Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 5 & 6

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Pil Joo continues to impress with his master strategist moves, and Money Flower continues to suck me into its dark and dangerous web. It’s quite sublime. 🤩

I hope you guys are ready to chat about Money Flower episodes 5 & 6! Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:

1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. I repeat: no spoilers for future episodes please! We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this pair of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 5

Our story is swirling with more complications and darkness (and fantastically charged dramatic music) than ever, and it’s compelling and dysfunctional and delicious, all at the same time.

As we’d predicted, Seo Won absolutely hasn’t come back to dabble in child’s play; she’s clearly got her eyes set on being acknowledged as the mother of Boo Cheon’s baby, and is ready to play hard in this high stakes game.

From the way she slyly leaves the sonogram in Boo Cheon’s shirt pocket, to the way she makes friendly contact with Mo Hyun then collapses on the bathroom floor thus prompting a connection between her and Mo Hyun, once Mo Hyun moves to help her, to the way she basically threatens Boo Cheon with suicide, Seo Won is bringing it, and to be honest, I find her a lot more interesting than Mo Hyun. Well, part of that has to do with how she’s threatening to derail Pil Joo’s grand plan by refusing to quietly leave the picture like he tells her to, so there’s a can’t-look-away-from-this-impending-trainwreck appeal too, I think. 😅

Of course, part of what makes Seo Won interesting as well, is the fact that she’s not a one-dimensional villain type of character. In fact, she seems genuinely frightened and distraught when Pil Joo seeks her out and basically uses violence to intimidate and threaten her. And, it seems like she does consider Pil Joo’s quietly lethal offer for a while, before deciding that she will fight back.

Speaking of which, Pil Joo really is an antihero type; there are things that he does in this scene (well, in this whole show, honestly) that should have me condemning him, but I find that I’m quite hypnotized; it’s like I can’t look away.

He seems to flip a switch in his head, when Seo Won starts to talk about going to Mal Ran as the grandmother of her baby. The way he casually and methodically flips over the table, along with all the food on it; the way he gets up and walks towards her, all measured and purposeful; the way he grabs Seo Won by the throat and tells her to answer that she’s understood what he’s said; it’s all so menacing, in a tightly-coiled-yet-languid sort of way. Even the way his voice tightens mirrors the way his hand is tightened around her throat. I know I’m supposed to feel repelled by this intimidation, but I am quite spellbound. 🤭

Certainly, my sympathy for Pil Joo comes from his context, and Pil Joo’s entire stance on Seo Won takes on a deep pathos, when we realize that he sees his mother’s situation mirrored in Seo Won’s.

When Yong Goo asks Pil Joo if he will just keep giving Seo Won large amounts of money, Pil Joo’s answer, that he will have to keep giving Seo Won money, until he loses the memory of him, his mother and his brother falling into the water, says a lot about what his true attitude is, towards Seo Won. There’s a lot more empathy in him for Seo Won, than he lets on, and this puts a whole new spin on the way he threatens Seo Won. Now, in a twisted sort of way, it even looks like he’s threatening Seo Won for her own good, because it wouldn’t do her or her baby any good, to be entangled with Cheong A.

This episode, we also hear Pil Joo talk about his revenge plan, when Yong Goo asks him what he plans to do after he succeeds in making Boo Cheon Chairman of Cheong A.

“When [Mal Ran] sees Boo Cheon is nothing but a scarecrow… and that I have the complete control over the company, she’ll feel immensely wronged… that she won’t be able to wipe all her tears with her hands. I’ll wipe her tears away… and tell her who I am.”

Hmmm. That’s interesting, that Pil Joo’s first response when it comes to his revenge plan, is to tell Mal Ran his true identity. Based on his earlier voiceover, where he’d told Mal Ran not to give way to anything, “until he pokes his own eyes, cuts his own flesh, and throttles himself,” I’d gotten the impression that Pil Joo’s primary target was Grandpa Chairman. It looks like Mal Ran has a big emotional impact on Pil Joo, for him to name her response to his true identity as a primary goal in his revenge plan.

