself was the best decision she could make to undermine Rachel. Because it changes nothing. Tan still loves her. The people that matter to her like Bo Na and Chan-young (whom I both adore by the way) still care either way. Her life might be harder in some ways at school but I don't think Eun-sang cares. In her own way she destroys Rachel by taking away her power and showing Rachel that Tan doesn't care what Eun-sang has or doesn't have, he only cares about her. What a blow!

That moment that Tan and Eun-sang share at the end of the episode was so lovely. He just stares at her in that serious piercing way that he has, like she is the most beautiful precious thing he has ever seen, right in front of the whole class, and he doesn't care one bit what anyone else thinks. What could possibly be more romantic than that?

Meanwhile back to Young-do, I think by the end of this episode he has come completely undone. Gone is the confidence and bravado, he is drained and empty and actually quite pitiful. Which kind of breaks my heart.
Especially that scene where he offers to help Eun-sang if she needs him to, only to get the reply that she already has enough black knights. Eun-sang is never cruel when she dismisses him but nonetheless she is telling him that she doesn't need him. Because she has Tan.

And then at the party Young-do watches from the darkness as Tan basically lays himself on the line for Eun-sang in front of the whole school, as they share this deep moment of swoony connection where the whole world ceases to exist for them, and it breaks Young-do's heart.
It actually kind of killed me a little.

That's all folks!! :)


  1. We share the same thoughts! When I read your comments about the hug Eun Sang gave to Tan I thought "Yes, yes exactly that! Her decision, her choice, her move.". It was the first time Eun Sang take the initiative in this relationship. It was never about if she likes him but more if she can allow herself to like him. If that makes sense..
    This particular scene I think was the most important and had the most impact in these episodes.
    Generally I think these episodes were about Eun Sang. Stepping up,finding the courage to say the truth, to reject Young Do, to be with Tan. I love her character especially because I found her such a realistic person. Not having all the answers, being scared but finally finding courage, being warm and kind. I so love her.
    And I agree with your thoughts about Rachel. Even though I can understand how she must be feeling, I just don't understand how she still believes that she can have an impact in Tan's life. She goes on and do all these unnecessary, bitchy things and she still thinks she has a right do do them.
    As for Tan, I like your opinion about him making the rules so him breaking them also. I had this thought that Tan created these rules because of his position. Being an "illegitimate"(even though I hate that word and the way people think it's a bad thing) child, in his world meant he had no power. So in order to feel he actually is in the same "good" position as the others he decided to be like that. Of course now he has accepted his situation and knows better so he is trying to change this situation. Also it's very fascinating watching him trying with all his might to free himself and be able to live by his own rules!
    And lastly (because again I'm guilty of long comments) about Young Do. I had kind of lost interest in his character in these episodes(not completely of course!) but reading your thoughts I started rethinking his actions and his behavior and what these mean. It was indeed sad to see him like that in the end. So ... defeated. Thanks for making understand some things about him!

  2. Yes I really love Eun-sang so much as well. I agree with you that she is very realistic so I also think that is why I could understand her and sympathise with her when she was so scared and not able to stand up for herself. It is a very real problem that people endure. But again I am just loving how she stands up for herself and what she wants in these episodes, not only against being bullied but also with Tan. She for the first time makes the first move, expresses herself properly to him, its like their relationship is suddenly between equals.
    Yes Rachel. I just can't like her even though I do understand that she is having a hard time (especially in the newer episides where she tells her mum that she isn't a product to be bartered and sold!) But there doesn't seem to be any compassion whatsoever underneath her cruel behaviour, whilst at least with Young-do there was a real sense of self-loathing that he was taking out on other people. It doesn't make it better but at least he had a real emotional reason for his behaviour. ...

    1. Yesterday I watched the next episodes and that line Rachel said to her mother- I thought it was really appropriate considering her situation. But I feel like she cares only for herself. Really. And Young Do I think he cares for someone else exept for himself. As you said he at least acknowledges the fact that he is not behaving right. Even though I have started thinking that he's doing all these to make himself feel even worse. I feel like he doesn't like himself. He is such a deelpy unhappy person. I really want to see him doing something to change that..

    2. Yeah I totally agree, even though somtimes stuff hapoens to Rachel that should make me feel really sorry for her, she is still too relentlessly cruel to really forgive her actions. Which means basically I just end up really hating her.....
      Young-do on the other hand is much more layered, and I think even more damaged. But you are right that at this point he does care about other people and.not only himself which makes him more likable. Actually I can't help but enjoy Young-do as a character. He is sometimes so incredibly awful but those moments where he just looks so utterly shocked and confused by Eun-sang treating him nicely show that underneath there is a softness and a part of him tbat feels he doesn't deserve to be cared for and that is why up until now no one ever has. If someone shows Rachel a moment of kindness though I feel like she thinks she deserves it, that it is only right she gets treated like she is special.