I guess this could go back to our theory that Mal Ran’s seduced Pil Joo since his teens, and used sex as a tool to control him? Despite Pil Joo’s unruffled demeanor, it’s quite possible that Mal Ran’s done more damage to him as a teen than one might first realize. 🤔

Even now, in the present, we still seem to see a subtle emotional power tussle between Mal Ran and Pil Joo. The way she tries to gift him with what looks like a very expensive watch, and the way he plays along for a while, before taking it off and asking her to only give it to him on the day of Boo Cheon’s wedding, appears to be subtext for his rejection of her advances.

The body language in this screenshot lines up with my theory: the way he’s sitting upright, with his head slightly tilted back, and looking at her through lowered lids, implies a position of relative power, while the way she’s leaning down to proffer the watch, implies a position of relative submission. It’s becoming clear to me in a way that I hadn’t realized on my first watch, that even though Mal Ran is technically the master, and Pil Joo, her servant, in many ways, Mal Ran is the one craving Pil Joo’s acceptance and affirmation.

Now, I’m not saying that Pil Joo rejects all of Mal Ran’s advances, because, as we’ve seen, there are times that Pil Joo takes Mal Ran into his arms to comfort her. However, it’s becoming clear that he doesn’t accept all of her advances, and this selective rejection seems to be an assertion of power, in a way. It’s all quite dysfunctional and completely captivating. 🤭

On a random tangent, can I just say that in the scene where Mo Hyun’s father asks Pil Joo if he can guarantee Mo Hyun’s happiness in her marriage to Boo Cheon, Pil Joo’s response is played brilliantly by Jang Hyuk. All Pil Joo says is, “Yes,” but that sheen of tears in his eyes is unmistakeable, and says so much about how he truly feels about watching Mo Hyun marry Boo Cheon. 💔

At this point, I just wanted to say that for all of Boo Cheon’s whiny helplessness and foolishness, he really does seem emotionally affected by the realization that Seo Won is carrying his baby.

Credit to Jang Seung Jo, Boo Cheon’s reaction, as he starts to process the fact that he’s going to be a father, is played with complexity. Boo Cheon still comes across as whiny and helpless, and there’s definitely a deer-in-headlights sort of shock in his gaze, but there’s also a.. desire to be responsible, whether or not he has the ability to be responsible.

Even though Pil Joo makes complete sense when he tells Boo Cheon that he can’t have both Cheong A and Seo Won, Boo Cheon can’t seem to accept this. He’s definitely reacting in a manner that’s strongly emotional, and probably not at all helpful to Pil Joo’s big plan. And that’s why he completely falls for Seo Won’s (probably fake) suicide attempt, and seems set to dig himself deeper, even though Pil Joo’s done everything to try to keep Boo Cheon out of this pit of complications.

I found the scene of Pil Joo and Boo Cheon sitting together after their father’s memorial service very ironically poignant. The significance of the candy never really clicked before in my head, but it’s now apparent to me, that Dad had loved those candies, and had made a habit of bringing them to his sons. Which is why Kyung Cheon had loved them when he was alive, and why both Pil Joo and Boo Cheon have fond memories of receiving them as treats when they were kids. How.. sadly twisted, that their individual emotional attachments to the candies, all stem from them having the same father. 😧

And now, Mal Ran’s got her radar out for Eun Cheon, while President Jang’s determined that if Pil Joo won’t agree to work with Yeo Cheon, then he needs to be rooted out of Cheong A for good. The fences are tightening around Pil Joo.. or are they?

Episode 6

Oh, what a tangled, convoluted, intricate web we weave, and how deliciously spellbinding, to see Pil Joo control it all, as this drama world’s ultimate puppet master. 🤩

What a journey Show takes us on, with us spending the bulk of the hour following what happens to Cheong A after Pil Joo is forced to resign; there’s so much angst and trouble that they struggle with, without Pil Joo there to make it all go away like he’d always done. And then, just when we think that Pil Joo’s turned the tables on Grandpa Chairman such that he’s able to get his job back, it turns out that Pil Joo was the very one who’d leaked the information about Pil Joo’s illegal purchasing of Cheong A shares to Yeo Cheon’s informant. 🤯

That blew my mind, to be honest. It kinda-sorta reminds me of how Pil Joo gave Mo Hyun the information about him and Boo Cheon’s true identities, thus sabotaging his own plan. However, in this case, this isn’t brought about by Pil Joo wrestling with his conscience. Pil Joo did this, with careful deliberation and intricate precision, masterminding every little detail along the way, so that Grandpa Chairman would realize his value, and have no choice but to ask him back, to solve all of their problems, and this is when Pil Joo would have the most bargaining power.

Wow. That amount of shrewd foresight and meticulous planning is nothing short of spectacular. With my first watch of this show several years behind me, I’ve forgotten many of the details, and so, I was breathlessly on the edge of my seat during the whole reveal. So. Freaking. Good. And, Pil Joo’s slow, deliberate victory walk up the stairs at Mooshimwon is quintessential coiled panther; so full of ease and grace, yet clearly full of lethal power too. 🤩

Of course, Show can’t let us forget the whole idea of Fate having a hand in connecting Pil Joo and Mo Hyun. Not only do they (really, truly) coincidentally run into each other while bird-watching, we are given more insight into their childhood connection, where Mo Hyun had been there to save Pil Joo, even though she didn’t live in Gapyeong. She’d been in the area only because she’d signed up for a training camp. And now, she still likes honey, because of the honey that Pil Joo had given her back then, after she’d saved him.

It does feel like Show’s going a bit ham with the childhood connection between Pil Joo and Mo Hyun, but since this is, at its elegant heart, a makjang, I guess I should expect it, heh.

I have to admit that Mo Hyun is coming across as a bit too sweet and innocent to feel real, at the moment, and I do think that this has to do with Park Se Young’s delivery. I do concede that it’s not an easy task to portray someone as extremely wholesome and pure, without it feeling a little forced, especially in a context where everyone else in this drama world feels like a murky shade of gray. With this scene in particular, where Mo Hyun is happily and absentmindedly musing about her past encounter with the boy who’d given her honey, it feels a bit awkward to my eyes.

What makes it work, though, is the way that Pil Joo looks at her. There’s such a thoughtful, rueful sort of sadness in his gaze. And when Mo Hyun talks about wanting to scold the boy if he weren’t living well in the present, I feel like there’s a part of Pil Joo that feels apologetic for letting her down, because he knows that he isn’t living well the way she wants him to live well.

Once again, I’m far more interested in the relationship between Pil Joo and Mal Ran. I never paid such close attention to the details in my first watch, so the more subtle hints that Show serves up to clue us in on the nature of the relationship between Pil Joo and Mal Ran were lost on me. This time, however, I’m paying a lot more attention, and I must say that Show is consistently giving us subtle but clear cues, so that we have enough subtext to piece together what we need to know, without Show having to be too explicit about it.

The first clue we get this episode, is in the way Mal Ran goes to Pil Joo’s room and sits on his bed, contemplating his absence, as she touches the sheets. Uh. This is the first time I’m noticing this, and it’s such a big giveaway, to how she feels about him. She didn’t think about him while sitting at his desk, or in his kitchenette; she thinks about him while caressing the sheets on his bed. In the dark. Ahem. 😏 I must have been blind before, ha.

The other scene that stands out to me, is how she meets Pil Joo after his return to Cheong A, in the semi-darkness, with her hair all poufed up. This isn’t her usual businesslike elegant ponytail; this is Touch Me hair for sure. And, she sets the scene by telling Pil Joo that words cannot express how lucky she is to have him by her side. Given the intimate surroundings, I gotta say, this sounds like a preamble to a seduction scene. Because if words can’t express it, how else might she express it..? Cough.

He pours champagne, while she reaches for his cheek, and apologizes for hitting him, saying that it must have hurt. Again, Pil Joo firmly but subtly rejects her advances; he makes as if to hold her hand to his cheek, but effectively removes it, and puts a champagne flute in it instead. He’s so deliberate and smooth that she can’t fault him for it, but I feel like I can see the rejection register in her eyes.

I’m actually quite blown away by Pil Joo’s response, when Mal Ran asks him about Ahn Ho Kyung, whose death was registered by Pil Joo’s (foster) father. I mean, this must be a difficult conversation for Pil Joo to have, since this is about his mother, and yet, he tells Mal Ran the story as if he really wasn’t Eun Cheon, and she really was a random, pitiful crazy lady, who’d cared for him in his growing up years.

Gosh, that story that he recounts, about her dying in her sleep while cuddling him, and him not realizing that she was dead, is so chilling especially because this is his mother that he’s talking about. And yet, Pil Joo manages to stay completely unruffled and calm, while relaying the sordid details. Had he rehearsed this moment in his mind, in case it ever happened?

On top of Pil Joo’s calm, I’m also blown away by the look of complete innocence that his features take on, as he looks up at Mal Ran while telling this story. In this moment, he really looks like a lost little boy, which is quite amazing, really, considering how impassive he is, most of the time. That’s some great micro-expression emoting there by Jang Hyuk, and I am suitably impressed. 🤩

It looks like things are going to get even more complicated from here on out, with Mal Ran determined to put any suspicion about Pil Joo maybe being Eun Cheon to rest. It’s noteworthy, though, how she throws a bit of an angry fit, when Secretary Oh suggests the correlation, and insists that she knows Pil Joo better than anyone in the world. Again, words that sound like they’re spoken by an offended lover, personally insulted at the suggestion that there might be something about Pil Joo that she doesn’t know.

We end the episode with Mal Ran receiving the DNA test results, from what look to be strands of hair that Secretary Oh had collected from Pil Joo’s sheets. Ooh. How is Pil Joo going to get out of this tight spot? Coz he has to, right?

47 thoughts on “Open Thread: Money Flower Episodes 5 & 6

  1. Pingback: Announcement: Dr. Romantic Group Watch! [plus bonus Money Flower Group Watch!] | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. Georgia Peach

    Now finally, I’ve had the opportunity to read all the responses. So agree with all of ya’ll’s observations. Goodness, can’t you just feel the screws tightening! Fangirl, you are always honed in on the best and most crucial moments in any drama. What a well written and well played character Pil Joo is. So good that it allows your imagination to run wild with the possibilities of what he’s thinking. Like the seduction between PilJoo and MalRan. One wonders who is seducing who…what a dance of devils! And the champagne flute scene… had he anticipated at some point MalRan’s question and was ready with an answer or did he because of his quick mind think of this response on the spot? Was the tailgate scene was played well? Park SeYoung did play it a bit too innocent. However, I want to think that this was the way PilJoo was perhaps seeing her because his gazes were so intense. On to episodes 7 and 8!!!

    Reply
  3. Geo

    @KFG: Just dropped in to say, despite my intentions, I’ve ended up missing both group watches. I’ll come back to Money Flower sometime in the future but I’m not sure about Dr Romantic. The problem started with my watching Love in the Moonlight/Moonlight Drawn by Clouds which I started after Chuno but before the Dr Romantic group watch started. It was so good, light fare after the intense Chuno, that I had to finish it, a wonderful OTP with great chemistry. Then I idly watched a couple of episodes of Nirvana in Fire just to get a sense of the show (which I voted for) before starting Money Flower and that was the end of my watching Money Flower or any other shows at this time.

    I was absolutely blown away by NIF and I think I agree with you that it is the best Asian Drama ever, at least so far. I now find myself deep into NIF with no interest in watching anything else right now. I’m actually savouring the last ten episodes or so, not wanting this to end. It is a truly amazing show and with the impending conclusion, I’m consoled by NIF2 still to view.

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      Ooh, Geo, I definitely plan to watch Nirvana in Fire next. You’ve made me very intrigued if you’ve passed over Jang Hyuk to watch it! Do go back to Money Flower. It won’t disappoint 😊

      Reply
  4. phl1rxd

    Excellent write up of these two heavy-duty episodes Fangurl.

    Sigh, I had forgotten how sad Pil Joo’s childhood was. You just cannot hate his character, especially when he is showing his Mei Chang Su-like planning. Those moments are so thrilling for me.

    I remembered how much I loved Yong Goo. I find him fascinating and perk up every time he is on my screen. He really is my kind of guy – talented, clever, brainy, loyal and nerdy. I can’t remember how he and Pil Joo developed their friendship so I look forward to that re-reveal.

    Fangurl – I agree that the relationship between Pil Joo and Mal Ran is highly sexual in a twisted and manipulative kind of way. I can only imagine the bedroom scenario is be quite unique (I am putting it nicely).

    Then there is Seo Won and Boo Cheon. Seo Won seems much better suited to this dis-functional family than Mo Hyun. I also cringed at the ‘back of the SUV’ scene and MH’s over the top innocent expressions. In fact, it is the only thing I felt was out of place in the entire drama when I first watched it. It also made me a little sad that she will definitely go through some pain when/if everything is exposed, and if so, I wonder if she would become like them.

    There is something I totally missed in my first watch – that is the scene on the steps in E6 after Boo Cheon is released from jail. MH tells him that she will stick with him no matter what, and I can actually see BC’s heart soften as he begins to feel what happens in healthy relationships. Jang Seung-Jo did a great job with that scene. It highlighted for me how sick the whole family is.

    Let’s face it, to marry into this bunch would certainly change anyone. Just getting through a meeting with the Chairman is enough to give a rational person PTSD. What a miserable wretched man, all the more so as he thinks so highly of all of his dealings with the family. Lee Soon-Jae is hands down a master at his craft! It really is a treat to see his scenes together with Jang Hyuk. These are classic and can be used for any acting class.

    There are three things that this drama did that soar to the level of excellence – the perfect soundtrack, the insanely crazy cliff hangers and the top notch level of acting. Ugh, I do not know if I can wait another week for the next two episodes. It just sucks you in and won’t let you go. It is that darn good.

    Reply
    1. Ele Nash

      Oh, yes, Lee Soon-jae is magnificent. I LOVE him in this. Genius. Hateable indeed (your PTSD comment made me snort on my cuppa 😆) yet he’s complex and compelling and very human. No cardboard cut out villains here! Not even Mal Ran.

      I think Yong Goo has been around Pilju since teens? He’s my kind of guy too. I think it says so much that Pilju has a bestie like him, and fell in love with someone as softhearted as Mohyun. Like Bucheon, Pilju’s not really a fit for the ruthless world of Cheong A, but unlike Bucheon, he has the brains and embittered drive to succeed in it.

      I’m having to hold back from gorging on the show too! It is brilliant 💓

      Reply
  5. Leslie

    A costuming observation: Pil Jo/Jang Hyuk’s wardrobe is impeccably tailored! JH is neither a tall nor big man (5’9”/180cm), but the proportion and fit of Pil Jo’s clothing make him look taller and more substantial. This is a feat especially with the long trench coats Pil Jo favors. I love this attention to detail when building a character.

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    1. Drama Fan

      Yes, I noticed this and the use of different camera angles. Jang Hyuk is actually 174.5 (and he makes sure to not let people forget about the .5 🤣)

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    2. Ele Nash

      @Leslie He looks very smooth 😍 Am watching Vincenzo at the mo and Song Joong-ki is rocking the dapper suit too. I feel like I’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy but, damn it, there’s something about a man in a well-tailored suit that’s just… sigh.

      @DramaFan Small but perfectly formed 😊

      @SnowFlower I beg to differ. I don’t think anyone can make a parka look good 😆 But I do like Jang Hyuk’s hair in this series.

      P.S. I would “like” every comment but I have no like button sometimes or when I do, I press it and it scuttles away into the ether…. Just saying so you don’t think I’m being rude!

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    3. Georgia Peach

      Leslie, I have always thought that KDrama dressed their male actors better than the female actors. Best Example: Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook In Goblin. Also most any drama about prosecutors and lawyers you find expertly tailored suits on the stars of the show.

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        1. Georgia Peach

          Trent…Agree! But those clothes were not for the woman who was the least bit faint of heart. The clothes exemplified the moxie both characters had. Not everyday wear for most of us women. Perhaps SonYeJin in Crash Landing…came very close to wearing very, very fashionable and yet wearable clothes with her character.

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          1. Trent

            Again, good points. Those were some very avant-garde ensembles, particularly the ones Seo Ye-ji was rocking. Most people not named Seo Ye-ji would not perhaps have been able to carry some of those outfits off with the same level of panache.

            (To be fair and flip genders, I would look ridiculous in a JH-as-Piljoo or SJK-as-Vincenzo suit…).

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            1. Georgia Peach

              Trent, I think we could all profit from a KDrama make over. LOL I’m sure once a Kstylists got finished with you…you’d rock those suits! At 5 feet and a bit round I’d not be able to do what Seo YeaJi did for those clothes…even with a Kstylist!

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          2. beez

            @Georgia Peach – ditto! Some of the stuff worn on Its Okay yadda yadda were too far out there, as in looked like they belonged on a runway of those spaced out designers that rich people who fall for the hype that it’s good design just because it’s different (weird). But the clothes in CLOY were quite stylish. Especially that black-brown leather-trench coat of what’s-her-name. Sorry I’m too pooped to look up how to spell the names and I know I’d butcher them if I try to spell them from memory.

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        2. beez

          @Trent @Georgia Peach – while I agree that males in Kdrama generally dress better than women, we have to remember that usually the men iare chabeoul/executives and the women tend to be hard working part-timers/secretaries.

          P.S. Gong yoo’s wardrobe in Goblin just makes me melt at the quality of those garments.

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      1. Snow Flower

        Mal Ran’s clothes in Money Flower are super cool. Lee Mi Sook could easily be a model. The female lead in Misty also had well tailored professional suits. I also liked the minimalistic style of Kim Hee Ae in Secret Love Affair. All of these characters are mature and/or professional women and their clothes are impeccable. The younger heroines in kdramas tend to be dressed in girlish-looking clothes.

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      2. Drama Fan

        Oh but in this one I like how Mo Hyun is dressed. Its understated but elegant imo. I tend to notice her earrings. Kdrama should use their female actresses better since they live on PPL and us women tend to be more susceptible to fashion lol

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        1. Georgia Peach

          You are so right! I fell victim to PPL some time ago and was able to get a ring that Gong HyoJin wore in That’s Ok, It’s Love. The ring was from J Estina. Have loved wearing it and telling the story of how I got it when someone compliments it!

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        2. Snow Flower

          Mo Hyeon’s clothes are very elegant too. Whoever did the clothes’ design/selection for Money Flower did an excellent job indeed. I also like the modern hanboks worn by Grandpa Chairman and his companion.

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    4. Georgia Peach

      And let’s not forget the homage to Chuno in episode 3. Fresh from the shower and wrapped in a towel…and MalRan nor PhilJoo even blinked. From my view point there’s nothing wrong with 5’9” Jang Hyuk!

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  6. Ele Nash

    Oh, great insights as always, kfangurl 😍 I am enjoying this rewatch so much and am positively excited each week to see your thoughts and everyone else’s 😊

    I knew what was coming but I still loved the reveal that Pilju had planned the whole shebang, manipulating Grandpa Chairman, and Uncle President and Yeocheon (whose smirk as Grandpa basically humiliated Pilju was highly slappable). The tears in Pilju’s eyes I almost believed, like Grandpa’s zero-tolerance, even to him who’d done so much, was, literally, thrown back in his face and hurtful to Pilju. Shout out to Mr Woo and his repressed hostility at having been equally mishandled by smiling-yet-ruthless Uncle President. To know Pilju wasn’t a victim of Cheong A was brilliant. He’s totally on top of this game. The victory, as you say, coiled panther walk was mesmerizing 💓

    Sometimes I can barely watch the way Mal Ran paws Pilju. Yet, I can’t actually look away! The manipulation of both of them with that sexual undertone is incredibly uncomfortable but they each play it so well. How repulsed is Pilju when she touches his face? How aware is she that she uses these means when she feels vulnerable? Ugh. But ooh. I think Pilju’s audacity has never been more evident than when he retakes her hand and looks up at her, all innocence, to say that sometimes the mad woman his (foster) father took in called him Kyoung Cheon or Euncheon. How his own hand didn’t tremor to say this out loud, how he revealed nothing of what must have been a tsunami of pain and grief and rage, is frankly chilling.

    Just to add re Mohyun. I get she’s a bit doe and naive but I don’t mind her. She could afford to have more complexity and clearer emotional changes – as she did in the lake saving teen Pilju – but I feel like she’s a dreamer, a little lost in ideas about people, rather than present in the moment. A good example is after Bucheon’s arrest, in the cafe with Pilju (who, incidentally, does come across a bit stalker-ish at times. Sometimes I wonder how creeped out I’d be by Pilju if I were Mohyun!) Anyway, she reflects how lonely Bucheon must have felt, all the while not even seeing or thinking the man sat in front of her is lonely too. Lonelier. The loneliest.

    And lastly, the mistress. Ah, Yoon Seowon, I love her tenacity. I think she clings to Bucheon, not for status, money, security, but for love. Is it just me, or is she actually a good fit for Bucheon? When she goes into the water (why always water?!) I think she’s not suicidal, she’s desperate. Bucheon saying sorry over and over to her (on the memorial day of his father) I thought showed a very strong side to Bucheon, to them both. Left to their own devices, without Mal Ran’s ambition and Pilju’s revenge, I think Seowon and Bucheon might have been happy.

    Ok, I will stop writing… just, oh, Pilju setting out his father’s memorial, carving out a role for himself. Oof. And often he doesn’t seem at all approving or relaxed around Bucheon, but that was a touching moment they shared, a lovely simple-yet-fraught-with-complications bond over those sweets. I loved that and especially Bucheon’s laugh that Pilju was eating his (their) father’s sweets when he could have been annoyed 😍

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Yes Ele – that Yeo-Cheon smirk was kimchi-slappable! I agree that BC and SW were a good pair.

      The first thing I thought when I saw that water scene was ‘how cold it was’ and ‘they must be freezing’. If you look closely you can see they are shaking. The things K Actors do for their dramas are commendable.

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      1. Ele Nash

        The winters in Korea look bitterly cold 😨 and the summers meltingly hot 😥 They should probably only film in spring and Autumn for the sake of those actors who are overdressedand sweating in Saegeuk or rushing into icy water 😆 Health and safety doesn’t seem quite a thing in kdramaland!

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  7. Sharra

    You can’t help but be fascinated/enthralled each time Mal Ran and Pil Joo are on the screen together. I do wish they had chosen a better actress for the Mo Hyun as it ruins my enjoyment. That car scene with a better actress would have drawn you in but all I see is JH knocking it out and the female actress just widening her eyes! There is no nuance or subtly. One thing that strikes me about Pil Joo is that he does try to do the right thing no matter how twisted his logic is. I have always thought when he put his plan his action he genuinely thought Bu Cheon would be a good match for Mo Hyun. The way he goes about protecting Bu Cheon’s mistress and his child is really tough to watch but we and Pil Joo know that it can get much much worse.

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    1. Drama Fan

      I liked Park Se Young in Beautiful Mind and what I vaguely recall of Faith, but I agree here, I wish she had just played the character straightforward without having to use the literal “wide eye innocent” expression. It wasn’t necessary. A person can be a naive dreamer without having to “look” it. But I notice this in many kdrama actresses, even the good ones. Im rarely fond of the extra “bubbliness”.

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      1. Sharra

        Aah interesting I just assumed this was her first drama! And maybe she was intimidated by JH’s glorious presence.. I am at some point going to watch Beautiful Mind so that will be interesting to see if I find her better.

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      2. Ele Nash

        Did I read somewhere Jang Hyuk saying Park Seyoung is good at taking direction, meaning it as a compliment but I wonder if she was a bit stuck how to play Mohyun? Mohyun’s supposed to be a bit in-her-own-dreamworld-head I guess so we can buy the fact she doesn’t realise how hard she’s been and being played. She has to be forgiving too so that she goes back to Bucheon after the first lie over names. It does make her much less interesting to watch, especially as a viewer when we’re treated to all these undercurrents of emotion, she comes across ultra-blank. Seyoung definitely could have sparkled more as Mohyun, especially around Bucheon who she’s meant to be in love with. When he proposed I thought that was a moment she could have shone but she wore the usual wettish smile. Still, I really don’t mind her as much as I minded Eunnyeon in the first half of Chuno, for example. At least she is being useful, even unknowingly. And teen Mohyun had more feist. She did rescue Pilju so if i can forgive him all his terrible actions because of his past trauma, I think i can bear with her for her past heroics 😆

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        1. Drama Fan

          Yes, to be honest my one single complain is the “wide eyed thing” lol but its just a small pet peeve. I don’t mind her too much. Now that Im caught up I was reminded of one aspect about MoHyun I do like. She is observant. She doesn’t stay quietly and passively letting things happen around her. I think anyone would’ve been “fooled” in her place because she was literally “trapped”. Since its early in the drama there’s plenty of time for her to grow as a character.

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          1. Ele Nash

            I totally get you, DramaFan. I don’t want to say this and seem critical, it’s more observational, but I think often kdramas make their characters, especially female, behave like teenagers /early twenties when they’re early-mid thirties. That naive, virginal trope is a bit much at times -though not saying by your thirties you’re super-mature and boring! Mohyun watching the rain like it was a miracle was kind of ridiculous. Thank goodness for Pilju bringing the heavy thunderstorm of dark wretchedness to weigh down the scene 😆

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  8. Snow Flower

    Poor Pil Joo. The only way he can save Seo Won is by intimidating her. The only way he can honor his father’s memory is by wiping his photograph. He was not even allowed in the same room with the rest of the family.
    The tears he shed for his brother are probably all that’s left from his innocence. Pil Joo lost his innocence when his brother drowned in front of him (on the same day their father died). Getting seduced by Mal Ran probably destroyed the rest. Eating the candy while crying silently was the first time we see Pil Joo grieve. He does not have DaeGil’s complete disregard of social conventions and therefore cannot lose himself in grief the way Dae Gil does.

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    1. Ele Nash

      Aw, another Jang Hyuk half-choke, half-crying scene 😢 He plays them so well – though why the show gave them such large, choke-hazard sweets, I don’t know 😳 The evident grief Pilju has for his brother I think is what makes us forgive so much wrong in Pilju’s character. The moment young Pilju was forced to let go of his brother’s hand in the water to survive, is what drove him back to the lake to die as a teen and, conversely, what drives him to keep on with his revenge now. That trauma makes any of his actions (which are often savage, violent, cruel) somehow forgivable. Maybe the grief isn’t delivered as freely as Daegil’s, like you say, but I feel like it runs much deeper in Pilju. And much darker.

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        1. Ele Nash

          @SnowFlower I don’t remember. Is it the sweet of choice in kdramaland? 😆 I really need to watch Mr Sunshine again. The only bits I remember are beautiful over-lingering shots, Gu Dong Mae swaggering stylishly about the place looking very very broody and handsome, and the cool feisty hotel owner with the scary dad. I remember the deaths most of all 😩 Stupid memory. I know I enjoyed it 😊

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  9. Trent

    I think your view of Seo Won is spot on. Perhaps this is just confirmation bias on my part, but I had about the same reaction to her interaction with Pil-joo. Objectively, his actions are criminal, and terrible, and yet with the overlay of his own personal history and the nuance and subtlety of JH’s performance, I never had the feeling that he was going to lose control or actually hurt her, and I even felt that (as you say) he strangely had her interests at heart, as much as he could in his position. When he told his minion that he would continue to give her money if she asked, it felt like the anticipated, the correct response, rather than anything surprising. I mean, he’s still terrible, a fledgling dragon among vipers, but there’s complexity and nuance there rather than unrelieved darkness, that through just six episodes makes him endlessly fascinating to observe.

    Curious about Han So-hee; I’ve been impressed with both times I’ve seen her (100 Days My Prince and now this). I haven’t seen World of the Married yet, but I understand she made quite a splash there as, once again, the young beautiful mistress? Apparently she finally gets to play lead in two upcoming dramas this year, so definitely will keep an eye out for those.

    The background music in this continues to be a real MVP. Really adds to the tone and atmosphere.

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    1. Snow Flower

      I have been trying to find piano transcriptions of some of the background music tracks in order to play them for fun, but no luck so far. I am thinking about transcribing some tracks myself.

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      1. Ele Nash

        The music playing as Pilju eats the sweet at father’s memorial was lovely. It really does add such a great layer of meaning to the show.

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    2. Snow Flower

      “A fledgling dragon among vipers” is the best description of Pil Joo and Money Flower in general. Good one, @Trent!

      Reply

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